Harper Government's Covered-up of Secret Bank Bailouts in 2008-9 Another Multi-Billion Dollar LIe

Canada's banking system, often lauded by government spokespersons and experts alike for being one of the world's safest, actually accepted tens of billions in government funds during the recession, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. During the peak of the financial crisis, support for Canadian banks reached $114 billion—$3,400 for every man, woman, and child in Canada.

Details uncovered in this report contradict repeated government assurances that Canadian banks did not need extraordinary support. Nothing could be further from the truth. Three of Canada’s banks drew support that was worth more than the total value of their company. "It would have been cheaper to buy every single share in these companies," David MacDonald, author of the report said.

At its peak, CIBC received $21 billion in support — almost 1.5 times the value of the company at the time. BMO maxed out at $17 billion or 118 per cent, Scotiabank peaked at $25 billion or 100 per cent of its value, while TD and RBC maxed out at $26 billion and $25 billion — good enough for 69 and 63 per cent, respectively, of the total value of those companies at the time. During the same period the banks themselves reported a profit of 27 billion dollars and their managers helped themselves to huge bonuses on the taxpayers dime.

While the details around the American bank bailouts are fully available to the public (due to a legal challenge forcing this information into the open), the Canadian federal government and Bank of Canada have refused to answer any questions about the bailouts. "Despite Access to Information requests for the data, the Bank of Canada refuses to release it," the CCPA report states.

The refusal to answer questions is the really troubling part of this story. Is Canada a democracy or not? Are we now so numb to the continuous lies told by our government for our own good that it doesn't even matter any more? This specific story is a Canadian one but the general story is the same in the US, the EU, everywhere in the 'developed' world.. A cabal of bankers and corporations owns our governments. They do what they want when they want and answer to no-one.

The Big Banks' Big Secret by David MacDonald - Estimating government support for Canadian banks during the financial crisis.


Workers at Lakeland Mill Complained of Pine Beetle Killed Wood Dust Before Explosion but Management and Union Did Nothing

Blasts linked to dry sawdust are nothing new in BC's forest industry, Worksafe BC issued an explosion warning to sawmills and wood product manufacturers on April 27, 2010. "A layer of dust as thin as a dime dispersed throughout a room can create an explosion hazard. If combustible dust collects in a building or structure or on machinery or equipment, it must be safely removed before accumulation of the dust could cause a fire or explosion.” read the WorkSafeBC warning. Despite that warning, however, WorkSafeBC has never specifically established what constitutes an unsafe level of combustible dust.

The difference between a 'warning' and a 'regulation' is huge in lawyer speak. Who is liable and what constitutes a crime both turn on these two little words as is clearly spelled out in Bill C-45. Bill C-45 is federal legislation that amended the Canadian Criminal Code and became law on March 31, 2004. The Bill established new legal duties for workplace health and safety, Basically, as long as an employer follows Worksafe BC's regulations they can't be sued or held criminally responsible for their actions [or in-actions] regarding workplace/worker safety.

Worksafe BC, being a government agency, can't be sued for liability or held criminally responsible either. It's a setup even the mafia would love. As one employee of the Lakeland Mill said after the explosion, "Who runs WCB? Who runs RCMP? Who runs BC safety authority? Who runs BC coroners service? Politicians. Who runs the politicians? Businessmen." His statement and that of many others can be found in the comments here. That's why the RCMP came out within 48 of the Lakeland blast saying there was no criminal intent.

There have been a series of meetings, both public and private, where employees of the Lakeland and Burns Lake mills have blasted BC government safety regulators, namely Worksafe BC and the WCB, along with the RCMP and the mills owners. Very little of this has made the mainstream media because they, the media could be sued for liable. But the employees of the mills know what's going on, the employees everywhere in the forest industry know what's going on, and it's capitalist greed. The owners of the mills will collect millions of dollars in insurance and won't be liable for the death or injury or loss of wages or loss to the local economy or anything else because the law and Worksafe BC protects them. Who protects the workers? Apparently not their unions.

Perhaps coincidentally in the last few weeks a number of reports concerning the projected shortage of timber in the northern BC region is being cited as the reason the Burns Lake mill may not be rebuilt and why there will be huge closures and job losses throughout the region. Perhaps not.


Harper Government Deserves Credit For Supporting the Dalai Lama

Yesterday Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told the international conference being held in Ottawa that the Canadian government supports the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Laureate on which Canada conferred honorary citizenship in 2006. Prime Minister Stephen Harper later met with the Dalai Lama on Friday afternoon. Official Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair also met with the Dalai Lama Friday afternoon, a spokesman confirmed, with a small group of MPs from all parties.

Harper met with the Dalai Lama on one of the spiritual leader's previous visits to Canada, in October, 2007, drawing a rebuke from the Chinese Embassy. The Conservatives have huge trade ambitions with China, which considers the Dalai Lama a dangerous separatist. But several Tory caucus members were on hand to lend support to the Tibetan cause, including Sen. Consiglio Di Nino, who heads the Canadian parliament’s Friends of Tibet group.

The Dalai Lama is one of the most beloved people of our era. His beaming smile, his honesty, his self-deprecating humour, his giggles as well as his simple life and philosophy are a blessing to all who are ever in his presence. Once, many years ago, i was lucky enough to attend one of his lectures at UBC in Vancouver. His talk that night centered on kindness. His words and his grace changed my life for the better and live within me to this day.

The Mud Report has been very critical of Harper and his Conservative government's policies on many occasions, but in this case mr. mud wants to give credit where credit is due. The Harper government is, in this case, not acting solely in the best interests of his corporate, banking and oil interst friends. In fact this move will surely draw the ire of China's leadership and could well lead a cooling of relations, including trade relations, between Beijing and Ottawa. My congratulations to Stephen Harper and his government, on this issue he and they have stood for the greater good, stood for principle and stood against totalitarianism.


Occupy Powell River to Join May 1st Worldwide Day of Solidarity Demanding Economic Justice

At last night's General Assembly the members of Occupy Powell River voted unanimously to participate on May 1st in International Workers Day, with a demonstration and march starting at 3:30 PM in front of the Federal Government offices on Duncan Street.

A call has come, from OWS, from Occupy Canada, and from the people of the world. This call out is to stop working, stop school, stop shopping, stop driving, stop consuming from this corporate machine and take to the streets. OPR is answering the call to this worldwide day of protest in solidarity with the 99% and all those around the world demanding economic justice. JOIN US, stand up and take back our common resources, our common wealth and our futures.

To learn more about The May 1st day of action here are a few very informative links:

May Day Directory: Occupy General Strike In Over 125 Cities

The May 2012 Insurrection

Occupy Powell River - Decolonize Everywhere


Canadian Fisheries Act Changes to Eliminate Protection of Fish Habitat a Boon to Oil and Mining Interests

Fish habitat will no longer be protected in Canada under a new law from the federal government.  Fish habitat had been defined as spawning grounds and nursery, rearing, food supply and migration areas on which fish depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life processes. The new bill will remove references to fish habitat altogether.

"This is about the fast-tracking of the Conservatives' agenda for pipeline projects,” Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said, "shifting protection only to fish of economic value ignores that many fish key to an ecosystem actually do spawn in ditches or flooded fields." She pointed out that many important waterways contain fish eaten by seabirds, bears and other animals that don't directly benefit the recreational, commercial or aboriginal fisheries.

Environmental lawyers at the West Coast Environmental Law Association said the effect of the new Fisheries Act changes would be to exempt many major developments from fisheries review. "We know from experience whose interests are favoured when the federal government uses legislation to pick and choose what fish habitat gets protection - the legalized use of fish lakes as tailings ponds, and new rules that will recklessly fast track megaprojects that could result in devastation of fish habitat," Jessica Clogg, the group's senior counsel, said in a statement. "Today's announcements are peppered with new loopholes and exemptions that come at the expense of fish and those whose livelihoods and cultures rely on healthy fish habitat."

Why would they do it? Why, in the face of nearly unanimous opposition by native groups, environmental experts, legal advisers and the general public would Harpo's Conservative government jump into another PR quagmire? Money honey. These, and all their brethren, folks are deluded fundamentalist neo-cons. They believe, they have the "God" given right to dominion over everything. Everything, from the insane respective of a christian fundamentalist, has been created to serve the true believers.


An Honest Day's Work for an Honest Day's Pay

The New York Times today published a great article by Mark Bittman about his recent visit with Wendell Berry titled 'Finding Patience in an Era of Emergency'. Wendell Berry is one of the truly great men of our time and a mudite hero. Naturally then, he's been nearly totally ignored by the larger culture, especially corporate media. Wendall Berry personifies leadership from the bottom. He is the author of more than forty books of essays, poetry and novels. He has worked a farm in Henry County, Kentucky since 1965.

Bittman's article led me to the one of the greatest pieces i've read, perhaps ever. It's a transcript of the 2012 Jefferson Lecture titled 'It All Turns On Affection' delivered two days ago by Wendell Berry at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts In Washington D.C. Please read it, it's very moving, very powerful and shows why many, including myself, call Berry the prophetic American voice of our day.

Berry walks the talk. He has practiced and preached the virtue of  jobs based on hard work, on an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. Having worked hard all my life i understand the value of sweat, the feeling of accomplishment earned by hard work, the feeling of pride in the product created by one's own hard work, and how much better the beer tastes after having earned it.

Berry understands well that inappropriate technology has displaced the honest work that once made Americans [and Canadians] truly wealthy and has wrong-headedly attempted to replace that weal of the many with riches for the few. Wendell Berry understands how capitalism is squandering the earth's natural bounty and poisoning it's inhabitants all in a short-sighted, short-term quest. Berry knows that one day this too shall pass.

“Because a thing is going strong now, it need not go strong for ever. This craze for motion has only set in during the last hundred years. It may be followed by a civilization that won’t be a movement, because it will rest upon the earth." - E. M. Forster


Preppers are Preparing for the Collapse of the World Economy and Becoming Self-Sufficient

Started thinking about today's research topic - 'Preppers' - a few days ago after watching a documentary on The National Geographic Channel. Being an old fogey i thought the term prepper meant the same thing as survivalist did back then. But as the show unfolded it became clear that many of today's preppers have coping with economic collapse as their motivation which fits in nicely with my general doomer type 'collapse is our only hope thesis'.

One of the first places Google.ca suggested was The Canadian Prepper Network. It's a very neat place, full of fantastic ideas for self sufficient living in the here and now. It's gardening, food processing, storage and preparation entries alone are fantastic. This site is a wonderful resource for everyone trying to live simply, trying to feed their family healthy foods, trying to escape the rat race, etc. and has almost zero weirdo conspiracy theories.

Then, after about a half hour of great fun, next stop was The American Prepper Network, also very interesting but after just feeling the totally good vibes of the Canadian version it was instantly apparent that their are two different cultures in our two countries. The American version also has some very cool self-sufficiency pieces but they are kinda mixed in with gun culture security stuff, American exceptional-ism and seasoned with more than a dash of Jesus. Next up, culture shock #2 at The End of the American Dream where a person quickly learns that in America today, there are millions of "preppers" that are working feverishly to get prepared for what they fear is going to happen to America.

The whole thing was very interesting, learned lots. Sure glad i moved to Canada 43 years ago.


Was it Earth Day Yesterday or Ostrich Day?

Yesterday and last night after working in the veggie garden i channel surfed and clicked my way around checking out the coverage of Earth Day. Almost every bit was meant to be uplifting or emotionally moving. Almost all focused on how each of us in our own little way, doing our own little bit can, when all the bits are added together, change the world. It made me wanna puke.

There they were, dozens of well meaning folks planting a couple hundred trees, all the bright smiling faces, the parents and the kids. Then, as the camera pulled back, there was a momentary glimpse of the parking lot full of SUVs they'd arrived there in directly behind them. There were folks learning which dish detergent to buy, which window washing fluid, which bathroom cleanser was the best 'green' product. But, and watching the TV muted is great for this, as the camera panned around it showed these dedicated folks living in huge houses, with elegant furnishings, with expensive appliances, wearing trendy new clothes and...well you get the picture.

Meanwhile as hundreds of Canadians rode their bikes to demonstrate their love of mother earth thousands of others lined up in their idling gas guzzlers at the border crossings to go shopping at the American malls. Our species is catapulting toward disaster and, as Naomi Klein points out, even the tiny minority who are trying to make a difference are being led by professional environmentalists into believing they can avert catastrophe by consuming "green" products .

As William Rees, the inventor of the Environmental Footprint concept, points out, "Even if every person on the planet made every change possible in their lifestyle the effect would be marginal at best." The green movement attacks their opponents as 'deniers' but in fact those skeptics may be in considerably less denial than environmentalists who paint a picture of global warming Armageddon then tell people it can be avoided by buying 'green' products, recycling and creating clever markets in pollution. To be sure life itself will go on with us or without us, but only the total collapse of our gluttonous culture can save us, the rogue primate, from self destruction.


Consumers are Lined Up to Buy Green Products on Earth Day

The fact is we can't consume our way out of over-consumption. Earth Day is 42 years old today and the best thing i can think of to do to participate is to work in my little garden. Gardening, touching the earth, remembering that there's no there there, are my meditations on Earth Day.

We, the flora, fauna, microbes, minerals, forces and faeries are all in this together. We embrace the self-serving delusion that we are separate from 'the environment' in order to allow ourselves to live as we do without going insane.

Live simply, want less, everyday is Earth Day.


Redistributing Wealth 'The Motaleros Way'

All the 'democratic' countries of the west now suffer under governments who are so corrupted by whatever special interest groups support their stranglehold on power that we've ended up with regressive sales taxes instead of income and asset taxes, with the abandonment of the notion of a commons and the corporate right to person-hood. Inevitably, in such a scenario, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Seldom does a scenario come along that reverses the flow of wealth. But one does, it’s The Motaleros Way. In short it’s the story of Canada's less and less underground 'green economy'. It's routinely stated in the mainstream media that the motaleros bring $6 billion annually into the BC economy. Estimates are that over 100,000 work in BC’s underground green economy.

Where does all this money come from? Lots of it comes north from the US. Why? Well a combination of millions of American pot lovers and a government down there that is all to willing to throw out its Bill of Rights and the democratic will of its own citizens in numerous state referendums, creates 'that huge sucking sound' we hear up in BC.

Where does all that loot go? When little guys spend their loonies it's at the grocery market not the stock market. It's on bills and stuff in their home town. Law enforcement research has shown repeatedly that the majority of BC bud is grown by small mom and pop operations. But whoever grows them every plant takes huge amounts of labour to grow and process. Even the criminal types with the warehouses are employing tens if not hundreds of people each somewhere in the production/distribution lines. All those people have families just like you and I. Without all those thousands of motaleros spending all those $6 billion bucks to create other jobs in their communities we’d be seeing an even faster growing disparity between rich urban and poor rural lifestyles here in BC.

To conclude, The Motaleros Way is huge, it's everywhere and it's supporting many of our communities all across Canada.


April 20th, 420, is the World-Wide Day to Celebrate the Cannabis Culture

Today, April 20th is the world-recognized international day of celebration for the planet's estimated 250,000,000 members of the cannabis culture. The festival is especially notable for the fact it is the largest in North America. People across North America will light up joints to celebrate getting high and advocate, for the 41st year, for the legalization of marijuana.

In Vancouver BC 10,000 to 15,000 people gather on April 20th every year on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery to celebrate all things marijuana. 420Vancouver.com has a great website with a map of how to get to the celebration to help folks get to the Art Gallery on time. The website also has a number of great videos of the celebration from past years. The VPD has publicly stated that their lowest priority is arresting folks for simple possession of pot and that they will not be arresting anybody again this year at the celebration for smoking or possessing the herb. Coincidentally [at least in official reports], April 20 is a “noninstructional day” of the Vancouver School Board.

This world-wide day of celebration clearly shows how stupid the US and Canadian 'War on Drugs' is. Instead of educating folks about the real issues of use and abuse, about the dangers of and differences between various drugs, of honestly addressing the fact that people of all cultures at all times in history have enjoyed getting high on some substance or methodology. Instead we allow the insanity of the minority of the 'Just Say No' puritan holy-roller mentality types to dominate our laws and punish countless, otherwise non-criminal, citizens.

As Albert Einstein said about alcohol prohibition in 1921,"The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law, for nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.


How Corruption and Kickbacks Convinced Union Leaders to Accept Defined Contribution Pension Plans

Back through the 70's and early 80's being a union organizer was my calling in life. Marx's historic quote, "Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains." rang my bell back then. Those were still heady times for the union movement here in Canuckistan. But the times they were a changin and the union movement was too.

It was dismaying to watch as one membership after another made the short-term selfish choices, usually supported by the union executives, like wage increases instead of job security which inevitably led to the layoff of some of its least senior members [those with young families who needed their jobs the most] and their being replaced by inappropriate technology like robotics of some other 'labour saving' devices. Another short sighted choice touted by union bosses was the refusal to take equity shares in the companies employing them instead of, or as part of, their compensation packages.

But the dumbest move, from a workers perspective anyway, was when the union memberships started accepting the argument, again from their unions leaders, that they should change their pension plans away from the 'gold standard' of a defined benefit plan and become involved in the defined contribution carnival. With a defined benefit plan, the employer bears all the investment risk and commits to a fixed payout of money, typically based on a salary, inflation adjustment and years-of-service formula. In sharp contrast, a defined contribution plan puts all the risk upon employees.

It's easy to see why the employers liked the cheaper defined contribution scheme better. It's easy to see why the investment hustlers liked it - they'd have endless inexperienced rubes to council and collect fees and bonuses from. But why would the union leaders be so unanimously in love with this scheme? Then, by the early 80's, the stories of kickbacks and corruption started to roll in. Turned out the union bosses foresaw that they'd be in the powerful and pivotal position of choosing which investment maggot's firm they'd pick to handle their union's sizable pension funds. Turned out the various hedge fund managers were quite willing to grease the various union's decision making wheels. Turned out lottsa union executives got lottsa fancy goodies and plenty of loot too. Turned out the union members had a lot more to lose than their chains and they did, at least what was left of them after all the layoffs.


Are Your Retirement Savings Funding Vulture Capitialism's Predatory Economics? You Betcha.

Robert Reich has produced a wonderful 2 minute video [below] that illustrates how the vultures managers of private-equity and hedge funds use other people's money to suck the life-blood out of our economy. Reich's website, where he has a number of short videos explaining the various myths of our short-sighted short-term definitions of 'profit', is worth a visit.

But who are these 'other people' who's money the vulture capitalists use to leverage our main street world into unemployment and bankruptcy? If you have a pension plan, if you have an RRSP or 401K plan, if you have term deposits or any savings in the bank anywhere, these 'other people' look you in the mirror every morning, these 'other people' are you.

Worse yet, these vultures and the pension fund managers, advisers, investment councilors, etc. all get a hefty slice of your retirement savings in fees every time a transaction is made and in bonuses whether the value of the crap they place bets on goes up or down. This is how the investment mafia works, this is capitalism, this is the system you are co-operating with by playing the 'bourgeois dream' game.

So, if you are part of this system, don't sit around moaning and groaning about how unfair it is, how the natural world is being devoured by the oxymoron of 'endless growth', how capitalism is robbing your children and grandchildren of their future, how countless innocent species are going extinct, how...well it's a long list, just take a look in the mirror and tell yourself how you deserve it, how hard you've worked to earn your comfortable position, how exceptional you are. mr. mud chooses to want less.


Pipelines to Westcoast BC Already Exist, Some are Called Railroads

Billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have been quietly buying up CN and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Rail for the past 5 years. They are investing so heavily in these northern Canadian railways for a good reason, a key part of the tar sands future, as the billionaire tycoons see it, is "pipelines on rails."

The hearings into the environmental costs of building the Northern Gateway Project and the court battles that will inevitably follow will drag on for years and in the end, corporate bribed PM Harpo or not, it will never be built. The big boys know that, the railway experts know it, but the environmentalists are spending huge amounts of their scarce resources to battle it.

CN Rail could move 2.6 million barrels from eastern Alberta to Prince Rupert daily with current infrastructure, while the proposed Enbridge pipeline could move only a half million barrels a day to port. When the volume eventually reaches the single-rail maximum, it’s easy to add another track to make it a double track, without disturbing any virgin wilderness. CN already owns the right-of-way, there's no assessment process needed, the First Nations have no Constitutional right to be consulted, Prince Rupert already has the westcoast's deepest harbour that already ships huge boatloads of coal and grain to Asia safely and the tankers sailing from Rupert would be nowhere near the Great Beat Rainforest or the Spirit Bears.

The Enbridge pipeline fight is a ruse, it's a straw man setup to allow the environmental lobby to go broke achieving a hollow victory during the intervening years while the Tar Sands crud[e]'s extraction machinery is being built. The Kinder-Morgan pipeline to Vancouver, who yesterday announced an application to double its already existing capacity along its long established right-of-way, and the expandable capacity of  'pipelines on rails' means the oily oligarchs have already figured out how to export the expanding capacity of their Tar Sands ecological nightmare to the yawning maw of Asia's demand.

Tar Sands ExpressEnbridge's Northern Gateway seems to have been the "bait," with the "switch" to pipeline-on-rails and Kinder Morgan's TransMountain pipeline to occur at an expedient political moment.

Bitumen pipeline already exists - railMany railroaders in northern British Columbia can’t help but wonder why there should be a pipeline past our back door wilderness when at our front door there already is a first-class railway that can do the job with five times the capacity in less than half the time and less cost, and with more good-paying jobs - and it is under-used.


Occupy Powell River to Join the May Day General Strike

At last night's Occupy Powell River General Assembly the group decieded unanimously to join the worldwide General Strike on May 1st-May Day. The strike call came from OWS, from Occupy Canada, and from the People of the World. This call out is to stop working, stop school, stop shopping, stop driving, stop consuming from the corporate machine and take to the streets. On May first 2012 so that, for at least that one day, the gears of this twisted corporate monster will stop turning.

It was a great meeting, along with the May Day General Strike vote the group decided to participate the Earth Day celebrations at Lund on Sunday April 22nd by setting up an information booth decorated with signs, handing out leaflets and exchanging ideas with all comers. Earth Day is a wonderful symbol of our shared connection with the dirt beneath our feet and the destruction of that connection our consumer culture has wrought.

Also on April 28th OPR will be involved in the ongoing demonstrations against and information dissemination about the dangers of 'Smart Meters' that the local Powell River 'The Smart Meter Working Group' is continuing to engage in. OPR invites everyone who's interested to join up at the BC Hydro office on Dunbar St. at noon on the 28th from where a march will proceed to the Community Resource Center on Joyce St. to be followed by a presentation by 'The Smart Meter Working Group' and other activities. a good time will be had by all.

Occupy Powell River is a small but enthusiastic group of consumer culture jammers who are part of the millions around the globe, the 99%, our next frolicking GA will be Thursday April 26th in the gazebo at Willingdon Beach Park. Come out and join us at one of the events or the next GA, the time for action is now.


Weibo Ludwig Died as He Lived-On His Own Terms

Weibo Ludwig died Monday on his Trickle Creek Alberta Commune after a battle with esophageal cancer surrounded by loved ones at peace with his life and his God. Today's news stories all talk about his murky legacy where some will remember him as an eco-warrior, some as a terrorist. The writer of these lines remember him as an honest man, a man who lived the life he believed in, a non-materialist, a non-hypocrite living in an era of almost universal hypocrisy.

Weibo was spurred to action by growing sour gas development around his commune. He claimed the wells were poisoning his family and farm. In 2002 Andrew Nikiforuk, a journalist and author of "Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig's War Against Big Oil.'' that brought Weibo's story to the broader public's attention.  That same year the Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival produced a play titled "An Eye for an Eye" about Weibo's anti-big oil campaign. In 2004 there was a made-for-TV movie and last year saw the premiere of a documentary called "Wiebo's War" by Toronto filmmaker David York.

Weibo espoused a philosophy of self reliance, of withdrawal from the materialist world and of moral integrity. Life was good for Weibo and his family, 11 children and 23 grandchildren, on the 185 hectares of land at Trickle Creek. The children were home-schooled and power was generated by windmill. The family grew their own vegetables and raised goats, sheep, cows and chickens. Once in awhile Weibo worked off the commune as a carpenter to earn a few dollars to keep the place going. Like all of us, Weibo did what needed doing for his family.

Weibo died as he lived, on his own terms. Just over a month ago The Mud Report did a piece on Weibo's last fight, his fight against cancer and his belief in crossing over to the other side after death. Weibo refused radiation therapy saying it would not increase his quality time on earth but only extend the time of his body's suffering. He said he'd rather go sooner, me too. Many would say his belief in an afterlife allowed him to show strength to the end and gave his family comfort. And maybe they're right, those are a couple of religions long suits. Mr Mud's not a believer, but if Weibo's right about crossing over the river maybe we'll meet one day on the other side.


Culture Jammers at Adbusters Call for a Worldwide Spring Uprising Starting May 1st

Adbusters is again leading the organizing charge into the 99% Spring offensive. Just as when last year Kalle Lasn, Adbusters' editor, called for an occupation of Wall St. on Sept.17th that led to a  movement that changed the political discourse and installed the 99% meme into the paradigm of people worldwide, he and friends at Culture Jammers HQ, who act 'for the wild', are calling for a Spring offensive and a climactic May uprising. Saying, " it's time to come out of winter hibernation and play jazz like we’ve never played it before."It's time to play wild, spontaneous jazz as Miles Davis intended."

The Culture Jammers say in their Tactical Briefing #28 that, "May 1 we leap into the new world with a mighty multinational General Strike. Wherever you are, No Work; No School; No Shopping. No illusions. No apologies. No business as usual. Into The Streets!" The Occupy movement says, "May Day is a holiday for the 99%. It is a day for people to come together, across all those lines which too often divide us — race, class, gender, religion — and challenge the systems that create these divisions."

The 99% Spring uprising is already underway in NYC where last week OWS chained open subway entrances and posted official looking notices inviting the public to ride for free. Their innovative action caused an immediate sensation in the Occupy movement suggesting that similar jams will be carried out worldwide in May. This is perhaps the first time that the fare strike tactic has been successfully deployed in America and it is a sign that the 'I Don’t Pay' movement which has been flourishing in Europe is finally leaping to North America. In Greece, jammers routinely occupy toll booths and public transportation entrances allowing everyone to pass for free.

The Occupy movement is diversifying, changing its tactics and strategies but not its goals. Occupy realizes and manifests the reality that when we the people, the 99%, come together worldwide, we recognize the common struggles we face and the common interests we have. With this collective power we can begin to build the world we want to see. Another world is possible!


Latin American Leaders Declare 'War on Drugs' a Failure While Canada Increases Enforcement Efforts

On April 14 and 15, heads of state and government from across the Americas, including U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and their Latin American and Caribbean counterparts, will gather for a two-day 'Summit of the Americas' in Cartagena, Colombia, and the 'War on Drugs' will top the agenda. Latin American leaders have already declared the 'War on Drugs' a total failure citing a report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.  The commission includes former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria, former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria, former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, former U.S. secretary of state George Shultz, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan and Canadian Louise Arbour, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Notice how all the commission's big name members are 'former' heads of state. That's because when they were in power they were under tremendous pressure from the US drug warriors and they knew if they tried to stand-up against the puritanical US crap they'd soon be being overthrown by the CIA. Now though even the current heads of state throughout Latin America, having suffered the brunt of the costs in lives and freedoms lost, are standing up on their hind legs and speaking the truth to the religiously dominated ultra-right wing Canadian and US drug warrior hypocrites.

Obama between '04 and '08, before needing as many evangelical votes as he could muster, made many public speeches denouncing the 'War on Drugs', especially the continued prohibition against marijuana possession. The U.S. war on drugs has cost Americans, on average,  $69 billion a year for the past 35 years and led to 37 million arrests for nonviolent drug offences, now Canada's Harper government is following in their idiotic footsteps with its new Bill C-30 which, among other regressive moves, legislates mandatory minimum sentences for small time marijuana users and growers.

One excellent source of information on the real story behind Canada and the US's 'War on Drugs' is Jack Herrer's site 'The Emperor Wears no Clothes'. Though Jack died a while back his wife Jeanie maintains the site's daily news area and continues the good fight against the evil empire. It will be fun to watch Obama and Harpo squirm at the upcoming 'Summit of the Americas' in Cartagena. Hopefully there'll be lots of youtube coverage of the event and lots of pressure on Obama and our Canadian ass-kissing PM Harpo to join the rest of the hemisphere in sanity instead of their current policy of insanity eh.


Powell River’s Skookum Food Provisioners' Cooperative and its Abundant Pantry Bulk-Buying Club

Another neat thing happening in my new hometown of Powell River is the The Abundant Pantry Bulk Buying Club that's part of the Skookum Food Provisioners' Cooperative. They have just started up in the past few months and are now a fast growing operation run by an energetic group of volunteers and their Coordinator Wendy Pelton.

They have a great website with an online shopping cart system for ordering from their list of over 2000 items which is expanding all the time. The website also has a FAQ page full of all the information a person needs to get started in the bulk buying club. If you want to participate in Powell River’s Abundant Pantry Bulk Buying Club it's easy and you can sign-up to become a member of Powell River’s one and only non-profit cooperative at the website too.

Powell River is full of interesting, energetic folks who are using the semi-isolation of Powell River as a platform to build unique community centered solutions. It occurs to me that having lived so long on the Southern Sunshine Coast near Roberts Creek which, because of its proximity to Vancouver's abundant services, has reminded me of the many smaller, more rural, associations that we in Roberts Creek once enjoyed but that have largely disappeared as the gentrification process slowly changed the character of that area.

Moving to Black Point south of Powell River has been like stepping back in time in many ways. When i first moved to Roberts Creek there was a rural non-profit co-operative, The Coast Family Society, which was similar to the Skookum Cooperative.  In the old days in Roberts Creek there were a lot more beaters parked outside the RC store and a lot less Beamers just like you see here at the Black Point store now. In Black Point, Lang Bay and Stillwater there's a lot more beer being drank than lattes, every body's got a dog or three, everybody stops to talk-even to newcomer/strangers like me. Seems like old times, or maybe it's just oldtimer's disease eh.


Blue Jays Win in Opening Day Thriller on Field of Dreams

Every baseball fan's dreams shine bright on opening day in Major League Baseball, even those of Blue Jay fans. In the picture above Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia (centre) is met at home plate by teammates Brett Lawrie (left) and Omar Vizquel after hitting a three-run home run during the 16th inning of the Jays' season-opening game against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland. Putting the undefeated Jays atop the American League standings [thought i'd better get that in now eh!].

Opening day is a magical day for baseball fans because every body's team, every body's dream is still bright and shiny, that's one reason we all love it so. Another is the memories of fresh mowed grass and the glory days of our youth. Another is playing ball in the backyard first with our dad's and grandpa's then with our friends in the neighborhood. Another. if you're a old coot like me, is growing up listening on the radio as our heroes came alive in our imaginations.

Those were the days, the days of youth, the days of dreams both on the field and off. In those long ago days are dreams were achievable, we were told, "you can be whatever you want to be in this world if you're willing to work hard enough". We were born in the best of times. Now...well...

The Blue Jays are Canada's team in large part because they are on satellite and cable TV from coast to coast to coast on Sportsnet who carries every game. It gives us a common baseball dream each year, it acts, like hockey and the CBC, as a glue that binds our far flung fantasies together. Growing up in New England, deeply immersed in the 'Red Sox Nation' community, taught me the value of a shared delusion. Now it's the Blue Jays who play out my magic fantasy moments of their field of dreams.



Saving the Stillwater Bluffs

Recently  my best friend Pancho and i went on a great hike to and through a beautiful and unique part of the upper Sunshine Coast named the Stillwater Bluffs. Being a fairly new resident to the area means being able to see things with new eyes [no matter how old they actually are] and a new sense of wonder.

The future of this wonder is under pressure. The 118 acres is privately owned by Island Timberlands Ltd. of Nanaimo and, like so much of the Stillwater area that's recently been clear-cut, they are preparing to 'harvest' the forest above and behind the bluffs themselves. Fortunately there are opponents to this short-sighted scheme. The opposition is led by The Friends of Stillwater Bluffs. They have an excellent website up and running with a link to a petition with a fast growing number of signatures, including mine.

The site was also recently the focus of an occupation by Occupy Powell River who were attempting to draw further attention to the importance of the area ecologically and the immediacy of the need for protection. Because the area is privately owned the only real long-term protection seems to be the purchase of the land from Island Timberlands. There are proposals before the regional and provincial governments to do just that but proposals aren't money and raising the money will take time. Five year moratorium on any logging of Stillwater Bluffs is the purpose of the petition mentioned above.

As The Friends of Stillwater Bluffs homepage says in part, "Somehow the dramatic scale of the geography allows greater appreciation of the fragile plants clinging to rock and crevice, and the subtle sounds of trickling water or the sea lions offshore...of the dense fir forest and through a bank of salal walls...of licorice ferns and pockets of ground orchids...of sloping bare rock expanses clothed with moss and reindeer lichen...of arbutus trees and shore pines...entirely dependent on the measured release of rainwater runoff from the upland tree stands.  The stark conditions of sea bluffs are a laboratory for survival of plant species which populate the margins."

Please help The Friends of Stillwater Bluffs to save this unique ecosystem in any way you can. Thanks in advance.


Autism Numbers Exploding-Pollinnator Numbers Plummeting-Better Living Through Chemistry-And Inheriting the Wind

Yesterday was World Autism Day so there was lots of interesting articles and information to learn from available online. The mainstream media concentrated on the 'Light it Up Blue' for Autism Awareness movement and mentioned a few of the alarming stats about its growth but went nowhere near any analysis of why the recent explosion of cases is occurring occurring None even mentioned the Stanford University study with 192 pairs of twins, with one twin autistic and one not, which found that genetics accounts for 38% of the risk of autism, and environmental factors account for  62%.

There was one great article by Dr. Brian Moench President of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment that focused on the autism epidemic and disappearing bees being real public health emergencies created by allowing our world to be overwhelmed by environmental toxins. In that article Dr. Moench says, "But as participants in modern society we are all now exposed to over 83,000 chemicals from the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe and the consumer products we use.  Pregnant women and their children have 100 times more chemical exposures today than 50 years ago.  The average newborn has over 200 different chemicals and heavy metals contaminating  its blood when it takes its first breath. 158 of them are toxic to the brain.  Little wonder that rates of autism, attention deficit and behavioral disorders are all on the rise."

Dr. Moench's fusion of autism, colony collapse disorder and the widespread death of pollinators in general lead me to Jeff Pettis of the Department of Agriculture's bee research lab in Beltsville, Md. and his study of Neurotoxic Pesticides Helping to Decimate Bee Populations where he says, "There's a general phenomenon of pollinator decline — bats, bird, butterflies, all kinds of things,"

Another thing Dr. Moench mentions is a recent study showed that every human tested had the world’s best selling pesticide, Roundup, detectable in their urine at concentrations between five and twenty times the level considered safe for drinking water.

All of this makes me ill in body and spirit. As a kid in the 50's we watched countless commercials from Dow Chemicals preaching "Better Living Through Chemistry". Never did they offer the disclaimer that i'd be peeing roundup in poisonous concentrations in a few decades, nor did they say anything about how the pollinators of 90% of our food would be dying off about now or how 1 in 32 kids in UItah would be autistic before i reached retirement age. We who blissfully grew up as guinea pigs during the living 'better' though chemistry era are now reaping what was sown in our name. We weren't meek in our blissful consumption of that better life and now we, and descendants, 'will inherit the wind'. And an ill wind it is.


Thank You Ellen Brown for Writing the Best Article Ever on Canada's 'Austerity Budget'

Ya-ya, 'ever' is a very loooooooong time, but this article 'Canada’s 2012 Budget: Imposing Austerity on the World’s Most Resource-rich Country' really is the best, clearest economics article this writer has ever read. In it she shows how and why the whole Canadian government's austerity budget is nothing but a cog in the wheel of greed that rolls over us daily not just in Canada, but everywhere around the globe.

A couple of quotes from the article, first: "Canada, called the world’s most resource-rich country, is now being subjected to austerity measures like those imposed on third world countries in earlier decades.  It is all done in the name of reducing a federal debt that got out of control in the 1970s, when Canada quit borrowing from its own central bank."

Second: "Between 1939 and 1974, the government actually did borrow from its own central bank.  That made its debt effectively interest-free, since the government owned the bank and got the benefit of the interest.  According to figures supplied by Jack Biddell, a former government accountant, the federal debt remained very low, relatively flat, and quite sustainable during those years. The government successfully funded major public projects simply on the credit of the nation, including the production of aircraft during and after World War II, education benefits for returning soldiers, family allowances, old age pensions, the Trans-Canada Highway, the St. Lawrence Seaway project, and universal health care for all Canadians."

Ellen's book 'Web of Debt' which focuses on the US Federal Reserve System is fantastic. She also is the founder of The Public Banking Institute. Ellen's exhaustive research into the complex and jargon hidden world of money and banking is to be commended. But even more important than her research and knowledge is her ability to communicate that knowledge in clear language. Thank You Ellen Brown.

Canada’s 2012 Budget: Imposing Austerity on the World’s Most Resource-rich Country by Ellen Brown