Canada's Hydrocarbon Reserves Aren't Going Anywhere, So, What's the Hurry?

Harpo is planning to sign a trade deal on Nov. 1 that allows Chinese companies to sue Canada outside of Canadian courts. Incredibly, the lawsuits can proceed behind closed doors and award damages if a party's interests are compromised - like if the prov. of BC rejects the god-damn pipelines. China is going to need energy in the future, what's the hurry?

David Suzuki says, in  his article 'Canadian Government Continues to Choose Dirty Energy Over Democracy', it's our dear leader's fear of shifts from wastefully burning fossil fuels to conservation and renewable energy making tar sands bitumen soon becoming uneconomical and curtailing demand that drives them. Hopefully Suzuki's right, conservation will win, but it's not the Alberta Tar Sands only competition. There's tar sands in the US too and shale oil, lots of that. There may be as many as 503 billion barrels of oil in the Bakken Formation that runs under Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North Dakota and Montana, 4 times the size of Saudi Arabia's reserves.

Same can be said about B.C. who is basically giving away the resource right now, the North American market is flooded.with supply from all the friggin fracking. This oversupply and the near panic selling of resources is, in addition to the addicted profiteers, because our governments are addicted to charging minuscule royalties, getting by on unsustainablely high extraction. A great article this past week 'In an oil world, we need more Chavez, less Harper', contrasted socialism's solutions along side the neo-liberal alternative, gotta love Chavez eh.

Why's Alberta's oil industry in sucha the hurry? Alberta is landlocked, pipelines full of bitumen.and deadly chemicals don't make new friends easily. Alberta's oil magnates figure they gotta 'go big or go home' . Alberta's oil industry, still steadfastly refusing to look east, along with their faithful boy Harpo, are going 'all in' to retain some hold on the US jugular. Meanwhile, the grass looks a lot greener in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. Soon, 'Go East Giant, Go East' could be the chant of BC's anti-pipeline protesters.


Huge Rallies to 'Defend Our Coast' Across BC Including Here in Powell River

Powell River turns out to 'Defend Our Coast' rally

Thousands turned out in 67 different communities across BC to rally against the building of pipelines through the BC interior to move Alberta's bitumen to the west coast and especially the tanker traffic associated with them. The rallies were co-ordinated by leadnow.ca and The Dogwood Initiative. There are many great pictures and inspiring stories from the days rallies at the 'Defend Our Coast' website, check it out, it's wonderful to see the wide range of people who all agree that moving Alberta's crap to Asia in order to further enrich the few at such a potentially huge cost to the many is wrong.

Here in Powell River about 200 turned out to rally outside MLA Nicholas Simons’ office, the rain broke just in time, spirits were high, the crowd a colorful cross-section of the Powell River community. As Betty Zaikow, who hosted the event in PR said, “That’s what the opposition is, a diverse group of people. It’s not just radical environmentalists, it’s people from all walks of life, because this is important to all of us as British Colombians.” One of the most perfect moments was when Julia Adam led protesters in a song -With These Two Hands', after which people linked arms to symbolize BC’s unbroken wall of opposition to the Northern Gateway Project, to the Kinder-Morgan expansion and to oil tanker traffic on the west coast.

David Suzuki's article 'Canadian Government Continues to Choose Dirty Energy Over Democracy', written in conjunction with the huge rally in Victoria on Monday is an excellent read in that it drys attention to some of the larger issues at play in BC's current struggle against the forces focused on extracting the planets natural resources and turning them into money as fast as possible.

Of course, NO TANKERS means no tankers, and as important as the issues are that the rallies of the past few days have focused on they mostly sailed right past the issue of the 2 tankers a week already shipping raw bitumen for international consumption out of Burnaby through Vancouver's harbour, right past Stanley Park and Vancouver's beaches, out into the Georgia Strait -The Salish Sea - a highly dangerous and stupid situation that was never authorized by any level of government and certainly not foreseen in the original half century old contracts. For there to ever be a real solution, NO TANKERS must mean absolutely no tankers.


Surprise, One of the Liar Obama's Campaign Promises in 2008 was Mandatory GMO Labeling

While on the campaign trail in 2007 and 2008, Barack Obama promised to label GMO foods if elected [see video below]. Of course, along with all the other lies he used to convince progressive US voters he was one of them, his administration, including the USFDA, has continued and extended GW Bush's support for the GMO industry. Now, as we approach the 2012 election, an estimated 80% of processed foods contain GMOs and Obama refuses to make any comment on the situation or California's 'Right to Know' proposition on the upcoming ballot.

Obama's presidency has been a litany of broken promises, the Pulitzer Prize winning 'PoliticalFact' published by the Tampa Bay Times features 'The Obameter' which lists and describes Obama's broken promises one by one, it runs 5 pages long. That Romney can continue to flip-flop from position to position, to lie about whatever he finds convenient, simply shows he's been paying attention to what got the present 'liar and theif' elected.

Yesterday's editorial in the N.Y. Times 'Buying the Vote on G.M.O.’s' about the financial backers of the 'No' campaign in Calif. was excellent and offered some hope that by exposing the propaganda filled ads of the self-interested financiers behind the campaign their lies can be exposed [hope springs eternal eh]. On the other hand the 'Yes' side has held it's fire until now, does have a war chest of $4-5million and has bought many TV ads to counter the opposition's dis-information that will run in Calif. during the next 13 days.

The most recent pre-vote polls are showing that the gap, once 2-1, is narrowing in California. That these tactics are working surprises no one, and is further argument against Citizens United and super PACs, and for big time campaign finance reform. Big money has defeated democracy in the US by and large, this Prop. 37 'Right to Know' what's in your food campaign in California could be the last test of whether democracy still exists there or if it's now totally run by liars and thieves.


Henry Miller, spokesman of the 'No on 37' Campaign, is a Corporate Whore

If you live in California today, Henry Miller is hard to miss.  You see him in TV ads, hear him in radio spots, and his face is all over the expensive fliers that keep showing up uninvited in your mail box. - Common Dreams

He was a founding member of the Philip Morris backed front group that tried to discredit the links between tobacco products and cancer, this same Henry Miller is an ardent proponent of DDT and other toxic pesticides-including Agent Orange, he has worked on behalf of Coke and Pepsi against laws that would require the recycling of soda pop bottles. After the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, he argued that exposure to radiation from the disaster could actually provide health benefits. To name a few of well paid junkets beyond the truth.

The corporate funded 'No' campaign has misled voters in the state voter guide by claiming falsely that the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, believes GMO foods are safe, as position they adamantly deny. The 'No' campaign illegally affixed the official US FDA seal to their campaign propaganda, and attributed a fabricated quote to the FDA, falsely implying that the FDA has taken a position against Prop 37. All of this and much more has gone totally unreported on California news outlets, especially newspapers, where processed foods companies are the primary source of advertising revenue.

Unfortunately money talks and the media will only run stories critical of their advertisers if dragged there kicking and screaming. But what about the Californian residents who are the focus of these lies. Will they listen? Will they, where early on 80% agreed they had a 'Right to Know', allow themselves to be manipulated? Apparently they already are to a degree that will remain unknown until the evening of Nov.6th.

The 'Right to Know' campaign faces the same problem being faced by all anti-corporate movements around the world. It's the wicked problem of freedom of the press in the age of 'truthiness'. All of us, including Californians, must see why it is that corporate capitalists everywhere hate publicly funded TV and radio, why funding for science and science education are under attack and why Big Bird doesn't believe Henry Miller and wants to know if there's GMOs in his bird seed.


Sadly, Russell Means, Activist, Philosopher, Father, Husband and Hero Now Walks Among His Ancestors

My heart sunk this morning when i learned that Russell Means died at 4:44 am this morning, with the Morning Star, at his home and ranch in Porcupine S.D. Russell Means, for those who don't know, was a Oglala Lakotah elder who, among many other things in his long and interesting life, led the 71-day armed takeover on the sacred grounds of Wounded Knee, a tiny hamlet in the heart of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. Much has been written about Russell Means, more will certainly follow. In the video interview below 'Russell Means: Welcome To The Reservation', the man speaks for himself. Russell Means was one of my heroes.

One fascinating part of Russell Means story is how many separate aspects there are to it, and how sympathizers and foes disagree about every single one of them. Means was an early example of a cultural Rorschach test. The 'facts' in such a test are shown to be wholly relative to the emotional values of the person taking the test. A Rorschach test uncovers how our hidden assumptions, our values system, our worldview simply accepts as true those things that fit into it and rejects everything that doesn't.

There were many other people and events throughout my life that have offered the same window into human psychology. Timothy Leary was a prophet to many, the most dangerous man on earth to others. The Vietnam War divided families and generations, each side viewed the same facts, each knew they were 'right', why has always been interesting to me. Omar Khadr offers an excellent present day example. One huge group of Canadians see him as a child soldier wrongly imprisoned and tortured at GITMO, another huge group sees him as a terrorist. Divisive issues like abortion, gay marriage, gun control, global warming and evolution all offer the same opportunity to look into our 'reality' psychosis. In fact on almost of those issues and many more mostly the same groups of people agree and disagree unwaveringly with one perspective.

Climate Change supporters, for instance, continue to believe that if they can just get enough data out the poor ignorant deniers/skeptics will see the error in their thinking and change. The supporters themselves 'deny' there's any other valid worldview despite all the obvious evidence that there is. Both sides of any of these issues refuse to acknowledge that 'the view of the viewer' totally determines what that person accepts as true, it has nothing to do with the data. i too believe what i believe and see what those assumptions show me. In this case they show me that the Lakotah, the Americans, and i lost a great man today.

Russell Means gives an eye-opening 90 minute interview in which he explains how Native Americans and Americans in general are all imprisoned within one huge reservation. Means is a leader for the Republic of Lakotah, a movement that has declared its independence from the United States and refused to recognize the authority of presidents or governments, withdrawing from treaties it made with the federal government and defining its borders which cover thousands of square miles in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana.


''What is Sustainable' and the Revenge of the Faeries by Richard Adrian Reese

Yesterday's emails included a review that has sent me searching Canada's bookstores. Found it at the US version of Amazon but no success here in Canuckistan, yet. The book titled 'What is Sustainable' is written by Richard Reese and i've never read anything anywhere that rang more true than Reese's words from the quotes in the review and those at Amazon. Friends are hopefully looking for me, it'll be somewhere in Canada now or very soon. Meanwhile here's an excerpt that i love, it could have been written by me, should have, except he's far better writer.

The reviewer, Tim, writes in framing this section i love, "Following ecologist John Livingston, Reese sees humanity as an unstable, “overspecialized” species, whose reliance on acquired, accumulated knowledge can be both a blessing and a curse.  In civilization’s case, humans made “a radical shift from the past” with the adoption of domestication of plants and animals:"

The birth of domestication led to a great rift in human history.  On one side of this rift was Fairyland, where all of the wild ones lived together in a relatively balanced and elegant manner.  On the other side was slave country – civilization – where domesticated plants and animals were controlled and exploited by humans who fancied themselves to be masters and owners.

“The legends of the fairies,” Reese says with a tone of awe, “remind us of our old ancestral heritage, when people were wild, free, and happy. … But the newcomers – the farmers, loggers, and miners – drove the Good People away…. We could imagine that the Earth Crisis is the fairies’ revenge.  They have summoned all of their magic, and have cast a spell that laid a powerful curse on us.  A thousand disasters are circling over our heads.  Our silly clever tricks no longer work.  We’ll pay a dear price for the injuries we’ve caused Fairyland.  It is right and fair that justice will be done.  Hopefully we’ll learn and remember and heal.  I think we will.  A sustainable future with humans in it is not impossible.”

“At core, we long for freedom,” Reese continues, “a life without clocks or jobs, cars or cities, master or slaves – a life of love, hope, and celebration.  And the rivers dream of freedom, the day when the last dam falls apart.  And the forests dream of freedom, the day when the cutting stops.  Everything everywhere wants to be free, and freedom day is coming.  The cruel old master is sick and feeble, and his days are growing short.  In the other world, the spirits of our wild ancestors are filled with joy.  The Earth shall be free once more, and forever.”

The ancestors talk to me in my dreams.  It saddens them to see how we suffer in the modern world.  Their message is simply this:  Come home!  We miss you!  Let the land heal!


YES Side Set to WIN Nov. 6th Prop 37 Vote Despite Huge Media Campaign Full of Lies

In just the past week, the anti-consumer No on 37 campaign has been accused of misleading voters by Stanford University (twice), the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and by three major newspapers. Today it was announced that the $36 million No on 37 campaign, bankrolled by $20 million from the world's six largest pesticide companies, has been caught in yet another lie, this one's a doozy. The No on 37 campaign affixed the FDA's seal to one of the campaign's mailers, a clear violation of Section 506 of the U.S. Criminal Code, and alongside the seal attached a totally 'fabricated' quote according to the FDA.

The well healed No campaign is following the advice of Goebbels, who said, "...a lie told a hundred times will become the truth." It's fairly easy to see that when one side can buy all the propaganda spin space they want, the opponents are spending a million dollars per day this week, that the free press isn't really free anymore, it's become just another tool of the corporations that own them. Freedom of the press has become a sticky wicket in these time of 'truthiness'.

The fact is that a victory for the YES campaign, for the people who believe they have a 'right to know' what's in their foods, is also a defeat for Monsanto and their ilk who's only goal in all things is the maximizing of profits for their shareholders. Corporate law dictates that all corporations are only allowed to serve their shareholders and any public service they offer is only a means to that end.

Michael Pollan says, "Proposition 37 is the litmus test for whether there is actually a food movement in this country.. It may also be the litmus test for whether there is democracy left in this country." This vote in California is a BIG DEAL not just for Californians, not just for the rest of the US who'll undoubtedly begin to see their labeling laws change to but for people everywhere because these battles are ongoing in every country, on every continent, that doesn't already make GMO labeling mandatory [67 countries including China and all of the EU do]. Up here in BC farmers and consumers are fighting the good fight against Arctic Apples, another 'better living through chemistry' illusion. At the UBCM Convention a couple weeks ago a resolution to ban the GMO fruits and GMO trees was carried almost unanimously. There's little a person can do these dark days to fight the global corporate colossus, but Californians will get a chance to give them a kick in the ass for us all on Nov. 6th, billions of people will be watching...and hoping.


XL Foods to be Re-Named 'Mardi Gras Meats' by its New Brazilian Management

Mardi Gras Meats new logo

In an exclusive telepathic interview this morning with José Batista Sobrinho, owner of Brazil-based JBS S.A. who are taking over XL Foods from the Nilsson brothers, José Batista Sobrinho denied being a relation of The Blue Jays injured right fielder, though he extended to Canada's baseball fans his sympathy for having such a terrible team. The interview went on to cover many important and worrisome aspects of the recent debacle in Brooks Alberta.

When asked about UFCW local pres. Doug O'Halloran's statements that, "Whistle blower protection for XL Foods workers "absolutely" would have prevented Canada's biggest beef recall",  Sobrinho replied, "Whistles, we don't need no stinking whistles. At JBS plants we pass out vuvuzelas to every dancer, oops i mean worker."

In Response to Jean Mulimbi's, a union steward with the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada local 401, comments that, .“All this is coming from the line speed,” Mr. Sobrinho said, "We're already working on several solutions to the line speed issue including shipping most of the Alberta cattle directly to the former XL Foods processing plants in Omaha, Neb and Nampa, Idaho along with almost all of the jobs and the recent immigrants or temporary foreign workers who are afraid to report concerns from Brooks to the US where they will fit right in." "Imagine", Sobrinho teleported, "the mayor of Brooks would get rid of almost 2,000 unemployed potential troublemakers, the Harpo government would be off the hook for paying them UIC, the ranchers would be happy, the feedlot owners would be happy, the US tax collectors and consumers would be happy. It looks like every body's a wiener with our new plan."

At that point the mind-melding connection started to fade and the only response received to our question about U.S. officials repeatedly citing XL Foods for deficient food safety standards stretching back more than a decade, including violations for E. coli contamination on multiple occasions? Was a bizarre statement about how JBS has for years been teaching cattle to do the Samba as a health promotion activity during their internment in the feedlots, and how that practice would be instituted immediately in Alberta.


Last Night's 'Town Hall' Debate Another Mind Numbing Dance Featuring Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dumb

Last night's 'town hall' debate between corporate candidate R and corporate candidate D moderated by corporate media spokesperson C featured the usual inane questions as always. How in America can they find a representative selection of people who ask nothing about policy towards Iran, policy towards Israel, about climate change, about drones terrorizing and killing anyone, anywhere, about warrentless wiretaps and email surveillance, about Bradley Manning or Jullian Assange, about the extrajudicial killing of US citizens by presidential fiat, about why the torturers walk free, why GITMO is still open, why military tribunals convict people on evidence derived from torture, why Wall St. rules and Main St. drools? Because it's all fixed that's how.

Long before last night's World Wrestling Federation type 'contest' an official 'memorandum of understanding' was signed by both the Romney and Obama campaigns about the presidential and vice presidential debates. In the town hall version it was agreed that "the moderator will [review all audience] questions and eliminate any questions that the moderator deems inappropriate." This ploy is used all the time by media outlets trying to promote their shows [and garner more advertising revenue]. The fact is that if hundreds of questions are submitted and a corporate media guru selects those he/she finds appropriate we end up with the same mainstream marshmallow type questions the gurus would have asked anyway.

But just in case some citizen actually tried to stand up and ask a real question, a question who's answer was not rehearsed, who's answer might elicit a real insight into the pathos of the candidates, the two campaigns made sure that, "If any audience member poses a question or makes a statement that is in any material way different than the question that the audience member earlier submitted to the moderator for review, the moderator will cut off the questioner and advise the audience that such non-reviewed questions are not permitted. Moreover the Commission shall take appropriate steps to cut off the microphone of any such audience member who attempts to pose any question or statement differently than that previously posed to the moderator for review."

i grew up in the small town Adams in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Adams had town hall meetings, and every Tomisina, Dick and Harrietta got to stand up and make their point, the selectmen [town councilors] had to answer to everybody. If the questions were to far out in left field, like about UFOs or something, the residents [and most of them were there] shouted them down. Everybody debated everything, it was real democracy, that's why the bogus bastards at the Commission on Presidential Debates chose the name town hall not WWF to advertise their most recent mind numbing dance featuring tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumb.


Canadians Have 'The Right To Know' The Beef About Their Beef

In overcrowded feedlots cattle are packed together and  forced to live knee-deep in their own manure and urine.

Despite the pretty pictures of cattle grazing on the wide open range with the snow covered Rockies in the background during the first few months of their short lives almost all cattle spend the last few months of their lives in overcrowded, urine and manure drenched feedlots. As Micheal Pollen writes in the New York Times, "Cattle spend the last months of their lives standing ankle deep in their own waste eating a diet that makes them sick. Typical cattle feed includes corn which the animals cannot properly digest, and "fillers" such as sawdust or chicken manure."

Canadians have 'the right to know' that cattle raised for beef are subjected to numerous painful procedures during their lives. A person can find many websites that detail this disgusting story [here's a link to one that's accurate but is a bit less digusting than most]. It's true that many millions of people eat beef, but it's also true that most of them never think about the process that brings it to their table let alone allows themselves to extend empathy to the cattle. Humans like to think of themselves as qualitatively different from animals, but in reality animals have the same feelings and thoughts as humans. Imagine having some of the things described in the link above done to yourself.

Of course, cattle aren't the only animals we humans try to deny sentience to. Pigs are highly intelligent yet we treat them equally inhumanely. Poultry too are most often treated like things instead of beings created, as we are, by the same creator. When a person lives on a small farm and watches a few creatures give birth to their babies, and lick them, and feed them, and protect them from a predator to the point of giving their life to do so. When a person goes out each morning to feed them or let them out to graze and is greeted by them with warmth and fellowship, then again at night helps them and sees them bed down and snuggle with their family, it's impossible not to understand that they have feelings. If, for some unfortunate reason, a person sees another creature cower in fear when a situation that earlier caused them pain arises again, it's impossible to deny that they have thoughts just like we do.

Of course people, including those who live on small  farms, will continue to eat meat but if they do it consciously, if they understand that we are all in this world together, if they only eat the meat of animals who have had the chance to live a real life and who have been treated with dignity at their life's end, those people will be far more healthy in body and spirit.

The Californians are voting on Proposition 37, the mandatory labeling of GMO ingredients in their foods, named 'The Right To Know Law'. Wouldn't it be great if after winning that first victory over the forces of industrial agriculture that want only to obscure the truth that people everywhere woke up to their 'right to know'. First about the GMO contents of their foods, then moved on to demanding their 'right to know' how and from where all their food is produced. Canadians, Californians, all of us from here to Timbuktu, we all have 'the right to know'.


XL Foods to Re-Open - Company's Spokespeople Say, "They Meet or Exceed All Canadian Regulations"

Research has shown that a feedlot diet can increase the amount of E. coli bacteria present in an animal’s digestive tract.

XL Foods in Alberta undoubtedly does meet all existing Canadian food safety regulations. But unspoken are questions like: Who makes those regulations? For who's benefit are they made? Is the food industry the only industry who's regulations are made the same way or is all this just a peek under the carpet at part of the dirt hidden there by the partnership between industry, politicians and bankers?

Looking back, Canadians remember the uproars during the listeria outbreak and the 'Mad Cow' disease fiasco. They remember how the government regulators, the media and industry spokespeople whirled dervish like until the headlines disappeared. How all the authorities promised all would be well if we just thought 'happy thoughts' and trusted them. Well safety regulations for all industries in Canada, and for all the capitalist/democratic world, are made in shady backrooms by politicians who know where the grease that lubricates their ride comes from, by industry insiders who's sole concern is profit and by financiers who's sole concern is collecting the interest on the loans that produce their profits. Profit and interest are the real four letter words.

Profit uber-alles, that's capitalism. Serving the interests of the profiteers, that's the politicians. Choosing which politicians serve which profiteers, that's democracy. It doesn't matter a hoot whether you vote Republican-US or Conservative-CDN, Democrat-US or Liberal-CDN in national-provincial-state elections.The only thing that changes when a someone different is elected is which profiteer get to grease the gears. The NDP in Canada is slightly different in that their gears are greased by the union movement so there is a slight chance some small changes could occur if/when they win, but even then the bankers and the profiteers just refuse to play ball a threaten huge job losses to the NDP base if regulations change enough to hurt them. .

Individuals still have the right to make individual choices, and they are. Local and grass-fed beef is surging in popularity amid E. coli scare and many consumers are staying away from beef altogether which of course makes the equally well regulated poultry industry smile.

It's hard to believe that industrial scale meat factories that slaughter over 4,000 manure and mud encrusted-antibiotic laced-force fed-E coli contaminated-feedlot cramped cows a day, that's 3,000 steaks a minute, can ever really be safe. But what do i know, i'm just an old hippie who hasn't eaten meat in over 35 years, so...

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” - Henry David Thoreau


Red Cloud Kept His Side of the Treaty of Fort Laramie Deal, the US, Not So Much

Today the Lakotah Nation is trying to raise $9 million to buy back a sacred site in South Dakota's Black Hills that was granted to them in The Treaty of Fort Laramie (also called the Sioux Treaty of 1868) that guaranteed to the Lakotah ownership of the Black Hills, and further land and hunting rights in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. The treaty was signed for the US government by William T. Sherman, head of the entire US military, and by Red Cloud, chief of the the Oglala, Miniconjou, and Brulé bands of Lakotah people, at Fort Laramie, Wyoming in 1868.

Red Cloud [pictured above] was a man of honor who felt a man's word was important. It was he that negotiated the FT Laramie treaty and most of Wyoming , Montana and the Dakota's by law belong to the Lakotah Nation. However, after the discovery of gold, the federal government took back much of the land including the 2,000 acres the Lakotah are now trying to buy back from the descendants of the homesteaders the US government gave the land to 150 years ago. Before his death Red Cloud said, "They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one--They promised to take our land...and they took it."

To quote the US Constitution, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."

The Republic of Lakotah website is disturbingly educational about the history of this proud people and the current state of affairs on their now small, barren, chopped up territory. From it you'll learn some of the story of the genocidal foundation that the US empire was built on. The story, of course, isn't unique to the Lakotah or the Pine Ridge area, it's the same story from sea to shining sea, our ancestors and the 'founding fathers' simply ignored the law and the Constitution when it came to the Treaties the US Government entered into with their First Nations people.

The point is, this land was never sold by the Lakotah people, it was stolen from them. Now they are trying to raise the funds to buy back a small portion of those stolen lands. You can help them in this controversial attempt by contributing through their website. Opponents of the plan like Tom Poor Bear, the vice president of the Oglala Lakotah Tribe in South Dakota, say, “It’s like someone stealing my car and I have to pay to get it back.”

Wonder what Red Cloud would do?


Hugo Chávez' Win In Venezuela Yesterday Was A Victory For Us All

Hugo Chávez celebrate re-election win Sunday night in Caracas.
Viva La Revolucion Bolivariana! Viva Chavez!

Hugo Chávez victory  national elections yesterday was a victory for the underprivileged in that country and all across Latin America. It also offered us here in Canada and throughout the corporately enslaved capitalist world a 'teachable moment'. Chávez win by just over 10% was touted as a convincing election win by the western media but digging deeper into the numbers shows just how convincing his victory was among the vast majority of Venezuela's people.

Capriles and other leaders of the Democratic Unity coalition, a coalition of privileged right-wing private enterprise types who live primarily in only 3 of the country's 24 states - the 3 states where the is. In those 3 states Capriles and his cronies won huge majorities whereas in the rest of the country Chávez dominated in every state. If Venezuela used a US type electoral college or a parliamentary setup like Canada Chavez victory would have seemed even more massive.

Chávez won because instead of allowing Venezuela's oil wealth to further enrich the few, as Wall Street and the corporate owned western media suggests he should be doing, he uses it to enrich the lives of the many. Chávez builds homes, schools and hospitals in the poorest districts, he barters oil produced by Venezuela's national oil company with over a dozen of his Latin American neighbors in exchange for food which he sells through government run co-op stores in the barrios at cut rate prices and free medical clinics built and operated by Cubans and Cuban trained staff who are often described as the best in the world.

Venezuela, like every oil producing country in the world not subservient to the global elites, benefits from having a national oil company. Norway's insistence on firm control of its oil destiny is an excellent example of a developed western nation who's national oil company, Statoil, and it's government's use of royalty funds is a stance Canada needs to emulate. Imagine the benefits our underprivileged and native peoples would enjoy if Canada was a country capable of developing a national oil strategy similar to what has been achieved in Norway.

Hugo Chávez victory was a victory for us all. Viva La Revolucion Bolivariana! Viva Chávez!


The World Will Be Watching Tomorrow's Venezuela Election Results

Chávez Holds Mass Rally on Final Day of Campaigning

Hugo Chavez, called by his supporters 'the punishment for the rich' holds a 14% lead in the most trusted polls going into tomorrow's general election. In spite of the polling data almost all of the US and other western media media are doing their best to make it look like a close race. Challenger Henrique Capriles, known as "El Flaco," or "Skinny", is the darling of the right-wing moneyed elites who own the non-state run media and use it to hammer Chavez for his socialist government policies.

Hugo, it appears, is about to be re-elected overwhelmingly for 6 more years by his brown/round faced indigenous supporters despite the media propaganda of his mostly lighter skinned Spanish descended opponents. Hugo will win what The Carter Foundation and Jimmy Carter describe as, "The best election process in the world", because Chavez uses the country's oil export revenue to build homes for the poor, to build schools, to feed the hungry and all that commie-pinko stuff the western imperialists and capitalists fear.

Venezuela and Bolivia are a lot like Canada in some ways. we all have a region of the country where the oil/natural gas is mainly located and populations in that area who believe they should get all the proceeds from those resources. Evo in Bolivia and Hugo in Venezuela have nationalized their energy sector and use the revenue to redistribute the nation's wealth more evenly. Canada, well Canada is a petro dictatorship that is being outplayed at the oil wealth game by the oil industry which controls both the provincial government in Alberta and the national government in Ottawa.

Hugo Chavez has used Venezuela's oil revenues to finance the independence of one country after another in Latin America from the disaster capitalism programs of the IMF and World Bank that, before Chavez, kept the people of Latin America bankrupt despite their huge natural wealth. Hugo Chavez is dangerous to the Wall Street banksters because he offers Latin America and the rest of the world a viable alternative to the neo-liberal globalization model. That's why he's so demonized by the corporate controlled western media who'll be enjoying another dinner of 'crow' on Sunday night when Venezuela's election results come in.


Tar Sands Blockade Outside Winnsboro Texas Escalates as Support Pours In

"How can you be arrested for “trespassing” on your own land?" asked 78-year-old and great-grandmother Eleanor Fairchild after being arrested on Fairchild's own property. She and film actress Daryl Hanna were arrested yesterday in Texas after they put their bodies in front of heavy logging machinery and refused to move.

The answer: eminent domain. The State of Texas has seized all the private property not voluntarily sold to them along the Keystone XL's desired right-of-way. Eminent domain is an action of the state to seize a citizen's private property, expropriate property, or seize a citizen's rights in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner's consent. Of course this tactic was envisioned to be used as a means of acquiring land for things like highways, schools and railroads that would, at least in principle, be serving all the citizens of the state or community not just the private profits of the corporate elites.

“Tar sands is the dirtiest fuel on the planet, and I want the world to know that Texans do not want this pipeline forced through their homes,” Fairchild said, pushing back against the argument that her stance was solely about protecting her own property and water supply. The Keystone pipeline's function is to pump tar sands crud from Alberta across America to the Saudi owned refineries in Houston who already have the facilities in place to refine the crap because they already refine similar crap from Venezuela. After refining the crap in Houston the refined products will be sold internationally to the highest bidder, probably the Chinese not the Americans.

An open letter in support of the Tar Sands Blockade titled 'We Stand With Those Who Stand Against Tar Sands Pipeline' was published by a long list of Green Groups today. It says in part: As we write, our friends with the Tar Sands Blockade are blocking construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline in the woods of Texas.  For the past six months they have built a movement of climate activists, rural landowners, Texans, Oklahomans and people from all over the country to fiercely resist it. For two weeks, they have captured the imagination of the world with a daring tree- sit and bold ground actions near Winnsboro, TX that have delayed TransCanada’s operations.


At Last Night's Debate The Liar Romney Gave The Liar Obama A Taste Of His Own Medicine

Fours years ago it was Obama charismatically telling the American people, including me, everything they wanted to hear all the while knowing it was just an act, just kubuki theater, and that he had no intention of doing any of it. The Pulitzer Prize winning PoliticalFact published by the Tampa Bay Times features 'The Obameter' which lists and describes Obama's broken promises one by one, there's well over 50 of them, it takes 5 pages. In each case Obama's promises sounded great at the time, but each of them contained 'wiggle words' that a fancy fork tongued, Harvard liar could and would use as soon as he was elected.

Last night he got a taste of his own medicine as Mittens Romney told whopper after un-fact-check-able whopper and Obama stood there letting him get away with it. For instance, Mittens essentially disavowed the tax and budget plan he has been running on for eighteen months, claiming that it was possible to cut tax rates and make up the difference by closing loopholes. Obama never called him on it, neither did Jim Lehrer the PBS referee who was flummoxed from the moment he heard Mittens say that his best buddy Big Bird was getting the axe.

Romney sounded as if he had conviction, hoping that, in the footsteps of Goebbels, a lie told a hundred times will become the truth. After all he had a very successful example standing right next to him. Millions of my fellow Americans and almost all of my friends already know that it doesn't matter which liar is at the helm, Mittens or the Obomber; the ship of empire is sinking.

On a more positive note Democracy Now did an interesting expanded 3 hour version of the debate where they paused after the two liars answers to allow Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party to give their answers. Check out a few of the highlights from last nights show by CLICKING HERE. It's well worth your time if you're interested in hearing some real people giving real answers.


Justin Trudeau’s Opening Speech Showed Why He's the Best Hope Harper's Got in the Next Election

After working all afternoon in the raspberry patch i sat down tired, sweaty and predisposed to enjoy Justin Trudeau’s speech announcing his run for the leadership of the Liberal party. Whadda bummer! The Globe and Mail said in an editorial this morning , "...the speech was no better than a D." They were being generous.

Justin's speech was one platitude after another, it had no substance, it offered no new ideas just an appeal to the virtue of being in the mushy middle. Maybe some of the terrible delivery and timing can be attributed to having 50% of it delivered by a correct by unemotive translator, maybe. Even when Justin touched on any policy topic he offered only tired old ideas. As Blair Williams said in his Ottawa Citizen editorial this morning, "The very traits that Trudeau possesses may mesh very well with the celebrity-seeking culture we live in. If our newscasts and the popular media are any indication, we want to be entertained more than we want to be informed or educated."

In my opinion, a Justin Trudeau Liberal leadership win would be the best thing that could happen for Harper's conservatives because Trudeau's rock-star status will garner enough media attention and enough unenlightened voters to insure Harper's opposition remains divided in enough ridings to keep him and his right-wing junta in power. Harper's supporters should be contributing as much money as possible to Justin's campaign, he's the best hope Harpo's got in the next election.

A few months ago, during the NDP leadership race, Harper's media machine launched a series of personal attacks on Bob Ray. At the time i couldn't understand why. Now though it seems that back then Bob Ray hadn't totally withdrawn his name from the race and the Harperites reasoned that he was the only potential Liberal leader with enough political savvy to make a deal with the NDP if Nathan Cullen had won and the NDP offered the Liberals an olive branch. As long as Canadians remain evenly divided between the NDP and the Liberals Harper and his oil industry benefactors will continue to rule. Divide and Conquer - a time tested successful formula for holding onto power.


Good Luck to Justin Trudeau Who's Dad Did Me a Couple of Big Favors Decades Ago

Tonight in Papineau Quebec, Justin Trudeau, Pierre's oldest son, will launch the second chapter of Trudeau-mania. Justin's dad, Pierre Trudeau, did me a couple of big favors decades ago and today, a few hours before his son makes his big announcement, seems like the perfect day to write about them and say thanks.

Pierre Trudeau followed in the footsteps of Lester Pearson when he was elected Canada's Prime Minister in 1968. Back then Canada had an independent foreign policy and was far less of a lapdog to the Americans on all issues. Lester Pearson, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957, was an outspoken critic of the US war in Vietnam and authored the Canadian policy of accepting American Vietnam War resistors into Canada. Pierre Trudeau did the same, in fact, Trudeau's years in power saw many thousands of draft dodgers and deserters crossing the border into Canada and being welcomed with open arms.

i was one of those thousands and because of Canada's independent policies, its open minded generous people and Pierre's strength of character in the face of American threats i was allowed to start a new life, to have a wonderful family and to avoid serving in an immoral and illegal war.

Canada, as Pierre himself acknowledged in later years, benefited from the migration of many university educated young Americans. During that era what was referred to as 'the brain drain' saw many Canadians, whose education had been paid for by Canadian taxpayers, move south because of higher salaries and/or greater glory. The anti-war protesters, in part at least, reversed that process.

The second big favor Pierre did for me was a bit more personal. It happened in '70 at a big party we both attended in the Vancouver home of...of mutual friends who owned Mantracka Candles. A few of my friends and i were there to drink the free beer and get loaded. Pierre was there because he was chasing a wild young beauty from West Van. named Maggie. The place was jammed with the artists, musicians, hippies, yippies, hair, beads, peace symbols and smoke. Back in those days marijuana and hash were everywhere and at a big party folks just lit up joints or pipes full of hash and launched them into the crowd to be passed from person to person, whoever happened to be next to you, regardless of if you knew them or not. So there i was, my girlfriend/partner on one side of me and Pierre on the other [though we were in separate circles, me with my friends, he, with eyes a'twinkle, was talking to Maggie.

A hand reached out in front of me, it was passing me a glowing pipe full of hash. i never saw if Pierre had a toke on it or not but he could have passed it on to anybody, after all he was the Prime Minister, but i lucked out, it was great hash and i thanked him then as i do now. Thanks Pierre for the hash and for allowing me a new life in Canada, all the best of luck to your son Justin, he's gonna need it.


What is E coli and where does it come from?

Understanding what E coli is and where it comes from is the first step in understanding XL Foods widespread beef recall, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's slow reaction to the initial warning from the US border inspectors and the full court spin campaign being undertaken by Canadian governments and mainstream media outlets.

E coli bacteria is a common inhabitant of the intestinal tract of man and other animals. When animals are slaughtered and processed several dangerous elements come into play. The first is the presence of fecal matter from slaughtered animals, which can contaminate meat with high levels of bacteria such as E. coli. The muscle of the animal, which is eaten as meat, is sterile. It is only after this meat comes in contact with the contents of the intestines or the feces that it becomes contaminated. Unfortunately almost all cattle are 'finished' in industrial feedlots where they are so tightly packed together that these cattle defecate and urinate onto each other as well as being forced to stand knee deep in their own manure for days on end. So, E coli is present in all slaughterhouses not just in the manure in the slaughtered animals' intestines but also all over their hides.

In order to assure the safety of the meat supply, processors must make efforts to keep feces from spreading from the animals' intestines or hides onto the tables and tools for butchering, along with the meat itself. But because the production lines are forced to move so quickly, it is exceedingly difficult to butcher the carcasses with the care necessary to prevent this kind of contamination. The result is meat contaminated with bacteria. Manufacturers then combine potentially contaminated meat from many different animals when creating products like ground beef thus increasing the risk of outbreaks.

Slaughterhouses, like Alberta's XL Foods, try to maximize profits by running production lines at breakneck speeds, making it easier for meat to be contaminated by pathogens from manure. Meanwhile, government regulations are lax and cuts by the Harper government, as well as misleading Canadians about the changes it’s making to Canada’s food safety measures, that show it's actually bowing to industry pressure in its $56 million annual cut to the food inspection agency’s budget, said the union that represents food inspectors back in the spring. In a statement to the press at that time, the union said, "CFIA’s food inspectors will be converted to 'systems inspectors', effectively creating an industry 'self-policing' system reminiscent of the one in place prior to the 2008 listeriosis outbreak, in which 22 people died from eating processed meats linked to a Maple Leaf plant in Toronto."

So, E coli is everywhere, the Harper government is cutting food inspection budgets annually, the inspectors morale is at an all time low and they are in fear of losing their jobs. Now Alberta's cattle industry is reeling, the price of their cattle are dropping everyday, thousands of low-paid, often foreign worker program sponsored workers, are laid off and the US has issued a ban of all imports from XL foods. Is it any wonder that like during the mad-cow disease hysteria some years back the MSM are parroting the official government line "don't worry, be happy and cook the shit outta your beef".

This another example of how the Harper government's stupid short term thinking costs far more in the long run. Harper's cuts to the safety of fishery habitat protection, to the Coast Guard by shutting down the Vancouver base, his doubly stupid raising of allowable duty free goods for US shoppers along with the cutting of border inspectors jobs, his destruction of the Wheat Board, his gutting of Canada's Scientific Research Budget...list is long...each will end-up crippling an important part of Canada's economy. This time it's the cattle ranchers, who probably voted overwhelmingly for Harpo in the election, who are being hurt. Next time it might be a boat full of folks or one of those ugly tankers full of bitumen going down in Vancouver's harbor. Or maybe it'll be the destruction of the west coast's salmon habitat, or...?

Why all these stupid cuts? Because Harpo wants to buy $25 billion in jet planes to look tough to his right-wing base, and he, like all his neo-liberal ilk, refuse to raise taxes on his rich benefactors and their corporations. E coli comes from a pile of shit, so does Harper's politics.