Change We Can Believe In, Mr. President

Change (in rhetoric) We Can Believe In: The Anti-Empire Report
by William Blum
www.killinghope.org
I've said all along that whatever good changes might occur in regard to non-foreign policy issues, such as what's already taken place concerning the environment and abortion, the Obama administration will not produce any significantly worthwhile change in US foreign policy; little done in this area will reduce the level of misery that the American Empire regularly brings down upon humanity.
 
And to the extent that Barack Obama is willing to clearly reveal what he believes about anything controversial, he appears to believe in the empire.

The Obamania bubble should already have begun to lose some air with the multiple US bombings of Pakistan within the first few days following the inauguration. The Pentagon briefed the White House of its plans, and the White House had no objection. So bombs away — Barack Obama's first war crime.
 
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A Thumb in the Eye of the Canadian Worker from HR Minister Finley

Minister's EI comments - An insult to the workers of Canada
by Peter Ewart & Dawn Hemingway
Federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley has explained why she, and presumably the Harper government, are opposed to raising Employment Insurance payments for unemployed workers, or making it easier to qualify.  “We do not want to make it lucrative for them to stay home and get paid for it,” she says.

In essence, she is saying that Canadian workers, in their hearts, are lazy and would prefer sitting at home to working.

If that is the case, how does she and her government explain that Canadian workers are considered to be among the most productive in the world?  They work in demanding, difficult and often dangerous occupations.  Whether it be bush work in –40 degree weather; in hot restaurant kitchens; in sawmills and pulp mills; in mines, steel mills and assembly plants; in fishing and farming; on oil & gas and construction projects; in hospitals and schools; in minimum wage service sector jobs: It is their labour which is the foundation of all wealth creation in this country.

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Stephen Gets Disaster Capitalism: Bye Bye Environment

Recession no excuse for environmental deregulation
by NDP
The Conservative government is trying to use economic hardship as an excuse to loosen environmental regulation, according to documents obtained by New Democrat Environment Critic Linda Duncan (Edmonton-Strathcona). The documents confirm recent suggestions by Conservative Ministers Raitt and Baird that Conservatives view rules that protect the environment as mere “red tape”.

“The assertion that federal environmental regulations are just a nuisance standing in the way of building infrastructure and creating jobs is completely baseless,” says Duncan. “I challenge Environment Minister Prentice to step up and defend his ministry and his legislated mandate, to protect the environment.”
 
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Cooperating, and Not with Karl

Cooperation, Rove Style
by Scott Horton
On occasion, he compares himself with Grendel, the half-human monster in Beowulf known for cannibalizing his victims. Other times he calls himself Moby Dick, the great white whale of Herman Melville’s epic. In truth Karl Rove enjoys playing both roles—the hunter and the prey, convinced he can outwit and emerge victorious over anyone who pursues him, especially dim-witted federal prosecutors and Congressional investigators.
 
So far, he’s succeeded.
 
In an interview with Murray Waas, Rove’s lawyer, Bob Luskin, drops a few more bombshells. Rove is going to cooperate with the special prosecutor looking into the U.S. attorney’s scandal, he says. Moreover, he reveals that Rove already has sat down and worked with a probe by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) into irregularities surrounding the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.
 
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Canadian Gaza Survivor Speaks Tonight

This Week on VOP Radio Harry Berbrayer
by Voice of Palestine
On Tue. Feb. 3, 2009 from 8:00-9:00pm (PST), Voice of Palestine will be interviewing Harry Berbrayer, a Jewish Canadian who has just returned from three weeks in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.  He was in the Palestinian city of Jenin when Israeli troops began the campaign of terror over Gaza.

We will be talking with him about his experiences in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and the reaction of the Palestinian people in the West Bank to the Israeli aggression. We will also talk with him about the Canadian Government and Western media's pro Israeli bias.
 
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A Black Flag

Black Flag
by Uri Avnery
A Spanish judge has instituted a judicial inquiry against seven Israeli political and military personalities on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The case: the 2002 dropping of a one-ton bomb on the home of Hamas leader Salah Shehade. Apart from the intended victim, 14 people, most of them children, were killed.

For those who have forgotten: the then commander of the Israeli air force, Dan Halutz, was asked at the time what he feels when he drops a bomb on a residential building. His unforgettable answer: "A slight bump to the wing." When we in Gush Shalom accused him of a war crime, he demanded that we be put on trial for high treason. He was joined by the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, who accused us of wanting to "turn over Israeli army officers to the enemy." The attorney general notified us officially that he did not intend to open an investigation against those responsible for the bombing.

I should be happy, therefore, that at long last somebody is ready to put that action to a judicial test (even if he seems to have been thwarted by political pressure). But I am sorry that this has happened in Spain, not in Israel.
 
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How Taxpayers Finance Fantasy Wars

The Looming Crisis at the Pentagon: How Taxpayers Finance Fantasy Wars
by Chalmers Johnson
Like much of the rest of the world, Americans know that the U.S. automotive industry is in the grips of what may be a fatal decline. Unless it receives emergency financing and undergoes significant reform, it is undoubtedly headed for the graveyard in which many American industries are already buried, including those that made televisions and other consumer electronics, many types of scientific and medical equipment, machine tools, textiles, and much earth-moving equipment -- and that's to name only the most obvious candidates. They all lost their competitiveness to newly emerging economies that were able to outpace them in innovative design, price, quality, service, and fuel economy, among other things.

A similar, if far less well known, crisis exists when it comes to the military-industrial complex. That crisis has its roots in the corrupt and deceitful practices that have long characterized the high command of the Armed Forces, civilian executives of the armaments industries, and Congressional opportunists and criminals looking for pork-barrel projects, defense installations for their districts, or even bribes for votes.

Given our economic crisis, the estimated trillion dollars we spend each year on the military and its weaponry is simply unsustainable. Even if present fiscal constraints no longer existed, we would still have misspent too much of our tax revenues on too few, overly expensive, overly complex weapons systems that leave us ill-prepared to defend the country in a real military emergency. We face a double crisis at the Pentagon: we can no longer afford the pretense of being the Earth's sole superpower, and we cannot afford to perpetuate a system in which the military-industrial complex makes its fortune off inferior, poorly designed weapons.

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Pakistan's "Salvador Option"

Afghanistan and Pakistan's "Salvador Option"
by Tom Burghardt
With a rightist insurgency raging on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, the United States is resorting to a tried-and-true method to stem the rising fundamentalist tide: direct military intervention and massive violence.

On January 23, twenty-two people, including 8 to 10 alleged members of al-Qaeda, the rest civilians, were killed when CIA Predator drones slammed into houses in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

In the last six months of 2008, the CIA mounted some 30 such attacks. Inevitably, civilian casualties were high while American officials predictably reported that the strikes failed to kill "senior al-Qaeda commanders."

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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Riki Ott, Will Horter, Janine Bandcroft Feb. 2, 2009

This Week on Gorilla Radio
by C. L. Cook
This Week: Marine scientist, fisherma'am, and author, Riki Ott on the 28th Amendment, the separation of corporation and state in the United States of America, and her newly released book, Not One Drop; Will Horter of the Dogwood Initiative and the launch of the 'Tankers Are Loonie' campaign to maintain the oil tanker moratoria off British Columbia's coast; activist, broadcaster, and publisher, Janine Bandcroft covering the ongoing shelter crisis in Victoria and beyond.
 
 
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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What Obama Means in Palestine

For Palestinians, Obama’s Message is Crystal Clear
by Ramzy Baroud
When former President George W. Bush departed for his final trip home, that very moment represented an end of a long and unbearable nightmare, one that Bush epitomized until his last day in office. Americans may decry what we can finally dub as the ‘Bush legacy’, for it brought economic ruin, but also pushed the country into avoidable, if not completely preventable wars, disgracing the collective history of a nation that for long imposed its sense of moral authority on the world.  

But the new president is set to change all of that. True, Barack Obama is duly warning of hyped expectations, but, frankly, he can only blame himself for the eagerness and hope, realistic or otherwise, that has engulfed the nation, even the world over. During his presidential campaign he made many promises, the gist of which is that an Obama administration would be everything that the Bush administration was not.
 
That was enough for ‘Obamaniacs’ to sing and dance the world over.

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Bear: Killing a Mountain

The plan to develop “South Skirt Mountain” is a blueprint for further mass destruction.  (“Bear Mountain” and “Skirt Mountain” are the same mountain)
by L'ancienne
Claiming to set aside 40% of what precious little remains on this ruined and scarred mountain, and calling it open green space is a very sick joke.  Little of what has been coloured “green” on the planning maps for “South Skirt Mountain” will ever be green again.

The steep vertical slopes below the summit have already been clear cut and blasted, and every natural rock formation has been smashed and obliterated.

 
“Every rock had a name, and since the beginning of time, we knew them”
 
 
 
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A Modest Proposal for Homelessness

End the Homelessness - Just Let Them Die
by Chris Johnson
Two days ago Judge Brian McKenzie settled once and for all the constitutionality of the bylaw enforcement policy prohibiting the use of temporary emergency shelter in the City of Victoria. He reiterated Judge Ross's October 14 ruling that certain Park regulation bylaws were of no force and effect insofar as they prohibit homeless people from erecting temporary shelter. Judge McKenzie went on to suggest that if the City of Victoria was interested in enforcing any kind of regulations related to tenting, such as the 7 to 7 policy, they would need to amend their parks bylaws.
 

Questions arose immediately as to why the City of Victoria didn't amend their municipal code in October, when a BC Supreme Court judged suggested they do so. The city needed time, I suppose, to think it through and make sure they amended the bylaws properly. So after all these months (years really, because you would imagine that going into this whole long legal drama that they had contingency plans for different options) what they have decided is the best thing to do is to keep pushing for a appeal and in the meantime, make it so that the police have enforcement powers to keep the situation from getting out of control.
 
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