Friday, March 31, 2006

Walbran Valley

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! BC SUPREME COURT STYLE!

Well, the appeals court brought down their verdict yesterday morning concerning whether it was all right or not for the attorney general, the courts, the RCMP and the Burnaby correctional Centre for Women to hold me for three weeks without charge for blockading in the Walbran Valley two years ago. The judges that yes, it was okay, notwithstanding that my rights under the Charter were violated. Notwithstanding? Was I surprised? No. Disgusted? Yes. Totally disgusted? Oh, yes.

The reason for my disgust is because of the history of how the BC judicial system has protected the logging companies from the very beginning. It began back in the 1950's with the first Minister of Forests, Robert Sommers. Sommers gave out a huge tree farm license on Vancouver Island to BC Forest Products in exchange for money and goods and favors. This exchange came to light largely due to the perserverence of one man, Gordon Gibson.

Gibson was called "the Bull of the Woods" and while a logger himself, he was dismayed by the large tree farm licenses being given out by the government of W.A.C. Bennet. But Sommers was eventually brought to trial and sentenced to five years for bribry and guess what? The trial judge said that while, yeah, Sommers was guilty of taking the bribes and had to go to prison but BC Forest products could keep the tree farm license. Why? OH, just because the owners of the logging company had so much money and influence. And the Attorney General didn't say "boo". He didn't lay any charges at all against BC Products. Thus a criminal judicial decision made by a BC judge, influenced by power and the attorney General of the day, who was influenced by the same things, allowed the recipient of a huge criminal activity to keep the proceeds of the criminal acts.

Every tree farm license in BC today is tainted with BC judicial protection of criminal acts. So the appeal judges who decided my case would certainly follow along in this same vein, the precedent having been set long ago. While the appeal judges said that while in my case my rights under the charter may have been abridged, they weren't going to overturn the original decision. And I know the reason why, If the judges decided that the way in which BC courts have historically protected the logging companies was unlawful, then were would the courts be? My God, the entire judicial system of British Columbia would fall!

When judges can't decide a case on it's merits because of their court's own history of prejudice, and then when they turn around and use these precedents of prejudice to decide very similar cases before them into eternity, then there should be some way that citizens can say, okay...If all you judges can do is bring down precedent of what's gone on before when citizens try to protect public property, then let's look at the history of how the courts have protected the logging companies in extremely questionable ways, dating back to the Robert Sommers case.

So. We'll be off to the Supreme Court of Canada. Of course we're going to appeal. I'll be so happy to be in a Supreme Court Building outside British Columbia I think I'll lean down and kiss the courtroom floor, first thing. But an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada will take a bit of money as this occurs in Ottawa and my lawyer, Cameron Ward, can't work for next to nothing forever for me, as much as he believes in this. But I have confidence we'll find the money somewhere. As this case concerns not only the public forests of BC but everything and everybody within the public forests including First Nations People and Claims, non=native communities, wild life, salmon streams, endangered specie, watersheds...This case touches everybody in British Columbia. When logging companies are given free gratis to wipe out the public forest that the government is supposed to be holding in trust for our children, then let's get on with this...Let's everybody get on with this.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


CORPORATE GREENPEACE!
Whatever happened to you, Greenpeace? You big, brave eco-warriors of old have seemingly turned into backroom corporate dealers. You made a deal with Gordon Campbell and the logging corporations not to make a fuss about clear cutting the rest of BC public forests in exchange for protecting a part of the Great Bear Rain Forest. Correct me if I'm wrong.

But is this a fair deal? Even disregarding that part of this deal was done in secret, what makes you think that Gordon Campbell will honour any agreement he decides not to? I'm sure you've heard that he's just announced that logging will commence in provincial parks. Do you not see any connection here? Does his history of tearing up any and all agreements not fill you with some tepiditon? And suppose Campbell's government does start logging in some part of the Great Bear not agreed upon? What will you do about it? Not much, because you've given your big gun away, that great weapon of the threats of blockades. After you've spent all this time convincing eager young people that blockades are passe, that the corporate methods of doing business is the smart way to go, and that only Netherndal environmentalists do that
tacky blockade thing? After all this indoctrination, how are you going to whip up any enthusiasm for blockades when they're absolutely needed?

Well, Greenpeace, you've lost my high regard. You arrogantly assume that you speak for all enviromentalists, at least all the important ones, when you court deals with the Gordon Campbell government. But you don't. And I want to point out that by not protesting vigorously the proposal by Gordon Campbell to privitize all of the public forests through his proposed Working Forest plan that you seem to have actually jumped on the side of the government. Certainly you left the fight against the Working Forest Proposal up to Ken Wu and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee. And to me and Women in the Woods. We brought this issue into the court room. I spent ten and a half months in prison and in the court room talking about the Working Forest Proposal in the Supreme Court of British Columbia and you didn't say "boo".

The clear cutting of public forests is accelerating. Many citizens are getting agitated with the realization that we're in the midst of a huge deforestation, a huge fouling of water tables and fish streams, a huge chemical saturation used by corporate logging and you pick this time to make back room deals. Greenpeace, you are a huge disappointment to me.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


GAIA DOWNSIZING THE MALE POPULATION?

Is this a ridiculous question? I hope so. I sincerely hope so. And while in the past I have been hesitant to bring up the subject of recent biological changes in men because it makes both men and women uncomfortable. But Gaia seems to be insistent by throwing the subject out there with her responses to the chemicalization of industry.


Sun Peaks, Shuswap Protest 2004

And the issues Gaia raises are now being briefly mentioned in some newspapers and more briefly on TV and radio. The media is necessarily brief because they don't know for sure what the stats mean and their suspicions are too horrible to think about. The scientists seem equally horrified and don't insist that the public
be informed of some of the ramifications of the recent drop in male sperm count. But the message is this: increasing numbers of couples in the western world are having trouble conceiving. In the States, one couple in four are having trouble conceiving and we can only assume it's roughly the same in Canada and other western countries. I think we can assume this because of the drop in all western countries populations and their increasing reliance on immigration for their work forces.

Of course, none of the western nations have discussed the problem in terms of the rapid changes in male biology. All, without exception, explain their problems with declining populations in terms of affluence. When populations become prosperous so that children are fed properly and can be expected to reach adulthood then women don't have so many, they reason. And with increasing participation of women in the work force, declining populations is just the natural outcome of economic prosperity.

But is the population decline in the western world only caused by affluence? Are we to believe that working women and later births and more money are the cause of this? If the human sperm count has dropped fifty per cent in the last fifty years, are we to believe that national decreases in sperm count have nothing to do with the dearth of babies? That the billions of dollars being spent annually on medical professionals by couples trying to conceive with low sperm counts has nothing to do with the sperm counts? Give me a break. And let's consider this ourselves if the media is not going to.

A fifty per cent decline in male sperm count in fifty years and still declining is not just a STATS to toss around at some party. Nature doesn't just arbitrarily cut in half a reproduction strategy that she has evolved over millions of years. Anything that has to do with the reproduction processes of any species changes slowly over eons. And it isn't just the fifty per cent drop. Something is happening to the chromosomes that makes up male sperm.

Historically, one hundred and four males are born to every one hundred females. By giving males a numerical advantage, nature recognizes that more males die before reaching adulthood, either by illness or reckless behavior. So the ratio between males and females rather evens out in adulthood, with females retaining a slight edge. As far as anybody knows, this ratio has been the norm from the beginning of humans. But now this ratio is rapidly changing. Most researchers writing on the subject attribute this change to how chemicals in male bodies affect the chromonsomes of the sperm. They believe that chemicals that mimic the female hormone estrogen is not only the main reason for the decrease in sperm count but is messing with the chromonsomes that make up the sperm.

How are hormone disruptures and mimickers from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries messing with the chromosones of men's sperm? By feminizing the sperm. Now there seems to be more female chromosones in the sperm (XX) to male chromosones(XY) than ever before which is resulting in a change in the rate of girl babies being born to male babies. Recently some researches are claiming that males are losing their historical numerical advantage. In fact, that males have already lost half of this advantage, and it's still on the way down. Why aren't men out there screaming in the streets?

I would be the first to admit that there might be some social advantages to having fewer males in the world such as less crime and less need for police, less corruption, less religious fanaticism, less violence, less cruelty in the world. But this wasn't Gaia's intent obviously, she wanted a balance or she wouldn't have designed a balance. And I don't want a world with less little boy sweetness in it, less male strength. I just wish men would stop being distracted by games, cars, porn, and electronic toys and put their minds to what is happening to them biologically. We should all be screaming in the streets.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


WE? US? THEM?

Has anybody noticed that when heads of corporations and governments speak publicly after their corporate decisions have caused some disaster, that they become so fond of the pronoun "we?" And how in their utterances of defense for their choosing profit over human lives that somehow their "we" becomes "us, the public?" How by their careful use of the pronoun "we" corporate and governmental messages gets translated into the public being responsible for whatever horrible thing that has occurred? That we, the public, are somehow responsible (through the public election of former governments less crazed by privatization if nothing else) when newly privatized ferries sink, when newly privatized trains full of toxic materials fall off their tracks into pristine lakes and rivers, when newly privatized provincial record keeping results in records being found in dumps, and most ghastly of all, when serious government cutbacks results in the deaths of children in care, loggers and truck drivers, not to even mention deaths on the street. Oh, yes, when disaster strikes, all of our corporate managers, including Gordon Campbell love the pronoun "we".

Politicians and corporate heads are studiously aware of the power of language. Just last year, Gordon Campbell tried to privatized the public forests of BC simply by changing the name of our public forests to "Working Forests". And he'll be back with this. He understands language very well. And while I acknowledge the argument that maybe the public is to blame for the disasters following privatizations because they elected the government doing the privtizing and therefore agreed to it all, I don't buy that argument. But it sticks in public consciousness. I hear people say things like "Oh yes, I know we're logging out our kids futures in our public forests, yes, we're killing our fish stocks in the process along with ruining our water supplies, in fact, we're killing the earth by just getting up in the morning, in the eating, breathing, trying to regulate our body temperature, trying to get our kids an education or get one ourselves, or a job, any kind of a job to pay the bills, trying to just live we're doing terrible things to the environment."

And my heart sinks when I hear this self blame. Because while it is true that much human suffering has resulted from using the chemicals of industry and just from the very proliferation of products it isn't true that the public has made informed decisions, even made important decisions at all. The public does not make the important decisions that are killing the earth. Not yet. Heads of government and corporations make them. And these are a peculiar kind of people.

The Bushes, the Blairs, the Gordon Campbells, the Stephen Harpers, the Ralph Klines simply trust money and power more than they do actual humans, especially ones outside their own economic and social class. And they have no feeling or connection to the natural world. Even their games are played on golf courses heavy with insecticides and herbicide, or on cemented squash and tennis courts, or enclosed gym rooms. This is a peculiar way to experience the world. And these people are also peculiar in that they have no scruples about using humankind's own best impulses against humankind. In doing so right wing corporate and government heads do not represent the highest type of humanity. Yet they wield this power over us. But let's get it straight. It's not "we" who are trashing the world. It's "them." Our responsibility, in my opinion, is to resist "them." And we can best do this when we realize fully who "them" actually are, and who "we"are.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Landslide! Child Molestation on Demand!

Landslide. What a name for a child porn site. And you know what? It's apt. Yes, an apt name for the most heinous live internet streaming of children being sexually violated, all under twelve years old. One streaming, we are told by US media, is one of an adult male performing cunnilingus on an 18 month old baby. And we are also told by the US authorities who cracked this case that the 27 people arrested, some of them Canadian, are only the tip of the iceberg. It seems that millions (billions?) of dollars are invested in child porn and circulated around the world.

This kind of information is difficult to absorb and access by the average Canadian. Most people, especially women, are inclined to cringe because the news is so very dreadful, and turn away to try to think of something else. But this reaction, while completely understandable (certainly my own first reaction,too) it is, in a sense, cowardly. We have to look at this issue of child pornography with cold, hard eyes. There is a significant number of people who get off on child porn. Have these men, and occasionally women, always been out there? Or is our culture simply breeding more of them? And if so, why?

While I doubt, and don't have any evidence that our society is breeding more pedophiles, I do think, with some evidence, that our culture emboldens them. For instance, the blatant sexualization of children in the media, in advertising, in songs and music is pushing the sexualization of children ever downward to ever younger ages. And the more explicit images of sex acts in movies and video games and TV shows expose children at very young ages to sexual activity before they even enter puberty. Not to mention the effects of adult pornography in general. We parents and grandparents like to think that adult porn is off limits to kids. Ha! Most kids now, especially boys, are born wired to cyber space. If there is something out there they shouldn't see, you can bet the farm they'll find it.

And the degrading images of adults, but especially women, in adult porn has the effect of degrading women in the minds of growing kids, especially boys. What are they to think? Boys love their mothers and female relatives as much as girls, but the games they play and TV and videos they watch says that men can enjoy the suffering of women. Sometimes the message is that women actually enjoy their own sexual suffering. While enjoying one's own physical suffering is kind of a hard sell, the sellers keep selling.

And the public at large keeps buying. For instance, in an article by Lisa De Moraes writing about the new fall TV shows in an article in the Vancouver Sun (I stopped buying this Conservative mouthpiece years ago but someone left a copy on the ferry) she says that the new shows should be called DIE,WOMAN, DIE! She cites the frequency in the new shows in which women are chained to dog collars, locked in basements while others are abducted and tossed into cages where their terror is vetoed for a week before they're raped and murdered. The pregnant ones, Ms De Moraes says in her review, gets pulled out of the shower by monsters who rip the fetuses out of their wombs. Great programming, huh? And our kids never see this stuff, right? Whose kids? Yours? Mine? Our neighbours? Never? Let's not be naive.

While I know that the vast majority of men are just as sickened by the Landslide porn site as the vast majority of women are, I'm unsure of whether the vast majority of men will admit to how regular adult porn adds to the sexualization of the culture that emboldens pedophiles to expand their activities. If, the pedophiles may well reason, the sexualizaton of children has become the norm in advertising culture, and adult porn sites and many of their images have become mainstream, then, hey...the social climate is right for blatant pedophilia to rear its ugly head in a more aggressive way.

Pornography, in my opinion, all kinds of pornography, is a thinly veiled sexual war against women and children. It's not a freedom of speech issue, which so many users and makers of porn insist. It's a human rights issue. A women's and children's human rights issue. And pornography, especially child pornography, is truly a landslide that can take an entire society down with it. If women and children are not respected in a society there is no future.


Monday, March 13, 2006

TERRORISTS WORKING ON OUR DOCKS?

Well, terrorists certainly seem to be working on the American docks. Only they aren't members of al-Qaida or the Taliban . Oh, no, it's the Mafia. According to CNN.com The American Justice Department has warned and I quote "In a civil suit filed in July, prosecutors accused the international longshoremen Association, the 65,000-member union that supplies labor to ports from Florida to Main, of being a "vehicle for organized crime" on the waterfront."

And bless my soul, I seem to remember a bit of a furor being raised awhile back by the CBC on this very subject. Only in the CBC reporting it was the Hell's Angles who were working in the longshoremen Union up here on Canadian docks. And nobody seemed to be able to do anything about it. Now isn't that weird? You'd think the Attorney General, or even the Prime Minister or somebody in the RCMP , or even the provincial Attorney General would be interested in this. After all, it was BC docks that supposedly allowed Hell's Angles members to work here. And considering the amount of heroin and cocaine that flood the streets of Vancouver you would think Gordon Campbell would order an investigation of some sort into the longshoremen Union here. Wouldn't that be something our premier might do considering how closely he works with Americans on issues like shipping out our raw logs? Wouldn't that seem the reasonable thing to do, conduct an investigation on our own docks? Maybe find out how all these drugs get in here?

Any bus ride through East Hastings will chill your blood. People stumbling around drugged to the nines, young, old, mentally ill and handicapped. What kind of a society are we to allow this? If the drugs are coming through our ports then we as tax payers should know this. All of the politics directed toward the East Side , at least to this point, are simply ones of trying to keep these people holed up in one area so they don't spill over the border into respectable neighbours.

Well, they're spilling. And the drugs keep coming. They keep coming while our children watch, stupified, the glorification of organized crime through movies like the Godfather and TV shows like the Sopranos. These characters somehow have become heroes and cult figures. Are we mad? Why are we dishing up the Mafia and the Hell's Angles as role models for our children? Why are we as parents and grandparents just taking all this garbage that's being dumped into our kid's heads? If men's organization can't get it together to do something about the Hell's Angels and the influence they and the Mafia have in our culture then women will have to step up to the plate. Or else sink back and watch our kid's movies, songs, TV, video, futher degrade into the drug culture that idealizes crime, pimps, and sex obsession.

Let's demand to know what is coming into our ports and being off loaded onto our docks. I'm sick of watching the raw logs from our public forests being shipped out of our ports and not knowing what is being shipped in. Let's have more transparency here.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

THREE DAYS AFTER

Okay, so it's three days after International Women's Day and I'm taking some flack for the piece I wrote in honour of the day. All right, I admit my offering may have been somewhat over the top. And that it isn't enough to say, well, I wrote that because I'm so worried. Everybody is worried about something. But I wish we women could get at least some of our worries synchronized in order to demand that women's priorities become paramount in government and society.

I listened to a discussion this morning on"The House"on CBC radio concerning whether the Canadian Senate should be appointed (which it is now) or elected. I called in with a message that appointed or elected, given the paucity of women in government, the Senate should be composed entirely of women. Of course they will snicker. But I also left this point: "Taxation without representation is tyranny". That little ditty prompted the Revolutionary War in the the United States, surely it should get us a little air play. Because women pay equal taxes but have no real representation in government, not only in numbers, but in so far as women's priorities are put forward as serious concerns.

What are women's priorities? And are they universal? I think so. Certainly the desire for peace. The entire world is becoming unnerved by powerful men's desire for dominance that infects whole nations and results in rattling the war chains and threatening nuclear weapons. Of course George Bush is the biggest bully on the block at the moment. However, an imbalance of power between the sexes insures that there will never be a shortage of bullies because the male dominance system the world lives under encourages aggression and brutality in males.

Rwanda is a good case in point. Now, after the genocide, women are seventy per cent of the population. Men are only thirty per cent. Not that the men didn't kill women and children, too, but they killed each other more frequently. But a interesting development has occurred out of this. Women now compose half of the government in Rwanda (I understand the only government in the entire world where women must fill half of the seats) and apparently the Hutus and Tutsi women are working together peacefully.

But that happened way over there in Rwanda, right? What has that to do with us? I think it has a lot to do with us. We may not be killing each other en mass over here but the imbalance between men and women is playing out in other ways. Like in the destruction of our environment. I just don't believe our priceless public old growth forests would be liquidated the way they are being if women had power, or even just realized the power we do have. We just wouldn't put up with it. Not when we know that these public forests are being stolen out from under our noses, away from our children and grandchildren, First Nations, and ourselves. And I grow faint with indignation when I remember that just one of these old growth trees can bring up to one hundred thousand dollars to the transnational logging companies. Just one. Just one tree. One hundred thousand dollars. Think what a whole public forest is worth. Billions. And what that money would mean to women and children of British Columbia. Because it does rightfully belong to us. Those are our trees. But if women were in charge, or equally in charge, the trees wouldn't be clear cut. I don't think women would be interested in the deforestation of our entire province for whatever amount of money. And in a sense, because of the destruction involved in clear cutting, that money is blood money. It can bring no good to the world.

But these kind of questions won't even be raised unless women raise them. I believe this to be one of our missions as women activists, to raise these questions of the imbalance of power and speak and act to address it. This was what I was trying to say in my little epistle on International Women's Day.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY! BAH! HUMBUG!

International Women's Day is a patronizing sop to women more than anything real. I don't want to be sopped. I don't want daughters and granddaughters the world over to be sopped. I dream of women having real power, real power to stop the idiocy that is killing the earth. How can we truly celebrate a women's day when all that women are, all of the life giving, life sustaining forces that we represent, are daily being denied,liquidated, and shoveled over with the toxic feces resulting from our daily intake of corporate greed and one upmanship.

Of course there are awakened men out there who are as worried as I am about the future of the earth. I think I know most of them. They get swept into my orbit, or I into theirs, by our mutual concerns. That's not the point. The point is that there is only one consciousness out there representing the human race, the human mind, on a global scale and that is male consciousness. And the concept of a special day for women bothers the hell out of me. To make substantive change we don't need a special women's day, we need a special women's army.

Women taking up arms in large groups? Don't be silly. Collectively, women hate violence and guns because this hurts and kills people. And that's the point. Or one of them. Women too often had rather, if there's a choice, receive hurt than deliver it. That's why we're always trying to make nice, sooth things over, and at the same time try to ignore men who form corporations that plunder forests, despoil water supplies, make the world hotter in more ways than one, and threaten other people and nations who don't agree with them. But we can't ignore these men (and their female apologists, even the US army has a female spokesperson)
any longer. Why not, you may ask? Ignoring them has worked at least to a certain extent up till now.

Well, it's not going to work any longer because the children and grandchildren being born today are going to face profound health challenges. We have to look at the possibility that because of the serious degradation of the earth due to industrial deforestation, mining, off shore drilling, and the insidious, secretive, chemicals of industry that affect our food and water and household supplies, that significant numbers of our new citizens may never die of old age. The chemical and pharmaceutical industries have saturated us adults with carcinogens that are being passed on to children and grandchildren. Chemicals that never leave young bodies. Chemicals that cause disease and learning disabilities in children. And this degradation will continue on to affect the physical health and learning abitilties of future generations. The entire human race is being degraded in order for a few corporations to maximize their profits and for a few politicians to dwell in the dream that they won't be adversely affected by the plight of the whole. And they give women who bear the brunt of all this chemical mayhem an international Women's Day! What irony!

And yet I have the utmost faith that women, fully awakened women, can turn this patriarchal, sex obsessed, dishonest, drugged,crime ridden society on its ear. We can create something that has some integrity. Something our kids can be proud of. Instead of a culture of buy, buy, buy, owe, owe, owe, and the disgusting sexualization of children that is seeping down into elementary schools, and the glamorizing of the Mafia, Hell's Angels and pimps. Oh yes, pimps are big this year. What was that Academy Awards song I heard them talking about on the radio? About pimps? Something about things being hard for pimps out here. Now, isn't that cute. Isn't that a special little ditty to put before our children?

Yes, a women's army of awakened women. That's what we need. And our first order of the day would be to liberate the Women's Movement of the sixties and seventies. The Women's Movement has been held hostage these last years by two main way stations...The government and the university. First, the government. Just try to get some stats out of the Status of Women. They will tell you frankly that you are on Mission Impossible. Our federal government has abolished the very category of rape. It's now called inappropriate touching or sexual assault which can include rape but is not necessarily actual rape. But it isn't necessarily non-rape, either. Is that clear? Wife beating, or woman battering? It's now called domestic violence. This implies that women do this as much as men because it's domestic, right, and women are there, too, right? The governments of Canada hide our rape and battering statistics under this kind of word thivery. It's like Gordon Campbell renaming our public forests "Working Forests" and then declaring they will no longer be public because they have been renamed.

The other culprit hiding our Women's Movement is the universities. The universities have helped capture our living, breathing, grass roots Women's Movement and after assisting in the kill,has cut it open, taken out its guts, and now presents it as a regular course of study that leads to a degree. Yes, we have women now who know more about our history but we have very few activists. Our Women's Movement was composed primarily of activists, women who weren't afraid, who wouldn't back down, women who were warriors. And while it's true that women today are stressed and harassed probably more than ever before it's also true that we have more weapons that ever before. Not guns. Something better. Our brains. We are not so easily side tracked by sports mania, not so distracted by porn, not so obsessed with cars and electronic toys. Somebody has got to figure us out of this mess and I don't like to be the bearer of bad news, ladies,but I think it has to be women. As if you didn't have enough to do.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Georgie Porgie

Georgie Porgie
pudding and pie,
kissed the girls
and made them cry,
when the boys
came out to play,
Georgie Porgie
ran away.

Who gets favored with George Bush's kisses of death and destruction? Iraq, of course. All the people he's trying to bring to democracy. Even if it kills them. Even if, as I've heard, Iraq mothers caution their children to be good or democracy will come get them. Women, children, the elderly. They get kissed with bullets, land mines, mortars. And Afghanistan, too. That country has been getting increasingly kissed.

And the boys are coming out to play. The guerilla fighters, suicide bombers, roadside bombers. George is desperately searching for a way out of Iraq without seeming to run away. He's trying to find another gullible and pliable nation like Canada to take his place in Iraq as he has in Afghanistan. With Stephen Harper in office George figures that like Mikey in the old commercial, Canada will eat anything. He just needs a few more countries like Canada so George himself , now that he's plunged almost the entire world into conflict, can cut and run.

Yes, of course we need a Canadian debate on what the hell we're doing in Afghanistan in the first place. War? Have we declared war on Afghanistan? Peace keeping? As far as has been reported in the west (I'll admit, that doesn't necessarily mean a lot) Afghanistan was at peace after the Russians tried to impose their notion of democracy. And that's why Canadian forces are there? To impose democracy? Why don't we just let the Afghans tackle that one? Is it to liberate Afghanis women? Don't make me laugh. As though women over here haven't had to fight like hell for their rights. And if Stephen Harper wants to liberate women why doesn't he try to stop old guys from legally raping teenagers through forced marriage in Bountiful, BC? And do something about the "kiddy stroll" in Vancouver? And at least one good thing the Taliban did was to stop the cultivation of poppy fields.

However, as soon as the Americans took over they liberated the poppy fields. Now under US protection, Afghanistan is back to producing between eighty and ninety per cent of the world's heroin, most of it going to illegal trafficking. You will have to forgive me, gentle readers, for thinking that the Taliban stoppage of heroin production was at least one of the major reasons for US invasion. The full resumption of this heroin prodution under the US is played out on Vancouver streets every day. Even if you haven't spent time in prison as I have and leared of the pimps who addict women (and children) and then force them into prostitution you just can't close your eyes to our downtown East Side. Oh, no. It's all there. The heroin addicts, the pimps, the pushers. They come to us with George Bush's kisses. All the way from Afghanistan. Via the Hell's Angles, of course. And other terrorist groups like them.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Hero Has Emerged Among Us!

Of course Wendy Mesley is well known, but that's different from being brave. One can be well known for lots of nefarious actions. But aside from being a TV personality Wendy Mesley has tackled the cancer industry head on and I applaud her courage and determination.

It was wonderful to hear Wendy this morning on CBC (The Current )telling it like it is. All of the billions going into research, our own medical doctors on the ground, our own government, all, all, are, for whatever reasons, ignoring the obvious fact that cancer is epidemic. Why?

For money. It's that simple. And feelings of helplessness. As Wendy said, there is money in cancer. Big money. How can cancer research organizations and society's actually confront the huge corporate structures that are spewing out chemicals and pharmaceuticals that are endangering humans and non human life alike and has culminated in the horrific rates projected that one in two persons will get cancer in the next generations? Perhaps at younger and younger ages? How can we insist that industries such as logging companies stop using chemical agents like Round Up? Agents that cling to the top soil, seep into water tables, and even travel on the winds? Agents that contain compounds that mimic estrogen and interrupt both male and female hormonal systems? We know we can't depend on politicians. Or the Canadian Medical Association. Or the Cancer Society. Then who? And how?

I don't know. Let's ask Wendy. She is passionate enough about this, knowledgeable enough, high profile enough and I think she speaks directly to the hearts of women. She said something on the program that struck me to the heart, at least...She said that while yes, (I'm paraphrasing here) some money and effort needs to go into managing cancer, and she herself is grateful for what she has received (her own treatments for breast cancer) nevertheless she would be willing to forgo further innovations in managing cancer, if more, or even any, of the billions given to cancer research would go into prevention. And in confronting the people who make the decisions about getting these cancer causing agents out of our lives. For our children's sake.

Wendy will be showing a documentary about this on Sunday evening at 7:30. I don't have a TV but for this I'll be out trying to scrounge up a friend who has one.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

THE CANCER APOLOGISTS

Who are they, the cancer apologists? Just abut every medical doctor you and I know or have heard of. Every cancer research facility you know or have heard of. In what way are they apologists for the disease known as cancer?

In the way of ommision. Because our medical doctors and research people don't express any undue alarm and indignation over the horrific rise of the rates for all kinds of cancer, especially in the young. Because they don't pretend to try to address the causes of cancer, except to blame it on individual life style, and they even find the epidemic of cancer in children and young people totally unremarkable, even though the children haven't lived long enough to develop dangerous life styles.

I heard a doctor who specializes in cancer on CBC yesterday talking about his new book: Cancer is a Word and Not a Sentence. Cute title, huh? The author, Dr. Robert Buckman, tells us there is no reason to panic with a diagnosis of cancer, that there are many kinds of cancer, some worse than others, to be sure, but his message seems to be that cancer is really no big deal as most cancers are manageable, especially breast cancer. And Dr. Buckman didn't even touch on, much less discuss the issues of how women might manage sickness and grief over losing their breasts, the pain and struggle of the operations themselves, while at the same time many try to juggle jobs, or school, or husband and children, or for some, all of the above? And then the constant worry the cancer may recur anyway after terrible, debilitating operations in some other part of the body? To have to live forever with this dreadful, constant worry of recurrence? To live daily with the knowledge that way too many middle agreed people, both men and women, are dying young from different cancers? Friends and relatives? On a regular basis?

Having lost two adult children to cancer I am not objective. I have no reason to be objective. Something is dreadfully wrong with our state of medicine and research that first, refuses to even admit there is a cancer epidemic, and secondly refuses to look at the polluting effects of the chemicalization of industry as a cause that could be sickening people of all ages. The doctors and researchers are entirely innocent of any notion that something should be done about pollution but when pressed, most will admit that it lowers the human immune system. However, most refuse to comment on products like the herbicide Round Up used by the logging companies in the province by the tons after clearcutting our public forests. Or speak out about any of the other products that have compounds that mimic estrogen and stay in the body and are passed along to children such as plastics, household cleaners, and a thousand other household and building products that have not been tested for important chemicals that damage human bodies and shorten lifespan.

One of my daughters died seven years ago from breast cancer. She was twenty-seven when she was diagnosed. When she first told me I said, "Oh, no, dear, that isn't possible. You're way too young to have breast cancer!"

She died not quite three years later. From breast cancer. Afterward, a friend brought to my attention the other young women in our vicinity who were either struggling with or who had died from breast cancer. My daughter certainly wasn't an anomaly. And after my eldest son died from a brain tumor in California two years ago I heard a national news report as I was packing to return to Canada. It was a health report.

The news report said that cancer was now the leading cause of non-accidental death among American young people between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four. And as a consequence, there would be the most massive study of the health of US children ever undertaken by the government, tracking kids from birth upwards. I am in total opposition to just about everything the Bush government thinks, does, plans to do, but I wish our own government, doctors, and research people were as concerned about cancer in young people as at least some medical people in the States seem to be. Instead, what we have are the doctors like Robert Buckman who has no apparent desire to try to find causes and lots of desire to publish books minimizing the pain and heartbreak of the cancer epidemic and the Canadian Medical Association seem more concerned with the happy prospects of more privatized health facitiies for their pocketbooks.