Learning is a noble pursuit, but the ancient Greek text is one of the few places where the Socratic Method survives. Sanctioned political doctrine of required thinking is the mainstay in today’s august temples of purification. Forget about a classroom, the curriculum core of New Age studies has no room for the classics, much less instructions into the process of thinking itself. Except, of course for the need to electronically check off the loan applications and assign grants to the business office. In the end, university is big business and developing intelligent graduates happens as an afterthought, if at all.
College Education Economics has become a black hole for most students. Even wealthy families bear a heavy burden to ship their offspring to an experience that continually produces diminished cash flow benefits to offset the costs. Parents know there is a profound disconnect. However, when attempts for making significant changes to the way the higher learning cartel does business, the usual suspects ride to the rescue of the established order.
Jordan Weissmann in a Slate article, Smash the System?, slams Senator Mike Lee for proposing “A dangerous plan to make college cheaper by busting “the college cartel.” What else would you expect from a DC Metro and Associate Editor at The Atlantic? Nothing is more important than defending a failed system and attacking innovative ideas on how to re-create a viable and relevant education model. Quoting Mr. Weissmann,
“In January, Lee introduced legislation that would give states a major role in the accreditation process. The bill has nods of approval from potential presidential contenders Marco Rubio, who has his own proposal on the issue, and Paul Ryan, who dedicated a little-discussed section of his anti-poverty plan to “shaking up the accreditation status quo.”
The hope is that once Washington breaks the hold of today’s accrediting agencies, new, high-tech approaches to education can flourish.”
Nor dare challenge the sacred philistines of detached inculcation, might be a more appropriate title.
Over a year ago, the Washington Examiner looked at the Higher education is a government-created cartel and focused upon how the Federal Government exerts dominance over the accreditation process.
“The Department of Education has deputized eight regional accreditation entities that serve as gate keepers for the entire higher education industry. If you are not approved by one of the Department of Education approved eight regional accreditation agencies, then none of your students can qualify for Pell grants or federally subsidized student loans. With the federal government alone pumping almost $30 billion into higher education every year, if a school is not approved by a regional accreditor, it is essentially dead.”
Why is the issue and control of accreditation of such importance? Even the most naive believer in the ritual of dunking your sheep into the college culture wants to obtain some kind of gradation certification, in the end when the money runs out. Accordingly, the Federal Government uses their time test method of bribes and sanction to shape the kind of education expected from the degree mill. Inducements of low cost loans to the students and embargos to any institution of higher learning, who dares waver from the accepted low standards of fleecing enrollees.
Debating if it is worth the investment to jump through the hoops of perpetual financial indebtedness, for the implied promise that future earning power will be the reward has certainly come into doubt in the last few decades.
Going back twenty-five years, Professor Thomas J. DiLorenzo wrote the Americas OPEC: The Public School Cartel, which describes the monopoly of state and local public school districts. When he cites a case in point of how the public schools have been a cartel designed primarily to benefit the public school bureaucracy, not the public; he could substitute the corporate trust of allied Association of American Colleges and Universities in place of public schools. The primary difference is that government schools primarily operates for the benefit of teachers unions, while a federation of colleges and universities lobby for their own profit advantages in complete cooperation with the federal government.The parents and students are stuck with the bill, just as the property owner gets to pay their school tax. The only saving difference is that attending higher learning sessions are voluntary, if you have the courage to ignore all the guilt-ridden advertisement that pushes ill equipped and confused students into financial ruin, paying for overpriced and useless schooling.
The cartel of higher learning has infected the minds of “PC” conditioned meatheads. Government bureaucrats love pushing innocent adolescents into circumstance of useless education so the acclimation process adapts them to working their lives at minimum wage.
It is crucial to separate the academia component of an educational school with their financial planning and business operations. Courses vary in content and quality depending on the skills and dedication of the instructors. However, the fiscal stability and future expansion opportunities often depend upon perpetuating the myth of the indispensible necessity of becoming an alumnus.
More families become aware of this hoax and start searching for other alternatives. Teaching, once was the staple and primary purpose of renowned traditions, now are shifting towards research as reported in the UK, Universities putting research before teaching. Major US research institutions grow into closer associations with government projects and their accompanying budgets. Distinction between the gift of teaching falls short to the science of commercialization or defense.As long as the student loan bubble keeps expanding, the windbags in the liberal press will keep defending the inept higher education establishment. The true accreditation one seeks to learn comes from the success from your own learning experience, not from some, hand- picked government board that has a budget increase when additional student loans are booked.
If cartels are bad in business, they are even worse when run as a tag team effort between universities and government. Accreditation is a state matter and the federal government has no lawful authority to curtail competition in higher learning.
My Money’s On Putin…
“History shows that the United States has benefited politically and economically from wars in Europe. The huge outflow of capital from Europe following the First and Second World Wars, transformed the U.S. into a superpower … Today, faced with economic decline, the US is trying to precipitate another European war to achieve the same objective.”… Sergey Glazyev, Russian politician and economist
“The discovery of the world’s largest, known gas reserves in the Persian Gulf, shared by Qatar and Iran, and new assessments which found 70 percent more gas in the Levantine in 2007, are key to understanding the dynamics of the conflicts we see today. After a completion of the PARS pipeline, from Iran, through Iraq and Syria to the Eastern Mediterranean coast, the European Union would receive more than an estimated 45 percent of the gas it consumes over the next 100 – 120 years from Russian and Iranian sources. Under non-conflict circumstances, this would warrant an increased integration of the European, Russian and Iranian energy sectors and national economies.” Christof Lehmann,Interview with Route Magazine
The United States failed operation in Syria, has led to an intensification of Washington’s proxy war in Ukraine. What the Obama administration hoped to achieve in Syria through its support of so called “moderate” Islamic militants was to topple the regime of Bashar al Assad, replace him with a US-backed puppet, and prevent the construction of the critical Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline. That plan hasn’t succeeded nor will it in the near future, which means that the plan for the prospective pipeline will eventually go forward.
Why is that a problem?
It’s a problem because–according to Dr. Lehmann–”Together with the Russian gas… the EU would be able to cover some 50 percent of its requirements for natural gas via Iranian and Russian sources.” As the primary suppliers of critical resources to Europe, Moscow and Tehran would grow stronger both economically and politically which would significantly undermine the influence of the US and its allies in the region, particularly Qatar and Israel. This is why opponents of the pipeline developed a plan to sabotage the project by fomenting a civil war in Syria. Here’s Lehmann again:
“In 2007, Qatar sent USD 10 billion to Turkey´s Foreign Minister Davotoglu to prepare Turkey´s and Syria´s Muslim Brotherhood for the subversion of Syria. As we recently learned from former French Foreign Minister Dumas, it was also about that time, that actors in the United Kingdom began planning the subversion of Syria with the help of “rebels”’ (Christof Lehmann, Interview with Route Magazine)
In other words, the idea to arm, train and fund an army of jihadi militants, to oust al Assad and open up Syria to western interests, had its origins in an evolving energy picture that clearly tilted in the favor of US rivals in the region. (Note: We’re not sure why Lehmann leaves out Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or the other Gulf States that have also been implicated.)
Lehmann’s thesis is supported by other analysts including the Guardian’s Nafeez Ahmed who explains what was going on behind the scenes of the fake civil uprising in Syria. Here’s a clip from an article by Ahmed titled “Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern”:
“In May 2007, a presidential finding revealed that Bush had authorised CIA operations against Iran. Anti-Syria operations were also in full swing around this time as part of this covert programme, according to Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. A range of US government and intelligence sources told him that the Bush administration had “cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations” intended to weaken the Shi’ite Hezbollah in Lebanon. “The US has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria,” wrote Hersh, “a byproduct” of which is “the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups” hostile to the United States and “sympathetic to al-Qaeda.” He noted that “the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria”…
According to former French foreign minister Roland Dumas, Britain had planned covert action in Syria as early as 2009: “I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business”, he told French television:
“I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria.”
… Leaked emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor including notes from a meeting with Pentagon officials confirmed US-UK training of Syrian opposition forces since 2011 aimed at eliciting “collapse” of Assad’s regime “from within.”
So what was this unfolding strategy to undermine Syria and Iran all about? According to retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense just a few weeks after 9/11 revealed plans to “attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years”, starting with Iraq and moving on to “Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.” In a subsequent interview, Clark argues that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.”
(“Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern“, The Guardian)
Apparently, Assad was approached by Qatar on the pipeline issue in 2009, but he refused to cooperate in order “to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally.” Had Assad fallen in line and agreed to Qatar’s offer, then the effort to remove him from office probably would have been called off. In any event, it was the developments in Syria that triggered the frenzied reaction in Ukraine. According to Lehmann:
“The war in Ukraine became predictable (unavoidable?) when the great Muslim Brotherhood Project in Syria failed during the summer of 2012. …In June and July 2012 some 20,000 NATO mercenaries who had been recruited and trained in Libya and then staged in the Jordanian border town Al-Mafraq, launched two massive campaigns aimed at seizing the Syrian city of Aleppo. Both campaigns failed and the ”Libyan Brigade” was literally wiped out by the Syrian Arab Army.
It was after this decisive defeat that Saudi Arabia began a massive campaign for the recruitment of jihadi fighters via the network of the Muslim Brotherhoods evil twin sister Al-Qaeda.
The International Crisis Group responded by publishing its report ”Tentative Jihad”. Washington had to make an attempt to distance itself ”politically” from the ”extremists”. Plan B, the chemical weapons plan was hedged but it became obvious that the war on Syria was not winnable anymore.” (“The Atlantic Axis and the Making of a War in Ukraine“, New eastern Outlook)
There were other factors that pushed the US towards a conflagration with Moscow in Ukraine, but the driving force was the fact that US rivals (Russia and Iran) stood to be the dominant players in an energy war that would increasingly erode Washington’s power. Further economic integration between Europe and Russia poses a direct threat to US plans to pivot to Asia, deploy NATO to Russia’s borders, and to continue to denominate global energy supplies in US dollars.
Lehmann notes that he had a conversation with “a top-NATO admiral from a northern European country” who clarified the situation in a terse, two-sentence summary of US foreign policy. He said:
“American colleagues at the Pentagon told me, unequivocally, that the US and UK never would allow European – Soviet relations to develop to such a degree that they would challenge the US/UK’s political, economic or military primacy and hegemony on the European continent. Such a development will be prevented by all necessary means, if necessary by provoking a war in central Europe”.
This is the crux of the issue. The United States is not going to allow any state or combination of states to challenge its dominance. Washington doesn’t want rivals. It wants to be the undisputed, global superpower, which is the point that Paul Wolfowitz articulated in an early draft of the US National Defense Strategy:
“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”
So the Obama administration is going to do whatever it thinks is necessary to stop further EU-Russia economic integration and to preserve the petrodollar system. That system originated in 1974 when President Richard Nixon persuaded OPEC members to denominate their oil exclusively in dollars, and to recycle their surplus oil proceeds into U.S. Treasuries. The arrangement turned out to be a huge windfall for the US, which rakes in more than $1 billion per day via the process. This, in turn, allows the US to over-consume and run hefty deficits. Other nations must stockpile dollars to purchase the energy that runs their machinery, heats their homes and fuels their vehicles. Meanwhile, the US can breezily exchange paper currency, which it can print at no-expense to itself, for valuable imported goods that cost dearly in terms of labor and materials. These dollars then go into purchasing oil or natural gas, the profits of which are then recycled back into USTs or other dollar-denominated assets such as U.S. stocks, bonds, real estate, or ETFs. This is the virtuous circle that keeps the US in the top spot.
As one critic put it: “World trade is now a game in which the US produces dollars and the rest of the world produces things that dollars can buy.”
The petrodollar system helps to maintain the dollar’s monopoly pricing which, in turn, sustains the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. It creates excessive demand for dollars which allows the Fed to expand the nation’s credit by dramatically reducing the cost of financing. If oil and natural gas were no longer denominated in USDs, the value of the dollar would fall sharply, the bond market would collapse, and the US economy would slip into a long-term slump.
This is one of the reasons why the US invaded Iraq shortly after Saddam had switched over to the euro; because it considers any challenge to the petrodollar looting scam as a direct threat to US national security.
Moscow is aware of Washington’s Achilles’s heel and is making every effort to exploit that weakness by reducing its use of the dollar in its trade agreements. So far, Moscow has persuaded China and Iran to drop the dollar in their bilateral dealings, and they have found that other trading partners are eager to do the same. Recently, Russian economic ministers conducted a “de-dollarization” meeting in which a “currency switch executive order” was issued stating that “the government has the legal power to force Russian companies to trade a percentage of certain goods in rubles.”
Last week, according to RT:
“The Russian and Chinese central banks have agreed a draft currency swap agreement, which will allow them to increase trade in domestic currencies and cut the dependence on the US dollar in bilateral payments. “The draft document between the Central Bank of Russia and the People’s Bank of China on national currency swaps has been agreed by the parties…..The agreement will stimulate further development of direct trade in yuan and rubles on the domestic foreign exchange markets of Russia and China,” the Russian regulator said.
Currently, over 75 percent of payments in Russia-China trade settlements are made in US dollars, according to Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper.” (“De-Dollarization Accelerates – China/Russia Complete Currency Swap Agreement“, Zero Hedge)
The attack on the petrodollar recycling system is one of many asymmetrical strategies Moscow is presently employing to discourage US aggression, to defend its sovereignty, and to promote a multi-polar world order where the rule of law prevails. The Kremlin is also pushing for institutional changes that will help to level the playing field instead of creating an unfair advantage for the richer countries like the US. Naturally, replacing the IMF, whose exploitative loans and punitive policies, topped the list for most of the emerging market nations, particularly the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) who, in July, agreed to create a $100 billion Development Bank that will “will counter the influence of Western-based lending institutions and the dollar. The new bank will provide money for infrastructure and development projects in BRICS countries, and unlike the IMF or World Bank, each nation has equal say, regardless of GDP size.
According to RT:
“The big launch of the BRICS bank is seen as a first step to break the dominance of the US dollar in global trade, as well as dollar-backed institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, both US-based institutions BRICS countries have little influence within…
“This mechanism creates the foundation for an effective protection of our national economies from a crisis in financial markets,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.”
(“BRICS establish $100bn bank and currency pool to cut out Western dominance“, RT)
It’s clear that Washington’s aggression in Ukraine has focused Moscow’s attention on retaliation. But rather than confront the US militarily, as Obama and Co. would prefer, Putin is taking aim at the vulnerabilities within the system. A BRICS Development Bank challenges the IMF’s dominant role as lender of last resort, a role that has enhanced the power of the wealthy countries and their industries. The new bank creates the basis for real institutional change, albeit, still within the pervasive capitalist framework.
Russian politician and economist, Sergei Glazyev, summarized Moscow’s approach to the US-Russia conflagration in an essay titled “US is militarizing Ukraine to invade Russia.” Here’s an excerpt:
“To stop the war, you need to terminate its driving forces. At this stage, the war unfolds mainly in the planes of economic, public relations and politics. All the power of US economic superiority is based on the financial pyramid of debt, and this has gone long beyond sustainability. Its major lenders are collapsing enough to deprive the US market of accumulated US dollars and Treasury bonds. Of course, the collapse of the US financial system will cause serious losses to all holders of US currency and securities. But first, these losses for Russia, Europe and China will be less than the losses caused by American geopolitics unleashing another world war. Secondly, the sooner the exit from the financial obligations of this American pyramid, the less will be the losses. Third, the collapse of the dollar Ponzi scheme gives an opportunity, finally, to reform the global financial system on the basis of equity and mutual benefit.”
Washington thinks “modern warfare” involves covert support for proxy armies comprised of Neo Nazis and Islamic extremists. Moscow thinks modern warfare means undermining the enemy’s ability to wage war through sustained attacks on it’s currency, its institutions, its bond market, and its ability to convince its allies that it is a responsible steward of the global economic system.
I’ll put my money on Russia.
During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the Soviet Union because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.
E-mail sent to the Washington Post July 23, 2014 about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:
Your July 22 editorial was headed: “Russia’s barbarism. The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue state.”
Pretty strong language. Vicious, even. Not one word of hard evidence in the editorial to back it up. Then, the next day, the Associated Press reported:
Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for ‘creating the conditions’ that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. … the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.
Where were these words in the Post? You people are behaving like a rogue newspaper.
– William Blum
I don’t have to tell you whether the Post printed my letter. I’ve been reading the paper for 25 years – six years during Vietnam (1964-1970) and the last 19 years (1995-2014) – usually spending about three hours each day reading it very carefully. And I can say that when it comes to US foreign policy the newspaper is worse now than I can remember it ever was during those 25 years. It’s reached the point where, as one example, I don’t take at face value a word the Post has to say about Ukraine. Same with the State Department, which makes one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s wholly inconclusive and/or unsourced or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. Do they have something to hide?
The State Department’s Public Affairs spokespersons making these presentations exhibit little regard or respect for the reporters asking challenging questions. It takes my thoughts back to the Vietnam era and Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the man most responsible for “giving, controlling and managing the war news from Vietnam”. One day in July 1965, Sylvester told American journalists that they had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. When one of the reporters exclaimed: “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be handmaidens of government,” Sylvester replied: “That’s exactly what I expect,” adding: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? – stupid.”
Such frankness might be welcomed today as a breath of fresh air compared to the painful-to-observe double-talk of a State Department spokesperson.
My personal breath of fresh air in recent years has been the television station RT (formerly Russia Today). On a daily basis many progressives from around the world (myself included occasionally) are interviewed and out of their mouths come facts and analyses that are rarely heard on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox News, BBC, etc. The words of these progressives heard on RT are typically labeled by the mainstream media as “Russian propaganda”, whereas I, after a long lifetime of American propaganda, can only think: “Of course. What else are they going to call it?”
As for Russia being responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the shooting down of Flight 17, we should keep in mind that the current series of events in Ukraine was sparked in February when a US-supported coup overthrew the democratically-elected government and replaced it with one that was more receptive to the market-fundamentalism dictates of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the European Union. Were it not for the coup there would have been no eastern rebellion to put down and no dangerous war zone for Flight 17 to be flying over in the first place.
The new regime has had another charming feature: a number of outspoken neo-Nazis in high and low positions, a circumstance embarrassing enough for the US government and mainstream media to turn it into a virtual non-event. US Senator John McCain met and posed for photos with the leader of the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, Oleh Tyahnybok (photos easily found on the Internet). Ukraine – whose ties to Naziism go back to World War Two when their homegrown fascists supported Germany and opposed the Soviet Union – is on track to becoming the newest part of the US-NATO military encirclement of Russia and possibly the home of the region’s newest missile base, target Moscow.
It is indeed possible that Flight 17 was shot down by the pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine in the mistaken belief that it was the Ukrainian air force returning to carry out another attack. But other explanations are suggested in a series of questions posed by Russia to the the Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, accompanied by radar information, satellite images, and other technical displays:
“Why was a military aircraft flying in a civil aviation airway at almost the same time and the same altitude as a civilian passenger aircraft? We would like to have this question answered.”
“Earlier, Ukrainian officials stated that on the day of the accident no Ukrainian military aircraft were flying in that area. As you can see, that is not true.”
“We also have a question for our American colleagues. According to a statement by American officials, the United States has satellite images which show that the missile aimed at the Malaysian aircraft was launched by the militants. But no one has seen these images.”
There is also this intriguing speculation, which ties in to the first Russian question above. A published analysis by a retired Lufthansa pilot points out that Flight 17 looked similar in its tricolor design to that of Russian President Putin’s plane, whose plane with him on board was at the same time “near” Flight 17. In aviation circles “near” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles. Could Putin’s plane have been the real target?
There is as well other serious and plausible questioning of the official story of Russia and/or Ukrainian anti-Kiev militias being responsible for the shootdown. Is Flight 17 going to become the next JFK Assassination, PanAm 103, or 9-11 conspiracy theory that lingers forever? Will the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the Syrian chemical weapons be joined by the Russian anti-aircraft missile? Stay tuned.
Will they EVER leave Cuba alone? No.
The latest exposed plot to overthrow the Cuban government … Oh, pardon me, I mean the latest exposed plot to bring democracy to Cuba …
Our dear friends at the Agency For International Development (USAID), having done so well with their covert sub-contractor Alan Gross, now in his fifth year in Cuban custody … and their “Cuban Twitter” project, known as ZunZuneo, exposed in 2012, aimed at increasing the flow of information amongst the supposedly information-starved Cubans, which drew in subscribers unaware that the service was paid for by the US government … and now, the latest exposure, a project which sent about a dozen Venezuelan, Costa Rican and Peruvian young people to Cuba in hopes of stirring up a rebellion; the travelers worked clandestinely, using the cover of health and civic programs, or posing as tourists, going around the island, on a mission to “identify potential social-change actors” to turn into political activists. Can you believe that? Can you believe the magnitude of naiveté? Was it a conviction that American exceptionalism would somehow work its magic? Do they think the Cuban people are a bunch of children just waiting for a wise adult to come along and show them what to think and how to behave?
One of these latest USAID contracts was signed only days after Gross was detained, thus indicating little concern for the safety of their employees/agents. As part of the preparation of these individuals, USAID informed them: “Although there is never total certainty, trust that the authorities will not try to harm you physically, only frighten you. Remember that the Cuban government prefers to avoid negative media reports abroad, so a beaten foreigner is not convenient for them.”
It’s most ironic. The US government could not say as much about most of their allies, who frequently make use of physical abuse. Indeed, the statement could not be made in regard to almost any American police force. But it’s this Cuba that doesn’t beat or torture detainees that is the enemy to be reformed and punished without mercy … 55 years and counting.
The United States and torture
Two of the things that governments tend to cover-up or lie about the most are assassinations and torture, both of which are widely looked upon as exceedingly immoral and unlawful, even uncivilized. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders and has led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance and encouragement by American instructors, particularly in Latin America.
Thus it is somewhat to the credit of President Obama that at his August 1 press conference he declared “We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.”
And he actually used the word “torture” at that moment, not “enhanced interrogation”, which has been the euphemism of preference the past decade, although two minutes later the president used “extraordinary interrogation techniques”. And “tortured some folks” makes me wince. The man is clearly uncomfortable with the subject.
But all this is minor. Much more important is the fact that for several years Mr. Obama’s supporters have credited him with having put an end to the practice of torture. And they simply have no right to make that claim.
Shortly after Obama’s first inauguration, both he and Leon Panetta, the new Director of the CIA, explicitly stated that “rendition” was not being ended. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time: “Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.”
The English translation of “cooperate” is “torture”. Rendition is simply outsourcing torture. There was no other reason to take prisoners to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, Kosovo, or the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, to name some of the known torture centers frequented by the United States. Kosovo and Diego Garcia – both of which house large and very secretive American military bases – if not some of the other locations, may well still be open for torture business. The same for the Guantánamo Base in Cuba.
Moreover, the Executive Order referred to, number 13491, issued January 22, 2009, “Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”, leaves a major loophole. It states repeatedly that humane treatment, including the absence of torture, is applicable only to prisoners detained in an “armed conflict”. Thus, torture by Americans outside an environment of “armed conflict” is not explicitly prohibited. But what about torture within an environment of “counter-terrorism”?
The Executive Order required the CIA to use only the interrogation methods outlined in a revised Army Field Manual. However, using the Army Field Manual as a guide to prisoner treatment and interrogation still allows solitary confinement, perceptual or sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, the induction of fear and hopelessness, mind-altering drugs, environmental manipulation such as temperature and noise, and stress positions.
After Panetta was questioned by a Senate panel, the New York Times wrote that he had “left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules … Mr. Panetta also said the agency would continue the Bush administration practice of ‘rendition’ – picking terrorism suspects off the street and sending them to a third country. But he said the agency would refuse to deliver a suspect into the hands of a country known for torture or other actions ‘that violate our human values’.”
The last sentence is of course childishly absurd. The countries chosen to receive rendition prisoners were chosen precisely because they were willing and able to torture them.
No official in the Bush and Obama administrations has been punished in any way for torture or other war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and the other countries they waged illegal war against. And, it could be added, no American bankster has been punished for their indispensable role in the world-wide financial torture they inflicted upon us all beginning in 2008. What a marvelously forgiving land is America. This, however, does not apply to Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, or Chelsea Manning.
In the last days of the Bush White House, Michael Ratner, professor at Columbia Law School and former president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, pointed out:
The only way to prevent this from happening again is to make sure that those who were responsible for the torture program pay the price for it. I don’t see how we regain our moral stature by allowing those who were intimately involved in the torture programs to simply walk off the stage and lead lives where they are not held accountable.
I’d like at this point to once again remind my dear readers of the words of the “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”, which was drafted by the United Nations in 1984, came into force in 1987, and ratified by the United States in 1994. Article 2, section 2 of the Convention states: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
Such marvelously clear, unequivocal, and principled language, to set a single standard for a world that makes it increasingly difficult for one to feel proud of humanity.
The Convention Against Torture has been and remains the supreme law of the land. It is a cornerstone of international law and a principle on a par with the prohibition against slavery and genocide.
“Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States.” – United States Attorney General Eric Holder, July 26, 2013
John Brennan, appointed by President Obama in January 2013 to be Director of the CIA, has defended “rendition” as an “absolutely vital tool”; and stated that torture had produced “life saving” intelligence.
Obama had nominated Brennan for the CIA position in 2008, but there was such an outcry in the human-rights community over Brennan’s apparent acceptance of torture, that Brennan withdrew his nomination. Barack Obama evidently learned nothing from this and appointed the man again in 2013.
During Cold War One, a common theme in the rhetoric was that the Soviets tortured people and detained them without cause, extracted phony confessions, and did the unspeakable to detainees who were helpless against the full, heartless weight of the Communist state. As much as any other evil, torture differentiated the bad guys, the Commies, from the good guys, the American people and their government. However imperfect the US system might be – we were all taught – it had civilized standards that the enemy rejected.
Just because you have a right to do something does not make it right.
The city of Detroit in recent months has been shutting off the supply of water to city residents who have not paid their water bills. This action affects more than 40% of the customers of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, bringing great inconvenience and threats to the health and sanitation of between 200 and 300 thousand residents. Protests have of course sprung up in the city, with “Water is a human right!” as a leading theme.
Who can argue with that? Well, neo-conservatives and other true believers in the capitalist system who maintain that if you receive the benefit of a product or service, you pay for it. What could be simpler? What are you, some kind of socialist?
For those of you who have difficulty believing that an American city could be so insensitive, allow me to remind you of some history.
On December 14, 1981 a resolution was proposed in the United Nations General Assembly which declared that “education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development are human rights”. Notice the “proper nourishment”. The resolution was approved by a vote of 135-1. The United States cast the only “No” vote.
A year later, December 18, 1982, an identical resolution was proposed in the General Assembly. It was approved by a vote of 131-1. The United States cast the only “No” vote.
The following year, December 16, 1983, the resolution was again put forth, a common practice at the United Nations. This time it was approved by a vote of 132-1. There’s no need to tell you who cast the sole “No” vote.
These votes took place under the Reagan administration.
Under the Clinton administration, in 1996, a United Nations-sponsored World Food Summit affirmed the “right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food”. The United States took issue with this, insisting that it does not recognize a “right to food”. Washington instead championed free trade as the key to ending the poverty at the root of hunger, and expressed fears that recognition of a “right to food” could lead to lawsuits from poor nations seeking aid and special trade provisions.
The situation of course did not improve under the administration of George W. Bush. In 2002, in Rome, world leaders at another UN-sponsored World Food Summit again approved a declaration that everyone had the right to “safe and nutritious food”. The United States continued to oppose the clause, again fearing it would leave them open to future legal claims by famine-stricken countries.
I’m waiting for a UN resolution affirming the right to oxygen.
- See various examples at RT.com, such as “Jen Psaki’s most embarrassing fails, most entertaining grillings”, or simply search the site for “Ukraine Jen Psaki”
- Congressional Record (House of Representatives), May 12, 1966, pp. 9977-78, reprint of an article by Morley Safer of CBS News
- “Letter dated 22 July 2014 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General”, released by the UN 24 July, Document No. A/68/954-S/2014/524
- “Pre-WWIII German Pilot Shocker, MH17 ‘Not Hit By Missile’”, Before It’s News, July 31 2014
- Associated Press, August 4, 2014
- Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009
- New York Times, February 6, 2009
- Associated Press, November 17, 2008
- Associated Press, November 26, 2008
- Washington Post, November 18, 1996
- Reuters news agency, June 10, 2002
As if globalist scheming had not yet caused enough death and destruction in the Middle East, the global government-promoting Council on Foreign Relations and various outfits associated with the secretive Bilderberg group are now pushing a radical new plot for the region: a European Union-style regional regime to rule over the Arab, Turkish, Kurdish, and other peoples who live there. The sought-after “Middle Eastern Union” would put populations ranging from Turkey and Jordan to Libya and Egypt under a single authority.
If the plot moves forward, like in other areas, it would usurp from the peoples of the region their right to self-government and national sovereignty. It would also advance the longtime establishment goal of setting up regional regimes on the path to a more formal system of “global governance.” Already, the peoples of Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, and other regions have had self-styled regional “authorities” imposed on them against their will. In the Middle East, numerous similar efforts such as the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League have been making progress, too.
A true “union” to rule over the broader Middle East and North Africa, though, would represent a major step forward in the ongoing regionalization of power around the world. Using a wide range of pretexts to advance the scheme, top globalist outfits and mouthpieces claim such a regional government would solve myriad real and imagined problems. However, with the plot being pushed hard by the CFR and various globalist propaganda organs such as the Financial Times, a U.K. newspaper that is always well represented at the shadowy Bilderberg summits, there is good reason to be skeptical at the very least.
“Just as a warring [European] continent found peace through unity by creating what became the EU, Arabs, Turks, Kurds and other groups in the region could find relative peace in ever closer union,” claimed Mohamed “Ed” Husain, an “adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies” at the CFR, in a piece published in the Financial Times and on the CFR website last month. “After all, most of its problems — terrorism, poverty, unemployment, sectarianism, refugee crises, water shortages — require regional answers. No country can solve its problems on its own.”
Of course, the notion that Europe “found peace through unity” — in reality it was globalists surreptitiously crushing national sovereignty and foisting an unaccountable regime on the peoples — is fashionable among establishment types. In truth, though, “peace” hardly requires giving up self-government. Plus, many of the wars in Europe over the last century were actually fomented by the very same forces that imposed the EU on the continent. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, for example, was a member of the National Socialist (Nazi) party before going on to create Bilderberg, which attendees openly boast has played a crucial role in imposing the Brussels-based super-state that now dominates Europe.
Plenty of actual examples also refute Husain’s claims about the supposed necessity of a regional regime to solve national problems. The Swiss, for instance, have had peace for centuries, yet they have consistently and overwhelmingly refused to surrender their sovereignty to the EU or any other outfit. Switzerland also has virtually no terrorism, poverty, unemployment, sectarianism, refugee crises, or water shortages, yet it never sought “regional answers.” In fact, contrary to Husain’s factually challenged argument, the Swiss have done better than virtually any other people in solving their problems on their own. Perhaps Husain views Middle Easterners as less capable, but more likely, he knows full well that a country could solve its problems on its own.
“Most in the Middle East no longer feel the dignity of their ancestors,” continued the CFR’s Husain without citing any data or surveys. “What Plato called thymos is desperately missing: the political desire for recognition and respect as dignified peoples. A Middle Eastern Union could recreate it.” How being ruled by an unaccountable and autocratic EU-style leviathan would give the peoples of the Middle East “dignity” or “thymos” was not immediately clear. Plato, of course, like bigwigs at the CFR and their fellow travelers, believed the masses should be lorded over by their superiors — Plato called them “philosopher kings.”
Rather than allowing Middle Easterners to create their own union, Husain makes clear that Western globalists should take the lead. “Will the west wait until Islamists and radicals are powerful enough to create their own Middle East, one opposed to us?” he asked, conveniently failing to mention the gigantic role of the Western and globalist establishment in fomenting Islamic extremism and terror. “Or will we help our partners in government harness this momentum? This is the moment to create multilateral institutions that could implant pluralism across the region.” Husain also called for the EU and the U.S. government to lend “bureaucratic experience” to “voices in the region who want greater integration.”
“A complete change of psychology is needed,” he added without elaborating on how such a transformation in people’s views and beliefs would be achieved.
Of course, Husain at the CFR is not alone. In 2011, the Islamist president of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, also called for an EU-style regime to rule the Middle East. Speaking in the United Kingdom, Gül claimed “an efficient regional economic cooperation and integration mechanism” was needed for the region. “We all saw the role played by the European Union in facilitating the democratic transition in central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall,” he claimed. Islamic Turkey is also working to join the EU.
Various Middle Eastern tyrants have echoed the calls for a regional regime, too — the kings of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, for example. As Husain pointed out, the radical Muslim Brotherhood and the terrorist group Hamas are also working to unify the Middle East under one single tyrannical government of gargantuan proportions.
Already, AstroTurf groups working toward such a union are popping up across the region, too. “We dream of a Middle East that is empowered, free, and governs for all it’s [sic] peoples at the highest level of being in a new world where the Middle East Union is an important integral part of a greater global community that pledges its allegiance to the earth and every human on it,” declares the newly created “Middle East Union Congress” on its website.
By 2050, the new Congress aims to shackle some 800 million people from Pakistan in Asia to Morocco in Northwest Africa under a single regime with a single euro-style currency. The outfit also wants to create a new capital city for the union named aftercommunist revolutionary Nelson Mandela, whom it described as “the 20th century’s greatest global citizen.” From “Nelson Mandela City,” the new regime would “eco-govern” all of the nations and peoples of the union as “a model for the new global paradigm that honors and respects mother earth.”
One of the primary selling points for the “union” plot is the notion it would help rein in radicals — most of whose organizations were either created, armed, trained, financed, or all of the above by Western governments and the Soviet Union. Ironically, though, just a few years ago, Husain was touting al-Qaeda’s key role in furthering the globalist plan to oust Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad. “The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results,” gushed Husain, a Sunni Muslim, in a 2012 piece for the CFR. “In short, the [Obama/CFR/Bilderberg/Goldman Sachs-backed Free Syrian Army] needs al-Qaeda now.”
Before joining the CFR, meanwhile, Husain spent years working with Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical Islamist group pushing for an Islamic Caliphate — a vast, totalitarian “Middle Eastern Union” of sorts — based on sharia law. The outfit also promotes the death penalty for apostates and has been accused by various governments of involvement in jihad terrorism. Husain, though, is hardly the only figure at the globalist outfit with a history of extremism. CFR Latin America boss and Castro apologist Julia Sweig has even been identified by a senior U.S. intelligence officer as a probable “agent of influence” for the terror-sponsoring communist regime enslaving Cuba.
All over the world, globalists are quietly but quickly foisting supranational regimes on hapless populations. In Africa, for instance, the African Union is now sending its troops all across the continent. In Latin America, the socialist-dominated Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) is working to “integrate” the region, alongside various other transnational outfits. Even in North America, top CFR and Bilderberg globalists are doing the same. “After America comes North America,” boasted ex-general and CFR/Bilderberg bigwig David Petraeus this year.
Of course, the Council on Foreign Relations, despite its operatives’ anti-sovereignty extremism, remains immensely influential in terms of U.S. foreign policy. “We get a lot of advice from the Council, so this will mean I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future,” then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CFR bosses in Washington. The CFR’s affiliates around the world hold similar influence. Bilderberg, meanwhile, brings together many of the world’s top globalists, communists, government officials, media barons, and more.
For the sake of liberty, peace, self-government, national sovereignty, and prosperity, humanity should resist the globalist regionalization agenda from Europe to the Middle East and beyond. The alternative is literally global tyranny.
Source: Alex Newman | The New American
First used in the Fifteen Century the word “Levant” has evolved over the centuries. It was originally used to refer to land east of Italy but today it has several different definitions but often refers to the countries of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey. It has been used as a surname, and as a reference to particular countries. Its popularity has been enhanced by the immense publicity given to the tiny state of Israel which in spite of its diminutive size dominates the region and has tentacles throughout the world. See a map of the ancient Levant here.
Islamic jihadist forces have now conquered vast parts of Iraq and are calling the territory ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). It appears to be a victory for the forces the United States was attempting to destroy but consolidating power could be a victory cloaked in defeat. Consolidation decreases the blocks that must controlled and makes total control easier, it could be a victory for world government. Centralized power creates tyranny; dispersed power contributes to freedom.
From antiquity war and murder have been major problems for humanity. In a jealous rage Cain murdered his brother Abel. War has been the plight of mankind throughout history.
Though the intent was lasting peace, war was the vehicle that allowed God’s Chosen People to conquer the Promised Land. Disobedience caused wars to continue and finally wrested the land from its conquerors scattering those who refused the mercy of the New Covenant. The Temple was destroyed and the Jews of the First Covenant were scattered – by war.
The battle between obedience and disobedience (righteousness and sin) is an everlasting battle that will continue until Jesus comes again.
Sound theology is scarce in America. Arminianism and antinomianism have created a useless pietism that has resulted in the rise of a totalitarian government making the United States an enemy to the world and to its own people. Instead of confronted evil with personal rebukes we have evaded our responsibility transferring it to an increasingly totalitarian government.
Man was not created to govern himself. The anarchy of human opinion always ends in evil humanistic tyranny. We were created to obey God’s Law and when obedience is common conflict is minimized.
The emotional resistance to governmental tyranny that is evident throughout the world is worthless against the obdurate pressure from greedy power centers that consistently win the battle for hegemony. Democracy; government of the people, by the people, and for the people, has not and will not result in lasting freedom for the proletariat.
Manipulation by a controlled press and media keeps the people stuck in a dead end two party system. We have been successfully duped into centering our hope in politics (democracy, republic, monarchy, autocracy, autarky, etc.) believing that we can elect a leader who will bring us righteous government. This, of course, never happens because the leaders are pre-selected to obey the powerful hidden cabal.
Comic Stephen Colbert has coined a new word,” truthiness – truth that comes from the gut, and not from books”. A Washington Post article by cognitive psychologist Eryn Newman reports on the various ways people can “believe things are true when they are not”. Color and contrast affect our beliefs. Photographs bolster our certainties. Newman writes that “people are often unaware of their biases and how biased information influences their judgments”. The article infers that we should seek truth from books and not from the gut. While correct that the gut is often wrong, books are equally erroneous – truth is a product of God’s Word.
In my early Christian walk I was certain that the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” was the ultimate goal of Christianity. I was adamant against any question concerning its manifestations. In spite of Charismania’s serious heresies, I defended it enthusiastically. .
Human beings are often wrong while adamant about being right. It is a fault common to the brilliant and the mundane; both need the immutable righteousness of God’s Law to exist in equanimity. We were not created to govern ourselves and when leaders bring error to bear on an entire population the results are disastrous.
Though I am an opponent of Christian Libertarianism, Christianity does have a common interest; both seek maximum freedom and minimum government. The Christian model is dependent on a population that is obedient to God’s perfect legal system while the Libertarian model is utopian and humanistic, equally as dangerous as any of the other human systems.
We have a serious problem with any attempt to rectify our current plunge into chaos. Most of our population, Christians included, act as if human beings control the world. The world was created by the God of the Bible and He controls it. What is happening in the United States is a result of the behavior of its citizens and what is required to stop it is a change in behavior.
“Scripture is very clear that the oppression of man follows apostasy from God. It is impossible to read scripture and come to any other conclusion: certainly, Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 are emphatic on this point. The Lord therefore regards it as further evidence of apostasy if we resist evil for personal reasons while continuing in apostasy. The root to eliminating the wicked ones who rule over us begins with ordering our lives, churches, families, communities, and civil governments in terms of God’s word. When the people are apostate or disobedient they will suffer as God declared through Samuel. Oppression will come upon them. They will cry out against their oppressors, and they will pray to God, but ‘the Lord will not hear you in that day’ (1Sam. 8:10-18). They were crying out against their oppressors, not against their sins and themselves. They were manifesting both sin and blindness.” R. J. Rushdoony, “The Sermon on the Mount”, Pg. 64
Neo-Israel and the Zionists are in the process of gaining control over the Levant. The United States of America is their weapon of choice. It is American soldiers that die supporting the neo-con agenda but it is Israel and the Zionist quest for power that benefits. As Iraq erupts in war and ISIS takes control rumor has it that the CIA controls ISIS. If ISIS can be controlled Iraq will be conquered.
As neo-Israel again bombards and invades Gaza, M. J. Rosenberg writes, “In short, America is a pathetic helpless giant in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. The donors have shut us down. They own our policy.” We are a conquered nation and the church of Jesus Christ and the people that claim the Name of Christ are substantially responsible.
Almost nobody remembers the Keystone Kops any more — those hilariously bewildered, confused and zany silent-movie clowns who ran around in circles like chickens with their heads cut off and whose crazy antics were shown on theater screens all across America, exactly 100 years ago today.https://www.youtube.com/watch?
But I remember the Keystone Kops because they used to be on TV in the 1950s when I was a kid. Boy did I laugh!
And now, one hundred years later, the Keystone-Kop-wannabe antics of America’s crazy, bewildered and confused foreign policy is making me laugh too — at least when it isn’t making me cry.
How easy would it be — to develop a whole new stand-up comedy routine based solely on America’s foreign policy in Ukraine.http://rt.com/news/170104-
My first joke about America’s Middle East foreign policy will surely have you in stitches! “America’s foreign-policy Keystone Kops’ opening gig in the Middle East was first on the marquee in Jerusalem back in the 1940s — when those crazy, zany and confused foreign-policy Kops mistook the Palestinian holy land for a perfect site for the latest Neo-Con Condominium Development Association project.”
Get it? Holy Land? Condo development? That’s hilarious! Although even most Israelis these days are not laughing at this pratfall any more either — especially after some Israeli neo-con storm troopers just made a Palestinian child drink gasoline and then set him on fire while he was still alive. http://www.haaretz.com/
But wait! I still gots tons of other great jokes about America’s crazy, confused and zany foreign policy in the Middle East.
“Did I ever tell you the one about how America had trained and weaponized Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan, back during Charlie Wilson’s War — until, oops, AQ made a wrong turn at Kabul and blew up the World Trade Center instead?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?
“Not very funny, Jane.” Yeah, yeah — but wait for the punchline.
“THEN America went on to weaponize and train Al Qaeda terrorists to invade Syria — but only after Americans had bombed Iraq in 2003 in order to defeat Al Qaeda terrorists there, but then, big surprise, wait for it — it turned out that there WERE no Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq! However, there soon would be plenty of Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq after all those bumbling Keystone Kops in DC left the doors wide open for them to drop in.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Do I hear any belly-laughs out there? Not yet? Damn, you’re a hard audience to please.
Then how about this joke? “America spent almost a trillion dollars invading Afghanistan in search of Al Qaeda terrorists — who had by then joined up with the Taliban terrorists and/or moved on to Pakistan and Iraq.” Hey, I thought that was funny. Get it? America chasing Al Qaeda terrorists all through the Middle East like Al Qaeda terrorists were the bad guys and all the while Al Qaeda terrorists were America’s very own crazy and zany country cousins?” Can’t get much more like Keystone Kops than that!
I’m laughing my head off here! So — why aren’t you?
To paraphrase Father Dave Smith, “I thought the Americans were trying to wage a war ON terror, not a war to CREATE it.” Funny how that all got twisted around, right? http://prayersforsyria.com/
But perhaps this next schtick will be the money-shot joke? Let’s give it a try.
“Then after tearfully telling Al Qaeda, ‘Come home, all is forgiven,’ America’s DC Kops once again started training and weaponizing AQ in Jordan, and then sent a bunch of Al Qaeda terror-creating operatives off to Syria to do what they do best — and once there, they apparently broke into two groups.” Al Nustra and ISIS.
“But then Al Nustra terrorists started demanding to get paid the same wages that ISIS terrorists are getting from the Americans, who are funneling ISIS’s paychecks to them through the Saudis. So the ISIS terrorists chop off the Al Nustra terrorists’ heads — and then run off to Iraq where ISIS then gathers its minions on the Saudi border.” More Keystone-Kop antics here — only these Kops are brandishing AK-47s and machetes, and the costume department has gone bananas with the new black-bandana look. But they still run around like chickens with their heads cut off.
“So then the Saudis have to send 30,000 of its own Keystone Kops to their border to keep the ISIS terrorists out of Arabia — and that’s ISIS we’re talking about, the group of terrorists that the Saudis had originally funded themselves in the first place, by using money laundered from America.”
But wait. This stuff gets even funnier. Honest.
“America then sends in its own Keystone-Kop special forces to Iraq in order to stop the ISIS terrorists, who were spozed to be our own Keystone Kops in the first place. Or is it Al Qaeda’s terrorist Keystone Kops that America now wants to stop?” Now even I am confused. There’s gotta be a killer punchline in here somewhere. Oh yeah. Now I remember. “And so America’s Keystone Kops end up setting the whole Middle East on fire — but then blaming the whole frigging mess on Iran and Russia!” LOL.
Meanwhile back in Ukraine, America’s foreign policy has now weaponized and trained another bunch of pseudo-Ukrainian neo-Nazi terrorist Keystone Kop wannabes who are happily blowing up everything in sight too — but mostly blowing up Ukrainians. I guess that America must have thought that the siege of Stalingrad by the Nazis was so funny that they wanted to do it again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
And all these hilarious American Keystone-Kop foreign-policy routines — where everyone is running around crazily and blowing things up — have got me just rolling in the aisles, laughing it up. So why aren’t you laughing too?
Because American taxpayers are the ones that have been forced to pay for all this bloody, crazy, and confused carnage…” Oh hell. Even Jon Stewart couldn’t get a laugh out of that one.
The joke is on us.
When the Syrian war jumped its borders into Iraq, surrounding nations had a perfect chance to peacefully cooperate. They’ve thus far refused. The war in Syria now seems to be shifting to Iraq, and the big actors in the regional drama are recklessly pushing events toward more conflict that could transform a regional proxy war into a direct multi-nation battle.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now controls giant swaths of two nations, which are surrounded by countries that either fear ISIS or previously supported it. Old alliances are being tested as Syria and Iran come to the defense of the Iraqi government against ISIS, while the opposing alliance of U.S., Israel and the Gulf State monarchies are finding their unofficial union strained under the pressure of swelling paradoxes.
For example, the U.S. is supposedly fighting a war on terrorism, but has been in an unofficial military alliance with ISIS and other al-Qaeda groups in Syria, since all of them were actively waging war on the Syrian government.
When ISIS invaded Iraq the governments of Syria and Iran immediately offered assistance, while Obama stalled. Then, strangely, Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry “warned” Syria against air attacks targeting ISIS in Iraq, a move that was welcomed by the Iraqi government. Kerry’s warning was also meant for Iran, which is finding itself sucked deeper into the two-nation war that now threatens Iran’s border.
As Iraq, Syria and Iran are busy fighting ISIS, what are the U.S. and Israel doing? They are continuing their war against Syria, the war that gave ISIS a new lease on life.
Iraq begged Obama to deliver promised fighter jets to fight ISIS, Obama chose instead to give extra aid to the U.S. backed Syrian rebels, to the tune of $500 million. The Syrian rebels have been completely dominated by Islamic extremists for at least two years.
Israel, for its part, also ignored ISIS and instead bombed nine Syrian military targets. Israel has bombed Syria several times in the last year, rather than bombing ISIS or the other al-Qaeda groups attacking Syria. In reality, an emerging regional war already exists, but is being minimized or ignored by the media.
Because the U.S. would rather fund Islamic extremists in Syria, the Iraqi government requested and received fighter jets from Russia, which will inevitably create more strain between the Iraqi and U.S. governments, since giving and receiving military aid is a crucial way that countries cement alliances and exert influence.
When nations that receive military aid are disobedient, the big war toys are held back as a way to exert leverage. The Iraqi President, Nouri al-Maliki, let his political naivety blind him to this reality,and recently admitted that Iraq was “delusional” to rely completely on U.S. military aid, since Obama is using the ISIS threat and the withholding of aid to pressure Iraqi politicians to ditch al-Maliki, essentially a “legal” form of regime change that will act more in accord with U.S. interests against Iran and Syria. Obama has wanted to replace al-Maliki ever since the Iraqi president refused to join Obama’s war against Syria.
As the Syria-Iraq war expands, the greater the gravitational pull it will exert on surrounding nations, who can’t resist the big profits associated with mass killing. Others will participate indirectly to protect their borders, until they too are drawn in by the centripetal forces of war.
After participating in the Syrian war through proxies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the Obama administration finds itself neck deep in the Syrian-Iraqi blood bath, finding it difficult not to join the other sharks in the feeding frenzy.
Obama’s “hands off” approach to Iraq is temporary and strategic, and is in reality “hands on” behind the scenes. As the war spreads across borders Obama will find it less possible to abstain, since Iran, Syria and Russia will gain wider regional influence at his expense, which is happening by the minute.
The Syria-Iraq war is testing the resilience of decades-long alliances, even the future of the modern nation state, which lies at the foundation of post-WWII international law. This legal sanctity of the nation-state was emphasized by the Nuremberg trials after WWII, which established that the Nazis biggest war crime was not genocide or the holocaust, but the military invasion of sovereign nations, which created the conditions for regional and world war. The only legal war under international law is a defensive one.
But now regional wars are becoming commonplace, and borders are ignored as big powers pay and arm proxy militias to attack governments. More importantly, the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya have essentially eviscerated global international law, since the UN has been powerless in protecting sovereign nations against the aggression of the world’s only superpower. The U.S. invasions have created a climate where the nation-state has lost its revered status, increasing the likelihood of more war, since the old rules no longer apply.
Obama’s recent actions prove he has no intention of leaving the Middle East. As the Syrian war was spilling into Iraq, Obama requested $5 billion more for Middle East war, as if the gargantuan military budget wasn’t already enough. According to The New York Times:
“The White House is asking for $4 billion to go to the Pentagon and $1 billion to the State Department for other counterterrorism operations, including training and equipping partner countries (Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc.). Some of the money, administration officials said, would cover increased costs of Special Operations Forces that have deployed around the world, while $1.5 billion would go toward counterterrorism efforts in the neighborhood around Syria: Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.”
This $5 billion represents yet more blood money that will inevitably exacerbate the Middle East inferno. Years of ongoing U.S. military intervention — direct or indirect — has led to the unnecessary death or suffering of millions of people across the Middle East and to the large-scale destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and now Iraq again.
It is possible, as some are predicting, that Obama will complete a major diplomatic deal that includes Iran and the Kurdish section of Iraq. This, if successful, may create a temporary reprieve from the violence, while creating new ethnic-religious tensions that will inevitably explode again. Any temporary deal will not eliminate the deeper causes of the war, which lie in the waning influence of the U.S. and its allies, and the rising influence of China and Russia.
All these developments emphasize the need to revive the antiwar movement here in the U.S. Those who oppose U.S. government military adventures around the world should unite and demand that no troops be sent to Iraq, that the U.S. advisors in Iraq should be brought home, and that money should be spent on jobs, education and strengthening the safety net here at home, not on war.
“Just exactly how many articles on Syria and Iraq can you actually churn out?” a friend of mine asked me recently. “You were only over in Damascus for five freaking days. And you haven’t been to Iraq since 2008. So what makes YOU such an expert on these two countries?”
Even after less than a week spent in Damascus and after only having been to Iraq four-and-a-half times, I apparently already know more about Syria and Baghdad and Al Ambar than all those dingbats in the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA combined. Unfortunately.
Washington neo-cons and their neo-con counterparts in Tel Aviv have really gotten the Arab world totally wrong.
So, even though I would really rather be writing about almost anything else right now, it is still my civic duty to set these fools straight. Sorry about that.
What I really want to be writing about this week is the exciting new Freedom Summer 50th-anniversary conference in Jackson, Mississippi, where a bunch of folks are getting together to celebrate having survived the heroic summer of 1964 when so many civil rights workers poured their hearts out in an attempt to finally bring justice to the Ol’ South — and some of them lost their lives while doing it too .
But apparently justice in the Ol’ South will have to wait a bit longer. Right now we need to talk about justice in the Middle East first.
After the fall of the U.S.S.R., Washington neo-cons needed a new boogeyman to scare Americans into handing over our hard-earned tax dollars to the military-industrial complex. And so the military-industrial complex came up with the idea of making Islam the bad guy. But then apparently Washington neo-cons actually began to believe their own hype — and even went so far as to actually start creating and financing “Islamic Militants” where none had existed so far.
According to journalist Fenian Cunningham, “The biggest recruitment office for such groups [as ISIS] is the British government and its criminal militaristic foreign policy, which has been destroying countries for years, overtly and covertly. That same destructive British state-sponsored terrorism, alongside that of its American and other NATO allies, is also why millions of Syrians and Iraqis are living in tents, unable to feed their families.”
The thumbscrews were not only put onto various Islamic countries until “militants” actually did start to emerge, but then Wall Street and War Street — bound and determined to sell as many weapons as possible — actually started creating “Islamic Militants” themselves (and of course all the while praying for another “Pearl Harbor”)
According to an article in Information Clearinghouse, “Key members of ISIS it now emerges were trained by US CIA and Special Forces command at a secret camp in Jordan in 2012, according to informed Jordanian officials…Former US State Department official Andrew Doran wrote in the conservative National Review magazine that some ISIS warriors also hold US passports.”
Neo-cons began manufacturing these Frankenstein monsters left and right, actually paying thousands of poor unfortunate souls in the Middle East to go on “jihad”. http://veracityvoice.com/?p=20684
Even way back in the 1970s I could have warned the military-industrial complex that these acts of folly would eventually start leading to blow-back — not to mention the sky-rocketing cost of gasoline as a result of all this footsie-playing in the Middle East.
According to journalist Juan Cole, “During the past ten years, American drivers have seen their gasoline bill go up tremendously – though not as much as it by all rights should have – and stay there.” http://readersupportednews.
Apparently, The M-IC’s money-making scheme in the Middle East was that various U.S. and Israeli neo-cons would be constantly stirring up the pot there, turning Arab against Arab until they all freaking started to butcher each other like so many crabs in a barrel. And then the U.S. and Israeli neo-cons would steal everything that wasn’t nailed down while no one over there was looking. It sounded like a good plan. Until the rest of us Americans and Israelis finally began to realize that there was nothing in this witches’ brew for the rest of us except danger to ourselves.
According to me, ISIS is nothing but a bunch of pirates, the Taliban are murdering wife-beaters, the idiots in charge of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Iraq are dictators and Libya is overrun by barbarians. And who created all these proto-zombies? Neo-cons in Israel and the U.S. Of course.
According to Franklin Lamb, who seems to be legendary in Damascus for fabricating stories and mooching off of the Syrian government, ISIS, Syria’s arch enemy, is practically a freaking benevolent organization who succors the poor, has nukes of its own and whose goal is to unite all the downtrodden Arabs in the Middle East into one coherent version of the freaking Red Cross and then liberate Palestine and wash Israel into the sea. http://veracityvoice.com/?p=20664 .
However, Palestinians in Syria did not support ISIS’s brutality and refused to be drawn in — so ISIS bombed the crap out of them instead. And the Palestinians in Israel already have neo-cons killing their kids — and don’t need any more neo-con-backed pirates adding even more “creative chaos” to the mix.
Huh? No. Forget about the sparkling clean Red Cross wannabe image. These ISIS guys are down and dirty pirates. And that’s “all she wrote” about that. And apparently we American taxpayers are paying for all of ISIS’s new Toyotas, rocket-launchers and Nikes as well.
“You talk as though the military-industrial complex may finally be starting to get its comeuppance for generating such a devious plot — but, frankly, it is not,” you might comment at this point.
No, it is not. Not yet. But if Wall Street and War Street continue to play their cutesy little “Divide and Conquer” games in the Middle East, keep on messing with its political eco-system, breaking down its civil society in this bad way, and creating and financing even more Al Qaedas, Talibans and ISISs and driving world gas prices sky-high, then eventually it will suck to be you! http://www.veteranstoday.com/
Even against all odds and proof, I still have faith that the rest of us Americans, us average decent salt-of-the-earth types, will finally put a stop to all these nefarious neo-con schemes and finally start bringing our money and our troops home from the Middle East instead — and stop picking on all these poor Arabs before they end up going completely freaking nuts as they see their parents, wives and children constantly being blown to bits before their very eyes by these neo-con monsters.
Not sure why I keep holding out hope that this will happen. But do I really have any other choice?
Did Obama Know that ISIS Planned to Invade Iraq?
“I think we have to understand first how we got here. We have been arming ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) in Syria. ISIS, an al Qaeda offshoot, has been collaborating with the Syrian rebels whom the Obama administration has been arming in their efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” – Senator Rand Paul, Interview CNN
Today’s head-scratcher: How could a two-mile long column of jihadi-filled white Toyota Land rovers barrel across the Syrian border into Iraq–sending plumes of dust up into the atmosphere –without US spy satellites detecting their whereabouts when those same satellites can read a damn license plate from outer space? And why has the media failed to inquire about this massive Intelligence failure?
Barack Obama is a big proponent of “inclusive democracy” which is why he wants Iraqi prime minister Nouri al Maliki to either include more Sunnis in the government or resign as PM. In an interview with CNN, Obama said, “We gave Iraq the chance to have an inclusive democracy, to work across sectarian lines to provide a better future for their children and unfortunately what we’ve seen is a breakdown of trust…There’s no doubt that there has been a suspicion for quite some time now amongst Sunnis that they have no access to using the political process to deal with their grievances, and that is in part the reason why a better-armed and larger number of Iraqi security forces melted away when an extremist group, Isis, started rolling through the western portions of Iraq.
“Part of the task now is to see whether Iraqi leaders are prepared to rise above sectarian motivations, come together, and compromise. If they can’t there’s not going to be a military solution to this problem … There’s no amount of American firepower that’s going to be able to hold the country together and I’ve made that very clear to Mr Maliki and all the other leadership inside of Iraq (that) they don’t have a lot of time.” (New York Times)
Anyone who thinks Obama gives a rip about sectarian problems in Iraq needs his head examined. That’s the lamest excuse for a policy position since the Bush administration announced they were sending troops to Afghanistan to “liberate” women from having to wear headscarves. If Obama was serious about “inclusive democracy” as he calls it, then he’d withhold the $1.3 billion from his new dictator buddy, Generalissimo al Sisi of Egypt who toppled the democratically-elected government in Cairo, installed himself as top-dog in conspicuously rigged elections, and is now planning to execute 200-plus Egyptians for being members of a party that was legal just a few months ago. Do you think Obama is pestering al-Sisi to be “more inclusive”? No way. He doesn’t care how many people are executed in Egypt, anymore than he cares whether al Maliki blocks Sunnis from a spot in the government. What matters to Obama and his deep-state puppetmasters is regime change, that is, getting rid of a nuisance who hasn’t followed Washington’s directives. That’s what this is all about. Obama and Co. want to give al Maliki the old heave-ho because he refused to let US troops stay in Iraq past the 2012 deadline and because he’s too close to Tehran. Two strikes and you’re out, at least that’s how Washington plays the game.
So Maliki has got to go, and all the hoopla over sectarian issues is just pabulum for the News Hour. It means nothing. The real goal is regime change. That, and the partitioning of Iraq. In fact, the de facto partitioning of Iraq has already taken place. The Sunnis have basically seized the part of the country where they plan to live. The Kurds have nailed down their own territory, and the Shia will get Baghdad and the rest, including Basra. So, the division of Iraq has already a done deal, just as long as al Maliki doesn’t gum up the works by deploying his army to retake the parts of the country that are now occupied by ISIS. But the Obama team probably won’t allow that to happen, mainly because the bigshots in Washington like things the way they are now. They want an Iraq that is broken into smaller chunks and ruled by tribal leaders and warlords. That’s what this is all about, splitting up the country along the lines that were laid out in an Israeli plan authored by Oded Yinon 30 years ago. That plan has already been implemented which means Iraq, as we traditionally think of it, no longer exists. It’s kaput. Obama and Co. made sure of that. They weren’t satisfied with just killing a million Iraqis, polluting the environment, poisoning the water, destroying the schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, and leaving them to scrape by on meager rations, foul water and a tattered electrical grid. They had to come back and annihilate the state itself, erase the lines on the map, and remove any trace of a nation that was once a prosperous Middle East hub. Now the country is gone, vanished overnight. Poof. Now you see it, now you don’t.
Of course, al Maliki could try to reverse the situation, but he’s got his own problems to deal with. It’s going to be hard enough for him just to hold onto power, let alone launch a sustained attack on a disparate band of cutthroats who are bent on wreaking havoc on oil wells, critical infrastructure, pipelines, reservoirs, etc as well as killing as many infidels as humanly possible. No matter how you cut it, al Maliki is going to have his hands full. Obama has already made it plain, that he’s gunning for him and won’t rest until he’s gone. In fact, Secretary of State John Kerry is in the Middle East right now trying to drum up support for the “Dump Maliki” campaign. His first stopover was Cairo. Here’s a wrap-up form the Sunday Times:
“Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo on Sunday morning on the first leg of a trip that is intended to hasten the formation of a cross-sectarian government in Iraq. In his swing through Middle East capitals, Mr. Kerry plans to send two messages on Iraq. One is that Arab states should use their influence with Iraqi politicians and prod them to quickly form an inclusive government. Another is that they should crack down on funding to the Sunni militants in the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The group is largely self-sustaining because of success in extortion and its plundering of banks in Mosul, Iraq. But some funding “has flowed into Iraq from its neighbors,” said a senior official on Mr. Kerry’s plane.” (Kerry Arrives in Cairo on Trip to Push for New Iraqi Government, New York Times)
How’s that for priorities? First we get rid of al Maliki, says Kerry, then we move on to less important matters, like that horde of jihadi desperados who are descending on Baghdad like a swarm of locusts. Doesn’t that seem a little backasswards to you, dear reader?
And why isn’t Obama worried about a jihadi attack on Baghdad? Think of it: If they did attack Baghdad and the capital fell into jihadi hands, then what? Well, then the Dems would take the blame, they’d get their butts whooped in the upcoming midterms, and Madame Hillary would have to take up needlepoint because her chances of winning the 2014 presidential balloting would drop to zero. So, the fallout would be quite grave. Still, Obama’s not sweating it, in fact, he’s not the least bit worried. Why?
Could it be that he knows something that we don’t know? Could it be that US Intel agents have already made contact with these yahoos and gotten a commitment that they won’t attack Baghdad if they are allowed to remain in the predominantly Sunni areas which they already occupy? Is that it? Did Obama offer the Baathists and Takfiris a quid pro quo which they graciously accepted?
It’s very likely, mainly because it achieves Obama’s strategic objective of establishing a de facto partition that will remain in effect unless al Maliki can whip up an army to retake lost ground which looks doubtful at this point.
But, here’s the glitch; al Maliki is not a quitter, and he’s not going anywhere. In fact he’s digging in his heels. He’s not going to be blackmailed by the likes of Obama. He’s going to this fight tooth and nail. And he’s going to have help too, because young Shia males are flocking to the recruiting offices to join the army and the militias. And then there’s Russia; in a surprise announcement Russian president Vladimir Putin offered to assist al Maliki in the fight against the terrorists, a move that is bound to enrage Washington. Here’s a clip from the Daily Star:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday offered Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Moscow’s total backing for the fight against jihadist fighters who have swept across the Middle East country.
“Putin confirmed Russia’s complete support for the efforts of the Iraqi government to speedily liberate the territory of the republic from terrorists,” the Kremlin said in a statement following a phone call between the two leaders…
Russia is one of the staunchest allies of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad and has helped prop up his regime during three years of fighting against a hotchpotch of rebel groups, including the ISIL.” ( Putin offers Iraq’s Maliki ‘complete support’ against jihadists, Daily Star)
That makes a third front in which Russia and the US will be on opposite sides. It’s just like the good old days, right? Putin seems to be resigned to the idea that Moscow and Washington are going to be at loggerheads in the future. He’s not only opposed to a “unitary world order”, he’s doing something about it, putting himself and his country’s future at risk in order to stop the empire’s relentless expansion and vicious wars of aggression. Needless to say, proxy wars like this can lead to rapid escalation which is always a concern when both parties have nuclear weapons at their disposal. Now check this out from the Oil Price website:
“Here’s why the threat goes beyond Iraq and Syria…Modern Syria is bordered by Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan and Israel to the south and Lebanon to the west.
‘Greater Syria’ incorporates most of the territories of each.
This is what ‘Syria’ means in the mind of Middle Easterners, says Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, and author of the respected blog SyriaComment.com
‘If we can teach people that so many Arabs still think of Syria as Greater Syria, they will begin to understand the extent to which Sykes-Picot remains challenged in the region,’ said Landis.
Sykes-Picot, of course refers to the secret agreement drawn up by two British and French diplomats — Sir Mark Sykes and Francois George-Picot — at the end of Word War I dividing the spoils of the Ottoman Empires between Britain and France by drawing straight lines in the sand.
To this day, many Arabs refuse to accept that division and think of ‘Syria’ as ‘Greater Syria.’ Some go so far as to include the Arab countries of North Africa – which from the Nile to the Euphrates forms ‘the Fertile Crescent,’ the symbol of many Muslim countries from Tunisia to Turkey. And some even go as far as including the island of Cyprus, saying it represents the star next to the crescent.
Given that, anyone who thinks ISIS will stop with Iraq is delusional.” (Insiders reveal real US aims in redrawing map of ME: Greater Syria, oil price)
Interesting, eh? So, if Mr. Landis is right, then the fracas in Iraq and Syria might just be the tip of the iceberg. It could be that Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh –who we think are the driving force behind this current wave of violence–have a much more ambitious plan in mind for the future. If this new method of effecting regime change succeeds, then the sky’s the limit. Maybe they’ll try the same stunt in other countries too, like Turkey, Tunisia, Cyprus, and all the way to North Africa. Why not? If the game plan is to Balkanize Arab countries wholesale and transform them into powerless fiefdoms overseen by US proconsuls and local warlords, why not go on a regime change spree?
By the way, according to the Telegraph, Obama and friends knew what ISIS was up to, and knew that the terrorist group was going to launch attacks on cities in the Sunni territories, just as they have. Get a load of this:
“Five months ago, a Kurdish intelligence “asset” walked into a base and said he had information to hand over. The capture by jihadists the month before of two Sunni cities in western Iraq was just the beginning, he said.
There would soon be a major onslaught on Sunni territories.
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Isis), a renegade offshoot of al-Qaeda, was about to take its well-known cooperation with leftovers of the regime of Saddam Hussein, and his former deputy Izzat al-Douri, to a new level.
His handlers knew their source of old, and he had always proved reliable, officials told The Telegraph. So they listened carefully as he said a formal alliance was about to be signed that would lead to the takeover of Mosul, the biggest city north of Baghdad, home to two million people. …
‘We had this information then, and we passed it on to your (British) government and the US government,’ Rooz Bahjat, a senior lieutenant to Lahur Talabani, head of Kurdish intelligence, said. ‘We used our official liaisons.’
‘We knew exactly what strategy they were going to use, we knew the military planners. It fell on deaf ears.’ (How US and Britain were warned of Isis advance in Iraq but ‘turned a deaf ear, Telegraph)
I’m not buying it. I think the intelligence went straight to the top, where Obama and his neocon colleagues came up with the plan that is unfolding as we speak. They figured, if they just look the other way and let these homicidal madhatters seize a few cities and raise a little Hell, they’d be able to kill two birds with one stone, that is, get rid of al Mailiki and partition the country at the same time. But, it’s not going to work out like Obama expects, mainly because this is just about the dumbest plan ever conjured up. I would give it an 80 percent chance blowing up in Obama’s face in less than a month’s time. This turkey has failure written all over it.
As for the sectarian issue, well, Iraq was never a sectarian society until the war. The problems arose due to a deliberate policy to pit one sect against the other in order to change the narrative of what was really going on the ground. And what was really going on was a very successful guerilla war was being waged by opponents of the US occupation who were launching in excess of 100 attacks per day on US soldiers. To change the storyline–which was causing all kinds of problems at home where support for the war was rapidly eroding–US counterinsurgency masterminds concocted a goofy plan to blow up the Golden Dome Mosque, blame it on the Sunnis, and then unleash the most savage, genocidal counterinsurgency operation of all-time. The western media were instructed to characterize developments in Iraq as part of a bloody civil war between Shia and Sunnis. But it was all a lie. The bloodletting was inevitable result of US policy which the Guardian effectively chronicled in a shocking, but indispensable hour-long video which can be seen here. James Steele: America’s mystery man in Iraq – video
The US made every effort to fuel sectarian animosities to divert attention from the attacks on US soldiers. And due to a savage and deceptive counterinsurgency plan that employed death squads, torture, assassinations, and massive ethnic cleansing, they succeeded in confusing Iraqis as to who was really behind the daily atrocities, the human rights violations and the mountain of carnage.
You’d have to be a fool to blame al-Maliki for any of this. As brutal as he may be, he’s not responsible for the divisions in Iraqi society. That’s all Washington’s doing. Just as Washington is entirely responsible for the current condition of the country and for the million or so people who were killed in the war.
Not What the Neocons Planned…
One need not be prescient to understand the unfolding “Jihadi Spring” is fueling the plans and perhaps destiny of ascendant Islamists in this region with the increasing help of in-country nationalists, including remnants of the Iraqi Baath Party. This, according to more than a dozen ardent supporters of The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), known locally as DAASH whose representatives allowed this observer over the past six months to interview some of its supporters to discuss what they found inaccurate in a piece I wrote about DAASH actions in Raqqa, Syria. In that article I claimed that DAASH was selling Syria’s archeological treasures, just as they are selling Syria’s oil and in some instances, food warehouse contents, to the highest foreign bidder. There is no paucity of the latter.
The final “S” in the acronym “ISIS” relates to the Arabic word “al-Sham” which itself is variously used to refer to the Levant, Syria or even Damascus. But DAASH (ISIS) means the Levant or Eastern Mediterranean including Cyprus, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and southern Turkey. ISIS has just announced that Raqqa, the only one of 14 Governorates its controls in Syria, is now the “Capital” of their emerging “Caliphate” which so far is a swathe of territory encompassing much of eastern and northern Syria and western and northern Iraq. The Emir is to be their military strategist and leader and successor of Abu Mus‘ab Zarqawi, Dr. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Those interviewed at length include sympathizers, students of politics and of the Islamist ‘spring’ in Syria and Iraq, as well as a few shadowy claimed jihadist recruiters, some working with a claimed new specialized DAASH unit organized at the beginning of 2013 and which focuses exclusively on destroying the Zionist regime occupying Palestine. DAASH’s “Al Quds Unit” (AQU) is currently working to broaden its influence in more than 60 Palestinian camps and gatherings from Gaza, across Occupied Palestine, to Jordan, and Lebanon up to the north of Syria seeking to enlist support as it prepares to liberate Palestine.
DAASH believes, according to one of its claimed academic advisers, that the ummat al-Islamiyah (Islamic community), as a US Foreign Relations staffer, on 6/18/14 advised this observer, that the White House estimates that approximately six million Iraqi Sunni have recently become supportive of the armed action by DAASH. The support excludes its strict, indeed anti-social societal mores and abhorrence of current harsh realities of life in DAASH territory. The Islamist organization believes it currently has massive regional support for it rapidly expanding “revolution of the oppressed.” Large numbers in this region do appear to appreciate its recent successes, despite its history of calculated brutality for political purposes. DAASH urges the public to study its remarkable history that reaches back to 2003 when Abu Mus‘ab Zarqawi got out of prison in Jordan and headed to Afghanistan, gained valuable experience from if the trust of Osama Bin Laden, and then crossed over to Iraq to wage jihad against America. DAASH appears to be using sectarian appeals in Iraq and Syria much the same way Zawqawi did when he confronted the ascendant Shia militia following the US invasion and occupation.
DAASH supporters claim that it has been joined by more than a dozen Sunni groups such as one called Men of the Army of the Naqshbandia Order.” JRTN as it is known locally, was established in 2007 following the execution of Saadam Hussein and is made up of former Hussein regime loyalists, including intelligence officers and soldiers from his Republican Guards. If its alliance with DAASH holds, JRTN can contribute thousands of fighters with strong social roots in the community. One JRTN interlocutor explained to this observer, “As Sunni Muslims, DAASH can resolve differences between its views of Islam and those of the Ummah. First we need victory and to achieve that we need each other and if our Baathist partners decide to position themselves to be secular guardians of Sunni Arab nationalism that can be discussed later. The official website of the Naqshbandi Army includes a 1/1/2014 announcement: “To all our brothers and families of the tribes and factions we tell you, you are not alone in this battlefield.”
DAASH insists that it has become less active in killing anyone who works for the government of Syria or Iraq including rubbish collectors, a barbaric practice that alienated the Sunni population and that their support is growing as they increasingly provide the essential social services in the forming proto-Caliphate. “Zionists call us masked, sociopathic murderers but we are much more complicated and representative of those seeking justice than they portray us. Are we more barbaric than the Zionist terrorists who massacred at Dier Yassin, Shatila twice at Qana, and committed dozens of other massacres? History will judge us after we free Palestine.” A few years ago the CIA and others estimated that the Zionist occupation of Palestine will collapse in less than a decade. DAASH claims it can do the job in 72 months.
With respect to events surrounding its takeover of Mosel and other social media broadcast exhibitions of mass brutality, ISIS claims it was done for a purpose, the same purpose that other state and non-state actors have used over the past two decade and that is for 90% of the world 1.5 billion Muslims (Sunni) to free themselves from the oppression of the 10% (Shia).
Several reasons were given as to why Palestinians should hold out hope for ISIS succeeding in their cause when all other Arab, Muslim, and Western claimed Resistance supporters have been abject failures and invariably end up benefiting the Zionist occupation regime terrorizing Palestine. “All countries in this region are playing the sectarian card just as they have long played the Palestinian card but the difference with ISIS is that we are serious about Palestine and they are not. Tel Aviv will fall as fast as Mosul when the time is right”, a DAASH ally explained. Another gentleman insisted, “DAASH will fight where no one else is willing.”
ISIS appears uniformly contemptuous of the Zionist regime and its army and also appears eager to fight them in the near future despite expectation that the regime will use nuclear weapons. “Do you think that we do not have access to nuclear devises? The Zionists know that we do and if we ever believe they are about to use theirs we will not hesitate. After the Zionists are gone, Palestine will have to be decontaminated and rebuilt just like areas where there has been radiation released.”
DAASH supporters claim that it reaches out to local notables and tribal leaders and discuss their differences and seek their tribal counsel. DAASH claims that the Roman Catholic Vatican supports its own claims that when they captured Mosul last week they did not harm Christian residents or desecrate churches. In this they are supported by Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, the Apostolic Nuncio (Pope’s envoy) in Iraq who this week told the media: “The guerrillas who are in control of Mosul have to date not committed any violent act or damaged the churches there.”
It is becoming clear that DAASH has set up well organized local administrations in areas it controls, including an Islamic court system and a local non-hostile police force which support public safety with measures such as closing shops for selling poor products in the souks and supermarkets and on the street, destroying cigarettes and whipping some individuals for disrespecting and insulting their neighbors, confiscating counterfeit medicines in addition to some death sentences for apostasy.
DAASH supporters claim that as soon as they ‘liberate” an area they invest in public works such as the new souk in Raqqa, installs new power lines and conducts training sessions on how citizens can do-it-yourself for more self-reliance with fixing infrastructure problems. In addition DAASH claims that it quickly fixes potholes, runs a low fare bus system, has established a ‘green’ program to build parks and plant trees and flowers, helps farmers with harvests and runs a zakat (alms-giving) organization. Moreover, ISIS has established a number of religious schools for children, including ones for girls where they can memorize the Koran and receive awards if successful, while also holding ‘fun days’ for kids including all the ice cream they can eat and inflatable slides. For their older counterparts, ISIS has established training sessions for new imams and preachers. Schedules for prayers and Koran lessons are posted at mosques. In a more worrisome development, ISIS runs training camps for “cub scouts” and houses these recruits for ‘instruction’. Several social media reports and a few eyewitness accounts appear to confirm that DAASH has developed health and welfare programs, operates bread factories and distributes free fruits and vegetables to needy families, passing the goods out personally as well as setting up a free food kitchen in Raqqa and an adoption agency to place orphans with families in their areas. Unlike the Taliban and some other regimes which exhibit paranoia about vaccination campaigns, DAASH claims to be more ‘modern” and actively promotes polio-vaccination in its areas to try stop its spread.
The social services that DAASH provides obviously do not ameliorate the deadly violence it carries out, but does suggest it is well-organized and has caught the interest of the Sunni Muslims who feel besieged by Shia. According to an al-Bagdadi relative, nearly the half a billion dollars that was snatched from Mosul’s central bank this month will help to win hearts and minds and correct some of its “bad press”. DAASH appears to ascribe to the cliché that half of any war is a rumor. It condemns the project of many satellite channels and claims that they do not objectively report the news but mainly spread rumors with sectarian instigation as the goal. On this point who can refute them?
DAASH supporters deny any interest in training and directing foreign fighters to attack Europe and other places, claiming that their goals are to establish an al-Sham Caliphate and liberate Palestine. With respect to exactly how DAASH intends to liberate Palestine, the Iraqi’s and now the Obama administration ar3 in possession of an encyclopedia of information about detailed DAASH plans, and tactics it will confront the Zionist occupiers with, according to a congressional staffer via email with this observer. Reportedly the employment of large numbers of militarily untrained foreign volunteers as suicide bombers, moving on foot wearing suicide vests, or driving vehicles packed with explosives is just the tip of a deep iceberg of what DAASH is planning.
The trove reportedly came from Iraqi intelligence sources that came upon it less than 48 hours before Mosul fell. Apparently a fellow known as “Abu Hajjar” a captured trusted DAASH messenger broke under Iraqi torture and turned over more than 160 computer flash sticks which contained the most detailed information to date about DAASH. The US intelligence community are still decrypting and analyzing the flash sticks.
Predictably, no sooner that this information reached the US Congress, than Congresswoman and Israeli agent, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen former Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and her partners at AIPAC went to work trying to get ahold copies of the flash sticks and share them with the Israeli Embassy and no doubt the Mossad. The current sense on Capitol Hill is reported to be that the Obama administration in not in the mood to share anything with Israel these days and certainly not with the Netanyahu regime which it loathes.
Time will reveal if DAASH achieves one or both of its objectives. Many believe if they eject the Zionist regime from Palestine, the expanding Islamist group will set in motion historic currents that in all likelihood will be rather different from the Ehud Omert-Condeleeza Rice fantasy of “a New Middle East.”
In any event, it is unlikely that Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon, among other countries in this region, are going to look much like what George Bush and Dick Cheney and their still active neocon advisers had in mind when they were beating the drums for a U.S. invasion of Iraq, Libya, and now Syria and Iran.
Last Tuesday’s sudden capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city (population 1.8 million), by a coalition of Sunni forces led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was swiftly followed by the fall of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town. By Thursday morning the insurgents were reported to have advanced to the city of Samarra, only 80 miles north of Baghdad. Their lightning success has thrown the U.S. policy in the region into disarray. It creates a new global flashpoint at a time when the Obama administration has its hands full trying to manage regional emergencies, mostly of its own making, in Ukraine and in the Far East.
The most remarkable feature of the ongoing rebel offensive is that the Iraqi army and police units, although superior to the attackers in numbers and equipment, are melting away without a fight. The collapse of their morale, and especially the apparent inability of the government in Baghdad to maintain any semblance of command and control, is without precedent in an even semi-functional modern state. (Mali comes to mind, but sub-Saharan Africa is in a dysfunctional league of its own.) In Mosul, the insurgents captured a vast treasure-trove of U.S.-supplied arms abandoned by the Iraqi army soldiers as they fled. Last January’s fall of Falluja and Ramadi – for which hundreds of U.S. Marines gave their lives in the first decade of this century – now appears to have been a mere dress rehearsal for Mosul. After hundreds of taxpayer billions and thousands of American lives wasted on the war in Iraq before the withdrawal, it is now evident that the additional $14 billion that the United States has spent on arming, training and equipping the Iraqi security forces since December 2011 were also wasted. Even before the latest rebel advance the Iraqi army was ineffective and plagued by mass desertions, especially among its Sunni soldiers. Now that army can be seen for what it is: a sectarian Shi’ite militia, very well armed and equipped but atrociously trained and even worse led. Its top brass is uninterested in defending Sunni-majority areas in the northwest of the country, and its rank-and-file is deeply divided along sectarian lines. Unable and unwilling to develop any sense of loyalty or common purpose among its non-Shia recruits, NCOs and officers, the Iraqi army effectively does not exist.
It is equally noteworthy that Islamic militants have now joined forces with the Baathist leaders and military commanders from Saddam’s era (“Former Regime Elements,” FREs). Most prominently they include former vice-president Izzat al-Douri, who has evaded capture by the “Coalition” and by the Iraqi government for over a decade. Prior to 2003, people like al-Douri – a Baathist secularist – and various hard-core jihadist movements trying to undermine Saddam’s regime were mortal enemies. Their present ability to join forces is entirely due to their shared disdain for the sectarian Shia government in Baghdad. Of course they will not be able to offer a joint “vision” for a Sunni state carved out of what remains of Iraq, but they are eminently able to ensure that one-third of this once-prosperous Arab state will no longer be controlled from the center. The majority-Shia regions – approximately one-half of the territory and two-thirds of the population – will become even more closely linked to Iran, thus making a mockery of Geroge W. Bush’s post-WMD rationale for starting the war.
Particularly ironic is the fact that ISIS is the main fighting force battling Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The ISIS-affiliated jihadists in Aleppo and Raqqa (under whatever temporary label) are to this day aided and abetted by the U.S. government. The arms and equipment shipped via Turkey and Jordan and meant for the elusive Syrian “moderates” invariably end up in extremist hands. Across the border, in Iraq, these same people are the enemy of America and her chosen regime in Baghdad. All along, the group’s ideology and objectives are the same. They are openly proclaimed: there is nothing secretive about the ISIS goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and southeastern Turkey.
There is no coherent U.S. strategy in Iraq, or by inevitable association, in Syria. Both have been pushed to the back-burner in recent months, and both have been based either on wishful thinking or on pig-headed mendacity. The current chaos in Iraq reminds us of the extent to which U.S. interventions abroad are bad in principle if no vital American security and economic interests are involved. Malaki has asked for American air strikes, and even the return of boots on the ground, but this must not happen. No American interest is at stake in the ongoing Iraqi mess, and therefore no U.S. involvement is justified. It never was. Foreign intervention becomes inexcusable if its likely outcome is worse than the status quo. In Iraq the U.S. should not become an active ally of the sectarian Shia regime that cannot and will not either co-opt or corrupt its Sunni co-nationals. In Syria, it is clear that the only likely alternative to Bashar is a nosedive into terrorist jihadist mayhem. Both outcomes would be far worse from the vantage point of U.S. interests, geopolitically as well as morally, than letting things be as they are. The Bush administration, the U.S. government was a problem in creating the bloody Iraqi mess in 2003 and managing it thereafter. Washington’s evil and insane “foreign policy community” cannot be a solution to Iraq’s problems now, and never will be.
President Barack Obama’s commencement address at West Point on May 28 managed to displease pretty much everyone in the nation’s commentariat. Before making an overall assessment of its significance, it is necessary to examine the validity and implications of Obama’s individual statements.
“[B]y most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise – who suggest that America is in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away – are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.”
This key assertion, made at the beginning of the President’s address, does not stand to empirical scrutiny. In economic terms, America was far stronger vis-à-vis the rest of the world in 1945 than she is today. In more recent times, U.S. share of world GDP peaked in 1985 with just under 33 percent of global GDP (nominal). Between 2004 and 2014, United States’ share of global gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) has fallen from 22.5 percent to 18.5 percent, and it is expected to continue falling. By the end of this year China will overtake the United States in gross domestic product, which had originally been projected to happen by the end of this decade. Analysts concede will gradually shift the ability to confer advantages or disadvantages on other countries – in other words, power – in China’s favor.
In military terms, while America enjoyed the nuclear monopoly in 1945-49, her period of undisputed unipolar dominance was between 1991 (the collapse of the USSR) and 2008 (Russia’s counterattack in South Ossetia). Although the Pentagon budget will drop from $600 billion this year to $500 billion in 2015, it will continue to account for over a third of the global total. The unsatisfactory outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan and dented America’s image of military invincibility. As the Economist commented on May 3, “The yawning gap between Uncle Sam and his potential foes seems bound to shrink.” The prevailing view among most critical analysts is that over the past decade the U.S. has suffered military reverses, and now faces severe global competition.
As for the “global leadership,” it is unclear what exactly Obama had in mind. Russia and China are creating a powerful Eurasian counterweight to what they rightly perceive as Washington’s continuing bid for the global hegemony. India’s new prime minister is a potential partner at best, and certainly loath to acknowledge America’s “leadership.” In the Islamic world, Obama’s attempts at appeasement – which started with the Cairo speech in 2009 – have not worked: The U.S. is now even more unpopular in the Muslim world than it was under George W. Bush. America is heartily disliked even in Turkey and Jordan, presumably our allies, not least because of the continuing drone strikes. American influence in Latin America is weaker now than at any time since Theodore Roosevelt, as manifested in the unanimous rejection of Washington’s efforts to effect a regime change in Venezuela. Members of the American elite class are hard pressed to name a single country with which the U.S. has better relations today than five years ago. The NSA global spying network has infuriated even some otherwise reliable American friends in Western Europe. Most “Old Europeans” are remarkably resistant to U.S. pressure to agree to serious sanctions against Russia.
On balance it appears that Barack Obama is the one misreading history and engaging in partisan politics.
“Meanwhile, our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth, our businesses the most innovative.”
In reality, by most value-neutral parameters the American economy is chronically weak and insolvent:
- Far from growing, the economy contracted in the first three months of this year at the annualized rate of one per cent, and it is unclear where future growth would come from. Gross domestic income is also falling sharply, for the first time in years.
- There are fewer workers, they are less efficient than a decade ago, and new employment is mostly in low-paying part-time jobs. Labor force participation (the percentage of Americans at work) is low, at levels not seen since the stagnant economy of the 1970s. One-fifth of 80 million American families do not have a single employed member.
- Government dependence has reached epidemic levels: the number of Americans getting money or benefits from the federal government exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million. Welfare spending and entitlement payments account for 69 percent of the federal budget.
- One-third of all American households are living hand-to-mouth, one paycheck from poverty. The median annual income is 7.5 percent lower than in January 2008.
- The inflation-adjusted S&P500 is back to where it was in 2007. The single biggest buyer of stocks are the companies of the S&P500 itself. At $4 trillion, stock buybacks account for one-fifth of the total stock market value. The biggest buyback in market history added zero productive value to the companies concerned.
- The mountain of debt is nearing $17.5 trillion. The drivers of growing deficits and debt in the future are unfunded entitlement programs that are designed to transfer resources from working people to retirees. When the government pension and health care commitments which are missing from official budget figures are accounted for, the total national debt is nearly $95 trillion, more than seven times the published figure.
- The dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is almost over. Russia and China have joined forces in “de-dollarization” of their mutual transactions and are looking for a more productive and safe use for their monetary reserves. Their recent gas deal is the beginning of the end for the petrodollar. Eventually Washington will have to choose between an outright default and hyperinflation, and the rest of the world is waking up to that fact.
Some “dynamism,” some “innovation”…
“America continues to attract striving immigrants.”
Obama’s statement is correct. It does not illustrate America’s alleged strength as was his intent, however; it underscores this country’s major weakness. Illegal immigration is spiraling out of control, the Border Patrol is overwhelmed. If the influx continues at current high levels, the U.S. population will increase to almost half a billion in 2060 – more than a 50 percent increase. New immigrants – mostly from the Third World, unskilled, uneducated, and a net drain on American resources – and their descendants will account for over one hundred million of that increase. On current form, English-speaking Americans of European origin will become a minority in their own country four decades from now. They will inhabit an increasingly overpopulated, polluted, lumpenproleterized, permanently impoverished country. America unfortunately does continue “to attract striving immigrants,” mostly illegal ones and of poor quality. This is far greater threat to the survival of the United States in a historically or culturally recognizable form than terrorism or any conceivable alliance of foreign powers. Barack Obama does not understand this, or does not care, or – just as likely – cherishes the prospect.
“The values of our founding inspire leaders in parliaments and new movements in public squares around the globe.”
By “public squares” Obama was probably alluding to Kiev’s Maidan. Indeed, it has propelled some “new movements” to global prominence, such as the Svoboda party and the Right Sector. The Founding Fathers would be horrified to learn that, in the opinion of the President of the United States, their values have inspired Messrs. Tyahnybok, Yarosh, and other blood-soaked heirs to Stepan Bandera. This is on par with Senator Joseph Lieberman saying, “The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.”
“And when a typhoon hits the Philippines, or schoolgirls are kidnapped in Nigeria, or masked men occupy a building in Ukraine, it is America that the world looks to for help.”
Obama is mixing apples (natural disasters) and pears (man-made ones). The problem of Islamic terrorism in Nigeria was exacerbated by the refusal of the Department of State under Hillary Clinton to place Boko Haram (“Secular Education is Sinful”) on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen Senators and Congressmen. The de facto protection thus given to Boko Haram has enabled it to morph into a state-within-the-state with an estimated 300,000 followers.
It would be ironic if “the world” were to look to America for help in Ukraine (which in any event it does not), since the course of crisis there has been, overwhelmingly, of Washington’s own making, as manifested in Victoria Nuland’s famous phone call to Ambassador Pyatt. The new Drang nach Ostenmakes sense from the point of view of the liberal globalist-neoconservative duopoly: there is no better way to ensure U.S. dominance along the European rimland in perpetuity than drawing Europe back into NATO (i.e. U.S.) security orbit in general and subverting the Russo-German rapprochement in particular. The “masked men” in buildings are a direct consequence of American meddling.
“So the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century past, and it will be true for the century to come.”
It has never been true, it is not true now, and it never will be true. Madeleine Albright’s famous dictum was an arrogant statement by an immigrant ignorant of American history and a sign of her well-attested instability. It was reiterated in Bill Clinton’s 1996 speech, where he explained why he intervened, disastrously, in Bosnia: “The fact is America remains the indispensable nation. There are times when America, and only America, can make a difference between war and peace, between freedom and repression, between hope and fear.” That Obama has chosen to recycle such rubbish is a sign of intellectual and moral bankruptcy. “Indispensable” to whom, exactly? It is unimaginable for the leader of any other country in the world – Vladimir Putin, say, or Xi Jinping – to advance such a claim. It is tasteless at best and psychotically grandomaniac at worst, a latter day “Manifest Destiny” on steroids. The problem is that such hubristic delusions easily translate into non-negotiable foreign policy objectives. Resisting the will of the “indispensable nation” is ipso facto evil: Susan Rice’s condemnation of Chinese and Russian vetoes of the U.S.-supported UN Security Council resolution on Syria as “disgusting,” “shameful” and “unforgivable” comes to mind.
“Russia’s aggression towards former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors.”
Quite apart from the genesis of the crisis in Ukraine, to which “Russia’s aggression” hardly applies, Obama’s use of the term “former Soviet states,” plural, implies that in his opinion Ukraine is not the only “victim of Russia’s aggression.” Presumably he means Georgia, the only “former Soviet state” with which Russia has had a conflict since the collapse of the Soviet Union. If so, and there is no other explanation for his turn of his phrase, Obama has a dangerously flawed understanding of the August 2008 Georgian crisis.
Georgian then-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s order to attack South Ossetia’s capital, Tskhinvali, was a breathtakingly audacious challenge to Russia, to which she was bound to react forcefully. That response was promptly exploited, for the first time since Gorbachev, by the American mainstream media machine and the foreign-policy community in Washington to paint Russia as a rogue power that is not only dangerous but intrinsically malignant. The vehemence of that rhetoric exceeded anything ever said or written about jihad, before or after September 11. To be fair, Saakashvili was led to believe that he was tacitly authorized to act as he did. President George W. Bush had treated Georgia as a “strategic partner” ever since the Western-engineered “Rose Revolution” five years earlier, and in early 2008 he strongly advocated NATO membership for Georgia. Washington had repeatedly supported Georgia’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity,” which implied the right to use force to bring South Ossetia and Abkhazia to heel, just as it is supporting “resolute action” in Donetsk and Lugansk today. Saakashvili may be forgiven for imagining that the United States would have bailed him out if things went badly. It is noteworthy that he was not disabused of such notions. The calculus in Washington appears to have been based on a win-win scenario, not dissimilar to the current Ukrainian strategy. Had Georgian troops occupied South Ossetia in a blitzkrieg operation modeled after Croatia’s “Operation Storm,” while the Russians remained hesitant or ineffective, Moscow would have suffered a major strategic and (more importantly) psychological defeat after almost four years of sustained strategic recovery. If Russia intervened, however, she would be duly demonized and the U.S. would push for NATO consolidation with new vigor. “Old” Europeans – the Germans especially – would be pressed to abandon their détente with Moscow. A resentful Georgia would become chronically anti-Russian, thus ensuring a long-term American presence in the region.
In the event, like the Ukrainian army today, the Georgian army performed so poorly that a military fait accompli was out of its reach. Excesses against Ossetian civilians – just like the shelling of schools in Slavyansk today – made the “victim of aggression” narrative hard to sell, Obama’s “aggression” rhetoric notwithstanding.
“The question we face… is not whether America will lead but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.”
It is unclear how, if at all, America will secure her own “peace and prosperity” in the years and decades to come, let alone how she can extend it “around the globe.” If this is a statement of Obama’s grand strategy, it is flawed in principle and unfeasible in detail. In this statement there is not a hint of an overall blueprint for action that matches our country’s resources to her vital interests. A sound grand strategy enables a state to deploy its political, military, economic, and moral resources in a balanced and proportionate manner, in order to protect and enhance its security and promote its well-being, never mind “the globe.” In Obama’s universe, however, there are no brains behind “indispensable,” heavy-handed diplomacy and military power. Obama creates a false dilemma (“the question we face”) unsupported by facts. China, India, Russia, the Muslim world and Latin America do not want to be “led,” quite the contrary. Old Europe is reluctant at best. Subsaharan Africa is an irrelevant mess. The question we face is not global leadership, but national survival.
“Regional aggression that goes unchecked, whether in southern Ukraine or the South China Sea or anywhere else in the world, will ultimately impact our allies, and could draw in our military. We can’t ignore what happens beyond our boundaries.”
This simultaneous dig at Russia and China reflects a hubristic world view that is unmatched by conflict-management resources. A sane American relationship with Moscow demands acceptance that Russia has legitimate interests in her “near-abroad.” Obama’ four-nation tour of East Asia last Aprilescalated existing U.S. military commitments to the region, created some new ones, deeply irritated China, and emboldened American allies and clients to play hardball with Beijing. Obama does not understand that it is extremely dangerous for a great power to alienate two of its nearest rivals simultaneously. The crisis in Ukraine is going on, but the situation in Asia is potentially more volatile. Dealing with both theaters from the position of presumed strength and trying to dictate the outcomes is perilous, as many would-be hegemons (Philip II, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler), blinded by arrogance, have learned to their peril. Obama has continued the hegemonist habit of instigating crises at different spots around the world, even though the resources are scarce and the strategy is fundamentally faulty. An overtly anti-U.S. alliance between Russia and China is now in the making. U.S. overreach led to the emergence of a de facto alliance in the Eurasian Heartland, embodied in the gas deal signed in Shanghai. Russia and China are not natural allies and they may have divergent long-term interests, especially in Central Asia, but they are on the same page when it comes to resisting U.S. hegemony, pardon, “leadership.” In the early 1970’s Dr. Henry Kissinger wisely understood the benefits of an opening to Beijing as a means of pressuring Moscow on the Cold War’s central front. Back then the USSR was far more powerful than the People’s Republic. Today, by contrast, China is much more economically and demographically powerful than Russia, and for the United States the optimal strategy would dictate being on good terms with the weaker party in the triangle. America does not have a policymaker of Kissinger’s stature today, who would understand the potential of a long-term understanding with Moscow as a tool of curtailing Chinese ambitions along the Pacific Rim.
“America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership.”
The notion that “the world stage” demands a “leader” is flawed. It is at fundamental odds with the balance-of-power paradigm, which has historically secured the longest periods of peace and unprecedented prosperity to the civilized world. Today’s world is being multipolarized, whether Obama the Exceptionalist likes that or not. The very idea of the self-awarded “world leadership” would appear absurd in the days of Bismarck or Metternich. Washington has neither the resources nor the minds for such a role, even if it were called for.
“The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it — when our people are threatened; when our livelihoods are at stake; when the security of our allies is in danger.”
None of the above applied in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya… but enough of Obama. There was more rhetoric at West Point, including an ode to American exceptionalism and further references to America’s global leadership, but it just as tedious, vacuous and intellectually wanting as the first ten minutes of his address.
Overall, it is evident that the United States in Barack Obama’s final term has not given up the hegemonist habit of instigating crises at different spots around the world, even though the management resources are scarce and the strategy is fundamentally faulty. An overtly anti-U.S. alliance between Russia and China is now in the making. It will be a belated equivalent of the Franco-Russian alliance of 1893 – the predictable result of an earlier great power, Wilhelm’s Kaiserreich, basing its strategy on hubristic overestimation of its capabilities. U.S. overreach has led to the emergence of a de facto alliance in the Eurasian Heartland, embodied in last month’s energy agreement signed in Shanghai. Russia and China are not natural allies and they may have divergent long-term interests, especially in Central Asia, but they are on the same page when it comes to resisting U.S. hegemony.
In the early 1970’s Dr. Henry Kissinger wisely understood the benefits of an opening to Beijing as a means of pressuring Moscow on the Cold War’s central front. Back then the USSR was far more powerful than the People’s Republic. Today, by contrast, China is much more economically and demographically powerful than Russia, and for the United States the optimal strategy would dictate being on good terms with the weaker party in the triangle. It is unfortunate that America does not have a policymaker of Kissinger’s stature today, who would understand the potential of a long-term understanding with Moscow as a tool of curtailing Chinese ambitions along the Pacific Rim.
Judging by the West Point address, for the remaining two and a half years of Obama’s term U.S.-initiated global confrontations will continue as before. Instead of de-escalating the bloody mess to which she has made a hefty contribution, Victoria Nuland will continue encouraging her blood-soaked protégés in Kiev to seek a military end-game in the East. Instead of calming the South China Sea, Washington will continue encouraging its clients to be impertinent. And Putin and Xi will draw their conclusions: that they do have a powerful common enemy, a rogue regime not amenable to reason or rational calculus.
It cannot be otherwise, considering the Obama Administration’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, which is but a rehash of the strategic assumptions of the Bush era. In Obama’s words from two years ago, our “enduring national interest” is to maintain the unparalleled U.S. military superiority, “ready for the full range of contingencies and threats” amid “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.” The Guidance itself asserts that the task of the United States is to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.” This is not a grand strategy but a blueprint for disaster—especially when combined with the interventionists’ urge to “confront and defeat” not only aggression as such but also “aggression” resulting from internal conflicts irrelevant to the American interest (Syria, Ukraine) and putative threats to regional stability (Iran).
Obama is a more reluctant interventionist than McCain or Romney would have been, but he, too, does not recognize the limits of American power and does not correlate that power with this country’s security and prosperity. He fails to balance military and nonmilitary, short and long-term capabilities. He rejects the fact that the world is becoming multipolar again, while the relative power of the United States is in steady decline. Obama’s absence of a viable grand strategy produces policies that are disjointed, nonsensical, and self-defeating. He is prone, no less than his predecessor, to equate any stated political objective in some faraway land with America’s vital interests, without ever offering a coherent definition of those “vital” interests.
On both sides of the duopoly, the ideology of American exceptionalism and the doctrine of global dominance reign supreme. At a time of domestic economic weakness and cultural decline, foreign policy based on the American interest requires prudence, restraint, and a rational link between ends and means. Abroad, it demands disengagement from distant countries of which we know little; at home, a sane immigration policy.
It will not happen.
Sometimes I just want to pimp slap people.
Last summer, I was at dinner during a sales convention. The conversation didn’t get political until someone mentioned the NSA.
There is one in every crowd. Someone piped up and said, “They can spy on me all they want. I am not doing anything wrong.”
They sang this song in Germany in 1933. And they sang it with unprecedented gusto in the months following 9/11, all in the name of “security” and “keeping us safe”.
We were at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the world’s second largest hotel. Nothing in the post-9/11 “national security” apparatus would prevent a terrorist from walking in, setting off a bomb, and killing hundreds or even thousands of people.
The more important questions are: How do you know you are doing nothing that could be construed as wrong by some state functionary? How do you know you are not breaking some law somewhere? And why are you so implicitly trusting that your government would never do anything evil with the information it has collected on you?
This is not purely an academic matter. The practical implications are profound.
I give you several examples.
1. Niakea Williams went to her son’s St. Louis-area elementary school one day to pick up her son, who has Asperger’s. The school was put on lockdown and Mrs. Williams was escorted out in handcuffs.
2. Adrionna Harris was almost expelled from her middle school in Virginia Beach after taking a razor blade away from a fellow student who was trying to harm himself.
3. Read what Houston police did to this man who gave 75 cents to a homeless person.
4. A little known Denver parking ordinance can get you a $25 fine even if you haven’t exceeded the two-hour limit.
5. Police in Iowa City, Iowa, seized $50,000 from this couple without charging them with a crime.
6. Alberto Willmore lost his teaching job in Manhattan over a totally bogus marijuana arrest. Even though he was never convicted of anything, he was unable to get his job back.
7. Norman Gurley was arrested in Lorain County, Ohio, because a compartment in his car could have been used to transport drugs.
8. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed 80-year-old Eugene Mallory in his own bed during a meth raid. No meth, or any other illegal drugs, was discovered.
9. Paul Valin contacted police to report that he found a backpack full of what he believed to be meth-making equipment 15 miles from his home near Des Moines. As a result, the DEA placed his house on its list of meth labs.
11. New York police seized Gerald Bryan’s cash in a nighttime raid in 2012. Even though Bryan was cleared of any wrongdoing, the stolen cash was deposited in the NYPD pension fund.
12. Robert Duncan is currently serving two years in a California prison, even though the business in which he worked was legal in California.
13. Jordan Wiser spent 13 days in jail after Jefferson, Ohio, police found a pocketknife during a warrantless search of his car.
14. During a school lockdown in Clarksville, Tennessee, David Duren-Sanner gave police permission to search his car as he had “nothing to hide”. Police found a fishing knife. Duren-Sanner, who previously had never been to the principal’s office, was suspended for 10 days and then sent to an alternative school for 90 days.
15. Look what happened to these parents in Napa, California, even though the medical marijuana prescriptions they had were completely legal.
16. Eileen Ann Bower of suburban Pittsburgh had her newborn child taken from her for 75 days because of a false positive drug test.
17. Jerry Hartfield of Bay City, Texas, has spent the majority of his life in prison, even though hisconviction was overturned in 1980.
18. Jason Dewing of update New York was found guilty of violating a law that did not exist.
19. Don Miller of Waldron, Indiana, had his home raided by FBI agents who seized hundreds of cultural artifacts from around the world. Miller was neither arrested nor charged with anything.
20. This San Diego couple was pepper-sprayed and tasered by police who had erroneously identified their vehicle after being stolen.
21. The good news is that Brian Aitken of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, had his prison sentence commuted.The bad news is that he was originally sentenced to seven years behind bars for possessing two legally purchased guns.
22. This special needs student in McDonald, Pennsylvania, was charged with felony wiretapping for recording other students who were bullying him mercilessly.
23. Abner Schoenwetter of Miami served over six years in prison for – you can’t make this stuff up – violating Honduran fisheries law.
24. Read what happened to John Filippidis of Hudson, Florida, when he was pulled over by state policewhile driving unarmed through Maryland.
25. In a case of mistaken identity, Lewis James of Durham, North Carolina, “was handcuffed and later jailed under a $1.425 million bond” after he had contacted the police to notify them of a dead body in the middle of the road. As someone put it on Facebook, “Don’t call the cops. Ever. Even if you find a dead body. Just don’t ever call the cops.”
26. Read what happened to Diane Avera of Meridian, Mississippi, when she went to Alabama to buy Sudafed, even though she did not know that this was illegal.
27. Andy Johnson of Uinta County, Wyoming, faces EPA fines of $75,000 per day for building a pond on land that he owns.
28. Douglas Zerby of Long Beach was shot and killed by police while watering his lawn because some idiot neighbor thought the hose nozzle was a gun.
29. Darien Roseen was arrested and had his vehicle searched by sheriff’s deputies in Payette County, Idaho, simply because his Colorado license plates led them to believe that he could have been carrying marijuana.
30. Brian Banks of Long Beach spent five years in prison and five more years as a registered sex offenderas a result of a rape conviction. And then his accuser changed her story.
These are not “isolated incidents.” There are no doubt countless other examples of people who were doing nothing wrong, yet were harshly punished.
Also, consider the following:
• The Internal Revenue Code is 73,955 pages and millions of words long. No one has read it cover-to-cover and no one knows every aspect of it. Yet if anyone violates any of its provisions it can mean fines, prison or even death.
• We are often told that “ignorance of the law is no defense.” To the right is a picture of the Yale Law Library. Do you know every law contained within these tomes?
- Read what various emissaries of the Amerikan police state have done to these veterans who went all over the world to “fight for our freedom.”
• Seventy-two types of Americans are classified as terrorists in various government documents. Senator Harry Reid has now added a seventy-third category.
• Read how police have used asset forfeiture laws to seize millions of dollars from people without charging them with any crimes.
- Read this list of eight ways people commit felonies without even knowing it.
• Read this article and pay special attention to these words from former NSA official William Binney: “The problem is, if they think they’re not doing anything that’s wrong, they don’t get to define that. The central government does.”
• Read how the Innocence Project has helped exonerate over 300 wrongfully imprisoned people, many of whom were on death row.
• Attorney Harvey Silverglate argues that the average American commits three felonies a day without even knowing it.
• This Ford executive claims that, thanks to GPS, “we know everyone who breaks the law.”
• Although it has been estimated that there are over 3000 types of federal criminal offenses, no one knows the exact number for sure.
So, do you still feel you have nothing to fear?
Never let a racial crisis go to waste is, I suppose, the credo of the Machiavellian mainstream media. Since the release of the Don Sterling audio, liberals haven’t missed a chance to play the race card for all its worth. One of the worst offenders is a New York Daily News columnist named Harry Siegel, who — in a piece of pablum bearing a picture of NBA owners portrayed as Klansmen — bemoans the lack of Diversity™ in league ownership and management. Unfortunately for Siegy, his points, which start with the Klan hoods, only get worse from there.
A man with a conscience (malformed though it is), Siegel laments that the NBA is “a league where three-quarters of the players are black, but fewer than half the coaches and not even a fifth of the league office staff are black, as of October, 2013, and every majority team owner except Michael Jordan is white.” But there’s an easy remedy.
Institute a quota ensuring that whites, and other races, get proportionate representation among NBA players.
This would make the league approximately 63 percent white, 17 percent Hispanic, 13 percent black and 6 percent Asian. The remaining one percent can be represented by Clint Eastwood’s empty chair on the sidelines, and we can throw in a primordial dwarf if it makes the Diversity™ didacts feel better.
And why not? Why should proportionality go only one way? The bias here lies in self-righteously bloviating about Diversity™ when whites dominate an area while acting as if you don’t even notice it when blacks do.
Of course, liberals would say that the players have earned their positions. But how do we know the owners haven’t? After all, some individuals definitely seem to have a gift for building financial empires. This isn’t to say that every rich person makes his fortune through respectable means. Heck, some people even make millions dribbling a ball around.
But it seems that liberals, prejudiced to the core, only have a problem with it when the “wrong” groups succeed. With the contraception con spent, Barack Obama (PBUH) has used his Teleprompter recently to rail against the male/female wage gap — and he wasn’t talking about the one where young urban women earn 8 percent more than their male peers (because they’re 50 percent more likely to graduate college; I don’t think ol’ Barry mentions this gap, either). Libs could also cite how NBA owners are inordinately Jewish, but that narrative won’t work yet. And the highest-earning religious group in the nation is Hindus, but, last I heard, colleges weren’t schooling mush-head kids in “Hindu privilege.”
But talking about those things might be “publicly toxic”; you know, in the sense that Siegel said he’s sure that Sterling is “not the only owner whose private thoughts are publicly toxic.” No doubt. And I’m certain this is limited to rich white NBA owners, or at least white people in general. It also occurs to me, however, that people can develop a tolerance for certain toxins, such as when black ex-basketball players suggest all-black leagues or black civil-rights hustlers call a city “Hymietown.” And, in keeping with the toxicological principle “The dose makes the poison,” tolerance for toxins disgorged by whites stands at about .010 parts per million.
Then there are the millions, of dollars, that Siegel laments the NBA players are not getting, writing that theirs is a “league where the 360 or so athletes who, in fact, make the game, split its proceeds about 50-50 with ownership.” Note that he also dismissed the owners, who allegedly believe they make the game, as “[w]ealthy men…[who] think highly of their own contributions.”
Now, some might say that the fans make the game; after all, you earn zilch without a market. But what is Siegel’s point? Wouldn’t the proceeds split be much the same in the virtually all-white NHL? And how is that different from any corporation or successful business? A person doesn’t invest his heart and soul and risk capital in a venture without the carrot of a possibly handsome return; not even liberals such as Little Big Gulp (a.k.a. Michael Bloomberg), Warren Buffet and Donald Sterling do that.
So it sounds as if Siegel is lamenting economic freedom, as if he’d prefer a Marxist model (this certainly would have the upside of not enriching men who dribble balls and pundits who dribble ideas). Of course, nothing is stopping the players from pooling their resources and trying to buy into their team.
But perhaps most telling about Siegel’s article is what could be akin to a Freudian slip. A recurrent theme of his is that “we” can feel good about ourselves for taking the principled stand against Sterling, but there is much work yet to do. He writes, “We can all take a moment and pat ourselves on the back for not being as horrible as this appalling old man,” and later, “Once we’re done feeling good about not being Sterling…,” it’s time to beat the Diversity™ drum. But he also self-righteously states that Sterling’s “obscene behavior…has been well documented” and asks, “how could this have gone on for so long?”
What this gets at is the phoniness of the left. Let’s be clear on something: the “we” here isn’t me. It’s not most of you readers, the Heritage Foundation, Catholic Church or Southern Baptist Convention.
It is the left.
Notoriously liberal Mark Cuban, who now calls Sterling “abhorrent,” said in 2009, “I like Donald. He plays by his own rules.” (Translation: a lib who becomes a liability to the cause is “abhorrent.” A lib who is getting away with it “plays by his own rules.”) Black actor Leon Isaac Kennedy called Sterling “a prince among men.” The NAACP gave him an award and was set to bestow another. And ex-NBA commissioner David Stern, who some libs now criticize for not only tolerating the owner but even rewarding him, is, like Sterling, a Democrat donor.
The “we,” libs, is you.
It’s not conservatives. It’s not white people. It’s you.
You anointed yourselves arbiters and overseers of acceptable racial commentary; “racism” is your hang-up, your defined One Deadly Sin, your great litmus test. Don’t blame “society” — upholding yourprinciples is your responsibility.
So most of the lib outrage over “racism” is, when not downright phony, motivated by selectively triggered emotion. It’s a ploy used to tear down tradition and traditionalists on specious grounds and win the culture war. It’s not for lib-enablers, such as late Senator Robert Byrd, who’d been in the KKK; blacks such a Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton; Bill Clinton with his Obama-coffee remark; or fat cats who make big donations — until it’s time to throw them under the bus.
As for Siegel, if he’s so concerned about Diversity™, perhaps he could turn his columnist slot over to a minority. After all, the vast majority of columnists are white, Siegy, and you wouldn’t want some future writer to have to lament, “how could this have gone on for so long?”
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, “It’s time for Western states to take control of federal lands within their borders, lawmakers and county commissioners from Western states said at Utah’s Capitol on Friday.
“More than 50 political leaders from nine states convened for the first time to talk about their joint goal: wresting control of oil-,timber-and mineral-rich lands away from the feds.
“‘It’s simply time,’ said Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who organized the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Lands along with Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder. ‘The urgency is now.’
“Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, was flanked by a dozen participants, including her counterparts from Idaho and Montana, during a press conference after the daylong closed-door summit. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee addressed the group over lunch, Ivory said. New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington also were represented.
“The summit was in the works before this month’s tense standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management over cattle grazing, Lockhart said.
“‘What’s happened in Nevada is really just a symptom of a much larger problem,’ Lockhart said.”
See the report here:
Now we are getting somewhere!
The western states have been used as both playground and sugar stick for big-government politicians since before most of the western states became states. Compare the percentage of State land owned by the federal government in the western states to that of the eastern states.
Here is the percentage of land owned by the federal government in seven eastern states:
New York: 0.8%
Rhode Island: 0.4%
By contrast, here is the percentage of land owned by the federal government in seven western states:
The situation with the Bundys in Nevada highlights the heavy-handed tactics that the federal government employs against anyone who dares to challenge the manner in which the feds are attempting to kick hard-working, productive citizens off of federal lands. Remember that ranchers and farmers such as Cliven Bundy were promised access to these federal lands in perpetuity back in the nineteenth century when all of these land deals were being negotiated between the states and the federal government. Beyond that, ownership of the land by the federal government was supposed to preserve and protect the land for the people, not for the federal government.
A few years ago, there were dozens of successful and prosperous ranchers in the area around the Bundys. But since the BLM was given legislative mandates when Congress enacted the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) in 1976, Cliven Bundy is now the only rancher in the area still standing.
The BLM has grown into a totalitarian monster.
Today, the BLM regulates hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, boating, hang gliding, shooting, off-highway vehicle driving, mountain biking, bird watching, and visiting natural and historical sites. The BLM also regulates logging, mining, fracking and other activities. What ranchers such as Cliven Bundy are going through loggers and miners are also experiencing. In fact, it is no hyperbole to say that, for all intents and purposes, the ranching, logging, and mining industries in the western states are being systematically regulated out of existence.
And in the case of Cliven Bundy, it is not about saving the Desert Tortoise or grazing fees or anything of the sort. It is all about letting fat-cat politicians such as Harry Reid negotiate lucrative solar energy deals with Communist China. Hey, folks: if the land doesn’t belong to Cliven Bundy, it doesn’t belong to Harry Reid, either!
The BLM’s evil twin sister is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was established in 1970. These two federal agencies have become the Wicked Witch of the East and Wicked Witch of the West in what used to be a beautiful land paved with yellow brick roads.
I dare say that if the eastern states were enduring the haranguing and harassment that the western states are enduring, the BLM would have been brought under control years ago. Absent national unity from eastern states on the matter, it is time for the western states to take matters into their own hands.
The legislative action being contemplated by the above-mentioned State legislators who assembled in Salt Lake City last Friday is a terrific first step. It is absolutely time for the western states to use their eminent domain authority to reclaim the lands within their borders that are currently owned by Washington, D.C. With the exception of National Parks, states should serve notice that they are taking back the land owned by the federal government–land that should never have been ceded to the central government to begin with.
The second problem that the siege against Cliven Bundy illustrates is the unconstitutional police powers assumed by federal agencies such as the BLM. Originally, the only federal agency that was lawfully allowed to make arrests on behalf of the U.S. government was the U.S. Marshals Service, which was created back in 1789–the year that the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Today, there are scores of alphabet agencies of the federal government who carry a badge and a gun and are allowed to enforce law at bayonet point. And the vast majority of these agencies are acting on assumed authority–authority not granted them constitutionally. Among these, there is no greater culprit than the BLM.
“You don’t send the Seventh Cavalry to collect a bill, and that’s exactly what happened,” Pat Buchanan told Sean Hannity on his radio show last Monday.
Buchanan went on to say, “And when they put all those forces out there-that’s what attracted all the others, the history of what happened at Waco, Ruby Ridge. And so these folks came to that rancher’s defense. But the initial problem here is [the] sending of all the force of arms out there to that ranch, which was a provocation to which these folks responded.”
See the report here:
The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The Constitution delegates only three crimes to the federal government: treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. That’s it. No other crimes are mentioned. That means that all other crimes are the purview of the states–including local and State police, sheriff’s deputies, and citizen militias and posses.
Of course, the problem is the Congress (and Court) in Washington, D.C., has used the “Necessary and Proper Clause” of Article. I. Section. 8. to justify all sorts of federal law enforcement enactments.
The result of this unconstitutional federal expansion of police powers is we now have scores of federal agencies that are using unchecked and unbridled power–power that is turning the United States into a giant police state.
The states must push back!
Not only must states reclaim millions of acres of land within their borders that are now controlled by the federal government, they must also pass legislation requiring federal bureaucracies such as the BLM to obtain the consent of county sheriffs in order to execute arrest warrants. States must make it clear in unmistakable terms that only the U.S. Marshals Service may execute federal warrants within their states; otherwise, only the county sheriff is authorized to execute arrest warrants within their states.
Furthermore, the U.S. Congress needs to disarm the countless federal bureaucracies that are currently terrorizing the American people. In truth, very few federal agencies need to carry guns. The politicians in Washington, D.C., love to try to disarm the American people, but the ones they should be disarming are most of the federal alphabet agencies.
Why do employees of the federal Department of Education need to carry guns? Why do postal employees need to carry guns? Why do agents of the BLM need to carry guns? Why do employees at NASA need to carry guns? Why do employees of the EPA need to carry guns? Why do employees at NOAA need to carry guns? Why do employees of the National Weather Service need to carry guns? Why do employees of the Social Security Administration need to carry guns? Why do employees at the Department of Agriculture need to carry guns? Why do employees of the National Marine Fisheries Service need to carry guns?
Ladies and gentlemen, law enforcement is mostly the responsibility of State and local governments. Why are so many federal bureaucracies carrying guns? Agencies of the federal government are not soldiers; and they are not even policemen. Furthermore, the American people are not the enemy!
Pat Buchanan is right: had not BLM agents marched onto the Bundy ranch like Nazi Stormtroopers, none of the events that are still playing out in the Nevada desert would have taken place. The memory of Waco and Ruby Ridge are still very vivid in the collective memory of the people of the United States. If anything burns deep in our collective conscience, it is that THERE MUST NEVER AGAIN BE ANOTHER WACO OR RUBY RIDGE. And that is exactly why those Americans have put themselves between the federal government and the Bundy family down in Bunkerville, Nevada.
The events in Salt Lake City, Utah, conducted by dozens of legislators from the western states last Friday were as monumental as the events in Bunkerville, Nevada, conducted by the citizen militia the previous Saturday.
Free and independent states and “We the People” have always been the guardians of liberty in this land. And if freedom is going to be preserved for our posterity, it is going to take the combined effort of both the individual sovereign states and individual citizens to arise and stand in the gap once again. It would also seem that the rise has already begun. Praise God! The only thing missing now is the patriot pulpit.
P.S. I have been inundated with requests from pastors and laymen alike to help them establish non-501c3, unaffiliated, unorganized, unincorporated churches. I have heard their pleas; and I have a very important announcement regarding this matter coming in the very near future. Stay tuned.
If a famine befell us and you couldn’t save everyone, would you withhold the food you had and let every citizen starve rather than endure the inequality of just saving some? If recent history is any guide, certain leftists just might say yes.
A good example of this phenomenon involved a multiple sclerosis patient in Gothenburg, Sweden, who was denied a more effective and expensive medication — even though he was willing to pay for it — because, wrote columnist Walter Williams in 2009, “bureaucrats said it would set a bad precedent and lead to unequal access to medicine.” No wonder Winston Churchill said that socialism’s “inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
And another example just reared its ugly head in Plymouth, Michigan, where the locality’s high school is tearing down newly constructed bleachers in deference to the equality police. MyFoxDetroit.com reports on the issue, writing:
A new set of seating is being torn down outside the Plymouth Wildcats varsity boys’ baseball field, not long before the season begins, because the fields for boys’ and girls’ athletics must be equal.
A group of parents raised money for a raised seating deck by the field, as it was hard to see the games through a chain-link fence. The parents even did the installation themselves, and also paid for a new scoreboard.
So what happened? Some unnamed malcontent lodged a complaint with the feral government, at which point U.S Education Department Office for Civil Rights overlords decreed that the seating must go. Ain’t equality grand?
Except that equality is simply a ruse. And think about it with respect to this issue: the principle is that facilities “for boys’ and girls’ athletics must be equal,” but are boys’ and girls’ athletics equal? The striking contradiction in these male/female sports equality controversies is that calls for “equality” are deferred to within the context of the acceptance and promotion of an inherently unequal system. That is to say, if equality is the guiding principle here, why have separate leagues, teams and tours — protected from the best competition — for girls and women?
The solution, whether it’s the Plymouth situation or calls for equal prize money in tennis, is simple. If a lightweight boxer wants the purses the heavyweights get, he needs to fight and succeed in the heavyweight class; likewise, if feminists want what the boys/men have, they should try to compete in their arena. And I do advocate this: eliminate separate categories for women, and let the sexes compete together on a level playing field. After all, to echo what Lincoln said about laws, the best way to eliminate bad social policy is to enforce it strictly. If you believe in equality, practice it.
And live with it.
And since the boys’ American high-school mile record is considerably faster than the women’s world record — and since this gap appears, with some variation, across sports — my proposal would provide some necessary “policy clarification.”
The education department’s decree is also an attack on charity. The message is that pursuing good works just might be a waste of time because, inevitably, they’ll conflict with some government regulation or mandate. It’s in addition a quasi-Marxist assault on the market. After all, the Plymouth community’s interest in building new baseball bleachers was no doubt driven by there being greater fan turnout for the boys’ games. And the market renders such verdicts all the time. It’s said that female fashion models earn three times what their male counterparts do, bars may offer women free drinks or entry without a cover charge, and no one troubles over women-only health clubs. It’s only when market determinations seem to benefit boys or men that the equality ruse is trotted out.
The truth is that equality dogma is a fiction of modern times. As for the timeless, the word “equality” appears in only 21 biblical verses, mostly referring to matters such as weights and measures. There’s good reason for this, and don’t blame it on the supposed “backwardness” of religion because a devout evolutionist would have to be the staunchest believer in hierarchies born of natural inequality. As G.K. Chesterton pointed out, “[I]f they [people] were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal.” Look around you at the world of nature and man, which, if the evolutionists are correct, are certainly one and the same. How much equality do you see? Rams butt heads, and one ram wins and the other loses; wolves have alphas and one male lion dominates and leads a pride. Then, there are 3.1 billion possible combinations when a couple has a child. And, oh, what combinations they can be. How many of us can play golf like Tiger Woods, defy gravity and shoot baskets like Michael Jordan or compose music at four years of age as did Mozart? People have greatly varying IQs, physical capabilities, personalities, inclinations toward virtue and gifts. Equality is a pipe dream.
This variation exists among groups, too. Ashkenazi Jews have the world’s highest average IQ, while Asians enjoy that status insofar as major groups go. And disease and conditions have no regard for equality, either: the Pima Indians have the highest rate of diabetes on Earth, breast cancer afflicts mainly women, the incidence of Tay-Sachs disease is highest among Jews, black men suffer from prostate cancer at twice the rate whites do, while sickle-cell anemia is found almost exclusively among blacks. I guess reality is “racist.”
Reality is actually this: it’s completely illogical and contradictory for a person to claim on one hand that he believes in classical, cosmic-accident evolution, but on the other that all groups somehow, quite accidentally, wound up the same in capacity, inclination and worldly abilities. After all, since evolution holds that groups lived and developed separately for millions of years — subject to different environments, stresses, adaptive requirements and to the luck of the draw — their winding up “equal” was, for all intents and purposes, a mathematical impossibility.
Earlier evolutionists recognized and accepted this reality, mind you, and in fact became eugenicists. Note here that the term “eugenics” was coined by Charles Darwin’s cousin Sir Francis Galton. Also note that the concept greatly predates the term: Greek philosopher Plato advocated murdering weak children, and the Spartans had actually done it.
This doesn’t mean I embrace eugenics or classical evolution (my views on the latter are found here). The point is that whether you believe we’re accidentally different or that, as St. Therese learned, there are even divinely ordained hierarchies in Heaven, equality is certainly not a thing of this world.
This helps explain why entities prescribing “equality” — such as the early French republic and all the Marxist killing-field regimes — become the worst tyrannies. Since equality is wholly unnatural, its mullahs must violate man’s nature, must trump it and twist it, in an effort to pound their sinister square peg into the round hole of reality. And woe betide he who defies their self-deified will.
Cries for equality are today the second-to-last refuge of a scoundrel (shouts of “racism” are the absolute last). Contrary to what Churchill said, however, they don’t actually visit upon us an equal sharing of misery. Rather, the pigs more equal than others will dispense the ever-diminishing pork to the peons, as they feed at the trough of modern man’s sloth, envy and error.