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Hard Days Ahead without Studs

Hard Times and Missing Studs
by Tom Engelhardt
O
n Sunday, December 7, I went to a memorial for Studs Terkel, that human dynamo, our nation's greatest listener and talker, the one person I just couldn't imagine dying. After all, the man wrote his classic oral history of death, Will the Circle Be Unbroken? at 89, and only then did he do his oral history of hope, Hope Dies Last.
 
The celebration of his life went on for almost two and a half hours. Everyone on stage had a classic story about the guy, one better than the next, and Studs would have been thrilled that so many people talked at such length about him. But he wouldn't have stayed. Half an hour into the event, he would have been out the door, across the street, and into the nearest bar, asking people about their lives. And the amazing thing is this: they would have been spilling their guts. He could make a stone talk -- and not only that, but tell a story of stone-ness that no one had ever heard before or even imagined a stone might tell. His death is like an archive of what was best in America closing; his legacy lies in oral histories that will inform the generations.

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Vancouver Island: Time to Save Your Paradise

CRD recommends that WFP subdivision application 5-8 not be approved!
by Dogwood Initiative
In a letter dated, November 20, 2008 the CRD sent a clear message to the provincial Approving Officer that the CRD does not recommend approval of WFP's subdivision applications, despite recent application updates from WFP.

The CRD lists several reasons for their recommendation, including huge public outcry against WFP subdivision applications and the need to protect the rural values of the area. The letter also highlights a request that the Approving Officer hear from all persons affected before making any decisions.
 

The D-Company's Role in the Mumbai Attacks

Organized Crime, Intelligence and Terror: The D-Company's Role in the Mumbai Attacks
by Tom Burghardt
W
hat do you call a "devout Muslim" who exerts considerable control over South Asia's heroin, gambling, prostitution and smuggling rackets? Why an intelligence asset, of course! When Lashkar-e-Taiba ("Army of the Pure"--LET) militants slaughtered nearly 200 people in Mumbai during the November 26 siege in India's financial capital, one name stood out among a list of 20 fugitives the Indian government has demanded Pakistan extradite as a key suspect responsible for providing funds and logistical support to the Kashmir-based terrorist outfit.
 

Enter Dawood Ibrahim, the enigmatic Mafia don of Mumbai's D-Company whose far-flung organized crime empire stretches from Dubai through Pakistan to India and beyond. If anyone knows where the proverbial "bodies are buried," that man may very well be Ibrahim. Wanted by Interpol and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Ibrahim commutes between palatial homes in Dubai and Karachi where he enjoys the protection afforded by "friends in high places."

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Jailbreak Victoria

Jailbreak
by Kristen Woodruff
Hi; I was released from custody a couple of days ago. It is hard to climb stairs while handcuffed and wearing shackles, I learned. But even such movements can be converted into a dance, if a strange and marginally painful one.
 
photo Pete Rockwell
 
I am the prison and the prisoner, the handcuff and the one being handcuffed. You can take the woman out of the tree, but you can't take the tree out of the woman. Still---jail is no place for a criminal, let alone one who has not yet been found guilty of any crime. It was a beautiful, beautiful thing to see so many people in the courtroom  looking out for me----so many angel-gods whose presence in the courtroom showed that love is stronger than anything else. Friendship is a force no judge, however corrupt, and no prison, however cruel, can ever defy.
 

Mumbai: When Nine isn't Eleven

9 Is Not 11 (And November Isn't September)
by Arundhati Roy 
We've forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching "India's 9/11." And like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we're expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it's all been said and done before.

As tension in the region builds, U.S. Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that, if it didn't act fast to arrest the "bad guys," he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on "terrorist camps" in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India's 9/11.

But November isn't September, 2008 isn't 2001, Pakistan isn't Afghanistan, and India isn't America. So perhaps we should reclaim our tragedy and pick through the debris with our own brains and our own broken hearts so that we can arrive at our own conclusions.


 

Middle East News Coverage: An interview with Press TV

Breaking the Stranglehold on Middle East News Coverage: An interview with Press TV correspondent Afshin Rattansi
by Joshua Frank
A
fshin Rattansi has for more than a decade worked in broadcast and print media around the world. In the UK, he has worked at The Guardian, the New Statesman, for every regional and national outlet of the BBC. In 1999, he helped to launch the developing world’s first global financial news and current affairs channel.
 
He is currently a news anchor for Press TV. Rattansi has written six novels including The Dream of the Decade - The London Novels. He recently spoke with Joshua Frank about Press TV.
 

BC Transmission Corp's wide-ranging five year Pesticide Plan

BC Transmission Corp's wide-ranging five year Pesticide Plan
by bctc.com
Anyone interested in filing an objection to BC Transmission Corp's wide-ranging five year Pesticide Plan has less than one month to respond. The same Emerson who switched to the conservatives after election as a liberal, and 25 years ago advised then Premier Bennett, during that recession to cut public spending and is now Campbell's new economic advisor, also heads BC Transmission Corp.
 
Transmission lines go along and cross many waterways, and Emerson's forte is to put the public interest last, so we can expect cost-cutting measures in the implementation of this proposal which seeks to apply copper compounds to wooden structures including bridges, helipads, poles, and fences.
 

Obama's "Brownies" in the Wings

Obama's "Way-to-Go, Brownie!" Moment?
by Greg Palast
H
as Barack Obama forgotten, "Way-to-go, Brownie"? Michael Brown was that guy from the Arabian Horse Association appointed by George Bush to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Brownie, not knowing the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain from the south end of a horse, let New Orleans drown. Bush's response was to give his buddy Brownie a "way to go!" thumbs up.

We thought Obama would go a very different way. You'd think the studious Senator from Illinois would avoid repeating the Bush regime's horror show of unqualified appointments, of picking politicos over professionals. But here we go again.
 
Trial balloons lofted in the Washington Post suggest President-elect Obama is about to select Joel Klein as Secretary of Education. If not Klein, then draft-choice number two is Arne Duncan, Obama's backyard basketball buddy in Chicago.

Obama's Conspiracy of Hope

Obama Conspiracy
by Mickey Z.
M
r. G.B. Shaw sez: “I often quote myself; it adds spice to my conversation.” With that concept in mind, I’ll remind you of something I said in a recent interview, re: St. Barack. Obama’s ascendancy, I posited, “is an excellent illustration of how the system handles dissent. A black face, a soothing voice and a vague message of change - all designed to keep the rabble pacified without changing anything at all.”

This, I submit, could be deemed the ultimate conspiracy theory.

The power elite, especially in the United States, share remarkably common interests and background. Corporate America is concerned solely with profits…period. Therefore, America’s foreign and domestic policy is logically geared towards that financial end—without any real accountability.
 

Kagan’s Mythology of U.S. Exceptionalism

Robert Kagan’s Mythology of U.S. Exceptionalism
by Jim Miles
R
obert Kagan is a difficult subject to analyze.  At times his writing seems to be very honest and directly critical of U.S. intentions as well as being clearly honest about the sometimes “dangerous nation” aspect of its history and foreign policy.  Underlying it all however is his own patriotic blindness that ends up always supporting U.S. exceptionalism and uniqueness, always expressing the egocentric viewpoint that the U.S. is the indispensable nation.  The U.S. is not indispensable.
 
Nor is it a bastion of “democratic capitalism” that is the only way forward from here, here being a point in renewed history – according to Kagan – in which there are either “democrats” or “autocrats.”  Kagan does not see in shades of gray, countries and politicians are either one or the other.  His arguments, while seemingly coherent at certain points tend to dissolve into self-contradiction, the main contradiction being the solid criticism that “what you do speaks so loud I can’t hear what you say.” 
 
For all that Kagan tries to present as the positives of the U.S., of the underlying good intentions of the U.S. - at the same time recognizing its sometimes hard handed methods of interfering in other countries - he really does not understand that perceptions built on those hard handed actions over-ride all the rhetoric and jingoism about the greatness and indispensability of the U.S. as the world’s guide to a better world. 

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights @ 60: Canada in Retrograde

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights @ 60: Canadian Government Argues for Restricted View of Charter of Rights
 by BCCLA
O
n December 10, 2008 the Federal Court of Appeal will hear an appeal brought by Amnesty International and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association as part of the court challenge the two organizations launched in February 2007, seeking an end to the Canadian Forces’ practice of transferring detainees apprehended in Afghanistan into the custody of Afghan officials.
 
Notably, the Court will hear the appeal on International Human Rights Day, which this year marks the 60th Anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On a day governments around the world should be renewing and redoubling their commitment to universal human rights protection Canadian government lawyers will argue that Canada’s most important human rights standards, those enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, should be given narrow interpretation.
 

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