...The More They Stay the Same
Not that many years ago a Canadian mining firm proposed an open pit, cyanide heap leach gold mine in the headwaters of our famous Blackfoot River. A broad based citizens initiative campaign was able to defeat it ( and managed to get all cyanide processes banned) because we had powerful ,privileged people on our side, ranchers, sportsmen, celebrities and the Non-Profit NGO Complex.
In Latin America the process is much less gentile. The corporations hire para-military killers to terrorize any resistance, they buy local police and politicians to thwart investigation and they utilize right-wing elites, local ranchers and developers who stand to gain financially for cover. This story is so old it is being turned into Hollywood action films ( like the new blockbuster Avatar). It is currently playing out in Ecuador, Honduras, Chiapas Mexico and El Salvador and in many of these cases it is the Canadian corporations who are the most ruthless.The Stock Exchange and many large pension funds are involved. Canada, who reneged on their Kyoto obligations, is also producing huge quantities of filthy crude from oil sands. They must be stopped.
On the health care front, I watched an interesting report on Americans going to Mexico for cheap, quality health care. State provided insurance is $300 a year if you have no pre-existing conditions and they still take gringos. One man had a hip replacement priced at $85 to $115,000 in the states. Including airfare and hotel it was $13,000 in Puerta Vallarta. I see where the US Senate Bill would impose a 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services which would mean Minority Whip John Boener would fund the entire Head Start program himself.
Speaking of Avatar, wowser.that was a trip. I haven't been to an action/adventure film in years and had no idea what they were capable of, technologically speaking. With the 3D it is seat-gripping eye candy and in how many post 9/11 films has the rugged Marine been the bad guy? Scientists versus military is also provocative. I wonder if kultur locates the natives in a pre-civilized, ecstatic terrain? If I can ride a giant velociraptor count me in.