The jingoistic nationalism surrounding Bibi Netanyahu’s speech tomorrow in front of Congress has reached an epic level. The National Review Online, posted an article entitled Netanyahu, Not Obama, Speaks for Us, which exalts the right-wing Likudnik hardliner to almost an almost divine status. He is the defender of Western values (code for White values) while defending…Read More »
Trouble With Schools, is Fox’s callous take on educating refugee children in a Maryland school district. Kilmeade insists they come to Obama’s America because they get big bucks. Just “send them back,” no matter how dangerous their own countries are.
At midnight on May 14, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel proclaimed a new State of Israel and President Truman and the U.S. officially recognized the provisional Jewish government. Since that time, there has been interminable war, with displaced Palestinians existing with the plight of the “coloreds” of pre-1994 Apartheid South Africa. The Gaza Strip is a region the size of Detroit with a population of roughly 1.6 million. There’s constant suffering at the hands of the Islamic Hamas government who promote the ideology that martyrs are good for their movement. Israelis easily dominate the economically and militarily inferior Palestinian people and there really is very little hope for happiness for the people of Gaza anytime in the near or distant future.
World opinion tends to sympathize with the people of Gaza, and aside from hawkish conservatives in both Israel and the U.S., most feel the Netanyahu Government is in the wrong. In a world where developed countries are gradually abandoning religious dogma, logic would conclude religion is a very arbitrary means of determining sovereignty. American Conservatives who believe the Jews are God’s Chosen People defend Israel’s right to mistreat Palestinians. Misery for Gaza is compounded by a government that is more than happy to use them as human shields for their own rockets and not vice versa. On HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher, the host said,
“I feel terrible for a Palestinian child who dies,” Maher said, “but if it’s your father, your brother, your uncle who’s firing those rockets into Israel, who’s fault is it really? Do you really expect the Israelis not to retaliate?”
The panel agreed: “Israel builds an “Iron Dome” to defend its citizens from missiles, Hamas uses its citizens to defend its missiles.” But the Israelis have always prevailed in every conflict since its birth mainly because of their values. Unlike the Jihadist-mentality of Palestine’s Hamas, Israel does everything to protect, educate and care for their citizens. Maher even said out of necessity, Israel has become very good at defending itself, largely because of the Jewish expertise in science. “Jews have, I think, 155 Nobel Prizes, Muslims have two. That seems like kind of a big advantage for team Hebrew.” Religion creates the problem on two fronts: both sides use it to lay claim to the land. The most notable difference: Hamas uses religion to martyr its people while the other side uses religion and science to protect its people.
I thought America was way behind the times on the science of climate change, given the positions of so many anti-science, anti-evidence Republicans who populate our House of Representatives. Our northern neighbor, Canada, is surprisingly anti-environmentalist, considering they are socially more progressive than the U.S. with their single payer healthcare. Canadian PM Harper, who is as committed to proliferating the production of dirty Alberta tar sands oil as (America’s fossil fuel sweet-hearts) Charles and David Koch; stands in unison with the ultra-conservative Australian PM, Tony Abbott. Salon reported, “President Obama has stayed far from these two other world leaders when it comes to climate policy. He is pursuing a number of avenues to reduce the United States’ emissions with his National Climate Plan, including the recent announcement of the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to substantially reduce emissions from power plants.”
I was both relieved and troubled to know Australia out-devolved the United States and completely abolished the carbon tax yesterday. The Australian media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, a big player in the denial 0f climate change, is a strong supporter of Heritage Foundation policies and Australia’s move to abolish all progress in the area of renewable energy. Australia was once a leader on climate action. This cabal of the anti-conservationist movement, formed by the unlikely triumvirate of Murdoch, Grover Norquist and PM Abbott has dealt a lethal blow to the future prevention of climate change disasters. This denial movement has shaped legislation on two continents, both very susceptible to the rising sea levels that are imminent with our current carbon emissions. Curiously, yesterday was also the day Mr. Murdoch publically offered to buy Time Warner Cable, which includes the very cash lucrative HBO, for $80 billion. Currently that bid has been rejected, but he is determined to find a price that will be acceptable for the massive merger. With control of the media on two continents, unfettered pollution will only become a bigger problem with the media devoting little to no attention to the crisis of man-made climate change.
The latest crisis in Iraq is, surprisingly, not just the result of the failure of the Bush Administration’s Shock and Awe campaign followed by the bloody occupation from 2003-2011. After we literally decimated a nation that was once perilously, but somewhat effectively maintained by a brutal dictator named Saddam Hussein, we tried to keep the arbitrary borders drawn by the Sykes Picot Agreement in 1916. In 2006, then Senator Joseph Biden (D-De) suggested a model based on the three state solution of Kurds, Arab Shi’ites and Arab Sunnis with a central command in Baghdad. In retrospect, this may have alleviated the current crisis where the new terrorists on the scene, ISIS, (the Salafist–Jihadist Al Qaeda terrorist army, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham [aka Syria]) is creating chaos and mass slaughter in the name of Sunni Fundamentalism. Exploitation of the region’s oil originally brought us to this area which the West (France and the U.K. mainly) created the awful conundrum of drawing arbitrary borders that failed to address the geographical rifts in the sects of Islam.
Thomas Friedman, New York Times Columnist, has extensively researched the 2006-2010 drought exacerbated by global warming which has ripened the region of Syria and Iraq for brutal war. Mass migration from bone-dry areas combined with sectarian conflicts only worsen the centuries-old rift between the two sects of Islam. With the help of powerful neighbors like Iran and Saudi Arabia, this has become an epic sectarian war with no quick and easy solution.
Prior to our arrival, Al Qaeda was not really an issue in Iraq. Our occupation did invite the group’s presence as they escalated the violence against our troops. For the most part, we were able to defeat Al Qaeda in that nation, but upon our departure in 2011 (signed by President Bush in the Status of Forces agreement in 2008), Iraq fell back into the same sectarian violence Saddam Hussein managed to curtail in a cruel but effective way. With poor leadership, the ISIS Group which includes war-torn Syria, has managed to operate with a brutality far worse than Al Qaeda.
This entire catastrophe may have been averted if:
1. We didn’t kowtow to the profit-seeking defense contractor industry
2. We understood the cultural and religious differences of the region
3. America acted appropriately based on evidence that was not falsified to involve us in this interminable crisis.
President Obama is in a no-win situation in this volatile region. We must never forget what put us there in the first place and vow, as a country, to keep irresponsible liars out of the White House. We can’t accomplish this if Americans don’t get out the vote en masse in the November 2014 midterms.
The two Senators most outraged and openly aghast at every foreign policy decision made by President Obama are Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ). With Eric Cantor’s stunning loss on June 10th, many suspected Graham would face the same demise, but he actually fared very well. Perhaps because he’s a very good friend to the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) and would never be seen meeting with the likes of VP Biden as Cantor has done. These are two of the biggest hawks in the Senate because they have a sordid history of accepting donations from defense contractors. Defense Contractors don’t play by the same rules, thanks to an executive order signed by President Eisenhower in 1958. They receive tax payer subsidies without facing any criminal liability.
This personal and LUCRATIVEfriendship became de rigueur with President Lyndon Johnson’s massive financial ties with Brown and Root (now KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary). Speculation this close alliance between LBJ and Brown and Root may have been the cause of JFK’s assassination, but anyone who spoke of this was silenced in one way or another. This ushered in the era Eisenhower himself warned against: where the government is wholly owned by the MIC. Senators and Representatives alike maintain their Congressional tenure indefinitely if they play ball with the most lucrative industry in America.
It’s unclear how many defense contractors have secret indemnification agreements with the military. Under the law, most government agencies are banned from entering open-ended indemnification agreements, but the Pentagon and a handful of other agencies were exempted in an executive order signed by President Richard Nixon in 1971.
Rarely these mega-corporations have their feet held to the fire over criminal negligence causing injury and death. The continuous beat of the war-drum by these bought and paid for Senators is not a mystery, with a closer look at President Obama’s harshest foreign policy critic, Senator McCain:
(in 2013) Republican John McCain received more defense lobby cash than any other senator who cast a vote Wednesday on Syria: $176,300.
It’s no secret how profitable the short Iraqi conflict followed by a painfully longoccupation was for Cheney’s Halliburton. The fact President Obama averted another war with Syria vexed the Graham-McCain duo. But never fear, a fresh new conflict is here!
The nation we invaded on false pretenses, Iraq, is in shambles. Who do they blame? Who else? President Obama is always at fault for the messes of the Bush Administration. Thanks to free publicity on Sunday Morning GOP TV, these hawks have the chance to drum up more support for yet another war. Meet The Press interviewed Paul Wolfowitz on Sunday, June 15th. The Wolfowitz/Rumsfeld/Rice/Cheney group got everything wrong on Iraq the first time. Thankfully, President Obama has the sense to ignore their opinions on the mess he inherited. He’ll carefully weigh our options while battling Senators who beat the war drum to satisfy their masters’ thirst for blood money. Seems like it’s going to be an ugly fight.
We all know President Bush vacationed excessively, spending 1,020 days of his presidency on vacation. In 2001, he spent the entire month of August at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. On August 6, 2001, Bush received a briefing from the CIA saying that Al Qaeda is interested in hijacking U.S. commercial airliners. “The system was blinking red. By late July it could not get any worse.” -(CIA Director George Tenet to the 9/11 Commission). With that knowledge, he takes one of the longest presidential vacations (August 3-September 3) with some knowledge of terrorist threats.
He communicates minimally with NSA and CIA intelligence while away at Crawford and when he returns, he schedules a trip to Governor Jeb Bush’s state of Florida. Finding the agenda and “daily rundown” of Bush from Labor Day 2001-9/11 is not so easy. There is not much written on that time spent at the White House between September 3- September 9, 2001. I thought it’d be interesting to imagine President Obama in Bush’s position and venture a guess on how long impeachment hearings would commence after that awful Tuesday morning changed everything.
Consider the relative safety of the state of Florida if he suspects something may go down on 9/11. No one outside the inner-sanctum of the Bush/Cheney intelligence community suspected anything was coming so no eyebrows would be raised by the publicity trip. On September, 10, 2001: At 6:30 p.m., President Bush arrives at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, Florida. He is in Florida as part of a weeklong effort to place a national spotlight on education and reading, and visited a school in Jacksonville earlier in the day. In preparation for the president’s visit to the resort, all guests have been cleared out of the building “to make way for the invasion of White House staffers, aides, communications technicians—even an antiterrorism unit.” Overnight, snipers and surface-to-air missiles are located on the roof of the Colony and adjacent structures, to protect the president. “The Coast Guard and the Longboat Key Police Department manned boats that patrolled the surf in front of the resort all night. Security trucks with enough men and arms to stop a small army parked right on the beach. An Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plane circled high overhead in the clear night sky.” (My emphasis in bold) Whether this is a typical level of security for a presidential visit, or is increased due to recent terror warnings, is unstated. The next day, President Bush made an appearance at another school in Sarasota, Florida and we all unfortunately remember the book My Pet Goat forever.
It’s should be outrageous, but we’ve never been given full access to the findings of the 9-11 Commission. I thought it was worth a look back in history to see how things have changed when it comes to the culpability and treatment of the President of the United States. Every vacation President Obama has taken has been mired in outrage and disgust from those on the right side of the aisle. The GOP-led commotion about four dead Americans in Benghazi and the subsequent, costly hearings that have ensued levies far greater criticism and blame on the Obama Administration than the Bush Administration EVER received for not keeping us safe from terrorists in 2001.
Now an American POW has been swapped for five Gitmo detainees and the rush to judgement about the circumstances surrounding Bowe Bergdahl’s capture in 2009 have been harsh, to say the least. In fact, the right has changed their tune on the matter more radically than I initially realized. Ex-Bush administration official John Bellinger told Fox News that “we don’t leave soldiers behind” and defended Obama’s decision to make the trade. “I think we would have made the same decision in the Bush administration.”
The point is, no one ever called President Bush unpatriotic, traitorous or dishonorable. Never. Anyone who called him out on starting a war on false pretenses or advising the administration against occupying Iraq with too small a force (Shinseki) was censured and berated by the media and Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld. No one could ever have imagined the inconsistent and hypocritical treatment of President Obama versus the unearned respect the Bush Administration received. It is just mind-numbing. It is just further proof the media is ANYTHING but liberal. The simple fact that a smear campaign has been launched against a POW before he has even been released from a military hospital proves that point absolutely.
Now back to Bush; how many lives, how many trillions of dollars, were lost under his “watch,” for NO legitimate reason other than to make a few very select, inner-circle, rich fat-cats even richer? It embarrassed me, you, and most Americans: the world has laughed at the U.S. for many years now. By contrast, all of Obama’s logical policy decisions are criticized incessantly and still, he keeps trying and by some miracle, he…succeeds. This is why the Republicans can’t stand this president. He can do what they cannot: govern.