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Category: News

Cliff Cullen should stop writing cheques with his mouth that he can’t cash

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The problem with making bold statements is that at some point you’re going to have to cash the cheque that your mouth writes. In Manitoba, it feels a lot like the cheques being written by our leaders are bouncing.

If you are anything like me, you might be feeling rather frustrated by the inability of political representatives to answer direct questions posed by media, constituents in formal emails or informal online forums. There is a lot of redirecting and deflecting going on, and ridiculously, blocking.

As elected representatives there is a responsibility to the public for transparency and honesty and neither of these things seem to be in the playbook written by Coach Pally and his team.

My specific experience has been one of hostility and buck passing, and of late, lack of ANY response- not even the stock, party written answers that are a waste of my good time and efforts.

I have to say that it sort feels as though the plan is to just pass off each inquiry rather than answer it, and force someone to repeatedly contact their representatives with honest questions about many concerning actions of this government in a time of unprecedented uncertainty- until we are gaslighted into believing that we are just being bothersome.

Personally, I don’t care if they are annoyed by me. I am as relentless as a dog with a bone. As a citizen who cares about her community and the well being of everyone, I will continue to be relentless in my inquiries until someone-ANYONE- in this government is able to be accountable to me for the words coming out of their mouths and the claims they are making.

At the moment, in light of Bill 64 and all of the abominable commentary by the Minister of Education in his recent guest column in the Winnipeg Sun, I am trying to figure out how this government can insist that they have reduced poverty rates in this province in the last four years by 25%. I want to understand how this was measured, what factors were considered and how they studied the varaibles. And IF (big if) this statement is true, how was it achieved? Wouldn’t the government be so proud of this amazing work that they would want to share their programs and policies with other provinces so that they would be able to achieve the same results?

I have many doubts about truth of this matter. I figure that if this statistic is not made up, the information to prove it and back it up would be readily available.

I have reached out several times to the Minister of Education by email. I wrote him directly, and also to my local MLA, who promised to forward my concerns and request information be sent to me. No response.

I phoned Minister Cullen’s office and provided my contact information. No response.

I was informed by a friend that she had been redirected to the Minister of Families to request this same information. I will not hold my breath for a response, but here is my letter to Minister Squires. If you are so inspired, feel free to copy and paste the text of the inquiry and initiate your own contact. They can’t ignore all of us, can they?

Good Morning,
Thank you for taking my call this morning.  
To follow up, I am requesting information regarding the claims of a 25% reduction in the poverty rate in the Province of Manitoba. Specifically, I would like to receive the studies/peer reviewed research indicating this change in poverty statistics. Ideally, I’d like to understand what outcomes were measured, in what populations, who performed the research and what the study designs were.
One would assume that a 25% reduction in poverty would translate to a significant and observed impact in local communities in terms of income level, employment rates (specific to the impoverished communities), access to resources, reduced use of food banks or shelters, improvement of health, and drastically improved educational outcomes. 
In addition, I would like to be sent information about how these outcomes were achieved, specifically what programs were developed and implemented/introduced.  A 25% reduction in child poverty is substantial achievement, and I would think the strategies used to get there should be shared with all who have a vested interest in helping those in need. 
I look forward to hearing back, and would be open to scheduling a meeting to further discuss the subject.”

A rage post dedicated to Brian Pallister

You know, I have been trying to write these nicely balanced articles full of good points that are blunt without hearing about the language I use, but I am pretty much over that today.

This is a rage piece, so if you aren’t here for that, I won’t take it personally. If you are a pearl clutcher, know that I will continue to use grown up words in a grown up place and you can either put on your big girl panties or complain about it to someone who isn’t me.

Manitoba is fucking bullshit right now.

I am so sick and tired of a government that is so clearly gaslighting people and vote pandering with their “keeping our promises” posts and throwing out some seemingly really terrific bones that seem to always come with conditions that end up bending you over and assaulting your back door.

It wouldn’t feel half as insulting or half as terrible if Brian Pallister would just seriously shut the FUCK up. Every time that guy opens his smug, arrogant mouth, teachers and health care workers everywhere both alive and dead collectively vomit into their own mouths or roll over twice in their graves asking Jesus to just rain down Armageddon already.

Look Brian. I get it. It’s been a real shit time to be in charge of anything. Someone is always going to be pissed off at you. But right now, TODAY, even the people who fucking like you think you are an absolute piece of shit.

Exhibit A: Today a reporter asked you “Does it bother you that teachers have to pay out of their own pockets for supplies?”

To which you replied “It doesn’t bother me at all…..I’ve watched teachers invest their own money out of their own pocket for decades now and I just think this is a good fair incentive to encourage other teachers to do the same.”

Once I picked my jaw up off of the floor, I wondered if you had ANY idea how enraged people- not just teachers- were going to be about those words?

And really, the answer is zero. You are so fully out of touch with the people of this province and such an arrogant fool that you couldn’t even muster up the foresight to imagine how ignorant this statement was.

Your government claims it will be investing record funding into education with this budget, and yet not two months ago a 1.6% cut was announced, which is forcing school divisions to slash their budgets. This will not only leave them chronically understaffed, but programs that provide the little bit of equity that is attainable like milk programs are on the chopping block. Teachers have been in contract negotiations since 2018, and I would bet my ass that Bill 64 will undermine the collective bargaining abilities from divisions once they cease to exist. Education support staff are heroes that are having their wages frozen while you and your gang will enjoy an increase that is retroactive to April 2020.

NO. Teachers should not be paying for classroom supplies out of their own pockets. If they do, I think the rebate you meant to offer is 100% reimbursement, not 15% of up to 1000$. It is a public system. They are not private contractors. Offering a tax refund so you have yet another reason to underfund the system is a dick move and you know that. And just because it has been happening for decades doesn’t make it right. It continues to create more inequity in the system.

There is so much contradiction in everything you do and say. You continually fuck things up and then act like a dick about it in press conferences to deflect from your deficiencies as a leader. You love to call people by their first names while we must address you by your title, MR. PREMIER, in order to try and diminish their status or credibility and don’t think for one second it doesn’t go unnoticed.

The last time a Conservative government treated healthcare workers and teachers like absolute shit it was the beginning of their own demise. 17 years of NDP governance followed-because that’s how long it took to people to forget.

We have two years until the next election cycle, Brian, and trust me, we won’t forget. Your legacy will ultimately be the downfall of you own party and you will be nothing but a series of bitchy memes people use to make fun of terrible leaders.

PS: take a warm bath and have a fucking drink or something. You always look like you just got electrocuted.

Throwing shade at parents who can’t afford to “make sacrifices” to do a School Trustee’s job for free is Pallister’s latest gross thing

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“A great many Manitoba parents who are heroic in their behaviour make the decision to back their kids in their pursuit of a better life through education…….made sacrifices to make sure they were involved in their children’s education, read to their children, made the sacrifice of learning themselves…..”

These are the words our Premier chose to use when asked about how parents facing various social barriers to becoming members of school councils are going to have equitable voices with the proposed changes of Bill 64. As Dougald Lamont so eloquently pointed out, many parents don’t speak English, or work long hours or multiple jobs to make ends meet, and the reality is that communities lower on the socio-economic scale will be disproportionately challenged to find enough parent resources to take on the new responsibilities proposed in Bill 64.

The statement above is insulting at best and shows a complete lack of understanding of the struggles of many people in this province. Coming from a place of extreme privilege and refusing to see this Province through anything other than is his narrow field of vision, the Premier seems to be only capable of speaking from his own life of comfort without expressing any empathy or understanding for those who do not.

The average price of a house in Winnipeg is almost $300,000 and the average cost for a 2 bedroom apartment in Winnipeg is almost $1,300/ month. Minimum wage is $11.90. From my calculations, if you work 40 hours a week, your gross income is about $1,900/ month. Even if there are two parents in the home, working full time you are grossing $3,800. BEFORE tax.

Let’s assume that the parents have 2 children. According to http://www.numbeo.com, the average cost of living per person in Winnipeg NOT INCLUDING RENT is $1,137.22. Multiply that by 4, and add in rent, and you get $5,848.

Tell me, Mr. Premier, which part of their well being should the parents “sacrifice” so that they can do the job of trained professionals for free, because you think that we are all just lazy fools who don’t love our children? Should one parent quit their job to “back their children” and either forgo food, shelter, heat, clothing or transportation?

Tell me again, Mr. Premier how two parents working multiple jobs in order to just be able to scrape by are supposed to sacrifice anything else than they already have to prove your ideals?

On a personal level, I have struggled with being a working parent. My particular field of work involves almost exclusively annual contracts that are not protected by labour laws and have no guarantee on renewal depending on individual clients, the economic climate and funding. I acknowledge that this comes with the advantage of being able to decide how much work to take on and being able to schedule ( to a small extent) around my husbands rotating shift work. But it also means I have no sick time and any work I do not complete has to be made up or refunded. We were extremely fortunate to have incredibly supportive family (parents and chosen) that minimized our childcare costs, but most people are not that fortunate.

And you know what? We still struggled financially at times, even with both of us earning decent livings. We still made sacrifices. I worked a part time job on the weekends as a bartender just to help things along. Doesn’t leave much time for developing public school curriculum and disciplining teachers for poor performance, despite my efforts to be a “heroic” parent and do it all.

And even though I said a million times that I would have loved the opportunity to stay home with our kids, there was absolutely no way that was financially viable without tossing us into a situation where we couldn’t pay what is considered a very modest mortgage and living expenses.

We are now middle class, hard working parents, live full and busy lives, give our children every opportunity we can afford, and the AUDACITY of this Premier to insinuate that we aren’t prepared to make enough sacrifices to enable our children’s ability to thrive by doing the work of paid experts for free is absolutely ABSURD.

Some of us can’t afford to turn down a shift, or not accept a new client, or take an unpaid day off to do the job of a public education trustee or superintendent because our premier wants to throw ignorant insults at us. For the kids who are not thriving in the system, it isn’t because their parents aren’t willing to make sacrifices for them, it’s because we live in a province where our Premier is actively stacking more barriers in front of them. All while he insults their commitment as parents and gives the same old “family values, pull up your bootstraps” speech every right winger likes to throw at anyone who has ever struggled with something other than deciding which Caribbean Island to buy a vacation home on .

This has got to stop, Mr. Premier. You are way out of line, and should be ashamed of yourself and your absolute arrogance on topics you seem to know little about.

A step by step review about the Better-Education-Starts-Today report: It mostly sucks, but has some valid points

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So, after reading through the “Better Education Starts Today” report I have a few comments. This whole thing has really chapped my ass if I’m being really honest, and I’m fairly sure I have only scratched the surface of the details. Not all of the changes are as fucking terrible as I thought they’d be, and a few actually make a bit of sense. Others are terrific conversation starters.

Really, that’s what this report should have been. A conversation starter. Instead, we have a Premier with an agenda that seems to include dismantling and privatizing a whole bunch of things before he retires. The scary thing is that for someone who we know is not actively seeking re-election and has a majority government, there is little accountability and those of us in opposition feel like we have no leverage to inspire a better way.

There is a lot to unpack here, but here are a few of the things in the report that stood out to me:

“With 37 different governing bodies it was difficult to be agile and respond quickly, yet that is what Manitobans
expected and needed.”
(during Covid)

Excuse me, but teachers, parents and school administrators cried, begged for, screamed for and deserved real direction from the province about how to address the lockdowns, school reopening, lack of resources, lack of space, lack of unity, lack of competency and apparent lack of fucks given by our provincial government over the course of the pandemic. They literally just threw their hands in the air and told the divisions to figure out their shit, which left them scrambling and likely compromised safety for students and staff. But it was obviously because there were 37 divisions. WHAT SHIT.

“Parents and caregivers played an important role during COVID-19, yet they struggled to access information
about changes and to inform and influence decisions.”

We lacked access to information because our government didn’t provide what we needed. It constantly changed and contradicted itself and was confusing. The government had months to get their shit together and just did not do their job.

“COVID-19 affected student engagement and learning differently, and a one-size-fits-all approach will not work
now or for the future.”

Well, interestingly enough, that seems to be exactly what the government wants to do. Standardize every classroom. Standard test, standard methods. They want everyone to play the same game with the same amount of skill and talent, but some of kids are on astro-turf, some are on wet grass, some are in a fucking mud puddle and a whole bunch of others are almost underwater.

“Retain two boards to oversee the delivery of education: a newly created Provincial Education Authority
(appointed members)”

I am all for a provincial education board as long as the representatives are education professionals that are NOT appointed by the governing political party, but rather nominated by the Manitoba Teacher’s Society and elected by them AND have specific terms of service.

“Manitoba needs a fair and sustainable funding model. We are the only province to set taxes at the school division
level. This means some divisions collect more revenue than others. Since education property taxes comprise 42%
of all education funding it leads to disparities in funding for schools and outcomes for students.”

This is so fucking stupid and such an easy fix. Taxes in general are collected on a rate level, either a portion of your income or according to property values. Continue to collect taxes in the same manner, but divide it equitably among the divisions. Meaning that (CLUTCHING PEARLS) those who are more well off will be supporting those who aren’t, levelling the playing field. Part of the price of living in a nicer, bigger house is that you will have to help to care for the well being of others less fortunate. All in the name of standardized education.

“To improve student outcomes, the Commission recommended focusing on deep implementation of the existing
K to 12 curriculum, including a focus on foundational knowledge, skills and abilities students should have when
they finish high school”

Ok so, this is a terrific goal. EVERYBODY wants the kids to succeed and improve. You know what helps kids learn? Not being hungry, or sad or scared or hurt. Anyone who has ever worked with children should understand that children who don’t have their basic needs addressed will struggle no matter how many curriculum meetings you have or how often you discipline a teacher. Address the poverty, address the social issues, and the children will have a better chance to succeed.

Not only that, but find creative ways to teach the same concepts and skills and help kids develop good learning behaviours. Make music study a priority in early years to support literacy and numeracy while giving children the ability to focus and develop consistent work habits. Help them WANT to come to school.

“Learning environments for Indigenous students must infuse culturally and evidence-informed strategies that
embed Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing. Students need to see themselves reflected in the space
and in the texts they interact with by incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing and being in classrooms. “

This is one part of the report I mostly agree with. I would argue that this education needs to be included in all curriculum to create empathy and understanding of Indigenous issues so that we can begin to change the perception and see the value in the culture and traditions of our Indigenous peers.

“Establish a taskforce, in connection to the Poverty Reduction Strategy, to examine the linkages between
poverty and education and support the implementation of strategies to improve engagement and outcomes
for all students.”

THIS. Nothing should really be moving forward until this happens and there are clear goals and plans in place to reduce poverty in this province. Otherwise we will chase our tails for the rest of ever.

“Build a provincial system of remote learning”

Well they’ve finally seen the light have they? There are many situations where a child may need to be out of school for a while, a parent may not be equipped to homeschool and they need education support. This should have been in place in September 2020, but what the fuck do I know? I’m just a a lowly potential candidate for a community council….

“In recognition of the importance of local voice in education, Bill 64 incorporates a number of changes to increase
parental and community engagement by replacing informal parent councils with a School Community Council
(SCC) for every school. The role of the School Community Council is to advise the school principal on school
matters, including the needs of the community it serves and strategies for improving student achievement and
well-being. All parents and caregivers of that school community will be members and they will elect an executive
to work with the principal on matters impacting the school community. This will require a renewed emphasis on
engaging parents and communities so that they are reflective of the diversity of schools.”

You guys, I just don’t know about this. I believe parents should have a voice, but I find it completely inappropriate to give parents this kind of leverage over the school. We should be able to trust the educators and the professionals to take care of our children the way they always have. And unfortunately this will not be the same opportunity across all communities. Parents who work shift work or single parents with young children will find it difficult to serve on these boards. Communities that have a lot of housing instability could potentially struggle with inconsistent representation and inability to make the commitments needed for these boards to be effective. It means that schools in highly privileged and wealthy areas will thrive in terms of their voice, and those who are already marginalized will not have a strong voice. It sounds like an enormous responsibility, the work is unpaid and the folks getting involved won’t necessarily know anything about classroom dynamics, structure or needs. And the thought of parents being able to discipline a teacher gives me the fucking willies. It’s inappropriate and foolish. A parent’s voice is important, but should not carry more weight than the professionals who dedicate their lives to our kids. What a joke.

Do better, Cliff. It’s a shit start with some actual potential. Hear what the critics are saying instead of what your puppet master is demanding.

Are People Shitty, Or Just Afraid? Does It Even Matter?

man doing dab position near beach

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I’ve been sitting here for several days, between trying to get work accomplished, continuing to educate my beautiful students, and being the parent that my children need.  Notice that I didn’t say “homeschool” my children, because I am not.  I do plenty of activities with them, play music and read and try to continue to enrich their lives as if we are just on an extended school break.  They are young, they will come out of this with fond memories of a time we slowed down enough to focus on each other, at least I hope so.

In between all of that, I have been purposefully changing my social media presence to simply include a brief account of what our lives are looking like during this piece of historical significance. I have also started purposefully avoiding getting into any more conversations about this pandemic, or the measures being taken, or the possible cures or anything politically related.

If there is one thing I enjoy under normal circumstances, it is a good debate or impassioned conversation with opposing viewpoints or opinions where two people can look at an issue from two very different sides and learn from one another and grow as humans.  I think that difficult conversations are important to be able to understand that there is not one thing in this world that is entirely black or white, and that almost always we all deserve a seat at the table.

These are not normal circumstances.  And I am no longer enjoying the debate.  In fact, at best some of these conversations are making me really sad, and at worst I am absolutely horrified and disappointed in some of the people that I know and love dearly and the things they are either saying or virtually applauding.

Look, I get it. This whole situation blows. Try being a fucking musician in times like these and see how worried you are about your employment prospects for the near future.  Other industries are on hold right now.  Everyone is anxious and exhausted and 100% not in control and that produces a fear response that a lot of times makes people do and say hurtful things.

For the record, COVID 19 is a super shit thing that the entire world is having to go through headfirst, blind, and pretty much with flailing arms.  We don’t have a radar screen to navigate by here, so most reasonable leaders are trying to use lessons from history to determine how best to sail through this storm.   It’s going to be messy, and imperfect, and expensive.  There will be much economic fall out from this and we are all going to have sacrifices to make.  

Ironically, people who have less are the ones who seem to be the most understanding of this.  The ones who have the most are so used to getting their own way and having access to all of their entitlements that they can’t fathom sacrificing one thing from their hoard of capitalistic treasures in order to create widespread benefit for the health and welfare of everyone else.  And really, this is what this pandemic is showing me.  That many of us are so selfish and tied to material things that we are willing to “sacrifice one old granny” rather than sit tight and ride out this storm with grace.

I’ve read the conspiracy theories and they are annoying, not fact based, and scientifically inaccurate.  People want to push through experimental treatments with total disregard for human safety.  They think it’s fine to just let hundreds of thousands of people die and allow millions suffer because it’s “less than 1% of the population” so far. They keep talking  about how the numbers are so low and we are all fools hell bent on their economic ruin.  Talking about how our children will have to pay the price for this.

I don’t know for sure, but I feel quite strongly that these are merely excuses because they are tired of being inconvenienced. They are worried about their current lifestyles being permanently affected. And in response to that fear,  some people have a put a price tag on the lives of the vulnerable and the elderly and poor. There is a line drawn in the sand about what has value and what does not, and there are so many people that I thought I knew who are on the wrong side of that line.

COVID 19 is not a socialist plot to fuck you over.  The financial aid being given out is not an irresponsible and frivolous act that will be the downfall of the country or world.  It is a much needed rainfall in an out of control blaze of fuckery and flame.

By the way, in 1918, communities that completely shut down in response to the pandemic social distancing recommendations had better economic outcomes and faster, steeper recoveries than the communities who ignored them.

I could go on and on in order to rebuke every ignorant and cruel comment I have seen lately but am I exhausted by the seemingly never ending dialogue of selfish, misinformed people who are slaves too busy worshiping their green paper gods to have any sense of what is right and good.  I am sure I will have to continue to bite my tongue and ignore this continued dickery once I post this article as I get bombarded with more hate messages and hurtful comments.

When this lockdown first started, I had a lot of hope.  Not hope that it would be quickly resolved, but hope that we would all be able to value this “Grand Pause” in our lives and see the meaningful things we are blessed with and for the first time in a long time, really appreciate them.  I thought that parents would see this as an opportunity to reconnect with their kids, and families to actually eat dinner together again and realize that the hamster wheel we’ve all been on for so long maybe was spinning beyond our control. I hoped that we would once again start to be able to distinguish the difference between want and need and realize that simpler lives may, well, simplify our existence.  Love, connection, health, peace….I thought those things might re-emerge.

And don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of beautiful people out there doing beautiful things,  among them the artists and young people and communities working together to support one another and brighten our days and reach out to help where needed.

But for many others…..there is an ugliness that is probably being inspired by fear and lack of control that is making them search for someone to be angry at, or an enemy to fight, or some other reason why none of this can be really happening. And I just don’t personally know what to do about that.  Probably nothing but just feel sad about it.

Anyway, Bitches, Stay well, stay safe.  Hold the fucking line.  See you all on the other side.

 

Why Trump Really Cares About Confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, And Why Women Should Be Afraid

JUDICIAL MEMOS, WASHINGTON, USA

I have been watching the circus in the United States that is the confirmation of one of the most controversial nominations in Supreme Court History.  It has also been one of the most blatant displays of partisan mud slinging and grandstanding with a  pinch of rich white male patriarchy on the side.

If you are shaking your head and asking “Why does it have to be HIM?” as I have been doing over the last few weeks, I think there is a lot more to consider here than just whether or not Brett Kavanaugh assaulted anybody.

The temperature of the water since Trump took office has been questionable for women.  Think back to around this time of year, 2016, when the Access Hollywood tapes came out.   The Presidential candidate literally admitted that he freely assaulted women and had the right to do so because he was famous.   He freely admitted that he tried to sleep with a married woman,  indicating a warped moral compass. And what happened?   He got elected about a month later.

Once elected, the Trump administration got busy making sure that healthcare became less accessible to low and middle income  Americans.   He closed Planned Parenthood Clinics, making contraception and pregnancy counselling/termination inaccessible to many women, especially young, poor, and non-white women.  Trump rolled back the birth control mandate which then allowed companies to deny women coverage for birth control as part of their health insurance.

And then he made it his mission to appoint a Supreme Court Justice who would overturn Roe Vs. Wade.

As my husband asked me last night, why does Trump give a fuck about whether or not women can get abortions?   As if he really has some sort of moral objection to it?   It’s pretty obvious to me that his actions indicate that it’s not the morality of it that bothers him. So what, then?

It’s fear.

The Patriarchy is afraid of us.   And if you can retain power over something that scares you, you feel like you can regain control of it.

Trump displays on a regular basis, complete lack of respect towards women.  And I’m not just talking about the disgusting acts of mocking sexual assault survivors at political rallies, or speaking about women as if they are things. His constant dismissal of female media representatives and open taunting and attempts at insulting them during press conferences is almost enough to make you vomit.  The Senate Majority leader issued a statement saying that the reason there has NEVER EVER been a FEMALE Republican Senator on the Judiciary committee (there are only 6 female Republican senators in total) is because it is too much work for a woman to take on.   They have Thursday night meetings, you see.

So, he starts by making birth control less and less available.  He supports a culture where women are assaulted and victims are treated like perpetrators, continuing to influence the idea that women are not in charge of their bodies.   And then…..when there is no body autonomy, and nobody to support women when they are abused, and they are pregnant with no resources, or access to healthcare, and THEN can’t terminate their pregnancies….They won’t be spending their time concerning themselves with all the other political issues because they will be too busy fighting for their rights as human beings all over again.  Or they will be caught up in the traumas of their lives.

It’s meant to suppress us, and has nothing to do with morality.

Brett Kavanaugh is of importance because he will support Republican agendas, including overturning Roe Vs. Wade. It fulfills Trump’s election promise of appointing  Supreme Court Justices that would do so.  His unsuitability to the bench has a lot to do with his obvious partisanship and loyalty to the Republicans.  It has to do with his OBVIOUS lack of impartiality, and undesirable temperament.  It has to do with telling lies under oath, and a fixed race from the very beginning. And yeah…that time he attempted to rape a girl at a party and then lied about that too.

This is a very uncertain and scary time for women in the US. Your rights are hanging by a thread, and it starts here.   If you don’t think other rights that your mothers and grandmothers have fought for are in Jeopardy…..things you have taken for granted for a very long time, think again.  This President’s legacy is based on doing outrageous things that nobody believed could happen again.

I am thankful to live North of the border and to be watching in horror as a spectator, not a participant.  The US heavily influences culture here in Canada, and it is really mind boggling to see people here who support all of these incredulous, jaw dropping events.  It’s sad to see things circulating on social media that mock victims because of what they look like…..”he must be innocent because look how ugly she is” and people trying to reroute the conversation by worrying about men being victims of false accusations.

Men’s rights aren’t in danger here, ladies.   They never were.

Time to wake up.

 

 

Trump Is An Asshole, But This Gun Thing Is Not Just His Fault

gun_violence

InnerSelf.com

I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking about the issue of gun violence and mass shootings in the US for the past two weeks.  I’m sure many people have.  I’ve engaged in many online discussions and shook my head pretty much every time President Trump opened his mouth to say something idiotic about the subject.

Here’s the thing though….Trump is an asshole, and kinda stupid, and downright dirty, but the problem in the States is not actually his fault.  Sure, his loyalty to the NRA is perpetuating the problem, and he has undone some of the controls that previous Presidents have set in motion.  And it’s infuriating to hear his *quick fix* of the issue while so many families are grieving tragic losses at the hands of this utter bullshit, all while he is really doing nothing.

So what’s the answer?   There isn’t a simple one, I don’t think.  I am a firm believer that the laws need to be stricter.   The rules need to be tighter and the restrictions about what kind of weapon you can own need to change.   I have been very vocal about that, even as a member of a gun owning family.

Do I think that people have a right to own firearms?   Sure.   But with many, many limitations.

But that is only one piece of a very complicated and larger problem.

And no, I don’t actually think the problem is just mental illness either.   It must certainly be a factor in some cases, but having the President of the US go on about how he doesn’t want *sickos* to get their hands on guns is not helping AT ALL.

So, what else?   Honestly, I think that we as parents are failing our children.    Probably not a very popular opinion, but I kinda don’t give a shit.   Parents need to take some ownership in the way we have ceased to be present for our kids.  We have to recognize the lacking connection kids are making with their parents and peers, and how that can contribute to a lack of empathy.  We have to admit that in the majority of cases, both parents are working, and our children are in someone else’s care.  We have to admit that instead of sitting down together at the end of the day and talking as a family, we are working shifts, or racing from one activity to the next in hopes of giving our kids the best opportunities for success later, and not even having regular conversations with our kids about anything.  We are physically present, but we aren’t present. We often don’t notice that something is wrong until it is already at a crisis point.

People who are in pain often inflict pain on others as a a means to cope.   And that is bullshit.  How are we here?   When did inflicting pain mean killing 17 children?   What the actual fuck is the point in that?  How did nobody notice this kid that was hurting so bad that he needed other people to die?   Where were his caregivers?  Why was he allowed access to a firearm?

We need to do better than this.

Limit access.   Treat mental illness.   NOTICE YOUR CHILDREN.   Notice their pain.   Notice their tears.   Know what is going on in their lives.   Have no secrets in your house.   Listen to the little stuff so that they trust you with the big stuff.   Give up material things to create healthier relationships and time to nurture them.  We all have a role to play.   Its guns, but its not JUST guns.

We as a society need to re-examine our values and decide that our current ways are creating a lack of human connection and empathy that allow us to hurt one another.   Someone who feels loved and valued and confident is not going to have a bad day and all of a sudden go and murder a bunch of people because he feels sad.  Someone who feels like they have a support system is not going to do that.   And on the flipside, someone who doesn’t have those support systems but also doesn’t have access toa firearm is not going to shoot 17 people at his school either.   The solution is multi layered.   The lawmakers need to make better laws.   They need to recognize their part, no matter what hey think their rights are.    But the parents need to do their part too.

 

 

 

This Is Not A Post About Victim Blaming. It’s A Post About Girl Power.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the #metoo movement lately.   Here in Canada, we are not without political scandal.  In the past month we have had our fair share of politicians and influential media people who have been accused of sexual misconduct and left their job or been suspended as a result.

The thing that kills me is the consistency of the feelings the women share.   Nearly every single one of them were in a situation with a man who had power over them of some sort due to a direct boss-employee type of relationship, or the man was in a position to influence their career in some way.

Why does this kill me?    Because I find myself thinking, what girl in her right mind would put herself in that situation?   And what women wouldn’t say  what the actual fuck when some guy randomly whips out his dick and blows a load all over his office floor?   Why wouldn’t you turn down the next round of drinks instead of leaving yourself in a state of impairment that makes you vulnerable?

Well, I guess Margaret Atwood said it best.

Nothing changes instantaneously…..in a gradually heating bathtub, you‘d be boiled to death before you knew it.

The problem is that women, although we have made great advances in terms of choice and lifestyle and rights, have been sitting in that fucking bathtub for so long that we haven’t noticed how hot the water is.   Women feel like they can’t say no.   They feel like they have to accept bad behaviour.  We have been conditioned to tolerate things we don’t like to keep the peace.

We do it in all of our relationships, not just in regards to sexual misconduct in the workplace.  Or out of the workplace.

We are so so fucking worried that we are going to offend someone by being honest about what we want or don’t want.   By asking for what we need and refusing to settle.   We put our own needs last for the sake of others around us.

There is this perception that a woman who stands up for herself is selfish, or a bitch, or just plain difficult.

Well SO WHAT?

Nothing is going to change unless we contribute to that change.  And by contributing, I mean turn the cold water tap on and demand better.   Stop accepting shit because that’s what feels easier in the moment.   It’s not easier.

And it doesn’t mean that men aren’t the ones responsible for this crap.   I just feel like we have put the expectation on men to treat women fairly and respectfully and they have been fucking it up for so long, why are we trusting them to them to fix it?

They are the ones who need to adjust their behaviour, but people do what “works”.  It’s been working for men all this time.  And until every single one of us girls says Oh Hell No every single time and demands to be treated as equals, the bad behaviour will continue.

It’s not a woman’s fault.  It’s never her fault.  But it’s our responsibility to fight for something that is better.   It’s our responsibility to catalyze change for our daughters. Sometimes we just forget that we are powerful enough to say no, and that is the message we need to keep repeating.   We need to hear that we will be supported when we say no, and that can only come from changing the current culture and the imbalance of power.

 

 

Women’s Rights Are Same As Men’s Rights. Also Known As *Rights* You Idiotic POS.

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Have you fucking read THIS?

Read it.  From start to finish, including the statement from the US Senate candidate that the article is about.

If you are a Republican, or Trump supporter, or in any way have your head literally stuck so far up your ass that you cannot see what is sitting RIGHT in front of you amidst the smoke and mirrors and self serving propaganda utter bullshit that comes out of the POTUS’s mouth, read this.

If you are a woman, read this.

And then get angry.

Look, women can be homemakers or stay at home parents if they want to.   I have written so many times about the struggle of balancing career and family.  I am of the opinion that if one parent can stay at home or work part time, or you can modify your work life in any way so that your children have the benefit of spending more time with a parent than another caregiver, do that.   I am ALSO of the opinion that those are things that a woman can decide for herself, without the government stepping in and deciding what her fucking role in life is.

There is a lot of pride in staying home with your children.  It’s hard, often thankless work.   It’s emotionally exhausting some days and extremely rewarding the next.   And if you choose and are financially able to make this work for your family, I respect and support that choice.

In no way does that diminish a woman’s right to choose if this is the life she ultimately wants, and in no way does this give men in  Washington, or Ottawa or London or wherever the reigns in making that decision for them.  In no way does this diminish the world’s need for women in top decision making roles for their countries or communities.

It doesn’t make them “career obsessed banshees” and it ALSO doesn’t mean that a man can’t have a home cooked meal at 6:00pm every night, because last time I checked he can cook it his damn self.

Aren’t we past this yet? When are men like Courtland Sykes going to stop thinking that women are around just to make their lives easier? When are men going to realize that women standing up and saying we are not objects or toys or prizes to be won and manipulated doesn’t make us anti men, it makes us anti abuse?

The patriarchy are getting scared, because they want to keep women in the subordinate, supportive roles.   And its really because they know they can’t do it alone and aren’t reasonable and mature enough to share the credit and say thank you.  They want all the credit for everything even though they barely do half the work.  And maybe, they are terrified that they are replaceable by women doing a better job then they are, when the world keeps seeing the same old problems over and over again and perhaps women offer a different perspective and solution.

Oh Hell no, Mr. Sykes.

This is finished, you are right about that.   But it’s not feminism that’s finished.   Every time a man says shit like this you just poured liquid gas on a fire that is rapidly approaching everything you have known for a very long time.   And we are about to burn that shit down.

 

 

 

It’s A Gun Problem, But It’s Not Just A Gun Problem

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https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/24/1735744/-Man-outraged-by-11th-school-shooting-this-year-posts-This-is-Bailey-Holt-GOD-DAMMIT-LOOK-AT-HER?detail=facebook

I don’t even really know what to say.

Here’s the thing.  The US isn’t the only place where regular people like you and me have access to firearms.   We are a responsible, gun owning family.   Our guns are locked up in steel safes that require a fingerprint, an access code or a key (which we keep hidden) to open.   We don’t fuck around, because not only do I have children, but there are other people’s children in my house.

But why then, do we not have the gun violence, particularly in schools, like they do in the US?

Why is this the answer people run to to solve their problems?   How do we go from those kids are assholes to I’m gonna go shoot up a school and steal someone’s child from them? When did shooting people become a solution to your problems?

Its guns, but its just not guns.   Its that we are afraid to discipline our kids.   We are afraid to hurt their feelings or teach them how to resolve shit directly because somebody might get offended.  We are so afraid of honesty and human connection and empathy that our course of action has become to simply just eliminate the problem.

This is a gun problem, but its not just a gun problem.   We live in a culture that glorifies violence in movies, and tv.   We live in a culture where we feel like the only way to protect ourselves is with violence.  We live in a culture where we have forgotten how to pay attention to the signs our kids are giving us because we are just so busy all the goddamn time.

We live in a time where the lawmakers are busy pissing around trying to make the other guy look bad so they can’t be bothered to solve any of the real issues plaguing their country.

We live in a place where you can’t buy a kinder surprise egg or a exersaucer on wheels because its too dangerous but you can buy a gun to keep in your home.

I don’t know what the solution is.   Because its a gun problem, but it’s also a people problem.  We are so fucked up.   We are broken and incapable of being human to one another.   People who aren’t broken by something don’t walk into a school and start shooting up their classmates.

And unfortunately, if you wait around for some asshole in Washington to finally decide that nobody can buy guns and think that will magically fix the violence that is plaguing the US, you will be waiting a really really long time.

This isn’t going away unless we change the dynamic in our homes and in our lives.   And if somewhere along the way the people in charge of shit pull their head out of their asses long enough to contribute by toughening up their gun restrictions, that would be really fucking helpful too.

Sleep well, Bailey.

 

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