Saturday, May 18, 2013

Worse than Nixon: Tricky Barack and His Unprecedented Constitution-Killing Administration

Obama Worse Than Nixon? Pentagon Papers Attorney Decries AP Phone Probe, Julian Assange Persecution

by DemocracyNow!

The AP example is a good example of something that Obama has done but Nixon never did. So I have him presently in second place, behind Nixon and ahead of Bush II. And he’s moving up fast. And if he goes ahead against Assange, he’ll at least be even, and we’ll have to see how that prosecution, if it takes place, comes out, because maybe he’ll pass him.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Obama's War on Whistleblowers Ups the Ante with AP "Attack"

Seizure of AP Phone Records Continues Obama Admin's Attack on Whistleblowers


Mark Seibel (McClatchy Newspapers): Seizure of a news organization's phone records should be illegal as it limits the ability of journalists to investigate and report - something guaranteed by the Constitution.
Mark Seibel oversees McClatchy's foreign bureaus as Chief of Correspondents. Mark was formerly Managing Editor Online for the McClatchy Washington Bureau's website. He joined the bureau in 2003 as the editor in charge of international and national security coverage from The Miami Herald, where he directed two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting efforts, expanded the reach of the paper's International Edition, and oversaw the paper's independent review of ballots from the 2000 presidential election. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Alberta Oil Sands Mercury Emissions

Oil Sands Mercury Emissions

by John H.W. Hummel

Oil Sands operations in Alberta release many pollutants into the Air. One of those many dozens of substances is mercury. These Oil Sands corporations atomize mercury (by burning it) and send that mercury out over huge areas from their smokestacks.

I have spent the last three decades of my life letting people know what mercury does to people.

There are now four entire generations of my dear Friends at Grassy Narrows First Nation, Wabaseemoong and Wabauskang in Ontario suffering from Mercury poisoning simply because they ate their fish from their rivers. Where they always got their dinner. For hundreds of years!

Here is Suncor, just one of those Oil Sands Oil companies which release Mercury from their smokestacks. Since the year 2000, they (alone) have pumped 228 Kilograms of mercury into our environment! That is huge!  Note: Amounts are in Kilograms and it takes very little to taint the fish from entire lakes for human consumption! Heck! They now evacuate school classrooms when a mercury thermometer is broken. After ten or twenty years of intense Oil Sands development, how much mercury will that be from this one facility? But there isn't just one facility! There are very many now. Think about it.

This is what some of the other Oil Sands companies have been releasing for the last decade:

I'll add up all the mercury releases tomorrow. But, check out all the arsenic releases too. O.K.?

When you look at the dates, please keep in mind that our present Prime Minister and Conservative Government were elected during the 2006 Canadian election.

It is strange that the amounts of pollution releases from Suncor increased so much after that. As Jay Leno would say, "An Eerie Coincidence!" Or, as I would say, "Not!"

Historical Substance Reports for Suncor Energy Oil Sands Limited Partnership - Suncor Energy Inc. Oil Sands

Suncor Energy Oil Sands Limited Partnership - Suncor Energy Inc. Oil Sands

NPRI ID: 2230
Hwy 63N Highway
Fort McMurray, AB
T9H 3E3

Mercury (and its compounds) (NA - 10)
      Year On-Site Releases Disposal* Off-Site Recycling Units

      On-Site      Off-Site**

      2011 37  0.706 - 0.301 kg
      2010 43  - - 0.100 kg
      2009 45  - - 1.6 kg
      2008 51  - - 0.034 kg
      2007 51  - - 104 kg
      2006 8.9  - - 76 kg
      2005 8.3  - - 47 kg
      2004 9.3  - - 62 kg
      2003 8.5  - - 62 kg
      2002 4.6  - 53 - kg
      2001 5.9  - 43 - kg
      2000 6.7  - 0.009 - kg

Here is everything that one Suncor plant at Fort McMurray releases:

Think about it.

For Land and Life,

John H.W. Hummel
Nelson, B.C.

Israel's Generational War: Army's Kidnapping Campaign in Palestine

Army Kidnapped 28 Children In The first Half Of May, Dozens Injured

by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

According to reports by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), based in Gaza, and the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, in Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers continued their aggression against the Palestinian children, kidnaped 28 children, dozens of children have been injured by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the first half of this month.

293 Palestinian Children Kidnapped In The First Quarter Of 2013 - File - Image Radio Bethlehem 2000

On May 2, the army invaded Hares village, near the central West Bank city of Salfit, and kidnapped Ali Shamlawi, 16, Mahmoud Sultan, 15, and Ayoub Kleib, 18.

On May 3, the army invaded Azzoun, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and kidnapped Abdul-Rahman Radwan, 16, and Yahia Adwan, 17, after violently attacking and beating them.

On May 5, the army invaded Aboud village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and kidnapped one teenager, identified as Jihad Dar Saleh, 18, before taking him to the Ofer detention center, west of the city.

On May 6, the army invaded Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, and kidnapped Ehab Thawabta, 16.
On May 7, the army invaded the Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, and kidnapped Saleh and Srour, 18.

On the same day, the army invaded Yatta town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and kidnapped Ahmad Morr, 16, and Suleiman Morr, 17.

In Jerusalem, the army kidnapped three children between the ages of seven and eight, during a nonviolent procession.

On May 8, the army and the police kidnapped Abdul-Rahim Barbar, 15, from Ras Al-Amoud, in occupied East Jerusalem, as he was heading to school.

On May 9, soldiers invaded Borqeen village, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped four children between the ages of 16-18.

The soldiers also invaded Abu Dis, in Jerusalem, and kidnapped Mahmoud Jaffal, 15, and Mohammad Jaffal, 14.

The army further kidnapped Asef Mahmoud, 18, Qusai Moqada, 18, Lutfi Abu Laila, 18, and Naseem Shqier, in the Az-Zawiya village, near Salfit.

On May 10, the Israeli Police kidnapped Mohammad Al-‘Awra, 15, in Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem.

On May 14, the army kidnapped Said Sabarna, 18, and Hakam Al-Allami, 16, from Beit Ummar town, near Hebron.

On May 15, the army kidnapped Mousa Halaiqa, 13, in Beit Einoun village, east of Hebron.

Children injured By Israeli fire:

May 2, two children identified as Ghassan Ikhlayyil, 17, and ‘Ala Ikhlayyil, 17, were shot by rubber-coated metal bullets fired by the army in Beit Za’ta area, in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron.

May 3, Israeli soldiers attacked and injured several children in Nabi Saleh village, near Ramallah, during the weekly protest against the Wall and Settlements.

May 11, seven children, between the ages of 10 and 13, have been injured after being attacked by Israeli soldiers in At-Tour neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem.

May 14, Hanin Bassem Al-Ja’bary, 7, was injured after a settler rammed her with his vehicle close to the Ibrahimi Mosque, in the Old City of Hebron. The settler fled the scene.

One the same day, dozens of school students have been treated for the effects of teargas inhalation in Al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem.

May 15, dozens of children have been injured after being violently attacked by Israeli soldiers in different parts of the West Bank as the Palestinians marked the Nakba anniversary when the Israeli armed forces and militias occupied the historic land of Palestine in 1948.

Statistic about detained children:

Palestinian Researcher, specialized in detainees’ affairs, former detainee, Abdul-Nasser Farawna, stated that the Israeli army kidnapped nearly 9500 Palestinian children since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in late September 2000, until May 7 2013.

Farawna said that statistics reveal that Israel kidnaps approximately 760 children a year, and added that there are currently 243 Palestinian children under the age of 18, including 42 children under the age of 16, who are still imprisoned by Israel.

Farawna further stated that the army kidnapped 881 children in 2012, a %26 increase of the number of arrests targeting children in 2011.

The researcher said that this year witnessed a sharp increase and escalation in the Israeli violations against Palestinian children, as the Israeli army and the police kidnapped 293 Palestinian children in the first quarter of 2013.

He said that the number shows a %9.3 increase in the arrests targeting the children when compared to the same timeframe of last year, and a %34.4 increase of the same timeframe of 2011.

Two months ago, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) reported that the Israeli army is subjecting the detained Palestinian children to widespread and systematic abuse in direct violation of International Law.

The UNICEF said that approximately 700 Palestinian children, between the ages of 12 and 17, are kidnapped, detained and interrogated by the Israeli army, the Police and security agents in the West Bank every year, Reuters said.

It further stated that the detained children are subject to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and are punished in direct violation of the Convention on the Right of the Child, and the Convention against Torture.

New Day Dawning for Labor?

A New Era for Labor?

by Laura Flanders - CounterPunch

What a difference five years make! In 2008, when a few hundred union workers at the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago voted to occupy their plant instead of submitting meekly to being laid off, theirs was a rare act of courage in a cold winter of crisis for organized labor. Five years on, as some of those same workers cut the ribbon on their own cooperatively-run business last week, it was yet another bold step by innovative workers in a season of daring by labor.

It’s no easy thing to sign a lease, buy equipment and open a business with a group. Starting a coop is risky, just like walking off a low wage job. Asked why he and his fellows had decided to start a co-op, veteran window maker “Ricky” Maclin told me it was because they were tired of their lives being in someone else’s hands. In the last five years, two different owners for two different sets of reasons had tried to lay them off. Now Maclin and his partners are owner/operators of a cooperative company called New Era and a similar sort of determination and defiance is being seen in city after city, from fed up workers who are taking to the streets.

Fast food workers went on strike in Milwaukee this week, the fifth city to see low wage workers walk out in one-day protests. Before Milwaukee it was New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit.

There’s plenty to be fed up about. The same people slashing services are talking about an economic recovery, but if this is the economy in recovery, workers seem to have no place in it. Politicians and pundits are doing ok – in fact, for anyone with a stock portfolio, the economy’s in the pink. But that old supposed pact between Big Labor and the Democrats is clearly broken. Labor unions invested millions in helping Democrats win the last election but they’re getting nothing back – at least nothing that helps working people live and rear families and eat.

Wages remain rock bottom, millions are more or less permanently out of work and those that are working are working harder, for more bosses, in less secure workplaces, with nothing in the way of benefits.

No wonder people are embracing new tactics. And surprise surprise, those tactics work.

By occupying their plant the first time, the New Era workers won back pay and time for a new owner to be found. By occupying a second time (in February 2012), when those new owners threatened to liquidate, they won a chance to form a cooperative and make a bid on equipment.

Now their company’s name is seeming especially apt: New Era Windows. Are we entering a New Era for labor, in fact? The last time the labor movement embraced sit-down strikes and worker occupations it was the 1930s. For most of the last century, industrial unions viewed autonomous worker co-ops as a threat. Today the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) will be representing the New Era workers and The United Steelworkers of America is working with the Basque co-ops of Mondragon to open industrial size co-ops in the US.

Likewise, until recently, trade unions refused to support ambitious strikes by low-wage workers in predominantly non union industries, especially strikes led by women, and immigrants and community organizations. The one-day stoppages around the country by retail and fast wood workers this season are targeting non union chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and TJ Maxx. Community groups are leading the way (although many are funded by the SEIU). They’re demanding a meaningful raise – to $15 and hour– and the real right to organize a union without attack. So far, they’re succeeding in staging one day walk outs without dire reprisals from management. That’s a jaw-dropping thing, helped by visible community and church group support. And while the one day strikes may be involving only a minority of workers so far, they are clearly building support as the wave of actions shows.

What happens next? Strikes and co-ops are two different ways to respond to the finance-driven crisis of job losses and low wages. The first aims to build power at the bargaining table, the second to compete in the market. The outcome’s unsure, but just like that first occupation at Republic, the experiments themselves have unleashed new potential.

It just goes to show what can happen when workers lead the way, and when, as Jim Hightower would say, those who say it can’t be done, get out of the way of those who are doing it.


LAURA FLANDERS is the host of The Laura Flanders Show coming to public television stations later this year. She was the host and founder of

Follow her on Twitter: @GRITlaura.

The Purposeful Failure of the Financial Markets

Systemic Malfunctioning of the Labor and Financial Markets 

by The Real News

Dr. Heiner Flassbeck: Government has to step in and correct the imbalances of low wages and unregulated financial markets or a deeper recession and crisis is inevitable - May 16, 13

Graduated in April 1976 in economics from Saarland University, Germany, concentrating on money and credit, business cycle theory and general philosophy of science; obtained a Ph.D. in Economics from the Free University, Berlin, Germany in July 1987. 2005 he was appointed honorary professor at the University of Hamburg.

Employment started at the German Council of Economic Experts, Wiesbaden between 1976 and 1980, followed by the Federal Ministry of Economics, Bonn until January 1986; chief macroeconomist in the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin between 1988 and 1998, and State Secretary (Vice Minister) from October 1998 to April 1999 at the Federal Ministry of Finance, Bonn, responsible for international affairs, the EU and IMF.

Worked at UNCTAD since 2000; from 2003 to December 2012 he was Director of the Division on Globalisation and Development Strategies. He was the principal author of the team preparing UNCTAD's Trade and Development Report, with specialization in macroeconomics, exchange rate policies, and international finance. Since January 2013 he is Director of Flassbeck-Economics, a consultancy for global macroeconomic questions (  

European Nationalism Zion's Crypto-Fascist Seedling

Take It From the Rabbi’s Mouth

by Gilad Atzmon

Every so often we come across a secular Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist’ who argues that Zionism is not Judaism and vice versa. Interestingly enough, I have just come across an invaluable text that illuminates this question from a rabbinical perspective. Apparently back in 1942, 757 American Rabbis added their names to a public pronouncement titled ‘Zionism an Affirmation of Judaism’. This Rabbinical rally for Zionism was declared at the time “the largest public pronouncement in all Jewish history.”

Today, we tend to believe that world Jewry’s transition towards support for Israel followed the 1967 war though some might argue that already in 1948, American Jews manifested a growing support for Zionism. However, this rabbinical pronouncement proves that as early as 1942, the American Jewish religious establishment was already deeply Zionist. And if this is not enough, the rabbis also regarded Zionism as the ‘implementation’ of Judaism. Seemingly, already then, the peak of World War two, the overwhelming majority of American Rabbis regarded Zionism, not only as fully consistent with Judaism, but as a “logical expression and implementation of it.”

In spite of the fact that early Zionist leaders were largely secular and the East European Jewish settler waves were driven by Jewish socialist ideology, the rabbis contend that “Zionism is not a secularist movement. It has its origins and roots in the authoritative religious texts of Judaism.

Those rabbis were not a bunch of ignoramuses. They were patriotic and nationalistic and they grasped that “universalism is not a contradiction of nationalism.” The rabbis tried to differentiate between contemporaneous German Nationalism and other national movements and they definitely wanted to believe that Zionism was categorically different to Nazism.
“Nationalism as such, whether it be English, French, American or Jewish, is not in itself evil. It is only militaristic and chauvinistic nationalism, that nationalism which shamelessly flouts all mandates of international morality, which is evil.” 
But as we know, just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz the new Jewish State launched a devastating racially driven ethnic-cleansing campaign. Zionism has proven to be militaristic and chauvinistic.

Shockingly enough, back in 1942 as many as 757 American rabbis were able to predict the outcome of the war and they realised that the suffering of European Jewry would be translated into a Jewish State .
“We are not so bold as to predict the nature of the international order which will emerge from the present war. It is altogether likely, and indeed it may be desirable, that all sovereign states shall under the coming peace surrender some of their sovereignty to achieve a just and peaceful world society (a Jewish State).”
Some American patriots today are concerned with Israeli-American dual nationality and the dual aspirations of American Jews. Apparently our rabbis addressed this topic too. According to them, there is no such conflict whatsoever. All American Jews are American patriots and all American decision makers are Zionists.
“Every fair-minded American knows that American Jews have only one political allegiance--and that is to America. There is nothing in Zionism to impair this loyalty. Zionism has been endorsed in our generation by every President from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and has been approved by the Congress of the United States. The noblest spirits in American life, statesmen, scholars, writers, ministers and leaders of labor and industry, have lent their sympathy and encouragement to the movement.”
Back in 1942 our American rabbis were bold enough to state that defeating Hitler was far from sufficient. For them, a full solution of the Jewish question could only take place in Palestine. “Jews, and all non-Jews who are sympathetically interested in the plight of Jewry, should bear in mind that the defeat of Hitler will not of itself normalize Jewish life in Europe. “

But there was one thing the American rabbis failed to mention – the Palestinian people. For some reason, those rabbis who knew much about ‘universalism’ and in particular Jewish ‘universalism’ showed very little concern to the people of the land. I guess that after all, chosenness is a form of blindness and rabbis probably know more about this than anyone else.

Zionism: An Affirmation of Judaism


A Reply by 757 Orthodox, Conservative and Reform
Rabbis of America to a Statement Issued by Ninety
Members of the Reform Rabbinate Charging That
Zionism Is Incompatible with the Teachings of Judaism

THE SUBJOINED REPLY was prepared at the initiative of the following Rabbis who submitted it to their colleagues throughout the country for signature: Philip S. Bernstein, Barnett R. Brickner, Israel Goldstein, James G. Heller, Mordecai M. Kaplan, B. L. Levinthal, Israel H. Levinthal, Louis M. Levitsky, Joshua Loth Liebman, Joseph H. Lookstein, Jacob R. Marcus, Abraham A. Neuman, Louis I. Newman, David de Sola Pool, Abba Hillel Silver, Milton Steinberg, and Stephen S. Wise.

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED RABBIS of all elements in American Jewish religious life, have noted with concern a statement by ninety of our colleagues in which they repudiate Zionism on the ground that it is inconsistent with Jewish religious and moral doctrine. This statement misrepresents Zionism and misinterprets historic Jewish religious teaching, and we should be derelict in our duty if we did not correct the misapprehensions which it is likely to foster.

We call attention in the first place to the fact that the signatories to this statement, for whom as fellow-Rabbis we have a high regard, represent no more than a very small fraction of the American rabbinate. They constitute a minority even of the rabbinate of Reform Judaism with which they are associated. The overwhelming majority of American Rabbis regard Zionism not only as fully consistent with Judaism but as a logical expression and implementation of it.

Our colleagues concede the need for Jewish immigration into Palestine as contributing towards a solution of the vast tragedy of Jewish homelessness. They profess themselves ready to encourage such settlement. They are aware of the important achievements, social and spiritual, of the Palestinian Jewish community and they pledge to it their unstinted support. And yet, subscribing to every practical accomplishment of Zionism, they have embarked upon a public criticism of it. In explanation of their opposition they advance the consideration that Zionism is nationalistic and secularistic. On both scores they maintain it is incompatible with the Jewish religion and its universalistic outlook. They protest against the political emphasis which, they say, is now paramount in the Zionist program and which, according to them, tends to confuse both Jews and Christians as to the place and function of the Jewish group in American society. They appeal to the prophets of ancient Israel for substantiation of their views.

TREASURING the doctrines and moral principles of our faith no less than they, devoted equally to America and its democratic processes and spirit, we nonetheless find every one of their contentions totally without foundation.

Zionism is not a secularist movement. It has its origins and roots in the authoritative religious texts of Judaism. Scripture and rabbinical literature alike are replete with the promise of the restoration of Israel to its ancestral home. Anti-Zionism, not Zionism, is a departure from the Jewish religion. Nothing in the entire pronouncement of our colleagues is more painful than their appeal to the prophets of Israel—to those very prophets whose inspired and recorded words of national rebirth and restoration nurtured and sustained the hope of Israel throughout the ages.

Nor is Zionism a denial of the universalistic teachings of Judaism. Universalism is not a contradiction of nationalism. Nationalism as such, whether it be English, French, American or Jewish, is not in itself evil. It is only militaristic and chauvinistic nationalism, that nationalism which shamelessly flouts all mandates of international morality, which is evil. The prophets of Israel looked forward to the time not when all national entities would be obliterated, but when all nations would walk in the light of the Lord, live by His law and learn war no more.

Our colleagues find themselves unable to subscribe to the political emphasis "now paramount in the Zionist program." We fail to perceive what it is to which they object. Is it to the fact that there are a regularly constituted Zionist organization and a Jewish Agency which deal with the mandatory government, the Colonial office, the League of Nations and other recognized political bodies? But obviously, even immigration and colonization are practical matters which require political action. The settlement of a half million Jews in Palestine since the last war was made possible by political action which culminated in the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate. There can be little hope of opening the doors of Palestine for mass Jewish immigration after the war without effective political action. Or is it that they object to the ultimate achievement by the Jewish community of Palestine of some form of Jewish statehood? We are not so bold as to predict the nature of the international order which will emerge from the present war. It is altogether likely, and indeed it may be desirable, that all sovereign states shall under the coming peace surrender some of their sovereignty to achieve a just and peaceful world society.

Certainly our colleagues will allow to the Jews of Palestine the same rights that are allowed to all other peoples resident on their own land. If Jews should ultimately come to constitute a majority of the population of Palestine, would our colleagues suggest that all other peoples in the post-war world shall be entitled to political self-determination, whatever form that may take, but the Jewish people in Palestine shall not have such a right? Or do they mean to suggest that the Jews in Palestine shall forever remain a minority in order not to achieve such political self-determination?

PROTESTING their sympathy both for the homeless Jews of the world and for their brethren in Palestine, our colleagues have by their pronouncement done all these a grave disservice. It may well be that to the degree to which their efforts arc at all effective, Jews who might otherwise have found a haven in Palestine will be denied one. The enemies of the Jewish homeland will be strengthened in their propaganda as a result of the aid which these Rabbis have given them. To the Jews of Palestine, facing the gravest danger in their history and fighting hard to maintain morale and hope in the teeth of the totalitarian menace, this pronouncement comes as a cruel blow.

We do not mean to imply that our colleagues intended it as such. We have no doubt that they are earnest about their fine spun theoretical objections to Zionism. We hold, however, that these objections have no merit, and further that voicing them at this time has been unwise and unkind.

We have not the least fear that our fellow Americans will be led to misconstrue the attitudes of American Jews to America because of their interest in Zionism. Every fair-minded American knows that American Jews have only one political allegiance--and that is to America. There is nothing in Zionism to impair this loyalty. Zionism has been endorsed in our generation by every President from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and has been approved by the Congress of the United States. The noblest spirits in American life, statesmen, scholars, writers, ministers and leaders of labor and industry, have lent their sympathy and encouragement to the movement.

Jews, and all non-Jews who are sympathetically interested in the plight of Jewry, should bear in mind that the defeat of Hitler will not of itself normalize Jewish life in Europe.

An Allied peace which will not frankly face the problem of the national homelessness of the Jewish people will leave the age-old tragic status of European Jewry unchanged. The Jewish people is in danger of emerging from this war not only more torn and broken than any other people, but also without any prospects of a better and more secure future and without the hope that such tragedies will not recur again, and again. Following an Allied victory, the Jews of Europe, we are confident, will be restored to their political rights and to equality of citizenship. But they possessed these rights after the last war and yet the past twenty-five years have witnessed a rapid and appalling deterioration in their position. In any case, even after peace is restored Europe will be so ravaged and war-torn that large masses of Jews will elect migration to Palestine as a solution of their personal problems.

Indeed, for most of these there may be no other substantial hope of economic, social and spiritual rehabilitation.

THE freedom which, we have faith, will come to all men and nations after this war, must come not only to Jews as individuals wherever they live, permitting them to share freedom on a plane of equality with all other men, but also to the Jewish people, as such, restored in its homeland, where at long last it will be a free people within a world federation of free peoples.

Of the 757 Rabbis listed below, 214 are members of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform); 247 are members of the Rabbinical Assembly of America (Conservative); and the rest are affiliated with the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox) or the Union of Orthodox Rabbis. The total represents the largest number of rabbis whose signatures are attached to a public pronouncement in all Jewish history.

Note: A version of the above statement was released to the press on November 20, 1942. By that time 818 rabbis had signed on. It appears in Samuel Halperin's The Political World of American Zionism. (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1961) 333.

The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics or

TransPacifc Partnership (TPP) Players Conspiring to Subvert Open Internet

Fair Deal International


Lobbyists and government representatives from a dozen countries are meeting in Peru at this very moment to "accelerate" their work on the TPP's Internet censorship rules. We're firing back by launching a special international coalition called Our Fair Deal to stop those who want to criminalize and censor our use of the Internet. We hope we can count on you to join us.

Take action! [ ]

Here's a special update from your team.

New reports state that you've made Internet censorship a "challenging" issue for those behind the extreme Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.[1] In response, lobbyists and government representatives from a dozen countries are meeting in Peru at this very moment to "accelerate" the secretive process.[2]

We've got a plan. Our supporters recently told us[3] we should build our own international Internet freedom partnership of citizens, civil society groups, and innovative businesses from around the world.

So, today we're launching a new international coalition called Our Fair Deal. You can be a founding member and stand against Internet censorship at this unique moment by signing onto our statement of principle:

"We reject copyright proposals that restrict the open Internet, access to knowledge, economic opportunity, and our fundamental rights."

Thanks to over 133,318 of you who already sent a message to key government representatives like TPP chief Michael Froman, we're starting to have an impact -- but this means the Big Media lobby is throwing everything they have at us.[4] We can't let these lobbyists manipulate our government representatives and ruin our future.

We have coalition partners on the ground in Peru who will speak directly to the TPP "negotiators", but in order to have leverage they need to show they have large numbers behind them.

Building the 'Our Fair Deal' coalition is our only chance to stop Big Media from censoring and criminalizing the web. Click here -- -- to join us now before it's too late.

Let's build a united front against those who would brutalize Internet users and innovators with excessive fines and criminal charges.[5]

– Steve, Josh and Lindsey on behalf of your OpenMedia team

P.S. Those of us behind your nimble team are doing our very best to stand up against those who wish to take away your Internet freedom. Please chip whatever you can today so we can continue.

Israeli Agricultural Lands Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Escalates

Army Uproots Farmlands Near Nablus

by IMEMC & Agencies

Thursday morning, May 16 2013, Israeli soldiers uprooted Palestinian agricultural lands that belong to a resident of Aqraba village, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The army claims that lands are “state property”.

Hamza Deeriyya, member of Aqraba Land Defense Committee, reported that Israeli soldiers, accompanied by a military bulldozer, uprooted the 25 Dunams in “Mahfouriyya” area, south of the village. The lands were planted with olive and almond trees.

Furthermore, the soldiers demolished an irrigation well, and walls built by Ayham Deeriyya, the owner of the lands.

The Israeli army claimed that the lands are state lands as they are close to the main “Samaria” highway, used by Israeli settlers and soldiers.

The owner said that he presented official deeds proving ownership of the lands, but the Israeli authorities rejected the documents.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sask Court Rules Against Right to Census Privacy


by Sandra Finley - The Battles

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal upheld the lower courts’ view that we do not have a Charter Right to privacy of personal information in the face of StatsCan’s appetite for the collection of personal data on individual citizens.

I have spoken with my lawyer. There are grounds – we will seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Newspaper report follows. I will post more information as soon as I have time.

Piscine Reovirus Uncaged

Piscine Reovirus: Part 2

by Ray Grigg

Strange things can happen when salmon eat chickens. Such a diet is unprecedented and bizarre, a violation of the biological order that has occurred over millions of years of evolutionary history. Nature, it seems, does the unusual when human ingenuity tampers with its traditions. And the consequences can be dire. But this is a complex subject that requires some context — an understanding of details first requires an understanding of principles.

Evolution is not as simple as we thought. Darwin's theory of natural selection only describes the slow “vertical” transfer of genetic material from parent to offspring used by large animals and plants. But the microbial world of bacteria and viruses also does a “horizontal” transfer of genetic material between similar and different organisms by a non-sexual means. This microbial capability — operating since early life on our planet billions of years ago — is a genetic free-for-all in which DNA is exchanged like goods at a swap-meet. These opportunistic organisms use this genetic process to optimize change in their individual traits and thereby accelerate evolution. Their only requirement is that they be brought together in close proximity.

We've already experienced the consequences. Many of our common human diseases have come to us from farmed animals through the horizontal transfer of novel genetic material — thanks to globalization and industrial agriculture, at least 30 have occurred since 1970. So the crowded conditions in poultry or salmon farms provide the perfect combination of density and stress that allows viruses to exchange genetic material with each other. The result can increase their virulence, allow them to infect a new species, or even create an entirely novel version of themselves — in taxonomy, a new genus. Which brings us to salmon and viruses.

The fish in the salmon farm in Norway that first began to exhibit strange symptoms in 1999 were infected with a new disease later identified as heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI). The symptoms were a pale and soft heart muscle, yellowish liver, swollen spleen and other swellings. Infection rates in pens were as high as 20%, with morbidity close to 100%. HSMI was extremely infectious, soon spreading to 417 other salmon farms in Norway, then to facilities in the United Kingdom. Indeed, HSMI was discovered to be so infectious that it threatened wild fish that came in contact with the farms or with infected fish that escaped from them. Tests indicate HSMI has arrived in British Columbia.

PLOS One published a scientific article on July 9, 2010, entitled “Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation of Farmed Salmon is Associated with Infection with Novel Reovirus” (Gustavo Palacios, W. Ian Lipkin, et al.), linking HSMI with this “novel” piscine reovirus (PRV). The article's Abstract claims to “provide evidence that HSMI is associated with infection with piscine reovirus”, presumably the way AIDS is associated with HIV — one is a full-blown version of the other. The article claims that “PRV is a novel reovirus identified by unbiased high throughput DNA sequencing”, that “PRV is the causative agent for HSMI”, and that “measures must be taken to control PRV not only because it threatens domestic salmon production but also due to the potential for transmission to wild salmon populations.” Indeed, as Veterinary Research (4.06, Apr. 9/12) finds, “PRV is almost ubiquitously present in Atlantic salmon marine farms, and detection of PRV alone does not establish an HSMI diagnosis.”

If PRV is so prevalent and it does develop into HSMI as research suggests, this is a problem for salmon farming. But it strikes terror in those concerned about the health of wild salmon and the ecologies than depend on them. Indeed, PRV and HSMI may already be doing enough damage to be imperilling BC's wild salmon runs.

The clue to the origin and virulence of the PRV/HSMI virus and disease comes from the PLOS One article and the word “novel”. Two general kinds of the family of “Reoviridae” virus occur in the fauna community. One is an orthoreovirus, which includes both a mammalian and an avian strain. The other is an aquareovirus which is exclusive to aquatic animals. An analysis of the genetic material of the piscine reovirus identifies it as distinctly different from the two general groups, but situates it exactly between them, embodying half the attributes of the avian orthoreovirus and half the attributes of the aquareovirus. In other words, PRV is a new genus, designated GU994015 PRV, that has combined the traits of a bird virus and an aquatic virus. This probably explains why it is so infectious. But how did it become so “novel”?

The answer may be found in the chicken wastes that the salmon farming industry has been adding to its salmon feed — just the conditions that would provide viruses with the perfect opportunity to transfer genetic material horizontally. This would explain how the aquareovirus was able to exchange useful DNA with the avian orthoreovirus to develop a new virulent version of itself to infect fish, manifesting as the novel piscine reovirus and then with the clinical symptoms of HSMI. This suspicion is confirmed by a related article in PubMed (May, 2013) entitled “Piscine reovirus encodes a cytotoxic, non-fusogenic, integral membrane protein and previously unrecognized virion outer-capsid proteins”. According to the article, “Recent sequence-based evidence suggests that PRV is about equally related to members of the genera Orthoreovirus and Aquareovirus.” In other words, PRV seems to be a unique or “novel” virus created by combining the genetic material from two distinctly different viruses, one related to birds and the other related to aquatic animals — the first such amalgamation that has occurred since the divergence of the virus 49 to 52 million years ago (Journal of General Virology, Aug. 2002, vol. 83, no. 8, 1941-1951).

The discoverers of this virus, Gustavo Palacios, W. Ian Lipkin et al., are so confident of the causative relationship between PRV and HSMI that they have applied for a patent on the “immunogenic compositions and methods for inducing an immune response against Piscine reoviruses” (Pub. No.: US 2013/0058968 A1, March 7, 2013).

This preventative option might provide some hope for farmed salmon, but how exactly wild salmon would be immunized is a mystery. And a worrisome sentence occurs in another PLOS One article (June 5/12) entitled, “Atlantic Salmon Reovirus Infection Causes a CD8 T Cell Myocarditis in Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar L.). “The etiology of myocarditis (cause of heart inflammation) in humans remains unknown in most cases but an association with a viral infection has attracted a lot of attention over the years.”

(For other related information on piscine reovirus, please go to

Stephen Hawking's Thinking on Israel Boycott

Israel, Hawking and the Pressing Question of Boycott

by Ramzy Baroud - Palestine Chronicle

It is an event “of cosmic proportions”, said one Palestinian academic, a befitting description regarding Stephen Hawking’s decision to boycott an Israeli academic conference slated for next June. It was also a decisive moral call which was communicated on May 8 by Cambridge University, where Hawking is a professor.

Hawking is a world-renowned cosmologist and physicist. His scientific work had the kind of impact that redefined or challenged entire areas of research from the theory of relativity, to quantum mechanics and other fields of study. This towering figure is also wheelchair-bound – suffering from complete physical paralyses caused by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease. For Hawking, however, such a painful fact seems like a mere side note in the face of his incredible contributions to science, ones that are comparable to only few men and women throughout history.

What is considered a prestigious scientific conference in Israel is hosted by President Shimon Peres, most remembered by Lebanese and Palestinians for ordering the shelling of a United Nations compound near the village of Qana in South Lebanon in 1996. The compound was a safe heaven, where civilians often sought shelter during Israeli strikes. Not that time around, however. 106 innocent people that were mostly children and women were killed and 116 wounded, including UN forces. That harrowing event alone would have sent Peres, then Israel’s prime minister, to serve his remaining years in jail. But of course, Israel is above the law, or so the Israeli government believes and thus it has consistently behaved accordingly in the last 65 years with a price tag of uncountable lives, untold destruction and protracted suffering of entire nations.

Hawking’s response to the boycott call was immensely important. The man’s legendary status aside, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has proved more durable and successful than its detractors – mostly Israel’s apologists – want to believe. Hawking’s decision was also a testament that reason and morality should and must go hand in hand. Israel’s boasting of its scientific accomplishments should mean zilch if such technology is put to work to advance state violence, tighten military occupation and make killer drones available to other countries, thus exporting violence and mayhem. That very ‘science’ was used in abundance in Israel’s latest two wars on Gaza (2008-09 and 2012) which claimed thousands of lives between the dead and wounded.

Cambridge University, perhaps wary of a possible backlash, tried to mask Hawking’s decision as one that is compelled by health reasons, which, of course, was not the case at all. The university eventually retracted the statement, for the British scientist wished to make his decision crystal clear. The UK Guardian newspaper reported on Hawking’s rebuff of the conference, citing a statement by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, as it had coordinated with Hawking’s office:

“We understand that Professor Stephen Hawking has declined his invitation to attend the Israeli Presidential Conference Facing Tomorrow 2013, due to take place in Jerusalem on 18-20 June. This is his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there.”

Unlike other acts of boycott, sometimes dismissed by Israeli officials as insignificant, this one was manifestly shocking for Israel. Yigal Palmor, spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry was quoted by the New York Times saying “never has a scientist of this stature boycotted Israel.”

And since it was unexpected, Hawking’s respect of the boycott generated disorganized Israeli and pro-Israeli responses, ranging from demeaning jokes and insults pertaining to his illness, unwarranted accusations and even shaming him for using technology supposedly developed in Israel to combat his deteriorating ALS condition.

Never before has the country lost control over its carefully tailored narrative of its military occupation and violations of human rights in Palestine as is the case these days. While on one hand, Israeli officials speak of ‘peace’, they continue to issue tenders to build more settlements or expand existing ones, all built illegally on Palestinian land. On the very day that Hawking’s decision to boycott the conference was announced, ‘civil administration’ in Israel agreed to the construction of 296 new housing units in the illegal settlement of Beit El, thus entrenching military occupation and ethnic cleansing. Israeli officials and media still insist that there are no links whatsoever between such stark violations of international and humanitarian law and the rising boycott movement. They indefatigably accuse their critics of ‘anti-Semitism’ (which is hardly effective anymore) and warn of attempts at the ‘de-legitimatization’ of Israel, as if they expect the world to remain completely oblivious to its perpetual war crimes, illegal occupation and institutionalized discrimination against non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine and Israel.

The dialectics of Hawking’s decision are also important. It is a proof that civil society remains relevant, can be effective and also shows that official venues are not the only platforms in which the occupation of Palestine can be discussed and justly addressed. Nearly 20 years have passed since the Oslo Accords were signed, yet the Israeli occupation seems much more rooted than it was in 1993.

There is little doubt that the boycott movement is in constant growth and not simply because of the recurring news of artists and academics refusing to visit Israel, or take part in Israeli-sponsored events. Equally significant is the existence of strong layers of support being provided by civil society that makes it possible for artists, academics and others to adhere to the call of boycott, without fearing serious repercussions.

It was revealed that a letter to Hawking, aimed at dissuading him from joining the conference was signed by 20 top academics from many universities, including MIT, Cambridge, London, Leeds, Southampton, Warwick, Newcastle, etc. The professors told Hawking they were ‘surprised and deeply disappointed’ that he had agreed to take part in the conference, which is also to be attended by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President Bill Clinton, each with his own record of war crimes accusations spanning from Sudan, to Afghanistan, to Iraq.

But criticism of Hawking is not only emanating from Israel and its predictable circle of diehard supporters. It is also coming from some of those who count themselves as members of the Palestinian solidarity camp. The latter group, which is shrinking in number and outreach, argue that boycotting all aspects of Israel’s academic, cultural and political life will play into Israel’s ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘de-legitimization’ arguments.

But can the solidarity movement limit its boycott to few Israeli companies with links to West Bank settlements and expect to achieve tangible, long term results? Those who think that boycotting the occupation is enough, seem not to understand the nature of the relationship between West Bank setters and the Israeli government. Israel treats the settlements and its well-armed inhabitants as part and parcel of the Israeli state and economy. They are residents of Israel, even if they live near Ramallah. There is no separation whatsoever except for some imaginary 'Green Lines' and such. And now with the Apartheid Wall, even that separation is being blurred and redefined.

Palestinians in Gaza or Nablus don't see any difference between a solider who lives in an illegal Jewish settlement or another who lives inside Israel. They are all capable of committing murder, as many surely have, unhampered by geography or borders. International civil society should not fall into the trap of illusory distinctions. This also makes Hawking’s decision to boycott an Israel-based conference “of cosmic proportions”. It is morally defensible and ethically sound, qualities befitting a formidable man of reason like Stephen Hawking.

Ramzy Baroud ( is the editor of His latest book is: My Father Was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press).

Challenging Israel's Impunity: Three Years On, International Criminal Court Begins Mavi Marmara Investigation

ICC To Conduct Preliminary Examination Into Marmara Attack

by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

The International Criminal Court said that it initiated a preliminary investigation into the May 2010 deadly Israeli attack that targeted the Turkish MV Marmara solidarity Ship leading to the death of nine Turkish activists. humanitarian and medical supplies.

The court said it needs to investigate the issue to determine whether the Israeli attack constituted war crimes, or crimes against humanity.

ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, stated on May 14 that the preliminary aims at determining whether the criteria for initiating an investigation have been met.

Bensouda said that she carefully examined all acquired information, and that she will be “making a determination that will be publicly declared in due course”.

She further stated that she met several lawyers, based in Istanbul, representing the government of the Comoros that referred to file for her office. The MV Marmara Turkish ship was registered in the Comoros Island, in the Indian Ocean, that has been a member of the ICC since 2006.

The MV Mararma was part of the Freedom Flotilla, one of many solidarity ships that sailed to Gaza to deliver the urgently needed medical and humanitarian supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israel imposed a deadly siege on Gaza in 2006 after Palestinian fighters abducted Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit from a military base across the border with Gaza. The siege was intensified in 2007, leading to the death of hundreds of patients due to the lack of medical equipment and medications.

Shalit was released in 2011 under a mediated prisoner swap deal that secured the release of more than 1000 Palestinian detainees held by Israel.

A few days ago, Turkish deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arınç, stated that the reconciliation agreement that is being formulated between Israel and Turkey, obliges the families of the Turkish victims to drop all charges filed against Israel for the attack on Marmara, and in return, Israel will pay“a very generous compensation”, according to the official.

He added that should an agreement be signed, all families will be legally bound to drop all charges, and that the families that do not drop the charges will not be compensated.

Turkish sources reported that the families said they are determined to continue the legal battle against Israel, and its officers responsible for the deadly attack on Marmara.

A representative of the families said that they cannot accept their government’s intention to drop the charges against Israel, and added that “it is inconceivable to be talking about compensation without justice, and without lifting the illegal and deadly blockade on Gaza.

ICC To Conduct Preliminary Examination Into Marmara Attack

by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

The International Criminal Court said that it initiated a preliminary investigation into the May 2010 deadly Israeli attack that targeted the Turkish MV Marmara solidarity Ship leading to the death of nine Turkish activists. humanitarian and medical supplies.

The court said it needs to investigate the issue to determine whether the Israeli attack constituted war crimes, or crimes against humanity.

ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, stated on May 14 that the preliminary aims at determining whether the criteria for initiating an investigation have been met.

Bensouda said that she carefully examined all acquired information, and that she will be “making a determination that will be publicly declared in due course”.

She further stated that she met several lawyers, based in Istanbul, representing the government of the Comoros that referred to file for her office. The MV Marmara Turkish ship was registered in the Comoros Island, in the Indian Ocean, that has been a member of the ICC since 2006.

The MV Mararma was part of the Freedom Flotilla, one of many solidarity ships that sailed to Gaza to deliver the urgently needed medical and humanitarian supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israel imposed a deadly siege on Gaza in 2006 after Palestinian fighters abducted Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit from a military base across the border with Gaza. The siege was intensified in 2007, leading to the death of hundreds of patients due to the lack of medical equipment and medications.

Shalit was released in 2011 under a mediated prisoner swap deal that secured the release of more than 1000 Palestinian detainees held by Israel.

A few days ago, Turkish deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arınç, stated that the reconciliation agreement that is being formulated between Israel and Turkey, obliges the families of the Turkish victims to drop all charges filed against Israel for the attack on Marmara, and in return, Israel will pay“a very generous compensation”, according to the official.

He added that should an agreement be signed, all families will be legally bound to drop all charges, and that the families that do not drop the charges will not be compensated.

Turkish sources reported that the families said they are determined to continue the legal battle against Israel, and its officers responsible for the deadly attack on Marmara.

A representative of the families said that they cannot accept their government’s intention to drop the charges against Israel, and added that “it is inconceivable to be talking about compensation without justice, and without lifting the illegal and deadly blockade on Gaza.

The End of Journalism

The collapse of journalism and the journalism of collapse: From royal, to prophetic, to apocalyptic

by Robert Jensen

For those who believe that a robust public-affairs journalism is essential for a society striving to be democratic, the 21st century has been characterized by bad news that keeps getting worse.

Whatever one’s evaluation of traditional advertising-supported news media (and I have been among its critics; more on that later), the unraveling of that business model has left us with fewer professional journalists who are being paid a living wage to do original reporting. It’s unrealistic to imagine that journalism can flourish without journalists who have the time and resources to do journalism.

For those who care about a robust human presence on the planet, the 21st century has been characterized by really bad news that keeps getting really, really worse.

Whatever one’s evaluation of high-energy/high-technology civilization (and I have been among its critics; more on that later), it’s now clear that we are hitting physical limits; we cannot expect to maintain contemporary levels of consumption that draw down the ecological capital of the planet at rates dramatically beyond replacement levels. It unrealistic to imagine that we can go on treating the planet as nothing more than a mine from which we extract and a landfill into which we dump.

We have no choice but to deal with the collapse of journalism, but we also should recognize the need for a journalism of collapse. Everyone understands that economic changes are forcing a refashioning of the journalism profession. It’s long past time for everyone to pay attention to how multiple, cascading ecological crises should be changing professional journalism’s mission in even more dramatic fashion.

It’s time for an apocalyptic journalism (that takes some explaining; a lot more on that later).

The Basics of Journalism: Ideals and Limitations

With the rapid expansion of journalistic-like material on the internet, it’s especially crucial to define “real” journalism. In a democratic system, ideally journalism is a critical, independent source of information, analysis, and the varied opinions needed by citizens who want to play a meaningful role in the formation of public policy. The key terms are “critical” and “independent”—to fulfill the promise of a free press, journalists must be willing to critique not only specific people and policies, but the systems out of which they emerge, and they must be as free as possible from constraining influences, both overt and subtle. Also included in that definition of journalism is an understanding of democracy—“a meaningful role in the formation of public policy”—as more than just lining up to vote in elections that offer competing sets of elites who represent roughly similar programs. Meaningful democracy involves meaningful participation.

This discussion will focus on what is typically called mainstream journalism, the corporate-commercial news media. These are the journalists who work for daily newspapers, broadcast and cable television, and the corporately owned platforms on the internet and other digital devices. Although there are many types of independent and alternative journalism of varying quality, the vast majority of Americans continue to receive the vast majority of their news from these mainstream sources, which are almost always organized as large corporations and funded primarily by advertising.

Right-wing politicians and commentators sometimes refer to the mainstream media as the “lamestream,” implying that journalists are comically incompetent and incapable of providing an accurate account of the world, likely due to a lack of understanding of conservative people and their ideas. While many elite journalists may be dismissive of the cultural values of conservatives, this critique ignores the key questions about journalism’s relationship to power. Focusing on the cultural politics of individual reporters and editors—pointing out that they tend to be less religious and more supportive of gay and women’s rights than the general public, for example—diverts attention from more crucial questions about how the institutional politics of corporate owners and managers shapes the news and keeps mainstream journalism within a centrist/right conventional wisdom.

The managers of commercial news organizations in the United States typically reject that claim by citing the unbreachable “firewall” between the journalistic and the business sides of the operation, which is supposed to allow journalists to pursue any story without interference from the corporate front office. This exchange I had with a newspaper editor captures the ideology: After listening to my summary of this critique of the U.S. commercial news media system, this editor (let’s call him Joe) told me proudly: “No one from corporate headquarters has ever called me to tell me what to run in my paper.” I asked Joe if it were possible that he simply had internalized the value system of the folks who run the corporation (and, by extension, the folks who run most of the world), and therefore they never needed to give him direct instructions. He rejected that, reasserting his independence from any force outside his newsroom.

I countered: “Let’s say, for the purposes of discussion, that you and I were equally capable journalists in terms of professional skills, that we were both reasonable candidates for the job of editor-in-chief that you hold. If we had both applied for the job, do you think your corporate bosses would have ever considered me for the position, given my politics? Would I, for even a second, have been seen by them to be a viable candidate for the job?”

Joe’s politics are pretty conventional, well within the range of mainstream Republicans and Democrats—he supports big business and U.S. supremacy in global politics and economics. I’m a critic of capitalism and U.S. foreign policy. On some political issues, Joe and I would agree, but we diverge sharply on these core questions of the nature of the economy and the state.

Joe pondered my question and conceded that I was right, that his bosses would never hire someone with my politics, no matter how qualified, to run one of their newspapers. The conversation trailed off, and we parted without resolving our differences. I would like to think my critique at least got Joe to question his platitudes, but I never saw any evidence of that. In his subsequent writing and public comments that I read and heard, Joe continued to assert that a news media system dominated by for-profit corporations was the best way to produce the critical, independent journalism that citizens in a democracy needed. Because he was in a position of some privilege and status, nothing compelled Joe to respond to my challenge.

Partly as a result of many such unproductive conversations, I continue to search for new ways to present a critique of mainstream journalism that might break through that ideological wall. In addition to thinking about alternatives to this traditional business model, we should confront the limitations of the corresponding professional model, with its status-quo-supportive ideology of neutrality, balance, and objectivity. Can we create conditions under which journalism—deeply critical and truly independent—can flourish in these trying times?

In this essay I want to try out theological concepts of the royal, prophetic, and apocalyptic traditions. Though journalism is a secular institution, religion can provide a helpful vocabulary. The use of these terms is not meant to imply support for any particular religious tradition, or for religion more generally, but only recognizes that the fundamental struggles of human history play out in religious and secular settings, and we can learn from all of that history. With a focus on the United States, I’ll drawn on the concepts as they understood in the dominant U.S. tradition of Judaism and Christianity.

Royal Journalism

Most of today’s mainstream corporate-commercial journalism—the work done by people such as Joe—is royal journalism, using the term “royal” not to describe a specific form of executive power but as a description of a system that centralizes authority and marginalizes the needs of ordinary people. The royal tradition describes ancient Israel, the Roman empire, European monarchs, or contemporary America—societies in which those with concentrated wealth and power can ignore the needs of the bulk of the population, societies where the wealthy and powerful offer platitudes about their beneficence as they pursue policies to enrich themselves.

In his books The Prophetic Imagination and The Practice of Prophetic Imagination, theologian Walter Brueggemann points out that this royal consciousness took hold after ancient Israel sank into disarray, when Solomon overturned Moses—affluence, oppressive social policy, and static religion replaced a God of liberation with one used to serve an empire. This consciousness develops not only in top leaders but throughout the privileged sectors, often filtering down to a wider public that accepts royal power. Brueggemann labels this a false consciousness: “The royal consciousness leads people to numbness, especially to numbness about death.”

The inclusion of the United States in a list of royalist societies may seem odd, given the democratic traditions of the country, but consider a nation that has been at war for more than a decade, in which economic inequality and the resulting suffering has dramatically deepened for the past four decades, in which climate change denial has increased as the evidence of the threat becomes undeniable. Brueggemann describes such a culture as one that is “competent to implement almost anything and to imagine almost nothing.”

Almost all mainstream corporate-commercial journalism is, in this sense, royal journalism. It is journalism without the imagination needed to move outside the framework created by the dominant systems of power. CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News all practice royal journalism. The New York Times is ground zero for royal journalism. Marking these institutions as royalist doesn’t mean that no good journalism ever emerges from them, or that they employ no journalists who are capable of challenging royal arrangements. Instead, the term recognizes that these institutions lack the imagination necessary to step outside of the royal consciousness on a regular basis. Over time, they add to the numbness rather than jolt people out of it.

The royal consciousness of our day is defined by unchallengeable commitments to a high-energy/high-technology worldview, within a hierarchical economy, run by an imperial nation-state. These technological, economic, and national fundamentalisms produce a certain kind of story about ourselves, which encourages the belief that we can have anything we want without obligations to other peoples or other living things, and that we deserve this. Brueggemann argues that this bolsters notions of “US exceptionalism that gives warrant to the usurpatious pursuit of commodities in the name of freedom, at the expense of the neighbor.”

If one believes royal arrangements are just and sustainable, then royal journalism could be defended. If the royal tradition is illegitimate, than a different journalism is necessary.

Prophetic Journalism

Given the multiple crises that existing political, economic, and social systems have generated, the ideals of journalism call for a prophetic journalism. The first step in defending that claim is to remember what real prophets are not: They are not people who predict the future or demand that others follow them in lockstep. In the Hebrew Bible and Christian New Testament, prophets are the figures who remind the people of the best of the tradition and point out how the people have strayed. In those traditions, using our prophetic imagination and speaking in a prophetic voice requires no special status in society, and no sense of being special. Claiming the prophetic tradition requires only honesty and courage.

When we strip away supernatural claims and delusions of grandeur, we can understand the prophetic as the calling out of injustice, the willingness not only to confront the abuses of the powerful but to acknowledge our own complicity. To speak prophetically requires us first to see honestly—both how our world is structured by systems that create unjust and unsustainable conditions, and how we who live in the privileged parts of the world are implicated in those systems. To speak prophetically is to refuse to shrink from what we discover or from our own place in these systems. We must confront the powers that be, and ourselves.

The Hebrew Bible offers us many models. Amos and Hosea, Jeremiah and Isaiah—all rejected the pursuit of wealth or power and argued for the centrality of kindness and justice. The prophets condemned corrupt leaders but also called out all those privileged people in society who had turned from the demands of justice, which the faith makes central to human life. In his analysis of these prophets, the scholar and activist Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel concluded:
Above all, the prophets remind us of the moral state of a people: Few are guilty, but all are responsible. If we admit that the individual is in some measure conditioned or affected by the spirit of society, an individual’s crime discloses society’s corruption.

Critical of royal consciousness, Brueggemann argues that the task of those speaking prophetically is to “penetrate the numbness in order to face the body of death in which we are caught” and “penetrate despair so that new futures can be believed in and embraced by us.” He encourages preachers to think of themselves as “handler[s] of the prophetic tradition,” a job description that also applies to other intellectual professions, including journalism.

Brueggemann argues that this isn’t about intellectuals imposing their views and values on others, but about being willing to “connect the dots”:

Prophetic preaching does not put people in crisis. Rather it names and makes palpable the crisis already pulsing among us. When the dots are connected, it will require naming the defining sins among us of environmental abuse, neighborly disregard, long-term racism, self-indulgent consumerism, all the staples from those ancient truthtellers translated into our time and place.

None of this requires journalists to advocate for specific politicians, parties, or political programs; we don’t need journalists to become propagandists. Journalists should strive for real independence but not confuse that with an illusory neutrality that traps mainstream journalists within ideological boundaries defined by the powerful. Again, real independence means the ability to critique not just the worst abuses by the powerful within the systems, but to critique the systems themselves.

This prophetic calling is consistent with the aphorism many journalists claim as a shorthand mission statement: The purpose of journalism is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. That phrase focuses on injustice within human societies, but what of the relationship of human beings to the larger living world? How should journalists understand their mission in that arena?

Ecological Realties

Let’s put analysis of journalism on hold and think about the larger world in which journalism operates. Journalistic ideals and norms should change as historical conditions change, and today that means facing tough questions about ecological sustainability.

There is considerable evidence to help us evaluate the health of the ecosphere on which our own lives depend, and an honest evaluation of that evidence leads to a disturbing conclusion: Life as we know it is almost over. That is, the high-energy/high-technology life that we in the affluent societies live is a dead-end. There is a growing realization that we have disrupted planetary forces in ways we cannot control and do not fully understand. We cannot predict the specific times and places where dramatic breakdowns will occur, but we can know that the living system on which we depend is breaking down.

Does that seem histrionic? Excessively alarmist? Look at any crucial measure of the health of the ecosphere in which we live—groundwater depletion, topsoil loss, chemical contamination, increased toxicity in our own bodies, the number and size of “dead zones” in the oceans, accelerating extinction of species and reduction of bio-diversity—and the news is bad. Add to that the mother of all ecological crises—global warming, climate change, climate disruption—and it’s clear that we are creating a planet that cannot indefinitely support a large-scale human presence living this culture’s idea of the good life.

We also live in an oil-based world that is rapidly depleting the cheap and easily accessible oil, which means we face a huge reconfiguration of the infrastructure that undergirds our lives. Meanwhile, the desperation to avoid that reconfiguration has brought us to the era of “extreme energy” using even more dangerous and destructive technologies (hydrofracturing, deep-water drilling, mountain-top removal, tar sands extraction) to get at the remaining hydrocarbons.

Where we are heading? Off the rails? Into the wall? Over the cliff? Pick your favorite metaphor. Scientists these days are talking about tipping points and planetary boundaries, about how human activity is pushing the planet beyond its limits. Recently 22 top scientists in the prestigious journal Nature warned that humans likely are forcing a planetary-scale critical transition “with the potential to transform Earth rapidly and irreversibly into a state unknown in human experience.” That means that “the biological resources we take for granted at present may be subject to rapid and unpredictable transformations within a few human generations.”

That means that we’re in trouble, not in some imaginary science-fiction future, but in our present reality. We can’t pretend all that’s needed is tinkering with existing systems to fix a few environmental problems; significant changes in how we live are required. No matter where any one of us sits in the social and economic hierarchies, there is no escape from the dislocations that will come with such changes. Money and power might insulate some from the most wrenching consequences of these shifts, but there is no permanent escape. We do not live in stable societies and no longer live on a stable planet. We may feel safe and secure in specific places at specific times, but it’s hard to believe in any safety and security in a collective sense.

In short, we live in apocalyptic times.


To be clear: Speaking apocalyptically need not be limited to claims that the world will end on a guru’s timetable or according to some allegedly divine plan. Lots of apocalyptic visions—religious and secular—offer such certainty, imaging the replacement of a corrupt society by one structured on principles that will redeem humanity (or at least redeem those who sign onto the principles). But this need not be our only understanding of the term.

Most discussions of revelation and apocalypse in contemporary America focus on the Book of Revelation, also known as The Apocalypse of John, the final book of the Christian New Testament. The two terms are synonymous in their original meaning; “revelation” from Latin and “apocalypse” from Greek both mean a lifting of the veil, a disclosure of something hidden from most people, a coming to clarity. Many scholars interpret the Book of Revelation not as a set of predictions about the future but as a critique of the oppression of the empire of that day, Rome.

To speak apocalyptically, in this tradition, is first and foremost about deepening our understanding of the world, seeing through the obfuscations of people in power. In our propaganda-saturated world (think about the amount of advertising, public relations, and marketing that we are bombarded with daily), coming to that kind of clarity about the nature of the empires of our day is always a struggle, and that notion of revelation is more crucial than ever.

Thinking apocalyptically, coming to this clarity, will force us to confront crises that concentrated wealth and power create, and reflect on our role in these systems. Given the severity of the human assault on the ecosphere, compounded by the suffering and strife within the human family, honest apocalyptic thinking that is firmly grounded in a systematic evaluation of the state of the world is not only sensible but a moral obligation. Rather than thinking of revelation as divine delivery of a clear message about some fantastic future above, we can engage in an ongoing process of revelation that results from an honest struggle to understand, a process that requires a lot of effort.

Things are bad, systems are failing, and the status quo won’t last forever. Thinking apocalyptically in this fashion demands of us considerable courage and commitment. This process will not produce definitive answers but rather help us identify new directions.

Again, to be very clear: “Apocalypse” in this context does not mean lakes of fire, rivers of blood, or bodies lifted up to heaven. The shift from the prophetic to the apocalyptic can instead mark the point when hope in the viability of existing systems is no longer possible and we must think in dramatically new ways. Invoking the apocalyptic recognizes the end of something. It’s not about rapture but a rupture severe enough to change the nature of the whole game.

Apocalyptic Journalism

The prophetic imagination helps us analyze the historical moment we’re in, but it’s based on an implicit faith that the systems in which we live can be reshaped to stop the worst consequences of the royal consciousness, to shake off that numbness of death in time. What if that is no longer possible? Then it is time to think about what’s on the other side. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the more well-known voices in the prophetic tradition. But if the arc is now bending toward a quite different future, a different approach is needed.

Because no one can predict the future, these two approaches are not mutually exclusive; people should not be afraid to think prophetically and apocalyptically at the same time. We can simultaneously explore immediate changes in the existing systems and think about new systems.

Invoking the prophetic in the face of royal consciousness does not promise quick change and a carefree future, but it implies that a disastrous course can be corrected. But what if the justification for such hope evaporates? When prophetic warnings have not been heeded, what comes next? This is the time when an apocalyptic sensibility is needed.

Fred Guterl, the executive editor of Scientific American, models that spirit in his book The Fate of the Species. Though he describes himself on the “techno-optimistic side of the spectrum,” he does not shy away from a blunt discussion of the challenges humans face:

There’s no going back on our reliance on computers and high-tech medicine, agriculture, power generation, and so forth without causing vast human suffering—unless you want to contemplate reducing the world population by many billions of people. We have climbed out on a technological limb, and turning back is a disturbing option. We are dependent on our technology, yet our technology now presents the seeds of our own destruction. It’s a dilemma. I don’t pretend to have a way out. We should start by being aware of the problem.

I don’t share Guterl’s techno-optimism, but it strikes me as different from a technological fundamentalism (the quasi-religious belief that the use of advanced technology is always a good thing and that any problems caused by the unintended consequences of such technology can be remedied by more technology) that assumes that humans can invent themselves out of any problem. Guterl doesn’t deny the magnitude of the problems and recognizes the real possibility, perhaps even the inevitability, of massive social dislocation:

[W]e’re going to need the spirit with which these ideas were hatched to solve the problems we have created. Tossing aside technological optimism is not a realistic option. This doesn’t mean technology is going to save us. We may still be doomed. But without it, we are surely doomed.

Closer to my own assessment is James Lovelock, a Fellow of the Royal Society, whose work led to the detection of the widespread presence CFCs in the atmosphere. Most famous for his “Gaia hypothesis” that understands both the living and non-living parts of the earth as a complex system that can be thought of as a single organism, he suggests that we face these stark realities immediately:

The great party of the twentieth century is coming to an end, and unless we now start preparing our survival kit we will soon be just another species eking out an existence in the few remaining habitable regions. … We should be the heart and mind of the Earth, not its malady. So let us be brave and cease thinking of human needs and rights alone and see that we have harmed the living Earth and need to make our peace with Gaia.

Anything that blocks us from looking honestly at reality, no matter how harsh the reality, must be rejected. It’s a lot to ask, of people and of journalists, to not only think about this, but put it at the center of our lives. What choice do we have? To borrow from one of 20th century America’s most honest writers, James Baldwin, “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

That line is from an essay titled “As Much Truth as One Can Bear,” about the struggles of artists to help a society, such as the white-supremacist America, face the depth of its pathology. Baldwin suggested that a great writer attempts “to tell as much of the truth as one can bear, and then a little more.” If we think of Baldwin as sounding a prophetic call, an apocalyptic invocation would be “to tell as much of the truth as one can bear, and then all the rest of the truth, whether we can bear it or not.”

That task is difficult enough when people are relatively free to pursue inquiry without external constraints. Are the dominant corporate-commercial/advertising-supported media outlets likely to encourage journalists to pursue the projects that might lead to such questions? If not, the apocalyptic journalism we need is more likely to emerge from the margins, where people are not trapped by illusions of neutrality or concerned about professional status.


That subhead is not an editing oversight. I wish there were an easy solution, an upbeat conclusion. I don’t have one. I’ve never heard anyone else articulate one. To face the world honestly at this moment in human history likely means giving up on easy and upbeat.

The apocalyptic tradition reminds us that the absence of hope does not have to leave us completely hopeless, that life is always at the same time about death, and then rejuvenation. If we don’t have easy, upbeat solutions and conclusions, we have the ability to keep telling stories of struggle. Our stories do not change the physical world, but they have the potential to change us. In that sense, the poet Muriel Rukeyser was right when she said, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”

To think apocalyptically is not to give up on ourselves, but only to give up on the arrogant stories that we modern humans have been telling about ourselves. The royal must give way to the prophetic and the apocalyptic. The central story that power likes to tell—that the domination/subordination dynamic that structures so much of modern life is natural and inevitable—must give way to stories of dignity, solidarity, equality. We must resist not only the cruelty of repression but the seduction of comfort.

The best journalists in our tradition have seen themselves as responsible for telling stories about the struggle for social justice. Today, we can add stories about the struggle for ecological sustainability to that mission. Our hope for a decent future—indeed, any hope for even the idea of a future—depends on our ability to tell stories not of how humans have ruled the world but how we can live in the world.

Whether or not we like it, we are all apocalyptic now.

Robert Jensen is a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center in Austin. His latest books are Arguing for Our Lives: A User’s Guide to Constructive Dialogue,, and We Are All Apocalyptic Now: On the Responsibilities of Teaching, Preaching, Reporting, Writing, and Speaking Out, in print at and on Kindle at

Jensen is also the author of All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice, (Soft Skull Press, 2009); Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007); The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005); Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (City Lights, 2004); and Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream (Peter Lang, 2002). Jensen is also co-producer of the documentary film “Abe Osheroff: One Foot in the Grave, the Other Still Dancing” (Media Education Foundation, 2009), which chronicles the life and philosophy of the longtime radical activist. An extended interview Jensen conducted with Osheroff is online at
Jensen can be reached at and his articles can be found online at To join an email list to receive articles by Jensen, go to Twitter: @jensenrobertw.

NDP Post Mortem: An Economy of Political Intelligence

It's the Economy, Stupid NDP

by Damien Gillis - The

The annals of contemporary political history make one thing clear: Elections are invariably won and lost on a single issue - and that issue is most often the economy. To borrow a slogan coined by Bill Clinton's enigmatic campaign strategist, James Carville, "It's the economy, stupid." You can win issues two through ten, but if you screw up the first one, you're toast.

The NDP lost this election for three reasons - all of which relate back to that one central point: 1. Despite compelling evidence in their favour, the NDP failed to destroy the Liberals' economic credibility; 2. Mr. Dix failed to understand the difference between being fair and being nice; 3. Unlike their opponents, the NDP have no sense of storytelling, no simple narrative arc to which they can attach their myriad policy points.

Plainly put, the NDP and leader Adrian Dix lost this election by running a terrible campaign. The out-to-lunch polls and the mainstream media that allowed Clark a free pass on the Liberals' true economic record didn't help matters, but this was Dix's to lose, and lose he did.

There is one invaluable lesson I gleaned years ago from Karl Rove, the mastermind strategist behind George W. Bush's victories. His candidate bears some striking resemblances to Christy Clark, in fact - both highly unpopular at times, neither one the most cerebral of leaders, yet eminently personable, and both able to win elections they probably shouldn't have.

Rove's most important insight was this: You don't attack your opponent's weakness; you attack their greatest strength, because if you take that leg out from under them, they have nothing left to stand on.

Initially, for Bush, that wasn't the economy but rather national security. As his campaign quickly understood, you can't win on national security as a draft dodger running against a decorated war hero. Enter the "Swift Boat Veterans".

Rove also understood - as does Team Obama - the importance of crafting a simple, clear, overarching narrative, to which every press release, photo-op, position paper, soundbite, and campaign ad links back. Christy Clark's campaign did this very well - everything came back to how voters could trust her to run the economy while they couldn't trust "Risky Dix" and the NDP.

This is where Dix fell down. Not only did he choose the wrong issues on which to attack his opponents - he didn't attack, period. The HST, BC Rail, rip-off private power contracts, boondoggle projects like the convention centre, stadium roof and "world's tallest wood building", and, most significantly, the Liberals' abysmal fiscal record. Any and all of these issues - which encompass other things like corruption and incompetence - can be linked back to a master narrative that demonstrates the NDP are really the best choice to lead BC's economy into the future.

But Dix seized on none of these opportunities, preferring instead to run a nice, safe, "no mistakes" campaign. If Ms. Clark and the mainstream media that fawned over her proved anything, it's that it's better to look nice and act tough than look tough and act nice. Why Mr. Dix - not known as a "nice guy" politically prior to this campaign - mistakenly equated being tough on the Liberals' truly appalling record with being a jackass is a mystery to me. Christy Clark, like Danny Williams, Bill Clinton, Pierre Trudeau and many other successful, charismatic leaders before her, demonstrated you can wield a sledge hammer with a smile on your face.

I joined others in pressuring the NDP to take a stronger stand against Kinder Morgan. There are those within the party who will blame this decision for their loss, cursing what they see as succumbing to the unreliable environmental vote. Bollocks. A Justason poll revealed that Dix's Earth Day announcement was positively received by voters. But even if you want to discard that finding based on the wholesale discrediting of the polling profession last night, the decision itself is not the problem. The problem is, again, failing to frame it properly.

Kinder Morgan would bring a few dozen permanent jobs to its updated tanker terminal in Burnaby, and truly paltry revenues to the province. Compare that with our "Super, Natural BC" brand and the $13.4 Billion a year tourism economy and 127,000 jobs it supports - all of which would be put at grave risk by an oil tanker spill. With a proposed 400 tankers a year through Vancouver Harbour, compared with just 20 before Texas energy giant Kinder Morgan bought the existing Trans Mountain line in 2005, we're talking an exponential increase in risk. A simple cost-benefit analysis shows this is a terrible proposition for BC.

Other leaders like Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, and former ICBC CEO Robyn Allan get this and are able to articulate the Kinder Morgan issue effectively in an economic context. Not so with the provincial NDP.

Dix's failure to attack the Liberals' claims of overall economic superiority is even more puzzling. As we've stated in these pages, time and time again - based on information from the Auditor General and the research of independent economist Erik Andersen - the Liberals have raised our real provincial debt from $34 Billion to $171 Billion since they came to power. The NDP, by contrast, raised it by $17 Billion over a similar period.

About $100 Billion of that new Liberal debt is hidden in another category called "contractual taxpayer obligations". This is where they hide the estimated (because they're secret, even though you pay for them) $55 Billion in sweetheart, rip-off private power contracts that are causing your power bills to soar; this is where they stash the real costs of public-private partnership contracts for multi-billion dollar bridges, highways and Olympic infrastructure.

This story contains everything the NDP needed to beat the Liberals: corruption, deception, secrecy, gross fiscal mismanagement, controversial IPPs, boondoggle bridges that don't work properly and pile on costs to drivers through tolls...In short, everything they needed to take that one leg out from under their Liberal rivals.

By contrast, they could have offered a bold vision of a stronger, greener economic future for BC - one built on innovation, clean technology, public transit, rebuilding local, value-added manufacturing, supporting our vital film industry and creative sectors, harnessing the true potential of "Super, Natural BC"...Alas, they did some of these things, but in piecemeal fashion - detatched from any central narrative. And they failed to distinguish clearly their own record and vision from those of their opponents.

It's a frustrating feeling sitting on the sidelines, uncomfortable with the NDP but viewing them as the only viable alternative - in our broken, first-past-the-post, parliamentary system - to the worst government in BC history. It's awful feeling so powerless, watching the NDP fuck it up yet again. This isn't their loss alone. This is a travesty for the people and environment of BC. Their incompetence impacts us all.

We need electoral reform. We also need better than the second worst voter turnout in the country - even more pathetic by the standards of most of our fellow western nations. It is a great societal failing that we can't manage to get out more than half our eligible citizenry for half an hour to vote, once every four years. Something needs to change on this front.

While we're at it, we could use an honest mainstream media that digs up the facts and looks out for the public interest - though we can expect to wait about as long for that as the characters in Samuel Beckett's famous play. That's why people like Rafe Mair and I are trying so hard to build an alternate media.

For now, I'd settle for someone taking a fire hose to the backrooms of the NDP and flushing them clean. There are many quality people within the NDP - Adrian Dix included (though not as a candidate for Premier). They've staked out some strong positions that are in line, I would still argue, with the public will on many key environmental and social issues. There are some exceptions, granted - salmon farms, Site C Dam, and a need for more clarity on their position regarding fracking and LNG. My complaints here are less about their policies than about the way they sell them.

There are also some small but heartening positives which progressives can draw from last night. For the NDP, George Heyman and David Eby's victories in Vancouver come to mind - two of the NDP's brightest new prospects, both very strong on environmental and social issues, both worked their asses off running good, tough campaigns and were rewarded for their efforts.

I was also happy to see Independent Vicki Huntington win re-election in Delta South, though sorry to see sitting Independent MLA Bob Simpson from Cariboo North narrowly miss out on another term. Both did a great service to British Columbians as hard-working, competent Independents in the Legislature.

Meanwhile, the Green Party ran a solid campaign and it's encouraging to see them break through with their first provincial MLA in Andrew Weaver. Any NDP'er who dares blame the Green Party for their loss needs to examine both the facts and their own head. The Greens did a smart and noble thing choosing to target their efforts on a few select ridings, rather than feeling the need to run a full slate. At the end of the day, if the NDP can't look inward and recognize the deep flaws in its brand, its personnel, and the way it campaigns; if there isn't some serious bloodletting following this inexcusable failure, then maybe British Columbians are ready for a new progressive party.

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon.