Rather than trying to convince Canadians to come to their point of view on the purchase of Joint Strike Fighters, our government, led by the Right Wrong Dishonourable Stephen Harper, has instead tried to influence public opinion by rewriting Wikipedia articles. Their attempt at a wikiality failed. From CBC:
A Defence Department spokesperson confirms computers at the department’s research agency were used to alter a Wikipedia page entry about the Joint Strike Fighter jet and the Conservative government’s decision to spend as much as $18 billion on the aircraft.
Those edits included the removal of information critical of the government’s plan to buy the jets and the addition of insulting comments aimed at Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.
As first reported in a story by Postmedia, Wikipedia traced the edits to computers owned by Defence Research Development Canada’s Ottawa offices. Wikipedia locked down the entry, labelled the changes as vandalism and only allowed recognized editors to work on the page.
See, they are defacing web pages. Vandalizing. In addition, there is the rather authoritarian tactic of removing the dissents of others. It’s entirely possible that a reasonable case could be made for purchasing these jets, but wikiality is not the way to do it.
In one entry, all information outlining the criticism of the jets and the plan to buy them was removed. In another, someone added that Ignatieff thought the deal to buy the planes for Canada was an “awesome, amazing decision to proceed with this contract.” In reality, Ignatieff has been critical of the sole-source contract, calling for a reconvening of the defence committee to examine the decision.
Another version of the entry inserted that Ignatieff has six toes on each foot.
Putting words in your opponents’ mouths and misrepresenting their positions, and making up juvenile stories about them. I would expect the government to know what’s going on with their own computers.
This incident is of course a good reason not to vote for the Conservative Party whenever the next federal election is held.
At Pandagon, there is a post about why free speech is important, and I can’t over–recommend reading it. As Amanda makes clear, the best solution to speech you don’t like is more speech.
Argentina just did a great thing by enabling marriage equality.
The Daily Beast reports that a part of the recently–passed health care reform law may require employers and health insurers to offer birth control to their employees without being able to charge co–pay. The net effect of this would be that birth control becomes free for most American women (via).
Conservative (of course!) organizations, such as the Heritage Foundation and the National Abstinence Ignorance Education Foundation, are opposed. Noting that unintended pregnancies cause abortions, and that pushing birth control endlessly prevents unintended pregnancies, it becomes clear that the Heritage Foundation and the Abstinence Ignorance Education Foundation don’t think the United States’ unintended pregnancy rate is fucking high enough. To use their own rhetoric, conservatives sure are pro–abortion.
Update (2010-07-14): According to Feministing, the actual free services won’t include birth control. If that is the case no sort of political battle would arise. Despite that, not including birth control is the wrong decision.
A US Federal judge, in two companion cases, has ruled that part of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. This is not necessarily wide–ranging, as the court in these rulings has about as narrow a jurisdiction as you can get.
Better have a sturdy handy, as the religious wrong and associated right–wingers will freak out at the idea that a small number of same–sex couples, that they don’t even know, never interact with, and that have nothing to do with, will now gain more of the benefits of marriage than they had before.
Picture from the Unrepentant Old Hippie.
Opponents of marriage equality often claim to be against same–sex marriage because it “Changes the definition of marriage”.
The appropriate response is, “So what if it changes the definition?” It is difficult to see how expanding the scope of something so that more people can enter it is changing its definition. But nevertheless, if one insists that that really is changing the definition, then a direct analogue to same–sex marriage exists.
That analogue is, of course, women’s suffrage. If expanding the scope of marriage to allow same–sex couples in changes the definition of marriage, then expanding the scope of voting to allow women to vote changed the definition of voting. And if changing the definition of marriage is a bad thing, the exact same thing could be said with regards to women’s suffrage. This hence raises a question for opponents of marriage equality:
Are you against women’s suffrage too? If you are, you’re consistent, but be prepared to be called a misogynist and to be condemned for having such out–dated views.
If, on the other hand, you aren’t against women’s suffrage, then it is meaningless to claim that changing the definition of marriage is bad. By not thinking that women’s suffrage is a bad thing, even though it changes the definition of voting the same way you claim same–sex marriage changes the definition of marriage, you are implicitly admitting that changing the definition of something isn’t bad in itself. Therefore, being against same–sex marriage on the grounds that it changes the definition of marriage isn’t really meaningful as it you haven’t shown that changing the definition of marriage is actually a bad thing.