Monday, December 30, 2013

The Russian Bear steps in as the American Empire Unravels in the Middle East

US power in the Middle East is in decline, and American allies in the region are beginning to think of new alternatives to Washington.

The Cold War never ended for America’s leaders. There should be no illusions about it, the United States has strategically worked to contain and weaken both the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. The American strategy in the Middle East and Washington’s hostilities against both the Iranians and the Syrians has been part and parcel of the American line of attack against Moscow and Beijing.

In spite of Washington’s efforts, the lines that it had a part in carving in the sands of the volatile Middle East after 1945, tortured by consistent foreign meddling and the bitter rivalries of regional dynasties and powers, are shifting yet again. The winds are erasing the old lines, while regional and global events are drawing new ones to take their places.

Pax Americana, the so-called American Peace, is dead. It was never much of a peace anyway. In context of the Middle East, the term itself signifies a period of US dominance that arose after the Second World War and reached its zenith in 1978. Then in 1979 came along the Iranian Revolution. A few decades later, the monumental blunders of the US government of George W. Bush Jr. cast the dye for the steady decline of American influence.

Steady Decline of the US in the Middle East

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was so sure in 2006 that American domination in the broader Middle East would expand. She triumphantly declared amidst Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon that the map of the Middle East would forever change to the profit of the United States. It did not, and Israel lost the war too. US influence began eroding, while the influence of its rivals began increasing.

Read the entire article

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Edward Snowden Christmas Message

Hi, and Merry Christmas.

I'm honored to have the chance to speak with you and your family this year. 

Recently, we learned that our governments, working in concert, have created a system of worldwide mass surveillance, watching everything we do.

Great Britain's George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book -- microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us -- are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go.

Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person. A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves -- an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that's a problem, because privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.

The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it. Together, we can find a better balance. End mass surveillance. And remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.

For everyone out there listening, thank you, and Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Iran Sanctions Bill Big Test of Israel Lobby Power

This week’s introduction by a bipartisan group of 26 senators of a new sanctions bill against Iran could result in the biggest test of the political clout of the Israel lobby here in decades.

The White House, which says the bill could well derail ongoing negotiations between Iran and the U.S. and five other powers over Tehran’s nuclear programme and destroy the international coalition behind the existing sanctions regime, has already warned that it will veto the bill if it passes Congress in its present form.

The new bill, co-sponsored by two of Congress’s biggest beneficiaries of campaign contributions by political action committees closely linked to the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), would impose sweeping new sanctions against Tehran if it fails either to comply with the interim deal it struck last month in Geneva with the P5+1 (U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany) or reach a comprehensive accord with the great powers within one year.

To be acceptable, however, such an accord, according to the bill, would require Iran to effectively dismantle virtually its entire nuclear programme, including any enrichment of uranium on its own soil, as demanded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The government of President Hassan Rouhani has warned repeatedly that such a demand is a deal-breaker, and even Secretary of State John Kerry has said that a zero-enrichment position is a non-starter.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

China vs US 'sea-to-shining-sea'

It happened now and it will happen again: a near-collision between an American and a Chinese naval vessel in the South China Sea. 

The USS Cowpens, a 10,000-ton guided-missile cruiser, got "too close" to a drill involving the Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, and its carrier task force, according to the Global Times. 

The US Pacific Fleet stressed that the cruiser had to take emergency measures to avoid a collision. Yet the Global Times accused the cruiser of "harassing" the Liaoning formation by taking "offensive actions". 

The paper spelt it loudly; "If the American navy and air force always encroach near China's doorstep, confrontation is bound to take place." 

Finally, China's Defense Ministry intervened to clarify that the vessels had "met" each other in the South China Sea but the worst was avoided via "effective and normal communication". 

Communication had better be damned "effective" from now on as China asserts itself as a rising sea power and it's obviously unclear who can really do what in the South as well as the East China Sea, not to mention the oceans beyond. 

It's a fact that China's still booming economy is directly dependent on its complex maritime lines of supply (and demand) - mostly over the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific. But that does not mean that China is trying to control its surrounding seas by imposing a sino-version of the 19th century Monroe Doctrine, which was essentially a continental strategy of hemispheric domination (ask any informed Latin American about it). 

Read the entire article

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Is Putin One of Us?

Is Vladimir Putin a paleoconservative?

In the culture war for mankind’s future, is he one of us?

While such a question may be blasphemous in Western circles, consider the content of the Russian president’s state of the nation address.

With America clearly in mind, Putin declared, “In many countries today, moral and ethical norms are being reconsidered.”

“They’re now requiring not only the proper acknowledgment of freedom of conscience, political views and private life, but also the mandatory acknowledgment of the equality of good and evil.”

Translation: While privacy and freedom of thought, religion and speech are cherished rights, to equate traditional marriage and same-sex marriage is to equate good with evil.

No moral confusion here, this is moral clarity, agree or disagree.

President Reagan once called the old Soviet Empire “the focus of evil in the modern world.” President Putin is implying that Barack Obama’s America may deserve the title in the 21st century.

Read the entire article

Monday, December 16, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Goliath: The Book That May Delegitimize Israel’s Apartheid State

Thanks to the Israel lobby’s slander campaign against Max Blumenthal and his new book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, I not only learned things about the Jewish state that I never knew, I also made a wonderful discovery – but more about that later. I confess I probably wouldn’t have read Goliath if not for the controversy it has generated: those squeals of pain coming from Israel’s apologists had to mean something, I figured. Either the book was egregiously unfair to the Jewish state or else a brilliant chronicle of its depredations against ordinary human decency. I had to read it in order to find out – and what I discovered both shocked and uplifted me, furthering my understanding not only of the Jewish state and its people but also of my own philosophy of libertarianism.

Goliath is an easy read on a subject that makes many very uneasy: although it’s fairly long, it consists of many short vignettes told in the first person, chronicling Blumenthal’s travels across the length and breadth of the Holy Land – and the story it tells is alarming, especially for those who count themselves among Israel’s friends.

For years, the Israeli body politic has been moving rightward – i.e. toward militarism, ultra-nationalism, and religious fundamentalism – to such a degree that it seems unrecognizable to those of us who belong to the older generation. We remember – or think we remember – the Israel of Exodus, the brave little upstart that defied the odds and, surrounded by enemies on every side, made the desert bloom with the verdant fields of a liberal democracy.

Goliath proves that liberal democracy is now, for all intents and purpose, defunct: indeed, it may have never existed in the first place. The book demonstrates this on every page with brutal real-life firsthand reporting. Starting off slowly, Blumenthal paints a portrait of a society living in a bubble, with the Israeli Ashkenazi aristocracy on top, the Mizrahi drone-workers charged with police work and other non-elite tasks near the bottom, and the Palestinian helots on the lowest rung, eking out a problematic existence with all the legal and economic factors pointing to their eventual expulsion from Israeli society. As the rightist wave engulfs what had been the dream of socialist Zionists to build an egalitarian society, and turns it into a bastion of religious nationalism and outright racism, Blumenthal moves through this society-in-transition with the unforgiving eye of a born documentarian, mercilessly exposing the hypocrisy, mendacity, and criminality of a country that is coming unhinged.

Read the entire article

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

An obsessive’s documenting of Israeli war crimes in Lebanon can show us how the West lost respect for international law

Odd Karsten Tveit was always a very obsessional chap. Every story he covered, he always wanted to dig deeper, study further, hear one more tale of horror, one more joke, one more historical fact. We all covered the story of Israel’s wars in Lebanon, in 1978, in 1982, in 1996, in 2006. Over the years, I covered the story of Israel’s torturers in Khiam jail in southern Lebanon, the massive Ansar prison camp in 1982, the frightful interrogation of Lebanese and Palestinian inmates.

But Karsten has put together a book of immense research which will remain the volume on Israel’s shame in Lebanon and its historical defeat. That’s the title of the English edition – Goodbye Lebanon: Israel’s First Defeat. His detailed questioning of torture victims – hanged by their arms, electrocuted, in one case apparently raped and in another mistreated in an Israeli hospital – have an unstoppable power to convince. Not only did he cover the events on the ground in southern Lebanon, he interviewed Israeli veterans in Israel itself.

He reported constantly on Norwegian television and radio; he wanted to learn so much of the vicious Israeli-Hezbollah guerrilla war that he actually took time off to serve in the Norwegian UN battalion n southern Lebanon, wearing the blue beret. Now that is obsession for you.

It is a terrible tale, stories which upset many of the UN peacekeepers, especially military doctors, as evidence mounted of the Israeli brutality on prisoners in Lebanon and inside Israel itself. One Norwegian officer even left Lebanon via Tel Aviv with a typed report on torture taped to his chest for the eyes of a Norwegian government minister.

Prisoners at Ansar were grossly mistreated. Outside the walls of Khiam prison, I visited a post of UN unarmed truth supervisors who told me they could hear the screams of tortured men and women at night. Karsten did the same. Israeli interrogators were present, Karsten says. Israel denied responsibility, saying Khiam was under the control of their local Lebanese militia. The UN did not believe it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

Conservatism Inc.’s Mandela Problem—The Grassroots Still Think It Was Right First Time. And It Was

Conservatives have a Mandela problem” runs the headline of a December 6 Salon post by Alex Halperin. Actually, according to Halperin, [email him] conservatives—by which he means what VDARE.com calls Conservatism Inc.— have not one but two Mandela problems, rooted in its current fawning praise of the late Nelson Mandela. (To give credit where it’s due, some  well-known conservatives such as Joseph Farah, David Swindle, Robert Stacy McCain, Diana West, Gateway Pundit  and Tim Graham of the Media Research Center have been critical of Mandela.)

Conservatism Inc.’s first problem: the grassroots of the movement appear stoutly unreconstructed. The comment sections at most of the Conservatism Inc. websites has been overwhelmingly anti-Mandela.

The Left seems particularly fascinated by Ted Cruz’s Facebook page. Cruz gave a typical gushing statement, calling Mandela “inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe.” But many of his supporters expressed skepticism. And these were not crazed “racist” ramblings, but the same criticisms that many Conservatism Inc. operatives themselves made in the 1980s.  Of the thousands of comments left on Cruz’s page, the worst the Daily Beast’s Jamelle Bouie could point-and-splutter at were:

  • “Let’s not forget that Mandela called Castro’s Communist revolution ‘a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people,’”
  • “Mandela was a communist trained by the KGB who sings racial hate songs…and now, the South Africa is a worst country for both whites and blacks,”
  • “Ted, long before you were born, his reputation was the complete opposite. He was, in fact, a terrorist and a criminal, he persecuted and killed Zulus. All the apartheid BS you hear in today’s media is all lies.”
Read the entire article

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Amazon, Domino’s and Big Brother: Drones flying the not-so-friendly surveillance skies

Imagine a robot hovering overhead as you go about your day, driving to and from work, heading to the grocery store, or stopping by a friend’s house. The robot records your every movement with a surveillance camera and streams the information to a government command center. Whether you make a wrong move, or appear to be doing something suspicious, even if you don’t do anything suspicious, the information of your whereabouts, including what stores and offices you visit, what political rallies you attend, and what people you meet will be recorded, saved and easily accessed at a later date. 

As I document in my book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this scenario is inching ever closer to becoming our reality as corporations and government agencies alike prepare for their part in the coming drone invasion. The online retailer Amazon is designing its own pilotless delivery drones, octocopters, which would be used to deliver products under five pounds within a 10-mile range and with a 30 minute turnaround. The Domino’s pizza chain has also been looking to unmanned drones to give it an edge on its competitors. The “DomiCopter” is being developed to deliver two Domino’s pizzas in the company’s Heatwave bags. Not to be outdone, there’s also a TacoCopter drone—for delivering tacos—in the works. And then, of course, there’s the government, which will rely on drones for everything from border control and aerial surveillance to traffic enforcement, crowd control and fighting forest fires. Needless to say, whatever you can imagine, it will not be long before there is a drone suited to every purpose under the sun.

As Americans will soon discover firsthand, drones—unmanned aerial vehicles—come in all shapes and sizes, from nano-sized drones as small as a grain of sand that can do everything from conducting surveillance to detonating explosive charges, to middle-sized copter drones that can deliver pizzas to massive “hunter/killer” Predator warships that unleash firepower from on high. 

Once used exclusively by the military to carry out aerial surveillance and attacks on enemy insurgents abroad, these remotely piloted, semi-autonomous robots have been authorized by Congress and President Obama for widespread use in American airspace starting in 2015. It is estimated that at least 30,000 drones will be airborne by 2020, all part of an $80 billion industry that is already creating a buzz in the atmosphere. In fact, there are already nine states “poised to dominate the drone economy,” those being California, Washington, Texas, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Alabama.

Read the entire article

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Republicans Will Embrace Iran Diplomacy—If They’re Smart

When, after the massacres at Newtown and the Washington Navy Yard, Republicans refused to outlaw the AR-15 rifle or require background checks for gun purchasers, we were told the party had committed suicide by defying 90 percent of the nation.

When Republicans rejected amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, we were told the GOP had just forfeited its future.

When House Republicans refused to fund Obamacare, the government was shut down and the Tea Party was blamed, word went forth: The GOP has destroyed its brand. Republicans face a wipeout in 2014. It will take a generation to remove this mark of Cain.

Eight weeks later, Obama’s approval is below 40 percent. Most Americans find him untrustworthy. And the GOP is favored to hold the seats it has in the House while making gains in the Senate.

For this reversal of fortunes, Republicans can thank the rollout of Obamacare—the website that does not work, the revelation that, contrary to Obama’s promise, millions are losing health care plans that they liked, and the reports of soaring premiums and sinking benefits.

Democrats, however, might take comfort in the old maxim: If you don’t like the weather here, just wait a while.

Read the entire article

Friday, November 29, 2013

Let Obama Play the Iran Hand

When, after the massacres at Newtown and the Washington Navy Yard, Republicans refused to outlaw the AR-15 rifle or require background checks for gun purchasers, we were told the party had committed suicide by defying 90 percent of the nation.

When Republicans rejected amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, we were told the GOP had just forfeited its future.

When House Republicans refused to fund Obamacare, the government was shut down and the Tea Party was blamed, word went forth:

The GOP has destroyed its brand. Republicans face a wipeout in 2014. It will take a generation to remove this mark of Cain.

Eight weeks later, Obama’s approval is below 40 percent. Most Americans find him untrustworthy. And the GOP is favored to hold the seats it has in the House while making gains in the Senate.


For this reversal of fortunes, Republicans can thank the rollout of Obamacare – the website that does not work, the revelation that, contrary to Obama’s promise, millions are losing health care plans that they liked, and the reports of soaring premiums and sinking benefits.

Read the entire article

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance

Global food control has nearly been achieved, by reducing seed diversity with GMO (genetically modified) seeds that are distributed by only a few transnational corporations. But this agenda has been implemented at grave cost to our health; and if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passes, control over not just our food but our health, our environment and our financial system will be in the hands of transnational corporations.

Profits Before Populations

According to an Acres USA interview of plant pathologist Don Huber, Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, two modified traits account for practically all of the genetically modified crops grown in the world today. One involves insect resistance. The other, more disturbing modification involves insensitivity to glyphosate-based herbicides (plant-killing chemicals). Often known as Roundup after the best-selling Monsanto product of that name, glyphosate poisons everything in its path except plants genetically modified to resist it.

Glyphosate-based herbicides are now the most commonly used herbicides in the world. Glyphosate is an essential partner to the GMOs that are the principal business of the burgeoning biotech industry. Glyphosate is a “broad-spectrum” herbicide that destroys indiscriminately, not by killing unwanted plants directly but by tying up access to critical nutrients.

Because of the insidious way in which it works, it has been sold as a relatively benign replacement for the devastating earlier dioxin-based herbicides. But a barrage of experimental data has now shown glyphosate and the GMO foods incorporating it to pose serious dangers to health. Compounding the risk is the toxicity of “inert” ingredients used to make glyphosate more potent. Researchers have found, for example, that the surfactant POEA can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. But these risks have been conveniently ignored.

The widespread use of GMO foods and glyphosate herbicides helps explain the anomaly that the US spends over twice as much per capita on healthcare as the average developed country, yet it is rated far down the scale of the world’s healthiest populations. The World Health Organization has ranked the US LAST out of 17 developed nations for overall health.

Read the entire article

Monday, November 25, 2013

Americans Are Finally Learning About False Flag Terror

Governments from around the world admit they carry out false flag terror:

◾A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland. Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson

◾Soviet leader  Nikita Khrushchev admitted in writing that the Soviet Union’s Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939, and declared that the fire originated from Finland as a basis launching the Winter War four days later

◾Israel admits that an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this)

◾The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Lobby Is International

It is hard to believe that even though 64% of the American public favors a negotiated settlement with Iran over its nuclear program fully 37% of those polled also believe that the United States actually needs Israel’s permission before coming to any kind of agreement. To paraphrase the late great Mitt Romney, is that a percentage that we will never be able to reach no matter how good the arguments are for "taking responsibility" and restoring American sovereignty in the area of foreign affairs? One has to suspect that the percentage consists mostly of the Christian-Zionists, who lately have been conducting a large scale "action alert" email campaign directed at Congress and the White House to force the cancellation of talks. They are perhaps heeding the demand of Harvard Professor and professional Israel apologist Alan Dershowitz that the "entire pro-Israel community must unite" to stop any agreement.

Tea Party Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas provided his own explanation for why "a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do" to the House of Representatives last Wednesday saying "There are many who have been aware of Scripture, and it has often been a guide in our relations with Israel. Some of us believe that the Bible is accurate. Certainly, so many prophesies have been fulfilled, and if that is true, this administration, unless they can find a verse that accurately says that those who betray Israel will be blessed, then this country is being dug in a deeper hole by this administration, and its betrayals of Israel’s trust and Israel’s friendship." Gohmert, for all his sublime ignorance, is unfortunately not alone. By virtue of the evangelism and fine example set by the likes of Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin the scripture thumpers have escaped from the Bible Belt and are now to be found everywhere.

Congress is also doing its bit among the national security crowd, taking its lead from American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which supports "…congressional action to adopt legislation to further strengthen sanctions and there will absolutely be no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts." Leading Senators named Kirk, Schumer, McCain, Ayotte, Corker, Graham, and Menendez who have long been close to Israel are undercutting White House efforts to develop a formula that would break through the wall of mutual hostility between Tehran and Washington, insisting on new and harsher sanctions that would devastate the already struggling Iranian economy. Lindsey Graham even explained what we should all know about Iranians: "How do you define an Iranian moderate? An Iranian who is out of bullets and out of money." Mark Kirk, who denounced a Kerry Senate briefing on the talks with Iran as "anti-Israeli," apparently was briefed in advance by Israeli intelligence before the committee meeting began.

Even the normally somnolent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seems to be wavering under pressure from AIPAC, saying "I hope we can work something out with Iran, but I am a person who really believes in the State of Israel." And Senator Rand Paul also appears to know where his bread is buttered, tweeting last Tuesday that "Amidst the chaos of the Middle East we have always had one friend that never leaves our side – Israel. As an ally, Israel has never wavered."

Read the entire article

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It Is Time For Journalists To “Surrender Or Fight.”

James Risen, the New York Times reporter facing imprisonment for refusing to disclose his sources, denounced the federal government’s infringement on the press in a rare public appearance Thursday, saying it is time for journalists to “surrender or fight.”

Risen spoke to a crowd of about 300 lawyers, journalists and others at Berdahl Auditorium in Stanley Hall on Thursday evening in a talk hosted by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism titled “Prosecuting the Press.” He spoke alongside Lowell Bergman, director of the graduate school’s Investigative Reporting Program.

The lack of protection for national security reporters, he said, has allowed the federal government to demand that journalists like him reveal their sources, which threatens the integrity of the press.

“The basic issue is, can we continue as journalists to protect and offer the confidentiality to someone who knows something going on in the government but doesn’t want to go public?” he asked the audience, which included high-profile guests such as Daniel Ellsberg, the whistle-blower responsible for leaking the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971.

Risen faces incarceration after refusing to comply with a 2008 subpoena issued by a federal grand jury demanding that he testify in the case of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling. Sterling is charged with allegedly leaking information included in a chapter of Risen’s 2006 book, “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.”

Monday, November 18, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Showdown at the Geneva Corral

Does Senator Mark Kirk know whom he is supposed to be representing?

One wonders. After an administration briefing to the Senate Banking Committee, held to persuade members to hold off on new Iran sanctions, Kirk had this to say:

"’It was fairly anti-Israeli. I was supposed to disbelieve everything the Israelis had just told me, and I think the Israelis probably have a pretty good intelligence service.’ He said the Israelis had told him that the ‘total changes proposed set back the program by 24 days.’ A Senate aide familiar with the meeting said that ‘every time anybody would say anything about ‘what would the Israelis say,’ they’d get cut off and Kerry would say, ‘You have to ignore what they’re telling you, stop listening to the Israelis on this. They had no details,’ the aide said. ‘They had no ability to verify anything, to describe anything, to answer basic questions.’"

Why is "what would the Israelis say" the first thing out of Sen. Kirk’s mouth? He is supposed to represent the state of Illinois in the US Senate – not the state of Israel. But you’d never know it from his public pronouncements on this issue. Yes, the Israelis do indeed "have a pretty good intelligence service," one devoted to relentlessly pursuing Israeli interests. Those interests are not always aligned with American policy objectives – indeed, these days the two are rather frequently in conflict. And it is telling that Sen. Kirk doesn’t recognize this, or, if he does, chooses to listen to the Israelis rather than what our own intelligence services have been telling us regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

The official National Intelligence Estimate states "with high confidence" Tehran gave up its weapons program way back in 2003. Yet Sen. Kirk chooses to take the Israeli side in an increasingly public and acrimonious dispute between the government of the United States and a foreign entity with a long history of crying wolf over the alleged imminence of Iranian nukes.


The "details" demanded by Kirk could naturally not be provided by the administration, since revealing the inside dope on sensitive matters in the midst of talks is a sure way to scuttle any hope of success. So this is just disingenuous posturing, along with the requisite boilerplate rhetoric that came pouring out those Senatorial lips as if someone had pressed a button somewhere, unleashing a prerecorded message:

Read the entire article

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Afghan opium production hits record

Afghanistan's opium production surged to record levels this year, despite international efforts over the past decade to wean the country off the narcotics trade, according to a report by the UN's drug control agency.

The harvest this May resulted in 5,500 metric tons of opium, 49% higher than last year and more than the combined output of the rest of the world. Even Afghan provinces with some past successes in combating poppy cultivation saw those trends reversed, according to this year's annual UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report.

The withdrawal of foreign troops next year is likely to make matters worse, said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, the UNODC regional representative in Kabul. He warned that as international assistance falls off, the Afghan government will become increasingly reliant on illicit sources of income.

Uncertainty is also driving up poppy production, as farmers worried about the country's future turn to the tried and tested.

The big increase in production began in 2010 when farmers rushed to plant to take advantage of soaring prices, a result of a crop disease the previous year, the US military surge in the south and the announcement of the US and Nato's transition out of Afghanistan, Mr Lemahieu said.

He added that those who benefit from the drug trade include farmers, insurgents and many within the government. Often, he said, they work together.

Khan Bacha, who cultivates a small plot of land in eastern Nangarhar province, a Taliban stronghold, said this week that the insurgents charge farmers a "religious tax" of one kilo of opium for every 10 kilos produced - though the price is "negotiable".

Read the entire article

Monday, November 11, 2013

Israeli Bombers: Al Qaeda's Air Force

Israel has committed repeated acts of war against countries that opposed its Zionist policies of colonization and annexation of Palestinian territory in East Jerusalem and the West Bank .  Israeli leaders have secured arms and diplomatic support for their attacks through their Zionist proxies in the United States Congress and the Executive Branch.

 The current series of Israeli bombing raids and missile strikes against Syria are designed to strengthen the armed Syrian opposition and Islamist mercenaries seeking to destroy the government in Damascus .  Israel intends to sabotage the upcoming round of peace negotiations. The Zionist state does not want a peaceful resolution to the current regional conflict.  Its foreign policy depends on perpetual regional wars and political instability.   Toward this end, Tel Aviv has the unconditional support of the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organization and all other Zionist organizations in the US .

Armed Conflict and Intervention in Syria

For almost three years, Syria has increasingly transformed into a battleground and humanitarian disaster.  At first, there were domestic Syrian political and social organizations staging protests against the Baathist government.  The early protestors included secular liberals, Muslims, democrats and socialists.  They had engaged in mostly peaceful protest against the authoritarian, but multi-cultural, secular regime of Bashar Assad.  The government clamped down heavily and arrested many protestors. 

This heavy-handed response help to split the Syrian opposition: Peaceful, civil-society protestors remained in the country, although diminished in numbers, while many others went underground or fled to bordering countries and formed the early core of the armed opposition. They received military and financial support from NATO countries and Turkey , as well as from the corrupt Gulf Monarchies, especially Saudi Arabia .  A cross-border war was launched in which US and European special military forces played a leading role in organizing, training and directing a makeshift collection of armed Syrian groups. Turkey provided arms, training camps and logistical support. The funding came from the rich kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Monarchies, which have spent hundreds of millions of dollars.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Jewish Paradox Arising From The Curse of Zionism

I was inspired (perhaps I should say provoked) to write this piece by something U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden said in his speech to the recent J Street National Conference in Washington DC. He recalled visiting Golda Meir when she was Israel’s prime minister and he was a junior senator. Her parting words to him were, he said, these: “We Jews have a secret weapon in our conflict with the Arabs: We have no place else to go.”

Taken a face value what Golda said was obviously not true because there were then, as there still are, many countries to which Israeli Jews can go to start a new life if they wish. For the one million who have taken their leave of the Zionist (not Jewish) state for a better life elsewhere, America was and remains the first choice, but today Germany is also becoming popular.

So what, really, was Golda’s message to Biden by implication?

In very low key Mother Israel was giving voice to Zionism’s raison d’etre (reason for being). The logic of it can be summarised as follows.

The world always has been anti-Semitic (meaning anti-Jew because Arabs are Semites, too) and always will be. So Zionism takes it as a given that Holocaust II, shorthand for another great turning against Jews, is inevitable. Israel therefore exists to be a safe haven, a refuge of last resort, an insurance policy for all the Jews of the world when that day comes. That’s why Israel has an unsatisfied hunger for more Palestinian land, an unquenchable thirst for more Palestinian water and a lust for the oil that has very recently been discovered in Palestine that became Israel. (SEE   http://m.aljazeera.com/story/201311114571416794  )

And that in turn is why Zionism’s in-Israel leaders, assisted by their lobby and its associates and allies in America, will stop at nothing to advance their cause; a cause which requires, among other things, consolidating Zionism’s hold on the occupied West Bank and not ruling out a final ethnic cleansing of it, and the creation of a pretext to go to war with Lebanon again to take for keeps the south of that country up to the River Litani. (In one of his recent articles Franklin Lamb made reference to an Israeli document which contains the text of a speech made in 1941 by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding father and first prime minister. One particular sentence is circled by hand. “We have to remember that for the Jewish state’s ability to survive it must have within its borders the waters of the [rivers] Jordan and Litani.”)

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The NSA and the weakness of American power

The NSA scandal over phone tapping in Europe will soon blow over, conventional wisdom says. Jack Shafer has argued that, although allied leaders such as Angela Merkel are upset, they will (and have to) get over it.

Don’t believe a word of it. The public outrage that the NSA has spawned could be more damaging to the transatlantic relationship than the Iraq war was a decade ago.

If it was all up to leaders, Shafer might be right. But governments — along with their intelligence services — are increasingly boxed in by public opinion. It’s not the spying or the lying that European citizens find more hurtful. It is the perception that U.S. agencies are as oblivious to the rights of allies as they are scrupulous at upholding the rights of their own citizens.

Seen from Europe, the NSA saga is another episode in the long-running story about the asymmetry of power across the Atlantic. A decade ago, the fight was about Iraq. In an influential essay,  author Robert Kagan saw Europe and America as archetypes for power and weakness. “Americans come from Mars and Europeans from Venus,” he said. But President Bush’s invasion of Iraq did not “shock and awe” the rest of the world into submission. It was, in fact, a graphic illustration of the limits of American power, accelerating the arrival of what Fareed Zakaria called a “Post-American World.”

Kagan was honest enough to admit, after the Iraq war, that Europeans helped rein in American behavior by challenging its legitimacy. “If the United States is suffering a crisis of legitimacy,” Kagan wrote, “it is in large part because Europe wants to regain some measure of control over Washington’s behavior.”

The Franco-German response to the hegemony of the NSA has echoes of their response to the “Global War on Terror.” European citizens were not shocked that the NSA spies, but they were surprised by the power and reach of American intelligence.

Source

Friday, November 1, 2013

The First Hustler Runs the Big Con

“Nothing is lost save honor.”
So said Jim Fisk after he and Jay Gould survived yet another scrape in their corrupt and storied careers in the Gilded Age.
Fisk’s dismissal of honor came to mind while watching Barack Obama in Boston smugly explain how his vow — “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it!” — was now inoperative.
All along, it had been a bait-and-switch by the first hustler.
In Boston, Obama could no longer evade the truth. 
Hundreds of thousands of Americans who had purchased health insurance in the private market were getting notices their plans were being canceled.
That this revelation had blown a hole in his credibility did not seem to trouble Obama. Indeed, the president appeared impatient with the complaints. These were “substandard” plans anyhow, he said, the lousy offerings of “bad-apple insurers.”
“So if you’re getting one of those letters (canceling your insurance plan), just shop around in the new marketplace. … You’re going to get a better deal.”
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Notes on the Pussification of America

It is time to get women out of the schooling of boys. It is way past time. Women in our feminized classrooms are consigning generations of our sons to years of misery and diminished futures. The evidence is everywhere. Few dare notice it.

The feminization is real. More than seventy-five percent of teachers are women; in New York state, over ninety percent of elementary school teachers are women; in the US, over seventy percent of psychologists are women, with (sez me) the rest being doubtful. This is feminization with fangs.

I have just read Back to Normal: Why Ordinary Childhood Behavior Is Mistaken for ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder, by a psychologist, Enrico Gnaulati, who works with children alleged to have psychological problems in school, usually meaning boys. I decline to recommend it because of its psychobabble, its tendency to discover the obvious at great length, and its Genderallly Correct pronouns, which will grate on the literate. (I mean constructions resembling “If a student comes in, tell him or her that he or she should put his or her books in his or her locker”) However, a serious interest in the subject justifies slogging through the prose. (The statistics above are from the book.)

The relevent content is that women are making school hell for boys, that they have turned normal boyish behavior, such as enjoyment of rough-housing, into psychiatric “personality disorders.” They are doping boys up, forcing them into behavior utterly alien to them, and sending them to psychiatrists if they don´t conform to standards of behavior suited to girls. The result is that boy children hate school and do poorly (despite, as Gnaulati, says, having higher IQs). This is no secret for anyone paying attention, but  Gnaulati  makes it explicit.

As a galling example he cites one Robert, an adolescent responding badly to classes and therefore suspected by his teacher of having a “personality disorder.”  From the book:

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Israel and the NSA: Partners in Crime

It wasn’t the US government breaking into the private communications of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, according to top secret documents unearthed by Edward Snowden and published in Le Mondeit was the Israelis.

A four-page internal prĂ©cis regarding a visit to Washington by two top French intelligence officials denies the NSA or any US intelligence agency was behind the May 2012 attempted break-in – which sought to implant a monitoring device inside the Elysee Palace’s communications system – but instead fingers the Israelis, albeit indirectly:

The visit by Barnard Barbier, head of the DGSE’s technical division, and Patrick Pailloux, a top official with France’s National Information Systems Security, was intended to elicit an explanation for the break-in, which the French media blamed on the Americans. The NSA’s inquiries to the British, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, and other US allies all turned up negative. However, one such close ally wasn’t asked.

As Glenn Greenwald and Jacques Follorou, citing the NSA document, put it in their Le Monde piece: the NSA "’intentionally did not ask either the Mossad or the ISNU (the technical administration of the Israeli services) whether they were involved’ in this espionage operation against the head of the French government."

An interesting omission, to say the least, one justified by the author of the memo with some odd phraseology: "France is not an approved target for joint discussion by Israel and the United States." Meaning – exactly what? This is a job for Marcy Wheeler! But I’ll hazard a guess: the US is well aware of Israeli spying on France and wants nothing to do with it, and/or the author of the memo is simply invoking some obscure protocol in order to justify going any farther. 

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Growing Rift With Saudi Arabia Threatens To Severely Damage The Petrodollar

The number one American export is U.S. dollars.  It is paper currency that is backed up by absolutely nothing, but the rest of the world has been using it to trade with one another and so there is tremendous global demand for our dollars.  The linchpin of this system is the petrodollar.  For decades, if you have wanted to buy oil virtually anywhere in the world you have had to do so with U.S. dollars.  But if one of the biggest oil exporters on the planet, such as Saudi Arabia, decided to start accepting other currencies as payment for oil, the petrodollar monopoly would disintegrate very rapidly.  For years, everyone assumed that nothing like that would happen any time soon, but now Saudi officials are warning of a "major shift" in relations with the United States.  In fact, the Saudis are so upset at the Obama administration that "all options" are reportedly "on the table".  If it gets to the point where the Saudis decide to make a major move away from the petrodollar monopoly, it will be absolutely catastrophic for the U.S. economy.

The biggest reason why having good relations with Saudi Arabia is so important to the United States is because the petrodollar monopoly will not work without them.  For decades, Washington D.C. has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the Saudis happy.  But now the Saudis are becoming increasingly frustrated that the U.S. military is not being used to fight their wars for them.  The following is from a recent Daily Mail report...

Upset at President Barack Obama's policies on Iran and Syria, members of Saudi Arabia's ruling family are threatening a rift with the United States that could take the alliance between Washington and the kingdom to its lowest point in years. 
Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief is vowing that the kingdom will make a 'major shift' in relations with the United States to protest perceived American inaction over Syria's civil war as well as recent U.S. overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said on Tuesday. 
Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that the United States had failed to act effectively against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said.
Read the entire article 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Veterans Receiving Letters Prohibiting The Purchase, Possession, Receipt, Or Transport Of A Firearm/Ammunition

How would you feel if you received a letter from the U.S. Government informing you that because of a physical or mental condition that the government says you have it is proposing to rule that you are incompetent to handle your own financial affairs? Suppose that letter also stated that the government is going to appoint a stranger to handle your affairs for you at your expense? That would certainly be scary enough but it gets worse.  

What if that letter also stated: “A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).”?

That makes is sound like something right from a documentary on a tyrannical dictatorship somewhere in the world. Yet, as I write this I have a copy of such a letter right in front of me.It is being sent by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of America’s heroes. In my capacity as Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) I have been contacted by some of these veterans and the stories I am getting are appalling.

The letter provides no specifics on the reasons for the proposed finding of incompetency; just that is based on a determination by someone in the VA. In every state in the United States no one can be declared incompetent to administer their own affairs without due process of law and that usually requires a judicial hearing with evidence being offered to prove to a judge that the person is indeed incompetent. This is a requirement of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states that no person shall “… be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…”.


Obviously, the Department of Veterans Affairs can’t be bothered by such impediments as the Constitution, particularly since they are clearly pushing to fulfill one of Obama’s main goals, the disarming of the American people. Janet Napolitano has already warned law enforcement that some of the most dangerous among us are America’s heroes, our veterans, and now according to this letter from the VA they can be prohibited from buying or even possessing a firearm because of a physical or mental disability.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Is Secession’s Time Coming Again?

Pat Buchanan recently wrote an intriguing column titled, “Is Red State America Seceding?” His column clearly reveals that an independence/secession movement is spreading globally. Pat rightly observes that in just the last few years some 25 nations have broken free of mother countries and formed their own independent states. And, no, most of these separations did NOT require violent revolution. In addition, talk of secession is currently going on in at least six other regions of the world. And, as Buchanan correctly observes, the spirit of secession is very much alive and well in the United States.

Buchanan writes, “The five counties of western Maryland--Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll, which have more in common with West Virginia and wish to be rid of Baltimore and free of Annapolis, are talking secession.”

But people in Maryland are not the only ones talking secession. Buchanan continues to write, “Ten northern counties of Colorado are this November holding non-binding referenda to prepare a future secession from Denver and the creation of America’s 51st state.”

Furthermore, people in northern California are also talking secession. Again, to quote Pat Buchanan: “In California, which many have long believed should be split in two, the northern counties of Modoc and Siskiyou on the Oregon border are talking secession--and then union in a new state called Jefferson.”


Buchanan goes on to say, “Folks on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, bordered by Wisconsin and the Great Lakes, which is connected to lower Michigan by a bridge, have long dreamed of a separate state called Superior. The UP has little in common with Lansing and nothing with Detroit.

Read the entire article

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Empire Under Obama: Barack Obama's Global Terror Campaign

Under the administration of Barack Obama, America is waging a global terror campaign through the use of drones, killing thousands of people, committing endless war crimes, creating fear and terror in a program expected to last several more decades. Welcome to Obama's War OF Terror.

When Obama became President in 2009, he faced a monumental challenge for the extension of American and Western imperial interests. The effects of eight years under the overt ruthless and reckless behaviour of the Bush administration had taken a toll on the world. With two massive ground wars and occupations under way in Iraq and Afghanistan, Western military forces were stretched thin, while the world's populations had grown increasingly wary and critical of the use of military force, both at home and abroad. Just as Brzezinski had articulated: "while the lethality of their military might is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historic low."

When it came to the 'War on Terror,' Obama implemented his electoral visions of "hope" and "change" in the only way he knows: change the rhetoric, not the substance, and hope to hell that the Empire can continue extending its influence around the world. As such, Obama quickly implemented a policy change, dropping the term "war on terror" and replacing it with the equally - if not more - meaningless term, "overseas contingency operations."

A major facet of Obama's foreign policy strategy has been the implementation of an unprecedented global terror war with flying killer robots ("drones") operated by remote control. By 2011, the Washington Post reported that no president in U.S. history "has ever relied so extensively on the secret killing of individuals to advance the nation's security goals."

Every Tuesday, a counterterrorism meeting takes place in the White House Situation Room among two dozen security officials where they decide who - around the world - they are going to illegally bomb and kill that week, drawing up the weekly "kill list" (as it is called).

Monday, October 14, 2013

Internal pilot-union memo claims terrorism ‘dry-runs’ happening on US flights

An internal memo from the union that represents pilots for US Airways claims there have been “several cases recently” throughout the airline industry of what the union believes are “dry-runs” for potential attacks with or on an aircraft.

The memo - released sometime just before September 11, 2013 - from the US Airline Pilots Association states "there have been several cases recently throughout the (airline) industry of what appear to be probes, or dry-runs, to test our procedures and reaction to an in-flight threat."

The union memo, titled 9/11 Security Update,” went on to detail one “typical example” that happened on a US Airways flight to Orlando International Airport (MCO) originating at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Washington, DC. (All italics and capitalization reflect the original memo.)

“A group of Middle-Eastern males boarded in DCA. Shortly after takeoff, one got up and ran from his seat in coach towards the flight deck door. He made a hard left and entered the forward lav, where he stayed for a considerable length of time! While he was in there, the others got up and proceeded to move about the cabin, changing seats, opening overhead bins, and generally making a scene. They appeared to be trying to occupy and distract the flight attendants.

“Coincidence?”


Both US Airways and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) verified the incident.

The TSA responded to the original story with a statement, saying it "takes all reports of suspicious activity on board aircraft seriously,” and that "the matter required no further investigation at this time."


Read the entire article

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What’s Wrong With the Republican Right?

No longer will it suffice for Republican politicians to come to Washington and compile respectable, or even stellar, ratings from conservative groups. If federal spending is ever to be restrained as the baby boomers enter retirement, we will need politicians who are willing to employ unconventional methods in the fight.

Conservatives need rebels and boat-rockers, not conformists and time-servers. So I argued in my recent book on the political prospects for limited government. Sen. Ted Cruz would seem to fit the bill. The Texas Republican has been a one-man demolition crew, aiming his wrecking ball squarely at Capitol Hill’s customs and conventions.

But, surveying the scene in Washington, is Cruz an example of the old saying about being careful about what you wish for?

The government is shut down, with more Americans blaming Republicans than Democrats. The Obamacare exchanges are up and running—not very well, but not defunded either. In fact, the shutdown may be taking attention away from problems with Obamacare’s rollout.

Cruz is a fighter. He has been willing to push the envelope, rebelling even against his own party leadership. He has forced congressional Republicans into a confrontation with the Obama administration that many of them wished to avoid, or at least delay until the debt-ceiling negotiations.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Originalism is Not That Complicated

This is a post about Justice Scalia, but Daniel McCarthy uses the opportunity to take a swipe at movement conservatism (what else is new) and a rather obtuse swipe at originalism. For this new iteration of Daniel McCarthy talk of nuance, thoughtfulness etc. is a synonym for moderation. But an honest examination of originalism leads to more, not less, radical outcomes. Below is my post which has not yet been approved. I can’t see why it would be censored, unless they are balking at my reference to natural born citizen, but that is a perfectly legit example.
There are issues with originalism. Do you go with what what was actually written or what was likely intended? And whose intent? The Framers only? The state ratifying conventions only? Popular understanding at the time? Some combination? But that said, most issues are not murky from an originalist standpoint, particularly the doctrine of enumerated powers. So if we have all these originalist jurists then why aren’t they striking down programs on the basis of enumerated powers? Saying “you can’t do that” is not activism. Expanding powers and rights is activism. 
One issue where original intent really is murky is just what they intended by requiring that the President be a natural born citizen. Perhaps they could look into that. But whether the Framers/state conventions intended to allow the Feds to run a healthcare program is not murky. They didn’t. 
Modern conservative judges are only originalists to the extent that it doesn’t strike at longstanding programs. They are originalists around the edges.
Source 

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Sadistic Strategy of Obama & Reid

In the showdown over the shutdown of the U.S. government, the Obamaites tipped their hand yesterday as what their strategy is.

Taking a page out of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” the plan is to maximize the people’s pain — to maximize the political damage to the enemy, the Republican Party.

What else explains it?

Consider this: Asked Wednesday if there were any danger of America defaulting on her debt, President Obama rushed to assure a reporter that, yes, indeed, there certainly is such a peril.

Why would a president act in so perverse a manner, were he not trying deliberately to rattle or panic the markets?

Obama’s tactic worked. Thursday, the Dow plunged below 15,000.

Equally telling is what happened at the World War II Memorial.

This is an open memorial on the mall, to which the old soldiers of the Greatest Generation, flown here on honor flights, come to a last roll call with their comrades. The memorial is dedicated to them, to what they and their buddies did, and to those who never came home.

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