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Changing Channels: The Last State of the Union

Bush's Last Hurrah
by The Nation Editors
Senator John McCain, busy pressing his campaign in Florida, didn't bother to show up. The Wall Street Journal reported the speech on page 3. The New York Times relegated the full text to its website. TV chatter focused more on Senator Edward Kennedy's stirring Camelot embrace of Barack Obama earlier that day than George W. Bush's proposals in what was, blessedly, his last State of the Union address.
What happens when a President gives a State of the Union speech and nobody listens?

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Echoes and Remembrance

An Anniversary to Ponder
by Scott Horton
Today marks an important anniversary. On January 30, 1933 —seventy-five years ago today— the power of the state fell into the hands of Hitler and his Nazi party, what Germans know as the Machtergreifung, literally “seizure of power.”
On January 30, 1933 President von Hindenburg appointed Hitler as the Reich Chancellor. This photograph marks their meeting in Potsdam roughly two months later. 
But was it a “seizure,” lacking all semblance of legitimacy? More clear-sighted historians, like Fritz Stern, use the term Machtübergabe, or transfer of power, which marks some important points: the Nazis fared well in the elections, not reaching a majority of course, but they were able to take the reins of power through an alliance with conservatives whose distaste for the liberal Weimar constitution was only slightly less than their own.
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Palestine: The Soldiers Could Only Kill a Hundred of Us Before We Overpower Them

People’s Power in Gaza: They Simply Did it
by Ramzy Baroud
In a radio interview prior to the US invasion of Iraq, David Barsamian asked Noam Chomsky what ordinary Americans could do to stop the war. Chomsky answered, “In some parts of the world people never ask, ‘what can we do?’ They simply do it.”

For someone who was born and raised in a refugee camp in Gaza, Chomsky’s seemingly oblique response required no further elucidation.

When Gazens recently stormed the strip’s sealed border with Egypt, Chomsky’s comment returned to mind, along with memories of the still relevant - and haunting - past.
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Did You Forget? Canada's Real Role in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Canada's Iraq?
by C. L. Cook
Defence Minister, Bill Graham says the plan to re-deploy Canadian operations currently in and around the northern capital city of Kabul are to go ahead. He also announced, an additional 1250 troops by early next year.

May 22, 2005
Last week, in a speech to the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, National Defence Minister Graham reiterated how Canada will face its "new" role in global military affairs.
He cited the completion of a new Defence Policy Statement and its central document,  A Role of Pride and Influence in the World.
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Crack'd: Democracy Rocks!

One Bush Left Behind
by Greg Palast
Here’s your question, class: In his State of the Union, the President asked Congress for $300 million for poor kids in the inner city. As there are, officially, 15 million children in America living in poverty, how much is that per child? Correct! $20.

Here’s your second question. The President also demanded that Congress extend his tax cuts. The cost: $4.3 trillion over ten years. The big recipients are millionaires. And the number of millionaires happens, not coincidentally, to equal the number of poor kids, roughly 15 million of them.
OK class: what is the cost of the tax cut per millionaire?
That’s right, Richie, $287,000 apiece.

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Caught in a Frozen Moment of Realization

Caught in the Glare of History’s Headlights  
by William Bowles
Trying to capture the moment, that brief glimpse of reality that penetrates the defences we erect to protect our fragile selves, is, I suppose one of the objectives of a writer, or indeed any creative act, at least that’s my experience.
Occasionally, by some miracle we succeed in communicating it, that frozen moment of time when all is revealed, before our eyes move on, are urged on even, to the next ‘event’.

I think we’re in that ‘frozen moment’, right now for once, if we care to look that is, when the awful truth of our predicament is caught in the glare of history’s headlights. Of course, the media, courtesy of its professional peons, are paid to make sure the headlights move on before it reveals that what is caught in the glare is the ‘roadkill’ of capitalism. 
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Gulag U.S.A.: Political Prisoner Siegelman

The Gulag Comes to America: The Don Siegelman Case
by Ernest Partridge
A Political Prisoner: Today, Don Siegelman, former governor of the state of Alabama, sits in a federal prison, sentenced to a seven year term for bribery. Every day that Siegelman remains in prison every American citizen who openly dissents from the policies and protests the criminality of the Bush/Cheney regime is less free and more vulnerable to politically motivated prosecution.

For the plain fact of the matter is:
Don Siegelman is in effect a political prisoner.
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Who Crashed Mohawk News Network?

Was it Hurt Feelings Over Nicknames?
by Kahentinetha Horn
The gross corruption revealed in “Access to Information” documents from Public Security and Emergency Preparedness Canada and Indian Affairs has not made the front pages of the corporate media. [Dossier No. 1336-A-2006-0034]. 
Instead [they’ve] temporarily sabotaged MNN. It appears to now be owned by 1599754 Ontario Limited!!  How could this happen? 
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The Bright Side of the Panic of ‘08

Trends for Downsizing the US: The Bright Side of the Panic of ‘08  
by Christopher Ketcham  
Futurist and trends forecaster Gerald Celente, director of the Trends Research Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, predicted the 1987 stock market crash, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the Asian economic implosion of ‘97, the decline of the dollar beginning in 2005, the meteoric rise in gold prices in an age of currency volatility, and the turn of events that may be the blessing of our era, the subprime mortgage crisis.
Because of this habit of prescience, Celente has appeared regularly on CNN and Fox and MSNBC, his “Trends Reports” widely quoted in newsprint, on Oprah Winfrey, on Good Morning America.

Now in his Report for 2008, issued in mid-December, he carried the news every thinking American already knows. “The United States of America,” Celente pronounced, “has gone from first class to third rate.” It’s a “nation on the skids and heading down.”
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Tearing Down the Wall

Breaking the Gaza Wall
by Allan Nairn
Most all political violence consists of clear wrongs, like murder or unjustified war, but sometimes, sadly, disgustingly, some violence is justified as a last resort, and sometimes -- as a subcategory of that -- some of that justified violence is also wise, tactically.

Once you get far outside the murder and the crimes of war and those against humanity, some of the choices regarding whether or not to use some violence can be legitimately tough and debatable.

But the Gaza wall-breaking was an easy call: No people were killed, some may have been saved, and the spectacle of an exodus into Egypt effectively dramatized a gross injustice.

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Lab Rats and the Monsters We’ve All Become

Lab Rats, Corporate Science, and the Monsters We’ve All Become
Mickey Z.
The January 24 Associated Press (AP) story was unashamedly entitled, “Lab rats out of a job.” (It made me think if AP writer Michael Hill had covered the liberation of Auschwitz, he’d have declared Europe’s Jews to suddenly be “homeless.”)
In the piece, Hill talks of possible “high-tech alternatives” to animal experimentation. Before you view this as a major scientific and moral step forward, allow me to present Hill’s closing salvo:
  • “Taylor Bennett, senior science adviser to the National Association for Biomedical Researchers, said animal testing maintains an essential role in making sure new pharmaceutical products are safe and effective for humans.”

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