Time to Get Out the Candles and the Crank Up Radio 'Cause Earth Hour is Tonight

Earth Hour, which is either totally ridiculous or a slick meme transfer device, 2012 is here. Tonight, March 31st, between 8:30PM – 9:30PM (local time), millions, maybe billions, of folks will be you switching off their lights, turning off their TVs, and huddling around the candle flame to show their involvement in the fight against climate change and carbon consumption.

The World Wildlife Fund, ground zero in tonight's exercise, says a total of 5,251 cities took part in 2011, as the movement reached 1.8 billion people in 135 countries. Sydney's Opera House and Harbour Bridge were the first landmarks to plunge into darkness and were followed by the Tokyo Tower, Taipei 101 and the Great Wall of China. Also on the big time landmark list going dark are the Burj Khalifa, the Eiffel Tower and Louvre in Paris, the cupola of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and Buckingham Palace in London. From Egypt's Tahrir Square to New York's Empire State Building and the International Space Station, which will watch over the event as it rolls across the globe it appears the arms of authorities are breaking from patting themselves on the back.

My skeptical warning bells keep chiming things like when all these authorities tells us something like they are going to observe Earth Hour by turning off 'non-essential' stuff in their offices and lights on their monuments for an hour why, if it is non-essential, it's on the rest of the time. Guess that's part of why Earth Hour has met with lottsa criticism over the years. Plus the fact that perhaps many individuals can convince themselves that by taking part in small, basically useless, things like Earth Hour, Earth Day and recycling they are doing their part in creating a better world.

Switching a light off isn't going to save the planet but if, on the other hand, this little individual act is done in a manner that raises awareness and gets folks to think about it and then take action in many different ways it could be a very valuable baby step. If then Earth Hour can be thought of as tool that can be used to slip a meme, a small idea packet, beyond the veil of our daily consumer culture it is worthwhile. So mr. mud and his trusty companion Pancho the wonder dog are gathering the candles and dusting off the hand cranked radio in preparedness for our hour of enjoying the 'want-less' meme and remembering that  “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors…we borrow it from our children.”


Comox Expecting Large Crowds Tomorrow for Anti-Tanker Rally

Opponents of the Enbridge pipeline are gathering at the NEB Joint Panel hearings at the Comox Rec Centre on March 31. The No Pipeline No Tankers Rally will begin sharply at 1 pm behind the Comox Rec Centre at 1885 Noel Ave. People are coming from all over Vancouver Island and from the Sunshine Coast. Organizers are encouraging folks to ride their bikes or carpool, to come early with their blue scarves and to bring an umbrella-coastal BC weather being what it is.

Many locals from here in Powell River are making the journey to Comox most are going over on the 8:10 AM ferry out of Powell River and hoping to meet up to share rides and ideas once they get on the ferry. Plus The Wilderness Committee is organizing rides to the rally from the ferry terminal once it has arrived.

Certainly the focus of the media and the protests will have been sharpened by yesterday's federal budget which has retro-actively changed the ground rules for the environmental hearings process. It seems totally outrageous that the rules governing the hearings on such an important decision can be changed in mid-stream to grease the wheels for the oil industry backers of the Harperites. But...ain't democracy wonderful eh!

As the new ground rules haven't been laid out in any detail, other than to say there is now a two year time limit, it's hard to know what will ultimately happen. First Nations groups are 99.9% opposed to the pipeline and Canadian courts have ruled there is a duty to consult with First Nations whenever a project has an impact on traditional territory and Indigenous culture, but a lot of uncertainty remains over what constitutes proper consultation. So it appears, as the Harperites seem determined to push through the pipeline that benefits their financial backers no matter how much long-term destruction it causes to the environment, this will end up in the Supreme Court of Canada sooner or later.


The Delusion of Dominion a Huge Threat to the Bio-Sphere

The article titled 'Understanding Harper's Evangelical Mission' by Andrew Nikiforuk at the Tyee a few days ago where he wrote, "Unknown to most Canadians, the prime minister belongs to the Christian and Missionary Alliance, an evangelical Protestant church with two million members. Alberta, a petro state, is one of its great strongholds on the continent. The church believes that the free market is divinely inspired and that non-believers are lost." was the starting point for today's research into the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Canada and a stepping stone to the existential danger to our bio-sphere fueled by the delusion of dominion.

The name 'Dominion Theology' is derived from the Bible where in Genesis 1:28 God grants humanity "dominion" over the Earth. Religion has a long history of being a excellent tool for bonding small disparate groups into a more formidable cohesive group allowing them greater safety.

This commonality of purpose was both politically advantageous and a great comfort to our fear filled fellow humans down through time. None of this was ever a problem to 'the whole' until recently when the conjunction of humanity's technological abilities and self-deluded beliefs began to threaten the underlying interwoven web of life that supports not only humanity but every living thing as well.

Not every Evangelical Christian believes that science generally or climate change specifically is a pagan plot, but most do. The Alliance Church of Canada, which Harper and many of his fellow deluded Conservative cohorts belong to, absolutely believes that they are the chosen stewards of the earth. They believe that man's special relationship with "God" guarantees that everything humans do is part of the divine plan, that all of existence has been created by "God" for our benefit and use. Marci McDonald's book 'The Armageddon Factor' ties together many loose ends to weave a historical account of the people in Harpo's Conservative Party who are leading the charge toward theocracy in Canada.

So when Harpo and his cronies or like minded Republican 'Born Again' Christians or other deluded Evangelicals around the world denigrate any and all attempts to develop a 'green' or environmental ethos they do so out of the deep seated belief that they are following the path "God" wants them to follow, that their ultimate after death reward in "Heaven" depends of their unquestioning belief in the delusion that humanity's material success and comfort is part of the divine plan and that's why they are such a serious threat.


Austerity Budgets are Just Another Name for Plutocracy in Action

While corporations, the wealthy and especially the banks wallow in excess governments everywhere are enacting 'austerity budgets' that cut spending on services essential to economic growth, that freeze or shrink public sector wages and sell off commonly held public assets like parks and resources. All of these false austerity measures depress economic growth, which causes governments to lose more money in tax revenues causing a downward spiral like that being seen in the EU.

Austerity programs that cut spending without raising taxes on the banks, the wealthy and the corporations always hit the poorest segments of the population the hardest. Economists who oppose the plutocratic model of austerity budgets agree that Instead of cutting government programs austerity should be attained by collecting taxes from multinational corporations and the wealthy. And agree that austerity measures tend to depress economic growth, which ultimately causes governments to lose more money in tax revenues. In countries with already anemic economic growth, austerity can engender deflation which inflates existing debt.

The Financial Times of London defines 'austerity budget' as, "A national budget which aims to reduce the amount of money that people spend, for example by increasing taxes, or to reduce the amount that the government spends." Greece has become the poster child for the perils of one sided austerity, rocked as it is by social unrest and dashed hopes for the future. And, with ongoing economic uncertainty, even fiscally conservative institutions such as the IMF are now expressing concern about over-aggressive deficit programmes.

Nonetheless yesterday the provincial governments of Ontario and New Brunswick here in Canada toed the plutocratic line by introducing one-sided 'austerity' budgets. Tomorrow the federal government of Canada will introduce the same short sighted type budget. Why, when the budgetary benefits of raising taxes on the banks, the corporations and the wealthy are so obvious, does the neo-con's disastrous economic agenda continue to hold sway? Money honey. The rich can buy the influence they need. The rich, through endless propaganda, have convinced enough middle class voters that their self-interest lies in going along with charade of no tax increases on the wealthy when in fact that is the only solution that will work. Austerity for the poor and excess for the rich is a recipe for depression both economic and emotional for the 99%.


Global Speculators-Not Just the Chinese-are Playing Carnival Capitialism With Vancouver Real Estate

Vancouver real estate prices are insane, nobody who works for their money can afford to buy there anymore, only those whose money works for them can. The questions of why and what can be done about it have generated so many opinions that researching this topic leaves one spinning more than a carnival tilt-a-whirl. The real estate marketers neglect to collect any hard data on non-resident ownership and spin the rapidly increasing prices that line their pockets as a by-product of restrictive density regulation and, in Vancouver's case, geographic limitations.

The urban planner's spin wants the boomers to move out of their big houses and let 'em all be turned into duplexes, etc. Listing all the opinions would take volumes. But the one this writer wants to de-bunk is the semi-racist idea that it's all a problem created by those 'Chinese Devils' when in fact the Chinese and other Asians are just playing the game of unrestricted capitalism the same way any/all the other globalized capitalist mobsters do.

As prominent Vancouverite Sandy Garossino points out, "If you look at the investment climate everywhere, there's almost nothing better than Vancouver real estate. The equity markets are toast, the bond markets are toast, everything is doing nothing. For a global investor, Vancouver's real estate might go through some rocky points, but it's not going to lose more than 10 or 15 per cent of its value and certainly not over the long haul." So why shouldn't the carnival capitalist speculators be flocking to the Vancouver?

Here in Canada Prince Edward Island and most of the Prairie provinces have restrictions on non-resident ownership. Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, Mexico, Poland ,Greece and Australia do too. The Aussie situation closely parallels ours here in Canuckistan, their introduction of tougher criteria for foreign real estate investment just a few years ago had an immediate effect. China itself has passed a number of laws designed to to penalize speculators who purchase homes and then leave them unoccupied while waiting for the value to appreciate. If Vancouver were to take this approach to protecting its residents — rather than inviting speculators to participate in year-round open-season free-fire “investment” — the social fabric of the city might show marked improvement.

That, the quality of life, is the real issue facing Vancouver specifically, and all of BC generally, as the speculative wave ripples outward through the rest of the Province. It's far simpler for the mainstream media, who themselves owe allegiance to their capitalist advertisers, to use pejorative fear based racist terminology as a wedge issue than to take on the real forces of evil-the self-interested greed of capitalist speculators. When the workers who build the buildings and the provide the services necessary for a cosmopolitan city to thrive can't afford to live there something must change or the city will spiral downward quickly.


Westcoast Fish Culture - Where Steelhead and Stillwater Meet

A few miles south of Powell River is the historic small town of Stillwater. Its idyllic shoreline bluffs slowly rise along the Eagle River to Lois Lake home of Westcoast Fish Culture. Westcoast Fish Culture is a small, but growing, locally owned and operated, integrated fish farming operation. They grow steelhead from eggs to harvest as full sized fish. They then process them at their processing facility in nearby Lang Bay for shipment to major chains and restaurants large and small all across North America.

Luckily i live next door to Nanette and Alex Wadden and their lovely extended family. Nanette is in charge of the processing plant at Lang Bay and her husband Alex helps run the hatcheries back at Lois Lake. Through getting to know them i've slowly learned some of the interesting details about the Westcoast Fish Culture operation. Like many a left coast hippy-type i've learned to dislike the fish farming industry for lottsa reasons.

This operation is different in many important ways. For one the steelhead live their whole life cycle in Lois Lake, a logging industry built man made lake, so have no contact with ocean species like wild salmon or with native steelhead. Another is that Westcoast feeds their fish only sustainable organic feed, they get no antibiotics and are never given growth hormones. Another is that Alex has invented a process that uses the by-products of cleaning and processing to produce bio-diesel which they use to run the generators needed to produce all the electricity for their off-grid farming operation.

Powell River Living magazine did a wonderful article on them a while back featuring one of Canada's most celebrated chefs Rob Feenie, Canada's only Iron Chef, and concept architect for the Cactus Club restaurants. Feenie, who was also a fish farm skeptic, is now sold on Westcoast's product and it is the only cultured fish he recommends and uses. This small family owned business employs many happy local folks in both its lake and processing facilities, please read the Powell River Living article for more information about what is one excellent solution to our growing demand for organically fed protein that can be, at least in part, supplied from an increasingly degraded environment.

Powell River Living - Stillwater steelhead make national headlines


Who Knew? Canada's NDP Re-Invents Vote Suppression

Ya gotta hand it to the NDP up here in Canuckistan, they know how to think outside the box. Pundits were puzzled last fall when the NDP brain trust announced a 7 month campaign to determine the next leader. Many outside the loop figured it was because people needed a long time to recover from the grief of losing the un-replaceable Jack Layton to cancer. And to be fair, at that point it probably was in large part.

Next the NDP executive committee announced an unending series of debates, each of which consisted of about a dozen candidates being thrown batting practice type pitches that they responded to almost identically. The TV ratings for the debates were just below 'The Friendly Giant' re-runs and usually on at about the same time of day here on the left coast. Throughout the 7 month run-up to today's convention in the center of the universe-TO-the dozen candidates each sent countless emails to every NDP member coast to coast to coast updating them on their totally un-unique positions on the most uncontroversial issues of our time.

Sooner or later even the most long time NDP supporters/members became so annoyed with the barrage in their inboxes they blocked all of their addresses. But on the months and the campaign rolled. Why asked the media pundits was this happening? Who cares was the apathetic answer of Canadians. But there was a method to the NDP madness and now The Mud Report has figured it out.

See the NDP  brain trust was feeling left out. Harpo and his troops had stolen the last election by sending opponents to the wrong polling stations, the best voter suppression tactic yet up here. And Moneybags Mitt Romney was mudslinging his way to victory stateside by annoying so many folks that only his supporters showed up to vote. The NDP had to do something, but who knew they'd miss the point of voter suppression and instead of rying to suppress their opponents turnout they'd just go for it and suppress their own.

Well it worked great. Less than 50% of the eligible voters bothered to vote and just to make sure they completed the job [so supporters wouldn't even want to vote for them in the future] today the computer voting system they picked has crashed so many times that the really important stuff, Hockey Night in Canada, may preempt the eventual winner's acceptance speech. So in recognition of their outstanding re-invention of the whole concept of voter suppression tactics The Mud Report is awarding the NDP executive council a copy of the book pictured above.


UBC Forestry Prof. Suzanne Simard's Work on the Web of Life That Supports Us All

Last night the CBC's 'Nature of Things' ran an inspiring and profoundly educational documentary titled: Smarty Plants: Uncovering the Secret World of Plant Behaviour [you can watch the full documentary here]. Smarty Plants follows lead scientist and ecologist JC Cahill from the stunning heights of Utah’s Great Basin Desert to the rain forests of Canada’s west coast as he treks the green world and discovers that plants are a lot more like animals than we ever imagined.

One section in particular [perhaps because i live in a Douglas Fir coastal rain forest] concentrated on the work of UBC Forestry Prof. Suzanne Simard, who at UBC lectures on and researches the role of mycorrhizae and mycorrhizal networks in tree species migrations with climate change disturbance. In it she walks and talks the viewer through an introduction to the interconnected world of the forest, specifically a Douglas Fir forest, but as my research this morning has taught me the same general story holds true in every forest environment studied in detail so far.

In an excellent 5 minute video [here]  Prof. Simard talks about Mother trees and the implications of the invisible interconnected nature of all forests in regard to our present day logging industry, its outmoded practices and how we are undermining the health and productivity of this resource with our short-sighted quick profit model of development.

A different short textual page on Mycorrhizal Networks shows how the survival of young trees was greatly enhanced when they were linked into the network of the old trees. This research provides strong evidence that maintaining forest resilience is dependent on conserving mycorrhizal links, and that removal of hub trees could unravel the network and compromise regenerative capacity of the forests.

This old pantheist's heart and hope "soars like an eagle", as Chief Dan George said, today. Perhaps the rationality of science can one day lead us to understanding intellectually and then emotionally that we are all-flora, fauna, microbes, minerals, forces and faeries-in this together.


Public Banking is the Remedy to the Banksters Bankrupting of Local and State Governments and Agencies

Today's article by Ellen Brown, president of the Public Banking Institute, outlines how the banksters  received huge windfall profits in the aftermath of their self-induced credit crisis and how those unearned/immoral profits are resulting in the bankruptcies of local governments and state agencies across America. Of course, those governments and agencies are really just the pocketbooks of American taxpayers who are paying increased taxes and suffering reduced services to accommodate the banksters 'profits'.

Everyday Americans, the 99% so to speak, are experiencing the same phenomena as their European cousins-austerity, by a different name but for the same reasons. A mass anti-austerity general strike is taking place today in Portugal, Spain and Italy will follow later this month. Greece is periodically in flames over the austerity package their unelected government is forcing on them. All of Europe's current economic troubles started with derivative type schemes going bad. All of them were caused by the greed of the rich. All of poor are now being forced to pay for them. What a wonderful world eh.

But there is now some hope on the horizon. The banksters have gotten away with their robbery of the 99% by bribing politicians and regulators to be their supplicants, to not pass the type of regulations needed to control the banker's avarice, then not enforce what meager regulations might have been passed anyway. Now though, with governments and public agencies going bankrupt, local and state politicians are under increasing pressure to pass banking regulations and to pressure their well bribed brethren in Washington to do like wise.

As Ellen Brown says, "The creation of credit has too long been delegated to a cadre of private middlemen who have flagrantly abused the privilege.  We can avoid the derivatives trap by cutting out the middlemen and creating our own credit, following the precedent of the Bank of North Dakota and many other public banks abroad. Public Banking already works in the United States. North Dakota owns its own bank. North Dakota is also the only state to escape the credit crisis of 2008, sporting a budget surplus every year since."


Harper Government's Refusal to Protect Fish Habitats Another Gift to His Oil Company Supporters

Day after day in every possible way Harper's Government is destroying Canada's future quality of life in exchange for the short term profits his oil patch supporters covet. In this case it's the neo-cons attack on the word 'habitat'. Harpo wants to jettison the protection of fish habitat in the current Fisheries Act. The Globe and Mail, not usually known for its lefty perspective, points out in an editorial today titled 'Fish habitat: Why rock the boat?', The current Fisheries Act is beautiful in its simplicity: Fish need habitat to survive, and harming their habitat will inevitably cause harm to the fish. It ain’t broke, so don’t fix it.

This obvious attempt to subvert current and future environmental challenges to destructive 'development' is under fire now from all sides including real conservatives, the kind that believe conservative means to conserve. John Fraser, fisheries minister from 1984 to 1985 in Brian Mulroney's government, said in an interview Tuesday, "To take habitat out of the Fisheries Act is a very serious error because you can't save fish if you don't save habitat, and I say this as a lifelong conservative,"  "People who want to eliminate the appropriate safeguards that should be made in the public interest, these people aren't conservatives at all. They're ideological right-wingers with very, very limited understanding, intelligence or wisdom."

Of course, environmentalists and a large network of environmental scientists are furious about the idea and say Ottawa is ready to abdicate its national and international obligations to protect waterways. They accuse Ottawa of giving up stewardship of the environment to promote energy and mining projects at all costs.

Last week former Fisheries executive Otto Langer released a whistle blower's email and Langer said the move is likely intended to help Enbridge, since the proposed pipeline that is enthusiastically defended by the Harper government would cross hundreds of rivers and streams en route to Kitimat. Since then criticism has poured into the press, especially on the independent parts of the internet where corporate advertising dollars hold very sway, but also more and more in the mainstream press.

None of this though has seemed to have forced the neo-cons and corporate ass kissers in Harpo's government to change course. These people must be stopped and their destruction reversed before it's to late. The only real solution on the horizon is some sort of co-operation between the NDP, the Liberals and the Greens in the next election. The only candidate in this weekend's NDP leadership race advocating this course is Nathan Cullen. Let's hope the rank and file New Democrats agree because all of the old guard and insiders there seem entrenched in the same old lines which, unless Cullen is elected over their heads, will only keep Harpo and his cronies in power and assist them in destroying Canada's future.


Greece's Public Assets Fire Sale Part of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine Solution

Greece's publicly owned common assets are being forced to be sold by the EU and the IMF as part of the austerity package the unelected government there has accepted. This scenario is exactly the same one the IMF and World Bank have used in the last decades to force countries around the globe to sell their commons to the private sector at fire sale prices.

In her most excellent book 'The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America and the West's  “free market” policies have come to dominate the world-- through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries. Now those same tactics are on display for all to see in Europe's debt ridden countries like Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Greece announced last month its Public Gas Corp. would be put on the auction block as part of the debt-burdened country's efforts to raise $25 billion through the sale of government-owned property -- a condition of its European bailout package. A little while ago the Greek government puts its marinas up for sale. These public assets, and many others in the troubled countries these predators descend on, were built by the sweat of the Greek people and their taxes for the common benefit of their society. After their sale all benefits from their use be it monetary revenue or royalty will go to the multi-national capitalists not the Greeks who paid for them.

The banksters are stealing the Greek commons. The people of Greece must rise up to stop these thieves before its to late. The 99%people of Greece have nothing to lose from defaulting on these ridiculous bonds, only the 1% will lose. Yet the people are being forced by the banks and their unelected government to sell the common assets that should continue to return real wealth to the people throughout their lives. The time for revolution in now in Greece and everywhere.


BC's Carbon Tax is Just Another Regressive Sales Tax

Ever wonder why Gordo Campbell and his 'Liberal Party' passed a Carbon Tax in BC when no other jurisdiction in North America has one? Because right-wing neo-con politicians love regressive taxation and the Campbell Liberals were able to spin the Carbon Tax as a green initiative to a hopeful green-y population of naive residents at exactly the right time, at exctly the time when it looked like others, especially Californians who BCer's wanna be like so much, were going to do it too for the same green-y reasons. The Californians in fact did do it until they had the next election cycle.

There's three basic types of taxes. Regressive taxes charge everybody, rich or poor, the same amount monetarily. They are called regressive, of course, because they proportionately hurt  the poorer person more. So all sales taxes, here in Canada or anywhere, hurt folks in reverse proportion to their income and wealth as does a Carbon Tax. A progressive tax is any tax that is collected in direct proportion to their income, like income tax, or in proportion to their accumulated wealth like property taxes or capital gains taxes. The third type are luxury taxes and sin taxes. Both of them are leveraged against things judged to be non-essential choices, like Hummers, BMWs, cigarettes and booze.

Rich folks love regressive taxation for all the obvious self-serving reasons. If all govt. revenue was collected from those most able to pay the corporate shareholder, the speculators, the robber barons and those born with a silver spoon in their mouths would have slightly less bling to amuse themselves with, might have to limit their holdings to one house in the Hampshires, might even have to settle for only one trip to the Rivera each season.

Poor folks live with regressive taxation because they don't have the extra funds it takes to adequately bribe enough politicians to get progressive taxes mandated. The rich are well educated in the cost-benefit analysis of paying off the every political party in every 'democracy' to keep their position secure. The poor spend their time in prayer and at the lottery ticket window.

If they made me, w. wallace mud, benevolent dictator taxation would be of two varieties only, progressive and luxury. Of course, the rich would moan, groan and buy copious advertising space trying to convince the poor of the unfairness of those dictates. Being a benevolent type though would mean using luxury taxes to their best advantage too. Things like cigarettes and booze carry lots in terms of externalized costs that everyone pays in health care and violence. Things like Hummers externalize their costs onto the coming generations in terms of lower air quality etc. Pity the rich bastards, someday w. wallace mud or some other unbribed type will come along and collect taxes fairly, will re-distribute wealth equitably and will stop capitalism from externalizing the true costs of its obscene destruction onto the unborn.


Green Beer and Paganism on St. Patrick's Day

Legend has it that St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland. Sometime back in the fifth century he stood on a hill, the story goes, and used a staff to herd the slithering creatures into the sea, banishing them for eternity. In reality most scholars agree that snakes symbolize paganism, which St. Patrick is also credited for banishing from Ireland. Snakes as symbols of evil are prevalent throughout Judeo-Christian mythology, most notoriously in the Garden of Eden as a tempter of Eve.

St. Patrick's Day, like most Hallmark Holidays, has its roots deeply embedded in paganism. The historic St. Patrick was born in Wales around AD 385. Before becoming St. Patrick he answered to the name Maewyn and, until turning 16, he identified himself as a pagan (no real shocker there, as most people back in those days were pagan). He later, after being enslaved and hauled off to Ireland, had visions, heard voices and moved to a monastery in France where he converted. Subsequently he returned to Ireland and began converting the local pagan folks to the latest craze in self-delusion, Christianity.

Some modern Pagans and Wiccans quietly protest St. Patrick by wearing a serpent pin or shirt on St. Patrick's Day instead of those green "Kiss Me I'm Irish" badges. Though if you're not sure about the depth of your pagan devotion or about wearing a snake on your lapel, you can always jazz up your front door with a Spring Snake Wreath instead.

But all that is old hat and nobody, other than the odd grudge holding pagan, really cares anymore about the historic St. Paddy. Nowadays it's all about parades, the 'Luck of the Irish' and green beer-especially beer, green or not, here in Canuckistan. Oh, for sure you'll see a few folks drinking Guinness or toasting with Irish Whiskey but the real truth is Canucks, like most folks everywhere, like a buzz and whatever excuse there is for a party sounds fine.


Otto Langer's Warning About the Harper Government's Desire to Gut the Environmental Review Process

Harper and his fascist cronies are at it again. This time their objective is to gut any environmental review process that could stand in the way of his oily corporate contributors now, as in the environmental review under way into the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, or in the future. Harper and his thugs have, among other neo-conservative agenda items, the objective of turning Canada into a corporate petro-state.

In this instance the Conservatives plan to sneak this past the opposition by adding it their Budget Omnibus Bill was exposed when former DFO executive Otto Langer released an email he'd been sent by a current DFO employee and whistle-blower [who'd best be ducking as the fascists are surely circling the DFO staff's email accounts]. The video of an interview with Otto Langer about the repercussions of this move by the Harperites is available here.

NDP Fisheries Critic Donnelly is concerned these changes are designed to clear the way for industrial projects favoured the Harper Government. In a press release following the above exchange in the House, he stated, “The Conservative government is systematically dismantling environmental protection and regulation. By eliminating provisions to protect fish habitat, they can push through their agenda of pipelines, oil super tankers, mega mines and other projects that harm the environment.”

As Otto Langer writes in his article, 'Veteran Fisheries Scientist Warns Harper Government Watering Down Habitat Protections in Omnibus Bill' : "This proposed move by the Harper government is a travesty for our fishery resources and the health of the entire ecosystem and it ignores the needs of our future generations. It is little less than another attack on the biological systems that allow life to exist on this planet. To make matters worse, the political level has decided to not consult with DFO staff or the public on these proposed changes. The Harper government will attempt to sneak this neutering of the Fisheries Act through Parliament within the next two weeks by tacking it on to the end of the up coming Budget Omnibus Bill."

How BC Could Counteract Harper's Gutting of Environmental Protections for Enbridge  - Our esteemed contributor Otto Langer blew it wide open when he, using a leaked document, stated that under the Harper government the protection of fish habitat would no longer be enforced against industry and that it would use an “omnibus bill” to try to sneak it through.


"Bank of America took our homes, so we thought we'd move in here."

Today, March 15th, the Occupy movement in the US is taking on the Bank of America. The website 'Foreclose The Banks' has some very cool stuff and some great quotes. The Mud Report is totally behind the creative actions being taken across Amerika against one of that country's biggest banksters. Two Thumbs Up to the occupiers.

The website opens with, "Bank of America (BAC) is a morally and financially dead “zombie bank” poised to shock the entire global economy into crisis. Its time to Fight BAC and break up the bank! On March 15th, we will Foreclose on Bank of America." Then quotes Matt Taibbi who says, “There are two things every American needs to know about Bank of America. The first is that it’s corrupt… It is a giant, raging hurricane of theft and fraud… The second is that all of us, as taxpayers, are keeping that hurricane raging.”

One section called 'The Big Picture' reads, "We are fighting for economic justice and democracy. We are part of an international movement battling unchecked global capitalism, the crimes of Wall Street and the banks, a corrupt government controlled by monied elites, and the resulting income inequality, unemployment, environmental destruction, and oppression of people at the front lines of the economic crisis. The 99% are organizing to end the tyranny, greed, and selfishness of the 1% and usher in an era of protected freedoms, compassion, collaboration, solidarity, mutual aid, sustainability, economic justice, and democracy by and for the people."

Tonight mr. mud is going to his first General Assembly at Occupy Powell River, and couldn't be prouder. This small town group has already raised the consciousness of our little coastal rain forest community with its first few actions. There will be more actions and groups in communities both small and large  here in coastal BC and everywhere as first the spring then the summer of 2012 roll on.

As the article 'Occupy Movement to Blossom as Spring Approaches' says in part, "Organizers have also been using the winter to incubate grander plans, among them a May 1 Day of Action that may turn into a call for a nationwide general strike and proposals to occupy corporate shareholder meetings, the NATO summit in Chicago, and the Democratic and Republican conventions at the end of the summer."

As a prologue to a March 15 action against bank foreclosures, a crew of Occupiers moved into a Bank of America lobby carting their couch, coffee table and potted plant.


Maher and Limbaugh are Kissin Cousins

Ol' Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher both use the same gimmick, they both earn big bucks by the berating and name calling of individuals instead of making light or criticizing their public statements or policy perspectives. They both try to make themselves look bigger by attempting to make others look smaller. It's a very old gimmick and it's bullshit.

The gimmick is equally lame whether you happen to agree with the lame-o's overall perspective or not. In fact it's not only lame logically but actually does far more harm than good to one's argument.

As anyone who ever reads a post at The Mud Report knows the writer of these lines wouldn't be on Rush Limbaugh's X-mas card list and that on occasion Maher's musings have probably been a far fairer fit. But when Bill Maher calls Sarah Palin [or anybody else] disgusting names or belittles her children he's not only wrongheaded, he's wrong. There's plenty of room for argument, comedic or not, with Sarah Palin's politics, there's zero for the rest. Maher's salacious name calling gives him a bad name not Palin, it effectively dismisses any further comments he has about any legitimate policy topic and it gives the object of his personal attacks the perfect platform to sidestep any of Maher's more valid critiques.

Same goes in spades for Rush Limbaugh. Certainly his arguments about publicly funded birth control have been discounted to zero by his personal insults toward an individual rather than toward her perspective. There are huge differences all around the political spectrum, plenty of real differences to debate or make jokes about for Bill, Rush and anyone else without demeaning themselves and their arguments by name calling.


Manditory Minimum Marijuana Sentences in Bill C-10 is Reefer Madness Solution for Harper's Neo-Con Base

Despite the fact that every other country in the Western Hemisphere is moving away from mandatory minimum sentences for growing and possessing small amounts of marijuana, despite the undisputed fact that this idiotic policy of Harpo's will cost Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars to build prisons, will clog up the courts, will imprison non-violent productive members of society and will only increase the leverage organized crime has on the marijuana industry, undeterred, onward the Conservatives march. Why?

Because its an obvious wedge issue. Because Harpo's goal is to remain in power. Because the 40%, or slightly less, that voted for him are the only Canadians he cares to keep happy and many/most of them are convinced that smoking marijuana is a sin. Harpo's base of support is riddled with folks who are totally confused about the difference between a sin and a crime. It's not totally their fault individually, so many have been taught since the cradle to obey authority, to respect authority and that the minister-priest-bishop speaks for God-the big kahuna of authority.

A crime has a victim. A criminal believes he/she can get more out of a system than they put in-a free lunch. Criminals are dangerous to those around them and to society in general because they are immoral, because they have no empathy for others, because they reject the 'golden rule'-do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. A sin is a totally different thing. A sin is an internal conflict between the teachings of a religion [often totally moral and 'golden rule' appropriate] and the action an adherent is doing or the thoughts they are thinking. Marijuana growing for ones own consumption may be against the law of the land and the various churches may see it as a sin, but it is not immoral.

Anyway, as the John Howard Society of Manitoba points out: Bill C-10 will have a direct impact on rates of incarceration.  The Correctional Service of Canada is predicting an 8 per cent increase in inmates per year.  At the provincial level, the increase will likely be three or four times higher (putting it in the range of 24 to 32 per cent) given that the vast majority of minimum sentences will be served as ‘provincial time’. Added to that, the provinces will see an increase in remand wait times, as mandatory minimums make plea bargains less attractive, causing more cases to proceed to trial. All these changes will further burden our already financially strapped courts and prisons, but will not reduce instances of crime.

FAST FACTS: Bill C-10: The Truth About Consequences


How Would You Feel if a Massacre Like the One Yesterday in Afghanistan Happened in Your Home?

Didn't sleep to well last night, kept waking up from the same terrible dream over and over. Kept seeing storm troopers like the kind in 'Star Wars' busting down the door and shooting...and shooting...and shooting. Kept changing tee-shirts 'cause of the cold sweat. Always knowing within seconds it was a dream, always knowing how i'd feel if a massacre like the one yesterday in Afghanistan happened to my family.

There isn't a doubt in my mind, i'd do anything to get even. The Afghans don't feel the way they feel today because they are living in a medieval culture or because they are jihadists, or terrorists or any other bullshit characterization you choose. They feel and act as they must because they are you. If you want to understand how the Afghan people feel? Think of your kids.

Today's lead article at Common Dreams 'I Don’t Want To See Their Faces; I Don’t Want To Hear Them Scream'by Christopher Cooper, was some comfort to me. It may well be to you also, please read it, it says what we all must be feeling today.

Afghanistan is well-known as the 'graveyard of empires'. It cast off the imperialist likes of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and the Mongol empire, the British Victorian colonial empire and most recently, the Soviet communist empire. After 11 years of pain, death and destruction we should concede that the stories of a this soldier's massacre of innocent women and children and Quran burnings could be the lasting legacies of the longest war in the American empire's history. The US and its vassal states in NATO must get out now even though now is already far to late.

I Don’t Want To See Their Faces; I Don’t Want To Hear Them Scream - Does it feel different to be dead by drone than dead by M-1? Does Obama have nightmares? Did Bush? Do they wash their hands, trying to scrub off the blood?


Why NDP Leadership Candidate Nathan Cullen is the Best Choice for Progressive Canadian Voters

Today in Vancouver the NDP is holding its final debate before the leadership vote to pick Jack Layton's successor on March 24th in Toronto. After listening, watching and studying the websites of the various candidates Nathan Cullen appears to be only one offering any real chance of a big change in Canadian politics.

As Nathan's website says, "After just eight months of a Harper majority, we’ve seen Canada withdrawn from Kyoto; the Canadian Wheat Board gutted; expensive, radical crime bills ushered in; and attack after attack on the values most Canadians cherish. Stephen Harper's majority government is attacking Canadian values with less than 40 per cent support. The NDP is in an ideal position to lead the conversation about how the other 60% can work together to replace Harper’s majority with a progressive majority."

Canada is in a small minority of countries that do not use proportional representation already. More than 75 democracies do in some form, including Australia, New Zealand and Scotland, all of which use Parliamentary systems like Canada's. Done right, proportional representation produces stable, productive governments -- which, crucially, reflect, not fight, their citizens' beliefs.

Cullen has gained support with controversial positions such as advocating for strategic alliances with the Greens and Liberals, and a populist-environmentalist stand against the Enbridge pipeline. Check out Project Democracy where you'll learn how Nathan's proposal for joint nominations and electoral reform can and will defend Canadian values.  Nathan Cullen attracted more people to his events in February than any other candidate. Unless the NDP, Liberals and Greens find some way to unite the 60% who vote against Harper and his Conservative Party agenda we will continue to be ruled by a Republican style right-wing minority. The right united, now the left must do the same.

The Mud Report enthusiastically endorses Nathan Cullen for the leadership of the Canadian NDP. Go Nathan GO!

Nathan Cullen 2012

Project Democracy


Is Dutch Disease Why Only McDonalds and Starbucks are Hiring?

There used to be good jobs here in BC and across Canada when my oldest daughter graduated from high school back in '78. Back then a kid could find a job in the forest industry, manufacturing or fishing industries. A good job, a job that in time would feed a family, buy a home, maybe a vacation in the camper up at the lake and probably a pension someday. Some kids also went off to university, sooner or later they too found a job in their field [though they mighta had to move somewhere inconvenient to get a start].

But by the time my youngest daughter graduated from high school things were far different. Some still went on to university and a few still got decent jobs if they were uniquely talented or well connected. Many though hoped for a job at Starbucks but ended up at Tim Hortons. A few years later, by 2010, those who had 'secured' their position at Starbucks were happy because by then mosta the heavily indebted university grads were filling out applications there too.

What happened is called Dutch Disease. every major oil exporter from Venezuela to Louisiana has suffered some form of the ailment. 'The Economist named the economic malaise "the Dutch Disease," from which the astute Dutch eventually recovered but from which every major oil exporter from Venezuela to Louisiana has suffered at some point. Phillippe Bergevin first diagnosed Canada's growing infection in a paper titled "Energy Resources: Boon or Curse for the Canadian Economy?" Bergevin detected a number of critical and telltale symptoms including "a rising resource-led export sector coupled with a struggling manufacturing sector and a rising currency."

Jock Finlayson of the Business Council of British Columbia noted that every one cent rise in the Canada's petro dollar subtracted $150-$160-million from the forestry sector; and another $50-million from the mining sector. The Tar Sands carnival and the resulting Dutch Disease is responsible for 54 percent of the manufacturing employment loss across Canada due to exchange rate developments between 2002 and 2007 alone. By exporting vast volumes of oil instead of refining and consuming it here in Canada Alberta and successive federal flunkies have chosen to export thousands of high value jobs to U.S. refineries.

The bought and paid for politicians are right when they say the tar sands is all about jobs and revenue. They just refuse to add two important qualifiers: lost jobs and squandered revenue. Please do your own research on Canadian Dutch Disease. When you do you'll see why Caterpillar shutdown its plant in Ontario and opened a new one Georgia recently and why there's a lineup to get jobs at Mickey D's nowadays.

How the Tar Sands Threaten Canada's Economic Fate - A short course in Dutch Disease, deindustrialization and the Bitumen Curse.

Does the Canadian economy suffer from Dutch Disease?


What NATO's Kids are Fighting and Dying for in Afghanistan

Yesterday was International Women's Day around the globe but instead of focusing on the achievments of Women's Rights groups the international press concentrated on Hamid Karzai's endorsement of the Afghan Council edict a few days ago which clearly said that 'women are secondary'. On last friday the Council, Afghanistan's highest Islamic authority, issued an edict saying that women were worth less than men, then on tuesday a statement released by Karzai's office endorsed it.

"Men are fundamental and women are secondary," the edict said, adding women should avoid "mingling with strange men in various social activities such as education, in bazaars, in offices and other aspects of life". The guidelines would prohibit women to be in public places unaccompanied by a male. a condition that could dissolve the Afghan legislature. Further it said women should wear "full Islamic hijab", should respect polygamy — Islam allows a man to take up to four wives — and comply with Shariah law on divorce, which severely restricts women's rights.

In a largly symbolic move Canada last year joined other nations that have withdrawn from a combat role in Afghanistan. But along with these NATO nations Canada continues training police and armed forces plus has investments funding for education and justice projects and aid programs. Other NATO countries, notably Great Britian and the US-which has over 100,000 regular military personal on the ground there as well as untold numbers of mercenaries-continue to send their young people into battle where thousands have already died or come home severly injured.

11 years later, US troops are still burning Korans out of either insensitivity or ignorance. Thousands are dead on all sides.
thousands more are maimed in body and soul and FOR WHAT? So that Hamid Karzai's government can uphold the edicts of medieval clerics. The illegal, undeclared 'war', in Afghanistan was crap to begin with and now after 11 long years the outcome is the same as was predicted at its begining. The Afghans aren't buying the supposed benefits of western occupation, instead they wait, they wait for the inevitable day when, like that last ignoble day in Saigon, the US and its vassels leave.

There are methods like the power of example that triumph over the example of power. One day perhaps the US and its allies will understand that the force of their ideas not the force of their armies can change minds. The only avenue to change in the long run is mutual respect and honest interaction. Our history of human rights in the west has slowly evolved through common cause, through mutual understanding and acceptance of the inalienable fact that we are all in this together, that, being one life-one interconnected life-any harm done to another is actually harm done to oneself because there is no 'other'. So too for the Afghans.

Hamid Karzai endorses Afghan edict that 'women are secondary' - Hamid Karzai's US-backed government is under fire this International Women's Day, accused of selling out on Afghan women's rights as it tries to woo the Taliban into peace talks.

Hamid Karzai backs restrictive code for women - Afghanistan's president endorses 'code of conduct' which activists say is a giant step backward for women's rights.


The Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration - This Land is Your Land

The movie version of 'Bound for Glory' was on TCM recently as a follow up to 'The Grapes of Wrath'. Watched them both back to back that night and was left with a feeling of awe and a greater understanding of how, as the saying goes, 'those who fail to learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them'. The uplifting part being that perhaps we all are, as Woody Guthrie was, bound for the glory of what can be if/when we do finally learn those lessons.

Woody Guthrie was born on July 14th 1912. This coming July would have been his 100th birthday. A centennial celebration of Woody's life and music, headlined by Arlo-his son, and many others will seek to convey some of the emotion that Woody's artistry added to the hopes of so many depression era folks and have continued to inspire us, his fellow travelers, since.

Personally, i met Arlo a few times many years ago [the early 60's] in Stockbridge Mass. where the few young aspiring hippies of Birkshire County traveled in order to feel and touch the movement that was then just begining to change the world. Arlo was part of that early movement and his song/alblum/movie 'Alice's Restaurant' was an early anthem for many of us. Later we all learned that Woody had been a mentor to Bob Dylan and Ramblin Jack Elliot two of the great troubadors of my generation. We all owe Woody Guthrie a great debt for his contribution to the ever evolving Revolution. Thanks Woody!

Woody wrote many excellant verses that will always underlie the spirit of The Mud Report. Below are a couple great ones.

Yes, as through this world I've wandered,
I've seen lots of funny men.
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life your travel,
Yes, as through your life your roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.

Guthrie traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California and learned traditional folk and blues songs. Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression, earning him the nickname the 'Dust Bowl Troubadour' His most famous song was titled 'This Land Is Your Land'. The two verses below from the original song were often omitted in subsequent recordings by some singers.

As I went walking, I saw a sign there,
And on the sign there, It said "no trespassing."
But on the other side, it didn't say nothing!
That side was made for you and me.

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?


Even Stupor Pacs and Billionaires' Bucks Can't Buy Mudslinger Mitt any Love on Stupor Tuesday

Poor Moneybags Mitt, seems no matter how much mud he slings at his rightwing rivals a large majority of the Republican base just aren't sufficiently hypnotized by what he's selling. For instance, Moneybags Mitt and his Stuopr Pac, Restore Our Future [yuck], spent over $12million slinging mud in Ohio alone compared to Righteous Rick's measley $1million. Yet Mitt won by less than 1% of the vote. Poor Mitt, even the reddest of rednecks, the bluest of bluecollars, bornest of born agains or the whitest of whites just aren't buying what he's got for sale.

Robert Reich said of the Republicans the other day, " A party of birthers, creationists, theocrats, climate-change deniers, nativists, gay-bashers, anti-abortionists, media paranoids, anti-intellectuals, and out-of-touch country clubbers cannot govern America." Maybe, maybe not, in this writers opinion. They certainly can't win in an old fashion head to head gunfight at the OK corral kinda showdown, at least not yet. But they have been pulling the strings that make the puppets dance for years now through the dark force of fear.

What America needs, and by extension the whole world needs, is a 'High Noon' kinda showdown. We need a clear choice, we need Gary Cooper to stand up intellectually in the dusty street and call bullshit on these ultra rightwing fear mongerers. We don't need 500 national ho-hum non-choices between RINOs and DINOs, between various flip-floppers where everybody chooses the candidate that makes them puke the least.

If this electoral silly season doesn't produce a clear cut defeat of the religious rightwing robots there might not be another chance. The best case scenerio, IMO, would be if Newt got the boot letting Rick do the trick of cutting Mitt to shit. Then maybe the fork-tongued Obama might end up with a real Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, not a DINO filled mock majority like the one he and 'Rahm thre Fixer' built 4 years ago. If all this were to come true, as my inner soothsayer assures me, if the religio-fascists were slain in the political dust of Main Street, if then Obama was forced by a progressive majority to actually fulfill his promises of 4 years ago we might still see America rise to its potential as that golden city on the hill.


Is The Mighty Unity Scared of the Occupy Movement? You Betcha!

Fearing a replay of the 1968 major riot in Chicago the 'Chickenhawk in Chief' quietly announced Monday evening the move of the G8 summit in May from 'Sweet Home Chicago' to the remote fortress at Camp David. This is a major victory for the Occupy Wall Street movement and Adbusters.

Obama's decision is a humiliation for 'The Mighty Unity' and is making huge headlines all over the world. "It's hard not to see at least some of the Ghost of '68 in President Barack Obama's decision to slap his hometown and abruptly pull the G8 summit out to the Maryland woods." - Chicago Business

Those were heady days back in August of '68. Revolution was in the air. The assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the escalating doom of the Viet Nam War, the nationwide race riots and the rapid rise of the counterculture created an atmosphere where real change seemed possible. i was 20 that summer, a college kid who's world was forever changed by the terrible glorious events of that year. By year's end i had dropped out of college determined to be a part of the solution not part of the problem.

The problem, the problems, have only gotten worser and huger since my epiphany in '68. The ghost of '68 still haunts the halls of power in America. Hopefully this victory for the Occupy Movement will be a cataylst that continues the spread of the revolutionary reaction to the forces of corporate greed gaining momentum around the world.

Sweet Home Chicago: G8 Summit Moved but Protests Will Continue - Years ago, when I was at The London School of Economics, I received a letter inviting me to Chicago for the 1968 Democratic convention. No it wasn’t from then Mayor Daley but from my Yippie friend Abbie Hoffman who predicted a hot time in the old town that was burned down by Mrs. O’Leary’s famous cow. To this day, I regret not going. I am hoping to be there this time because it promises to showcase the revival of the Occupy Movement that so many are hoping for. - Danny Schechter


Rapidly Rising Atmospheric CO2' Causing the Worst Ocean Acidification in 300 Million Years

The recent study titled The Geological Record of Ocean Acidification and published in the journal Science, details the work of 21 scientists from the U.S. and Europe. In it the authors conclude, “The current rate of (mainly fossil fuel) CO2 release stands out as capable of driving a combination and magnitude of ocean geochemical changes potentially unparalleled in at least the last ~300 [million years] of Earth history, raising the possibility that we are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change.”

Who's responsible for this? Is it some big cultural mindset? Or is it the individual choices each of us makes everyday? The answer is both i guess. But they aren't seperate, the culture of consumption is simply the total of our individual choices. Each of us cooperates differently and in different amounts, from the hermit-desert rat type who lives off grid and walks to the nearest trading post once a month to the suit wearing freeway commuters waiting out another traffic jam in their air-conditioned cocoon.

Each of us performs a conscious or sub-conscious cost/benefit analysis whose output we use to maximize the mojo of our moments. Defining costs and benefits then is central to maximizing our individual mojos. Each of us solves the problem slightly different because of how our unique pasts have shaped our present worldview, that worldview is what we use to assign weights to different costs and benefits. The one thing we all share is the difficulty of our time frame.

We rogue primates seldom have any connection to deep timeframes, we have affinity or real empathy for about the 5 generations we meet in our lives, our grandparent's-our parent's-our's-our children's-our grandchildren's. These temporal blinders we all have that focus us so narrowly in time allow us to externalize the full costs of our actions somewhere into the future beyond our circle of empathy while apparently gaining the full benefits of those actions in the here and now. The Geological Record study, at least for a moment, has re-opened my focus to a grander time scale and re-validated my evolving inner desert rat.

'Unprecedented Rapidity of CO2' Causing Worst Ocean Acidification in 300 Million YearsThe Earth's oceans are becoming more acidic at a faster rate than at any time in the past 300 million years due to increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, a new study shows.


An Inspiring Note from Karen Willis and Clear Answers at the Dogwood Initiative

The title, Med Student Donates Scholarship Money, and link in an email this morning brought me to this inspiring note:
"Apparently, I am a radical. I am a Canadian, a proud B.C. resident and a medical student. I am currently thousands of dollars in debt so that I can achieve my dream of being a rural family doctor and bring medical care to the underserved areas of our province."
"However, something worries me more than the pressing need for rural doctors in Canada or my ability to pay my bills — it is the Northern Gateway pipeline and the proposal to put supertankers on our coast. That is why I would like to donate the scholarship money I received this year to your initiative. I know it’s not much, and I would give more if I could. I love what you are doing for our province".

Karen is donating her scholarship to the Dogwood Initiative, a non-profit, volunteer group that brings together everyday British Columbians to reclaim decision-making power over their air, land and water. Even more important perhaps than Karen's inspiring note are the clear responses given on the blog to a series of excellant questions about the Northern Gateway Project pipieline project. The answers there are great talking for us all when encountering these same basic questions in conversations with our friends, be they supporters or objectors to the pipeline.

Please check out the Dogwood Initiative website and, if you feel so moved, sign the petitions and/or join the cause, mr. mud did.


Alberta's Wiebo Ludwig is Fighting His Last Battle

The Dutch-born eco-warrior and enemy of the oil industry is a yoeman, a hero, a warrior, a free man and at peace with his god at the end, what could be better. But still it's a sad day for those many of us who've cheered Weibo on from afar, those many of us Weibo wannabes who've never been able to take the heat as he has.

Here's a couple of excerps from an interview published today, March 03, 2012, titled: Wiebo Ludwig dying of cancer:

"For those who espouse green living and turning our collective backs on uncontrolled oil and gas drilling and development, Ludwig is something of a messianic folk hero. For decades he has stood as an outspoken, implacable, media-savvy foe of the oil and gas industry, as evidenced by Toronto filmmaker David York's 2011 National Film Board-backed documentary, Wiebo's War."

"Ludwig, a carpenter, has completed his final construction project: a wooden casket. Last month his daughters finished the lining — a cream-coloured satin that covers a layer of soft foam and straw. The simple casket rests on two metal stands in one of the compound's main houses."

Not a believer myself, but if Weibo's right about crossing over the river maybe i'll be lucky enough to meet him one day on the other side.

Wiebo Ludwig dying of cancer: An interview - March 03, 2012


The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert

The Sonoran Desert is a vast irregular-shaped area of some 120,000 square miles. It stretches from southeastern California across the southern half of Arizona and extends south into Sonora, Mexico. More than one thousand years ago, the Hohokam Indians began diverting water from the Gila River in order to irrigate the arid soil. Working with sticks and stones these primal people pioneered an extensive system of desert agriculture and produced art like the clay toad pictured above.

One of the most unique inhabitants of the Sonoran Desert is the native toad, Bufo alvarius. The metabolic pathway of the venom of B. alvarius is unique within the Animal Kingdom in that it produces large amounts of 5-methoxy indole derivatives. The predominant alkaloid among these, as much as fifteen per cent of the venom by dry weight, is 5- methoxy- N,N- dimethyltryptamine (5-MEO-DMT). 5-MEO-DMT is a potent hallucinogen, psychoactive in man at doses of three to five milligrams.

When vaporized by heat and taken into the lungs in the form of smoke, this indole-based alkaloid produces an incredibly intense psychedelic experience of incredibly short duration. There is no hangover or harmful effect. On the contrary, a pleasant psychedelic afterglow appears quite regularly after smoking the venom of B. alvarius, the Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert.

In 1983 Albert Most of Gila, Arizona formed The Church of the Toad of Light. His writings, especially Bufo alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert which is The Bible, draw thousands of young searchers to the Sonora Desert around Gila every year. Here is a link to the best general information about Bufo alvarius. Here is another to information on the church itself. Most interestingly Bufo alvarius is a mudite in that it lives underground in the mud under year around water sources, like the Gila River and the extensive modern irrigation systems that draw on the Colorado River, during the hot daylight hours found in this harsh zone where temperatures can reach 140 F. in the shade and rainfall amounts at as little as five inches per year.


The Quality of One's Life Has Zero Correlation to the Quantity of One's Money

Today's inbox contained a this beautiful picture above and various well meant comments on compassion, love and the politics of homelessness. All the folks commenting made good points, but it's the picture itself that touches me.

In anything there's the container and its contents to consider, including this picture. The container here seems to evoke a response of-maybe pity or compassion, the contents another-maybe universal love. But those are only my opinions. My opinions are, as are all our various opinions, a projection of my worldview.

So then this photo is real art. It follows the defination, my opinion again, that art is symbolic and that all real art, like all good symbols, are windows in that it doesn't matter how they are built-rather it's what you see through them that counts.

Through this window, this symbol, this art i bask in the warm glow of appreciating that the quality of one's moments-one's life-has nothing to do with one's material circumstances-at least once that person has acheived a level of comfort above starvation.