Breaking America's (Food) Banks

Breaking the Banks: The Struggle to Feed America's Nouveau Needy
by Nick Turse
The message is simple. Ever more Americans need food they can't afford. As tough economic times take their toll, increasing numbers of Americans are on tightened budgets and, in some cases, facing outright hunger. As a result, they may be learning a lot more about food banks and soup kitchens than most of them ever wanted to know.

In recent interviews with TomDispatch.com, representatives from food banks -- the non-profit organizations that distribute groceries to those in need via food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens -- expressed alarm at the recent surge in need all across the country.
 
At the same time, most stated that, however counterintuitive it might seem, financial contributions to their organizations are actually on the rise. So, too, are food prices, however -- and donations, unfortunately, are not keeping up with demand.
   
Food bank representatives agree on one thing: the need for their services is spiking in a way none of them can recall. Again and again, they emphasize that lines at food pantries are growing longer, seemingly by the month, and that those in line are younger and often more middle class than ever before.
   
Families who just months ago didn't even know what a food bank was and would never have considered visiting a food pantry now have far more intimate knowledge of both. Embarrassed to approach institutions that they previously identified with the poor and indigent, many, say food bank officials, are also waiting far too long to seek aid. Other formerly middle class Americans who have never dealt with, or even thought about, food insecurity before simply don't know whom to call or where to turn.
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Obama’s Betrayal on the Iraq War

Bastardizing History: Obama’s Betrayal on the Iraq War
by Jack Random
I want to be very clear.  There is a vast and unbridgeable chasm between the antiwar position taken by a young state senator in October 2002 and that of the president at the end of February 2009. It begins with the president’s interpretation of recent history: “We sent our troops to Iraq to do away with Saddam Hussein's regime.”  

This is an almost unforgivable bastardization of history.  We went to Iraq ostensibly to eliminate weapons of mass destruction but in reality to secure control of Iraqi oil and establish a central base of military might in the heart of the Middle East.  
 
As the state senator from Illinois understood in October 2002, the rationale for war was radical right ideology of military dominance and preventative war.  Whether Saddam Hussein remained head of state was incidental so long as America could establish a regional base of operations. 

 
 
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How The Financial Crisis Breeds Global Chaos?

Do Americans  Realize How The Crisis Breeds Global Chaos?
by Danny Schechter (Author of PLUNDER)
Obsessed as we are about our own crumbling economy, it’s hard for most Americans to see and appreciate the global nature of the crisis and how it is impacting and will impact others throughout the world. We don’t recognize how many in other countries blame the fall of their own economies on a kind of “financial aids” born in the USA.”

And even as protests spread with Britain just putting its own army on alert for fear of disruptions this summer by anarchists with bent on class war with slogans like “burn a banker,” mass demonstrations show no sign of abating in France, Iceland, Ireland Greece and other EU countries. People here have politicized economic issues perhaps because of a more  thorough and diverse media environment as well as an expectation that their governments have a duty to protect their people.
 
 
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Carmen Mills, Sandra Finley, Janine Bandcroft March 9, 2009

This Week on Gorilla Radio
by C. L. Cook
This week: The biggest project you've hardly heard of is underway in Vancouver. Houses have been expropriated, and the bulldozers are moving in, but not everyone is willing to be rolled over by the massive Gateway Project. Carmen Mills is with Gateway Sucks, a coalition of environmental and housing activists determined to turn Gateway around; Sandra Finley is a Saskatchewan activist who refused to be counted by Canadian census contractor, Lockheed-Martin. The mega-weapons corporation is mining information on Canadians, all to be made available upon request to America's Homeland Security; publisher and broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft keeps us up to speed with Victoria's unaddressed shelter crisis.
 
 
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, www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://GorillaRadioBlog.blogspot.com
 
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Whale of a Kangaroo Court

A Whale of a Kangaroo Court
by Captain Paul Watson
The Japanese government has requested that the Australian government pursue charges against my self, my crew and our ship the Steve Irwin. Japan has accused us of deploying a propeller entanglement system to shut down their harpoon boats and is accusing us of deliberately colliding with the harpoon vessel Yushin Maru #3.

For this reason, the Steve Irwin was met by Australian Federal Police with a warrant to seize our logbook and hundreds of video tapes. This despite the fact that none of the documentation recorded was obtained in Australian territory or on an Australian vessel.

No arrests were made but the question now is where is this going to go? Will I, or any other Steve Irwin crew be arrested and by whom and for what exactly? Will we get our property back, or will it be sent to Japan from where it will never return? Will any of us be sent to Japan from which we may never return - at least anytime soon thereafter.
 
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Canadian Calls to Arrest War Criminal at Large, George W. Bush

Canada's Duty to Arrest George W. Bush for War Crimes
by Lawyers Against War
Dear Prime Minister and Ministers Nicholson, Van Loan, Kenney and Cannon;
Legal duties triggered by news of visit:
 
Bar George W. Bush from entering Canada or prosecute him for torture. George W. Bush, former President of the United States of America (U.S.) and Commander in Chief of the Armed Force, is reported to be coming to Calgary Alberta on March 17, 2009.1

George W. Bush is a person credibly accused of torture and other gross human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes. This fact triggers two branches of Canadian law: first, the Minister of Immigration is legally bound to prevent Bush’s entry into Canada at any time and for any reason; second, if Bush enters Canada, the Attorney General of Canada must prosecute him for torture or provide consent to private prosecution.
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Cohen Charges: "Lefties Made Me a Jew!"

Hatred has turned him into a Jew - Deconstructing Nick Cohen
by Gilad Atzmon
In an article published by the Jewish Chronicle, Observer columnist Nick Cohen argued that ‘Hatred turned him into a Jew’. Initially, I was rather amused by the revealing confession. Cohen must have a lot of hatred in him. 
 
Brit Press Drives Observer Columnist Nick Cohen Kosher
 
He was one of the very few supporters of the illegal war against Iraq within the British media. He really believed that liberating the Iraqis was the way forward.  Incidentally he also possesses an incredible record of Islamophobic ranting. Hence, I at first tended to interpret Cohen’s declaration as an acknowledgment that it was the loathing towards others which he finds in himself that made him into a Jew.  

I was obviously wrong, Cohen was quick to clarify that it is actually other people’s hatred, specifically that of the ‘British Left’ that  ‘indulges antisemitism’, which made him ‘feel Kosher’. 
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Gaza Caravan: Waiting for the Can Go in Rafah

FRUSTRATIONS AT RAFAH CROSSING - Viva Palestina Convoy Update 15.30 (GMT) Sunday 8th March
by The Yvonne Ridley Reports
The Viva Palestina convoy is still stuck 40km from the Rafah border crossing at Al Arish after it was being prevented from progressing through the border gates to Gaza. During the day new obstacles have been placed in the path of the convoy passing into Gaza via the Rafah crossing. However, the whole convoy is determined to stay united in purpose and in one piece - and that all vehicles and equipment including the convoy's mascot, the red fire engine as well as the boat and the Bolton generator will enter Gaza together.
 

George Galloway and other convoy leaders have been involved in lengthy negotiations all day with the Egyptians to find a solution and remove these new obstacles. Negotiations will carry on for the rest of the day but it does look likely that the convoy will not cross into Gaza today. Indeed, Yvonne Ridley reports, from the Viva Palestina compound in Al Arish, there is now a football match taking place between the British and Libyan drivers

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Bottomless Bailout: Buttless Chaps

The Bottomless Bailout
by Ralph Nader
Does anybody in the federal government know or could know “who, what, where and when” of the massive, complex, vertical, horizontal, global collapse of Wall Street and its planetary tentacles in over 100 countries abroad? Step forward if you exist! Uncle Sam needs you!

Is the multi-million dollar bailout of this financial mess and house of cards, this phantom wealth mummy hitting air beyond the federal governments’ salvage capability? It is relatively easy to announce hundreds of billions of dollars of corporate rescue programs here and hundreds of billions of dollars of guarantees of corporate recklessness there and trillions of dollars of assorted stimulus, loan availabilities and foreclosure prevention initiatives in all directions.
 
 
Now comes the rubber hitting the road
 
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Past and Present Betrayals: Remembering Ophira

Remember Ophira?
by Uri Avnery
This week I had a nostalgic experience. I met a parliamentary delegation from one of the European countries. What turned this meeting into a special occasion for me was its location. The “Pasha Room” of the “American Colony” Hotel in East Jerusalem is a beautiful square hall, decorated in traditional Arab style. I was in this hall at the moment Yitzhak Rabin held out his hand to Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn at the Oslo agreement signing ceremony.

We gathered there spontaneously, Israeli peace activists and Fatah leaders, to celebrate the event together. We watched the proceedings on TV and cracked bottles of champagne. I still have one of the corks. Just an hour before, I had witnessed a no less exciting meeting. A group of young Palestinians, delirious with joy, marched through the streets, olive branches in their hands and a large Palestinian flag fluttering over their heads. At the street corner, a unit of the Border Police – the most aggressive anti-Arab force in Israel – was waiting. At the time, even the simple possession of a Palestinian flag was a crime.

For a moment, we held our breath. What is going to happen? The Palestinians ran towards the policemen and thrust olive branches into their hands. The policemen did not know what to do. They were obviously in a state of total disorientation and did not react at all. The enthusiastic youngsters continued on their way through the streets of East Jerusalem, singing and rejoicing.
 
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The Coming Storm in South Asia

Taliban Truce and the Coming Storm in South Asia
by Tom Burghardt
With growing instability and political turmoil inside Afghanistan and Pakistan, due in no small measure to American efforts on both sides of the "Afpak" divide to "stabilize" the region for multinational energy companies, this spring will see the rise of combat operations inside both countries. Pakistan is already feeling the heat generated by the imperialist Dracula and the jihadi Frankenstein.

Despite promises that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) would lay down their arms once the Army ceased operations in Swat Valley, the state's capitulatory compact has instead provided militants with an excuse to exact vengeance on their opponents whilst establishing new training camps for pressed-ganged "recruits." Call it Pakistan's "Year Zero" when "everything changed." Not that the Americans, the state or the corporate grifters who preside over IMF-dictated privatization schemes and debt payments to foreign banks give a hoot.

The New York Times reported March 6, that just days after the truce was signed "a member of a prominent anti-Taliban family returned to his mountain village, having received assurances from the government that it was safe. He was promptly kidnapped by the Taliban, tortured and murdered."
 
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Siegelman Convictions

Siegelman Convictions Upheld
by Scott Horton
The Court of Appeals in Atlanta today upheld most of the convictions delivered against former Governor Don Siegelman, rejecting only two of the counts. In particular, the Court sustained charges that Siegelman behaved corruptly when, after a foundation received a contribution from insurance executive Richard Scrushy, he appointed Scrushy to a regulatory board. The Court found that the jury in the case was within its rights when it found that Siegelman’s appointment was a quid pro quo in exchange for the contribution to the foundation.

The Court also concluded that there was no clear evidence that Judge Mark Everett Fuller, in sentencing Siegelman, retaliated against Siegelman for arguing that the prosecution was politically motivated. They overturned two of Siegelman’s convictions and are therefore sending the matter back to Judge Fuller for resentencing.
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