The officials said that no decision has been reached on whether to add the alleged operative to the administration’s so-called kill list, a step that would require Justice Department approval under new counterterrorism guidelines adopted by President Obama last year.
Posts filed under ‘Foreign Policy’
This would be President Obama on Friday:
Obama vows to put no troops on the ground in Iraq, but airstrikes, boosted surveillance possible
President Barack Obama vowed Friday that the United States would not be “dragged back” into military action in Iraq as long as leaders in Baghdad refuse to reform a political system that has left the county vulnerable to a fast-moving Islamic insurgency.
The president ruled out the possibility of putting American troops on the ground in Iraq, but said he was considering a range of other options drawn up by the Pentagon.
After a weekend filled with neocons who got the Iraq war wrong the first time around making guest appearances on the so-called liberal media saying we should essentially relaunch the war, this would be Obama today. I guess he thinks they’ll like him now:
Obama tells Congress: U.S. will deploy up to 275 troops to Iraq
President Barack Obama told Congress on Monday the United States was deploying up to 275 military personnel to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the country’s embassy in Baghdad after militants seized control of the north of the country.
“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat,” Obama said in a letter to lawmakers. “This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.”
What a fool. The tribes in Iraq have been fighting each other for a thousand years. If we put troops in who will remain until the “situations becomes such that it is no longer needed,” we’ll be there for a thousand more years.
Obama, grow a pair. Make a speech to the American people about how we’re going to spend time, money and effort rebuilding the United States.
That said, Malia will be 16 in July. She’ll be able to enlist in two years which I’m sure you’ll encourage her to do, right?
This is what the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution says:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
It doesn’t distinguish between someone who’s charged with J-walking or someone who’s accused of being part of al-Qaeda. Everyone is supposedly guaranteed the right to be informed of the exact nature of the charges against them, to face their accuser, hear the evidence against them, and to present evidence in their defense (if they wish). At least, that’s how we’ve operated for the last 230 years until constitutional lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama’s administration admitted last May to killing four Americans in Yemen.
All that said, Obama’s thinking about being the judge, jury and executioner when it comes to another American:
U.S. Weighs Lethal Strike Against American Citizen
The Obama administration is weighing whether to approve a lethal strike against a U.S. citizen who is accused of being part of the al-Qaeda terrorist network overseas and involved in ongoing plotting against American targets, U.S. officials said.
U.S. officials have not revealed the identify of the alleged operative, or the country where he is believed to be located, citing concern that disclosing those details would send him deeper into hiding and prevent a possible drone strike.
Got that? The administration is accusing this person of being part of an al-Qaeda network but again, he has a right, under our laws, to defend himself in court. That Obama is the first president (that we know of) to murder U.S. citizens, ignoring their rights, is shocking and appalling given, again, his supposed expertise in constitutional law.
Are we really such terrified little people we’re going to flush the Constitution down?
The guy has gone insane in that regard and imho, instead of looking strong, he looks weak and afraid.
Think of this mind-blowing little factoid (my Tweet of the Day):
And don’t forget, we’re talking Our Tax Dollars here.
Budweiser Pulls Out of Olympics Due to Terror Concerns
Budweiser has pulled out of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, citting terrorism concerns.
The beer company apparently hosts a traditional huge beer bash at the Olympics.
But this year, TMZ reports, the company got cold feet because of the ever-increasing terror warnings about Sochi.
As we’d reportedly earlier, the warnings about Sochi have off the charts, with reports that one or more suicide bombers may already have gotten past Olympic security.
It’s also entirely possibly that Budweiser, while not an official Olympic sponsor, simply no longer wanted its brand associated with an Olympics that’s increasingly being tied to Russia’s oppressive crackdown on human rights.
Coca-Cola, an official Olympic sponsor, has been facing blistering criticism for Olympic security forces, emblazoned with Coke’s logo, detaining a gay dissident for waving a rainbow flag, then turning the gay human rights activist over to the Russian police for further questioning at headquarters.
I’m cynical enough to through this out: What if these terror warnings have been pulled out of thin air by U.S. government officials to wreck the Olympics and to get back at, and embarrass, Putin?
Historian Piero Gleijeses, author of the new book, “Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991,” was a guest on DemocracyNow! today. He was on to talk about, “the pivotal role Cuba played in ending apartheid and why Castro was one of only five world leaders invited to speak at Nelson Mandela’s memorial.” This is what he had to say about Obama and Obama shaking Raul Castro’s hand:
The problem with Obama is that his speeches are good, his gestures are good, but there is no follow-up. So, unfortunately, it is just a gesture, a long-overdue gesture that does not change a shameful U.S. policy.
Agree x 1000.
Wow, this is an amazing story (I’ve shortened it a lot; go to the original for all the gory details). It’s essentially the back story to Pakistan and North Korea having nuclear bombs and Iran having a “nuclear program.”
Richard Barlow was driving his 13-year-old motorhome through a mountain state’s blizzard the week before Thanksgiving when news broke of the Iran nuclear deal.
Bad memories flooded his mind, not that they’re ever far away. For more than 25 years, ever since he testified behind closed doors on Capitol Hill that the CIA had “scores” of “absolutely reliable” reports on Pakistan’s clandestine efforts to obtain nuclear bomb technology – technology it later gave to Iran – his life has been tumbling through one trapdoor after another.
Barlow’s testimony in 1987 shocked several panel members of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, in part because Army General David Einsel, assigned to the CIA as a top intelligence official, had just told the committee that – despite the recent arrest of a Pakistani caught red-handed buying prohibited nuclear materials – the evidence that Islamabad was pursuing a bomb was inconclusive. The hearing erupted in shouts when Barlow told them differently. “They went through the roof,” he recalled from the road this week. By the time he got back to CIA headquarters, “the phones were ringing off the hook.”
Top Reagan administration officials were in “a panic,” he said, because Pakistan was the crucial player in the CIA operation funneling weapons to Islamic “holy warriors” fighting the Soviet Red Army next door in Afghanistan. If it became known that Pakistan was secretly building a bomb, a law passed by Congress would require a cut-off of military aid.
Obsessed with communism, the administration made a choice: It would turn a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear program in order to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan.
And that meant Barlow, 33 at the time, had to be destroyed.
“If they had busted those [Pakistani] networks,” [Barlow] said last week, “Iran would have no nuclear program, North Korea wouldn’t have a uranium bomb, and Pakistan wouldn’t have over a hundred nuclear weapons they are driving around in vans to hide from us.”
Thanks for the memories Ronnie.
Last night Barack Obama told us to watch the videos of people dying in Syria after being gassed by President Assad and he said if the United States doesn’t lead in the area of humanitarianism — as it supposedly always has — who will.
What a bunch of crap.
Show me another country who’s launched significant
humanitarian military actions roughly every 40 months over the last 40 years starting in 1964 with the invasion of Vietnam, veterans of which we’re still caring for and victims of which are still suffering from birth defects from our use of the chemical weapon, Agent Orange.
I’m listening to a “liberal” radio talk show and the people who are calling in are astonished to learn that the United States isn’t the beacon on the big high hill they’ve been led to believe. I mean, they’re as bad as this guy.
Beyond what we did in Vietnam, below is the reality. Oh, and how about we start wars every couple centuries instead of every 40 months for god’s sake:
- 1965-1973: Cambodia. We dropped more bombs on the tiny country than had been used in all of World War II.
- 1965: Dominican Republic. President Johnson sent 22,000 troops to prevent communists from taking over.
- 1983: Grenada. In the comically named Operation Urgent Fury, we invaded the tiny island nation to stop the commies.
- 1986: Libya. After two Americans are among those killed in a terrorist bombing of a disco in Germany, President Reagan ordered the bombing of facilities controlled by Muammar Gaddafi.
- 1989: Panama. In Operation Just Cause, we invaded the country and deposed its leader, Manuel Noriega.
- 1991: Kuwait/Iraq. Operation Desert Storm.
- 1992-1995: Somalia. Operation Restore Hope. Didn’t end well.
- 1994: Haiti. President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
- 1995: Bosnia. US and NATO forces intervene in the civil war with a large bombing campaign.
- 1999: Kosovo. We bomb the Serbians to help the Kosovars.
- 2001: Afghanistan. Still going!
- 2003: Iraq.
- 2011: Libya.
- 2013: Syria
The obituary of Rep. Justin Amash’s amendment to claw back the sweeping powers of the National Security Agency has largely been written as a victory for the White House and NSA chief Keith Alexander, who lobbied the Hill aggressively in the days and hours ahead of Wednesday’s shockingly close vote. But Hill sources say most of the credit for the amendment’s defeat goes to someone else: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. It’s an odd turn, considering that Pelosi has been, on many occasions, a vocal surveillance critic.
Not exactly. If the author of this article had done just a wee bit of The Google, he’d have learned how fake Pelosi’s criticism was, this from Glenn Greenwald: Democratic Establishment Unmasked: Prime Defenders of NSA Bulk Spying.
Bottom line? We’ve been punked.
Ahead of the razor-thin 205-217 vote, which would have severely limited the NSA’s ability to collect data on Americans’ telephone records if passed, Pelosi privately and aggressively lobbied wayward Democrats to torpedo the amendment.
“Pelosi had a big effect on more middle-of-the road hawkish Democrats who didn’t want to be identified with a bunch of lefties [voting for the amendment],” said the aide.
Shorter: Liberal San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi gave cover to “more middle-of-the-road hawkish Democrats” to vote to continue the spy program, instead of leading them in the other direction.
Going back to Glenn Greenwald (link above):
None of this should be surprising. Remember: this is the same Nancy Pelosi who spent years during the Bush administration pretending to be a vehement opponent of the illegal Bush NSA warrantless eavesdropping program after it was revealed by the New York Times, even though (just as was true of the Bush torture program) she was secretly briefed on it many years earlier when it was first implemented. At the end of June, we published the top secret draft report by the Inspector General’s office of the NSA that was required to provide a comprehensive history of the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program secretly ordered by Bush in late 2001. That report included this passage:
“Within the first 30 days of the Program, over 190 people were cleared into the Program. This number included Senators Robert Graham and Richard Shelby, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Counsel to the Vice President David Addington, and Presidential Assistant I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby.”
Okay. That’s it. If Nancy Pelosi can’t stand for the difference between Democrats and Republicans I give up.
I’m not leaving the Democratic party. They party’s leaving me.
I hitchhiked from Michigan to D.C. in the early 70s to protest the Vietnam War. Democrats like George McGovern and Eugene McCarthy stood with us. The differences between the parties were clear.
Nancy Pelosi is a Democrat? No way.
Democrats are melding with Republicans and it’s got to stop.
We desperately need new blood. (But good luck with that what with Citizens United huh? Geezus. We’re in a big freakin’ fix.)
The things I posted above happened on Wednesday, July 24. This would be Nancy Pelosi scrambling like a penguin stuck on ice today:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is circulating to fellow Democrats a letter she intends to send to President Obama outlinging [sic] their concerns over the National Security Agency’s phone surveillance.
The letter asks the president to “explore options which will preserve Americans’ privacy and civil liberties while protecting our national security.”
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Bye Nancy. You’ve burned my bridge.
I don’t know what to say on this, the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. I was against the war before it began and I’ve been against it ever since. I thought we were being lied to all along and it turns out, that’s exactly what was happening.
So much misery.
In my opinion the invasion was one of the greatest tragedies the world has ever seen.
(It’s indicative of the fantasyland George Bush lived in when we’re reminded that Bush gave his “mission accomplished” speech six weeks — SIX WEEKS — after the March 19, 2003 invasion. (The war officially ended on December 15, 2011).)
It’s pretty unsettling that our new CIA Director, John Brennan, has so little respect for freedom of the press:
In 1980, a 25-year old graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin wrote a master’s thesis called “Human rights, a case study of Egypt.” In it, he argued that the aim of achieving and maintaining political stability justifies human rights violations by apprehensive governments— including crackdowns on unbridled journalists:
Since the press can play such an influential role in determining the perceptions of the masses, I am in favor of some degree of government censorship. Inflamatory [sic] articles can provoke mass opposition and possible violence.
Government censorship usually means not telling the citizenry about the nasty things it’s doing. “Inflamatory” [sic] articles” are usually ones that expose those things. If a government doesn’t want what it’s doing to be exposed, it shouldn’t do whatever it fears exposure of.
Freedom of the press is essential to a democracy. No one should head the CIA – or be a leader in our government — who doesn’t believe that in their heart and soul.
First, there’s this headline from the Washington Post today: Biden Seeks to Reassure AIPAC of U.S. Commitment to Israel.
Then there’s this from Middle East expert Juan Cole:
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC], which ought to be a registered foreign agent, opens its annual conference in Washington today. Its three big goals right now are to make sure US government aid to Israel is exempted from the across the board budget cuts of the sequester; to make sure Israel can with impunity go on stealing Palestinian land in the West Bank; and to get permission from Congress for the Israeli Air Force to bomb Iran’s civilian nuclear enrichment facilities.
Since Israel is a middle-income country with a nominal per capita income higher than Spain or South Korea, it is mysterious why the US taxpayer should outright give it so much money every year– more especially since the Israelis are breaking international law with their aggressive colonization of the West Bank, which causes no end of trouble for the United States in the Muslim World. Why it should be exempted from the effects of the sequester, when ordinary Americans will not, is further mysterious.
Former National Security Council staffer and Columbia professor of Political Science Gary Sick notes, “Initiating a war is the gravest step any nation can take. This legislation would effectively entrust that decision to a regional state. Such a decision is an American sovereign responsibility. It cannot be outsourced.”
No kidding! This is outrageous.
William Rivers Pitt, a real journalist — we need a thousand more like him — on the run up to the Iraq war:
Over the last few years, MSNBC refashioned itself as the progressive news alternative to networks like Fox and CNN by giving Keith Olbermann an opportunity to do actual journalism on television for a few years, and by putting people like Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz front and center. Even Chris Matthews, the human weathervane, appears to have gotten the memo. But I remember a phone call I got from an MSNBC producer in February of 2003. Hans Blix and his weapons inspectors had not been in Iraq for 100 hours when this woman called me on my cell, told me she’d read my book, and asked me to appear on the network. There was, however, one caveat: she told me I was expected to argue that Blix and the inspectors were doing a terrible job and should be ignored, which just happened to be the exact line being peddled at the time by the Bush administration. I told the producer that I did not agree, that the inspectors needed to be given time to do their jobs, and that undermining them might lead to a devastating war. The MSNBC producer chuffed a cigarette-roughened laugh into my phone and hung up on me.
That happened – I remember the details not only because of how gruesome the conversation was, but because when she hung up on me, I almost lost control of my car and nearly wound up in the Charles River – and the fact of it tells you everything you need to know about MSNBC and the rest of the alphabet-soup cohort that is America’s “mainstream” news media. I did not do what that MSNBC producer asked me to, but you can bet all the money you have that she found someone who would a few phone calls later. You might have even seen it on TV.
The war against Iraq, in the end, was nothing more or less than a massive money-laundering operation that took American taxpayer dollars, soaked them in blood, and redirected them to Certain Friends In High Places. It was, as I said years ago, a smash-and-grab robbery[*] writ large, aided and abetted by an American “news” media which had its own profit motive, and which made a nifty sum off the whole deal. Even better for them, today they get to enjoy the ratings and advertising dollars to come when they broadcast their somber “documentaries” about how terrible it all was, how many lies were told, how many mistakes were made, and all without ever looking inward at their own enormous complicity.
* Halliburton, KBR, United Defense, the Carlyle Group, independent military contractors like Blackwater and a crowd of American oil companies are still counting the riches they earned from their participation in the carnage.
I’m proud to say I was one of the millions of people around the world who demonstrated (more than once) against the war. It has turned out pretty much exactly as I feared.
On a windy night in September, whilst most people were sleeping, wind power reached a record of 64.2% of Spain’s electricity demand.
The vast majority of Spain’s power that night came not from fossil fuels but clean, renewable energy generated by wind turbines on the Spanish hills.
And what couldn’t be used in Spain wasn’t wasted.
Some was exported via giant cables linking Spain to the rest of Europe and some was used to pump water uphill so it could be allowed to flow back down later, when demand was higher.
Pumped storage and interconnectors are just two of the way Spain has found to make sure wind works.
And there’s this:
Germany continues to outstrip the rest of the world in solar power capacity, and is adding new solar faster than any other country as well.
The US energy corporatocracy wants to believe that drilling for oil, fracking and transnational pipelines are the key to energy independence. Believe that at your children’s and your grandchildren’s peril.
Countries like Germany and Spain (despite their financial difficulties) are moving ahead with clean energy yet the US is held hostage by companies who wouldn’t mind destroying the entire planet to make a profit.
America, do we really want to elect someone who inspires headlines like this? Romney says Middle East Peace ‘Unthinkable’
Paul Wolfowitz was a guest on Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN yesterday. Yes, CNN. You know, that raving liberal station.
So undoubtedly Zakaria and Wolfowitz, international war criminal, had a frank and honest discussion, right?
Since when do we look back and think of Bush’s wars of choice that have killed untold hundreds of thousands as his — or our — “freedom agenda” and one of the major players who lied us into those wars as “the brain?”
Yo. Fareed. I’m looking at you.
Juan Cole over at Informed Comment is, as usual, the go-to guy for understanding what’s going on in the Middle East. This is the best I could do to (hopefully) convey his main points, cut from a very long article:
Romney Jumps the Shark: Libya, Egypt and the Butterfly Effect
So the Associated Press did a careful investigation of the ‘Sam Bacile’ who supposedly directed the hate film, ‘The Innocence of Muslims.’ And AP found that probably he does not exist, but is a persona used by a convicted Coptic Egyptian fraudster, Nakoula Bassely Nakoula.
But the story gets more complex. Nakoula had Coptic and evangelical associates in the shooting of the film, including Steve Klein, a former Marine and current extremist Christian who has helped train militiamen in California churches and has led “protests outside abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques.” My guess is that most of the Egyptian Copts involved are converts to American-style fundamentalism.
The Egyptian Coptic church has roundly condemned the hateful film they made smearing the Prophet Muhammad.
Anyway, the bigotry of the edited film, directed at Muslims, is part of a movement of religious prejudice that also targets . . . Mormons.
Then it turns out that the film was shot in such a way that there was originally no mention of the Prophet Muhammad in the script, and the cast had no idea what they were getting themselves into, and then the name of Muhammad was clumsily dubbed into the final edit.
So, the film was from the beginning a fraud. It was directed by a fraud. It was promoted by a militia trainer. And Nakoula marketed it fraudulently as the work of a fictitious Israeli-American Jewish real estate agent, ‘Sam Bacile,’ and falsely said it had been funded by “a hundred Jewish donors.”
The group behind the film, in other words, managed to evoke all the classic themes of anti-Semitism as a way of disguising the Coptic and evangelical network out of which the ‘film’ came. When they weren’t busy picketing Mormons and defaming Muslims they were trying to get Jews killed for their own smears of Islam!
Of course, given the strident hatred of Muslims promoted by a handful of Jewish American extremists such as Pamela Geller, David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes and others, in which they gleefully join with white supremacists and Christian fundamentalists, it was only a matter of time before their partners in hate turned on them and used them.
The bad, dubbed ‘film’ only had one theater showing in some dowdy place in LA. Then in July the group had the trailer for it dubbed into Arabic with subtitles as well, and put it on Youtube, where it was found by strident Egyptian Muslim fundamentalist Sheikh Khaled Abdallah, who had it shown on al-Nas television and caused the sensation that led to Tuesday’s demonstrations in Cairo and Benghazi. As I argued yesterday, the vigilante extremists or ‘jihadis’ have been left on the garbage pile of history by the democratic elections in Egypt and Libya, and are whipping up the issue of this film in a desperate attempt to remain relevant.
Aware of the building sensation about the film, an employee of the US embassy in Cairo condemned it as hate speech before the rally began outside its premises.
In other words, this is a non-film and a non-story, a fraud, promoted by the worst people in each culture.
In the end, the violence and extremism of the hardliners on both sides is a phantasm of the past, not a harbinger of the future. The wave of democratic politics sweeping the region has left the haters behind, reducing them to desperate and senseless acts of violence that will gain them no good will, no popularity, no political credibility.
The term “Coptic Egyptian” is new to me. Here is the Wikipedia page for that group.
Wow. Just wow. This is huge. Ecuador just gave the United States, Britain, Sweden and Australia the finger. Bravo!
Ecuador has granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The decision comes almost two months after the world-famous whistleblower came to the country’s embassy in London seeking protection.
“We have decided to grant political asylum to Mr. Assange,” said Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino. “We can state that he can be politically prosecuted.”
The announcement was met with celebrations outside the Ecuadorian embassy as the WikiLeaks founder’s supporters began chanting “Hands off Ecuador” and “Assange freedom fighter.“
Patino admitted that Julian Assange’s rights are endangered, as he is at high risk of extradition from Sweden to the US. Moreover, Assange’s home country will not provide him with adequate legal protection, he said.
“We think [Assange’s] extradition is viable to a country outside the EU,” said Patino. “If this happens, he will not get a fair trial and his rights won’t be respected. Most probably he will face a military court in the US.”
Now Britain is threatening the “storm” the Ecuadorian embassy to get Assange.
Watch Reuter’s live feed from outside the embassy here.
As Mitt Romney heads to London, Israel and Poland, will the “liberal media” call him “presumptuous” like it did when candidate Obama went to Europe? (Hint: No.)
In case you missed it, the United States isn’t the greatest country in the world anymore. Here’s why:
Beginning scene of the new HBO series The Newsroom explaining why America’s Not the Greatest Country Any Longer… But It Can Be.
So, exactly how many Al Qaeda No. 2 are there? 48? 72? 325?
US Strike Targets al-Qaeda No. 2
AL-QAEDA’S second-in-command Abu Yahya al-Libi was the target of a US drone strike that killed 15 people in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
US officials confirmed that al-Libi had been the target of the missile attack in North Waziristan on Monday, a Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold along the Afghan border, but could not say whether he had survived.
Something to think about and be aware of:
Via the U.S. State Department:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey from May 31-June 7.
On June 3, Secretary Clinton will travel to Stockholm, Sweden, for meetings with senior Swedish officials to discuss a range of issues, including green energy, Internet freedom, Afghanistan and the Middle East. In Stockholm she will also participate in a Climate and Clean Air Coalition event on short-lived climate pollutants.
When I see images like this, I remember that I am ashamed at the U.S.’s unconditional support of Israel:
Throughout the day (Saturday, May 26, 2012), there were reports of settlers from Yitzhar trying to set fire to Palestinian olive groves near the village of Urif, south of Nablus in the West Bank. The entire area is know for its frequent confrontations between settlers and local farmers. A team from B’Tselem who arrived at the spot caught one of the attacks on camera; Sarit Michaeli, spokesperson for B’Tselem who filmed the video, told me she had a very clear view of the settlers torching the field.
According to Palestinian and Israeli sources, the settlers also opened fire on several Palestinians who tried to protect their field. At least one person was injured, and the Palestinian and Israeli media is reporting that his condition is grave. You can hear (but not see) the shots at the beginning of this video, before the camerawoman runs away. According to Michaeli, she later saw an entire group of armed settlers on the hill.
So, Israeli settlers move into olive groves belonging to Palestinians and set the trees on fire and when a Palestinian is shot, well, we’ll see what happens. If history is any guide, nothing will.
That’s wrong. It’s just wrong and I don’t support the U.S. supporting the Israelis in that.
Hey, I have an idea. Let’s cut food stamps, unemployment benefits, Social Security, education, environmental protections, funds for road and bridge repair, food safety programs and shit like that so we can spend a trilling dollars on new toys for the military. (BTW, I thought drones were the new new thing. Do we need fighter jets anymore?)
The Jet That Ate the Pentagon
The F-35 is a boondoggle. It’s time to throw it in the trash bin.
The United States is making a gigantic investment in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, billed by its advocates as the next — by their count the fifth — generation of air-to-air and air-to-ground combat aircraft. Claimed to be near invisible to radar and able to dominate any future battlefield, the F-35 will replace most of the air-combat aircraft in the inventories of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and at least nine foreign allies, and it will be in those inventories for the next 55 years. It’s no secret, however, that the program — the most expensive in American history — is a calamity.
This month, we learned that the Pentagon has increased the price tag for the F-35 by another $289 million — just the latest in a long string of cost increases — and that the program is expected to account for a whopping 38 percent of Pentagon procurement for defense programs, assuming its cost will grow no more.
First, with regard to cost — a particularly important factor in what politicians keep saying is an austere defense budget environment — the F-35 is simply unaffordable. Although the plane was originally billed as a low-cost solution, major cost increases have plagued the program throughout the last decade. Last year, Pentagon leadership told Congress the acquisition price had increased another 16 percent, from $328.3 billion to $379.4 billion for the 2,457 aircraft to be bought. Not to worry, however — they pledged to finally reverse the growth.
The result? This February, the price increased another 4 percent to $395.7 billion and then even further in April. Don’t expect the cost overruns to end there: The test program is only 20 percent complete, the Government Accountability Office has reported, and the toughest tests are yet to come. Overall, the program’s cost has grown 75 percent from its original 2001 estimate of $226.5 billion — and that was for a larger buy of 2,866 aircraft.
A final note on expense: The F-35 will actually cost multiples of the $395.7 billion cited above. That is the current estimate only to acquire it, not the full life-cycle cost to operate it. The current appraisal for operations and support is $1.1 trillion — making for a grand total of $1.5 trillion, or more than the annual GDP of Spain.
I crack myself up when I say I’m waiting for slash-the-budget righties to have a fit about this because that’ll never happen. The boys who are building this thing are their buddies. What’s going on here is basically another TARP program under the guise of “keeping us safe;” a trillion dollars for something we don’t know works. Who does that?
USA! USA! USA!
This morning the Romney campaign “organized a conference call today with three of Romney’s foreign policy advisers… During the call, Romney adviser Ambassador Pierre Prosper attacked President Obama for dealing with Russia…”
The United States has become a spectator on issues of national security. We’ve also been embarrassed by North Korea where again it continues to be a conciliatory leaning forward approach and yet the North Koreans will launch a missile surprising the United States by violating their agreement.
You now Russia is another example where we give and Russia gets and we get nothing in return. The United States abandoned its missile defense sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia, yet Russia does nothing but obstruct us, or efforts in Iran and Syria.
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia (Czech and Slovak: Československo, Česko-Slovensko) was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992. From 1939 to 1945, the state did not de facto exist because of its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany, but the Czechoslovak government-in-exile nevertheless continued to exist during this period. In 1945, the eastern part of Carpathian Ruthenia was taken over by the Soviet Union. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Not a good sign.
Why the Romney campaign would hire someone who has a habit of firing off nasty, seemingly-impetuous tweets as its national security and foreign policy “spokesman” is beyond me. My idea of a spokesman is someone who chooses his or her words carefully and deliberately.
Richard Grenell, a former Bush administration official who joined the Romney campaign Thursday as national security and foreign policy spokesman, appears to have deleted more than 800 of his past tweets following scrutiny over numerous swipes aimed at the media, prominent Democratic women and the Gingriches. Grenell also apparently took down his personal site, which featured writing on politics, foreign affairs and the media.
On Friday afternoon, Grenell still featured a link to his personal site (http://www.richardgrenell.com) on his Twitter profile, which then showed that he had tweeted 7,577 times, according to a screenshot taken Friday by The Huffington Post. By Sunday morning, Grenell’s Twitter feed only listed 6,759 tweets and his personal site is no longer available.
ThinkProgress noted Grenell’s tendency to make cutting remarks about the appearances of prominent women in media and politics, including his tweet advising MSNBC host Rachel Maddow “to take a breath and put on a necklace,” and another suggesting she resembled a Justin Bieber.
In another tweet, Grenell wrote that “Hillary is starting to look liek Madeline [sic] Albright.” He discussed First Lady Michelle Obama working out and “sweating on the East Room carpet.” He also asked whether Callista Gingrich’s “hair snaps on,” and on another occasion, commented how Gingrich’s third wife “stands there like she is wife #1.” Politico flagged more examples and noted Grenell’s “old pastime” of “ridiculing the Gingriches.”
And there’s so much more. Find the whole article here.
Grenell’s a bomb waiting to go off. I give him six weeks.
Okay folks, let’s put this lie to bed once and for all:
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor acknowledged on Al Jazeera English (4/14/12) that Iranian leaders have never called for Israel to be “wiped” off the map.
Meridor agreed with interviewer Teymoor Nabili’s suggestion that the supposed remarks were never actually made; Iranian leaders, Meridor said,
come basically ideologically, religiously, with the statement that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not survive. They didn’t say “we’ll wipe it out,” you are right, but [that] it will not survive, it is a cancerous tumor, it should be removed.
Hostile words, to be sure, but not the menacing threat endlessly reported in corporate U.S. media in recent years. (Iran, Israel and “wiped off the map” occur together more than 8,500 times in the Nexis news database in the last seven years.)
This has been a case of the U.S. media terrorizing its own citizens. So I’m sure we’ll be seeing corrections all over the place any minute now, you know, like all those corrections we saw after it turned out Iraq didn’t have any “weapons of mass destruction.” (Yeah, right.)
Wow. Here we have a perfect example of how the “liberal” American media brainwashes us into fearing or hating groups that those in power decide we should ah, fear or hate. This example is from today’s Washington Post.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has delivered a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that calls for a resumption of peace negotiations.
Got that? Palestinian Authority President Abbas wants to resume peace negotiations, but the Israeli lobby wants us to hate and fear the Palestinians (nobody bucks the Israeli lobby), so check out the photo the WaPo used to illustrate the article:
That title is total sarcasm. Chances are this will get little to no coverage in the American corporate media because, after all, (1) it isn’t liberal and (2) one thing it does really well is protect our dear leaders:
A man whose lies helped to make the case for invading Iraq – starting a nine-year war costing more than 100,000 lives and hundreds of billions of pounds – will come clean in his first British television interview tomorrow.
“Curveball”, the Iraqi defector who fabricated claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, smiles as he confirms how he made the whole thing up. It was a confidence trick that changed the course of history, with Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi’s lies used to justify the Iraq war.
He tries to defend his actions: “My main purpose was to topple the tyrant in Iraq because the longer this dictator remains in power, the more the Iraqi people will suffer from this regime’s oppression.”
The chemical engineer claimed to have overseen the building of a mobile biological laboratory when he sought political asylum in Germany in 1999. His lies were presented as “facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence” by Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, when making the case for war at the UN Security Council in February 2003.
But Mr Janabi, speaking in a two-part series, Modern Spies, starting tomorrow on BBC2, says none of it was true. When it is put to him “we went to war in Iraq on a lie. And that lie was your lie”, he simply replies: “Yes.”
Karl Rove is trying to rewrite history while simultaneously making President Obama look like an empty suit:
As for the killing of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Obama did what virtually any commander in chief would have done in the same situation. Even President Bill Clinton says in the film “that’s the call I would have made.” For this to be portrayed as the epic achievement of the first term tells you how bare the White House cupboards are.
Excuse me. George W. Bush was president for eight years while bin Laden was on the run and he didn’t get him. As a matter of fact, Bush blew a huge chance to do so:
And that’s the one big chance Bush blew to catch or kill bin Laden that we know of. There could have been many others over the course of Bush’s two terms.
So again, for Rove to claim “any president” would have done what Obama did — when his guy had eight years to do so but didn’t — is just typical Rove slime.
Until I watched this now-viral (1,845,000 views in two days), devastating video about the world’s #1 war criminal, Joseph Kony, I didn’t know who Joseph Kony was. (Thanks American “news” media.)
Now I do and now I’m fighting mad. We’ve got to get him.
UPDATE (@6:29 p.m. ET March 8, 2012)
Over the last several days, much has been written about this video and about the video’s producer, Invisible Children. I get the controversy but I agree with the last paragraph of this “Viewpoint” post from Think Progress:
So, instead of continuing to debate the strengths and weakness of the Kony2012 video, or attack Invisible Children for their lack of financial transparency, let’s figure out how to turn this momentum into a constructive opportunity that can result in smart policies that will have a positive, real-time impact in the affected areas of central Africa. Let’s harness this energy and turn it into something productive that ensures we’re telling the right stories, inspiring well-informed advocacy, and working together across governments, academia, grassroots activists, and local populations to help bring this chapter of the LRA — and the impact in affected areas — to a close.