Americas

Sunday, 14 April 2013 10:58 Eric Ruder Editorial Dept - Americas
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Antiwar activists are planning actions in April to focus attention on a dark and deadly corner of U.S. military operations: The Pentagon's and the CIA's massively scaled-up use of drone aircraft around the world. In 2000, the Pentagon had less than 50 drones. Ten years later, that number is 7,500 – an increase of 15,000 per cent. In 2003, the U.S. Air Force was flying a handful of round-the-clock drone patrols every day. By 2010, that number had reached 40.

“By 2011, the Air Force was training more remote pilots than fighter and bomber pilots combined,” explains Medea Benjamin in her book Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. Benjamin cites Mark Maybury, chief scientist for the Air Force, who said in 2011, “Our number one manning problem in the Air Force is manning our unmanned platform.”
 

The reasons for the explosion in the use of drones to wage wars around the world are obvious enough. Training drone pilots is faster, less grueling and cheaper compared to traditional pilots. It takes two years to prepare an Air Force recruit for deployment as a pilot, but only nine months to train a drone operator. And, of course, the consequences of drone operator error are no more than the price of the drone itself. As Benjamin writes:
 
Tuesday, 09 October 2012 20:22 Don Fredrick Editorial Dept - Americas
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As I noted in the introduction to my book, The Obama Timeline, a jury at a murder trial will often find the accumulated circumstantial evidence so overwhelming that a guilty verdict is obvious—even though there may be no witness to the crime. “The jurors in the Scott Peterson trial believed the collection of evidence more than they believed Scott Peterson. Among other things, the jury thought that being arrested with $15,000 in cash, recently-dyed hair, a newly-grown goatee, four cell phones, camping equipment, a map to a new girlfriend’s house, a gun, and his brother’s driver’s license certainly did not paint a picture of a grieving husband who had nothing to do with his pregnant wife’s disappearance and murder.”

In the four years I have been gathering information about—and evidence against—Barack Hussein Obama, I have encountered hundreds of coincidences that strike me as amazing. None of those coincidences, by themselves, may mean much. But taken as a whole it is almost impossible to believe they were all the result of chance.


Consider the Obama-related coincidences:
 
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 00:00 David Camfield Editorial Dept - Americas
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In 2012 Quebec has been shaken by the most important social movement in the Canadian state[1] since the 1970s.

What began as a strike by students in Quebec's universities and Collèges d'Enseignement Général et Professionnel (CEGEPs, which most young people attend after high school) against a major increase in university tuition fees – part of capital's international austerity drive – has become a broader popular movement against the government of the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ), headed by Premier Jean Charest, and against neoliberalism.
 

Universities in Quebec Society

To understand this movement, we need to look at the place of universities in Quebec society. The Canadian constitution makes education a responsibility of provincial governments. Before the 1960s, only a tiny percentage of the francophone majority in the province of Quebec attended university; university education was more common for members of the anglophone minority, whose universities were better-funded.

 
Thursday, 03 May 2012 00:00 Richard Fidler Editorial Dept - Americas
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Quebec college and university students are now in the 13th week of their militant province-wide strike while voting by overwhelming majorities to reject a government offer that met none of their key demands. 

After a 22-hour bargaining session involving ministers of the Charest government, university and college heads, and leaders of the major trade-union centrals, the student leaders agreed on May 6 to put the offer to a vote of their respective membership without recommending acceptance.

If the offer (the French-language text is here) were accepted:


•The 75 per cent hike in tuition fees (now spread over seven years, but indexed) would remain, albeit with slightly liberalized access to scholarships and loans, and provision for repayment of loans geared to future income.
•A provisional committee would examine university budgets and propose possible cuts. Each dollar cut would go to reducing incidental fees not related directly to tuition (admission, registration, sports services, technology, etc.).

 
Friday, 06 April 2012 18:12 Michael R. Shannon Editorial Dept - Americas
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Neighborhood Watch celebrity George Zimmerman graduated from a high school not too far from where I live in Virginia. I certainly hope he made it to the 10–year reunion of the Osbourn Park Class of 2001, because it doesn’t look like he’s going to be attending many in the future.

Not that Zimmerman is necessarily guilty of anything, but after one has been processed by the MSM’s reputation shredder, the thought of appearing in public and defending yourself for the umpteenth time is not appealing.

Particularly when the President joins the race–baiters and says, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Well, Mr. President, if your mother had married a Mexican instead of a Kenyan you would have looked like George. So what?


If only Zimmerman — a Spanish speaker registered as a Democrat — had been marching in a La Raza protest or a Mexicans Without Borders demonstration. Then national Democrats, including the President, would be happy to claim him as their own. But when George made the mistake of getting a concealed carry permit and dabbled on the fringes of law enforcement, Zimmerman became a “white Hispanic” member of the conspiracy designed to keep the black man down.
 
Thursday, 23 February 2012 00:00 Hilary Wainwright Editorial Dept - Americas
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What Two Generations of Radicals Can Learn From Each Other - The ability of the Occupy movement to create platforms outside our closed political system to force open a debate on inequality, the taboo at the heart of the financial crisis, is impressive. It is a new source of political creativity from which we all have much to learn.

At the same time, no veteran of the movements of the late 1960s and 1970s can help but be struck by similarities. There's the same strong sense of power from below that comes from the dependence of the powerful on those they dominate or exploit. 

There's the creative combination of personal and collective change, and the bringing together of resistance with experiments in creating alternatives here and now. There's the spurning of hierarchies and the creation of organizations that are today described as ‘horizontal’ or ‘networked’ – and that now with the new techno tools for networking have both more potential and more ambiguity.


And the same hoary problems reappear: informal and unaccountable leaderships, the tensions between inclusion and effectiveness. The Tyranny of Structurelessness, the 1970s pamphlet that tackled these unanticipated pitfalls from the perspective of the women's liberation movement in particular, may be well read.
 

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