How the Media's Anti-Union Spin is Framing Catalyst Paper's Financial Situation

Hundreds of media outlets are parroting their corporate owners spin of the Catalyst Paper financial situation with their one sided anti-union perspective. The fact is that there are two groups who must agree to endorse the changes being demanded. One is the union locals the other is the bondholders who had to have over 2/3 in agreement for the recapitalization deal to move foward. The company said Monday that it had secured support from 79.47 per cent of those holding its senior secured notes due 2016. However, just 54.96 per cent of its senior notes due 2014 supported the recapitalization.

So all the stories about how workers at the Crofton mill represented by the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers Union of Canada Local 2 turned down a tentative agreement as 58 per cent voted against the deal are only part of, not the whole, story. For sure Catalyst is presently losing money from its combined 4 mills. The disgruntled bondholders voting against the present deal know that in the three months ending Sept. 30, the company lost $205.7 million or 54 cents per share as it booked a $151-million impairment charge on the Snowflake recycled newsprint mill in northeastern Arizona. So most of the losses by Catalyst recently are a common occurrence for goodwill where a company's purchase another company for more than the value of the net assets of the target company.

The bondholders have Bond Insurance that will bail them out IF Catalyst fails to meet its interest payments. The individual workers have no such insurance which means they will lose grocery money if the current recapitalization scheme goes through but the bondholders won't lose, in fact they'll gain control of the board of directors which would allow the vultures to sell off Catalyst's assets in a peicemeal fashion that would probably spell the end of many good paying jobs here in coastal BC.

It's all such crap. It's all caused by the first multinationals, the vampires, flying in and sucking the life blood out of the local BC mills and using that lifeblood to pay bonuses and buy the Snowflake operation. Now with everything stateside in deep doo-doo because of the Wall St. and bank bailouts making Snowflake, along with a lotta other Arizona stuff, worth far less than Catalyst paid they want BC's workers and local communities to bail them out. It's bullshit.

The solution is for Port Alberni, Crofton and Powell River's workers and local investors to buy out their local operaions and run them for the benefit of the local communities - the 99% - and boot the suits - the 1% - out. Bankster capitialism sucks...it sucks out the lifeblood of the needy to further engorge the material assets of the greedy.


Wall St. Rejoices as Moneybags Mitt Appears Set to Win Florida Primary

It's Moneybags Mitt in the lead, Newt fading fast in second with Rick the righteous and outsider Ron Paul in a dead heat for last heading for the wire in Tuesday's Republican primary in Florida. The sucking sound you're hearing is the sigh of relief coming from Mitt's fellow vampire capitialist buddies on Wall St.

Money talks and bullshit walks as the old saying goes. But the 'real' story, IMO, in Florida and beyond is how the corporate media is doing everything in its power to bury the Ron Paul Revolution. Newt's unpredictable and that scares the Republican establishment, who knows what 'big idea' he'll come up with next now that his moon colony appears unlaunchable. But Ron Paul is the one who's long held ideas are so far off the Republican reservation that he's achieved piraha status among the elites.

Of course, mr. mud likes Ron Paul because he doesn't speak with a forked tongue like the liar in chief Obama and he's willing to stand up and speak that truth, as he sees it, to the powerful and the not so powerful just as he has for decades. During the debate last Thursday in Jacksonville Paul gave another great speech-ette. This time on the stupidity of the Cuban blockade. He said his truth, which this writer agrees with, to a Florida audience and received an ovation for it. Perhaps most Floridians, especially Republicans, don't agree with Paul's stance on noormalizing relations with the evil commie dictators in Cuba. But they do applaud his courage to say what he thinks.

Ron Paul can't win the Republican nomination but maybe, just maybe, he can open up a space for real debate on the critical issues of our times. The David Seaman videocast below about the mainstream media bias against Ron Paul, and why Mitt Romney has nothing in common with the average man is worth a watch.


Hell, Fire and Blackberries

Between mid-Janurary and mid-Feburary is the best time to clear-temporarily-blackberries here in Cascadia. mr. mud has been slowly trying to build a perimeter fence around the hideout here in Blackpoint. The point of this fence building exercise isn't to exclude 'others' but to be a greater service to the animal rescue-especially dog rescue-people in the area. Since moving to the Powell River area i've met and been inspired by all the folks involved in this nobel cause and unless the property is well fenced there's no way to foster any of the dogs or other creatures so deserving of a second chance. The lives of so many of our innocent cousins are hell, not because of anything they do to deserve such a fate, but because so many short-sighted, selfish rogue primates find it easy to abandon or abuse those they see as seperate from themselves and therefore discardable.

Fence building in the desert or on the prarie is one thing, fence building here in glacial till and through the mother of all passive resistors-the blackberries, is another.

The first step here is to temporarily clear a pathway through the resistance forces. This is best done in mid-winter when the blackberries are at their most dormant. Each and every attempt to accomplish this part of the task is an excercise in blood letting. Blackberries can teach us many lessons about the hubris of humans. i'm convinced they communicate with each other in some alien way because the instant i cut one cane the other canes nearby, both the green living and old brown apparently dead, seem able to turn their thorns at and attack the intruder. Their thorns have tiny fishhook shaped barbs at the end that they leave behind embeded in the flesh to remind us of our transgression long into the future.

Of course, as Tom Robbins explains so well in his novel 'Still Life With Woodpecker', there are billions of juicy sweet berries throughout coastal Cascadia every August but there is only one blackberry plant. It reproduces canes from both its roots and by rerooting canes that have bent down to rejoin their family in the earth. That's why any apparent clearing of them is at best a temporary illusion, never a victory.

After clearing an area through which the fence will run there's a huge pile of cut canes to deal with. After licking my wounds i've found it cathartic to introduce them to the element of fire. Yesterday i tended and was warmed by the flames of their crackling bodies confident that the fire and the clearing were merely a stage in the ultimate evolution of the next dominant species now arising to replace us-the overly confident two legged group-whose one real purpose is to keep creating the ideal conditions for the one blackberry plant's future rule.


Canada's Harpo Delivers His Regressive Agenda in Davos Speech

Yesterday Canada's facist in chief delivered his red meat loaded agenda to the assembled choir of billionaires in Davos Switzerland. For one thing Harpo touted Canada's strong economic condition within the developed world's economies, which is true. But, of course, he trumpted his government's actions as the major factor in Canada's position when in fact it's a combination of relatively strong banking regulations passed by the former Liberal government and designed by then Finance Minister Paul Martin that kept Canada's banks from loading up on derivatives Canadians have to thank not Harpo's Conservatives who at the time howled bloody murder about any regulations to control the banker's greed. And, of course, the wholesale give away of Canada's non-renewable resource commodities that are providing his billionaire audience with short-term 'profits' and bling.

He went on to talk about the wonders of his increasingly regressive tax system that further pads the pockets of his supporters by informing us back home that the qualifying age for the senior's supplement would be soon raised to 67 from its decades old 65 years of age. Canada's tax structure used to be far more progressive but down through the decades both of our major parties have shifted from tax revenues based mostly on income and corporate taxes -progressive- to sales taxes-regressive.

But the real kicker, in this writer's opinion, was Harpo's declaration that he'll make it a "national priority" to create the capacity to export energy products to Asia - something the Northern Gateway pipeline would do. "We will soon take action to ensure that major energy and mining projects are not subject to unnecessary regulatory delays - that is, delay merely for the sake of delay," he said. Which translated into canuck means he's about to eliminate the environmental asessment of projects like the Northern Gateway Project.

Even if Harpo allows the commission now conducting hearings into the Enbridge pipeline to conclude in its present form he's already setting the stage to reject its fndings if they don't concur with his ideological agenda. As the First Nations are 99.9% opposed to the pipeline a rejection of the commission's findings-were they to end up reccommending against building the damn thing-would inevitably send the whole matter to Canada's Supreme Court. But even then, as Harpo has recently shown in The Canadian Wheat Board situation, the courts hold no sway in his mind because he and his ilk aren't bound by the laws of mere mortals, they get their direction from a 'higher' law who's voice whispers the 'real truth' in Harpo's ear. We used to call those who heard voices schizophrenic, now we call them Prime Minister here in canuckistan.

View from the Reichstag - German history offers a lesson for Canadian democracy.


Adbusters Calls for May Day Showdown in Chicago

This just in from Adbusters. Kalle Lasn, editor of Adbusters, was the person who orginally called out folks to Occupy Wall St. Hopefully this will be as huge a success and as groundbreaking as that one continues to be.

ADBUSTERS TACTICAL BRIEFING #25...Showdown in Chicago.

Hey you redeemers, rebels and radicals out there,

Against the backdrop of a global uprising that is simmering in dozens of countries and thousands of cities and towns, the G8 and NATO will hold a rare simultaneous summit in Chicago this May. The world’s military and political elites, heads of state, 7,500 officials from 80 nations, and more than 2,500 journalists will be there.

And so will we.

On May 1, 50,000 people from all over the world will flock to Chicago, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month. With a bit of luck, we’ll pull off the biggest multinational occupation of a summit meeting the world has ever seen.

And this time around we’re not going to put up with the kind of police repression that happened during the Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago, 1968 … nor will we abide by any phony restrictions the City of Chicago may want to impose on our first amendment rights. We’ll go there with our heads held high and assemble for a month-long people’s summit … we’ll march and chant and sing and shout and exercise our right to tell our elected representatives what we want … the constitution will be our guide.

And when the G8 and NATO meet behind closed doors on May 19, we’ll be ready with our demands: a Robin Hood Tax … a ban on high frequency ‘flash’ trading … a binding climate change accord … a three strikes and you’re out law for corporate criminals … an all out initiative for a nuclear-free Middle East … whatever we decide in our general assemblies and in our global internet brainstorm – we the people will set the agenda for the next few years and demand our leaders carry it out.

And if they don’t listen … if they ignore us and put our demands on the back burner like they’ve done so many times before … then, with Gandhian ferocity, we’ll flashmob the streets, shut down stock exchanges, campuses, corporate headquarters and cities across the globe … we’ll make the price of doing business as usual too much to bear.

Jammers, pack your tents, muster up your courage and prepare for a big bang in Chicago this Spring. If we don’t stand up now and fight now for a different kind of future we may not have much of a future … so let’s live without dead time for a month in May and see what happens …

for the wild, Culture Jammers HQ


The Role Rapid Climate Change and Pine Beetle Habitat Expansion Played in the Burns Lake Disaster

Yesterday's post was about the roles human psychology and ecomonics played in the recent disaster at the Burns Lake sawmill. Today's will attempt to show how rapid climate change and the accompanying rapid spread of the mountain pine beetle's habitat also played a big part in the disaster.

The mountain pine beetle has been around for millions of years. It's habitat has grown and shrunk many times through all those years in response to the climate it needs to survive. Like everything, the mountain pine beetle has an important role to play in the dance of nature. Its role is forest renewal. Without vectors like the pine beetle the forests couldn't evolve in parallel with the environment and would suffer.

Through those millions of years the waxing and waning of the climate's parameters has taken hundreds or thousands of years to move the borders of different species, including the beetle's, any appreciable distance. Moving along with the beetles are its predators, its hosts and other factors like the age of the forest and the consequent spacing and ages of the trees. Now though we are faced not with the slow natural climate variations of the past but a new set of circumstances caused by the rapid changes taking place that are easily measured in decades. In response to these rapid climate changes of today certain species, like those with legs, wings-or in the case of the beetles-trapeze like filaments can move more quickly than the forests who must rely on the much slower process of reseeding to move.

Our distant cousins, the beetles, who's range is limited to areas where 30-40 consecutive days of -40C don't occur, have in just a few decades marched north because the winters in parts of the northern hemisphere where these these parmeters used to always occur aren't quite as cold for quite as many consecutive days as they have been in the past. Not only climate change has helped their northern migration, in addition they've found that we humans have altered the natrual forest's age ranges by our logging practices. See, another factor in the ability of the beetles to spread rapidly is the spacing between trees. In a mature forest the distance between large trees- determined by sunlight avalibility, fire and species-is much larger than in a forest occupied by trees of approximately the same age as happens after logging regardless of whether natural reseeding of replanting has occured. Our cousins travel from tree to tree by dangling trapeze like on a filament swinging in the wind, the closer the trees are together the easier and more quickly they can move.

So, we've created the perfect marching conditions and our cousins have marched. In response to the widespread death of the lodgepole pine and a growing number of other types of pines have produced losses of expected revenue that the harvest of these second growth pine forests should have, in the capitialist's opinion, brought in. We now are harvesting these standing dead and dried trees as fast as possible to extract as much money as possible from them before they fall over, as they naturally would, and decompose into the food the next type of trees who should be moving in to replace the pines will need to eat to sustain themselves.

Whew. Which brings us back to the Burns Lake Mill and why the extra dry dust content in the air that fateful day was so high that, along with the shuttering of the ventalation windows because of the -48C tempratures and the natural gas leak in the basement, caused the huge explosion that killed 2 innocent men and injured 19 others. The natural gas leak in and of itself couldn't have been the only factor because natural gas concentratrions must reach a certain level before they become explosive. In a huge volume of air like the sawmill building long before those concentrations were reached all the workers would have had headaches or nausea or felt like they were about to passed out, they didn't. So perhaps in a smaller zone, like the basement or a thermally stratified small corner, the natural gas did reach explosive concentrations that were then ignited by a spark from the machinery or a welding torch but the resulting explosion couldn't have blown the roof off such a huge building, there had to be another source of energy and that was the huge quantity of extra dry dust created in the building by the processing of the dry dead remains of the infested pine forests.

Who caused the explosion and fire? We all did our part. By rapidly consuming, as we all do, the carbon sequestered over geologic time frames to power our lifestyles. We created the conditions that destroyed the lives and broke the hearts of the folks in Burns Lake. For my part in that i'm truely sorry.

Climate Change and Pine Beetles - To understand just how complex, scary and immediate climate change is, look no further than the case of the tiny mountain pine beetle.


Workers Could Smell Natural Gas For 2 Days Before Huge Explosion and Fire at Burns Lake Sawmill

The town of Burns Lake is in shock and mourning the death of two members of its tight knit community. The sawmill that exploded and burned to the ground injuring 19 and killing 2 is owned the Burns Lake Native Development Corp. and Portland, Ore. based forest products company Hampton Affiliates.

Wilf Adam, the chief of the Lake Babine Nation, said he has talked to several workers who say they warned of a gas smell for 2 days before the disaster. "The morning shift said that there was a big gas odour coming from the basement, and when the afternoon shift came on, that's when it happened."

90% of the wood the mill had been cutting in the last 3-4 years was timber salvaged from area forests ravaged by the pine beetle. It’s really dry so the dust factor is extremely high. The temprature in Burns Lake that day was -48C and during cold winter weather the mill is more closed in, without fans sucking out the dust. Many Burns Lake residents are speculating that it was gas that caused the explosion. However there have been many demonstrations by firemen showing that dust particles are highly flammable. Probably something sparked the gas which set off a huge dust explosion.

"Many workers said they were under a lot of pressure to keep production at a high pace at the mill, they were being pushed,” chief Adam said.

Workers do have the right under BC's WCB rules to refuse to work under unsafe conditions but the combined pressures of managers trying to meet production goals, having to bring home a paycheck to buy groceries and pay rent plus the that of ones peers under those same pressures is nearly impossble to overcome by any individual. i was in dangerous situations often many years ago when i worked at the pulp mill in Port Mellon. It was incredibly difficult to refuse to keep working no matter how much my gut told me to stop. One night shift we did, 'we' being the operative word because i never could have stood up to the bosses by myself.

There will be an investigation of the Burns Lake disaster but its doubtful that all or any of the psychological causes will enter into the conclusions as to what happened. Hopefully, in the end, after all he tears have been shed, there will be enough fire insurance and enough government assistance for the tiny community to rebuild its broken economic engine. They say 'time heals all wounds', but the broken hearts in Burns Lake will take generations to recover.


Catalyst Paper Corporation's Hedge Fund Owners Drive Powell River Pulp Mill Into Bankruptcy

The American hedge fund, Third Avenue Management LLC, a N.Y. city hedge fund that is the principle bond holder of Catalyst Paper Corporation and Trimark Global High Yield Bond Fund, the next largest bond holder, have loaded the Powell River mill with debt during the past years when pulp and paper prices were high. Instead of re-investing in the mill's infrastructure by buying new equipment that would have increased productivity the hedge funds paid bonuses to the managers and shareholders. It's the story of hedge funds and absentee owners everywhere.

Now that pulp and paper prices hve returned to more normal historic levels the management of Catalyst can't pay the interest on the debts they've accruded, whadda surprise. So they've now taken the next usual corporate step of attempting to reduce the cost of inputs. These reductions involve labour, raw resources, and by influencing politicians in power to eliminate regulations and taxes. Property taxes are latest boogeymen to be targeted by the corporation.

Catalyst is also demanding immediate concessions from each of its local unions, cuts that would help pay for things like the almost $5 million exit package of chief executive officer Russell Horner who resigned last Monday [Jan. 16th].

Over the decades when the facilities had belonged to BC Forest Products, MacMillan Bloedel, Crown Forest Industries, Fletcher Challenge and Norske Skog the14,000 residents of Powell River benefitted from the mill through the wise usage of the tax revenues generated. In many ways the residents saw these benefits as a tradeoff for the pollution of air and water quality they lived with. Over those decades the union, to its discredit, continued to negotiate only for higher wages instead of taking an equity position along with improvements in working a safety conditions that were so rightfully won.

Now Catalyst is successfully blackmailing the city of Powell River into lower taxes and other concessions by threatening the mill's closure and the local economic depression such a closure could cause. Many locals though, including the writer of these lines, knows that when Pope and Talbot financially failed and closed their Harmac Pulp Mill in Nanaimo, the workers and two other private interests took over the mill and made it profitable and have heard nothing about Harmac crying the blues about the taxes it pays.

We here in Powell River have nothing to fear from Catalyst and its hedge fund owners. Let them get the hell out and don't let the door hit 'em in the behind while they're leaving. The sooner Catalyst goes bankrupt the sooner the mill will be locally owned and run for the benefit of the workers and the community they live in. Power to the people, workers of Powell River's mill must unite not in fear but in victory, they have nothing to lose but their chains.


Is Anonymous The Air Force of a Worldwide People's Revolution?

Anonymous, a worldwide hacktivist un-organization, has shown in the last few days with its successful attacks on a wide variety of government, security and capitialist websites that it is a powerful force despite it's un-organized hive like nature. In fact it is this un-organization with its horizontal decision making that generates that power and makes it capable of being thought of as 'The Air Force' of the #Occupy movement.

Anonymous, like the Indignados, the Occupy movement and The TEA Party, are expressions of a worldwide disgust with the globalized capitialist power structure that has been so successful up until now at undermining the inalienable rights of us all.

But, IMO, for there to be a successful worldwide people's revolution 'we the people' everywhere must unite, must realize that we are all in this together and that we are allowing ourselves to be divided into right-left by those same capitialist powers for their own benefit. We each see only what we allow to pass through the veil of our paradigm. Each of us has a worldview, a paradigm, that is the result of our cultural conditioning. We must overcome the conditioning that so often forces us to see ourselves, metaphorically speaking, as seperate drops of water instead of as aspects of one sea.

Only this self-created illusion of seperateness allows us to act as greedy individuals. If/when we liberate ourselves from this illusion do we understand that individual greed is really suicide. With this understanding of our real nature we can understand the we are all anonymous, that we are legion, and that the forces of individual greed should expect us to rise like a tidal wave and flood the emipire with the sea of this new consciousness.

Let the motto "We are Anonymous. We are a legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us" come to be a symbol of a truely united vision that we, the flora, fauna, microbes, minerals, forces and fairies are all in this together.


Why Clean Air, Pure Water, Real Food and Peace are Libertarian Values

Real libertarians are environmentalists because of the realization that we all have the right to personal liberty. Libertarians, at least the one writing these lines, believe in their personal liberty to breathe clean air, to drink clean water, eat real food and enjoy peace. Liberty to enjoy my life as i see fit' also includes the responsibility of the golden rule 'do unto others as you'd have them do unto you'.

Today, especially in capitialist cultures, the term libertarian is often wrongly associated with a pro-corporate agenda more correctly defined by the term fascism. Libertarian values are concerned with the rights of individuals to live their lives without the interference of authorites provided that they do not interfere with those same rights for others.

All this would work smoothly in a perfect world, but of course we don't. In this world how we percieve and exercise our individual rights often comes into conflict with the rights of others. Down through history the imbalance of power between those individuals who have more material wealth and those who have less has been so skewed in favor of the wealthy that the very institutions originally created by our ancestors to adjudicate those inevitable conflicts between the rights of individuals that laws now allow the wealthy and their zombie like corporations the right to pollute our air, poison our water, fill our food with crap and wage aggressive wars to dominate the resources of others that our liberty to live freely is all but gone.

The state and its laws originally came into existance to protect the personal liberty of each of us to live freely but now serve only the wealthy who can corrupt those original good intentions with the power derived by the inequities that have grown out of this corruption down through time.

How then, in our less than perfect world, can individuals recapture their personal liberty to enjoy clean air, pure water, real food and peace? As the state and its laws, as i see it, can't or won't protect us, we must each take back those most basic rights by responsibily living them. Living your values isn't easy in this twisted sister of a modern world but we must if are to live free. The cost of exercising our liberty is often the living of a difficult life, but that cost much be paid because only by living our values, living morally in an immoral world, can we truely be liberated.


Obama's Rejection of Keystone Permit a Shallow Political Tactic

The liar Obama is at it again. Unfortunately many media outlets are saying that environmentalists are buying this shallow political tactic. This morning Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, published an article that's being widely quoted in which he lavishes praise on Obama's decision. It ends with:

"Having watched the conventional wisdom get upturned once this year, I’m a little less convinced by that argument. Beating Keystone doesn’t stop climate change—but it does stop Big Oil’s winning streak, and that’s a hopeful sign."

After reading, then re-reading the article, it was apparent that if the self-delusion in Bill McKibben's article is indicative of the level of analysis environmentalists are capable of then what what hope do we have. Then i started reading the comments on it and began to breath easier. Writer after writer saw through both Obama's meaningless political ploy and McKibben's niavety in supporting it.

Further reading led to an excellant in-depth article at 'The Tyee' by Andrew Nikiforuk on Obama's short term Keystone poliutical gambit and to energy politics in the US, Canada and the world beyond especially how in relation to the Northern Gateway Project here in BC. It ends with:

Most senior executives in the oil patch quietly admit that Enbridge Gateway project (Plan B) will never be built. The local opposition against this desperate pro-China folly is much stronger and just as committed as that against Keystone XL. In fact, the path closed long ago due to ineptness and hubris as well as a ruthless disregard for the power of salmon, whales and First Nations.

What the Keystone Rejection Really Reveals - ENERGY & EQUITY: The ruthless, evolving nature of energy politics.


Winter Bird Feeding Especially Important as Tempratures Drop

First off, i'm not an expert on feeding birds so i've provided a few excellant links below to sites developed by people who are. That said, there are a few basic things that i've learned from my research online and from my friends who've been at it far longer than i have.

When i moved here to Black Point just south of Powell River late last winter i noticed that there were quite a few birds searching around the place obviously looking for food. It seems that the old gent i bought the place from was an avid bird lover so i started asking a couple of people that i know who've lived here for some time and have bird feeders themselves what i should do.

One couple gave me a feeder and off i went to Canadian Tire to score some feed for them as it's very important to keep feeding them through the winter once you [or the previous residents] have started. As soon as it warmed up in the late spring i stopped my daily routine of checking and topping up the feeder every day then after the first cold snap in the fall i started being on it again.

Right now the snow is falling and the temps are far below freezing even here in Canada's banana belt. This morning the feeder outside my window has been covered with little birds almost every minute. If you too have a feeder please keep it full every day in this cold weather. If you don't apparently it's OK to scatter bits of bread or other baked goods but only if/when the weather is extreme as a constant diet of them isn't the right thing to do. Please help our feathered friends during their time of need. They'll repay you with lovely music, arial acrobatics and insect control next year if you do.

Winter Bird Feeding Tips

Winter Birds and Bird Feeding

Bird Feeding FAQ - Answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about attracting and feeding birds.


Happy 70th birthday to Muhammad Ali, Simply 'The Greatest'

Muhammad Ali is 'The Greatest' and one of my lifelong heroes. The conviction and courage Muhammad Ali has shown throughout his life continues to inspire millions of people everywhere. Happy Birthday wishes pour in from around the world, a world that today is sorely lacking in giants like Muhammad Ali.

Ali was in his youth the greatest boxer of his time. He was the most popular and recognizable figure in the world back then. That alone would have earned him a special place in history but his spectacular athletic ability and his outspoken rhetoric were only a stepping stone to his true greatness. The excellant documentary 'When We Were Kings' will keep those times alive long into the future. "Ali-Boom-I-ay".

Ali rose above the rest in 1966 when he refused induction into the American military and became a role model of my generation. Then in 1967 the U.S. Department of Justice prosecuted Ali, denying his claim for conscientious objector status. He was found guilty of refusing to be inducted into the military. Ali said at his trial, "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong... No Viet Cong ever called me nigger". Ali walked away from millions of dollars. Ali walked the walk, he chose jail over fortune or fame.

In 2005 Ali opened the Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. "I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given, I believed in myself and I believe in the goodness of others," said Ali. "Many fans wanted to build a museum to acknowledge my achievements. I wanted more than a building to house my memorabilia. I wanted a place that would inspire people to be the best that they could be at whatever they chose to do, and to encourage them to be respectful of one another."

His courage to stand up for his beliefs and values inspired millions of young Americans like myself to have the courage to resist the war machine and stand up against the Vietnam War. Many of us reasoned that if a fellow young man, especially a black man born into poverty and a culture of racial bigotry could have such courage so could we. For him to have shown me the way i will be forever greatful.

Today on his 70th birthday, ravaged by Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali still stands tall as a true hero, simply 'The Greatest'. Thank you Muhammad Ali for your courage..


Domestic Drones, Bio-Metric Sensors and Backyard Chicken Coops

Chickens have long ago had most, but not all, of their natural defenses bred out of them in favor of traits like huge eggs and such. i've watched in amazement many times as my free range backyard crew scuttled under my old beater van as soon as the eagles started circling overhead. They don't all just hide. Most of them tightly pack around the rooster but a couple are always designated to keep poking their heads out from under the van with their little eyes turned skyward to see if the fowl predators are still up there.

Backyard chicken coops are fairly common in rural and suburban areas everywhere in north america because of both the quality eggs and economic benefits they bestow on their humans. The value of the eggs my chickens lay far exceeds the cost of the feed required to keep them going, especially if they also roam around the yard scratching up whatever they can find during the day.

In fact there are so many little mom and pop chicken coop operations selling or bartering high quality eggs with their neighbors that it's putting an increasingly large dent into the profits of the corporate operations and, like all corporate behemoths, they don't like the competition so they're using their clout with the Chamber of Commerce to do something about it. See there are regulations like zoning, farm status, taxes and the like that have been enacted through the years to protect the corporations from bucolic types like me ever trying undermine profits or terrorize the rich with fears of having to accept less.

It's been a dilemma for decades as enforcing those regulations would cost governments tons of dough that could only be paid by higher taxes-enethma for those same corporate types. But now the combination of domestic drones and a new generation of bio-metric sensors is begining to rule the roost. This month the authorities were able to round-up the rustlers of six cows with the help of a Predator B drone, the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs in North Dakota.

How long will it be before the drones are set loose on the fowl terrorists in our backyards? Maybe they already are. Yesterday i watched in horror as my chickens scrambled under the van, their sentinel's heads craned skyward looking for a predator. But alas there were no eagles circling, perhaps the predators they instinctively reacted to were at an altitude to high to be seen by the naked eye be it human or chicken.

Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front

Are Drones Watching You?


Will the Canadian Government Pipeline Propaganda Campaign be Allowed to Destroy the Great Bear Rainforest?

Like Petro States everywhere Canada continues to cut taxes on its rich benefactors and live on the royalities generated by the fossil fuel bubble. This type of scenerio always leads in one direction, the few get richer, the many get poorer. In this specific instance though the value of these short term 'gains' must be judged not only against the social justice inequities but also the long term devastation of the biosphere that supports us all.

The long term survival of Canada's environment is under attack by its own government. If this propaganda attack by Harpo and his religious zealot filled government succeeds in hoodwinking Canadians into believing that the foreign multinationals who control the Alberta Tar Sands, and who will make billions of dollars if the pipeline gets built, have anyone's interests other than their own in mind then the future looks bleak not only for BC's coastal rainforest, salmon streams and shoreline but everywhere else too.

Harpo and his cronies are enraptured by the notion that they have god on their side, that they and their brethern alone know what's right. Conseqently it doesn't matter how much they lie about foreign money driving the opposition to their get rich scheme. In fact no more than $30 million has helped green groups fight Big Oil whereas foreign companies and states who dominate the Tar Sands have poured $30 billion, 1000 times as much, in.

Those who oppose the environmental destruction, that would be only a matter of 'when' not 'if', are the villians in Harpo's mind. The many thousands who will appear at the hearings speaking against the Northern Gateway Pipeline know who the real villians are, they know that short term profits for a few already rich capitialists is far outweighed by the costs to future generations that the certain destruction ahead if the pipeline is approved will entail.

Please watch the beautiful documentary below to get some idea of what is at stake for the many to further enrich the few.


Gitmo Turns 10 and the Liar Obama's Nose Grows Longer

Protestors are protesting and many like-minded others are equally saddened on this the tenth anniversary of the opening of Gitmo, a very black eye for America and another clear reminder of the lies Obama told when running for president. Media outlets are running this story and calling it an example of Obama's broken promises and citing various reasons why this promise was broken.

The media blames the Congress for refusing to fund the facilities needed to move and try the detainees on US soil and the fear Americans have of these detainees being released by the courts because torture was used to extract confessions from them. But these reasons/excuses were just as much in play before the 2008 election as they are today.

In my opinion Obama knew full well the storm of discontent he'd face if he tried to close Gitmo, he knew but instead of saying he'd 'try' he said he'd 'do' it in his first year in office. Then after winning instead of usng his considerable rhetorical skill to educate Americans about the constitution's gauranteed rights, instead of using the bully pulpit as a platform to condemn torture and the illegal/immoral illogic that supported it he caved immediately.

Obama said what what would get him the most votes then did what his opponents wanted all along. Be it Gitmo, or the Patriot Act or pollution, or so many other topics Obama lied to get elected and now must be held accountable by those he deceived. Like in the 2010 mid-term elections those who believed his lies, those whose hope for 'change you can believe in' were aroused have a choice again in 2012 and like in 2010 they won't go out and vote for the Republicans, they'll stay home.

The right to a fair trial can't be parsed into good guys and bad guys. Rights are gauranteed to all for a reason, and every American should be afraid, not because 171 men in Gitmo have been denied their rights, but because if 'they' can be detained indefinately without charge gitmo so can you and i.

Guantánamo at 10: The Defeat of Liberty by Fear - The story of Guantánamo's 10th anniversary and the deterioration of civil and human rights in post-9/11 America is a story about what fear will do – the breakdown of a body politic that occurs when a country attacks its own constitution in the name of defending it.


Harper and His Resource Minister Joe Oliver are the Radicals Not the Environmentalists

Conserving is not part of the Canadian Conservative Party agenda, their sole focus is on short term profits for the corporations that support them. Yesterday's open letter by Joe Oliver attacking 'environmentalists and other radicals' clearly shows their one-sided view of reality foremost being the meaning of 'conserve'. The Harperites want to spin Canadians into believing that profit for their oil industry backers is a conservative idea when nothing is further from the truth.

Harper's Alberta backers, in the service of their short term profits, have been the main force for decades in blocking a national energy policy in Canada. Canada's huge energy resources could, if properly managed and conserved, power Canada's industries far into the future, could be powering the creation of industry, jobs and real wealth for all Canadians far into the future. Instead successive Canadian governments have kowtowed to the short term interests of the greedy oil industry by encouraging massive exports instead of long term conservation.

Instead it's Canada's First Nations and environmentalists who are leading the fight for conservation, for long term development of real wealth producing strategies, for the protection of the wilderness who's free services underlie our existance and for the future of all of our children and their children to come.

It's the Canadian government's capitialist ethos that's radical not that of those demanding the conservation of our fragile biosphere.

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini.

Elizabeth May Takes on Joe Oliver - Green leader responds to resource minister's 'open letter' slamming 'environmentalists and other radicals.'
Tar Sands Pipeline Critics Hit Back at 'Radical' Claims - Canadian Minister blames environmental, other "radical" groups for blocking Enbridge pipeline


Evangelical Christians Convinced Mitt's Magic Underwear Makes Him a Hell Bound Heathen

Poor Mitt Romney can't seem to rise above the 25-30% ceiling in all the Republican polls. Seems at least half the GOP's followers are Evangelical Christians and the vast majority of them think Mormonism-Mitts chosen delusion-is just plain crazy. Evangelical Christians themselves have a close kinship with crazy so most likely are in the know about such things.

The topic of Mitt Romney’s magic underwear has taken off on the net, thousands of articles and videos debate the stains left on the American political discourse left behind by the various Christian Crazies. Reading up on the controversies surrounding Magic Underwear and the Rapture this morning have reassured me that people will believe anything, no matter how ridicoulous, if they can first be convinced that it's part of them escaping their mortal bonds.

Here we are, while choking on the pollution of our greedocracy and consuming its excesses, while millions deeply entrenched in poverty and starvation around the globe and others, like us in Canada, wallow in our waste, while vast sums are spent on armies to protect the riches of the bloated from the hands of the needy, my fellow Americans are debating the 'truths' as devined by the different bishops of bullshit.

Democracy, like a lotta philosophies, sounds good but only can work if practiced by a well informed and well intentioned populace. Instead we are governed by the same type of self-interested-lazy-fearful primates that we greet in the mirror each morning. Maybe Mitt's Magic Underwear will ride up to save us or maybe not. Either way as long as the many allow themselves to be divided, controlled and manipulated by their most basic fears they will be ruled by the few regardless of the magic in their underwear.


2012 World Junior Tournament Highlights Canadian Spirit

Canada is a huge place. So huge its 35 million people are divided into far-flung clusters both spacially and culturally. Highways, trains and planes connect places, hockey connects cultures. Everywhere, atlantic to pacific to arctic, gets 'Hockey Night in Canada'. Almost everybody has their favorite NHL team depending on where they live or grew up. But the World Juniors are different, everybody everywhere gets to cheer for the same team, and it's a mighty roar eh.

So far the Canadian kids have barely had any challenge but the atmosphere has been electric. From the moment the Canadian kids step onto the ice the building starts rocking, a huge Canadian flag is passed hand to hand by hundred of fansa in the stands around the arena, hockey not only is Canada's game its Canada's cultural spirit.

Tonight's game between Russia and the Czech Republic will determine who the Canadians play on tuesday in the semifinals. After last year's 3rd period implosion most Canadian fans are rooting for a rematch with the Russians, me too.



The Ron Paul Revolution a Wild Card in 2012

Check out the crowds, Ron Paul is drawing big huge crowds in Iowa. There's a lot of young people, Independents and Democrats in those crowds. Ron Paul is the wild card in 2012, even Ralph Nader says. “Libertarians like Ron Paul are on our side on civil liberties. They’re on our side against the military-industrial complex. They’re on our side against Wall Street. They’re on our side for investor rights. That’s a foundational convergence,” he exhorts. “It’s not just itty-bitty stuff.

Paul has a lotta momentum at just right time despite a huge smear campaign by the GOP brass and corporate money in the last few days. Tuesday's Iowa results will show why the fat cats are squirming. The Democratic Party brass can't figure out if the Ron Paul Revolution is a good thing for them or not. If Paul were to jump the Republican ship of fools and tools and run as a third party independent it could be nightfall for them all.

The mainstream media, while on the surface dismissing Paul's campaign, is a big reason for his success so far. Paul's radical positions require thoughtful debate to prove or disprove none of which fits well between commercials or lends itself to being easily dumbed down to a meaningless slogan.

After Iowa comes New Hampshire a week later. N.H. is an open primary where Paul's recent surge will gain strength. After that who knows, but maybe, just maybe, there'll be space for new ideas opened up by Paul's outspoken positions and the obvious need for dramatic change in America.