Thursday, September 28, 2006

Super Spy-o-Matic

It's fun to spy on friends and family! Be a true patriot and root out their shocking secrets!

psssst... It is wise, the Spy-O-Matic. It knows I prefer Middle Eastern "hummus" to all-American Lipton onion dip. Now I'm in trouble!! It told me "RedJenny hates freedom so much, RedJenny doesn't even own a semi-automatic assault weapon". I have been found out!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Five Things Feminism Has Done for Me

As I mentioned yesterday, the Status of Women Canada was one of the programs that got slashed by our lovely government. Also yesterday I was participating in a conversation at the end of this piece on feminism. Seems people have something against feminists. I don't quite get it, except maybe these people have absorbed the stereotype of male-bashing ball-busting "feminazis", which incidentally I think doesn't really exist (maybe on the fringe somewhere, but I've certainly never met anyone like this. The feminists I know actually like men, they just don't like mysogyny).

The Progressive Bloggers have a project going called "5 Things Feminism Has Done for Me". So here's my list:

Feminism has:

  1. Improved my access to better paying jobs. Women have always worked, but now we get paid better than we used to. We are not yet at wage parity with men, but we have come a long way. Now I can at least support myself without relying on a man. I even have my very own bank account.
  2. Given me legal rights to my own body, including abortion rights and recourse in case of domestic violence. Domestic violence is still a big problem, but at least legally a man has no right to the "rule of thumb" anymore.
  3. Allowed me to own property (not that I do, but I could if I had the money and the desire), sign my own contracts, vote, join the army, drive, run for public office... in other words, allowed me to be considered a human being on par with the male human beings.
  4. Enabled me to get an edu-ma-cation. I believe the men in my life are also happy that I'm educated, informed and politically aware. It gives us more to talk about at the dinner table.
  5. Finally, along with other social justice movements, feminism has participated in making the world a more tolerant and just place for everyone. By challenging existing oppressive structures, we open society up to further change.

Feminism has done an incredible job so far, but we still have a long way to go. Around the world the struggles we have faced in the past continue to be fought, and our rights here are under assault, as the funding cut to SWC shows.

Solidarity is our only hope. A very small minority (mostly white upper class Christian men - please note this does not mean I hate white people, rich people, Christians or men) have it all, and the rest have to make do with the scraps. I say: don't fight each other for the scraps, fight the structures that keep us ALL down.

Oh, and tag, you're it.

More on women's issues.
related posts

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Federal Cuts Undermine the Progress of Women and All Canadians

Despite the $13.2 Billion surplus, the federal government just went on a slash-and-burn rampage, cutting funding for all kinds of things. The choice of programs that bore the brunt is very telling. Many are progressive programs that help some of the most vulnerable among us, and those who run, and those who benefit from these programs were given no opportunity to defend them.

Somehow there's enough money to increase defense spending, such as $30 million for an "acoustic weapon locator system", but not enough to help Aboriginal youth and pregant women stop smoking ($10 Million)? It isn't surprising at all, really, simply confirms the Conservative Party's values.

The news today tended to blanket the cuts without giving enough details, which I think is one of the reasons opinion tends to favour the cuts. People feel debt repayment is more important than "special interest" funding.

Even the CBC, tells little about WHAT was cut, summing up into 4 categories:

  • Programs that are not delivering value for money.
  • Programs that didn't spend all the money allocated.
  • Work that could be done more efficiently outside the government.
  • Programs that don't meet the needs of Canadians.
But these are value judgements made by the Conseratives, often with no basis. I think everyone can agree that spending money foolishly is a baaaad thing, but so many of these programs are very important and effective despite already being severely underfunded and operating on a shoestring budget.

The complete list can be found here, and includes adult literacy, youth employment, public diplomacy, and several Canada Heritage programs.

A couple of good examples are the Court Challenges program (“This Program has provided Canadian women with their only access to the use of their constitutional equality rights,” said Shelagh Day. “Equality rights have no meaning in Canada if women, and other Canadians who face discrimination, cannot use them.”) and the Status of Women Canada, whose budget is already one of the smallest of any department at the federal level, and has now been halved. This isn't "trimming the fat". Likewise should an obese person cut off an arm in order to improve her/his BMI? Good op-ed here.

More on women's issues, politics

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"War, War, Rumours of War"

War: Afghanistan
Canadians are at war in Afghanistan (or are we?). Whatever Harper calls it, we are killing and dying to protect a corrupt government filled with fundamentalist warlords against Taliban extremists. Oh good for us, killing bad people to protect other bad people; at least we think we are killing bad people. The Taliban can't be identified by membership cards, skin tone, T-Shirt colour, or any other convenient identity markers, so apparently soldiers are rounding up Afghan men in communities and reporting them as Taliban captured or killed. Well, I guess it's good for our troops. You know, dying is a real character builder.

War: Iraq
What is there to say? Imperialism by any other name is still... Imperialism.

Rumours of War: Iran
Yesterday on Democracy Now, an interesting analysis of Bush's speech at the UN General Assembly and a prediction of how a war on Iran might be played out. Phyllis Bennis tells of reports "in the last couple of days in Time magazine and elsewhere, indicating that there have in fact been orders preparing to deploy U.S. Navy warships towards Iran" with the goal of a naval blockade. She says most Americans don't know this is considered an act of war, so when Iran responds to the blockade (as is their right under Article 51 of the UN Charter), "the Bush administration would very likely call that an unprovoked attack on peaceful U.S. ships and would respond militarily, claiming to be responding in self-defense."
Until the philosophy which hold one race
Superior and another inferior
Is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned
Everywhere is war, me say war

That until there are no longer first class
And second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man's skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes
Me say war

That until the basic human rights are equally
Guaranteed to all, without regard to race
Dis a war

That until that day
The dream of lasting peace, world citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion
To be persued, but never attained
Now everywhere is war, war

- Bob Marley

Why can't we be more like our cousins?

More on War

Monday, September 18, 2006

Halliburton Responds to Iraq for Sale

Robert Greenwald's new documentary Iraq for Sale has already sparked a reaction from Halliburton... He writes:
We are amazed that they [Halliburton] openly admit to not seeing the film, and then proceed to attack it because they can "deduce" its content! I kid you not. Maybe they can deduce what happened to the billions they overcharged.

They accused us of being "privately funded," which is their pathetic effort to smear the 3,006 of you who contributed to make the film happen! Perfect for a corporation where the head guy, David Lesar, one of THE top war profiteers, made over $40 million.

They attack us for getting the facts wrong, with no mention of any facts we got wrong. Then THEY distort the facts -- one of my favorite being, "By all accounts, KBR's logistical achievements in support of the troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan have been nothing short of amazing."

They cite 411 million meals served, but neglect to mention how many they overcharged for. They cite 5.85 billion gallons of water, and still haven't responded on how many gallons were contaminated.

And it goes on and on... read it for yourself if you want a good laugh.

We think it's time for Halliburton CEO David Lesar to own up, and since he's not going to do it himself, we will do it for him. Watch this television ad:

The fight is going to get tougher, harder, and meaner. The media attention on the war profiteers is escalating: CBS News, the Washington Post and the LA Times all featured stories this weekend. The stakes are significant and Halliburton, CACI, Titan, and Blackwater* are all watching very closely and will do everything possible to secure their profits.

Read more at the Iraq for Sale blog.

* Speaking of Blackwater, I have been hearing ever more about this very scary company. Laura Flanders recently interviewed Jeremy Scahill, who has done some incredible in-depth investigative journalism covering Blackwater in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and in Iraq. The interview (Listen to the Mp3) offers a nice summary of who/what Blackwater is, and why we should be concerned. I visited their website this weekend ( where they describe themselves as "a professional military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping, and stability operations firm".

Military privatization... just a bad idea: pricey, dangerous, ineffective, and hard to control. It brings the U.S. perilously close to being a Failed State according to commonly used definitions, because it lacks a "monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force". Makes ya think, huh?

Of course, Blackwater seems to have no qualms about creative marketing. Their Orwellian description says they "have become the most responsive, cost-effective means of affecting the strategic balance in support of security and peace, and freedom and democracy everywhere."


Friday, September 15, 2006

Gaza is a Jail. Nobody is allowed to leave. We are all starving now'

A whole society is being destroyed. There are 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned in the most heavily populated area in the world. Israel has stopped all trade. It has even forbidden fishermen to go far from the shore so they wade into the surf to try vainly to catch fish with hand-thrown nets.
From Common Dreams

UNCTAD said the economic crisis was being compounded by decreasing levels of aid from foreign governments and institutions since the militant group Hamas swept January parliamentary elections. Western nations and Israel have been withholding hundreds of millions of dollars from the Hamas-led government because of the group's refusal to disarm, recognize Israel and accept existing peace agreements.

From CNN

Now that Hamas has agreed to dissolve the government and form a coalition, will things change? Will the Palestinians in Gaza have a chance to live?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Breathing Earth

The Breathing Earth demo is pretty neat (and quite attractively designed). It shows a real-time simulation of the Co2 emissions levels of each country in the world, as well as each country's populations, birth and death rates. Via Gristmill.

More posts related to the Environment

Monday, September 11, 2006

The World Failed to Change on 9/11

As the world came together in our grief and shock in the weeks after 9/11 did we forge an era of cooperation among the nations of the world? Did the attack on North American soil help us to understand life for those in other nations under attack? Did we remember that just as 3,000 innocent people died needlessly in New York City, tens of thousands of children die needlessly from hunger in a single day? Have we learned that each human life is important, that everybody is someone’s child, or spouse or parent? Have we tried to understand the powerless, the poor and the downtrodden?

Sadly, we have cheapened the memory of those who suffered by using their suffering for selfish reasons. Since 9/11 we have strived to increase Western military and economic superiority. We allow our civil liberties to be eroded in the name of security. Our respect for human dignity has been proven a lie as we have become the perpetrators of torture and humiliation in places like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

Perhaps nothing change on 9/11 but the words we use to justify our crimes. Perhaps 9/11 has become little more than the subject of docudramas that promote a single political view. Perhaps the lessons of 9/11 have been lost on us.

Quoted in full from Political Cycles because I couldn't have said it better no matter how hard I tried.

More on War in the Middle East

Friday, September 08, 2006

Body Image Issues... Gee, I Wonder Why

Which is real?
Could the damaging affects of poor body image in women (and, increasingly, in men) have a little something to do with retouched celebrities and models like you see here, here (look at the before/after images), and here?

Fascinating, and scary. Interactive web site with more details about how the picture on the left was produced here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lie By Lie: How the Iraq War was Sold

Mother Jones has a really neat, interactive timeline showing just how the case for the war on Iraq was made, starting in 1990. This is nothing controversial - they use lots of well-known mainstream sources - but it is the placing of everything in context which is so effective. The floating Cheney heads were a little creepy, though. Definitely check it out.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Dropping Knowledge

Dropping Knowledge is conducting a summit on September 9th that would see "112 of the world's great minds" (participants) attempting to answer 100 public-submitted questions. Themes include power, the environment, economic justice, ethics, and more. Looks interesting. I'm curious to see what will come of it.