News for progressives

The Essential Saker II – Now Available

How to create a Professional Saker Book – A Saker Community effort. The first requirement is time. 5 Volunteers (art, donation, editors, our own education to become a publisher, a
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Iran protests: Western salivation, agitation & desperation

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker blog I am on vacation and trying to stay away from politics to recharge my batteries, but a sane voice on Iranian politics in
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A Happy 2018 To All Moonkind

Dear readers and commentators, thank you for coming here, reading and discussing about the events of our world. I wish for a happy new year for you and everyone else. A Happy New Year to all moonkind!
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Iran - Early U.S. Support For Rioters Hints At A Larger Plan

In Iran - Regime Change Agents Hijack Economic Protests we looked at the developing U.S.-Israeli operation to instigate a revolt in Iran. What follows are a few more background points and a view on the developments since. A color revolution...
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Saker message: thanks and a few important updates (new book!)

Dear friends, First, my sincere thanks to all those who have sent their contribution to my work.  This winter fundraiser is now over and even though it had a difficult
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Moveable Feast Cafe 2017/12/30 … Open Thread

2017/12/30 02:00:01Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of
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Syrian War Report – December 29, 2017: Militant Defense Collapses Near Abu Dali On December 28, government forces liberated the villages of Ad Dajaj, Tamat al-Khalifah and Mushayrifah and reached the southern vicinity of the militant-held village of Abu Dali. Abu Dali
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Access to clean water a luxury for some First Nations reserves

Rabble News - Sat, 2017-12-30 04:03
Krystalline Kraus

I recently went to a movie and one of the pre-screening ads was about donating to a global charity that helps people get access to clean water.

As I watched the ad, I wondered how many people in that packed theatre knew that it is not only communities in developing nations that struggle for access to clean water. The very same issues are true for some reserves.

"Two-thirds of all First Nation communities in Canada have been under at least one drinking water advisory at some time in the last decade," according to a CBC News investigation, and it has not gotten much better in 2017.

"The longest-running water advisory is in the Neskantaga First Nation in Ontario, where residents have been boiling their water for 20 years," says the CBC report. In second, third and fourth place are the Nazko First Nation, Alexis Creek First Nation and Lake Babine First Nation, all of which are in British Columbia and have struggled with water issues over the past 16 years.

Not that your average Canadian would know about these water issues, even though Canada is now a part of the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

It's literally Canada's dirty little secret that needs exposing.

I would like to believe that if Canadians truly knew that access to clean running water was a luxury for some, they would not stand for it.

It's something that the Trudeau government can barely admit to, even though it was an official campaign promise, when a large part of the "Indigenous vote" went to his campaign with the promise that he would bring positive changes to First Nation reserves.

The good news is that Ontario has pledged to spend $85 million to clean up the damage that mercury poisoning has caused to the Grassy Narrows and White Dog First Nations in Northern Ontario. Victims of the Attawapiskat effect, these reserves are a far enough distance away from Ottawa that they have been willfully ignored until this year.

The federal government also announced that it is planning on building a health centre in Grassy Narrows to treat the victims of mercury poisoning.

Clean water statistics an embarrassment

"Between 2004 and 2014, 93 per cent of all First Nations in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick reported at least one water advisory in their communities," notes the CBC investigation. "Alberta is close behind at 87 per cent."

While there are lots of reasons why a nation might be potentially under a boil advisory, access to clean water is something I would like to believe no one in this country should have to worry about. A combination of anything from a problem with an aging water treatment plant to the repercussions of mining or pipeline spills can all foul the water.

These issues of course only account for acute water treatment problems, not the decade-long boil advisory that some First Nations are under.

Speaking to the CBC, Cindy Blackstock, director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and associate professor at the University of Alberta, said, "You end up with a real sense of despair and stress in these communities."

In the CBC investigation, Lalita Bharadwaj, an associate professor in the University of Saskatchewan's School of Public Health, said governments have spent at least $2 billion on the issue between 2001 and 2013, but the problems remain severe. Bharadwaj "said a more targeted approach is needed, along with better communication between government and First Nations."

The CBC also spoke with Emma Lui of the Council of Canadians, who stated that, "Chronic government underfunding of water systems is to blame for the lack of progress (....) a national assessment commissioned by the federal government found $470 million was needed per year over 10 years."

All this damage to people's health, not to mention the stress of not having access to clean water to bathe a child or take a sip from the tap (and not because a First Nation is being picky about what type of bottled water they prefer over tap water) takes its toll on a community.

Trudeau made an election promise to end boil water advisories on First Nations within five years of being elected, so I'm still holding out hope that he will not just throw money at the problem but will provide clean water to communities while letting Canadians know that there is a problem in the first place.

So far, though, it doesn't look promising. One-third of First Nations people living on reserves use drinking water systems that threaten their health, an investigation by The Globe and Mail has found. 

In fact, the water crisis in Walkerton, Ontario, in 2000 that poisoned 2,300 and killed seven made headline news so why not this issue?

Because environmental racism is responsible for keeping the magnitude of the problem from being widely known.

Environmental racism, for those who don't already know, occurs when political bias affects a community's ability to tackle concerns like clean air and clean water. It's frankly embarrassing that Trudeau has to make such a promise to Indigenous communities in the first place.

Environmental racism can only be combatted by environmental justice, which would mean politicians being honest about the problems in their province as well as nationally.

Together with the sympathy that is raised for othered communities around the globe, this approach could turn a healthy eye onto the problems Canadians need to tackle in their own backyard, including dealing with the shame that this is even an issue in this G8 country.

The fact that a mother from Grassy Narrows reported to Human Rights Watch that she cannot bathe her daughter at home because of water quality issues should make us take pause that these issues need to be tackled in under five years.

Photo: philografy/flickr

Categories: News for progressives

Iran - Regime Change Agents Hijack Economic Protests

Yesterday and today saw some small protests in Iran. They are probably the first stage of a large "regime change" operation run by the U.S. and Israel with the help of Iranian terrorist group. Earlier this month the White House...
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2018 – war or no war?

[Note: this post of mine is temporarily located in the ‘guest section’ because of the current fundraiser. Once the fundraiser is over, I will place it back in the correct
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Open Thread 2017-47

Sorry, the post I was working on didn't pan out. You will have to talk to yourself. News & views ...
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The petro-yuan bombshell

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) The new 55-page “America First” National Security Strategy  (NSS), drafted over the course of 2017, defines
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From Snowden To Russia-gate - The CIA And The Media

The promotion of the alleged Russian election hacking in certain media may have grown from the successful attempts of U.S. intelligence services to limit the publication of the NSA files obtained by Edward Snowden. In May 2013 Edward Snowden fled...
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Runaway Train Towards Full Digitization of Money and Labor

by Peter Koenig for the Saker blog The other day I was in a shopping mall looking for an ATM to get some cash. There was no ATM. A week
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Moveable Feast Cafe 2017/12/26 … Open Thread

2017/12/26 14:30:01Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of
Categories: News for progressives

Saker Man of the Year 2018: all those who gave their lives for Syria

[Note: this post of mine is temporarily located in the ‘guest section’ because of the current fundraiser.  Once the fundraiser is over, I will place it back in the correct
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North Korea – UNSC’s – 15 : 0; – Choking a Country into Submission

by Peter Koenig for the Saker blog The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is being choked into submission if not starvation by the UN Security Council, by a vote
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Roman Christianity moved the day to commemorate the birth of Jesus to the winter solstice. It thus replaced a holiday of older religions that celebrated the end of the dark times and the coming of more light. The deeper meaning...
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Our favourites from 2017: rabble's year in review

Rabble News - Sun, 2017-12-24 05:52
December 23, 2017rabble's year in review: 2017 editionWhat had rabble's attention this year? Here's a look at the best of the best from all our sections and more.
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rabble's year in review: 2017 edition

Rabble News - Sun, 2017-12-24 05:45
rabble staff

As 2017 draws to a close, we at rabble are humbled and honoured that you've continued to seek analysis, insight, and solace in rabble's coverage of this year's events. And what a year it was! From hard-hitting news stories from civil society that go undetected in mainstream media outlets to op-eds that challenge the status quo and interviews with unyielding activists, rabble works hard to bring you news for the rest of us.

We've assembled some of our favourite, most inspiring and powerful posts from across the site in blogs, columns, books, podcasts and babble and have rounded those up right here for you. Don't miss Parliamentary reporter Karl Nerenberg's review of this year's events in Canadian politics. On our labour page,'s outgoing labour reporter Meagan Gillmore recaps some of the stories that mattered most in 2017.

As 2017 comes to a close, you can give everyone on your list the gift of media democracy and support news for the rest of us. It's the last-minute progressive gift you've been looking for!

Please enjoy rabble's best of 2017, and have a happy holiday!


Blogging the resistance: 2017 in rabble blogs

2017 is over. Almost. For those of you who, like us, need a bit of a memory jog as we enter the new year and continue to reflect, reassess, and resist... let's recap.

Sounds of hope from rabble podcasts in 2017

For your holiday listening, some wise words from people who believe that all is not lost. The struggle continues, and is far from over.

The Activist Toolkit's fierce giving guide for 2018

According to statistics, at this time of year many of us donate to charitable organizations. This list includes ideas to help build progressive change.

Pushing back against injustice: The year in rabble columns

Through their reflections, analysis and critiques, rabble columnists brought fresh perspective -- and yes, hope -- to the challenges of a painful year. Read highlights from rabble columns in 2017.

Trudeau's 2017 ends as it began, cozying up to Trump: The year in Canadian politics

The U.S. president has had an impact on Trudeau's policies. For example, Canada shelved plans to reform refugee law and thus roll back some of Harper's draconian measures.

Looking for hope at the end of a troubling year

As 2017 draws to a close, some words of wisdom in difficult times from a trio of seasoned activists -- Chris Hedges, Angela Davis and Gerry Caplan.

Fight for workers' rights continued as laws changed: The year in rabble labour's outgoing labour reporter recaps some of the stories that mattered most in 2017.

babbling all the way through 2017: Highlights from rabble's discussion forum

As 2017 comes to a close, it's time for our annual babble roundup. We asked babblers what their favourites threads were for the year and we've collected them here.

A year of progressive, purposeful eating in 2018

The New Year is just a few weeks away -- a good time for reflection. Our food columnist's resolution this year is going to be all about how to work towards sustainable eating practices.

Canada's explosive Christmas gift to the world

Every December, the holiday season is infused with militarism, from the military jet flyovers of sports events and the mini arsenal in your local toy store, to the hijacking of Santa Claus.

Photo: Julie Falk/flickr

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