3.01.2015

Rolling Jubilee - Helping Our Fellows in Need is Part of What Defines a 'Just Society'


The good people at RollingJubilee.org have designed a simple plan that produces 'A bailout of the people by the people' by turning disaster capitalism inside out. They buy up bad debts at pennies on the dollar, then abolish them instead of collecting. As of this morning they've raised $700,000 from online donations and paid off $32,000,000 in debt. The Debt Collective, Rolling Jubilee's founders, "...helps people organize with each other to challenge creditors. We believe no one should have to go into debt for basic needs like housing, healthcare, and education. When the indebted join together they can build power to help create a just society."

Assuring the 'needs' of our fellows is part of what defines a society as 'just'. Not all debt is equal. Some debts come from uncontrollable consumer debt for wants, addictions really. Some debts come from the inequalities built into the structure of capitalism, these are the needs The Debt Collective is attacking in principle. In principle because it's muddy, there is no one clear line between needs and wants unfortunately, it's a draw-it-yourself kinda line.

Defining who our 'fellows' are is as muddy as what 'needs' are. For me, as we - the lora, fauna, microbes, minerals, forces and faeries - are all in this together, we're all fellows. For me a just society would assure the needs of us all and all that connects us. A just society, wouldn't kill the web of life that supports it to enrich a greedy few, a just society 'wouldn't shit in it's own nest' as the capitalist one does. A just society doesn't indenture it's poorest in the service of its richest.

A just society re-distributes wealth so that needs are met. An unjust society is one where the corporations and elites buy political power in all the major parties, which deregulate, subsidize, and under-tax so that corporate profits and executive compensation reach astronomical heights while wages stagnate, climate change goes unchecked and the of the needy debt pile up while the elites become billionaires.

The Debt Resisters’ Operations Manual available FREE online here is an excellent resource for tuning in on 'how to' create your own non-debt ridden just society.

The other day i wondered if i'd been switched at birth when i read Aristides Hatzis, an associate professor of law and economics at the University of Athens explain that: “Normally taxes are considered the price you have to pay for a just state, but this is not accepted by the Greek mentality...Greeks consider taxes as theft.”

A just society attends to needs. A capitalist society caters to wants. We owe our support to one one, nothing to the other.



2.28.2015

Join Vancouver's Stop Bill C -51 Rally Monday March 2nd, Don't Let Dissent be Silenced!

Harper is using the 'jihadi threat' fear tactic to silence dissent

Vancouver organizaers are expecting a big crowd for the Stop Bill C -51 Rally and March, Monday March 2nd, 4:00-5:30 pm at Broadway and Commercial. Just Say No to the Anti-Terrorism Act, join the rally. A sunny day, all kinds of people, music, head on down, it'll be a hoot. For more information contact Lawyers Against The War


Make no mistake about it, silencing dissent, is the objective of the Conservatives C-51 Bill under the thin cloak of anti-terrorism. In reality there's not one word or dollar going torward prevention of radicalization in Canada. Opposition is growing. Just today a group of 100 academics, made up mainly of law professors from across Canada, have signed an open letter arguing the proposed bill has major problems that threaten Canadians' privacy and freedom of speech and that  C-51 is dangerous' legislation.

The most quoted legal opinion - Bill C-51: A Legal Primer by Clayton Ruby and Nader R. Hasan - concludes, Bill C-51's "overly broad and unnecessary anti-terrorism reforms could criminalize free speech."

As Keith Jones explains: "No one should be taken in by the government’s pretense that “lawful dissent” will be protected from CSIS dirty tricks and provocations. Canada’s national security apparatus is notorious for spying on socialist, labor, anti-war, environmental, and aboriginal groups and justifying it on the grounds that one of their members “may” engage in unlawful activity sometime in the future."

In Ottawa the NDP now says they're 'again' it, the Liberals look squeamish at best, Justin's worst decision ever. Where would we be without Elizabeth May who from Day #1 has spoken out saying: “[Bill C-51] is about creating a secret police. It's the death of freedom,” Elizabeth's excellent interview in The Strait pulls no punches as well. May is the only truly progressive voice people have in Parliament.


2.27.2015

The Land Defenders at Wild Coast and Forest Action Network are Heroes, Not Criminals

One of the 2.5 million waterways no longer protected in Canada

The recent RCMP report linking environmentalists with terrorism will be used by the 'authorities' to further prepare the general public for a war against front-line people defending the land. Land defenders are heroes, not criminals. The real threat to the bankbooks of shareholders in the oil and gas industry is a growing public support for Indigenous land defense across the country.

"Land defenders are heroes, not criminals" is a new-to-me slogan so obvious after reading it. Following the links in a friend's email the other day led me to Wild Coast..."a crew that's Grassroots, anti-racist, feminist, and fierce in defense of the land." WildCoast and Forest Action Network are 100% home-grown and volunteer-led. They have no fancy offices or high-paid staff, just a fighting spirit and the courage to win.

One of their prime projects right now is the Caravan to Unis'tot'en Camp. The camp is snowed in and the caravan organizers are looking for: "Strong-hearted volunteers are needed to break trail and supply the camp, We are organizing rides for March and April."

The Unis'tot'en Camp is in its fifth year blocking gas and tarsands pipelines in the mountains between Smithers and Kitimat, and it keeps growing. This camp is a both a symbolic and actual example of the 'War on the Wild'. The land defenders themselves understand that we're all - flora, fauna, microbes, minerals, forces and faeries - in this together.Without land defenders, without bottom up resistance, there will be no future for any of us.

Considering that: "In 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Omnibus Budget stripped away the rules that protected our rivers, lakes, and habitat for decades. waterways were protected in Canada. Before the bill 93 lakes.2.5 million lakes and waterways were protected in Canada, today that total is 62 rivers and 93 lakes." - WildCoast.ca 

It's little wonder that resistance to extractive capitalism is growing everywhere. In environmental activist and co-LAN founder Zoe Blunt's article in the The Strait the B.C. environmentalist says oil pipelines kill, not protesters. It's a great read, Zoe stands tall, in it she says, "“The violence is going to be done to the land if these pipelines go through,” Blunt said. “It’s not the kind of scars that can heal. If a pipeline ruptures, that is incredibly destructive. It kills living things. It kills entire ecosystems for generations. There’s no recovery from that.”

One rupture and thousands of jobs are lost in the fishing and tourist industries. A huge swath of forest that now happily sequesters GHGs leveled...Devastation, Death of all living things, No recovery...that's the inevitable cost sooner or later. Short term profit, paper money to boot, for a few already obscenely rich assholes is the benefit. The corporations are theives, they deserve no respect, no co-operation, no capitulation.


2.26.2015

Only Intact Ecosystems Can Really 'Save BC Wolves', the Cariboo or the Rest of Us

B.C. Gray Wolf targeted in 'War on the Wild'

Thanks to Pacific Wild for spearheading the efforts of "A coalition of 60 environmental groups from across the province including the local Valhalla Wilderness Watch has sent the provincial government an open letter signed by 173,000 people from around the world, which calls for an end to the wolf cull."- The Nelson Daily

Titled: 'Save B.C. Wolves' the letter says in part:
"Your government’s claim that killing wolves will save these caribou populations has no scientific basis as proven by the failure of BC’s wolf “reduction” programs, involving the sterilization, killing, trapping and/or poisoning of wolves. For years, these programs have failed to halt the decline in imperiled caribou populations. Killing more wolves will not miraculously save the caribou. The caribou populations are declining because for decades your government has failed to adequately protect their habitat."

As the letter says, this isn't a new issue, successive governments have known, science has known and spoken out for decades.Yet a series of governments of all denominations found it more expedient to let the developers, trophy hunters and snowmobilers destroy more and more habitat.

It's important to recognize that today the MSM from Vancouver to Nelson to Edmonton have come out in strong support of stopping the Wolf kill.

175,000 people have signed the 'Save B.C. Wolves' petition at Change.org as of this morning. It's meaningless of course, but i'm a proud signer. Might as well use one's god-given middle finger when applicable eh. Sign Here...Wave finger momentarily.

The division of opinion on this issue in BC is a reflection of the much broader cultural division between those who believe technology will save us and and those who believe it's nature, in this case, intact ecosystems are the only thing that can save the caribou, the wolves and the rest of us. That deeper division is behind the 'War on the Wild' that The Mud Report has focused on from it's beginning to just a few articles ago.

In an intact ecosystem millions of other life forms are interlaced in a wild web of life with the cariboo and wolves. Each has it's place, all are equal. Technology means heriachy not equality. Where one sees potential commodities, the other sees the Great Mother.


2.25.2015

How Much is an Acropolis Worth to the Bankers and Billionaires Club - Brussels Division?


The worst part of the trioka's noose IMO is the privatization of public property. How much is an Acropolis worth to the Bankers and Billionaires Club? After all it's just a half fallen down pile of old rocks. Bet it'd make a great spot for a Starbucks though, maybe a nice mini-mall, there'd be lottsa room for parking after the pile of rocks gets cleared off.

The noose like agreement Greek PM, Tsipras signed with the 'institutions' demands the same budget surpluses, includes no debt reduction, no change in the commitment to keep austerity measures intact and the selling-off of public property for the exclusive purpose of lining lenders’ pockets, remains intact.

On the street ordinary Greeks wondered what the government had achieved. "We went through two months of agony, emptied the banks, to realize we are still a debt colony," 54-year-old electrician Dimitris Kanakis told Reuters. "The paymasters call the shots." A large group within Syriza, led by a Central Committee member, says "Leadership strategy has failed miserably".Why? Why, after the new Greek government fought a la David vs Goliath for several weeks would they cave in at the last minute and admit that the best it can do is continue the much hated policies of the predecessor Samaras government

The J. Edgar Hoover solution - blackmail, threats and bribes - ranks high on the why-o-meter. IMO though, being a recently confessed hope-aholic, the best tactical reasoning so far comes from Raúl Ilargi Meijer in '50 Shades of Greece'.which explains: Syriza wasn't given a mandate to leave the Euro, just to end austerity. Sypiza must, by referendum maybe, after bending over backwards to prove to Greeks that Germany and Holland will never budge, result in Syriza winning the mandate they need to leave the Euro.

Given that yesterday European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated, “there can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.” Why would the trioka accept any result in any referendum, unless they won it. But between the mutiny in Syriza and the disillusionment on the street it's more likely the Tsirpas government will get booted out and another leader will shout that unlike Samaras, oops, Tsipras, this time they will really show Germany who's boss. Tyler Durden asks: "Does Germany really want to negotiate with Golden Dawn instead?"

That, the Golden Dawn lever, will probably be abandoned immediately by Striza just like Grexit, their only big lever, and the printing of Drachmas, which Syriza handed over without a whimper on last Friday in the agreement which excluded any “unilateral moves” such as new Drachmas and making a deal with BRICS for instance.

Beppe Grillo, leader of Italy's anti-austerity 5 Star party had it right beforehand in his piece: 'The Eurozone Chess Game Enters Its Final Stage: Germany Wins In Three Moves' but concluded that the Euro was up in smoke now that the curtain had been pulled back to reveal the reality that the N. Europeans, especially Germany, enjoy the benefits of their 'export miracle' only because the common currency's market value is dragged down by the PIGS [Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain], the Baltics, the Irish...and the PIGS+ are forced to use a currency priced far to high to sell their goods, an export disaster.

All of the PIGS+ countries will face the same situation, sooner or later, their bankruptcy will be unavoidable. When that happens instead of dancing with the devil they should do some version of what Willem Buiter, chief economist of Citigroup, and John Cochrane of the University of Chicago suggested to Greece: "The Greek government could meet its domestic obligations, such as pension payments, by issuing tradeable IOUs that could also be used to make tax payments — in effect, creating a parallel currency. This virtual money could also be used for other purposes: for instance, to recapitalize ailing banks."

Virtual money, like Bitcoin could stand in while whichever country [Syriza should still do it], prints billions of Drachmas or Lira or ? then quietly distributes them to their banks over the weekend and open the banks Monday morning chocked full of the new currency, nary a Euro in sight.

2.23.2015

Like Every Addict's Thirst For More, Debt -The Ultimate Four Letter Word - Never Sleeps


A few days ago an old friend sent the image above and asked how can people be so blind? My first reaction was to respond with George Carlin's line, "They call it the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." But the truth is this nightmare isn't just happening in America, it's a global middle class affliction.

How did it happen? How did the material dreams of so many turn into nightmares? Many of those idling away on clogged freeways started when they took out their first student loan. Now they sit, dressed in high heels and ties, praying that the next equity loan on the house gets approved before the repo men, collection agents and bankruptcy lawyers appear. Living beyond ones means -over-consumption - and the cycle of debt are addictions just like any other. Neither the junkie nor the bankrupted consumer became an addict the first time he/she tried drugs or took out a loan but...

As time marches on one un-payable debt leads to another and another. Unfortunately consumers and their debt cycle have been labeled by the dismal science of economics as debt slavery, which it isn't. IMO, calling them debt slaves is both a convenient cop-out for the over-consumers and an insult to real slaves, past and present, who have been bought, sold, tortured, chained and forced into bondage. Debt addicts, like all addicts have a choice. The choice gets more difficult with every pull on the crack pipe or every new big screen TV, but it's still a choice.

Ed Abbey once said, “If America could be, once again, a nation of self-reliant farmers, craftsmen, hunters, ranchers, and artists, then the rich would have little power to dominate others. Neither to serve nor to rule: That was the American dream.” "Neither to serve nor to rule" Fits perfectly into a world of self-determined people un-addicted to needless crap, like Bhutan maybe, a world where people free from debt and the endless thirst for more allows space for happiness and joy.

Debt never sleeps, it's the ultimate four letter word. The biosphere staggers under the weight of the materialist delusion of endless growth.  "If we take a look at who is actually pushing the environment to collapse according to their consumption levels, it becomes clear by the numbers that the real planet destroyers are not the teeming masses of the Third World, but industrial civilization’s energy gluttons driving their SUV’s, checking their stock portfolios on the internet, and wagging their finger at the huddled masses who have been corralled into megacities because globalization wiped out their indigenous means of subsistence:" - Overpopulated by Homo Colossus

The cycle of over-consumption and debt serve the Bankers and Billionaires Club's bottom line but more importantly in the global picture debt addiction makes individuals, cultures and nations much easier to push around as evidenced by today's headlines from Ukraine and Greece. If debt ridden over-consumers are debt slaves, they're self-indentured.

Lao Tzu said, "Only those who know when enough is enough can ever have enough.".  

2.22.2015

The IMF Noose, Ukraine Version, Tightens Around the Necks of the Poor and Vulnerable

Ukraine's poorest and most vulnerable will pay

The IMF is the banking division of US imperialism. IMF packages don't require collateral, instead they require that the borrowers sign conditional structural adjustment agreements. As anybody who has read Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine understands, the IMF's conditions don't come with strings attached, they come with nooses.

The IMF noose demands that loans be allocated for specific purposes in exchange for tough reforms of the whole economy. The main requirements of the 'institution' are to cut social spending, which always inordinately effects the most vulnerable and poorest in the society, and privatize publicly owned assets like some of the best agricultural land in the world and huge proven fossil fuel reserves.

The initial IMF loan less than a year ago, a loan the former elected president rejected, of 15bn was bumped up to 18bn. As everyone except the delusional in Kiev expected, Ukraine is already broke and the noose tightens. Yesterday Kiev confirmed that  the IMF aid package conditions mean Ukraine gas prices must go up 280% and that as a result inflation could be 25-26 percent by the end of 2015.

Where once the armies of resource depleted empires conquered and slaughtered to secure those resources and expand the empire's domain, now the empire unleashes it's phoney money and debt. As Charles Hugh Smith explained the details of the scam on his blog recently but stopped short of condemning the outright imperialist goals of the US that determine the IMF's policies. Policies where  the common assets of the debtor nations are the target of the 'loan to pay off the last loan' scam. All the loans are credit and fiat currency - thin air mixed with paper - but the assets that secure the loan as part of 'conditionality' are real wealth like Ukraine's soil or oil and gas reserves.

One year ago today The Mud Report asked: 'Why is Ukraine, Once Again, Where Continents, Cultures and Empires Collide?' and answered: 'Follow the Money'. Unfortunately Ukrane has taken every possible wrong turn in the last year, in every direction, including their now total subservience to the IMF and their henchmen. Ukraine is a colony of the Empire of Debt, the plunder of their natural wealth and common assets will ensue as soon as those pesky Russian supplied rebels are squashed.

The IMF program crushes the poor to plunder resources and expand the empire. The odds of the poor somehow rising up to crush the rich is beyond hope, but the idea that the combination of  people in personal debt over their heads who can't borrow/spend more and the growing hoards of fear filled folks who aren't spending on needless crap, is creating deflationary trends around the world, and it is causing the velocity of money to plummet.

The poor can't overthrow the Bankers and Billionaires Club but the global middle classes can just by turning down their consumption spigot a bit...and they are. Deflation can turn debts, big or small, upside down, non-violently, with a minimum of pain for the many and a pulling back of the Wizard's curtain in Oz and your town too.

2.21.2015

Tsipras and Varoufakis - Big Talk, Little Walk - Greece Capitulates, Deutschland Uber Alles

Alexis Tsipras Surrenders

The Eurogroup's statement says, “We also agreed that the IMF would continue to play its role”. Greece has given in on this point and the Troika continues to exist and be strongly involved in all but name. The tentative agreement also contemplates no debt reduction and, apparently, no change in the commitment to keep austerity measures intact. “The Greek authorities commit to refrain from any rollback of measures and unilateral changes to the policies and structural reforms that would negatively impact fiscal targets, economic recovery or financial stability, as assessed by the institutions,” the statement said. Signing this statement is a clear capitulation by Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis.

The complete 'rundown' on 'How Greece Folded To Germany'  shoulda been expected, once again Bankers and Billionaires Club's henchmen saved the day for elites everywhere. Obviously i'm a serious sucker for hope and should be Googling '12 step' options...but...

Greece shouldn't have surrendered to Germany’s bullying. Every Mud Report on Greece has solutions in it, todays comes from Willem Buiter, chief economist of Citigroup, and John Cochrane of the University of Chicago who pointed out: "The Greek government could meet its domestic obligations, such as pension payments, by issuing tradeable IOUs that could also be used to make tax payments — in effect, creating a parallel currency. This virtual money could also be used for other purposes: for instance, to recapitalize ailing banks."


Hope is a two edged 'thrill of victory, agony of defeat' kinda thing. It must have been a long trip home from Brussels for the well spoken Greek duo. Why not hope that they have printed billions of drachmas, it's a long weekend there, they could distribute them to the banks over the weekend and open the banks Tuesday chocked full of Drachmas, nary a Euro in sight... 1:1 exchange rate.

Stay tuned because if Syriza's media darlings don't make some huge surprise move that shows they are walking the talk i'd bet that in days they'll face a no confidence vote.

2.19.2015

"Be Not Afraid" of Corporate Shills, Bill C-51's Goal is to Silence Critics Not Protect Canadians


The verdict about Hapo's latest fear mongering 'security bill - C-51 - is in. From the Globe and Mail to Rabble, it's unanimous...Harpo's a lying, manipulative, politician much more interested in his own future than yours or mine. Two days ago Rabble said: "Against this backdrop, the Liberals cowardly caved and announced they would support the bill even before it was studied in the House of Commons. A wary NDP expressed tepid opposition, with only Elizabeth May calling it what it is: "The Act to Create a New Secret Police."

Now that everyone including longtime NDP stalwats Ed Broadbent and Roy Romanow have come out against the bill Tom Mulcair has found the cajones to say the NDP will oppose the bill. His new position would seem much less like crass political positioning if he had, like Elizabeth May did, come out swinging from day one instead of converting on the road to Jerusalam. At least he did it.

Maybe the best article i've read so far comes from First Nations activist Pam Palmeter who long standing opposition to Harpo's assault on those who decry extractive capitalism is unassialable. First prize for outspoken disgust goes to Rafe Mair who's article 'How Quickly Politics of Fear Could Transform Canada', among other great bits says: "Prime Minister Stephen Harper, unless thwarted by a surge of surprising voter intelligence, has found the winning formula. Leading his coven of three-piece-suit and pearl necklace know-nothings, he will rally the electorate in a rout of the mortally dangerous non-Christian hordes within and without our borders, saving God from Allah and leaving Trudeau and Mulcair gasping for air, something they excel at."

And the best statement overall came from the now 95-year-old pacifist Frank Showler of Toronto, who reminded one church group that "all through the Bible, there is a pretty consistent message that we can all take heart from: Be not afraid. And so perhaps a very good response to Bill C-51 is to declare that its potential passage will not deter or censor us, or make us back down: we will unashamedly continue our work for justice, our solidarity with those unjustly targeted, and our loving resistance to the criminal actions of this government and its agencies."

The broad strokes in Harpo's bill that activists condemn as stage dressing for further assualts upon any who dare to resist corporate control are valid but..."Be not afraid." of the fear mongers or their false message. "Be not afraid" because the fearful are easily manipulated and soon silenced. "Be not afraid" of corporate/government message control tactics, stand up to it, speak out against it.

Corporate control of the message was the focus yesteday's post, today's is an extension of that message..


Where would Canada be without Elizabeth May?

2.18.2015

Oborne's Resignation a Reminder - If Corporations Control the Message, They Control You

Peter Oborne's integrity is an example for journalists everywhere

Yesterday longtime journalist, Peter Oborne resigned from The Daily Telegraph, he went out with a bang not a whimper. His letter, published in full here [but removed from the Telegraph], detailed some of the reasons he finally quit, including, “If advertising priorities are allowed to determine editorial judgments, how can readers continue to feel this trust? The Telegraph’s recent coverage of HSBC amounts to a form of fraud on its readers. It has been placing what it perceives to be the interests of a major international bank above its duty to bring the news to Telegraph readers.”- Peter Oborne

i ran into the article ‘Democracy itself in peril' this morning at RT [surprise]. RT saying Oborn's letter "documents years of editorial decisions marred by the paper’s advertising contracts with the bank, including the decision not to follow the recent HSBC tax-avoidance scandal as closely as other media outlets, and even removing some articles from the site completely."

Good on Peter for shining a light on the reality that 'Freedom of the Press' equalsthe freedom to print what you're told. This is, and has been, the case since about two days after Gutenberg invented the printing press. First out came the Bible, second came Don Quixote, third came 'direction' from the kings and bishops.

Five years ago an early Mud Report said: "We are all told that totalitarian regimes use the control of information as one of their key tools, we don't often see as clearly our governments do the same." And went on to explain: "Back in my youth we believed that our 'free press' protected us, then, as the lies surrounding the Vietnam war surfaced and the complicity of the press in supporting those lies became obvious that pipe-dream of protection from propaganda evaporated."

The Vietnam War was a time of crisis and enlightenment for many. Looking back now i see that the names and perspectives of every story are flip-flopped to suit whatever regime is in control. Nowadays money rules and the truth drools [except maybe in Bhutan].

Oborne's letter concludes:
"This brings me to a second and even more important point that bears not just on the fate of one newspaper but on public life as a whole. A free press is essential to a healthy democracy. There is a purpose to journalism, and it is not just to entertain. It is not to pander to political power, big corporations and rich men. Newspapers have what amounts in the end to a constitutional duty to tell their readers the truth. There are great issues here. They go to the heart of our democracy, and can no longer be ignored."

Of course, RT also has an editorial perspective. IMO the only way a person can see the message control, the propaganda, is by looking at the issue from different the different perspectives. Even this is getting harder-er by the day almost. Take for instance the ongoing spin battle about Venezuela. Remember when Hugo Chavez was being demonized and held up as a dictator by Venezuela's 'free press'? His crime when he came to power and remained there on the back of numerous democratic elections was his refusal to allow Venezuela’s wealth to continue to be shipped out of the country, as it had been for decades, by a small group of Western-supported oligarchs. Regardless of how many complimentary pieces were written in the non-Empire ass-kissing media, the only ones that surfaced in the corporate mainstream were the pro-elite anti-Chavez ones. Chavez is dead, Maduro is president now but the story is still the same.

The corporate agenda has become the corporate media's agenda because a well informed, independent people exercising their free will are often difficult to control with simple fear tactics and they often resist in unpredictable ways. Worse yet, independent minded, free people seldom stalk the malls in zombie like pursuit of needless crap.