Green boughs – front & back, with globes hanging with different images in them… justice/ostrich, native/joy/xmas, journeys? Dogs, (with p.# to article) justice - ostrich joy – native design journeys dogs? Christmas… 30-38 (lucky & santa?)
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A word from the publisher and editor… Dear Reader, Welcome to the Winter edition of our 29th year. Our cover themes are Joy, Justice and Journeys – reflected in the joyful painting of Susanne Hare, “rapt in love” with its colourful ribbons. The painting was originally created in celebration of the wedding of the artist’s son and daughter-in-law. While Joy is the emotional state most closely assoMaurice, Janet and Penny ciated with the Christmas Story, it is also one of our most precious expressions of our creative human potential. Don’t miss John Porter’s playful poem on Joy, p.43. And Paul Bowles muses insightfully on the topic of Joy and Justice (p.43). Philosophers and mystics remind us that Joy and Justice meet in Sacred Activism – where our activities embody our heart-felt desires to create a more wholesome world. You will find a wide-ranging discussion of justice topics, including Una D’Elia’s fascinating essay, Lady Justice and The Ostrich, p.25; and Norm Zigarlick’s firsthand account of his experiences in Indigenous communities in Canada, p.27. Jordan Ellis forwarded a compelling article from a Middle Eastern perspective, by Ramzy Baroud, p.23, which Jordan found “powerfully moving, deeply unsettling in its brutal frankness…” And Wilf Cude incorporates recent and historical perspectives as he tackles the complex issues of moral authority in governance and citizenship, pp.10-14. There are also many stories about Journeys – through time, space and ideas; perhaps you will be inspired to consider this as the theme for your voyage through this issue… If you enjoy reading Dialogue, why not order a Gift Subscription or two for friends or family members? Lucky and Santa have a special price for you – just until the end of the month – “just” $16 ea. for an annual subscription, if you purchase two or more Gift Subscriptions! You will be giving a year-long gift of entertainment and enlightenment ~ and you will be helping Dialogue at the same time! [Please give us a call: 250-758-9877 – so that we can get your Gift Issues in the mail right away!] We look forward to hearing from you. We are most thankful for your support and your voices that give Dialogue life.
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IMPORTANT NOTE: If you wish to continue receiving the magazine, please ensure your subscription is paid up! PLEASE LOOK AT YOUR ADDRESS LABEL ON THE BACK COVER of this issue to find your RENEWAL DATE. If your subscription is due, you should find a renewal slip enclosed in this copy of Dialogue (inside the back cover). Thank you for subscribing and renewing! (See p.58).
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dialogue is... …an independent, volunteer-produced, not-for-profit Canadian quarterly, written and supported by its readers – empowering their voices and the sharing of ideas. Now in its 29th 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. If you would like to share your ideas and become a writer in
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From Near & Far A few thoughts about PM Trudeau Ernest Semple, Dollard des Ormeaux QC To his credit, the new PM shows a more humane face than we ever saw from Stephen, but we kept hoping for in every budget or pronouncement from cabinet members. Very sad. I can understand why Stephen might decide to leave politics altogether. He no longer had the talented cabinet that he gradually lost to disaffection or overexertion, (e.g. James Flaherty).
There is likely to be up to four years of relative calm until Justin discovers that Ontario taxes are not enough to sustain grandiose spending policies. I like the latest declaration that ultra wealthy will no longer get child tax benefits. However, it's time to fill the gaps due to a 9 year hiatus in spending on human dignity that is a major failure of the previous government. ♣
[MORE PM TRUDEAU COMMENTS ON PP.6-10, 17-20] **************************************************************
REFUGEES: The cost of military actions by the US Gerry Masuda, Duncan BC “The United Nations is now estimating at least 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean this year and next, seeking refuge in Europe to escape violence and unrest in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, subSaharan Africa and other regions. Already 366,000 people have arrived in Europe this year. (VIDEO LINK, Democracy Now, Sep. 10, 2015: http://tinyurl.com/truth-out32733 )” Except for natural disasters such as flooding and drought, the major reason people leave their homes and face the uncertainty and hardship of a refugee is due to wars which threaten their lives. It is interesting to note that the violence in all countries mentioned in first para above is the result of intervention by the US Empire which initiated the military operations
to extend its global hegemony (conquest of the world). Thus, a possible quick way to stop further refugees is for the Peoples of the World, through their governments, to confront the US's hegemonic destabilization of countries which pose no threat to the USA. Motivated by the grassroots, nations (through such organizations as the UN could confront the US with the cost to care for the refugees which US military action created. This would increase the cost of US military action and provide the countries of the world a means to confront the US with a legitimate financial expense to discourage further extensions of the US Empire. This idea is simple and straight forward. Do we have the moral courage to implement it? email@example.com ♣
[MORE GLOBAL STORIES ON PP.5,21-23]
Medicine Hat becomes the first city in Canada to eliminate homelessness May 14, 2015, CBC (reported by WantToKnow.info) LINK: http://tinyurl.com/cbc74742
Medicine Hat, a city in southern Alberta, pledged in 2009 to put an end to homelessness. Now they say they've fulfilled their promise. No one in the city spends more than 10 days in an emergency shelter or on the streets. If you've got no place to go, they'll simply provide you with housing. "We're pretty much able to meet that standard today. Even quicker, actually, sometimes," [said] Mayor Ted Clugston. Clugston admits that when the project began in 2009, when he was an alderman, he was an active opponent of the plan. "I even said some dumb things like, 'Why should they have granite countertops when I don't,'" he says. "However, I've come around to realize that this makes financial sense." Clugston says that it costs about $20,000 a year to house 4 dialogue
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someone. If they're on the street, it can cost up to $100,000 a year. "This is the cheapest and the most humane way to treat people," he says. "Housing First puts everything on its head. It used to be, 'You want a home, get off the drugs or deal with your mental health issues,'" Clugston says. "If you're addicted to drugs, it's going to be pretty hard to get off them if you're sleeping under a park bench." And the strategy has worked. In Medicine Hat, emergency room visits and interactions with police have dropped. But there was one change that initially surprised Clugston — court appearances went up. "They end up dealing with their past, atoning for their sins," he says. Clugston believes that no one on the streets is unreachable. NOTE: Explore a treasure trove of articles which will inspire
you to make a difference, at the website: www.wanttoknow.info/inspirationalnewsarticles ♣ www.dialogue.ca
Poverty and food insecurity in Canada Larry Kazdan, Vancouver The outrage over Justin Trudeau's publicly funded nannies certainly misses the point. Every child, not just those belonging to our Prime Minister, deserves quality care, and government must provide an inclusive framework that makes this happen. But an even more troubling issue is why an estimated one in seven Canadian children go to school hungry every day. According to
the United Nations right-to-food envoy who visited in 2012, Canada needs to drop its “self-righteous” attitude about how great a country it is, and start dealing with its widespread problem of food insecurity. If every child matters as much as his own, Justin Trudeau through his government must act immediately and initiate a poverty reduction plan as the cornerstone of its social and economic program. ♣
Global Crises and Transformational Literature… EXTRACT FROM THE FOREWARD TO “ESCAPING THE MATRIX – HOW WE THE PEOPLE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD” Richard Moore, Wexford, Ireland (Oct. 2005) our society, and our men and women in uniform are deWithout exaggeration, I can say that our modern civilivoted to that objective – regardless of public sentiment zation is facing a major crisis, indeed a crisis of survival. regarding the adventure. And when it comes to transforThe full scope of the crisis has become increasingly apmation of the systems of our societies, these established parent to more and more people over these past fifteen elites are dead set against any such notion. They are iryears. There were some, however, who were able to see revocably committed to holding on to the reigns of the signs of this crisis long ago. Fortunately for the rest power, and maintaining the current system – regardless of us, there have been scientists, economists, journalists, of the environmental and social consequences. […] and others, who have devoted their talents to investigating the roots of our current crisis, exploring how human- Of all of our societal systems, the most resistant to transformation are our political systems. So long as our politiity might be able to avoid falling over the precipice – cal systems are controlled by wealthy elites, none of our and publishing their results as part of a new genre of other systems can be transformed. Revitalization of detransformational literature. (See: Bibliography and mocracy turns out to be the critical factor in social transonline resources: http://escapingthematrix.org/ ) formation. And yet, revitalization of democracy is the least One of the common themes that emerges in this genre is interconnectedness. Our economic and political systems, developed part of the emerging transformational paradigm. our environmental and social problems, and our unstable We can find complete treatments of sustainable econominternational situation – these are all interconnected with ics, healthy agriculture, and appropriate technologies, but when it comes to the nature of genuine democracy – or one another. They can only be understood from a whole how to achieve it – we find only partial solutions. systems perspective. We don’t have a list of individual
problems to solve – rather we have a dysfunctional system that needs to be somehow reconfigured, i.e., transformed. […] The technical problems involved in making our world more sensible are not insurmountable. If the societal will existed, we could create functional and sustainable systems, put an end to war and poverty, live peacefully and happily ever after – and we could fund the conversion project with a small fraction of the resources now devoted to military budgets. It would be an immense project, but none of it is rocket science.
My purpose in writing this book is to weave together the various emerging ideas into a comprehensive tapestry of social transformation – with special emphasis on the problem of achieving democratic societies. The book is self-contained and it begins from first principles. I refer to the existing literature, and I have built on the work of others, but the synthesis is my own.
The major obstacles to social transformation are not technical but political; they are bound up in the question: What is our societal will? In fact, our societal will is the will of our political and economic elites. If they decide to invade Iraq, for example, then the media propaganda, the resources of
liberal biases) have not really changed much, but my attitude toward ‘those on the right’ has changed considerably. In my attempts to debate conservative thinkers on the Internet and in person, I found that I was learning as much from them as they were learning from me. Their views on the evils of big government, their emphasis …/
Read more of Richard’s book, “Escaping The Matrix” at LINK: http://escapingthematrix.org/ P.S. from Richard: As it turns out, my prejudices (and
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on self-reliance and local solidarity, and their skepticism regarding the mainstream media impressed me as being very sensible perspectives. I began to see that we liberals had blind spots and prejudices every bit as objectionable
as those we criticized in our right-wing brothers and sisters. I began to see that ideological labels are divisive, and that underneath the skin we are all real people with sincere contributions to make to our societies. – Richard Moore, Wexford ♣
“The Fifth Columnist”
Michael Neilly, Dunrobin ON Giddy. That’s the word I use to describe elated Liberals, the Harperhaters, when they triumphed in the polls on October 19th. Giddy was the word when Barack Obama won the first time, too. The media was absolutely gushing when Justin Trudeau said these “three” words: “Because it’s 2015!” (that’s four, right?), in response to a question why he picked a cabinet with 50% women. You’d think he was the Dalai Lama or Winston Churchill. When anyone dared raise merit, one woman said that nobody mentioned merit when all men were picked, which is pure deflection: an arbitrary 50% selection of anybody is a quota, no matter how you spin it. Still, why not? We all know how politics works. People are rewarded. Favours are returned. Man or woman, maybe the Liberal light will shine on you?
With the recent Liberal commitment to reinstate the long-form census, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains said, “Today, Canadians are reclaiming their right to accurate and more reliable information.” It’s unbelievable that while the most important things to Canadians are how to stay warm during our six month winters, or when they can finally retire, the Liberals are crowing about the return of the “long-form census,” as if this were a fundamental Canadian right, to be interrogated by our federal government. When the long-form census was cancelled by Stephen Harper, “academics, economists, and other social scientists across the country are up in arms”. Hardly the man (or men) on the street, your typical hockeyloving Canadians “reclaiming their right.” Bains said, “The vast majority of Canadians understand the importance of this data and want to participate in the process (my italics), he said, noting that 93.5 per cent of the population filled out the forms last time.” I don’t know what to call this but a lie. Most Canadians care about hockey, vacations, their kids, houses and retirement. Perhaps a reason why 93.5% of Canadians filled in 6 dialogue
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the forms the last time was because of the threat of penalties i.e. from fines to jail time. Canadians are sheep. “The new Liberal government, however, is giving priority to evidence-based decision-making instead of ideology,” Bains went on. (Take that, scary Stephen Harper!) Speaking of ideology, which political party has, for the past 50 years, divided this country into minorities, and stated that we were a nation of minorities, you know, hyphenated Canadians. Isn’t THAT an ideology? The long-form census itself is all about allowing porkbarrelling politicians and special interest groups to find each other. But the way the Liberals talk, you’d think this document was the Magna Carta. Justin’s dad once famously said, “There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” Looking at the 2006 version of the census though, the state seems to have a place in every other room. Why does the government need to know my ancestry? What my hyphen is: Anglo-Saxon-English-Canadian, French-Canadian, African-Canadian, Chinese-Canadian? Will a DNA sample be far behind? That said, the bottom line for any government is that after two terms, your government will begin to stink, and your party leader will refuse to surrender power until it is too late, until the party “brand” is tarnished so badly that it takes 10 years before people will even look at you. Pierre Trudeau did it to John Turner. Brian Mulroney did it to Kim Campbell. Jean Chrétien did it to Paul Martin, and finally Stephen Harper did it to Jason Kenney, John Baird or Peter MacKay, take your pick. So take heart, Conservatives. In 10 years, the hokey imagery used in the 2015 campaign, you know, the “real change,” “hope,” “positivity,” and “dreams” will be replaced with scandals and commissions. Our four dieselelectric submarines bought by Jean Chrétien in 1998 and only now fully operational will be due for replacement, and we probably still won’t have a successor for our CF-18 Hornets. Despite having new greenhouse gas emission targets and onerous carbon taxes on all things heating, there will be no advances in heating technology, www.dialogue.ca
no reduction in pollution and no relief for Canadians who must heat their houses with gas and oil. If you pillory Harper for doing nothing about global warming (sorry, climate change), recall that Chrétien also did nothing, too (for 13 years). I also predict in 10 years at least one Canadian province will have Islamic Sharia Law. So much for women’s rights. To naive Liberals, fascism is invisible, unless you are Americans. But the 40-page, long-form census, a piece of paper, that will be the crowning achievement of our prime minister. Gosh, and our stature at the theatre called the UN will be restored, and we will once again be able to posture meaninglessly on the world stage with a giant cast of human rights abusers, megalomaniacs, tyrants and génocidaires. To be sure, the Tories had their pet peeves, the long-gun registry, the Canadian Wheat Board, etc. These represented the low-hanging fruit for a new government to pluck and satisfy the party base. So with Trudeau’s
promise of “real change,” one would expect substance and not window dressing. A quick win would have been to remove the HST/GST from heating fuel and gasoline, the things that enable Canadians to heat our houses and feed the infrastructure that delivers food to our tables. But no, the hand-wringing, mud-slinging, self-righteous Liberals give us the long-form census, a piece of paper, an obligation, a duty, and in Orwellian double-speak call it a right. You will get a carbon tax that will not reduce pollution. This is text book Liberal, delivering things with no substance to people with corporeal needs, to eat, to stay warm, to live, to drink clean water and to breathe clean air. You’ll forgive me, but the giddiness, I just don’t get it. It’s not that Justin isn’t ready, it’s that you are getting the Chrétien Liberals pulling the strings. Real change? More like, plus ça change (the more things change)… – Mike Neilly, Dunrobin ON ♣
“Outlandish ideas for our well-conditioned minds”
Is ‘J’ for Justin this year?
Some outside-the-box advice for our new PM Russ Vinden, Errington BC Will this be Justin's year? I sense that the nation is longing for change, and a sloughing-off of congealing Harperism. It never felt like any Canadian pattern that we were comfortable with anyway, and I think people were fed up with "No questions – this is what is going to happen". The election produced a fairly decisive outcome, not as brutal perhaps as when Mulroney was dumped leaving only two members of his caucus, but still a result giving great relief
So now the hoop-la is over, and reality sets in. Although there are good signs of a distinctive change in attitude, there is an immense tide of events rolling in which will test the brightest and best that Justin can produce -the refugee problem coming instantly to mind, along with the debts. The downside is that, as in every election, the tough questions were carefully managed away and not discussed, all attention being focussed on attempts to deal with the fall-out from the last nine years, with ‘Party particular’ proposals taking prominence. Voting Reform Of three factors which I consider crucial for any pretence www.dialogue.ca
at democratic government, the first – Proportional Representation – was actually endorsed by two Leftish Parties who sounded serious. It was conditionally accepted by a third, the eventual winners, depending on a referendum in eighteen months’ time.(1) But referendums critically depend on the precise wording of the question and can be loaded for a desired result, whereas what is needed is an informed publicity campaign setting out the alternative systems before we are asked to vote. Here, we live in hope. The fourth Party, Right-wing, rejects PR anyway and was voted out. Dare we hope that following the Mulroney debacle, this second solid rejection in less than twenty years might indicate that Canada has no time for incipient fascism? By and large it looks promising that future elections might produce fairly accurate results for the first time ever. What a long wait for common sense to be established! Restoring debt-funding to the Bank of Canada The second major but un-discussed factor – a mouldbreaking return to debt funding of all governments by our own Bank of Canada at zero interest – got a brief reference by the Green Candidate in this Riding. But his Party's top brass is still locked into an unexamined fear of inflation – "if governments can just print any money they want" – ignoring the fact that this is exactly what the …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
current ‘debt-money-at-interest’ system already does. Twenty years of un-payable interest drove all budgets into deficit, which had to be borrowed, and since all available money was already in use, the borrowed money was new. Nothing was created by this new money; it was only there to pay the interest – and money created against no asset is inflation. Which is why federal debt is now 30 times higher than when this process began in 1975. Today, there are remarkably few new assets to balance that 30 fold debt increase. Essentially, all provincial debts are in the same boat, but a numbing silence surrounds the matter. These cannot be said to be the signs of a sound economy. Yet within my lifetime, China was a basket case after invasion, years of bitter civil war, and frequent starvation – totally unlike Canada. However, they refused to borrow, but simply created their own money as it was needed, the new assets balancing the money spent. Now, 80 years later, they are Number Two(2) in the world. They have no external debt beyond that of short-term convenience, and they do pretty much whatever they want to do even though it makes no sense to us. For instance, China has recently completed construction of twenty complete new cities for a million people each, which remain totally unoccupied: an incomprehensible situation to us, as we can't build enough simple dwellings to house a relatively few homeless people, and all social programs are badly underfunded. "Look at our debts already!" we are told. But a further example of self-funding lies right on our doorstep, in North Dakota. Amazingly – since the information has been curiously unpublished – that not-wellendowed State has been funding itself from its own State Bank for more than ninety years. It has not run a deficit for over fifty, and has no debt at all. It does, however, have the lowest unemployment, home re-possession, and credit card default rates in the whole USA, which has a monumental, quite un-payable yet still growing debt which is knocking it off its cherished position of Reserve Currency for the world. It may be a stretch to suggest that the Dakotan's biggest problem might be 'Which Rolls Royce shall I drive today?' but the vivid contrast in these two examples surely suggests that our so-solidly established debtmoney system is, in the long term, untenable. It is in fact breaking down in many other nations, Greece being the latest example. The devastating truth is that as long as the current system operates, debts are unstoppable, there being no 8 dialogue
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way to extinguish them short of arbitrary cancellation, as exhibited by little Iceland only a couple of years ago. By an 83% affirmative referendum they declared their debts "Odious" under International Law, cancelled them outright, and jailed a considerable number of senior bankers and government officials for complicity to defraud. Far from collapsing their economy, they are issuing their own money and sailing along quite happily, even offering to take up their citizens’ mortgages to relieve them of the burden. Outlandish stuff indeed to our well-conditioned minds. Of course it works! – It's that 'Of course' that we find so difficult to grasp; that money is simply a means of exchange for our mutual benefit, and its creation should never be a private banker's fiefdom. That the whole process of money creation – perhaps the most important function in the whole process of government – should have been handed on a plate to private businesses for their profit is almost beyond understanding. However, in Canada at the moment, no serving politician, no Party, not even the national press or TV will even talk about this extraordinary devolution of national responsibility. Every discussion on the economy instantly revolves around "balancing the books," as though that somehow, in itself, can cure the whole business. But of course it won't. We have been suckered into a usurious situation, and are massively in hock to private money-lenders. Uncorrected, sooner or later, the lid will blow, as it so nearly did seven years ago. And third, the role of private Party funding in creating our usurious monetary system How has this chronic malaise occurred? I think it is nothing less than the pernicious system – quietly confirmed over donkey's years – of funding our Parties by private donation. This allows – no, actively encourages – the open purchase of political influence by the biggest donors, and, until Chretien's Bill abolished corporate donations to Parties, banks were right at the top of donor lists. That the Bill was drafted full of holes is no surprise; there has been no great reduction in the sums coming forward. But wealthy people do not throw their money out without expectation of a good fat return, and taxpayers still unwittingly contribute to this mayhem through the maximum possible Tax Rebates on these large donations. Basically this system has only remained because the electoral system produced governing Parties dependent on it – and the Act banning corporate funding doesn't seem to apply to provincial Parties anyway. None of the above-mentioned points is ever discussed www.dialogue.ca
in the national press or TV, so the outward appearance is one of normality. We are in tough times certainly, but to a huge extent these simply reflect the established voting and Party funding systems. I recall publisher Mel Hurtig's call, years ago, for a $5 fee to be attached to every Income Tax Return, the money going into a pool to fund political Parties. It would be allocated by Elections Canada according to votes cast in the last election, with small amounts for new Party start-up, and no other donations beyond a small membership fee would be allowed. With tough penalties, at minute cost this would have shattered the purchase of influence, but our already purchased Parties would have nothing to do with it, nor will they now. I discovered a few years ago that one can still contact the Auditor General's Office and get an e-mailed copy of its November 1993 “Report on Interest and the Debt,” which shows that only a small fraction of the federal debt then was due to unpaid accounts; the vast majority was for deficits caused by unpayable accumulated interest, which had to be borrowed to avoid default, the ultimate No-No.
With unquestioned determination, the system remains intact. So does the debt, only far bigger now because it is clear that that is how it was designed to work. It cannot be extinguished because we are paying interest on accumulated un-payable interest, and it consumes all available surpluses. Absolute cancellation remains the only option. I think our entire financial and Parliamentary systems are in dire need of hard critical re-evaluation. If Justin Trudeau has his wits about him, he will set the ball rolling, and he may earn the nation's gratitude. If he won't do it, he will simply join the long line of the 'would-begreat, but proven useless,' and we may end up like Greece – everything owned by foreign creditors, while we pay them for the privilege. Russ Vinden, Errington BC (1) The PM has not committed to a referendum on electoral reform; see discussion at: http://tinyurl.com/cbc3292694. See Trudeau’s Cabinet Mandate Letters at:
http://pm.gc.ca/eng/ministerial-mandate-letters (2) China may even be No. 1, according to a Dec. 2014 report of the IMF (International Monetary Fund). ♣
“One Man’s Opinion”
The Federal Election Of 2015
Ken Clark, Fergus ON Well, the much touted Federal Election of 2015, with the longest campaign lead-in time in recent history, is now over. The results are in and counted and the winning party, if we can justify the use of that term with the degree of pride that normally accompanies a victory, has been announced; but the question in my mind remains, do the people really have a winner? I am not certain!
It seems to me that the more elections we hold in Canada, the more people tend to vote against parties or candidates than they vote for them. This to me has to be an unintelligent, ass-backward way of casting a ballot and in my view never leads to selecting the best candidate or party in the running; in addition it is not democratic procedure. When the campaigning first began, most polls showed the three major parties in a virtual dead heat tie for first place; just a few percentage points apart. As the negative side of campaigning took over, honesty, intellect and one’s experience and ability went out the www.dialogue.ca
window. I personally believe the Liberal Party was destined to win the past election, but not by the huge majority it finally achieved. Due to the Party-Ministerial Solidarity mindset that exists in the House of Commons, regardless of the party in charge, there is really no effective opposition in place for the next four years. If this is not representative of an elected dictatorship, I don’t know what would be. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberals will be able to do virtually anything they wish to do. This is not the way Parliament was intended to operate and it is not democratic procedure. It is the Party System itself that has become bastardized. Until such time as Parliamentary procedure is returned to its original intended state of Cabinet being responsible to elected MPs, and elected MPs being responsible to the people, can we truly refer to the Government of Canada as a Democracy. This change has not occurred overnight, but has been in a state of steady decline for decades; orchestrated by the hierarchy of government and tolerated by the people themselves. Whether we all understand the danger this represents or not, it must be changed by the …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
government, through the people and the sooner the better. This will not be a simple task; nonetheless it is imperative that it must be undertaken and completed. Only the blind cannot see that further reform of our Parliament is desperately needed.
Speak to your Member of Parliament regardless of his/her party affiliation. It might be easier now that the Reform Act, 2014 has been passed. As always, remember that ‘He who is silent, consents.’ Ken Clark ♣
The Sceptical Scholar
It Hasn’t Gone Away Exploring the ‘moral authority’ to govern – and of citizenship Wilf Cude, Cape Breton NS Benjamin Perrin, in a brief statement to the Canadian Press a few days before the recent election, pretty well spelled out the national sentiment yielding the final astounding result. Writing as a lifelong conservative, confessing publicly that he had voted in an advance poll “for change,” an act he “never thought would happen,” he insisted “after what I’ve personally seen and experienced, there was no other choice.” Bluntly put, “the current government has lost its moral authority to govern.” The moral authority to govern: it’s a phrase we should all very much take to heart, contemplating the violently tumultuous era within which we presently find ourselves. And who better than Benjamin Perrin, a few weeks ago, to advocate and support the necessity of such a national reassessment? The former legal adviser for the Prime Minister’s Office in 2012-13, a key figure reckoning with the unfolding senatorial fraud scandal, and the witness at the Duffy trial whose testimony revealed the possibly perjured testimony of Nigel Wright concerning the involvement of Harper’s most senior aide Ray Novak, he had walked away from the sordid stench of it all. And voted accordingly. As almost two-thirds of the rest of us did as well on election day.
Whatever the choice for change each of us made on that day, red, orange or green, it was based on one objective, and one only: to unseat the current government, with the intent of electing a credible replacement possessing the moral authority to govern. And perhaps at the very end, on the eve of voting, the setting of citizen against citizen over the non-issue of wearing the niqab, culminating in the proposal of a “snitch line” to report “barbaric cultural practices,” proved decisive. Even for one of Harper’s “staunchest supporters,” as Barbara Kay identified herself in the National Post, the snitch line clearly was “overkill,” striking a “sour note” with “odious Orwellian connotations.” It indisputably had “a seriously chilling effect” on the Conservative campaign, casting “Harper’s 10 dialogue
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‘popular’ niqab stance in the light of ‘populism,’ even ‘ugly populism’.” Highly suggestive of “Stasi-era tactics of social control,” it was patently wrong-headed on several counts. First, “no strategy is more calculated to bring out racist mischief-makers and vengeful false allegers than a snitch line.” Second, “no policy is more likely to make entire communities feel singled out as inherently suspicious than a snitch line.” And third, “no policy is more likely to make the party that proposes it look imperious, bullying and nativist.” In sum, according to Barbara Kay, at the very end of the event, “the Conservatives blew it: they ran out of oxygen, and deserved to.” And so, a few weeks later into what many had chosen to call an entirely new political era, with several contemplative conservatives calling for sweeping changes in the party’s philosophy and approach, and with Rona Ambrose – the recently appointed party interim leader – pledging to forsake the disquieting nastiness of the previous ten years, here we all are. An end to ugly divisiveness, pitting citizen against citizen, with suspicions and resentment poisoning the national psyche, an end to all that, not so? Well now, regrettably, probably not so: in truth, not so at all. Enter Ezra Levant with an initially low-profile website offering, one designed to be circulated as these things usually are, surreptitiously from individual to individual via e-mail, Facebook and other internet access points. “I guarantee you won’t hear a peep about this by any mainstream media outlet,” he boasted: but that was written prior to Friday, November 13th, and now indubitably we will hear a great deal more about this from everyone. His subject is Justin Trudeau’s proposal “to import 25,000 Syrian migrants by Christmas,” and his choice of terminology here is revealing. The people involved are “migrants,” rather than refugees – and they are to be “imported,” rather than rescued. Our mainstream media had earlier and generally presented the Trudeau proposal as a decent humanitarian response to other human beings suffering tragically. But that’s not Ezra Levant’s take on the situation. …/ www.dialogue.ca
Wilf Cude, Moral Authority to Govern, contd.
Far, far, from it. And his message will receive added impetus, if not actual urgency, not only by the horrific events in Paris on Friday, November 13th, but also by those equally horrific events that immediately preceded it: the twin suicide bombings in Beirut, Lebanon the day before, Thursday, November 12th; the downing by smuggled bomb of Russian airliner Metrojet Flight 9268 over Sinai on Saturday, October 31st; the twin suicide bombings of pro-Kurdish activists in Ankara, Turkey on Monday, October 12th; and the suicide bombing of a Kurdish student pacificist movement in Suruc, Turkey on Monday, July 21st. The toll of innocent victims continues to climb, with Paris recording 129 deaths and 352 wounded, 77 critically so; Beirut, 43 deaths, and over 240 wounded, many critically so; the Metrojet bombing, 224 deaths, everyone aboard, passengers and crew; Ankara, 102 deaths and dozens wounded; and Suruc, 33 deaths and 104 wounded. Make no mistake, fundamentalist terrorism has evolved in an incredibly frightening fashion, seizing upon manifest vulnerabilities in both our overall ability to comprehend the real threat – and our ability to devise appropriate responses to that threat. ISIL has combined a dependency upon readily-available standard weaponry such as AK47 automatic rifles and conventional explosives with an impressive sophistication of organization and delivery to achieve ghastly intimidating results – and it deploys both in apparent impunity despite the massive array of (largely) airborne technology directed against them. It is within that grim context that Ezra Levant’s message will be received, both here and abroad. According to Levant, the Trudeau Liberals are totally unfit to conceive of a proper refugee program, let alone implement one. “Remember,” he sneers, “this is the same Liberal Party that doesn’t even think you should have to show picture ID, or take off your niqab, to vote.” Having smeared in passing the new governing party as intimately associated with unpopular Muslims, thereby returning the reader in a single sentence back to the ugly divisiveness of the former federal election campaign, he then delineates his main charge. Admitting 25,000 Syrian refugees, whom he insists on dismissing as “migrants,” further defined as “risky” migrants, means exposing the nation to an influx of around 7,500 people who “could be ISIS supporters.” The words “could be” are highly relevant here. The evidence for the claim is a poll taken over a year ago of 900 Syrian refugees by the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies that indicates 31% “do not want the Islamic State to be www.dialogue.ca
defeated.” But by that measure, 69% of the same respondents do not share that sentiment, and at least 10% of those further say “radical Islam is a serious problem.” These figures come into play only if we assume, as Levant does without offering any proof, that there would be no intelligent attempt to screen refugees in accordance with such findings. But why, other than sharing Levant’s anti-Muslim smear of the Liberals, should we assume that? Moreover, since Levant’s findings come from a poll taken over a year ago, well before any of the more recent atrocities over the previous few months, is it not at least possible that ISIL’s signature brutality is becoming far more repellant among Muslims – especially among those who have deliberately fled the carnage of their homeland? That possibility was raised by a fourteenyear-old Syrian refugee in Beirut who had narrowly survived the suicide bombings there, and who was impelled by what he had witnessed to reconsider the behavior of Daesh, as the terrorist organization is known in Arabic. The group “was not talked about much by my friends before, but we know they cut heads off,” he reported. However, a few hours following the Beirut massacre, just one stark truth regarding the perpetrators was apparent to this young man. “Iraqis, Syrians, Palestinians, Christians, Muslims – Daesh only kills. If you are not with them, you are against them.” That has been demonstrated time and again, as ISIL rampaged across large swathes of Syria and Iraq, with most of their victims hapless civilians, and many of them Muslim followers of doctrine deemed heresy by their killers. And even amid the victims of three of the major attacks abroad, those in Suruc, Ankara and Beirut, Muslims were the sole targets. Genuine refugees are not terrorists, they too are victims of terrorists, just as all the Muslims slaughtered by ISIL had been: and refugees like the Syrian teenager in Beruit have come to understand that perfectly well. There must be many sharing his awareness among the millions of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Quite simply, Mr. Trudeau intends to identify 25,000 of them and bring them here, that they might introduce their awareness into our local Muslim communities, strengthen our resolve to resist terrorism in every form, and become in their turn productive citizens, like every other immigrant group before them. Nonetheless, that said, there is no blinking away some legitimate concerns behind Levant’s reservations about the entire proposal. True enough, at least one of the Paris assailants had entered France as a refugee with a Syrian passport; but let’s not forget at least five others were French …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
Wilf Cude, Moral Authority to Govern, contd.
citizens, one with a criminal record who had further been flagged by the authorities for his extremist Islamic views. Although a widespread market in forged Syrian passports and other official documents may exacerbate an already difficult security situation, the main threat still seems to be from radicalized locals. Hence, as we move towards a broad admission of Syrian refugees, we must be alert, although we must also not overlook more probable avenues of terrorist entry. Granted, that position might be reconcilable with bits of what Levant is saying. But the problem isn’t so much with some of what he is saying, as with how he is saying all of it. He offers a few outdated statistics in support of unproven suspicions, everything clothed in politically motivated rhetoric devised to incite and inflame hostility towards the refugees in particular and Muslims in general. We’ve had more than enough of such stuff, both in the federal election and in the Quebec provincial election prior to that. Such stuff hasn’t gone away though, and at times of extreme tension like these, it can explode out at us unexpectedly, further dividing us precisely when we should be coming closer together. Right here in Canada, one day after Paris, a small mosque in Peterborough was firebombed. Right here in Canada, just one day after that in Toronto, a woman wearing a hijab was attacked by two thugs, mercilessly beaten and robbed: the police call it a hate crime. Right here in Canada, one more day after that, a man in Montreal costumed as the Joker from The Dark Knight popped up on the internet brandishing a pistol and threatening “to shoot an Arab in the head, one a week:” he was arrested and charged with uttering death threats, inciting hatred and perpetuating a terror hoax. And right here in Canada, a short while thereafter in Kitchener, a Hindu temple had several windows smashed: the same temple that had been firebombed just after 9/11 by buffoons who didn’t know it wasn’t a mosque. Got it? Evidence aplenty of how literally inflammatory rhetoric like Levant’s can be. And he should know better, as a journalist with some good things to his credit. At the top of the list is his first book Shakedown, which raises genuinely provocative questions about how our human rights movement is itself displaying problematic anti-democratic tendencies. Rather farther down the list is his second book Ethical Oil, which offers the somewhat less tenable premise that western oil companies should be praised for their benevolent environmental practices, especially when contrasted – by setting a very low bar – with the performance of outfits like the state12 dialogue
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owned enterprises of China and Malaysia in places like Sudan. (That premise took a bit of a hit, though, with the BP gulf oil blowout and spill of April, 2010, just immediately after Ethical Oil was released: second thoughts on Levant’s premise, anyone?) But extremely far down the list, right about the very bottom to be exact, is his entire polemical anti-Muslim stance. Beyond anything else, the stance is far worse than merely obstructive: in fact, it is absurdly counterproductive, actually helping ISIL advance its terrorist agenda. In one of the most astute commentaries emerging out of the prevailing atmosphere of panic, hatred and fear, the distinguished historian Margaret MacMillan, writing for the National Post, reminds everyone that “the aim of terrorists is not just to panic societies but to sow divisions among them.” Levant’s internet tirade cannot of itself disrupt the imminent introduction of 25,000 Syrian refugees into our society, but it can very much generate mistrust and fear of the newcomers, and fuel hostility and violence towards them, and foster divisiveness and anger among the rest of us. Looking beyond our borders, our own vicious incidents might even become predictive of what could come swirling about us here. In the United States, prominent politicians like House Speaker Paul Ryan, wannabe Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, and Governor Bobby Jindal – at the forefront of dozens of other Republican governors, right-wingers every one – are all calling for a halt to the admission of Syrian refugees. In Europe, not only the right-wing governments of Poland and Hungary, but also vocal rightwing organizations in France, Germany and Austria, are making the same call. And behind all that is far more vicious extremism: the trashing of refugee shelters in Germany, the beating senseless of a Syrian refugee in Poland, the thoroughly revolting online suggestions in France that “Muslims should be gassed like Jews during the Holocaust.” As Anna Sauerbrey assessed in the New York Times, with this savage mood gathering momentum, “reason might now decide to leave the room, replaced by the politics of fear.” Given our own reservations, tensions and potential for truly ugly violence now building, there is a poignant cultural irony in that hostile stridency from a ferociously ardent Zionist like Ezra Levant. It was not so very long ago, in real historical terms, that Canadians heard similar political trash talk: heard it, listened to it, acquiesced in it, and acted upon it, to our lingering national shame. Back in the economically and socially volatile interval of the infamous “Dirty Thirties,” such talk was as www.dialogue.ca
Wilf Cude, Moral Authority to Govern, contd.
commonplace as it was virulent: however, the helpless and desperate targets then were not Muslim refugees from Syria, they were Jewish refugees from Germany. (Are you paying attention, Mr. Levant?) According to the archives of the Canadian Jewish Congress, “of the more than eight hundred thousand Jews seeking refuge from the Third Reich in the years 1933-39 Canada admitted approximately four thousand.” Our Prime Minister from 1935 to 1948, William Lyon MacKenzie King, taking office as covert Nazi hostility towards Germany’s Jewish population slowly morphed towards the open brutality of Kristallnacht, tersely and infamously summed up his government’s attitude towards unwanted Jewish refugees with this repellent phrase: “none is too many.” That was government policy in 1939, when the German liner St. Louis streamed into Canadian waters with 908 Jewish refugees aboard fleeing the impending holocaust and requesting asylum: and we turned them away, denying them admission because they were deemed culturally unsuitable. Coldly, Frederick Charles Blair, our then Director of Immigration, pronounced official Liberal policy. “No country could open its doors wide enough to take in the hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who want to leave Europe: the line must be drawn somewhere.” Sound familiar? We drew one line back in 1939, condemning hundreds aboard that one ship to the camps in Dachau and Auschwitz, foreshadowing the holocaust still to come. Are we about to draw the same line again, with in all probability equally tragic consequences, as Ezra Levant would be pleased to have Prime Minister Trudeau do? However, we don’t have to do that, as our even more recent history indicates. Early in the summer of 1979, the newly-elected government of Progressive Conservative Joe Clark (at 39, our youngest ever Prime Minister, younger than Justin now) was confronted with the Vietnamese boat people fleeing the killing fields, prison camps and post-war chaos of communist-dominated Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Clark and Ron Atkey, his Minister of Immigration, were resolved not to repeat MacKenzie King’s appalling blunder: and over the short span of their minority government from 1979 to 1980, they managed to introduce and begin to settle some 60,000 Indochinese refugees. These were people from a variety of social classes, political backgrounds and religions, starting out from both urban and rural areas. The vast majority of them spoke neither English nor French, and very few had either relatives or friends in Canada. www.dialogue.ca
The entire process was completed in around eighteen months, at a time when our nation was struggling with economic uncertainty; and many of the newcomers ended up in places with no previously-established Indochinese communities. Clark and Atkey ramped up an existing private sponsorship program to great effect, so that finally while some 26,000 refugees were introduced by the government, over 34,000 were additionally introduced by private sponsors. Our country then was guided by politicians with the moral authority to govern. Rest assured, nobody need remind Justin Trudeau of that precedent: it has to be foremost in his thinking while he presses to bring those 25,000 Syrian refugees here as expediently as possible. As a teenager, he told his father a harsh joke about Joe Clark, and the elder Trudeau sternly rebuked him, insisting you don’t insult someone just because you disagree with that person’s views: and to drive the point home, Pierre marched his son off to the House and introduced him to Joe, who was then Opposition Leader. Some lessons are indelibly registered: and the lessons Joe Clark and Ron Atkey taught can resonate with us as well as Justin, when we work together to determine our nation’s proper course. Some reflective conservative thinkers thoroughly comprehend this, even though they don’t specifically cite the earlier moral zenith of their political predecessors. Commenting a day or so after the Paris atrocity, Christie Blatchford in the National Post began by sensibly observing “Canada should still keep open its doors to desperate Syrian refugees,” equally sensibly adding “I also wish that ordinary Muslims didn’t have to wear this latest outrage carried out in the name of their faith, though I expect they may.” Commenting almost a week after that same atrocity, Michael den Tandt also in the National Post opened with the most venturesome nonpartisan observation, “not everything Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does is wrong,” adding “in particular the Liberal government’s professed determination to help refugees from the Syrian war is absolutely right.” Leadership in this instance, he argues, “requires that people rise beyond first instincts and quick reactions, to apply reason and compassion, toughness and wisdom.” And he is bang on, and we should listen to him. To begin, we should put the issue of security when selecting refugees in proper perspective. Those being considered are already residents of camps administered by the UN, where they have been living quietly (and stoically enduring hardship) for years. Moreover, those given precedence fit the far safer categories suggested by retired general Rick Hillier: orphans, complete …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
families, persons in need of medical attention. And ultimately, there is that factor which North America has experienced over centuries of finding space for immigrants: many of these people will prove to be genuine assets for our own society. “Remember what a Syrian immigrant looks like,” New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof admonished his apprehensive American compatriots: “the father of Steve Jobs.” With that in mind, we moreover shouldn’t misplace our security priorities. Thus far, all the Canadian fatalities due to acts of terrorism were at the bloodied hands of local citizens. Two soldiers, one shot in Ottawa by Michael Joseph Hall, another run over in rural Quebec by hit-and-run driver Martin Rouleau-Couture, both in October, 2014. Five RCMP officers shot, three killed, in Moncton by Justin Bourque, in June, 2014. Four RCMP officers shot outside Mayerthorpe, Alberta by James Roszko in 2005. Fourteen women engineering students shot at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique by Marc Lepine in 1989. Three civilians inside Quebec’s National Assembly shot by Denis Lortie in 1984. As all our active security personnel presently recognize, the primary threat here continues to be radicalized local residents. By all means, let us look carefully at the Syrian refugees: but let’s not overlook our own dangerous home folks as we do so. Nor is security the most pressing difficulty confronting us. Temporary housing for the arrivals may be fairly easily provided, through military bases, convention centers, temporary shelters, and the like; but permanent housing, not so much. The last time Parliament authorized construction of affordable housing was in 2005,
when Jack Layton pushed the Liberals to find $1.5 billion in their budget for that purpose. In 2014, Parliament failed to renew that amount, so the nation is starved for necessary infrastructure: necessary for our own poor and working poor, as well as the influx of refugees. And then there’s provision of employment for everyone, just when we are facing the pressures of internationally-wide economic downturn. “Paris isn’t a test of Trudeau’s character,” James Mennie exhorts us from his column in the Montreal Gazette; “it’s a test of ours.” And we should never forget, as we gird ourselves to face down our challenges and our fears, that “we are and always will be the children of immigrants and refugees who were perceived when they arrived here to be every bit as alien and threatening as any displaced Syrian.” Let’s acknowledge that properly, and maybe the nastiness seething below the national surface won’t erupt to overwhelm us as we buckle down to some essential constructive work. Wilfred Cude, BA (RMC), MA (Dalhousie) WEBSITE: www.wilfredcude.com
Wilfred Cude is the author of A Due Sense of Differences (1981), The Ph.D. Trap (1987), The Ph.D. Trap Revisited (2001). His latest book is Weapons of Mass Disruption, An Academic Whistleblower’s Tale. (2014). He has lectured at seven different colleges and universities across the country. His next literary venture will be an account of the 1933-34 NHL Season, in which his goaltending father Wilf Cude Sr. helped bring the Detroit Red Wings to the Stanley Cup final. Wilf Jr. lives with his wife, the novelist Mary Pat Cude, in a small house they built in rural Cape Breton on the shore of the Loch Bras D'Or. ♣
"Grist for the Mill"
Ed Goertzen, Oshawa ON
RECEIVED FROM ED GOERTZEN, reprinted as a public service:
How Canada's Laws Are Made... Having just come through a grueling election, it might be wise to reflect on just how Canada's laws are made and Ed Goertzen how important it has become to elect persons to represent voters. Laws are made far differently than the way the corporate media reports to the voters. The following excerpt from Peter C. Newman's book "Titans" tells an interesting story. How Canada’s Laws Are Made From: Titans (1998) by Peter C. Newman, Pg 156 – THE COMPETITION ACT [Quoting Tom d’Aquino]:
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D’Aquino: “ ‘Andre,’ (Ouellette) I said, ‘the time has come for Canada to have a new [competition] act that is not antiquated, but I can tell you something right now: if you pursue what has been the historical approach, that business is bad, and we’ve got to bring in a law to tame them – it will never work. If you bring in a different approach, I’ll turn the business community around and we’ll work with you.’ “The new approach I had in mind was that instead of having a director of Combines who treated us as if we were gangsters, Ottawa should look at the positive side and, …/ www.dialogue.ca
Ed Goertzen, How Canada’s Laws Are Made, contd.
if necessary, get rid of the Combines branch and put somebody in there who’d be more constructive.” The minister, according to d’Aquino, replied, “That’s fine. You’ve got a deal.” Incredibly, they did. During the next three years, the BCNI* spent $1 million on the project, hired its own team of twenty-five lawyers headed by Toronto’s Bill Rowley and by 1985 had produced a 236-page master plan, which became Canada’s new competition law. There were no provisions for class-action suits; conspiracies remained just about impossible to prove; and prosecutions were moved from criminal to civil courts. It was the only time in the history of capitalism that any
country allowed its anti-monopoly legislation to be written by the very people it was meant to police. These and other successful lobbying efforts had been private and highly confidential. D’Aquino went public on the issue of who ought to govern the country in a little-noted 1985 speech to Toronto’s Board of Trade Club: “We are 2 million strong,” he warned, presumably including the employees of his member companies, “and we are bound together by certain shared values ... Let’s be more wary of public-sector imperialism. Let’s defeat those with statist ambitions, whatever they may be!” * Business Council on National Issues (BCNI) founded in 1976, but renamed itself as Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) in 2001. ♣
A Series Exploring Alternatives to the Monopoly of Corporate Power and Networks DEGROWING CAPITALISM PART I: THE ISSUE John Olsen, Parksville BC Ever since humans began to cultivate plants and tame animals there has been an innate tendency towards capital accumulation. As soon as we began to fabricate tools, shelters, clothing and other devices characteristic of settlements, it became possible to pass on to successors accuJohn Olsen mulated assets. Very soon, some men were luckier, stronger, or became more adept at accumulating assets and were able to pass them on to their sons, thus giving some in the community a head start over their age peers. As their accumulations grew, some were able to hire, enslave or otherwise acquire workers, soldiers and managers to expand, protect and organize their accumulations.
Soon a hierarchy emerged, out of which grew notions of kingship, shamanism, elitism and other designations that gave special status to their holders. In some cases, some or all of those designations were combined. Competition between local leaders soon led to wars of conquest, unions of convenience and similar combinations that extended the accumulation of those who were able to take advantage of the enlarged opportunities. Every nation or people has some form of this process embedded in their history. The question then is: What renders capital accumulation into capitalism? The whole idea of “isms” is that the tag designates a www.dialogue.ca
special influence on the affairs of people by some group of influential phenomena: in essence, isms are intellectual constructs. For example, in Christian history, Protestantism only earned that designation when it began to insert a significant and particular interpretation of Christianity that departed from or protested the then mainstream notions of Holy Rome. Another example is that of industrialism. The “ism” became attached to industry when it became possible to define it as characteristic of an age: it was not an event in a moment of time. Such constructs are useful in tracking how certain pervasive forces have shaped the nature of societies. In teaching college level courses on the rise of capitalism, I have asked students if they are capitalists. Some flatly reject the notion while others claim that, given the pervasiveness of capitalist mechanisms, we are all in some way capitalists. Those who reject the appellation usually do so because they see capitalism as tainting human relationships and they reject the idea that they are complicit: still others seem to be saying that they can’t help but be capitalists in a capitalistic economy and culture. In a sense they are both right but I am inclined to lean towards those who reject the tag because, even though most of us are connected to the capitalist system, most ordinary people are not driving or individually influencing the system. That said however, ordinary folk who are small traders on the stock or financial markets are free riders on capitalism, although, for most, they are simply the economic cannon fodder of the true capitalists. …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
John Olsen, Degrowing Capitalism, contd.
Typically, the small investor contributes nothing more than unsolicited but useful value for individual share issues. More than that, they are so far away from the decision-making level of the transactions as to be powerless. They do, however, help make traders wealthy. The other element I learned was that it would be helpful to identify some sort of icon that represented the era. For me that was easily the corporation. Theoretically at least, capitalism might be able to function without corporations, although I doubt it. Finally, as an inherently anti-American Canadian, I am always reluctant to conflate the Canadian experience into the American but, as I will later argue, the 1776 rebellion (not a revolution! The rebels only exchanged an hereditary sovereign for an elected one) arose just as the intellectual father of capitalism published his seminal work, Wealth of Nations, just as the new nation emerged to become the spear-point of emerging capitalism. The essence of modern capitalism is the use of money to make money. Even the early captains of capitalism, like Rockefeller, Mellon or Rothschild, dealt mainly with commodities and their related services, thereby at least making the use of commodities available to ordinary consumers. The great captains of commerce make money out of money, not commodities. What brought into being the new idea of capitalism was the availability of cheap fossil fuel energy and the emergence of digital communications. Those of us who have followed the 2008/09 recession know that it has been driven by dealings in the financial sector, not commodities. Indeed, UNCTAD (*) has tracked world trade as being made up of well over 90% financial transactions, relegating commodities to a minor position. (About the mid-nineties, profits in the world’s largest economy derived from manufacturing and financing were about even. Ten years later, profits from the financial sector are about five times higher than those from manufacturing. ) Even for major manufacturers like General Electric or General Motors, their financial arms are far and away the most profitable of their operations and may be the only reason they haven’t already collapsed like a couple of financial houses. All of the above foreshadows the role of technology in the rise of capitalism an absolutely essential condition for the emergence of capitalism. I will address that matter and its implications in a later essay. Notwithstanding all of that abstract divination, and paying proper attention to the endless claims that capitalism 16 dialogue
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is dying – and supposedly has been for decades at least – there are among us some who would like to hurry the process along. While researching and writing a course on the apparent uprising of a re-energized capitalism, I began to see emerging – at about the time the fourth quarter of the 20th Century came along – numerous references in commentary on the resurgence of corporations to approximately the year 1975. (e.g., the WEF, World Economic Forum, held its first meeting in Davos in 1974.) For some time, I became obsessed with the why and spun my wheels on that question. Still, the course was directed at the essential task of de-fanging the dragon. To borrow unashamedly from both Tolstoy and Lenin: What then is to be done? The first thing I did was to find a concrete icon of capitalism. The modern and looming dominating – typically multinational – corporation nicely fits that bill. In law, a corporate body is the means by which any group of individuals or groups can take common action, in effect, to act as a person. Practically speaking, it is a body formed under any of several instruments of law to pursue a goal or set of goals. We most commonly see the corporation as a business, most often intended to return a profit to those who invest in it. It can, however, be a not-forprofit society, a productive co-operative, even a union or a church. Typically, individual subscribers to the corporate body are not liable for debts and obligations of the corporate body (unless they are criminally or fraudulently engaged). For my purpose, I chose to address the behaviours of typical business enterprises or corporate bodies created for the purpose of aiding some aspect of business. For example, a Chamber of Commerce will be formed as a corporate body to aid and abet some aspect of business, whether privately of publicly owned. The advantage of this admittedly simplified definition is that it helps us to focus on the means that may exist or be invented that would permit us to address the abuses of what Pope Francis recently described as “unfettered capitalism.” If we are to attach fetters, it helps to give some practical shape to the target. The Pope didn't even hint at what those fetters ought to be. In this series, Degrowing Capitalism, I propose to explore some options. To begin, I target a particular kind of corporation and a typical kind of corporate network that has to be the essential first target: the corporationcontrolled communications network. In later sessions I will examine other controls that …/ www.dialogue.ca
need to be implemented, including a discussion of what kinds of socio-political controls will be needed and how they might be called into being. In other words, how and to what extent will those controls be needed to limit the powers of corporations. The Pope didn't offer any advice in this regard. Following that discussion, I will diverge from the topic enough to explore what appears to be the only political mechanisms we can employ to degrow corporate power. It will not be a simple, risk-free or easy task. I would greatly appreciate – and no doubt benefit – from any feedback readers of dialogue magazine are willing to share. - John Olsen, October 2015 TO BE CONTINUED Footnotes: 1. A meaningful investigation of how and when gender biases arose is beyond the scope of this paper but the use of
the masculine designation here is deliberate and hopefully justified. 2. The Canadian pioneer communications theorist, Harold Innis, argued that the centres of empires can only control their territory as they are able to communicate across and within it, defining earlier empires as functioning within their ability to build and control transportation and communication systems: e.g., the Roman Empire built roads; the British Empire built ships; the American Empire built communications networks. 3. IMF report to the G20, 2010.) 4. The term “degrowth” is used in the framework of the international Degrowth movement, most actively pursued in the Spanish and French literature. Numerous on-line links can be garnered from the internet. In a later session I will address the implications of that process. * UNCTAD: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body ♣
Robin Mathews Uncut
“The impossible construction called a democratic nation” despotisms, dictatorships … and that violently erases Robin Mathews, Vancouver BC (Oct. 21, 2015) opposition. The single force doesn’t have that power in “Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant a democracy but works to achieve it, to turn the impossination rousing itself like a strong man after sleep, ble construction called a democratic nation into a real, and shaking her invincible locks. Methinks I see full-fledged despotism. It wants to do so. It works tireher as an eagle mewing her mighty youth and kinlessly to do so. It is like a poisonous boil that grows and pains and weakens the whole body. The pain is the dling her undazzled eyes at the full midday beam.” warning sign … the call for remedial action. John Milton (1608-1674) Areopagitica In the impossible construction called a democratic nation, every evil that arises in community can gather itself into a single force and seem to spread without hindrance: greed, bribery, flagrant breach of public trust, oppressing fear, racism, cynical exploitation of the weak and vulnerable, cronyism, manufactured militarism, organized corruption …. Heartbreaking is the ease with which the single force seems to be accepted as … well, as ‘the way of the world.’ All those who can benefit seem to choose to do so as the wrecking ball swings through the democracy. The others, mostly, seem to cower in fear. Here and there voices are raised. Records are kept. Violations are recorded and broadcast by means possible. Many of the ordinary means are bribed or coerced into silence, closed to what is real. Even so … the word goes round. The single force concentrating evil in a democracy is not to be confused with the dark evil that controls www.dialogue.ca
In the impossible construction called a democratic nation, the single force is usually given a name … and here in Canada it has been called Harperism, the name adopted from the chief (fronting) instigator, controller, manager, designer, and implementer of the steps that have been undertaken to turn this democracy into a despotism. And – as is usually the case – the beneficiaries of the single force actively deny its existence. Of course. Our society – the kind of community talked about here – “the impossible construction called a democratic nation” – possesses an almost magical ability to respond. Apparently a gathering of disconnected individuals, it is greatly and deeply more than that. We speak of “the body politic” (“polis” in Greek meaning “the people”) as if the whole nation is, at rare times, a single organism, a body … which thinks and acts. As it did on October 19, 2015. Word went round … and round. People talked. Books were written. Articles were exchanged. ‘Strategic’ organizations formed. …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
Opposition parties spoke of ‘change’ to avoid open condemnation of incipient (and shaping) despotism. They were careful … almost complicit…. But “…like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks” Canadians took hold. They watched, towards the close, as “Harperism” employed one of the most unlovely political advisors in the English-speaking world. They watched “Harperism” goad on racism, attack a minority … and then (upon advice?) promise to mount greater racist attacks on that (and any other slandered ‘odious’) minority. They watched Stephen Harper declare (in campaign) the outright, bald falsehood that Canada is “the largest per capita refugee receiver in the world,” as he also declared the simple flat lie that, of the CBC, “there are no cuts” … lying openly, easily, casually, readily, frequently, since lying has become second nature to him: his special skill – his sign of contempt for Canadians, his testimony of loyalty to thug corporations … and to thuggery. In that behaviour is revealed such a closeness to madness that the Canadian organism – the impossible construction called the Canadian democratic nation – made up its mind. It would remove Harperism. It would go around the fundamentalists – Corporate, Christian, neo-liberal, “Conservative”, Monetary, Media. It would remove Stephen Harper and “Harperism.”
And so the Canadian body politic “kindling her undazzled eyes,” watched and listened, weighed and worried. And then the impossible construction called a democratic nation made a choice. It didn’t make the ideal choice, perhaps. It didn’t choose even what it might have chosen if given a wide-open set of choices … and time to consider, perhaps. It may even have chosen wrongly… for the impossible construction called a democratic nation has, always, to work within the possible. But the magic of Canadian democracy happened (despite Harper and Harperism using every fraudulent tactic to prevent it from doing so). The indefinable thing called Canadian history went into play; the indescribable thing called Canadian culture – deep and invisible – showed its face. And so … from the possible … it took the major step and lanced the boil from the body politic as an intentional act. It removed Harper and Harperism. For the moment … a possible (and likely) despotism was removed by “a noble and puissant nation, rousing itself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks ... kindling her undazzled eyes ….” The other political leaders thanked Harper for his “contribution” to Canadian life. The neo-fascist-supporting major media began white-washing, ‘retrospective’ looks at Harper and Harperism. Paid ‘historians’ began the task of writing volumes of lies.
“Have Computer Will Write”~ Jeremy Arney Thoughts for PM Trudeau…The TPP by Jeremy Arney - Leader of the Canadian Action Party In response to a Liberal Party invitation, over Sophie GrégoireTrudeau’s signature, to complete a survey on priorities… Dear Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau,
Thank you for your email telling me that you wanted to get to know me better. I am assuming that it is the Liberal Party of Canada which wishes to get to know me better, not necessarily you. I read through the prioritised requests on your letter, and have to say that in all these matters my priority would be the highest after a decade of complete disruption of the Canadian way of life. Above all else however there are two items which require urgent attention by your husband and his cabinet and government, and indeed all of parliament. I wrote to the Prime Minister about these as below: Dear Justin Trudeau,
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May I as the interim leader of the Canadian Action Party congratulate you and your party on your success on 19thOctober 2015 due largely to the enthusiastic vision of hope and a bright future you portrayed for the country. It was with great pleasure that I heard you say to your caucus: “Regardless of the committee you’re on, the roles you have, regardless of party demands, regardless of everything else we do, your one job that you cannot ever forget is to be a strong voice in service of the people who sent you here.” This was music to my ears as the Canadian Action Party has always agreed with this but have taken it a step further to say that we will represent all our constituents not just those who elected us. It was very refreshing to hear you say these words and this leads me to this. On 19th October you and your party were elected to govern Canada on behalf of all of us not just those who voted for you, and therefore we as a whole country should be listened to and consulted on matters of national importance. Since the government of New Zealand finally released the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership, I have been slogging though it, paying particular attention to …/ www.dialogue.ca
person means a natural person or an enterprise Chapter 28 which is entitled Dispute Settlement. person of a party means a national or an enterprise What is particularly striking in this chapter, written of a Party largely by the international corporations that were invited to There are those of us who are aware that we are all acconsult on this TPP, is that now any corporation within the tually natural persons, but that, with carefully and considerTPP area can ‘pile on’ with any other corporation which able forethought, natural person state has been altered makes a claim against perceived profit loss due to laws or over the last few decades – as Canadians have been, and regulations which might hinder that profit. This is done are now being, created into artificial people by our governthrough something called third party: ment without the rights of natural persons. It is therefore “third party means a Party, other than a disputing Party, somewhat disingenuous to expect us to accept that a corthat delivers a written notice in Accordance with Article porate entity from one of the members of the TPP countries 28.13 (Third Party Participation)” has been granted the status of a natural person with all the Article 28.13: Third Party Participation rights and privileges granted to natural persons, whilst we A Party that is not a disputing Party and that considers are not regarded in the same light by our governments. We it has an interest in the matter before the panel shall, are simply numbers expected to obey all laws and regulaon delivery of a written notice to the disputing Parties, tions without question and subject to fines and or imprisonbe entitled to attend all hearings, to make written subment for failing to do so, but must also pick up the tab for missions, to present views orally to the panel, and to those entities who attack our country for monetary gain.. receive written submissions of the disputing Parties. The Canadian Action Party and I agree that this TPP Such delivery shall occur no later than 10 days after scam should NOT be ratified and that all investment agreethe date of circulation of the request for the establishments dating back to and including the FTA with the USA ment of the panel pursuant to Article 28.7.2 (Establishshould be scrapped and real trade deals signed in their ment of a Panel). place. Whereas in previous investment agreements, disguised Point I am trying to make as trade deals, dating back to the here, Mr. Trudeau, is that you Free Trade Agreement between The TPP – Trans Pacific Partnerwill be globe trotting in the next Mulroney’s Government and that ship – is even worse than we few months to basically anof Ronald Reagan, only the corcould have imagined it to be… nounce to the world that Canporations of the two countries in ada is back as a sovereign the agreement could launch a ficountry with the intent to be a real player for the people of nancial attack upon the taxpayers of the other country, now we have multiple corporations from multiple countries jump- the world, with the desire to help and be a country that can be relied on to be a good neighbour not a pugilistic war ing on each claim. This means that we simply cannot afford monger looking for a fight. Is that your intent? I hope so. any laws or regulations that would offend any corporation Point is how can you do this if at the same time you are anywhere in the Pacific Rim area. Simply and astonishsigning away our sovereignty and ability to make our own ingly ridiculous. Or as stated in the Vienna Convention on laws and regulations to corporations which care not one The Law of Treaties, signed at Vienna 13 May 1959, whit about people anywhere, only for their bottom lines. Article 32 Supplementary means of interpretation, This is what you will be doing by allowing Canada to be “(b) leads to a result which is manifestly absurd or unreapart of a faulty corporate investment deal called the Trans sonable.” Pacific Partnership. It is also manifestly plain that this is nothing to do with a The second point I want to bring up at this time is that free trade zone as there are tariffs, quotas, import and exboth I and the Canadian Action Party applaud your intent to port licenses, side deals, side agreements and many other invest in Canada. Austerity never has been and never will impediments to a real free trade zone involved in this TPP be the way to prosperity in fact it leads to the opposite for agreement, all of which could lead to a dispute if a the people of any country except those at the very top. corporation (with third party hangers-on) decides it can and I, and the Canadian Action Party, trust that as you will should appeal to yet another monetary award panel due to be using our own bank – the Bank of Canada – to finance perceived profit loss. Remember no court of law either these investments at a very low flat rate of interest rather domestic or international is involved here. Simply interthan international banks and investors at a higher comnational corporate lawyers deciding how much should be pounding interest rate. awarded. This is just a gold mine for corporations at the As I am sure you are aware your new government is expense of tax payers of all the countries involved. On pages 1-3 of Initial Provisions and General Defini- now under court attack by the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) due to the Bank of Canada not tions, under Section B, Article 1.3 General Definitions, there are three definitions which throw this entire agreebeing used as mandated by the Bank of Canada Act of ment into the area of the ridiculous, even treasonous, 1935; you could not do better than to use this incredible typical of the last ruling regime in Canada. jewel we, the people of Canada, possess to return us to national means a natural person who has the prosperity, and receive a dividend from our bank at the nationality of a Party according to Annex 1-A(Party-Specific same time. Of course by doing so we will be in line for Definition) or a permanent resident of a Party. review panel challenges from corporate banks and …/ www.dialogue.ca
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investors all over the world because they will lose a very lucrative golden egg. This is another reason why the Canadian Action Party would excuse Canada from all those investment deals which would enable such challenges on how we finance our own country. I wish you well, and trust that you will bring about that change you often talked about; scrapping the TPP and using our Bank of Canada would be two excellent ways to start. (signed Jeremy Arney, Interim Leader of CAP)
So now, Ms. Grégoire-Trudeau, it would be great to hear that you, as the wife of the Prime Minister, will whisper in his ear that what I wrote is not simply from the Canadian Action Party, but from everyone who is interested in the Sovereignty of Canada. The TPP is even worse than we could have imagined it to be even under Stephen Harper's plan for the destruction of Canada, and
so I would urge you, or the Liberal Party of Canada whichever actually sent this email to me, to actually listen to the people of Canada not to only the international corporations which had so much influence over the last regime. Those corporations are not interested in anything but profiting from our laws and regulations which could deprive them of profit. We must not allow this to happen. If real change is what you actually want to accomplish then please listen to us, the people of Canada, before you sell us right down Harper's foxhole. Respectfully, Jeremy Arney, Leader of the Canadian Action Party #6, 2931 Craigowan Rd, Victoria BC V9B 1N1 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel. 250-216-5400 Blog: http://jeremyarneysblog.wordpress.com/ ♣
“That’s My Take On It”
From John Shadbolt, Acton ON
MPs DO NOT REPRESENT THE PEOPLE The Spring ‘15 edition of Dialogue had, on page 7 an article by Ken Clark of Fergus, ON. The question he asks: “Is Canada’s form of government a true democracy?” There can be no doubt that we do not have a democracy in Canada. The government only needs people so that they can control them, tax them and get them to vote. A vote gives most people the idea that they are voting for the party they believe in, or else they like the local MP and give him their vote. After they have voted they are given the illusion that their local MP will represent them, take their concerns to Ottawa. Well, they may take certain concerns, but the reality is they represent the government, they do not represent the people.* The only requirement is the people pay their wages, and follow the laws that these government men/women put in place. A ruling was made in 1990, MP's are not representatives of the citizens to the Government, they are representatives of the Government to their constituents. * For absolute proof, see the archived link: http://tinyurl.com/10dec1990 (proceedings taken in The Court of
Queen's Bench, Law Courts, AB, 10 Dec, 1990, The Hon. Mr. Justice, E.A. Marshall Justice presiding.
So in answer to the question, there is no democracy in Canada at this time… Canada has been set up to become another Greece in the near future. By another Greece, I mean bankrupt. Just like 20 dialogue
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an orange, peeled and sucked dry. Why? Well for starters Canada pays about $5billion monthly just in interest on the loans the government has made; that’s some $60 billion each year, and climbing. There was no discussion on this fact in the election, because the simple truth is that it’s easier to spend taxpayers’ money than upset the bankers. Now look at another give-away of sovereignty – the TPP – and that`s the tip of the iceberg. More to come, oh yeah, lots more. The only party that wanted to tackle this problem was The Canadian Action Party, but with the Liberals spending some $40 million on their campaign, no one listens to CAP. Pity. LINK: http://actionparty.ca/canadian-action-party/ [John Shadbolt is Vice-President of CAP –email@example.com
Make your voice count on the TPP Inge Hanle, CDSAPI, Vancouver BC [Cdsapi’s added comment] We have been waiting for a long time for an opportunity to challenge “secretly concocted Trade Agreements”, specifically the TPP and the European Transatlantic Agreement.
I don’t know if the “backroom boys” will permit Justin Trudeau to listen to the voice of Canadians, but let us make sure that the TPP doesn’t get ratified by default. It is essential that every Canadian citizen take advantage of this “call for input” – if we truly care about protecting the sovereignty of Canada from being annihilated by the “exclusive mobility-protection clauses” and secret Tribunals of the TPP designed to render multinational monopolistic Corporations supreme. This is the …/ www.dialogue.ca
incremental implementation of “the New World Order” Corporatocracy World Governance – through the back door of Trade Agreements. As I see it, the TPP is little more that the legalizing of unrestrained Corporate theft, exploitation, rape and pillage of the resources of any and all signatory countries, reducing the populations to “human resources” to be milked and fleeced. Corporate Profits for multinational Corporations do not equate to a country’s welfare and stability. Several Questions have been suggested below (by the Council of Canadians). However, I am certain
that those who have researched the TPP more fully, will bring up a host of pertinent issues. The citizens of Uruguay serve as a role model. Determined to stop the TPP, they literally resorted to shutting the country down in a General Strike to make their government “listen to the people” Uruguay subsequently withdrew from the negotiations. PLEASE take the time to write. https://secure.canadians.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1899&ea.campaign.id=44210&ea.url.id=484279 – From Inge Hanle, CDSAPI ♣
Observations from Erik Andersen, Gabriola Island BC <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Banking reform – a global movement
The following is an example of citizens seeking to make their country's currency available only from its central bank. Naturally commercial banks in Switzerland are saying it would be a bad idea. LINK: http://tinyurl.com/SI-sov-money
Swiss Sovereign Money Initiative Supporters of the initiative want to grant the Swiss National Bank (SNB) the exclusive power to create new money
Dec 1, 2015: Voters are set to have the final say on a proposal by a group of activists to reform Swiss monetary policy and to grant the Swiss National Bank (SNB) the exclusive power to create new money. The independent association Modernising Money (MoMo) on Tuesday handed in 111,819 signatures to force a nationwide vote on the issue. A date for the vote still has to be set but it could take as long as five years. The group, which includes over 100 activists, wants to make the SNB alone responsible for creating the country’s money – not just coins and banknotes but also socalled “electronic money” that makes up most bank accounts. MoMo argues that the current fractional reserve system – where banks “create” money each time they issue loans – is unstable because it is secured by reserves representing just a fraction of the currency actually
created by the national bank. The activists claims that only 20% of money created by private banks arrives in the real economy, which creates jobs, goods and services. The remaining 80% is invested on financial markets. The group, which is supported by around 50 researchers and economists, says that their system would minimise the potential for a banking system collapse as all money would be backed by the SNB. Public money at risk? Iceland is also considering the issue of sovereign money. A report produced for Iceland’s parliament suggested such changes as a solution for an unstable system in which the nation’s banks collapsed in 2007. However, critics argue that these kinds of reform could have negative consequences, including putting public money at risk by making the central bank the most important creditor of commercial banks and by increasing potential for political favouritism. The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) said on Tuesday it firmly rejected the initiative, which it said would increase the cost of mortgages and lending. It said it would also “carelessly and irresponsibly put at risk jobs, tax revenues, the efficient and secure economic system and Switzerland’s prosperity”. Report from: www.swissinfo.ch with agencies ♣
Free Speech and Media in Canada… Things that are not allowed to be said Jack Etkin, Victoria BC One of the biggest problems in Canada is that 'certain things are not allowed to be said' ... so almost nobody knows about or thinks about them. The US role in Syria www.dialogue.ca
is one of those things, and there are many others. And until Canada has a free and independent media, this will continue to be the case. I think we Canadians have to solve these 'fundamental problems' ... of no free …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
press and very little democracy - if we want to make this a better country... – Jack Etkin Victoria BC ♣
From Don Parker…
There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way and not starting. – Buddha
Why I Stand for God, Canada and Free Speech, not Israel By Arthur Topham, Quesnel BC On November 12, 2015 at 11:27 a.m. in the British Columbia Supreme Court, city of Quesnel, I was pronounced “Guilty” by a jury of twelve men and women of the following criminal offence, also known as Count 1: “Roy Arthur TOPHAM, between the 28th day of April, 2011 and the 4th day of May, 2012, inclusive, at or near Quesnel, in the Province of British Columbia, did by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, willfully promote hatred against an identifiable group, people of the Jewish religion or ethnic origin, contrary to Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code.” Immediately following I
was pronounced “Not Guilty” of a second and identical criminal offence, known as Count 2 […] Our collective dilemma Only someone in a comatose condition or willfully blind to any form of self-reflection could deny the fact that the global state of affairs today has reached an extreme state of critical disharmony. War, and the threat of war, environmental degradation, cancer rates of epic proportions, fear levels at an all-time high and an endless array of bureaucratic and media machinations all designed to confuse and obfuscate any remedial efforts on the part of the people to rectify this imminent threat to our collective condition are the order of the day. Then, coupled with all of these Orwellian conditions, is the growing threat by
Zionist infiltrated nation states to introduce illogical, totalitarian, communist tactics such as “hate crime” legislation in order to penalize those who attempt to define and interpret the present narrative of negativity. […] In term of my own situation I’ve spent a lifetime searching for answers to this perennial problem of endless conflict and environmental destruction and now, at the ripe young age of 68, I can honestly and rightfully declare that all of my years of research and writing, coupled with the past 9 years of ‘harrowing’ legal hassles, only further corroborates and confirms that censorship of individuals who earnestly try to give warning to their fellow citizens and censorship of the Internet via the unscrupulous use of “hate crime” legislation must be stopped if we are to remain free to think, reason and peacefully protest against any form of oppression. The final step in this ongoing process of ridding our country of the last remaining legal barrier (Sec. 319(2) of the criminal code will be a Constitutional challenge using the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Sec. 2b which states: Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; LINK: www.radicalpress.com/?p=8488 ♣
Middle East/Europe Chaos Derek Skinner, Victoria BC This indescribable SNAFU promoted by the US/Israel/ NATO/Saudi Arabia and miscellaneous Arab Kingdoms is getting out of hand and there seems to be no way to put a lid on it. It is now fairly well established that the US created, funded and armed ISIS in order to take out Assad. It was not fully effective and now, Russia and Iran are supporting Assad.
The Saudis and Gulf States thought it would be a brilliant idea to offer their worst criminals “execution or go and fight for ISIS.” NATO headquartered in Brussels, helped Turkey move these inflamed militants into Syria where 22 dialogue
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some were able to join the flood of refugees heading into Europe. Hence the recent tragic episodes in Paris and the hunt reaching back into Belgium, Brussels, NATO records and frantic roundups of any known dissidents. To his credit, Trudeau, who must have been briefed on this through his position in the Privy Council, has pulled our dog out of the fight and we may escape the worst of the blowback, but the US Republicans have every reason to want to refuse entry to any refugees even if the world regards them as heartless shits. The intended destabilisation of the Middle East, in order to give Israel a large hand in remoulding the area on ethnic lines, has had some unintended consequences. Or were they intended? ♣ www.dialogue.ca
Forget Daesh/Islamic State: Humanity Itself Is at Stake Received from Jordan Ellis, Nanaimo (email@example.com), with his comment: I found this short piece powerfully moving, deeply unsettling in its brutal frankness. Yep. There we are; just as Pogo said: “we have seen the enemy... and they is us.” Christmas is coming... again. How weird is that? LINK: http://tinyurl.com/TD-CD20151127 or at the author’s webite: http://www.ramzybaroud.net/ (in Articles)
…Humanity itself is at stake By Ramzy Baroud, Nov 24, 2015 I still remember that smug look on his face, followed by the matter-of-fact remarks that had western journalists laugh out loud. “I’m now going to show you a picture of the luckiest man in Iraq,” General Norman Schwarzkopf, known as ‘Stormin’ Norman, said at a press Ramzy Baroud conference sometime in 1991, as he showed a video of US bombs blasting an Iraqi bridge, seconds after the Iraqi driver managed to cross it. But then, a far more unjust invasion and war followed in 2003, following a decade-long siege that cost Iraq a million of its children and its entire economy. It marked the end of sanity and the dissipation of any past illusions that the United States was a friend of the Arabs. Not only did the Americans destroy the central piece of our civilizational and collective experience that spanned millennia, it took pleasure in degrading us in the process. Their soldiers raped our women with obvious delight. They tortured our men, and posed with the dead, mutilated bodies in photographs – mementos to prolong the humiliation for eternity; they butchered our people, explained in articulate terms as necessary and unavoidable collateral damage; they blew up our mosques and churches and refused to accept that what was done to Iraq over the course of twenty years might possibly constitute war crimes. Then, they expanded their war taking it as far as US bombers could reach; they tortured and floated their prisoners aboard large ships, cunningly arguing that torture in international waters does not constitute a crime; they suspended their victims on crosses and photographed them for future entertainment.
Their entertainers, media experts, intellectuals and philosophers made careers from dissecting us, dehumanizing us, belittling everything we hold dear; they did not www.dialogue.ca
spare a symbol, a prophet, a tradition, values or set of morals. When we reacted and protested out of despair, they further censured us for being intolerant to view the humor in our demise; they used our angry shouts to further highlight their sense of superiority and our imposed lowliness. They claimed that we initiated it all. But they lied. It was their unqualified, inflated sense of importance that made them assign September 11, 2001 as the inauguration of history. All that they did to us, all the colonial experiences and the open-ended butchery of the brown man, the black man, any man or woman who did not look like them or uphold their values, was inconsequential. All the millions who died in Iraq were not considered a viable context to any historical understanding of terrorism; in fact, terrorism became us; the whole concept of terror, which is violence inflicted on innocent civilians for political ends, abruptly became an entirely Arab and Muslim trait. In retrospect, the US-Western-Israeli slaughter of the Vietnamese, Koreans, Cambodians, Palestinians, Lebanese, Egyptians, South Americans, Africans, was spared any censure. Yet, when Arabs attempted to resist, they were deemed the originators of violence, the harbingers of terror. Furthermore, they carried out massive social and demographic experiments in Iraq which have been unleashed throughout the Middle East, since. They pitted their victims against one another: the Shia against the Sunni, the Sunni against the Sunni, the Arabs against the Kurds, and the Kurds against the Turks. They called it a strategy, and congratulated themselves on a job well done as they purportedly withdrew from Iraq. They disregarded the consequences of tampering with civilizations that have evolved over the course of millennia. When their experiments went awry, they blamed their victims. Their entertainers, media experts, intellectuals and philosophers flooded every public platform to inform the world that the vital mistake of the Bush administration was the assumption that Arabs were ready for democracy and that, unlike the Japanese and the Germans, Arabs were made of different blood, flesh and tears. Meanwhile, the finest of Arab men were raped in their jails, kidnapped in broad daylight, tortured aboard large ships in international waters, where the Law did not apply. When the Americans and their allies claimed that they had left the region, they left behind bleeding, impoverished nations, licking their wounds and searching for bodies under rubble in diverse and macabre landscapes. …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
Ramzy Baroud, Humanity itself is at stake, contd.
Yet, the Americans, the British, the French and the Israelis, continue to stage their democratic elections around the debate of who will hit us the hardest, humiliate us the most, teach the most unforgettable lesson and, in their late night comedies, they mock our pain. We, then, sprang up like wild grass in a desert, multiplied, and roamed the streets of Rabat, Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, calling for a revolution. We wanted democracy for our sake, not Bush’s democracy tinged with blood; we wanted equality, change and reforms and a world in which Gaza is not habitually destroyed by Israel and (in which) children of Derra could protest without being shot; where leaders do not pose as divinities and relish the endless arsenals of their western benefactors. We sought a life in which freedom is not a rickety dingy, crossing the sea to some uncertain horizon where we are treated as human rubbish on the streets of western lands. However, we were crushed; pulverized; imprisoned, burnt, beaten and raped and, once more, told that we are not yet ready for democracy; not ready to be free, to breathe, to exist with even a speck of dignity. Many of us are still honorably fighting for our communities; others despaired: they carried arms and went to war, fighting whoever they perceive to be an enemy, who were many. Others went mad, lost every sense of humanity; exacted revenge, tragically believing that justice can be achieved by doing unto others what they have done unto you. They were joined by others who headed to the West, some of whom had escaped the miseries of their homelands, but found that their utopia was marred with alienation, racism and neglect, saturated with a smug sense of superiority afflicted upon them by their old masters. It became a vicious cycle, and few seem interested now in revisiting General Schwarzkopf’s conquests in Iraq and Vietnam - with his smug attitude and the amusement of western journalists - to know what actually went wrong. They still refuse to acknowledge history, the bleeding Palestinian wound, the heartbroken Egyptian revolutionaries
and the destroyed sense of Iraqi nationhood, the hemorrhaging streets of Libya and the horrifying outcomes of all the western terrorist wars, with blind, oil-hungry dominating foreign policies that have shattered the Cradle of Civilization, like never before. However, this violence no longer affects Arabs alone, although Arabs and Muslims remain the larger recipients of its horror. When the militants, spawned by the US and their allies, felt cornered, they fanned out to every corner of the globe, killing innocent people and shouting the name of God in their final moment. Recently, they came for the French, a day after they blew up the Lebanese, and few days after the Russians; and, before that, the Turks and the Kurds, and, simultaneously, the Syrians and the Iraqis. Who is next? No one really knows. We keep telling ourselves that ‘it’s just a transition’ and ‘all will be well once the dust has settled’. But the Russians, the Americans and everyone else continue bombing, each insisting that they are bombing the right people for the right reason, while, on the ground, everyone is shooting at whoever they deem the enemy, the terrorist, a designation that is often redefined. Yet, few speak out to recognize our shared humanity and victimhood. No – do not always expect the initials ISIS to offer an explanation for all that goes wrong. Those who orchestrated the war on Iraq and those feeding the war in Syria and arming Israel cannot be vindicated. The crux of the matter: we either live in dignity together or continue to perish alone, warring tribes and griefstricken nations. This is not just about indiscriminate bombing – our humanity, in fact, the future of the human race is at stake. This article also ran on Common Dreams. Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. Website: http://www.middleeasteye.net/ ... For inquiries, please contact Ramzy at: firstname.lastname@example.org ♣
Ideas about Justice – Justitia Lady Justice, as a symbol of justice, is often depicted as a goddess equipped with three items: a sword, symbolising the coercive power of a court; scales, representing an objective standard by which competing claims are weighed; and a blindfold indicating that justice should be impartial and meted out objectively, without fear or favor and regardless of money, wealth, power or identity… ‘Justice’ includes 24 dialogue
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both the attainment of that which is just and the philosophical discussion of that which is just, based on numerous fields, and many differing perspectives, i.e. concepts of moral correctness based on law, equity, ethics, rationality, religion, and fairness… – Wikipedia.org ♣ SEVERAL ARTICLES RELATING TO JUSTICE FOLLOW…
Lady Justice and The Ostrich Una D'Elia, Associate Professor of Art History at Queenâ€™s University
The weird, bulging-eyed ostrich in Luca Giordano's work seems a strange interloper in the otherwise graceful painting, almost a creature of menace on whom Lady Justice treads, but it is in fact here an embodiment of rectitude. The association of the ostrich with Justice comes from ancient Egypt, as the hieroglyph for Justice was a depiction of an ostrich feather, and priests who acted as judges wore ostrich feathers as headdresses. The light feather, a superfluous luxury even for the flightless ostrich, came to have this weighty meaning, because according to contemporary beliefs, the dead had to undergo a test to pass to the happy afterlife -- the weighing of the heart against an ostrich feather, something so light that the heart of the deceased must be truly not freighted with sin to avoid overbalancing it. In late Antiquity, the understanding of the hieroglyphs and much of ancient Egyptian culture was lost, not to be recovered fully until the nineteenth century, but the ostrich continued to be used as a symbol in Western art and literature. The African and Middle Eastern bird's weird appearance and habits (such as eating metal) made it seem to be a living hybrid monster, a belief that is preserved today in the Latin term for ostrich, Struthiocamelus, "sparrowcamel." The very strangeness of the ostrich made it desirable and memorable, and so it was hunted in the Colosseum and served at decadent imperial banquets, as well as described as a moral exemplar in countless bestiaries, popular Medieval books in which the habits of animals were used to give a moral lesson. Ostriches carried a host of antithetical meanings in the art and literature of ancient Rome and Medieval Europe: heresy, stupidity, toughness, the Virgin Birth of Jesus, a turning toward God, a turning away from God, fortitude, fortune, etc. But they did not connote Justice in any of the art or literature created in the over a millenium from the decline of ancient Egypt until Raphael revived the long forgotten interpretation of the bird in Renaissance Rome. A fashion for the mysteries of ancient Egypt gripped the court of Pope Leo X in the early sixteenth century. His intellectuals, trying to decipher the hieroglyphs, which www.dialogue2.ca
were thought then to hold the key to divine knowledge, had the help of a book by Horapollo that partially, though not terribly accurately, explained some of the hieroglyphs, including that the feather signified Justice. Horapollo, ignorant of the original Egyptian culture, wrote that the all of an ostrich's feathers are of equal length, and that this signified the unbiased nature of justice. (An ostrich's feathers are definitely not all of one length, but another possible reading of the original Greek text is that he calls the feathers symmetrical, which is true of ostrich plumes and not of other birds' feathers, which are angled to aid with flight.) One of the intellectuals at Leo's court must have recounted this to Raphael, who painted Lady Justice in the Vatican with the traditional attribute of the scales in one hand, but the other hand, instead of brandishing the customary sword, curls around the neck of an alert, ugly, and rather large ostrich. Raphael was the most celebrated painter of his day, and when he died soon after this work was painted in his thirties on Good Friday, he was compared to Jesus. Others, therefore, copied his invention, and the ostrich rears its ugly head in Renaissance parades, paintings, sculpture, prints, fortune-telling games, poems, and even tableware. The rather elitist culture of the period prized all that was clever, inventive, and not comprehensible to a broader audience, and this ancient and yet new image of a lovely woman with a gawky bird suited the taste for art that was like a puzzle, demanding interpretation. Popes, lords, and ladies took on the bird as their personal symbols, and intellectuals and scientists invented new meanings for the bird, which was incomprehensible in an age long before Darwin -- why did God give the ostrich wings, if it cannot fly? Thought on the bird was still divided by the turn of the seventeenth century, when in one influential book the bird was listed as a symbol both of gluttony and the sifting of evidence necessary for true justice. The author, Cesare Ripa, justifies both of these antithetical interpretations by referring to the ostrich's ability to eat iron. Luca Giordano chose over 150 years later to return to Raphael's invention and so included an ostrich in his splendid ceiling painting celebrating his noble patrons as exemplars of Justice. He exaggerated the strangeness of the ostrich, which is the most massive of birds, the â€Ś/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
only bird with two toes on each foot, and has the largest eyes of any land animal. The ostrich here is truly a living monster, seemingly conquered by the bare-breasted elegant lady who rests her foot on the base of his neck. If you look again, however, you will see that the ostrich treads on another creature, which seems to be a beautiful young man with a lovely face who offers a bouquet of pretty flowers. His pink cheeks, however, are but a mask, his bouquet is tied with hissing snakes, and his sculpted torso ends in a snaky lower body. This figure of deceit is lovely, but treacherous, whereas the ostrich is ugly, but a sign of virtue. Searching for meaning in the natural world turns out to be fraught with complexity. Even the weirdest of monsters can carry shining truths, if you know how to look. When ancient, medieval, and renaissance writers describe the strange habits of the ostrich, they most often focus on the eating of iron, and in art the ostrich was often shown with a nail in its mouth. Ostriches do eat metal, including nails, to act as grit in the stomach. The widespread but false notion that ostriches bury their
heads in the sand is a completely modern invention, one that offers an allegory of willful oblivion -- an image all too apt for our world. Today, political rhetoric, art, and literature are so completely divorced from science that we are left with a two-dimensional cartoon of the ostrich that does not bear any resemblance to the real creature. Luca Giordano's painting, in contrast, stands at the culmination of a tradition of ancient origins in which the mysteries of the natural world were seen as pregnant with deep and complex meaning, in which science, art, literature, myth, and politics were intertwined in images both monstrous and playful that demand an attentive and knowledgeable viewer, one who moves beyond first impressions to search for meaning in the oddest of creatures. Una Roman D’Elia, Associate Professor of Art History at Queen’s University. Dr. D’Elia’s new book will be published in December 2015, Raphael’s Ostrich (Penn State 2015). More about the book at Penn State University Press: LINK: www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-06640-0.html ♣
Justice – What’s the Right Thing to do FYI: QUOTES FROM A BOOK BY MICHAEL J. SANDEL Michael J. Sandel (b.March 5, 1953) is an American political philosopher and a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for the Harvard course "Justice" and for his critique of John Rawls' A Theory of Justice in his first book, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (1982). [WIKIPEDIA]
In his 2009 book – “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?” – Michael Sandel invites readers “on a fascinating journey of moral reflection and shows how reasoned debate can illuminate democratic life.” The following quote from Chapter 1, Doing the Right Thing, lays out some of the topics that are actively debated in Western societies today; and the author defines the question that his book endeavours to answer, namely how reasoned debate and moral persuasion can help us arrive at ‘doing the right thing.’ […] “Life in democratic societies is rife with disagreement about right and wrong, justice and injustice. Some people favor abortion rights, and others consider abortion to be murder. Some believe fairness requires taxing the rich to help the poor, while others believe it is unfair to tax away money people have earned through their own efforts. Some defend affirmative action in college admissions as a way of righting past wrongs, whereas others consider it an unfair form of reverse discrimination against people who deserve admission on their merits. Some people reject the torture of terror suspects as a 26 dialogue
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moral abomination unworthy of a free society, while others defend it as a last resort to prevent a terrorist attack. “Elections are won and lost on these disagreements. The so-called culture wars are fought over them. Given the passion and intensity with which we debate moral questions in public life, we might be tempted to think that our moral convictions are fixed once and for all, by upbringing or faith, beyond the reach of reason. “But if this were true, moral persuasion would be inconceivable, and what we take to be public debate about justice and rights would be nothing more than a volley of dogmatic assertions, an ideological food fight. “At its worst, our politics comes close to this condition. But it need not be this way. Sometimes, an argument can change our minds. “How, then, can we reason our way through the contested terrain of justice and injustice, equality and inequality, individual rights and the common good? This book tries to answer that question.” (p.27, Chapter 1) Michael Sandel continues by describing how our daily experiences and judgments interact with our principles over time – and with exposure to the ideas of others – to evolve our moral convictions. And Sandel discusses the philosophical legacies of historical and modern writers who have made invaluable contributions that are still relevant in our search to understand the complex …/ www.dialogue2.ca
issues of justice, rights, morality and law. “More demanding still is the company of political philosophers, ancient and modern, who thought through, in sometimes radical and surprising ways, the ideas that animate civic life – justice and rights, obligation and consent, honor and virtue, morality and law. Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and John Rawls all figure in these pages. But their order of appearance is not chronological. This book is not a history of ideas, but a journey in moral and political reflection. Its goal is
not to show who influenced whom in the history of political thought, but to invite readers to subject their own views about justice to critical examination – to figure out what they think, and why.” (p.29-30, Chapter 1) Michael J. Sandel, 2009, 308 pp ISBN: 978-0-374-18065-2 (hardcover) Chapter titles: Doing the Right Thing; The Greatest Happiness Principle/Utilitarianism; Do We Own Ourselves?/Libertarianism; Hired Help/Markets and Morals; What Matters is the Motive/Immanuel Kant; The Case for Equality/John Rawls; Arguing Affirmative Action; Who Deserves What?/Aristotle; What do We Ow One Another?/Dilemmas of Loyalty; Justice and the Common Good. ♣
Justice and the Indigenous Peoples of Canada SO WHAT WAS IT THEY DID TO US? “The stereotype that has been laid upon the Indigenous people of Canada is completely upside down.” Norm Zigarlick (email@example.com) This bit of writing is not supposed to be about me but part of it has to be. Without telling some of my story, I can’t tell anyone about how my past 70 years were positively affected by the Aboriginal people I knew.
I am not an Aboriginal rights crusader. I don't have a degree in anything other than having a high degree of respect for the people I have known. My childhood and then my working life experiences have taken me across two territories and five provinces where, for one reason or another, I often wound up working directly with people of the land. If I had to condense the sum total of my experience into one sentence it would have to be this. The stereotype that has been laid upon the Indigenous people of Canada is completely upside down. I was born in a Manitoba mining town; and, as might be expected, my first adventures in gainful employment were in the mining business. That became a natural segway into operating heavy equipment and that got me into the businesses of road construction and energy exploration. Later a change of direction got me into aviation and for many years I flew “bush planes” across the top of Canada. When I got too old to keep doing that sort of work, I became involved in politics and economic development. By the nature of the employment I chose I was very often located in remote areas and among indigenous people. I've worked for some, some worked for me and we cooperated as partners on several efforts. As a child, I went to school with indigenous kids, I have been welcomed into homes, stayed in trappers' cabins and have attended community feasts. I was welcomed to the Navajo Nation far in the south and by the Inuit far in the north and in many other places in between. I have www.dialogue2.ca
experienced genuine, friendly hospitality, sharing and cooperation in every place. When it came to me dealing with Indigenous people, not once was I every treated with anything but respect as an equal human. This came from children all the way up to the upper levels of leadership. On occasion discussions were quite delicate, heated and even important, but the respect was always there. It is important to note that I had no celebrity or authoritative status. I was just a guy who showed up and was just part of the greater surroundings. It is also important to note all four of my grandparents came from Poland a little over a hundred years ago. I was in theory a true Western European outsider. I did not start with a bias and set out to prove that these were good people but I have found that often I am going head to head with people who have started with a bias and set out to prove they are bad people. I have come across very few people from what we might call the mainstream who have genuinely and without bias tried to learn about people from indigenous backgrounds and then have believed that they in anyway deserved to be marginalized. Sadly, I have come across hundreds possibly thousands who have a negative bias and intend to keep it. They tend to grasp any bit of news that will reinforce their opinions, and disallow information that suggests anything that is in opposition to their established views. At the core of most negative bias is money and the distorted manner in which arguments around it are presented. There is a wildly misguided idea in our society that people with money are smart and people who are poor are stupid. We live in our weird money-driven world where excess equals success. Using that …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
criteria, rapidly moving forms of cancer cells then should be considered the most successful even though their success will kill the host and their own society along with it. In my travels I became friends with a wide variety of indigenous people. Some became wealthy enough to be considered rich, some raised children that became internationally famous in sports or others for conducting an incredibly difficult but successful rescue that caught world attention. Some reached right up to the top rungs of political ladders and others did well in the entertainment industry, one received The Order of Canada for his social justice efforts. They were good to me before fame or fortune fell upon them, just as those who experienced no fame or fortune at all were good to me. I didn’t travel across Canada looking for “good Indians or good Eskimos.” We didn’t even get their names right, yet they still welcomed me and my kind. I don't know why they still do things like that, given the results they got from first time they said ‘welcome’ to strangers from way over east. Maybe that is their common flaw, they are in general trusting humans in a less-than-fair world. Did I just happen to luck upon a few hundred “good ones” in my experience and somehow miss the remaining one and half million or so bad ones? How did my sample section become so very positive while the
broader popular view is so negative? I find it hard to believe that by pure chance I could go to distant corners of the land and run into the same traits at every stop. I will say it again, the stereotype that has been laid upon the indigenous people of Canada is completely upside down. Norm Zigarlick – To Be Continued An addendum from Norm:
The Pass System Norm: I wonder how many people know of this. For 60 years people from First Nations reserves needed permission to leave their reserves (usually poverty stricken places with no opportunity). Is it any wonder they didn’t keep up with the world around them. Nov. 29, 2015, The pass system: another dark secret in Canadian history: on CBC radio – Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild. ‘The Pass System’ is the title of a documentary by filmmaker Alex Williams. LINK: http://tinyurl.com/cbc-3338520 -
Of course, getting off the reserve wasn’t always a good thing. Tommy Prince joined the army, fought in WW2 and the Korean War. He was awarded a total of 11 medals for protecting the country that kept him contained on a reserve until he picked up a government gun. He died homeless... thanks Tommy. - Norm LINK: www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/m/article/tommy-prince/ ♣
‘A LETTER TO A HINDU’ BY LEO TOLSTOY (1828-1910) Available as a free download from amazon.com: LINK: www.amazon.com/Letter-Hindu-graf-Leo-Tolstoy/dp/1490527672/?tag=braipick-20
Introduction to the Letter by M. K. Ghandi, 19 Nov 1909: The letter printed below (at the above link) is a translation of Tolstoy's letter written in Russian in reply to one from the Editor of Free Hindustan. After having passed from hand to hand, this letter at last came into my possession through a friend who asked me, as one much interested in Tolstoy's writings, whether 1 thought it worth publishing. I at once replied in the affirmative, and told him I should translate it myself into Gujarati and induce others to translate and publish it in various Indian vernaculars. The letter as received by me was a type-written copy. It was therefore referred to the author, who confirmed it as his and kindly granted me permission to print it. To me, as a humble follower of that great teacher whom I have long looked upon as one of my guides, it is a matter of honour to be connected with the publication of his 28 dialogue
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letter, such especially as the one which is now being given to the world. It is a mere statement of fact to say that every Indian, whether he owns up to it or not, has national aspirations. But there are as many opinions as there are Indian nationalists as to the exact meaning of that aspiration, and more especially as to the methods to be used to attain the end. One of the accepted and 'time-honoured' methods to attain the end is that of violence. The assassination of Sir Curzon Wylie was an illustration of that method in its worst and most detestable form. Tolstoy's life has been devoted to replacing the method of violence for removing tyranny or securing reform by the method of non-resistance to evil. He would meet hatred, expressed in violence, by love, expressed in self-suffering. He admits of no exception to whittle down this great and divine law of love. He applies it to all the problems that trouble mankind. When a man like Tolstoy, one of the clearest thinkers in the western world, one of the greatest writers, one who www.dialogue2.ca
as a soldier has known what violence is and what it can do, condemns Japan for having blindly followed the law of modern science, falsely so-called, and fears for that country 'the greatest calamities,' it is for us to pause and consider whether, in our impatience of English rule, we do not want to replace one evil by another and a worse. India, which is the nursery of the great faiths of the world, will cease to be nationalist India, whatever else she may become, when she goes through the process of civilization in the shape of reproduction on that sacred soil of gun factories and the hateful industrialism which has reduced the people of Europe to a state of slavery, and all but stifled among them the best instincts which are the heritage of the human family. If we do not want the English in India we must pay the price. Tolstoy indicates it. “Do not resist evil, but also do not yourselves participate in evil – in the violent deeds of the administration of the law courts, the collection of taxes and, what is more important, of the soldiers, and no one in the world enslave you,” passionately declares the sage of Yasnaya Polyana.* Who can question the truth of what he says in the following: “A commercial company enslaved a nation comprising two hundred millions. Tell this to a man free from superstition and he will fail to grasp what these words mean. What does it mean that thirty thousand
people, not athletes, but rather weak and ordinary people, have enslaved two hundred millions of vigorous, clever, capable, freedom-loving people? Do not the figures make it clear that not the English, but the Indians, have enslaved themselves?” One need not accept all that Tolstoy says – some of his facts are not accurately stated – to realize the central truth of his indictment of the present system, which is to understand and act upon the irresistible power of the soul over the body, of love, which is an attribute of the soul, over the brute or body force generated by the stirring in us of evil passions. There is no doubt that there is nothing new in what Tolstoy preaches. But his presentation of the old truth is refreshingly forceful. His logic is unassailable. And above all he endeavours to practise what he preaches. He preaches to convince. He is sincere and in earnest. He commands attention. [19th November, 1909)] M. K. GANDHI * Yasnaya Polyana was the home of the writer Leo Tolstoy, where he was born, wrote War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and is buried. It is located 12 kilometres southwest of Tula, Russia and 200 kilometers from Moscow. (Wikipedia) A Letter to a Hindu by Leo Tolstoy Paperback: 24 pages; Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2013); ISBN-10: 1490527672 ♣
What Higher Consciousness Really Means, How We Attain It, and What It Does for the Human Spirit “At such moments, the world reveals itself as quite different: a place of suffering and misguided effort … but also a place of tenderness and longing, beauty, and touching vulnerability.” By Maria Popova, brainpickings.org
https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/11/16/school-oflife-higher-consciousness/ “[Leonardo da Vinci’s] unique brain wiring … allowed him the opportunity to experience the world from the vantage point of a higher dimension,” Leonard Shlain wrote in his stimulating inquiry into the source of Leonardo’s genius. But what is “higher consciousness,” really, and can it be unmoored from the baggage of spiritualism and superstition to enrich our secular understanding of what it means to be human? Few contemporary thinkers have done more to reinstate philosophy as a guiding light for public life and a practical tool for personal growth than philosopher and School of Life founder Alain de Botton, who has written www.dialogue2.ca
beautifully about such enduring ideas as the role of art in human happiness and what Nietzsche teaches us about the character-building role of difficulty. De Botton’s fantastic recent conversation with Tim Ferriss pointed me to this equally fantastic video essay examining the question of higher consciousness. As human beings, we spend most of our lives functioning in states of lower consciousness, where what we are principally concerned with is ourselves, our survival and our own success, narrowly defined. Ordinary life rewards practical, unintrospective, self-justifying outlooks that are the hallmarks of what we could call “lower” consciousness. Neuroscientists speak of a “lower” part of the brain they term the reptilian mind and tell us that under its sway, we strike back when we’re hit, blame others, quell any stray questions that lack immediate relevance, fail to free-associate, and stick closely to a flattering image of who we are and where we are heading. …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
However, at rare moments, when there are no threats or demands upon us, perhaps late at night or early in the morning, when our bodies and passions are comfortable and quiescent, we have the privilege of being able to access the higher mind — what neuroscientists call our neocortex, the seat of imagination, empathy and impartial judgement. We loosen our hold on our own egos and ascend to a less biased and more universal perspective, casting off a little of the customary anxious self-justification and brittle pride. In such states, the mind moves beyond its particular selfinterests and cravings. We start to think of other people in a more imaginative way. Rather than criticize and attack, we are free to imagine that their behavior is driven by pressures derived from their own more primitive minds, which they are generally in no position to tell us about. Their temper or viciousness are, we now see, symptoms of hurt rather than of “evil.” It’s an astonishing gradual evolution to develop the ability to explain others’ actions by their distress, rather than simply in terms of how it affects us. We perceive that the appropriate response to humanity is not fear, cynicism or aggression, but always — when we can manage it — love. At such moments, the world reveals itself as
quite different: a place of suffering and misguided effort, full of people striving to be heard and lashing out against others, but also a place of tenderness and longing, beauty, and touching vulnerability. The fitting response is universal sympathy and kindness. […] States of higher consciousness are, of course, desperately short lived. We shouldn’t in any case aspire to make them permanent, because they don’t sit so well with the many important practical tasks we all need to attend to. But we should make the most of them when they arise, and harvest their insights for the time when we require them most. Higher consciousness is a huge triumph over the primitive mind which cannot envisage any such possibilities. Ideally, we would be a little more alive to the advantages of this higher mind and strive to make our oceanic experiences somewhat less random and less clothed in unnecessary mystery. The film is part of the excellent School of Life series that has previously examined what great books do for the soul, how to stop letting habit blunt our aliveness, what philosophy is for, how to find fulfilling work, and what comes after religion. LINK: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/11/16/school-oflife-higher-consciousness/ ♣
A Stable Fable... From the Desk of Colin K N A U F (Nanaimo BC)
Once upon a time, a very long time ago... About 2015 years previously, there was a very real honest to goodness ‘stable' family... It was Christmas, a young couple with nothing more than innate intelligence, faith in their creator, and trust in themselves and nature... found clean hay and a manger and a happy, healthy baby was born... in a stable... there were no hospitals back in those days... this baby was a game changer... as it turned out, a real contributor to society blessed the world that day... and an actual stable family began... they had very little... but they had each other, their health and happiness... an abiding sense of community and responsibility... a conscience and contentment... they became a stable family who would challenge the current culture... their son would become a beacon of shining light to the world... offering us the perfect example of sustainable, stable, happy and peaceful life for all... Wait a minute! “Good God!...what in Heaven's name could you be thinking — stable families?” “Healthy, Happy & Peaceful People?” 30 dialogue
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As time passed, prudence gave way to profit, progress became more important than people. It became problematic to promote stable families. In a time of highly conditioned consumer culture, to have stable families who were supportive, healthy and happy was counterproductive to commerce. It just wasn't good for business. It is easily understandable that this way of life was to be shunned. It was totally anathema to a society whose gross national product was wholly dependent upon disorder, war, disease, dysfunction, dissatisfaction, depression, disaster and decimation. Oh... and two tax payers per family for disposable income! How could a progressive and prosperous society embrace a stable family? Nuclear family? I don't think so! It just wouldn't work. It would mean the demise of a hugely successful war machine. One that supported our economy at the rate of almost two million dollars each and every minute of every hour of every day? 120 million dollars an hour is hard to shy away from. Nuclear arms, not families, now that makes more cents! If they dropped their arms, picked up their babies, stuck together, collaborated with, and comforted each other they would likely make it through the good the bad, the www.dialogue2.ca
Colin Knauf, A Stable Fable, contd.
great and the difficult times. They would raise happy and healthy children who respected themselves, their fellow man and the environment. But whoa! Then who would support the economy? Who would support progress? Who would sustain the arms dealers, pharmaceutical sales, cloning labs, genetics industry, fertility clinics, agribusiness, public relations, spin doctors, lawyers, hospitals and health care consortium, automotive industry, fossil fuel transnationals, institutional day care, gun sales, counsellors, psychiatrists, divorce mediators, realtors, rehabilitation centres, remedial education, senior care system, law enforcement and the judicial systems, oh! and the new growth sector: the privately owned penal system? How would we possibly survive without this income? If we took back our right to birth naturally and feed our babies naturally on ‘the milk of human kindness’, the elixir of life with it’s resultant natural inoculation, creating strong immune systems and resultant good health— who would support the pharmaceutical industry and its wares: antidepressants, infant formula, oh yes and their newest ‘baby’: vaccines— one for every thing you can think of? How could drugs and vaccines possibly maintain their position as number two profit centre of the world? If healthy bonding, resulting from the many benefits of natural birth and nutrition were allowed to proliferate then no one would need our health care system. Who would support our highly profitable heath care sector and industrial birthing complex? And its many spin off profit centres? Without hospital birth, disease, depression and allergies
all feeding our hospitals and 'health care' professionals, who would keep the medical industry moving? If there were no untimely iatrogenic death nor nosocomial disease who would support the lucrative insurance and litigation industry? Who would keep the luxury automobile industry rolling, the realtors, golf courses, and developers, in business? Who would feed the polo ponies? Oh, and don't forget the funeral homes! If we were happy with less, enjoyed ourselves and families more, how could we possibly encourage the contaminating commute to earn disposable income to support conspicuous consumption and the bling industry? How could we purchase all the stuff to fill the holes in our heart from unrequited parental love and early abandonment in day care? How would we assuage our pain and guilt of family discord, without stuff? Where would the fitness industry, spas and gyms be if we started walking to work in planned cities where work and community were part and parcel with a plan for a healing planet? How would we keep waste management enterprises productive? How would they ever survive with out the garbage of our success? As you can see, our economy can simply not afford health and happiness. Our civilization and progress for which we have long suffered and laboured so hard to build — could not possibly succeed. Why would we want to give this all up? For Health, Happiness and Peace? “Come on? — get REAL!” From the Desk of Colin K N A U F – SynCOGENT Design & Direction, 131 Sandpiper Place, Nanaimo, BC V9V 1H5; Copyright © 2015 — Colin Knauf Tel. 250-327-9515
Hard and Soft Edges
Magi Gifts – Why would we celebrate a mistake? By Jim Taylor, Okanagan Centre BC I’ve never been sure why churches burn incense for liturgical celebrations. Encyclopedias don’t tell me how the practice originated -- just that it seems to be almost universal, in all religions. Some believe the sweetish smell was supposed to rise to heaven and please the deities. It may equally well have been a way of covering up the stink of unwashed bodies crowded into confined spaces. Or perhaps it deterred pesky insects -- who knows?
Incense was one of the gifts that the Magi -- the fabled “Wise Men from the East” -- brought to the infant Jesus, www.dialogue2.ca
according to the story in Matthew’s gospel. … January 6th marks the traditional anniversary of that gift giving. The church calls it the “Epiphany,” which means, loosely, the manifestation (or revealing) of Christ to the non-Jewish world. Epiphany also ends the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas, after which decorations could come down. Of course, the visit of the Magi didn’t happen 12 days after Jesus’ birth. If they had arrived then, they wouldn’t have found Mary and Joseph in a stable in Bethlehem. Because, according to Luke’s story, the family had …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
moved to Jerusalem. To go to the Temple for their son’s ritual circumcision. And for Mary’s purification, because giving birth had rendered her unclean. The Magi probably arrived closer to two years after Jesus’ birth. Otherwise Herod wouldn’t have had to massacre every boy in Bethlehem under that age to make sure he got rid of the threat to his throne. SYMBOLS OF AN ALIEN CULTURE If it happened at all, that is. Think about it -- a caravan of wealthy foreigners shows up in a town of poor people. The strangers hand out fabulous gifts of gold and rare resins. Do you suppose Herod’s soldiers would have any trouble finding which family they had favoured? The one with the new Mercedes in the driveway, and their toddler already registered for Harvard Divinity School, of course. The rest of Jesus’ life story would be different too. With those gifts, his family wouldn’t be poor anymore. They would, in fact, be wealthy -- at least by comparison with their contemporaries. No, both the gifts and the givers are clearly symbolic. Gold, the universal sign of worldly wealth. Incense,
invoking worship. Myrrh, a precious antiseptic ointment used to delay the decay of corpses. So the Magi proffered three ideals: material abundance, adulation, and immortality. Is it a coincidence that those are the same three temptations that the devil supposedly offered Jesus in the wilderness? Is it a coincidence that Jesus ordered his disciples to take nothing with them when they went out evangelizing? That he refused to let awestruck audiences appoint him their king? And that he made no attempt to save his own life when the Romans nailed him on a cross? From birth to death, the same three threads weave through the tapestry of his life -- rejection of material wealth, of hero worship, and of self-preservation. The gospel writers weren’t spinning sweet stories; they had a point to make. The gifts of the Magi -Matthew reminds us -- reflected alien ideals. I wonder if, far from glorifying the Magi, Matthew might have been ridiculing them. by Jim Taylor [Jan 7, 2015] Copyright © 2015 firstname.lastname@example.org ♣
Intriguing Ideas from David Foster…
‘Twas the Night Before Christians’ (Who stole our cultural inheritance?) David Foster, Port Perry ON
‘Twas the night before Christians had lost what they knew, (poems read to the children from ten years to two), It seemed to us each, all across the great land, not a creature knew numbers to help understand How the various parts held a worth of their own that affected the others (but were largely unknown). The Stocks were all valued with digital care in the hopes that some profit would pop up somewhere. But the day-to-day numbers to track our own lives Were kept secret or absent from husbands and wives. Not a cost for a service was displayed on the street, (so we might compare values with people we’d meet). A taboo was telling us not to ask ‘cost’, (so the primary tools for discussions were lost). We never were truthful in stopping to say ‘How are you feeling this God given day?’ 32 dialogue
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We lie when pretending that naught is amiss, as if every life is an unending bliss. We keep some part private, with help from a lie, and find that it catches us up by and by The street had been paved (with no mention of fee), and so we thought it was provided for ‘free.’ Not until we had jobs that offered real pay, did any one know what the costs were that day. But no one spoke of invisible flows (the community life blood and where it all goes... Curious that, we should accept that as ‘right’, and drive on in ignorance, night after night). The children all snuggle asleep in their rooms, with nary a clue of what parental debt looms. Nor any idea of what ‘work’ really means... intelligent discipline, and counting of beans. …/ www.dialogue2.ca
David Foster, ‘Twas the Night Before…, contd.
The most useful knowledge is to simply apply, some special key factor to make ends multiply. But we’ve made even Christmas a ‘profit’ event and quite lost the essence of what it had meant. The Keepers of Culture have let us all down, to allow alien values while our own values drown. ‘Carol recordings’ are something we buy ... we forgot how to sing them with others nearby. Changes that happened within 40 years. And a culture destroyed while dealing with fears. Beware of the classroom where theorists rely, on arguments wrestling with pie in the sky. (A bulldozer licence is liable to be, of much more help than a College degree. It’s obvious the power that bulldozers exert, and the wealth they create by just moving dirt. And the pay to the owner is more than mere fees, and so heavy equipment out-earns PhDs...) Schoolteachers don’t seem to understand that. Put school learning to practical positive work as soon as possible. Get out of the classroom. Face reality. Reform the Education Act. Money. Credit. Vouchers. Effort. Taxes... How does it really work? Beliefs... As for earning a living, best of all is to own robots. So why do we pay all that money to a school system? ‘Report cards’ don’t really report what is going on... they use an obscure language in which we have no way to measure Net Wealth Gain in a society that reveres debt. And loves ostentatious display. And one that fears danger, fears risk rather than managing it. In Canada a stranger is unlikely to be a danger... more likely an interesting opportunity to meet a new world. (If you will put the bloody cell phone aside...) Fears and truncation happen when you compete more than cooperate. You evolve strategies to not get hurt. With ‘competition’ there are always more losers than winners. That seems obvious to most of us. Yet within cooperation, there is too seldom a clear gain to be seen for the whole society. We don’t structure business that way. With the Public Education System, we put wheels on the horse and legs on the cart. Marvellous to look at, but it doesn’t go anywhere. It is a place to rest for years and years while we get more ‘qualifications’. The ‘educators’ are out of touch. Massive spectacles of commerce occupy the high ground while formal Public Education builds castles in the air. The Pan Am Games come to mind... And hockey. The www.dialogue2.ca
Santa Claus Parades. These are rituals and games dedicated to money by drawing crowds that Advertisers can sell products to, not worthy Life pursuits to revere that accumulate wealth for all. Who gives a hoot how far you can throw a 12 pound ball? The winners are irrelevant next week. And no one ranks the worth of what is advertised (worth at the levels beyond cash flow). What does Gaia think is of value in true ‘worth’ even among school children? If Gaia likes it, most likely we all will. Sustainable balance with a happiness factor built right in. How does a city accommodate its hinterland, the country? The people as well as the geography... The education system has no way to deal with it... itself 30 years out of date. Ignorance permeates the most ordinary of reasonable requests... I know a man who was refused permission to keep a goat to eat his large lot’s grass in town. He’d rather not use his John Deere garden tractor. It made smelly fumes. But the town had grown a jumble of regulations over the years, inspired by leaders wildly out of date, yet still, subject to ill-advised rules blindly followed from long ago that forbid livestock within town limits. No one wants a pig farm next door if the pigs aren’t kept clean. We don’t want dirty children for the same reason. But why exclude keeping one well-groomed pet pig? Or a goat? ‘We’ disallow a solitary goat munching long grass. Rules made by city people who had no idea that at the end of the summer, you could (if you choose) eat the lawnmower as a barbeque event. Even eat the carton the eggs came in (if you kept a chicken or two). Eat the garbage disposal machine (the pig). So city people need to be re-educated. They have to know their whole environment a whole lot better. ‘Those city yokels are really dumb...’ A goat approach is using ‘solar power’ direct. Doesn’t need Nuclear electricity or fossil fuels. (But a caution if you are new to live lawn mowers... don’t bend over in front of a goat). And don’t do that silly thing with doggy poop bags where owners stoop and scoop, but then put the bag and poop in the garbage. Why not use the toilet? Or you yourself make it into compost... (Goats make poop pellets the size of beans). Town and country knowledge. The one that makes more food is the more valuable. AND ALSO FROM DAVID:
David Foster, June 5, 2015 ♣
The Earnest Gaian Gaias and Dolls... some ideas seem to go naturally together. Gaians are those who embrace Dr James Lovelock’s now thirty-year-old hypothesis that the Earth is itself a living organism, and within certain limits can correct imbalances. I subscribe to that. It makes me wonder what all the little things I do as ’routine’ really …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
David Foster, The Earnest Gaian, contd.
are doing to the overall... some Gaian subsystems no one has studied yet (or haven’t told me), and I am inadvertently doing something really stupid. So I worry (a little). But, Man cannot live by worry alone. To what degree am I part of ‘the problem’? Gaian degrees. Warming and all that. Chemistry that magnifies the effect. Or not. Nothing teaches us that, (and even if it did, the revisions would take a phone book of adjustments for local refinement every month). Unless it is reduced to i-phone pictures, no one would look at it. But what can you learn from just pictures? Much. But much, too, requires explanation of context. Words. But who reads words anymore? ‘Dolls’ is because I bought two sets of Matryoshka Dolls over the Net (delivered by Ubiquitous UPS, at unknown cost to Gaia). It took them two visits before they found me home. One set was of turned wood, the other of molded plastic. One by hand from Ukraine, the other by automation from China. Lovely tale of how these dolls inside dolls inside dolls came to public attention. You can have sets where each is a miniature of the one before, or (as I get ‘creative’) you can do mix and match. Paint the bottoms quite different from the tops
they fit into. I saw that as how we develop as children within families, molded the same but with major parts quite different in detail. I wanted them to show some local Mayors that there are traits even in our own families that we don’t quite understand. And that is true of the Chemistry and Physics of every part of the Natural Environment. We have no way to teach the Public that. So when I climb on a plane to nip out to Victoria, where is the ‘Gaian Accounting’ as to its real cost to the Earth? For now, it remains Victoria’s Secret. We used to have the capacity to have educated experts examine such questions, and for them to have adequate funding. But no more. Go forth and populate the Earth. Go fifth and overpopulate the earth. Gaia be praised. Where is your Book of Ten (or ten thousand) Commandments? Better get started chipping stone tablets once we are rid of harperism and International Corporatism where it is all about a select few as ‘me’ – and raping Gaia a little (or a lot) more. Can you imagine... Shell has young fools going off to bore holes in the arctic ocean floor? Neat equipment to do it with. Love the equipment. Never mind what it is doing. Gaias and Dolls. The plastic molded ones all the same. David Foster, Port Perry ON ♣
A little Christmas “Sense of Nonsense” From Ken Slade, Vilnius, Lithuania It was the beginning of the 2014 Christmas season in Vilnius, Lithuania. I was at the largest indoor shoppingmall, which was completely over-decorated in the Western-style of holiday commercial kitsch, and crowded with masses of the big-eyed bourgeoisie [toute la gamme: the haute-bourgeois, the mi-bourgeois, the basbourgeois], and the free-spending throngs of the nouveau-riche. Twenty-plus years ago, there were no public displays or celebrations of Christmas.
I was standing in front of a pizza-restaurant, contemplating a rest from walking, when my project-colleague from a translation bureau approached, accompanied by her visiting friend from Finland. The three of us went into the restaurant and asked for a table for six, so there would be space to put all of their shopping bags. The pizza required a beer while waiting for pizza, a beer for eating pizza, and a beer for post-pizza. Then, the Finn saw that vodka from Finland was available, so . . . We had the seasonal discussions. The translator instructed. Santa Claus is also called: ‘Saint Nicholas’ or ‘Saint Nick’, and ‘Father Christmas’ (i.e., ‘Père Noël’ in French, ‘Papa Noël’ in Old French), ‘Kriss Kringle’, 34 dialogue
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‘(Grand-) Father Frost’, etc.; and, each name with numerous translations. We all contributed our seasonal knowledge and arrived at some collective conclusions. Old Germanic traditions are that Santa rode through the sky on a white horse; the horse idea would work, because horses can have wings, as proven by ancient Greek legends. I mentioned the familiar North American invention of the 19th-century image of Santa Claus as driving a sleigh, full of toys, drawn through the air by eight reindeer, each of which has a name. We could not come to agreement about the terms: reindeer / elk / caribou / moose. That’s when the restaurant music played ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’; I felt justified. However, the Finn would have none of my evidenced conclusion; he took out his smart-phone and searched for photos of each of the terms, in English, Lithuanian, and Finnish. We all agreed that the animal was not a moose; they are not sufficiently friendly. But, both the Lithuanian and the Finn rejected the idea of reindeer: too-small, and not always with antlers. The debate seemed almost concluded when the Finn showed a photo from Finland. It seems that Santa Claus, whom we all agreed lives near the North Pole, is actually …/ www.dialogue2.ca
Ken Slade, A little Christmas Nonsense, contd.
in Finland. In winter, anyone can go there to visit his house. The photos clearly showed that the sleigh animals were definitely what I was calling an elk or a caribou. In triumph, the Finn bought us another round of Finland vodka. I mentioned that it was only logical that the animals would have to be reindeer, because it simply would not be acceptable to have a song called ‘Rudolph the RedNosed Elk’, ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Caribou’, or ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Moose’; the concept simply would not work. I thought that this argument was quite persuasive, albeit not absolutely convincing. So, I added that now I know that Santa Claus lives in Finland, and that
Finland vodka is very good. This diplomatic technique left the Finn with no choice but to concede something, if only to demonstrate good manners and holiday goodwill. He said, “Hmm … perhaps you have a good point. Elk, caribou, moose, or whatever they are called, are really too-big to fly. At least for the long distance from Finland to USA / Canada. Maybe, they would have to be your little reindeer, so that they could fly.” Meanwhile, at a nearby table was a Lithuanian-language conversation without any alcohol: Father telling his older child not to spoil Christmas with any discussions in front of the younger children as to whether Santa Claus was real ... [MORE FROM KEN ON P.55] ♣
SNOW FOR CHRISTMAS A. Lawrence Vaincourt Well, it’s finally snowing for Christmas,
The trees on the lawn, Christmas lighted,
Light and fluffy as icing on cakes;
And embellished with caplets of white,
As it covers the yard and the hedges,
Give the whole town a fairyland aspect,
Lord! What a picture it makes.
As we walk down the streets, late at night.
It weighs down the pine and the spruces,
Our friends to the south well may scorn us,
Lays a blanket o’er meadow and field,
For living in a climate like this,
And it looks like a painting by Rockwell,
But those who flee southward for winter,
Too clean and too white to be real.
Little know of the beauty they’ve missed.
On our front lawn, the shrubs and the rosebush
Today’s plans, “Fly now and pay later,”
Are outlined in silhouette, bold,
But I wouldn’t trade my White Christmas
Did God give us all of this beauty
For the heat and the sand of a beach.
Put the sun within everyone’s reach,
In exchange for discomfort and cold?
Shared by Randy Vancourt, in tribute to his Dad, Larry Vaincourt… Larry was a much-loved Dialogue columnist – sharing his stories and poetry – from around 2004-2009. Read about his career and enjoy some of his stories and poems at http://vaincourt.homestead.com/author.html - a website maintained by his son, Randy Vancourt, who has followed in his Dad’s footsteps – writing his own column in Dialogue…
(See Randy’s Christmas story, next…) www.dialogue2.ca
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THE GREAT TURKEY TRAGEDY Randy Vancourt, Toronto ON
Of all the months in the calendar, December has always been my favourite. As a child it meant the imminent arrival of absolutely the best day of the year: Christmas Day. I don’t remember how old I was when I first became aware of Christmas but I certainly recall my initial amazement at discovering that presents had somehow magically arrived as I slept. I was so taken with this marvel that every morning for the next few weeks I would wake up and tiptoe into our living room, cautiously optimistic that whatever magic had worked this miracle during the early hours of December 25th would somehow repeat itself. Each Christmas of my childhood came chock-full with its own unique memories and anecdotes. The year my youngest brother was no more than four and decided to give us each the only present he could afford: a box of Chiclets. Or the year our dog apparently thought, “What a fabulous convenience! An indoor tree!” Thank goodness for The Bay’s generous exchange policy or I never would have been able to wear that sweater from Mom. Of all those holidays at home though, the most memorable may have been the year of the great “Turkey Tragedy.” As she had done so many times before, our mother purchased a huge, plump bird several weeks in advance and carefully put it away in the freezer. On Christmas Eve it was removed and allowed to defrost in anticipation of its ultimate roasting the next day. First thing Christmas morning it was lovingly stuffed, seasoned and put into the oven. Ah, the aromas that we anticipated – the mouthwatering succulence of that first slice danced in our heads. Just like the goose eventually enjoyed by the Cratchit family in “A Christmas Carol,” our turkey would be something to be remembered and spoken of for months to come. Off we went to frolic in the Christmas snow in joyful anticipation of our coming feast. Now I may be wrong, but I don’t recall Mr. Dickens mentioning anything remotely similar to the overwhelming stench that greeted our noses upon returning from our walk in the crisp winter air. At first we hoped that perhaps something had just fallen on the element 36 dialogue
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inside the oven and the smell would soon vanish. Hours passed but no amount of evergreen, peppermint stick or wishful thinking could conceal the unfortunate truth that something was terribly wrong with Mr. Turkey. We carefully extracted him from the oven, lifted the lid off the pan and tried in vain not to gag. Delicately a slice was cut off one side and offered up as a holiday treat to our dog, who took one sniff and refused to touch it. Undaunted (what do dogs know?) we cut off two more pieces and then did what even the dog had the good sense not to do – we tasted the turkey. Now nothing would give me greater joy than to tell you of the Christmas miracle that happened next; that the turkey was delicious and we all sat around the dinner table popping Christmas crackers and toasting the holiday. The unfortunate truth is the turkey was so rancid we had to throw it away, and we then spent an hour driving around town trying to find a place to buy something else for dinner. Believe me, nowhere on earth contains less possibilities for a traditional Christmas dinner than a convenience store that’s open on December 25th. At the beginning of “A Christmas Carol” we are supposed to feel pity for the Cratchit family because they have just a small goose to feed their entire household on Christmas Day. If only we had been so fortunate as to have that pathetic little bird on our table! It would have seemed like a feast compared to the one pound of sliced turkey loaf we eventually scrounged up to go along with our mashed potatoes and canned gravy that day. Ultimately it didn’t matter; in fact it’s given us yet another story to tell every Christmas at the dinner table. For as we all know the holiday is about more than just a delicious dinner. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the rush and festivities that sometimes it’s a good idea to take a moment and recall the simplicity of the original event that inspired it all. As long as you have friends and family gathered together in good cheer, nothing else is really that important. But you might want to take a holiday tip from my mother who, from that day forward, always kept a backup roast in the freezer…just in case. www.randyvancourt.com
“Stirring the Soup”
Marie Gaudet, Edmonton AB
J oy has never been a missing sentiment for me at Christmas, my favorite holiday (closely followed by Halloween – I know, two extremes, right)? That’s me to a “T”! But I just like to have fun and you can incorporate so much fun into those two holidays, especially when there are kids around. I mean, just dressing your home up with garlands, trees and tinsel makes it look so cheerful that you can’t help feeling a good humour creeping up on you even when you’re not in the mood for it! Cinnamon-scented candles on the eating bar, dishes of Christmas candy lying about, a beautiful long-bearded Santa hanging on the door, some of your kids’ handmade decorations from when they were little sitting atop the corner cabinets and joyfully releasing glitter from their places of honour… not to mention all the homemade baking scents of turkey, stuffing, pies and copious amounts of shortbread cookies, tiger butter, coconut rolls… miam, miam, as we say in French! O f course there are always family dynamics bubbling in the pot too but despite these, you can still always find something to see, to do, to try, to taste, to give, to share – that will bring a smile to your lips and a good feeling to your heart. And this wonderful event isn’t only for families, you know. There are a lot of single people out there, or homeless people, or people without family, or even people with family they don’t get along with, who can find like-minded people to share a meal and an evening with – and do! And I admire them for that. Family is who understands you, supports you, is there for you when you need a hand and many people all over have come to that conclusion and built their own families from the loving people around them. My dad used to say “you have to separate the wheat from the chaff” and he should know, having been a wheat farmer all his life. Yet my problem wasn’t a lack of family members, being that I was one of 14 children. Each for their own reasons though, they weren’t the most pleasant people to be around and when I try, I remember many slights and fights and much emotional turmoil during the holidays… but I have to try to remember these, whereas what comes easily to me is the good stuff: staying up www.dialogue.ca
late; the anticipation of giving and receiving gifts; Midnight mass; the nativity scene at church; the coming home to a huge turkey and tourtière meal with all the fixin’s at 1:00 am; being able to eat candy before, during and after the meal if I wanted… it seemed all the rules were made to be bent for this one magical night of the year. And then opening presents and getting to play with them until, heavy-eyed and yawning, I and my new doll crawled into bed exhausted but both smiling. This, to me, was the night before Christmas.
Ending my death-like sleep late the following morning and realizing it was actually Christmas Day, I jumped out of bed to more fun, frolic and food. There was skating on a homemade rink on the side of the house, hot cocoa, maple taffy on snow, another wildly wonderful meal and often, a dance afterwards with family and neighbors coming from all over to dance on a heavily polished floor with scattered sand on it to enhance the sliding of feet! So much fun! And I believe it was on one of these nights when, at ten years of age, I first got drunk on my dad’s potato wine by innocently drinking out of the dredges of guests’ cups… and learned that drink was in fact the root of all evil. Under the mistletoe during the entire holiday season was to be found no end of smooches for this girl… mostly from dad and uncles though, no such luck for me that a handsome Prince Charming would give me a first kiss to remember forever. Our Christmas stockings were meant to be opened only on Christmas morning and were mostly filled with other stockings anyway, but sometimes also candy, chocolate and Christmas oranges – and occasionally a real treat like earrings or a plastic bracelet. I’m positive that my pleasure at these stocking stuffers was no less than the (seriously) hundreds of dollars’ worth of stuff that I eventually placed in my own kids’ stockings later on in life. Talk about overkill! Xeroxed copies of Christmas carol lyrics were always on hand for the group to sing to, whether it was prior to, during or following Christmas festivities. I used to know all the words of all my most beloved carols – in both official languages -- and all of them were sung with a mouthful of shortbread to boot. This made my off-key singing much more pleasing to the ears at any rate, or so I was told. We would sing these carols when we were first decorating for Christmas, as we looped staggered string garlands across all the walls to hold the many …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
Christmas cards received by friends and family.
Not to mention our fabulous Christmas tree! Not only was it chopped down by the men themselves, but it was of a fragrance that brings me back home every time I smell it today. Decorated with indented glass vintage Christmas ornaments and accessorized with shiny swags made with fake candy that looked oh so real, cotton wool camouflaged as snow, loads of hanging tinsel and popcorn strings, not to mention abundant candy canes, it was the pure essence of the magic of Christmas and brought stars to our eyes just to look at it. O nly when I was ten years old did I finally realize and accept that there was no Santa Claus (that’s right, after my hangover). Needless to say, I was devastated because I so needed to believe that magic exists, not only at Christmastime but throughout the year. Thankfully, it was a short-lived desolation and I cheered up when I understood that believing in magic was a choice, not just a fantasy. I flourished my magic wand for many past Christmases with my kids and will impart that knowledge to my new grandson and future grandchildren as well so they know that magic prospers where it is celebrated, thus you can make your life as magical as you want it to be.
Easy is not a word that most people would associate with Christmas. Besides the tremendous work involved in preparing food for family, friends and acquaintances for a month, dressing the house into its festive trappings, planning entertainment and drink (or not, if you like), procuring enough “loot” for gifts under the tree as well as filled stockings, directing the family workload, not to mention overseeing family dynamics in the process, Christmas can certainly seem like a lot of trouble to go to for the little pleasure you get out of it. In my mother’s case, there were 14 of us, so if you can imagine… yikes! Like I said, there will always be those who seem to prefer remembering all the bad things about past Christmases. This only serves to make them Scrooges though. Today, I commend my late parents for their tireless work at making Christmas Day special for us sometimes-unappreciative brats. In the end, mom, I am remembering all the good things, not the bad. And Dad, I learned how to separate the wheat from the chaff and my life is better for it. Thank you. **See my Christmas message to readers in the form of an acrostic, that is, the first letter of each paragraph of this column, forming two words.** Marie Gaudet, Edmonton
Journeys… Joy… and Justice… The Train of Life Shared by John C. McCullough At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone. As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of your life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don't realize they vacated their seats.
This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves. The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life. 38 dialogue
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I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey. Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train. ♣ ********************************
The Elephants That Came to Dinner Inviting big, exotic animals inside probably wasn’t the plan when the Mfuwe Lodge was built in Zambia in 1998, but that’s what wound up happening. The lodge surrounds a mango tree that a local group of elephants likes to feed on and that sits on the path they traditionally used to get to it. When Mfuwe opened for business, the elephants made it clear they had no intention of changing their route. They walked in like they owned the place, shuffled through the lobby and out into the courtyard to feast on mangoes. LINK: http://mentalfloss.com/article/69217/elephantsroom-watch-herd-walk-through-hotel ♣
“Resonance” Susan McCaslin, Fort Langley BC Casting an eye over An unpublished dog poem (a found poem): my body of poetry through the decades, Dog-gone! Bow Wow Meow Pet Boutique I noticed the presence of a significant stylist accessories, toys number of dog poSusan McCaslin for the modern dog and cat ems and dog references that are hopefully not mere “doggerel.” Having a Skookum Designs for pets only. succession of companion dogs in my life (Charlie, Chester, and now Penny) has connected me to the earth, my body, Urban carnivores go no further and my instinctual self. A dog, nose to ground, experiences Get your Cats Rule feline paraphernalia. a universe of worlds inaccessible to humans. How diminished we would be without other creatures, other species – Jewelled collars a steal at $59.99 wild, tame, or, like Penny, somewhere in between. It sadand that runaway bestseller dens me to know that animals have suffered egregiously under the dominance of humans, when instead, we might French Cats Don’t Get Fat. have learned from them about how to be present in the world. When Penny takes her great leap of being into the ravine behind our house each morning, my heart lifts.
Two poems previously published in Susan McCaslin's Lifting the Stone (Hamilton, ON: Seraphim Editions, 2007):
Dog Crouched at our camps, sleeping in our caves,
Recalling the Words Call back “reform” as sky’s releasing wisps of cumulus that stir around a peak in constant re-formation of the world.
tethered, corded, leashed companion in the hunt. If we bow and bow, we cannot atone
Re-call “spirit,” a deep and constant breath within the cell, both summons and command to fire the body from its diamond caves.
for the dodge, the cringe. Your romp and drool, fully moment-wise, teach us to relish loam—
you, Nose of Creation, rolling tumult in grass,
And last, restore the subtle mystery in “god,” imploring one, light in a dog, or cedar drapery, shining thread, deus, in father, mother, woman, beast and stone, sustaining presence rapt within the gold. Susan McCaslin, Fort Langley BC
vocabulary unencompassed by “come,” “sit,” and “stay.” * * * * * * * * * *
Susan McCaslin is a Canadian poet who has published thirteen volumes of poetry, including The Disarmed Heart (The St. Thomas Poetry Series, 2014), and Demeter Goes Skydiving (University of Alberta Press, 2011), which was short-listed for the BC Book Prize and the first-place winner of the Alberta Book Publishing Award (Robert www.dialogue.ca
Kroetsch Poetry Award). She has recently published a memoir, Into the Mystic: My Years with Olga (Inanna Publications, 2014). Susan lives in Fort Langley, British Columbia where she initiated the Han Shan Poetry Project as part of a successful campaign to save a local rainforest. ♣ SUSAN’S BOOK REVIEW FOLLOWS…
VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
A Book Review “Two Minds, One Household,” A Review of Harold Rhenisch’s Two Minds (Frontenac House, 2015) by Susan McCaslin, Fort Langley BC
Harold Rhenisch’s recent volume of poetry, Two Minds, is a unified long poem composed of a series of aphoristic ghazals, variations on the Persian classic form. To enter this sequence is to step inside a place where history, myth, language, and the poetry of the natural world converge. In these gnomic utterances, inner realities mirror and contain each other in a way that suggests everything is interconnected with everything else. The “two minds” of the title are at one level the thinking-feeling individual mind and a more unified consciousness that includes and transcends it. Only a trickster-mind capable of embracing apparent opposites can fearlessly hold such paradoxes as this: The whole world and all of time can be seen, even by the smallest child, even in a Rufous hummingbird, hanging, bronze, on the tip of a spring willow— once only, and again once only, and again. Only once. (from “Everything and Nothing”)
The “two minds” appear in some contexts as the postEnlightenment rationalist mind versus the shamanic mind, which is not to be confused with mere madness, but is a form of “divine mania”: “Sometimes a man is locked up for being of two minds. Sometimes he escapes” (from “Remembering Paul Celan”). The shamanic presence that haunts these poems is not merely the poet himself in his personal identity, but a presence we all have the capacity to become: “10,000 years ago, a shaman tracked deep into the night. /Now he is coming back. I meet him at the door. I open” (“Instructions for the Winter Ceremony”). Reading the Contents pages is like reading a series of short poems held together within a longer one. Take this title, for instance: “As the Riverbed Forms Itself Into a 40 dialogue
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Trout, It Swallows the Sky.” Rhenisch throws everything he has into this cauldron of a volume. The “I” speaks from a dark-light shamanic ground far beyond the world of the Cartesian subject-object split. Sometimes it is as if Earth herself rises to speak: One yellow chrysanthemum with brown leaves burns in the white world. Ah.” (from “Song of the Earth”)
Rhenisch’s ghazals lead us through diverse landscapes and cultures of Northern Europe but also encompass British Columbia and the Cascadia region of the Pacific Northwest, as, for instance, when he writes about the Nootka Fault line. The speaker is a global traveller, a pilgrim following the Northern leg of the Camino de Santiago, who pauses to see seeing, touch touching, listen to listening. In his “Pilgrim’s Song on the Road to the East” he enters sacred space just as he is: I have mud on my shoes. This is how I enter the cathedral: on foot.
On this journey the monotheistic Judeo-Christian-Islamic God mingles with Paleolithic and pagan gods and goddesses. Rhenisch is not afraid to use the word “God” and alludes to the dynamic of time’s intimacies with eternity (“Where Time Ends and Eternity Begins”). His God is a mystery both transcendent and immanent. Christ is “a blooming Dionysus.” Even the Trinity is imaginatively re-visioned in “The Day We Re-enacted the Story of the Trinity.” Bach stands in the doorway of a church shaped like a woman, but we are the ones who push the inner door open.
This volume seeks to restore the depths of western religious and mystical traditions, recovering Christianity’s lost roots in older, indigenous cultures. Yet clearly the Celtic Green man of the cover design is the unifying presence of the volume. The first poem in the book, “The Man with the Head of a Stag Speaks,” is followed later by “Green Man Rises.” On his blog, Rhenisch explains the Celtic and Persian (Sufic) origins of this ancient forest spirit and how the Green Man mythos, inscribed in art and architecture, ties to the Islamic prophet Khezr (also called Khidr), who is said to have had the power to initiate seekers who …/ www.dialogue.ca
Susan McCaslin, Book Review, “Two Minds,” contd.
have no guide and to rescue lost wanderers. Khezr clearly becomes the speaker’s primary poetic guide on his journey. (See the poet’s commentary: http://haroldrhenisch.com/2015/10/06/khezr-the-hidden-prophetand-my-two-minds/ )
In Rhenisch’s ghazals, each couplet stands on its own, yet resonates within the poem as a whole, which in turn resonates within the entirety of the book. Each couplet is to the volume as a star to its constellation. Some of Rhenisch’s couplets may at first appear cryptic or opaque to linear reasoning. Like Zen koans, they invite you to knock your skull against them. Often a slight shift opens the reader to a larger gestalt: “The world that is the world begins/ with the ladder of integration, which has no rungs” (“All Fall Down”). One classical rhetorical device Rhenisch employs frequently is chiasmus, a stepping forward and back within the structure of the lines. These surprising reversals and mirrorings allow us to bring two perspectives together. Through them Rhenisch develops the theme of the “two minds” which are held in tension as one. Things we think separate are revealed as indwelling each other. Some examples: Cold determines nothing. Nothing determines the cold.” (from “The Return to the Trees”) I walk out into the mountain dawn. The mountains walk in.” (from “For Children’s Eyes Only”) The mind in its shell, thinking: the shell in its mind.” (from “The Shell Game”) Recurrent themes run wave-like through the whole. One that stands out is that trees are elders and sentient beings (“The Return of the Trees”). The first line of the first poem in the volume takes us “outside the forest of words,” but soon we are returned to the inside of actual forests where we feel “the frog pulsing within the scales of a cedar” (from “The Shell Game”). As Rhenish puts it, “[T]he old language is spoken solely by trees” (“The Weight of the Sky Over a Shaman’s Fire”). In the world of the forests, human power hierarchies like that of Shakespeare’s Macbeth become irrelevant: “Trees are rooting in my feet; there is no longer a king” (“Everyone in the Script is Macbeth’). Or as Rhenish puts it later, “This forest belongs to the trees.” Another recurrent configuration involves the presence of the philosopher Plato. Surprisingly, the poems about www.dialogue.ca
Plato and Socrates are not abstract, but contemporary, jazzy and playful, with titles like: “Socrates Wears a Black Collar with Silver Spikes,” “Preliminary Notes to a Translation of Particle Physics Into Platonic Light,” and “Walking Out of the Cave Is Not the Same as Wisdom.” Rhenisch’s Plato is not the Plato of the “divided line” between time and eternity, but the Plato of Socrates’ shamanic teacher Diotima, a bearer of feminine wisdom: “Plato heard women’s voices singing among stones—/and wrote them down, so now it’s still there…” (from “Petals Drift Upon the Stones of a Mountain River”). Rhenisch’s book isn’t only philosophical and shamanic but political in the deepest sense, addressing our current environmental crisis. He notes that “Clear cut forests recede into blue hills/ in sheets of smoke, which they enter as they reenter light” (“Where Time Ends and Eternity Begins”). And in a particularly poignant ghazal he laments that “The mountains are being taken down and loaded on rusty ships” (“Conservation and Rebirth”). Rhenisch has created a shamanic dream book that lifts us out of our destructive anthropocentrism, but not out of who we are within the playfield of the all-encompassing natural world. A mysterious music plays through these poems that is and is not merely the individual poet. The author takes risks in exploring what some postmodern philosophers have rejected: transcendence. However, in this context transcendence does not entail abandoning the body for a “higher world,” but leaving boxed-in knowing to move toward fuller integration. The poems’ force field is larger than its ideas and concepts, and in harmony with the music flowing in, around, under, and through the words. Review by Susan McCaslin About Harold Rhenisch: Harold Rhenisch has published 12 full-length books of poetry, including the spiritual precursor to Two Minds, "The Spoken World" (Hagios), and 26 other books of poetry, memoir, essay, and environmental writing. His The Art of Haying (Ekstasis 2015) completes the process of Two Minds with 200 photographs from Iceland and Germany. Harold studied with P.K. Page, Charles Lillard, Robin Skelton and Zsuzsi Gartner, has taught poetry and fiction writing at Vancouver Island University and has been writer-inresidence at both Okanagan Regional Library and Douglas College. He has won a CBC poetry prize, two Malahat Review long poem prizes, and a George Ryga Prize, among other national and provincial prizes for poetry, drama and journalism. Harold lives in Vernon, BC. ♣
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By J. S. Porter, Hamilton, Ontario – www.spiritbookword.net voice, lies within the genre of personal documents, in Voice has always been my unguarded moments of Hemingway’s correspondence or pathway to intimacy. I read J. S. Porter the lines of anguish in Thomas Merton’s journals. This people and books by voice. genre conjures the illusion that you can enter someone How someone sounds tells me how someone is. Within seconds of speaking to my mother or sister on the phone, I else’s life and know it as you would know the life of any other friend. think I can give a fairly accurate reading of their mood and general well-being. I learned to do this from a young As in life, so in literature. Things get complicated. F. age. Reading my father by voice alone was always more Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is one the most intidifficult. He was the most gifted actor in the family and mate works of literature with which I’m familiar, but could, if he chose, disguise his feelings in his speech. the voice in the novel isn’t Fitzgerald – not the Fitzger-
The voice of someone you love moves quickly from the ear to the heart. Clarissa Pinkola Estés has it right: “Some people are remedied by thunderstorms, some by music, some by the voice of a person they love.” I’m shattered by the voice of my grandson when I haven’t heard it for a long time and repaired by it as soon as it gurgles in my ear. Voice for me is as intimate as touch. I have a shelf of my father’s sermons. I can’t bear to listen to them. His voice still tears through me. I can look at his face in a photograph, re-read his sermons, re-read his inscriptions and notes, all without emotional meltdown. Hearing his voice, however, shatters me. His was the voice I most sought as a youth, the voice that reassured me and encouraged me. His voice was the most painful to lose. The voice was Irish-laced, but not as thoroughly as my mother’s. As a working class boy in Belfast, he tried hard to sound educated, to sound a little different from Van Morrison’s speaking voice, the voice of guttural harshness and the street. Van’s singing voice is much more palatable and for me so indispensable that I always want to have it within earshot. And even Van’s speaking voice has its strengths – pugnacious, angry, shy, stubborn, vulnerable. I’m attracted to intimate writing where the writer becomes a member of my family, where the book becomes a treasured personal object. Not surprisingly, letters, diaries, journals and notebooks constitute the kind of reading I’m most drawn to. I understand, however, what novelist Saul Bellow once said that “When you open a novel… you enter into a state of intimacy with its writer. You hear a voice or, more significantly, an individual tone under the words… It is more musical than verbal, and it is the characteristic signature of a person, of a soul.” But for me the greater intimacy, the more personal 42 dialogue
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ald of the notebooks, letters and essays anyway – it’s Nick Carraway, a fictional character, a mask, through which Fitzgerald tells a story. The voice is poetic, compassionate and imagined, registering slight shifts in tone and mood. Perhaps Fitzgerald at his refined best — the signature he would perhaps like for his soul – but not his everyday voice. Maybe Fitzgerald needed the distancing device of a mask to find his true voice, his best presentation of self. Intimacy with friends also breathes within a shell of paradoxes and limits: closeness, but not too much; disclosure, but not everything (mystery is important, too); casualness but sometimes formality, too. A certain shyness or even reticence can be as important in an intimate friendship as self-revelation and the sharing of secrets. Whatever you say about intimacy on your one hand, you can contradict it on your other; it needs context and qualification; you need two hands when talking about it. Ah, the intricacies of intimacy. Silence, for instance, can be as important in intimacy as speech. I can take the train to Montreal and not exchange more than a few mouthfuls of words with my son. For both of us, the silence is comfortable, and reassuring. I can’t walk with my daughter to the traffic lights at Bendamere and Garth without a steady downpour of words. She, at this stage in her life, is uncomfortable with silence. She uses words as Inukshuks in the void; they secure her footing in the world, and make her less susceptible to doubt and fear. Silence with my son feels intimate to me; speech with my daughter feels intimate. We traverse the space between us differently and we clasp hands differently, but we arrive at the same place, happy to be in each other’s company. J. S. Porter …/ www.dialogue.ca
Joy – by J.S. Porter Joy spins and sways, somersaults and tumbles, zigzags, hops, bounces, careens and ricochets. Watch Ronaldinho run with a football at his feet or Kawasaki slash a single to the outfield. Sometimes joy is quiet – look at Paul Klee’s red balloon. Is red the colour of joy? Is joy always round? Remember Chekhov’s story about the clerk who never used the punctuation of joy— the exclamation mark! He routinely used all the other marks: periods, question
marks, semi-colons, colons, dashes, etc., but not the exclamation mark. Finally, in frustration, he impulsively seizes the chance and goes wild and prodigal with his new-found joy. Sometimes joy is loud and boisterous, as when a man and a boy enter a bookstore and the boy finds the book the man has been hungrily looking for (Robin Kirkpatrick’s translation of The Divine Comedy) and squeals in delight. J. S. Porter - www.spiritbookword.net ♣
JOY and JUSTICE Paul Bowles, Fruitvale BC We know ‘Joy’ is found within the heart, but when I framed the question in my head, ‘What is Joy’, drums came to mind, -- carnival, dancing, abandon, colour.
And what is ‘Justice’? Correction of inequality, here perhaps. The poverty of the sprawling shacks, favelas of Brazil, overseen by the towering monument of Christ the Redeemer – on the borders of affluent middle class neighbourhoods – is a stark contrast in our world of conflicting standards. How to be joyful in the light of this must be a gift. The poor dance in the carnival, dressed up as kings and queens, and the rich dress up as beggars. I am not there in this particular Brazilian story; I was listening on the car radio and did not even hear the whole story, catching just a few minutes of it before arriving at my destination, a bank. Walking into a luxury waiting area, I sat before a granite rock wall, part of the decor, within which was embedded a flaming fire place and a video screen scrolling messages inviting me to get ‘richer faster.’ Human faces animated the text, delirious with ‘Joy.’ The bank will fix them up, the world is their oyster, money for the asking. The financial crash of 2008 was a world-wide tremor caused by financial institutions who, through deregulation, market rigging and manipulation, enriched themselves at the expense of their clients, and even insured themselves against repercussions. When the volume of credit default swaps exceeded the mechanism for www.dialogue.ca
managing risk and the house of cards came tumbling down, the clients of banks everywhere lost their money and their faith… ‘Justice’ however only jailed a handful of scapegoats. The master crafters were given rewarding careers in high government positions. The U.S. government, which promised to regulate more diligently, never did. Deregulation is the God of global politics. ‘Joy’ is better gamboled on simple returns that are not guaranteed but may come if the heart invests in the ‘Joy’ of another, then the chances are that it could overflow to the one who shares; like being with a child, singing a song together and profiting by a smile or laughter, or in the long run, trust. In the movie ‘Selma,’ racial injustice was contrasted with the joy of spiritual elevation from the faith – singing in praise of a higher power in their souls that would allow ‘justice’ to prevail. My most recent uplifting experience was in watching a short video of the Italian Opera performers ‘Sacla,’ disguised as cooks at the Missenden elementary school. While sprinkling cheese on the students’ spaghetti, the cooks broke out into song and blew the kids into wonderland, which looked much like sustained ‘Joy’ and disbelief in action. [http://tinyurl.com/YTsacla-lunch ] What better justice than this to inspire the souls of a young generation, by masters of the craft, serving the children with bursts of vocal joy they will never forget. ♣ [See also, note from Paul, P.54] VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
Timeless books you and I shall never read John Woodsworth, Ottawa, 22/11/2015
Dear Friends around the world, I just heard today about a new Scottish-Norwegian venture called "Future Library" (under the direction of Scottish artist Katie Paterson), with a Canadian as its very first author. At the moment trees are being planted in Norway to mature ready for printing in 2114 (that's a whole century from now)! And one world-class author a year is being recruited to write a book that won't be published until 2114 (only the author and the title will be known until then). And the first author chosen is a Canadian: Margaret Atwood! Her title is "Scribbler Moon", but that's all she'll say. You can get a good introduction to the project by watching these three short videos on You-Tube: LINK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2BUq2Q8_6M#t=82
will acquaint you with the overall purpose and scope of the project, while LINK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04W_i2S17FU&spfreload=10
will tell the story in more detail through an interview with Margaret Atwood herself (by CBC's Heather Hiscox); and, finally, in LINK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb9FyBqK70c&spfreload=10
Margaret Atwood together with project co-ordinator -Scottish artist Katie Paterson -- discuss the project's legacy for the future. A truly 'timeless' project! John Woodsworth, http://www.kanadacha.ca (a.k.a. "Ottaworth") http://www.youtube.com/user/Ottaworth/videos ♣
Wild Justice – The Moral Lives of Animals Book by Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce, 2009 [From the inside book jacket] Scientists have long counseled against interpreting animal behavior in terms of human emotions, warning that such anthropomorphizing limits our ability to understand animals as they really are. Yet what are we to make of a female gorilla in a German zoo who spent days mourning the death of her baby? Or a wild female elephant who cared for a younger female after she was injured by a rambunctious teenage male? Or a rat who refused to push a lever for food when he saw that doing so caused another rat to be shocked? Aren’t these clear signs that animals have recognizable emotions and moral intelligence? With Wild Justice, Mark Bekoff and Jessica Pierce unequivocally answer yes.
Marrying years of behavioral and cognitive research with compelling and moving anecdotes, Bekoff and Pierce reveal that animals exhibit a broad repertoire of
moral behaviors, including fairness, empathy, trust, and reciprocity. Underlying these behaviors is a complex and nuanced range of emotions, backed by a high degree of intelligence and surprising behavioral flexibility. Animals, in short, are incredibly adept social beings, relying on rules of conduct to navigate intricate social networks that are essential to their survival. Ultimately, Bekoff and Pierce draw the astonishing conclusion that there is no moral gap between humans and other species: morality is an evolved trait that we unquestionably share with other social mammals. Sure to be controversial, Wild Justice offers not just cutting-edge science, but a provocative call to rethink our relationship with – and our responsibilities toward – our fellow animals. University of Chicago Press, 2010, ISBN: 0226041638 ♣
The Way of Tea and Justice: Rescuing the World’s Favorite Beverage from its Violent History By Becca Stevens, founder of the Thistle Stop Café and of Thistle Farms
“This is the story of the journey that the Thistle Farms community has been on and how we’ve changed through the way of tea. This is not a full history of tea or a complete guide to becoming a connoisseur but insights into what we learned from tea and how it became a faithful companion. Along this road, we discovered the myth 44 dialogue
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of fair trade in the tea market, the longing for justice among pickers and growers, and the desire to find teas that we could serve that were rooted in truth. Along the way, tea has provided a colorful lens through which we can contemplate theology and the heavens. “Tea isn’t a quick fix but a long journey into hope” – from The Way of Tea and Justice (back cover) Nov. 2014, Jericho Books, ISBN 978-1-4555-1902-6 ♣ www.dialogue.ca
Magical Moon Lake
Imagine Moon Lake covered in new snow…
Karl Backhaus, Holland Centre ON [From Karl’s 2005 book “Magical Moon Lake”*] Moon Lake is located in the forest of Owen Sound, ON. In the past 30 years (in what used to be a wasteland), Karl has planted more than 50,000 trees and dug an artificial lake fed by natural spring water. Many animals found homes there. Karl communicates with all the animals, plants and rocks. People call him St. Francis of modern days. He wrote down the stories about communicating with all the creatures, in his book "Magical Moon Lake." The stories are for awaking our love and care for all creations.
Never before did I see the world in a light As pretty, as beautiful, as mysterious and as bright As on this snow-covered winter's night. Whispering, yet silent stood the full Moon high above Like a soft ribbon of love, like an ancient promising light Embraced by a halo, transparent, yet white.
Life seemed so precious, so beautiful, and so profound. The snow subtly squeaked under my boots on the ground, Here and there a tree produced a sharp cracking sound. I did not feel the bite of the night's cold, Stood under the Moon's spell, here quietly to hold The reflections echoing in my mind to fables yet untold. The fast passing transparent clouds I could see Not diminishing the Moon's brightness only enhancing its mystery. The many wondrous ways of God's Creation filled me with awe, Words cannot describe what I felt, what I experienced and all the splendor I saw.
Imagine Moon Lake covered in new snow and transformed by moonlight… (See image on P.60) * This story is from in Chapter 13 of Karl’s book, “Magical Moon Lake” (2005) ISBN 0-9739979-0-7. The original book 'Magical Moon Lake' can be ordered from Karl Backhaus by Tel: 519 794 3140, $13 plus shipping. ♣ **************************************************************
Neither Jupiter nor Sirius nor Orion's Belt could compete with the Moon On this magical night, For this time belonged to the Moon and its captivating, reflected light.
Why Good People Do Bad Things
Light mirrored on every crystal of virgin snow, Like a million and one stars glistening in white and twinkling colours, From all branches, all twigs of all the trees, close-by and afar. Full of wonder while slowly walking my long lane at minus seventeen, Constantly changing starry reflections from every crystal of snow Coming from all directions, above as well as from below. So many of tiny stars reflected diamonds-everywhere around www.dialogue.ca
ABOVE, Recommended by Bill Woollam: A lecture (au-
dio presentation) by American author and Jungian analyst James Hollis, explaining (beginning at 10 minutes) Jung’s concept of the unconscious and exploring its role in the internal life and actions of ‘good people’ who ‘do bad things’ (all of us?)… He quotes Jung: “The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of the parents.” [For an interesting brief comment on this quote, see LINK: http://tinyurl.com/JR-IW-unlived - Jerry M. Ruhl.] ♣ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
“Your Health Matters”
Derrick Lonsdale, M.D., Strongsville OH
Every profession has its jargon that enables its practitioners to communicate relatively easily but is incomprehensible to those outside the indicated profession. This is most true in the medical profession, so I am about to explain a disease condition that has become extraordinarily common. I will begin by defining the word dysautonomia. “Dys” is a prefix meaning abnormal and “ autonomia” refers to the autonomic nervous system. Voluntary Nervous System Many people are not aware that we have two types of nervous system. The one that we all understand is called “voluntary”, enabling us to carry out what we might refer to as willed actions. This nervous system is controlled by the upper part of the brain known as the cortex, the latest part to be evolved, capable of thought and giving us those human abilities that are unique within the animal kingdom. Involuntary The lower part of the brain controls an involuntary “messenger system” that enables us to adapt to the conditions of environment that we meet on a daily basis throughout life. The messenger system does not think. It acts automatically and is called autonomic. It is a “three channel system” that sends and receives signals to and from all parts of the body. The endocrine system The first channel connects with a bunch of glands known as the endocrine system. These are the glands that produce hormones, messengers borne by the blood to the body organs. Thus, the action of the autonomic nervous system, either by direct communication with an organ or by means of releasing a hormone, activate or deactivate all the organs in the body selectively. Channels two and three The other two channels are known as the sympathetic and parasympathetic that make up the autonomic nervous system. Between them, they provide direct communication that enables a given organ to react and participate in the symphony of adaptation. These two channels work in a coordinated manner. Sympathetic system This is best thought of as the action stimulating mechanism. Its best known reflex is known as “fight-or-flight”, 46 dialogue
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activated by any form of mental or physical stress or threatened danger. It will accelerate the heart, deactivate the intestine, produce a sense of anxiety or panic, dilate the pupils in the eyes and raise the blood pressure, all things that you desire to happen if you are either fighting or fleeing from an enemy. It is designed for short-term action and consumes energy at an accelerated rate, particularly in the brain. It is important to note that this is a reflex, not a thought process. It is activated by a visual, auditory or tactile stimulus that is interpreted as danger. I think of this as a “stress input” that is answered by either physical or mental action in some form of self- preservation. Reading a telegram that provides bad news triggers an emotional reflex that does not necessarily require physical action but is an obvious source of stress and the mental response is energy consuming. It may well induce accelerated heart rate, pallor and pupillary dilatation as a modification of a fight-or-flight reflex. Emotions are reflex, engineered by the part of the lower brain known as the limbic system and programmed according to the nature of the incoming stimulus perception. This in turn stimulates the thought processes of the higher brain that is capable of modifying the reaction. Sympathetic action of this nature is also activated by the release of adrenaline from its appropriate gland “and gives rise to what is sometimes called the “adrenaline rush”. Parasympathetic system This is best thought of as “the rest-and-be-thankful” mechanism. It will decelerate the heart, activate the intestine, produce a sense of peace, constrict pupils of the eye and lower blood pressure, the very opposite of that produced by the other system. Our primitive ancestor could now roll a stone over the mouth of his cave and carry out the functions of the body after he has escaped from danger. He can now sleep, eat and experience a sense of peace. This also is not a thought process. The reptilian brain The part of the human brain that controls this automatic system is sometimes known as reptilian because that is the only part of the brain that exists in reptiles. They have not evolved the upper part of the brain to the same degree as higher animals and can be thought of almost as living computers. It is questionable whether they have emotions as we experience but they certainly have complex brain reflexes. Coordination It is obvious that if the sympathetic and para-
Derrick Lonsdale, Dysautonomia, contd.
sympathetic systems were activated together there would be chaos. Reflex sympathetic action under normal circumstances is balanced by a withdrawal of the parasympathetic action and vice versa. Thus, for example, accelerated heart rate is partly produced by withdrawal of the parasympathetic at the same time as it is accelerated by the sympathetic. This coordination is computed by the reptilian system. Under normal circumstances it acts under what might be called “advice and consent” of the upper brain that provides willpower. On the other hand, under urgent necessity it takes over the action, explaining why a soldier in battle may not know that he has lost a finger until the action is completed. The code of morality Let us examine this anatomical system a little bit more closely. The reptilian system represents the primitive person within all of us. It is capable of causing us to kill if it is not inhibited by the advice and consent of the upper brain that should have been taught the codes of morality by disciplined teaching and leadership by parents. Dysautonomia If the reflex coordinated mechanism is lost for any reason, it is referred to as dysautonomia and there are many examples of it recorded in the medical literature. A medical textbook was edited by no less a person then Sir Roger Bannister, a London physician who was the first athlete to run the four-minute mile. The book describes many examples of this condition and deals with the genetic aspect. It never addresses the subject of nutrition, an oversight that introduces the clinical blindness of the modern physician to nutritional deficiency disease. This is in spite of the fact that the best example of dysautonomia is beriberi in its early stages. This has long been known to be caused by deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1) by the ingestion of empty carbohydrate calories. Hypoxia and pseudo-hypoxia The word hypoxia refers to lack of oxygen. It’s most devastating effect is in the brain and particularly the lower brain that never sleeps. This is because the cells in that part of the brain have a heavy requirement for oxygen. As we all know, oxygen is delivered to all the 70 to 100 trillion body cells by the bloodstream and they consume it in the synthesis of energy. This consumption of oxygen is in turn dependent on the presence of thiamine and other vitamins. A deficiency of thiamine therefore produces the same clinical effect as hypoxia. For this reason its deficiency causes what is sometimes known as pseudo-hypoxia (pseudo meaning false). Since the reptilian brain controls the autonomic nervous system www.dialogue.ca
we can now see how thiamine deficiency results in dysautonomia. Of course, as we all know, a complete lack of oxygen means death. We are here discussing the effects of a mild to moderate hypoxia or pseudo-hypoxia. The so-called TIA (transient ischemic attack) is an example of hypoxia because of a temporary failure of blood delivery to the brain. In most cases it is probably a brief contraction in the muscular wall of a major artery resulting in constriction of the artery. Thiamine deficiency produces the same effect by preventing the consumption of oxygen, hence the term pseudo. The clinical effects of pseudo-hypoxia There are many papers published in the medical literature in which a particular disease (for example lung cancer) is associated with dysautonomia. Each one of these manuscripts offers a case report in which the cause of this interesting but baffling association is unknown. My hypothesis is that pseudo-hypoxia gives rise to the dysautonomia whose symptoms are not recognized for what they represent, are ignored or treated symptomatically and lead eventually to more cellular damage within a body organ that becomes an organic disease. If recognized in the early stages, diet correction and a few supplementary vitamins are all that is needed. it has now been shown that a common condition called “panic attacks” can be induced in a patient by the inhalation of air enriched with about 30% carbon dioxide, producing hypoxia. Therefore this condition has got nothing to do with Freudian psychology. It is a purely biochemical phenomenon. I recently met a friend with a story that I hear repeatedly. He was suddenly overcome by faintness while at work. It was associated with dizziness, lack of control and unconsciousness. He was conveyed by ambulance to the nearest emergency room where all the tests were negative and he was allowed to go home. Almost automatically this is referred to as psychosomatic disease as though the unfortunate patient is imagining or even inventing the obvious brain caused symptoms. There is little doubt that this represents a temporary period of hypoxia or pseudo-hypoxia that is extremely threatening to the individual for his or her future, since it indicates a state in the brain that can result in a recurrence, perhaps of greater severity. I learned later that this friend had received heart surgery many years before this incident. Since the primary organs affected by the pseudo-hypoxia of beriberi are the brain, the nervous system and the heart, was pseudo-hypoxia the underlying cause of the heart problem that led to surgery? I doubt that it was ever considered. The trouble is that I cannot tell a friend that perhaps all he has to …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
do is to take a few vitamin supplements. He simply would not believe me. My credibility would be lost, possibly with the loss of friendship and my proffered advice like the proverbial seed falling on stony ground. The concept is “outside the box” and does not conform to the medical model as exists in the present day. The irony is that I believe the mechanism of TIA involving arterial artery spasm might be obviated by taking a supplement of magnesium as a preventive. What is particularly important to understand is that mild to moderate hypoxia or pseudo-hypoxia is itself a form of stress and triggers the fight-or-flight reflex. This is quite logical since a decreased oxygen concentration is dangerous and even life-threatening. Under these conditions the lower brain is more easily activated and the resulting action overwhelms the advice and consent provided by the upper brain. Thus, a child or adolescent consuming empty calories may suffer an emotional reflex from a reprimand in school that is nursed over a
period of time, sometimes known as “chewing the fat”. I suggest that this can explode in violence. The easiest way to produce pseudo-hypoxia is by the widespread consumption of carbohydrate and fatty foods (e. g doughnuts) representing empty calories, so commonly associated with the consumption of high sugar content beverages. Could high calorie malnutrition be responsible for some of the otherwise inexplicable violence reported almost daily in the news media? ~ Derrick Lonsdale, M.D. “Everything is connected to everything else.” Derrick Lonsdale is a retired Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and a Certified Nutrition Specialist. Website: www.prevmed.com/ Blog: http://o2thesparkoflife.blogspot.com/
A Nutritional Approach to a Revised Model for Medicine: Is Modern Medicine Helping You? by Derrick Lonsdale M.D. - “Are We Poisoning Ourselves With the Foods We Eat?” ISBN: 978-1-61897-092-3 For information, visit: http://sbpra.com/DerrickLonsdale ♣
Dr. Mercola on How Your Memory Works… And how memory and imagination are intimately linked In this article & video by Dr. Mercola (Nov 07 2015) you will learn a lot about the memory function – and how to help protect your brain against Alzheimer’s (including avoiding statin drugs and flu shots).
Dr. Mercola [EXTRACT/LINK]: For most people, the ability to recall memories is an automatic function, and the mechanics of memory formation is rarely given much thought or attention. That is until something goes wrong, and their memory begins to falter. As noted in the featured video, your memory holds a record of your entire life and shapes your identity. As your memories dwindle, it can easily feel as if you're losing the very essence of who you are. The video reviews the fascinating topic of how your memory works, and the surprising ramifications of
memory loss. Story at-a-glance: • Your memory holds a record of your entire life and shapes your identity, but the ability to form memories does not occur until the age of about five. Prior to that, lack of self-recognition prevents autobiographical memory formation • The same brain areas are activated during memory recall and active imagination. Researchers believe the reason for this is that you use memories to piece together an imagined picture of the future • Without memory, you also lose your ability to project or imagine yourself in a future scenario SEE STORY & VIDEO AT MERCOLA.COM: LINK: http://tinyurl.com/MER64528 ♣
Trying to live a spiritual life in our times of unrest Karen Karateew, Okanagan BC Spirituality does not necessarily mean a belief in God, or Allah, or Jehovah, or Buddha. It is something within us that feels love, joy and compassion...and hopefulness. It is this propencity which broadens our minds and our actions. Through this mindfulness of thought and action a higher intelligence unfolds. Our thinking becomes clearer, our intuition becomes clearer and our path in life becomes clearer. Our actions become more honourable. This chosen path is challenging and at times, difficult. 48 dialogue
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But, if we stay true to ourselves, stay clear, positive and focused in our thinking and our actions, we will be better equipped to deal with life's conflicts which confront us, addictions and boredoms which distract us, helplessness and hopelessness which may overwhelm us. "Seek and you shall find"...it is easier said... than done. What better, is there to do with our precious life? ♣
Eating Healthy News about Genetically Modified Organisms From Thierry Vrain, Courtenay BC
American College of Nutrition on GMOs You will be interested in this lecture on GMOs from the American College of Nutrition YouTube channel: LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJSap2Jep2E
The more people see it the better, so thank you for spreading it. New research material: This is a link to my presentation of September 20 to the Comox Valley Naturalists: LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVolljHmqEs
For some reason I am unable to post anything on Facebook… so I have to rely on some of my correspondent friends to post and distribute this lecture which contains a fair amount of new material and research. If you find it useful and appropriate, thank you for sharing anyway you can, Thierry Vrain, Courtenay Where food comes from: Interview An interview of Thierry Vrain and Peggy Carswell at Innisfree Farm about the life in the soil, where food comes from. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDuKW4c1cEU Thierry Vrain, email@example.com ♣
How to Avoid GMO and other Toxic Food Production? create a national legal definition of "organic" that would Are organic foods worth purchasing? The George Mateljan Foundation Yes! We believe that consumers across the U.S. are likely to get food that is safer and higher quality by purchasing food that has been certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or by state organic certification agencies. In principle, the only exception we would make is for food that has been grown and sold locally with the use of sustainable agriculture practices, even if that food has not been officially certified as organic by the USDA or a state agency. When the USDA certifies a food as "organic" is it actually guaranteeing something about the food? Yes. When the USDA certifies a food as organic, it is guaranteeing that the food was produced through USDA-approved methods designed to improve food quality and environmental conditions associated with food production. As part of this guarantee, the USDA forbids the use of sewage sludge, irradiation, or genetic engineering in any certified organic food, and at present, certified organic food is one of the few ways that U.S. consumers have to guarantee the absence of these practices from a food's production. In addition to the three very important prohibitions described above, USDA organic standards also disallow: • Most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides; • Growth hormones; • Antibiotics; • Many synthetic additives. If you'd like to see all substances prohibited in the production of USDA certified organic food you can read our article entitled The National List.
Why did we need regulation of organic foods? More than two decades ago, when the U.S. Congress passed its 1990 Farm Bill, a congressional mandate was included in the bill (Title 21) instructing the USDA to www.dialogue.ca
provide reliable, uniform, enforceable standards for any food bearing the term "organic." The development of organic standards was designed to provide consumers with a food labeling process that they could trust to reflect high-quality standards in food production. Is there additional information about organics on your website? Yes! For more information on organics, choose from any of the links below: •Everything You Need to Know About Organic Foods • Everything You Need to Know About Organic Foods • U.S. Organic Foods Production Act (Subparts A-E) • U.S. Organic Foods Production Act (Subparts F-G) • The National List • Organic Foods, Hormones and Antibiotics ARTICLE LINK: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=46 The George Mateljan Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests or advertising, is a new force for change to help make a healthier you and a healthier world. ♣
Half of Europe opts out of new GM crop scheme From Don Parker <firstname.lastname@example.org> LINK: www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/01/half-of-europe-opts-out-of-new-gmcrop-scheme ♣
VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
Tales from My Travels ~ Don Parker
The story of my travels around the world on the working cargo ship, MV Rickmers Jakarta By Don Parker, Georgetown ON
The Adventure continues! 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, under Captain Henryk Nowicki, with a crew of 23 and four fellow travellers. What follows is my account of my trip, chapter by chapter (as I continue to compile my notes and photos from the travels). I hope you enjoy the trip! [First chapter in Vol.28 No.1-Autumn 2014,p.43] CONTINUED FROM THE LAST ISSUE
CHAPTER SEVEN about 20 per cent of the OAL (overall length) of the vesEmailed home on 12 25 2005: Since it is Christmas Day, sel. Under the conditions described by the Captain, the and I have the time, I might as well prepare another JJ Pilot would not be able to stop the ship in time in a dire E¬MAIL for you. This is #7 (the events of Dec. 7, ‘05). emergency. 17:00 and we are well between England and France. It is I have spent the last of the afternoon up on the Bridge, dark outside with no sunset. following our track on the charts. At one point there th were 18 windmills working away generating clean elecDec. 8 , 10:15: We had a sunrise this morning; nothing spectacular but a sunrise just the same. Perhaps the sun tric power. During one conversation with Captain N., I didn’t like what it saw in the way of pollution of one of told him there are too many politicians and corporations its “children” because it wasn’t long before it covered its back in Canada and Ontario who are too hot to trot to get face with another blanket of clouds. We are about 100 more nuclear generators built, in my opinion. These devices are extremely “dirty” and “costly” – far more than nms (nautical miles) from the Hamburg Pilot Station, as we proceed along between England and Holland. The coal, oil, or gas-fueled generators. (Please read Dr. Helen island of Vieland is on our starboard side. Caldicott’s “The New Nuclear Danger.”) Captain N. said … We are now well up the he agreed with nuclear Elbe River* heading for our power provided the politidock near Hamburg. Pilot cians and the CEOs respon#1 is presently on board. He sible for having them built, will be replaced by a second are the ﬁrst people to go into pilot who, in turn, will be the plants whenever anyreplaced by two pilots who thing goes wrong! That will guide us through a very makes a lot of sense to me. narrow section of the chanGovernments and corporanel. tions, especially in the U. S., Much of the North Sea has have been lying to the public been much like the ocean for decades about the conseexcept for the presence of a quences of nuclear fuel in few ships and the odd oil Cam, with camera drawn, ready to take a shot of the rewinding any of its many forms. platform. As we get further After supper, I went up to of the hawser lines that hold the ship in place when docked. up the Elbe, the ship and radio trafﬁc has increased drathe Bridge to observe the efforts of the various Pilots and matically. I would not want to be a pilot in these waters the Jakarta’s deck ofﬁcers and crew guiding this behewhen the weather is completely socked in. The C. commoth to its docking berth. What a masterly display of mented earlier on how he went for one week unable to seamanship! As mentioned earlier, it took two pilots and see Crane #1 (on his vessel). That is extremely limited two tug boats to get her snugly tied up. visibility! The distance from the Bridge to Crane #1 is The light display from all the buildings and the trafﬁc was dazzling. At one point, we passed a soccer ﬁeld with 50 dialogue
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where ever it was going. This proved to be a beautifully people out playing under the lights. It is chilly outside, but not cold. We will see what it is like in the morning… scenic route along the Elbe River and past many large At any rate, we are in Hamburg, or at least, adjacent to it. and stately buildings which looked like private homes to me but may have been professional ofﬁce buildings. The I suppose this is as good a time as any to introduce (feltiming for all of this was excellent! I joined up with low-traveller) Cam, who has been busy taking pictures Stephan and Cam at 17:03! with his camcorder (no pun intended!)... I don’t think I We had planned to have dinner in the Rathaus restaurant ever knew his last name. He did tell me he was/is a uniwhich is highly recommended; he has been there before, versity professor, but in what subjects I don’t know. Thanks to Cam and his sharing of his pics with me, I can but it was all sold out because of a convention. What a also introduce you to our Captain. He is on the Bridge in shame! It looked so inviting. We went back out on the street to ﬁnd a second choice this photo. Note the stubborn set to his chin. We will without much luck until a guided tour of pedestrians also learn more about that! came along and I asked the guide - he spoke English - if Dec. 9th, 21:40: Another red letter day and our ﬁrst and he could recommend a 4 or 5 star restaurant to us. More only day in Hamburg. We sail at 02:00 to-morrow, drat than the guide could speak English. There were murit! Hamburg has proven to be a very beautiful city. Jean murs from some of the group over the phrase “4 or 5 star Paul went off on his own to a hotel; this is the end of the restaurant.” One of the group recommended one four voyage for him before he heads home to Switzerland. blocks up on the same side of the street. It turned out to Stephan, Cam and I took a taxi to a marine book store be an excellent choice. near the Hamburg Rathaus, the town hall of Hamburg. Finding people who could speak English turned out to be Our day begins there. This store was one that Stephan no serious problem. However, when it came to written very much wanted to see. He is very much interested in directions, that was something else; everyone wrote with history of almost any sort, and this store was/is full of it. a German “accent” and I had difﬁculty reading most of it Cam and I routed around a bit. I bought a map, a small book of Maritime Life and Traditions written in English, so some people sketched diagrams for me. One thing more before I put Hamburg to bed: The secuand a DVD to do with trains. The Hamburg Railway Station is the largest in the world according to the lady in rity at the port gate was at the other end of the continuum from Camden. We were not asked for the store. pass ports or any other form of photo C and I soon lost interest in any ID. The guard was very courteous and further history nosin’ about, so we helpful. He made copies of a map of arranged with S to leave him there the dock area for each of us, and he while we went walking and photo indicated where the Jakarta was hunting. We later re-united at docked. He gave us copies of another 11:45, as per our arrangement, at page which had the name of the dock, which time we agreed to go our its address and telephone number, separate ways and to meet back at Captain Nowicki called a taxi for us, and what really the Rathaus at 17:00 for dinner in takes the cake, he perceived me as being cold so he ina good restaurant, deﬁnitely not back to the ship. vited me into his ofﬁce and offered me a chair while we So off I went, achin’ and painin’ around various streets waited for the cab! I was a little cold, and this gave me an and shops looking for DVDs about Hamburg and/or opportunity to ﬁsh my sweater out of my bag and put it on Germany. I couldn’t ﬁnd a single one, even though I tried in many upscale stores and smaller shops. I did ﬁnd in the warmth of the guard’s ofﬁce. In all fairness, the guards in Camden called cabs for us, too, but they spoiled some Christmas cards written in German, and I found a post ofﬁce where I bought some stamps. My plan was to it all with their ridged, but perfunctory security measures. mail them from the ship to-morrow, but we sail at 02:00. When we returned by cab to the dock, we told the guard OK, I’ll mail them from Antwerp. This won’t work, they we were from the Jakarta, and he just waived us through. Our cabby was able to drive right up to the bow of the are German stamps that I bought and I doubt if Belgium ship, leaving us with a very short walk to the gangplank. will accept them. Maybe I can get them all ready toSo endeth a very excellent day and this little bit about night when I ﬁnish here. Hamburg. To-morrow, we will see what the North Sea The good, the bad, and the beautiful: we have only one has in store for us. In 2003, there were Force 9 winds day in Hamburg but we are scheduled to be in Antwerp for ﬁve days. With this in mind, I took a bus ride to waiting for the “MV ISA” after we left Antwerp and …/ www.dialogue.ca
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the Shelde River. Now for a shower and a good night’s sleep. But before I turn in, how about a little aside? I like poetry as you will learn further in this travelogue. In Hamburg, I saw a ‘tall ship’, and I wondered if it would be enough to inspire John Maseﬁeld when he wrote “Sea Fever.” What do you think? Sea Fever I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking, And a grey mist on the sea’s face and a grey dawn breaking. I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds ﬂying, And the ﬂung spray and the blown spume, and the seagulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a wetted knife; And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trek’s over. By John Maseﬁeld (1878-1967)
Now for that shower and bunk! Aufweidersein! To be continued. PS: Some of Cam’s stuff, taken with a camcorder I had forgotten I had. It will be interesting to dig it out and see if it still works and what may be on some of the ﬁlms.
Don Parker, Georgetown ON * The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the northern Czech Republic, traversing much of Bohemia, then Germany and flowing into the North Sea, 110 km NW of Hamburg; its length 1,094 kms. [To be continued in the next issue] ♣
THE GOOD WEEDS
“The Vagabond Writer”
By 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. Please enjoy my stories.
The family: Archibald (‘Pop’) & Mary Elizabeth/Loretta (‘Mom’) George (‘Donkey’), August 17, 1930 Ben (‘Shooter’), April 2, 1932 Bob (‘Stretch’), October 10, 1934 Adam (‘Flyer’), July 30, 1936 Tom (‘Weasel’), June 4, 1941 Marian (cousin), August 21, 1925 Sam (cousin), December 26, 1931 Bobby (cousin), May 3, 1935 Ray (my buddy) Joe (Ray’s brother)
MOM’S GIRLS I can’t remember many stories, or very much of my two older sisters. Most was second hand, told to me by Mom, Pop, and the older boys. This was when I was old enough to understand. 52 dialogue
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Living on the farm as we did, dirt poor, as the saying goes, the girls had to find ways to entertain themselves. Gram Cook had come back into our lives and stayed with us for a few years, still the Gypsy, she moved from one of her children to the other, back and forth all the time. So, one day after their chores were done, the two girls who were about seven and nine years old, were playing in the horse trough, a forbidden act. Mom and Pop had gone to town and left our old Gram to watch the girls and the younger boys. The girls decided Gram was so blind that even sitting outside as she was, she couldn’t see them in the trough. They were having a ball, even the boys were in the water with them, and they were really young. It was one of the best times they had in a long time. Afterwards they cleaned up the mess, and dried and cleaned the young boys. They swore them to secrecy, with a back-up threat to do unto them more than Pop would if they squealed. The next morning, Pop was home and called the two girls’ front and centre. “You two, anything to say before we go to the woodshed? Never mind giving the boys that dirty side ways look, they didn’t squeal on you.” Oh yes! Pop played no favourites, when deserved; the girls got their lumps as well as the boys. About two days later, Mom told the girls that their Gram www.dialogue.ca
might be blind, but she certainly wasn’t deaf. So that was how Pop had found out. A simple lesson learned.
THE DEPRESSION YEARS The 1929 Depression had men jumping out of six-story windows, and thousands of others riding the rails looking for work. Whole families went from harvest to harvest all of them working, from the eldest to the youngest, earning just barely enough to get food. Pop got some work by moving around close to home. Even so, Mom bore children during these times. The depression ran on slowly, but even though it was tough, things were okay for the growing Weed family. During this time Pop would send a few dollars home, and Mom, smart old Mom knew that no matter how poor people were, they would buy soap, booze, and spend their last penny to see a movie. The movies helped people forget their problems. Using this knowledge, Mom told the restaurants that she and her girls would take away all their grease, so it wouldn’t plug the septic tanks. June was only five and Pat two, but they helped Mom as best they could, although Pat was more a chore than help. Mom brought this dirty looking mess home and would heat it, and screen it through a fine screen again and again until it looked really clean. Then she sold it to the soap factory. The depression ran right into World War Two, and as the children grew they learned what work was from Mom. With the help of those old enough, she would pick apples and sell them to the winery. Remember that she still had me in diapers, and was carrying Tom in her belly. June or Pat would watch Bob and me, while the rest helped Mom. They were taught to look out for gallon vinegar and wine bottles along the roads, in dumps, behind the stores, and anywhere else they might be found. The trick to making an extra penny on these was to clean them out before selling them to the wine factory. The kids were told by Mom never to tell Pop, or he may want the money. We wouldn’t kill our chickens, as we wouldn’t have eggs, so we ate pigeons instead. Some nights, as a treat and a change of diet, we would get flashlights, climb to the very top of the bigger barns, flash the lights into the eyes of the pigeons roosting up there, snatch the stunned pigeon off his roost, and put him in our sacks. Mom, or one of the girls, would clean and pluck the feathers. www.dialogue.ca
Mom would either roast them or make pigeon pot pies. They made a great meal. Hey! Times were tough, and we were many! We also fished. When the fish was running up the creek, Pat and the older boys could literally shovel them up on the banks with hay forks from the deep spot at the road culvert. Sometimes they got as many as three at a scoop. As soon as I was old enough, I was waist deep in the creek along with the others. It was great fun; we were splashing around and hollering. We had the creek so stirred up with mud; we couldn’t see the fish. It didn’t matter. We still got at least one with each stab of the fork. With all this excitement, pushing and shoving would start, and once one of us was pushed into the water it wasn’t long before we all got plunked in. Laughter echoed down the road for miles. Then the mud balls started flying. Because we ganged up on them, Pat and the bigger guys got as many mud splats as the smaller ones. So as we trudged up the lane with our catch, Mom would see a sorry looking, wet and muddy bunch. She’d just shake her head, and with that sly smile of hers tell us, “Get the fish and yourselves clean before you dare come into my house.” This change of diet was good for us, even though suckers are really bony. We smoked some and Mom canned a few. At her insistence, we also delivered fish to all the neighbours. Unfortunately, this run didn’t last long before the fish were gone. We did this every year as long as I can remember. I’m not going to mention the salmon run because it wasn’t legal, but I won’t tell if you don’t. June always stayed home because now she was looking at the boys, and was too good for this childish nonsense. Mother Hen did what she had to in order to feed and protect her chicks. Pop left an old Colt-45 revolver at home with a box of shells. When we were old enough to understand, we were taught that if a stranger came, we were to go into the house, both upstairs and down, and make lots of noise. If the stranger kept coming toward the house, Mom would stick that old 45 out through the crack in the door, pointing up, and BOOM! No more strangers, they were on the run! If there was a noise at night, and especially during the depression and war years, she didn’t try to find out if it was man or beast, just BOOM! The old 45 went off. Those years we lost nothing to theft. …/ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
Think of it. This little woman was doing these things in all stages of pregnancy. She had some of the births with only her young girls to help her. Life went on. The good Weeds kept growing. By the grace of God, after Tommy
was born, Mom could have no more children. -- Wayne Russell, The Vagabond Writer TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT ISSUE ♣
“The Continuing Tales of Granddad“
As Autumn turns to Winter…
Paul Bowles, Fruitvale BC Hope all is well with your selves and Dialogue. It is cool but beautiful sunny day here in Fruitvale, golden leaves are everywhere coating the ground and our giant willow tree is a canopy of yellow cascading fronds. We had very heavy frost this morning and the Beaver Valley mountains were coated with white.
This weekend my wife and I will take to the road once again to check in with grandkids, Malachi in Kelowna, but then further to Kamloops to stay with our son who is, with his partner building a house on their acreage and are in need of child-minders for Corbin and Easton so they can get on with it in earnest before the snow happens. Recently I have been working on a piece of calligraphy for Elizabeth May, a statement from 'The Charter of Nature'. I had the pleasure of talking to her recently on the
phone during a Green Party teleconference before anyone else was on the line. I brought up a question regarding something I read in her latest book 'Who We Are', which mentioned her working on the 'Earth Charter'. I wondered if it was the same as the Charter of Nature, a small part of which I was familiar with. So we talked about it and since then I wanted to calligraph the piece for her. Now it is done. I played my little wooden Tongue Drum and xylophone at the Joe Hill Coffee house last week, and told some old tree planting stories. Now you have challenged me to come up with impressions of Joy and Justice, so I gave it a try, it is in the attachment. It gave me the opportunity to provide something different from the grandkids. (on P.43.) Paul Bowles, Fruitvale, B.C. [ email@example.com ] ♣
A Swat Team Visit
Dorothy Hannah, Lacolle QC One of our neighbours is a member of the Quebec Provincial Police and he is also a member of their SWAT team. Another neighbour owns two cottages, one he lives in and another one that was vacant for a time. This combination of things created some excitement for our neighbourhood last summer. One day, François, the police officer, told my son Pat that they were planning to mount what he called “a simulated take down operation.” They were going to attack the empty cottage, pretending there was a bad guy hiding within, and capture him. He told Pat the date and warned that there would be some loud explosions, harmless of course. The day arrived and the weather was perfect for the operation. My house is fourth from the action site and in the in-between houses there was Mr. Leger, owner of the empty cottage and my two nieces Karen and Lynn. Each 54 dialogue
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niece was in her own house and every house borders on the lake. The action started around 9 a.m., with the roar of helicopters and paratroopers landing in the field just west of us. There was the road and a wooded area between them and the bad guy in his cottage and those officers had the job of sneaking through the woods unseen. At the same time, other men were being unloaded from a boat offshore and were expected to sneak up on the cottage from the waterfront. I decided to stay on my front porch so missed the action. I was sorry afterward, although me invading on my golf cart wouldn’t have gone over too well with the swat guys. I also knew my nieces would fill me in later and that is what happened. Both the girls set out with their cameras, Karen headed to the woods and Lynn went creeping along the shore. Karen got a photo of one of the men barely visible in his camouflage gear, skulking in the woods. She said he seemed to be enjoying himself and grinned and waved as she took his picture. She left …/ www.dialogue.ca
him to his skulking and returned to her house to check the action on the shore. She has a beautiful view of the shoreline from her living room windows. In the meantime, Lynn took a picture of two men in wet suits getting out of a boat and heading to shore and then she waited to see what more action would take place. Karen was still watching from her window when a third man appeared behind Lynn. Obviously Lynn had no idea he was there because when she saw him, as she turned around to head home, Karen said she did such a double take she nearly fell over backwards. Karen also said that
even if Lynn had tumbled and hurt herself, she feels she would still have laughed as hard as she did. You often hear the expression, he did a double take but seldom see the real thing, and when you do, I guess it is quite something. Not long after that there was a loud explosion from the cottage area and apparently the bad guy got captured. Soon everyone packed up and went home, a good time having been had by all, including the bad guy and the neighbours. (Edited by Irene) ♣
- Fran Masseau Tyler, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ragout of Pigs feed and Meatballs I used to make this at Christmastime in the 60’s – goes good with meat pie (tourtière) and turkey. Boiling water to cover hocks in the pot. 2 Pork Hocks 1 Onion, chopped ½ tsp. Salt 1 pinch Pepper ½ tsp. Cinnamon ¼ tsp. Ground clove ¼ tsp. nutmeg ½ cup flour ½ lb ea. Pork & beef, minced 2 Tbsp oil Preparation: 1. Simmer pork hocks in boiling salted water for 3 hours, with onions. Remove hocks from broth; remove fat and bones. Season after cooking with salt, pepper, cinnamon, clove. Retain cooking broth. 2. Roll minced pork in small balls; roll each ball in flour. 3. Fry meatballs in oil, then add to broth. Let cook 1 hour. 4. Brown the rest of the flour in fry pan and add a cup of the broth while stirring constantly. Pour into pot; simmer a half-hour until thickened. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Pie This recipe comes from my Aunt Irma, from November 1973. She was a wonderful cook. This recipe makes 2 pies. 2 unbaked pie shells 3 cups Pumpkin (cooked & pureed or canned) 2 cups Brown sugar 1 tsp. Salt 2 Tbsp. Flour ¼ tsp. Ginger ) ¼ tsp. Clove ) I use ½ tsp. of each ¼ tsp. Nutmeg ) ground spice ¼ tsp. Allspice ) ¼ tsp. Cinnamon ) ¼ tsp. Mace ) 2 Eggs 3 cups Milk Preparation: 1. Combine all ingredients; mix well. 2. Fill pie crusts and cook at 350F until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean (approx. 40 min. or longer) ♣
“Observations from Lithuania”
Ken Slade, Vilnius
A Sense of Nonsense – Part V by KR Slade
[editor’s note: this is the conclusion of ‘A Sense of Nonsense,’ a series which began in the Summer 2014 issue of ‘Dialogue’ – which may be viewed at LINK: Ken Slade http://tinyurl.com/Dialogue27-4, at page 55; Part II was published in the Spring 2015 issue of ‘Dialogue’, which may be viewed at LINK: www.dialogue.ca
http://tinyurl.com/Dialogue28-3, at page 57; Part III was published in the Summer 2015 issue of ‘Dialogue’, which may be viewed at LINK: http://tinyurl.com/Dialogue28-4, at page 53; Part IV was published in the Autumn 2015 issue of 'Dialogue', which may be viewed at: http://tinyurl.com/Dialogue-29-1-2015, at page 53.] VOL. 28 NO. 2, WINTER 2014-15
A Sense of Nonsense – Part V (conclusion) Two snowmen are in a field. One says to the other: “Does it seem to you too that everything smells like carrots?” * * * * *
Philosophical terminology: Given: "Eschatology," from the Greek, meaning: 'last things' (used especially as a philosophical term of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity) ... Then: "Ex-scatology,' meaning: 'from shit' ??? When spoken… Quite difficult to distinguish the difference ... and, even-more difficult, or nigh-impossible, to distinguish, when so commonly the two are the same ... * * * * *
The 'un-answerable' question: "How can he be the first ‘Black’ president, when his mother is ‘white’ ?" * * * * *
The ''universal'' welcoming speech to incoming-students: Dean of law school: "Look to the left of you, look to the right of you. On graduation day, only one of the three of you will be here." Dean of medical school: "About 50% of what we will teach you will be wrong; but, we do not know which 50%." * * * * *
The Lithuanian first-year, second-semester university student, from a small village, asked me about his multiple rejections from UK universities. At great effort, and expense, he had applied to six (6) UK universities, namely to their ‘graduate schools’. He felt that he was the object of some discrimination, since he was from Lithuania. I told him that the reason why he had been rejected from all of the graduate schools was because he was in only his first year of university, and had not graduated from a university. His response was that he had applied to graduate schools, because he ‘wanted to graduate.’ * * * * *
I was negotiating with a man, ~28 years old, who was very proud of his degree from some insignificant university ... and, he said, "I am not a child" ... and, I realised that it is only a child who would say that. * * * * *
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From 2015-03-09 Bloomberg news website: "Two Russian bombers, flying with their transponders turned off to avoid detection, swooped so close to the Irish coast that Dublin's control tower delayed the take-off of one passenger plane and ordered another to alter its route to steer clear of the bombers."
If the Russian transponders were turned off -- so the bombers could not be detected -- then how did the Dublin control tower know to issue orders to 'avoid' the bombers ??? ... If the Russian bombers could not be 'detected', then how were they 'detected' ??? * * * * *
Overheard at a summer-2015 side-walk cafe discussion of a group of political-science students: "It's all really quite simple: President Putin is the leader of Russia, and the United States is the leader of President Obama." * * * * *
When will ‘they’ learn: Don’t play ping-pong with China. Don’t play chess with Russia. You are going to lose … * * * * *
Some see a glass half-empty -- they are called 'pessimists' ... Some see a glass half-full -- they are called 'optimists' ... But, some see a glass twice-as-large as is necessary -they are realists ... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is the end, over-the-course of more than one year, of this five-part series of ''A Sense of Nonsense" ... having been a segment of more than a decade of 'Observations from Lithuania' ... Note: from Lithuania, not of Lithuania ... Lithuania, just like anywhere else, has its own share of nonsense, but not more-or-less than anywhere else ... in the middle of East and West of Europe, and in a small country, it may be easier to see what is nonsense ... and, there was an experience of the nonsense of the Soviet times ... One thing is for certain: nonsense will continue!! Wherever and whenever we are, we can only hope to have the sense to know what is nonsense !!! Postscript: “Any resemblance of anything contained herein to any person, place, event, or thing is purely coincidental, and/or entirely imagined -- by the writer and/or the reader. This writing only fiction; therefore, nothing that is written here should be construed as true . . . including of course, this statement.” All Rights Reserved: 2015 KR Slade. Email: email@example.com ♣
Laughter & ‘Lightenment From Norm Zigarlick: Just because you have no interest in politics it does not mean politics has no interest in you. – Pericles... (died 429 BC) ~~~~~~~~~~~~
From Stephanie McDowall:
From Stephanie, Vera, Joan:
FAMILY TREE OF VINCENT VAN GOGH (pronounced as Van GO) Who thinks up these things!!?? His dizzy aunt ------------------------------------ Verti Gogh The brother who ate prunes-------------------- Gotta Gogh The brother who worked at a convenience store ----------------------- Stop N Gogh The grandfather from Yugoslavia ---------------- U Gogh His magician uncle -------------------- Where-diddy Gogh His Mexican cousin -------------------------- A Mee Gogh The Mexican cousin's American half-brother --------------------------- Gring Gogh The nephew who drove a stage coach --- Wells-far Gogh The constipated uncle --------------------------- Can't Gogh The ballroom dancing aunt --------------------- Tang Gogh The bird lover uncle --------------------------- Flamin Gogh An aunt who taught positive thinking ----- Way-to-Gogh The little bouncy nephew ------------------------ Poe Gogh A sister who loved disco -------------------------- Go Gogh And his niece who travels in an RV-- Winnie Bay Gogh ♣ I saw you smiling! --- there ya Gogh www.dialogue.ca
You don’t stop laughing because you grow old; you grow old when you stop laughing!!! From Don Parker:
1. BERNADETTE: The act of torching a mortgage. 2. BURGLARIZE: What a crook sees through. 3. AVOIDABLE: What a bullfighter tries to do. 4. COUNTERFEITER: Workers who put together kitchen cabinets. 5. LEFT BANK: What the bank robbers did when their bag was full of money. 6. HEROES: What a man in a boat does. 7. PARASITES: What you see from the Eiffel Tower. 8. PARADOX: Two physicians. 9. PHARMACIST: A helper on a farm. 10. RELIEF: What trees do in the spring. 11. RUBBERNECK: What you do to relax your wife. 12. SELFISH: What the owner of a seafood store does. 13. SUDAFED: Brought litigation against a government official. ♣ ~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ramblings of a retired mind • I was thinking about old age and decided that old age is when you still have something on the ball but you are just too tired to bounce it. • I thought about making a fitness movie for folks my age and call it 'Pumping Rust'. • When people see a cat's litter box they always say, 'Oh, have you got a cat?' Just once I want to say, 'No, it's for company!' • Employment application blanks always ask who is to be called in case of an emergency. I think you should write, 'An ambulance.' • I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older. Then it dawned on me. They were cramming for their finals. • As for me, I'm just hoping God grades on the curve. • The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement. • Did you ever notice: The Roman Numerals for forty (40) are XL. ♣ VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
Contributors in Andersen, Erik, BC …….........21 Arney, Jeremy, BC …………..18 Backhaus, Karl, ON ……........45 Baroud, Ramzy (reprint)……...23 Bekoff, Marc (Book quote)…….44 Bowles, Paul, BC …...…....43,54 Canadian Action Party…...18-20 Clark, Ken, ON……………….09 Coccia, Albert, QC…………...59 Council of Canadians (link)…..21 Cude, Wilfred, NS.……….10-14 D’Elia, Una, ON……………...25 Etkin, Jack, BC ……………....21 Forsey, Helen, ON (book)…...59 Foster, David, ON ………..32,33 Gaudet, Marie, AB …………..37 Ghandi, M. K. (reprint)…….….28 Goertzen, Ed, ON...………….14
dialogue, Vol. 29 No. 2
Hannah, Dorothy, QC…….....54 Hanle, Inge, BC (CDSAPI)…...20 Hare, Susanne, BC……….1, 59 Hollis, James (audio link)……..45 Karateew, Karen, BC………..48 Kazdan, Larry, BC….………..05 Knauf, Colin, BC…….……….30 Lonsdale, Derrick, US……….46 Masefield, John (poem)….…...52 Masseau Tyler, Fran, QC…...55 Masuda, Gerry, BC…….........04 Mateljan, whfoods.org (link)….49 Mathews, Robin, BC…..…….17 McCaslin, Susan, BC…......39-41 McCullough, John, ON……..38 McDowall, Stephanie, BC….58 Mercola, Dr. (link)….………...48 Moore, R.K., Ireland…….5,59
Neilly, Michael, ON…….……06 Newman, Peter C (quote)….14 Olsen, John, BC……………15 Parker, Don, ON…….22,49,50 Pierce, Jessica (Book quote)…44 Popova, Maria, U.S (reprint)...29 Porter, J. S., ON………....42,43 Rhenisch, Harold (review)…...40 Russell, Wayne, BC…...........52 Sandel, Michael J. (quote)…..26 Semple, Ernest, QC………...04 Shadbolt, John, ON…………20 Skinner, Derek, BC…………22 Slade, Ken, Lithuania…...34,55 Stevens, Becca (Book quote) 44 Taylor, Jim, BC……………...31 Tolstoy, Leo (about, link)…...28 Topham, Arthur, BC………...22
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INSIDE BACK COVER SOME READING RECOMMENDATIONS From Richard Moore With all of my recent traveling (2015), while flying, driving, or waiting, I had lots of opportunity to listen to recorded books from audible.com. Thus I finally tackled War and Peace, which I totally loved, but would not have been able to follow in printed form. Also enjoyed a novel by Turgenev (Torrents of Spring), Cloud Atlas, several titles from Alice Munro, and the first two books in the series, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.
In the non-fiction realm, I was impressed with Jimmy Carter’s A Full Life and I really like audible’s Great Courses series. I highly recommend: The Vikings, The Story of Human Language, Will to Power: The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and The Medieval World. While War and Peace sits at the top of my fiction favorites, the top of my non-fiction favorites is Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. … The Khan book was not just about Genghis the conqueror, but equally about the creative genius of Genghis and his descendants as regards governmental forms, economics, technological innovation, secular societies, religious tolerance, international trade, and in other domains. Their influence was very important in bringing about The Renaissance in Europe, and they anticipated the dynamics of globalization by many centuries. FIRST STEP & BLURB ABOUT MJK IN GP Albert Coccia, Greenfield Park Coffee Club A special guest walked in with Normand Simard and I recognized him right off, Past Park Mayor Maurice King and looking good at 89 years young. I had not realized it but Mayor King is an accomplished writer I will add a pic of one of his book (The First Step, see p.60)... So Mayor King made the rounds and some photos were taken with various people by good old Norm Simard who is our resident photographer. Pic of Albert and Maurce
A PEOPLE’S SENATE
"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust." Aquinas Did you let it get to you like it gets everyone else... To send you striving for the illusion of material wealth? Did you forget the oceans and trees that breathe? Have you let all your wants take over your needs? Did you let the green of your eyes blur your sight and prevent you from absorbing the all knowing light? I ask you to please feel the truth of the way for what good is tomorrow if you can't live for today? .....unknown "But in the mud and scum of things there always, always, something sings" – Ralph Waldo Emerson As far as the climate talks in Paris that didn't really give the world much hope as far as I can see, perhaps those "world leaders should have all been given a copy of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss to take home and read and reread over and over again. While truckloads of evergreen forests are being destroyed around the world, trees being the most powerful remover of CO2, humanity is busy trying to find an economic or technical fix for it when what we are continuing to do is staring us in the face. It should be a crime to remove any of those forests, especially the old growth ones which protect and stabilize so much. ...Susanne Hare “The injury we do and the one we suffer are not weighed in the same scales.” – Aesop ***
“Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer, and nothing is more difficult than to understand him.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky Quotes at the beginning of chapters of “No Room For Vengeance…” In Justice and Healing – 2011 book by Victoria Ruvolo, Robert Goldman, J.D., Psy.D. as told to Lisa Pulitzer
VOL. 29 NO. 2, WINTER 2015-16
OUTSIDE BACK COVER TREE AND BALLS
WINTER 2015-16, VOL. 29 NO. 2
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