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Hell's Kitchen: George Cooks Up a Sturm

The Commander-in-Chef Cooks Up a Storm
Recipes for Disaster in Iraq
by Tom Engelhardt and Frida Berrigan
In the week that oil prices once again crested above $100 a barrel and more Americans than at any time since the Great Depression owed more on their homes than the homes were worth; in the year that the subprime market crashed, global markets shuddered, the previously unnoticed credit-default swap market threatened to go into the tank, stagflation returned, unemployment rose, the "R" word (for recession) hit the headlines (while the "D" word lurked), within weeks of the fifth anniversary of his invasion of Iraq, the President of the United States officially discovered the war economy.

George W. Bush and Laura Bush were being interviewed by NBC's Ann Curry when the subject turned to the war in Iraq.

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A lack of Miracles: Abbas and a Single Palestine

Abbas Needs a Miracle
by Ramzy Baroud
Time is running out for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Although both men are still committed to their risky venture of marginalising Hamas at any cost, the latter’s obduracy and recent events in Gaza point to the inescapable conclusion — the undertaking was doomed from the start.

For Olmert the issue demographics remains. He told Israeli daily Ha’aretz in an interview published in November 2007 that if it didn’t agree to an independent Palestinian state, Israel would “face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, and as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished”.
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Canada's Systemically Corrupt Politics

Donations of money, property and services continue to corrupt Canadian politics because of loopholes in laws and lack of effective enforcement and penalties
by Duff Conacher
The federal Liberals’ recent promotion of an illegal fundraising scheme, along with the federal Conservatives’ court battle with Elections Canada over spending during the last federal election, and the widespread ongoing involvement of lobbyists in all political parties, reveals just how much the attitudes of the inside-Ottawa-elite and wannabe-elite are the main barrier to having an honest, ethical, open, representative and, therefore, waste-preventing federal government.

While representatives of parties from across the political spectrum point accusing fingers at each other, none of them have focused on cleaning up the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” system that has legalized trading favours as the basis for most decisions made in Ottawa (and in provincial and territorial capitals, and in many cities and towns) in the past 140 years since Canada became a country.

It’s as if they have never heard the common-sense sayings “Money talks” and “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

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Crimes of Office, Crimes for Office

Crimes of Office, Crimes for Office
by C. L. Cook
The Canadian Broadcast Corporation's, (CBC) flagship news program, The National revealed tonight: The Conservative Party, with a vote in the dead-locked parliament that could bring down the then-Liberal government of Paul Martin hanging in the balance, offered the terminally ill one-time Reform Party member, then sitting as an Independent, M.P. Chuck Cadman a million dollar insurance policy under the explicit caveat that he cast his deciding vote with his former colleagues.

Offering a sitting Member of Parliament a financial enticement for their vote is against the law in Canada. Lobbying? Sure; but tit for tat, money on the table? No, No.

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Condi vs. Putin: Bullying Belgrade

Condi vs. Putin on Bullying Belgrade
“Rice Holds Serbia Responsible”
by Gary Leupp
The Reuters February 23 headline reads: “Rice holds Serbia responsible for US embassy attack.”

Reading this I couldn’t help thinking about the ultimatum delivered to the Belgrade government in July 23, 1914 by representatives of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Yes, I know it’s a stretch and we’re not in a similar crisis (yet), but I can’t help noticing even distant historical parallels.
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Death and Chaos No Problem for Profit-Seekers in Iraq

Fortunes of War: Death and Chaos No Problem for Profit-Seekers in Iraq
by Chris Floyd
We have long been told that the "security situation" in Iraq is the reason why the loudly promised "reconstruction" of the shattered nation by altruistic Western firms has been thwarted.
Foreign corporations, particularly the oil companies, are eager to come to the aid of the suffering Iraqi people with expertise, technology and massive investment -- just as soon as those quarrelsome Arabs settle down and stop killing each other.

So the story goes. But as usual, the truth is far from that.
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Baquba Losing Life – And Hope

Baquba Losing Life – And Hope
by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail
Life has been bad enough in Diyala province north of Baghdad after prolonged violence, unemployment and loss of all forms of normal living. What could be worse now is the loss of hope that anything will ever be better.

In Baquba, capital city of Diyala province 40km northeast of Baghdad, it's all about staying alive. Most people have abandoned all projects and activities to sit at home in safety.
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Langford Mayor Threatens SLAPP Suit Against Forest Defenders

Langford mayor to throw good money after bad: Why Stewart Young wants to sue penniless protestors for the cost of a huge police raid he ordered
by Zoe Blunt
Two weeks after he called in a massive military-style strike against a handful of sleeping campers, Langford Mayor Stewart Young has got the bill, and it's a doozy.
According to today's Victoria Times Colonist, Young says that the final tally is still being worked out, but Langford's share of the operation will be over $100,000. The rest of the cost goes to provincial taxpayers.

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Subpoena Time: Rove on the Ropes

Rove’s Monday Whoppers
by Scott Horton
He calls himself “Grendel,” “Moby Dick,” and “Lord Voldemort.” He is the man ever behind the scenes, manipulating and driving the events on the surface without being seen. His hand is behind the hiring and firing of U.S. attorneys and his manipulations were a conscious effort to put federal prosecutors to work for partisan political purposes.
And his involvement is so sensitive that the White House had adopted a scorched earth policy to thwart all Congressional efforts to probe it.
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no heritage tree certificates for bear mountain residents

no heritage tree certificates for bear mountain residents
by janine bandcroft
i'm approaching the end of two weeks living in an old, almost heritage house in an old, tree-lined neighbourhood.  on the wall of this house is a plaque, reminding its inhabitants of their responsibility to protect the heritage designated trees that grace their lawn.  the plaque reads:

"heritage tree certificate -- heritage trees are special.  their designation is based on accurate botanical identification, detailed research and consideration by members of the heritage tree project, committee, and the concurrence of the owner.  their status is reviewed regularly, and they are officially recorded with the appropriate local government.  thank you for caring about and protecting heritage trees."
and there's a quote from william blake:  'a tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.'

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Calm Before the Conflagration

The Calm Before the Conflagration
by Chris Hedges
The United States is funding and in many cases arming the three ethnic factions in Iraq-the Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunni Arabs. These factions rule over partitioned patches of Iraqi territory and brutally purge rival ethnic groups from their midst. Iraq no longer exists as a unified state.
It is a series of heavily armed fiefdoms run by thugs, gangs, militias, radical Islamists and warlords who are often paid wages of $300 a month by the U.S. military. Iraq is Yugoslavia before the storm. It is a caldron of weapons, lawlessness, hate and criminality that is destined to implode. And the current U.S. policy, born of desperation and defeat, means that when Iraq goes up, the U.S. military will have to scurry like rats for cover.

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