March 12, 2017
Dystopias have recently achieved full-spectrum dominance. Kids are drawn to such stories -- The Giver, Hunger Games -- like Goths to piercings. TV shows about zombie apocalypses, pandemics, and technology run amok inspire binge watching. We’ve seen the world-gone-truly-bad a thousand times over on the big screen.
This apocalyptic outpouring has been so intense that talk of “peak dystopia” started to circulate several years ago. Yet the stock of the doomsday cartel has shown no signs of falling, even as production continues at full blast. (A confession: with my recent novel Splinterlands I’ve contributed my own bit to flooding the dystopia market.) As novelist Junot Diaz argued last October, dystopia has become “the default narrative of the generation.”
Shortly after Diaz made that comment, dystopia became the default narrative for American politics as well when Donald Trump stepped off the set of The Celebrity Apprentice and into the Oval Office.
With the election of an uber-narcissist incapable of distinguishing between fact and fantasy, all the dystopian nightmares that had gathered like storm clouds on the horizon -- nuclear war, climate change, a clash of civilizations -- suddenly moved overhead. Cue the rumble of thunder and the flash of lightning.
Screenlandia and the Mass Man
by Christopher Ketcham - CounterPunch
March 10, 2017
Every human in my immediate view is hunched over a screen. It is something out of a horror movie.
You who have wandered in the backcountry and for even a few days have been free of the digital tyranny will know that feeling, when you come back to your fellow man and are confronted with what look like machined abortions of men – and when you too become one of them, chained in the unreality of the zeitgeist.
You who’ve been among trees and grasses and flowers, who have ears for the ululating soil in the green light that filters the sun and fixes its energy, and have felt your animal self, naked, alive to the five senses, who have seen colors that seem hallucinated, impossible to reproduce by the technical hand; you ecologists, botanists, biologists who have heard the calls, watched the ways, witnessed in surprise and wonder the distinctions, the differences, the oddness of the countless species, and floated on the surf in your mind’s eye, looked in upon the waters, and seen teeming there in the bosom of the real, in the tumult of the water, the raw complexity of the will to life, the agency of the world that birthed us – the only world-reality worth caring about.
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“Afghanistan: As Only Love Could Hurt”
by Andre Vltchek - Dissident Voice
March 10th, 2017
It is now winter in Kabul, end of February 2017. At night the temperature gets near zero. The mountains surrounding the city are covered by snow. It feels much chillier than it really is.
Soon it will be 16 years since the US/UK invasion of the country, and 16 years since the Bonn Conference, during which Hamid Karzai was “selected” to head the Afghan Interim Administration.
Almost everyone I spoke to in Afghanistan agrees that things are rapidly moving from bad to rock bottom.
Bagram at Sunset - Andre Vltchek
Afghans, at home and abroad, are deeply pessimistic. With hefty allowances and privileges, at least some foreigners based in Kabul are much more upbeat, but ‘positive thinking’ is what they are paid to demonstrate.
Trump's Attack on America the Beautiful
by Robert Hunziker - CounterPunch
March 9, 2017
Trump is the first president to take on America the Beautiful. He’s at war with America. This is not new news. Yet, it is worthy of further discussion. Trump’s anti-establishmentarian credentials flaunted during the campaign to woo voters fed up with America’s decline, except for filthy rich, has lost its shine. He’s an establishment creature, not anti-establishment, in the neoliberal sense of supply-side economics, force-feeding the upper class so they’ll drop crumbs down below to the vast Middle/Poor Class, a new socio-economic class in America, the newest, largest class, supplanting the vast middle class of the 1950s-60s-70s.
Now that Trump has hoodwinked America’s Middle/Poor Class voters, he has turned his attention to a much larger issue, the destruction of America the Beautiful. With the exception of perfectly groomed golf courses, Trump hates environmental protectionism.
He’s out to get it.
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by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
March 8, 2017
Two months from today, British Columbia's registered voters will be given the opportunity to elect their next provincial political representatives.
One of the many environmental issues threatening an easy return to power for incumbent premier Christy Clark and her BCLiberals is the Site C mega dam on the Peace River.
The controversial project has many opponents and is currently the subject of numerous law suits. Clark and her government's response to concerns about the dam so far is accelerated development she promises will take Site C "past the point of no return."
Whether that point has been reached yet, after months of blasting, clear-cut logging in the Peace River's riparian zones, and the eviction of farm families deemed in the way is still a matter of contention. At least according to former premier, Mike Harcourt who lent his voice last week to the growing chorus of objection to both the environmental and economic foundations of the dam.
Ken Boon is one of those opposing Site C. The president of the Peace Valley Landowners Association and Peace River Valley farmer saw portions of his family farm expropriated by BC Hydro, ostensibly to make way for a highway scheme connected to dam construction. Boon too was named last year in a lawsuit brought by Hydro against six protesters for “intentional interference with economic relations by unlawful means.”
Ken Boon in the first half.
And; last month, the Vancouver Parks Board announced it will continue its captive whale program, saying it plans to bring in as many as five more belugas. Aquarium CEO, John Nightingale told the press, whales the organization "owns" currently on loan to other aquariums could be returned by early 2019. Yesterday, the Parks Board held a "special" meeting regarding future plans of the Vancouver Aquarium and its continuing whale captivity and exhibition program.
Annelise Sorg is President and Co-founder of No Whales in Captivity, an organization that has since 1992 been dedicated to closing whale tanks. Annelise is Executive Director of the Secret Bay Project Society, a former Executive Director of the Canadian Marine Environment Protection Society, BC Environment Network, and Eden Conservation Trust, as well as a Director of the Vancouver Humane Society.
Annelise Sorg and fighting to phase out cetacean exhibits at the Vancouver Aquarium in the second half.
And; CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events update of some of the good things going planned around here in the coming week. But first, Ken Boon and the widening cracks in Christy Clark's Site C dam dreams.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: https://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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March 7, 2017
In his inaugural address, President Trump described a dark and dismal United States, a country overrun by criminal gangs and drugs, a nation stained with the blood seeping from bullet-ridden corpses left at scenes of “American carnage.” It was more than a little jarring.
Certainly, drug gangs and universally accessible semi-automatic weapons do not contribute to a better life for most people in this country. When I hear the words “American carnage,” however, the first thing I think of is not an endless string of murders taking place in those mysterious “inner cities” that exist only in the fevered mind of Donald Trump. The phrase instead evokes the non-imaginary deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in real cities and rural areas outside the United States.
It evokes the conversion of millions of ordinary people into homeless refugees. It reminds me of the places where American wars seem never to end, where new conflicts seem to take up just as the old ones are in danger of petering out.
These sites of carnage are the cities and towns, mountains and deserts of Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and other places that we don’t even find out about unless we go looking. They are the places where the United States fights its endless wars.
Ape Goes to Victoria's Impromptu People's Town Hall Reception for Prime Minister Trudeau
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
Mar. 2, 2017
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a quick visit to Victoria and Esquimalt today, speaking with Mayor Lisa Helps and giving a press conference at the Naval base.
As Trudeau had passed on a previous Town Hall in Victoria, the folk decided to hold an impromptu session on the steps of City Hall prior to the PM’s arrival.
Much has been made of Trudeau’s reversal on his pre and post-election promise that the 2015 federal election would be the “last election using the first past the post system.”
There are also concerns about the federal government imprimatur on the contentious Kinder Morgan pipeline project, bringing diluted bitumen across the breadth of the province to Burnaby for trans-shipment to Asia, and the greenlighting of the Site C mega-dam project that will make a sacrifice zone of a portion of the Peace River country in the northeast of the province.
I went down to get some opinions. Below is the press release sent out by ElectoralReform.ca.
March 2, 2017
(Montreal/Ottawa) On March 2, 2016, Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres, an organizer with the Lenca people’s resistance in Honduras, was murdered despite security measures that she had been granted given the constant threats against her.
Today, in Ottawa, in response to the call from Berta’s family and her organization the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and in the context of dozens of actions around the world, there will be a commemoration of Berta’s life from 7-9 pm at the Friends’ House (Quaker Meeting House, 91A Fourth Ave).
A year since her assassination, there have been various irregularities in the investigation into her case and the attempted murder of Mexican activist Gustavo Castro, sole survivor of the attack.
Artwork: Pat Perry
We will reaffirm our commitment to never forget Berta, her analysis and her struggle, and to continue demanding that justice be done.
Guantánamo's Last 100 Days: The Story That Never Was
by Karen J. Greenberg - TomDispatch
March 2, 2017
In the spring of 2016, I asked a student of mine to do me a favor and figure out which day would be the 100th before Barack Obama’s presidency ended. October 12th, he reported back, and then asked me the obvious question:
Why in the world did I want to know?
The answer was simple. Years before I had written a book about Guantánamo’s first 100 days and I was looking forward to writing an essay highlighting that detention camp’s last 100 days.
I had been waiting for this moment almost eight years, since on the first day of his presidency Obama signed an executive order to close that already infamous offshore prison within a year.
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This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
February 28, 2017
Just because you can't believe something doesn't make it fiction. You may wish Donald Trump was never elected, and be clinging to the desperate notion the last forty two days are just a prolonged bad dream; rub your eyes, pinch your arm, and give your head a shake now, because this in no nightmare, it is real life, and it's just the beginning!
But how, you may ask, did this unforeseen, unforeseeable turn of events come to pass? How!?
Well, perhaps you weren't paying attention. Perhaps you just failed to notice the inexorable, determined disintegration of Western civilization. Sliding a bit with every delusional press release; inching nearer the abyss one drone strike at a time.
If it makes you feel any better, not everyone was surprised.
Robert J. Sawyer makes a living inventing fantastic stories. The Canadian science fiction superstar is one of only eight writers to have bagged Sci-fi's triple crown, winning each of the Hugo, Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Awards for best novel.
Described as the "Dean of Canadian science fiction," Sawyer is also recipient of the first-ever Humanism in the Arts Award from Humanist Canada, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor General of Canada, the Hal Clement Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year, and a Lifetime Achievement Aurora Award from the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.
Sawyer's 23 novels have featured regularly at the top of Canadian best-sellers lists and he was named by publishing trade journal Quill & Quire, one of "the thirty most influential, innovative, and just plain powerful people in Canadian publishing." Sawyer's latest novel, 'Quantum Night' predicted the rise of a populist mad-man to America's highest office; a feat in art nature determined to imitate.
Robert J. Sawyer in the first half.
And; my second guest asks, "Can Canada Get Out of the War Business?" Probably not as long as Canadians entertain the comfortable collective notion of themselves as meek and mild do-gooders on the global stage; the nation everyone wants most to both be like, and have as a best friend. The truth is a little darker than a northern winter, and it's past time to spotlight the real role we play in the World.
David Swanson is a peace and political justice activist, journalist, radio host, and author whose book titles include: 'War No More: The Case for Abolition,' 'When the World Outlawed War,' 'War Is a Lie,' and 'The Military Industrial Complex at 50' among others. He's a past Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, director of WorldBeyondWar.org, campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org, and blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. David also hosts Talk Nation Radio.
David Swanson and endin' Canada's wicked, warrin' ways in the second half.
And; CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft, and/or horticulturalist extraordinaire, Christina Nikolic will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Newsletter, bringing us up to speed with some of what's good going on in and around our town in the coming week. But first, stepping into a Trump twilight zone with Robert J. Sawyer and a Quantum Night.
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Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
The Art of the Trumpaclysm: How the U.S. Invaded, Occupied, and Remade Itself
by Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch
February 26, 2017
It’s been epic! A cast of thousands! (Hundreds? Tens?) A spectacular production that, five weeks after opening on every screen of any sort in America (and possibly the world), shows no sign of ending.
What a hit it's been!
It’s driving people back to newspapers (online, if not in print) and ensuring that our everyday companions, the 24/7 cable news shows, never lack for “breaking news” or audiences. It’s a smash in both the Hollywood and car accident sense of the term, a phenomenon the likes of which we’ve simply never experienced. Think of Nero fiddling while Rome burned and the cameras rolled. It’s proved, in every way, to be a giant leak. A faucet. A spigot. An absolute flood of non-news, quarter-news, half-news, crazed news, fake news, and over-the-top actual news.
And you know exactly what -- and whom -- I’m talking about. No need to explain. I mean, you tell me: What doesn’t it have? Its lead actor is the closest we’ve come in our nation's capital to an action figure.
Think of him as the Mar-a-Lego version of Batman and the Joker rolled into one, a president who, as he told us at a news conference recently, is “the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life” and the “least racist person” as well. As report after report indicates, he attacks, lashes out, mocks, tweets, pummels, charges, and complains, showering calumny on others even as he praises his achievements without surcease. Think of him as the towering inferno of twenty-first-century American politics or a modern Godzilla eternally emerging from New York harbor.
As for his supporting cast? Islamophobes, Iranophobes, white nationalists; bevies of billionaires and multimillionaires; a resurgent stock market gone wild; the complete fossil fuel industry and every crackpot climate change “skeptic” in town; a press spokesman immortalized by Saturday Night Live whose afternoon briefings are already beating the soap opera General Hospital in the ratings; a White House counselor whose expertise is in “alternative facts”; a national security adviser who (with a tenure of 24 days) seemed to sum up the concept of “insecurity”; a White House chief of staff and liaison with the Republicans in Congress who’s already being sized up for extinction, as well as a couple of appointees who were “dismissed” or even frog-marched out of their offices and jobs for having criticized The Donald and not fessed up... honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up, or rather only Trump himself can do so. And by the way, just so you know, based on the last weeks of “news” I could keep this paragraph going more or less forever without even breaking into a sweat.
Elmarie Roberts, Organic Gardener, Educator, Communitarian
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla Radio
February 23rd, 2017
"Sharing something sustainable, something healthy, and something that makes us happy..."
Despite traveling half-way around the World to find it, Victoria was a homecoming of sorts for South Africa native, Elmarie Roberts. The educator and organic gardener arrived in Canada with her young family in 1994, settling first in Vancouver.
It didn't take long for the Roberts' to look further west, and to starting a new life on Vancouver Island.
Elmarie's journey into organic farming was a roundabout one too. Before getting her hands back in the dirt, she taught ESL classes, operated an Aromatherapy studio, and worked with the charitable, St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Her career however began to go in another direction when taking an Organic Farming as a Business course at Victoria's Camosun College led to the Haliburton Community Organic Farm and the creation of her Sunbird Farm. It also led some years later to Gaia College, where she both earned Growing Food and Organic Master Gardener certificates, and employed her teaching instincts becoming an instructor for Gaia's Growing Food in the City course.
"It's a good thing," she says, the teacherly tone of her lightly accented Afrikaans coming across over the telephone line.
"You can feel it in your bones, when one is out there working with your hands in the soil."
And it's a coming of full circle in a way, going back to her beginnings of growing up close to the land.
"My dad was in the parks department of the local municipality," she tells me, her voice casting back over the years to her childhood in South Africa.
"I loved hanging out in the greenhouse with him, and discovering what was under the pots," she says, reminiscing about,
"...those early, formative years, when you remember happy things, like the warmth and the smell of a greenhouse...and plants just growing beautifully everywhere."
Elmarie has since passed her Sunbird Farm plot along to new farmers, and while she still keeps her fingers in the earth maintaining a demonstration plot growing herbs, flowers and seed, she's concentrating primarily on passing along knowledge gleaned at Gaia College, and her eleven years running her hands through the soil at Haliburton, to a new generation of organic farming students; imparting to them both the practical lessons of organic gardening learned, and more vitally the spiritual connection between farm and farmer.
photo: Ben Ziegler collaborativejourneys.com
Elmarie Roberts currently teaches Gaia College's Food in the City course, and is an instructor too at Haliburton Community Organic Farm's newly initiated EcoFarm School. She reminds, farming is also about community and, "...sharing something sustainable, something healthy, and something that makes us happy."
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