Canaries vs Cats

The Greeks, the Brexiters and, now, millions of Indian workers have taken to the streets.

Coal mine canaries: some dying, some chirping loudly.

Will they stir us slumbering, Trans-Atlantic couch potatoes into action or will the fat cats prevail?

http://in.reuters.com/article/india-strike-idINKCN1180UK?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/tens-millions-worlds-biggest-strike-india-battle-higher-wages-narendra-modi-a7224061.html

And from an ever-inspiring source:

https://electricinthedesert.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/biggest-strike-in-world-india-engulfed-in-red-banners-as-workers-strike-back/

Thank, you, Claire.

My Short, Essential To-Do List for Our 42nd Parliament

Brampton - October 4, 2015
Brampton – October 4, 2015

1. Trans Pacific Partnership

First and foremost, the TPP likely needs to be killed dead. Wikileaks has been revealing details of the secret TPP from time to time since at least 2013. There are many very serious threats to the people of Canada and the other eleven countries who signed the deal this October. (See list below for just some threats). These threats are enabled by the extraordinary power given to foreign corporations (mostly in the U.S.) by the deal’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement Agreements (ISDS Agreements)  to sue nations for expected future profits if their legislatures enact laws or operate public institutions that are deemed to affect their profits.  Canada has first hand experience of these lawsuits since it has been involved with the U.S. and later Mexico in NAFTA. This legal, but immoral, right to sue has cost Canada and Mexico, but not the U.S., millions in lawsuits. The TPP is incredibly more pervasive and involves 12, not just 3 countries. More and more Canadian businesses and institutions, such as small farmers and the CBC are directly under attack from the TPP – a much larger group than under NAFTA, which at least had some provisions to protect our water and our farms. It is very likely that Canadians ourselves, and likely even most MP’s, will not see the details of this deal.

The argument that Canada is better in than out of this deal sounds powerful, but deceives us. This deal will provide very few Canadians with good, stable jobs that offer a package of benefits. NAFTA at least protected our auto industry but other U.S. firms no longer had to manufacture or do research here in order to sell in Canada. Shortly after the free trade deal with the U.S. in 1987 Caterpillar closed its plant in Brampton, Ontario and fired 90% of its workers. Ten per cent went to North Carolina with Caterpillar’s manufacturing. Bye bye. Trade deals that began in 1987 between Canada and the U.S. and expanded to include Mexico in 1994 have not preserved quality manufacturing jobs.  Canada’s manufacturing as a per cent of GDP, and the good jobs with benefits that go with it, has fallen from 24% in the 1960’s to about 10% in 2015. As for Canada’s pathetic decline in research and development this article in the Tyee is worth reading. With the TPP the victims in the 12 TPP countries will be the general population. The winners will be those highly placed in the foreign corporations who conjured up this deal in secret. The poor in all twelve countries will become destitute, except for a small fraction of educated English speakers who will form a small lower-middle class.

In years past, Canadians and others aware of this grave corporate threat took to the tear-gassed streets and successfully defeated monster trade deals like the MAI. The ‘better in than out” choice is a false one. Rather, all 12 countries should present this deal accurately to their electors; then its defeat would be certain.

Some issues with the TPP:

Investor-State Dispute Settlements, as mentioned above, allow foreign corporations to sue countries and cities for billions of “lost future profits” if they enact legislation to protect health care, the environment, jobs, wages and democracy and these actions affect their “sacred” right to profits forever.

Temporary Foreign Workers: Foreign corporations that procure TFW’s probably will be able to sue for lost income if Canada cuts numbers of TFW’s permitted to work here. 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 prevent Canadians from making a just wage.

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

Food Safety: Canadian standards on food safety will likely be further weakened by the TPP.

Labeling: Will Canadian products still be identified in supermarkets? I doubt it.

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

Bank Deregulation: Will banking regulations be weakened?

Privacy: Canadian privacy, already blown away by C-51, will be further jeopardized by this agreement, which will force internet service providers to track our activity.

Job Losses: Canadian jobs will likely be lost in large numbers to workers from countries with lower wages, labour standards and non-existent unionization.

2. Bill C-51

Clayton Ruby, a distinguished lawyer and activist who has been practising law since 1969, believes Bill C-51 should be completely thrown out and rewritten. It is a catch-all list of vague but serious offenses that can be gratuitously applied to acts that are really quite innocent. It permits dirty tricks. It can turn an innocent article or speech, by abuse of its ill-defined powers, into an “act of terrorism.” Justin Trudeau cannot invent a system of oversight to guard against abuses possible with such a plethora of vague possibilities that have not been properly classified. This article gives some excellent examples of how irretrievably defective this bill is. It must be rewritten into something that can be easily and clearly reviewed by whomever are given the responsibility of oversight.

3. Truly Proportional Representation; Not PR-lite!

There are only two types of proportional representation currently used that are truly proportional: Party List Proportional Representation and Mixed Member Proportional Representation. Tom Mulcair has suggested one of them: Mixed Member Proportional Representation, used by Germany and New Zealand. Party List Proportional Representation is used by over eighty countries worldwide. See my post on PR here.Justin Trudeau should confer with his counterparts in parliament and pick one of the above systems. There are various minor ways in which different countries have modified the two choices. The Canadian people must be educated about the importance of replacing our FPTP system with whichever system will ultimately be selected. This is the job of parliament. The committee that looks into selecting PLPR or MMPR (MMP) should be composed mostly of members from the parties that proposed this reform: the NDP, the Liberals and Elizabeth May.

Note: Instant Runoff, also known as Alternative Vote is NOT proportional representation! It will betray the continually frustrated supporters of the Greens and the NDP- the very people that gave the Liberals a majority despite receiving less than 40% of the popular vote.

Since 68% of Canadian voters elected to vote for a party that included electoral reform in its platform, parliament has total authority to pass legislation to enact it.

There must not be a referendum on this! It is time Canada moved confidently to a truly proportional system. Parliamentarians on October 19th were given a strong mandate to do this for us.

No need to re-invent the wheel. Beware of attempts to dilute, adulterate or corrupt this very important reform of our electoral system.

By the way, if the TPP with its ISDS agreements is ratified, our improved electoral system will mean nothing, since foreign corporations will hold us to ransom and voting will be a farce, because our leaders will be no more than puppets. That’s why killing the TPP is numero uno – the sine qua non.

4. Other Stuff

There are many other important tasks for what will be a truly busy four years. Ferreting out and removing the bad bits squirreled away in Stephen Harper’s many, huge, undebatable omnibus bills will be an unenviable task. And the Liberals must act to prevent existing infrastructure of public institutions like the CBC from being sold:

  1. Harper reduced Canada’s protected lakes, rivers and waterways from 2.5 million to a mere 159 in Bill C-45.
  2. Dozens of laws in over 10 Huge Harper omnibus bills have decimated the powers and rights of our indigenous peoples. What I call “buckshot legislation.”
  3. CBC infrastructure must be preserved by immediately dismissing most of its  current Board of directors, 80% of whom are Conservative Party contributors appointed by Harper. These party hacks plan to sell all CBC buildings!

5. Hopeful Congratulations to Justin Trudeau

All the above being said, I’ll admit I’m nervous about Mr. Trudeau’s recent cautious avoidance of the term Proportional Representation, his voting with Harper on C-51 and his unequivocal pro-trade stance. But he really seems to be setting out an ambitious agenda for the first half of his mandate. I have not been this hopeful for over a dozen years.

Congratulations, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. You have already changed the world’s perception of Canada for the better. You have slain Cerberus in grand style. You hold the future of my grandchildren in your hands. You can be greater than your father.

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.

Scary! The TPP Fast Track! Please Sign Naomi Klein’s Petition

The senate has just given President Obama the power to take  America into the dreaded Trans-Pacific Partnership, described as “NAFTA on Steroids” because it probably includes provisions enabling Corporations to sue governments for laws they enact to protect the environment – as NAFTA’s Chapter  11 now does.

Congress is next to vote to give the President similar, draconian, totally undemocratic powers.

Please read up (if you need to) on the TPP and quickly sign Naomi Klein’s petition against it HERE!

PLEASE.

IT’S URGENT…

MH17 And Ukraine – A Continuing Study

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

2021

Friday, November 26: I looked at this post, posted August 13, 2014 with the intention of placing the earliest post item dated Nov 21, 2013 first and listing them in chronological order ending on this last page: November 27, 2018, but, after working on it for hours yesterday, decided against it because a small but significant number of links no longer work or match what they originally were. So this post it is as it was with the latest post first. It would have been too much work to revise and make changes. For once, the perfectionist in me deferred to common sense and dealing with the present. Six years of dedicated writing in here. It will have to suffice. I think the conclusions expressed are still close enough to the “truth.”

2018

November 27, The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) continues to be exposed as having used critically flawed “evidence” to discredit Russia… The latest presentation from Russia from Sept. 17, 2018 is thoroughly damning in its destruction of the JIT’s claim on May 24 that:

the BUK-TELAR which was used to shoot down flight MH17 originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian armed forces.

The Russian response on September 17 was extremely thorough about the production and shipping details of the missile the JIT identified. Lt. Gen. Nikolai Parshin took 12 painstaking minutes to explain that this BUK (whose casing and venturi serial numbers were identified by the JIT) found in the crash area

was delivered by rail 29 December 1986 to military unit 20152 of the Ukrainian army and never sent back to Russia.

Russian Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov then attacked the video used by the JIT to explain the movement of this BUK from Russia to Ukraine. Konashenkov used sophisticated, carefully explained, geometrical evidence to demonstrate that the BUK truck was superimposed on another video of parts of its alleged “route” to the launch site. Then Konashenkov said:

This is conclusive evidence that Ukraine was not just involved in this tragedy but it also manipulated the international investigation.

Konashenkov then played a recording of a 2016 conversation between servicemen preparing for military exercises in Odessa. Ukrainian Armed Forces Col. Ruslan Grinchak suggests to one of his soldiers who is objecting to an order:

Hey! If this keeps going on we will take down another goddamn Malaysian Boeing and everything will be great again. So, that’s what we will tell them.

Konashenkov also explained that in July 2014, when MH17 was shot down, the colonel was the commander of the 164th radio technical brigade, nr A1451 of the Ukrainian Air Force. […] In other words Grinchak knew exactly what was happening in the air over Donbass, because it was his job.”

The General then stated that Ukraine was clearly involved in the MH17 tragedy and has concealed key information from the JIT that would lead to evidence of Ukraine  involvement.

Here I have to credit the brilliant source of the information I used for this entry. Most of what I have said above is clearly explained in this September 17 post by Max van der Werff ( @MaxvanderWerff ). I’ve been following him since June 2015. I followed the tragic MH17 very closely from July 2014 for two years. I still have a keen interest in everything that has happened but only report from time to time when the occasional breakthrough is made.

This is such a time. I’m not holding my breath for the truth to come out. It’s been four years and four months since the shutdown and February 22, 2019 will mark 5 years since the US-promoted coup d’état that ousted Viktor Yanukovich and started this whole mess that I call the Blame Russia Chorus.

Propaganda has very deep pockets.

March 25, Could these two events be related? The Ukrainian SU-25 pilot, Vladislav Voloshin, who may have been ordered to shoot down MH17, allegedly “committed suicide” on March 18 – one week ago! See this link that includes pilot Voloshin in my timeline below dated April 26, 2016. And Nadia Savchenko (Hero of Ukraine under Poroshenko) has just been jailed in Ukraine for bringing her late-found Maidan sniper truth to power and talking about reversing the 2014 US-promoted coup. My “sniffer” alerts me to the possibility that the MH17 official story is becoming increasingly suspect (at last) and the people who can tell the truth, like Voloshin, continue to be eliminated.

January 26, MH17 Aside…  for an amazing moment: a terrific and entertaining, loosely-related (via the Dutch Masters – of BS), brilliant article on NSA-dominated Fake News and the very scary, “collect-it-all worldwideBig Data  goal of the Deep State.  This article by suzi3d on steemit.com exposes much more than a sloppy, popular, professional CIA troll named Garland. It ruthlessly dissects and exposes a total load of paid-for anti-Russia horse manure found on Twitter.

2017 Update

November 21 Key Update: I had not seen the video that accompanied this 3 year old Guardian article from Nov 5, 2014. The sound track is the conversation between the Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Paet and the EU’s Catherine Ashton. The real block buster is an Italian article that shows actual video of the foreign snipers entering and exiting the buildings on Maidan square with large bags that contained rifles. There is also this Nov 19 2017 YouTube report in Italian with English subtitles in two 10-minute parts that shows testimony and gory footage of the carnage that ensued, killing at least 80 pro-EU protestors and police with the same guns and bullets. Names of US and Ukrainian advisors and commanders are given in this YouTube video. Georgian and Lithuanian snipers principally had been guns hired by the Ukrainian coup operators that were commanded to shoot indiscriminately to sow the chaos that ultimately caused Yanukovich to flee and assured the US-engineered coup.

January 13, 2017 Key UpdateChristopher Black of New Eastern Outlook posted this on January 11: Trump and MH17: Just One Step Too Far?  In it he describes the extraordinary detention at, for God’s sake, Amsterdam‘s Schiphol Airport, of journalists Michael Spekkers and Stefan Beck and the seizure of all their cameras and electronic devices plus pieces of the MH17 wreckage still in the Donbass that they found with the help of Graham Phillips. All of their material, photos and data have been looked through but we’ll not get the chance to see it.

This is yet one more piece of evidence that implies that NATO and its “servants,” the Dutch authorities, are very worried about evidence being revealed that neither the Russians nor the Eastern Ukrainians were, in any way, responsible for the shootdown of MH17.  The guilty parties are very likely the Ukrainians for shooting down MH17, either accidentally or deliberately, and the Americans would then be guilty of hiding evidence at a minimum and, if the shootdown was a deliberate false flag, actual criminal involvement before, during and after the July 17, 2014 event.

The article summarizes the MH17 event succinctly and highlights the key smelly points. Mr. Black, an international lawyer based in Toronto, adds that the relentless onslaught of propaganda and incredible, as yet unproven, machinations against President-Elect Trump add serious gravity to the suspicions of thoughtful observers who haven’t let this farce go. The neocons are seriously spooked at the possibility that Trump will launch a proper investigation into MH17, one that I suspect will be hugely embarrassing to the American security apparatus, to the Obama democrats and humiliating to the American people themselves.

Below is a lot of information that I’ve collected in my study (ongoing since August 2014, less than a month after the shootdown) of MH17 and the Ukraine coup and its own background. Immediately following are other updates, and if you scroll down far enough you will see a very thorough chronological set of events and articles with links so that you, yourself, can analyze this puzzle to your heart’s content. 

2016 Introduction

September 11, 2016: This post, begun on August 13, 2014, was expanded to include the Ukraine coup d’état in February 2014 financed and organized by the US State Department. MH17 didn’t happen in a vacuum. Since MH17 went down 26 months ago on July 17, 2014, a mystery story has evolved for me that goes back to 2013.

Background: To properly illuminate and present this story, it was necessary to examine the events that led up to MH17 and ultimately spawned its horror. So, some time ago, at the bottom of this longgggg post, I added a brief timeline listing the dramatic and violent events of the Euromaidan protests that began in November, 2013, three months before the coup, that forced the elected President Viktor Yanukovich to flee on February 21, 2014. The replacement of Yankovich with puppets selected by the US State Department alienated the citizens of Crimea and the Eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk. Crimea acceded to Russia after a 90% referendum vote in March, and Donetsk and Lugansk proclaimed themselves independent peoples republics on April 7, 2014.

Continue reading “MH17 And Ukraine – A Continuing Study”

A Way With Words

“The days of the moneylender have arrived, and the days of the swaggering privateer; banker sits down with banker, and kings are their waiting boys.”

The above insight from the reflection of Thomas Cromwell on the new type of power in 16th C. Europe. Another surprise from the Booker Prize winning Hilary Mantel. I laughed out loud when I saw this on page 142 of Bring Up The Bodies. Cromwell is thinking that, despite his low birth and the repeated, jealous insults of the nobility in Henry’s court, he is the second most powerful man in England next to the king, and, perhaps, the most influential.
That from December, 1536.

Has the dominion of the banks over all types of planetary power, at its apex in this scary 21st Century, been growing ever since then?

Mantel won the Booker Prize for Wolf Hall, Volume I of her planned trilogy on the life and times of the powerful Cromwell. She won a second Booker for this one, Volume II, in 2012. Will her last in this series, due in 2015, win an incredible hat trick?

A long-time writer of immense taste, imagination and skill, her sprinkling of erudite LOL moments of pithy surprise throughout these works only compounds this reader’s delight.

Panem et Circenses

Joe Canuck's Present Distractions
Joe Canuck’s Present Distractions Surrounded By “Background Noise”

T’was ever thus. When the Olympics end, there’ll be plenty of other circuses. Methinks, however, the bread will diminish…

By the way, feel free to substitute your own national mascot. Joe is mine.

Substitute Corporate Personhood (or the 85 richest men) for Rome.

Will Emperor Harper call an election if Canada continues to do well?? Probably not, he’s made such a dog’s breakfast out of the last couple of years. But I bet his pollsters are busy and his fraudsters are having their hearts shrunk …

All Of The Below

Flower with pollinator
Flower with solitary pollinator

Where to begin??? With the photo, I guess. The above “slightly macro” photo was taken in “Our Woods” (see categories) with my Tamron 90 mm macro lens on Oct. 15. 1/400 sec, f 6.3, ISO 100.
‘Nuff said there.
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But… the bee made me think about endangered species and then about “just about everything else that ticks me off” resulting, from time to time, in petitioning, ranting, raving, using cuss words, reading, blogging, occasionally marching and chanting, even singing à la Bob Dillon or Pete Seeger.
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I have recently learned through sumofus.org (and follow-up digging) how the chemical companies Bayer and Syngenta have recently launched a lawsuit against Europe for placing a moratorium on the use of their neonicotinoid pesticides because there is evidence that they are responsible for the decline in the bee population. The site, sumofus.org, has a petition we can sign against this lawsuit.
Stephen Harper, our Prime Dictator (er, Prime Minister), who rules with temporary absolute power in our backwater, soon to be blackwater, corporate colony named Canada, recently shut down our parliament for the third time. This time to avoid criticism for his Conservative Party’s corruption, mismanagement and election fraud (sound like Guatemala or El Salvador?). Shortly after reopening our lacklustre legislative body, he buggered off last week to Europe to be the co-star in a big splash photo-op: the signing of a memorandum of understanding on a new, huge, secret “Free” Trade deal with the European Community. It’s called CETA.
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Now it seems to me, after watching Canada get it’s ass gratuitously sued by foreign corporations over and over again since 1997 under the NAFTA with the US and Mexico, that we do NOT want another secret trade deal that is officially with countries but unofficially with the corporations that control the political leaders. You know it. I know it. Why do we voters let it happen? (Insert cuss word of your choice) While your petitioning appetite is whetted, why not sign this one on the secret Trans Pacific Partnership Harper is anxious to sign up for.
Before we can say “Mike Duffy” Harper will have us tied up in so many politically-paralyzing trade deals that we will become a true colony of the worldwide super-wealthy
with no control over our water, our fish, our resources, our climate, our land… Serfs subject to a plenitude of corporate lawsuits if we even try to live sustainably. To be fair, we don’t yet really try to reduce our bloody footprints, so this may not be relevant. Continue reading “All Of The Below”