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Staying Sane in a Mad World

Jun 29, 2014 Dahr Jamail
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Canada's Afghanistan Mission: One Dead, Four Wounded in IED Attack

Canada's Afghanistan Mission: One Dead, Four Wounded in IED Attack
by C. L. Cook
The Canadian Broadcast Corporation is reporting today the death of another Canadian soldier in Afghanistan, bringing the official body count there to 74.
Jonathan Dion was a 27-year-old gunner from Val-d-Or, Que. (DND)
Jonathan Dion was killed early Sunday, when the Tracked Light Armour Vehicle (T-LAV) he was in was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The blast wounded four other soldiers in the vehicle, all of them listed with "non-life threatening" injuries. 
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Not Alright, Jack: A State of the Union

Rancid "Progressivism": It's the State of the Union, Jack        
by Chris Floyd     
In 1977, at the height of the cold war, I interviewed the Charter 77 dissidents in Czechoslovakia, writes John Pilger. They warned that complacency and silence could destroy liberty and democracy as effectively as tanks.
"We're actually better off than you in the west," said a writer, measuring his irony. "Unlike you, we have no illusions."

John Pilger delivers a blistering state of the kingdom assessment of Great Britain after 10 years of New Labour's Clinton-style "humanitarian interventionism" and pro-business "centrism."
He finds a wasteland of shredded liberties, runaway inequality -- and the blood of tens of thousands of slaughtered innocents on the soft, well-manicured hands of the nation's "progressive" leaders.

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Suzy Orman and other Happy Pursuits

Channeling Suze Orman
by Norman Solomon
I was near the deadline for a column when I glanced at a TV screen. The Suze Orman Show, airing on CNBC at prime time, exerted a powerful force in my hotel room. And the fate of this column was sealed.
Orman made a big splash many years ago on public television — the incubating environment for her as a national phenom. With articulate calls for intelligent self-determination of one’s own financial future, she is a master of the long form. Humor and dramatic cadences punch up the impacts of her performances.

Seeing her the other night, within a matter of seconds, I realized that the jig was up. How could a mere underachieving syndicated columnist hope to withstand the blandishments and certainties of Suze Orman, bestselling author and revered eminence from the erudite bastions of PBS to the hard-boiled financial realms of General Electric’s CNBC?

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America's Toughest Housing Market: Tasers, Pepper Spray, and Arrests in Orleans

The Struggle for Affordable Housing in New Orleans
by Bill Quigley
In a remarkable symbol of the injustices of post-Katrina reconstruction, hundreds of people were locked out of a public New Orleans City Council meeting addressing demolition of 4,500 public housing apartments.
Demolition Man: HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson has his own reasons for pressing ahead with the demolitions.
Some were tasered, many pepper sprayed, and a dozen arrested. Outside the chambers, iron gates were chained and padlocked even before the scheduled start.
The scene looked like one of those countries on TV that is undergoing a people's revolution -- and the similarities were only beginning.

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Holiday Viewing: Did Bush Watch the Torture Tapes?

Did Bush Watch the Torture Tapes?
by Scott Horton
The Times (London) Washington correspondent, Sarah Baxter, reporting with a summary of the developments in the case involving the CIA’s destruction of recordings of the treatment of Abu Zabaydah, points to the growing belief in Washington that President Bush viewed the torture tapes.
Baxter reports: "It emerged yesterday that the CIA had misled members of the 9-11 Commission by not disclosing the existence of the tapes, in potential violation of the law. President George W Bush said last week he could not recall learning about the tapes before being briefed about them on December 6 by Michael Hayden, the CIA director. “It looks increasingly as though the decision was made by the White House,” said Johnson. He believes it is “highly likely” that Bush saw one of the videos, as he was interested in Zubaydah’s case and received frequent updates on his interrogation from George Tenet, the CIA director at the time.
It has emerged that the CIA did preserve two videotapes and an audiotape of detainee interrogations conducted by a foreign government, which may have been relevant to the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the Al-Qaeda conspirator. The CIA told a federal judge in 2003 that no such recordings existed but has now retracted that testimony. One of the tapes could show the interrogation of Ramzi Binalshibh, a September 11 conspirator, who was allegedly handed to Jordan for questioning."

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2008 Rising: Bracing for an American Election Year

The Third Tier Candidates: Why Vote for Dennis Kucinich?
by Jack Random
The politics of pragmatism has become so prevalent in mainstream politics that the independent left has gone into overdrive to disown the concept. 
Spitting in the wind of conventional wisdom – historically, a noble endeavor – it has become a progressive badge of honor to have opposed Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 election.  

There are many reasons for progressives and independents to hold disdain for the Kerry campaign but few among us would argue that the nation is better off because Kerry was not elected – or rather that his electoral victory was undone by subterfuge in Ohio.  

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Complex Environments: Fallujah Unspun

Fallujah, the Information War, and U.S. Propaganda
by Stephen Soldz
Now receded into distant memory for many, the battle for the Iraqi city of Fallujah, accompanied by the al Sadr uprising in the south, was a decisive turning point in the Iraq occupation.
These battles demonstrated to much of the world that the occupation was deeply unpopular among many Iraqis, who were willing and able to fight the occupation to a stalemate.
These battles both ended in standoffs, as the U.S. forces felt constrained from unleashing their full military capabilities to crush the resistance. New insights into the thinking of the U.S. military are available from a U.S. army intelligence analysis – by the Army's National Ground Intelligence Center – of the first Fallujah battle entitled Complex Environments: Battle of Fallujah I, April 2004 that was leaked this week on the Wikileaks web site.

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Idle Ramblings on Raising Babies and Children

Raising Leila: Idle Ramblings on Raising Babies and Children (and burning down the schools)
by David Rovics
I’ve been spending most of my time lately hanging out with a baby – my daughter, Leila. She’ll be two at the end of next month. I’m often with her from dawn to dusk, five or six days a week, while her mother attends medical school.
Spending all this time with her, naturally she starts to rub off on me in a big way, like a contact high.
In her presence I’m generally in a state of mild euphoria, accompanied by emotional fragility. Like I know I’m very small and new here, but as long as nothing bad happens too often, the world is basically a fascinating and exciting place, there to be constantly rediscovered.
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The Saddest Pagan

The Saddest Pagan in the World
by Zoe Blunt
Along with all the other shit that went down this past month, I got hit with the stomach flu, and that triggered fresh spasms of health problems. I’m on drugs now, but they’re not fun drugs. At least I don’t have to worry about getting fat.
The local paper has publicly labeled the Bear Mountain tree sit crew as tree-spikers, vandals, welfare bums, poachers, and outside agitators. The RCMP and city enforcement officers stepped up their harassment this week after the forest defenders dug a trench and built a barricade across the access road at the site of the new highway bypass.
[And check out the Dec. 29th Rally audio here. - lex]
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Nuclear Gambols: Shell-Game at Faulty Chalk River Reactor

Weapons-Grade Uranium Made at Chalk River not Needed for Medical Isotopes
by Kahentinetha Horn

Gordon Edwards, of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, raised serious concerns about the “Maple” reactor delays at Chalk River.

"An important aspect of the isotope-production fiasco on Algonquin territory is being ignored. AECL Atomic Energy of Canada Limited uses 95 per cent highly enriched “weapons-grade” uranium HEU to make the main isotope (Molybdenum-99). This can be made using low-enriched uranium LEU which is NOT weapons-usable material, but is more expensive. Somebody wants to make isotopes and bombs cheaply.
He continued, “It’s easier to make a very powerful bomb with weapons-grade uranium like the one dropped on Hiroshima in 1945”.
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Shifting Fronts of the War on Terror

Pakistan Is 'Central Front,' Not Iraq
by Robert Parry
The chaos spreading across nuclear-armed Pakistan after the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is part of the price for the Bush administration’s duplicity about al-Qaeda’s priorities, including the old canard that the terrorist group regards Iraq as the “central front” in its global war against the West.

Through repetition of this claim – often accompanied by George W. Bush’s home-spun advice about the need to listen to what the enemy says – millions of Americans believe that Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders consider Iraq the key battlefield.

However, intelligence evidence, gathered from intercepted al-Qaeda communications, indicate that bin Laden’s high command views Iraq as a valuable diversion for U.S. military strength, not the “central front.”

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