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Ominous Yule: Death Star on the Financial Christmas Tree

Christmas Present
by James Howard KunstlerClusterfuck Nation

Theory du jour: the new Star Wars movie is sucking in whatever meager disposable lucre remains among the economically-flayed mid-to-lower orders of America. In fact, I propose a new index showing an inverse relationship between Star Wars box office receipts and soundness of the financial commonweal.
In other words, Star Wars is all that remains of the US economy outside of the obscure workings of Wall Street — and that heretofore magical realm is not looking too rosy either in this season of the Great Rate Hike after puking up 623 points of the DJIA last Thursday and Friday.
Here I confess: for thirty years I have hated those stupid space movies, as much for their badly-written scripts (all mumbo-jumbo exposition of nonsensical story-lines between explosions) as for the degenerate techno-narcissism they promote in a society literally dying from the diminishing returns and unintended consequences of technology.
It adds up to an ominous Yuletide.

Three Enbridge Line 9 Valve Shut-Off Protesters Arrested

Enbridge’s Line 9 was manually shut down this morning, three arrested
by StopLineNine
This morning three individuals were arrested after shutting off the flow of oil to Enbridge’s line 9 pipeline. At 7:30 this morning, individuals used the manual hand wheel at a valve site to shut off the flow of oil through line 9 as an act of protest. They locked themselves using bicycle locks on site to prevent the operation of the pipeline.
Line 9 is a highly contested tar sands pipeline that began shipping crude earlier this month between Sarnia and Montreal. Those involved assert that the operation of line 9 is a violation of indigenous sovereignty and treaty rights. 

“It’s clear that tar sands projects represent an ongoing cultural and environmental genocide.”
Vanessa Gray asserts,“I defend the land and water because it is sacred. I have the right to defend against anything that threatens my traditions and culture.”
Add a comment Add a comment Read more: Three Enbridge Line 9 Valve Shut-Off Protesters Arrested

Law on LaGarde: IMF Chief Charged in French Court

The One Percent Rallies Behind IMF Director Christine LaGarde

Washington removed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the leading contender for the French presidency and as director of the IMF by framing him on phony charges of raping a New York hotel maid. The obviously false charge was proven to be totally fabricated and had to be dropped.

In the meantime Strass-Kahn had been forced to resign from the IMF and to drop out of the French election. Washington regarded Strauss-Kahn as insufficiently compliant with Washington’s agendas and moved him aside. 

Washington got its vassal, Hollande, elected President of France, and replaced Strauss-Kahn at the IMF with the “rhymes-with-witch” Christine LaGarde.
LaGarde serves only the One Percent.
She overturned the decision by the IMF’s professional staff that the Greek debt had to be written down to a sum that the country could afford to service. Instead, LaGarde enabled the One Percent to loot the Greek nation and the Greek people, forcing many young Greek women into prostitution in order to have money for food. As Stephen Lendman points out below, LaGarde’s crimes have caught up with her.

Israeli Air Raid Into Syria Kills Senior Hezbollah Leader al-Kuntar

Israel Assassinates Senior Hezbollah Leader In Syria
by IMEMC News

December 20, 2015

The Israeli Air Force assassinated, on Saturday at night, the former political prisoner and senior Hezbollah leader, Samir al-Kuntar, in an air strike in the Jermana area of the Syrian capital Damascus.

The Hezbollah party in Lebanon said the Israeli Air Force violated Syrian air space at around 10:30 at night, and fired five missiles into a residential building, killing six people, including al-Kuntar, and wounding at least twelve others.

The Civil Defense Forces in Jermana said two Israeli war jets violated Syrian airspace and struck the building with four missiles.

Initial reports were first unconfirmed, but his brother later announced on his Twitter account the confirmed dead of al-Kuntar.

Archive photo of Samir Kuntar in Iran
(image from wikimedia)

Turning Blind on Turkey: Support and Profiting from Terrorism in Syria Ignored

A Blind Eye Toward Turkey’s Crimes
by Robert Parry - Consortium News

December 16, 2015

Theoretically, it would be a great story for the American press: an autocrat so obsessed with overthrowing the leader of a neighboring country that he authorizes his intelligence services to collaborate with terrorists in staging a lethal sarin attack to be blamed on his enemy and thus trick major powers to launch punishing bombing raids against the enemy’s military.

And, after that scheme failed to achieve the desired intervention, the autocrat continues to have his intelligence services aid terrorists inside the neighboring country by providing weapons and safe transit for truck convoys carrying the terrorists’ oil to market.

The story gets juicier because the autocrat’s son allegedly shares in the oil profits.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Mumia Abu-Jamal Federal Hearing for Medical Treatment Beats Challenge to Go Ahead

Judge rejects state’s arguments to reject case: Abu-Jamal Gets Federal Court Hearing Seeking Order to Treat His Hepatitis-C Infection
by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening

December 19, 2015

Scranton - It’s always dangerous to try to second-guess how a judge will ultimately rule, simply based on that judge’s comments during a court hearing, or on which side’s attorney has objections over-ruled more frequently.

Having said that, Federal District Judge Robert Mariani, during a hearing Friday to consider a request by state prison inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal for a preliminary injunction ordering the state to provide appropriate treatment for his active case of a potentially fatal Hepatitis C viral infection, showed impatience and even annoyance with the state’s efforts, both at the prison and including in court, to continue refusing treatment and to delay any legal hearing on the issue.
Photo showing part of the serious skin
rash suffered by Mumia Abu-Jamal,
traced to his untreated Hep-C infection.
Prison lawyers sought unsuccessfully
to have it barred as evidence at his
hearing, claiming it was 'inflammatory'

The proceeding began in a packed courtroom in the William J. Nealon Federal Building and US Courthouse here with consideration of a motion by Laura Neal, an attorney for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) to have Abu-Jamal’s appeal summarily rejected on the grounds that he had allegedly “not fully exhausted” administrative grievance remedies concerning his lack of medical treatment by the DOC and that he had specifically not asked in his initial complaint for treatment for Hep C.

Year Past and Year Forward: Christmas Greetings from Occupied Palestine

2015 to 2016
by Mazin Qumsiyeh - 
Throughout 2015 we shared with you general news and action items weekly. As 2015 comes to a close, we wanted to share with you our successes in 2015 and our new year resolutions for 2016 as well as our wishes for you.
As you know the biggest project for us in 2015 was the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University. This was the first full year of actual operation and we published many research papers and two chapters in books (and one of my books came out in German), we held a science festival, we had over 3000 visitors, gave talks in Palestine and in five other countries that reached thousands more (our email list is now tens of thousands), built our infrastructure (aviary, a greenhouse, an animal room, new asphalt pavement for driveway and parking, beginnings of a botanical garden, bee keeping, animal room etc.).

We hired two team members (one for outside and one for inside), we contracted a management consultant, we applied for funding (to supplement the start up funds we contributed) and received significant donations in money and in-kind, and we added over 2000 specimens and objects to our collection (for research and exhibit) through field work and through networking (see also

Of course we continue to suffer locally and watch suffering globally and we even lost friends and colleagues. But the best preventive cure for despair is action, and we continue to act.

Mumia Abu-Jamal Battles For His Life...Again

More Pennsylvania Court Scandal : Mumia Abu-Jamal Battles For His Life...Again
by Linn Washington Jr.  - This Can't Be Happening

December 18, 2015

The big courthouse news in Pennsylvania this week does not involve yet another sordid revelation in the sleazy racist-pornographic email scandal now soiling top justice system officials in the Keystone State that include a state supreme court justice and ranking prosecutors.

This big news is rare courtroom testimony from Mumia Abu-Jamal, the renowned jailhouse journalist considered by many around the world as an authentic political prisoner in America.

On December 18th Abu-Jamal is scheduled to testify during a federal court hearing on his lawsuit attacking medical mistreatment from Pennsylvania prison authorities, and demanding –- negligent treatment that almost ended his life earlier this year. The lawsuit also seeks a court order mandating that he and other Pennsylvania inmates diagnosed with Hep C, a potentially deadly diseased, get treated with medications that, while costly, have a proven cure rate that is quite impressive

British Columbia's War on Wildlife Escalates

End Christy Clark's Unnecessary And Cruel War On Wildlife
by Jeff Matthews - Huff Post
co-authored by Tommy Knowles, Wildlife Defence League

For most Canadians, the end of the Harper era brought hope for the return of reason to environmental policy in this country. Not so on the West Coast, where B.C. premier Christy Clark has assumed the Harper mantle of industrialization over conservation and declared her own war against wildlife.
Recently proposed changes to hunting regulations show Clark has saved her most violent contempt for two of our most majestic species -- wolves and grizzlies. For wolves, the changes mean lifting the limitations on the number of wolves hunters can kill in the Peace Region. Hunters will also be able to kill wolves year-round.
Under current limits, hunters can only kill three wolves each year in the Peace Region, between August 15 and June 15. Even with these "bag limits," recreational and trophy hunters already kill close to 1.000 wolves annually in B.C.

Return of the Media Barons: Britain's Ascending Broadcast Aristocracy

The rebirth of the media barons of old
by Jonathan Cook

6 December 2015
UK Media DominationImagine we lived in a Britain where a handful of multi-millionaires owned almost the entire media, and had names like Viscount Rothermere, Lord Northcliffe and Baron Beaverbrook.
That was the situation only a few decades ago. Today, it would be hard for us to imagine a media system of that nature could describe itself as “free” or the “fourth estate”, and claim to be a tenacious watchdog of other power centres.
The media of that time, most of us would agree now, was simply a tool of the upper class, looking out for its interests. It really was no more complicated than that.
And yet, as Nafeez Ahmed argues in the lengthy article below, the English-speaking world today is little different. Instead of Lords and Viscounts, we have a handful of trans-national corporations, with annual turnovers in the billions or trillions, that control almost our entire media.

BC Mines Ministry Fails to Recommend Charges in Mt. Polley Disaster

MiningWatch Shocked by Chief Inspector of Mines’ Report on Mount Polley Disaster
by MiningWatch

December 18, 2015

Following yesterday’s release of the B.C. Chief Inspector of Mines’ report on the Mount Polley mine disaster, MiningWatch Canada is shocked by the disconnect between the Chief Inspector’s findings and his decision not to lay charges against Mount Polley Mine Corporation (MPMC) for its massive mine waste dam breach in August 2014 – the biggest mine spill in Canadian history.

Mount Polley Marining“How can so many things be done so poorly, sloppily, or haphazardly, and result in massive damage, without someone being ‘at fault.’ It was not an ‘Act of God.’ The report makes is clear that it was poor design, poor practices, poor oversight, and misconduct on the part of Mount Polley Mine Corporation,” says Ugo Lapointe, Canadian Program Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada.  
Add a comment Add a comment Read more: BC Mines Ministry Fails to Recommend Charges in Mt. Polley Disaster

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