As the San Francisco bureaucrats on the dais murmured about why they weren’t getting anywhere near what we in the audience passionately hoped for, asked for, and worked for, my mind began to wander. I began to think of another sunny day on the other side of the country 13 years earlier, when nothing happened the way anyone expected. I had met a survivor of that day who told me his story.
A high-powered financial executive, he had just arrived on the 66th floor of his office building and entered his office carrying his coffee, when he saw what looked like confetti falling everywhere -- not a typical 66th floor spectacle. Moments later, one of his friends ran out of a meeting room shouting, “They’re back.”
It was, of course, the morning of September 11th and his friend had seen a plane crash into the north tower of the World Trade Center. My interviewee and his colleagues in the south tower got on the elevator. In another 15 minutes or so, that was going to be a fast way to die, but they managed to ride down to the 44th floor lobby safely. A guy with a bullhorn was there, telling people to go back to their offices.
Still holding his cup of coffee, he decided -- as did many others in that lobby -- to go down the stairs instead. When he reached the 20th floor, a voice came on the public address system and told people to go back to their offices. My storyteller thought about obeying those instructions.
Still holding his coffee, he decided to keep heading down. He even considered getting back on an elevator, but hit the stairs again instead. Which was a good thing, because when he was on the ninth floor, the second plane crashed into the south tower, filling the elevator shafts with flaming jet fuel. Two hundred to 400 elevator riders died horribly. He put down his coffee at last and lived to tell the tale.
The moral of this story: people in power and bureaucrats seem exceptionally obtuse when it comes to recognizing that the world has changed and the old rules no longer apply. The advisors in the towers were giving excellent instructions for a previous crisis that happened to be profoundly different from the one at hand. That many had the good sense to disobey and evacuated early meant the stairwells were less crowded when the second round of evacuations began. Amazingly, the vast majority of people below the levels of the impacts made it out of both buildings -- largely despite the advice of the building's management, not because of it.
Since February 12, 2014 violent activities initiated by the opposition against the democratically elected government of Venezuela have terrorized the population, left all kinds of material destruction to the country and has cost the lives of 18 people with hundreds wounded.
Guest speaker Merli Vanegas, Venezuelan Consul General from Vancouver will give an update as to what is really going on in Venezuela and answer questions people might want to ask.
Change Agents: The Curious Case of the "Responsible" NSA Revelations
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque Has it only been 10 months since Edward Snowden's NSA revelations changed the world?
Can you even remember what the world was like, before he gave 50,000 -- no, 200,000 -- no, wait, 2 million-- secret documents to Glenn Greenwald: smoking guns that exposed Washington's global surveillance state, which far outstripped the wildest, wettest dreams of the Stasi, of Stalin, yea of Orwell himself?
Try to recall those dark days -- now long since banished, thank God! -- when the American imperium thrust its grubby hands and greedy eyes into every single digital pie available, scarfing up emails, URLs, locations, even webcam shots, of anybody and everybody, then storing them all in gargantuan data silos, to sift through and fondle for years on end. Remember that? Remember how this surveillance state, this über-Stasi, was put to the service of a regime that was actually going all over the world and murdering people -- without charges, without due process, without defense, without warning. Just circling the world, blowing up a wedding party here, a couple of teenagers there, a village, a funeral, a farm, an apartment block, day after day, week after week, year after year? Innocent people, "guilty" people; guilty of something or other, that is -- maybe just behaving in a "suspicious manner" in the eyes of unaccountable officials acting arbitrarily in secret, on the basis of screenshots sent back by robots, and rumors and vendettas gathered, for pay, by secret agents.
Do you remember how this brutal, barbaric, ugly, inhuman regime would then go around the world condemning other nations for not being moral, holy, freedom-loving and strictly adherent to international law? Do you remember the base, sickening hypocrisy of it all? State murderers -- proud state murderers, murderers who would go before legislators and under oath to God Almighty swear how proud they were to be murdering people -- telling other nations how to order their affairs according to the principles of law and justice and human rights?
Isn't it wonderful how much has changed since those days, when we discovered the spine and musculature of the surveillance regime that undergirded this ghastly system of murder and corruption and domination?
When it comes to public infrastructure initiatives, Victoria is fast earning a reputation for suffering from severe policy constipation. With 13 municipalities, the Capital Region District, and both provincial and federal government interests to be satisfied, it's little wonder big-ticket projects have a hard time of either doing their business or getting off the throne.
Perhaps the most intransigent of these is the issue of what to do with our...issue. Every day, hundreds of thousands of litres of human waste, and the concomitant detritus of modern human habitation, flows into the sea around us. How that waste is treated, or not treated, is at the centre of a heated debate that has dragged on for decades, costing not only millions of dollars, but also stinking up the city's reputation.
Richard Atwell is the director of STAG, or the Sewage Treatment Action Group, a collection of citizens promoting the R-I-T-E solution for our daily pollution; one that is: Respectful of communities; uses Innovative technologies; is Taxpayer friendly; and, Environmentally sound.
Richard Atwell looking for the right solution in the first half.
And; the international reputation of Canada-based extractive industries too stinks. In a necessarily environmentally disruptive business, companies flying our national flag seem to have made the worst of bad situations wherever they land.
With charges of bribing local officials, ignoring what meagre local ecological protection statutes exist, and showing a pattern of disregard for worker safety and lethal disdain for human rights, the Maple Leaf means something very different for those viewing it from their embattled communities abroad. Worse though than all this is the Canadian government's support of the industry through instruments like the recently announced Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development, or CIIEID.
Jennifer Moore is MiningWatch Canada's Latin America Program Coordinator, focusing on the Guatemala/Goldcorp campaign, and on supporting communities, organizations, and networks struggling with mining issues throughout Latin America.
Jen is too a freelance print and broadcast journalist, with many years experience writing social justice journalism, much of that done while living and working in Ecuador. During an extended stay in South America, from 2006 to 2010, she researched and wrote popular and academic articles about the struggles of indigenous and non-indigenous communities affected by Canadian-financed mining companies.
Jen Moore and Canada's extractive industries hitting the government hand-out mother lode in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us newz of what's good and going on on our city's streets and beyond. But first, Richard Atwell and Victoria's failure to responsibly flush.
Canada's "commodity based" economy plunges into crisis
by David Ellis
Three major factors have now plunged the Conservative governments' super high risky, policy-foolish "commodity based" China-focussed Canadian trade economy, into crisis.
The simple reality that was forgotten, is that there are only 3 fragile single-tracked railways through the four mountain ranges that must be crossed in B.C., where steep grades, and year round, continuous landslide/avalanches locations, will always endanger and limit the length of trains, especially in the long mountain winter.
AND SUDDENLY NOW:
a) Huge prairie Canola/etc. crops, that have been produced largely for the volume-based Chinese market, in volumes that the grain growing industry (see letter below) notes are the "new normal", and
b) Oilmen, particularly from the massive-volume 1/3 developed-to-date tar sands region, have increased the use the trains and offered higher prices to Canada's now New York stock-exchange driven railways, who hide behind the residual social policy-protection of the old government policies of the "railway act", that include no public disclosure of commodity volumes shipped, or dangerous goods deliveries
c) The forest industry is now "taking off" again as the U.S housing market, sees a huge re-start
d) Perhaps most profoundly for Canadian food industries, and individual families/consumers, is that what is also being disrupted is the entire "national food supply" (see the letter below from Gary Stanford, President, Grain Growers of Canada).
When it gets complicated and confusing, when you’re overwhelmed with too much information, changing daily; too many explanations, some contradictory … try putting it into some kind of context by stepping back and looking at the larger, long-term picture.
The United States strives for world domination, hegemony wherever possible, their main occupation for over a century, it’s what they do for a living. The United States, NATO and the European Union form The Holy Triumvirate. The Holy Triumvirate has subsidiaries, chiefly The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, International Criminal Court … all help to keep in line those governments lacking the Holy Triumvirate Seal Of Approval: the IMF, WB, and WTO impose market fundamentalism, while foreign leaders who act too independent are threatened with being handed over to the ICC for heavy punishment, as the United States imposes sanctions on governments and their leaders as only the King of Sanctions can, lacking any sense of hypocrisy or irony.
And who threatens United States domination? Who can challenge The Holy Triumvirate’s hegemony? Only Russia and China, if they were as imperialistic as the Western powers. (No, the Soviet Union wasn’t imperialistic; that was self-defense; Eastern Europe was a highway twice used by the West to invade; tens of millions of Russians killed or wounded.)
Since the end of the Cold War the United States has been surrounding Russia, building one base after another, ceaselessly looking for new ones, including in Ukraine; one missile site after another, with Moscow in range; NATO has grabbed one former Soviet Republic after another. The White House, and the unquestioning American mainstream media, have assured us that such operations have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO some years ago, “is this is a military organization? Yes, it’s military. … Is it moving towards our border? It’s moving towards our border. Why?” 1
by Walter Brasch The oil and gas industry, the nation’s chambers of commerce, and politicians who are dependent upon campaign contributions from the industry and the chambers, claim fracking is safe.
First, close your mind to the myriad scientific studies that show the health effects from fracking.
Close your mind to the well-documented evidence of the environmental impact.
Focus just upon the effects upon the workers.
The oil and gas industry has a fatality rate seven times higher than for all other workers, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control. (CDC). According to the CDC, the death rate in the oil and gas industry is 27.1; the U.S. collective death rate is 3.8.
“Job gains in oil and gas construction have come with more fatalities, and that is unacceptable,” said John E. Perez, secretary of labor.
Not included in the data, because it doesn’t include the past three years, when the oil/gas industry significantly increased fracking in the Marcellus and other shales, is a 27-year-old worker who was cremated in a gas well explosion in late February in Greene County, Pa.
“Ladies and gentlemen, peace is Israel’s highest aspiration. I’m prepared to make a historic peace with our Palestinian neighbours — – a peace that would end a century of conflict and bloodshed. Peace would be good for us. Peace would be good for the Palestinians” - Bibi Netanyahu before the AIPAC conference earlier this month
There are those who stand in regal splendor in halls resplendent with brilliantly colored flags and emblems of rank testifying to their positions as leaders in the world, acknowledged with respectful applause, as the audience standing in adulation of that position to witness the entrance of the announced Lord of the realm as he ascends to the podium to declare his moral righteousness before the world, spread out through the nations in the Temple of Television, and boldly, shamelessly lie before all humankind—they are the face of falsehood.
Yesterday that face was George W. Bush addressing the joint sessions of Congress as he announced vengeance against an unknown enemy as lie after lie fell from his lips. Today it is Netanyahu declaring his love for peace when he speaks for a nation led by Zionist ideology that has never sought peace as that word is known to the entire world and thus masks truth in obfuscation, for “peace” to the Zionist has been and continues to be “greater Israel” achieved by power not by peace as we know it.
by Peter Lee - China Matters As readers may know—a necessary caveat because the story has not received wall-to-wall play as, for instance, the resignation of Liz Wray from RT has attracted—the audio of an intercepted phone call between the Foreign Minister of Estonia, one Urmas Paet, and Baroness Ashton, the EU poobah in charge of foreign relations and, by extension, the Ukraine mess, made its way onto the Internet.
Paet is reporting on what he saw and heard in Ukraine near the height of the crisis, shortly after the sniper attack of February 21 and the precipitous collapse of the Yanyukovich government.
Did Right-Wing Protesters Hire Snipers to Kill Protesters and Police at Maidan?
by Walter C. Uhler Dmitro Yarosh is the leader of the right-wing radical Ukrainian group known as Pravy Sektor (The Right Sector). Pravy Sektor and Svoboda (one of the three oppositional parties in Ukraine’s parliament prior to the coup d’état that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych) were particularly willing to resort to violence against the police at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, in Kiev. Moreover, as Keith Darden and Lucan Way have observed;
“The right-wing groups have been particularly active among the organization of the protest movement on the ground, particularly as the number of protesters has dwindled over time and revealed a resilient right-wing core.” [Washington Post, Feb. 12, 2014]
According to Dr. Anton Shekhovtsov, an expert on Ukraine and right-wing parties in Europe;
“What is frightening, however, with Pravy Sektor itself is that it comprises many groups that I would call neo-Nazi. Fortunately, they also constitute a minor element of Pravy Sektor, but they are there. Dmitro Yarosh, who is the leader of the Trident, of Trizub-it’s the name of the organization — it may be not racist itself, but it cooperates with the real nasty people who are part of the Pravy Sektor, like Patriot of Ukraine.” [“Crisis in Ukraine: The Role and Responsibility of the West.” Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, February 7, 2014
The Pentagon’s Phony Budget War: Or How the U.S. Military Avoided Budget Cuts, Lied About Doing So, Then Asked for Billions More
by Mattea Kramer- TomDispatch Washington is pushing the panic button, claiming austerity is hollowing out our armed forces and our national security is at risk. That was the message Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel delivered last week when he announced that the Army would shrink to levels not seen since before World War II. Headlines about this crisis followed in papers like the New York Times and members of Congress issued statements swearing that they would never allow our security to be held hostage to the budget-cutting process.
Yet a careful look at budget figures for the U.S. military -- a bureaucratic juggernaut accounting for 57% of the federal discretionary budget and nearly 40% of all military spending on this planet -- shows that such claims have been largely fictional. Despite cries of doom since the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration surfaced in Washington in 2011, the Pentagon has seen few actual reductions, and there is no indication that will change any time soon.
This piece of potentially explosive news has, however, gone missing in action -- and the “news” that replaced it could prove to be one of the great bait-and-switch stories of our time.