Cautious Wisdom on Brexit

This short article from Robert Parry is a very worthwhile read. I trust him on so many issues. He reflects here on the loss of trust produced by the realization that American leadership, like that in the EU, has resulted in policies that have not produced a system that respects, or works toward a secure future for, the average person. Wealth is increasingly funnelled upwards. Everyman has been betrayed. The outcome of the dangerous, but natural, human reaction to this is disquieting.

The piece’s final statement:

Right now, Clinton and the Democrats are carrying the banner of the Establishment, while Trump and his Republican insurgents fly the Jolly Roger. In a political year when the anti-establishment wave seems to be cresting, the Democrats may regret their choice of a legacy, status-quo candidate.

For Our Grandkids

DSCF0097a.jpg
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.

 

 

 

 

An Apology for Absence

This precious distraction from my canvassing is 423 km away...
This precious distraction from my canvassing is 423 km away…

I must apologize for not being very present on my blog lately. Been wrapped up in working in two ridings in two different roles to replace Stephen Harper’s corrupt, dictatorial, majority government with a minority government of Everybody But Harper.

Just back from a Monday to Friday trip to see the above damsel, I watched the debate on TVA Montreal en français hier soir.

Gilles Duceppe of the separatist Bloc Québecois is the real spoiler in this one. I am wishing with fingers crossed and eyes/ears wide open for a coalition government that brings in proportional representation. This will be the parliament in which Canadians will show whether we have the potential to mature as a real democracy. During the campaign, which ends on October 19, with the Canadian federal election, Harper will use the Bloc to scare the bejesus out of voters about coalition government like he did in 08. Hope Justin Trudeau steps up and goes for a truly proportional system. I trust Tom Mulcair and Elizabeth May to support Proportional Representation, but if Trudeau sniffs a majority in 201? he may not cooperate.

Even more scared that Harper will somehow get a majority (not likely, but possible…) or, with a weaker plurality, avoid recalling parliament for a few months while he finishes dismantling “my Canada” in the true dictatorial style to which we’ve become accustomed.

Anyway, I’ll be back blogging on October 20, if not before. Meanwhile thanks for visiting, following and liking.

One Planet

Planet Earth Photo, courtesy of Wikipedia
Planet Earth Photo, courtesy of Wikipedia

In 1983 I wrote One Planet. It was during the height of the Cold War and addressed the immediate and long term risks that the extremely profitable arms race was creating for Planet Earth and, by extention, Homo sapiens.

Now the risks are multifaceted and include many other threats, such as for example, the chemical and mechanical ruination of our environment for extremely short-sighted corporate goals. The arms race continues apace and the wars of scarcity have begun. Agribusiness and the extraction of fossil fuels and minerals have caused pollution and population displacement to an unprecedented degree.

There are far fewer toe holds available for those of us who continue to grapple for hope, but there is no choice but to “keep the faith.”

One Planet will also be up on the My Songs page.

On Fidel Castro

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Fidel Castro likes a good joke.
A friend sent me a 2010 Guardian article by Rory Carroll quoting Jeffrey Goldberg, a columnist for The Atlantic, in which Fidel reportedly said:
The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.
Here is Goldberg’s original article. The interpretation of what Castro meant by the crack was done by a third party present with Goldberg and Fidel. Others quoted in this and the Guardian article have added their own sauce to the mix.

Clearly Fidel’s necessarily autocratic, imperfect model has been seriously altered to deal with the decades-long US embargo. Castro’s creative genius in keeping Cuba afloat, with world-leading stats on literacy and infant survival, in the face of this assault, and others of a patently criminal nature, is close to miraculous.

All it proves is that no country in Uncle Sam’s back yard is permitted to chart its own course without crippling interference. You, kind reader, and I could both come up with a litany of less successful Pan-American attempts from Allende to Zapatista.

As I have said before, for me the telling comparison is to look at Haiti from the 1950’s to now vs Cuba during the same period. Haiti the US puppet vs Cuba the reckless maverick.

Corporation-dominated model vs state-dominated model?

In a perfect world I would prefer a cooperative, consensus-seeking road, but our current corporation-dominated, enforcement/bullying-dependent world is bound for catastrophe.  Monsanto… Nestlés… Bayer… Coca Cola… Halliburton… Shell… Lockheed……..

Waaaayyyy too much power, with no morality but the bottom line.

P.S. I love Cuba. On our second visit, in 2010, we visited several places outside the typical Havana/Varadero. We visited Havana, Trinidad, Bayamo, Santiago de Cuba, and Baracoa by public bus. We stayed in peoples’ homes – people who helped us in many ways. We went dancing six times. Here is my reflection after that visit.

P.P.S. A quick appraisal of anything Fidel has said recently must be taken with many grains of NaCl. Proof exists in this reflection in 2013 in the party newspaper, Granma, where he states that humans have been around for 230 million years. A tall tale if ever there was one. We’re closer to 2 million years, so the venerable Fidel is off by a factor of about 100 times. Nobody’s perfect.

Cypriot Canaries

Two things to say:

1. The average Greek and Cypriot citizens are the canaries in our financial coal mine.

2. Amoral bankers, robber barons and Greed are the methane.

The news this morning reminded me why I went from being a news junkie to largely tuning out. Item One was on Cyprus. I could have made a huge time-wasting blog out of it. The above two sentences sum it up for me. Look around. Start trying to change things . Please.

I will return here from time to time to post useful links exposing the sources of the methane. Here’s number one:

A blog by Naomi Klein posted on Hellenes that says it better than I could.

Morocco Reading

These are the books we read before visiting Morocco. All of them I would recommend.

Marika Oufkir: Stolen Years – Twenty Years In A Desert Jail

Paul Bowles: A Sheltering Sky

Tahir Shaw: The Caliph’s House – A Year in Casablanca

Barbara Hodgson: The Tattoed Map

CBC’s The Myth of the Secular – Parts 5 to 7

In this blog I will summarize parts 5, 6 and 7 of A Sparkling CBC Ideas Series, after outlining parts 3 and 4 of this series on November 21. This will finish the series. My apologies to Craig Calhoun, Rajeev Barghava (Part One) and David Martin (Part Two) for being too distracted during the first two programs to supply a useful summary of their ideas.

Part Five:

Paul Kahn is Professor of Law and the Humanities at Yale. He is also an expert on human rights. Continue reading “CBC’s The Myth of the Secular – Parts 5 to 7”