Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Left Wing Needs to Grow a Pair


I'm getting tired of this sort of nonsense. The Conservatives are now blaming the Liberals for the Listeria outbreak. That's right. They claim that deficiencies were known a year before the Conservatives came in to power, therefore it's the Liberals fault.

The Conservative leader insisted his government has already taken action by modernizing the inspection system

Give me a break. Why do the Liberals sit on this? The Conservatives, following their "government sucks at everything" philosophy, privatized food inspection.

And then 16 people fricking died.

Where are the Liberals? Where are the NDP? Where is anybody beating the Conservatives over the head with the fact that their philosophy kills people?

The Conservatives don't hesitate. They don't question for a moment whether or not they should lie, deceive, prevaricate and defecate on the Liberals. Anything for a moment of a surge in the polls.

And I realize what the problem is. The people leading the progressive and liberal political groups have no balls (or "Thatchers" for that matter).

Look at the U.S. presidential campaigns. Why isn't Barack Obama hitting McCain over the head with the fact that he's lying through his teeth and he can't remember how many houses he has? Wouldn't that spell "out of touch" even to the lower class base of the Republican party?

Look at Ontario when Mike Harris was using tax dollars to advertise insults on television agaisnt his own employees (teachers). What did the teacher's union do? Did they tear up his absolute lies about how much extra work he was making them do without pay? Did they tear in to his lies averaging private school funding in to the "cost of education"?

No. They produced terrible, stupid commercials where teachers appeared in front of the camera and were asked, "Did you know Mike Harris was once a teacher?". And the teachers would say, "No, I can't believe it."

Cowardice. Absolute, rank cowardice.

I want leaders on the left that show some spine. Somebody find me one and get these lying, warring, corporate-welfare Conservatives out of my damned government.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Economic Crisis Prevents Stupidity

That's what the headline should read. Instead they entitled it: "A nation of debtors".

Indeed. American consumers suddenly can't buy as much as they used to because - pay attention here - "Consumers are feeling the pinch as lenders tighten credit card limits and home equity lines of credit"

Who in their right mind runs credit card debt? I can understand this happening in some kind of emergency but it seems to be a way of life for a certain large chunk of the population that prefers to live way beyond its means - and via credit card interest ends up in at an ever shrinking level of "means".

If one of the results of this whole mess is that the general population realizes what a crazy, ignorant stupid thing it is to willfully pile up credit card debt for the sake of having the coloured iPod, the bolted down truck bed and the absolute latest Intel processor ... well, then, at least something good will have come of it.

Once we free ourselves of slavery to this kind of debt, we can work on controlling the corporations that rule us through our indebtedness and take steps to force them to improve our society, rather than improve themselves at our expense.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Friday, September 26, 2008

Kirpans Again

I was never completely comfortable with the whole kirpan thing, especially in schools.

The issue has come up again as a Sikh boy has been accused of threatening his classmates with his kirpan. Instinctively, the charge would appear to be untrue. Although two of the boys are saying that the Sikh boy drew the knife, it sounds from various reports that the other witnesses saw no such thing.

If it were true, it's an easy decision. He has clearly violated the "but it's only ceremonial" exception to the No Knives Rule, and therefore he may no longer have his dagger at school.

But why should a student be allowed to carry a knife in the first place? Yes, it's ceremonial. Yes, it's a sign of his loyalty to his religion. So what? It's still a knife.

I'm personally rather conflicted. As an atheist, I very strongly believe two things:
1) every person must be free to believe or disbelieve, practice or not practice, any religion.
2) the way to get people free of the oppressing yoke of religion is not by suppressing their religion but by letting them practice it and setting a better example before them.

On the other hand, I also have a very strong belief that we shouldn't let anyone's religion trump the very sensible laws that we have on books. That's why it's legal to gather sticks on Sundays, cook food on Friday nights, be a homosexual without being stoned to death and wear clothing of two fibres mixed together.

If a Christian or a Jew came in to my high school and demanded the right to kill the school's only openly gay student, we would say "no", Leviticus 20:13 notwithstanding. The religious freedom of the Christian or Jew would be trumped by the right of the gay student to be free of their respective religions.

But if a Jewish student wanted to wear a yarmulke, or a Sikh student to wear a turban - despite a "no hats" policy at the school - the school would permit it as it doesn't really harm or infringe on other students. What this really does is allow any student to wear any head covering of any religion. After all, who is to say a specific student is really a Sikh or not? Religion being personal, you can't touch it.

But a knife? Even a ceremonial knife? Yes, all sorts of restrictions were placed on the handling of the knife. It must be firmly fastened within its container. It must be inside the students clothing (great, a concealed weapon). If the student ever draws the knife, he will lose the privilege.

It still doesn't make sense. It's still a knife. Even if we educate every student in that school about the religious and apparently non-violent nature of the kirpan, it is still the case that this student has permission to carry a knife when no other student does.

After that, it gets worse. It is very easy for every other student in the school to declare himself or herself a Sikh and demand the right to carry a knife in the same manner. There is no possibility, at that point, of stopping it. Just because some local body of Sikh officialdom might state, "No, this other child is not a Sikh and should be allowed a kirpan", is no reason to deny these other children their religious rights. All these children would have to do is claim that the offical Sikh church is oppressing them and we would have to cave in.

Is that what we want? Schools full of children carry ceremonial daggers? I actually used to attend schools. I know that wouldn't last long. Some kid's dagger would not be properly fastened and would show up in a fight somewhere.

We have rules. They have to be followed. Accommodation ought to be made in the name of freedom of religion and simply to make sure that the religious don't feel persecuted as this would cause them to cling more devoutly to their religions. But the line has to be drawn where the religious rules present a danger to other people. Where knives, stoning and other irrational punishments are concerned, our society must say, "No. You have your beliefs and the right to express them, but you may not infringe upon our safety."

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh, Twenty Five years, well then ...

Do you remember when you were 14 years old? If you were male, you probably remember all that energy you had and how quickly you could become angry. If you were female, you probably felt a bit differently. But I'm not female, so I can't be sure.

Now remember getting angry at somebody, maybe getting in a fight.

Remember how much you were thinking, "Hey, if I really hurt this guy, I could go to jail for 10 years. I guess I'll just stop right now."

Because 14 year old boys are very pragmatic about these things.

So, we can safely conclude that Stephen Harper's idea of lengthening the maximum criminal sentence of a 14 year old from 10 to 25 years will surely to put an end to such violence.

Right. Totally reasonable. Except in Quebec where it will only apply to kids 16 years and older. Apparently our children here every else in Canada are beyond help, whereas Quebec's children are more sophisticated.


How stupidly reactionary do the Conservatives have to be? Longer sentences simply don't deter youth crime. Criminals, especially children, don't expect to get caught. What does it matter what the punishment is?

The answer, if anyone cares to listen, is to find out what could possibly drive a child to commit murder and find out how to stop that. We don't want giant prisons full of maladjusted people. We want very small prisons and a functional society.

The Conservative Party. Wrong. Just plain wrong. Somebody pass me a Listeria sandwich.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Why is Gordon O'Connor Running?

Former Minister of Defence Gordon O'Connor is running for reelection in my riding.


He resigned in disgrace for lying to Parliament and for permitting the turnover of prisoners, taken by Canadian soldiers, to Afghanistan authorities who were known to practice torture.

He lied when he told us that the Red Cross would warn us if torture were taking place.

He covered up the torture.

He continued to allow the turnovers to happen when it was known that the prisoners were being tortured.

He was a Defence Industry lobbyist who became the Minister of Defence.

Why is he running? What's the disconnect here?

Is he unfamiliar with the term "resign in disgrace"?

And he'll probably get reelected because the Conservatives are riding high and because the people in my riding want their taxes cut.

It's just plain insulting to be represented by someone like this.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers