Leaking Legacy: Canada's Ongoing Environmental Disaster

11 Million Litres a Day: The Tar Sands' Leaking Legacy
by EnvironmentalDefence.ca
or the first time, this report uses industry information to arrive at a conservative estimate of what the overall leakage from the tar sands tailings ponds is today, and also what it would likely be if proposed projects go ahead.

The results are staggering.

Already, the ponds are leaking over 11 million litres a day of contaminated water into the environment, which is equivalent to over 4 billion litres a year – enough to fill the Toronto Rogers Centre (formerly the SkyDome) two and a half times.

And, should proposed projects go ahead on schedule, by 2012 this annual leakage rate would increase five-fold to 72 million litres a day, or over 25 billion litres a year – enough to fill the Skydome over 16 times

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A Winter's Escalation

The Silent Winter of Escalation
by Norman Solomon
unday morning, before dawn, I read in the New York Times that “the Pentagon is planning to add more than 20,000 troops to Afghanistan” within the next 18 months — “raising American force levels to about 58,000″ in that country. Then I scraped ice off a windshield and drove to the C-SPAN studios, where a picture window showed a serene daybreak over the Capitol dome.

While I was on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” for a live interview, the program aired some rarely seen footage with the voices of two courageous politicians who challenged the warfare state.

So, on Sunday morning, viewers across the country saw Barbara Lee speaking on the House floor three days after 9/11 — just before she became the only member of Congress to vote against the president’s green-light resolution to begin the U.S. military attack on Afghanistan.
“However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of restraint,” she said. The date was Sept. 14, 2001. Congresswoman Lee continued: “Our country is in a state of mourning. Some of us must say, Let’s step back for a moment, let’s just pause just for a minute, and think through the implications of our actions today so that this does not spiral out of control.”
And she said: “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.”
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First 100 Days: Obama's and Our Rendezvous with Destiny

The First Hundred Days or the Last Hundred Days? Obama's Rendezvous with Destiny -- and Ours
by Ira Chernus
Looking back on Barack Obama's first post-election interview with "60 Minutes," no one should be surprised that he admitted he's reading about Franklin D. Roosevelt's first hundred days in office. In fact, the president-elect -- evidently taking no chances -- is reportedly reading two books: Jonathan Alter's The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope and Jean Edward Smith's FDR. As he told "Sixty Minutes," his administration will emulate FDR's "willingness to try things and experiment… If something doesn't work, [we're] gonna try something else until [we] find something that does." That's one reason Obama, like FDR, has claimed that he wants advisors who will offer him a wide variety of viewpoints.

Not too wide, however. In his first hundred days, Roosevelt made it clear that he -- like Obama -- considered himself a reformer, but distinctly not a radical. He certainly didn't intend to use the economic crisis of 1932 to create a society of full economic equality and social justice. He just wanted to make sure that every American had at least a bare minimum of economic security.
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Screwing Democracy with With Shot or Shell or Modular Crowd Control

With Shot or Shell or Modular Crowd Control Munitions...The New Generation of "Non-Lethal" Weapons
by Mike Ferner
he Army Times reported on September 30 that a combat brigade, about 4,000 troops, which could be called on for “civil unrest and crowd control,” had been assigned inside the United States for the first time since Reconstruction.  

Civil libertarians reacted immediately, noting the Posse Comitatus Act  prohibits federal military personnel from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States.  Peace activists condemned the decision as well.  “It is a sad day for America when our government is preparing to protect itself by using the military on its own citizens,” Michael McPhearson, Director of Veterans For Peace, said in response to the news.
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Jon Elmer, Janine Bandcroft Dec. 8, 2008

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook
Canada's Governor-General, Michaella Jean acceded to Stephen Harper's request she prorogue parliament, shutting down the institution for the first time in this manner in the country's history. Harper asked for the cessation of the normal operations of the government due to the vote of non-confidence scheduled for today and  expected to bring down his nascent administration.
A coalition of the Liberals and New Democratic Party, bolstered by a letter of understanding issued by the Bloc Quebecois, promised they would form a new government following the release of Harper's faux, or mini-budget last week. Harper's announced intentions to scrap funding of poltical parties, and erase pay equity legislation for women were just two articles the opposition could not stomach, but what about those other abominable policies supported by both the Liberals and Tories?
Jon Elmer is a Canadian freelance photojournalist and the creator of the news websites, FromOccupiedPalestine.org and JonElmer.ca. Jon has lived in, and reported from Occupied Palestine, and he's the single-most often featured guest to Gorilla Radio. Jon Elmer and a look at the abyssmal Canadian government policies no-one would end the government to stop.

And; Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of the good goings-on around the south island in the coming week, and to keep us posted on the State of the Shelter Emergency currently unfolding on Victoria's streets. Janine Bandcroft in the second segment.

And; I'll visit some of the past week's stories as posted on my website, Pacific Free Press.com. But first up, Jon Elmer and a greater lack of confidence in Canada's global policy positions. 
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Harper's Mulligan Second Chance for New Canada

Harper Checkmated?
by David Orchard
At the Prime Minister’s request, the newly minted 40th parliament of Canada has been prorogued, closed until January 26th, creating a situation unprecedented in Canadian history — a government has avoided defeat by dismissing the nation’s lawmakers.

Over the next seven weeks, we will see a wave of propaganda and mobilization, amply funded, from the Conservative Party attacking the opposition leaders. This spending will take place outside the election writ period and thus, like the attacks on Liberal leader Stéphane Dion over the past two years, will be subject to no spending limits whatsoever.

At the end of January, on the date that he has chosen, Mr. Harper will meet Parliament and present a budget.

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Olmert: Settler Violence "Pogrom"

Olmert: Settler Violence "Pogrom"
by C. L. Cook
utgoing Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert calls last week's violent settler attacks against Palestinian civilians remininscent of a pogrom. The Thursday attacks in the West Bank city of Hebron were expected following an Israeli military eviction of squatters claiming a Palestinian building last week.
Commenting to public radio on video released of some of the attacks, Olmert said:

"As a Jew, I was ashamed at the scenes of Jews opening fire at innocent Arabs in Hebron. There is no other definition than the term 'pogrom' to describe what I have seen. We are the sons of a nation who know what is meant by a pogrom, and I am using the word only after deep reflection."

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Israel's Remote Control Killers

Blowing Away Palestinians with Remote Control Guns
by IDF (courtesy Ha'aretz)
The Israel Defense Forces has found a way to target Gaza Strip ‘terrorists’ from kilometers away, with just three pushes of a button. It may look like a video game, but it’s actually a new system called “The Seer Shoots,” which has entered operation in recent days on the Gaza Strip border. Several of these domes were recently installed along the Israel-Gaza border. But you won’t find the shooter inside, but rather in a virtual battleground, operating a heavy machine gun from a kilometre away.

Three days ago, Israeli air strikes killed two teenage Palestinian boys, while Israel increases its criminal siege into the Gaza Strip.
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British Columbia: Killing Wildlife to "Save" Wildlife

B.C. Government Killing Wild Horses and Wolves to Save Caribou
by Valhalla Wilderness Watch
The Vancouver Sun newspaper has learned that the BC Ministry of Environment has been paying aboriginal people to kill wild horses in the Chilcotin area of BC to use as bait to trap wolves. It's part of a program to increase the population of endangered mountain caribou. In addition, the Ministry of Forests has been paying aboriginal people to round up wild horses alive, to be sold at auctions where they are bought by slaughterhouses. The purpose is to clear the range for the ranchers' cattle.

Aboriginal people are divided on the issue.  Some say they've always rounded up wild horses and they need the money from selling them. But do the taxpayers of the province and the nation want to pay them to do that?
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Trumping the Market: God Responsible for Meltdown

Donald Trump Blames Crisis on Divine Intervention: As the Job Losses Mount, the Government’s Bailout Flounders/Fails
by Danny Schechter
has taken a while for the stars to align and the truth to come dripping down. Now we know who caused the financial crisis: GOD DID IT. Just as Jerry Falwell saw a divine hand behind 9/11, our golden boy icon of Capitalism By My Rules, Mr. “You’re fired” Donald Trump, has now unearthed the secret,  blaming the recession on the ONE above.

The Donald came up with this conspiracy—along with the not totally unreasonable assertion that the banks engineered the disaster—in a lawsuit filing offering a reason for not paying on a big construction loan from a German Bank for a skyscraper he was building in Chicago. He cites an Act of God -- “unlikely events,” clause in his contract to justify not paying.
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Harper's Coup d'Etat

Harper's Coup: Power Grab in Ottawa
by Mike Whitney
n Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper suspended Canada's parliament to avoid a challenge from opposition parties that were planning to oust him from power. The 3-party coalition--the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois---decided to remove Harper because of his strong opposition to a stimulus package that was designed to minimize the effects of the financial crisis. They also opposed his "proposed elimination of subsidies for political parties, a three-year ban on the right of civil servants to strike, and limits on the ability of women to sue for pay equity."  Governor General Michaelle Jean helped Harper to hang on by using her constitutional authority to close the legislature for seven weeks. Now the country is in a furor.
Harper is a far right conservative ideologue who served as president of the National Citizens Coalition (NCC), a conservative think-tank and advocacy group. The organization opposes national healthcare but supports privitization and tax cuts. It has 40,000 members but the names are kept confidential. It's motto is "more freedom with less government."
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