Tuesday, December 22, 2009

BEVERLY McLACHLIN WHO?

I ‘m beginning to wonder. Is the McLachlin who has just today in writing for the Supreme Court in a landmark case involving freedom of the press said that:“Freewheeling matters of public interest is to be encouraged”, and that writers and bloggers who do a form of reporting should be protected by law, the same Madam Justice Beverly McLachlin I know intimately just from hearing her rulings on criminal contempt read adnauseam in court just before I’m sent to prison? Is this the same Madam Justice MCLachlin , ex-Chief Justice British Columbia ,who ruled that a public protest in defiance of a court order is a criminal matter simply because it is public? Yes, It is indeed one and the same.
I run smack up against this ruling by Madame Justice McLachlin every time I’m in court for trying to help protect the last scrap of some forest somewhere in British Columbia. This ruling defined by Madam Justice McLachlin is called “Open, Continuous, and Flagrant.” It means that because one talked publically to the press and other media about the environmental destruction one is, or was, protesting, this action has brought the court into disrepute. Then an accused’s civil charges get raised to criminal charges. Just for talking. To the press and other media. And for writing what one thinks about the environmental destruction under dispute (the last was Eagleridge Bluffs.) For all these sins one is tried as a criminal in BC, judged as a criminal, and sentenced to the place where other criminals are kept. For lengthy periods of time.
And yet this same justice who has risen to be Chief Justice of Canada now appears as a defender of freedom of expression in an unanimous Supreme Court of Canada ruling. Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not complaining. It’s long over due. But shouldn’t some of this reasonable understanding of the need for an unfettered press slop over onto the heads of citizens in environmental disputes? Of those who get charged with breaking a court order which initially merits civil contempt of court which is bad enough, but then in the attempt to explain the situation to the press and to the world the court and the Crown conspire (or seem to) to make one the accused criminals? This recent land mark ruling of The Supreme Court of Canada reminds me of an old hymn my mother used to sing: “Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need, mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead”. I, personally, with all due respect, am pleading for a few Supreme Court of Canada showers instead of a few mercy drops. Can you hear me, Madam Chief Justice McLachlin?

Beverly McLachlin who?
I ‘m beginning to wonder. Is the Madam Chief Justice of Canada Beverly McLachlin who has just today in writing for the Supreme Court in a landmark case involving freedom of the press said that:“Freewheeling matters of public interest is to be encouraged”, and that writers and bloggers who do a form of reporting should be protected by law, the same Madam Justice Beverly McLachlin I know intimately just from hearing her rulings on criminal contempt read adnauseam in court just before I’m sent to prison? Is this the same Madam Justice MCLachlin , ex-Chief Justice British Columbia ,who ruled that a public protest in defiance of a court order is a criminal matter simply because it is public? Yes, It is indeed one and the same.
I run smack up against this ruling by Madame Justice McLachlin every time I’m in court for trying to help protect the last scrap of some forest somewhere in British Columbia. This ruling defined by Madam Justice McLachlin is called “Open, Continuous, and Flagrant.” It means that because one talked publically to the press and other media about the environmental destruction one is, or was, protesting, this action has brought the court into disrepute. Then an accused’s civil charges get raised to criminal charges. Just for talking. To the press and other media. And for writing what one thinks about the environmental destruction under dispute (the last was Eagleridge Bluffs.) For all these sins one is tried as a criminal in BC, judged as a criminal, and sentenced to the place where other criminals are kept. For lengthy periods of time.
And yet this same justice who has risen to be Chief Justice of Canada now appears as a defender of freedom of expression in an unanimous Supreme Court of Canada ruling. Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not complaining. It’s long over due. But shouldn’t some of this reasonable understanding of the need for an unfettered press slop over onto the heads of citizens in environmental disputes? Of those who get charged with breaking a court order which initially merits civil contempt of court which is bad enough, but then in the attempt to explain the situation to the press and to the world the court and the Crown conspire (or seem to) to make one the accused criminals? This recent land mark ruling of The Supreme Court of Canada reminds me of an old hymn my mother used to sing: “Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need, mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead”. I, personally, with all due respect, am pleading for a few Supreme Court of Canada showers instead of a few mercy drops. Can you hear me, Madam Chief Justice McLachlin?

Beverly McLachlin who?
I ‘m beginning to wonder. Is the Madam Chief Justice of Canada Beverly McLachlin who has just today in writing for the Supreme Court in a landmark case involving freedom of the press said that:“Freewheeling matters of public interest is to be encouraged”, and that writers and bloggers who do a form of reporting should be protected by law, the same Madam Justice Beverly McLachlin I know intimately just from hearing her rulings on criminal contempt read adnauseam in court just before I’m sent to prison? Is this the same Madam Justice MCLachlin , ex-Chief Justice British Columbia ,who ruled that a public protest in defiance of a court order is a criminal matter simply because it is public? Yes, It is indeed one and the same.
I run smack up against this ruling by Madame Justice McLachlin every time I’m in court for trying to help protect the last scrap of some forest somewhere in British Columbia. This ruling defined by Madam Justice McLachlin is called “Open, Continuous, and Flagrant.” It means that because one talked publically to the press and other media about the environmental destruction one is, or was, protesting, this action has brought the court into disrepute. Then an accused’s civil charges get raised to criminal charges. Just for talking. To the press and other media. And for writing what one thinks about the environmental destruction under dispute (the last was Eagleridge Bluffs.) For all these sins one is tried as a criminal in BC, judged as a criminal, and sentenced to the place where other criminals are kept. For lengthy periods of time.
And yet this same justice who has risen to be Chief Justice of Canada now appears as a defender of freedom of expression in an unanimous Supreme Court of Canada ruling. Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not complaining. It’s long over due. But shouldn’t some of this reasonable understanding of the need for an unfettered press slop over onto the heads of citizens in environmental disputes? Of those who get charged with breaking a court order which initially merits civil contempt of court which is bad enough, but then in the attempt to explain the situation to the press and to the world the court and the Crown conspire (or seem to) to make one the accused criminals? This recent land mark ruling of The Supreme Court of Canada reminds me of an old hymn my mother used to sing: “Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need, mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead”. I, personally, with all due respect, am pleading for a few Supreme Court of Canada showers instead of a few mercy drops. Can you hear me, Madam Chief Justice McLachlin?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

THE FEMINISTS ARE COMING!

We are approaching that dreaded, eye twitching anniversary of December 6, 1989 when 14 young women were murdered and thirteen wounded at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal by a woman hating young man who thought the female students must be feminists, else why would they be taking engineering? Why indeed? What does feminism mean, anyway, except the push for equality on this earth? And certainly Marc Lepine was dead set against that. To the point of mass murder and suicide. But while women in professions do broaden the potential for equality just by the nature of going into what has traditionally been men’s fields, it certainly doesn’t mean they all, or most, or any, for that matter, had, or have, a feminist consciousness. Because in order to get into traditionally men’s fields, women must accept male paradigms. I’ve certainly learned all about this in court and in prison. This is not to say women professionals don’t try to skirt around the dictates of male constructs from time to time and in the process bring about a change or two. But it’s not enough. We need an all out feminist revolution.
The world is crying out for a feminist consciousness. Nothing less will do. We have reached the tipping point of everything. Anybody alive now besides me who remembers the second wave of feminism of the late 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s? After the exhilarating gains, I watched, dumbfounded, as a male back lash began to portray feminists as degenerate, drug and disease infected butch dykes or tight assed frigid women who hated men on general principals. Crazy, huh? That a push to equality excited such virulence? But the back lash worked. Few women these days will say proudly (or loudly)“I am a feminist”, unless, like AA meetings, it precludes an announcement that one is reforming and will hence forth try for the high road.
But the world is not just poorer because of this backlash, it is bereft. It may mean the end of us all. There is no other element in human society that could enforce a real turn about in climate change, or interrupt the corporate murder of entire countries through debt, assuage the hunger stalking the planet, the killing of civilians willy nilly to shore up corrupt and power hungry men, the increased selling of immature children’s bodies to men with no pride, to the drugging of much of the entire world population. I think we as women do have a choice. We can play dumb, pretend we don’t notice the ugliness and selfishness of male dominate structures, the sex violence, prostitution, child pornography, the accelerated sexualization of children in TV, movies, clothes, videos, because, well… why dwell on this disgusting stuff when we can’t really do anything about it? But we can. We can become feminists.
Men also need a revered up female consciousness. They think they don’t, but honestly, men are a mess without women. They can be brought to a higher consciousness by a little tough love; a little concentrated resistance from women would stiffen their spines. Too many men are easily distracted by ball games, porn, and love of violence which is offered them so they won’t think too deeply about much of anything. It is unnatural to have only the male consciousness making decisions for women and children of the world; most of our male leaders are either precariously balanced or completely unbalanced because they are constantly reacting to challenges from other men. We can’t just leave the field to them. We’ve tried that for the last ten thousand years. That’s a good long run. Long enough to know it doesn’t work. Our men and children need our feminism, the earth needs our feminism. Let’s stop being shy about it.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

GAMBLING,GAMING, AND GOING BROKE

GAMBLING, GAMING, AND GOING BROKE

How have so many wonderful community programs become lovers of gambling? Well, maybe not loving gambling, but tolerating it? For the money, of course. But how is it that serious social needs like crime prevention, senior programs, youth programs, animal shelters, arts, health foundations, and many other social programs came to be dependent upon gambling? Most of us know by now that gambling is a serious health risk for a significant number of people, one that too often leaves them destitute and suicidal. And it is upon this suffering and death of some of our members that we as communities have been made to accept from a government that promised not to expand gambling, to bringing in the most addictive and insidious form of gambling…internet gambling.

The Campbell government operates like a dope pusher in the matter of gambling. First, they expose citizens concerned about the health of their communities to a small easy fix of a bit of money for social programs derived from restricted gambling with the promise of more to come. Later, a little more money from a little wider expansion of gambling. Even later, more gambling money for community programs from a continuous expansion of gambling until there is a steady stream of money for community programs from an all out gambling industry with the Campbell government in tow. Finally, the time arises when communities are so dependent on gambling money that citizens can no longer protest or even debate the moral implications of gambling. How can we with so many community programs now riding on this flow of money? But now that the Campbell government is cutting out all (or mostly all) of the programs that benefit from gambling, it does demonstrate how little the members of this government care for citizens.

But if these cuts hold, then it’s a good time to shove Gordon Campbell’s slot machines in his face. As the provincial government now gets all (mostly all) the benefits from gambling then let them wear the shame of coercing communities into accepting gambling money as being healthy and legitimate when in reality they know, and once actually said so, that funds from gambling have always been tainted money because of the lives it destroys. We pay taxes for our social programs, for health and education that includes art, seniors and children’s centres, and crime prevention. We want all of these things and we should have them, with clean money, with tax money, our own money, and we want the Campbell government to stop giving our tax money away to the biggest, sickest, slickest gamblers in town who are gambling non-stop, not only with our money, but with our natural resources. Who am I talking about specifically? Olympic promoters come to mind? Betty Krawczyk

Sunday, October 11, 2009

THE BIRD, GUILT GRAVY, AND HOPE

If we had a bird for Thanksgiving dinner, chances are we washed it down with a gravy of guilt that wasn’t present in my day. Now, not only do we have to think about the suffering of factory birds, we have to fret and wonder why so many earth people have little to eat or even anything at all. It’s true that many people were cash poor when I was growing up, (80 odd years ago) but most people still lived outside the big cities and could scratch out enough food on small plots to keep families reasonably well fed. With organic meat and vegetables. Certifiably organic. That was before chemicals became king. That was before corporations became persons.
I am thankful for the Constitution of Canada. The Constitution contains the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And even in the face of the ultra conservative Supreme Court of British Columbia and a privatizing crazed premier, The Constitution of Canada is at least a guide to a better, fairer way of governing ourselves. And because BC is becoming a harsh, even barbaric place with practically every man, woman and child scrambling for substance while choking on shredded social cut backs, that doesn’t mean this is the earthly norm. Or the norm for other countries, localities, world bodies, or even other provinces in Canada. I don’t think there are any other provincial leaders trying to incite people poverty (it is a war), and bust the back of health care all with a few secret cabinet meetings. And with unabashed gusto. It’s amazing. It’s shock and awe. But the Canadian Constitution is still there. The Charter still lives as much as the conservative judges of the Supreme Court of Canada and Gordon Campbell wishes it didn’t. There is hope. Even the judicial decisions that declare that corporations have the right to act as persons without responsibilities to anyone but their share holders and who, by law, can be sued if they don’t make money, more money, and even more money, regardless of environmental destructions, is under attack. I think we are headed into a new area. Let’s all be thankful today and tomorrow for the Constitution of Canada.

Monday, October 05, 2009

BOUNTIFUL AND BOMBINGS

Bountiful and Bombings

What have these two news items in common? Our BC Supreme Court staying the charges of polygamy against the two Bountiful religious leaders, Winston Blackmore and James Oler on Sept. 22, and the announcement of the bombing of yet another school for girls in Pakistan ( there have been roughly thirty such bombings of schools in and around the Swat Valley-CNN.com) on Sept. 23?
Events in common? Well, let us consider. First, the dismissal of charges of Polygamy against the two religious leaders in Bountiful who keep multiple wives (27 and counting for one of the accused); never mind the practicality of accomplishing such a feat, the fact remains that it’s unlawful. POLYGAMY IS AGAINST THE LAW. IT’S A FEDERAL LAW. IT SAYS SO IN THE CRIMINAL CODE. THE CRIMINAL CODE RULES THE COUNTRY OF CANADA. Except in British Columbia. In BC judges make decisions that are, in my opinion, unlawful. And they are aided and abetted by the Attorney Generals and by government lawyers (Crown Council) who are in my opinion mostly a gutless bunch. They only like to bet on a sure thing i.e. putting away environmental protesters and the like for long prison sentences. BC Supreme Court Judge Sunni Stromberg-Stein said that Wally Oppal (then Attorney General) should have not shopped around for a second prosecutor when the first one refused to lay charges. Why the refusal? Because the charges might not pass a constitutional challenge from the Supreme Court of Canada on the grounds of freedom of religion.
Well, what was Wally Oppal to do except look for another prosecutor? The only way to know whether or not charges will pass a constitutional challenge is to present the case. But why is it that nobody in the legal profession or the Attorney General’s office will present the case of Bountiful polygamists to the Supreme Court of Canada? Does the claim of religion actually countenance breaking the law? The codified law of Canada? Evidentially yes, when the religion embraces the dictates that very young women (girls, actually) should be forcibly given over sexually to old and middle aged men. There must be something titillating abut this to old and middle aged men in law and government or else polygamy would have been treated like any other broken codified law long ago. In spite of the fact that more women judges are sitting on the bench the court is an extremely masculine place, run by men. And on the other side of the world religious leaders are preaching that girl’s schools will continue to be bombed because educating girls is un-Islamic and against religion. Religion, huh? What an all encompassing way to keep girls ignorant and sexually accessible and beyond the powers of the court to intervene. And beyond the powers of mothers to protect their daughters. In my opinion, women should heed these two religious extremes because the results have a way of nesting on our own doorsteps. Women in Ontario narrowly escaped a provincial acceptance of Sharia law a couple of years ago and it was Muslim women who understood what this would have meant and who fought fiercely against it. And won. We should all be so vigilant.
http://www.schiverrhodespublishing.com/

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Betty's New Publishing Company

What? You're starting your own publishing company? What are you thinking, Betty? When many publishing companies are biting dust? It's true. Many of the small presses and even medium sized ones are quitting or being sucked into fewer and bigger corporations that push popular culture to the detriment of radical thinking and beliefs that can spur action. And this at a time when the world needs radicalism more than ever before. So,I have decided to start my own publishing company. On a shoe string of course. However, I am familiar with shoe strings, child of the 30's depression that I am. My new publishing site highlights past and current accounts of my struggles as well as showcasing upcoming work. Check it out at Schiver Rhodes Publishing.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

ATTORNEY GENERAL de JONG SWEET TALKING THE MASSES

This afternoon. Over CBC radio. BC Attorney General Michael de Jong was like butter rolling off hot biscuits as he answered questions from a radio audience worried about why they can’t get a judge’s court order serviced. Citizens called in complaining that in situations where people are suing other individual people and have a court order from a judge ordering that this person pay up, or show up, or do something, or refrain from doing something important to the person complaining, these orders can be ignored with impunity and are, more often than not. The complainants’ are left holding what is essentially a worthless piece of paper even though it is a judge’s order. Judge’s order or no, if the person the order is against doesn’t want to comply, the order itself means nothing. People who called in questioning Mr. de Jong wanted to know why nothing happens in these increasing number of cases; shouldn’t a judge’s order be worth something?
From my own experience, I know that a judge’s order will be worth a lot if there is a lot of money and/or power involved. This usually means corporations suing other corporations or sometimes citizens. But ordinary people are just not that important to the court. It’s the way the laws are interpreted by the judges and the unwillingness of courts to order an arrest for non-compliance of a court order by an individual person…unless that person is interfering in some way with the fortunes of a large corporation and then, of course, the full force of the law is brought to bear. Citizens who say no to environmental destruction or to privatization of public assets by refusing to move when ordered by a judge’s order, will find themselves branded as criminals, handcuffed, leg ironed, and unceremoniously shuffled off to a increasingly privatized prison.
You need lots of money to even get into the court room. The Campbell government has cut back or cut down what little leverage there was for ordinary people. Enter Minister de Jong with his slick, forked tongue. He’s telling us that everything is just fine, not to worry. He’s going to fix the few little things that need fixing. In a pig’s eye.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

ACKNOWLEDGE AND CORRECT

Okay, so I made two mistakes on my last posting and received a slew of mail decrying my lack of knowledge of drugs as I wrote cocaine instead of heroin coming out of Afghanistan. Bad mistake. It infers that I know nothing of where drugs originate and how they are distributed. I do know a little bit. I know that heroin is made from poppies grown in Afghanistan and that cocaine comes mainly from Columbia and Mexico gets both and more (other drugs)for distribution which is killing their country. So much money is in the drug trade that the cartels are reportedly primarily running large sections of Mexico. The War on Drugs as policy seems to be more of a war on governments besides being a war on citizens who have to worry about their children becoming addicts and getting shot by mistake, or by design. But the War on Drugs drugs as policy corrupts everything, citizens, governments and even economies by the enormous amount of money it generates.

When so much money disappears into the black market, the so called legitimate economy (so-called because Wall Street and to a certain extent Bay Street are profiting from huge sums of money they launder for the cartels besides simply gambling on their own with depositors money) suffers. Which is one of the reasons bank CEO's are rewarded handsomely. Banks in the US are closing while their CEO's are paid millions. And Prime Minister Harper said just today that he did not consider the obscene money paid to CEO's of banks and failing corporations a problem. But there are a few cracks appearing in the War on Drugs as policy (Bush policy). Mexico has recently decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, cocaine and heroin. It's a start.

Monday, August 17, 2009

CHOP OFF VOTERS FINGERS?

Chop off voters fingers if they vote?
That’s what the Vancouver Sun reported from the Daily Telegraph in article by Ben Farmer titled Afghanistan Votes (8/15/09). Evidentially the Taliban are threatening to chop off fingers of anybody who votes in this week’s presidential election in Afghanistan. I wonder why. Oh, I know the Taliban are a ferocious, bloody bunch, but they can’t be entirely stupid as they are succeeding in stymieing western powers, including Canada. However, there is this: the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has just signed into law edicts that are also dear to the heart of the Taliban. These edicts concern the behavior of women. Isn’t it remarkable how so very many of the laws stemming from Islam have to do with the behavior of women? An outsider might think that controlling women is the very basis of Islam, at least how it is practiced in Afghanistan.

For instance, in the same article in the Sun it is reported that President Karzai earlier had signed into law a ruling that was said to condone martial rape and decreed that a wife must satisfy her husband’s sexual desire at least every forth night. A somewhat amended version says that a husband can stop feeding his wife if she does not submit to him and in case the wife runs away she cannot take her children, as the custody of children is granted only to fathers and grandfathers. I don’t think there is such a great difference between President Karzai’s rulings and the Taliban rulings. So why the finger chopping threat? The big quarrel on the treatment of women between the Taliban and President Karzai must hinge on the difference between what can be done with women who disobey their husbands and fathers and even sons. Can you image that, dear sisters out there who can hardly wait for sons to leave the house, of having to ask your son if you can go out of the house yourself? Can you even imagine such a thing? It boggles the mind. But the Taliban say that a woman who disobeys her husband or father or son can be gang raped along with other punishments such as being killed. So why are Canadian soldiers giving up their lives to a foreign government that despise women only to a modicum degree less than the Taliban who are killing Canadian soldiers? And some of the police officers over there who have assisted? And all corrupted by the price of cocaine? More on the drug issue later.

Monday, August 03, 2009

FIRE AND ICE IN BC

FIRE AND ICE IN BC FORESTS

Some say the world will end in fire:
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire…

In Robert Frost’s famous poem “Fire and Ice” the poet goes on to say that if the world had to perish twice he knew enough of hate to know that for destruction, ice was also great, and would suffice. While it’s hard to know exactly what was in any poet’s mind when they wrote a particular poem we can say (I think) it’s at least suggestive that Frost in this writing was thinking of ice as indifference, as neglect. This neglect is proving deadly in our collective indifference to our environment. However, like Frost, I hold with those who favor fire. And probably so would the majority of BC inhabitants’ at the moment as we survey our burning forests.

Anyone who sees the film “Home” will be impressed with the role trees have played not only in the evolution of soils, plants, animals, water, and oxygen, but also how we as humans have evolved with them. And in spite of the fact that trees have brought us life and health and happiness we have not loved them in return. Not so, you say? You have always loved trees, you say? Well, people try to protect what they love. When people love enough they will take risks to try to protect what they love, even if this involves financial or physical danger to them. Collectively, we have not done this. Collectively, we have passively watched our vast public forests fall to corrupt logging corporations and governments who have catered to them. As this combination of corporate greed, government duplicity and citizen passively has markedly contributed to global warming by resulting in a massive deforestation of the forests of our province. And this is a crime. It’s a crime against humanity and a crime against nature.
Is there nothing to be done except chant “Burn, baby, burn?” as massive areas of our forests burn to cinders? Yes, there is. When the fires die down we can love, really love, as individuals and citizens, what’s left of these trees, these forests. We can surround them with our love. We can protect them. Whatever this takes. Betty K

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

COME ON, LADIES!

COME ON LADIES, LET’S GET IT TOGETHER!
Who? Provincial party leaders Carol James, NDP and Jane Sterk, Green Party, that’s who. They both try to include women but consistently speak to men in their policies and speeches. But are women a separate class? Well, we know that it is male culture that decides what’s important; what will even be discussed during elections and policy making. But in my opinion, both the NDP and the Greens have the potential to break out of this male constructed straight jacket and awaken women to the distinct possibility that women’s issues of just trying to survive as not only poorly paid producers in a tough job market but also as no paid reproducers in the capacity of having and caring for children, also caring for the elderly, the disfranchised, plus, in our spare time, trying to save the entire earth, for Pete’s sake, these are the very issues that strike at the heart of humanity.
The NDP better understands social issues; the Greens know the environment better. Neither party did as well as expected in the last election because each party is only half of what many women are looking for, that is, a platform that acknowledges that the work of having and rearing children is our society’s most important activity. And that the people who do this, or most of it, should be given the money and status this social activity demands. If childless people object to their tax money being spent thus they can trade their owed tax amount for hours, days, weeks, whatever, spent in child care centers, nurseries, schools, doing cooking, cleaning, and teaching. Every citizen must take responsibility for the care of future generations.
We want a platform that stresses that no system of belief should be allowed to raise the sex of one child above another the other, before or after birth. Women fear prostitution and want a party that declares that no woman or child be stripped of their humanity by sexual violation of their bodies by men even if they agree for poverty’s sake. We worry about good food, that there is enough for the children, and that there should be stricter rules about what children can be fed, and corporations who poison food with chemicals and hormones and governments who allow this should be found guilty of child abuse just as the poisoning of the minds of children with pornography and violence on the Internet, film, and TV be declared a crime against children (and let the networks, corporations and the civil liberties unions howl).
Can the NDP and the Greens come together and form one party? I think it’s time. A clear vision releases creativity, both in leaders and the people. Have the corporations, the banks, the monetary experts done such a hot job? The only hot job they know how to do is steal. And then for their thievery demand more taxpayers money while they plunge us further into debt and social degradation. I’m serious, leaders of the Greens and the NDP. You want a majority? Form one party. Turn to your true, largely untapped base, women. Not to ignore or demean men, but to lead them, as well as more women, to a more comprehensive way of including women, children, and the earth in every policy making decision. At a time when mother’s breast milk is the most polluted food source on earth, we just have to do this. We must. And we can. Betty K

Monday, July 13, 2009

OUR RIVERS, OURSELVES

Heading South, that’s where BC rivers are heading, straight into the arms of both US and Canadian corporate control. And gleefully riding the US bound river rapids sits our BC premier who never met a crooked privatizing scheme he didn’t like. And, I might add, riding the crest of his waves not far behind is one of his relatively newly recruited but prized enablers of BC public give-aways: the much admired and prominent environmentalist Tzeporah Berman.
And she’s on record. Ms Berman has publicly stated she thinks the privatizing of BC rivers through the Run of the River projects is a good idea. Why would this poster child for the Clayoquot Sound blockades lend her name and prestige to such a vicious thing as signing off our public river power to private control? In frustration I tuned to an old issue of DOGWOOD INITIATIVE (2002) to an article by Denise Deegan (written for corporations) called MANAGING ACTIVISM; A GUIDE TO DEALING WITH ACTIVISTS AND PRESSURE GROUPS and we are told the following:
“First identify the “radicals” who are unwilling to compromise and who are demanding fundamental changes. Then, identify the “realists”-typically organizations with significant budgets and staff working in the same relative area of public concern as the radicals. Then approach these “realists,” start a dialogue and eventually cut a deal, a “win,win” solution that marginalizes and excludes the radicals and their demands. Next go with the realists to the “idealists” who have learned about the problem through the work of the radicals. Convince the idealists that a “win-win” solution endorsed by the realists is best for the community as a whole. Once this has been accomplished, the “radicals” can be shut out as extremist, the PR fix is in, and the deal can be touted in the media to make the corporation and its “moderate” non-profit partners look heroic for solving the problem”.
And this strategy has worked. In these past years most of us “radicals” have been shut out as the “realists” and the “idealists” have made questionable, supposed “win, win” deals with the Gordon Campbell government and corporations. Only the problems haven’t been solved and there are now serious splits in what little environmental activism there was out there. However, I remain optimistic and believe these splits could be setting the stage for a real environmental movement…one that engages not just a lofty few who think themselves special and rather intellectually superior but masses of people, many who haven’t the faintest idea how bio systems actually work but know that they do work and desperately want them to keep on working. So we’ll see. Betty Krawczyk

Sunday, June 28, 2009

CAN WE TALK?


My last posting on marriage and religion generated a lot heat, which I expected. But some interest, too. One woman responded with the question "Okay, so what do we do now?" And my response? Well, that depends. I believe, as our economic and environmental status quo crumbles there will be perilous times ahead for us all that will demand the leadership of women. Yes, I know there's lots of good men out there (I think I know most of them personally) that's not the point. The point is that it is male culture that has gotten us into this mess. Male culture? What's that? Male culture is what we all live in and it always tetters on the violent side whether it's ball games or outright war (yes, Canadian men are less violent than most and some are very sweet) but the absolute, over riding rule of male culture is that women are inferor because they can be oppressed in sex specific ways. These sex specific ways of sexual oppression against women are what keep women from assuming real leadership roles domestically and gloably. Shall I count the ways?

(a) Prostitution: This scourge on the face of our earth must go. As long as there is one prostitute then all women are potential prostitutes if they get poor enough. And if all women are potential prostitutes (are, have been, will be)then is it absurd to even think of any women as real leaders? And when men get angry enough they will accuse even well off women of being prostitutes. Remember when Blinda Stronach crossed the floor to the Liberal side in Parliment and her former Conservative colleagues flung accusations of prostitution at her? Prostitution will go when enough women get strong enough to link arm and arm with prostitutes and sexually abused children and accuse those who need accusing...brothers, husbands, boy friends, sons, male teachers, politicans, corporation CEO's,church leaders...no person, no citizen, woman or man can hold heads high with pride as long as prostitution exists. Aside from being a crime against humanity, prostitution encourges all men to think of women as inferiors.

(b) Pornography: Women will not,cannot be thought of as world leaders, or even believe they can be leaders of any kind when almost every time a woman opens the computer she sees what men consider important in women: tits and ass. And children with computer access also know how to open up the really good stuff...hard core pornography. Many men love pornography or it wouldn't be such a hugh money maker. And when women are constantly presented as being primairly orifices for men to bore into then women get depressed. Which is what is happening when porn becomes main stream as it is now. My God, even China recognizes that pornography is bad for everybody and stops it from going into their country.

(c) Rape: Breaking and entering a house is taken more seriously by authorities than breaking and entering a woman's body against her will. And children's bodies, I might add. The police and courts and politicians pay attention if a woman or a child is killed in the process but rape happens so often it is still not dealt with seriously enough. Women know this and many raped women are too dispirited to even report it. Rape should be given the same seriousness as attempted murder. Then women and children would know that they matter.

(d) Battery: Funny how wife beating or woman beating has become spousal abuse. By called it spousal abuse women could also be beating on men, right? How many women do you know who physically beat their men? I'm eighty years old and I've never met a single one. But I've met way, way, too many women who have beaten by men. Men beat women on a fairly regular basis and when they are extremely angry and feel justified, even kill them. A woman who is beaten frequently, or even slapped around occasionally cannot consider herself or women in general as leaders of any kind.

So first, let's demand an accounting of these four sex specific crimes against women in order to consider ourselves in the process of preparing for domestic and world leadership. We must overcome these stumbling blocks if we want the human race to survive. Women must demand a full humanity even if we have to do it in a porn ridden, prostituted, sick and violent society. Our children and grandchildren demand it. The earth demands it. Life demands it. Let's start talking. Betty Krawczyk

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Marriage and Religion? Underpinnings of Global Warming?

Could it possibly be true? That marriage and religion are the twin causes of global warming? I think yes. Prior to the rise of these two patriarchal institutions, marriage and relision, women practiced birth control via the taboo system. In most ancient societies, according to social scientists, when a woman became pregnant she marked herself as being in taboo and no man could touch her until that child was weaned, usually from four to six years. The first European anthropologists who came to this continent and even down into Suth America were astonished at this birth control system that not only limited the number of children any woman had, but whose maternal and infant death rates were much better than those in Europe at the time where weatern religion and marriage had taken hold and women were bearing a dozen or more children in their lifetimes. Where ever Christianity and Islam were introduced women became baby machines as women now must by law and religion always be sexually avaliable to the men.

As the two religions spread all over the world populations exploded. The old methods of child spacing practiced by women became illegal. For practicing them women could be cast out, or killed by their husbands or other male members of their family under Islamic law and early Christian law. The degradation of women through the religous idea that women had no right to protection from men's sexual demands has lead to the earth's over population that has in turn led to the degradation of the earth itself. And perhaps to the extinction of everything that breaths.

In my opinion men as a group don't have it together now even when we're on the brink. Our forests are still falling, our water being stolen and privatized, the worst industrial polluters claiming their right to do so with a taoken payment. The future looks very grim unless, we, as women, can do what men seem unable to do. And what is that? We can raise hell. We have the computer. And each other. We can stop being wimps and start challanging government and corporations and religions in maningful ways, as women. Lt's stop being so forgiving of men who had rather watch hockey and drink beer or further their political, corporate or religious careers than seriously consider whether their childrn may survive. Women's voices have been silent too long. It's time to roar. We have a right to our anger. Betty Krawczyk

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

INTO THE BREECH


“Into the breech, dear friends, once more into the breech”

I can’t identify who first said these words but I like them. They’re emotional words. Fighting words. There’s a struggle woven in between these words coupled with somebody’s tired determination not to give it up. And neither can we give it up. Ever. Even when things look bleak. Why? Because there aren’t any other alternatives but to keep on going. If we stop “going on” so to speak, we die.

Last Tuesday I lost my appeal in the Appeal’s Court of BC. This appeal originated in the protests and arrests in Eagleridge Bluffs which left me with a ten month’s prison sentence. Which I served. But in my appeal I said people have a right to protest needless governmental destruction of our priceless eco systems no matter how much press and media attend a protest; but the court said no, if there’s press and media attending a blockade that makes a protester guilty of criminal contempt of court and anyone who speaks to the press while on a blockade is a criminal. With a criminal mind (mens rea) no less.

This is just the most maddening thing. This means that while I was designated a criminal with a criminal mind and given a lengthy criminal sentence and sent to a place where other criminals are kept I was told by the appeals court that the term “criminal contempt” was simply a term used by BC courts but it didn’t really mean I was a regular criminal. Then how come I was tried and convicted like a regular criminal and sent off to prison? I don’t get it. I’ve come to believe that when confronted with a prisoner who has disobeyed a court order (at least a court order allowing the destruction of our environment) BC judges’ minds automatically hit a short circuit that creates some kind of cranial electrical storm. Give them mass murders any ole day, they seem to say, or extortionists, or the most vicious gang members, child pornographers, or whatever, and they will be treated much more tenderly by the courts in BC than an environmental protester.

But we can’t stop. If there is any room for me to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada I will. We must all prepare to go “into the breech, dear friends, once more into the breech”. Whenever and whatever way we can manage to do it.