Proof That Corporations Have No Respect For Law??

A while back, Energy Transfer Partners, the firm that is building the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, the pipeline that has been such an item in the news as the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, and their allies from all over the world, have fought to stop it’s progress, announced that it would take 60 days from the time that it received permission to drill under the Missouri River (the clean drinking water source of over 18 million Americans), to complete their pipeline. They received that permission 19 days ago. Yesterday, February 25th, 2017, ETP announced that they were finished drilling, and that oil would be flowing through their new pipeline in as little as two weeks. This means that they somehow completed the drilling in just 17 days from the day they received permission to drill,  OR,  they began drilling long before they had permission to do so.

It is exactly this type of disregard for the law, this feeling that they, as Multi-National Corporations are above the common man, and the very government the people have elected to serve their countries, that make these entities so dangerous. Now you might argue that they didn’t violate the law, that instead they really did wait for the permissions to be granted, and they just worked REALLY fast. Well maybe they did (I’m sure that’s what they want the legal system of the United States to believe). But if that IS what they did, then like my friend at TYT Politics, Jordan Cheritan points out in his segment where I was alerted to all of this (and to which I provide a link at the bottom of this article), then I hope you remember that not if, but when that pipeline bursts (because it will), then I hope you will remember that the company had no concern about building it correctly, only as fast as possible.

There is also another problem to worry about. Sort of like the old adage of leaping from the frying pan into the fire. This following excerpt from an article entitled “Leader in Oil Spills Buys Dakota Pipeline’s Energy Transfer Co.” in the November 21st, 2016 issue of Telesur explains the problem, and it’s anything but reassuring,

Sunoco’s (the company planning to buy ETP) spill rate shows protesters may have reasons for concern about potential leaks at the Dakota pipeline.

Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. is set to buy its competitor Energy Transfer Partners — under fire over the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline — for about US$20 billion, AP reported Monday. Shares for both companies fell in the afternoon by 8-9 percent.

Sunoco Logistics has been found to spill crude more often than any company, with more than 200 leaks since 2010, according to a Reuters analysis of government data…”

At any rate, there are several lawsuits in progress against both Dakota Access Pipeline, and President Trump at the time of this writing, and for explicit details about those suits, and what they entail, I would refer you to the first of the links below which will take you to the TYT Politics site, where Jordan Cheritan can be viewed talking about the drilling being completed, and the second link, which is Jordan once again at TYT Politics, but this time he is interviewing one of the people bringing suits against both DAPL, and President Trump. The third link is the source for my information on the purchase of Energy Transfer Partners by Sunoco, and is provided only as verification of my facts.

I’m posting this because the people of the Standing Rock Sioux won somewhat of a victory when President Obama finally ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to do an Environmental Impact Study, and when the Corp of Engineers agreed to accept input from the public. To suddenly give the company the go-ahead before either of those things have been completed is not only unlawful by the very laws of the United States (hence the lawsuits that have been initiated), but is morally reprehensible, and should not be seen in a developed country such as the US. This world-wide trend of valuing corporations over people has simply got to be resisted, until it is a thing of the past, and we are a civilized people once again.

Until next time, please stay safe, healthy, and happy.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Leader-in-Oil-Spills-Buys-Dakota-Pipelines-Energy-Transfer-Co.-20161121-0018.html

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The Danger of Lying Down With Dogs

Those of you who have followed my site for a while probably know by now that when I’m not out taking pictures, I spend a fair amount of my time following the politics of my friendly neighbors south of me here, down across the 49th parallel, in the United States of America. You may also be aware of the fact that with the recent election of their new President, things have been somewhat unsettled in that region, and with everyone taking sides, it’s gotten rather hard to know what to believe out of what you may hear on a day-to-day basis. Since the mainstream Press, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Intelligence communities, all appear to have chosen the same side, and unbiased reporting has fallen to the Independent outlets (when they can actually make themselves heard), it’s refreshing when an article appears that contains enough good research, and solid fact-checking, that the illusions manifested by those seeking to delegitimize the democratically-elected government, begin to crack, because as Leonard Cohen would say, “That’s how the light gets in”.

That which I plan to share with you today is exactly one of those articles. I found it in CounterPunch, a place I find many articles, a place which along with the Intercept, Consortium News, Redacted Tonight, The Jimmy Dore Show, and a few others, can still, imho, be trusted as reliable news sources. The first two, as well as CounterPunch, publish articles that are much more in-depth, and investigative, while the Jimmy Dore Show and Redacted Tonight are talk-show formats that serve a quick, informative daily dose of politics.

The article that I’m linking you to today is a little bit lengthy (a 7-8 minute read), but I think you’ll find yourself absorbed in it very quickly, especially if you’re a fan of James Bond, or John Grishom. There is somewhat of a coup being attempted in the USA even as we speak, and if you don’t think that’s an actual possibility, then you really should read the article. And you should probably try and spread it as far and wide as possible. Because that light that Leonard Cohen was singing about…well, it’s probably the one weapon that the people who are trying to pull this thing off, can’t fight. But I’ll let you decide for yourself. In the meantime, stay happy, and safe, and we’ll see you soon.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/22/90663/

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A Few Stray Beach Pictures

Just a few pictures I found while I was organizing some files. They appear to have been taken when I was walking down at First Beach, in the West End of Vancouver, sometime this summer, so I figured it’s about time they saw the light of day.

Below Burrard Street Bridge
Below Burrard Street Bridge.
First Beach on a week-end afternoon.
First Beach On A Week-end Afternoon
Barnacle village.
Barnacle Village
Driftwood contours.
Driftwood Contours
False Creek on a sunny morning.
False Creek On A Sunny Morning

Well, nothing too dazzling, but time is short as I look at the insane jumble around me, pondering how my apartment can manage to look continually messier, the more stuff I take out of it?! (A question only slightly less perplexing than, “if the milk in the can is ‘evaporated’, how come the can isn’t empty”?)

Anyway, all the deep philosophy aside, I hope everyone is getting set to welcome Spring (except in the US where the new President has passed an Executive Order declaring all seasons, with the possible exception of endless nuclear winter, to be hoaxes perpetrated by the scientific community, in collusion with Natasha and Boris, and the rest of the gang from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Thus, having added three entire seasons to his list of things he doesn’t believe in, the new President is well on his way to making the job of running the country, into something so simple, that even a politician could do it. (With so much concern about “fake news” these days, I now have to ruin my own sarcasm and admit that this previous paragraph is meant as a joke…smh.)

Until next time, everyone please stay safe, healthy, and happy.

Gallery

A True Social Warrior

Many people these days talk about being “social warriors”. In Seattle, there is a young lady (45 years of age) who sits on the City Council, named Kshama Sawant. Kshama is the first socialist (the Socialist Alternative Party) to win a city-wide election in Seattle since 1916, when another woman (Anna Louise Strong) was elected to the School Board, and also the first socialist to sit on City Council in Seattle since A.W.Piper was elected in 1877. It would appear that identifying as a socialist in the American north-west, might not always be the best political strategy.

After winning the 2013 election, Sawant was able to claim a major victory in May of 2014, when Seattle’s Mayor Murray announced an increase in the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour, which had been Kshama’s main campaign cornerstone. The only downside to it, and one that she was unhappy about, was that the big corporations were allowed a number of years to phase the increase in. But for her own part, Kshama stayed true to another (promise?) she had made, and in many circles, I think it is that promise on which her character is most often judged. Let me explain what I mean by that.

During her campaign, there was a currently-sitting councilman, Nick Licata, who though he failed (like every other council member) to endorse Kshama, did speak very positively of the young hopeful. He is on record as saying that “…(while) her eventual election victory seemed unlikely…”, he hoped that Sawant would not “…disappear after the election if she loses. She represents the poor, the immigrants, the refugees – the folks who are not in our City Council offices lobbying us.” The compliment, as you can see for yourself, is definitely what my mother would call “left-handed”, but it does show the fact that even those who wouldn’t openly support this woman, could not deny her sincerity, and good intentions. But this still doesn’t fully explain what I meant by her other promise.

You see, Kshama truly does, in her heart, represent those people that Councilman Licata mentioned, as well as the everyday working people of her city, and because she represents them, she would do nothing that would set her apart, or in any way above them, and if you think about it, that is the true meaning of Socialism – looking out for each other. So while she was running her campaign, soon-to-be Councilwoman Sawant promised she would donate the portion of her salary that she earned as a City Council member that exceeded the average salary in Seattle. It was on January 27th, 2014 that Councilwoman Sawant announced she would be living on $40,000 per year of her $117,000 yearly City Council salary. The remaining portion of her annual remuneration is put into a fund that is used for various social justice campaigns. And that’s the promise she kept that I think most people judge her character on, since so many folks I know are so fond of the old adage, “Put your money where your mouth is.”

So what is this young warrior up to today? Well, the good people of Seattle have returned the good Councilwoman to office, and she’s doing her best to keep the new President honest. She’s still trying (unsuccessfully so far) to get free transit for the poor and the disabled in her city. And she’s doing some journalism. In that vein, I’ve decided to close this article off with a link to her latest article in Counterpunch Magazine, entitled, “A Socialist Strategy To Defeat Trump” (I warned you she was a warrior). It’s actually an amazing article, and you can find it right about,

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/10/a-socialist-strategy-to-defeat-trump/

As for me, I’m still in the midst of getting things organized for my move on April 1st, and other than that, it looks like the bad weather here picked this week-end to go away for awhile. Therefore, as soon as I get this posted, I’m off into the great outdoors with my camera. Hope you folks are all safe and happy, and I’ll see you soon.

For those of you who would like to know a little more about councilwoman Kshama Sawant, here’s a link to the Wikipedia page I used for some of the facts and figures above. It’s as good a starting place as any.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kshama_Sawant

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You Be The Judge

Ever since President Trump signed his Executive Order which he refers to as a “Travel Ban”, and which his critics claim is actually a blanket ban on all Muslims, I’ve listened to the arguments go back and forth, from Left to Right, and every other direction imaginable. When asked my own opinion, I’ve tried to withhold it as best as I could, simply because that opinion of mine is lengthy enough, and the people asking are usually agitated enough, that I can never get it fully explained before I’m cut off, and then I’m getting yelled at for something I may or may not even have said, or for that matter believed.

Well, I finally came across an article that pretty much sums up the way I feel about things regarding this topic, and since it was about time for a new post, I thought I would just leave you all a link to the article I found, which you may or may not take the time to read, but if you do, then after you read it, “You can be the judge as to whether you think it’s a valid opinion or not”. Fair warning up front, however, the writer of the article, Paul Street, aside from writing news articles, is a published author, and as many authors are, he’s quite verbose at times. This means the article is a little lengthy, though I believe it’s interesting enough (and informative enough) that you won’t mind. I guess that’s just something else you’ll have to judge for yourself.

Unspeakable: the Black Book of Imperial Terrorism

 

So in the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying some weather a little less blustery than what we are experiencing at the moment, (I do have to admit that this snowy winter we’ve seen this year has been very interesting to say the least). And until we meet again, stay happy, stay safe, and if you’re traveling to the US, make sure those papers are in order! Just Kidding.

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U.S. No Longer Considered A “Full Democracy” — And It’s Not Trump’s Fault

What follows below is an article that I reprint with permission, and not so much as any kind of “I told you so”, but simply because I’ve been predicting this (in print) ever since I read the previous “Democracy Report”, the one for 2015, which was released by The Economist Intelligence Unit a year ago now. I tried to point out again and again how the Democrats in general and President Obama in particular, had to act immediately, and change their path if they were going to prevent this exact thing from happening. But mostly, I’m reprinting the article because I think there will be a great tendency among people to blame this news on Donald Trump, and the truth is, whatever terrible things President Trump is responsible for, this is not one of them. I point that out since I’m a big believer in the concept that if President Trump is piled up on for everything that goes wrong while he’s in office, there will be no effective way to chastise him for the things that really are his fault. Anyway, the article follows, and just as I have done, if anyone else desires to spread this article (I believe it’s of importance), the permissions to do so are listed at the bottom.

TOPICS:Carey WedlerCivil LibertiesTrump

January 26, 2017

By Carey Wedler

The United States is no longer a full democracy, according to an annual report recently released by The Economist. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s ninth annual Democracy Index details the decline of democracy not just in the U.S., but also around the world.

The rankings cover 165 countries and are determined by a variety of factors. The report (which is downloadable upon registration explains):

“The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Based on their scores on a range of indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: ‘full democracy’; ‘flawed democracy’; ‘hybrid regime’; and ‘authoritarian regime.’”

The number of countries ranked as “full democracies” fell from 20 to 19 in 2016, and the U.S. came in at 21 — earning the designation of a “flawed democracy.” The report explains that the U.S.’ quality of democracy has declined “ as popular confidence in the functioning of public institutions has declined.” The U.S. now ranks behind Japan, which was the highest ranked flawed democracy.

Following the chaos of the 2016 election, it is unsurprising that many Americans are losing faith in democracy. But as the report notes, Donald Trump is not entirely to blame.

“Popular trust in government, elected representatives and political parties has fallen to extremely low levels in the US… This has been a long-term trend and one that preceded the election of Mr Trump as US president in November 2016.”

In fact, it appears Trump simply capitalized on existing sentiments:

By tapping a deep strain of political disaffection with the functioning of democracy, Mr Trump became a beneficiary of the low esteem in which US voters hold their government, elected representatives and political parties, but he was not responsible for a problem that has had a long gestation.

The U.S. government’s attacks on civil liberties and many failed policies have become hallmarks of American policy. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. has slipped in both press and economic freedom in recent years.

But the U.S. is far from alone in its decline as “[p]opular confidence in political institutions and parties continues to decline in many other developed countries, too.”

“Some 72 countries experienced a decline in their total score compared with 2015, almost twice as many as the countries which recorded an improvement (38),” the analysis explains.

Fifty-seven countries stagnated. Eastern Europe suffered the worst losses, with 19 countries slipping in the democracy index. Countries that were deemed to be “full democracies” included Norway at number one, followed by Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, and several other European countries. Uruguay ranked 20th, outpacing other Latin American countries.

The number of authoritarian governments totaled 51. “Around 2.6bn people, more than one-third of the world’s population, live under authoritarian rule, with a large share being, of course, in China,” the report notes, adding that “‘[h]ybrid’ and ‘authoritarian’ regimes are concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa (36), the Middle East and North Africa (18 out of 20 countries), and to a lesser extent in eastern Europe (15) and Asia (13).”

Though according to the index, democracy appears to be working for some nations, others are struggling to uphold the system’s purported ideals. “Since 2006 The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has recorded a decline in the average aggregate global democracy score, from 5.62 to 5.52 in 2016,” the report notes, adding that Western Europe, North America, and Eastern Europe experienced the most declines – even as many Western European nations retained their categorization as full democracies.

How to Disappear Off the Grid Completely (Ad)

These losses parallel global opinions, which increasingly reflect a loss of faith in democracy. As the report asserts, even those countries that often boast of their democratic history are crumbling:

The crisis of democracy is expressed in the failing traditional political party system; the growing gap between elites and electorates; and the rise of populist parties. The contemporary problems of democracy are clearly not just ‘over there’—in Russia, China, the Middle East or Africa. Democracy is in trouble in the West, in the mature democracies of western Europe and the US, which are no longer obvious beacons for those striving for democracy in the nondemocratic world.

This article (U.S. No Longer Considered a ‘Full Democracy’ — and It’s Not Trump’s Fault) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. Image credit: acampadapraga. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to edits@theantimedia.org.

U.S. No Longer Considered A “Full Democracy” — And It’s Not Trump’s Fault

One Of My Favorite Ways To Relax

For the most part these days, I find that I’m quite satisfied with the modest life that I live, and I really very seldom find that I have anything too significant to complain about on a personal level. That’s not to say that I won’t voice my opinion on matters of political import, or issues that I see as having social relevance, or which pertain to the concepts of Social Ethics or Justice. Sometimes I’ll voice those opinions quite loudly, since I was born the second youngest in a family of many children, and thus speaking loudly, (with substantial force on occasion), was at times a basic survival trait.

But there are those occasions, at times related to some issues that have affected me throughout my lifetime, and at other times related to the normal stresses of this rather hectic world we all live in and have to share on a daily basis, when things do manage to mount, and my head can start to feel something like a small pressure-cooker that’s been left unchecked a little too long. For instance, right at the moment, I find myself in the process of that most dreadful of states: The Move. After having lived in my present location for going on 10 years now, it turns out that as of April 1, 2017, I shall be in a new residence, and as I’m sure you all understand, this type of thing is very seldom, “a fun process”.

So when I do come up against one of these occasions, and I’m pretty sure I will if the bottom falls out of even one more moving box that I put two too many books in, then I need to stop what I’m doing, grab my jacket, and take a walk. And one of the places I most like to walk is “The Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden”, which is just two blocks from my apartment, right here in the heart of the downtown area in Vancouver. (It will be a whopping 6 blocks once I get moved, since I’m only moving four blocks – the new place IS much bigger -.) Once I’m there, it only takes a while walking among the plant-life, or talking to Goldie, and I’m back on track in no time, ready to go at it all over again for at least a few more days.

So anyway, if you lose me on and off for the next couple months, that’s what I’ll be doing, getting things packed up in preparation for moving day…OR…walking around at the Gardens which you can see in the few pictures below. Until I get back to being more regular, you all take care, stay healthy, be happy, and we’ll talk to you soon.

A piece of paradise in downtown Vancouver.
A Piece of Paradise in Downtown Vancouver.
Bamboo wall at the Chinese garden
Bamboo Wall At the Chinese Garden
Conversing with Goldie at the Chinese garden
Conversing With Goldie At the Chinese Garden
Strolling through the Chinese garden
Strolling Through The Chinese Garden

One Of My Favorite Ways To Relax