Dialogue v30 4 summer2017digital

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VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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David Bond

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A word from the publisher and editor… Dear Reader, We trust that this issue of Dialogue, Vol.30 - 4 – late though it is – will provide you with entertaining and challenging summer reading, offering perhaps both antidote and insight for these turbulent times. We hope you enjoy our “P” themed cover ~ Susanne Lawson’s original swirling planetary picture, called Cosmos, which she says “is a rendition of what I see out there.” (To view her drawing in its original orientation, turn the cover sideways!) Thank you, Suzanne. The prayerful invocation on the back cover arrived via a serendipitous email error, just in time to remind of us of things to be grateful for in Canada – with Thanks to Carol Penner. We are very pleased to welcome many new writers in this issue. Retired economist David Bond, on p.8, offers a clear and concise exposé of the financial misdeeds of the provincial Liberal government in BC, which is currently in a post-election fight to cling to power (or trigger a new election). [There are a number of interesting comments – and a poem – inspired by BC election topics, pp.4,8,10,28.] Other new writers include Peter Weygang, p.11; Robert D. Watt, p.13; David Thompson, p.16; Sandra Julian, p.21; and Lawrence McCurry, on p.23. Thank you all. A far-reaching idea that you shouldn’t miss is in Jim Taylor’s piece on “emergent” phenomena, p.6. There are some really good books discussed in this issue, listed at the bottom of page 2. We are especially enjoying reading Jonathan Haidt’s: The Righteous Mind. And “Congratulations!” to Marie Gaudet on her 50th column in Dialogue, on p.48. The last little tidbit, from Herb Spencer, was squeezed in on p.12, on the documentary, Get Me Roger Stone – ‘the man who created Trump’ – about “the ultimate inside outlier of conservative politics… (and) how the Republican Party made itself over from an organization of gentlemen into a slash-and-burn cult.” As you will see in a note, on p.52, we are beginning the process of exploring how Dialogue will be able to continue long into the future – beyond the volunteer efforts of the two of us. We are calling this process “Project Perpetuate” – with a nod to our ‘P’ theme! Please get in touch if you would like to participate in the process in any way. If you enjoy Dialogue, please consider ordering a Gift Subscription for a friend or local library, or a waiting room/café? [p.58.] And Thank You if you are able to help with a donation at this time, so we can meet expenses while keeping our subscription rate affordable for everyone.


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…an independent, Canadian volunteer-produced, not-for-profit quarterly, written and supported by its readers – empowering their voices and the sharing of ideas. Now in its 30th year, dialogue provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and an antidote to political correctness. We encourage readers to share with others the ideas and insights gleaned from these pages. If this is your first issue, please let us know what you think of it.

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VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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From Near and Far

Liberals' massive increase in defence spending is a budgetary coup Murray Dobbin, rabble.ca, June 9, 2017

The arrogance of power could scarcely be more dramatically demonstrated than by the tag team of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announcing that Canada was going to cave in to Donald Trump's demand that we spend two per cent of GDP on defence. We will be increasing military spending by 70 per cent over 10 years -- an obscenity when so many social needs go unmet. Not only does this make a mockery of

Trudeau's election pledge to return to Canada's historic peacekeeping role but surrenders to the absurd one-size-fits-all NATO imperative. Nothing has changed internationally to justify such an increase. There are no existential threats to Canada on any horizon. As Trudeau said in March, Canada more than pulls its weight in NATO: we are the sixth-highest spender in NATO and 16th in the world. […] LINK: http://tinyurl.com/MD-rabble-coup ♣


Dialogue impossible inside echo chamber Letter recommended by Ed Goertzen: (Toronto Star, Letters 2017-03-20) by Stephen Bloom, To.)

Re Free speech at university under attack... again (By David Millard Haskell, March 16, 2017, LINK: http://tinyurl.com/ts-03-16-free-speech

In writing critically about the student boycott of a speech by Danielle Robitaille (part of the legal team for Jian Ghomeshi) that resulted in the cancellation of the speech, David Millard Haskell has put his finger on a major problem plaguing today's society. We only want to listen to those with whom we agree and shut out all opinions we are opposed to. Uncomfortable situations and people are to be kept out of our dialogue. We do not really speak to each other, only to those who are like-minded. If we are on the left

of the spectrum, we read only left-wing articles; if on the right, we read the right. There is no dialogue, making compromise impossible. Consequently, we no longer learn how others feel or why they feel this way. We …/ live in ignorance of the other and see the world as opposing camps when, in reality, we probably have more in common than we think or want to know. The world has split into liberals and conservatives without a sense of what the other is really thinking, feeling or saying and extremism has taken hold of much of western society. This is as much a fault of the left as the right. Without dialogue there is no hope for unity. – Stephen Bloom, Toronto LINK: http://tinyurl.com/ts-03-20-echo-chamber ♣


There is hope for us yet… FROM Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) Broadcaster/writerBox 698, Lions Bay, B.C. V0N 2E0 Email: rafe@rafeonline.com

Excellent comments recently by newly elected Green Party MLA Adam Olsen surprised me, pleasantly, and if this marks the beginning of a new parliamentary philosophy, there's hope for us yet. – Rafe The article (extract below), originally quoted by Rafe, is by Thomas Teuwen, coordinator of the Green Party EDA (electoral district association) of the Saanich-Gulf Islands, Elizabeth May’s riding, writing about Adam Olsen’s volunteer appreciation potluck on June 4th.

Thomas Teuwen: …In Adam's speech to the gathering, he clearly articulated the values that were continuing to drive negotiations. Then he left the event early to attend what turned out to be the last negotiating session. 4 dialogue

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Adam reminded us that it has been a dream of Greens to hold the balance of power and joked that we have to be careful what we wish for. Suddenly this amazing Green caucus had been thrust into a role with crushing responsibilities that determine the trajectory of not only this province but of the Green movement and even electoral reform across the country. "British Columbians elected a government that is expected to serve for four years" (he said); Adam was unequivocal that if any of the parties decide to force another election so they can win a false majority and grab the levers of power, this legislature will have failed. "It's not about holding the balance of power, but about shared responsibility." Making a minority government work requires a dedication to good governance by all www.dialogue.ca

MLAs. No more free ride, no more skipping out on votes, every MLA is expected to be on deck. Let's face it, under a majority government the opposition and even the government backbenchers have it relatively easy. Isolated from power, opposition parties carry no responsibility nor do they have any incentive to actively participate in forging legislation. And the back-benchers of the "party in power" simply serve as members of a posse, their primary role being to enforce the power of the party leader and cabinet. Sadly this paradigm of absolute power is so entrenched in our culture that many are having a really difficult time wrapping their head around the alternative. It's like we expect to have a dictator, someone to blame, a villain that validates our righteousness. We want somebody in charge, one individual to be held accountable. The media talks about king/queen makers as if it was fully acceptable, even desirable, to be ruled by an iron fist. These are not democratic sentiments. As long as leaders of false majorities are mandated (and expected) to govern with virtual impunity, we will not have legislators who will challenge the alternative facts - http://tinyurl.com/EMmp-01-06-fact that led to Justin Trudeau's endorsement of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. As we can see in this (YouTube) clip - http://tinyurl.com/yt-qp5-30 - both the Liberals and

Conservatives are stuck in the last century on this. The Trudeau government continues to insist that dilbit can be cleaned up, that the project underwent a fact-based environmental review, and that piping diluted bitumen to tidewater, so that other countries can secure the economic benefits of refining it, is somehow in Canada's national interest. Of course the most outrageous doublespeak is that approving pipelines to pump the dirtiest oil on the planet to markets, somehow is an important part of Canada's climate commitment. "It (the Green/NDP agreement to stop Kinder Morgan) presents a colossal headache to him because he has burned a significant amount of political capital (pushing through the approval of this pipeline)," according to the executive director of the Angus Reid Institute. And now we have the opportunity to support the BC government as they stand with First Nations to protect our coast and inform the federal Liberals that Kinder Morgan's pipe dream is indeed dead. It's time to tell Justin Trudeau that capitulating to the back room strategists and old time power brokers is a bad idea in an age of populism. Citizen engagement and climate awareness is on the rise and the world is uniting to "make the planet great again." He might want to think hard about which side of history he wants to occupy. […] Continue reading Thomas Teuwen, online at LINK: http://www.sgigreenparty.ca/gsm170604 ♣


Trudeau Liberals must reverse policies that enrich minority but hollow out middle class Larry Kazdan, Vancouver

The Trudeau Liberals must reverse three policies that enrich a minority but hollow out the middle class:– 1) free trade deals with pro-business tribunals; 2) raw resource exports that create few jobs, and 3) privatization of infrastructure that exacts higher tolls and fees. A fruitless wait to engage large multi-national corporations is unnecessary. The Canadian government has the power to legislate, the power to tax, and the power to create money through a central bank. Trudeau can use these tools immediately to reduce income inequality and achieve full employment. Political will is the only thing lacking. Footnotes: 1. Above comment generated by R. M. Warren, Apr. 14-17: “Trudeau has provided some help and some hurt – but must move past tinkering.” See article online, at LINK (at LFPress): http://tinyurl.com/lf-rmw-4-14 www.dialogue.ca

2. Iceland proves the nation state is alive and well Article by Bill Mitchell – in his “billy blog - Modern Monetary Theory … macroeconomic reality” – online, at link: http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=33707

[Quote] "We also learned this week that the Icelandic government has increased the intensity of its capital controls and is forcing speculative capital to behave itself. ..... Iceland proves that neoliberalism has to work through the legislative capacities of sovereign states. Corporations do not have armies (usually). They have to manipulate the legislative process in their favour. The currency-issuing state is still supreme – globalisation or not –....." William Mitchell is Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia] ♣ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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A Thought-Provoking Perspective on the Reality We are Part of… SOMETHING BIGGER THAN OURSELVES By Jim Taylor, Okanagan Centre BC May 24, 2017: I've been learning a new word --

"emergent." One of my dictionaries doesn't include the word at all. The others describing something that arises, comes to attention. The root, of course, is the verb “emerge.” Author Nancy Ellen Abrams uses the word to mean a reality that emerges from, but is quite different from, something else. She uses the analogy of an ant hill. I prefer a termite mound – something I happen to know more about. Your average termite, you see, is a stupid creature. It's a whitish grub. It has only rudimentary senses; it can't really see where it is going. It can do only two things – crawl and chew. But put a number of termites together and they will immediately start to build a home for themselves. The mound that emerges is astonishingly complex. Really big termite mounds can stand 17 feet tall, and go 8 feet underground. Although a mound feels rock solid, it’s actually an interlocking mass of rigid bubbles. With up to two million termites in a mound, the mound must be engineered to exhaust all that stale air. So it incorporates its own air conditioning system. When the sun heats one side of the mound, hot air rises through a complex network of internal channels, which in turn draws in cooler air in from the far side of the mound. The solar-powered heat pump circulates air through the entire mound, keeping the queen, her progeny, and her workers at just the right temperature. And the termites do this with no direction. No blueprints. No planning. No one termite – especially not even the queen, who is little more than a living ovary – has the intelligence to direct this construction. None of the termites knew what they were doing when they created it. But it is unquestionably real. Abrams calls this an "emergent" phenomenon. It 6 dialogue

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derives from the collective activity of those termites. But it is not them. It is more than them. EMERGENT INSTITUTIONS I read her reasoning, and I think "emergent" might apply to much more than termite mounds. A corporation, for example. A multi-national corporation is more than any of its individuals, whether staff or management. In the past, I have derided corporations as economic fictions, figments of our imagination. Abrams helps me see that they are not. Like a termite mound, they are a reality that emerges from certain kinds of collective human activities. Of course, the same could be said of many other organizations. Charities, for example. Service clubs. Protest movements. Political parties. Sportswriters natter (endlessly) about team spirit. A team may have individual superstars. But when a team rides a winning streak, the whole transcends its individual members. When it happens, team spirit is real. It can't be rationalized away as socio-psychological jargon. How about churches? Rather than creations of a supernatural deity, they are an emergent reality, a phenomenon that arises out of, and surpasses, human activities. In her book, A God That Could Be Real, Abrams argues that even God can be seen as an emergent reality. A reality th transcends us humans. Neither a figment of wishful thinking nor a physical being, but a reality nevertheless. And just as real as a termite mound. ***************************************** Copyright © 2017 by Jim Taylor. Non-profit use in congregations and study groups, and links from other blogs, welcomed; all other rights reserved. To comment on this column, write jimt@quixotic.ca (and send a copy to dialogue@dialogue.ca too, thanks!) ♣ www.dialogue.ca


Letter to the Prime Minister: Reflect on the concentration of wealth By Erik Andersen, Gabriola Island From Erik Andersen, Gabriola Island BC, June 24, 2017 To Prime Minister Trudeau and members of the Finance Committee House of Commons, Ottawa K1A 0A4

Dear Members of the Canadian House of Commons; Now that your summer recess has started, perhaps it could be a time to reflect on what you are doing for and on behalf of the citizens of Canada. For almost a decade those who have an interest in the economic and financial well-being of humans have been regularly reporting on the unwholesome concentration of wealth, income and what always follows the big money, political power. Documentation by people like the French economist Thomas Piketty and the Economists at Credit Swiss leave nothing to debate of this changing global condition. About a century ago, the world, particularly the western world, was living with nearly the same degree of inequalities that are being posted today. If one were to blend in the shadowy world of tax havens, then ownership of wealth, income and political power today would be even more concentrated into the hands of a very few. Maybe the penalty paid for the inequities of the 18th and 19th centuries was the devastation wrought by two horrible wars. Even if you were to deny a causal relationship between the concentration of economic power and a world war there is no denying that post the 1940s the world was generally in a better state and democracy was real, but now less so. In Piketty’s concluding words: “The overall conclusion of this study is that a market economy based on private property, if left to itself, contains powerful forces of convergence, associated in particular with the diffusion of knowledge and skills; but it also contains powerful forces of divergence, which are potentially threatening to democratic societies and to the values of social justice on which they are based. The consequences for the long-term dynamics of the wealth distribution are potentially terrifying, especially when one adds that the return on capital varies directly with the size of the initial stake and that the www.dialogue.ca

divergence in the wealth distribution is occurring on a global scale.” This frightening prospect probably all seems far too academic for those engaged in the life and times of a modern politician. Perhaps some exposure to the realities of the decade we have just been through in my part of Canada will help focus the mind. “Statistics Canada regularly compiles and publishes a “Consumer Price Index” (CPI) (table enclosed*) …/ that shows how the prices have changed in what it measures. In the last decade the CPI has increased roughly 15%, a very modest rise over that time. What is and is not measured is, in their own words, “The universe of goods and services consists of all consumer goods and services that can be associated with a retail price, that is, goods and services for which a price can be associated with a specific quantity and quality. Many public goods and services provided by governments, and for which there is no market priced, are excluded since they cannot be associated with a retail price.” So what are some examples of what are not included in the CPI calculation that are every day costs to people like myself? • Living on an Island means there is almost no avoidance of ferry transport. In the last 10 years we have been forced to pay 33% more; the CPI up 15%. • In 2005 our municipal stand-in, Nanaimo Regional District (RDN) did a shell game trick and introduced a separate garbage collection tax of $96.15 per annum; this was not matched by a reduction in RDN taxes. Since 2005 this annual tax for garbage collection has increased by 47%; the CPI change was +10%. • Rural property tax, imposed by the Government of BC, increased by 17.2% ; the CPI increased by 15%. No new services accompanied this increase in taxes and if anything roads, were poorly maintained. Each property owner is totally financial responsible for her or her water and sewer. • Electricity is provided by the Crown Corporation, BC Hydro, who is supposed to be supervised by the BCUC and who has the public interest to look out for. For the past decade and a half BC Hydro …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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rates to residential customers (tax payers) have increased by 75%; the CPI has increased by 28%. For customers in the Commercial and Light Industrial group the increase has been 72%. For Heavy Industrial customers it was +65%. • And so it goes for health insurance, car insurance, public transit, bridge tolls, etc. From this evidence one can conclude that all governments, not the open markets, are the enemies of all citizens because they knowingly exploit the monopoly condition associated with so many services we all depend upon. Standing in the shadows behind all governments are those who seek to obtain taxpayerguaranteed secure income flows, variously labeled as Private Public Partnerships (P3s) and Independent Power Producers (IPPs); you know those people who have been aggressively “paying for access.” Brooksley Born described the kind of economy they create as “tapeworm” economies; ones where the parasites consume the hosts to the point where both end up dead. So what do politicians pay attention to other than big money donors? Not even their own Auditor Generals. To illustrate with one example I have enclosed an opinion from the BC Auditor General, posted early in 2017, but not mentioned in any manner during a recent political campaign. The attached charts illustrate the national contractual financial obligations that are not shown as “debts” for technical accounting reasons and are the currently in vogue way of politicians escaping public accountability. To this pile of financial

obligations you now propose to give a major boost by your planned and un-necessary “infrastructure bank.” A scheme that only follows the path Thomas has identified as anti-democratic. To help with your understanding of why governments are ‘enemy number one’ (not farmers in Florida, Mexico, California) in Canada I am also enclosing two articles that further cover some of the forgoing topics. I saved the best to last. It is a communication from the heart by a First Nation’s villager, living on the west side of Vancouver Island. Anne is not one to play careful with words but if you fail to see how wealth, income and political power are used to prey on the “low hanging fruit” that is throughout Canada, then I know we are doomed. I sincerely hope this small contribution will help bring changes to the ways Governments in Canada conduct themselves. Dante maintained that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who see all but do nothing about social injustices. This letter is part of my doing things to stay out of hell. Sincerely; Erik Andersen, Gabriola Island BC [Email: twolabradors@shaw.ca ] CC: “Dialogue,” “Common Sense Canadian” and “In-Sights” More on BC Hydro from Norm Farrell (at In-Sights): http://tinyurl.com/bchy-nrnr

[* Contact Dialogue if you would like to receive copies of the attachments that Erik included with his letter to the PM – including the column that follows, “Liberals leave financial mess for new gov/t to clean up,” by author David Bond – reprinted with the author’s permission, below.] ♣


BC Liberals leave financial mess for new gov’t to clean up David Bond, Kelowna BC, June 6, 2017

The next provincial government faces two enormous fiscal time bombs, cynically manufactured by the Liberals in the name of so-called balanced budgets and maintaining a triple-A credit rating. First is BC Hydro whose revenues do not cover their costs. The Liberals kept the rates low given the looming election; consequently, Hydro was forced to borrow. In 10 years, Hydro’s debt went from $6 billion to $20 billion, and that doesn’t include any borrowing for Site C – yet. Every department of the B.C. government, and every Crown-owned firm, operates under Canadian accounting rules except for BC Hydro. When Canadian accounting rules came under the International Financial Reporting Standards a few years 8 dialogue

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ago, the pension deficit Hydro experienced as a consequence of the 2008 recession had to be accounted for as a loss in the year it happened, which meant no dividend. So the government changed the rules, to a more accommodating U.S. standard. The government also arranged that revenues – which might be received several years from now, if the BC Utilities Commission approves (which it hasn’t) – be counted immediately, contributing to a fictional “profit.” And from that “profit,” the government extracted dividends to permit the budget to balance. This manufactured profit – remember, their costs exceed their revenues, also by government order – comes after Hydro has already paid “water rentals” to the province for the water that flows through their dams. Kind of like taxing gravity. …/ www.dialogue.ca

Even the laxer standard requires that the deferral accounting practices of the provincial government had to be approved by an impartial, arm’s-length regulator. That, in turn, required yet another change of rules dropping the requirement of regulatory approval. Henceforth, any practice convenient for the electoral prospects of the government was miraculously legal. The upshot is that BC Hydro’s pension account is $1.2 billion below what is required for actuarial solvency, the deferral accounts have grown to several billion, and the total debt is over $20 billion. About $2 billion of that will have to be paid down in the next fiscal year. BC Hydro has asked the BC Utilities Commission for an unprecedented 12 years to catch up on its pension liability. The Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) is another story of public assets plundered in the name of a balanced budget and that cherished credit rating. Financial regulators have set a standard that says an insurance company must hold reserves to pay claims equal to 130 per cent of its outstanding liabilities. ICBC’s reserves have been diverted by the government. The corporation needs a cool $1 billion in cash from its shareholder, the provincial government immediately, or it must raise its premiums by about 40 per cent. By law, automobile owners and drivers must use ICBC for basic insurance. Thus, as driver or taxpayer, you and I will get to pay the bill.

But back to BC Hydro. How does the government find the funds needed to restore its devastated balance sheet? First, immediately shutting down the unnecessary Site C would stop much future bleeding. Second, BC Hydro’s capital expenditures include about a billion a year for new power, over and above the amount needed to sustain existing facilities. Stop that. Third, many agreements with Independent Power Producers that forced Hydro to pay non-market prices for power are in default. Cancelling these contracts would yield substantial savings. Fourth, allow Hydro to charge rates equal to their costs and if the rate shock is unbearable, transfer some of the debt to the province. Even more importantly, both BC Hydro and ICBC need professional, non-political directors and senior management and they need them now. A postscript about our triple-A rating. The fact that credit rating agencies are paid by the issuers of debt, not the hapless buyers, means that their analyses are suspect. I predict they will wait until the NDP are installed before lowering our rating, even though the financial damage was done by its predecessor government. David Bond is an author and retired bank economist. Email: curmudgeon@harumpf.com / LINK at Kelowna Daily Courier: http://tinyurl.com/kdc-bond-lib-mess ♣



Canadian PM Power in contrast to Britain David Foster, Port Perry ON, david.foster2@powergate.ca

In contrast to Britain's Prime Minister, the Prime Minister of Canada has the power to appoint whomever he wants to head up watchdog agencies that enforce key laws to protect our democracy and human rights, and to protect the environment, consumers and your family from being abused. More than 2,000 people are hand-picked by Canada's Prime Minister to head up these key watchdog agencies, with very few restrictions on whom he chooses. The Prime Minister even gets to choose the watchdogs who enforce the laws that require himself – and www.dialogue.ca

his Cabinet ministers and top government officials – to be honest, ethical, open and waste-preventing! As a result, Canada's Prime Minister can easily pick lapdogs to be the Ethics Commissioner, Auditor General, Chief Electoral Officer, Lobbying Commissioner, RCMP Commissioner, Information Commissioner, Parliamentary Budget Officer, and Integrity Commissioner. And the Prime Minister can pick lapdogs for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, National Energy Board, Immigration and Refugee Board, Competition Bureau, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, Transportation Safety Board, …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and for many more key watchdog agencies. Those lapdogs can then protect the Prime Minister, his Cabinet ministers and government officials instead of strongly enforcing laws and holding them accountable for wrongdoing. This has to stop – unchecked political lapdog appointments that put unqualified people into powerful, important government jobs hurt our democracy, our environment and our families, and waste our money. And it can be stopped – the Ontario government has an independent committee to find qualified people to be appointed as judges for Ontario's courts. And Britain has an independent committee to find qualified people to be appointed as the heads of judges and all law enforcement and watchdog agencies, boards, commissions and tribunals. You can help stop political lapdog appointments by signing and sharing this petition which calls on the federal government to set up a fully independent appointments committee, like Ontario and Britain have, to ensure that qualified, non-partisan people are chosen to be strong watchdogs for all these key law enforcement agencies. Prime Minister Trudeau will choose several key government watchdogs in the next few months, and the

Liberals are using exactly the same process to choose lapdogs as former Prime Minister Harper's Conservatives used. The pressure is increasing on Prime Minister Trudeau to set up an independent appointments committee to stop him from appointing political lapdogs. Your time to be heard is now -- please sign and share this petition with everyone you think may want to sign it. You can also help stop political lapdog appointments by your provincial government by using Democracy Watch – http://tinyurl.com/dw-bad-ap – to send a letter to your Premier and provincial politician. See details about political lapdog appointments in the following recent news stories Toronto Star (May 23, 2017) -- Government shouldn’t choose watchdogs meant to hold it to account LINK: http://tinyurl.com/ts-5-23-watchdogs National Post (June 6, 2017) -- Trudeau Cabinet in conflict of interest when appointing ethics and lobbying watchdogs as both are investigating Trudeau LINK: http://tinyurl.com/np-ethics-watchdogs Democracy Watch (May 17, 2017) -- Federal Liberals should suspend Ethics Commissioner, Lobbying Commissioner and other judicial and watchdog appointments until they make the appointment process independent and merit-based LINK: http://tinyurl.com/dw-5-17-suspend

– David Foster ♣ [SEE ALSO FROM DAVID, P.13]


Possibilities of Power Jim Erkiletian, Nanaimo BC, [Email: erkil@telus.net ]

The Green Party's in, and through the lands and seas we are suddenly aware of the possibilities, That pipelines can be stopped, our country rescued from becoming Alberta's dump and a cash cow for the Trumps. That coal can be taxed at seventy bucks a tonne while the clear cutting bums get the rush they got coming. That we can keep the tankers from despoiling our coast as belonging to the land becomes our hostess with the most. In the nineteen seventies, our western Canadian home gave birth to the movement that may take us through the storm Greenpeace against nukes brought young activism to the fore and called for a different model, and a different mind to form. While the people's plans are taken, co-opted and stolen, the ideals and ideas keep on spreading through the one-big-soul. As our world begins to wither at the coming climate change, hope springs again into the ring to set us on the hinge Of either a final gasp or a tentative grasp of what we may become – True shepherds of the land and sea and lovers too with some. ♣ 10 dialogue

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Citizens For Direct Democracy (C4DD) A volunteer organization working toward a renewed way of doing democracy Peter Weygang, Bobcaygeon ON

Thank you for my first copy of Dialogue. Several articles show the frustration of many people with our political system. I have shared some of the contents with my colleagues in Citizens for Direct Democracy (formerly known as the Social Media Party) – www.citizensfordirectdemocracy.ca. Party politics, and the associated imperialistic bureaucracy, has failed to address any important issues regarding trade, poverty, the environment, out-sourcing, and so on. (Below) is a letter that may be of broad interest to your readers. Many of them seem to be interested in Direct Democracy. Yours sincerely, Peter Weygang peterweygang@gmail.com www.citizensfordirectdemocracy.ca citizens4dd@gmail.com

A Call for Direct Democracy in Canada Our Prime Minister continues his pirouettes on the international stage. He hopes to be rewarded by Canada’s admission to the Security Council. The PM’s hot-foot pursuit of CETA shows that he is unware that trade, from the first exchange of prehistoric flint arrow heads, was designed solely for the traders. Buy low here; sell high there. Nothing has changed. Canada may get $12 billions more in trade. The fact that the EU gets $17 billions more is completely ignored. We will, as always, see a net loss of trade – this time about $5 billions worth. The people know this. That is why they protest. However, C4DD has come to the conclusion that letters, speeches, protests, petitions, marches, sit-ins, and other yappings at government, are completely futile. They always were. History shows us that nothing happens, no changes occur, no improvements are made to the lot of the common man, until a revolution takes place. C4DD’s objective is to make direct democracy the law of the land. This concept arose in Athens about 500 BC. The name comes from ‘demos’ the people. It is grass roots people power. Party politics comes from ‘polis’ the state. That is rule by the state, and, ever www.dialogue.ca

more so, by the enormous political bureaucracy that pursues its own imperialistic agenda. Representational democracy has failed. It is only the Prime Minister that calls the tune. He dances, the MPs shuffle. C4DD believes that since the people pay the piper, it is time that they called the tune. We admire the work done by the Pirate Party in Iceland. They richly deserve their great success in the recent elections. The Pirate Party of Canada is also growing stronger. However, in both cases, they are pursuing specific goals. C4DD is, as far as I know, the only party that is prepared to put the people in the driving seat on all issues. The only party that understands that a major problem, and the chief cause of our staggering collective debt, is that there are too many piggies at the trough. … We hope to start with local municipalities; especially those that were disfigured economically, socially, and democratically, by amalgamation. We want to elect councilors who agree to abide by the C4DD Charter. (see our website) Eventually this format would be forced on provincial, and federal, governments. The role of elected officials would change completely. They would have to be wise, knowledgeable, experienced, empathetic people, with an inner conviction that the life of the good, and faithful, servant is honourable, and enormously rewarding at the deepest level. Parliament would return to its roots as a parlez – a talking place. A place where ideas are shared, and implemented, in order to serve the will of the people. Political parties would disappear. C4DD is a volunteer organization. However, running candidates under the Direct Democracy flag at the next election will be costly. Our website has an interesting collection of videos to whet your appetite for a new way of doing democracy. We would appreciate your support. Peter Weygang M.A.(Oxon);D.I.C.;M.Ed, P.S. We are in the process of finalizing a leaflet to mail out to all the residents of City of Kawartha Lakes. We want to build a large C4DD community before the next municipal election. We hope to have a majority on the Council, at which time we will establish the groundwork for Direct Democracy. …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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My background is a bit unusual for a political activist. I was a State Scholar at Oxford, where I read Physics. I was a Shell Scholar at Imperial, with a postgraduate diploma in Reservoir Engineering. I have an M.Ed from Queen's. My interest in politics is very recent. It is a worthwhile way to spend my retirement days. Something must be done before the very meaning of democracy is lost, for all time. Note: C4DD has a Charter – view online at: LINK: www.citizensfordirectdemocracy.ca/about-us.html

The unique feature of C4DD is that it is a process. We have no view on issues per se, but only on how those issues are resolved, namely by the full participation of the people. We argue that if the people are not governing themselves, then they are being governed by someone else; a monarchy, a dictatorship, a political party, a religious sect, an oligarchy, capitalists, and so on. These are all forms of tyranny. We also define the structure, function, and cost of government. This is a radical idea since party politics, plus their bureaucracies, have created a monstrous voracious amoeba, that is steadily smearing itself all over us. It is time to take a hot shower with C4DD! ♣


The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion – 2012 book by Jonathan Haidt [Quoted from the back cover:] As America descends

deeper into polarization and paralysis, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has done the seemingly impossible - challenged conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to everyone on the political spectrum. Drawing on his twenty-five years of ground-breaking research on moral psychology, he shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. Haidt explains why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and demonstrates why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives us the

key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you're ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind. "A remarkable and original synthesis of social psychology, political analysis, and moral reasoning." – Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University, author of Consilience Author Jonathan Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University's Stern School of Business. He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, and the co-editor of Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived. He lives in New York City Author’s website: www.jonathanhaidt.com ♣


P Is for Propaganda Extract from Jacques Ellul's "Propaganda" (1965) Introduction (by Konrad Kellen), Pg.VI [QUOTE] A related point, central to Ellul's thesis, is that modern propaganda cannot work without "education". Thus he reverses the widespread notion that education is the best prophylactic against propaganda. On the contrary, he says, education, or what usually goes by that word in the modern world, is the absolute prerequisite for propaganda. In fact, education is largely identical with what Jacques Ellul calls “prepropaganda” – the conditioning of minds with vast amounts of incoherent information, already dispensed for ulterior purposes and posing as "facts" and as "education." Ellul follows through by designating intellectuals as virtually the most vulnerable of all to modern propaganda, for three reasons: (1) they absorb the largest amounts of second hand, unverifiable information; (2) they feel a compelling need to have an 12 dialogue

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opinion on every important question of our time, and thus easily succumb to opinions offered to them by propaganda on all such indigestible pieces of information; (3) they feel themselves capable of "judging for themselves." They literally need propaganda. [END OF QUOTE] Quote rec’d from Ed Goertzen ♣ **********************************************

Two from Herb Spencer, spsi99@telus.net

Fake crowds for fake events…

Once we had real events and real news that reported on them. Then we got False News to confuse the IdeaSphere. Now, we go one better. False Events. You need a crowd for your event? Just call this company: Crowds On Demand…LINK: http://tinyurl.com/dc-fake-crowds ♣

Get Me Roger Stone

I watched this documentary on Netflix… This guy is smart, outrageous, & truly understands US politics and the political media; without doubt, he IS Trump’s Brain and indirect puppet master. He revels in his image as “Prince of Darkness.” With guys like him behind Trump there really is no hope for the USA. I urge you to watch this 20107 documentary. Trailer on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/5IPyv4KgTAA ♣ www.dialogue.ca

In Loving Memory of Dennis Shaw February 16, 1931 – April 5, 2017 (Nanaimo BC) Dennis lived a full life: he played county cricket, was a student at Cambridge University, was an officer in both the British and Canadian armies, and was a popular elementary school teacher. In his retirement years, his chief pursuits were farming and social activism. Dennis is survived by his wife Lois, his four children, Ken, Elliot, Gillian and Linden and five grandchildren, Martney, Quinna, Connor, Lochlan and Gillian.

In Memoriam By Terry Hand, Nanaimo BC

May 17, 2017: I write this with a feeling of deep sorrow and loss. On April 05 2017 we lost a truly great man. Dennis Shaw, one of the original co-founders of the BC Refederation Party passed away quietly in his home surrounded by his family, Dennis had been battling cancer for several years. I want to pay tribute to Dennis who devoted more than seventeen years to the BC Refed party and to British Columbian's as a whole. Dennis’s diligent research and tireless effort throughout these years was selflessly given in the spirit of trying to make BC a better place to live and to enrich the lives of all BC citizens. Even after Dennis stepped down as president in order to donate his time to the “Stop the Smart Meter” campaign he still found time to help me and advise in political queries I had on constitutional matters, or even to help me by proof-reading articles and letters I was working on. I was out of the country when I received the news of his passing, and with limited access to the internet with only an i-pad, I could not provide you, our members, with this sad news in a timely fashion; something I truly regret. On my return to Canada I was busy campaigning as a candidate for the Parksville -

Qualicum electoral district, something I know Dennis was proud of, and so I decided to wait until after the election to pay homage to Dennis. I know I had Dennis’s full support and approval in my decisions, as Dennis visited me shortly before he died. What I didn’t know then but now realize, it was his way of saying a last goodbye. In his younger years Dennis served his country in the military, after which he became an elementary school teacher in Nanaimo until his retirement. He then settled in to running his hobby farm, home schooling his grandson and continuing to be politically active working diligently in the campaign to stop the HST, promoting the BC Refed party, and campaigning to stop the BC government’s move to install smart meters in every home and business in the province. Dennis was a husband, a father, a grandfather and a voluntary champion dedicated in his service to British Columbian's. Dennis was an inspiration, a mentor, a visionary and an honest, and motivated individual. He will be sadly missed by us all! With Deep respect, The BC Refed Executive Team (http://bcrefed.com) ©2017 BC Refed, 573, 7360 137 St., Surrey BC V3W 1A3 ♣


Perspective on Immigration & Citizenship Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology Robert D. Watt, L.V.O., Retired Citizenship Judge, North Vancouver, BC, 1 March, 2017

I want to thank the Committee for giving me this opportunity to express some concerns that I have about Bill C-6. I have detailed my concerns in a written submission to the Commons CIMM* Committee which forms part of the record of that Committee and can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/HOC-CIMMbriefRW At the outset I would like to make it clear that I have never been a member of any political party. Prior to my appointment as a Citizenship Judge, I had more www.dialogue.ca

than 30 years experience in senior professional and administrative positions including nearly twenty years as the first Chief Herald of Canada in the office of the Governor General. My concerns are based on my six years as a Citizenship Judge from 2009 to 2015 when I sat primarily in Vancouver and Surrey, BC, holding hearings and conducting ceremonies. I would be scheduled to have an average of 8-10 language and/or knowledge of Canada hearings a day. If I was dealing with residency cases, as many as …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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four cases a day. These cases were referred to the judges primarily by CIC** officers who had concerns about the applicant’s ability to meet statutory requirements for citizenship. When I determined that the applicant didn’t meet those requirements, I wrote a decision which could be appealed to the Federal Court. The judges were also collectively required to review all other applications that had been processed by CIC officers and which had not raised any red flags. From time to time, we determined that even some of these files should be sent to hearings. Believe me, I have seen thousands of applications for citizenship. My experience shaped my view of citizenship and the requirements for those seeking it. I believe that citizenship is one of the greatest gifts that Canada confers on those fortunate enough to be born here, or to come here from another part of the world. If you ask the question “What should a country ask of someone who wishes to become a citizen?”, I believe it is fair to say that demonstrating a desire to stay and contribute to Canada through a statutory period of residence, as well as demonstrating a basic competence in one of the official languages of Canada and a basic understanding of the Canadian system of government, geography, our economy and our shared values, are at the heart of what is asked of would-be citizens. As you might expect in my work as a judge, I found that the majority of those seeking citizenship demonstrated clearly that they felt these to be fair requirements. However, in Vancouver a smaller but significant number of applicants for citizenship seemed to have other objectives: much less interest in making a permanent commitment to Canada, much greater interest in obtaining a passport and receiving the benefits and protection that citizenship brings. These include substantial financial benefits such as subsidized health care, GST credits and child tax credits (which, through the convenience of direct deposit can be received in Canadian bank accounts even while living abroad). Many of these applicants left Canada (frequently dubbed “immigration prison”) immediately after making an application, returning briefly only to have their documents checked, write the knowledge test and take the Oath. These applicants were at first startling, but they kept turning up and dealing with them was challenging and 14 dialogue

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disheartening. On more than one occasion, newly sworn in citizens brought suitcases to the ceremony room for a rapid departure to Vancouver International Airport. Members of this group have been labelled, I think rightly, as citizens of convenience. They provided the most dramatic evidence why it is essential to have the requirements for citizenship made as clear as possible and to have assessment processes that ensure that those who truly qualified for citizenship, received it and those who fell short, in whatever way, did not. So the issue is how does our National Government balance the important policy objective of shaping a clear route for permanent residents to become Citizens while trying to deal with the phenomenon of those, who partly because of globalization, try to live in several places at once, or who, at worst, are only interested in the benefits that citizenship brings, not in the obligations to make a commitment to build Canada and participate in Canadian society. I want to express a deep concern about three aspects of Bill C-6. 1. “The intent to reside” provision. This provision should remain in the Citizenship Act. Commitment to Canada should be at the heart of Citizenship. I believe that expressly requiring commitment to Canada respects the mobility rights of all citizens but sends a clear signal to those seeking citizenship that it is expected that if citizenship is granted, the new citizen will centre her/his life in Canada and not somewhere else. 2. Residence Requirement. Keep the current requirement. Firstly, the existing Act has the important merit of clarifying that “residence in Canada” means physical presence here. Furthermore, in 2015 the requirement to demonstrate physical presence in Canada diminished from 75% of the time (three years out of four) to 66% (four years out of six). The now proposed 60% (three years out of five) dilutes both the absolute and proportionate residence requirement without clear evidence that the existing requirement is burdensome. It appears to prioritize speed and ease of meeting citizenship requirements at the expense of providing an adequate period (or proportion of time in Canada) in which to assess an applicant’s commitment to Canada, which anyone who is www.dialogue.ca

serious about wanting to be here can meet. The path to citizenship and the requirements for it should be about meeting requirements that are substantial but fair, and not needlessly prolonged. 3. Requirement to demonstrate knowledge of Canada and language proficiency. Leave the age requirement between 14 and 64. Repeatedly in the hearings that I held I was faced with individuals who had lived in Vancouver for years who had made little or no effort to gain a basic proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages. In Vancouver the reality, increasingly, is that several linguistic and cultural communities are of such a size, that individuals from those homelands can and do immigrate to Canada but in several senses, are not here. They can continue to live comfortably in their birth language and the impulse to learn about their new country, its laws and how it works, is dramatically diminished. I would also note that the department must have robust audit procedures in place so that officers can constantly check the validity of documents submitted as

proof of language competency. As well, near the end of my term there were signs that the knowledge test was being made simpler, giving the impression that the department’s senior officials were less interested in a fair assessment of Knowledge of Canada and more in approving the greatest possible number of applicants. Since citizenship, once granted, gives the right to vote, competence in one of the official language and knowledge of Canada, are essential requirements for a considered and thoughtful exercise of the franchise. I appreciate this opportunity to provide input to your deliberations, particularly in view of the very limited consideration given to the proposed legislation by the House of Commons Committee last year. The government should keep in mind that changes to this Act are not only of interest to those seeking citizenship, but to those who already possess it. * CIMM: Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration; ** CIC: Citizenship and Immigration Canada Received from David Foster, May 28, 2017 ♣


“How should Canada be responding to the crisis in Syria?” From David Thompson, BC idslayer@telus.net Response to Brittany Smith, Leadnow.ca

100 years ago, that no conventional media dares mention, either…

[leadnow@leadnow.ca] regarding their April 10th survey re: “How should Canada be responding to the crisis in Syria”


Good evening Brittany, I’ve completed the survey to the best of my ability. I couldn’t answer your campaign question because you didn’t present anything more than the conventional consensus: (i.e.) Syria is guilty of using chemical weapons, while offering absolutely no evidence. In fact, there exists plenty of evidence to the contrary, at www.GlobalResearch.ca :

So, until I can understand where Leadnow stands regarding the facts that are known, I’ll not speculate, unlike virtually all that’s presented (in the Leadnow email) – except that I believe Iraq topped over a million dead, so it has been (and is still counting) “the deadliest conflict of the 21st century” [as opposed to the claim in your email re 465,000 people killed in Syria since 2011]. So, now you do know where I stand on what is going on in Syria, along with at least 6 other countries…

http://www.globalresearch.ca/evidence-that-syriachemical-attacks-weapons-attack-were-staged-byjihadists-un-team/5544804 and here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/pentagon-trainedsyrias-al-qaeda-rebels-in-the-use-of-chemicalweapons/5583784 -- just for starters.

Further, no one has considered a critical question: who benefits? Obviously, “jihadists” of all stripes. Who else: http://www.globalresearch.ca/drilling-for-oil-in-theisraeli-occupied-region-of-syrias-golan-heights-aviolation-of-international-law/5532455

[LINK: http://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-totake-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanonlibya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166 ]

Thank you, Brittany, for taking the time to ask me where I stand – with the truth. Yours truly, David Thompson, BC Email: idslayer@telus.net Website: www.OurCourtsSuck.com ♣

And how about an even bigger picture drawn up over www.dialogue.ca

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The Sceptical Scholar

A Tale of Two Elections

Wilfred Cude, Cape Breton NS

It is a warm and beautiful spring morning, here in rural Cape Breton, as I gaze out my window across the sunshine burst of daffodils in our garden and into the lush greenery of the woods beyond. Then my eyes return to the computer monitor before me, on the morning of 22 May, 2017: and I am gazing in disbelieving, yet nonetheless welcoming, startlement at scenes of equivalent warmth and beauty, urban warmth and beauty, human warmth and beauty, scenes evocative of hope to brighten all our lives across a world frequently depressed and often nearly crushed by bitterness and hate. I am watching a video of celebratory crowds spilling out onto the streets of Tehran, cheering and shouting and praising a signal victory of democracy – the re-election of Hossan Rouhani a couple of days earlier as President of Iran. This is a singular triumph indicative of how democracy, even in a nation fettered by dogmatism, authoritarianism and often brutal repressive forces, can take root and in an ecstatic moment burst out in full flower, once more fetching back – in a resonating flourish of optimism to peoples everywhere – a political sentiment we surely have longed to hear again: “Yes, we can!” Rouhani is a prominent and influential Islamic cleric, as many Iranian politicians continue to be, but he is also a lawyer, an academic, a former diplomat and a participant in the highest circles of national governance. He was first elected to the office of President in June, 2013, scraping through with a first-ballot majority of 50.71%, after running on a very edgy (for Iran) platform of political reform at home and a foreign policy of opening economic and diplomatic relations with the West. And two years later, he delivered on the most difficult of those promises, and delivered big time. In partnership with the US, Russia, China, France, the UK and Germany (a group named P5+1, after the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus nonmember Germany), he signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on limiting Iran’s nuclear development to peaceful use, and then moved forcefully to implement Iran’s compliance. Which the Iranians promptly achieved. Within less 16 dialogue

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than a year, they had removed and deactivated the core of the plutonium-yielding Arak heavy water reactor (by stuffing the thing with concrete!), moved over 13,000 excess uranium enrichment centrifuges to storage monitored by international inspectors, confined all subsequent significant nuclear research and development to their major facility at Natanz, reduced their stockpile of enriched uranium from well over 10,000 kilograms to less than 300 kilograms, and severely restricted their production and sale of heavy water. And even more galling to national pride, they accepted the further right of international inspectors to conduct visits “anywhere, anytime” to any facility deemed remotely connected to nuclear development, including chemical plants, machinery factories, and even military installations. And finally, to the outright consternation of the entire military establishment, the top secret Fordow secondary facility, buried deep in a mountain to render it virtually impregnable to conventional air strikes, has ceased all further uranium enrichment and has been reduced to the status of a physics research centre. Quite arguably, no other nation in recent times has ever acquiesced in such a massively disruptive intrusion into its internal affairs, especially as a demonstration of its commitment to world peace. And that is the obvious truth that today’s entire American political establishment struggles to deny. Despite unrelenting attacks from hardline conservatives, culminating in Donald Trump’s virulent 2016 campaign speech denunciations of the JCPOA as “the worst deal ever,” the US State Department recently and formally confirmed Iran was in full compliance with the treaty and Trump immediately on 17 May, 2017 signed certification of that report, thereby extending the arrangement another 120 days. Yet this sort of political “bait and switch,” saying one thing and doing something quite different, is typical of the consistent American behaviour ever since the initial signing of the deal. While constantly criticising supposed Iranian bad faith breaches, such as the relevance to the JCPOA of Iranian missile tests (which Russia and China deem irrelevant), and also the much wider issue of the relevance of Iranian support of Assad in Syria to the JCPOA (which France and Germany deem irrelevant), the American authorities have still grudgingly permitted www.dialogue.ca

the lifting of the most controversial economic sanctions against Iran: but they also continue to apply their own more limited sanctions though a manipulation of the internationally powerful American banking system, thus thoroughly crimping much business investment in that country. Almost up to the present, this deliberate engendering of uncertainty had seemed to ensure resentment among the Iranian people, apparently reducing support for both Rouhani and his remarkable international accomplishment. And that American gambit, so seemingly fatal to Rouhani’s chances as recently as a week ago, only underscores the magic of his genuinely astonishing electoral success. In the estimation of most pundits back then, the odds against Rohani were insurmountable. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation’s reactionary supreme leader, gave subtle hints he was leaning towards the even more reactionary conservative candidate, an authoritarian former judge named Ebrahaim Raisi. The vast majority of the ruling Iranian religious establishment had indicated over decades their implacable hostility towards reform, first by undermining the reformist tendencies of President Mohammed Khatami (19972005), next by supporting the repressive hardliner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013), and lately by exposing the second reformist President Rouhani (2013-2017) to at best benign neglect in his re-election bid. And then there was the relentless pro-conservative opposition power push from the highly influential Revolutionary Guard militia, the quasi-official armed force entrusted with the security of military bases and all other sensitive installations, a vast complex of near-soldiers armed with both sweeping police authority and clandestine economic control of much of the nation’s industrial capacity. Throw the impact of almost two years of American obstructionism into that mix, obstructionism blunting the impact of a partial easing of sanctions and thus disappointing Iranian voters desperately hungry for economic relief, and it looked like game over one more time for both Rouhani and the cause of political easement in Iran. But what an incredible difference the last few weeks of campaigning made. Sensing the hostility building against him, concerned about the possibility of debilitating apathy among those who had supported him to his skin-of-the-teeth previous win, Rouhani staked everything on a last-minute roll of the electoral dice: a www.dialogue.ca

dangerously open all-or-nothing appeal to everybody in the country frantically keen for some move towards conceivable positive change. After a lackluster performance in the first two nationally televised debates with his hardliner opponent Raisi, candidate Rouhani in the third and final encounter switched tactics with a dramatic challenge to everything rotten in the state of Iran. He denounced Raisi for his long history of persecuting, incarcerating and executing reformers advocating changes to the regime. He attacked patent abuses of the legal and judicial systems, denouncing distortions condemning innocent citizens to torture, imprisonment or death. He voiced near-heresy in hinting the ecclesiastical hierarchy was frightfully out of line, focussing on twisted dogmatic interpretations of the faith yielding nothing more than the disruption of quiet lives of ordinary citizens, a suggestion skirting perilously close to criticism of the supreme leader himself. But it worked! Bigly! (Forgive me, I couldn’t help myself.) A first ballot conclusive majority of 57%, crushing Raisi’s second place 38.5%, attained from a well above average voter turnout of at least 72%. This was a resounding victory, and an unequivocal message to those abusing power in Iran: a restive population has had enough, and is demanding meaningful change. Contrast all that with another election in November, 2016, the one elevating Donald J. Trump to the Presidency of the United States. In theory, the constitution of that country, an intricate structure of political checks and balances evolving since the American revolution of 1776, a structure incorporating a convoluted arrangement spun out of New World societal clashes ranging from upheavals over race and immigration right on into actual civil war, now stands as a near-perfect model to the rest of the world of how democracy should function: it stands, in effect, as the presumably rock-solid foundation for that irritating (at least to other nations) claim of “American Exceptionalism.” Right from 1776, the overarching political concern of those framing and modifying that constitution has been the prevention of any person or group imposing an authoritarian government on the country. To that end, they strictly separated the powers of governance into three distinct and equal bodies: the Legislature, the Executive, and the Supreme Court. Congress is the elected legislative body, composed of the lower House of Representatives as voice of the general …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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Wilf Cude, A Tale of Two Elections, contd.

population and the more senior Senate as voice of the individual states, entrusted with the framing and passage of legislation. The Executive is headed by an elected President who appoints his own cabinet, and they are collectively entrusted with the administration of those laws. And the Supreme Court is composed of justices appointed by the President and approved by the Senate, entrusted with ensuring that both the laws passed and the application of those laws are in conformity with the dictates and intent of the constitution itself. Nor is that all. The constitution allows for modifications, and the earliest and most central of those is the First Amendment, prohibiting the establishment of state religion but otherwise endorsing freedom of religion, and unequivocally upholding both “the freedom of speech” and “of the press.” By thus separating church and state, and by further cementing free speech and freedom of the press into all exercises of political activity, the American constitution seemed invulnerable to any form of subversion. Until now. However, incrementally after WWII, the practice of gerrymandering electoral districts at both the state and federal levels became insidiously more widespread, strengthening radical factions in each major party, with the lop-sided consequence of benefiting right-wing Republicans rather more than left-leaning Democrats. And that, in turn led to a succession of Republican administrations to create a decidedly conservative Supreme Court, one demonstrably altering American political life for the worse, most controversially with “Bush vs Gore” (unleashing George W. Bush on America and the world) and “Citizens United” (unleashing tons of lobbyist money into politics, leveraging power at every level into the hands of billionaire autocrats). And worst of all, the naked deliberate undermining of both free speech and freedom of the press, initiated in the USA by billionaire Rupert Murdoch (of Fox News, “We Report: You Decide”), has cascaded into an avalanche of misinformation and outright lies, spewing from quasi-newspapers like National Enquirer and clones, hate-mongering right-wing radio shock jocks, extremely conservative propaganda outlets like Breitbart news, and a frightening proliferation of absolutely lunatic internet websites. All of which has coalesced to generate the first genuine nightmare of the original American founding fathers: an immensely wealthy autocrat ensconced in 18 dialogue

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the White House, wielding all the influence and potency of the highest office in the world’s most dominant nation. Donald J. Trump, a far cry himself from the sophisticated aristocrats the theorists of George Washington’s era feared, instead an ignoramus bumpkin lout revelling in his numbingly tasteless television reality show persona, but a menace of an autocrat nevertheless. Constantly refusing to release any specifics about his real estate empire and network of associated franchises, a refusal in defiance of presidential behaviour since the days of Richard Nixon, he has also plunked his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner down beside him as senior advisors in the Oval Office, empowering them to exploit that status to enhance their own fashion and real-estate businesses in tandem with his own varied holdings. He routinely holds near-regal court at his brassily splendid Florida mini-palace Mar-a-Lago, dispensing favours, entertaining visiting potentates, and even sharing with them tidbits of official intelligence. And he positively rejoices in placing himself tight within the circle of vicious tyrants he most admires, Putin of Russia, Erdogan of Turkey, Duterte of the Philippines, and Salman Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. And it’s therefore no surprise that the first capital city of his first official trip abroad was Riyadh, home to skyscrapers, elaborate sports facilities and the most opulent of ornate palaces. Here he could dine at lavish banquets, frolic about in a comic sword dance parody of martial valour, and inaugurate a nominally anti-terrorist headquarters by brushing into illumination a weird semimystic glowing orb. Television reality show biz taking centre stage in world affairs. Where he would further posture before the cameras, denouncing the presumed perfidy of Iran in supporting terrorism, and calling upon Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States to form an anti-terrorist alliance expanding their sway over the region and limiting that of Iran. OK, now, let’s all stop for a truly serious reality check. At that very moment, Iran had successfully held a perfectly democratic and completely open presidential election, placing as executive director of a secular legislative lower house of parliament an advocate of sweeping political reform. Trump is not in the least concerned with that remarkable fact, preferring to align himself exclusively with the House of Saud, indisputably one of the most cruelly autocratic regimes on the planet. What in hell is wrong with this picture? The House of Saud manages their entire www.dialogue.ca

nation unreservedly to the benefit of some 3,000 Saudi princelings and their families, all cushioned in excessive and unearned wealth, a cosy set-up achieved and sustained by a devil’s deal with the rabid ultra-conservative Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam: the House of Saud secures Wahhabi control of Saudi religion, furnishing scads of funds and other resources for indoctrination at home and (much more significantly) further abroad; and the Wahhabi clerics provide unquestioning ecclesiastical cover for the unchallenged dictatorship of the House of Saud. It’s a vicious arrangement at home, but it’s far more an unconscionably vicious arrangement abroad, with Wahhabi teachings oozing a peculiarly perverse strain of medieval-minded Islamic doctrine as ideological underpinning for carnage worldwide, as nobody should know better than the sadly misinformed citizens of the United States of America. Remember 9/11? The most traumatic assault on American soil since Pearl Harbour, and the one initiating George W. Bush’s never-ending war on terror? Read it here, as everyone world-wide should have done since September 11, 2001, and let the message sear itself into the international consciousness at last. That hideous travesty was long advocated by Wahhabi clerics, the strike itself was devised and set in motion by Saudi plutocrat and Wahhabi acolyte Osama bin Laden, and 15 of the 19 suicidal terrorist attackers were Saudis. It was the single bloodiest and most outrageous of a long list of Wahhabi-inspired atrocities, a list that continues to lengthen to this day. Wahhabi-spawned terrorist outfits continue to hammer at innocents everywhere: there is an incontrovertibly direct line of Wahhabi-inspired viciousness from 9/11 right on up to Manchester, from bin Laden’s alQaeda to ISIS, maiming and killing helpless civilians of every religion and race. To the terrible toll of thousands slaughtered in prominent Western cities, New York, Madrid, London, Copenhagen, Paris, Brussels, Nice, Orlando, Manchester, targeting largely Christian populations, there must be added the even more appalling toll of hundreds of thousands across the Middle East and beyond: from Syria and Iraq, through Tunisia, Lybia, Nigeria, Egypt, Somalia, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and reaching down through Malaysia into Indonesia and the Philippines, targeting Muslims almost exclusively. It’s all malignant Saudi Wahhabi sophistry of slaughter, all disseminated domestically and www.dialogue.ca

internationally (although covertly in deference to the necessity of preserving Western illusions) by the unabashedly absolutist anti-democratic Saudi government. We in the West really don’t get it. We don’t have one sweet clue about the national, ethnic and religious entanglements that twist and turn from North Africa, through the entire span of the Middle East, and right on up into Asia. Very simply, at the heart of much of the mess is a clash of two vastly different cultures, each one centred upon a large regionally powerful nation currently quite antagonistic towards the other. Firmly on the extreme political right is Saudi Arabia, an Arab, Sunni Muslim, rigidly autocratic monarchy. Rather more to the political left is Iran, a Persian, Shiite Muslim, theologically dominated democracy striving towards a broader incorporation of social and economic reforms. In Syria, Iran supports the Shiite dictatorship of Bashar Hafez al-Assad, while Saudi Arabia’s covert sympathies lie with the Wahhabi-inspired Sunni ISIS; in Iraq, Iran supports the Shiite-dominated government, while Saudi Arabia’s covert sympathies again lie with ISIS; in Yemen, Iran provides weapons and other material aid to the Shiite Houthi rebels to the north, while Saudi Arabia wages open (and, to date, ineffectual) warfare against the Houthis to prop up the Sunni central government to the south. In all three war-scarred and bleeding nations, it’s the ethnic and religious divisions that fuel the conflict, rather than any other consideration, including politics or economics. Viewed through that lens, the West should seriously re-evaluate its entire stance in the region. In Iran, a nation lately and spectacularly proven capable of honouring an international commitment to peace, elections are open and fair, women vote, and they even drive cars. In Saudi Arabia, none of that is remotely conceivable. Choosing between them should be a classic no-brainer. But today in the West, especially in Washington, D.C., brains seem in scandalously short supply – and democracy itself stands in enormous peril. Trump’s near-monumental narcissistic incompetence is magnified by several decades of gerrymandering, moneydriven influence peddling, an appalling proliferation of intellectually vapid media spreading misinformation and outright lies, and repeated, escalating and virulently unashamed appeals to bigotry and hate. Arrayed in solidarity behind Trump is a formidable phalanx of repression, a rabidly doctrinaire and …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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hopelessly divided Congress, a tragically supine and largely conservative Supreme Court, a dual party system thrown into disarray by well-financed intrusions of special interest activities, and a general population increasingly sundered into two politically hostile communities. Thus established, Trump is unrestrained in his assault on everything Americans assumed their democracy represented. Abroad, the bromance hug with King Saud is merely another aspect of a sweeping repudiation of fifty years of positive international diplomacy: an acceptance of Putin’s meddling thuggery and Saudi Wahhabi propaganda poison, together with calibrated threats of sabotage to such cornerstone accomplishments as NATO, the European Union, NAFTA, the JCPOA, and the Paris Accord on the environment. And at home, much more of the same: hugely enhanced tax cuts for billionaires, drastically severe cuts to medical care and social security, and a concerted assault on the environment to benefit polluting industry. These are manifest symptoms of democracy in decline. So, speaking of cultural clashes, here’s the takeaway from our two elections. No constitution of whatever history, complexity or integrity can of itself guarantee either the repression or survival of a viable

democracy. In Iran, a relatively recently-devised constitution (structurally authoritarian and centred on established religion) is currently under sustained pressure for social, economic and foreign policy reform: that’s progress, although dependent upon sustaining such resolute pressure, defying whatever repressive forces might be aligned against it. And in the USA, a venerated centuries-old constitution (structurally of undeniable flexibility and sophistication) is currently under siege from a spectrum of hostile pressures it was never designed to withstand: and that’s regression, with every prospect of becoming worse, unless resolute forces can be mustered to resist it. But in both instances, the preservation of a viable democracy is not up to the constitution – rather, it’s up to the people! If they decide, whatever the legalisms might dictate, that they want a viable democracy, then they will ultimately get one. And if not, then not. It’s as simple as that. Let the rallying cry across democracies everywhere be “Yes, we can,” and hope will continue to flourish for us all. Wilfred Cude, BA (RMC), MA (Dalhousie) WEBSITE: www.wilfredcude.com ♣

* Bromance: in case you haven’t come across the word before (we hadn’t!), is a combination of ‘brother’ and romance, meaning a close, emotionally intense, non-sexual bond between two men. ♣


Net Value of Access to Information Act Reform Bill: Two Points Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD), Halifax June 23, 2017: Earlier this week, the government tabled a Bill in Parliament to reform Canada’s woefully outdated Access to Information Act. A Note released by CLD today shows that the proposed reforms would only earn Canada an additional two points on the RTI Rating,(1) CLD’s respected methodology for assessing the strength of access to information laws. The Bill only includes one really significant reform, namely granting binding order making powers to the Information Commissioner. On the other hand, it fails to address a number of serious problems in the Act, such as the vastly overbroad regime of exceptions, the broad discretion of public authorities to delay in responding to requests, the absence of any duty for public authorities to document important decision making processes, and the limited scope of coverage of the Act. And in some areas, it even weakens the current rules. “For the first time in a generation, Canadians have a real opportunity to amend the Access to Information Act”, said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of CLD.

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“The proposed reforms are just not good enough. At this point, we need root and branch reform, not incremental tinkering.” To read Bill C-58: www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/421/bill/C-58/first-reading For CLD’s Note on the Bill: https://www.law-democracy.org/live/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Canada.RTINote.Jun17.pdf For Canada’s revised RTI Rating score: https://www.law-democracy.org/live/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Canada.Jun17.rev_.xls

The government is claiming that it has expanded the scope of the Act to cover the Prime Minister’s and Ministers’ Offices, and the administrative institutions that support Parliament and the courts. But all it has done is formalise in law a number of proactive publication obligations, most of which are already being practised. None of these bodies will be required to respond to requests for information. Expanding the scope of the Act was an election promise of the Liberal party, and the Bill fails to deliver on this. On a more positive note, CLD welcomes the grant of www.dialogue.ca

binding order making powers to the Information Commissioner, a significant reform which it has repeatedly recommended. CLD calls on the Parliament to do its duty and ensure that Canadians finally get the reforms to the Act that they need and deserve. Major amendments should be introduced before the Bill is passed.

For further information, please contact: Toby Mendel, Executive Director, Centre for Law and Democracy Email: toby@law-democracy.org / Tel. +1 902 431-3688 www.law-democracy.org [Article link: https://www.law-democracy.org/live/canada-net-value-ofaccess-to-information-act-reform-bill-two-points/ ] (1) The Right to Information Rating is a programme founded in 2014 by Access Info Europe (AIE) and the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD); www.rti-rating.org/


A Book Review Ian Gill’s 2016 book: No News Is Bad News Shallow News Is Bad News An essay in defense of “long-form journalism and readers with the attention span it requires” By S. B. Julian, Victoria BC

Journalist Ian Gill in his recent book No News Is Bad News (Greystone, 2016) asks "would it be bad news if there were no newspapers?" I would say "yes", but Mr. Gill suggests that "disruptive narratives" delivered through digital storytelling funded by left-leaning foundations should take their place. National newspapers (like other media) have been weakened, he points out, by concentration of ownership, shrinking readership and plunging revenues due to advertisers migrating to the Internet. Newspapers have become "moribund and flaccid" and suffer from a "trust deficit". Maybe -- but it seems unlikely that the public has more trust in blogs and social media than in the printed dailies. The main problem with newspapers is that thousands of writing jobs have been lost to lay-offs, and we free-lancers who take up the slack are paid a quarter of what we once were. No one's making money in print journalism. This is due not to who owns the papers but to the fact that both advertisers and readers are going online. There's a general trend away from long-form reading and toward an aliterate delivery of information through factoids, info-graphics, You-tube images, and tweets. We live in an aliterate age in that we no longer value sustained reading, and schools no longer teach it. Books and printed periodicals are now scarce in school libraries. Literature has been replaced by "media studies" and students spend their days in front of screens, usually interacting not with an author's thoughts but with flickering images and data-graphs. This is a profound loss, because as a medium enjoyed www.dialogue.ca

privately, print nurtures the inner life while digital does the opposite, encouraging instant sharing and constant unthinking torrents of response. Educators and commentators seem content to encourage this, having themselves come through the school system which invented "media studies". Most even think that "media" is a singular noun. How then could printed newspapers survive, if the public becomes illiterate? To Mr. Gill, the problem with corporate ownership of newspapers is that corporations in his view are by nature right-wing. He cites Postmedia, Black Press in the west and the Irving holdings in the Maritimes as conglomerates stifling a rights-oriented, identity-politicsbased "national narrative". Yet newspapers have never been values-free. Their founders have aimed to promote a point of view as surely as do those who oppose them, and we cannot say that labour-funded organs like Rabble and The Tyee are any freer of bias than are the "legacy media". Mr. Gill would like to replace corporate owners of newspapers, radio and television stations with "disruptors" financed by progressive nonprofits that compete to control the "national narrative". He'd like to see the press employ high-level coders rather than authors, and service-providers rather than ideas-providers -- the service being a re-shaping of society. It's hard to see the difference between this and old-fashioned propaganda. There is no one national narrative, and attempts to create one should ring alarm bells. Likewise the notion of "curating" the news. "Curate" comes from the Latin word "cure", which suggests that if you disagree with the new national narrative, you're ill. Gill's idea of "solutions journalism" …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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S. B. Julian, Shallow News Is Bad News, contd.

(which tries to solve problems rather than just talk about them) is appealing, but do we all agree on what the problems are? It's not as if disruptive narratives haven't been part of traditional writing. What else were Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Tom Paine's The Rights of Man, Mary Wolstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman, James Lovelock's Ages of Gaia? "Smart data" and high level coders weren't needed for these volcanoes of new thinking. Deep learning and good prose were -- and an educated audience. Likewise, there's nothing new in muckraking. Consider the work of Ida Tarbell who back in the 1890s was challenging the monopolistic dirty tricks of Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company in the pages of McClure's Magazine. Deep research and the space to analyze it were her tools: long-form journalism and readers with the attention span it requires. An educated audience resists ideology, whoever owns the physical presses or the computers. Nor is the "disruptive leader" who uses media to reshape the national narrative always a good thing: Hitler was that for the people of Germany, while Churchill strengthened the British by re-awakening the traditional national narrative. It all depends on context. In our own historical moment we have social media operating in a marketplace of ideas where readers speak back to writers in intemperate, nasty and tribal language, where they seek "friends" but make enemies, and lure "followers" but attract stalkers. Enter the hate speech laws as a way to deal with the haters and stalkers. The problem is they aren't dealing with them, yet do have a chilling effect on open discussion, because hate speech laws tend to be tools of political correctness. It's hard to know where the line is between fair comment and hate. If Mr. Gill used the language about an ethnic group which he uses about journalists (they're soft-minded and spineless, The Walrus is "flaccid and self-satisfied, a poor man's New Yorker"), he'd be facing a Human Rights Tribunal. Can you imagine calling another race "the poor man's white person"? Yet paradoxically, insulting a professional group is fair comment (just ask politicians and lawyers). 22 dialogue

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Free speech then is a moving target, but freedom of thought means questioning every party line and prejudice out there in print, broadcasting or cyber-space. Once free speech goes the way of grammar (into the garbage bin), we won't be able to sustain a newspaper industry because it depends on people writing and reading freely expressed, well-crafted language. Coders and curators cannot replace writers and editors. The online pay-per-article model of selling journalism is problematic because if people make micro-payments to download particular articles instead of buying a whole newspaper, they miss the serendipitous discovery of whatever topics and writers appear in today's features or comments pages. Dedicated readers like to be surprised, in the same way they like to cruise along the shelves in a library rather than go to the catalogue. You don't know what you would have missed until you haven't missed it. Newspapers have traditionally had split personalities, trying to be objective on one hand but championing particular world views on the other. In England this isn't considered a problem: if you want to reinforce your liberal views you read The Guardian; if you want to confirm a conservative bias, read The Telegraph. It's comforting to have one's values confirmed, but it's also edifying to try to get our minds around the thinking of others. Presently we hear a lot about fake news, but often ‘fake’ means whatever doesn't fit my world view -- which of course represents genuine news. But as long as we preserve an environment where people can disagree, not only with officialdom but also with the alternative thinking du jour, people can make their own assessments of bias. It's hard to disagree with Gill's parting conclusion: "the best story wins". Absolutely -- but let's not expect everyone to agree on which one is best, or on where to find it. I find the niche journals Hortus and The Advocate (about gardening and the legal profession, respectively) the most informative, entertaining and literary organs around, the test being that they delight the non-gardener and non-lawyer as much as their target audiences. No one could deny that we need online periodicals as well, but I'm glad that Mr. Gill's thought-provoking No News Is Bad News came out in book form, for had it existed only online I would never have read it. S.B. Julian, April 6, 2017 S.B. Julian lives and writes freelance in Victoria, BC where www.dialogue.ca

she has her own publishing imprint (Ninshu Press) and manages Overleaf Memoirs Services. FROM ABCBOOKWORLD.COM: S.B. Julian is a freelance writer, playwright and book reviewer, former librarian and present book-addict. She has independently published several books and booklets (issued by NINSHU PRESS, see list at website below) collaborated with others on anthologies, and worked with seniors on Memoirs Projects at several local retirement residences.

LINK: www.abcbookworld.com/view_author.php?id=5446 NINSHU PRESS presents books on nature, eco-spirituality and mind-body subjects: www.overleafbooks.blogspot.ca For more information email sbarbarajulian@hotmail.com (Tel. 250 592 9340) DON'T LEAVE YOUR LIFE UNWRITTEN! Editor's note: This essay is also on the Dialogue website at: http://www.dialogue2.ca/shallow-news-isbad-news.html ♣


NEWSPAPER WARS Lawrence McCurry, Scarborough ON

Journalism and newspapers have a long and rich history that I really can’t do justice to in this article, but recent events have urged me to briefly share with you some of my thoughts on the role of journalism and newspapers today. Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets. – Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

Last year the NDP government of Alberta, premier Rachel Notley tried to ban journalists from the web site “The Rebel” which was started by former Sun News commentator and pundit (and lawyer) Ezra Levant. After a letter from Levant threatening legal action, a spokesperson for Notley replied with a letter stating "The government's position is that if you have testified under oath that you are not a journalist, then we don't consider you a journalist." This is where Alberta’s government made a major blunder, one that many detractors of Levant’s have made. First they misquoted Levant. What he had said under oath while testifying in his defense in a libel suit was “I’m a commentator, I’m a pundit,” he explained to the judge. “I don’t think in my entire life I’ve ever called myself a reporter.” In other words there’s more to being a journalist than being just a reporter and there’s more to a newspaper than just the news. A good newspaper is a nation talking to itself. – Arthur Miller (1915-2005), American playwright, essayist

Newspapers are not just about reporting news, in fact reporting the news of the day on sports and entertainment is an element of the newspaper that has only come along in the last couple of hundred years. Before that, newspapers were propaganda and information licensed and controlled by the crown. In the early days of American newspapers, media legends such as William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer engaged in racist “yellow journalism” and routinely printed steady steams of sensationalism and www.dialogue.ca

wild fabrications. Yellow Journalism which is defined as “a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism.” In the last half of the 20th century, even though most papers wore the cloak of credibility, many engaged in lies of spin and omission. With a wider range of publications, there were also more opportunities for a writer. Even up to 20 years ago there were many more small newspapers and magazines than we find today. What a lot of these small publications lacked in hard news “Reporting” they made up for by publishing razor sharp op-ed or opinion and editorial pieces. Also you would find more small papers that published political commentary and cartoons, satire or underground themes. You also had more varied writing styles and newer forms of journalism such as that popularized by the great Hunter S. Thompson: Gonzo Journalism. (Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first-person narrative.) A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier. – H. L. Mencken (18801956), American journalist, satirist, cultural critic

The 20th century could well be called the century of the newspaper. Even with the advent of the radio and television, newspapers have remained the driving force behind public opinion, the tail that wags the dog so to speak. One of the greatest circulation wars in Toronto history happened in the 1950’s between the Liberal / left / socialist Star and the steadfastly Conservative, Royalist and right-wing Telegram. The proprietor of the Telegram, George McCullagh, told his employees his objective was to go after the Star and …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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“knock that shitrag right off its pedestal.” “One reason that cats are happier than people is that they have no newspapers.” – Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000), American poet, author, and teacher

In the 21st century this is starting to change for a number of reasons, the biggest of course being the rise of electronic media in the form of the internet. With the internet, everybody can be publisher, columnist and whistleblower. For the first time we have a medium where potentially every person can tell their story to the whole world without the filter of a publisher or editor. Of course this gave rise to what we know today as the alternative media, a type of journalism that often rejects the political and corporate narrative in favor of a common sense belief that the banking and corporate elite are pushing a political ideology from behind the awareness of the public eye to control and shape mankind for their own benefit. Today sales of newspapers have drastically declined

and I don’t think this is just because of the internet. Another reason why the once mighty newspaper industry is in decline is corporate ownership and control. At one time we had media ownership laws in this country that prevented a single person or group from controlling more than one newspaper in the same market. With corporate ownership came newspaper chains; smaller publications and family controlled papers were no longer able to compete in a corporate market place and were swallowed up by conglomerates that dictated policy and political ideology. Even small community newspapers fell prey to these mega newspaper chains. Although I'm not a fan of corporate media, we may still need to wrap a fish or line our bird cages and as a writer – one whom corporate media won’t publish! – I encourage you to support more publications like this one. The ink on your fingers on a Sunday morning is my life’s blood. Lawrence McCurry, June 5, 2017 ♣


“Have Computer Will Write”~ Jeremy Arney

Press Release on the Infrastructure Bank

FROM THE CANADIAN ACTION PARTY By Jeremy Arney, Sydney BC granpaiswatching@gmail.com

May 12, 2017: So what would Don Quixote have done with his rottting old lance and broken down horse and a never ending sprouting on new windmills? Can't give up that’s for sure. – Jeremy

Infrastructure Bank of Canada There is no doubt in my mind that this bank is not in the best interests of the people of Canada, but is a huge boon to the supporters of the Liberal (and maybe even the Conservative) party of Canada. How anyone in their right mind – and being, as they so often claim, “representatives of the people of Canada” – can conceive that a bank created and supported by financial entities only concerned with making a profit for themselves whilst taking over the major infrastructure projects at both federal, provincial and municipal levels as being in the best interests of not only Canada but also the Canadian people is beyond my comprehension: until I realise that those who support such a venture are indeed traitors to Canada. 24 dialogue

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We have the means and the ability through the Bank of Canada, designed to bring dividends to Canada instead of rapidly increasing debt to all levels of Canadian governmental institutions, to provide both Canada and Canadians with all they need to return to being a prosperous country again. However both this government and the previous one are, or were, hell bent on taking Canada into a position of complete subservience to the large banking and corporate interests. Such concepts as sovereignty and democracy mean nothing to them, and those MPs who support them are not worthy of being called Canadians, even though they are gladly feeding at the federal trough, and will no doubt benefit well from supporting such a bank. I have no doubt that there will be huge tax concessions to all international and domestic entities which invest in this venture whilst the ordinary Canadian will continue to be taxed heavily on any small profit they make from employment, investments, savings and more, as well as paying user fees, to pay for the profits to be derived by this www.dialogue.ca

monstrous and totally unnecessary bank. If it is so important to have a referendum on the way we vote, why is it not important to have a referendum on the way we give Canada away? Where are people like Scott Reid on this subject? As he is such a stickler for the importance for Canadians to have their say (which they actually had in the election of 2015) on election reform why is he not arguing for such a referendum on this bank? Could it be that democratic and sovereignty matters are now strictly subjective subjects for theoretical debate and no longer apply to Canada or Canadians? Our elected representatives are failing us with a completeness which proves how broken our system of government has become. There is no logic for Canadians in this bank. There is

no profit or benefit for Canadians in this bank. In our 150th year since the original confederation of a mere 4 provinces, augmented later by the eventual creation and addition of more provinces and territories, our so called federal government is handing the whole kit and caboodle over to unelected entities which have no respect for or responsibility to Canadians. WHERE IS THE MANDATE FOR SUCH TREASON? WHERE IS THE ANGER FROM CANADIANS? IT REALLY IS TIME FOR CANADIANS TO HAVE THEIR SAY IN OUR DYSFUNCTIONAL AND UNDEMOCRATIC PARLIAMENT. LET’S GET AT IT WHILST WE STILL HAVE A COUNTRY. Jeremy Arney, Interim Leader of the Canadian Action Party, PO Box 52008, RPO Beacon, Sidney, BC V8L 5V9 / Tel. 250-216-5400 http://actionparty.ca/ Email: iamjema@gmail.com

https://iamjemaletters.wordpress.com/ ♣


Robin Mathews Uncut

RCMP. A Parrot In The Canadian Coal Mine [“It has no human speech of its own.”] Robin Mathews, Vancouver BC, May 29, 2017

In Alan Bullock’s Hitler and Stalin (1992), readers are shown police forces – the German SS and the Russian NKVD - as what might be called “dictator’s police”. Such police forces exist to satisfy one person’s will. They are, first, detached from the rule of law … and then become malignant forces defining a (usually) unwritten, brutal code whose only adjudicator is the dictator to whom the malignant forces owe allegiance. Through history, police forces have swung between being almost wholly concerned with the well-being of the population to being almost wholly devoted, violently and brutally, to the service of barbaric and repressive power. Populations that don’t insist on firm oversight and control of police forces ask for trouble … and usually get it. Canada is a depressing, developing example. The role police forces play is the sign of the good health, or otherwise, of a community. Police institutions parrot, usually, the real voice of government in power (often more clearly through action than is readily audible in government statements). Under the rule of law, with democratic freedoms alive and available to all, society usually reveals a police force that is founded on respect, restraint, and service to the www.dialogue.ca

general population. But when power at the highest levels wants to use “policing” for private and/or criminal ends, the population becomes painfully aware (however slowly) of the shift. In the case of the falsely-created Islamic Terrorist Event in Victoria, B.C., July 1, 2013, Canadians are allegedly presented with more than 200 RCMP officers engaged in parroting the voice of loyalty from the Stephen Harper government to an (international) increasingly fascistic manipulation of the population in the fake “War Against Terrorism” and the real (largely concocted) war against Islam. Police forces are Parrots in the Canadian Coal Mine of community life. When they begin to sicken and to flail about dangerously (as in the falsely-created Victoria Islamic Terrorist Event), the signs are up that the whole community is in deep trouble. The RCMP – called Canada’s national police force – is now in very disturbing imbalance. The federal cabinet’s (and provincial cabinets’) refusal to address the problem is high-lighted by their refusal to acknowledge publicly the seriousness of the alleged police-manufactured, criminal Victoria Terrorist Event. Responsible people in the federal cabinet and the British Columbia cabinet have refused to …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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Robin Mathews, Parrot In The Cdn. Coal Mine, contd.

acknowledge correspondence on the matter, or have passed off reply to anonymous sources, and/or have had anonymous writers spin disinformation or attempts to falsify sources of responsibility… or have (in one case) courteously handed the matter to the responsible federal Minister of Public Safety … who refuses to acknowledge contact. The top RCMP officer in British Columbia, Assistant Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr, refuses to acknowledge any communication on the matter. (Under whose orders?) Apart from the fact they are all showing a kind of totalitarian contempt for those they serve “in trust” … just what are they all hiding? The response to me from all those sources suggests that the alleged criminal entrapment of innocent Canadians and the attempt to fake an Islamic Terrorist Event in order to manipulate Canadian opinion is a case of the RCMP parroting the voice of the Stephen Harper government setting in motion a criminal undertaking to impress ugly foreign powers and to brainwash Canadians. Following that – now … at the present time - the Liberal governments of B.C. (Christy Clark) and Canada (Justin Trudeau) appear to be sending the same message. The consistency of the B.C. and federal governments on the matter – after the defeat of the Stephen Harper Conservative government – suggests unbroken loyalty by those governments to what is almost certainly major, organized, intricate criminal activity by the RCMP, and to the on-going support of criminal activity by the top echelons of the RCMP. The whole structure of the RCMP, I suggest, is sick. One strange sign of its sickness (parroting the sickness of democratic government in Canada) is – strangely – the present (permitted?) “scandal” in RCMP behaviour and organization … what might be called ‘the RCMP sex scandal’. Starting during the Stephen Harper regime, it involves a series of allegations that sexual harassment of women is constant in the Force; that bullying – often a parallel ‘macho’ activity - is rampant; and that senior officers do nothing about the deeply-rooted problems ... and probably approve of them. Strangely – for the allegations are serious, the violations are persistent, and the harm done is sometimes irreparable – the RCMP sex scandal while not exactly a public relations cover-up may be something 26 dialogue

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approaching that, to drain attention from RCMP criminality undertaken outside the Force … what may be called organized and approved criminality. The sex scandal matter might be a focus on the lesser of evils in order to block attention to the greater of evils. The fact is that sexual harassment isn’t “political” – it can happen among Communists, Greens, Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats, Fascists … because it’s “just human”… we are led to believe. But the Fake Islamic Terrorist Event in Victoria …is deeply political in B.C., in Canada … and in the world!! It reveals ‘the national police force’ (apparently and possibly following a fascist-sympathetic leader, Stephen Harper) in an alleged major, highly organized criminal activity intended to brainwash and re-shape the political beliefs and actions of Canadians (and others). And to entrap – as criminals – innocent Canadians. The ‘parrot preparation’ of Liberal government focus in the RCMP sex scandal matter… is almost … amazing. At home … and on some of his trips to foreign places, prime minister Justin Trudeau has emphasized equality of the sexes, fair opportunity for women, and gender openness. He doesn’t attack offshore corporations repressing workers, fake terrorist events in the Western World, U.S./NATO war-making across the world creating millions of refugees, or the evils of international capital. His focus on the matter of human rights is usually upon the right of private choice by individuals in ‘lifestyle’ matters, and upon the fundamental right, regardless of gender, to participate in social organization. The one “progressive” position taken during the Conservative years of Stephen Harper was in government attitudes to sexual orientation. Harper knew it could be sold as a lifestyle choice unrelated to political ideology … and openness to it could suggest government openness and tolerance. The fact that at least one major cabinet minister was said to be gay only helped …. And so … one asks … is the concentration on sex scandal “flavour of the month” to obscure what might be called “criminal charges that should be laid for criminal actions by the police outside the police organization?” That question would sound far-fetched, but over and over “political” (and unpolitical) criminal acts by RCMP go uninvestigated, uncharged, diluted, erased. …/ www.dialogue.ca

state of sham. It shows the Commission’s “work” is The mother of murdered Robert Dziekanski, (by buffoonery at its most absurd … paid for by – us - the RCMP), in Vancouver International Airport in 2007, taxpayers of Canada! for instance, still awaits justice in the matter. What I insist is RCMP (criminal) assistance (to give just a few One must underline that the Black Comedy squeakinstances) is ignored or buried - in the fake case to de- ings of the RCMP and its “Civilian Review and stroy Glen Clark in B.C. and in the fake case to deComplaints Commission” are Parrot Squeaks in the stroy Mike Duffy in Ottawa and in assistance to Coal Mine of Canadian life. The major political pow“deep” wrong-doers in the corrupt BC Rail Scandal, ers of Canada uphold the pretences of the RCMP and and in the famous Gustafsen Lake, B.C. criminal its Commission. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the “standoff”, “and in the gigantic, criminal (2013) Fake federal Minister of Justice, the federal Minister of Islamic Terrorist Plot in Victoria, B.C. – that last Public Safety and Solicitor General overseeing the wholly organized and completed by hundreds of RCMP, the premier of B.C., the Minister of Justice, RCMP officers. All those matters (and they are just a B.C., the Minister of Public Safety B.C. who is also the selection) are ignored, denied, Solicitor General overseeing repressed, or on hold, because, “Full power exists in Canada to the RCMP (incidentally a I suggest, they would reveal the undertake a sweeping investigation 32-year veteran officer of the RCMP in active, structural and review of the RCMP and RCMP!!)- as well as the top to rebuild it completely in order criminality requiring a major RCMP officer B.C. – all refuse to re-establish it as a rebuilding of the Force. to provide what average legitimate Force…” Canadians would recognize as AND they would very likely serious response to the almost reveal criminality up the certain criminal conspiracy by the RCMP to create a chain of command into provincial and federal false Islamic Terrorist Event in Victoria, B.C., and to cabinets. entrap innocent Canadians as victim/criminals in the As might be expected, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP is, I suggest (to any matter… and in the process to brainwash other Canadians to believe lies. fair mind) a complete and expensive sham. To begin, a complaint received by the Commission – against the The most common response by all those called to RCMP – is investigated by the RCMP. Nothing more respond is to practice silence or ‘disinformation’ or denial (or a mixture of all three). needs to be said. Bank robbers, we know, always make the best investigators of the Bank robbery they Full power exists in Canada to undertake a sweeping have conducted. Huge Income Tax fraudsters are, we investigation and review of the RCMP and to rebuild it know, the very best people to investigate the frauds completely in order to re-establish it as a legitimate they are accused of having perpetrated. Enough! Force and to make it a restrained and respected organization serving the Canadian public and highest demoWhen I made a complaint to the Commission about the False Flag entrapment of John Nuttall and cratic ideals. For the RCMP is a parrot. It has no human speech of its own. What it hears from its Amanda Korody in the process of the alleged RCMPcreated and staged Islamic Terrorist Event in Victoria master, it repeats… or acts out. Canadians should in 2013, the reply was what I call a “Vintage Bureauknow, therefore, that the state of the RCMP in Canada cratic Fake”. The letter addressed to me avoided norsignals deep and dangerous problems with democracy mal correspondence courtesy, to start: taking for in Canada … problems that must be addressed before granted I am an inferior. It was, as well, unsigned. an increasing number of innocent Canadians become (No one can be held responsible for having written the the victims of organized criminality carried out by letter!) It took for granted that the RCMP/Crown case police forces parroting in their actions the words against the two alleged entrapped Canadians – struck spoken in secret by the top political personalities in down forcibly by the judge as illegitimate - is legitiour ‘free and democratic’ country. mate. The Commission indicated that it doesn’t accept Robin Mathews, Vancouver ♣ complaints a year after an alleged offense by RCMP [ARTICLES POSTED AT www.dialogue.ca /see Columnists – officers… an admission that adds (if possible) to its updating still in progress…] www.dialogue.ca

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Challenging the assumptions of Site C proponents From Norm Zigarlick, AB/SK The following comment is in response to the article at: http://tinyurl.com/icba-get2yes RE: Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) launched a public campaign (June 12, 2017) to push the NDP-Green alliance to#Get2Yes on the Site C dam. … $4 billion already spent on Site C,” said Jordan Bateman, ICBA Communications Director.

Addressed to Jordan Bateman, ICBA:

Sir: I do have a bias in the Site C discussion, I am strongly against it. Your article has given me incentive to do something more about it. Just for the record over the years I have worked directly with politicians, often at the cabinet level and on several occasions with a couple of different Premiers. None were with the NDP or Liberal. I am not a member of any tree hugging organization, I grew up in the mining business. In fact my brother was just inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. I have nothing against hydro dams in general or with responsible development by industry. The last two jobs I had were with energy and mining companies respectively. In 72 years, I have learned that you can delay the outcome of an argument by manipulating facts or by creating fake ones, but in the long haul you can’t win it. You make reference to the NDP being out voted 10 to 1 in the region where the dam is set. In doing that you imply that is a fair description of the electorate opinion. The facts are much different. Combine the independent votes gained by Bob Federly, who is probusiness but anti Site C, along with the NDP and others who stood for election; and, in a word, your reference sucks and the deliberate intent to mislead immediately puts your credibility at risk. You make mention of the 2200 jobs being lost. Every one of those jobs was created by debt and that same debt could have created 2200 jobs anywhere in the province. Perhaps even jobs that looked to the technology of 100 years into the future not 100 years into the past. I do admire your patriotism in your support for a technology invented by our national rodent but it is really getting a bit old. 28 dialogue

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BC is a debt laden dinosaur that has become a slush

fund for needy corporations that don’t mind sucking a few extra billion out of taxpayers, while guys like you cheer them on. Your suggestion is that stopping Site C now would mean wasting the $4 billion already in it. That is on par with suggesting people should not have quit giving money to Bernie Madoff because after all he was supporting the economy. There also seems to be some difference in opinion regarding the $4 billion. People on the other end of the deal have the cost to date at less than $81.5 billion. Who to believe? After 4 or more previously peddled reasons for building Site C did not stand up to even basic scrutiny you have now decided to use the “100 years in the future” talking points. Will that somehow add to or subtract from the $100 billion Ms Clark will have in the bank from the LNG she promised to have flowing by the end of last year. I sure hope you aren’t using the same economic forecasters. In the practical world, you fail to mention Site C cannot function at design capacity for more than a few days without the WAC Bennett Dam also functioning. The WAC is less than a year from its 50th birthday which means it will be crowding its 160th by the time Site C reaches the end of its oxygen hose. The oldest large earth-fill dam on the planet is the Fort Peck Reservoir in the USA it has reached the halfway point of the life expectancy you have dealt WAC Bennett. Fort Peck doesn’t live in an active natural fault zone that is supplemented by frack quakes. Site C is not built on solid rock like a Manitoba or Quebec hydro dam is. It’s on an unstable surface not unlike the Teton Dam used to be. I stress "used to be."* If you need to manipulate reality to sell your product you are either a snake oil salesman or a poorly informed writer. Norm Zigarlick, normzig56@gmail.com

Editor’s Footnote:

* The Teton Dam was an earthen dam on the Teton River in Idaho, US. It suffered a catastrophic failure on June 5, 1976, as it was filling for the first time.


RKM Perspective on The Big Picture Richard Moore: Cyberjournal blog now live! Richard K. Moore, Ireland - rkm@cyberjournal.org March 22, 2017: Thanks to the hard work of my long-

time friend and computer guru Chris Thorman and to WordPress expert Susanne Friedrich (RedPrincess Productions), we now have a much more attractive and useful version of cyberjournal. The new blog – http://cyberjournal.org/ – is now up and running. If you click on the date at the top of a posting that will take you to the posting on the blog, where you can add comments. I encourage you to visit the blog, and any feedback would be welcome. The searchable archives go back to March, 1995. There were earlier posts, but I can’t find them anywhere. If by chance you still have earlier posts somewhere, in some format, please let me know. Besides the cyberjournal posts, the blog also gives you access to the newslog blog, which will become active again. Also there are two historical blogs, the Cyber Rights Campaign (1995-1996), and the Renaissance Network (1999-2007). For those of you who were around in those days, you might find them interesting. And again, I’m looking for earlier posts from those historical blogs. With the crisis of the Trump era upon us, along with extreme social divisiveness, there will be much for us to be studying and discussing. … the big picture is my main focus of interest, and has been ever since I started writing. On my web page, under the heading The Real World & the Matrix World, there are links to several articles I’ve written, each delving into some aspect of the ‘big picture,’ as I currently see it. History plays a big part in those articles. I trace the historical progressions that lead up to today’s ‘big picture.’ It is easier to acknowledge what is going on now, if you can see in the record of history that it has been going on for quite some time. History is like a video, telling a story up to the current day. Current events are simply the latest frames from the video, not very informative on their own – but often quite informative if you’ve been following the story, and if you are familiar with the modus operandi of the relevant players. As regards what my ‘big picture’ looks like, consider this quote: “For more than a century ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicised incidents such as my www.dialogue.ca

encounter with Castro, to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and over economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” – David Rockefeller, ‘Memoirs,’ Random House, New York, 2002, p. 405

He is talking here about manipulating events from behind the scenes, in order to move toward long-term goals. That is exactly what the big picture is about: financial elites, pulling the strings down through the years, orchestrating wars, economic crises, and political revolutions, in pursuit of power, social control, and the establishment of a world order more to their liking. There are many people, perhaps most of our 400, who would reject this big picture, dismiss it as conspiracy theorizing, or as fanciful speculation. I could spend more time providing hard evidence, but I’ve learned over the years that there’s no point. The blue pill offers too many psychological comforts, while the red pill opens one up to anxiety, something Martin Heidegger might characterize with words like these, “When I am anxious I am no longer at home in the world”. I must resign myself then to writing for an anxiety-tolerant minority, as represented by the two dozen who wrote in. My commentaries on current events are aimed at understanding how those events relate to long-term elite goals, as identified in my big-picture analysis. If you reject the big picture, then the commentaries aren’t likely to make much sense. Several people shared their comments on the blog, as you can see here. Anyone can add comments, or reply to other people’s comments. I encourage you to jump in and participate. Share those ideas you would normally email to me, expecting me to post them eventually. That was the old way; direct comments are the new way. – rkm Richard Moore (rkm) rkm@quaylargo.com Wexford rkm websites: cyberjournal.org / escapingthematrix.org ♣ See also: http://cyberjournal.org/donald-trump-and-thenew-world-order/ ♣ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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Chris Hedges speech in Vancouver, March 20107 Linda & Bob Harrington whiteoakpress@juno.com

The link below is to an amazing and moving speech by Christopher Hedges. It had me mesmerized for an hour. His books are outstanding, but the truth he brandishes in this public address is stark and compelling. LINK: http://tinyurl.com/td-chris-hedges-15-03-17

Chris Hedges: If We Do Not Stop Corporate Power, We Will Never Dismantle Fascism, Mar 15, 2017: In a recent speech titled “After Trump and Pussy Hats”

delivered in Vancouver, Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges tells the audience that “resistance must also be accompanied by an alternative vision of a socialist, anti-capitalist society.” After a fierce indictment of what he calls the kleptocracy that rules the United States, Hedges urges organizing “with lightning speed” because this is our “last chance” to do so. “... the enemy in the end is not Trump or Bannon – it is corporate power,” Hedges says. ♣


Patriarchy and Peace… Patricia White, BC pwhite.red@gmail.com

There is a very simple word for the system perpetrating the rape and destruction of the Whole of Mother Earth. That word is ‘patriarchy’ and the sooner people quit trying to find more analysis, logic and reason for it, the sooner we can support those who are trying to get the Truth Out, and working to clean up and organize the mess patriarchy has made for several thousand years. This pyramid of top down authority, of ‘dominion over,’ of divide and conquer will never produce anything but misery. It is time to return to the Sacred Teachings of the

elders which is the Circle. Science is only good as far as it goes. It will never have the Wisdom contained in Love which is the Sacred Teaching of the Circle. She is calling all of Her children to come to Her aid now. For those who have ears to hear, listen. Step Up, Step In, never mind defending your higher intellect or university degrees of experience in capitalism. This is a Spiritual battle being waged for Life itself and is beyond the understanding of science or academia. I am Patricia White. I have been called to share this message. Peace ♣


Site C dam. Maybe Pierre would kick Justin’s ass today, if he could Gunther Ostermann, Kelowna, July 1, 2016 [In the Kelowna Daily Courier] I would like to offer some

thoughts on the letter by Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett, who criticized David Bond’s assessment of the controversial Site C dam (Courier columnist’s criticisms of Site C dam are all wrong, June 22). When will politicians ever make use of acquired knowledge/wisdom from previous generations, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel? Justin Trudeau’s dad, Pierre, acquired some wisdom, after he retired, and wrote in his book, Lifting the Shadow of War: “The human community is a complex organism linked again and again within itself and as well with the biosphere upon which it is totally dependent for life. This interdependency demands of us two functions: first, the maintenance of an equilibrium among all our activities, whatever their nature; second, an equitable distribution, worldwide, of resources and opportunities. The proper discharge of those functions calls for more than tinkering with the present system. 30 dialogue

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The process required must be global in scope and universal in application. In their magnitude, if not their concept, they must be new. Of their need, none can doubt. We know in our hearts what has to be done if we have not yet found in our minds the way it can be done. Let us begin to search, and let us do so with boldness and with excitement, not with hesitancy and uncertainty … We are one on this earth. Each has the power to injure all others … Co-operation is no longer simply advantageous; in order to survive it is an absolute necessity.” Why has our prime minister, and all MPs who received this challenge to humanity, prior to the climate conference in Paris, in October 2015 remained silent? No, Mr. Bennett, your children would not thank you for the Site C dam. Quite the contrary. Once they realize energy that was not needed, did not have to be produced, and therefore, they could have saved a very fertile and beautiful valley from being flooded/destroyed forever. LINK: http://tinyurl.com/kdc-gunther-PET-JT


“Your Health Matters”

In Praise of Vitamin Therapy Dr. Derrick Lonsdale, M.D.

For years I have struggled to get people to understand the relative simplicity of what causes us to get sick. Our medical model implies that each disease has a specific cause and therefore has a specific treatment. But if you look seriously at what makes us tick, there are several obvious factors involved. Yes, we are provided with a “blue print”, given in code called DNA, by our parents. Since the discovery of DNA, medical research has emphasized almost to exclusion of other factors, that genetics is the primary research area. But the most amazing recent finding is that our cellular genes (the blueprint) can be manipulated by our diet and lifestyle. Even though the great Hans Selye studied the effects of physical stress on animals, we have neglected it in relationship to human health. He said that humans were suffering from what he called the diseases of adaptation. What he meant by that was that any form of “stress” has to be met by an adaptation that requires a huge amount of energy. The brain causes the body to go into a defensive mode when we are attacked by a microorganism and it should not be surprising that it requires energy. Sometimes a severe form of “stress” is associated with fever that should be regarded as an automated defensive action. In fact, I knew of a patient in whom the cause of her persistent fever could not be determined by standard laboratory methods. It was written off as “psychosomatic,” because of personality factors. The idea, however, seems to me to be a reduction to absurdity based on collective ignorance of the underlying mechanism. The symptoms that we develop are caused by all the actions that make up the defensive mode and we call that the disease. For example, fever is part of the defense because it renders the attacking organism less efficient. Hence, the attacking organism is a “stressor.” Perhaps prolonged mental stress can produce fever in a metabolically abnormal brain because of causative misinterpretation by the brain. It has long been timehonored that we bring the temperature down artificially as part of the treatment for infection, thus losing an important part of the defense. It wasn’t the www.dialogue.ca

flu virus that caused Reye’s syndrome, a disease that caused the death of many children. It was the aspirin given by the mothers to bring their child’s temperature down. When you read a telegram giving you bad news or when you ride a bicycle, when you run cross country or shovel snow, we take it for granted that the energy will be forthcoming, that is if we think about it at all. Energy deficiency in the heart muscle could easily explain the “drop-dead” phenomenon occasionally experienced by elderly people in the winter when shoveling snow, usually written off as a heart attack from coronary disease that could easily be part of the event. Could that death have been prevented by analyzing the state of nutrition for that individual? Another great discovery is that we have a separate set of genes that preside over the functions of our mitochondria. These are the organelles within each of our cells that produce the energy that enables us to function. Sick mitochondria produce sick people, because energy consumed must be met by energy synthesized. We now know that mitochondria have their own genes completely separate from the “blueprint” genes. Mitochondrial genes are passed to the children by the mother. When damaged mitochondrial genes are passed on to children, it becomes a form of maternal inheritance. An obvious question is whether the damage to genes can be caused in adult life from malnutrition or whether the damaged genes passed on to the children are invariably inherited from grandma. Energy synthesis depends upon an exquisitely complicated set of nutrients that are derived from what we eat, so nutrition becomes the third factor. It is therefore very likely that an element of each of these factors is always involved. Yes, it is true that a genetic mistake may be the primary cause, but a lot of genetic mistakes are really risk factors that begin to produce a given disease in relationship to “stress” and “nutrition,” both of which always play a part. We now know that the induction of the first symptoms of beriberi, a well-known vitamin deficiency disease that has dogged mankind for centuries, can be fully initiated by sunlight exposure in a person with marginal deficiency. There may be mild symptoms attributed to other “more acceptable” causes or even no symptoms of vitamin deficiency prior to …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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Derrick Lonsdale, In Praise of Vitamin Therapy, contd.

sunlight exposure. In the early investigation of beriberi, the appearance of symptoms in many individuals at the same time misled the investigators who concluded that it was due to a mysterious infection. We now have reason to believe that ultraviolet light imposes a “stress” in an individual whose metabolism is marginal, thus initiating the true underlying cause. Healing The human body, as we all recognize, is beautifully designed and healing is a natural phenomenon built into our system. The body knows exactly what to do, but like stress factors, healing requires energy. So, it seems to make absolute sense that we cannot possibly produce healing by the use of compounds that are completely foreign to our cellular system. Shouldn’t we be using methods that assist the healing process by stimulating mitochondria to produce the necessary energy? Surely, the only possible assistance must be through the use of nutrients. At present, we know that there are well over 40 separate non-caloric nutrients that we must get from our food to maintain health and this may not be a full complement. Vitamin therapy I give this as a forerunner to news that I came across quite recently. I am reasonably sure that it will be known by people who love American sports. Everyone knows the name of Bernie Kosar, the great quarterback of the Cleveland Browns back in the good old days. Bernie understood the highs and lows of football. He had hundreds of concussions, broken bones and torn ligaments over 8 ½ seasons. In retirement he suffered pounding headaches, sleepless nights, anxiety and increased weight. Speech slurring made people think that he was drunk. Amazingly, his family didn’t believe that he had genuine symptoms and thought that he was merely trying to gain attention. The slurred speech was thought to be due to alcohol, the weight gain from overeating. After his retirement, apparently he spent some time in Florida and he learned there of a physician who was using intravenous vitamins to treat the kind of symptoms of which he complained. He tried it and immediately began to feel better. In fact he was so impressed that when he came north to live in Ohio he looked for a physician who could continue this treatment. He was directed to a doctor Pesek, founding holistic physician and CEO of Vital Health in Cleveland. Dr. Pesek uses holistic super foods and megadose vitamins to treat 32 dialogue

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his patients. Kosar gets two or three intravenous infusions of vitamins a month. His headaches have decreased, his sleep is improved and he has lost 60 pounds in weight. This is loss of accumulated water in the tissues, a signature of mitochondrial disease, not loss of fat. In fact he is so impressed that he is going to bring it to the notice of the NFL concussion settlement. He wishes that he had started it earlier. He says that “he knows of guys who are older and some who are younger than me and it goes south quickly”. Can we provide an explanation? Because the methodology is “out of the box,” it is likely that a common explanation would be the socalled placebo effect. But that effect has to have a mechanism and perhaps the approach with nutrients actually stimulates this effect. What we know about brain injury is that the damage upsets the normal balance of metabolism. It causes a release of oxygen radicals, a phenomenon that can be likened to the production of sparks in a fire. The damage is cumulative, eventually giving rise to the kind of symptoms experienced by Kosar and also by Mohammed Ali, who went on to suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Neglect the early symptoms – almost always mistaken for psychosomatic disease – and the damage slowly accumulates, eventually becoming irreversible and untreatable. I suggest that this is represented as one of the many neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Under the present medical model, it might easily be assumed that intravenous vitamins are a specific treatment for the effects of concussion and should be reserved for that. The point is that there are many avenues to metabolic imbalance. For example, if Type 1 diabetes was determined by a genetic effect, why do the symptoms not appear for many years? If genes are solely responsible, diabetes should be present at birth. The answer is that other factors come into play, including malnutrition and aging. In fact, in the state of (individual) genius, it might be that even the best possible diet does not provide sufficient energy, perhaps explaining the long-term illnesses of the historical figures, Mozart and Charles Darwin, both of whom suffered lifelong from symptoms that have often been regarded by historians mostly as psychosomatic. – Derrick Lonsdale, M.D., Strongsville OH “Everything is connected to everything else.” Dr. Lonsdale retired in 2012 at the age of 88 years; he is a retired Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and a …/


Certified Nutrition Specialist. Website: www.prevmed.com/ Blog: http://o2thesparkoflife.blogspot.com/

Dr. Lonsdale is author of: A Nutritional Approach to a Revised Model for Medicine – Is Modern Medicine Helping You? and also Why I Left Orthodox Medicine. A new book, Thiamine Deficiency Disease, Dysautonomia, and High Calorie Malnutrition (Aug 2017) explores thiamine & how its deficiency affects the functions of the brainstem and autonomic

nervous system by way of metabolic changes at the level of the mitochondria. Thiamine deficiency derails mitochondrial oxidative metabolism and gives rise to the classic disease of beriberi that, in its early stages, can be considered the prototype for a set of disorders that we now recognize as dysautonomia. This book represents the life’s work of the senior author, Dr. Derrick Lonsdale, and a recent collaboration with his co-author Dr. Chandler Marrs. (more at amazon.ca) ♣


“The Fifth Columnist”

Down at the Library Michael Neilly, Dunrobin ON

Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said, after two terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, that "enough is enough", and called for stricter regulation of the internet and of the big internet service providers in particular. Time and again I hear people say that the internet is free and shouldn’t be regulated. That anonymity should somehow be guaranteed to respect people’s privacy. The internet is a giant library. It is a library that is for the most part held by private interests. Giant corporations called internet service providers (ISPs) own huge communications networks, fed by various bits of telecommunications technology such as fiber optics terminals, multiplexers, routers and switches, scattered throughout the world, also owned largely by corporations. The library down at the corner does not allow pornography, nor does it contain books that incite hatred. Nobody cries censorship when they visit the local library. Even internet access at the library is controlled and librarians try to discourage people with prurient interests from using their computers for this purpose. You might call this regulation! People buy newspapers from wealthy publishers and watch newscasts funded by media moguls, again from the private sector and surely, tacitly accept that the news being recounted is biased through their lens. There is legal recourse for people who have been slandered or libeled. Is this not regulation? How often have we heard the internet described as the “Information Highway”? Our highways are also regulated. You can’t speed on a highway, you must have www.dialogue.ca

insurance and a licence to drive on a highway. There is the Highway Traffic Act, which governs our highways. This, too, is regulation. Illegal activity on our highways is discouraged. Lawbreakers are arrested and charged. Echoing the sentiments of Theresa May, I would say that internet service providers (ISPs) have turned a blind eye to the traffic it carries. The poison it carries insinuates our society. Haters don’t learn hate all by themselves. Like most people, they read things that resonate with their world view. When people’s baser instincts are validated constantly in this way, people feel that they have licence to act. For some reason, the internet, our giant, privately-held (in the free world at least) library has a reputation of being “free” – i.e. that its very essence is somehow democratic and noble and cannot be regulated. Yet democracy has been around for hundreds of years. To say that a ‘regulated internet’ is totalitarianism is to say that everything before the dawn of the internet, in the 1990s, is totalitarian. Like another technology, the gun, the internet has made it all too easy to act without thinking. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s “noosphere” is here: “The sphere of human thought,” the web, is our neural net. Even so, we do not act on every thought, nor should we. We filter our water, we filter the air. We do this for our own good. The other day, I saw a poster at work, tacked to my project manager’s wall. When you speak, ask yourself three questions: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? This isn’t to say that we should all conform blindly, but perhaps it’s a recognition that we all hate rejection always, and to allow hate speech, religious or otherwise, is not the Canadian way. ♣ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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P is for… The Promise of Paradise – a book by Andrew Scott The history of utopian communities in British Columbia “A wonderful tale of perseverance, idealism––and magnificent failure.” – Peter C. Newman "The West has long attracted visionaries and schemers from around the world. And no other region in North America can outstrip British Columbia for the number of utopian or intentional settlement attempts in the past 150 years. Andrew Scott delves into the dramatic stories of these fascinating, but often doomed, communities. From Doukhobor farmers to Finnish coal miners, Quakers and hippies, many groups have struggled to build idealistic colonies in BC's inspiring landscape. While most discovered hardship, disillusionment and failure, new groups sprang up--and continue to spring up--to take their place. Meet the quick-tempered, slave-driving Madame Zee (partner of the infamous Brother XII), who reportedly beat followers with a riding crop. Hear from Richard "The Troll" Schaller, who founded the Legal Front Commune, General Store and Funny Food Farm on the Sunshine Coast, setting off a storm of hostility from locals. Congregate

with Jerry LeBourdais and fellow members of the Ochiltree Organic Commune, who rebelled from hippie communes by embracing meat eating and coffee drinking. With careful research and engaging first-person accounts, Scott sifts through the wreckage of the utopia-seekers' dreams and delves into the practices and philosophies of contemporary intentional communities. This book is a compendium of astounding misadventures as well as an intriguing analysis of what moves people to search for paradise." – quote from the expanded 2nd Edition, March 2017 Andrew Scott is an author, journalist, editor and photographer whose non-fiction work has appeared in publications worldwide. He is the author of six books including the award-winning Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Harbour Publishing, 2009). He was also a contributing editor, subject consultant and writer for the Encyclopedia of British Columbia (Harbour Publishing, 2000). Scott lives in Sechelt, BC [quoted from the back cover] ♣


BOOK REVIEW “Beyond Matter – why science needs metaphysics” by Roger Trigg (Templeton Press – 2015)© A review by H. J. Spencer May 2017

It is understandable that a professional philosopher, who was exposed to Logical Positivists as an Oxford undergraduate, is still obsessed with the need to defend both logic and rationality. After a lifetime studying philosophy, Trigg is immensely frustrated by the cavalier dismissal of philosophy by so many modern scientists, who ironically proudly add the prestige initials “Ph.D.” after their names. Before the technocrats started their takeover of Natural Philosophy in the mid 1800s, (renaming their common area: science), well-educated professors had a broad and deep knowledge of philosophy. This included the two principal areas of metaphysics: ontology (reality) and epistemology (human awareness). No Natural Philosopher before 1850 would believe that science could be conducted without deep learning in these areas. The tragedies and contradictions of modern science demonstrate the dangers of proceeding only from a technique perspective; as Professor Trigg points out 34 dialogue

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that attacks on science have grown in virulence since 1973. This book goes a long way to correcting this deficiency; it is short enough that no scientist can say they have no time to read it, while it’s clarity makes its case as the best of lawyers. Failure to make science more rational (and philosophical) will lead to a greater divergence between the “insiders” and the general public, who pay for all their activities. Trigg correctly identifies the acceptance of the focus on the material aspects of nature by Galileo, Newton and Descartes as the start of modern science. This provided a clear path to resolving what had been previously only verbal disputations since the days of classical Greece. Theologians had been tremendous advocates of rationality and agreed with John Locke’s view of reason (or rationality) as “the candle of the Lord”. Thus, medieval theologians, like Thomas Aquinas, readily merged the newly available writings of Aristotle (from Arabic scholars) with the more acceptable Christian writings of the Neo-Platonists. …/ www.dialogue.ca

These ideas became the deep intellectual roots of modern science. Most of this argumentation was seen as metaphysical, so metaphysics was the baby thrown out with the bathwater as religion was displaced in Europe while intellectuals moved into a secular perspective. Even today, many atheistic scientists do not want to re-open the religious wars, so materialists wish to limit “Truth-Seeking” to objective validation. The philosophy of Positivism arose around 1900, with the ‘Vienna Circle’; it limited science’s truthstatements to what could be ‘verified’ by observation or experiments. Any claims beyond these were labeled as metaphysical and dismissed as ‘literal nonsense’. These ideas evolved into Logical Positivism and came to dominate Anglo-American philosophy in the 1930s. This removed reality (ontology) from the dialogue and emphasizes only language and sensory human activities (epistemology). This is a restoration of Bishop Berkeley’s idealism where eventually only the rational mind will have any credibility (as occurred in the Middle Ages). One of the most disturbing trends in advanced quantum mechanics, whose major innovators in the 1920s were powerfully influenced by Positivism, is the conflating of ontology with epistemology. Only what humans can observe (or even measure) is to count as existing in reality (ontology). This actually restores us to the pre-Copernican arrogance that ‘Man is the Center of the Universe’. An excessive stress in the methods of science to dismiss metaphysics from physics has been extended to biology, where judges (in the USA) have been co-opted to rule what is ‘scientific’, so as to dismiss religiously motivated critics of Evolution. Today, advanced (and expensive) physics cannot address the status of unobserved entities, such as quarks, uncharged short-lived ‘particles’, when animal and human senses only evolved for middlesized objects. Thus, human imagination has been abolished from atomic physics forcing us to go along with technological claims for vast machinery, like the CERN colliders and detectors. Worse, even shared experiences, long interpreted in terms in macroscopic analogies, like ‘light-waves’ disappeared into the mathematics of illdefined concepts, such as ‘energy’. Even a wellgrounded sense of human agency is still implied by the popular idea of causality (and its philosophical theory of physical determinism). This too cannot be verified because it is metaphysical, when it is assumed www.dialogue.ca

to be still active on the atomic scale, as “every physical event must have a physical causal background.” Philosopher of science, Karl Popper, realizing the emptiness of ‘Verificationism’, switched his colleagues’ attention to ‘Falsificationism’. This new focus broke the claim that science was the only way to study reality; other areas of life (like psychoanalysis) could be investigated but these subjective findings could not then be called an ‘empirical science’. Eventually, these ideas came together under the label ‘Instrumentalism’, where “a scientific theory was not a window on reality but only a tool to manipulate the world around us.” Even science-historian, Thomas Kuhn came to view theory-choice as being based on personal psychological or sociological factors. One of the difficulties facing the restoration of metaphysics in western thought is the widely mistaken myth that these subjects were either only an ‘add-on’ by Aristotle in his thinking, as these writing were misfiled by the ancient editors of the Great Alexandrian Museum ‘just beyond’ (or meta in Greek) this great originator’s work on Physics (his investigations into things in nature). Quite correctly, Trigg emphasizes that Aristotle was first starting with his Metaphysics volume, to discuss “first principles and the causes of things”, especially those that are “universal and furthest from the senses”. Thus, empirical studies (of sensible objects) were seen as ‘secondary philosophy’. It is not a coincidence that the word ‘science’ derives from Latin for knowledge and Roman Civilization was quite derivative and contributed most in areas of politics and engineering. Trigg offers a functional definition of metaphysics as “reasoning about what lies beyond science”; its great difficulty is that it has never had any agreed methods or procedures for settling disputes. As Trigg points out, it is a metaphysical statement to deny metaphysical claims and usefully reminds us that science does not have to explain everything but many expect it to explain some things; in fact, most physicists want to go beyond mere description: they seek theories about what is happening in the world. Science would never have developed if humans were just satisfied with surface appearances. Few people deny physical reality, so thinking about the foundations of reality (ontology) is widespread. In fact, any attempt to measure a non-existent entity would be absurd. Indeed, the idea of reality cannot be scientifically proved, so it too becomes …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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H. J. Spencer, Review of Beyond Matter, contd.

metaphysical (as Aristotle knew). Within the scientific paradigm, it seems reasonable to view the evidence for the reality of an alleged entity in its ability to have causal effects (interactions) on other more observable entities. Quantum mechanics (QM) has led to more than questioning how we can investigate a scale of reality that our biological evolution never needed us to be aware until now (e.g. viral infections). QM has challenged our intuitions about time; confronted with its statistical discovery of multiple values when experiments are repeated many times, physics has fractured on the very nature of possibility. The multiverse hypothesis “solved” this dilemma by assuming that all possibilities actually occur in different universes. But when the distinction between possibility and actuality is lost, then so is the idea that science can explain the way they are (in our universe). Even with this broad perspective, it seems difficult to accept the reality of Strings, the multiverse and cosmic inflation. Trigg agrees with others who view the obsession with the multiverse as an attempt to disguise the explanatory failures of contemporary physics as explanatory successes, while being excused from the experimental discipline of science. William of Ockham must be spinning in his grave at the multiverse’s explosion of hypothetical inventions when the alternative is to return to a more skeptical analysis of the quantum wave-function and the Superposition view. Logically, just because reality includes human beings, it does not have to be centered on them – nor does it have to be limited to interactions with our senses. Tragically, we may find that reality is far too complex (non-linear) and chaotic to be intelligible to human understanding. This can then generate the reaction that reality can then only be ‘understood’ through the empty symbolism of mathematics. Conversely, the awareness of the complexity of life implies that it is probably not accidental while time is needed for changes to evolve to current complex structures. The concept of existence lies at the heart of the subject of ontology so its extent is quite controversial. Many mathematicians blindly follow Plato and believe that all mathematical structures exist physically – a classic example of metaphysical confusion. This has become critical as mathematicians expand their grip on the future of physics. 36 dialogue

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Some famous people, such as Richard Dawkins and Steven Hawking, expound the view called scientism: believing only science can provide reliable knowledge. However, they seem unaware that the interpretation of scientific discoveries (‘facts’) are regularly influenced by unstated metaphysical prejudices. It is not good enough for some scientists to claim that: “science just works” (for whom?). Too many scientists claim the explosion of modern technology being due to science when it is usually the converse. It is also obvious that different sciences examine reality at different scales, so its investigators invent their own concepts and entities. There has long been an implicit belief (pushed by mathematicians) that all sciences can be ultimately reduced to physics (“reductionism”). Since physics has long been a study of ‘matter’; thus limiting ontology to materialism is a dangerous, over-narrowing of the scope of human reason and eventually threatens science itself as a search for truth, while humanity need to improve its moral attitudes and social beliefs. The challenge here is that few complex systems (entities) can be explained in terms of their constituent parts alone: there is a growing awareness of the unexpected appearance of ‘emergent’ properties, which often require new insights (guesses) and experimental investigations. It is not a coincidence that there are growing levels of attacks on science today (not all due to ‘post-modernists’). This is a human reaction to the bullying attitudes of too many scientists, who adopt a global (imperialistic) attitude that only they are investigating reality. In fact, the growing spread of ‘scientism’ concerns me so much that I was tempted to title this review: “The Revenge of the Nerds”. This reviewer agrees with Roger Trigg that science needs a metaphysical framework, so I strongly recommend others to read this book. Indeed, the metaphysical statement that a common, objective reality is a necessary precondition for human languages should encourage all open-minded intellectuals, particularly scientists, to take a deeper look at metaphysical questions. In fact, science students (and anyone interested in understanding more about reality) should also extend their awareness base by studying more philosophy. From Herb Spencer, Surrey BC [spsi99@telus.net] ♣


Grist for the Mill

Re: Ontario Rolls out Guaranteed Basic Income pilot project Ed Goertzen, Oshawa ON Comment re: Toronto Star article re $17,000 Annual Basic Income. LINK: http://tinyurl.com/ts-4-24-basic-income *

Dear Editor: While continuing my support for the basic income, I would like to point out that the ‘fly in the ointment’ and the ‘elephant in the room’ is the fact that the antonym for poverty is not income, but wealth. For most Canadians, wealth translates into Residential Property. How the ownership of wealth (assets) is factored into the mix will, in my humble opinion, determine the support of voters for the pilot. Secondly, how will the ownership of a mortgage-free residence be valued when determining the level of

support, and should it be thus valued? Ed Goertzen, egoert@interlinks.net [Comment sent to the Toronto Star]

* “We want to find out whether a basic income makes a positive difference in people’s lives . . . and whether it is an approach that deserves to be adopted across our province as a whole,” Wynne said. … Payments will begin in the Hamilton and Thunder Bay areas this summer, while participants in Lindsay will be recruited in the fall. ♣ ***************

Bon Mot… What about Lady Luck? “If people tend to overlook the role of good luck in their own success, they also tend to overlook the role of bad luck in others’ failures.” – Robert H. Frank, The Darwin Economy, 2011 ♣


RE: Supreme Court of Canada Dismisses Constitutional BofC case, claiming it is a political matter From Bob Hansen, Ladysmith BC

June 1, 2017: It's becoming ever more clear that the Supreme Court of Canada is not always the best place to make changes to government policy that is good for ALL Canadians. Corporate law is likely more effective in the long run, since it obviates the need to constantly be going back to the Supreme Court in order to straighten out the screw ups caused by our corporate-

compliant House of Commons mercenary politicians. It does not have to be this way. See: www.i-acuse ; www.myfreedom2017 ; and ‘Direct Democracy School’ on Facebook for universal alternatives to this ancient process of kleptocratic oligarchs, foreign and domestic. Altered Egos Radio News Magazine, CHLY 101.7 FM hansen.bob5@gmail.com ♣


Individual Rights versus Collective Rights … Ernest Semple, Dollard-des-Ormeaux QC

[Coming up against ‘politically-correct’ rules and “blindness” to travesties] is a common experience for many of us who have devoted time to community work. Nearly all of us cannot cope with the ever changing rulings of the courts in civil rights. If you can trace the problem to the Charter of Rights, as Brad Wall has done, the answer he has chosen in order to oppose the group rights interpretations of the courts, then you have I believe the final choice to be made that is now proven. The separatists have always been followers of "collective rights" being embedded in any constitutional bargaining. Conflict over collective rights trumping individual rights is not a problem under British Common Law that we have inherited through www.dialogue.ca

the 1867 BNA. Laws of precedence and individual choice were historically backed up until 1982 by the Magna Carta. Those that have toyed with legal wording granting rights to groups need to be exposed and dealt with in court. Canadian citizens may have to be as brave as Brad Wall to make this essential change of viewpoint that has been inserted in the 1982 so-called Charter of Rights and Freedoms. ♣ Comment from Kim McConnell, Ottawa:

Yes, Ernest has always been a champion of "Individual Rights" as opposed to "Group Rights". I have asked Conrad Black to write an essay on this. Another person to approach would be John Robson who is a champion of the Magna Carta. – Kim ♣ …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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Comment from Ken Kellington, Devon AB:

Thank You, Kim and Ernest. There are many of us who believe Canada is on the road to SELF DESTRUCTION. Ernest, I believe has made it very clear. The majority of Canadians, including myself, have been seeking a solution, by either change in policies or Western Separation, however we were only looking at the EFFECTS of the problem and overlooked THE CAUSE OF OUR

Ernest made the following statement: “Those that have toyed with legal wording granting rights to groups need to be exposed and dealt with in court. Canadian citizens may have to be as brave as Brad Wall to make this essential change of viewpoint that has been inserted in the 1982 so-called Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” In other words, Canadians are finally demanding A GOVERNMENT FOR THE PEOPLE AND BY THE PEOPLE. ♣

PROBLEM. **************************************************************

Links from June Ross, Nanaimo BC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip vs. Alberta premier Rachel Notley

Radiofrequency radiation and health: An important paper by

From Don Bain, Coast Protectors, June 4, 2017

Dr. Lennart Hardell re the World Health Organization (WHO), military and industry

Will you stand with the Grand Chief? Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said this week that no matter what new government or opposition does, "Mark my words, that pipeline will be built, the decisions have been made." In response, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said, "Mark MY words, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project will never see the light of day." First Nations court challenges and grassroots resistance combined with the prospect of a new government in Victoria has Big Oil and the politicians that depend on it panicking. We need to keep the pressure up -- that's where you come in. You are critical to challenging the tough talk coming from Alberta and Ottawa. Here's what you can do: Share this blog post with your friends, family and social networks; Big Oil and the politicians who depend on it are panicking. It's up to us to carry the message far and wide, without big media, "I stand with Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. We will do whatever it takes to stop this pipeline." - Don Bain, Executive Director, Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) WEBSITE: www.CoastProtectors.ca Coast Protectors is hosted by the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, 342 Water St, 500, Vancouver, BC V6B-1B6, Canada. You can also keep up with Coast Protectors on Twitter or Facebook. ♣

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble, June 23, 2017

“World Health Organization, radiofrequency radiation and health – a hard nut to crack” Review by LENNART HARDELL, Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Örebro University, SE-701 82 Örebro, Sweden Review LINK: http://tinyurl.com/ssmbc-LH-06-17

Dr. Hardell’s paper re conflict of interest and bias in ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) and the WHO (World Health Organization). I highly recommend you read this 9-page report to get the history and significance of the industry connection with the WHO. The WHO is the key to the problem of exposure to and proliferation of wireless radiation. WHO sets guidelines that Health Canada follows, blindly. Then provincial officers, like Perry Kendall, blindly follow Health Canada. The scientific experts are organizing to confront WHO for its support of the telecom industry at the expense of our health. As concerned citizens we need to organize and voice our concerns, too, if things are ever going to change. – END OF LINKS FROM JUNE ROSS –


An Independent Christian appeals to sadly divided Muslims (Shia, Sunni) ~ and Christians… Franklin O’Connor, Nanaimo BC, April 8, 2017

The Prophet Mohammed followed the Christian New Testament of the Bible more closely than many socalled Christians. Matthew 22, 37-39, Mark 12, 29-31, and Luke 10, 27 all say love GOD, not love God the 38 dialogue

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Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, i.e. three divine Persons in One God: which was cemented as the standard for the Roman Empire by Constantine in 325 C.E. The Pope of Rome has insisted on that interpretation right down to the present day. …/ www.dialogue.ca

BUT, 500 years ago, the Roman Catholic Church experienced within its ranks the Protestant Reformation (= revolution), which led to the disgraceful shedding of blood amongst nations siding with one side or the other… until a few years ago, a remnant of the bloody conflict was seen in Northern Ireland – a part of the British Empire which King Henry VIII, following the Protestants, removed from the Papacy’s control; more shedding of blood. So much for Love Thy Neighbour, the Second Great Commandment. 300 years after Constantine, Mohammed corrected the Trinitarian interpretation by stressing the above New Testament quotations: GOD, pure and simple. BUT, Mohammed’s followers copied the silly Christians [i.e. the 4th century split of Arianism (the Son is subordinate to the Father) vs. Trinitarianism] and also split into two groups: Shia and Sunni. So, bloodshed right down to a few days ago… So: GOD is poorly served by both

“Christians” and Mohammed’s followers. I was indoctrinated by Roman Catholicism from my earliest years, but later I could see that R.C.s and Protestants were divided on very basic questions, irreconcilable differences, no matter how much the Pope and the “separated brethren” ask for the Trinity’s help toward unity. Result: I became an Independent Christian, not attending any of their churches. By happy coincidence, I came to appreciate what the Qur’an says in 50:16 – “GOD is nearer to man than man’s jugular vein.” No one needs organized religions (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., etc.) with their churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, etc. The GOLDEN RULE suffices. Please, please, PEACE. Franklin O’Connor (aka “Stan Smith”) Independent Christian, ex-R.C., Nanaimo BC ♣


Stories from Magical Moon Lake Karl Backus, Holland Centre ON

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) once said: "Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace." Often we take the presence of animals for granted. We may not realize that animals are our friends and helpers that sometimes need guidance or a little assistance in return. Here at Moon Lake each of the animals with their many gifts and purposes helped to create this magical place. The Phoebe One of these helpers is the fly-catching Phoebe that keeps the insect population in check. There is no mistaking when the Phoebes have arrived, usually around the 9th of April, as if they knew the calendar. Immediately after his return and from then on – soon after sunrise every morning – Mr. Phoebe performs his monotonous song “Phoebe-phoebe.” Sometimes it ends with a little twist, like “fibi-fibi beep.” This is a territorial call. Usually I am still asleep when I hear this call very early in the morning. I have to shut my window to muffle the sound coming from right outside it. Later in the season, Mr. Phoebe expresses himself with a more pleasant, quiet chatting sound. Each year the same pair of Phoebes nests on one of www.dialogue.ca

two small boards about twenty feet apart that I have nailed under the eaves on the east side of my house. I put up two boards so the birds can alternate their nest. The reason for changing nests: the mites that birds often have – and changing yearly avoids re-infection. Once the Phoebes have decided which site they want to take, they get busy building a nest that soon will have 3 to 4 eggs. These will hatch in a few weeks. For their hungry brood they catch insects all summer long. A favourite site for spotting insects is my 8-element radio antenna, high above the roof. My clothesline is another spot they like. Young Phoebes grow larger by the day. Soon the nest seems almost too small to accommodate them. One year, the Phoebe s tried to prevent this tight housing situation. They had spotted the two boards I had nailed side-by-side near my window. I had thought that the young birds could walk-out onto this extra space. To my surprise, the two boards must have been too tempting for the birds and they built two nests sideby-side, with two eggs in each nest. They alternated sitting on each nest. This strategy did not work, though, and in the end only one nest produced offspring. It seems that animals, like humans, also have their trials and errors. (From Magical Moon Lake, p.70-71)

Karl Backus, Magical Moon Lake, p.164-168 ♣ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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Perfumeries of Words: My Memorization Practice (i) by Susan McCaslin, Fort Langley BC

Since retiring from teaching English and Creative Writing at a community college in 2007, I’ve developed a fairly regular practice of memorizing poems while walking in the countryside around Fort Langley. I trace my earliest poetic legacy to the Romantics like Wordsworth and Keats who wandered the countryside carefully observing nature and also composing poems in their heads. My paternal grandmother was a severe but impassioned schoolteacher who believed in learning poems “by rote,” as was common in her day. I cried when I heard her whispering lines from Longfellow’s “A Psalm of Life” on her deathbed: “Dust thou art, to dust returnest, / Was not spoken of the soul.” Her legacy to me was a well-worn anthology of poems that still falls open at her favourite places. Despite being a staunch Presbyterian, she was a student of the world’s religions, very curious and openminded in her way. So I learned from her that memorizing poetry can be heart-work. You impress the poem so intensely into your psyche that it becomes a permanent part of you – mind, emotions, body, and all. It can see you through life’s big shifts and transformations. In an age when we are inundated with masses of information, taking time to memorize words we love can become a kind of spiritual practice. It takes work and patience to allow words to penetrate and rest in the heart. I began my practice by working with rhymed and metered poems, “chestnuts” from my childhood and from graduate school that have remained with me. Rhyme is a mnemonic device, so a rhymed poem is generally much easier to commit to memory, at least for me, than free verse. “I’m Nobody, Who are You?” by Emily Dickinson was one of the first poems I memorized when embarking on this enterprise. The poem came fairly easily, partly because it was short, and partly because I liked how she creates intimacy with the hearer: 40 dialogue

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I’m Nobody! Who are you? Are you – Nobody – too? Then there’s a pair of us! Don’t tell! They’d advertise – you know! How dreary – to be – Somebody! How public – like a Frog – To tell one’s name – the livelong June – To an admiring Bog! (ii) What has intensified for me in the process of memorization is the palpable sense of bonding with the heart and mind of the author. It’s also fun to give oneself permission to add exclamations points and dashes into the delivery! At the risk of sounding “mystical,” I’d say there’s a sense of channeling that goes on, whether you interpret that as a literal or metaphorical occurrence. The poet’s words instantly take you into the state of mind of the poet at the time of the composing – that is, right inside the poetic process. Why just this word here? Yes, that’s right! And that bit of enjambment! Who would have thought? A poet’s words are like little perfumeries that release their essence as you reenact the process of their making. Being with the poem in this way can be a form of communion. In memorizing, there’s a sense of cocreating, a joining of your voice to the poet’s and to the voices of all those who have read the poem aloud or silently since its conception. I’m a classic introvert, but memorizing a poem is more like declaiming or acting than quiet reading, so it allows you to release your inner drama major too. While memorizing Coleridge’s “Kubla Kahn,” I would notice my voice suddenly booming out in unexpected places as if Coleridge himself were prompting – “Give it a big blast here. There, a hush, a whisper.” This was not how I had planned to recite. Then there’s the fun of discovering how many ways there are to read a line as the voice plays over the thrumming metrical base. Memorizing allows me to feel in my pulse the rhythms and cadences of the poem. Because it isn’t my own poem, I feel freer, less www.dialogue.ca

inhibited, more capable of assuming an identity other than that of my ordinary self. I’m free to be Nobody, and Everybody. There’s also an excitement when you get to the place where you know the poem so well you don’t have to worry about stumbling or forgetting a line or word. Soon the dance begins, the soaring, the play. By painstakingly living with the poem over days or weeks or months, the poem will give itself to you in new ways. You and the poem become friends. Memorization has also changed my art by giving me new poems. When I was working on “Kubla Kahn,” for instance, a mesmerizing and complex poem with many shifts in tone and rhythm, I began to notice how Coleridge’s imagery of a collapsing paradise, a cataclysmic destruction where “huge fragments [are] vaulting like rebounding hail,” parallels the impact of global warming on our Arctic landscapes. In the end I wrote my own tribute poem called “Xanadu Two” that integrates aspects of Coleridge’s rhythm, structure, and imagery to explore global warming. Call it mere fancy, but I imagined this is the sort of thing the bard would be writing about today. Of course, writing “after Coleridge” has its risks – but why not be foolish? Often, memorizing a poem awakens new insights into works we thought we knew. When “committing to heart” (a lovely phrase) Dickinson’s “I’m Nobody,” I began to see it not as a statement of self-effacement, but as a Zen koan about the freedom of discovering each of us is a “no self.” “How dreary to be somebody,” indeed! I’ll have breakfast with Emily, this ecstatic one “rowing in paradise,” any time and enter the no-self zone. The final way in which memorizing poems has changed my poetic practice is that it has given me greater confidence, not just in myself, but in my poems, and in poetry itself. I’ll tell you a couple of stories to illustrate. I was at a poetry reading where, for the third time in my life, I stood up without script or text to recite a poem. This one was the “Kubla Khan” I had worked so hard to memorize. The crowd was with me and I delivered the poem as if I had stepped inside Coleridge’s dream. I felt fearless, fierce, enamoured of the “damsel with a dulcimer,” and took the audience with me. I became a woman with “flashing eyes…and floating hair” who had “drunk the milk of paradise.” The next day, a friend of mine said, “You know, www.dialogue.ca

Susan, I wish you would read your own poems with the same passionate intensity with which you read the Coleridge.” I realized that my belief in the utter timelessness of Coleridge’s art had given me permission to step out, to be transported and to transport. I realized that often when reading my own poems, I’m seconding-guessing myself. What will they think of this line? Should I be wearing red shoes? Oh, no, I want to change that line. Is that person in the back disengaged, asleep? And the good news is that since memorizing, I have moved just a little further toward casting off selfdoubt and standing behind (within) my words in the honouring of the craft. When travelling in Turkey in 2010 summer I had the opportunity to stand on the stage in a Greek amphitheatre and recite Wordsworth’s sonnet “The World Is Too Much with Us” that ends with the magnificent image of Triton blowing “his wreathed horn.” With the blue Mediterranean behind me, I felt I could almost hear its clarion blast. The acoustics of the place were so excellent that my group, standing at the top of the amphitheatre, could hear every word. As an elderly friend of mine used to say, “You could hear a pin drop.” Despite the delights of memorizing poems, there are some difficulties inherent in the practice. The first snag is an aging brain, as I will soon be having my “Will You Still Need Me, / Will You Still Feed Me” potluck to celebrate my 70th. I’ve never had what some call a “photographic memory,” but memorizing now takes longer than it used to. What is encouraging is that recent scientific research indicates memorization may sustain and even improve memory. I swear I can actually feel new grooves being laid down in my lobes as I plug along line by line and stanza by stanza. Another difficulty is that as I wander through the fields of cows in Langley, BC, while declaiming and gesturing, I fear some kind farmer will one day decide to have me committed. But never mind. Who cares what the neighbours think? One of the pleasures of being an elder is that I’m reciting out of the box. Lastly, is the problem of sustaining the momentum of memorization. Turmoil happens, deadlines are laid down for various projects, and it’s not easy to keep on walking with a poem in my pocket while plodding along, mastering a line or two a day forgetting them the next. …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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Yet this practice has been complementary to my primary practice of receiving and crafting poems. Retiring from my day job at 60 offered the privilege of being a full time writer and broadening the practices that enhance my writing. Though I feel as busy as ever, as most so-called retired (“re-fired”) people do, I really do have more time to walk, meditate, and attend to the interior workings of poems. Up until several years ago, living with a very active mini-Australian Shepherd pushed me out the door for long walks at least twice daily. Fortunately, we’re adopting a new pup into our lives soon. Living in the countryside along the Fraser River provides me with lots of beautiful places to walk. The rhythm of walking and the rhythms of poetry go hand in hand. I can’t seem to memorize while sitting at my desk or making supper. Being alone, except for the

companionship of my canine friend, has been a precondition for effective memorization. The peripatetic poets and philosophers have always known the benefits of walking in nature on both health and what we now call the “plasticity” of the brain. Let’s hope they’re right. Susan McCaslin i. Excerpts from this essay were first published as part of an interview with Catherine Owen included in her The Other 23 & a Half Hours: Or Everything You Wanted to Know that Your MFA Didn’t Teach You (Hamilton, ON: Wolsak & Wynn, 2015), 24-28. It was also blogged on Wood Lake Books’ “Essential Spirituality” website: https://essential-spirituality.com/2017/04/18/perfumeries-of-words-my-memorization-practice/ ii. Emily Dickinson, Final Harvest: Emily Dickinson’s Poems (Toronto: Little, Brown & Co.), 1961), 47-48. ♣


“Intimate Details”

How to Build a Book (Notes towards Building, and never Finishing, a Little Book on Intimacy) By J.S. Porter, Hamilton, Ontario

for Kaizen You make lasagna. You build a doghouse. Do you make a book or build one? The book as cooking or as architecture? Either metaphor works. You make a book with a recipe, a set of ingredients added and mixed at the right time. You build a book, word by word, page by page, with a plan and structure. You make preliminary notes. Consider Daniel Libeskind and The Crystal. The early stages of his addition to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto consisted of steel scaffolding jutting out of the ground and into the sky like a giant broken ribcage. That’s what notes are like – initial impressions, maquettes, first soundings. Raw, provisional, unfinished. A chrysalis, not a butterfly. Remember the Armenian-American painter Gorky’s words: "When something is finished, that means it's dead. The thing to do is to always keep starting to paint, never to finish painting." Maybe that’s the thing to do with writing as well: keep starting it, never finish it. Gorky left his famous painting "The Artist and his Mother" unfinished. I don't know if he smeared his 42 dialogue

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mother’s hands the way Atom Egoyan has him do it in the movie Ararat, but he did leave her hands unfinished. If he had finished them, she would have been dead. I have big dreams for my book. I want it to contain the best of what I’ve dreamed, thought and imagined, in the most intimate voice I can summon. The book will open and close with direct address to my firstborn grandson Kaizen. Since his mother Wanh’s first language was Mandarin (her English is now stronger than her original mother tongue), I want to include some Chinese script in the book – bilingual chapter headings at the very least. At the moment the bones of the book look like this: Letter (births) Intimacies Art Animals Friendship Prayer Letter (beginnings) In other words, the book will explore my personal thoughts and feelings on art, animals, friends, and prayer, accompanied by letters to my grandson. …/ www.dialogue.ca

In preparation for my book, I’ve begun to collect quotations as possible epigraphs. These lines from Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death, for instance: The most that any one of us can seem to do is to fashion something—an object or ourselves—and drop it into the confusion, make an offering of it, so to speak, to the life-force. And these from Thomas Wolfe in a poem called “Magic:” And who shall say— Whatever disenchantment follows— That we ever forget magic, Or that we can ever betray, On this leaden earth, The apple-tree, the singing, And the gold? But all these words seem so old and my grandson is so young. And in the Wolfe poem, the fifth line doesn’t feel right. The earth isn’t leaden. It’s green. Even in my most melancholic moods it’s green. I’ve been working on the book for a long time now,

and seem no nearer to completing it than the days when I first began it. Sometimes I think all that will remain of my book is the dream of it, the bones of it, like Libeskind’s ribcage, like Gorky’s unfinished portrait of himself and his mother. Not a book. Just notes towards making one. I want to believe the poet Souvankham Thammavongsa – “Books, even when you have them don’t make you a writer – the writing, the whatever you do to finish it, to make it what it is, makes you a writer.” – but I can’t quite manage it because finishing doesn’t seem possible or even desirable. Philip Roth, an American novelist I much admire, in an interview with The Globe and Mail a few years ago postulated the need for an on-going beginning. “I would love to get a big idea and just keep writing until I left it unfinished. It would just go as long as I was breathing.” Maybe my grandson won’t mind if I write a letter to him for the rest of my life. J. S. Porter, Hamilton ♣


Book Review by J.S. Porter Dennis Lee’s Heart Residence: Collected Poems 1967-2017 (Toronto: Anansi, 2017). By J.S. Porter

According to Robert Bringhurst’s enlightening Foreword to Heart Residence, Dennis Lee wrote his first poem at age seven and had it published at age eight. For over 50 years he has enriched our sense of citizenship, deepened our sense of fun, laid bare the many manifestations of love, and illuminated our struggles for meaning. He has written poems to sing, to skip to, cry over, ponder, wrestle with, pray with and dream by. He has tickled our funny bones and stretched our imaginations. His much anticipated new book scoops up a selection of poems from his early Kingdom of Absence to his recent Melvis and Elvis. Heart Residence also presents intact his Civil Elegies, The Death of Harold Ladoo, Riffs, Nightwatch and Testament. While his collected children’s poetry awaits another day, this volume does include a meaty scattering of poems aimed specifically, though not exclusively, at children and does make room for Canada’s most popular poem – “Alligator Pie.” www.dialogue.ca

Heart Residence is not so much a book as it is a series of books – Longing, Play, Prayer, Thought, and Joy where your hands clap, your feet tap and your body sways. A mix master, a sound master, a practitioner of polyphony, Dennis Lee is a man of many musics and many voices. Children’s voices. Teasing, playful voices. Frolicsome. Sober, serious voices. In-between voices. A little happy, a little sad. Play with me, says the young voice. Pray with me, says the old voice. And the poet Dennis Lee says, I’ll do both. Sometimes in the same poem. Lee excites the page in various ways. Sometimes with rage, sometimes with heartache and longing. The “sizzle of/is…” is always present: how language heats up or cools down what we perceive to be real. “Day-one tremendum” reverberates in his lines. (You’ll discover that this key Leesian word is there from the start in Kingdom of Absence, present throughout the elegies and riffs, and occupies a vital space in the more recent Testament.) Tremendum has to do with the majestic, the terrible, the mysterious, …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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the awesome, the urgent. When the lightning bolt of tremendum cleaves Lee’s lines, you respond in shivers and shakes, and a deeply grateful silence. Lee puts hallelujah and amen on the page, singing and thinking (“thoughtsong” he calls it) together, simultaneously aware of “the slaughterhouse world” and “the numinous presence.” I find myself particularly drawn to the play –poems where my body shouts hallelujah, the prayer-poems where my heart whispers amen, and the poems where play and prayer are voiced as one. Take “The Mystery,” for example, Can’t talk about it, don’t know if anybody else even feels it, animals live in it; maybe they don’t know it’s there, little kids the same; grownups act oblivious—situation normal. Half the time I just mooch along, then I laugh too loud. But it catches me late at night, or in winter when branches glow with snow against the bark, or some dumb old song cracks me up and I want to go howl in the city, or smash windows, or make my life sheer shine in this miracle ache of a world. A poem like “The Mystery” — and a dozen like it, including “Deeper,” The Coat,” and “Summer Song” — speaks to human beings of all ages, the young and the young at heart. We all seek moments when we fall into awe and thankfulness. We all feel the “miracle ache” of this world. The poet Rimbaud says that genius is the ability to recover childhood at will. If that’s the case, Dennis Lee is some kind of genius because as an aging man he has kept alive a direct connection to the child’s imagination. He can recover childhood at will. Moons, cats, wizards, kites, imaginary animals, transitional objects, bubble rings, balloons, bubblegum, honkabeests, special and sacred places, all figure in his work. The poet Coleridge speaks of an “educated innocence” where the feelings of childhood are articulated by the powers of adulthood. That’s what Dennis Lee does, and does as well as any poet in the language. With his educated innocence and his fusion of child44 dialogue

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adult feeling that keep alive the child’s sense of wonder and freshness, Lee in the quicksilver of his thoughtsong composes with the child’s openness and the poet’s gift for words. In his essay “Roots and Play: Writing as a 35-Year Old Children” Lee put it this way: "I write as children, as an adult children. And I write well only when there is an integration of the two." In the same essay he speaks of the “one-ing of the world” in which lyricism “is not simply a singing rhythm or a felicity of phrase, but the perception of a coherence of being.” He names his poetic poles as the lyric and the meditative, and in my view lays down his poetic manifesto: "I will not be content till I can include both [the lyric and the meditative] in the one poem.” In his best work a body of lightness shines within his body of concern and contemplation. Night Songs and Simple Songs, the Songs of Summer and the Songs of Winter, intermingle and blend. His aim as a song-anddance man, similar to his calling as a contemplative poet, is to reclaim wholeness and re-unite play with prayer At times, the line between "heavy" and "light," between "child" and "adult," is skipping rope-thin, and can be crossed with a leap or a lunge, as in these poignant lines from “Summer Song:” And what was singing in my mind Was in my body too: Sun and lawn and aster beds Murmuring, I do— Earth, beloved, yes, I do I Too am here by grace, As real as any buried stone Or any blade of grass. In “Not Abstract Harmonies But” Lee links the music of the self with the music of the spheres in what appears to be a personal credo, knowing that “each mortal being announces the pitch of itself/in a piecemeal world” in “the living coherence.” The poem integrates all Lee’s selves, all his voices and musics. In the poem he comes to the realization that “each thing gropes to be itself in time…” and “it holds & presides/ in the fragile hum of its own galvanic being.” …/


The speaker at times can hear “the hymn of the fullness of being-/…across the scales of/orchestration in many-/dimensional play…/telling the grace of daily infinite coherence.” This coherence is “never achieved in our lives…” and is “never wholly absent…” The speaker— in lines that bring me to my knees, that make the hallelujah-amen tension indissoluble— signs off: And the jangle is hard, but not to be quickened is death. And we are a botch and a warmup, although I do not know for what,

and who tunes us – if it can be said that way at all – is an endless vocation. The joy of reading Heart Residence is reading Lee whole— unbroken words, undivided lines, where the child and the man sing side by side and sometimes in unison. “…[H]ow/dumbfound how/dazzled, how/mortally lucky to be,” the master poet writes, and how lucky for us as Canadians to have a singer and seer like Dennis Lee. J. S. Porter, www.spiritbookword.net ♣



TAKING MY SHOW ON THE ROAD Randy Vancourt, Toronto ON

If you are like me, last week you received yet another in an ongoing series of emails from Zimbabwe. You didn’t? Perhaps you don’t have the same connections I do in the magical land of Mugabe. This email read, “The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) invites you to advertise in the Correctional Bulletin.” It included a rate card and a letter of invitation. Apparently the Correctional Bulletin is a glossy magazine that includes human-interest stories and information on best practices within the correctional industry. Before you immediately assume that this is the usual, “I Am A Nigerian Prince And Need Your Help In Securing $10 Million Dollars,” sort of scam, let me recap a bit. Several years back I received a request from a magazine in Zimbabwe, via email, to proofread an advertisement for “my” real estate company. Fascinated, I started to read the attached advertisement and immediately noticed the company’s email address. It was mine. My personal email address had somehow found its way into a Zimbabwean publication, advertising real estate and microfinance deals. I have only the vaguest notion of what microfinance is so I was pretty certain I didn’t run a company that dealt with it – particularly not in Africa. A quick online search took me to the website of the actual company in Harare, Zimbabwe. Their Contact page revealed that their email address really was www.dialogue.ca

identical to mine, with the addition of the number “1” at the end. I emailed the company and informed them of the error; an employee there was very apologetic and said she would contact the magazine to make a correction. An hour later I received an email saying that unfortunately the ad had already gone to press without anyone proofing it. As this magazine was national, my email address quickly spread all around Zimbabwe. Within a few days I started receiving messages from everyday Zimbabweans interested in my services. No one could blame them - with the kind of deals I was offering, I was obviously the go-to place for all your real estate (and microfinance) needs. The strangest part of this entire scenario, if any one aspect could possibly lay claim to that honour, is that I used my family name as my email address. How an African real estate company ended up with my surname as their company name remains a mystery. My background is French-Canadian so the chances of any of my ancestors leaving a legacy in Zimbabwe are pretty remote. So the years have passed and I continue to receive regular emails from Zimbabwe; I get invitations to join African business organizations, attend conventions and even the occasional offer of a speaking engagement. However this is the first time I have been approached about advertising in a magazine targeting African correctional facilities – particularly in a country infamous for its human rights abuses. …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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My first thought was a sarcastic, “Sure, that’s exactly where I want to tour my current show.” Then I began thinking of the positive aspects. I would have a captive audience; they wouldn’t be able to walk out no matter how much they hated my show; and hey, Johnny Cash had huge success when he performed at Folsom Prison. However after reading a few articles on Zimbabwean prisons I’m cooling on this idea. Apparently they are not quite up to our standards; in 2013 more than 100 prisoners died of malnutrition. One of the country's largest detention facilities, Khami Prison, had its water cut off because the Prison Service hadn't paid its water bills. Due to massive overcrowding, President Mugabe pardoned 1,500 inmates in 2009 and another 2,000 in 2016 just to clear up the congestion. Most donations of food, clothing and toiletries never reach the inmates – instead they are stolen by the grossly underpaid staff. That’s the very same staff that

reads the Zimbabwe Correctional Bulletin. Perhaps I’ll rethink spending any advertising budget reaching that particular target market. I’ll just focus on touring my show, BRING THE PIANO, in Canada for the time being. Performance dates for this summer are on my show website www.bringthepiano.com I’d love to see you there, even if you choose to wear an orange jumpsuit. www.randyvancourt.com ♣

SHOW DATES/PLACES FOR “BRING THE PIANO July 5-9, 2017 – Gananoque ON ROYAL THEATRE THOUSAND ISLANDS 75 King Street East, Gananoque, ON Phone: 613-382-500; www.RoyalTheatre.ca

August 23-26 – Chester NS CHESTER PLAYHOUSE 22 Pleasant Street, Chester, Nova Scotia Phone: 902-275-3933; Toll free: 1-800-363-7529 www.chesterplayhouse.ca ♣


Three Strikes


Denny Z. Petrik, mainland BC

Sometimes it is very nice to rock the old chair on the patio, stare into trees of the park and allow the tender scene to let gentle memories return. One of mine flew in on the breeze of spring. Well it was a very long time ago – I was about 14 and that is ‘ago’ all right. Back then we had only one artificial ice skating ring in Prague and I used to like to pop over and work off some energy. About two thirds of the rink were for us general public, the last part was roped off and reserved for practicing figure skaters. By that rope I did a lot of the energy working off. Very often, right near the rope a lovely girl skater diligently practiced her figure eights. ‘Ago’ or not, I can still remember the yellow corduroy windbreaker and the brown miniskirt she wore and most of all I recall her lovely blond hair peeking out from under the white bunny cap. And as I watched, that funny new feeling somehow developed. Shy as I was at that age, well I sort of stalked her, oh yes I followed her, at a distance, and found out where she lived and what her name was. But eventually I decided that even a shy boy must eventually get some gumption and so on one of her homeward trips, well I approached her and tried to talk to her. That was the day when she gave me proof positive 46 dialogue

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that all the foolish jokes about dumb blondes are dead wrong. She underscored the opposite truth that blondes are extremely smart – she would have nothing to do with me. However I did not want to give up so easily. During my stalking I found out that she went to night school learning English. And I convinced my buddy that we too should learn that language. We enrolled and we learned. However, my skating dream was in an advanced class and so I harvested only several quick glances in the corridor. My only reward for my figure skating escapade was that I was at the head of our high school class in English; that extra knowledge helped. Then several years went by and along came the year when the principal of our school decided that the graduation should be celebrated by a formal ball and the school rented a big hall and an orchestra. Both the graduating classes and the ones following right behind were invited. Of course a formal ball had to have formal opening. And a formal opening meant dancing of a polonaise, not a very common dance. Those of us who were attending dancing school were selected to learn and do the opener. For that purpose we had to report to the same dancing school where we took our weekly lessons. And there the boys stood on one side of the hall and the girls were adorning the other side. …/ www.dialogue.ca

It was obvious what was about to take place – there would be time to pick a partner. And thirty males eagerly scouted the opposite line. And when the “pick a partner” command appeared, there was a huge collision in the middle of the room. Doggone it, that big blonde was attractive! I was a bit of the small size; I had no chance at the prime target. And as I was being pushed aside I looked at one of the “lonesome” girls in the line and brutally said to her “you will do.” She was too well brought up, did not slap me. Instead she gave me a bit of a smile and yes, we learned the complex dance and on the evening of the ball indeed we danced it well together. Whatever plans I had for the rest of the night I cannot remember. But it did not matter, she had her plan – and we spent almost all evening dancing together. From the polka to the foxtrot, through the tango and to the swirling waltz. As she smiled and as her hand took the side of the skirt of her long gown to accentuate the turn, her revenge came true – I fell in love with her – the last waltz did it, I knew she would do. Unfortunately the communist regime had other plans and as I was crawling under the barbed wire, scratching my butt, the ‘one that would have done’ was no longer for me. At last, the big city of Toronto! I was staying at the Also from Denny… The

YMCA and on Wednesday night I was helping at the

cloak room. It was the evening of the weekly dance. On same nights the leisure lobby was open for people to be able to get together, talk and debate and a couple of volunteer girls worked there as hostesses. To arrange that room for such meetings they had to set out the many chairs and worst of all, at the end of the evening the darn chairs had to be stacked up again into neat piles so that the room was ready for other activities. Well, the night watchman asked us two cloak room fellows to give those girls a hand with stacking up the chairs, when they were closing off. I did the helping one night, the girls appreciated the help. One of them, I noticed had neat dimples on her cheeks. The next week I rushed in to help again and not only noticed the dimples, doggone it, she had lovely cherry cheeks. The third time around the old “would you like to go to the movies” had to come out. And she liked going to the movies. As you read this, you are not, by chance, expecting some third calamity, are you? No, I am not describing a baseball game. Yes they were three strikes, three strikes of the wonderful feeling of love. The third strike did not get me out – it just got me happily married. It is unbelievable what stacking a bunch of chairs can accomplish. – Denny Petrik ♣


Story of Bob…

Once upon a time a friendly man lived by the sea. His fishing line was not very long consequently he was not very rich. As a matter of fact he was so poor that he could not afford razor blades. Because of that, a stately beard sprang up all around his face. It lent a magical shroud of kindness to his smile. And that went well with the rest of him. You see, he was kind. His voice sounded like the mellow song of harvest moon; his steps, though sure and steady, never wanted to hurt the earth on which he walked; and when he played with a dog, his hands turned into pillows of down.

But the kindest part of him was his heart. He had a knack for doing things for people to make them happy: there were his many encouraging words, his helping hand always extended to others, and his patent cheer-up smile. There were many, many of his kindnesses of which even the sea breeze did not know. His name was Bob. If you continue reading in search of a story, well that is the story – human kindness, which writes the loveliest tales and needs but a few words to tell them. Denny Z. Petrik ♣


Lots of readers in the 90+ club… On March 25th I was honored to join the Dialogue “90-plus” club. I know that many of the readers of Dialogue magazine have reached or passed the wonderful age of 90. I would like to hear from you. I am sure that you are having an interesting life with great experiences that have provided you with knowledge www.dialogue.ca

and understanding that I would like you to share with me. My telephone number is 1-250-758-9877; my email is maurice.king@shaw.ca / Please give me a call, Thank you. – Maurice (volunteer Dialogue publisher) ♣ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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Personal Peace

“Stirring the Soup”

Marie Gaudet, Edmonton AB

A lot of us feel guilty about allowing our to-do lists to take over our lives. It’s pretty hard not to possess such a list though, but then to mostly ignore it when it gets overwhelming. We may have a spouse, a job, kids, a house to manage, a car, volunteer work, errands to run, smartphones chirping constantly at us, lawns to landscape or driveways to shovel, vacations to plan, meetings and conferences to attend both at work and at home… the list is endless and can become oppressive. Yet we often hear our co-workers, neighbors, friends and family talking about doing it all too, so we feel we should be able to keep up with them and maybe even take on more because we don’t want to be left at a loss at get-togethers where the trend is to compare notes about our lists, with people bragging -- in the form of complaining, of course – about all the work they put into their family vacation to Cabo and how much the trip cost them; or about how they’ve had to buy yet another brand-new SUV, for the wife you know, because of all the chauffeuring she does for the kids; or about the boat they just bought so they can spend their weekends at the lake or the fancy motorhome they acquired so they could do some travelling or camping… despite the fact that you’ve noticed both boat and motorhome in the driveway for most of the summer. Yet we feel inadequate, covetous, shamed and anxious as we double down and work harder to have all the same things as everyone else. And when our energy drops and our health suffers, we suddenly grasp the fact that yes, we do have limitations after all. But instead of accepting the universe’s prodding, we decide that we only need to streamline a bit so we have more time to rest and everything’s going to be all right. Can you believe it? Who would’ve thought we’d still be succumbing to peer pressure as adults? As we review our unique list, we try to figure out which tasks we can conceivably strike off in order to create a bit of room for breathing. I’ve been there, done that list, and let me tell you that unless you’re very serious and willing to make some big and serious and permanent changes in your life, there will only be 48 dialogue

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Article 50 two or three tasks dropped from that list. Because by this time, our sense of self is so attached to the picture we’ve presented to the outside world, that removing more than a few tasks would feel like a step backwards and make us feel like a failure. Men are prone to such feelings especially, as they are the ones who are expected to be the providers – and for them, being seen as somehow losing ground would be a big hit to their self-worth. It was hard enough for me to strike items off that list, and I’m not even wired like men. For men though, bringing home the bacon is what’s supposed to be their job, it’s their whole raison-d’être, so they will want to excel at it, not go into reverse. While with us women, although our ego may suffer some bruising from economizing, we are at heart nurturers and in the end, we can often convince ourselves to do what needs to be done to be in proper form to look after our families. But me? In spite of my best efforts, I was only able to strike three tasks off my list in order to save money and give myself more downtime. Only three tasks out of perhaps 20 did I perceive to be less important than myself. Pretty sad, isn’t it? But basically, all my tasks (and therefore my self-worth) were attached to: my job (even working overtime just because everyone else did), my home (bringing in some of the bacon and managing a household because that’s how a woman is wired), and my kids (nurturing and guiding and taxiing that rabble). So after I struck off a few measly items, I remember continuing to feel overwhelmed, stuck, trapped and baffled as to what to do about it. In the end, I took a few years off and then went back to work for more of the same! But sometimes the universe nags you until you learn stuff. You’ve probably guessed by now that my zeal is unflagging, though my energy does have limits. But because I never knew when to stop, I’ve had to learn all my lessons the hard way. I didn’t learn the difference between “wants” and “needs” until I retired and had to live on a pension. My “wants” were no longer relevant and my “needs” needed to take precedence. So, I sold my house and moved to a condo. And all those things that accumulate in your home over many years because you think you can’t live without them? Well, all those things had to go. …/ www.dialogue.ca

A condo is very tiny compared to a house, did you know? It doesn’t even fit any normal-sized furniture. I couldn’t believe how much stuff I had to sell or give away, all stuff I had thus far believed I couldn’t live without. But when I was finished? I had a nice, clean, roomy space with just the basics and room to breathe! Of course, it helps that my entire west-facing wall is windows, which makes it look even more spacious. But the fact of having so much less responsibility has been a boon to my psyche. It was, of course, hard to let go of everything and the move produced some mammoth anxiety, truth be told. My brain knew what I was doing, but my heart heartily disapproved. So once I was settled in, I had to advocate a resolution to the dispute between my two most important muscles. And seeing as my task list has just been considerably reduced, I decided to try something that I’d always wanted to try but never had time for – meditation! Do you know that there are online sites where you can choose the type of meditation you want, what your issue is, the length of time you want to dedicate to your meditation, and then when you’re ready for it, you can receive a wonderful guided meditation that will calm those two belligerent organs and help ground them. I did these short meditations daily for a while and still do them regularly. My favorite website to go to is www.fragrantheart.com/ and it worked like a charm. Now, with harmony between every important body part, I’m finding that retirement is aptly named. You can choose to retire from the hectic world and all its accompanying “tasks” or as many of them as you so wish. In other words, NOW is the time to whittle that list down to just a few tasks, and make sure it’s all stuff you enjoy doing! Having learned by trial and error about overdoing things, I now guard my personal peace jealously. I work very hard not to let things or people overstep their boundaries. Of course, I must continue living, socializing, and meeting new people all the time, because that’s what makes my world go round. So I volunteer for cancer fundraisers, join walkathons for activity and friendships, help with the organization of events of my choice and sometimes sit on committees that make life better for my community as a whole. I’ve also started a home business doing writing and translations (www.nuance-ology.com) to bring in a few extra dollars. www.dialogue.ca

But within these new goings-on of my life, I still want to enjoy retirement! I want to hike in blessed nature and be healed from the inside out. I want to travel and see this big, old world. I want to be a part of my grandson’s life in a big way. I want to go snowshoeing, picking raspberries, hot-air ballooning, I want to learn how to make all-natural DIY products, start a garden, take photos in the Canadian Rockies and check off everything else on my bucket list (there’s still room for some lists, it seems). But I especially want to keep time in my life to revel in my alone time – time that I craved when I grew up with 13 siblings, and later when I looked after a husband and six kids – and for which I’ve had to wait all these long years. Do you think I’m going to let anyone take that away from me now? Not a chance! So I’m always cautious of letting people take too big of a bite out of my life. Especially with volunteering, as this can quickly take on a life of its own and result in other important areas of your life being neglected. People who volunteer offer to do so to help out, to give back to their community, to make an impact on an issue of importance to them, to think about other people for a change and basically just to make a difference. But often, they are persuaded to do more than they’ve signed up for and it becomes just another hefty task to add to the almighty list. If the lesson hasn’t already been learned, they can often find themselves doing a full-time job, and with no pay to boot. Even learning how to object (i.e. resist) assertively can be hard, but if you won’t do it, no one else will. As for me, it may have taken me a long time, but when I learn a lesson, I learn it well. It’s my life and I am finally living it according to my specifications. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it feels to have learned and incorporated these three things into my life: 1) That you really and truly only need to own the basics of life and everything else is superfluous; 2) That your time and skills can certainly be put to good use, but you are the master of when and where they’ll be allocated; and 3) That every task should be crossed off your list before you compromise your happiness, health or time with family. In other words, you’re Number One! Man, I wish I had known all this when I was a mom. I would make short work of that list now, believe you me. All that aside, I don’t begrudge the life I’ve led and how much of myself I’ve given and continue to …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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give to others. It was what it was and I was who I was and I learned from ALL of it. I’ve just changed my perspective a little now and I want to go see how the other half lives, what kind of mistakes I can make in this new context where I put myself first, and what I can learn from those mistakes. In the end, it’s all about acquiring knowledge anyway and if you’re doing that, you’re golden. I’ll keep you posted! Marie Gaudet, Edmonton

**NOTE: For an antidote to whatever may be inhibiting your personal peace, go back and read the 1st letter of the 5th word of the 1st sentence of each paragraph, from the beginning of this article.** No answer provided as Marie wants you to see how much fun it is to work it out! ♣


on her 50th Column in Dialogue


Subject: Ready for the future? ... Exciting &/or frightening? From: John C. McCullough, Richmond ON sjmccullough@sympatico.ca

Fascinating, even if only a portion becomes reality! An interesting talk by the MD of Daimler Benz* - a bit mind blowing really LINK: http://tinyurl.com/sb-future-tech

How technological changes may impact current professions (lawyers, nurses, etc.) & daily life. For example: Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020, the

complete industry will start to be disrupted. You don't want to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. Our kids will never get a driver's licence and will never own a car. (*attribution unverified – no official Daimler-Benz confirmation found at daimler.com ) ♣


Laughter & ‘Lightenment!

From Sammy Camilleri, Sault Ste. Marie ON:

Young people have theirs. Now Seniors have their own texting codes: ATD – At the Doctor FWIW – Forgot Where I Was BFF – Best Friends Funeral GHA – Got Heartburn Again BTW – Bring the Wheelchair HGBM – Had Good Bowel Movement BYOT – Bring Your Own Teeth TOT - Texting on Toilet CBM – Covered by Medicare WAITT - Who Am I Talking To? CUATSC – See You at the Senior Center Hope these help. GGLKI DWI – Driving While Incontinent (Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking in!) ♣ 50 dialogue

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The Mystery within Which We Live Paul Bowles, Fruitvale BC

and rains have persisted, a transition has come. The lilac bush in my yard is bursting its buds, calling me to prune away the dead clusters to better reveal its beauty. Of course, the aliveness of spring recurs as the laws of time and movements of our planet predict. Is this JUST the machinery of the solar system in action? Recently, the premise of a book which I was reading entitled ‘The Living Universe,’ has been scoffed at by an acquaintance. I remarked, “Do you then believe that the universe is dead?” This entailed some reflection for both of us. Birdsong entertains me, the distant chainsaw aggraIt seems clear to me that the sun is alive with power, vates my soul but I must reconcile with this noisy maintaining our solar system. Our sun continually world and find the most in my blessings rather than transmits, its dimy problems. Light verse spectrum of would not be as appreIt is a luminal moment when I can sunbathe shirtless rays being received ciated without the on the threshold of spring, and modified by shade, as the garden Snow lay all around but patches of grass are appearing. planetary motion would not be as green as the Earth tilts without the rain, nor the A cool breeze bristles my skin but warmth returns and wobbles air as refreshed without caressing my body, through night and the wind. What is the Then the master of the solar system descends behind day, supplemented mystery of light and the mountains. by lunar rhythms shade if not the creative The seasons turn, crocus flowers push through the earth, for growth of its principle of the uniprogeny. Upon the verse in which we are New growth extends upon the fruit trees once again. planet, seeds are the seeds proliferating Branches are full of excited robins in ritual congrevivified and creain this world of many gation, tures vitalised. No layers? secret here, but this Now I feel that longing to commune and vitalise. In the beginning, the is active intelligent one divine power purpose, on behalf of Earth and Sun. Since both Earth awoke from its slumber and separated itself into seeds and Sun and the rest of creation, are the outpouring of of energy, permeated by mind. It set into motion the power of attraction, gravity, bonding, creative associa- the Cosmos, mind would seem to be inherent in the atom itself. One has to admit that creation is rather tion, causing such wonders as the minute creature clever. If we are now jaded with: (familiar) mounperched on the bamboo trellis. No different from a tains, valleys, trees and rivers, animals, birds, sunsets green leaf from where I sit, but it pulses and turns and and prairies, then we only have to shift our amazefaster than my eye can follow, it disappears, a humment to the fantastical life under the sea. ming bird blurring my vision and amazing my mind. Beyond the Earth, the Sun is the benefactor of all civiSuch mystery and beauty and dynamic prowess, such lisations and creature life, we depend on it. It’s a good awe inspiring nature and entrancing origins of life, it thing it is not dead. Odd that the Sun doesn’t need a is a mystery within which we live. brain or maybe it IS one great big brain, if we bePaul Bowles lieved that, perhaps then we can call it alive. Mind is It is an innately LIVING world when spring is here, for a cosmic fire which precipitates all creation. Marcus Aurelius even said as much. “The primordial …/ everyone. It is undeniable. Now the snow is gone Light emerges from the darkness and night becomes day. The master of the solar system provides its power for all living things to command their destiny upon the Earth. The pears upon the tree in my garden take shape in these early days of summer. The robins flit here and there beneath the tomato plants in amongst the strawberries and flowers, looking and sensing for their wriggly prey.


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source of Being is a certain substance, omnipresent in the universe, best described as MIND, nourishing life and growth, its essential nature is ethereal fire... Mind/fire, possessing consciousness and will, is both the creator and the material of the universe which takes shape in innumerable different manifestations, giving things their particular substance and form and producing out of itself the visible world and all within it.” We are impregnated with the energy of life and we demonstrate creativity in our turn as humans. The universe cannot be dead or we would not exist, we are its expression on our scale of existence. Even slime mould has its purpose and recognises its task, having consciousness on its level. Even here, planetary mind is in motion, permeating its being, giving the slime mould the will to live and learn how to forage and release its spores. The sun releases forces beyond our fathoming with our little brains, but the Earth knows how to deal with it. The Earth has fathomed how to utilize the solar rays, accepting some and protecting herself from others with atmosphere and force fields. This is how I see a living universe. Cosmic pulsation enlivens space, generating nebulae and galaxies with billions of suns. Just as electricity is manifested as vibration, light sound and colour, all fundamental concepts of manifestation, we synthesize these aspects of life in our bodies. The universe looks out of our eyes upon itself. As living creatures we relate subjectively with qualities of feeling, so the objective universe beyond our planet, perhaps appears unfeeling and therefore not living. However, we have been seeded by the universe somehow, and the nature of the atom must contain these caring aspects of life. The mother, human

or animal, loves her offspring; where does this come from, from deep within the mystery of creation. Perhaps we could say the same for our planetary mother; after all she brings us spring. In relations between atoms, between cells, between molecules, between organs, between creatures and between all life and its environment, unity is sought and seen in the organisation of solar systems, constellations, galaxies and universal propagation. In the beginning of creation one must admit to chaos but in the settling down, there is a sorting out in time and space as is evidenced in our own system. True, as a civilisation we are still sorting it out but we at least move towards unification because we know that “A house divided cannot stand.” We are the universe in this respect that we work towards enhancing life. It is in the genes perhaps or the DNA, or some atomic aggregation to produce harmonious relations, or health within the body subconsciously. Our conscious brain with its limited scope, distractions and illusions and daily working struggle and responsibilities, generally strives towards achieving the same in our daily lives, a slight tilt in the balance towards order. The mechanics of a living universe may be an Enigma but the Fantasia of creation is a rhapsody of mind. “... And I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime of something far more interfused, whose dwelling is the light of setting suns and the round ocean, the living air and the blue sky, and in the mind of man: a motion and a spirit, that impels all thinking things, all objects of thought, and rolls through all things.” (W. Wordsworth.) Paul Bowles, Fruitvale BC scribepoet@hotmail.com ♣


In this edition of Dialogue, P is for… “Project Perpetuate” Dialogue’s new "Project Perpetuate" is an initiative being launched at the end of our 30th year to address the question of sustainability and long-term continuation for the magazine beyond its current volunteer editor and publisher. We hope this will entail a comprehensive process of consultations, communications, research and meetings – with reader/writers across Canada and with any mentors or advisors who may be potentially helpful for the process. If you might be able to help – or provide leadership! – please get in touch! 52 dialogue

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Any funds raised for this project may be used for meetings/travel, communication expenses, or technological initiatives/expertise/promotion. We hope you will agree that this will benefit the current and future readers, writers and volunteers of the magazine who will have the opportunity to continue participating in the ongoing sharing of ideas and insights well into the future. Any ideas? Contact Janet or Maurice: 250-758-9877, Nanaimo BC Email: dialogue@dialogue.ca ♣ www.dialogue.ca

“Observations from Lithuania”

Ken Slade, Vilnius

Vilnius: Just Another Ordinary Day. . . of Discovery . . . to 500+ years-ago… by KR Slade (note: terms that are Lithuanian-language, but are not commonly used in English, are printed with Lithuanian quotation marks ( example: „x“). Also, some Lithuanian terms are spelled with Lithuanian-alphabet 'diacritical' (a/k/a 'accent') marks that are not part of the English / Latin alphabet -- if researching / using such terms, simply use the English-alphabet obvious letter!) CONTINUED FROM THE PREVIOUS ISSUE

* * * * * The City Gates * * * * * The purpose of city-gates was to enable the city authorities: to close access to / from the city, quickly and at any time (especially at all nights); to control / prevent entry of individuals who were undesirables; and to impose tolls on goods. The poorest of the poor of the city continued to live ‘outside the city walls’. There is the story that during the time of the building of the Vilnius city wall, everyone entering the city was required to bring a large stone for the construction of the wall. In the 16th century, European city-gates often contained religious artefacts that were intended to guard the city from attacks, and also to bless travellers. In the middle of the length of today’s ,,Pylimo gatvė“, at today’s ,,Trakai gatvė“, was the Trakai Gate -- the main gate of the city (note: no graphics exist) -- that contained a chapel. The Lithuanian word for gates is ,,vartai“. The existing chapel in the 'Gate of Dawn' contains an icon of 'The Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy', which is said to have miraculous powers. For centuries, the picture has been one of the symbols of the city; and has been an object of veneration -- for both Roman Catholic and Orthodox inhabitants, including: ethnic Lithuanians, Poles, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, and Russians. On September 4 in 1993, Pope John Paul II prayed the rosary at the Gate of Dawn Chapel. The 'Gate of Dawn' (Lithuanian: ,,Aušros Vartai“) of Vilnius, is one of the most-important religious, historical, and cultural monuments of Lithuania. The gate was originally known as the ,,Medininkai Gate“ (because it led to the village and castle of ,,Medininkai“, 26 km / 16 miles south of Vilnius); and was in the defensive most-dangerous eastern section of the entire wall. Facing outwards was the picture of the Saviour; facing toward the city, was a picture of the Blessed Virgin. The painting of 'the Virgin of the Gate of Dawn' became known for its alleged miraculousness in the 17th century. www.dialogue.ca

* * * * * A Comparison * * * * * Because there were only a couple of walled-cities (i.e., not of wood) in North America, perhaps some comparison with, and distinctions of, old Vilnius may be helpful. Consider Québec city, one of the oldest cities in North America; founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain. Vilnius dates from the very-end of the Middle Ages / medieval period; therefore originally Gothic designs. Québec city is from the end of the Renaissance (i.e., 14th to 17th centuries) -- on the cusp of the beginning of ‘the modern age’. Thus, there is a 300 year difference in the founding of both cities; and, the actual historic time-period of each means that they are separated by not only one but actually two historic periods. The two cities are distinguished: by totally-different cultures and languages; and geographically: west-new-world and very-north, versus centre-old-world (i.e., where north and south Europe meet, and where west-Europe meets east-Europeand beyond). In Québec city, the "Declared Historic District" of 'Old Quebec' (which includes considerably-more than the area contained inside the city walls), is 135 hectares (= 330 acres), which includes 1,400 existing-buildings. Québec's walls, which have no original gates (i.e. structures), are perhaps as thick as ten meters, of large stone-blocks with earth between the exterior sheathing. The walls of Vilnius are less than one (1) meter thick, made of red-brick and some stone (i.e., small-boulders, and pieces), and not as ‘mighty’ as Québec's. The walls and gates of the two cities are from different periods of military history. The Vilnius fortifications were designed for the bow-and-arrow, and the 14th century arrival of black-powder cannons and small fire-arms. The Quebec fortifications (especially the citadel) were of a later age; due to the invention of exploding shells, walls evolved into much-lower structures -- with greater use of ditches and earth ramparts that would absorb and disperse the energy of cannon fire. Walls exposed to direct cannon-fire were very vulnerable, and therefore were sunk into ditches fronted by earthen slopes. The profile of the fort became very low, well into the 20th century. Vilnius Old-Town has more monasteries / convents; and dozens of: palaces, churches, hotels, restaurants, bars / clubs, and buildings with gated-courtyards. In our present era, both cities have a population of between 550,000 and VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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650,000 inhabitants. Québec city was French, and later also with British. Vilnius city had inhabitants who were: Polish, Jewish, Belorussian, Tatar, German, Swedish, Russian, and several other now-extinct ethnicities / nationalities. Actually, for much of the history of Vilnius, only ~2 to 5% of the inhabitants were ethnic-Lithuanians. The architecture of the two cities is radically different; the essential difference for Vilnius was due to the occupants from many cultures, and of many languages, and being the exact geographic-centre of a continent, rather than a location on the periphery of a continent. There is the distinction of provincial and colony, versus internationally cosmopolitan in the centre of a vast empire. Another way of considering personal experience with history is the question: "How many buildings have you visited, how many objects have you touched, how many things have your eyeballs been within millimetres / inches: that are more than 300 years old?" * * * * * Conclusion * * * * * So, this is my story of ‘just another ordinary day in Vilnius’ . . . don’t believe ‘ordinary’ ! . . . there are no ordinary days in Vilnius !! . . . every day is special !!! . . .

I did not come home to my ancestor's Lithuania to find ‘ordinary’; if I wanted ‘ordinary’ I would have stayed where I was, in North America . . . Lithuania may be considered, by some unknowledgeable people, to be ‘a poor country’; but, for a writer, for a lover: Lithuania is rich . . . I especially love the history . . . not the typical romantic fairy-tale of knights in shiny armour on white horses . . . rather, the social reality of how people lived -- especially the masses of the poor and peasants, supporting the few rich and noble . . . Now, I must go . . . it’s Friday night . . . my little flat is boring . . . time to see 'the-Old- Vilnius, the-now-Vilnius' . . . I’m going to a club -- to: meet some interesting people, hear good music, see some videos, watch some flashing lights, observe dancing, have some good Lithuanian beer . . . and, I’ll probably do some dancing -- my old bones will regret it for a few days hereafter, but I don’t really care … it’s ‘just’ another day in Vilnius; and, it’s never ‘ordinary’ … Ken Slade, Vilnius, Lithuania All Rights Reserved: 2004 kenmunications@gmail.com [SEE PHOTOS, P.59] ♣



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“The Vagabond Writer” THE GOOD WEEDS Wayne Allen Russell Clearwater BC

I hope the readers enjoy these stories, they will bring laughter and a few tears to you. Taken from truth, but the “Family Weed” is fictitious. The family: Archibald (‘Pop’) & Mary Elizabeth/Loretta (‘Mom’) George (‘Donkey’), Aug. 17, 1930 Ben (‘Shooter’), Apr 2, 1932 Bob (‘Stretch’), Oct 10, 1934 Adam (‘Flyer’), Jul 30, 1936 Tom (‘Weasel’), June 4, 1941 Marian (cousin), Aug 21,’ 25 Sam (cousin), December 26, 1931 Bobby (cousin), May 3, ‘35 Ray (my buddy) Joe (Ray’s brother) Shirley (Grouch), May 19, 1925¨ Juniper (June)


We had an old jersey cow named Daisy; she gave us two pails of milk morning and evening every day. We took turns milking her and it gave us strong grips when we were older. From the milk we got cream and skimmed milk, butter, buttermilk, and sometimes cheese. The old cat always came for a drink of milk and no matter which one of us was milking. We would squirt milk from the teats into the cat’s mouth. After, she would sit down and lick her paws, wash her face with them, then scoot off to chase the mice. We called her Squirt. Every year we would get Daisy bred to a Hereford bull. The result was a calf we could butcher when it was two years old, this giving us our winter meat. On the farm it was no big deal about sex, birth, babies, and all these things. We saw it every day with all the animals. For some reason when Daisy got bred, this was a big thing with us boys. Mom didn’t bother us; this thing happened all the time and was just natural. We had no bull of our own so we brought the neighbours bull into our barnyard and kept him with her until Daisy was ready. Well that old Hereford bull was a gentleman. He had been with Daisy enough times to know she was a lady and when she was ready she would let him know. In the meantime he just lay in the barnyard, usually with eyes closed, chewing his cud. We boys would be lined up on the top rail of the wooden fence waiting for the big event to happen. Getting bored, we decided to hypnotise some chickens. Anybody who lived on the farm will know what www.dialogue.ca

I’m talking about. For those who don’t, I’ll tell you a chicken can be hypnotised very easily. One boy or girl catches the chicken and holding its wings tucked in, lays it on the ground. The other takes their finger and in the dirt draws a straight line from the chicken’s beak. They then go cross-eyed and will stay this way until you disturb them with a push or a swat. We had a good dozen chickens laid out this way when we noticed Donkey and Stretch in the barn yard carrying one of the chickens and heading for that old sleeping bull. Knowing they were up to no good, we watched as they approached the bull. The bull had no idea, like the rest of us, what was going to happen next. Passive, quiet, eyes closed, he was chewing his cud and waiting patiently for old Daisy to let him do his thing and go home. Don’t ask me how they did it but those two boys eased up behind that old bull and quick as all get-out, stuck the head of that sleeping chicken up his rearend. All hell broke loose! The old bull’s rear end clamped down on the head of that chicken, the chicken woke up and started flapping its wings. Off went the bull, running through the wooden fence like it didn’t exist, into the barn through the big, open doors and ran through the other side! Whoops! There were no doors so he took half a wall with him. He kept right on going for home with that chicken out back, flapping its wings like crazy. We took off to see if we could corral that old bull before he got home and maybe hide all the evidence of what had happened. We followed his tracks through the ploughed field and across the creek into the neighbour’s field. When we found the dead chicken, we gave up the chase. We knew we wouldn’t catch him now. Oh! To have had a movie camera at that moment in time! The end result was a bunch of red-butted boys, an un-bred cow and two years later, no calf to butcher. Daisy went dry so there was no milk, buttermilk, or butter for three months. What can I say? We had not planned to be bad, it just happened. The cow was a main source of food for the farmers and also provided some income. The work didn’t end after milking the cow. We had to take the milk to the house, usually two full pails. At the house we …/ VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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would strain the milk through a clean cheesecloth and then put the milk through a hand separator. When the separating was done, the job we all hated lay before us. This was cleaning all the parts of the separator. It was made from galvanised steel with many parts. We had to disassemble it, wash all the parts, sterilise them with scalding water, then put it all back together. The skim milk that remained after we set aside enough for the family was mixed with chop for the pigs, unless we had a calf, in which case the calf would get the skim milk. It was fun teaching a new calf to drink the milk from a pail. We dipped our finger into the pail then stuck it into the calf’s mouth. He would suck on the finger to get the milk. Each time we repeated this we would bring the finger closer to the pail. The calf would naturally follow with his head, closer and closer, until at last we’d put our whole hand into the milk with the finger sticking out. When next we pulled our finger into the milk, the calf would follow it and start sucking from the pail. That was it, he was trained. The buttermilk was delicious fresh or sour. We liked it with lots of salt and some of us even put pepper in it.

It came from beating the cream in a gallon jar with a special beater fitted to the top of the jar. This beater was much like hand beaters of today only it had two wooden paddles that were cranked round and round in the cream. The butterfat would separate from liquid and this liquid was buttermilk. When we had two cows or when Daisy was really producing, we would use the bigger, wooden butter churn to make the butter. This was a wooden barrel with a wooden top about eight inches in diameter and two feet high. The top had a hole in the centre in which a handle the sizes of a broom handle came through. On the cream side of the lid was a flat round board just a bit smaller than the inside of the barrel. Grasping the handle in both hands and plunging it up and down in the cream did the same job as the small churn. Either way, the butter was sold for cash dollars. As the stove was dying down in the evening, Mom would put a pot of whole milk that was just starting to spoil onto the back of the stove. As this simmered the liquid would separate and the solid was curd, or cottage cheese. The liquid went down the drain into the pig-slop bucket. Waste not, want not. -- Wayne Russell, The Vagabond Writer ♣


JAKARTA JOLLIES ~ Tales from My Travels The story of my travels around the world on the working cargo ship, MV Rickmers Jakarta By Don Parker, Georgetown ON In November 2005, at the young age of 77, I embarked on the trip of a lifetime, lasting in all about six months ~ as a passenger on the working freighter, MV Rickmers Jakarta, [First chapter in Vol.28 No.1-Autumn 2014, p.43]

Chapter 10, Part 1 (Photos, P.59) Thurs., Dec. 22: This is another redletter day. We docked in Genoa at 07:10, breakfast is over and now we wait for the immigration people to clear us so we can go ashore. Genoa appears to be a small port so we shouldn’t have too much trouble getting out of the port and back in again and to the ship when we return. All this may be determined by the amount and nature of whatever security measures are in place. Waiting on the dock to be loaded are 14 or so yachts of various sizes and colours. These will be taken to Dubai, Saudi Arabia. At the moment, the stevedores are busy unloading containers containing dear knows what. [See photo 55 on P.59]

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Immigration cleared us at roughly 09:30, called a taxi to take us to town, and we were off. We went to the city’s old centre, found the main post office where I mailed my stash of Christmas cards. We then hunted down an information kiosk, where we spoke with a lovely young lady who spoke English very well. She gave each of us a map upon which she had marked various points of interest. Cam and I agreed to meet back there between 16:30 and 17:00 to go for dinner. We then went our separate ways. Finding people who spoke English well enough to be able to help me was very rare, but it happened often enough for me to be successful in finding the places I wanted to go. First on the list were DVDs of Genoa and/or Italy in English. No such luck until near the end of the day and some 6 or 8 shops later. Some of the stores were definitely up-scale, but they didn’t have the DVDs I was looking for. Genoa is built on the very steep shore line of this part of Italy. It is a very old city with many narrow www.dialogue.ca

cobble-stoned streets that can accommodate only one car but scads of people. Wending my way through these crowds soon began to take its toll on my legs, so I hopped aboard a bus whose driver would accept no money for a fare. I think seniors ride for free in Genoa. At any rate, I stayed with the bus for its entire route. The bus took me along many of the streets that I wouldn’t have been able to see by walking. At one point, it swung down past the shore line, and I was able to look out over the water and see a cargo ship silhouetted against the sky well out to sea. It was interesting to see the many brightly coloured buildings, which appeared to be condominiums, with far more windows in their walls than what ours have in Ontario. There were also many balconies with wrought iron railings which had the day’s laundry draped over them, all of which added to the colour of the scene in general, if not to the overall décor. As it travelled its route, the bus climbed ever higher until it reached a street from which no streets appeared to go higher to service the buildings that were at higher altitudes still. Once back at the Centre, I left the bus to continue my quest for DVDs and an e-mail café. I learned at one point that Italy doesn’t have e-mail cafés as such, what they do have are international telephone centres. I found one of these with a NO SMOKING sign on the door, so in I went. The owners were a young Moroccan couple who both spoke excellent English. I was off and running to bring all of you good people up to date, or so I thought. First of all, another strange keyboard system had to be sorted out. That done, I had to get into AOL where I still have an active account. […] With my email attended to – by the way, that e-mail letter only cost me 2 Euros,* and that included help, twice – I started walking again in search of DVDs. Something prompted me to stop in one unlikely-looking store just in case and, lo and behold, there was one on Genoa. It was their last one. I scooped it up now encouraged to walk more and to try in more stores. I went into another shop which didn’t have the DVDs I was looking for, but they did have 3 about Italy that were only in Italian. I bought them, too, and was happy to do so. When I get back home, I will share these with an audience that will have someone able to speak Italian who can help with translation. Genoa has its share of panhandlers, most of whom I ignore. When someone approaches me with a tin can or www.dialogue.ca

a small carton expecting me to put money in it, I walk on by. However, when a service is included, that is a different story. For example, there was one rather small man sitting on his rucksack with his back against a wall, a display of various handmade wares to his left, a very small dog on his lap, and his hands busily working at the shaping of another gizmo which he would eventually offer for sale. Through motions with my camera, I asked him if I could take his picture. He understood my pantomime and agreed. I took his picture – people were kind enough to wait before passing while I did this – and then I dropped some coins into his box. Both of us were pleased with the outcome of our encounter. [See photo 60 on p.59]

Speaking of pantomime, while Cam and I were searching for a restaurant, I noticed what I thought was a deserted panhandler’s post with his money box still there. I made a remark to Cam about the apparent trustingness of whomever must be the panhandler. Cam said, “That’s him there,” and he pointed to what I took to be a statue of John Cabot, which turned out to be a man dressed in all white, standing as still as a heron on a pedestal. I stopped to take his picture, and just after I did so, a lady put a coin in his cash box. He, in turn, made a sweeping bow, took up the lady’s hand, kissed it, and said, “Grazie mille!” I gave another lady a coin to put in his cash box, but not until I was ready to take a picture of his sweeping bow and hand-kissing routine. After much pantomiming on my part, I finally got my picture. [See photo 61 on p.59] So, as I mentioned earlier, give me service for payment requested, Signor or Signora Panhandler, and you will find me very generous; however, no service, no alms. One last mime story: Photo 63 [on p.59] shows a lady all curled up and holding a baby. Both have crowns on their heads. Both appear to be encased in a netting of some sort. Although the photo does not show an alms box, I remember she had one. When people put coins in it, the coins made a noise and the lady unfurled herself to hand the donor a pamphlet… Could you do that without getting cramps in your legs? Could it be that the mime is sitting on a stool which her costume hides? Ah, the puzzles of life. – Don Parker, Georgetown ON To be continued with JJ Chapter 10, Part 2 ♣ * Today, 1 Euro = $1.49 Cdn / $1.13 USD (in 2005, it was 1.27 USD) [SEE PHOTOS ON P.59]

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Contributors in Abrams, Nancy E (BOOK)…..2,6 Andersen, Erik, BC…….........7-8 Arney, Jeremy, BC …………..24 Backus, Karl, ON…………….39 Bain, Don, Coast Protectors 38 BC Refederation Party………13 Bond, David, BC……..........2,3,8 Bowles, Paul, BC………2,51,54 Camilleri, Sammy, ON………50 C4DD, ON………………..10-11 CLD (Ctr for Law Democracy) 20 Cude, Wilfred, NS ……….16-20 Dobbin, Murray (link)………...04 Ellul, Jacques (book quote)…12 Erkiletian, Jim, BC…………...10 Foster, David, ON …..…...09,13 Gaudet, Marie, AB…...2,3,48-50

dialogue, Vol. 30 No. 4

Goertzen, Ed, ON………….4,37 Haidt, Jonathan (BOOK)…2,3,12 Hand, Terry, BC……………...13 Hansen, Bob, BC…………….37 Harrington, Linda & Bob, BC 30 Haskell, David Millard, (link)…04 Hedges, Chris, US (link)…….30 Julian, S. B., BC……….…21-23 Kazdan, Larry, BC…………...05 Kellington, Ken, AB………….38 King, Maurice, BC…………...47 Lawson, Susanne, BC cover,3 Lonsdale, Derrick, M.D…..31-33 Mair, Rafe, BC……………….04 Mathews, Robin, BC……..25-27 McCaslin, Susan, BC…..…40-42 McConnell, Kim, ON………….37

McCullough, John, ON……..50 McCurry, Lawrence, ON……23 Mitchell, William (quote/link) 05 Moore, Richard, Ireland……29 Neilly, Michael, ON…….……33 Nickerson, Mike, ON……….59 O’Connor, Franklyn, BC…...38 Ostermann, Gunther, BC….30 Parker, Don, ON…….56-57,59 Petrik, Denny, BC……….46-47 Porter, J. S., ON………....42-45 Ross, June, BC (from)….......38 Russell, Wayne, BC….……..55 Scott, Andrew (BOOK)….…2,34 Semple, Ernest, QC………...37 Slade, Ken, Lithuania 53-54,59 Spencer, Herb, BC……...12,34

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SUMMER 2017, VOL. 30, NO. 4



Panhandling personas…

Photos 61and 62: My “John Cabot”, but the podium in the right hand photo says,“Christoforo Columbo”. Photo 55[P.59]: Securely lashing down cargo is a high priority item in the “Safety on Board” manual of all freighter ships. The yachts in this photo are headed for Dubai. Study the picture and see what measures have been taken to keep these two boats in place under all sea conditions.

Photo 60: An honest panhandler who offers a service for money received. Instead of buying one of his home-made gizmos, I paid him for allowing me to take this photograph.


VOL. 30, NO. 4, SUMMER 2017

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Canadian Pastoral Prayer February 16, 2016, Carol Penner, Edmonton

God of every country, thank you for this country: for its beauty…from coast to coast to coast, for blue oceans on three sides, for great prairies, vast forest and stretching tundra, for every rushing river and great lake for Hudson’s Bay and the islands of the north, all created by you, giving glory to you. We are thankful people! Thank you for all the creatures with whom we share this country; the polar bear and the bowhead whale, the mighty moose and the fox, the Canada goose and the honey bee, the Coho salmon and the beaver. Thank you for Canadian people, rich in cultural diversity, from First Nations and many nations. Thank you for cities and towns and all the little villages, for people living on the land. Thank you for democratic government, we pray for wisdom and guidance for our Prime Minister…, our MP…, and our MLA…, and our mayor…. From local to national, give our politicians the gift of honesty, and strength to resist temptation that power brings. Help them use their gifts as a gift for our country’s good. Lord, we need help in our country to live in peace. We need help with our relationship to the land to the air, to the water, to the creatures, to all peoples inside our borders and outside our borders. You have a vision of what peace is, help us live in that peace and towards that peace. Help us to be a people of vision, and courage, and commitment, offering your hope and comfort to all we meet. Be with us this week, especially with those in our congregation who are sick in mind or body, and those who grieve, we think especially of ………………………………….. Give us strength as a church to live as citizens of your kingdom as we work for the peace in our country, Canada. We pray all this in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, Amen. Carol Penner is a Mennonite pastor currently serving at Lendrum Mennonite Brethren Church in Edmonton, Alberta: “Our vision at Lendrum Mennonite Brethren Church is to be God’s people, growing through grace to be like Christ as we learn, love, and share – “so that in everything Christ would be known in us and through us.” We at Lendrum are part of the global family of Mennonite Brethren churches. We are united in this family by our historical Anabaptist roots and our common commitment to the Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith. We affirm this confession as a summary of our theological centre and our core beliefs.” Website: https://lendrumchurch.ca

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