Land to the Tiller, Forests to the Communities

Land to the Tiller, Forests to the Communities
by Peter Ewart & Dawn Hemingway
In this first of a three-part series of articles, we will be discussing some ideas about how to renew rural and northern communities in British Columbia that are caught in the midst of an unprecedented economic downturn in forestry and other industrial sectors.

It has been like watching the slow motion destruction of an office tower. First one floor gives away; then another and another, each section inexorably pulling down the rest, until there is only a giant cloud of dust and heaps of tangled concrete and steel girders remaining.  So have gone many banks, hedge funds, and insurance companies in the U.S. and other countries in the world during the current financial crisis. And so have many big corporations in industrial sectors such as auto, forestry, steel, and retail.
 
 
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The New Civil War: Obama Promises Benefits to Unemployed - Louisiana Declares Secession

Damn that Lincoln: Abe's to blame for Jindal
by Greg Palast
Damn that Abe Lincoln. When Louisiana and Mississippi seceded from the Union, a sensible president would have sent them a box of chocolates with a note, "Goodbye and good riddance."

Tonight, following Barack Obama's budget presentation to Congress, effectively the president's first State of the Union Address, the Republicans chose to give their party's response, the governor of the state that wanted to leave the Union, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal.
 

Jindal told us that Barack Obama is a terrible President who passed a stimulus bill "larded with wasteful spending."   Where's the lard?  All week, Jindal has been screeching that Obama wants to require states like Louisiana to extend unemployment insurance to - get this - the unemployed!  (Technically, the federal government would pay 100% of the cost of reforming Louisiana's and Mississippi's Scrooge-sized benefit requirements.)
 
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Between Peace and Peril

A Choice Between Peace and Peril
by Chris Hedges
Bibi Netanyahu’s assumption of power in Israel sets the stage for a huge campaign by the Israeli government, and its well-oiled lobby groups in Washington, to push us into a war with Iran.

Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, according to U.S. and European intelligence agencies. But reality rarely impedes on politics. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, along with Netanyahu, all talk as if Iran is on the brink of dropping the big one on the Jewish state.
 
 
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An Economical Memory: How the Economy was Lost

How the Economy was Lost
by Paul Craig Roberts
The American economy has gone away. It is not coming back until free trade myths are buried six feet under. America’s 20th century economic success was based on two things. Free trade was not one of them.
 
America’s economic success was based on protectionism, which was ensured by the union victory in the Civil War, and on British indebtedness, which destroyed the British pound as world reserve currency.
 
Following World War II, the US dollar took the role as reserve currency, a privilege that allows the US to pay its international bills in its own currency.
  

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Israel Critic Canned: On Cowardice and the Duty of Academe

STATEMENT OF JOEL KOVEL REGARDING HIS TERMINATION BY BARD COLLEGE
by Joel Kovel
Bard has effectively crafted for itself an image as a bastion of progressive thought. Its efforts were crowned with being anointed in 2005 by the 'Princeton Review' as the second-most progressive college in the United States, the journal adding that Bard "puts the 'liberal' in 'liberal arts.'" But “liberal” thought evidently has its limits; and my work against Zionism has encountered these.

A fundamental principle of mine is that the educator must criticize the injustices of the world, whether or not this involves him or her in conflict with the powers that be. The systematic failure of the academy to do so plays no small role in the perpetuation of injustice and state violence.
 
In no sphere of political action does this principle apply more vigorously than with the question of Zionism; and in no country is this issue more  strategically important than in the United States, given the fact that United States support is necessary for Israel’s behavior.
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Still Targets: Baghdad's Doctors Living in Hiding

Iraqi Doctors in Hiding Treat as They Can
by Dahr Jamail
BAGHDAD — Seventy percent of Iraq’s doctors are reported to have fled the war-torn country in the face of death threats and kidnappings. Those who remain live in fear, often in conditions close to house arrest.

Dr. Thana Hekmaytar. Photo: Dahr Jamail
  
“I was threatened I would be killed because I was working for the Iraqi government at the Medical City,” Dr. Thana Hekmaytar told IPS. Baghdad Medical City is the largest medical complex in the country.

Dr. Hekmaytar, a head and neck surgeon, has now been practising at the Saint Raphael Hospital in Baghdad for the last five years. It is difficult now both as woman and as doctor, she says. Most women are now living in repressive conditions because the government is less secular. And that is besides the chaotic conditions around Iraq.

“It is particularly difficult for female doctors,” Dr. Hekmaytar says. “Large groups in Iraq only want us to stay at home, and certainly not be professionals.”
 
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The Abyss Staring Back

The Abyss Stares Back
by Jim Kunstler
The public perception of the ongoing fiasco in governance has moved from sheer, mute incomprehension to goggle-eyed panic as the scrims of unreality peel away revealing something like a national death-watch scene in history's intensive care unit. Is the USA in recession, depression, or collapse? People are at least beginning to ask. Nature's way of hinting that something truly creepy may be up is when both Paul Volcker and George Soros both declare on the same day that the economic landscape is looking darker than the Great Depression.
 
Those tuned into the media-waves were enchanted, in a related instance, by Rick Santelli's grand moment of theater in the Chicago trader's pit last week when he seemed to ignite the first spark of revolution by demonstrating that bail-out fatigue had morphed into high emotion -- and that the emotion could be marshaled against public policy. The traders in the pit on-screen seemed to color up and buzz loudly, like ordinary grasshoppers turning into angry locusts preparing to ravage a waiting valley. "Are you listening, President Obama?" Mr. Santelli asked portentously.
 
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Logging in the Englishman River: Legislature Hears Allegations Against Nanaimo-Parksville Member

Point of Privilege
by WCWC (mid-island)
Draft Transcript from the Hansard record of the B.C. Legislature.
 
S. Fraser: I rise today to raise a point of privilege. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: Proceed.  [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Fraser: I served notice yesterday on my intention to raise a question of privilege, and I rise now to that matter of which written notice has been given to the Chair under Standing Order 26. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I believe that I can establish a prima facie case on the face of the record that the member for Nanaimo-Parksville breached the privileges of this House by misleading this assembly. I have attempted to keep my presentation brief and non-argumentative, in accordance with the rules. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The member for Nanaimo-Parksville has made statements in this House on the subject of logging in the Englishman River. On Thursday last week in question period, the member told the House: "This was logged under a plan, a watershed management plan, that involved consultation with the Arrowsmith Watershed Society and other groups." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

 
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Torture, Progressive Style

Updates: Child Sacrifice and Gitmo Torture, Progressive Style
by Chris Floyd   
I. We reported here last week about another in the barrage of stories detailing civilian deaths at the hands of American-led forces in the "good war" in Afghanistan, now being escalated by Barack Obama. (And not only in Afghanistan; Obama is also rapidly expanding American attacks inside Pakistan to include forces there with little or no involvement with the war in Afghanistan -- along with the usual blood-fruit harvest of civilians, of course.)

In last week's post, we took note of Washington's claim that U.S. missiles had killed "15 militants" in a raid that Afghan officials said actually killed 13 civilians, including six women and two children. Today, the New York Times reports that Pentagon has now admitted that they did indeed kill 13 civilians in the raid, and only 3 militants -- precisely as the Afghan authorities had claimed.

Not that this will give our cool, adorable, Buddha-like president a moment's pause, but the incident and its reportage gives us yet another timely reminder that the claims by Afghan authorities about civilian casualties are almost always highly accurate, while the first instinct of the Pentagon is to lie, deceive and spin -- with the sure knowledge that its initial claims will always be greeted as authoritative by the Homeland press, while the inevitable climbdowns and qualifications that come later will pass largely unnoticed.
 
(UPDATED BELOW)
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Two Big Lies: A Strategy for Democratic Revival

Confronting Two Big Lies: A Strategy for Democratic Revival
by Dave Lindorff
If Democrats want to come out of this economic crisis with a powerful mandate to continue running the country, they need to bag the nonsensical talk of “bi-partisanship” and tackle two big lies that have been stymieing progressives for decades.

The first lie is that the only solution to the nation’s deepening health care crisis, which now has over 42 million people—roughly one in seven Americans—living without any health insurance or ready access to medical care, is a combination of limitations on treatment and continued reliance on the private health insurance industry.

The second lie is that Social Security, the single most important economic “safety net” under the lives of America’s elderly, its disabled, and children who lose a wage-earning parent, is headed for “bankruptcy” and needs to have its already skimpy benefits cut back.
 
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Langford Lairds Face the People (UPDATE: Langford to Seek Fed. Bailout Monies)

A public hearing for the history books?
by Zoe Blunt
South Skirt Mountain Public Hearing Monday Feb 23, 7 pm, Langford City Hall, 877 Goldstream Ave. Photo and interview opportunities with over a dozen people opposed to the proposed South Skirt Mountain development, including many who have never addressed Council before. (Please note: past meetings at Langford City Hall have gotten quite rowdy, and the subject matter this time will be very controversial.)

In the coming months and years, will people remember Monday's public hearing (Feb 23) in Langford and say, "Yes, I was there, and look how things have changed since then?"

Expect surprises about more issues than I can list here – starting with the inside dirt on how the big boys expect to finance this mega-project next door to Bear Mountain. (That's the #1 question everyone's asking!) Over a dozen people are already lined up to testify, and it's not necessary to pre-register or get on a list.
 
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Is It JAILOUT Time Yet?

As New Scammers Emerge,  IS IT JAILOUT TIME YET?
by Danny Schechter (Author of PLUNDER)
Judging by my in-box, there seem to be no shortage of organizations and individuals obsessed with an image: Dick Cheney and George Bush in prison, and Karl Rove in the next cell. Never mind that Congress doesn’t have the guts or the President the gumption to go after those responsible for the gutting of the Constitution. Nevertheless, there are many campaigns and calls to hold the last Administration accountable for its crimes.

At the same time, as we watch an economy in free fall, there seems to a lot less agitation for a serious investigation of those responsible for this collapse. Evan as you overhear conversations in every bar and union
hall that begins with “those bastards should be in jail,” few progressives are leading the charge to demand a Jail-Out alongside those stimulus bailouts. It’s as if economic crimes provoke a ho-hum reaction among activists.

Oddly, some corporate media are more sensitive to the seething mass public outrage. TIME did a spread on the 25 individuals responsible for the crisis including politicians and CEO’s. They ran a photo spread with their images against the background of police line-up. CNN has profiled corporate criminals. CNBC is running a series on “American Greed”---mostly of small time con men.
 
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