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Death by Disinterest: Obama Presides Over Democrat Wipeout in Record Low Turnout

President Flim-Flam Leads Dems to Midterm Massacre
by Mike Whitney - CounterPunch
“The Republican victory does not represent a shift by the American population to the right, but demonstrates the bankrupt and reactionary character of the Democratic Party and the mass disillusionment with the Obama administration. In the absence of any progressive alternative to the two right-wing, corporate-controlled parties, the majority of potential voters stayed home. Voter turnout hit another record low, with only 38 percent going to the polls….Voter participation by young people fell particularly sharply. Barely one-third of eligible voters went to the polls in California, the most populous state.”  –Patrick Martin, Republicans win control of Senate in US congressional elections, World Socialist Web Site
“You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back nine inches, and then pull it out six inches, and say you’re making progress.”  –Malcolm X

The White House has denied claims that the midterm elections were a referendum on Barack Obama, but the polling data shows that they were. According to a CBS News exit poll:
“Fifty-four percent of those surveyed said their opinion of the president influenced their vote… 34 percent said they wanted to make a statement in opposition to Mr. Obama, while 20 percent said they voted in support of him.”

“Those differences were more stark among Republican voters “61 percent (of whom) said they cast ballots to take a stand against the current administration. (Only) Thirty-five percent of those who voted for GOP candidates said Mr. Obama didn’t play a role in their decisions at the polling places.” (2014 midterm elections look like a referendum on Obama, CBS News)

Washington Plans Broaden War in Syria/Iraq

Washington moving towards wider war in Iraq and Syria
by Bill Van Auken - WSWS

6 November 2014

There are new indications that Washington is moving toward a wider and protracted military intervention in the Middle East in the name of combating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
In the wake of last weekend’s collapse of US-backed Syrian “rebels” in the face of an offensive by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the Al Nusra Front, plans are being prepared to extend the three-month-old US-led bombing campaign deeper into Syria. The ostensible purpose of these air strikes would be to provide air support for the Western-backed militias formed to prosecute the war for regime change against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The concern within US military and intelligence circles is that the Nusra Front fighters appear poised to seize control of the strategic Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, which has served as a key conduit for funneling arms and other aid to the Syrian “rebels.”
A substantial portion of that aid, including heavy weapons such as TOW anti-tank missiles and GRAD rockets, fell into the hands of the Nusra Front last weekend as the American-backed groups—the Syrian Revolutionary Front and Harakat Hazm (Steadfastness Movement)—surrendered without a shot being fired. Many of the members of these groups then joined the Nusra Front.
“The recent fighting in northwestern Syria has been taking place a long way from areas farther east where US and Arab warplanes have been pounding Islamic State positions,” the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
 “But US concern has grown rapidly in recent days amid fears about the [Bab al-Hawa] border crossing, according to senior administration officials who spoke about internal discussions on the condition of anonymity.”
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Remembering the Creators of Wars: Manufacturing the Sunni/Shi'ite Schism

The Vicious Politico-Religious Sunni-Shi’ite Civil War Ignited by the US in Iraq and Syria
by Rodrigue Tremblay - Dissident Voice
[There] is a memo [at the Pentagon] that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.
— General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO (1997-2000), (March 2, 2007)

I don’t want to just end the [Iraq] war, but I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place.
— Presidential candidate Barack Obama, (January 31, 2008)

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
— Abraham Lincoln (1809—1865), 16th President of the United States (1861-65)
When the U.S. government of George W. Bush (2001-2009) decided to illegally invade militarily the country of Iraq and overthrow the Sunni government of Saddam Hussein, against the advice of many thinking persons, it opened a “Pandora Box” of woes that is still spewing out its calamities today, and probably will for many years to come. This is the first and foremost cause of the current quagmire prevailing in Iraq and in Syria today.
In 2009, the Barack Obama administration thought that it could wash its hands and walk away from the “biggest mistake in American military history” and let local Iraqi politicians sort things out and form an “inclusive” government in Baghdad.

Here is what President Obama said on February 27, 2009:
Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end… Through this period of transition, we will carry out further redeployments. And under the Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government [negotiated by the previous Bush administration], I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.
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Red Cross to Investigate Ontario Immigrant Detention Facility

Ontario finally allows Red Cross investigation of immigration jails, but deaths and indefinite imprisonment continues
Toronto End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN), Canada’s leading detention watch group, welcomes the decision to allow Red Cross access to Ontario’s provincial prisons for the first time since 2008. However, the lack of any real oversight of prison conditions of immigration detainees adds to the dire need to end maximum-security imprisonment of immigrants without trial or charges. A GlobalNews report today documented 11 deaths in immigration detention custody since 2000.
Since September 2013, over 100 migrants held in a maximum-security prison in Lindsay, ON have been on a protest strike against endless detentions, sham judicial review processes, and imprisonment in maximum-security jails. EIDN is coordinating the strike, and in June 2014 released an expose on immigration detention showing signs of political interference in detention release processes. In July 2014, the United Nations condemned Canadian immigration detention practices in response to an application EIDN filed.
“Endless, cruel and illegal imprisonment is part of Stephen Harper’s lock ‘em up agenda, but why are provincial governments, particularly Ontario where most detainees are jailed, co-operating with this injustice? Wynne and other Premiers need to stop upholding Harpers’ anti-immigrant platform,” says Tings Chak, an organizer with EIDN.
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Ringing the Old Bell: Fragments From the Long and Wasted Years

Children of Lies: Fragments From the Long and Wasted Years
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
In the course of a massive clean-out the other day, I came upon a box of overstuffed folders and musty papers — copies of some of the first pieces I’d ever had published, going back 35 years. For almost two decades they’d lain unseen in the bottom of an old trunk in my parents’ basement, stored there during one of the several peripatetic upheavals that punctuated my early adulthood. Then a freak flood hit the town, and most of the papers were damaged beyond rescue, fused into bundles that couldn’t be prised apart without crumbling into pieces.
Only one small box made it through; it had been sitting on top of a cache of love letters and other tender memorabilia destroyed by the water. This survivor I duly carted back across the ocean, to my home in England, where my peripateticism had come to an end. There it was promptly relegated to a new dark corner, to molder and yellow for several years more — until last week’s day of cleaning.
Naturally, I took the opportunity to let nostalgia draw me away from my chores, and spent an hour or so leafing through the articles. But beyond the bemusement at my early style (an odd mix of hellfire preacher and Gore Vidal manqué), I was most struck by the grim continuity between then and now. The same themes, and in many cases virtually the same content, sounded over and over, like “an echo from the future,” as Pasternak put it. With only a slight shifting of names, those yellowed pieces of political commentary could have been written in our era.
It’s all there: illegal wars based on lies; escalating inequality and militarization; the growing lawlessness of the elite; the radicalization of the Right by theocrats and corporate Birchers; the anemia of a "Left" sinking into accommodation and careerism; the manufactured hysteria over "terrorism" to justify the unchecked expansion of state power; the ineradicable racism; and the sinister embrace of "American exceptionalism" to hide the hollowness of a society in deep moral and physical decay, rotting under the sway of neoliberal extremism, letting its communities and infrastructure collapse, scorning the very idea of a “common good.”

Driving Forces Behind America's Oil Production "Renaissance"

The Driving Force Behind the US Oil Boom
by James Stafford -
The shale revolution’s sweet spot is oilfield services, the lower-risk backbone of the American oil and gas boom that pays off regardless of a play’s economics.
Behind the stardom of the explorers and producers who have put themselves on the revolutionary shale map and absorb most of the risk—are the service providers who make up a highly lucrative market segment.
The US land-based rig count rose 3% over the last quarter, reaching a two-year high of 1,870 active rigs. A major factor in this growth has been an uptick in horizontal drilling in the Permian Basin, Texas’ revived giant, where the rig count was up 21% year-on-year.
And while oil prices slumped in October, drilling activity continues to rise according to Baker Hughes, the third-largest oil services company. Baker Hughes’ rig count is up 3.8% in the fourth quarter of this year, compared to the third quarter.

Obama Hoisted on His Petroleum Petard: Oil As a Weapon Blows Back

Has Washington Just Shot Itself in the Oily Foot?
by F. William Engdahl - NEO
By now even the New York Times is openly talking about the secret Obama Administration strategy of trying to bankrupt Russia by using its oil-bloated Bedouin bosom buddy, Saudi Arabia, to collapse the world price of oil. However, it’s beginning to look like the neo-conservative Russia-haters and Cold war wanna-be hawks around Barack Obama may have just shot themselves in their oily foot.

As I referred to it in an earlier article, their oil price strategy is basically stupid. Stupid, as all consequences have not been taken into account. Take now the impact on US oil production as prices plummet.
The collapse in US oil prices since September may very soon collapse the US shale oil bubble and tear away the illusion that the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest oil producer. That illusion, fostered by faked resource estimates issued by the US Department of Energy, has been a lynchpin of Obama geopolitical strategy.

Tanzanian Villagers Take Barrick Gold to Court, Again

Barrick Gold Faces Court in London 
by MiningWatch Canada
Ottawa - London-based African Barrick Gold is being sued in the United Kingdom by Tanzanian villagers for deaths and injuries allegedly caused by security and police guarding the company’s North Mara mine.

Leigh Day partner Shanta Martin, who is representing the Tanzanian claimants, is in Ottawa calling on the company and its majority shareholder, Barrick Gold Corporation, to live up to their corporate responsibility and human rights commitments.

“Impoverished people from remote rural villages who sue multinational companies often face incredible obstacles to having their claims heard by an independent arbiter,” said Martin.

Barrick Gold Corporation says it respects human rights wherever it does business and recognises the dignity of the people they interact with every day.

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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dawn Paley, Joan Russow, Janine Bandcroft November 5, 2014

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook -
War. What is it good for? With apologies to Edwin Starr, way beyond absolutely nothing for some fortunate few war is worth billions. Whether declared against countries, or concepts, poverty or ebola war and preparation for war is so lucrative it has become a supporting pillar of the global economy.

Nowhere perhaps is war's profit potential more apparent than in the perpetual War on Drugs. Well into its second generation, the iteration of the drug wars, coined "The War on Drugs" by Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon has earned uncounted billions for gangs and grow ops, while making billions more for the endless retinue making up the Judicial-Enforcement-Prison Complex.

And, like it's namesakes, this war is also responsible for the ruination of unknowable numbers of lives.

Listen. Hear.

Dawn Paley is a freelance journalist and author who has spent more than a decade reporting from Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Northeast Mexico. Her articles have appeared in the Nation, the Guardian, Vancouver Sun , Globe and Mail, Ms. Magazine, the Tyee, Georgia Straight, and NACLA, among other places. Her work in Latin America has focused on the business practices of the extractive industries, and the interconnectedness of high finance, politics, and organized crime.

Dawn's first book, 'Drug War Capitalism' is fresh out from AK Press, who describe it as going; "...beyond the usual horror stories, beyond journalistic rubbernecking and hand-wringing, to follow the thread of the Drug War story throughout the entire region of Latin America and all the way back to US boardrooms and political offices."

Dawn Paley in the first half.

And; more than just in America, November is election month here too. The municipal polls are set to go in a little more than a week's time, on the 15th of this month. Joan Russow is the former leader of the Green Party of Canada who, since stepping down from the Greens, has spent her time working as a reporter and filmmaker; recording the climate change conferences in Copenhagen and Cancun, working on the film, 'Cooperatives: Counterpoint to Capitalism,' and traveling down to Venezuela to chronicle the groundbreaking progress cooperatives have made there since the Bolivarian Revolution. She also serves as an editor to the web news site, Now, Joan has thrown her beret into the Oak Bay councillor's race ring.

Joan Russow and democracy behind the tweed curtain in the second half.

And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with what's good going on and otherwise around our town and beyond here too. But first, Dawn Paley following the tangled Drug War threads.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: And now heard at Simon Fraser University's . He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

Lying Dogs, Jumping Fleas: Matt Taibbi "Intercepted"

Revenge of the Interceptors: Oligarch's Team Mugs Renegade Taibbi
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
A few random thoughts on the imbroglio over Matt Taibbi leaving the media stable of oligarch Pierre Omidyar -- and the remarkable response to this by the oligarch's remaining celebs, led by Glenn Greenwald.
1. The Intercept article on Taibbi's departure -- bylined under the names of Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill, and John Cook, but almost certainly written mostly by Greenwald -- is, at its core, a scurrilous piece of work. Purporting to be a boldly transparent piece -- it even (lightly) criticizes the Boss! -- it is instead, transparently, an attempt by the oligarch's organization to get its side of the story out first before the famously acerbic Taibbi makes any statement.
2. It is also a means for the authors to laud themselves as "fiercely independent journalists" (yes, Greenwald actually wrote that about himself) who, despite being radical bohemians who "view corporate cultures and management-speak with disdain," were able to heroically grapple with their employer and procure for themselves "a sizable budget, operational autonomy, and a team of talented journalists, editors, research specialists, and technologists working collaboratively and freely in the manner its founders always envisioned" … unlike that loser Taibbi, who obviously lacked their moxie and got slapped around by the Big Boss Man.
3. The poison shiv of the article is buried deep in the acres of Greenwald's ever-deadening slabs of prose (as well as deep in Taibbi's back): the accusation of sexist behavior on Taibbi's part when he was upbraiding one of his staff. To be sure, the Interceptors make great show of saying that an internal investigation of the charge found that his action did not rise "to the level of legal liability" (libel-dodging weasel-wording at its best!) -- and added, as an appendix, an encomium from another Omidyar stablemate as to Taibbi's good character and lack of sexism. But the damage was done, as was obviously intended. The quick takeaway of anyone wondering about the situation will be: "What happened with Taibbi and First Look?" "Well, he was facing some kind of sex abuse charge or something, wasn't he? Abusing the women there, threatening or yelling at them, something." "What an asshole. They were right to get rid of him." Or maybe just a quick headline in the NY Post or Drudge Report: "Taibbi Leaves First Look After Sexism Row."

Voting for Your Life

Be a Passionate Voter for Justice
by Ralph Nader  - ICH 
Millions of Americans displayed passion and fevered interest in the recent exciting World Series championship. Now it's time to move on to a serious matter of national importance that often suffers from a lack of public enthusiasm. Millions of Americans, many of whom are avid sports fans, are suffering due to low wages, income inequality, and a gridlocked Congress that is obsessed with campaign fundraising and incapable of addressing many of country's most pressing needs, from public investments to fair play for working families.

With Election Day just days away, now is the perfect time to transfer some of that passion and energy for sports into the political realm. After all, there is far more on the line than just a championship and bragging rights. And elections are not a spectator sport -- you need to be on the field yourself!
Just imagine if the majority of eligible voters had the same dedication and diligence as sports fans who know all the stats and figures, the players, and the management hierarchy. Imagine if voters were as informed, passionate and vocal as baseball fans.

Unfortunately, many voters will head to the polls on November 4th and simply vote down the party line. Far too many won't spend a little time to research the various candidates' actual records beyond their party affiliation. Voters won't learn about what their candidates or elected officials have done beyond what they have said they would do. They won't even consider the issues that matter most to them and their families. That's if they even show up at all, of course.
It's expected that only 40 percent of eligible voters will even bother showing up on November 4th.
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