Roxanne Tellier – Don’t Mention The War!


If I made (or kept) New Year resolutions, I might have resolved to pay more attention to Canadian issues, and less to America’s or the rest of the world.

politics religion money

I might also have determined to finally stop ranting about those three little subjects Mother always said were not to be discussed in polite society; politics, religion and money.

But, like Basil Fawlty, I cannot stop myself. So let’s talk about all three!

This has been a banner week for inanity and insanity. The Middle East situation keeps getting crazier, as it now appears that America is playing monkey in the middle – allied with and against both Saudi Arabia and Iran. Here’s a quick look at the situation, as only Jon Stewart could explain:

…and here’s a map to make it all as clear as mud, from satirist 

middleeast relationships 2015

Clearly, the U.S. has managed to get embroiled in an international clusterfuck. So, the Canadian Prime MinisterStephen Harper, facing a coming election and embroiled in scandals and a major economic downturn, has embraced the chance to fear monger and sabre rattle. He wants in on the war party. The legality of Canada’s full entry into bombing Syria is suspect, and based on invoking the United Nations’ Article 51 to justify aggressive military actions. To date, only two countries, the U.S. and Israel, have ever taken that controversial step.

clapping-seal-oWhen the Leader of the Opposition questioned this proposal, our Fearless Leader made a lame joke about not being afraid of ISIS/ISIL terrorist lawyers coming after Canada, to the delight of his followers, who clapped and hooted like trained seals.

Bearing in mind that the P.M. has himself been terrorizing Canadians with the spectre of terrorist attacks on Canada prior to this intended war, shouldn’t he or we be worrying about possible payback?  Terrorists don’t use lawyers, they use terrorism.

99 want peaceAnd you have to wonder – what kind of Prime Minister would make a joke about war and international law in the House of Commons? Oh yeah, the same one that cowered in a closet when the Parliament building was attacked.

Politics always begets arguments, even if your opponent holds similar views. I found that out this week, once again, when an argument briefly erupted on Facebook over a thread about aSaudi/Swedenconflict.

Margot Wallström, the Swedish foreign minister, denounced the subjugation of women in Saudi Arabia, and condemned the Saudi courts for ordering ten years of imprisonment and 1,000 lashes for a man who set up a website that championed secularism and free speech. She rightly called these actions a ‘cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression.’

saudi womenIn response, Saudi Arabia withdrew their Ambassador to Sweden, and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, which represents 56 Muslim-majority states, accused Sweden of failing to respect the world’s ‘rich and varied ethical standards.’

The bigger picture, however, is that she said that it was “unethical for Sweden to continue with its military co-operation agreement with Saudi Arabia.” Sweden is the world’s 12th largest arms exporter, with exports to Saudi Arabia totalling $1.3 billion annually.

So, in what should have been a clash-of-civilisations confrontation, “Outside Sweden, the western media has barely covered the story, and Sweden’s EU allies have shown no inclination whatsoever to support her. A small Scandinavian nation faces sanctions, accusations of Islamophobiaand maybe worse to come, and everyone stays silent. As so often, the scandal is that there isn’t a scandal.”

chopped handsThe lesson here is that our civilized society is a veneer glossing over the reality that most of our decisions are made, not on morality,but on fear and/or money. Human rights and social equalitymean little or nothing to those who own what others want to buy. Dissenters are quickly schooled by those who wield the real power – extraordinary wealth. No punishment is too severe for dissenters to the rules bought and paid for by those who will tolerate no criticism or opposition.

On a lighter note, Sweden was also in the news for formally adding the gender-neutral pronoun ‘hen’ to the Swedish Academy’s dictionary, to refer to someone who is transgender, transitioning, or whose gender is unknown. The gender-neutral pronoun was first used in Sweden in the 1960s and resurfaced in 2000 when the country’s transgender community claimed it.

inset_jazz_mermaidIn America, 14 year old Jazz Jennings is already a leading advocate for transgender rights, and was recently chosen as the face of the ‘Clean & Clear’ #SeeTheRealMe campaign. At the age of three, Jazz was diagnosed with gender identity disorder after tests and counselling. Her family has been very supportive. But in her home state of Florida, not so much.

The government operations subcommittee of the Florida house are set to vote in favour of bill HB 583, which requires users of single-sex public restrooms to prove their gender or face arrest. “[A] person who knowingly and wilfully enters a single-sex public facility designated for or restricted to persons of the other biological sex commits a misdemeanour of the first degree,” The bill defines gender as “person’s biological sex, either male or female, at birth.”

Gender dysfunction is more than a ‘thing,’ it’s a reality, and real people have to deal with it. Little children, teens, grown adults. What to do, what to do … we could do like Sweden, and find new adjectives to dignify these realities. Or be like Florida, proving once again that there are so many ways to get it … wrong.

moral crisis Robert ReichHell, if Bobby Sue can’t decide if she’s a boy or girl, maybe you might have been a little more specific when you named her. And with celebrities like Bruce Jenner slowly transitioning before our eyes, can we really keep pretending that people with sexualities differing from our own are somehow exempted from human rights? Making different sexual realities illegal is patronizing, knee jerk, biblical nonsense, and reeks of fear of the ‘other’ that is being shoved down our throats by politicians chasing the religious right’s votes.

hypocrisy birth controlIt’s not that I’m picking on American politics, it’s that they make it so damn easy. Indiana has been widely criticized by businesses and organizations around the western world, as well as on social media with the hashtag #boycottindiana.Indiana joined the 19 other states that have laws that offer ‘religious freedom’ to their Christian constituents – that is, the freedom to refuse service to gay customers, despite their own federal government’s lawful decisions on equality. I’m with R. Dean Taylor on this one … even if Indiana wants me, lord I can’t go back there.

And neither can Angie’s List, Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook,, or any of Seattle’s city employees. The list of companies, states and cities boycotting the state grows longer by the hour. And yet, a day after Indiana’s move, the Arkansas senate overwhelmingly approved a similar bill, which Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, has said he will sign into law.

reproductive rightsYou don’t even have to be any variation of one of the groups who self-define as LGBTTIQQ2SA(did I miss anyone?) to be discriminated against, or treated as unequal. This is what committeeswho decide on female reproductive rights generally look like.(reproductive rights.jpg)

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution has no female members.

Committees deciding on how women reproduce are led by men like Idaho Republican state Rep. Vito Barbieri, who, while debating on a bill backed by an anti-abortion group, wondered if it would be possible for a woman to swallow a small camera device to give doctors a closer look at the state of her DixieChicks_ShutUpAndSing_Canadapregnancy. He was ‘fascinated’ to learn that the camera would end up in a woman’s stomach, not her uterus. Without even a cursory knowledge of the female anatomy, he was deciding the outcome of a bill about reproductive rights.

Meanwhile, Little Big Town’s new song “Girl Crush” is shaking up American country radio. The song, a metaphor for jealousy, has created the most listener controversy since the Dixie Chicks had the audacity to criticize then-President Bush’s politics.“We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.

Furious phone calls and e-mails accusing “Girl Crush” of “promoting the “gay agenda” have flooded country music stations across the country. It’s a complete misrepresentation of their lyrics, but a significant portion of the traditional audience will not tolerate a song that they even wrongly assume is about a same-sex relationship.

“I want to taste her lips, yeah cause they taste like you / I want to drown myself in a bottle of her perfume, I want her long blond hair, I want her magic touch / Yeah cause maybe then, you’d want me just as much. . . I got a girl crush.”

Many Americans, whether country radio fans or not, believe that their country was founded on Christian principles,allowing them to exclude same sex rights based on their religious beliefs.But that is actually not true. The text of the Constitution contains no references to God, Jesus Christ, or Christianity, and it does not state that America is an officially Christian nation. But it does include Article VI, which bans “religious tests” for public office. And the First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”


Key founders such as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson opposed mixing church and state. They would never have supported an officially Christian nation. People immigrated to the U.S. to flee political and religious persecution, not to perpetuate it.

So, as the U.S. battles against the ‘religious fanatics’ of the Taliban, Al Qaeda or ISIL, they might want to consider the slippery slope they themselves are on, with their owndenial of women’sright to control over their own bodies, sexual discrimination, andreligious intolerance. Every day, America is sliding furtherintoaChristian perversion of Sharia law, based on an ultra-right wing theocracy.Remember, Christians, the Bible says, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”


And now for something completely different – here’s the trailer for Al Pacino’s new flick. “Danny Collins’ is based on a true story, and looks like it will be an entertaining and thoughtful look at showbiz,  and how the pursuit of fame and fortune has caused so many of our musical icons to lose sight of their artistic paths.


Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

Contact us at

DBAWIS ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. She has also been a vocalist with many acts, including Tangents, Lady, Performer, Mambo Jimi, and Delta Tango. In 2013 she co-hosted Bob Segarini’s podcast, The Bobcast, and, along with Bobert, will continue to seek out and destroy the people who cancelled ‘Bunheads’.

The Bobcast

4 Responses to “Roxanne Tellier – Don’t Mention The War!”

  1. Spot on! I’m reblogging this post.

  2. Reblogged this on A Light Beyond the Hedge and commented:
    As our freedoms, fought for long and hard, are slipping away because of BIG MONEY, please read Roxanne Tellier’s post. She hits the nail on the head.

  3. thanks so much, Virginia!

  4. This is so good and so bang on and so insightful and so….. Sometimes ya just feel like crawling in a hole and taking the hole after you. I’m trying to figure out where these wingnuts actually come from and why people actually believe in their ideology so much they keep voting them into office. The world today is so totally fucked if we don’t do something about it…..I’m just not sure what. That hole is looking pretty damn good…..

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