Send in the Drones: Obama's War Stooge Jamboree

The Drones Are Coming: New War on Civilians
by Ramzy Baroud
US President Barack Obama took the podium in a White House press conference and stood with an all-embellished confidence that often accompanies new presidents. He was flanked by two leaders whose apparent grandeur barely reflected their embattled situations on the ground: Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

The meeting at the White House on 6 May was fashioned to give the impression that the new US administration is both "serious" and "committed" about resolving the crises plaguing Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are imprudently reduced to that of a Taliban resurgence in the former, and a Taliban- inspired militant encroachment in the latter. Obama declared the meeting "extraordinarily productive" as the three nations, he said, are joined by the common goal to "defeat Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies in Pakistan and Afghanistan".

The skewed reading of reality didn't cease there. "I am pleased that these two men, elected leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, fully appreciate the seriousness of the threat that we face and have reaffirmed their commitment to confronting it," Obama said.
Both leaders listened solemnly as to reflect the level of their "seriousness."
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Untold and Uncounted Casualties of War

By Jack Random
A disturbed Sergeant serving his third term of duty in Iraq picked up a weapon and killed five of his fellow soldiers.  

Sergeant John Russell of the 54th Engineer Battalion became the latest entry in the unsung casualties of war – a victim that few outside his circle of family and friends will mourn but a victim just the same.  

Sergeant Russell is one of the rare cases whose story is told on national media.  Soldiers under constant duress are frequently pushed beyond the breaking point, they frequently commit acts of violent desperation, but their stories are usually confined to the back pages of local newspapers.  

The army says some 102 soldiers ended their own lives in 2006, another 115 in 2007 and 140 in 2008.  In the opening months of 2009 the numbers continue to mount.  Suicide stories rarely draw attention, their faces are not pictured, and the essential facts of their lives are briefly sketched in obituary columns, lacking content and meaning.  They are not counted in the casualties of war.  There are no songs to pay tribute.  There are no flags buried in their honor.  Yet each of them had dreams, hopes and desires as rich as yours or mine.  Each felt a charge of patriotic fervor when they volunteered for service at a time of war.  

Each had families and loved ones who will also not be counted in the casualties of war but their lives have been altered as well.  Their tears flow as others do and their grief runs as deep in mourning.  
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THE LANGARA DIALOGUES: The Election is Over: Now the Fight for BC Rivers Begins!

The Election is Over: Now the Fight for BC Rivers Begins!
by Langara College
Resolved: Private Power has an important place on our rivers & in our economy.

Arguing the AFFIRMATIVE: Steve Davis, President, Independent Power Producers of BC

Arguing the NEGATIVE: Gwen Barlee, Policy Director, Wilderness Committee
Please join us for THE LANGARA DIALOGUES

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
7:30 PM
Alice Mackay Room, Lower Level,
Vancouver Public Library, Downtown (Homer & Robson)

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Dispatch from the UN Commission on Sustainable Development

Dispatch from the UN Commission on Sustainable Development
by Joan Russow
I am at the UN at the Commission on Sustainable Development. I had an opportunity of speaking at a podcast meeting of Delegates, NGOs and UN agencies.
I had encouraged the women's caucus to call for the Human right to water, and then I reinforced the human right to water and pointed out that public, private partnerships, which had been promoted by the International Chamber of Commerced, would lead to the violation of the human right to water. I also followed up on a point by a Senegalese Delegate that had called for food sovereignty.
I pointed out that the WTO must be prevented from undermining food sovereignty.

The big issues here are also genetically engineered food and crops and biofuels. The NGOs today in a presentation will be calling   for the banning of genetically engineered food and crops, the prohibiting of patenting of genes, and the ending of biopiracy. I pushed for the banning of biofuels as well but I think that they will only call for a moratorium.

I also keep raising the issue of reallocating funds from the military expenses, and the phasing out of nuclear energy. unfortunately, in
Article 4 of the non proliferation Treaty (NPT) there is still the " inalienable right of states to have access to the "peaceful use of nuclear energy".


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To Disturb and Abuse: Ottawa Cabbie Attack

To Disturb and Abuse
by C. L. Cook
Another unsettling report of law enforcement run amok in Canada surfaced from the nation's capital, Ottawa. Local cab driver, Sami Aldoboni is recuperating with a broken wrist and fingers today following an unprovoked attack, an incident of road rage witnessed by an entire airport taxi stand, by an off-duty Ottawa police officer.
No charges yet in Cabbie assault
Witnesses claim the assailant also uttered racial slurs, but no arrest was made once police responders discovered the perp was one of their own.

Speaking for the Ottawa police department, Const. Alain "Steve" Boucher defended the unnamed officer, saying he knew him to be;  "[O]f good moral character."

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NATO: Exercising the Bear in Georgia

NATO exercises provoke Russia
The Real News Network spoke to William F. Engdahl, economist and author of Full Spectrum Dominance. Engdahl says that the NATO exercises in Georgia are provocative to Russia because of the uncovered fact that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was behind the offensive in South Ossetia last August, while he was in the process of applying for NATO membership. Engdahl also says that the NATO countries are interested in securing alternatives to the Russian stronghold over European oil and explains that the missile defense program NATO wishes to install in Eastern Europe and Georgia has less to do with Iran than Russia.
Engdahl: NATO exercises in Georgia are a provocative move against Russia by the Pentagon
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Correa and Social Movements in Ecuador

Swinging from the Right: Correa and Social Movements in Ecuador
by Jennifer Moore   
On April 26, President Rafael Correa became the first Ecuadorian president in thirty years to win a new mandate after only one round of elections. A day later, the popular leader announced that he will accelerate his so-called Citizen's Revolution and prioritize change for the poor. However, prominent civil society organizations say that Correa's 21st Century Socialism favors powerful economic groups and bodes poorly for Ecuador's most-excluded.
Photo: Jennifer Moore

“From the point of view of the social movements and the indigenous movement in particular,” says Marlon Santi, President of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), “Correa's socialism is not socialism at all...He waves the flag of socialism, but he does other things.”
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Vote Schmote

Voting's Just Not Enough
by Janine Bandcroft
Bill Tieleman's knee-jerk reaction to another Campbell government is to call for compulsory voting.  And just when I've discovered the joys of anarchy!
Corporate capo Gordon Campbell wins another mandate in B.C. poll

I didn't vote yesterday.  My name is not registered as one who went out of their way to endorse the current system.  I do democracy every day - publishing the Street Newz, organizing radio shows for CFUV, updating this blog (not that anyone reads it anyways), supporting my activist friends who climb trees, march in rallies, organize peaceful non-violent protests to express our outrage at the massive expensive elitist party next year in Whistler. 
I chose not to vote because I'm tired of being disappointed, I don't like the rage and hatred it evokes in me and, most importantly, I do not want to be on record as one who endorses the current system.
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Sri Lanka: The Modern Moral Malaise

The Modern Moral Malaise Behind Blind-Eyed Acceptance of Sri Lanka Genocide
by C. L. Cook
The stage for the current disaster befalling the Tamil minority of Sri Lanka was set seventy-two years ago last month. On April 27th, 1937, Hitler's Condor Legion fell from the blazing blue sky upon Guernica, a small Basque town in Northern Spain.
Picasso's Guernica  1937
Aiding allied dictator, Francisco Franco, Luftwaffe bombers pounded the civilian population, killing hundreds and maiming thousands more. Though not the first time civilians had been intentionally targeted, Guernica marked a turning point in the way conflicts were to be handled in the 20th Century. In the brave new world of warfare home was where the battle was; and everyone was the enemy.
From Trench to Total War in one generation.
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Boffo Black Op. Budget: Obama Exceeds Spooks' Hopes

Big Increases for Intelligence and Pentagon "Black" Programs in 2010
by Tom Burghardt - Antifascist Calling...
Continuing along the dark path marked out by his predecessors in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama's Defense and Intelligence budget for Fiscal Year 2010 will greatly expand the reach of unaccountable agencies--and the corporate grifters whom they serve. According to Aviation Week, "the Pentagon's 'black' operations, including the intelligence budgets nested inside it, are roughly equal in magnitude to the entire defense budgets of the UK, France or Japan, and 10 per cent of the total."

Yes, you read that correctly. The "black" or secret portions of the budget are almost as large as the entire defense outlays of America's allies, hardly slouches when it comes to feeding their own militarist beasts. The U.S. Air Force alone intends to spend approximately $12 billion on "black" programs in 2010 or 36 percent of its entire research and development budget. Aviation Week reveals:

Black-world procurement remains dominated by the single line item that used to be called "Selected Activities," resident in the USAF's "other procurement" section. This year's number stands just above $16 billion. In inflation-adjusted terms, that's 240 per cent more than it was ten years ago.
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Ditching Harman: Sinking Centrist "Democrats" in 2010

A Progressive Challenge to Jane Harman
by Norman Solomon
There are many reasons progressives will mobilize behind the campaign of Marcy Winograd, who announced on Monday that she'll challenge incumbent Congresswoman Jane Harman in the 2010 Democratic primary. Some will speak of Harman's pro-war record. Some will recall her support for warrantless wiretapping, followed by her irony-free indignation when it turned out that NSA snoops had taped her own phone conversations.
Rep. Jane Harman (D-California)
Some will recount Harman's long public silence after being briefed on torture by the US government. And then there's the extensive evidence that Representative Harman has gone over the top to do the bidding of the Israeli government and some of its most extreme supporters in the United States.

But what may be most significant about Winograd's race to unseat Harman in 2010 is that it reflects - and is likely to help nurture - a growing maturity among progressives around the country, who are tired of merely complaining about centrist Democrats in Congress. Many progressives are getting a clear take-home message: Let's stop griping about lousy members of Congress and start defeating them.
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Mothers for Real Mother's Day

Roses and Guns for Mother's Day: Codepink confronts a military hardware exhibition in Washington on Mother's Day
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.
Mothers’ Day Proclamation: Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870
Julia Ward Howe
Boston, 1870
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