Opening Statement



Monday, 27 January 2020

A 2020 Vision!



Greetings Dear Reader!

For today's twenty twenty blog, I'm putting on my sunglasses. To cut through the glare of 2020. Provide a few thoughts on the direction for my blog site this year. 

Remember when Bob Dylan sang that the times are changing? Sadly, over the years, those changes often haven't been for the best. Far from it.

Still, in my humble opinion, to paraphrase Mahatami Gandhi, it's important to always be the change we'd like to see 

No. Nothing much might come of it. 

I've been retired from teaching for awhile now. My glory days are, so to speak, far behind now. But I'm going to continue to follow my muse. Use my political activist skills. As I have, for the past 9 years, here on my site.

I am doing so, independently. To advocate for the causes which I believe can create positive change. Make for a better world. Even if only in some small way. 

If not our generation, then for our children. Or our children's children. 

If not now, than for in the years ahead.

I'd rather be somebody who helped open, not close doors. For a better world. 

Because I still believe in the good fight. For social justice. Diversity. Inclusiveness. And universal public education, here and abroad. 

These are the great equalizers, as I see it.

So I hope you stick around. too. Read along. Get involved, in your own way. Or just share the good word, about those issues that matter most to you too.

Teacher Free Speech and Oh Cannabis News and Views will continue in tandem into their 4th and 8th year respectively. So to many of my regular features and special reports

Here then are some twenty-twenty notes on what you can expect this year:

Teacher Free Speech News and Views



The focus of my politics and society news and views blog is still the same; to provide lots of links and analysis of Canadian, US and world issues, from a uniquely progressive, Canadian perspective -my own. 

Nowadays, I post fewer links here, using Twitter a lot more instead. Then afterwards, I condense the best of them into a news digest, or summative compendium of sorts here on my blog. 

That process continues this year. It's more timely. Streamlined. A more comprehensive overview, I think. 

Plus bottom line, it's less labour intensive. More convenient for me, when I'm on the go.

In Canadian politics: Maybe Trudeau's Neo Lib minority government will be more progressive, not just word but in deed. But will the NDP and Green's light a fire under his ass? On pharmacare, electoral reform, climate change and respecting treat land rights? On fighting the corporate agenda? Don't hold your breath.

Goodbye Conman Andrew Scheer! Too bad in a way, he was such fun to kick around. But if the next federal conservative leader marks a credible shift to the political centre, where Canadian elections are won, we could still be in deep trouble!

Ontario's Doug Ford -his public support has tanked! Now's the time to start seriously lining up the thug tight in our protest sites for the 2022 provincial election.

Sure, the Ford Conster's won a majority in 2018. But two thirds of the province voted for the centre and centre left Liberals, NDP and Greens. 

The teacher protest movement could prove crucial. A turning point. This winter's school strikes are clearly exposing Ford as the wrecking ball that he is, out to destroy and privatize Ontario's world class education system; the great equalizer in our amazingly diverse province. Just like he's trashing Ontario's other top notch public services. That our working families so badly want and need.

But will AEFO, ETFO, OECTA and OSSTF stay the course? Fight to at least maintain the status quo? Not stab each other in the back? Cave in? Engage in concession bargaining instead, like in year's past? 

Also, how far do the teachers dare go, when push comes to shove, if Ford legislates them back to work? Would they risk civil disobedience again? Like during the 1970's? To save our education system and public service net from the Ontario conservatives. Or will they let them remake us into Trumpland North?

In American politics2020 will be even more of a critical turning point stateside. Regardless of which way the impeachment trial and election go. An ultimate test of the US government's system of checks and balances. 

Bernie Sanders is a ray of progressive light. Nope, properly funding health care and education isn't radical. It's done in Canada, the UK, France, Germany, NZ etc. etc. etc. But don't expect Bernie's radical political partying to be tolerated by the Democrat oligarchs. They'll be nostalgically eyeing a return to the old Neo Liberal Globalist status quo, this election year.



Trump is the great disruptor, both on the national and international stage. Years from now, he will be remembered as America's worst president. Laws will have been passed to prevent his flagrant abuses of presidential power and privilege. His obstruction of congressional oversight. 

But in the meantime, how much damage is being done? To the American republic? It's democratic system of government? Most valued institutions?

And what happens next on the world stage? In Iran? Iraq? Russia? Syria? Afghanistan? China? North Korea? Bolivia? Venezuela? Cuba?

Sooner or later, something will go very wrong. Who trusts the US anymore, as they recklessly go it alone; America First styleHow will Amerika's enemies and allies react amongst so much uncertainty? As the US retreats into isolationism, a land divided? As the American century abruptly comes to an end?

One thing is for sure -expect lots of fireworks ahead in 2020. 

Oh Cannabis News and Views



My focus is still fixed on the good fight against the corporate weed, monopoly. In short: No government licensed ditch weed. Keep it organic. And ethically sourced! 

Canadian legalization as an important grey power issue, for me as a senior. It was a huge win. Bottom line is that I for one, can now toke in peace. Medicate myself legally. Via our thriving unregulated market, which is providing a huge, cheap, reliable source of excellent weed.

The government roll out hasn't been equal nor fair for many Canadians. The LGBTQ, women, and people of colour are often forgotten and lost in the Trudeau government's corporate legalization shufflePlus it's supposed commitment to medical cannabis remains a secondary thought; a joke at best.

Sadly, Canadian legalization has been little more than a quick smash and grab cash grab for government insiders. The big Bay Street boys. With our heritage growers, producers and retailers stuck on the outside, looking in. And our medical cannabis patients still being taxed for their medicine.



Oh Cannabis will continue to advocate for equity and inclusiveness in our counterculture cannabis community. For legal pardons, expungement. An official government apology. 

When need be, medical cannabis rights can provide a handy, political battering ram in the fight for change. Last year, I reported on how they can be used to challenge a condo or apartment cannabis ban. [] 

Oh Cannabis will continue to advocate for our rights with a dash of good, old fashioned, cannabis activism. While providing links to useful civil disobedience strategies, when need be, that you'll hopefully find instructive and informative.

Meanwhile, watch as the Bay Street disconnect results in a cannabis stock ticker blood bath this year. And for our heritage growers, producers and retailers, those with some real skin in the game, to step up. 

In Ontario, Ford's corrupt pot shop licensing lottery is now over. Oh Cannabis looks forward to advocating for our unregulated, local activist-entrepreneurs, as they are finally allowed to legally re-open for business this year. In time, show everybody how the cannabiz sector can be correctly set up and run, with a more diverse, grassroots approach. Sans the clueless, tired, good old boy, corporate boardroom BS.

Oh Cannabis will continue to provide an overview of the legalization movement in the US. Internationally too. 

I'll follow the party and candidates election positions on legalization during this fall's US federal election. The GOP and Democrat movers and shakers. The Presidential contenders. The state and federal legislative initiatives, referendums and so on. 

US coverage is an exhaustive effort. It's much more thoroughly covered by social media than the Canadian scene. So if my Canadian links are much more extensive, the US more summative and via my tweets, I hope you'll understand. 

Oh Cannabis will also continue to track the legalization movement round the world. It's increasingly taking root in other countries. Stay tuned in 2020!

TRAVEL BLOGS



All of this sounds kind of busy, busy, busy eh? Well, retirement also means more time to travel. Last year Janet and I tripped from Toronto to Cuba, Ontario's Land o' Lakes and Japan. So far this year, we've been to Panama City Beach, Florida. With another trip to Cuba planned next. Then back to the Land o' Lakes for the summer. Off we go. With more travel blogs to follow!

MORE

My Cuba coverage continues. 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Friendship School in Santiago de Cuba. The embargoed socialist isle has been thrust back into a horrific special period, during the Age of Trump, much like I wrote about during my work and travel there during the 1990's. Watch for more Cuba coverage. Ditto the situation throughout the America's. All is not as it might seem ....

Otherwise? Protests. Rallies. Demonstrations. Riots. If they happen locally, or on my travels, I plan to be there. Cover them for my site.

I like to keep it loose here. Not too rigorous or planned, so that my site stays interesting for both you and me. I'll be sure to report on any other pressing issues of our life and times, as they arise.

Of course, guest blogs are always welcome too!

So welcome to 2020! Let's get laid back. Light up a spliff. 

Off we go ............

LINKS

A Readers Guide to Teacher Free Speech news y Views @ 

A Stoner's Guide to Oh Cannabois new y Views @ 



COMMENTS

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Panama City Beach A Go Go!


Welcome to 2020!

Winter is different this year. Janet and I are playing at being Canadian snowbirds for a bit. Lazily whiling away a month in Panama City Beach Florida. Far from our Toronto digs. 

We relax on the balcony, enjoying our view of the pure, white sand beach. Stretching across the horizon, the moody gulf waters toss and turn beneath a pale blue winter sky. There's a pleasant sea breeze. White caps. The thunderous, crashing waves. 



It's a temperate 16 to 22 degrees Celsius. With lots and lots of white sand, instead of snow. I swim in the gulf when it's sunny. Otherwise am in the hot tub or pool. It's cheap and very nice, if not rather surreal, for us as lifetime Canucks, escaping the winter deep freeze.

We've always travelled a lot. Retirement has certainly made it easier for us to score some great last minute deals. This year, our winter travels have taken us to Japan. [LINK] And now the US. Cuba's next. In-between the occasional visit home. [LINK] And of course, come the nice weather, it's back to Land o' Lakes Ontario. [LINK]



So ironically, here we are now, two Canadian lefties. Plunking ourselves down for a month in Republican Florida's 2nd Congressional District Seat. During the age of Trump. In a land divided. As impeachment hysteria builds. It's highly uncertain what happens next, to say the least.

Picture this: The Donald won here by 35.6 points in 2016. Between Senator George Gainer and House Rep Neal Dunn, the GOP want to defund the Department of Education. Repeal the Affordable Health Care Act. They oppose a ban on semi-automatic weapons. And don't tolerate protesters or town hall meetings either.



Panama Beach City is as Trump Republican as it gets, for us at least! The subtle hints that we are deep in Trumpland south are everywhere! On t-shirt, book and magazine racks. On radio and TV. In casual conversation.

Quite frankly, we're waaaaaay out of our usual comfort zone. Like raging socialists in right wing la la land Think Doug Ford's Neo cons are strictly looney tunes? Ha!



Sadly, it's become very, hard for us, as everyday Canadians, to wrap our head around the local politics south of our border. So much so, that we don't visit the US much anymore. 


The long and short of it all?

We aren't saying boo as we trip about. Just breath deep. Smile a lot instead. 

It's been fairly easy! Happily, most everybody is very pleasant and nice to us. That's what matters most, on this relaxing January escape to warmer climes. While we just enjoy the gulf's natural splendour!



Next month is quite different. Another reality. Or way of seeing things. We're off to the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Friendship School, in Santiago de Cuba. [LINK

Highly doubt we'll run into any Trumpster's there, eh!

Stay tuned for more of my travel blogs and updates from on the road, in the daze ahead. And check out my photos and travel notes. I'm posting them regularly on twitter @



COMMENTS

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Proof Rocks: On Disturbing The Universe! [A Poem]

[ReDraft / Third Edition ... ]


Words
like
ragged
claws
scuttle
across 
my silent  
screen.
Eternity
in a 
second
Forever
in the shifting 
wind ......

In cyberspace 

Certainty comes and goes
Fear. Confusion. Apathy. 
Misleads us to and fro ......


Do 

I
park
my
words
here?

Or am I
another
pair of
silent
claws
Scuttling
side way
Across
the
murky
cyber
sea
floor?


Do I 
dare 
disturb 
the universe?

One moment-


A time for

decision
and
revision.

Another

moment-

In reverse!


In cyberspace
Convictions come and go
Fear. Confusion. Apathy.
Etherize high and low ......


I know already!

Know all too well!
The mornings
afternoons
and evenings
Measured out in 
vapour clouds
y coffee spoons
Everywhere
free
thought dying
Falling dead
quiet

And so ...

I leave care behind
Dare to smoke a doob
Wear dark sunglasses
Walk upon a winter beach


Do you hear 
the mermaids 
singing to us
beneath the music
from another room?

Let us go then
You and I
Onward to 2020
Riding the 
wild surf
Atop 
a puff
of smoke ...


DTC

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!