Bear: Killing a Mountain

The plan to develop “South Skirt Mountain” is a blueprint for further mass destruction.  (“Bear Mountain” and “Skirt Mountain” are the same mountain)
by L'ancienne
Claiming to set aside 40% of what precious little remains on this ruined and scarred mountain, and calling it open green space is a very sick joke.  Little of what has been coloured “green” on the planning maps for “South Skirt Mountain” will ever be green again.

The steep vertical slopes below the summit have already been clear cut and blasted, and every natural rock formation has been smashed and obliterated.

 
“Every rock had a name, and since the beginning of time, we knew them”
 
 
 
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A Modest Proposal for Homelessness

End the Homelessness - Just Let Them Die
by Chris Johnson
Two days ago Judge Brian McKenzie settled once and for all the constitutionality of the bylaw enforcement policy prohibiting the use of temporary emergency shelter in the City of Victoria. He reiterated Judge Ross's October 14 ruling that certain Park regulation bylaws were of no force and effect insofar as they prohibit homeless people from erecting temporary shelter. Judge McKenzie went on to suggest that if the City of Victoria was interested in enforcing any kind of regulations related to tenting, such as the 7 to 7 policy, they would need to amend their parks bylaws.
 

Questions arose immediately as to why the City of Victoria didn't amend their municipal code in October, when a BC Supreme Court judged suggested they do so. The city needed time, I suppose, to think it through and make sure they amended the bylaws properly. So after all these months (years really, because you would imagine that going into this whole long legal drama that they had contingency plans for different options) what they have decided is the best thing to do is to keep pushing for a appeal and in the meantime, make it so that the police have enforcement powers to keep the situation from getting out of control.
 
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Vive la Difference: When the French say Non!

Paris When it Sizzles: The French Say No to Fat-Cat Bailouts
by Chris Floyd   
You have to admire the French. The ordinary people there know how to stick up for themselves – instead of meekly bowing down and accepting whatever bitter gruel the elite tries to cram down their throats. And they don't just write a few angry letters (or blog posts!), or send checks to some worthy progressive organization to organize a few mildly admonishing ads or press releases on their behalf.
 
Hell no, they take to the streets, by the millions, they shut things down, they make some noise, they put their time, their jobs, and their bodies on the line.

Yesterday saw another remarkable display of this national trait, as an astonishingly broad spectrum of the French citizenry surged through the streets of Paris to express their outrage at the government's response to the economic crisis. This response has been the usual doling out of billions in public money for the fat cats who caused the crisis, coupled with increasing demands for "sacrifice" from the hoi polloi: less pay, longer hours, fewer benefits, a bleaker life for you and your children while the elite party on.

But on Thursday, an estimated 2.5 million people – blue-collar workers and white-collar professionals, educators and students, doctors and train drivers, native-born and immigrants – came out to tell the government: "We are not going to pay for the greed and corruption of the elite! Find another way!"
 
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The Great American Elephant

The Great American Elephant
by C. L. Cook
Only hours on the job, new American president, Barack Hussein Obama followed his military's advice and okayed a missile attack against a remote village in Pakistan's unruly border region.
 
As presidents Bush and Clinton before him, Obama's official ascension to the seat of power was finalized by an anointing in the blood of innocents. In this case, 15, or 18, or 22 people were killed, depending on who you listen to; whatever the total, their number predictably included "regrettable" women and their "collateral" children.

With a nod of the head and scratching of a signature on a piece of paper, (a "God-damned" piece no doubt) Obama joined the long line of White House criminals to rule, through murder, torture, theft, and deceit the broad world for the benefit of elite American interests.
 
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Airport to Nowhere, Waltz with Bashir

Tomgram: Airport to Nowhere, Waltz with Bashir, Part 2
by Tom Engelhardt
A pack of ravenous dogs, a nightmare, a visit from a war-haunted friend, this was how film director Ari Folman's period as an Israeli "grunt" in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon first returned to him. But when he began to search for his own memories of that war, what he found instead was a puzzling, disturbing blank.
 
Tentatively setting off in pursuit of those missing memories, horrors buried for almost a quarter of a century, he also launched himself on a path that would lead to his award-winning, Oscar-nominated animated film, Waltz with Bashir, and an accompanying graphic memoir of the same title, developed in tandem with it.

The first part of that book -- of his memoir/journey -- appeared at TomDispatch last Saturday. When we left him, a former friend and fellow soldier was just describing his grim landing on a beach in Lebanon in the early days of the invasion. Now, in part 2 of Waltz with Bashir, we pick up the story soon after the seemingly blank landscape of Folman's memory has suddenly, inexplicably, been illuminated by a -- flashback? hallucination? memory? -- of himself rising naked from the sea to step into a war-torn Beirut night.
 
 
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Sacre Bleu!: Montreal Police Seek to Criminalize its Critics

Wimpy Montreal cops seek god-like status - anti-insult laws to protect their tender egos
by MNN
Montreal police want the city to give the cops the right to crack down on "insult-hurling" citizens "with a blow to their pocketbooks" or cooling our heels in a jail cell.  They don't' want to be called "pigs" and "doughnut-eaters" anymore! 
 
They want us to salute them and lick their boots. 
 
We're worried that some insulters could get jail time in the "Swearor's Prison" in Olde Montreal. 
 
British Police are already enforcing this law even though it's not on the books.  Photos of police harassing the public is going to be a crime there.  
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Fallujah Smoldering Yet

Threat of Violence Looms Again Over Fallujah
by Dahr Jamail
The threat of violence hangs over Fallujah again as leaders of the Awakening Council fight for political power through the elections Jan. 31.
 
Awakening Council leaders Sheikh Ahmad Abo Risha (l) and Sheikh Aifan Sadun. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

The Awakening Councils were set up and backed by the U.S. military to curb spiralling violence. According to the U.S. military, most of the members recruited were former resistance fighters. Over recent years, they grew to a strength of about 100,000 men, each paid 300 dollars a month.

U.S. aid to the Councils was cut off in October on the understanding that the members would be absorbed into Iraqi government forces. To date, less than a third have been given government jobs.
 
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Israel Challenged on Gaza at World Economic Forum

Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum: Yet more Disinformation and Lies
by William A. Cook
C-Span provided Americans a chance to view a World Economic Forum debate on Peace in the Mid-East on the 29th from Davos, Switzerland. Americans rarely have an opportunity to view a civilized debate on the crisis in Palestine, but to witness the anger of Israel’s representative at the Forum, President Shimon Peres, was unique indeed.
 
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
 
Recep Tayyip Erdogan presented a carefully detailed analysis of the lead up to and the consequences of the Israeli invasion of Gaza followed by a second logically stated argument against the Israeli government’s action by Amr Moussa, head of the Arab League. Both men  presented their arguments in a calm and deliberate manner that gave strength and credibility to their presentations.
 
However, President Peres squirmed uncomfortably in his chair as he listened to these arguments and to the audience’s positive reaction to them.
 
 
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S-O-S AMAZONIA: World Social Forum and Forest Defenders Unite

SOS Amazon! –  “World Social Forum” Lends Indigenous Leaders and Supporters Opportunity to Defend Amazon Rainforest
by Shelley Bluejay Pierce
As world leaders focus on severe economic crisis in their homelands, an estimated 100,000 activists traveled from all over the world to attend the World Social Forum in Brazil.
 
Led by Indigenous people from all across Latin America, over 1000 participants formed a human banner, using their bodies, to draw attention to the increasingly precarious situation of the Amazon rainforest. The wording was formed around the massive silhouette of an indigenous warrior taking aim with a bow and arrow.  (photo courtesy of Lou Dematteis/Spectral Q.)
 
Critical environmental impacts in the Amazon rainforest regions brought Indigenous tribal representatives from across Latin America, environmentalists and supporters together for the multi-day event. One full day during the World Social Forum will focus on issues impacting the Amazon rainforest and the resident tribal nations who dwell there.

 
Prior to constructing the human-banner, Brazil’s leading Amazonian Indigenous organization, COIAB, released this statement:

“With the permission of our ancestors’ spirits, we indigenous peoples are here with our friends from all corners of the earth.  We build this symbol with our bodies as the cry of living beings from this green forest, this planet, for our continuity as humans and diverse creatures. The symbol of the bow and arrow has three meanings: The first, our aim that every man, woman, and child will decide to care for our planet; The second, the position of defending the rights of indigenous peoples, of nature, of the planet, and of our home the Amazon; The third, to send a message to the world so that each of us helps to protect our home, our air, our water, our food. The Datsiparabu ceremony is the purification of our minds, our spirit, our soul, and our hearts. Save the Amazon!”
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Volcano of Suffering

A Capped Volcano of Suffering
by Dahr Jamail
A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, which the US military now uses for most of its patrols in Iraq's Sadr City. Baghdad today, on the eve of provincial elections, feels like it has emerged from several years of horrendous violence, but do not be misled. Every Iraqi I’ve spoken with feels it is tenuous, the still-fragile lull too young to trust.
 
Photo: Dahr Jamail / t r u t h o u t


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees provides recent statistics showing that more Iraqis continue to flee their country than are returning. Two studies show the number of dead Iraqis to be between 1.2-1.4 million, and the number of those displaced to be nearly five million, or one in six Iraqis.
 
During 2006 and 2008, scores of bodies were found on the streets of Baghdad and fished from the Tigris River as death squads and sectarian militias raged. All but one of my Iraqi friends and translators have either fled the country, or been killed. It is nearly impossible to meet a family that has not had a family member killed or wounded.
 
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Harper Budget: Breaking the Backs of the Poor

Federal budget – On the backs of unemployed workers
by Peter Ewart
For unemployed workers across Canada, there has to be some cruel irony in the fact that the Federal Government’s entire “Economic Action Plan” that was just announced will cost a bit over $50 billion. This $50 billion in the Plan will be used for everything from bailing out banks, to tax cuts, to home renovations. Indeed, it is the federal government’s recipe for dealing with the current economic crisis that is sweeping across the country.

So, what is the irony about this $50 billion? Well, $50 billion is about the same amount that the federal government has looted from the Employment Insurance fund to use for other purposes. This fund was accumulated as a result of worker and employer contributions – there was no government contribution whatsoever. But that did not stop the federal government from scooping the funds.

An argument can be made that the entire Economic Action Plan has been financed on the back of the unemployed workers of the country. That being said, what is in the Plan specifically for these workers? Not a heck of a lot.
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Sea Shepherd Returns

Sea Shepherd Returns to the Southern Ocean for the Whales
by SSCS
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin has departed Hobart, Tasmania to return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The Steve Irwin left the dock in Hobart at 1600 Hours on Wednesday, January 21st, local time.

"It's back into the Whale Wars for us," said 1st Officer Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden.

Hobart welcomed the Steve Irwin very warmly. Tasmanians brought down all the food needed to replenish the pantries of the ship. The dollars and cheques handed over the rail to the crew more than paid for the berth, the pilotage, and port costs.
 
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