Monday, 30 July 2018


     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

Tuesday, 10 July 2018


     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. 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