Sunday, November 25, 2012


DRIVE IT TILL IT DROPS is the title of a book I read many years ago (Joe Trose 1980) when I was trying to keep an old clunker going.  The advice from the author as I remember it (I no longer have a copy) was that with the exception of the brakes, as long as an old car would run without repairs then run it. Putting new money into an old, failing car was pointless. The inference was that no matter how the clunker polluted the air, made driving a nightmare, and occasionally killed people because of vehicle malfunction, the point was it could be done.  And this worked until the clunker just refused to run anymore and/or the brakes were no longer functional. 

 Our economic system is still running, after a fashion, but the brakes are no longer functional.  We need a new vehicle.  We need a government that will recognize the earth’s fragile state and act as a protector, not an uncaring destroyer, a kind of government  that won’t kill people and wild species due to deliberate neglect, and one that will make mass transit an overriding priority. But in order to get to something new, we have to get rid of the old. 

 How old is old?  Well, we have a prime minister who is, in my opinion, a US Right Wing Republican Fundamentalist Evangelical in all but birthplace; a staunch believer in making secret decisions favoring privatizing public everything.  He wants the old days back when capitalism reined without regulations. The Egypt Spring revolution turned out to be, after all, a Muslim Brotherhood take over with a desire to return to sharia law and female genital mutilation, a step so far backward the entire country is close to falling into a social abyss of no immediate return.

 US President Barack Obama has his own personal kill list. His foreign policy is one of ruling by decree (along of course, with Hilary Clinton) with as much secrecy as possible concerning drones, torture, occupations, arms sales, etc. President Netanyahu of Israel is so frustrated in his attempts to make Obama bomb Iran that he had to bomb somebody himself…so he bombed Gaza instead.

 The American revolution of 1783 that declared all men equal (not black men or women of any race)  turned out 239 years later to be a nation where corporations are “human” and humans have no standing against them.  All this, while half the US population is lurching toward an unspeakable poverty.  Some European populations are peering at the same scenario in utter dismay while in many parts of the Muslim world whole populations already live in unspeakable poverty.

 At the top of the heap, of course, are the global banking systems who rule the world.  After all, it is they, The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund,  the National and International banks circling the globe like toxic veins, they, the  superhumanly powerful as they must be as it is they who  define what kind of terms they will permit humans and entire nations to live by.  China owns its own banking system and doesn’t need international banking loans.  However, China seems to be on the same page with the rest of the capitalist world in upping their people’s enthusiasm for more cars, more roads, more electronic gadgets and more development. All of which requires more energy… more oil, translated into more oil sands bitumen, more natural gas, which means more fracking, more coal, more open pit mines.  There is nowhere near enough wind, solar or thermal energy anywhere on the globe.  The earth itself is cracking, flooding and becoming desert. Capitalism’s answer?  Well, keep it going, drive it till it drops.  The problem with this mentality is that we will all drop with it.

What should we as citizens think of these events?  What should we do?
Revolution?  Revolution requires guns.  Most Canadians don’t have guns, and even if we had them, we wouldn’t use them.  There is another weapon, much more powerful.  And it has the added attraction of being relatively bloodless.  At least in theory.  It is called peaceful civil disobedience. 

 And while peaceful civil disobedience does not require guns, if it is to be effective, it does require a great deal of energy and sacrifice.  There is a difference between protests where people gather to march, sing, and listen to speeches.  These activities are valuable, especially if they morph into actual peaceful civil disobedience. I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I believe the time is approaching when people will have to make decisions concerning how, when and where to protest or to get seriously involved in peaceful civil disobedience that can change the course of nations.  More on this later.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

WOMEN, Production and Reproduction!

Women are in the process of developing a strong consciousness of themselves as producers.  As women now outnumber men in the Canadian and US work force they are using their capacity as producers to gain better pay, working conditions, and safer employment, not only for themselves, but for men, too.  However I believe that the world will not make any kind of dramatic shift towards peace and equality until women recognize their power as reproducers as well as producers and act upon this recognition.

Why do I say this?  Women reproduce the work force.  In fact,  women reproduce all human endeavor… the soldiers, mine workers,  cab drivers, nurses and school teachers, doctors; government bureaucrats,  priests, military generals and heads of state.  And while women are paid, however poorly, for their production work, women do the long, often painful and disappointing as well as rewarding, always expensive reproduction work for free ( I do acknowledge father’s roles in rearing children but they do not grow the babies inside their own bodies or nurse them after).  And ironically, it is the reproduction work that in the past have made women the scapegoats of a male dominated society.

If we look at the world’s most lucrative money markets, we see that it is drugs, guns and the arms trade, prostitution, sports, gambling and banking, alcohol, pornography, war, entertainment and human trafficking that head the list.  None of these help women trying to raise children in a healthy way, in fact, these activities are killing children.  When any animal’s habitat is destroyed so is the animal.  Women know this, but feel helpless before the knowledge because these most lucrative markets are so attractive to men in general.  Women as reproducers, are swamped with trying to keep our own canoes afloat, our own children out of harms’ way, while feeding and clothing them with as much love and care as time and money will allow to try to strengthen them against the uncaring of an increasingly militaristic, religious fundamentalist and violent world.

Eric Fromm, the renowned philosopher, in his book THE ART OF LOVING said that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference.  He pointed out that actual hate implies a connection of some sort, a kind of recognition.  Fromm believed that Indifference was the most lethal killer of the human spirit.  Robert Frost, famous American poet echoed this theme in his poem FIRE AND ICE. Robert Frost warns us in his famous poem that “Some say the world will end in fire… (but) to say that for destruction, ice is also great, and would suffice”. 

 The ice of indifference is what women in general are up against in recreating the next work force.  There’s a crying need, not for cheap day care centers, but for free day care centres.  Women need societal acknowledgement that the treating of females as sex entertainment for men is evil, that not only the sexual health of females but the sexual health of men (fifty percent drop in male sperm count in the last fifty years) is serious business, that cancer is epidemic, and that women as reproducers are just bloody tired of GMO foods shoved down our children’s throats as well as our own without even a warning label.

 Significant numbers of young women understand very well that they will bear the blame if things go poorly in the tricky business of child rearing, and that they will reap no share of corporate profits for reproducing workers even if things turn out well.  Some western and European women, although there is in most women the desire to cuddle a baby at one time or another, are seeing through what can only be described as a financial scam and saying no to motherhood.  Enough so that Canada and European countries have to start depending on immigration for their work force along with all the clashes of culture that immigration implies. Many of the immigrants from countries where women’s needs are given less attention than those of livestock tend to set about trying to recreate a culture much like the one they just left.

 According to accounts of first contact in the Americas, when the Europeans arrived they found a high degree of respect for women among the aboriginals.  Women were acknowledged as the givers and providers of life. Johann Jakob Bachofen in the 1800’s wrote a three volume work on the early matriarchy called MOTHER RIGHT.  Bachofen postulated that all early human organizations were matriarchal.  Many other modern day scholars agree.  I agree.  Why? Because if patriarchy had prevailed in those early days the children would not have survived.  Had the mean, uncaring, bottom line spirit of capitalism prevailed then as it does today with the emphasis on wars, male one up man ship, contempt for women, and indifference to children, the children would not have survived.  It was women who brought the human race forward and women have a right to demand the right to rear children in peace with an equal distribution of the wealth of this country. Yes, let us stand up and demand MOTHER RIGHT!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

MISS Representation and Porn

I viewed the film Miss Representation last Thursday evening in Courtenay along with a sold out crowd.   This film was made by Jennifer Siebel Newsom and is dedicated to young girls who are being swamped with media images of women as sex objects with no brains.  This concept is now everywhere in the media, blatantly unashamed sexism that is clawing at little girls even before they hit puberty.  Newsom’s point is that if all little girls see in the media ( music videos, movies, TV, newspaper and bill board ads along with video games) are females displaying “tits and ass” (to use young male terms) along with roaring male approval, what are young girls to think?  They will think, of course, that it is their bodies that are important to society, not their brains and personalities.  This is a wonderful film, true to the facts and real. But the facts of this film suggest to me (because I have lived so long) that this kind of overt media misogyny is actually a back lash (aka BLACKLASH, Susan Faludi) in the face of women’s social and economic gains, and a recent one at that.

After the Second World War the many Rosie the Riveters were forced, by their government (s), and by custom and religion to give over their jobs to men returning from the battlefield.  Women who had held the war machine together were told to go home and have more babies and that’s what they did.   The post war economy was booming and even the least educated of men could find good paying jobs.  Baby boomers were the result, masses of them.  When the baby boomers grew up they were inclined to be more egalitarian in their views and sent their daughters to college, too, along with their sons. And this began to change the makeup of North American and European society.

In the ensuing years the daughters of the boomers began to enter colleges and universities in droves. They usually found high paying jobs upon graduation.  Young women with less education also entered the job market and began working their way up in the service and trade industries.  Soon a few women were appearing in previously male- only professions.  Some began teaching math and engineering and a few were becoming firefighters and policemen, as well as politicians. And while women still haven’t made enormous strides in government, the recent US election saw pro-choice and secular women defeat entrenched conservative, sexist, evangelical men in major political races.

But our western economies, including Canada, are no longer booming.  We may never boom again.   In the capitalist world it is now capital that makes money, not manufacturing.  Asia has become the manufacturing center of the world.   While the US struggles with gutted out industrial centers, Canada has been appointed by Stephen Harper to be kept alive by resource extraction that continues to threaten the earth’s stability.  How to keep young men preoccupied so that they don’t think too seriously about these things?

Two ways. Games and sex.  Hockey, football and pornography.  In her book PORNLAND Gail Dines explains how a new, violent, virulent depiction of sex   (Gonzo porn) has pushed soft porn into the main stream to the delight of advertisers and the despair of women.   Dines informs us that the new, more graphic images of multiple men on one woman invading all of her orifices  with their penises while at the same time verbally abusing her has become a huge global business. While little girls are struggling with body image to the point of bulimia and anorexia what is happening to little boys?

 A little boy has a hard enough time at puberty separating his love for his mother from his growing excitement about girls who, while different from his mother, are nevertheless females like his mother.  When he sees porn, what is he to make of the violent sex images of females like his mother acting as sex dolls, allowing multiple men to stick their penis’ everywhere on a single woman’s body?  I think he may become stunned.  And stunted.  Boys are now falling behind girls in school and are no longer the majority on university campuses.  The new jobs coming up are in the main service jobs that require sensitivity to others feelings. Men haven’t been conditioned to do this work.   And many are feeling threatened. Capitalism, ever sensitive to selling to male insincerity, created by capitalism itself, offers up the perverted, disgusting images needed to engage men in finding an outlet for their perceived dwindling lack of power.

This has got to stop.  It is making our little girls sick and our little boys dumb.  Women are making gains but we must get to the position where we have the power to protect our children from our own society.  It’s a sad state of affairs where women begin to feel that our government and institutions have joined hands with the money grubbing, money laundering vehicles of commerce to deliver harm to children for their own benefit.  It’s sad, but it can be fixed, if women demand it.  See the film MISS Representation and beg, borrow or steal a copy of PORNLAND by Gail Dines.

Sunday, November 04, 2012



Yes, many in the state of California are dreaming of passing Proposition no. 37 on Tuesday that would require mandatory labeling of food that contains Genetically Modified materials.  At least it’s on the ballot and if passed could mean a breakthrough in the murderous hold that food companies have over our food.  The food companies (Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Agrosciences and BASF to name a few) have spent over twenty five million dollars to try to defeat Proposition 37. Many of us in Canada would welcome such a bill as we are increasingly worried about GM products, especially GM corn.  The corn syrup from GM corn seems to be in a myriad of products on grocery shelves.  But in my opinion, the most monstrous GM horror show is yet to unfold.  This horror show will start with the go ahead from the US for fish farms to start raising Genetically Modified Salmon for human consumption in the US and elsewhere.

Dr. Alexandria Morton, we need you on this issue.  Your concern for the health of wild salmon has made you an international hero and I am one of your most ardent fans.  You accomplished an incredible feat in exposing the evils of the fish farms that pass sea lice and a lethal fish disease to wild fish that are migrating out to sea.  British Columbians owe you an enormous debt.   But this genetically modified salmon business poses a threat to wild salmon that could prove to be worse in the future than the on-going threats you have already uncovered.  Fish farms in the US, Canada and elsewhere have been waiting  for the US government to give approval that FrankenFish (as GMO fish are called by the US press) are okay for the market.  Canada raises the GMO eggs on the east coast and may soon be shipping them all over the world.

Lucy Sharrett, coordinator of Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, said she was caught off guard by the news that once the US gives the go ahead, Frankenfish  fish eggs could start rolling out of Bay Fortune in Prince Edward Island headed for fish farms all over the world (CBC News Oct.27.)  Sharrett said this increases the risk of GMO salmon escaping into the wild.


I am somewhat surprised that Sharritt was caught off guard by AquaBounty’s plans.  They certainly weren’t kept a secret.  AquaBounty people have been all over the place trying to allay public fears on GMO salmon as they are expecting soon to get the okay from the US authorities to start producing Frankenfish and their eggs. And Canada will play a major role in this.  The FrankenFish was born in Canada, in Canadian universities (Queen’s university and Memorial University in Newfoundland) and patented; the patent eventually winding up in the grips of AquaBounty.  

 AquaBounty downplays the danger that escaped Frankenfish could mate with wild salmon.  In my opinion it is similar to anticipated oil spills should Enbridge go through…it’s not a question of “if” but “when”.  And when this happens would it be like Monsanto suing farmers because GM crops blew over into their fields from a neighbouring farm? If a wild salmon could be shown to possess some of the GMO genes no matter who caught them, would these salmon then belong to AguaBounty?  Is it possible that AquaBounty could wind up claiming a large portion of the wild salmon in the sea?

Dr. Alexandra Morton, please hear our plea.  There is no other agency in Canada aware enough, acknowledgeable enough or who cares enough to take this on except you and your Salmon people.  Please call them.  We cannot let this happen.