Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Death of American Automobile and More

Monday came as a dark day for the American automobile industry as it became public that Chrysler would not be given further federal bailout money. The nation under which the automobile took off and revolutionized life is now only a faint shadow of the past. Industrial production is dismantling at alarming rates, and fastest in the United States. Over the past year and a half, the United States has lost over 2 million manufacturing jobs, and throughout the economy nearly 4 million.

While foreign car factories have thrived in the United States in the past decade, the nation's own manufacturers have been faltering on the brink of penultimate failure. General Motors and Ford also remain in murky waters. While it is likely the President will offer those larger producers further bailout money, the once proud Chrysler will shrivel from the hypocrisy of the corporate-government game.

Even more insulting, GM's CEO Rick Wagoner was ousted today at the strong urging of President Obama who has used the role of the Executive Branch in the newest of all lights. His ability to now make employment decisions for major companies as well as seize non-banking institutions raise the spectre of the beginning of a long process which could destroy the free market and freedom itself. The consequences of such actions could easily become far-reaching and untractable far beyond what may now be intended.

Thomas Jefferson once said that in lawmaking, "Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers (adminstrators) too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery."

The Constitution exemplifies a near perfect framework for the exercise of limited government in the hands of the People. Instead of protecting the People's interests however, the government has long ago chosen the path of creating gains and superficial progress to shelter itself as a power structure serving narrow interests of the elite. Thence, when the next "bailout" or "stimulus" is preached bound to occur and needed at-once with so much urgency, maybe it is then time to ask what it means for both rich and destitute yearning to be free must bow down and pay for waste and financial hedonism to save only a precious few.

While the new admnistration enjoys using its perceived image to congratulate its own redeeming, it is woefully evident that little is considered for the People who they must go through to improve society. Yet professional advice is too strong for the common sense knowledge and the sincerity in a neighbor's voice. Thus, we must be taken off by the fantasies of petty advisors playing out their childhood games with little idea of its consequence of negligence. And recklessness is its bride.

As Thomas Jefferson so well put it "On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."

It is time to rethink how Congress and the new Sun King do business.

Obama ridicules Marijuana Activism, Legalization

In a Friday afternoon press conference, President Obama fielded questions from a nationwide Internet audience in which over 3.5 million questions were submitted. The highest portion of questions asked by the online video audience focused on the legalization of marijuana. While many of the clips related to medicinal marijuana legislation, others more generally questioned the federal government's long term policy of the War on Drugs.

However, President Obama mocked marijuana activists, many of whom noted they supported him because of his often liberal stance on social issues. Before being asked the question he prefaced his response by stating that viewers advised that legalization would be a way to grow the economy. He flatly dismissed this notion, remarking " "No! I do not think that is a good strategy to grow our economy. Okay, alright." His statement was then followed by muffled laughter and spontaneous applause. He also joked that, "I don't know what this says about the online audience." Obama then quickly moved on to the next question.

White House Secretary Robert Gibbs when later asked actual reasons why Obama opposed marijuana legalization, he toughly laughed it off stumbling that although the White House is not bothered by it, it is just the way it is. He falied to explain reasoning on why the federal government deems marijuana a dangerously harmful and illegal substance and why thousands of Americans are put in jail each year over recreational use.

The Obama administration has already to begin to shed the very People who put it in power for the convenience of political gain and continuance of the procession of status quo.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Minneapolis to Raze Last Downtown House

In a column penned today by the Star-Tribune, the last free-standing house in downtown Minneapolis will most likely be demolished at the behest of the Minneapolis city council. "End Near for Downtown's Last Single Family Home" describes the last remaining downtown house which lies at 816 Park Avenue South just east of the busiest part of downtown. While the current owner purchased the home for only $52,000 it has as recent as 2005 listed on the market for $275,000 for its historical significance and prime location. It reportedly was built in the 1870's and has some distinctive quality as a simple Victorian style wooden home.

While the city cites neighbors' concerns over the now derelict and abandoned home, it is a question of the future of the property space which brings into question their motive to ensure its destruction. After a housing court ordered that the current owner demolish the historic site, it remains standing and intact, a testament to its constancy in its surroundings. The owner has cited personal finance problems as the reasons he has been unable to execute the order. However, according to the Star-Tribune, now the city seeks to confiscate the property and then as quickly as possible crank the wrecking ball and assume the possibilities inherent in utilizing a small lot of precious downtown real estate.

The reasons for demolition remain dubious, but the city appears poised to ensure the end of any remnant of past family life in downtown Minneapolis. The once innumerable small frame houses which dominated the city center are now displaced and the last stubborn creature of the wood is facing extermination.

For all the money it seems that the city wastes, preserving and utilizing the last family home in Minneapolis would be a good short order to educate the future generations of the humble beginnings of the sprawling frontier behemoth. Yet, greed is too inticing and corruption all encompassing.

Only a public outcry could save the condemned from death. But even so, the spectre of forgetfulness will forever overtake that of old warmth, knowledge and industry

Panel Suggests Mandatory Screening for all Teenagers

In a wide reaching report issued by the government-supported American Academy of Pediatrics; doctors are now recommended to screen all teenage patients for symptons of clinical depression the Star-Tribune reports. This report aimed to investigate ideas in which doctors can better detect depression and eliminate its negative consequences.

Yet, it rings odd that physicians are now deemed part of a mental evaluation in which the patient can be deemed "unfit". As doctors are not experts in psychology it is surprising that this widely recognized doctoral academy is suggesting screening for which their audience is wholly unqualified. Moreover, the implications of physicians intervening in mental health care could detriment proper treatment through conflicting diagnostic interests and further pharmeceutical market regulations.

With the scope of medicine broadening to squeeze effectiveness at the strain of purpose, it is perhaps wise to now ask, what good will all this gut-inspired hardy work produce? Most likely, none.

Monday, March 23, 2009

On the Brink with Iran

In an international environment that is increasingly hostile despite the American public’s repudiation of Bush-era policies, relations between the United States are on a tipping point thirty years after the1979 Iran hostage crisis.

The end of last week’s news events held some scary surprises for the casual observer. On Wednesday, the AP reported that two United States underwater vessels collided in the Strait of Hormuz, off the coast of Iran. One of those ships was an amphibious vesel, the other a nuclear-powered submarine. While apparently thousands of gallons of oil were leaked into the Persian Gulf, no nuclear material leaked.

On Saturday, President Obama presented a video message on behalf of the United States to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In it, President Obama beseeches Iran’s leadership for a pathway for détente and a new age in relations with the United States.

Reuters reports that the Ayatollah responded by saying while the message had good intentions, it lacked the concrete proposals needed to extend conciliation and quell hostility. The Ayatollah suggested the United States return currently frozen assets from Iran extending from debilitating U.N. sanctions during the past decade. In addition, he cited the need for military restraint from the United States and sincere troop withdrawals from the region.

The Ayatollah spoke in Mashhad instructing, “"You change, our behavior will change."

He went on to add that the United States is “"hated in the world" and should stop interfering in other countries.”

The United States overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran by a CIA coup in 1953. The trauma enacted by the assassination of populist President Mossadeq in 1953 and the revulsion at the U.S.-backed installation as Shah as dictator until his overthrow in 1979 is still fresh in the minds of many Iranians.

Mexican Drug War Continues

LinkTV reports on the growing violence at the border on March 5, 2009.

Afghanistan: Certain Failure

A strike over the weekend in Kundunz province in rural Afghanistanan an unmanned U.S. drone killed five men. While the U.S. military insists those killed were terror suspects, the Afghan government claims that they were all civilians.

Thus, the War in Afghanistan extends into its eighth year. President Obama announced earlier in February a deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan. Since last summer, there has been a rapid increase in the amount of U.S. drone attacks on Afghan civilians in rural areas. According to news reports, over 2,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan alone in 2008, the highest year toll in recent years.

Meanwhile, according to RawStory, U.S. ambassador Richard Holbrooke has declared the efforts in the War on Drugs to Afghanistan is a complete failure. At the European Summit Conference in Brussels, Holbrooke stated, "It is the most wasteful and ineffective programme I have seen in 40 years in and out of the government," The opium poppy remains an important cash crop for Afghanistan. Harvests have reached record highs in recent years under the government coalition led by U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai.

RawStory also reports that in 2008 the United States began "aerial fumagation" which spreads the chemical Roundup Ultra over poppy fields grown for heroin production. While these efforts may have decreased some production last year, its enaction is without power to control drug production.

Holbrooke aims to give Afghan farmers new incentives with an economic package designed to improve agriculture in the rugged tribal region. In pegging his attempt to persuade European monetary aid for U.S. military and political efforts in Afghanistan, Holbrooke has put the face of a lovable clown on the disfigured face of poverty, war and continuous military occupation.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Police Taser Kills Michigan Boy

Authorities in Bay City, Michigan have confirmed that a fifteen-year old boy died early today as a result of police taser use on him as an attempt to break up a scuffle according to the Star-Tribune. The Bay City Police Department has not released the minor’s name.

While one officer now is on leave, the real culprit of the scandal remains unmasked. According to Amnesty International, nearly 400 people in America have died in similar police taser use stories under a study done from 2000 to 2008.

Maybe judges should begin in cases to consider the implications of taser-use as torture and cruel and unusual punishment, prohibited under the Constitution by the 8th Amendment.

Meanwhile, TASER remains one of the top distributors in the police world, its products used by agencies worldwide.

Chavez Blasts Obama

According to Reuters, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez lashed out at President Obama of the United States this weekend over what he calls imperial interference in the affairs of sovereign nations.

Chavez spoke in Caracas warning his audience that, “He [Obama] goes and accuses me of exporting terrorism: the least I can say is that he's a poor ignoramus; he should read and study a little to understand reality."

The latest spat between the two heads of state is an outgrowth of an ambassador removal President Chavez enacted last summer while incensed by President Bush’s efforts in Venezuela. Chavez also brought home his ambassador to the United States. He says he is now reconsidering sending a new ambassador to Washington to confer with Obama.

Chavez continued, "My, what ignorance; the real obstacle to development in Latin America has been the empire that you today preside over." Chavez has strongly criticized the United States for its imperial ambitions in South America.
Chavez remains highly suspicious of the “change” promised from newly elected President Obama. Earlier this month, he warned “Don’t mess with me, Mr. Obama!” in reference to U.S. efforts citing Venezuela as a backer of terrorism.
President Chavez continues to suggest that the CIA directed a military coup effort that overthrew him in 2002 for twenty four hours.

Blackwater on Trial

According to RawStory, Blackwater is under fire following a federal lawsuit filed by a widow of a man killed by an employee of the private military contractor. The man, Raheem Khaleef Sa’adoon was 32 when allegedly slain on Christmas Eve in 2006 by Blackwater employee Andrew Moonen, who was noted to be intoxicated at the time.

Blackwater, (now renamed Xe) became infamous worldwide after a convoy opened fire in a busy Baghdad intersection in October 2007 killing 17 civilians, many of them women and children.

The lawsuit also alleges a cover-up scheme took place after the murder in an effort to protect Moonen and the greater Blackwater community.

Blackwater was banned from Iraq by the Iraqi government earlier this year. Their famously lucrative government contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan has become a trend that is leading the government to further outsource military jobs to private companies. Blackwater specializes in escorting political dignitaries and even worked security for President Barack Obama’s 2008 visit to Iraq.

Blackwater is headquartered in Moyock, North Carolina.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bailout is Hypocrisy

Although the Dow Jones continues to rise this week, news in the larger scene has been wholly disheartening. Amid confirmatioons that AIG used $165 million of the nearly $3 billion of taxpayer money to pay executive bonuses and prolong the pain of the insolvent institution, the financial bailout game is becoming farce. Many Americans are starting to believe that perhaps it would have been best to let the free market put AIG and others out of their misery.

But "bold action" has sought to put the dead man known as corporate mega-ank on a breathing machine indefinitely. It is simple to wonder why things are bad when the very executives and politicians who terrorized the public for cash and ultimately, their livelihood, hold press conferences condemning lavish executive compensation that they knew dominated the fine print.

The White House remains in the grasp of hte corporations and even worse receives its economic and political directives from the privately-owned Federal Reserve Bank and their special interests.

AIG is symbolic in that it was the first private company awarded federal bailout money. It began a processs that later culminated in a $700 billion banker takeover in October, a $350 billion Secretary of State dictation bailout in November and President Obama's recently passed $900 billion "stimulus". The last "rescue package" seeks to continue the same citizen to CEO payment transfer plan that has wrecked most Americans' savings.

It is laughable that the Preesident and Congresspeople are now whining to the American people about a measly $165 million out of a cool $4 trillion already taken by brunt force and manipulation.

It is especially a surprising move noting that they refused to consider such issues when the following bailouts were debated. But, alas they were too busy building a "safer America" via new economy to see beyond the long political memory of three weeks. Thus, average Americans will suffer and the President and Congress will continue to be mere pawns of the super-elite.

Obama's Big Plan for Afghanistan

A day after a congressional attache signed and sent a letter to President Obama requesting him to "reconsider military escalation" in Afghanistan, President Obama announced his plans to phase in an Afghan national security force of 400,000 in the next six to seven years. This amount is over three times more than the amount the American government planned for in 2002.

The New York Times reports that the Afghan security force curently stands around 90,000 and that last year President Bush approved $12 billion in funds to nearly double the force. President Obama appears poised to continue America's imperial presence in Afghanistan.

In addition, the Times also mentions that President Obama is near announcing a plan to spend $10 - 20 billion for operations in Afghanistan until 2016. If the United States has troops in Afghanistan until that year, it will go on record as a fifteen-year war, the longest in American history. The War in Afghanistan is now in its eighth year.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Case of Citizen Terrorist : Sara Jane Olson

Much hubub has been made in the past week concerning a breaking story in which Sara Jane Olson, convicted of 1970s bombings in California, is now being released and will serve her parole in her hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. So much noise and rattle has been made of this juicy media-op to the point that even Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty wants a piece of the limelight.

Writing to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pawlenty asked him to consider "the request of the St. Paul Police Federation" for Sara Jane Olson to serve her one year parole term in California according to the Star-Tribune. However, Pawlenty made no mention of the fact that the Minnesota State Department of Corrections has approved Olson's application to serve parole in St. Paul.

Sara Jane Olson was convicted in for her involvement in police car bombings and an aborted bank heist that ending in a murder; both were in California in the mid-1970s. She was a member of a leftist group named the Symbionese Liberation Army. Like the famed campus and government bombing Weatherman, this group advocated revolution even at the means of violence.

Maybe paranoia is rising in the Governor's Residence and even coming full tide in all pockets of political power. After the 2008 Republican National Convention's appearance in St. Paul that unleashed police bruatily and a general suspension of law and due process, issue-driven violence is again becoming a political factor. Like Sara Jane Olson in facing terror charges, 22 year old David McKay of Austin, Texas plead guilty today in Ramsey County Court to throwing molotov cocktails at police vehicles during the Republican National Convention. Citizen terrorism is on the curl of each bureaucrat's tongue and fast pitched as a realistic scenario that will require greater government force and arbitration in the near future.

Meanwhile, Governor Schwarzenegger has not responded to Governor Pawlenty's last minute plea. Sara Jane Olson was released today from the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla after serving seven years in prison. She is planning to travel home to St. Paul.

Fifteen Congresspeople Propose Obama Submit Exit Strategy for Afghanistan

According to newspaper The Hill, fifteen representatives gathered today to draw attention to a letter they are writing to President Obama asking him to "reconsider military escalation" in Afghanistan. Signatores of the letter include Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D) of Ohio and Congressman Ron Paul (R) of Texas.

Paul has been a strong critic of non-interventionist foreign policy in contradiction to the pre-eminent strike ideology perpetuated by the Bush administration. He claims that the same policy is being continued by President Obama.

The Hill reports that Paul said, "“I see what’s going on in Afghanistan. It has nothing to do with the al Qaeda, it has nothing to do with bin Laden. This is occupation and it’s a continuation of the Bush policy,” Paul said. “I think our effort here in writing this letter is just urging caution.”

Secretary of Defense Gates earlier this month told reporters in France that it is too early to set a timetable for withdrawal in Afghanistan. Some military experts have advocated the major basing of U.S. forces there until the year 2025.

One of President Obama's top foreign policy advisors is a man named Zbigniew Brzezinski who also served in that same role in the Carter administration.

Brzezinski has a long history of intervention in Afghanistan and began policy arming who Ronald Reagan would later call "freedom fighters".and who the American government would later call Osama bin Laden.

Brzenzinski's efforts under Carter to secretly foment militancy on part of Islamic extremists in Afghanistan and supply them with the millions of dollars of weaponry necessary would only end in horrific blowback decades later. But such transactions would continue to take place through the 1980's in an effort to draw out the Soviet Union's bankrupting occupation.

President Obama announced in January the deployment of an additional 17,000 U.S. forces to Afghanistan. The War in Afghanistan is now in its eighth year. The Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan from 1979-1988.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Americans Disapprove of Afghan War, Others Justify

In a new poll released by Gallup and USA Today, 42% of respondents believe that sending U.S. troops to Afghanistan is "a mistake". After eight years of military occupation, Americans are growing weary of the first major battleground in the endless War on Terror.

In late 2001 after the United States invaded Afghanistan, over 89% supported the war in that country. Yet, still a slim majority of 52% still believe that the war in Afghanistan is "going well" despite the fact that civilian casualties skyrocketed in 2008.

Obviously, there is some misinformation regarding the success of U.S. forces in interdicting in the tribal lands. President Obama announced in January that he will be adding an additional 17,000 troops to the country to push numbers of forces near 60,000. The Obama administration has yet to put any date or timetable on the idea of a withdrawal of forces.

Peace Corps Evacuates Madagascar

Today, the AP reported that the Peace Corps is evacuating its 112 members from Madagascar after political unrest in January produced a president hostage at the hands of a military coup.

This event makes Madagascar the second country this year to directly or inadvertantly remove U.S. personnel from their borders. Earlier in January, Kryzgystan ordered U.S. troops to leave their country and close down its primary military base in central Asia after Kryzgystan accepted Russian economic aid. Kryzgystan was the essential U.S. base for carrying out bombing raids on Iraq and Afghanistan.

For the moment it is unclear whether the Peace Corps will return to the large island of Madagascar off the east coast of Africa. The Peace Corps website clarifies that the operations in Madagascar are "temporarily suspended". The Peace Corps includes 8,000 Americans volunteering 27 month commitments in 76 different countries.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Federal Reserve Lies, Economic Woes Continue

In a rare exclusive 60 Minutes interview tonight, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke when asked when the current recession will end, answered that it is likely to stabilize by the end of 2009. However, the things what Bernanke would not say and what CBS refuses to investigate is the outgrowth of a long line of corruption and outside domination of the United States.

Portraying Bernanke as a visionary economist sensitive to the lives of “main street” Americans, CBS exerted much effort to reveal the power and importance behind the office of the man who is “keeping the economy together”. However, while CBS touts his powers which even extend beyond that of President as essentially unanswerable to anyone, they fail to question the indivisible authority of the Federal Reserve System in this age of continual bailout and banker takeover.

Bernanke remained somber throughout the interview, often sounding on the verge of tears as he slowly and calmly commented on the failure of the private conglomerate of major banks to foresee and act appropriately on the world financial crisis.

The Federal Reserve System was created in 1913 to take over the U.S. government’s job of regulating the money supply as well as minting coinage for use. At the same time, the federal income tax became the Sixteenth Amendment. Many opponents of the tax on labor argue that the amendment was never fully ratified.

Since the Federal Reserve System’s founding, America has experienced the Great Depression, over four other recessions as well as the Great Recession that now exists. The Federal Reserve has yet to inform the public of how it has doled out over $2 trillion in federal bailout funds to major private banks. Two similar bills, one proposed in the Senate by Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont and one in Congress by Republican Ron Paul of Texas, would create a first-time congressional audit of the private Federal Reserve System and shed light on its power to authoritatively grant funds and print an excess supply of Federal Reserve notes.

The Federal Reserve is magically keeping the U.S. economy and much more-so the U.S. government on life alert. By printing enormous sums of greenbacks, the private conglomerate is desperately seeking to stave off the inevitable crash of insolvent institutions. Usurping wealth from citizenry to bank executives, CBS reports the average American family lost 18% of its wealth during 2008. Sapping from the economy precious capital, the Federal Reserve’s actions have downsized economic investment and output, ultimately leaving the American citizen to pay. In addition, a federal debt surpassing the $13 trillion mark (much owed to foreign nations), is of no mention in economic discussion.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke remains under heavy fire. In a time of strong economic uncertainty and major political upheaval through backroom banker deals, he is a highly visible figure in the coup of the millennia. Yet, Bernanke retains his position as master of the sword with the hair-line thinness of political majority. His comments on 60 Minutes alluding to a quick recovery may be in the end, bad news for the Federal Reserve. For with the extremeness of their action, in the hatching of the ultimate plot, its result may unravel the system and expose at last, what it really is.

American Shot by Israeli Soldier

Reports confirmed indicate that 38 year old American Tristan Anderson was shot on Saturday by an Israeli soldier during a protest against the construction of a border wall in the town of Naalin. Hit in the face by a cannister of tear gas fired at lightning bolt speed, Anderson remains in critical condition.

Anderson was at the time participating in a protest with Palestinian people as part of the International Solidarity Movement. Upon being treated by medical personnel, the ambulance carrying Anderson was allegedly not allowed to pass through an Israeli checkpoint for well over ten minutes while Anderson's face bled profusely.

This violent act comes after a string of bloodletting following Israel's offensive into Gaza which began late in December and concluded days before the American presidential inauguration. Four Israelis and over 1,000 Palestinians died in the month long seige.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Russia Steps Down Air Defense for Iran, Obama Extends Sanctions

According to CTK, Russia announced Tuesday that it will be not be deploying to Iran an airspace defense radar system, originally planned for Tehran after the announcement of the United States’ central European Missile Defense Shield.

Cautious in its steps toward détente, Russia through this conciliatory gesture has shown a willingness to negotiate, but only with a reasonable and clear-headed American policy in return. However, this news comes as an ever stranger and more obscure twist in the saga of Missile Defense and the 21st century continuation of the Cold War.

In comparison, President Barack Obama has acted as well this week in regards to Iran. Thursday, he extended Clinton-era sanctions against the country accusing it of being a “state sponsor of terror” and harboring disdainful sentiments toward the United States.

According to the AP, Obama said “"The actions and policies of the Government of Iran are contrary to the interests of the United States in the region and pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat". His rhetoric and stance on Iran strongly resembles that of President Bush, who also was a strong supporter of placing sanctions and trade embargoes on Iran.

Europe Continues Militarization

Over the past week, revelations that Nicolas Sarkozy wants France to join NATO after a forty year absence and that the United States will begin constructing a $117 million embassy in Belgrade, Serbia has jolted the intensification of American military influence in Europe.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that France will soon be the subject of a confidence vote to rejoin NATO after leaving in 1966 under the leadership of Charles DeGaulle. DeGaulle claimed that membership in NATO was a subversion of national autonomy.

Sarkozy praised rejoining NATO by citing the importance of cooperation in the U.S.-led War on Terror. Sarkozy has been a strong advocate of partnering with U.S. designs to eliminate evil from the world. France is heavily involved in NATO operations and currently has troops in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the United States government along with Serb President Tadic announced that a vast new $117 million embassy will be built outside of the Serb capitol, Belgrade. The former U.S. embassy was burned to the ground during riots last summer in opposition to the NATO-enforced declaration of independence of Kosovo. A large majority of Serbs believe that Kosovo is the spiritual heart of their country and strongly oppose American intervention.

Serbia endured U.S.-led NATO bombing raids on their cities in 1999 that killed many civilians. These bombings lauded in the American media as “humanitarian” and "worth it" remain a deep insult to Serb people.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bernie Sanders: Audit the Fed!

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont asks Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to name the banks who received over $2 trillion in government bailout funds. Bernanke is not forthcoming with any answer to this simple question.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Polish President Holds '08 Treaty, Obama to Missile Defense

In a new turn of events in the saga of the planned U.S. Missile Defense shield, CTK (the Czech news service)reports that Polish President Lech Kaczynski said Sunday that he will hold President Obama to honor the 2008 treaty allowing the placing of nuclear anti-missile rockets in Poland. The treaty signed by Condoleeza Rice and her Polish foreign secretary counterpart has not yet been ratified by the Polish Parliament. A similar bill approving the connected radar installation in Czech Republic was also signed, but has yet to pass the lower Czech assembly.

While Central European news reports have described President Obama as "reserved" compared to former President Bush about establishing a Missile Defense Shield in Europe, new developments reveal the continuance of the Robert Gates-obsessed project.

According to CTK, the conservative and Euro-sceptic Lech Kaczynski said that President Obama's recent secret letter to Medvedev to stave off deploying the radar in exchange for political pressure on Iran is "clearly not a friendly gesture" to the Polish government. Kaczynski also noted that since the SOFA (Strategic Operation of Forces Agreement) was signed last summer, the treaty holds precedence no matter who is in power.

Relations between Poland and Russia have been strained since the announcement of their part in Missile Defense in exchange for the United States to pay for modernizing the Polish air force. Russia has responded by threatening to place nuclear missiles in Kaliningrad, putting the area between major nuclear weapon launchers within the 100 mile range.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Polish and Czech citizens last week for their support of a "visionary" project. However, according to recent polls, in both countries public opposition to the Missile Defense Shield is above 65 percent.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hillary Clinton Threatens Iran, Insults Czechs

The disdainfully hawkish rhetoric Hillary Clinton has been using against Iran for some time now is beginning to reach a new brashness that irks both enemies and allies. According to CTK (The Czech News Service), Secretary of State Clinton spoke yesterday at a NATO summit in Brussels. Upon being asked by press about the likelihood of a continued radar project in Czech Republic and positioning of nuclear missiles in Poland, Mrs. Clinton responded by exalting the Czech and Polish people for agreeing to host U.S. military installations manning the Missile Defense System.

According to CTK, a February poll showed that 65% of Czechs surveyed vehemently opposed plans for the U.S. radar. Domestic opposition is reported to be even stronger in Poland.

Mrs. Clinton said "Missile Defense is a very important tool in our defense arsenal for the future." She added, "The Czech Republic and Poland were according to our opinion very visionary and to look out on the horizon, to see what awaits us if we are not be successful in the prevention of those wanting to obtain and develop these weapons of mass destruction." Mrs. Clinton's last phrase raised the specter of WMD's in Iran as she echoed former President Bush's assertion on the reason behind invading and occupying Iraq.

Missile Defense is the brainchild of still Secretary of Defense Robert and Gates and a key part of Bush administration policies. However, discussion surrounding the project dates back to 1997 when the Czech Republic and Poland joined NATO.

NATO was established in 1949 as a military alliance in face of the Soviet Union. Since the USSR's collapse, NATO has expanded to ____ countries and remains a deep international insult to the eastern Slavic state. The United States lobbied NATO in 2008 to grant Ukraine and Georgia membership but were rebuked by France.

Meanwhile, despite opposition at home, governments in the Czech Republic and Poland have pushed Missile Defense nearly into law by a 2008 SOFA (Strategic Operation of Forces Agreement) treaty with the United States. In addition, bills authorizing the radar and missiles are within their own parliaments. One bill that passed the Czech Senate authorizing the U.S. base and radar in Brdy, Bohemia (sixty miles southwest of Prague. has yet to be approved by the Czech lower assembly. The bill has languished without a vote call for over four months because it is expected to fail by a few votes.

Yet, Czechs are already seeing the benefits of imperial "partnership" when earlier this year the United States cancelled the long-held requirement of Czechs needing visas for temporary visits to the United States. In addition, the United States has cranked up its military commitment with the Czech and Polish armed forces. The Polish government has asked for a modernization of their air forces in exchange for the basing of missiles. The Czech Republic has already been offered several military incentives as well. Missile Defense remains a politically explosive issue for Central Europe.

Secretary of State Clinton has been highly critical of Iran, stepping up media events to shoot relentless moral exhortations at Tehran. Yet, the exhortations seem to carry little moral. Like the Bush administration, Obama's policy in regards to Iran has been much of the same. America continues to use ultimatum by news conference as Iran pushes ahead with what they claim is a peaceful civilian nuclear power program. Yet, it appears that trying the same methods of imperial push-shove won't budge the Ayllatolah.

A CIA-report released in November 2007 concluded that Iran ended its arms program in 2003 under pressure from Washington. President Obama now warns of the "clenched-fist" but has shown his "compassionate conservatism" by telling press he would use the carrot-and-stick strategy with Iran. What exactly the carrot-and-stick represents is unclear. But as Hillary Clinton so well put it, "if Iran fired missiles into Israel, they would be completely obliterated". Mrs. Clinton is the highest diplomat of the United States.

A spirit of detente would suggest it is nigh time the United States reopen diplomatic relations with Iran that have been severed for thirty years since the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis in 1979. The CIA overthrew democratically-elected President Mossadeq and installed the Shah as dictator in 1953.

Nine nations own nuclear weapons. These nations include the United States, Russia, China, England, France, Australia, Pakistan, India, North Korea and Israel. While nations like Israel, India and France possess a few hundred, heavyweights United States and Russia still collectively hold nearly 30,000 nuclear weapons. At the height of the Cold War that number surpassed 100,000 weapons of mass destruction.

Moreover, the site of Central Europe as epicenter for 21st century militarization is without precedent and historical context. The Czech Republic and Poland are both former Medieval and Rennaissance kingdoms that have been displaced forcibly in the past under imperial rule. Former political unions controlling the destiny of the Czech Republic includes the Holy Roman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. From these precedents, many defense experts have long stressed the importance of a neutralized Central Europe as a key to peace. Unfortunately, not heeding this advice may make the United States the next imperial giant on that list.

Mrs. Clinton's comments lead many to believe she is unaware of the reality of the situation. Clinton continued to flex her muscle as head-imperialist, she said, "Europe has the right to protect itself from the threats of the 21st century." Maybe, what she really meant was "America has the right to use Europe to protect itself from the threats of the 21st century." But, maybe the truth of the matter is American militarization in Europe is the threat of the 21st century.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Justice Department Releases Bush-era memos Legalizing Torture, Detaining American Citizens, Suspending First Amendment Rights

As reported by the AFP, United States Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday released past internal memos from the Justice Department legalizing torture and indefinite imprisonment of “enemy combatants” including American citizens. Some of the legal explanations found in the memos explicitly gave the President the authority to act unilaterally in deciding the fate of terror suspects.

In addition, other memos point to explicit attempts to use military force against citizens (long outlawed by the Posse Comitatus Act of 1807 until the John Warner Defense Act of 2006). Also, certain memos legitimized the suspension of the First Amendment in any declared national emergency, all at the discretion of the President.

High level Justice Department officials are quoted in legal memorandums. It is former Assistant Attorney General John Yoo who wrote "The power to dispose of the liberty of individuals captured ... remain in the hands of the president alone," in 2002.

Justice Department released memos from October 21, 2001 gave the President power to suspend First Amendment free-speech rights as well as Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful searches and seizure.

John Yoo and Robert Delahunty wrote, “The current campaign against terrorism may require even broader exercises of federal power domestically.”

According to Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, a Justice Department writing released from mid-January this year retroactively dismissed all memos regarding presidential authority from 2001-2003. This memorandum may be the “smoking gun” in possible upcoming torture and suspension of Bill of Rights investigations and court proceedings.

American citizens are quick to condemn torture and shudder at hearing of extraordinary rendition transports. However, many Americans may not yet be comfortable with seeing their government officials at federal or international war crimes trials. But, with the swelling tide of legal action, Americans may have to get used to this uncomfortable reality.

War in Afghanistan: No Withdrawal Date

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates defined the Obama administration’s plan for Afghanistan as he announced "We would all like to have a situation in which our mission in Afghanistan has been completed and we can bring our troops home. I do not see that happening anytime in the near future," at a news conference yesterday in France according to AFP. He also retorted that, "I think it's impossible to put a date on when you might firmly say all the troops are coming out." Secretary Gates met with French Defense Minister Herve Morin.

President Obama has yet to accept a concrete plan to end combat operations in Afghanistan. In mid-February this year, he announced a deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan to bolster U.S. forces there to well over 60,000. With no plan for withdrawal, it is unlikely that U.S. operations will end there anytime soon. The War in Afghanistan is now in its eighth year.

GLENN BECK: On Totalitarianism in America

Radio and television talk-show host Glenn Beck discusses the destruction of the American Republic as he outlines government-created FEMA camps, plans for greater government regulation of personal life, and the destruction of the Constitution on FOX and Friends on May 3, 2009.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Obama Wrote Medvedev Secret Letter, In Deal to Stave off Czech Radar, Iran

The New York Times reported last night that President Obama recently wrote Russian President Dimitri Medvedev asking for help combating Iran's nuclear ambitions, in return for an end to U.S. plans for a Missile Defense Shield in Central Europe. The United States has signed exclusive agreements with the governments of Czech Republic and Poland to place an anti nuclear missile radar in Czech Republic and 10 nuclear interceptor missiles in Poland. Russia has strongly opposed the plan and has repeatedly pleaded with the United States to stop the project. Over 2/3rds of Czech citizens still remain opposed to the radar installation.

Since 2007, Russia has engaged Tehran and even offered multi-million dollar foreign aid projects to help Iran obtain nuclear power. Iran maintains that they only seek a peaceful nuclear program for generating civilian power. However, since 2003, the American government has taken a hard line against Iran, accusing the country of being a "state sponsor of terror". Many experts believe officials in the U.S. worry about strong Iranian influence in the region for decades to come following two disastrous wars in bordering countries, Iraq and Afghanistan.

It remains unclear whether President Obama's specific-vague proposal will gain any traction. Defense Secretary Robert Gates who has pushed for Missile Defense almost obsessively to the point of recklessness, has also suggested a joint Russian-American radar operation in the Czech Republic. However, withstanding the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and an occupation which continued until 1990, Czechs vehemently oppose Russian troops in their country.

President Medvedev responded today by issuing a statement commenting that Russia will help fight the terror threat from Iran, but cautioned that "there are no concrete iniciatives" yet offered in reducing the supposed Iranian threat. Medvedev noted that the secret form of the bargain-ultimatum is "not productive".

Iran and the United States have had strangled relations since the CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran by assassinating President Mossadeq and installing the Shah as military dictator in 1953. There has been no formal diplomatic ties between the two nations since the 444 U.S. embassy hostage seige in Tehran in 1979.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blackwater Chief Executive Leaves Post

According to AFP, Chief Executive of Blackwater USA Erik Prince is leaving his function in that role with the company. Blackwater, recently renamed Xe is a private security company with major contracts in Iraq. Blackwater came under heavy criticism following a string of civilian shootings that culminated in a slaying of 17 innocents in a busy Baghdad intersection in October of 2007.

Since that time, Blackwater has been in a precarious situation still operating as security personnel for visiting foreign dignitaries. They even provided security cover for President Barack Obama during his summer 2008 visit. However, earlier this year the government of Iraq announced Blackwater's bannishment from their country and criminal prosecutions of employees inside the United States has lead to the renaming of the multi-million dollar private military contractor.

Erik Prince, a retired Navy SEAL founded Blackwater USA in 1997. After receiving government contracts for operations in Iraq, their profits have skyrocketed from hundred-thousands of dollars a year to grossing well past the multi million dollar mark. Mr. Prince will remain with Blackwater, now Xe, as the chairman of the company.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hugo Chavez Slams Obama's War on Drugs

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sharply criticized American President Barack Obama over the weekend, stating that President Bush's War on Drugs continues unabated under the "new" American government. The New York Times reports that Chavez took shots, assailing Obama as a "continuation of the Bush era."

President Chavez critical rhetoric grew harsher, he said,

"The Obama administration has again attacked Venezuela. He said that Venezuela and I, even citing my name, do not cooperate in the fight against drug trafficking. The country that most supports drug trafficking on this planet is the United States."

"The United States is the world's leading consumer of drugs. Why can't they stop drugs from coming into their country? Obama, you take care of your business and I'll take care of mine. Don't mess with me, Mr Obama."

While Venezuela has cooperated in the recent past with America's War on Drugs inside their own borders, Chavez has grown wary of international Washington programs he claims is a front for undermining efforts for national autonomy. Mr. Chavez continues to be a strong critic of the United States. He gained notoriety after calling former President Bush "the devil" in a 2006 speech to the United Nations.

Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan to Extend Well Beyond 2011

President Barack Obama issued Friday what he called a plan to end the six year long war in Iraq. His plan calls for a troop drawdown over the next 19 months with a goal of ending "all combat operations" by the end of the year 2010. However, the White House made little note of the fact that 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq beyond the year 2011 for the purpose of "combating terrorism".

President Obama's promise to end "all combat operations" is remarkably similar to former President Bush's declaration of the end of military operations in Iraq during a botched media op in early May of 2003. Meanwhile, the U.S. government will go forward with plans to complete the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The Embassy will be by far the biggest U.S. Embassy on earth, in sheer size larger than the Vatican and topping out at nearly $1 trillion. In addition to the large complex in central Baghdad, fiercely resented by Iraqis, it is unclear exactly what the 50,000 troops that will remain in Iraq will do in a country destroyed by six years of firebombing, militant insurgency and military occupation.

In addition, in accordance with the additional 17,000 U.S. troops to be deployed to Afghanistan, American generals see the fight in Afghanistan lasting well into the next decade. Now in the eighth year of occupation, the new military focus on Afghanistan will continue to fight the ever-resurgent Taliban in some of the most treacherous terrain on earth. According to Antiwar.com, Ex-Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan Lt. Gen. David Barno stated before the Senate Armed Forces Committee that he recommends a plan for continued occupation until 2025.

On Friday, a unmanned Predator drone strike in South Waziristan just across the Afghan border in Pakistan killed twelve people. While the U.S. military claims that all killed were terrorists, early reports from civilians in the area show that several tribesmen were killed. Predator drone strikes into Pakistan have become even more frequent under the new administration since the actions began last fall under President Bush.

President Obama has long spoken of the need to combat terrorism in Afghanistan and has even made statements claiming Osama bin Laden will be captured under his tenure. Whatever the case may be for war with the supposed anti-war candidate, American troops can expect more deployments for longer conflicts in the coming years.