Widening Storm in Iraq

The Storm Widens
by Dahr Jamail | T r u t h o u t
One week after Iraqi government forces arrested an Awakening Group (commonly referred to as Sons of Iraq, al-Sahwa) leader, Adil al-Mashhadani, head of a patrol unit in central Baghdad’s Fadhil neighborhood in Baghdad, sparking gun battles that raged for hours between US-backed Iraqi forces and US-allied Sunni militiamen that killed three people, militiamen have once again been detained, widening concerns that sectarian violence may once more engulf Baghdad. There are 50,000 Sahwa fighters in Baghdad alone.

While the Sahwa leader, who had been detained with 32 of his fighters, was eventually released by the Iraqi government, tensions grew in the wake of his detention as threats made by both sides increased. Thus far, only 11 of the 32 others have been released.
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Seven Reasons: Why Obama is Wrong on Afghanistan

Seven Reasons Why Obama is Wrong on Afghanistan
by Jack Random
Recently, the Center for American Progress published “Seven Reasons Why We Need to Engage in Afghanistan.”  Sounding eerily like a Neocon Brain Trust from the Bush era, it was an argument defending the president’s policy of escalation in and prolonged occupation of Afghanistan.

The argument came in anticipation of Obama’s first international tour as president of the United States.  He appealed to the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for greater commitment to the American Afghan adventure and while the hosts made pleasant sounds in appreciation of our president’s dilemma, their commitments were little more than those they gave the Bush administration.  

Could it be the Europeans have learned something the Americans are still struggling with:  that Afghanistan is a hopeless mission, a money pit, a sinking hole that will inevitably drag down anyone who becomes ensnared in its tangled web?  
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Hearing Starling-Speak

A Starling Taught to Speak
by Mickey Z.
While sitting in my kitchen the other day, I heard a beautiful and astonishingly complex bird call. Tiptoeing over to the window, I spied a European Starling perched on my sill—its throat vibrating as it sang its tiny heart out.

After pigeons and sparrows, starlings seem to be the most common birds in New York City but I know so little about them. I remedied that with some quick Web surfing and learned that the song I heard is a combination of “warbling, gurgling, chirruping and clicking noises,” and these birds will often imitate many other species (animals as well as birds), along with man-made sounds like car alarms and telephones.
A group of starlings is known as a “constellation” or a “filth” or a “murmuration” or a “scourge” or a “vulgarity.” Whatever term you may use, starling flocks often number in the tens of thousands.
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Escape from the Zombie Food Court

Escape from the Zombie Food Court
by Joe Bageant
I just returned from several months in Central America. And the day I returned I had iguana eggs for breakfast, airline pretzels for lunch and a $7 shot of Jack Daniels for dinner at the Houston Airport, where I spent two hours listening to a Christian religious fanatic tell about Obama running a worldwide child porn ring out of the White House.
Entering the country shoeless through airport homeland security, holding up my pants because they don't let old men wear suspenders through security, well, I knew I was back home in the land of the free.

Anyway, here I am with you good people asking myself the first logical question: What the hell is a redneck writer supposed to say to a prestigious school of psychology? Why of all places am I here?
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CRD Organic Gardening Workshops Are Back!"

Free Organic Gardening Workshops Are Back!
by Capital Region District (CRD)
"The CRD's popular free Organic Gardening Workshops are back!" Coming this spring and summer to a classroom near you: free workshops on organic gardening and lawn care, on organic food gardening, and on permaculture.
Learn to work with natural processes to create healthy, vibrant lawns and gardens without pesticides.
Proudly sponsored by the CRD and its municipalities, Canadian Cancer Society, UVic, Royal Roads, Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.

For details, workshop schedule, and to register, please visit www.crd.bc.ca/workshops or phone 250.360.3051  
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Dominoes Rising: Obama's War Revival

Obama's Domino Theory
by Juan Cole - (Salon)
President Barack Obama may or may not be doing the right thing in Afghanistan, but the rationale he gave for it on Friday is almost certainly wrong. Obama has presented us with a 21st century version of the domino theory. The U.S. is not, contrary to what the president said, mainly fighting "al-Qaida" in Afghanistan. In blaming everything on al-Qaida, Obama broke with his pledge of straight talk to the public and fell back on Bush-style boogeymen and implausible conspiracy theories.

Obama realizes that after seven years, Afghanistan war fatigue has begun to set in with the American people. Some 51 percent of Americans now oppose the Afghanistan war, and 64 percent of Democrats do. The president is therefore escalating in the teeth of substantial domestic opposition, especially from his own party, as voters worry about spending billions more dollars abroad while the U.S. economy is in serious trouble.

He acknowledged that we deserve a "straightforward answer" as to why the U.S. and NATO are still fighting there. "So let me be clear," he said, "Al-Qaida and its allies -- the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks -- are in Pakistan and Afghanistan." But his characterization of what is going on now in Afghanistan, almost eight years after 9/11, was simply not true, and was, indeed, positively misleading. "And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban," he said, "or allows al-Qaida to go unchallenged -- that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can."
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Alanna Mitchell, Mark Leiren-Young, J9 Apr. 6, 2009

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook
This week: environmental journalist and author, Alanna Mitchell and her new book, 'Sea Sick: The Global Ocean Crisis'; filmmaker, journalist, script writer, Mark Leiren-Young on his film 'The Green Chain,' his book, "Never Shoot a Stampede Queen,' and more; Street Newz newspaper publisher, broadcaster, journalist, and activist, Janine Bandcroft on Victoria's streetz.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Pacific Free Press.com. You check out the GR blog at: http://GorillaRadioBlog.blogspot.com
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Futuro: Global Crime Wave?

Global Crime Wave? A Syndrome of Crime, Violence, and Repression on the Way
by Michael Klare
In all catastrophes, there are always winners among the host of losers and victims. Bad times, like good ones, generate profits for someone. In the case of the present global economic meltdown, with our world at the brink and up to 50 million people potentially losing their jobs by the end of this year, one winner is likely to be criminal activity and crime syndicates.
From Mexico to Africa, Russia to China, the pool of the desperate and the bribable is expanding exponentially, pointing to a sharp upturn in global crime. As illicit profits rise, so will violence in the turf wars among competing crime syndicates and in the desperate efforts by panicked governments to put a clamp on criminal activity.
Take Mexico, just now in the headlines. In late March, during her first trip there as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was repeatedly asked about the burst of narcotics-related violence in that country, the thousands of deaths that have gone with it, the patent inability of the Mexican military to contain, no less repress, the drug trade, and the possibility that the country might be at risk of becoming a "failed state."
Mexico itself may not be in danger of collapse, she replied diplomatically, but a very real danger threatens both countries from a rise in violent crime along the U.S.-Mexican border. "The criminals and kingpins spreading violence are trying to corrode the foundations of law, order, friendship, and trust between us," she declared at a press conference in Mexico City. To counter this danger, the secretary of state promised a militarized response that reflected the level of danger she imagined -- a significant increase in U.S. anti-narcotics assistance, including the expedited delivery of Black Hawk helicopters.
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Proof in the Pudding: Obama is a Fraud

Utah Student Who Prevented Bush Admin Sell-Off of Public Land Charged for Disrupting Auction
by Democracy Now!
We speak to University of Utah student Tim DeChristopher, who has just been charged with two felonies for disrupting the auction of over 100,000 acres of federal land for oil and gas drilling. DeChristopher was arrested after he posed as a bidder and bought 22,000 acres of land in an attempt to save the property from drilling. He faces up to ten years in prison. [includes rush transcript]

Tim DeChristopher, Environmental activist and University of Utah student. In December, he disrupted an auction of Utah’s pristine wilderness to oil and gas companies.
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B.C.: The Watershed Election

B.C. Watershed Election: Save Our Rivers
by SOS
See this video to discover just one of the major issues at stake in British Columbia's scheduled May 12th provincial election. 
Power and sustainability to and for the people!
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Thoughts On American Socialism

Some Thoughts About Socialism
The Anti-Empire Report
by William Blum (www.killinghope.org)
And so it goes. Corporations, whether financial or not, strive to maximize profit as inevitably as water seeks its own level. We've been trying to "regulate" them since the 19th century. Or is it the 18th? Nothing helps for long. You close one loophole and the slime oozes out of another hole. Wall Street has not only an army of lawyers and accountants, but a horde of mathematicians with advanced degrees searching for the perfect equations to separate people from their money.
After all the stimulus money has come and gone, after all the speeches by our leaders condemning greed and swearing to reforms, after the last congressional hearing deploring the corporate executives to their faces, the boys of Wall Street, shrugging off a few bruises, will resume churning out their assortment of financial entities, documents, and packages that go by names like hedge funds, derivatives, collateralized debt obligations, index funds, credit default swaps, structured investment vehicles, subprime mortgages, and many other pieces of paper with exotic names, for which, it must be kept in mind, there had been no public need or strident demand. Speculation, bonuses, and scotch will flow again, and the boys will be all the wiser, perhaps shaken a bit that they're so reviled, but knowing better now what to flaunt and what to disguise.

This is another reminder that communism or socialism have almost always been given just one chance to work, if that much, while capitalism has been given numerous chances to do so following its perennial fiascos. Ralph Nader has observed: "Capitalism will never fail because socialism will always be there to bail it out."
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A Death in London: G20 Post March Propaganda

Interview with Two Eyewitnesses of G20 Death
by Indymedia UK

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