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State of the Union 2012: The missing peace in Obama's speech

For Americans and a huge chunk of non-Americans who (sometimes unwillingly) are affected by U.S. policy and rhetoric, the annual State of the Union (SOTU) address makes for must-watch TV.

Oh, except for that one time in 2010 when an episode of Lost was nearly delayed thanks to competing airtime, leading many to question whether the president was even aware of this pending catastrophe. Very kindly, the White House assured America's citizenry that President Obama would "not pre-empt the premier of the show's final season."

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Harper allies with Obama's Republican opponents

Harper and Obama at press conference. Photo: US Mission Canada/Flickr
Unsure of the eventual approval of the Keystone pipeline, Harper has decided to increase pressure on the U.S. president.

Related rabble.ca story:

Message to Canada's ambassador to U.S.: Stop lobbying for Keystone XL pipeline

For Immediate Release

August 31, 2011 (Washington, D.C.) - The Council of Canadians, the Indigenous Environmental Network and Greenpeace Canada presented a letter addressed to Ambassador Gary Doer at the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C. today demanding an end to lobbying in favour of the Keystone XL pipeline.

"Ambassador Doer has publicly recognized he is actively lobbying for Keystone XL," says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, who will be present to help deliver the letter. "To pitch the tar sands as the answer to American energy security ignores the destruction [it creates] and turns away from the sustainable energy future Canada and the U.S. need."

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Not Rex: Osama. Yo mama.

The celebrations in New York after learning of the death of Osama bin Laden. Photo: Dan Nguyen/Flickr
Who's going to be America's Top Villain now?

Related rabble.ca story:

The hypocrisy and phony patriotism of this Libyan war

Seen through night-vision lenses aboard amphibious transport dock USS Ponce, the guided missile destroyer USS Barry fires Tomahawk cruise missiles in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn against Libya. Photo: U.S. Navy/Nathanael Miller
Control information, demonize the enemy, mention humanitarianism, obscure history and economic interests.

Related rabble.ca story:

Will Canada be trapped inside Fortress North America?

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and U.S. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the playing of America's national anthem at the U.S. NORAD change of command ceremony in 2010.

Thought the debate about Canada joining the U.S. Star Wars missile defence shield was over? Maybe not. The latest round of Canada-U.S. border security talks could result in Canada joining "Star Wars," and a lot more.

"We intend to pursue a perimeter approach to security," said the joint statement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama in Washington this month.

The statement was light on details, but Canadians should be concerned that political and military leaders involved in border security talks are also discussing a massive expansion of North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) -- the joint U.S.-Canada military aerospace command for North America.

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Columnists

What Eisenhower could teach the Tea Party

Fifty years ago this month, on January 17, 1961, outgoing U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower made one of the truly memorable presidential speeches of all time. Through his justly celebrated farewell address, Eisenhower wanted to alert his fellow Americans to two great dangers threatening public life in the Republic. For the first time in its history, the U.S. was home to a permanent arms industry. Allied with the military, this newly created military-industrial complex constituted a menace of "unwarranted influence" over U.S. decisions on momentous issues of war and peace, and for the structure of American society itself.

Columnists

Internet freedom getting stifled in the U.S.

One of President Barack Obama's signature campaign promises was to protect the freedom of the Internet. He said, in November 2007, "I will take a back seat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality, because once providers start to privilege some applications or websites over others, then the smaller voices get squeezed out and we all lose."

Jump ahead to December 2010, where Obama is clearly in the back seat, being driven by Internet giants like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast. With him is his appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski, his Harvard Law School classmate and basketball pal who just pushed through a rule on network neutrality that Internet activists consider disastrous.

Columnists

We need inspired political leadership to champion greater equality

Nobody ever accused Barack Obama of having too stiff a spine.

Even so, there is something crushingly disappointing about reports last week that the U.S. president is likely to retreat from his promise to cancel George W. Bush's tax cuts for the rich.

Such a capitulation to the Republicans would concede defeat before the battle to achieve greater equality and to "spread the wealth around" is even waged. The audacity of hope seems to have turned into a readiness to choke.

Obama's promise was a modest one -- to push the top marginal tax rate from 35 per cent back up to its Clinton-era level of 39 per cent.

Columnists

Obama brings support for repressive regime on visit to Indonesia

If a volcano kills civilians in Indonesia, it's news. When the government does the killing, sadly, it's just business as usual, especially if an American president tacitly endorses the killing, as President Barack Obama just did with his visit to Indonesia.

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