Sunday, May 26, 2013

As if women didn’t bear enough blame for just about everything that goes wrong in this world, now Robert Bateman, that esteemed nature artist, has wagged his finger at mothers in severe reproach.  It is primarily mothers who are to blame for their children’s ignorance of nature, he says.  A CBC News report posted 5/24/ 2013 Robert Bateman as quoted: “The mothers think, ‘Well if the kid is busy with a screen, he’s safe, he’s not going to fall out of a tree, he’s not going to be abducted.  Yes, but have you ever head of internet predators?  Have you ever heard of internet pornography? it’s not dangerous to go outside’…”
First, Mr. Bateman, not all kids are boys.  I personally get tired of men who seem to think only of little boys when they speak of children.  And yes, Mr. Bateman, mothers have heard about internet predators. And yes, mothers have also heard about internet pornography.  And mothers have heard about bullying at school, cut backs in children’s services, the rise in mental illness of children, the overuse of Ritalin, the startling early puberty of girls, the rise in boys with undescended testicles at birth, the children suffering right here in this province from malnourishment, the children dying in other countries not only from hunger, but from disease and war, the staggering rise in birth defects in countries like Iraq caused by  the depleted uranium left behind from US weapons…we have heard it all, Mr. Bateman.  And we don’t need any lectures from you who have quietly practiced your art in public forests that have been decimated by private logging companies that don’t give a dam about nature, and have been and still are, in the process of poisoning the public land and waters they leave behind for the rest of us.
Just for starters, Mr. Bateman, consider the tons of Round Up and Vision (courtesy of Monsanto) that have been sprayed or injected into BC public forests after clear cutting (to keep unwanted species from crowding out new tree seedlings). Round Up and Vision contain glyphosate which, according to French-trained Pediatrician, Josette Wier as she brought  this charge recently to court supported by West Coast Environmental Law, also contains an ingredient known as POEA that is toxic to amphibians and perhaps to humans and human embryos.  Perhaps?
Glyphosate is now being linked to all manners of human ills, including being a hormone disrupter which can cause birth defects, Attention deficient disorder, breast milk contamination, and the drop in male sperm count.   And our beautiful outdoors?
The logging companies and governments of BC have sprayed and injected tons of Round Up and Vision (Monsanto’s darlings) all over Vancouver Island.  And are still doing it.  Glyphosate stays in the ground, it doesn’t dissipate.  BC rains ( and we are a rain forest) wash newly sprayed river and creek banks and the glyphosate runs into the creeks and rivers and into main water supplies.  Robert Bateman, it is not mothers causing all this environmental mayhem and putting children at risk.
 Mothers do the very best they can under the burden of trying to keep kids safe while working both in and out of the home and at the same time try to protect their kids from  traffic crazies, sex crazies and power crazies who are killing the earth itself, and of whom the overwhelming majority  are male. What about this suggestion, Mr. Bateman?  What about fathers talking their kids into the woods (avoid newly sprayed or replanted areas, don’t drink the water, and don’t let the little ones play in the dirt or long grass  or slide down creek inclines) instead of to a hockey game.  Wouldn’t that be good?      photo by Sue Robertshaw

Monday, May 20, 2013

'THIS DANGEROUS PLACE' - Free Book Download!

For anyone who has had any troubles with downloading a free copy of my book 'This Dangerous Place' off of Pirate Bay, it is now available on a different site as well:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

 In the book”Games People Play” by Eric Berne (1964) the author delineates some of the more common social transactions between humans and describes them as games.  AIN’T IT AWFUL is a game played by people who are not moved to try to change a situation so much as they are to complain about it. I think the continuance of the BC Liberals in power will be lamented by at least some people who didn’t bother to vote.  In fairness, I understand the disinterest, or rather the disconnection, between numbers of young people and the voting booth.
I don’t think it is primarily apathy that drives the young away from politics.  Rather, I think it is another game described in Berne’s book that is much loved by lawyers, especially corporate lawyers, and is particularly loved by politicians.  This game is called “Now I’ve Got You, You S.O.B.”  It is used to try to blow up some rather insignificant infraction by one side to that of a headliner by the other. Adrian Dix NDP leader, tried to stay away from this particular game during the BC campaign but was side swiped by the BC Liberals who love the game, and are good at it. The BC Liberals are first, foremost, and above all, game players.
But in my opinion there are other reasons the BC Liberals won.   I understand there was money going into the BC Liberals’ coffers from Alberta’s oil and gas interests.  And I’m wondering why the polls were so wrong.  Plugging into my strong sense of paranoia (paranoia has been described as a heightened sense of awareness) and raising the question…might there have been some deliberate poll fudging that had BC Liberals trailing in the polls to give progressive voters the idea that what the heck, the NDP are going to win, the polls say so,  so why go out of the way to vote? Does this sound off the wall?
 I would say so myself if it weren’t for the last Alberta provincial election. The same thing happened there.  The Tea Party was way ahead in the polls but the polls were wildly wrong. So what has happened with the polling?   Have these poll takers just become newly incompetent, or in some way we don’t as yet understand, newly corrupted?  I also wonder about Gordon Wilson’s last minute conversion back to the BC Liberals.  His reasons sound spurious to me (Global News 5/5/13).  Did Wilson hear something the rest of us didn’t hear from inside the insiders?
But there is this other thing, a contradictory thing.  It comes down to this…I don’t believe people deliberately vote against what they perceive to be their own best interest.   Take David Eby’s win (NDP) in Vancouver- Point Grey riding.   This is a wealthy riding.  Vancouver-Point Grey includes UBC, Kitsilano, the University Endowment Lands, stunning beaches, beautiful homes and parks, etc.  And as one might expect, this riding is also way above average in education so there is probably not a terrible amount of worry there about jobs.  Ditto for the Green win in Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding.
The Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding won by Andrew Weaver is also above average in wealth and education with many older citizens.  As a riding, the people, like Vancouver-Point Grey, are probably not that worried about jobs and can focus without the distraction of poverty staring them in the face on other things like the environment.  Andrew Weaver is an environmental scientist.  It’s a perfect match. 
I also voted Green but I felt a tug of guilt as I did so.  I know a lot of people who are out of work, or working for minimum wage, mostly young men who are not going to be doctors or lawyers or educators.  They need jobs. Not years down the road when green energy projects might start generating enough jobs for people, but now.  The problem is this… in the now, primarily what we have in our country that could keep us going is resource extraction.
And paranoia aside, this is the main reason I think the BC Liberals got back in.  It was the matter of which party might manage to get the oil and gas lines going.  The populations of the ridings of Vancouver-Point Grey and Oak Bay-Gordon Head are not indicative of the majority of the population of BC.  The majority are worried about jobs that will pay them enough to live, to marry, to start a family and/or to feed the one they already have.  Many feel that putting the environment first is a luxury they can’t afford.  And until this problem is met head on by everybody things won’t change.
This is the true dilemma of our days.  It means that there must be a radical readjustment of our entire capitalist system that is eating up the globe if we are to create work that is healthy, and peaceful, and good for children.  I have tried to urge Elizabeth May of the Green Party to try again to get the Bank of Canada back on their agenda for party votes so that, if this ever got on the ballot and passed, the federal and provincial leaders could borrow from the Bank of Canada without interest instead of from private banks with compound interest.  Until this is done our country will never get out of debt and neither will we.
People do play games, as Eric Berne noted and wrote about.  But we all we have to stop playing AIN’T IT AWUL and NOW I’VE GOT YOU, YOU S.O.B, and start playing WE’RE ALL ADULTS HERE AND WE CAN FIGURE THIS OUT.   We must.  The carbon readings have just reached 400 parts per million.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Young Men and the Stanley Cup
I am not a sports fan and I’ve never been to a hockey game.  However, as a mother, grandmother and great grandmother of men of various ages, I think young men (and a few women) fans were ill served by our politicians and the police in Vancouver during the Stanly cup riots of 2011. To be clear, none of my relatives, friends, or friends of relatives were involved in the riots.  I am a disinterested but interested observer of the psychology of men and games.
Why am I bringing the riots up now?  And why should I think young people active in the riots were ill served by our politicians and the police?   Am I suggesting that the young people involved in trashing private property during the riots shouldn’t be punished?  First, I think we should take a reflective look at the riots because Stanley Cup fever is here again, however this time the fever surrounding the Canucks might be called low grade.  Spirits seem to be sagging, both on and off the ice, and ticket sales are down.   By those in the know about hockey, the low ticket sales can be attributed solely to fans’ resentment against the long lock out.  There is no mention as far as I know of a kind of bad karma hanging around in the Vancouver games lingering on from the aftermath of the 2011riots.  However, these young people who were affected by the riots (primarily young men) were a bed rock of support for the Canucks and some of them are still awaiting trial for their alleged part in the riots.
Secondly, the reason I think young people were ill served by our politicians and police is because of the hypocrisy of the adults supporting the games.  In every culture when young males are first maturing they look to the prevailing male culture to guide them in what it means to be a man. In our own culture, it is sports and love of sports that bring men together in great numbers.  Sports in Canada means hockey.  However talented a man may be in other fields, and whatever the other interests he may have,  a young man must include enthusiasm for hockey in his persona (if he is a serious player in another sport he may be excused from loving hockey).
The prelude to the Stanley Cup game of 2011 was one of intense excitement.  Everybody was talking about what seemed to be the surety of the Canucks winning for Canada over the arrogant Americans.  The excitement was huge.  Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson and Premier Christy Clarke both sported their Canuck jerseys and said wonderful things about the Canuck players which seemed to give some kind of official blessing to the event which meant the Canucks couldn’t possibly lose.  The Stanley Cup was the Holy Grail and it would reside in Canada.
Returning to Vancouver from Vancouver Island on the afternoon of the big game I  caught the same ferry that was  loaded with swarms of young people headed for the game.  They were loud, but not unruly, just hyped with excitement.  I didn’t see any evidence of drinking, but then I wasn’t everywhere.  However, everywhere on the boat you could hear them.  The young people were singing.  The entire boat seemed to be singing. And these young people were primarily singing Canada’s national anthem.   That’s what they were singing…“Oh Canada.”  They were obviously in a happy state, proud of their athletes and their country, of the adults in charge and proud of their own inclusion.  And hockey had brought them to this wonderful exciting place.
The riots still nag at me because none of the adults with authority seemed to consider the possibility that the Canucks might lose. So how could the young people be prepared for the loss?  The loss came as a huge shock to the hordes of young fans,   gathered in the centre of Vancouver.  What was wrong with the politicians and the police that they didn’t prepare for a loss?  Didn’t make a plan B?  On how to deal with a mass of hyped up, by this time some half tanked young males (again, I know a few women were involved in the violence, but it was over whelming young men) In case the game was lost? These young people were grieving.  For the young men, If identification with hockey was the standard for manhood, and with emotional tensions heightened by such a close  game, and then was lost, it must have seemed for the moment, to some of them, that so was their manhood.
In the middle of the riot, one young man kept shouting “We’re all Canadians here!”.  In my opinion, he was trying to recapture that feeling of oneness with winners, with a country of winners.  But the win had been stolen before under his nose and he was in grief.  Along with a crowd of other stunned, grieving young people.
I am certainly not suggesting that the people who committed crimes that evening shouldn’t be punished.  But they should have been, and should be punished, with a certain understanding of the prominent role that politicians and police played in the riots.  Instead of acknowledging a certain role in hyping up the already overheated expectations, when it was lost and there was trouble, Christy Clark yanked off her Canuck jersey(so to speak), shook her finger at the young people and shouted “You can run but you can’t hide!”
OH, yes, Christy Clark was and is, the iron lady on crime.  But If this were really true there wouldn’t be gang killings every other day in the province.  Secondly, there would be an inquiry into the BC Rail Sale.  Following this, in my opinion, if Christy Clark were indeed serious about being tough on crime, there would be a judicial inquiry into why six million dollars were given to Basi and Verk by Madam Justice Anne Mackenzie to plead guilty to their crimes so Christy Clark along with Gordon Campbell, wouldn’t be called to testify about their own possible wrong doing.
 And the worst crime of all…mass murderer Willy Pickton received a reduced charge and sentence for the murder of numerous women  from first to second degree murder because the jury found that there was no way Pickton could have murdered so many women without an accomplice or accomplices.  Why hasn’t the province taken this up and searched without ceasing for the accomplice or accomplices in a series of the most heinous crimes committed in the history of civilization in peace time?  Was everybody in government and law enforcement at the time afraid of the gangs?  And are they still afraid of the gangs?
The politicians botched their duties to the province and to the young people by feeding the hype of “only winning counts” and by being unprepared for the loss.  When young people are so egregiously misled about what is important and balanced in life I think we commit child neglect.  If we must have a provincial premier and it seems we must, then let’s find one who understands people, particularly young people. We need politicians who can encourage young people to seek balance by acting balanced themselves. Politicians who constantly speak of “family values” and “families first” need to be watched very carefully…
 I’m voting for the Green Party.  I trust Elizabeth May.  If she could convince the majority of her people to adopt into the Green Party platform the promise to borrow public money from the Bank of Canada at no interest instead of the private banks at compound interest when they became government, I think the Canadian Green Party would become the government of Canada so quickly it would astonish the world.  This would mean more jobs for young people, less debt, less obsession with games, even hockey. Yes, even hockey.