Bill C-51: Are you on Harpo’s enemies list yet?

If not, shame on you. Watch this and learn why it behooves you to become an enemy of PetroState Canada and Fortress North America:

Democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and political association, the indigenous peoples, the right to a clean and healthy environment…all these and more are now under fire. And if you believe in them, and take your belief in them to the streets, congratulations: You are An Enemy of the State. USA PATRIOT Act North, otherwise known as Bill C-51, is aiming to make YOU illegal.

And if you couldn’t make it to the streets, don’t worry. You can still put a fire under your Member of Parliament. Use this letter-writing tool and in a few minutes’ time, you too can be a proud member of the Enemies list.

Now go, and be the best fuckin’ subversive you can.

Canadians reject Harper government interference in Venezuela

This past Sunday, there was a demonstration in Ottawa against our own government and its role in the ongoing imperialist/fascist/putschist attacks on the democratically elected government of Venezuela. Here are some of the highlights:

Informed opinions: This guy has ‘em.

So does she.

She’s asking some pertinent questions about why our “human rights”-loving government isn’t pressuring the US to send the Cubanabomber back to face trial in Venezuela or Cuba.

Solidarity without borders, even in the icy dead of a capital winter. This is what REAL human rights look like.

Music for a Sunday (Night): Band of the year, represent!

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Meme du jour…

Crappy Women’s Day, ladies. Here, have a carnation.

In lieu of my usual Music for a Sunday feature, I’m just going to leave this here:

Aren’t those the best lyrics? And the most badass sax riffs, too?

Anyhow. Here’s what women in another part of the world are working at. Specifically, in Germany. Mira Sigel has some hard words about what work ISN’T getting done:

“Happy Women’s Day!” my porn-watching neighbor yelled at me this morning, he who otherwise likes to say that women can’t parallel-park. That he himself hasn’t had a driver’s licence for years doesn’t keep him from grinning snarkily. “Only on March 8: Special offer for women” — my e-mail box is full of messages like that. The sexist shitpile of the Left Party won’t stop handing out carnations to unsuspecting women this year, instead of troubling itself about the deeply misogynistic behavior of its members and representatives. The daily newspaper has a special Women’s Day edition — letting dominatrices tell about their great jobs and invite others to come and “play the whore” while the laughable 30% quota for female employment rings the death-knell of western civilization for many. My boss gives out yellow roses every Women’s Day to his female employees, but doesn’t consider it necessary to pay them the same wages as their male colleagues, much less promote them to leadership positions.

Women’s Day serves as a reminder to all parties, unions and organization do something for women once in a while. A little feminism just looks good nowadays — and can you believe it, women are now allowed to earn their own money and drive cars, so there’s a corresponding marketing strategy. “Women, today it’s all about you,” is the message, which also makes it clear that during the rest of the year it’s not about us anymore. On Women’s Day 2014, feminists were shoved around, yelled at, and sprayed with paint by so-called “sex workers”, johns, and male members of the Pirate Party. Despite more calls for security this year, the stone-cold reply was that there are many forms of violence. Motto: It’s your own fault, you RadFems.

97 percent of board members in Europe are men. Party leader Volker Kauder said in November that female quotas would remain the same, and that family minister Manuela Schwesig could forget about pay equity, and that it was only thinkable for businesses with more than 500 employees. Women earn on average 22% less than their male colleagues; their pensions are 60% lower than those of men thanks to maternity leave and part-time work. That’s how inequality gets cemented — meaning that our own daughters still have to fight for fair pay, even though women still do the lion’s share of the child-care work. Since 2014 there’s a discriminatory caregiver law, that together with an extremely “father-friendly” arrangement of youth offices and judges sees to it that children can even be taken with police force to their fathers, never mind if he beat their mother or otherwise terrorized her. Whereas when it comes to child support, or a fairer tax plan for single mothers, we see just as little action as with trial judges handing down a proper sentence to rapists. The morning-after pill is now prescription-free for German women, but only because the EU has taken it to heart. One in three German women has experienced domestic or sexual violence, but women’s shelters are constantly being closed or charging fees of the victims. The perpetrators have little to fear.

The female portion of city and municipal councils is barely 23%, while 97% of all single-custody parents are women. Germany is “Europe’s bordello”, where women are quite legally auctioned off as wares. The new prostitution law won’t change much there, either.

All of this is no coincidence. And it’s not the fault of women, with their “bad” choices in careers, partners or clothing, but that of the mighty institutions of patriarchy. In a society where the most important decisions are still being made by men, there can be no equality for women. So you can shove your well-wishes, your carnations and your special Women’s Day offers up your ass. In a patriarchal society, all of this is a slap in the face of every woman on Women’s Day. Instead, make this world a fairer place for women. Don’t go to prostitutes, don’t hit or rape women, don’t watch any more porn, don’t harass women on the street anymore, and pay women fairly. Then we won’t need any more Women’s Day.

Translation mine.

If we’re not equal yet, it’s certainly not for lack of effort on the part of women. We’ve been “leaning in” until our noses are buried in the dirt, only to have more of it rubbed in our faces by the Menz Rightzers, the latest and “greatest” crop of anti-human-rights activists to be spawned by good ol’ Papa Chauvin. Yay! Just in time for our so-called day.

And now we’re being sold the “agency” lie by the pimp lobby, who claim that peddling our asses for cash is somehow sexually liberating and even “empowering”. Really? If that were true, this world would be run by gigolos, because think about it — who’s more power-hungry (and sex-“positive”) than men?

Porn hasn’t liberated women’s sexuality; it’s just feeding us instructions as to how to satisfy the male gaze better. We don’t even know what our own sexuality looks like anymore, because we’ve never been free of imagery foisted on us by people who don’t care about our pleasure or our satisfaction. Instead, we’re being told that servicing men according to their specs is “a job like any other”. Well, why not? We’re already getting fucked over by capitalism; might as well make it literal, eh ladies?

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: When it comes to store-bought sex, women who sell it are not the empowered party. They never have been. They have always been dependent on the men who pay for the privilege, and those men call the shots, always. Remember the golden rule: He who has the gold, makes the rules.

I note in passing that there are still precious few women out there even contemplating buying sex. “Equality” on those terms is unthinkable for us. Partly because we can’t fucking afford it, yes — but much more the fact that we don’t see ourselves as entitled to it. We don’t lack for libido, that much I’m sure of. No, what we lack is the political power to compel men to service us, as well as the bullshit belief that it’s okay for us to do that in the first place. The fact that the converse is not true for the other side, even among men who call themselves leftists, ought to be proof enough that capitalist patriarchy is not dead, that “girls” don’t rule the world even though we do the vast majority of its grunt-work, and that we sure as hell need more than just one day a year, ostensibly dedicated to women, to get it right. Every day should be women’s day, uncapitalized, everywhere on Earth.

Music for a Sunday: Grandma, I’ve been unruly

Yes, I know they’ve got a new album out; I bought it just the other day. This one’s off their first, and it’s one of my favorites, not just of theirs, but of any I’ve ever heard. Nervous, intuitive, and more than a little witchy.

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Ontario sex-ed fight gets ugly. What century is this, again?

sex-ed-daughter

Good lord. I would have thought that teaching kids the facts of life at public school was no longer even a little bit controversial, but apparently it’s become just that. AGAIN. And today, in the Ontario Legislature, the pot boiled over:

Progressive Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton (Lambton-Kent-Essex), a leadership hopeful, attacked Premier Kathleen Wynne on Tuesday for not doing enough to consult parents before implementing the new syllabus that takes effect in September.

McNaughton told the house that the premier should not be imposing views upon mothers and fathers concerned about the revised program designed to protect children by better informing them about sex.

Note that the oh-so-concerned-for-concerned-parents Mr. McNaughton is a Conservative “leadership hopeful”. Hence all his laudable, laudable concern for the unheard voices of parents who don’t want their kids learning anything about sex at school. His leadership hopes took a bit of a trouncing, though, at the hands of the woman whose job he’s eyeballing:

Wynne, Ontario’s first female premier and lone openly lesbian first minister, suggested the Tory MPP was being homophobic when he said Monday “it’s not the premier of Ontario’s job — especially Kathleen Wynne — to tell parents what’s age-appropriate for their children.”

“What is it that especially disqualifies me for the job that I’m doing? Is it that I’m a woman? Is it that I’m a mother? Is it that I have a master’s of education? Is it that I was a school council chair? Is it that I was the minister of education?” she told the house.

“What is it exactly that the member opposite thinks disqualifies me from doing the job that I’m doing? What is that?”

Yeah, Monte, go on going after her job. After all, she’s just a trained schoolteacher with a master’s degree, a former provincial education minister, AND a parent. What the hell would SHE know about age-appropriate sex ed?

Could the real reason he’s so squiffy toward her new curriculum be none other than the simple fact that she’s gay? Or is it something more sinister, namely the anti-intellectual bent that we’ve seen so much of in the Ontario SupposiTories since the bad old days of Mike Harris and his No-Sense Devolution, when he put a high-school drop-out in charge of the provincial education ministry and basically ordered ol’ Snowballs to ransack it and leave no textbook untorn? The same generation that grew up on a starved education system now takes such governmental neglect for not only normal, but a correct course of action. Twenty years of undoing the good work of William B. Davis, the Education Premier?

Yeah, let’s stay the course. That’s still an electable strategy, right? I mean, just look at the peanut gallery these guys are playing to:

McNaughton and one of his rival PC leadership candidates — MP Patrick Brown (Barrie) — met with the raucous protesters, many of whom brandished anti-abortion signs.

Yup, it’s the anti-intellectual brigade, out in full force against anything that might inform their kids more and better than they themselves would! To hear this crowd talk, you’d think that just not telling kids anything about sex at all, other than “don’t do it till you’re married, and only for procreation” would be an effective means of preventing unwanted pregnancy, STDs, and that deadliest of all sins, Teh Ghey. Meanwhile, the precious, protected children of people like these grow into the kind of harassers who stand outside women’s health clinics, baptizing imaginary “murdered” babies.

But what am I saying? Nobody knows better than a parent what’s really good for the kids, right? RIGHT???

“Parents should be the first educators on serious issues like sex education . . . Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals are not respecting parents,” McNaughton told a rally of more than 200 people outside the legislature.

Oh, but of course. Parents are the bestest sex educators a kid could have. And the government has no right to “interfere”! That’s why schools that teach “abstinence only”, in accordance with religious parents’ wishes, have higher pregnancy rates and STD rates than schools that teach comprehensive sex ed. That’s why so many people whose parents “protected” them by withholding all sex information other than “Just Don’t Do It” are parents before their time, perpetuating the vicious cycle faster and faster than ever before. That’s why antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea and syphilis are wreaking havoc on kids whose folks told them condoms were the devil’s toys. That’s why AIDS is still incurable and there’s no vaccine on the market for it yet. The same people who think a few shots of Gardasil will turn their daughters into harlots when those girls haven’t even put down their Barbie dolls yet. The same whose kids are so desperate to learn anything at all about sex that they turn to porn for info. Yeah, those people are the greatest sexperts on Earth, and nothing they say could possibly be fallible.

And it could never fail their kids, either.

Duck, duck, moose!

You’ve seen American Sniper? NO? Well, don’t worry, you haven’t missed a thing. Here’s something much better:

This guy’s my Baby Goose, for sure.

Oh, and the same parodists have also put out this:

No booger-eaters!

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Prostitution ads: Lots of money in ‘em, but for whom?

spanish-prostitution-ads

Spanish prostitution ads from a large daily paper, many offering “Greek” (anal) and “French” (oral) sex, right up front.

You know how we’re always hearing that print media are in trouble, that revenues are down, that they can’t afford quality journalism, fact-checking or even basic copy-editing anymore, yadda yadda yadda? Well, all this crying poor is downright crocodilian, considering how much ad revenue they still rake in, and how not a single newspaper magnate has actually starved to death (unlike the ink-stained wretches who work for them). These days, you’d be lucky to find a paper that isn’t totally eaten up with advertising, to the point where the ads crowd out the actual news stories. Advertising has taken over where subscriptions have left off. Stands to reason: who want to subscribe to a paper that only eats their money by the bushel and kills trees for mediocre reporting at best? One might as well start reading rolls of toilet paper for all the edification one gets. And in Spain, the ugliest side of that deplorable trend is a pornographically explicit exploitation of women, right on the pages of the most important dailies in the land:

Five of the eight national newspapers in Spain are getting rich from prostitution ads, as legislators are trying to crack down on them as illicit publicity.

The newspaper El País makes 112,000 euros a month via two pages of prostitution ads, according to the website Periodismo Digital. In particular, large ads in the paper cost 106.09 euros on weekdays, and 126.25 euros on weekends.

All parliamentary parties have agreed to modify the 1998 General Publicity Law with the objective of terming prostitution ads as “illicit publicity” and to protect minors from this type of advertising.

Illegal activities, among them prostitution, have boosted economic indices in various European lands. Thus, in 2014 alone, the United Kingdom saw a $15 million trade in drugs and prostitution, according to a report by the Centre for Economic and Business Studies.

Translation mine.

Well, at least the government is trying to do something about the problem, even if it is tackling the wrong end of the supply/demand seesaw. For those who want to cry about the “freedom of expression” of “sex workers”, be advised that it’s rare and unusual for a single independent prostitute to have enough cash lying around to cover the daily ad rates cited above. Considering that a lot of the ads in the picture tout services costing considerably less per, I think we’re looking at yet another human trafficking front. Those women would have to service a dozen men a day in order to keep their heads above water. At fifty euros a pop, that means servicing at least three johns a day just to meet the horrendous costs of their advertising, never food, housing, clothing and other basic necessities. That’s a lot of undesired sex; it’s a wonder more of them aren’t found dead from sheer exhaustion.

So it wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that the ads are not for individual, independent women, but for “escort services” run by local mafias that ferry several girls to and from their calls simultaneously. It wouldn’t surprise me either to hear that those same pimps probably work those girls to death, so to speak, with as many men as call asking for them. Profiteers are funny that way.

And the newspaper owners? They’re laughing all the way to the bank, because in effect, they are pimping the pimps! 112,000 euros a month just for two measly pages of black-and-white ads? 1.34 million euros a year, just from those ads alone — and NOT counting newsstand sales to horny machos just looking for some cheap wank fodder? Cha-CHING!

And suddenly, it all becomes clear as unmuddied water why NOW Magazine, a free Toronto “alternative” paper you can pick up on virtually any street corner, is oh-so-bravely fighting for its “free-speech right” to continue carrying its tiny but plentiful (and therefore, lucrative) “business personal” ads in the back pages. After all, by doing that, they remain “independent”. They don’t need no stinkin’ subscribers. Who needs subscribers, who will only write irate letters to the editor holding one accountable for half-assed reporting, when one can finance one’s operations quite cushily on the backs of anonymous, sexually exploited women? In the end, money is money, no matter who has suffered what abuses in the making of it.

And in the case of prostitution advertising, that money adds up thick and fast. No wonder those who profit from it are so reluctant to give it up. Whatever next? Why, someone might even force those lazy pimps to do some actual journalism!

Economics for Dummies: The truth about those “dropping” oil prices

oil-price-suppression

“Dude…and to think there are people who call this a ‘drop’ in the price of oil!”

On the upside, though, this is terrible news for anyone who wants to despoil the Arctic, contribute to the mess that is Mordor (in Alberta), and frack up the US countryside. Because with oil prices down the way they are, it’s going to be highly unprofitable to do any of those things. Ha, ha.