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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Betraying the Environment: Bait and Switch Obama

Obama and the Environment - The Politics of Bait-and-Switch
by Joshua Frank and Jeffrey St. Clair
With little more than 100 days in office, the Democrats, under the leadership of Barack Obama, have unleashed a slew of anti-environmental policies that would have enraged any reasonable conservationist during the Bush years.

Take the delisting of the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and parts of the Northern Rockies, which was announced during the waning days of the Bush era and upheld by Obama earlier this spring. About 200 packs of wolves live in the northern Rocky Mountains today. But only 95 of these packs are led by a breeding pair of wolves, which is significantly less than half of what most biologists consider to be a healthy number in order to fend off imminent decline and long-term genetic problems for the species.

In Idaho, free roaming wolves have been radio-collared, allowing their human killers to track and gun them down by helicopter. Freed from the protections of the Endnagered Species Act (ESA), the state plans on permitting hundreds of these wolves to be murdered this coming winter. Only a few environmental groups have stepped up in the wolf’s defense, with the Center for Biological Diversity based in Tucson, Arizona leading the charge.
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Censorship, Secret Surveillance, and Cybersecurity Laws

Internet Threatened by Censorship, Secret Surveillance, and Cybersecurity Laws
by Stephen Lendman
At a time of corporate dominated media, a free and open Internet is democracy’s last chance to preserve our First Amendment rights without which all others are threatened. Activists call it Net Neutrality.
 
Media scholar Robert McChesney says without it “the Internet would start to look like cable TV (with a) handful of massive companies (controlling) content” enough to have veto power over what’s allowed and what it costs. Progressive web sites and writers would be marginalized or suppressed, and content systematically filtered or banned.

Media reform activists have drawn a line in the sand. Net Neutrality must be defended at all costs. Preserving a viable, independent, free and open Internet (and the media overall) is essential to a functioning democracy, but the forces aligned against it are formidable, daunting, relentless, and reprehensible. Some past challenges suggest future ones ahead.
 
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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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