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War Toy Wipeout in Nanaimo

Toys in Nanaimo
by Dyane Brown
Stores selling toys in Nanaimo were recently checked out by members of the Nanaimo chapter of The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, (WILPF).

“We wanted to find out  who was selling war toys for children and who chose not to and what  alternatives there were”, said local member Dyane brown. “We also wanted to express appreciation to the stores we found that chose creative, positive toys.”

In contrast to the several large chain stores who simply told us they had no imput into what they sold. “It is all decided at head office.” we found five local stores who offered delightful alternatives. We have made up certificates to present to those five stores.

The manager of Canadian Tire assured us that they continued their established policy of not carrying war toys. We had checked stores out three years ago and had been surprised and pleased at not finding any violent children’s toys there.  If they can do it, why not the others?  Zellers, Sears and Toys R Us had a disappointing array of simulated weaponry for young children. 


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Drawing Down Obama's Wiggle Room

Don't Let Barack Obama Break Your Heart: Why Americans Shouldn't Go Home
by Tom Engelhardt
On the day that Americans turned out in near record numbers to vote, a record was set halfway around the world. In Afghanistan, a U.S. Air Force strike wiped out about 40 people in a wedding party. This represented at least the sixth wedding party eradicated by American air power in Afghanistan and Iraq since December 2001.

American planes have, in fact, taken out two brides in the last seven months. And don't try to bury your dead or mark their deaths ceremonially either, because funerals have been hit as well. Mind you, those planes, which have conducted 31% more air strikes in Afghanistan in support of U.S. troops this year, and the missile-armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) now making almost daily strikes across the border in Pakistan, remain part of George W. Bush's Air Force, but only until January 21, 2009. Then, they -- and all the brides and grooms of Afghanistan and in the Pakistani borderlands who care to have something more than the smallest of private weddings -- officially become the property of President Barack Obama.

That's a sobering thought. He is, in fact, inheriting from the Bush administration a widening war in the region, as well as an exceedingly tenuous situation in devastated, still thoroughly factionalized, sectarian, and increasingly Iranian-influenced Iraq. There, the U.S. is, in actuality, increasingly friendless and ever less powerful. The last allies from the infamous "coalition of the willing" are now rushing for the door. The South Koreans, Hungarians, and Bulgarians -- I'll bet you didn't even know the latter two had a few troops left in Iraq -- are going home this year; the rump British force in the south will probably be out by next summer.


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Victoria Municipal Elections: Candidates Speak!

Victoria Municipal Candidates Information
by Kristen Woodruff (Mayoral candidate)

Greetings;  Just wanted to say that if the inspiration so moves you, I could use some help getting the word out about sight now features a video of a complete all-candidates' meeting. Any methods that you think of would be appreciated. I think the public is at a loss about who to vote for and seeing the footage of all the candidates in action would help.

So--if the inspiration so moves you, any basic signs or posters with would be good. Let anyone else know--a kind of massive public advertising event, using whatever means we are all individually inspired to use (keeping, as ever, within the bounds of what is legal).

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Driving Mister Barak

Driving Mister Barack
by Mickey Z.
As you know, the Empire has selected a new emperor. The Mafia has chosen a new don. The corporation has hired a new CEO. Are you brimming with hope yet? Read on… According to Reuters, (Nov. 11, 2008), President-Elect Barack Obama has urged President-Select George W. Bush to take “measures to help the ailing (automobile) industry on top of a $25 billion loan packaged approved in September.” 

I could easily discuss—yet again—the unspoken reality that America’s version of capitalism relies entirely on socialized costs and privatized profits and all those who righteously decry Big Government are choosing to ignore the massive state subsidies that created and maintain Corporate America and “our way of life.” But Earth’s problems are far worse than state capitalism wearing a transparent free market mask. The auto industry Mister Barack and his merry band of Democratic comrades so desperately want to bailout and revive is and has been one the primary causes for our planet’s environmental and social degradation.


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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Steve Filipovic, David Swanson, J9 Mon. Nov. 10, 2008

This Week on GR  
by C. L. Cook
This week, first-time Victoria mayoral candidate, Steve Filipovic and cleaning up this town with a progressive sweep; American political activist, David Swanson and the meaning behind an Obama presidency; Janine Bandcroft brings us up to speed with culture and politics around the lower island. 

Listen. Hear.

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:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:


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Change Depends on Stopping the Bailout

Real Change Depends on Stopping the Bailout Profiteers
by Naomi Klein
To understand the meaning of the U.S. election results, it is worth looking back to the moment when everything changed for the Obama campaign. It was, without question, the moment when the economic crisis hit Wall Street.

Up to that point, things weren’t looking all that good for Barack Obama. The Democratic National Convention barely delivered a bump, while the appointment of Sarah Palin seemed to have shifted the momentum decisively over to John McCain.

Then, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed, followed by insurance giant AIG, then Lehman Brothers. It was in this moment of economic vertigo that Obama found a new language. 
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Bush’s Last Bullet: Why Attack Syria?

Bush’s Last Bullet: Why the US Attacked Syria
by Ramzy Baroud
The sovereignty of an independent, stable country that has carried out many constructive moves in recent months and weeks, which could have surely contributed to the stabilization of the Middle East, has been violated, its borders breached and its civilians killed.

But when the country targeted is Syria, an Arab country, and the perpetrator is the US military, then, somehow things are not as appalling as they may seem.
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Scientist Charges Run-of-River Environmental Assessment Fraud

Fraudulent science used to hide hydro project's damage to B.C. creek: scientist
A scientist who warned a controversial hydroelectric project in B.C. could have a disastrous effect on the aquatic ecosystem says the creek has run dry at least once and the company's investigation of the damage amounts to fraudulent science.
The Miller Creek project is a run-of-the-river
hydroelectric station that creates electricity
without damming the river. (EPCOR)

According to documents obtained by CBC News, eight years ago a number of experts warned of problems with the proposed run-of-the river hydroelectric plant, but their objections were overruled and the project was given the go-ahead.
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Canwest Drops Suit Against Mordecai Briemberg

Canwest drops suit over parody against Mordecai Briemberg, hailed as victory for free speech campaign 
by Seriously Free Speech Committee
A campaign to defend free speech pushed media giant Canwest to drop its legal suit against Mordecai Briemberg over a parody of The Vancouver Sun.
Canwest Global's 2008 Golden Gag Award 

"This is proof that people can stand up to bullies who misuse and abuse the courts to attack their political opponents," said Anne Roberts, a co-chair of the Seriously Free Speech Committee that was formed to defend Briemberg, a retired academic and this year's winner of the YMCA International Peace Award.

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Thoughts on Obama

Some Thoughts on Obama
by David Rovics
Friends around the world keep asking me questions.  Are you excited?  What do you think of Obama?  Others are simply congratulating me.  And I must say, it was a thrilling moment.

As a teenager, in 1984, I volunteered for the Mondale/Ferraro campaign, mostly pushing bumper stickers.  An anti-nuclear group was doing this, in the belief that Mondale would be less likely to cause Armageddon.  I grew up in an overwhelmingly white, Republican town.  I was a news junky from an early age, though, and politically active in one way or another.  Of the Democratic candidates my favorite was Jesse Jackson, but looking around me I reasoned he had a slim chance of getting elected.

As an adult, living in urban areas all over the US, I saw little to dispel this illusion.  There were more African-Americans getting elected to political office, but usually we were talking about mayors of majority-Black cities or Congresswomen from hotbeds of progressivism like Berkeley.  But here I was, hanging out with my toddler, listening to my favorite local band, the Pagan Jug Band, sitting in a pub in Portland, hearing that Barack Obama has been elected President.

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Down on Victoria's Animal Farm

The Battle of the Cowshed
by Tavis Dodds, Work Less Party Candidate for Councillor
I left a phone message for the people producing a play based on Orwell's Animal Farm performed in a prison. I asked for a ticket so I could write a review.
As it turns out, however, I was arrested on the morning of opening night on Hallowe'en for demonstrating at City Hall. 
The William Head Prison cast of Animal Farm
photo: Allendria Brunjes
I went to the holding cells for Hallowe'en night in the dungeon of the police station and from my cell I could watch everyone being brought in.
I saw a group of police verbally abusing a 17 year old, like sadists, saying "there's a big boy" and other nastinesses like high school bullies. I saw a young lady dressed as a honey bee, weeping quietly the whole time and then, when she was locked up, she lost it and truly freaked. Two really nasty cops decided to play games with David Johnston and said really nasty things to him about his family, making the claim that he wasn't homeless and that he has a martyr complex. The only way to tell the difference between these officers and the worst of the inmates was their uniforms.
There was a homeless guy whose dog was taken. In the end, it felt like I was a character in Animal Farm, perhaps the horse, watching the pigs claiming to be more equal than others.
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