News, Politics, Human and Animal Rights

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Iranian Man Freed from Forced Blinding

    An Iranian man was set to be blinded by acid as a punishment for an acid attack against a young woman. Majid Movahedi threw acid in the face of Ms. Bahrami in 2004 after she refused his marriage proposal. Up until now, Ms. Bahrami was determined for him to suffer the same fate.

Ameneh Bahrami in March 2009
    Mr. Movahedi was pardoned by Mr. Bahrami on the day of the punishment. She is stating that even though she still believes it is right for such a punishment to be carried out; she stopped it for the sake of her country. Iran has received harsh criticism for this form of sharia law. Mr. Movahedi is still required to spend another 3-5 years in prison and won't be freed until she is paid a compensation of $216, 000 US dollars.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

US Republicans Hold Ideology Above Americans

    By August 2nd the US will default on their debt for the first time in American history. Even being this close to defaulting may cause their AAA debt rating to be downgraded. This act alone would cause catastrophic inflation effects leading to job and home loss. The Republicans are still claiming that not raising the debt ceiling would do nothing. They propose that they could move cash flow around to pay debts. The result of this would be the end of medicare, pensions, military pay, infrastructure and  basically all social programs. The US GDP will collapse by 10% immediately. Either choice is a man made downfall of America. This does not have to happen but the Tea Party Republicans will not listen to economists; even Republican ones.
    The suffering that this will cause to an already beaten American people is staggering. Inflation will cause all goods to be raised in price. Subsidy food programs for children and the poor will stop immediately. The elderly, those who are barely surviving, will not receive any cheques. Disabled people who can not work and some who cannot leave a hospital bed will not be able to pay for food or shelter. Infrastructure will cease; meaning roads, bridges and programs will stop. There is a great potential that fire fighters, garbage collecters and police officers would not receive pay. The House of Representative Republicans are willing to do all of this because Obama's concessions are not 100%. The childish game that has been played; as in anything Obama wants we don't want, is a damaging one to be playing.
    Due to the fact that America is the world's only superpower this will have drastic effects on the world economy. Look for a worldwide depression if a deal is not reached. The entire world trades gas in US dollars so the outlook for this is an increase in gasoline prices for every non-oil producing state and under producing state around the world. Trade from or to the US would sharply decline due to a lack of consumer and business confidence. For example, the US accounts for 73% of Canadian exports. If a large portion of that were to stop; Canada would be a bad place to be.
    The most disheartening part about all of this is that some Republicans are not holding out for a personal gain (as they usually do). Some of the freshmen Republicans say plainly that they will not raise the debt ceiling. These are people that cannot be worked with. If Obama had to divert an American armageddon he could invoke constitutional rights. It is in the American constitution that the validity of American debt may not be questioned. To do so used to be considered treasonous. He could unilaterally raise the debt ceiling. This could, however; later lead to impeachment processes if his judgement was questioned by Republicans. Which it most definately would.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Harper: Criticizing Israel is Anti-Semitic - An Affront to Free Speech

    Stephen Harper has publicly stated that any criticism of the state of Israel should be treated as anti-Semitic. The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA), over a two year period, developed a report as to how best quell what they describe as growing anti-Semitism. The problem with what they have proposed is that the Canadian government should, as they write, criminalize the act of singling out Israel for criticism. If fully implemented, it would be illegal for me to state that Israel is:

-committing human rights violations

-ethnically cleansing Palestinian and Israeli territory

-guilty of numerous war crimes

    Any form of anti-Semitism is appalling; but to call pointing out the wrongdoings of a state, racist, is an affront to free speech and authoritarian in nature. In essence the adamant supporters of the Israeli state use the accusation of anti-Semitism to quite those who believe that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live and thrive. No matter what is put on the books I will continue to write against the occupation and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

    To say that being openly against heinous treatment of civilians is racist, is wrong; and its not my Canada.

Disrespect for Your Own Beliefs: Mayor of Kandahar Murdered by Turban

    The Mayor of Kandahar, Afghanistan was killed by a suicide bomber who had explosives in his turban. Ghulam Haidar Hameedi becomes the third major political figure to be assassinated by the Taliban in one month. It is difficult enough to defend religious and social freedoms in Western society with the current stigma and bigotry. It is even worse when extremists cause even further stereotypes and racist ideas. Instead of causing increased racism, one should realize that these people are extremists in nature. They do not represent Islamic society; no matter the problems that are rampant in any religious culture. However; terrorists (who murder countless Muslim people too) must stop using religious icons to kill people. Turbans are taboo enough in some communities in Canada but putting a bomb in one makes it worse.
    In contrast, the western media should stop blaming Islam for all bombing attacks with no evidence. When the Norway attacks began, many US media outlets preemptively blamed Muslims. Once they found out that was not the case they began to spin the story into a lesson against Muslim extremism. The reality was a home grown, Christian and right-wing madman.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Young Girls Forced Into Pornographically Crushing Animals

Lots to say, this article is directly from the PETA website. The disgust I feel for what this contains cannot be expressed without overly profane language. So I will leave you to read the following:

After a year-long investigation by PETA Asia-Pacific and the National Bureau of Investigations, police have now charged a Philippine couple with cruelty to animals and other crimes related to producing a series of pornographic videos in which young girls torture and kill animals. Faced with the charges, suspects Dorma and Vic Ridon have fled. Warrants have been issued for them.

WARNING: Graphic descriptions follow.
The "crush" videos that the Ridons are believed to have produced show scantily clad 12-year-old girls as they stomp on live animals, a rabbit as he or she is skinned alive, other rabbits as they scream while their ears are cut off and they are set on fire, a dog as he or she is burned with a clothes iron, and a monkey who was repeatedly hit in the eye with the sharp end of a stiletto heel. There is more, including puppies crushed until they vomited their own internal organs. A bill currently in the Philippine Senate would criminalize the sale of such "crush videos," already illegal in the U.S. and other countries.
PETA Asia-Pacific is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of Dorma and Vic Ridon. Anyone with information on the couple can e-mail You can also make a donation to PETA Asia-Pacific to help the group fight cruelty to animals in this case as well as in many others.

Written by Michelle Sherrow

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ireland Gives the Middle Finger to Child Rapists

    The Vatican has recalled their ambassador to Ireland in protest of the Irish government's treatment of diplomatic relations. The Irish PM, Enda Kenny, had recently criticized the Vatican's act of downplaying, hiding and contributing to the abuse of children by Catholic priests. The diplomatic action taken against Ireland is serious, when undertaken by a true state, but will not lead to much when done by the Vatican. The disgust that should be natural when an organization covers up child rape must be amplified when it fails to admit its full wrongdoing. The outrage shown by Kenny hopefully represents the majority of society no matter what religion one belongs to. When it comes down to it a connection to an invisible and ancient desert god does not justify the sexual abuse of thousands of innocent children.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mass Shooting at Youth Camp

    Leading off from my last article, there has been a shooting in Norway. The death toll is up to 94. The individual was a right wing extremist who attacked a youth camp. He allegedly spent 90 minutes firing at teenagers. The camp, which is on an island,  is now littered with bodies. More corpses are being recovered because teens attempting to swim to safety; were shot in the water one by one. The accused is also being blamed for a bombing in Oslo just hours earlier, killing around 10 people.
    The brutality of this man's actions must remind the Western world that home grown radicalism is still a threat; and that demonizing foreigners will accomplish very little towards peace and safety. The solution to our problems must start locally.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Norway on Fire

    A large bomb exploded in central Oslo, the main city of Norway. Just hours later a gunman opened fire on a youth camp killing at least 87 people. The massive loss of life is astounding. The current death count between the two attacks is at 97 individuals. The bombing was apparently aimed at a government building. The ability for radical groups to access such powerful firearms and explosives is haunting. Tonight, at least 100 families will be dealing with a great loss. Let the brutality that has currently befallen sleepy Norway be a lesson that freedom doesn't mean access to deadly weaponry.
    My condolences to the innocent parties.

War Criminals on Canadian Soil

    The Canadian Borders Services Agency has just released the names of 30 individuals that are thought to be hiding in Canada. These individuals are accused to war crimes. Review the website below to see pictures and names.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Different Poverty

    A common defense of purchasing goods made from impoverished areas is that doing so will raise them from poverty. Boycotting goods from those regions would, as they claim, cause them to fall further into poverty. These include areas such as Bangladesh, Mexico and Romania. The initial excuse for creating business in those regions was that through trickle down economics improvements would be made over time. The biggest problem with this hypothesis, however; is that poverty persists and the quality of life is falsely raised.
    In the Western world the poor of any society is seen to begin in nomadic or native culture. So naturally we colonized these peoples, forced our religions upon them, made them give up their survival techniques and gave them production jobs. As seen in India, we also force them to buy goods from us that they once produced themselves (clothing, salt, etc). But what these workers are paid often cannot afford them adequate food and shelter. In Bangladesh many families share the same corrugated steel huts and live in squalor. So what we have done is not improve their lives but take away their ability to survive.
    What we considered poverty; farming, fishing and hunting, allowed them to live. Perhaps they had less access to medicine, media and technology but they can not afford that even now. So purchasing goods from these regions only increases the profits of corporations but does very little to help the civilians. They would be better off being entrepreneurs and start their own industries, or attempt to regain their skills.

The skillset is changed from feeding themselves, to making clothing and shoes.
If you have any interest in how we are holding foreign women, men and children in poverty...

Google: Maquila Zones

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Congrats to Gay Marriage in NY

    New York has become the largest state to legalize gay marriage. New York city believes it will unable to accommodate the initial marriage rush so a lottery has been proposed. Homosexual and Heterosexual couples will have to compete for 764 positions to be married on the 24th of June, the first day of the legalization. Judges have actually gone out of their way to give marriage licenses to couples who have been discriminated against for so long in the state of New York.

    Congratulations to New York state for its accomplishment!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Republicans Hold the World Hostage

    The Republicans in the House of Representatives have still refused to allow the US debt ceiling to be raised. If it is not raised the US would default on its 14.3 trillion dollar debt, potentially causing:

-the US credit rating to fall
-distrust, no one would loan the US funds
-the US GDP could drop by 10% instantly and could cause another worldwide recession
-a government shut down
-all (though not much exists already) infrustructure programs would cease
    -this includes stop signs, crumbling bridges, roads and any state operated building
-persons on social security, disability or in the military would not receive any cheques
-the elderly on Medicare and pensions would not receive any cheques or healthcare
-paycheques for educators, police officers, firemen an state workers may stop

    The four main Republicans that are causing this to come so close to the wire have, between the four of them, raised the debt ceiling 19 times. This includes 9 times during the Bush administration alone. What has been a routine for many presidents has become a feice battle because the far right will oppose anything Obama attempts to do; which includes avoiding a catastophic event. So far Republicans have opposed anything Obama has put his name on. This includes many bills, like cap-and-trade, that the Republicans put forward to begin with. The childish actions of the party are becoming embarrassing but Obama is beginning to put his foot down with stronger language than ever before. Hopefully the self declared "adults" of the Republican party can actually do something instead of dragging their feet and tanking the US economy to cause discontent among American presidential voters.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Republicans and Libertarians Show their Brain Capacity

    In 2012 the American government will begin to enforce restrictions of the power usage surrounding light bulbs. This has caused Republicans and Libertarians to cause a hissy fit about the right of the individual. Although this does not effect traditional looking bulbs that are built to use less power; they continue to criticize the swirl shaped bulbs (pig tails). At some point the government, headed by elected officials, must enact some standards in order to improve the entire world.
    The ban has caused some individuals to stock up on old bulbs. The fact that this issue it has become so extreme shows the immaturity of American politics. Republicans seem to be concened only with preserving their lifestyle and not aiding the survival of humankind.
    So, in order to stop government control, perhaps we should:
    -only eat animal based food
    -all drive hummers and transport trucks
    -use the highest energy using everything possible
    -not recycle
    -believe that a mystical being will protect us
    -and oppose anything Obama does!

600 Unemployed Police Officers

    Egypt has just fired almost 600 police officers. The move follows a series of popular demonstrations that have continued since the ousting of Mubarak due to military and police brutality. What seems to be a gesture of good nature could be a simple concession made as an excuse to crack down on protests. Since the partial success of the revolution the Egyptian military has continued to kill protesters and even arrest some of the original activists. So far the heads of the military have refused to hand over power to a democratically elected government.
    The reshuffling of the police force should be seen as a positive force, but hopefully all of the police officers were deserving of their discharge. Otherwise it is nothing more than a political cull. It is of the utmost importance that the Egyptian revolution leads to a strong democratic state rather than another Iranian revolution. For it is those like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who commandeer democratic revolutions and form a dictatorship, that are the lowest form of humanity.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Landmark Animal Cruelty Indictment of Lab Workers

    For a North Carolina grand jury, there are limits on what animal testing is allowed to do. Following a PETA undercover investigation four lab workers have been, for the first time ever, indicted on 14 counts of animal cruelty. The lab in question tested consumer products on dogs and cats. The abuses are horrendous and this landmark ruling may help to put others behind bars. The animals were abused, tortured and kept in filthy conditions.

For a more detailed article:

Contrast in the Mediterranean

    The greatest contrast between the wealth and poverty that I witnessed along the Mediterranean had to have been between Monte Carlo, Monaco, and Naples, Italy. Our first stop was Monaco where the beautiful bay stretched out containing countless yatchs overlooked by the royal palace. When walking along the main strip one comes to realize that the majority of the businesses are banks, yatch dealerships, clubs and high end car dealerships. Once the day had concluded a waiter told me while dinning, "it's not a city, its a playground for millionairres." Nothing could be more true.
    Naples, even from affar, looked underprivelaged. The port city had many nice things to see but it was overshadowed by the crushing poverty of which numerous people lived. Jammed between a highway and a road, situated close to where the cruise ships were docked, lived perhaps the poorest sector of society I've ever seen. I was told that these were the Gypsies, illegal Romanian immigrants. This seems to be a widespread problem for both Italy and Spain. The 'homes' were shacks built out of sheet metal and garbage bags. Children picking up trash and, in other areas that we drove past, stacking metals. The entire area of the port was dilapidated; graphity covered what once appeared to be architecture.
    For what the Western world has been able to accomplish; nothing like this should be able to exist. Italy is an amazing country but even within Naples the wealth gap is enormous. The port area being the low end and the glass skyscrapers in the distance being the high. The fact that it remains in such plain view and nothing is done to raise them from poverty is disturbing. I was, however; fortunate enough to witness what is actually going on rather than just the tourist facade.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Return from Europe

    Yesterday I flew back to Canada directly from Barcelona. I was unable to post during my travels through Spain, Monaco and Italy; so there is a lot of catching up to do. Over the next few days I will divert from my regular posting and focus more on my trip and certain issues I wish to address in between. The first will be purely narrative.
    Just over a week ago my father, his wife, my two sisters, my partner Vanessa and myself travelled just over seven hours to the Barcelona Airport. Barcelona was wonderful even though we only stayed one night and neglected to do much of the common tourist activity. In total we only saw the Olympic park up close. We stayed in the amazing Eric Vokel Apartment Suites. To say the very least the apartment came with a full kitchen and made me quite sad to leave. Vanessa and I may be the first tourists in Barcelona that decide to immediately go grocery shopping for one night! Potato wedges, two lovely baguettes with guacamole and a very nice bottle of rose wine for what amounted to $1.40 Canadian. Whereas most everything is more expensive in Europe, wine is not.
    This year bull fighting has been banned in the Catalonia region of Spain. This includes Barcelona. We had the chance to stand inside of a new mall built out of the shell of a recently closed bull fighting ring. Whoever owned the stadium jumped the gun, as the ban does not take effect until 2012, but this means many lives will be saved in advance. It was a strange feeling to stand in the food court, which rests in the bottom of the ring, where a cruel blood sport had been active not long ago.
    The next day we boarded the ship on which we spent the next 7 days. What followed can hardly be called a vacation; very long days of heat and walking. However, it made for a great experience and I would not want it any other way. Details will continue in later posts.