The Abyss Staring Back

The Abyss Stares Back
by Jim Kunstler
The public perception of the ongoing fiasco in governance has moved from sheer, mute incomprehension to goggle-eyed panic as the scrims of unreality peel away revealing something like a national death-watch scene in history's intensive care unit. Is the USA in recession, depression, or collapse? People are at least beginning to ask. Nature's way of hinting that something truly creepy may be up is when both Paul Volcker and George Soros both declare on the same day that the economic landscape is looking darker than the Great Depression.
 
Those tuned into the media-waves were enchanted, in a related instance, by Rick Santelli's grand moment of theater in the Chicago trader's pit last week when he seemed to ignite the first spark of revolution by demonstrating that bail-out fatigue had morphed into high emotion -- and that the emotion could be marshaled against public policy. The traders in the pit on-screen seemed to color up and buzz loudly, like ordinary grasshoppers turning into angry locusts preparing to ravage a waiting valley. "Are you listening, President Obama?" Mr. Santelli asked portentously.
 
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Logging in the Englishman River: Legislature Hears Allegations Against Nanaimo-Parksville Member

Point of Privilege
by WCWC (mid-island)
Draft Transcript from the Hansard record of the B.C. Legislature.
 
S. Fraser: I rise today to raise a point of privilege. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: Proceed.  [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Fraser: I served notice yesterday on my intention to raise a question of privilege, and I rise now to that matter of which written notice has been given to the Chair under Standing Order 26. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I believe that I can establish a prima facie case on the face of the record that the member for Nanaimo-Parksville breached the privileges of this House by misleading this assembly. I have attempted to keep my presentation brief and non-argumentative, in accordance with the rules. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The member for Nanaimo-Parksville has made statements in this House on the subject of logging in the Englishman River. On Thursday last week in question period, the member told the House: "This was logged under a plan, a watershed management plan, that involved consultation with the Arrowsmith Watershed Society and other groups." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

 
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Torture, Progressive Style

Updates: Child Sacrifice and Gitmo Torture, Progressive Style
by Chris Floyd   
I. We reported here last week about another in the barrage of stories detailing civilian deaths at the hands of American-led forces in the "good war" in Afghanistan, now being escalated by Barack Obama. (And not only in Afghanistan; Obama is also rapidly expanding American attacks inside Pakistan to include forces there with little or no involvement with the war in Afghanistan -- along with the usual blood-fruit harvest of civilians, of course.)

In last week's post, we took note of Washington's claim that U.S. missiles had killed "15 militants" in a raid that Afghan officials said actually killed 13 civilians, including six women and two children. Today, the New York Times reports that Pentagon has now admitted that they did indeed kill 13 civilians in the raid, and only 3 militants -- precisely as the Afghan authorities had claimed.

Not that this will give our cool, adorable, Buddha-like president a moment's pause, but the incident and its reportage gives us yet another timely reminder that the claims by Afghan authorities about civilian casualties are almost always highly accurate, while the first instinct of the Pentagon is to lie, deceive and spin -- with the sure knowledge that its initial claims will always be greeted as authoritative by the Homeland press, while the inevitable climbdowns and qualifications that come later will pass largely unnoticed.
 
(UPDATED BELOW)
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Two Big Lies: A Strategy for Democratic Revival

Confronting Two Big Lies: A Strategy for Democratic Revival
by Dave Lindorff
If Democrats want to come out of this economic crisis with a powerful mandate to continue running the country, they need to bag the nonsensical talk of “bi-partisanship” and tackle two big lies that have been stymieing progressives for decades.

The first lie is that the only solution to the nation’s deepening health care crisis, which now has over 42 million people—roughly one in seven Americans—living without any health insurance or ready access to medical care, is a combination of limitations on treatment and continued reliance on the private health insurance industry.

The second lie is that Social Security, the single most important economic “safety net” under the lives of America’s elderly, its disabled, and children who lose a wage-earning parent, is headed for “bankruptcy” and needs to have its already skimpy benefits cut back.
 
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Langford Lairds Face the People (UPDATE: Langford to Seek Fed. Bailout Monies)

A public hearing for the history books?
by Zoe Blunt
South Skirt Mountain Public Hearing Monday Feb 23, 7 pm, Langford City Hall, 877 Goldstream Ave. Photo and interview opportunities with over a dozen people opposed to the proposed South Skirt Mountain development, including many who have never addressed Council before. (Please note: past meetings at Langford City Hall have gotten quite rowdy, and the subject matter this time will be very controversial.)

In the coming months and years, will people remember Monday's public hearing (Feb 23) in Langford and say, "Yes, I was there, and look how things have changed since then?"

Expect surprises about more issues than I can list here – starting with the inside dirt on how the big boys expect to finance this mega-project next door to Bear Mountain. (That's the #1 question everyone's asking!) Over a dozen people are already lined up to testify, and it's not necessary to pre-register or get on a list.
 
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Is It JAILOUT Time Yet?

As New Scammers Emerge,  IS IT JAILOUT TIME YET?
by Danny Schechter (Author of PLUNDER)
Judging by my in-box, there seem to be no shortage of organizations and individuals obsessed with an image: Dick Cheney and George Bush in prison, and Karl Rove in the next cell. Never mind that Congress doesn’t have the guts or the President the gumption to go after those responsible for the gutting of the Constitution. Nevertheless, there are many campaigns and calls to hold the last Administration accountable for its crimes.

At the same time, as we watch an economy in free fall, there seems to a lot less agitation for a serious investigation of those responsible for this collapse. Evan as you overhear conversations in every bar and union
hall that begins with “those bastards should be in jail,” few progressives are leading the charge to demand a Jail-Out alongside those stimulus bailouts. It’s as if economic crimes provoke a ho-hum reaction among activists.

Oddly, some corporate media are more sensitive to the seething mass public outrage. TIME did a spread on the 25 individuals responsible for the crisis including politicians and CEO’s. They ran a photo spread with their images against the background of police line-up. CNN has profiled corporate criminals. CNBC is running a series on “American Greed”---mostly of small time con men.
 
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Disaster in the "Afpak Theatre"

Surging Towards Disaster in the "Afpak Theatre"
by Tom Burghardt
On February 18, President Barack Obama ordered 17,000 additional U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan. Obama's announcement will result in a major escalation of America's bloody occupation of that war-ravaged country.

Currently, some 36,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, including some 6,000 sent in early January under orders by the outgoing Bush regime. In addition to U.S. forces, 32,000 troops from other NATO countries and a mix of "private military contractors" (armed mercenaries) occupy the Central Asian nation.

When coupled with increasingly bellicose rhetoric from the Pentagon and military strikes inside Pakistan, the prospects for regional war--with incalculable risks for the people of Central- and South Asia--have put paid Obama's electoral hyperbole that his would be a "change" administration.

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Death from Above: Heli-Logging Nanaimo's Watershed

Heli-Logging Nanaimo's Watershed
by Richard Boyce
For all those interested in the survival of a watershed which provides drinking water for thousands of people, an ancient forest, and habitat for many species at risk... here is a video I shot of Island Timberlands Heli-logging on the tiny Island in the middle of Englishman River on February 15, 2009.  It is now posted on the internet for everyone to view.


 
 
 
http://islandboundmedia.blip.tv

p.s. Please spread this video link far and wide
 
 
 
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Poor and Parched, California Axes Public Sector

Gov. Schwarzenegger, is $10 billion a year enough to solve the budget crisis?  
by Robert Singer     
The California budget crisis has forced lawmakers to bring their toothbrushes and prepare for a long day as 20,000 layoff notices were set to go out to state workers Tuesday. California is also facing the most significant water crisis in its history as the drought causes the state's agriculture industry to disappear while residents continue to water grass they can’t eat or smoke and eat animal products subsidized by the California Legislature.

So instead of laying off 20,000 workers and cutting off services to solve California’s budget crisis, why not eliminate the state water subsidies that allow McDonalds and Colonel Sanders to market burgers and chicken for a dollar?
 
Reducing the consumption of water by the livestock industry would benefit almost every economic facet of the California economy including Central Valley farmer John Harris who said that he “laid off about two-thirds of his workforce and had stopped cultivating most vegetables in order to concentrate on permanent crops.”
 
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A Dozen Books Every American Should Read

A Dozen Books for Americans that Tell It Like It Is
by Sherwood Ross
If newspaper readership is plummeting, maybe it’s because readers are turning elsewhere to catch a glimpse of the causes behind the official story. Recognizing this, some book publishers courageously are using their printing presses to bring interpretive reporting to the reading public.
 
Here are a dozen books Americans need to read as they paint a realistic picture of how our government’s policies are inflicting needless suffering at home and globally.
 
 
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Steve Irwin Boarded in Hobart: Australian Gov't Supporting Japanese "Research" Whale Slaughter

Australian Federal Police Seize Whale War Videos
by SSCS
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin arrived in Hobart, Tasmania at 1700 Hours on February 20th. The ship was met at dockside by a party of Federal Australian Police officers who boarded the Steve Irwin with a warrant.

The warrant authorized the seizing of “all edited and raw video footage, all edited and raw audio recordings, all still photographs, Producer’s notes, Interview transcripts, production meeting minutes, post production meeting minutes as well as the ship’s log books, Global Positioning System records, Automatic Radar Plotting Aid, Purchase records, receipts, Financial transaction records, Voyage information and Navigational plotted charts.”

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Haiti: We Must Kill the Bandits!

The Dirt on Haiti
by Kevin Pina
Independent filmmaker and journalist, Kevin Pina, brings us "the dirt on Haiti" in his latest compelling documentary Haiti: We Must Kill the Bandits about US and Canada's political agenda in Haiti and UN violence against Haitian civilians.  For more information, call  250-478-6906.

Saturday February 28, 2009
7:30 pm
David Strong Building Room C103,
University of Victoria
 
 
 
 
Sponsored by Victoria Students for a Democratic Society, UVic Student Against War, Central American  Support Committee, and the Victoria Peace Coalition. Cross-Canada tour organized by Canada Haiti Action Network.  
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