The Courage Foundation is an international organization that supports those who risk life or liberty to make significant contributions to the historical record. They fundraise for the legal and public defence of specific individuals who fit these criteria and are subject to serious prosecution or persecution. They also campaign for the protection of truthtellers and the public’s right to know generally. When powerful institutions retreat into secrecy, they prevent proper oversight and accountability. Whistleblowers become the public's regulators and reporters of last resort.
Because whistleblowers are a vital link in this chain, they are also vulnerable. Courage Foundation upholds the principle of public access by aiding the whistleblowers who make discovery possible, forcing their cases into the public sphere and funding important cases in the courts. By protecting whistleblowers, a culture of support for radical transparency, adversarial journalism and democratic accountability is promoted. Courage prepares legal defense funds to defend whistleblowers in court and campaigns for their freedom and protection. By keeping the names and circumstances of these people in the public discourse, Courage can help prevent the next whistleblower from being the next political prisoner.
Naomi Colvin of Courage Foundation joins us for a review of 2017 and an idea of what to expect going forward from the never shrinking power of the state. Official campaigns are ongoing for Lauri Love, Reality Winner, Barrett Brown, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, Edward Snowden and others. The list never seems to decrease in length, which means the work of Courage never does either. Join us for information regarding the condition of transparency and ways the public can support the vital work of Courage Foundation.
Visit: Courage Foundation
FreeAnons was founded by people with a mission to support those incarcerated by the State for crimes related to freedom of information and activism. One of those people was Jeremy Hammond. Another person was Nancy Norelli, a criminal defense attorney from Florida. For over 5 years Nancy acted as probono legal counsel for FreeAnons, which was her intent from day one.
As the amount of work grew, so did the ranks. Enter Sue Crabtree and Pamela Drew. It seemingly didn't take long for things to change. A public dispute over ethics and website hosting with a Board member resigning stating a lack of transparency to the community. In the same time period, a question about pledging support for activists who were then abandoned became public, resulting in statements pulling back the curtains somewhat. Members of the community arrested for computer crimes in projects endorsed and promoted by FreeAnons were given lip service and forgotten, leaving it to them to fight the wall of FA and their supporters. All of these issues were met with character assassination, innuendo, wholesale denial of verifiable facts and subtle threats from members of the FreeAnons inner circle.
An inner circle that Nancy was no longer allowed into. As legal counsel, it's fairly obvious disclosure and open communication with clients is necessary. Her legal opinion was being downplayed or ignored. On July 13 this year, Nancy found she was locked out of the twitter account she started. What followed was a fable about Nancy betraying her founding partner Jeremy Hammond, along with rumors used in every other incident.
There is no question the mission of FreeAnons has changed over the years. Brand has become the mission. There is nothing FreeAnons does that is exclusive or particularily well executed, beyond rabble rousing and retweeting. Do they deserve the community's trust and support?
Nancy Norelli joins us to examine and explain today's FA
There will be three Provincial elections in Canada in 2018. New Brunswick votes on September 24th. Quebec votes on October 1st. But it is June 7th that will likely run away with the most ink, the most rhetoric and the most coverage for the entire country. Ontario will go to the polls on June 7th and Canada's most populous province and biggest economic force has a decision to be made.
Kathleen Wynne has had anything but a smooth ride and there are plenty of reasons why - real and imagined. For all of 2017, polling had her Liberals on the way out come election day. Corporate media has been only too happy to convey this scenario. But the end-of-year polling showed a virtual dead heat with the Progressive Conservatives. The PCPO leader, Patrick Brown, has lost the early momentum and paid for the occasional candidate that revealed too much of their personal convictions, reinforcing the lingering party image. The Ontario NDP leader, Andrea Horwath, will lead her party for the third election on her watch. Will she be "out-lefted" by the Liberals?
The pre-writ games have started with the New Year and it's gonna be interesting, inflammatory and intriguing.
Dave Glover hosts Canada's Only Holistic Political Chat - The Drive Time weekdays at 4-7pm EST on https://northumberland897.ca/ and he returns to The View Up Here to discuss what it is that Ontarians have against Kathleen Wynne, what the election issues may be and what the alternatives to Liberal government could actually hold in reality with today's Ontario
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect on January 1, 1994 between the United States, Canada and Mexico. The agreement created the biggest economic trading bloc in the world. NAFTA was the first multinational trade liberalization agreement, becoming a template for all that have followed. Phrases such as Investor-State Dispute Settlement, the loathed ISDS, became common practice going forward around the world.
For 23 years the discussion about benefits, handicaps, gains, losses, jobs and market share have remained mostly along lines of interest depending on who was speaking. Subsequent global accords such as the WTO have not only made use of NAFTA precedents, but also hemmed in the agreement on some fronts. Canadian governments of Chretien, Martin, Harper and Trudeau have fought in arbitration both for and against but never have any of them stated any intent to leave the agreement. Mexican governments of Salinas, Zedillo, Fox, Calderon and Nieto have seen massive overall improvements in their nation's health and it would be hard-pressed to find negative aspects of it in the big picture. American governments of Clinton, Bush and Obama stuck by the agreement, despite never ending special interest opposition and the biggest overall losses of the three nations by far.
Enter Donald Trump. Proclamations don't carry much force in international trade. Personal opinions (especially ill-informed ones) don't change trade agreements. The warning signs from individual US states and next-door allies fall on deaf ears as long as the cameras are rolling with the Dotard. Bluster and ignorance about procedure could actually leave the US weaker with a renegotiated NAFTA, leaving it altogether risks nothing short of a global recession. But the Narcissist King says it sucks, so it must right? uhh...no
Will NAFTA be improved, remain as is, or be sacrificed for one man's vanity?
Public Education and Post-Secondary Education in Alberta have been riding the roller coaster oil economy of the last 45 years. Only the last 2 of those years have been under a government that was NOT the Progressive Conservatives. Don Getty was the beginning of the funding and ideological decline. But it was his successor Ralph Klein that made a legacy out of immediate political gain for long-term generational deficits in every core service, most of which have not been restored to this day. Ed Stelmach, Alison Redford and Jim Prentice did more harm than good despite the messaging.
The 2 years of Notley government has, at best, stopped the decline of education in Alberta. The hole is deep after decades of cuts, yet over that time schools outside the public system have become the highest supported via tax dollars in Canada. The resource economy has put Alberta at or near the top for a long time in education but without renewal in many ways it may end.
Enter Jason Kenney and his crusade to blame nearly 5 decades of decisions on the Notley government in the last 2 years. Apparently everything was great before those commies fluked into office. In May the United Conservative Party will hold its first convention to approve policy, a draft of which has created concern from many corners.
Jay Gamble was born in London, Ontario and did his B.A. and M.A. at the University of Waterloo. He came to Alberta in 2000 to study Canadian Prairie Literature at the University of Calgary where he earned his Ph.D. Jay currently teaches in the English department of the University of Lethbridge and is the Coordinator of the Global Citizenship Cohort. A single father of two boys, he is also a published poet (Book Of Knots, BookThug, 2015) and goes by @DrJayDrNo on twitter. He is recognized as Jason Kenney's favourite communist professor (lol). Jay joins us to discuss the UCP Education "Devolution" Plan in waiting
Public-Private Partnership. Sounds benign, doesn't it? An arrangement to allow for more infrastructure at the public's disposal, with lower financial cost compared to the whole process of design, building and operating by the Crown. We heard a lot about things to acheive more for less starting in the '80's with Reagan and Thatcher. It sounded pretty good to Brian Mulroney, but it was the Chretien majorities that made short-term political gains of "economic management" into an infrastructure deficit that lined up suitors to play their role in the P3 scam. As the federal money dried up, Premiers Harris and Klein among others closed, privatized or simply surrendered public assets to corporate players. Because private delivery was more competitive and less expensive, the story went. Neo-liberalism.
A change in governments means a change in priorities. People needed all those things nobody built for 15 years, but where was the money to come from? Have no fear, corporations will save the day by "investing" in public works. With 30 to 40 year term contracts and no renegotiation. With free control over delivery of services. With guaranteed margins of profit. With zero accountability compared to Crown works.
Ontario is paying for its P3 habit and there's no end in sight. The Wynne Liberals wear it now but they are hardly the only ones guilty. As the election nears, can any party provide relief?
Rick Barnes has been a union and social justice advocate in BC and Ontario. In the 1990's he worked for the NDP government in various roles. In 2000, he went on to work for BCPWA and AIDS Vancouver before relocating to Ontario in 2006 to work in Co-operative Housing. Today, Rick is retired and volunteers for a wide range of social justice groups in Ontario and across Canada. He can be found on twitter at @queerthoughts. Rick joins The View Up Here to discuss Ontario's P3 Habit and the pain to come.
The last 35 years have brought drug usage increases as a cycle, usually with the development of a new form of a familiar drug. Crack Cocaine. Crystal Meth. Extacy. Dabs. These drugs and their associated forms have always been criminalized. Not so for pharmaceuticals. Prescriptions for opioids have multiplied by three in the last 15 years. North America has the highest consumption rates for these drugs in the world, seemingly by design. The public relations exercise of Oxycontin being removed from the Canadian market and replaced with Oxycodone to deter abuse was done so generic makers could not begin to produce Oxycontin when the patent expired. But the continuously expanding demand had been established.
Synthetic opioids filled the void. Fentanyl has been around for 50 years but it was never meant to be an additive to street drugs. Demand will create opportunities for profit and that is happening on a massive scale. From scraping the gel from patches to a proliferation of pill-pressing operations and illegal importation, the progression has been rapid.
This epidemic has outdone every one before it, including the AIDS outbreak. Opioid deaths have increased exponentially. The statistics demonstrate this. Reaction from governments have varied from inaction, to new legislation and programs, to the familiar 'thoughts and prayers'. Canada has done more than most, but only after a change of power in Ottawa. Bill C-37 became law last year but the wheels of government turn slowly, never mind the money needed for it to make a difference.
Where is all the money going from this selling of death? How is it being laundered? The Globe and Mail has done stellar work on this front, courtesy of Kathy Tomlinson and Xiao Xu, on how Fentanyl money is affecting the hyper-inflated Vancouver real estate market by taking advantage of lax laws. Will a crackdown crash the BC economy where real estate is 25% of GDP? Once again, money vs people.
Reality Leigh Winner wasn't one to break the rules. Always a straight-A student, driven to learn on her own eventually working in three additional languages. She chose to enlist instead of accepting a full scholorship at Texas A&M. A Senior Airman in the US Air Force as a linguist who was awarded commendation before her Honorable Discharge. Two years at the Defensive Language Institute led to assignment at Ft. Meade, Maryland with the NSA. But one tour was enough.
In February 2017, Reality took an analyst position with Pluribus International, a contractor to the NSA and was assigned to Ft. Gordon, Georgia. She had an obsessive workout regimen, teaching yoga and spinning at the same Augusta gym she worked out at. Then came that day in June 2017. Eleven FBI agents with a search warrant showed up. Reality was arrested and charged with one count under the Espionage Act 1917.
Reality has remained in custody since that day. She has been refused bail twice based on a stereotype the Department of Justice uses regularly on whistleblowers. The Trump administration shows no signs of ending the practice, quite the opposite. Despite questions regarding Miranda rights, 6th Amendment issues, false characterization, lack of flight risk and exhaustive classification standards, Reality remains in custody.
Billie Winner-Davis is Reality's mother and has been the most visible spokesperson for her. She believes public awareness is key in getting justice for her daughter. Kevin Gosztola is the Managing Editor/Publisher of Shadowproof Press, co-author of "The US vs Private Manning" and has more direct coverage on the case of US v Winner than anyone else. They both guest on this episode of The View Up Here Global to discuss Justice for Reality.
The last thing any political party wants a few months before an election is to have to hold a Leadership contest. Especially one that is pushing polling that says they will form the next Government. Thanks, Patrick Brown. He tried his best to create a true three ring circus, but just didn't have the effort. Bullet dodged by the party.
Tanya Granic Allen (Church Lady) brought the regressive revisionism that seemed more appropriate to lead her Synod than a political party. How dare people seek to move Ontario past the 1940's. Her showing turned out to have a large effect by the time a winner was chosen. Caroline Mulroney played what could be a cautionary tale for Chelsea Clinton. Yes. people recognize your name. No, it didn't help. At least Church Lady spoke about her "policies", more than can be said for the suddenly concerned daughter of a Prime Minister not exactly missed by most. She's not here for you. Christine Elliott, after finishing 2nd to Patrick Brown and Tim Hudak in previous leadership contests, seemed to have an advantage in being a known quantity to Ontarians. Considering she won the popular vote and the most ridings, how did she not win the Leadership?
Doug Ford. Yes, that Doug Ford. Now poised to lead the Official Opposition into an election campaign without a seat at Queen's Park. With enough luggage to fill a cruise ship. With all those quotes and video clips from the last decade to bring up. With what some are calling nowhere to go but down.
This is truly a 3-way election now. A minority government seems a real possibility. With so many pressing issues for Ontarians on the table, how much real talk will be in the campaigns? Dave Glover returns to discuss the whirlwind circus leadership debacle, the consequences of Doug Ford and the possible strategies of Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath against him. People love a circus it seems.
Team Trudeau made a lot of big promises on the campaign trail in 2015. Promises to "set things right", to promote "transparency", to create things for the future that will be "clear and straightforward". To fix the autocratic methods of the previous government. Sunny Ways, my friends. At what is more or less the midway point of their mandate, the record on delivering compared to promising is nothing to be overly excited about.
The Harper gang made their priorities and more or less rammed them through without dissent being tolerated from within or without. Despite claiming to be pro-Canada and pro-Big Oil, the environmental approval process was a gong show. In nine years, not one pipeline was built or even given final approval. But wait friends, Sunny Ways was here. Travel the country having town halls and staffers running about collecting the input from Canadians. We listen, we pay heed, we are not the Harperites. Uh huh. Anyone who took part in the Electoral Reform circus knows this is a ruse, plain and simple.
The official title for C-69 is an "Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts". Sounds straightforward, right? This government said omnibus bills were a thing of the past. C-69 is 412 pages. It makes changes to 31 existing Acts. Because of its sheer size and scope, informed critique is slow to reach the public while the government seeks to sell it. The idea seems to be to give new names, new legislation and new branding to a system that will remain essentially the same. The derided NEB is replaced by the Canadian Energy Regulator. The CEAA 2012 is replaced by the Impact Assessment Act.
The View Up Here presents this backgrounder episode to inform on C-69 and set the stage for future episodes on its changes, eventual passage and decisions.
Once upon a time, it was accepted that as the world's only superpower, a certain degree of predictability and consistency would be reflected in international US policy to validate the various indulgences carried out around the globe. Not to say this often bipolar behavior did anyone any good. Ask the Balkans, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Central America, Qatar, Palestine, Syria, Iran, North Korea etc etc.
The 6-time bankrupt Master Businessman in charge has decided that a constant antagonistic competition needs to exist for the honor of having his fleeting attention, seemingly dependent on how much you tell the Boss that he is brilliant. Enter the Rex Tillerson issue. Proof positive that the qualities that apparently mean so much - corporate power and success, connections across the globe, extensive personal knowledge of foreign officials - mean squat when you tell the truth about the Boss. Loyalty to the Donald is more important than loyalty to the nation.
Mike Pompeo has been named to replace Tillerson at State, going from Top Spy to Top Diplomat. A former Tea Party congressman, veteran, lawyer, proven Islamaphobe and Christian supremacist. But he agrees with the Boss. To replace Pompeo at the CIA, Gina Haspel has been nominated. Despite commanding dark site torture facilities and destroying video evidence against court orders, this is the type of ideologue the Boss wants despite the message it sends to allies and enemies alike. General H.R. McMaster had to go as National Security Advisor because he wasn't a full-time sycophant. Enter John Bolton, a Bush holdover Dominionist who never met a war he didn't like, who now gets a job that doesn't need confirmation.
Stanley Cohen has represented many clients who ran directly into policies supported and implemented by this new wave of cronies. The View Up Here welcomes Stanley back to discuss these nominations, their chances of confirmation and the mayhem to come.
June 7 approaches, the Budget has come down and Queen's Park nears dissolution of the Legislature. Cue the campaign rhetoric, cue the media scrambling, cue the on-line partisan blusterstorm. So what are the "strategies" for the campaign? Depends who you ask.
Sitting government always has the advantage of using more information with credible sources from the civil service itself. The pre-election budget from the Wynne government is a very well constructed document which on its own would lead someone to believe things are not that bad. According to the media and opposition parties, that's not accurate. Considering the incumbents are starting from so far behind, what can they do themselves to close that gap, to get their message across?
The PCPO and Doug Ford can be counted on to insist everything is wrong, everything has been wrong for a long time and change is all that matters. Considering that an actual costed platform is not a priority to Team DoFo, will that be enough? Will the volatility, history and tendencies of the Leader be their undoing? Will the use of social media to communicate the PCPO plan work considering the current ongoing and unending criticism of this method of governance in Washington DC?
Andrea Horwath consistently polls highest in traits such as trustworthiness, believability and having a positive presentation. Yet the ONDP has the fewest candidates confirmed, the least money to work with and the least press coverage by a fair amount. What can they do to make the case for something other than red or blue business as usual?
A majority government is not assured for any party and that will likely not change throughout the campaign. So what scenarios are possible? At what cost to whom? There are many possibilities and Dave Glover returns to The View Up Here to discuss these options and a whole lot more.
The View Up Here kicks off its fifth year and Season 9 with a definite listener favourite returning to guest once again - Stephen Lautens. As usual, Mr. Lautens picks his content and this episode is very timely indeed.
Is there any going back? Weaponizing social media and opinion in an Age of Ignorance. With the inescapable presence of seemingly unlimited choices of "news" and "information", the phrase "more is more" has taken on new meaning. No matter where you sit on the spectrum, no matter what you want to be true, what makes you feel correct, in this current environment a source can be found to validate those views. It's moved beyond the chat room and the sub-reddit into the mainstream marketplace.
Fake News works both ways. You need someone to lie and someone to believe the lie. Throw in the incentive of profit and the ever elusive marketshare. Truth becomes a commodity to be shaped, massaged, refocused or simply fabricated. If it sells, it is valid in the new information universe. Not only do we have the tried and true methods of misinformation to suit an agenda, we have the mass gathering and sale of user data for anybody who can pay. Facebook, Google, Cambridge Analytica, SCL and AggregateIQ come to mind. Seemingly individual accounts are part of botnets run by who knows who for who knows what. Entities with a human face are automated algorithmic recorders of reaction and response. To what end? To sell goods, of course. But also to sell entire ideologies, many of which are presented as never before despite complete rejection in the past.
Have people really become that lazy and dependent on being told what to think? Is it because of "convenience" or because their preferred messaging affirms their views regardless of validity? Because it makes them feel they are righteous? The View Up Here and Stephen Lautens venture down the rabbit hole.
Depending on who you ask, episodes like this are not nearly enough or any like it are too many. In reality, that call is mine and mine alone. So here we go... The Rant Up Here ... version number I have no idea.
Rant #1 - As if the "Electoral Reform" scam was not enough, we were told that at least the weakening of the electoral system courtesy of the Unfair Elections Act would be corrected. Bill C-33, an Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act, was given first reading in November 2016. Since then, not a goddamn thing. Past Chief Electoral Officers testified in committee on the timelines to be kept to make any revisions applicable to the 2019 vote. By most counts, that time is very near if not already past. But wait! There's more! Bill C-76, the Elections Modernization Act, was given first reading on April 30, 2018. Let's take everything from C-33, add a pile more to it, and start all over again.
Rant #2 - It takes a lot to become a legendary boondoggle in Canada. But the Phoenix Pay System has reset the standards spectacularly. Six years in the making, barely two years running and the state of paying Canada's employees has never been more dysfunctional and the opposite of the money saving system it was sold as. I'm not going to talk the money blown nor the fractional reactionary "fixes". I'm going to go over the Auditor General report on what the Trudeau government has done or not done. The next one on the CPC implementation will be released soon and expect it to be even more damning.
Rant #3 - In just the past few weeks, an inventor has been sentenced to life for raping, killing and dismembering journalist Kim Wall and burying her at sea. Victims of Bill Cosby have been vindicated as a guilty verdict awaits his sentencing. A dysfunctional man uses a vehicle to murder 8 women, 2 men and attempt murder on 13 more. Because he can't get any. When will misogyny be addressed?
Considering the lack of reporting by corporate media on the state of Civil Liberties in Canada, you could assume things are just fine. But that is all it would be - an assumption. A carefully crafted one that has been molded since Day One of the Trudeau government.
Remember how the Liberals would "fix the problematic elements" of Harper's C-51? As we near three years of the mandate, C-59 is crawling its way through Parliament doing pretty much what C-51 did. Ignoring evidence, voting down amendments, not listening to testimony or case study from around the world where such laws have failed before. But fear not, Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale says All Is Well. LOL it most certainly is not.
Hassan Diab is a Canadian citizen, professor, husband and father. He has spent the last decade being the subject of a wild goose chase by France for a terror attack decades ago. He spent 38 months of near solitary confinement in a French prison, without being charged with anything. This year, a French judge finally threw the case out and ordered Diab returned to his family in Canada. But how could this happen? Where would such falsely incriminating evidence come from? Why would it waste a decade of his life? Well...ask the Canadian Department of Justice. They were the ones who lied, obstructed and denied his rights as he was extradited to France.
RightsCon is coming to Toronto in a couple weeks. Over 2000 participants from more than 140 countries, delivering nearly 300 sessions with participation from over 700 governments, NGOs and corporations. Everything about what is coming for rights, technology, connectivity and the risks involved.
The ICLMG will be part of it, and National Co-ordinator Tim McSorley returns to The View Up Here to discuss RightsCon, the Diab travesty and his recent days of live-tweeting C-59 in Committee. Know the State of your Rights, Canada.