Showing posts with label election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label election. Show all posts

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Drink Lots of Coffee: I Must Pay Attention to Boring Canadian Politics

Over the decades there have been politicians who were compelling, thrilling, charismatic, inspiring, motivating, electrifying.  With their passion to make the world a better place, they could draw people in and with their words alone they sometimes mobilized mighty social movements for change.

Then you have modern day Canadian (career) politicians. They are none of these things. Unless you're talking about the recent spate of evolution deniers, I get about as excited about the current Canadian political environment as I might for watered down cabbage soup and stinky-sock flavoured tea for Sunday lunch over at the Legion Hall.

Stephen Harper, for instance is about as interesting as wood rot - which is why he's so goddamn dangerous. He paralyzes me with his lackluster personality just before eating out my brain, raping the environment, muzzling the scientists and destroying the world.

Still, it would be interesting to know where my local politicians really stand on anything at all secular issues. Veronica Abbass over at Canadian Atheist has collected some great questions for the people running in your riding. Even if they don't answer any of them, I recommend you send them their way anyway - just to let them know they're being watched by constituents who care.

I'll send these off to my politicians via e-mail and/or snail mail to see what happens. I'll update you guys if I get any response.

Meanwhile, here are some of these which resonate with me.
Do you support repealing Section 296 of the Criminal Code which makes “blasphemy” a crime?

Do you support repealing paragraph 319(3)(b) of the Hate Propaganda provisions of the Criminal Code because it exempts religious discourse from prosecution, thus granting a dangerous privilege to religions, permitting them to make hateful statements with impunity?

Do you support closing Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom?

Do you think that theology faculties should be banned in all public universities and that no taxpayer funding should be provided to support any sectarian religious instruction?

Do you accept the theory of evolution by natural selection as fact using the scientific definition of theory?
I would add questions like this:
Do you believe that churches and other religious organizations should pay their fair share of property taxes?

Do you believe that pastors and clergy should pay normal taxes on their lodging like other Canadians?
Go check out the complete list and, please, for the sake of my child, overcome your paralyzing boredom and cynicism and get involved. If you try, I will try too.

(Image source)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

It's Okay Ted Cruz, The Feeling Is Mutual...

Good news, fellow Canadians!

That's right, climate-change denying, anti marriage equality, anti-choice, anti-healthcare reform, state-church entangling "Under God" Pledge lovin', gun control mocking (in the wake of near-daily school shootings), for profit charter school promoting (and public school slamming) Tea Party candidate has done Canada a favour and checked out completely. What a relief!

To quote a Globe and Mail editorial from January, before the process was completed:
No offense taken, sir. Your fellow Canadians are unflinchingly polite. We sincerely apologize for inconveniencing you with our citizenship. And we don’t hold grudges – why, not even against someone willing to shut down Washington in an attempt to kill Barack Obama’s plan to make U.S. health care more affordable and fair (i.e. Canadian).

Listen, if you want to forfeit your right to a Canadian passport, and distance yourself from this land of socialized medicine, gay marriage and gun control, we understand. But, future former citizen, what’s the hold up? As one immigration lawyer said: “Unless there’s a security issue that hasn’t been disclosed, unless there’s a mental health issue that hasn’t been disclosed, there’s no reason for anything other than a lickety-split process to occur.”
Now he can run for the American 2016 Presidential Election and he's just wacky enough to win the Republican nomination. Which means another nail biter like that last one with Romney. The stakes are high... for the planet.

Oh and his daddy helpfully suggested putting atheists and secular humanists "into camps".

Correction 2014-06-11 : It turns out the 'camps' but was a bit of satire. Newslo is satire. I've been duped! See my comment below and press the "Show Facts" button on the site for the truth. Cruz Senior did have a lot to say about atheists though. Check out the Young Turks here.

Now, if we can only get Justin Bieber to...

(via Wonkette)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Big Obama Mystery Solved! A Groovy Survey! A Terrifying Video About Canadian Politics!

Spent most of the day trying to work from home and look after a three year old who's getting over a fever.  So, not much time to work on any post of substance.  I did, mysteriously find time to read a few articles here and there on the web - interesting how that works.

On today's menu we have The Big Obama Election Mystery, World-Wide Persecution of Non-Religious Finally Gets Some Serious Press and A Delightful Video All About the Dreadful Canadian Office of Religious Freedom that I Keep Wailing About.

Skip down to the video if you don't feel like reading.

The Big Obama Election Mystery

Atheists provide answer to big Obama election mystery : Well, leave it to the Atheists to solve a mystery for Catholic Online.  Now if only we could make any sense whatsoever out of this 3 = 1 thing .  It's a mystery that has apparently deeply troubled many of the Catholics who wanted Obama's opponent to win - what was that guy's name again?  Anyway, I'm sure glad he lost.
A baffling mystery that has troubled Americans since early November may finally have an answer; how did Obama, with so much opposition arrayed against him, manage to eke out the votes to win the election? Demographic data suggests Obama had the support of a previously ignored coalition.
And they identify this coalition as Atheists, Agnostics and non-religious folks!
What is most interesting about the bloc is that they identify with the left and democratic issues much more than the right. This does not bode well for conservatives. Why this is remains a mystery, but surveys say they tend to support anti-life policies, redefining marriage, and other socially liberal causes.  
And their number is only growing.
I grew the font size on that last line - and the bloody red ... mine.  It sounds so ominous doesn't it?  But, wait!  What can religious conservatives do to stem this ungodly onslaught!?!?!
They must unite to build a wall against the creeping secular threat to traditional values. Second, greater efforts must be made to recover the youth and insulate them from attacks by atheists, and those who say they are "spiritual but not religious."

World-Wide Persecution of Non-Religious Finally Gets Some Serious Press

There's been a fantastic splash of worldwide press coverage of the Freedom of Thought 2012 report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union.  Among other things it highlights imprisoned and persecuted Atheists and Agnostics, many are featured in the CFI's Campaign for Free Expression.

There is some interesting Canadian coverage coming out of this, including Atheists, non-religious targeted for 'blasphemy' on social media, which includes a poll about religious (and non-religious) affiliation.  Why not go vote?

Incidentally, the Jakarta News has noticed the report with regards to the country's treatment of jailed Atheist Alexander Aan - Pancasila Blasted for Repression of Atheists.

A Delightful Video All About the Dreadful Canadian Office of Religious Freedom that I Keep Wailing About

All that press coverage above got me thinking about where the so-called Office of Religious Freedom is at.  And whether they would be of any use at all to people Alexander Aan.  Well it turns out that Youtuber 600tongues made this excellent video about the office and about how it will deal with protecting the rights and freedoms of Atheists and Agnostics!  Are you ready for the answer, fellow godless folk?


Yes, they're not going to bother standing up for people who don't happen to be religious.  Thanks John Baird.  Guess there's no point in wasting any more letters on you.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Election: Thank you, America.

This needs to be a quick post with little substance of my own.  Things are so busy today. If only someone would pay me to blog.

Yesterday, I was scared, confused and depressed.  Canadian Atheist rightly pointed out that my post was very Atwoodesque in flavour and I take that as a big compliment.  This was the first for a big turnaround from the negative to the positive.

When I went to bed last night it looked as if Romney could actually take this election.  What fuel for nightmares!  So, this morning I plugged in my earbuds and tuned in CBC.  They were on the morning business report and I heard:
Markets are responding positively to the win of ...
My heart skipped a beat.  During the campaign I heard a constant mantra that Romney was a business man while Obama a mere lawyer, a community organizer.  So for a split second I tensed up and my face screwed up in anticipation of the word Romney.  But the word that hit my ears was Obama.  

The world likes Obama.

I checked CNN and MSNBC websites this morning and they confirmed the win.  And it looks like the House and Senate balance are more or less similar to as before - at least it's not worse, at least it's not worse.  Rachel Maddow will explain it all to me this evening, I'm sure.

But there is more good news.   Joé McKen, in a morning post of his blog, shared some bountiful good news.  So much so that I began to question whether or not I'm still really asleep.
Same-sex marriage: PASSES (or is guaranteed to very shortly) in Washington,Maryland, Maine and Minnesota, all by popular vote! Right-wing homophobes everywhere who continually trumpet the “never passed by popular vote” trope, get fucking lost.
Unbelievable!  Maybe the Republicans need to consider shifting back closer to center.  Because it seems like the country may leave them behind.
Recreational marijuana: PASSES in both Colorado and Washington!
Well I'm all in favour of decriminalizing this drug that's less dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes.  So, also good news. I would be surprised if this led to anywhere concrete, but let's wait and see.

The three Rapegate (McKen's coinage) Republicans Richard Mourdock (IN), Todd Akin (MO) and John Koster (WA) also got the boot. What good news!

Here's something else that's good news.  Some of the ever-aging centrist, less-crazy Justices of the Supreme Court may now be able to retire without having Roe vs Wade overturned or the Separation of Church and State erode at an even more accelerated pace.  Because we all now what kind of nutbars Romney would have appointed.  I'm not saying Obama won't appoint a nutbar, but the chances are at least non-zero that he won't.

I am so relieved I could babble on forever, but there is a grey cloud to this silver lining.

Hemant Mehta just reported that long-time Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) lost his seat.  He was the only openly-Atheist there.  A very close race, as well.

But there may be some more silver lining to the cloud.   Hemant also reports that Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is leading her precinct with 100% of the ballots counted.  She is a confirmed Atheist and is reportedly also bisexual, but this hasn't been confirmed yet.
Sinema is believed to be both an atheist and bisexual, though she hasn’t spoken about either in her capacity as a politician. Sinema has received an award from the Center for Inquiry for the Advancement of Science and Reason in Public Policy and she was present at the opening of the Secular Coalition for Arizona. She was a member of the Arizona House of Representatives from 2005-2011 and a member of the Arizona Senate from 2011-2012. (She resigned from the state Senate earlier this year to run for Congress.)
Thankfully, unlike Atwood's letter to Americans in 2003, things turned out okay last night.  The non-crazy guy got in.  The entire world (except perhaps Pakistan) can at least breathe a momentary sigh of relief - and exhaustion.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Election Time: America, I just don't understand you sometimes.

I've been alive for nearly 40 years and during most of this time, consciously or not,  I've been studying the United States from afar - like most of the planet, actually.  I actually thought I sort of knew what America was about, more or less.  I mean I still don't get some things - but there will always be cultural concepts that will be impenetrable to outsiders.

Boy, was I wrong.

This upcoming election is really not that funny to me anymore.  Memories of the 2000 election and all those hanging chads has come back to haunt me these past days as US networks all assure us that Obama and Romney are neck to neck.  It's always too close to call.  MSNBC has even put up a collection of nightmare scenarios that could play out.

A friend posted this insightful comment on Facebook that add some food for thought.

I wonder what the Reds are going to say if Obama loses the popular vote but wins the electoral college.  I kind of hope this will happen.  I own a lot of earplugs.

In all of this PZ Myers has it right.  The press is more interested in pushing an interesting story than actual journalism.  It's perpetually neck to neck... let's run through those nightmare scenarios again.
Do you sense a theme? It’s one that we’ve suffered with for the entire election season: news media that are obsessed with the horse race rather than the issues.
And tomorrow is the race itself, with non-stop coverage of exit polls, with maps showing trends, and predictions, and declaring that one state has gone to one candidate or the other — it’s all our media live for, I think, is the ultimate orgasm of who wins, rather than the substance of the consequences of electing either of these people.
I agree.  Most of this is a ratings scam - a hyped up horserace that completely ignores any actual concrete platform positions.  However, these polls are excellent at showing something very concretely and clearly: The world just doesn't get Americans.

Please call more often, America, it seems like we've fallen behind you and gotten ourselves horrendously out of touch.

It must be that 1/2 of the people who
inhabit that green bit on the globe must
know something that we don't. And much
of the global economy, environment,
nuclear security and stability pretty
much depend on it. 
Just click on the graphic at the top of this post.  I scanned in the free subway newspaper I picked up on my morning commute.  In the United States it seems like 50% of Americans would vote for Obama.  In the rest of the world - around 80%.  This is a wee bit of a disconnect.  Has the planet missed something here?

(For more surveys click herehere and here.)

Have we perhaps fallen into a real-life episode of Doctor Who where the Doctor behaves erratically and unexpectedly during the entire episode only to reveal to all at the end that he was actually acting out an extremely clever ruse to foil some Dalek or something?

Surely, there must be some subtle plot twist that the other 6,000,000,000 or so people on the planet have missed... somehow.  That must be it!  Or maybe it's greed?  Or maybe it's blind faith in controlling religion?  Or maybe both?

Well anyway, if Mitt Romney wins, thanks for the course correction, Americans.  We obviously missed a big one there and we all know that policy change in the US has reverberations across the planet.  I'm sure you guys know what's best for yourselves and the rest of us being on the inside than we could ever know looking in from the outside.

But in all seriousness, of course you are free to choose whatever person (or android) to be president of your country you wish.

It's just that... well, listen don't take this badly but...  to 80% of the rest of the planet you kind of  look like a lunatic.  You know, a bit crazy.

Sort of like someone with one arm that wishes to help the planet, the middle class, the poor, world peace, the environment, women's rights, education and a lot of that other stuff the United Nations always seems to go on about.  While the other arm seems bent on stabbing anything that comes within its range with a ballpoint pen.

And here's the sad thing for those of us observing you.  That psychotic arm isn't only trying to stab us - it's also aimed directly at your eye.

Well, whatever transpires today - or tomorrow if it's too close to count in one night - I hope all goes well for you, America.  We still love you and your amazing secular Constitution.  And I hope all goes well for the rest of us on this very small planet of ours.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Ohioans at Mitt Romney Rally: Obama is an Atheist Muslim

Here's something from New Left Media via Wonkette to laugh at - or perhaps be terrified from.

Maybe my brain is hardwired Left Wing but I honestly cannot understand why Romney seems to be either tied or leading the polls.

I am a Canadian, so I cannot speak for the world, but I do have one thing to say to my American brothers and sisters.

Americans!  You're scaring the crap out of us all out here!  Please don't vote for Mitt Romney.  Okay, you've had your little joke, now please be responsible and don't screw up our planet any more than it is already.  No, really... this is scary!  Joke's over!

Watch the video below.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Quebec Election: More fallout from (the mouth of) Mayor Tremblay

Quebec politics is exciting like this.
If there's one thing politics in Quebec delivers it's excitement with a tinge of nausea every so often - sort of like going on one of those amusement rides that go upside down - especially around election time.

We're so pre-war European that I just never know whether the open displays of xenophobia will bubble over into an outright witch hunt of les maudites minorités.  And I don't mean any offence to current-day Europe by this - on the whole they seem to have things more together than us these days.

In today's La Presse we have Tempête autour du crucifix - Le maire de Sagenay accusé de racisme envers la candidate péquiste Djemila Benhabib.  In other words: (Shit)storm around a crucifix - The mayor of Sagenay accused of racism towards PQ candidate Djemila Benhabib.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Quebec Election: Halfway-Secularism is the same as State-Supported-Religion.

Saguenay mayor Jean Tremblay.
So I've posted about the Parti Quebecois' proposed Secular Charter for Quebec.  At first it sounded like a great idea!  Then I discovered they wish to ban all religious symbols within government offices and being worn by government workers unless they are Christian.

Well now it's all blowing up all over the place.

Main Story: Saguenay mayor atttacks PQ candidate's foreign background

Quebec Election: Okay nevermind what I said about the Parti Quebecois

Yesterday I posted about how Pauline Marois, the leader of the Parti Québécois wishes to have a truly secular Charter.  Well, it seems like she's got a different idea of what's secular than I do.  So, I retract my kudos from yesterday retroactively.

In this Montreal Gazette story: Crucifx stays, hijabs go in PQ government, Marois says we have:

Under a Parti Québécois government, civil servants won’t be able to wear a hijab or any other overt religious symbol, but the Catholic crucifix will remain displayed in the National Assembly, the PQ announced on a campaign stop Tuesday.
 And finally...

As for the Catholic crucifix remaining in the National Assembly, Marois said it was more a symbol of Quebec’s history.
Oh well.  My optimism lasted for a whole 24 hours.  It's a real shame because that was really the only thing that the PQ had going for it for me.  The fact she wishes to preserve a Catholic crucifix in the Assembly - Catholicism is religion in Quebec - means she doesn't want religion out - she wants other religions out.

Sadly, one of my least favourite newspapers when it comes to politics gets it right.  The National Post is running this story today: Graeme Hamilton: Pauline Marois’ two-tier secular vision for Quebec.  I find the National Post to often be too far to the right for my tastes, but they're right about that one.

A single prominent PQ Assembly member, Djemila Benhabib, seems to be one of the sole voices of true secularism in this whole issue. In the La Presse piece Benhabib contre le crucifix à l'Assemblée nationale:

En conférence de presse à la scierie des Frères de l'instruction chrétienne, la candidate péquiste Djemila Benhabib s'est prononcée ce matin contre le crucifix à l'Assemblée nationale. 
En tant qu'«intellectuelle soucieuse de la neutralité de l'État», elle croit que l'Assemblée nationale «doit représenter la volonté du peuple». «Et le peuple n'a pas à être assujetti à une quelconque religion», a-t-elle soutenu. 
Mme Benhabib, candidate dans Trois-Rivières, présentait avec Pauline Marois un projet de Charte de la laïcité. Malgré cette charte, le Parti québécois voudrait conserver le crucifix installé dans le Salon bleu par Maurice Duplessis en 1936. Il le justifierait au motif que le crucifix fait partie de notre «patrimoine historique».
Translates crudely to:

Djemila Benhabib: My Counter-Koran Life.  A woman 
testifies about  Islamists.
This morning at a press conferences at the Brothers of Christian Instruction sawmill, the Parti Quebecois candidate Djemila Benhabib declared herself against the crucifix in the National Assembly.

Being an intellectual concerned about the neutrality of the State, she believes that the National Assembly should represent the will of the people.  And the people are not to be subjected to any particular religion.

Benhabib, candidate for Three Rivers, is co-sponsoring a Secular Charter.  But all the same, the PQ would like to leave a crucifix hung in the Blue Room by Maurice Duplessis in 1936.  They're justifying this by saying the crucifix is part of "our religious heritage."

Good for Benhabib!  But this doesn't save the fact that the parti is now just as bad as some city councils down in the States that seem to require legal action to be brought upon them by the Freedom From Religion Foundation before they see the light.  Perhaps we need an equivalent organization up here in Quebec!  Sadly we don't have any formal Separation of Church and State and it doesn't look like the PQ is gonna give us it.

La Presse journalist Patrick Lagacé, who seems squarely for secularism, has it spot in Crucifix à l’Assemblée nationale : bravo, Djemila Benhabib:
Ou on est pour la laïcité, ou on ne l’est pas. On ne peut pas chanter les vertus de la laïcité seulement pour biffer les signes religieux des non-cathos.
Either we're for Secularism or we're not.  We cannot sing the virtues of Secularism only to suppress the religious symbols of non Catholics. 

Amen, brother.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Quebec Election: The Parti Quebecois wants a secular charter

Pauline Marois
For me Quebec politics is just like trying to choose television channels for my cable subscription.  If I want specialty channel "A" I need to buy a whole freaking package of related channels that I don't want.

I may love a particular political stance of a party but still feel like I cannot vote for them for some other reasons.  Still, whatever your political bent, the Parti Quebecois just stated they're insisting on a secular Charter and so for that I salute them for that at least.

Link (Scroll down to the third item): The PQ wants a secular charter

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois:
Marois also talked about the fact that many of Quebec's institutions used to be based on religion. 
"It's part of our heritage, but taking a step to ensure the state's secularity is not to deny what we are, but that we are at a new moment in our lives and believe the state's neutrality and the fundamental values, equality between men and women must guide us toward a life together in Quebec," said Marois.
I ran a similar story about British Columbia politics here: Politicians Promote Secularism

It sometimes feels like the times they are a'changing here in Canada.  Could you imagine either of the US presidential candidates saying that?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Never Trust The Polls

Well, the results are in for the Alberta election I was dreading in a previous post.  All of the pre-election polls were suggesting a majority win for the new Wildrose party - which is a fair bit more insane and zany than the Conservatives.   They seemed a little more anti-gay, pro-God, anti-science than the usual Conservative fair, which is already bad enough (previous post: Canadian Theo-Cons' Religious War on Science And Reason).
The Progressive Conservatives steamrolled past the Wildrose Party to win a majority term in Alberta, defying what all polls said leading up to election night.
Whewf... I guess.  Full story here:  Alberta election: Progressive Conservatives win a majority

Search This Blog