2.27.2014

Geology Drives Geography Which In Turn Drives Cultural Adaptation in Ukraine and Everywhere

Map of active tectonics in east Mediterranean

One article in this series about understanding the forces that have driven the cultural divisions within Ukraine that has drawn quite a few emails is 'How Ukraine's Geologic History Created Perfect Soils and a Target for Capitalism's Vultures'. One or two of the writers have asked big questions that it has taken me a couple days to find big enough answers for...so here goes.

One writer called my thesis in the article 'cultural geology'. Another thought geography was the better term saying, "the landscape a people live in affects the development of its culture". Adding, "If the land is fertile, as in the Ukraine there is agriculture, if there is a substantial river it'll be used as a trade-route, if there is flooding houses are built on stilts - that sort of thing."

While deep in rumination sitting on the deck it occurred me that geology drives geography which in turn drives cultural adaptation in the Ukraine and everywhere. The Dnieper River Valley, for instance, has played a starring role in Ukraine's history in many ways from being the frozen roadway The Golden Horde's armies used to approach, surround and destroy Kiev 1,000 years ago, to how by slowly draining the acid peat bogs at its headwaters and mixing them with the Carpathian Mountain's eroded limestone it created some of the world's most naturally balanced soils.

The valleys in Ukraine are where they are geographically because of geology. The Carpathians are too. They all share a common root in that they are effects created by the forces unleashed by Africa and Arabia's movement northward and consequent subduction under the Eurasian and Anatolian Plates. Africa started it's northern journey long ago when the mid-Atlantic rift opened and started pushing North and South America westward and Africa north-eastward. Africa's path soon-ish turned more north because in that direction there was an existing basin approximately where the Mediterranean now is that was occupied in the Triassic by the Tethys Sea whereas to it east the Arabian was 'block'-ing its path.

Together Africa-Arabia moved north, closing the former Tethys Sea, which formerly separated Africa/Arabia {A/A} from Eurasia/Anatoloia [E/A] and began subducting [A/A under E/A]. E/A reacted by folding and lifting parts into mountain ranges, one being the limestone Carpathians. As time worn on, Africa's journey created ranges and basins from Spain to Kazakstan including the uplifted faulted plains of eastern Europe. Those mountains ranges, as all ranges do, forced the the air to rise over them and, because of the temp gradient, created precipitation that had to get back to the sea somehow or hang around absorbing decaying lifeforms [peat bogs] until it could escape.

The Dnieper River Valley is one of those minor faults created by the massive tectonic subduction of A/A. Some geologists say it's actually a rift valley itself. As the huge ancient valley rifted, it sank in some areas. Those areas allowed the drainage of the acidic peat bogs to run over the eroded basic limestone. Voila, perfectly balanced soil widely distributed during the flood stages in particular.

Because of geology's tectonics Ukraine now possesses 30% of the world's richest black soil and abundant fresh water as part of its geography. That geography in turn created ideal conditions for our ancestor's cultures to evolve from hunter gatherers to pastoral nomads to agriculturalists. Agriculture remains the only major asset in Ukraine that has not been privatized and is a main target of the vulture capitalists who are using their fiat currencies to buy up as much as possible of the globe's limited agricultural land in one of the greatest examples of how disaster capitalism's criminals operate we've seen yet.

As the Tethyian sea closed the Atlantic rushed in through what's known as the straits of Gibraltar, then dried up, going through about 60 different cycles over millions of years until finally it had the new basin dredged enough to permanently become the Mediterranean Sea. The Tethyian didn't totally disappear, it's remnants are the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.


Due to the compressive forces in the Black Sea basin over time it developed a mostly under water ridge that at its norther terminus is the above water. We call it Crimea. As of today, and for a long time now the area we're calling western Ukraine has been slowly separating from eastern Ukraine along the Dnieper River Rift Valley. Crimea has always been it's own little world geologically too. This last week's dramatic political events have resulted from the long [in human time scales] cultural divisions. Those cultural divisions, if not caused by, at least correlate with, the geographic realities under foot. Those geographic realities are caused by the underlying geology itself.

"If physical geography is the house in which regional culture makes it home, then geology is its foundation, plumbing, and wiring." - Robert Thorson, Professor of Geology UConn. Being a longtime carpenter, i totally agree.

2.26.2014

The Black Sea's Tributaries Connected the Ancient World, Crimea and Odessa Had the Biggest Ports

Ancient Black Sea connections

Today's headlines focus on Crimea's ethnic divisions and its potential to be the flashpoint for Russian military intervention into the quagmire of Ukrainian chaos. Once again, these articles lack any historic depth. Without some sense of Crimea's important pivotal position geographically and historically the shallow MSM articles read more like propaganda and in so doing, they create a false good/bad Hollywood type picture.

In ancient times, when the western world's trade was done by sailing ships and its Empires rose and fell through the control of trade goods and gold. The Black Sea and its tributaries connected Europe to the rest of the rest of the known world. Ancient European seafarer trader routes around the Black Sea were sailed by Hittites, Carians, Thracians, Greeks, Persians, Cimmerians, Scythians, Romans, Byzantines, Goths, Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Slavs, Varangians, Crusaders, Venetians, Genoese, Lithuanians, Georgians, Poles, Tatars, Ottomans, and Russians.

Overland routes extended that range all the way to China via the Mongols, to India via the Persians and Arabs and almost all of Africa via the Nile and the Mediterranean Basin. Taurica, the name of Crimea in antiquity, had then and still has the best natural harbors on the Black Sea, as the Russian Navy well knows. Odessa, on the opposite side of the Dnieper River, also played a huge role.

Odessa was once occupied by an ancient Greek colony in pre-history. Archaeological artifacts confirm links between the Odessa area and the eastern Mediterranean. Other archaeological finds point much further back to The Dnieper River Valley as being the dividing line between the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnons [us] for thousands of years between 42,000BC and 25,000BC when inexplicably the Neanderthals seemed to disappear [though some theories say they just all inter-bred].

Throughout the centuries, Crimea was invaded or occupied successively by the Goths (AD 250), the Huns (376), the Bulgars (4th–8th century), the Khazars (8th century), the state of Kievan Rus' (10th–11th centuries), the Byzantine Empire (1016), the Kipchaks (Kumans) (1050), and the Mongols (1237). In the 13th century, the Republic of Genoa seized the settlements which their rivals, the Venetians, had built along the Crimean coast and gained control of the Crimean economy and the Black Sea commerce for two centuries

In the Middle Ages successive rulers of the Crimea-Odessa region [just love this Crimean castle on the left] included various nomadic tribes (Petchenegs, Cumans), the Golden Horde [Mongols], the Crimean Khanate, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans ruled for 250 yrs with the aid of the Mongols some of whom didn't go back - we now call them Tartars - until they lost it to the Russians and Cossacks just before 1800.

In 1905 Odessa was the site of a workers' uprising supported by the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin, the focus of Sergei Eisenstein's famous motion picture. Following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 during World War I, Odessa and Crimea were occupied by several groups, including the Ukrainian Tsentral'na Rada, the French Army, the Red Army and the White Army. In 1918, Odessa became the capital of the independent Odessa Soviet Republic.

Nowadays  61% of Odessa's residents are Ukrainian speakers, 29% Russian speakers the remainder self-identify as  Albanians, Armenians, Azeris, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Georgians, Greeks, Jews, Romanian sand Turks, among others. In Crimea today it's: Russians: 58.32%; Ukrainians: 24.32%; Crimean Tatars: 12.1%; Belarusians, 1.44%; Tatars: 0.54%; Armenians: 0.43%; Jews: 0.22%, Greeks: 0.15% and others.

My point here is that the borders of this region have moved around so often in recorded history that today's political borders are essentially meaningless other than perhaps as divisions for the tax collectors. Those folks being described as western Ukrainians are indistinguishable genetically from those we call Russians or from Poles, Bulgarians, Romanians, Belarusians etc. So, as the borders and genetic heritage seem equally meaningless about the only way all these people differ is language and as linguists know all of them are slight variations of a basic proto language. That leaves religion, i'm not going there as everybody is entitled to believe in whatever gets them through the night.

When the headlines shout, 'US tells Russia to keep troops out of Ukraine as Crimea flashpoint looms' who is that bellicose crap really aimed at? Certainly not Putin and his advisers, they know all this history and lots more. Do those in the US administration really believe this crap? Of course not, Obama and his advisers know all this history and more too. It's not aimed at the Russian people, most of them view Crimea as a Russian territory. Thi crap, this propaganda, this spin is aimed at us in the west who are, supposedly, the historically uninformed the receivers of it.

That, the importance of being informed is why The Mud Report is doing all these background articles on this issue. Only by being informed can we all calmly come to our own conclusions, just as, hopefully, the Ukrainians will. Tomorrow, it'll probably be more history, probably about the Mongols primarily, which i find fascinating. Then probably one last piece on how geography, driven by geology, almost always defines what our short-term focus sees as political and cultural divides.

2.25.2014

Ukrainians Have a Bright, Independent, Future Ahead, Partitioned or Not, If They Choose Wisely

Kiev Square yesterday. The flames are gone
but the difficult choices remain.

It has taken Ukraine decades, if not centuries, to get into the trouble they're in now culturally, politically and financially. There is no quick, easy, 'Free Lunch' solution that will change all that. Only long-term thinking can solve the enormous challenges all Ukrainians face. Only Ukraine's people, not the outside powers, can choose the road ahead.

The greatest danger Ukraine faces, other than open warfare between the opposing fear-filled factions, is that their temporary leaders make the huge mistake of believing the kabuki theatre performance by the self-interested IMF-EU-US deceivers and sign onto an agreement that in the end will cost Ukraine their independence and their 'real' wealth. Ukraine is one of the naturally richest places on Earth. It was once called the breadbasket of the world, it could be again if the political leaders there act in the people's best interests not in the interests of their oligarchs and bankers.

If those leaders can just take a deep breath, remember what making a deal with the Empire's devils has cost Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland in this go around and what it has cost every country globally that has, when in trouble, agreed to the 'structural adjustment' noose demanded by the bankster devils they'll choose wisely, if not...Mephistopheles awaits.

Neither the US-EU-IMF cabal or the Kremlin is a being an altruistic actor in this Kabuki show. Putin's government also is acting to serve its own financial, political and geopolitical interests. But Ukraine's history is Russia's history. Kiev was for 500 years named Kievan Rus, it was the capital of what we now call Russia. It was overrun by the Mongols 1000 years ago because it was the most important trading center in that part of the world when Moscow was an insignificant village. Ukraine is still Russia's close neighbor and far, far away from the US. If Russia were to start meddling in Mexico's affairs what would the US reaction be?

As worldwide polls consistently show, the US is regarded as the greatest threat to world peace. IMO the US is not merely a threat to peace. It and its despicable European puppet states are a threat to the existence of life on the planet. US foreign policies are insane, and European 'leaders' are either paid off or threatened [or both] into to providing cover for that insanity.

i see a bright future ahead for Ukraine, either united or partitioned, if it chooses to be allied neither to Europe nor to Russia. As Katia Gerus, 39, a secretary from Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine, says: “I don’t think Ukraine should join the EU. We just need to consolidate the situation in the country and then we can move on as an ordinary, independent country open to cooperation with all countries. We have our own resources and can find our own path ahead. We have an opportunity to do things properly on our own.” Which is exactly what The Mud Report has been recommending.

Reading the mainstream media' propaganda spinning out these last few days, be it from the western or the eastern perspective, has been educational in that by reading each a person can see fairly clearly how opinions are manufactured. As Ukraine stands at this historic crossroads there's a lot of things for them to consider and discuss among themselves before they should choose which road to take.

Tomorrow, unless the events of the next 24hrs change my mind, The Mud Report will concentrate on Ukraine's long, long, history and attempt to use it as a canvas on which to paint the hopeful and viable landscape that could lie ahead of Ukraine if they wisely, not fearfully, choose which road can lead them there.

2.24.2014

A Few Suggestions for Putin as the World Awaits His Response to the Ukraine's Unfolding Dilemma

The prominent S-shaped Dnieper River Valley almost perfectly corresponds to the cultural, religious and linguistic divisions in Ukraine

The world's mainstream media headlines are nearly identical - "What Will Putin Do? The articles that follow similarly mirror each other in both content and lack of depth. They all revolve around Ukraine's cultural, religious and linguistic divisions. They all agree with the obvious fact that west and north are predominantly Ukrainian-speaking, the east and south predominantly Russian-speaking. Facts that barely scratch the surface of, or explain the reasons why, for instance,  the Russian speakers refer to the Ukrainian speakers as fascists while the Ukrainian speakers refer to the Russian speakers as communists. 

The long standing east-west divide has bedeviled Ukraine since it first emerged as an independent state after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. In each election since, voters have split along a line running roughly along the Dnieper River Valley , unsurprisingly, almost exactly as the cultural, religious and linguistic ones with some bleed-out here and there that most fellow Canadians will recognize as similar to the French-English divide here.

The underlying depth of hatred and distrust in Ukraine is far more intense than here in fair Canuckistan though. For instance it was only in 1941 that Nazi Germany with its allies invaded the Soviet Union. Many Ukrainians and Polish people, particularly in the west of those countries, where they had experienced years of harsh Soviet rule, initially regarded the Wehrmacht soldiers as liberators. Not all of them, some western Ukrainians utterly resisted the Nazi onslaught from its start and a partisan movement immediately spread over the occupied territory. Some elements of the Ukrainian nationalist underground formed a Ukrainian Insurgent Army that fought both Soviet and Nazi forces. In some western regions of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army survived underground and continued the resistance against the Soviet authorities well into the 1950s.

Every present day Ukrainian on either side of the current divide have been told that story, from different perspectives, since they were babies. So it's not hard to understand the fascist/communist name calling and hatred still evident today. Without understanding the history behind the current headlines it's nearly impossible to see the situation from any perspective other than a false Hollywood style dichotomy.

Putin, of course, understands all this and much more. Putin, a long time KGB officer, understands that the US's approach to foreign policy hasn't changed much since WW11. He remembers how consistently the US has used internal cultural divisions in counties who have had the audacity to disagree with 'American exceptionalism' to undermine them. He remembers what happened in Iran when they nationalized their oil fields, what happened in Chile when they nationalized their Copper resources, what the US tried to do when Castro nationalized US's 'interests' there, he remembers Vietnam, Nicaragua, even tiny Granada...it's a long list. Putin sees what's happening right now in Venezuela and Ukraine, he knows they are basically the same story. Divide and conquer.

Putin understands why the Americans and their western allies do it too. He knows that after the conquer part comes the loans that will be so inviting as a quick fix to the huge long-term problems, though different in each case, underlying each situation. Putin knows a lot because Russia too has always faced internal nationalistic divides like it does right now in the Caucuses. Putin knows, because Russia and the Soviets were part of the problem, that most of these divisions were caused when at the end of WW1 'the winners' met in Malta and re-defined the globe's political boundaries in accordance with their own prerogatives and disregard for the the ethnic realities 'on the ground'.

The short-term security and political cohesion of Ukraine now depend on how Putin reacts in the next few days. If he does not act firmly Russia's much repressed opposition will be encouraged to emulate the Kiev street revolution. As it stands, what Moscow views as a western-backed 'coup' is a personal humiliation for Russia's pugnacious leader. He will not take it lightly.

So what will Putin do? He won't blink, that i'm sure of. As he already has said earlier today, he'll question the authority of the interim rulers. He'll make Ukraine another generous financial offer with little or no strings attached unlike the IMF-EU-US who will attach a noose to whatever they offer. He'll rattle his sword and if pushed by the US, who was embarrassed a few months ago by Putin in Syria, he'll move to 'protect' ethnic Russians and Russian speakers you've already petitioned him for protection. Russia used a similar appeal as a pretext for the land invasion of South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia, in 2008.  So i suspect the US cabal won't push very hard.

The closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics is behind us, Putin has not yet commented publicly on the violence of the past week. But he will and whatever he says at first will be prompted by the fact that Russia will lose both prestige and big money if Ukraine defaults on its sovereign debt and as Interim President’ Oleksandr Turchynov said to the Ukrainian parliament, “There is no money in Ukraine’s Treasury account, the Ukrainian economy is in a catastrophic state."

Putin will play for time hoping that the coming May 25th elections will allow the steam to escape from the pressure cooker, that time will heal all the wounds. But the odds of that are slim. In the meantime Putin will be planning a post-partition strategy. IMO a 'velvet divorce', as it was in Czechoslovakia would be the best long-term outcome as it would avoid a bloody division like what happened in Yugoslavia where mixed towns became battlefields.

Default too, isn't such a terrible outcome for either of Ukraine's solitudes. Though for opposite reasons, i agree with Victoria Nuland - Fuck the EU. But i'd add Fuck the IMF and the US too. Current Russian bond holdings would be nearly worthless as well. But Putin's Russia, like Chavez did when he bought up Argentina's junk bonds, could buy more bonds for peanuts, then by helping both sides of the newly partitioned Ukraine with energy bartering deals, again like Chavez did with oil for Argentina, watch and wait while the 'market' value of both the pile of Ukraine bonds they now own and those he buys up as 'junk', to appreciate. Chavez made billions for Venezuela with his counter vulture capitalism strategy, Putin can and, i predict, will too.

Tomorrow, more on the long winding road that put Ukraine at their present historic crossroads, more on which turn i predict they'll take and why.

2.23.2014

How Ukraine's Geologic History Created Perfect Soils and a Target for Capitalism's Vultures

Ukraine's eroded Carpathian Mountains

Yesterday's post attempted to sharpen our focus onto why the Snidley Whiplashes of international banking are rubbing their hands together in glee. It's because they know that Ukraine possesses 30% of the world's richest black soil and remains the only major asset in Ukraine that has not been privatized. And how Ukraine's situation is related to Africa and all the other places where the vulture capitalists are using their fiat currencies to buy up the globe's limited agricultural land in one of the greatest examples of how disaster capitalism's criminals operate we've yet seen.

First, it's important, IMO, to understand how geology has blessed Ukraine with so much of the planet's best soils. Soil is a living thing composed of interactive elements that work there best when in balance. Ukraine's are perfectly balanced in acidity naturally because of how two independent geologic factors have, over millions of years, colluded to build it.

One is the limestone formations underlying much of western Ukraine and the Carpathian Mountain's limestone which has through the eons since their uplift been eroded to nubbins. Limestone is one of the most quickly and easily eroded of rock types and as every farmer and gardener knows is essential in achieving a balance in acidic soils. The acidity the limestone's erosion is balancing comes down the Dnieper River from its headwaters in Belarus and Russia where it has for millions of years drained the huge peat bogs there. Peat is very acidic but loaded with micro-nutrients that can only be taken by plants when that acidity is balanced by an opposite base, like limestone.

From millions of years the Dnieper was held back and forced to slowly drain those swampy peats by the valley's limestone which the iver inevitably wore away during that long period. The river during that period formed huge a flood plain before enough limestone was worn away by the river to create the channel we see now, including the rapids upstream where the limestone in the river bed is still exposed. That flood plain, and those of Ukraine's other rivers who had nearly the same conditions, composes today most of the valley land between the Dnieper and the Carpathians, which we call the western Ukraine.

The Dnieper River Valley was first extolled for its abundance in writing by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th century BC as Borysthenes. But this territory of Ukraine has been continuously inhabited for at least forty four thousand years. It is where the horse was first domesticated and a candidate site of the origins of the Proto-Indo-European language family. It's history is our history.

All of Ukraine has very productive soils and its agricultural industry still has huge potential because it has not been privatized. Instead it continues to be managed for the long-term good of the many not the short-term speculative 'profits' on the few. The banksters want to 'capitalize' on that, want to spread their poisonous chemical fertilizers and pesticides, their GMO seeds and rape one of the few remaining great productive areas our descendants will have to have if they will survive in a future world where almost all of the other great natural agricultural areas will have been destroyed by short-sighted industrial agriculture.

Once the living soil is killed by chemicals it no longer can hold moisture properly and it simply blows away or erodes away into the oceans. Once there it both can't be retrieved so millions of years of real wealth creation is thrown away and it covers the existing ocean bottom's bio-sphere choking it out [eutrophication].

This terrible scenerio is being played out around the globe by the vultures with slight variations in each locale. In the US, for instance, private equity vultures are, as Carey L. Biron writes, "attepting to grab half of US farmland". Times are tough for America's farmers, high interest payments on loans required to finance the capital necessary to keep their chemical, GMO intensive industrial ag model afloat combined with dwindling water resources from depleted aquifers, near continuous drought and nosediving prices that are manipulated by those same vultures, have nearly bankrupted every longtime family owned farm.

The same theft is being perpetrated by the same vultures just as strongly in Iowa and Calif. as it is in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Brazil, Australia and Mozambique to name just a few. as it is in Ukraine. 'Corporate consolidation' of everything is inevitable unless.... How can it not be when ever fewer people control an ever greater share of all wealth. Water will be next and when they can figure a way out to do it the air we breathe.

Africa is seeing more than its share of circling vultures as this article outlining how the 'The G8 Brings Big Ag Colonialism to Africa' explores. It also tells part of the story of how our western 'democracies' are working as handmaidens to the vultures, how the propaganda they spin at home about foreign aid really works and what it's actual purpose is. But the Africans, perhaps because they've already seen what assholes the developed nations are run by, are organizing and fighting back. They seem to understand that as Vandana Shiva says, " In nature's economy the currency is not money-it is life."

Tomorrow The Mud Report will stay focused on Ukraine. This time on its long history of West-East cultural division and along the two sides of Dnieper River Valley. On how these recent events aren't really so recent and how now, as so many times in the past, this division has been exploited by each epic's surrounding Empires.

2.22.2014

Why is Ukraine, Once Again, Where Continents, Cultures and Empires Collide? Follow the Money

Guess what the bankers  will demand next?

This morning's world headlines shout, "Protesters Take Kiev", which may or may not be true. It's a complicated story. There are as many views are there are viewers it seems. What they all seem to agree about is that the shooting has stopped, at least for today. What they all disagree about is why it started in the first place.

Ukraine has a long history of being at the crossroads of continents, cultures and empires in collision. For now, i'm going to leave the geology rap for another post and skip on to the more recent collision of empires and cultures. The East-West divide between Russia and Western Europe has been ongoing since the long before Czarist Empire clashed with the Austrio-Hungarian Emipre over and over again through the centuries. The American Empire, a relative newcomer, has joined the EU in their common quest to rule the world by forcing other counties into a position where they must either 'privatize' their long held and culturally cherished commonly owned wealth or tell the banksters to eat shit.

Ukraine's economic chaos is slightly different from Greece's, Spain's, Italy's, Portugal's, Ireland's, most of Africa's etc. But the underlying situation is much the same. Each of them chose to believe in the 'Free Lunch' being offered them by the World Bank/ IMF in decades past because they refused to accept the gravitational and economic reality that 'what goes up must come down'. The believed the illusion they could borrow from the future, what all debt is including credit card debt, then pay it off with the 'growth' that the technology they'd be buying would provide. When it didn't go perfectly, they still believed, so they borrowed more [just like all good consumers do].

Just like individual credit card wielding consumers, the countries didn't want to read the fine print, didn't want to understand the implications of compound interest that all the strings that deals with devil have in them. When individuals deceive themselves long enough they go bankrupt, they lose their fancy wheels, their big screen TV, maybe the roof over their heads. When countries deceive themselves the banks seize their publicly owned common assets, their real wealth, like their natural resources, like their farmlands.

Of course, the big bankster folks use terms like structural adjustments instead of seizure. Naomi Klein wrote a ground breaking book about this whole game named 'The Shock Doctrine'. It's a complicated subject that's way to complex for a blog-post, but Naomi explains it wonderfully, it's a must read, IMO, for everyone.

Ukraine has had IMF loans upon loans going back to their independence in '91 and then more when the Orange Revolution happened in 2004. The electoral turmoil that followed didn't help the leaders avoid the trouble as they tried to correct centuries worth of problems in just a few years. Those kinds of changes, they were told, took huge capital and huge loans to accomplish. The Orange folks, being pink on the inside like the rest of us, wanted to believe in the IMF's miracles and almost immediately steered one of the globe's richest natural resource areas into a nosedive. Which of course they 'corrected' by taking out more loans.

For sure, there was corruption siphoning off some of the dough there, just like everywhere. When billions of bucks get borrowed the officials who choose which companies get what to 'grow' the economy inevitably those officials end up being offered inducements from those competing for the contracts. There was no more corruption in Ukraine than there was in Greece, Spain, Italy etc,

Then as the years went by Ukraine, due to its natural wealth in large part, started succeeding in raising the living standards of its citizens. Those were heady days, then came the global '08 debacle when they, and everyone else, faced plummeting demand for their resources and huge payments on their loans. Ukraine had, at that point built up a treasury surplus. But as the cost of energy rose, the loan payments continued and their income dropped, it didn't last.

Now Ukraine is practically bankrupt. Guess what the banksters say is the solution? That's right, more loans, more 'structural adjustments'. Under the terms of the EU offered of last year, which virtually nobody in the Western media seriously examined, the EU was offering $160 million per year for the next five years while just the bond repayments to IMF, for the outstanding loans were greater than that. In contrast, Russia offered $15 billion in cash and immediately paid $3 billion. .. Had Yanukovych accepted the EU deal, the country would have collapsed.

Today's headlines warn that Ukraine could split in two as regional lawmakers in the pro-Russian east questioned the authority of the national parliament. Parliament sought to oust President Viktor Yanukovych and as he left the capital and protesters took control. By tomorrow who knows what the headlines will be. But regardless, in the background will be the Snidley Whiplashes of international banking rubbing their hands together in glee. They know that Ukraine possesses 30% of the world's richest black soil, its agricultural industry has a huge potential and remains the only major asset in Ukraine that has not been privatized.

Tomorrow's post will try to show how Ukraine's situation is related to Africa and all the other places where the vultures are using their fiat currencies to buy up the globe's limited agricultural land in one of the greatest examples of how disaster capitalism's criminals operate we've yet seen.

2.20.2014

Bold Nebraska and the Ogallala Aquifer Defenders Invite Us All to Celebrate With Them

On Wednesday afternoon the Nebraska District Court declared the Nebraska Pipeline Law unconstitutional. A full copy of the courts decision is available HERE. Domina Law, who represented the plaintiffs, say, "TransCanada will now be forced to seek approval from the public service commission for its latest route. The ruling mans that the governor's office has no role to play in the pipeline, and decisions within the state must be made by the Public Service Commission. The commission was created in 1890s to prevent governors from granting political favors to railroad executives who wanted to expand through private property."

"Citizens won today [Feb. 19th]. We beat a corrupt bill that Gov. Heineman and the Nebraska Legislature passed in order to pave the way for a foreign corporation to run roughshod over American landowners. We look forward to the Public Service Commission giving due process to a route that TransCanada will have to now submit to this proper regulatory body in Nebraska. TransCanada learned a hard lesson today: never underestimate the power of family farmers and ranchers protecting their land and water." - Jane Kleeb, director of bold Nebraska

Tomorrow morning, Friday, Feb. 21, .Bold Nebraska is inviting everyone to a shindig at their 'Build Our Energy' barn, near Bradshaw, Nebraska (about 30 min. NW of York) staring about 9:00—9:30 a.m. They want as many folks as possible to wear their Pipeline Fighter t-shirt / armband and make a sign. CLICK HERE for details and directions to the barn.

Bold Nebraska, along with the folks of the Tar Sands Blockade and The Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance folks and others are on the ground resisting Big Oil stateside for the same reason Canada's First Nations and environmental activists are fighting the Northern Gateway Project in Canada - to protect the water, land and wildlife that sustain us all. Tar sands extraction and pipelines like the Keystone XL and Enbridge’s New Tar Sands Frankenstein pipeline must be stopped. It's all the same fight, there is no American water, no Canadian air, we're all in this together

As Amy Schaffer, a Kearney, Nebraska rancher says, "I stand with my dad and the many other Nebraskans who have become guardians of the Ogallala Aquifer for the next generation of Nebraskans. I stand with all of the Nebraskans who have been misled, misrepresented, misinformed, taken advantage of, and used by TransCanada. My heart goes out to each and every one of these people and I will continue to be their voice and stand with them until the bitter end. The people will prevail. We will win and we will defend the future of Nebraska, the Ogallala Aquifer."

So come down and join Randy Thompson and Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska and party like a Nebraskian.



CANADA WINS! THE GOLDEN GOAL! CANADA WINS!


Canada's women win the Gold Medal with the Golden Goal by Marie-Philip Poulin in the greatest hockey game i've ever seen. Down 2-0 with under 3 1/2 minutes to go in the 3rd period the women came back to tie in regulation. Then won in overtime.

What a game. My neighborhood rocked when Poulin scored to tie with under a minute left in regulation. Then roared again when she scored the Golden Goal. People are driving by waving Canadian Flags. What a day!

CANADA WINS GOLD!

2.19.2014

Why Andrew Weaver's 'Clarification' of His Earlier Statement that Black's Refinery has 'Merit' Stinks

Detroit's pet-coke pile

Last week Andrew Weaver wrote a 3500 word 'clarification' of the original article that got him in so much trouble a few days earlier. Which said nothing really new, but did remind me of an old story about a guy who was trying to sell a house whose septic field had failed. Of course the ground was mushy and the place stank [much like Weaver's 'merit' argument]. The guy trying to sell the stinker decided to haul in a few truck loads of fill to cover up the crap. It sorta stopped the stink but it did nothing to fix the underlying problem [much like Weaver's clarification]. Moral of the story: If it stinks, fix it.

The day after i read Weaver's interview where he says Black's proposed refinery in Kitimat "merit" i published a 'Recant or Resign' rebuttal including a 13 item list of reasons supporting my thesis. Since then i've received answers from Elizabeth May, leader of the national Green Party, one from the BCGP office, lots of emails and comments from friends, but nothing from Weaver himself. So today, i'm going to try shoveling down through Weaver's fill in an attempt to find the source of the funny smell still lingering in the minds of many folks.

One of the best emails was from a reader in Detroit, Mich. about the unaccounted for human costs the people there in Detroit are paying every time the wind blows around the three story high and one block long pile of pet-coke [pictured above]. Petroleum coke, usually called pet-coke, is a by-product of refining tar sands crud. Every barrel of tar sands crud, when refined produces between 60 and 130 lbs of pet-coke. The huge pile along the Detroit River is there because the refineries nearby have run out of room and are now leasing this area from bankrupt Detroit for 'storage'.

The US refineries used to sell this low quality by-product to incinerators who burned it for electricity generation until the EPA stopped issuing permits. Now they store it in the hope they can ship it overseas to other countries with less strict laws. Meanwhile the residents of Detroit pay with their health. The email writer asked, "Do you think the residents of Kitimat understand the price they and their descendants will pay in the future?" My answer was, "i doubt they've ever heard of pet-coke." Of course it doesn't really matter whether the crud is refined in Kitimat or Alberta or China, somebody will pay, eh.

Weaver's fill attempts to cover-up the pet-coke reality by saying that the tar sands crud should be initially processed into Syncrude in Alberta. Another writer, this one from Alberta, schooled me on the facts about this part of the cover-up when he wrote, "The reason nobody builds upgraders in Alberta anymore is that they are not economic. Syncrude projects cost more than $105/bbl. Weaver's 'clarification' concludes in part, "We need to discuss uncomfortable issues in an open and honest way." Yikes, what is that smell?

One paragraph Weaver wrote, "So what does this all mean? If a company based in Alberta wishes to ship heavy crude to Prince Rupert or Kitimat they can choose to ship it through a railway corporation. Legally CNI or CP would be obligated to accept such a cargo, as long as it met the current regulations (e.g. type of tanker car, adequate loading and unloading facilities, proper labeling and quantities). They could negotiate on liability concerns but must sign an agreement dividing the proportion of liability if an accident was to occur. But in other words, the rail company cannot say ‘no’" Is right on, except...

Except he doesn't go on to connect the dots. That truth clearly means Black's refinery proposal is unaffected by Weaver's supposition that, “As far as I’m concerned, the Northern Gateway project is dead” Once again Weaver is attempting draw our noses away from the reality that a refinery in Kitimat stinks.

Another interesting argument that Weaver uses is the charade that the oil industry will just throw up their hands and slow down the growth in tar sands because one or two pipelines get blocked. It would be wonderful if it were true, but it isn't. Demand drives every market exchange, be it in fossil fuels or anything else. Supply rises and falls to to fill those demands. The only way 'Green' way to slow tar sands growth is conservation. Weaver must know that all the apparent alternatives are actually, like everything, just fossil fuels in a different form. Alternatives require huge amounts of embedded energy to be produced, they are 'Green Illusions', there is no thermodynamic free lunch.

"Big Oil can only exist", as Adam Brandt, an energy expert at Stanford University pointed out recently, "so long as the demand is there, energy producers are going to search for new supplies of fossil fuel - many of them using unconventional means like tar sands extraction. With growing global demand, the economic pressure to develop unconventional resources is enormous and not going away,” he said. “The emphasis should be on demand, not supply. If the U.S. [and everyone else-ed.] stopped consuming so much of the world’s oil, the economic need for the tar sands would evaporate."

Weaver goes on and on with his truckloads of fill, so...When he talks about stopping the KXL as part of throttling tar sands growth he overlooks the fact that the capacity to move the crud to Houston is already there in the form of rail transport and the nearly completed 'Enbridge’s Tar Sands Frankenstein' which the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance Movement is fighting. The Kinder Morgan expansion faces the same issues the NGP does in terms of its environmental footprint, its opposition from BC's First Nations, the inevitability of a disaster sooner or later, etc [more on Kinder-Morgan's deceptive plan in another Mud Report.soon].

When Weaver says he's demanding a 6th requirement, "a moratorium on dilbit tanker traffic" it's meaningless. He has one only vote and, if his backfill operation is any indication of the future, he'll have zero by the time all this comes to pass. When he accepts the BC Liberals other 5 points he's agreeing that, if 'the price is right' and the dilbit objection can be massaged, the operation is a go. IMO thousands of BC folks would still fight this, including me. No price is acceptable for the destruction and death that will ensue when the inevitable disaster strikes.

How can a Green Party say there is an 'acceptable' price when,  as i see it, the Greens' constituency includes the flora, fauna, microbes, minerals, forces and faeries [faeries being the mediators of the unknown unknowns - the reason the Precautionary Principle is mandatory]. In fact that point, constituent definition, is the one i thought Weaver would use to argue against my thesis. As he hasn't responded yet, it still may be.

Weaver ends with, "for anyone to suggest that I am “pro-oil” or “pro-pipeline” is, frankly, ridiculous," I don't think he's pro either of them and i don't think he's trying to deceive people in the service of his own personal gain [as many of my emails suggest], i think he's mistaken. As i said in my earlier piece, "everybody makes mistakes, even learned climatologists", but when he refuses to recant and apologize for such a huge mistake, when instead he calls in the 3500 word truckloads of fill to cover it up, that's ridicoulous because he's then on a slippery slope to being knee deep in his own shit, not just mistaken.

2.18.2014

Please Join Ron Paul's Petition Demanding Clemency for Edward Snowden by Signing It


Libertarian stalwart and former Texas congressman Ron Paul has launched a petition demanding clemency for Edward Snowden before his Russian visa expires in July, persuasively arguing that “Thanks to one man's courageous actions, Americans know about the truly egregious ways their government is spying on them.”

Ron Paul's Petition site says, "Edward Snowden shocked the world when he exposed the NSA’s illegal and abusive spying program. Instead of applauding him for his bravery and patriotism, the U.S. government labels Snowden a traitor."

.IMO, the ”good message, flawed messenger" meme often trumpeted on apparently 'progressive' media outlets whenever they run a story about Ron or Rand Paul is simply wrongheaded if for no other reason than the fact that we're all 'flawed messengers'. But it's also mis-guided in that it attempts to assert a type of purity filter on diverse issues. IMO we must support folks on the issues where we agree with them. This is especially true of the Pauls who have for years been the nearly the only outspoken critics of the military industrial complex, on an anti-Empire foreign policy, on drug legalization, on the Fed and the ridicularity of fiat currency.

Rand Paul has led the fight by filibustering against drones in the US Senate, much to the embarrassment of both Democrats and Republicans [the duopoly]. Further just a few days ago Rand launched a lawsuit against the NSA's illegal intrusion into what is supposed to be our privacy. Rand says, “We think it may well be the largest class-action lawsuit ever filed on the behalf of the Bill of Rights." Rand compared, as he has many times before, the bulk collection of telephone metadata as precisely the kind of general warrant Britain subjected American colonists to in the lead up the the revolution.

i'm not a member of any political party anywhere and there many issues on which i totally disagree with Ron and Rand Paul. IMO, the Pauls should apply the same libertarian philosophy to all the issues that they do to 4th Amendment Rights. That said, The Mud Report stands with the Pauls on the issue of our right to privacy.

If Rand [or Ron before him], were to have an epiphany and see that abortion is a private, personal, decision that is outside the purview of government, that homosexuality is too, that a real libertarian philosophy encompasses the fact that every individual has the right to clean air, water and soil and that corporations aren't real people therefore have no right to poison the water, air and soil of real people, he could be elected President in 2016.

2.17.2014

How Utah's Solution to Homeless Saves Taxpayers Money, Creates Jobs and Empowers the Powerless


Back in 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of emergency room visits and jail stays for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with a home and a social worker. Since then Utah has quietly reduced homelessness by 78 percent, and is on track to end homelessness by 2015.

Most of the progress Utah has made in ending chronic homelessness has happened with no new money. Utah's success has come from a breaking Housing Works program, in part, and by realizing that here is no 'one size fits all' solution. For instance, the Salt Lake City has the same type of homeless problems all urban areas do but in other areas its often ingcreasinly famlies who are homeless. Recognizing this, Utah's solution starts with each county and community deciding for themselves how best to provide the homeless homes in their area.

Another successful aspect of The State of Utah's Housing First approach is to concentrate first on housing folks so they can focus on stabilizing their disabling condition in a safe and supportive environment. UItah decided that their housing program not be contingent on participation in supportive treatment programs or an expectation of abstention from drugs or alcohol, but on the basics of good tenancy. Residents are guaranteed stable housing as long they are good stewards of their personal and shared housing areas and maintain good relations with other tenants, case managers, and property managers.

The Utah model recognizes a homeless citizen's rights and those citizens recognize their personal responsibilities. Seems obvious, give respct, get respect. It sounds like Utah borrowed a page from 'Homes Not Handcuffs', the 2009 report by The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and The National Coalition for the Homeless.

Another important point is that the program creates jobs in Utah through the ELEMENTAL concept which was developed by leading Chilean architects Elemental, led by Alejandro Aravena. ELEMENTAL has developed a system in which half of each building would be constructed in a first phase – and the other half in a later second phase: allowing residents to incrementally invest in their own homes. Since they first developed the typology for their Quinta Monroy project in Iquique, Chile, the “half-finished home” has become something of a signature for ELEMENTAL and is now being used all over the world as well as under study in almost all of the other U.S. states.


As the picture above shows, these homes are actually more than half built in that the services, foundations and roofs etc. make them more like 3/4 built. Nonetheless, somebody has o build them, so all the trades people have more jobs. Somebody has to supply the materials, so local busineses get more business.  Somebody finances it so either the damned banks [who do hire people] or the local govt [who also hires people] gets more dough while the tenants rent-to-own pays them off.

All those folks and companies [including the banks in theory] pay taxes. Those new tax revenues will further cut the per capita price tag mentioned in the first paragraph. Yikes! A win-win-win result that looks like a hippy-dippy commie pinko plan turns out to be a conservative one.

Utah is a land of 'Enchanment' the brochures say. i've been there many times, it's also the land of many good people of different stripes who show each other respect as a default setting, an attitude we all should adopt.

2.15.2014

Elizabeth May's Response to Concerns About Andrew Weaver's 'Support' for a Refinery in Kitimat

Yesterday Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, responded to my post about Andrew Weaver's support for David Black's proposal to built a refinery in Kitimat. It took Elizabeth a few days to respond because she was away in Washington DC "working to stop the Keystone pipeline."

Her response was very congenial and well focused. In opening, she said she appreciated my concern and reminded me that "The Green Party of BC is completely separate from the Green Party of Canada." Adding that, "Andrew Weaver has not endorsed any refinery." And that,  "The media reports have over-stated and misrepresented his position."

Elizabeth went on to say, "What needs to be made very clear is that the Green Party of Canada and BC support the 1972 moratorium, oppose any supertankers on our coastline, that we are working to ensure the oil sands exploitation is brought into line with environmental standards and carbon reduction, which means that going from the nearly 2 million barrels of oil a day to 6 million barrels of oil a day, as espoused by Stephen Harper, is simply not on.  We oppose any pipelines through First Nations territory without their consultation and support and we oppose disturbing sensitive wilderness between Kitimat and Alberta. We oppose putting bitumen mixed with diluent in pipelines in any direction."

i'm posting this here, with her permission, because IMO it concisely summarizes the Green Party of Canada's position on this issue.

Mr. Weaver published a long, 3500 word, rebuttal of the original Straight article, written on February 10th, where he attempts clarify his position which Elizabeth describes as "nuanced."

Victoria Cross, Director of Operations at BC Green Party, also responded to my article but, as i've not confirmed with her whether or not her comments are for publication, i'll not publish or comment on them. Andrew Weaver himself has not responded to my 13 points directly, though i welcome him to at any time as i'm always happy to entertain any well reasoned anti-thesis and change my mind if/when it needs changing.

As i said on Feb. 9th, "Elizabeth May has worked hard for years to establish the Green Party's credentials." She deserves the respect she gets both here and abroad, she doesn't deserve to have her or her national party's positions tainted by this.

To close i want everyone to understand i'm not a member of either the provincial or national Green Party, or any political party anywhere. The thoughts and opinions expressed here on The Mud Report are my own. One of those opinions is that Elizabeth May is a dedicated and hard working person who's positions, though i don't always agree with them totally, are well thought out and attempt to serve the best interests of us all.

2.14.2014

We Have A Personal Responsibility to Minimize Our Demands on Every Aspect of the Bio-Sphere

Somewhere along the way global warming, which is a symptom of the disease of consumer capitalism not the disease itself, usurped the focus of the broader debate. Global warming is a very important node in the bio-sphere's matrix, tentacles leading to and from it inter-connect with every aspect of the broader disease causing all forms of "environmental pollution".

IMO the media played a central role in the narrowing of the debate. Global warming offered so many hyperbolic predictions to headline, so many celebrities speaking out, so many simplistic graphs to illustrate the 'inconvenient truth'. Of course, it's our fault as least as much as theirs - ratings, sales and 'profits' are achieved by supplying that which is demanded in the media as in all capitalist industries. Folks need to stop driving to the mall, stop consuming needless crap, just slow down.

Today's article 'GMOs Are Killing the Bees, Butterflies, Birds and... ? by Katherine Paul and Ronnie Cummins is an example of the other equally important tragedies befalling the biosphere. The authors give short term materialist thinking a good boot in the ass, especially in the section that quotes science writer George Monbiot who says "neonicotinoids are the new DDT killing the natural world, 10,000 times more powerful than DDT". On his blog Monbiot explains how neonics, when applied to the seeds of crops, remain in the plant as it grows, killing the insects that eat the plant. "Other pollinators, including bees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths, and beetles that feed from the flowers of the treated crops, absorb enough of the pesticide to compromise their survival," says Monbiot.

Global warming IS real and our industrial footprint is the major component of it. We all have the personal responsibility to minimize our deleterious effect on the it and all aspects of the inter-connected bio-sphere we share with everything. GMOs and the related use of pesticides and herbicides are a real problem too. Every one of the apparently different issues on the 'Green Living' list below is a manifestation of how extractive capitalism's blinkered response to consumer's demands work in consort to destroy the environmental matrix that supports us all.

1. Contamination of Drinking Water: Contamination of fresh water used for household needs, including pollution of oceans, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, ranks top on the list of environmental concerns for many Americans. More than half of respondents stated they worry about the safety of their drinking water a great deal.

2. Water Pollution: General worry over water pollution and associated environmental issues greatly concerns half of all Americans who participated in the 2008 poll. Related issues include acid rain, ocean dumping, urban runoff, oil spills, ocean acidification, and wastewater.

3. Soil Contamination: Soil erosion, soil conservation, soil salination, and soil contamination by waste, pesticides, and lead worries 50 percent of Americans.

4. Wildlife Conservation: More than 40 percent of Americans expressed concern about wildlife conservation and associated environmental issues, such as endangered species, animal and plant extinction, coral bleaching, introduction of invasive species, poaching, and loss of natural animal habitats resulting in relocation and a break in the food chain.

5. Air pollution: Concerns over air pollution have remained steady over the last decade, with more than 40 percent of Americans worried about indoor and outdoor air quality, carbon emissions, tropospheric ozone, particulate matter, sulfur oxides, volatile organic compounds, radon, refrigerants, and methane emissions.

6. Biological pollutants, including bacteria, viruses, molds, mildew, dander, dust, mites, pollen, ventilation and infection.

7. Carbon footprint and the responsibility of individuals to reduce their effect on the environment, including the use of renewable energy sources (solar power, geothermal heat pumps), recycling, and sustainable living.

8. Climate change and issues related to global warming, such as the greenhouse effect, global dimming, and the gradual rise in sea level.

9. Consumerism and over-consumption and their effect on the planet.

10. Dams and the impact of dams on the environment.

11. Ecosystem destruction and associated environmental concerns, such as aquaculture, estuaries, shellfish protection, landscaping, wetlands, and ecological restoration.

12. Energy conservation issues, including renewable energy for home and business, energy efficiency, and fossil fuel depletion.

13. Fishing and its effect on marine ecosystems, blast fishing, cyanide fishing, bottom trawling, whaling, and over-fishing.

14. Food safety concerns and the effects of hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, toxic contamination, and lack of quality control on health.

15. Genetic engineering, including concerns about genetically modified foods and genetic pollution.

16. Intensive farming, irrigation, overgrazing, monoculture, methane emissions, and the damaging environmental effects of deforestation for farming and cattle.

17. Land degradation and related problems, such as desertification and soil and land pollution.

18. Land use, urban sprawl, lack of free space, and habitat destruction and fragmentation.

19. Logging, deforestation, clear-cutting, destruction of wildlife habitats, and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

20. Mining and its role in global warming, acid mine drainage, and soil and air pollution resulting from toxic emissions and heavy metals.

21. Nanotechnology and the future effects of nanopollution and nanotoxicology.

22. Natural disasters and their impact on all aspects of the environment.

23. Nuclear issues, including the effects of nuclear fallout, nuclear meltdown, radioactive waste, and the population's reliance on nuclear power.

24. Other pollution issues, such as light pollution and noise pollution, and their effects on human health and behavior.

25. Overpopulation concerns, such as continued building and burial.

26. Ozone depletion and damage to the Earth's ozone layer caused by CFC.

27. Resource depletion, the need for newer, cleaner energy sources, and exploitation of natural resources.

28. Sustainable communities and issues such as reducing reliance on fossil fuels, supporting local farmers and merchants, encouraging green practices and building, consideration of native wildlife, and adoption of mass transportation and cleaner methods of commuting.

29. Toxins, including chlorofluorocarbons, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, toxic waste, PCB, DDT, bio-accumulation, endocrine disruptors, asbestos, and poorly implemented hazardous waste management.

30. Waste and associated environmental issues, such as litter, landfills, recycling, incineration, marine debris, E-waste, and contamination of water and soil caused by improper disposal and leaching toxins.

There's many others too, but the sun is out, the mist from last night's rain storm is rising, there's chores to be done and my best friend waiting patiently for us to get out there and do 'em.

2.13.2014

Rand Paul is Suing the Obama Administration and "Vows to Stop the NSA While We Still Can"

Sen. Rand Paul argues that NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens is a violation of the Constitution

Rand Paul, US senator from Kentucky, wrote on his blog yesterday: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. This is the beginning of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and defines one of the most important rights we have against a potentially tyrannical government. Throughout history, governments have used the confiscation of private property, as well as bullying and surveillance techniques, to keep populations under control and maintain a continuous threat against those who would dare criticize them."

Last night i watched Rand's interview with Erin Burnette on her CNN show 'Outfront'. i've seen Paul speak and be interviewed a number of times in the past few years. He never sounded better than last night. He was calm, measured in his responses and wasn't flustered or diverted, in fact, his arguments were burnished by her questions.

This isn't the first time i've had to acknowledge that Rand Paul 'walks the talk'. Others, like Glen Greenwald who said last year that it was a "Fascinating day: Tea Party Senator [Paul] filibusters torture-supporting CIA nominee over civil liberties, while Dem establishment mocks & fumes." would seldom be expected to agree with Paul's positions, but often must on certain issues.

A few months later the issue was drones. Rand and his father Ron once again stood nearly alone in Washington and embarrassed both Democrats and Republicans by reminding us all that 'silence is complicity'. The Pauls understand that the 'security' apparatus lives in fear of YOU.

There many issues on which i totally disagree with the Rand Paul. IMO, Rand, like his father, should simply apply the same libertarian philosophy to the all the issues that they do to 4th Amendment Rights, drug legalization, defense policies, drones, the Federal Reserve and ending the tyranny of the Empire.

The Mud Report stands with Rand on the issue of our right to privacy. If Rand were to have an epiphany and see that abortion is a private, personal, decision that is outside the purview of government, that homosexuality is too, that a real libertarian philosophy encompasses the fact that every individual has the right to clean air and water and that corporations aren't real people and so have no right to poison the water and air of real people, he could be elected President in 2016.

2.10.2014

How the NSA and Its Partners Spy on Each Others Citizens to Circumvent Their Domestic Spying Laws


Here's a great site called 'Hello NSA'. They've developed a handy phrase/sentence generator that all of us who'd like to help the NSA feel appreciated can use to generate sentences sure to catch the eye of the NSA-bots. Sentences like: On a Southwest flight to San Diego, Iran into one of the Chemical Brothers. Others will be sprinkled throughout this article. Bet you have no trouble picking them out.

One of the most important points made during the ongoing spying scandal is how the multinational surveillance agencies intentionally spying on each others citizens, then share the collected information to circumvent each others domestic privacy laws. Of course, it's bullshit, but nonetheless, that's the secret system authorities everywhere use to answer honest questions with deceitful answers. Of course, they should stop holding my love hostage because my emotions are like a tornado of fundamentalist wildfire.

"Intelligence agencies and the governments that operate them have been revealed to be not merely secretive, but also hypocritical, and dismissive of any legitimate public concerns. It is time to bring these practices, and the covert agreements that underpin them, into the light." - The Guardian

"Britain's GCHQ intelligence agency can spy on anyone but British nationals, the NSA can conduct surveillance on anyone but Americans, and Germany's BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) foreign intelligence agency can spy on anyone but Germans. That's how a matrix is created of boundless surveillance in which each partner aids in a division of roles. They exchanged information. And they worked together extensively. That applies to the British and the Americans, but also to the BND, which assists the NSA in its Internet surveillance." - Laura Poitras in Der Spiegel

In 2013, Canadian federal judge Richard Mosley strongly rebuked the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) for outsourcing its surveillance of Canadians to overseas partner agencies. A 51-page ruling says that the CSIS and other Canadian federal agencies are illegally enlisting U.S. and British allies in global surveillance dragnets, while keeping domestic federal courts in the dark. Instead they should try Mexican food + horchata shake which makes a 1 am dirty bomb & a brown out. Like floaters off the dock, every time.

As Edward Snowden's Interview with Der Spiegel, 'The NSA and Its Willing Helpers', explains the NSA has a "massive body" called the Foreign Affairs Directorate that is responsible for partnering with foreign countries. The original group was named Five Eyes, but as we now know it's got a lot more than 5 these days that's why I love being a fundamentalist Christian. It's radical. My fave parables: Cain and Abel &; Noah's flood.

The original group of countries, 'Five Eyes', consists of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Then we learned about 'Nine Eyes' which consists of the Five Eyes plus Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Norway.

Next we learned there were 'Fourteen Eyes' consisting of the Nine Eyes plus Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden

Now it's evident there are 'others', like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, etc., who are wanna-be eyes.

What a spooky world. At this rate by 2600, social media will displace the DEA. Cartel arrests &; narcotic snares will be crowd–sourced & P2P. That's why today, February 11th 2014 is 'The Day We Fight Back' against mass surveillance all across the Internet and all around the globe. And why the working titles for my grindcore band are Blister Agent, Spillover, Agro Terror, Brute Forcing and Temblor

2.09.2014

Andrew Weaver Must Either Recant His Support of Black's Refinery or Resign the BC Green Party

Elizabeth May campaigning with Andrew Weaver in Victoria in B.C. election last year

By now, if you live here in BC, you've probably heard that B.C. Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver is supporting David Black's proposal for an oil refinery to be built in [or near] Kitimat that would serve Enbridge's tarsands pipeline. And you may have read today's rebuttal by the B.C. NDP who say Andrew Weaver's position on a Kitimat oil refinery means the Greens have sold out.

IMO, he must either recant that thoughtless position immediately or resign the B.C. Green Party. Here's a list of talking points that explain why.

1. Weaver said in the Straight interview that “B.C. Greens have agreed and accepted the five conditions of the B.C. Liberal government” for the construction and operation of oil pipelines in the province. The first of the B.C. Liberals 5 conditions is that B.C. receive adequate compensation. The Green Party, be it here in BC, across Canada and around the world, stands for certain values. Foremost among them is the respect for all living things. Weaver surrenders that moral high ground by agreeing that for the right price any or all of the chain of life is for sale. It isn't.

2. The construction of such a pipeline, regardless of what's in it, will kill the countless flora, fauna and microbes along its route. Hardly the type of thing any Green Party anywhere should ever support.

3. Building a stinking oil refinery anywhere requires a huge amount of energy, so it has a huge carbon footprint before it even starts..So does building a pipeline through B.C.'s rugged terrain. Then there's the energy required to keep the crud heated enough to be pumped across that terrain. There is no free lunch so where does all that energy come from? Remember, they won't be saving any energy by refining the crud in Kitimat, just changing its structure. So, like any refinery, the operation of it would have an ongoing footprint too.

4. Like any refinery or industrial operation, this refinery would create waste products, tonnes and tonnes of them, what happens to them? Does Tinker Bell just sprinkle them with Pixie Dust so they disappear?

5. Then there's the fact that sooner or later everything screws up including pipelines. Recent history in Kalamazoo Mich. and Arkansas shows that no matter how well intended or engineered the Northern Gateway Pipeline will too. The difference here is that those recent pipeline 'leaks' didn't happen in the middle of an inaccessible wilderness, they happened right next to highways and towns where cleanup equipment had easy access yet they still were impossible to really 'cleanup'.

6. What is the cost to BC's future eco-tourism potential, to its reputation as 'Beautiful BC' when the inevitable horror show happens? How many long term jobs will be lost, how many businesses will be bankrupted then? How many long term downstream fishing industry jobs would be lost? Why would anybody, especially the Green Party, even consider trading real long term wealth for short term profit?

7. None of the above even touches on my main objection - the inevitable death of trillions of the bio-sphere's lifeforms when a, disaster strikes, and it will.

8. A refinery doesn't mean no tankers, it might even mean more. Consider that the Geological Survey of Canada has identified a fault line along the Douglas Channel which caused a 28 foot (nine metre) tsunami that destroyed Kitimat docks in 1975, and winter storms in the Hecate Strait have 15-20 metre waves making it one of the most dangerous pieces of water in the world.

9. Weaver says it's bitumen that's the problem and that by processing the crap coming from Alberta into a lighter form – synthetic crude – before it is piped to BC would make it acceptable. Acceptable to who? Synthetic Crude is slightly less toxic and the deadly chemical condensate cocktail necessary to make the crud pump-able wouldn't be involved. All of which equals slightly less death, slightly more slowly when it all falls apart. Would that be acceptable to a party who's constituents are supposed to include every living thing?

10. It's the same argument for the whole aquatic food chain as we saw clearly from the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska [which still isn't really cleaned up and never will be]. The Exxon Valdez wasn't carrying bitumen and Exxon's lawyers made sure they only paid a small percentage of their total 'liability'. How much would BC residents be on the hook for after a pipeline destroys the unrepairable and the corporations limited liability insurance runs out?

11. What about the treaties and other rights guaranteed to the First Nations all along the route and beyond? Wouldn't it seem appropriate for a Green Party to be out front to protect them?

12. What about the Precautionary Principle? We puny humans have no idea what will happen, at best we can only calculate the odds of the most probable future events. With the inevitable disaster and its potential for losses so huge compared to the relatively short term 'profits' for a few already uber-rich investors, the application of the Precautionary Principle should seem mindbogglingly obvious as a science-based, evidence-based, warning to Mr. Weaver.

13. By adopting such a foolish position Weaver undermines the entire Green Party's image and message both provincially and nationally. Elizabeth May has worked or years to establish the Green Party's credentials. She stood beside Weaver on Victoria's street corners and in doing so lent him some of her hard earned respect. Now she too, and her national party, will be painted and tainted by Weaver's foolish position.

i may have overlooked some other good reasons [please email me yours, i'll include them in a re-edit]. But for now, i'll conclude by reminding Andrew Weaver that the only solution to the destruction of fair Gaia being wrought by human hubris is Conservation. Further that humans are addicted to fossil fuels and feeding that addiction, or any other, only worsens the situation.

For sure, as Weaver acknowledges, everything is made from embedded fossil fuels, and for sure, folks in the first world would have to make uncomfortable sacrifices like those in the third world have long been making so we in the Empire can live lives of relative luxury, and that politicians everywhere know demanding sacrifice isn't going to win them many friends or votes. But the Green Party is supposed to be different, supposed to serve every living thing not just it's human benefactors.

'Just Say No' Andrew, your position is surrender not compromise. Just recant and apologize, everybody makes mistakes, even learned climatologists. If that's not possible, for whatever reason, you must resign from the B.C. Green Party immediately.

2.08.2014

Half a Century Ago the Beatles Were Part of Those Heady Days When Revolution Was in the Air

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show February 9, 1964

1964 was a leap year. It was half a century ago, yet so many of the political and cultural leaps that happened during that year are still crystal clear in my mind's eye, it seems like only yesterday. i turned 16 in January of '64 and, as Bob Dylan sang that year, the times were a changin. Dylan's music still inspires us ol'timers to remember those heady days when revolution was in the air and real change seemed imminent.

It all comes rushing back right now because 50 years ago Sunday [Feb. 9th], the Beatles made their U.S. live television debut on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' as 73 million people tuned in, the largest audience in history at that time. i was one of those 73 million.  In the little rural New England town where i'd grown up it was a huge turning point in our cultural history. Not because of their music which at that point didn't challenge mainstream culture a-tall. Not because the girls screamed and swooned, they'd screamed and swooned for Elvis a decade earlier and for Frank Sinatra [my mother reminded me] long before that. The leap that night, at least my little town, happened because our parents somehow seemed to fear the Beatles so much we were forced to hide in the basement to watch. They didn't hate the music, they hated their haircuts. Somehow the Beatles haircuts were a potent symbol of change and a the rejection of the mainstream crew-cut culture.


The Beatles were only a small part 1964's leaps. Musically Bob Dylan changed my worldview far more that the Beatles. Everywhere i looked another window was opening onto a new vista. Cassius Clay announced he'd converted to Islam in 1964. When he officially joined The Nation of Islam and took the name Muhammad Ali it demanded that i look more closely at Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and The Nation of Islam who were hated and hounded by the authorities back then  Ali was the champ and through all the derision still commanded a respectful audience, so i gave it to him and them. Though i never really agreed with Malcolm X's speeches because i figured we were and are all in this together, i listened and learned.

Martin Luther King was awarded the Noble Peace Prize that year and LBJ managed to get the Civil Rights Act passed into law. It was probably the last piece of truly progressive legislation the U.S. govt. adopted. Despite which [or perhaps in conjunction with it], the FBI-led death squads roamed the country 'neutralizing' the Black Panthers and Indian leaders in the Dakotas.

At about the same time in '64 LBJ's stooges carried out the false flag operation that led to The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which was the law that gave him almost unlimited power to bomb Vietnam 'back to the stone-age' and massively increase the numbers of mostly drafted troops sent there. In response, the North American student movement, headed in '64 by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), organized student activists at the University of Michigan and University of California, Berkeley in protests that eventually exploded into the Berkeley Free Speech Movement. The anti-war firestorm ignited everywhere. 1,000 students gathered in New York City to protest the Vietnam War. Twelve of them burned their selective service registration cards—draft cards—in a symbolic gesture of opposition to the war. A move that would multiply so fast the authorities were overwhelmed, they didn't start swimmin so 'they sank like a stone'.


Bob's original video has been yanked from youtube so this version is the best available...sorry.

Many folks say now that 1964 actually started on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. It's hard to disagree. In the aftermath of that horrible day i, and millions of others, watched in tears as JFK was buried. But instead of burying ourselves in patriotic escapism many people began to criticize and question the Warren Commission in another unanticipated revolutionary act..

Che Guevara addressed the U.N. General Assembly in 1964 giving a great speech titled 'Colonialism is Doomed' that still sends a chill down my spine. Dr Stranglove, one of the most highly acclaimed and intelligent anti-war, anti-nuclear arms, symbols in history, was released in '64. 1964 was a leap year, the Beatles appearance was definitely one of the important symbols of the huge changes happening back then.

Symbols are like windows, it doesn't matter how they're built, it's what you see through them that counts.