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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Canadian Manifesto: How the American Neocons Stole my Country

Maurice Vellacott's administrative assistant, Timothy Bloedow, once accused me of hating Christians. This was in response to my criticism of his critique of Dr. John Stackhouse's review of Marci McDonald's book: The Armageddon Factor.

(Did you get all that?)

Though Prof. Stackhouse was critical of McDonald for focusing too much on the Apocalyptic nature of some religious groups, he agreed with her concern for reconstructionism. "There are Christians about whom even other Christians should be wary, especially those who talk about things like theocracy and Christian government."

Bloedow runs a website called christiangovernance.ca, promoting just those things that we should be wary of.

In his new book Faith in the Halls of Power, D. Michael Lindsay reveals that the Moral Majority/Christian Right, was inspired by Francis Schaeffer, who ran a commune in Switzerland, promoting a second American revolution. This time they would not be taking on the British, but the Humanists, reclaiming the United States for Christianity.

Their brand of Christianity, where the Bible is not just the Truth, but the only Truth. Schaeffer writes that 'If we accept part of the Bible as a myth, we might as well be consequent and accept the whole Bible as a myth. Why, I can have more respect for a Teddy boy who tells me that killing a friend with a bicycle chain is all right. He at least has a philosophy.'

There is no compromise.

Schaeffer's commune became the launching pad for the Moral Majority/Christian Right. He encouraged his followers to become active, starting the anti-abortion movement, as a test for the power of pugnaciousness. Presidential hopeful (I hope not), Michelle Bachmann, claims that Schaeffer influenced her own views on abortion.

Lindsay tells us that while many Evangelical leaders initially agreed with the necessity for such a movement, others soon lost the taste:
Even though the Moral Majority succeeded in galvanizing evangelicals in the 1980s, as early as 1985, leaders within the group were growing uneasy about the alliance between religion and politics. Moral Majority vice president Cal Thomas resigned from the organization to pursue a career as a columnist. When I interviewed Thomas, he told me that evangelical political action at the time was — and according to him still is — "operating in the flesh and attaching God's name to it.... It's doomed to futility."

In 1996, Thomas and evangelical pastor Ed Dobson (no relation to Focus on the Family's James Dobson) wrote Blinded by Might, in which they asked, "How can [evangelicals] impose a morality on people that you can't impose on yourself?" Citing rampant materialism, sexual promiscuity, and evangelical hubris, Thomas and Dobson renounced their involvement with the Religious Right.
(Lindsay p.56)
But the worst of them kept going, amassing fortunes, feeding off people's fears and prejudices.

Surprisingly, however, the most scathing denunciation came from Schaeffer's own son, Francis Jr.

In his book Crazy for God, he suggests that the movement is one of rampant racism, ignorance, perversion and greed.

Most of us would agree, but as expected, the right-wing noise machine sprung into action, launching attacks on their guru's son.

Everyone Has a Manifesto

Geert Wilders has a manifesto. Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist, has a manifesto (which is not unlike that of Wilders).

Francis Schaeffer himself, argued that the Communists had a manifesto and the Humanists had a manifesto, so the Christians should also have a manifesto.

A written statement declaring their intentions, motives, and views. So he wrote one, which became the guide for the Moral Majority/Religious Right.

After researching this movement for several years now, I've determined that somewhere there is a Canadian Manifesto. There has to be.

The connections between the Conservative-Reform-Alliance Party and the American Neoconservative/Religious Right movement, are too profound to be random.

So I've decided to make that the title of this particular body of research, as I organize my writings and thoughts. (Is that possible?)

The Canadian Manifesto will lay bare the war on women, gays and ethnics, and the attempts to turn Canada into a theocracy. It will also reveal how the real power in Canada has been sent South. The final chapter of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine.

Not a conspiracy theory, but in the words of Joe Friday, "just the facts". However, I will not change the names to protect anyone, since none are innocent.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The New anti-Abortionists: Young Political Activists or Youthful Vigilantes?


I Burned my Bra For This? REAL Women of Canada and the Men Behind Them

The inspiration for the Moral Majority/Religious Right, in the United States, was the central government's passing of anti-segregation laws. However, the art of political activism by the movement, came from a man by the name of Francis Schaeffer.

If we are to understand the Harper government, we have to accept that everything they do or have done, comes from the U.S. Republican/Tea Party/Religious Right.

I could stop searching for these links, and instead focus on their truly Canadian-based actions, since it would be a much shorter list. The only problem is, that I haven't found any.

The election of Ronald Reagan in the U.S., gave the evangelical activists an "in". The election of Stephen Harper has done the same in Canada, and as Marci McDonald reminds us in The Armageddon Factor, they will now be a permanent fixture on Parliament Hill.

Francis Schaeffer and How the Evangelicals Stormed the Bastille

Reagan's 1980 victory, gave rise to many quasi-religious organizations, like Focus on the Family, who helped to finance Harper's 2006 victory, by placing radio ads on over 100 Canadian stations, against same-sex marriage. Harper's rallying cry.

The Canadian chapter of Focus on Family, was started by Stephen Harper's former chief of staff, Darrel Reid. The executive included two top ranking officials from their American parent organization, and $1.6 million from Dobson himself (Armageddon Factor, p.86), who claimed to be concerned with Canada's moral decay.

However, the notion that evangelicals should play a more active role in politics, came from Francis Schaeffer, the man who coined the term, or at least made popular the term, "secular humanism".

He believed that putting people above religion was wrong, and he was determined to do something about it. So he established a commune in Switzerland, L'Abri (shelter), devoted to Christian thought and activism. (There is a Canadian chapter on Bowen Island in B.C.)

When Michael Lindsay was researching his book: Faith in the Halls of Power, he found that many Religious Right leaders that he interviewed, had either visited the commune or had been heavily influenced by Schaeffer's writings.

One of the first campaigns that Schaeffer ignited, was the anti-abortion movement, that mobilized his followers to take action. It was perhaps the first time that orthodox Catholics and Protestants united for a common cause.

Gwen Lanholt, now president of REAL Women of Canada, was part of that movement.

And as a founding director of the Civitas Society*, the policy arm of the Harper government, she has a great deal of influence with the powers that be.

Youthful Vigilantes

Brian Lilley recently interviewed a young woman, named Alissa Golob, on his Fox News North/Sun TV Byline.

Golob is an anti-abortion activist, involved in a campaign to "shock" people into joining her cause, by posting images of aborted fetuses (emblazoned with a swastika). I've mentioned this in another post, because of yet another American inspired group, the Canadian Constitution Foundation, who had taken up the cause.



Golob believes that the graphic image campaign will work the same as MADD's (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) images of car wrecks and the police's of gang violence. However, they are about self-preservation.

No doubt the signs will impact some, but most of us have an idea of what an aborted fetus looks like.

However, this isn't really about the abortion debate, but the modus operandi of this new youth movement, attached to the broader neoconservative movement.

Golob brings up the work of her American counterpart, Lila Rose, a young woman who believes that abortions should be performed in the public square, so people can see how gross they are.

That may sound a little nuts, but Rose's involvement draws attention to a larger issue.

The benefactors.

Lila Rose is a graduate of Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute, (so is Rob Anders and Karl Rove) and friend of James O'Keefe. O'Keefe was involved in the demise of ACORN, an organization that worked for the poor, especially African-Americans. The Neocons wanted it gone.

So two young activists, O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, went undercover to discredit the organization, and though their videos were later determined to be "highly edited", they were able to paint the non-profit group as "pimps".

But they couldn't have pulled it off without the help of Fox News and Andrew J. Breitbart. You might remember Breitbart as the one responsible for destroying the career of Anthony Weiner.

This has gone from political activism to dangerous vigilante justice against their perceived enemies. They want to destroy anyone and everything associated with a progressive and just society.

For Lila Rose, it's Planned Parenthood. She helped to perpetrate a hoax against PP, to "prove" that they were sex traffickers.

Where Does Alissa Golob Fit in to All This?

At the beginning I mentioned Francis Schaeffer, who inspired the Moral Majority/Christian Right. Schaeffer was a dominionist, who believed that before the Second Coming of Christ, the U.S. must be returned to a Christian nation.

Canada's dominionism, aka reconstructionism, is championed by people like Darrel Reid and David Sweet (amoung many, many others), both involved in the Work Research Foundation, and Redeemer University. (Sweet also Canadian founder of Promise Keepers)

Redeemer University, a private for-profit school, received three million from the Harper government as part of the Canada Action Plan.

Alissa Golob is a graduate of Redeemer, one of many of her fellow students, turned activists for the movement. And while she claims to be pro-life, it's pretty clear that she is just anti-abortion. She does not encourage birth control or "safe sex".

Because those are some of the best defenses against abortion.
Better access to contraception, higher quality sex education and shifting social norms have contributed to a 36.9 per cent decline in Canada’s teen birth and abortion rate between 1996 and 2006, according to a report released today by the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada.
Other initiatives that Golob could adopt would be eradicating poverty and improving health care.

But that will never happen.

The group that Golob works for, Campaign Life Coalition, also has Planned Parenthood in their crosshairs.

The Harper government has already defunded them at home and abroad.

The Campaign Life Coalition also had a hand in the success of Stockwell Day, by selling 130,000 memberships to the Alliance Party, on his behalf.

So do you see what we're up against?

Fox News, the American Religious Right and Stephen Harper. Jagged lightening, rumbling thunder and gale-force winds.

Batten down the hatches, because it's going to be one hell of a storm.

Footnotes:

* Civitas Society: Founding President: William Gairdner (Reform Party)

Other Past Presidents: Tom Flanagan (Reform Party and Calgary School), William Robson, and Lorne Gunter

Founding Directors: Janet Ajzenstat, Ted Byfield (Reform Party), Michel Coren, Jacques Dufresne, Tom Flanagan, David Frum, William Gairdner, Jason Kenney, Gwen Landolt, Ezra Levant, Tom Long, Mark Magner, William Robson, David E. Somerville (National Citizens Coalition), Michael Walker (Fraser Institute)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Right-Wing Women and Their "Christian Values"


I Burned my Bra For This? REAL Women of Canada and the Men Behind Them

The new women's movement, operating within the neoconservative movement, is bizarre to say the least. They are vocal opponents of rights for women, and advocate for a patriarchal society.

And they do this through the broader Christian Right revolution that is influencing many governments, including ours; all done under the banner of "family values" and "Christian values".

So what's it all about?

Hypocrisy is a "Christian Value"?

The catalyst for REAL Women of Canada was Liberal cabinet minister, Judy Erola, who championed women's rights.

For Beverly LaHaye and her Concerned Women of America, it was
feminist leader Betty Friedan.

For Phyllis Schlafly and her Eagle Forum, it was power.

Schafly was one of the original anti-feminist voices, who launched a decades long campaign against the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment). However, she stepped up her campaign when Ronald Reagan was elected, who himself stated, that he wanted it gone.

Reagan had run for the Republican leadership three times, but was rejected because he was considered to be too extreme, especially with his anti-communist stance.

The third time was the charm, but only because he allowed the Religious Right to handle his campaign, led by the late Paul Weyrich.

Once elected, he was forced to make good on his promises, and allow the "evangelicals" to take a leading role in policy making.

One of those evangelicals was Gary Bauer, who became Reagan's domestic policy advisor. Bauer gave Schlafly and her followers an "in".

Bauer's first order of business, after silencing his staff who were making outrageous statements to the press, was to "usurp the feminists".

Women belonged in the home, popping out babies and propping up papas. Career women were threatening the family, and children in daycare were being "brainwashed".

We get the message. But do they?

Bauer's wife was a career woman, and her children were put in daycare at the earliest possible moment. Carol Bauer claimed that she went back to work the day she came home from the hospital.

Beverly LaHaye once stated that she only felt fulfilled when she was working outside the home.

Phyllis Schafly is a Harvard educated lawyer, the author of several books, and twice ran for Congress.

Gwen Landholt, President of REAL Women of Canada, is also a lawyer. I'm pretty sure that's considered to be a career.

In fact, the women involved in this anti-feminist movement, have made CAREERS out of their involvement in this anti-feminist movement. There is a circuit of conferences that they attend, enormous numbers of publications that have to be printed and distributed, websites that need to be maintained, and interviews on radio and television, where they must make an appearance.

And most receive a pay cheque, while preaching against the very thing that they are doing.

So we could then say that hypocrisy is now a "Christian value".

Self Loathing is a "Christian Value"?

Combing through the websites of these anti-feminist organizations, you really get the sense that these people hate women. They have become so focused on raising the males to the level of domestic gods, that they have forgotten the importance of protecting, not only women's rights, which they believe should not exist, but women themselves.

When Statistics Canada released its report on domestic violence, Gwen Landholt went ballistic, claiming that men were often the victims of domestic violence too.

Phyllis Schafly opposes any money going to protect women from domestic abuse, or even raise awareness to the problem.

Feminist ideology about the goal of gender-neutrality and the absence of innate differences between males and females goes out the window when it comes to the subject of domestic violence. Feminist dogma is that the law should assume men are batterers and women are victims.
What nonsense.

Does passing laws against drunk drivers mean that we assume that every driver is intoxicated. It's about protection against those who are.

These right-wing women's movements fear that if we raise too much awareness, it will threaten their idea of the "family". It could lead to too many divorces, if battered women seek a way out.

They blame the woman for everything.

They believe that "single mothers" are a scourge, but what of the men who made them single mothers? The boyfriends who didn't want the responsibility of raising a child? Men who thought they'd found better or simply didn't want to be married anymore?

Their counterparts, like the Promise Keepers take care of that I guess, encouraging men to take responsibility, and not worry if they knock the little woman around now and then. The misogynist females will take care of that by attacking laws that could risk jail time.

They are the man. They are the god. Grunt, grunt!

What a horrible philosophy. You would think that if they really cared about "family values" they would not want to see children raised in an abusive home. But they don't care, just so long as that home includes both a mother and a father.

I shudder to think what some "conservative" women must endure, simply because they fear what would happen if they decided to opt out. Not only fear from the abusive husband, but fear of the wrath of people like Landholt and Schaffly.

So we could then say that "self loathing" in the form of female misogyny is now a "Christian value".

Love of money is a "Christian Value"?

In his new book, Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite, Michael Lindsay reminds us that evangelism is entrepreneurial.

It's big business, and every big business needs a steady cash flow, if the business is to survive.

Lindsay tells us that in order to keep funds flowing, many of these groups need "a devil". Something they can demonize. And the only way they can effectively stave off this "devil" is with your money.

Gwen Landholt, president of REAL Women, stated that Paul Martin did them a huge favour with his same-sex marriage bill, suggesting that they owed him a debt of gratitude. Their membership swelled and the donations soared "for the first time since the abortion debate". (Armegeddon Factor, p. 74)

The Religious Right/Christian Right/Moral Majority is run like a huge multinational corporation, and many people are becoming enormously wealthy because of it. And remember that as "religious" organizations, they pay NO TAXES. They contribute nothing to the public purse, but want to dictate how it is spent.

And the money flows.

Anti-feminism, abortion, the "homosexual agenda". All money in the bank. Doesn't matter what their own personal views may be, it's what they can sell.

I'm reminded of a story told by former evangelical crusader, Charles Templeton, about Billy Graham. Both men did the circuit together, but Templeton was becoming disillusioned with what they were selling, especially the story of creation.

So he went to Graham, and asked him how he could accept creationism as 'fact' when there was irrefutable evidence that the world had evolved over millions of years. Graham, an intelligent man, told him "I've discovered something in my ministry: when I take the Bible literally, when I proclaim it as the word of God, my preaching has power." (Farewell to God, p. 7-8)

He didn't have to believe it, he only had to market it.

I have no real problem with Billy Graham, and respect the fact that he was the first modern day "crusader" to remove the ropes that separated black followers at these events. But that does say a lot about the movement.

So we could then say that the quest for money is now a "Christian value".

Racism is a "Christian Value"?

The newest fundraising campaigns for many of these organizations, is the "devil" of Islam, and the fear that Muslims will out breed the white race. Not unlike Harper's National Citizens Coalition, that ran a lucrative campaign in the early 1980s, when they raised the alarm that the Asians would soon out breed white Canadians. They had it all worked out.

Link Byfield, now a member of the Wildrose Party in Alberta, spoke at a REAL Women's conference, where he sounded the alarm over a new set of "breeders".
Mr. Byfield's talk was originally to have been on "The Effect of Feminism on the Media", but he declared that the topic was simply too depressing. He spoke, instead, on his view of "Three Futures for Mankind," two of which are quite dark, while one is bright. Which will become our eventual fate?

Scene I. If Islam Prevails

An invasion by Islam will not be by force of arms, as they do not have the technology for that. The power of Islam is in its birth rate. Islam cannot be removed or replaced, and it grows by way of its large families. In Britain, there are entire Muslim communities, with mosques going up everywhere. Although Muslims share the Christian notion of family, Islam also demands submission. Democracy is a Christian philosophy and, therefore, does not exist or, at best, is only a peripheral force in most Muslim countries.
Link's father, Ted Byfield, was one of the founders of both the Reform Party and the Civitas Society, the policy arm of the Harper government. About as "fundamentalist" as you can get, he once stated that the only thing that government should legislate was morality.

Link Byfield was also one of the founders of the Northern Foundation, which became an umbrella group for Canada's far right.
"... the Northern Foundation was the creation of a number of generally extreme right-wing conservatives, including Anne Hartmann (a director of REAL Women), Geoffrey Wasteneys (A long-standing member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), George Potter (also a member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), author Peter Brimelow, Link Byfield (son of Ted Byfield and himself publisher/president of Alberta Report), and Stephen Harper." (Of Passionate Intensity, p. 121)
Harper would later say that he was kicked out of the Northern Foundation because he wasn't right-wing enough. (Hard-Right Turn: The New Face of Neo-Conservatism in Canada, p.430)

However, I find that hard to believe, since their views are in line with his policies.

When it was learned that neo-Nazis had infiltrated the Reform Party, Harper and his boss Preston Manning claimed not to know. But one, Rob Overfield, insisted that he told the Reform Party leadership, and was assured that they had no problem with it. (Report to the Solicitor General of Canada Security Intelligence Review Committee December 9, 1994)
"The expulsion enraged the Heritage Front, which saw the Reform Party's policies as very similar to, if not indistinguishable from, its own. How could a party that went on record opposing immigration policies that "radically alter" Canada's ethnic make-up, turn around and shun a group like the Heritage Front, [Wolfgang] Droege asked, when the Heritage Front supports the very same approach? Privately, spokesmen for B'nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress admitted that Droege had a good point." (Web of Hate p. 243-44))
How is Byfield's claim that Muslims will out breed us any different from the Heritage Front or the English Defense league?

Hatred has just gone legit.

Isn't it ironic though, that throughout the 1990s, we could refer to Stephen Harper as being from the extreme right, and his party as neoconservatives. Yet today, just linking him to the Chicago School, will get you fired.

However, I guess we could say that racism is now a "Christian value".

Why Can't Feminists be Christians?
"The package included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things." Stephen Harper speech to Council for National Policy
Why do these Religious Right groups assume that feminists are Godless? According to John Baldock, who wrote a wonderful book, Women in the Bible:
Apart from a few women such as Eve, Mary (the mother of Jesus) and Mary Magdalene, the women in the Bible are generally eclipsed by their male counterparts.

This state of affairs not only mirrors the status assigned to women in Western society over the last 2,000 years, it also reflects the patriarchal nature of both the Jewish and Christian religions. And yet a closer study of the Bible reveals that women were once regarded as the equals of men rather than subject to them. We read of women who were priestesses in the ancient religions of the Near East, who served as judges and prophets to the early Israelites, and who saved the Jewish people on more than one occasion from extinction at the hands of their enemies. Even Wisdom, which is described in the Book of Proverbs as the 'fountain of life', was personified as a woman.
(Introduction)
Religious scholar, Rita Gross, has also written extensively on feminism and religion.

They can be at odds but don't have to be.

So why has feminism become such a catalyst for the right-wing evangelical movement?

It's because if women want equality and careers, they won't be home making babies. It's that simple. It's why they have convinced the Harper government to write tax laws favouring single wage earner, heterosexual, married couples.

Now that across Europe they are raising the alarm about the return of fascism, we should be able to have an adult conversation about it. When I was in my 20s, I became interested in the Nazi movement in Germany, not because I sympathized, but because I was curious how an uneducated gutter rat, was able to become one of the most powerful men in the world.

It did not happen overnight.

If you remove the shadow of the Holocaust, not by denying that it happened, because it very much did and was horrendous, but simply by studying the success of the movement; you can learn a lot.

At the time, people in Germany never thought of Hitler as a dictator. When his party came to power in 1933, most adopted a wait and see attitude, not sure that he could deliver on his many promises.

They grew to like his nationalist stand and his promotion of the military. And they liked the fact that he was trying to create a true German identity. Something they could be proud of.

In Hitler's Beneficiaries, Götz Aly writes that "From its earliest days the Hitler regime favoured families over single people and childless couples." They introduced "joint tax returns for couples" and graduated income tax.

None of these things are wrong, and the promotion of family is not a bad thing, so long as you include all families. Hitler supported a nuclear Aryan-German family. The Religious Right supports a nuclear Judeo-Christian family.

Aly also points out the Nazi love of polls and their use of think tanks to sell their message.

The Holocaust was the result of nationalism run amok.

In Europe, many are seeing a return of fascism, and anti-fascist protest groups are emerging. If Canadians can't see that this new right-wing movement, is a form of fascism, then I'll just call this my "European edition".

Sadly, most Christians in Canada don't share the beliefs of the movement, but the noisy Christian Right, are the only voices being heard.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Harper's War on Women Was Launched in the USA

I Burned my Bra For This? REAL Women of Canada and the Men Behind Them
"The woman who is truly Spirit-filled will want to be totally submissive to her husband . . . This is a truly liberated woman. Submission is God's design for women."BEVERLY LAHAYE, The Spirit-Controlled Woman
One evening in 1978 Beverly LaHaye was watching television with her husband. On the tube Barbara Walters was interviewing the feminist leader Betty Friedan, who suggested that she represented many women in America.

According to the story that LaHaye has repeated countless times, she immediately sprang to her feet and declared, "Betty Friedan doesn't speak for me and I bet she doesn't speak for the majority of women in this country."

From that day on, or so the story goes, she vowed to rally other "submissive" women who believed, like her, that "the women's liberation movement is destroying the family and threatening the survival of our nation." (1)

Betty LaHaye's husband is Religious Right leader, Tim LaHaye, co-author of the successful Apocalyptic Left Behind book series. He is also a founder of the Council for National Policy, where Harper gave his 1997 speech, where he vilified Canadians and our socialist ways.

Betty LaHaye's "submissive awakening" was in direct contrast to what she had been preaching several years before. Then as a pastor's wife, raising four children, she felt unfulfilled and hated the drudgery of her day to day existence.
One very well-meaning lady said to me in the early days of our ministry, "Mrs. LaHaye, our last pastor's wife was an author; what do you do?" That was a heavy question for a fearful twenty-seven-year-old woman to cope with. And I began to wonder, "What did I do?" Oh yes, I was a good mother to my four children, I could keep house reasonably well, my husband adored me, but what could I do that would be eternally effective in the lives of other women? The answer seemed to come back to me. "Very little!" There was something missing in my life.

In my case it was not the major problems that succeeded in wearing me down; it was the smoldering resentment caused from the endless little tasks that had to be repeated over and over again and seemed so futile. Day after day I would perform the same routine procedures: picking up dirty socks, hanging up wet towels, closing closet doors, turning off lights that had been left on, creating a path through the clutter of toys. (1)
So despite the fact that her children were still young, she returned to work full-time, as a teletype operator for Merrill Lynch. This job she claimed helped her to "gain confidence" and fulfilment.

By 1978 her children were grown and forgetting her life before Merrill Lynch, she decided that she would be the voice of submissive women everywhere.

Lahaye helped to form the group 'Concerned Women for America', drafting women's policy for the Neoconservative/Religious Right movement. CWA also sparked similar organisations in other countries, including our own version 'Real Women of Canada', who have worked in Harper's various parties from the beginning of Reform.

A branch group of Real Women, Alberta Federation of Women United for Families, helped to get Conservative MP Rob Anders elected.

Members of Concerned Women, regularly speak at Real Women conventions, and Canadian members return the favour.

In fact several Conservative MPs have also made the trek to Betty LaHaye's anti-feminist kingdom, including Vic Toews and Stockwell Day.

Given this kind of support for anti-feminism, should we really be surprised that the Republicans are attacking any funding to vulnerable women? That Harper's tax policies ignore single mothers, and pander only to high income households with one wage earner? Or that the Neoconservative government of David Cameron in the UK, is also targeting women in their "austerity" budgets?

This all began when stocking footed Betty LaHaye stood up and vowed to offer an alternative voice for women, who could find happiness if they would just totally submit to their menfolk.

So kick off those shoes ladies and get back in the kitchen where you belong.

As for me, I'm experiencing a case of the vapours. Could just be that my corset's too tight.

Sources:

1. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, By Susan Faludi, Crown publishing, 1991, ISBN: 0-385-42507-4, Pg. 247-249

Sunday, July 31, 2011

REAL Women, Promise Keepers and the Promotion of Violence


I Burned my Bra For This? REAL Women of Canada and the Men Behind Them
It is a massive masculine shadow,
in a hall or crowded room,
lifting something indistinct up into the resonating night.
ROBERT BLY, "FIFTY MALES SITTING TOGETHER"
Robert Bly is an American author and poet who became the inspiration for the Mytho-poetic men's movement.

Fearing that the women's movement was turning men into "yogurt-eaters", Bly was determined to instead create a cabal of "wild men", who would seek traditional roles for the male species, many based on, believe it or not, Grimm's Fairy Tales.

The tales that portray the powerful king, the handsome prince, the beautiful maiden, and of course the witch determined to destroy them all. (He must have some mother issues)

No "round shouldered" men need apply.

Author Susan Faludi attended one of his few retreats that were open to women and asked why everyone was told in advance to bring a large stone. Bly's spokesperson explained that they were to build a monument to Hermes, but didn't want to go into too much detail, with women present.

An Olympic god. Of course. Patron of shepherds and cowherds. In fact, the spokesman, Walter Bliss, had legally changed his name to Shepherd Bliss, and his profession from army officer to psychologist.

Bly made his appearance to the sound of conga drums, and with the stance of a Viking, reminded those in the audience that he is Norse.
We no longer have images of "real men," Bly says, as the men continue the drum beat. Stereotypical sissies have replaced macho men. "Woody Allen is just as bad—a negative John Wayne," he says, raising his voice to a nasal squeak in imitation. "Men used to make models for what a man is from the Iliad and the Odyssey and places like that."

On the all-male weekend, he promises, he will bring back these role models for male edification: "One of the things we do is go back to the very old stories, five thousand years ago, where the view of a man, what a man is, is more healthy."
(1)
A former peace activist, and strong opponent to the Vietnam war, Bly needed a new cause and found it in male bonding.
By the early '80s, he was, he confessed, starting to feel less than manly. "I began to feel diminished," Bly writes, "by my lack of embodiment of the fruitful male—or the moist male." It wasn't his loss of early prominence, however, that he identified as the problem. It was his "missing contact with men" and his overexposure to strong and angry women, including his own mother. (told 'ya)

He feared that he and men like him had allied them­selves too closely with such women, and consequently taken "a female view" of their fathers and their own masculinity. He de­cided he'd made a mistake with his earlier recommendation: "If someone says to me now, 'There is something missing on your feminine side,' I say, `No, what is missing is the masculine,' " Bly told Whole Earth magazine in 1988. He worried that he was only "superficially" manly. Men had awakened their feminine princi­ple only to be consumed by it. They had gone "soft." (1)
So he began running all-male workshops to reintroduce men to "the deep masculine."

This led to wilderness weekend retreats where men dressed in tribal masks and wild-animal costumes, beat drums and rediscov­ered "the beast within." His success inspired scores of imitators, creating a "cottage industry" for the men's movement.

And one of those "imitators" was the Promise Keepers. A New Age Journal article noted that Promise Keepers combined the secular men’s movement (founded by New Age poet Robert Bly) with the political evangelicalism of Pat Robertson. And the Atlanta Journal-Constitution stated that: "Promise Keepers combines the Jesus Saves preaching of Billy Graham with the male-bonding message of Robert Bly.

Promise Keepers was brought to Canada by Conservative MP David Sweet. In 2004, when he ran, he posted on his website, the fact that he had been instrumental in creating the Northern chapter.

Women read that, reminded us of what PK stood for, and he lost the election.

In 2006, he got smarter, and removed all mention of the "wildmen" club, only saying that he ran a non-profit organization. He continues to represent Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough- Westdale.

Bly's teachings also fit well with the anti-feminist groups, like REAL Women of Canada, who promoted so-called "family values". Bly attacked not only domineering women, but single mothers.
In short, the Great Mother's authority has become too great. "Men's societies are disappearing, partly under pressure from women with hurt feelings," he writes. Too many women are "raising boys with no man in the house." The single mother's son has become "a nice boy who now not only pleases his mother but also the young woman he is living with."

To restore the nice boy's male identity, Bly proposes, he must quit taking cues from mother and "go down into the psyche and accept what's dark down there." As a key guide to the journey, Bly offers "The Story of Iron John," borrowed from a Grimm's Brothers' fairy tale. In the story, a hairy "wild man" is locked up in an iron cage near the royal castle; the key to the cage is under the queen's pillow. One day the young prince loses his prized "golden ball" when it rolls into an abandoned pond, and he can only relieve it by stealing the key from mother and freeing the wild man. The young man, in the words of Bly's sidekick Keith Thompson, has to take back the power he has given to his mother and get away from the force field of her bed. He must direct his energies away from pleasing Mommy." (1)
At Bly's all-male weekends, the "wildmen" build lairs with plastic chairs, grunting and groaning, and whatever other male sounds they can muster.

Journalist Jon Tevlin, attended a weekend of frolic and fun, run by Bly, at a Bible camp in Mound, Minnesota. On the first night, Tevlin reports that Shepherd Bliss, dropped to his knees.
"Some of you may want to temporarily leave the world of the two-leggeds, and 'Join me in the world of the four-leggeds," he said. One by one, we slid from our orange Naugahyde chairs onto an orange shag carpet ripped straight out of the 1960s. "You may find yourself behaving like these four-leggeds; you may be scratching the earth, getting in contact with the dirt and the world around you."

As he spoke, people began pawing at the ground. . . . "You may find yourself behaving like the most masculine of all animals—the ram," Shepherd said in a coaxing voice. . . . "You may find unfamiliar noises emerging from your throats!" . . . There were gurgles and bleats, a few wolf calls. . .. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Shepherd coming toward me, head down, tufts of white hair ringing a bald spot. . . . Meanwhile, I felt a slight presence at my rear, and turned to see a man beginning to sniff my buttocks. "Woof!" he said.
(1)
"Woof" indeed!

How to Handle Your Women

As men are given instruction on how to find their "beast within", they are also told how to treat their women, and "wrest the power from their hands".

Inspiration came from objects they were asked to bring from home, including a .380-caliber automatic pistol. A rather odd trophy for a what was called a "battle on the domestic front".

And what if women are not so enthused with their new butt sniffing menfolk?

Promise Keeper's Tony Evans says “I am not suggesting that you ask for your role back, I am urging you to take it back. There can be no compromise here.” .

Robert Bly is not so subtle.

At one seminar, with more than a thousand men in attendance, a man in the audience told Bly, "Robert, when we tell women our desires, they tell us we're wrong." To which Bly responded: "So, then you bust them in the mouth." (1)

People are not taking this movement seriously enough. Stephen Harper is tearing down the Status for Women, and reversing gains made over the past decades.

But the media look at all the women in his caucus, and determine that he is not a misogynist.

If we had to select one photo that would define this period in our history, the following would definitely be in the running.

A frightened Diane Finlay making an announcement, with Pierre Poilievre in a Gestapo style stance, watching on. Women in Harper's party are mere window dressing. They have no power.


When Jason Kenney rewrote the citizenship guide, he all but excluded any contributions made by women.

Historian Margaret Conrad said of the new guide, that it “represents a new kind of Canada, one that is less sympathetic with my personal sense of a progressive, forward-looking nation, but the new slant is no doubt in keeping with the sentiments of the current administration in Ottawa ... It's kind of like a throwback to the 1950s, ... It's a tough, manly country with military and sports heroes that are all men."

We are being written out, reduced to the "witches" in Grimms Fairy Tales.

Sources:

1. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, By Susan Faludi, Crown publishing, 1991, ISBN: 0-385-42507-4, Pg. 304-312

Monday, July 25, 2011

Allan Bloom Writes Harper's War on Women Strategy


(Left to right, William Gairdner, Leo Strauss, Allan Bloom)
I Burned my Bra For This? REAL Women of Canada and the Men Behind Them

I first read Susan Faludi's 1991 classic, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, several years ago, and I remember thinking that we were lucky to be living in Canada.

We had our male chauvinists, but government policy reflected, at least the notion of equality for women. We certainly knew of the U.S. 'Moral Majority', which later became the 'Religious Right', but as of yet, we had not been inflicted.

Reading the book again, 20 years later, Faludi could be writing about the Harper government and Canada's Religious Right.

When she discusses the influences of the Chicago School, and their Committee on Social Thought, she could just as easily be talking about our own Calgary School, that has gifted us with Stephen Harper, Pierre Poilievre and other like minded neocons.

And just as Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, succinctly outlines western imperialism, Faludi's Backlash clearly lays out the neoconservative feminine agenda.

She devotes part of a chapter to Allan Bloom, a student of Leo Strauss, and author of the book, The Closing of the American Mind. Harper's counterpart is William Gairdner, a founding member of the Reform Party, whose misogyny is so profound, that in 2007, he became the topic of a paper written by Donna L. Lillian, Assistant Professor of Discourse and Linguistics in the Department of English at East Carolina University: A thorn by any other name: sexist discourse as hate speech, which centered around Gairdner, and analyzed "Canadian neoconservative discourse as racist, sexist, and homophobic."
"In arguing that at least some sexist discourse should be considered hate speech, I first demonstrate that the popular discourse of Canadian neoconservative author William D. Gairdner is sexist.... Sexism, the ideology and practice of relegating women to a lower rung on the social hierarchy than men simply by virtue of their femaleness, is an integral component of neoconservative thinking, and one way that such sexism is produced and reproduced is through language"
Gairdner has actually been compared to Bloom and his The Book of Absolutes: A Critique of Relativism and a Defence of Universals, is hauntingly similar to Bloom's Closing of the American Mind.

But it is Gairdner's The Trouble With Canada, that was sold at Reform Party assemblies, that best defines Harper's anti-feminist policies.

Allan Bloomberg and William Gairdner
The establishment came down with a constitutional package which they put to a national referendum. The package included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things. (Stephen Harper, 1997 speech to Council for National Policy)
Susan Faludi writes of Allan Bloom:
Ostensibly about the decline in American education, Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind dedicates page after page to an assault on the women's movement. Whether he's deploring the state of scholarship, the emasculating tendencies of music, or the transience of student relationships, the baleful influence he identifies is always the same: the feminist transformation of society that has filled women with demands and desires and depleted men of vim and vigor. "The latest enemy of the vitality of the classic texts is feminism," he writes; concerted attacks on the literary canon from '60s student radicals and minorities pale in comparison, he says. Even the sexual revolution, Bloom's other bete noire, cast as a mere warm-up exercise to the "grimmer" rule of feminist tyranny. "The July 14 of the sexual revolution," he writes, "was really only a day between the overthrow of the Ancient Regime and the onset of the Terror."
The bachelor Bloom writes very little of the problem with education, but a great deal of ink was used to paint the women's movement as a terrorist attack on America, and his paranoia that universities had succumbed to the terror of the radical feminist.
[Bloom] a Plato scholar teaches at the University of Chicago, where he has retreated to the conservative, and practically all-male, bunker of the Committee on Social Thought (which had only one woman on its faculty): "I'm protected in my eccentric ivory tower," he says. "It's worse in the departments." When venturing outside the committee's demilitarized zone, he treads warily. "It's hard to explain to people who aren't in the universities how extraordinary it is," he says, comparing his lot to a shell-shocked refugee bearing atrocity stories: "I'm like one of the first people out of Cambodia."

According to Bloom's report from the front, feminists have invaded every academic sanctuary—a view shared by the many male scholars denouncing "political correctness" in the early '90s. "One finds it in all the various departments. They have made tremendous changes in courses. But more than that, in the old established courses with traditionalist books, a huge number [of professors] are teaching from that point of view. You study American history now, and what is America but the history of the enslavement of women! There's no question but it's become the doctrine."
(1)
Gairdner also speaks of "radical feminists" in Canada and how they too have influenced teaching, or what he refers to as "brain washing". He quotes the more extreme advocates for the movement, while ignoring the fact that there are legitimate grievances.

Instead, he suggests that men are the ones being victimized.
So woe betide us if men ever manifest the same lack of confidence in themselves as women have done for the past few decades and start a worldwide "masculinist" movement. That would have lots of fodder.

For example, men carry a disproportionate "death burden" in society. They die much younger than women do; there is a "life gap" favouring women all over the world. They are also vastly more often the victims of violent crime - than are women. They also suffer outright discrimination in wartime: over 120,000 Canadian men have been killed in battle, 150 in Afghanistan as of this writing; and a handful of women, of which three in Afghanistan. Men also suffer an unfair anti-emotional bias, and a stereotype-burden: we say "men can take it"—so listen, don't even think about crying, eh? Society also unfairly expects men (not women) to compete financially for their entire lives, and face scorn and failure if they can't hack it. Boys begin to feel this expectation in big way when they are about fifteen. They don't have the same safe harbour default option of homemaking and child-rearing as women do.
(2)
Gairdner wrote those words in a follow up to The Trouble With Canada, The Trouble With Canada ... Still. Hard to imagine that he would think that way in 2010, but his arguments provide an excellent case for equality, to free both men and women from the "stereotype-burden".

As to men being the victims of violent crime more often than women, men also perpetrate violent crime more often than women. And few women have that "safe harbour default option of homemaking and child-rearing", even if they wanted it.

What this really boils down to for men like Bloom and Gairdner, is that they are losing their status, when just being male opened all the doors. They truly believe that men are superior and resent any notion that they're not.
Perhaps what troubled Bloom was not so much that the feminist-tainted American mind was closing—but that it was closing against him. In 1970, Bloom felt compelled to flee his Ivy League haven for Canada. -The guns at Cornell," as he characterized the student uprising, drove him out. While only a very few of the guns were in women's hands, they are the ones he most vividly recalls—and resents. "That's when I began encountering the feminists," he recalls of Cornell, which was one of the first college campuses to establish a women's studies program. "The feminists started speaking very strongly.... Some of them are students who have since become well known. They were mostly women doing comparative literature who got a lot of attention."

While these women were building their careers and collecting their kudos, he felt exiled for ten bitter years at the University of Toronto. "I was lost," he told a reporter later. Two years into his expatriate post, at the relatively young age of forty-one, he suffered a heart attack. Finally, after two years of negotiations, he received a faculty appointment at the University of Chicago. But even there he remained, in his word, a "nobody." (1)
Understanding the influence of the 'Chicago School', brought to Canada by the 'Calgary School', is important if we are to understand the Harper agenda.

This is not just about imperialism, neoconservatism, racism, sexism, and all the other 'isms'. It is a total "movement", influenced by men like Leo Strauss, Friedrich Von Hayek, Milton Friedman and Allan Bloom; and absorbed by Stephen Harper and the Reform Party (now calling themselves the Conservative party of Canada).

All of these men are deceased (with the exception of Gairdner), but their legacy lives on in the Republican Party, the Tea Party and the current Canadian government.

Defunding the Status for Women, promoting male sports and traditionally male occupations, is only part of the incremental steps in destroying everything so many women fought for.

Harper likes to suggest that he has many women in his cabinet and caucus, but they are women who sit down and shut up and do as they're told. They hardly represent us.

We'd better start paying attention.

Sources:

1. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, By Susan Faludi, Crown publishing, 1991, ISBN: 0-385-42507-4, Pg. 290-296

2. The Trouble With Canada ... Still: A Citizen Speaks Out, By William D. Gairdner, Key Porter Books, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-55470-247-3, Pg. 238-240

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gary Bauer's Focus is the Harper Government's Vision


I Burned my Bra For This? REAL Women of Canada and the Men Behind Them

Another soldier in the war against American women, who helped to the launch a similar war against Canadian women, is Gary Bauer.

Bauer was with the Moral Majority/Religious Right political movement, that helped to run Ronald Reagan's campaign for President. As reward, he was appointed to the Education Department, as the "family policy" czar, and his first order of business was to "usurp the feminists" (1).

With that accomplished, the Department of Education, then directed the effort to crown the fathers. As Susan Faludi said, "If the "pro-family" movement was "pro" anything, it was paternal power". The same has been said of REAL Women of Canada. (2)

To many, the creation of a "family policy" office would suggest an office committed to helping families with things like financial aid, and medical or legal assistance, but that was not the case. Instead they churned out lectures on how the American family should "behave".

And in a further attack against the Civil Rights movement, Bauer told civil-rights leaders: "The values taught on the `Cosby' show would do more to help low-income and minority children than a bevy of new federal programs. . . . a lot of research indicates that values are much more important, say, than the level of welfare payments."

Not everyone could accomplish what the Huxtables accomplished, with a doctor father and lawyer mother, and that includes most white families. However, the Religious Right's attitude on racial issues has not changed since Reagan's time, as witnessed by their latest offspring, the FAMILY LEADER, and their suggestion that slavery was good for the black family.

However, women and blacks were not the only targets of Bauer's office"
[In 1986] President Reagan asked the surgeon general [C. Everett Koop] to prepare a report on AIDS as the United States confirmed its ten-thousandth case. Leaders of the evangelical movement did not want Koop to write the report, nor did senior White House staffers ..... Dr. Koop related to me, "Gary Bauer was my nemesis in Washington because he kept me from the president. He kept me from the cabinet and he set up a wall of enmity between me and most of the people that surrounded Reagan because he believed that anybody who had AIDS ought to die with it. That was God's punishment for them. (3)
Gary and Carol Bauer: Your Typical American Family

Bauer's office promoted the nuclear family, as laid out in a fifty-two-page diatribe, that senator Daniel P. Moynihan, referred to as "less a policy statement than a tantrum."

"The Family: Preserving America's Future" opens with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt: "If the mother does not do her duty, there will either be no next generation, or a next generation that is worse than none at all." The pages were filled with attacks on "women who work, women who use day care, women who divorce", and "women who have babies out of wedlock".

His "recommendations" to save the family included a list of punishments for girls and mothers: "bar young single mothers from public housing; revive old divorce laws to make it harder for women to break the wedding bonds; deny contraceptives to young women". Mothers who stay home, he suggested, should get tax breaks; "the more babies, the more credits".

With such strong opinions you would think that Bauer and his wife Carole, were living this desired family life. But they weren't.
It comes then as a bit of a surprise to learn that Bauer has subjected his own children to this leftist institution—for nine years. (Bauer called daycares "Marxist")

He can explain it, he says. His use of day care was "different" and "better" because he placed his children in "home-based" day care—that is, an unlicensed center run out of a woman's living room. (It's unclear how this is better: a national review of child abuse statistics at day care centers finds that the most incidents of abuse have occurred at such unlicensed sites.) At any rate, Bauer says, a bit defensively, it's not like his kids went directly from the maternity ward to the day care nursery. His wife, Carol, waited "at least three, four months" before she returned to work.
(1)
However, wife Carol remembers it differently:
"Actually, I went back to work six weeks after Elyse was born," says his wife ... At the time of her daughter Elyse's birth in 1977, Carol Bauer explains, she was a top assistant to Congresswoman Margaret Heckler; she couldn't just quit.

A lack of federal assistance programs for mothers also played a role in her decision: "There's no set leave policy on the Hill," she points out. Financial considerations entered into it, too: "We had bought a house and we had a mortgage." And then there was that other impulse that she just couldn't seem to squelch: "It wasn't just economics. I enjoyed the intellectual stimulation of the work. I loved work." She laughs. "I mean, when I had Elyse, I literally took my work with me. After I got out of the hospital, I was working the next day at home."

For years, at eight o'clock every morning, the Bauers dropped off Elyse, and eventually their second daughter, Sarah, at day care, put in a full day of work, and then picked up the girls on the way home, usually after six o'clock. The children spent so much time at day care, in fact, Carol Bauer says, that when it came time for Elyse to enter kindergarten, they enrolled her in the school in the center's neighborhood rather than their own. How did the girls feel about day care? "Oh, fine," Carol Bauer says. "They were very happy there. For them it was normal."
(1)
Like Beverly Lehaye, one of the founders of REAL Women's inspiration: 'Concerned Women for America', Carol Bauer only felt fulfilled when she was working outside the home. When she finally did drop out of the workforce, Bauer found "nesting" difficult, and was only happy when she spent most waking hours doing volunteer work.

Oh, and that "family values" man, Gary Bauer.

He was alleged to have had an affair with a 26-year-old staffer (deputy campaign manager Melissa McClard), prompting nine members of his staff to quit. He denied that it was an affair, but Charles Jarvis, Bauer's campaign manager, warned Bauer several times "in the clearest possible terms" that he was creating "the appearance of impropriety" by spending "hours and hours and hours behind closed doors with a young single woman."

Canada's "family values" man, Vic Toews, lost his deniability rights, when it was revealed that he had fathered a child with a young conservative staffer, breaking up his 30 years plus marriage.

From Women's Affairs to Foreign Affairs

"For Harper, the courtship of the Christian right is unlikely to prove an electoral one-night stand. Three years ago, in a speech to the annual Conservative think-fest, Civitas, he outlined plans for a broad new party coalition that would ensure a lasting hold on power. The only route, he argued, was to focus not on the tired wish list of economic conservatives or “neo-cons,” as they’d become known, but on what he called “theo-cons”—those social conservatives who care passionately about hot-button issues that turn on family, crime, and defence.

"Even foreign policy had become a theo-con issue, he pointed out, driven by moral and religious convictions. “The truth of the matter is that the real agenda and the defining issues have shifted from economic issues to social values,” he said, “so conservatives must do the same.

"Arguing that the party had to come up with tough, principled stands on everything from parents’ right to spank their children to putting “hard power” behind the country’s foreign-policy commitments ... "
(4)
Gary Bauer continues to work the circuit of anti-feminist, anti-gay conferences, where REAL Women of Canada make regular appearances.

REAL also promotes Bauer's new group: American Values, in his attack on "leftie" judges.

Bauer is associated with Focus on the Family, a group that conservative MPs, Rob Anders and Maurice Vellacott belong to, and who helped Stephen Harper get elected in 2006, on his "anti-same-sex marriage" platform.

But the most alarming activities for Bauer, and indeed most of the Religious Right, is their dramatic shift to foreign policy.

Bauer is a member of the Project for the New American Century, that included neoconservatives like Steve Forbes, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and William Kristol. This group helped to draft the Bush Doctrine.

They have been critical of Obama's decision not to send ground troops to Libya, instead following the UN Resolution, which does not support a "regime change".

The Harper Doctrine has no such limitations, and in fact is very specific that only a regime change will do.

However, even more alarming is Bauer's new pet project: Emergency Committee for Israel's Leadership, an aggressive extension of Christians United for Israel, who support extended military engagement in the Middle East.

Jim Flaherty's pal, Charles McVety, heads up the Canadian chapter.

This group, like most in the movement, are Apocalyptic.

So what does it mean when they not only provide foot soldiers for Harper's war on women, but dictate his foreign policy? Or what Harper himself calls 'putting “hard power” behind the country’s foreign-policy commitments'.

Yet another reason why the media has to start paying attention.

Drop the 'Tory' nonsense, and report from the Neoconservative/Religious Right/Tea Party reality.

Sources:

1. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, By Susan Faludi, Crown publishing, 1991, ISBN: 0-385-42507-4, Pg. 263-267

2. "R.E.A.L. Women, Anti-feminism and the Welfare State, By Lorna Erwin, Resources for Feminist Research, 1988

3. Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite, By D. Michael Lindsay, Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-19-532666-6

4. Stephen Harper and the Theo-cons: The rising clout of Canada's religious right, By Marci McDonald, The Walrus, October 2006