Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Quiet Eloquence Of Harry Smith

His is a quiet eloquence that speaks far louder than all the braying our political 'leaders' engage in with abandon. Harry Smith, about whom I previously posted, is a man who has seen much during his long life. He has seen the worst that happens when society treats the majority of its people with contempt, condemning them to short lives of poverty, illness, and despair. He has also seen the best when society recognizes the obligations government has to the less advantaged through the construction of a comprehensive social safety net. It is the latter that he now sees being steadily eroded, as the neoliberal agenda works hard to return us to that earlier time when only the relatively few mattered, the vast majority abandoned to only their own devices and the charity of individuals to sustain them.

The first video is a trailer for his memoir, Harry's Last Stand, which he describes as
"a rallying cry to a younger generation" to fight for a social safety net "that allows every citizen the right to decent housing, advanced education, proper health care, a living wage, and a dignified old age free of want."

Many of these post-war gains, achieved by his generation after the Second World War, are being clawed back, with the poor and middle class losing more and more ground in the face of growing inequality, says Smith.


The second brief video is a stinging indictment of Stephen Harper's agenda which, despite political rhetoric to the contrary, favours the few while disdaining the majority.
In a blistering attack on the Prime Minister, broadcast Saturday at the Broadbent Institute's Progress Summit 2015, the 92-year-old Smith said Harper "has treated veterans with disdain, intimidated scientists, environmentalists, and most importantly the poor," "robbed the vulnerable" and "enriched the 1% at the expense of the 99%."


All disengaged citizens, especially the young, need to hear Harry Smith's message and act upon it.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mandatory Church Attendance?

I'm sorry. As Johnny Carson used to say, "I do not make these things up, folks, I merely report them."



Perhaps Americans have far more in common with that theocracy in Iran than they realize?

Penetrating The Fog Of War



Today I turn, once again, to Star letter-writers to inspire both sanity and hope in our troubled land:

No ‘middle’ in Mideast war debate, March 25
Prime Minister Stephen Harper bet Canada’s future on oil prices remaining abnormally high. Some economist! Now he is about to order our Armed Forces to take another series of baby steps into that miserable immoral morass known as the Middle East. Why? To distract voters from taking a hard look at his government’s dismal record. History shows banging the drums of war is by far the best way to manipulate people’s emotions. Attacking thoughtful critics for being unpatriotic or cowardly is another ploy used by tyrants and bullies.

Horrendous atrocities have occurred in the Middle East and will continue as long as that region’s despotic quarrelling nations support local terrorist groups. Western governments and their multinational energy corporations have been maliciously meddling in the area for more than a century. If only the seeds of democracy had been planted and nourished during that time. But nobody cared about the ordinary people. The ongoing violence has turned the Arab world into an irrational religious-based kaleidoscope of warring factions. The cradle of civilization is becoming enveloped in a shroud of acrid smoke and the putrid stench of death. Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread.

Lloyd Atkins, Vernon
Harper’s flip-flop on war fits larger pattern of deceit, Column March 26
Haroon Siddiqui speaks volumes when he describes our leader’s ill-conceived venture into Syria. As I flip more pages in the Star and see a country of interracial harmony, I am saddened by the fact that our new generation, which was created by a young nation built with a vision for transparency, peacekeeping and diplomacy, is now relegated to fear mongering and misrepresentation of our foundation.

Peter Keleghan, Toronto

Friday, March 27, 2015

CBC: The Appeasement Continues*



Those who read my blog on a regular basis will know that I have felt disaffected from the CBC for some time. While I am a supporter of public broadcasting and believe in its adequate funding, the CBC's futile policy of appeasing its Conservative overlords has eroded my respect for the institution. As well, the recent imbroglio over Amanda Lang's clear conflict of interest and the Corporation's subsequent whitewash has earned it no brownie points with me.

Over at Canadaland, investigative journalist Jesse Brown has uncovered more damning evidence of decline and rot at the Mother Corp. This time, it has apparently succumbed to outside pressure and scratched from its lineup a documentary entitled Volunteers Unleashed, a program critical of 'voluntourism' that my wife had intended to watch earlier this month. While no explanation was offered, Brown has uncovered that
the reason Volunteers Unleashed was pulled was due to "concerns" raised by Craig Kielburger's Me to We, the for-profit sister company to his Free the Children charity. Me to We pops up a couple of times in Volunteers Unleashed. Kielburger happened to be wrapping a stint as a CBC Canada Reads panelist on the day the doc was set to air.

Officially, CBC says the doc was temporarily pulled due to a "copyright issue" and will be "re-edited and re-scheduled". [In fact, it is rescheduled for April 2] Free the Children similarly told us that it was the CBC's use of "unauthorized footage" that led to their complaint.
Brown also alleges
that Me to We may have also raised the spectre of libel with the CBC over how they were portrayed in the documentary. Kielburger has sued journalists for libel before. We asked both parties if libel came up in this case. Neither answered the question.
The larger issue here, of course, is the very real question of how independent our journalism is.
Free the Children spokesperson Angie Gurley was nevertheless quick to dispel any suggestion that her organization tried to kill a documentary because they didn't like how they came across in it. In fact, she asked us to remove our description of the doc as being critical of their organization.

"No Critical Coverage"

Though Gurley admitted that her camp had not seen the doc, they trusted that "there is no critical coverage of Me to We or We Day in the film" because that's what the CBC told them.

Here is the "unauthorized" footage in question, which we present here under the Fair Dealing exceptions for news reporting and criticism in the Copyright Act. You can judge for yourself if it's critical coverage of We Day or not.



Also, Free the Children's Angie Gurley also told us that the CBC assured her that Volunteers Unleashed "did not include footage of Me to We Trips".

You can see here that this is not true:



Brown asks these pertinent questions:
Exactly how is the footage of We Day or the We to Me Ecuador trip "unauthorized"? CANADALAND has learned that the rights to the We Day footage were licensed from Global TV, and does not belong to Me to We/Free the Children.

Is the CBC going to remove footage of a company scrutinized in their journalism because that company asked them to?
That second question should be answered on April 2. As they say, stay tuned.

* Many thanks to my friend Dave for alerting me to this story.

An Instructional Video

The following has been floating around the Internet for some time, but it warrants renewed circulation, in that it shatters some of the stereotypes about Islam. I would suggest it could edify Prime Minister Harper, but I live in the real world, a world where Canada's leader, for crass political purposes, is intent on demonizing and sowing fears about 'the other' within our midst.

Reza Aslan killed these two "journalists"

You need to watch this! Reza Aslan killed these two "journalists". They weren't able to salvage a shred of dignity because they are simply stupid, ill-informed, racist. Party on CNN!

Posted by Issam Bayan on Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Apparently, The Proof Is Not In The Tasting

Dr. Patrick Moore, a shill lobbyist for Monsanto, refused to put his mouth where his money is when offered the opportunity to prove his claim that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, has nothing to do with increasing cancer rates in Argentina:
“You can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you,” Moore insists.

“You want to drink some?” the interviewer asks. “We have some here.”

“I’d be happy to, actually,” Moore replies, adding, “Not really. But I know it wouldn’t hurt me.”

“If you say so, I have some,” the interviewer presses.

“I’m not stupid,” Moore declares.

“So, it’s dangerous?” the interviewer concludes.
You can watch the testy exchange below:

UPDATED: Meanwhile, South Of The Border

Ah yes, that land whose political representatives make our elected reprobates look like shining exemplars. For this edition of The Dark Side, we return to the ongoing saga of Gordon Klingenschmitt (a.k.a. Dr. Chaps), recently elected as a Republican State Legislator in Colorado.

A man with many demons (which he regularly exorcises), in this edition he exploits explores a tragedy wrought by the 'demonic spirit of murder' that, it seems, has provoked God's judgement:



UPDATE: It appears that many Republicans and other right-wingers are disassociating themselves from this crazed evangelical:
“God did not will for this horrific tragedy to happen,” said Sarah Zagorski, who leads the anti-abortion group. “Sadly, Rep. Klingenschmitt’s comments take away from the seriousness of this tragedy and the aftermath Michelle and her family are facing.”
“Gordon does not speak for his caucus,” said Rep. Polly Lawrence, the House assistant minority leader.

“He does not represent the Colorado Republican Party,” said Steve House, chairman of the state GOP, although he pointed out that Klingenschmitt had a First Amendment right express his beliefs.

Several other leading GOP members denounced the lawmaker’s comments, including Laura Carno – who started a Facebook page in January called “Conservatives against Gordon Klingenschmitt” – and former state Rep. Mark Waller, who previously held the same House seat, reported the Denver Post.
I guess you know you are in trouble when even fellow-travellers repudiate you.