EDWISE 

EDITOR AND EDUCATION CONSULTANT

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nuclear power

Posted on February 6, 2020 at 9:41 PM Comments comments (7)
NUCLEAR POWER in the USA
 -a child of the US imperialist military-industrial complex; profits and service to corporations and the military come before people


Nuclear reactors are dangerous, however used, because of their potential for colossal explosions. For this reason, both nuclear weaponry and nuclear energy have been sharply criticized from the very beginning of the development of this technology. Objections to science being subordinated to both military and commercial interests abound. Nevertheless, nuclear armed weapons and nuclear power stations have proliferated.
 
Never mind trying to restrain the nuclear power industry, both weapons development and energy supply, there is even staunch resistance to safety regulations and disaster management. Why? First, nuclear technology is a huge and very lucrative industry. Profitable businesses maximize productivity by cutting corners on labour and tools. Second, the ruling powers desire nuclear weaponry as a form of defense of their power and status.
 
Much of contemporary technology was created in military laboratories before being commercialized, from computerization and communications, to chemical toxins and nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion was experimented with during World War 2 when the US air force caused hundreds of thousands of immediate and delayed human deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. German scientists at the behest of their Nazi masters may have started the development of nuclear weapons; this is the official reason why the US created the Atomic Commission and began the Manhattan Project under the supervision of physicist Dr. Oppenheimer and US Army Colonel Leslie R. Groves to achieve nuclear fusion and nuclear arms.
 
It is ironic that nuclear power was seen as a clean energy source as the environmental movement grew from the 1960s on. This became a key selling point. Plans to build nuclear power stations all over the US and in other countries were soon under way. There are currently 60 nuclear power stations with 98 nuclear reactors in 30 states in the USA. Has everything gone smoothly, without incident? Far from it, as everyone knows.
 
There have been three major nuclear power station accidents in the world. The first was the Three Mile Island station catastrophe in Pennsylvania. It happened in 1979 because of a failed water pump, which prevented cooling while causing so much hydraulic pressure that a pressure release valve malfunctioned as well. Reactor number two melted down and a radiation leak occurred. There were no directly resulting deaths or injuries.
 
The second nuclear power station disaster was Chernobyl in the Ukraine, USSR, in 1986 when explosions occurred due to a deliberate shutdown safety and emergency mechanisms for the purpose of safety improvement, ironically. There were 42 immediate and delayed deaths and thousands of people were forced to evacuate
 
The latest tragedy was the worst ever. About 100,000 people around the Fukushima Daiichi power station were forced to flee after an earthquake was followed by a devastating tsunami which flooded three reactors, causing a failure in their cores resulting in hydrogen explosions, and damaged a fourth in 2011. The surrounding waters and air were contaminated. By 2012, it was estimated that 573 people died in 13 municipalities.
 
Former Chairperson of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Gregory B. Jaczko, was one of the nuclear physicists who arrived on the Fukushima scene to assess the accident. In his 2019 book, Confessions of Rogue Nuclear Regulator, he explains the both the recalcitrance and hubris of nuclear power engineers who, prior to the Fukushima disaster, has believed that neither flooding nor hydrogen explosions in the cores were possible.
 
The occurrence of smaller accidents in the US had been compelling him to seek changes. For example, he tried to stop the use of parts made with Alloy 600, which had been identified as substandard since the 1980s. The leak at the David-Besse station was caused by inferior parts whose alloys could not withstand the chemical processes inside reactors, namely exposure to boric acid. Jacko’s three-year experience in the NRC taught him about the internal and external resistance to technical safety improvements and regulation. He made several efforts to enhance safety controls but was blocked and even punished and belittled for trying.  In sum, the NRC functions more to protect the industry, he states, than to ensure public safety.
 
Many citizens’ organizations have been advocating for restraint, technical safeguards and better emergency measures to address the possibility of nuclear accidents, organizations in the USA and around the globe. One concerned citizen in New Hampshire learned that regional evacuation plans would not protect persons with mobility problems. Moreover, local police officers confided that emergency personnel were not properly equipped to carry out existing emergency evacuations (Stephen Comley, Sr., unpublished manuscript entitled No Evacuation Possible). While butting heads with the state authorities and mainstream media to sound the alarm about the evacuation issues, he consulted engineers at a local nuclear power plant. That is when he learned of the continued use of counterfeit and substandard parts in the plant. Use of these faulty parts was widespread in nuclear plants around the country. Comley therefore created a non-profit, whistleblower protection organization, from which he gathered and spread information, much to the deep consternation and ire of the industry and its defenders among the political elite. For over 30 years, he has been ignored, ridiculed, persecuted and defamed for his honest and conscientious concern. He has suffered family conflict, social isolation, health setbacks for his trouble.
 
 
 After leaving the whistleblower organization in he hands of someone else, Stephen Comley, Sr., was dismayed when the new leader of this group failed to make any statement with respect to the Fukushima accident. It was his feelings for the victims of that accident that Comley joined the ILPS Peace Tour to Japan in 2014. He joined activists of the Asia Wide Campaign against US Domination and Aggression and others at the commemorative street action at Hiroshima memorial park and followed them to the ceremony at Nagasaki. It was then that he came to see the connection between the US military and the US nuclear power industry, he told us. Since then, he has also learned the value of grassroots organizing and found more allies among progressive groups and the alternative media.

Letter to Canada

Posted on January 12, 2020 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (6)

ATTENTION:
Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada
 
Cc: Honourable Harjit Sajjan 
Minister of National Defence, Canada
 
Cc: Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
 
 
January 9, 2020
 
 
Re: The United States drone assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abd Mahdi al-Muhandis, along with eight others on January 3, 2020.
 
Ministers,
 
The United States drone assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abd Mahdi al-Muhandis, along with eight others, was clearly a war crime by any definition. It violated both Iraqi sovereignty and international law. These attacks provoked the Iranian and Iraqi states and inflamed international relations. Iran has retaliated by ejecting ballistic missiles to Irbil in the Kurdish territory and the Al-Asad base in Iraq. The world tensely looks on to see if full-scale war breaks out, a catastrophic war that would involve many nations and put millions of lives at risk. Restrictions on civilian airline carriers flying over the region is a war preparation. The intensified conflagration in Libya, with Turkey deciding to send troops to Tripoli in the face of Europe’s objections, could be understood as one repercussion of the US’ attack on January 3. International relations have flared up.

We are glad to see that Canadian leaders, European leaders and NATO, who apparently had no part in the US drone attack on January 3, are taking a conciliatory approach with Iran and calling for a cool-down. We welcome NATO’s decision to suspend the NATO mission in Iraq, which Canadian forces lead.  Further to that, the government of Iraq is understandably outraged at the US actions against Iranian forces on its soil, especially because of the cooperation between Iraq and Iran regarding mobilizations against ISIS terrorists on Iraq’s soil. We support Iraq’s desire to regain autonomy in its own affairs and its government’s resolution to get US troops out of Iraq.

The people in Iraq continue to suffer from the continuing conflict and chaos inside their country. The NATO forces are not helping; they are only causing more harm and complicating matters. We therefore call upon the Canadian government to withdraw its forces from Iraq. Moreover, we want NATO to end its mission in Iraq. The redeployment of some Canadian troops from Iraq to Kuwait is a good step. A total retreat to home bases in Canada would be ideal.
We also oppose any move to impose sanctions again on Iraq. In fact, we oppose all economic sanctions against states including Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea. Broad economic sanctions deprive the people of necessities, crippling the regional economies and causing further suffering. We call on the Canadian state to stop playing a part in the cruel sanctions against the Iranian people, and the economic punishments against the Venezuelan and Korean peoples.

We have been observing that the Canadian government has had its military forces become more involved in US military operations in many spots in the world. Its defence policy has been “peace-making” rather than “peace-keeping” for many years, and the Canadian military has been mobilized to engage more in conflict. We oppose this policy orientation. We call for a general distancing from US foreign policy and US military actions, and a peace-keeping orientation. Make Canada a factor for peace, not war. Reduce military spending and deployment.

Our main demands with this letter are for Canada to withdraw all its forces from Iraq permanently and bring them home. Secondly, support Iraq’s democratic decision to have US military forces leave the country. In addition, we want Canada to act to put a stop sanctions against the Iranian people. Finally, we strongly recommend that Canada bring all its troops home from the Middle East.

Yours truly,
The No War on Iran Coalition
Vancouver, British Columbia

 

Iran-Iraq-US crisis

Posted on January 7, 2020 at 4:22 PM Comments comments (6)
A global wave of opposition to the US imperialism’s latest act of terror and aggression washed through Iraq and throughout the Middle East, around Europe and in many cities in North America on January 4 and 5. Commission 4 of the ILPS salutes this staunch response and encourages more action to show solidarity for just peace and deter an outbreak of global or regional war in response. We applaud the Iraq government’s resolution to get US forces out of Iraq as we do NATO’s decision to suspend the NATO mission led by Canadian forces in Iraq. We are also pleased to see some Canadian troops are being relocated out of the hot zone. Finally, we support all the international calls for restraint to prevent a regional war which could well develop into a global war.
 
We provide the ILPS international office’s statement on this crisis here below.
 
[Issued by the Office of the Chairperson Len Cooper, Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS)
 4 January 2020]
 
The International League of Peoples Struggles (ILPS) condemns United States imperialism’s latest act of aggression and war against Iran and Iraq. The murder of General Qasem Soleimani of Iran, on Iraq soil, represents an arrogant act of murder by the US government and a blatant violation of international law and Iraqi sovereignty by US imperialism. It is a direct attack on the workers and peoples of Iraq, Iran and the Middle East and a provocation, if not a declaration, of war that raises no less than the spectre of a new world war. 
 
This is the latest culmination of the US’s decades of efforts to impose its imperialist will on the Middle East and to force the Iranian government to bow down in submission to its dictates in order to further carry out plunder in the region. It is an attack on all peoples and governments of the world who are standing up for national sovereignty and self-determination against US imperialist dictates. 
 
Timed by US president Donald Trump to influence impeachment proceedings against him and the upcoming US elections, this attack is a declaration of war that did not receive US Congress’ approval. It is therefore illegal even by US imperialist laws, to use American poor and working-class youths as cannon fodder for a war that will serve only US imperialist interests and should hasten Trump’s downfall.
 
The ILPS fully supports the workers and people of the United States, Middle East, particularly of Iran and Iraq, and the world who are mobilizing and protesting against this latest act of US imperialist aggression.
 
The ILPS calls on all ILPS organs and supporters, and the workers and people of the world to immediately mobilize, organize and protest against this latest outrage by US imperialism in the Middle East.
 
The ILPS strongly supports the following calls:
 Stop the US war on Iran!                              US troops out of Iraq and the Middle East!  Prosecute Trump for yet another cowardly, illegal drone murder of a citizen of another country!    

Oppose US imperialist wars and aggression! Down with US imperialism!

Latin America solidarity

Posted on December 18, 2019 at 9:48 PM Comments comments (4)
I am active in just peace activism and anti-imperialist solidarity. One way I partake in this kind of activity is through my Just Peace Committee and its role in a local Venezuela solidarity committee.

I attended a huge conference for Latin American solidarity with the people against coup attempts, right wing resurgences, state repression, unjustified economic sanctions that hurt the people, militarization and the threat of military invasions. OUt of that conference came a declaration of solidarity against US-led imperialism and pledges to support particular struggles of people in Latin America and the Caribbean regions.

Taking this declaration home and reporting it to my "comrades", my local groups decided to support the declaration and the pledges for Latin American and Caribbean solidarity. Here is a summary I have taken from the notes of our latest meeting.

Latin America and Caribbean solidarity in the fight against imperialism.
 
On December 17, the VPSC adopted the stands of the Declaration and action plan of the Conference against imperialism and neo-liberalism held in Havana from November 1 to 3, 2019, which Barbara attended partly as a representative of VPSC. Bringing together Cuba solidarity, social and leftist groups from 94 counties, this conference affirmed the anti-imperialist analysis and the united anti-imperialist struggle. 1400 delegates devoted particular discussion to an understanding of US imperialism’s strategy of counter-revolution and plans to exploit and plunder Latin America and the Caribbean further. The US and its allies, including Canada, have stepped up its counter-revolutionary strategy to attack the Bolivarian, Cuban and Sandinista revolutions with
-military threats and militarization;
-greater support for the political Right
-schemes to divide the people and coup attempts
- misinformation and cover-ups
-cyber attacks
- diplomatic and economic barriers
-encouragement and support for state repression against progressive elements and other attacks on democracy
 
This Cuba conference pledged united support for
            -opposition to the Cuba blockade
            -the repatriation of Guantanamo Bay
            -the Bolivarian movement in Venezuela and the government lead by N. Maduro
            -opposition to the economic sanctions against Venezuela
            -the Sandinista government of Nicaragua
            -Evo Morales and the Bolivarian movement in Bolivia
            -democracy and a decent standard of living in Haiti
            -the repatriation of Puerto Rico
            -democracy and anti-neoliberal opposition in Chile
            - the democratic government of Argentina
            - the campaign to get Lula released

 

taking stock of 2019

Posted on December 16, 2019 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (6)
Just passed another birthday and the calendar year is closing. Time to review the year.

I always review my goals and see what I accomplished or changed. I refer to both short (1-year and 5-year) and long term (10 years).

What's more, I consider a few categories of life: finances, career, social, travel, health, activism.

FINANCES

I've had a steady income from self-employment and employment, working generally part-time, with a few relatively high-income months. My savings have remained frozen this year. However, they are set to mature in January, as planned, when I will have to decide what to do with the cash. Following through with a second goal, I have applied for my Canada Pension benefits, picking mid-2020 as the time to start receiving them. It is financially advantageous for me to claim them a little early. Tbirdly, I am able to reduce my taxes by virtue of my growing status as a self-employed citizen. As well, I am taking advantage of other senior programs. For example, I qualify for a housing subsidy and a discount applied to prescribed pharmaceuticals.

Furthermore,living in this province offers some financial advantages. Premiums for the provincial medical plan were halved this year. Members of this plan will not have to pay any premiums as of 2020. Their are transit and other concessions coming in the near future.

Last year I wrote about a dispute with the tax department, which was billing me for 10s of thousands of dollars. A series of my objections were ignored, but I was finally vindicated in the spring of this year. All taxes, fees, interest and penalties were canceled. I even received a small refund in the end.

I am developing a longer-term financial strategy with information coming available over time. Rather than purchasing a home by full retirement, which would have had to have been in a small rural community, it appears that my savings would best be used as partial income. I am contemplating having an annuity fund set up. It would dispense a small, pre-set amount each month for twenty years plus.

WORK

Two-thirds my income comes from self-employment. This represents an achievement of one of my five-year goals. I wanted the independence and control over my paid work. The arrangement also saves taxes because there are more deductions allowed as business expenses which employees of other companies cannot claim. It also has to do with the type of work I do. I am doing things I prefer over other types of tasks related to education and writing. I am tutoring children, teens and adults in a range of areas, from straight-forward beginner to intermediate English Language Learning, to study skills and preparation for college entry and entry tests. I teach writing extensively as well as vocabulary, reading and speaking. Occasionally, a student wants tutelage in French.

One of the things I do is provide evaluations of official English speaking tests that measure fluency and competency for work and study in English language environments. My rate of compensation for the testing climbed two levels this year.

I pretty much finished a book project, though I may have to do a little further editing in early 2020. I am thinking of a new writing project.

More importantly, my satisfaction has risen. I have a better handle on my schedule and geographical areas of work, as well on the types of work I do.

TRAVEL

I was surprised to find myself going on two voyages that were on my list of travel dreams. They were both tied to attendance at huge and important political gatherings. 

I thus fulfilled several wishes just in one three-week trip. After attending the activists' conference in late spring, which was one goal. I continued on my way by returning to Italy to explore it further (2nd goal), after which I returned to visit France (3rd goal), during which time I revisited an important place where I resided in France in my youth (4th goal). Everything came together--my schedule, the budget, the timing with the conference, the availability of lodgings and regional transportation in Europe. One decades-long dream came true! Despite the extreme heat, I reveled in the beauty of Torino and enjoyed the comforts of swapped, free-of-charge private housing. In France, I explored Lyon, which I had not seen before. I finally returned to a place that opened up my life and transformed me while I was in my early 20s. It restored and concretized my memories.I could see what had become of the place, which, I have to say, was a bit of disappointment as it has turned into a big tourist site. All the same, I felt the trip validated the experience and the life decisions I took as a result. Though little made sense to me back then, looking back it all comes together. I could see clearly how my life adds up today.

In September, I decided to embark upon the second trip after having received an invitation through a local organization in late July. I took this trip just before Halloween and it lasted just one week. It was a fantastic opportunity and colleagues needed someone to go represent them and use the event for networking and research. I had not been to Cuba in 17 years, when I participated in a social and political, group tour with folks from Vancouver. We sang, met trade unionists and got political lessons as we rolled from town to town, meeting to meeting in our coach bus. This time, I attended a huge gathering in the main conference center in Havana in the year of the 500th anniversary of Havana and the 60th anniversary of the Cuban revolution. There were many of my comrades from Vancouver and across Canada, as well as my group's associates in Central America and elsewhere. We tackled the attacks on progress in Latin America and the Caribbean and pledged solidarity on many fronts, from the uprisings against neo-liberal policies in Chile to the demands for a decent standard of life and democracy in Haiti, from defense of regional revolutions to support for the movement for the independence of Puerto Rico. Many important politicians, popular leaders, and intellectuals were in attendance, including current and former state leaders! It was greater than what I had dreamed as a return to Cuba.

ACTIVISM

My biggest rewards of the travel in 2019 were the advances in my roles as an activist.The conference attached to the first voyage was an international assembly of a league of anti-imperialists groups to which I belong. I hadn't been to such a gathering in about 10 years, so it was a gain just to attend this last one. At that event, I found a way to boost my volunteer work in political causes as I had hoped. It had been one of my 5-year goals to increase my participation and responsibilities as an activist. Check! 

I wound up leading a commission workshop on peace when I stepped in to fill a vacant seat. It was successful, so we were able to keep our peace commission marching on by making plans and finding volunteers to coordinate it. I found myself in the leading coordinating role. It was owing to that position that I represented our league at the international anti-imperialist, Latin America solidarity conference in Cuba. After attending that event, I have since been invited to join a peace building collaboration effort in Latin America. I have also been able to revitalize my home organization, the small "Just Peace Committee" and contribute nationally to the peace movement in Canada. I have started up a newsletter and built a website for the league's peace commission (https://peace450.wixsite.com/website). Through collaboration, we have coordinated three actions: to remember the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, to take to the streets on UN International Peace Day and to oppose the most recent NATO Summit.

HEALTH

On course, steady as she goes. I generally keep up my regular, moderate exercise. I do an all-round set of movements to manage the effects of aging. They include quad squats or presses to keep the knee joints strong, shoulder and back presses to keep the core, back and shoulder joints strong, actions to sharpen my balance, stretches for general flexibility, some abdominal movements for core strength and a little low-impact movements for cardio and weight control such as rowing machine or glider. I go to the gym once or twice a week or do some exercises at home. 

Though I have not had a specific weight loss plan, I lost about 10 pounds last spring and a couple in recent weeks. The loss occurred during my busiest phases, so I guess being busy, especially since I have relied on catching buses.

I eat well. I have honed my diet down to a food list that seems to work well for me. The items on this list address aspects of nutrition suitable for my age. They are mostly organically grown. I take vitamin and mineral supplements daily. I eat kale with a variety of other vegetables to make it interesting most days. For minerals, It is high in vitamin Bs. I eat whole grain bread and cereal for protein and B vitamins all the time. For minerals, especially electrolytes, I eat a little a couple of teaspons of avocado, 6 oz. of coconut water, a stick or two of celery, and one small or 1/2 large banana nearly every day. I eat pears for magnesium when they are available at a reasonable price. I eat one egg nearly every day for Vitamin E, sulphur and protein.  My diet is almost dairy free except for a little cheese; I use unsweetened nut milk. Still, my diet is high in protein; I rely more on fish and vegetables than red meat and poultry. I occasionally get a little beef or other red meat, tryng to find it from locally and small farm grown, organically grain or grass fed sources. Same for chicken, though I have chicken very occasionally. Instead, I look for wild seafood or some legumes.

As a consequence of this high quality diet, I do not yearn to go to restaurants much. I experience an aversion to fast food and mass produced, processed food.

Overall, the budding arthritis, which was detected two years ago, has been kept at bay. I hope to slow down or, better, stop its development.

I may get a flu occasionally, but symptoms are relatively minimal. I have no other health complaints.

SOCIAL LIFE

I just accept I am a loner. I am generally content. I have not tried reaching out to go dating again. I try to keep up friendships and the bond with my brothers and their families. I have made more friends through work and activism.

NEW EXPERIENCES

I continue to enjoy new things. It is important to learn and do new things for the sake of keeping life interesting as well as keeping the brain sharp. It is also good for personal development. One should not let one's life stagnate.

-I read at least 20 books.
-I completed a non-fiction manuscript about the nuclear industry.
-I used a new web-building program to build a website for the second time in my life.
-I got through two probational periods as an English speaking test examiner.
-I did my tax return online for the first time.
-I explored two cities I had never explored before.
-I attained a leadership role in the peace movement.
-I have been tutoring English literature, which is a joy.
-I learned some more physical exercises.
-I learned a couple more songs recently.
-I watched some TV series by means of DVDs, series I had seen little of before.
-I got back to blogging.
-I participated in a vacation housing swap for the first time ever.
-I saw a live performance of "The Taming of the Shrew".
-I got several new students.
-I attended an international solidarity conference in Cuba.


Bolivia chaos

Posted on November 12, 2019 at 11:22 AM Comments comments (10)
The coup in Bolivia: Five lessons
THE Bolivian tragedy eloquently offers us lessons that our peoples and popular social and political forces must learn and record in our consciousness forever.

THE Bolivian tragedy eloquently offers us lessons that our peoples and popular social and political forces must learn and record in our consciousness forever.Here is a brief list, as events develop, a prelude to a more detailed analysis in the future.

First: No matter how well the economy is managed in an exemplary fashion, as the Evo government did - with growth, redistribution, investment all assured, and all macro and microeconomic indicators improved - the right wing and imperialism will never accept a government that does not serve their interests.

Second: Manuals published by various agencies in the United States, and their spokespeople disguised as academics or journalists, must be studied, so we recognize signs of an offensive in time.These writings invariably highlight the need to destroy the reputation of popular leaders, with accusations of misappropriation, corruption, dictatorial behavior, and ignorance, which in the specialized jargon is known as character assassination. This task is entrusted to social communicators, self-proclaimed “independent journalists,” who given their quasi-monopoly control of the media drill such defamations into the brains of the population, accompanied, as seen in this case, by hateful comments directed toward native peoples and the poor in general.

Third: Once the aforementioned has begun, next come right wing political leaders and economic elites demanding "a change," an end to Evo's "dictatorship," who, as the unpresentable Vargas Llosa wrote a few days ago, is a "demagogue who wants to eternalize his term in power.”I suppose he is toasting with champagne in Madrid, watching coverage of the fascist hordes looting, burning, chaining journalists to posts, cutting a female mayor’s hair and covering her with red paint, destroying result reports from the last election, fulfilling the mandates of Don Mario, freeing Bolivia from an evil demagogue.I mention this case because Vargas has been, and is, the immoral standard bearer of this vile attack, a horrendous crime that has crucified a popular leadership, destroyed democracy, and established a reign of terror run by hired gangs, to punish a worthy people who have the audacity to seek freedom.

Fourth: "Security forces" now enter the scene. In this case we are talking about institutions controlled by numerous military and civilian agencies of the United States government.These professionals train the local forces, arm them, conduct joint exercises and educate them politically. I had the opportunity to verify this when, on Evo’s invitation, I presented a course on anti-imperialism for high ranking officers in the nation’s three armed forces.On this occasion, I was horrified by the degree of penetration, among these individuals, of the most reactionary U.S. slogans, inherited from the Cold War era, and by the open irritation they felt given the fact that the country had an indigenous President.What these "security forces" did was to withdraw from the scene and leave the field open for the uncontrolled action of fascist hordes - like those in Ukraine, in Libya, in Iraq, in Syria - to overthrow leaders who annoyed the empire - or attempt to do so, in the last case - and thus intimidate the population, activists, and government figures themselves.In other words, a new socio-political phenomenon: a military coup “by default,” letting reactionary gangs, recruited and financed by the right, impose their rule. Once terror reigns, and the government is defenseless, the outcome is inevitable.

Fifth: Bolivia’s security and public order should never have been entrusted to institutions such as the police and the Army, colonized by imperialism and its lackeys in the national right wing.When the offensive against Evo was launched, a policy of appeasement and not responding to the provocations of fascists was chosen.This served to embolden the right wingers and increase their confidence. First, they demanded a recount; then, cried fraud and called for new elections; finally insisting on elections without Evo - as in Brazil, without Lula.At last, Evo's resignation. Given his refusal to accept the blackmail, terror was sowed with the complicity of police and the military, forcing Evo to resign. By the book, straight from the book. Will we learn these lessons? (From the author's blog)

Armistice Day

Posted on November 10, 2019 at 9:58 AM Comments comments (10)
Statement of Commission 4 of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) for Armistice Day, November 11, 2019

BUILD THE MOVEMENT FOR JUST PEACE!

Over 100 years since the conclusion of World War One, and war is still a constant, major problem for humanity. The International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS; ilps.info) supports the just struggles of the peoples for national liberation, genuine democracy and a decent standard of living. We condemn militarization, bigotry and wars of aggression and counter-revolution. We oppose military intervention aimed at destroying social progress, popular democracy and societies that reject the global monopoly-capitalist system in favour of social and economic arrangements that benefit the people. We oppose occupation and domination. We call for the universal non-proliferation of nuclear and all weapons of mass destruction. In sum, we choose life. We support peace with social justice. We firmly reject the propaganda of aggression to achieve human rights and a “way of life”, as was used to justify wholesale terror and destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
The ILPS calls for the respect of and return to peace processes in cases of internal conflict. Demands of the people for social justice must be addressed, such as demands for land reform, political and economic reforms, and legal or compensatory justice for the people. If those demands are ignored, the people have reason to wage their struggle, even armed struggle, for such conflicts are matters of survival. Rights and standards acknowledged and set internationally must be honoured. Neither people facing repressive and inhumane states can be expected to lay down their arms and abandon their struggles, nor oppressed nations under domination, unless social justice is respected and put on the table for honest negotiation. We call for ceasefires and resumption or initiation of peace talks in the Philippines, Colombia, Palestine, the Ukraine, Syria, Turkey and the Kashmir.

States and factions committing offenses such as invasion, genocide and “ethnic cleansing”, extrajudicial killings and detentions, deprivation of their citizens, and obstruction to democratic processes must be confronted and dealt with according to international norms and law. Sovereignty must be respected. States plotting and ganging up against another state or interfering and intervening against a peaceful, non-threatening state, (which is done largely for profit, control and political bias) should also be confronted and treated in the name of social and legal justice. The ILPS thus stands against the meddling and disruptive practices against countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and North Korea. It thoroughly opposes the occupation of Palestine. We also oppose the implementation of economic tactics to crush enemy states and peoples’ movements as they punish the people with deprivation. The ILPS thus condemns the US blockades against Cuba and North Korea, as well as the economic measures against Venezuela and Iran. Plans to invade as a so-called solution to conflicts are totally unacceptable, so we also oppose the militarization and war exercises around North Korea, Venezuela, the Ukraine, the Persian Gulf, the Caribbean and anywhere else.

World War One was a clash of old empires, including the British Empire, in which there was no sane reason for engaging millions of young people and unleashing widespread destruction of civilians and civilizations. Four empires fell by the end of WW1: the Russian Tsarist Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Prussian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire; it was the desertion of Russian soldiers and, eventually, the Russian Revolution that were the main factors for peace. Competing states sent millions of soldiers to wholesale slaughter. Just as Tsarist Russia had deployed masses of soldiers to satisfy a pact with Serbia, the British Empire intentionally mobilized divisions of men from its colonies, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, to stage futile battles such as Gallipoli, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele.
 
New empires asserted themselves after WW1. Born out of the redivision of European states, industrializing Germany under the Nazi fascists attempted to build a new empire but was crushed by the dedication of myriads of men and women. Imperialist Japan, meanwhile, tried to make the most of the conflict in Europe to expand its territories and resources by invading more countries in East Asia, which forced a military response on the part of the US. The US had been creating its own empire establishing colonies in the Pacific and Caribbean regions, though it had held back for much of the two World Wars. However, vulture-like interests, especially profiteers in the US, drooled over the benefits they could enjoy from war and the destruction of Europe: chemical and arms corporations grew, and the US poised itself to reap the rewards and come out on top. Just as the Nazis were doing, the US also exploited the opportunity to develop arms, most notably the nuclear bomb. History has concluded that the release of nuclear bombs over Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan was not justified, intended rather as an experimentation and a display of might and conquest. The US thus asserted its role as a ruling empire of the world.
It is the US empire, which supports and defends the global elite, the global moguls of finance capital, that is the main factor for war today. This is the “way of life” that it declares it stands for. The kind of freedom it desires is market freedom, at any cost to the peoples of the world. It has been a factor in stirring up aggressive, anti-West Islamists who are trying hard to establish an Islamist empire in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions today. The US plays both sides in the conflicts with the Islamist movements, supporting some terrorists, for example in Libya and Syria so as to crush political and market obstacles, while gunning after others, such as the fundamentalist regime of Iran, so as to open up markets and spheres of influence. ILPS opposes all terror.

The ILPS understands that conflict is inherent in the imperialist economic system, which is rife with contradictions: inter-imperialist rivalries, class, nation, corporate competition, and so on. It thrives on violence and social division, seeking market niches, cheap resources, cheap labour, technological innovations, expropriations… In short, it is an exploiting and plundering system. Also, it imposes itself as far and as wide as possible by force. Arms are both a means and an industry.
Let us observe, educate and organize according to this reality, this scenario of social injustice and crimes against humanity and the planet. Let us not celebrate the imperialist violence. Let us not glorify war for domination and profit. Let us raise our voices together in calling and mobilizing for just peace!
All out to say, “No to NATO” from December 1 to 3, the time of the NATO summit in London, UK. Denounce all crimes against humanity and defend life and human rights on International Human Rights Day on December 10. Say, “No Taxes for War” on April 15. March for land, life and just peace on Earth Day, April 22. March on May Day, May 1.
 
US, Hands off Venezuela, Syria, Cuba, Iran, North Korea!                              Support the just causes of the peoples! 
Resume the peace talks regarding the Philippines, Palestine, and Colombia, now!            Israel, out of Palestine!
Universal nuclear non-proliferation now!             No to NATO!                      Not a single person used for war again!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ILPS Commission 4 opposes wars of aggression and aggression, and weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons.
 
Actions:   No to NATO Summit! Dec. 1-3       Tax Day, April 15  / Earth Day April 22
 
 
International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS)                     http://Ilps.info
 

spin on July 4

Posted on July 17, 2019 at 11:22 PM Comments comments (177)

Keep Australia Out of U.S. wars – Time for Australia’s independence from U.S.A.

On Thursday evening 4 July, America’s Independence Day, 80 people attended a lively public forum in Melbourne calling on the Australian government to keep Australia out of U.S. wars and declaring that it is time for Australia to be independent of the U.S.A. 

The meeting, organised by IPAN-Victoria, heard from 3 engaging and informative speakers who drew on the impacts of U.S. bases, marines and political influence on Australia's sovereignty.

Fiona McCandless, member of IPAN and unionist, spoke on the disastrous impact on people and the environment in countries hosting foreign military bases.  Examples she gave included Maralinga in South Australia and Okinawa in Japan.  

“When we let foreign military onto our lands, we lose our sovereignty. Through the examples of Okinawa's current American military bases and Australia's past British nuclear testing in Maralinga, Emu Field, and Montebello Islands, it is apparent that the occupied country is not made aware of what is occurring on their land. The biggest sufferer in these military arrangements is the indigenous people, who are disregarded not only by the foreign occupier, but by their own country's government..We must not let our lands and our people be used by foreign military - get US bases off our shores”

Vince Scappatura, who has recently published a book “ The U.S. lobby and Australian Defence Policy”, spoke on the insidious influence of the pro-U.S. lobby on Australian military, intelligence and foreign policies in the context of U.S.-China contention.

Richard Tanter, Research Fellow with the Nautilus Institute and a long time researcher and expert on Pine Gap, spoke on U.S. military bases in Australia and the integration and interoperability of Australia’s military and foreign policies with the U.S.

Questions and Answers and lively comments followed, with the meeting unanimously passing the 3 resolutions below.
Petitions calling on the government to terminate the “Force Posture Agreement” were signed and the discussion continued on the approaching IPAN National Conference in Darwin 2-4 August.

July 4 Resolutions endorsed at IPAN national meetings.

 1.    Resolution on Marines in Darwin

We call on the Australian Parliament to terminate the ‘Force Posture Agreement’, between the Australian and USA governments, under which 2,500 US marines are stationed in Darwin. We are convinced that the ongoing presence of US marines on Australian territory is not in the interest of Australian people and our region and will lead us into more disastrous U.S. wars.

2.    Resolution on Iran

We strongly urge the Australian government not to support the U.S. war plans on Iran.  War on Iran will result in many deaths and severe suffering for the people of Iran and bring the world closer to a nuclear war.


3.   Resolution on Independent and Peaceful Australian Foreign Policy

This meeting supports Australia embracing a truly Independent Foreign Policy that upholds Australia’s independence, respects the sovereignty of all countries and promotes peaceful resolution of global conflicts.  This will be the Australian people’s contribution to making the world more peaceful and just.  We support Australia’s independence from all big power interests.

Just Peace-Earth Day msg

Posted on April 25, 2019 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (14)
So sorry for not posting since January. There has been a technical problem, which I have passed on to my service provider, Vistaprint.ca. It seems to be a problem accessing the blog on my site through certain browsers. At last I am able to post once again. I'll catch up!

Since late January, I have been involved in a peace effort to prevent a war with or military intervention into Venezuela owing to US and right-wing schemes to demean, misrepresent, wreck and overtake the current Bolivarian government of President Maduro.


STATEMENT FOR EARTH DAY AND MAY 1, 2019
-Venezuela Peace and Solidarity Committee of Vancouver
 

PEACE AND SOLIDARITY FOR THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD!

 

The Venezuela Peace and Solidarity Committee of Vancouver (VPSC) joins in celebrating the achievements of the working class and workers organizations in their struggles for their rights and better working conditions leading to a better world. We support the gains in workplace health and safety though we join in expressing sorrow for workers who have become ill and died due to unhealthy and unsafe workplaces, as we commiserate regarding the activists who have passed or been persecuted in their struggles to defend life and the rights and wellbeing of the people and nature. We also salute the achievements of the politically conscious and environmental protection organizations that are contributing to sustainable production that does not squander nature’s resources or abuse people and who are working hard to defend life, hopefully towards a better future for humankind and the ecosystems.

 

The main objective of VPSC is to defend the achievements of the Venezuelan people, oppose interference and interventions that harm that country. We promote peace in the region. We are building solidarity against the efforts of a ring of foreign powers led by the US to destabilize Venezuelan society, disable its independence and wreck its achievements so as to build up arrangements for plundering and exploiting the land and its people that benefit the few. These states are making military preparations to step in should these strategies fail.

 

In this regard, we object to the deliberate actions of the Canadian government to play a role in thwarting the peoples’ movements, assisting the interference and participating in sanctions and militarization against Venezuela.

 

As well as opposing the socialist direction of the Bolivarian government of Venezuela, Venezuelan oil and its revenues are of great interest to multinational corporations and the politicians that kowtow to them. While many countries in Europe and North America are rich enough and developed enough to manage their own resources better, make the transition from dependency on fossil fuels to clean, safe and renewable energy supplies, and support ventures in new kinds of technological enterprises, they are reluctant to do so because of greed and the mammoth profits made from the outmoded industrial model and its reliance on socially and environmentally dangerous and destructive energy sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear power, and wasteful and exploitative practices. Ironically, elements among them have gone so far as to repeatedly sabotage the hydroelectric network in Venezuela, which causes serious difficulties for the people. They implement sanctions which deny the state revenues to carry out its services and functions and deny trade, which have put Venezuela in an economic crisis. The US has pretended to offer aid as a way to intervene, when it could offer real assistance. Meanwhile, masses of its own citizens and residents suffer because of unemployment and underemployment, limited access to health care, xenophobia, insufficient social supports, pollution and chaos.

 

The Trudeau government has clearly shown its preference and enthusiasm for expanding fossil fuel industries, accumulation and distribution, for example. It is allowing multinationals to continue to exploit and control the peoples in Canada and the wealth of resources Canada has. This government has not truly and fully embraced decisions on measures to counter global warming. Indeed, it is clearly hostile to change and many of the people working hard to find a better way. It is hostile to Bolivarian Venezuela and the Venezuelan people’s advances.

 

Working people and people of conscience must unite and engage in solidarity for each other’s causes. We must look for points of unity among us and build a movement against exploitation and plunder of the people and the Earth so that we can save the planet and humanity. The situation is crying out for unity in action for a better way.

 

Achievements such as the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela must be defended. The Venezuela conflict is pivotal for the future of humankind. Not only will the outcome impact the nations of Latin America, it will impact the status of democratic relations and living and working conditions everywhere. Furthermore, the lawlessness and aggressive attitude and actions of the imperialist powers must be confronted.

 

 

Long live international solidarity!

Hands off Venezuela!

No to foreign interference and interventions!

No military threats and solutions!

Just peace!

 

 

@peace.vancouver                                         Facebook: Vancouver Peace and Solidarity Committee of Vancouver

 

Just Peace -media on Venezuela

Posted on January 28, 2019 at 1:23 AM Comments comments (25)
Published by Fair.org

January 25, 2019
‘Resistance’ Media Side With Trump to Promote Coup in Venezuela

Alan MacLeod


 We like to think we have an adversarial media—one that will stand up, in particular, to Donald Trump. The media assured us that they would perform their crucial democratic role in holding this dangerous new president and commander-in-chief accountable at every turn. This struck a chord with the public; in the wake of Trump’s victory in 2016, the New York Times added over a quarter-million digital subscribers in a matter of weeks. “Democracy,” after all, “Dies in Darkness,” as the Washington Post tells us on every webpage.

Yet on Trump’s support for regime change in Venezuela, the “resistance” media are lining up shoulder to shoulder with the president.After winning re-election in 2018, President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela was recently sworn in for a second term. However, Trump has taken the extraordinary step of declaring the elections void, condemning the “illegitimate Maduro regime.” He also arranged to have National Assembly head Juan Guaidó—someone who has never even run for president, whom even the New York Times (1/22/19) describes as “virtually unheard-of”—name himself the country’s new leader. This has spurred the Venezuelan right wing onto the streets to try to force Maduro out of office, leading to the deaths of 14 people in the first two nights of clashes between large pro- and anti-government demonstrations.

Last year, the Trump administration preemptively declared as fraudulent the elections they had previously been demanding, instructing the opposition (whom the US has been funding for two decades) to boycott the process. It even tried to “persuade” (i.e., intimidate) opposition presidential candidate Henri Falcón not to run.With complete unanimity of outlook, the supposedly oppositional US media served to delegitimize the elections as well (FAIR.org, 5/23/18), with the New York Times (5/20/18) describing them as “heavily rigged” and the Miami Herald (5/2/18) christening them “fraudulent,” a “sham,” a “charade” and a “joke” in one column alone. Yet this perception of events can only be sustained through the careful curation of information: informing readers of certain facts, while ignoring strong evidence to the contrary.

The Careful Curation of InformationMaduro’s re-election was widely anticipated in US media (e.g., PBS NewsHour, 5/20/18), though his victory now is generally dismissed as fraud.The idea that the 2018 elections were, at best, highly questionable is taken as a fact across the media. For instance, CNBC (1/23/19) stated that Maduro’s re-election “was widely viewed as a sham due to widespread election irregularities”; Reuters (1/23/19) said the vote was “widely viewed as fraudulent.”In reality, Venezuela has one of the most intensely monitored election system in the world, and the government called on the United Nations to send observation teams. This was blocked by the US on the grounds that the UN would “validate” the elections. Despite this, numerous international election monitoring organizations attended and attested to the vote’s quality. For example, the report of the African Nations’ delegation stated:
The Venezuelan people who chose to participate in the electoral process of May 20 were not subject to any external pressures, and carried out their right to vote in a peaceful and civil manner which we commend. As such, we implore the international community to abide by international law and the principles of self-determination and recognize what we consider to be a free, fair, fully transparent and sovereign election.
Maduro’s re-election was widely anticipated in establishment media, with campaign polls indicating that many opposition voters planned to sit out the election. “Maduro Favored as Venezuelans Vote Amid Crisis” was the headline of a PBS NewsHour story (5/20/18), which went on to explain:
While polls show Venezuelans overwhelmingly blame Maduro for their mounting troubles, he’s still heavily favored to win thanks to a boycott of the election by his main rivals.
The current protests are almost universally framed in corporate media as a democratic people’s uprising, akin to the Arab Spring, rather than a contested civil conflict, or even as a US-supported coup attempt, as alternative media are presenting it (Democracy Now!, 1/18/19; Real News,1/23/19; The Canary, 1/23/19). “Coup” is a word avoided by corporate media when not quoted from Maduro or his supporters; as Reed Richardson noted, an AP profile (1/24/19) of Guaido referred to his naming himself president as a “standoff,” a “challenge,” an “uprising,” a “frontal assault on Maduro’s authority” and a “restoration of Venezuela’s democracy”—but never a “coup.”

The New York Times (1/23/19) noted that Guaidó was “cheered on by thousands of supporters in the streets and a growing number of governments, including the United States.” CNN (1/23/19) reported a vast, energetic movement around him, as “Venezuelans took to the streets in nationwide protests,” while CNBC (1/23/19) claimed there were “hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans” out on the streets, chanting together and waving national flags, demanding an end to Maduro’s “socialist government.” Bloomberg (1/23/19) worried that the leftist government would “crush” the protests. Yet there was very little mention, let alone coverage, of counter-protests across the country that complicate the picture.

Ignoring the US Role
The Times article also provides the context of the dire economic circumstances the country finds itself in, suggesting that this was the reason people are in the streets, and not in response to Trump’s call: “Citizens of what was once one of the region’s wealthiest nations, endowed with plentiful oil, have starved to death and died from preventable diseases,” the piece claimed. It fails to acknowledge the substantial US role in Venezuela’s economic and political crisis.

Trump ramped up the Obama administration’s sanctions, an action that caused Venezuelan oil production to plummet (FAIR.org, 12/17/18) and the economy to nosedive. Furthermore, US economic warfare against the country has cut Venezuela off from global capital markets—with the Trump administration threatening bankers with 30 years in prison if they negotiate with Caracas a standard restructuring of its debt (AlterNet, 11/13/17). The UN Human Rights Council formally condemned the US, noting that the sanctions target “the poor and most vulnerable classes,” called on all member states to break them, and even began discussing reparations the US should pay to Venezuela.The US has long supported regime change in Venezuela, going back at least to the abortive coup against President Hugo Chavez in 2002. It has also spent a fortune through the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID to prop up opposition groups inside the country. Trump recently appointed neocon Iraq War architect John Bolton as national security advisor, who wasted little time in declaring Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua a “troika of tyranny,” echoing the infamous “axis of evil” moniker he employed during the Iraq War. Yet this crucial context in understanding the situation is missing from news accounts.

A Lapse of Factchecking
Corporate media passed on the chance to factcheck Trump administration claims about Venezuela.Resistance media have made it a point of pride to vigorously factcheck and scrutinize every one of the administration’s statements; the Washington Post (12/30/18) recently calculated that Trump makes an average of 15 false claims per day. And yet, when it comes to Venezuela, the administration’s dubious claims are taken at face value.For example, in a recorded message, VP Mike Pence stated:
Nicolas Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. He has never won the presidency in a free and fair election, and has maintained his grip of power by imprisoning anyone who dares to oppose him.
This announcement was picked up across the media, including by Reuters (1/22/19), ABC News (1/23/19), Newsweek (1/22/19), the Los Angeles Times (1/22/19) and MSN (1/23/19). Yet none of these organizations factchecked this claim, allowing it to stand unchallenged as the basis of a story, further bolstering the dominant narrative.This was not a difficult claim to debunk. Maduro won his first election in 2013, recognized by every country in the world except the US, and which even the Washington-funded organization the Carter Center declared free and fair. Indeed, former President Jimmy Carter in 2012 stated the Venezuelan election system to be the “best in the world.”It was considered a shameful anti-democratic misstep when the New York Times’ editorial board (4/13/02) endorsed the 2002 coup. Yet for more than a year, US media have been openly calling for another one (FAIR.org, 5/16/18). The Washington Post (11/15/17) ran with the headline, “The Odds of a Military Coup in Venezuela Are Going Up. But Sometimes Coups Can Lead to Democracy.” For a media so focused on allegations of foreign interference in US politics, it is remarkable how accepting they are of Trump becoming personal moral arbiter of Venezuela.

It is revealing how the supposedly anti-Trump media have closed ranks and are marching in lockstep with the administration when it comes to overthrowing Washington’s official enemies. The media are not opposing Trump or tyranny; they are enabling it.

Research assistance: Teddy Ostrow

Thinking and Doing It Positively

Household Treasures

11 January 2021

I heard an interviewee speaking over the radio talk about cherishing items in the home. It is one way to explore and enjoy surroundings without traveling, he said​I'll try it.


A lot of objects on display in my apartment are artifacts from my travels, ironically. They refresh my most poignant memories of precious and mind-opening explorations.


Sitting atop the filing cabinet next to my desk are to souvenirs from South Korea, where I worked and resided for 10 years. After such a lengthy stay, I have loads of memories prompted by numerous artifacts of my experiences in that country. These two are among the best reflections of cultural and historical particularities of South Korea. They are a framed photo of a hero central to the labour and national democratic struggles and an ornament from folk culture in the countryside of the southern part of South Korea.


Jun Tae-Il was a courageous student activist leading actions against the last dictatorship in his country. He represents the heart of the movement and the victory for democracy. He became a martyr when the police fatally shot him while he was demonstrating in the street in Seoul, the capitol. The ornament is an ceramic fertility fetish, an image of a penis from one of several such parks in the southern region where I used to live. This part of the country remained tribal longer than other parts, so folk traditions such as shamanism and superstitions have endured. Fertility monuments were erected (pun intended), of course, bring about more healthy children. The foreigner exploring such parks giggle at the sights. 


Next to the filing cabinet is a bookshelf. One of the most noticeable objects near the top of this piece of furniture is a tacky, plastic, white alarm clock. It is significant because I bought it to ensure I woke up on time on my last morning living in South Korea. I had an early flight. As a small travel alarm clock had recently failed, and I was not sure my phone alarm would wake me fully, I picked up a cheap clock at a local general store. I don't use it as its ticking is noisy, but I have not thought to give it away. It remains perched on the shelf, deprived of a battery, as a reminder of my departure from the ex-pat life and return to Canada. 


I also have items saved from two trips to Cuba, one in 2003 and one in 2019. Both trips were organized political events. The first took me there with a political choral group to meet Cuban choirs, learn some of their songs, perform with Cubans, attend the May 1st rally, meet labour associations and tour the island for two weeks. I am looking at a typical replication of a sketch of Che Gevarra which one can find easily in street markets. Our choir, supportive of the Cuban revolution, valued the Cuban revolutionary democracy, social arrangements and political principals which that image, the most famous in all the world, represents to millions of people. It inspires and gives hope. I remember strolling through the streets, visiting markets and restaurants, chatting with locals and attending all the meetings on our hectic schedule. I have other little treasures such as a ceramic, hand painted ashtray, photos of our Cuban comrades, and an African-Cuban, wooden statuette.


Above my desk hang a pair of water colour paintings in wood frames. They portray sites in southern Manitoba in the general area where my grandparents met, married and bore my mother. They feature two views of the banks of the Red River, a river highly important to Canadian history. There were battles against invading Americans launched there and a key struggle of the Métis nation. The city of Winnipeg lies nearby, which used to be the industrial hub of Canada until the Panama Canal opened up and undermined the Canadian railway system. I have only passed through Winnipeg by car. This area is not one I remember, for I have never visited it. 


On the floor near my desk lies a wicker hamper. I have mixed feelings about it, but it has been very useful, so I have kept it. You see, it belonged to my father's second wife. My father remarried this odd, older person rather quickly after my mother passed, which denied her children necessary time to adjust. I carried resentment about her, but chose to avoid them rather than say anything or show my negative feelings. As I said, it is a practical item for it holds linens and Christmas stuff and allows aeration through the woven stems.


I originally bought the filing cabinet to organize research, not academic information but information found in the course of activism and stabs at political journalism. It therefore stores records of several international and regional conferences. Though I purge it once in awhile, there are still clippings, leaflets and pamphlets. They cover issues such as Canadian mining firms abroad, human rights cases, privacy rights, student concerns and transportation. I have been replacing old articles and folders with my own writing pieces. Among them are also old, self-published newsletters addressing local and international issues, some of my published articles and unpublished poems. 




Conversational News

10 January 2021

It is so good to be able to express myself and have contact with readers through this blog again. The loss of the access to my blog along with other aspects of confinement and restrictions really affected me. There were added unsettling restrictions due to circumstances, even including access to my games when Adobe Flash Player was removed. I was feeling the mounting stress of rising COVID cases and the awareness of the damages inflicted by this disease as well as the damage inflicted by states that remain focused on helping profitable enterprises more than addressing the disease and health care and financial interventions fully and equitably. Most such as Canada are handing the responsibility of pandemic management to individuals. Very unjust!


I had been handling the conditions of the pandemic fairly well, but emotions were catching up to me in December as I personally began to feel tired and stressed. I started to feel irritable and alarmed. I looked forward to two weekends at home over Christmas and New Years, but the employer wanted me to work on the Saturdays. Saturday being the heaviest work day for me with five hours straight teaching and two hours travel, I had been wanting relief to get a chance to rest and calm down. I ended up taking the Saturday following NY Day off, which certainly helped. I am much better now.


I did not carry through with my usual practice of personal assessment and planning in December as is my habit. I was too agitated. I did not want to reflect on this past year, actually. Not then.


Anyway, there is not any change in my goals. I generally carried through with financial, livelihood, social, family, health and growth goals. However, the social and family goals were frustrated by Covid-19 rules. However, there are elder relatives with multiple health problems whose mental health was being upset by the situation, so I have been visiting with them in cafes and such. They are better now. I have also been aiding an elderly neighbour whose health, already in decline this year, was getting worse partially because of Covid-related restraints. (Her degrading sight and hearing, as well as shaking and loss of balance, caused her to stop driving permanently, and skeletal issues caused her to stop regular exercise. She is worried she will be forced to consider entering a facility while many care homes are in crisis!) My exercise regime was also compromised. The local fitness center remains open but I perceive it as risky, so I do not go there. Aside from some hiking and walking to accomplish transit and errands, I haven't been exercising much until recently. Now I do some yoga, lunging, stretching and weighted arm raises sometimes. I am prevented this week because of an inflammation (hemorrhoid caused by lengthy sitting!).


 One big factor affecting stress and anxiety levels is news reportage. State and private corporate news services, like most enterprises today, try to streamline by relying more on tech and web browsing to find news topics. There are fewer reporters and there is less extended, investigative reporting. For the past decade at least, such services have resorted to "conversational journalism." It is an adjustment to distrust of news and official authorities during a trend of democratization, I feel. However, it tends to keep popularity and viewer or reader stats in mind. Topics can be sensationalized by rehashing events and speculation. Commentators are brought in to discuss as are senior reporters, but the discussion is not very productive in that it does not lead to increased knowledge. Rather, it keeps generating more questions. Conversations often entertain unanswerable questions, particularly because there can be no resolution. They just push the topic and stimulate possible answers to stir up controversy and alarm in order to improve ratings. Pertinent information might be omitted if it actually answers a question. Once audiences abandon a thread, they turn to some other topic and start over. It is really unconscionable because of the innuendo, speculation, rumour, omission, lack of investigation, assumptions and biases.


The COVID coverage is a clear case in point. Partial information is supplied, such as a medical official's announcement that is partly based in some truth. The announcement is questioned. Opponents are recruited to present the false arguments. Sideline topics are raised to create more friction. Proper sources are ignored. Questions are recycled and spin round and round with no conclusion. The affect is understandable: alarm, anxiety, fear, stress, accusations, complaints, etc.


I follow a couple of doctors who produce daily videos to update viewers on scientific developments and explore reasoning behind government and medical decisions regarding the pandemic. I rely on Dr. John Campble and Doctor Moran. Find them on Youtube. Campbell is the most digestable, for he uses plain English, which Moran is more technical. The latter seems to be addressing people in the medical field. By following Campbell, in particular, I can see the gaps in the regional and national news reporting. I can see that they are lagging behind the news by ignoring or failing to search for reliable information.

We're Back

07 January 2021

Apologies to my followers and viewers. You have been very supportive and encouraging for many years. I might have disappointed some of you who were looking for new entries from me. 


Let me explain. VISTAPRINT changed its platform last year. When they did that, the method for making blog entries changed. I had no information from them about what to do. It simply appeared that I know longer had any blogging service. 


However, I just spoke to a VISTAPRINT rep who guided me. I can now write blog entries, as you can see.


It was a strange year all the way around. Things seemed kind of more chaotic than usual. I felt agitated and stressed last month for no definite reason. I had trouble sleeping. I felt exhausted.


My general astrology reading asserted that the pulling away of Jupiter, one of my planets and a very powerful one, from Saturn would make Sagitarians feel exhausted by the end of December. Despite the restrictions imposed because of the pandemic, it does indeed feel like I worked and accomplished a lot (activism, teaching, writing). Things are supposed to get easier for us Sagges. 


There was added stress because of the effects of the pandemic. Not only that but worse, state aggression seemed to increased around the world, causing civilian mass responses. Though I had handled it pretty well until the end of 2020, I guess it finally got to me and I started soaking up some of the stress and anxiety emitting from my region and beyond.


2021 is starting out a bit weird, too. Just look at yesterday's events. U.S. Whitehouse invasion. Solar flare sending rays that caused several storms, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. More lockdowns. 


I wish all my readers well. I will resume entering focused pieces when I have more time. Please stick with me. Thank you for your comments to date.


Ed Wise

TEST

15 January 2020

THIS IS A TEST OF THE NEW PLATFORM FORMAT AND BLOG ENTRY SYSTEM.