Busting the Scarcity Myth: The City that Ended Hunger

The City That Ended Hunger
by Francis Moore Lappé
In writing Diet for a Small Planet, I learned one simple truth: Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but a scarcity of democracy. But that realization was only the beginning, for then I had to ask: What does a democracy look like that enables citizens to have a real voice in securing life's essentials? Does it exist anywhere? Is it possible or a pipe dream? With hunger on the rise here in the United States-one in 10 of us is now turning to food stamps-these questions take on new urgency.

To begin to conceive of the possibility of a culture of empowered citizens making democracy work for them, real-life stories help-not models to adopt wholesale, but examples that capture key lessons. For me, the story of Brazil's fourth largest city, Belo Horizonte, is a rich trove of such lessons. Belo, a city of 2.5 million people, once had 11 percent of its population living in absolute poverty, and almost 20 percent of its children going hungry. Then in 1993, a newly elected administration declared food a right of citizenship. The officials said, in effect: If you are too poor to buy food in the market-you are no less a citizen. I am still accountable to you.
 
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Want Justice for Wall Street Crooks?

Americans Want Justice for Wall Street Crooks
by Ralph Nader
Indicators of avoidance are what come to mind while absorbing the various rescue, recovery, stimulus and guarantee programs coming out of the Obama Administration to slow and reverse a splintering and shattering economy.
 
If the Obamites do not act now, when the political time is ripest, to put into motion forces of deterrence and prevention, the casino capitalists of tomorrow will again be able to de-stabilize our economy.
 
The other day I saw Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, just about predicting another round of recklessness in about fifteen years. But he called it "human nature" not casino capitalism.
 
Here are seven avoidance indicators which outline what Washington is not doing to prevent another round of greed and misdeeds by the Wall Street few against the innocent many throughout the country.
 
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The End of Jewish History?

War On Terror Within: The End of Jewish History
by Gilad Atzmon
The issue I am going to discuss today is probably the most important thing I’ve ever had to say about Israeli brutality and contemporary Jewish identity. I assume that I could have shaped my thought into a wide-ranging book or an analytical academic text but instead, I will do the very opposite, I will make it as short and as simple as possible.

In the weeks that have just passed we had been witness to an Israeli genocidal campaign against the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza. We had been witnessing one of the strongest armies in the world squashing women, elderly people and children. We saw blizzards of unconventional weapons bursting over schools, hospitals and refugee camps. We had seen and heard about war crimes committed before, but this time, the Israeli transgression was categorically different. It was supported by the total absolute majority of the Israeli Jewish population. The IDF military campaign in Gaza enjoyed the support of 94% of the Israeli population. 94% of the Israelis apparently approved of the air raids against civilians.
 
The Israeli people saw the carnage on their TV screens, they heard the voices, they saw hospitals and refugee camps in flames and yet, they weren’t really moved by it all. They didn’t do much to stop their “democratically elected” ruthless leaders. Instead, some of them grabbed a seat and settled on the hills overlooking the Gaza Strip to watch their army turning Gaza into modern Hebraic coliseum of blood.
 
 
 
Even now when the campaign seems to be over and the scale of the carnage in Gaza has been revealed, the Israelis fail to show any signs of remorse. As if this is not enough, all throughout the war, Jews around the world rallied in support of their  “Jews-only state”.
 
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The Post-Presidential Gravy Train: Bush Bids Canada Farewell

First Whistle Stop Past on the Post-Presidential Gravy Train: Bush Bids Canada Farewell
by C. L. Cook
Like the Saint's day, George W. Bush's big day in Calgary came up green, and has gone, leaving participants of both observances feeling a little left-over.
 
Following the new tradition, Bush is collecting thousands from talks to the industries he supported during his tenure in the White House.
 
Calgarians protest Bush visit/speech

As Bill Clinton did before him, George W. Bush is making the luncheon rounds, extolling his virtues to, according to Reuters, 1500 business types willing to fork over 400 beans for the privilege. The Associated Press cited attendance at 2,000 diners, paying $3,100 per table to the invitation-only soiree marqueed, 'A Conversation with George W. Bush.'
 
Either way, event organizers declined to say how much Bush would grab for what he described as just the first of his speaking appearances. Bush reportedly quipped, he needed the money to pay for his new house in Dallas, saying;
 

"I think I'm the only American to have bought a house in the Fall of 2008."

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Obama, Hillary, Dick and W.

Obama and His Dick (Cheney)
by Mickey Z.
Here's how well they have us trained: The powers that be are no longer gonna call the illegally detained terrorism suspects (sic) by the name of "enemy combatants." Like the pre-programmed robots we've all become, we'll celebrate this as a welcome and much-needed change from the reviled Bush-Cheney administration. A step in the right direction, we might even say. In addition, the Pope of Hope has promised not to torture. Our society is so fuckin' corrupt that a US president can announce—without shame—a purported plan to say no to committing crimes against humanity. Of course, we view this as "normal" and we foolishly believe him and even praise him.

Obama's blood brother, Dick Cheney, happily plays his pre-ordained role in this passion play by going on national television and declaring that our (sic) president's vague pledge to possibly adhere to accepted international law—a pledge more honored in the breach—is making the US less safe. The pundit patrol gleefully spins into action. You see, what passes for intelligence and insight in America typically involves being handsomely paid to put on a suit and go on TV to debate whether its Obama or his Dick that's got it right.
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The Militarization and Annexation of North America

Updating the Militarization and Annexation of North America
by Stephen Lendman
The title refers to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), also known as the North American Union - formerly launched at a March 23, 2005 Waco, the Militarization and Annexation of North America Texas meeting attended by George Bush, Mexico's President Vincente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. It's for a tri-national agreement, below the radar, for greater economic, political, and security integration with secret business and government working groups devising binding policies with no public knowledge or legislative debate.

In short, it's a military-backed corporate coup d'etat against the sovereignty of three nations, their populations and legislative bodies. It's a dagger through the heart of democratic freedom in all three, yet the public is largely unaware of what's happening. Last April, New Orleans hosted the last SPP summit. Ever since, progress may have stalled given the gravity of the global economic crisis and top priority need to address it. Nonetheless, what's known to date is updated below plus some related information.
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Cheney's Mission Accomplished?

Cheney's Mission Accomplished
by Juan Cole (Informed Comment)
Dick Cheney: "I guess my general sense of where we are with respect to Iraq and at the end of now, what, nearly six years, is that we've accomplished nearly everything we set out to do...."
 
Cheney avoids mentioning all the human suffering he has caused, on a cosmic scale, and focuses on procedural matters like elections (which he confuses with democracy-- given 2000 in this country, you can understand why). Or he lies, as when he says that Iran's influence in Iraq has been blocked. Another lie is that there was that the US was fighting "al-Qaeda" in Iraq as opposed to just Iraqis. He and Bush even claim that they made Iraqi womens' lives better.

The real question is whether anyone will have the gumption to put Cheney on trial for treason and crimes against humanity.
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Media on Iran: Gullible's (Endless) Travels

Gullible's (Endless) Travels
by Media Lens
Have journalists learnt nothing from recent history? It truly is a wonder when a reporter can assert in public, on the BBC News no less, that "Tony Blair passionately believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed a grave threat." (BBC1, Six O'Clock News, February 24, 2009). When BBC reporter Reeta Chakrabarti was challenged on this remarkable display of naïveté, she compounded her grievous error by responding:

"I said Mr Blair passionately believed Iraq had wmd because he has consistently said so. When challenged he has stuck to his guns." (Email posted on the Media Lens Message Board, March 2, 2009)

So when a demonstrably mendacious leader claims he "passionately believed" in a lie, the media has to take him at his word. This is the same brand of journalistic gullibility that has had such tragic consequences for the people of Iraq. This is the endless, uncritical obedience to power that boosted the warmongering agenda of London and Washington, allowing them to fit 'facts' to a pre-ordained policy of launching a war of aggression. Such an act, sold by the BBC as Blair's "passionate belief", is the supreme international crime, as judged by the 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal.

And a similar tragic fate may yet befall the people of Iran, if the corporate media portrayal of Iran as a rogue state lorded over by "ruling mullahs", desperate to get their hands on nuclear weapons, goes unchallenged.
 
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We Dare Not Blink: Canada's Duty to Arrest George W. Bush

We Dare Not Blink
by Ramsey Clark
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen; my congratulations and gratitude to Canada’s peace movement and its many organizations and individuals protesting the March 17th, 2009 appearance of former US President George W. Bush for a speech at a “private” lunch in Calgary.
 
Former U.S. Attorney General Clark calls for Bush arrest.
 
While the primary responsibility for addressing the Bush administration’s involvement in crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity rests with the people of the United States, because we both enabled then failed to arrest his acts, there is necessarily universal jurisdiction over such crimes if humanity is to end the scourge of war.

We dare not blink at the magnitude, diversity and pervasive impact of the known crimes committed by the Bush administration. Wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Supreme International Crime, have killed hundreds of thousands outright, wounded, sickened and malnourished many more than they have killed and sent millions as refugees to neighboring nations while rendering homeless millions more.
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Left Leaving Radio Waves

Peter B. Collins Going Off the Air
by Mark Crispin Miller
We may have to get progressive talk shows put on the Endangered Species List, now that the president has reinstated it. Otherwise there won't be any voices on the air except the voices of the right, whether "centrist" (corporate) or explictly far-right (corporate).
 
As Brad Friedman notes in his report on Peter B. Collins' forced departure (see here), the economic crash is threatening to finish off those last few figures who have managed somehow to resist the oligopolistic tide that has by now all but submerged the US media.

That purge, now near-complete, has actually been in the works for years. It was the purpose of the vast "de-regulation" of the media begun by Reagan back in '87 (soon after the corporate press obligingly refused to look too deeply into Iran/contra) and continued by Bill Clinton nine years later (and a fat lot of good it did him.)
 
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Pakistan Protest Grows, Converging on the Capital

Nawaz Sharif under House Arrest; Army on Alert; Protesters Continue to Converge on Capital
by Juan Cole (Informed Comment)
In the midst of Pakistan's ongoing political crisis, the government of President Asaf Ali Zardari sent out highly mixed signals on Saturday and Sunday.
 
Lawyers take to the streets protesting the Zardari regime.
 
His government looked like it might be backing off its more hard line measures. The government of President Zardari pledged to appeal to the courts to lift bans on political activity imposed on Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif, leaders of the rival Pakistan Muslim League (N). It also allowed Geo TV to resume broadcasting (Geo had been critical of Zardari).

But at the same time, Zardari continued to brandish the police and the military at his opponents and their planned Monday demonstration. Zardari seems a little out of touch with political reality and with how unpopular he has been making himself, maintaining that "There is no law and order problem posed by the present protest. The long march, which will not be allowed to take place, is transitory and a one-time affair and the PPP would form its government in the Punjab in the next few days, leaving its rivals to repent." Add a comment
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Killing a Chicken to Scare the Monkeys

Is the Israeli Lobby Running Scared? Or Killing a Chicken to Scare the Monkeys
by Robert Dreyfuss
Is the Israel lobby in Washington an all-powerful force? Or is it, perhaps, running scared? Judging by the outcome of the Charles W. ("Chas") Freeman affair this week, it might seem as if the Israeli lobby is fearsome indeed. Seen more broadly, however, the controversy over Freeman could be the Israel lobby's Waterloo.

Let's recap. On February 19th, Laura Rozen reported at ForeignPolicy.com that Freeman had been selected by Admiral Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, to serve in a key post as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC, the official in-house think tank of the intelligence community, takes input from 16 intelligence agencies and produces what are called "national intelligence estimates" on crucial topics of the day as guidance for Washington policymakers. For that job, Freeman boasted a stellar resumé: fluent in Mandarin Chinese, widely experienced in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, and an ex-assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration.

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