All posts by ritagracesmith

Missing Childrens’ Bones: Listen to Kevin Annett, who has been searching for decades

Preamble for my friends and readers: When I had the opportunity to speak with Kevin Annett last year, I expressed the same confusion most Canadians feel: “But Stephen Harper apologized for the Residential Schools. There was a Truth and Reconciliation Committee which worked for years. Didn’t Canada address this issue?”

Because I personally knew several of the Conservative senior political staffers who worked on the file especially around the time of the Apology in Parliament, I offered to go looking for the answer to what ACTUALLY happened after the Apology to make things better for Indigenous families.

I was referred from one person to another, down the list of people I knew personally and with whom I worked between 2006 and 2009. Finally, the last Conservative staffer – by far the most senior and involved person on the file – told me bluntly, “Ask Phil Fontaine.”

As Kevin notes ruefully in the video message below, recorded upon the discovery of 215 childrens’ bodies in Kamloops: “Suddenly this is ‘new news.'”

I am currently writing a 5-article series on stigma and the impact stigma had on on the taxi industry as Toronto welcomed Uber when it gleefully, publicly stomped on the Rule of Law upon its entry in 2014. When I pointed out to Kevin that the dehumanization of taxi drivers by politicians and media in Toronto seemed to be an echo of the dehumanization of Canada’s indigenous peoples in the building of the nation, he suggested I come on his radio show to be interviewed to discuss that parallel. Maybe, dehumanizing innocent people in the quest for opportunity and resources is such a proud Canadian tradition that we don’t even notice when it is happening.

 I declined his suggestion of an interview. I should not have done that.

Kevin’s words are painful to read and painful to listen to. Some of his ideas may seem impossible or outlandish; maybe, as outlandish as 215 children’s skeleton buried under a school run by the Canadian government.

What Children’s Bones Reveal: A Lament for the Dead and a Call to the Living

by Kevin D. Annett

Canadian Field Secretary of the International Tribunal of Crimes of Church and State (www.murderbydecree.com)

https://youtu.be/mttk66J4_wI

First excavation of Indian residential school children’s bones, Brantford, Ontario, October 2011
(Archives of the ITCCS and Mohawk elders)

I first learned of the mass graves of children in Kamloops twenty-three years ago from an eyewitness who had helped bury them. In June 1998, he spoke at a Vancouver Tribunal I organized to investigate genocide in Canadian Indian schools. His name was Jessie Jules.

Jessie was a frightened man. He had been warned by his own native band council in Kamloops not to speak about what he knew.

“They told me I’d get thrown out of my home on the reserve if I ever mentioned the dead kids” Jessie said on record to our panel of Tribunal judges. But despite this threat he spoke anyway.

Jessie told us how his fellow Kamloops students were starved to death in underground chambers at the school and forced to sleep with children dying of tuberculosis after they tried running away. He named Catholic priests like Brother Murphy who sodomized kids with cattle prods and beat a boy named Arnold to death with a club. Jessie saw another priest push a young girl named Patricia out a window to her death. He even drew us a map of where he buried children at night at the order of the priests.

“There were lots of those little bodies” he said. “We ran out of room in the ground, so they started burning them in the school furnace. It was kept going 24-7. They even chucked in there the babies from the girls they’d got pregnant, to get rid of the evidence. I saw the nuns do it.”

The Kamloops center was a particular house of horrors, even by residential school standards, which is why such an effort has been made by the guilty to hide their atrocities. For many years it was an experimental center where particularly rebellious Indian children were sent for “special treatment”, including involuntary drug testing, sexual sterilizations, and pain threshold studies to see how much torture the mind and body can endure. Generations of experimental vaccines were tried out on Indian children at Kamloops by drug companies like Pfizer, Bayer, and Eli Lilly with the help of the Catholic church and the government. Most of the little test subjects died.

After our Tribunal had catalogued these grisly crimes, in mid-June of 1998, we shared with the world the evidence, including Jessie’s account and that of twenty-eight other survivors with similar stories of the Canadian Holocaust that killed more than 60,000 children over a century. We included Indian school records from Kamloops and across the country showing a huge death rate of over fifty percent that spanned decades, and evidence that disease was routinely and deliberately spread among children by the staff, and letters confirming the sexual sterilization of native children by church doctors that was funded by the Canadian government.

We sent this proof of genocide to the world’s media, the Canadian government, the United Nations and to aboriginal groups and band councils across Canada, including the one in Kamloops. And every single one of them ignored us.

Over the years that followed some of us did not give up. Our campaign to expose our home-grown genocide grew until it threatened the Church and State killers, as lawsuits by survivors escalated thanks to our work. And in retaliation, the RCMP and the blood-soaked Catholic, Anglican, and United churches began attacking us, smearing us to the press and killing our native eyewitnesses. They even dug up and destroyed the graves of children we had identified.

Like a huge baby-burning furnace, Canada has done everything possible to get rid of the evidence and wipe clean the memory of its mass murder of children. And that deadly coverup is still going on. We have witnessed it happen again just this past week, at the scene of the crime in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Last week, the Kamloops Indian band leaders displayed a sudden concern for their relatives in the ground whom they have ignored for so many decades. The state funded Tk’emlups band council announced that it is digging up a mass grave of 215 children just south of the former school. In fact, what they are doing is breaking the law.

The band council officials are interfering with a crime scene and obstructing justice by destroying the evidence of how those children died. So naturally they’re doing the dig quickly and in secret, without any plan to determine how the children died or who caused their death or to lay criminal charges. Even though the site is a crime scene, the police are absent, and the media and public are banned from the site. And since the land is legally owned by the Crown, this subversion of justice is authorized and is being done in the name of the Canadian state and the Queen of England.

To cover their misdeeds, the band council’s public relations people are issuing the usual politically-correct phrases about justice and remembrance. This is mere smokescreen to distract from their destruction of the graves, but it also hides the fact that for decades, the Kamloops chief and council actively colluded in keeping secret the murder of so many of their children.

As early as 1922 the Canadian government made a deal with band council chiefs that in exchange for benefits, they would round up the children from their tribes and deliver them into the residential school death camps and hospitals. The chiefs also agreed to track down runaway children and bury those who died in secret. Is it any wonder that the same chiefly families are now posing as the good guys?

Those kind of sweetheart deals with the native elites are nothing new in Canada and have ensured that our domestic genocide has remained hidden and that it continues today. But a particular insiders’ arrangement took place in the spring of 1996 that ensured that west coast chiefs and councils would steer clear of mentioning dead residential school children and mass graves.

On April 10th of that year in Port Alberni, leaders of all three guilty churches met with the state-funded chiefs. The deal offered by the churches would fork over monetary settlements to residential school survivors for limited “sexual and physical abuses” provided that the chiefs never supported investigations into deaths and burials in the schools. The chiefs agreed to this Judas offer, and their silence was bought.

This private arrangement broke down over the years as our campaign forced the little matter of buried children to the surface and the crime could no longer be denied: especially two years ago, when Justin Trudeau publicly admitted that genocide had happened in Canada. At that point, under international law Trudeau should have been hauled before a War Crimes trial, along with his co-conspirators in the churches, police and native band councils. Instead, the world community turned a blind eye on the Canadian Holocaust and did not enforce its own Genocide Convention. That freed up Trudeau to give the same assurance and legal indemnification to the native chiefs that the churches had received in the summer of 2008 as part of the government’s farcical “apology”. The issue of buried children could then be safely spun and damage controlled, as is now being done in Kamloops.

And so, copying their Church and State partners, the Tk’emlups band council’s disinterring of children’s remains is openly defying international law, which states that the parties to a Crime against Humanity cannot investigate their own crime. The Kamloops dig is nothing less than a smaller version of the massive obstruction of justice that was Canada’s misnamed “Truth and Reconciliation Commission”. The law has become a dead letter and the killers are once again officially exonerating themselves. This fact seems to have eluded everyone who is applauding the dig.

Like a bad comedy, all the dirty actors are jumping in now to milk this chance to evade justice and look good in the process. This week in the press the British Columbia Coroner announced that he will be on the scene working closely with the Tk’emlups band council to “investigate” the children’s remains, as if that’s a good thing. It isn’t, actually, since the BC Coroner has a long and sordid history of issuing fake certificates to conceal the real cause of death of murdered Indians.

My friend William Combes suffered such a fate at the hands of the Coroner’s office. After enduring years of sodomy, torture on a rack and electric shocks at the Kamloops school, William witnessed the abduction of ten Kamloops school children by Queen Elizabeth on October 10, 1964. Just before he was to give his testimony before a citizens’ Grand Jury in February 2011, William was killed by arsenic poisoning at the Catholic St. Paul’s hospital in Vancouver.

The BC Coroner claimed that William’s death was due to tubercular meningitis. But his attending nurse Chloe Kirker has said under oath that William had no symptoms of TB, but rather the bloated face and darkened fingernails of one who has been poisoned by arsenic. So, the very fact that the BC Coroner is showing up in Kamloops now is a sign that an official coverup is at work. You can be assured that any incriminating evidence found on those little bones will be expunged as quickly as were their lives.

The whole sorry charade reminds me of a scene from the movie Mississippi Burning, when three civil rights workers are murdered by the Ku Klux Klan and thrown into a swamp. But when their bodies are discovered, it is the sheriffs and judges who are KKK members who disinter the remains and conduct the autopsy and issue the verdict on their death that prevents anyone from going to jail. And all the locals and the press are satisfied that justice has been done!

In that regard, it’s not only the aboriginal accomplices to the serial killer called Christian Canada that are falsely posing as the friends of the slaughtered innocents. So too is the rest of the world and its media. Suddenly the mass graves of Canadian residential school children have become hot news in the New York Times and the BBC and China’s Peoples’ Daily. But where were they all in the summer of 1998 after our Tribunal first broke the news, and in November 2011 when our campaign unearthed the positively identified bones of Mohawk residential school children in Brantford, Ontario?

We know very well that this contrivance in Kamloops is not simply another sordid coverup. It is the way of all serial killers who hold power. First, they torture and kill their victims for profit or sport, then they secretly bury them and their memory, and much later after the truth begins to emerge and it is safe to do so, the murdered are disinterred by the killers themselves who shed crocodile tears and claim it was all an unfortunate accident, a sad chapter that can be healed and reconciled, somehow.

This farce is ultimately about power. It is how a few people hold power over the many. The killers on their thrones must continually prove that they can murder whoever they like and get away with it, and then with noblesse oblige issue insulting “apologies” to pretend things are different now. That big lie is not just a way to legally indemnify themselves, but to laugh in the face of their victims and keep them and their descendants in their place.

We know the agenda of criminals in power all too well because it keeps repeating itself: the same murderous pattern of Church and State to kill, conceal and repeat. And yet paradoxically their reopening of the graves of those they have tried so hard to erase is also an act of desperate self-destruction; a turning of the tables on themselves, like during an exorcism when the possessing entity is forced to name itself and thereby loses its power.

With all their power, Canadian Church and State have been forced to respond to our initiative, and to the issues that our campaign established as early as 1995. For since then we have done as Sun Tzu advises in The Art of War by first forming the ground of battle on our terms and not that of our adversary. We defined the issue and thereby won the fight before it ever began, even though we faced an enormous adversary. For over two decades we have described the residential schools issue as one of genocide and mass graves, not “abuses” and monetary compensation; and so now despite all their weight the killers have had to do so too.

No matter how much Canada tries to soften its mass murder of children, it can no longer deny the crime or its own collective guilt. Its mask is off and its murderous nature stands revealed.

In truth, the Church and State killers were exposed years ago.  In early 2013, a Brussels common law court established by our campaign convicted Canada, its churches and their sponsors in London and Rome of Crimes against Humanity and sentenced their leaders to prison, even forcing Pope Benedict from office. Every Canadian is therefore required by that precedent and by international law to shun the system that slaughtered entire nations of original people, by not paying its taxes or voting for it or obeying its laws.

The imposition of the COVID police state by the same system that slaughtered the Kamloops children has made our non-cooperation with its evil all the more urgent. For the same agency of Health Canada that is forcing the so-called corona vaccine into your arms used the Kamloops children as lab rats and killed them en masse. Who in their right mind would allow these medical murderers to shove a needle into their arm or their children’s arms?

The graves of the Kamloops children reveal much of the criminality of our society, of the Canadian government and the churches and their aboriginal accomplices. But the graves are also a mirror on all of us and of the future that could await us. For we have all been accessories to the worst crime and the biggest coverup in Canadian history, through our taxes, our church tithings, our willful ignorance of the death camps in our own backyards and our willingness to look the other way and believe the killers in high office. When we fully embrace that dark truth and refuse to participate any longer in the criminal conspiracy called Canada, we have taken our first step out of the shadows.

And yet there is no cheap salvation for any of us. We can change only by first risking and sacrificing the security we have gained off the avails of genocide, and from the torture and death of little children, who were sacrificed in our name.

Canadians stand under a judgement imposed by the consequences of their own complicity in mass murder. As much as we deny our real heritage and history, we cannot escape its results. The tyranny and death we imposed on others is now blowing back on all of us, as it must before we see the truth. If we are to survive ourselves, we must finally realize and act on the realization that there is no answer or salvation for any of us within our corrupt and irredeemable status quo. It is time for the living to leave Sodom and its Moloch-worshipping rituals of child sacrifice.

We can begin today by knowing the truth of the Kamloops death camp and the real history of the system that spawned it in order to halt this latest obscenity of deceit and coverup by the criminals. Stand down orders have been issued and will be enforced against those destroying the children’s graves. We urge people to come to Kamloops and join our witness and protest.

But more importantly, we call on you to act wherever you are to enforce the verdict that disestablished the Catholic, Anglican and United churches. Their property and assets can and should be lawfully seized as reparations for their atrocities against children. Squamish traditional elders in Vancouver did so in March 2008 when Siem Kiapilano legally evicted those churches from his territory. The rest of us can do nothing less if our words are to be more than words.

At the end of the day, we have learned that the power to stop evil and defend the innocent lies in our own hands, but only once we recover ourselves, form the ground of battle and refuse the lies and the strategies of our adversary. The events in Kamloops these days are the playing out of a huge exorcism of that adversary that a few of us began in 1995 and that has reached as far as Rome.

So do not succumb to the lies of that expelled entity. Step out of its collapsing world while you still can, lest you too are embraced by the mass grave that is planned for humanity by the same dark power that slaughtered those children and shoved them in the ground mercilessly.

www.murderbydecree.com ,  https://youtu.be/mttk66J4_wI

image.png
Kevin Annett (left) with Mohawk natives on Parliament Hill, summer 2012

Listen to Kevin and the Voice of the Republic live every Sunday at 6 pm eastern at www.bbsradio.com/herewestand . The website of the Republic is www.republicofkanata.ca See the evidence of genocide in Canada and globally at www.murderbydecree.com and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk4g5l7FcFc&list=PLYEnChrKOgm7aRDzbo6yfswzCEdMl2P8e&index=1  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyxPFPQjNfg .
Some of Kevin’s books can be ordered here:Murder by Decree – The Crime of Genocide in Canada: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1530145619
 
Unrelenting: Between Sodom and Zion: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1523905778
 
Establishing the Reign of Natural Liberty: A Common Law Training Manual
At the Mouth of a Cannon: Conquest and Cupidity on Canada’s West Coast https://www.amazon.com/dp/1983790842 , https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JZKNDJK  
Truth Teller’s Shield: A Manual for Whistle Blowers & Hell Raisers:
Establishing Liberty: The Case for the Republic of Kanata
Here We Stand: The Call of the New Protestant Reformation https://www.amazon.com/dp/1974273474
Fallen – The Story of the Vancouver Four: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1548152684
 
The Sacrifice – Of Family and Empire: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1727005961
 
1497 and so on: A History of White People in Canada or, The Caucasian Healing Fund : https://www.amazon.com/dp/1541034961
 
The Border: A Post-Canadian Anthology  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1092763910
 
Kevin’s award winning documentary film Unrepentant can be viewed at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czej73SfYJc . See also an insightful personal interview “Who is Kevin Annett?” (2013) at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY4h3hDjOYM and also:  http://www.salem-news.com/articles/march262019/canada-biggest-cover-up-sw.php and https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYEnChrKOgm7aRDzbo6yfswzCEdMl2P8e

 

 

 

 

Mayor Adrian Foster receives Forest Bear Bell At Rona Newcastle kickoff event

February 26, 2021 – (NEWCASTLE, ON) – Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster was on hand today at Rona Newcastle to receive the first Bell at the launch of the “Forest Bear Bell” initiative.  John Albi at Rona has kindly offered to make the Forest Bear Bells available to dog owners, and to donate $2.00 of each Bell purchase to the Clarington Animal Shelter.

The Forest Bear Bell was designed by Newcastle resident Rita Smith after she stepped over giant piles of bear poo at Stephen’s Gultch last fall. Following a winter of research, Smith has finalized what she believes is the most practical and cost-effective version of the Forest Bear Bell, which is also now being used on goats and horses.

Upon presentation of the Forest Bear Bell to Mayor Foster, Smith read the following Ode prepared for the occasion:

Bears in Spring

By Rita Smith

So now, as all the bears awake

With tasks to do and plans to make

Just as their hibernation ends

They want to entertain their friends.

 

I’m sure there’ll be a bear or two

Out shopping for a BBQ.

Propane tanks and bright umbrellas

For lady bears and nice bear fellas.

 

No doubt there are a lot of lairs

In need of annual repairs.

They’ll look around for things they need

Like fertilizer, soil and seed.

 

Lumber, nails, and pipe and cable

To fix things up when they are able.

Any question? No, there  ain’t –

There is no doubt that bears need paint!

 

Bears love plants and bears love flowers

Near berry bushes, they’ll spend hours!

 

One thing that sleepy bears don’t like

Is nosey dogs out on a hike.

 

Make sure your puppy wears a bell

Or bears might tell them “Go to Rona!”

“Buy a bell, and wear that thing!

And let my eyes get used to spring.”

 

And then to Rona we must go

Through ice and sleet and hail and snow.

So when CoronaVirus ends

Our homes are ready for our friends.

***

 

 

 

 

Driving – around the Globe

 

Cranky cops refuse warning request

https://www.taxi-point.co.uk/post/minicab-driver-caught-speeding-at-100mph-with-passengers-on-board-asks-to-be-let-off-with-a-warning

Pushy trucker in trouble

https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/video-emerges-of-dump-truck-pushing-mini-half-a-kilometre-along-gardiner-expressway-in-toronto-1.5359970

 

A new day for Uber?

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/mar/21/after-uber-u-turn-ministers-must-stop-giving-gig-economy-bosses-an-easy-ride

Two found dead in Montreal taxicab

aper.torontosun.com/@RS704192/csb__iT72UQ66zICBShdrpI31BiHxjnvw7jLRm0Jp-xKEtUMtuPNjw4dTq4vgqDSD8SG

Road to nowhere for Driving Instructors

https://epaper.torontosun.com/@RS704192/csb__iT72UQ66zICBShdrpI31FmI-sY3wOSKW-c3f2N_VkM_IGg35a8TzGKQVaFwpAZH

Smile! You’re on Candid Camera

https://www.taxi-point.co.uk/post/concerned-private-hire-drivers-union-calls-on-microsoft-to-suspend-uber-s-facial-recognition-tech?utm_campaign=TaxiPoint%20UK%20Subscribed&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

Toronto Vaccine Info Update

https://www.toronto.ca/news/toronto-covid-19-vaccination-update-11/

Exhaustion a factor in deaths?

https://epaper.torontosun.com/@RS704192/csb__iT72UQ66zICBShdrpI31BNtS6JWV-71zHNFfsX2VoKDxPAyXJiLew8qCBpRtABH

Points for Artistic License – driver creates own plate

https://thepostmillennial.com/ontario-driver-caught-using-diy-license-plate/

 

Special delivery: driver saves baby in amazing catch

https://epaper.torontosun.com/@RS704192/csb__iT72UQ66zICBShdrpI31JagMAb_XMXKHwgxZ1OEX_4WfpobceByQUOlgAU43atqMississauga taxi driver stabbed 

How to use Siri to record police stops

https://www.businessinsider.com/pulled-over-by-police-siri-shorcut-iphone?fbclid=IwAR1GfmgqQd8F6WJ0ZVxT8O64R5RXFb_R2D0ZkgVgmofeHCSgSJ7pGf_zhIU

2 suspects arrested in taxi driver stabbing in Mississauga released

And now, for something completely different: Uber ignores the law in UK

https://www.taxi-point.co.uk/post/uber-is-attempting-to-dodge-supreme-court-ruling-says-shadow-secretary-for-employment-rights?utm_campaign=TaxiPoint%20UK%20Subscribed&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

 

CAF opportunities at March 3rd Virtual Event

 

I love this shot of Sgt. Jesus Castillo in full flight, talking to high school students at Make Your Future 2. The students LOVED the CAF booth, the challenges, the feats of strength and competitions; it was by far the busiest booth at both of our MYF events.

 

MYF-CAF-MYF Virtual Recruiting v4

Make Your Future hosts Canadian Armed Forces virtual event

To provide career information highlighting Jane Finch, Black Creek communities

Toronto (February 17, 2021) – Young people in northwest Toronto including the Jane-Finch and Humber-Black Creek communities are invited to learn about careers in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in a special virtual recruiting session designed specifically for the area which borders Downsview Airbase and Denison Armoury, one of the CAF’s five major Divisions.

CAF have been invited to present this information by Make Your Future (MYF), a local community group working to help young people explore and identify their career path.

“In addition to the traditional career path of joining the Canadian Armed Forces after high school or after university, we want young people to know there are opportunities for them to join the CAF through a Co-op program while they are still in high school. In this program they can earn high school credits and a paycheck while they are training,” says Lt(N) Shortridge, Canadian Forces Recruiting Group Southern Ontario Attractions Officer, CAF.

The first online event is scheduled for March 3, 2021 at 4pm; interested individuals can register by visiting this link: https://forces.ca/en/event/276/

Denison Armoury is the headquarters of 4th Canadian Division, Joint Task Force Central, and the 32 Canadian Brigade Group; the Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre at Yonge and Sheppard is one of the largest such centres in Canada. Both centres are easily accessible by TTC.

The March 3rd Northwest Toronto virtual session will include special guest presenter Delroy Gordon, who is part of the Northwest Toronto community.

The CAF needs young people looking for great career options; Jane-Finch has lots of young people looking for great career options,” says Mark Tenaglia, chair of Make Your Future (MYF). MYF is part of 31 Division’s Community-Police Liaison Committee and has been working since 2018 to bring young people and employers together through school-based career fairs and events.

“COVID-19 forced us to suspend our in-person events, but it has made us more aware of opportunities for virtual events like this one, which actually have the potential to reach even more young people across a wider area during this time,” says Tenaglia.

Make Your Future is also working with the Canadian Armed Forces to explore the idea of launching a Cadets program for kids aged 12 and older.

“Greenwin has been active in the Humber River – Black Creek community for decades now, so we know firsthand how important an initiative like Make Your Future is to this community,” says Kevin Green, President and CEO, Greenwin Corp. “We want to see them reach their full potential and it’s an honour to support them on their path to success.”

-30-

Media contact: Rita Smith

ritasmith@rogers.com

 

 

 

 

Why is God male?

The Mayor of my town posted this cartoon today and drew a quick, negative reaction from readers who wonder: why NOT have a female Son of God? I thought it was cute, but apparently my thinking on men/women, fathers/mothers is not the “norm;” or as the editor who rejected it noted, “I’m not sure people are ready for this, Rita.”

Over the years I did a lot of reading on the male/female dynamic in society and I never cease to be fascinated by it.

I devoured books and essays on Christianity, Goddess worship, monotheism and polytheism, struggling to grasp what seemed essential to know.

During the debate in the run-up to the legalization of same sex marriage, we were told by some that the bond between a man and a woman is the most ancient and pervasive link that exists between two human beings: marriage pre-dates all forms of government, and therefore government has no right to alter or amend the definition of marriage.

I received this plaster cast of Donatello’s “Madonna and Child” as a gift 30 years ago, and have treasured it always as it depicts, I believe, the most enduring of all human relationships: Mother and Child.

I balked at this concept: the bond between one man and one woman is the oldest link in history? Really? Because for much of history – and to the current day – the link between men and women seems to be often tenuous.

Most cultures make lots of room for relationships between men and women that are strictly limited to one or a few sexual encounters. Courtesans in ancient Greece, Rome or China; barbarians raping and pillaging. The right of the first night. Rape slaves in modern day Syria or Iraq. Young adults dating in a hook-up culture. Bootie calls. Baby daddies.

In addition to such situations in which men disappear by choice, men also work in the most dangerous jobs (including war) facing injury, illness and early death. Lots of men just leave and are never seen again.

That’s why I believe it is safe to say that in all of the bonds formed since the dawn of time – husband/wife; father/child; siblings; or mother/child, the one that has actually stood the test of time is the bond between mother and child.

A man can father a child, and then disappear; so long as the baby has a functional mother, the child has a decent shot at surviving to adulthood.

Should a mother leave a child, that child is much more likely to die. Either of starvation, back when breastmilk was all the baby food there was, or of neglect, in the current day.

Historically, babies who lost their mothers died. Humankind is vastly more likely to be made up of people who can, and have, survived the loss of a father; and much less likely to be made up of those that have experienced the loss of a mother.

Is this why God is male in monotheistic religions?

If a culture is going to suggest a deity that fills the spiritual and psychological gap left by a dead or missing father, that culture doesn’t need another woman. The women are already right there, where you can see them and touch them and be cared for by them.

How comforting, then, to be taught that your father is always with you too, always watching over you, keeping you safe, providing everything you need. Even when he is invisible, a belief rather than a being.

It worked in Judiasm[1], Christianity[2] and Islam[3]. One of the most telling and important tenets of all three faiths was that men were called upon to care for widows and orphans – essentially substituting organized human action and generosity for the protection of a living earthly father. This was no small thing: it was the beginning of civilized society.

Am I implying fathers are not important? No. I am saying exactly the opposite: that fathers are so important, entire cultures developed intellectual systems to allow communities to cope with the loss of them. We did not need to do this for women.

I believe this is why God is male. Because we need Him to be.

-30-

 

 

 

[1] “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”—Psalm 68.5

[2][2] “Pure and undefiled religionbefore our God and Father is this: to care for orphansand widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

[3]  And They Feed, For The Love Of Allah, The Indigent, The Orphan, And The Captives, Saying: We Feed You For Allah’s Sake: No Reward Do We Seek From You Nor Thanks.

(Surah  76:  Ayah  8-9)

 

My inglorious career as a Scrutineer

I try to imagine what a hockey referee would say if told to leave the game in the middle of the third period….and then, to accept the final score without question. I think the answer would be “No.”

Some people are cut out to be Election Scrutineers. Their personalities and temperaments are….inscrutable, really.

They are calm, attentive, concerned only with the facts, yet not afraid to challenge in order to protect the integrity of the democratic process. Like an impartial hockey referee, they want only to see the correct actions taken so we can get on with the game.

I was a Scrutineer in the first election on which I ever worked. I was nervous, but the job was more tedious than exciting; by about 1pm I was so bored and also hungry that I took a break to run out for food. In a gesture of non-partisan magnanimity, I bought a dozen donuts to take back to the polling station for the other volunteers, whom I assumed would also be hungry.

I set the box on a table off to the side of the working tables and let the other scrutineers know they were for anyone who wanted one.

I was a bit shocked when, a few minutes later, of the Elections Officials informed me the NDP scrutineer had complained about me.

“What did I do??” I spluttered in confusion.

“She says you are too friendly, talking to people generally and, um, bringing the donuts in particular,” the EO stammered, blushing. Even she appeared to be embarrassed to relay the complaint. I took her point.

“OK,” I promised. “I will try not to be friendly, and for sure no more donuts.”

“Thank you!” she responded quickly.

The second time I scrutineered, the EO complained I was too pushy in approaching her desk to compare my voters’ list to hers.

“Rita, you are too aggressive,” she snarled at me nastily. Which surprised me, partly because I was trying very hard to mind my manners and also because the EO was my next-door neighbour, a woman with whom I’d been in constant contact daily for years.

“I like you, too, Sandra!” I smiled brightly. Then, I remembered not to be too friendly.

Managing a campaign in 2004 – when not yet everyone owned a cell phone – I got a frantic phone call from a woman who was supposed to be scrutineering in a poll nearby. She had had to find a pay phone from which to call me.

“They won’t accept my I.D. and won’t let me observe!” the woman was almost in tears.

“OK, I’ll pop in with copy of your form and vouch for you. I do not know why they are not accepting your form,” I replied.

I drove to the polling station, which was completely empty except for a lone Elections Officer.

“One of my scrutineers called me to say you would not let her observe,” I said.

“There are no scrutineers here,” the EO stated the obvious.

“I know. She left to find a phone to call me. What was wrong with her I.D.?” I asked.

“I couldn’t tell you that. There are no scrutineers here,” she repeated.

In light of events during the November 3rd American election, I have tried to imagine how I would respond to an Elections Officer who told me – in the middle of the count, in the middle of the night – to stop counting and go home.

Would I be friendly? Would I be aggressive? Would I have pretended nothing was amiss?

I don’t know. But I think in that case, the perfectly friendly-yet-aggressive Scrutineer’s answer should be “No.”

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Postal workers are not Elections Officials: you read it here first

Ballots and letters are not the same thing.

 

If you have ever been a volunteer Scrutineer – in any election, for any party – you know the idea of large-scale voting by mail is ludicrous.

Yet Americans are now debating the idea as if it was standard operating procedure suddenly and unfairly being denied them. Well, maybe it could be standard if voting were taking place in Utopia, or Xanadu; but in the western world in 2020, there are hundreds of ways a ballot or a vote could go missing, be duplicated or tampered with.

Postal workers are not Elections Officials: you read it here first.

The first election in which I ever volunteered, my candidate signed an official form provided to him by Elections Ontario, authorizing me to be present at the poll on his behalf. When I presented the signed form to the Returning Officer (RO), she insisted I show my driver’s license to prove I was the person authorized by the form. That was my first inkling that professional Elections Officials question everything and assume nothing in the voting process.

I spent the morning in a hard chair, observing as voters filed in, presented voter cards and identification, received their ballots, voted behind the cardboard shield and then deposited the folded ballot in the ballot box.

I did not see the need (or have the nerve) to challenge anyone’s identification, although some Scrutineers do that aggressively, especially when voters present only a phone bill or a hydro bill with a name and address to receive a ballot. The RO would insist those voters take an oath and sign a form attesting to their true address and that they were Canadian citizens.

In another election, I arrived before the poll opened and the Returning Officer invited Scrutineers from every party to inspect the ballot boxes after she assembled them.

“Why would we need to do that?” I asked, genuinely curious.

“To assure yourself, and your candidate, that the boxes were empty when the poll opened,” she replied logically. “How else could you be sure there weren’t 100 ballots in the box before voting even started?”

“OhMyGod!” I blurted in amazement. “I never would have even THOUGHT of that!”

At the end of a long day of voting, the RO and Scrutineers from every party were present when the ballots were counted and recorded. Mostly this is simple, but some voters “write in” a candidate or vote for more than one. When we all agreed on the numbers, the ballots were placed back in the ballot box and sealed.

In 2010, I drove to the poll with my son David, a Captain in Canada’s Armed Forces. Because he had lived in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick that year and still carried a New Brunswick drivers’ license, the Returning Officer insisted he also sign the attestation that he was an Ontario resident and a Canadian citizen. I was outraged, livid that he had been challenged.

“There are people voting right now, with phone bills as ID!” I fumed. “YOU, they challenge?”

“It didn’t bother me, Ma,” he smiled. “Actually, I was happy to see them enforcing the rules I’ve sworn my life to uphold.”

Postal employees work hard, no doubt; that does not mean they can, or should, run elections.

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza: Keto-friendly and Gluten-Free

Here it is – my made-in-Ontario suggestion for pizza lovers who are cutting back on carbs, or can’t eat gluten. This has become  a winter staple: it’s nice and cozy to heat the oven and warm the house baking a pizza in January or February.

But cauliflower are in season, plentiful and cheap in summer when it’s too hot to bake if you don’t have to. July and August are the perfect time to buy and boil beautiful local cauliflower in bulk, and freeze crust portions in pre-measured amounts to have on hand all year long. I went through 40 packages last year!!

NOTE: This video is 30 minutes long – the first 12 minutes are the bulk cooking instructions. If you just want to skip to the instructions once you have boiled and mashed the cauliflower, jump to the 12 minute mark.

Proportions used in the recipe are:

  • Two cups of boiled cauliflower
  • One cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • One egg
  • Sprinkle salt
  • Optional: a spoonful of Pesto

This amount of “dough” will make crust for two 10-inch pizzas.

Enjoy!

George Tsinokas: Collected Words & Wisdom

Rest in peace, George. You touched so many lives. So much of what I know about love and business, I learned from you.

George Tsinokas was such an original – talented, smart, funny, with the biggest heart of any human being I have ever met. His loss is immeasurable.

I may do a better job of organizing these words later but for now, I hope to write down some of the best things I ever heard George say. If you have anything you would like to add to this list please do, and share the post with others so they can add to it too.

***

George, after taking on my unfashionable mop of hair and transforming me into a sharp, trendy professional:

“Now, Rita, you know this requires SOME effort. You can’t just roll out of bed and expect to get this look.”

***

When Lois Brown ran against Belinda Stronach in the 2006 federal election, George met us at Global News to do Lois’ hair just before an important debate. He rolled into the studio with a travel kit of tools and supplies like Warren Beatty in “Shampoo.”

Watching George comb, blow and spray Lois’ famously unkempt hair, I mused out loud “I wonder who is doing Belinda’s hair?”

“Well, it must be the Number Two salon in Durham, because I can tell you Belinda is not being done by the Number One salon in Durham,” George sniffed without missing a beat.

***

I actually live in Newcastle because George Tsinokas invested in Clarington real estate. When I decided I wanted to move out of Toronto, I originally thought that meant I would be driving north toward Barrie. Then I discovered that in opening his newest salon, George and Vasile didn’t just buy a salon in Bowmanville – they bought the entire PLAZA in which the salon happened to be located.

“I have learned,” George shared one day, “that I could never save as much money as real estate can make me.”

Those words are seared into my brain now. If someone as smart as George Tsinokas was investing in Durham, I thought, that’s where I’m investing too. I have never looked back.

***

“You are someone I really treasure,” George told me one day. Wow, what a nice thing to say! I should say that to more people, more often.

***

“Growing up, I was never ‘the best’ at anything,” George explained to me one day. “I was not athletic, I was not at the top of the class. I wasn’t musical. But once I got into the business world and found I could make money, I realized, ‘THIS is something I can do. I am good at this.’”

This should be good news to lots of young people finishing high school and heading out into the world. I thought about George’s words a lot when I was running my Junior Achievement class last winter.

***

George married a stunningly beautiful, dynamic woman named Heidi. I loved the story of how they met: there used to be a nightclub called “Staircases” which was full of staircases on which young people would mix, mingle, sit, lean across to meet and talk over loud music and alcohol.

George told me, “I spotted Heidi leaning against the railing of a staircase across the room and I knew immediately she was someone special, so I worked my way over to her.”

“What was you opening line?” I needed to know.

“I walked up to her and said, ‘Who does your hair?’” George recounted. Of course, he did! And then they talked about hair for quite a long while, and the rest was history.

Some things make such perfect sense, there can be no doubt.

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Is COVID drinking more dangerous than COVID?

Jack London is best known for telling tales of his wild adventures in the Yukon and around the globe – his perceptions of risk and danger are valuable to this day. *Photo credit: Brad Cathers, Cathers Wilderness Adventures

Has the Covid-19 quarantine left you bored, trapped at home?

Are you sick to death of unending, hysterical media coverage?

I have GREAT news for you!

Imagine this:

Possibly the best action/adventure writer of all time decides to write a spine-tingling, engaging thriller that addresses one of the riskiest and most dangerous challenges facing the Western world. The story details a health catastrophe of epidemic proportions, killing millions, destroying lives and families, causing suicide and financial failure at tragic levels.

What begins as a mystery morphs into horror as the story turns into cliff-hanger. You are absorbed by facts and details that leave you gob-smacked and incredulous; there is not a dull page in this book. You cannot put it down.

By tales’ end, it may be that the book has changed your life.

Imagine an even better offer: this book is available free, in the public domain. There is also a free audiobook, if you’d rather listen than read.

The book is a little-known masterpiece by Jack London, author of “Call of the Wild” and “White Fang.”

The book is “John Barleycorn, or an Alcoholic Memoir,” and it was published in 1913, when London was at the peak of wealth and fame as one of the most popular writers of the age. (“Jack London” is the pen name of John Griffith Chaney.)

From the matter-of-fact recounting of his first drunken experience – “I was five years old the first time I got drunk” – to the impact alcohol had on his developing friendships at age seven and social life when he set out to sea as a teen-ager, it’s easy to think that London’s relationship with alcohol was a product of the rough age in which he lived.

When you look at how alcohol is presented today, you will find unmistakable parallels. We may have more laws, more rules and regulations about alcohol consumption in 2020, but we don’t have any less alcohol or any fewer ruined lives. “John Barleycorn,” as London personifies the product, the lifestyle, and the warped decision-making processes associated with drinking, is alive and well and actually making most of the rules.

In his introduction, London makes an important point: he is not writing as a genetically pre-disposed alcoholic. His experience wasn’t exceptional: he consumed alcohol as alcohol was intended to be consumed.

“I am a seasoned drinker. I have no constitutional predisposition for alcohol. I am not stupid. I am not a swine. I know the drinking game from A to Z, and I have used my judgment in drinking. I never have to be put to bed. Nor do I stagger. In short, I am a normal, average man; and I drink in the normal, average way, as drinking goes. And this is the very point: I am writing of the effects of alcohol on the normal, average man.”

Describing how John Barleycorn slithered in to became a pervasive presence in his life, London wrote, “I sketched my first contacts with alcohol, told of my first intoxications and revulsions, and pointed out always the one thing that in the end had won me over—namely, the accessibility of alcohol. Not only had it always been accessible, but every interest of my developing life had drawn me to it. A newsboy on the streets, a sailor, a miner, a wanderer in far lands, always where men came together to exchange ideas, to laugh and boast and dare, to relax, to forget the dull toil of tiresome nights and days, always they came together over alcohol. The saloon was the place of congregation. Men gathered to it as primitive men gathered about the fire of the squatting place or the fire at the mouth of the cave.”

London’s near-magical command of the English language and gift for indelible imagery enliven every page, every perception:

“We were three tipsy young gods, incredibly wise, gloriously genial, and without limit to our powers. Ah!—and I say it now, after the years—could John Barleycorn keep one at such a height, I should never draw a sober breath again. But this is not a world of free freights. One pays according to an iron schedule—for every strength the balanced weakness; for every high a corresponding low; for every fictitious god-like moment an equivalent time in reptilian slime. For every feat of telescoping long days and weeks of life into mad magnificent instants, one must pay with shortened life, and, oft-times, with savage usury added.”

I found fascinating London’s description of how casually, quickly and completely John Barleycorn took over his daily schedule in the later years, after London had achieved great success as an internationally renowned and beloved writer. Drinking more, drinking earlier, drinking ever-more special concoctions, ever-more expensive products, with a circle of friends more dedicated to drinking than friendship, he slid into the lifestyle we see all around us in the present day.

Early on, he wrote 1,000 words per day, first thing every morning, no matter where he was on the globe. Then, he began to celebrate finishing his 1,000 words with a drink. Eventually, he enjoyed drinking WHILE he wrote his 1,000 words; and at the end, he could not write anything at all unless he had a drink first. BAM. There you go. There’s John Barleycorn for you, at work, in charge of your schedule and your life.

London was able to see what was going on, and he thought he was capable of changing it.

“It was my unmitigated and absolute good fortune, good luck, chance, call it what you will, that brought me through the fires of John Barleycorn. My life, my career, my joy in living, have not been destroyed. They have been scorched, it is true; like the survivors of forlorn hopes, they have by unthinkably miraculous ways come through the fight to marvel at the tally of the slain.”

This grateful observation might carry more weight, had London lived to a ripe old age in good health and written dozens of more classic books and stories for the world to enjoy. Sadly, he died at age 40, possibly from an accidental overdose. Whether his death might in fact have been a suicide is still debated.

More people will die from alcohol this year than will die from COVID-19. Where are the graphs?

No matter how he died, while he lived, Jack London made an observation which is perhaps even more meaningful today. As we fret about the long-term consequences of climate change or the assumed estimated projected infection rates of COVID-19, there remains a clear and present danger to people of all ages, especially young people, which we blithely ignore:

“We have with great success made a practice of not leaving arsenic and strychnine, and typhoid and tuberculosis germs lying around for our children to be destroyed by,” London observed.

“Treat John Barleycorn the same way. Stop him. Don’t let him lie around, licensed and legal, to pounce upon our youth. Not of alcoholics nor for alcoholics do I write, but for our youths, for those who possess no more than the adventure-stings and the genial predispositions, the social man-impulses, which are twisted all awry by our barbarian civilisation which feeds them poison on all the corners. It is the healthy, normal boys, now born or being born, for whom I write.”

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The free LibreVox audiobook of “John Barleycorn” is available here.

The Gutenberg Press publication of the book is here.

Special thanks to Hans Weinhold for recommending this book to me!