Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Why I Still Dislike Israel

I little more than two years ago I wrote an article for antiwar.com that was entitled “Why I dislike Israel.” The editors were a bit nervous about running it but eventually allowed it to appear after I agreed to some minor deletions. It turned out to be by far the most successful piece I ever did for that website in terms of readership and it attracted 166 comments. My critique was basically that the contrived special relationship with Israel is very bad for the United States on a number of levels. I argued that Washington should treat Israel like any other country, based on actual American national interests. I continue to hold those views, now more than ever as the Israeli government sinks into something approximating madness and drags Washington along with it, and I have often thought that it would be interesting to revisit my discontent with Israel in light of recent developments.

There are good historic reasons to dislike Israel. In the so-called Lavon Affair in 1952 the Israelis were prepared to blow up a U.S. Information Center in Alexandria and blame it on the Egyptians. In the 1960s Israelis stole enriched uranium from a lab in Pennsylvania to build atom bombs. They also obtained nuclear triggers through a spying operation run by Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan that included current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In 1967, the Israelis attacked and nearly sank the American vessel USS Liberty in international waters, killing 34 crewmen. President Lyndon Johnson subsequently blocked an investigation into what had occurred, a cover-up that has persisted to this day. In 1987, Jonathan Pollard, the most damaging spy in the history of the United States, was convicted of carrying out espionage for Israel. He is up for parole next year. And Israel gets away with literally and directly killing individual American citizens in the cases of Rachel Corrie in 2003 and Furkan Dogan of the Mavi Marmara in 2010.

I noted two years ago that the few mainstream critics of Israel tend to apologize in advance by explaining that they have a lot of Jewish friends and actually like Israelis before engaging in what is usually a very mild critique. That milquetoast approach has, fortunately, shifted considerably in the past two years largely due to the steady march of Israeli politics to the hard right coupled with the horrific Israeli attacks on Gaza, which together killed more than 3,000 civilians, including many women and children, and featured deliberate bombings of schools and hospitals. Israel’s development into what is transparently a racist apartheid style state has also come at great cost to the United States, which has looked and acted increasingly ridiculous as a result of the contortions necessary to continue to serve as Tel Aviv’s indispensable patron and protector.

Unlike two years ago, there are now a lot of mainstream critics of Israel and they are pulling no punches, leaving the phony narrative of Israel as the beleaguered little democracy in a sea of nasty enemies in tatters. Many of the most effective critics are themselves Jewish, having finally decided that enough is enough. I defy anyone to read the first few chapters of Max Blumenthal’s splendid Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel and come away with any remaining illusions about Israeli society and politics intact. And then there are John Judis’s book Genesis: Truman, American Jews and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict, Peter Beinart’s The Crisis of Zionism and the Mondoweiss website run by Phil Weiss.

Read the entire article

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In last year’s New Year’s column I contended that the Iranian nuclear issue is undoubtedly the most important question the United States would be facing in the coming year, and – for once – my prediction turned out to be largely correct. The ongoing negotiations, which began in January, were recently extended into 2015 – and the repercussions have impacted US foreign policy in a major way.

Our relations with Israel, our best frenemy, have deteriorated to the point where the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prefers to deal with the US Congress rather than the executive branch. The Jewish state, for its part, continues to teeter into full-blown extremism – threatening to take military action against Iran, and actively subverting negotiations with the Palestinians, which are at a standstill.

Meanwhile, in spite of Israeli sabotage, the talks between Tehran and the West continue – and war has so far been averted. That’s the best thing that has happened in ages – and we should all be grateful we’ve been spared the horrors of what would amount to World War III.

Another positive factor on the diplomatic front has been the opening to Cuba, undertaken by the Obama administration with uncharacteristic boldness. Protests by such throwbacks as Sen. Marco Rubio and the usual neocon suspects have only underscored their posturing unreasonableness: polls show the majority of Americans support the move. Chalk up another victory for non-interventionism and the subversive idea that trade and free travel between nations is the best remedy for dealing with the infections brought on by totalitarian sclerosis.

The debate over the 2013 revelations by Edward Snowden, which threw back the curtain on the National Security Agency’s worldwide spying operation, reached a fever pitch in 2014, with political implications that have yet to fully play out. The Obama administration’s intellectual Praetorian Guard went all-out in an attempt to trivialize and justify the Surveillance State, denigrating and smearing both Snowden and the journalists who brought this story to the American people. What struck me is that the Regime’s most enthusiastic defenders were, for the most part, self-identified "progressives," such as Prof. Sean Wilentz (a prominent friend of Hillary Clinton), George "I was for the Iraq war before I was against it" Packer, and Cass Sunstein, former Obama administration official and advocate of a sinister plan to "infiltrate" the Internet with pro-government agents.

Read the entire article 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Soldiers Against War The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce

The Christmas Truce, which occurred primarily between the British and German soldiers along the Western Front in December 1914, is an event the official histories of the “Great War” leave out, and the Orwellian historians hide from the public. Stanley Weintraub has broken through this barrier of silence and written a moving account of this significant event by compiling letters sent home from the front, as well as diaries of the soldiers involved. His book is entitled Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce. The book contains many pictures of the actual events showing the opposing forces mixing and celebrating together that first Christmas of the war. This remarkable story begins to unfold, according to Weintraub, on the morning of December 19, 1914:

“Lieutenant Geoffrey Heinekey, new to the 2nd Queen’s Westminster Rifles, wrote to his mother, ‘A most extraordinary thing happened. . . Some Germans came out and held up their hands and began to take in some of their wounded and so we ourselves immediately got out of our trenches and began bringing in our wounded also. The Germans then beckoned to us and a lot of us went over and talked to them and they helped us to bury our dead. This lasted the whole morning and I talked to several of them and I must say they seemed extraordinarily fine men . . . . It seemed too ironical for words. There, the night before we had been having a terrific battle and the morning after, there we were smoking their cigarettes and they smoking ours.” (p. 5)

Weintraub reports that the French and Belgians reacted differently to the war and with more emotion than the British in the beginning. The war was occurring on their land and “The French had lived in an atmosphere of revanche since 1870, when Alsace and Lorraine were seized by the Prussians” in a war declared by the French. (p. 4). The British and German soldiers, however, saw little meaning in the war as to them, and, after all, the British King and the German Kaiser were both grandsons of Queen Victoria. Why should the Germans and British be at war, or hating each other, because a royal couple from Austria were killed by an assassin while they were visiting in Bosnia? However, since August when the war started, hundreds of thousands of soldiers had been killed, wounded or missing by December 1914 (p. xvi).

It is estimated that over eighty thousand young Germans had gone to England before the war to be employed in such jobs as waiters, cooks, and cab drivers and many spoke English very well. It appears that the Germans were the instigators of this move towards a truce. So much interchange had occurred across the lines by the time that Christmas Eve approached that Brigadier General G.T. Forrestier-Walker issued a directive forbidding fraternization:

“For it discourages initiative in commanders, and destroys offensive spirit in all ranks . . . . Friendly intercourse with the enemy, unofficial armistices and exchange of tobacco and other comforts, however tempting and occasionally amusing they may be, are absolutely prohibited.” (p. 6–7).

Source

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Abolishing the CIA

The shock resonating from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA torture report isn’t due so much to the revelations themselves, grotesque as the details are, but to the fact that they’re now officially public. National spokespersons (except for Dick Cheney) can no longer deny, quite so glibly, that the United States is what it claims its enemies to be.

We’re responsible for the worst sort of abuses of our fellow human beings: A half-naked man freezes to death. A detainee is chained to the wall in a standing position for 17 days. The stories have no saving grace, not even “good intelligence.”
The Axis of Evil smiles, yawns: It’s home.

The question is, what do we do with this moment of national self-awareness? Beyond demanding the prosecution of high-level perps, how about really changing the game? I suggest reviving S. 126, a bill introduced into the U.S. Senate on Jan. 4, 1995 by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, titled: Abolition of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Abolish the agency that has secretly stirred up hell on earth. Its sins go far beyond torturing suspected terrorists. This agency, with its annual budget (in 2013) of nearly $15 billion, has covertly carried out the bidding of special economic and political interests since its founding, orchestrating, among much else, the overthrow of democratically elected, populist governments in Iran, Guatemala and Chile because the U.S. couldn’t control them. In each case, the regime that followed was darkly repressive, murderous; the blood of their victims is also on American hands.

The abolition of the CIA could be a conscious step in tearing our government out of the grip of the war consensus — this unelected force that feeds on perpetual global mistrust and hatred, the exact opposite of what true security requires.

In Moynihan’s speech introducing the bill to the Senate, he declared that the end of the Cold War “was a victory achieved by openness, not secrecy. By frankness, not intrigue.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Obama Throws Fidel a Rope

The celebrations in Havana and the sullen silence in Miami tell you all you need to know about who won this round with Castro’s Cuba.

In JFK’s metaphor, Obama traded a horse for a rabbit.

We got back Alan Gross before his Communist jailers killed him, along with an American spy, in exchange for three members of a Cuban espionage ring. Had we left it at that, the deal would have been fine.

But Obama threw in an admission that all nine presidents before him pursued a “failed policy.” Calling for recognition of the Castro regime as the legitimate government of Cuba, Obama said, “Isolation has not worked.”

“Not worked”? What is he talking about? Isolating Cuba during the last 30 years of the Cold War helped bankrupt and bring down the Soviet Empire, which had to carry Cuba on its back.

Obama’s admission is being seen in Cuba as vindication of half a century of hostility to the United States. But with the new Congress controlled by Republicans, it will be a while before the U.S. 
embargo is lifted, Cuban goods began to flow across the Florida Strait, and U.S. dollars flow back to sustain one of the last of the Leninist regimes in its terminal stage.

But why did Obama choose now to bail out Cuba?

Read the entire article

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Promoting the Apocalypse

If you read a major newspaper on a regular basis you will no doubt have seen the full page ads placed by defense contractors. The ads generally are anodyne, featuring ubiquitous flags and eagles while praising America’s soldiers and war fighting capabilities, sometimes to include a description of a new weapon or weapons system. That a company whose very existence depends on government contracts would feel sufficiently emboldened to turn around and spend substantial sums that themselves derive from the American taxpayer to promote its wares in an attempt to obtain still more of a hopefully increasing defense pie smacks of insensitivity to say the least. I for one find the ads highly offensive, an insult to the taxpayer.

Some might argue that that is how capitalism works and there is no better system to replace it but such an assertion ignores the fact that competition among defense contractors, though fierce at times, is largely a fiction as all the major companies are on the receiving end of huge multi-year government contracts with built in cost overruns and guaranteed production lines. They also operate a revolving door whereby former senior officers and Pentagon officials like Rumsfeld and Cheney move out to the private sector, get rich, and then return to government in policy making positions. It is more like the worst form of crony capitalism than Adam Smith. Most large companies have decentralized their production facilities so that they have a workforce presence in as many states and congressional districts as possible, making it unlikely that they will ever be lacking contracts.

President and former General Dwight D. Eisenhower called it all a military-industrial complex and warned that “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”He reportedly wanted to call it a military-industrial-congressional complex but demurred on including the nation’s legislature as he wanted it to get on board in bucking the trend towards creating a permanent warfare state. In that he was unsuccessful.

Today Eisenhower might well want to add “think tank” to his description of the problem. Insidious, and largely hidden from public sight, is the funding of institutes and foundations that promote a pro-war agenda which benefits both the organizations in question and the contractors who seek to promote what is euphemistically referred to as a pro-defense agenda. As Lockheed cannot directly call for more war without raising obvious concerns it instead uses its allies in various foundations and institutes to contrive the intellectual justifications that lead to the same conclusion. These self-described experts are in turn picked up by the media and their messages are fed to a larger audience, creating unassailable groupthink on national security policy.

Read the entire article

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Role of 9/11 in Justifying Torture and War: The Criminalization of the US State Apparatus. Senate Report on CIA Torture is a Whitewash

The words “possible criminal actions” by CIA employees are used in the report.

The terms unethical and immoral are mentioned. The criminality of those who ordered these actions at the highest levels of government, however, is not acknowledged.

The actions directed against alleged jihadists are categorized as ineffective in the process of revealing intelligence. This in itself is a red herring. The objective of torture was not to reveal  intelligence. 

What of course is not acknowledged is that the alleged  terrorists who were tortured were framed by the CIA.

Known and documented the Al Qaeda network is a creation of US intelligence.

The jihadists are “intelligence assets”.

Torture serves to perpetuate the legend that the evil terrorists are real and that the lives of Americans are threatened.

Torture is presented as “collateral damage.” Torture is an integral part of war propaganda  which consists in demonizing the alleged terrorists.

And the Senate committee report ultimately upholds the legitimacy of the US intelligence apparatus, the US government, its military and intelligence agenda and its “humanitarian wars” waged in different parts of the World.

Read the entire article

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) “Dismantles Democracy”: Stop The Secrecy, Release The Texts

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been negotiated in secret throughout the Obama administration.

They continue to keep the text secret and classified. This week TPP trade negotiators are in Washington, DC. 

The 12 countries have been unable to reach agreement as the United States demands extreme corporate power undermining the sovereignty of nations.

The Obama administration has also been stalled on trade on the homefront as Congress has refused to give the administration fast track trade promotion authority. Fast track would allow the President to sign the agreement before it went to Congress and would restrict Congress’ power to review it. It would ensure Congress plays virtually no role in regulating trade as is its constitutional mandate under the Commerce Clause.

On Sunday night Popular Resistance began the week of negotiations with a Light Brigade putting messages on the US Trade Representative’s office in Washington, DC.

On Monday morning members of Popular Resistance held a ‘Sit-in to End the Secrecy’ on the front steps of the USTR office . As Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators and USTR staff arrived for their first day of meetings this week, demonstrators demanded that they stop hiding the text of the trade agreement and instead make it available to the public telling them “secret negotiations are anti-democratic.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ten Quick Facts You Should Know About The Police State

1. More than 500 American citizens have died after being tased, a device considered “non-lethal.”

2. The yearly cost of the War on Drugs to the American taxpayer is about $40 billion. The estimated cost to end hunger worldwide is $30 billion yearly.

3. There are more than 80,000 military raids conducted by police every year in the United States.

4. There are roughly 2.3 million people locked up in the United States with another 5 million on probation or parole. The overwhelming majority are for non-violent crimes.

5. UNICOR, an establishment inside the US Federal Prison System uses its confined pool of labor to produce war goods for the US military.


6. In 36% of US SWAT raids, no contraband of any kind is found after the officers risk everyone’s life and engage in reckless actions that cost lives.

7. An average London resident is recorded over 300 times a day by Big Brother’s video surveillance apparatus.

8. The only nation to maintain a higher incarceration rate than the United States is Germany … under the Nazis.

9. 97% of reported police brutality victims are people of color.

10. Every 98 minutes, a cop kills a family pet. There have been no recorded officer deaths from a dog in last decade.


Source

Friday, December 5, 2014

America is on a “Hot War Footing”: House Legislation Paves the Way for War with Russia?

America is on a war footing.  While, a World War Three Scenario has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for more than ten years, military action against Russia is now contemplated at an “operational level”. Similarly, both the Senate and the House have introduced enabling legislation which provides legitimacy to the conduct of a war against Russia.

We are not dealing with a “Cold War”. None of the safeguards of the Cold War era prevail. 
There has been a breakdown in East-West diplomacy coupled with extensive war propaganda. In turn the United Nations has turned a blind eye to extensive war crimes committed by the Western military alliance.  

The adoption of a major piece of legislation by the US House of Representatives on December 4th (H. Res. 758)  would provide (pending a vote in the Senate) a de facto green light to the US president and commander in chief to initiate –without congressional approval– a process of military confrontation with Russia.  

Global security is at stake. This historic vote –which potentially could affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people Worldwide– has received virtually no media coverage. A total media blackout prevails.   

The World is at a dangerous crossroads. Moscow has responded to US-NATO threats. Its borders are threatened. 

On December 3, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation announced the inauguration of a new military-political entity which would take over in the case of war. 
Russia is launching a new national defense facility, which is meant to monitor threats to national security in peacetime, but would take control of the entire country in case of war. (RT, December 3, 2014)
Read the entire article 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

On Both Ferguson And Amnesty, GOP Leadership Wants To Surrender To Minority Occupation Government

The ongoing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and Barack Obama’s Executive Amnesty aren’t just anomalies or temporary excesses. They are indications that the U.S. is embarking on a new form of government, an ideological dictatorship based on propagating a Narrative of white oppression to justify state expansion and social control. And as much as Republicans would like to pretend otherwise, we will never be able to put issues like race relations, immigration or crime “behind us” because the Minority Occupation Government depends upon a constant escalation of racial tension.

Remarkably, even after the complete Narrative Collapse of Michael Brown as a “Gentle Giant” and the release of Officer Darren Wilson, Ferguson still may actually end up strengthening the Left. Far from being discredited, racial profiteer Al Sharpton is being fĂȘted at the White House.

Barack Obama has already adopted the main demand of Michael Brown’s family by supporting body cameras for police officers, as well as hundreds of millions dollars to “reform” police departments. [Obama asks Congress to fund 50,000 police body cameras, BBC, December 1, 2014]

This is only the beginning. Activists who were allowed to meet with the President are also demanding increased federal oversight of local police departments, “community” oversight of police and more money for “community programs.” [6 Solutions Emerge After Young Ferguson Activists Meet With Obama, Biden & Eric Holder, by Leslie Salzillo, Daily Kos, December 1, 2014]

In real terms, this will translate into more taxpayer money being put into the hands of far Left activists and “community organizers” and more racially motivated prosecutions of white officers. The end game: for every police department in the country to look like the openly anti-white Department of Justice of Eric Holder.

Read the entire article

Monday, December 1, 2014

Who Wants To Be Defense Secretary?

It seems nobody wants to be Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration. The president’s first two Defense Secretaries, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, both complained bitterly this month about their time in the administration. The president’s National Security Council staff micro-managed the Pentagon, they said at a forum last week.

Former Secretary Gates revealed that while he was running the Defense Department, the White House established a line of communication to the Joint Special Operations Command to discuss matters of strategy and tactics, cutting the Defense Secretary out of the loop. His successor at the Pentagon, Leon Panetta, made similar complaints.

Last week President Obama’s third Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, was forced out of office after complaining in October that the administration had no coherent policy toward Syria. He did have a point: while claiming recent US bombing in Syria is designed to degrade and destroy ISIS, many in the administration continue pushing for “regime change” against Syrian president Assad – who is also fighting ISIS. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, has spoken out in favor of further US escalation in Syria and Iraq despite President Obama’s promise of “no combat troops” back to the region.

Shortly after Chuck Hagel’s ouster, the media reported that the president favored Michelle Flournoy to replace him. She would have been the first female defense secretary, but more tellingly she would come to the position from a think tank almost entirely funded by the military industrial complex. The Center for a New American Security, which she founded in 2007, is the flagship of the neocon wing of the Democratic Party. The Center has argued against US troops ever leaving Iraq and has endorsed the Bush administration’s doctrine of preventative warfare. The Center is perhaps best known for pushing the failed counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine in Iraq and Afghanistan. The COIN doctrine was said at the time to have been the key to the US victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that the US is back in Iraq and will continue combat operations in Afghanistan next year, you don’t hear too much about COIN and victories.

Flournoy turned down Obama before she was even asked, however. She is said to be waiting for a Hillary Clinton presidency, where her militarism may be even more appreciated. With the next Senate to be led by neocons like John McCain, a Hillary Clinton presidency would find little resistance to a more militaristic foreign policy.

Read the entire article

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I Support Israel’s National Bill

Mazal Tov: a controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the “Nation-State of the Jewish People” was approved by the Israeli cabinet last Sunday.

Finally Israel has acknowledged its true Jewish nature. Instead of pretending to be a ‘Jewish Democracy” - a contradiction in terms, the Jewish State admits that it is a theocracy guided by Jewish racial supremacist ideology.

The bill, which is intended to become part of Israel’s Basic Laws, recognises Israel’s Jewish character, institutionalises Jewish law as an inspiration for legislation and delists Arabic as an official second language. As if until now Arabic had been equal to Hebrew.

No longer will Jewish anti Zionists and their few Palestinian cronies be able to deny the Jewishness of the Jewish state. They may even have to admit that Palestine is engaged in a religious war that was imposed on them. 

According to some Israeli critics, the new Israeli bill would weaken the wording of Israel’s declaration of independence, which states that the new state would “be based on the principles of liberty, justice and freedom expressed by the prophets of Israel [and] affirm complete social and political equality for all its citizens, regardless of religion, race or gender.”

Israel has always been the Jewish State, it has never been a liberal place nor has it been committed to justice or equality. The deepest truth is that universal humanism and ethical culture is foreign to Judaic thinking that is tribal and legalistic.

Interestingly, as Israel is finally admitting that it has little to do with democracy, the USA is strengthening its relationships with Iran. I guess that in the White House and the Pentagon they had already understood that Iran is the only democracy in the region. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

U.S. Among Only 3 Countries Officially Backing Nazism & Holocaust-Denial

In a U.N. vote, on November 21st, only three countries  — the United States, Ukraine, and Canada — voted against a resolution to condemn racist facsism, or “nazism,” and to condemn denial of Germany’s World War II Holocaust against primarily Jews.

This measure passed the General Assembly, on a vote of 115 in favor, 3 against, and 55 abstentions (the abstentions were in order not to offend U.S. President Obama, who was opposed to the resolution).

The measure had been presented to their General Assembly after a period of more than a decade of rising “neo-Nazi” (i.e., racist-fascist) movements in Europe, including especially in Ukraine, where two Ukrainian nazi parties were installed by the U.S. into high posts in Ukraine’s new government, immediately after the democratically elected Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych was overthrown in a violent coup in Kiev during February of this year. The entire Ukrainian ‘defense’ establishment was then immediately taken over by the leaders of these two nazi parties, which rabidly hate ethnic Russians, and Ukraine is now led by the first — and so far, the only — nazi government to take charge of any country after the end of WW II. Within less than a mere three months after the coup, this new Government began an ethnic-cleansing program in Ukraine’s own ethnic-Russian southeast, where around 90% of the residents had voted for the man who had been overthrown in the coup — this was a campaign to isolate and exterminate those people, so that those voters could never again participate in a Ukrainian national election. Unless those voters would be eliminated, these nazis would be elected out of power — removed from office.

Ukraine voted no on this resolution because this new Ukrainian Government is the only nazi regime in the world, and they are doing the standard nazi things, and so what they are doing is in violation of numerous international laws, which are not being enforced, but which are re-asserted and re-affirmed in this resolution, though Ukraine and the Ukrainian situation aren’t at all mentioned in the resolution. The United States voted no on it, because the U.S. Government had placed them into power. And Canada voted no on it because their far-right Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has been a virtually unquestioning supporter of all U.S. foreign-policy positions, and wants U.S. President Barack Obama to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to assist the Koch brothers and other large oil giants to profitably transport and sell to Europe and around the world, tar-sands oil from Canada’s landlocked Athabasca region.

Germany abstained from voting on this resolution because their leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, does not want to offend the U.S. President by voting for a resolution that the U.S. Government strongly opposes; and also because, as today’s leader of the land where nazism started — in the first nazi political party, the Nazi Party of Germany — she does not want Germany to vote against a resolution that condemns Nazism. If Germany were to have voted against this anti-nazi resolution, she would have faced a political firestorm at home. So, Germany abstained, in order not to offend Obama on the one side, and her public on the other.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rogue President

Asserting a legal and constitutional authority he himself said he did not have, President Obama is going rogue, issuing an executive amnesty to 4 to 5 million illegal aliens.

He will order the U.S. government not to enforce the law against these 5 million, and declare that they are to be exempt from deportation and granted green cards.

Where did Obama get his 4-5 million figure, not 2-4 million, or 5-7 million? Nowhere in law, but plucked out of his own mind, as to what he can get away with. Barack Obama just felt it was about right.

Thus does our constitutional law professor-president “faithfully execute” the laws of the United States he has twice swore to uphold?

Our rogue president has crossed an historic line, and so has the republic. Future presidents will cite the “Obama precedent” when they declare they will henceforth not enforce this or that law, because of a prior commitment to some noisy constituency.

We have just taken a monumental step away from republicanism toward Caesarism. For this is rule by diktat, the rejection of which sparked the American Revolution.

Source

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Devil’s bargain: The illusion of a trouble-free existence in the American police state

It’s no coincidence that during the same week in which the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Yates v. United States, a case in which a Florida fisherman is being threatened with 20 years’ jail time for throwing fish that were too small back into the water, Florida police arrested a 90-year-old man twice for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public. 

Both cases fall under the umbrella of overcriminalization, that phenomenon in which everything is rendered illegal and everyone becomes a lawbreaker. As I make clear in my book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this is what happens when bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing the citizenry to march in lockstep with the government. 

John Yates, a commercial fisherman, was written up in 2007 by a state fish and wildlife officer who noticed that among Yates’ haul of red grouper, 72 were apparently under the 20-inch minimum legal minimum. Yates, ordered to bring the fish to shore as evidence of his violation of the federal statute on undersized catches, returned to shore with only 69 grouper in the crate designated for evidence. A crew member later confessed that, on orders from Yates, the crew had thrown the undersized grouper overboard and replaced them with larger fish. Unfortunately, they were three fish short. Sensing a bait-and-switch, prosecutors refused to let Yates off the hook quite so easily. Unfortunately, in prosecuting him for the undersized fish under a law aimed at financial crimes, government officials opened up a can of worms. 

Arnold Abbott, 90 years old and the founder of a nonprofit that feeds the homeless, is facing a fine of $1000 and up to four months in jail for violating a city ordinance that makes it a crime to feed the homeless in public. Under the city’s ordinance, clearly aimed at discouraging the feeding of the homeless in public, organizations seeking to do so must provide portable toilets, be 500 feet away from each other, 500 feet from residential properties, and are limited to having only one group carry out such a function per city block. Abbott has been feeding the homeless on a public beach in Ft. Lauderdale every Wednesday evening for the past 23 years. On November 2, 2014, moments after handing out his third meal of the day, police reportedly approached the nonagenarian and ordered him to “‘drop that plate right now,’ as if I were carrying a weapon,” recalls Abbott. Abbott was arrested and fined. Three days later, Abbott was at it again, and arrested again. 

That both of these incidents occurred in Florida is no coincidence. Remember, this is the state that arrested Nicole Gainey for letting her 7-year-old son walk to the park alone, even though it was just a few blocks from their house. If convicted, Gainey could have been made to serve up to five years in jail. 

Read the entire article

Monday, November 17, 2014

Looming Obamnesty Just A Symptom Of America’s Democidal Democracy

The Obama Amnesty, threatened as early as this week, is bigger than the perfidy of one President—it’s a systemic failing of our form of government. Our ruling elite clearly has a positive interest in making life worse for the majority of people in the country and in actively degrading the concept of citizenship. Our democidal democracy is actually unmaking the American people. Obama’s Executive Amnesty is merely the final stroke that will sever the connection between the historic American nation and the government in Washington, D.C.

The only hope: the GOP/ GAP will become the explicit defender of the American majority’s interests via a National Conservative program of immigration restriction, pro-worker policies, and opposition to corporate exploitation. But this would mean overcoming the ideological bankruptcy of the Beltway Right—and the short-term pecuniary interests of the Republican Congressional leadership.

Ominously, there are troubling signs that the new Republican majority, having been elected largely on the strength of the public’s opposition to Amnesty, is already wobbling. Thus Betsy Woodruff at Slate giggles that “the GOP is about as divided over immigration policy as any political party is over any single issue.” [The Coming Immigration War, November 14, 2014]

Significantly, there does not seem to be a consensus among Republican Party about what actually to do if and when Obama pulls the trigger on unilaterally legalizing almost five million law-breaking aliens.

GOP congressional leaders are discussing a series of short-term funding measures that would “create a forum to push back against the president, and, possibly, gain concessions. Republicans also are planning to file a lawsuit against the president over his use of executive authority, according to the lawmakers and aides.” [Congressional Republicans consider using short-term funding bill to pressure Obama, Robert Costa, Washington Post, November 14, 2014] The power of the purse could be used to simply defund Obama’s Amnesty, as Senator Jeff Sessions (R-America) has urged. [Jeff Sessions: Defund Obama’s Exec Amnesty in Next Funding Bill, Tony Lee, Breitbart, November 6, 2014]

But, needless to say, this approach concedes the initiative entirely to President Obama, who has already acknowledged that what he is proposing to do is unconstitutional.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The CIA Won the Midterms

The wheels up party is a venerable CIA tradition, normally celebrated at overseas stations when a particularly incompetent Chief of Station or a hostile ambassador was in the process of permanently leaving post. The drinking would begin at a time estimated to coincide with the moment when the dearly departed’s aircraft lifted off from the tarmac on its way to Washington.

Wheels ups are rarer at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., though celebrations were reported when Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in 1980; but as a number of senior officers in the Agency actually had a hand in that development, there was probably a measure of self-congratulation at a job well done.

One might well imagine that the partying began at Langley shortly after the polls closed last Tuesday, as soon as it became clear that there would be a GOP Senate majority. More to the point, Sen. Dianne Feinstein would be performing her own wheels up, relinquishing her position as Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) chair to be replaced by the little known Richard Burr of North Carolina. Burr is regarded by the Agency as a good friend, someone who had already staked out a position in favor of protecting government secrecy, stating “I personally don’t believe that anything that goes on in the intelligence committee should ever be discussed publicly.” He also basically supports the CIA position that torture produced information critical to the killing of Osama bin Laden, commenting that “The information that eventually led us to this compound was the direct result of enhanced interrogations…” Burr is regarded as a right-wing conservative and has earned the ultimate accolade of a zero rating from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Now some might argue that Feinstein herself did her best to preserve the executive branch’s right to assassinate Americans overseas, to spy secretly, set up black site prisons and to engage in other activities that are best not discussed in polite company. Many of these activities were carried out by the CIA, but Feinstein did draw the line at torture, which is one of the few illegal acts that the Obama administration credibly claims to be against, placing Feinstein on safe ground bureaucratically speaking. She only turned against the Agency when she learned that it had had the temerity to spy on the activity of her own committee.

In a recent speech made before the midterms, election Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper expressed his confidence that congressional moves to rein in National Security Agency spying had pretty much lost momentum. With Republicans now firmly in charge, remaining watered down measures are likely to die in committee.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The FBI: America’s Secret Police

Secret police. Secret courts. Secret government agencies. Surveillance. Intimidation tactics. Harassment. Torture. Brutality. Widespread corruption. Entrapment schemes. 

These are the hallmarks of every authoritarian regime from the Roman Empire to modern-day America, yet it’s the secret police—tasked with silencing dissidents, ensuring compliance, and maintaining a climate of fear—who sound the death knell for freedom in every age. 

Every regime has its own name for its secret police: Mussolini’s OVRA carried out phone surveillance on government officials. Stalin’s NKVD carried out large-scale purges, terror and depopulation. Hitler’s Gestapo went door to door ferreting out dissidents and other political “enemies” of the state. And in the U.S., it’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation that does the dirty work of ensuring compliance, keeping tabs on potential dissidents, and punishing those who dare to challenge the status quo. 

Whether the FBI is planting undercover agents in churches, synagogues and mosques; issuing fake emergency letters to gain access to Americans’ phone records; using intimidation tactics to silence Americans who are critical of the government, or persuading impressionable individuals to plot acts of terror and then entrapping them, the overall impression of the nation’s secret police force is that of a well-dressed thug, flexing its muscles and doing the boss’ dirty work. 

Indeed, a far cry from the glamorized G-men depicted in Hollywood films noir and spy thrillers, the government’s henchmen have become the embodiment of how power, once acquired, can be so easily corrupted and abused. 

Case in point: the FBI is being sued after its agents, lacking sufficient evidence to acquire a search warrant, disabled a hotel’s Internet and then impersonated Internet repair technicians in order to gain access to a hotel suite and record the activities of the room’s occupants. Justifying the warrantless search as part of a sting on Internet gambling, FBI officials insisted that citizens should not expect the same right to privacy in the common room of a hotel suite as they would at home in their bedroom. 

Read the entire article

Monday, November 10, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Silence of the Israelis on ISIS

In the war on the Islamic State, the alleged scourge of humanity, little is heard about the position of America’s much-ballyhooed greatest ally in the Middle East, if not the world, Israel. Now the Islamic State has been conquering territory in very close proximity to the border of Israel. But Israel does not seem to be fearful and it is not taking any action.

And the Obama administration and American media pundits do not seem to be the least bit disturbed.  This is quite in contrast to the complaints about other Middle East countries such as Turkey that are being harshly criticized for their failure to become actively involved in fighting the Islamic State.

For example, a New York Times editorial, “Mr. Erdogan’s Dangerous Game,” begins, “Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once aspired to lead the Muslim world. At this time of regional crisis, he has been anything but a leader. Turkish troops and tanks have been standing passively behind a chicken-wire border fence while a mile away in Syria, Islamic extremists are besieging the town of Kobani and its Kurdish population.”

An article in the Boston Globe read “Turkey has failed Kobani, Kurds.”  An editorial in the USA Today was titled “Turkey waits as ISIL crushes Kobani.”

Neocon Charles Krauthammer in “Erdogan’s Double Game” compared Turkey’s failure to come to the defense of the Kurds in the surrounded border town of Kobani to Stalin’s unwillingness to aid the uprising of Polish nationalist forces in Warsaw in 1944, thus allowing the latter’s destruction at the hands of the Nazis.

Read the entire article

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sheriffs, Senator Warn About Effects of Obama Amnesty for Illegals

Several sheriffs across the nation, as well as an outspoken U.S. senator, have warned about the dangers that will result from President Obama’s stated plan to grant amnesty (under the guise of a “path to citizenship”) to many of the estimated 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States.

A report from Breitbart News on November 3 quoted sheriffs' statements from Massachusetts to Arizona who warned that the Obama plan to grant amnesty by executive actions will have dire consequences. 

Among those Breitbart quoted was Sheriff Tom Hodgson of Bristol County, Massachusetts, who declared:

[Amnesty] will dramatically increase the draw for illegal immigrants to come into our country, because you have the President of the United States sending out a message that we have no problem with people ignoring our immigration laws…. They’re looking for a wink and nod that says "yeah, come on in" — we’ve seen it with the DACA. It is the worst message you can possibly send…. The President’s planned [executive order] is a formula for national disaster and public safety.

Sheriff Sam Page of Rockingham County, North Carolina, in a statement provided to Breitbart News, warned that illegal immigration by executive amnesty will pose a major threat to Americans: 

Human trafficking, drug trafficking and criminal activity are coming through our borders, but not staying near our borders — it’s getting into every part of the United States…. This is a public safety issue — a terrorist or any other kind of criminal may cross our borders. We just don’t know who is coming across. If the President issue his executive amnesty, you’ll see a dramatic surge of people coming in from all countries, including Central America — and again we won’t know who’s coming in: gangs, drugs, cartels, public health threats, human trafficking….

Read the entire article

Monday, November 3, 2014

15 Reasons Why Americans Think We’re Still in a Recession

1: Wage StagnationWhy America’s Workers Need Faster Wage Growth—And What We Can Do About It, Elise Gould, EPI
2: Most people still haven’t recouped what they lost in the crash: Typical Household Wealth Has Plunged 36% Since 2003, Zero Hedge
3: Most working people are still living hand-to-mouth76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, CNN Money
4: Millennials are Drowning in Red Ink:  Biggest economic threat? Student loan debt, USA Today
5: Downward mobility is the new reality: Middle-Class Death Watch: As Poverty Spreads, 28 Percent of Americans Fall Out of Middle Class, Truthout
6: People are more vulnerable than ever:  “More Than Half Of All Americans Can’t Come Up With $400 In Emergency Cash… Unless They Borrow“, Personal Liberty
7: Working people are getting poorer: The Typical Household, Now Worth a Third, New York Times
8: Most people can’t even afford to get their teeth fixed:  7 things the middle class can’t afford anymore, USA Today
9: The good, high-paying jobs have vanishedRecovery Has Created Far More Low-Wage Jobs Than Better-Paid Ones, New York Times
10: More workers are throwing in the towel:  Labor Participation Rate Drops To 36 Year Low; Record 92.6 Million Americans Not In Labor Force, Zero Hedge
11: Nearly twice as many people still rely on Food Stamps than before the recession: Food-stamp use is falling from its peak, Marketwatch
12: The ocean of  red ink continues to grow: American Household Credit Card Debt Statistics: 2014, Nerd Wallet Finance
13: No Recovery for working people: The collapse of household income in the US, World Socialist Web Site
14: Most people will work until they die:  The Greatest Retirement Crisis In American History, Forbes
15: Americans are more pessimistic about the future, Polling Report
The majority of people in the United States, no longer believe in the American dream, or that America is the land of opportunity, or that their children will have a better standard of living than their own.  They’ve grown more pessimistic because  they haven’t seen the changes they were hoping for, and because their lives are just as hard as they were right after the crash.  In fact, according to a 2014 Public Religion Research Institute poll– 72 percent of those surveyed said they think “the economy is still in recession.”

Judging by the info in the 15 links above,  they’re probably right.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How Rand Paul Threatens Left and Right

Vox’s Zack Beauchamp declared last week, “Rand Paul just gave one of the most important foreign policy speeches in decades.” BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray didn’t see what the big deal was, responding, “I’m confused by these takes on Paul’s speech as if the content was new. He’s been saying the same stuff for some time.”

She’s not wrong. But neither is Beauchamp. In many ways Paul’s foreign policy speech Thursday was nothing new for the senator.

That does not make it any less monumental.

Beauchamp found Paul’s call for a more restrained military approach important because “Paul is signaling that, when he runs for president in 2016, he isn’t going to move toward the Republican foreign policy consensus; he’s going to run at it, with a battering ram.”

Paul’s foreign policy vision is significantly different from every other rumored 2016 GOP presidential candidate. “If he wins,” Beauchamp emphasizes, “he could remake the Republican Party as we know it.”

The Kentucky senator has consistently challenged long-held GOP views on issues like the war on drugs and federal drug sentencing laws by taking positions that once would have been considered almost exclusively left. Paul has introduced legislation ending the practice of civil asset forfeitures—police taking and keeping someone’s property based on nothing more than suspicion—an issue that had previously received little attention in Washington. The libertarian-leaning senator’s well-received address at progressive Berkeley last year on the dangers of the surveillance state would have been unthinkable for almost any Republican during the George W. Bush era.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chicago Tribune: ‘David Duke’s Video Might Herald Transformation in American-Israeli Relations”

The newspaper’s commentary, titled “Israel, Gaza and the American perception” was written by William Pfaff, called the “dean” of American columnists and commentators. Pfaff also writes for The New York Review of Books, and has contributed to Foreign Affairs, World Policy Journal, The National Interest, and previously was a twenty year veteran political essayist for The New Yorker magazine.

Pfaff then goes on to say that the “Israel Lobby” is losing the propaganda war. He then makes the startling admission that Dr. David Duke’s videos on the topic are circulating at an “unprecedented rate.”

“”Also significant is that powerfully anti-Israel (“anti-Zionist”) polemical videos now are circulating as, in my experience, never before, including by the notorious David Duke,” Pfaff, says, making the obligatory reference to Dr. Duke’s long repudiated and youthful former political association. He then moves on the real point:

“He [Dr. Duke] currently offers an undemagogic video clip that quietly identifies a score of communications industry executives, press and TV editors, personalities, and news commentators, Wall Street bankers, government officials (including all recent—and current—Federal Reserve Chairs), and foreign policy officials in both Republican and Democratic administrations, all of them identified as Zionists—with their net worth or current earnings listed,” Pfaff says.

“I have twice received such videos in recent days, from totally unexpected sources.

“It is potentially a powerful message. The message is that American Jews place their loyalty to Israel first. If Israel’s policies continue to send a message of unacceptable conduct, American-Israeli relations could suddenly become transformed,” the Chicago Tribune columnist concludes.

Read the entire article

Friday, October 24, 2014

Citizenfour’s Escape to Freedom in Russia

In early September in Russia, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden told me about a documentary entitled Citizenfour, named after the alias he used when he asked filmmaker Laura Poitras to help him warn Americans about how deeply the NSA had carved away their freedoms.

When we spoke, Snowden seemed more accustomed to his current reality, i.e., still being alive albeit far from home, than he did in October 2013 when I met with him along with fellow whistleblowers Tom Drake, Coleen Rowley and Jesselyn Radack, as we presented him with the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence.

A year ago, the four of us spent a long, relaxing evening with Snowden – and sensed his lingering wonderment at the irony-suffused skein of events that landed him in Russia, out of reach from the U.S. government’s long arm of “justice.”

Six days before we gave Snowden the award, former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden and House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers had openly expressed their view that Snowden deserved to be on the “list,” meaning the “capture or kill” list that could have made Snowden the target of a drone strike. When I asked him if he were aware of that recent indignity, he nodded yes – with a winsome wince of incredulity.

This September, there was no drone of Damocles hanging over the relaxed lunch that the two of us shared. There were, rather, happier things to discuss. For example, I asked if he were aware that one of his co-workers in Hawaii had volunteered to Andy Greenberg of Forbes Magazine that Snowden was admired by his peers as a man of principle, as well as a highly gifted geek.