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A Few Days in Hyde Park, A Lifetime in the Empire

A Few Days in Hyde Park, A Lifetime in the Empire
by Mike Ferner
Chicago - Standing outside for five days in the Windy City under skies of lead and the thermometer below freezing provides an opportunity to make certain observations. Standing three blocks from the home of the next president of the United States the day he leaves for a new home in Washington, D.C….well you can’t help but observe certain things.

Hyde Park, where the Obama family lives(d) on Chicago’s south side, is a study in contrasts. Victorian and turn-of-the-century estates, broad tree-lined boulevards and the University of Chicago occupy one end of the spectrum; vacant commercial lots and takeaway restaurants that don’t sell coffee to better discourage the homeless from hanging out, occupy the other. More women wore fur coats -- some pristine and some clearly threadbare -- than I’ve ever seen.

Canada: Israel's "Unshakable" Supporter

Israel Continues to get Unshakable Support from Harper
by Linda McQuaig
On Israel's 60th anniversary last April, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised Canada's "unshakable" support for Israel. At the time, this struck me as odd. It would be understandable for a prime minister to offer Canada's "unshakable" support for principles democracy, the rule of law, human rights, etc. But for a country?
A country is led by a government, and a government is always fallible. Why would Canada promise its unqualified support for any country? Such unqualified support is particularly problematic when the country is locked in a bitter struggle with millions of people whose land it has held under military occupation for more than forty years.

The problematic nature of Harper's promise has taken on a new dimension with Israel's intense bombing of the Gaza Strip, which has left more than 400 Palestinians dead.

Canada's Cowardice in the Face of Gaza Crisis

Canada's Cowardice in the Face of Gaza Crisis
by C. L. Cook
Canada's minister of foreign affairs released a terse, four-sentence statement of his government's position on the disaster unfolding in Gaza.
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon's message is included in full below, but suffice to say, Canada finds no fault in the actions of the nation it "unshakably" supports, Israel.
As it did during Israel's illegal invasion of Lebanon in 2006, the government of Canada has refused to recognize the Israeli Defense Forces' mass killings of civilians and the destruction of a "country's" infrastructure as criminal acts deserving prosecution, provided for in international jurisprudence.
This cannot be surprising, as Canada has supported fully the Israeli blockade of Gaza that nation announced following the successful election of Hamas in 2006. 

Shelter Crisis: For a Want of Dignity

Shelter Crisis: For a Want of Dignity
by Chris Johnson
So the basic news coming out of our last meeting is we are planning a 'consulta' to meet with people on the street and people at risk of being homeless who might be the potential users/operators of a temporary shelter encampment. This will happen at one or two locations accessible to the street community, as well as involve some one on one contact and possibly include some video and written testimony from various people.

The goal with this consulta is to determine how many people would be interested in being involved in a project where we work together to create some temporary emergency housing as an alternative to the conventional shelter system, as well as getting the input of the people in need of this housing as to what it should look like. So it's yet another study of sorts, but at the same time, we're not just asking people what they want and need. We'll be working together to create something right away. Sort of proactive research.

A proper process for involving people in the design and operation of emergency shelter (or most poverty related things for that matter) is something that everyone agrees is lacking. I've been thinking that if we can broaden it in some way to also have it function as a general survey regarding the needs and ideas of people experiencing poverty, it would have value far beyond our project. That's something we can talk about at our next meeting, which is a meeting of the working group putting the consulta together, this coming Monday, 4pm at Camas. The next general meeting is the following Monday.

War Crime du Jour: Israel Deploys White Phosphorus Shells

War Crime du Jour: Israel Deploys White Phosphorus Shells
by C. L. Cook
When regarding the Christmas massacre conducted against the captive population of Palestine by the Israeli army in the name of the people of Israel's security, one is left to wonder: How deeply into Israel's vast arsenal must the IDF dig before the world's leaders act?
Do we wait until the nuclear option is put on the table? "Bunker busters" are already deployed; cluster bombs and the usual array of missiles, bombs, and bullets rained down on civilians and the civilian infrastructure. Hospitals, universities, police stations, mosques, and apartment blocks. Have we missed anything?
Today, picture proof of Israel's further degradation.
The first image is of a white phosphorus test shell;
the second was taken in Gaza yesterday. 
A shell fired by the Israeli military explodes in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday,
as seen from the Israeli side of the border with Gaza. (Bernat Armangue/Associated Press)

What the UN Should be Doing About Israeli Aggression

Invasion of Gaza: The UN Security Council fails - the UN General Assembly must act
by Joan Russow (PhD) Global Compliance Research Project
The UNSC again fails to prevent the scourge of war. The United Nations will only function if the UN Security Council is disbanded and the UN General Assembly, which represents the sovereign equality of states, convenes an emergency session, under the Uniting for Peace Resolution, and calls for an immediate cease-fire, and/or seeks a stay, through the International Court of Justice.
NOTE: Imbalance in reporting on Weekends: Heinbecker calls Hamas air-strikes against Israel WAR CRIMES, but does not refer to what Israel is doing as a war crime.
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Real Goals in Gaza

The Real Goal of the Gaza Assault
by Jonathan Cook
Ever since Hamas triumphed in the Palestinian elections nearly three years ago, the story in Israel has been that a full-scale ground invasion of the Gaza Strip was imminent. But even when public pressure mounted for a decisive blow against Hamas, the government backed off from a frontal assault.

Now the world waits for Ehud Barak, the defence minister, to send in the tanks and troops as the logic of this operation is pushing inexorably towards a ground war. Nonetheless, officials have been stalling. Significant ground forces are massed on Gaza’s border, but still the talk in Israel is of “exit strategies”, lulls and renewed ceasefires.
Even if Israeli tanks do lumber into the enclave, will they dare to move into the real battlegrounds of central Gaza? Or will they simply be used, as they have been in the past, to terrorise the civilian population on the peripheries?

Obama Vacation File: While You Were Away

President-Elect Obama, You Must NOT Be Silent on Gaza!  
by Linda Milazzo
I don't believe in god. I never have. I don't believe in religions. I study them, but I don't practice them. I try to understand them to be sensitive to the beliefs and traditions of others, and to attempt to appreciate the motivations behind religious thought and deed. But they are irrelevant to living my life.
Gaza sisters

Long ago as a freshman at CUNY's Queens College I was introduced to Taoism. Taoism began in ancient China as a religion, then morphed into a dogma free/deity free philosophy. Since my late teens I've tried hard to apply MY understanding of my Tao to my life. I have the freedom to choose my own path and not judge the paths of others. But since I have freedom of opinion, I fall prey to judge. I try not to. But I do.

Through the Tao, I'm both a peacemaker and a warrior since Taoism couples with the art of self-defense. I understand my right to protect myself when needed, and to protect the defenseless when they need me. Since I'm by nature protective, it suits my sensibilities to aid the weak, where I fancy myself absurdly as inordinately strong.

Nixon's Treason Caught on Tape

Editor Parry on LBJ's 'Treason' Tapes
The Lyndon Johnson library recently released audiotapes from 1968, revealing President Johnson complaining about Richard Nixon’s campaign trying to block Vietnam peace talks and thus help Nixon win the presidential election over Hubert Humphrey.
Citing wiretaps of intercepted communications in which Nixon campaign operatives urged South Vietnamese officials to boycott the peace talks, Johnson called this interference “treason,” since 500,000 U.S. troops were then in harm’s way.

Day 9 of Israeli War On Gaza: Military Ground Operation

Day 9 of Israeli War On Gaza: News Report: Military Ground Operation
by Sameh A. Habeeb
Gaza Strip,4, January, 2oo9-  Israeli army started the ground military operation vowed of launching it years ago. Many Palestinian civilians killed and their number is dramatically rising. Meanwhile, a small number of Palestinian militants killed in the ongoing clashes through the Gaza Strip.

The operation started Saturday 8pm accompanied by heavy coverage from Artillery machine, naval gunboats and Air force. Five key access witnessed the advancement of Israeli army. In the north a group of tanks and soldiers advanced from Ertiz crossing and another group from Bait lahia town near the old settlement of Doghit.  In east of Gaza City, several tanks advanced from the crossings of Al Muntar and Nahal Oz. Part of these troops advanced south east of Gaza and cut the main street of Slah Al edin. On the south, Israeli troops occupied the airport and set military outposts. 

In Bait lahi town, a strike killed 17 people most of them civilians and amongst them children and medical staff of an ambulance vehicle. A number of injured were reported to be on the venue of bombings but medical vehicle were not able to reach them.

Gaza from the Ground

Rafah - Report from the ground (Jan. 1)
Fida Qishta of Rafah, Gaza describes the past few days as Israeli bombing kills hundreds
As the fifth day of Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip begins, Rafah and Gaza City, the two main targets, have witnessed hundreds of deaths. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blames Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, for inciting Israel’s attack. Hamas, vows to keep shelling Southern Israel with rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
Lia Tarachansky spoke to Fida Qishta in Rafah, located in Southern Gaza. Qishta reports one of the first targets of the Israeli bombardment were the tunnels dug by Palestinians under the wall, which separates Rafah in two, half in Palestine and half in Egypt. These tunnels, says Qishta, have been used since the beginning of the siege to smuggle food, and according to Israel, weapons. Qishta also reports of the wall being breached by Palestinians desperate to escape to Egypt. Though unsuccessful, this is the fifth attempt since the beginning of the second Intifadah to breach it.

Fida Qishta is a freelance journalist and schoolteacher. Qishta has founded a children's center and an afterschool program in Rafah, where she teaches English, French, Arabic, and German from Rafah, Gaza. In 2004 Qishta survived her home being demolished by Israeli Forces.
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