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Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Anyone can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy."

12 Traits Of A Great Father

Credit: Getty Images"Anyone can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy."
  - Anonymous

A good father makes all the difference in a child's life. He's a pillar of strength, support and discipline. His work is endless and, oftentimes, thankless. But in the end, it shows in the sound, well-adjusted children he raises.

On Father's Day, much of the world will take the time to appreciate the work of good fathers. While you show your admiration for your own dad, take the time to see if you yourself have what it takes to be a great father, whether you have children or plan to.

1- He's a good disciplinarian
A good father loves his children, but he doesn't let them get away with murder. He strongly disapproves of his children's misdeeds, using tough love to prove a point. He does this through the power of his words, not his fists.

Likewise, a father doesn't reward his children for actions that are expected of them, such as helping with house chores or performing well in school. If his child drops out of school, the father demands that he provide for himself, considering the child no longer wants to invest in his own future.

2- He allows his kids to make some mistakes
A good father realizes that his children are human, and that making mistakes is part of growing up. Spending money recklessly, getting into minor car accidents, getting drunk and sick for the first time, even dating questionable women are rites of passage, and a good father recognizes this. However, he makes it clear that repeated irresponsibility won't be tolerated.

3- He's open-minded
A good father understands that times, people and tastes change over the years, and doesn't try to maintain some gold standard of his own time. For instance, he realizes that body piercings are more commonplace than before, that more couples have premarital sex, and that people talk more candidly about personal issues. In other words, he allows his children to be citizens of their day and age.

He shows his kids that everything has its value
4- He teaches his children to appreciate things
A good father never lets his children take what they have for granted. From the food on the table to the good education he's paying for, a good father will make his children see the value in everything they have. He'll ask his child to get a job to help pay for a part of his first car, and take the time to illustrate how important a good education is. He doesn't let his kids treat him like an ATM.

5- He accepts that his kids aren't exactly like him
Everyone is different and a father knows this well. He won't expect his kids to live the same kind of life he does, and do the same kind of work. He also respects their values and opinions, as long as they don't harm the family or anyone else.

To use a pop culture example, he's like Martin Crane from Frasier ; the everyman blue-collar dad who allowed his pompous sons to steer their lives in a different direction, even if he didn't quite agree with them.

6- He spends quality time with his children
A dad knows how to have fun with his kids too, taking them out to games, movies, and supporting their sports teams by attending their matches. He takes the time to listen to his kids and have a good, easy chat with them. He also makes time to help them with their homework, every night if necessary.

7- He leads by example
A good father is above the old "do as I say, not as I do" credo. He will not smoke if he doesn't want his kids to do it, and definitely won't drink heavily. He teaches them to deal with conflict with a family member and with others by being firm but reasonable at the same time.

A good father also illustrates the importance of affection by professing his love for their mother in front of them. And he won't fight with her in their presence. In all, he adheres to the values he'd like his children to follow.

He's fiercely loyal to his family..

8- He's supportive & loyal
Although he may be a football fanatic, if his son doesn't share his love for the game, he accepts it. He may be loyal to his alma mater and dream of having his kid follow his legacy, but if his son prefers to study abroad, he'll support his decision to take a different path.

A good father is also his children's public defender, standing up for them when needed. He waits for privacy to administer discipline. A safety net, a good father is also the person his kids turn to when things go wrong.

9- He challenges his kids
A father wants his children to be the best they can be, and gives them challenges that help them grow as human beings. This means giving them some liberty to face setbacks and resolve conflicts on their own. Or it could be a task, such as building something for the house.

If a father wants his children to take over the family business, he teaches them how to keep it flourishing -- provided that's the path they want to take.

10- He teaches his children lessons
A father figure is the prime source of knowledge in the ways of men, and teaches his kids accordingly. From shaving to being courageous, a father molds his kids into well-rounded members of society. He especially instructs them in proper etiquette, on being honest and keeping their word, and on being thankful.

A great father knows he must sacrifice his own comfort for his fatherly duties. For instance, if he comes home from a hard day at work and catches his kids looking at porn on the Net, he'll take the time to address an awkward situation even though he's tired.

11- He protects his family at all costs
As the main provider of security and necessities, a father will do whatever he can for his family. He'll take a second job to provide for them, and he'll put his own safety on the line to keep them out of harm's way. This is how a father instills in his children the importance of personal sacrifice.

12- He shows unconditional love
This is the greatest quality of a good father. Even though he gets upset at his children's faults and may lament that they did not attain what he hoped for them, a father loves his children no less for it.

give props to dad

In these days of polarized sexual politics, the value of a great father is often overlooked. But there are few things as valuable as a father who will do everything he can, and provide all the tools he has so that his children can become better than him.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

2010 oil spill from an Enbridge pipeline in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

On Tuesday, the US Transportation Safety Board released a report on a 2010 oil spill from an Enbridge pipeline in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

For 17 hours, bitumen from the Alberta oil sands poured from the pipe, spilling at least 3.2 million litres of oil with devastating impact.
I wanted to share what the Board's chair said today:
"On that July evening, at about 6 p.m. when many people in Marshall were sitting down to dinner, Enbridge's Line 6B ruptured and began spewing crude oil through a more than six-and-a-half-foot-long fracture.
"For more than 17 hours and over three shifts, the people controlling the pipeline did not respond to the alarms, pressure differentials or even follow one of their own safety procedures established following another catastrophic release in 1991 in Grand Rapids.
"The people of Marshall would finish their dinners, get ready for the week ahead and go to bed. As they slept, and even when they got up on Monday morning, instead of stopping the flow, Enbridge staff twice pumped more oil - about 81 percent of the total release - into the ruptured pipeline.
"It wasn't until late Monday morning - 17 hours and 19 minutes after the rupture - that a worker from a local gas utility found the spill and notified the Enbridge control center. Then, and only then, did the Enbridge staff begin their response and start closing remote valves upstream and downstream of the rupture.
"Learning about Enbridge's poor handling of the rupture, you can't help but think of the Keystone Kops."
It's a damning indictment. 
And it highlights the enormous risks BC would take on if Enbridge is allowed to build the proposed pipeline here in BC and oil tankers are allowed on our north and central coasts.
But you can do something about that.
  please sign our letter opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline right now.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Seniors worse off under Harper government

Seniors worse off under Harper government

Statistics Canada data shows seniors’ income lower, poverty higher, & middle class stagnate

Tom Mulcair, on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Tom Mulcair, on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day calls out Conservative wedge politics

New Democrats launch interactive anti-pipeline website calls out Conservative wedge politics

Government must address tragedy of missing aboriginal women

Government must address tragedy of missing aboriginal women

Ashton calls on Conservatives to launch a national inquiry

MP Don Davies attends arms trade treaty conference

MP Don Davies attends arms trade treaty conference

NEW YORK – Today, the New Democrat Critic for International Trade, Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway), is participating in the United Nations’ conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in New York.
“The world is waking up to the fact that it is completely unacceptable to internationally trade arms without proper rules and regulations,” said Davies. “This conference is an important step toward stopping the irresponsible trade of weapons that fuels so much strife in vulnerable regions.”

The ATT negotiations are seen as the most important initiative regarding conventional arms regulation within the United Nations. Davies is participating as part of the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), whose declaration in support of the ATT has been endorsed by over 1,600 parliamentarians in over 70 countries.
“An arms trade treaty is absolutely necessary for the promotion of peace around the world,” said Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa-Centre). “As it stands now, there are no global norms for the transfer and export of weaponry and the consequences are devastating.”

Helicopters are four years late and the Conservatives don’t know when they’ll be delivered

Another missed deadline for Sea King replacement

Helicopters are four years late and the Conservatives don’t know when they’ll be delivered

Saturday, July 7, 2012

$3.3 million boondoggle a “prudent use of taxpayers’ money”: Conservatives

$3.3 million boondoggle a “prudent use of taxpayers’ money”: Conservatives

More #HarperHistory on Afghanistan

More #HarperHistory on Afghanistan

Minister Kenney’s detour from accountability and honesty

Minister Kenney’s detour from accountability and honesty


The forgotten clauses of shame

The forgotten clauses of shame

Backbench Conservative MP to cabinet ministers: stop wasting my taxes!

Backbench Conservative MP to cabinet ministers: stop wasting my taxes!

Conservative patronage – The Toews Summer Edition

Conservative patronage – The Toews Summer Edition

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Top Union Brass Caught Obstructing Solidarity With Quebecois Students

Columns: Top Union Brass Caught Obstructing Solidarity With Quebecois Students

By Diane Kalen-Sukra. I’m surprised it took so long for Canada’s union bureaucracy to really feel the democratizing pressure of the social media Wikileak internet age.
It finally happened in a big way this week – Quebec and Canada’s top union brass had “internal” correspondence, in which they direct all of Canada’s major unions to put the brakes on solidarity with Quebec students (including the wide-spread social resistance to the UN-condemned Quebec law criminalizing protest), leaked and posted by an anonymous blogger.
So-So Not Solidarity
A quick summary of the leaked correspondence. On May 28 th, the leader of the Quebec central labour body (FTQ), Michel Arsenault, issued a letter to the leader of Canada’s central labour body (CLC), Ken Georgetti in an effort to put a stop to efforts by “labour leaders in English Canada” who intend to “come and support the social conflict currently prevailing in Quebec”.
It’s useful to remember that this solidarity-killing letter was issued at the height of this longest and largest social protest in Canadian history, the precise moment when hundreds of thousands of Quebecois citizens were heading CLASSE’s (the dominant student coalition) call to defy Law 78, imposed to break the popular movement by essentially criminalizing protest as it severely restricts the Charter-protected right to freedom of assembly. This was the time when many of the province’s lawyers famously hit the streets in solidarity with the people, aware of Law 78′s unconstitutionality and the danger it poses to our democracy.
Arsenault reasoned that the “situation in Quebec is currently very volatile” and expressed his continued intention to “ask for compliance” to this very same law the social movement in Quebec, and heart of the student strike (referred to by Arsenault as “radical wings”) were defying. He writes that the “social strike” is not “THE strategy to be promoted for the moment,” rather “the best approach is to facilitate a settlement instead of fuelling the fires”.
In a peculiar final dump, Arsenault ends his letter blaming his rejection of English Canada’s solidarity on the high tuition fees paid by students outside of Quebec. He writes, “if students in other provinces were paying less for their school tuitions, this would put less pressure on ours”.
In bureaucratic-solidarity, the leader of the 3.3 million member weak workers’ army in Canada, Ken Georgetti immediately forwards the letter to all union affiliates across the country with a cherry on top. In his cover letter, Georgetti addressed head-on the “rumours” that some “national affiliates plan to organize potential illegal actions in Quebec in violation of Bill 78, to support the student protests.”
So any union engaging in natural solidarity activity with the Quebecois are being made to sound like a ‘criminal element’ within the labour movement, engaging in “potential illegal actions”, even though the struggle aims to defy an anti-democratic law that if left unchallenged, will be used to silence people, crush unions and break protest across the country. And what hope will students in English Canada have to end student debt slavery, if the Quebecois fail?
Georgetti reminds everyone of the “protocol” that exists between the two labour bodies, the FTQ & CLC, in essence ensuring that the there will be no solidarity-activity going on between Quebec and Canadian unions and activists unless it is blessed and approved by this top union brass. It is called “respect” for the “Federation’s jurisdiction”. He ends by expressing his “hope that such rumours [of planned solidarity] are simply rumours and not fact.”
There are those code-words of bureaucracy – not my “file”, out of my “jurisdiction” — used to justify all manner of betrayal and cowardice. These were the same words used by the NDP to justify their failure to take a position on the Quebec student struggle, even though it was the Quebecois that in large part propelled the party to its federal official Opposition status.
Even the PQ (the center-left Quebecois sovereignty party) announced yesterday that it is going to stop wearing the “red square” – the mark of support for the students – as it follows polls, hedges its bets and gears up to take on the governing Liberals pummelled by its attack on the students and basic democratic rights.
What ever happened to standing or falling for what is right, for what you believe in? Who isn’t sick of “leaders” who will sell out their mother, brother or sister if it will buy them votes? “Leaders” who ignore the dire need for the power of a people’s movement to push through deep political reform, in favour of simply getting elected?
Judging by the frustrated “where are the union members?” comments of many on-the-ground Casserole Nights in Canada organizers, who are coordinating solidarity actions across the country, and the silence regarding solidarity with the Quebecois students on English Canada union websites, it seems the FTQ/CLC letters had their intended chilling effect.
The leader of the Ontario Teachers Federation (OSSTF) Ken Coran, seemingly eager not to be identified as one of those rumoured English unions “planing to organize potential illegal actions”, issued a letter to its local leadership, with the CLC & FTQ letters attached, “recommending that there be no official support or donation made to the Quebec student unions.” Cold as ice.
Member Blowback
The online and social media response yesterday was quick and damning. Many expressed shock and dismay at the anti-democratic arrogance of the union brass combined with the sense of betrayal inherent in the call to stand-down, when the Quebec students were calling for increased solidarity and support. The question “which side are you on?” is being repeatedly asked of the parties involved.
Fuel was added to the fire when the CLC, through a communications staffer, issued a response defending their “protocol”, calling for the blog posting with the “private correspondence” to be removed and accusing it’s author of “potentially libelous” comments regarding CLC President Ken Georgetti.
Having spent time as a communications scribe for the labour movement, I tried to have sympathy for the communications “brother”, who was being personally reprimanded in online commentary. But you’ve got to draw the line somewhere, even if it means breaking the golden-handcuffs, and that line is being drawn by courageous people everywhere [See: CUPE Ontario June 21st statement reaffirming their support of and solidarity with the Quebecois students]. Justice requires it, the times demand it.
It begins by defining who “the team” is. In a member-driven organization, it’s the membership. And each and every person paid by the workers to represent them has an obligation first to act and speak on their behalf. Without humble servitude and committed loyalty to the membership, the relationship between union staffers and union members is purely parasitic. One lives literally, off the other.
How many union members know that behind the face of a handful of public union leaders there are thousands of staffers, lawyers, researchers, and in some offices enough communications people to rival our largest news stations?
It is through these staffers, and the control of union funds over locals, consultants, social justice groups, think tanks, legal firms and alternative media outlets, that the union bureaucracies wield their control over the workers’ movement. Orders are issued — “isolate that fighter”, “kill that campaign”, “purge that victory” — and everyone blindly follows, or else…
It is in this way that fighters are turned into vegetables, or worse, career-driven wheel spinners, and people of passion and conscience are broken into shadows of themselves. If they stick around and stop fighting, they lose their soul and resort to passing their days reminding members how busy they are (marching backwards), counting air miles from their latest junket and using social media to glorify their privileged lifestyle (compliments of members’ dues) rather than use it as a powerful medium to educate, empower and organize.
Rather than feel the pain of their members — the eroding wages, lack of dignity at work, and loss of all security — such union bureaucrats cling ever more tightly to their positions, their privileges and perks. Any challenge to the status quo, is a threat to this parasitic existence, even if it means turning a blind eye to gross injustice.
Controlling union staffers was more difficult in the days when most were recruited from the ranks, specially selected because of the way in which they had distinguished themselves as competent fighters with perseverance, integrity and their ability to persuade people to stand up for justice. But today, like all organizations in decline, our union bureaucracies shamelessly champion blind-allegiance over principled leadership, nepotism over merit, and power over justice, even if it comes with gross incompetence and does a disservice to the membership.
The pitfalls of bureaucracy plague the history of the workers’ movement and must be confronted. Most extreme is the example of Stalin. When he was preparing the grounds to expel and and kill the dozens of revolutionary leaders (his “threats”) who had actually brought down the monarchy, led the Bolsheviks to power and were loved by the people, he first flooded by the thousands the workers’ organizations, including key positions of responsibility, with inexperienced and often opportunistic people, who by the time they got over the nice feeling of having a big-title, handsome paycheck and fancy outfit to boot, the dirty deeds were done, history was rewritten, and the doomed course of a nation and revolution was determined.
It’s no secret that today’s union bureaucracies are not sufficiently transparent or democratic. With too few exceptions, Convention debates are prescribed and anyone “out of line”, faces the cold isolation of the monolithic bureaucratic back-turn. Staffers that are “out of line” have their number-punched and a merciless hatchet-team is unleashed, violating every conceivable union-principle, to mob them out of the organization, out of their employment and against the will and best interests of the membership. All sins are simply washed away with reminders of the movement’s past accomplishments (like the 8 hour work day, eroded beyond recognition today), and the unquestioned nobility of our overall cause.
The CLC’s heavy-handed “how dare you question us?” response, in this case, proves how unaccustomed the union brass are to being held to account. They actually think that correspondence calling on unions everywhere to potentially betray the Quebecois movement, what Chris Hedges refers to as the “Northern light..the most important resistance movement in the industrialized world”, can and should be considered “private”. Where in the CLC Constitution does it say that the union is to be organized as an aristocracy and not a democracy? Nowhere.
I’m with the anonymous blogger that the CLC communications staffer tried to dismiss as a “self-appointed pundit who posts to blogs”: “Let’s be clear, union leaders work for union members. They are not at the top of a chain of command and if the leadership want to use the unions as a tool to obstruct solidarity instead of facilitate it then the leadership should be ignored or discarded. The CLASSE did this through their mass assemblies and so can we.”
The time to Occupy your union bureaucracy is now. Our collective future depends on it.
WE ARE ALL QUEBECOIS. Debt slaves of the world unite! (B.Y.O.P)

Diane Kalen-Sukra
Diane Kalen-Sukra is a repeat survivor of internal union purges and is currently waiting for member- reinforcements to ignite and occupy Canada’s labour bureaucracy, of which she is a part. Over the past 20 years, she has coordinated and led countless successful community and labour campaigns, most recently, the Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford campaign which defeated the largest proposed water privatization scheme in Canada’s water sector. Join Diane on Facebook. Follow her @dianekalensukra
She is a labour and community issues columnist with The Real News Network, based in Washington, DC. Visit her blog page for the original article complete with links.

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Hero's Death

How my hero’s death and not knowing what I wanted to do for a career led me to find unexpected happiness in the most unexpected of places

Quite often I wonder where the future will take me and what forks it will throw in my road of life. As of yet, I quite obviously don’t know. I wish I had been –or were– one of those people with a set life plan. Kind of like my brother; he’s got his own place bought and paid for in Yaletown and he’s only three and a half years older than me. Of course, my brother did once utter to me “Alex, you want to save the world, while I want to exploit it for profit.” He was alluding to his work on oil tankers, where he is a master mariner. My life would have been a lot simpler and probably a lot more content had I had that one calling that everyone supposedly has —  the vocation, as they called it growing up in Catholic school. Is that why I’m agnostic? I’ve flirted with several careers, and none of them seem to really do it for me. To me, it isn’t really about the money at all, but rather doing something I feel is worthwhile and contributes good to the world. I am a strong believer in karma, not the in metaphysical sense, but in the “every action has an equal or great reaction” way.
I wanted to be a social worker, but soon realized that I was much too sensitive to witness tragedy and hardship on a daily basis. So that plan went out the window. I wanted to be an aid worker, but again, the same thing. Then came journalism. I suppose I had a romanticized view of the profession, y’know, as being the guardian of truth and the exposer of all the corruption and ills in society. Through a semester at journalism school, I learned that the media was in bed with  a lot of the power players of scum, and I therefore wanted no part in it. I got the essentials I needed, and I’ve always been quite good at writing (hey, not tooting my own horn.. was just a lonely kid growing up who turned to an old typewriter for company!) and I’ve been trying to make a career for myself ever since. Well, that and in my education in political science. Politics is a passion of mine, as anyone knows, but as much as I hate to say it, I fear that said passion has dwindled with the death of Jack Layton. I am waiting for it to come back; it has, after all, only been less than a year since my life’s hero passed away. Broken hearts take time to heal, but I don’t think all the amount of time in the world could heal this broken heart. There will always be a little something missing, and I know that I am far from alone in feeling that way about his passing and the gaping hole it left in so many of us, and in the very fabric of our nation.
A funny story came out of Jack Layton’s death, though. Not really funny, but a tad ironic. I wouldn’t have gotten involved in the Occupy movement had Jack Layton not died, because with Jack’s death came a determination within me and a commitment to honour his legacy, and I knew Jack would have supported this fight for economic equality and this crusade against greed. I wrote about Occupy Wall Street on my blog
My fridge is a tribute
My fridge is a tribute (Photo credit: Alexcentric)
before it spread nationwide and then internationally, and then attended Occupy Vancouver on the Global Day of Action and wrote about that and filmed it, and then continued to cover it, and then when it was time for me to leave for lLorida for three months last winter, I got in contact with various Occupy groups in the area in which I would be staying. And I met some of the greatest friends with whom I am still very much in contact with to this day. One of the greatest people I ever met ended up being a complete stranger who was at a Newt Gingrich rally covering it and protesting the corruption in politics just as I was (I believe that everything American politicians do directly impacts Canadians and the rest of the world, so it is not meddling in another country’s affair’s  – they make it our business!) and we just got to talking and the rest, as they say, is history.
Who would have ever thought that I’d meet someone so wonderful at a protest for someone so awful? In Naples, Florida, so far away from my home. We spent nearly six weeks together before I had to go back home to Vancouver, in March, and then I went to visit him about a month and a half after I left and we stayed with each other attached at the hip for nearly three weeks. Who knows what the future holds for us, but I know that we’ll spend a lot more time attached at the hip sooner rather than later. I was terminally picky with men, and he just happened to fill all of my criteria. I believe meeting someone as caring as him is my karmic reward (sorry for how new-agey that sounds) for putting kindness in the world. Certainly there are people who have taken advantage of my kindness in the past, but not this time. He’s truly kind and that has always been the quality, besides intelligence (which he also possesses!) that I find most attractive in the opposite sex, and it just so happens that intelligence and kindness were what he liked about me as well. It’s nice to feel appreciated by someone I appreciate so much.
I think I’ve embarrassed us both enough now.
And this concludes Part I of my foray into blogging about my personal life.  I thought I’d begin with my happiest memory of the recent year, and work my way from there. And yes, the journalism and writing is still in full force, as is the political activism. I have an event tomorrow night. One day, my friends, I will have a paid career out of this! Until then: enjoy!
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