Category Archives: Community Rights

TAKING A STAND : Black athletes revive protest in the sports world

first at –
Raymond V. Murphy
December 2017

Oct. 29, 2017. After the owner of the Houston Texans called the players “inmates,” the team knelt in protest during the national anthem. Photo: Elaine Thompson / AP

When political resistance erupted throughout the country after Trump’s election, professional athletes were hardly expected to be catalysts for social change, or even on the front lines of protest.

Back in the 1960’s individual athletes expressed dissent — U.S. sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith gave the All Power to the People salute from the 1968 Olympic podium in Mexico City. Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali rejected the draft because of his opposition to the Vietnam war. They paid a heavy price. So athletes in team sports usually avoided the political fray. Basketball superstar Michael Jordan avoided political positions because he feared losing commercial endorsements. But things are changing!

Since the start of the 2017 season, up to 350 football players, predominantly Black, have knelt, sat down, locked arms, or stayed in locker rooms during the national anthem. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ignited this dissidence in August 2016, when he sat on the bench during the song, to protest police murders of unarmed Black people throughout the country.

Last season, Kaepernick told, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me this is bigger than football.’’ He has been blacklisted from the NFL and players who have joined the protest have been harassed, mocked, and received death threats.

In the sports world, backing the Stars and Stripes isn’t considered political. But when players claim Black Lives Matter or defend gay rights, owners squirm in their luxury box seats. The National Football League, the richest and most politically conservative of all the sports leagues, is comfortably wrapped in the flag and leads cheers for the military industrial establishment. Outrageously, the mega-rich NFL was a non-profit until 2015, only giving up the status to avoid revealing executive salaries.

The military connection. The U.S. armed forces has marketing agreements with most of the major sports leagues, and a congressional report revealed that the Department of Defense paid $6.8 million to sports teams for military propaganda at games from 2011 to 2015. In 2013, the National Guard paid the Atlanta Falcons $315,000 to unfurl the American flag at the Georgia Dome, and paid $10,000 for a swearing-in ceremony at halftime of a Seattle Seahawks’ game.

NFL players used to stay in the locker room until after the national anthem. But in 2009 they were ordered to stand on the sidelines. A league source told ESPN, “It was a marketing strategy to make the players look more patriotic.” It also recruits to a U.S. military stretched thin from endless wars.

The face of protest. Initial support for NFL protesters came from female soccer and basketball players, the lowest paid pros. The Women’s National Basketball Association ranks as the most politically active of professional sports leagues. Their ranks are also overwhelmingly Black. Last year, three entire WNBA teams — the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury — wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts in support of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two Black men shot by police in the same week.

WNBA players protested injustice before Kaepernick took the knee. And they still do. At least five WNBA teams stood in protest during the national anthem after an anti-Nazi protester was murdered in Charlottesville in August. At the first game of the WNBA Finals in 2017, the Minnesota Lynx linked arms in solidarity against Trump’s’ “Kick the sons of bitches out!” remarks. The opposing Los Angeles Sparks walked off the court into the locker room. That same weekend, over 300 NFL football players took part in some form of protest.

With Kaepernick out of the league, high-profile players like Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett, who was attacked and threatened by Vegas cops, and Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch have picked up the protest mantle. Bennett publicly asked for, and got, the support of white players, and has been taking a knee during the anthem since last season, and Lynch has been sitting down for the anthem this season. Protests happen each game day across the league. Kaepernick has filed a grievance with the support of the players’ union accusing the league of colluding to keep him out of football.

Billionaire bosses vs. players. Some NFL owners claimed to care — a little — about players’ free speech rights. But in a closed-door meeting about owners’ response to the protests, Houston Texans owner Robert McNair made his position clear: “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” The result? Thirty players on the Texans’ 53-man roster knelt during the anthem prior to Houston’s game at Seattle, on October 29.

At that same meeting, several team owners blamed San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York for the “crisis” by allowing Kaepernick to get away with kneeling in the first place.

Owner reprisals aside, players’ activism continues. There is no solution while teams are privately owned and run for profit and closely tied to the military.

Sports teams should be publicly owned and run, like the Green Bay Packers. Its game tickets are the most desired in the country, in arenas publicly owned and where taxpayers are not gouged to build stadiums for the profit of private owners. All teams should be required to provide health and retirement protections for players and all other workers involved in the sport.

The ongoing political activism by players and fans has already had an exhilarating effect on a public fed up with Trump twitters, and now is the time to help it grow.

Send feedback to the author at


Leave a comment

Filed under Community Rights, Economic Issues, Human Rights, Media Coverage, Political Accountability, Sports, United States Politics

Callout for Canadian Contacts!!!

To help with the on-going actions in any way please use the contact information and links from the appeal…
GM Workers 1To give a quick overview, I am a volunteer with the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee in Portland, Oregon. I and a number of individuals from other organizations, mostly in Detroit, Michigan, have been supporting the Colombian workers who were injured while working for General Motors at the company’s Bogota, Colombia plant. The injuries were caused by extremely poor working conditions and GM instead of improving the assembly line, rigged a system to illegally rid itself of injured workers.
The injured workers have been challenging GM through all of the government regulatory processes available to them for a number of years and in August of 2011, set up a tent encampment in front of the U.S. Embassy on the street in Bogota, Colombia.

GM Workers 2Since then, they have gone through a series of 4 dramatic hunger strikes with their lips stitched closed with a needle and thread and have maintained the tent encampment to this day- over 1000 days of occupation. The injured workers have received death threats and been victims of politically motivated crimes.

But the pressure that they have generated has resulted in improved conditions within the plant, including $6 million worth of ergonomic improvements to the assembly line and the opportunity for new hires to organize without the same degree of retaliation. Though GM acknowledged the legitimacy of their grievances by sitting down to negotiate with them, the company offered a pittance of a settlement- it was not even enough to cover the back surgeries that many of them need as a result of showing up to work every day. This is a significant shirking of GM’s legal responsibility to these workers as laid out by Colombian law.

So while GM has refused to settle, the workers, permanently disabled, have been unable to find employment and have been slowly sliding into financial misery. Currently injured worker Carlos Trujillo is facing the foreclosure of his home. Luckily he has connected with a foreclosure resistance group on the ground in Bogota, Victimas de Banqueros and they have gone through his papers and found that Colpatria bank (which is owned by Scotiabank) is carrying out fraud in Carlos’ case. They are challenging it legally, though the Colombian courts are tilted heavily toward the banks, and we are trying to create an international outcry. We feel that the mere evidence of this case gaining international attention will create a significant amount of pressure and might be enough to prevent the foreclosure.

As I said, we are a network of individuals in the U.S. Our Detroit team is located close enough to the Canadian border to be planning a trip to Windsor to deliver a letter and do an action in front of Scotiabank. We are hoping to connect with others in Canada who might be willing to do similar actions in their cities as well as to participate in actions such as faxing the president of Colpatria in Colombia (we have a free way to send an international fax online).

We would very much appreciate any connection you can make for us with individuals involved especially in Latin America solidarity and foreclosure resistance campaigns in Canada, although we would be more than happy to work with anyone who cares about human rights or who is interested in supporting this international foreclosure resistance campaign.

I would appreciate any contacts that you could give me. We would be happy to prepare a communique as well as a list of actions that individuals and groups can take.


Paige Shell-Spurling


Leave a comment

Filed under Community Rights, Economic Issues, Human Rights

Canada’s Middle – Betrayed by the Right and the Left

Tariq Jeeroburkhan

April 2, 2013 – Canadian politics is the highest form of Canadian fictional literature that exists in this country today. The plot and storyline are just as contrived as the actors and props who consider themselves Canadian “political players.”

canadamoneyThe story lines and agendas are decided upon, literally years in advance, by people whom the Canadian public have never seen, certainly have never elected to represent them, and for the most part aren’t even aware exist. In fact, it is the ignorance of most Canadians as to how this country’s narrative is really decided and applied that provides the opportunity to pretend that we live in a functional democracy.

For these people, and the Canadian Establishment that robs them blind as long as they think everything is okay, ignorance truly is bliss.

Today’s Narrative

Stephen Harper and his Conservative (Right) government have been the face and voice of Canada for the last five years.

Despite the complaints and catcalls from the Canadian Left (who like to be referred to as “progressives”) denouncing Harper as a despot, dictator and determining his caucus to be nothing more than a muppet show, Canadians from the middle were somewhat forced to concede a majority mandate to Harper’s Conservatives in the last Federal election, 2010. The Conservatives were not the best Canada could do, but there were no other options as the Canadian Middle saw nothing different, in practice, from the Canadian Left.

While the Liberals, Canada’s traditional centre-left party, are the ones who have created this mess in our country by leaving fifteen years-worth of political, social, and financial alliances hanging in the wind, they have had little trouble filling Canada’s third party role, which is to be the “voice of conscience” and objects of ridicule for the government and official opposition, when necessary, “in play” for whoever can rein them in.

The anachronistic role a third party is expected to play in Canada’s political storyline, amongst other blatant misdirections, is but one example of what renders the whole act out of date and out of touch with the Canadian people who can no longer identify with the roles. This has been the imposed fate on a Canadian people who are having an increasingly difficult time identifying with the political actors themselves – because we are finally beginning to realize the truth about how Canada’s political theatre operates to exploit us all.

The Reality

The Canadian people no longer see following this melodrama as an acceptable way to live – we don’t want to chase fictional carrots or worse, wait for carrots to be dangled in front of us, we want security

through all forms of independence, financial independence being first and foremost, as long as we live in a society where access is based on financial accumulation.

Therefore, the Canadian people can no longer relate to the Canadian Establishment’s script for this country – mainly because the actors and props within the political parties themselves no longer represent what their parties claim to stand for.

It’s not that we can no longer relate to what the Liberals, the NDP or the Conservatives stand for, it’s that we no longer feel that the political actors themselves, our political representatives, can relate or even care about what they are supposed to stand for.

In most cases they don’t know and in some cases they don’t care. That is how far the separation between the political class stooges, the pigs that pull their strings, and the majority of the Canadian electorate has become. Apartheidists eat your heart out! Canada has perfected it.

Canadian Apartheid

The Apartheid in this country is a mirror of the Apartheid in the US – a conscious effort to create a complete separation between the people who vote and the mob of people who represent them. The goal of this mob, which includes all the lackeys of elected representatives, corrupt civil servants, corrupt security and portions of mainstream media, is to eliminate any honest voice from participating in the formation of legislation, the establishment of national priorities, and most importantly, having any say whatsoever in the distribution of any resources, including our very own tax dollars.

This is somewhat different from the racially or culturally-based Apartheid in old South Africa or today’s Israel, where people who are of different cultures than the majority are ostracized and not provided with equal protections under the laws of state. In Canada and the US all can vote, all have equal protection under the law, only the formation and passing of the legislation and laws have been completely removed from the influence of all people – not just those of different cultures.

How it Works

Before continuing, this must be understood: The entire political class in this country, save for a few honest representatives whose participation within the system is necessary to maintain the appearance of credibility, basically work together as a “family”, regardless of their political stripes, to control the bulk entirety of this country’s resources for themselves.

To maintain this deception a highly visible and partisan, to the point of belligerent, under-class of political lackeys and wannabes must try to impose on the public consciousness and members of the public itself a belief in the absolute disdain the parties appear to have for each other. These are the spots usually reserved for the sons and daughters of Canada’s corporate and over-privileged classes and this time in their lives is meant to give them an understanding of how this country really is run so they will be ready when they are handed the silver spoon.

These people comprising the Canadian political class, who have described themselves to me as a “family” during their numerous but substantially empty recruiting efforts, obviously do not include the majority of the Canadian people in their concept of “family.” They have a concept of “resources” that includes Canadian citizens as objects and nothing more than unpaid props available for the ruling class’s disposal.

What’s most telling is the “butterfly effect” that one misused or wasted resource can have on the entire dynamic. That is evident in the appalling lack of any practical difference between the actions and priorities of the official leader of the opposition Tom Mulcair and Prime Minister Stephen Harper – the only real difference is how they sell themselves to the Canadian people through the mainstream media.

The only things that ever change is the casting for the roles that each member of the overall troupe is expected to play, depending on who is in the government or opposition at the moment.

This means that had Tom Mulcair been Prime Minister since 2006 instead of Stephen Harper the exact same legislation and policies would have been passed over that time, only they would have been marketed and sold to the Canadian people so as to reflect what the NDP is supposed to stand for, as opposed to what the Conservatives are supposed to stand for.

That is the Canadian Establishment’s favourite game  played by the Canadian political class and their partners in the Canadian mainstream media and security classes who consider the Canadian people to be nothing more than “fish” or “marks”.

This enables that in practice, all legislation meant to pass or fail is already decided upon well in advance in the backrooms and sky-lounges by the corporate establishment who remain in place beyond mandates, while it is the political parties and the individual actors that come and go with each change in government – no surprises for the Establishment business interests.

It is simply up to whoever the people “choose” as government to promote the bills when they come to term and whoever the people “choose” as opposition to oppose them.

The people have no say at all in what legislation gets proposed, even less say in what gets passed, and incredibly, for their part the political class actors and props don’t have much say either (just higher yearly incomes at our expense for their role as mouthpiece – which is what most of them are in it for).

Legislation and priorities are decided upon by members of the Canadian Establishment who pull the strings of their political class puppets to get their agendas approved. The Canadian people and their needs are rendered completely irrelevant in this reality – and so is the choice we make during elections every four or five years, once you realize that the only people we have the option of voting for all take their directives from the same corrupt “family.” This is a “family” that the Canadian people are NOT a part of, and once representatives are elected, regardless of their party ties, intentions or honesty going in, this process of manipulation continues, whether the elected representatives themselves are even aware of what is happening or not.

Most Canadians would be appalled and disgraced to know the percentage of sitting MPs who don’t know or don’t care how Ottawa really works as long as they get their paychecks and they are given enough portfolio work to appear busy to their constituents.

Today’s Backstory

Long before the Liberal government of Paul Martin fell in 2006, the Liberal party understood that there would come a point where the Liberal image, brand and identity would have to be re-made in order to strike a new chord with the Canadian Middle.

What was most important about the timing for the Liberals would be that the party did not lose any of its traditional centre support or voting base to the emerging NDP while the Liberals were undergoing their transition – the Liberal’s current search for a new leader is the middle stage of their re-packaging, time will tell if it will be a true transition.

When Paul Martin’s Federal Liberals came to power in 2003, Tom Mulcair came from the Quebec Provincial Liberals to join the NDP and their new leader, Jack Layton. Mulcair spent eight years as Jack’s apparent “protégé” before Layton’s untimely demise in 2011.

In 2011, with the NDP leadership position open and the Liberals licking their political wounds in the corner of the house, the sponsors and protectors of Paul Martin’s Liberal party threw all their weight and support behind Tom Mulcair’s bid. That support was not only financial, easily allowing Mulcair to outspend the other candidates combined, but it also comprised all the local and ground-level networks that had been created, used and abused by fifteen years of Liberal over-extension in Quebec and beyond.

There have been no changes whatsoever in how these networks have been used or supervised between Martin’s Liberals and Mulcair’s “orange wave,” except for the colour of the shirt. Why would there be? The decision-makers from each entity are one and the same and consider themselves to be the patriarchs of the entire Quebec-based portion of the “family”– the Quebec Establishment–all in it together to extort with impunity what they can from the Canadian people.

It is these ground swell networks and their finances that effectively buoyed the Quebec “orange wave” in 2010 and provided Mulcair with the funding necessary to accrue the leadership of the NDP in 2011. That’s what he had been put there for in 2003, to ensure the continuation of these Liberal networks on the ground, even when the Federal Liberal party itself was reduced to third party status and a scapegoat role.

Mulcair’s reward from his Liberal sponsors for ensuring that the Liberals lose no long-term ground to the NDP federally will be the leadership of the Quebec Provincial Liberal Party (after the NDP fails in the 2015 Federal Election). Eventually, the Establishment’s goal is to award Mulcair’s loyalty with the premiership of Quebec: where the same networks of Martin Liberals and Jean Charest’s Quebec Liberals will combine with Mulcair’s “orange wavers” to renew the control the Establishment had in Quebec with Charest, only updated for a new generation.


Among countless examples since his 2011 election as leader, Mulcair’s absolute refusal to move ahead with a Quebec Provincial NDP party, as per the requests of the NDP Quebec membership, is based on the fact the his future lies with the Quebec Provincial Liberals, and he knows it – even if half his caucus is being kept in the dark.

quebecredsquareOther examples persist. The muzzle Mulcair placed on his caucus this past summer to prevent any criticism whatsoever of Jean Charest and his Quebec Liberals was right in line with Mulcair’s refusal to support Quebec’s red-square student movement with anything more than lip service. The student movement in Quebec provided the NDP “orange wave” with its most concrete and potentially long-term electoral support, and by turning his back on the students, Mulcair did what was most urgently necessary to ensure the NDP would and will not be able to rely on the majority of the next generations’ political support at the expense of future Liberal parties.


Moving Forward

Now, with their own actor at the head of the “rival” NDP, the Liberals have no fear of losing any support or voting base while they re-brand, and simultaneously half of the NDP caucus and membership base is getting scammed. The only question is whether the Quebec Establishment will continue to use Mulcair’s NDP as their vehicle moving forward or revert to the new-look Liberals for implementation of their agendas.

The answer will be a combination of the two: Mulcair’s horde within Quebec and the new-look Liberal party on the national level, UNLESS the new leader of the Federal Liberal Party is truly able to turn the page and clean out all the Quebec-centric corrupt pigs.

The most important point to understand is this: whether their actors are wearing red or orange the Quebec Establishment will try to impose the exact same legislation and priorities through their mouthpieces of choice.

Permanent control of Quebec by the Establishment business interests in this province becomes far more important as Quebec will have less and less of a say in Canada’s affairs. And that is the future for a province whose corruption the rest of Canada has worn around the neck like an albatross for the past 40 years. That will be Quebec’s legacy and it is high time, according to the people across Canada who want the next Quebec Separation vote open to all members of the country so Quebec can be kicked out, regardless of how the majority of Quebecers feel.

Now, what about the Conservatives? Don’t hold your breath, but don’t be surprised either if some form of Western Canadian separation referendum is tabled should the next federal government revert to appeasing Quebec once again at the expense of the Rest of Canada. In more ways than one, today’s Conservatives are stockpiling Canadian wealth for the west specifically so generations of future Canadians can entertain that option and no longer be held hostage by the corrupt mob that controls Quebec politics.

As for the NDP itself after Mulcair’s hijacking is complete? The honest intention is to return to Jack Layton and Ed Broadbent’s vision for the party and to continue anew, with the Mulcair experience in tow – perhaps even returning to the original yellow colour to indicate a return to true NDP values.

Mulcair will take his inner team with him to the provincial Liberals but just to make sure the NDP doesn’t come up too strong after Mulcair leaves, Project Montreal, a municipal party in the city has been set up to accommodate the scores of the political actor mob who won’t be going with Mulcair to Quebec City but were only in the NDP at all to make sure that Mulcair had the votes to secure the party and will leave as soon as he does.


Leave a comment

Filed under Canadian Politics, Community Rights, Economic Issues, International Politics, Political Accountability

Italian anti-establishment leader refuses to endorse the left or right

Tariq Jeeroburkhan

March 29, 2013 – The gridlock in Italian politics just got a bit tighter as Beppe Grillo, leader of the Italian anti-establishment Five-Star Movement party announced he would not endorse either the centre-left party of Pier Luigi Bersani or the centre-right party of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi so that an empowered government might be formed.

grillo2The results of the last Italian general election created an equal division amongst the three parties in the formation of a government, which meant that negotiations and discussions among the parties would be required to avoid another general election.

Beppe Grillo is a former comedian and entertainer, whose disillusionment with the entire Italian political landscape, especially after the years of perceived Berlusconi Inc. corruption, led to his formation of a protest party that has been supported by a significant quantity of the Italian population who feel the same way and share Grillo’s frustrations.

The Five-Star Movement (FSM) is a political movement, newly created as an anti-establishment party and in direct protest of the reigning political entities. And much as the newly-formed Party of Citizen’s Rights (SPOZ) in the Czech Republic created under the same circumstances by Milos Zeman, and other citizen’s movements organizing for the same purpose across the world, the FSM is receiving immediate support and success – much to the dismay of those dependent on the current political hierarchies.

The next step in the Italian process will be for current President Giorgio Napolitan to meet with the different representatives and determine if there is enough common ground for a way forward to be possible, or new elections will be required.

Another possibility is the continuation of the temporary government Mario Monti had presided over since 2011 – but Monti only received 10% of the popular vote in the last election, running a distant fourth. However, despite refusing to vote in confidence of a government formed by either of the two establishment parties, Grillo’s movement has indicated that it would support the continuation possibility.

On his blog, Grillo also made it clear that he does not believe that a formation of a government is even necessary for parliamentary representatives to pass laws and legislation.

grillo“Parliament is sovereign, or at least it should be,” he wrote. “We don’t need a government for a new electoral law, or to enact urgent measures to help small business or to cut funds from the provinces.”

Making matters even murkier is the fact that Presidential elections are due to be held in mid-May, at the conclusion of Napolitan’s seven-year term and under Italian law, only the President can dissolve Parliament.

Apparently, some of the discussions and negotiations among the three top parties to form government have included possible arrangements as to who the next President should be – further infuriating the FSM supporters who see that as being just another example of democracy being taken out of the people’s hands.


Leave a comment

Filed under Community Rights, European Politics, International Politics, Political Accountability

‘I will not get down on my knees’: NDP MP quits party to join Bloc Quebecois

this article appeared at

February 28, 2013

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper took pains to rub salt in the wounds of his New Democrat rivals Thursday after a member of the official Opposition bolted the party to join the Bloc Quebecois.

MP Claude Patry shakes hands with then-NDP Leader Jack Layton in 2011. Patry, a member of Canada’s NDP opposition, has bolted the party in order to join the Bloc Quebecois. Sean Kirkpatrick CP

By crossing the floor to the languishing Bloc, Claude Patry abruptly became the fifth member of the pro-independence party in the House of Commons.

The defection is a badly needed morale boost for the Bloc, which was crushed by the NDP in the last election and has been perceived to be on political life support.

And despite the fact no one asked him to comment on the move, Harper nonetheless seized the opportunity to score some political points.

“This is an issue that has concerned us for some time, and does concern us: the ambiguity on Canadian unity that we have among some members of the NDP caucus in Quebec,” he said.

Harper said the NDP has “many, many links” to the sovereigntist Quebec solidaire — a “very strong” provincial party which currently holds two seats in the province’s national assembly.

“This phenomenon with ’Bloc orange,’ I think, should give everyone considerable pause, and I think what has happened today is really another example of this particular problem.”

For his part, Patry — the MP for Jonquiere-Alma in Quebec’s Saguenay region — told a news conference Thursday that he no longer feels comfortable in the NDP.

“Some things in life are non-negotiable,” Patry said.

He said that when he sees New Democrats talk about the federal Clarity Act, he doesn’t feel at home in the party.

He used a turn of phrase that is common in Quebec politics, to refer to politicians who are perceived to put the interests of Canada before Quebec’s: “I will not get down on my knees,” Patry said.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair insisted that there’s no ambiguity within his party’s caucus, and urged Patry to step down and run in a byelection.

Patry’s former NDP colleagues were less than impressed Thursday with his defection, echoing Mulcair’s call to step down.


Leave a comment

Filed under Canadian Politics, Community Rights, Local Stories, Political Accountability

Senator Brazeau perfect example of failed process, not person

Tariq Jeeroburkhan

February 8, 2013 – The senator Patrick Brazeau was removed from Conservative caucus this past week and I ask myself where did this go wrong.

Senator-BrazeauTo understand what pressures have been placed on Patrick Brazeau, you first have to understand what he could have possibly created and how he was seen by Canadians, whether he felt that way about himself or not.

Firstly, Patrick Brazeau was hopefully seen as a possible bridge between the voices of the First Nation Elders and the Canadian Elders in the Senate – a representative of Native voices in a house that most First Nations would have benefited from greatly had long-term understandings been established.

Instead, it seems as if long-standing stereo-types have simply been perpetuated.

By some of his own Algonquin people, Brazeau was seen as no more than another Louis Brandt the moment he swore allegiance to the pledge bearing the Queen’s name in the Senate. This anger and emotion from 200 years of built-up frustration of his people against their mistreatment from the Crown was all placed squarely on their scapegoat’s shoulders. This hindered his ability to represent their voices in the Senate. It certainly did not make things easier for the voices of the First Nations that were trying to establish seven generations of understanding with the Canadian house.

From the Canadian Federal side, Brazeau received not anger, but limited integration – never full access to the real opinion-forming influence that a Canadian Senator requires, but plenty of partners for celebrity boxing matches or other media-page events (as long as it was not the “opinions that matter” page).

A lack of seriousness encircled Brazeau on the Hill from the start. Not in the seriousness of the man himself or his honest efforts, but in the seriousness of how he was seen in the eyes of his peers on the Hill and, unfortunately, even down the line Brazeau was never accorded the seriousness and respect that are commonplace for other Senators.

And how did all this affect the man in the middle? The man stuck in between these two worlds still struggling to find peaceful co-existence? It may have just torn him apart – having to meet with the expectations and frustrations of his people on one side and the condescending attitudes on the other.

How else could he be expected to handle it? Especially when you factor in all the voices in his head pulling him down the stereo-typical path.

What will define Patrick Brazeau to me is the way he responds to his situation and sets his own path for the rest of his life.

What will define the peoples themselves is recognition from some amongst the First Nations that negotiating with the Crown, and negotiators are not a bad thing – a voice for them and not someone to be used as a scapegoat. But, most importantly what is needed is recognition from the Federal that Native voices need to be respected, not just ignored. Because the idea that it’s okay to ignore Native voices is the stereo-type that is re-enforced when someone is given the run-around as senator Patrick Brazeau was. It is that stereo-type, hidden beneath the layer of the “drunken Indian” stereo-type that people amongst the First Nations must realize and break through. Good Luck!

Leave a comment

Filed under Canadian Politics, Community Rights

Owning a Canadian…

On her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox
Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22,
and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a U.S.
man, and posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have
learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that
knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the
homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them
that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of
God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female,
provided they are from neighboring nations.
A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians.
Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus
21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her
period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24.
The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a
pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors.
They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2
clearly states he should be put to death.
Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality.
I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a
defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses.
Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around
their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27.
How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me
unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different
crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments
made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend).
He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we
go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them?
Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do
with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable
expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia

P.S. It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian.

Leave a comment

Filed under Community Rights, Human Rights, International Politics, Literature, Media Coverage, Political Accountability