Canada's DFO Library Closures the Next Step Toward Harper's Goal of 'Killing the Green Dragon'

Today's news includes a piece confirming that 7 Fisheries and Oceans libraries are set to close with 4 more destined to follow by 2015. The fate of thousands of books appears to be 'unknown', though a Radio-Canada story in June about the Maurice Lamontagne Library in Mont Jolie, Que. showed piles of volumes in dumpsters. Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea says they hope to save more than $443,000 by closing these libraries.

According to new documents released in response to a request from Liberal MP Lawrence MacAulay last October after reports surfaced that seven Fisheries and Oceans libraries were being closed and the materials destroyed. Those documents also showed that so far the govt. has spent in excess of $22,000 to dispose of books and research material from the libraries and, as MacAulay said, "there's no proof it saved any money." Adding, "When these seven libraries were in place there was information that was very important to the fishing industry, and now they're gone."

Why? Jim Taylor's answer, "I see Harper as a watered-down version of far-right Republicans in the U.S. They make no secret of their desire to eliminate from their education system anything — biology, zoology, evolution, geology, even astronomy — that might conflict with the ultimate truths of the Bible." i'd correct Jim a bit by substituting 'their version of the ultimate truths of the Bible' because the great majority of Christians, outside of the predominantly white, rapture entranced Evangelicals, totally disagree with that interpretation.

The problem with having legislators who believe themselves to be part of their God's Dominion is that they think Canada's human-created laws are less important than what their religious leaders tell them the Bible says. That doesn't make them bad people, but it does influence the way they make decisions. For instance, Reagan's Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt periodically mentioned his Dispensationalist Christian faith when discussing his method of environmental management, saying, “We don't have to protect the environment, the Second Coming is at hand."

Unfortunately, evangelical groups like the Christian Missionary Alliance, with which Harper has been connected for about two decades, believe the Bible is without error. Harper would seem to take his advice from the Cornwall Alliance, a coalition of right-wing scholars, economists and evangelicals. The Alliance questions mainstream science, doubts climate change, views environmentalist as a 'native evil' and champions fossil fuels.

A book published by the Cornwall Alliance called 'Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion not Death' even portrays environmental groups as one of the greatest threats to society and the church today. One passage, echoing James G. Watt, says, "The Green Dragon must die... [There] is no excuse to become befuddled by the noxious Green odors and doctrines emanating from the foul beast...God is sovereign over creation and therefore humans can do no permanent damage..."

Canada's fundamentalist morons are not alone, many evangelicals, including influential Texas mega-church pastor John Hagee and former Fox TV host Glenn Beck, now call themselves 'Christian Zionists', a recent PEW Research report says that, "82% of white evangelicals believe God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people, compared with 40% of American Jews who believe the same.

Last week's news contained a number of stories about the 10 influential evangelical Protestant pastors and leaders who flew with Harper on his recent trip to Israel. Among them was David Hearn, president of Christian and Missionary Alliance Canada.

The Christian Zionist's unquestioning support for Israel is mainly because of the way they interpret biblical prophecy about the Apocalypse and the Rapture. And here is the key part: Based on their reading of the Book of Revelation, such evangelicals also worry Jesus will not return to Earth to bring in Judgment Day unless the holy land is governed by Jews.

Yet Harper and his cronies are responsible for Canada's Health system, Science and Technology policies, and Environment policies.


A Remarkable Interview With Edward Snowden, a Remarkable Young Man

Edward Snowden says he sleeps well - despite potential death threats

Last night the German television station NDR News broadcast a face to face interview with Edward Snowden that they conducted a few days earlier in Moscow. In the interview Snowden speaks about the NSA surveillance programs he has helped expose to the world. The full transcript of interview is available [here], but IMO the video [full version below] is far better because seeing his body language, hearing his and the interviewers inflections and tone, convey much more than the printed words alone.

Edward Snowden is a very well spoken young man in addition to exhibiting extraordinary integrity and bravery. We all owe him our thanks.

The interview covers a range of topics related to the 'security' apparatus. One of the most important, IMO, is the shell game that the Five Eyes countries perform when asked about the obviously illegal spying they do domestically. "So we have the UK’s GCHQ, we have the US NSA, we have Canada’s C-Sec, we have the Australian Signals Intelligence Directorate and we have New Zealand’s DSD. What the result of this was over decades and decades what sort of a supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries." - Edward Snowden

The Mud Report article titled 'Canadians Must Stop Being Naive About Security and Understand We're All Foreigners Somewhere' says the same thing in more detail than the Snowden interview format allowed. Another very critically important issue - commercial espionage - that the interview touched on was also looked at more broadly by the writer of these lines in the article 'Commercial Espionage - the Multi $Trillion Iceberg Beneath the Tip of Snowden's Recent Revelations'

On this sub-topic the interviewer asks: "Does the NSA spy on Siemens, on Mercedes, on other successful German companies for example, to prevail, to have the advantage of knowing what is going on in a scientific and economic world."
Snowden answers: "I don’t want to pre-empt the editorial decisions of journalists but what I will say is there’s no question that the US is engaged in economic spying. If there’s information at Siemens that they think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security of the United States, they’ll go after that information and they’ll take it."

Please try to set aside 30 minutes of your time to watch this remarkable interview with Edward Snowden, a remarkable young man.


The Site C JPR is Just Another Crock Designed to Cloak and Deceive While Serving Their Masters

This image by Farmer Lynda Peterson shows some of the farmland that will be drowned if the dam goes ahead.

The Site C Joint Review Panel wrapped up its hearings in Fort St. John on Thursday. It was just another day of heartbreaking testimony by a room filled people who's way of life stand to be destroyed. Sitting in front of them, the same lineup of suits who've flown in from the south, the Chamber of Commerce developers, and other various weasels.

The most moving testimony of the week came from Stewart Cameron, former chief of the Saulteau First Nations, who told the panel that "the 'treaty' is not just a word to the members of his band, who became signatories to Treaty 8 in 1899. The treaty covers an area of 840,000 square kilometres in northwestern Canada, including the Peace River region of northeast B.C." Mr. Cameron added, “To us, it’s our way of life. It’s who we are. It’s a meaning.”

Mr. Cameron went on to explain the promises made in a 115-year-old treaty in the words that his 12 year old daughter who wrote in a school assignment: “The treaty I am talking about is an agreement that is based on peace, sharing and co-existence. Basically, the treaty promised our people that we could continue our way of life as we wanted to. It was as if we had never entered the treaty before, meaning we can hunt, fish and trap for as long as the sun keeps shining, the river flows and the grass keeps growing. All in all, this meant forever.”

Of course, we all know that 'forever' means until they the colonizers find some monetary value they can squeeze from. There's no news here, it's the been the same story since the day our ancestors landed, empty promises, empty words, from empty people taken as truth by First Nations.

From the suits came more of the same self-serving drivel, as usual. Chris O’Riley, the executive vice-president for generation at BC Hydro, told the hand picked panel of capitalist ass-kissers that reviewing Site C that "the proposed dam is needed now – and that it will pay dividends for generations to come." Adding that, "Crown utility has been “running full out since 2006” to meet power demands, and needs to expand to keep pace with the growing need."

Remember, not long go the same 'authorities' said Site C's output was absolutely necessary to power the LNG boondoggle. Then when the engineers said they'd be using the gas itself not electricity, like every other LNG plant everywhere does, BC Hydro started this new spin. To be fair BC Hydro's latest crock isn't really new, it's the same crock they used when they tried to sell Site Cthe  in two previous attempts that were shot down in past decades.

O’Riley's re-cycled bullshit does contain a few interesting words though. For instance he describes the $7.9-billion estimated cost of damn dam to be an investment "that it will pay dividends for generations to come". The cat leaping out the bag here is that of 'dividends'. Here it's important to remember that BC Hydro investment division is up to its ears in speculative power sales to the US. They've already been fined for manipulating rates in California along with Enron back when our cousins down there were in trouble. From any perspective BC residents don't need more electric power. Right now the shareholders on another BC Govt. boondoggle, IPP, are collecting guaranteed returns while the unneeded power they are producing is thrown away [sent to 'ground'].

BC Hydro is losing money because:
1. BC's government rakes hundreds of millions of dollars out of it every year that they deposit into general revenue so their accountants can say the cooked books look fine to them.
2. Kickback laden, politically driven, banker supported, schemes, like Campbell's IPPs, have done wonders for the BC Liberals war chest and their off-shore bank accounts but continue to be huge mandated losers for BC Hydro's bottom line.
3. BC Hydro and the BC Govt. are totally brainwashed, growth uber-alles, capitalists who can't understand or even utter the word CONSERVATION. Conservation is the only green alternative. The problem for capitalists is that conservation makes no windfall profits for the gluttonous bastards that support the Liberals.

Another 'teachable moment' happened on the last day, Thursday, when the JRP announced they'd reversed their earlier decision, and asked for Agricultural Land Commission's [ALC] input on Site C dam proposal despite a provincial government attempt to keep the ALC out of the process. Last week, the Peace Valley Environmental Association urged the JRP to seek advice from the ALC, saying the loss of 3,000 acres of farmland would be dramatic, but the panel flatly rejected the request.

"Then Joan Sawicki, a former NDP cabinet minister and long-time defender of the ALR, appeared before the JRP. She reminded the panel that while in cabinet in the 1990s, she had been in charge of B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office. And she argued that the JRP couldn’t do its job properly without considering the effect of the proposed dam on agricultural land." - Globe and Mail

At first glance the reversal looks like a minor victory for the all the non-suit folks. But in reality the panel was quietly advised by their lawyers that Sawicki's presentation provided the development's opponents with ample grounds for an appeal through the courts unless the JPR accepted some sort of ALC input. Of course that input can be thrown out immediately, all they have to do is appear to have listened to it. The reversal isn't a victory, it's just another fork-tongued colonial dodge designed to usurp the real long term wealth of the land and convert it to short term monetary gain for their capitalist supporters.

These review panels are all the same crock of shit whose job is to cloak and deceive.


A Totalitarian State Abhors Freedom and Uses its Security Apparatus to Silence Critics Through Fear

"They hate us for our freedoms." GW Bush once said. And he was right, except 'they' are the fascists. Fascists hate people who are free. "The object of efficient totalitarian states, as George Orwell understood, is to create a climate in which people do not think of rebelling, a climate in which government killing and torture are used against only a handful of unmanageable renegades. The totalitarian state achieves this control," Chris Hedges wrote recently, "by systematically crushing human spontaneity, and by extension human freedom. It ceaselessly peddles fear to keep a population traumatized and immobilized. It turns the courts, along with legislative bodies, into mechanisms to legalize the crimes of state."

This isn't news. The new book, entitled 'The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI' written by Betty Medsger, traces the history of the FBI, led by Hoover, and the anti-war and social justice movements of the late 60's and 70's whose members became targets of the law enforcement agency's clandestine COINTELPRO program and how the anti-Vietnam-War academics and activists who, 43 years ago, stole FBI documents that for the first time revealed J. Edgar Hoover's widespread, obsessive, illegal spying on dissident groups.

Hoover too sucked up seemingly irrelevant information on obviously innocent people then used it later to blackmail them, or those around them, for his own ends.  Hoover would have loved living in the Internet age. In it other tentacles of the 'security' state, who learned from Hoover, have developed even more ruthless tactics to control their friends and enemies alike. They've also learned that total secrecy about their nefarious activities is far less effective as an instrument of fear propagation than allowing some of them to be leaked.

Nowadays it's impossible to know if groups like the Former NSA Senior Executives &; Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity are the honest brokers of information they seem to be or tools of the 'Great Satan' spinning out planted mis-information that they themselves believe to be true. As The Mud Report has said before  if, even for a moment, folks could step back and put those fears into a larger context they'd understand that the real objective of  totalitarian fear mongering is to hide the failure of capitalism to deliver real freedom.

Real freedom is an internal condition, it can be nutured by each of us or it can be buried by our fears. One section from an excellent article i read yesterday titled 'In Chiapas, A Revolution That Won't Go Away' explains this better than any words this writer can. It's about a little boy named Diego and sub-titled 'The Boy Who Is Free':

"Diego is part of the first generation of Zapatista children whose births are registered by one of the organization’s own civil judges. In the eyes of his father, he is one of the first fully independent human beings. He was born in Zapatista territory, attends a Zapatista school, lives on unregistered land, and his body is free of pesticides and genetically modified organisms. Adding to his autonomy is the fact that nothing about him -- not his name, weight, eye color, or birth date -- is officially registered with the Mexican government. His family does not receive a peso of government aid, nor does it pay a peso worth of taxes. Not even the name of Diego’s town appears on any official map." - Laura Gottesdiener

The totalitarian state cannot condone real freedom. They are now nearly invulnerable to insurrection, but they are vulnerable to those who, as Sub-Commandante Marcos says, simply ignore them, who dropout, who refuse to live in fear and choose to live in freedom.


Consumer Capitalism's Karma - China's Air Pollution is Coming Back to the Americas as the World Turns

This map shows the flow of black carbon pollution from China to the Americas.

According to the latest study the emissions from China’s export industries are carried across the Pacific Ocean and contribute to air pollution in the Western United States [and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America] according to a paper published Monday by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [PNAS].

The picture above from Weather.com is worth a million words, obviously our consumer culture's pollution footprint, unlike fun in Vegas, doesn't stay in China. Truth is it's our consumer culture's Karma that's 'Blowing Back to Haunt Us'.

In the last few years we've done our best ostrich impression while ignoring the disastrous images of chunky air in northern China, especially around Bejing. This despite many other reports including those about how the Southern Chinese, on average, have lived at least five years longer than their northern counterparts in recent decades because of the destructive health effects of pollution from the widespread use of coal in the north.

Globally consumers do the 'ostrich' everyday, but none are more arrogant about their exceptionalism [the Canadians being a close second] than the American consumer culture. Maybe this time it'll be different, maybe consumers everywhere will have an epiphany and realize that we all breathe the same air and that the only solution to pollution is to stop consuming needless crap - conservation.

"Trying to reduce environmental pollution without reducing consumerism is like combating drug trafficking without reducing the drug addiction." - Jorge Majfud. It's important to notice that Majfud referred to the broader issue of "environmental pollution" not just to climate change. Please check out this list of just some of the tragedies being caused by our over-consumption of needless crap and a few details about each.

What goes around, comes around we used to say in hippier days. Another 'fact' that the ostriches refuse to acknowledge is that there are no green alternatives to fossil fuels only Green Illusions. When these truths are added to the fact the demand drives every market exchange with supply simply rising and falling to meet it, it becomes obvious why the ostrich approach is mandatory for cancer like capitalism to keep growing.

As Adam Brandt, an energy expert at Stanford University, pointed out recently, "So long as the demand is there, energy producers are going to search for new supplies of fossil fuel — many of them using unconventional means like tar sands extraction. “With growing global demand, the economic pressure to develop unconventional resources is enormous and not going away,” he said. “Can environmental groups expect to win a series of fights for decades to come, when the economic forces are aligned very strongly against them in each round?” The answer is obvious: no. The emphasis should be on demand, not supply."


Who are the Black Widows of Chechnya? And Why do They Want to Bomb the Olympics?

Black Widow in wheelchair, strapped with bombs, trigger in hand.

Who are the Black Widows, known in Russia as the Shahidka? They gained global attention when images of Chechen women dressed in black chadors, their waists and chests adorned with bombs, flooded Russian television screens during the three-day Moscow theatre hostage crisis in October 2002 that left 129 people dead. They are members of the much larger martyrs brigade thought to be commanded by Doku Umarov, a Islamist Chechen militant leader.

Russia’s history of Black Widows dates back to 2000, when Khava Barayeva and Luiza Magomadova blew themselves up at a Russian Army base in the North Caucasus region of Chechnya, but that's hardly the beginning of a long history that they are but one small chapter of. The term of "Black Widows" probably originates from the fact that many of these women are widows of men killed by the Russian forces in Chechnya in the past decades of this long conflict. As Scott Stewart of Stratfor says, "Tactically, it makes sense to use women operatives because they’re just seen as less threatening. In many cultures, it’s just not really seen as acceptable to really check women or frisk women carefully, so they’re able to smuggle suicide devices.”

While Russian and nearly all MSM outlets describe the Shahidka as a two-dimensional terrorist group including by saying that many of the women have been sold by their parents to be used as Shahidkas, that others have been kidnapped or tricked or that they come from Wahhabist families which press them to become Shahidkas. Few actual security experts buy these explanations. Most, like International security experts Robert W. Kurz and Charles K. Bartles argue that these women are much more motivated by revenge, despair, and their drive for an independent state than by religious fundamentalism or individual honor. The Black Widows long list of notable attacks provides plenty of cause for worry about the safety of Sochi's Olympics.

Why they want to bomb the Olympics is a much longer story. The Russians and the westarn MSM try to get us to start the story with the First Chechen War, a conflict between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, fought from December 1994 to August 1996. In reality they have been at war almost continously since the onset of Russian expansionism to the south as early as the 16th century with Ivan the Terrible's conquest of Astrakhan, the founding of Tarki in 1559 and the stationing of the first Cossack army there.

Most Russian, Caucasus, and Western historians agree that within the next two decades the Russian army rounded up and deported nearly 500,000 people of the highland Caucasus from their villages, sending them first to ports on the Black Sea, including Sochi, where they awaited ships provided by the neighboring Ottoman Empire.

But even that is all just part of the recent history of Chechnya's many years of resistance to invaders. The recurring pattern in Chechen history: invasion, met with fierce and determined resistance by the Chechens, who usually started out losing but then reversed the tide. Invasions not only from the north but also the south when, for instance, during the 13th and 14th centuries, the Mongols and their Turkic vassals launched two long, massive invasions of the territory of modern Chechnya. The ancestors of modern Chechens bear the distinction of being one of the few peoples to successfully resist the Mongols, not once, but twice.

The ancestors of the Chechens, and all Nakh peoples, are thought to have populated the Central Caucasus around 10000 BCE- 8000 BCE. They came to the Caucasus from the Fertile Crescent at or near what we now call the 'birth of civilization'. It's believed they either chose or were forced to leave the area due to over-population. Another remarkable part of their history is that their ancestors are credited with the invention of the wheel which is first found in the Central Caucasus around 4000 BCE-3000 BCE.

The Black Widows of Chechnya are the focus of a massive security operation in and around Sochi right now. The poster above of one of the women suspects the Russian security forces, and others, are combing Sochi for that are plastered everywhere in and around Sochi shows, the Shahidka don't always appear dressed in black chadors making them invisible usually. Further, the press continues to portray them as outsiders when in reality they could just as well have been born and lived their entire lives in Sochi. They might have Olympic security jobs, who knows.

What we should all know is that The Black Widows don't see themselves as terrorists, they see themselves as warriors in an ancient war. They don't see any of us outsiders as 'innocent' civilians, but as another invader to be expelled with, as Doku Umarov calls for, "maximum force'.

Billions of us 'outsiders' will watch parts of the Olympics in February. Our kids will be there after having worked most of their lives to achieve that goal. But as we watch and pray in our hearts that all the kids, coaches and spectators etc. come home joyous, safe and sound, it's important to remember that whenever we accept the authorities and the MSM's simplistic version of what is in reality far from simple, we do ourselves and our dreams a dis-service by not truly understanding that everyone, agree with them or not, has dreams too.


Thanks Neil Young for Your Honour the Treaties Tour and Your Heart of Gold

Last night Neil Young wrapped up his 'Honour the Treaties Tour' before a sold out audience at Calgary's Jack Singer Concert Hall. Before the concert Neil announced that, "The goal of raising $75,000 for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s legal defence fund was surpassed a few days ago" The ACFN announced last week it had filed a legal challenge to Ottawa’s recent approval of Royal Dutch Shell’s planned Jackpine oil sands mine.

Along the way this past week Neil was steadfast, if not always totally accurate on the details. As usual the pro-development folks used the tired old tactic of parsing Neil's words, not his underlying philosophy and certainly not his 'Heart of Gold' intentions. Young answered those critic's, including PM Harper, by conceding at Thursday's news conference that he's just a guitar player. "After all", as Young "As far as me not knowing what I'm talking about, everybody knows that. That couldn't be more obvious. I'm a musician," said Young, apparently attempting to downplay criticism spawned by statements he made earlier in the week in Toronto.

Neil Young may not be an expert on anything, but he certainly knows what he believes. "My whole job here is to raise enough attention so you people would come hear what's going on," he said, flanked by environmental scientists and First Nations activists. "My job is to bring light to the situation through my celebrity."

In an excellent opinion piece at The Tyee titled 'Neil Young to Harper: Fear Our Emotion!' author Ian Gill wrote "Plainly put, our governments don't fear environmentalists, even icons like David Suzuki. But governments fear emotion, which they can't regulate, and who but our artists are capable of stirring our emotions, giving them expression, and releasing the trapped energy in our national psyche?"

Gill went on to say, "But for the most part, he let his celebrity do the talking, just like the artists who rallied in the '80s to help save the Stein Valley, the Carmanah Valley and Gwaii Haanas in British Columbia, or the writers and photographers who elevated the Great Bear Rainforest and the Sacred Headwaters in the imagination of a public who for the most part will never go there, but somehow understand that in the fate of those places lies the fate of us all."

Gill and The Tyee did Canada's conversation on the Enbridge pipeline a great service by not allowing the right-wing parsing tactic to occlude the real issues as they usually manage to do at least in the corporate media. For instance when Neil said at one stop. "The proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline is a bad idea, as the fuel would all go to China, which is probably the dirtiest place on the planet."  Alberta business school professor Andrew Leach - recipient of an Enbridge-sponsored professorship who receives $15 000 annually from the energy company, challenged Young's statements on the amount of Canadian oil being shipped to China, saying that almost 100% of of the crud is consumed in North America."

This is an important issue for all of us. We must listen very carefully to the lawyer trained caveats and parsing used by politicians and academics is service of their desire not to actually communicate but to cover-up the real facts. The tarsands supporters were far more successful in changing the focus of everyone when Neil chose to use the highly pejorative description of the huge tarsands operation as "looking like Hiroshima". It's true that using hyperbolic and pejorative words do generate headlines, but they also close the doors we must open for the crucial communication between the encampments to take place, it never opens those doors no matter which side uses them.

Another example of how Neil's statements didn't always add up to logical was when Young replied to Harpo's criticism by saying that "..when he visited the oilsands, he drove there using an electric vehicle and biomass generator. And I'm a rock star." In this case Neil's scientific naivete could be taken as proof he wasn't coached. The truth is, there are no green solutions - other than conservation - only green illusions, including his car which would have a huge fossil fuel footprint embedded in its manufacture.

My thanks go out to Neil Young for doing this. He raised thousands of dollars, but more importantly he raised the consciousness of Canadians about these important issues. Unfortunately, as usual, the corporate media seldom even mentioned the treaties themselves or the legal reasons being used to challenge the Northern Gateway pipeline in the courts because, as usual, they were able to focus on the parsed words false controversies and not the heart of the issue.

Live from 1971. Neil digs around in his pockets trying to find the right harp and then plays a new song- 'Heart of Gold'


Call of the Wild in Blackpoint Last Night, Hope it Happens Again...Or Maybe Not

My best friend Pancho and i had just came in from our last little outing about 9:30 PM.  We do a little tour of the back 40 every night just before bed for Pancho's sake . Last night i heard something i've never heard before other than on TV or at the movies, wolves howling.

There's been a lotta reports of them very near to us here in Blackpoint [10km.south of Powell River in southwest B.C.] recently. So many in fact that the local newspaper, The Powell River Peak, did an article recently designed to educate us locals.

On our evening tours we always stay within our fences anyway because i'm afraid of tripping and falling on the uneven lane behind the hideout now that i'm an old codger. From now on our routine will remain the same but for a new reason.

There were at least two of them. It sounded like they were just at the edge of the forest up above us...maybe 200 meters away. Here in Blackpoint the edge of the forest is the edge of civilization, there's isn't another habitation within 200 miles in that direction and to get there includes crossing the impenetrable glaciers and forests of B.C. Coast Mountain Range, not something many two footers have ever accomplished.

It was beautiful to hear this call of the wild and a bit frightening. Pancho knew immediately what it was. Her hair went up, her ears went up but she didn't bark. She stood totally still, we both did, and listened. They sang in unison or harmony or something. It wasn't random,  it was...wild. A native friend told me this morning that wolves and bears are a pathway the great beyond. Maybe they're here to show Pancho and i the way.

Last night i felt  like i'd been blessed or something. Hope they come back again soon...or maybe not.


The Spirit of Zapatismo is Alive and Prospering in Chiapas. Viva la Revolución! Viva Zapatismo!

The celebrations began at midnight on Dec. 31st 2013 amid mud, guitars, vivas, fireworks, and embraces, thousands of Zapatistas welcomed 2014. the 30th anniversary of the first meeting of the indigenous rebels that would emerge as the Zapatistas and the 20th anniversary of their armed uprising against the plutocratic government of Mexico.

The Zapatistas requested that the press and their cameras stay away so The Mud Report won't be showing any of the pictures that were smuggled out though there are many wonderful and inspiring ones on the net. As Jose Marti put it: "con los pobres de la tierra, quiero yo mi suerte echar..."with the poor of the land i want to throw my fortune".

"The anniversary revealed that at 20 years old, this military-political organization that defies easy categorization is what a democracy should be: an ongoing effort at building a better life collectively. When Zapatistas came together from communities throughout their lands to celebrate, the main achievement they marked was the survival of the organization itself — after 20 years of attacks, they’re still there, running their own communities, raising new generations of Zapatistas, and carrying on the dialogue with the outside world that has enriched both sides." - Zapatistas at Twenty

They weren't looking backwards to where they'd been, as always, they are looking ahead to where they are going. Toward, In the words of Subcommandante Marcos, "Hasta La victoria siempre!!"

Marcos and the EZLN have retreated from the media spotlight in recent years but not from their mission. Today there are 27 autonomous municipalities in Chiapas that have withdrawn from 'the grid' almost totally. There are very few roads into the Lacandon jungle that surrounds the highlands where the inspiring spirit of Zapatismo is alive and well. They do have natural health clinics and mid-wives, schools, and a self-sustaining organic agricultural lifestyle based open pollinated seed types that date back eons.

Last year they opened the University of the Earth, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas in Chiapas where the Zapatistas’ first seminar on 'Liberty' was centered are returning to their communities, collectives and movements around the world with a new sense of purpose - to pass on all that they've learned from the escuelita. Upon returning to their homes the students recounted the experience enthusiastically, describing how their hosts revealed a world that wasn’t perfect by a long shot, but a world where each person mattered and each effort, each achievement, and each mistake was their own.

Subcommandante Marcos continues to write communiques that primarily circulate within Chaipas, but last year, in preparation for the upcoming anniversary, Marcos published a series of articles titled 'Them and Us'. It's perhaps his best written work ever, it both looks forward over the broad philosophical landscape of revolution in our time and suggests a viable pathway we each of us can follow individually and collectively in our journey toward real social justice and a meaningful life. i highly recommend everyone reads it.

IMO, the 'state' is invulnerable to either democratic change or violent revolution, but it is vulnerable to folks ignoring it, to being undermined by non-participation, to folks simply 'dropping out' and living a different way. No group better exemplifies this ideal through their actions than the Zapatistas.

Viva la Revolución! Viva Zapatismo!


Colorado's Legal Pot Industry Leading a Multinational Job Creation Boom...For Now

Colorado pot shop owner paying his taxes 

Colorado's, and soon Washington State's, new laws legalizing recreational pot are high on the list of multinational job creation efforts. For instance, as that unimpeachable source of marijuana information, Fox News, wrote the other day 'Colorado pot shops likely targets of Mexican Cartels' shows Mexico's motaleros might be heading north. And, of course, between the legal shops themselves, their suppliers, their security people and especially the pot tourism industry, Colorado's employment is booming.

Up here in Canuckistan, rumour has it, the hills are alive with the sound of young mules heading south through the mountains, backpacks loaded with BC Bud, heading for the parking lots and parks near Colorado's pot shops. Prices in Colorado are skyrocketing [for now] because there's so much demand from Coloradoans and tourists that the local growers can't even come close to meeting the demand [for now]. Consequently, BC Bud, who's price has fallen a bit over the years, is now a hot commodity for the legal Colorado [and soon Washington] markets [for now].

Another interesting angle is that the 'Banks Say No to Marijuana Money, Legal or Not' creating situations like in the picture above where legal pot shops are paying there bills and taxes with bags of cash. The more i read about this angle the more obvious it is that the banks, who'll do anything for a buck, aren't refusing the dough out of compliance with the law [why would they start now?], but because they know what i know, bust follows boom sooner rather than later.

Right now the pot growing industry in the US is geared to a 'market' whose supply side is restricted by pot's illegality. Right now, prices are high because the penalties for growing it discourage many folks from taking the gamble - the returns seldom equal the risk of loss. But the new laws say that every adult, pot smoker or not, can legally grow about 1.5 lbs in their backyard. Considering that almost everyone is in debt and can't afford college for their kids, imagine how many folks there are in Colorado and Washington St. already sprouting seeds.

Even if 50% of them smoke it themselves there will be so much weed on the market by next year prices will drop everywhere not just in the legalized states. By a year or two later prices will be tanking as they already are in Uruguay where Paraguayan growers have flooded the market. The plummeting prices will reverse the flow of mule jobs, these new ones will be heading north to BC and south to Mexico.

The cartels will be busy trying to finish off the border fence ASAP and the Canadians...well they'll at least be buying/smoking affordable pot for the first time in any decades. If the price of pot ends up at $1 a gram as i foresee, the legal pot shops won't be able to pay their rent or wages, they'll go out of business, they'll be bankrupted, not the scenario banks wanna see a-tall.

Of course boom follows bust too, so in a few years, when government tax revenues have already turned to dust and all those new growers will go back to growing basil and potatoes, legal and illegal supply ot pot will dwindle, prices will rise and the underground market will re-emerge from its hibernation. Round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows. In the meantime, spring is just around the corner and soon the hills in Colorado, Washington, BC and Mexico will be alive with the sound of folks whistling a happy tune [for now].


Neil Young Has Seen the Tar Sands and the Damage Done. Harper adds: a Little Part of it in Everyone

Neil Young kicks off an "Honour the Treaties" tour at Massey Hall in Toronto

Sunday, Neil Young kicked off an “Honour the Treaties” tour in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations [ACFN], an Alberta community about 200 km. downstream from the tar sands development in Alberta. He, Dinana Krall and others are raising money for ACFN's legal challenges of the Jackpine Mine Expansion project, a proposed Pierre River Mine and a provincial land use plan they say runs rampant over their treaty rights and traditional land uses. Neil's efforts to walk the talk are to be applauded.

Of course, he's being condemned with the same ardor by Tar Sands development supporters, such is the nature of this issue. No minds will be changed by either side's arguments no matter how well, or how loudly, they are presented. And, of course, The Mud Report agrees with Neil's point of view and sees him as having a 'Heart of Gold'

In a news conference before the benefit concert Neil, seated beside (ACFN) Chief Allan Adam, said, ""Canada is trading integrity for money. I see a government completely out of control. Money is No. 1. Integrity isn't even on the map. Anything that you're hearing from the government on the tar sands is just marketing. It's not truth." The 68-year-old Young went on to blast Harper and his government by saying that "its single-minded thirst for petro dollars, its lack of integrity, its hypocrisy, its ignorance of science and its shameful treatment of this country’s First Nations." Neil and Andrew Weaver of BC's Green Party both pointed out that promises had been made to Canada's First Nations and, like so many times in the past, those promises were now being abandoned because they are inconvenient for extractive capitalism. That lack of consultation and abandonment of treaty rights is the basis for the court battles that will take years if not decades and, in the end, also change no minds.

From the development side, Harper's office responded to Neil Young's tour using the well worn argument that, "...the rocker and political activist should mind his own carbon footprint before opposing projects." Other critics of the tour loudly condemned Neil's comparison of the Ft. McMurray devastation to that of Hiroshima after the bomb.

In addressing these two points, i'll start with the Hiroshima comment Young made in the wake of touring the Ft. McMurray area last year. In it Neil's comparison was totally focused on the scope of the destruction caused the world's largest industrial development not how many innocents were viciously murdered, not how much property was obliterated and certainly not their moral equivalency despite the development's supporters, and their mass-media shills, desire to obscure that truth.

The footprint argument is the most common response from supporters of the tar sands development, and extractive capitalism in general, because it's true. Carbon footprint is just a different set of words that cover the energy embedded in all forms of consumer demand. Certainly Neil, his troupe and his audiences will consume a lotta carbon traveling around protesting the industry and its methods of supplying those demands. This argument applied generally resonates with pro-development folks - conservatives who despise conservation - and is loudly denied by anti-development folks who's middle class standard of living, investments, pensions and bourgeois dreams depend on the endless growth paradigm of extractive capitalism.

Canada is fast becoming a villain on the world stage where once it was a hero. Only by accepting the facts on the ground that, as Neils' lyrics in 'Needle and the Damage Done' say,. "Every junkie's like a setting sun, a little part of it in everyone" will we ever conquer our addiction to fossil fuels.


We All Have the Right to Clean Air, Water, etc, and the Responsibility to Respect Those of Others

"On Mother’s Day, 2011 a legal campaign was launched in fifty states and in Federal court arguing that global warming violated the rights of the plaintiffs — young people and their posterity. The actions were based on an innovative application of an ancient legal principle known in the US as the “public trust doctrine.” They asserted that, under the public trust doctrine." - On The Commons
This issue could/should unite everyone including real libertarians. Of course, there's many good and debate-able points to be made about the commons vs. private property, but IMO we all have the inalienable right to clean air, water, land, food etc.

Up here in Canada the laws are slightly different but we do have a number of cases in the works that revolve around 'the public trust doctrine'. In Alberta, for instance, Nikiforuk recently wrote about two of five families forced from their homes by chronic air pollution from oil sands facilities in Peace River that have filed a court injection to stop Baytex Energy from using the atmosphere as a toxic garbage dump. Clearly a case of rights in conflict - the right of actual breathing lifeforms to breathe clean air, versus, the right of corporate shareholders to make as much damned money as possible.

Another Canadian case being heard today in Federal Court in Vancouver sees five environmental groups, including the David Suzuki Foundation and the Wilderness Committee, taking the federal government to court, claiming it has failed to meet its responsibilities under the Species at Risk Act to protect endangered wildlife threatened by the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

The job of courts in both countries, and many others, is often to adjudicate when rights between parties are in conflict. Leaving aside for now the ridiculous issue of corporate person-hood, it still seems obvious to me [an confessed libertarian lefty] that as the Supreme Court of India put it“Today, every person exercising his or her right to use the air, water, or land and associated natural ecosystems has the obligation to secure for the rest of us the right to live or otherwise use that same resource or property for the long term and enjoyment by future generations.” The beauty of the Indian decision is that it covers both our rights and our responsibility toward others not to trample on theirs.

Unfortunately, almost every government and court on earth are deeply corrupted by "the very forces that gain from looting and destroying the commons assets they are prescribed to protect." - OTC.  Fortunately protecting the public trust is not just a matter for governments because we all have the responsibility to protect the right of each other and future generations

Good luck to 'em. Win or lose though, if nothing else, it raises a question that John Locke, perhaps the single greatest influence on the shaping of American government, answered long ago when he wrote:  “...whenever the legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the property of the people” they “put themselves into a state of war with the people,” who are thereupon “absolved from any farther obedience” and are “left to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and violence.” When legislators “either by ambition, fear, folly or corruption, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and estates of the people” by their “breach of trust” they “forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends.” Then that power “devolves to the people,” who have a right to “resume their original liberty”, and, “by the establishment of a new legislative, (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own safety and security.” - quote from a new book by Mary Christina Wood titled 'Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age' 

Mary and i'll see ya at the barricades!


Demand Drives Every Market, the Solution to Pollution is to Stop Consuming Needless Crap

Decades ago in college i learned about 'supply and demand'. Every market exchange can, according to the dismal science, can be reduced to supply and demand. Demand is the driver, supply grows and slows to meet it. There are manipulative advertising gimmicks that can marginally increase demand for one brand of plastic bullshit over another and corrupted regulations do even more harm, but if there is no underlying demand for the commodity or service the supply lines dwindle to zero.

A century ago the industrialist Henry Ford, hardly a paragon of left-wing politics, understood the problem the unfortunate fellow above is living when he spoke about how weak demand kills an economy. . Henry made this point in response to his fellow industrialists disparaging comments about his doubling and re-doubling of the wages he paid his workers at Ford Motors whereas i quote it as a confirmation of my paradigm which says only through conservation can the capitalist juggernaut devouring the globe can we ever hope to live in balance with the bio-sphere we're immersed in.

The issue of the dramatic increases in fossil fuel use and transport, for instance are driven. By growing human populations and increasing industrialization that drive up the worldwide demand for fossil fuels, and as oil, gas and coal companies rush to extract, sell and burn as much as possible, we see around us the ever-increasing entropy we call environmental degradation.

Yes, this is the same drumbeat The Mud Report marches to often. For instance early in 2013 the article 'Demand Driven Consumer Capitalism is Also the Driver of the "Environmental Pollution" Matrix' included the Jorge Majfud quote, "Trying to reduce environmental pollution without reducing consumerism is like combating drug trafficking without reducing the drug addiction."

It's important to notice that Majfud referred to the broader issue of "environmental pollution" not just to climate change. That article concluded with a list of some of the tragedies being caused by our over-consumption of needless crap and a few details about each. Please check it out if you haven't already.

As Adam Brandt, an energy expert at Stanford University, pointed out recently, "So long as the demand is there, energy producers are going to search for new supplies of fossil fuel — many of them using unconventional means like tar sands extraction. “With growing global demand, the economic pressure to develop unconventional resources is enormous and not going away,” he said. “Can environmental groups expect to win a series of fights for decades to come, when the economic forces are aligned very strongly against them in each round?” The answer is obvious: no. The emphasis should be on demand, not supply."

To conclude, folks need to stop driving to the mall, stop consuming needless crap and just slow down.


Methane's Fugitive Emissions Underestimated and Purposefully Ignored by IPCC's AR5. Why?

Manhatten's fugitive methane survey on Nov. 29th 2012

Fugitive emissions of methane from ruminants get some of the blame for the current underestimates but the out of control fracking practices, feedbacks and leakage throughout the distribution systems are the worst offenders. Methane wafts into the air during drilling as well as during frack fluid flowback and into the air directly throughout the explosive cracking of the rock layers that usually contain the gas. It is now estimated that methane emissions from shale gas are nearly 30 times more than those of conventional gas over the lifetime of a well.

Fugitive methane emissions and leakage from shale gas developments squarely challenges both industry and government claims about its cleanliness. One 2011 Australian study found that any climate gains made in converting coal-fired power stations to natural gas were simply lost by conventional methane leakage rates of 10 percent from wells and pipelines. "We find greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and fossil fuel extraction and processing (i.e., oil and/or natural gas) are likely a factor of two or greater than cited in existing studies." says the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report.

The omission of the effects of positive feedbacks was widely criticized by experts in the years after the AR4 report. The Copenhagen Diagnosis found that the IPCC had also underestimated emissions and added, "The global warming amplification (feedback) from carbon released as a result of permafrost melting has not been accounted for in any of the IPCC projections.  A recent UN Environment Programme report warned that failing to account for this feedback will result in an underestimate of future warming."

About 5 months ago The Mud Report published 'The IPCC's Underestimated Projections Crucial in Understanding the Need to Take Precautions'. Since then many folks [academic and not] have written to me about the issues it covers and the fugitive methane issue it didn't. Especially disconcerting is the fact that in the interim the IPCC has released the first part of its AR5 report which purposefully omits the significant feedback effects from the climate models used in its preparation because they are difficult to model.

Up here in BC the politician's, unions and fossil fuel industry have never seen a megaproject they didn't love. We are constantly bombarded by promises of all free lunches, tax revenues and jobs but nary a word on the what Andrew Nikiforuk calls the 'Myths and Realities of Fracking Shale Gas'. Fugitive emissions and leaks from BC's shale gas production now total between 12 and 22 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year. So much fracked gas leaks before use that its climate impact compares to coal, say researchers.

It's easy enough to surmise that the energy industry 'experts' and the politicians everywhere have a dog in this fight - power and profits. But what dog does the IPCC have in it? Why do they continue to underestimate the future feedback contributions? Why, at least, don't they acknowledge their willful ignorance? Are they, as often whispered, afraid of the skeptics ridiculous arguments?

After reading through many articles and studies these last months i see no other reason than fear to explain these actions. The IPCC has lost all credibility IMO, they base their findings on limited models whose conclusions are either able to be shoehorned into  politically acceptable forms or they are omitted. This isn't science, it isn't even good politics, but it does make the currently rich richer and our descendants future more bleak.


Thank You Muhammad Ali For Living a Life of Integrity and Inspiring Millions to do the Same

Muhammad Ali is 'The Greatest' role model of my generation not because he was then or is now an unreal, perfect, two dimensional character but because, despite his only to human imperfections, his personal integrity was a model for me and so many others. Ali's courage to put his personal values ahead of his career was a turning point for me.. Ali walked the walk, he chose jail over fortune or fame.

i watched many of his early fights, we all did. Like most white folks, i laughed at his humour, his endless self-promotion, his poetry, but didn't really understand how far ahead of us he was [and probably still is]. My mom's boyfriend Bruce brought me with him to the local tavern in Feb. 25th, 1964 to watch, as Bruce put it, "Cassius Clay get killed by the champion Sonny Liston." The tavern crowd was 100% white, just like the little New England town. Everyone booed Clay. He was viewed as a loudmouthed ni..er. Half an hour later the crowd there and everywhere were stunned, Cassius Clay had won.

Most of us first heard about our future hero in 1960 when Clay went to Poland as part the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team and won the gold medal. Upon his return to segregated Louisville Ali was refused service at a local restaurant. He stormed out of the restaurant and headed for the nearby bridge over the Ohio River. Fuming that in America's regressive culture he was 'still a ni..er' and threw his Gold Medal into the river. That day was a turning point in his life, and consequently mine. He used that phrase, 'still a ni..er', for years as a motivator.

Publicly Clay boxed, privately he'd become a politically motivated spiritual seeker. Soon after winning the crown Cassius Clay announced he'd converted to Islam and in 1964 he officially joined The Nation of Islam and took the name Muhammad Ali. Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and The Nation of Islam were hated and hounded by the authorities back then, but Ali was the champ and through all the derision still commanded a respectful audience. Infuriating as they were in white rural New England, we heard his words and thoughts because of his athletic status.

In '66 i went off to Union College where almost every conversation revolved around the Vietnam War to some degree. It too was populated by mostly white upper middle class kids almost all of who were against the war and looking for a way out of it. In 1967 the U.S. Department of Justice pursued Ali, denying his claim for conscientious objector status. He was found guilty of refusing to be inducted into the military. He said at his trail, referring to the Viet Cong, "they never called me nigger". Ali put his personal values ahead of his career [integrity]. Ali walked the walk, he chose jail over fortune or fame.

i was floundering at Union, by the time Ali refused induction, i'd converted to a hairy, hippie, pot smoking anti-war demonstrator, but one without direction, without the courage to 'do' it, to dropout. Ali's integrity and courage in standing up to authority inspired me and millions of others to stand up. Last night the CBC's Passionate Eye showed the recent documentary 'The Trials of Muhammad Ali', i highly recommend it. Whether you lived through that era or not, you'll be inspired.

Personally, i never understood that Ali in standing up to authority, in refusing to be drafted, had inspired downtrodden hearts everywhere not just mine. Then after a The Supreme Court victory and years of struggling to recreate the magic Ali went to Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) to fight another undefeatable giant, George Forman  'The Rumble in the Jungle' was a mythic event, Ali proved he was still 'the greatest' by using the now famous rope-a-dope strategy to tire the giant out enough to pounce.

Everywhere Ali went in Zaire the deafening crowds chanted “Ali bumaye!”

Ali won, for a moment there was hope. That hope was/is brilliantly captured in the documentary 'When We Were Kings' [full video below]. In it you'll see how Ali was greeted like a god by the Africans, a god who stood up to the white's authority. Everywhere Ali went in Zaire the deafening crowds chanted “Ali bumaye!”

Ali has continued his work inspiring folks despite the progression of his disease for the last 30 years [at this point]. Over the decades many have visited and received help from the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona, many more have visited the Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville. Today Ali also continues his philanthropy by supporting Generation Ali which represents a series of initiatives that empower young people to find their voice and become leaders in social justice issues.

Ali is/was a real real living breathing 3 dimensional hero, complete with the dichotomies we all endure, not a fictional literary character like Camus' Diego. Muhammad Ali is 'the greatest' hero of my generation because he used the platform boxing gave him to inspire others like me to have the courage of their convictions and to live lives of integrity. Thank You Muhammad Ali, don't know if i coulda done it all without you.


A Hero is Dangerous, a Hero Gives Strength to the Fearful in the Face Overwhelming Odds

Glenn Greenwald said recently, "…The revelations about the NSA are important, the things that we learn about journalism are important, but ultimately the thing that matters the most is that the rights that we know we have as human beings are rights that we ought to exercise, and that nobody can take away from us. The only way that those rights can ever be taken away is if we give in to the fear that’s being deliberately imposed."

Fear is imposed by the powers that be for the purpose of guaranteeing they remain in 'power'. All US federal politicians and bureaucrats, all military personnel, have sworn an oath to uphold and defend the US Constitution from enemies "both foreign and domestic". Even the US Constitution acknowledges that the government personnel in power at any given time are the very people we should protect ourselves from.

Living as we are at the nadir of materialism means those powers have accumulated a lot of stuff to worry about. They're so worried they've built an ever expanding global eavesdropping network who's dark depths are seeing the light a bit more each day thanks to Edward Snowden and Glen Greenwald. The best, healthiest response comes from the Brazilians who are using humor to mock and subvert the NSA's surveillance schemes. Though an online sentence-generator designed to confound the N.S.A. by using 'dangerous' keywords comes a close second.

They're worried. Obama and Congress, the puppets who if their strings were cut would fall to the ground motionless, agree the laws are already on the books that allow suspension of the constitution and impose USA-wide martial law administered by Homeland Security if Obama, or any future president, declares a national security emergency. The laws, Cicero wrote in the days of the Roman Republic, “are silent in time of war.” But what if the war has no end, no defined enemy, no defined territory?

Snowden is a hero, he understands that as Voltaire said, "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." A hero, both gives himself to a seemingly impossible fight at whatever personal cost, but, of greater gravitas, a hero gives strength to those of us not as fearless in the face overwhelming odds.

Tonight a whole gang of us are going to the Anthrax show–Toxic Holocaust is opening. It's going to be explosive.


Behind the Drumbeats of Exceptionalism, Fear and Division Lies the Backbeat of Capitalism's Failure

The banksters are running things, have been for hundreds of years. It would be nice if folks woke up to the fact that the enemy of the people is the banks. But i ain't holdin my breath cause most folks hereabouts are drowning in debt while hypnotizing themselves with the Horatio Alger Myth, a myth that both divides the many and silences their outrage.

The latest bankster looting scheme is the austerity flim flam. As Dave Patterson explains far better than i can in 'It's not "Austerity" - it's Grand Theft Canada, World, Everything', there is no need for austerity, we are a fabulously wealthy country. Dave's article, and many others online, prove that austerity programs like those being forced on countries in the wake of the '08 fiasco are just part of Naomi Klein's 'Disaster Capitalism' - a vehicle for transferring the assets of the common wealth to the pockets of the few.

One tactic long used to disguise that fraud is fear. The myth of upward mobility is the carrot, fear is the 'stick'. John Steinbeck put it best when he said, "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."  Fear of the moral judgements of others may be even greater than the fear of poverty itself.

The elites and mass media use loaded terminology to divide us. The black single mother is a "welfare queen" who is "lazy" and has "bad morals". The poor white person is a "redneck" or a "hillbilly" with all of the stereotypes and assumptions implicit in such language. Consequently, poor white people are one of the few groups which can me made fun of and mocked in American culture without consequence or public sanction. The white poor are not toothless rural folks sitting around smoking meth and making moonshine as they are depicted in the American popular imagination. They are your neighbors, in the suburbs, rural areas, and our cities, they are right next door, and trying to get by while maintaining their dignity.

The many are divided and self-hypnotized by their fears. They turn toward mindless consumption and the illusion of middle class exceptionalism...for now. But the constant drumbeat of division itself has a backbeat that illuminates just how scared the elites are as well because the poor people, by their very existence, expose the defects of capitalism.

In 1933 George Orwell published 'Down and Out in Paris and London' [free download here]. It was a time much like ours in many ways. In it Orwell again allows us an insight into the undivided potential of the many, then and now. :

My story ends here. It is a fairly trivial story, and I can only hope that it has been interesting in the same way as a travel diary is interesting. I can at least say, Here is the world that awaits you if you are ever penniless. Some days I want to explore that world more thoroughly. I should like to know people like Mario and Paddy and Bill the moocher, not from casual encounters, but intimately; I should like to understand what really goes on in the souls of PLON-GEURS and tramps and Embankment sleepers. At present I do not feel that I have seen more than the fringe of poverty. Still I can point to one or two things I have definitely learned by being hard up. I shall never again think that all tramps are drunken scoundrels, nor expect a beggar to be grateful when I give him a penny, nor be surprised if men out of work lack energy, nor subscribe to the Salvation Army, nor pawn my clothes, nor refuse a handbill, nor enjoy a meal at a smart restaurant. That is a beginning.
THE END - George Orwell


Only So Many Can Be Gassed and Clubbed, But Fear Can Be Inherited by Future Generations

The latest journal Nature Neuroscience published a study that shows a kind of Lamarckism may in fact exist in nature as a result of environmental influences directly affecting epigenetic changes to an organism's DNA. The gene study proved that fears can be inherited. Proving this multi-generational effect makes fear one of the most devastating effects of totalitarianism. Only so many can be clubbed and gassed, but fear touches everyone.

Although fear is learned, the capacity to fear is part of human nature. All people have an instinctual response to potential danger, which is important to the survival of all species - 'fight or flight'.

Unfortunately, the fear response is an emotion that can be induced by a perceived threat and in a constantly-unpredictable environment that we can't control the most common psychological problems including forms of permanent fear response such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

These last few weeks i've been reading Art Spiegeman's Pulitzer Prize winning 'MAUS'. From it i've seen and learned many things. Not the least of which is that fear numbs us, weakens us, forces us to hide behind false hope as our defense against uncontrollable terror. When we live in constant fear we are far more easily controlled by the 'authorities'.

Though we're not at anything like the same stage of racist infused mass murder those facing the Nazis were just over 1/2 century ago we do face a fascist foe who's forces surround us everywhere. We do face a powerful elite, we do have little control over our situation. Little wonder that everywhere we and our cousins are showing the classic responses to fear. There's no escape from the global spy network, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide and resistance seems futile. With no flight possible and no fight winnable, the consumers shop in response to the stress of living in a constantly-unpredictable environment and attempt to momentarily vanquish their fears, but...

But it never works, it can't. Not in our lives and apparently not in our descendant's lives. What we need is a new myth, a new hero to show us each a road out of the fear that encircles and enslaves us. FDR once famously said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." to help ignite and empower people of that time to take personal responsibility as their road out.

In 2014 'The Plague' is us and our fear numbing mindless consumption at least as much as the extractive capitalism that feeds those demands and the totalitarian forces that coddle extraction. We need a hero like Diego in 'State of Siege'. In it Camus' young hero overcomes his fear and defies the authority that enslaves him and all of Andalusia by sacrificing his life. Diego's personal courage having been demonstrated to be the only means of combating the devastating effects of totalitarianism his fellow citizens then rally together to easily throw out 'The Plague' they once feared.