Two US Senators say they are terrified over the Obama administration’s abuse of their secret interpretation of Patriot Act laws.
The administration stunned human rights groups last month by sidestepping a commitment to help countries curb the military exploitation of children. Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy reported that President Obama issued a presidential memorandum granting waivers from the Child Soldiers Prevention Act to four countries: Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Yemen. The memo instructed Secretary of State Hilary Clinton that it is in our “national interest” to continue extending military aid to those countries, despite their failure to comply with the rules Congress passed and George W. Bush signed in 2008.
Can state-sponsored assassination work as a strategy? And can it ever be justified? Governments don’t admit to it, but Iranian nuclear scientists know it happens – and it’s not easy to distinguish assassination from the US policy of “targeted killing”.
A new group called Americans Elect has come to Oregon as part of a nationwide effort to put a third party candidate on the presidential ballot.
But unlike legitimate third party efforts, Americans Elect is highly secretive, funded entirely by massive donations from hedge fund managers, and is run by a self-selected board of directors that has extraordinary control over who the party nominates.
And now they’re in Oregon gathering signatures in an attempt to qualify as a political party. (See this fawning report from KATU, in which the reporter failed to ask a single critical question.)
But that swaggering tale of Reagan’s toughness is not supported by the historical record. Not only does the overwhelming evidence now show that Reagan’s campaign team negotiated secretly behind President Carter’s back to undercut his efforts to free the hostages, but Reagan then followed up their release by authorizing secret shipments of weapons to Iran via Israel.
In other words, instead of bullying the Iranians over their hostage-taking, Reagan rewarded them. And those shipments did not begin in 1985, with the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostage deals, but rather almost immediately after Reagan took office in 1981, according to a number of Israeli and U.S. government officials.
Political spending by deep-pocketed donors and cash-rich corporations threatens to sow chaos in this year’s congressional races, political consultants warn.
A billionaire or corporation writing a check for $1 million — or even $10 million — isn’t enough to swing a presidential election. But when it comes to congressional campaigns, it could be plenty.
“You can work for months and years to develop a fundraising advantage over your opponent of $2 million, $5 million or $10 million. And all that can be wiped out in seconds by a few people giving to a super PAC,” said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman.
In a post-Constitutional America, We the People no longer decide the outcomes of political races: it is They, the Corporations, which decide, through their contributions, who gets elected to run the government of this country, at all levels.
And trust me: when politicians get acquired, they stay acquired. And this is most true for our country’s Presidents.
This is why most legislation passed at every level, be it municipal, state, and national, is great for the corporations, and generally lousy for We the People.
We have, unfortunately and very awkwardly, wound up, over two hundred thirty years since the founding of this country, right back to the same place where the colonists found themselves who rebelled against Britain: we have taxation without representation.
Yes, there is that kabuki-like process every couple of years which looks like an election, but is sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing.
It has all the overtones of a religious ritual, where the communal act of voting gives people the illusion that they, by participating in this act, can somehow magically sway the outcomes of domestic and foreign policies to be pursued by the government.
Of course, the reality is, that corporate and military interests guarantee that no matter who we vote for, or who we support, the ultimate trajectory of national policies doesn’t seem to change much from those favored by the monied interests.
Let us look, for example, at the last Presidential election, with Mc Cain and Obama.
I supported Obama marginally because I really thought that, under his leadership, the US would change course from the horrific directions in which Bush and Cheney, et al, were pushing this country, and that he had the capability to develop some enlightened domestic and foreign policies.
DAMN, was I wrong!
Under Obama’s watch, we have seen the following:
1. The continued offshoring of American jobs for tax incentives corporations get for continuing to do so.
2. An explosion in poverty (particularly with American children) at amazing rates.
3. Bailouts of the “too big to fail” institutions, and no bankers or corporate directors everever jailed for their malfeasance.
4. The lack of persecution of those responsible for credit default swaps, and the “bundling” of shaky mortgages as financial instruments.
5. A continued, expanded failure of imagination, when it comes to Afghanistan, when the only intelligent answer is to leave.
4. A pathological inability to “encourage” Israel to create a just and lasting peace with the Palestinians, a cankerous sore in the body politic of the Middle East. What we are seeing is the absolute destruction of any hope for a lasting peace, where Israel ethnically cleanses Palestinians at will, and there is a brisk annexation of Palestinian lands in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
5. The continued supporting of dictatorships in the Middle East, like the government of Yemen and Bahrain, which consistently suppress their own people, for whom there is very little hope for the future.
6. Expanded, covert wars in Africa for its resources.
7. The threatening Iran with war over an alleged nuclear weapons program which cannot, to date, be proven to exist.
8. The signing of the NDAA on New Year’s Eve, which contains language enabling any President to order the arrest and indefinite detention of any American citizen without due process. And the mother of all ironies here, is that Obama used to be a lecturer on Constitutional Law; I never knew how much he despised the Constitution and Bill of Rights until he signed off on that legislation.
9. The signing of H.R. 347 last week, under which “Congress may at its discretion impose federal criminal charges on not only those who enter the White House grounds without prior permission, but on anyone who participates in protests at or near a location falling within the greatly enlarged scope of this new prohibited zone.” So much for the First Amendment.
10. The approval of extrajudicial assassination of American citizens by the President, with absolutely no due process.
Was all the above the “hope and change” I had expected from this Administration?!? HELL, NO!!
But the reality here, is, that just as with most his predecessors, President Obama is, after all, simply an acquisition of those financial and corporate powers which brought him to the power of the presidency.
And no matter how much of a burden their geopolitical agendas place on the welfare of both the American people, and the world, he is bound to serve their agendas…. and not ours.
US President Barack Obama, juggling dual roles as fundraiser extraordinaire and commander-in-chief, piled up a cool USD five million in a lucrative single-day campaign blitz.
In no other country is a leader expected to tend to a deteriorating war he is leading in Afghanistan on the same day as conducting the business of stuffing millions into his war chest to bankroll his own political career.
But such is the cost of running for president in America, where campaign teams play on a vast and complex political map, building expensive grass roots get-out-of the vote networks and multi-million dollar advertising blasts.
Barack Obama rarely indulges in public displays of dictatorial arrogance. He leaves it to underlings like Eric Holder, Leon Panetta, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. In testimony before separate congressional committees on the same day (March 7), Panetta and Mueller made clear the president’s view that his power to kill people is not subject to congressional checks or legal restraints of any kind.
I always say that the Israel lobby transcends party, it is bigger than party.
Dennis Ross doesn’t care whether he’s working for a Republican or a Democratic administration, and neither did Stuart Levey at Treasury. The overriding agenda was, Help Israel. Another case: A leading Democratic candidate for Mark Kirk’s former congressional district north of Chicago gave money to Republicans who were supportive of Israel.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, plans to run for the Australian senate in elections next year, despite being under virtual house arrest in the UK and facing extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations, according to the whistleblowing website.
“We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained. Julian has decided to run,” Wikileaks said in a posting on the social networking site Twitter.
Firm Romney Founded Is Tied to Chinese Surveillance
As the Chinese government forges ahead on a multibillion-dollar effort to blanket the country with surveillance cameras, one American company stands to profit: Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney.
Mr. Romney has had no role in Bain’s operations since 1999 and had no say over the investment in China. But the fortunes of Bain and Mr. Romney are still closely tied.
Dog mess could be subjected to DNA testing to identify the pets and owners responsible, under plans being considered by a council.
Officials in Lancashire are in discussions with a forensic vet over plans to analyse dog dirt found on pavements and in parks.