Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike

A hero, standing up for her people:

Ontario, the three Prairie Provinces as well as large parts of British Columbia and the Northwest Territories all sit on land that First Nations people signed over to Canada in exchange for a package of government guarantees. Treaty 9, the 1905/1906 treaty signed the people of Attawapiskat, for instance, guarantees that, in perpetuity, First Nations would receive “benefits that served to balance anything that they were giving.” The treaty also guaranteed total Aboriginal control over reserve lands. Idle No More organizers point to the disastrous state of Aboriginal health and living conditions on First Nations reserves and allege that these treaty rights are not being properly honoured — and that current attempts to amend the Indian Act will only erode existing Aboriginal rights. “Canada has not committed itself to addressing the colonial relationship it still has with indigenous peoples,” wrote Metis blogger Chelsea Vowel earlier this month. “I think it’s fair to say that most Canadians believe that kind of relationship no longer exists. We are trying to tell you that you are wrong.”

Quote of the day

Link:

Like some Sandy Hook parents who have spoken to the media, Veronique has shied away from portraying Lanza as evil or diabolical. “If we describe him as a demonic force or as a beast with the sign of the beast on his forehead, that is a mistake,” she says. “Because then we are making him apart from humanity when in fact he is part of what is possible in humanity. How do we help these people so this doesn’t happen again, so they never sink so low, so they never have to go to a place so dark where they can take out small children in a fit of rage?”

Back to 1965

My DD’s Jason Williams on the fiscal cliff bullshit:

Republicans don’t find themselves without a specific demand because Vouchercare isn’t on the table, they are in this bind because Vouchercare was only popular with Republicans primarily as a gateway to privatization.


I find it hard to believe the same party that successfully sold trickle-down economics for 3+ decades with little push back from Democrats, or managed to get the very tax cuts being debated now on the table then (as a job creator, no less) is suddenly too timid to bullshit the American populace into getting behind their latest proposal. No. They would praise the genius of toddler’s finger painting if they thought the public would buy it. The reason Republicans can’t make a specific demand now with the White House bluntly asking them to name their price is simple: they haven’t considered it much.


Reform is the white wash, overblown fears of fiscal solvency the excuse, and privatization the thrust. But the goal has always been an end to the social safety net.


Not something you admit to outside of the country club, even if it is the President asking.

Well, now. I think you’re assuming the president doesn’t want the same thing.

Tar sands blockade

The real “eco-terrorists” are the oil companies.

Loud construction noises fill Daniel’s forest as we walk through it earlier this month. Daniel leads me to a pond that had been so clean when I visited during the summer that he drank from it in front of me.


“Not going to happen today,” he says. “It’s cloudy, murky, milky, nasty. Wouldn’t drink out of it. Wouldn’t let my dog drink out of it.”


We get to a clearing in his forest the size of a four-lane highway. Earth movers are digging trenches. A green pipe three feet in diameter stretches as far as we can see. Daniel points out two big stacks of enormous tree trunks — what’s left of this swath of his forest.


Daniel winces. “I don’t think anybody would like to see the destruction of their home. That’s what it is,” he says.


But Jaffe, the UC Davis energy expert, says the efforts were not as futile as they may seem. Because of high profile protests against tar sands, companies in Canada are working on technologies to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint.


“The young woman who went up in the trees should feel happy,” Jaffe says. “She might not have been able to stop the pipeline, but she certainly sent the message to Alberta producers.”

U.S. sailors sue TEPCO

How awful; I can’t begin to imagine how many other unwitting rescue workers were exposed to dangerous levels. It seemed clear from the start that TEPCO was not telling the truth about the radiation levels:

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), owner of the power plant which had the world’s biggest nuclear disaster since 1986, was sued by eight U.S. sailors claiming they were exposed to radiation and the utility lied about the dangers.


The sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan nuclear-powered aircraft carrier were involved in disaster relief operations following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan that caused the meltdown, according to the complaint filed in U.S. federal court in San Diego on Dec. 21.


Tepco, as the Japanese utility is known, and the Japanese government conspired to create the false impression radiation leaking from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant didn’t pose a threat to the sailors, according to the complaint. As a result the plaintiffs rushed into areas that were unsafe and too close to the power plant, exposing them to radiation, the sailors’ lawyers said.


The Japanese government was “lying through their teeth about the reactor meltdown” as it reassured the crew of USS Reagan that “everything is under control,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in the complaint. “The plaintiffs must now endure a lifetime of radiation poisoning and suffering.”


The sailors each sought $10 million in damages, $30 million in punitive damages and a judgment requiring the creation of a $100 million fund to pay for their medical monitoring and treatments.

R.I.P.

Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, 78:

WASHINGTON — Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who topped an illustrious military career by commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in 1991 but kept a low public profile in controversies over the second Gulf War against Iraq, died Thursday. He was 78.

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