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About Down But Not Out, its beginnings, why it came to be and where it is heading

addiction is rampant in Canada. The primary contributing factor is disaffection with  a social system that has placed the accumulation of wealth ahead of any moral integrity.

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Social Determinants of Health

The Canadian Facts

Juha Mikkonen and Dennis Raphael

Foreword by Hon. Monique Bégin (Former Minister of National Health & Welfare of Canada)

Published in May 2010. ISBN 978-0-9683484-1-3 – 62 pp

The primary factors that shape the health of Canadians are not medical treatments or lifestyle choices but rather the living conditions they experience. These conditions have come to be known as the social determinants of health. This information – based on decades of research and hundreds of studies in Canada and elsewhere – is unfamiliar to most Canadians. Canadians are largely unaware that our health is shaped by how income and wealth is distributed, whether or not we are employed and if so, the working conditions we experience.

Our health is also determined by the health and social services we receive, and our ability to obtain quality education, food and housing, among other factors. And contrary to the assumption that Canadians have personal control over these factors, in most cases these living conditions are – for better or worse – imposed upon us by the quality of the communities, housing situations, work settings, health and social service agencies, and educational institutions with which we interact.

Improving the health of Canadians requires we think about health and its determinants in a more sophisticated manner than has been the case to date. Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts considers 14 social determinants of health:

    1. Income and Income Distribution

    2. Education

    3. Unemployment and Job Security

    4. Employment and Working Conditions

    5. Early Childhood Development

    6. Food Insecurity

    7. Housing

    8. Social Exclusion

    9. Social Safety Network

    10. Health Services

    11. Aboriginal Status

    12. Gender

    13. Race

    14. Disability

The publication outlines why they are important; how Canada is doing in addressing them; and what can be done to improve their quality. The purpose of the document is to provide promote greater awareness of the social determinants of health and the development and implementation of public policies that improve their quality.

Download - PDF, 4Mb

Download the Press Release, April 28 2010

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added Sept 30

Ontario’s Move Toward Alternative Medicine

The development and manufacture of medicinal drugs is a multibillion dollar industry and physicians have a vested interest in thwarting the adoption of any alternative means of returning a patient to and/or maintaining good health. Physicians being the only group allowed to prescribe these drugs have a closed market that any street drug baron would envy. Is it any wonder so many of them oppose approval of alternative medical practices?

The common argument that these alternatives are not scientifically proven is merely a last ditch and desperate effort to maintain the physicians’ exclusive domain as the only people to turn to when health issues arise.

The use of alternative measures to treat ailments has for centuries proven the time tested benefits of the majority of these approaches and if the lack of scientific study is the only excuse remaining to oppose them then it is perhaps time to do the scientific studies that would once and for all verify or debunk their claims of being beneficial treatments.

I use a wide range of vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements that I with the assistance of my naturopath have developed over a period of 2 to 3 years. Not only have these supplements proven over many years to improve my state of physical wellbeing, but some of them have produced strong and lasting improvements in several of my health problems that the medical profession has declared untreatable. To be more specific, I suffer from severe arthritis, for which the medical profession can only prescribe pain reducing medication to make the symptoms more bearable while at the same time I use a selection of supplements that actually reduce the severity of the arthritis which in turn allows me to minimize my use of addictive pain remedies. I also suffer from Hepatitis C and the specialists can only prescribe Chemotherapy to be administered over a period of 10 months and offers a less than 50% chance of success. This treatment is far worse than the disease itself and nearly killed me when I tried it and the medical profession offers absolutely no treatment to reduce the effects or symptoms of the disease, thereby leaving me as untreatable. On the other hand with the assistance of my naturopath I have found that the use of herbal treatments has not only almost completely eliminated the symptoms of the disease, but has also been responsible for virtually blocking the escalation of the infection as proven by my monthly blood tests that continuously find no or very little increase in the progress of the ailment. Furthermore, over 15 years ago I was diagnosed to be in the beginning stages of emphysema and no treatment was offered except to tell me to quit smoking which after numerous attempts, I have given up trying. I still smoke a pack a day, but with the help of my supplements the progress of the emphysema has been virtually halted. 25 years ago I was partially paralyzed and after a stay in hospital I was released, walking with the assistance of a cane and in constant pain. When I asked the doctor if the pain would ever stop his response was, “Get used to it.” A few months later I met a Chiropractor who swore he could help me. I was leery at first, but he eventually convinced me to go to him for treatment. It took several months of regular weekly treatments, but eventually I was able to throw my cane away and live pain free except on very rare occasions when a small degree of pain resurfaced that precipitated in a brief return to Chiropractic treatment.

When a medical problem arises I do not forego the ministrations of the medical practitioners, but if as is often the case, they are unable to help, I fall back on the reliable assistance from my Naturopath that has proven time and time again to be more effective than the help offered by the medical profession.

None of the costs of the Naturopathic treatments or supplements are covered by my usual support which does pay for all of my prescription drugs and that has placed a severe burden on my financial situation as I am a 65 year old pensioner, but my payment of this expense is mandatory, for without the benefits of my Naturopathic treatments I would be completely unable to function and with them I have been able to resume a nearly normal level of activity.

I applaud recent movement towards official acceptance of the benefits of Naturopathic medicine as a long overdue and necessary development.

With my latest health issue becoming life threatening and as yet undiagnosed I believe it is time to see my Naturopath.

A Health Care Czar for Canada? I Hope Not

Considering the elitist attitude of the Harper regime it is understandable that they would seek to become king makers. By using scare tactics and hypothetical situations where there is less of a threat to public health than the current HIV situation which we are world leaders in addressing, they intend to create an all powerful single person, able to thwart the will of the people with the stroke of a pen. You can bet that if a Canada Health Care Czar is created, it will mark the beginning of the END of Universal Heath Care in Canada. Harper and his minions would like nothing better than to eliminate our system of health care provision for everyone with a USER PAY system similar to the one that the US is struggling to escape.

If there are doubters out there of Harper’s elitist agenda, take note of his recent response to the TWO most important issues that we face today. The Harper government has DECLINED invitations from the provincial Premiers to have the Federal government participate in either the provincial conference on the ENVIRONMENT or the provincial conference on the HOUSING CRISIS, in clear disregard to the concerns of the Canadian public. Do we want a HEALTH CARE CZAR who represents a government that continues to ignore the wishes of the people? What can we expect from such an all powerful individual but THE ELIMINATION OF UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE?

 

A statement from the US congress member

Dennis Kucinich August 19 at 9:18pm Report
HEALTH CARE WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE
The masquerade is over! The "public option" is ... dead.
Health care reform is now a private option: WHICH FOR PROFIT INSURANCE COMPANY DO YOU WANT? You have to choose. And you have to pay. If you have a low income, under HR3200 government will subsidize the private insurance companies and you will still have to pay premiums, co-pays and deductibles.
The Administration plan requires that everyone must have health insurance, so it is delivering tens of millions of new "customers" to the insurance companies. Health care? Not really. Insurance care! Absolutely. Cost controls? No chance.
You will next hear talk about "co-ops." The truth is that insurance company campaign contributions have co-opted the public interest.
I need your help to spread the word and rally the nation around true healthcare reform which covers everyone and maintains fiscal integrity without breaking our nation's bank! Your contribution will empower our efforts to continue to fight for the single-payer, not-for-profit health care bill, HR676 "Medicare for All," which I co-authored with John Conyers.. The bill now has 85 sponsors in the House.
The hotly-debated HR3200, the so-called "health care reform" bill, is nothing less than corporate welfare in the guise of social welfare and reform. It is a convoluted mess. The real debate which we should be having is not occurring.
Removing the "public option" from a public bill paid for by public money is not in the public interest. What is left is a "private option" paid for with public money. Why should public money be spent on a private option which does not guarantee 100% coverage nor have any cost controls? A true public option would provide 30% savings immediately which would then cover the 1/3rd of the population who presently have no healthcare.
Unfortunately, under HR3200, the Government is choosing winners and losers in the private sector; proposing to spend public funds on subsidizing insurance companies who make money not providing health care. This process wil insure only one thing - the expansion of profits. Gone is the debate over cost.
As a result of current negotiations, the Medicare Part D rip-off will continue for another decade, further fleecing senior citizens. Drug importation has been dropped, so no inexpensive drugs can be accessed from other nations.
Instead we are told the pharmaceutical companies will accept a 2% cut in the growth rate of their profits - this they call cost control!
If the matter were not so serious, it would be farcical: The executive branch pretends that the proposed health care reforms are something they are not. The legislation is being attacked for something it is not. Congressional leadership and the White House defend the legislation, pretending it actually is the very proposal that is being attacked. But it is not.
A commonsense government health care reform policy would insure that every single American has full access to healthcare by expanding Medicare to cover everyone under a Single Payer System. We are already paying for a universal standard of care, it is just we are not getting it.
I need your help to spread the word and rally the nation around true health care reform which covers everyone and maintains fiscal integrity without subsidizing insurance and pharmaceutical companies and breaking our nation's bank!
My voice in Congress will continue to challenge the special interests who do not want single payer to succeed. I need you to join me in combating the special and corporate interests who spend millions to try to win this Congressional seat. With your help WE will win again. With your help I will continue to represent your concerns, be YOUR VOICE in the United States Congress, and be the voice for health care for all Americans!

 

This is a retraction of the post immediately below
It seems that I was given misinformation by an overly zealous new receptionist who actually had no understanding of the policies and procedures of which she spoke. I have been assured and convinced that these are not the policy by Shivanee, Director of Primary Care. The only problem that was real is the fact that I was unable to contact them by telephone for 2 days and this was the result of not being informed of a new direct line telephone number to the office which will result in improved communications. I now have the new number which is 416 703-8480 and I am pleased to announce that Queen West Community Health Centre is once again at the top of my list of well delivered necessary services to the community.

June 19/09

In my video, “This Is My Hood,” which can be viewed at…

http://vimeo.com/4850969 I praised Queen West Medical Health Centre as one of the few things the government has done right. I am posting this letter on the health page of my website Down But Not Out    at http://downbutnotout.synthasite.com/health.php    as a retraction of this statement and sending a copy of it to several people at Queen West and to the Minister of Health. Things have changed and I protest. Up until earlier this year I never had a problem booking an appointment with my doctor within a 2 week time span. Now it is expected that I wait a minimum of 4 weeks to see my doctor. This is totally unacceptable. When a person is sick he needs prompt medical attention and a 1 month wait for an appointment results in undue suffering of the patient as well as a serious threat to his life. This situation is beyond belief. Furthermore when I arrived for my long awaited visit with my doctor, I was informed that they are now double booking all appointments and even with an appointment there would be a long wait to see him. This made me 45 minutes late for my second appointment of the day. To make matters worse, when I called last week to check the date for my appointment which I had become unsure of during the long wait NOBODY was answering the phones. I called persistently throughout the whole day Tuesday and again on Wednesday with NEVER an answer. Fortunately I was not lying in bed dying this time, but next time I might be and it frightens me to know that my doctors’ office does not care enough about the patients to even answer the phone for 2 days running. When I complained about these problems to management via voice mail since they were not answering their phone either, I did not even receive the courtesy of a return call. When I complained to the receptionist in person today, after seeing my doctor finally, she rudely told me in words to the effect that I’d better get used to it because that was the way things would continue. Again I reiterate this is UNACCEPTABLE.

 

In the sincere hope that this situation will be corrected, I remain

Yours truly,

Ronald C. Craven

130 Eglinton Av E

Suite 1107

Toronto On M4P 2X9

 

416 820-6036

ronzig@rogers.com

A life size version of this photo of me by Dan Bergeron is currently on display as part of the Housepaint exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum

New Case Criteria Finalized: Cases Underway

Over the last year, ISAC’s Board of Directors has been reviewing its internal governance structures, and has finalized its new case selection criteria.

Strategic priorities this year include OW and ODSP rules that impact negatively on the overall income of recipients, and rules that are punitive instead of supportive. We are also looking at interactions between social assistance and family law that are detrimental to women and children.

Currently, in addition to the Special Diet case at the Human Rights Tribunal (see story on page 1), ISAC is going to Divisional Court on a Ministry appeal of a Social Benefits Tribunal decision.

The Director of ODSP found a young adult with multiple disabilities not eligible for benefits because her mother gets child support payments from her father for disability-related expenses. Although these payments would be exempt if made directly or if the support order were more specific, the Director refuses to acknowledge these payments as exempt.

ISAC is also considering challenging the ODSP mileage rate, which is currently 18¢ per kilometre (18.5¢ in the north) for people who use their own private vehicles to get to medical appointments. This is a particular problem for people in rural areas as they often do not have access to public transportation. ISAC in the preliminary stages of this work and is consulting with clinics on next steps.

The new case selection criteria are available at www.incomesecurity.org/challenges/caseselection.htm.

It was a rainy day, yet hundreds turned out to protest the provincial governments plans to decimate our health care.

Special Diet Litigation: Lead Case Goes to Hearing

ISAC and the Clinic Resource Office Barrister are co-counselling with caseworkers Tribunal of Ontario. from legal clinics around the province on Ball v. Ontario, the lead special diet case before the Human Rights

The Ball complaints allege that the Ministry of Community and Social Service’s (MCSS) current Special Diet Allowance schedule discriminates against individual social assistance recipients on the basis of disability.

Opening statements, preliminary issues, and the evidence of the complainants were heard before the Tribunal over two weeks starting March 24.

Evidence-in-chief for all other witnesses was filed through written reports and affidavits in advance, and cross-examinations of the complainants’ expert witnesses took place before a Special Examiner.

Cross-examination of the two government witnesses, Norm Helfand, Director of ODSP, and Dr. Greg De Marchi, MCSS Chief Medical Advisor, will take place April 21 to 24.

The case began with four lead complainants who have medical conditions that were excluded from the schedule, and/or conditions for which the allowance amount is inadequate. Two of the four complainants had their conditions added to the schedule by way of a regulation change that took place in January. One of those two cases has settled, and the second is currently adjourned. The claim of a fifth complainant is being presented by a private bar lawyer.

Final arguments will be held before the Tribunal on June 16, 17, 23, and 24.

We hope a successful decision will force MCSS to make systemic changes that go beyond the claims of the lead complainants. Whatever the result, the lead case decision will give important guidance for the resolution of the other 100+ complainants.

The Sherbourne Health Centre operates 2 Health Busses staffed with volunteer nurses to bring health services to people on the streets.

Another homeless man dies on Toronto streets

This just in from OCAP
In the early hours of January 6 John Massie sought shelter in a bank
vestibule located on
King Street just west of Yonge Street. While in the
vestibule John lit a cigarette and accidentally set himself on fire. John
suffered burns to eighty per cent of his body and died later that day.
John was a homeless native man who was well known in the community. He was
46 years old when he died.
Homeless people continue to die on
Toronto streets. Overcrowded shelters,
insufficient income on social assistance, and the lack of affordable
housing have all contributed to these deaths.
On Thursday January 15 friends of John and anti-poverty activists will be
gathering to remember John Massie.  We will also be calling on all levels
of government to address the ongoing homeless crisis in the city of
Toronto.  Please come and join us.

Grafitti art declaring the danger of drugs.

What Are They Teaching These Boys?

Read the Toronto Star articles

http://www.thestar.com/article/408997

http://www.thestar.com/article/409148

During the trial of the three men accused of beating Paul Croutch 59, a homeless man to death in Moss Park an eyewitness account of this brutal murder makes it clear that there is a growing segment of our population who see the poor and disenfranchised as an enemy needing destruction rather than assistance.

I, myself have been subject on many occasions to groups of pre-teens who pelted me with stones and on one occasion set my squat on fire while I slept inside.

How has our society regressed to such a brutal standard?

Where are these youths learning these things?

Is this the beginning of a trend towards social cleansing where a policy of eliminating anyone who doesn't fit in is evolving? If it is, then we are in deeper trouble than anyone can imagine, for who will the cleansers attack after they have killed all the homeless people. There is already a culture of violent aggression against the gays, the Jews, the blacks the Orientals and it's escalating rapidly. Who will be next, people who drive the wrong car or people who don't wear the right clothes?

It's not just a few misguided kids either. It's official policy. The police response to this atrocity is not to provide extra protection to the unfortunate targets of this violence. Instead the police have made war on the victims in the neighborhood, rounding them up and jailing them. Here is a report on these police roundups which I recently received from OCAP.

PROJECT REVIVAL: POOR PEOPLE SWEPT INTO JAIL AS CITY CUTS SERVICES STOP THE WAR ON THE POOR! April 2, 2008 Yesterday, the Metro Toronto police announced almost 300 arrests in a sweep of one of this city's poorest neighborhoods. The arrests took place in the area bounded by Gerrard St. E., Queen St. E., Church St. and Parliament St. Developed through the 51 Division "Community Police Liaison Committee", the sweep involved undercover officers in a 6 week operation, code named "Project Roundup" and "Project Revival". The priorities of cops, city officials, and the gentrifying forces of this neighbourhood are clear. The downtown East End is being remade and 'revived' through crackdowns on the poor people who call it home. It is our friends, our neighbors, the people who use the rapidly disappearing services in the East End, who are being swept into jail through operations like this one. According to Detective Sgt. Howie Page of 51 Division, "When the community came to 51 Division ... it was a project aimed at improving the quality of life of people in this area." And we must ask: Which community? Whose quality of life? We must also ask: When demands are made for affordable housing, detox or harm reduction programs, shelter beds, and better welfare rates, the basic right for people to live in dignity and safety, what kind of response do we get? The City officials who pay and oversee this police force are the same ones who, over the past year, allowed three large rooming houses in the neighborhood to be shut down, and five major shelters to be closed. $2 million dollars worth of CCTV cameras have been installed in the downtown core, two of them outside the biggest mens shelters in the east end. Homeless people are being targeted, fined thousands of dollars in Provincial Offense tickets for minor infractions like encumbering the sidewalk, or camping in a park without a permit. Poor and homeless people are being dispossessed, displaced, and destroyed. We condemn this latest, blatant attack on the people of the downtown East End. We condemn the police for sweeping the streets, criminalizing people who are fighting to survive. We need housing, shelter, food and income to address the issues in the neighborhood, not more police harassment and intimidation. For more information contact OCAP at 416-925-6939

BEWARE The time is approaching fast when the victims will realize that their only protection lies in fighting back!

Do we really want to see riots, and mass destruction running rampant through our streets? Do we really want to hide in our million dollar condos in fear of being murdered by the ones we have persecuted for so long?

It's coming if we don't do something to change the system. Just ask the Americans. They know what riots in the streets are all about.

Police on hand to protect or to harass?

When is Murder acceptable?

Having been threatened with and subjected to brutality on numerous occasions while I was homeless and having personal first hand knowledge of many many friends of mine who have as well, I don't find it surprising that the beasts are now being prepared to literally Get Away With Murder. As I have said time and again, there is a definite social cleansing mentality at all levels of our so called civilization that needs to be addressed. It is pervasive and all encompassing and bodes ill for all of us. Unfortunately most of this persistent brutality from all levels of society towards those who are less fortunate rarely comes to the public eye. Believe me folks this is not a unique incident. It's a daily fact of life on the streets. Whether it's children pelting a homeless person with stones which has happened to me on over a dozen occasions; or drug dealers beating their customers half to death which I can attest to dozens of my friends being subjected to, or police throwing a homeless person off a bridge in an attempt to murder him, or brutally beating a person whose mental disabilities make it almost impossible for him to speak, or threatening a one legged man with beating him and taking his wheel chair, or threatening to throw me in front of an oncoming streetcar, or burning my squat along with 3 others; or the crown in this case accepting a plea of manslaughter when it is an obvious case of murder, it is clear that all levels of society condone and actively participate in this social cleansing . Since when is being drunk an excuse for murder? It seems it is when the victim is despised at all levels of our society, not for who he is, but for what he represents. And what does he represent? FAILURE. OUR FAILURE to even attempt to find a meaningful solution to the homeless situation which is in itself a damning testimonial to the failure of our system as a whole. See Linda McQuaig's article on the plea bargain: Please visit link: http://www.thestar.com/article/416795

Toronto Star article

Crime and mild punishment

Apr 22, 2008 04:30 AM

Linda McQuaig

Among vicious crimes, this one stood out: Two strong young men savagely beat and kicked a frail, ailing 59-year-old man to death, and then kicked, punched and taunted a woman who intervened to help him.

But, amazingly, the young men – reservists in the Canadian military – caught a huge break last week: the Crown accepted a plea bargain for manslaughter, enabling them to dodge the far more serious charge of second-degree murder.

The difference is significant. If they'd been found guilty of second-degree murder, they would have gone to jail for a minimum of 10 years with no possibility of parole. By contrast, manslaughter has no minimum sentence, and parole is often possible after serving one-third of the sentence.

So Pte. Brian Deganis and Cpl. Jeffrey Hall, who will be sentenced April 30, could, for instance, receive 10-year jail sentences, but qualify for parole after only three years. (A third man pleaded guilty as an accessory after the fact.)

It's hard to imagine these two young men getting such a lucky break if their victim hadn't been homeless.

In allowing them to plead guilty to the lesser charge, veteran Crown prosecutor Hank Goody cited the fact that they were intoxicated during the crime, and therefore possibly unable to appreciate the consequences of their actions.

True, intoxication can be used as a defence, but it rarely succeeds with juries. Toronto criminal lawyer Clayton Ruby notes that juries are particularly unlikely to accept the defence of drunkenness where there's a series of blows leading to a death, suggesting a co-ordinated assault. In this case, the jury never got to pass judgment.

Rather than a random act of drunken violence, the killing of Paul Croutch sounds almost like a hate crime against the homeless.

According to testimony at the trial, Deganis, before attacking Croutch in the middle of the night, had attempted to attack another person in a bus shelter and, during the attack on Croutch, Deganis shouted he "hated bums and homeless people and wanted to take them on."

The woman who intervened said Deganis thrust his military tags in her face and screamed: "This gives us the right to kill all the homeless bums, crackheads, whores."

Did these men somehow feel their military affiliation entitled them to behave like thugs?

This raises the disturbing possibility that these young reservists considered the Rambo-like posture of Canada's top general, Rick Hillier, gave them a licence to behave aggressively.

Certainly Hillier – who announced his retirement last week to much fawning in the media – set a very different tone for the Canadian Forces, referring to the enemy in Afghanistan as "detestable murderers and scumbags" and suggesting the role of the Canadian military is to "be able to kill people."

For that matter, is it likely that this crime would have happened if our society as a whole didn't communicate contempt for the homeless by treating them as subhuman, abandoning them to sleep on metal grates in frigid temperatures?

Finally, it should be noted that the killers got a rather soft ride in the media. Last Friday, the Globe and Mail ran a front-page story by Christie Blatchford suggesting the courtroom tears of the killers showed they felt genuine remorse.

Really?

It's hard to imagine the Globe running such a sympathetic front-page story if, say, it had been two drunken young homeless men viciously killing a retired military officer, while shouting anti-war slogans.

Linda McQuaig's column appears every other week. lmcquaig@sympatico.ca

 

At a vigil to mourn and remember the hundreds of homeless people who have died needlessly

Melissa Comments

Hi Ron, It was nice meeting you on the subway today! And such a strange coincidence too. It really was just yesterday that I saw you on the internet. And I finally remembered what led me to your blog--I'd been searching for pictures of Paul Croutch. I'd been wondering if I'd recognize him, but I didn't. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing your work at CONTACT. Good luck getting everything hung up! As for your post, I don't think what happened to Paul is evidence of a "social cleansing" trend that involves murdering people society deems undesirable. Most people think that what happened to Paul was horrifying, and I take a (small) measure of comfort from that. And the cynic in me thinks that there will always be a small minority of awful people who will pelt others with stones. What troubles me more are the other generally accepted and/or invisible ways our society "gets rid of" our "undesirables;" namely ignoring them, jailing them, pathologizing them, making their ways of life illegal, etc. It's harder to fight against something when most people refuse to see that the something even exists. But I think what motivates people to maintain and perpetuate these accepted/invisible methods of getting rid of so-called undesirables is an overwhelming fear. Fear that there is no difference between the and the "undesirable," fear that their security is being threatened by the existence of the "undesirable," fear of the unknown...etc. So while I appreciate where you're coming from and the message that you're trying to deliver, I don't think that scaring people into action is going to be an effective strategy. I don't know what an effective strategy would be, since not a whole lot seems to be working, but I just don't see how this approach is going to work. It's the same politics of fear that the US government has been using since 9-11, and that has achieved is creating a country where every citizen is so paranoid that their neighbour is a terrorist that they're willing to support wars, surveillance, the jailing of prisoners without cause, and all sorts of infringements upon their civil rights and personal freedoms. I think that if we convince the condo-dwellers that the homeless are about to riot, the only change that will happen is that we'll see a boom in the "cleansing" of homeless people. Anyway, that's enough of my chatter for tonight. See you around, I hope. -----melissa

My Reply

I agree Melissa that the majority of our citizens do view this as a horrifying occurrence, but you are mistaken in your belief that this was an isolated incidence and that brutality towards us is not a daily fact of life on the streets. As I state in my post today, I and friends of mine have been subjected to brutality far too many times for it not to be both condoned and encouraged from the highest levels of authority.

Your comments about the motivation of this brutality are very insightful. I believe that the fear you mention is rooted in a subconscious awareness that they could end up there themselves. The uncertainty of their own secure position in the social hierarchy can be terrifying to people who are all to aware of their own inadequacies.

You may be right about the potential backlash that I risk in making people aware that there is a very real danger that a more violent response to this brutality is inevitable if the authorities continue to refuse to deal with the situation in a meaningful manner. But as you state they refuse to recognize the problem and I fear that until they do and take appropriate action, violence is inevitable. When defenseless individuals are subjected to brutality on a daily basis they will eventually gather together in self defense and strike back.

When armed police threaten, beat, commit arson and attempt murder on an ongoing basis with no official attempt to constrain the situation, I fear the outcome is inevitable.

A home for the homeless, but it is slated to be destroyed by the authorities who prefer we freeze to death sleeping on the sidewalks.


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Index of Ronzig's web pages

Website:

Down But Not Out

As well as Ronzig's Gallery, Ronzig built and maintains Down But Not Out, a website dedicated to social activism and providing information about many of the current issues that threaten to destroy our planet and the social structures we have developed. This link will take you to the Home page of Down But Not Out which was recently ranked as the 12th best website about homelessness on the internet and the following information will explain each of the pages on the website. You will have the opportunity to comment on what you learn here and read the many comments of other visitors to the site.

Learn more about Ronzig and why he created Down But Not Out and why it began as a website discussing the issues of poverty, homelessness and addiction and how it evolved into much more, encompassing issues a wide ranging as politics, war imperialism, conspiracy, economics, health, the environment and more.

Having been a crack addict for nearly 2 decades, during the 2nd of which I was homeless, I have acquired an in depth understanding of addiction, how & why it begins, what it does to a person, what is involved with getting free of this curse and the social implications of this ever increasing plague on civilization. I disclose some little known and often ignored information and insights that will assist you in coming to a better understanding of what addiction is all about.

I have created a page where visitors to Down But Not Out can contribute by telling their story about how the issues discussed on the site has affected them or someone they care about. I encourage you to read what others have to say and please tell us your story. You can remain anonymous if you prefer.

There is an extensive examination of the economy on Down But Not Out with discussions about the recession, economic collapse, the increasing disparity between the rich, the poor and the middle class. I delve into the phenomena of the shrinking middle class and the emergence of a 2 class society where an economic elite rule and the rest of us are rapidly being relegated to economic slavery.

Whether you call it Global Warning, Climate Disruption or choose to adopt one of the euphemisms that opponents to addressing this impending disaster use to seek to reduce the significance of the crisis to protect their ill gotten financial profits, it is a scientific fact that our global environment is on the brink of collapse. If meaningful and immediate action is not taken the human race along with almost all other forms of life on the Planet Earth will soon face extinction.

Whenever I have time I try to post notices of significant events that you may wish to attend including rally's, protests, political meetings, or other relevant items here. I also use this page to post notices of upcoming art shows where my work will be on display.

The social, economic and political issues revolving around health and healthcare are currently creating an environment where universal healthcare in Canada is under attack. It is evident that the elite no longer wish to ensure adequate health services for an aging population. They see no need to preserve individual health when there is no shortage of replacement economic slaves to step in when one of us succumbs to preventable illness and dies.

There is a worldwide epidemic of homelessness that has emerged in the past couple of decades to plague society and the wealthiest nations, ones with more than sufficient resources to provide housing for their populations are the worst at addressing the situation. Having lived long enough to realize that even when our society was steeped in relative poverty compared to today's situation, homelessness was never a significant problem until recently as the elite grab more and more of the world's wealth and resources, leaving the rest of us to struggle just to keep a roof over our heads.

With the advent of the internet, hope for a just society has been restored, yet there are sinister powers threatening to crush that hope. Just when internet should be reaching the point of universal global access, these powers are forcing an increasing internet divide, where surprisingly millions who once could afford access are being economically deprived of this crucial commodity, for a commodity is what it has become and it is for sale at price not reflective of costs, but of what the market will bear. Perhaps we should be considering defining internet as a Necessary Service that is available to everyone at affordable rates of free of charge.

With the corporatization of mainstream media, it's difficult to find any honest reporting in this media, as they tend to stick like flies on flypaper to the elitist party line. However even the most cynical of these outlets of information are forced to include a modicum of honesty in their reports when faced with the vast amount of conflicting evidence distributed freely on the internet. It is beneficial also to be up to date on what they are saying in order to point out the inadequacies and outright lies that they distribute.

Over the years, Ronzig has been in the news on several occasions, both as the subject of articles and as interviewee. Of course I've commented on many news items as well. you'll find some of these pieces on my news page.

There is a disturbing trend in politics that is increasingly threatening the very fabric of Democracy, or the sorry excuse for such that we have  adopted. I'm speaking of the merging of the Capitalist manifesto into the political agenda to the effect that today's politicians see their job almost exclusively as serving the requirements of capitalism and corporate profits rather than the needs of the citizens who are the true backbone of any nation.

Ever wonder how it is possible that in the richest civilization that has ever existed on the planet, extreme poverty is reaching epidemic proportions?  The answer is obvious. Every single year for the past 3 decades the wealthiest 5% of the world's population have taken control and ownership of a greater proportion of the world's resources leaving less for each of the remaining 95% of the people who have to live on this planet. In every industrialized nation the middle class is under attack and is shrinking annually as people are forced down the economic scale into the burgeoning poverty class. The truly terrifying aspect of this is the fact that the members of the middle class which is the primary target of this attack believe that when the middle class is eliminated they will be part of the elite upper class of rulers rather than economic slaves of these rulers. Because of this the middle class votes consistently for politicians who serve this elite ruling class and don't even realize they are voting for their own destruction.

In a society which professes to be primarily Christian is it not a paradox that we have created such an un-Christian attitude toward our neighbours? By assuming the philosophy of "Looking our for number ONE", we find it easy not only to allow our brothers and sisters to suffer and actually perish because they can not afford to pay for the basic requirements of survival, nourishment and shelter, but many of us are arrogant enough to hate them for their predicament. How are we to overcome this tide of apathy and animosity which in the end will destroy us if we fail?

If you group is interested in Ronzig's experiences and philosophies, I do speaking engagements and will talk on any of the topics covered here. I have had great success with audiences while speaking about homelessness & addiction, Democracy & politics as well as photography & art and would be pleased to accept a request to speak to you group.

Primarily because of American Imperialism the world has been in a constant state of war for the majority of the past 6 decades. Isn't it amazing how we can call making war on another nation a Police Action or Peacekeeping Action to camouflage the fact that we are invading a nation to seize control of its resources or to use it as a staging zone for our aggressive moves on its neighbours, yet we call defensive retaliation Terrorism? We call the slaughter of innocent civilians Collateral Damage to hide the fact that more than 80% of the people we kill in our wars are civilians primarily women and children. I find it disturbing that Prime Minister Harper has eagerly jumped into bed with the Americans and is arming Canada to fight along side our neighbours to the South as we seek to seize control of far off nations. We stand idly by and allow Israel, the puppet state of the Americans which exists solely because of American arms and financing to commit wide scale genocide in its attempt to eradicate the legitimate population of the region from the planet.

Website:

Go to Ronzig's Gallery digital photoArt, photography,  video, photographic & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto, Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images and art on ceramic tiles top home page.

Learn about Ronzig and Ronzig's Gallery: What is digital photoArt? Ronzig's guerrilla photography and video. Art on Ceramic Tiles. Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images, Mini Video Tours of Toronto. And photographic and video recording services.

View some of Ronzig's best work in a slideshow or individual images from Ronzig at Ronzig's Gallery of digital photoArt and photography.

You can contact  Ronzig's Gallery by email, telephone or by snail mail to his address to inquire about Ronzig's digital photoArt, photography, Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images. video, photography & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto and art on ceramic tiles or to purchase his products or services. You will also find numerous links to other websites where Ronzig has a presence.

Read the Legend of Ronzig the Wizard and his battle with his evil twin brother Ronzak the Sorcerer in the story of the ongoing struggle between good and evil that has been going on since the creation of the universe.

This is where you can order  Ronzig's products and services from Ronzig's Gallery such as digital photoArt,  photography & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto, art on ceramic tiles & Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images.

Ronzig creates spectacular panorama works either as photographic images or as Digital photoArt that are available in standard sizes up to 44" x 13" on either canvas or archival quality photo paper (larger sizes available by special order).  Ronzig's Gallery will also embed a panorama image into the glaze of a series of ceramic tiles to create a unique wall or floor covering surface to your specs.

Ronzig's Digital photoArt & photographic images from Ronzig's Gallery cover a broad array of subject matter and themes resulting in highest quality art works to suit any preference. These images are all available on ceramic tiles & Collector Series Postcards as well a more traditional canvas and archival photo paper in a wide range of sizes to suit your requirements.

All of Ronzig's best work is available on Collector Series Postcards on archival photo paper, suitable not only for mailing a unique greeting to friends and loved ones, but also for framing as a group to hang on your wall.

Ronzig has done work for a wide range of clients from law firms to developers, health services facilities and the City of Toronto, all of which would certainly provide excellent references to Ronzig's Gallery.

Most of Ronzig's best work, be it video, photography or Digital photoArt is available as stock video clips or stock photo & art images at extremely reasonable prices for royalty free applications that you are producing.

Most of Ronzig's best work can be embedded into the glaze of ceramic tiles, resulting in virtually indestructible art works suitable for architectural uses such as surfaces for walls, floors, counter tops, back-splashes, fireplace surrounds or mantlepieces. As home furnishing uses they provide unique surfaces for tables or any other flat surfaced furniture. There is a series of 4" x 4" tiles with a protective backing designed for use as coasters that are bound to intrigue your guests as you entertain. Of course they make timeless stand alone art suitable for framing or placing on a stand for display.

Ronzig produces a wide range of videos, including Documentary works, event recording such as children's birthdays, activism and social protest works, art films, Mini Video Tours and special effects clips. Ronzig's Gallery is fully equipped and has access to support professionals to create original works with multi-camera filming, still photography and custom music for any production. He is presently working on a special fx movie, The Legend of Ronzig the Wizard, for which he the writer, art and costume designer, producer director and star.

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