The Day After Newtown

One failed attempt at a shoe bomb, and we all take off our shoes at the airport; 31 school shootings since Columbine, and no change in our regulation of guns…- John Oliver

graphic: Art of Dharma
graphic: Art of Dharma


This is a quote taken from Dr King’s eulogy for the children killed in the Birmingham Alabama Baptist church bombing in 1963.

Go to to donate to a fund for the Newton Connecticut victims and families.

There is a thoughtful reflection on the school shooting yesterday,  “Speed Kills” at

And a petition: Gun Control. Now

Michael Moore weighs in: It’s The Guns. But We All Know, It’s Not Really The Guns

police at school shooting

National Day of Remembrance & Action On Violence Against Women

rose of remembrance

Sometime after 4 p.m. on December 6, 1989, an enraged gunman roamed the corridors of Montreal’s École Polytechnique and killed 14 women. He separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students he screamed, “I hate feminists.” Almost immediately, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment in which mourning turned into outrage about all violence against women.

roses of remembrance.Dec 6.1989


What are you making for supper on this Meatless Monday? Right now we have an abundance of swiss chard, although our other greens have been slow to come in. I substituted chard for kale in this family-favourite salad yesterday, and it was deemed acceptable by the more discerning (aka “picky”) members of the family.  So if you have kale or swiss chard handy, here’s the recipe; served with a loaf of fresh bread and cheese, it’s a tasty and easy Monday summer supper. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the transformation of a garden from a barren plot of dirt in April to the abundance of a mid-summer riot of greenery and colour.

Favourite Kale Salad Recipe

Dressing:  ½ cup extra virgin fruity olive oil, 3 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 clove garlic chopped or put through a press, 1/2 tsp salt

To make salad: Toss above with a large bowl of kale, ½ cup chopped oil packed sun dried tomatoes, 1/4 cup cup toasted pine nuts.

And while we’re on the theme of unlikely pairings, check out this video from the U.K., The Edible Bus Stop, which asks the question “what spaces are waiting to be transformed in our communities?


* Edible Bus Stop turns London transit routes into network of community gardens.

And here’s an interesting article re the pressure on the USDA to retract it’s support for Meatless Monday (which it promptly did!): USDA Retracts Meatless Monday Recommendation.

Canadian Youth: We Are Truly Sorry For Our Government’s Stance On Climate Change

Ani, a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation representing Manitoba at the Durban climate conference, will be a regular guest blogger during COP17 in Durban. Ani works as a Public Education and Outreach Coordinator for Climate Change Connection, a project of the Manitoba Eco-Network. To read more about Ani, visit her info page at Here is Ani’s latest post:

In a turn of good old-fashioned Canadian manners, the Canadian Youth Delegation is publicly apologizing for a problem they didn’t create. This morning an apology letter by the Canadian Youth Delegation was published in The Mercury, a Durban daily newspaper. The letter cites irresponsible Canadian policies, such as Environment Minister Kent’s declaration to defend the tar sands at the COP17 climate negotiations and Canada’s recent rejection of the Kyoto Protocol.

Furthermore, the Mitigation Working Group of YOUNGO, the official youth constituency to the United Nations climate change negotiations I am involved, with attended the plenary session for further commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. We worked long hours last night to draft the youth intervention for the plenary session to bring our voice to the table reminding negotiators that the Kyoto Protocol is the only legally-binding agreement we have and needs to be kept alive.

Watch Kluane (18) from Victoria, B.C. addressing the plenary on behalf of the global youth constituency.

Just before the Youth intervention the Africa Group and Alliance of Small Island declared “clear and loud that it will not let African soil be a graveyard for the Kyoto Protocol […|nor accept an agreement which does not include more ambitious targets for developed countries.” Groups stated that countries who are leaving the Kyoto Protocol are not doing this because they want to do more but because they want to do less.

Again Canada was awarded first place Fossil of the Day for proposing “eventual solutions” for “urgent problems.” Canadian environment Minister, Peter Kent, said yesterday to media that: “There is an urgency to this. We don’t need a binding convention, what we need is action and a mandate to work on an eventual binding convention.” What can I say? He nailed the first half of the sentence!

More links:

Fossil of the Day: Climate

These Are Times That Try Our Souls

At a time during the American Revolution, when things looked very dire, Tom Paine wrote the following (gender-updated language added). As things look mighty dire in Durban right now, this might be appropriate for the current times as well:

These are the times that try our souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but s/he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. . .A generous parent should say, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” . . . ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but s/he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves her conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. . . By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue.

We Are The Many

Occupy yourself with this powerful video by Makana, a popular Hawaiian recording artist. At the APEC summit in Hawaii this past weekend Makana made a bold and courageous statement.  He was enlisted to play a luau on Saturday night for leaders gathered in Obama’s birthplace, Honolulu, for the annual summit (the APEC countries are currently formulating plans for a Pacific free-trade pact). During the supper, Makana sang a marathon version of this song (40 minutes of it) with his jacket open to reveal a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Occupy With Aloha”. Makana told AFP:

I was pretty nervous. In fact I was terrified. I kept thinking ‘what are the consequences going to be?It was incredibly comical. I was terrified but also enjoying it.

Makana said the song prompted awkward stares from a few of those present but the Obamas appeared too absorbed with their guests to notice what was happening.

Guests at the supper included Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, with an accompanying heavy security presence. As Makana sang, about 400 protesters including anti-globalization and native Hawaiian rights activists staged a protest march toward the dinner site but turned back after encountering the smothering security.

Inspired by the anti-capitalist movement that began with the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations in New York, the song denounces Washington politicians, corporate greed and what he sees as an unfair American economic system.


We Are The Many

Ye come here, gather ’round the stage
The time has come for us to voice our rage
Against the ones who’ve trapped us in a cage
To steal from us the value of our wage

From underneath the vestiture of law
The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw
At liberty, the bureaucrats guffaw
And until they are purged, we won’t withdraw

We’ll occupy the streets
We’ll occupy the courts
We’ll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

Our nation was built upon the right
Of every person to improve their plight
But laws of this Republic they rewrite
And now a few own everything in sight

They own it free of liability
They own, but they are not like you and me
Their influence dictates legality
And until they are stopped we are not free

We’ll occupy the streets
We’ll occupy the courts
We’ll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

You enforce your monopolies with guns
While sacrificing our daughters and sons
But certain things belong to everyone
Your thievery has left the people none

So take heed of our notice to redress
We have little to lose, we must confess
Your empty words do leave us unimpressed
A growing number join us in protest

We occupy the streets
We occupy the courts
We occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

You can’t divide us into sides
And from our gaze, you cannot hide
Denial serves to amplify
And our allegiance you can’t buy

Our government is not for sale
The banks do not deserve a bail
We will not reward those who fail
We will not move till we prevail

We’ll occupy the streets
We’ll occupy the courts
We’ll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

We’ll occupy the streets
We’ll occupy the courts
We’ll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

We are the many
You are the few

Click here to download the song for free.

Watch Makana on Democracy Now.

Remembering the Montgomery Bus Boycott During Occupy Times

It was fifty five years ago today the Supreme Court of the United States of America upheld the decision of the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Alabama “that Alabama’s racial segregation laws for buses were unconstitutional.”  It was only just the beginning of the civil rights movement.  Only the beginning.  So “keep on keeping on” Occupy, we have only just begun!


Now For The Real Scary Stuff

All Hallow’s Eve is over for this year and tomorrow, in many countries, is the Day of the Dead or All Souls’ Day. So today might be a good day to focus on what is really alarming: the Climate Zombies that hang around year-round in Washington and Ottawa, and the Corporate Dementors that feed these Zombies with money. Dementors, if you haven’t read your Harry Potter lately, are:

… among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them… Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself…soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.

Think I’m exaggerating?  Check out these stories:

From the BBC News, regarding an upcoming climate conference to be held at the British Medical Association’s headquarters, where  doctors, academics and military experts will gather to discuss climate change:

Officers in the UK military warned that the price of goods such as fuel is likely to rise as conflict provoked by climate change increases.

A statement from the meeting adds that humanitarian disasters will put more and more strain on military resources.

It asks governments to adopt ambitious targets for curbing greenhouse gases.  Read the full story Climate Change “Grave Threat” To Security and Health.

Meanwhile, Occupy-related arrests are soaring in the U.S., with often-violent police raids on the public sites in the dark of night. The arrests now number close to 3,000. Here’s a report from the Daily Kos:

A series of evictions of Occupy encampments this weekend has pushed the total number of arrests associated with the movement to nearly 3,000. The evictions occurred in a geographically diverse range of cities around the country

According to Occupy Arrests, 2,963 protesters associated with the movement have been arrested since Sept. 17. That is an average of 66 per day. Click here to get the details on the police raids.

Apparently governments haven’t realized that the people who are putting their lives on hold to make a statement about corporate greed and the lack of representation of the concerns and needs of the majority aren’t “camping”, and they aren’t going to go away until this injustice is addressed. As the slogan goes, “System change not climate change”.

In a classic example of Corporate Dementors at work, there’s a hearing in a Virginia courtoom this week that could have implications for the privacy rights of scientists at colleges and universities across the country. A special investigation by Facing South has found that this current attack on climate scientists is being orchestrated by an astroturf group well-funded by fossil fuel interests who want to obscure the truth of our warming world and the part their industry is playing in it:

It’s part of a lawsuit brought by the American Tradition Institute, a free-market think tank that wants the public to believe human-caused global warming is a scientific fraud. Filed against the University of Virginia, the suit seeks emails and other documents related to former professor Michael Mann, an award-winning climate scientist who has become a focus of the climate-denial movement because of his research documenting the recent spike in earth’s temperature.

By suing the university, the American Tradition Institute wants to make public Mann’s correspondence in an effort to find out whether he manipulated data to receive government grants, a violation of the state’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.

But a Facing South investigation has found that the Colorado-based American Tradition Institute is part of a broader network of groups with close ties to energy interests that have long fought greenhouse gas regulation. Our investigation also finds that ATI has connections with the Koch brothers, Art Pope and other conservative donors seeking to expand their political influence. Read the full story here.

There are defenses against Dementors. According to the Harry Potter Wiki:

Dementors hold no true loyalty, except to whomever can provide them with the most people to feed off. They cannot be destroyed, though their numbers can be limited if the conditions in which they multiply are reduced, implying that they do die off eventually.

The time has come for the 99% to demand change to our system in which corporate greed has multiplied like a cancer and sucked all common sense as well as the commitment to the common good out of our elected representatives. Occupy!!

More links:

A Conspiracy of Transparency Behind Occupy Wall Street