Speculators Were Hung in the 17th Century. Ah, 'The Good Old Days'

"Speculators at megabanks or investment firms such as Goldman Sachs are not, in a strict sense, capitalists. They do not make money from the means of production...They are parasites. They feed off the carcass of industrial capitalism. They produce nothing. They make nothing. They just manipulate money. Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged." - 'Overthrow the Speculators', by Chris Hedges

Often Hedges' essays are to long for me, but sometimes, like today, when he really nails it, they are tight and focused. In another great paragraph today Hedges pays tribute to 'The Public Banking Institute' and its founder Ellen Brown, saying:

"The Bank of North Dakota, the vision of socialists from a century ago, has been in operation for 90 years. It offers the state’s farmers and businesses low interest rates on loans. After floods destroyed much of Grand Forks in 1997 the bank provided a six-month moratorium on mortgage payments and gave low-interest loans to the community to rebuild, a sharp contrast with the raw exploitation that marked the arrival of Wall Street bankers and speculators in Gulf Coast areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. Public banks in the United States, like the public banks in Germany, fund things such as solar power because it is good for communities rather than the portfolios of speculators."

Ellen Brown's writings and the excellent video below both explain the underlying criminal processes at work in our monetary systems and the all important role that interest plays in keeping everyone on the endless growth treadmill.. Hedges line about how speculators aren't capitalists because "They do not make money from the means of production." is important. Real capitalists can not voluntarily stop trying to accumulate more capital because they too must earn 'extra' money somewhere to pay interest.

Consequently, as Stephanie McMillan says in 'Why Environmentalists Should Support Working Class Struggles', "Attempts to solve the environmental crisis head-on, without addressing the underlying structural [economic] causes, will ultimately fail." She correctly reasons that: "Approaching it directly (for example by blocking a pipeline to prevent tar sands oil from reaching a refinery) can not overturn the economic system that demands resource extraction a non-negotiable necessity."  Capital has been relentless in its pursuit of supplying those demands in part because at every iteration the Snidley Whiplashes of finance get their end.

Pope Francis focuses on the structural causes of poverty often. Lately he's been talking about the speculators practicing the “idolatry of money,” and the “new tyranny” of unfettered capitalism. Obviously, say the Pontiff’s pious critics, that’s commie talk. Maybe some of those critics fear a resurgence of a gallows building industry.


Our Job Now is to Stand With the Yinka Dene and Other First Nations - HOLD THE WALL

Barnard Harbour [above] is the proposed terminus of Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline project, beautiful isn't it. Just over a week ago The National Energy Board (NEB) released its report on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal after conducting widespread and extensive hearings where 1,161 people spoke publicly and all but two people were opposed. More Canadians participated in this process than any other project in the country’s history. Despite the fact that expert witnesses and even the Government of British Columbia all formally requested that the NEB reject this pipeline proposal, the NEB approved the pipedream.

A famous Yogi once wisely advised, "It ain't over 'til it's over." The hearings are over, but the fat lady ain't sung yet. The federal government, next will announce a decision that approves the Enbridge Northern Gateway tar sands pipelines and tankers project. That's when this all heads to the courts where in the past few years the First Nations have been winning these types of decisions.

The powerful Yinka Dene Alliance of First Nations has joined with other First Nations to create unbroken wall of opposition.committed to using all lawful means to stop this devastating project from ever being built through their territories. To quote:

"We, the First Nations of the Yinka Dene Alliance, continue to steward the lands and waters in our territories according to our ancestral laws. We have used those laws, expressed in the Save the Fraser Declaration, to ban Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and similar tar sands projects from our territories. Our laws require that we do this to defend the lands and waters we rely on. We will not allow the proposed...pipelines, or similar tar sands projects to cross our lands, territories and watersheds, or the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon. We are asking you to stand with us to Hold the Wall."

Our job now is to stand with Yinka Dene and other First Nations, they have unique rights in Canadian law. Those rights are the last wall of legal resistance Harpo and his billionaire backers face in their dubious assault on the Earth. Click here to make a pledge to stand with First Nations in opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers project.


Site C Hearings Hit the Road to First Nations Communities This Week-Guess What They Heard

Members of the Treaty 8 Tribal Association at the opening to the Site C public hearings in Fort St. John

The senior governments' joint review panel learned at least one thing this week: No matter where you go, there you are. The carnival wrapped up hearings on Thursday in Prince George where Chief Rowan Willson of the West Moberly First Nation the community most affected by the dam's flooding, said "It's unnecessary. They don't need to flood the valley in order to do this. BC Hydro operates dams, and that's what they want, they want a dam and they're not looking at alternative means."

BC Hydro's representatives open and close each session with a statement where they seldom fail to mention among their talking points their contention that Site C would be a green energy producer. Green eh! The carbon footprint of Site C is enormous. "Three and a half billion cubic meters of concrete will have to be poured and one and a half million cubic meters of wood will have to be burned, not to mention the use of heavy equipment for 10 years." - Reimar Kroecher

As the Stop Site C website explains, "Electricity from Site C is not needed to power B.C. households and businesses. B.C. taxpayers will foot the $8 billion bill for this project at a time when B.C. Hydro is already deeply in debt." So, the presenters continued this week to ask, "why do it?"

Demand, markets are driven by demand, supply simply tries to meet it. Conservation, the only viable alternative, gets very little time in the hearings as it does in most places. Conservation would work but it wouldn't make any contractors rich, it wouldn't provide any short-term union jobs, wouldn't pay any interest to the banks or 'excess' power to speculate on down south. In Site C's case these last groups, the special interest groups, are the demanders it seems. They, like all extractors and speculators demand the same thing, MORE for their group.

Almost every presentation in opposition to the damn dam [9 outta 10] questions the necessity of the damn thing. Reimar Kroecher's excellent and well researched article  'Eight reasons to stop the Peace River Dam', gives a concise backgrounder on the 'necessity' issue as part of its well researched reasons none of which even touch on my premise that conservation, and only conservation [other than collapse] can bend the demand curve downward.

More, more, more...The hearings will resume in Jan. but it's hard to be optimistic that this panel hand-picked from the 'acceptable' candidates could see the balance between short term profit and long term ecology any differently than the Northern Gateway panel did a couple days ago. There is a schism, one side honestly believes their standard of living is non-negotiable and that humans are clever enough to keep inventing new magic ways to outsmart nature's limits. The other...well the other side basically calls bullshit. The mud, usually found closer to bullshit than magic, lends its voice to the other's call.


'Tis the Week Before Xmas and Everyday is Zombie Shopping Day at the Mall

Once upon a time i too committed zombie like actions at one point or another in the week leading up to what Adbusters calls 'the doomsday consumer fest'. There i'd be, hating it but still unable to withstand the powerful forces of culture and expectation, a zombie or worse - a zombie consumer.

Zombies of course are the perfect symbol for mindless consumers being led through their paces by endless jingling bells. This inner demon that the zombies so nicely satirize - the consumer - shows itself most clearly this week.

If, like me, you're not real good at confronting your inner demons, perhaps taking a look at the history of the consumer demon would help. That's where Richard Heinberg, a senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, comes in. Heinberg's article 'The Brief, Tragic Reign of Consumerism—and the Birth of a Happy Alternative' is a well researched and beautifully written piece full of insight and information complete with a fantasy ending where they [we] live happily ever after.

Heinberg sees the crucial problem with consumerism as resource limits. He says, "Regardless of whether consumerism is socially desirable, in the long run endless growth is physically impossible to sustain. The math is simple: even at a fraction of one percent per year growth in consumption, all of Earth’s resources would eventually be used up."

In reality we'll never 'use up' all of the Earth's resources, but we won't have to because the consumer demon also produces mountains of wastes, of which water, air, and soil can absorb only so much. Consequently,
long before we exhaust all the planet's resources we'll have sunk in our own crap.

Solutions to this dilemma are tricky. Our actions, even more importantly our imaginations are constrained because consumerism has become self-reinforcing. Nearly everybody wants and thinks they need an economy with more jobs and higher returns on investments. The majority of folks, of all stripes, are invested in extractive capitalism as well as being inhabited and informed by inner consumer zombies.

Heinberg asks us to "Consider this simple thought experiment: What would happen if everyone were to suddenly embrace a Gandhian ethic of voluntary simplicity? Commerce would contract; jobs would vanish; pension funds would lose value; tax revenues would shrivel, and so would government services." Collapse

Fortunately, now i'm an old codger, the broader culture holds little sway and my family long ago figured out what a weirdo they have among them and so have adjusted their expectations accordingly. My best friend and i will enjoy this week as we always do - with long walks, kisses, and the joy of having licked a least one inner demon.


Fascism, Like Sanberg's Fog, Comes On Little Cat Feet, But Only Gets Worse and Never Moves On

Nazi rally at Nuremberg in 1937.

We've seen this 'fog' before. Now as then, if it had exploded on the scene full blown we'd stand on our hind legs and fight back. But, then as now, "the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. It all took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised as a temporary emergency measure and associated with true patriotic allegiance." - Common Dreams

What happened there, then was that most people did not see the slow motion underneath. As Chris Aaron says, "In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D - and one day it's too late...and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose."

Yesterday's open letter to the people of Brazil from Edward Snowden is emblematic of how completely everything has changed here and now. In one sentence from the letter Snowden writes, "The public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the ‘consent of the governed’ is meaningless. . . The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed." the consent of the governed being the moral underpinning of democracy in general and Amerika in particular.

As Benito Mussolini said, " Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power." Power, fascist power, 'Heute Amerika, Morgen der Welt' [First Amerika, Then the World].

Near the end of Snowden's letter yesterday he explains succinctly why there's all the hub-bub about his whistleblower releases when he writes, "They say it is done to keep you safe. They’re wrong. There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying, legitimate law enforcement — where individuals are targeted based on a reasonable, individualized suspicion — and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an all-seeing eye and save copies forever. These programs were never about terrorism: they're about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power."

Awhile back Naomi Wolf wrote an article that got her in deep dodo titled 'Fascist America in 10 easy steps', check 'em out:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

2. Create a gulag

3. Develop a thug caste

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

5. Harass citizens' groups

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

7. Target key individuals

8. Control the press

9. Dissent equals treason

10. Suspend the rule of law

Yikes, 10 for 10 here on peri-totalitary Earth.


Uruguay Legalizes Pot Putting the Drug Warriors, Fearing the 'Domino Effect', in a Tailspin

Thousands of Uruguayans descended on the plaza in front of the legislative palace.

Earlier this week, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize both the sale and production of marijuana...sorta. Uruguay's law immediately came under attack by the The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), a UN organization, when INCB chief Raymond Yans said Uruguay's law was illegal under international law. This will be, if it goes any further, an interesting debate in that marijuana isn't a narcotic and should never have been part of the board's jurisdiction. Were that alone to be acknowledged by the UN would put the 'drug warriors' in a serious tailspin.

Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica a former Tupamaros Guerrilla, is the major driving force behind this 'experiment' as he calls it. The law itself is only intended to apply to Uruguain citizens. it's not supposed to be a tourism booster [wink, wink]. Unsurprisingly the airline industry is already planning many extra flights to meet the pothead demand by college kids and deep-pocketed celebrities alike. Apparently Sting and Richard Branson are far a-head of the hordes flocking to Uruguay curve, but others like Snoop Dogg and Ziggy Marley will join 'em soon flying in on Virgin Airways eh.

Setting up the world’s first national marketplace for legal marijuana is another victory against the U.S.-led war 'Drug War', clearly they were right about the domino theory [they just had the wrong issue back then]. The Uruguay domino may tip other countries over into passing tightly regulated laws that have been slowly tweaked in response to all the issues already beginning to arise. Or it may cause unpredicted bumping in the night.

One article from The Economist [probably not populated by potheads] titled 'Weed All About It'  is a good recent history. The other from Bloomberg titled 'Can Uruguay Handle the Pot Business?' gives a much more nuanced picture of the not-so-clear future ahead because putting a price on marijuana is a tricky issue. The government has talked about charging $1 per gram of cannabis in order to price traffickers out of the market, but that's wishful thinking.  “The costs of production will be higher so the only way to match” illegal pricing “will be a subsidy," Senator Jorge Larranaga, an opponent of the law, argued in the National Party’s magazine.

Uruguay will find out soon IMO that the small mom and pop marijuana farmers they'll be competing against have huge market advantages. Diversification, ability to quickly adjust prices, many genetic types to combat predators like bugs and molds...if making quality marijuana available cheaply sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

We'll see plenty of demand in Uruguay in the coming years to provide the new legal growers, the longtime outlaw growers and the majority who will do both, with customers. It's all so dumb really. This supply side regulation mentality will be as unsuccessful here as elsewhere. Demand drives every market, including the pot market. Worldwide the demand for pot is skyrocketing. None of Mujica's regulations or good intentions will change that.


Site C Dam Hearings End Week 1 Amid Tears, Jeers and BC Hydro's Rejected Alternatives

Environmental review hearings for the $7.9-billion Site C dam proposal by BC Hydro have finished their first week in Fort St. John, B.C. Tears fell in the Peace River during the Site C hearings as long time residents and far longer time aboriginal neighbors cried uncontrollably when trying to express how much their land and the lives on it mean to them. The hearing had to be stopped to allow the people to regain composure often.

The quote of the week came when Gary Oker, a former chief with the Doig River First Nation, said his people have ancient stories about giant animals that once roamed the land and devoured native people. Speaking to Hydro, he said: "We see . . . the giant animal has returned."

Ironically, Alberta's Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, which manages lands, forests, fish and wildlife in the province, has filed a 23-page submission setting out its concerns about the downstream impact of the Site C dam proposal on fish, and flooding in Alberta. Their submission says, "Two existing dams on the Peace River in B.C. have already significantly altered the flow of the river into the neighbouring province, this has both positive and negative impacts in Alberta, Alberta is concerned that Site C will further exacerbate the negative impacts". Take that left-coasters.

The commission also heard about all the other options that BC Hydro rejected in its decades long zeal to build Site C. The Larry Pynn article for the Times Colonist outlines some of the alternatives but concentrates on the submission of Alison Thompson, chair of the Calgary-based Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, who told the panel that "B.C. has one of the largest concentration of hot springs in the world, but that BC Hydro does not consider the industry to be a serious source of stable energy"."While B.C. has no operating geothermal projects, the sector is generating 3,300 megawatts in the U.S. and 1,000 megawatts in Mexico. B.C. could be a powerhouse on the world stage, not a fringe player," Thompson said, "adding her industry is an inconvenient truth to B.C. Hydro".

The hearings will go on into late January. Surely there will be more tear filed testimony and more damning evidence of Hydro's Cyclops like focus on only one side of the economic formula, the supply side. Nowhere does Hydro or the drooling developers question the commandment that 'demand for electricity will skyrocket in the coming decades'. Nowhere will they acknowledge that conservation is the only real solution.

One upside is that apparently BC Hydro is soliciting resumes. Christy's job plan maybe working. Hydro has openings for executives who can immediately transfer to the Peace region and fill some empty seats at the hearings. Can't imagine why, but between sick leave, early retirement and resignation Hydro is having a hard time keeping their allotted section populated.


Eco-Socialism's Promise-Conservation's Blessings Showered on Our Woes...No Denial Required

Denial. We all live in denial, it's a defence mechanism. In recent years though it's being used more aggressively, more spear shaped, more offensively. Hopefully they're throwing some boomerangs too, cause very few folks, liberal or conservative, scientist or not, really want to face the economic implications of putting the brakes on growth and over consumption. The consumer culture must live in denial and believe in delusions because we all know that capitalism has to grow or it collapses and that that endless growth is impossible.

What's the alternative? Well, our cousins with whom we share the planet are hoping we ride this train right off the cliff to collapse, the quicker the better eh. Richard Smith's recent excellent essay says we're "marching to disaster", he gives the same rational reasons why we're marching but, though eloquent, can never escape the parasitic bourgeois' strangle-hold on his list of solutions, never says having and wanting less - Conservation - is the only viable solution, and it's free.

Conservation's blessings would be showered on all of our environmental, social and financial woes. Real conservation, though, would have to be big enough to make a real change. Globally, fossil-fuel-powered electricity generation accounts for 17 percent of GHG emissions, heating accounts for 5 percent, miscellaneous "other" fuel combustion 8.6 percent, industry 14.7 percent, industrial processes another 4.3 percent, transportation 14.3 percent, agriculture 13.6 percent, land-use changes (mainly deforestation) 12.2 percent. This means, for a start, that even if we immediately replaced every fossil-fuel-powered electricity-generating plant on the planet with 100 percent renewable solar, wind and water power, this would reduce global GHG emissions only by around 17 percent.

Denier, eh. Any effective conservation effort wouldn't slow 'growth', it'd collapse extractive capitalism. As there are no other green solutions, only green illusions and it's impossible to consume our way out of over-consumption, conservation is the only choice. The Question is, will collapse happen sooner, later or is it already well underway?.

There is no such thing as 'good' capitalism just like there's no such thing as 'good' slavery. Would liberals be allowed to argue that we could still all benefit if we just demand nicer more enlightened and progressive slave owners, regulations to improve the treatment of the slaves, a little less whipping here and there and other clever ideas to make the system work? How about green slavery, or progressive slavery? No, because it's the underlying system itself that's corrupted. Capitalism has much in common with slavery.

Post collapse, those lucky enough and prepared enough could find themselves inhabiting a different world in the same space. They might find that freeing themselves from the toil of producing unnecessary or harmful commodities provides them with a far higher standard of quality living while consuming less. They then could enjoy the leisure promised but never delivered by capitalism, to realize our fullest human potential instead of wasting our lives in mindless drudgery and shopping. This is the emancipatory promise of eco-socialism, no denial required..


When i Rise to Power Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo Will Be Secretary of Land Reform

Of course the Vegas odds on a 65 yr old hermit iconoclast becoming Emperor soon are VERY long. But, whoever the next Emperor turns out to be he/she will have to make some big changes. At the top of my list would be land reform and Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, the eccentric mayor of Marinaleda in impoverished Andalusia, Spain's communist model village, would be an ideal choice for Secretary of Land Reform.

Marinaleda, used to suffer terrible hardships. Then, led by the mayor, the village declared itself a communist utopia and took farmland to provide for everyone. Could it be the answer to modern capitalism's failings? Who knows, but it's a very successful small scale model that is an excellent place to start. We can all now answer a capitalist's questions like, What's your alternative?, with "Marinaleda".

Marinaleda is a small fertile area populated by many like minded, hard working people with a long agrarian history. So some tweaking of the model may be necessary in our various towns and cities, but beneath the many headed hydra of extractive capitalism lies the fact that all wealth comes from the earth. The present 'order' has created chaos, it so unequal that millions starve while others gorge.

We're not broke, we've been robbed. The solution to widespread environmental insult [including global warming], to resource wars, to inequality in the face of abundance, begins with land reform.

"And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed." - John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath


Site C Would Destroy Agricultural Land Needlessly, Conservation is the Only Green Solution

The proposed location for the Site C Dam.
Photo by Don Hoffmann

A joint federal-provincial environmental review panel will conduct hearings beginning today in Fort St. John. This is the third time BC Hydro has tried to get regulatory approval for this project and given the development worldview so cherished by many, it won't be the last unless they win. As it was in the 80's, B.C. Hydro faces widespread community opposition over dam but the odds have changed.

Documents filed with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency suggest 30 landowners will be affected, but locals point out that BC Hydro has been purchasing land quietly for 30 years — a policy that has slowly depopulated the area and eroded opposition. BC Hydro says the $7.9-billion dam would produce enough electricity to power 450,000 homes per year for 100 years. The critics call bullshit: "The steep banks of the Peace River are highly unstable so landslides and a great deal of sloughing would occur, reducing the volume of water held by the reservoir. The huge silting problem would reduce the capacity to produce power, making it even more difficult to generate the money to service the billions of dollars of debt."

Which leads us to this article at The Globe and Mail explaining why  'BC Hydro’s Site C dam faces fiscal, regulatory minefield'. Apparently even the bankers are unconvinced they'll get their 'pound of flesh' in the long run.

As usual the Mud Report stands with those who stand in it, the moose, elk, deer and all beaver. In the last few frozen days alone mule deer, coyote, elk, white-tailed deer, moose and black bears have been spotted on Esther and Poul Pedersen‘s property along the Peace River. So far, the couple has rejected Hydro’s offers to buy their land. Ms. Pedersen cannot bear to think of walking away, saying, "When the Williston reservoir was created, thousands of deer and elk drowned trying to cross the water to now-submerged islands...[Esther considers the animals on her land meeting the same fate]...It’s impossible to think about.”

Demand for electricity will skyrocket in the coming decades. Conservation is the answer, it requires no environmental degradation and could easily create as many new jobs through the manufacture and distribution of new clean technologies. Instead of flooding farmlands, forests, native burial and hunting grounds BC Hydro could distribute low consumption appliances and light fixtures then pay for them through taking back a percentage of the dough users would be saving. New York City did this years ago and they saved so much power that Quebec had to stop their plans to construct their version of Site C. Conservation works wonders and it challenges the culture of 'more is better'.

"So why," Reimar Kroecher asks in his well researched article titled, 'Eight reasons to stop the Peace River Dam', "given all these drawbacks, is Site C even on the agenda? It seems there are powerful groups in North America who would love to see BC Hydro drift into insolvency. These groups applauded Victoria’s policy of forcing BC Hydro to buy power from independent power producers at prices far exceeding the prices this power can be sold for. Should BC Hydro become insolvent, it would be a golden opportunity to privatize it and for powerful vested interest groups to pick up some of the best hydro electric facilities on the continent at bargain basement prices."

"Site C will not provide clean or green energy. If the dam is built, it will flood some of of B.C.’s best farmland, obliterate First Nations cultural sites and disrupt critical wildlife corridors and habitat for aquatic species such as bull trout. Electricity from Site C is not needed to power B.C. households and businesses. B.C. taxpayers will foot the $8 billion bill for this project at a time when B.C. Hydro is already deeply in debt." Stop Site C website.


As the World Mourns, Mandela's Message is Already Being Sanitized and Co-opted

The world mourns the end of a great life today, Nelson Mandela was an inspiration in life, he will be a symbol long after all of us are gone. As Desmond Tutu said earlier, "The sun will rise tomorrow. It will not be as bright as yesterday." Hopefully the outline of Mandela's long shadow will remain true to the revolutionary who cast it.

The historic Nelson Mandela was labeled a terrorist and a communist, his African National Congress (ANC) was branded as a terrorist organization for decades by both South Africa and the United States. His severest right-wing critics painted him as an unrepentant terrorist and a communist sympathizer.

On Dec. 15th the body of Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest in his tiny rural hometown. The whole world will be watching, every world leader, past and present, will be there. Perhaps there'll be pictures of the Chinese leaders greeting the Dalai Lama graciously, of the Pakistanis and Indians embracing, of Obama and Evo Morales side by side or Putin. The Pope, Fidel [if he's well], the Queen...imagine. The world will be paying tribute to a great life lived but also to that life and to the principles that Mandela never abandoned throughout.

Mandela was a revolutionary. Remembering him and his message truthfully is our duty.

Today Common Dreams published '12 Mandela Quotes That Won't Be In the Corporate Media Obituaries', saying in part, "Nelson Mandela was a powerful and inspirational leader who eloquently and forcefully spoke truth to power. As tributes are published over the coming days, the corporate media will paint a sanitized portrait of Mandela that leaves out much of who he was." Below are a dozen quotes by Nelson Mandela that won't appear in the corporate media.

"A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens."

"If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care for human beings."

"The current world financial crisis also starkly reminds us that many of the concepts that guided our sense of how the world and its affairs are best ordered, have suddenly been shown to be wanting.”

"Gandhi rejects the Adam Smith notion of human nature as motivated by self-interest and brute needs and returns us to our spiritual dimension with its impulses for nonviolence, justice and equality. He exposes the fallacy of the claim that everyone can be rich and successful provided they work hard. He points to the millions who work themselves to the bone and still remain hungry."

"There is no doubt that the United States now feels that they are the only superpower in the world and they can do what they like."

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

“No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.”

"If the United States of America or Britain is having elections, they don't ask for observers from Africa or from Asia. But when we have elections, they want observers."

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”

On Gandhi: "From his understanding of wealth and poverty came his understanding of labor and capital, which led him to the solution of trusteeship based on the belief that there is no private ownership of capital; it is given in trust for redistribution and equalization. Similarly, while recognizing differential aptitudes and talents, he holds that these are gifts from God to be used for the collective good."


Welcome to the Peri-Totalitary Period Between Partial and Complete Subjugation by the Empire

Everyday there's another story capable of turning my grandfather over in his grave, Grandpa was a Republican, an Eisenhower Republican, most folks were in rural New England when i was a kid in the 50's. Can still hear him bellowing that he "didn't agree with them long haired beatniks but he'd defend their right to say their piece with his life". The times have changed [not in the direction Bob Dylan and i woulda predicted and hoped for. Wonder which way Grandpa woulda changed with 'em?

One thing that's very different between the 50's-early 60's and now is FEAR. Back then WW11 and the mindset inherent Roosevelt's message that "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" framed every individual's outlook. Now, fear rules. Fear of not being rich enough or skinny enough. Fear of the bogeyman, of the unknown generally. Fear of authority, fear of the cops, the gangs...not to mention fear of the 'Big Kahuna'. How we deal with our fears is more important than what they really are.

The dominant culture is awash in fear, paralyzed by it really. The 'haves' fear the have-nots will soon shake off the anchors like of their fears of authority and firepower, will standup and see again that they are the lucky mud and that all of society's inequities, all of the  environmental destruction, all wars, all resource exploitation, all of it is caused by the inequality of resource distribution, by capitalism. The 'haves' have fortresses, weapons and spooks galore, but even more, they have fear, they fear the many, who's energy they live off, will wake up. and recognize that we aren't broke, we've been robbed.

Now is still the time of partial subjugation, there's still a possibility that the memory or ghost of liberty can sneak back into our attention. That's what the authorities fear, that's why five billion mobile phone location records are logged by the NSA every day, that's why tomorrow's story will be just as chilling or worse. They're scared, they're scared of you and me, they're scared we'll wake up before the  military/industrial complex, the Empire Eisenhower warned Grandpa about, has completely subjugated us.

Way back in 1976 Senator Frank Church warned: “If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know.“

i'm a grandfather now, and when my grand kids are older i hope they remember that their grandfather never bent to the whip, never feared authority [outside the range of it's artillery] and loved every living thing equally - a freeman. What Frank Church missed is that freedom is an internal condition.


Canada's CSEC a Fountain of Carrots and Sticks for Bribing and Blackmailing It's Friends and Foes

Imagine how much money could be made on the futures market alone by having known the thinking and planning of Belaruskali's managers in the weeks before their defection and the resulting 23% drop in potash prices. Imagine how much money and/or power that kind of information commands for politicians, bankers and speculators. Imagine...And that's just one bit of info in one commodity. That money and power are why Canada's CSEC spy agency has been caught conducting industrial espionage on the Brazilian government and Brazilian companies that compete with Canadian firms.

Not surprisingly, CSEC has been in the news big time since October when Snowden revealed that the agency has conducted industrial espionage on Brazil considering the foreign policy of the Canadian government that places the promotion of Canadian business interests to be above all else.

Not surprising also in that Canada is a proud member of  'Five Eyes' along with the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Five Eyes, inaugurated in in March 1946, is widely acknowledged to being used by the US and its allies for diplomatic, military and commercial purposes. As far back as Dec. 2000 former CIA Director James Woolsey confirmed in Washington that the US steals economic secrets "with espionage, with communications [intelligence], with reconnaissance satellites", and that there was now "some increased emphasis" on economic intelligence.

During a recent hearing called by the Brazilian Senate's Commission on Foreign Relations into whether the NSA and Five Eyes spying agencies were able to acquire Brazil's commercial secrets and to capture communications of the country's president and military.  On the witness stand, Glen Greenwald declared that "indeed the NSA and their allies espionage was not solely aimed at preserving national security but also at collecting valuable commercial and industrial data from rivals."

The article 'Commercial Espionage - the Multi $Trillion Iceberg Beneath the Tip of Snowden's Recent Revelations' gives a broader history with many more links if you're interested. But basically, terrorism is a cover for the real story - the fountain of information to be used as either carrot or stick by those in possession of it to steal your hard earned money.

The Spooks at Five Eyes are worried about a "doomsday" cache of highly classified, heavily encrypted material they believe former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has stored on a data cloud, guess that's why he's escaped 'rendition' [or whatever they call their extra-judicial abductions now]. And yesterday The Guardian's editor said that only 1% of the docs. Snowden gave them have been have been published.

Maybe Snowden has stashed a list of democratically elected politicians who've dabbled in the futures markets with 'exceptional' success. Politicians who are well connected with the military industrial complex. Or maybe a list of politician's and regulators's porn video viewing habits or mistresses' phone numbers or ? Do you think Harper is building CSEC a $Billion 'Spy Palace' to keep you safe from terrorists or to keep his high-falutin contributors well informed?


Potash Industry Layoffs Part of the Oligarchy's Plan to Bankrupt the Small Rogue Producers

How serendipitous, the potash oligarchy is in the news today: 'Potash Corp to cut workforce by 18% [about 1,000 jobs here in Canada] says the Toronto Sun headline. The Sun goes on to parrot the investment media even using their jargon to lubricate the full truth's slide past most of us saying: "Potash prices have been sliding since mid-summer, when the biggest global producer, Russia's Uralkali OAO, quit its export partnership with Belaruskali of Belarus and said it would seek to maximize sales volume."

Last week the Globe and Mail ran a similarly jargon festooned piece that foreshadowed today's 'news' titled 'Cartel collapse hits Potash Corp., prompting mining giant to cut outlook' Translation: After years of squeezing the supply by warehousing the commodity and thereby both raising the market price of potash and limiting production, a small producer, Belaruskali of Belarus, nearly bankrupt and desperate to pay it's bills and taxes, decided to go rogue and said it would seek to maximize sales volume instead of restrict its sales to the cartel proscribed limits.

Within days of the collapse of the cartel's monopoly controls the market price of potash gave up its supply restricted premium and dropped 23%. Of course the rogue sellers are selling more now, the big guys are selling less and the price of potash remains low consequently the big producers are trying to cut their overhead until...

So, after reading the last two days articles on commodity market and price manipulation, what do think will happen to potash prices in the near future? A: plummet. Why? A: The big guys will flood the market with warehoused potash. What will happen to the little producers? A: They'll either sell out to the big guys or go bankrupt [in which case the big guys buy up their stuff even cheaper]. Either way, the big guys will oversupply the market until the little guys capitulate. Then what will happen? A: Potash will be withheld again by the oligarchy/cartel, prices will rise again, the cartels will sell slowly re-ratcheting up the price as they had in the past, except on the coming iteration the cartel will have more commodity to control the market with.

Potash is indispensable to industrial agriculture, in the medium to long term [unless there's a asteroid or Gaia sized collapse] global demand for potash will continue to slowly rise, it's all part of the business cycle, part of the cycle that transfers your hard earned dollars into their manipulated windfalls.

As Bill Doyle, chief executive ,Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc, told Reuters in an interview today, ."Our belief in the fundamentals of the business has not changed at all. This is simply an adjustment to the current and foreseeable market conditions." Going on to say he expects, "global potash shipments of between 55 million and 57 million tons, up from 51 million tons in 2012."  The company said yesterday it increased its quarterly dividend by 33 percent to 28 cents a share from 21 cents. Investors who understand the potash game [and the non-perishable commodity game in general] understand the situation. Potash Corp shares edged up 0.3 percent to $31.82 in New York.


Criminal Oligarchies Now Control and Manipulate the Supply of the World's Essential Commodities

A commodity is a marketable item which is defined as any good or service produced to meet a demand. Yesterday i used potash and aluminium as examples of how commodity oligarchies can and do manipulate commodity markets with imaginary money. The banks and speculators, who are increasingly pension funds and sovereign wealth funds, see big windfalls in non-listed assets such as commodities and commodity-related infrastructure but refuse to accept responsibility for the disasters their manipulations cause.

"Using special exemptions granted by the Federal Reserve Bank and relaxed regulations approved by Congress, the banks have bought huge swaths of infrastructure used to store commodities and deliver them to consumers — from pipelines and refineries in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas; to fleets of more than 100 double-hulled oil tankers at sea around the globe […] The maneuvering in markets for oil, wheat, cotton, coffee and more have brought billions in profits to investment banks." - N.Y. Times

Again, taking potash as an example, in the last few years of negotiations with big buyers like India and China the potash oligarchy has ratcheted potash prices well above their production cost by having no qualms about turning off the supply spigot when the buyers looked likely to gain the upper hand. As a senior official at a major Indian potash firm said "It hurt Indian companies, Indian farmers and the Indian government". It also 'hurt' the Indian people who were forced to pay higher prices at best, or ...maybe far worse.

Today these recently bailed out ‘Too Big to Fail’ banks like JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and the investment firms, pension funds and other speculators are buying huge warehouses to stockpile all the materials needed by the worlds manufacturing and food industries and keeping it locked up and unavailable forcing prices higher and supplies unattainable.

"Today as these criminals control and manipulate; store and restrict the supply of all goods, energy and materials required for survival. If we all do as we are told the supplies might be released in enough quantities to keep the common folk content. But should any segment of society, government or industry be required to be punished, should any single entity step out of line, these criminals now possess every tool available to crush the dissent. Electing a new leader or a new Party for any democratic state is useless. The jig is up and has been for a long time." Merv Ritchie

If i was Emperor all those new prison beds Harper is building would end up being filled with commodity manipulators and their henchmen.


How Home Prices, Like All Commodity Prices, are Manipulated by Bankers and Speculators

Recently the big guys in the world potash market are flooding the supply side, prices are plummeting. It's a play by those guys to force as many little guys as possible to sell everything or go bankrupt. These guys are following a script written decades ago when speculators in the broader agriculture market figured how easy it was to buy non-perishable commodities use them as market levers instead.

Ellen Brown explains in 'The Leveraged Buyout of America'  how speculators and bankers buy up the original commodity with borrowed money it's called a 'leveraged buyout'. The banks use the leveraged money to buy up massive stores of commodities, warehouse capacity and transport facilities. Once the big guys have secured enough of a commodity, they sell wildly, prices plummet, the speculators sell more of the commodity, more plummeting. Little competitors [or little countries] who can't hold out get weeded out. Then the speculators tighten the noose on supply, prices rise and they sell all they have stashed and all the more from the places they've bankrupted. If the commodity is potash, farmers crops may fail, people may starve, at which point the bankers buy up the land dirt cheap then REPEAT.

It works much the same way when the banks/speculators substitute stock in commodity companies as the investment instead of the commodity itself. Buy up huge amounts of whatever stock it is, prices rise quickly. Then sell, flood the market , prices of the stock drop to near nothing, so does the valuation of the commodity company owning it. Next use the profits from the leveraged original investment to buy up the companies stock 'dirt' cheap. Then hold back the warehoused commodity this company deals in resulting in prices rises on both the commodity and stock in the companies., sell your stock 'high'. make windfall money on both the stock and commodity...REPEAT.

The always informative Merv Richie wrote a great essay on manipulation of the aluminum market. Merv knows the topic well as he's centered in Terrace BC. His research and information apply equally well across most commodities and his reference links allow readers to delve as deeply into the ugly topic as they'd like.

Everything is a commodity, as the article 'The Empire Strikes Back: How Wall Street Has Turned Housing Into a Dangerous Get-Rich-Quick Scheme -- Again' says. "In hindsight, it’s clear that the Great Recession fueled a terrific wealth and asset transfer away from ordinary Americans and to financial institutions. During that crisis, Americans lost trillions of dollars of household wealth when housing prices crashed, while banks seized about five million homes."