The same lies that were told the last time around ("Sleeper cells!" "Mass Destruction of our cities!" "Unprecedented evil!" "Imminent danger!") are being trotted out again, this time in Democratic drag.
Cheney and Obama, Kissinger and Kerry, working together to beat the war drums -- who says bipartisanship is dead?
As in 2003 (and 1991, for that matter), facts are thin on the ground -- but the bull is flowing thick and fast. So it's once more into the breach, with a military intervention to solve the problems caused by the last military intervention -- which will no doubt cause problems which can only be addressed by a future military intervention.
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg. Just typing the names is depressing. As part of their long matured and carefully prepared campaign plan (founded 9 September 2014) they are coming together to Scotland tomorrow to campaign.
In a brilliant twist, they will all come on the same day but not appear together. This will prevent the public from noticing that they all represent precisely the same interests.
Nobody in Scotland feels the slightest warmth towards these people, except for those paid hacks whose income depends upon their feeling such warmth (and there are too many of those, but still only a few hundred).
One thing I can guarantee is that this rush of “superstars” will not meet my challenge of seeing 300 Better Together supporters in the same place.
Ceasefires in Which Violations Never Cease: What’s Next for Israel, Hamas, and Gaza?
by Noam Chomsky - TomDispatch On August 26th, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) both accepted a ceasefire agreement after a 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead and vast landscapes of destruction behind. The agreement calls for an end to military action by both Israel and Hamas, as well as an easing of the Israeli siege that has strangled Gaza for many years.
This is, however, just the most recent of a series of ceasefire agreements reached after each of Israel's periodic escalations of its unremitting assault on Gaza.
Throughout this period, the terms of these agreements remain essentially the same. The regular pattern is for Israel, then, to disregard whatever agreement is in place, while Hamas observes it -- as Israel has officially recognized -- until a sharp increase in Israeli violence elicits a Hamas response, followed by even fiercer brutality. These escalations, which amount to shooting fish in a pond, are called "mowing the lawn" in Israeli parlance.
The most recent was more accurately described as "removing the topsoil" by a senior U.S. military officer, appalled by the practices of the self-described "most moral army in the world."
A 696 page book on economics is unlikely to be a publishing sensation. But Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century is an exception. It quickly climbed to bestseller status in 2014 and has stayed there for months. Anyone who gives a serious thought to economics has found this difficult book by an obscure French professor to be mandatory reading. Scholars have ranked it as one of the most important books in economic history, placing it in the rarified company of such seminal thinkers as Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Karl Marx.
Why all the attention? First, Capital in the Twenty-First Century explains, with simple elegance, why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, a fundamental social problem that has fomented civil unrest in the past, is irritating modern cultures today, and is becoming an increasingly acute malaise as we wade further into the 21st century. Second, unlike most books on economics, Piketty has reversed the usual process of advancing a theory and then correlating it to reality.
Instead, he and his team undertook 17 years of exhaustive research that laboriously analyzed the history of taxation in almost 30 countries — the emphasis was on France, Britain and America during the last 300 years — and then drew conclusions from the evidence.
This empirical approach gives his ideas a special credibility that authorizes a thoughtful re-evaluation of modern economic practice. Third, Piketty has established that wealth inequality rises as an unregulated capitalist economy matures, the opposite of most current theory. And fourth, Piketty is not a Marxist describing a doomed system; he is an avowed capitalist who is trying to identify its faults so the economic system can be adjusted to becine more stable, sustainable and beneficial.
So, why do the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Simply put, the rate of return on capital tends to exceed that of economic growth. Everyone without money to invest — the wage-earners whose prosperity is directly linked to the gradual increase in society's collective wealth — finds that their rising prosperity is routinely surpassed by those who have money to invest. Over a period of time, the gulf between the rich and the poor widens.
This widening gulf eventually has dire social consequences.
Welcome back to a new year here at the University of Victoria; though many future UVic students will NOT be in class this week, post-secondary education will carry on in British Columbia. Also carrying on is Big Energy's never-ending struggle to avoid environmental strictures designed to rein in the sector's worst practices.
Case in point: the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Pacific Pipeline project.
The Kinder Morgan Energy Partners Limited Partnership you'll likely remember is that other controversial pipeline hoping to twin its current capacity to transfer Tar Sands bitumen across the rugged Rocky and Coastal Mountain ranges, delivering to Vancouver's Burrard Inlet the stuff Alberta's dreams are made of.
Getting approval for their scheme shouldn't be too great a problem, at least where receiving the National Energy Board's necessary imprimatur to forge on is concerned, as the federal regulator is already greasing the skids.
Robyn Allan is a researcher, author, and former corporate executive who has held many executive positions in the private and public sectors including President and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, Vice-President Finance for Parklane Ventures Ltd., and Senior Economist for B.C. Central Credit Union. She recently produced and released the report: 'The National Energy Board Guaranteed Kinder Morgan a Fund to Push Pipeline Expansion Through Regulatory Review' an examination of the National Energy Board of Canada's relationship with Kinder Morgan and its decision to allow the company to pre-fund the "projected" future expansion of its Trans Mountain Pipeline ambitions.
Allan also served as the Economic and Financial Adviser to the Barrett Commission of Inquiry into the Quality of Condominium Construction in British Columbia and has taught Money and Banking, Public Finance and Micro and Macro Economics at the university level. She has too written numerous articles for newspapers and magazines including the Globe and Mail, Financial Post, Business in Vancouver and Enterprise Magazine. Robyn Allan is author of the book, 'Quest for Prosperity: The Dance of Success' and recently provided evidence on economic and insurance issues related to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline Project currently before the National Energy Board.
Robyn Allan in the first half.
And; as toxic spills go, the Mount Polley tailings dam failure is unprecedented in Canadian history. In fact, it's the single biggest environmental disaster of its kind anywhere. But according to British Columbia's minister of mines, it's all no different from damage caused by any one of the scores of landslides the province sees annually. Oh yeah, that and the more than 10 million cubic meters of toxic mining waste dumped into one of the B.C.'s most important environmental areas. But, in the days following disaster, Bill Bennett and the ruling BC Liberal party, the same that received huge campaign contributions from the operator of the mine responsible, Imperial Metals, deemed the water supplying residents of Quesnel Lake and environs safe to drink. Upon reflection, local health officials reinstated previously lifted drinking water ban, sending concerned residents mixed messages.
Damien Gillis is co-founder, with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, a web news site helping to fill the Canadian news media void. He's also a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker focusing on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - and working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. His film credits include: 'Fractured Land', 'Oil in Eden: The Battle to Protect Canada's Pacific Coast,' and numerous shorts featuring British Columbia's beauty and the imminent threats industry pose to its unique environment. Gillis is too a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.
Damien Gillis and clearing the turbidity of the Mount Polley Mine tailings spill 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 news from our city's streets, and beyond there too. But first, Robyn Allan, the Trans Mountain Pipeline project, and National Energy Board promises made to Kinder Morgan.
by Damien Gillis - The Canadian Larry Chambers warned Imperial Metals that its tailings pond was bound to fail – and he was fired for it, the Likely, BC resident told media in Vancouver earlier today.
He and his wife, Lawna Bourassa-Keuster, have now lost their home on once-beautiful Quensnel Lake – too afraid to drink the cloudy and discoloured water, which they brought with them to Vancouver in a jar.
“Christy Clark did come to Likely and at that time, she informed us that she would make sure that Quesnel Lake would be brought back to its pristine state,” said Bourassa-Keuster.
“We haven’t seen or heard from her since.”
“We, like most of the residents, live in Likely for its beauty and peacefulness. This is heartbreaking to see.”Cloudy water from Quesnel Lake (photo: Damien Gillis)
How Not to Win Hearts and Minds in Africa: Hushed Pentagon Investigation Slaps U.S. Africa Command’s Humanitarian Activities
by Nick Turse - TomDispatch DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - Movie night in Mouloud, Djibouti. Skype lessons in Ethiopia. Veterinary training assistance in Garissa, Kenya. And in this country on the east coast of Africa, work on both primary and secondary schools and a cistern to provide clean water. These are all-American good works, but who is doing them -- and why?
As I sit in a room filled with scores of high-ranking military officers resplendent in their dress uniforms -- Kenyans in their khakis, Burundians and Ugandans clad in olive, Tanzanians in deep forest green sporting like-colored berets and red epaulets with crossed rifles on their shoulders -- chances are that the U.S. military is carrying out some mission somewhere on this vast continent. It might be a kidnapping raid or a training exercise. It could be an airstrike or the construction of a drone base. Or, as I wait for the next speaker to approach the lectern at the “Land Forces East Africa” conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, it could be a humanitarian operation run not by civilians in the aid business, but by military troops with ulterior motives -- part of a near-continent-wide campaign utilizing the core tenets of counterinsurgency strategy.
The U.S. is trying to win a war for the hearts and minds of Africa. But a Pentagon investigation suggests that those mystery projects somewhere out there in Djibouti or Ethiopia or Kenya or here in Tanzania may well be orphaned, ill-planned, and undocumented failures-in-the-making. According to the Department of Defense’s watchdog agency, U.S. military officials in Africa “did not adequately plan or execute” missions designed to win over Africans deemed vulnerable to the lures of violent extremism.
This evidence of failure in the earliest stages of the U.S. military’s hearts-and-minds campaign should have an eerie resonance for anyone who has followed its previous efforts to use humanitarian aid and infrastructure projects to sway local populations in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan. In each case, the operations failed in spectacular ways, but were only fully acknowledged after years of futility and billions of dollars in waste. In Africa, a war zone about which most Americans are completely unaware, the writing is already on the wall. Or at least it should be. While Pentagon investigators identified a plethora of problems, their report has, in fact, been kept under wraps for almost a year, while the command responsible for the failures has ignored all questions about it from TomDispatch.
What a Difference a Decade (or so) Makes: Canadian Forces to Iraq
by C. L. Cook - Pacific Free Press Fresh from the NATO confab in Wales, Stephen Harper announced Canadian troops will be sent to Iraq, ostensibly to aid in the fight against ISIS.
Days before 9/11's 13th anniversary, and nearly eleven and a half years after George W. Bush's declaration of "mission accomplished" in America's war against Saddam Hussein, Canada will finally, (officially) have 'boots on the ground' in that benighted nation.
Candidates for the Canadian Special Operations Regiment train in Kamloops, B.C. (Lt(N) Meghan Marsaw/Combat Camera)
It's a move resisted in bygone days by former prime minister, Jean Chretien, and opposed vociferously then by his Liberal party and the left-leaning New Democrats. But, why is the official opposition, and the unofficial government-in-waiting now on board with the PM; and, what will Canadian Forces be doing when they get over there?
by Robert Parry - Consortium News If you wonder how the world could stumble into World War III – much as it did into World War I a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire U.S. political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats vs. black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.
The original lie behind Official Washington’s latest “group think” was that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the crisis in Ukraine as part of some diabolical scheme to reclaim the territory of the defunct Soviet Union, including Estonia and other Baltic states. Though not a shred of U.S. intelligence supported this scenario, all the “smart people” of Washington just “knew” it to be true.
Yet, the once-acknowledged – though soon forgotten – reality was that the crisis was provoked last year by the European Union proposing an association agreement with Ukraine while U.S. neocons and other hawkish politicos and pundits envisioned using the Ukraine gambit as a way to undermine Putin inside Russia.
by Bill Blunden - CounterPunch Readers with a morbid sense of curiosity can visit a web site called NukeMap that allows visitors to witness the devastation caused by nuclear weapons of varying yields on a city of their choosing[i]. Herman Kahn, who was an armchair theorist from RAND during the Cold War, insisted that nuclear war was winnable[ii]. But a few hours with NukeMap will disprove Kahn’s folly and the baleful smiley face that he tried to slap over human extinction.
Against this backdrop it’s no wonder that recent developments in the Ukraine have been known to cause night terrors. Your author can vouch for this. Last week there was an earthquake in the Bay Area and at the outset I woke up mistaking it for a shock wave from sub-megaton warhead hitting Silicon Valley.
One could posit that what’s happening in Eastern Europe offers a look-see into the nature of the groups that are calling the shots in the United States.
On BC Day, a holiday meant to celebrate beautiful BC, we were all having a beautiful time at the family cabin at Quesnel Lake, with hot sun, blue skies and a pristine lake.
That night, I slept on my new boat docked in front of the cabin and was awakened at 3:00 AM by a continuous roar – like a 747 jet was flying towards the town of Likely.
I thought the sound odd and then noticed the boat was rocking when just a minute before Quesnel Lake had been as smooth as glass. I knew that Polley Mine was only a few miles away, but I just returned to bed puzzled by the strange, distant noise.