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Welcome to Kuwait on the Prairie, Welcome to America's Oil Boom

A Trip to Kuwait (on the Prairie)  - Life Inside the Boom
 
At 9 p.m. on that August night, when I arrived for my first shift as a cocktail waitress at Whispers, one of the two strip clubs in downtown Williston, I didn’t expect a 25-year-old man to get beaten to death outside the joint. Then again, I didn’t really expect most of the things I encountered reporting on the oil boom in western North Dakota this past summer.
“Can you cover the floor?” the other waitress yelled around 11 p.m. as she and her crop-top sweater sidled behind the bar to take over for the bouncers and bartenders. 
They had rushed outside to deal with a commotion. I resolved to shuttle Miller Lites and Fireball shots with extra vigor. I didn’t know who was fighting, but assumed it involved my least favorite customers of the night: two young brothers who had been jumping up and down in front of the stage, their hands cupping their crotches the way white boys, whose role models are Eminem, often do when they drink too much.
 
One sported a buzz cut, the other had hair like soft lamb’s wool.
 
The rest of the night was a blur of beer bottles and customer commands to smile more. It was only later, after the clientele was herded out to Red Peters’s catchy “The Closing Song” -- “get the fuck out of here, finish up that beer” -- and the dancers had emerged from the dressing room in sweatshirts, that I realized everyone was on edge.
 

First Refuge: The "Patriot" Game

Patriot's Game
by William T. Hathaway
patriot fingerOnce again in election season the drums of patriotism are being beaten. Politicians on the stump and their Madison Avenue flacks are exhorting us to rally around the tattered flag. Their drumming sounds feeble and hollow, though, like cheerleaders trying to rouse the fans while our military team goes down to defeat, bringing the economy with it.
 
The drummers persist because their patriotic noise drowns out the voices of those asking disturbing questions: Why are we playing this losing game to begin with?
 
Why are we bankrupting the country with endless war?
 
How can we love a nation that slaughters millions of our fellow human beings? These questions endanger the game, and the game must go on.
 
Patriotism keeps us in the game.
 

Killing the Messenger Still: Is America Ready for Gary Webb Yet?

Can MSM Handle the Contra-Cocaine Truth?
by Robert Parry  - Consortium News
The mainstream news media’s reaction to the new movie, “Kill the Messenger,” has been tepid, perhaps not surprising given that the MSM comes across as the film’s most unsympathetic villain as it crushes journalist Gary Webb for digging up the Contra-cocaine scandal in the mid-1990s after the major newspapers thought they had buried it in the 1980s.

Not that the movie is without other villains, including drug traffickers and “men in black” government agents. But the drug lords show some humanity and even honesty as they describe how they smuggled drugs and shared the proceeds with the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, President Ronald Reagan’s beloved “freedom fighters.”

By contrast, the news executives for the big newspapers, such as the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, come across as soulless careerists determined to maintain their cozy relations with the CIA’s press office and set on shielding their failure to take on this shocking scandal when it was playing out in the 1980s.

So, in the 1990s, they concentrated their fire on Webb for alleged imperfections in his investigative reporting rather than on U.S. government officials who condoned and protected the Contra drug trafficking as part of Reagan’s Cold War crusade.

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Universal Failure: United Nations, Vouchsafer of Empire

The UN Is A Colossal Fraud: Just ideas—or disaster—will triumph
by Fidel Castro - Granma
un logoAbsolutely no one has the right to destroy cities; murder children; pulverize homes; sow terror, hunger and death anywhere.
 
If today it is possible to prolong life, health and the productive time of persons, if it is perfectly possible to plan the development of the population in accordance with growing productivity, culture and development of human values, what are they waiting for to do so?
 
Global society has known no peace in recent years, particularly since the European Economic Community, under the absolute, inflexible direction of the United States, decided that the time had come to settle accounts with what remained of two great nations which, inspired by the ideas of Marx, had achieved the great feat of ending the imperialist colonial order imposed on the world by Europe and the United States.
 
 

Making Monsters: From Killing Fields to the Islamic State

From Pol Pot to ISIS: “Anything that flies on everything that moves”
by John Pilger
As a witness to the human consequences of aerial savagery - including the beheading of victims, their parts festooning trees and fields - I am not surprised by the disregard of memory and history, yet again.

As Barack Obama ignites his seventh war against the Muslim world since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger's murderous honesty.

In transmitting President Richard Nixon's orders for a "massive" bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said, "Anything that flies on everything that moves." 

A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today's Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of an American-made apocalypse, this time in Asia.

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Divestment UVic Airs a Meme Balloon

Divestment Gets A Lift: Students use helium to send UVic a memo on climate change
by Divest UVic
10 Oct 2014  - This week students from Divest UVic used a lot of paint, fabric and helium balloons to tell UVic to ditch its dirty investments.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Washington Aiming Down an Oil Barrel: Obama's Energy Weapon

Obama’s New Oil Wars: Washington Takes on ISIS, Iran, and Russia
by Michael T. Klare  - TomDispatch 
It was heinous. It was underhanded. It was beyond the bounds of international morality. It was an attack on the American way of life. It was what you might expect from unscrupulous Arabs. 
 
It was “the oil weapon” -- and back in 1973, it was directed at the United States. Skip ahead four decades and it’s smart, it’s effective, and it’s the American way. 
 
The Obama administration has appropriated it as a major tool of foreign policy, a new way to go to war with nations it considers hostile without relying on planes, missiles, and troops. It is, of course, that very same oil weapon.
 
Until recently, the use of the term “the oil weapon” has largely been identified with the efforts of Arab producers to dissuade the United States from supporting Israel by cutting off the flow of petroleum. The most memorable example of its use was the embargo imposed by Arab members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on oil exports to the United States during the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, causing scarcity in the U.S., long lines at American filling stations, and a global economic recession.
 

Joining America: Political Right and Left Merge to End Foreign Wars

Urgent: Right-Left Alliance Needed to Stop This War!
by David Swanson - Ron Paul Institute
Last year, public pressure played a big role in stopping US missile strikes on Syria. The biggest difference between then and now was that televisions weren't telling people that ISIS might be coming to their neighborhood to behead them. There were other, smaller differences as well: Britain's opposition, Russia's opposition, and the difficulty of explaining to Americans that it now made sense to join a war on the same side as al Qaeda.
 
But there's another big difference between last year and this year. Last year was not a Congressional election year.
 
With elections coming this November, Congress declared an early vacation in September and fled town in order to avoid voting a new war up or down. It did this while fully aware that the President would proceed with the war illegally. Most Congress members, including House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Leader Harry Reid, believe that by allowing a war to happen without explicitly voting for or against it they can best win our votes for re-election without offending their funders.

Congress members have good reason to think that way.
 

No Dickens for Sinai's "Olivers"?

Sinai Hit Hard by Egypt's Child Labour Problem
by Mohammad Omer - Middle East Eye
Omer Sinai childSINAI, Egypt - The worn-out plastic sandals on his feet looked like they have travelled a great distance - to school, to his work and to his home, and everywhere in-between.

At 3am, he is stood shivering in the cold Sinai Desert night air, as he tries to sell his wares to truck drivers in a rest area. “Tissues for two pounds,” said 11-year-old tissue-seller Karim Mustapha.
“This is what I do right now to support my sick father and mother,” said Karim, who is just one of 2.7 million Egyptian children involved in such labour in Egypt.
8-year-old Mohammed sells nuts on the side of the road (MEE / Mohammed Omer)
This a meagre source of income for the Mustapha family - they are not on the agenda of any organisation in Egypt, so do not receive any donations from charities or welfare groups - and are among one of the poorest groups in the population who have no other option but to send their young children to work.

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Nutured by America: Baby Doc Lives and Dies Free

From Cradle to Grave, the U.S. Protected Jean-Claude Duvalier
by Fran Quigley
duvalier 9 2 07In February of 2013, I stood in a sweaty, overcrowded Port-au-Prince courtroom and watched as Jean-Claude Duvalier answered questions about hundreds of his political opponents being arrested, imprisoned, and killed during his tenure as Haiti’s “President for Life.”

Many of Duvalier’s rivals were held in the notorious three prisons known collectively as the “Triangle of Death”—Casernes Dessalines, Fort Dimanche, and the National Penitentiary. One political prisoner held in the Casernes Dessalines recalls being placed in a cell underneath the grounds of the National Palace, where Duvalier lived. The prisoner was led to an area so dark he could not see, but a guard’s torchlight revealed the man was locked in a room amid the skeletons of former prisoners.

At the court hearing I attended, Duvalier ducked responsibility, saying that the killing and oppression was done without his knowledge.

Then he walked out of that courtroom a free man, which is how he died earlier this month, at age 63.
 
The dictator in happier days
 

Mohammed Rising: Israel's Name Problem

Israel and the g-word: We need a better word than ‘occupation’
by Jonathan Cook
Israeli officials were caught in a revealing lie late last month as the country celebrated the Jewish New Year. Shortly after declaring the most popular boy’s name in Israel to be “Yosef”, the interior ministry was forced to concede that the top slot was actually filled by “Mohammed”.

That small deceit coincided with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the United Nations. He outraged Israelis by referring to Israel’s slaughter of more than 2,100 Palestinians – most of them civilians – in Gaza over the summer as “genocide”.

Both incidents served as a reminder of the tremendous power of a single word.

Most Israelis are barely able to contemplate the possibility that their Jewish state could be producing more Mohammeds than Moshes. At the same time, and paradoxically, Israel can point to the sheer number of “Mohammeds” to demonstrate that at worst it is eradicating the visibility of a Muslim name, certainly not its bearers.

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