Thursday, November 29, 2007

American Proletarian Republicanism

American Exceptionalism is based upon proletarian republicanism.

In England and the Commonwealth the rule of the Master over his 'servants' was postulated under the Master Servant Act which determined the condition of the working class as one of indentured servitude. This Act remained the basis of labour law in Canada even after it was reformed. However its concept of a fiduciary responsibility of the worker to the boss remains as the basis of all labour relations law to this day in the British Commonwealth.

Because America was founded upon the concept of the free land movement, which Edwin Gibbon Wakefield so bitterly complained about, this concept was actively resisted and the liberal ideal of a free contract for labour was embraced.

It was for this reason French and Irish Canadians in the 19th Century often traveled freely to the United States to work, and then came back home to farm.
Which lead to bitter complaints from Nativist Americans about 'illegal immigrants' and 'Papists'.

It was quite common during the building of the Great Lakes Canals, the grunt work being done by Irish 'Navvies'. And it was this free movement of workers between Canada and the U.S. that led to Rebellion of 1837 in Canada where the rebels embraced the liberal ideals of American Proletarian Republicanism; free labour and free trade.

Citizenship and Justice in the Lives
and Thoughts of Nineteenth-Century American Workers

Delivered at
Brasenose College, Oxford University
April 29, May 3, and May 6, 1991

Master-and-servant legislation in Britain and the United States
shared the same roots in the fourteenth-century Statute of Laborers
and the Elizabethan Statute of Artificers. The law imposed criminal
sanctions against workers who left their employment without
the master’s permission. Those sanctions applied to wage earners
as well as to slaves, indentured servants, and apprentice.23 In
1823 the British Parliament renewed the law’s provision that abandoning
work could lead to criminal prosecution before a justice of
the peace and a sentence of up to three months at hard labor after
which the workers’ still owed their masters all contracted labor
time. The new British law did, however, eliminate the magistrates’
powers of supervision of conditions of employment, which
had been part of the Elizabethan law but had lapsed into disuse.
Daphne Simon has calculated that during the 1860s an average
of ten thousand men and women in England and Wales were
prosecuted each year for leaving their jobs, most of them agricultural
laborers, household workers, miners, and workers in potteries
and cutlery trades.

During the same decade that Britain’s Parliament renewed the
law of criminal sanctions, American courts discarded it. A book
by Robert J. Steinfeld sheds important light on this development.
Steinfeld argues that the decisive legal judgments hinged on the
claims of owners of indentured servants, and they were couched
in language that sharply contrasted the legal position of wage
earners to that of slaves. Although all northern states by 1820
either had prohibited chattel slavery or had decreed the eventual
manumission of all children subsequently born to slaves, migrants
from Europe who had contracted themselves into temporary bondage
for specified periods of time continued to arrive and be sold
in the ports of Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore. Pennsylvania,
the most common destination of such servants, had enacted
regulations of the trade by 1818, to require schooling for servants’
children and to inhibit the separation of families and the sale of
servants outside of the state.

Virtually all the new arrivals were sold to rural employers —
for labor in the fields, within households, or on construction
projects. In the northern cities the rapid disappearance of journeymen
residing within the households of employing artisans, the
substitution of day-to-day money wages for board and services provided
by the master’s wife (“found”), and the large influx of
immigrant journeymen after 1790 had undermined the eighteenth century
reliance of Philadelphia’s artisans on indentured whites
and of New York’s artisans on black slaves. In New York City,
where the owning of slaves had been remarkably equally distributed
throughout the white population before the Revolution, most
slaves of 1800 were found in households of the wealthy, and
bondspeople still employed by artisans had declined to only 18 percent
of the total. White artisans, laborers, and household workers
alike vociferously objected to being called “servants” and to physical
punishments, which they considered badges of servitude.26
Both chattel slavery in its New York and New Jersey agricultural
strongholds and indentured servitude on Pennsylvania
farms were plagued with runaways and with (often successful)
efforts of bondspeople to negotiate better terms with their owners.
Shane White’s study of the decline of slavery in New York has
produced evidence of many black slaves negotiating their way to
freedom through long-term indentures, especially after the enactment
of the gradual manumission law of 1799. Simultaneously,
popular antipathy toward bondage for white people created difficulties
for owners who sought to enforce the terms of indentures.

The troubled persistence of indentured servitude is revealed
by the experiences of Ludwig Gall — ironically a German follower
of Charles Fourier — who came to Pennsylvania in 1819 in
search of a site for a phalanstery. Gall brought eleven servants
with him. When they arrived in Philadelphia, Gall recorded:
They had scarcely come ashore when they were greeted as
countrymen by people who told them that contracts signed in
Europe were not binding here; . . . that they were free as birds
here; that they didn’t have to pay for their passage, and nobody
would think ill of them if they used the money instead
to toast the health of their European masters. . . , The last
scoundrel said: “Follow me, dear countrymen; don’t let yourselves
be wheedled away into the wilderness.”

Gall resorted to the threat of debtors’ prison to make his “companions”
repay their passage. He brought one defiant servant
before a justice of the peace and had him incarcerated, only to
discover that he (Gall) had to pay the prisoner’s maintenance,
and a late payment the second week set the man free. Although
that servant seems to have enjoyed his stay with a “boisterous
group” of three hundred debtors, who “formed their own little
republic” in the Walnut Street prison, the other ten were persuaded
by the threat of jail to indenture themselves to Gall for
three to four years, in return for Gall’s promise to pay them ten
dollars a year.

Gall’s troubles did not end there. His anxiety to rush the
servants out of the city before they learned the ways of American
life was well founded: five men whom he had boarded apart from
his family deserted him the day he left Philadelphia. The remaining
servants made Gall cut short his westward journey in Harrisburg.
Five days after his departure from Philadelphia, he wrote:
“Two of my servants deserted me between Montjoie and here
[Harrisburg]; and my choice was to continue the journey with
hired help, whom I should have to pay $2 a day, or stay here
perforce.” He rented “a pretty country house” with thirty-six tillable
acres, “precisely as much as the [one man and two women]
who remained true to me can care for with two horses.”

Alas, the remaining man did not “remain true” for long. He
soon demanded a seat at the family table and a good Sunday suit,
and on Gall’s refusal, he absconded. A neighborhood farmer
captured the man and had him jailed by the justice of the peace.
From prison the man spent six weeks negotiating the terms of his,
own release, while Gall paid his maintenance. His prison had
cards, whiskey, and in fact, growled Gall, “Methodists with a
misplaced love of humanity supplied him and his fellows with
an abundance of food and drink. . . . Indeed, everything was in
vain. In the end I had to let the fellow go.”

Just to rub it in, the “French-speaking Swiss immigrant,”
whom Gall hired in the servant’s place, threatened to drag Gall
before a justice of the peace for asking him to feed the horses on
Sunday (in violation of state Sabbath laws). Gall settled out of
court: paying the hired man half the anticipated fine.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company reproduced Gall’s
experience on a larger scale, when it brought some five hundred
laborers from Ireland in 1829, only to have them depart for Baltimore
or to nearby railroad construction, where higher wages were
available. Prosecution of the runaways proved prohibitively costly
to the company, and juries refused to convict the workers. Even a
federal judge who was willing to enforce Maryland’s 1715 statute
against runaway servants acknowledged that bound wage labor
was “opposed to the principles of our free institutions and . . .
repugnant to our feelings.” Both the canal laborers and those
working nearby on the new railroad struck several times during
the next six years over wages and over control of hiring, inducing
President Jackson to dispatch federal troops in 1834 to maintain
order. But no worker faced imprisonment for breach of contract,
such as they would have risked in England.

The repugnance felt by the federal judge had been written
into law by the Supreme Court of Indiana in an 1821 ruling on
The case of Mary Clark, a woman of color. The case was brought
by a free black woman in a free state, whose master made the
familiar claim that she had bound herself voluntarily in 1816 “to
serve him as an indented servant and house-maid for 20 years.”
When her suit for habeas corpus was denied by a lower court,
Clark appealed to the state supreme court, which set her free with
the resounding declaration that no one but apprentices, soldiers,
and sailors could be subjected to criminal prosecution for deserting
a job in violation of a contract. Because a contract for service
“must be performed under the eye of the master” and might “require
a number of years,” enforcement of such performance by
law “would produce a state of servitude as degrading and demoralizing
in its consequences, as a state of absolute slavery.”

Although legal commentaries soon began to quote The case of
Mary Clark, it did not appear frequently as a cited precedent until
after the Civil War. By that time the adoption by former Confederate
states of Black Codes — labor codes applying specifically
to African Americans, whose central feature was the imposition
of criminal prosecution for those who failed to sign one-year labor
contracts, or who left a job after they had signed such a contract —
had evoked a vigorous reaction, first from black southerners and
then from the federal Congress. “I hope soon to be called a citizen
of the U.S. and have the rights of a citizen,” a black soldier
from South Carolina had written in 1866. “I am opposed myself
to working under a contract. I am as much at liberty to hire a
White man to work as he to hire me, I expect to stay in the South
after I am mustered out of service, but not to hire myself to a

The soldier’s conception of liberty was enshrined in the 1866
Civil Rights Act, and subsequently in the Fourteenth Amendment
to the Constitution, both of which nullified contractual requirements
of the Black Codes, and put in their place national principles
of “freedom of contract” to regulate both economic and
family life. The promise sought by the black soldier of equal
application of the principle of employment at will had become the
law of the land. Its practical significance for the daily lives of
southern rural workers provides an especially dramatic illustration
of the impact of democracy on the law of wage labor and will
receive close attention in my final lecture.


Native America and the Evolution of Democracy

"Are Anarchists Thugs?"

Jamestown; The Birth of Capitalism

Jamestown; the beginning of Globalization

The Era Of The Common Man

1666 The Creation Of The World

The Many Headed Hydra

Plutocrats Rule

American Fairy Tale

Slavery in Canada


The Origin of American Conspiracy Theories

History of Slavery

The Truth Shall Set Ye Free

Cooperative Commonwealth=Free Market

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I have two of these wonderful dogs called Schipperke's, Trooper and Tami. Both are Show Dogs. They are sometimes called 'the little captain' as the name is often mistranslated into Skipper Key, as in boat skipper. The legend has it they are Flemish or Belgian Barge Dogs.

The reality is somewhat different. They look like small version of the Belgium Sheep Dog though they are not directly related, and they too are a sheep dog.

The Schipperke (pronounced: skipper-key) has been known for centuries in the Flemish Province of Belgium where he was bred as a watchdog and hunter of vermin.

He is a bright, active and inquisitive dog that makes an excellent family companion. He is very good with children and suspicious of strangers, making him a good watchdog. Smart, loyal and loving, the Schip needs attention and companionship. He is active and loves to learn, and will excel in such activities as obedience, agility, flyball, tracking and herding.

Peasants in the Flemish Low Countries were not allowed large dogs, like horses and swords these were the symbols of the ruling classes and their Knights. So the peasants bred a small dog called the Schipperke to act as a shepherd, and the name means shepherd in Flemish. The peasants were Flemish Weavers and they brought their dogs with them when they traded with England and Europe.


By Sharon Pflaumer
As with most breeds, there are a number of theories concerning
the origins of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi in addition to the
fanciful tale (about the fairies leaving two children wee dogs
as a gift). This sturdy, all-around worker may have come
from Schipperke-like dogs introduced to the British Isles
by Flemish weavers in 1107. These weavers settled in Wales,
where their canine companions evolved into cattle dogs.
Another theory maintains the Pembroke is descended from
the Swedish Vallhund, which may have been introduced to
Wales by the Vikings.

Sumptuary Laws of Edward III's Reign

In 1337 when war was again declared with France, the English Parliament enacted
a law intended to restrain extravagance in dress and to promote the consumption
of English manufacturers. The 1337 act dealt with furs, limiting the wearing therof
to persons of gentle birth (or persons with annula incomes of 100 pounds or more).

The Black Death reached England in 1348 and the end of the following year had spread
to the north of the
country. It was estimated at least 20% of the population died.
This led to the
imposition in 1351 of the Statute of Labourers which fixed wages to
pre Black Death
levels and prevented mobility of labour in an attempt to restore stability
at a time
when demand for workers was much greater than the supply (Pearsall, 1996).

were often paid in apparel and foodstuffs. In 1355 an act was passed concerning the
dress of prostitutes. This related to restrictions of wear with the purpose of
distinguishing prostitutes from respectable women. The parliament of 1363 passed an
act regulating both apparel and consumption of foodstuffs. This act amended the 1337
act and reduced the threshold for permissible wearing of furs to any non-peasant
with annual income of 40 shillings or greater. The legislation had two objectives
i.e.. protectionism i.e. only members of the royal family could wear cloth of
non-English manufacture and partly as an anti-inflationary measure. Prior to this,
Flemish weavers were taking English cash out of the country, restriction to the
royals, was an economic means of keeping English money in the country.

The Schipperke look more like foxes when they are mature, and like little bears when they are young pups. They are bright, intelligent, and obstinate hence the designation Little Captain, they push their way around. They are the perfect anarchist dog and the perfect dog for an anarchist.

They were later adopted by the Flemish Tailors Guild sometime in the late 15th Century or early 16th Century, because of their beautiful ruffs. The Tailors would make decorated collars and show them off on the ruffs of their Schipperke's in local competitions, walking them through the streets, and thus the origin of the dog show begins with the Flemish Tailors and their Schipperke's.

uring the 15th Century, Brussels became the tapestry capital. The extravagant use of gold thread in these works, inspired the name Tapis D'Or (cloth of gold). The most prominent weaver, Pieter Van Aelst, was responsible for creating "The Acts of the Apostles" which was commissioned for the Sistine Chapel. And in the 1500's Queen Elizabeth made the weaving industry the basis of England's trade. William Sheldon designed a series of county maps which were a charming mixture of geographical representation and decorative design. Mary, Queen of Scots, employed 2 Master Embroiderers for the Crown: Pierre Oudray and Charles Howart. The first embroidery book published in England was "A Schole House for the Needle" by Richard Schorleyker in 1624. It illustrated most of the usual motifs of the time, and also some lace and cut work. Embroiderers were also influenced by the designs from a manuscript by Thomas Trevellyan. These may be seen in many variations of Elizabethan Age embroidery.

They were later adapted for use on the Flemish canal barges, as a rat dog, to hunt and kill the scourge of barges and the working class ghetto. Thus the confusion about them being barge or boat dogs and the terms Skipper Keys, or little captains.

My Year of the War Including an Account of Experiences with the Troops
in France and the Record of a Visit to the Grand Fleet Which is Here
Given for the First Time in its Complete Form

When I think of Belgium's part in the war I always think of the little
Belgian dog, the schipperke who lives on the canal boats. He is a
home-staying dog, loyal, affectionate, domestic, who never goes out
on the tow-path to pick quarrels with other dogs; but let anything on
two or four feet try to go on board when his master is away and he will
fight with every ounce of strength in him.

They are a rare dog breed that has become popular over the last few years. Since we adopted Trooper and Tami, I see more of them around the neighbourhood now. But folks still stop us and ask us what kind of dog they are. Most folks have heard of them as the rare Belgium Barge dog.

Both our dogs are from Diana Kinnear's Majekin line of Schipperke's and we are their adopted guardians. They both still do dog shows and Trooper is a Champion breed stud. This photo is of his winning pose in Camrose, the year we adopted him.

We found them by looking on the net. We had used the net to find rescue animals, in particular cats, we have a long standing tradition of adopting older cats. Since we lived in an apartment for many years. When we moved into our house I began to suggest we get a dog. A small dog, this funny dog with a funny name, we had seen at the dog show, which was just a bit bigger than our cats.

So we were looking for the dog with the funny name Schipperke and looked it up on the Internet. We came across Trooper through Diana who had moved from Calgary to Edmonton and needed to adopt him out to a home since she had another male in her menagerie and Trooper being the Alpha Male he needed a home of his own.

And eventually so did his granddaughter Tami, who really is a a spoiled little princess. She is my partners little girl. She lived with other Julie and the other 'girls' at Diana's house but really needed to be in her own home. And yes it is her home, she bosses Trooper around.

So what started out as a us looking at getting one dog, ended up with us adopting two of these wily intelligent guard dogs. And let me tell you they are better than any alarm system when it comes to protecting 'their home and property'.

Julie at 10 weeks(Mazeru Heavensent to Majekin) bred by Anna Verleg

( Ch Majekin Poetry In Motion x Ch Roetmop Qiwi)

Tami at 4 months(Majekin Talk About Me)

(Ch. Ebonorth Autumn Stormy Boy x Ch Majekin Ombrelle de Orval)



Now what prompted me to write about them, which I had been intending on doing for some time actually, was this recent story in the news. If you are a regular reader of this blog, and of course who isn't, you know my position on crimes against animals.

Well this story was in the press recently. It's a terrible case of animal abuse and cruelty and it happened to a Schipperke puppy and it is horrible because the puppy was in the care of this person, totally dependent on them for it's survival. And of course as I have pointed out before if a person can do this to an animal they can do the same to children or even adults.

Three months for puppy drowning

Karen Kleiss,

Published: Friday, November 16

EDMONTON - A man who drowned his friend's four-month-old puppy in a bathtub while she listened on the phone was sentenced today to three months in jail.

Jeffrey Vince, 46, is banned from owning pets for two years after his release, Crown prosecutor Prima Michell said after court.

Vince pleaded guilty in June to causing pain and suffering to an animal in connection with the Sept. 6, 2006 incident.

Michell said the incident began when Vince and a female friend got into an argument because the woman had been discussing Vince's mental health with a neighbour.

Vince pointed at the four-month-old puppy, a Schipperke lap dog named Shadoe, and the tiny dog nipped at his fingers. Angry, he grabbed the animal, shoved it into a carrier and drove home to his apartment, Michell said.

A short time later, he called his friend and asked her if she wanted to hear her dog dying. He placed the dog in the carrier in the tub, and ran the water until it died. He then attempted suicide by overdosing on pills, Michell said.

"This is not a case of somebody who might have some weird notions of discipline, and it is not a case of someone who is too poor to feed their pet," Michell said. "This is a deliberate act by someone who is mad at the owner."

Michell said psychological reports entered into evidence during the trial show Vince has a history of mental illness, but that the illness did not prevent him from forming the intention to kill the animal.

In court today, Michell said told the judge he feels bad for killing the dog.

And well he should. But he also needs medical help for his mental condition, which no amount of jail time will address. And it shows the failure of our social system that does not consider mental health as a public health issue. Instead it allows people to suffer alone, as the Klein government did when it closed Alberta Hospital and left the mentally ill to wander the streets homeless. And thus contributes directly to their alienation and subsequent mental illness which they deny they have.

On the other hand here is a story about how important that bond is between us and our animal companions, and no they are NOT pets. It is a bond that is as deep as humankind, since we domesticated wild animals to join us in our communities. And it too is a sad story, because it deals with the death of family member.
Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007, at 3:37 PM

I'm just popping in for a quick minute today. My wonderful, sweet Schipperke, Bear, passed away suddenly and quite unexpectedly yesterday morning. He didn't feel well on Sunday. We just thought his arthritis was bothering him. By 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning, we knew something was seriously wrong. We flew out the door for Dr. K's office, where he was waiting for us. We were all with him, when he crossed the bridge. Dr. K feels that it probably was a blood clot brought on either by an auto immune response or a disease called DIC. He assured us, that there was nothing that we could have done.

Bear was such a bright light in my house. I know that it will be dim for a while, and never quite as bright before. Bear was a friend to everyone who met him, whether it was another pet or person. He became the official greeter of my neighborhood. We made rounds to visit all of the neighbors. He hadn't been getting out quite as much, because of his arthritis, but he still liked to visit.

Casey and I are still in quite a bit of shock. I may not be around for a couple of days, and I hope that you all understand. I'm still processing. This was an exceptionally hard blow, so soon after losing Slate the first of September. Please send good thoughts and prayers this way.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Goodbye Bear. You were a loyal, uplifting friend. You will be terribly missed.

But I will end on a more positive note with this final post I came across while Googling Schipperke's in the news. I have two cats and two dogs, and they all get along well. I will tell you my cat tales in another post. This final post ends with a message about the importance of adopting animals, especially rescued animals, those that have been abandoned by their owners. Often through no fault of their own, because in Alberta with the lack of affordable housing landlords are refusing to accept 'pets' or overcharging for the privilege of living with your companion animal.

Juanita's Juanderings
Claws and Paws

I have two cats, Ebony and Ivory, who are about five years old, and who have become fat, lazy, and quite comfortable in their surroundings. In other words, quite spoiled. Until recently they have been able to lounge anywhere they darn well choose to lounge, be it on the furniture, my bed, or the dining room table. Now there is a battle for �top dog� in the house, and the cats seem to be losing the war. So much so that I haven�t seen much of them in the last two weeks. I think they have taken permanent lodging underneath my bed.

Their calm, cool, complacency has been greatly upset by my bringing home another four-legged fur ball � namely Roxie, a three-year-old Schipperke. Now to picture this. Here�s Roxie, all of seven pounds, and both of the cats are at least 12 to 14 pounds each. You see, Roxie doesn�t much like cats, and my cats don�t much care for dogs as it turns out. I am hoping that things will eventually settle down to a dull roar instead of the growl, bark, chase, and hide routine that now takes place every time the cats appear.
But, have no fear. I have not abandoned the cats. I go into the bedroom every day, shut the door, and spend quality time with them. I don�t want them to feel unloved. In fact, I moved their food into the master bathroom so they would not have to traverse the dog�s line of sight in order to be able to eat. But, they still must do that to get to their litter boxes.

At this time of year, with Christmas rapidly approaching, if you are considering a pet for your family, please consider adopting from the Humane Society as I did. There are plenty of beautiful, loving dogs and cats, puppies and kittens that deserve good, loving homes. But, if you do adopt a pet, please make sure your family is properly educated in the proper care and training of that animal before you bring it home. And, if you decide to get a pet from a private party, please make certain that your pet is properly vaccinated and spayed or neutered at the proper age. It is better for the animal and it avoids the unnecessary euthanizing of unwanted puppies and kittens.

'Til next time, be safe and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Ugly Canadian

While Harper trumpeted Canada's generosity towards Tanzania, money promised by the previous Liberal Government and still not up to the actual commitment of 20% of the GDP, the real face of Canada was shown by the Mining companies that Harper had in tow with him. The same gang he had in tow with him when he visited Latin America earlier this year. For Harper 'aid' means investment opportunities.

DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA — The goal was to leave the image of a benevolent Canada investing in the health of poor Africans, but in the end it was another Canada, that of its globe-hopping mining companies, that stole the day.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper spent eight hours yesterday in this commercial centre on the Indian Ocean, visiting a school, lunching with Tanzania's President and announcing a $105-million contribution to a new health-care initiative in Africa and Asia.

Yet it was a 45-minute meeting with officials from a dozen Canadian investors, led by mining giant Barrick Gold Corp., that dominated Mr. Harper's news conference with President Jakaya Kikwete.

Thanks in large part to Barrick's three gold mines, Canada has emerged as Tanzania's largest foreign investor, prompting a resource boom that helped Tanzania record a 6.2-per-cent growth rate last year.

Yet the mining success has prompted allegations that royalties are too low and that Tanzania's people, still among the world's poorest, are not sharing adequately in the bonanza.

Adding to this is a nasty labour dispute at Barrick's Bulyanhulu gold mine, where 1,000 of the 1,900 workers have been on what the company calls an illegal strike for the past month.

A court hearing scheduled for yesterday, at which the union hoped to obtain an injunction to stop Barrick from hiring replacement workers, was postponed to today for reasons that were unclear.

Mr. Harper would not comment on the strike other than to say that he expects Canadian companies to "act responsibly within the laws of the land" when they are abroad. He praised Tanzania for creating a stable political and business environment that encourages Canadian companies to invest.

Mr. Kikwete was also diplomatic when the subject turned to Canada's investment in the mining industry and in particular the work of a committee created to advise the Tanzanian government on whether to change the royalty regime.

"We are not blaming the mining companies," the President said, noting that the companies are living within Tanzanian law.

He added that the goal of the review is to achieve a "win-win situation" for the companies and the government.

"We'd like to see more and more Canadian investment," Mr. Kikwete said.

It was the second time in recent months that Mr. Harper had met Barrick officials during an international trip. In July, he stopped off at Barrick's offices in Santiago, Chile, where the company is developing the massive Pascua Lama mining project in the Andes, despite protests from environmentalists.

Joan Kuyek, the national co-ordinator of MiningWatch, a group that critiques what it sees as irresponsible mining practices around the world, says Barrick's Tanzanian operation displaced thousands of small-scale miners and gives little back to Tanzania.

"If Mr. Harper met only with people chosen to have him meet with and didn't meet with the small-scale miners, didn't meet with the people who have to deal with the social and economic and environmental price that these mines are racking up in Tanzania, and didn't meet with their representatives, well I think that's pretty shocking," Ms. Kuyek said.


Cold Gold

Afghanistan or Africa

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Petro Dollars Bail Out The CITI

And here is more news from Dubai Investments Inc. Petro-Dollars from the middle east bail out the sub prime victims of U.S. excess.No not the mortgage holders or home owners, but the greedy capitalists. They can always expect to get bailed out if not by the Federal Reserve than the Oil Reserves in the Middle East.

And who is going raise the specter of American Security interests over this Wall Street take over? Why no-one, well perhaps Lou Dobbs. This is globalization in action. Just what it's proponents predicted, but not as they expected.

Citigroup Inc., the biggest U.S. bank by assets, will receive a $7.5 billion cash infusion from Abu Dhabi to replenish capital after record mortgage losses.

Citigroup rose 5.7 percent in German trading after acting Chief Executive Officer Win Bischoff said in a statement late yesterday that Abu Dhabi Investment Authority will help ``strengthen our capital base.''

Abu Dhabi will buy securities that convert into stock and yield 11 percent a year, almost double the interest Citigroup offers bond investors, underscoring the New York-based company's need for cash. Citigroup's fourth-quarter profit will be reduced by as much as $7 billion because of losses from subprime mortgages, which led to the departure of CEO Charles O. ``Chuck'' Prince III and a 45 percent slump in the company's stock.

``Clearly, Citi has a problem with capital adequacy after the subprime crisis,'' said Giyas Gokkent, head of research at National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, Abu Dhabi's biggest bank by market value. ``ADIA has seen an opportunity to get cheaply into a blue-chip stock.''

With the purchase of a 4.9 percent stake, Abu Dhabi, the largest emirate in the United Arab Emirates, would rank as Citigroup's largest shareholder ahead of Los Angeles-based Capital Group Cos. and Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Depleted Capital

The investment follows purchases by U.A.E. fund Dubai International Capital LLC in companies including London-based HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's biggest bank by market value, and New York-based hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management LLC. In Abu Dhabi, state-backed Mubadala Development Co. agreed to buy 7.5 percent of Washington-based buyout firm Carlyle Group. ADIA also owns a stake in Leon Black's New York-based buyout firm Apollo Management LP.

While Joe and Jane Consumer in America get no relief, which only will mean even more American retailers will go crash this shopping season as they desperately drop their prices as fast as the U.S. dollar's decline. It is a season full of desperation.

Holiday shoppers spending carefully
Deep discounts lure, but analysts wary

Discounted sweaters, laptops and personal GPS navigation systems drew large crowds during the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, according to several early surveys, but customers also appeared to temper their spending amid concerns over the economy.

Despite positive signs over the weekend, analysts cautioned yesterday that retailers must keep enticing customers with bargains to sustain momentum through the end of the year. Several retailers and economists say this holiday shopping season could be the worst in five years, in part because of the slumping housing market and higher energy costs.

Retail Desperation on Display in Early Hours

Upbeat holiday shopper traffic on Black Friday may prove short lived

Wall St little changed as investors track retail sales

The lackluster start of trading followed a market rally Friday as big retailers unveiled hefty discounts to lure shoppers into the nation's malls.

"So long as consumer spending keeps rising, the economy will stay out of recession," said Dick Green, an analyst at

Other analysts said retail sales so far appeared to have been relatively robust over the weekend despite a housing market slump and a related credit crunch.

Banking giant Citigroup is meanwhile planning its second round of "large-scale" layoffs in less than 12 months, according to a report by the CNBC business television channel which cited people with knowledge of the matter.


Bank Smack Down


U.S. Economy Entering Twilight Zone

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A follow up to yesterday's post on More Silly Censorship....

The British author Philip Pullman has attacked leading American Catholics as "nitwits" after they called for a boycott of The Golden Compass, which has its world premiere in London tonight.

In an escalation of the religious row over the film adaptation of the first of the Pullman trilogy, the north American Catholic League claimed that the movie is being used to pursue his "atheist agenda" and should be banned.

However, Mr Pullman hit back with a furious counter-attack on his detractors, denying that his agenda was anything other than attracting readers and urging people to be allowed to make up their own mind.

"To regard it as this Donohue man has said - that I'm a militant atheist, and my intention is to convert people - how the hell does he know that?" he said, in an interview with Newsweek magazine.

"Why don't we trust readers? Why don't we trust filmgoers? Oh, it causes me to shake my head with sorrow that such nitwits could be loose in the world."

Mr Donohue's call for a boycott has already been taken up by some Catholic leaders in the US and Canada, but not so far in Britain.

A school board in Ontario has ordered Northern Lights, the book on which the film is based, to be removed from library shelves in the run-up to the film's launch. Several other Canadian school boards are reported to be considering taking the same action.

Meanwhile, the archdiocese in Philadelphia has urged parents not to take their children to the film when it is released.

Suspicions over Mr Pullman's agenda appear to have partly been prompted by his past comments on religion to American newspapers. In particular, he told the Washington Post that one of his key goals was to "underminethe basis" of Christian belief.

Despite its attempts to boycott The Golden Compass, the Catholic League's has a less-than impressive track record in triggering religious boycotts. Its highest profile recent attempt was to shun The Da Vinci Code, which ended up becoming one of the most popular movies of 2006 in the US.

Yep that boycott of the Gnostic Heresy the Da Vinci Code was a stunning success.

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Not So Free Dubai

Like Halliburton, everyone is moving to Dubai the free enterprise zone of the Middle East. Unfortunately when it comes to a free press Dubai has allowed its commercial and trade interests with Pakistan to dictate policy. After all free speech and free enterprise do not necessarily go together. Capitalism can function without democracy. And visa versa.

Two of Pakistan's leading private television networks, ordered off air during emergency rule, said on Saturday they had been forced to close down altogether after being ordered to halt transmissions via the United Arab Emirates.

Geo, Pakistan's biggest television network, and ARY One World, both have offices and studios in Dubai Media City, from where they broadcast news.

"We have been told by the (Dubai) Media City that our transmission will be shut down," Imran Aslam, president of Geo News, told Reuters. "This is all I can say at the moment." The channel’s web site said it was shut down “


Musharraf's Coup

Capitalism and Islam

Freedom and Democracy Where?

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Monday, November 26, 2007

More Silly Censorship

You would think that those who want to censor books and movies would learn that it always backfires and simply acts as a form of advertising for the particular work in question.

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic board is conducting an informal review of The Golden Compass because concerns have been raised about the children's fantasy book in the neighbouring Halton board.

"It warrants us having a look at it," said community relations manager Bruce Campbell, adding staff members have been assigned to read the book and basically provide a plot synopsis "so we understand what it's about."

The Halton Catholic District School Board has pulled The Golden Compass – an award-winning book set to be released as a major motion picture next month – from library shelves after a complaint.

The other two books in the trilogy by British author Philip Pullman, which have been compared to the Harry Potter series, are also off the shelves for now, but available if students ask for them.

The Halton board is convening a committee to review the book and recommend whether it should be available to children.

Halton Catholic elementary principals were directed not to distribute the December Scholastic flyer because The Golden Compass is available to order.

A board-issued memo says the books are "apparently written by an atheist where the characters and text are anti-God, anti-Catholic and anti-religion."

In the U.S., Catholic groups are urging a boycott of the movie and accuse the books of being anti-Christian and promoting atheism.

Actually even if the author is an atheist and 'anti-god' they are not particular about whose god they are opposed to. Thus to claim the author is Anti-Christian misses the point, if he is Anti-GOD, anti-theism,he is Anti-Muslim, Anti-Judaic, Anti-Buddhist,Anti-Hindu, Anti-Giant Flying Spaghetti Monster, Anti-Cuthulu, etc. etc.

It is a fantasy novel. Get over it.

And as long as public funds pay for Catholic Schools then they are 'public' schools and should not be allowed to censor 'publicly' available reading materials. If you want papal dispensation for your library you can always go private.

Of course in the U.S. they are private schools. And so this is another political campaign by the right wing fundamentalist lobby from the U.S. And of course the atheist threat is much exaggerated as we find out in this article from the Boston Globe. Mr. Kaufman is more of a religious antiestablishmentarian than an atheist. But to the Catholic church it is all heresy.

ON DEC. 7 New Line Cinema will release "The Golden Compass," starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, the first movie in a trilogy with the massive budget and family blockbuster potential of "The Lord of the Rings."

Yet, even before it opens, "The Golden Compass" finds itself at the center of a controversy. The Catholic League, a conservative religious organization, launched a campaign on Oct. 9 calling on all Catholics to boycott the film. The group also published a lengthy pamphlet attacking the story and distributed the pamphlet to Catholic schools across the country. Other groups have joined the fray, including the evangelical nonprofit Focus on the Family, whose magazine Plugged In urged parents to keep kids out of theaters showing the film. And the Christian blogosphere is alive with warnings not only about the movie trilogy, but also about the series of books it is based on.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, charges that the books, known as the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, are deeply anti-Christian. Donohue says he fears that the film will inspire parents to purchase "His Dark Materials" for their fantasy-hungry kids on Christmas, unaware that the third book of the series, "The Amber Spyglass," climaxes in an epic battle to destroy God. Some of the book's villains are referred to as the Magisterium - a term used to refer to the Catholic hierarchy. The British author, Philip Pullman, has said openly that he is an atheist, and Donohue charges that his books are designed to eradicate faith among children.

But this is a sad misreading of the trilogy. These books are deeply theological, and deeply Christian in their theology. The universe of "His Dark Materials" is permeated by a God in love with creation, who watches out for the meekest of all beings - the poor, the marginalized, and the lost. It is a God who yearns to be loved through our respect for the body, the earth, and through our lives in the here and now. This is a rejection of the more classical notion of a detached, transcendent God, but I am a Catholic theologian, and reading this fantasy trilogy enhanced my sense of the divine, of virtue, of the soul, of my faith in God.

The book's concept of God, in fact, is what makes Pullman's work so threatening. His trilogy is not filled with attacks on Christianity, but with attacks on authorities who claim access to one true interpretation of a religion. Pullman's work is filled with the feminist and liberation strands of Catholic theology that have sustained my own faith, and which threaten the power structure of the church. Pullman's work is not anti-Christian, but anti-orthodox.

And of course the novel and the movie has witches in it, which is always a good reason for Christian fundamentalists to bash fantasy novels.

Witches who rule the northern skies and creatures that manifest themselves as people’s souls have been brought to life by the latest special effects in The Golden Compass, the year’s most eagerly awaited film. These are shown here for the first time after Philip Pullman declared that the screen version of his classic story lived up to what he was trying to achieve when he put pen to paper.
And while the Toronto Star Article first quoted above about the Dufferin school district claims that the author confesses he wants to 'Kill God' here is what he really said.

One movie getting maximum publicity is "The Golden Compass," starring megastars Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. The film opens Dec. 7, and what a film it is for the Christmas season.

Cineastes should know it is an adaptation of the first volume of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. Though Mr. Pullman's sales don't come close to those of J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, they are well into the millions. A literate and gifted author, he is not conventional regarding religious matters.

If you want the full, fascinating details of why you might not put his works at the top of Santa's list for young children, check out the well-documented article "How Hollywood Saved God," by Hanna Rosin, in the December Atlantic.

In the first paragraph, Miss Rosin quotes Mr. Pullman referring to C.S. Lewis' classic Chronicles of Narnia children's series as "morally loathsome." He also told her that his work was Narnia's moral opposite: "That's the Christian one. And mine is the non-Christian one." Despite his take on religion, Mr. Pullman's stories are marvelously inventive.

Non-Christian does not equate with Anti-Christian. And being Anti-Church, as in Catholic Church also does not equate with being Anti-Christian, just ask Hus, Wycliffe, or Luther. And the smear about killing god in his novels is being promoted of course by Christians.

And when you dig underneath the political discourse it always all about equating the 'other' religion or even anti-religion as being a lure of Satan.

One of my favorite writers and philosophers, Joseph Campbell, says in his tome Hero With a Thousand Faces, "It is possible to speak from only one point at a time, but that does not invalidate the insights of the rest," and I find that quote particularly relevant in any discussion of The Golden Compass. Does Pullman's exploration of his own ideas around organized religion invalidate the insights of Christianity? The truth is, this is more than a movie, it's a representation of a particular world-view and set of ideas. If it wasn't, it would matter neither to the Christians who consider it a heretical tool to lure children into Atheism (I guess that makes Atheism the new Satanism) that the film exists, nor to the Atheists that New Line has reportedly watered down author Philip Pullman's ideas to make it more palatable to the Christian Right. But does the fact that the film is about religion mean that people of faith shouldn't see it and discuss it?

And if you ask early Gnostic Christians about that they will tell you the Devil is in the details.


Wicca Bashing

Out Of The Hogwarts Broom Closet

The Ethnic Cleansing of Satanists

Islamicists and Evangelical Christians

The War Against Secular Society

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