Friday, 12 October 2018

NOBEL PRIZES AS WEAPONS

     The timing of two of the October Nobel Prize awards was perfect and galvanizing. Coincident or intentional?
     The enormous clout of the United States should not, can not, and is not ignored by the rest of the world, so an internal vote concerning a supreme court nomination alerts a worried world:
     Immediately after Brett Kavanaugh’s 51-49 confirmation vote to the 9th seat on the Supreme Court, a vote called in a Toronto Globe and Mail article “a head-long plunge into an ugly past”, Norwegian Nobel prizes were awarded to Dennis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, two activists for women’s rights.
     Kavanaugh’s selection by Donald Trump, backed up in the Senate by all but one Republican and opposed by all but one Democrat has outraged millions because of his partisan views, his lack of appropriate judicial decorum, and a flawed selection process. The deep and dangerous divisions in the country are again exposed.
     Those opposing his selection include the MeToo movement, 2,400 law professors, the National Council of Churches, American Civil Liberties Union, American Federation of Teachers, National Association of Women, NAACP, Jobs With Justice Organization, 73 LGBT, GreenPeace, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Abortion Rights groups, and much of the media, domestic and foreign such as the Manchester Guardian.
     This was all submerged when sex abuse, including attempted rape, was introduced by three women, led by Christine Blasey Ford whose testimony during the hearings I found powerful, delivered calmly, and convincingly compared to Brett’s emotional denials. Yes, it was back during boys-will-be-boys school years when Brett attended a parochial, sex-segregated school that allowed frequent parties with heavy drinking and female guests.
     Classmate tales imply these were character-forming orgies. Brett, like Trump, inherited privileges.
Dr. Dennis Mukwege was born in 1955 in Bukavu, capital of South Kivu on the shore of Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He became a surgeon, gynecologist, and women’s rights activist. In 1999 he founded Panzi Hospital where he has treated, physically and mentally, over 40,000 women who have been raped, often gang raped, by members of a dozen armed militia groups seeking a share of DRC’s mineral wealth including gold and coltan, essential for mobile phones and computers. The UN has had 18,000 troops there to help a government not strong enough to control its vast lands or its own army also guilty of rape.
    In 2009 Mukwege was interviewed by Amy Goodman on her PBS daily show “Democracy Now!” and this was rebroadcast last week. He spoke not only of destroyed genitals, the years needed for recovery, the social stigma for being raped, but also of the enormous potential of women to overcome all this to be contributing members of society. Amy had accepted his 2009 invitation to visit Panzi Hospital where she was appalled at the hundreds of women undergoing genital repairs and hundreds of others in recovery under the loving, radiant care of this unique man, so full of dignity and grace.        Amy admits it was a great privilege to travel extensively with him to warn the world how women were being used as weapons of war.
     In 2004 opponents murdered his driver but he managed to escape.
    The Toronto Globe and Mail of October 8, 2018 reported the Toronto visit of Prince Murhula and his wife, Sandra. He is Leader of Journalists for Human Rights in eastern DRC and is promoting Mukwege’s work plus two new films exposing violence against women. One success was in shutting down a militia guilty of raping girls as young as two years of age.
Nadia Murad is a 25-year-old Yazidi Kurdish human rights activist from Kocho, Sinjar, Iraq, whose life was changed 04 April 2014 when Daesh arrived, committing genocide, killing thousands of men and taking thousands of women and children. Six of Nadia’s brothers and her mother were killed while she and her sisters became prisoners She was held captive as a sex slave for 15 months before escaping. She now lives in Germany, telling the world her story:
     "I was an ISIS sex slave. I tell my story because it is the best weapon I have. Deciding to be honest was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, and also the most important. The slave market opened at night.
     When the first buyer entered the room, all the girls started screaming, doubling over and vomiting on the floor, but none of it stopped the militants. They paced around the room, staring at us, while we screamed and begged.  They gravitated toward the most beautiful girls first, asking, “How old are you?” and examining their hair and mouths. “They are virgins, right?” they asked a guard, who nodded and said, “Of course!” like a shopkeeper taking pride in his product. The militants touched us anywhere they wanted, running their hands over our breasts and our legs.
     It was chaos while the militants paced the room, scanning girls and asking questions in Arabic or the Turkmen language. Calm down!” they kept shouting at us. “Be quiet!” But their orders only made us scream louder. If it was inevitable that a militant would take me, I howled and screamed, slapping away hands that reached out to grope me. Other girls were doing the same, curling their bodies into balls on the floor or throwing themselves across their sisters and friends to try to protect them.
     While I lay there, another militant stopped in front of us. He was a high-ranking militant named Salwan who had come with another girl, another young Yazidi from Hardan, whom he planned to drop off while he shopped for her replacement. “Stand up,” he said. When I didn’t, he kicked me. “You! The girl with the pink jacket!  I said, stand up!” His eyes were sunk deep into the flesh of his wide face, which seemed to be nearly entirely covered in hair. He didn’t look like a man – he looked like a monster.
     I never thought I would have something in common with women in Rwanda. I didn’t know Rwanda existed – and now I am linked to them in the worst possible way, as a victim of a war crime that is so hard to talk about that no one in the world was prosecuted for committing it until just 16 years before ISIS came to Sinjar.
     A militant was registering the transactions in a book, our names and the names of the militants who took us.  I thought about being taken by Salwan, how strong he looked and how easily he could crush me with his bare hands. No matter what he did, and no matter how much I resisted, I would never be able to fight him off.  He smelled of rotten eggs and cologne.
     At the feet and ankles of the militants and girls who walked by me. I saw a pair of men’s sandals and ankles that were skinny, almost womanly, and before I could think about what I was doing, I flung myself toward those feet. I started begging. “Please, take me with you,” I said. “Do whatever you want, I just can’t go with this giant.” I don’t know why the thin guy agreed, but taking one look at me, he turned to Salwan and said, “She’s mine.” The skinny man was a judge in Mosul, and no one disobeyed him. I followed him to the desk. “What’s your name?” he asked me. He spoke in a soft but unkind voice. “Nadia,” I said, and he turned to the registrar.
     The man seemed to recognize the militant right away and began recording our information. “Nadia, Hajji Salman” – and when he spoke the name of my captor, I thought I heard his voice waver a bit, as if he were scared, and I wondered if I had made a huge mistake.”
     Nadia Murad eventually escaped her Isis captors. She was smuggled out of Iraq and in early 2015 went as a refugee to Germany. Later that year she began to campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking.
     “In November 2015, I left Germany for Switzerland to speak to a UN forum on minority issues. I wanted to talk about everything – the children who died of dehydration fleeing ISIS, the families still stranded on the mountain, the thousands of women and children who remained in captivity, and what my brothers saw at the site of the massacre. I was only one of hundreds of thousands of Yazidi victims. My community was scattered, living as refugees inside and outside of Iraq, and Kocho was still occupied by ISIS. There was so much the world needed to hear about what was happening to Yazidis. I wanted to tell them that so much more needed to be done.  We need to establish a safe zone for religious minorities in Iraq; to prosecute ISIS – from the leaders to the citizens who supported their atrocities – for genocide and crimes against humanity; and to liberate all of Sinjar.
     I would have to tell the audience about Hajji Salman and the times he raped me and all the abuse I witnessed.  I shook as I read my speech. As calmly as I could, I talked about how Kocho had been taken over and girls like me had been taken as sabaya. I told them about how I had been raped and beaten repeatedly and how I eventually escaped. I told them about my brothers who had been killed. It never gets easier to tell your story.  Each time you speak it, you relive it. When I tell someone about the checkpoint where the men raped me, or the feeling of Hajji Salman’s whip across the blanket as I lay under it, or the darkening Mosul sky while I searched the neighbourhood for some sign of help, I am transported back to those moments and all their terror.  Other Yazidis are pulled back into these memories, too.
     There is still so much that needs to be done. World leaders, and particularly Muslim religious leaders, need to stand up and protect the oppressed.
     More than anything else, I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine.”
   Fortunately, Kavenaugh’s transgressions are minor in comparison, but the Nobel committee has made a point:    In spite of amazing and needed progress, our society still has work to do to correct our flaws.
                                                                                                                                        Ye Olde Scribe

Friday, 28 September 2018

THE MANITOBA METIS FEDERATION


When one group of humans takes over territory belonging to a different group, centuries often pass before, here and there, a widespread sense of guilt evolves along with a desire for reconciliation.
Our world could benefit from examining the fault-filled, yet also enlightened, Canadian experience.  In 23 August 2017 I did publish a blog entitled “My Inuit Friends”.  The Métis are one more example and their story is well worth knowing, Their name is French for “mixed” - a name that could be applied to all of Canada with its 2 European founding nations, France and the United Kingdom, its 634 First Nations,  speaking over 50 distinct languages and numbering 1.3 million people, its 60,000 Inuit, its 400,000 Métis, and its 470,000 refugees from numerous countries all part of a Canada of a current population of 37 million diverse people.  How do you govern amicably such a diverse democratic nation?  Yet, it actually rates #2, after Switzerland and before Germany, in the ratings of world nations.  Would not this imply that aboriginals and half breeds should be more grateful?
The Federal Government has too long left many Native affairs to the provinces, thus allowing more time and funds for capitalism’s constant demand for growth at the expense of the environment which is of greater concern for Natives.  How do politicians please both and remain elected?
In 2013, Canada’s Supreme Court reminded Canada that it had not lived up to The Manitoba Act of 1870 that allowed the Métis to retain  1.4 million acres, including Winnipeg, then in 2016 it ruled that the Métis are not “Status Indians” under the Constitution, so are free like the Inuit to go their own way. 
In September 2018, David Chartrand, president of MMF for  20 years, met with Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, in Ottawa and signed a deal that allowed Carolyn Burnett, Federal Minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations, to fly to Winnipeg to announce Reconciliation that included:  $154 million to help MMF reorganize, $500 million over 10 years for housing, $1.7 billion over 10 years on education and child care for Indigenous people, and the Métis right to write and enforce their own laws.
The Métis originated in Eastern Canada in the 1600s, being the children of European fishermen and their Native wives, but it was the Red River region, now Manitoba, of Rupert’s Land, where the Métis Nation was first established after the fur trade moved west in the 1700s and 1800s, and many French-Canadian fur traders found Native wives, mainly Cree, Ojibwa and Saulteaux.  Their children formed a new Nation in yet-to-be Canada - the 'Western Métis'. 
Prince Rupert's Land was a 3.9 million square kilometre land mass covering northern Quebec and Ontario, and parts of Nunavut then expanding to over 7 million sqkm reaching to the Pacific Ocean that was given to the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1670 by Charles II and sold to the new Canada in 1868 for $1.5 million.  In 1867 The US had purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million and was willing to pay more for Rupert’s Land but the UK ordered it sold to Canada where Canada’s first prime minister, John A. MacDonald, considered it a natural extension of Canada. In 1811 the HBC gave the Red River area to Earl Selkirk for a Scottish settlement.  The Catholic Métis, the Presbyterian Scots, and Anglican English settlers did not want to be part of either Canada or the USA.  They had developed good relations among themselves and prospered during the economic Panic of 1857 that was so devastating elsewhere. 
The Métis had a distinct way of life that incorporated aspects of both French-Canadian and Native cultures.  Most of the male fur traders were French and Catholic. So the Métis were exposed to both the Catholic and Native belief systems.  Native women not only provided companionship for the fur traders, they also aided in their survival. They were able to translate the languages, sew new clothing, cook food, and help resolve any cultural issues that arose.  The First Peoples had survived in the harsh west for thousands of years, so the fur traders benefited greatly from their knowledge of the land.
There were many independent fur traders but the business was dominated by  the British Hudson’s Bay Company that at first discouraged its employees from marrying Native women before realizing it could do little to stop the practice whereas the French-Canadian North-West Company encouraged it.  Both companies benefited greatly from their talented Métis employees.  The HBC, that was founded in London in 1670, is now a retail business with headquarters in Brampton, Ontario, and stores throughout Canada, the USA, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.  The NWC was founded in 1789 in Montreal with the merger of smaller companies.  It grew to compete successfully with the HBC and numerous skirmishes occurred for the lucrative fur trade.  In 1821 the British government forced the two companies to merge to cease the feuding.
The first generation Métis children started blending parts of both languages into the new Michif 
language  that originated with Métis people in Ontario and Manitoba in the 1700s. The language spread west with the fur trade, becoming an official bartering language. There were several regional dialects. Most were a combination of French and Cree, but, depending on the area, Michif also included some  Sioux or Ojibwa.  The language is dying with only 400 today who still speak it.
The Métis flag is the oldest flag that originated in Canada, first flown in 1814.  Actually the Métis  had two flags. Both had the same design, an infinity sign, but were different colours: either red or blue.  Red was the colour of the Hudson’s Bay Company, while blue was the colour of the North-West Company.  The infinity sign had two meanings:  It represented the joining of two distinct cultures.  It also represented the immortality of the Métis Nation.
Friction?  Few countries have escaped internal conflicts.  The 1861-1865 US civil war cost 620,000 lives whereas Canada’s 1885 North-West Rebellion (also called the North-West Resistance, Saskatchewan Rebellion, Northwest Uprising, or Second Riel Rebellion) took all of 91 lives.
It was a brief and unsuccessful uprising by the Métis people under Louis Riel and an associated uprising by First Nations Cree and Assiniboine of the District of Saskatchewan against the government of Canada. Many Métis felt Canada was not protecting their rights, their land, and their survival as a distinct people. Riel had been invited to lead the movement of protest. He turned it into a military action with a heavily religious tone. This alienated Catholic clergy, whites, most Natives and some Métis. But he had the allegiance of a couple hundred armed Métis, a smaller number of other Aboriginal people and at least one white man at Batoche in May 1885, confronting 900 Canadian army soldiers plus some armed local residents.   Despite some notable early victories at Duck Lake, Fish Creek and Cut Knife, the rebellion ended when the Métis were defeated at the Siege of Batoche.  The remaining Aboriginal allies scattered.  Riel was captured and put on trial.  He was convicted of treason and despite many pleas across Canada for amnesty, he was hanged in Regina. Riel became a heroic martyr to Francophone Canada, and ethnic tensions escalated into a major national division. Thanks to the key role that the Canadian Pacific Railway played in transporting troops, Conservative political support for it increased and Parliament authorized funds to complete the country's first transcontinental railway. Although only a few hundred people were directly affected in Saskatchewan, the long-term result was that the Prairie Provinces would be controlled by English speakers, not French. A much more important long-term impact was the bitter alienation French speakers across Canada showed, and anger against the repression of their countrymen.
English-speaking Canadians now consider Riel a national hero even, among other plaudits, printing in 1970 a postage stamp in his honour.
The cruel and shameful lack of concern for other species by far too many of our species has massively reduced the numbers of bison and fur-bearing animals, forcing the Métis to adapt, and they are  adapting well.  Scores of Metis now lead in many fields including artists, book authors, film making, legal, medical, political, professional sports.
Just room for one example: Maria Campbell, author, broadcaster, and filmmaker, fluent in Cree, Michif, Saultreaux, and English has had four of her works published in 8 countries and translated into Chinese, French, German, and Italian.
May the Métis continue to prosper in the diversity that is Canada.  There are smaller groups of Métis in the USA but there they had to decide between tribal or European identity and are not as free as in Canada to be Métis.
Ye Olde Scribe
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Friday, 31 August 2018

PUTIN and TRUMP vs GORBACHEV

     Putin and Trump, two dangerously wealthy and self-centred oligarchs, have much in common. Both are weakening the unity and infrastructure of what we call “The West”.  How much does the Media give us of the Truth devoid of self interest and greed? During the 2016 election, CNN made a $1 billion profit by giving showman Trump so much free time and limiting Hillary to repeated questions about her e-mails with very little time devoted to the real issues that plague us all. This one-sided free media publicity, totaling $5 billion, helped Trump win with $600 million in donations compared to $1 billion donated to Hillary.
     So far, the USA under Trump has fallen from 41st to 45th in the ranking of 179 countries for Freedom of the Press while Putin’s Russia dwells in the 148th slot.
     We still need Mikhail Gorbachev, and his goals so wanted and needed by humanity.  As the last leader of the USSR before its breakup under Boris Yeltsin, president 1991-99, he sought the demise of both NATO and the Warsaw Pact and tried to bring true democracy to Russia. He did improve relations and did enact many reforms.  But, disillusioned when we betrayed him by moving NATO up to Russia’s borders after we promised not to in exchange for Russia allowing the reunification of Germany and in the inability of Russians, imbued for so long with authoritarian rule, to understand and accept the problems of diversity and compromise democracy entails, he voted for Putin’s strong hand, believing that, when Putin restores Russian pride, he will embrace democracy.
     Putin has admitted it was difficult for him to support the 1991 failed KGB coup against Gorbachev.
     Why are we now flooded with worries about Russian influence in US elections with hardly any complaints about the much greater Israeli interference? We get scant reviews of US support for dictators worldwide.
     So, what can you and I do to assist those billions of good folk and thousand of organizations seeking a world beyond war; a protected environment with equality, compassion, and all those good things that make our short lives enjoyable? We do have histories of 77 cultures that never resorted to war. We know that the Mayan Empire flourished without war or fortification, but had human sacrifice, for hundreds of years before climate change brought drought and famine. We are told that 1% of our population has accrued more wealth than the 99%. Are we just plain too stupid and too controlled as we allow this? The 1% still contains far too many to include in this blog, forcing concentrating on just two while attempting a fair assessment:
     Vladimir Putin:  Actually, Putin and his Russia were described in my Blogs: “Putin: Saint, Sinner, or Both?” of 18 August 2015 and “Russia et al” of 16 March 2014, so should be read (or re-read?) as a prelude to this blog as events have since become quite puzzling and frightful. Putin and Trump both deny manipulating the 2016 US election in the face of much evidence that both countries have sinned in interfering in numerous countries. Trump is quite right in saying that we should talk with, rather that hurt, each other, but his changing tweets and actions are contradictory. The US imposes harmful sanctions on Russia for questionable reasons yet pays Roscosmos at Baikonur. Kazakhstan, $2.6 billion to amicably carry its astronauts to and from the International Space Station until 2019 when US commercial carriers will be ready.
     But, more of international relations later. To know Vladimir and Donald better, consider their families where the differences are immense. Putin is extremely secretive and protective, allowing his family almost no exposure or mention, whereas Trump’s family engages openly in government and his businesses.
     It is said that Putin is a relative of all European families via the Putyanin, a clan of Tver princes yet Putin is an artificial name that cannot be traced genealogically beyond his grandfather, Spiridon Putin, a very reserved and honest man, who left the Tver government for St. Petersburg at age 15 and became famous enough to be selected by Lenin to be his cook.
     Putin’s father, Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin, was a conscript serving on a submarine then in a NKVD destruction battalion in WWII before sent to the regular army where he was severely wounded in 1942. Putin’s mother was a factory worker. His maternal grandmother was killed by German occupiers in Tver and his maternal uncles were killed in WWII fighting the German invasion, their bodies never found.
     Putin, a third son, was born in Leningrad in 1952, after the death of the first two, one in infancy and the other of diphtheria during the German WWII siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg).
     In school he became fluent in German, earned a black belt in Judo, but did not join the Young Pioneers yet had to join the Communist party in university where he earned a law degree. In 1975 he joined the KGB that he had seen glamorized in films. He worked in counter-intelligence then in monitoring foreigners.  After the collapse of Communist East Germany he returned to the Leningrad state university where he assessed students  for KGB enlistment. There, he renewed friendship with the future Moscow mayor.
     Putin, who had been selected by Boris Yelstin, had two terms as president, 2000-2008, one term as prime minister, then a third with 64% of the vote as president 2012-2018 then, with 71% of the vote, started a 4th.. He alternated positions with Dmitry Medvedev.
      In 1999 Putin argued that Communism was not an aide to civilization.
     Putin’s wife, Lyudmila, an Aeroflot flight attendant and linquist, has been seen rarely both before and after their 2013 divorce after 20 years of marriage. Their two daughters, Mariya and Masha, have never been formally or publically seen. Also low key is his romance, started in 2008, with Alina Kabaeva, one of the most decorated gymnasts in history.  Born in 1983 in Uzbekistan, she grew up in a sporting family. Her dad was a professional footballer.  She won bronze and gold Olympic medals in Sydney and Athens, and was on the cover of Vogue, Russia, and is rumoured to have children by Vladimir.  She now heads up a pro-Kremlin media company.
     Putin argues: "I have a private life in which I do not permit interference....it must be respected."
     Donald’s Trump’s father came from Germany, his mother from the Scottish Hebrides. He has had three wives, 5 children, and 9 grandchildren.
    With his first wife (1977-1992) Ivana Marie Zelnckova, born in Czechoslovakia, he has Don, Ivanka, and Eric. All were Executive Vice Presidents of the Trump Organisation during the election campaign. All became part of his transition team. Don and Eric now manage the family real estate empire. Ivanka, and husband, Jared Kishner, moved to Washington where Jared took a senior White House slot. Their wealth is estimated to range up to $740 million.
      Because of his affair with Maria Maples, Ivana divorced Donald.
    With his second wife (1993-1999), Maria Ann Maples, born in Georgia, USA, he has Tiffany Ariana.  Maria loved to party.  Putin had hired handsome Spencer Wagner as a body guard who complained he had difficulty keeping track of her. The press built up a lurid story of an affair, embarrassing Donald who fired Spencer thus destroying his career ending with death from a drug overdose.
     With his third and present wife, Melanie Knavs, born in Slovenia in 1970, he has Barron William, born in 2006.  He is a soccer team member.
Wealth Comparisons:
     President Putin’s salary is $133,000, yet among his assets are a palace that cost $1 billion and a yacht $100 million. No economist can tell us his net worth but many claim he is the richest person on earth with over $200 billion. The Shock Doctrine, explained well by Naomi Klein, led to the privatization, under Yeltsin, of many of the 45,000 Soviet state enterprises, thus creating many new billionaires who bought them at low prices.  For instance, a distant Putin relative, who, as an employee of an Arctic shipping company, was earning about $11,000 a year has now been valued as worth $730 million. A childhood friend who became a butcher is now valued at $650 million.  All told Putin’s circle of friends and relatives hold $30 billion.
     President Trump’s salary is $400,000 which he donates to charities. His net worth is $3.1 billion which is $400 less than when he took office. Other family worths are estimated at:  Eric $250 million, Donald Junior $200 million, Tiffany $600,000, Irvanka and Jared $762 million.
      Trump owns a Boeing 757, a Cessna jet, 3 Sikorsky helicopters, a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, and Phantom, a Maybach, a Ferrari, and a Merceded-Benz. He bought Melanie a $455,000 SLR McLcLaren.  
     Trump’s income is mainly from real estate started by his grandparents in 1906, continued by his parents, prolific builders during WWI, who went bankrupt during the Great Depression, returning to real estate in 1933 building single-family homes in Queens and Brooklyn. Donald worked for them while attending university, and full time by 1968, becoming the president of what he called The Trump Organization in 1973 while his dad, Fred, became Chairman of the Board.  They own, or have interests in:
12 golf courses in the USA, and 5 in Dubai, Ireland, and Scotland.
1 Winery in Virginia, USA, and 1 Carousel in Manhatten.
22 Real estate licensing deals in the USA and 16 in 12 other countries: Canada, Dominican Republic, Dubai, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Uruguay. Interests in Argentina and Brazil have been dropped.
      Forbes estimated his holdings to be worth $1.3 billion and that he earned $71 million from condo sales plus $42 million in rental income.
     Trump University, 2005-2010; For $ 35.000 each, middle aged hopefuls were offered a course advertised to make them rich in real estate. Students, claiming deceit, illegal teachings, and fraud, sued and won 2 court cases that Trump fought but settled, after his election, for $25 million to reimburse 6,000 students.
     With so many businesses and so many partners, is it not self-defeating for Trump to opt for politics where opponents can be so accommodating in seeking out wrongdoings? One of these has spent over a year investigating, finding many:
      Following a string of bankruptcies the Trump Organization accepted funds for projects in the US, Azerbaijan, and Panama from Russians with criminal histories. Over 60 Russians bought $100 million worth of units in   “Little Moscow”, Florida.
    Trump’s most painful headache yet may evolve from the FBI seizure of business documents from his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into the 2016 election interference.
     Nashi is a pro-Putin, 150,000-strong youth club that is democratic, anti-fascist, and anti oligarchic capitalism.  Summer camps are held near Moscow.
     Some sources argue that, with deep social problems and a shrinking economy, Russia’s capitalist oligarchs encourage Putin to support white supremacist, anti-immigrant forces in western countries.
     Putin, officially an independent, is affiliated with the United Russia Party that has as its main purpose to keep him in power.   US Republicans, opponents claim, use this as a role model.
     A basic fact remains to demand our attention: The safety and contentment of our world relies on a peaceful association of nations with empathy for each other and the environment. Russia and the USA are major players.
     Russia-USA summit meetings: Not being a member of NATO, Finland has offered its capital, Helsinki, as an acceptable location for summits.   A brief summary:
     1. 1975: Gerald Ford - Leonid Brezhnev. Leonid offered help to get Ford reelected,
     2. 1990: Mikhail Gorbachev - George HW Bush.  Both warned Iraq to leave Kuwait.
     3. 1997: Bill Clinton - Boris Yeltsin.  Clinton offered Yeltsin help in strengthening democracy but the USSR collapsed the following year.
     4. 2018: En route to the 16 July 2018 Helsinki summit, Trump insulted Germany and the UK then, after a 2-hour meeting alone with Putin, emerged praising him and later inviting him to visit Washington, all the while continuing US sanctions on Russia.
     The current priorities and relations with others of both Putin and Trump deserve another blog or two.  Suffice it here to add a few facts:
     Putin believes that Russians and Ukrainians are the same people so should return to being one nation. He helped Iran build a peaceful nuclear capability. Trump, at the urging if Israel, wants to cripple it. Putin promotes close ties with breakaway former Soviet countries.  He has reduced military staffs and facilities while improving effectiveness.  Trump has further increased the huge gap the USA maintains militarily from the rest of the world.  Putin improved conditions for, and relations among, the various religions. Although popular in Russia he does have opposition which he can control and persecute, unhindered by a congress, laws, and press that frustrate Trump. Trump’s religious beliefs that God loves the rich can be traced back 2500 years to the Persian King Cyrus, perhaps needing yet another blog.
     In the meantime we all need to maintain the pressure on Putin, Trump, and their oligarchs to behave in the interests of our only world.

Ye Olde Scribe
www.yeoldescribe.com
georgesweanor@comcast.net

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