Friday, April 18, 2008

Horror and Silence

Imagine for a moment being a kid again. Imagine going to school, but now imagine not coming home. Imagine having to work rather than learn, being beaten rather than cared for and being flogged to death or fried in an electric chair.

Or, if you are like me, a father with 3 children under 9 years old, imagine it happening to your kids. Imagine them being taken from you and sent away, supposedly to go to school, to learn so they could better themselves, only to come back broken. Imagine, if you dare, that they don't come back at all - they simply disappear.

Some people don't have to imagine this. For some, it has happened.

As Stageleft reported earlier this week, just when you thought the nightmare of Residential Schools was over, that the story had been told, we find out that hundreds, perhaps thousands of children - CHILDREN - were murdered by their supposed caregivers and buried in anonymous mass graves in an effort to cover up the crime. All committed with the complicity of the countries largest Christian churches and the Federal Government.

This is mass murder, of children.

This is genocide committed at the behest of our government, in our names.

And the mainstream media says ....



Apparently, they are too busy with Senators hockey, RCMP raids, free speech lawsuits and the resignations of the Army Chief of Staff. It seems that the visit of a former Nazi to the White House, the babblings of an idiot Ottawa Mayor and the capture of a man wanted for (ironically) the murder of his children is far more important than uncovering crimes against humanity within our own country.

Its time to do something. Call or write your MP. Write letters to the editor of your local daily or weekly fishwrap. Phone your local TV stations and ask them why they aren't covering this. Call Indian Affairs and express your anger and shock.

And make no mistake, this is not simple anger with me. This is hard, cold, glistening rage. I purposely waited a few days after stageleft's post to see if any media would pick it up. None has. A chilling indictment of the uncaring racism that still exists in the country. We are presented with evidence of dozens of home grown versions of S-21, the infamous Khmer Rouge prison, and are silent.

We can't remain silent, we must get this message out and bring justice to the victims.

If this happened to your children, you would expect no less.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Get Mail

Yesterday, I received the following email:

Dear friend,

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, approximately 1 out of 3 women in the United States will have had an abortion by age 45. You may be surprised, as were we; but it’s fair to say that the majority of Americans have either had an abortion or know someone who has experienced an abortion.

“Abortion” – the word stopped you for a moment, didn’t it?

Typically, the reactions that surround this word impede any reasonable discussion on the topic, especially the real feelings of those who have been touched by an abortion experience.

Please keep reading.

After 35 years of polarization and judgment, Michaelene Fredenburg is looking to change this. Using the Internet to provide a confidential space and support resources, Michaelene has created a safe environment for men and women who have been touched by an abortion experience. And she can relate to what they need. She’s been there.

The outreach Michaelene created acknowledges that each person’s abortion experience is unique - some positive, some indifferent, some negative. However, a common thread weaves through every story. It is this common thread that has created the outreach’s name - Abortion Changes You. These are words echoed by the hundreds of people Michaelene has spoken with over the years whose lives have been touched by an abortion experience.

I invite you to visit I am certain you will be surprised by the experience. After visiting the website and exploring the interactive content and amazing drawings, poems and stories that have been contributed, people from different abortion perspectives have remarked that it’s a “breath of fresh air.” This is not about debate. It’s about personal experiences that people have regardless of their beliefs or political views on abortion. The link to the movie mail is as follows: I also encourage you to visit to download the movie and banner ads for use on your blog.

Michaelene has also authored a book that will be released in early May. Changed: Making Sense of Your Own or a Loved One’s Abortion Experience is as unique as the Abortion Changes You outreach. Combining a collection of very different stories from people who have had an abortion experience with creative elements such as the Healing Pathways and a journaling component, this book creates a new standard for issue-inspired literature. These stories come from both men and women and provide a rare expression of feelings and perspectives following an abortion experience.

“Abortion” – it doesn’t have to be a word we avoid. This is a real opportunity for a conversation with your audience that will inspire, encourage and equip them.


Andrew Long

Sound friendly enough, doesn't it? Well, given my clear stance on abortion and my record vehemently defending choice, I was both skeptical and curious. Just who is Michaelene Fredenburg?

Turns out, she is an anti-choice activist from San Diego who is one of the darlings of Lifesite and folks like Jill Stanek. Hardly the person to change "35 years of polarization and judgment" - she has been one of the causes of it. Check out even a small number of those sites from the Google search - she is anti-choice and fighting for an end to a woman's choice in the US.

My reply:

Mr. Long,

With all due respect, please do not try to peddle your dishonesty with me. It only took me a few minutes on Google to find out who Michaelene Fredenburg is. It did not take long for me to discover she - and you, I assume - is nothing more than an anti-choice activist trying to peddle the unfounded nonsense about abortion causing mental anguish in people like fathers who don't actually have abortions. I suppose you have to grasp at something now that the abortion-breast cancer link has been proven completely false.

In other words, stop using stealth and subterfuge to try to force your agenda and opinions on people. Stop trying to "trick" people into thinking you and your organization are something you are not. You are an anti-choice organization but you know saying that will get you (rightly) ignored.

In my books, that makes you and your organization nothing but liars and cowards.

I am proudly and fiercely pro-choice. If you don't think abortion is right, don't have one. That is your choice.

I promise you that if you or anyone else tries to tell my daughter or wife what they can or cannot do with their bodies, you will be resisted and fought by any means necessary. Freedom of choice and security of the person are not negotiable.

Please do not contact me again with your lies. Your email address is being added to my spam filter. That is the price of dishonesty. I'll ask you to kindly remove my email from any lists you may have.

Good day.

And Mr. Longs quick reply back:

You completely missed the point of the email, and the nature of the outreach. It’s not about anti-choice –- it’s about pro-choice – and about some of those pro-choice people who may need help after an abortion.

I’m sorry your own personal agenda clouds something good. I couldn’t find the will not to respond, but out of respect I will remove your email address and you will not be contacted again.

And my final reply to him:

"and about some of those pro-choice people who may need help after an abortion.

Right, by someone so openly anti-choice that she is the favourite of the so-called "pro-life" sites and has testified before the US House of Representatives about her anti-choice views?

You really don't know when to stop lying?

No, I didn't miss the point of the email at all.

Good day.

Yes, once again another attempt at trickery and subterfuge. Another example of dishonesty and outright lies to further their own "personal agenda". Clearly honesty and ethics is something these people know nothing about.

And Andrew Long? Who is he?

Why Mr. Long is the Production Coordinator with the Maximus Group. Who are the Maximus Group? Why they are a "specialized and full-service communications marketing agency" who sell PR marketing of "Catholic or other authentically Christian products/messages to the secular world".

It seems then, based on all of this, that this email was part of a paid PR campaign to spread and promote a specious, unfounded connection between abortion and mental health of both women AND men, via stealth and subterfuge - by seeming to be part of a supposedly non-partisan group that is, in reality, the whole cloth creation of the Catholic anti-choice movement.

So, beware. And if you receive (or have received) a similar email from Mr. Long (or one of his co-workers) , be sure to let him know we are on to them.

I'll say it again, just to be really clear:

If you don't think abortion is right, don't have one. Feel free to do all you can to make the choices other than abortion the one chosen. Just stop thinking you can tell other people what they can do with their body and stop lying about your true position and intent.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

A discussion for another day

That is often how my forays into discussing state often end up with my friends in the Progressive blogsphere. If I inform then that libertarianism isn't what is preached by CATO or the AEI, they thank me but almost always tell em they will get around to discussing that more in-depth another day. Given the recent issues around free speech, human rights commission and the role of the state, I thought today was finally a good day.

"A government big enough to supply you with everything you need is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.... The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

The "state" is a social institution, merely a relationship among people, laying down rules for human interaction. In that sense, the state is morally neutral; that is, it is a tool that is neither good nor evil in and of itself, but only in how it is used.

Sounds pretty tame, right?

That tool, unfortunately, is unique in human existence in that it is not voluntary and, to paraphrase Max Weber , it "claims to have a monopoly on the legitimate use of force" usually within a geographic area. That means it can do things 'legitimately' that if you did them, it would be a crime.

The state become "evil" when it is used by people to do "evil" things. The Holocaust, the Gulag, genocides in Rwanda and the Balkans are examples of evil people utilizing the state for evil purposes.

The state can also seemingly be used for "good" as well. When placed in the hand of "good" people it can by used to stop the atrocities above.

The entire struggle between ideologies, between "left" and "right" has been to wrest control of this Leviathan and to use its power - the power of the sole use of force and coercion - to do "good". That power can force people to do things against their will, can confiscate and redistribute property and wealth to solve inequities.

If only the right people can just control it....

But the right people can never just "control it". The state is not just about relationships, its about privilege. The state is an entity which not only claims the monopoly on the "legitimate" use of force, it bestows that power on those who have wrested control of it and those people use that power and privilege to their own advantage, even to the detriment of others. And the whole time, they say its for "the greater good". Witness the crimes of Robert Mugabe, crimes that would be impossible without the apparatus of the state to carry them out - central bank printing presses and armed police.

But even in our own country, the use of state power to enhance and bestow privilege is commonplace. Regardless of who is in power, the regulations serve to help one group over the others. Even regulations said to be for safety can and are used to raise the barrier to entry into a market and stifling competition (thus raising prices). Laws are put in place that often help certain corporations or groups. Anti-union legislation, called "Right to Work" has the effect of keeping wages low, while pro-Union legislation creates artificial scarcity and drives prices up. So called "free trade" agreements allow for the flow of capital (good for big multinational corporations) but not labour (bad for small business and wage labourers). The state in Canada used its power to try to wipe out Aboriginal culture and language, "for their own good."

Our state today is no different in hierarchy and privilege granting, than it was 500, 1000 or 5000 years ago, we have merely changed the name of the King or Emperor or Chieftain to President or Prime Minister. Warlords, Dukes, and Oligarchs are now CEOs and Corporate officers, gaining the same kind of benefit and privilege from "legislatures" as their predecessors did from alliances with Kings. We aren't serfs and peasants, but wage slaves an indebted servants nonetheless, always hoping the next vote will actually make it all stop.

Because we have not choice. We must obey or the state and those who run it can 'legitimately' kidnap and imprison you or steal your property or enslave you for war.

Statism and the state are then, about preserving the privilege of those elites that can gain control of it. Just as racism, sexism and homophobia are really about maintaining or regaining similar privileges by oppressing others. It is a blunt, violent dangerous instrument.

What if there were no state? What if people could freely choose whether to associate and organize themselves? What if it were recognized that except for self-defense, there is no "legitimate" use of force against others? What if people could choose between differing, competing entities for the "services" the state currently "offers"?

I view the state as a gun. A large gun that is very powerful and has unlimited bullets. And there is only one and every so often, we decide who gets to shoot the gun. No the gun could be used to prevent one group from harming another, but often at the expense of another. Or it could be used to harm those groups. The gun never runs out of bullets because, no matter who controls it, they stick the gun in our face and steal our money in order to buy the bullets.

Lefties, if such a gun existed, would you not be demanding gun control? Or abolition of the gun?

Righties, if such a gun existed, would you want it used against you, to take your property? Would you want it to be given to those you disagree with?

I would like to see a truly voluntary society, one where we negotiate with each other, associate with each other and trade with each other, freely, without forced privilege or coercion. That means not state and "government" is only that which people agree to at any given time.

It would be easy to implement - make taxes voluntary. Make them specific. If I want my tax money to go to the SWC, and Planned Parenthood clinics or non-profit public healthcare, it would. If I did not want it to fund wars or subsidize the most profitable industry in the world, it wouldn't. If I decided I could get better service elsewhere, from non-governmental agencies, I could get it. I would be in control. We would be in control.

Considering how historically the state has more often oppressed people than helped them, why would you want to give anyone that power.

I don't expect to "convert" anyone with this. I do hope that some people consider the what the state is more carefully and not assume having a state is the natural order of things. I hope people question the very existence and necessity of the state, rather than accept it "just because"...

So, the question is, why do we need an institution with the monopoly on legitimate violence? Why do we need a state?

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