Jason Kenney doesn’t have to steal your info (because he already has it)

When last we picked up the stench of the Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney Campaign, we observed some very Nixon-esque debris flying from Alberta’s right-wing movement. Now it seems Kenney has gone on record to deny any involvement by claiming he doesn’t need to steal your data, because he already has it.

“Kenney also suggests he doesn’t need to steal anybody’s list, even if he wanted to, because “when I entered this I already had a database of 60,000 people who have contacted me over 20 years as a Member of Parliament’.”

Former Progressive Conservative Deputy Thomas Lukaszuk notes:

Kenney’s campaign quickly tweeted that when Kenney said he had the names of “60,000 people who have contacted” him over his years as an MP, he was talking about names collected from his personal website

But the fishy thing about that explanation is how that squares with another Kenney controversy from last week.

Conservative supporters had complained that they were receiving letters from Kenney’s PC leadership campaign, despite having never given their personal information to either Kenney or the PCs.

Meanwhile, the Dickweed Wildrose Party is overdue for a bit of flailing over their data breach.

To wit, the Journal reported: “A Wildrose source said caucus members were not briefed separately on the robbery, rather they received the same email sent to supporters.”

The break-in was not a robbery, of course, but a burglary and theft. Just the same, it is not clear yet how the break-in and the purloined party membership lists are related, if they are related at all. It’s quite possible the party lists got into Tory hands the old-fashioned way, via a disloyal member.

Regardless, Opposition Leader Brian Jean apparently just went ahead Sunday afternoon and emailed the now famous letter to Wildrose supporters outlining the startling developments. It remains murky when the break-in happened, when it was reported to the police, whether the police are still investigating, or why Mr. Jean chose the afternoon of the Grey Cup game to issue his startling statement.

Those halcyon days now appear to be over. A couple of weeks ago, the often fractious Derek Fildebrandt – the high-profile Wildrose finance critic Mr. Jean tried and failed to fire last spring for endorsing a homophobic Facebook comment about Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne – published what blogger Dave Cournoyer called “a 743-word treatise on his Facebook page decrying ‘hysterical political correctness.’”

At the time Mr. Jean tried to kick him out of caucus – enraging the Wildrose Party’s most rightward fringe – Mr. Fildebrandt promised to behave himself and curb his social media excesses.

But on Nov. 16, citing the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, Mr. Fildebrandt argued “that smug, condescending, political correctness will spark a backlash” – comments that seemed to be aimed directly at Mr. Jean, and to amount to Mr. Fildebrandt’s personal declaration of independence from his party’s leader.

I wrote about the incident in question back in May. Of course, Fildebrandt’s idea of “political correctness” is that Brian Jean is far too polite to minorities in Alberta, even as the platform promises to shit on us nonetheless. I won’t say I told you so, Albertan conservatives, but I totally fucking told you so. (emphasis added)

You need to soul search, because it’s rapidly starting to look like the fiscal-conservative-socially-progressive types aren’t going to have a party in the next election. Kenney is slated to win the PC leadership and he has been very, very open and forthright about his intention to absorb the Wildrose back into the fold. The problem is that it isn’t the respectables at the helm anymore. It’s the deplorables. The ones who are serious about being socially reactionary. The ones who think death and rape threats are a legitimate vehicle of criticism. The ones Brian Jean has been trying to contain like a beleaguered dog-owner pulling back on the chain of his rabid pup: You know, the ones making targets of the Premier, mocking victims of domestic violence and the assassination of labour-rights politicians, and publicly approving denigrating posts about gay politicians, because there’s apparently not enough policy to criticize?

That was 18 days before any of this came to light.

Notley must be popping the champagne.


We need to talk about tolerance

All throughout Dr. Peterson’s extended temper tantrum his defenders characterized his critics as “The Intolerant Left.” Not only does this reduce his critics to a monolithic, unified entity, but it misapprehends the implications of what tolerance is to begin with.

The first snare here is to address the “argument by definition” problem. It’s a weak strategy because if a word has many meanings (as tolerance does), then it leaves a theoretical opponent an opening to dismiss it out of hand by pointing out the alternate uses of said word. I have done this myself. If an argument is easy to make, it’s typically easy to refute. Despite the temptation to set a definition from which to argue, I am reluctant to engage in the tactic at all. So I figure that my solution is actually to go on the offence: Rather than dispute that The Left™ is intolerant, I am going to accept that premise and argue how intolerance is an entirely ordinary consequence of being alive. After all, if The Right were perfectly tolerant, there would be no disagreement between them and The Left.

We’re all intolerant of something, the question is merely what those “somethings” are.

Ever walk past a homeless man despite having disposable income that month? You tolerated homelessness.

Ever watch a guy meticulously plan his entire stay at the bar getting a woman loaded on alcohol, and did nothing about it? You tolerated sexual predation.

Ever watch yet another video of a black person being assaulted by police, then carried on to do nothing about it? You tolerated anti-black police brutality.

Now pointing this out doesn’t really net someone a lot of friends. I do not mean to guilt trip anyone into feeling bad because they have finite spoons. We all have finite spoons. It’s in our nature to tolerate stuff because we cannot possibly fix everything. We tolerate broken shower heads or smelly apartments or limping cars or noisy roommates. Simply because there is more to fix than can possibly be fixed in 24 hours, we must out of necessity pick and choose things to tolerate. That’s why we might let things slide even when they’re arguably important.

Now I have a lot of complex thoughts about the nature of human apathy but I think it’s safe to say that it is universal regardless of our origin or beliefs. To accuse someone of therefore being occasionally intolerant of something is a bit like accusing someone of having skin. The probability that someone well and truly cares about nothing is so staggeringly low that surely a vast majority of humanity is intolerant at least some of the time about some of the things.

Maybe we can recognize that this is yet another rhetorical pool noodle designed to detract from, rather than contribute to, a discussion. Maybe we can instead concern ourselves with what someone doesn’t tolerate instead of filling the air with vacuous bullshit.


Jason Kenney thinks not being a dick to queer students is “social engineering”

Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney, my all-time favourite political aspirant and best friend, has gone on record yet again to characterize the NDP’s new fact-based education curriculum as “social engineering:”

“One of the reasons I’m running, one of my primary concerns is to stop the NDP’s radical ideological agenda in the education system,” Kenney told a small gathering in Medicine Hat last month.

“The NDP has announced the most radical changes to the curriculum,” Kenney added. “They do not mean curricular reforms that are focused on improving numeracy or literacy – they mean social engineering.”

“Let’s be clear about that.”

One wonders whether any such agendas exist that do not meet his criteria of “ideological,” or whether the publicly-funded religious schooling qualifies as “social engineering.” I suppose all the austerity budgets and Bible schools are just, what, “common sense”? 

At any rate, Kenney is wrong (as usual). All areas of the curriculum are getting a review, including English, French (literacy) as well as math.

But these are not what Kenney is referring to. No, he instead calls it radical to insist that Queer people exist.

Kenney also told supporters in Medicine Hat he questions the Alberta NDP’s “talk about human rights” and suggested independent schools, charter schools and homeschooling helped make Alberta’s education system “the best education system in the world.”

Very illuminating that the presence of a school which publicly admitted its Queer student policy was to subject them to psychological torture is what Kenney defines as “the best education system in the world.” He certainly has no traction on the concept of human rights, when we already know that he wants to “compromise” when it comes to these schools–meaning he doesn’t see the currently state-sanctioned torture policy as something that ought to be burned to the ground and plowed with salt.

At the 2016 Conservative Convention last May, Kenney claimed millennials are “the first generation to come through a schooling system” that “hard-wired” them with anti-conservative beliefs – he even suggested young children are indoctrinated with “collectivist ideas” as early as primary school.

No, Kenney, it just seems that the few studies attempting to examine Albertan millennials have found that we are, as a generation, less likely to be concerned with party loyalty, and more likely to be concerned with factual accuracy, and less likely to uncritically accept any given news story. That’s bad news for the so-called Progressive Conservatives, who’ve been coasting on hero worship and spin for 44 years.

Also, what collectivist ideas? “Don’t be a dick” is collectivist now? “Taxes are okay if they’re spent on infrastructure?” “Socialized medicine is a good idea?” “You won’t shrivel up and die if you donate to charity?”

And a few years ago at a Catholic conference in Italy, Kenney mused about the possibility “Marxist” academics are working to “propagate a radical approach to multiculturalism” and “suppress completely the Christian patrimony of Canada.”

Yes! I want to suppress the shit out of your archaic, woman-hating, queer-murdering, war-glorifying, infanticidal, genocidal, badly written medieval torture porn.

At least we have one correct statement from Kenney.


Decent human beings tie up mental health resource to prove how decent they are

Content Notice: Ableism and gaslighting.

Gold star human being Clay Travis of Fox Sports decided the highest priority in his life was to coordinate a mass of false reports to a university mental health help line after it released a Halloween reminder that minorities affected by the extensive stereotyping that occurs on the crude celebration could ask for help:

“Some Halloween costumes reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, or religions,” the post said. “Regardless of intent, these costumes can perpetuate negative stereotypes, causing harm and offense to groups of people.”

Clay Travis, the prank-calling journalist, learned about the post and the CWC hotline from one of his readers. He said he wanted to make a point about how overly sensitive people have become to seemingly harmless acts or comments.

“Anyone who is offended by a Halloween costume is a complete and total loser deserving of ridicule and satirization,” he wrote in an email.

In an Oct. 12 livestreamed video, “LSU-Florida mess, CFB gambling picks,” Travis called the hotline and said he was a gay student who went to a fraternity’s Halloween costume party. He said he was offended by someone at the party dressed like Harambe, a gorilla who was shot in late May at the Cincinnati Zoo after a child fell into his enclosure.

Travis also gave out the CWC’s phone number to his live audience. He already made headlines earlier this month for his criticism of the cancellation of the Oct. 8 game against LSU, alleging impending Hurricane Matthew was used as an excuse to avoid losing to a superior team.

UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said the prank calls have burdened UF’s counseling services. The hotline, a free service available every day of the year, is not exclusively for costume complaints, and students with mental health concerns or issues also use the hotline.

“Our role is to support students,” Sikes said, “and when we are diverted to having to deal with people calling in fake reports, we aren’t there to help our students.”

So because you’re an ignorant sack of manure who can’t wrap their head around the exhausting, non-stop drivel minorities have to deal with from assholes like you, you decide the best use of your time is to sabotage a mental health resource that we need. You want to mock people for being “overly sensitive,” yet self care and setting boundaries for ourselves fucking triggers enough outrage such that you orchestrate a harassment campaign against a group of people that are trying to help people cope. In other words, you want to grind us down with denigrating stereotypes, ignorant statements and widespread myths, and then mock us for seeking help because of it.

That meets every definition of abuse I can think of.

Clay Travis, you and everyone who participated in that stunt are ethically bankrupt, egocentric, and unfathomably provincial. It’s a wonder you know how to put your pants on in the morning.

I throw it right back at you: Anyone who who is offended by minorities demanding respect is deserving of nothing less than satire and ridicule.


Private Christian school caught cooking its books

Albertan Christian thought leaders love to moralize about the dangers of the NDP’s “greed” or the risks of acknowledging Queer humanity. But, as it turns out, Albertan Christian thought leaders are willing to make exceptions for themselves when it comes to piss poor behaviour. I’ll pre-emptively dial the ambulance for you, as I’m sure you’ve been struck dead in shock by this news: Trinity Christian has been cooking its books, engaging in nepotism, and misappropriating public funds.

Eggen said the decision follows a recent three-year audit into the association that found numerous spending irregularities.

He said Trinity receives $5.5 million in public money a year, and that much of it was redirected to the Wisdom Home Schooling Society.

The report alleged conflict of interest in lease and contract deals along with public money being spent to cover off ineligible expenses like babysitting and funeral expenses. There was also double-dipping on mileage.

Public funds were spent on food, alcohol, gifts, gift cards, groceries, theatre tickets and other staff functions, said the report.

The report stated Wisdom has retained $988,000 in unclaimed parent funding over the past three years.

“Trinity and Wisdom spent approximately 32 per cent of expenses on payments for staff and administration compared to a 3.4 to 5.6 per cent range in public boards,” said the report.

Ah yes, must be some of that world leading education Jason Kenney keeps talking about.

Meanwhile the conservative Christians in this province will carry on bleating about the supposed corruption of the NDP whilst turning a blind eye to the owners of Trinity who just fleeced 3,500 Albertan kids.


Transition Reactions p11: Facts don’t care about your feelings

It cannot be understated that the sheer volume of ignorance about gender variance weighs down on me. I see the same shit repeating itself over and over. It is not the ignorance that is the problem, at least not by itself–but the belief that knowledge is somehow unnecessary to form an opinion on something, which is likely the sole contributor to my blood pressure problems. That is a belief which should be nuked from orbit, because if people actually practiced it, we wouldn’t have cis people passing shitty laws about trans people based off of knee-jerk “eww cooties” reactions or an entire lobby calling itself pro-“life” despite advocating for policies that continually endanger women.

i pun gud

i pun gud

As today’s Transition Reactions is about facts, I will not be including the usual disclaimer about anecdotes and personal experience.

So let’s dismantle one of the more irritating bludgeons used against trans women: “Facts don’t care about your feelings.”

Facts exist regardless of how we feel about them–that is true, unless you’re a solipsist. The problem is the people employing this deepity seldom understand the establishment of what makes a fact to begin with.

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Death threats and doxxing: The rent we pay for our rights

If you search “Jordan Peterson” and “University of Toronto,” you’ll find nothing but stories about his freeze peach being suppressed by counter-protests following his remarks that he would refuse to respect the gender identities of transgender students. Suspiciously absent from the reactionary hand-wringing over non-existent “privacy concerns” and “thought crime” is that the protesters responding to Peterson’s remarks were doxxed, have received death threats, and fled their homes for their safety.

The threats come as the university grapples with controversial comments made by Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor who refuses to use gender neutral pronouns and been critical of efforts amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include protection for gender identity.

One Facebook message shared with Metro by Lourenco appears to threaten an attack.

“There will be a time when the Western world wakes up from its shackles and smites down people like you … It won’t be tolerance kindergarten-land tomorrow. There will be blood. Be very afraid,” reads the post sent to Lourenco.

Lourenco said other posts have revealed trans students’ addresses, forcing them to leave their homes.

“We are working closely with University of Toronto Campus Police, Toronto Police Service, and the UofT Community Safety Office to support the individuals who have received these threats. The situation is being actively monitored,” the university said in a mass email to students Friday.

Lourenco believes the threats are related Peterson’s case, and he criticized the school’s administration for not taking a stronger stand against the professor.

This is why we have the phrase “freeze peach.” Reactionaries are quick to stand up against “political correctness” yet suddenly vanish in a puff of smoke when threats of violence are used to silence people who disagree with them. This hypocrisy we mock. You are not in favour of free speech if you tolerate the publishing of private information expressly for the purpose of issuing threats of violence.

That is vile. That is fucking terrorism. And I am frankly sick of the way so many media outlets are spinning this as an assault on the free speech of the professor when it is the transgender protesters receiving death threats for expecting the most basic of human dignities to be extended to them.

Unbelievable bullshit. I am sick of the false equivalency. I am sick of the hypocrisy. I am sick of being called a rape threat, a totalitarian, because I support laws that redress the crushing rates of discrimination affecting my community.

And I am sick that doxxing and death threats are the rent we pay for our advocacy.

Peterson and his supporters are ignorant and fractally wrong. Suck on that fucking free speech.


Alt Reich stands for free hate–err, speech

Laci Green is a YouTuber running a number of sex education channels in which she covers a wide range of topics that are arbitrarily considered taboo by many curricula across the world. Although she had a few rough patches early in her career with some unintentionally cissexist remarks, she has improved significantly over the years. Her work in the past year or so has been absolutely top notch and potentially expands access to sex education for those unlucky enough to not have it. I have an enormous amount of respect for Laci, and the importance of her work cannot be understated.

She is also a feminist.

Philip DeFranco, another YouTuber who I’ve already criticized for unironically using the term “Social Justice Warrior” as a pretext to dismiss arguments he dislikes, apparently has some kind of vendetta against Laci Green. There are at least two videos on his channel mentioning her by name, and as we all know, critical videos from cishet white men with large followings tend to create harassment campaigns which they seldom if ever acknowledge or even try to reign in.

The crux of what happened was that Laci asked YouTube to launch an inquiry into the use of her face in photoshopped imagery from a third YouTuber, self-styled “free speech absolutist” Roaming Millenial. The image in question ‘shopped an Indigenous headdress onto Laci’s face. Because Laci is white, and not an asshole, she likely would have been concerned with the integrity of her copyright. RM made a video accusing Laci of censorship–and (CONTENT NOTICE ALL THE TERRIBLE) Youtube’s favourite atheist assweasel goonsquad followed suit.

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