Friday, December 14, 2007

What's The Point Of Having Free Medical Care When You Can't Get Proper Medical Care

Canada constantly lauds itself on it's wonderful Health Care system and continues to remind the population of how "lucky" we are compared to Americans, and on and on.

Well I've never lived in the US and have no grounds for comparison.

However, I can say that the Health Care system in Canada, depending on the province goes from bad to worse, and frankly is nothing to be proud of.

True, we don't have to pay, but our Health Care system perfectly exemplifies the saying, "You get what you pay for."

I've lived in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario, recently returning to Ontario in 2000.

The deterioration of Health Care just in the last ten years is astounding.

Since I moved to Ontario, just finding a GP has been a challenge, never mind finding a competent one.

In fact, one of the reasons that I was seriously considering dumping my usual vote for the Liberals and voting Conservative this year was because of Smitherman's (Provincial Health Care Minister) shoddy performance in dealing with the very serious issues faced in Health Care in this province, particularly in my community.

My most recent experience has culminated in the worst experience I've had with Health Care in Canada in my entire life, and it seems I'm not alone.

On Friday, November 30, I had a fall and injured my shoulder. I went to my GP, who immediately provided me with a referral to have an X-Ray done at a local medical center. The medical center, unfortunately had closed for the day. I considered the option of going to Emergency and decided against it.

Why? My last experience in Emergency approximately a year ago resulted in a 13 hour wait. I had a dull, but extremely intense headache, called TeleHealth Ontario to speak to a Nurse who noted my symptoms and advised me to go to Emergency. She considered my symptoms serious and requiring immediate attention. She indicated that she would be contacting Emergency to provide them with a report.

There is a three-step process when you attend an Emergency Department in Ontario.

1. Sign In.

2. Triage - Nurse examines you.

3. Registration.

This process took approximately one hour, to the best of my recollection. When I went through Triage I advised the nurse to look for the report from TeleHealth and was ignored.

In the meantime, I was hungry bought a chocolate bar out of the machines, not wanting to leave the area in case I was called. I'd been there for 7 hours. Shortly after this I was called for a blood test. I told the nurse my headache was now gone, after I ate the chocolate bar but I would do the test anyway. I was concerned and assumed that once this step occurred getting the results shouldn't take too long.

Bad assumption. I waited another 6 hours for the blood test results and an opportunity to talk to a Doctor.

After talking to the Doctor we concluded that the most likely cause was the diet my old GP suggested. (In my opinion, a completely incompetent woman who shouldn't be allowed to practice medicine, and who I dumped at that time.)

I had gained 40 pounds in 6 months last year.

I'm not normally overweight. I don't overeat and didnt make any changes to my diet or level of exercise.

Any competent doctor would consider this a problem and investigate it. This woman, wasn't concerned, checked nothng, just told me to remove all fat (there wasn't much in the first place) from my diet.

I followed her advice and after three days ended up in Emergency for 13 hours. It seems that my blood sugar crashed.

So, after this experience, I'm sure one can understand my reluctance to go to Emergency, especially when I was in so much pain. Emergency nurses are not allowed to provide pain medication. You have to wait until you see a Doctor.

I went home, took some extra-strength aspirin to take the edge off and decided to get the X-Ray on Monday. I went first thing Monday morning to get an X-Ray. The X-Ray was done, but there was no-one available to read it until the next day.

I received a phone call from my current GP at 5:00 PM Tuesday evening to let me know they needed to see me to discuss the results.

I went in first thing Wednesday morning, was given a referral to the Fracture Clinic at our local hospital and told to pick up my X-Rays from the Medical Center and take them with me right away to the Fracture Clinic.

My Doctor told me that all I needed to do was give them his referral and they would see me that day. He indicated that because I had a fracture I needed the expertise provided there.

So, I followed his instructions (I was not able to drive, so all of this was done by cab) and arrived at the Fracture Clinic by 11:00 AM.

Now, remember, I have now been diagnosed as having a fractured shoulder.

No further diagnosis is needed, just treatment and instructions on how to manage my injury.

I arrive at the Fracture Clinic, 6 days after my injury, all in an effort to avoid Emergency because I already know that I'm not going to get any treatment there.

Guess what?

They don't know what to do with me, because I haven't got an appointment!!!!!!

I'm asked to sit and wait until someone can locate and talk to the Doctor.

After sitting for an hour, I'm told that I have to go to Emergency for treatment because they can't see me at the Fracture Clinic without an appointment.

Don't you just love the irony here? Well it's not over.

I'm pissed off, but obediently go to Emergency, assuming that I'm actually going to get some treatment, instructions, and medication, if necessary.

I'm now in excruciating pain because I've spent the entire morning running from my GP, to the Medical Center, to the Fracture Clinic. I left my aspirin at home, because I expected to be treated at my GPs.

I go to Emergency.

1. I sign in. I indicate I'm in a great deal of pain and am told that the Nurse can't give me anything, not even aspirin. However I would probably be fast-tracked in Triage because of the nature of my injury.

2. Approximately 1 hour later I'm called for Triage. I indicate that I'm in a great deal of pain. I am not fast-tracked and I'm told that they cannot provide me with any medication.

3. Approximately 1 hour later I'm called to Register. I indicate that I'm in a great deal of pain. I am not fast-tracked and I'm told that they cannot provide me with any medication.

After approximately 4 hours and watching people who came in after me go in to the medical area, I ask the Triage nurse, how priority is determined and where in the priority list fractures are placed. I'm ignored and told that I'm in the "Fast Track" list but they don't know when I'm going in.

After approximately 5 hours repeat the above paragraph. This time I'm angry, and being treated like I'm a criminal because I'm complaining.

I walk away complaining angrily that someone could die waiting for Emergency care in this place.

After approximately 6 hours I'm called in, see the Doctor for 5 seconds, after waiting approximately another 20 minutes. He tells me he will look at the X-Rays.

10 minutes later a nurse arrives, provides me with 3 Tylenol, puts a sling on, gives me an appointment for the Fracture Clinic for the next week, and tells me I can go.

I go out, find the Doctor, tell him I need a medical certificate for my Employer, he scribbles one quickly, makes me feel like I'm intruding, and continues what he's doing.

I'm frustrated, angry, and just leave.

I have been given no instructions on how to manage the fracture, no prescription for medication, and am no further ahead in terms of treatment of my injury than I was before I went in to Emergency.

I now have 1 Doctors Certificate for my Employer and 2 referrals to the Fracture Clinic. The second one lists an appointment time of Wednesday, Dec 12 at 9:15, a week after my visit to Emergency.

While I can type (obviously) and move my lower arm, I can't move my upper arm without a lot of pain and have no idea whether I should or shouldn't with the type of shoulder fracture I have. I don't move it because it's too painful and I can't move it in certain directions.

I watch the Evening News and find out that a big demonstration is planned for Sunday and the Hospital is being investigated because someone died this month waiting for Emergency treatment. He was brought in by Ambulance!

I have now been in constant pain, received no treatment, medications, or instructions on how to manage my injury from November 30 to December 12.

I arrive half an hour early for my appointment at the Fracture Clinic and Register by 8:45 approximately. I hear the clerical staff registering people without appointments. I ask why? It's up to the staff inside the clinic I'm told. So last week they sent me to Emergency and this week they're accepting those patients and putting them ahead of me. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound!

At 9:45 I note that people who arrived and registered after me are going in to the clinic. I ask why? I'm told that they are probably going for X-Rays and will be coming out and seeing the Doctor after me. This happens with two people. This does not happen with anyone else.

At 10:15 I ask the same question again, and am told they will look into it. I'm told there are 6 people before me and that the others were X-Rays. I said they weren't, I'm ignored.

At 11:00 I'm called. I wait in the examining room until 11:15 at which time I'm seen by both a Doctor and Physiotherapist.

I am asked about my arm. I explain I can't move it. The Doctor tells me I should be moving it. I explain that I didn't know that since no-one has provided me with any directions on what I should or shouldn't do. I told him it was too painful. He asks if I was provided with any medication. I said I was given 3 Tylenol but no prescription.

I am now provided with a prescription, instructions for exercise, with a promise that arrangements will be made for Physiotherapy and that I will be contacted.

I explain that I need to return to work as soon as possible, so it's important that I start Physio right away. She says she'll try.

I won't hold my breath waiting.

My Doctors certificate is revised from "can work, but can't use left arm" to "can't work".

Gee, what changed? I couldn't dress myself last week any better than I can dress myself this week. Couldn't drive then, can't drive now.

Nope, no changes that I can see.

Yup, this is the "high quality" free Health Care that we Canadians enjoy.

Next people will be dying while waiting for Emergency Treatment.

Oh Gee, that already happened!

My condolences to the family who lost their loved one.

Premier McGuinty. How many people have to die and/or suffer needlessly before you realize that your Health Minister, Smitherman, isn't doing his job?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Atheists In Foxholes

There has been a myth generated by some members of the Christian community that Atheists are unpatriotic cowards.

That you won't find an Atheist in a Foxhole during wartime.

Since they essentially build their lives around belief in a myth, it shouldn't surprise anyone that they're also good at fabricating them.

"The scurrilous foxhole canard originated with a god-fearing Catholic chaplain, Father William Thomas Cummings, during World War Two.* Father Cummings, is quoted as uttering these patently bigoted words, “There are no Atheists in the foxholes,” during a field sermon on Bataan in 1942. What he was saying, of course, is that he couldn’t face what was coming without clinging to the fantasy that he would go to heaven and it wouldn’t be a total loss. He projected that fear onto everyone else around him, including those who had no belief in god. How could he possibly know the beliefs of all the millions of men in the service?"
Source: --The Myth Of The Foxhole Atheist

Aside from the fact that this was a lie (WWII had a lot of Atheist soldiers) this myth is used to smear those who disagree with the status quo of Christianity.

The military culture, like the police culture, requires bonding amongst the men and women in a unit. People have to be able to rely on each other to cover each other's backs, particularly in dangerous, life-threatening situations.

When statements like this are made, an atmosphere of mistrust is generated against those who don't fit the status quo, like Atheists. Fragging can occur when this bonding, these very strong ties are broken because of a perceived breach of trust.

The fact is, that the men and women in the military span the entire system of belief and value systems as do Atheists. Being an Atheist simply means you don't believe in God. An Atheist can be a conservative, liberal, leftist, or anything else for that matter. Most have extremely high moral and ethical standards, a few may not, because Atheists establish their own moral and framework based on their ethics and beliefs.

Yes, human beings are capable of doing that! Some of us don't need a God, or a myth to tell us how to be decent human beings.

Pat Tillman (photo above) is a good example of this:
"He was the star National Football League defensive back who, after the 9/11 attacks, walked away from his $3.6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals to enlist as an elite U.S. Army Ranger and go off to Afghanistan to whip some terrorist ass. No matter what your opinion on the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, or your theory on who was ultimately responsible for the 9/11 attacks, Tillman was clearly acting as a selfless hero in the traditional sense of the word. The media sang only one song at the time-dirtbags in Afghanistan did this to us-and "deterrence" through violent retribution was the only discussable response. Both Tillman and his brother Kevin, like most every American, bought into the program-but they actually volunteered to fight. "
Source: --Who Killed Pat Tillman

Tillman was looking forward to fighting in Afghanistan, to "kick some terrorist butt". He was presented to the world by the Media and the American government as a Hero. Instead he was sent to Iraq. A war he disagreed with, believed was immoral, and by a President who's policies he felt were wrong. He was open about his opinions and months before the Presidential elections in 2004 connected with Noam Chomsky. He wanted Bush voted out of office and there was concern that, due to his Hero status, he would succeed.

On April 24, 2004, Pat Tillman was killed. Three shots to the head. The bullets were American.

The Tillman story is an American tragedy and due to the Media's silence, a travesty and injustice. A full and proper investigation has never been done into his death. Evidence has been destroyed and misinformation has been spun about who he was and what he believed:
"What was deliberately ignored was an incident at his funeral-reported in the May 4, 2004, San Francisco Chronicle and New York Daily News-when Tillman's youngest brother, Rich, took offense at words that Tillman was now "with God"; he stated to the gathering, "Pat isn't with God. He's fucking dead. He wasn't religious." More importantly, what was buried was the complex story of Pat Tillman's opposition to the Iraq war and the Bush agenda."
Source: --Who Killed Pat Tillman

Isn't it time that Pat Tillman, our American Hero, received justice?

Isn't it time that our Atheists In Foxholes received the respect that they deserve?


Pat Tillman Foundation
Playing the Atheism Card Against Pat Tillman’s Family
Ellen Johnson, President Atheist Organization speaks about Pat Tillman
News Report, Army Insults Family Of Tillman
Military Association Of Atheists And FreeThinkers

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What Is Atheism?

This video received the award for "Excellence in Humanist Communications" from the Harvard University Humanist Chaplaincy.

The Other Side ;)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Why do Christians celebrate Christmas? - Upd&Rev.

Every so often in Toronto, the PC Brigade (politically correct police) starts making noise about the "right" way to handle Christmas.

Is it PC to say Merry Christmas if you're not a Christian or should we be saying Happy Holidays and not offend other religions?

If we're going to have a Christmas tree shouldn't we also have symbols from other religions?

Blah Blah Blah ….

I sit there listening to all these various and sundry Media types thinking:

What planet did they come from?
Do they apply these research methods (none) to other topics they talk about?
Why does it seem that Everyone is talking out of their ass on this one?

Everyone appears to be operating from the basic fallacy that Christmas is a Christian religious holiday. A fallacy perpetrated by the Christian church with their "Let's put Christ back into Christmas" campaigns.

The fact is that it makes absolutely No Sense that Christians celebrate Christmas.

1. Christ (assuming that he existed) was Not born in December. The closest date they have to his birth is sometime in the early spring, some say early September. What is known is that he wasn't born in December.
2. The Christmas story (Nativity story) is questionable even in Biblical terms. It's only spoken of in one place in the Bible and is one of the major Biblical stories that remains unconfirmed anywhere, including anywhere else in the Bible.
3. All of the traditions associated with Christmas are Pagan with origins in ancient German (Geol or Yule) and Roman (Saturnalia) festivals.
4. All of the recent (last 100 years) traditions, Santa Claus, etc. are secular and were promoted by the retail industry.
5. Even the blessing of Peace and Goodwill came out of the politics of the Industrial revolution and was directed at strikers, and Not the Bible.

I think it's time that Christians recognized that the current tradition of Christmas is not a religious, but a secular holiday, based on pagan traditions. Perhaps they should find a day closer to the day that Jesus was actually born and celebrate that day more in accordance with their biblical and religious traditions? Just a suggestion.

This is precisely the reason that the Puritans refused to celebrate it. They knew that celebrating Christmas was inconsistent with their Biblical belief system. They were smart enough to take the Christ Out of Christmas, unlike certain Christians today, who for reasons known only to themselves, want to put Christ back into Christmas.

So why did the ancient churches want to hijack these pagan traditions and celebrations? Because they couldn't convince the populace to stop celebrating them. Once the church realized that, they went with option 2, call the holidays christian, get people to include the church in the celebrations, and gradually take them over presumably in the hopes that people would eventually abandon the pagan part.

Unfortunately for the church, this plan only worked periodically, and today we're back to celebrating Christmas with an emphasis on those evil Pagan traditions.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not being a Scrooge here.

I love Christmas with all its trimmings and have celebrated it all my life.

For me, Christmas is a time for family and friends to get together, to share in the joys and pleasures of the season, to remember that kindness, love, and sharing are paramount ... and to just have some fun.

I also love seeing people from All beliefs and religions celebrating this secular Christmas.

Secularist Atheists (like me), Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, Christians, etc. can get together on this one, holding hands around the Christmas tree and singing Jingle Bells :)

Would keeping Christ out of Christmas be such a bad thing? It would certainly make more sense to me!

Merry Christmas, one and all :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

An Atheists Creed

Written by an exceptionally bright guy amongst many on an Atheist NG.
Thanks Drafterman!

An Atheists Creed

I hereby do not accept the premise of god's existence. My reasons for

doing so are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the beliefs (or
lack of beliefs) of other atheists. Any other philosophies or systems
of belief that I hold to be true in addition to (or, in my opinion,
because) of my atheism are also mine and mine alone and do not
the beliefs (or lack of beliefs) of other atheists. If me
and another
atheist commonly hold another belief or beliefs to
be true, it does
not reflect upon atheism. Whether or not I choose
to accept or reject
unrelated beliefs is at my discretion and will
have no affect on my
status as an atheist.

At such a time as I accept the premise of god's existence, I will
cease to be an atheist. This will not inherently affect any other
belief I hold, since there are no other beliefs based strictly on

Monday, November 12, 2007

Atheist's Prayer 2

Atheists Prayer 2

Our brains

Which art in our heads

Treasured be thy name

Thy reasoning come

The best you can do be done

On Earth as it is

Give us this day new insight

To help us resolve conflicts

And ease pain

And lead us not

Into supernatural explanations

Deliver us from denial of logic

For thine is the kingdom of reason

And even though thy powers are limited

And you're not always glorious

You are the best evolutionary adaptation

We have for helping this earth

Now and forever ever

So Be It

Saturday, November 10, 2007

An Atheist's Prayer

An exceptionally creative guy from an Atheist NG came up with this. Thanks Bob600!

My fellow men, turn away from your false God and stride with me

into a broad sunlight plain of enlightenment and understanding.

To be blessed with the understanding of atheism

will cause a mighty change in a person's heart

so that he has no more desire to believe in myths,

but rather desires to seek the things of the real world.

Follow me and I will put a new spirit within you.

Those who believed not in Christ's name

will be reborn, not of blood, but of logic.

Except a man be the torchbearer of the intellect

he cannot enter into the kingdom of mankind.

We can be born again by the mighty force of our intellect

and whosoever is born of this great force

will not continue in the darkness of the sin

of confusion and mythology.

For whatsoever is born of the intellect

overcomes the world.

Have ye yet been born again of intelligence and logic?

if not ye cannot inherit the kingdom of man.

Whosoever believes on my words shall be born again

of me and walk as a giant amongst men.

And I say onto you.

Repent: for the kingdom of intellect is at hand.

And I saith unto all you computer programmers,

follow me, and I will make you programmers of men.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Remember The Children

All my recent posts have been related to Child Abuse because this is Prevention of Child Abuse month in Ontario. This is my contribution.

Child Abuse of all kinds is a terrible crime.

It's up to us as a society to put an end to it. To forget your agendas, look deep into the eyes of these children, be aware that there are other children out there suffering, and make these children, as well as adult survivors of Child Abuse the priority.

Ending and Preventing Child Abuse is everyone's responsibility

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Canadian Named As Pedophilia Suspect.

Canadian Christopher Paul Neil, 32, a teacher and alleged pedophile, is on the run from Interpol. He is suspected of being in Thailand. He was identified recently, by Interpol, as being responsible for hundreds of images on the Internet showing him sexually assaulting young boys in South East Asia.

If you see him, Interpol asks that you contact your local police service and not interact with him.

UPDATE: He's been located and arrested.

read more | digg story

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Cornwall Public Inquiry

Well, some interesting things have come to light, at the end of last week, regarding the Cornwall Public Inquiry.

Child Abuse victims need justice. Part of that is the acknowledgment that a crime was committed and the perpetrator of that crime brought to justice. This is critically important for their healing as individuals and it's critically important for our society to protect and recognize the value of our children.

My concern is that there appear to be various agendas at work in this particular case. While all the agendas claim concern for the victims as their motivation, I'm not entirely sure that's the case, and frankly, it's a sad state of affairs for the victims.

Since I don't know any of people, organizations, their characters, their motivations, it's impossible for me to say who's right and who's wrong based on anything but the facts that I see spelled out for me.

However, in this case, everyone claims to have the facts, and yet, a lot of the key facts, to some extent have been discredited. I can't comment on the specific Victims statements and whether they have or have not been discredited because I haven't read everything posted yet.

In Perry Dunlop's situation, it's really hard to tell whether he's having problems now because he was a whistle-blower, or whether they are caused because he became overzealous in his and his brother-in-law's independent investigation of the case. One victim states he was pressured by Mr. Dunlop to falsely claim he was abused by someone. Is it true? I don't know, and frankly, it would be difficult to prove for certain one way or the other.

In the OPP's situation, it's really hard to tell whether the investigations were not done thoroughly or whether their investigations were in fact thorough and done according to standard investigative techniques, and then tainted later. Investigations can be tainted if questions are asked improperly and then result in leading to people to say and recall things in a way that supports the investigators conclusions. On the other hand, investigations can also be tainted due to political pressure.

Generally speaking, I believe that, under normal circumstances, most OPP officers are quite professional, very concerned about child abuse, and would have done a thorough and proper investigation. The fact is that over 100 charges were laid. Can we really hold the OPP responsible for the fact that there were no convictions?

My questions to the Inquiry are simple.

Why was there only one conviction, when the OPP laid so many charges?

Why did it take Perry Dunlop's exposing this to get it investigated?

Regarding Mr. LaRoue's Affidavit. Were the victims at the parties identified and did they confirm his statement?

Is it true that some of the perpetrators were considered "above the law" and were not charged and if charged were not convicted for that reason? On the same vein, were those perpetrators well connected enough that they were able to put political pressure on the OPP and influence the results of the investigations?

Giving reasons that "make sense" should not be enough in this Inquiry. People, on all sides, should be required to provide proof that the reasons given are legitimate.

And ... I've decided not to comment further on the case, other than to say, that I wish the victims well, and when all is said and done, I hope they get justice, despite all the other agendas at play here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Pedophile Ring In Cornwall

In 1992, a young man came forward to report a case of child abuse.

He was the victim, and all he wanted was an apology from his church.

Over the years, this case has exploded into a politically charged scandal involving dozens of victims, and very prominent members of the Cornwall community and local Catholic Church.

Claims of conspiracy and cover up against top level politicians and police at the provincial level have been made.

The former Ontario Provincial Police Officer, Perry Dunlop, who exposed the goings on in Cornwall,
sacrificed his career, endured death threats and other harassment against both him and his 6 year old daughter, was charged and then exonerated under the Police Services Act. His crime? Doing his job to protect the children of Cornwall.

Perry Dunlop should be commended and rewarded for doing his job exceptionally well.

A Public Inquiry into all of this was started in February 2006 and continues today.

The Cornwall Public Inquiry - unofficial site
This site was set up by the Victims Committee and contains background information, affidavits, etc. on the Cornwall Child Abuse scandal.

The Cornwall Public Inquiry - unofficial blog
Blogging the Inquiry as it occurs.

The Cornwall Public Inquiry - Official site (link updated 2010.04.02)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Child abuse rates continue to rise in Ontario: Children's Aid Societies

October is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario.

It's purpose is to draw attention to the very serious problem of child abuse in the province.

Child abuse shows it's ugly face in different forms:

Emotional Abuse: constant yelling and put downs targeting the child's self esteem.
Physical Abuse: extreme physical punishment for minor infractions often resulting in physical injury.
Sexual Abuse: sexual manipulation of children by pedophiles.
And frequently a combination of some or all of the above.

All forms of abuse create intense stress in children and can sometimes lead to mental illness, or at the very least severe emotional problems.

Child abuse scars children for the rest of their lives.

It often occurs in homes where one parent is also being abused by the same person abusing the child.

The resources required to help heal and support these devastated families are phenomenal, and scarce.

When abusers are reported and convicted, the sentences are so short that they are free to continue abusing for years. Some Pedophiles in particular have been known to abuse hundreds of children in their lifetime.

In my opinion, the best way to prevent child abuse is for the public to get involved and report it; to give significantly longer sentences to those people who are charged; and keep the pedophiles in jail for life.

We also need to increase the resources available to provide the families of the abusers the support and resources they need to heal and move on with their lives.

By doing this we show that we value our children.

Want to help? Canadian Center For Abuse Awareness

Child Abuse Is Everyone's Problem!

TORONTO - The Children's Aid Societies says more than 29,000 children in Ontario were abused or neglected last year, an increase of 24 per cent since 2000-2001. The child and family welfare agency also says it received more than 160,000 calls about child protection concerns last year, an increase of 25 per cent.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Jim Crow still lives in the American South - Digg this and free the Jena 6!

In the small highly segregated rural Louisiana town of Jena in 2006, Six black students were charged with attempted second degree murder for defending themselves against a white student who had been racially taunting them. The weapon they used, according to the prosecutor? Their shoes. The jury? All white. When will Jim Crow die in America?

read more | digg story

Jena 6 - Justice For All

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Well, the Jena 6 controversy seems to be surprising a lot of people. Why?

It certainly wasn't a surprise to me.

We've deluded ourselves into believing that discrimination no longer exists in our world.

Well, guess what people. It does. And before you Canadians out there get all self-righteous, it's not just an American problem. It exists here in Canada too and is just as malicious.

Now before anyone starts screaming about reverse discrimination, I don't agree with what the black kids did. It was clearly wrong and they shouldn't have done it. I'm just putting it in context.

The fact that it occurred to a group of white kids to establish a white tree, tells us that discrimination exists.
The fact that it occurred to a group of white kids to commit a Hate crime by hanging nooses on the tree, tells us it exists.
The fact that the community came down extremely hard on the black kids, by 1) exaggerating the victims injuries and 2) charging these kids with attempted murder tells us it exists.
The fact that the School administration just brushed both the "White" tree and the nooses, off as a prank, tells us it exists.

What are the claims that the black community are making?

If a white kid does something it's brushed off as a prank and they are given a slap on the wrist.
FACT: The administration ignored the fact that the white kids had set up a "White" tree where other kids were not allowed to go for quite a long time.
FACT: When the black kids objected to this, the white kids responded by hanging nooses from the tree. By any rational definition a Hate crime.
FACT: This was brushed off as a "prank" and the white kids were given a slap on wrist.

If a black kid does something they are charged under the fullest extent of the law.
FACT: The white victim of the beating and his parents claim that he was beaten to within an "inch" of his life.
FACT: He was released from the hospital after two hours and attended a social event immediately after.
FACT: Attempted murder charges reflect the fullest extent of the law. The charge was changed but it was still more serious and involved defining the kids' white runners as lethal weapons???

The charges could have been simple assault, or the school could have chosen to intervene anytime, and in such a way that justice was served, in an effort to prevent this reaction by the black kids.

My question is: Why didn't the school intervene immediately? Did it not occur to them that the creation of a "White" tree would provoke the black kids, particularly when it had nooses hanging from it? Just like it would provoke Jewish kids if swastikas were found hanging from the tree.

Or, Perhaps they simply didn't care ... until a white kid was injured.

The very clear message they are sending here, is that it's okay for the white kids to commit Hate crimes, but it's not okay for the black kids to have a problem with it.

The Jena 6 have the right to equal treatment under the law and in the school system. This is a legislated legal right.

In my opinion, all the kids, black and white should be properly disciplined by the school for their behavior.

However, it's the School Board and the Town who should be charged for:

1) Allowing a Hate Crime to occur and not acting on it.

2) With Assault since they were the ones who created the conditions for the assault to occur.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Green Alternative for Ontario?

When I think of the Green Party, the first image that comes to mind is:
A long haired, rosy cheeked, skinny, hard-body guy named Sven, with a knapsack. He's a vegetarian and rides his bicycle 25 kilometers to work and back.

This is an image, a chubby, relatively lazy, smoking, socially drinking, car driving female like me has trouble relating to. I don't actually recall the last time I rode a bicycle, but I think I was 12? I know I should quit smoking and probably will someday. Do without my meat? Not bloody likely. However, I do concede to eating organic food, including meat. I also agree with the concept of preventive medicine. And, if for some reason, I was put into a position where I had to kill my own dinner, I'd probably be vegetarian, because while I like eating meat, I would find it impossible to kill a living creature. One look into those big brown eyes and that would be it. I can't even kill a bug. The crunching sound sends shivers up and down my spine, so I leave that little job to the cat.

When I think of the Green Party, the first thought that comes to mind is that they are concerned about the Environment, that they are a single issue party.

Do I want a single issue party to run the government? I think a single issue party has a place in government and a role to play in bringing environmental concerns to the fore, but running the government is a different issue.

That's not to say they don't have proposals on other issues. They do, but I'm not sure their solutions are realistic and workable. They are, however, putting some very interesting concepts on the table which definitely provide one with food for thought.

Perhaps they're ahead of their time? Possibly.

All I know is I don't think I'm ready for them ... yet :) but I am giving them some serious consideration, along with the Conservatives.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Election Debate - Ontario - Who Won?

IMHO John Tory for the Conservatives!

Go Tory! An impressive exposure of the Liberals poor record over the last four years.

To my great regret, I voted Liberal in the last election, and am considering voting Conservative this time around.

Maybe we can get a Health Minister who is less obsessed about eliminating smoking from the face of the earth, and more obsessed with actually solving the major and very serious Health Care issues faced by the Province of Ontario, an Attorney General who actually cares about eliminating crime and corruption, some honest, serious leadership to solve the major issues affecting transit in the GTA and surrounding areas, and some honest, serious leadership to solve the border security issues.

The Liberals have been too busy handing out favors, positions, and money, like candy to their friends to actually provide any leadership on, or actually resolve any of these problems.

While I agree with a lot of the points Mr. Tory made, and he impresses me as a strong, well-spoken, intelligent and thoughtful leader, I have one concern.

The Conservative Party position on funding Faith-based private schools. Is this a sign that Mr. Tory is bending to the will of Special Interest Groups?

Hopefully not. I think a lot of us have had enough of that kind of crap from the Liberals both at the Federal and Provincial levels, and it's time someone took a stand against it.

The role of the Premier and each and every MLA is to represent the best interests of all of the people of Ontario.

It is not their job to represent Special Interest Groups.

Mr. Tory's explanation for his position on faith-based schools is that he would like to bring them into and under the requirements of the Public Education system.

That makes sense and I can understand his reasoning.

My problem is that our Public Education system is already stretched to the limit financially. I don't believe we have the money to support these special schools without seriously damaging the Public School system further.

As far as I'm concerned, people who choose to take their children out of the public education system, and into special schools of any kind, faith based or not, should do so at their own expense. All schools, private and public, should be required to follow the official Ontario School Curriculum, funded or not. So Mr. Tory should be able to accomplish the task of bringing these schools into the system without funding them with taxpayers dollars.

As a taxpayer, I can think of many, more important areas which require funding and which would benefit everyone, not just a select few.

I also think the Conservatives should rethink their position on the proposed Recall legislation, if for no other reason than to support their position that they plan to keep their promises to the electorate if they win the upcoming October election.

It would be nice if they just dropped the idea of funding faith based schools. It's a bad one.

If it wasn't for these two issues I'd go to the polls and vote Conservative with confidence.

As it stands, all I know for sure right now is that I don't want to vote Liberal or NDP!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Injecting Reason Into Hate

Can it be done?

Maybe, but I haven't seen it succeed yet.

We, middle of the road types, bop along in our naive little worlds, thinking that good and reason will always prevail.

We think that way because in our naive little worlds, it does. Essentially because we tend to be good people who are reasonable, willing to negotiate and compromise.

We've learned to resolve issues through communication and compromise, acknowledging along the way that we're not always going to get exactly what we want and that what we want might not always be the best thing for everybody. We also make an effort to be fair, and to understand others needs. We know how to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, and to understand where others are coming from. This is the source of our ability to negotiate and compromise.

Our biggest failing is that we think everyone else is like us. After all, we're the silent majority.

We have differences of opinion, different viewpoints, beliefs and value systems.

We get ticked off, frustrated, angry, file law suits, defend ourselves against our opposition, etc.

In the end, however, our anger doesn't lead to hate.

We just deal with our issues, or not, get over them, and move on.

Why? Because ultimately we are part of this world, we want to be happy, to share in it's pleasures and joys.

We want to see the positive, do good, make a contribution.

So, when we look into the face of Hate, we don't recognize it, don't understand it, try to work with it like we work with everything and everyone else, and are geniunely surprised when we don't succeed.

Christiane Amanpour commented in her documentary, God's Warriors, that you can't convince an extremist they're wrong!

Why not?

Because Hate is blind and it's based on fear, mistrust, obfuscation, and lies.

Hate is humanity's emotional Psychopath.

Hate believes that the ends justify the means.

Hate believes that which it hates is inhuman and therefore not worthy of trust, honesty or respect.

This is the foundation of the Irrationality and Unreasonableness of Hate.

This is the root of Extremism and Terrorism.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

9/11: A Horror Revisited

When are we going to get over 9/11?

I don't know.

My memories of that day are as fresh today as they were 6 years ago.

My drive to work was the usual insane Toronto Rush Hour drive, down the 410 and along the 401, past the Airport. Then down the 427 and across the Gardiner Expressway. It was a normal occurrence to see the Planes flying low over the Highway to land at the Airport. My thoughts when observing those planes went to the lucky people coming back from or going to exotic holiday destinations. Every morning was same minus or plus accidents that frustrated the nerves and slowed down or stopped the traffic.

I left my home in Brampton at 7:15 AM, arrived at my parking lot at 8:45 AM and walked to work arriving just before 9:00 AM.

The receptionist, greeted me as I walked in, with the comment that a plane just hit the World Trade Center in New York. She looked terrified. I assumed it was just a tragic accident and responded accordingly. "No." she said, "They're saying it was a terrorist attack!".

I continued to my office which I shared with my Boss, and repeated what the receptionist had said.

A minute later, she rushed into our office, saying that a second plane had hit the WTC. My Boss and I looked at each other, got up immediately and all of us went to the coffee room where the company had a TV. Slowly other company staff joined us until the room was full.

Someone switched channels so that we could listen to the various news stories, and finally settled on CNN.

A skeleton staff was left to answer the phones and people came and went as their various jobs required.

We were all in shock.

I hadn't really kept up with world politics, didn't know the current issues on the international stage, and so, asked rhetorically, not really expecting an answer, "Who would do such a thing, and Why?" Someone commented from behind me that it had to be Bin Ladin. I asked who Bin Ladin was and was told he was an Islamic extremist. I asked why the WTC? and was told because it was the heart of American Capitalism. I wondered why the Islamic extremists would care about hurting American Capitalism.

Someone else commented that the Americans had brought this on themselves.

I responded that no matter what the Americans have done, nothing justified this.

And then we saw the WTC towers come crashing down, live, through the eye of CNN's camera lens.

My immediate reactions were, "Oh My God, there are thousands of people in those buildings!" and "My son is on his way to work and has to go right past those buildings to get to MidTown Manhattan from Jersey City!"

In a panic I ran from the coffee room and tried to contact my son by phone to assure myself that he was okay.

The lines were tied up and I couldn't get through on my cell phone. My boss suggested I use the land line. I couldn't get through on the land line.

The rest of the morning was spent running back and forth from the coffee room to watch the events unfold, and to the phone to try to reach my son.

I finally got through at around 11:00 AM to the answering machine at his work place and left a message asking him to call me back right away so that I knew he was alright.

I then heard that a subway train had been buried under the rubble of the WTC and rescue workers were trying to get to it.

My stomach ached from the knots created by the worry and fear.

I went to the bathroom repeatedly because I didn't want anyone to see me cry.

To my great relief, he responded at around 12:00 PM.

He told me he took the bus, not the subway to get to work, that the bus went past the WTC.

He saw the second plane hit the WTC when he left his home in Jersey City which is right across the river from the WTC.

When the bus drove past the WTC he could see people jumping from 100 stories up and could hear their bodies landing.

He saw the Towers come down. The bus had stopped, and everyone was watching the events unfold in shock and fear.

He and his girlfriend, a Nanny in UpTown, spent the night at his workplace because no-one was allowed to leave the city, so they couldn't return to their apartment in Jersey City.

My boss told me that I could go home if I wanted to.

I thanked him, told him I would stay and settled down to trying to get some work done.

Driving home, the skies were empty near the airport.

From that point on, I saw the low flying planes over the highway in a completely new light.

It wasn't about vacationers and exotic holiday locations anymore.

It was about fear.

All flights to American locations had been redirected to Canadian airports, particularly the one next to the 401. Pearson International.

When I got home I called my Mother.

She had been planning to come to Toronto at the end of the week, and my vacation was to start September 15th.

We had planned to drive to New York together to visit my son and his girlfriend on September 15th.

His girlfriends parents were visiting that week and were scheduled to return to Germany on September 11th.

They left at the end of the week.

The line ups at the border were hours long and flying was not an option.

My son and his girlfriend asked us not to come.

We didn't go.

I cried for the people who died and for the people who lived.

My son's breathing troubles started two months later. He was initially diagnosed as having Panic Attacks.

Two years ago, he developed serious lesions on his skin all over his body, infected with Streptococcus bacteria. Neither he nor the Doctors could explain it.

He breathed in the dust on that day and the fumes for months as the fires burned and the toxic fumes drifted across the river to Jersey City where he lived.

He still has trouble breathing.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Middle East, Biblical Prophecy, and My Humble Solution

After making the statement in my previous blog that the Biblical Prophecy relating to Israel was questionable, I thought I should at least find out exactly what it was.

Not that it makes any difference to me, since all Biblical prophecy (and other prophecy) is questionable in my mind.

I'm not religious, and happy that way. If, because of that, I'm tossed into the fires of hell during the End Times, so be it.

I identify myself as an Agnostic. I believe in secular government and society not a religious one.

I believe that everyone has a right to believe in their own religion and a responsibility to respect the rights of others to believe in their chosen religion, creed, value system or whatever.

So, that said, I went on a little exploration mission to find out what the thinking was in terms of the Middle East situation and the religious groups involved. I wanted moderate, not extremist views and got those in abundance.

The following quotes pretty much sums up the Biblical Prophecy surrounding Israel:

1. Genesis. The Beginning.The stage was set nearly 4000 years ago by God. A war that will destroy one-fourth of the world's population is about to take place. This war is outlined in Ezekiel 38 and other parts of the Bible. Russia, along with other allies, including some of the Arab nations, will soon invade Israel. The stage for what will happen soon was set long ago with Ishmael and Isaac. The descendants of Abram and Ishmael (which include some of the Arabs) and the descendants of Abraham and Isaac (the Jews) will soon clash one last time. Bad feelings have always existed between the two, for nearly 4000 years. It may be said that this is the longest running feud in the history of the world. It appears that this seemingly everlasting struggle between the seed of Ishmael and the seed of Isaac cannot cease, until one or the other is destroyed. No amount of diplomacy can change the conflict that God has set up. This coming war will take place during the Tribulation.

2. The Christian Part. Revelations. The End Times. RAPTURE is a term used to describe the removal from the earth of all living people that have been born-again as evidenced by their fruits. Just prior to the Tribulation coming about, the Rapture will take place. The number that will be raptured will be far fewer than most people might think. The Bible unmistakably portrays the raptured saints in heaven before the throne of God, prior to the Antichrist coming forth and the Tribulation beginning. The Scripture tells us, in the twinkling of an eye, we shall be changed and be with Jesus in the air. 1 Cor 15:51,52-WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP, BUT WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED, IN A MOMENT IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, AT THE LAST TRUMP: FOR THE TRUMPET SHALL SOUND; 1 Thes 4:16,17-AND THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST, THEN WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN SHALL BE CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS. We may be asleep, immediately we will be with Jesus. All the unbelievers, the lukewarm Christians, and those that did not obey the Gospel will be left to face the Tribulation.

Now, while it sums it up it doesn't really explain it.

In my explanation, I'm skipping the inflammatory parts that get people worked up and sticking to what might be referred to as the basic facts if one were to believe the Bible was a historical document which is debatable, but possible.

Essentially, Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe in the Old Testament which indicates the following:

Abraham had two sons: Isaac and Ishmael. The sons had different mothers and so were half brothers.

Isaac, whose mother was Jewish, was the progenitor of the Jews and Ishmael, whose mother was Egyptian, was the progenitor of the Muslims.

God, it seems, offered a Covenant to Abraham, Isaac and their "seed" the Land of Canaan in exchange for their worship and obedience.

He offered a Great Nation to the "seed" of Ishmael but doesn't specify land, although the term Great Nation could make the issue of land debatable.

This comes from Genesis 16 and 17.

The Christians, according to the Bible, were Jews who believed that Jesus was the Son Of God, and that he will return as per Revelations.

The Muslims, aside from being the "seed" of Ishmael, believe that Jesus was a Messenger from God, as was Muhammed, and that there will be more Messengers Of God to come.

Muslims End Time beliefs appear to be similar to the Christian belief except that everyone will be converted to Islam during the Tribulation by Jesus.

Now let's assume that we believe all of this and let's assume that we believe in the concept of Prophecy.

If we believe in the concept of Prophecy then we also have to accept that once a Prophecy is known, that future defined by that Prophecy can be changed. After all, isn't that the purpose of Prophecy, to act as a warning, an alert, so that people can change their behavior and avoid the terrible consequences predicted.

This possibility to change outcomes predicted by Prophecy is supported by the biblical fact that God gave humanity free will.

Since humanity has free will, and therefore the ability to change prophetic outcomes, the only wild card becomes God and his plan, part of which is to send Messengers, Prophets, Messiahs to state his will, depending on which religious option you've selected.

The war part, the killing and fighting, etc. doesn't have to happen because the religious leaders could choose to exercise this free will and simply work out solutions which would accommodate all of the religious factions and then everyone can just happily sit and wait for God to do his part and send his Messengers, Prophets, Messiahs.

The stories that I took the time to read, all provided options, choices to the person. The stories I read also repeatedly blessed both Isaac and his "seed" as well as Ishmael and his "seed". So, in fact, God has blessed both the Jews and the Muslims.

Presumably, the End Times scenarios are warnings that if humanity doesn't do A then C will happen, but they have the option.

Since Revelations essentially says that the Messiah, Prophet, Son Of God, will take charge and handle the conversion process, it's not really up to believers to do anything except "be righteous and believe passionately", so that you can go with Jesus, or suffer and possibly die during the Tribulations. However, even here, if you are strong and "overcome" you can survive the Tribulations. It's all about choices.

There is also another option to consider, the one accepted by many moderate Christians, that in fact, all of the prophecies in the Old Testament were satisfied in the New Testament and are not in fact occurring today. Just thought I toss this option out there :).

Anyway, assuming that you believe in the above, I've tried to come up with a solution that accounts for those religious beliefs, and to my knowledge would satisfy those concerns. It's also a solution, that I, as an Agnostic and Secularist could accept.

So, here's my solution for the Middle East:
  • Take the land that was originally Palestine after WWII.
  • Call it "The Holy Land".
  • Establish a fully Secular Democratic Government in which everyone, Muslim, Jews, Christians, Secularists, etc. participate equally and democratically.
  • Establish a Religious Authority over Sacred Institutions like the Temple Mount which would be under the direction of a Committee consisting of internationally recognized religious authorities from each of the concerned religions. The Pope, an internationally recognized Imam, an internationally recognized Rabbi. Or, alternatively several recognized representatives from each religion to satisfy the different flavors each.

Would this be so difficult? The Jews are restored to their homeland, and the Muslims are restored to their homeland. The Christians have a religious say in what's going on? Everyone should be happy.

The Muslims and Jews are brothers, according to the Bible.

And, if one believes the Bible, the Middle East situation smacks of sibling rivalry.

As a Mom, the only thing I have left to say is:
Children, Stop Fighting, and Learn To Get Along ... For All Our Sakes.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

God's Warriors

Go Christiane Amanpour and CNN!

I've always enjoyed her shows, but she really outdid herself with this one.

She's a true investigative journalist and her latest show, God's Warriors is a good example of this. It should be shown to all Journalism students as an example of the best in investigative reporting.

In my opinion, doing this particular show, produced in three parts, God's Warriors Jewish, Muslim and Christian, showed courage, and a passion for the truth.

A quick browse of news groups, and you'll find intense and heated debate on the first of her series, God's Warriors: Jewish terrorists and extremists!

Not a real surprise since this particular group of terrorists and extremists has been flying under the radar and has not received much media attention up until now. In fact, anyone who has brought up this issue in the past has been victimized by malicious smear campaigns, rumors, and false charges of antisemitism.

So, of course, it stands to reason that Ms. Amanpour is now being accused of the same thing.

Newsgroup postings, articles, blogs, etc. are accusing her of hating Israel, being antisemitic, misrepresentating Jews, etc. etc.

The main "complaints" seem to be:

1. She has placed Jewish terrorists and extremists on the same plain as Arab and Christian terrorists and extremists.

Why should they be on a different plain? A terrorist is a terrorist, Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. They differ in ideology only.

2. There are very few Jewish terrorists as compared to Arab and Christian ones.

Since there are fewer Jews, that stands to reason, so what?

3. Well, at least they admit that Jewish terrorists and extremists exist, barely, but the claim is made that it's just a few individuals and there is no organized structure.

Not according to Israel which lists Kahane Chai, previously known as Jewish Defense League, as a terrorist organization. The US, Canada and European Union have now (after 9/11) added Kahane Chai to their list of Terrorist organizations as well.

So, according to these individuals, Ms Amanpour, a credible, well-respected, experienced journalist, recognized internationally, is a liar, and their attempts to do damage control by putting their "spin" on the story is God-given truth. The actual facts are incidental.

Well, frankly, given the option, I will chose to believe an independent and respected journalist like Ms Amanpour before getting sucked in to the inflammatory and sometimes libelous "opinions" of these individuals who are supposedly not organized or representing any special interest, just "ordinary Jews" expressing their "love for Israel".

I saw the show, there was no bias, no hatred of Israel, no antisemitism, no misrepresentation of Jews or exaggeration of the facts. It was objective, investigative journalism at it's best.

Now, if these people really loved Israel, then why don't they respect Israeli law and policy, never mind International Law.

After all, it was Israel that declared Kahane Chai a terrorist and extremist organization shortly after the assassination of Yitzak Rabin in the 1990s. Rabin negotiated a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians, one which was supported by the Israeli government, but one which Kahane Chai disagreed with. This settlement included withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza.

So, their solution to disagreement on policy with Israel is to commit murder and break the law. Sounds like terrorism to me!

So much for their "love of Israel". I guess their "love of Israel" doesn't include any respect for Israeli Law or Israeli Government Policy.

In fact, their "love for Israel" always seems to surface when it suits their particular extremist agenda, and they can use it to terrorize, smear, slander and abuse anyone who disagrees with that agenda by accusing their opposition of ... guess what ... hating Israel, being antisemitic, misrepresenting Jews, etc. etc.

This has been a pretty consistent strategy applied by those elements for years and has been pretty effective.

Ms Amanpour's documentary exposed that particular terrorist strategy for what it is, an attempt to bully and manipulate people, governments, media, etc. into silence, towing their extremist line, or turning a blind eye to existing policy that doesn't suit their extremist agenda. If that doesn't work, terrorism in the form of murder, mayhem, and lies are considered acceptable options.

Ouch! That's got to hurt. Once people know what the strategy is, that it is a strategy, and that the aim of that strategy is to further a terrorist and extremist agenda, they're less likely to be manipulated so easily.

One of the most striking differences I've noticed between how the different communities handle the problem of terrorists and extremists in their midst is that in the Christian, Sikh and Muslim communities, terrorist and extremist elements are recognized for what and who they are. The moderates in those communities come forward to provide leadership to their communities and to organize against and oppose the extremist and terrorist elements.

I know for a fact that there are large numbers of Jews who oppose this minority of terrorist and extremist elements in their midst, want a geniune peace in the Middle East, are not pushing an extremist agenda based on some questionable biblical prophecy, and do not hate Muslims. I know this because I have contact with the Jewish community, amongst my friends and family.

Why aren't these moderates in the Jewish community coming forward, providing leadership to their community, and openly condemning the terrorist and extremist elements in their midst.

Other communities have done this.

Israel has done this.

Why hasn't the Jewish community in the Western World done this?

Perhaps now they will ... We can only hope.