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Failed Unions: USW Charged with "Betraying" Refinery Strikers

USW continues betrayal of remaining oil refinery strikers
by Tom Hall - WSWS

6 April 2015

usw logoThe United Steelworkers union’s isolation of striking oil workers continues as the employers at the few refineries that remain on strike seize upon last month’s national sellout agreement to push for even more draconian cuts, secure in the knowledge the USW will not lift a finger to defend these embattled workers.

Some 3,000 workers are still on strike at BP, Marathon and LyondellBasell facilities in Indiana, Texas and Ohio. Last Friday, the union pushed through a sellout local agreement at Marathon’s refinery in Catlettsburg, Kentucky where workers are expected to return next week.

The new contract was passed by a vote of 226-153 according to lead union negotiator David Martin, indicating a large opposition, even after two months in which the USW has sought to starve workers into submission. The deal includes meager raises contained in the USW national agreement that hardly keep up with the rate of inflation:

The new contract also contains “language that will limit routine maintenance contracting,” according Martin, the same vague language that will do nothing to stop the replacement of fulltime workers with lower-paid contractors with no job security or health and pension benefits. The union also agreed to implement an alternate work schedule, with 12-hour workdays.

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Knowing Less, the More You Watch CBC News

An open letter to Peter Mansbridge and the CBC News 
by Jim Miles, The View from Canada - Axis of Logic
It is a very short commercial but it speaks volumes about Canada’s supposedly leading news channel. In its fifteen seconds, Peter Mansbridge’s voice over says,

“I don’t make the news, I report it and at the end of the day if we’ve affected one person, one policy, that’s not a win, that is the news.”

Coming from the national CBC network, this is a rather pathetic self-serving mini infoclip. I had seen a longer clip that included a nice cliche about “the facts” but unfortunately tonight I cannot find a copy of that clip on line.

Regardless, the response is simple: yes, you do make the news. You make it by editing information, not using information, using descriptive language that either makes for a pejorative or ameliorative perspective.

No Right Thing in the Middle East

Nothing is Right in the Middle East
by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch

andre exposing liesThere is nothing, absolutely nothing right in the Middle East these days. There seems to be no hope left, and no fervor. All that was pure was dragged through filth. All that was great here was stolen or smashed by the outsiders. Enthusiasm had been ridiculed, then drowned, or burned to ashes, or shattered by tanks and missiles.
Corruption thrives – corruption that inundated this entire region since the early days of Western colonialism, and then was sustained through the present-day imperialist global regime.
The land of the Middle East is tired; it is crying from exhaustion. It is scarred by wars. It is dotted with oil wells and rotting armor vehicles. There are corpses everywhere; buried, turned into dust, but still present in minds of those who are alive. There are millions of corpses, tens of millions of victims, shouting in their own, voiceless way, not willing to leave anyone in peace, pointing fingers, accusing!
This land is where so much began. Europe was nothing, when Byblos and Erbil stood tall, when a fabled civilization was forming in Mesopotamia, when Aleppo, Cairo and Al-Quds could only be rivaled by the great cities of China…
And this is where greatness, progress, decency and kindness were broken and bathed in blood by the crusaders, and later by the colonialist scum.

The View of Proposed Iran Deal from Palestine

Iran Nuclear Deal and Action
by Mazin Qumsiyeh - Popular Resistance
We have several good news in the span of few days: the win of Netanyahu (which will accelerate the end of the apartheid regime), the Iran nuclear deal, the restructuring and maturing Palestinian leadership inside 1948 areas (including a march from Naqab to Jerusalem to recognize the "Unrecognized villages"), the foolishness of Saudi Arabia and Egypt getting into a quagmire in Yemen (even though Yemeni people suffer but they will win), the relief on not having the wall plan approved in Beit Jala/Cremisan area (see below), and Palestine joining the International Criminal Court (even though I think PA political leaders do not have the spine to actually bring cases before the court since they put themselves at the mercy of their occupiers).
Oppression though continues here with Israel destroying home shooting unarmed civilians, and kidnapping our people (including the honorable Khaleda Jarrar). Of all the new developments, I think the Iran nuclear deal will prove to be game changing.
Lifting the sanctions on Iran and beginning to normalize relations has many ramifications. I want to just address one of the most significant: it proves to the subservient Arab leaders that standing up to Israel and its lackeys in Washington is possible. The Iranian economy was and continues to be better than geographically and populationally similar Egypt (subservient regime to Israel) even when the former was subjected to various sanctions and restrictions for 36 years.

Changing Horses: Singing Praise for Renewal and Atonement

Sing Another Song
by Kathy Kelly -

April 2, 2015

Here in Lexington federal prison's Atwood Hall, squinting through the front doorway, I spotted a rust-red horse swiftly cantering across a nearby field. The setting sun cast a glow across the grasses and trees as the horse sped past.

"Reminds me of the Pope," I murmured to no one in particular. "What's that?" Tiza asked.

I tried to explain that once, when I asked a close friend his opinion of the Pope, shortly after Catholic bishops had elected Pope Francis, my friend had said, "The horse is out of the stable! And galloping."

I love the image. Here is a Pope who, upon learning that a chaplain in a Chinese prison couldn't afford to buy the traditional "moon pies" for every prisoner to celebrate the harvest moon, cut a check to cover the remaining cost.

This Pope loves the tango dance. On his birthday, tango dancers filled St. Peter's Square at the time when ringing bells call on believers to kneel and recite the Angelus.

In September, 2015, Pope Francis will visit New York City, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Tiza and I wondered if he would visit a prison.
"If he does, he should come here," Tiza insisted, "and not go to some showcase place!" I don't think he'll be able to put Kentucky on his agenda, but it's not outlandish to imagine the Pope visiting a U.S. prison. He consistently emphasizes our chance to choose the works of mercy rather than the works of war: to visit those who are sick, those who are in prison; to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, bury the dead. Never to turn our heads, say "it was their own damn fault"; never to choose wars and weapons, the burning of fields, destruction of homes, slaughter of the living.

Kiev Coupsters' Political Murders Don't Make the News on Western Agenda

Mysterious Deaths in Ukraine
by William Blum via Consortium News
April 3, 2015

[Mainstream U.S. news so in tank for post-coup Ukrainian government, anything negative – from neo-Nazi militias to apparent “death squad” operations – is ignored, including a string of mysterious deaths of anti-coup politicians, as William Blum notes at Anti-Empire Report.]

Following the murder of Russian opposition leader, and former Deputy Prime Minister, Boris Nemtsov in Moscow on Feb. 27, the West had a field day. Ranging from strong innuendo to outright accusation of a Kremlin-directed political murder, the Western media and politicians did not miss an opportunity to treat Russian President Vladimir Putin as a football practice dummy.
Nazi symbols on helmets worn by 
members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion. 
(As filmed by a Norwegian film crew 
and shown on German TV)

The European Parliament adopted a resolution urging an international investigation into Nemtsov’s death and suggested that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Council, and the United Nations could play a role in the probe. U.S. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham introduced a Senate Resolution condemning the Nemtsov murder.
The Resolution also called on President Barack Obama and the international community to pursue an independent investigation into the murder and redouble efforts to advance free speech, human rights, and the rule of law in Russia. In addition, it urged Obama to continue to sanction human rights violators in the Russian Federation and to increase U.S. support to human rights activists in Russia.

So it went … all over the West.

Neglected to Death: Is Mumia Abu-Jamal's Experience Deliberate or Par for the Prison Medical Course?

Execution by Medical Neglect?
by Dave Lindorff - CounterPunch
Mumia Abu-Jamal, the radical Philadelphia journalist convicted of killing a white Philadelphia police officer in a trial fraught with prosecutorial misconduct, witness coaching and judicial prejudice back in 1981, spent nearly three decades in solitary confinement in the deliberately designed hell of Pennsylvania’s supermax SCI Green prison before a panel of federal Appeals Court judges eventually ruled that he’d been unconstitutionally sentenced to death.

He, of course, received no apology for the state’s making him illegally and improperly spend all those years in solitary waiting to be wrongfully executed. Instead, with that ruling (after a few years of legal stalling by the Philadelphia district attorney’s office), he was simply switched over to a sentence of life without possibility of parole and moved to the SCI-Mahoney prison in central Pennsylvania.

Now, it appears the state, which lost its chance to execute him, may be trying to kill him another way, as word comes that this world-renowned political prisoner had to be rushed to the hospital this week, unconscious from an undiagnosed case of severe diabetes.

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America, Iran, and Israel: A Thrice-Tangled Tale

The US-Israel-Iran Triangle’s Tangled History
by Robert Parry - Consortium News
April 2, 2015
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to accuse Iran’s Islamic State of seeking Israel’s destruction – and U.S. neocons talk openly about bombing Iran – the history of Israel’s cooperative dealings with Iran, including after the ouster of the Shah and the rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979, seems to have been forgotten.
Yet, this background is important when evaluating some of Iran’s current political players and their attitudes regarding a possible deal with world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear program to peaceful purposes only. In the United States and Israel – for their own politically sensitive reasons – much of this history remains “lost” or little known.
 The division inside Iran between leading figures who collaborated with the U.S. and Israel behind the scenes and those who resisted those secret dealings took shape in the early 1980s but remains in place, to some degree, to this day.
Ronald Reagan and his 1980 vice-
presidential running mate George H.W. Bush
For instance, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s current Supreme Leader, was more the ideological purist in 1980, apparently opposing any unorthodox strategy involving Israeli and Republican emissaries that went behind President Jimmy Carter’s back to gain promises of weapons from Israel and the future Reagan administration.

Counting the Ways to End Israeli Apartheid

Urgent 'Musts' Needed for Palestinians to Defeat Apartheid
by Ramzy Baroud -
Waiting on Israeli society to change from within is a colossal waste of time, during which the suffering of an entire nation - torn between an occupied home and a harsh diaspora - will not cease. But what are Palestinians and the supporters of a just peace in Palestine and Israel to do? Plenty.
Those who counted on some sort of a miracle to emerge from the outcome of the recent Israeli elections have only themselves to blame. Neither logic nor numbers were on their side, nor the long history laden with disappointing experiences of “leftist” Israelis unleashing wars and cementing occupation.
Despite a few differences between Israel’s right and the so-called left on internal matters, their positions are almost identical regarding all major issues related to Palestine. These include the Right of Return and the status of occupied Jerusalem to the illegal settlements.
But Palestinians are not without options. Sure, the odds against them are great, but such is the fate of the oppressed as they are left between two options: either a perpetual fight for justice or unending humiliation and servitude.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Andre Vltchek, David Swanson, Janine Bandcroft April 1, 2015

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook -


We here in the West, that first among worlds, like to believe ourselves, if not the perfection of creation, then the next thing to it. We are, in our rosy self-imaginings, the smartest, strongest, bravest, and most morally advanced people of not only our time, but of all times. Pity it's all delusion; and worse, a pack of lies designed to "protect" us from the awful truth of our colonial provenance.

The unspoken fact is; we are not a benevolent, progressive, democratic force for good in the World, but are instead, my first guest argues, an avaricious empire, practicing a ruthless form of capitalist fundamentalism that is both battering the poorest of humanity, while destroying the planet's ecology.
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist who has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries, and lived amongst the humblest people, bearing witness to their daily struggles.
Listen. Hear.

In addition to his countless articles and essays, Some of Andre's book titles include: 'Oceania: Neocolonialism, Nukes, and Bones,' 'Indonesia: Archipelago of Fear,' 'On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare,' 'Fighting Against Western Imperialism,' and his latest 'Exposing Lies of the Empire.'
Andre Vltchek in the first half.
And; Canada's prime minister announced an intensification of the country's warmaking Monday to include bombing inside Syria and unspecified "elsewheres" to be named later. When questioned about the legality of this course of action in the parliament, the bellicose Mr. Harper said he wasn't worried about "lawyers from ISIL taking the government of Canada to court and winning." While the prime minister's little joke brought his side of the House down, it also betrayed a breath-taking ignorance, an astounding callousness and lack of imagination as to what war means for the people in those distant lands where Canada's bombs are scheduled now to fall.
David Swanson is an activist, blogger, labor activist, and former press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2003-2004 Presidential campaign. He's also founder of numerous websites, including, and has spearheaded many campaigns against war and warmaking. He also hosts Talk Nation Radio, airing on several Pacifica radio stations and their affiliates, and is the author of several books, including: 'War is a Lie,' 'The Military Industrial Complex at 50,' 'Iraq War Among World's Worst Events,' 'War No More: The Case for Abolition,' and his latest, 'Killing Is Not a Way of Life.'
David Swanson and ending war in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good to do in and around our town, and beyond there too in the coming week. But first, Andre Vltchek and seeing ourselves in the face of the beast.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: And now heard at Simon Fraser University's . He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:
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How Canada Supports the Undermining of Greek Ecology and Economy

Canadian Mining Company Eldorado Gold Devastates Greek Communities but Avoids Paying Taxes
by MiningWatch Canada

March 30, 2015

Ottawa/Amsterdam - Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold is undermining Greek economic recovery by large-scale tax avoidance according to a new report by the Dutch Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO).

Eldorado is also supported by Export Development Canada.
Fool’s Gold reveals that tax avoidance by Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold, using “mailbox” (shell) companies in the Netherlands, has led to tax losses of at least CDN $2.3 million for Greece in the past two years.
There are also serious environmental and human right concerns related to the company’s operations.

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