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Native Knowledge

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You Were There - a poem for our mother

At your eightieth birthday party you sat under the umbrella with Bob, your cigarettes and martini, your eyes laughing like blue bird wings, shaded from the sun. Yesterday is smoke to the sky and all the world rendered to the present is here in this garden, familiar faces names forgotten along with the rest of your life.
When you look in the mirror you ask whose wrinkled face stares back at you and I remember the day you declared yourself not beautiful anymore. Is losing memory a careless wish to lose the self you no longer want?
Women’s scars, trophies of battles survived are not glorified here, they are veiled in shame, but once you taught me how to tie my shoes, make my bed and love my children. That is why, as the party began, I tried to mirror back the beauty you didn’t catch in your reflection.
Words barely out I strained through tears to bring the air from lung to tongue, gasping for the right sound. Surrounding eyes were filled as well as though we understood what hadn’t formed in the mouth, and …

Petty Cruelty in the World's Greatest Country?

"No, this is about petty cruelty turned into a principle of government. It’s about privileged people who look at the less fortunate and don’t think, “There but for the grace of God go I”; they just see a bunch of losers. They don’t want to help the less fortunate; in fact, they get angry at the very idea of public aid that makes those losers a bit less miserable.

And these are the people now running America." Paul Krugman. NYTimes.
This is a clear article to read, but I wonder why anyone wants to see people starve and suffer?  What values have generated in such a social climate that the Republicans and Trump supporters are for this. Are people generally this cruel or is the state simply manufacturing consent? How does this benefit the American nation?

This is Our Othello Moment

History has concocted a pattern of heroism, leadership and charisma.  Movies love to portray  personalities of great men -  superhuman, godlike - from Jesus to Lenin to Churchill, to Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, and many others.

Shakespeare's Othello explores the tragic flaw in humanity's relationship to the hero who exemplifies the very best in human nature.  Insight, intelligence, diligence in the search for what is true, courage and beauty. 

Iago represents the anti-hero - the ego who allows small-mindedness, jealousy and bigotry to control his ambitions. The anti-hero relentlessly offers false claims, fake news, to destroy the hero rather than look for ways he could challenge himself and seek the better person within.

My imagination and desire seeks the Othello in myself but has stooped to Iago at times. Right now it is so easy to become cynical, and wallow in all the bad news that fills our media. If it bleeds it leads. Corporate media loves to fill its front pages…

Desmog Reports 10 Handy Facts About Canadian Energy

James Wilt reported in Desmog Canada a brief list of facts from a larger report by David Hughes. Here are the brief facts:

1. Canada uses a massive amount of energy
2. There’s an incredible amount of hydro power in this country
3. But we kind of suck at non-hydro renewables
4. Industry uses most of the energy in Canada
5. Western Canada is littered with an unbelievable number of old wells
6. The oilsands still produces some of the highest carbon oil in the world
7. Alberta is receiving astonishingly little return on its oil
8. Fossil fuel jobs are also surprisingly low
9. Meeting climate targets is going to be nearly impossible with oilsands expansion
10. We need to rely on facts to guide us forward

How Can I Fight Anti-semitism?

"I never thought that in 2018 I would still have to speak about antisemitism", says Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

What happened to these decades where there was so much conversation about inclusion and social justice for everyone? What happened to the laws against hate crimes? I thought we had progressed beyond anti-semitism.

In March of this year an 85 year old Holocaust survivor in Paris was murdered because she was a Jew.

In May of 2017, the Globe and Mail reported "B'nai Brith Canada, which has been tracking anti-Semitic incidents for 35 years, said 1,728 anti-Semitic incidents were reported across the country last year — a 26 per cent increase from 2015 and the highest number the group has ever recorded." 

I had believed that Muslims were more at risk, however, in 2014, the FBI reported 609 incidents of hate crimes against Jews and 154 against Muslims.   Even Snopes reports more attacks against Jews than Muslims. 

Like bullying everywhere, a division is created and the…

Oil versus Life

Notley versus Horgan or Oil versus Humanity?

The power of oil is absolute.  It's based on money. If you have enough money to buy lawyers and politicians the outcome is predictable.

If the social climate is indifferent to injustice and to the environment. If we are unable to care about what sustains and what threatens and we are simply in awe of new gadgets and fashions we have traded our family for novelty.

If we are unable to see the dire prediction we are in we are addicted to diversion wherever we may find it. The Olympics, TV dramas, Netflix, gambling, alcohol, sex and drugs.

News headlines may present different arguments for saving the economy or saving the environment, from different experts, and may run to mass shootings, bombings, cruelty and evil deeds, but it all comes down to the same thing: do we care enough to be engaged.

Do we care if so many bad news stories indicate the madness of our so-called leaders versus the vulnerability of courageous minds attempting to def…