Friday, October 27, 2017

Is the pro-Israel lobby sabotaging the US Constitution?

Is the pro-Israel lobby sabotaging the US Constitution?  You don’t care, this is Canada, not the US, you say?  Well, perhaps we all should care. Many Canadians are in sympathy with, or members of, the BDS organization (boycott, divest, and sanction Israel) for Israel’s cruel and sustained multi-faceted war and occupation (in my opinion that’s what it is, war and occupation) against the Palestinians. Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government fear the BDS organization.  They have stepped up their already massive influence within US governments.

In Dickinson, Texas, people who are applying for state aid to repair their homes devastated by Hurricane Harvey won’t get it unless they certify in writing that they will not take part in a boycott of Israel.  And they have to hire a contractor who “does not boycott Israel; and will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract” And this defines Israel as both Israel proper and “Israeli-controlled territory” (The Intercept).  And guess what?  This really is Texas law.  House Bill 89 was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in July saying that it was aimed at targeting companies that are involved in BDS. “As Israel’s number one trading partner in the United States, Texas is proud to reaffirm its support for the people of Israel and we will continue to build on our historic partnership, “ Abbott stated. “Anti-Israeli policies are anti-Texas policies and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally.”

Interesting.  Israel’s ability to thwart the US Constitution (article one) is truly remarkable.  Can you imagine a foreign country coming to Canada and demanding that Canadians usurp the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for the foreign power’s political gain?  Doesn’t that seem ridiculous? Or are we next?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Working link to Idea City

Working link to IdeaCity
Apologies for the broken links. Here are two direct links to my talk at Idea City
You can also view it directly from the IdeaCity page, at:

Journey Into Civil Disobedience

Journey into Civil Disobedience      Images are not displayed. Display images below


Working link to IdeaCity

Apologies for the broken links. Here are two direct links to my talk:
You can also view it directly from the IdeaCity page, at:

Several days ago a friend and colleague wrote asking my advice as they are considering environmental civil disobedience. What can I say? What advice can I give? Every situations depends almost entirely on the strength of the protestor’s resolve once you make the decision – that’s when the journey starts. And it can take you to places you never expect, including on stage in front of hundreds of people. I’m sharing a link (here) to a video recently posted by IdeaCity where I was invited to talk in 2008 about the first steps in my own journey, and my resolve to take the path of civil disobedience, wherever it led. I hope my friend finds it helpful in these dark times, and that maybe you will too. 

Betty at IdeaCity


Wednesday, October 04, 2017

US playing dirty trade wars with Canada?

US playing dirty trade wars with Canada?

Yes, on the face of it, it does seem that Canada is being unfairly run over by the US.  The US just announced a 220 per cent tariff on a new line of Canadian Bombardier jets.  They are claiming that Bombardier receives unfair government subsidies from the Canadian government. Is this true?  What kind of subsidies? In a report from the Frasier Institute titled Bombardier and Canada’s corporate welfare trap (I know most of you don’t like them, I don’t either) we are told that the welfare program for Bombardier began in 1966 with its first government payment of $35 million. “In the decades since, various Bombardier iterations received over $1.1 billion in (figures adjusted for inflation) in 48 separate disbursements from just Industry Canada. That includes two 2009 cheques worth $233 million”.


I find there is an interesting parallel between the recent US accusation of government subsidies for Bombardier and the multi-national logging companies’ corporate welfare. As I have written previously, I think the US is correct in this claim. But our governments are supposed to represent us, right?  Not private companies?  Yet if the true worth of our public forests had been secured by the government by charging a true corresponding value stumpage fee for every huge old growth tree cut in BC public forests, BC would be a financial beacon of light right now.  We would have no child poverty, no homelessness, nobody going to bed hungry at night or scrounging in garbage bins.  Our medical and social services would be so up to date that drug overdose deaths would be a thing of the distant past. Where did all this lost public revenue generated by our public forests go?  Into the private pockets of the logging industry barons.  


While Boeing (the US jet manufacture that originally sued for redress) also has subsidies, it is the particular kind of Canadian subsidies that the US objects to. While Boeing’s aid comes in the form of favorable defense contracts and tax breaks on the state level, Bombardier’s subsidies, by contrast, come in the form of the government effectively partnering with the company in funding the early stages of development. But quibbling about the details is a false distraction. Both are types of PPP (public private partnerships) masquerading as private industry while sucking up obscene amounts of tax money out of hundreds of millions of increasing impoverished North Americans. Nobody has clean hands in this deal.