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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 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."
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.
"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.


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."
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.
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.


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.
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."
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 ... "
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.


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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

From Forlorn to Forbearing: Feminism Never Stood a Chance

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

We all remember the scene in When Harry Met Sally, when Meg Ryan shows Billy Crystal how easy it is for a woman to fake an orgasm, and another patron declares "I'll have what she's having".

It was probably the funniest scene in the movie, but not everyone was laughing.

Two years before the movie's release, in November of 1987, Shere Hite published the last installment of her national survey on sexuality and relationships, Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, and the reaction from the male population was immediate.

The media, unable to dispute the findings, since they were testimonials from flesh and blood women, instead attacked Hite personally, as a man hating flake.

I doubt many read all 922 pages, representing the views of 4,500 women, so instead thumbed through the summaries, questioning the numbers.

They also accused Hite of only distributing her questionnaires through women's rights groups, but that was not the case. Hite sent her surveys through a wide range of women's groups, including church societies, social clubs, and senior citizens' centers. And while their views were dismissed as "man-bashing diatribes", they sounded more forlorn than vengeful.

So why the uproar?

Says Susan Faludi, in her book Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women: "the overheated denunciations of Hite's book suggest an emotion closer to fear than fury."

Hite revealed that women were more likely to experience orgasm through masturbation than intercourse, and panic set in. Test-tube babies were already a reality, so the fear for some men would be that they might be deemed to be obsolete.

A ridiculous assumption, but one shared by many just the same. Canadian neoconservative Link Byfield, spoke at a REAL Women of Canada conference, relating his fears"
To populate the nation, society has implemented the ideas set out in Aldous Huxley's book, "Brave New World." For example, we are increasingly playing with providing babies in nurseries without mothers and fathers and families, just as predicted by Mr. Huxley ...
Fortunately, most men don't really feel that way, enjoying more intimacy in an equal partnership, but it helps to reveal some of the fears, neocon males have of "radical feminists".

If women can support themselves, pleasure themselves, have and raise children themselves, where do they fit in? Will they have to audition for a place in society that they were once guaranteed, simply because of their maleness?

The Strange Case of Srully Blotnick

Eventually Shere Hite was forced to leave the United States and become a German citizen, she was so vilified.

And yet another expert on women, who was releasing the results of his survey, was glorified by the media. Srully Blotnick, a columnist for Forbes Magazine.
Blotnick asserted that his twenty-five-year study of 3,466 women proved that achieving career women are likely to end up without love, and their spinsterly misery would eventually undermine their careers as well. "In fact," he wrote, "we found that the anxiety, which steadily grows, is the single greatest underlying cause of firing for women in the age range of thirty-five to fifty-five." He took some swipes at the women's movement, too, which he called a "smoke screen behind which most of those who were afraid of being labeled egomaniacally grasping and ambitious hid."
Dr. Blotnick appeared everywhere and was quoted often. And his testimonials were not deemed to be female-bashing diatribes, but legitimate views of working women.

And Forbes magazine paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce still more studies about these "anxiety-ridden careerists". But there was a problem.

First off, if Blotnick had really been compiling his data for 25 years, using interviews with women, as he claimed; it would have meant that he had began when he was only 17. How many women are going to open up to a 17-year-old boy, about their anxieties over working outside the home, while still being expected to perform 80% of the domestic duties.

Or about their sexuality?

The biggest problem, however, was that Dr. Blotnick was not a doctor at all. His degree had been acquired through a correspondence course, and was not recognized anywhere. When the news broke, Forbes had him remove the "Dr." from his byline, but continued to print his columns.

And the media continued to quote him everywhere.

Why Was Forbes so Interested?

Eventually Forbes magazine did fire Blotnick, after a criminal investigation for practicing psychology in New York, without a license.

But why was a business rag so concerned with women's rights, that they poured so much money into this man's "research"? Keeping him on even after learning that he had lied about his credentials?

To understand the motivation of Forbes magazine is to understand it's editor-in-chief, Steve Forbes, a card carrying member of the Neoconservative movement.

Grandson of the magazine's founder, Forbes used the publication to endorse Ronald Reagan, and when Reagan became president, he brought Forbes into his administration as head of the Board of International Broadcasting.

Steve Forbes took a run at the presidency on his own, but failed. However, he continued to work behind the scenes, in many think tanks and AstroTurf groups, the most famous being the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy

Alykhan Velshi, Jason Kenney's former puppet master, was plucked from there to help put words into Kenney's mouth, and keep the boys in the backroom "election ready". However, now that Harper has a majority, Velshi has left, his work here apparently done.

AEI also helped to draft the "Clash of Civilizations" foreign policy, which according to Lawrence Martin in his book Harperland, is something that Stephen Harper has embraced.

The American Right has been the driving force behind Canada's movement for decades.

In fact, Steve Forbes was key adviser to Christie Todd Whitman's 1993 run for New Jersey governor, transforming her from "plain old Christie Whitman to a Christian Coalition Republican" (CNN Crossfire, January 20, 2000).

He brought on board some Republican heavyweights, including strategist Mike Murphy, who drafted a "common sense" revolution, with the promise of a 30 percent cut in New Jersey's income tax. As a result she beat out the incumbent Governor James Florio.

So successful was the campaign that the Neocons decided to replicate it, transforming plain old Mike Harris into "a *Christian Coalition Republican".
Whitman defeated a popular Democratic incumbent, Jim Florio, primarily on the basis of a Murphy-inspired campaign using a "common sense" slogan and pledging a 30 per cent tax cut. Since her victory, the activities of her government in implementing this plan had been carefully charted by Harris aide Bill King. In March 1994, Harris actually travelled to New Jersey to meet Whitman and discuss strategy. Two months later, the "Common Sense Revolution" with its 30 per cent tax cut was unveiled. (Hard Right Turn: The New Face of Neo-Conservatism in Canada, Brooke Jeffrey, Harper-Collins, 1999, ISBN: 0-00 255762-2 4, Pg. 166)
The Undeclared War Against American Women, is now the well documented War Against Canadian Women.

And the American neoconservative movement has expanded it's mandate, making Canada Chapter Twenty-two of The Shock Doctrine.

They didn't need a bloody coup to achieve their goals, only a willing partner, and no one was more willing than Stephen Harper.

When is our media going to wake up? The evidence is so overwhelming, that it is hitting them between the eyes, knocking them on the head and kicking them in the groin. Yet they still choose to ignore it, preferring instead to believe that Harper was sprinkled with happy powder and instantly turned into a "Tory".

A miracle only rivalled by those witnessed at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.

Another man behind REAL Women of Canada was the late Ted Byfield. When Harper cancelled the Court Challenges program, Byfield wrote under the headline: Canadian Tories pull rug from feminist-gay revolution (World News Net, September 30, 2006)
Whether the challenges program is gone for good is, of course, still in doubt. It survived its last demise under Mulroney, [Lorne] Gunter recalls, by kicking up such a squawk that even the Tories themselves promised to revive it if returned to office. But the Conservatives of those days were the so-called "Red Tories," a species to which Harper & Co. do not belong.

Moreover, the conservative lobby groups are now considerably better organized. The SOW had barely got started in its mass-mailing campaign against the Harper axe when Gwen Landolt of the conservative REAL Women organization, pounced on them for using government funds to influence government policy. Her swift response was typical. It has been REAL Women, totally self-financed by thousands of members, which more than any other group finally put the boots to these detestable agencies. May they stay dead.
There is no argument that we've "had the boots put to us", but the question is: When are we going to start kicking back?


*Later brought to Canada by Jason Kenney and company. Kenney would also use his Canadian Taxpayers Federation to endorse Mike Harris.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

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

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

"There is not much point in being minister for the status of women, when women have no status in this country!" Judy Erola

Erola was a cabinet minister in the government of Pierre Trudeau. Feisty and independent, she directed her argument toward the prime minister himself, when the "notwithstanding clause" threatened section 28 of the constitution, guaranteeing equality of the sexes. (1)

Can you imagine anyone in Stephen Harper's cabinet challenging him in such a manner?

But then Erola was no ordinary woman. Canada's first weather girl, breaking the barrier in 1953, and one of the first female network executives, she spent a lifetime fighting for women's rights. She is currently on the board of Equal Voice, an organization which seeks to assist Canadian women in running for political office.

But in 1983, she made waves when she proposed that the tax exemption for dependent spouses, be terminated.

Canada's Christian Right took action, and on September 3, 1983, REAL Women of Canada was born.

Fashioned after the American Religious Right group: 'Concerned Women for America', REAL, which stands for 'Realistic, Equal, Active, for Life', drew in women mainly from the pro-life movement.

It's misleading to call this a woman's movement, because it is clearly a movement that glorifies the male species in our society.

Their stated mission:

1. To reaffirm that the family is society’s most important unit, since the nurturing of its members is best accomplished in the family setting.

2. To promote the equality, advancement and well being of women, recognizing them as interdependent members of society, whether in the family, workplace or community.

3. To promote, secure and defend legislation which upholds what it considers the Judeo-Christian understanding of marriage and family life.

4. To support government and social policies that make homemaking possible for women who, out of necessity, would otherwise have to take employment outside the home.

5. To support the right to life of all innocent individuals from conception to natural death.

They claim to be non-partisan, but in fact helped to establish policy for the Reform Party, and constantly criticize the NDP and Liberal parties, on their website and in their publications.

Since Stephen Harper's Reform-Conservatives gained power in 2006, the influence of REAL Women of Canada can be seen in many of their policies, including increased tax relief for single-income families.

And remember that one of Harper's first actions after being elected was to remove the word "equality" from the charter of the NAC.

The Group's Priorities

REAL women claim to represent a silent majority of women within Canada. They promote male headed, single breadwinner families, and believe that women should be homemakers, mothers and wives, in direct contrast to the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and its umbrella organizations.
A key goal of the organization is to denounce the equal rights clause in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in addition to protesting feminist movements and organizations. They argue that government spending and funding of these feminist organizations was undermining traditional gender and family relations (2)
Other concerns are abortion, universal childcare, and the improvement of the economic situation of women, who may be encouraged to enter or remain in the workforce, while raising children.

Other things they oppose include anti family violence programs, which they claim encourage hatred toward men; no-fault divorce; and protection for gay and lesbian people. (2) As with most conservative groups, they want to return to the nostalgic 1950s when the nuclear family was the only accepted configuration.

I've been organizing my research and plan to compile it all into a series of essays, that I will upload on Scribed.

I'm choosing this government's complete change in direction on woman's issues first, because it's important to understand that with a majority, REAL Women of Canada, will play an important role in determining what funding will be scrapped and what new programs will be implemented.

There have already been many, but we can expect many more, especially when it comes to reproductive rights.

This group may be headed by women, but those women are being directed by men, and my aim is to expose as many as possible.

I also intend to show that REAL Women of Canada is just another cog in the wheel of the American Moral Majority/Religious Right, and the new right-wing movement that is destroying social democracies everywhere.

The Harper government couldn't ignore them even if they wanted to.

When you buy in, you have to accept the entire package, and they have done that to the letter. Every action, every word, comes from the Republican/Tea Party/Moral Majority.

And that includes rolling back many of the gains made by women over the past half century.
"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is. I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat." Rebecca West 1913
I'm blogging the essay in chunks before putting it together for Scribed, and will then post a link.


1. Just Watch me: The Life of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, By John English, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, ISBN: 978-0-676-97523-9, P. 511

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


From Forlorn to Forbearing: Feminism Never Stood a Chance

Harper's War on Women Was Launched in the USA

Allan Bloom Writes Harper's War on Women Strategy

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

REAL Women, Promise Keepers and the Promotion of Violence

Right-Wing Women and Their "Christian Values"

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

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Neoconservative Passion for Alexis de Tocqueville

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

Neoconservative doctrine was written by academics and based on the writings of scholars, from Plato to Aristotle, Locke to Rousseau, and everything in between.

But one of the scholars often quoted, is Alexis de Tocqueville, a nineteenth century political thinker, who like many shaping the minds of young neocons, was born into wealth as a member of the aristocracy.

And he wrote of poverty as a man who had never known it, only observed it, yet his 1835 Essay on Pauperism, is used to justify the right's reluctance to help the poor.

What Tocqueville saw as a basic problem, was the definition of poverty.
"Among civilized peoples, the lack of a multitude of things causes poverty... In a country where the majority is ill-clothed, ill-housed, ill-fed, who thinks of giving clean clothes, healthy food, comfortable quarters to the poor? The majority of the English, having all these things, regard their absence as a frightful misfortune; society believes itself bound to come to the aid of those who lack them.... In England, the average standard of living a man can hope for in the course of his life is higher than in any other country of the world. This greatly facilitates the extension of pauperism in that kingdom."
So poverty is a state of mind? A comparative?

If our poor people are better off than the poor in central Africa, are they really poor?

Imagine going to your boss and asking for a raise and she tells you that you are already overpaid when compared to workers in Third World countries.

But workers in Third World countries aren't spending $1.30 a litre for gas to get to work, or 8 bucks for a box of cereal.

The definition of poverty has to be relative to how the rest of the population lives.

I'm not a socialist, and don't believe that if one family has a wide screen TV, then all families should have a wide screen TV.

However, I do believe that in a country with such vast natural resources as Canada, that everyone should be clothed, fed and housed. And everyone should have equal access to healthcare and education.

Neoconservatives do not.

David Frum is right when he says that government should never protect us "against the miseries caused by idleness", but is wrong when he says that only the indigent, or most destitute in society should be given handouts.

Remember the old Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.”

Neocons believe in the power and responsibility of the individual. Striving for equality will only bring those better off down to the level of those with very little. And they use that philosophy to justify pandering to the rich and ignoring the poor. A plantation mentality where the rich, (whose wealth is proof that they are smarter and more deserving than most), will in turn, take care of the poor.

What rot.

But it's that rot that determines Stephen Harper's actions.
“These proposals included cries for billions of new money for social assistance in the name of “child poverty” and for more business subsidies in the name of “cultural identity”. In both cases I was sought out as a rare public figure to oppose such projects.”(Stephen Harper, The Bulldog, National Citizens Coalition, February 1997)
I'm very concerned with the approaching perfect storm in Ontario. A Harper majority (with a cabinet of many ex Mike Harris disciples), Harris protege Tim Hudak, (whose wife Deb Hutton was Harris's gatekeeper), as premier of the province and Rob Ford as mayor of Toronto.

Like most neoconservative governments, Mike Harris's created the highest number of homeless people in the history of our province. And what was worse, he didn't care. One of his henchmen, Jim Flaherty, simply suggested that we throw them all in jail.

And if a person froze to death living in their car, at least they had a car.

Ford is already talking about selling off public housing in Toronto. Maybe he hopes to drive the poor out of his city, but will only drive them into the streets.

Hudak wants to eliminate or drastically reduce the public service, suggesting that because they make a good wage, small businesses can't compete with government in the labour market. What the fool doesn't realize is that those good wages keep many small businesses afloat.

When Mike Harris ran Ontario, we had a Liberal government federally. When Brian Mulroney was prime minister, we had Liberal and NDP governments in Ontario.

If Hudak takes Ontario, there will be no counterweight.

It's absolutely terrifying.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Zombie Youth and the Canadian Property Rights Research Institute

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

In November of 2009, the Canadian Press learned that a government program designed to recruit the best and brightest from Canada's universities, had been politicized for partisan interests.

Before being granted an interview, those seeking to enter the Accelerated Economist Training Program, had to first write an essay on the Conservative ad campaign, labelled the Economic Action Plan.
"It smells a little bit," said Leslie Pal, professor of public policy at Ottawa's Carleton University. "It places an unfortunate implication of inviting people to write glowing things about the economic recovery plan."

Pal said he sees no rationale for asking people looking for a job with the government to comment on current government policy, especially when that policy is so contentious. "I think this is not a good idea."
A further indoctrination of Canada's youth into the neoconservative cult.

In his book Not a Conspiracy Theory: How Business Propaganda Hijacks Democracy, Donald Gutstein writes of a program that the Fraser Institute runs to catch them when they're young.
The Fraser Institute launched a program in 1988 that would have far-reaching impact on advancing the corporate agenda. This program, aimed at students, is actually a half-dozen initiatives through which the institute "is cultivating a network of thousands of young people who are informed and passionate about free-market ideas and who are actively engaging in the country's policy debate"
Some of those involved in the program include Jason Kenney, Ezra Levant, Danielle Smith (possibly the next premier of Alberta), Rob Anders and a young man named Matthew Johnston.

Johnston came to the public's attention for his part in a radio hoax, on behalf of his boss Rahim Jaffer.

Due to a scheduling conflict, Jaffir had Johnston take his part in a radio interview. Jason Kenney and Ezra Levant paid the man off, suggesting that "$40,000 buys a lot of silence".

But Matthew Johnston was also behind the formation of a right-wing organization: Canadian Property Rights Research Institute. Other members included Danielle Smith, a former student of Calgary School's Tom Flanagan, and Rob Anders, both members of the Fraser's youth program.

Rahim Jaffer had taken CanPRRI's case to Parliament when Revenue Canada refused to grant them non-profit, tax-exempt status. It folded soon after.

However, a look at one of their publications, shows more than a connection to the Fraser and the Harper government. They are linked to a network of think tanks and advocacy groups, many created under the guidance of Milton Friedman, Friedrich Von Hayek and other Chicago school alumni.

With a Harper majority and accelerated attempts to put his stamp on every aspect of government, will only neoconservative youth be allowed access into the halls of political power?

Will there be more tests?

When Carolyn Bennett was in Kingston recently to discuss our crumbling democracy, she spoke of the different criteria for those entering political life.

At one time, they got into politics to make a difference, often in their chosen field. As a doctor she was concerned with health issues.

But now she says that many Conservative candidates are only interested in party politics. They have no interest whatsoever in the betterment of the country, only in furthering an agenda. This includes their staff.

Bob Rae refers to them as "25-year-old jihadis", who often make the decisions for the elected MPs.

I shudder to think what kind of country we will become as a result.