For all of Brand’s joking and braggadocio, a sagacious theme runs through his new book: that a peaceful revolution must bring about a fairer sharing of the world’s resources, which depends upon a revelation about our true spiritual nature.
The political conversation on sharing is growing by the day, sometimes from the unlikeliest of quarters. And at the present time, there is perhaps no-one calling louder for a new society to be based on sharing than Russell Brand, the comedian-cum-activist and revolutionary. It is easy to dismiss much of Brand’s polysyllabic and self-referential meanderings, as do most of the establishment media in the USA and Britain, but this only serves to disregard his flashes of wisdom and the justified reasons for his popularity.
His latest book is clearly not meant to be taken entirely seriously as a roadmap to “systemic change on a global scale”, hence the various crude digressions and contradictions. Yet as pointed out by Evan Davies at the beginning of his second BBC Newsnight interview, Brand has probably engaged more young people in thinking about serious political issues than any politician, despite his infamous disavowal of voting in parliamentary elections.
On this basis alone, there’s every reason to take seriously Brand’s call for a revolution based on the principles of sharing, cooperation and love. But what does his idea of a caring, sharing revolution actually mean in practice?
In the wee hours of June 28th, 2009, Honduran president Manuel "Mel" Zelaya woke to find his room filled with soldiers, and his presidency finished. Zelaya, a moderately populist leader with a year left on his mandate, would spend the next two years in exile, trying to get back to Honduras and return democracy to his country.
But it was not to be. Thanks in part to the quick recognition of the military junta by Stephen Harper's government in Canada, (and bolstered by a hastily agreed Free Trade agreement) the coup garnered a financial footing, and measure of international legitimacy.
In the mean times since, globally Honduras' murder rate is Numero Uno, and it's now also one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalists, union member, or labour organizer.
On the bright side; it's a great place for Canadian mining interests to do business.
Karen Spring is a Central America-based human rights activist, working with grassroots organizations on various issues, mostly in Honduras. She's the author of the blog, Aqui Abajo providing, "Opinions, Experiences and Perspectives from the grassroots in Central America." Spring's recent article, 'Aura Minerals Ready to Dig up the Dead in Honduras' reveals just how low Canada's miners are willing to go.
Karen Spring in the first half.
And; the BC Liberals plan to make a decision about the long-contested proposed Site C dam project on the Peace River before Christmas; right before it, if past behaviours are any predictor. The as-yet unscheduled in-Cabinet decision follows a Joint Review Panel process meant to explore all interests in, and effects of, the proposed project.
Alison Thompson is Chair and Managing Director of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, or CanGEA. Thompson was in Victoria yesterday to give a press conference for a CanGEA report on a made-in BC alternative to placing a third dam on the river. It's a prospect for the Peace the Joint Review Panel itself admits has been woefully overlooked.
Alison Thompson and a renewable, cost effective alternative to Site C 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 up to speed with some of what's good to do in and around our city, and beyond there too, for the coming week. But first, Karen Spring and the dark, Canadian aura haunting the dead in Honduras.
by James Stafford - Oilprice.com When it takes up to four million pounds of sand to frack a single well, it’s no wonder that demand is outpacing supply and frack sand producers are becoming the biggest behind-the-scenes beneficiaries of the American oil and gas boom.
Demand is exploding for “frac sand”--a durable, high-purity quartz sand used to help produce petroleum fluids and prop up man-made fractures in shale rock formations through which oil and gas flows—turning this segment into the top driver of value in the shale revolution.
“One of the major players in Eagle Ford is saying they’re short 6 million tons of 100 mesh alone in 2014 and they don’t know where to get it. And that’s just one player,” Rasool Mohammad, President and CEO of Select Sands Corporation told Oilprice.com.
Frack sand exponentially increases the return on investment for a well, and oil and gas companies are expected to use some 95 billion pounds of frack sand this year, up nearly 30% from 2013 and up 50% from forecasts made just last year.
Canada-based Aura Minerals Ready to Dig up the Dead in Honduras
by Karen Spring - Aqui Abajo In April 2014, the community of Azacualpa blocked the entrance of the San Andres mine in La Unión, Copan, in western Honduras. The open-pit gold mine is owned by Minerales de Occidente, a subsidiary of Toronto-based mining company, Aura Minerals who acquired the mine in August 2009.
A few weeks after initiating the blockade, the community was violently evicted by Honduran military and police who beat protesters including minors, shot tear gas, and arrested those that stuck around to fight the eviction, or that lived close to where it took place.
Radio Progreso reports that various people were arrested and 21 community members face charges requiring them to sign before a Honduran judge every month.
by Robert Parry - Consortium News The abrupt resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel – along with the failure to reach a final agreement on Iran’s nuclear program on the same day – does not augur well for the last quarter of Barack Obama’s presidency, reflecting his continuing tendency to let the neocons have their way.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel shakes hands with President Barack Obama at the White House on Nov. 24, 2014, as the President announces that Hagel is resigning. (U.S..government photo)
Not that Hagel had distinguished himself as a sterling leader of the Pentagon – nor has all hope disappeared that a sensible resolution of the impasse with Iran might be achieved before the next “deadline” in June – but Obama still does not appear to have escaped the spell of the neocons who continue to dominate American geopolitical thought despite the bloody disasters that they helped cause in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Six years into his presidency, Obama still doesn’t seem to understand that just because some people have impressive credentials doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing. Indeed, in a profoundly corrupted system – like the one that now controls Official Washington – rewards are handed out to people who serve the corrupt interests or at least don’t get in the way.
Anyone who follows the news regularly, knows that the media has done everything in its power to smear Vladimir Putin and to demonize him as a tyrant and a thug.
Fortunately, most people aren’t buying it. Yes, I’ve seen the polls that say that Putin and Russia are viewed “less favorably” than they were prior to the crisis in Ukraine.
In fact, here’s a clip from a recent PEW survey which seems to prove that I’m wrong:
“Across the 44 countries surveyed, a median percentage of 43% have unfavorable opinions of Russia, compared with 34% who are positive. Negative ratings of Russia have increased significantly since 2013 in 20 of the 36 countries surveyed…
Americans and Europeans in particular have soured on Russia over the past 12 months. More than six-in-ten in Poland, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, the U.S. and the UK have an unfavorable image of Russia. And in all but one of these countries negative reviews are up by double digits since last year, including by 29 percentage points in the U.S., 27 points in Poland, 24 points in the UK and 23 points in Spain.” (Russia’s Global Image Negative amid Crisis in Ukraine: Americans’ and Europeans’ Views Sour Dramatically, PEW Research)
These results strongly suggest that the public blames Moscow for the fighting in Ukraine and (presumably) agrees with the prevailing storyline that Putin is a vicious aggressor who seized Crimea in order to rebuild the Soviet Empire. The problem with the PEW survey is that the results are based on random samples of nationwide face-to-face or telephone interviews.
Canada is becoming a nation of fear. Threat is lurking everywhere. But the source is not terrorism. The fear now haunting Canada is a creeping and insidious sense of unease that has been rising almost unnoticed for a decade. It is now infecting the mood of the whole country.
Much of this fear is invented and unjustified, manufactured for political purposes. The Russians are going to claim the natural resources of our country's Arctic so we need a strong and resolute national government to protect our interests. Crime is making Canada a dangerous place to live — even though statistics show the crime rate has been falling for decades, attributed almost exclusively to fewer youth as our demographics shift to an aging population. Addiction, of course, is profiled as destroying society so the perennially ineffective “war on drugs” must be intensified, punishment increased, incarceration mandatory, and socially beneficial injection facilities such as Vancouver's In-Site subjected to exhaustive government legal challenges. An economically vulnerable Canada must rush to finalize those few multinational trade agreements that are still available. And any celebration or declaration of war, together with any publicity about a lurking enemy, always raises the level of useful fear.
The fear eroding Canadian comfort is difficult to articulate because it is the gradual accumulation of multiple events. In Parliament, it has been the cavalier use of prorogation, the omnibus bills that prevent the adequate examination of hidden legislation, the unprecedented closure on important debates, the so-called “Fair Elections Act” that makes a mockery of both “fair” and “elections”, the evisceration of the Fisheries Act, and the wholesale gutting of the country's other environmental safeguards.
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque Patrick Smith, man on fire, takes on a theme we were were discussing here the other day -- the true nature and origin of terrorism in our benighted Age of Terror. In his piece for Salon.com, Smith focuses on the outrageous and brazen lies of the American political and media establishment concerning the "Arab Spring" and its disastrous aftermath.
As Smith points out, in every case where Washington took a hand in events, the outcome has been catastrophe, chaos, repression and -- terror. The whole piece is worth reading in full, especially the detail on the American-led imposition of a horrific tyranny in Egypt, where the people had foolishly elected the wrong person in an open democratic vote and needed to have the proper leader installed for them.
"My brother's blood is crying from the grave but you can't hear the voice I stand in jeopardy every hour, Wonderin' what reason you have to rejoice.
Look at your feet see where they've been to Look at your hands, see what they've been into… Yonder comes sin..."
US, Canada, and Ukraine Vote Against Russia's Anti-Nazi Motion at UN
byRT UN General Assembly’s Third Committee passed a Russia-proposed resolution condemning attempts to glorify Nazism ideology and denial of German Nazi war crimes. The US, Canada and Ukraine were the only countries to vote against it.
Azov battalion soldiers take an oath of allegiance to Ukraine in Kiev's Sophia Square before being sent to the Donbass region. (RIA Novosti /Alexandr Maksimenko)
The resolution was passed on Friday by the committee, which is tasked with tackling social and humanitarian issues and human rights abuses, by 115 votes against three, with 55 nations abstaining, Tass news agency reported.
The document voiced concern over the rise of racism-driven crimes around the world and the influence that parties with extremist agendas are gaining.
More arrests as protests against Kinder Morgan continue
VANCOUVER - Despite four straight days of arrests, and now an indefinite closure of Centennial Way by the RCMP, people continue to gather in support of the caretakers of Burnaby Mountain opposing Kinder Morgan's push for a new tar sands pipeline.
Today at 2:30pm, beginning at the foot of Centennial Way at the Burnaby Mountain Parkway, David Suzuki and members of his family will be speaking together in support of the protest. On Thursday Suzuki's grandson, Tamo Campos, was arrested for challenging police lines facilitating the drilling work by Kinder Morgan.
Also today, a bus of supporters from Victoria, BC is arriving with supplies and people to support the protests against Kinder Morgan.
Finian Cunningham - SCF It’s long overdue but better late than never that Europe might just be back-pedalling on America’s aggressive agenda towards Russia. The business-like visit to Moscow this week by Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier suggests that Europe can come to its senses to seek a diplomatic resolution of the escalating tensions over the Ukraine crisis – tensions that could spark a wider continental war, or worse.
Last week, swivelled-eyed Senator John McCain said: “We want to give the Ukrainians [sic] weapons to defend themselves as the Russians are dismembering their country.”
Steinmeier met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in which the pair stressed the need to find a political end to the violence in Ukraine. The German diplomat – the first high-level European envoy to Moscow in several months – also talked about normalising relations between his country and Russia and of finding a way to rescind the economic sanctions that Brussels has imposed on Moscow over recent months.
EU ministers in Brussels balked at imposing a fourth round of sanctions earlier this week, showing a growing division over the policy among European governments.
We all know that logically we should assess the value and prospects of any stock based on the profitability and prospects of the company. That is investing 101, but sometimes other factors take over. In the case of SolarCity Corp (SCTY), buyers seem to be motivated by anything but profitability.
The company has never made a profit since the IPO nearly two years ago, but even so, despite losing a lot of ground since the high back in February, SCTY is trading at over five times what it was then. The gut reaction of any value investor when looking at the basic numbers would be to avoid, or even short, SCTY, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
The discrepancy comes from the fact that GAAP reporting doesn’t do justice to the company, as much of its business comes from leasing agreements. Revenues from those agreements will be counted over a number of years, around twenty in most contracts, while some of the expenses are accounted for immediately.
by Robert Parry - Consortium News Neocon ideology appears to have seized near total control over the editorial pages of America’s premier news organizations, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, contributing to an information crisis inside “the world’s superpower,” a development that should unnerve both Americans and the world community.
President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on South Lawn of White House, July 29, 2014. (White House Photo - Lawrence Jackson)
A Washington Post editorial, for instance, took President Barack Obama to task on Wednesday for one of the few moments when he was making sense, when he answered “no” to whether he was “actively discussing ways to remove” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Obama added, “we are looking for a political solution eventually within Syria. … But we’re not even close to being at that stage yet.”
The question itself — from Kristen Welker of NBC News — would have been remarkable enough if you weren’t steeped in the arrogance of Official Washington where it’s common to engage in casual speculation about overthrowing another country’s government.