TEACHER + UNION
Whoizzzit?!? Gee! There are soooooo many!!!! Don't Forget: Voting ends December 30th for the 2015 Labour News "Scumbag of the Year" award @ Rank + File!
ETFO and OSSTF finally get a chance to challenge the province over Bill 115 at court. Regretfully, we are fed a lot of mainstream media lies and slight of hand, as in this Toronto Star story, which only reports on the government case @ Star
The Trudeau government honours it's promise to halt Bill C-377's controversial financial disclosure rules for our unions. Good, but do you know how much your secretariat is being paid? Short of contacting the OLRB to try to find out for yourself?!? Hope Justin hasn't thrown out the union accountability baby with the dirty Harper bath water! @ CBC
Quebec public service sector deal includes salary increases but a one year hike in the retirement age as the provincial government tries to dodge school closures and ongoing rotating strikes. Yup! Wynne must be feeling relieved this Christmas @ CBC
The "Solidarity Halifax Statement on Bill 148", the Neo Lib anti-labour act which has imposed austerity contracts on the province's teachers, explains "indie" union member support for free and fair collective bargaining. In rejecting union "leadership" collaboration in signing a deal under the gun, they march on, heads held high. We seem to have much to learn from the Nova Scotia union movement in Ontario about solidarity, commitment and about refusing to be bullied @ Solidarity Bulletin
Steven McNeil's Nova Scotia Neo Lib government better brace for a winter of labour discontent of it's own making as teachers dig a line in the snow for the C-148 good fight @ Rabble.ca
The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour prepares a constitutional challenge against Bill C-148 @ NSFL
Nova Scotia Premier McNeil: The Blue Nose Grinch!
CTF urges caution as the Trudeau government pledges to repeal the right to spank a child, noting that physical restraint is still necessary at school under some special circumstances, for teacher and student safety reasons @ Star
Hillary Clinton shocks our colleagues to the south with her proposed "Education Plan" to shut down schools not doing a "better than average job". Like in the more challenged neighbourhoods?!? One suspects that American teachers and other progressive elements might shudder less over the Democratic leadership race what with the Donald shooting himself in the foot, if their unions would stop endorsing her for next years Presidential election, but alas -no! @ The Blaze and @ Politico
Hillarys "Education" Plan?!?
Canadian students send welcoming messages to the new Syrian refugee kids who will be joining them at school @ Star
Regretfully, our Provincial and Federal authorities still haven't agreed on educational funds for the children of the 25,000+ Syrian refugees now arriving in Canada! They will of course need ESL teachers and help with counselling, settlement and family support. As teachers, I'm sure most of us are very concerned and willing to help out. However, one still worries in the current teacher bashing climate, that we don't get blamed for any dire shortcomings which a lack of the proper school planning and resources would inevitably create. Or be unfairly expected to just somehow magically handle the heavy load and very pressing needs on our own @ Star
Windsor board claims to already have a plan in place to deal with the expected influx of Syrian refugee students but details and specifics, besides existing ESL programs and teacher admin "workshops", although well intentioned, still seem rather vague @ Windsor
Welcome new students!
Black Student Alliance threatens Human Rights Tribunal complaint against Catholic board over difference in suspensions @ Windsor Star
The Barbara Hall report gives the trouble plagued TDSB one year to get it's act together or be broken up into smaller boards. Hmmm. Some teacher activists will agree that should be done anyway -see the CPE blog below! More @ Star
Some TDSB trustees are in a bad snit over the report, arguing well documented claims that the board suffers from governance dysfunction and a culture of fear are just plain not true. Hmmm @ Star
Read the complete Hall Report [aka TDSB Governance Advisory Panel Report] @ MOE
Former Hamilton Wentworth board director John Malloy now becomes interim director at the TDSB @ Star
Teachers know what can work best. We are highly trained AND we are actually here on the front lines. Policy decisions must be "done with" rather than "done to" us. This article should be required reading for the corporate reformers, the provincial government and our school board trustees @ Education Week
An ETFO, OSSTF and CUPE Bill 115 court date has finally been set for Dec.14th. Unifor will attend as an intervenor. Note OECTA is completely MIA @ ETFO
CUPE education support workers have voted to ratify their contract. Once again, as with the teachers, no numbers are given. Would we accept this from anybody else? More @ CUPE
NS teachers: no capitulating in the fight for better working conditions!
Nova Scotia teachers brace for government reprisals as TA rejected and a strike looms. Here's a good review of the issues, which are all too familiar. A Neo Lib is a Neo Lib is a Neo Lib government @ Rabble.ca
Nova Scotia Teacher Union [NSTU] members have rejected the tentative agreement reached by their CB team. 61% voted no, with 94% of the teachers casting a ballot. Wow! We get the actual numbers ..... They are upset with working conditions which many felt were not adequately addressed in the deal. Now they are probably off to reconciliation @ Chronicles
Not afraid to say it: The NSTU: Nova Scotia Teacher Union is accused of "capitulating" to the provincial government by it's members @ Herald
Unlike their Ontario counterparts, it seems the NS teachers have "had enough" of poor working conditions. Also a provincial government that "isn't listening" and is making "poor decisions" Sound familiar? More @ Metro
Working Conditions: Nova Scotia + Quebec Teachers Fight Back!
Like your new contracts? Rotating Quebec teacher strikes have resulted in a new TA offering big improvements in the teachers working conditions, ummmm ..... but again; not here, not for us! More @ CBC
Glad you settled? Meanwhile in Toronto, Ontario suspension rates have spiked in TDSB K-3 classes now that so many support workers have been cut, often putting the teachers and staff at great physical risk @ Star
NUT has co-released a free book on "Global Education "Reform": Building Resistance and Solidarity". It examines the worldwide corporate education reform movement and how teacher unions around the world are developing strategies to counter and defeat it. Download @ NUT UK
Chicago Teacher Union Toronto Workshop Coming!
Chicago Teachers Union's January 16th "Activating Members + Building Alliances" workshop at the Toronto Steelworkers Hall downtown on 25 Cecil St. near Kensington Market promises a fresh opportunity to "share ideas" and "learn new strategies". Presenters will explain to us how they successfully activated their membership and built strong community partnerships to kick some butt and get their demands heard and met. Free! For more details and to register visit @ Labornotes.org
Dept. of Media Lies and Dubious "Expert" Sources: A new app helps you track the variety of expert sources used by the mainstream media, how they are placed, and how frequently they rely on each @ Source
Occupy Aukland has revived the "free school" concept to revolutionize the roles of teacher and student in fighting the corporate agenda by creating an alternate society @ Occupy Savvy
Food for Thought: Colorado based Growing Project brings co-operative community gardens to low income neighbourhoods and involves disadvantaged youth in growing and sharing their own food @ Foodtank
Tag has been banned at St. Luke school in Toronto. Overcrowding and a fear of insurance claims seems to be the culprit. Are children being molly coddled too much these days? Maybe, but the board plan calls for leadership and safety training before the time honoured children's game is allowed again @ Star
The Islamic Al Huda Institute Canada closes it's Toronto doors after CBC allegations of terrorist ties. They claim law enforcement agencies have never approached them about four former students whom apparently later left Canada to join a terrorist group in Syria. The school claims the allegations now put students and staff at risk of a backlash. MOE Sandals washes her hands of the affair, noting the province has no control over what's taught in private schools @ Huffington
Time magazines list of the 100 all time greatest children's books might prove timely and useful for Christmas. You can vote too @ Time
OFL's statement on the December 6th National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women" is entitled "Defiant Feminism in the Face of Violence". Read it @ OFL
CUPE's Fred Hahn accuses the Wynne government of glossing over Ontario's harsh reality. The latest economic report ignores the damage done by their harsh austerity policies and other misplaced priorities @ CUPE
The Auditor General reports that the Wynne government has shelled out over $1.45 billion in "corporate welfare" payments to create jobs and stimulate the economy, without any account of how or even if that money was properly spent. Big double standard: the Globe somehow hardly considers this worthy of being front page news, unlike when they needed to know everything about the teacher unions million dollar contract payments. For shame @ Globe
The Attorney General reports that Ontarian's overpaid $37 billion for their hydro over the last eight years before it was privatized. If that's how much the Wynne government ripped us off, imagine what their private sector buddies can do next?!? More @ Globe
Wynne's welfare lump of coal or "How the Neo Lib Grinch Stole Christmas": a single mother gets her welfare payments clawed back after hubby falls behind in his child support payments. The province demands to be paid back the difference from her, Christmas and her desperate financial peril be damned! For shame @ Cole
Bennett Jones legal brief explains how Wynne's flip flop on medical marijuana use was a knee jerk reaction to claims not based upon fact @ Bennett Jones
Toronto Taxi Wars: The city and province dither while the taxi drivers fume, protest and look like the bad guys. The media accuses them of "outrageous behaviour", and of "living an illusion", but they aren't telling the whole story again. They've conveniently left out that the poor drivers, who are 80% immigrant, are caught in a desperate fight against a $40 billion dollar Uber corporation operating outside the law at their expense. The untold story @ Rank + File
IN THE NEWS
"Let's open our hearts!" Trudeau's Christmas message of hope seems a refreshing change of direction after nearly 10 years of Harper's counterproductive and destructive neo con government and misrule @ Star
Canada's new Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan explains that Canada is accepting 25,000+ Syrian refugees because it is the "humanitarian thing to do" and because it hits ISIS where it hurts @ Independent
Canada's unions continue to push Trudeau Libs to repeal Harper's Bill C-51 "Terror Act" @ Rabble.ca
The "Anti Terror Law" legal blog continues to monitor Trudeau's approach to C-51 and outline the next steps needed for repealing Harper's draconian so called anti-terror act's attack upon our Charter of Rights and Freedom @ C-51?!
Trump's Muslim attacks show all is not well with democracy in the USA @ Trump
Republican Presidential contender Donald Trump has been busy beating the war drums throughout the US during the recent spate of alleged domestic and international terror attacks. Scariest part? Lots of Yanks are treating him like the second coming @ Politico
TYLRC President John Cartwright urges Canadians to challenge the lingering bigotry leftover in the wake of PC Harper's election campaign attacks on workers, Muslims, and immigrants etc. etc. Even though he lost, his strategy has had the effect of "normalizing" such attitudes in the minds of many. One can only imagine what such poisons the Donald has willfully introduced into the body politic state side with his own similar neo con rants @ Huffington
Whistle blowers have released secret documents outlining in great detail the US military "assassination program" in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. The provide unprecedented insights into Obama's "Drone Wars". Also into the cartoon like "War Against Terror" media assumptions that we are increasingly being inundated with and force fed. You know the ones; that our diabolical enemies just hate the west because they "don't love freedom", as the birds of war increasingly come home to roost in our own backyards for a wide variety of reasons we know little to nothing about. Like here @ The Drone papers
The "Drones hunt humans" formula = Find Fix Finish Exploit Analzyse!
Whoa! US court upholds Obama's legal right to secretly continue it's targeted assassination of terror suspects in the Drone War Against Terrorism, even against suspected citizens living in the US! @ Antimedia.com
BTW: what exactly is a terrorist? And who qualifies? They are checking their list! They are checking it twice! They are going to find out who's naughty and nice! Yup! Seems Homeland Security in the US has been monitoring the "Black Lives Matter" movement since the anti police protests in Ferguson. Sheesh! Wonder if they've ever been to a Public Enemy concert eh? Poor old Flavour Flav, not to mention those Black Panther dancers must have them pooping their pants! More @ Intercept
A Rather Dim Beacon of Light: Self styled Christmas artist/ US right winger John M. Synder has either delighted or shocked viewers across the US and around the world with his DIY Christmas card this year. It shows a pistol toting Santa protecting the baby Jesus from a Muslin Terrorist who .... get this! No Joke: wants to cut off his head in a manger scene!!! Sez John, "This Christmas Card reflects current reality...". He explains @ TR
Because it's 2015: Nope! Not a joke!
Propaganda 101: A crisis can be created and blamed on others. Or maybe someone just exploits an existing opportunity, thus creating the same prerequisite fear and loathing in the public mind by giving the news stories a particular media spin. Think WMD's before the US invasion of Iraq. Or the Gulf of Tonkin incident prior to US escalation of the Vietnam War. The list goes on and on ....
Some food for thought: Political activist Bernie Suarez proports that the CIA and US military are branding, promoting and involved in a massive public relations news campaign to create an "ISIS Psyop Theatre", if you will, nonstop on the daily news, as a pretext to forward it's own ends in Europe and the Mid East @ ISIS Psyop Theatre?
But ... but ... but, the good guys are winning the War Against Terrorism in Afghanistan after 14 years of more and more bombs and guns! Right? Eh???? Well no, seems the media is .... guess what?!? Yup! You guessed it! Not telling us the whole story @ Independent
As reported in November, Canadian CF-18 air strikes are continuing in Iraq and Syria despite Trudeau's election promise to stop them. Apparently they will be, within the next few weeks, as Canadian Forces wrap up operations and our new government reconsiders Canadian military and humanitarian strategy in the troubled region @ Star
Trudeau has re-confirmed his election pledge to launch an inquiry into Canada's 1017 missing and murdered indigenous women, a long ignored issue that the Harper PC's were adamant was simply "not on their radar". Better late than never I suppose. Sad but true: Without doubt if they'd been white there would've been a major uproar and action would've been taken long ago! More @ Huffington and @ Star
We Canucks can get pretty riled over terrorist killings, be they a few people, a few hundred or so. Meanwhile, we ourselves export 85% of our uranium, producing enough spent fuel each year to produce 5,000 nuclear warheads, each of which could kill, oh, how many millions?!?
Our customers over the years have included the US, UK, Russia, France, Israel and Pakistan. At least a few have used the uranium to make bombs. Indeed, the US is currently planning a trillion dollar upgrade to it's existing weapons stockpile. Never know when one might just need to blow up everybody who "doesn't love freedom", ten times over or so... or maybe not.
But don't forget; Canadian labs were involved in the Manhattan Project which built the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Killed hundred of thousands of civilians in collateral damage. Oh? That's not terrorism? It's a "deterrent"? Unless of course another bomb ever gets used. Let's not get too high and mighty here folks! We've got blood on our hands too. More @ Now
We Canucks can get mighty indignant about human right violations elsewhere in the world but forget our own nation was founded upon the mass genocide of our indigenous peoples. Racism still rears it's ugly head. How do we respond? Reaction to the the story of a woman's rape and hate crimes in Thunder Bay Ontario is rife with denial and not so veiled threats that the victim better shut up @ Star
Righteous indignation? Canada has a bad racism problem too!
Neo Lib Job Transfer Complete! Trudeau's Ontario government advisers Telford and Butts have arrived in Ottawa with both feet running to take charge of the PMO @ PM Butts
Middle class tax cuts? Legalized Marijuana? The Environment? Indigenous People? Electoral Reform? Here's how to read between the lines on some of the key planks in the Trudeau Liberal throne speech @ Buzzfeed
Electoral Reform: TYLRC has released a position paper opposing a Ranked Ballot or Candidate system because it will unfairly favour the Neo Lib interests within our Canadian political system. The paper warns this is NOT the same as Proportionate Representation @ TYRLC
Read it for yourself: The text of the new Trudeau governments first throne speech is @ GC.CA
PC Tory insiders often still seem to be in denial over what went wrong during the 2015 Federal Election. Good! Now if only the NDP can get their act together and stick to the left instead of trying to pander to the PC base. Sigh @ Globe
Alas! Mulcair remains adamant that left wing voters WEREN't opposed to his neo con balance budget pandering but he gets it about Jack and ... and ... and niqabs and ... and ... and .... @ CTV
Hi Hi High! Throne speech reaffirms Trudeau's promise to legalize pot for recreational use @ Global
Big business must be drooling as recent polling shows legal marijuana could have a market of 8 million recreational buyers across Canada @ Huffington
Legal marijuana: Who gets to grow it? Sell it? The business interests are lining up. The NDP's Thomas Mulcair ran on a decriminalization platform, which could've been more user friendly for "grow your own" medical and recreational users. Now the corporate intere$t$ are sniffing the post throne speech air to see which way the $$$'s flow @ Economist
Do the corporate tax cuts Mr. Harper was so fond and free with actually accelerate business and economic growth? In a word -no. Download the CCPA's latest indepth report @ CCPA
Corporate tax cuts and the good life?!? Embracing human rights could actually lead to the end of poverty in Canada. But would that mean less $$$$ handouts for our rich corporate welfare bums?!? Boo hoo hoo!!! @ Huffpost
Under the radar? Are the Rooskies and Chinese planning an economic Pearl Harbour with a diabolical plot to torpedo the US dollar once and for all by slowly but surely moving to back the ruble and the yuan with the world's gold supply? Hmmmmm @ Activist Post
Our Ontario Teacher pension Plan [OTPP] wins rave reviews from Fortune magazine for it's business acumen. Now if only more workers could enjoy similar plans rather than getting ripped off by their employers and not be able to afford to retire on the CPP or their own savings and investments @ Fortune
Baseball Diplomacy: MLB requests permission from the US government to sign baseball players in Cuba to play on the American League. Yeah, but will they reinstate the Habana Sugar Kings Team with the Cincinnati "Reds"?!? Or how about as an MLB team in their own right?!? @ Play Ball!
KULTURE KULT INK
Happy Xmas! War is Over! If you want it! What would John Lennon have had to say about the so called War On Terrorism if he were still alive today? On the 35th anniversary of his untimely death [Dec. 8, 1980], after getting gunned down by a mad fan outside his NYC digs, Yoko Ono rekindles his anti war message with a series of "War is Over" downloads to share in 100 languages @ Imaginepeace.com
John and Yoko's "Happy Xmas: War is Over!" video is not for the weak at heart but seems especially poignant this year. Remember the children @ Xmas Video
Lennon remembered: Here's 2 kool Lennon concert links from Live Peace In Toronto @ 1969 and Madison Square Guardens NYC @ 1972
Make Dub Not War! Bob Marley/ Heptones etc. etc. etc. Dubmeister/ Producer Lee "Scratch" Perry's Swiss laboratory/ recording studio has burnt down! He left a candle burning. It destroyed all his electronic equipment, CDs, USB files, and costumes @ Scratched!
Ja Diana King to fill in for Beenie Man!
Reggae Meister Beenie Man has been pulled from the Feb 20 New Zealand [NZ] Raggamuffin festival roster in response to "GayNZ" community complaints over his homophobic comments. He apologized but activists insist he's being self serving and insincere. Gay Jamaican singer Diana King steps up to replace him @ Link
Media Literacy 101: Rapper Grammy nominee Kendrick Lamar visits English Teacher Mr. Mooney's class. His course shows that rap speaks to today's diverse teen culture as their new youth media and literature @ Youtube
Rapper Kendrick Lamar makes the grade with Mr. Mooney's students!
Much of our oldies music is usually being remastered nowadays to improve the sound. But is "better" always "best"? Today folks often prefer their music louder. The original source tapes also have definite sonic limitations compared to new recordings made today. It's the same old debate as to whether one should colourize old photos and black and white movies. But purist considerations aside, there are also some sound advantages @ Abbey Rd
SOME BONUS FEATURES:
Just because you are you, and it's Christmas, and you managed to read this far and .... and .... or .... well, just go ahead, make up your own reason instead!
This can be very helpful AND useful especially at Christmas: Here's 10 questions to ask yourself while taking a photo @ Kool Pix!
Be Careful: More dangerous than Islamic Terrorism!
Relax! It's Christmas! Here's 10 things more likely to kill you than an Islamic Terrorist, if you live in Canada or the US: cows, elevators, the police .... Hmmm. Kinda reminds me of that new Earl Sweatshirt album, "I Don't Want to Go Outside"!!! Anyway, read it yourself @ Activist Post
Look! Up in the sky! It's a berd! No! It's a plane! Nope! NASA will let you know when to look up in time to see the International Space Station fly by. And no! It won't kill you! At least I don't think so @ Spot the Station!
Far out, eh?!? Speaking of which, here's what the TTC would look like in outer space, just in case you ever wondered ..... @ Blog TO!
It's important to be able to laugh at yourself! Why?!? Because ... because it's 2015?!? No matter! Merry Christmas + Happy Holidaze to all my readers @ Red Xmas!