Trektopia Rising

Is Star Trek's Utopia Achievable? 
by Kim Petersen - American Herald Tribune

April 1, 2016

All fans of science fiction are familiar with Star Trek. It is an iconic science fiction show that spans five TV series (a sixth series will debut in 2017), one animated series, and a number of films over five decades.

The storyline of Star Trek, however, spans three centuries. What makes Star Trek particularly attractive for many viewers is its progressivism. Star Trek depicts a future where the scourges of sickness, racism, poverty, and war have been eradicated on Earth and throughout much of the Federation, an inter-planetary alliance of which the Earth is a founding member.

The elimination of poverty, hunger, and wage slavery has resulted from transcending capitalism, markets, and currencies.
 
Manu Saadia, Star Trek fan and contributing writer for Fusion.net, has written a book that delves into the utopian economics of the Trek universe: Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek (Piper Text Publishing, 2016).1 Trekonomics addresses a future from the mind of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry where intellectual property rights, greed, and racism have been replaced by altruism and tolerance.

How did this economic cornucopia/utopia become possible?
 
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Unmoored and Unhinged: Corporate Press Loses Reality Bowline

A Media Unmoored from Facts
by Robert Parry  - Consortium News

April 7, 2016

Several weeks ago, I received a phone call from legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh who had seen one of my recent stories about Syria and wanted to commiserate over the state of modern journalism. Hersh’s primary question regarding reporters and editors at major news outlets these days was:

“Do they care what the facts are?”
 
Hersh noted that in the past – in the 1970s when he worked at The New York Times – even executive editor Abe Rosenthal, who was a hard-line cold warrior with strong ideological biases, still wanted to know what was really going on.

My experience was similar at The Associated Press. Among the older editors, there was still a pride in getting the facts right – and not getting misled by some politician or spun by some government flack.
 
 
Washington Post’s editorial
page editor Fred Hiatt.
 
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All or Nothing: Call to Make Complete Panama Papers Leak Public

The Empire Strikes Back
by Craig Murray

7 Apr, 2016 
 
If you argue a case strongly on the internet you must expect to receive robust argument back. Plus the odd insult.

There has been plenty of both in reaction to my posts about corporate media control of access to the data in the Panama Papers.
 
But I believe it is fair to say that the overwhelming public feeling I have picked up through monitoring online discussion worldwide, is that the full data should be made available online in searchable form so that the public can look through it and form their own conclusions.
 
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Big Labor Lines Up with Wall Street for Clinton Endorsement

Big Union Leaders Betray Sanders and Workers
by Ralph Nader - CounterPunch

April 8, 2016

Around a conference table inside the large Washington headquarters of the AFL-CIO, a furious exchange occurred between labor union presidents. It was late February and up for decision by the Executive Council was whether the country’s principal labor federation was going to make a primary season endorsement of Hillary Clinton as favored by the leaders of the largest unions.
 
According to insiders, tempers flared when smaller unions challenged the Hillary-endorsing big unions such as AFSCME (public employees), the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the Service Employees (SEIU) and the Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
 
These large unions came out for Clinton in late 2015 and early 2016 before they sensed the growing rank and file workers’ preference for the lifetime advocate for workers and union backer, Bernie Sanders.
 
Listening to the nurses union head speak out for Sanders’ strong pro-labor history, Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME, interrupted her, exclaiming: “I will not allow you to do a commercial for Sanders.” She retorted, “You mean for the only candidate who has a 100% labor record?”
 
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Panama Papers Trigger International Mayhem

Panama Papers revelation triggers political crises around the globe
by Jordan Shilton  - WSWS

7 April 2016
 
The global fallout from the Panama Papers continued to expand Wednesday, as new revelations about the tax arrangements of British Prime Minister David Cameron increased pressure on his government and other world leaders came under scrutiny.
 
The release of reports based on 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca by 100 media outlets around the world in alliance with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has exposed once again the criminal practices at the heart of global capitalism. High profile figures from around the world have been affected, with a total of 72 current and former heads of state cited as having offshore accounts.
 
A full-scale political crisis continued to deepen in Iceland Wednesday in the wake of the resignation of Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson the previous day. The government stated later Tuesday that Gunnlaugsson had only stepped aside temporarily, and would resume his duties at some unspecified time. The revelations implicate broader sections of the ruling elite, including the leader of Gunnlaugsson’s coalition partner, the Independence Party.
 
Criticism of UK Prime Minister Cameron grew after the Daily Telegraph reported that Blairmore, his father’s offshore firm, moved its office from Panama to Ireland in 2010 to evade examination of its tax affairs. Ireland has notoriously low corporation tax rates, which are rarely paid in full by companies.
 
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What Does "Focused Civilian Elimination" Mean for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction Movement Against Israel?

Non-violent BDS Should Be Welcomed, Not Condemned
by Ramzy Baroud - ramzybaroud.net

April 5, 2016

Yisrael KatzA thousand Israelis and their supporters gathered in Jerusalem’s International Convention Center on March 28 at a conference aimed at combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).
 
The conference was a display of “fear, paranoia, anger and determination,” as described by Antony Loewenstein, and featured top government officials, members of the oppositions and a strange conglomerate of guests, including celebrity has-beens like Roseanne Barr.
 
Statements made at the conference were predictably frightening and antagonistic – they amounted to nothing more than a display of the language of blood and vengeance that people have grown accustomed to within the Israeli political discourse.
 
One of the most alarming of the statements was made by Israeli Minister of Transportation, Israel Katz, who called for the “focused civilian elimination of the leadership of BDS.”
 
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Hidden Agendas and the Panama Papers "Leaks"

History of the Panama Papers - Offshore Banking Havens: Hidden Agenda behind the 2013 Operation “Offshore Leaks”?
by Valentin Katasonov and Prof Michel Chossudovsky - Global Research, Strategic Culture Foundation

April 05, 2016

Introduction by Michel Chossudovsky
 
The following article by Prof. Valentin Katasonov, a distinguished Russian economist was published three years ago by the Strategic Culture Foundation and Global Research.
 
The planning of the Panama Papers leaks on April 4, 2016 bears a canny resemblance, to a previous leak entitled Operation Offshore Leaks which was also implemented on April 4th (ie. exactly three years ago April 4, 2013) by the same consortium of international journalists (ICIJ).


ICIJ website, dated April 3, 2013, released to media on April 4
 
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Stuart Herzog, Ken Boon, Patrick Henningsen, Janine Bandcroft April 6th, 2016

 This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

April 6, 2016 

 
Looking around the City of Victoria, it doesn't take a lot of insight to conclude: This place is humming! Old houses in the suburbs, and once venerable buildings in the city proper, are turning into holes in the ground; nesting pots for steel and glass condos sprouting uptown and down.

The increasing human population, both resident and transient, requires more room too; room to move into and room to get around. Making room for those people's in-migration is, naturally, just what made this place desirable in the first place; the remnant "natural elements" within the city - that would be developer-speak for trees.
 
Listen. Hear.
 
According to a Habitat Acquisition Trust report of 2013, Victoria lost the equivalent of 12 Beacon Hill Parks between 2005 and 2011; and that was before things got seriously crazy around here.

Now, another stand of trees is slated for the axe to accommodate the ever more, more, more of a Garden City in full boom...

Stuart Herzog is the long-time, Victoria-based environmental and social justice advocate currently coordinating the Victoria Citizens Action Network, a coalition of groups and individuals coming together to work on issues effecting our city and region. Right now they're focused on BC Transit's proposal to clearcut the west side of Douglas Street between Hillside and Tolmie.

Stuart Herzog in the first segment.

And; Ken Boon is a farmer in the Peace Valley, and President of the Peace Valley Landowner Association. He's in court today in Vancouver, trying to get in the path of Christy Clark's Site-C dam.

Ken Boon taking Site-C to court in the second segment.

And; host to untold hundreds of thousands of refugees from Middle East wars waged by the West, tiny Lebanon is straining at the brink of national viability; and yet somehow it's managing to cope. But, that may not last, as it increasingly appears Lebanon will be next on the ISIS hit-list.

Patrick Henningsen is a freelance journalist and co-founder of the online news site, 21st Century wire, launched during the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit. Patrick's geopolitical analyses and commentaries are featured online at RT and Al Jazeera, and of course at 21Wire. I spoke to Patrick last in the wake of the Paris attacks; he's in Beirut now, and we'll try reach him to get a sense of life today in what was once called "The Paris of the Middle East."

Patrick Henningsen in the second half.

And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of some of what's good to do in and around our town in the coming week, and beyond. But first, Stuart Herzog and a bus lane too far for one Victoria neighbourhood.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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Empire and Accountancy: The Fruits of 118 Years of Colonialism for Puerto Rico

Financial Oversight and Colonialism in Puerto Rico
by Matt Peppe - Just the Facts
 
April 3, 2016
 
Puerto Rico Map ancient118 years after U.S. troops landed at Guánica, Puerto Rico, the liberal political site the New Republic asks,
 
"Why Are We Colonizing Puerto Rico?"
The occasion for this comically tardy acknowledgment of Puerto Rico's colonial status is a Republican proposal to deal with the island's $72 billion debt problem by allowing a cabal of unelected technocrats carry out austerity measures against the will of the Puerto Rican people. Or, as the bill puts it:

"To establish an Oversight Board to assist the Government of Puerto Rico ... in managing its public finances."

The Republican plan most certainly would "spell disaster for vulnerable Puerto Rican citizens, and create a bonanza for private corporations looking to take over public functions," as David Dayen writes in the New Republic piece. But Dayen is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
 
As I reported recently, vulnerable Puerto Ricans are already facing disaster in the form of cuts to social programs and oppressive increases in taxes. Private corporations have already taken over public functions, including the island's largest airport and its largest highway. Former Governor Luis Fortuño created the Public Private Partnership Authority to allow the fire sale of public assets to corporate vultures nearly seven years ago.
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A South Asia Nuclear Armageddon in the Making

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth: A Nuclear Armageddon in the Making in South Asia
by Dilip Hiro - TomDispatch

April 3, 2016
 
Undoubtedly, for nearly two decades, the most dangerous place on Earth has been the Indian-Pakistani border in Kashmir. It’s possible that a small spark from artillery and rocket exchanges across that border might -- given the known military doctrines of the two nuclear-armed neighbors -- lead inexorably to an all-out nuclear conflagration. In that case the result would be catastrophic. 
 
Besides causing the deaths of millions of Indians and Pakistanis, such a war might bring on “nuclear winter” on a planetary scale, leading to levels of suffering and death that would be beyond our comprehension.

Alarmingly, the nuclear competition between India and Pakistan has now entered a spine-chilling phase. That danger stems from Islamabad’s decision to deploy low-yield tactical nuclear arms at its forward operating military bases along its entire frontier with India to deter possible aggression by tank-led invading forces.
 
Most ominously, the decision to fire such a nuclear-armed missile with a range of 35 to 60 miles is to rest with local commanders. This is a perilous departure from the universal practice of investing such authority in the highest official of the nation. Such a situation has no parallel in the Washington-Moscow nuclear arms race of the Cold War era.
 
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Handing Lebanon to "ISIS"

Will Lebanon be ‘Handed Over’ to ISIS?
by Andre Vltcek - NEO

April 2, 2016

Now that the Syrian armed forces have liberated Palmyra, President al Assad has thanked Vladimir Putin and the Russian people for the substantial support they provided to his country.

Side by side, Syria and Russia have been fighting against the ISIS and other terrorist groups operating in the region – mainly the implants from the staunch allies of the West: Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. After recent victories in Syria, the myth of invincibility of the terrorism has collapsed, smashed to pieces.

It has become clear that if fought honestly and with full determination, even the most fanatical ones can be defeated.
 
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Bizarre Case of CIA Bomb Left on Active School Bus

CIA ‘K-9 test’ gone wrong or something else? Plastic Explosives Found in Virginia School Bus Engine Compartment by District Mechanic
by Dave Lindorff - This Can't Be Happening

April 2, 2016  
 
What on earth was the CIA doing putting plastic high explosive charges on schoolbuses and in hidden places in a Virginia public school in a “test” of K-9 dogs reportedly belonging to the Agency itself?
 
The story of the secret “test” broke because an alert mechanic doing a routing check on one of the Loudon County School District’s schoolbuses found a package of what turned out to be plastic explosive, packed in a plastic-wrapped wrapper, jammed down in among some of the rubber hoses and electric wires around the engine.
 
Alert Virginia school district mechanic found C-4
explosive package planted on school bus in CIA "test" 
 
It had allegedly “fallen” from where it had originally been placed, was missed by the dogs and their handlers, and remained where it was stuck for two days, while the bus was unwittingly used to deliver some 26 young children to and from school on eight separate bus runs totaling 145 miles of driving.
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