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Remembering Our Commons Heritage

Oct 01, 2014 Ray Grigg
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Congress' "Bake Sale" for Boy Scouts

Congress's $3.5 million "Bake Sale" for the Boy Scouts
by Chris Rodda
Alright, it isn't actually a bake sale, but it might as well be. On May 15, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5872, an act to:
  • "[R]equire the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the centennial of the Boy Scouts of America, and for other purposes."
The other purposes? The sale of the coins by the Secretary of the Treasury, with a surcharge on each coin sold to "be paid to the National Boy Scouts of America Foundation." In other words, this is a congressionally mandated fundraiser for the Boy Scouts.


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Globalizers, Neocons, or…?

The World After Bush
by Mark Engler
Picture January 20, 2009, the day George W. Bush has to vacate the Oval Office.

It's easy enough to imagine a party marking this fine occasion, with antiwar protestors, civil libertarians, community leaders, environmentalists, health-care advocates, and trade unionists clinking glasses to toast the end of an unfortunate era.
 
Even Americans not normally inclined to political life might be tempted to join the festivities, bringing their own bottles of bubbly to the party. Given that presidential job approval ratings have rarely broken 40% for two years and now remain obdurately around or below 30% -- historic lows -- it would not be surprising if this were a sizeable celebration.

More surprising, however, might be the number of people in the crowd drinking finer brands of champagne. Amid the populist gala, one might well spot figures of high standing in the corporate world, individuals who once would have looked forward to the reign of an MBA president but now believe that neocon bravado is no way to run an empire.


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Snapshots of a World on the Edge

Life and Life Only: A Few Quick Takes        
by Chris Floyd  
As usual, Scott Ritter talks good sense -- in this case about the coming war with Iran, and the specious casus belli that the Bush-Cheney gang seem to have finally settled on: Iran's alleged "sanctuaries" for training and arming Iraqi insurgents. Ritter demolishes this argument, just as he crushed the lies in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. His truth-telling was of no avail then -- and it will likely be of no avail now. But go read the whole thing anyway.

Meanwhile, Juan Cole carries out some demolition work of his own, taking apart the ignorant mischief of Edward Luttwak, who was given a NYT pulpit to proclaim that Obama is an apostate Muslim -- and thus in danger of imminent death from one billion of his erstwhile co-religionists. (As if Luttwak and the Right are really, really concerned about Obama's survival.)
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We Should be Suspicious of Grizzly Bear Numbers

We Should be Suspicious of Grizzly Bear Numbers
by Chris Genovali
In the [Vancouver Sun] article a spokesman for the provincial Ministry of the Environment claims that there are 17,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia.
 
There is no credible basis for this assertion; compounding matters is that the province uses inflated grizzly population estimates to establish kill quotas for the grizzly hunt.
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Peace Activists Speak Out at Victoria Day Parade

Peace Activists Speak Out at Victoria Day Parade 
by UVic Students Against War
Dear Friends; the Canadian Government is disregarding the democratic will of Canadians by extending the mission in Afghanistan until 2011 and by continuing to send Canadian soldiers to the war in Iraq.
 
The Liberal-Conservative coalition is playing power politics while Canadian soldiers are dying and democracy crumbles here and abroad.

We object to the gross violations of human rights which have been witnessed in these two wars. While torture, chemical weapons and indiscriminate bombings are no less tolerable than the tactics of any Taliban or Saddam Hussein, our terror carries the flag of democracy, reflecting poorly upon us.


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Challenging Authority

Frances Fox Piven's "Challenging Authority"        
by Stephen Lendman
Frances Fox Piven is a Canadian-born Professor of Political Science and Sociology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). Her career is long and distinguished. She's the recipient of numerous awards, has combined scholarship with activism, and is the author of many important books. Most notable is her 1971 classic "Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare." It's a landmark historical and theoretical analysis of how welfare policy is used to control the poor and working class.

A more recent book is her 2006-published "Challenging Authority" and subject of this review. It's about how social movements can be pivotal forces for change because ordinary people in enough numbers have enormous political clout. Abolitionists, labor movements and civil rights activists proved it. Piven examines their collective actions plus one other in the four examples she chose - the American Revolution.


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Clayoquot: Skinning Cat Face Mountain

Clayoquot Mine?
by Sierra Club of B.C.
Clayoquot Sound is prized for its rare ancient rainforests and splendid mountain vistas. Now a Vancouver-based mining company wants to dig for a different kind of treasure in this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
 

Catface Mountain, visible from Tofino, is believed to contain up to 155 million tonnes of copper, as well as undetermined quantities of silver and gold. Selkirk Metals Corp. has applied to the BC Ministry of Mines for a permit to conduct exploratory drilling on Catface’s north side. 
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Everybody Should've Known

Everybody Knows        
by Sheila Samples
The fate of millions was sealed the moment Dick Cheney selected himself as The Destroyer whose charge to keep for the next eight years would be — as Capitol Hill Blue's Doug Thompson so succinctly described George W. Bush — a "criminally insane, pill-popping dry drunk."
 
I don't know about that. I've seen some drunks in my time — even dry ones — and George Bush appears to be more than a little moist.
 
 
 
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
That's how it goes. Everybody knows.


- Leonard Cohen
video source

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Winter Soldiers on Sadr City

Winter Soldiers on Sadr City
by Dahr Jamail
The following is testimony presented to Congress by Kristofer Shawn Goldsmith on May 15, 2008.
 
While there were several powerful testimonies by several Iraq veterans, all worth watching, this one in particular provides a taste of what is actually happening in Iraq, and what soldiers of conscience face upon their return home.
 
You can view his previous testimony at Winter Soldier here
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Waiting the Trial Date: Anthony Charles Lynton Blair and his Crimes Against Conscience

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair due on trial in the Hague
by David Halpin
On the same day the BBC reported that former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz was to go on trial after five years in prison over the deaths of a group of Baghdad merchants in 1992, it was rumoured the former prime minister of Britain will be indicted for crimes against humanity.
 
Ali Abbas survived but his entire family were burnt by the Americans
 
The list of charges is long and not confined to the many alleged crimes in Iraq. Mr Blair's whereabouts are uncertain; he has been sighted occasionally in occupied East Jerusalem where he is acting as “peace” envoy for the “Quartet”.
 
Most recently, he has been facilitating industrial zones for the employment of Palestinians and for the removal of a few of the over 500 Israeli Occupation Force roadblocks. 
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60 Years of Denial

60 Years of Denial
by Ramzy Baroud
Don't ask for what you never had,' is the underlying message made by supporters of Israel when they claim Palestine was never a state to begin with.

The contention is, of course, easily refutable. Following the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th Century, colonial powers plotted to divide the spoils. When Britain and France signed the secretive Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916, which divided the spheres of influence in west Asia, there were hardly any 'nation-states' in the region which would fit contemporary definitions of the term.


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