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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Chris Hamby starts off what looks to be a must-read investigation on the effect of ISDS rules by discussing how they’re used to prevent governments from punishing corporate wrongdoing:

(A)n 18-month BuzzFeed News investigation, spanning three continents and involving more than 200 interviews and tens of thousands of documents, many of them previously confidential, has exposed an obscure but immensely consequential feature of these trade treaties, the secret operations of these tribunals, and the ways that business has co-opted them to bring sovereign nations to heel.

Reviewing publicly available information for about 300 claims filed during the past five years, BuzzFeed News found more than 35 cases in which the company or executive seeking protection in ISDS was accused of criminal activity, including money laundering, embezzlement, stock manipulation, bribery, war profiteering, and fraud.

Among them: a bank in Cyprus that the US government accused of financing terrorism and organized crime, an oil company executive accused of embezzling millions from the impoverished African nation of Burundi, and the Russian oligarch known as “the Kremlin’s banker.”

Some are at the center of notorious scandals, from the billionaire accused of orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme in Mauritius to multiple telecommunications tycoons charged in the ever-widening “2G scam” in India, which made it into Time magazine’s top 10 abuses of power, alongside Watergate. The companies or executives involved in these cases either denied wrongdoing or did not respond to requests for comment.

Most of the 35-plus cases are still ongoing. But in at least eight of the cases, bringing an ISDS claim got results for the accused wrongdoers, including a multimillion-dollar award, a dropped criminal investigation, and dropped criminal charges. In another, the tribunal has directed the government to halt a criminal case while the arbitration is pending.

– And Dharna Noor interviews James Henry about the need for international cooperation – at both the government and public level – to crack down on tax evasion.

– Tyler Hamilton discusses the health effects of climate change. And Joseph Erbentraut examines how a changing climate is affecting both the quantity and quality of the water we depend on. 

– Kev responds to the spread of #goodriddanceharper by pointing out that as satisfying as it was to turf the Cons from office, we’re still facing most of the same anti-social policies with a more media-savvy face. And Doug Nesbitt reminds us that the Trudeau Libs are no friends of labour – with Canada Post’s appalling attacks on vulnerable workers serving as just the latest example.

– Finally, the Canadian Press reports on a much-needed push for resources to address mental health in Canada. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.- Chris Hamby starts off what looks to be a must-read investigation on the effect of ISDS rules by discussing how they’re used to prevent governments from punishing corporate wrongdoing:(A)n 18-month BuzzFeed News … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Paul Krugman rightly points out that it’s to be expected that Republican establishment figures would line up behind Donald Trump since he shares their top priority of handing still more money to the richest f… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Melisa Foster points out why millennials should be strongly interested in a national pharmacare program:Today, young Canadians are searching for jobs in an economy with high levels of precarious employment, unemploym… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- France St-Hilaire, David Green and Craig Riddell offer some needed policy prescriptions to fight inequality in Canada:As first steps toward expanding the share of the economic pie going to workers, the minimum wage … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Reuters reports on Tidjane Thiam’s recognition that inequality and underfunded education likely played roles in the Brexit vote’s outcome. And David Blanchflower rightly argues that the UK will need economic st… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: FREE WEBINAR – Managing Caregiver Emotions When the Going Gets Tough

Join me this Wednesday evening the 29th at 7pm EST for a FREE WEBINAR at The Caregiver Network – details below.Managing Emotions When The Going Gets ToughJune 29, 2016 @ 7:00-8:30 pm (EST)REGISTER HERE+ Google Calendar + iCal ExportThis sessi… . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: FREE WEBINAR – Managing Caregiver Emotions When the Going Gets Tough

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: FREE WEBINAR – Managing Caregiver Emotions When the Going Gets Tough

Join me this Wednesday evening the 29th at 7pm EST for a FREE WEBINAR at The Caregiver Network – details below.

Managing Emotions When The Going Gets Tough

June 29, 2016 @ 7:008:30 pm (EST)

This session is intended for Caregivers

How can uncomfortable emotions be managed when caregiving feels unmanageable? Is it ever possible to make peace with grief and loss in caregiving?
Re-framing grief and anxiety as natural components of loving relationships with dependent loved ones is the theme of this presentation.
The session will offer caregivers tools to better understand and manage their own grief and anxiety. Questions addressed during this session will include: Is it possible to befriend grief and anxiety?  What happens if you try to shut these feelings out? What is the difference between difficult emotions that are natural and those that are symptoms of mental illness? What are the tools to feel better and keep caregiving?
The purpose of this session is to help caregivers understand the nature of their own difficult emotions and to offer self-management strategies that enable resilience and wellbeing in the face of loss and challenge.
 This presentation will be followed by a question/answer period.

  1. Presenter

    Donna Thomson

    Donna Thomson cares for her adult son with severe disabilities and for her Mom who is still feisty at 93. She’s the author of The Four Walls of My Freedom: Lessons I’ve Learned From a Life of Caregiving (The House of Anansi Press, 2014) and blogs regularly at The Caregivers’ Living Room (www.donnathomson.com). Donna is the Caregiving Advisor for Tyze Personal Networks, a free online tool designed to help caregivers coordinate a network of support.
  1. Presenter

    Julie Keon

    Julie’s career path changed and evolved after becoming a mother herself to Meredith, in December 2003. While no longer a practicing birth doula, Julie is active in the death midwifery movement and now offers care to those at the end of life. She welcomed a new opportunity in 2012 when she became a licensed marriage officiant for the province of Ontario, and expanded her services after graduating as a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® in early 2013 from the Celebrant Foundation & Institute with a focus on end-of-life and funeral celebrations. An avid writer, Julie began work on her first book, an extension of her essay, What I Would Tell You, in 2011. Her book was published and released to the world in May 2015 and has been very well received by not only parents and the professionals who work with families like hers but also by anyone who has found themselves in a caregiving role.

. . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: FREE WEBINAR – Managing Caregiver Emotions When the Going Gets Tough

A Different Point of View....: Now I know why my friends don’t want to hear about climate change

About three years ago I decided to devote a lot of time to writing about the threat of climate change. I felt then – and feel now – that the planet is going to be in one hell of a worse mess in a few years unless we take action on a scale never seen before concerning any other threat in history.

After I had published two or three items on various news sites, I was surprised – actually shocked – to learn that, compared to other topics I have written about – such as international financial mismanagement and the evils of neo-liberalism – very few people read the climate change articles.

To try to find out why this is the case, I spoke with a few friends. Most said the thought of dramatic changes occurring on earth were too overwhelming to deal with. Worse still, they felt they couldn’t have any influence on what will happen.

As it turned out, hardly any of my friends wanted to learn more about the threat or find out how they might help fight climate change.

People reacting emotionally to climate change

I don’t know the psychological state of my friends, but an Australian psychologist believes she knows why millions of people are reacting emotionally to climate change.

This climate activist traveled to Paris to demonstrate during the UN climate change conference in December. Masses of people must show the same resolve if we are to hold climate change at bay.

Dr. Susie Burke of the Australian Psychological Society says that, as life on earth becomes more abnormal over time, it can bring on all kinds of feelings in people. Knowing this, I’d say some of my friends are in what is perhaps an early anxiety stage concerning the threat of climate change. As conditions worsen, their symptoms can be expected to worsen.

“Many people may feel seriously concerned, frightened, angry, pessimistic, distressed, or guilty in response to climate change,” she says. “Qualitative research finds evidence of some people being deeply affected by feelings of loss, helplessness, and frustration due to their inability to feel they are making a difference in stopping climate change.

“New terms such as ‘eco-anxiety’ or ‘climate change anxiety’ are sometimes used to describe this.”

Dr. Burke says that if people experience something like an extreme weather disaster, the impact on them can get worse.


Mental health in danger

Disasters occurring because of climate change, in addition to destroying our environment, will also affect us psychologically and mentally.

“Depression, PTSD and complicated grief reactions are the most common mental health problems,” she says, “and many, many more people who do not end up with a diagnosis of depression or PTSD, nonetheless end up with heightened distress, grief, stress and strain.”

The most disastrous impacts are occurring in some developing countries. Recently a city in western India suffered through the country’s highest ever recorded temperature – a scorching 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 F). As a result of crops being wiped out by excessive heat, hundreds of depressed farmers across 13 states have killed themselves.

In Karachi, Pakistan, in anticipation of another heat wave this year, officials hired a digger to excavate three elongated trenches big enough for 300 bodies. In Canada, while climate change is not nearly as damaging – at least so far– as in many other countries, it already is having an impact on the mental health of many people.

Worst affected are the northern First Nations and Inuit, peoples who have a close relationship with nature. Melting permafrost is damaging vital ice roads, making them unstable and unsafe.    In the past, roads in Ontario used to import vital goods, were safe about 70 days a year. Now they’re passable only about 35 days. The changes have made hunting more unpredictable.  Changes in ice flow patterns have made hunting walrus more difficult.

First Nations people despondent

Isadore Day, Ontario’s regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, says that despair over climate change is contributing to mental health and social problems, possibly even record-breaking suicide rates.

Cunsolo Willox, an assistant professor of indigenous studies at Cape Breton University, says the impact of climate change on northern peoples was evident back in 2009, when she did her PhD dissertation in Labrador. She says family stress was elevated. Anxiety and depression seemed to be amplified. More people were turning to drugs and alcohol and having suicide thoughts.

Interestingly, Willox said the people she interviewed weren’t talking to each other about their fears – which, I think, is similar to the way some of my friends are responding to the emerging crisis.
Some farmers on the Canadian prairies are also experiencing severe anxiety. Farmers have always been at the mercy of the weather at the best of times.

But Kim Keller, who worked on her family’s grain farm about 200 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, told The Toronto Star that climate change is hitting some farmers hard. The dramatic changes are amplifying mental distress as farmers struggle with floods, unseasonable frosts, and windstorms scientists say are becoming more frequent and severe.

Extreme weather battering farms

Planting crops year to year is becoming a “roll of the dice,” said Keller, a third-generation farmer. “The weather we tend to experience lately seems to be at one extreme or the other — drought or flooding, -40 C or 35 C. These unpredictable and extreme weather patterns add to all the other stressors farmers experience and deal with.”

In Alberta, the lives of thousands of people have been upended by the massive Fort McMurray wildfires, caused largely by climate change. It’s not hard to predict that many people who will continue to live in the area will suffer anxiety. Meanwhile, the CBC reports that children who experienced the fires are suffering from stress.

On a worldwide scale, it appears that the impact of climate change on human health will be receiving much more attention in the future. A report by the United Nations Human Rights Council released in May says that massive action is needed to protect the human rights – particularly the mental health – of people.

The report warns: “The negative health impacts of climate change will increase exponentially with every incremental increase in warming. Limiting warming to the greatest extent possible and achieving the target of 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels should therefore be the objective of all climate action.”

The problems in developing countries the report addresses also apply to native groups living in the Canadian North and prairie farmers: “States should establish, inter alia, early warning systems; utilize community-based monitoring, including traditional knowledge; enhance emergency response capabilities; and improve coordination in addressing climate migration . . . .”

No health-related action in Canada

While many Canadian mental health and some government officials are aware of the impact of climate change on human health, it does not appear that the actions recommended by the UN are being carried out in Canada.

Finally, thinking back to all those people who don’t want to deal with climate change: this is a serious problem. If the planet is to be a livable place, the masses of people have to become involved in the fight. Environmental groups must do a lot more on climate change than they’re doing – they’re failing to educate the public.

Governments must be both criticized and encouraged over what they’re doing. If fossil fuel corporations don’t embrace technologies favouring carbon reduction, they must be attacked and eliminated.

-30-
CLICK HERE, to subscribe to my blog. Thanks Nick
Contact Nick Fillmore at fillmore0274@rogers.com

. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Now I know why my friends don’t want to hear about climate change

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Greg Jericho is the latest to weigh in on the false promises of neoliberalism:An article in the IMF’s latest issue of is journal Finance and Development notes that “instead of delivering growth, some neolibe… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

A Puff of Absurdity: My Fiftieth Year

How pivotal is that number? It seemed huge on the way in, and still lingers on the way out. A year ago (way back here), I lived with my three kids, and now I just have one left at home. The house is quieter and cleaner, and I talk to the older two ab… . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: My Fiftieth Year

A Puff of Absurdity: My Fiftieth Year

How pivotal is that number? It seemed huge on the way in, and still lingers on the way out. A year ago (way back here), I lived with my three kids, and now I just have one left at home. The house is quieter and cleaner, and I talk to the older two ab… . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: My Fiftieth Year

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- The Ontario Association of Food Banks discusses the long-term damage done by childhood poverty and deprivation:When facing a very tight budget, food is often the budget line that gets cut in order to a… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Wise Law Blog: Up All Night

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have noticed that our office recently had the opportunity to both attend and support the Up All Night event, held at Centennial College. The purpose? For the community to come together for one night to focus on… . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Up All Night

wmtc: precariously yours: notes from the 2016 cupe ontario library workers conference

Last week I attended the CUPE Ontario Library Workers Conference, my second year, and my first since being elected to the organizing committee. This year’s theme was precarious work, and nothing could be more relevant to library work today.All three ke… . . . → Read More: wmtc: precariously yours: notes from the 2016 cupe ontario library workers conference

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- GOOD Magazine neatly sums up what the world would look like on the scale of 100 people – and how patently unfair wealth inequality looks in that context: – Lawrence Mishel and David Cooper point out that a $1… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

My journey with AIDS…and more!: Medical update: It’s all good

While showing me a graph, with the trajectory of my health over the past few months, my endocrinologist remarked, “I wouldn’t have sold you life insurance in January!” Point taken. It was a rough patch, to be sure. But now… … . . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: Medical update: It’s all good

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Jonathan Sas offers a worthwhile read on the potential value of a basic income – as well the importance of retaining and strengthening a social safety net to go with it:In the current rush to experiment with GMI… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: On controversial responses

A propos of nothing in particular, let’s go over this a couple more times:Colby Cosh’s latest on the role of the “human search engine” in tracking down information about candidates and elected officials is worth a read. But it’s worth keeping in mind… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On controversial responses

A Puff of Absurdity: On Desires and Commodities

I’ve just been reading books and watching films lately. I’ll write again soon. But check out this passage from The Obsolescence of Man by Gunther Anders, first published in 1956: *** The mere fact that I had no car and therefore could be caught… . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: On Desires and Commodities

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

– Andrew Jackson discusses a few of the choices the Trudeau Libs need to get right in order to actually set Canada on a more progressive fiscal path: Progressives who worry about growing income inequality will note two key features of the new government’s tax plans. First, the plan . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

A Puff of Absurdity: On Childhood Angst

Can children be existentialists? What I’m asking isn’t so much whether or not it’s possible, but should we allow it?  If I dare to claim to define some central ideas here, the part about living authentically and embracing the freedom that comes with taking responsibility for all our choices with no excuses, that side of . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: On Childhood Angst

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Andrew Jackson discusses how increased development of the oil sands fits into Canada’s economic future – and how it’s foolhardy to assume that one necessarily equates to the other: A new and effective global climate agreement to avoid hitting the 2 degree increase would mandate a large, phased . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

A Puff of Absurdity: Dear Orli

You wrote about the education system ruining your health because you started having panic attacks when you realized your future would be based on a set of criteria created by exam boards. You think young people are feeling pressure that shouldn’t be imposed on anyone.  You ask,

“How can we justify putting the . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: Dear Orli

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– John Thornhill talks to Mariana Mazzucato about the importance of public investment in fostering economic growth – along with the need for the public to benefit as a result: As Mazzucato explains it, the traditional way of framing the debate about wealth creation is to picture the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links