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78 Days Later


Sure, this could be the title for a zombie movie, but this has a much different feel to it.

That was the length of this past Canadian election.

In the end, when the dust settled, Justin Trudeau and his liberals cruised to a majority.  They pushed hope instead of fear that Harper’s Conservatives were pushing at nearly every step.  The Conservative campaign was a dark side of Canadian politics, as candidates openly voiced their homophobic and Islamophobic platforms.  They tried to ignore the scandals, tried to circumvent the Supreme Court of Canada, and tried to use fear of the Other as a way to win the heart of Canadians.

But Canadians are not a hateful people.

In a best case scenario, Trudeau would still be Prime Minister, with Thomas Mulcair as Official Opposition.  The Conservatives voted into political oblivion.  That is a just punishment for attempting to bring about fear and hatred into the hearts of Canadians.

Globally under Harper and the Conservatives, Canada has fallen.  We no longer had the respect we had earned under other governments.  We were a laughing stock that muzzled scientists, that censored the media, that did not have compassion nor empathy for our fellow citizens of this planet.  Under the Conservatives, we would have become just another American State.

Now, we have hope, albeit a cautious one.  Now Trudeau has his work cut out for him, but we can help.  Voters of every political stripe have the right to reach out to our new Prime Minister with suggestions of how to better make Canada great again.  We were a great nation at one time.  For ten years, we lost sight of that.

But now we can rise to that level once again.

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Posted by on October 20, 2015 in Life, Opinion, randomness

 

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Winds of Change


o-ALBERTA-ELECTION-2015-facebook

There has been something said that many thought would never happen.  Things written that many journalists thought they would never write.  Those words are simple, but they are shocking.  All of it deals with the recent election in Alberta.

The Alberta NDP will form the next Alberta Government.

It’s shocking for many reasons.  The first being the end of 44 years of Progressive Conservative rule in Alberta.  The second, a complete shift in political ideology from right wing to left wing.  Not only did the NDP form the government, but the Wild Rose Party formed the Official Opposition, leaving the PCs in third place.  This election also brought about the highest number of female MLAs to now sit in any legislature in Canada.  Definitely progress.

That progress, of course, comes on the heels of the election in Prince Edward Island where the Liberal Party won their third majority, but the big news was the fact that PEI’s Premier is only the second openly gay Premier in Canada, and the first for the Province of Prince Edward Island.  Wade MacLauchlan joins Kathlene Wynne who was elected Premier of Ontario in 2013.

But there are those who are being cautious, and those who are breeding fear, about an NDP government in Alberta.  Those who are being cautious are holding a wait and see attitude toward Rachel Notley and her NDP government.  Others are comparing this to the mid 1990’s when Bob Rae lead the NDP to government in Ontario.  Many analysts, however, are pointing to a younger generation of voters who are sick and tired of the attitudes of right wing politicians and right wing governments.  And then there’s those who are looking at this election in Alberta and wondering how that will affect the upcoming Federal election in October.

Everything will have to be a wait and see situation.  From how the NDP performs in Alberta all the way to what the results of this will have on the Federal election.

But make no mistake, the winds of change were definitely blowing.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Life, Opinion, randomness

 

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Steven Attewell: Steve Rogers Isn’t Just Any Hero – Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money


Steven Attewell: Steve Rogers Isn’t Just Any Hero – Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money.

This is an incredible right up on Captain America, and why he’s most likely a left leaning liberal and progressive and not an alley of the right wing Tea Partiers.

But the real reason I had to chime in was that Steve Rogers is my favorite superhero. Why? Because unlike other patriotism-themed characters, Steve Rogers doesn’t represent a genericized America but rather a very specific time and place – 1930’s New York City. We know he was born July 4, 1920 (not kidding about the 4th of July) to a working-class family of Irish Catholic immigrants who lived in New York’s Lower East Side.[1] This biographical detail has political meaning: given the era he was born in and his class and religious/ethnic background, there is no way in hell Steve Rogers didn’t grow up as a Democrat, and a New Deal Democrat at that, complete with a picture of FDR on the wall.

Steve Rogers grew up poor in the Great Depression, the son of a single mother who insisted he stayed in school despite the trend of the time (his father died when he was a child; in some versions, his father is a brave WWI veteran, in others an alcoholic, either or both of which would be appropriate given what happened to WWI veterans in the Great Depression) and then orphaned in his late teens when his mother died of TB.[2] And he came of age in New York City at a time when the New Deal was in full swing, Fiorello LaGuardia was mayor, the American Labor Party was a major force in city politics, labor unions were on the move, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade was organizing to fight fascism in Spain in the name of the Popular Front, and a militant anti-racist movement was growing that equated segregation at home with Nazism abroad that will eventually feed into the “Double V” campaign.

Then he became a fine arts student. To be an artist in New York City in the 1930s was to be surrounded by the “Cultural Front.” We’re talking the WPA Arts and Theater Projects, Diego Rivera painting socialist murals in Rockefeller Center, Orson Welles turning Julius Caesar into an anti-fascist play and running an all-black Macbeth and “The Cradle Will Rock,” Paul Robeson was a major star, and so on. You couldn’t really be an artist and have escaped left-wing politics. And if a poor kid like Steve Rogers was going to college as a fine arts student, odds are very good that he was going to the City College of New York at a time when an 80% Jewish student body is organizing student trade unions, anti-fascist rallies, and the “New York Intellectuals” were busily debating Trotskyism vs. Stalinism vs. Norman Thomas Socialism vs. the New Deal in the dining halls and study carrels.

And this Steve Rogers, who’s been exposed to all of what New York City has to offer, becomes an explicit anti-fascist. In the fall of 1940, over a year before Pearl Harbor, he first volunteers to join the army to fight the Nazis specifically. This isn’t an apolitical patriotism forged out of a sense that the U.S has been attacked; rather, Steve Rogers had come to believe that Nazism posed an existential threat to the America he believed in. New Deal America.

The original Captain American comics are awash with this New Deal/anti-fascist spirit: in his March 1941 premiere issue published by Timely Comics (prominently featuring the eponymous hero socking Hitler in the jaw), FDR comes up with the idea for Captain America as a solution to fascist fifth-columnists interfering with America’s war-readiness program. In a deliberate thumb in the eye to Hitler’s racial science, Steve Rogers is turned from a malnourished working-class intellectual into the very image of the Aryan Superman Hitler fetishized by a Jewish refugee scientist – alternately named Joseph Reinstein or Abraham Erskine – who is then gunned down by a Nazi agent.[3] Captain America takes up the shield presented to him by President Roosevelt, and then spends much of his early issues fighting sabotage and subversion on the home front.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2015 in Fun, randomness

 

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Art mirrors life… and predicts it


What’s strange is how very interesting it is how media like this, created by Alan Moore in the mid 1980s, made into a film in the late 90s, basically is predicting what is happening in the world.

There are those who follow the edict of using fear to control the masses. Just look at Fox News. Be afraid of Muslims, or African Americans (with strategic words such as “inner city men” used to foster that fear), or atheists, or lesbians, or homosexuals. It’s control at it’s core. Make those groups the targets and you suddenly control the masses and are able to continue ruling, so to speak.

In reality, it’s the right wing who are afraid. Afraid they’ll lose their control if they don’t have a target. They’ll lose their wealth, their standing and their power.

There’s been other films which showed the future in a relatively dark light; Running Man, The Dark Knight, Total Recall (the original with Schwarzenegger), and even RoboCop. What we laughed at is some of the things that have become real in our future. Just as the politics of corruption has become very real.

Sometimes, the fiction we consume isn’t that far off. And what we call escapism, is very dead on the money in mirroring what happens in the world. The biggest difference is, the public seems very much more aware of it.

EDIT:  Correction, the movie came out in 2006, not the late 90s.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in Life, randomness

 

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SB5 Killed in Texas


Last night, after a long day at work finishing the newspaper, I had planned on sitting down to do some writing, watch some TV and play a video game.  What I did instead was something completely different, as I kept watching a live feed on Youtube.

Something really impressive happened last night.  I don’t often go into politics about a particular State in the Union, mostly my political rants are a lot closer to home or if it’s something of national attention that can affect other countries.  But yesterday, Texas Democrat Senator Wendy Davis began a filibuster of  a potentially restrictive law that would close all but five abortion clinics in the State of Texas.  She talked for twelve and a half hours, always kept on topic even when Republican senators tried to interrupt and state she was not on topic.  At one point, a Senator tried to bring up a point of order that Senator Davis received assistance to stand while talking when someone helped her with a back brace.  Another point of order stated that sonograms have nothing to do with abortions, unless you take into context that Texas law demands a woman have a sonogram before getting an abortion.

An image of Senator Wendy Davis, with a dragon from Game of Thrones photoshopped onto her shoulder.  This image became popular as the time ticked past midnight in Texas, comparing Davis to the character of Dany in Game of Thrones.

An image of Senator Wendy Davis, with a dragon from Game of Thrones photoshopped onto her shoulder. This image became popular as the time ticked past midnight in Texas, comparing Davis to the character of Dany in Game of Thrones.

When it seemed Davis was going to lose her filibuster, other Democratic senators began picking up the slack. Leticia Van de Putte, Kirk Watson, Royce West, and Judith Zaffirini bringing up points of order and parliamentary inquires.  Van de Putte had the most talked about quote of the night.

“At what point must a female senator raise her voice to be recognized by her male colleagues?”

As the clock ticked down, even the thousands who had gathered helped with the filibuster, chanting, singing and even calling out Republican Senators when the clock read 12:01 a.m. with calls of “Shame, shame, shame” as it appeared the members were going to vote on a bill past the midnight deadline.  In the end, SB5 was declared dead, with many Republican Senators, including the Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, who said “I know it’s late and I’m sorry but I’ve got a couple of sentence I want to say and that’s really all I want to say for this evening. This is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen in my life. An unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics has tried all day to derail legislation that has been intended to protect the lives and the safety of women and babies. SB 5 passed 19-10 but with all the ruckus and noise going on I couldn’t adjourn sine die pending completion of administrative duties. And right now I cannot sign the … bill. So I’m very frustrated.”  Dewhurst blamed failure to pass the bill on the people who had gathered to support Davis and the other Democratic Senators, even going so far as to compare the crowd to an unruly mob.

The bottom line is that Texas, like many States, are trying to pass restrictive, oppressive, and misogynist legislation which strips women of a constitutional right to make their own decisions.  In this case, whether they wish to terminate a pregnancy.  And what we saw last night was a group of people unwilling to let that happen, and they succeeded in the end.  SB5 was eventually killed.

It was educational and interesting to watch, even when Republican Senators tried to break the rules and vote after the deadline.

 

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Life, randomness

 

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You shouldn’t be so mean to those who are just so evil


I was going to use a picture of the true face of evil... but this picture of Glenn Beck crying is just as fitting.

I was going to use a picture of the true face of evil… but this picture of Glenn Beck crying is just as fitting.

We have this thing in our society, all of society really, where we’re told that it is best to be polite and kind even when dealing with someone who may be considered less than polite.  There is a problem with that, however, because it doesn’t actually make us look better.  Nothing does, to be quite honest.  We can get mad, and these people will accuse us of being raging and crazy.  We can try to be polite and have a calm conversation, and we’re accused of being passive and timid.

These people I speak of happen to be a portion of society that really feels that some people don’t deserve the same rights as everyone else.  These are the people who believe gay marriage will shred the fabric of society.  These are the people who use the term “black single mothers” when describing people on welfare or social assistance (in Canada, they often replace ‘black’ with ‘Native’, at least in some parts of the country).  Some of these individuals actually believe that the majority of science is a fraud, the most laughing of these examples is that they will often try to hold up 24 cases that shows global warming and climate change to be a myth, while there are over 13 thousand documents that refute, debunk and disprove all of those claims.  Even more of these individuals believe that the planet Earth is only 9 to 10 thousand years old, that man lived with dinosaurs, and some even believe the Earth is a flat plate resting on four elephants, resting on a turtle (I shit you not with that last one, there are still people who believe that).  These are also some of the same people who would rather regulate a woman’s uterus than guns, believing a woman making her own decisions is more dangerous than a semi automatic assault rifle in the hands of a lunatic.

Personally, I’m done being polite and nice to these people.  They’re idiots, and they should treated like idiots.  With absolute contempt.  People like Pat Roberts, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Ann Coulter aren’t just morons, however (because, they really, really are).  They’re evil.  They’re manipulative.  All they care about is increasing their own wealth.  Now in some cases they aren’t manipulating the public, in some cases they truly are idiots and we get to see just how stupid they.  Like O’Reilly’s comment about tides and no one knowing how that works.  He must not have been present that day in Grade 6 Earth Science, because that was most likely when it was covered.  The majority of the well educated populace (and even some of the not so well educated populace) know that tides have everything to do with the gravitational forces of the Sun, Moon and the Earth.  Even doing a quick Google search would find that out.  But that’s just something small in the vast three ring circus that is the far right in (not only) America (but all of North America).

While there are those who are willfully stupid, like O’Reilly, there are others who are oppressive bigots.  Like Pat Roberts.  He, just like members of the Westboro Baptist Church (which has no affiliation to actual Baptist churches in the United States), are lying and manipulative.  I hate to use Godwin’s Law, but really, if herding people into concentrations camps to be gassed was politically correct, they’d probably be all on board for that.  These are people who if given the chance would deem anyone not white, Christian (and even then, only certain brands of Christian), and male as not human and could be treated no better than cattle.  These people are evil, so let’s call them what they are.  But don’t just say it on Internet forums, say it to their faces.  Lying, manipulative, evil… all of it.

I just have one warning for these kinds of people.

Over a thousand years ago, the height of culture, education, philosophy and science was in a place called Baghdad.  That’s right, the current city of Iraq and much of the surrounding areas of the Middle East, were the cultural mecca of the world.  They had libraries, they had incredible mathematicians, they made huge discoveries in medicine, astronomy, physics, and even gave us things like Algebra, algorithm, and named two thirds of the stars in the night sky.  Belletrix, for example, is an Arabic word, and happens to be the name of a star.

About 400 years into this cultural and philosophical renaissance, an Imam decided that he needed to be more vocal about his disdain of all things scientific.  Much like the political pundits of today, he said mathematics was evil.  Oh, it had been said before, but no one really paid much attention.  But this one had a little more power and influence.  It changed the shape of the Middle East for a while.  The current situation in the Middle East isn’t indicative of that decision, much of that can be blamed on foreign policy of the United States and other NATO Nations.  However, it is something that is presently going on in North America.  Politicians, evangelical ministers, pundits and more on the right side of the political spectrum are doing everything in their power to rewrite history, demonize science and force actual junk science (like dinosaurs living at the exact same time as man) into classrooms.  That’s not the only factor that saw the fall of this philosophical age in the Middle East, but it was one of many that helped.  That doesn’t even cover the treatment of women, the segregation of different ethnic groups (as is happening in Israel and Palestine), nor does it include the outside interference of other nations from the West into the political lives of these different nations.  Pakistan, for example, is the target of a huge number of drone strikes conducted by the United States government.

All of the “moral values” of the Christian Right Wing in the West is actually the most evil, vile, bigoted and manipulative kinds of values one could think of.  If it continues, there will be no progress made.  If it continues, then true evil will win out.  It’s time to call out these people like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Pat Roberts for what they are.  Evil.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Life, randomness

 

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To President Obama and America


Dear President Obama;

I am a Canadian citizen, and have been watching things from the sidelines for the past four years.  To begin, I’d first like to say congratulations on your second term as President of the United States.  As a Canadian, I’m glad that you were re-elected to office.  This means a lot of great things are going to happen for your country and for those living within its borders.

It’s already been shown that marriage equality has been supported in States such as Maine, and the voting public said no to changing the Constitution.  It also means that the United States is a step closer to fully accepting marriage equality across the board.  It’s something we’ve had in Canada for a while, and after a short time you might find that it’s just called marriage.  Not gay marriage, just marriage.

Health Care will be supported, as your plan for coverage will continue.  However, as former Saskatchewan Premier Alan Blakney said, it was a very small step.  You’ve still got a long way to go, and you’ll find that after a while, it’s an ever evolving process.

You now can ensure that landmarks such as Roe vs. Wade are upheld, and that women and the choices they make with their health care will be defended.  This is important, because had you lost, the alternative (and possibly much more) would have erased women’s personal choices.

There is still more to do, however.  But not just in your own country.  Yes, you need to take steps to ensure that transgender individuals are protected, and that the crimes reported against such individuals are investigated and taken to trial quickly.  You, as President, have the ability to convince cities like New York, with their stop and search laws, to reconsider such laws.  It’s more than evident that these laws are merely racial profiling in disguise.

This is also big news internationally.

But still, like in your own country, there’s a lot of work to do.

Yes, the promise to bring the soldiers home from Afghanistan will go through.  You did it in Iraq, and I believe you can do the same in Afghanistan.  But let’s stay in that region for a while longer, shall we?  You have to come out and help stop violence that continues to plague that region.  I say you can, because most of that violence is coming from the United States.

First, drone strikes in Pakistan.  The number of drone strikes in the regions of Pakistan that border Afghanistan have actually increased since you took office in 2008.  You have to work to end these, and end these soon.  There’s a reason why when polled, Pakistan said they’d rather have Romney and Ryan.  You and your administration are not looked upon favourably there.

Also, Palestine.  Yes, I know, you probably really don’t want to talk about that, considering Israel is a close ally of the United States.  But please, you can’t be so blind as to see what the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinian people.  Being pushed off their land, without warning, as Jewish settlements begin to squeeze the life out of any Palestinian communities that remain.  This is a living people that are being killed off and deserve the right to live.

There is a lot of work ahead of you.  I do congratulate you on a second term, and I look for many more progressive pieces of legislation to be announced.  But let’s keep some promises that were made in 2008.  Close Guantanamo, for instance.  There’s so much more that a letter like this could touch on, including issues like climate change, which we’ve seen prime examples of with storms like Hurricane Sandy.

Your second term as President is good for the American people.  Let’s just make sure that it’s just as good for people living in Palistine and Pakistan.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Holtorf

A Canadian citizen with strong concerns about the future.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Life, randomness

 

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