Monday, April 29, 2019

Venezuela, Sanctions and Canadian gas pump horror



What have Canadian sanctions on Venezuela oil got to do with the rise in the price of Canadian gasoline?  Isn’t this rise just a normal kind of pre-summer scalping that we endure every year?  No, this time is different.  This time the price gouging has to do with the very nature of oil, and the nature of the oil sanctions imposed by the US.


There are two kinds of oil: light sweet and heavy sweet crude.  The US has lots of light sweet, but must import the heavy sweet crude to mix with their own lighter crude to meet IMO (International Maritime Organization) standards.  Guess who formally supplied the US with most of this valuable mix. Why, Venezuela and Iran, of course.  Iran is also considered in drastic need of a regime change by the US war hawks and may not have to wait long for their turn of the screw.  In the meantime, because of the difficultly of the existing sanctions already put on Venezuela by the US and by Canada, heavy oil is at a premium.  This puts pressure on the price of gasoline and Canadian gas pumps, as well as American ones, will increasingly reflect this pressure in the coming months. In my opinion Canadians are going to pay in more ways than one for slapping sanctions on Venezuela.  There is another irony…we are sitting here in Canada with an enormous amount of heavy crude (the oil sands) but no delivery systems. If so many people weren’t suffering by these sanctions on Venezuela, and increasingly in Canada, I would almost laugh at the pompous, arrogant US war hawks. As both US Republicans and Democrats agreed to these sanctions I think the “Land of the Free” as a whole is nursing vipers in its bosom. And Trudeau is trying his very best to join that club of vipers.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Our Trudeau Government: the experts on Venezuela

Of course, this title is sarcasm.  When Jody Wilson-Raybold and Jane Philpott vanished from Trudeau’s cabinet I think they left a serious integrity void in that make-believe feminist stronghold.  Integrity means not accepting bad ideas when you know they are bad ideas, or try to pretend you know something when you don’t.  Like our Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. She speaks with such authority and more than a little righteous indignation when setting us all straight about Venezuela and President Maduro.  She says Maduro is an evil dictator and this is why Canada must throw our weight behind the US demand for regime change there. Regime change that must be done in order to help save the poor suffering people of Venezuela. 


I don’t buy it.  And I don’t think a lot of other Canadians do, either. Many of us think it’s about Venezuela’s extensive oil fields. But no, Freeland insists, it’s about the poor suffering people there.  That’s why Canada has had to slap on more sanctions, along with the Americans, against Venezuela. To ramp up the suffering of Venezuelans. Venezuelans will evidentially have to suffer a great deal for snubbing Trump’s choice for president of Venezuela, and for refusing to kick out Maduro.  They must be taught that Donald Trump is president of the entire world. In my opinion this is rather like a man starving a dog over an extended period of time and then deciding to shoot the dog because he looks so bad. Especially when the dog, even with his ribs sticking out, has been guarding the oil.


Donald Trump and his enforcers covet this oil.  Enforcers?  Who are they?  The men who surround Trump and threaten the rest of the world.   They act like enforcers act everywhere they are…do this or that or we will break your legs and maybe kill you and your mother. Then we will sow your fields with salt.  Or something of this nature. These men are in the news constantly making enforcer threats, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, and Elliot Abrams.  They all love to bully from the pulpit of the Pentagon with the knowledge of the full weight of American fire power behind them. Experienced enforcers all, they never met a plundering war for booty they didn’t like.  Mike Pence, US vice president is somewhat less seen before the cameras, but certainly joins in the aspirations of the rest.  His Evangelical religion allows for constant wars before the rapture can descend. Especially wars concerning Israel. Netanyahu is an honorary cheerleader of the enforcer’s club.  He depends on Trump’s enforcers to back him up while he uses live ammunition on the Palestinian protesters claiming the right of return, and bemoaning Trump’s seeming hesitation to begin bombing Iran.  Sure, they are all up for bombing Iran. They all hate Iran. But first, they dream of sacking Venezuela.  


Freeland, in Canada’s name, recognizes as president of Venezuela a brash young man who goes by the name title of Juan Guido, President of Venezuela.  President of Venezuela? Who elected him president?  Nobody in Venezuela.  Except himself.  He elected himself. But I don’t think it was really his own idea.  As brash and pompous as he is, he would not have done such a thing, or even thought of it, were he not totally sure of powerful forces behind him that could bring such a plan to fruition.  He was introduced to the world as interim president of Venezuela by the residing President of the World, Donald Trump.  Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, almost fell over his own feet to be the first to follow suit. Of course our Minister of Foreign Affairs tries to make more sanctions against Venezuelans sound like a sweet, womanly thing she is doing to help the Venezuelan people.  In my opinion, Chrystia Freeland is dumber than a stick about Venezuela.  In reality, by doing her bit to try to force regime change in Venezuela she is serving Trump and his enforcers, not Canadians.  Next time…oil, class and race in Venezuela, why Maduro is holding on, and why Canadians are paying more for gas.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Julian Assange: Ecuadorian defense and Trudeau’s cowardice


As I write this there are riots in the streets of Ecuador protesting the arrest of Julian Assange.  Thank the human will to find the good and the free, wherever it lives, that there are people in the streets somewhere protesting the threatened demise of freedom of speech.  But nothing from Canada.   Nada.  Not a peep of concern for Freedom of speech here.  Trudeau obviously must abide by directions from Trump.  He seems to tremble in fear of being severely chastised by Trump once again. When rebuked for even bringing up the subject of gender balance while in trade discussions, Trump called Trudeau “weak”.  Trudeau cowered like a whipped puppy. I doubt Trudeau will ever mention gender equality again to the Americans, especially when discussing with Trump what Canada  should do about any given issue to put Trudeau policies  more in line with the US agenda.


Nevertheless, with the arrest of Assange we are all in danger of letting what is left of our right to freedom of speech slip away.  This danger is omnipresent.  We hear it in all directions. From Israel we hear their demands that any criticism of Israel should be labelled as hate crime.  Furthermore, Israel insists the US government must adhere to Israel’s further demand that every state government in the US must require signatures of promises not to join or sympathize with the BDS movement before they give out state contracts. The BDS movement calls for a boycott of Israeli goods until Israel stops tormenting the Palestinians to death.   But Trumps loves Netanyahu.   He seems willing to give Netanyahu all he wants to prove his heart felt devotion, he will give away land (the Golan Heights) that doesn’t belong to Trump or Netanyahu, change embassy locations, support continuous Israel settlements on other Palestinian lands (the West Bank) that doesn’t belong to either of them, and support the shooting of unarmed protestors with live ammunition. Yes, I know that the young Palestinians are throwing sticks and stones but that doesn’t compute with live ammunition.  Another thing that chokes me is that Netanyahu has been able to seduce Trump into forcing Americans to defile and reject their own Constitution…the first Amendment anchors freedom of speech as vital to American freedom. It reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, of prohibiting the free exercise therefor; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition government for a redress of grievances”.


And what does the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms say about freedom of speech? In section 2:  “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: a. freedom of conscience and religion; b. freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; c. freedom of peaceful assembly; and d. freedom of association”.  Sounds wonderful, right?  Then why have we been made so fearful of our own rules and laws?  Scared, like little mice, to speak up, to riot in the streets as the Ecuadorians are doing to try to save their rights to free speech, as well as those of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.


We all need freedom of speech.  To try to make some speech criminal according to who is doing the speaking is not freedom.  It is state censorship.  If I criticize Israel I am called anti-Semitic.  If I find fault in Islam’s treatment of women I am labeled an Islamophobe.  If I find fault with Christianity, especially what I call the toxic fundamentalist kind that needs war (especially a great world destroying one) so that the “rapture” will descend upon them, I am told I shouldn’t say such things, or else I’m called names.  My point is that all of these religious leaders think they have the one true, correct message straight from a higher power and if we don’t agree we will be severely punished.  These religious organizations all affect governments.  They affect how our laws are made, what our values are considered to be, what is taught in our schools. They must be discussed in open forums and to do this we must be able to say what we think of the world, how it is being formed, what is happening to the climate, what all of  the never ending wars are really about, and what is happening to the evolution of the human species.  We cannot do this without freedom of speech and association.  Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are my heroes.  I am very happy to see they are also considered heroes by many people in Ecuador. It is wonderful to know that these people, so far from us, recognize that freedom of speech is necessary to human life.  I hope these Ecuadorians take good care of themselves.  We need them as examples of people yearning for freedom who are strong enough to put their lives on the line.