Lindsey Graham Blames Obama For Every Problem On Earth While David Gregory Nods

The Most Lopsided Interview To Date: Gregory (left) Lets Graham (right) Off The Hook
The Most Lopsided Interview To Date: Gregory (left) Lets Graham (right) Off The Hook

I jokingly predicted earlier this week in a tweet Next on Sunday’s Meet The Press: Lindsey Graham and John McCain discuss how Obama arranged the downing of MH Flight 17.  Once again, Mr. Deference to Republicans with a side of hardline questions to Democrats, David Gregory, has engineered another episode of Meet The Press that could double as a commercial for the RNC.  After an interview with Secretary of State Kerry, where facts were given regarding Gaza, MH 17 and the Border Crisis, a smirking Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on the screen.  I recorded it and the transcript below is directly from the interview.  With regards to the Kerry comments, he said,

“That was the most delusional summary that I can imagine.  It scares me that he (Secretary Kerry) believes that the world is in such good shape.  America is the glue that holds the free world together.  Leading from behind is not working, the world is adrift, and President Obama has become the King of Indecision. His policies are failing across the globe and it will come here soon.”

Gregory asked what Kerry left out, saying “what is the administration not yet prepared to do that you think must be done?” (Since Graham deserves the final say on the matter,as his foreign policy ideas have been the model of peace and prosperity for the U.S.)

“What he didn’t call Putin the THUG that he is.  He didn’t call for the arming of the Ukraine so they can defend themselves against local separatists supported by Russia.  All the enemies of our nation are being well supplied, Russia and Iran are helping Syria, a 160,000 have been slaughtered, John Kerry, by Russian-supplied weapons to Assad. Syria has become a safe-haven for terrorists to attack our nation.” (from Syria?) He then commented on how the Europeans weren’t going to lead on the issue of laying heavy sanctions on Putin and we can’t keep “leading from behind. There’s a battle of wills between the KGB colonel and the “Community Organizer” (aka black guy) and the colonel is winning. “

Next Graham went into harsh criticism mode on the “deliberative” nature of the president.  He said, “it comes off as indecisive, he’s trying to be thoughtful, it comes off as weakness.”  He then supported aggressive US-European sanctions on Russia, especially in the banking sector and he finished up his rant on how we should rebuild the missile defense systems “that Obama took down.”

The final comment was regarding the border crisis.  Gregory asked if his party was prepared to move with the President on this.  He predictably said, “there will be NO MONEY….we have to streamline and quicken deportations, there will be no immigration reform because of the crisis on the border, I blame OBAMA for this moment.” He then stated the 2015 “Republican Congress” with the House leading (of course) will need to solve this immigration crisis or they won’t win the White House in 2016. However, they are not prepared in any way to cooperate with anyone to change anything.

The South Carolinian best bud of Senator McCain, in a very short time, blamed Obama for the border crisis, the crisis in Palestine and the Ukrainian mess.  Naturally, David Gregory had absolutely no challenges to any of those assertions and, in fact, followed up the interview with a largely Republican panel who parrotted Graham’s delusional ravings.

 

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Supporting Palestine Is Not Supporting Hamas

We Must Remember The Refugees Of Palestine From The Formation Of Israel In 1948

History, once again way too kind to the Bush Crime Family’s escapades, has omitted the main reason the terrorist group Hamas was able to ascend to power in Gaza:  Bush pushed for Palestinian elections when Israel, amongst others, cautioned against this.  In June 2002, when Bush in a White House speech pressed for the Palestinians to “to elect new leaders” and “build a practicing democracy,” helped encourage an election in a tumultuous time when poor and desperate people often clinged to their guns and religion, as candidate Obama once said.  We all know how well that comment went over, even if it couldn’t have been more true.

If anyone seems to take the side of the suffering civilians in Gaza, they are called “anti-semitic.” People generally fail to realize Semitic means relating to the peoples who speak the Semitic languages, especially Hebrew and Arabic.  So an anti-semite would be against both sides in this dreadful conflict.  I must admit, I was one of those people who fell for the tired meme, “the Palestinians don’t care about their own people and use them as human shields.”  I wrote an article about that a few days ago and I’ve evolved on my position in just one week.  I must apologize for my misguided assumptions based on listening to the media, most who have an axe to grind against the Muslims in this conflict.  The problem is Hamas, not the innocent civilians of Gaza. 

To be very clear, I am against ALL religions.  I believe religion is the cause of the subjugation of women and children, war, unjustified hate that tries to hide its prejudice by making the occasional charitable deed to offset the inherent evil in a man-made construct of religion.  I am a minority in America.  I am also vehemently against war, especially a religiously motivated war.  But this war is actually one very much like the displacement of Native Americans based on Manifest Destiny in the nineteenth century.  Up until the formation of the Jewish State, the area was occupied by roughly 85% Muslims, and it was a real place called Palestine.  Many say Palestine is not a “real” country, but the folks who lived there for hundreds of years would beg to differ.  I’ve heard more times than I can count no neighboring Arab nation would take them.  Then again, what country opens immigrants with open arms these days?  Look how America treats our Central American refugees. 

Palestinian Refugees Flee By The Thousands In 1948
Palestinian Refugees Flee By The Thousands In 1948

Take a look at this video of Palestine in 1896, an Ottoman territory at the time. It was a typical Middle Eastern nation, where Jerusalem, then population 500,000, was much like Cairo, Damascus and Beirut. The land was abruptly divided when the Zionists formed the nation of Israel in 1948, divided by not only religious disagreements but for the simple fact the residents were forced onto reservation-like conditions after hundreds of years of living on their own land.  Add things like blockades of supplies, disruption of utilities and curfews, the Palestinians were not welcomed by Israeli society but were treated, from the onset, like pariahs. The “catastrophe,” or “nakba,” of Israel’s creation, during which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes into exile. Seldom have I heard in the American media the perspective from the Palestinians side. The Center for Research on Globalization, based out of Montreal, Quebec tells a different story here about Israel.

It took six months to complete, consider the toll, and understand the Nakba’s meaning. It displaced 750,000 to 800,000 people – men, women, children, the elderly and infant civilians. Many hundreds or thousands of others were killed. Sweeping destruction was carried out. It erased 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and other cities….Golda Meir said: “There are no Palestinians” and Menachem Begin and Nobel Peace Prize recipient called Palestinians “two-legged beasts” and said Jews were the “Master Race” and “divine gods on this planet.”

History clearly remembers there was another person in Nazi Germany that claimed they were also the  “master race;” the irony here is pretty astounding. There are a growing number of disenchanted IDF Israelis who have grown tired of military-only solutions to problems.  By taking this position, these people are often imprisoned for their pacifist beliefs. If war is the only solution, the ideology of Netanyahu and his neocon friends McCain, Cruz and Graham will sadly prevail in the region.

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Israel Invades Gaza, Hamas Uses Palestinians As Martyrs

 

Israel's Iron Dome Protects Citizens While Hamas Exploits Human Shields For Weapons
Israel’s Iron Dome Protects Citizens While Hamas Exploits Human Shields For Weapons

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.

Defense Contractors Since Vietnam Have Always Demanded A New War

The Hawkish McCain and Graham (L to R)
The Hawkish McCain and Graham (L to R)

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 LUCRATIVE friendship 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 long occupation 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.

Now We Know Who Does Not Support The Troops

I’ve never heard disapproval when we have made deals to rescue Americans POWs, until Bowe Bergdahl was released.  President Reagan did it on several occasions as part of the efforts to ensure the release of the Americans and others who were kidnapped in Lebanon back in the 1980sIn this case,  Sgt. Bergdahl’s reportedly deteriorating health gave the president an emergency exception to a law he signed a year ago.  There simply wasn’t time to deal with an obstreperous Congress who has never acquiesced to the requests of the Obama Administration. 

Sgt. Bergdahl Desperately Needing Medical Care
Sgt. Bergdahl Desperately Needing Medical Care

 

The nation of Israel is praised by Republicans and many Democrats as the ally who can literally do no wrong.  Ironically, Israel has a long history of prisoner swaps, and the numbers have been far more lopsided than the exchange of one American for five detainees from Gitmo. After the Sinai War of 1956, Israel returned 5,500 Egyptian soldiers for four IDF POWs.  On June 3, 1973, 3 Israeli Air Force pilots in Syrian captivity for three years were exchanged for 46 Syrian prisoners.  In 2011, one Israeli POW was exchanged for over 1,ooo Palestinian detainees.    Did the right accuse Israel of negotiating with terrorists? As far as anyone can remember they didn’t utter a peep about this. 

Those of us who never served in the military don’t realize how true the expression War is Hell really is.  We have no concept of the horrors that come with serving in that hostile environment and the psychological havoc it wreaks on so many of our armed forces.  Senator Ted Cruz, noted saboteur of government and enemy to veterans, is labeling Bergdahl a traitor who deserted his post, and subsequently caused the deaths of soldiers looking for him.  Little is known yet about the circumstances surrounding the whole ordeal, but Cruz, who’s never served, has already tried and convicted this young man. 

Remember Jessica Lynch’s “dramatic rescue” from an Iraqi hospital where she was getting treatment in 2003?  Where was the outrage from the media that so many people were simply IN Iraq searching for WMD that weren’t there?  They gloss over the fact that over 4,000 Americans perished in a war based on lies.  Lynch’s return warranted the Governor of West Virginia to declare a Jessica Lynch Day, but the Bergdahl’s son causes only disgust from our Republican friends for a man who went through unspeakable trauma .

If Bowe Bergdahl would have died in captivity, then President Obama would be labeled a murderer.  Instead he’s accused of illegally rescuing an alleged traitor.  The GOP hates President Obama so much, they’ll smite POWs and Veterans just to prove it.  In fact, I’m sure they’ll be criminal hearings in Congress over this matter.  What else will the GOP House do, take care of our veterans?  Fat chance.  They’re too busy blaming President Obama because they won’t fund the VA.  If this makes sense to you, you probably watch Fox News.

VA Secretary General Shinseki and President Obama

Time To Stop Blaming The Wrong People For The VA Scandal

VA Secretary General Shinseki and President Obama
VA Secretary General Shinseki and President Obama

When Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a bill to substantially improve the quality of life for America’s heroes, our veterans, his intentions were to vastly enhance care and education. On February 27, 2014: A massive veterans legislative package that would have expanded a host of post-military benefits was sidelined after Senate Democratic backers failed to find enough support among their Republican colleagues.  This impressive and comprehensive bill rectified so many of the ills at the Veterans Administration. I encourage everyone to glance at the bill and then ask the journalists why is this not THE REAL ISSUE?

The GOP, the self-appointed party of patriots, claimed President Obama’s West Point Commencement address was received with tepid approval. Why? Because he spoke the truth? “America’s costliest mistakes have stemmed not from restraint but from rushing to armed adventures without thinking through the consequences, without building international support and legitimacy for our action, without leveling with the American people about the sacrifice required.”  Imagine if the address given by George W. Bush at that very same place in 2002 was as insightful, logical and considerate to the soldiers he stood before, many of them would not have become casualties of his poorly-planned wars.

The GOP Senators Who Never Side With Veterans
The GOP Senators Who Never Side With Veterans

Senator John McCain would entangle our military in dozens of wars if he had his way. Famous for being a POW, he has been voting repeatedly against his fellow veterans for years denying the needed funding for benefits. He was among the Republicans who voted against the measure. He and his fellow Arizona Republican, Senator Jeff Flake have some serious soul-searching to do after laying the blame on Secretary of the VA Shinseki and the Obama Administration.

Does anyone else see this pattern: the GOP votes against funding (embassy security and Veterans’ care) and an inevitable crisis ensues? Is everyone too distracted by these scandals to forget that Koch Industries and BP (to name a few) are given a pass to pollute while the far right science-deniers focus on  Vice President Gore’s audacity to live in a nice home? Perhaps if the Chris Matthews and Chuck Todds of the MSM would stop reading from Frank Luntz’s daily manifestos, the real villains would be held to account for the problems they create.

General Shinseki Should Not Resign

The Media Won’t Tell The Truth About Veteran’s Care

VA Secretary General Shinseki Shoukd Not Retire
VA Secretary General Shinseki Should Not Retire

General Eric K. Shinseki, a decorated four star general is currently in charge of a very over stressed Veterans’ Administration.  He is taking all the heat for the failure of VA Hospitals around the country. I was confused why Obama’s former adviser on environmental matters and CNN pundit, Van Jones would tweet,  If I were Shinseki, I would… get my resume in very good shape.  Why would a Democrat bash a man mercilessly hampered by the GOP’s efforts to sabotage everything Obama attempts?  Why would he buy into this charade parroted by media talking heads and surrender to the Right?  

Like so many pundits, Van Jones must have forgotten recent history, a tactic of Bush apologists.  Shinseki tried, mostly in vain,  to encourage the Bush Administration to act responsibly.  In 2003, General Shinseki warned the Bush Administration that victory in Iraq would require more troops than were being deployed for the invasion. Not only was his original assessment vindicated when President Bush announced the Surge in 2007, he warned there was a shortage of doctors and medical personnel in the VA that rendered the system incredibly ill-prepared for conflicts of that magnitude.  For instance, out of  84,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by VA, only half, about 42,000, had their disability claim approved by VA. 

Bush’s political appointees at the VA actively fought against mental health claims. His appointees also obstructed scientific research into the causes of Gulf War illnesses dating back 18 years to Operation Desert Storm and opposed medical research on treatment for 210,000 of those veterans.   In May 2007, Bush threatened to veto legislation that sought a 10 percent—$3.2 billion—increase, calling it too expensive. Bush proposed a 2 percent increase, far below what lawmakers and VA officials said was needed to treat a huge increase in traumatic brain injury and PTSD cases.  So that would certainly account for a short-staffed VA. Bush asserted he doubled the funding for the VA, but he failed to disclose the number of veterans seeking VA healthcare had doubled, from 2.7 million to 5.5 million!

When Bush broke his silence this past March, he referred to the brain injury as simply Post-Traumatic Stress, omitting  “Disorder” to minimize the severity of the condition. The refusal of the medicaid expansion continues to hurt vets in Red States where spiteful GOP governors choose to deny coverage for so many in need.  There are over 5,000,000 Americans who won’t get much-needed care, and roughly a quarter of a million are our war veterans.  If Congress allocated enough money to the care of our veterans they created with 13 years of war, this problem would not even exist. Ignoring veterans and needy Americans in favor of  the enrichment of corporations and millionaires is a tragic blemish on our history.  Support the troops doesn’t mean just support the WAR.  It means take care of our brave veterans for the rest of their lives, no matter what the cost. Secretary Shinseki is well-suited to fix these problems, but he needs the money to do it.