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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Important political messages for my fellow North Americans

Here's the message for my beloved Americans friends - remember, vote early and vote often!

Take this seriously... very seriously.

nd for my Canadian brothers and sisters: Political scientists are saying Stephen Harper's Conservatives could win a majority with as little as 35 per cent of the popular vote. With just a little more than one in three voters selecting them to run this country, the Conservatives would have free reign to push through an agenda most Canadians do not agree with.

I'll simply offer a humble opinion.

Prime Minister Harper is about as much of an ordinary Canadian as Attila the Hun was just one of the guys. Don't be fooled by the baby blue cashmere sweaters and cozy living room table scenes. He wants to be our fearless leader to obey. He wants to slip us and slide us into a free market, Christian-viewed, fearful, every man for himself (caring for his wimmin), laughed at by social democracies around the world ordinary sort of country.

The message: figure out who in your riding might beat the Conservative candidate and vote for that person, even if you have to hold your nose.

Holding back in the hinterland...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Alert! - Two female poiticians on my mind...

No need for an alert really, and these politicians couldn't be more different.

1. Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, has been shut out of the televised leaders debates. This was done mainly by Stephen Harper and the Conservatives (the PM said he would not attend if she was there). The other 'boys' followed suit, although apparently the Liberals welcomed her. The Green Party has candidates in 307 ridings, a sitting member of Parliament and are strong in the polls. This is an affront to democracy in Canada, whether you would ever vote Green or not. Here's a link to a petition if you care to make your voice heard.

Breaking News Tuesday: She's in!

2. Governor Palin: Canadians tend to be pretty nice folks and don't usually come out with fangs bared. But if you can handle a hot piece of writing by Heather Mallick (on Sarah Palin as VP), put on your sunglasses and go here.

Here's a little taste:
I assume John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential partner in a fit of pique because the Republican money men refused to let him have the stuffed male shirt he really wanted. She added nothing to the ticket that the Republicans didn't already have sewn up, the white trash vote, the demographic that sullies America's name inside and outside its borders yet has such a curious appeal for the right.

Let the political horses run!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Canucks to the polls - parliamentary style

Yep, our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, called an election today (via the Governor General - ask me). We vote on October 14. Here's some quick reflections - see if my political biases are on view...

- He's calling the election because he senses the Conservatives might just pull off a majority government. For two reasons: the Liberals are weak because their new leader, Stephane Dion, is not connecting with Canadians - is perceived as a weak leader... and because the polls in Quebec show a possible breakthrough there as the Bloq Quebecois Party is weak too (majority of Quebec seats).

- He's a total control freak and muzzles every member of his caucus, even cabinet ministers. It will be interesting to see if the fundamental, right wing-nuts and general free market conservatives blab too much. Hope so. Trust me, we have lots of Conservative MPs who would fit like a glove with the US Republican Party.

- 66% of Canadians support parties that are left leaning. Sadly that includes the Liberals, New Democrats, Greens and Parti Quebecois - so the vote gets split like a piece of cake in my family growing up - down to the crumbs.

- We get an election call, campaigning and the vote - in about 6 weeks total. Our Yankee cousins get the eternal campaign that started two years ago and they still vote after us. Aren't we tricky and quick!

- Harper has embarrassed Canada on every world stage for years. We voted with the US against the UN Treaty on the Rights of Indigenous People; supported Bush's human rights abuses by not condemning Guantanamo Bay; lobbied against the new Treaty (underway) against cluster bomb munitions; fought against any substantial global commitment to climate change; and generally moved from a small power with high ideals and global influence - to a whining, fearful, conniving reflection of the Bush regime.

- My prediction: another minority government, with Harper still in power.

- My hope: Stephane Dion will surprise Canadians and communicate his ideas and beliefs more effectively - so much that the Liberals form the minority government. He has to hammer away on the environment and the abysmal record of the Conservatives on just about everything except their tiny-brain views on the family and crime.

- AND, I hope the Greens elect a bunch of members.

There. That's my morning of the election call rant.

Thanks for the prompt Susan.

P.S. Here's a funny and interesting piece on this election, by Rick Mercer.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sticking out moi neck...

I haven't put lots of personal stuff on my blog over the years, or if I have, it's discreet. But I do define it as eclectic - political, humour, literate, musical, whimsy and personal. It's all up for grabs.

That's all to say that I've written that there is someone in my life now. Her name is Anna and I've known her for a long time, but not been in touch much for years... until this year.

Starting in January and then picking up in the spring, we got acquainted through a long email conversation (that continues now). Then in May we met to find out if our 3D forms would live up to, or be compatible, with our growing virtual friendship. Well, it did live up to it... and more.

We've seen each other a bunch of times. She's in Nova Scotia right now. We'll meet in Ottawa this month and here in Nelson in October.

So if you're interested, now you know... I'm smitten.

Some of you will recognize the canoe and the lake in this photo.

Let me also introduce you to my paddling partner, Anna.

And one more - on the shore on Gabriola Island

Interesting take on the VP candidate...

This is the full article - interesting I think. And there is the view from outside America also - even stronger I suspect...

Palin: wrong woman, wrong message
Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

By Gloria Steinem
September 4, 2008

Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.

But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.

Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest.

Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women.

And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.

This could be huge.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Data, a Scandanavian accent and seeing the world anew...

I don't know if you look at the TEDTalks - there are often amazing speakers there. This one was passed along to me this week. I think it's rather astounding - you need a little time to watch it. Lindsay - I know you'll like it.

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