Everything’s Coming Together While Everything Falls Apart: The Climate for 2015
by Rebecca Solnit - TomDispatch It was the most thrilling bureaucratic document I’ve ever seen for just one reason: it was dated the 21st day of the month of Thermidor in the Year Six. Written in sepia ink on heavy paper, it recorded an ordinary land auction in France in what we would call the late summer of 1798.
But the extraordinary date signaled that it was created when the French Revolution was still the overarching reality of everyday life and such fundamentals as the distribution of power and the nature of government had been reborn in astonishing ways. The new calendar that renamed 1792 as Year One had, after all, been created to start society all over again.
In that little junk shop on a quiet street in San Francisco, I held a relic from one of the great upheavals of the last millennium. It made me think of a remarkable statement the great feminist fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin had made only a few weeks earlier. In the course of a speech she gave while accepting a book award she noted,
“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.”
That document I held was written only a few years after the French had gotten over the idea that the divine right of kings was an inescapable reality. The revolutionaries had executed their king for his crimes and were then trying out other forms of government. It’s popular to say that the experiment failed, but that’s too narrow an interpretation. France never again regressed to an absolutist monarchy and its experiments inspired other liberatory movements around the world (while terrifying monarchs and aristocrats everywhere).
Americans are skilled at that combination of complacency and despair that assumes things cannot change and that we, the people, do not have the power to change them. Yet you have to be abysmally ignorant of history, as well as of current events, not to see that our country and our world have always been changing, are in the midst of great and terrible changes, and are occasionally changed through the power of the popular will and idealistic movements. As it happens, the planet’s changing climate now demands that we summon up the energy to leave behind the Age of Fossil Fuel (and maybe with it some portion of the Age of Capitalism as well).
GAZA CITY - Four-year-old Retaj Ayyad presses her 30-year-old father, Ayman Ayyad, to keep looking under the ruins of their home in search of her drawings, clothes, colouring pencils and teddy bears. All are irreplaceable but are now lost under the ruins of the family home, which was utterly demolished by Israeli military bulldozers during the war this past summer.
This is the first time since the conflict ended this August that the family has returned to their ruined home in Shejayeh, east of Gaza City.
They have to search by hand, having no heavy equipment with which to lift the rubble that remains after a bulldozer - part of a project under a Swedish-funded United Nations Development Program – helped to cleared the ruins of this and other demolished homes in Shejayeh, east of Gaza City.
Ayman eventually finds a bag of clothes, but the material has rotted after rainfall over the past few weeks. The discovery creates mixed feelings, and he wavers, unsure of what else he might come across as he digs.
“I am still looking for my belongings, clothes and furniture. For many months we have been given nothing like that from aid groups,” he said, raising his voice to make sure he is heard above the noise of the bulldozer, which continued to smash into rubble nearby.
“I am looking for everything I once owned. Thirty years of collecting things, the remnants of everything I once owned, have been knocked down in a matter of minutes," he said.
But now he has been forced to search for the simple things which can help him start his life again.
"Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Happy Solstice, Greetings O! Returning Light in Desperate Times of Persistent Darkness," and welcome to GR's 2014 Xmas special. It's important we celebrate and acknowledgement Humanity's higher ideals, and potentiality now and then; especially because we spend most of our lifetimes enslaved to the basest of our species' instincts: fear, anger, avarice, gluttony, etc.
From the intimacy of our homes, and within our relationships at school, or in the workplace, tyranny is always either directly present or lurking, ready to spring from just below the surface of our everyday.
So, tonight we'll commemorate our collective better nature by looking in again on Franklin López, the Puerto Rico-born and raised, now Canadian hell-raising anarcho-syndicalist, award-winning director of films featured on Canadian mainstream teevee screens and at online places like, GNN, Current, BET, and DemocracyNow!
Atlanta, Georgia's 2003's Emerging Artist of the Year, López may be familiar to most through the release of his 2005 video remix of Kanye West's 'George Bush Don't Like Black People' following the post-Katrina failures of both New Orleans, and the US federal government. He's also an artist, media activist, and founding member of subMedia, whose raison d'être is to stimulate "resistance movements that are working towards stopping the flows of hydro carbons, mineral extraction, natural resources and capital, through grassroots and underground organizing..." amongst other things.
Now, López is celebrating the release of the 'subMedia.tv: A Decade of Subversion' DVD. It's a chronicle of a "decade of flaming subversion..." and is "a loving collection of foul-mouthed anarchy."
Franklin López from San Juan, Puerto Rico in the first segment.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus author, and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good to do in and around our city and beyond there too in the coming weeks.
And; we'll have some Christmas surprises thrown in too. Like this, now traditional kick off for the Gorilla Radio X-mas Specials going way back, Ini Kamoze's 'All I Really Want for Christmas'.
As we end another year of endless war in Washington, it might be the perfect time to reflect on the War That Started All Wars -- or at least the war that started all of Washington’s post-Cold War wars: the invasion of Panama.
Twenty-five years ago this month, early on the morning of December 20, 1989, President George H.W. Bush launched Operation Just Cause, sending tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of aircraft into Panama to execute a warrant of arrest against its leader, Manuel Noriega, on charges of drug trafficking. Those troops quickly secured all important strategic installations, including the main airport in Panama City, various military bases, and ports.
Noriega went into hiding before surrendering on January 3rd and was then officially extradited to the United States to stand trial. Soon after, most of the U.S. invaders withdrew from the country.
In and out. Fast and simple. An entrance plan and an exit strategy all wrapped in one. And it worked, making Operation Just Cause one of the most successful military actions in U.S. history. At least in tactical terms.
It is the time of year for the mainstream media to make its lists, check them twice with the pundits, and find out who is naughty and who is nice.
While not officially a year end review, I have recently commented on Evan Solomon’s interview with General Breedlove in which mostly softball questions without curves or spins were gently lobbed at the General - who did a reasonably intelligent job of responding considering the knuckleball attempts on some of the questions.(1)
The next year end interview I viewed was between Peter Mansbridge, CBC’s senior correspondent, and Stephen Harper, Canada’s neo-Conservative head of state.
As with the former interview, the Mansbridge interview was rather innocuous, with responses essentially reflecting Conservative canards about the economy, climate change, and foreign affairs.
by Robert Parry - Consortium News Has anyone in Official Washington thought through the latest foreign policy “group think,” the plan to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia? All the “smart” people, including the New York Times editors, are rubbing their hands with glee over the financial crisis being imposed on Russia because of the Ukraine crisis, but no one, it seems, is looking down the road.
This reckless strategy appears to be another neocon-driven “regime change” scheme, this time focused on Moscow with the goal to take down Russian President Vladimir Putin and presumably replace him with some U.S. puppet, a Russian-speaking Ahmed Chalabi perhaps. Since the neocons have never faced accountability for the Iraq disaster – when the conniving Chalabi was their man – they are still free to dream about a replay in Russia.
However, as catastrophic as the Iraq War was especially for Iraqis, the new neocon goal of Russian “regime change” is far more dangerous. If one looks at the chaos that has followed neocon (and “liberal interventionist”) schemes to overthrow governments in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine and elsewhere, what might the risks be if such political disorder was created in Russia?
Russian Roulette: Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook for Trillions in Oil Derivatives
by Ellen Brown - ICH The sudden dramatic collapse in the price of oil appears to be an act of geopolitical warfare against Russia. The result could be trillions of dollars in oil derivative losses; and the FDIC could be liable, following repeal of key portions of the Dodd-Frank Act last weekend.
Senator Elizabeth Warren charged Citigroup last week with “holding government funding hostage to ram through its government bailout provision.” At issue was a section in the omnibus budget bill repealing the Lincoln Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act, which protected depositor funds by requiring the largest banks to push out a portion of their derivatives business into non-FDIC-insured subsidiaries.
Warren and Representative Maxine Waters came close to killing the spending bill because of this provision. But the tide turned, according to Waters, when not only Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, but President Obama himself lobbied lawmakers to vote for the bill.
There is a lot of congratulating of President Obama going on among people on the left in the US over the announced agreement reached between the White House and Raul Castro to end America’s half-century isolation of the only Communist nation in the Americas.
But the congratulations are premature and naive.
Whatever the reasons for the announcement that the US and Cuba are swapping some long-held prisoners and are going to exchange embassies (The US closed its embassy in Havana in 1962), the reality is that this will not end Washington’s obsession with overthrowing the socialist government installed in 1959 by Fidel Castro’s successful anti-imperialist armed rebellion.
Not only does having an American embassy in your country not mean your country will be left alone by the imperialist Washington -- it means that in the heart of your national capital, you will have a diplomatically protected headquarters for agents working for the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and a host of other Washington three-letter spy outfits.
by Jeb Sprague - TeleSur Debt is a drain on Jamaica, and also functions to block any potential efforts to structurally transform the nation or to ramp up social investment.
With a population of just under three million, the nation of Jamaica remains ensnared in debt. The debt trap is most apparent when looked at from the state’s interest payments as a percentage of the government’s non-grant revenue, which currently amounts to 40%. Jamaica’s continual caving in to the IMF has meant severe austerity measures, freezing of wages, cutting of spending, and it has left the country with the highest debt interest burden worldwide.
A drain on the country, it also functions to block any potential efforts to structurally transform the nation or to ramp up social investment.
Israeli Role in Syrian Conflict Brought into the Open
by Nicola Nasser - Palestine Chronicle Overtly, the Israeli superpower of the Middle East has been keen to posture as having no role whatsoever in the four-year old devastating conflict in Syria, where all major regional and international powers are politically and militarily deeply involved and settling scores by Syrian blood.
In his geopolitical weekly analysis, entitled “The Islamic State Reshapes the Middle East,” on November 25 Stratfor’s George Friedman raised eyebrows when he reviewed the effects which the terrorist group had on all regional powers, but seemed unaware of the existence of the Israeli regional superpower.
It was an instructive omission that says a lot about the no more discreet role Israel is playing to maintain what the Israeli commentator Amos Harel described as the “stable instability” in Syria and the region, from the Israeli perspective of course.
Friedman in fact was reflecting a similar official omission by the US administration. When President Barak Obama appealed for a “broad international coalition” to fight the Islamic State (IS), Israel — the strongest military power in the region and the well – positioned logistically to fight it — was not asked to join. The Obama administration explained later that Israel’s contribution would reflect negatively on the Arab partners in the coalition.
BC's respected science learning centre at risk of being co-opted by industry
VANCOUVER – The Wilderness Committee, Council of Canadians, allied environmental groups and concerned citizens have signed on to an open letter demanding that the BC government end its partnership with Science World involving ongoing promotional workshops about liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Despite clear evidence of the expected climate impacts associated with BC's planned LNG export industry, the provincial government continues to claim a leadership role on climate. Should just five of the dozen or so proposed LNG terminals be constructed, it would double the annual carbon footprint of the entire province of BC.
"We cannot ignore the conclusions of climate scientists anymore – climate change has arrived and must be confronted," said Eoin Madden, the Wilderness Committee's Climate Campaigner.
"Burning fossil fuels is what got us into this mess, and creating a massive new fossil fuel industry and promoting it as 'clean' misleads young people."