Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Reflections in the aftermath of International Women's Day: Feminism and Chelsea Manning

Reflections in the aftermath of International Women's Day: Feminism and Chelsea Manning

On Women’s day I sat down to reflect upon and maybe write a small article about all of the brave women who have dared the risks of making, or trying to make, change in our corrupted world.  There were women’s marches on a global scale this year but I first looked at and saluted our own Canadian women.  What Canadian woman could not thrill at the risks Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott have taken in their careers to expose the wrong-doing of the Trudeau government in seeking to cover up the sins of a powerful corporation (SNC-Lavalin).  And then there was the wonderful pride and courage exhibited by the many First Nation women who risked arrest, and were arrested, for standing their ground in environmental blockades.  I also salute Dr. Alexander Morton for her tireless and valuable work on the deplorable fish farms that constantly threaten our wild salmon. As a dual citizen, I also felt a glow of appreciation when I heard of the young Democratic women south of the border. They are trying desperately to revive their party new again; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Llhand Oman, Tulsa Gabbard, and a few others who are identifying as Democratic Socialists. And then I got to Chelsea Manning.  


Where to place her in the “woman as hero” category?  Biologically, Manning is not a female, but she presents as a woman, as the word “woman” is a social designation. Manning looks, speaks and acts as a woman. I will go one step further and say Manning also acts like a mother. In what way?  In the way she has exposed the criminal drone killings of children when she was in the military.  Of course, it was criminal to kill the adults as well in the material Manning sent to Wiki leaks, but the sight of children scrambling to escape were heart rendering.  Manning knew she was taking terrible risks when she released the tapes.  The U.S. still has the death penalty. Even if she wasn’t killed outright she knew she was facing a possible life time in prison. She was given thirty-five years. That she was pardoned after seven years was a last minute decision by President Obama before leaving office.  


Now the U.S. Secret Services want her to appear before a secret grand jury to testify against Wiki leaks and Julian Assange without a lawyer and only the prosecutors present. She reused, saying she was against secret grand juries in principal, and she had nothing to add to her previous military testimony. So Manning is back in prison.


How long will she say there?  Will they be able to break Manning down in their desperation to get something more on Julian Assange?  Time will tell.  In the process Chelsea Manning has further clarified the word “feminism” for me.  The word can mean different things to different women, but for me it has to be synonymous with the search for motherly justice, which in turn means the demand for protection of all children. Without this definition, feminism will mean little of importance to the human race. Chelsea Manning has demonstrated for the world that she was willing to put her very life where her heart was, and it was a motherly heart. Chelsea Manning is my pick for Feminist Woman of the Year.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Venezuela and us

The rapidity with which Prime Minister Trudeau recognized Juan Guaido as the new president of Venezuela left me breathless.  Wow.  Talk about shooting first and asking questions afterward.  Was there any public discussion of this, or even any warning?  If there was, I missed it.  How could our Prime Minster recognize a minor member of the Venezuelan government (Juan Guaido) as the real president of  Venezuela when there was already a democratically elected president (Nicolas Maduro).  Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said earlier this month that the recent presidential election that gave Maduro another six year term was fraudulent and anti-democratic. 

On what grounds could she claim this?  Only that on the urging of Juan Guaido and other opposition parties before the election was even held that all opposition parties and citizens in general should boycott the presidential election so their votes wouldn’t be cast or counted.  As they did not participate in the election they could now claim fraud. And they have. What jerks they are.  What twisted reasoning.  And our Prime Minister couldn’t wait even a day to cast our fortunes with those of the nation he so admires…the good ole USA.  And how did Canada get to be the junior partner of the Trump Administration’s desire to swallow the rest of the world by threats and boycotts and tariffs and bombs? What makes Justin Trudeau and his cabinet think that Canadians must do what the neocons in Trump’s cabinet say, or be dammed to crippling tariffs and starvation boycotts as they are now doing to Venezuela?  And have done to many other countries?  Are we whipped puppies who cower before even an order is given because we know so well what is wanted by the exceptional nation?


How can we condone throwing our support behind a violent coup of a sovereign nation, any sovereign nation, by another country or group of countries in order to remove a democratically elected head of state?   What if down the road the US decided that their neocon neoliberal government is more in step with the Conservative Party of Canada than to our Liberal one?  And more in common with say, Doug Ford, than Justin Trudeau with his odd and sinful notions on LGBQ equality.   And then let it be leaked to Mr. Ford that the warmongers on our borders are very interested in elevating him to the status of Prime Minister as they are sick of Mr. Trudeau. They would let it be known that they were very interested in coming to Canada to manage our oil supply.  And water supply.  Who would stop them?  Who could stop them?  Certainly not Canadians.  We have already accepted the proposition that it is good and right for the US to invade and manage any sovereign nation’s resources.  There would be no marshalling of Canadian forces to object.  And why would we?  We don’t seem to have the feeling for our country this would take and we may as well be Americans.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

When the US war economy intrudes on Canada’s Consciousness

When I first heard about how The Bank of Canada was created and operated as a public bank many years before it was transferred into a private bank under Pierre Trudeau’s reign, I was fascinated.  Here was the answer to Canada’s financial woes.  If the privatization of The Bank of Canada could be changed back to this bank’s original mandate of being a public bank where our Canadian government could borrow at little or no interest for capital works, then so many good things could happen.  Unemployed people could be put to work as roads and bridges and low income housing were realized, along with environmental clean ups and clean drinking water for every First Nations Reserve in Canada. There are many good people working on the concept of restoring The Bank of Canada to its original Act, title and meaning through the courts and public opinion.  Through an organization called COMER a lot of work is being done on this.  Please Google COMER and see what they are doing. But lately I have become as worried about the war-mongering politicians in the US than the past and future financial woes of Canada.

Many polls show that most US citizens pay little or no attention to international politics and these policies, whatever they are, do not influence US voting habits to any degree. The major concern for most people is the economy, that is, jobs. They don’t even consider the fact that the US economy is dictated by the US military complex. This complex is based on the petro dollar, that is, US dollars as the reserve currency by which all other currencies must pass in financial exchanges between countries.  There are many advantages to holding the right to the world’s currency exchange.  One of the main advantages is that if another country displeases the US, the US can impose monetary sanctions including tariffs, embargoes and outright blockades.  As it is the world’s only reserve currency, the US can starve almost any country into submission.  Failing that, they can always bomb.  That usually works, and is certainly good for the war economy, which even Justin Trudeau is picking up on as Canada ships armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a rogue nation if there ever was one. Canadians like to think of themselves as peacemakers. The C$14.8bn Saudi arms deal suggests otherwise. General Dynamic Land Systems Canada, a manufacturer based in London, Ont., has been contracted to deliver 742 light armoured vehicles (LAVs) to the Arabian Peninsula kingdom. LAVs have been transported since July.

I fear that Canadians are only marginally more interested in international affairs compared to the US.  Few people are worried about the international questions being shoved in our faces by current events.  For instance, what are Canadian troops doing on Russia’s border?  Why do we find ourselves in some kind of an insane tug of war with China?  Why do we genuflect every time Benjamin Netanyahu appears and refuse to protest Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians on a national scale?  Why are we not up in arms over the apparent determination of both Israel and Saudi Arabia to goad the US into bombing Iran? Not paying attention? But this scenario is quite likely.  The US and NATO allies are just a bit leery of bombing Russia just yet, but Iran?  The US neocons and Armageddon- bound religious zealots are certainly working on this along with Israel and Saudi Arabia.  And If this should happen, then what?  Where would Canada be if US led NATO should bomb Iran?  Where would China and Russia be on this?  Where would the planet be?  And while the struggles seem to be over rights of territory, rights of air space, rights of privacy and tech dominance these dangerous struggles that seem to be coming to a head are actually at bottom over something else.  Next time.