AOC! AOC! Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Lays It On The Line For Green New Deal

The two videos below, one American, one Canadian, show why activism is so important now and  why so many environmental organizations are  organizing for a Green New Deal for Canada.  

Image result for alexandria ocasio-cortez sunrise movementAt a Sunrise Movement rally, on Monday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized “both sides” of the aisle for sidelining climate action. Photograph by Alex Wong / Getty

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave a fiery speech at an event sponsored by the Sunrise Movement on May 13. The symposium at Howard University marked the end of a 30-day campaign by the Sunrise Movement designed to educate voters across the nation about the Green New Deal proposed by AOC and Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts.

Now folks, politicians give speeches all the time. Most of them are nothing more than hot air, filled with empty promises and blue sky blathering. The speakers know their promises will never be fulfilled. The audience knows the promises they are hearing are just sloganeering. We all wink and nod and pretend we are witnessing some historic peroration, knowing in our heart of hearts that it is all window dressing designed to obscure the real political wheeling and dealing that goes on in the background.

She pushes back hard against the namby pamby, go slow, middle of the road policies put forth by Joe Biden and clears the air about charges by Republicans that she seeks to make America a socialist country by reminding her audience that a strong nation, a proud nation, a great nation is one that tends to the needs of the poor and the powerless.

Some speeches leave a permanent mark on society. This speech by AOC may well stand the test of time. Please watch the entire video below. It is just over 11 minutes long and it may be the best speech of the 21st century so far.


And if you need more convincing that Canadians face an urgent climate crisis, watch this video by Elizabeth May:

Paying some piddling carbon tax will do nothing to defend us from what lies ahead: Neil Macdonald

“This is Canada, for heaven’s sake. The cost of flood-proofing this country will be largely paid for with tax revenue. It’s inevitable. It is a clear and present danger at this point, and what are we discussing? A meaningless bit of window-dressing sin tax that would barely cover the cost of morning coffee once a week for most drivers, and is largely being rebated to taxpayers through the income tax system (it is revenue neutral) rather than put toward, say, digging diversion channels or building barriers or strengthening sewer systems, etc.”

The carbon tax is just misdirection, and nothing compared to the bills that are coming

The tax provides an excellent diversion to keep the public’s attention away from something our politicians are not saying a word about: the monumental cost of preventing, or paying for, the damage climate change will deliver from now on. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

Centre [for Climate Change Adaptation] director Blair Feltmate points to scientific consensus: the climate change that has happened so far is irreversible, and “even if we were to go to zero emissions tomorrow, the effects will continue to get worse. And we are not going to zero emissions. The world will continue to use 30 per cent oil, 30 per cent coal-fired electricity, and 30 per cent natural gas. We can’t meet even modest goals.”

“The carbon tax in Canada right now is symbolic,” says Feltmate. “In fact, there is a danger in it: that it will allow liberals to say they’ve done their part, and carry on the way everyone does.”

The tax also provides an excellent diversion to keep the public’s attention away from something our politicians are not saying a word about: the monumental cost of preventing, or paying for, the damage climate change will deliver from now on.

Entire neighbourhoods will have to be evacuated in the next few years. Others will find themselves on newly redrawn flood plain maps.(Michel Aspirot/Radio-Canada)

Canada needs to be flood-proofed, and somebody has to pay for it. Yes, there are other threats, too – fire, hail, wind, snow load, permafrost loss and shoreline erosion will all cost a great deal of money to remediate – but flooding is the big, urgent one.

Entire neighbourhoods will have to be evacuated in the next few years. Others will find themselves on newly redrawn flood plain maps, forced to pay both individually and at the community level for some awfully expensive flood-proofing measures. Even those on higher ground will have to cope with increasingly frequent “waterbomb” storms that park over a city and dump millions of gallons of water in a single rainfall. MORE


Toronto keeps flooding when it rains hard. Here’s why

“The fact is that we are sitting in a city that was built for a climate that no longer exists.” — Councillor Gord Perks


Frustrated by Pipeline Myths Albertans Tell Themselves? Here Are the Facts

This is a must read! We are bombarded daily by the oil industry’s misinformation, mindlessly repeated as gospel by Canadian media, and self-serving political spin. In the full article below, Andrew Nikiforuk, one of Canada’s best investigative journalists, systematically demolishes the myths that are peddled to Canadians and Albertans especially about Canada’s oil. 

A guide to educating relatives and friends who cling to oily falsehoods.

Debunking claims, in the name of strong neighbourly relations.

Alberta’s major exports these days seem to be piles of misinformation, denial, blame, and propaganda on the state-owned Trans Mountain pipeline.

According to some of the more ridiculous claims, environmentalists are to blame for bitumen price discounts, Vancouverites are being punished for their orca-loving ways with high gasoline prices, and climate change really doesn’t matter.

Their politicians don’t dare admit the reality — that combined overproduction of bitumen and U.S. tight oil brought down the global price of oil with a thundering crash in 2014. In the world we inhabit now, oil business as usual has died.

Given that we all have and love our Alberta relatives and friends, here’s a brief guide on how to reply to some of the false claims being traded like crypto-currency among Alberta’s political columnists, Liberals, New Democrats and the United Conservatives. MORE

Big Data and Criminal Justice – What Canadians Need to Know

Every Google search, credit card purchase, social media interaction, and doctor’s visit leave traces of information about you, where you’ve been, who you’ve interacted with, and what you like. What’s more, advertisers, data brokers, and government agencies can collect and analyze the digital breadcrumbs you leave behind as you go about your day. Welcome to the world of ‘big data.’

While data-driven technologies may be used for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole, they run an equal risk of entrenching discrimination and
exacerbating various forms of inequality. The realm of criminal justice is no exception; big data has both the potential to infuse fairness into the administration of justice, and, more worryingly, expedite the reproduction of existing biases.

In this Broadbent Institute report we show what ‘big data’ is, how it is used in the context of criminal justice in Canada and beyond, and how we might think about the potential beneficial and detrimental effects of these technologies on our society.

Download the Report

Green New Deal for Canada requires changing Capitalism’s systemic failures

Capitalism is being unmasked as a systemic failure in this study of the US economy — one has not delivered on several objective measures: wealth inequality; racial wealth inequality, healthcare costs; criminal justice; democracy . The Canadian economy shows signs that a crisis is systemic, rather than purely political or economic, is that key indicators decline or stay the same regardless of changes in political power or business cycles. 

These numbers drive the debate for system change: Introducing The Index of Systemic Trends

Image result for change everything climate protest
More than 300 high school students marched in downtown Halifax to demand action on climate change.

This week The Next System Project releases its first “Index of Systemic Trends,” a series of economic indicators that together make the case for systemic solutions that get at the roots of the nation’s most critical economic and social crises.

“While it is tempting to blame Donald Trump and the virulent form of right-wing extremism he represents for the nation’s ills, this is, unfortunately, an inadequate reading of our recent history—and a dangerous one at that,” reads the introduction to the index. “In many ways, the rise of Trump is actually a symptom of a much longer systemic crisis that has been building over the last several decades. This first-ever edition of The Next System Project’s Index of Systemic Trends is an effort to begin to quantify, track, and visualize this crisis.”

The index specifically tracks a set of economic and social indicators that reveal the chronic and systemic nature of economic and social inequities and our qualitative standing when compared to other major countries. Some highlights:

  • Wealth Inequality: In 1970, the top 1 percent and the middle 40% of Americans had a similar share of wealth (around 28%). By 2015, the wealth share of the top 1 percent exceeded 37% while the share of the middle 40% was almost unchanged at 27%. The wealth share for the bottom 50% was also unchanged—at virtually zero.
  • Racial wealth inequality: The median net worth of Black families had by 2016 had fallen to roughly half what it was in 1983. The median net worth of White families went from 1,600% higher than that of Black families in 1983 to 4,000% higher by 2016.
  • Healthcare costs: Per person, health costs in the US are close to five times higher than they were in 1970 in constant dollars. Yet our residents fare worse, most notably in life expectancy, than those of any other high-income country.
  • Criminal justice: While Canada, Mexico, and most European countries incarcerate fewer than 200 residents per 100,000 population, the US incarcerates 274 per 100,000 White residents and Black residents at a rate that is six times higher, 1,609 per 100,000. For Latinx, the rate is 857.
  • Democracy: When measured against other major countries, the United States finished dead last in the Index of Economic Democracy, measuring workplace and individual rights, distribution of economic decision-making, transparency, and associational economic democracy.

“This index is by no means a comprehensive or empirical study,” the introduction concludes. “It is designed purely to be illustrative of what, we believe, is an important observation: that our current political-economic system is consistently failing to deliver improvement and or competitive results compared to other advanced economies across a variety of different measures; and that this is indicative of a systemic crisis and the need to move in the direction of a new system that can and will produce better outcomes.“ SOURCE