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Showing posts from 2014

Living on a Dollar a Day

"With an introduction by the Dalai Lama, the 10 chapters focus on issues such as “Children at Work” and “Health Care.” The stories enlighten detractors who think poor people are just lazy, a recurring argument spewed by the privileged.

The chapter “Women at Work” provides countless examples to counter that argument. Jacaba Coaquira, an 80-year-old Bolivian farmer, works from 7:30 a.m. to dusk, gathering oats and green beans. Unable to feed her cow and donkey, she walked five hours to the closest town to sell them. Then there’s 25-year-old disabled single mother Jestina Koko and her 5-year-old daughter Satta in Liberia. Crippled since childhood, Koko scoots around by dragging herself on her arms. She survives by doing laundry, selling cookies and begging. Her only wish is to make enough money to send her daughter to school. Their temporary home is a sliver of dirty floor where they squat in a doorway." Truthdig, Liesl Bradner

Fracturing the Human Heart

Today on Facebook I read how two cars did a sudden U-turn quickly in front of an oncoming car to get into the ferry line-up.

There is a special loop for cars to turn into so they can safely turn into the ferry lane. There are signs to alert the drivers where to turn if the line is full  past that loop. Clearly the sudden U-turns are dangerous for oncoming traffic blindly coming around the corner.

Decades ago rules of the road were created to keep us from reckless danger. Decades ago laws were created to protect workers, consumers, citizens and children from unnecessary harm. Even international laws were created to keep nations from mindlessly slaughtering one another.  Do these laws matter today?

A recurring topic at dinner parties is the lack of ethics and principles in public places by customs officers, police, politicians, and other public servants. There is a perception that stakeholders have given up on caring, that we have no allegiance to anything beyond ourselves.

The media …

Poverty

"The latest poverty statistics were released by Statistics Canada last Wednesday, and the data once again shows that British Columbia has one of the highest poverty rates in Canada.

Using the Low Income Cut-Off – After Tax (LICO-AT) as the poverty line, 1 in 10 British Columbians are living in poverty. That's 469,000 people struggling to make ends meet. In relation to the rest of the country, B.C. is tied third with Quebec after Ontario and Manitoba."

Trish Garner, Rabble. December 17, 2014.



And an absence of real justice ...

"But most frightening of all is that a crime in America seems to be becoming more what authorities say it is, rather than what the law says.

The most obvious example is the prosecutors who appear to have guided grand juries away from indicting police who killed unarmed citizens, even when there was no obvious need to deploy that kind of force." Neil Macdonald, CBC.ca
These are the signs of illegitimate power at work.

Clean Drinking Water

"Canada is among the world's wealthiest nations, but our wealth is not equitably distributed. Many communities, particularly northern and Aboriginal, suffer from poor access to healthy and affordable food, clean water, proper housing and other necessary infrastructure. An ironic example of this disparity is at Shoal Lake, about two hours east of Winnipeg. There, two First Nations, Shoal Lake 39 and 40, are next to the City of Winnipeg's main drinking-water supply, but Shoal Lake 40 has been on a boil-water advisory for decades" David Suzuki Foundation.

Rabble: "Militarism degrades, disrupts and destroys democracy"

"As the Canadian government plays at fighting wars in Iraq/Syria and in eastern Europe, we see daily examples of how militarism ultimately degrades, disrupts and destroys democracy. Indeed, we are subjected to a gravitational pull of obedience to martial values that blinds us to a series of uncomfortable realities that are visible in plain sight but unmentionable in mainstream discourse. While a slavish media hangs on every General's word, Ottawa refuses to release the costs of its overseas adventures. Politicians who voted against the Middle East mission now say we must rally around the troops." Matthew Behrens. Rabble.

Visit Planet SARK

If you feel Planet Earth has been hijacked by Planet Mars you might want to visit Planet SARK

It was built by Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy and she explains her mission as "international well-being and transformation". Her purpose is to be "a transformer, an uplifter and a laser beam of love" and she has created an inspirational playground for all who visit her website.  You can get newsletter and other stuff here:

Her art and posters you will find re-posted on Facebook - they are delicious and wise.


Five Reasons B.C. Should Say No to the Site C Dam

1. It's bad business.
2. There are cost-effective alternatives.
3. The power isn't needed.
4. We can't afford to flood farmland.
5. The Peace has paid its price.

visit the post by Emma Gilchrist on Desmog Canada

And from David Suzuki:
"B.C. First Nations chiefs recently travelled to Ottawa to urge the federal government to pull the plug on the costliest infrastructure project in the country. At an estimated $7.9 billion and growing, the proposed Site C Dam on the beautiful Peace River in northeastern B.C. has been criticized for spiralling costs, questions about whether the electricity it would produce is even needed, and concerns about the environmental and social impacts of flooding thousands of hectares of prime farmland, irreplaceable cultural sites and wildlife habitat. The government is expected to make a decision in October."

What is Love?

Beginning with Paul's letter to the Corinthians, love is patient, kind, it does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonour, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil, always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.

So that is pretty straight forward. There are six things that love is and seven things it is not according to this Biblical passage. 

For Will Shakespeare - "love is not love which alters when it alteration finds ... it is an ever fixed mark that looks on tempests ... and is never shaken.
You have to be older than twenty to appreciate Shakespeare's instruction. It is an idealistic notion and I can see how this might be true and how it might not. However he does carry some authority because of all the plays he wrote that we still love because his characters resemble a timeless authenticity. He has earned his credibility.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you cour…

What remains unlearned from the first world war

In These Times - review of This Changes Every Thing by Naomi Klein

1. Band-Aid solutions don’t work. “Only mass social movements can save us now. Because we know where the current system, left unchecked, is headed.”
2. We need to fix ourselves, not fix the world. “The earth is not our prisoner, our patient, our machine, or, indeed, our monster. It is our entire world. And the solution to global warming is not to fix the world, it is to fix ourselves.” 3. We can’t rely on “well-intentioned” corporate funding. “A great many progressives have opted out of the climate change debate in part because they thought that the Big Green groups, flush with philanthropic dollars, had this issue covered. That, it turns out, was a grave mistake.” 4. We need divestment, and reinvestment. “The main power of divestment is not that it financially harms Shell and Chevron in the short term but that it erodes the social license of fossil fuel companies and builds pressure on politicians to introduce across-the-board emission reductions.” 5. Confronting climate change is an opportu…

Holy Crow Church

Yesterday evening the opening of Jeff Molloy's art show "Reverence" at Artworks on Gabriola was an opportunity for me to view religion more broadly.

Beginning with a piece that shows a priest with a forked tongue cutting off the hair of a young naked child, surrounded by boxes containing shapes like young children behind bars - you know this show will not be sentimental.

Further along there is a series of poles made up of driftwood, canoe paddles, nails and animal bones. Each one contains a message which I hope will become clear to me if I stare at them long enough. On a couple of the poles the driftwood represents crows. One has a crown, they all have majesty, attitude. One pole is topped by a nativity scene complete with a star, holding several found objects like old brushes, twigs and such. The pole furthest to the right is adorned with a bishop's hat made of a hip joint from some creature who left this plane some time ago. I attempt to understand. It's in a …

Where I am Folded I Am a Lie

Rainer Maria Rilke respectfully declines to review or criticize poetry, advising the younger Franz Xaver Kappus that "Nobody can advise you and help you, nobody. There is only one way. Go into yourself."[1]


I am too alone in the world, and yet not alone enough
to make every moment holy.
I am too tiny in this world, and not tiny enough
just to lie before you like a thing,
shrewd and secretive.
I want my own will, and I want simply to be with my will,
as it goes toward action;
and in those quiet, sometimes hardly moving times,
when something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know secret things
or else alone.
I want to be a mirror for your whole body,
and I never want to be blind, or to be too old
to hold up your heavy and swaying picture.
I want to unfold.
I don’t want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.
and I want my grasp of things to be
true before you. I want to describe myself
like a painting that I looked at
closely for a long …

The Power Continuum

It seems to me that power exists on a continuum. On one end is power-from-within which we all possess to varying degrees, and at the other there is power-over. The stations between these are complex, as we learn to negotiate with others in the universe. No doubt, students of political science, sociology and psychology will have more refined descriptions than the following which comes mostly from my observations.
I see power-from-within arising from thoughts, feelings, imagination, learned skills, the arts and self-discipline. Words like express, share, understand, design, empathize, inspire, indicate to me a power-from-within.

Power-over resides in social position and opportunity. Parents have power over their children, teachers over their students, managers over employees, police officers over city streets, etc. Words like teach, enforce, control, limit, protect, withhold, give, take, coerce, extract – indicate power-over. 
Power-over is not necessarily an abuse of power, and po…

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on Privatization of Schools

"Math wars", attacks on teacher unions, old-fashioned commercialism, standardized assessment, and surveillance: debates over education have always been heated. But these days, the very concept of public education, the students who are served by it and those employed in this sector are in many ways either being neglected or are under sustained attack by political and corporate elites. And as a result, privatization is no longer "creeping"--it is stampeding through entire school jurisdictions. And while the damage is all-encompassing and ultimately we are all made worse off by this onslaught,  it is the most vulnerable among us who are being hurt the most."

Erika Shaker, Salim Vally, Carol Anne Spreen. Our Schools/Our Selves: Summer 2014. Privatization of Schools: An International View.

What's Happening Here?

"Something has shifted in Israeli discourse. Dehumanization sets in insidiously, not just of the Other but of oneself." Rick Salutin

"Earlier this week, PEN became the latest charity to face a massive tax audit as part of a sweeping clampdown that appears aimed at intimidating groups critical of the Harper government ... (joining) Amnesty International, the David Suzuki Foundation, Canada Without Poverty, the United Church and other groups, that having criticized an array of Harper policies, have been obliged to devote precious resources to defending themselves from a special probe of charities ordered by the Harper government." Linda McQuaig

"As First Nations prepare to take legal action against the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, an alliance of B.C. residents and non-governmental organizations has launched a grassroots fundraising initiative that aims to help First Nations cover their legal expenses." Emily Fister

“Green Mama” (written by Manda Aufochs…

Broken Ground

"Canada lacks environmental protections enjoyed by similar nations around the world. We’re at or near the bottom in many rankings of wealthy, industrialized countries, placing 24th out of 25 on environmental performance indicators in a recent survey of Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries."  says David Suzuki, brokenground.ca

His article about the families who moved to Alberta reveals the sudden changes to their lives when oil drilling began, and within three years found themselves and their farms and homes surrounded by more than 100 rigs - without any stakeholder engagement. 

Globally the nightmare is magnified. Michael Klare writes in Twenty-First-Century Energy Wars (which first appeared in TomDispatch and now appears on Bill Moyers' site)"Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, South Sudan, Ukraine, the East and South China Seas: wherever you look, the world is aflame with new or intensifying conflicts. At first glance, these upheavals appear to b…

The Importance of Being Albert

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Albert Einstein


"Our failure of imagination regarding the ever-increasing production and use of fossil fuels will, over time, kill billions of us and irreversibly change all life on the planet. It is a failure of imagination not at a policy level but at the level of civilization. It’s not a lack of knowledge – we have a staggering amount of information and analysis, a frightening compendium of what we are doing to ourselves and every other species on the planet. We keep piling it on, study after study, dire warning after dire warning, irrefutable science, actual evidence of melting ice-caps, the virtually unprecedented level of agreement on the part of science about where we are headed. Additional information is already hitting up against the principle of diminishing re…

First Nations hold final 'healing walk' in oilsands

"For the fifth year straight, we will smell the crude oil and toxic plumes, especially if the wind 

pushes back south. Some walkers, as in past years, will be forced to stop walking due to 

breathing difficulties or bloody noses.  We will walk at ground zero of the oilands, surrounded 

by vast oil sands mines."


By Eriel Deranger, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, for CBC NewsPosted: Jun 27, 2014 10:41 

AM ET


Read the full article here

Acronyms

CETA: Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement
TTIP: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
NGO: Non-governmental Organization
ISDS: Investor State Dispute Settlement
EC: European Commission
EU: European Union
NAFTA: North American Free Trade Agreement
CCPA: Canadian Council for Policy Alternatives
TTP: Transpacific Trade Partnership


Thanks to the Canadian Council for Policy Alternatives I am creating a list of acronyms as a quick resource to help me understand policy and political blogs.

Misogyny

But, said Tahir, militarism and its impact on women is “not specific to Pakistan.” Even the U.S. Pentagon’s own report found that violent sex crimes committed by active U.S. Army soldiers have increased by 50 percent, reflecting a rate that is far higher than in the general population. “When Pakistani men commit such crimes,” said Tahir, “it’s called ‘honor killings,’ and we condemn entire cultures for it.” But “when it’s Western men who commit such crimes we tend to look for psychological explanations.” So, the Isla Vista killer, Elliot Rodger, was described as a “troubled kid with high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome,” and U.S. soldiers committing sex crimes are seen through the lens of post-traumatic stress disorder from the battlefield.  

Sonali Kolhatkar, Truthdig

Plutonomics

"Ajay Kapur, global strategist at Citigroup, and his research team came up with the term “Plutonomy” in 2005 to describe a country that is defined by massive income and wealth inequality. According to their definition, the U.S. is a Plutonomy, along with the U.K., Canada and Australia." Robert Franks. 

Read more here.
Read Edward Fullbrook here
Or rational wiki here.

In France, the U.K., and the U.S., the share of total income currently appropriated by capital is thirty per cent. The top 0.1 per cent of income earners own twenty per cent of wealth. The top one per cent own 40 per cent. The top ten per cent own 80 to 90 per cent. The bottom 50 per cent own a mere five per cent of wealth.

Al Engler - Capitalism actually widens economic disparity, rabb.ca.

Re-blogged from Woodlake Publishing Inc: Something There Is That Doesn't Love a Teacher

by Susan McCaslin Some serious teacher bashing is going on in British Columbia right now. Shelly Fralic, a journalist for theVancouver Sun, recently exploited her personal issue of teachers parking their vehicles on a public street in front of her house as a means of arousing hatred against teachers for their “sense of entitlement.”¹ Teachers, she suggested, are lazy buggers who work from 8 till 3 and then get the summers off. Her piece was perfectly timed to arouse animosity, coming out just after the BC Liberal government had threatened that if teachers proceeded with their intended job action, the government would retaliate by cutting, not increasing, their pay. First, I must come clean as a retired educator who taught at a local college in B.C. for 23 years, and before that as instructor, sessional lecturer, and teaching assistant. I began teaching in 1969 but knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was in grade 8. Teaching has been for me not just a job, but a vocation (a true call…

What's Happening Here

May 14, 2014
Dr. Robert Buckingham, a tenured professor, Dean of the School for Public Health was fired and escorted off campus for publicly criticizing a restructuring plan at the University of Saskatchewan. Crawford Killian, The Tyee.

May 19, 2014
Cecily McMillan was sentenced to 3 months in prison. The Occupy activist was grabbed from behind by a plainclothes policeman, and responded by elbowing him in the face. She was severely beaten and handcuffed to a hospital bed, by police. Chris Hedges. Truthdig.


May 20, 2014
New research shows more than 20 million people worldwide are working as modern-day slaves and generating billions of dollars worth of illegal profits annually. Jacqueline Nelson. Globe and Mail

May 21, 2014
Amnesty International reveals legal scholar and human rights activist, Xu Zhiyong was sentenced to four years in jail for organizing "Same-city Eat-drink gatherings". Amnesty International
May 22, 2014
Effective Monday, May 26, BC Government will dock 5 % of teacher…

George Monbiot on Climate Change and Denial

Chris Hedges on The Power of Imagination

"Shakespeare portrays the tension between the premodern and the modern. He sees the rise of the modern as dangerous. The premodern reserved a place in the cosmos for human imagination. The new, modern, Machiavellian ethic of self-promotion, manipulation, bureaucracy and deceit—personified by Iago, Richard III and Lady Macbeth—deformed human society. Shakespeare lived during a moment when the modern world—whose technology allowed it to acquire weapons of such unrivaled force that it could conquer whole empires, including the Americas and later China—instilled through violence this new secular religion. He feared its demonic power."
Truthdig May 11, 2014

On CF-18s for NATO operation in Eastern Europe

From Tom Mulcair:
To be clear, the Russian Federation's annexation of Crimea and provocations in Eastern Ukraine are as unacceptable as they are illegal. And like our allies, we've been unequivocal in condemning Russia's military intervention and in calling for a diplomatic solution to this crisis.  However, after turning their backs on international engagement for years, the Conservatives have now severely constricted our country's ability to play a constructive role.

We must reassure our partners in Eastern Europe of our firm commitment to their sovereignty, stability, and security. But it's not enough for Canada to simply posture and take potshots. Instead, we must step up our diplomatic efforts in the region because a political resolution remains the only path to long-term stability.

Canada's reputation as an independent and principled member of the international community was a cornerstone for some of our country's greatest accomplishments in…

How does it help the innocent to be bombed?

Common Sense and Orphan Wells

Commonsense Canadian: Despite admitting there is an increasing trend of inactive well sites awaiting reclamation, the BC Oil and Gas Commission has slashed its budget for its orphan site reclamation fund from $4.83 million in 2013 to just $1 million in 2014. According to the Orphan Well Association, “an orphan is a well, pipeline, facility or associated site which has been investigated and confirmed as not having any legally responsible or financially able party to deal with its abandonment and reclamation.”

Thanks to Honourable and Ethical Seekers of Truth

Thanks to Canada and the work of the CBC I have evolved from a prejudiced European immigrant to a citizen of world community.

Canada has taught me the value of multiculturalism. I have been privileged to go where I would never have gone had I stayed in the UK. I have attended services in a Synagogue, a Sikh temple, a Catholic church and a Greek Orthodox church.

My daughter learned to dance in a Ukrainian Cultural club. My children have traveled around the world eagerly accepting the hospitality of different peoples.  I have eaten Chinese, Italian, Greek and Kosher foods. But mostly I have learned that people of different races are not a menace or a threat.  The threat is the way in which we have been trained to fear the stranger for the entrenched power of those who seek absolute power over continents.

And mostly I have learned so much about humility and a gentle approach to living with nature from our First Nations. 

Toula Drimonis says "The CBC provides a coast-to-coast identity, a…

Naomi Wolf: 10 easy steps towards fascism

Back in 2007 Naomi Wolf wrote an article in The Guardian on how a civilized democratic society can be reduced to a barbaric fascist state. This article is timeless and should be taught in schools, or should have been taught in schools. Is it too late? 

Here are the steps:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens' groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law