Monday, 30 July 2018

TRADE

     With over a score of factors needed to create, to employ, and to monitor it, trade in goods and services is essential for the mutual benefit of all parties, but, in the human world, how do we ensure that it is fair?
      International trade improves the standard of living for the entire world, supporting, for example, 41 million jobs in the US and 31 million in the European Union. It fosters goodwill in peaceful and mutually-beneficial ways, yet it is under serious attack while enjoying serious support.
      Fair trade is much too complex and too infiltrated with self interests to be adequately understood by any one of us, but we cannot let that handicap deter us from trying. For instance, we are justified in being bewildered and angry at Donald Trump’s erratic and environmentally-harmful actions, so much so that we dismiss the times when he is right, such as not ostracizing and imposing trade sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea which, after all, is part of historic Russia. We spend so much time being anti-Putin that we overlook such atrocities as the Iraq invasion, the slaughter in Yemen, ethic cleansing in Palestine and Myanmar, and so on.
     Counter reactions in Canada, the EU, and China to Donald Trump’s isolationist tariffs and sanctions, that rely on overwhelming military force, are in contrast to much praise, and many suspicions, of Xi Jinping’s global $900 billion Chinese investment in rebuilding the 7,000-mile-long land and sea Silk Roads/Routes with promises of $8 trillion in infrastructure loans to 68 countries. This predicts major positive changes, but includes worries about the problems of repayment and what are China’s real motives? China had loaned Sri Lanka money it could never repay to build the port of Hambantota, so in 2017 it with 69 square kilometres were ceded to China. The same fate is feared for newly proposed ports that could increase the Chinese empire in its competition with the US empire that has lost much of its democracy in that an oligarchy of 1% of the population have amassed as much wealth as the remaining 99%.
     Also included is the feared demise of the US dollar as the world’s trading currency, thus preventing the US from forever printing new money and face up to its $21.5 trillion debt ($65,172 per person) which has grown from $9 trillion in 2007. It now costs about $300 billion just to pay the annual interest, forecast to be $965 billion by 2028. The US spends $610 billion a year on its military, more than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, UK, and Japan combined. It pressures its reluctant allies to share this ‘burden’ by doubling their military spending, thus further enriching US military businesses.  So, how do we govern trade to ensure that it benefits humanity and the environment? First a little history:
Travel: Long distance trade started along river routes where the need for irrigation prompted the concentrations of people with various skills. The Tigris and Euphrates, the Nile, and the Hwang Ho became busy highways. That was some 5,000 years ago when barges and boats enabled water travel. Large scale land trade waited the domestication of the camel in Arabia some 3,000 years ago. Yet, horses permitted the trade of Chinese goods from the Pacific Beijing-Shanghai area to arrive as far away as Egypt and Germany before then.
Crusades:  Trade, along with religious animosities and a need to unite a quarrelsome Europe against a common foe, was a reason for the 8 crusades, 1096-1291, that killed an estimated 1,732,051 people. Much more advanced, and less cruel, Islamic cultures had control of of trade with the Far East and had blocked European access. Even though they lost in the end Crusaders did bring exotic goods and knowledge back to Europe, sparking new trade and the Renaissance.
Guilds: Supervise the practices of associations of artisans or merchants in particular areas. The Romans had guilds that did not survive their collapse. Guilds proliferated in Europe in the Middle Ages, arriving in England with the 1066 Norman conquest. Members progressed through 5 stages: apprentice, craftsman, journeyman, master, and grandmaster.
Hanseatic League (Hansa):  As Germans spread throughout the Baltic area their merchants sought acception, alliances, and security as well as profits. Hansa was founded in 1358 in Lubeck by German Duke Henry the Lion, granting duty-free trade, protection, and freedom among competing merchants while embracing mutual trust. The league grew to 200 cities in what are now 7 countries. For 300-400 years, before the rise of the nation states, it was the dominant trading block in Europe, with posts stretching from London to Novgorod. It did become too powerful, imposing its will with blockades and with wars with the Danes, but it did do much to unify and it still remains a club.
Current World Trading Blocs include:
AFTA (Association of Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Area): was founded in 1992 in Singapore by Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam joined later for a total of 10 countries. It has eliminated 90% of tariffs with China and other countries.
BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa at their summit meeting in Johannesburg 26 July 2018 declared themselves to be a multilateral bloc in opposition to Donald Trump’s unilateral approach. Formed in 2008, they created in 2014, with HQ in Shanghai, the New Development Bank and the BRICS Contingency Reserve Arrangement as an alternate to the International Monetary Fund.
CETA: (Canada - EU free trade), signed Sep 2017. Most tariffs removed, all to be gone in 7 years.
EAEU: (Eurasian Economic Union): Signed in 2014 by Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan joined in 2015 to create a trading bloc of 183 million people with a GDP of over 4 trillion US dollars.
EPA: (Economic Partnership Agreement): EU-Japan free trade deal finalized in 2017 after 4 years of negotiations.
EU: (European Union): 28 Countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Rep, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom which plans to leave in July 2019 in spite of strong opposition from Scotland, Ireland and much of England and Wales.  Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey are working towards membership.
COMESA (Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa), has 19 countries: Burundi, Comoros, Congo (DemRep), Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. It is still working towards a common free market.
MERCOSUR:  is a Latin America free trade vision still to be agreed upon.
NAFTA: (North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada, Mexico, United States) formed in January 1994.  Tariffs were fully gone by 2008, with trilateral trade over $1.1 trillion. In the US it supports 140,000 businesses and 14 million jobs. In Canada it added 4.7 million new jobs. It is under attack by the Trump administration.
TPP: (Trans Pacific Partnership): Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. An original member, the United States, left in 2018.
EU + TPP = a trading block of 39 countries from Estonia to Australia with 40% of the world’s GDP. It puts Canada in an ideal position to co-ordinate and lead.
WTO: (World Trade Organization) a successor to GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) that was founded in 1947 in Geneva with 23 members) has 164 members founded 01 Jan 1995 with HQ in Geneva to regulate trade in goods, services, and intellectual property. It has a staff of 600 including 7 judges. It has a budget of 197 million Swiss francs (US $209 million).
      Here are just a few of the enormous number of facts that reveal the value and dangers of trade:
1. Canada - United States Trade, at $1.9 billion per day, is the world’s largest 2-nation trade with 9 million US jobs dependent on it. Many social and economic activities are integrated. Over 500,000 Canadians winter in the southern Unites States. During the Vietnam war, 30,000 US citizens fled to Canada to avoid the draft while an equal number of neutral Canadians joined US forces to fight there. After the 1776 American Revolution 40,000 United Empire Loyalists, persecuted for siding with Britain, fled to Canada making the country bilingual and joining the French and Natives in defeating several US invasions resulting in a 4,000-mile undefended border.  It does mutual damage to impose tariffs such as the current US tariff on Canadian aluminum and steel when US produced aluminum covers only 33% of US demand. The US subsidizes its dairy interests $22 billion a year but fights Canada charging 270% on imported dairy products. This year the US border patrol boarded 10 Canadian fishing vessels in disputed waters looking for illegal immigrants. All this has united Canada in an unwanted ‘Stand up to the bully’ reaction by imposing, in an equal dollar amount, tariffs on imported US goods and by reducing travel to the US.
     This trade dispute hurts both countries and could escalate. Canada has long resented US dominance with its overwhelming media, with its huge corporations buying up Canadian enterprises, and with its lack of recognition of major Canadian achievements. Past attempts to divert more of its trade elsewhere have retreated to increased trade with the US, partially due to a continued strong liking for the US, its people, and its values when they are unaffected by Greed. Canadians need to modestly recognize that, with 36 million diverse, and talented, people in the world’s second largest land mass, they are a major player in the quest for a just, peaceful, and prosperous humanity. But Canadian complicity is echoed in such books as Linda McQaig’s 2007 Holding The Bully’s Coat.
       We all need to take a concerned look in the mirror.
2. China - United States Trade: Annoyed at a $375 billion trade deficit with China, Donald Trump, on 06 July 2018, imposed $34 billion in tariffs. This prompted a Tesla deal to build a plant in Shanghai to build 500,000 electric cars annually in 2-3 yrs. The tariffs also hurt Lei Jun, founder of Xiaomi (Apple of the East), now in over 70 countries with over 190 million using its smart phone. China also contests the US sanctions placed on those trading with Iran and North Korea.
3. Palm Oil: Trade in palm oil surged with the Industrial Revolution in Britain. Plants from West Africa were introduced into southeast Asia. Today exports amount to 60 million tonnes annually, causing widespread deforestation that devastates biodiversity, such as Indonesia losing forests the size of Germany, increases global warming, drives species towards extinction such as the 105,000 orangutan deaths, that enslaves people including children, resulting in many deaths. But, palm oil production is less destructive than other vegetable oils. Companies, including Pepsico, Uniliver, Nestlé, McDonalds, Kelloggs, Mars, Proctor & Gamble, are all accused by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) of being too lax in their promise to abide by government rules in Sumatra by not policing their sources sufficiently to bar illegal clearings as it could add 10% to their costs.
4. Pirates: Always a hazard to trade, pirates captured Julius Caesar. Sir Francis Drake, who circumnavigated the world 1577-80, was Elizabeth I’s official pirate authorized to attack Spanish ships trading with the Americas. We even had women pirates such as Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Recently, Somali pirates forced an international array of naval ships to protect Arabian Gulf ships that were being captured in retaliation for foreign ships over fishing and dumping toxic wastes in Somali waters.
5. Recyclables: In spite of resorting by US recycling companies people are too careless in what they throw in their recycling bins so the bales, exported for $60 a bale, remain 15% contaminated so the main importer, China, is enforcing strict qualifications resulting in thousands of unsaleable bales to accumulate at home. It will take 5 years to build the necessary recycling mills in the United States.
6. Stock Markets: Of the world’s stock exchanges, 19 have a capitalization of over $1 US trillion and account for 87% of world trade. They are: USA 2, China 2, India 2, and one each (in order of capitalization) for Japan, EU, UK, Hong Kong, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, South Africa, Taiwan, and Brazil.
7. US Trade Jobs: In 2016 US employed 10.7 million jobs in goods and services trade, 6.3 million in goods only.
8. World Trade Center, New York: The 26 Feb 1993 attack, led by Ramzi Yousef and Eyad Ismoil, killed 6 people and did $500 million damage. Ismoil was a Jordanian student on a visa to study engineering, recruited by Yousef. After the attack he returned to Jordan where he was arrested and returned to the USA to be sentenced to 240 years in the Florence, Colorado, prison. The 11 September 2001 attack on the 110-storey twin towers and pentagon killed 2,996, wounded 6,000, and
did over $10 billion in damage. The attack involved the hijacking by 19 members of al-Qaeda, which was led by Osama bin Laden, of four commercial aircraft, 2 of which crashed into the towers, a third into the Pentagon, and the fourth into a Pennsylvania field after passengers overpowered the hijackers. The Afghan Taliban government refused to extradite bin Laden, so the US invaded Afghanistan, helped by Canada and the UK, later joined by 40 countries including all of NATO. Some 110,000 Afghans have been killed and 1,700 US Troops.
     While revenge against the United States may not have been meant to be attacks on trade, its symbols were attacked harshly and trade was hurt by the widespread retaliation and protective actions taken.
Ye Olde Scribe
www.yeoldescribe.com

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

DONATIONS TO WORTHY ORGANIZATIONS

     All organizations need financial support - but, if, like me, you are frustrated by those endless, often twice a day, e-mails from politicians, struggling in a flawed system restricted to only two parties, who are convinced they need ever more funds to repeat their messages, thus forcing them to spend more time fund raising than governing and, if you are anxious to fund genuinely advantageous organizations that are improving our only world, allow me to name a few, space permitting, It is grattifying to find so many people who are helping those millions who are being neglected, persecuted, and used by the unscrupulous whose God is Greed. I will start \with Greenpeace having just received their latest bulletin Compass as a help.
Greenpeace, founded in 1971 in Vancouver, now has its headquarters in Amsterdam.
Greenpeace Russia helped establish in 2017 the Ladoga Skerries National Park, one of the largest in Europe.  This entailed supporting 40,000 people, 40 scientists, and 19 organizations to convince authorities to disallow fossil fuel interests in the park.
     During its 10 years in the area Greenpeace extinguished 80 forest fires.
     In California, Greenpeace is working with Governor Brown who will host in September the Global Climate Action Summit.
     Fighting destroyers of the environment is not cheap. In Georgia and California, Greenpeace fought
successfully a $220 million lawsuit by Resolute Forest Products, a Canadian company with harmful practices in the sensitive Boreal Forest. Now Energy Transfer Partners, a Dallas-based company, has sued Greenpeace for $900 million for losses due to its support of the Dakota Sioux in opposition to the pipeline forced through their land. These lawsuits have little chance of success. Their aim is to destroy Greenpeace with killing legal costs.
     Greenpeace is now promoting an 1,118 square kilometre (695 square mile) Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. Its ship Arctic Sunrise with its 2-man submarine found abundant life 2.000 feet down along the ocean floor and is persuading the fishing industry to restrict or cease especially its krill harvest that is crucial to such as blue wales.
     Greenpeace is pressuring 16 companies, including Unilever, Colgate Palmolive, and General Mills to keep their promises of a clean palm oil supply that halts the forest destruction in Indonesia to produce palm oil.
     In Vancouver, Greenpeace activists have ended their blockade of an oil tanker loaded with oil from the Alberta tar sands. This had been part of the protest against the Canadian government’s plans to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline to permit the expansion that will triple the amount of tar-sands oil flowing to the coast of British Columbia. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision in May to nationalize the pipeline project sparked widespread condemnation from First Nations and environmental activists, who say the project will increase pollution in Alberta’s tar sands region, endanger indigenous communities and increase greenhouse gas emissions.
     Greenpeace’s analysis shows that Energy Transfer Partners and its subsidiaries, including Sunoco, had 527 hazardous liquid spills from 2002 to 2017, causing an estimated $115 million in property damage. And at least 67 of the spills contaminated water sources.
African Wildlife Foundation, founded in 1961 by US judge Russ Train and other Safari Club members who were worried that independence granted in 1960 to 20 African countries would replace qualified European managers with untrained African. It started a program to train Africans and to show how protecting land and wildlife can be profitable. The headquarters of AWF is in Nairobi, Kenya.
Alliance for Climate Protection (combined with The Climate Reality Project) was founded in 2006 by Al Gore in California, moving to Washington in 2009. It was partially funded by profits from his 2006 book and film, An Inconvenient Truth, money from his 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, and his salary from his work for a firm By 2009 it had over 3,000 volunteers who delivered 70,000 presentations worldwide to over 7 million people.  This led to the 2016 Paris Climate Accord now signed by every country in the world except the USA.
Defenders of Wildlife was founded in 1947 with headquarters in Washington. It concentrates on protecting biodiversity in North America. Its CEO, Jamie Rappaport Clark, was director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service where she got the passage of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 197l.
Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) was founded in Geneva in 1971 by 13 doctors, who had gone to help people in Biafra persecuted due to its breakaway from Nigeria, to provide medical care to areas in need worldwide. It has 36,482 employees. It was awarded the 1996 Seoul Peace Prize and the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize. During the 1994 Rwanda genocide it called for military intervention.
Earth Day 22 April was organized by Wisconsin’s Democratic senator, Gaylord Nelson (1916-2005) after he saw the 28 January 1969 Santa Barbara, California, blow-out that spread 3 million gallons of oil over 800 sq miles, killing over 10,000 sea birds and mammals, Helped by many including Dennis Hayes, Paul Ehrlich, and David Brower, the first Earth Day in 1970 saw pro-earth activities in 12,000 schools plus 20 million in peaceful demonstration in the USA. It was adopted in Canada in 1980 and is now observed in at least 141 countries.
EMAS Canada: (Education, Medical Aid, and Services) is a Christian organization based in Burlington, Ontario.  It nurtures locally-initiated programs in poorer countries with healthcare services, equipment, and education. It was founded in 1948.
Fauna and Flora International formed in Cambridge, UK, in 1903 by British naturalists and US statesmen in Africa to integrate biodiversity with human need. Queen Elizabeth is its patron and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands its president.
Friends of the Earth: In 1969, an oilman and founder of Atlantic Richfield (ARCO), Robert Anderson (1917- 2017) gave David Bower (1917-2000) $200,000 to found Friends of the Earth as an anti-nuclear group, going international in 1971, now with groups in 75 countries defending the environment, biodiversity, and human rights.  Its secretariat is based in Amsterdam.
Friends of Nature, formed in 1994, is China’s oldest environmental non-government organization. It attracted world prominence and support when it wrote to UK prime minister Tony Blair to stop illegal trade of Tibetan antelope fur. He answered the next day pledging prompt support. This prompted a surge of people joining the project and donating funds.
Project Aware is a growing global association of scuba divers working to protect and clean up the oceans. It was formed in California in 1989 and has offices in the UK and Australia.
Conservation International was founded in Virginia, USA, in 1987. It has 1,000 employees and over 2,000 partners in 30 countries. It works with corporations to protect the environment such as supporting 23 Pacific Island nations to form Pacific Oceanscope to manage 15 million square miles of ocean and helping McDonald’s implement sustainable agriculture in Central America.
Global Witness, founded in London in 1993, works worldwide to break the links among the exploitation of natural resources, conflict, poverty, corruption, and human-rights abuses. This includes the 448 activists killed defending resources from exploiters between 2002 and 2013. GW investigates individuals and companies and reports to governments on how best to protect resources for the benefit of all including the demise of warring factions.
Green Cross International with headquarters in Geneva was founded in 1993 by Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev in Kyoto. It now has offices in 31 countries including Canada and the USA. One of its issues is to promote clean water and sanitation as a human right.
Mountain Institute was founded in 1972 in West Virginia to conserve the world’s mountain ecosystems and help mountain communities.
Planned Parenthood, much needed in a dangerously overpopulated world, was founded in 1916 with HQ in New York. Margaret and Ethel Sanger and Fania Mindell were all arrested after opening their first clinic in Brownsville which brought them national support. It now has 159 affiliates in 12 countries. It is the largest single provider of reproductive health services in the USA. Its 2014 report revealed it performed over 4 million clinical services, including 324,000 abortions which it claims would have been unnecessary if every  woman had birth control access. It remains both thanked and persecuted.
Plant a Tree Today Foundation, founded in 2005 in the UK by Andrew Steel to combat deforestation, now has chapters worldwide. They, with 200 volunteers, planted 7,000 trees on Earth Day 2018 here in Colorado to add to the 320,000 they planted in California.
Rainforest Alliance was founded in New York in 1897 to work with companies and indigenous people to conserve forests the burning of which provides 15% of world carbon dioxide emissions.
Red Cross and Red Crescent International (and Red Crystal for those who object to religious implications).
     I owe a great debt to the Red Cross for feeding me during my 800 days as a POW in Germany.
    With HQ in Geneva, the Red Cross was founded in 1863 to protect victims of war and has since earned 3 Nobel Peace Prizes (1917, 1944, 1963). During WWII it was forced to curtail its attacks on Nazi genocide in order to facilitate its shipment of millions of food parcels to POW camps in German-occupied Europe. Yet, in March 1945, it did get Nazi permission to visit concentration camps. Louis Haefliger, on his own, saved 60,000 lives by alerting US troops to rush their advance to take Mauthausen that was about to be razed.
     In 1859 Swiss businessman, Henri Dunant (1828-1910), went to Italy to meet Napoleon III but got caught up in the Battle of Solfereno where, in one day, 40,000 were killed or wounded. He was appalled at the lack of care for the wounded who were left on the field, suffering terribly after the French-Sardinian victory over the Austrian army. He dropped his business plans in French-controlled Algeria to organize help, then wrote his book , AMemory of Solferno, and went on to organize voluntary national relief organizations. He neglected his business which went bankrupt, but he pioneered the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions that governed conduct during times of war, He became a recipient of the 1917 Nobel Peace Prize.
     In 1990 the UN General Assembly granted the Red Cross observer status, the first to a private organization.
     Over 500 Red Cross staff have been killed while helping others, In 2017, of the 294 aid workers killed, 45 were Red Cross.
Salvation Army was founded in London by General William and Catherine Booth in 1865 as a protestant movement based on the Bible. It now works in 128 countries running charity shops, shelters for the homeless,  disaster relief, and humanitarian aid to developing countries. As it banned smoking, illicit drugs, and alcohol it was attacked by pub owners who organized mobs. It has 1,151.000 members.
Sierra Club was founded in San Francisco in 1892 by John Muir to Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet, it now has 3 million members. During David Bower’s 1933-60 tenure as CEO it prevented the flooding by dams of the Grand Canyon. Active in Canada since 1963. Sierra Club Canada became a national organization with headquarters in Ottawa and chapters all across Canada on 1992.
Union of Concerned Scientists was founded in 1969 by faculty and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. It has a membership of over 200,000. It formed to divert military research towards environmental and social problems, calling for a ban on nuclear testing and weapons in space. In 1992 it sponsored World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity signed by 1700 scientists including the majority of Nobel prize winners in science. It supports renewable energy, vehicle emissions reductions, home appliance efficiencies, and curbing deforestation. It has accused the US government of dozens of political interferences with science.
Veterinarians Without Borders, formed on 2003 is an international organization to assist the health of animals, people and environments. It provides veterinary training and equipment to developing countries and has North American offices in Ottawa and Davis, California. Its projects have included: insects as food and feed, eliminating rabies in Guatemala, and reindeer husbandry in Mongolia.
Water Ambassador Canada argues that water must be protected as it is Canada’s most valued asset. Over 2 billion people in the world lack clean water and sanitation services. There are more cell phones than toilets. With shrinking aquifers the US wants to import Canadian water, considering it a continental asset.
WILD Foundation was founded in 1974 in Boulder, Colorado, by South African Ian Player, who had worked to save the white rhino, to inspire a world that protects at least half of all nature on earth. He started out by taking mixed groups on 5-day hikes into the African wilderness. WILD has now worked on scores of field projects in dozens of countries.
Wildlife Fund: the world’s leading conservation organization had famous founders in Switzerland in 1961: Philip Mountbatten, German-Dutch Prince Bernard, Sir Peter Scott, Julian Huxley, Guy Mountfort, and Godfrey Rockefeller. It now has over 6 million members with 1.2 million in the United States. It works in 100 countries.
350.org: Founded in New York in 2007 is a growing international organization supporting grass roots actions that fight climate change.
World Land Trust was founded in 1989 in Suffolk, UK to conserve plants, animals, and communities in areas of risk. It funds the purchase of large tracts of land, starting in Belize, to preserve them. It helps with tree planting and the reduction of CO2 emissions. Its patrons include Sir David Attenborough.
Wounded Warrior Project was founded in 2003 in Roanoke, Virginia, by John Melia who had been wounded in a helicopter in Somalia in 1992. As of August 2003 they had distributed to wounded veterans 17,000 backpacks filed with comfort items. WWP headquarters were moved to Jacksonville, Florida, in 2006, and it went on to promote long term care via compensation, education, health care, insurance, housing, and employment.

                                                                                                                                    Ye Olde Scribe

Saturday, 16 June 2018

HUMAN RIGHTS - EQUALITY ET AL

       Born into an evolving and indifferent world, it is a long and continuous struggle for our species to initiate, preserve, and expand Human Rights.  The subject is too vast for a single blog, so this one is a hit and miss attempt to follow up thoughts expressed in many of the 184 blogs I have published to date.
History provides us with numerous examples of human cultures striving for equality.  A few examples: 
Our oldest-known legal code was imposed in Mesopotamia (Iraq) by Urukagina of Lagash 4,350 years ago.  It was flawed with adultery penalties for women but none for men. Later codes included the Sumerian Ur-Nammu  code and the Code of Hammurabi 3,780 BP that decreed the rights of men, women, children, and slaves.
Muhammad’s 622 AD Charter of Medina, was a huge improvement for women and centuries ahead of the West.  The West then had its 1215 Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus and the world had its non-binding 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Sadly, the struggle remains.  Today’s concerns include;
Income Equality:   At the January 1918 meeting, with over 400 sessions, in Davos (Swiss Alps). the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that it got worse in that 82% of the wealth created went to the richest 1% of our global population.  Since 2010 their wealth increased 13% per year compared to 2% for ordinary workers.
The Plight if Indigenous Women and Children:   This is a 500-year, disgraceful, ignored, broken-promise tale.  Currently there are investigative actions by individuals and governments, but corrective actions are slow, bogged down in bureaucracy, and, too often, ineffective.    Annita Lucchesi, a Cheyenne, is accumulating data back to 1900, and so far has over 2,500 cases in Canada and the U.S. to reveal a partial extent of the crime. 
In 2017 the Navajo Nation was devastated by the abduction and murder of 11-year old Ashlynne Mike.  Authorities did not issue an alert for Ashlynne until the day after family members reported her abduction.  This prompted the 2017 AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act, sponsored by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and John McCain (R-AZ), that became law in Apr 2018 expanding the abduction warning system to clarify that tribes are eligible for Department of Justice grants helping law enforcement assemble alerts. It would also enhance how grants are used. The DOJ will now be able to assist state and local governments to develop and implement AMBER Alert plans in order to expedite abduction alerts.  
The FBI reports more than 7,500 Native Children are listed as missing in the US.  To  improve data, an important step is the Savanna’s Act of 2017 introduced by Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Jon Tester (D-MT).
In Canada in 2014 the RCMP estimated that 1,181 First Nations women were murdered or went missing between 1980 and 2012, prompting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to launch a national inquiry which suffered numerous flaws, resignations, and oversights.  It included in its Apr 2018 report a request for funding for a 2-year extension.  Six months has been granted.  
Gender:  This blog carries on from Blog 165 of 26 January 2017 “Trump vs Woman Power”, from Blog 143 of 27 Jan 2016 “Rape vs Love”, and from Blog 181 of 11 Dec 2017   “Evolution, We Need to Have a Talk” that detailed gender behaviour over the past 52,000 years.
Problems remain amid the remarkable progress we have made. Yet, the majority of women whom I have asked claim that they prefer to work for a man as women can be malicious.  So, where do we stand?
At the annual meeting of world leaders in Davos in the Swiss Alps, Jan 2017, the WEF assessed and ranked countries in order of their functioning in gender equality with 1.000 a perfect score. Iceland ranked first with 878 points and Yemen last with 516.   After Iceland, the top 19 are: Norway, Finland, Rwanda, Sweden, Nicaragua, Slovenia, Ireland, New Zealand, Philippines, France, Germany, Namibia, Denmark, UK, Canada, Bolivia, Bulgaria, and South Africa with 756 points. 
The USA ranks 49th with a 718 score. A sampling of others: Australia 731, Israel 721, Ukraine 705, Vietnam 698, Russian Federation 696, Mexico 696, Greece 692, Brazil 684, China 674, India 669, Japan 657, S.Korea 654, Turkey 645, Egypt 606, Lebanon 596, Saudi Arabia 584, Iran 583, Chad 575, Syria 568, Pakistan 546. 
Women are heads of state in 11 countries and heads of government in 12.  They are 19.4% of the US Congress.  Only two countries have a majority of women in parliament: Rwanda with 61.3% and Bolivia with 53.1%.   The Canadian cabinet has 15 men and 15 women but the House of Commons has 92 women, 27.2% of 338 seats compared to 105 of 435 seats in the US House of Representatives.
Countries that recruit women for front-line combat positions are: In Europe: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania and Sweden. Elsewhere: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand in the Anglosphere; plus Eritrea, Israel, and North Korea.  In the USA 15% of the  serving members are female.  The USAF has 19%.
  Estonia leads the world in the percentage of female university graduates at 69% followed by Brazil 63, Finland 62, Spain 60, Canada 59, USA 58, Chile 58, Australia 56, UK 55, Germany 54, Mexico 55, France 54, Switzerland 50, China 48, S,Korea 47, Turkey 46, Japan 41%.
The Incel Movement: is an evolving group first coined in 1993 by a Canadian women to commence a web site of involuntary celibates to assess their feelings.  It has grown to include individuals from the writings of famed authors to today’s sex murders such as: 
Richard Speck, the night of 13-14 July 1966, tortured, raped, and murdered 8 student-nurses at South Chicago Community Hospital.  He died in prison in 1991.
Marc Lépine, an anti-feminist, on 06 December 1989, entered an engineering class at L’École Polytechique in Montreal, targeting women.  He killed 14 plus himself. 
Elliott Rogers, still a virgin at 22, ranted against women who rejected him and vowed to kill beautiful women.  In a drive-by shooting spree 23 May 2014, he killed 7 in Isla Vista near the University of Santa Barbara, California.  Stopped by police he shot himself in his car to become the idol of Incels.
Nikolas LaCrosse, 27, in Massachusettes in Feb 2015, stabbed his girlfriend 32 times for breaking up with him and dating someone else.
Jason Eaton, 45, in Indiana in October 2016, shot his girlfriend when she rejected his marriage proposal.  He was sentenced to 45 years in prison.    
Alek Minassian in Toronto on Tuesday, 24 Apr 2018, deliberately plowed his rented van into crowds of pedestrians  along Yonge Street, killing 10 people, wounding 15, most of whom were women.  Much evidence points to the 25-year-old being motivated by misogynistic beliefs held by “incels,”  Minassian is in police custody.
Freedom of the Press: Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit organization founded in Paris in 1985, reports that,  in 2018, a free press is enjoyed by only 13% of the world population, 42% have a partly-free press while 45% have none.  It ranks 180 countries with the top ten being Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium, New Zealand, and Costa Rica.  Some other rankings are: Ireland 13th, Germany 15, Canada 18, Australia 19, South Africa 28, France 33, UK 40, Taiwan 142, South Korea 43, USA 45, Italy 46, Spain 51, Argentina 52, France 53, Poland 58, Japan 67, Hong Kong 70, Greece 74, Israel 87, Ukraine 101, Brazil 102, Afghanistan 118, Nigeria 119, Chad 123, United Arab Republics 128, Philippines 133, Palestine 134, India 138, Pakistan 139, Mexico 147, Russia 148, Singapore 151, Turkey 157, Iraq 160, Egypt 161, Iran 164, Saudi Arabia 169, China 176, North Korea 180th.    
      Journalists: seek out, investigate, evaluate, and report happenings.  Casualties are a known risk in war zones, Alarmingly, murders are increasing in non-war areas where truth is opposed by governments, special interests, and gangs.
From  Jan  1995 to June 2018 our world has endured 1,361 journalists killed.  In 2016 and 2017, 15 women reporters were killed.  In 2017 there were 11 journalists murdered in Mexico compared to 12 in Syria.  Currently there are 326 reporters in prison with another 54 detained.
In 2017, 65 media workers were killed, 26 in war zones, but 39 in non-war zones.  Countries with unsolved murder cases (those marked * have made some convictions) include: Iraq 71, *Somalia 24, Mexico 21,  *Pakistan, *Philippines, *Brazil 15, India 13, *Russia 9, *Bangladesh 7, Afghanistan 5, Nigeria 5, S.Sudan 5. 
Political Leadership: The United States, that considers itself a leader in human rights, now has a baffling president.  He enjoys a following, yet he is aggravating climate change, enriching the rich, building walls, tearing children from their refugee parents, and enhancing (as Obama and others did) an already dominant and frightening military, thus forcing an arms race. Trump with 65,000 nuclear warheads has elevated North Korea’s Kim Jong-un with 60 plus a dismal human-rights record, to equal status while alienating his county’s best allies by imposing trade-crippling sanctions, prompting counter sanctions.  Who is the scarier?  Kim or Donald?
In Davos, Canada’s Justin Trudeau strongly urged attendees to appreciate their superior well-being by helping those in less fortunate positions.  Then, by leading the opposition to destructive tariffs, he united his friends and critics in Canada and Europe to stand with him against Trump who lashed out at him so that Peter Navarro, his trade adviser, complained “There is a special place in Hell for Trudeau who negotiated with Trump in bad faith”.  EU Council president, Donald Tusk, responded “There is a special place in Heaven for Justin Trudeau.”  
There is hope among the gloom and doom but it relies on each of us to continue the pressure on individuals and authorities to behave responsibly.  We have evolved to thrive in a lonely planet.  Make it so.
Ye Olde Scribe


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

NORAD's 60th Birthday

     I worried that I was a bothersome nuisance in a wheel chair, propelled by Major Leslie Wenzel and retired Darrell Levitt, yet I was thoroughly spoiled here in Colorado Springs during the Friday-Saturday, 11-12 May, celebrations eulogizing the uniqueness, importance, and accomplishments of NORAD.  All this was due to my daughter, Barbara, and I being invited as Guests of Honour.
Embellished with positive greetings from the US president and Canadian prime minister and with numerous speeches by top Canadian and American political and military leaders, the celebrations started off Friday with a dinner and ball of some 600 attendees at the Broadmoor Hotel and ending Saturday at Peterson Air Force Base with a cake-cutting event and several flypasts by the 9-plane Canadian Snowbirds aerobatic team. 
It took 3 of us to handle the sword that cut the cake:  Our popular NORAD commander, General Lori Johnson, was joined by the youngest current member and by me as the oldest NORAD  survivor. 
The Joint Canadian-U.S. Military Group recommended the formation of NORAD in late 1956. It was approved in Feb 1957 with HQ at Ent Air Force Base, in downtown Colorado Springs.  The annual cost of $5.5 billion included the Nike-Zeus program and 3 Ballistic Missile Early Warning sites (BMEWS).
Canada and the United States signed the North American Air Defence Command 12 May 1958 thus placing the security of their people into each others’ care.   
Since then there have been 24 US commanders and 24 Canadian deputy commanders of the US and Canadian personnel intermingled at the many NORAD establishments in North America.
In 1963 I was among the group that moved NORAD HQ to the Cheyenne Mountain underground site and began operations there. Canada’s underground bunker, built 1959-63, is in North Bay, Ontario.
I was to take geology courses from the professor who had recommended the location to NORAD.  As he was just a professor, NORAD chose to employ expensive advisors who later came up with the same answer.     
My first NORAD connection came in 1958 when I was transferred to Air Defence Command in St. Hubert, Quebec, and in 1959 when I relieved the CO at the Mid-Canada Line site of Bird, Manitoba.  This was followed by 13 months as military commander of the 500-mile-long DEW-Line (Distant Early Warning) sector with its main site in Cape Parry, NWT and four satellite sites, two either side.   Here I made many friends among the Inuit, the subject of a different blog.  From the DEW line I was transferred in 1963 to NORAD HQ in Colorado Springs.
So, what is my assessment of NORAD?
It is a fine organization that, for the sake of human survival, needs to be a leader among the millions of concerned activists and scores of institutions that are striving for a safer world with greatly-reduced armaments.
In my memory, at the working level, US-Canadian integration was great and many friends were made.  There also were many marriages.  USAF personnel were superb at ignoring the inferiority complex we got when they had vast sums of money to spend, or squander, on projects we could only dream of.  Matching population differences,  our share of the cost is 10%.  Being much smaller the RCAF often got things done faster and I was to be part of this.  The USAF, nervous about its secrets, often used a NOFORN (No Foreign Eyes) stamp to deny us access to such documents.  Nevertheless, I got to write or revise several Noforn documents.    Our USAF friends would stamp the Playboy Magazines “Noforn” to emphasize their attitudes to Noforn.
One night when, as a major, I was the duty controller under a USAF colonel, some Soviet activity was reported by the USN.  I was summoned to the guarded intelligence room for a briefing, then ordered not to inform my USAF boss because I had a higher security clearance than he did.  Fortunately, the Soviet activity proved innocuous.  But, it was an awkward night as my boss was curious as to why I had been summoned.
One day, when I was on the Dew Line, a submarine surfaced briefly off our western shore.  I scrambled my entire air force which consisted of one Beaver.  We flew for an hour but found no trace of the sub, so I sent a brief message to St. Hubert and Colorado Springs: “Sub surfaced. Beaver scrambled. Sub fled.”  Of course I followed it with a detailed report but I never got a reply telling me whether it was one of ours or one of theirs. 
On the DEW Line we were totally unarmed so a small landing party from a sub could easily destroy us.  In my report I requested a few of those surplus WWII rifles.  A year after I left the DEW Line they arrived.
We did get the feeling that the Soviet threat was overblown to justify our huge expenditures on defence.  We would get scripts written in Colorado Springs for exercises which contained errors that lessened the time that threats could be reported and analysed.  My attempts to insert corrections were ignored as the script ran its course.  I did manage to correct this when I was moved to NORAD HQ and put in charge of writing exercises.
    Our human world is playing a dangerous game. Embracing nuclear weapons gave us the MAD era - mutual assured destruction.  Threats, real or inferred, make us nervous and prone to miscalculations.  
Close calls have been frightening, but we know only about those that have been declassified.
On 05 October 1960, the BMEWS site in Thule, Greenland, advised NORAD they had detected a massive Soviet launch, accuracy 99.9%.  This would allow us 10 minutes to decide on a retaliatory launch.  The NORAD commander was off flying and could not be reached, leaving Air Marshall Roy Slemon, RCAF, in charge.  He quickly determined the locations of USSR leadership that implied a launch was most unlikely, so he called off the alert.  Later it was determined that Thule, the rising moon, and a Soviet launch site were aligned and that the BMEWS pulses were bouncing off the moon.   Thule crews did not realize that their radar pulses could reach as far as the moon although the Australians had accomplished this feat earlier.    
On 27 October 1962 USN ships harassed Soviet naval ships off Cuba.  One of these, sub B-59, dove to escape and remained submerged for several days, unable to communicate.  To force it up the USS Beale dropped dummy depth charges.  Believing them real, the sub commander, along with his political adviser, ordered a nuclear torpedo launch.  Fortunately the sub-flotilla commander, Vasili Arkhipov, persuaded B-59 to surface and await orders.  The same day Captain Maltsby’s U-2 got lost and strayed 480 km over Chukotka peninsula and were met by Soviet nuclear-armed MiG interceptors.  US F-102As were then scrambled to escort Maltsby out.  On 01 May 1962 Gary Power’s U-2 was shot down deep over the USSR.  He survived as a prized prisoner.
In 1983 Lieutenant Stanisav Petrov, on duty in Moscow, got a warning that US missiles were headed their way.  He decided against a counter strike due to a gut feeling it could not be true. 
Soviet restraint saved us then.  How serious were flaws at NORAD?   
At 0300, 09 Nov 1979, Zbigniew Brzezinski, security advisor to President Carter, was awakened by a NORAD phone call that the USSR had just launched 250 missiles towards the USA.  A second call warned it was now 2,200.  Knowing that everyone he loved would soon be dead, Brezezinski concentrated on ordering a counter strike to ensure Russia would suffer the same fate.  Ten US and Canadian jets were scrambled and “Looking Glass”, the SAC command post, was airborne without Carter who had not been informed.   
A third phone call advised that no other detection system had seen a launch so things were put on hold.  It was discovered that a computer glitch had fed a training exercise into the live stream.  NORAD then spent $16 million to prevent such errors. 
Eric Schlosser’s 2013, 656-page, book, “Command and Control”, gives us a terrifying look at nuclear weapons, delivery systems, problems of ageing, human and computer failures.  He tells of the Pentagon admitting 32 close calls but claims he uncovered over a thousand mishaps, many serious.
The Domesday Clock of the Atomic Scientists is now set at 2 minutes to midnight.  Blame is put on a number of factors including: climate change, cyber warfare threats, misinformation, and nuclear-armed world leaders.
Sadly, the US spends more on the military than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, the UK, and Japan combined.  Yet the current administration has boosted it even more (now $610 billion).  What a dangerous waste of funds that could do so much good elsewhere.  And, oh yes, do not overlook the immense funds earmarked for nuclear updates.  Our expenditures force those who mistrust us into boosting their militaries.  Yes, we have many groups with different ambitions, but slow diplomacy is much safer, cheaper, and less destructive.  The Military is built to be the servant of a country’s leaders, but the military does the fighting, the suffering, and the dying, so deserves a strong voice.  History gives us many examples of armies revolting against leaders in favour of the masses but this violence too often led to further upheavals.  Violence begets violence.
Today, how can the US military, in good conscience, support leaders who aid war criminals like the Israelis in their slaughter of the oppressed Palestinians, the Saudi Arabian crimes in Yemen, dictators in Indonesia, Latin America, the Philippines, and misguided wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria?  And, withdrawing from the beneficial Paris Environmental Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal warns the world not to trust the world’s greatest military power.   This demands change.
NORAD, you have the people, the brains, and the structure to work towards remedying all this.
Go for it!
Ye Olde Scribe

Friday, 30 March 2018

TIME OUT

In a world where humans are so nasty to other humans and millions suffer horribly, I am indeed thankful and grateful to encounter so many of the superior version - people who care.   I was so impressed these past two months that may I tell you about some of them?  I was released to return home from rehab 07 March, and it has been a busy time since.
On 17 January, about 1530 (3:30 PM), I fell on my front sidewalk, shattering my right femur.   I was unable to move, Two women stopped their passing car, but were unable to lift me.   Twenty minutes later my daughter, Barbara, arrived and four people, including my grandson, Oren, got me into her car to rush me to emergency at Penrose Hospital where Dr. Barnwell started surgery at 1800, finishing at 2100.   Barbara did not get home until 0400.
For rehabilitation, I ended up, complete with catheter, in the Center at Centennial, a 4-wing, 80 bed rehabilitation facility where I was soon impressed with the organization, the single room with a view, the routine, and the staff who worked either a 12-hour, 3 days a week shift or a 5-day, 8-hour, shift.  Pay started at $12 an hour, increasing with experience.
Many of the Certified Nurses’ Assistants (CNA), mainly female, were also taking university courses to enhance their medical careers.   All were likable, capable, and cheerful.   A major drawback for me was the absence of time to socialize. Staff were kept busy answering patient needs, so it was usually a quick in and out.  Another drawback was the frequent change of staff assignments. We would have the same CNA for 3 or 4 days or nights, only to have them rotated, but some were seen again in a week or two. Each CNA was assigned about 13 patients on a daily basis so it was a problem remembering names. 
There are at least a score whom I would like to praise for their genuine concern for their patients.  I did ask them for career summaries and comments for this blog, but few found the time to do so. I do thank Lucie, Lia,  Janet, Jennifer, Karena, Lydia, Teresa, LaTisha, Jane, Elisa, Lacie, Jewel, Lenore, Kelly, Agi, Dee, Linda, Monica, Jared, Jessie, Jill, Montana, August, Zack, and others for their contributions to my on-going progress. 
I must thank Sam, a Masai from Kenya, for the extra time he gave me.   It was customary to rush patients via wheel chairs to my 3rd floor elevator for meals and therapy (occupational and physical) on the ground floor.   To allow me extra exercise, Sam cheerfully accepted my request to walk the distance by walker while he towed my wheel chair after installing a wide belt around me that he could grab if I appeared unsteady.  
I also owe a debt to Tricia in physical therapy whose hours of massaging my swollen and painful right leg, and other exercises, speeded its recovery.   Tricia traces her ancestry back to original Mexican inhabitants that predate the unification of city states into Inca and Aztec empires.
Adam in occupational therapy shared control of the gym with Tricia.   He grew up by the beach in central New Jersey, earning a BA in Television, following his father who produced children’s TV shows.   His mother is a psychotherapist and social worker,  Adam earned a degree in occupational therapy from Stockton University and worked for a few years before settling in at the Center at Centennial.   His goal is to improve lives, functions, and independence.
Tricia and Adam have a staff of 28, divided among full-time, part-time therapists, and Certified Therapist Assistants.   Included are 2 full-time Speech Language Pathologists.
Ron Albright relates that his interest in emergency medicine started when he was 10 years old so had to get special permission to take the CPR course.  Shortly thereafter, in a classroom in Texas, a classmate started chocking on what he was eating.  I dislodged the stuck food.  In the military medical school I took classes in elementary, psychology, and emergency medicine. I have saved lives with my CPR ability and helped many others.   I also try to educate patients to care better for themselves. One of my favorite quotes is Robert Williams in the movie Patch Adams “When you treat a disease you win and lose.  When you treat a patient I guarantee you win.” As I assess my life, I see that God has directed my steps into doing what I love to do.  
The kitchen staff prepared a wide assortment of tasty meals with portions far more than I could consume.  They catered to individual requests.
This human urge to excel in one’s chosen or assigned occupation, regardless of monetary returns, is too often  overlooked when assessing the successes and failures of Capitalist vs Socialist societies.
Oops!  This could lead to another blog while I slowly regain my old abilities.  Sorry for my absence.
But, before I go, I must admit how grateful I am for my 5 daughters, all of whom have been a tremendous  help.  Diane flew down from Toronto for a week of ceaseless help.  Valerie, Trish, and Linda have each driven 3 to 5 hours each time to provide help over weekends, Barbara has neglected her ranch and horses to be my mainstay.  I cannot vouch for sons but the old saying fits my picture: “A daughter is a daughter all her life.  A son is a son until he finds himself a wife.”  They have moved furniture, installed hand rails, bought me a recliner, and thoroughly spoiled me.  They have restricted me to a walker-assisted domain extending from my bedroom to bathroom to kitchen to den to dining room table where I am busy describing for buyers over 40 albums of a fabulous worldwide stamp collection started in 1928.
Ye Old Scribe

apitalist oligarchy.  Companies that succeed allow