Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dear Conservative Party of Canada

Dear Conservative Party of Canada
While you spend some time ‘studying what went wrong’, let me offer some insight. Canadians were tired. We were tired of the bullying that Stephen Harper had perfected, the behind-closed-door deals, the lying, the contempt of Parliament, and the contempt for democracy. While I absolutely believe you went to Ottawa with nothing but the best intentions to serve your country, you all allowed one man to control you, control your thoughts, control your message and sadly, to control your actions (or lack thereof). You not only turned a blind eye to the indifference that Mr. Harper showed for Canadians, you mirrored his behavior. You never once stood up for your constituents, the people who elected you – who were essentially your board of directors, who offered you a mandate to speak on their behalf – when Mr. Harper told you to toe the party line. You ignored the hypocrisy of a leader who was elected to be honest, transparent and accountable, who then broke every one of those promises daily. We saw it. I have absolutely no doubt that you saw it as well, but it was not in your best ‘political’ interests to call him on it.

Yours was a government that refused to be accountable. You refused to talk to the media. You refused to answer questions. You passed massive omnibus bills – something that Mr. Harper adamantly opposed when he was on the other side of the aisle – knowing what odious deals were contained within them and then you upped the ante by refusing to allow discussion or debate. You then even blatantly tried – yes, you tried – to destroy the integrity and equality of our electoral system with your 'Fair' Elections Acts and your gerrymandering.

You willfully participated in election fraud, among you were people who participated in criminal activity, yet your arrogance did not allow you to stand up to do the right thing. You were dishonest with Canadians continually, and when someone dared to attempt to hold you to account, you ignored, then you redirected – to issues that had the sole intention of creating hatred and fear.

Here is the saddest aspect of the last 10 years. You may well have had some good ideas. You may well have had good intentions, at least when you arrived in Ottawa, but with all of the arrogance, dismissiveness, divisiveness, patronage appointments, indifference and lies, not one of you could be trusted. You all sold out to one man who was, at best a megalomaniac, and who may well have been a sociopath... and YOU DID NOTHING TO STOP IT OR TO HOLD YOUR PRIME MINISTER ACCOUNTABLE. You were active, willing participants in the destruction of a once-proud, credible, honorable party. Shame on all of you.

This election was about morals, about standing up for those who need someone to stand up for them (yes, this would include all missing and murdered women), about honesty, and saying we are Canadians who are compassionate, involved, open, welcoming, peace-loving and proud – all things that you have spent the last 10 years proving you were not.

Take heart though. The effort to determine what went wrong should not take long. Start with the gutter-crawling you did in your campaign, and with the fact that you spent the last four years campaigning to keep power instead of doing what you were supposed to do with the authority you were given by the voting public. You forgot who you worked for, who you were to answer to, and it was NOT the Prime Minister or the PMO. You allowed Stephen Harper to be a party of one, so yes, this is on you. Hopefully, Canadians have now seen what can happen when elected politicians become too entitled. Hopefully it will never happen again. Stephen Harper and ‘His Conservative Government’ will be a stark reminder of this for many years.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

On Terror

It’s time for a little reality check, people. It’s time to talk about terror... just a few home truths for you to mull over, because pretty soon, if we don’t pull our heads out of our asses, it will be too late.

Terrorism is the only thing we hear about on the news now. It’s all politicians are talking about, spewing their excuses for a new bill that will rob us of our privacy and our rights. You think it won’t impact you because ‘you’ve got nothing to hide’? Well, think again, and start paying attention. Get a copy of the bill and see what it does, what it allows, how it tromps merrily on your legal and human rights even if you are doing nothing wrong or you have nothing to hide. Read about how it offers nothing to enforcement that isn’t already there (other than demanding accountability). For Christ sake, we know that 6 kids just went to the Middle East to join ISIS. How much more do they need to tap into our privacy? Obviously what is already in place is working.

We have not had a terrorist attack, in the political parlance, in Canada. Neither of the two events of last fall, though tragic and horrifying, were ‘terrorism’. Murder? Absolutely. Heinous? Without doubt. Terrorism? Absolutely not! Actually, let me correct myself – we HAVE experienced terrorism in Canada. More than fifty women experienced it at the hands of Robert Pictin for years until someone actually decided to pay attention. More than 1300 Indigenous women have experienced it, and the rest live in terror, because no one is prepared to do one damned thing about them or who is murdering them with impunity. Apparently terrorism against First Nations, something that is very real in this country, takes a back seat to hype and political posturing to pass draconian laws, making us the new Russia. There’s a handle we really want to bear. Harper/Putin, Putin/Harper – sort of makes no difference now, does it?

Instead of buying into these red herrings that are intended for two purposes, and two purposes alone (neither of which involves giving a damned about you, by the way), pay attention to what they are trying to get you to not look at. That’s the first step. This ‘war on terror’ is about having a means of ruling through fear and distracting us, and it supports the old adage that war is money. If you think that there aren’t about a dozen people in North America getting extremely rich out of all this hoopla, who aren’t sitting there rubbing their hands at every mention of the ISIS or ISIL, because it means the taps are free-flowing cash into their bank accounts, then you really are not paying attention. Today’s wars are about money, and nothing more. Just check out the accounting ledgers for Dick Cheney and Halliburton if you have any doubts about this truth.

But let’s also consider the terrorists. Yes, ISIS does exist. Why? And why does no one ask why? If... and this is getting to be a pretty big if... if we had true journalists, they would be learning and sharing the basics. They wouldn’t be beating the same story over and over, telling us how scary these people are, glorifying them and their cause in the eyes of young people searching for something... anything... to explain the hardships they face in their own lives. Who supports ISIS and where do they get their money? Hmm, yeah, they won’t bother with that one because of the deal struck with the Saudis years ago. We send weapons and military supplies over there, despite our own laws that state we cannot provide those things to any country that has a poor human rights record. Where else do they get their money? It’s time to look into that, and no, I don’t mean the $15 bucks someone sends them because their mosque got vandalized and they are upset. They have real money, and they are getting it from somewhere.

But again, let’s look at why. Why is this happening? Well, for starters, we have judges now in Canada who partake in religious persecution, refusing to allow a woman to wear a scarf over her head in a courtroom... even go so far as to say that it is the same as sunglasses or a ball cap. That would NEVER happen to a Catholic nun wearing a wimple in the same damned courtroom. Obviously the first battle in this fight against terrorism is to beat down our own ignorance. How about we learn something about these different religions so we understand the purpose of a hijab or why men wear a turban? Seriously, it’s a bad day when you don’t learn something new, so let’s start. Instead of taking religion out of the classroom, bring them ALL in, teach about all of them, because in understanding them, the fear goes away. When the fear goes away, all of the asinine prejudices also go away. Hatred and fear go hand in hand. One is the tool of the other. Education goes a long way to stopping both. It’s not an attack on Christianity to learn and appreciate other religions. If you are that insecure about your own faith, you have bigger problems than terrorism. You think there is a war against Christianity in North America? Yeah, well, that’s really just a convenient excuse to justify your hatred. Don’t try coloring it any other way, because you are fooling no one.

How about we demand our politicians deal with some of the other issues that feed terrorism? How about we demand that they deal with the outdated and prejudicial laws that result in the overcrowding of prisons? How about we guarantee that people of other religions and cultures are STILL entitled to the same human and legal rights we are? How about we demand they address the issue of affordable education, housing, and child care? Create programs for children to help them express themselves and to help them learn even more, so they don’t end up in gangs or prison. Teach inclusiveness; it has to be better than the platter of divisiveness and hatred the politicians and media serve up every damned day. How about we start easing the tax burden on regular people, and insist in fair pay for a day’s work? Keep giving corporations their tax cuts, but for keeping jobs at home and demanding they pay a wage that people can truly live on. We’re all struggling, as costs of energy, housing, food, clothing all go up, and wages stay stagnant for years.

How about we start worrying about the environment, if for no other reason than it will cut back on health care costs and on time lost at work for sick days? You want a fiscal reason to give a shit about what we drink and the air we breathe? There you go! What about getting rid of the GMOs and chemicals in foods – you know, the ones the government shoved down our throats with their asinine, self-serving deals with companies like Monsanto? Why is someone who wants clean water called an ecoterrorist, but the people who fill our food and water with harmful, unnecessary crap are not considered terrorists at all? How many people have died from poisoning or cancer from what is in their food, water, or air? One hell of a lot more than have died from terrorism here. Young people are robbed of hope right now, and who can blame them? They know there needs to be change and trying to work within the political system just isn’t doing the job anymore. They see politicians for what they are, they see the examples of extremism set by politicians and religious leaders, and they figure that’s the only way to combat the problems.

Yes, there are huge issues in the Middle East. If we stop playing the petroleum game, though, a lot of those will stop. If we start caring about poor countries without oil, and help them to develop, there is another nail in the ISIS coffin. If the Canadian government follows through on the pledges of aid that were promised, instead of conveniently putting that money into their ‘slush’ ledger to then claim as money raised against the deficit, we again help others fight ISIS, or Boko Haram, in their lands. We have more than enough oil here to be self-sufficient, especially if we start to embrace green energies, implementing them to take that much more pressure off fossil fuels. When the hell did the principles of green energy and environmental awareness make us the enemy of a whole nation? Think about this for just one minute. Why is it wrong to want to protect our planet and our lives? No one is saying that there can be NO oil or gas, but it should be done reasonably and responsibly. We’re going to look pretty damned dumb when we have oil spurting everywhere, but we’re all dead because we have nothing to drink, or we all have cancer from our polluted waters that are used as toxic dumps for mines.

Start paying attention to these little basic facts, and all of a sudden we won’t have the issue of terrorism raising its head. Start to deal with health issues and mental health issues, add some respect and tolerance, have a media that spends as much time on stories about the environment as they do right not on terrorism (and yes, they do cherrypick which stories they cover. Don’t let the bamboozle you otherwise), and suddenly you have no reason for people to want to go to the Middle East to join radical organizations. Toss in some compassion, education, and not looking at every god damned shiny bit of foil the government tosses at us to be distracted – that’s how we combat terrorism; not with bills that rob us of our own human rights and put us at even more risk. When ANY government proposes that there are only two extremes to an issue – you either support them unquestioningly or you are ‘soft on terror’ – they are being 100% disingenuous with you. They are lying to you, and that is why they feel the need to rely on extortion. What we’re doing right now, with talk of the war on terrorism and C-51 and the fear mongering our government and media has gotten so good at, is ensuring that this battle will go on forever, and the taps of cash will flow non-stop into those dozen bank accounts in perpetuity. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Enough is Enough for Our Canada

Remember being in school and learning about how horrible it was that the Russian government controlled the media? We heard the word Pravda, and learned it was about propaganda and a corrupt government. Remember how horrified you were when, a few years later, you studied about how a man named Adolf Hitler was elected to public office, and about how under his regime the poor and challenged were persecuted, how books and scientific data were destroyed, about how people were persecuted because they weren’t part of the perfect race? We shook our heads in disbelief because in our world, in our Canada, this could never happen. Remember when elections were discussed, and how in some countries the process was fatally flawed, making a mockery of the entire exercise as blatant election fraud ruled the day? Canadians were called in to help organize and oversee elections because of this, because we so valued the ability to make that little X on a piece of paper. Remember learning that in some places in the world, to speak your mind or to stand up for what was right was a sure death sentence, or at the very least a ticket to jail, with no legal process, for a lot of years? We actually scoffed at that. In Canada, individual voices and opinions would always be welcome, and if someone stepped out of line, if someone broke the rules by trying to silence us or lock us away, we simply would not let that happen. We were Canadians. We were proud, and we had reason to be.

Canada had the model health care system. We had one of the best education systems in the world. We were innovate, warm, caring members of society. Other countries talked the talk about equality and inclusion, about fairness, welcoming the downtrodden, feeding the tired and hungry; Canada walked the walk. When we said we would send disaster aid to countries in the midst of disaster, we actually sent the money. When we sent Canadian men and women to protect and defend, promising to take care of them and their families because of our respect and gratitude for their sacrifice, we lived by our bond. When other countries needed peacekeepers and mediators, we were the go-to guys, because we respected human life and humanity. We said those horrible things that happened in other countries, in those backward countries run by greedy war mongers and thuggish dictators, could never happen here, because we knew daily, intimately, thoroughly that the rights and the lifestyle we enjoyed had been secured for us through the blood, sweat, and lives of other Canadians, and there was no way in hell we would let them down, or gamble with that precious gift they gave us. No, this could not happen; not in Our Canada.

Well, now it’s all reality. The mere fact that I write this blog, once bill C-51 passes, means that I am... wait for it... a terrorist. Let that soak in for a minute then consider how we got to this point in our world. The mere mention that our government is wrong, and that we should not sit idly by as absolutely everything Canada has stood for, and that Canadians have died for, makes me... a terrorist. Because of this, once bill C-51 passes, I will not be entitled to any of my legal rights. They can tap my phone, bug my house, park drones outside my windows, intercept my emails and every private conversation I have now, requiring no legal justification and with absolutely no oversight from any judge, because I am involved in terrorist activity. The government, when asked for a definition of terrorism, thuggishly told us we should ‘look it up’. Stalin would be giddy! When it was said that ‘of course legal protest’ would not be included, then why is that not stated in the Bill? When asked questions about the bill, we are called unpatriotic and it is claimed that we love terrorists... because we are their brethren. How better to silence anyone who disagrees with your policies or what you are doing to Our Canada than to create a law that allows you to circumvent all other laws. We ridicule countries where bloggers are sent to prison for blogging, where kangaroo courts are the order of the day because the judges are in the despots’ pockets. We marvel that there are still countries where people are imprisoned without cause but because they state to someone else a truth, yet we now allow this in Canada?

Terrorism is a political red herring. Wake the hell up, people. The attacks in Ottawa in the fall of 2014 were NOT terrorism. The provisions in Bill C-51 are NOT about terrorism and will do nothing new to stop it. The authorities already have the tools, the laws and the means to do their jobs. C-51 is about silencing Canadians, about making us completely impotent to change our situations or to hold the government to account. C-51 is about controlling people, allowing them to be locked away without cause, without a warrant, without regard for any legal right or precedent. Yeah, ISIS exists. Ask yourself why. In your answer, you will find a large part of the solution. ISIS exists because our governments let it. War is money – governments know this. Yes, it costs you and me, the taxpayers a lot of money, and yes, there are those who pay much more with their lives and their limbs, but war exists because there is good, easy money to make. All you have to do is fling around the word ‘Patriotism’ and you can shame people into letting you do anything.

If the governments wanted to stop ISIS, they would simply turn off the tap. That’s the first step. Stop supplying our ‘friends’ in Saudi Arabia with weapons, money, and military equipment. Oh, wait... even though we KNOW they are providing supplies to ISIS, we just signed another deal with them... even though it is supposed to be illegal for people in our country to sell any of this shit to any country that has a questionable human rights record. We did it anyway... brokered by our government... despite our own laws and our own intelligence. Stop giving these countries money for their oil – invest in green and alternate energies. This one is a no-brainer. If they don’t have the oil money coming in, they shrivel up and die. The investment in alternate energies and green energies, also creates jobs at home, and that works a long way to the other key component – respect. Respect other religions, other people, and they have no reason to hate us. Address the issue of disenfranchisement, of mental health care, of environmental destruction, of a rapidly growing poor population and give them a reason to now look for alternatives to survive, other than to take drastic steps to stop the government. Take away the reason for people to want to terrorize us, instead of adding a dozen more reasons for it.

Terrorism is convenient though. It scares people, and scared people are blind people. We’re so busy running that we can’t take the time to turn around and see what the hell we’re running from. It’s convenient for governments to rule through fear – there is a long list of thugs who have done that through the centuries. It’s a well-known tactic. If we look at the scary terrorists, we don’t see the failing the economy, the growing cronyism, the patronage, the abuse of power, the disregard for human and legal rights, the destruction of democracy, the lack of jobs, the lack of education and health care, the growing prisons and the money they generate for so few, the burgeoning profits of the banks and the oil companies. We so busy being afraid of beards, and gathering places, and pieces of clothing, and books, that we absolutely are not looking at what we should really be fearing, before it’s too late. Sadly, the process adds justification and feeds the terrorists, and the new definitions of what terrorism now is absolutely insults those who have lost their lives fighting real terrorists.

Not in my Canada? That was the dream. Now it is the nightmare, The only way to stop it is to risk everything – by speaking out. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Stop The Presses

I am done with the mainstream press. It’s as simple as that. I will no longer allow puppets to set the agenda for my life. Amid the intricate cogs required to keep the wheels of democracy turning, the one labeled Fifth Estate is seized. It’s FUBAR. A free, independent press is the cornerstone of democracy – without it, the rest crumbles to ashes. Well, look around you. That ship has sailed, and in large part that is due to the fact that the press was nothing more than a cheap whore standing on the corner, wearing a short leather skirt and letting her boobs hang out, reminding politicians and the corporate elite that absolutely anything, even cornerstones and democracy, are up for grabs. It is this fact, and this fact alone, that has destroyed democracy, and is to blame for the loss of countless thousands of lives.

Gone are the principled, tenacious Woodwards and Bernsteins who, despite being ordered to back off, could smell the blood in the water and demanded of themselves to find out where the bodies really were. Of course, having done that and discovering that there was a bigger payoff in movie and book residuals... These two men were my idols growing up. They did what was right. It was an unrepeatable event, I know – that thing that happens only once in a lifetime, but I am so very thankful that I saw it at least once in my lifetime. I am not so sure that my children will ever see something like that in their lifetimes.

Now our mainstream media is nothing more than the paid propaganda machine, the Joseph Goebbels of our time, telling us what they want us to hear. They aren’t totally to blame. We have made the choice to listen, despite knowing that what they are saying isn’t totally accurate, or that the main part of the story is neatly tucked away where we’ll never find it. We have Brian Williams admitting to lying about a story, and perpetrating that lie for years. We have Amanda Lang keeping secret a massive conflict of interest, and allowing that to skew the true story. We have CNN and, well, every other media outlet, looking for the best, catchiest, cutest title for whatever story they have decided will own the day, and they will cover nothing else but that story. We have Peter Mansbridge selling his soul to ask the most ridiculous, softball questions of a crooked Prime Minister, and challenging absolutely none of the blatant lies he is offered in response. We have Fox... well, let’s not even go there; this is about news media, and anyone who does not or will not see what Fox is doing then deserves the crap that will befall them. Even Sarah Palin readily accepts and states that Fox is – ‘a quasi or assumed Conservative outlet’. The press is not doing its job when it can be labeled as supporting one side; you know, it’s that pesky unbiased, fair thing that catches them up in this regard.

We have a lot of problems in this world. Funny thing, though, is that all of them work to the advantage of the corporate elite. All of it makes money for them – the war on terror in particular. Listen to politicians and the media talk about this. They work overtime to inflame the situation, daily widening the chasm between two groups of people. Ask yourself who benefits from all of this. It’s the people who make the weapons. The more they can stir up shit, the more weapons they sell, and they stack the deck, because they arm both sides. Where did ISIS get their weapons? When are we going to learn? In every conflict the same shit happens, and we sit on our sofas and allow this BS to spew forth from our sets, lapping it up and fearing the Russian, Cuban, Columbian, Mexican, North Korean, Muslim – you pick – hoards. The biggest winner in the Gulf Wars was Haliburton. There is no question there. Look back on other conflicts and see where the weapons came from. I’ll give you a hint – there will only be a few names that pop up.

Canada just signed a deal to give more military supplies to Saudi Arabia. We have a law here that says we are not to sell arms or supplies to countries that will use those arms or supplies against their own people. I guess that only applies when the people are women – then it’s open season. I guess those laws also don’t apply when we know that Saudi Arabia is passing some of those supplies on to our own enemies, either directly or through back door deals. War is guaranteed income. If we don’t fight, there is no more money to be made. That means, to the puppet masters, war is essential because people like the Bush family will never have enough money.

The other benefit though, is that while we are being inundated with looped video of beheadings, the stories we should be hearing are ignored. We’re too busy fearing that ISIS is going to knock down our door and cart us away. We’re too busy giving up our freedom to speak, to write, to think. We’re too busy allowing the government to have access to everything we do, without cause or oversight. The governments are doing this because to them, there is nothing more important than being in power. They love it. Hey have to be there because no one else could do it as good as they do, and because there are definite financial benefits to paving the roads for the beautiful people to drive on. Voters? Who needs them? Democratic elections are nothing more than fraud now. The gerrymandering, the money raising, the robocalling... none of this would be accepted in a democratic, free world.

The politicians, though, aren’t controlling the string. The media has been bought out, and has sold us out, pretty much across the board. Why don’t they cover the slaughter in Nigeria? Because there is no economic plus to it for the people selling weapons. Why, at the time of every school shooting, are people not asking about the guns? Well, you know why. You know the way to solve the problem, but instead it’s just so much easier to allow the NRA and fear screw with your judgment. Why are we hearing every day about Christianity being threatened? Because it’s how you make war. Say what you will about religion, it is sure to always and forever be a money maker for fear mongers and arms sellers. Why are there still people debating the science of climate change? Because it’s not convenient to those who want to make the money from war and oil. Why are people like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee still given air time? Because they are morons and easily led, despite the absolute utter hypocrisy of their words and ideals: they are fear mongers of the finest kind, and critical to keeping the rest of us cowering and looking in the wrong direction. Why are we being told to panic about the economy right now? Because it’s all designed to make us believe that the only way to salvation is pipelines, pipelines that will do nothing for us. It’s a bit of a Hail Mary pass on the part of the oil companies, but put the value of a barrel of oil into freefall, watch currency fall, watch jobs disappear, and watch the people come running begging for a damned pipeline, giving the oil companies everything they want and more.

The media isn’t the pawn in this game, though. They aren’t being moved around on a whim. They are controlled from within, and are now masters of prestidigitation, their sleight of hand never better as they dazzle us with Snowmagedons or Shock and Awe. It's about stacking the deck against us, against the small business, the upstart, the working man. It's about keeping us in our place, and the best way to do that is to keep us distracted, poor, and working our asses off so we're too tired to notice. We listen to the rote answers, repeated dozens of time, word for word, in an attempt to make us not question, or not think, reminding us that we’re really nothing more than petulant puppies and that whacking us with a newspaper enough times will get the
message through to us. The truly criminal part of all of this, though, is that we’ve let them. The only chink in the armor, for the last 80 years, has been the exposure of Watergate. It’s the one thing that we should remember, daily, because the press did what it was supposed to. It hasn’t happened since. I suspect it never will, at least not in the mainstream media. Mission accomplished? Oh yeah, a lot of missions accomplished, just not the ones the rest of us were privy to, and certainly not ones that are intended to help us. They play us well. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


DATELINE: ALONG THE NORTHERN GATEWAY PIPELINE ROUTE, DROWNING IN DILBIT -- It is hard to believe that this is possible, but then again, we are living in the world of Stephen Harper, so nothing should amaze us anymore. The federal government has approved Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline. It's amazing how easily bought politicians can be when there is big oil money on the table.

Let's play a game. Let's say we all live in the Mount Royal area of Calgary -- we all come from old money and live in big houses. It's a great life. We have beautiful parks to play in, we spend hours soaking up the sun, we live the high life with everything we want right within our grasp. We are in paradise.

Then one day one of us discovers that by opening up one of the parks -- just one of them -- so that the local sewage rises in great bubbling delight, easily accessible and available to all of us, he can solve all the world's problems. This one person tells us that they have made a startling discovery -- he has learned how to turn this effluent into food that he can then export to all the starving people of the world. It will be a wonderful thing, because it will create jobs because other people will want to learn how we do it. It will boost the economy, put the people who aren't working into gainful employment, and will fill an international need for jobs and food.

None of the rest of us are totally pleased about the smelly mess, and many of us have our doubts about what this might precipitate, but it fills needs, so it must be a good idea... plus we can all make a little coin in the process. We learn that there is a flaw in the plan -- that the bacteria found in the effluent isn't totally removed from the finished product, but we tell ourselves 'what's a little bacteria in the grand scheme of things' and continue to act like this is a wonderful plan. The money we're making proves that.

Some of the water of the coast of BC where large tankers are expected to
navigate. This is one of the four most treacherous water passes in the
world, and has some of the most protected, pristine species in the world.
We then discover that the effluent, while in a quasi-liquid state, won't move down the pipelines we have built, because it is just too thick and sticky, so we add some chemicals to it -- some naptha, perhaps some of the chemicals and ingredients used to help get the effluent from the ground, like arsenic and strychnine, but we really aren't allowed to know what exactly is used to help make the effluent flow. We see evidence of how it eats through the metal of the pipelines, but we tell ourselves that's just the cost of doing business, and when it lands on the ground at one of the spills, we pretend that it really isn't such a big deal, even though those things added to it to make it flow (and that eat the walls of the pipeline) have now contaminated the land, the water and the air all around the spill. It really isn't our concern that no one knows for sure how to stop the leaks, especially when they happen under water, or how to clean up the mess so that the land and water can be reclaimed. After all, it's not in our backyard, and we still have water and food to eat... and money still rolling in. Secretly, though, we shudder at the realization that the bacteria-filled effluent is now being used to water the crops and livestock in the area so they too will be contaminated from it, because the people who live there have no idea what they are doing, and if they do, they have no options because there is no other source of water.

People along these pipelines start to get sick. They get aggressive cancers and ulcers. They find it hard to breathe and they bleed when they go to the bathroom. They can see effluent in their water, but still they are told that it's not a problem -- they just have to trust us, because we would never lie to them, especially while we are still raking in the money. Scientists and medical specialists start to point to the effluent, saying that it is making us sick, so we make laws that say they cannot speak about it anymore... because the money is now flowing like never before, and we have actually convinced people that they NEED our effluent. They WANT it, both the money from it and the jobs it will create to put the pipelines through their towns, because there is really no other source of food for anyone. They have heard the stories about the heinous diseases and sickness associated with it. They have heard about the waterways that are destroyed, and the wildlife and plant life destroyed, about the homes that are inhabitable and standing empty for years because no one can return there; the air, like the water and the land, is toxic from all the things put in the effluent to help it flow down the pipelines. None of that matters, though. They have been told they need this, that this is the holy grail for society, that with this pipeline all their worries and needs will be solved and they too will live in paradise.

If this was a children's story, it would be totally unbelievable. A child would laugh at the stupidity of it, mocking the possibility that people would actually allow something like this to happen. These are educated people, smart people, who plead for shit to be pumped over their land, spilled on their land, and injected under their land. There is unrefuted evidence that the chemical cocktails used to extract and to move this shit cause cancer and cause death and destruction to people, plants and animals, and that it makes the water completely undrinkable, yet they still want it. They have evidence that the scientific community and the medical community have been legally silenced, and that the exact details of what is in the chemical cocktails are kept secret by law to protect the companies making them... yet they still want it. They logically know that the huge number of jobs is a gross misrepresentation, that the jobs will be there for one year, or at the most two, then will be gone because once the pipeline is built, there is no need to build any more... yet they choose to ignore this fact as well, because the shit is manna from heaven.

Yes, I drive a car. If I could buy one that ran on something other than gas, I would. As it is, my vehicle is parked 27 days out of the month. Yes, I know that we need oil for plastics and manufacturing, and we probably always will need oil, but there are safer, better, cleaner ways of getting it, and we all know that. There are incredibly innovative programs and plans, some proven and in use already, but we all want one solution that is 'easy'. Wind generators are ugly (but greasy smelly oil derricks are not?) and they don't work where there isn't wind (well, duh) so they are no good. Scrap that plan. Solar energy is good, but expensive (how much do you think the pipelines, the tar sands and all that goes along with it costs?) and won't work where there is limited sun, like in the north, so let's scrap that entirely as well. Sadly, this innovation and research would put many more people to work, for a lot longer, than any pipeline will, but we don't want to see that either. I suppose it doesn't really matter anymore, though. We have come so far, and are so hoodwinked by politicians and their campaign-funding oil chroneys, that the damage is done.

It is a very sad day when the government of a country sells out it's people. it's health, it's food supply, it's water and it's ethics for the sake of a pipeline that has been decried by experts in every field, from around the world, as a disastrous project.

My friends in the United States, please please please understand that it is NOT oil that will be pumped down those pipelines. It is NOT crude. It is dilbit, a cocktail concoction that eats at pipelines, that cannot be contained when spilled, that cannot be stopped once it is in water or land or the air (the chemicals, when a leak occurs, leach into the air making it toxic). Spend some time looking at the dilbit disaster that is still ongoing in Kalamazoo four years, and $1B after the fact. Understand that the driving force behind the politicians and the oil companies is that they are making not millions, not billions, but trillions of dollars while you are taking ALL the risk as their poison, their shit, moves across your land. Please take some time to learn about what is involved with this process, and what harm it does, and what jobs it will truly create. Weigh their gain against your loss. Research the number of leaks that have occurred in these pipelines, and the damage done -- you will be amazed at what you have not been told, and at the lack of commitment and honesty shown by the oil companies, especially when money is on the table. You still have time... not a lot, but enough that you can stop this stupidity from going any further into your country. Canada once was a paradise. Don't destroy yours as we are so intent on destroying ours. Don't risk another dance with this devil.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

We're On The Eve of Destruction

DATELINE: IN A FRONT ROW SEAT FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF DEMOCRACY – By May first – in 32 days, for those of you without a calendar – the Fair Elections Act will pass in Canada. Well, ‘pass’ is a rather inaccurate term, as it will be more a case of it being shoved down our throats, not unlike hemlock in ancient Athens. Of course, the title of the bill is akin to referring to laws regarding rape as the Demand for Love Act. You can put lipstick on a pig, but… well, you know how that one goes. Of course, the Harper Conservatives don’t see it this way. Nooo, they see it as the only way possible for them to win another election – by hook or by crook, as they say. They will steal the House of Commons, because there is NOTHING that is more important to Stephen Harper than being Boss.

Never in the history of Canada has one party changed the rules of election without thorough consultation with the other parties and without agreement from the heads of Election Canada. That is because we are a democracy, and the prime tenet of a democracy is the ability to have fair, honest elections. Without that, democracy is a farce, a cheap fa├žade worn by power mongers who give not one single damn about the people who elected them, and who care even less for those who did not. Of course, there is the valid argument to be made that the current government, the one making these changes, is illegitimate anyways, and God knows this is not their first ‘never in the history of Canada’ achievements.

They were the first government in Canada to be found in Contempt of Parliament. That alone should have been signal enough to the electorate, but what did Harper do? He prorogued parliament in order to avoid scrutiny or asking questions (another first). In fact, he prorogues Parliament whenever the kitchen gets a bit too hot for him. His was the first government to set fixed election dates then was the first government to break that rule as well. His was the first (and second) election in Canada’s history to involve voter fraud – fraud that WAS determined to be committed by the Conservatives. In fact, this government’s record for respecting and working within the bounds of democracy is absolutely abysmal, the rules of democracy and elections discussed by them with derision, offering more than enough proof that they cannot and should not be trusted to unilaterally change the way in which they are elected.

My rage about this, however, is not at the Harper government any longer. That rage is pointless. I have written to the Governor General – a textbook definition of ‘waste of time’ since Rideau Hall is so far up Harper’s anal cavity that they have given up polishing those austere marble floors anymore and have just accepted the brown slime on said floors as a byproduct of Harper’s ravenous appetite. It’s understandable. The man gobbles up people and poops out oil – well, dilbit, to be exact, so undoubtedly they believe the floors of the GG’s mansion to instead be christened with black gold. Certainly the perks and benefits received by the government of the day, including the GG, have that rancid stench of oil clearly attached to them.

I have written to every member of the Senate. When the Fathers of Confederation dreamed up this country, they saw a bi-cameral house, where no one side could run amok with the country they so lovingly created. The Senate was to be non-partisan, a home of the wise, the worn, the well-seasoned, who would provide sober second thought and stop any monkey business should the government of the day attempt some. It’s as if they had a premonition of Stephen Harper taking a chainsaw to their glorious architecture, and wanted to have checks and balances in place to stop it before it could happen. Of course, they didn’t see that corporate greed and obsession for power would override absolutely every other principle involving government, or that their beloved Senate would be completely bastardized, turned into nothing more than a house of government whores working for a pimpish PMO.

My rage is wasted on Harper. It will change nothing. He is what he is – another in a long line of megalomaniacal (misogynist) power mongers, who dreams of more authority every night, and works for more money in his bank account every day… and the people of the country (and the country itself) be damned.

So, what can we do? Do we sit back, raise a glass to the Canada we once knew, and thumb through boutique catalogues from new corporations like Surviving Hitler, or Fascism International, hoping to find something we can use to make our ‘new’ lives more tolerable under this new regime? Our middle class has been decimated, our upper-class has been more empowered, and as we all sink to the depths of the impoverished and enslaved, we find out that this very oppression is what will prevent us from having a right to vote. Harper is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that will crown him king of his own country in time. Is my explanation extreme? Perhaps… for now. Give the man some time.

Instead, I now ask ‘What the hell are the other parties doing about this?’ Well, I do see some of them on television, arguing the bill, but so what? What are they going to do? When it comes to stopping it, they are in the minority. As government representatives, they are completely impotent to stop this train wreck, and it shows. Flapping lips; sinking ships. I am astounded and dismayed at their lack of actually ‘doing’ something. I have waited for over a month now for them to figure it out, but it seems they just can’t. Party alliances – partisanism – runs too thick in their blood, and the need to be ‘in charge’ is too all consuming for them to be able to see beyond the trees. Because of that, all of us, and our country, and our country’s amazing stellar reputation hang in the balance.

Instead of sending out emails every fecking day of the week asking for more campaign money because ‘we have to collect more than the other guy’, how about doing something to educate the people across this country? How about doing something to organize them? Media pundits say that the public is lazy and indifferent. No, assholes, they are not! They do, however, need some guidance to get organized, and the word has to reach people who don’t have computers in their homes (yes, there still are some, and they are the ones who will be disenfranchised the most from these changes). Why are the local arms of the political parties not getting out there and talking about this to everyone? Why are they not in front of the media locally? Why are they not holding town halls, sending out fliers, AND talking it up on the social media and every other place possible? Why are the provincial arms of the political parties doing nothing like this to inform and organize? Why are the federal offices doing nothing? This is not a time to JUST sit in front of Robert Fife, Rosie Barton or Evan Solomon to pitch the same party lines and listen to the same BS spewed by Conservative members who have no intention of answering a question or providing an explanation. Is it up to just the likes of Katy O'Malley and Andrew Coyne to try to explain what is at stake here? Why are the parties doing more? Well, because they can’t go into those election coffers to spend money prematurely on THIS because then what will they campaign with next year.

This is no longer a situation where political dichotomy can rule the day. WHY ARE THE PARTIES NOT JOINING TOGETHER IN THIS FIGHT? That’s where my anger is. Get the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens together, because the stakes are pretty fecking extreme. Show the people of Canada that you can work together, that you DO care about Canada. Forget raising money for the next election, because if this bill passes, the next election is moot. It’s like saving money for a child’s college fund, then watching that child die because you didn’t want to spend the money saved for college on the medicine he needs now. Canada needs the medicine now! 

There was a time when Canadians were proud of what we did. We were the peace brokers, the calming influence. If there were elections to be held in other countries, where democracy wasn’t as entrenched in their psyches as it was here, WE went to help, to oversee, to teach them about the beauty of casting a ballot, knowing that it was done on a fair, level playing field. Canada, like Rome, wasn’t built in a day, but like Pompei, the Canada we know can be wiped out in one fell blow. For us, it will be Mount Harper that will be our demise, and I have no doubt that he’s up to the task. I only wish our opposition parties were as well.

Canada is under attack… from within. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Perspective and Priority

Washington, Illinois November 18th, 2013
I came to the realization that today is a very sad day. It’s sad for a number of reasons, all of them calamitous, some for many, some for few. Years ago, I recall reading the riot act to a young RCMP constable I worked with, who blew off a young boy who had come in to report that his bike had been stolen. The boy was about 8. A stolen bike is not a career-making case for a police officer but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a tragedy to the child.

I remember being barked at by a nurse in the hospital one day when I was very pregnant for the first time. I reminded the doctor when he chimed in that while he might deliver babies every day, I didn’t, and it would be nice if he could remember that. I also reminded him that I took car accident reports every day, but never once did I minimalize his trauma when he was in a fender bender. That same doctor, several years later, held my hands and cried when he told me that while he had delivered the news to someone about a diagnosis of cancer, he never really understood what those words meant to the patient, until he heard them himself. He thanked me for helping remind him from time to time about perspective.

When I was a telephone operator, we were taught to cut in to a call in case of an emergency, but that we had to confirm it was a real emergency. The problem is, as our supervisor was careful to point out, emergencies are not always what we think they are. Her experience had been that she cut into a call for an emergency call to be put through to that number. As required by the phone company, she stayed on the line to ensure it was, in fact, an emergency. The caller who requested her to interrupt the current call was in tears, but her emergency when she finally got through was to beg for someone to bring her some curlers for her hair. An emergency? Well, maybe not in our everyday worlds, but it was definitely one for the caller. It was her wedding day, she had one hour to get ready, and her steam rollers had died. Her hair was a disaster on the most important day of her life. Even emergencies, I suppose, can be relative.

The point about all of this is that all of these stories are about perspective and priorities. Each story, each situation, has several perspectives and each has to be looked at according to priorities. Why is that so hard for us to remember or respect these two facts? Why is our judgment of what is important so skewed?

Last night, in Washington, Illinois, disaster struck. It blew into town, hell bent on destruction. Homes were ruined, livelihoods were destroyed, some lives were taken. It happened in winter, where night temperatures, even in what I might consider a southern climate, can be brutal, especially when you have absolutely nothing left. Unfortunately, instead of talking about this disaster, the story fell in line after twenty minutes of Rob Ford, the infantile over-indulgent mayor of Toronto in his mid-life Justin Beiber wannabe crisis.

Tacloban, Philippines Nov 18, 2013
Last week, there was a typhoon of epic proportions in the Philippines. Bodies are still being uncovered. Aide is still desperately needed. Entire communities are lost, and the prospects, like in Illinois, are not promising for the families touched by these storms. It will take weeks, years in fact, before life can possibly turn to something sort of resembling normal for these people, who will forever be haunted by what can happen in the fury of a storm in the blink of an eye. Instead of telling us how to help, what organizations actually move the aide forward instead of using it to line their own pockets or to pay for their high corporate first class flights and five star executive offices, we have to hear more about... Rob Ford and his lunatic ravings.

Radioactive sea water from Fukushima Nov 2013
Last year, there was an earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima, Japan, that caused extensive damage to the nuclear reactors there. Ten days ago, they started work to try to get the reactive cores out of the plants, a task that is so fraught with danger, one slip of one fraction of an inch could result in an explosion many times that of the bombing of Hiroshima. While this is going on, though, radioactive contamination is spilling into the pacific at about the same speed as a BP oil leak. The nuclear contamination is spreading hundreds of thousands of square miles into the ocean, already almost on the shores of that ecological gem, Hawaii. It is less than a year away from the shores of North America. There is no contingency plans, no assistance being accepted, no protocol for dealing with what is happening in our water, something that could destroy the majority of ocean life on half of the globe. What is the news covering? Rob Ford, his crack and his wife's bountiful attributes.

Today, the Center for Global Development released their statistics, stating that Canada was at the bottom of the barrel – the very bottom of the barrel – in their commitment to providing aide, in various forms, to the poor of the world and in our commitment to protect the environment. Our Environment Minister also stood up today and knowingly, unabashedly lied about Canada’s commitment to the UN Climate Change Conference, stating that we are making progress that even documents from her own department show are false. One has to wonder at the sad irony of these news stories all playing out right now, where climate change and record-breaking weather anomalies, caused by climate change, are destroying lives by the tens of thousands. What did we hear on the news today about this story? Nothing. We were watching Rob Ford knock down fellow city council members and proclaiming his Jesus moment that made him turn over a new leaf (however temporarily that leaf may be turned). 

No Mo Ro Fo -- Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto
I readily acknowledge that the claims made against the mayor of Toronto are news, and do need to be taken seriously. It is abhorrent to think that a public official at such a high level in the largest municipality in Canada has opened the doors, putting his family, his council and his co-workers at what could be immense peril because of his criminal connection and business. He has opened his children up to ridicule, and to danger. He is dealing with a criminal element, by his own admission, on more than once occasion, in a manner that is absolutely not acceptable. He can play his word games, he can thunder around and bully, because that is what we seem to reward in politics and business these days, but it doesn’t change the fact that because of his actions, people could have been killed, kidnapped, extorted, injured, or illegally financially rewarded. Yes, this is news, but it is not 20 minutes at the top of every news show for days on end. We know what he has done, we are aware of the allegations. Let the city council now do their job to mitigate the damage this moron and his brother can do, and relegate them to where they belong in the news cycle – after the serious, new news. The people of Toronto deserve better. The people who live off the ocean, or eat the fish, or swim in the water deserve better. God knows, the people of Washington, Illinois and those in the Philippines definitely deserve better. It’s time for the media to step up to the plate, own their share in this mess, and get back to being reporters of news.