Thursday, April 28, 2016

Let's all say "NO" to the sale/purchase of blood!

After the "tainted blood scandal" in Canada, in the 1980's, Mr. Justice Krever was appointed to head a commission to investigate and to recommend steps that would, hopefully, prevent such a disaster from being repeated in Canada.
Two of his recommendations are:

    1) Donated blood is a public resource—Canadian Blood Services must act as a trustee ofthis public resource for the benefit of all persons in Canada;

    2) Safety of the blood supply system is paramount—the principle of safety must transcend other principles and policies. (from Michael Decter's presentation to the Ontario government, in opposition to the sale of blood plasma)

    Today, there is already one private clinic collecting and paying for blood plasma in Saskatoon, an operation opposed by the Ontario government during the election of 2014, opposed also by OPSEU, the Ontario Union of Public Service Workers, and opposed also by BloodWatch ( an organization of some of the victims of the tainted blood scandal.
    The notion of "selling" body parts, and blood plasma qualifies as such, is, or ought to be anathema to most sentient Canadians. Not only is this another slippery slope down which our country need not slide, given that while blood donations may be levelling, or perhaps even falling in some quarters, the supply is close to meeting need. Also there are other ways to encourage, and not incentivize, Canadians to donate blood. Rarely do Canadians not come forward if and when they are made aware of an impending shortage of blood supply, for example, prior to many holiday weekends in summer, when road travel is at a peak.
    The ethics, of course, of paying for human blood is arguably unacceptable to many, including your scribe.
    Transactional "deals" have come to characterize contemporary culture. Sure, that statement is an oversimplification, literally a line drawing. Nevertheless, it is worth mining for its implications, especially in the context of "privatized"  "for-profit" blood sales.
    In the United States, the head office location of the blood plasma "traders", free speech is for sale.
    So are tainted test results for drug safety, for emission tests, for corporate responsibility, purchased with professional contracts in the billions with the Public Relations industry. Lobbyists, message merchants, talking heads, shill-representatives (the louder the better to distract from the limits of the "truthful" message contained in the infomercial.
    Also for sale are convention delegate badges among political contenders, determined, at all cost, to deliver favourable votes on the respective convention floors in Cleveland and Philadelphia.
    $889,000,000 is the purported sum committed to influence the presidential election in 2016 by one corporate company, the Koch Brothers, who, according to the New Yorker, are reputed to have their own spy agency, dedicated to ferretting out dirt on anyone who criticizes them and their libertarian, frontier, global-warming-denying agenda. Now, that's a transaction a piece of which there will be hundreds of campaign "hacks" overturning mountains to access. And in the wake of that "pretense" to a kind of perverted truth, there will be hundreds if not thousands of careers lost and a handful of careers elevated, as their talking head puppets.
    In this transactional universe, people, individual human beings, are little more than a consumer, a writer of cheques, a holder of credit cards, a digital number in a plethora of marketing and advertising agency databanks. Like the nuggets of copper and iron that our forefathers sweated to bring to the surface, that went into the furnaces for refining and melting into alloys of various capacities, and the oak and pine timber that is stripped from our forests and pushed through the saws and the sanders, through the lathes and the stain rooms to form our furniture, we are needed for our "production value" measured in units produced and sold, profits and dividends 'earned', and yes, wages paid, disposable and defined by our function, in the higher order of the universe that is ruled by the oligarchs, the corporate moguls, the hedge-fund managers and the Wall Street monsters.

  • Our water supply, already under the corporate control of a few corporate vacuums who bottle and sell it back to the same people who consider it a "public resource",
  • our land, a source of interminable and exhaustive profiteering, (in Canada 15 of our largest cities are experiencing a significant overvaluing of their real estate market, as reported today on CBC)
  • our public health care system is under threat from the private pirates who seek to offer better service, faster, for those who can write those same cheques
  • our libraries are underfunded and closing like the endangered dodo's before them (this week Newfoundland and Labrador announced the closing of approximately 40% of their public libraries, as a cost-saving measure)
  • our military budgets are ballooning, along with our national security budgets, in the interest of keeping pace with innovation and high technology
  • and our personal genetic code is being analyzed by corporate laboratories at a substantial profit, so that we might be more able to manage our inevitable illnesses and diseases, already baked into our bodies
  • our entertainment industry is merely another arm of the corporate monsters, (just today Comcast agreed to purchase DreamWorks for $3.5 billion) in another of the many evolutionary moves to sequester control of the propaganda machine into the hands of those few in charge...
  • 3-D printers are already generating appendages like hands and fingers, for those whose lives have been curtailed by their loss, once again by researchers and laboratories whose eventual aim is to make such offering available on the open market, for profit...
  • universities and colleges have become so enmeshed in the money-acquisition obsession, they have sold both their integrity and their scholarship to the highest bidders, in an effort to compete with others doing the same "pimping" for dollars, status, reputation and sustainability
And in light of these other "normal" and natural developments in a culture that holds the pursuit of and the acquisition of money to be the highest ideal to which human beings can and do aspire, now we are about to watch another act in the sell-off of human nature, for the benefit of those have's who care only about their having more.
And, one wonders if there are enough voices, spines, arms and legs, not to mention brains, willing to stand against this avalanche of profiteering, by sticking our collective fingers, arms, legs and even torso's in the dyke against the tidal wave that threatens to drown us first emotionally, then psychically, then spiritually and finally physically.
Time alone holds the answer to such questions....and hope alone is not and will not be enough.

House of Commons

e-126 (Health care services)

42nd Parliament
Initiated by Kat Lanteigne from Toronto, Ontario, on January 18, 2016, at 3:05 p.m. (EDT)

Petition to the Government of Canada        

e-126 (Health care services)


  • Over 30,000 Canadians were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C via tainted blood in Canada, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Canadians and harming countless families;
  • Canada spent $17 million dollars on a publicly-funded federal inquiry which revealed that the paid-donor system was a key factor contributing to Canadians receiving tainted blood;
  • Billions of dollars in compensation have been given to those who received tainted blood and their families due, in part, to Canada's former reliance on blood from paid donors;
  • The Krever Inquiry recommended an end to a private, for-profit blood donor system in Canada, citing these five basic principles regarding how the blood system should be governed: 1. Blood is a public resource; 2. Donors should not be paid; 3. Sufficient blood should be collected so that importation from other countries is unnecessary; 4. Access to blood and blood products should be free and universal; and 5. Safety of the blood supply system is paramount;
  • Our blood plasma is not meant to be a commodity that is bought and sold, we must protect our voluntary blood system in Canada and ensure we have one national operator, the Canadian Blood Services, to oversee blood collection and plasma collection in our country.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, request (or call upon) the Government of Canada to:
Refuse to issue or approve any license to Canadian Plasma Resources or other private, for-profit, donor-paid blood products company to operate in Canada; and
Implement legislation that ensures no for-profit, donor-paid blood donor clinics are allowed to operate in Canada.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Clinging to militarism and the hubris it reinforces as our mask for authentic power

Of course we completely reject Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion’s argument that it was already a ‘done deal’ and he had no options but to sign the export permit on those light-armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a deal negotiated by the former Conservative government. He could have, and should have, refused.

Just as John Turner should have revoked those patronage appointments made by Pierre Trudeau on his exit from the national stage.

Just as Putin should have refused to sell those surface-to-air missiles to Iran, a deal consummated just this week.

Just as President Barack Obama would be well advised to refuse to sell cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, as a “pandering” to invoke a restoration of their friendship, given the frayed nerves over the Iran nuclear deal, and the Saudi belief that the United States is moving away from its traditional ally, Saudi Arabia, and toward a more friendly posture with Iran. (On this Netanyahu and the Saudi leadership would seem to be in profound agreement.

Back to the Canadian ‘deal’ on light-armoured vehicles: not only is the Saudi government deeply engaged with the Islamic terrorists, either directly or indirectly, through the funding provided by some of their most wealth citizens, it also is fully committed to the abuses of human rights, that include not only a Neanderthal view of the relationships between men and women, to the total demeaning of women. The Dion argument that, if Canada had not completed the sale, some other country would have...

What kind of rationalization is that?  Is a bank robber now at liberty to say, after completing his haul, “If I had not done it, someone else would have?” Is a person who drives drunk, slams into another vehicle, killing all six occupants, now free to tell the court, “If I had not done it, someone else would have?”

And as for the argument that some 400 jobs in London Ontario are dependent on those light-armoured vehicles, why could the government not demonstrate a commitment to a new way of operating on the international stage, by re-directing those workers, high skilled as they probably are, into a new renewable energy production facility. Could we not begin to withdraw from full participation in the arms race, including all weapons, knowing full well that the weapons lobby in the United States will only begin to consider drawing down their production if and when they are shamed into such a stance.

And as for those cluster bombs that Obama is reported to be considering offering to the Saudi’s, just what the Middle East needs is another highly sophisticated, killing machine to eradicate another half million innocent civilians, in order to re-establish the Sunni superiority in the face of a rising tide of Shia power. Of course, both Obama and the Saudi’s will no doubt argue that they are only engaged in such a sale/purchase as part of the very necessary even urgent need to wipe ISIS out, and those headlines will ignore completely any prospect of “collateral damage” from the cluster bombs. That would change the story from a clean, clinical and objective “business deal” between two governments who will argue that in order to survive in the current global climate of fear, violence, chicanery, and hard power, every country has to “keep pace” with the rapid advance in weapons design and delivery systems.

It is time for the international community to cease and desist in putting on the mask of hard power, for the purpose of “looking invincible” in order to garner more political weight, influence and opportunities to inflict abuse/harm/conflict on whichever country or force is the ‘enemy-du-jour’.

We are watching a game of uber-transactional interactions, dedicated either to enhance power directly or to smooth ruffled feathers which is just another way to enhance nation state power....and in the words of the proverbial comic, “How is that working out?”

Putting aside a presidential campaign for the Republican nomination that is calculated to motivate knee-jerk red-necks to rush to vote for either Trump or Cruz, and the Putin public relations campaign that effectively starves his people while he expands his geopolitical influence through arms sales, and military interventions of the most illicit kind, the price we all pay for this political/military/national security/corporate state power, enforced by military deals, arms deals and military parades (dangerously including but not restricted to North Korea, and Trump’s willy-nilly off-hand comment that he would welcome both Japan and South Korea acquiring nuclear weapons), we are tilting toward becoming victimized by our own short-sighted, illegitimate and self-sabotaging clinging to the militarism of the last two-plus centuries.

And there is no end in sight!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Venom, invective, revenge, it leaves scars that cannot be erased

Let's talk about venom, the kind of viciousness, meanness, name calling and empty-headed, brain-dead invective that is flooding the presidential campaign for the presidency of the United States. And the toxicity is clearly not restricted to the political campaign. It jumps out at everyone every day. The tenor of the times is mean-spirited, even at the one-to-one level in commerce, in medicine, in the legal system, and clearly in the political system. Justin Trudeau's sunny ways is to counter-intuitive to the current mood of the culture, as to be able to be rendered at best superficial, and at worst, deceiving and self-serving.
We are living in a time when a statement by an angry teen co-ed who has just experienced the separation of her parents, says to her estranged father, "I know how to hurt you and I am going to do it as much and for as long as I can!" And the statement is evocative of the mood of that individual, but has become the mood of the culture. Hurting another, for the mere sake of the power and the control of the exercise, whether or not the hurting comprises integrity, honesty, or even common sense, is stalking the airwaves, the internet and too many interactions between people who would otherwise be at least civil, and at best, compassionate, and perhaps even a touch forgiving.
Such abuse of power is clearly indicative of a deep and profound sense of powerlessness, a kind of "do it to the other before s/he does it to me" attitude, that has lowered the word and the practice of competition to a new sewer.
Inflamed rhetoric, as the chosen vehicle for the purpose of being "heard" and "heeded" is also counter-intuitive to being heard, respected and considered.
And the question of whether or not the invective is based on facts,  or based on a reasoned inquiry into the motives of the target of the attacks, or based on the national, provincial, local or even familial best interests  is irrelevant, at the moment of the attack.
We have become an individual and a collective attack machine in too many of our public and private interactions, and the collective impact includes a level of alienation, detachment, disaffection, and reciprocal contempt not to mention the impact on the lives of individuals who somehow wear a target on their backs, in the eyes of those seeking such targets.
They could be fat, or misshapen; they could be of a different race or ethnicity; they could be friend of someone whom the attacker does not like; they could be considered "too" whatever happens to be the flavour of the contempt today, too smart, too talkative, too withdrawn, too loud, too argumentative, too talented, too small, too 'out-of-step' with the current vogue, or too rich or too poor....anything so long as they serve the purpose of being "less" than the attacker.
And, lest dear reader, you fall into the slumber that this is just another "pity-party" by another soft liberal who lives in  lala-land, out of touch with the reality of the hard-knocks school of street life, you can waken to the differing truth that our individual and collective "fight" mentality and discourse and attitudes are contributing to our steep rise in health care bills, our steep rise in street and domestic violence, our persistence in deferring to military action as a method of solving disputes, and our insistence on litigating everything from what used to be known as "back-yard" disputes, to consumer rip-offs, to professional malpractice, to small claims court, and to significant and troublesome major litigation, from which process everyone loses, and often a lot.
The under side of the toxic vernacular, and its dominance even in the coffee shop conversations of thousands of adolescents, is that we are demonstrating 'how' it is to be 'successful' in our competitive and unforgiving culture.
We adults 'role model' the kind of words, tone, and attitudes that children learn. The public service message of the father screaming at his young son for drawing on the wall of the house, followed by the same son duplicating his father's tone with his young sister, demonstrates a small and yet useful approach to slowing down the cataract of anger, contempt and the need for inordinate control that paralyses too many situations, and thereby too many relationships.
And to think that the "I know how to hurt you and will do it as much as for as long as I can" attitude can and does live for more than a quarter century in the same now mature adult, only demonstrates not only the obsessive clinging to that attitude but also the complicity of the culture to endorse and to reinforce such an attitude.
I recall vividly, listening to a mother tar her husband with the rhetorical brush, "Your father is no good, never has been and never will be" and lament that crawled across the soft-wood painted floors in a very modest home for  half a century. This vehemence, contempt and obsession for control is a virus against which there is no known remedy, nor even an ameliorative agent....except possibly a consensus that we can all try to amend our brutish capacity when and if we feel it rushing out of our mouths.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tax evasion needs international resources, muscle and collaboration....could this be the needed tipping point?

According to Oxfam's analysis of the companies regulatory filings and other publicly available documents:
  • Apple has $181 billion stranded in foreign subsidiaries.
  • General Electric has $119 billion.
  • Microsoft has $108 billion.
  • Drug company Pfizer has $74 billion.
  • IBM has $61 billion.
  • Merck has $60 billion.
  • Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson has $53 billion.
  • Google-owner Alphabet has $47 billion.
The sum of the 50 largest companies adds up to more than $1.3 trillion. For comparison purposes, that's almost as much as Canada's entire GDP, which the World Bank says clocked in at just over $1.7 trillion US in 2014. (From CBC News website, April 14, 2016)

This is no small, or exclusively national, problem. And although the World Bank and the IMF and G-20 finance officials meet today in Washington to stare this monster down, there is no reason to contemplate effective measures to combat the tax evasion that is robbing those same national governments of billions of dollars.
Until now, tax, the very concept, has been parked in a national context: from the design, to the laws, to the enforcement, and to the collection and the pursuit of evaders taxes have been the purview of national (and then provincial/state or municipal governments). Some have started to call for the United Nations to police the tax evasion epidemic, but given the cost/benefit analysis perspective of  belonging to the United Nations, it is very hard to imagine many countries signing off on a United Nations Tax Police bureaucracy.
So, again, we are faced with an international problem, with symptoms that could significantly impair, if not destroy, a nation's capacity to provide the normal amenities like health care, education, clean air and water, which is missing an international muscle to combat it.
On one side, there appears to be more countries willing and eager to shape their laws to magnetize and incentivize foreign investors to park their billions in accounts so far secret from the public. Like the casino/lottery charade that too many governments have resorted to in order to keep pace with rising costs of basic services, tax havens are another instrument/arrow in the quiver of the uber-rich to pave their paths to reversing the Indian definition of "untouchable" (from the uber-poor to the uber-rich).
On the other side, few national governments would easily agree to surrender any capacity they might now have to search, find, prosecute and collect from the tax evaders who have some legitimate connection to their respective nations. National pride, national competence, national responsibility and national duty prevail over the surrender of those epaulets to an international agency acting on their shared and joint behalf.
So while there will be some anguish, some wringing of hands, and some serious frowns and finger-wagging coming from the Washington conflab today, there is unlikely to be any substantive action taken either to prevent specific nations from accommodating tax evaders or to prosecute those same offenders.
The Canadian government proudly boasts having just allocated some $440 million to Canada Revenue Agency to prosecute Canadian tax evaders, and in that single act, removed that money out of the potential it has to provide health care, education, housing and work with dignity for aboriginal people across the country. Other countries seeking to recover their lost tax revenue will presumably take similar steps, thereby depleting foreign aid budgets, robbing developing countries from the enhanced opportunities for health care, education clean water and normal human amenities.
And the tax evaders, those individuals and corporations who can readily afford the best tax lawyers and accountants from the world market for such services, will seek alternative locations and instruments that keep their efforts ahead of the revenue departments of the various nations.
And all of this depletion of national revenue streams, resembling the hundreds if not thousands of pipelines that stretch into the waters of the Great Lakes, gulping fresh water, much of it for commercial purposes for profit for corporations avoiding any compensation for the public purse, would have gone under the 'radar' of public awareness and public prosecution.
One is prompted to ask some cogent questions:
  • Are tax evaders so far ahead of the public knowledge and capacity that, just as we are with the ever morphing technology deployment of the Islamic terrorists, national governments are playing catch up, while also falling behind even further every day?
  • Are national governments (and the politicians seeking office) going to have to start campaigning, where they are elected, on the issue of joining international initiatives in an increasingly robust and thereby costly manner, in order to protect the people they represent?
  • Are national and provincial and local law enforcement agencies now relegated to the 'mickey-mouse' infractions while the real offenders sit in corporate board rooms and desert bunkers basking in the shadows of their own security apparatus?
  • Is the whistle-blower the new social conscience, and the prophet of the future for whom new attitudes, approaches and new laws are needed just in order to preserve the flow of the kind of information needed to keep the game honest?
  • Has the corporate media fully surrendered to the demands, expectations of their corporate masters, in falling for the seduction of mini-and-faux conflicts and nano-second flirtations like the revival of a mini-Trudeau mania in Canada, and the Russian buzzing of the U.S. warship yesterday, and the Trump wrestling match for the Republican nomination for the presidency, while, like the chemicals used in fracking, the real story and the real damage in being done under the surface of our consciousness?
  • While there have been thousands of micro-philanthropics mounted in recent years (and we applaud those initiatives), are we so fixated on the micro solutions that we fail to notice the macro-issues crying out for international co-operation with both resources and muscle, or perhaps have we surrendered our national responsibility for international development to those philanthropics?
  • And although the epidemic of incarceration is epic in the United States, have lawmakers generally been to focused on the making of local headlines that take trouble off the streets, while neglecting the prevention strategies for those very troubled lives that do not grab headlines: effective schools, accessible and affordable quality health care, clean water, sanitation and opportunity for all....none of which compares in garnering headlines like a new military manufacturing facility, a new military base, a new homeland security sector...?
  • Are we finally coming to recognize that our refusal to deal with the real and the toxic and the somewhat distasteful truths in our culture is coming to bite us in the backside?
Maybe, with the confluence of global warming and climate change dangers, the gaping hole in personal income  between the have's and the have-not's, the rise of international terrorism, and the increasing use of digital technology, we might actually waken to both the depth and breadth of our dangers, and dig deeper for collaborative measures to address those shared threats. Can we hope?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Let's not conflate doctor assisted dying with the epidemic of attempted suicides in aboriginal communities

It is not that politicians ‘say the darndest things’ as a segment on John King’s Inside Politics show on Sunday mornings on CNN puts it. Sometimes they say the most idiotic things conceivable.

Case in Point: A young Quebec Liberal Member of Parliament declares on CBC television, “How can you tell young people who are thinking of taking their own lives that it is alright for others?” in reference to the doctor assisted dying law about to come before parliament today (and also in reference to the epidemic of attempted suicides in Attawapiskat recently). Agreed that death is the core of both issues. That, however, is the extent of the connection. And young people who are thinking of taking their lives could not care less about whether some extremely ill people facing no possibility of a turn-around in their condition seek a dignified passage from this live. If anything, such a compassionate option for those sick and dying would only enhance the picture of the country from which they are attempting to escape. If this young MP is opposed to doctor assisted dying, for some religious reason, or if his objection is based on some possibility that the option might be abused by those family members seeking to ‘cash in’ on an estate a little sooner, or if he is attempting to protect doctors from having to engage in such ‘treatment’ then articulate those positions.

Attempting to capitalize and to politicize the tragedy of attempted suicides among aboriginal children as a way of avoiding facing the doctor assisted dying bill on its own terms is a conflation “up with which we cannot put”.....(to borrow from Churchill). This country, including this MP, has to come face to face with the racism, and the negligence, even some would call it criminal negligence, that flows from every page of our history on the treatment of aboriginal peoples. Even today, the Supreme Court delivered a unanimous ruling declaring that Metis are part of the First Nations, aboriginal and ‘Indian’ community, (predicating their decision on the wider and already employed definition of that word), and are thereby eligible for provincial and federal government programs. And this is 2016!!! How do we explain our rejection of these several hundred thousand people for well over a century? The short answer is “We can’t!” There is no justification, no explanation, and no reasonable historical principle that justifies our exaggerated racism, bigotry, paternalism, and insolence. Linking the national issue of how the nation deals with the deeply embedded and potentially permanent superiority and obnoxious condescension of the ‘white’ Christian and essentially ‘wealthy’ demographic to the aboriginal peoples to the question of doctor assisted dying, even when there is a momentary national wringing of hands among the political class about inordinate numbers of young people wishing to “end the pain” as one of their number put it, is simply unacceptable. And the way of thinking contained in the MP’s objection is, perhaps, one of the main obfuscations, deflections and rationalizations why nothing has been done on the aboriginal issue file, for centuries.

Surely, our failure to accept, to integrate and to appreciate aboriginal people would only embolden our attitudes to those whose lives have reached their potential and have come to a state in which they can expect no further amelioration in their condition. Pitting those asking for doctor assisted dying against those young people whose lives have no discernible purpose or value in their eyes, is a pitiful attitude and example for an MP to set. Empathy, compassion, acceptance and integration of everyone into the national community, surely, is a goal for all political parties, and hopefully will guide those coming after the current crop of MP’s even more energetically than it has those who walk the pages of those history books. Imagine the first ‘christian’ Sunday School teachers going to the aboriginal communities one hundred years ago and feeling that these people were savage, uncivilized and not worthy of respect, as part of their mission to convert them to Christianity. No more abhorrent crimes have been committed in the name of the Christian faith. The worth of a human life, especially the worth of a young aboriginal person’s live is not only unquestionable; it is etched in the very land on which we and they live. And it ought to be etched deeply on our conscience and on our conscious and unconscious minds and hearts.

And that etching is in no way an argument against doctor assisted dying; nor is it a way to deflect our national attention from our own ethical shame, our own racism that can only be said to be surprising in the lateness of its coming to the fore. Nevertheless, as Charlie Angus says, the worry is that after the “crisis” has passed from the headlines, will the nation rip the band-aid off and leave another century of what is criminal neglect as the legacy of this hubris, and this blindness in our national character.

I grew up living between two “reservations” and found the concept deplorable even as a child. I went to school with children from both  tribes, and never found a single occasion to treat them differently than those who lived on my street. Later, I worked in an office in which were employed aboriginal office workers, who distinguished themselves and their community with the quality of their work, and the way in which they treated their co-workers and the clients. Later, I served in classrooms in which were “placed” displaced young people from communities like Attawapiskat, living in ‘white’ houses, while having to find comfort and integration through a social worker from the aboriginal community. His job was difficult yet was executed with great spirit and co-operation, in the face of difficult circumstances. I have learned, first hand, of principals of secondary schools whose policies and practices were so anti-aboriginal that the community had to remove their students and send them to a less offensive school, right in the province of Ontario. And I am sad to have to report these stories.

Even with the Supreme Court decision, there will still be a long road to ‘nationhood’ for the Metis people, and we loudly cheer, “Let the negotiations begin!”

As for the doctor assisted death bill, the government has taken a modest route to begin the debate, excluding both minors and the mentally challenged. They have also moved to protect the most vulnerable in their proposed bill. With a “free” vote, of all members of all parties in the House of Commons, after full discussion in committee, and then a debate and a vote in the Senate, this bill is also a long way from the Governor General’s signature.

We can only hope that the Liberal MP from Quebec who unfortunately conflated the two issues, especially since the doctor assisted dying bill is targeting a dignified death for those suffering unbearably, and those young people on reservations across the country would give much for a life with dignity, can see that he can and we would hope would, support both initiatives to alleviate the hopelessness in Attawapiskat and some 100 other First Nation communities, as well as the hopelessness of those who face an otherwise brutal death.

Hopelessness is not a situation or circumstance over which the nation can do nothing. In separate situations, and simultaneously, the nation can do itself proud and serve the most needy by taking two independent and necessary actions.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The NDP can accommodate pipeline and LEAP discussions and has to!

Samuel Taylor Clemens, (Mark Twain) is famous for many pithy expressions. One of the best known is: “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

This morning, with respectable dailies predicting the death of the New Democratic Party, Twain’s phrase seems appropriate and relevant. The party, consistently and persistently the donor of many highly valued Canadian social policies, is neither dead nor dying. Consider it rather in a reflective stage of transition....

On the two major issues on the surface of much of the reporting, seemingly in unresolveable conflict, the Notely proposal for a national pipeline and LEAP, there is no need to consider the two irreconcilable. It will take at least a decade to ween the country off fossil fuels, and a pipeline from Alberta to the east, providing Alberta with markets for its crude will go far to alleviating the labour/tax/internal revenue/budget deficit gordion knot faced by Notley’s government. It make take two to three years to complete such a pipeline project, although much of it has already been built and needs merely an expansion, but it is in the national medium-term interest, and LEAP does not need to block or even impede its construction. It will also take a few years to mount a full-production renewable energy industry and economy, including both public and private sectors, before Canada and other developed economies will be able to consider themselves free of fossil fuels.

Let’s not become trapped in the media mania for both conflict based on Manichean thinking that feeds that ratings monster. If ever there was a time when merging models, hybrids, were seen everywhere, it is this time. And while a political party is not a car, nor a beverage, not a cereal nor a salad, if this party is to survive and thrive, it will have to embrace both at least one pipeline for Alberta crude and a two-year discussion and debate of the LEAP Manifesto at the constituency level. The new party leader, whomever that turns out to be, will be expected to put forward a plan to integrate plans for short-and-medium term attention to the fossil fuel sector, demonstrating, as Rachel Notley urged on Saturday, that Canada can be a leader in both energy production and protection of the environment. (Surprisingly, Thomas Mulcair could have but did not present such a piece of work in his ‘campaign’ speech on Sunday in Edmonton. Had I been a delegate, I would have expected such a plan from him, at least some options around the how and the dovetailing of the timing and the expenditures, as well as the language that the party might consider adopting, when presenting the “rebirth” of the compromises that must precede and accompany the future of the party’s creative initiative.)

Some pundits are advising Ms Notley to divorce the national NDP, given the convention’s adoption of that LEAP resolution to discuss and debate, for two years. How clearly such punditry illustrates the bias of those making such recommendations. Clearly, there is something in the water in Alberta that seems to provoke mental lurches to leaving the national umbrella of the political party when that party does not comply with the wishes to Albertans. Of course, one might expect the National Post to declare the LEAP Manifesto a cockamimee scheme, almost suggesting it is ‘communist’, as the right-wing preferential option to dismiss whatever they wish to trash.

In every political party, there are memes that oppose one another; such tension is endemic to a full consideration of the inevitable requirement to ‘go to the people’ when the election writ is dropped. In the Liberal Party there are some who represent the social policy options that include increased spending, and the more small ‘c’ conservative sector who favour balanced budgets and lower taxes, as a prerequisite for enhancement in social programs. That is not impossible to manage, by the party leaders; in fact, leadership demands that such forces be balanced, given surges for one and then the other, as the developing rhythm of the government’s mandate. No symphony could be considered a critical success if it were written only in the treble clef, or only for the strings and the percussion. The diversity of the instruments, their unique offering in both rhythms and melodies, comprise all worthy musical compositions. Governments must develop and then display competence to know when to bring one instrument, or theme, or rhythm to the fore, while holding others in reserve, and political parties as the instruments of government are expected to do likewise. And the media’s insatiable appetite for an impasse of paralysis with both sides frightened to act fearing the response of their opponents, both within their own party and in parliament itself has to be discarded, ignored and even soundly defeated within the caucus and the cabinet, and after throughout the country.

There are so many different themes, rhythms, and voices to a symphony, and every day the news offers up another incident, accident, trauma, natural disaster, terrorist attack, data dump, epidemic, fire, all of them implicating the federal government. Contingency funds, and the size of those funds, are just one measure of the foresight of a government. So to are the qualities of adaptability, flexibility and readiness that characterize the government’s responses. Just because the current government has promised to bring clean drinking water to indigenous peoples across the country in five years does not mean that the Canada Revenue Agency will not be busy simultaneously searching for and finding and even arresting tax dodgers with their budget of some $400+ millions, nor that the minister of the Environment and Climate Change will not be sitting down with  both provincial governments and energy sector executives to hammer out some terms for concerted action to curb national carbon emissions, hopefully with specific and elevated standards for the next decade, and quarter century. At the same time, the Minister of National Defence will be shaking heads in his department and in the private sector to shake out some novel and pragmatic ideas for destroying ISIS, combating the next pandemic, and protecting the Canadian Arctic from potential environmental and military incursion.

Let’s stop attempting to pin the party policy to a cork board, as if it were a dead insect awaiting some zoological class in high school to pull it apart in order to observe how it eats, moves, reproduces and eventually dies, and then to name all those pinned parts, in preparation for the next naming test. Not only can LEAP and pipelines be accommodated for a short to medium term (perhaps 5-10 years), but not indefinitely, it they are irreconciliable,  then such a diagnosis would render the NDP incapable of function in the modern era. That would and could only lead to an existential crisis for the party, and a confinement to the museum and the artifacts of the many policies, speeches, motions, votes, programs and relegate the party to the ash heap of history.

If the party is to “never give up’ as Ms Notley urged, and if it is to honour the shoulders upon which it treads, (shoulders that include  Tommy Douglass,  Roy Romanov,  Dave Barrett and Ed Shreyer, David Lewis, Ed Broadbent, James Laxer, Mel Watkins and The Waffle Movement,.....and the list continues.... ) then accommodations, compromises and the national needs, including the national dreams have to find a legitimate place inside the conversations, and inside the mind-sets of the people who not only aspire to lead the party in the next decades, but also those who might  and must be attracted to join the party.
And, at the national office, there have to be structures and processes that constantly monitor new ideas, both for policy and for process, to enhance how all instruments of connectivity are deployed, and the focus cannot and must not be exclusively ‘when are you going to donate again?’....That has to be one of the surest paths to self-defeat, before even considering the policy options and the methods to make them merge and work together

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Two outstanding speeches, and a divided party help sink Mulcair today....leadership review approved

Anyone who listened to the speech delivered by Stephen Lewis yesterday at the new Democratic Party Convention in Edmonton quickly realized deeply that, had he been the party leader on October 15, 2015, the NDP would now most likely hold power in Ottawa. His inability to master French aside, even in his self-described "dotage" (which he hates) he nevertheless is still the party's silver-tongued Pericles, impassioned, insightful, charismatic, and fully impactful in his direct attacks on the current Trudeau Liberals.
Calling out Trudeau's---
  •  'feminism' as superficial in the extreme, given his failure to plan to deliver $15/day child care,
  •  his sale of light-armoured vehicle to the Saudis, a regime that overtly practices misogyny, deplorable, especially when 'covered' by the argument that the sale was irreversible
  • his failure to include funding for national pharmacare,
  • his failure to include homecare in his health care budget proposals
  • his failure to overhaul the funding formula for national health care with the provinces 
  • his likely vote and support for TPP, his 'mirage' commitment to the voluntary details of the Paris agreement on global warming and climate change,
  • his tilted even skewered tilt toward electoral reform that favours Liberals blatantly, the preferential ballot, and not proportional representation
  • his duplicity in announcing changes to C-51 without delivering anything more than cosmetic adjustments
Lewis held his audience rapt in both attention and awe as he also energetically advocated the LEAP Manifesto, which argues for keeping crude in the ground, and a compelling initiative to renewable energy sources, and a clear voice in opposition to that of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley's call for a pipeline to 'tidewater'. Notley's fight in defence of her province uses the pipeline as cornerstone of her argument, a 'national need' that would make it possible for Alberta to get a world price for its crude, and in the process find real jobs for the some 60,000 workers who have been sidelined in the oil price crash. Mindful of the need to retrain and find jobs for those displaced workers, Lewis called a commitment to renewable energy technology as the "Marshall Plan" for generating employment.
In an equally dramatic metaphor, referencing a report he co-authored following a global warming and climate change conference in 1988, which he also chaired, following the invitation from then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Lewis read from the conclusions of his report, saying they were relevant then and remain so, sadly, today, given how little has been done to forestall, let alone prevent', the impending 'apocalypse' that damage to the environment will force upon humanity, between 2030 and 2050.
His experience, leading the NDP to three successive defeats in Ontario elections (rendering Thomas Mulcair a mere neophyte in losing elections!) and his passionate commitment, courage, vision and prophetic voice, continue to justify the more than 30 honorary doctorate degrees, and to inspire a party his father led in the Trudeau era of the 70's and 80's, prior to Ed Broadbent's election to the leadership. If one were in Mulcair's shoes, during and after the Lewis speech, one would be feeling accelerated pulse rate, more shallow breathing and sweaty palms, facing the prospect of having to defend his leadership in his own speech later today. It is not only Notley's standard he has to meet and surpass; he also has to 'compete' at least in the minds of the some 1700 convention delegates for their votes calling for a leadership review. Thankfully, neither Notley nor Lewis will be on the ballot, in the leadership review vote. Mulcair nevertheless is unlikely to reach the 70% quota that would give him perhaps enough moral authority to continue as leader, context of these two speeches having done little to nothing to support his bid to continue.
Vision, passion, elocution, and, yes, credibility will nearly always conquer earnest and eager and ambitious determination....and Mulcair's profile of the latter list does not bode well for his retention of the party's mantle of leadership.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Self-delusion and darkness, paradoxical pathways to the light

My reality is it’s nighttime. The truth is I’m just blindfolded. How many people live like me, in self-deluded darkness? (Jarod Kintz, This Book is not FOR SALE.)

It was T.S. Eliot who reminded us that we cannot stand too much reality. The reminder was one of the cautions advanced by a now-deceased bishop while interviewing a prospective candidate for ministry. The candidate was currently being seen in a negative light for having left a withered marriage, by the chaplain for postulants, who urged him to withdraw and “get into therapy” before summarily exiting the room.
“Was there no room for truth-telling inside the sanctuary?” wondered the candidate, while refusing an invitation to join the bishop in a coffee. “Would truth-telling be restricted to the confessional?” Would the rest of the communication inside the ecclesial culture, both formal and informal, fall into the patterns of the street, the city council chambers, the daily diet of  news? Or, more to the point, would the ‘military culture’and its repressed and frozen "truths" from which the chaplain had recently burped onto the diocesan scene, find a comfortable home inside the church?

“Surely not,” came the naive and far too hopeful voice inside the candidate’s head.

And then.....there were the hidden secrets of some of the pedagogical leaders in the seminaries; and there were the broken relationships inside the structure of the church, some of them over merely human jealousy that remained hidden from view, given the code of repression that engulfs the church, similar to the corporate culture that prompts ambitious, aspiring executives to leave their ethical brain in the parking lot, before entering the office building, where whatever the corporation wants is what the corporation gets.

There were the million-dollar ecclesial trust accounts, and the half-million dollar trust accounts, while little or no active ministry was going on among the neighbourhood poor, dispossessed; there were the sycophants who wore the ‘school’ tie on their first meeting with a bishop, while still in theology school. Was such evidence merely the human acting from behind the blindfold, or were the people responsible living in complete darkness?

Was the simple hope of entering a profession that required some considerable personal, spiritual maturation and growth, and the training funnel that offered those opportunities, more self-deluded darkness? Certainly, the father of the candidate, himself the son of a clergy, had expressed grave reservations about the choice of vocation, given the tragic treatment his father had received from his congregation for his refusal to expel some poor, uneducated and “unsavoury” people from the pews.

Was the church merely another organization deeply neurotic about its finances, about its public image especially surrounding the issue of sexual relations including divorce, affairs, gays and lesbians?....No one in the gay community was tolerated, unless so pure, or so purely disguised and protected by what could be called the social/cultural/political blindfold of denial, ignorance and mere suspicion! Stories from inside the church  included alcohol-dependent clergy still untreated and unchallenged, relationships that produced inordinate numbers of children leading to a defiant wife’s cry, “from now on you sleep in the basement” from her hospital bed to her clergy-husband, and hidden/protected/unacknowledged gay clergy fully engaged in loving (yet secret) relationships, human rights cases brought by some against supervisors.

·       And then there are the unscrupulous parishioners who drove past rectory living room windows in the evening in order to spy on their clergy (a colleague of a friend),

·       or the vicarage broken into by church adherents searching with impunity for evidence of inappropriate texts, or whatever other “deviant” evidence they could uncover,

·       or the banding together of congregants to slander and eventually dismiss a clergy (one layman actually bragged of having ‘driven the last priest out because he wasn’t spiritual enough’)...

·       or the stories of the treasurers who sat on church accounts, spooning a few dollars to a chosen charity each month, as if to quiet whatever social conscience might be irritating her psyche....

·       or the stories of the clergy who merely walked away into the night because they could no longer stomach both the hypocrisy and the failure of the ‘system’ to support them in the face of their opponents.

It takes considerable hope, perhaps even blind hope, not based on any evidence of promise, or success, acceptance or tolerance, even to consider entering the church; and yet, is there not a universal theme here? Are we not, each of us, all of the time, living behind a blindfold, considering it ‘night’ rather than mere momentary darkness? We are raised by parents who themselves, are blindfolded in specific areas of their lives: blinded to the full nature of their grandparents; blinded to the secret stories that lie embedded in the letters, the photos, the unrecorded phone calls, the visits, the dates and the conversations that flow into a river in which each have been conceived and reared . Our teachers, for their part, while wanting the best to be offered to us students, were themselves blindfolded to our full potential, the gifts, fears and the hopes even of their professional colleagues for their careers, for their students and for the school generally. Siloed by the social conventions of the closed classroom, where each teacher reigns supreme, only to visit the staffroom periodically for a coffee, without ever fully engaging with others, the teachers are themselves keeping their secrets private, and their public interactions carefully scripted, highly attentive are they to the scripts of the principal, the superintendent and especially the directors.

And then there is the blindfold covering the expectations of the parents, who wish their ‘pure and undefiled’ children do not become besmirched with the edgy topics of conversations in the classrooms, or the street talk of the locker rooms, or the playing fields. And many of those “blinds” are coming from their over-protective and sabotaging parenting and teachings especially from that seat of repressed control and infantilizing, the church. “Oh, you are being far too critical, even unmerciful, in your satire of the church!” I hear many readers sighing.


Having recently watched a documentary detailing the volumes of letters over thirty-two years between Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II, recently canonized as Saint john Paul) and Teresa Anne, the Polish philosopher, who claims she significantly shaped his papacy, and whom the Vatican wishes to expunge from the public record, lest evidence of their relationship bring embarrassment on the Vatican after such a short “reflective” period, without the “Devil’s Advocate voice, normal in pursuit of saints, but removed by Pope John Paul II himself, prior to his death. Is the church, is Congress, is the Canadian government, is Donald Trump, is even Mother Theresa herself, living in a blindfold, thinking and believing it is truly night?

There is a parable in the New Testament that speaks to the criticism of pointing out the ‘spec’ in another’s eye, while simultaneously missing/ignoring/denying the “plank” in our own eye. Dedicated to evoking humility from all, the parable is so often missing from our consciousness as to render us blind to our own hubris, our own controlling needs, our own determination to ‘right the wrong’ of the other, while continuing to participate in our own blindness. And so often we cover the truth, both our own and another’s, with words that make it seem less toxic than it really it: example: the church warden whom her colleagues described as ‘having no social graces’ when, after it was pointed out, agreed that the full truth was, ‘she was a control freak’ with whom no one could deal equally and effectively.

While the obvious and overtly conscious lying is offensive; there is another kind of blindness that afflicts all of us: the unconscious, the Shadow,  both individual and collective, which, when repressed, inevitably and eternally blurts out in the form of a racist statement, a socially inappropriate comment, the origin of which seems unknown and unconscionable. And, in the words of a very wise woman, “I do not want to add to the Shadow of this group!”

Having been conditioned in self-delusion, ubiquitous examples abounding, we might dangerously fall into the trap of believing that there is no way to avoid dissembling, whereas, the talking cure has some application. When we are permitted to give voice to any and all thoughts/feelings/fears/aspirations/terrors in the safety of another, who is also free to give voice to the same demons, there is some possibility that we bring our blindness to our own consciousness, thereby lifting that blindfold ever so slightly and momentarily, just to give us a glimpse of the real and surprising light that emerges from such disclosure. And when the other can and does hear precisely the depth and the acuity of our pain without escaping in his/her own fear, and can and does stay to listen and mirror our inner voice, then, just possibly, we can say with confidence that we have found a friend, an advocate and a person verging on the angelic. Talking in deep confidence is not an elixir for discerning either the blindfold or the deepest darkest night....both can and do deceive. However, to be fully conscious that there is a potential vacuum that draws one in, from both the blindfold and the dark night, and from the confusion that reigns over the ambivalence....sometimes highly seductive and superficially rewarding, while other times profoundly troubling. Managing a life that embraces the challenge of mature discernment, even with the help of a spiritual guide, and a devoted partner is a work of both art and skill. And while improvising is never wasted effort, and ‘painting by number’ as a model for living by never satisfies, we are all groping through darknesses every day, whether we acknowledge our staggering or not.

The often ignored guarantee that accompanies the darkest experience is that whether from a mere blindfold, whose removal always enlightens, the darkness of the night or the personal Shadow when confronted, there is always a golden gift on the other side. It is our fear of the real and the imagined demons that hide in the dark closets of our psyches that impales each of us on the cross of paralysis and emotional, spiritual and psychic death.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Lying by any other name, including "normalization of deviance," is still lying

In a piece entitled, “What was Volkswagen Thinking?” by Jerry Useem, in the January/February 2016 edition of The Atlantic, We find these words:

The sociologist Diane Vaughan coined the phrase the normalization of deviance to describe a cultural drift in which circumstances classified as “not okay” are slowly re-classified as “okay”

Referencing corporate malfeasance at Volkswagen with its “defeat devices” to camouflage emissions during formal testing, damaged O-rings in the challenger space shuttle a defect known long before the tragedy, the exploding Ford Pinto of Ford Motor Company, and the deadly poisoning by Tylenol, Useem outlines a corporate cultural shift that evokes Orwell’s 1984, making the ethics question unapproachable, given that what is known to be “not okay” easily morphs into “okay” as the narrative accompanying the defective component, or product or process changes through the accumulation of scripts which describe and even define the corporate culture that is bending the ethics of corporate executives. Bombarded by cataracts of information, executives revert to unwritten scripts from the corporate culture to aid them in avoiding complex decisions. As one former Ford employee, Denny Gioia, now a prof at the Penn State business school, put it in the Useem piece: (in reference to the Pinto defects) Before I went to Ford I would have argued strongly that Ford had an obligation to recall....I now argue and teach that Ford had an obligation to recall. But while I was there I perceived no strong obligation to recall and I recall no strong ethical overtones to the case at all.

Sociologist Vaughan describes the danger: (scripts) “expand like an elastic band” to accommodate more and more divergence. Once a decision, recommendation, even warning to “go” or “not to go” depending on the service/product being tested has been released, permitting for example NASA to launch the Challenger, even though the O-Rings were a known and fatal defect,  those issuing the order cannot go back. “It’s like losing your virginity....once you’ve done it you can’t go back.” If you try you face a credibility spiral: Were you lying then or are you lying now?” (words from a teleconference participant with Vaughan as quote in Useem’s piece).

Pressured by Iacocca to produce a $2000 car weighing under 2000 pounds in 25 months, workers at Ford were under extreme pressure to comply;repositioning the gas tank would have required  would have been too expensive in time and money. NASA officials had promised a “routine and economical shuttle”  that would launch 60 times a  year...another unrealistically optimistic commitment that imploded in mid-air with millions watching, losing the lives of all crew members.

Explanations including definitions like “normalization of deviance” to describe ethical lapses, are nevertheless ethical lapses. And when they are made in such high profile theatres like multi-billion-dollar corporations, they also give cover to all other kinds of behaviour that mimics the “giants”....without their having to accept responsibility. Fitting into the corporate culture, even when to do so compromises one’s facts, one’s knowledge of those facts and one’s capacity to live with integrity between the disclosure of the defect(s) which would inevitably lead to job loss, professional reputation loss, and nothing less than post trauma stress disorder, and joining the changed script in awful choice.

In the school yard, after a fight, the predictable verbatim went like this: “He started it!”.... “No, he started it!” when the cookie jar was empty, and the kids were asked about who took all the cookies, the predictable response went: “I don’t know, must’ve been my brother (sister) (father)!” When Dr. Ben Carson is asked to explain his endorsement of Trump, labelled a liar, he responds, “Well, all politicians lie!” It seems to some that the slide from “not okay” in the case of corporate malfeasance to “okay” is so small, it hardly matters. We all know the proverbial, ‘dog ate my homework’ line from students who just did not do their homework; we also know  the “not guilty”plea in a courtroom, from defendants waiting and expecting the state to drop the ball on their case, resulting in a divided/hung jury, or even possibly an acquittal.

Law enforcement is often guilty of a zero tolerance approach to specific behaviours, especially if their political masters have determined that their political lives are at stake if even a tolerance of 1% is available. Like those excessive expectations from Iacocca, and from NASA, and most likely from some in the hierarchy at Volkswagen, people who can rid the world of whatever it is that their investors/electors/superiors/supervisors demand, or can avoid the penalties/price/costs of compliance/non-compliance with some regulation, standard or benchmark, will go to extreme lengths to accomplish whatever has become the “cultural norm”. In churches, if the LGBT community is considered evil, then those charged with administering such a cultural norm will exclude, expel or refuse entry to any who identify as members of the LGBT community, whether they are petitioning for mere membership or for ordination. The war on drugs has sent hundreds of thousands to prison for minor drug offences; they death penalty carries with it a cultural expectation enforced in the prison systems of solitary confinement, meager meals, a mere one-hour-per-day of exercise, and a full life sentence. (In Germany, on the other hand, even murderers and rapists imprisoned for their crimes, are treated with a program that focuses entirely on their reinstatement into the society, including decent meals, the acquisition of skills, family visits, and decent accommodations, as depicted on CBS’ 60 Minutes last night!).

How we think, and how we submit to a cultural norm, in a corporation, a prison, a school or university, a church, and even a family....these are very significant matters, insight into which can only provide much needed and extremely overdue changes in how we make ethical decisions.

Normalization of deviance may be a phrase locked into the lexicon of the sociologists; it is however, forbidden entrance into the world view of the ethicist, except as a path to work seriously to avoid. Normalization of deviance can and does lead to a wider cultural norm in which the bar is set so low as to be virtually imperceptible, making it normal for young people, following the lead of their adult “role models” (that’s a laugh of epic proportions!), to worm their way out of whatever jam in which their choices may have  entangled them.

Today, following the release of some nearly 12 million documents detailing the off-shore tax havens of many of the world’s most most affluent, including politicians, athletes, entertainers, under the ‘cover’ of incorporated shell corporations. Will this too, when their legal teams come to their rescue, be another instance of “not okay” morphing almost imperceptibly into another “okay” thereby depriving many countries of their legitimate tax revenue, while also permitting the account holders immunity from prosecution? Will this be just another “normalization of deviance” that may not directly or immediately result in the deaths of individuals and families, as did the Ford Pinto and the Challenger, but paint another layer of normalization over what really can not and must not be normalized.

Little wonder the world community is having so much apparent difficulty coming to grips with global warming and climate change; if there is a mere shred of evidence that nature has a role to play, then humans will find the loophole, and either block or prevent any move to put a tax on carbon, or any other measure designed to slow the damage to the planet.

When the epitome of normalization of deviance finally takes the stage and garners a majority of votes for the Republican presidential nomination, in the country where the normalization of deviance has been coined by one of their sociologist scholars, as an academic way to portray the overt, conscious, deliberate and obviously likely to be repeated corporate cover-up, thereby absolving all acts of deliberate and willful deviance from standards that would and could and have and will kill people in the pursuit of profit and the people fully engaged in acts that result in the loss of life, all of which losses were preventable and they knew that, then we all know that Scott Peck’s People of the Lie tome applies not only the Pentagon following the Mylai Massacre for which no officer would claim responsibility, but to the whole country. And when the whole country (and possibly now the whole world) has normalized deviance, for its own various narcissistic, greedy, acquisitive motives, then coal companies no longer have to tell the truth about the deadly pollution from their tailings, and the oil companies no longer have to tell the truth about their devastation of the environment in their extraction of crude from the tarsands, then the corporate frackers no longer have to tell the truth about the chemicals in their earth-injections to extract natural gas, nor do they have to acknowledge their processes agency in many of the earth quakes of the last five years, and most likely the next many decades.

Teachers will no longer have to come clean that they really did send the examination home with their students prior to the date it was to be written, thereby providing an unfair advantage over all other students who were given the questions. Lawyers and accountants will no longer have to come clearn about their complicity in those tax havens; politicians will no longer (and haven’t for a long time) have to come clean for promises they made and failed to keep, given their cover of changed circumstances. Those who have betrayed confidences, and then denied their guilt, and even denied that the act took place, will no longer have to come clean as a matter of maintaining trust in any personal or professional relationship.
Call me obstructionist on this one: someone who refuses to comply with the normalization of deviance in order to protect any organization, any family, any school, university, college or church, and certainly any government body that, like the Pentagon, sends young men and women into conflict, plying them both money and the expectation that they round up and kill all the Taliban, the terrorists, or whomever is the designated enemy even though all the stories from the fronts prove that the orders generated more enemies, without resolving the conflict or the issues that led to its commencement. (See Chris Hedges, The Lie of Patriotism, in today’s