The Biden and Clinton Mutinies By ALEXANDER COCKBURN

31 July – 2 August, 2009 — CounterPunch Diary – Weekend Edition

Time bombs tossed seemingly casually in the past month by his vice president and his secretary of state disclose president Obama, in the dawn of his first term, already the target of carefully meditated onslaughts by senior members of his own cabinet.

At the superficial level Obama is presiding over an undisciplined administration; on a more realistic and sinister construction, he is facing mutiny, publicly conducted by two people who only a year ago were claiming that their qualifications to be in the Oval Office were far superior to those of the junior senator from Illinois.

The great danger to Obama posed by Biden’s and Clinton’s “time bombs” (a precisely correct description if we call them political, not diplomatic time bombs) is not international confusion and ridicule over what precisely are the US government’s policies, but a direct onslaught on his presidency by a domestic Israeli lobby that is so out of control that it renders ridiculous Obama’s puny attempt to stop settlements–or to curb Israeli aggression in any other way.

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South Africa: A Nation in Protest, a Moment of Hope By Jennifer Dohrn

31 July, 2009 — MRZine – Monthly Review

It is Friday afternoon, and I am in the Johannesburg Oliver Tambo Airport preparing for my journey back to New York where I will arrive Saturday morning. I left South Africa and Swaziland at the beginning of July, only to return two weeks later to put together the project that I am now involved in. I was not sure how it would be to return so quickly, after spending so little time in New York and several days in Puerto Rico with Haydee and my grandchildren. I found this trip to be wonderfully productive and exciting, which encourages me in my ability to adapt to the flexibility that this new work will require.

To catch you up, I am here continuing the project to build nurse capacity out of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health ICAP. I flew straight to East London, got unpacked into my continually welcoming home in Gonubie, and took off to rural Eastern Cape province immediately, to begin a whirlwind ten days of developing a concrete proposal to present to the national department of health today. The initial attention towards nurses when the HIV/AIDS pandemic was finally recognized here was to capacitate nurses already in service — at the community clinics, at the district hospitals. Now there is growing recognition that focus also needs to be given to the nursing colleges and universities so that graduating nurses will be able to function in the complex and extremely demanding health environment created by this burden of illness.

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Community Media: The Thriving Voice of the Venezuelan People By Liz Migliorelli and Caitlin McNulty

31 July, 2009 — Venezuela Analysis

In Venezuela today a grass-roots movement of community and alternative media is challenging the domination of private commercial media. Community oriented, non profit, non commercial, citizen and volunteer run media outlets are a crucial part of the democratic transformation of society that is occurring throughout Venezuela. Part of this transformation is the understanding of freedom of speech as a positive and basic right. This right includes universal access to a meaningful space for communication in addition to freedom from censorship. Freedom of expression as a positive right provides universal access to the means of communication. Political Analyst Diana Raby reiterates; “the technology of modern communications has to be made accessible to all, not merely as consumers but as participants and creators.”[1] Community media is beginning to fill this role in Venezuela.

The 1999 Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was written and ratified by the people themselves, setting a societal precedent of democratic participation. The constitution contains articles that grant new rights to Venezuelans such as indigenous rights, access to education, healthcare, housing, employment, political participation and many others that make the Venezuelan Constitution one of the most progressive in the world in the area of human rights. Article 58 specifically states, “Communication is free and plural and must adhere to the obligations and responsibilities under the law. Every person has the right to objective, true and impartial information, without censorship….” Article 108 of the Constitution ensures that all communication media, public and private, must contribute to the social development of citizens. The same article guarantees public access to radio, television, library networks and information networks in order to permit universal access to information. Public access channels and community-based media are rights that, for the first time, were ensured under the 1999 Constitution.[2]

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G8 Failure to Launch on Climate Change – Analysis By Stephen Leahy

13 July, 2009 — IPS

BERLIN, Jul 13 (IPS) – The G8’s failure to make meaningful commitments on climate last week pushes the world ever closer to global climate catastrophe, experts warn. Without commitments to take action, there is little comfort in G8 countries’ agreement to keep overall global warming below 2.0 degrees Celsius.

‘If they took the 2.0-degree commitment seriously, it would imply a vigorous and immediate carbon emission reduction programme,’ said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton University in the U.S.

‘It would mean carbon emissions would have to peak by 2020 and decline. That’s a tall order but that’s what needs to happen to stabilise at around 2.0 degrees C,’ Oppenheimer told IPS.

The Group of Eight of the world’s largest economies comprises Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada, Japan and the United States.

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