Eduard Hiebert

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Much can and must be said about reigning in the corporations and re-establishing the supremacy and sovereignty of natural persons and their collective authority.
Further examples of diverse thinking and approaches as to what is going wrong in our society and ought to be addressed.

Introductory words by Eduard

In order of the three topics:

the intended focus of material among the three topics will be divided along the lines whether the material

  1. exposes and provides examples of the form of Trojan Horses used by the corporatists to expropriate (privatize) publicly held assets into private ownership, (frequently at little or no cost to the new owners). (See Corporatism - Usurping Democracy)
     
  2. provides a model by which citizens are able to resist or challenge the privatization of public assets, (See Reigning in the Corporations) and
     
  3. provides examples by which individuals and communities are empowered to build and multiply sustainable community values to the full benefit of the wider commons inclusive of Planet Earth.  In short examples of "thinking global, acting local"!  (See "To Know:" Fostering & Multiplying Community)

Examples of corporate-friendly citizen-unfriendly Trojan Horses would be organisations like the WTO (World Trade Organization) and IMF (International Monetary Fund), who together with their Canadian hand-maidens, our Conservative and Liberal governments, (and the up and hopeful Greens under Jim Harris' leadership) advance through stealth and the back-door means to i) "de-regulate" the commons and ii) "re-regulate" Canada as private, for profit and under corporate control.  Specific methods of privatization include iii) P3's (Public-Private-Partnerships), iv) government downsizing, v) outsourcing, and vi) economic and vii) security harmonisation, sometimes called viii) deep integration with the US.

Mulroney, Chretien, Martin and Harper's advancements of "free trade" rules" all include the double standard that privatization of public assets is allowable, while the nationalization of private assets into publicly held assets is expressly forbidden.  Under these rules, when the former high seas were under the control of pirates, it would be against the trade rules to bring the high seas under international control and access!

Lastly, among the means of privatization listed above, there are no easy demarcations between one nor the other.  For example, by way of metaphor, what are the differences among pork-barrelling, Trudeau & Mulroney's patronage and the sponsorship scandal?  Or are they but political attempts to draw differences (where none exist) in order to try and criticize one without drawing attention to Tommy Douglas' axiom that if we are mice, why would we continue to change blue cats with red cats and then back to blue cats as our leaders?

In the same way, different euphemisms are advanced when either the liberals or conservatives, together with their corporate taskmasters wish, through double talk, advance the privatization of public assets without drawing attention to what they are doing.

Perhaps Benito Mussolini's words say it best.  "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."

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The Junk Science of George W. Bush (by By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr)

Canadians in opposition to Paul Martin's 2005 Bill C-27, a bill which integrates our food and agriculture regulations into those of the USA's, distributed this detailed article as a forshadowing of what to expect in Canada as we adopt American ways.  For a submission on how Canadian Food Inspection Agency is being retooled, privatised and Americanised, please see "Deep Integration via back door of Agriculture through bill C-27 ".

Eduard

***********
http://www.alternet.org/story/17949

February 26, 2004

The Nation

The Junk Science of George W. Bush

By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.,


As Jesuit schoolboys studying world history we learned that Copernicus and Galileo self-censored for many decades their proofs that the earth revolved around the sun and that a less restrained heliocentrist, Giordano Bruno, was burned alive in 1600 for the crime of sound science. With the encouragement of our professor, Father Joyce, we marveled at the capacity of human leaders to corrupt noble institutions. Lust for power had caused the Catholic hierarchy to subvert the church's most central purpose -- the search for existential truths.

Today, flat-earthers within the Bush Administration -- aided by right-wing allies who have produced assorted hired guns and conservative think tanks to further their goals -- are engaged in a campaign to suppress science that is arguably unmatched in the Western world since the Inquisition. Sometimes, rather than suppress good science, they simply order up their own. Meanwhile, the Bush White House is purging, censoring, and blacklisting scientists and engineers whose work threatens the profits of the Administration's corporate paymasters or challenges the ideological underpinnings of  their radical anti-environmental agenda. Indeed, so extreme is this campaign that more than sixty scientists, including Nobel laureates and medical experts, released a statement on February 18 that accuses the Bush Administration of deliberately distorting scientific fact "for partisan political ends."

I've had my own experiences with Torquemada's modern successors, both personal and related to my work as an environmental lawyer and advocate working for the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Waterkeeper Alliance.

At the time of the World Trade Center catastrophe on September 11, 2001, I had just opened an office at 115 Broadway, cater-corner from the World Trade Center and within the official security zone to which access was, afterward, restricted for several months. Upon returning to the office in October my partner, Kevin Madonna, suffered a burning throat, nausea and a headache that was still pounding twenty-four hours after he left the building. Despite the Environmental Protection Agency's claims that air quality was safe, Kevin refused to return and we closed the office. Many workers did not have that option; their employers relied on the EPA's nine press releases between September and December of 2001 reassuring the public about the wholesome air quality downtown. We have since learned that the government was lying to us. An Inspector General's report released last August revealed that the EPA's data did not support those assurances and that its press releases were being drafted or doctored by White House officials intent on reopening Wall Street.

On September 13, just two days after the terror attack, the EPA announced that asbestos dust in the area was "very low" or entirely absent. On September 18 the agency said the air was "safe to breathe." In fact, more than 25 percent of the samples collected by the EPA before September 18 showed presence of asbestos above the 1 percent safety benchmark. Among outside studies, one performed by scientists at the University of California, Davis, found particulates at levels never before seen in more than 7,000 similar tests worldwide. A study being performed by Mt. Sinai School of Medicine has found that 78 percent of rescue workers suffered lung ailments and 88 percent had ear, nose and throat problems in the months following the attack and that about half still had persistent lung and respiratory illnesses nine months to a year later. 

Dan Tishman, whose company was involved in the reconstruction at 140 West Street, required his crews to wear respirators but recalls seeing many rescue and construction workers laboring unprotected -- no doubt relying on the government's assurances. "The frustrating thing is that everyone just counts on the EPA to be the watchdog of public health," he says. "When that role is compromised, people can get hurt."

I also recall the case of Dr. James Zahn, a nationally respected microbiologist with the Agriculture Department's research service, who accepted my invitation to speak to an April 2002 conference of more than 1,000 family farm advocates and environmental and civic leaders in Clear Lake, Iowa. In a rigorous taxpayer-funded study, Zahn had identified bacteria that can make people sick -- and that are resistant to antibiotics -- in the air surrounding industrial-style hog farms. His studies proved that billions of these "superbugs" were traveling across property lines daily, endangering the health of neighbors and their herds. I was shocked when Zahn canceled his appearance on the day of the conference under orders from the Agriculture Department in Washington. I later uncovered a fax trail proving the order was prompted by lobbyists from the National Pork Producers Council. Zahn told me that his supervisor at the USDA, under pressure from the hog industry, had ordered him not to publish his study and that he had been forced to cancel more than a dozen public appearances at local planning boards and county health commissions seeking information about health impacts of industry mega-farms. Soon after my conference, Zahn resigned from the government in disgust.

Ignoring Bad News

The Bush Administration's first instinct when it comes to science has been to suppress, discredit or alter facts it doesn't like. Probably the best-known case is global warming. Over the past two years the Administration has done this to a dozen major government studies on global warming, as well as to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its own efforts to stall action to control industrial emissions. The list also includes major long-term studies by the federal government's National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences, and by scientific teams at the EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA, and a 2002 collaborative report by scientists at all three of those agencies.

The Administration has taken special pains to shield Vice President Dick Cheney's old company, Halliburton, which is part of an industry that has contributed $58 million to Republicans since 2000. Halliburton is the leading practitioner of a process used in extracting oil and gas known as hydraulic fracturing, in which benzene is injected into underground formations. EPA scientists studying the process in 2002 found that it could contaminate ground-water supplies in excess of federal drinking water  standards.  

A week after reporting their findings to Congressional staff members, however, they revised the data to indicate that benzene levels would not exceed government standards. In a letter to Representative Henry Waxman, EPA officials said the change was made based on "industry feedback."

As a favor to utility and coal industries, America's largest mercury dischargers, the EPA sat for nine months on a report exposing the catastrophic impact on children's health of mercury, finally releasing it in February 2003. Among the findings of the report: The bloodstream of one in twelve US women is saturated with enough mercury to cause neurological damage, permanent IQ loss and a grim inventory of other diseases in their unborn children.

The list goes on. In October 2001 Interior Secretary Gale Norton, responding to a Senate committee inquiry on the effects of oil drilling on caribou in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, falsely claimed that the caribou would not be affected, because they calve outside the area targeted for drilling. She later explained that she somehow substituted "outside" for "inside." She also substituted findings from a study financed by an oil company for some of the ones that the Fish and Wildlife Service had prepared for her. In another case, according to the Wall Street Journal, Norton and White House political adviser Karl Rove pressed for changes that would allow diversion of substantial amounts of water from the Klamath River to benefit local supporters and agribusiness contributors. Some 34,000 endangered salmon were killed after National Marine Fisheries scientists altered their findings on the amount of water the salmon required. Environmentalists describe it as the largest fish kill in the history of the West. Mike Kelly, the fisheries biologist on the Klamath who drafted the biological opinion, told me that under the current plan coho salmon are probably headed for extinction. 

According to Kelly, "The morale is very low among scientists here. We are under pressure to get the right results. This Administration is putting the species at risk for political gain. And not just in the Klamath."

Roger Kennedy, former director of the National Park Service, told me that the alteration and deletion of scientific information is now standard procedure at Interior. "It's hard to decide what is more demoralizing about the Administration's politicization of the scientific process," he said, "its disdain for professional scientists working for our government or its willingness to deceive the American public."

Getting the Right Answer

But suppressing or altering science can be a tricky business; the Bush Administration has found it easier at times simply to arrange to get the results it wants. A case in point is the decision in July by the EPA's regional office overseeing the western Everglades to accept a study financed predominantly by developers, which concludes that wetlands discharge more pollutants than they absorb. There was no peer review or public comment. With its approval, the EPA is giving developers credit for improving water quality by replacing natural wetlands with golf courses and other developments.

The study was financed by the Water Enhancement and Restoration Committee, which was formed primarily by local developers and chaired by Rick Barber, the consultant for a golf course development for which the EPA had denied a permit because it would pollute surrounding waters and destroy wetlands. The study contradicts everything known about wetlands functioning, including a determination by more than twenty-five scientists and managers at the Tampa Bay Estuary Program that, on balance, wetlands do not generate nitrogen pollution. Bruce Boler, a biologist and water-quality specialist working for the EPA office, resigned in protest. Boler says the developers massaged the data to support their theory by evaluating samples collected near roads and bridges, where developments discharge pollutants. "It was like the politics trumped the science," he told us.

In a similar case, last November the EPA cut a private deal with a pesticide manufacturer to take over federal studies of a pesticide it manufactures. Atrazine is the most heavily utilized weedkiller in America. First approved in 1958, by the 1980s it had been identified as a potential carcinogen associated with high incidences of prostate cancer among workers at manufacturing facilities. Testing by the US Geological Survey regularly finds alarming concentrations of Atrazine in drinking water across the corn belt. Even worse, last year scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, found that Atrazine at one-thirtieth the government's "safe" 3 parts per billion level causes grotesque deformities in frogs, including multiple sets of organs. And this year epidemiologists from the University of Missouri found reproductive consequences in humans associated with Atrazine, including male semen counts in farm communities that are 50 percent below normal. Iowa scientists are finding similar results in a current study.

The Bush Administration reacted to the frightening findings not by banning this dangerous chemical, as the European Union has, but by taking the studies away from EPA scientists and, in an unprecedented move, giving the chemical's manufacturer, Switzerland-based Syngenta, control over federal research. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Sherry Ford, a spokesperson for Syngenta, praised without irony the advantages of having the company monitor its own product.

"This is one way we can ensure it's not presenting any risk to the environment."

In a dramatic expansion of this disturbing strategy, the Bush Administration now plans to systematically turn government science over to private industry by contracting out thousands of science jobs to compliant consultants already in the habit of massaging data to support corporate profits. The National Park Service is preparing a first phase of contracting reviews, involving about 1,800 positions, including biologists, archeologists and environmental specialists.  Later phases may entail replacement of 11,000 employees, more than two-thirds of the service's permanent work force.

At least federal employees enjoy civil service and whistleblower protection intended to allow them to operate professionally and independently. Private contractors don't enjoy the same level of protection. "You can shop for the right contractor to give you the kind of result you want," says Frank Buono, a retired Park Service veteran who now serves on the board of a nonprofit whistleblower protection organization.

As a Last Resort, Fire the Messenger

Most federal employees have gone along with the Bush Administration's wishes, but a few have tried to stand up for sound science. The results are predictable. When a team of government biologists indicated that the Army Corps of Engineers was violating the Endangered Species Act in managing the flow of the Missouri River, the group was quickly replaced by an industry-friendly panel. (In an unexpected --and fortunate -- development, the new panel ultimately declined to adopt the White House's pro-barge-industry position and upheld the decision to manage the river to protect imperiled species.) Similarly, last April the EPA suddenly dismantled an advisory panel that had spent nearly twenty-one months developing rules for stringent regulation of industrial emissions of mercury.

Or consider the case of Tony Oppegard and Jack Spadaro, members of a team of federal geodesic engineers selected to investigate the collapse of barriers that held back a coal slurry pond in Kentucky containing toxic wastes from mountaintop strip-mining. The 300-million-gallon spill was the largest in American history and, according to the EPA, the greatest environmental catastrophe in the history of the Eastern United States. Black lava-like toxic sludge containing sixty poisonous chemicals choked and sterilized up to 100 miles of rivers and creeks and poisoned the drinking water in seventeen communities. Unlike in other slurry disasters, no one died, but hundreds of residents were sickened by contact with contaminated water.

The investigation had broad implications for the viability of mountaintop mining, which involves literally lopping off mountaintops to get access to the underlying coal. It is a process beloved by coal barons because it practically dispenses with the need for human labor and thus increases industry profits. Spadaro, the nation's leading expert on slurry spills, recalls, "We were geotechnical engineers determined to find the truth. We simply wanted to get to the heart of the matter -- find out what happened and why, and to prevent it from happening again. But all that was thwarted at the top of the agency by Bush appointees who obstructed professionals trying to do their jobs."

The Bush Administration appointees all had coal industry pedigrees. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao (the wife of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate's biggest recipient of industry largesse) appointed Dave Lauriski, a former executive with Energy West Mining, as the new director of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which oversaw the investigation. His deputy assistant secretary was John Caylor, an Anamax Mining alumnus. His other deputy assistant, John Correll, had worked for both Amax and Peabody Coal.

Oppegard, the leader of the federal team, was fired on the day Bush was inaugurated in 2001. All eight members of the team except Spadaro signed off on a whitewashed investigation report. Spadaro, like the others, was harassed but flat-out refused to sign. In April of 2001 Spadaro resigned from the team and filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the Labor Department. Last June 4 he was placed on administrative leave--a prelude to getting fired.

Bush Administration officials accuse Spadaro of "abusing his authority" for allowing a handicapped instructor to have free room and board at a training academy he oversees, an arrangement approved by his superiors. An internal report vindicated Spadaro's criticisms of the investigation, but the Administration is still going after his job. "I've been regulating mining since 1966," Spadaro told me. "This is the most lawless administration I've encountered. They have no regard for protecting miners or the people in mining communities. They are without scruples."

Science, like theology, reveals transcendent truths about a changing world. At their best, scientists are moral individuals whose business is to seek the truth. Over the past two decades industry and conservative think tanks have invested millions of dollars to corrupt science. They distort the truth about tobacco, pesticides, ozone depletion, dioxin, acid rain and global warming. In their attempt to undermine the credible basis for public action (by positing that all opinions are politically driven and therefore any one is as true as any other), they also undermine belief in the integrity of the scientific process.

Now Congress and this White House have used federal power for the same purpose. Led by the President, the Republicans have gutted scientific research budgets and politicized science within the federal agencies. The very leaders who so often condemn the trend toward moral relativism are fostering and encouraging the trend toward scientific relativism. The very ideologues who derided Bill Clinton as a liar have now institutionalized dishonesty and made it the reigning culture of America's federal agencies.

The Bush Administration has so violated and corrupted the institutional culture of government agencies charged with scientific research that it could take a generation for them to recover their integrity even if Bush is defeated this fall. Says Princeton University scientist Michael Oppenheimer, "If you believe in a rational universe, in  enlightenment, in knowledge and in a search for the truth, this White House is an absolute disaster."

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, is working on a book about President Bush's environmental policies, Crimes Against Nature, to be published this spring by HarperCollins.

2005 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved. View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/17949

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Puny Cuba & Venezuela stand up to Bush

March 22, 2005 -

Fateful Quadrangle
CUBA AND VENEZUELA FACE U.S. AND COLOMBIA

By JAMES PETRAS
http://www.counterpunch.org/petras03222005.html

Cuba's living example of 45 years of successful resistance to US military aggression and economic boycott is extremely damaging to Washington's goal of world empire for several reasons. In the first place Cuba's success refutes the notion put forth by the "center-left" that "small", "undeveloped" countries cannot resist imperial powers, or sustain a revolution in the face of "globalization". Secondly the survival of the Cuban revolution refutes the idea that Caribbean or Latin American countries located proximate to the US must conform to the dictates of Washington. Thirdly, Cuba demonstrates that the US empire is not invincible -- Cuba has defeated almost all major aggressive military, political and diplomatic attacks.

Diplomatically, Cuba is recognized by almost all countries in the world, and receives the support of over 150 countries (versus 3 for the US) in opposition to the US embargo in the United Nations. Economically, Cuba has trade and investment relations with all major European, Asian, African, Latin American and North American nations (except the US). Militarily, the Cuban armed forces and intelligence agencies have defeated every US-sponsored terrorist attack on the islands for the past half-century in addition to raising the political cost for any potential invasion. In response to a half century of failures, the Bush Administration has escalated its aggression: practically eliminating all US travel to Cuba, blocking almost all family remittances, and tightening trade restrictions on food and medicine. While these harsh measures have had some negative effects on Cuba, they have also provoked opposition among some conservative sectors of the US public. Many Cuban exiles who would normally support Bush have been antagonized because they cannot provide economic assistance to aging family members. Agricultural interests (from 38 states) which supported Bush are furious at the new restriction on trade. Liberal and conservative enemies of the Cuban revolution who hoped to subvert the revolution via cultural and ideological penetration are upset by the travel and cultural restrictions. 

In other words the harsher and more extreme the measures adopted by the Bush Administration against Cuba the greater Washington's isolation. This is true externally as well as internally. Let us examine several illustrations.

The US exploited the jailing of over 70 US paid propagandists, labeling them "political dissidents", initially securing the support of the European Union. A year later, the EU has broken with Washington and renewed and expanded its cultural and economic ties with Cuba.

While the US tightens its trade embargo, Cuban trade and investment ties with China and the rest of Asia, Venezuela and the rest of Latin America, Canada and Europe have expanded and deepened. The US restrictions on family remittances has been weakened by family members sending money via "third countries such as Mexico, Canada, Dominican Republic etc. Canadian, European, Latin American and Asian visitors have topped 2 million annually and new influxes of investment have made up for most of the shortfall from the restrictions on remittances.

Finally Washington's attempts to limit Cuba's access to energy sources after the fall of the USSR have been defeated by the far-reaching trade and investment agreements with the Venezuelan government of President Chavez. The Chavez regime provides Cuba with petrol at subsidized prices in exchange for Cuba providing a vast health and education program for the poor of Venezuela. The Cuban-Venezuelan political and economic ties have undercut US efforts to force the Caribbean and Latin American countries to break with Cuba. As a result of past and present failed policies of directly attacking Cuba, the Bush administration has turned toward destroying Cuba's strategic alliance with the Chavez regime.

The Two Stage Strategy

US strategy toward destroying the Cuban revolution is increasingly following a "two step" approach: first overthrow the Chavez government in Venezuela, cut off the energy supply and trade links and then proceed toward economic strangulation and military attack. The "two step" strategy against Cuba, involves the elaboration of a calibrated action plan to overthrow the Chavez government.

Washington's anti-Chavez efforts up till 2005 have resulted in severe defeats. These efforts have largely been based on an "insider" approach, utilizing the local ruling class, sectors of the army and the corrupt trade union bureaucracy. Not only have Washington's domestic instruments been defeated but they have been severely weakened for future use. Washington's support for the failed military coup resulted in the loss of several hundred counter-revolutionary officers who were forced to resign. Bush's support for the petroleum elite's lockout led to the expulsion of thousands of oil officials allied with Washington. The defeat of the referendum to expel Chavez, mobilized, politicized and radicalized millions of poor Venezuelans and demoralized Washington's middle class supporters. The result of these failed policies has been to turn Washington's attention to an "outsider" strategy: the key to which is incremental military intervention in association with the terrorist Uribe regime in Colombia.

The US strategy against Cuba involves a joint US-Colombian attack of Venezuela backed by internal terrorists and the ruling class. This indirect attack on Cuba, involves complex, external preparation in cooperation with Colombia. First of all Washington and Uribe have greatly strengthened military bases surrounding the Venezuelan border. Secondly "trial military incursions" involving both Colombian military and paramilitary forces occur on a regular basis -- testing Venezuelan defenses. In 2004 six Venezuelan soldiers were killed, a number of Venezuelan officials were bribed to kidnap a Colombian resistance leader and numerous cross border attacks killing and kidnapping Colombian refugees took place in Venezuela. 

Thirdly the US has provided nearly $3 billion dollars in military aid to Colombia, tripled the size of its armed forces (to over 275,000), greatly increased its air force combat units (helicopters, fighter bombers), provided advanced military technology and several thousand official and "contracted" military specialists. Fourthly Washington has recruited the Gutierrez regime in Ecuador, invaded Haiti, established military bases in Peru and the Dominican Republic, and has engaged in navy maneuvers just off the Venezuelan coast in preparation for a military attack. Fifthly Colombia (under US tutelage) signed a joint military-intelligence cooperation agreement on December 18, 2004 with the Venezuelan Ministry of Defense, providing the US with "inside information" and serving as a possible source of infiltration of the Venezuelan Armed Forces to counter pro-Cuban officers.

The Triangular Strategy

The US is relying on a "triangular strategy" to overthrow the Chavez regime: A military invasion from Colombia, US intervention (air and sea attacks plus special forces to assassinate key officials) and an internal uprising by infiltrated terrorists and military traitors, supported by key media, financial and petrol elites. The strategy involves seizing state power, expelling the Cuban aid missions and breaking all agreements with Cuba. 

Prior to this concerted military strategy, Washington has designed a propaganda campaign against the Cuban-Venezuelan alliance, Venezuela's attempts to rectify the enormous military deficit with Colombia by purchasing defensive arms, and raising the specter of Venezuela's "subversion" of Latin American regimes. The key to US policy is to prevent Venezuela from joining Cuba as an alternative social welfare regime to the US neo-liberal clients in Latin America. US aggression escalates as the agrarian reform expands, Venezuela prepares self-defense and Chavez diversifies trade and investment ties. Cuba's powerful support for Venezuela's social welfare programs has consolidated mass support for the Chavez regime and is a main base of defense for the radicalization of the process.

As Venezuela confronts Washington's threats, it consolidates its ties with Cuba. The fate of the two projects become intertwined and bound together in a single common anti-imperialist alliance, despite the differences in social systems and political composition.

Strengths of the Venezuelan-Cuban Alliance

The US "external" strategy toward Venezuela and its "two step" approach toward Cuba face powerful limitations.

First of all the Colombian regime faces a powerful internal opposition: 20,000 veteran guerrilla fighters and millions of Colombians sympathetic to the agrarian reform program, independent foreign policy and political freedoms of the Chavez regime. It is very dangerous for Uribe to start a "two-front war" which might open the way to attacks on the principle cities including Bogota.

The US is heavily tied down militarily in Iraq and puts a higher priority on war against Iran/Syria than Venezuela. The US intervention would be limited to air and sea attacks and Special Forces.

The war would mobilize millions of Venezuelans in a war of national liberation, defending their own land -- homes, neighborhoods, families and friends. Moreover popular liberation wars radicalize the population and frequently lead to the confiscation of counter-revolutionary property. A failed invasion could push Venezuela toward greater socialization of the economy and eliminate the domestic elite.

Moreover, US economy and multi-nationals stand to lose a reliable supply of petroleum in a tight market and billions of dollars in investments -- weakening the US position in the global energy market.

An invasion would likely to lead to a joint military defense pact between Venezuela and Cuba, which would counter-US policy in the Caribbean. Such an invasion would also be likely to provoke major unrest and instability throughout Latin America, threaten US clients and undermining neo-liberal regimes and policies.

For all these reasons, Washington's attempts to pursue the external, two step policy toward Venezuela and Cuba, while extremely dangerous to both countries, could have a boomerang effect, setting in its wake a new wave of anti-imperialist struggles throughout the region.

Up to now the escalation of US diplomatic and economic aggression against Cuba has led to the greater isolation of the US in Europe and throughout the Third World. An escalation of military aggression against Venezuela as part of a "two-step strategy" against Cuba could have even more severe consequences -- the expansion of the revolutionary struggle in Colombia and the rest of Latin America.

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50 year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed).

Copyright ) 2005. All rights reserved. CounterPunch is a project of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity.

-------------

Robert S. Rodvik
Author/media analyst

"Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth." -- George Orwell - 1984

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'Pro-Canadian' Means Much More than 'Anti-American'

Embracing Canadian values goes way beyond resenting our neighbours.

By Murray Dobbin
Published: March 23, 2005

TheTyee.ca

George W. Bush and his gang of neo-cons have inadvertently prompted Canadians to more closely examine their own very different take on the world. And they like what they see.

There are those, of course, who dismiss this phenomenon either as 'mindless' anti-Americanism or narrow nationalism. But both these criticisms miss the mark. First, an attachment to the ideas of tolerance, community, equality and the rule of law is not anti anything. And as for nationalism, in Canada this has almost always been expressed not as blind patriotism or narrow xenophobia, but as pride in and a commitment to broad social democratic ideals.

The polling firm EKOS, put the following question to a large sample of Canadians: If you were prime minister for a day, and had to pick overall national goals for Canada to achieve by the year 2010, which of the following would you choose? Here is how Canadians responded:

    * Best quality of life in the world: 66 per cent
    * Best health care system in the world: 64 per cent
    * Lowest incidence of child poverty in the world: 62 per cent
    * Best-educated population in the world: 57 per cent
    * Eliminate public debt: 50 per cent
    * Lowest overall tax burden of major industrialized countries: 45 per cent
    * Highest productivity level of major industrialized countries: 45 per cent
    * Highest standard of living of industrialized nations: 30 per cent

Canadians continue to reject the mantra of the economic elite by putting their own priorities - quality of life, universal health care, and lowest child poverty rate - far ahead of Bay Street's preoccupation with productivity, low taxes and debt reduction. The emphasis on quality of life, says the EKOS study, underlines Canadians' view that government has a positive role to play in 'in addressing problems in our collective life' because robust social programs are seen as complimentary to income.

In 2002, the Canadian Policy Research Network (CPRN) explored Canadian values in a comprehensive follow-up to a 1995 study. Day-long dialogues around the discussion theme, "The Kind of Canada We Want," revealed that the 1995 theme of investing in children "had strengthened and broadened to include the right of every child, youth, and adult to receive support to become a fully contributing citizen." In 1995 citizens emphasized "self-reliance and compassion leading to collective responsibility," while the 2002 dialogues revealed a desire for "mutual responsibility for all actors in society."

Many commentators have mused about the decline of Canadian democracy but the CPRN study revealed something quite different. In 1995 citizens said 'everyone should have a chance to participate in this kind of dialogue.' But seven years later, Canadians were 'stating their right and their responsibility to engage more actively in the policy process.' Many participants suggested that governments get advice from program recipients in designing those programs.

None of this is anti-American. Yet Canadians' strong belief in fairness does lead them to distrust the U.S. government. This distrust arises from two main sources American officials's imperial arrogance, and their disregard for trade agreements. In a poll done by the Innovative Research Group, 80 per cent of Canadians described the U.S. as a 'rogue nation' and fully one third believe it is a 'force for evil' in the world. Persistent trade harassment by the US has led 48 per cent of Canadians to the conclusion that 'the U.S. cannot be trusted to treat Canadians fairly.'

While Canada's elites are eager to hand over our sovereignty to ensure our trading relationship with the U.S., Canadians are nearly unanimous in saying they want to maintain that sovereignty no matter what. In a March, 2004 poll Ipsos Reid found that 91 per cent agreed that: 'Canada should maintain the ability to set its own independent environmental, health and safety standards and regulations, even if this might reduce cross-border trade opportunities with the United States.'

These trend lines must give migraines to Bay Street's annexationists, such as Tom d'Aquino, head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. Canadians show every sign of wanting nothing to do with undermining their quality of life by being absorbed into the ailing and paranoid giant to the south. Books and studies galore reveal the very stark differences in values held by Canadians and Americans. EKOS asked people what being a Canadian or American meant to them. Having universal health and social programs was identified by nearly half of Canadians polled, but less than a third of Americans. Twice as many Canadians opted for paying taxes. Almost three quarters of Americans believed that aiming for 'the good life' - measured in things - trumped all else. Canadians' emphasis on collective rights led them to put a healthy environment, a tolerant multicultural country and individual liberty ahead of the accumulation of wealth.

Tom d'Aquino, meet Canada.

Murray Dobbin writes his State of the Nation column twice monthly for The Tyee.

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Links of Interest

In Defence of Canadian Liberty

James Boyle - Duke University School of Law Homepage

Wal-Mart Store Wars

Wal-Mart Store Wars Part 2

Devinder Sharma on Farmer Suicides

Devinder Sharma Homepage

Corporate Crime Reporter Russell Mokhiber

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