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America's Dirty Secret: AfPak War Not Winnable - by Stephen Lendman
Before dying, Richard Holbrooke admitted it, saying "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan." The Washington Post reinterpreted it, saying:
"Holbrooke's death is the latest complication in an effort plagued by unreliable partners, reluctant allies and an increasingly skeptical American public."
They're not alone. Include noted analysts, administration officials, the influential Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and Pentagon top brass. An earlier article discussed it, accessed through the following link:
A recent article remembered Chalmers Johnson, best known for calling America's global wars and imperialism a "suicide option" unless reversed. Access it through the following link:
The True Richard Holbrooke Legacy - by Stephen Lendman
Dead on December 13 at age 69 after two aorta tear surgeries failed to save him, Western media headlines hailed the man London Guardian writers Ed Pilkington and Adam Gabbat called a "giant of US foreign policy," saying his loss leaves "a substantial hole to fill."
On December 13, New York Times writer Robert McFadden headlined, "Strong American Voice in Diplomacy and Crisis," saying:
"Mr. Holbrooke was hospitalized on (December 10) after becoming ill. (After two major surgeries, he) remained in very critical condition until his death....A brilliant, sometimes abrasive infighter, he used a formidable arsenal of facts, bluffs, whispers, implied threats and, when necessary, pyrotechnic fits of anger to press his positions." For good reason, he was nicknamed "The Bulldozer."
Haiti's Electoral Council Tries Alternate Ways to Legitimize Fraud - by Stephen Lendman
It's almost surreal following Haiti's November 28 elections, a process elevating fraud to a new level. So bad, in fact, most candidates demanded voiding it and starting over, but no matter. On December 9, New York Times Deborah Sontag headlined, "Haitian Vote Results to Be Reviewed," saying:
"Seeking to defuse the violent protests that have shut down this country for two days, Haiti's electoral council (CEP) promised....to rapidly review the widely mistrusted preliminary results...."
Honest observers and most candidates condemned them, citing brazen fraud, widespread ballot box stuffing, polling stations opening late, closing early, or not opening at all, staffing them with functional illiterates, omitting voter names from rolls, others told their ID cards were invalid, and numerous other examples of electoral illegitimacy, mocking a free and open process.
Holder Defends Entrapment - by Stephen Lendman
A legal definition. Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officials or agents induce, influence, or provoke crimes that otherwise wouldn't be committed. However, it doesn't apply in cases of willingness to act lawlessly, government merely aiding, abetting, or facilitating a good chance to do so.
Entrapment involves the following:
-- government officials or agents initiated the idea;
-- individuals were persuaded to act; and
-- they had no previous intent or willingness to do so.
Key is that prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that subjects weren't entrapped. Otherwise, due process convictions are prohibited, though judicial fairness seldom occurs in cases involving anyone for political reasons, especially Muslims. An earlier article explained.
On the Chopping Block: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - by Stephen Lendman
Planned is death by a thousand cuts - aka "creeping normalcy," defined as a way to make major changes seem normal if happen slowly, incrementally like boiling a frog unaware it's dinner until cooked.
Social Security and Medicare are dinner. Yet both are insurance, not welfare, programs funded by (worker-employer) payroll tax deductions. They're contractual federal obligations to eligible recipients who qualify. You'd never know it the way both programs are publicly discussed, explaining everything but the truth. More on that below.
The Fix Is In: Expect Democrats to Buckle - by Stephen Lendman
The criminal class in Washington is bipartisan. On core issues, Democrats are no different from Republicans. Expect more bluster before caving like Obama, enacting his deal with the devil worth up to $1 trillion dollars. The lion's share goes to corporations and America's wealthy, middle and low income workers getting crumbs. The fix is in. It'll happen, promoted as stimulus to create jobs and revive economic growth. Not so. More on that below.
Given the makeup of both Houses, their voting records aren't surprising. Getting reelected counts most. Under a corrupted electoral system, generous funding is needed, but wealthy and corporate donors expect lavish favors in return. They get them and much more.
Updating Mohamed Harkat's Persecution - by Stephen Lendman
An earlier article explained. Like in America, Canada is waging war on Islam, Mohamed Harkat one of many victims used for political advantage to incite fear and mask Ottawa's support for US imperialism and war on terror, a bogus one affecting innocent victims like Harkat.
Based on spurious allegations of ties to Al Qaeda and the Armed Sayyaf Group (GIA), he was arrested on December 10, 2002 and imprisoned for the next four and a half years under Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provision pertaining to the "security certificate" process.
Until Canada's Supreme Court (in October 2007) ruled it unconstitutional in Charkaoui v. Canada, it let authorities detain and/or deport foreign nationals and other non-citizens suspected of human rights violations, alleged threats to national security, or claimed affiliation with organized crime, using secret evidence (like in America) withheld from counsel.
The Dictatorship of America's Aristocracy - by Stephen Lendman
Obama's capitulation to Republicans on Bush era tax cuts and other lavish benefit extensions to wealthy Americans earning over $250,000 annually is the latest example of American Aristocracy's power over Congress, the courts, and president under both parties. Obama serves them loyally, sacrificing working class needs for society's rich while assuring unrestrained corporate profit-making.
Feigning concern for American workers, Obama spoke of "tough choices....to secure our future and our children's future and our grandchildren's future" by class warfare against middle and low income people he disdains.
Two earlier articles explained, accessed through the following links:
FBI Sting Entraps Another Victim - by Stephen Lendman
In December 2007, an article titled Police State America: A Look Back and Ahead discussed the growing threat, accessed through the following link:
It reviewed post-9/11 legislation and a blizzard of Bush Executive Orders, National and Homeland Security Presidential Directives, and other ways of enforcing police state harshness by eroding constitutional protections.
One way is by silencing truth, notably against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, jailed in London on a European arrest warrant for Sweden where he's wanted for unlawful coercion, sexual molestation and rape. In fact, it's for allegedly having sex without a condom, despite no evidence proving wrongdoing. He strongly denies it, calling the charges politically motivated.
Corporate Media's Version of Economic Justice - by Stephen Lendman
Besides misreporting on Obama capitulating to Republicans, major media op-eds and editorials expressed support for a deal only the devil and super-rich love.
On December 7, a New York Times editorial headlined, "Voting for an Odious Tax Deal," saying:
No matter how disgraceful, "Democrats should vote for (it), because it is the only one they are going to get....Without this bargain, income taxes on the middle class would rise. Unemployment insurance for millions of Americans would expire. And many other important tax breaks for low-and middle-income workers (wouldn't) be possible."
False! Democrats control the White House and have large House and Senate majorities. At issue is why aren't they using it for responsible legislation, helping middle and lower income Americans, not super-rich constituents with more already than they need.
More on Obama's Capitulation and Betrayal - by Stephen Lendman
With help from Democrats controlling both Houses, Obama put a criminal cabal in charge of furthering the greatest wealth transfer in history. In the process, he's hollowing out America, eliminating the middle class, centralizing power, eroding social services, destroying jobs and communities, and creating poverty, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, a permanent underclass, and depravation under militarized homeland repression.
More Fraud, Intimidation, and Illegitimacy Assured in Haiti's Electoral Runoff - by Stephen Lendman
On November 28, Haiti's first round legislative and presidential elections were so tainted, they elevated sham elections to a new level - a cruel joke, a process in name only, one fraudulent enough to make a despot blush. Now round two, New York Times writer Deborah Sontag headlining, "Candidates Face Runoff in Haiti's Troubled Vote," saying:
On December 7, Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced "that Mirlande Manigat, a former Haitian first lady, and Jude Celestin, (Preval's man), had won the first round of voting."
Correction: stole the first round. Neither candidate was the people's choice. For them, none of the above ranked first, followed by Jean-Henry Ceant, a Haitian businessman, community leader and philanthropist.
Obama Capitulates to Republicans - by Stephen Lendman
Despite campaign pledges and President Obama opposing extending tax cuts for households earning over $250,000, another promise made was broken. At the same time, while supporting them for working Americans, he said doing so permanently is unaffordable. Unsurprisingly, a December 6 White House press release issued a "Statement by the President on Tax Cuts and Unemployment Benefits," saying:
While "disagree(ing)" with Republicans, he capitulated, arguing that "without a willingness to give on both sides, there's no reason to believe (the current) stalemate won't continue well into next year....I am not willing to let that happen....it would be the wrong thing to do."
Challenging Obama's Anti-Progressivism - by Stephen Lendman
Believing Obama is progressive is like calling a cat a dog. Only the delusional think so. He's, in fact, hard-right, a neocon, a warrior president, a corporatist pursuing anti-populist policies favoring wealth and privilege, not social justice when more than ever it's needed.
He's a fraud, an elitist, chosen years ago, then put on a fast track to power. Big monied interests love him. So do war profiteers and members of America's aristocracy. He's one of them.
Only the voting millions who backed him were defrauded. Will they awaken, finally understand, and express their ire publicly more strongly than in mid-term theatrics, throwing out bums for new ones. It's high time. A year two Obama assessment is coming. Watch for it, parts I and II. A year one analysis can be accessed through the following links:
Haitians Protest Sham Elections - by Stephen Lendman
Washington's imperial boot flaunts Lavalas' slogan: "All people are people (Tout moun se moun)." The sham elections are one of many abuses. As a result, Haitians continue protesting for rights they've been long denied, including leaders serving them, not monied interests.
On December 3, Al Jazeera's Sebastian Walker said street protests continued for the fourth consecutive day after the November 28 sham elections.
"Tensions reached a level not seen in Haiti's capital in many weeks. UN troops were powerless to keep the crowds back. At times the city center looked more like a war zone."
Litter bins were toppled, then used to block roads. "Frustrations over fraudulent elections were taking on a new turn." UN officials told several angry candidates they were ahead in the popular vote, lying to enlist their support for a rigged process.
Flotilla Support for Gaza - by Stephen Lendman
On May 28 (three days before Israel's high seas massacre), Haaretz writers Jack Khoury and Yuval Azoulay headlined, "Hamas: Flotilla shows whole world opposes Gaza siege," saying:
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said "if Israel behave(s) like pirates and attack(s) the international Freedom Flotilla carrying 10,000 tons of (humanitarian) aid for Gaza, then the Palestinians will have won. The flotilla's message is clear and it will reach the entire world."
Indeed so, and more are now coming from over 10 countries, including America. FreeGaza.org updates them. Angered by Israel's May 31 massacre, local initiatives plan their own missions. Their aim: highlight Gaza's siege and shame Israel by bringing aid until it ends.
Established in August 2008, the Free Gaza human rights movement visited Gaza nine times by sea "to break Israel's illegal stranglehold on 1.5 million Palestinian civilians," suffocating under siege.
Honduras: Latin America's Murder Capital - by Stephen Lendman
By some accounts, it's the world's murder capital. The UN Development Program (UNDP) reported 4,473 2008 murders (61.3 per 100,000) in a country with about 7.3 million people, the equivalent of over 190,000 annual US killings, over 10 times the actual rate.
For 2009, anthropologist Adrienne Pine estimated a 9% increase, saying in June 2010:
"As someone who has been closely following the human rights and political stability situation in Honduras for over a dozen years; who has written a book and numerous articles on the topic; who has served as an expert witness in over a dozen asylum cases; and who has been living and conducting research in Honduras during the past month, I can say with absolute confidence that I have never seen worse security conditions in this country."
Nine Obama Pardons Mock Equity and Justice - by Stephen Lendman
After the annual Thanksgiving Day turkey "pardoning" travesty, Obama granted nine executive pardons, a December 3 White House press release announcing them by name, date of sentencing, and offense committed.
They date from Russell James Dixon's June 23, 1960 two years probation for a felony liquor law violation to Scoey Lathaniel Morris' May 21, 1999 three years probation and $1,200 restitution for passing counterfeit obligations or securities.
The others were for:
-- minor illicit drug related charges;
-- illegal possession of government property;
-- conspiracy to defraud the US by making false statements to the FDA;
-- mutilation of coins;
-- adultery; and
-- passing bad checks.
Sanction Congress, Not One Member - by Stephen Lendman
The Constitution's Article I, Section 5, clause 2 authorizes the House of Representatives to discipline or "punish" its members for "disorderly Behavior," as well as for criminal, civil liability, or other misconduct issues. Ostensibly it's to protect the institutional integrity and reputation of the body, an impossible challenge given its longstanding record, notably over the past three decades, deserving far more than censure.
Punishment may be by reprimand, censure, expulsion, and/or fines, monetary restitution, loss of seniority, and suspension or loss of certain privileges. In addition, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct may issue a formal Committee reproach by "Letter of Reproval" for misconduct not warranting full House action. It may also express disapproval by informal letters and/or direct communications with members.
WikiLeaks Reveals Diplomatic Cables on Aafia Siddiqui - by Stephen Lendman
Earlier articles about her can be accessed through the following links:
On September 23 in federal court, she was sentenced to 86 years in prison, though committed no crime. It's a gross miscarriage of justice, compounding what's she's already endured, following her March 30, 2003 abduction, imprisonment, torture, prosecution, and conviction on spurious charges.
NGO Monitor Targets Truth for Israel - by Stephen Lendman
Its web site (ngo-monitor.org) says it "was founded to promote accountability, and advance a vigorous discussion on the reports and activities of NGOs claiming to promote moral agendas, such as humanitarian aid and human rights."
In fact, it's a Jerusalem-based pro-Israeli front group, disseminating propaganda and hate, debasing legitimate human rights organizations, independent journalism, and other advocates for truth, equity and justice.
Its director, Gerald Steinberg, is a Bar Ilan University political science professor, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a steering committee member of the Forum on Antisemitism at the Office of the (Israeli) Prime Minister, and various other organizations promoting a pro-Israeli agenda.
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People - by Stephen Lendman
On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181, the Palestine Partition Plan, granting 56% of historic Palestine to Jews (with one-third of the population), 42% to Palestinians, with Jerusalem designated an international city (a corpus separatum - separate body) under a UN Trusteeship Council. The area included all Jerusalem, Bethlelem, and Beit Sahour, to encompass Christian holy sites.
Resolution 181 called for an Independent Arab state by October 1, 1948, asking:
"all Governments and peoples to refrain from taking any action which might hamper or delay the carrying out of these recommendations," the Security Council to be empowered with "the necessary measures as provided for in the plan for its implementation."
The New York Times Endorses Haiti's Coup d' Etat "Elections" - by Stephen Lendman
Two previous articles explained the sham, outrageous enough to make a despot blush, accessed through the following links:
No matter for The New York Times, a notorious voice for wealth and power. On November 30, its editorial titled "Haiti After the Vote" endorsed the sham, saying:
Despite elections "sullied by low turnout, polling-place confusion and accusations of voter intimidation, ballot stuffing and other fraud....international observers from the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community agree with Haiti's national election council (the Provisional Electoral Council - CEP), which has declared that the election was fundamentally sound."
Incarceration's Effect on Economic Mobility - by Stephen Lendman
The Pew Charitable Trusts "uses public opinion polling and other research tools to produce reports that track important issues and trends." Its new report is titled, "Collateral Costs: Incarceration's Effect on Economic Mobility," focusing on America's burgeoning prison population and enormous cost. Now over $50 billion annually, it "consum(es) 1 in every 15 general fund dollars."
The nation spends recklessly on harshness, leaving little little left for society's needs. No wonder Pew found that people today are worse off than their parents at the same age, and "42 percent of Americans whose parents were in the bottom fifth of the income ladder remain there themselves as adults." As for race, Americans of color, especially Blacks, fare significantly worse than whites.
Massive Fraud in Haiti's Sham Elections - by Stephen Lendman
On November 28, Haiti held first round legislative and presidential elections, a previous article explaining that democracy was off the ballot, accessed through the following link:
The entire process was rigged, 15 parties excluded, including by far the most popular, Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas. Under the most dire conditions, it was a cruel joke, not even equivalent to what Edward Herman called "demonstration elections" in his 1980 book by that title, sham ones assuring installation of US-friendly candidates, elections in name only.
On November 28, it was worse, so bad, in fact, that world headlines explained it. For example, New York Times writers Damien Cave and Randol Archibold headlined, "Haitian Candidates Call to Void Election," saying:
The New York Times Again Censoring WikiLeaks - by Stephen Lendman
On November 28, WikiLeaks began releasing over 250,000 leaked State Department and US Embassy cables (many designated "secret"), dating from 1966 through end of February 2010. Their content ranges from embarrassing to important revelations about US spying on allies and the UN, ignoring corruption and human rights abuses in "client states," corporate lobbying, backroom dealmaking, disparagements of foreign leaders, and overall revealing a much different America than its public persona. Most of all, it offers more proof of a sham democracy, a lawless imperial state rampaging globally though little, if anything, of a smoking gun nature was disclosed.
Imperial America's End Time - by Stephen Lendman
Noted analysts on both left and right see America's empire in decline. In his 2009 book, "Global Depression and Regional Wars," James Petras said:
"All the idols of capitalism over the past three decades have crashed. The assumptions and presumptions, paradigms and prognosis of indefinite progress under liberal free market capitalism have been tested and have failed. We are living the end of an entire epoch (and are bearing witness to) the collapse of the US and world financial system," and with it America's empire.
On August 16, Paul Craig Roberts headlined his article, "The Ecstacy of Empire: How Close Is America's Demise," saying:
America's profligacy "is running out of time...." Yet "2010 has been wasted in hype about a non-existant recovery." Government-manipulated reality masks the internal rot. Wall Street handouts and imperial wars are bankrupting the country.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud: Terrorist or Victim? - by Stephen Lendman
November 27 major media headlines accused him, including New York Times writers Colin Miner, Liz Robbins and Erik Eckholm triple-teaming him in their article titled, "FBI Says Oregon Suspect Planned 'Grand' Attack." Their saying so becomes accepted fact, according to corporate media reports - guilty by accusation.
It happens repeatedly. It's usually strategically timed, in this case to defuse anger over enhanced airport screening. It's also nearly always against Muslims, America's target of choice - of course, to justify imperial wars against Muslim nations. The topic was addressed often in previous articles, including one accessed through the link below:
The New York Times: What Passes for Journalism in the Newspaper of Record - by Stephen Lendman
Overall, America's major media fails the test. It's biased, shameless, and irresponsible with "everything to sell and nothing to tell" as a noted US media critic once said. It delivers a daily diet of "managed news" (propaganda), infotainment, and "junk food news," a worthless mix, treating people like mushrooms - well-watered, in the dark, and uninformed about what matters most. No wonder greater numbers opt out, consuming less broadcast "news" and print media, the kind no one should waste time or money on.
No paper has more clout than The New York Times. Media critic Norman Solomon once called its front page "the most valuable square inches of media real estate in the USA" - in fact, anywhere because its reports circulate globally.
Oscar Lopez Rivera: Imprisoned for Supporting Puerto Rican Independence - by Stephen Lendman
After the 1898 Spanish-American War, the US took over the Philippines, Guam, Samoa, Hawaii, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Canal Zone, assorted other territories, and Puerto Rico. On September 29, its Governor-General, Manuel Macias y Casado (a Spanish general), ceded control to Washington, its current status today as a colony.
In 1966, then University of Puerto Rico economics associate, Dr. Antonio J. Gonzales said:
"The Puerto Rican Independence Party bases its struggle in favor of the independence of Puerto Rico on the conviction that we continue to be a (US) colony, thus being denied (our) right to freedom and sovereignty."