For the first time in more than half a century, the presidents of the United States and Cuba have had a formal meeting. Barack Obama met with Cuban President Raúl Castro at the 7th Summit of the Americas, held this year in Panama City. Cuba's participation has been blocked by the U.S. since the summit began in 1994. This historic moment occurs with some sadness, however: Eduardo Galeano, the great Uruguayan writer who did so much to explain the deeply unequal relations between Latin America and the U.S. and Europe, died as the summit ended.
President Barack Obama and the Republicans in Congress are united. Yes, that's right. No, not on Obamacare, or on the budget, or on negotiations with Iran, or on equal pay for women. But on so-called free-trade agreements, which increase corporate power and reduce the power of people to govern themselves democratically, Obama and the Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder. This has put the president at loggerheads with his strongest congressional allies, the progressive Democrats, who oppose the TPP, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the most far-reaching trade agreements in history. TPP will set rules governing more than 40 per cent of the world's economy. Obama has been negotiating in secret, and the Democrats are not happy.
What are the consequences when elected governments make policy based on faith and imperial hubris instead of science and expertise? It's a question that is forcing itself on the world as we watch the U.S., Britain, NATO and the Harper government continue to up the ante in the confrontation with Russia over Ukraine. There are real enough geopolitical dangers in the world without actually creating them out of arrogance and ignorance but that is where we are right now, and the consequences could be catastrophic.
"Imagine if we did something different."
Those were just seven words out of close to 7,000 that President Barack Obama spoke during his State of the Union address. He was addressing both houses of Congress, which are controlled by his bitter foes. Most importantly, though, he was addressing the country. Obama employed characteristically soaring rhetoric to deliver his message of bipartisanship. "The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong," he assured us.
From whose lives has the shadow of crisis passed? And for whom is this Union strong?
This week marks the 13th anniversary of the arrival of the first post-9/11 prisoners to Guantanamo Bay, the most notorious prison on the planet. This grim anniversary, and the beginning of normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S and Cuba, serves as a reminder that we need to permanently close the prison and return the land to its rightful owners, the Cuban people. It is time to put an end to this dark chapter of United States history.
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On October 6, 2014, a U.S. judge decided to make information public about the horrific force-feeding of Abu Wa'el Dhiab, a Guantanamo detainee.
The news didn't make the headlines on CNN or Fox news. The treatment was not denounced over and over by every big or small Muslim organization, as they have done when it comes to the treatment of minorities and journalists by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In some media outlets, the news was portrayed as a victory for transparency and government accountability.
Stephen Harper's heritage minister, Shelly Glover, says the Islamic State "are people who are violent and brutal and they have decapitated journalists, they have raped and brutalized women. That is all we need to know…" in order to start bombing. With respect, let me suggest what else we might need to know.
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Hours after 400,000 people joined in the largest climate march in history, the United States began bombing Syria, starting yet another war. The Pentagon claims that the targets were military installations of the Islamic State, in Syria and Iraq, as well a newly revealed terrorist outfit, the Khorasan Group. President Barack Obama is again leading the way to war, while simultaneously failing to address our rapidly worsening climate. The world is beset with twin crises, inextricably linked: global warming and global warring. Solutions to both exist, but won't be achieved by bombing.
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Egypt sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists this week to severe prison terms, in court proceedings that observers described as "farcical." Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were charged with fabricating news footage, and thus supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which was ousted from power in a military coup a year ago and labeled a terrorist organization.