Cultivated Colonialism

Colonizing Culture
by Dahr Jamail | t r u t h o u t
The geo-strategic expansion of the American empire is an accepted fact of contemporary history.
 
I have been writing in these columns about the impact of the US occupation on the people of Iraq in the wake of the "hard" colonization via F-16s, tanks, 2,000-pound bombs, white phosphorous and cluster bombs.

Here I offer a brief glimpse into the less obvious but far more insidious phenomenon of "soft" colonization.
 
That scholars and political thinkers have talked at length of such processes only establishes the uncomfortable reality that history is bound to repeat itself in all its ugliness, unless the human civilization makes a concerted effort to eliminate the use of brute force from human affairs.
 
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Our Children's Future: Worth 1,000 Words

Worth 1,000 Words After Memorial Day
by Mike Ferner
On Memorial Day this year, many veterans marched in local parades and remembered what it was like to be in the military.  A number of Veterans For Peace members saw this picture in the May 24 edition of the Juneau Empire and made the comments that follow it.

Alaska Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Michael Manson helps kids climb on a HumVee and handle a M249 Saw gun mounted to the roof during the Southeast Alaska Outdoor Safety Expo sponsored by Juneau Rotary in the Centennial Hall on Saturday.  Juneau Empire May 24, 2009

Dear Editor: On Sunday morning (May 24, the day before Memorial Day), the Empire did a great service to our community by publishing a photograph of a National Guardsman, a Humvee, an M249 machine gun, and a group of children, converging at the so-called "Outdoor Safety Expo" sponsored by the Juneau Rotary on Saturday, May 23.

A cynical attempt to manipulate and militarize children is the only conceivable purpose for the National Guard to show up to display fancy killing machines, and to encourage little kids to play with them.  The M249 is a "light" machine gun; its only purpose is to maim and kill human beings.  What in God's name did that display have to do with outdoor safety?

Shame on the National Guard, and shame on the Juneau Rotary for sponsoring this dishonorable atrocity.

Phil Smith, President
Veterans for Peace, Chapter 100
Juneau, Alaska
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Gordon Campbell's Meagre Mandate

Mess in the West
By Tim Pheotist
What a dog of an election! The result seemed almost a forgone conclusion, but ‘Hope springs eternal in the human beast’ to misquote Alexander Pope. So it was with the frustration of dashed faint hope that I compared the pathetic Provincial election result to my best friend of so many years. I apologized immediately, of course, and, as penance, mopped the damp spot on the carpet with saved copies of Paul Krugman’s newspaper columns. Maybe this is the best use for today’s economists – to be the blotters for the mess left from countless idiotic choices by voters.

Back to Alexander Pope, however, since more animal metaphors are likely to come back to bite me. Pope, with simple logic, noted that people always hope for the best. It’s hope that keeps us going.

Our successful politicos know this only too well. Clearly Mr. Campbell knows his supporters better than they know themselves. His trick is to speak what his voters are hoping for. Now we can be told what Liberals voted for. Liberals hoped and voted that each and every one of them become independently wealthy, pay no taxes, are unaffected by annoying neighbours, sick people and communities, are left alone by governments and bureaucrats to do whatever they choose – living in the moment, and in perfect health. Is it really too much to ask!!
 
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Whose Shadow Flew Too Near the Sea

Against the Tortured Logic of Obama's Placebo Presidency:
A Call for the Audacity of Hopelessness
by Phil Rockstroh
From time to time, events unfold that are so large in scope, so all-encompassing in their implications that one's initial response is muted by an inability to categorize it all within the realm of experience. Previous reference points prove of little service. One's image of oneself and one's place in the world is under siege, perhaps even in danger of being torn away.
 
 
One stares into the abyss, until the abyss removes its dark shades and makes direct eye contact. The mind buzzes; one's thoughts scuttle in circles like stunned insects.

On a collective basis, we as a nation are living through such a time. At present, we are witnessing the descending spiral of Icarusian Capitalism; our sacred delusion of the perpetual ascendancy of a god-like market place lies broken in the dust. Malls and Mcmansions stand abandoned, desolate as the edifices of forgotten gods, as the come-ons of the salesmen of deregulated capitalism are churned to spittle amid a cacophony of collapsing market platitudes.

And not an uptick in public optimism, nor a surge of euphoria on Wall Street, nor the "invisible hand of the marketplace" sprinkling pixie dust will bring back the Olympian days of 2005, when the wise men of Washington and Wall Street knew the force of gravity was just a myth believed in by those embittered prophets of doom whose only joy in life is fantasizing the fall of their wealthy betters. It does not matter a damn how many dollars our present day believers of neoliberal tall tales, President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner, pour into the hole in the ground where the crash occurred, a bean stalk, twining skyward towards a golden, debt-negating goose, will not flower forth.
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July War

July War
by William Brandon Jourdan
July War takes a raw and unflinching look at the devastating first-hand effects of the 2006 Israeli military offensive in Lebanon. This powerful documentary examines the broader impact of the global war on terrorism, using the war in Lebanon as a specific case study, and questions whether it has actually curbed, or perhaps increased, Islamic militancy. It also reflects on the US and Iranian role in the war and the failures of current policy in the Middle East by Western governments and their allies.

The documentary covers many angles of this complex war and its devastating impact on Lebanon's people, economy, and environment, and allows for a broader public audience to access this complicated political situation. Simultaneously, this documentary carefully deconstructs Israel's pretext for starting the conflict, the failure of both sides to avoid civilian deaths, the United States' role in the conflict, the role of Hizbullah in Lebanese society and as a proxy for Iran and Syria, and the failure of the United Nations to implement a ceasefire.  July War combines stock footage and interviews with academics, politicians, human rights' experts, military officials, and journalists with cinema verite footage of Lebanese civilians in areas hard hit by the 2006 war.
 
 
 
view trailer at:

http://julywar.blogspot.com/

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Healthcare Slapdown! Canada vs USA

Canadians talk to Americans about health care
by TRNN
 
 

People from Toronto respond to a US advertising campaign about the Canadian health-care system  
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The Looming Cybersecurity Emergency Reaction

National Cyber Range: Building Attack Tools for Mass Destruction
by Tom Burghardt
A quintessential hallmark of an authoritarian regime, particularly one that operates within highly-militarized, though nominally democratic states such as ours, is the maintenance of a system of internal control; a seamless panopticon where dissent is equated with criminality and the rule of law derided as a luxury ill-afforded "during a time of war."

In this context, the deployment of new offensive technologies which can wreck havoc on human populations deemed expendable by the state, are always couched in a defensive rhetoric by militarist aggressors and their apologists.

While the al-Qaeda brand may no longer elicit a compelling response in terms of mobilizing the population for new imperial adventures, novel threats--and panics--are required to marshal public support for the upward transfer of wealth into the corporate trough. Today, "cyber terror" functions as the "new Osama."

And with Congress poised to pass the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, an Orwellian bill that would give the president the power to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" and shut down or limit Internet traffic in any "critical" information network "in the interest of national security" of course, the spaces left for the free flow of information--and meaningful dissent--slowly contract.
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Governor General's Money Shot: Jean Seals the Deal

Governor General's Money Shot: Jean Seals the Deal
by Grossed Out
Yummy! Jean describes raw seal heart as:
 
"Deeeelicious!!!"
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
photo:
 
 
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The Real Cost of Cheney's Torture Policy

Cheney's Torture Policy Cost Thousands of Lives
by Robert Greenwald and the Brave New Foundation team
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters; Dick Cheney says that torturing detainees has saved American lives.  That claim is patently false.  Cheney's torture policy was directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of American servicemen and women.
 

Don't forget to digg this video, a powerful way to spread our message:
http://digg.com/politics/Interrogator_to_Cheney_Torture_Cost_Thousands_of_Lives
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Activism 101: Agent Orange

Activism 101
by Mickey Z.
Okay, short attention span crowd: Grab your remote (or mouse) and get ready to click, click, click…
 
image

“How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight? I don't wanna die without any scars.” -  Tyler Durden (Fight Club)  
  
Click…

William Burroughs once wrote about how we humans—like the bull in a bullfight—tend to focus on the elusive red cape instead of the matador. Indeed, we are all-too-easily distracted from real targets by an attractive image or illusion.

Of course, some bulls see right through the red cape, uh, bullshit...and quite justifiably introduce the matador to the business end of their horns. Before you mistake that for a lesson and/or inspiration, don’t forget that such bulls are promptly killed while the matador is mourned as a brave hero.

Here’s my question: If every bull in every bullfight were to gore every matador, how long would it be before bullfights were a thing of the past?

Click…

Malcolm X sez:

“It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.”

Click…
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Obama's Department of Pre-Crime

From the Department of Pre-Crime
by Scott Horton
I’m just back after spending ten days in Italy, recharging and also meeting with European counterterrorism experts, judges, and prosecutors, and joining with many of them in an effort to assess where the Obama Administration is taking us. In the midst of my meetings there, Barack Obama delivered a major speech on the issue at the National Archives.

The speech consisted of lofty rhetoric that was surprisingly short on details, which makes me hesitant to express a final judgment. Still, one of the European judges I met with put the question very well. “Every government is necessarily a prisoner of the past, and specifically of the government that preceded it,” he said.
 
“The real question here is whether Obama is more of a prisoner of the Bush years than he needs to be.”
 
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G.I. Pushback: "I Ain't Gonna Go."

U.S.:  "There's No Way I'm Going to Deploy to Afghanistan"
by Dahr Jamail l Inter Press Service
"It's a matter of what I'm willing to live with," Specialist Victor Agosto of the U.S. Army, who is refusing orders to deploy to Afghanistan, explained to IPS. "I'm not willing to participate in this occupation, knowing it is completely wrong." Agosto, who returned from a 13-month deployment to Iraq in November 2007, is based at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.

While in Iraq, Agosto never left his base, located in northern Iraq.

"I never had any traumatic experiences, never fired my weapon," Agosto told IPS in a phone interview. "I mostly worked in information technology, working on computers and keeping the network functioning well. But it was in Iraq that I turned against the occupations. Through my reading, and watching what was going on, I started to feel very guilty."

Agosto added, "What I did there, I know I contributed to death and human suffering. It's hard to quantify how much I caused, but I know I contributed to it."
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