For Our Grandkids

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Granite Ridge, Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario

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Head down. Bum up.

A delightful, irreverent, Aussie phrase for unthinking submission to the status quo, blind faith in the “experts.” I got the expression from a great CBC Ideas Podcast called It’s the  Economists, Stupid on the scary B.S. and hubris of this pseudo-science.

Sometimes I picture a worker bending over in a field… or something more bawdy… The powerful like us that way.

Come on folks! We owe some difficult work to our grandkids. We all must do more than trust the “news” fed to us by any mainstream paper, radio station or channel to be accurate. Should we trust respectable sources like the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, the Guardian? The CBC? PBS? BBC?

Hell, no! We need to use alternative sources of news.

Why alternatives? While the traditional sources will point out some negatives about political figures and policy through their token liberals, on some of the huge issues of geopolitics (like, for one, the US/NATO/Ukraine/Russia debacle) even the most respected media are presenting the neocon-approved side almost all the time. They were wrong in unison with Bush and Cheney on Iraq’s WMD; only Canada’s PM, Jean Chretien, was brave enough to disagree publicly in 2003. And there are many more abject failures that most of us aren’t aware of – Libya, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Honduras, etc.

Not to do some fact-checking as an elector is failing to fulfill your duty as a citizen – your duty to your grandchildren and future generations.This is because our democracy is on life support.

Never before in history has so much been asked of the average citizen.

Check my blogroll for some of the truly alternative news and opinion sources.

The respected MSM are all singing essentially the same tune as the tabloids – though the harmonies may be more complex – a few more flat 9ths and a smattering of augmented 5ths, perhaps. They distract us with cute human interest stories, advertising, endless repetition of items sanctioned by the powerful and  not even daring to mention other key viewpoints on hugely important issues. They serve the tiniest fraction of the population: the 0.0001% who corporately control all US presidents and everything else on our planet.

Many billions are spent every year on false news to keep the corporate ball rolling.

In the U.S. they offer Americans the choice between Democrat and Republican, which really means “You can have your choice of two candidates in November, neither of whom will rock the deadly neocon destroyer skippered by the super rich.” Significant differences are basically imaginary. Neither  the erratic Donald Trump nor the closet neocon, Hillary Clinton, will make the world a better place. You can have strawberry or vanilla, but it’s ice cream only, folks, and there are only two flavours.

And Justin Trudeau just may turn out to be on the wrong side of the two biggest issues, for me, in Canada: punitive trade deals like the TPP (bad) and true Proportional Representation (good).

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What politics do I read?

  • Tweets and their linked articles. Following the Arab Spring got me started.
  • Following the farcical, phoney, Dutch-led, America-run (let’s face it), investigation into the MH17 incident devoured my time for over a year and still brings me back to Twitter. Ukraine, one suspect of the shoot-down, has a veto over what gets published!
  • Robert Parry, via consortium news.com. Parry won awards in the 80’s when he exposed Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal and one in 2015 from Harvard for distinguished investigative journalism. He still has CIA contacts who give him the scoop on stuff.
  • John Kerry… just kidding…
  • Noam Chomsky. In the 80’s I discovered him on US exploitation of its Central and South American back yard.
  • Naomi Klein of no-logo and BDS fame, and a recent convert to environmentalism.
  • The New Republic, thought-provoking for more than  century (since 1914).
  • Lots of other stuff.

 

To what do I listen? CBC podcasts, particularly three:

  • Writers and Company, the wonderful in-depth interview skills of Eleanor Wachtel interviewing so many of the great writers.
  • Ideas, on every night from 9 PM until 10, hosted by the great Paul Kennedy
  • The Sunday Edition, with its illustrious, long-time host Michael Enright.

These three, at their best, almost make me feel guilty, glancing sometimes over my shoulder in fear of the Orwellian thought police. Try them; you’ll like them. The link to CBC Podcasts is also in my blogroll.

 

What do I watch on TV?

  • Almost nothing. It is not the best, or the healthiest, use of my time (it makes me curse). Mainstream TV news is entertainment and, much worse, propaganda, increasingly styled à la WW II.

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So for the sake of your grandchildren, get off your intellectual ass and find alternatives to the easy stuff. We OWE our descendants a better chance at survival.

 

 

 

 

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TPP: Questions That MUST Be Answered

Harper lied about the “greatness” of his economic stewardship. Sooo…

Harper Will Lie About The TPP:

In 2011 the Harper minority government was defeated after they were found to be in contempt of parliament. They denied a contract had been signed (LIE) and kept on lying about the cost. They won a majority with a whopper of a lie. From rabble.ca:

On March 25, 2011 Harper’s government was brought down after a non-confidence vote and a finding that the Conservatives were in contempt of Parliament for refusing to disclose full information about the cost of the fighter jets, as well as the cost of their crime legislation.

Throughout the election campaign, Harper and his campaign insisted on figures between $14-16 billion. But, at the highest levels, they must have known it was false.

So they lied. Harper knew, and Harper lied. Harper lied before, during and after the election campaign that saw him win a majority government.

Harper has and will continue to lie about the virtues of the TPP. Here are key questions we must demand answers for, not from his or any CPC mouth, but from the publication of the actual document signed on October 5 or any other source known to be correct:

The Questions:

BGH: American milk and meats use Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH), suspected of being associated with cancer. Will we be exposed to this?

Food Safety: Will Cdn standards on food safety (already weakened by Harper cuts to Food inspector jobs) be further weakened by TPP?

Labeling: Will Canadian products still be identified in supermarkets?

Public services: Are they threatened? Wikileaks revealed that TPP pushes for the elimination of publicly funded institutions like the CBC, Canada Post. These leaks are notably absent from discussions even on the threatened CBC!

Bank Deregulation: Will banking regulations be weakened?

Privacy: Will Canadian privacy, already blown away by C-51, be further jeopardized by this agreement?

Temporary Foreign Workers: Can foreign corporations that procure TFW’s sue for lost income if Canada cuts numbers of TFW’s? This is already being done in a case about McDonalds. And Canadian Seafarers are threatened and fighting back. TFW’s are themselves abused and are already being inappropriately used to keep Canadians making a just wage from working.

Job Losses: Will Canadian jobs be lost in large numbers to workers from countries with lower wages, labour standards, less unionization?

Investor-State Dispute Settlements: ISDS agreements allow foreign corporations to sue the ass off countries and cities that enact legislation to protect health care, the environment, jobs, wages and democracy.

Other Trade Deals: Trade deals (TPP, TIPP, CETA, TISA), written in secret by Corporation lawyers, all contain similar threats to democracy, environment, health and jobs. For example, this from the Independent (UK) on TTIP: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

This is my incomplete list. Please check out these questions and feel free to comment (PLEASE) or to add your own.

Remember: Not from Harper’s mouth!


The #TPP: A Disgrace of Planetary Proportions

imageToday is a key day in the negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Japan is going home on Monday. I hope that it does not pass.

This is a quick summary of some stuff I tweeted today in response to a tweet by a concerned @inky_mark that links to a Globe and Mail article about the now or never aspect of this trade deal.

The Globe and Mail falsely holds up #TPP as vital to Canada’s future trade and growth.

What the Globe doesn’t say is that the TPP is anti-CBC, anti small farms, anti Canada Post, anti public utilities and any vital national service that is publicly funded and not “profitable.”

Wikileaks has exposed the TPP as a “backdoor to privatization” of State-Owned Enterprises (SOE’s).

The TPP would be an impregnable legal fortress defending the unsustainable, planet-killing growth of unfettered capitalism. A vehicle for corporations to sue countries for enacting laws that protect the environment or the marginalized if these laws impact the sacred “God-given” rights of multinational corporations (MNC’s).

In their otherwise useful article, the Globe and Mail deceives by omission as usual. It has shed light on some of the details, but has left out the dangerous points I raise above.

Then there is the overall picture:

In essence the TPP, led principally by U.S. corporations, including the beneficiaries of its obscene war machine, is America’s latest attempt to isolate China, Europe and BRICS Nations. It ignores issues of environmental sustainability. By replacing publicly-funded institutions with more expensive private corporations it wages a class war against the middle class and the planet’s poor. It will take us back to poverty, sickness and, ultimately, serfdom.

Finally, I fear, this competition about power and scarcity will take us into a military WWIII.

What? No Birds?

A couple of species that just might outlast us...
Buzz… Buzz… Buzz… B??

Whaaattt? No birds?

Looks like the environmental Rip Van Winkles among us, after letting Monsanto, Bayer et al. poison everything that isn’t a profitable crop, are finally getting a rude awakening:

CBC’s Ontario Today asked people to call in and report what species they’re not seeing now that they used to see. The many responses were scary. Here’s one dramatic example:

Russ, a farmer from Acton, ON, has seen 50 barn swallows every year in his barn. This year: NONE. Suddenly, none.

The 23-minute podcast is here.

We snored through the Monsanto Roundup years and even the recent Bayer Neonicotinoid bee-killing years. “Health Canada” is a disgrace to its name, in recent years just a follower and a pawn of agribusiness and big pharma. And, down south, Monsanto is close to being favoured with draconian legislation that will nullify a ton of existing local American laws against GE crops!!

Maybe the accelerated vanishing of our feathered, fellow-vertebrate friends like barn swallows and (in our back yard) hummingbirds, will wake us up to the global threat to the entire food chain caused by pesticides that are hugely potent and woefully undertested. We are blind to the critical importance of the tiny, even microscopic, living things in this world, without which the bigger things like us can not continue to survive.

Gotta be a better way than snoozing our way to mass extinction…

We must learn to tread gently on our earth. We’ve been struttin’ way too long, John…

Hummingbird at feeder
Ruby-throated at our feeder in 2012

If Europe Really Cared…

Acropolis from the Plaka Hotel, October 24, 2011
Acropolis from the Plaka Hotel, October 24, 2011 … Hey, is THIS for sale???

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Europe has never been asked what happened to what they gave Greece. They simply didn’t control it. Why not? Because Germany and France have done good business.

Petros Markaris

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Petros Markaris is a very popular Athens-based, Greek author and playwright who has created a series of novels based on an Athens police detective called Costas Haritos. Markaris was born in 1937 in Istanbul to an Armenian  father and Greek mother. The family moved to Athens when Markaris was 17. He went to university in Vienna and can write in German, Greek and Turkish. He has lived in Athens for four decades. He is a candid lover of Greece and an astute observer of its politics.

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Continue reading “If Europe Really Cared…”

Digital Distraction, Dilution and Disinformation

Decades ago (I’m guessing ca. 1980) an adult family conversation occurred in my parents apartment. My cousin’s husband was very successful, having studied computers and accounting at university before the digital age took off. He traveled the world setting up distribution systems for a major door-to-door cosmetic firm.

He had recently participated in a think-tank session on the future, in which young, forward-looking minds from Canadian industry, government, media and trade unions had been asked to participate. He had a piece of inside information to share:

Industry and government were, way back then, looking at the potential problems that would occur when the typical 40-hour work week shrunk due to information technology and the great unwashed found ourselves with time on our hands and an increased feeling of alienation from the sense that we were contributing to society through work that could be thought of as useful and worthwhile.

One major conclusion:

Ways must be found to keep the masses occupied and entertained.

Continue reading “Digital Distraction, Dilution and Disinformation”

MH17, A Teaser…

Bullet Holes? photo credit: anderweltonline.com
Bullet Holes?
photo credit: anderweltonline.com

February 8, 2015: This post, begun almost seven months ago on August 13, 2014, has recently expanded because MH17 didn’t happen in a vacuum. Over the past 6-7 months since MH17 went down a mystery story has evolved for me. To properly illuminate and present this story, it was necessary to examine the events that led up to MH17 and ultimately spawned its horror.

Good Stuff’s Been Added:

  • At the top: this new. zippy outline
  • At the very bottom: A brief timeline listing the dramatic and violent events of the Euromaidan protests that culminated with, essentially, a coup d’état, forcing the elected government of Ukraine to resign, President Viktor Yanukovich to flee on February 21, Crimea to accede to Russia after a 90% referendum vote in March, and Donetsk and Lugansk to proclaim themselves independent peoples republics on April 7, 2014. I will build more data on these events as my seven-month study evolves.

For the complete post with what’s here and all the detailed links with which I’ve constructed my mystery story, go back to where this all started on August 13th. Or keep reading and decide to dive in later… Or go to my other shorter posts on MH17 here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Aware of the tragedy of MH17 and curious about the narrow, one-note Blame Russia Chorus my once-precious CBC and all Western media were singing, I first turned my focused and serious attention to the Ukraine in early August. My attention grew into this “research project.” I check social media daily and post a brief, descriptive comment that describes the gist of the article or event discussed in the embedded link. I try to limit new additions to new stuff that sheds more light.

The post’s scope has broadened from being mainly about MH17 to include the whole Ukraine-USA -EU-Russia situation that has been going on for over 15 months. MH17 would not have happened if the Ukraine hadn’t been destabilized eight months previously and, soon after, “blown up” politically by the USA and Europe in concert and competition with/against each other. It was a slam dunk that Russia would never allow its one warm water port in Crimea to be put in jeopardy by the creeping expansion of NATO and possible absorption of Ukraine into the E.U.

Ukraine is a big prize that American neocons and oligarchs from several nations have had in their sights for some years. For the USA, running the Ukraine is a way to encroach upon and destabilize Russia. Ukraine does also possess some natural gas and much prime farmland. The USA maneuvers have forced Russia’s hand in Crimea and caused, some say, as many as 50000 deaths.

Why Russia?

Russia is a major key to the success of the combined nations of Eurasia. Look at a globe for just a moment and see the huge, contiguous, East-West land mass that is Eurasia. Then compare it to the Americas – a much smaller, climatically diverse, North-South land mass with a very long skinny part in the middle – and a relatively small fraction of the world’s population.

Europe’s Gambit Excites Affluent, Educated Western Ukrainians:

In 2013 Europe started to woo the incredibly corrupt, economic mess of Ukraine into economic association. A small amount of money was offered that President Viktor Yanukovich (no doubt with some mathematical coaching from Vladimir Putin) eventually figured out was not enough to be much help. Then the spectre of IMF austerity measures must have occurred to Yanukovich and he decided (15 months ago on November 21, 2013) to postpone signing the EU offer. At this point many well-to-do, pro-Europe Ukrainians in the western cities of Lvov and Kiev started peaceful protests, marching pleasantly behind huge, starry, EU flags. Babies, children and fashionable outfits were welcome.

Dissent in the East and Increasingly Violent Protests in Kiev’s “Euromaidan Square”:

Soon those humbler Ukrainians who did not like the rapprochement with Europe started turning out. Clashes occurred that eventually became extremely violent. The low point in Kiev was February 18, 2014, following three months of large protests that involved frequent violence upon protesters and some upon the police. The violence came at times from police, hotheads from both sides, Right Sector thugs, Svoboda Party Nazis and foreign “specialists,” the latter financed by powerful interests that include the USA and Ukrainian oligarchs. On February 18 over 100 people died. Snipers shot at and killed protestors and police. It is suspected by many that the snipers were foreign “specialists” hired to escalate the violence to such depths that Viktor Yanukovich would have to step down. On March 5 the Guardian wrote that a telephone conversation had been leaked in which EU High Commissioner, Catharine Ashton, was informed by the pro-West Estonian Foreign Minister that bullets found in police and in anti-Yanukovich protesters came from the same guns. This lends credibility to the above suspicion that the snipers, who quickly vanished, were indeed foreign “specialists.”

American Involvement – Opportunism or Deliberate “Mischief?”

Yanukovich declared February 22 and 23 as days of mourning – and fled. Was the USA foxily waiting for the stingy Europe-Ukraine deal to sour?  Was the CIA criminally involved in the ousting of Yanukovich? In early February, two weeks or more before the one hundred died, Hillary Clinton had already begun pulling strings to handpick the Ukraine’s new president and cabinet. Clinton used the poetic Victoria Nuland. You will remember Nuland’s “Fuck the EU!” comment on the telephone to Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to the Ukraine. That gem was uploaded onto YouTube on Feb. 6. Nuland even went across the pond to hand out cookies to the Euromaidan revellers, whose pyrrhic victory has led to enormous financial woes, the loss of Crimea and horrific violence in Donetsk and Lugansk. The USA has spent billions preparing the Ukraine for this historic moment.

Cui Bono?

When one looks to attribute responsibility in a political crisis, the question, “Who benefits?” often provides clues. From the list of beneficiaries, Europe and the Ukraine can quickly be removed. Russia has been victimized without proof. The media have tried to humiliate Vladimir Putin using fiery headlines and put Russia under severe, crippling sanctions. Putin is a formidable leader of a large nuclear power. No, the spoils (good word for this), as of February 8, 2015, go to the USA. The neocons and oligarchs who control Obama want Putin gone.  Their aim has been to put a weak puppet in charge of a shamed Russia, allow the oligarchs back in, and own, or neuter, Russia.

Then they will turn their eyes on, or “pivot to” Asia.

The Nuclear Clock Is Ticking; Experienced Hawks Are Critical:

The dangerous, high-stakes, neocon Ukraine/Russia plan could start WW III. The nuclear clock has recently been advanced to 3 minutes before midnight. We are back in the 1980’s, folks. Henry Kissinger has recently called the destabilization of the Ukraine “foolish.” Back in 1997, when Clinton started expanding NATO into former USSR satellites, George F. Kennan wrote in the New York Times that

expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American Policy in the entire post-cold war era.

MH17 Tragedy, some short questions with long answers:

  • On Purpose? Is it a false flag attempt, possibly with CIA help,  involving a Ukrainian Buk missile, Ukrainian Air Traffic Control and/or Ukrainian fighter jets with the intent of enabling lethal sanctions to discredit, humble and remove a demonized Putin?
  • An accident? Is it a Buk missile error by the pro-Russia rebels, by a careless Ukrainian Buk unit or by a renegade, billionaire-financed unofficial army, such as the Nazi-oriented Azov Battalion?

Just some of the things that make this look really fishy:

  • the only proper evidence yet presented (Rostov radar evidence) points to the presence of Ukrainian fighter planes near MH17 when it went down. This evidence has not yet been proven false.
  • the USA reacted with immediate, categorical statements that Russia was guilty. Very quickly this changed to mere word-tricks and innuendo for the last six months.
  • the USA has never provided the satellite evidence it claims it has. If It pointed at Russia, they would be burying us repeatedly in it. So it probably points at the Ukraine.
  • Russia’s statement that an experimental satellite operated by the USA was in place over the area at the time when MH17 went down has not been denied by the USA
  • The Ukraine, early on, interfered with the ability of experts to view the site, forbidding people to go (“too dangerous”) and shelling the area with 2-metre deep holes for good measure
  • the Western media have presented none of the many alternatives to the “pro-Russian rebel” story
  • the Dutch investigations appear to be designed to prolong the crisis and thereby the sanctions
  • the Ukraine, admitted by the Dutch JIT to be possibly involved, has a veto over what the investigation(s) eventually publish. Ludicrous!
  • the Western media are stepping up the attacks on Putin – at least three CBC stories in the past week: Feb. 1 to 6, 2015!
  • the West has relied on websites like bellingcat.com and correct!v.org that collect suspect social media posts and weave very tangled webs of so-called proof whose stories keep changing. Correct!v.org is financed by millions of Euros that came from a fund started by a German billionaire. Both these investigative sites started in July 2014. Coincidence?
  • Ukraine security immediately confiscated all air traffic control recordings and has not released them.
  • Pro-Russia rebels properly presented, intact, the black boxes to Malaysian officials, who hastily handed them over to the “trustworthy” Brits. Still secret almost 7 months later!
  • Ukraine videos attempting to show pro-Rebel soldiers stealing from and disrespecting the victims were proven later to be falsely presented when the whole videos found were presented in context by Russian media. Damage to public opinion conveniently done, Western MSM ignored this.
  • The hawkish US Council on Foreign Relations considers the USA and EU responsible for the coup in the Ukraine.
  • Comments on signs of “very strong machine gun fire” and “no missile evidence noticed by me” made by Canadian-Ukrainian OSCE spokesperson, Michael Bociurkiw, a first responder. It was a precious minute and a half when aired on a CBC interview with Susan Ormiston in late July. I guess the kaka hit the fan at some point; to my knowledge, though parts of that program have been aired again, I have not seen this tiny, important segment.

There is intense competition between:

  • the current geopolitical primate, the United States (with Israel, Europe, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Australia (the “West”) and
  • the emerging power base: the huge and geographically contiguous supercontinent of Eurasia that has been recently flexing its muscles in the areas of finance and in how oil will be traded. Eurasia has developed an increasing politico-economic involvement in resource-rich Africa. As scarcities appear, Africa will be something to war over. Again, the poor will suffer. In places like Nigeria there is already desperation over the stuff that comes with the ‘Black gold.”

For my detailed list of findings and links simply, as I said before, go HERE.