Wednesday, 30 October 2019


Blog 205                                                   30 October 2019
Discrimination and Mind Sets
      A human flaw, discrimination ranges from mild to deadly with millions humiliated, denied equality, persecuted, expelled, or murdered. We are one species with billions of co-operative members who are harassed by far too many groups of discriminators against parent-child, rich-poor, young-old, male-female, religious-agnostic, natives-immigrants, whites-non whites, bi-polar politics, straight-LGBT+, and numerous other categories.
     We live in a confusing era of rapidly-changing, lingering, shallow, and deeply-rooted mind sets. Today, I am surprised and repelled by prejudices I thought we had outgrown.
Personal Background: Growing up in 5 towns and cities in Ontario, Canada, and attending co-educational schools that were Catholic, Protestant, and Agnostic oriented with both boys and girls sharing the top grades. My friends and associates were mixed with, in order of numbers, Irish, Scots, English, French, Italian, Jewish, Aboriginal, Negro, and German. There were likable Americans in there among all us Canucks but we disliked United Statesians hogging the term that actually belonged to all of us from Arctic Ellesmere Island to Antarctic Terra Del Fuego. Negro was, and still is to me, an innocent generic term. Talents, from brilliance to idleness, were evenly distributed.
     Like most students in the early grades, I had to live with school bullies. One day my very Irish mother turned the hose on a bully chasing me home. Another older boy, when he found my younger brother and I playing alone in an empty field would attack us, sending both of us home crying. One day while in a large group of students walking a city street to school, he attacked us. I had never used force before but I plunged my fist into his jaw, expecting a hurtful retaliation. What a surprise when he simply walked away, never to bother us again. I learned that, sometimes, justified force was necessary. I was quite athletic but avoided contact sports in fear of bruising others, so I used my talents in track and field contests and basketball. I did like hockey but only when no body contact was allowed.
      The groups I associated with saw only humor in such events as the annual 12 July Orange Protestant parade with the local Catholic parish priest tolling the funeral bell as it passed his church. The Orange Lodge still commemorated the 1690 victory of the Protestant Dutch William of Orange over the Catholic James II for the British throne at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland. We left such differences for parents and grandparents who still thought them important. My sister would boast that the 12 July parades were to celebrate her birthday.
     There was never any friction among my associates because of the various religions to which they adhered. We knew Blacks as descendants of escapees from slavery in the USA and as very pleasant porters on Canadian trains. So it puzzles me today when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is forced to apologize and confess to alleged huge errors in judgment made during his school years simply for coloring his face just to play innocent racial roles. It is healthy, educational, and entertaining for us humans to make fun of each other in such a way as to inflict no harm. My numerous associates disagree with each other but never in harmful ways. A quick look at harmful discrimination:
      Racial: Now in the USA I am troubled by the necessity for such as this essay:
Prejudice by Kayla Dickey. Colorado Springs;
     “To the lady who held her purse a little tighter when my husband walked down the grocery aisle: What you did not know is he would be the first to help you pick up a pack of heavy water or grab an item from the top shelf for you. To the guy who got tense when my my husband was walking behind him in the store parking lot and kept looking back. What you failed to realize is he was parked next to you with his family in the car. Yes, that car that seems too nice for him to drive. To the cashier who assumed he would be paying with food stamps. Little did you know that he has a good job and works long days to support his family. At one point he had two jobs. That means two different shifts a day. To the guy who followed him around the store, down every aisle. He was just looking for band-aids for his daughter,
     To the lady who did not grab her purse a little tighter when I walked down the grocery aisle. Did I
not come off as intimidating to you? To the guy who did not even care that I was walking behind him in the parking lot. Why did you not get tense? Am I not threatening enough? To the cashier who did not think I would be paying with food stamps. Is it because I am wearing scrubs? To the guy that did not follow me around the store: Why did you not assume I would be shoplifting? Because I am white!
     I will never know what it feels like to be racially discriminated against. I only know how I feel when it happens to my husband. It is heart breaking and sickening. For anyone who says this is not true is in denial or has not seen it happen first hand.” . . . . .
     It hurts me when I find from Blacks they still suffer resentment from old and new discrimination.
Discrimination remains part of the flawed US penal system. With 5% of world population, the United States has 25% of world’s prisoners: 2.3 million of which 19% are held in privately-owned-and- operated-for-profit jails. Incarceration rates are: Whites 1 in 17, Latino I in 6, Black 1 in 3 = more in prison today than were slaves in 1850. Discrimination, while declining, still infects associations, education, housing, employment, and remuneration. Consider a few areas:
     Parenthood is a vital responsibility criminally neglected. Qualifications need to be taught and permits need to be established and enforced. Some schools have courses on the subject but much more is essential. Today enormous harm is being done to children born to girls with multiple ignorant and disinterested partners. We all require love and many girls offer sex hoping to get it only to find the father flees child responsibility. It has been a shock to me to find how widespread this harm is. Let me describe just one example. A caring nurse friend of mine learned of a couple who had 7 highly-neglected children. The parents constantly fought each other with blows and foul language. They used their money more on booze than food and child care, The father is now in jail for family abuse and the children farmed out to foster homes. My friend, in spite of many problems of her own, has accepted custody of the 9-year old diabetic daughter who is a talented, likable, caring, helpful, well behaved person desperately needing love and attention but so full of resentful 9-year anger that she erupts, usually monthly, screaming loudly, cursing and attacking her new benefactors, throwing things necessitating taking her to hospital hoping to find curing medications. These episodes can last 3 days after which she apologizes but only partially remembers them.
Domestic Violence: An unacceptable global crime, it is highest among low-income and indigenous groups. In the USA awareness usually starts in the 7th grade at ages of 11-13. From 10 to 20% of children witness abuse of a parent or caregiver. Both sexes are attacked, including same-sex marriages but women suffer the most serious wounds and deaths. Australia reports that an average of one wife a week is killed by her husband. In 2017 in the USA over 1,500 women were killed by their partners. The percentage of women who were ever physically assaulted by an intimate partner varies among and within countries, and is rated by one study as: South Africa 80, Nigeria 75, India 70, Turkey 42, New Zealand 35, Egypt 34, Canada 39, USA 33, Switzerland 21, Philippines 15. In 2016 in Diepsloot, South Africa, 56% of the men surveyed admitted to raping or beating a women in the past year. The rate of domestic violence on indigenous women in Australia may be 40 times the rate for non-Indigenous women. In Alaska it varies from 10 to 80. In Canada it is 7 times. Much of this is due to European colonists changing strong matriarchal tribes into patriarchal. Thousands of women have also been beaten during pregnancy.
Women: After a long history of discrimination and abuse, women today are taking over the world with high talent in many fields previously denied them except in wartime when their abilities were needed to replace the men being slaughtered in wars. During WWII, I watched women piloting aircraft from factories to squadrons in the UK. As a POW I mingled with Mongolian female soldiers captured in battle. Yet, women still complain that male employers hire women for their looks rather than their ability.
     Blessed with a devoted mother and five wonderful, talented daughters, I have devoted efforts to promote female activities. It was so gratifying to rush home from school to tell a waiting mother all the happenings in my school day. When I achieved positions of authority I ensured that girls had equal access
with boys to team leagues, other sport and entertainment facilities, and employment slots.
     Numerous employers were hesitant in hiring women as their retention could be temporary, giving way to Always burdened with the highly important and all-embracing chores of motherhood, employers were hesitant in hiring women. Charlotte Elizabeth Whitton, 1896-1975, and first female mayor of a major Canadian city (Ottawa 1951-56 and 1960-64) put it so well To succeed in business a woman must be many times as capable as a man. Fortunately that is easy.”
     Back in 1938 I was offered permanent employment in a bank, paying $400 a year, increased to $500 when they immediately transferred me to another branch 70 miles away where I would have to pay $7 a week for room and board, leaving me with $136 the first year to squander on girls, clothing, and entertainment, yet I enjoyed life. Remuneration increased at $100 annually with another $100 for passing a university course in accounting. I worked in or with 10 branches in 3 cities, all with only one female – the denied-promotions secretary who usually was the most informed person on the staff of 6 men. Several became pregnant, so had to leave as motherhood was a full time, more important job, so the prevailing mind set was that women would be far more tuned to home rather than world affairs and could not be efficient in such jobs as reporters, world news analysts, or editors. Today my top in-depth, honest reporters are female, but do share the role with several men. Women invented agriculture and for 25,000 years before the Christian era we were ruled by female Sun Goddesses, the majority quite good yet with two societies that used us men as studs continually replacing us for younger studs.
      Several highly-talented women tell me they prefer working for men to avoid female cattiness.
Educational Discrimination: During my RCAF career that demanded frequent moves it seemed that every educational system was superior to and disdainful of all others. Many times I had to fight officials to avoid losing credits or having my daughters put back a grade. I succeeded and each time my daughters ended up leading their classes in the new schools. One example: When I was transferred from 426 Squadron near Montreal (among other chores it completed 600 Korean War Airlift flights minus a fatality) to NORAD HQ in Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado denied my oldest daughter’s application to transfer from McGill in Montreal as her grades were only 75%. I drove to Boulder but failed to convince the registrar that grade inflation had not infected McGill University so 75% was a high grade. I had to enlist my wartime buddy, the registrar at McGill, whose strong reaction got her accepted where she ended up leading her classes.
     Similar set-backs still plague professionals moving from one state, province, or country to another. And then there are dangerous flaws among cheaply-recruited and inadequately-trained employees in the rapidly-expanding companies that provide services such as health care. Profits can prevail over care.
Ethnic Cleansing continues its long, bloody, cruel, and widespread criminal history. It has brought immense sufferings and death to millions, leaving strong retribution desires. Wikipedias descriptions of 125 worldwide incidents screams that humans have not earned survival. Where to start? The 3-year battle that saw Rome completely destroy Carthage, selling the 50,000 survivors into slavery 2,265 ya? The extermination 1,169 ya of the 200,000 Wu Hu by the Chinese? The numerous expulsions and executions of Jews initiated by Edward I in England in 1290 AD and spread to France, Spain, and German states to the Israeli expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians in 1948 and still continuing? The Turkish massacres of Greeks and Armenians? WWI when Germany planned to remove 3 million Poles and Jews, replacing them with German settlers? The forced repatriation of up to 2 million Mexican-Americans during the Great Depression 1929-1936?, The extermination of 8 million Ukrainians by Joseph Stalin’s deliberate famine, 1932-33?, The 100,000 whites who fled the Congo after Belgium granted independence in 1960?
     We even have a case of ritual beheading including children.One shameful example is the current forceful expulsion by Turks of Kurds who were of vital help in the US fight to destroy Daesh in Syria. Some 250,000 Kurds hope to flee to Iraq from Syria where the US still protects the oil but has abandoned its effective allies. The 28 million Kurds are dispersed, 12 million in Turkey, 6 million in each of Iraq and Iran, and 1.8 million in Syria.
     Today, we have numerous aspirants for top political office. We must select and support those most capable of promoting encouraging rhetoric into actions that will ensure a safer, kinder, more equitable planet.

Ye Olde Scribe

Saturday, 19 October 2019


     Yes we can!
    We homo sapiens do suffer crippling faults including many deniers who worship the God of Greed, putting short-term gains ahead of long-term survival. But, remarkably, we are very unique species, the sole known one ever capable of recognizing, planning, and effecting needed changes. The empathy of billions now plunging into the vital remedial task needs, deserves, and must have our support.
     The Press labels this current extinction the 6th, ignoring the first cyanobacteria one, so let me call it the 7th. This blog is an update of Blog 192 “Climate Change War Mobilization” of 16 December 2018.
     We cannot escape unpleasant sacrifices, but, as this time we humans have and are causing the problem, we must all accept the remedial cost. Bright as we are, we do need much help from all the data we can unearth. Open, co-operative minds are essential. We humans are one fragile species; we have one fragile home. To differ peacefully is progressive; to militarize differences is suicidal.
     Cruelly, the odds against Life are staggering. Continuous care must be a top priority. A brief summary: Recently, we re-computed that our universe of over 1,400,000,000,000,000, stars started with a Big Bang 3.5 billion not the 4.5 billion years ago (bya) we calculated just a few years ago. But now Australians tells us they have hard evidence that their oldest rocks dating back to 3.48 bya contain well-preserved fossilized microorganisms. Life arrived so soon?
     Among all of the septillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets) in our Milky Way Galaxy (1 of 100 trillion galaxies), ours is the only yet-known one with a biome that permitted the origin and growth of Life. This precious biosphere extends over 19 km down in seas and rock and 64 km into the atmosphere, Here, some 5 billion species evolved of which 99% are now extinct, yet we estimate that from 10 to 14 million species exist today. We still seek a meaning and purpose for all this.
     The first mass extinction of life started about 2.5 bya when cyanobacteria evolved to manufacture a poisonous gas – oxygen - but took 100 million years to pollute the atmosphere enough to kill off most of those teeming prokaryotes, eukaryote, archaea, and bacteria species that were single-celled without a nucleus. Survivors still exist in deep, oxygen-free seas and rock. Enough carbon was also inserted into the atmosphere to plunge the world into an extended ice age.
     This current 7th extinction is already threatening a million species, yet it really is not due for a few million years as many other cyclical factors contribute such as continental drift, shape of orbit, tilt of earth, volcanic activity, asteroid impacts, and sea levels. Carelessly, our species has excelled in creating the factors, such as excessive carbon, methane, contaminant emissions, overpopulation of humans and cattle, and misuse of water that are accelerating its deadly attack.
     The beginning of the explosion of life based on oxygen is placed about 542 million years ago, (mya) during the Cambrian period at the start of the Paleozoic era, the same time the Ediacarans (earliest known complex multi-cellular organisms, 635-542 mya) disappeared from the worldwide fossil record.
      The first mass extinction of oxygen-based life came 443 mya at the end of the Ordovician period when 85% of all species were lost. The second was 359 mya at the end of the Devonian period when 75% perished, the third was 252 mya at the end of the Permian period, the 4th was 200 mya ending the Triassic period, the 5th was 66 mya at the end of the Cretaceous period, killing 76%.
     Additionally, Nature has persecuted humans: Chronic pain infects 1/5th of the world humans. Some 322 million suffer from depression. Annually, 7.9 million human infants (6% of all births) are born with serious birth defects. Almost 800,000 adults die annually by suicide which is 1.4% of all deaths. So cruel!
     Heaven, hell, and purgatory are all here together, created by Nature, numerous life forms, and humans. Evolution, we could presume, favours selfish genes to promote survival. Why, then, do so many species exhibit empathy? Warm blooded birds, cats, chimps, dogs, dolphins, elephants, lambs, marmosets, rats, voles, wolves will all make sacrifices to feed, assist wounded, or just befriend others including other species. Humans, especially the young, are now accelerating empathy, so there is hope But, we need to correct many areas where we are falling short of steering this planet towards the paradise it is in a few small areas that need global enlargement.
       Far too many humans have joined Nature in harboring indifference to Life. They have concluded
that we are doomed because we cannot win against powerful vested interests controlling us throughout history, so have resigned themselves to grabbing what they still can from life for the immediate future. We must not allow this attitude prevail. Our task is all encompassing and starts with the vital, time consuming, job of parenting that implants loving bonding, and respect for other things, animate and inanimate.
     Our 7th Mass Extinction: With the main exemption of the Trump administration in the USA that considers the environment a source of profit, most of the rest of the world including most of the USA, with varying degrees of dangerous foot dragging, are embracing actions to delay the pace.
Activists and Organizations fighting Climate Change continue to grow. Wikipedia lists 516 organizations fighting climate change (16 governmental, 83 non governmental, another 21 continental, then another 396 national).
     Added to my blog 192 on Climate Change are: The United Nations’ International Panel On Climate Change, the UN Environmental Programme, and the World Meteorological Organization that lead the fight, ably assisted by a multitude of others including: The Green Climate Fund, designed in 2014 with the goal of raising $100 billion by 2020 to help developing countries fight climate change. Its HQ was built in Incheon, South Korea. Led by the EU and USA, 48 countries joined and promised funds. Obama pledged $3.5 billion of which the $2 billion still pending was withdrawn by Trump who complained it was a scheme to drain money from rich to poor countries. Some other pledges: Japan 15.4b, Sweden $4b, Norway $1.7b, Germany 1b, Hungary $1b, France $775m, UK $720m, Canada $277m, Australia 200m.
     One case, typical of the inaction that 16-year-old Swedish Greta Thunberg is leading the world to rectify is: The Grand Banks off Newfoundland teemed with cod and haddock discovered for the world in 1497 by John Cabot. (Giovanni Caboto a Venetian explorer employed by England). Settlements from England grew with shipbuilding and other fish industry jobs as well as trawler visits from other European countries plus Japan and China. harvesting 200,000 tons annually. World War II ceased attempts to regulate larger trawlers. By 1968 swarms of trawlers were taking 800,000 tons annually. All knew this was unsustainable but the government procrastinated fearful of losing jobs. By 1974 the take fell to 300,000 tons. Canadian jurisdiction was extended from 12 to 200 miles offshore but did not prevent a total collapse in 1993 forcing a total shutdown. Only now are stocks recovering to permit very limited fishing. Many of the 40,000 who left the area went to work in the tar sands of Alberta thus increasing the setbacks to controlling global climate.
     Greenpeace deserves high praise, Founded in Vancouver, BC, in 1971 it has offices in over 39 countries and over 3 million volunteers with international HQ in Amsterdam. As it accepts no funds from political parties, governments, or corporations, it relies on foundations and followers to finance its goal of helping our Earth nurture life in all its diversity. It has operated 4 ships to discourage, and bring world attention to, over fishing, commercial whaling, deforestation, nuclear proliferation, and genetic engineering, but Greenpeace also revealed the need to police members. It prompted 100 Nobel laureates to demand it moderate its stand after 3 members destroyed in 2011 a test plot of modified wheat near Canberra, Australia. Greenpeace activists outraged Peru by damaging delicate Nazca Lines (alien navigational aids?) when performing a publicity stunt during Dec 2014 climate talks in Lima.
     The United Nations 2019 Ranking of 57 Nations on Climate Protection used 14 indicators within 4 categories: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Total Energy Use, Renewable Energy Use, and Climate Policy. It reveals the enormity of what needs to be done.
     Sweden leads with a score of only 76.28, Saudi Arabia is last with a 8.62 score. Other rankings;
    70’s:   Morocco, Lithuania.
    60’s:   Latvia, UK, Switzerland, Malta, India, Norway, Finland, Croatia, Denmark, EU, Portugal,                   Ukraine,
    50’s:   Luxembourg, Romania, France, Brazil. Italy, Egypt, Mexico, Slovakia, Germany,
              Netherlands, Belarus, Greece, Belgium,
 40’s:     Czech Republic, China, Argentina, Spain, Austria, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa,                          Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, New Zealand, Estonia, Cyprus, Algeria, Ireland, Japan, Turkey,
  30’s     Malaysia, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia,
  20’s:    Taiwan, Korea, Iran,
  10’s:    United States,
  00’s:    Saudi Arabia.
     It is sad, shameful, terrifying, unbelievable, and many other adjectives that the United States ranks second to last in spite of its millions of informed, intelligent, and activist citizens. How can they be so ineffective? In spite of all the increases in numbers and ferocity of floods, fires, droughts, storms, and with almost all scientists warning we have only 12 years to contain the steady rise in temperatures that can kill all life, just 70% believe the climate is changing and only 60% believe it is due to human activity.
     Far too many are lured into distrust of government and its ballot box. They claim politicians are all talk, avid fund raisers, controlled by vested interests, but with no meaningful action on vital issues, The Democratic debates revealed over a score of presidential hopefuls united in their promises to enforce positive climate actions. Needed election reforms: compulsory voting, voting day a holiday, no fund raising, candidates granted equal stipends from taxes,
     A current Reuters poll finds that almost 70%, including a majority of Republicans, want the US to take aggressive action to combat climate change - but only a third would support an extra tax of $100 a year to help. It will cost far more than that whether we survive or perish.
    Many have spent large sums in taking environment-friendly actions in acquiring fuel efficient appliances, homes, cars, and travel. Greta Thunberg led us again by taking 2 weeks to sail across the Atlantic via boat instead of flying to officiate at climate activities in North and South America. She met with the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton to argue the need to replace the tar sands industry so vital to the economy while they pointed out the increasingly high environmentally-friendly restrictions in place, higher than other world fossil fuel sources. Healthy compromises are urgently required. An example of small, but rapidly growing, action is the fact that 7.3 million (3.2% of population) have given up meat. 
     Gross inequality is yet another unacceptable thorn. For instance: In 10 seconds, Jeff Bezos, the owner and founder of Amazon, makes more money than the median employee of Amazon makes in an entire year. We live in a time when millions of Americans, including many Amazon employees, are working 2 or 3 jobs to feed their families while the three wealthiest people in this country own more wealth than the bottom half. How do we ensure the inevitable revolution is orderly and peaceful? Thanks partially to Trump, Amazon will pay no taxes this year.
     The enormity of fighting climate change and maintaining a life style worth living also demands we cease such inhumane crimes as are waging, especially in Hong Kong, Palestine, Spain, Syria, Yemen, as well as corruption, control of oligarchs, inappropriate behavior, discrimination, Mexican drug wars, and so on.
     The price is high but necessary.     On with the task!
PS I have just learned that the next G7 summit meeting will be held in 2020 in a Trump hotel in Florida and that mention of climate change will not be included. This is abject surrender and must not be tolerated. This 46th meeting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US represents 58% of the world’s wealth. The rotating head of the group will be the USA in 2020, so it gets to host the meet, but should never dictate the agenda.
                                                                                                                         Ye Olde Scribe