Tag: Canada

Miss Myrtle’s Vancouver: Pomegranates Part 2

Before Daroo moved to Vancouver, he lived in Edmonton, Alberta. His sister had moved there, thanks to the UN Refugee Resettlement Program. A Canadian family sponsored him, so he travelled from Syria and Turkey to Canada, full of hope and expectations…

Edmonton had a thriving LGBTQ Community. He volunteered with a refugee support service, so thankful to be in Canada. Within a year, he met the man who would become his boyfriend. But it was very difficult to find a job. Daroo was unprepared for the open racism and discrimination that he faced in ultra-Conservative Alberta. He was not just called a fag and faggot, he was targeted as a Terrorist, after giving a public speech about the situation in Syria. He received death threats. He refused to remove the fact that he volunteered within the LGBTQ Community in Edmonton, from his resume. Finding a job became nearly impossible.

Daroo’s boyfriend was accepted into the Masters Program in Architecture at UBC, the University of British Columbia, and suggested that Daroo move with him, to Vancouver. He did, and immediately felt more at home in the City. Vancouver was more far more expensive and crowded than Edmonton. His frequent nightmares also put a strain on his relationship. Daroo and his boyfriend eventually parted ways.

Another door opened. Daroo applied to work at Save-On-Foods. His resume contained his volunteer work within the LGBTQ Community. The Manager who interviewed him, coaxed out the story of Daroo’s life in Syria, and his reasons for fleeing. He was hired on the spot.

With a job, came a shared apartment in a neighbourhood closer to work. More space to breathe and a sense of greater security. He built a small group of friends. His BA in English Literature lit a spark within Daroo. He wants to continue further studies at University, while continuing to work.

It goes without saying, that the young man who had lived through so much turmoil and terror in Syria, carried that same turmoil deep within himself, as he bravely navigated relative freedom, and a new life in Canada.

Daroo feels guilty that he is here, and his parents, other siblings and their families are still in North West Syria. As the impending Kurdish Genocide begins to unfold, he is filled with remorse for thinking only of his freedom. He wakes up in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat, worrying about his family and friends.

Rarely do those who suffer with PTSD, realize that it manifests itself without warning, dragging them into the darkness. This great challenge now facing Daroo, is one that so many other Canadians battle. Our mental healthcare and general healthcare systems are overwhelmed. There is a serious shortage of psychiatrists and psychologists. Getting an appointment to see one, requires a referral from another doctor.

The opioid crisis, the increase in refugees coming from oppression and war zones, plus our military and first responders need for psychiatric care, comes as a whole generation of doctors are retiring, and those who are now establishing their practices, are unable to take on new patients. This has all come together to create the perfect storm.

There is also serious shortage of general practitioners. I’ve tried to get Daroo into my exceptional Family Practice, but they are unable to take on new patients, even as the drastic need grows. Vancouver has some of the best coordinated healthcare in North America, thanks to Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health. They are desperate for more funding to meet the growing need.

Once again, am proud that Canada has welcomed so many Refugees in the past four years. The Federal and Provincial governments must address this healthcare crisis now, not down the road, and provide the additional funding needed. It is short-sighted not to do so. The long-term effects of untreated mental health issues, will push healthcare and related costs, through the roof. Daroo and Canadians across the Country, deserve the help they need NOW.

@UNHCR UN Refugee Agency @Refugees Cdn Council Refugees @ccrweb

Miss Myrtle’s Vancouver: Pomegranates

He smiled. Daroo had always seemed very serious, almost unapproachable. He struck me as being in his late 20’s, and he never cracked a smile. Ever.

Until the morning I put down my only grocery purchase – two large pomegranates. He smiled. I asked if he liked pomegranates, and he answered wistfully “We have two pomegranate trees in the garden, back at my home.” When I asked him where “home” was, Daroo responded “Syria”.  When pressed further, he added “in a small village near Aleppo”. Instantly, I understood the underlying sadness that his face always expressed. Hoping that Daroo might share the story of how he had come to Vancouver by way of Aleppo, asked if we could meet for coffee. He agreed.

Daroo was born in a Kurdish village near Afrin. It sits near the north-west border of Syria and Turkey. The region is called “Kurd-Dagh”, the Mountain of the Kurds. His parents still live there. The village is famous for its bountiful olive, fig and pomegranate trees. Daroo says that once you taste Afrin’s fruit, all others will forever pale in comparison.

“Neighbouring Azaz is also home to many Turkmen and Arab communities. Almost everyone, Kurds included, is Sunni Muslim. Kurdish identity is based not on religion, but on ethnicity and cultural heritage. Overlooking the Afrin River, within sight of the Turkish border, sprawl the vast Roman ruins of Cyrrhus” –  Diana Darke, BBC

The thriving, ancient Syrian city of Cyrrhus was founded in 300 BC, by Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander The Great’s generals. Its history over the centuries includes Roman, Armenian, Byzantine/Justinian, Muslim and Crusader rule.

Daroo was born into a family of five sisters and one brother, with lots of aunts and uncles. He played with his brother, sisters and friends in the family garden and roamed the streets of his village and Afrin. He remembers that when he was a child, all the members of his family had to sign an Oath of Allegiance to the ruling Ba’ath Party, led by Hafez al-Assad. The family avoided politics, and the community was largely left to its own devices.

Daroo also remembers, that even as a young boy, he knew that he was “different”. He knew early in his life that he was gay. He was not alone – when he eventually went to work and study in Aleppo, he discovered a large, vibrant underground LGBTQ community, where he fit right in. The Hafez al-Assad Regime enforced Article 520 of the penal code of 1949, which prohibits “carnal relations against the order of nature”, and provides for up to three-years imprisonment. Members of that community have been and continue to be jailed, beaten and often executed. Neighbors and even family members continue to inform on others.

Someone reported Daroo in 2008. In jail for 5 days, in an underground cell, he and several friends were packed into “a shithole” where he often had to sleep standing up, hearing endless beatings and screaming. He himself was beaten so severely, that he passed out. The five days felt like five years. His frantic family pooled their resources and paid the local police and judges, expensive bribes. He, his two gay and one transgender friends, were finally released from jail. Even though he was released, he had to go back and forth to court for a year. Fortunately he was given parole.

In 2011 The Arab Spring, which had given so many in the Arab world hope, was hijacked by radicals, but all that the Kurds really wanted, was a secular Syrian Democracy. Life began to change for the worse. Even in the face of all of these challenges, Daroo found something that would underpin his life forever…

Daroo fell in love with the writings of William Shakespeare. He majored in English Literature at Aleppo University. The Bard’s plays transported Daroo to another time, another place – but they also spoke of the very contemporary treachery, horror, loves, lives, wars, births, deaths and laughter that were life in Kurdish Syria. Daroo and his classmates wrote their final exams in 2013. While he sat in the eerily quiet exam hall, with pen in hand, the Russians carpet-bombed the University.

His passion for Shakespeare shaped Daroo’s decision to remain in his family’s Aleppo home, even after they had returned to the relative safety of Afrin, because the Bashir Al Assad – Putin regime stepped up bombardments of Kurdish communities and “rebel strongholds” like Aleppo. On that fateful day in 2013, all around him, many of them friends as well as classmates, 80 students, died. Daroo kept his head down. He kept writing. “I studied so hard and so long I wanted to graduate or die. I wasn’t afraid, I was fatalistic.”

Daroo passed. Aleppo University exams were suspended for a month. Although he didn’t realize it, he was still in shock. The day he was awarded his BA in English Literature, he also received an official notice from the Syrian government, saying that he was drafted into the Syrian military, and must report to basic training. Then and there, Daroo made one of the most difficult decisions of his life. Leaving his beloved family, he fled to Turkey.

Months before, Daroo met a farmer who transported tea and cigarettes into Turkey, in bags on the backs of several donkeys that he owned, in order to support his family, including small children. The man lived in the next village Sheeh, one village over from Afrin. Daroo helped carry some of those bags across the border into Turkey.

His sister had married a Turkish man and was living in Turkey. She had a passport and met Daroo after he crossed the border. He sat, emotionally exhausted, as she drove back to her family home. Daroo lived with his sister and brother-in-law for the next year. They all worked cutting fabric 12 hrs/6 days/per week for 600 turkish lira ($140 Cdn), to survive.

Daroo had applied for a passport before fleeing Syria. Amazingly, a year later, his passport in Aleppo was ready. He stole across the border to Afrin and bribed someone to steal his passport and bring it to him in Afrin. Passport in hand, he fled Syria for Turkey, and eventually made his way to Canada, Vancouver… And a New Life.

To be continued … Pomegranates 1

Footnote. Have never been a chest-pounding smug Canadian, but am very proud of our Country for taking in over 50,000 Syrian Refugees over the past four years. Many people came to Vancouver, and in spite of facing so many challenges, continue to enrich our Community in many ways. Yes, our social support systems are stretched – but life for those who fled the horrors of the Syrian war and impending Kurdish Genocide, is now bearable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrrhus

Never Again Is Now! Remembrance Day November 11, 2018

Never Again Is Now!

Yesterday, Traitor-In-Chief, Fake President Trump stayed in his hotel and tweeted hateful comments to Californians while their state became an inferno. Others, REAL Leaders honored those who served and died, to defend Democracy. They attended memorial services across France.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the Vimy Ridge Memorial, where he laid a wreath and made a heart-felt speech in the pouring rain. Vimy holds a special place in Canadian’s hearts and consciousness. 66,000 fought and died during World War One. The Canadian Expeditionary Force served with distinction.

Trudeau at Vimy Nov 10 2018
Canadian Expeditionary Force Flag

They fought heroically at the Battle of Arras, wherein lies Vimy Ridge, and on other bloody battlefields across Europe. On the 11th hour of the 11th day, Armistice Day, we remember their sacrifice during the Great War. We said Never Again.

Canada itself had only become a nation in 1867. At the start of World War 1 in 1914, Canada’s population was just under 8 million. Over 619,000 Canadians enlisted and served, both at home and abroad. Putting that into context, our losses were staggering. While so many perished on the battlefield, many came home alive, but irreparably damaged.


World War 1 was the first major global conflict in which chemical weapons were used. In this case mustard gas, phosgene gas, chlorine gas and tear gas were deployed with deadly and life-changing consequences. The newly invented machine gun and bombs propelled the permanent need for on-site amputations of arms and legs. The number of those surgeries was astronomical. Shell Shock became the euphemism for PTSD. Needless to say, those who survived the Great War, came home with serious untreated mental health issues that they never talked about. Those issues haunted them to their grave. The painting below is by renowned artist John Singer Sargent…

Chemical Weapons Soldiers WW1 John Singer Sargent

The Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and the Canadian Army Nursing Service performed heroically on the European battlefields. They had previously distinguished themselves attending to Canadian soldiers in South Africa, during the Boer War (1899-1902) and at home.

WW1 Royal Canadian Medical Corps
WOUNDED GROUP Canadian Soldiers WW1
Canada Remembers because the Battle to Save Democracy NEVER Ends.
Nurse with Wounded Soldiers
Canadian Nurses Burial WW1

That is why my Russian grandfather fled the Jewish Pogroms, joined the French Foreign Legion, then joined the British Army and fought in WWI. He eventually made his way to Canada, where he worked and raised a family. My father, his son, served in the Royal Canadian Navy during WW2, working on dangerous North Atlantic convoys. Two of his brothers served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. One became an acclaimed war artist, whose paintings of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, Hamburg and Hanover, hang in the National War Museum in Ottawa. What he witnessed, haunted him for the rest of his life.

Aba Bayefsky War Museum2
Aba Bayefsky War Museum1

Canadians have always had our American Cousin’s backs, never more so than today. We have served in the trenches of every major global conflict, with our American Cousins.

That is why it is so important, perhaps even more important today, to continue the Fight To Save Democracy. Make no mistake, nothing less than global Democracy is at stake in these perilous times. As Putin’s Puppet Donald Trump, meets with his master in France, the Republican Party that is no longer the Party of Lincoln, helped install him. We must understand that while many of the battlefields have changed, the battles are just as bloody.

Putin has weaponized social media and the internet. As he masses forces on Ukraine, Belarus, Polish, Finland & other borders, he has become the de facto ruler of Syria. He and Bashar Al Assad have bombed the Syrian People into oblivion. Putin is playing all sides against each other, hoping to draw America, Iran, Israel, Syria and Saudi Arabia into an all-out Middle East war. He has created chaos everywhere.

He finances and manipulates White Supremacists and domestic terrorists in Europe and North America, uses his own mercenaries in Africa and elsewhere. Very quietly, Putin has taken over much of the Arctic. His newest ice-breaking nuclear submarines have disappeared off the radar, but my money’s on them being in the Arctic, where drilling for oil has become a priority.

Russian Nuclear Sub Prince Vladimir 2017
Medvedev Russian Nuclear Attack Submarine 4th Generation

He and his cronies the Russian Oligarchs have looted and pillaged Russia. They have become obscenely wealthy, at the expense of the Russian people. The economy has fallen flat. His propaganda machine is in overdrive. Once again the Russian people are at the mercy of a cold-blooded tyrant who is murdering his opposition, with impunity. My Russian grandfather is turning over in his grave.

Robert Mueller, his team of Trump Russia Investigators, other intelligence agencies, judicial bodies, investigative journalists – foreign and domestic, Allies around the World and concerned citizens everywhere, have a part to play in the Battle to Save Democracy. Now is The Time For All True Patriots To Come To The Aid Of Their Country – On this Remembrance Day 2018, Never Again is NOW!

– End –

In Flanders Field was written by  Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, in 1915. It was written after the Second Battle of Ypres, in Belgium. Since World War One, the Canadian Legion, Canada’s War Amps, the Vimy Foundation, Veterans Affairs and others have played an important role in addressing Veterans needs, and making sure that their contributions to preserving Democracy are honored, from generation to generation.

Please donate to these organizations, so that the never-ending services and support that they give Our Veterans can continue: Lest We Forget

@RoyalCdnLegion https://www.legion.ca/ @TheWarAmps https://www.waramps.ca/home/ @vimyfoundation https://www.vimyfoundation.ca/ @CanWarMuseum https://www.warmuseum.ca/

Miss Myrtle’s Rectal Cranial Impaction Hall of Fame Part 9 – Update

Illegitimi non carborundum – Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down

Here for your edification and enjoyment are yet more Inductees into the Rectal Cranial Impaction Hall of Fame. These are the folks who leave us dumbfounded, dumbstruck and dumbfucked, in no particular order:

DISCLAIMERS: Any picture/Inductee duplication is purely intentional. You may also notice that the majority of Inductees are men. Dearies, that should require no further explanation. This blog post includes text and photos…because a picture is worth a thousand words.

SPECIAL THANKS to Colonel Morris Davis, former Guantanamo Chief Prosecutor for creating the phrase Rectal Cranial Impaction

twitter-logo

F**K TWITTER! Part 2

Since taking out my frustrations about constantly being suspended after strong anti- Vladimir Putin tweets in a blog-post on October 5, 2016, much has happened. https://missmyrtle2.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/miss-myrtles-rectal-cranial-impaction-hall-of-fame-part-9/.

Just before Halloween of that year, posted the following tweet with this pic of Putin and the comment “Sometimes It Just Sucks Being #vladimirputin #EverydayVampireProblems”

Putin Dracula Robin Lawson

Immediately my Twitter account was suspended again – this time for over 72 hours.

On October 19, 2016 – two weeks prior to this account lock, had concluded that Twitter (Canada) had a serious security issue: Russia. Never received any replies to my frantic requests that a real person contact me, not just a Twitter bot. I reached out to a business acquaintance high up at Google. He immediately connected me directly with the new Managing Director of Twitter Canada. Rory Capern has since mysteriously left the company. We talked via phone and emailed the week of October 19.

Capern connected me to his Director of Content, Christopher Doyle and his tech team. All of them had me answer many questions and ignored my responses and my clearly listed concerns. They inferred I was wearing a tin-foil hat. On October 21, the big East Coast Denial of Service (DDoS) Bot-Net hack occurred, affecting access to websites, social media, hundreds of corporations, infrastructure service providers, government agencies and others.

After the Halloween 2016 account lock-out, had multiple suspensions, well into the Spring of 2017. Had been tweeting relentlessly about the Syrian Genocide and the roles that monsters Putin and Assad were playing in it. Tweeted about Putin planning to invade Ukraine after annexing Crimea, and co-opting Netanyahu in Israel and Erdogan in Turkey. Included Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in some of those tweets. Also Putin Puppet General Mike Flynn. Used hashtags like #BackToTheGulag and #MakeRussiaGreatAgain

Always got the same automated response from Twitter:

Hello,

Your account is now unlocked, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience.

Twitter has automated systems that find and remove automated spam accounts and it looks like your account got caught up in one of these spam groups by mistake. This sometimes happens when an account exhibits automated behavior in violation of the Twitter Rules (https://twitter.com/rules).

Again, we apologize for the inconvenience. Please do not respond to this email as replies will not be monitored.

Thanks,

Twitter Support

My account was NEVER unlocked after receiving those messages. I had to bombard Rory Capern and Christopher Doyle with emails (to which they never responded), until 4 -7 days later, my account would finally be unlocked.

I lost over 5,000 REAL Followers as a result of the constant account suspensions (part of the hack attack) and have never been able to regain them, or rebuild that momentum. After Spring 2017 the account locks stopped. Maybe Twitter FINALLY improved its cyber security efforts.

In February and April of 2017, I posted Mike Luckovich cartoons re Putin, Trump, the GOP and James Comey: My account was locked soon after both times:

DT Putin In Bed Toon Mike Luckovich  DT Putin Comey I need Loyalty ML June 2017

Kept a running riff going on the Boris and Natasha TV cartoon characters in the much-beloved Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.  Made Putin Fearless Leader, Melania Natasha Fatale, and Trump Boris Badenov. Was often shut down after tweeting them:

Boris&Natasha Screw Amerika:
Putin: My Evil Plan is Working Bwahaha
Melania: #FlynnLies #PenceLied
Trump: And #Snowdon’s tied up with a bow

Boris and Natasha1           Boris Badenov NoGoodNik

My biggest concern is that Putin, in addition to weaponizing social media to spread dezinformatsiya – Fake News and cause global chaos, is also shutting down critics NOT just in Russia, but around the World. Miss Myrtle is just a tiny fish, caught up in a gigantic  Russian Bot algorithmic cyber net.

Twitter Canada, Facebook Canada and other social media platforms in this country, have NEVER been held to account for their failure to protect users from Russian bots not just spreading Fake News, but also stealing their private and financial information. Our CRTC (The Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission is a regulatory agency for broadcasting and telecommunications) per usual, it has its head in the sand. Wake Up Canada!

At least the House and Senate committees are looking into this situation. No matter how hard the Republicans try to obstruct the work being done, am hopeful the truth will prevail here.

This situation is also related to the recent Kremlinesque Trump Administration attack on Net Neutrality. Trump appointee Ajit Pai has gutted the FCC ( Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency of the US government created by statute to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable). He reversed consumer internet protections. It has been confirmed that during the Public Commentary period on the FCC’s website, over 1 MILLION Russian-based bots swarmed the comments page.

Shutting down Freedom of Speech and the freedom to choose the news and other content that you consume, is what Putin and other dictators do. It allows him to spread his propaganda 24/7/365 and consolidate his power. He has run basically unopposed in the current Russian “election” and will be elected Czar For Life. If that isn’t Back To The Gulag, what is…

This discussion is far from over. Putin’s megalomaniacal plan to destroy America from within, affects us all. It affects Canada even more so, given our geography and our history. We live in perilous times, and the young entrepreneurs, the Jack Dorseys and Mark Zuckerbergs of Silicon Valley, never dreamed in a million years that their innovative platforms for social communication would ever be weaponized to perpetrate evil on a global scale.

We cannot and must not let Putin’s Useful Idiot, Donald Trump succeed. The battlefield has changed, but we must acknowledge that We Are At War.

To be continued…

*** Please share your Twitter – Russian Bot experiences @missmyrtle2***

 

In Praise of Political Cartoonists Part 1

As a wee girl from Glasgow, Scotland growing up in Toronto Canada and ending up living in Vancouver, always loved comics. Beano, Archie, Superman, Batman…the list was endless.

Was a huge fan of Saturday morning cartoons on the telly. Even as a kid, was convulsed by the brilliance of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. Chuck Jones and Bugs Bunny‘s “What a maroon!” remains one of my favorite sayings to this day.

The teenage me grew to love Mad Magazine

As my interest in Canadian, American, British, Australian and global politics evolved, became aware of the art of the political cartoon, and I was hooked. A cartoon is after all, a picture – whether static or celluloid. And a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

Political cartoonists have always been our voice and our conscience

Nothing made this clearer to me when 25 years ago, a dear friend loaned me his original folio of political cartoons by the great British caricaturist James Gillray, who was born in 1757. I was gobsmacked! Remember spending an entire 24 hours going over the large book, page by fragile page, referencing the illustrations to help me understand their meaning. In addition to being brilliant, flamboyant and very funny… these beautifully colored pen and inks (with some watercolors) were extremely daring. His toon of Napoleon and William Pitt carving up the world is even more relevant today than it was then!

Gillray’s predecessor, William Hogarth, was born in 1697. Hogarth was “a painter, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called “modern moral subjects”.

James Gillray
Gillray England France Carving Up World
William Hogarth
Hogarth The Marraige Contract

Caricatures go back as far as The Renaissance and Leonardo Da Vinci b.1452 … He brilliantly used distorted features to mock his subjects.  Visual protest is evident in Lucas Cranach‘s work during The Reformation in Germany  b.1472

Leonardo Da Vinci
Da Vinci Caricature
Lucas Cranach
Lucas Cranach Anti-Christ

     

Thomas Rowlandson, born in England in 1756, never missed a beat in satirizing the socio/economic/political scene… from the thoughtful to the naughty

Thomas Rowlandson Portrait
Thomas_Rowlandson_The_two_Kings_of_Terror
Thos Rowlandson 5
rowlandson-thomas--eine-szene-aus-der-farce-citizen-793031

Ben Franklin, b.1706 was a true Renaissance Man himself, Ben Franklin’s Join or Die is a masterly cartoon of the times. Harper’s Weekly Review featured the caricatures of men like Alfred R. Waud who captured the tragedy of the Civil War

BenFrankin
Ben Franklin Join or Die Cartoon
Alfred R Waud
Civil WarCartoon Massacre of the Innocents at New Orleans 1866

Thomas Nast b.1840, was considered The Father of The American Cartoon. He captured both the corruption of Reconstruction and Tammany Hall.

Thomas Nast Pacific Chivallry
Thomas NAst BOss Tweed

Louis Dalrymple b.1868 depicts Teddy Roosevelt‘s New Diplomacy, embodying the iconic “Speak softly and carry a big stick”, for Puck Magazine in 1905. E.W. Kemble b.1861 who illustrated Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, also worked for Harper’s Weekly Review penned Roosevelt’s final frustration with “Old Man Ananias” in 1910.

Roosevelt New Diplomacy
Teddy Roosevelt Election

World War 1, World War 11:   Frank Henry Townsend complimented Britain’s Punch Almanack’s roster of illustrious cartoonists. Even our beloved Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel, and Bill Mauldin created wartime cartoons.

Ww1 Cartoon / Punch
WW2 Dr Seuss
Lincoln Bill Mauldin

Vietnam Anti-War Cartoons:  North Carolina-born cartoonist Doug Marlette was killed in a car crash in 2007. Marlette felt that “Cartoons are windows into the human condition…It’s about life”. His principled take on life was reflected in his conscientious objector stance on the Vietnam War in some of the most poignant cartoons that I can remember. His long and illustrious career covered the Charlotte Observer, the Atlanta Constitution,  New York’s Newsday and the Tallahassee Democrat.

Vietnam Anti-War Marlette Charlotte Observer
Vietnam Quagmire - Marlette

I AM CHARLIE HEBDO:

It has always been dangerous to be a political cartoonist. Da Vinci risked loosing patrons and the wrath of The Church, as did artist Lucas Cranach. Harper’s Magazine Tammany critic Thomas Nast was threatened by supporters of Boss Tweed. But nothing has highlighted the perpetual risk of drawing for a living, than the recent massacre of artists at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. This tragedy has shaken us all to the core.

Je Suis Charlie Hebdo has become a global rallying cry. As it was centuries ago and so is now, caricaturists refuse to be intimidated.

charlie-hebdo
Rod-emmerson Charlie Hebdo

Iranian cartoonist, artist and activist Atena Farghadani was arrested in August 2014 for a cartoon that mocked Members of Parliament, depicting them with animal faces. Ms. Farghadani is charged with insulting The Supreme Leader and spreading propaganda. The 28-year-old, described by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, languishes in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, having suffered a heart-attack earlier this year. On May 19, 2015 Ms. Farghadani was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison. It is difficult to reconcile this with the push to collaborate with Iran on a nuclear deal.  We must keep up the pressure on the Iranian government to secure Atena’s safe release. **

Atena Farghadani
Atena Farghadani Iranian Cartoon

So given the inherent dangers, not stellar salaries and relentless 24/7 news cycle, what exactly inspires political cartoonists to pick up the pen or brush these days? There is a far-flung family of artists from around the globe who share their thoughts with us on a daily basis. And of course we in The Colonies are some of the most brutal.

In Part 2 of In Praise of Political Cartoonists, we look at how editorial cartoonists depict the current chaotic global political scene:

Dave Weigel of Bloomberg Politics, calls Donkey Hotey “The Margaret Keane of Political Cartooning” He describes Donkey Hotey by saying “Nast used pen and ink; Donkey Hotey takes public images and alters them into parody or horror. He quotes DK… “I am remixing images, manipulating them and then treating the entire piece as a whole.”

GOP Clown Car Donkey Hotey

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott continues to provide David Rowe with endless toon fodder. Rowe’s watercolors (the most difficult medium to work in) are brilliant, brutal, and beautiful. Rowe is a Stanley Award-winning Aussie, who casts his paint far afield.

Tony Abbott Balls David Rowe Toon
Donald Trump GOP CANCER DAVID ROWE AUSTRALIA

Canadian cartoonist Michael De Adder, is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. That fact does not stop him from commenting on the current rise of Facism in America. We are All Americans – North Americans, and what hurts our American cousins, hurts us all…

Melania Crying Child De Adder

Raising a Glass of Champers to Political Cartoonists Everywhere…and Those Who Sail With Them. Long May Your Voices (and Ours)  Be Heard! Long May the Ink Flow!

In Praise of Political Cartoonists Part 2 coming soon

@DonkeyHotey @DeAdder @roweafr

@MissMyrtle2  missmyrtle2@gmail.com

** Please sign and share #FreeAtena http://www.amnesty.org.uk/iran-atena-farghadani-prison-cartoon-womens-rights-activist#.VYo2N_lViko

Miss Myrtle’s Rectal Cranial Impaction Hall of Fame – PART 5

Illegitimi non carborundum – Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down

Carmen Miranda

Here for your edification and enjoyment are yet more Inductees into the Rectal Cranial Impaction Hall of Fame. These are the folks who leave us dumbfounded, dumbstruck and dumbfucked, in no particular order:

DISCLAIMERS: Any picture/Inductee duplication is purely intentional. You may also notice that the majority of Inductees are men. Dearies, that should require no further explanation. This blog post has less written text and more photos…because a picture is worth a thousand words.

SPECIAL THANKS to Colonel Morris Davis, former Guantanamo Chief Prosecutor for creating the phrase Rectal Cranial Impaction

Dearies, just when you think they couldn’t sink any lower, the GOP’s 47 Traitors send an Open Letter to The Leaders of Iran. The sheer hubris of this unprecedented move, is evident in its initiator, freshman Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. He and his cohorts are educating the Ayatollah and his colleagues about what Treason looks like. The Gang of 47 want to undermine President Obama’s ongoing negotiations with Iran to find a peaceful solution to developing their nuclear program. Senator John McCain waffled on having signed the The Letter, saying that a snow storm prevented him from reading it thoroughly. This was after his meltdown in a Senate hearing that he presided over, while welcoming that great  humanitarian Henry Kissinger. You can’t make this stuff up…

47 Traitors   TOM COTTON ARNOLD   JohnMcCain

SHAME ON THE PRIME MINISTER! The discussion about the Gestapo-like Anti-Terrorism BillC-51 was derailed by Stephen Harper’s rant about women wearing the niqab in Canada, and what a subversion of women’s rights the niqab is. This was a bait and switch tactic of the lowest order, and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau took the bait with some fairly disturbing rhetoric of his own. The Government has banned women from wearing the niqab at Citizenship Ceremonies AND the Prime Minister was frothing at the mouth when he stated that “it’s (the niqab) contrary to Canadian values and rooted in a culture that is anti-women.” Fly weight Minister of National Defense and Multiculturalism ( a dubious double portfolio if there ever was one) Jason Kenney has been taking this ball and running with it. Speaking of balls, how ironic that NONE of the Harper henchmen have any…

Harper Niqab  Niqab  Jason Kenney

By the way, Canadian Green Party Leader Elizabeth May advised via Twitter that Conservative Ministers and backbenchers were sniggering during a presentation by a prominent Civil Liberties advocate, during the BillC-51 debate. Speaking of the brilliant, dedicated and relentless Ms. May, I encourage every Canadian to sign a petition calling for her inclusion in ALL election debates. One of Canada’s most eloquent and thoughtful politicians deserves to be heard. Elizabeth May has more balls than the entire Conservative Caucus. Do you know the difference between a cactus and a caucus? The caucus has the pricks on the inside…but I digress

Elizabeth May

GOP Presidential Candidate Gov Scott Walker Scott Walker feels that “I can defeat ISIS because I defeated 100,000 union protesters”. This is disturbing and hysterically funny on a number of levels. Then of course, there is the confusion over Walker’s stance on Legal Status, Amnesty and The Path to Citizenship…. who knew that one man could take so many different positions on so many euphemisms. He is the Master of the  GOP Kama Sutra. The meteoric rise and fall of Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock was more aw shucks than anything else.  In his swan song, the modest and unrepentant Schock compared himself to Abraham Lincoln, amongst others. Methinks the Iron Bar Hotel and orange jumpsuits can’t be too far away.  Conservative MP Larry Miller told Muslim women who want to wear the niqab while taking the Canadian citizenship oath to “stay the hell where you came from.”.  Larry crawled out from under his rock to “apologize” for this ludicrous remark. Stephen Harper has yet to apologize for his…

Scott Walker    Aaron Schock  Larry Miller

Dearies, Microsoft Canada‘s Temporary Workers Program is just another example of the Harper Government’s failing pad-the-vote strategy. The “economic worker” plan as CICCitizenship and Immigration ads like to put it, hasn’t worked out so well for McDonalds or Target. Microsoft plans to hire mostly foreign workers for its new British Columbia Training Centre. SHAME ON THEM! Meanwhile, Canada’s very own Koch Tank – The Fraser Institute continues to spew forth the usual drivel including an hysterical chart comparing Alberta and Texas’ finances. It failed to make their point for them but did inspire some very funny comparisons between Rick Perry and Jim Prentice. And who can forget Barrick Gold Corp, that beacon of mining fiduciary and moral responsibility. They just added disgraced ex Foreign Minister John Baird and Newt Gingrich ( what adult in their right mind would keep the name Newt???) to the Board. Methinks All they need to do is entice Rush Limbaugh, and they’ll have The Three Stooges!

MICROSOFT     FRASER-inst-300-pix-08-FEB-21_bigger  Barrick John Baird  Newt Gingrich  Rush Limbaugh Three Stooges

Arkansas is indeed the Gift That Keeps On Giving. There is a Special Place in Hell reserved for Arkansas Rep Justin Harris and his wife. They “unofficially” adopted a young child, who when proving “difficult”, was “rehomed” to the care of their friend, a sexual predator, who then assaulted her. The Rep has also performed exorcisms on” difficult” children in their Sunday School. I would like to “rehome” Mr. and Mrs. Harris to the Arkansas Maximum Security Unit. Indiana Governor Mike Pence is also hell-bound for signing the “Religious Freedom” bill that is really an LGBT discrimination edict-the first in the nation, and a total moral abomination. Adolf Hitler would be so proud! And Hell is waiting for Benjamin Netanyahu. Bibi Dearest used the classic fear mongering card of saying that Israeli Arabs would turn the vote against his beloved Likud Party in the recent election. He squeaked by and is no doubt planning the murders of thousands more Gaza children and the total destruction of Palestine.

Justin Harris  Mike Pence SEA 101  Netanyahu

Dearies, after reading this, need to repair for a dram or 10. The #RectalCranialImpactionHallOfFame Needs to build an additional wing just to accommodate new Nominees. PLEASE SEND IN  YOUR suggestions and donations…they are greatly appreciated!

Miss Myrtle’s Rectal Cranial Impaction Hall of Fame Part 4

Illegitimi non carborundum – Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down

Here for your edification and enjoyment are yet more Inductees into the Rectal Cranial Impaction Hall of Fame. These are the folks who leave us dumbfounded, dumbstruck and dumbfucked, in no particular order:

DISCLAIMERS: Any picture/Inductee duplication is purely intentional. You may also notice that the majority of Inductees are men. Dearies, that should require no further explanation. This blog post has less written text and more photos…because a picture is worth a thousand words.

SPECIAL THANKS to Colonel Morris Davis, former Guantanamo Chief Prosecutor for creating the phrase Rectal Cranial Impaction

Your Nominations Are Welcomed

Al Jazeera     Mohame Fahmy    Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani

Al Jazeera and the Govt of Qatar Dearies, have always been a fan of Al Jazeera for shining a light on the world through the Arab lens, but that has changed with the disgraceful manipulation of Mohamed Fahmy & his colleagues Peter Grieste and Baher Mohamed in Egypt. The state-owned international news service put their journalists in harm’s way, then hung them out to dry. For ruling family leader Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, suing the Egyptian govt mid-trial is act of vindictive, ignorant & dangerous minds. SHAME ON THEM! Even Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was able to affect the release of Peter Grieste. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, defector and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird and current Minister of Foreign Affairs Rob Nicholson,  have failed miserably in efforts to obtain freedom for Mohamed Fahmy. AM ASHAMED TO BE CANADIAN!

Monte McNaughton      Vito Barbieri     Nevada-Assemblywoman-Michele-Fiore-R-official-Facebook-page-800x430

Monte McNaughton, homophobic Conservative MPP suggested that openly lesbian Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne should not be discussing proposed sex-ed curriculum with parents. Ms. Wynn responded with forceful intelligence, cutting McNaughton off at the knees.  Monte & his colleagues need to be sent to their rooms for a very long Time Out. Joining Monte in Time Out is Idaho Republican Rep Vito Barbieri, who thinks that women’s vaginas are connected to their stomachs. This should enable them to swallow a small camera for OBGYN exams, suggests the Capo di Tuto Medicos. Honestly, I can’t make this stuff up. The GOP are indeed the Party that keeps on giving, as underscored by Nevada Republican Rep Michele Fiore. Ms. Fiore assures us that cancer is a fungus, that can be washed away with baking soda! Rated No.1 Legislator by the Nevada Policy Research Institute (??!!??), Ms. Fiore is the poster girl for a state that is ground-zero for nuclear testing, home to the Mustang Ranch and that dystopian Disneyland – Las Vegas. Honestly Dearies, sooo wish there were a vaccination for STUPID…

RudyGiuliani   Phil Robertson   Tom COrbin

Speaking of stupid, Rudy Giuliani is at it again, race-baiting Americans with “Obama does not love America”. This sorry excuse of a man has squandered whatever good will he earned after 9/11. Alarmingly, he has become the poster child for the reactionary, fascist face of the GOP. He has subverted the meaning of patriotism.

And then we have another Biggeth Dicketh, CEO of Small Corporate Dynasties, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. Phil has become a Fox News Go-To-Guy when it comes to talking about Radical Islam. My question is, do the ducks have a “Come to Jesus” moment before he and the Clan pump them full of lead?

South Carolina State Republican Senator Tom Corbin thinks that “women are a lesser cut of meat”… and should be kept barefoot and pregnant. He apparently directed these wise remarks to his colleague, GOP state senator Katrina Shealy, during a legislative dinner discussing domestic violence legislation. Methinks Senator Tom is the poster child for spaying and neutering…

Caribou  SNC Lavalin  Radical Brownies

Dearies, it doesn’t get any more cynical than the Alberta Endangered Species Conservation Committee. “Despite its name, the ESCC amounts to little more than an industrial development club, and it is directly responsible for delays in critical caribou protections. The ESCC is an initiative of the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development (SRD), and has a short list of extractive industrial members including the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, two representatives from Alberta Forest Products Association, Alberta Fish and Game Association, Alberta Irrigation Projects Association and the Western Stock Growers’ Association” The Tar Sands destruction of arboreal caribou continues. By the by Dearies, when that great environmentalist Sarah Palin says that “caribou have to take one for the team”, this is what she means! Well it sure as hell isn’t my team…

Meanwhile in Quebec, that bastion of moral turpitude, SNC Lavalin Canada’s very own Halliburton, is facing charges of bribery and corruption. SNC Lavalin is alleged to have paid or offered millions to Muammar Gaddafi & his family in Libya, governments and individuals in Bangladesh and Canada, for construction, mining and other contracts. SNC Lavalin’s tentacles are everywhere. They are relatively new owners of CANDU Energy (Canadian nuclear reactors), acquired from the government’s Atomic Energy Canada. HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN WITHOUT ANY DISCUSSION???

Breitbart    faux news radical-brownies_c0-10-640-383_s561x327

It would take a cage match to the death, to decide whether Breitbart or Faux News were the most reprehensible, but Breitbart is racking up the points with its meltdown over Oakland’s Radical Brownies. This is a group of 8 to 10-year-old girls study social activism, inspired in part by the 60s radical group the Black Panthers. Breitbart calls the Radical Brownies a “horrifying” development that is so “creepy and fascist” as to beggar belief” .” Be afraid America…be very afraid

Canada  MMIW  Veterans Slush Fund

There is a Special Place in Hell reserved for the Government of Canada, who are forcing survivors of St. Anne’s Residential School, that used an electric chair to torture students, to go back to court yet again.They are demanding the release of documents outlining the  physical and sexual abuse that took place and implicating staff members. The Residential School Scandal Is Canada’s Shame!

That same government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper who said that “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women are really not on my radar”, refuses to launch a national inquiry into over 1,200 #MMIW. Meanwhile, House Eskimo, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq ignores the plight of her starving constituents in Nunavut… This Is Canada’s Shame!

The Harper Regime continues to fight its own Veterans on every front! When not using them for cynical photo ops, the PM, Veterans Affairs & his Ministers are busy denying Veteran’s health claims, shutting down services for Veterans and eviscerating their pensions. This Is Canada’s Shame!

Am stopping here Dearies…it is all too depressing. So many Inductees, so little time

Remember to Submit Your Nominations to @MissMyrtle2

Many Thanks to Raw Story,  Mike Hudema-Canadian Green Party,  APTN News