the Informed

Mississippi Rose Album Release January 20th

Well I like to keep my blog pretty political, but I'm really excited to be releasing my album "Mississippi Rose" on January 20th so I thought I'd switch gears for a minute. Take a break from the craziness and enjoy something gentle and soothing. Hope you enjoy!

Happy New Year to all! For more, please visit:

Moving Forward in a Time of Crisis

November 8th will go down in history as the day the American people chose hate. The outcome of this sickening circus act is deeply disturbing for reasonable & thoughtful people around the globe, and for good reason. What was once merely fear has become reality. Where there was once hope, there is now despair. A world where racism, sexism and hatred are rapidly becoming normalized - this is the new reality. But we need to face that reality and move forward despite it all.

With 75 pending legal actions against him, not the least of which is the alleged rape of a 13-year old girl, the President-elect is clearly not a man of character. He has proven this time and again throughout what has been the most bitter, perverse and foul election campaign ever fought. The long list of allegations against him are familiar to all of us by now, and his equally long list of insults, of bigoted & racist comments have become part of our zeitgeist. His hate-speech has become the battle-cry of so many of his supporters, the violence he incites so embraced by the ignorant and hateful. There is no doubt in the minds of so many that the newly elected leader of the so-called free world is not a man of morality, honesty or decency. Vowing to "make America great again" (when exactly was that?) he is poised to turn the clock back on the hard-fought progress of the last 50 years. The right side of history is clearly of no concern to him, nor is the truth. As we saw more and more states turn blood red on the TV screen, our fears became reality and our hearts sank. A true representation of a country that has lost its way, of an empire in decline. As the cracks grow ever larger and the nation crumbles beneath itself, they have allowed their fear and anger to give way to hatred.

When we all watched his victory speech, many of us still in disbelief, it became clear that when this man is not spewing hatred, when he is not hurtling insults like a spoiled brat, he is completely ineffective, When he is not spewing hatred, when he is not hurtling insults like a spoiled brat, he is completely ineffective, powerless to move a troubled nationpowerless to move a troubled nation. While he spoke of unity, he was insincere. All that he could muster was a variation of a hollow, repeated phrase: "they're great people. Really great." Parents grappled with how they would explain to their children that this bad, bad man had become their President. And we felt a very real fear for our future in that moment, in a time when reason and equality need to take center stage more than ever before, not greed, lies, hatred and immorality. The sickness many of us felt in our stomachs then was overshadowed only by our sickness at hearing the words misogyny, racism, sexism, like some disturbing mantra of hate, repeated over and over again the world over. Make no mistake about it - the newly elected 45th President of the United States of America is a man who brags about grabbing women by their genitals without remorse. The newly elected 45th President of the United States of America is, in no uncertain terms and by his own volition, a piece of shit. Within hours of his victory, of the loss the world then suffered, articles began to appear discussing paths to his impeachment on the day he takes office. A unified nation seems far from possible now. The division he has helped create is now very, very deeply carved in the fabric of American society.

So where does this leave us, those among us that want a world of tolerance, equality and inclusion, of environmental resposibility and a world free of the ravages of poverty and of constant war? How do we take this terrible turn of events and move forward to tackle the real problems that we face together? As I write these words, there are protests happening in Austin, in New York, in San Fransisco and in Chicago as people chant "Trump is not my President!" And while some are taking action now, many feel crippled and are only left with the slight hope that he will destroy himself before he takes the Oath of Office. But hope is not enough. Not nearly enough now. This man has crossed all boundaries of decency and been rewarded with the most powerful position in the world. A position that he is not remotely qualified for. Hope is not enough.

While it's much more likely that civil war will break out in the US before any sort of revolution would ever be organized, the activists and supporters of democratic socialism and other just ideologies need to use this setback as fuel for a movement against hatred. There is no other choice now in these dark times. We all can make a stand against sexism - today. We all can make a stand against racism and hatred - today. Many are taking to the streets around the US to make this very stand at this very moment. We all have the choice in what Environmentalism, women's rights, immigrant's rights, LGTBQ rights - they are no longer separate issues, they are all one issue. The issue of what is rightwe buy, in what we do, in where we work and what we support. More than ever before, we need to speak not with votes (the winner of the popular vote did not win the Presidency need I remind you) but with resistance and with activism. We need to talk to our neighbours, to our colleagues and, yes, to those that support this deplorable man. More than this, we need a real leader now - not a President, but a leader outside of the political circus that can unite activists around the world to stand up for what is right.

Environmentalism, women's rights, immigrant's rights, LGTBQ rights - they are no longer separate issues, they are all one issue. The issue of what is right. If ever the world needed a wake-up call, this is it. If we are scared it's because we ought to be. If we are fearful, it's because we know we are heading into an abyss. The only thing left to do is to speak out against evil in all of its forms and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. We owe it to each other and to our children. Take your fear and make it a weapon of love. Do something, do what you can in any way to help the cause of justice. The future depends on it.

As Zach Stafford wrote in The Guardian just moments ago on the protests currently shaping up in Chicago: 

One woman saw this coming together of people of varying ethnicities, religions and sexualities as hope. “This is the America I identify with,” said Nicole Endenova, a young woman of colour, as she stared at the crowds.

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The Enraged Carnivore: How To Deal With The Meat-Eater's Rant

Consider this: if you were engaged with someone in a debate, and they happened to be gay and you told them that you're sick of hearing them preach about their rights, that they should keep their opinions to themselves, and that you are entitled to your own, homophobic opinions, they would remind you that it's not 1952 and to get with the times. They would remind you that we have emerged from the dark cave of suppressed human rights and we are the better for it. And they would remind you that while you may have the right to feel any way you want, you should probably keep out-dated opinions like that to yourself.

So why, then, is it ok for someone who loves their meat-eating ways to be cruel, hateful and preachy about the idiocy of your ways and at the same time defend their right despite the cruelty and environmental destruction associated with it? Beyond that, why is it ok that you are then asked to respect their opinion as they (clearly don't) respect yours? To those of you who understand food production and all of its problems, congratulations because you must already be vegan. But to those of you who espouse angry, hateful rhetoric and demand that we respect your opinion on meat consumption, for those of you who feel the need to voice an opinion rooted in cruelty, I have a few points I'd like to make:
Barney DuPlessis, Vegan Bodybuilder
Animal production for human consumption is the number one contributor to greenhouse gas emissions by a substantial margin. When you oppose the environmental argument, you are exposing your ignorance.

Animal production is almost always intensely cruel in its execution. When you oppose the compassion argument, you are also only exposing your own ignorance.

Animal protein is not understood by the general public, and the meat industry has worked hard to keep it that way. When you raise the protein argument, you are exposing your own ignorance and doing their dirty work at the same time by perpetuating false information. you are doing their dirty work by perpetuating false information Animal protein is not necessary - in fact it's harmful for the most part. For crying out loud, potatoes have enough protein for the human diet.

By simply adopting a cruelty-free diet that is kind to the environment as well, there is no implied contract that we will be perfect 100% of the time. We are human, we will sometimes make poor choices. Let he who is without sin...

Animal protein consumption is directly linked to heart disease and cancer. Irrefutably. Massive, large-scale studies have been done on this subject, and in counties that are now rapidly starting to adopt a Western meat-centred diet, these conditions are appearing in epidemic proportions.

Yes, we have incisor teeth, but so does the gorilla, a vegetarian. When you use that argument, you're really exposing your ignorance.

Just because we can ingest meat does not mean that we should. We may have had to for survival once-upon-a-time but we can now choose not to. Our bodies even release enzymes to fight foreign matter when we consume meat, recognizing it as harmful.

It is not your right, based on your traditions, your customs and your habits, to deny animals their freedom so you can harm them, enslave them and kill them. That’s not what rights are about. That’s injustice - Gary Yourofsky

Animal production for food requires about 10 times the resources to produce per calorie, in a world plagued by starvation.

Animal production emits more greenhouse gasses than the entire transportation industry.

Our rainforests are being decimated at a rate of a football field per second. A staggering 97% of it is for animal production. You may also know the term rainforest referred to as the lungs of the planet, something we will need down the road.

The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men - Leonardo Da Vinci

More than half of the water used in the US is for animal production. Californians eating meat are creating their own drought in a way.

The animal production industry, including fishing and dairy, is wealthy and powerful. They lobby relentlessly to ensure that policy is made in their favour, with no concern for the environment or human health, only for profit.

In poor countries, grain that could be fed to starving humans is generally given priority to livestock, which can then be in turn sold to wealthier people in why are we being asked to respect an opinion that supports and endorses cruelty?developed nations. That must hard to stomach, even for the most hardened and vehement carnivore.

An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language - Martin Buber

So, just as one would not expect a feminist to accept the sexist's viewpoint, and just as a homosexual would not be expected to acknowledge the homophobe's opinion, I ask again, why should we have to respect an opinion that supports and endorses cruelty? Please, give me just one reason why I should support a viewpoint that contributes to world hunger, massive deforestation, declining human health and massive greenhouse gas emissions?

I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man - Mohandas Gandhi

It is ludicrous to think that difference in opinion warrants mutual respect, especially when the opposing opinion in question not only stands for everything you are against but also appropriates suffering, defends oppression, and encourages the continuance of exploitation - Felix Samson

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An Open Letter To Our American Neighbours

Dear Citizens of the United States of America, our neighbours to the south, our friends,

We are writing you today because up here in Canada we are concerned - deeply concerned about what is happening down there.

In your insanely long election campaign process (our last federal one was 78 days, and that one set records) there is so much hate, racism, misogyny, and misinformation coming from your good ol' GOP, and in particular, from that bizzare-looking, silver-spoon weilding, multiple failed-business having Donald. Just the mere thought of him taking office makes most Canadians cringe. I don't think that you could find even one of us Canucks that likes this oaf. He is loathed as much as Gretzky is loved in our beautiful country. But you have spoken, and it's becoming clear that he is the favoured leader of this party, and by extension, the leader of what is now the world's pre-eminent hate group. The xenophobia, racism, intolerance and general desire to make America hate again is really starting to bug us. Scare us, actually.

Let me start by saying that we are a tolerant people - we say sorry even if it's your fault, we accept refugees from troubled parts of the world with open arms and we foster inclusion and acceptance. Maybe it's because we are not yet so full of anger. Our life is pretty nice up here, overall. Yes, we have some people that are still marginalized, but there are far less in numbers, and we are ashamed that we still have any at all. But we'e working on it as best we can. At least every single one of us has free healthcare. That's a beautiful thing, and if my government did not provide that, I would move to somewhere that did. Healthcare of the population is the first order of business, Healthcare is the first order of business, not world domination and military musclenot world domination and military muscle. And yes, you have a right to be angry because, amongst many other things, your government does not take care of it's basic obligations. How did you end up allowing them to do this? It seems bizarre and unfair from our humble vantage point. But hey, when your health, both physical and mental is in order, it's easier to see things clearly.

And so yes, we are concerned and we need to voice that. While I'll preface all of this with a good ol' Canadian sorry, I won't mince words here. You see, up here in the Great White North we observe your politics and your conflicts from a particularly unique vantage point. And from this slightly more socialist bent, we see things differently than you do. While there is much to admire about your great country, there is also so much that is deeply troubling, and because of your influence in the world, this is a big problem. And now you stand at a crossroads - a crossroads at which the fate of the world is at stake. On behalf of a generally much less divided country than yours, we plead that you make the sane choice for your next President.

We May Be Socialist But So Are You:

As the race continues for the nomination of your candidates, it seems more and more that this may end up a Sanders/Trump battle for the Presidency (or at least we hope Bernie makes the cut - he's very Canadian in his values). And, just as they represent two very polarized parties, they too represent such a wide gap in values and beliefs. But up here in Canada, a Trump would and could never rise to power as he has done in yours. And why is that? It's simple. It's because we are more socialist that you. I say more socialist because, whether you like it or not, you too are socialist to some degree. Socialism is not a dirty word - it provides us with universal health care, with a superior infrastructure (boy your roads are getting bad!) and a happier, healthier and more tolerant society. If socialism is a bad thing, then we clearly aren't doing it right because, like it or not, our people are better taken care of than yours. Yes, we are far from perfect, but we are also far better off.

Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet - Maya Angelou

Now while I love your country and have travelled it extensively, it hurts to see you in constant decline. And constant bipartisan bickering. What happened to compromise? Was that not once a hallmark of your great country? What happened to people coming together, working together with partisanship and ensuring that your political system works for all of your people and not just a few elite? When did you become a fundamental religious country? And I'm not talking about the Muslims, I am talking about the Christians - they've gotten entirely out of hand. Take it from us, religion has no place in politics.

America The Beautiful:

But don't get me wrong - yours is a great country that has achieved great things and produced some of the world's greatest people. The natural beauty of your varied landscapes, your magnificent cities, your landmarks and historical sites, So many inspiring leaders, so many great works of art. You invented Jazz music. You produced Hemingway and Fitzgeraldovercoming slavery, overcoming so many obstacles and persevering when all seems lost. So many inspiring leaders, so many great works of art. You invented Jazz music. You produced Hemingway and Fitzgerald. You made Louis Armstrong and Nina Simone. From sea to shining sea, you are a truly great nation.

But you are letting it slip away because of your bickering, and because of that bickering you are going so far as to consider a man like Trump. With all due respect, you should be embarrassed at yourselves. That is not the stuff of a great leader - that is a bully and a dim-witted elite. That is a man who is normalizing racism and misogyny. When the white supremacists endorse you, you need to reconsider if what you are doing is good for the country you supposedly love.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves - Abraham Lincoln

Please Just Stop:

So as many of you somehow seriously consider Trump as a candidate for President, I urge you to stop and think. If he becomes your leader, you will find the world turning it's back on you. You will find a country divided, and a country turning back the clock on civil rights, the environment, and on foreign policy. Trump is an embarrassment to you, to the free world, and to Democracy. He is wholly unqualified to run your country, and he is only serving himself. Please think for a moment, and if you are turning to Trump because you are angry, then stop to think whether anger is getting you anywhere at all. If you want to make your country great again, all you need to do is take care of each other, plain and simple. United you stand, divided you fall.


Let no man pull you so low as to hate him - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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