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The Manchurian Senators

Mar 06, 2011 David Swanson
Manchurian Senators by David Swanson…

You Are What You Are, Not Do

Jun 07, 2012 Mickey Z
Trade Your Job for an Occupation by…

The Banker and the Dam (Almost) Nobody Wanted

Oct 07, 2014 Creative Commons
Ex-TD Bank Comptroller: Site C Dam too…


Bearing the Costs of the Forest Give Away

Communities will bear the true cost of the Campbell government’s sell-off of private forest lands, say the New Democrats.

  • “This week, we saw public outrage over the potential for old growth logging in Cameron Canyon,” said Scott Fraser, MLA for Alberni-Qualicum. “And in Port Alberni, there was great public concern about a mudslide, suspected to have been caused by nearby logging.
  • “In both cases, the buck stops with the Campbell government. They changed the law and removed these lands from a Tree Farm Licence, eliminating public oversight and reducing environmental protection. And they did it without consulting communities, who are left to deal with the aftermath,” said Fraser.
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Jesus Christ Uber Alles: From Fervor to Fascism

Jesus Uber Alles – Christianity as Fascism
by Kent Welton
Getting a little tired of this holier-than-thou political season? We might ask here when does "faith’ become fascism?
I would say that it is when you claim your prophet is the only one, the only son of God. Mind you, this is a God you’ve never seen or heard and one that you imagine you are somehow separated from, even though there is no such thing as discreteness in this energy-laden universe.

Indeed, we are all interpenetrated by the same waves of energy as everyone else. Separation from the universe, from these energies of life - i.e., from "God" - is then impossible in the very nature of things. Only the counterproductive mind energies of belief act to separate us.

Yet it is separation from heaven and God that is religion’s very old business. By creating a belief of separation from existence you create a guilt and admission-to-heaven business. You create sin and charge for its redemption. You create fear, even terror of "hell" and not going to heaven, and you can get people to do anything... even believe six impossible things before breakfast.

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The Greatest Threat to the American Republic

Going Bankrupt: Why the Debt Crisis Is Now
the Greatest Threat to the American Republic
by Chalmers Johnson
The military adventurers of the Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups of men thought that they were the "smartest guys in the room," the title of Alex Gibney's prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron.
The neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.
[six minute video clip of Johnson speaking on American imperial bankruptcy and "military Keynesianism" mounted at the Tomdispatch site.  Feel free to direct readers to it.]

As a result, going into 2008, the United States finds itself in the anomalous position of being unable to pay for its own elevated living standards or its wasteful, overly large military establishment. Its government no longer even attempts to reduce the ruinous expenses of maintaining huge standing armies, replacing the equipment that seven years of wars have destroyed or worn out, or preparing for a war in outer space against unknown adversaries. Instead, the Bush administration puts off these costs for future generations to pay -- or repudiate.

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Atrocity on Gaza

Israeli Atrocity on Gaza Civilians
by Juan Cole
It is a perfect time for the Israeli government to commit a war crime on the miserable civilians of the Gaza Strip. The US primary season has created a news blackout on US television about foreign news (apparently the public of the world's sole superpower is not estimated by corporate news executives to be able to handle more than one story).
So most Americans will never even know that the Israelis have cut off fuel to Gaza's power plant, depriving tens of thousands of people of electricity.

I sympathize with Israeli civilians who have been subjected to illegal bombardment by Hamas. (That bombardment has not recently resulted in loss of life, but it is traumatizing, especially for children.) But one has to ask whether the Olmert government has behaved toward Gazans in such a way as to try to achieve peace. (The unilateral withdrawal of colonists has been followed by frequent bombardments and incursions and arrests, political meddling and a placing of the whole Strip in a kind of geo-penitentiary.)
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Crime Without Arrest

Crime Without Punishment: A News Roundup
by Chris Floyd 
There are many stories out there that I would like to be writing about in greater detail, but for the moment, time and circumstances are still telling against me.
So here's a brief look at some important pieces. Check them out for yourself.

Patrick Cockburn on the recent emergence of opium-growing in Iraq, where warlords and militias in the pay of the United States and the oh-so-sovereign Iraqi "government" are turning Diyala province into a mini-narcostate, with the attendant murder, corruption, and violence. Isn't it very, very strange that America's oh-so-humanitarian interventions seem to spawn vast expansions in the drug trade, as in Vietnam and southeast Asia, Latin America, Afghanistan and now Iraq?
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Stopping Traffic: Langford Voters Rebellion

Langford Voters Rebellion: City Council Meeting
by Zoe Blunt
Conflict is expected tonight over the proposed new interchange in Langford as Langford City Council decides whether to adopt one of two controversial new bylaws, and citizens petition against the measures.

Bylaws 1147 and 1148 create a Local Area Service agreement and authorize the borrowing of $25 million to build the new interchange.  The bylaws were rushed through three readings at a poorly-advertised Special Meeting of Langford City Council two days after Christmas, despite an agenda stating they were to be given first reading only. Both bylaws are on the agenda tonight, and the Local Area Service bylaw is up for adoption.

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Pigeons, People & Perceptions

Pigeons, People & Perceptions
by Mickey Z.
New York City Councilman Simcha Felder is sick and tired of some Big Apple residents "doing whatever they do all over the city without anyone trying to stop it."
Is he talking about trigger-happy cops, double parked cab drivers, omnipresent terror suspects, loud cell phone users, or maybe corporate lawyers?
Nope. Felder has his legislative eye on Columba livia, a.k.a. Rock Pigeon (The bird formerly known as Rock Dove).

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Endless Greed and the Rise of Private Equity

The Endless Greed of Private Equity
by Ignacio Ramonet
While critics of the economic horrors of globalisation argue, a new and even more brutal form of capitalism is in action. The new vultures are private equity companies: predatory investment funds with vast amounts of capital at their disposal and an enormous appetite for more.

Their names -- among them the Carlyle Group, KKR, the Blackstone Group, Colony Capital, Apollo Management, Cerberus Partners, Starwood Capital, Texas Pacific Group, Wendel, Euraze -- are still not widely known. And while still a secret they are getting their hands on the global economy.
Between 2002 and 2006, the capital raised by these funds from banks, insurance companies, pension funds, and the assets of the super-rich rose from $135bn to $515bn. Their financial power is phenomenal, more than $1,600bn, and they cannot be stopped.

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Mulroney-Schreiber Affair: Of Foxes and Henhouses

Democracy Watch Seeks Pro Bono Lawyer to Help Challenge Commissioner's Decision and Calls on Parliamentarians to Restore "Apparent Conflict of Interest" Rule 
by Democracy Watch 
Today, Democracy Watch called on lawyers from across Canada to help it challenge the precedent-setting ruling issued Monday [January 7, 2008] by the federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson which concluded that, even when the Prime Minister's and Cabinet ministers' own actions and the actions of one of their close associates are in question, it is fine for them: to choose whether a judicial inquiry will take place; to set the scope of the inquiry; to choose the inquiry commissioner(s) who will judge them, and; to control a legal proceeding against another person who has made allegations about them.

Democracy Watch has written back to the Ethics Commissioner pointing out legal errors and requesting a reconsideration of her ruling, and questioning her lack of enforcement actions since she was appointed.  If the Ethics Commissioner does not reconsider and correct the legal errors in her ruling by issuing an amended ruling, Democracy Watch plans to challenge her ruling in court and is seeking pro bono legal assistance to do so.

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Iraq: Letter from the Lurch

A Letter from the Lurch
by David Swanson
Check out this letter I just received by Email:

The lurch was first mentioned in Dante's "Purgatorio," and I had always wanted to go there. What can I say? I'm an adventurer. That's one reason I joined the military in the first place. Well, that and all the lies about money and college and not having to serve in Iraq.
When I'd completed my third tour in Iraq and they stop-lossed me, it felt at least as bad as a ticket to purgatory. How could I stay still longer in this real world hell?

I'd hear about how supposedly if Congress were to cut off the funding for occupying Iraq it would be abandoning the troops and leaving us in the lurch, and I'd say to my buddies: "Wherever the lurch is, send me there now!"
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Brainless: The Media and Horse Race Journalism

The Beast Without a Brain: Why Horse Race Journalism Works for Journalists and Fails Us
by Jay Rosen
Just so you know, "the media" has no mind. It cannot make decisions. Which means it does not "get behind" candidates. It does not decide to oppose your guy... or gal. Nor does it "buy" this line or "swallow" that one. It is a beast without a brain. Most of the time, it doesn't know what it's doing.

This does not mean you cannot blame the media for things. Go right ahead! Brainless beasts at large in public life can do plenty of damage; and later on -- when people ask, "What happened here?" -- it sometimes does make sense to say... the beast did this. It's known as "the pack" in political journalism, but I prefer "the herd of independent minds" (from Harold Rosenberg, 1959) because I think it's more descriptive of the dynamic. 
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