Tla’amin Band and Powell River Residents Rally in Solidarity With Chief Theresa Spence

Yesterday members of the Tla’amin Band and many other of Powell River's residents joined in the national protest rally in support of Chief Theresa Spence and the 'Idle No More' movement. It was a great and moving afternoon of chanting, dancing and learning a bit about the history and culture of the Tla’amin people. Well over a hundred folks of all races, sexes, ages, sizes and shapes participated. It was very uplifting.

Chief Theresa Spence, of course, is on a hunger strike on a small island in the Ottawa River demanding a meeting with the Prime Minister about the treaty obligations he and his right-wing party are abandoning in their the immoral Omnibus Bill C-45. This bill which includes a porridge of anti-environmental and land grabbing statutes designed to force Canada's First Nations into dividing their lands into privately held pieces instead of being held in common as they have been for millennia as well as removing environmental protection from millions waterways across Canada.

Bill C-45 is in contravention of the agreements and treaties signed by Canada's Queen and those First Nations  But Harpo and his delusional evangelical cronies see themselves as hearing the calling of, and serving, a higher power - their "God". First Nations peoples have had this same problem with treaties between themselves and the white devils who, since the earliest European arrivals, will agree to and sign whatever agreements suit them in the present then change their minds when those agreements no longer suit them.

Of course, it's not just aboriginal peoples that find themselves in this lurch, just ask the Canadian Wheat Board about those decades old laws in Canada and how quickly the Harpo regime changed those to suit their backers as soon as they had the chance. In fairness though, it's not just Harpo. Tribe after tribe in North America has signed treaties then saw everything change once a different 'democratic' group came into power. It only takes a few minutes at Google to learn what the Cherokee, the Lakota and so many others have learned - treaties with white people are meaningless as soon as a valuable resource is discovered on their lands.

The main focus of Bill C-45 is greasing the way for Harpo's pipelineistan fantasies by eliminating the treaty obligations that guarantee those pesky aboriginals the right to protect the environment between his oil industry backers and their every growing gluttonous profits.

Anyway, it's all such crap because for the rest of us of all races, a deal is a deal. Canada signed treaties that gave Canada legal ownership of huge resource wealth in exchange for certain guarantees. Now they want to get more and give less, to bad, a deal is a deal, and 'we the people' will stand up to Harpo and his thieving capitalist supporters. We the people are 'Idle No More'.


Revealed: How the FBI Coordinated the Crackdown on Occupy by Naomi Wolf

This article was published on Sunday, December 30, 2012 by The Guardian. It's a very important article and it's being re-posted here just in case...just in case it somehow disappears at other venues.

Police used teargas to drive back protesters following an attempt by the Occupy supporters to shut down the city of Oakland

It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.

The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations' knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).

As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a "terrorist threat":

"FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country."
Verheyden-Hilliard points out the close partnering of banks, the New York Stock Exchange and at least one local Federal Reserve with the FBI and DHS, and calls it "police-statism":

"This production [of documents], which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI's surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement … These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America."
The documents show stunning range: in Denver, Colorado, that branch of the FBI and a "Bank Fraud Working Group" met in November 2011 – during the Occupy protests – to surveil the group. The Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia had its own private security surveilling Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passing privately-collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI, which, in turn, categorized OWS activities under its "domestic terrorism" unit. The Anchorage, Alaska "terrorism task force" was watching Occupy Anchorage. The Jackson, Michigan "joint terrorism task force" was issuing a "counterterrorism preparedness alert" about the ill-organized grandmas and college sophomores in Occupy there. Also in Jackson, Michigan, the FBI and the "Bank Security Group" – multiple private banks – met to discuss the reaction to "National Bad Bank Sit-in Day" (the response was violent, as you may recall). The Virginia FBI sent that state's Occupy members' details to the Virginia terrorism fusion center. The Memphis FBI tracked OWS under its "joint terrorism task force" aegis, too. And so on, for over 100 pages.

Jason Leopold, at Truthout.org, who has sought similar documents for more than a year, reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration of Occupy Wall Street existed at all. But the release may be strategic: if you are an Occupy activist and see how your information is being sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, not to mention the "longterm plans" of some redacted group to shoot you, this document is quite the deterrent.

There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people's income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent.

Remember that only 10% of the money donated to WikiLeaks can be processed – because of financial sector and DHS-sponsored targeting of PayPal data. With this merger, that crushing of one's personal or business financial freedom can happen to any of us. How messy, criminalizing and prosecuting dissent. How simple, by contrast, just to label an entity a "terrorist organization" and choke off, disrupt or indict its sources of financing.

Why the huge push for counterterrorism "fusion centers", the DHS militarizing of police departments, and so on? It was never really about "the terrorists". It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you.


Extension of the 'Fearful Imperial Slaves Act' [FISA] Ends Any Illusion of Liberty and Justice For All

Once upon a time the US was respected around the world for its attempt to rise above the authoritarian grip of the few over the inalienable rights of the many to freedom and liberty for all. But like all stories that start with 'once upon a time' it was a fairytale. The noble words in US Constitution and The Declaration of Independence are only words, words that are subject, like all words are, to the vagaries of time and the pursing of definition by lawyers. In reality noble concepts like liberty and freedom for all can only be protected by constant action, never by words.

When the US Senate voted 73-23 this past Friday to reauthorize the FISA Act of 2008 which gave vast, unchecked surveillance authority to the government it showed once again that there is only one party in the US, it has two flavors and one agenda. There were a few Senators, as there were a few in the House earlier, who introduced amendments designed to provide a small amount of oversight to the domestic spying law but they were easily defeated as Senators voted overwhelmingly to defend the sweeping powers for NSA.

If America survives this fascist era future Americans will look back on these dark days and wonder how its current citizens could have been blind to the growing darkness. Present day Americans, including x-patriots like me, should have recognized who the liar Obama really supported when, as a newly elected Senator, he first said he'd vote to filibuster the original FISA, then quickly retreated to saying he'd vote against it, then, when it actually came time to vote, he voted for it. Now the lying SOB not only fully endorses it but, along with many of his corporate owned fellow Democrats, are pushing behind the scenes to make the Bush era secret spying laws permanent.

The FISA is about guaranteeing perpetual power and profit for the corporations that now own the US Government, about protecting the rich by any means necessary, about the end of any illusions Americans may once have had of privacy or liberty or freedom. The FISA allows the government to get secret court orders - orders that do not require probable cause like regular warrants. From now on any American who stands in the way of the US Government's demands for unaccountable, secret power will be automatically guilty of helping the terrorists.

Many may still fear America, but few still respect it.


'Fiscal Cliff' Just Another Apocalyptic Prediction, This One From the Wall St. Cult

Basically the fiscal cliff hysteria is fear mongering bullshit [at best], designed to manipulate the already fear-filled world, especially the American portion of it, into swallowing more of the crap they already are choking on. The pie chart above shows clearly who the biggest losers will be in any percentage based across the board spending cuts to the US 'budget'. Seeing cuts to the bloated military that would never be made otherwise is plenty of reason to join the chorus of folks chanting of "Jump Fuckers Jump", but there's more, lots more.

On the revenue side it's the same story. The lamestream media refuses to mention that the 1%ers will lose far more of their gluttonous fortunes than anyone else [is the JFJ chanting in your neighborhood growing louder yet?]. Democracy is dead in the US and barely breathing anywhere else including Canada. The US is a fascist state totally controlled corporations and protected by the military. The whole house of cards is financed by borrowing huge sums of money everyday just like Germany did between the two world wars. One day, when all the US's assets have been mortgaged, the Chinese, just like Visa, will cut off the credit and the US will...

To puts things into perspective as to the present economic situation in the USA.

* U.S. Tax revenue:     $ 2,170,000,000,000
* Fed budget:              $ 3,820,000,000,000
* New debt:                $ 1,650,000,000,000
* National debt:           $ 14,271,000,000,000
* Recent budget cuts:   $ 38,500,000,000

Let's now remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a household budget:

* Annual family income:                                    $ 21,700
* Money the family spent:                                 $ 38,200
* New debt on the credit card:                         $ 16,500
* Outstanding balance on the credit card:          $ 142,710
* Total budget cuts so far:                                 $ 38.50

Got it ?????

Many moons ago when i was a kid in the 50's many folks, including my parents and grandparents, used to ask: How could the 'good' Germans have let it - the bankruptcy, the building of such a war machine, the killing, the holocaust - happen? Now we know, people lose their freedom not with a bang but with barely a whimper. One day, if there's anybody left to ask, they'll ask the same question: How could the 'good' Americans have let it happen?


Thanks to Canada's Indigenous People the 'Idle No More' Message is Spreading Around the World

Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects the land and water. Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage to the land and water. We must repair these violations, live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work towards justice in action, and protect Mother Earth.

As Naomi Klein wrote, "The people whose land our founders stole and whose culture they tried to stamp out are rising up, hungry for justice. All Canadians should offer our deepest thanks that our indigenous brothers and sisters have protected their land rights for all these generations, refusing to turn them into one-off payments, no matter how badly they were needed. These are the rights Mr. Harper is trying to extinguish now."

With Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike now in it's 14th day the Idle No More movement has now spread around the world. Idle No More signs are popping up in major cities and small towns on every continent because one thing every aboriginal group shares everywhere is their hatred of the colonialists who in the past, and to this present day, use violence and unjust laws like Harpo's immoral Bill C-45 to steal and destroy their sacred lands in the name of 'civilization'.

Finally, a truly good piece of news in this season of conspicuous consumption and greed, of plastic Santas and shopping mall Xmas music designed to drive the empty consumerist culture further into debt by enriching the gluttonous few. Let us all join in their protests and rejoice, not because some mythical hero may once have been born but because something truly magical is happening everywhere here and now.


The Solution to America's Gun Problems: Re-Brand the NRA into the National Retriever Association

The heartwarming pictures and stories about how therapy dogs - professional comforters - were brought to Newtown, Connecticut, almost immediately after the horrific shootings on December 14 offer a real solution to the fears so often manifested within America's gun culture. The K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry of Illinois has nine Golden Retrievers in Newtown to help comfort community residents in need. The comfort these most perfect therapists are obviously providing every person of every age is a testimony to the healing power of our best friends.

Not surprisingly, the spin doctors of fear at the National Rifle Association are proposing armed guards in every American school as their solution. Leaving aside the absurd logic of 'more guns being the solution to gun violence' because...well its absurd except to fear riddled gun-nuts, there's also the fact that it would  bankrupt already cash starved governments and taxpayers and be useless at best.

Combining parts of these two seemingly disparate stories could result in a re-branding of the NRA into the 'National Retriever Association'. Imagine if stationed in every classroom in every school in America was a genuine 4 legged therapist who's job it was to give and receive unconditional love from the kids who will inevitably grow up into America's future citizens. Now there's a real long term solution to the problems associated with America's gun culture.

This solution, dog food and vet bills included, would cost far less and provide more security both in the present and in the future for my fellow Americans. Therapy dogs could easily be trained to sniff out weapons and warn teachers long before a weapon wielding maniac came close. Besides nurturing emotional growth and providing comfort, dogs bark warnings instinctively, dogs protect their family, dogs, unlike electronic screening devices, don't stop doing their job when the power gets cutoff or the maniac comes through a window instead of a door..

Dogs could provide advanced warning of the emotional distresses that build into the kind of senseless slaughter of innocent kids like the slaughter in Newtown we're all so in shock over. About the only characteristic that psychologists agree on as a common denominator among future mass murders is the past mis-treatment of animals. So therapy dogs in every classroom could also provide an opportunity to see inside the minds of those potentially deranged future killers and allow them to be treated far in advance.

"More kisses, more pets, more un-conditional love are the solution America needs...not more guns"

This message brought to you by the National Retriever Association


New Age Flunkies Flock to Mayan Riviera in Search of Enlightenment and the Perfect Taco

Judging by the emails that have rolled in these last few days from the Spiritualist seekers upset about my post a few days ago on how easily the fearful become the gullible, it appears apologies may be in order. Turns out alotta of folks wanna 'believe' that either Dec. 21st will be the dawning of a type of spiritual a 'New World Order'. Sure hope they're right cause my poor deluded species needs help that's 4 sure.

Turns out not the majority of folks flocking to the Mayan Rivera aren't of the fearful Doomsday persuasion they're New Age flunkies in search of enlightenment...my replies always include the cliche "no matter where you go, there you are." and the advice that most of the time 'inner' perfection is accompanied by outter perfection, consequently they should focus on searching for the perfect taco as surely enlightenment must be close by.

All of this would just be funny if it weren't for the fact that children and those with anxiety issues or mental illness are particularly vulnerable to this type of fear mongering bullshit. Teachers and parents are reporting that suicide threats by truly frightened young people are common. They are watching Doomsday theorists on YouTube and reading their bullshit on web forums. These kids who are terrified are the victims of this hoax far more than the existentially fearful adults or the well heeled New Age seekers.

“The lack of scientific education and the lack of scientific knowledge — scientific illiteracy — that is a public health concern.” Say the authors of the 2012hoax website. Their extensive and excellent website explains scientifically every aspect of this dangerous delusion in easy to understand language. And if you don't think any of this is dangerous just remember Heaven’s Gate in 1997, when 39 people in California committed suicide en masse because they wanted to ascend to a supposed spaceship trailing the Hale-Bopp comet.

All around the globe today the flames of fear are being fanned in the name of selfish fame and fortune - just like every day. Unfortunately this particular pile of bullshit will pass into history in a few days but the charlatans, crackpots and jackasses won't.


Can 'Idle No More' and Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's Hunger Strike be the Tipping Point?

Earlier this week, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) became the latest of a number of labour organizations to show solidarity with the hunger strike. In a letter delivered Monday, CUPW wrote: "The Canadian Union of Postal Workers honour Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat for her courageous stand in defense of the land against the moral bankruptcy of the Canadian state..."

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is now on Day 9 of an indefinite hunger strike while living in a teepee on Anishinabe traditional territory of Victoria Island in the Ottawa River, barely a kilometre from Parliament. Yesterday Official Opposition leader Mulcair urged PM Harper to meet with Theresa Spence saying in part, "From coast to coast to coast, an unprecedented wave of grassroots action is sweeping across First Nations communities."

Attawapiskat was the focus of the mass media just over a year ago when Chief Theresa Spence decided that the deplorable conditions on their northern reserve had to change and saw no there was no other avenue than the media for help. International media and human rights groups roundly condemned the succession of Canadian governments who had, and continue to, ignore their treaty obligations to the indigenous peoples who their ancestors slaughtered and stole the land from them in the name of 'progress'.

Harper and his cronies are simply the latest, and far from the greatest, abusers of the legal and moral obligations Canada promised to abide by in the past. And they are far from unique in how aboriginal peoples are treated everywhere that our ancestors 'civilized' in the past centuries.

The 'Idle No More' movement started on Twitter just a few days ago and its momentum is sweeping it across Canada. There over 25,000 articles listed at Google. ca News this morning covering rallies in cities and towns all across Canada, far to many to mention or summarize here. But The Mud Report would like to thank Rabble.ca for their ongoing coverage of, hopefully, this tipping point in Canada's treatment of its First Nations.


Cortes Island's Residents Take Aim At Island Timberlands' Raw Log Export Markets

A few of Cortes Island's Wildstands Alliance members

All of us owe The Vancouver Observer our gratitude for their excellent coverage of the Cortes Island resident's ongoing battle to save what little is remains of the old-growth forests on Cortes. Today's article titled 'Cortes Island logging dispute moves to the market' is an important update.

As Tzeporah Berman, a Cortes Island resident and key organizer of the Clayoquot Sound blockade said a couple of weeks ago, "People are here [at the blockade] because they want to make it known that the industrial forestry model doesn’t work for local communities and it doesn’t work for the province. Island Timberlands will destroy ecologically sensitive ecosystems and leave nothing beneficial in its wake. We will be left with devastated ecosystems, a contaminated water supply and no long term jobs. All the benefit is going to people who live far away and who aren't aware of the cost of their profits to our community and our province."

Quoting today's article, "...local residents' blockades of Island Timberlands' logging operations resulted in a withdrawal of the crew, but as Zoe Miles from the WildStands Alliance notes, the company has yet to meet Cortes Island homeowners or make any revision to the logging plans. As a result, residents against IT's industrial scale logging have tracked the raw logs Island Timberlands are exporting to mills in Washington State and to their retail customers and are sending letters to raise awareness about the dispute."

Below is an excerpt of the letter:

Island Timberlands is presently in conflict with the community of Cortes Island over logging of some of the very last stands of old growth forest in the region.

This is a region with extremely little primary forest remaining. In addition, Island Timberlands is in conflict with the community over logging plans in important watersheds and other issues of great concern.


Since most of the U.S. industry has already made public commitments not to trade in old growth and conflict wood products, we ask that you enforce this commitment by contacting Simpson Lumber and Island Timberlands at the earliest opportunity to advise them that you will have to stop sourcing their products if they do not resolve the conflicts.

We realize you have most likely been caught up in this conflict unwittingly and very much appreciate your positive involvement in resolving the conflicts.


WARNING: Only 3 Shopping Days Left 'Til Doomsday

Will the four horsemen be riding in on Dec. 21st?

Nothing sells better than FEAR, even sex comes in a distant second. Charlatans have known for centuries that the easiest way to separate the gullible, fearful humans from their hard earned material resources is by convincing the fearful that there is a route available to avoid the outcomes they fear and that they, the snake oil salesmen, are in possession of the road map.

Fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear of horrible, uncontrollable circumstances, the apocalypse - primarily the domain of religious fundamentialists throughout history- has 'em all, how could any self-respecting fraudster ask for more. The folks in the US and Canada don't have a monopoly on gullibility or snake oil salespersons, the Apocalypse 2012 bullshit is worldwide. A quick Google search turns up thousands of sites selling gear to the apocalyptically fearful. A few like the Zombie Apocalypse Store are somewhat tongue in cheek and have a broader survivalist clientele. Others like those here and here, are serious about doomsday coming to a planet near you on December 21st 2012.

The ancient Mayans never thought the world would end in 2012, new research shows, neither do contemporary Mayans, though they have no problem fleecing the fearful who do. They take the affluent tourists on tours, speak at their retreats, whatever it takes to separate the gullible from their money. The present day Mayans of Mexico and Guatamala have seen that apocalyptic thinking is a way people cope with their fears, somehow the belief in widespread destruction and death makes individual fears seem less terrible. So... might as well give 'em what they came for eh.

The apocalyptically fearful had better hurry though 'cause there's only 3 shopping days left to fill their backyard bunkers with food, water and firepower. Personally, my best friend and i plan to celebrate the December 21st 2012 solstice with a few beers and a joint down at the beach like we did last year.


Dawn Hochsprung, Mary Sherlach and Victoria Soto are the Heroes We Should Remember

Dawn Hochsprung,  Mary Sherlach and Victoria Soto gave their lives yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary trying to save the lives of their students. They are the ones who's names we should remember, they are the heroes, they are the 'good'.

School principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach ran toward the shots. Hochsprung was killed as she lunged at the gunman when she confronted him, officials say. Sherlach is also believed to have been killed in that initial confrontation with the deranged killer. First grade teacher Victoria Soto, 27, ushered her students into a closet for safety after she heard the shots, where she died shielding the youngsters’ bodies from gunfire. “That is how she was found,” said Jim Wiltsie, a Newtown police officer,  “Huddled with her children.”

Yesterday was a day of tears and disgust around the world, a day when our worst nightmares came true in Sandy Hook Elementary. Not unlike 9/11 millions of us sat dumbfounded as we watched and listened to the news asking ourselves: How could anyone do such a thing as massacre 20 innocent little children?

Today every one's favorite scapegoats are being blamed. Lax gun control laws and the NRA, funded by the hugely profitable gun industry, are the easiest villain to target but IMO they are a symptom not the disease. The NRA's propaganda can only take root in a culture of ignorance and fear, an immoral culture where the ends justify the means, a culture who barely acknowledges that their drones massacre innocent children around the world daily, a culture where profit matters more than the lives of innocent little children.

The NRA are a tool of the capitalists. Capitalism is the #1 villain in IMO. Capitalists make guns and first-person shooter games and poison our planet and corrupt our governments and ...all in the name of the 'evil' notion of profits. We were all victims yesterday, we are again today, we will be again tomorrow and tomorrow after that, victims of a culture who refuses to ask: "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?"

There is good in the world,  Dawn Hochsprung,  Mary Sherlach and Victoria Soto showed us that yesterday. And there is evil.


The Millions of Prayers Seem to be Working, Hugo Chavez' Cancer Surgery in Cuba Successful

Chavez supporters held several Catholic masses and candlelight vigils across Latin America in the last few days praying for Chavez to overcome the cancer that has haunted his rule for the past year and a half. Their prayers have been answered, at least for now it appears Hugo Chavez will rise again to fight "El Diablo".

While announcing the good news Vice President Nicolas Maduro urged Venezuelans to unite in prayer for their 58-year-old president, and to keep faith that Chavez would return soon. "Yesterday's operation was complex, difficult and delicate, so the post-operation process will also be a complex and tough process," Maduro said. Ecuador's President Correa on Monday flew to the Venezuelan's side in Havana where he found him in "great spirits."

Chavez is an outspoken member of a bloc of Latin American governments that vehemently oppose the United States. Members of the group include Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela. The stakes are enormous - not just for leadership of a nation with the world's largest oil reserves but also for allies around Latin America and the Caribbean who rely on Chavez's generous oil subsidies and other aid.

“He’s one of the most important forces we’ve had on this planet.” Sean Penn said at rally in La Paz, Bolivia a few hours ago. Millions in Latin America and beyond agree with Penn.  Seems to be working so, hopefully, they'll all keep praying for Hugo's speedy recovery.


The Big Trees, The Wolf, The Wild, a Biodiverse Ecosystem Has 'em All and Countless More

A man visits an old-growth cedar during a walk along the border of North Cascades National Park. The Pacific Northwest was once covered with such huge trees.

"What we're seeing is a global phenomenon," said ecologist David Lindenmayer in yesterday's journal of Science article, 'Global Decline in Large Old Trees'. "The stakes are very high," he said. "Big trees are vanishing around the world and often are not being replaced. The loss of these trees can be devastating to other species. Big trees can be lost very quickly, but it can take centuries for them to be replaced."

Large old trees are among the biggest organisms on Earth. They are keystone structures in forests, woodlands, savannas, agricultural landscapes, and urban areas, playing unique ecological roles not provided by younger, smaller trees. However, populations of large old trees are rapidly declining in many parts of the world, with serious implications for ecosystem integrity and biodiversity.

“Big, old trees are not just enlarged young trees,” said Jerry F. Franklin of the University of Washington, a co-author of the study who has studied old-growth forest for 45 years. "Old trees store large amounts of carbon, recycle soil nutrients and play a role in the flow of water and climate within an ecosystem. When a forest is disturbed by wildfire, a wind storm or other events," Dr. Franklin said, "those older trees begin the recovery process by providing seeds as well as habitat for other species that help the forest re-establish itself."

The scientists are talking about the loss of the biggest living organisms on the planet, of the largest flowering plants on the planet. The big trees, the wolf, the wild, a biodiverse ecosystem has to have'em all and countless more all intermingled, indistinguishable really, that's life.


Hugo Chavez' Immediate Fate a Mystery, But His Legendary Long-Term Legacy is Assured

"Read the news today, oh boy." as Sgt. Pepper said. Hugo Chavez' cancer has returned, this time it sounds very serious. Hopefully, as he awaits his next appointment with the knife in the coming hours he understands that no matter where his immediate fates lead his long term legacy as a revolutionary hero, as a regional financial savior and as an adamant opponent of the empire are assured. Long will the name of Hugo Chavez be spoken among the 99%.

If it was, as the Internet rumor-mill is abuzz with right now,  the CIA who got him and even if they get away with it clean, they're still idiots, Hugo Chavez will, like Che Guevera, be more powerful in the future as a legend and a martyr no matter when he inevitably dies. Hugo Chavez should be a proud man today no matter what. He has made his own choices, did what he thought was right for everyone not just himself. We all owe Hugo Chavez our gratitude for, among other things, teaching us the smell of 'El Diablo'.

Oh boy, others in today's news made far less honourable choices than Hugo like the folks at the Manitoba pig farm being reviewed by top veterinarians about abuse allegations. An investigator working with the group Mercy for Animals Canada got a job at a Puratone Corp. farm in Arborg, Man., and spent about 10 weeks filming with a hidden camera. WARNING the film [available here] is very disturbing, lasted 5 seconds myself. The workers in the plants make bad choices motivated in part by the need of a paycheck to feed their families, so...but the corporate owners just want as much profit as they can wring out of every pig.

Another piece about folks who are part of the meat business making bad choices is the sad story of a wolf murdered just outside the Yellowstone National Park boundaries. The killing of this famous wolf, who was wearing a tracking collar and being tracked by biologists when shot, is refocusing attention on the wolf-kill programs in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. A great place to learn more about the wolves and keep an eye 'em is at the 'Wolves of the Rockies' website.

The ranchers doing the killing, like most of us, make bad choices out of a combination of ignorance and fear. The ranchers fear the loss of their cattle and income because they don't understand the trophic cascade, an ecological phenomenon triggered by the addition or removal of top predators and involving reciprocal changes in the relative populations of predator and prey through a food chain, which often results in dramatic changes in ecosystem structure and nutrient cycling.  In other words, without the wolves the ecosystem of the range land that their cattle and income depend on falls apart. The ranchers are killing their own ranch's future.

Three news stories. Two about innocent animals dying because of human ignorance, fear and greed. The other, Hugo's story, is a model for living beyond them.


'Imagine'...The World's Peasants Outproducing Industrial Agriculture on Small Biodiverse Farms

La Via Campesina, the international peasant's movement, representing more than 200 million small farmers around the world, said about the Doha debacle that, "The inaction in the climate negotiations is a reflection of the corporate capture of governments by big business. While governments play silly games - debating blank pages and creating loopholes to escape responsibility - peasants and small farmers, who are among the most affected by the climate crisis, are the ones implementing real solutions on the ground to adapt to climate conditions and realize food sovereignty. Studies have shown that small farmers still produce the majority of the world’s food. We are not only feeding the people but also adapting to new climate conditions using agroecology and peasant seed varieties."

La Via Campesina also reminds us that the peasants' tradition, everywhere, is to save their own seed. By saving seed we all, everywhere, can do our part in the battle against corporate agriculture's attempt to monopolize our food supply with lies like the one about increased food production with GMO seed which has been dis-proven in all the international studies. As Vandana Shiva says, "The most effective road to reducing hunger and malnutrition is to intensify land use in terms of biodiversity and ecological processes of renewal of soil fertility. Biodiverse ecological farms increase food and nutrition output per acre."

The world's peasant farmers are helping to cool a warming planet, cool eh. And, world-wide there are well over 2 billion people who still live self-sufficiently with kids and chickens running around everywhere, still grow and trade for their own everything, bucolic bliss.  just like humans have been doin for awhile now. Save the planet, become a peasant, eh.

Today is an especially good day to find a positive spin for the Doha disaster. Living here in the empire it's easy to forget that half the world's people are still sane. Remembering John Lennon, who was shot and killed 32 years ago today, i wonder what this genius would be asking us to 'Imagine' now?


Marijuana Tourists are Crossing the Border into Washington State Looking for Legal Weed

Crowds of happy people have been huddled near Seattle's famed Space Needle tower with pipes, bongs and hand-rolled joints to celebrating Washington's new status as the first state in the nation to legalize pot for adult recreational use often the last couple of days. Today is Saturday, the weekend, and the first wave of BC and American marijuana tourists is already across the border in a mood to do some celebrating too. No doubt the tourism industry statewide is atwitter.

In the long run smoking pot in public will be just as illegal in Washington as drinking beer is, but for now, the police are just handing out verbal warnings if they happen to run into somebody lighting up in public. Nothing has really changed in Washington state, no pizza delivery trucks clogging up the highways, no shortage of taco chips or peanut butter being reported...yet.

Despite a survey out Friday showing that, by 51% to 44%, what Americans want the federal government to do about the states whose drug laws clash with national laws is: leave them alone. Yet White House and Justice Department officials are considering plans for legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. At the same time the state government is about to begin hearings in advance of writing rules for the growing, processing and sales industries. Yikes! What's a poor pothead to do? [Answer: see line 1 above.]

There's no doubt 'the people have spoken' in Colorado and Washington states but the courts haven't yet so the folks down by the Space Needle should celebrate, they're won a huge battle, but 'the war against drugs' isn't over so... who knows where this wild west show will go next.


The Ancient Forest Alliance Calls for BC Government to Establish Park Acquisition Fund

Ancient Forest Alliance is calling for the BC Provincial Government to commit to restoring and expanding a “BC Park Acquisition Fund” to purchase and protect endangered forests on private lands. Ken Wu, Ancient Forest Alliance executive director, says, "A provincial fund of at least $400 million over 10 years, is needed to systematically purchase private lands of high conservation, scenic, cultural, and recreational value in order to protect BC’s most endangered ecosystems, to sustain wildlife, clean water, recreation and tourism.

Park acquisition funds already exist in several Regional Districts in BC, including the Capital Regional District (CRD) in the Greater Victoria region, which has a Land Acquisition Fund of about $3.5 million each year. The CRD has spent over $34 million dollars since the year 2000 to purchase over 4500 hectares, including lands at Jordan River, the Sooke Hills, the Sooke Potholes, Thetis Lake, Mount Work, and Mount Maxwell on Salt Spring Island, to expand their system of Regional Parks

Please sign the Ancient Forest Alliance Petition because many of British Columbia’s most endangered ecosystems are found on privately-owned lands and many of these private lands are under threat from logging and real estate developments. Private fundraising groups, while important, are simply unable to raise enough funds fast enough to buy all of BC’s endangered private lands before they are destroyed.

Many thanks to Ken Wu and the Ancient Forest Alliance for a great idea. In the long run, buying them out is the only way the folks on Cortes Island can save this chunk of paradise. It's the only way for others to save privately owned forests too. 'The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island' recognized this when they started raising the money to buy and protect five parcels of land, totaling 600 acres, in the heartland of Cortes adjacent to an existing Provincial Park. This Cortes Island group hosted an art auction fundraiser recently on Salt Spring Island and is also negotiating a deal with Island Timberlands.

Unfortunately successive short-sighted provincial governments have sold off huge tracts of our commons to the capitalists, thereby converting a long-term asset into a one time blip on their budget sheet. Short of a revolution the corporations have all the laws in their favor. Protests and barricades are important but capitalism demands the corporations, like Jerry McGuire says, "Show me the money".


Old Growth Forests Allow Mother Trees to Move the Forest's Legacy on to New Generations

Forestry Prof. Suzanne Simard, who lectures on and researches the role of mycorrhizae and mycorrhizal networks at UBC has proven that trees do communicate and share resources like human brains - in networks. Click here is see a great video by Prof. Simard on Mycorrhizal Networks, it shows how the survival of young trees was greatly enhanced when they were linked into the network of the old trees.

Simard's research provides strong evidence that maintaining forest resilience is dependent on conserving mycorrhizal links, and that removal of hub trees could unravel the network and compromise regenerative capacity of the forests. And this link is just in one of the aspects of the fungus interactions, there's all kinds of gases, and fairy dust in the air and underground being exchanged. Do trees communicate? Absolutely.

In describing 'Mother Trees' Simard mentions how only if allowed to happen will the old growth be able to move its legacy to the new generations. That's why every area of original ancient old growth forest is worth fighting for. No matter how small, it contains a unique biological network whose contents can far more easily be expanded at its edges, bit by bit, than starting all over after a clearcut.

The residents of Cortes Island are intent on saving a unique biological network, a part of the 1% of old growth Douglas Fir forest still living, the 'Mother Trees' wish them fair winds.


Having Folks like Suzuki, Klein and Elizabeth May at the Blockade Would Focus the Cameras on the Cortes Island Blockade

The Vancouver Observer published an important piece on the 'Potential consequences of civil disobedience on Cortes Island' today. It's an essential outline to what most likely awaits protesters if they end up defying an injunction. It reads in part, "If a solution to the conflict on Cortes is not found, people who are considering violating a civil injunction against blocking Island Timberland’s access should inform their choice with knowledge of: 1) all the possible consequences; and 2) consequences that have commonly occurred in the past. In addition, they should retain a lawyer."

There are going to be consequences if a person stands up to authority, so a person should always pick their fights. This issue, gang of issues really, on Cortes is a noble cause and fighting for it maybe justified, but civil disobedience is only a tool. Civil disobedience is good at gaining time. During that time generating publicity is paramount. Fortunately, social media and YouTube allow instant access and a growing list of supporters.

Publicity wise, there's a long list of big names who could help focus the cameras on Cortes' issues, folks like David Suzuki, Naomi Klein and Elizabeth May are neighbors, the cameras love celebrities, B.C.'s got lots of 'em. But, publicity too is just a tool to be used to somehow raise the dough to buy the land. Buying the land or finding something acceptable to trade for it, is the only long term way any of the past 'wars of the woods' were ever settled.

Sometimes the 'stalling and publicity' takes longer than you'd hoped, remember how Julia Butterfly Hill lived in Luna, a 180-foot (55 m)-tall, 600-year-old California Redwood tree for 738 days, successfully preventing it from being cut down. Luna lived, and others around Luna did too because Hill lived on two six-by-six-foot platforms for 738 days. She used solar-powered cell phones for radio interviews and became an "in-tree" correspondent for a cable television show and hosted TV crews to protest old-growth clear cutting. Julia Butterfly became a national sensation and a public relations nightmare for the logging interests. Wonder if she's available and interested in standing at the blockade in front of the RCMP and cameras?

The more publicity the Cortes Island Blockade gets the bigger the headache the big-wigs get.


Please Help Support the Cortes Island Blockade by Buying the 'Wild We Stand' Album

Cortes Islanders rejoice as Island Timberlands temporarily withdraws logging crews and agrees to talks with lawyers representing the island's residents' 'Wildstands Alliance' - an alliance of Cortes Island residents who are standing up for sustainable, long-term forestry in B.C.

But temporarily, is the key word. It's a one week reprieve and the lawyers are meeting, who knows what will happen next.  Brookfield Asset Management, owner of Island Timberlands, has $150 BILLION in global assets. The residents don’t. Yikes!

Up until now the protests and blockade have been 100% volunteer but now...The residents are asking the rest of us, we're all stakeholders, please consider supporting their movement towards a sustainable forest economy with dollars by buying a copy of and telling your friends about the 'Wild We Stand' digital album available from their website in every imaginable format.

The people of Cortes Island, like all those of BC's coastal forest communities, know the cost to the local and provincial economy in long-term forestry jobs lost that exporting raw logs creates, especially now that logging rights are no longer linked to mandatory job creation as they were for decades. Cortes residents rightly believe Island Timberland's industrial forestry model employs few locals, and only for the short term, while shipping most of their logs raw to Asian markets.


Paper by Fisheries Experts Ron MacLeod and Al Wood Asks, "Who Speaks for the Salmon?"

In this morning's email was the story of Ron MacLeod,  a former director-general of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and a brilliant paper he has just written with long-time colleague Al Wood. 88 year old MacLeod who worked for decades earning his salmon guardian status, brings his long term perspective to bear on B.C.'s rapidly declining wild salmon stocks. The central question asked by MacLeod and Wood in 'E P I C  F A I L - CANADA’S FISHERY DILEMMA', is "Who speaks for the salmon?"

Who speaks for the salmon, when, as MacLeod says, "Those who fish, process fish, service fishermen, speak only for more fish for their interest group – this attitude characterizes common property fisheries. It is as if the despoiling of Canada’s Atlantic herring reduction fishery in record time in the 1970’s did not happen. Or, the wipe-out of the huge Atlantic cod stocks never occurred. Or, the overcropping of whales on the B.C. Coast after WWII was a mirage. Or, the loss of many B.C. salmon populations is a myth. If the lessons from such disasters will not be learned, what hope for remaining stocks of Pacific salmon?"

"There is an urgent need for a Speak For The Salmon campaign across the length and breadth of British Columbia", says Ron MacLeod. The Speak For The Salmon campaign doesn’t have a website or a director yet, but Mr. MacLeod is hoping those things will fall into place soon. He invites those who want to join the salmon revolution to contact him at: jrmacleod@telus.net

Epic Fail, a 10 min. read, shows how the costly licence buy back plans plans have resulted in less small boats more huge boats that catch more than ever and it mentions how all the turns the story takes are driven by an an economist’s view of how the world should function. The report says that "...from a conservation perspective a better effect could have been achieved if gear limitations (reduce net length and depth, limit troll gear)  had been applied - at no cost to the taxpayer and with huge gains for conservation. But..."

But banks make big money by financing the building big new seine fleets not shortening trolling gear. New licence rules meant new boats, new loans, new interest 'earned'. There were thousands of small troller type mom and pop fishing families in the 60's and before, now there are a few multi-million dollar corporate fishermen going for every last fish as fast as possible in order to pay off the banks and regulators.

What happened to all those folks who used to be  in the fishing industry, those collaterally damaged by 'progress'? There's still lots of them around, ya often run into some of the old gang on Thursdays having lunch at the Sally Ann before a stroll down to the Food Bank.


Cortes Island Protesters Singing in the Rain and Dancing in the Wind on Day 5 of Blockade

The protesters, a cross-section of Cortes residents, included former loggers, oyster farmers, and forest supporters of all ages. 

The blockade on Cortes Island continues.  The camaraderie on the site is fabulous and spirits are kept high with singing and the generous food and drink donations brought over by supporters. Many of the blockaders are 'Wildstands' members. Wildstands is a Cortes Island community alliance who are simply standing up for the wilderness on Cortes Island.

The media, especially on Vancouver Island, have produced some good coverage so far, the video below is one of the best, check it out for a taste of the people there are the blockade, their issues and solutions. One young lady does an excellent job talking about privately held forests and mentions that other local areas have similar problems dealing with the lack of standards and regulations of logging of privately held property.The young lady in the video mentions Roberts Creek and Powell River as examples.

Having lived for 35 years in and around Roberts Creek's forests means having seen a lotta ideas fought over and a lotta logs exported. The Gumboot Nation of Roberts Creek did blockade the roads some years back with fairly widespread public support. The Regional District themselves sorta supported them, they passed a series of laws and regulations designed to overcome the private property problem. Everybody cheered, Everybody went home. The corporate lawyers went to court. The court threw out all the Regional District's laws immediately. The machines munched, the loggers logged, the truck loads of logs went mostly to China as raw logs [so do most of Cortes' logs].

Stillwater is a small rural community south of Powell River. It's home to the Stillwater Bluffs, they are partly covered by and surrounded by a big chunk of forest owned by Brookfield and under the sword as Islands Timberelands chainsaws await. The Friends of Stillwater Bluffs have demonstrated and protested too. They've been in negotiations, as are the Cortes folks, for years. But the Stillwater folks also had a 3rd plan of action, they became active participants in the Powell River Regional Districts meetings and committee meetings.

And they won, sorta. As of mid-April [2012] the Powell River Regional District has identified District Lot 3040 Powell River [Stillwater bluffs] as one of six regional park acquisition objectives through its Regional Parks and Greenspace Plan. Island Timber has stopped idling its chainsaws, the government has agreed to buy/trade them out.

Buying them out is really the only way the folks on Cortes Island can win in the long run. Unfortunately the Socreds sold huge forest tracts to pay BC's bills instead of raising taxes and royalties [sound familiar] As the Stillwater folks learned, the land is now worth so much money no group of residents in a small place like Cortes [or Stillwater or Roberts Creek] can possibly raise it all. Only with the help of either local/regional government or the 'Good Fairy' will Brookfield's price be met. So the only question is, does anyone at Wildstands have the Good Fairy's email address?