In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show: In the East African nation of Tanzania, bloggers are now government-regulated. Unarmed protestors grievously wounded by Israeli snipers along the Gaza border are being tended to by a team of doctors from the International Committee of the Red Cross. And — forget about Donald Trump and his second Supreme Court nominee. Check out the radical conservative judges he’s been appointing to American court benches, coast to coast!
Ontario’s new Premier, Doug Ford, has rolled up his sleeves and is getting down to the important work of governing “for the people.”
He’s put the kibosh on Ontario’s cap-and-trade system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, apparently unconcerned by rising temperatures (not our fault!) and trashing an estimated three billion dollars of carbon trading investments. Ford now leads a small coalition of Canadian provincial leaders challenging Justin Trudeau’s planned federal carbon tax in court. Canadians should have the right to pollute Earth’s atmosphere free of charge, without the government on their backs!
Nothing if not coherent, Ford has canceled a host of renewable energy projects and “Green energy contracts.” And to be absolutely clear about the merits of fact-based policy, he has fired the province’s first Chief Scientist.
On the social side of Ford’s agenda for his ‘nation’, his education ministry wants to scrap sex ed curricula that discuss LGBTQ issues, cyber bullying and the concept of sexual consent, swapping frank sex talk for tried and true lessons pre-dating the invention of the smart phone. Aboriginal content development is on hold. And, in the province that claims to be “Yours to Discover,” asylum seekers are no longer welcome.
On the bright side, beer and wine will soon be sold on Ontario convenience store shelves (as will cannabis, in more secure locations — something Premier Ford has had no hand in bringing about, but, former hash dealer that he’s reported to be, knows a lot about and supports).
Progressively-minded Ontarians are worried. NDPer Andrea Horvath, Ford’s close second in last month’s elections, warns that Canada’s most populous province is about to be pulled “into a race to the bottom … into the last century.”
Well, if this is happening down in the States – indeed, all around the world – why not in Ontario? Ontarians elected the guy, and he says he’s governing for the people.
To quote the old Walt Kelly/Pogo line: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Free World web bloggers and publishers take their freedoms for granted. Any person with the time, energy and inclination can set up a web magazine or news blog and go crazy. They don’t need a journalism degree, nor the requisite skills and experience. They just need to abide by the service terms of their web provider and avoid saying anything that could get them arrested.
Not so in the east African nation of Tanzania — so it seems. The Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, recently promulgated by Tanzania’s parliament, require online content producers to cough up 900 US dollars for a permit and abide by a host of rules.
Green Blues Show contributor Josephat Mwanzi is a journalist and content developer based in Dar es Salaam. Listen to our Skype conversation. Click on the SoundCloud link above.
You don’t hear a lot about this in the mainstream media (certainly not over the airwaves of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), but popular protests along the security barrier between Israel and Gaza continue to be a weekly, indeed daily occurrence.
Since the start of the Great March of Return on March 30, almost 140 Gazans have been gunned down and some 15,000 wounded. Protestors – unarmed and largely peaceful (if you can call the recent incendiary kite campaign ‘peaceful’) – are demanding the right to return to the homes inside Israel that they were violently driven from in 1948.
The horrendous nature of protestors’ wounds have led some to conclude that IDF snipers are firing special bullets. The International Committee of the Red Cross (the ICRC) has established a surgical ward at Dar Al-Shifa Hospital, in Gaza City, to tend to the most grievously wounded. Alyona Synenko is a media delegate for the ICRC. Listen to our conversation at the link above.
On the topic of justice, down in the United States, legal observers are disturbed about the direction the US court system is taking, with Donald Trump in charge. Trump nominees are being confirmed by the US Senate at a higher rate than during the Obama presidency, when Republicans systematically blocked nominees.
As of July 13, the US Senate has confirmed twenty-two Trump nominees to the US Courts of Appeal and twenty to the District Courts.
All of Trump’s nominees have been short-listed by the archly conservative Federalist Society. A group of radically conservative Americans with links to the Koch empire and the so-called Virginia School of Political Economy, founded by James McGill Buchanan.
Meanwhile, Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch now sits in the high court, and Brett Kavanaugh is a shoe-in to replace retiring justice Anthony Kennedy.
Shira Scheindlin thinks the courts are being stacked. Scheindlin is a former US district judge for the southern district of NY. She’s also a member of the board of the American Constitution Society and of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law. Op-eds by Scheindlin have appeared in the Guardian and the New York Times.
In this edition of the Green Blues Show, songs from Alexis Korner, Ry Cooder and Lonnie Johnson