Obama's Triangulation: The Continued Betrayal of American Progressives

Obama Betrays The Liberals
by Sherwood Ross
America’s liberals stand betrayed. Their new president, the one they sweated to elect----a brilliant, charismatic leader with a professional background in constitutional law---has transmogrified himself from the champion who denounced in his campaign the illegalities of the Bush White House into a president bent on their perpetuation.
 
Liberals are stunned by Obama’s plan to “restart Bush-era military tribunals” for some Guantanamo detainees, reviving what the Associated Press pointed out, is “a fiercely disputed trial system he once denounced.”(May 15). Liberals are appalled by Obama’s May 21st proposal to hold terrorism suspects in “prolonged detention” inside the U.S. without a trial. “Such detention,” Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) wrote him, “is a hallmark of abusive systems that we have historically criticized around the world.”

If liberals chaffed over Obama’s centrist cabinet choices, they were dismayed by his decision not to release photographs depicting the sadistic tortures the Bush Gang inflicted on prisoners during a so-called “War on Terror” that was nothing but terror itself. A typical reaction comes from Joe Kishore, writing on the World Socialist Website (May 22): “Whatever verbal warnings Obama may make about the erosion of democracy in the United States, the actions of his administration facilitate and escalate its breakdown.”

Obama’s latest policy reversals come as liberals are still reeling from his April 16th speech to the CIA, ignoring its documented history of 60 years of overthrows and assassinations, and reassuring the Agency of its “right” to continue “covert activities,” as if such conduct was not prima facie illegality in the eyes of law-abiding nations. 
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Saving the Muir (and the rest of western Vancouver Island)

Protecting Muir Creek
by Muir Creek Protection Society
The provincial government is facing a dilemma because privatization of the Western Forest Products (WFP) land has brought to light the lack of protection that has been afforded to the west side of Vancouver Island. 95% of the land on the wild west coast of Vancouver Island is private land.
 
Unbridled development threatens Van. Isle wild lands and watersheds
 
Throughout the province 14.26 percent of the land is preserved.  The lack of preservation of the west coast is astounding - between Sooke and Port Renfrew less than three percent of the land is parkland or available for public use!

The only areas between Sooke and Port Renfrew that are under protection are French Beach Provincial Park and the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. French beach is a beautiful park but too heavily used and too small to support a natural ecosystem. Further west Ender Ilkay has purchased 7 properties adjoining the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.
 
His plan is to bring campgrounds, resorts and development alongside the wilderness trail. Most of the larger areas of the trail already have campgrounds and amenities. Now, with the Western Forest Products property sale along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail no area of the trail is large enough or remote enough to provide suitable habitat for wildlife and biodiversity. Increased human use of the trail will create more pressure on the wildlife and the trail itself is showing wear.   
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Bagman Joe and Obama's Bully-Boy Diplomacy

A Bitter Cup of Joe: Bagman Biden's Bully-Boy Diplomacy
by Chris Floyd   
Anyone who lived through the howling, roaring exhalation of meaningless noise that was the 2008 race for the Democratic nomination and still retained some fleeting, desperate, hope against hope that Barack Obama might represent at least some modicum of substantial change surely had that last, microscopic flicker extinguished for good the instant they got the news that Obama had picked Joe Biden as his running mate.

Joe Biden! The eager, oily frontman for one of the fiercest weapons of mass destruction in the elite's eternal War on the Poor and Working Folk, the back-breaking, ball-busting "Bankruptcy Bill."
 
Joe Biden! Who was so witless that he plagarized his own family history from a speech of a British politician.
 
Joe Biden! Whose fervent dream was to shatter Iraq into partitioned pieces, and when the conquered rabble objected to this plan, exploded: "I don't know who the hell they think they are. We have a right. We've expended our blood and treasure in order to back their commitment to their constitution. That's the deal." The deal being, obviously, that the "liberated," "sovereign," "democratic" nation of Iraq had to do exactly what Washington wanted -- or else.

Joe Biden! The barnacle of the Beltway, the bellicose, belligerent, blundering bagman of empire and elitism. There he was, standing in the artfully arranged embrace of the world-historical Agent of Change, the zeitgeist-zapper himself, Barack Obama.
 
The only thing the scene lacked was a parade of fully-clothed pigs trotting out to declare, "Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better!"
 
And of course, a giant banner unfurling overhead, declaring: "Continuity Über Alles!"
 
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Credit Default: The Poison in the System

Credit Default Swaps; The poison in the system   
by Mike Whitney
In a little more than a decade, Credit Default Swaps (CDS) have ballooned into a multi-billion dollar industry which has changed the fundamental character of the financial system and increased systemic risk by many orders of magnitude. CDS, which were originally created to reduce potential losses from defaulting bonds, has turned into a cash cow for the big banks, generating mega-profits on, what amounts to, nothing more than legalized gambling.
 
In the case of insurance giant AIG, losses from CDS transactions has already cost the American people $150 billion, and yet their still has been no serious effort in Congress to ban them once and for all. Even worse, CDS is the root-cause of systemic risk which connects hundreds of financial institutions together in a lethal daisy-chain that threatens to crash the entire system if one of the main players goes under.

CDS contracts are not cleared on a centralized exchange nor are they government regulated. That means that no one really knows whether issuers of CDS can pay off potential claims or not. It's a Ponzi-insurance racket of the first order.
 
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Rainey Hopewell and Margot Johnston, Zoe Blunt, Janine Bandcroft May 25, 2009

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook
This week: Victoria garden activists Rainey Hopewell and Margot Johnston of the Haultain Commons on neighbourhood cooperation for food growing and energy savings; Langford-based environmental activist, Zoe Blunt on Wild Earth and Victoria NO2010 organizing; and, Victoria Street Newz publisher and broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft brings us up to speed with local goings on.
 
 
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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A Carbon-Free, Nuclear Free Earth

A Carbon-Free, Nuclear Free Earth
by Public Citizen
Public Citizen's energy program advocates for clean and sustainable energy.  We safeguard consumers from the impacts of electricity deregulation,  educate the public on the dangers of nuclear power while encouraging responsible nuclear waste management, and fight against environmental degradation by promoting clean energy alternative.

The Energy Program strives to provide energy activists and policy makers with the tools they need to advocate for and attain a reliable and sustainable energy future.

Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy, by Dr. Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, serves as a viable proposal to move our energy sector away from the polluting and hazardous energy sources of the past by demonstrating the feasibility of eliminating our dependency on finite resources. 
 
 
 

View our video on Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free above

 
 
 
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Iraq: Relighting the Insurgent Fire

Provoking the Inevitable
by Dahr Jamail  | t r u t h o u t
On Monday, Iraqi government security forces arrested two prominent Sunni leaders in Iraq's volatile Diyala Province. One of them, Sheikh Riyadh al-Mujami, not coincidentally, is a prominent leader in the local Sahwa (Sons of Iraq), the 100,000-strong Sunni militia that was set up by the US military to quell attacks against occupation forces and launch an effort to battle al-Qaeda in Iraq.
 
Image by Mykeru
 
Both of those objectives were accomplished, but these efforts are being erased by ongoing missions by Iraqi government security forces, sometimes backed by the US military, to kill or capture both Sahwa leadership and fighters. The results of these attacks against the Sahwa are already evident in an escalation in violence that has taken two forms - a dramatic increase in spectacular attacks against Iraqi civilians and increasing attacks against occupation forces.
 
The Sahwa played a critical role in the reduction of overall violence in Iraq. When the US decided to pay off the resistance (to the tune of $300 per month per fighter) that was effectively shredding occupation forces from late 2003 until mid-2006, the number of US military personnel being killed began to decline, and has, until recently, continued to decline. The Sahwa were also effective in finding and eliminating al-Qaeda in Iraq, so the fact that we are now seeing a renewing of horrific attacks against the Shia should not come as a surprise as the Sahwa continue to leave their security posts around the country.
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Victoria Community TV Presents

Victoria Community TV presents: On Shaw TV
by ICTV
Face to Face with David Orchard ... Author, nationalist, organic farmer, and politician ... David Orchard has done it all and always in his own quiet and understated way.  Please join us as David discusses the issues of the day from climate change and nuclear power to the family farm, NAFTA and his career in politics. 
 
 
Saturday, May 23:  11 PM to 11:55 
Sunday, May 24:  9:30 PM to 10:25
 
 
 
Face to Face with John (Splitting the Sky) Boncore:  Meet the man who went to Calgary a few months ago to take on the important job of arresting war criminal George Bush who was there to speak to a gathering of business people.  Host Chris Cook does a great job of interviewing someone who is quite a man, and bringing out his story, which is very different from the Corporate Media's portrayal of him.  In fact we do have a duty to deal with war criminals, and John Boncore took this duty on for all the rest of us...
 
 
 
 
Saturday, May 23:  11 AM to 12 noon
Sunday, May 24:  3 PM to 4
 
 
 
 
Channel 11 in Victoria and on Saltspring Island
Channel 4 in Duncan and in the Cowichan Valley 


 
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Making Texas Glow: Radioactive Dump Gets Go-Ahead over Ogallala

RadWaste and Texas' Future
by Laray Polk
How do you get people to vote for radioactive waste to be dumped in Texas in close proximity to the Ogallala and Dockum aquifers? And how do you also get the same community to agree to bankroll the project's $75 million buildout costs? You sell it as a prosperity issue.  

The promise of future prosperity is more hopeful than discussing point-blank realities. Namely, that the source of prosperity is a dumpsite in west Texas, near the border of New Mexico, that has the potential for receiving varying grades of radioactive waste from 36 states. And the geographical area in question has three inherent properties that have scientists, engineers and activists worried: red clay, aquifers and high winds.

On May 9, voters from Andrews County went to the booth to participate in a bond election, paid for by Waste Control Specialists (WCS), to decide whether or not their county will pay for such a dumpsite. 642 people voted affirmative and 639 against.   
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Obama Takes Up the Torture Mantle

Michael Ratner: It's outrageous to equate people who demand the rule of law with those who break it
by TRNN


Michael Ratner is President of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York. He has taught at Yale Law School, lectured at Columbia Law School, and was President of the National Lawyers Guild.
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Paler Shade of Green

A Paler Shade of Green
by Chris Genovali
Reflecting on the noise of the just concluded election in British Columbia, an amusing turn of phrase that appeared on the American political blog Firedoglake.com comes to mind: "Yea, Though I Walk Through the Valley of Dumb, I Shall Fear No Idiocy."
 
Green Crusader? Three-peat B.C. premier Gordon Campbell

The pithy title of a commentary on the truly bizarre reaction amongst the U.S. right-wing to the nascent presidency of Barack Obama, it seems more than appropriate as a summation for what has just occurred in B.C. According to the punditry and analysis by some media commentators and environmentalists, the B.C. Liberals' three-peat can be, in great part, attributed to support for their climate change policy, specifically the carbon tax.
 
The question is whether this particular post-mortem spin is due to the general facileness of election reporting or an inflated sense of influence endemic to certain activists or simply wishful thinking.

To paraphrase Cuba Gooding's character in "Jerry Maguire," show me the polling!
 
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Good Pol, Bad Pol: Making Policy Look Good?

Does Cheney Make Obama Look Good Enough?
by David Swanson
Dick Cheney could make anyone look decent, honorable, and law-abiding by comparison. But is the existence of someone worse, no matter how many hours our media monopoly gives him, enough to make Obama's decisions acceptable? Let's look at their pair of speeches given on Thursday in Washington, D.C., and depicted as a debate by the media.

President Obama began speaking at 10:28 a.m., 18 minutes late, and spoke until 35 minutes after Cheney's scheduled start, but Cheney delayed and began at 11:20. Obama had scheduled his own speech to coincide with Cheney's, no doubt to defend against some of Cheney's statements, but also probably because of the politically advantageous contrast with someone so very unpopular and someone always advocating greater illegality and abusiveness.
 

Obama began by talking about keeping Americans safe from an extremist ideology, 9-11, and al Qaeda (which he said, based on what I know not, was "actively plotting to attack us again"). He depicted war in Afghanistan and Pakistan as revenge: "taking the fight to the people who attacked us." But he said this standing in the National Archives in front of a Constitution that requires a declaration of war by Congress before launching a war against Pakistan or Afghanistan or anywhere else. Just as I had that thought, President Obama named the documents in the room (the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence, but not the Magna Carta which is usually there too). The words "CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" appeared behind the president as he spoke.
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