Today's War On Everything News

/ Tuesday, November 8, 2011 /
I'm going to run out of titles for these daily wraps for my radio program in a hurry. I'm hoping the links and videos are of use and get sent around.

Here's a video of an Irishman getting it right about Wall Street, that the good people at Crooks and Liars posted today. It's dead on in so many ways and extremely funny, but the language is definitely NSFW.

So to begin by following up on the Iran acquiring the technology to create a nuclear weapon and why the west should now go to war with Iran story, well, things remain unclear. The leaks that were making the rounds this week suggested that the IAEA was absolutely going to confirm that this was in fact the case and since they have considerably more credibility than the US and NATO on such issues, this was going to bolster the case for an attack on Iran. It turns out however, that this is not the case. The IAEA report in fact says that they are "unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” according to the report by the UN watch-dog.

Iran has been accused of "...being slow to respond to IAEA requests for further information “concerning the construction of ten new uranium enrichment facilities,” the sites for five of which have been decided and only one of which has begun construction." That's far different from being ready to arm a long range missile with a nuclear warhead - in fact it's not the same thing at all.

There is apparently only "...circumstantial evidence, provided by Western intelligence sources, that Iran has engaged in research and development activities which are “strong indicators of possible weapon development.” No direct evidence, however, is provided of an active weaponization program; the report’s concerns mostly arise from the absence of evidence disproving weaponization.

Did you get that? What evidence the IAEA claims to have comes from the same Western intelligence sources that have been beating the drums for war for some time now while baselessly claiming that the Iranians are a threat. And their concerns are about the absence of evidence disproving weaponization! That's an insane reason to impose sanctions, let alone wage war. But it does this sound like the same kind of rhetoric that was heard before the illegal war on Iraq. It's not out of the question that Iran could be pursuing such weapons, but it would likely be to ensure that they don't find themselves the victims of attacks from the outside. They represent no threat to the west or to the world unless they also possess a desire to be incinerated.

There's no war on poverty taking place in the US, but they are arguing about how to define it. The latest estimate says 16% of Americans lived in poverty in 2010. There's only one word necessary to describe that, shameful.

There has been a war on the poor and it's what the Occupy Wall Street Movement is about. It's been going on for decades now ...but if you hadn’t noticed, that’s not surprising. You wouldn’t often have found the casualty figures from this particular conflict in your local newspaper or on the nightly TV news. Over at Alternet you can find a Francis Fox Piven piece that a great job chronicling the numbers and the moral force behind tackling this ongoing assault on the poor.Some numbers to consider: Some 19 million people are living in what is called extreme poverty, which means that their household income falls in the bottom half of those considered to be below the poverty line.  More than a third of those extremely poor people are children.

In the US, there's also the war on the elderly and their pension plans. CNN's reprehensible Candy Crowley ...badgered the Director of the AARP, David Certner about whether seniors are going to be willing to "put skin in the game" when it comes to getting our budget deficits under control. That's right - don't tax millionaires and billionaires. Go after the pension plans that seniors paid into their entire working lives and deprive them of a decent retirement and dignity. Seems the wealthy won't be happy until the elderly are living on cat food.

The war on the environment is being championed by those at Fox News, and this week they are pretending to have uncovered a "scandal," that IPCC reports “have often been written by graduate students with little or no experience in their field of study. Well, they left out some rather important and pertinent facts. Turns out that there were over 450 lead authors for the 2007 assessment report, plus 800 contributing authors and more than 2,500 reviewers. Fox identified only one graduate student who worked on the 2007 report. So they spoke about 1 out 1250 authors. I know, I know, it's shocking that Fox News would engage in this kind of deceit.

Thanks to the changing climate, mountain pine beetles have been waging war on hundreds of thousands of whitebark pines and winning, making this rugged pine a likely victim of extinction in the very near future.

And by the by, the latest research on current climactic conditions finds clear evidence that the global warming we're witnessing is unprecedented in the past 20,000 years. And remember, climate change come with all kinds of costs, some of the cash. So far in 2011 the costs of extreme weather in the US is upwards of $52 billion dollars! Go to the link and do the math - it's extraordinary. Seems that prevention would be a money saving idea whose time has long since come.

Going to end this post on a happy note... actually, three of them: There were elections tonight in the US and voters in Mississippi went out and voted down the ghastly personhood amendment which would have defined a fertilized agg as a person. In Ohio voters defeated the anti-labor law Senate Bill 5 which would have stripped workers of their right to collectively bargain. And in Maine the voters defeated a voter suppression law keeping the state’s longstanding practice of same-day voter registration on election day.

The Warmongers Are On The March

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Remember the Iraq war? Wasn't all that murder and torture awesome? Didn't taking out Saddam make the world a better place, help the economy to hum along smoothly and unite us all in one glorious, orgasmic moment of unity and brotherhood? No?

Well get ready boys and girls because the people who brought us the quagmire in Iraq are planning to bring us more war, this time with Iran and they are assuring us that this time, for sure, it will all go smoothly. Here just for you, through the magic of the internets is a play by Tim Robbins called 'Embedded.' It's terrific and also a timely reminder of what war brings. There are no good wars.

Give this some time to load before playing, it's well worth the effort. Enjoy!

Tuesday At The Radio Show

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I wish I could get it all together: the radio show, the podcast and the blog. Truth is I do it alone and simply run out of steam and so I keep my primary focus on the radio show and offering up an alternative to the bilge that the media spews forth daily. It's simple, if you want to remain informed all you need is the desire coupled with the digital media. I'm going to start offering up my heavily linked posts once again as a tool for you and for myself so I can bring some sort of order to my radio show.

The U.S. State Department has announced that their chief investigator will review the Obama administration's handling of a Canadian company's request to pipe oil from western Canada to Texas, following complaints from 14 U.S. lawmakers. The review will look at the Keystone XL pipeline approval process, the controversial $7 billion project, a 2,735 kilometer pipeline proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada, and whether the State Department "and all other parties involved" in the project followed federal laws and regulations. This comes on the heels of  a protest on Sunday that saw more than 12,000 people show up to form a human chain around the White House in protest of the pipeline.

It's also worthy of note that one of the world's leading climatologists, James Hansen of NASA, says that so far as what little chance we have of stabilizing climate and avoiding the most disastrous global climate impacts if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over. Our Prime Minister, by the by, believes this all to be a "no-brainer." Awesome choice of words dude!

Our PM, Harper stated that we would not recognize the country after he was through and clearly on his agenda is the dismantling of Canada's social safety net. In Harper's Canada the right to strike has been taken away from ordinary Canadians.

Here in Quebec we're convinced that the Progressive Conservatives are completely uninterested in ever winning Quebec seats in parliament in the near future.

Internationally there is no more important story than the current ramping up of tensions between western powers and Iran. There has been a long stated desire by the neo-cons to wage war on Iran ever since they blundered their way into Iraq and created a power vacuum benefiting the Iranians. Just as it was before the Iraq war we are reading stories about statements being leaked anonymously that are surefire evidence of a nuclear weapons program under way that is the "greatest threat" to democracies everywhere!

The notion Iran would work to attain nuclear weapons in order to deploy them against Israel, the United States, or anyone else is a "virtual impossibility." It would be suicide as they would find themselves incinerated in a retaliatory nuclear attack. It is the same use of fear and lies that we witnessed before the Iraq war and as Seymour Hersh wrote in the New Yorker that “despite years of covert operations inside Iran, extensive satellite imagery, and the recruitment of Iranian intelligence assets, the United States and its allies, including Israel, have been unable to find irrefutable evidence of an ongoing hidden nuclear-weapons program in Iran.”

 Those are the lead stories for Tuesday's show -- tune in here at 8 AM for lots more.

Big-Oil Monopolies Engage in Price-Gouging

/ Sunday, November 6, 2011 /
Last week Exxon-Mobil announced their 2011 third-quarter earnings, reporting $10.3 billion in profits, which is an increase of 41 percent from the same period last year. So far, Exxon has earned over $31 billion in profits in the first nine months of the year. It needs to be noted that Exxon-Mobil is also one of the big five big-oil companies that spends the most money muddying climate-change science - to add to their long list of egregious behaviour.

The people at Shell are also onto good times. Royal Dutch Shell announced their 2011 third-quarter earnings, announcing profits of $6.98 billion, like Exxon-Mobil more than double their profits posted a year ago, bringing their total profits for 2011 to over $21 billion.

In fact he big 5 oil companies have made $102.85 billion in profits since January 1. The massive increase in oil company profits year in and year has nothing to do with market forces but with good old fashioned monopolistic price-gouging. A report from the CFA (Consumer Federation of America) says:
The spike in oil prices has not been caused by natural market supply and demand. In fact, U.S. demand for oil has declined since 2005, while global demand has grown less than 4 percent. In addition, global oil reserves have been growing faster than consumption and the reserve-to-consumption ratio now stands at a higher level than it has been in a quarter of a century. Today, OPEC spare capacity is almost three times as great as it was in 2008.
The CFA also estimates that crude oil is about $30 a barrel higher than costs or historic trends justify, which generates needlessly high prices for petroleum products that drains about $200 billion out of the US economy.

The reason for this is speculators buy and sell as much oil as possible to make quick and easy profits. Speculators might trade a barrel of oil more than 20 times before it is ever used – the price going up with each speculative trade, and consumers picking up the final tab.

And let me close by reminding you that this kind of unregulated speculation has everything to do with what the Occupy Wall Street movement is all about::
Lobbyists and special interests (have) used their influence in Washington, D.C. to weaken regulations on oil trading. For example, in 2000, Enron convinced Congress to overhaul 60-year-old commodities rules that formerly provided checks and balances on oil speculation. This loophole allowed speculators to manipulate and potentially corner the market.
Wouldn't it be great if governments paid as much attention to consumer groups as to lobbyists from big-oil and Wall Street? Maybe if they could afford to ante up the same kinds of bribes they'd be listened to.

Some Truth About The Tar Sands

/ Saturday, November 5, 2011 /
There has been an unending stream of propaganda coming from the people in big-oil about the tar sands. In particular a group that calls themselves CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) representing the exploiters of the tar sands, have been busy greenwashing the destruction that is taking place in Alberta through a series of print and video ads. Greenpeace has a rundown here. As Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Mike Hudema says, "CAPP needs to realize that the tar sands don't have a public relations problem, they have an environmental-impacts problem that's not going to be solved by glossy ads or glitzy TV commercials."

There are so many angles to this story that I cannot encapsulate them all in a single post but through the magic of the internet I can post an Al Jazeera documentary called 'To The Last Drop,' that makes it clear that what is taking place is neither harmless to the environment or to the indigenous peoples living in the surrounding areas. I promise to return and refute the misleading stats about the tar sands impacts that CAPP has been forwarding through their media PR campaign. For now, however, here's the documentary in two parts; prepare to be horrified at the reality of what is taking place in northern Alberta.

Part 1:

Part 2:

For The Good People At Occupy Montreal

/ Thursday, November 3, 2011 /
I promised a friend who has been sleeping and cooking for the good and earnest people at Occupy Montreal that I'd post this rather brilliant speech by the American Journalist Bill Moyers, given at a memorial for the historian Howard Zinn. The speech manages to encapsulate all the reasons the Occupy Wall Street movement came to be and why it needs all of our support.

Watch this video on YouTube



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