President Obama’s Economic Address to the Joint Session of Congress
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“Tourist killed in Cairo attack,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Israel & Hamas accused of war crimes,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Israel rejects report by Amnesty International,” IBA TV, Israel
“Hamas: Fatah helped Israel in war,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Palestinians Protest Planned Jerusalem Evictions,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Arab Leaders Warn Against Foreign Meddling in Arab Affairs,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Begging on the Rise in Iraq,” Alsumaria TV, Iraq
“Guantanamo detainee returns to Britain alleging ‘torture’,” Press TV, Iran
“Art in Baghdad,” Al-Iraqiya TV, Iraq
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by Greg Palast
Exclusive to Buzzflash.com
Damn that Abe Lincoln. When Louisiana and Mississippi seceded from the Union, a sensible president would have sent them a box of chocolates with a note, “Goodbye and good riddance.”
Tonight, following Barack Obama’s budget presentation to Congress, effectively the president’s first State of the Union Address, the Republicans have chosen to give their party’s response, the governor of the state that wanted to leave the Union, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal.
Jindal’s going to tell us that Barack Obama is a terrible President because Obama wants to require states like Louisiana to extend unemployment insurance to – get this – the unemployed! (Technically, the federal government would pay 100% of the cost of reforming Louisiana’s and Mississippi’s Scrooge-sized benefit requirements.)
For all the political prisoners of the animal liberation movement, for everyone involved in militant direct action for animals and the Earth, and for all the nonhuman animals themselves who suffer at the hands of human barbarity.
We can’t say we’re disappointed with the responses to our publication of “Pacifism or Animals: Which Do You Love More? A Critique of Lee Hall, Friends of Animals, and the Franciombe Effect in the New Abolitionist Movement.” We accomplished what we set out to do, and more.
We brought much-needed attention to the uncritical reception of Hall’s self-published polemic against militant direct action (MDA), Capers in the Courtyard. We alerted an unknowing UK activist community to the slander and distortions of militant anti-vivisection campaigns in England and the United States. The ensuing fiery commentary on our article (as it appeared on blogs such as Thomas Paine’s Corner and Mary Martin’s Animal Person) helped to expose the propaganda and advertising tactics that Hall, Priscilla Feral, and Friends of Animals (FoA) use as masks for “objective” review of Hall’s regrettable book.
The discussion – featuring the bitter encomium and slew of ad hominem attacks by Feral’s husband, Robert Orabona, against former FoA lawyer, Derek Oatis (we wonder what überpacifist Lee Hall thinks of Orabona’s approach and language) – casts a bright light on the problematic nature of FoA itself and perhaps has some value for the historical record as it serves to document some of the inner conflicts of FoA, a long-established animal rights organization. An insider expose revealed that Feral and Orabona pay themselves a hefty salary (which we verified to be over $180,000 a year) from donor money intended to help animals rather than to boost their bank account. As we quickly discovered, Hall is not wanting either, pulling down $82,000 a year, about $15,000 more than her annual salary in 2005.
by Gaither Stewart
24 February 2009
“A Very European Story”
Symbols and objects held sacred by a whole people form a more powerful protective barrier than the highest of walls. Even the Great Wall of China was more a scarecrow than a real barrier to Mongol invaders. In that figurative sense I have imagined here the Russian icon as a historical defense of Russia against circling invaders, against mercenary armies and menacing space shields.
By Paul Craig Roberts
Information Clearing House
February 24, 2009
The American economy has gone away. It is not coming back until free trade myths are buried six feet under.
America’s 20th century economic success was based on two things. Free trade was not one of them. America’s economic success was based on protectionism, which was ensured by the union victory in the Civil War, and on British indebtedness, which destroyed the British pound as world reserve currency. Following World War II, the US dollar took the role as reserve currency, a privilege that allows the US to pay its international bills in its own currency.
World War II and socialism together ensured that the US economy dominated the world at the mid 20th century. The economies of the rest of the world had been destroyed by war or were stifled by socialism.
The ascendant position of the US economy caused the US government to be relaxed about giving away American industries, such as textiles, as bribes to other countries for cooperating with America’s cold war and foreign policies. For example, Turkey’s US textile quotas were increased in exchange for over-flight rights in the Gulf War, making lost US textile jobs an off-budget war expense.
February 24, 2009 C-SPAN
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By Jon Ronnquist
February 23, 2009 “Information Clearing House”
One thing we should not overlook when taking in the impact of the current economic situation is that it is both inevitable and invaluable in equal measure. That there was no escaping the consequences we are now facing has been a well known fact among those in the know for many years. If anything, it is amazing that we have staved it off for so long. For this we have the hard working men and women of the real world to thank, who toiled on in the name of pride, dignity and responsibility until the burden of debt simply became to great to bear. A cursory understanding of the “pre-collapse” financial system and the inescapable debt trap it lays in the path of the majority who seek to survive within it, points clearly to the end we have now met. And while it is indeed tragic on an individual level, for the world at large this may well be a blessing of unprecedented proportions.
Posted with permission from Green Left Weekly
21 February 2009
“For us there is no valid definition of socialism other than the abolition of the exploitation of one human being by another”, insisted Argentinean-born revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara at the Afro-Asian Conference in Algeria, 1965.
That one quote should make it clear that the “socialism” Che, whose famous image is still seen on banners and T-shirts at protests around the world, fought for has little to do with the desperate state interventions and partial nationalisations carried out by panicked governments in the US and Europe recently.
Much has been made of the supposed conversion to “socialism” by previously militant free marketers, however these actions are simply temporary measures brought on by the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression.
It is about saving capitalism, and any interests taken over by pro-corporate governments will be given back to corporate hands once it is profitable again.
When Guevara spoke of creating socialism, he spoke of fighting for a system dramatically different to the one that we live under today, in which the economy is owned and run by a corporate elite according to one principle only: how to maximise profits.
Anthony H. Cordesman, a leading military analyst from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, has published a “strategic analysis” of the Gaza massacre.(1) He reaches the remarkable conclusion that “Israel did not violate the laws of war.” The report is based on “briefings in Israeli [sic] during and immediately after the fighting made possible by a visit sponsored by Project Interchange, and using day-to-day reporting issued by the Israeli Defense Spokesman.” Cordesman omits mention that Project Interchange is funded by the American Jewish Committee.
Cordesman’s faith in the pronouncements of Israeli notwithstanding, respected Israeli analysts exhibit less confidence. “The state authorities, including the defense establishment and its branches,” Uzi Benziman observed in Haaretz, “have acquired for themselves a shady reputation when it comes to their credibility.” The “official communiqués published by the IDF have progressively liberated themselves from the constraints of truth,” B. Michael wrote in Yediot Ahronot, and the “heart of the power structure”-police, army, intelligence-has been infected by a “culture of lying.”(2) During the Gaza massacre Israel was repeatedly caught lying among many other things about its use of white phosphorus.(3) Recalling Israel’s train of lies during both the 2006 Lebanon war and the Gaza massacre, Human Rights Watch senior military analyst Marc Garlasco rhetorically asked, “How can anyone trust the Israeli military?”(4)
by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, February 23, 2009
On February 18, President Barack Obama ordered 17,000 additional U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan. Obama’s announcement will result in a major escalation of America’s bloody occupation of that war-ravaged country.
Currently, some 36,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, including some 6,000 sent in early January under orders by the outgoing Bush regime. In addition to U.S. forces, 32,000 troops from other NATO countries and a mix of “private military contractors” (armed mercenaries) occupy the Central Asian nation.
When coupled with increasingly bellicose rhetoric from the Pentagon and military strikes inside Pakistan, the prospects for regional war–with incalculable risks for the people of Central- and South Asia–have put paid Obama’s electoral hyperbole that his would be a “change” administration.
In a brief written statement issued Tuesday by the White House, Obama declared that “the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan demands urgent attention and swift action. The Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and al Qaeda supports the insurgency and threatens America from its safe-haven along the Pakistani border.”