Court and Caliphate: New SCOTUS Ruling Fuels Sectarian Rise
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that a sectarian college in Illinois, Wheaton College, did not have to fill in a federal form to claim its exemption from regulations providing contraception coverage in its employee insurance programs.
Note that the issue was not a question of whether the college was exempt from the regulation, as in the Hobby Lobby case. As a sectarian institution, it was already exempt. What the college objected to was simply sending a form to the government regarding the exemption. This, they said, would involve them in "a grave moral evil," because notifying the government would make the college complicit in some other organization providing the contraception coverage. (The law stipulates that if a sectarian employer does not provide the coverage, the government will ensure that it is provided by someone else, usually the insurance company involved or some other third-party administrator of the program.)
Just four days before, the Court majority on the Hobby Lobby case made specific mention of this government form as a justification for exempting commercial enterprises run by sectarians from providing contraception coverage for their employees. The Hobby Lobby decision cited the form as constituting "an alternative that achieves all of the Government's aims while providing greater respect for religious liberty," as Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted in her dissent against Thursday's decision.
Some Deaths Really Matter – The Disproportionate Coverage of Israeli And Palestinian Killings
byMedia Lens Israeli deaths matter much more than Palestinian deaths. This has long been a distinguishing feature of Western news media reporting on the Middle East. The recent blanket coverage afforded to the brutal killing of three Israeli teenagers highlights this immutable fact.
Channel 4's Alex Thomson offered a rare glimmer of dissent:
'Curious to watch UK media living down to the Palestinian claim that 1 Israeli life is worth 1000 Palestinian lives.'
Major broadcasters, such as BBC News, devoted headlines and extended reports to the deaths, and included heart-rending interviews with grieving relatives in Israel. The Guardian ran live coverage of the funerals for more than nine hours.
But when has this ever happened for Palestinian victims of Israeli terror?
by FONV Hello All Friends of Friends of the Nemaiah Valley;
Following on the Supreme Court of Canada's historic declaration of Aboriginal title a week ago today (and what a week it's been!) we are having a celebration of this victory on Saturday, July 5th at an off-the-grid "cottage" up at Mt. Matheson, in Metchosin. This is a lovely house with a spectacular view and a lake perfect for swimming.
Come and celebrate with us. It's a potluck so bring something to share and something to drink. We will have a BBQ available if anyone wants to prepare something that way. Things get underway at 1:00 with swimming or hiking or talking on the deck. We'll eat around 5 or 6:00 so come any time.
and I will forward you the directions.
While we view the SCC ruling as a progressive step, others are unable or unwilling to move forward:
"The times have changed, but TML (Taseko Mines Ltd.) is clinging to the past. The Tsilhqot’in Nation, with support from the Supreme Court of Canada decision and the majority of the Canadian public, is sending the message to TML, along with its President, Russell Hallbauer, that no mining will occur in our traditional territory unless it respects our laws, our culture and our vision for the future of the Tsilhqot’in people." (TNG News Release, July 3, 2014)
by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch It is late at night and you cannot sleep. Ebrie Lagoon is right behind the window of your hotel, but it is hardly visible at this hour. You are in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa.
Sick child from a cocoa plantation
You are here because you were informed that the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, also known at ‘Chocolate King’, has been getting his cocoa from the fields of this country. You are also convinced by several of your sources, based all over the world, that his confectionary empire, Roshen, is receiving its basic product from some of the most terrible plantations in Côte d’Ivoire that are still using child labor. You decided to come here, to investigate…
You feel sick, really unwell. You caught some intestinal virus, some terrible infection, while staying for a month in the Indonesian city of Surabaya. There was no time to cure it, or even properly diagnose it. You had to go and work in Jordan, on the Syrian border, between your engagements in Indonesia and Africa.
During nights like this, you feel alone. Totally alone… After each of your books that goes to print, after each film, or essay from some battlefield or other dreadful part of the world, you get many emails; readers are thanking you and encouraging you to write… to write more and more. You are grateful for each letter of support… But you actually cannot increase volume of your writing.
There is no one behind you – no government, no organization and no institution. You are ‘senior fellow’ at a respectable institute, but it really does nothing for you… it does not even ask you how are you doing, or whether you are alive. They have your name there, on their website, because it is convenient, good for them… That’s all.
The remarks below are excerpted from President Putin’s meeting with Russia’s ambassadors on July 1, 2014.
Putin damns Washington’s puppet president of Ukraine, an usurped position resulting from the overthrow of a democratically elected president, for taking “the path of violence which cannot lead to peace.” Putin’s remarks are simultaneous English translations as Putin speaks in Russian. Such translations are seldom good, but are usually adequate to convey the content.
“Unfortunately, Ukrainian President Poroshenko has made the decision to resume military actions, and we – meaning myself and my colleagues in Europe – could not convince him that the way to reliable, firm and long-term peace can’t lie through war. Previously, Petro Poroshenko had no direct relation to orders to take military action.
Now he has taken on this responsibility in full. Not only military, but also more importantly, politically.”
Whose Security? How Washington Protects Itself and the Corporate Sector
by Noam Chomsky - TomDispatch The question of how foreign policy is determined is a crucial one in world affairs. In these comments, I can only provide a few hints as to how I think the subject can be productively explored, keeping to the United States for several reasons.
First, the U.S. is unmatched in its global significance and impact. Second, it is an unusually open society, possibly uniquely so, which means we know more about it. Finally, it is plainly the most important case for Americans, who are able to influence policy choices in the U.S. -- and indeed for others, insofar as their actions can influence such choices. The general principles, however, extend to the other major powers, and well beyond.
There is a “received standard version,” common to academic scholarship, government pronouncements, and public discourse. It holds that the prime commitment of governments is to ensure security, and that the primary concern of the U.S. and its allies since 1945 was the Russian threat.
There are a number of ways to evaluate the doctrine. One obvious question to ask is: What happened when the Russian threat disappeared in 1989? Answer: everything continued much as before.
The U.S. immediately invaded Panama, killing probably thousands of people and installing a client regime. This was routine practice in U.S.-dominated domains -- but in this case not quite as routine. For first time, a major foreign policy act was not justified by an alleged Russian threat.
Instead, a series of fraudulent pretexts for the invasion were concocted that collapse instantly on examination. The media chimed in enthusiastically, lauding the magnificent achievement of defeating Panama, unconcerned that the pretexts were ludicrous, that the act itself was a radical violation of international law, and that it was bitterly condemned elsewhere, most harshly in Latin America. Also ignored was the U.S. veto of a unanimous Security Council resolution condemning crimes by U.S. troops during the invasion, with Britain alone abstaining.
All routine. And all forgotten (which is also routine).
by Nicholas Cunningham - Oilprice.com Violence in Mexico could thwart hopes of a budding shale boom, as oil and gas companies operating in Texas may think twice about moving south of the border.
Mexico holds an estimated 545 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas and 13 billion barrels of shale oil, but progress in developing those resources has been slow.
The obstacles to kick-starting Mexico's shale industry have dampened the once lively enthusiasm surrounding Mexico's historic energy reform. Mexico passed legislation last year that opened up the country's oil and gas sector to private investment, ending a 75-year monopoly by state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).
But the secondary laws that the government must pass to actually implement the legal framework for oil and gas development are proving much more contentious.
Three and a half years ago, the world was riveted by the massive crowds of youths mobilizing in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand an end to Egypt’s dreary police state.
We stared in horror as, at one point, the Interior Ministry mobilized camel drivers to attack the demonstrators. We watched transfixed as the protests spread from one part of Egypt to another and then from country to country across the region. Before it was over, four presidents-for-life would be toppled and others besieged in their palaces.
Some 42 months later, in most of the Middle East and North Africa, the bright hopes for more personal liberties and an end to political and economic stagnation championed by those young people have been dashed. Instead, a number of Arab countries have seen counter-revolutions, while others are engulfed in internecine conflicts and civil wars, creating Mad Max-like scenes of post-apocalyptic horror.
But keep one thing in mind: the rebellions of the past three years were led by Arab millennials, twentysomethings who have decades left to come into their own. Don’t count them out yet. They have only begun the work of transforming the region.
Given the short span of time since Tahrir Square first filled with protesters and hope, care should be taken in evaluating these massive movements.
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque This month, the world has marked significant historical milestones: the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing (and unmarked, except in Russia, the 70th anniversary of the Red Army’s Operation Bagration, the largest battle in world history, in which the Soviets broke the back of the Nazi army); and the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the spark that led to the First World War.
But this week saw the anniversary of another major turning point in modern history, a campaign that became — and remains — the enduring template of foreign policy for the world’s most powerful nation. We speak, of course, of the 60th anniversary of Washington’s “regime change” operation in Guatemala, overthrowing a democratically elected government.
It was not the first such American “intervention,” of course (and was preceded in the previous year by a more indirect role in overthrowing democracy in Iran), but it set in train more than six decades of violent attacks on democracy by the “leader of the free world.” (A fine tradition carried on by Barack Obama in Honduras.)
by Dahr Jamail It was February 2005, and after several months of front-line reporting from Iraq, I’d returned to the US a human time bomb of rage, my temper ticking shorter each day.
Walking through morgues in Baghdad left scenes in my mind I remember even now. I can still smell the decaying bodies as I type this, nearly a decade later. Watching young Iraqi children bleed to death on operating tables after they had been shot by US military snipers has left an equally deep and lasting imprint.
Joanna Macy (photo: Adam Shemper)
My rage towards those responsible in the Bush administration bled outwards to engulf all of those participating in the military and anyone who supported the ongoing atrocity that was the US occupation of Iraq. My solution was to fantasize about hanging all of the aforementioned from the nearest group of light poles.
Consumed by post-traumatic stress disorder, I was unable to go any deeper emotionally than my rage and numbness. I stood precariously atop my self-righteous anger about what I was writing, for it was the cork in the bottle of my bottomless grief from what I’d witnessed. To release that meant risking engulfment in black despair that would surely erupt if I were to step aside, so I thought.
Time passes, and things change, but somehow things seem the same too. Last week we featured Grant Wakefield's 2002 recording, The Fire This Time, a chronicle of America's 1991 invasion of Iraq. Wakefield's opus of pain and suffering was released in the weeks preceding America's 2003 invasion of Iraq. Eleven and a half years on, America is again sending in troops to a chaotic Iraq, but more importantly, it is feeding the maw of endless war with bullets, bombs, intelligence and micro-chipped gadgets; all the essentials to keep the killing going.
Dahr Jamail is a freelance journalist and author, whose book titles include: 'The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan,' 'Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Iraq,' and he contributed the chapter, "Killing the Intellectual Class" to the anthology, 'Cultural Cleansing in Iraq: Why Museums Were Looted, Libraries Burned and Academics Murdered.'
Jamail was one of a very few unembedded journalists reporting from Iraq in the early days of the onset of war there in 2003, and he has returned to file Dispatches from Iraq in the years since; his last assignment being in 2013. Among Dahr’s many journalism awards are: the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Award for Journalism, The Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship, the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, the Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage, and four Project Censored awards. His work has appeared at Truthout, Inter Press Service, Tom Dispatch, The Sunday Herald in Scotland, The Guardian, Foreign Policy in Focus, Le Monde, Le Monde Diplomatique, The Huffington Post, The Nation, The Independent, Al Jazeera, and at his own website, DahrJamail.net.
Dahr Jamail in the first half.
And; Jesse Freeston is a filmmaker and video-journalist based in Montréal, Québec. Jesse was seminal member of the Real News Network, and has gone on to make the feature-length documentary film, 'Resistencia,' a chronicle of Honduran palm oil plantation barons' attempts to dislodge occupying workers in the Aguán Valley, and produce documentaries and file reports for teleSUR's USA de Verdad program. His latest project takes him again to Honduras to document, alongside fellow filmmaker, Beth Geglia 'Revolutionary Medicine: A Story of the First Garifuna Hospital.'
Jesse Freeston and Revolutionary Medicine in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news from our city's streets and beyond. But first, Dahr Jamail and returning to Iraq.