Everybody is well aware of the fear-based, 24/7 media freak-out over the 150 cases of red measles in the US, an unreported number of which had already been fully or partially vaccinated against measles.
Some of them may possibly have been exposed to a recent vaccinee who was still actively shedding the live virus from that inoculation.
No conscientious truth-telling person in a position of authority has been allowed to come forward with all the facts that we need to know before ignorant non-scientist legislators go off half-cocked and pass laws demanding that every child everywhere be forced to get every CDC-recommended shots that keep the “well-child” clinics humming (despite the fact that the “crisis” is only about measles).
It’s a ritual long familiar to observers of American politics: presidential hopefuls with limited international experience travel to foreign lands and deliver speeches designed to showcase their grasp of foreign affairs.
Typically, such escapades involve trips to major European capitals or active war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, however, has broken this mold.
Before his recent jaunt to London and into the thickets of American vaccination politics, he chose two surprising destinations for his first trips abroad as a potential Republican candidate. No, not Kabul or Baghdad or even Paris, but Mexico City and Alberta, Canada.
And rather than launch into discussions of immigration, terrorism, or the other usual Republican foreign policy topics, he focused on his own top priority: integrating Canada and Mexico into a U.S.-led “North American energy renaissance.”
There's was a distinct sense of a "quickening" Monday, as Angela Merkel shuttled from Washington and on to Ottawa, after sitting down with Russian president Putin over the weekend.
Stephen Harper's polite reiteration of Canada's absolute refusal to accept a "Russian occupation" of Ukrainian territory, and president Obama's determination to leave all options for setting that already groaning arms table even more heavily couldn't have been much comfort for the German leader's hopes of seeing a softening of the West's war rhetoric.
Meanwhile, as the international brinkmanship follies stole the headlines, the very real cost of the conflict to the people on both sides of the Ukraine divide was obscured to near invisibility.
Roger Annis has filed reports on the deteriorating living conditions for the people beneath the bombs of the Kiev coup regime as a contributing editor to the new web site NewColdWar.org since the conflict began last year. He's a Vancouver-based peace and social justice activist, and editor of the Canada Haiti Action Network website, CanadaHaitiAction.ca. Roger's writings can also be found at Rabble.ca, and at his site, A Socialist in Canada.
And; looking at the conflicts in Ukraine, Western Asia, Africa, and the occasional terror attacks in Europe, it's easy to believe Stephen Harper when he says the World is a dangerous place; but is it dangerous enough to suspend the freedoms defining this country? Are we so afraid now we're willing as a nation to put into the hands of government the kind of total power Hitler and Stalin and a host of other tyrants demanded? Are we so terrified, we're ready to hand over to a man and his party, whose respect for the law has been proven lacking time and again, our right to question, to think, to act on our beliefs, even when they are at odds with those prevailing in the Prime Minister's Office?
Peter Ewart is a Prince George-based writer and columnist with 250 News, amongst other online publications. In his recent article, part of a lengthening series, Peter explores the new "anti-terror" Bills C-44 and C-51, wondering aloud while he may at both their wisdom and necessity.
Peter Ewart and the present dangers clear and otherwise behind the powers the prime minister seeks 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 some of the good things to do in and around our city and beyond in the coming week. But first, Roger Annis and riding the vortex's edge in Ukraine.
I remember the events of October 22. While I was in lock-down on Parliament Hill, I remember who hid in a closet and who ran toward gun fire.
The guy in the closet is now planning to concentrate the powers of the state in his own hands while converting the Canadian spy agency into a secret police with virtually unlimited powers.
And, at the same time, he has decided to demote the security team that performed its role heroically, the House of Commons Security, led by former Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers, and put the RCMP in charge of Parliament Hill.
Of the two moves, clearly creating a secret police is the most dangerous, but upending the Constitutional principle that the government reports to Parliament is no small matter (and, as a Member of Parliament, I would prefer security to be in the hands of the people who paid attention that day and not the RCMP who somehow missed an armed man running past their multiple idling vehicles.)
Here is what Stephen Harper wants Canadians to think:
We are at war. We face a massive terrorist threat. We must be very, very afraid and we must not question any law brought in allegedly to fight terrorism. Anyone who raises finicky, lily-livered concerns about civil liberties is a fellow-traveller of ISIS.
Here’s the truth:
We are not at war. We are at peace. (Would Harper’s most trusted lieutenant and Minister of Foreign Affairs quit if we were really at war?)
The 1960s -- that extraordinary decade -- is celebrating its 50th birthday one year at a time. Happy birthday, 1965! How, though, do you commemorate the Vietnam War, the era’s signature catastrophe? After all, our government prosecuted its brutal and indiscriminate war under false pretexts, long after most citizens objected, and failed to achieve any of its stated objectives. More than 58,000 Americans were killed along with more than four million Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians.
So what exactly do we write on the jubilee party invitation? You probably know the answer. We’ve been rehearsing it for decades. You leave out every troubling memory of the war and simply say:
“Let’s honor all our military veterans for their service and sacrifice.”
For a little perspective on the 50th anniversary, consider this: we’re now as distant from the 1960s as the young Bob Dylan was from Teddy Roosevelt. For today’s typical college students, the Age of Aquarius is ancient history. Most of their parents weren’t even alive in 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson launched a massive escalation of the Vietnam War, initiating the daily bombing of the entire country, North and South, and an enormous buildup of more than half a million troops.
The Rise of the Islamic State - ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution. Patrick Cockburn
by Jim Miles
When observed from the mainstream media perspective, the rise of ISIS was an apparent ‘out of nowhere’ phenomenon. It only found prominence when they approached Irbil, the Kurdish ‘oil’ city where western companies manoeuvred for resource control. It was then that it became mainstream newsworthy, and then that the U.S. ordered its bombing campaign and the ouster of Maliki, who was blamed for the ills of Iraq and its ghost army.
In clear concise language and format, Patrick Cockburn presents a more realistic story of the rise of ISIS in his latest work, The Rise of the Islamic State. Rather than being a sudden event, it is seen to be a logical progression of events backgrounded by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.
As the wars in the Middle East have progressed they have become more and more violent. It started with the mujahideen in Afghanistan, aided and abetted by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan’s ISI. After successfully getting rid of Soviet forces, those “freedom fighters” morphed into the Taliban, where the ideology of al-Qaeda grew its protected roots.
When Iraq was illegally attacked unilaterally by the U.S. in 2003, al-Qaeda found a new place to spread its influence where it had not been before. At first it found support with the disenfranchised Sunni tribes, later minimized by the “Awakening” - the U.S. big dollar effort to buy out the Sunni leaders.
One thing I always wonder about: when did the people who consider themselves hip start to worry about what the hell was on television? When did they begin to write long, earnest disquisitions about the box set of some TV show? When did they start to dig deep into the philosophical and sociocultural implications of what a TV news anchor — a professional liar by trade — says about himself …. or anything?
I guess I’m too old to understand. I’m not pretending I hung around with Ginsberg and Burroughs or anything, but I do remember very well a time when anyone who thought of themselves as anti-establishment — even to the slightest degree, even while they worked in an office or in a factory or anywhere else to get a paycheck to keep body and soul together — would not have even known what television series was playing or what anchorman was spewing conventional wisdom on network, corporate-owned TV.
And, more to the point, they would not have even cared about such things, or expected to find any kind of meaning or insight there.
Yet it seems today that 95 percent of the so-called ‘dissident’ or ‘counter-cultural’ media spends 95 percent of its time discussing the deep political/social/cultural ramifications of Game of Thrones or Girls or The Wire or whatever. There are also yards — acres — square miles — of print and pixels given over to the latest scandal or stance or political leaning of whatever witless, vapid talking head happens to be fronting this or that corporate-sponsored news show.
The U.S. government and mainstream media are swaggering toward a possible nuclear confrontation with Russia over Ukraine without any of the seriousness that has informed this sort of decision-making throughout the nuclear age. Instead, Official Washington seems possessed by a self-righteous goofiness that could be the prelude to the end of life on this planet.
Nearly across the U.S. political spectrum, there is a pugnacious “group think” which has transformed what should have been a manageable political dispute in Ukraine into some morality play where U.S. politicians and pundits blather on about how the nearly year-old coup regime in Kiev “shares our values” and how America must be prepared to defend this regime militarily.
Though I’m told that President Barack Obama personally recognizes how foolhardy this attitude is, he has made no significant move to head off the craziness and, indeed, has tolerated provocative actions by his underlings, such as neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s scheming with coup plotters to overthrow Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February.
The Alliance for Prosperity Won't Help Central American Violence
byDawn Paley - The New Republic When Americans began noticing a deluge of unaccompanied migrant children flooding to the U.S.-Mexico border, the immediate U.S. response was a stopgap. Youth were placed in shelters by the thousands, sometimes set up on military bases, which critics likened to detention centers and emergency hurricane shelters. Later, kids were placed with sponsors while their cases were processed.
Now, a longer-term response is taking shape. The Obama administration has recently jumped on board with the Alliance for Prosperity, a plan that touts development and peace for Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. It promises to address the violence that's forcing children to flee in such Biblical numbers. Vice President Joe Biden's op-ed in the New York Times last week confirmed that President Obama would ask Congress for $1 billion to fund the Alliance For Prosperity, a name that recalls JFK's controversial Alliance for Progress. "Confronting these challenges," Biden wrote, "requires nothing less than systemic change …"
But the essence of what the Alliance for Prosperity promises is that more of the same—more local spending on infrastructure to facilitate foreign investment, more corporate tax breaks and free trade zones and more regulatory harmonization—will allow Central America to pull itself up by its bootstraps. And, yes, that outcome is as unlikely as it sounds.
“I want to appeal to the Ukrainian people, to the mothers, the fathers, the sisters and the grandparents. Stop sending your sons and brothers to this pointless, merciless slaughter. The interests of the Ukrainian government are not your interests. I beg of you: Come to your senses. You do not have to water Donbass fields with Ukrainian blood. It’s not worth it.” - Alexander Zakharchenko, Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic
Washington needs a war in Ukraine to achieve its strategic objectives. This point cannot be overstated.
The US wants to push NATO to Russia’s western border. It wants a land-bridge to Asia to spread US military bases across the continent. It wants to control the pipeline corridors from Russia to Europe to monitor Moscow’s revenues and to ensure that gas continues to be denominated in dollars.
And it wants a weaker, unstable Russia that is more prone to regime change, fragmentation and, ultimately, foreign control. These objectives cannot be achieved peacefully, indeed, if the fighting stopped tomorrow, the sanctions would be lifted shortly after, and the Russian economy would begin to recover.
How would that benefit Washington?
It wouldn’t. It would undermine Washington’s broader plan to integrate China and Russia into the prevailing economic system, the dollar system.