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When Trudeau's refugee tweets become a 'slap in the face'

Rabble.ca/ - 26 April 2017 - 5:55am
April 26, 2017When Trudeau's refugee tweets become a 'slap in the face' Every time Ottawa-based Syrian refugee Dima Siam sees Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying refugees are welcome in Canada, she says, "I feel as if someone despises me and slapped me on the face."

Μεταλλάξεις του Φασισμού

Anarkismo.net - 26 April 2017 - 5:54am
Mια συνέντευξη με τον Enzo Traverso
Στο βιβλίο «Τα νέα πρόσωπα του φασισμού» (Les Nouveaux Visages du fascisme) ο Enzo Traverso και ο Régis Meyran συζητούν τις συνέχειες και τις ασυνέχειες μεταξύ των φασιστικών κινημάτων του 20ου αιώνα και της σημερινής «μετα-φασιστικής» ακροδεξιάς. Ο Olivier Doubre μίλησε με τον Traverso για την πρόσφατη έκδοση του Politis.

When Trudeau's refugee tweets become a 'slap in the face'

Rabble.ca/ - 26 April 2017 - 5:42am
Civil Liberties WatchPolitics in Canada

Every time Ottawa-based Syrian refugee Dima Siam sees Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying refugees are welcome in Canada, she says, "I feel as if someone despises me and slapped me on the face."

Siam, whose husband and four children are Canadian, survives every day under the shadow of a deportation order to Syria because of a simple paperwork error that, despite being resolved years ago, continues to supply the immigration bureaucracy with the cruel rationale to carry on the same hard-hearted policies that marked the Harper regime.

For years, Siam has called on the Harper and Trudeau governments to allow her to live in peace with her Ottawa family, and over 22,000 people have signed a petition in her support. While she applauds the work of those Canadian officials who went overseas to facilitate the entry of thousands of other Syrian refugees, she wonders why she cannot meet one of those same officials in a downtown Ottawa office to resolve her limbo.

The painful reality of Dima Siam's life hit home once again last week when she showed up at the Ottawa airport to welcome her brother-in-law and his family, Syrian refugees who had been sponsored by her husband, Mohammad, and the United Church. The new arrivals to Canada were welcomed with kind, loving arms by community members even as Siam contemplated the fact that her own temporary resident permit will soon expire and she is no longer eligible for post-partum health care.

A sour happiness

"I had mixed feelings," she says, her husband Mohammad translating.

"Sort of sour happiness. On one hand, I was very happy for them because I knew how difficult their situation was in Syria when we were neighbours back then before 2013, and it was not easier for them in Lebanon when they had to flee Syria in December 2012. This is why I encouraged my husband to sponsor them and went with him to the church to ask if they could co-sponsor with us.

"On the other hand I am very sad for myself being ignored: my rights as a woman in need for protection by the former government continue to be ignored by the current government, although my husband did everything he could and submitted all different types of reunification applications for five years to help me get permanent status in Canada."

Like thousands of refugees living a made-in-Canada limbo -- including hundreds of Syrians under deportation order -- Siam says: "I feel like being in a virtual prison. I have not been able to see my parents and brothers for 7 years. My parents have not seen two of my children at all, and the oldest two were babies when they last saw them. And when my mom applied to visit me when I gave birth to my last baby girl in December, 2016, to be by my side and help me with the kids, her visa application was rejected."

A teacher with a bachelor's degree in biology, Siam wants to work and "integrate into society," but she cannot move forward while stuck in the immigration limbo. She's only had health coverage for nine months over the last five years, and has had to cancel a series of post-partum medical appointments because her health card expired April 7. Although she has a humanitarian and compassionate application in the queue, her temporary resident status expires on June 7.

A dreamland turned nightmare

"To me Canada was like a dreamland based on what my husband used to tell me about it," she says. "We did not come sooner when the war started because although my husband and children are Canadian citizens, I am not, and could not come with them. We only came to Canada when I was granted a visitor visa to accompany my husband and children and after I gave birth to our third baby."

Needless to say, the threat of deportation to Syria, where Dima Siam would be at risk from all sides of the conflict, is psychological torture. It has resulted in depression, family stress -- especially for the young children, who fear they too will be deported and who won't stay in a room unless one of their parents is constantly with them -- emergency room visits via ambulance, and a range of other afflictions due to a life of constant fear and uncertainty.

Stories like Siam's get overlooked in an era where a simple Trudeau tweet garners international praise from sloppy newspaper editorial boards who thank the lord that he isn't Trump, a low standard which is fairly easy to meet, if only on a rhetorical level. But on the practical, day-to-day level, Trudeau's policies are a smiling version of Harper's, continuing the endless grind of detention, deportation, and a refusal to regularize status for hundreds of thousands of people forced to survive in the shadows.

Nowhere is the cruelty of Trudeau's hypocrisy more clear than in his refusal to cancel the Safe Third County Agreement. Following the chaos of the Muslim bans implemented by the Trump regime, 845 students from 22 Canadian law schools came together to conduct 3,143 hours of legal research to determine whether the U.S. can properly be considered a "safe third country" for asylum seekers and refugees. The research-a-thon was a valuable project given the increasing numbers of refugees who are forced to cross the Canada-U.S. border outside of regular ports of arrival, needlessly increasing their level of risk.

In a summary of their research, the law students found that "many persons seeking asylum in Canada who have entered from the United States face a credible threat to their security and fundamental rights if they are returned to the United States." Among the threats for those returned to the U.S. are prolonged periods of immigration detention, limited legal access, and potential deportation to torture or death.

"Canada is in breach of the Canadian Charter if the United States violates the fundamental rights of asylum seekers who Canada has refused in accordance with the [Safe Third County] Agreement," the researchers concluded. "In Canada, asylum seekers have constitutional rights to life, liberty, security of the person, access to counsel upon detention and procedural fairness. By returning asylum seekers to the United States, Canada violates those rights. Canada also breaches its own international legal obligations not to participate in possible indirect refoulement. The authors of this report believe that Canada's continued participation in the Safe Third Country Agreement violates Canada's constitutional and international obligations."

Indefinite immigration detention

Of course, the reception for refugees who make it to Canada is not a rosy picture either, as witnessed by the ongoing detention of thousands of refugees annually, some for indefinite periods. At a court hearing in Toronto last week, Ontario judge Ian Nordheimer heard about the case of Kashif Ali, originally from West Africa, who has spent over seven years in immigration detention, with stretches in solitary confinement lasting over three months, beatings, and regular, humiliating strip searches. Nordheimer asked government lawyers whether Ali could be held for the rest of his natural life if his situation is not resolved. He received no direct response.

The utter disregard for the most basic human rights of those seeking asylum in Canada was revealed in a recent Toronto Star investigation that revealed border officers have no clue how to assess whether individuals should be detained in the first place, and that those being placed in maximum security jails for indefinite stays are often sent there by agents like the one who wrote in an assessment form: "I am not a medical or mental health professional. I have not received any training on the completion of the form. This assessment is cursory in nature and should not be construed as an accurate representation of the subject's risk or mental health status."

The results are predictably disastrous, and all too commonplace. As Global News reported earlier this week, one immigrant in detention spent over a year in solitary confinement for undefined "bizarre" behaviour, and by day 390 of being in the hole, he was assessed as "catatonic." The UN defines 15 days or more in solitary as torture.

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), which annually spends well over $100 million on detaining and deporting refugees, is considering potential policy changes with respect to immigration detention. Their National Immigration Detention Framework on the one hand talks about alternatives to detention, but also seeks an investment "in federal immigration detention infrastructure," which essentially means that the government will continue to detain refugees, but with different buildings and what it alleges will be "improved conditions."

Jailing kids

From 2011-2016, the CBSA detained 38,868 human beings, including hundreds of children (554 kids were officially detained during 2014-16).

The Trudeau Liberals have contracted the Canadian Red Cross to conduct visits to immigration detention facilities, but their assessments are confidential and will only be shared with government officials, contradicting the CBSA's promises of increased accountability and transparency. Last month, Senators Mobina Jaffer and Victor Oh called on Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to explain why the feds didn't arrange for an independent oversight body or ombudsperson.

Meanwhile, Citizens for Public Justice published a report earlier this month documenting frustrations with refugee sponsorship, "A Half Welcome: Delays, Limits and Inequities in Refugee Sponsorship." Based on interviews and a survey of Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH), the report found:

"[t]he current protracted nature of application processing very concerning. Many also call for attention to the long wait currently impacting many non-Syrian applications, considering the government's plan to resettle many Syrian refugees in 2015 and 2016. SAHs consider this to be inequity in private sponsorship, and urge the government to ensure more balance in this regard. SAHs also raised concerns about the allocation limits placed on the resettlement of privately sponsored refugees in 2017, noting that this impedes refugees' safety."

But the problem facing refugees going forward is that Trudeau already got his photo-ops with the first arrivals of Syrian refugees. He doesn't need them anymore. While they were welcome images, the airport photo shoot was indicative of the way he uses whole groups -- women, Indigenous people, refugees, Muslims -- as props for his own self-aggrandizement, garnering quick selfies that can be used for the 2019 election campaign and Liberal fundraising pitches. Trudeau says or tweets what he thinks are the right words, basks in the applause of those who praise him in comparison to Trump, and then trots off to New York meetings where fawning "journalists" ask where his Superman cape is. He is living the ultimate privileged white male fantasy, in which the oppressed of the world are asked to applaud this white saviour for paying lip service to their existence, without having to commit to anything real or substantive.

But in the real world, harm results from Trudeau's policy choices. As the student research-a-thon concluded: "Under international law, a country cannot transfer refugees to a state it knows to be in violation of the Refugee Convention. The 'Travel Ban' and other executive orders are flagrant violations of the Refugee Convention and as such, Canada's refusal to admit refugees at the U.S.-Canada border is itself a violation of international law."

On an individual level, Ottawa's Dima Siam says she sadly has little reason to be optimistic about her fate. However, she is quick to note that "what I have been through did not change the way I think of Canada, especially with all the positive and big-hearted people who have been supporting, fighting, petitioning for me getting justice and welcoming me in Canada."

Photo: Dima Siam (far right, in white hijab, holding her baby, Maria), welcomes her brother-in-law and his family as sponsored refugees to Canada on April 12. Siam is fighting a deportation order that would send her to Syria, the result of a simple paperwork error. The Trudeau government has thus far refused to end her nightmare of limbo and grant her permanent resident status.  Credit: Brian Cornelius

Matthew Behrens is a freelance writer and social justice advocate who co-ordinates the Homes not Bombs non-violent direct action network. He has worked closely with the targets of Canadian and U.S. 'national security' profiling for many years.

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immigration and refugeesCanadian immigrationSyrian refugeesimmigration policyTrudeau governmentCanadian immigration detentionCanadian refugee policyMatthew BehrensApril 26, 2017Trudeau continues Harper assault on human rightsThose still intoxicated by the dream of a world without Harper don't want the fresh perfume of Trudeaumania to be erased by the cold facts of reality. But it's time to acknowledge some hard truths.Canada's refugee policy must change in response to Trump presidencyMany of the refugee policies brought in by the Harper government are still in place. Refugee advocates say Justin Trudeau has to make significant changes to those policies now that Trump is president.Exposing and challenging migrant detention in CanadaTings Chak talks about her graphic novel-style book Undocumented: The Architecture of Migrant Detention.

Democracy Now! 2017-04-26 Wednesday

Democracy Now (English) - 26 April 2017 - 5:00am
Democracy Now! 2017-04-26 Wednesday
  • Headlines for April 26, 2017
  • Chomsky on the GOP: Has Any Organization Ever Been So Committed to Destruction of Life on Earth?
  • Chomsky: Like Obama, Trump Is Radically Increasing the Danger of Nuclear War
  • Chomsky on North Korea & Iran: Historical Record Shows U.S. Favors Violence Over Diplomacy
  • Chomsky on Syria: We Must Help Fleeing Refugees & Pursue Diplomatic Settlement
  • Chomsky: CIA Targeting of Julian Assange of WikiLeaks is "Disgraceful Act"

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Donald Trump helps build the case for Rachel Notley's social license policy on energy exports

Rabble.ca/ - 25 April 2017 - 10:47pm
David J. Climenhaga

If Alberta's conservatives imagined U.S. President Donald Trump's decision immediately after his election last November to push the Keystone XL Pipeline project forward would provide an opening for them to attack the Alberta NDP government's policy of building social license for export development, they now need to re-examine their assumptions.

With his recent decision to attack Canadian trade -- and his inclusion of energy along with milk, cheese and lumber on his grocery list of grievances -- President Trump has risked ruining his Canadian fellow travellers' strategy.

Both Progressive Conservative Leader Jason Kenney and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean have always been quick to point to any opposition by environmentalists in British Columbia, aging stars in Hollywood or whomever wherever as evidence that trying to earn social license from citizens of other jurisdictions to get Alberta's oil to world markets is a lost cause.

As an alternative -- apparently the only alternative acceptable to conservatives -- they always propose going back to the time-honoured Tory strategy of shoving it up the nose of anyone who stands in their way, never mind their notable lack of success trying to do just that through all the years their man Stephen Harper ran things in Ottawa.

A keystone of this argument, as it were, was that it was the mercurial, climate-denying reality TV POTUS that the whole world now has to learn to live with who gave us Albertans the pipeline we wanted -- so we don't need no stinkin' social license!

Now Trump has gone and demonstrated just how dangerous it can be to assume you can rely on one single market to sell the product that remains the mainstay of Alberta’s economy. This is true even though it's completely murky what the heck it is Trump is complaining about when it comes to energy, massive sales of which are locked in at terms favourable to the United States by the trade agreement the president finds so disagreeable.

We'd better get to work to build some social license if we expect the economy of this place to keep running long enough to manage the transition to a difficult-to-imagine post-carbon future that is assuredly coming whether Trump, Kenney and Jean think it is or not.

Premier Rachel Notley did not miss the opportunity to state the obvious, pointing out to reporters during her recent trade mission to China that the president’s ramblings are that much more evidence for the need to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline to the West Coast so Alberta oil can reach overseas markets through Canada.

And that simply isn't going to happen with a little more social license than we have right now, as conservatives of various stripes keep pointing out -- and as may become even more obvious on May 9, depending on the results of the B.C. provincial election.

I would say this makes Notley's point in a way that even die-hard supporters of Kenney and Jean should be able to comprehend, although I'm not optimistic.

Meanwhile, Canadian conservatives who have been cheering Trump since before his election, really need to think carefully about how that is going to look now that the U.S. president appears set to provoke a trade war with Canada because … well, we're not actually sure why.

In particular, conservative Canadian politicians who crossed the border to campaign for Trump and other Republicans should probably be thinking about what to say when the issue comes up at all-candidates' meetings in future election campaigns.

Because, believe me, it's going to come up! Believe me! Many, many times. So many times!

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

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Sea Change Radio: Rahwa Ghirmatzion: Green Buffalo Soldier, Segment 1

Radio 4 All - 25 April 2017 - 4:17pm
What’s a great way to lift up an impoverished population within a struggling city where utility bills can cost twice as much as rent itself? Local, engaged clean energy efforts. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to the Deputy Director of PUSH Buffalo, Rahwa Ghirmatzion, about the work that her organization is doing to create jobs and ramp up energy efficiency in the third poorest major city in the U.S. Ghirmatzion tells us about how her organization got its start, how its model has evolved and how PUSH Buffalo is trying to meet rising demands for its services in the face of looming EPA cuts.

TERRORE DI STATO CONTRO IL POPOLO CURDO

Anarkismo.net - 25 April 2017 - 2:59pm
Riprendono i bombardamenti contro la popolazione curda da parte dell'aviazione turca

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit Show: Spring '17 Fund Drive Show # 1 - Paulo Franco Live In The Studio, Segment 1

Radio 4 All - 25 April 2017 - 10:46am
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit Show - A musical mid-life crisis -- a late-night search for meaning and happiness airs on WRIR LP Monday nights from 9 PM to 11 PM. Stream the show @ www.wrir.org

The Mixed Tape: The Mixed Tape - April 25, 2017, Segment 1

Radio 4 All - 25 April 2017 - 8:41am
Chuck Teed, Abigail Smith, and Peter Rowan join Brian Cleveland on a special double episode of The Mixed Tape to set up this week's East Coast Music Awards & Quality Block Party happening in Saint John, N.B. from April 26-30, 2017.

The Mixed Tape: The Mixed Tape - April 25, 2017, Segment 2

Radio 4 All - 25 April 2017 - 8:41am
Chuck Teed, Abigail Smith, and Peter Rowan join Brian Cleveland on a special double episode of The Mixed Tape to set up this week's East Coast Music Awards & Quality Block Party happening in Saint John, N.B. from April 26-30, 2017.

Emmanuel Macron, post-politics and social democracy

Rabble.ca/ - 25 April 2017 - 6:33am
April 25, 2017Post-politics is alive in France, thanks to the marriage of social democracy and neoliberal economics The marriage of social democracy and neoliberal market economics has created what Belgian political philosopher Chantal Mouffe calls "post-politics."

Post-politics is alive in France, thanks to the marriage of social democracy and neoliberal economics

Rabble.ca/ - 25 April 2017 - 6:30am
World

The marriage of social democracy and neoliberal market economics has created what Belgian political philosopher Chantal Mouffe calls "post-politics."

On the economic issues of how wealth is produced and distributed, the social democratic left in the U.K., France and Germany -- once elected -- have bought into the "globalization is good" agenda promoted by the conservative right.

This left-right consensus means that voters are not offered a choice at election time.

If both left and right agree on who gets what -- let the impartial world market decide -- then politics as social conflict between profit seekers and employees becomes irrelevant.

What Marine Le Pen and her Front National represent is a world divided between friends (the French people) and enemies (others).

The Front National appeals to strong emotions: attachment to country and its flag, anthem and patriotic symbols.

With France shaken by dramatic incidents of violence and assassination, Le Pen plays off the 21-century "war on terrorism" and its associated Islamophobia to stoke fear and distrust of recent immigrants and French Muslims.

While the results of last Sunday's first round of voting for the next president of the French Republic showed support for LePen at 21 per cent, the French Socialist candidate Benoît Hamon gathered only six per cent support.

The French Socialist party has split three ways. The neoliberal supporters of outgoing President Hollande quietly joined with globalist Emmanuel Macron who led the polls with 23 per cent, propped up by his one-year-old En Marche! movement, post-politics to the core, claiming to be neither left nor right.

Benoît Hamon and those who remained faithful to the program of the Socialist party could not overcome the five-year legacy of the outgoing Socialist president who had abandoned policies he defended to get elected, and failed to dent unemployment.

Those loyal to left ideals (as exhibited in Nuit Debout protests against labour market liberalization for instance) joined Jean-Luc Mélenchon under his campaign banner La France Insoumise (unbowed).

The Mélenchon campaign attracted seven million-plus voters. It fell two percentage points short of replacing Le Pen on the run-off ballot -- a frustrating result, with two per cent of voters submitting blank ballots and another two per cent voting for two marginal candidates of the left.

The legacy of the Mélenchon campaign is promising.

By refusing the post-political consensus, Mélenchon opened debates over how to defeat European Union-imposed austerity, end economic practices that contribute to ecological disaster, introduce a new constitution to replace the Fifth Republic monarchy, and break with NATO- and U.S.-led military interventionism.

France Insoumise operated successfully through innovative social media campaigns, borrowing ideas from Podemos in Spain, and Sanders in the U.S., and engaging youth voters.

The success of his campaign led to widespread attempts to demonize and discredit Mélanchon, and it had an impact on the election results; but his ability to defend himself in public debate also generated support for Mélenchon from disaffected voters coveted by Le Pen. 

Le Pen received less than five per cent of the vote in Paris. Her supporters number those with small capital: businesses and farmers worried about economic survival, and those disenchanted with Europe.

Emanuel Macron and En Marche! were financed and supported by the 40 French corporations that constitute the CAC stock exchange index.

In recent years, ownership of French media has become increasingly concentrated and liberty of expression reduced. The new media lords strongly supported Macron.

In June, France elects its parliament. The ability of Macron, the likely winner in the May 7 run-off against Le Pen, to put together a stable legislative majority is much in doubt.

En Marche! has been recruiting and interviewing candidates for the legislative elections.

Trying to break with the old parties, Macron has promised to name to cabinet only people who have never been ministers in earlier governments.

The (Gaullist) Republicans and Socialists who have dominated the National Assembly will not go down to defeat, just because Macron asks people to vote En Marche! 

The Front National has only two current members in the 577-member National Assembly. The two-round voting system has kept them from winning seats.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon and La France Insoumise will challenge Le Pen and post-politics as practiced by the Socialists, Gaullists, and incarnated by Macron and En Marche!

Duncan Cameron is former president of rabble.ca and writes a weekly column on politics and current affairs.

Photo: radiowood/flickr

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french election 2017france politicsneoliberal politicsMarine Le PenDuncan CameronApril 25, 2017French presidential race finds two leading candidates enmeshed in corruptionFrance awaits the results of judicial enquiries launched against the Republican candidate and the Front National candidate, not just the first round of voting for a new president.Populism and faux feminism: Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump and Justin TrudeauJustin Trudeau arrived in Washington on Monday with a plan to help Trump polish his image with women, even though Canadian women are still waiting for action on public child care from our feminist PM.Fighting the right-wing plague that struck Europe In its current version the European extreme right represents the Europe of peoples, not the Europe of democracies. The threat it poses is serious because European democracy is weak and getting weaker.

Democracy Now! 2017-04-25 Tuesday

Democracy Now (English) - 25 April 2017 - 5:00am
Democracy Now! 2017-04-25 Tuesday
  • Headlines for April 25, 2017
  • Witnesses to Double Execution in Arkansas Say Inmates May Have Suffered Botched, Painful Death
  • Cornel West & Former Sanders Staffer on Movement to Draft Bernie for a New "People's Party" in U.S.
  • BDS Leader Omar Barghouti Dedicates His Gandhi Peace Award to Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike

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The Turkish army is attacking Yezîdî Kurds and Rojava villages

Anarkismo.net - 25 April 2017 - 4:09am
Turkish warplanes bombed Şengal (Sinjar-Iraq/Kurdistan) and Dêrik (Karaçokê-Rojava/Kurdistan).
According to the latest information, 26 Turkish warplanes attacked Amûd and Geliyê Kersê of Şengal/Sinjar. The bombardment is still going on. It has been learned that prior to the aerial operation, communication networks had been completely cut in Dêrik and its surrounding areas.

VELENI A NORD-EST

Anarkismo.net - 25 April 2017 - 12:33am
VERSIONE RIVEDUTA E CORRETTA:
UN AMARO AMARCORD TRA I MIASMI INQUINANTI DEL NORD-EST , RICORDI DI UN'EPOCA IN CUI, FORSE, SI POTEVA ANCORA IMPEDIRE LA CATASTROFE AMBIENTALE, STRISCIANTE O DILAGANTE...

Make American dairy farms great again! Adopt supply management

Rabble.ca/ - 24 April 2017 - 11:07pm
David J. Climenhaga

Never imagine, even for a moment, that U.S. President Donald Trump was serious when he talked about standing up for the interests American farmers in his notorious anti-Canadian trade speech at the Snap-On Tool factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Some Wisconsin dairy farmers may have been pleased when Trump began bloviating on the topic because anything is better than nothing when you're in desperate straits. And have no doubt, a lot of American dairy farmers are in desperate straits.

But the interests Trump is defending are those of the multinational "agri-food" corporations that hold Wisconsin dairy farmers in a grip that approaches feudal vassalage, and which would love to be able to do the same thing to their counterparts down on the Canadian farm.

Remember, despite his lies, misdirection and deceptions, the not-so-competent Trump serves the same neoliberal corporate masters as the quite competent Hillary Clinton, whom he defeated in last fall's U.S. presidential election with a little help from his friends in the FBI and -- who knows? -- maybe the FSB as well.

So his problem with the "very unfair things" supposedly going on in Canadian agriculture's supply-managed dairy, poultry and egg sectors may be that they offer a good, very good example to U.S. farmers that the agri-food lobby and its friends in Washington would very much like to eliminate forever.

On the other hand, speaking of desperate straits, with the end of his shambolic first 100 days in office fast approaching, President Trump may want desperately to look as if he's doing something for the schmucks who voted for him when, despite his big talk, he hasn't really done anything much at all since he was sworn in on Jan. 20.

Because when farmers are left to themselves, they can usually be counted on to produce themselves into poverty, it's good to have something to blame for the problems you’ve created. As Wisconsin farmer Chris Holman observed in a recent blog post, "Sorry Canada, this time that thing is you!"

"Scapegoating Canadian trade policy is a brilliant move as morally flexible politics goes, but as is often the case with finger-pointing, anyone doing it in a situation like this looks suspiciously like a guilty four-year-old,” Holman wrote.

Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates about 163 million litres of heavily subsidized American milk were dumped in fields, manure ponds or otherwise went down the drain in the first eight months of 2016, U.S. farmers in financial trouble would dearly love the opportunity to dump it in Canada instead. Supply-managed Canadian dairy farmers, by the way, receive zero subsidies from our taxes.

And lots of American dairy farms are in big financial trouble. According to the USDA, and state agencies quoted by Holman, about 500 Wisconsin farms close every year as the dairy industry there grows ever more concentrated. And, believe me, this has nothing to do with Canada.

Of course, bad neoliberal economic policies have the same kind of friends on both sides of the Medicine Line, which may be why the Canadian supply management system, which supplies high-quality product to Canadians at a fair price while ensuring dairy, poultry and egg farmers earn a living wage, has been under attack by the same types in Canada.

This explains why the Usual Suspects, like the neoliberal propagandists in Thinktankistan and their publicity auxiliary in Canadian media where Postmedia and The Globe and Mail compete to outdo one another with hysterical denunciations of supply management, are positively gleeful at President Trump's bombastic attacks on Canada.

"Dear Donald Trump," exclaimed the failing Globe and Mail in an editorial attacking at least some of its few remaining readers, "please milk Canada's sacred dairy cow."

It's true that supply management does "interfere with the market" to ensure a steady supply of supply-managed products at a fair price -- which is enough to send the Globe and Postmedia into paroxysms of apoplexy on ideological grounds alone.

But we can be reasonably sure that certain things will happen in the Canadian market without it, notwithstanding the fairy-tale promises made by neoliberal journalists, think-tank shills and a few geographically fortunate farmers located next to major centres.

First, as is happening in Wisconsin, there will be significant concentration of the Canadian egg, poultry and dairy farming into a few corporate hands.

In dairy, though, it may be all for naught over the long term for the simple reason most of our milk will eventually be trucked in from places with more favourable climates for year-round feed crops, like Mexico and the southern United States.

If you imagine that will make it cheaper, though, don't bet the farm … as it were. Without supply management, Canada's heavily concentrated grocery supply corporations will merrily continue to charge consumers pretty much what they please. The profits, though, will go into corporate pockets, not those of community members and farmers.

The occasional loss leader may give the illusion milk or eggs are cheaper, but that will come at the expense of dairy farmers and extra mark-ups on other groceries.

Moreover, the not-so-cheap milk you do get will be loaded with Recombinant Bovine Growth hormone and antibiotics necessary to run dairies in the U.S. market.

If you imagine the market will provide a niche for producers of artisanal products for consumers willing to pay a little bit more, dream on. Surviving Canadian dairies will be screaming to adopt the same strategies. They will say they have little choice, and they will be right.

The government of Canada will end up having to compensate farmers with quota to the tune of billions of dollars -- which will be paid by you and me.

So the short answer is that while supply management gives consumers a quality product at a price that allows local farmers a living wage, the alternative is not cheaper milk, cheese, eggs and poultry. It's the same price for lower quality food produced in dystopic conditions and hauled across the continent in diesel trucks.

Well, I suppose we should be thankful President Trump is not yet sending real bombs our way, but if this attack succeeds, you can count on it that the health of our economy, the success of our agricultural sector and the people who run it, and the physical wellbeing of Canadians who consume these products will all be worse.

As National Farmers Union President Jan Slomp cheekily advised Trump a few days ago, if he really wants to make American dairy farms great again, he should adopt supply management.

This post also appears on rabble.ca.

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Taylor Report: Go to the Stephen Gowans book launch, Segment 1

Radio 4 All - 24 April 2017 - 8:31pm
Phil explains the value of Stephen Gowans' new book, "Washington's Long War on Syria." He also points out where it is launching, and why it is necessary to fight the propaganda. There exists strong tendencies towards the "rush to judgement" when Washington is trying to walk us into wars. Gowans is an antidote.

This Way Out: "Dressed As A Girl" in East London + Chechnya purge update + more!, Segment 1

Radio 4 All - 24 April 2017 - 6:40pm
East London dragsters discover high drama in high heels "Dressed As A Girl"; refugee voices describe anti-gay terror in Chechnya while its leader pleads "not guilty"; homophobic crackdowns resume in Nigeria and Iran, tributes pour in for the gay activist police officer killed in the latest Paris terror attack, Trump picks an anti-LGBT bigot to lead the U.S. Army, a basketball legend has some "Magic" words for the parents of nonconforming LGBTQ kids, and more queer news from around the world!

Joe and Anthony on Chiampa Radio : Episode 86 - Hashtag Hashbrowns , Segment 1

Radio 4 All - 24 April 2017 - 6:11pm
Our originally schedule guest had a schedule conflict, but your two loveable stoner idiots, Joe and Anthony, transitioned with grace into other hot topics of the week! Want to be a guest on the show? Give us a call 813-327-8566 and tell us about yourself! Visit http://blog.chiampa.info for our schedule and more!

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