Noms de Guerre: A Dog of War Is a Dog By Any Name

Pentagon mercenaries: Blackwater, Al-Qaeda… what’s in a name?
by Finian Cunningham - RT

Feb. 21, 2016

erik-prince-grin-muckCIA-linked private “security” companies are fighting in Yemen for the US-backed Saudi military campaign. Al-Qaeda-affiliated mercenaries are also being deployed. Melding private firms with terror outfits should not surprise. It’s all part of illegal war making.
 
Western news media scarcely report on the conflict in Yemen, let alone the heavy deployment of Western mercenaries in the fighting there. In the occasional Western report on Al-Qaeda and related terror groups in Yemen, it is usually in the context of intermittent drone strikes carried out by the US, or with the narrative that these militants are “taking advantage” of the chaos “to expand” their presence in the Arabian Peninsula, as reported here by the Washington Post.
 
This bifurcated Western media view of Yemen belies a more accurate and meaningful perspective, which is that the US-backed Saudi bombing campaign is actually coordinated with an on-the-ground military force that comprises regular troops, private security firms and Al-Qaeda type mercenaries redeployed from Syria.
 
 
 
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Pipe Dreams and Opium Wars: How a Little Flower Brought Down an Empire

How a Pink Flower Defeated the World’s Sole Superpower: America’s Opium War in Afghanistan
by Alfred W. McCoy - TomDispatch
 
Feb. 21, 2016
 
After fighting the longest war in its history, the United States stands at the brink of defeat in Afghanistan. How can this be possible? How could the world’s sole superpower have battled continuously for 15 years, deploying 100,000 of its finest troops, sacrificing the lives of 2,200 of those soldiers, spending more than a trillion dollars on its military operations, lavishing a record hundred billion more on “nation-building” and “reconstruction,” helping raise, fund, equip, and train an army of 350,000 Afghan allies, and still not be able to pacify one of the world’s most impoverished nations? 
 
So dismal is the prospect for stability in Afghanistan in 2016 that the Obama White House has recently cancelled a planned further withdrawal of its forces and will leave an estimated 10,000 troops in the country indefinitely.

Were you to cut through the Gordian knot of complexity that is the Afghan War, you would find that in the American failure there lies the greatest policy paradox of the century: Washington’s massive military juggernaut has been stopped dead in its steel tracks by a pink flower, the opium poppy.
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Scalia Legacy: The Nuns, the Beemer, and the Long Walk for Voting Rights

Scalia's Black Beemer
by Greg Palast - for OpedNews

February 19, 2016

It was one of our team’s weirder investigative discoveries: The recently departed Justice Antonin Scalia— alev ha shalom — in 2011, was ticketed for recklessly driving his black BMW.
 
To his family, I offer condolences. To my readers, I offer the facts.
 
A man's soul must be laid to rest, but history must not be buried as well, especially now that the Justice's passing has become grounds for stories that border on historical obscenity, cf. the New York Times, "Liberal Love for Antonin Scalia.”
 
Love!? Well, if you want a Valentine, this ain't it.
 
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Circling the Establishment Wagons: Times' Sanders Hit Piece Telling

Striking out at the NY Times: Hit Piece on Sanders Proposals Relies on Pro-Clinton Economists Mislabeled as ‘Leftists’ 
by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening

February 19, 2016

As Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination continues to strengthen, so do the attacks on him by the establishment corporate media, which are reflexively backing the status quo corporatocracy. The latest smear comes from the New York Times, in the form of an almost laughable piece by Jackie Calmes [1] run on Feb. 15 and headlined “Left-Leaning Economists Question Cost of Bernie Sanders’s Plans.”
 
The so-called “left-leaning” economists quoted by her, however, included not one genuine left or even left-leaning economist. Rather, they were a bunch of mainstream economists who, while “not working for Hillary Clinton,” as Calmes notes, have in fact worked for either the administration of Barack Obama or of Bill Clinton (a point she largely fails to note).
 
As media critic Doug Henwood of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) pointed out in a blistering critique of the Times article [2], referring to the economists quoted in the piece, “So slight is their leftward lean that it would require very sensitive equipment to measure.”
 
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Billary's Ball-Busting Record: How America's Working Class Suffered the Clintons

Bill Clinton’s War on the Poor (AKA The Hillary Plan)
by Joshua Frank  - CounterPunch

February 19, 2016

So, how did America’s poor fare under Bill Clinton’s White House reign? Better than George W. Bush — at least that seems to be the common belief among Democratic voters today, especially those lining up behind Madam Hillary.

However, the economy under Clinton in the 1990s may not have been as robust and healthy as many would like to believe.
 
As economist Robert Pollin of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst explains in Contours of Descent: US Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity, Clintonomics was not all it was cracked up to be.
 
“The distribution of wealth in the US became more skewed than it had at any time in the previous forty years,” he argues. “No question, an increasing number of US jobs began to be outsourced at an unprecedented rate as well.”
 
“Unlike Clinton, Bush is unabashed in his efforts to mobilize the power of government to serve the wealthy,” he continues. “But we should be careful not to make too much of such differences in the public stances of these two figures, as against the outcomes that prevail during their terms of office … the ratio of wages for the average worker to the pay of the average CEO rising astronomically from 113-to-1 in 1991 under Bush-1 to 449-to-1 when Clinton left office in 2001.”
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A Tale of Two Democrats

For Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, Politics is Personal
by Ted Rall - CounterPunch

February 18, 2016

Could the clash between Clintonian “realism” and Sandersian “idealism” come down to personal history?
Hillary Clinton’s sales pitch to Democrats is simple:
 
Get real! The Republicans controlling Congress (and who’ll likely still be in charge in 2017) won’t even allow President Obama to fill the late Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat on the Supreme Court. There is no way in hell, she says, that these intransigent SOBs will pass pie-in-the-sky bills like Bernie Sanders’ proposal to replace Obamacare — an insurance company-friendly scheme originally conceived by a right-wing think tank, which Republicans now call socialistic — with Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All,” which would eliminate insurers in an actually socialistic way.

Hillary says she won’t make promises she can’t keep. Maybe that, as opposed to the mountains of cash she collects from Big Pharma and the piles of dough she rakes in from health insurance giants, is why she thinks the United States can’t join the rest of the First World by creating a universal coverage healthcare system.
 
Or maybe it’s personal.
 
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An Evening at UVic with Vandana Shiva

An Evening with Vandana Shiva
by UVic Events

With great anticipation, a collaboration of Harmony Foundation, LifeCycles and UVIC’s Institute for Studies and Innovation in Community University Engagement, invite you to join Dr. Vandana Shiva on Feb 29th in Victoria at UVic's Farquhar Auditorium.

Join us for an outstanding evening of discussion about healthy food, people and communities, here and around the world.

While climate change and the loss of biodiversity are crucial issues for food security, even more critical is ensuring community control over our own food supply.


UNIVERSITY CENTRE

Farquhar Auditorium
Feb 29th
 
8pm

$20 At the Door $25
UVic Ticket Centre
250-721-8480
ticket@uvic.ca

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Israeli Occupation Defies Democratic Ideals

‘Good Labor – Bad Likud’: Dispelling the Myth of ‘Democracy’ within Israel’s Political Establishment
by Ramzy Baroud  - PalestineChronicle.com
The Israeli ‘Right’, as demonstrated by a scary coalition of rightwing nationalists, ultranationalists and religious zealots, deserves all the bad press it has garnered since its formation last May.

But none of this should come as a shock, as the ‘Right’ in Israel has never been anything but a coalition of demagogues that catered to the lowest common denominator in society. As unlikable as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is, he is, in fact, a fair representation of the worst that Israel has to offer, which, over the years, has morphed to represent mainstream thinking.

But Israel has not always been ruled by the right-wingers, and the likes of current Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, who has made a habit of calls for extermination and genocide of Palestinians, are relatively newcomers to Israel’s political tussle. In previous Knessets, the likes of her would have been assigned to a neglected seat in the back of the Knesset, along with other lunatics who often mouthed profanities and incessantly called for killing all Gentiles. Tellingly, she is now one of the main centerpieces in Netanyahu’s menacing coalition.

Somehow, this may be of benefit to the wider world. At least now, many would get to see Israel as the country that it has always been, but which has cleverly hidden its real nature under a mask of liberal façade and ever-touted democratic ideals.
 
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LNG in Victoria? A Community Forum

Wednesday, Feb. 17th: LNG in Victoria? A Community Forum
 
February 17, 2016
 
With a massive liquified natural gas plant proposed for the Saanich Inlet, B.C.'s LNG industry is right on Victoria's doorstep. If approved, the facility will liquify 6 million tonnes of gas every year, filling tankers
passing through the Saanich Inlet every 3-5 days for the next 25 years.
 
Dr Eoin Finn & reps. from the Saanich Inlet Network
Wed, Feb 17, 7-9 pm
Esquimalt United Church,
500 Admirals Road, Esquimalt.
While Steelhead LNG has already received export licenses to carry out the project, a number of environmental assessments are still pending, and residents have begun to voice their concerns about the risks the project poses.
 
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Not Really the Only Democracy in the Middle East: Israel's Hidden Nature Less Obscure

‘Good Labor – Bad Likud’: Dispelling the Myth of ‘Democracy’ within Israel’s Political Establishment
by Ramzy Baroud  - PalestineChronicle.com
The Israeli ‘Right’, as demonstrated by a scary coalition of rightwing nationalists, ultranationalists and religious zealots, deserves all the bad press it has garnered since its formation last May.

But none of this should come as a shock, as the ‘Right’ in Israel has never been anything but a coalition of demagogues that catered to the lowest common denominator in society. As unlikable as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is, he is, in fact, a fair representation of the worst that Israel has to offer, which, over the years, has morphed to represent mainstream thinking.

But Israel has not always been ruled by the right-wingers, and the likes of current Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, who has made a habit of calls for extermination and genocide of Palestinians, are relatively newcomers to Israel’s political tussle. In previous Knessets, the likes of her would have been assigned to a neglected seat in the back of the Knesset, along with other lunatics who often mouthed profanities and incessantly called for killing all Gentiles. Tellingly, she is now one of the main centerpieces in Netanyahu’s menacing coalition.

Somehow, this may be of benefit to the wider world.
 
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dan Lewis, Walter M. Brasch, Janine Bandcroft Feb. 17, 2016

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

 
Last summer, First Nations activists turned around the installation of a new salmon farm in Clayoquot Sound, and while that battle won is a victory worth celebrating, it's not nearly the end, nor even the beginning of the end of the war to reclaim the Sound's environmental integrity for Wild Salmon.

Clayoquot Action has been taking local action to save Clayoquot Sound's magnificent natural environment for years. It recently broadened its scope, taking a trip to Norway, Ground Zero of the international salmon farming industry, to speak directly to both representatives of that industry, and the Norwegian people.
 
Listen. Hear.

Dan Lewis joined Clayoquot Action's Bonny Glambeck and John Rampanen from the Ahousaht and Kelsemaht First Nations as members of the Wild Salmon Delegation to Norway, and she's back in Canada now with exciting news from her travels to the other side.
 
Dan Lewis in the first half.
 
And; despite its pernicious impact on local environments, the fracking industry, or LNG as its known in these parts, has proven as resilient as pacific salmon, returning again and again despite the odds against it. In BC, neither international market disinterest, nor environmental logic can kill it; and it seems the will of the people too is incapable of deterring an industry no-one wants around. Recent events within the Cowichan Valley attest to "LNG's" deleterious effects on democracy, while the provincial government's embarrassing budget inclusion yesterday of its so-called 'Prosperity Fund,' (promised to be predicated upon "LNG" royalties) lends an "Emperor's New Clothes" element to an industry that hasn't yet, and may never, materialize here. Talk about "natural gas"!
 
Walter M. Brasch is an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor, syndicated columnist, broadcaster, educator, activist, and prolific author whose book titles include: 'Before the First Snow,' 'America's Unpatriotic Acts,' 'Sex and the Single Beer Can,' 'The Press and the State,' 'Social Foundations of Mass Media.' His latest book, 'Fracking Pennsylvania: Flirting with Disaster' is a detailed investigation of that industry, and what its activity means for the people and landscapes where it takes place.
 
Walter M. Brasch and fracking America in the second half.
 
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of the coming week from our city's street, and beyond there too. But first, Bonny Glambeck and a salmon farming sea change beginning.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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Still Taking Bears Out Under the New Great Bear Rainforest Agreement

Bears Left Out of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement
by Doug Neasloss, Brian Falconer and Chris Genovali - Raincoast Conservation
For those of you celebrating Premier Christy Clark’s announcement declaring “the end of commercial trophy hunting” in the Great Bear Rainforest, you can put away the champagne.
 
While the announcement by the premier and Minister Steve Thomson essentially endorses the effort to buy out commercial trophy hunting businesses, undertaken by Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Coastal First Nations (CFN) several years ago, it commits no direct support, nor does it address trophy hunting by BC residents which accounts for 60% of the grizzly kill in the Great Bear Rainforest and in the rest of province.
 
The province has still not recognized the ban on trophy hunting imposed by CFN and will continue to issue tags to kill grizzly bears and black bears in all areas of the Great Bear Rainforest, including in some areas where the black bears carry the white “Spirit bear” gene.
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