Polygamy or Polyamory?

I find this interesting:

A long-awaited verdict in the trial of two Canadian religious leaders accused of polygamy is expected on Monday.

Winston Blackmore, 61, is accused of having 24 wives and his former brother-in-law James Oler, 53, is alleged to have married four women.

They are both former bishops of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

The landmark polygamy trial is expected to test the boundaries of religious freedom in Canada.

Polygamy is illegal under Section 293 of Canada’s Criminal Code.

On the one hand you have old, fat white men being prosecuted for having multiple wives. On the other you have puff-pieces in the NYT and Vice promoting polyamory and agitating for legal and societal recognition of the sleeping arrangements. If polygamy is illegal then the marriages are not valid, so how does this differ from polyamory?

Personally I find both situations rather unsavoury, but if Blackmore wants to avoid a 5-year jail sentence he ought to grow a goatee beard, stop eating until his arms take on a noodle-like girth, move to Brooklyn and start whining to journalists that people continually judge his lifestyle. I’m sure at least one of his 24 wives has a personality disorder of some sort, she could be shoved to the front along with her kids to get the liberals on board. Just get her to dye her hair green and wear an “I’m With Her” badge, she’ll be featured in a column within a week.

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Four Stories for a Saturday

Four completely unrelated stories caught my attention today.

The first:

Michelle Obama has launched a fierce defence of the healthy eating initiatives she championed as first lady.

In thinly-veiled criticism of the policies of the new administration, Mrs Obama told the audience: “This is where you really have to look at motives, you know.

“You have to stop and think, why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you? And why is that a partisan issue? Why would that be political? What is going on?”

You know, perhaps American parents don’t want to be told what to feed their children, adopting the rather old-fashioned view that maybe they are best placed to decide? And perhaps they don’t like being lectured by a woman whose sole reason for anyone knowing her name is that she happened to be the wife of a president whose policies were soundly rejected at the last election. Would it have been too much to ask that she maintain a dignified silence once her husband left office?

While in the White House, Mrs Obama championed the “Let’s Move” campaign, which encourages exercise and healthy eating among young people.

She being uniquely positioned to decide what constitutes healthy eating for millions of people, of course.

The second:

At least 20 people have died after a tourist bus fell from a cliff near the southern Turkey seaside resort of Marmaris.

Another 11 were injured when the driver lost control of the minibus and ploughed through a crash barrier.

Local media said no foreign tourists were among the passengers.

About 40 people were on board, according to Amric Cicek, governor of Mugla province, who suggested the brakes may have stopped working.

But the mayor of Marmaris, Ali Acar, told Turkish newspaper Hurriyet: “I think that the accident was a result of driver error.”

This is a reminder that, for all of Turkey’s recent economic growth and the emergence of a decent airline, its roads remain dangerous places. The government really ought to do something about this, if it can find time.

The third:

Prime Minister of Canada and internet darling Justin Trudeau has shown the rest of the world’s leaders how to do publicity once again – by bringing his three-year-old to the office.

Of course, it’s not the first time the 45-year-old internet-savvy politician has caught global attention.

The liberal politician has been applauded by his supporters for supporting Syrian refugees, marching at a gay pride parade, and openly declaring himself a feminist.

Naturally, the BBC fails to realise that these antics are precisely why much of the world think him a laughing stock.

“So precious … I’m old enough to remember seeing photos released of you and your dad [former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau] when you were little,” one Facebook commenter volunteered.

Would that be the one where he’s being held by family hero Fidel Castro?

If only we were able to get the view on Trudeau from Cuban Facebook commenters.

The fourth:

A Mexican businesswoman who headed a group of 600 families searching for their disappeared relatives has been killed.

Miriam Rodríguez Martínez was shot in her home in the town of San Fernando in Tamaulipas state.

She was known for successfully investigating the kidnap and murder of her daughter by a local drug cartel, the Zetas.

The information she gave the police ensured the gang members were jailed.

A brave, brave woman indeed.

The group she established was part of a wider trend which mushroomed after the October 2014 disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa in the southwestern state of Guerrero.

Frustrated by a lack of government help, groups of families began their own searches for people who had disappeared in their areas, taking courses in forensic anthropology, archaeology, law, buying caving equipment and becoming experts in identifying graves and bones.

There are now at least 13 of these groups across the country.

One of the points overlooked by those who oppose Trump’s immigration policies is that the current practice of allowing Mexicans to move to the USA and remit monies back home is that it drastically reduces the pressure on the ruling elites to sort the place out. The USA acts as the safety valve for Mexican governmental fecklessness, and short of an incentive to do anything other than keep themselves wealthy and protected, the country is rapidly becoming a failed state. The fact that relatives of murdered citizens have had to form their own forensic teams because the police can’t or won’t do the job shows just how bad things have got. When the Mexican government started squawking about the wall, Trump should have slapped their president around the face with a strong right hand (or perhaps got Mattis to do it) and put these feckless parasites firmly in their place. Although there is the argument that American drug laws is what has created this situation, but if that’s the case then let’s hear the Mexicans make it.

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Suicides in Canada

The BBC attempts to tackle the subject of young women committing suicide in Canada, and does so in typically garbled fashion. Let’s take a look.

Suicide amongst young women is on the rise. When it comes to mental health, is gender the elephant in the room?

That’s a good question. Let’s see how the BBC answers it.

Across the country, suicide amongst teen girls and young women is on the rise, while male suicide in the same age group declines, according to data released by Statistics Canada on Thursday.

Health experts have long been concerned with the prevalence of suicide amongst young men. It has been called a “silent epidemic” and for good reason. In 2013, men were three times as likely to kill themselves as women, the latest data shows.

But while men are still much more likely to kill themselves in Canada, young women are starting to catch up. Over the past decade, the suicide rate amongst girls has increased by 38%, while male suicide decreased by 34%.

So while men have been killing themselves at three times the rate of women for decades, it becomes a “gender elephant in the room” if the statistics start to converge slightly? Uh-huh.

The growth has helped level out the gender-gap, with women accounting for 42% of all suicide deaths under 20 in 2013. In 2003, they accounted for just over a quarter.

Hmmm. Some absolute numbers would be good here. Has the number of male suicides stayed the same, or dropped? And why cite data from 2013 in an article published in 2017. Updated suicide data can’t be that hard to get hold of. Some proper journalism would be nice.

A 2012 report by the Public Health Agency of Canada urged researchers to look at why suicide had declined in teen boys since the 1980s, but not in girls. With the government expected to earmark considerable funds for mental health in the next annual budget, due in mid-March, health experts are wondering if Canada needs to rethink the role of gender in suicide prevention.

If men are offing themselves, then fuck them and fuck the patriarchy. If the female suicide stats start to pick up a notch, then health experts suddenly become interested in the role of gender. Somebody wants to get their mitts on those funds, don’t they?

“It definitely warrants some really dedicated attention to why there has been such an increase, particularly when we are seeing children and youth dying by suicide,” says Renee Linklater, director of Aboriginal community engagement at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

Ms Linklater says she’s been concerned about growing suicide rates amongst young indigenous women for some time, and limited data suggests they are more vulnerable than non-indigenous girls. Data obtained by the BBC for 2015 shows that indigenous women are more likely to kill themselves than non-indigenous women.

Could that be cultural, do you think? Surely this is more worthy of further research than the role of gender?

Women made up more than half of all indigenous suicides in 2015, compared to the non-aboriginal population where women made up just one quarter of all suicides. Between 2006 and 2015, the number of female suicides climbed 1.5 times faster in indigenous women than it did for non-indigenous women.

So being an indigenous woman sucks big time and it’s getting worse. Is this more related to gender or culture or a combination of both? Either way, I think the BBC has got its headline wrong.

Ms Linklater says we should be paying more attention to this disparity, and the affects that gender and colonialism have on young indigenous women, whom she says experience “double oppression”.

Colonialism? That doesn’t explain the increase, does it? Or is the colonisation of Canada’s First Nation peoples proceeding apace and nobody told me?

Researchers in Canada and abroad are not sure why suicide is rising amongst young women. Some have suggested it could be because women are using deadlier methods. Others say it might be because coroners are reporting female suicide more.

Random bloggers in Paris suggest filling their heads with third-wave feminist garbage leaving them confused, conflicted, and depressed might have something to do with it.

In Canada, women make three to four times as many suicide attempts as men do. Studies indicate that there is a strong link between a history of sexual abuse and suicide attempts.

If this paragraph appeared a little earlier it would imply that indigenous girls are more frequently subject to sexual abuse. “Let’s not put that there,” said the BBC editor.

Yet gender is rarely discussed when we talk about youth suicide, says Ms Oockay, who works in suicide prevention in Woodstock.

That’s because it’s mainly been men who kill themselves, and who gives a fuck about them?

Arielle Sheftall, a researcher at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the United States, says that more research is needed into the role that gender and age play in suicide prevalence.

“Research has shown that the age of puberty is getting younger, and the age of onset for psychiatric disorders especially depression, is highly correlated with the age of puberty,” says Ms Sheftall.

Women go through puberty earlier than men, yet is is men who are killing themselves at far higher rates. Still, let’s give Ms Sheftall some taxpayer funds anyway.

Another culprit might be sexism, research into suicide in developing countries suggests. Dr Suzanne Petroni, the senior director for gender, population and development at the International Center for Research on Women, believes that lack of opportunity and rigid gender roles may be to blame for the high rate of young female suicides in developing countries, like India.

Eh? Have gender roles become more or less rigid in places like India over the past few decades? My guess would be less so. In which case, women are more likely to kill themselves as traditional gender roles are relaxed. Would any feminist like to comment on that?

“Rampant sexism, harmful gender norms, perceptions of girls not being valued as anything other than a wife and a mother, very likely is contributing to mental-health problems and suicide,” she told the BBC.

Maybe, but what this has to do with ultra-liberal Canada is anyone’s guess.

These harmful stereotypes, or “visions of what they should be, but aren’t”, have only been amplified by the spread of social media around the globe, Dr Petroni says.

It’s not every day you hear a “senior director for gender, population and development at the International Center for Research on Women” parroting the lines of ultra-conservatives regarding the dangers of exposing “traditional” women to the depravities of the West.

Although Woodstock is far from the developing world, this explanation rings true to Ms Ookcay, who teaches suicide prevention.

“Our youth live in a world that the pressure and stress is way different than it ever has been. I see high levels of perfectionism and the need to be on it all the time, and be the best at everything you do,” she told the BBC.

So Millenials in Ontario are just as oppressed as peasant women in Burkina Faso, only differently. Right.

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Canada Needs to Grow Up

From the BBC:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken a stand on social media against the temporary US ban on refugees and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

One day I hope Canada and Canadians will be able to define themselves on who they are, rather than who they are not. Judging by this statement and others posted by Canadians on social media, this seems beyond them.

Mr Trudeau underscored his government’s commitment to bringing in “those fleeing persecution, terror & war”.

This is the man who praised Fidel Castro and said absolutely nothing when Obama terminated the ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy which offered sanctuary to Cubans fleeing Communist repression.

Within hours, Mr Trudeau’s tweets had been shared more than 150,000 times.

“Welcome to Canada” also became a trending term in the country.

Mr Trudeau, who gained global attention for granting entry to nearly 40,000 Syrian refugees to Canada over the past 13 months, also sent a pointed tweet that showed him greeting a young refugee at a Canadian airport in 2015.

So far Canadians seem happy with this man-child and his immigration policies. At least, that’s what social media and the mainstream press would have us believe. But then again, I wonder if millions of ordinary Canadians are quietly seething about this and we’ll be seeing Trudeau out on his arse at the next election. He appears to have been elected largely on his looks the first time around.

For all their self-righteous posturing about tolerance, diversity, and their not being like those ghastly Americans they’ve just had a 27 year old French-Canadian social studies student shoot up a mosque in Quebec. Somebody up there needs to start governing properly rather than striking poses at the United States, and that will involve a mature discussion on immigration, its benefits, and drawbacks. Under their current PM I doubt this is even possible.

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They suffer for our benefit

Staying with the BBC and its obsession with Trump, we get this article:

Sexual harassment and even violence against female parliamentarians is widespread, a report from a global parliamentary grouping suggests.

Three sentences later we get this, under the subheading “Rape Threats”:

The report from the IPU comes at a time when US Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comments about his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and his alleged sexual harassment of other women over the years, have been making headlines.

Cute, eh?  Let’s mention Donald Trump – who has not had any complaints of sexual misconduct levelled against him by any female politician – after “rape threats”.  How very clever!  Naturally, the BBC fails to mention Hillary’s husband and that trifling incident involving a White House intern.

It reveals some of the abuse female politicians around the world face while fulfilling their roles in elected positions.

A European member of parliament reported receiving more than 500 threats of rape on Twitter in the space of just four days.

Appalling.  But just for balance, how many rape threats did she get that weren’t via the medium of Twitter?

“In my part of the world… there is all sorts of language that is associated with female parliamentarians,” says Prof Nkandu Luo, currently minister of gender in Zambia.

She recalls a male member of parliament publicly recounting that he liked to go to parliament because “all the women are there and I can just point and choose which one I want”.

The remarks, Professor Luo said, were reported in the press as something amusing and acceptable. “It’s the way they demean women.”

Careful! All this talk of sexism and misogyny among parliamentarians in Africa might distract from the implication that Trump is a rapist!

This is particularly good:

Meanwhile Senator Salma Ataullahjan of Canada said she at first thought the survey would not be relevant to her. “I said, I’m from Canada, I don’t need to take part in this.”

But answering the survey questions was, she said, enlightening. “You know as parliamentarians, we go out, we meet people, and I remember this one gentlemen getting up very close to me.”

The ‘gentlemen’ went on to make suggestive comments to Sen Ataullahjan, which at the time she brushed off.

But recounting the incident for the survey brought it home that she had experienced inappropriate, even threatening, behaviour.

It took a survey to drop through her letterbox before she realised she’d been subject to threatening behaviour?  Wasn’t quite a knife at the throat then, was it?  This is up there with “Have you had an accident at work? Are you sure? Think back. Think hard.”

Now, she says, she has become much more open with her male colleagues.

“We have to change the mindset about what is acceptable language, and what is acceptable behaviour and what is not,” she says.

Here’s a tip: try dealing with inappropriate behaviour when it occurs, rather than bleating to the media after a survey jogs your memory.

Just 55 female MPs took part in the survey, but they represent parliaments from across the globe.

55 women took part? Is that all? Did they ask Sarah Palin?

Of the women who took part in the survey, 65.5% said they had been the target of insults using sexual language and imagery.

That would be 36 women, then.  Globally.  The conclusion:

The report concludes that the sheer pervasiveness of sexual discrimination, from humiliating language to harassment to real violence is preventing many elected women from carrying out their duties in freedom and safety.

Uh-huh.

“So if the elite are victims of sexual aggression, what about the underprivileged?”

Such as White House interns?

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Oh look, a squirrel!

Yesterday I read two stories which, when read one after the other, show an interesting contrast.

The first is from the BBC, which continues its core policy of using money forcibly lifted from the pockets of British citizens to campaign for Hillary Clinton by relentlessly posting negative articles about Donald Trump:

In Vancouver, the developer of a new Trump Tower has been under pressure for months to drop the Republican presidential candidate’s name from the project. Meanwhile, the Trump Tower in Toronto is the subject of a lawsuit after facing years of controversy.

Squabbles over real estate in provincial Canada deserve front-page billing on the BBC’s website, apparently.

Donald Trump’s controversial run for US president is having an impact on his businesses in Canada and knock-on effects for those who have partnered with his brand.

The opening date for the Vancouver hotel has been delayed until 2017, well after November’s US election. A contest offering a chance to meet with the Trump family for the grand opening caused a stir.

Caused a stir!  Oh my!  Pass me my smelling salts, Maude!

Across the country, the Toronto building, which opened in 2012, has been the target of a lawsuit by small investors who claim they were misled into buying into the project. Its developer, Talon Development Inc, has tried to remove the Trump name from the troubled hotel and condominium complex.

The story is similar in other countries.

Is it?  Let’s see.

In Dubai, a firm building a golf complex with Mr Trump removed his name and image from the property. In Turkey, the developers of Trump Towers Istanbul have tried to distance themselves from the Republican hopeful. And there have been protests outside Trump buildings in the US.

Only at the BBC is a lawsuit involving possible fraud “similar” to protests about somebody’s opinions.

An Angus Reid Institute poll released in December indicated that 56% of Canadians supported having the Trump brand dumped from the two Canadian towers.

Presumably 44% of Canadians responded with “What the fuck has this got to do with me?”

Brent Toderian, a Vancouver-based city planner, was the first to openly oppose Trump branding on the 63-storey Canadian tower, designed by famed architect Arthur Erickson to have a distinctive 45-degree twist as it rose into the sky.

“We’ve taken a building that is the second-tallest in the skyline, carefully planned at least in part by one of our most revered Canadian architects – a very elegant piece of architecture for our skyline – and retroactively duct-taped Trump’s name to it,” he said in an interview.

So we have a Vancouver-based city planner who appears to be unaware of how the naming rights of buildings work.  Isn’t Canada the place all those super-clever Americans are going to flee to in the event of a Trump Presidency?

The luxury hotel and condominium tower in downtown Vancouver is owned by the Holborn Group, a private real-estate developer which partnered with the Trump brand in 2013.

Why should the wishes of mere owners of a development override the concerns of a random city planner?  Democracy has failed, people!

The project is licensed to use the Trump name and brand – including for Canada’s first Mar-a-Lago Spa by Ivanka Trump – and will be managed by the real estate magnate’s company, which is also overseeing the building’s interior design.

Why, it’s almost as if the Trump brand adds value.

In December, Mr Toderian renewed his call for the Holborn Group to distance themselves from the Trump name. He was joined by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who said the brand had no place on the city’s skyline.

The owners of that skyline beg to differ:

The Holborn Group did not respond to requests for comment but in previous statements has noted that the still-unfinished building will create some 300 new jobs.

300 jobs is a small price to pay for looking virtuous.

“Donald Trump’s hateful positions and commentary remind us all of much darker times in our world’s past – and it is incumbent upon all of us to forcefully challenge hatred in all of the ways that it confronts us,” he wrote in a letter to the developer.

Translation from whining Canadian into other forms of English: “I don’t like Trump and everyone should be forced to agree with me.”

Fortunately there is somebody up there with some sense:

“Holborn, a company that has contributed immensely to the growth of Vancouver, is not in any way involved in US politics. As such, we would not comment further on Mr Trump’s personal or political agenda, nor any political issues, local or foreign,” CEO Joo Kim Tiah said in December.

And yet more sensible folk are voting with their feet:

Despite the fuss, nearly 10,000 people have applied to work at the Vancouver Trump Tower, according to the hotel’s general manager, and Holborn says it has sold all the luxury condos in the building.

Presumably Vancouver-based city planners don’t rub shoulders with the types that work in hotels very often.  Apart from when snapping fingers at them.

In Toronto, project developer Talon was close to a deal to sell the troubled 65-storey hotel and condominium complex at the heart of the city’s financial district earlier this year. However, Toronto’s Trump Tower is currently off the market.

Talon chairman Alex Shnaider was also trying to have the Trump name removed from the building, at one point seeking to do so through arbitration. Those efforts also appear to have stalled. A lawyer for Talon refused to comment other than to note there is currently no lawsuit between the owners of the hotel and Mr Trump.

Emphasis mine.  The BBC doesn’t give up easily, though:

The building is the subject of a lawsuit by disgruntled buyers who lost money after investing in the property, in one instance almost 1m Canadian dollars ($750,000; £613,000).

I’m listening.

The Trump Organization does not have an ownership stake in the building but it operates and manages the hotel and licenses the Trump name to the complex for a fee.

Oh.  So the upshot of this entire article is that a building which Trump has no ownership stake in is the subject of a lawsuit in provincial Canada, and a Vancouver-based city planner doesn’t like a development that 10,000 people want to work at.

Why is this on the front page of the BBC again?  That was a rhetorical question.

The second piece is a comment over at Samizdata by “bobby b”:

A few weeks ago, I listened to a radio interview of a Democrat operative talking about the Dem National Committee e-mails that had been leaked, which showed that the DNC screwed Bernie Sanders, that the DNC and the press were working hand in hand, and that an awful lot of campaign money and influence was coming in from foreign sources.

His, and his interviewer’s, and their call-in commenters’, take on the situation was that they should be more careful with their e-mail and comm security.

Not a word of concern for the lies and deception that the e-mails made evident. Not a word about how our government is supposed to work versus the bastardization of a system they had created. Not a word about the felonies committed in allowing foreign money to affect our election.

No, their take was, we have to lie more securely.

Rampant corruption at the very highest political offices across the land is actively ignored by our contemporary media.  Instead they distract us with non-stories about people we aren’t supposed to like.

In a few weeks we’ll find out whether the mainstream media is still relevant.  Whatever the result of the election, I think they are damaged beyond repair and their remaining time is very limited.

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