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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 74,836

Journal Archives

Jeremy Scahill: ISIS Disaster Has Failed 'War on Terrorism' Blowback Written All Over it

Investigation journalist Jeremy Scahill sat down with MSNBC's Ari Melber on Thursday to discuss President Obama's announced plan to escalate the U.S. military campaign against the group known as the Islamic State and offered a damning assessment of the administration's "strategy." He said that not only is the militant group (also known by the acronym ISIS) the product of failed military adventurism but that continued attempts to bomb al Qaeda-like groups out of existence simply creates a cycle of "blowback" that is self-defeating and counter-productive.

Scahill's analysis of the current situation—including his criticism of the Obama administration's so-called "counter-terrorism strategy" which he argues has exacerbated, not decreased, the problem of extremism in places like Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen—paints of a picture in which wars and conflict across the Middle East, south Asia, and large swaths of Africa will continue to claim lives and enrich the military-industrial complex while pushing political stability ever further from being attainable.

"Now I think there's the potential for huge blowback here," Scahill said of Obama's plan to launch airstrikes—including possible carpet bombing—against targets in Syria. "I also think that ISIS is, in part, the product of blowback from the Bush era and the Obama era."

Scahill continued: "What I think we're going to end up seeing [in Syria] is the end result of the disaster that Obama inherited, not just from Bush, but from his own first term." Scahill reminded the audience that though former President Bush had bombed Yemen only once ("that we know of", but but President Obama has dramatically increased the number of airstrikes in Yemen and Pakistan, ratcheted up the covert war in Somalia, and otherwise expanded the sphere of the U.S. so-called "counter-terrorism" operations. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/12/scahill-isis-disaster-has-failed-war-terrorism-blowback-written-all-over-it

Sisters Christian oh the time has come.........

Like Robin Hood, the "Nuns on the Bus" show up when you need them.

First it was the social safety net-slashing House budget proposal in 2012 that brought out the sisters calling for justice in cities across the U.S. Then, in 2013, it was the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

Now, the bus-traveling sisters are back, this time fueled by the message, "We the People, We the Voters" in order to take a stand against the overpowering influence of big money on elections. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/11/face-super-rich-corporate-influence-elections-nuns-bus-rides-again

San Diego: Public School Police Receive Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle

The police department for San Diego's public schools recently revealed that they have acquired a large armored combat vehicle from the U.S. military.

The $700,000 mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle (MRAP), which is designed to withstand blasts from improvised explosive devices and mines, was given to law enforcement for the Unified School District in April. The vehicle was transferred through the Department of Defense's controversial 1033 program, which authorizes the military to donate what it considers surplus military equipment to police and sheriff departments in the United States, including tanks and weapons used in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

This and other federal programs that flood local law enforcement with weapons of war have fallen under increased scrutiny following the crackdown by heavily armed riot police and military service members on protesters in Ferguson, Missouri opposing the police killing of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. Numerous other San Diego police agencies have received weapons from the military, although the MRAP stands out for its high dollar value.

The police department acknowledged that the MRAP is likely to be controversial. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/12/public-school-police-receive-mine-resistant-ambush-protected-vehicle

Chris Hedges on the power and history of propaganda

Professor Richard Wolff: Global Capitalism: September 2014 Monthly Update

Published on Sep 11, 2014

We are proud to announce that Democracy at Work is partnering with the Left Forum and Judson Memorial Church to continue the Monthly Economic Update lecture series.

These evening lectures begin with brief updates and analyses of major economic events over the last month.

For September 10, these include:
-the Burger King saga and its lessons
-corporate leaders push for a 4-day workweek
-deepening crisis in Europe: risks for the US
-gentrification of our cities: how "markets" work

Somerset, Kentucky bucks big corporations by selling its citizens gasoline at lower costs

(OnTheCommons.org) When two politicians debate the role of government, it almost always is a Democrat vs. Republican. Which is why it was so refreshing and instructive to read of the debate taking place among Republicans in a small city in southeastern Kentucky.

On July 19, after years of complaints about local gasoline prices being higher than those in surrounding communities, the City of Somerset decided to take matters into its own hands and began selling gasoline directly to the public. Two-term State Senator Chris Girdler immediately declared, “socialism is alive and well in Somerset.” Two-term Mayor Eddie Girdler, a distant cousin responded, “If government doesn't do it to protect the public, then who does it?”

In an interview State Senator Girdler, paraphrasing Ronald Reagan’s famous dictum insisted, “the government is not the answer - government's the problem.” Regrettably the interviewer did not remind the readers that government laid the very foundation of Somerset’s economy. In 1950 the Army Corps of Engineers completed construction of one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. A little over 100 miles in length with an average depth of 85 feet, Lake Cumberland “transformed Somerset from a sleepy rural community into one of the largest recreation centers in Kentucky, drawing more than 1.7 million visitors annually.” It would have been instructive to discover whether Senator Girdler would describe Lake Cumberland as a “socialist enterprise.”

Senator Chris Girdler wants to protect us from big government. He approvingly cites Ronald Reagan’s famous dictum, "You can't be for big government, big taxes and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy.” Mayor Eddie Girdler wants to protect us from the predations big giant corporation and he views government as a proper vehicle for doing so. “It’s the role of government to protect us from big business,” he maintains. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://onthecommons.org/magazine/the-little-city-that-could

The People’s Climate March: This Generation’s March on Washington?

from In These Times:

The People’s Climate March: This Generation’s March on Washington?
The climate justice movement is preparing for what could be its biggest mobilization yet. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

BY Nick Engelfried

On August 28, 1963, 200,000 people swarmed into the nation’s capital for one of the most iconic moments in the civil rights movement: the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. More often remembered today simply as the March on Washington, it was seen by many as a turning point for the civil rights movement, which helped spur passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Today, with hundreds of thousands of people preparing to descend on one of the country’s largest cities for the September 21 People’s Climate March, some are hoping for a similarly transformative moment in the climate movement. But whether the People’s Climate March succeeds in generating the kind of results achieved by the 1963 March on Washington — and whether that is, in fact, a desirable outcome — remains to be seen.

Back in 2009, writing for Orion magazine, Bill McKibben said, “Instead of another march on Washington or London, we’re collecting images from every corner of the world.” He was referring to the recently founded organization 350.org and the preparations for its first international day of action on climate change. In October of that year, people in almost every country staged more than 5,000 actions calling attention to 350 ppm, the maximum safe threshold for atmospheric parts per million of carbon dioxide. They helped focus attention on the importance of getting back to 350 ppm, in the lead-up to the 2009 U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen.

The quote from McKibben suggests organizers of the 2009 mobilization envisioned a movement not dependent on big marches in national capitals — and such an approach had the advantage of being new and different. An equally important factor, though seldom or never mentioned by movement organizers, was that the 2009 climate movement, at least in the United States, simply wasn’t ready for a major march on anywhere. The largest U.S. climate gathering up to that point, Energy Action Coalition’s national Power Shift event in early 2009, had consisted of just slightly more than 10,000 people. There wasn’t going to be a climate moment like the March for Jobs and Freedom that year. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17151/peoples_climate_march_hopes_to_be_this_generations_march_on_washington

Hand in Hand With Kissinger: A Review of Hillary Clinton’s Review

from truthdig:

Hand in Hand With Kissinger: A Review of Hillary Clinton’s Review

Posted on Sep 11, 2014
By Sonali Kolhatkar

If Hillary Clinton’s latest book, “Hard Choices,” was not an obvious enough sign of her presidential aspirations, then her recent Washington Post review of Henry Kissinger’s new book, “World Order,” seems to have sealed the deal. In it, Clinton builds on her already hawkish tenure as secretary of state to prove she can bang the drums of war harder than President Obama and that she can embrace a diplomatic approach so iron-fisted as to put her in the same league as a man that Christopher Hitchens called “a war criminal.”

Clinton begins by asserting that Kissinger’s view of the world is in line with hers and Obama’s because it “largely fits with the broad strategy behind the Obama administration’s effort over the past six years to build a global architecture of security and cooperation for the 21st century.” She continues in this same vein later, proudly stating that “what comes through clearly in this new book is a conviction that we, and President Obama, share: a belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.”

Kissinger was Richard Nixon’s national security adviser and secretary of state—a position he continued under President Gerald Ford. There have been books written (Hitchens, Gary J. Bass, Lubna Z. Qureshi), a film made by Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney based on Hitchens’ book, and countless articles (such as this one), published on the subject of Kissinger’s criminality during his policymaking years. Yet Clinton calls him a “friend” whose counsel she “relied” upon while she served as secretary of state under Obama from 2009 to 2013. She makes no mention of how her opinion of him has obviously evolved from the critical views she held in her youth.


Unfettered by a hesitant Obama, Clinton as president hints that she would wade into conflicts with guns blazing. She has openly chastised Obama for failing to fund rebel groups early on in Syria’s civil war, thereby enabling, in her mind, the rise of the brutal Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. ISIS has emerged as the new lynchpin of a renewed U.S. war strategy in northern Iraq and possibly Syria. But the group is seen by some as the predictable outcome of an overly aggressive U.S. foreign policy that included invasion, occupation and the creation of a government—similar to the policies championed by Kissinger in countries like Chile. If anything, the emergence of ISIS should be a warning sign against interference.


Judging by her words, Clinton is an apologist for power and empire. If Israel’s “mistakes” can be blamed on Hamas, then the U.S.’ will certainly not waver her position if she is president. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/hand_in_hand_with_kissinger_a_review_of_hillary_clintons_review_20140911

Eugene Robinson: What If This Doesn’t Work?

from truthdig:

What If This Doesn’t Work?

Posted on Sep 12, 2014
By Eugene Robinson

President Obama has committed the United States to another open-ended Middle East war in which the potential for doing harm rivals the possibility of doing good.

That’s the bottom line from Obama’s sober address to the nation. The president made his decision cautiously, reluctantly, even painfully. But make no mistake: The pledge to “destroy” the Islamic State is a long-term commitment, and success will depend on a host of partners that may be unreliable.

The biggest winner is Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who must have broken out the champagne when the president finished speaking Wednesday night. Obama’s stated policy is that Assad must go, but U.S. military action now promises to make it easier for him to stay.

Expanding the U.S. bombing campaign against the Islamic State into Syria is meant to inflict serious damage on the most capable rebel force seeking to oust Assad’s brutal regime. As Islamic State militants are forced to evacuate territory they now hold, Assad’s army will move in. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/what_if_this_doesnt_work_20140912

Whither the American Dream?

from In These Times:

Whither the American Dream?
In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has moved to make homeownership harder for ordinary Americans.


Hollywood celebrity and actress Katie Holmes recently bought a $3.8 million home in Calabasas, California (near the famous Kardashian family) for her and her daughter, Suri. Actor Vince Vaughn last week closed on a $2.4 million home in Los Angeles with a lap pool.

Are celebrities the only Americans who should be able to afford a dream home? The federal government seems to think so.

In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, the federal government stepped in to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and prevent a broader housing-market collapse. It is clear that the mortgage giants made some mistakes in the foreclosure crisis, including underestimating their amount of risk from defaults. But neither they nor consumers were the primary cause of the 2008 financial crisis: The blame for that belongs to financial institutions that made predatory lending their primary business model.

Nevertheless, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has forced Fannie and Freddie to adopt a series of policies, price hikes and additional fees that will make it much harder for the average American to buy a house. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17154/whither_the_american_dream

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