Why Are We Wasting Our Waste?

Waste incinerator in Powell River series - #3

Garbage incinerators don't generate energy they waste energy and natural resources. Incineration irreversibly destroys valuable materials and necessitates the consumption of the energy consumed in the extraction, refinement, assembly and transport of more raw natural resources to produce new products. Alternatives such as recycling, reuse, repair and composting conserve energy by efficiently using the energy already embedded in these materials we call now 'waste'.

A large part of the taxes collected by the Powell River Regional District goes into dealing with the area's 'waste'. Like all communities everywhere, dealing with waste is one of the most expensive issues facing our governments. Currently Powell River pays to ship its 'waste' to the Roosevelt Regional Landfill in the interior desert region along the Washington-Oregon border much to profitable delight of both Augusta Recyclers at this end and Rabanco at the other.

Many studies have shown that about 90% of the content in the municipal waste stream could/should be being removed from the stream by recycling, reuse, repair and composting. Paying taxes to waste money on 'waste' is stupid. There's gold in them thar mounds of waste and our regional government, other governments and businesses everywhere, know it - that's why they are trying to overcome our wasteful habits and get on the ZERO WASTE wagon.

Plastic makes up a significant portion of our solid waste; however, wood waste from construction, demolition and renovation  is the single largest contributor to Powell River's 'waste' stream at about 40% of the total tonnage.  Next comes plastics close behind at about 30%. Then a broad range of organic - compost-able - stuff at about 20%.

The next few Mud Reports will concentrate on how each of these components are being successfully diverted from the waste stream in other jurisdictions while at the same time creating local jobs in each of them and saving taxpayers money - something for nothing is always a winning political strategy eh - and how those solutions are already starting to be applied right here in Powell River.


How Human and Environmental Health is Compromised by Garbage Incinerator Emissions

Waste incinerator in Powell River series - #2

The image above shows a simplified version of how humans are exposed to dioxins, furans and hundreds of other poisonous heavy metals that are a by-product of garbage incinerators. Toxic incinerator emissions, like dioxin the most deadly chemical known to science, accumulate in humans through the food chain.  In fact 90% of human exposure to dioxin comes via the food chain. In other words, dioxin from the smokestack of a garbage incinerator falls onto the grass and soil surrounding the incinerator. When a cow, for instance, grazing eats the grass the dioxin accumulates in the cow's fatty tissues and milk. Humans drinking the cow's milk or eating its beef are then exposed to dioxin...and the same occurs when we eat fish, poultry, and other foods including our 'organic' backyard garden produce. The dioxin then accumulates in our bodies' tissues.

The populations most vulnerable to dioxin are infants. Dioxin can pass through the placenta directly to the fetus, and can cause developmental problems. Breastfeeding infants get dioxin from their mother's breast-milk. A breastfeeding infant gets up to 14% of her lifetime exposure to dioxin from breast-milk.

Dioxin is a family of chemicals produced during industrial processes that involve chlorine, or processes that burn chlorine with material that contains benzene rings - including all material that's derived from oil, like all plastics among millions of other things. Corporations like Wheelabrator and Waste Management Inc. always say as part of their propaganda campaigns that 99% of the pollutants are filtered out of a 'modern' garbage incinerator, and they have made strides in through the years to reduce their emissions through technological change, but what they don't say is that the particles that do still escape are the most dangerous and deadliest produced by their incinerators.

The particles that do escape are the tiniest [nano-particles] and that they travel the furthest. Our and other species natural filters - lungs, liver, kidneys, etc. - aren't built to stop such tiny particles so they go directly into our and other species cells where they endlessly accumulate.

Yesterday i mentioned that if the proposed garbage incinerator is allowed to go ahead in Powell River that folks who are into backyard gardening, fishing, hunting, having chickens, eating crabs and oysters, etc. or buying stuff at your local farmers market anywhere in the Georgia Basin from north of Campbell River to south of Nanaimo, from Gibsons to Lund are screwed. But after today's research i've learned that the 50km-80km food harvesting exclusion zone is only part of a much larger problem.

Though it is true that the closer you live to a garbage incinerator the higher the concentration of deadly fallout you and yours receives directly. The fact is that the dioxin nano-particles are distributed by the earth's air currents everywhere and that because dioxin-contaminated beef, milk, fish and vegetables are shipped all over the country and imported/exported worldwide, incineration is every one's problem -- no matter where you live. Dioxin-laden food grown and processed anywhere on earth can end up on your dinner plate at a restaurant or at home.
Here's a few links that lead to more information on the issue. Some of the 'in-depth' articles they lead to are fairly technical but all of them agree - garbage incineration is short-sighted stupidity.

Health effects of exposure to waste incinerator emissions: a review of epidemiological studies

Incineration - How it effects food producers
In-Depth Info

Welcome to The Farmers Campaign



Powell River Area Residents Are Aghast After Learning About Wheelabrator's Local Garbage Incinerator Proposal

Waste incinerator in Powell River series - #1

It was standing room only last night at an auditorium full of fellow Powell River BC area residents who'd come to see and hear a presentation by local scientist Mark Biagi about the consequences of seeing a proposed garbage incinerator actually being allowed to proceed in Powell River. We'd all heard about how Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., had come to town last week to show our local Chamber of Commerce and City Council a bunch of glossy photos and even glossier information about the wonders in store for the area once if had drunk the garbage incineration kool-aid.

Needless to say there are many non-kool-aid drinking types in Powell River just as there are in hundreds of other communities worldwide where the garbage incinerator pimps have rolled into town. Today's followup searches by me showed pictures of outraged citizens protesting against incinerators. In every language their signs carried the same message, in the Internet age information travels everywhere quickly giving liars like those from Wheelabrator very few dark corners to hide in.

The crowd included many local politicians, scientists, activists, farmers and assorted malcontents [like me]. The tone was serious, the topic after-all was the future health of every living thing in a huge radius. We learned among other things that air pollution from waste incinerators typically includes dioxins, furans, and pollutants like arsenic, cadmium, chlorobenzenes, chlorophenols, chromium, cobalt, lead, mercury, PCBs, and other heavy metals. We learned about just how few jobs were really created, the Burnaby operation that is half the size of the proposed PR operation created 4 full time jobs. About how garbage incineration is the most inefficient and dirtiest way to produce electricity - even burning coal is twice as clean. We learned about birth defects, and how easily and abundantly garbege incinerators created persistant non-biodgradable dioxin nano particles - the most toxic pollutants know to science - that leads directly to them.

We learned lottsa stuff about how Wheelabrator is in trouble everywhere they go for breaking the regulations they swear to adhere to then, if caught and sued, settle -usually out of court - because its cheaper to settle than follow the regulations. We learned just how difficult it's going to be to STOP WHEELABRATOR because the existing laws and zoning regulations written by industry stooges of an earlier era put private industry in an almost unassailable position. We learned...well, there was so much information to absorb, so many parts to this multi-faceted situation, that none of us could possibly absorb and remember them all.

In the coming days The Mud Report is going to try to eat this elephant of an issue, as the old saying goes, one bite at a time. First up will be the 50km-80km food production exclusion zone around a garbage incinerator stack that health officials recommend. So if you're into backyard gardening, fishing, hunting, having chickens, eating crabs and oysters or buying stuff at your local farmers market anywhere in the Georgia Basin from north of Campbell River to south of Nanaimo, from Gibsons to Lund you're screwed. If they are allowed to build this damn thing we all will be better off buying our food from somewhere like Safeway so we know it comes from a long way away.  


Harnessing The Power Released by Expanding the Circle Self-interest

Been thinking from a number of angles about a line i read recently somewhere that said, ' the key to political power is harnessing the self-interest of the population' [or something like that]. The statement sure sounds and feels true for all types of societies. Even in brutal dictatorships the dictator retains political power because individuals surmise that their self-interst is best served by freely choosing not being shot despite their lack of choice about most everything else.

If the statement holds true in all cultures at all times [and it seems to as far as i can reason], then the defination of self-interest as difined by the individual members of a population is the key to how political leaders of all stripes acquire and hold onto power. Therefore it seems logical for us as individuals who are seeking change in the broader political structure to first and foremost examine the locus of our self-interest.

In the case where a brutal authority or a thug is holding a gun to your head it would appear your best chance of continueing the quest to spread your genes, our #1 self-interst according to evolutionary biologists, is outright ass-kissing in the first degree unless one of our children is also threatened in which case taking a bullet for them is probably the best choice. Either way, if successful and you or yours live to breath another day the focus of self-interest would probably change. Its circle might grow to include the broader family and friends by trying to warn them, tell them to duck or whatever. So the range of each person's self-interest isn't fixed, it's relative, it's dependent upon circumstances. Clearly though the more immediate the danger the smaller the circle each of us draws aroung the range of our self-interest.

Clearly we are facing a type of brutal gun weilding dictatorial thug who is threatening our greatest asset, our children and their children. The thug i'm alluding to is our own governments who are abetting the extinction of countless species, including perhaps our own, in the service of criminal consumer capitalism. We have allowed ourselves to be hoodwinked by our instinct to decrease the range of our self-interest in the face of immediate danger and in so doing we've lost the ability to harness the power unleashed by expanding the circle of our self-interest to include the flora, fauna, microbes, minerals, forces and faeries that share our circle.


Yes, There Is an Alternative for Catalyst Paper's Employees to Vulture Capitalism

City of Powell River with Catalyst Paper mill in the foreground.

The second vote by its creditors on whether to keep Catalyst Paper afloat under the auspicies of the idiots that ran it into bankruptcy in the first place is just about to start. According to the pundits it could be just as close as the first. This new vote has come about primarily because former salaried employees have angled their way into the picture by forgoing some significant pension benefits (their extended health coverage) in order to qualify as affected creditors.

The pension plan of the salaried pensioners, not hourly employees, of Catalyst Paper is under-funded by $115million so if the corporation is sold they stand to lose a portion of their pension incomes. The salaried pensioners though hold a very small share and therefore a very small say in the outcome. On the NO side are a couple of U.S. investment funds who are assured of 3.8 cents on the dollar for the millions worth of bonds if the restructuring plan is accepted, but if they can force the sale they can perhaps get7.2 cents on the dollar. These unsecured investors have been busy buying up more bonds recently so they hold more power in today's vote.

If the vote fails again today the company would be put up for sale and bidders would buy it. If it's sold - in whole or in part - operations could continue on under different ownership or management or it could all be shut down and sold for scrap. Considering that in reality  if a board of directors and senior leadership of any corporation, including Catalyst, were to put the well-being of the public-at-large ahead of corporate profits, they would be dismissed it's obvious in who's interest these and all past actions by Catalyst's directors have been taken, their own.

Why are we told, once again, a broken system that creates wealth for exucutives and bondholders but insecurity, unemployment and paycuts is the only choice. But it isn't, there is an alternative to vulture capitalism and Spain's amazing co-op Mondragon is living proof. The employees of what are now Cataylst Paper's mills could and should, like Mondragon has, form a  co-operative of enterprises and build a different kind of life around a different way of working. This isn't a revolutionary idea or even a new one, just ask the employee/owners of the Harmac Pulpmill outside of Nanaimo how happy and how productive they and their operation are now.


Label It [GMOs] Yourself Because Your Governments are Owned by Monsanto

This past week it became official that Californians will have the mandatory labeling initiative on the ballot in November. Within days the US Senate, despite the fact that recent polls by MSNBC and Thompson Reuters found that between 93 and 96 percent of the American public believe genetically engineered foods should be labeled as such, voted overwhelmingly against against the Sanders Amendment that would have allowed states to pass such legislation. Consequently even when Californians vote for mandatory labeling Monsanto and the other bio-tech bullies will be able to tie the issue up in the courts for years.

Monsanto just did the same sorta thing to the states of Vermont and Connecticut this spring simply by threatening to sue them if they passed the mandatory labeling laws that everyone agreed were wildly popular in the states. In those cases the state legislators refused to vote on the bills in the committee hearings.

The bio-tech bullies are far more of a threat than al-Qaida. The food chain is under worldwide assault by global.bio-tech corporate criminals like Monsanto as they put shareholder profits ahead of the health of all of us in Canada, the US and around the globe.  From 'Genetically Modified Doomsday Seeds', to 'Roundup Ready' strains of staple crops like soy and corn, to Ben & Jerry’s present legal fight for the right to continue to label ice cream that is made with milk from BGH-free cows, it’s all about money.

But the 99% are fighting back. The Label It Yourself (#LIY) campaign is a decentralized, autonomous grassroots campaign born out of our broken food system. Their website says, "We have been asking our government to label food products so we can make educated decisions about what we eat. The government has ignored our requests and so we are taking matters into our own hands."

Check out their website, you'll find everything you need to know about how to print your own labels. About which foods contain GMOs so you'll know which ones to label yourself on your next shopping trip. You'll find a section with great pictures of how others are already carrying the labeling fight directly to the grocery stores and beyond. To hell with Monsanto, join the battle today!


The Lesson Out Of Rio+20 - We're Screwed, We're Done, We're Toast

As Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth, International said yesterday in Rio, “Politicians are spinning this outrageous deal as a victory but in fact it is nothing less than a disaster for the planet. This is a hollow deal and a gift to corporate polluters that hold UN decision-making hostage to further their economic interests." He was being diplomatic.

The facts are clear now 20 years later, we've been duped, self-duped really, by our own delusion. Back then it seemed that perhaps, if enough information could be communicated to enough people around the globe that meaningful change was, at least, still possible. Communicate we did, but even then it should have been apparent that bromides like recycling and reusing weren't nearly enough to actually make a real difference. And while we patted ourselves on the back for recycling our household trash the corporate criminals and the financial banksters secured their stranglehold on the earth.

Now we're screwed, we're done. We're watching the results of the exponential demise of our little blue planet's environment powerlessly. As Malcolm Light, of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, explains, "We’ve triggered one of the planets many positive feedback loops. This process of methane release will accelerate exponentially, release huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere and lead to the demise of all life on earth before the middle of this century.” Read that last sentence carefully, he's not talking about someday far off in the future, he's saying that in less than 40 years we're toast. Us and lottsa other species, his recent paper 'Global Extinction within one Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heat wave and Surface Firestorm' makes me wanna cry.

What happened? How did we, the rogue primates, manage to screw things up so badly and why? How we did it was basically that we deluded ourselves into forgetting that we are connected to our environment and we forgot or denied the obvious, in the game of life on earth, Nature Bats Last. Why we did it is fear, fear of the unknown, mostly fear of the biggest unknown - Death. Since long before the dawn of history humans have sought comfort from their fear of the big D

Since the earliest hunter-gatherer clans a shaman or a witch provided our ancestors with comforting answers directly from the spirit world. As groups got larger and jobs a bit more specialized chiefdoms grew and the chiefs everywhere ruled because they were divinely chosen by the priests, or were themselves the priests, who were the absolute authority of the wishes of the gods. Time rolled on and chiefdoms became city-states, work became far more specialized - written language evolved, but humans still feared the big D big time and the priests continued to comfort and control their fellows with their exclusive connection to the great beyond. Through all these epochs the shaman, priests and bishops convinced the fearful humans that they had a special relationship with the gods or "God" and in their need for comfort the humans believed them. Many of them still do believe themselves exceptional, believe "God" made the world solely for human use, believe in some heaven and hell carrot and stick that the powerful use to control them and live their lives asleep because of that ancient fear. i fear it's to late to wake up now.


Capitalism's Criminals, the Corporations and Bankers, Use Profit and Interest to Steal Your Wealth

Last night at our bi-weekly Occupy Powell River GA the conversation turned, as it often does, to the evils of capitalism. Their were a few different approaches to the insanity of our predicament but everyone agreed that 'interest' was the devil lurking in all the details. Then this morning i read 'Capitalism and the Mad Uncle in the Attic' by John Atcheson at Common Dreams and was amazed at how well the article speaks to a couple of the major themes we all were talking about last night.

One major topic was defining 'real wealth'. Atcheson says, "Ultimately, all wealth comes from natural capital.  Things like fertile soils; viable forests; intact gene pools; abundant minerals; clean water and living oceans; sustainable fish stocks; flourishing ecosystems; a stable, life-sustaining climate." Mr. Mud would subtract the word 'all' and include the value added by labor to the definition of 'real wealth'.

Another topic was that endless growth within a closed system is an oxymoron. This time Atcheson hits the mark perfectly when he asks, "Isn’t the whole infinite growth on a finite world thing just a giant, tragic Ponzi Scheme designed to sell out the future?" Because that's exactly what it is, a scheme to steal the 'real wealth' not just from the natural capital existing today but from the people and flourishing ecosystems of the future as well.

"Our current version of capitalism is good at generating more currency, not greater wealth. And we forget that currency is merely a surrogate for things of real value, with no tangible value in and of itself. There are alternatives," says.Atcheson. {Real wealth}..."is being siphoned off by the richest and most powerful in a spiral of inequity. Capitalism – pure, unconstrained capitalism, the kind Reagan promised us would bring morning to America – is instead bringing mourning to America, and to the world."

Our culture seems hypnotized into believing the endless drumbeat of the advertising industry that a momentary satisfying of our induced wants will fulfill our real needs. So our materialist culture continually lives in a daze, continually goes along with the obvious lies to get along. It's the Stockholm syndrome writ large, our culture goes along with such obviously illogical and perverse ideas as interest and profit that enrich the few while draining the 'real wealth' - natural capital and the value added by the productive work of the many both in the present and the future - so the few can live lives of excess. Whadda world, glad i'm a dropout.


Be Careful, Once You Turn On the Light It Often Never Turns Off.

The ‘Honolulu Advertiser’ front page headline on November 30, 1941 read: ‘Japan May Strike over Weekend.’ Still, the military was told to go to the lowest level of readiness, the ships in the harbor were lined up in tight rows, and the aircraft on the airfields were put into circles, nose tip to nose tip.

It was back in '66 that the light turned on for me. It was in history class during my senior year of High School. Those were tumultuous and confusing times, the rumors of cover up surrounding the JFK assassination a few years earlier were swirling, the morality of the War in Vietnam was being argued everywhere. There was a counter culture full of long haired hippies, rock and roll, marijuana, free love, LSD, and a thousand other things going on inside and outside of the little New England town i lived in...as Dylan said, "The times they were a-changin".

The assignment that rocked my world sounded easy enough, write a paper some aspect of on WWII. There was tons of information on WWII everywhere including the local library, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor should have been an easy ride to a good mark [my goal in school back then]. The difference this time was that instead of just reading a few essays, then 'paraphrasing' them i actually read a some stuff that made me read more.

The morning after having read a buncha curious stuff at the local Adams library the day before i drove my old beater Plymouth up to Williamstown and sat down in the Williams College library with a stack of books in front of me. About 8 hours later, tired and bleary eyed, i walked out a different person. Turned out Pearl Harbor was a setup, the US needed an excuse to get into the war, the US leadership sacrificed thousands of innocent lives to achieve their political goals. The paper got written, the teacher hated it, my family hated it, everyone hated it, i got a D - but the jig was up from then on for me - i never again just routinely bought anything the authorities were selling.

History has been controlled and manipulated by the wealthy and powerful since our ancestors squatted around a fire in their caves. The only way to learn what is really happening in the world around you is look into things for yourself. Because it's absolutely impossible to look into anywhere near everything going on in the news today, or even back in '66, i suggest you pick a controversial topic, it doesn't seem to matter which one. You'll probably find...well who knows what... but be careful, once you turn on the light it often never turns off..


Activists in Los Cabos and Rio Agree - Change Will Only Come From Civil Disobedience

“We do not recognize the people who govern for us,” said one Zapatista activist who spoke with a mask on, in the Zapatista tradition, at the Peoples Summit, Cumbre de los Pueblos,  in La Paz. “Solutions come from the streets. They come from what we do in our homes. That’s where solutions come from… We are the 99 percent and we will not obey.”

In Rio Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International's executive director, was furious and said,  "There were so many fudges in the draft agreement that Greenpeace was moving to a 'War Footing' as it now had no other option but to change its strategy and start planning waves of civil disobedience."

The 'People's Movement' is finally realizing that marches and meetings, no matter how well meaning and heartfelt, have become meaningless in the face of the corrupt global power structure. The ballot box too offers no solution when the corporate owned mass media's message of fear blares the same song from every outlet. People fear the loss of whatever they have, as long as 50%+1 people still believe they have something to lose they can and will be easily controlled by their fears.

In addition to the meaningless of protest and the complacency of a materialistically fearful population, many more are subject to the leverage of fear beyond the grave doled out daily by religious institutions. In short, we're screwed. There seems to be only two choices. One a worldwide civil war, WWIII really, this time not a war between nations but a war in every nation between rich and poor. The other, sit back, have another beer, smoke another joint and wait for the environmental Apocalypse, the great leveling. Personally i'd rather go out with a bang than a whimper, looks like lottsa others would too, see ya at the barricades.


Hope is a Verb

Hope is a verb. Hope isn't a destination it's a step up the ontological ladder to change. Hope is one step above fear and despair, one step below knowledge and empowerment, two steps below action. Hope is also a tool. Like any tool it's useless other than as a means towards an end. Only through knowledge can a goal be formed for which a tool can be useful. A tool, even hope, with no direction or purpose, is useless at best and sometimes dangerous.

Hope, by itself, is only false hope that suddenly somehow things may inexplicably change.  False hopes lead to inaction, hope in some future condition—like hope in some future heaven or that the Great Mother, or Jesus Christ, or Santa Claus leads us away from the present, away from the real toward some imaginary future state.  To paraphrase Derrick Jenson in his article 'Beyond Hope', 'frankly, i don’t have much hope in hope itself.'

The pschylogical ladder, the metaphorical ladder to real change, is another matter. As with any ladder a person can only reach the next higher step by leaving the last behind. So it's only when a person quits relying on false hope, and steps up to the next rung, to learning the cause of the despair and fear that dominated a couple of rungs back, can that person move up to taking action that will be effective in creating the real change necessary. Only after climbing the ladder, only by first believing change is possible, only through knowledge of the problems at hand can action become truely meaningful - only then does a person become dangerous to those in power.

Knowledge wise, Rio+20 will fail for the same reason that the banks have failed. Political systems are owned and operared by and for the 1%. To expect governments funded and appointed by this class to protect the biosphere and defend the poor is like expecting a lion to live on gazpacho. Action wise, each of us must choose, alone or in small well trusted groups meeting face to face, what course to take, otherwise, if hope alone is our tool, the future for the children and grandchildren of the 99% will be short, dark and brutal.


Darkness and Fear Win in Greece, For Now, But Syriza Has Turned on the Light of Hope

By election day the pressure, propaganda, and fear of the unknown had cowered enough Greeks to win a slim majority in the election. The fascist forces have pulled the dark shroud of fear back over the minds of many much to their temporary relief. But one battle isn't a war. Though the banksters fear tactics have gained then some time the endgame for the Euro is fast approaching. Before the Euro, productivity differences northern and southern European productivity were balanced through the currency exchange rates, with the Italian, Spanish, Greek and Portuguese currencies depreciating and the northern currencies, including Germany, the Netherlands and Austria, appreciating. As long as this imbalance exists the Euro's future is doomed.

Syriza will now have the freedom as a opposition party to continue shining its light of resistance despite the darkness of fear that has cowered so many in Greece and beyond. That, shining, that turning on of the light of hope in the darkness is the real story these past 6 weeks in Greece. Alex Tsipras and Syriza have shown millions across Europe and around the world that there is a worldwide people's movement who sees that we have the same enemy, that we are part of a huge historic turning and there is common cause for hope.

Throughout history, revolutions have succeeded when a power system runs its course and becomes historically obsolete. It may survive for a while but eventually a political agent appears, to give the final push to the redundant and harmful ancient regime. The collapse of the Greek political elite is a textbook case of how historical necessity combines with popular desire to lead to radical change. Politically the light shone by the courage of so many Greeks will embolden the resistance and hasten the falling dominoes of its southern European neighbors first, then...

The real war - between fear and hope,  between darkness and light, between the few and the many - will be won one mind at a time. Each individual mind must first turn on to struggle we are all collectively involved in by some means [or memes] that sneak past the veil of its comfortable worldview. Once turned on this newly enlightened mind will inevitably seek to tune in and learn about this great historic struggle whose outcome will determine if the lives of our descendants will be worth living. Then, through learning the truth, each individual mind will freely choose to drop out of this death spiral of materialism and live freely in the knowledge that we, the flora, fauna, microbes, minerals, forces and faeries, are all in this together. Turning on of the light hope for so many is why Syriza has won.


The European Troika Cooks Their Own Goose

With just a few hours to go before the polls open in Greece The Mud Report would like to extend its deepest thanks to the three tethered horses of the European Troika, the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB), for so overplaying their hand that they've cooked their own golden egg laying goose. The last straw was added today when prominent German newspapers endorsed the pro-bailout conservative New Democracy Party in tomorrow's election.

The Troika currently have control over the modern European Union’s financial structure and are totally responsible for the austerity measures that have driven Greece to its knees. They and the northern European countries, especially Germany, have financed loan after loan to their southern European 'partners' to buy unnecessary military hardware, to build wonderful empty condos and to pay for the graft and corruption of the elites. Now, by copying the 'structural adjustment' programs the IMF has been using for decades around the globe to rob countries of their commonwealth, the Troika is using its power to destroy the social programs of the people of Europe.

When you or i make a bad decision like lending money to a junkie or whatever - we take our losses, chalk them up to naivety or stupidity, hopefully learn our lesson and not do the same thing next time. Banksters don't. As Luis Garicano professor at the London School of Economics says, “Those who lent to our [southern European] financial system were the banks and the insurance companies of Northern Europe, which should bear the consequences of these decisions. But of course they will not."

The Troika, despite holding all the cards and owning all the chips in this ridiculous game of European financial poker, have decided that they want the rest of it too. They've decided that hunger and poverty aren't enough, that simply bleeding southern Europe of wealth for decades to come as they have in the past two decades where they've grown fat by exporting their goods in Euros undervalued by their southern 'partners' relatively low productivity, they now want to humiliate a proud people who's long history of standing up to oppression from outsiders is legendary.

For this last bit of hubris, for trying to humiliate the Greeks, The Mud Report thanks them because it will be the final straw. The Troika in their imperial fury have forgotten the fact that the southern European players in this one-sided poker game also have the choice of calling it a night, getting up from the table and quitting. Of walking out the door and breathing the free sweet fresh air of a new day.


The Dutch Tulip Market and The Last Fool Theory

Market crashes, whether it's real estate, commodities, currency or whatever, always look the same graphically-exactly like the 17th century Dutch Tulip market crash. They are always caused by the same delusions too. They are always financed by bankers lending imaginary fiat currency to speculators who always pretend that, despite the laws of economic gravity, this time this 'investment' can only go up. And it does until...until it doesn't, then it plummets.

Of course when it inevitably plummets the last poor fool holding whatever sparkly-shiny thing it is this time loses everything. In the meantime the banks that financed the delusion made a huge 'profit' on each new transaction as the price kept ratcheting up. The banks take those ill-gotten short-term gains of imaginary money and give it to their shareholders.as dividends. When the last fool into the speculative carnival can't sell the formerly shiny asset he/she can't pay the bank and the bank goes broke [poor bank].

Now comes the real magic of capitalism and banking. Because of the legal structure of corporations and the limited liability of their shareholders the banks can't go get back after all the 'profit' they previously paid as dividends the way that the income tax folks can go after your savings and other assets from past successful wage earning and saving years [ain't lawyers great]. Instead the banks can go, or threaten to go, bankrupt and demand a bailout from the government whose only source of revenue is the taxpayer. So the speculators and bankers get the loot and the rest of us get the boot.

Spain's banks are in their current fix is much like Florida's or Nevada's were after the big Wall Street banks inflated U.S. housing values by underwriting irresponsible mortgages through networks of unscrupulous mortgage brokers. Foreigners invested in Spanish bank securities, and the latter financed a hotel and housing boom. In the wake of the 2008 speculator driven financial crisis, loans defaulted and Spanish banks were stuck with non-performing real estate loans.

The same scenario is taking place everywhere there are speculators and banksters including in my home town and yours. Here in southwestern BC, especially Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna, the real estate developers, speculators and their banker buddies are still riding the upside of the curve. But as you'll notice the tulip market curve always starts to flatten before it starts to plummet. Real estate prices here, like almost all of the overblown commodity market's prices worldwide, have noticeably flattened recently. Wonder who the last fool into BC's overblown real estate markets will be?


Greeks Wonder - 'How Would Socrates Vote?' - Three Days Before Election that Could Change the World

"The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being," said Socrates. In three days, on Sunday, whatever Greece decides will have a dramatic effect on the future of the EU, the eurozone and, very likely, the rest of the world. Today, under a barrage of propaganda the Greeks are examining aplenty.

While examining their political choices the Greeks, like most other residents of southern Europe's beleaguered, bewildered and bankrupt countries, are spending their time lined up at their banks withdrawing their savings as fast as they can. The banks, the bond markets, the stock markets, all the financial markets and the corporate media around the globe are unanimous - it's clear where the world's 1% stand.

Many Greeks who, like Socrates, have examined the history of recent defaults in Argentina, Iceland, Russia and Indonesia know that there is an upside to default. Greece can default, defy the IMF and private bankers and escape from this debt trap.  By Defaulting Greece will show the world not only that there is an alternative, but that the alternative could be very good.

Syriza's leader, Alexis Tsipras has spent the week barnstorming around Greece. On Sunday, it was Chios. On Monday, Heraklion, the capital of Crete. On Tuesday, Athens. At every stop his message is the same. "We speak the language of hope," says Tsipras, "where others speak the language of fear." One part of that hopeful message from Syriza, a party which pays homage to Che Guevara, says that it will look to Russia and China for aid. What better use could China make of its huge reserves of US dollars that to support those who defy the vulture capitalists. Go Greece Go, a life of subservience is not a life worth living.


La Via Campesina Leading the 'People's Agricultural Movement' by Confronting Capitalism

A very interesting new report, “ Combating Monsanto Grassroots resistance to  the corporate power of agribusiness in the era of the ‘green economy’ and a changing climate”, jointly produced by La Via Campesina, Friends of the Earth International and Combat Monsanto - available in English, French and Spanish - provides snapshots of frontline struggles against Monsanto and other agrochemical corporations pushing genetically modified (GM) crops onto farmers and into the environment.

The testimonies and analysis contained in this report aim to inspire and unite consumers, activists and communities against the abuses carried out by Monsanto and other biotech corporations around the world. “This report demonstrates that the increasingly vocal objections from social movements and civil society organisations are having an impact on the introduction of GM crops.” said Josie Riffaud from La Via Campesina. 

The use of GM crops destroys essential crop diversity. As Andrea Brower pointed out in her article, 'Eating Our Way to a Better World?', a few days ago the real enemy in this war is -  just as the real enemy in Greece, in all of southern Europe, in Latin America, in climate destruction, in species extinction... in every social justice issue everywhere - capitalism. The large majority of GM crops are grown for animal feed or agrofuels destined for rich nations rather than food for the poor and hungry. - Combat Monsanto

Please look into the facts and figures from 'The Food Revolution', you'll probably be amazed at how many lies the corporate media is feeding us all in service to its advertiser's agenda. If, for instance, farmers stop planting GMOs, and make the transition to organic farming, farm and ranch land can become a significant sink or sequestration pool for greenhouse gasses, literally sucking excess greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and sequestering them safely in the soil, where they belong.


Greece's 'Potato Movement' Shows the Way Out of the Euro Crisis for Greeks and Everyone Else

A growing group of grassroots activists are cutting out agricultural middlemen and connecting farmers and shoppers. The historic movement has come to be known as the 'potato movement' - and it is having an empowering effect on Greeks, not only as consumers, but also as citizens and voters.

Thousands of Greeks have taken part in six distributions of rice, flour, potatoes and oil throughout the country. The direct sale of food by producers to consumers is the beginning of a bright new future for Greece, southern Europe and the rest of the beleaguered capitalist/fascist world - hopefully. The 'potato movement' is a body blow to the exploitative capitalist model.  People feeding each other rather than exchanging labor for imaginary fiat money is the way to go.

There are MANY 'potato movements' happening around the world, we don't often hear about them through the corporate media,  but we can feel them quaking and cracking das kapitalist system, to the core. These are the People's Movements...Localization of food production and distribution is the way to bypass government bureaucracy, waste and corruption. Farmers can sell their crop and get enough cash to prepare next year's crop. Consumers get affordable prices and the type of currency or its international exchange rate don't matter a hoot.

Southern Europe can stop this self-destructive bankster driven suicide before it's too late. They do not have to subcontract their destiny to the Bundesbank. Call the German bluff. Capital would flow back into southern Europe once the Latin countries drop the Euro and allow their currencies to float.

Recession-hit Greeks can now buy rice for a euro per kilo directly from producers.


There's Spanish Banks , then there's the Spanish banks

One's an idyllic playground in Vancouver BC, the other is in big trouble. One still exists in a la-la land where the real-estate bubble hasn't burst quite yet. In the other the bubble has burst, real-estate prices have dropped nearly 60% from their peak, there's over 25% unemployment nationally and despite a massive bailout of 100 billion Euros just two days ago by the EU [essentially the Germans] investors are fleeing from Spanish banks and the government's debt.

In Spain the banks lent billions of Euros to inflate a real-estate bubble. There were a lot of small home-buyer loans to people who could never pay them back, but that's only a tiny part of the Spanish crisis. The big loans were almost all to real-estate speculators and builders, corrupt money-men who built huge apartment complexes that never have been inhabited, some of them never completed. The speculators bought and sold while the prices were still up, and everyone else is now caught holding the bag.

Investors fled from Spanish government debt on Monday, an immediate rejection of the country's planned bank bailout by the constituency it most desperately needs to impress: the buyers of its own government bonds. Put all of this together and you get a picture of a European policy elite always ready to spring into action to defend the banks, but otherwise completely unwilling to admit that its policies are failing the people the economy is supposed to serve. But don’t despair: at the rate things are going, especially in Europe, utter catastrophe may be just around the corner.

Of course we Canucks shouldn't expect our Dear Leaders to have learned anything from the banking disasters in Europe. All across Canada our banks continue to follow the same idiotic logic of 'what goes up, must keep going up'. Our Canadian banks continue, ostrich like, to lend ever huger sums into the overly heated real-estate markets based on the nonsensical recommendations of hand picked Pollyanna minded appraisers. The Canadian game of musical 'real-estate' chairs will end, as it has in Spain, with the last owners of the 'inflated real-estate game' winning the prize of a sleeping bag on the street.


Obama and the Democrats are Nervous This Morning

Yesterday's clear victory in Wisconsin by ultra-conservative Republican Governor Scott Walker has the liar Obama and his team sweating this morning. The oily-bomber's spin doctors are out whirling like dervishes, spinning their tale of how Walker out spent the Democrat Barrett 8 to 1, how the evil Koch brothers alone donated twice as much money to Walker as Barrett raised in total.

All that's true, the same billionaires who's post Citizen's United super-pacs are flooding the media in support of Moneybags Mitt threw resources into Scott Walker's anti-union fight while the Democratic party stood by and it was a recipe for defeat. But that bitter brew of defeat contained more than just big bucks, there was lottsa stuff that contributed to the Democrats' defeat. Many folks, of both the elephantine and jack-ass persuasion, were mad about the recall process and angry over the ballooning cost of public employee benefits at a time of economic distress.

Turnout was up by about 400,000 from 2010  when the same two guys were running, but many of those voters cast ballots to keep Walker in office, Walker won by a larger percentage over Barrett than in 2010. So, many Democrats didn't vote as the pundits had predicted, according to exit polls almost 40% of union workers voted against the Democrats.

Looks like Democrats, in Wisconsin at least, are not amused. Looks like the jack-ass party has reason to sweat this morning. The Democrats were highly motivated in 2008 by what turned out to be the empty promises of  'change' by Obama.IT's easy to see how far their spirits have fallen from that glorious election night almost 4 years ago when progressive change seemed real. But Obama didn't do what he promised, didn't even try. He rolled over and became just another lapdog of the corporate greed machine and has taken the enthusiasm of many Democrats down the drain with him.

Obama listened to the advice of his main political adviser 'Rahm the Fixer' who told him that there was no danger to him in 2012 from abandoning his earlier promises and scurrying to the right because his progressive followers would still 'have' to vote for him in 2012. Rahm and David Axelrod et. al were convinced that any Republican candidate would be unacceptable to Democrats in 2012. Rahm Emanuel and Obama's  brain trust were wrong...now there's the smell of fear in that sweat.


Occupy Wall Street's Next Act-To Ocupy Dollar Bills-Another Great Idea from Ben Cohen

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, major financial supporter of OWS and the man behind flavors such as Cherry Garcia, Chubby Hubby and Jamaican Me Crazy, is rolling out a plan to stamp out corporate money in US politics. Ben and OWS are teaming up with Move to Amend to distribute rubber stamps with anti-corporate election spending messages so that the politically-minded can mark their dollar bills.

The goal of Move to Amend is to secure a constitutional amendment that says “corporations do not enjoy the same protected rights as individuals and that money is not a form of speech.” Their website titled 'We the People, Not We the Corporations' says in part, "We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule."

The organizers plan to use slogans like “Corporations are not people,” “Money is not speech” and “Not to be used for bribing politicians,” will now adorn currency in an Occupy cash campaign. OWS is in the process of expanding its reach horizontally, to mimic its organization perhaps, and to encourage everyone everywhere to Occupy All Streets.

What a great, eye opening, idea. Especially in the US where they still use one dollar bills and where those small bills are found in every one's wallet and purse everywhere in the country. It's a bummer that up here in the Great White North it might not work very well because we have $1 and $2 coins so our smallest denomination bills are $5. Plus up here currency itself is very seldom used, almost every person uses either debit or credit cards for almost every transaction. Maybe we could make stamps saying 'STOP HARPER' and just go around stamping all kinds of stuff willy-nilly.


Speaking Out About Religio-Fascism on Blackout-Speakout Protest Day

Today hundreds of organization's websites are being blacked out in an organized protest against the Harper government's Omnibus Budget Bill C-38. The Mud Report has decided to support the speak out part of the protest instead. Many of the hundreds organizations involved are environment groups pissed off about the changes to the Fisheries and Environmental review processes that will result in irreversible environmental destruction as well as the centralized decision-making around the massive pipeline projects into the prime minister's office thereby taking away local community input while at the same time creating huge windfall profits for Harper's Oil cartel benefactors.

But the bigger question is why? Why does Harper, despite such an obviously outraged opposition and a majority government elected by 39.1% of those who voted, believe he has the right to push these huge changes through in such a vulgar partisan way? He and his cronies do it because they are religio-fascists, You can't change a religio-fascist zealot's mind, except by force as like all despots, they believe god is on their side.

A number of articles have been published lately that agree with my assessment like 'Understanding Harper's Evangelical Mission'  and 'The Religion Factor in Canada's Environmental Politics'. Then there's Marci McDonald's book 'The Armageddon Factor' which attempts by way of short biographies to show the interlocking histories of the Canadian theo-cons and the connections to their richer more bombastic American brethren. The Armageddon Factor is an important book for all Canadians to read as soon as possible.

As Andrew Nikiforuk says, "Signs mount that Canada's government is beholden to a religious agenda averse to science and rational debate." Nikiforuk points out that the Prime Minister is known to belong to an Alberta fundamentalist Protestant church that espouses "evangelical climate skepticism". Nikiforuk contends that this church holds tenets which "not only explain startling developments in Canada but should raise the hair on the neck of every thinking citizen regardless of their faith, including unreconstructed Dominion theology (God calls on humans to subdue and rule creation)."

Here is the most dangerous delusion of the religio-fascists. The delusion that all of creation is "God" given to humans for their use. From it descends the central debate of the last many hundred years. It's the debate between unquestioning religious dogma and rational/intellectual logic. The evangelicals are simply the most recently outspoken advocates of unquestioning belief in the static structure of creation, of the last/past power of authority. Science, on the other hand, is a tool of the rational, questioning, never absolutely sure intellect of the present era.

Science is never sure, its thesis always subject to change when a new rational antithesis adds to it. Science is dynamic and changeable, Religion is static and unchangeable. The old order of religion still holds sway in the minds of many who are deluded by the hypnotic power of authority and comforted from their fears of death and the unknown. Our, those of us who question and think for ourselves, only hope is that somehow the old order will fail and the bright light of reason will prevail. That's what 'Blackout-Speakout is all about.


Will Canada's Banks be the Next to Fall Into the Vortex of Falling Property Prices?

Often hidden within the financial news outta Europe is the fact Europe's banks, especially Spanish banks, are shaky because they were heavily exposed to their country's burst real estate bubbles and now hold massive amounts of soured investments, such as defaulted mortgage loans or devalued property. It's exactly the same scenario that happened in the US 4 years ago, though the US's troubles were further compounded by the spell of the secondary derivatives market that the financial wizards cast upon the world.

Banks here in Canada are constantly bragging about their stability and narcissisticly lauding their profit margins. Those huge multi-billion dollar profits are being generated in large part by the huge debt burden being carried by home 'owners' just like the pre-real estate bubble collapse profits of the US and European banks were. Banks everywhere are only to happy to re-finance, to give equity loans to the partying public to buy some more bling so their shareholders can roll in the profits secure in the knowledge that the corrupt politicians, elected by the bling blinded bozos, will bail them out once the clock strikes midnight.

Canadian banks are not immune to the vortex of over lending during the present Canadian housing bubble. As economies around the world slow down the commodity prices that support Canada's current good fortune will drop, followed by plummeting employment in the extraction sector which was once  balanced by the manufacturing sector, before the dwindling manufacturing sector started shedding jobs willy-nilly due to Dutch Disease, globalization and dubious 'Free' Trade deals. At that point who's gonna buy all the over priced-over mortgaged real estate? How rosy will the banks profile be then? How quickly will they come crawling to the unemployed taxpayers of Canuckistan for a bailout?

There was a time when the Church was the most powerful institution in Western Society and few questioned its right to be so. In our society today by far the most powerful institutions are banks, supported by a web of financial structures which reinforce this power. It is time we questioned their right to be so mighty and to ask whose interests they serve.


The Tyranny of the Majority in Greece and Elsewhere is Usually Driven by the Bourgeois Dream

By defination In a democracy the majority rules. That concept of a majority, 50% + 1, is being put to the test right now everywhere in the world whose government is called a democracy, no more so anywhere than in Greece right now where the pressure of propaganda by the financial wizards is obscuring the usual political division of left-right.

Greece, like the rest of the western world, is 'occupied' by a wide variety of people and, like most places, a few of those people control most of Greece's assets. Most of the time in most of the world that obvious division between the few and the many is obscured by the carrot held out in front of those who, though they have far less than the elites-have relatively more than the poorest, think that if they play by the rules they too will one day achieve material comfort akin to that of the elites and by the stick of fear that warns them that if they don't play by the rules they be thrown into the mud of poverty.

The carrot and stick method of control used on the middle class usually results in a class of politically timid conformists who are satisfied with dreams of becoming wealthy, who lives consumerist life styles characterised by conspicuous consumption and continual striving for prestige, the 'Bourgeois Dream'. But this method of control by the few is quickly breaking down in Greece and the rest of Southern Europe because the many are recognizing that their plight.

With no immediate/easy fix in sight, the majority are redefining where their allegiance belongs. Consequently the Greek leftist's coalition, Syriza, are leading in the polls and it looks like 'the time of the Left has come'. Syriza's leader Tsipras promised to boost the minimum wage, hike taxes on the rich and freeze a major privatization drive designed to raise $24.2 billion, a key condition of its bailout deal. He also pledged to "nationalize and socialize" Greek banks. Let's hope he has good security.


Fear Mongering by the Wizards of Finance Fan the Flames of Austerity

What makes people vote against the best interests of their community like the Irish did yesterday? Fear. Fear of losing what little they have. Fear of the unknown. It's fear plain and simple. Fear, who's divisive flames are being fanned by the financial plutocrats through their corporate media mouthpieces. Just like in L. Frank Baum's 1900 classic 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' the many are easily controlled by the few through their irrational fears.

All across Europe, all around the world, the austerity doctrine, so perfectly exposed by Paul Krugman in his NYT article 'The Austerity Agenda' today, is being trumpeted by the banksters and right-wing fanatics exactly as Naomi Klein explained in her seminal book 'The Shock Doctrine' to manipulate the fearful many into giving up the public services and common assets their ancestors worked and fought to build through the generations.

One big difference between the fearful sheeple living today and their ancestors is that the modern type have been conditioned to believe they exist separately from environment, their surroundings, separately from their fellow humans. To believe that by some occult force they as individuals and their kin group are exceptional and that they can, and will, be able to keep hold of their meager means while the others around them sink into poverty. Humans have bought into the materialist illusion hook, line and sinker and now fear the loss of their private possessions as much or more than they fear the angel of death itself.

The official program of the ascendant Greek left party, Syriza, came out today. It's moving to read an actual list of demands that center on social justice as well as how progressive and truly radical it seems in this dark age of inequity. Perhaps the Greeks will rise up on June 17th and overthrow the fear propaganda they are being bombarded by these days. Or perhaps the Spanish who's runs on the bank continue everyday, or the Italians, or the Portuguese, or the casserole banging Canadians or ? will topple the dark lords of the elites. It may be none of them will succeed, but someday soon some group will pull back the curtain and expose the fear mongering wizards of finance for the frauds they are..