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Shades of Significance: Breaking the Pale Monopoly

Degrees of Significance: The Nomination of Barack Obama        
by Chris Floyd     
The symbolic significance of Obama Barack's nomination victory is not insubstantial. In a land where, not so long ago, having the slightest drop of "Negro blood" in your genetic inheritance was enough to bar you -- legally and formally -- from many jobs, educational opportunities, places of residence, medical care, full participation in society, etc. (and where these obstacles still persist, in practice if not in law, for many people), it is striking to see a man whose father was not only black but also a "full-blooded African" (cue the psychosexual "Mandingo" anxieties of generations of trembly white folk) on the doorstep of the White House.
 
At the very least -- until the novelty wears off (and novelty wears off very, very quickly in America)-- if Obama wins the presidency, there will be some aesthetic relief in seeing a different kind of face on the tee-vee mouthing various pieties, refusing to take any options off the table, etc., in place of the long procession of pasty white males of Northern European descent.

As for the substantial significance of Obama's nomination win, there is none. The only thing that really matters is what the human being named Barack Obama will do with power (if he gets it), and not his skin color.

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Engaging Syria: Losing Ground

Engaging Syria: Losing Ground
by Ramzy Baroud
On 15 May, President Bush gave a speech before the Israeli Knesset decrying "radicals and terrorists" (basically anyone who opposes the United States and Israel). His archaic references to the "promised land" and "chosen people" certainly appealed to the equally outdated and exclusivist views of many, though not all, Israeli Knesset members who reportedly saw in Bush the quintessential Zionist.

A few days later, Bush took his message to Sharm El-Sheikh, stating, "we must stand with the good and decent people of Iran and Syria, who deserve so much better than the life they have today. Every peaceful nation in the region has an interest in stopping these nations from supporting terrorism."

Yet, on 21 May, media reports revealed that Israel and Syria were engaged in mediated peace talks in Turkey. Both sides sounded upbeat, with Syrian officials stating that Israel showed readiness to withdraw from the entire Golan Heights, which it occupied in 1967 and illegally annexed in 1981.


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Parched: National Water Security

How Water Has Become a National Security Issue
by Maude Barlow
It's a colossal failure of political foresight that water has not emerged as an important issue in the U.S. Presidential campaign. The links between oil, war, and U.S. foreign policy are well known. But water -- whether we treat it as a public good or as a commodity that can be bought and sold -- will in large part determine whether our future is peaceful or perilous.
 
Americans use water even more wastefully than oil. The U.S relies on non-renewable groundwater for 50 percent of its daily use, and 36 states now face serious water shortages, some verging on crisis.
 
Meanwhile, dwindling freshwater supplies around the world, inequitable access to water, and corporate control of water, together with impending climate change from fossil fuel emissions, have created a life-or-death situation across the planet.
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Bush Insider Wilkerson Revelations on Iraq Run Up

A new three part interview with Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff: Part I
by The Real News
Wilkerson, who has gone on record calling Powell's speech before the U.N. in 2003 laying out a case for war with Iraq a "hoax", spoke to The Real News Network at this year's AIPAC conference that did not shy away from painting Iran as a hostile, nuclear threat.
 
 
 
The Washington insider was featured in the documentary "The Israel Lobby", saying that AIPAC was highly influential in the Bush Administration's decision to go to war in Iraq.


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The Empire -- A Status Report

The Empire -- A Status Report
by William Blum
There are a number of expressions and slogans associated with the Nazi regime in Germany which have become commonly known in English.
 
"Sieg Heil!" -- Victory Hail!
"Arbeit macht frei" -- Work will make you free.

"Denn heute gehört uns Deutschland und morgen die ganze Welt" -- Today Germany, tomorrow the world
    
But none perhaps is better known than "Deutschland über alles" -- Germany above all.

Thus I was taken aback when I happened to come across the website of the United States Air Force -- www.airforce.com/ -- and saw on its first page a heading "Above all". Lest you think that this refers simply and innocently to planes high up in the air, this page links to another -- www.airforce.com/achangingworld/ -- where "Above all" is repeated even more prominently, with links to sites for "Air Dominance", "Space Dominance", and "Cyber Dominance", each of which in turn repeats "Above all".
 
These guys don't kid around. They're not your father's imperialist war mongers. If they're planning on a new "thousand-year Reich", let's hope that their fate is no better than the original, which lasted 12 years. 
 
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The Nuisance of Democracy

When a Little Dissent Is Too Much        
by Norman Solomon
Over the years, once in a great while, I’ve been surprised to cross paths with a journalist at a major TV outlet who actually seems willing and able to go outside the conventional boundaries of media discourse.

That’s what happened one day in the fall of 2005 at the Boston headquarters of the CN8 television network, owned and operated by the corporate media giant Comcast.
 
I showed up for an interview about my book "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." My expectations weren’t very high. After all, I was setting foot in the studios of a large commercial TV channel with wide distribution of its programming in New England and beyond.
 
 
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Czech Hunger Strike Encompasses more than Radar

Militarization of Space: Czech Hunger Strike Encompasses more than Radar
by Laray Polk
The U.S. government, in collaboration with the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic, is very close to sealing a deal for a “defensive missile shield.”
 
According to the plan initiated by the U.S., ten GMD-variant interceptor missiles will be located in Poland, and an X-band radar will be located in the Czech Republic, 55 miles southwest of the capital of Prague.
 
But there is a catch.
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Uncle Sam's Cyber Force Wants You!

Attention Geeks and Hackers: Uncle Sam's Cyber Force Wants You!
by William J. Astore
Recently, while I was on a visit to Salon.com, my computer screen momentarily went black. A glitch? A power surge? No, it was a pop-up ad for the U.S. Air Force, warning me that an enemy cyber-attack could come at any moment -- with dire consequences for my ability to connect to the Internet.
 
 
It was an Outer Limits moment.
 
Remember that eerie sci-fi show from the early 1960s? The one that began in a blur with the message, "There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission…." It felt a little like that.
 
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The Canadian Broadcast Corporation: Canada's War Pimp

The Canadian Broadcast Corporation: Canada's War Pimp
by C. L. Cook
Yesterday, the House of Commons did something we haven't seen since the heady wayback days when Trudeaumania gripped the nation.
 
Taking their collective, if figurative cojones in hand, Liberals and Bloc Quebecois members joined the New Democratic Party (NDP) to endorse a non-binding motion to immediately stay deportation proceedings against U.S. military war resisters seeking refuge from American justice here in Canada, and offer those already here, (and perhaps the throng sure to follow) and their families the opportunity to stay, live, and work in Canada as the first steps to naturalization.
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Okafadah: Creating a Second "OKA”

TRYING TO CREATE “MOHAWK-OKA CRISIS” (by issuing illegal development permits on Haudenosaunee Territory)
by Kahentinetha Horn  
The “imperialist formula” is:  the colonial government issues illegal permits to developers and sell bonds. These are paper investments based on the theft of our land and resources which they use as collateral to borrow and raise money.  The government expects future taxes from developments such as mining, condos, etc.  The Indigenous owners defend our land.  

The colonists go to their courts to get an “injunction” to remove us by force.  Remember 1990 when Mohawks demonstrated peacefully against a golf course expansion and condo development in “the Pines” at Kanehsatake?  Mayor Ouellette of the Parish of Oka, which sits on Mohawk land, had asked Quebec for an injunction to get us off our land so he could force the development through. 
 
We resisted.
 

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Collateral America: What it Really Means to Go to War

Collateral Damage: What It Really Means When America Goes to War
by Chris Hedges
Troops, when they battle insurgent forces, as in Iraq, or Gaza or Vietnam, are placed in "atrocity producing situations."
 
Being surrounded by a hostile population makes simple acts, such as going to a store to buy a can of Coke, dangerous.
 
The fear and stress push troops to view everyone around them as the enemy.
 
The hostility is compounded when the enemy, as in Iraq, is elusive, shadowy and hard to find.
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