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Are All Joint Chiefs Chairman Corrupt? Not Quite All

 

 


The Iraq War’s Known Unknowns

 

 

Editor Note: In September 2002, as the Bush-43 administration was rolling out its ad campaign for invading Iraq because of alleged WMD, the Joint Chiefs of Staff received a briefing about the paucity of WMD evidence. But the report was shelved and the war went on.

By Ray McGovern

There is a lot more than meets the eye in the newly revealed Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence briefing of Sept. 5, 2002, which showed there was a lack of evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) – just as President George W. Bush’s administration was launching its sales job for the Iraq War.

'Arktos' -- Latest new poem by ThisCantBeHappening! resident poet Gary Lindorff

The Big Dipper is part of Ursa Major,

The Great Bear constellation

That presides over the Arctic.

Ursa shows the way to the North Star

Talk Nation Radio: Bill Fletcher Jr. on Justice for the People of Western Sahara

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-bill-fletcher-jr-on-justice-for-the-people-of-western-sahara

Bill Fletcher Jr. has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO. Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of “Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice“; and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions.” Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web. You can find him at billfletcherjr.com

He wrote the article Obama Morocco and Saharawi Self-Determination.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, How to Avert Real Change in Election 2016

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Focus: Hillary Clinton - Jan 26, 2016


State Dept. accused of tampering in delay of Clinton emails, voters 'to vote without the benefit of important information' - Washington Times


Text of the motion filed to block State Department from delaying release of Clinton emails - documentcloud.org


Can State Department delay Clinton email release until after Iowa and N.H.? Judge to rule - Washington Examiner


RNC: Request to delay emails a 'blatant attempt' to help Hillary Clinton - TheHill


Judicial Watch’s Clinton Records Lawsuits Uncover More Hidden Documents - CNS


Citizens United sues for Chelsea Clinton emails - POLITICO


Email: Clinton aide Huma Abedin rejected idea of government email - TheHill


How the State Department Caved to Hillary Clinton’s Lawyer on Classified Emails - The Daily Beast


Gowdy: 'Eye-Opening' And 'Surprising' Results To Come Soon From Benghazi Investigation [VIDEO] - The Daily Caller


Nine times Clinton Foundation donors got special access at State Department - Washington Examiner


Schweizer op-ed: Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive Marc Rich continues to pay big - New York Post


VIDEO: Schweizer on How Bill Clinton Is Still Profiting From His 2001 Marc Rich Pardon - Breitbart

 

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FBI is investigating whether Hillary’s team 'cut and paste' intel off top-secret server to private email - New York Post


Pro-Clinton Center: NY Post Pushes Dubious Claim That Clinton Aides Improperly Circumvented Email Classification System - Media Matters


Clinton blames Republicans for email troubles - McClatchy DC


VIDEO: Hillary Not Concerned About Email Investigation: I Can’t ‘Control What the Republicans Leak’ - YouTube


VIDEO: Sen. Lankford says Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her tenure at the State Department represents a national security threat - KGOU


Video suggests Clinton shared info that 'would never be on an unclassified system' normally (VIDEO, starts at 1:40 min) - Fox News


DeLay: FBI 'Ready to Indict' Hillary (VIDEO) - newsmax.com


VIDEO: Fmr. AG Mukasey predicts criminal charge for Clinton, says if Obama blocks a indictment expect resignations the same level as Watergate - YouTube


Fmr. US Attorney Mukasey Op-Ed: Clinton’s Emails: A Criminal Charge Is Justified - WSJ


Why the Justice Department Won’t Work with the FBI on Clinton’s E-mail Case - nationalreview.com


Inspector General: Clinton emails had intel from most secretive, classified programs (VIDEO) - Fox News


Clinton allies question impartiality of State IG's office: watchdog tied to earlier Clinton probe - POLITICO


State Department Won’t Say Whether Clinton Sent Information Deemed 'Beyond Top Secret' - Washington Free Beacon


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Prison healthcare in America is a crime: Even with Treatment for Hepatitis C, Abu-Jamal’s Health Not Guaranteed

By Jess Guh

This is the final part of a series on Mumia Abu-Jamal’s fight for appropriate health care for himself and for over 2 million prison inmates across the country. (Click here for Part I, here for Part II, or here for Part IIIa)

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Tomorrow's News Today

 This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

 

How the Supreme Court Could Legalize Direct Bribery: An Innocent Behind Bars, A Guilty Man Free

By David Swanson, Telesur

A recent bribery conviction may lead to the U.S. Supreme Court further corrupting the U.S. political system.

How does one even get convicted of bribery in a system that has legalized it to the extent that ours has? Look at Congress members' and other federal office holders' actions and their sources of funding. There is debate only over whether they are bribed to act or rewarded for having acted, but the correlation between action and funding is undisputed, and the sources of funding unrestricted. A headline like "Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton's State Department" raises a few eyebrows but no indictments.

The correlation is even more strongly documented between funding and gaining access to Congress members, and the general trend so clear that an academic study has identified the U.S. form of government as an oligarchy. Many political observers now think of elections as a corrupting influence, which no doubt fuels a taste for pseudo-solutions like term limits and billionaire politicians who don't have to sell out.

And yet, two U.S. state governors have recently been convicted of taking bribes: Alabama's Don Siegelman and Virginia's Bob McDonnell. Siegelman has been in prison for over four years though he was targeted by politically motivated prosecutors and was never accused of any personal gain. McDonnell was bribed with a Rolex watch, plane tickets, dinners, trips, loans, catering, golf bags, and i-phones, and, according to his successful prosecutors took official actions in his capacity as governor to benefit the person bribing him within minutes of receiving various loot. The U.S. Supreme Court has kept McDonnell and his wife (also convicted) out of prison as it considers his case. A bipartisan collection of 113 current and former state Attorneys General urged the Supreme Court to correct the injustice to Siegelman, and it declined to consider it.

The U.S. Supreme Court was uninterested in a bribery case like Siegelman's that involved no bribery. What's frightening is its interest in a case like McDonnell's. His lawyers will argue that while he and his wife clearly benefitted, he didn't know everything his wife had promised in return for the bribes, nor did he agree to it, nor did he deliver on it. There is clearly the potential that the new standard in U.S. politics going forward will be that you can give luxury toys and personal bribes directly to an office holder, as long as he or she fails to deliver the public policy you asked for, or as long as he or she doesn't try very hard to deliver it.

Such a standard would open the door to direct bribery of politicians in a new way not achieved by Citizens United and related rulings that facilitate bribery through campaigns and PACs and foundations. As long as the two parties are discreet, who will be able to prove that the favor your politician did your corporation was actually in response to the Mercedes you gave him?

If you imagine the Supreme Court's interest is in correcting injustice, as opposed to expanding the legalization of bribery, have another look at the Don Siegelman case. Siegelman was by far the most successful Democratic politician in an overwhelmingly Republican government in Alabama. When he won reelection as governor in 2002, the election result was reversed after Republican officials in a single county waited until the Democratic officials had gone home, then recounted the votes and determined that there had been an error. Despite Democrats' objections of impropriety and pointing out that the voters whose votes were switched away from Siegelman didn't -- as one would have expected -- have their votes similarly "corrected" in other races, the Republican Attorney General of Alabama upheld the result and forbid any manual recount to verify it.

Republican lawyer Jill Simpson describes "a five-year secret campaign to ruin the governor," during which Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's senior political advisor, asked her to "try to catch Siegelman cheating on his wife." Rove associate Bill Canary, she says, told her that his wife Leura and friend Alice Martin, both federal prosecutors, would "take care of" Siegelman. When Siegelman began running to win his office back two years after losing it, the U.S. Justice Department took him to trial alleging a Medicaid scam, but the judge listened to the opening argument and then threw out the case as worthless.

The "Justice" Department kept trying, and finally got Siegelman on bribery. His offense? He was not alleged to have pocketed a dime or to have received any support through any foundation or committee. Rather, he re-appointed a man to a board who had been appointed to the same position by the previous three governors, a man who made contributions to a state lottery to pay for college scholarships for poor kids. Yes, Siegelman's idea to help poor people with a lottery seems to have missed the fact that lotteries are taxes on poor people. But does that make him guilty of bribery or justify prosecutors targeting him?

The star witness in the Siegelman case claimed that Siegelman met with this man and emerged from the meeting with a check in hand talking openly about the quid pro quo. In reality, the check was written days after that meeting, and the star witness was facing 10 years in prison and had cut a deal with the prosecutors to reduce his sentence.

A U.S. House Committee investigated the Siegelman case and asked Karl Rove to testify. He declined. And the committee declined to hold him in contempt or to use inherent contempt. He was simply allowed to refuse. Now Siegelman's son, attorney Joseph Siegelman, has filed suit seeking documents from the U.S. government. I asked him what he hopes to find.

"Every stone that gets overturned ends up showing something negative," he said. As an example he pointed to the Justice Department's description of an email from a prosecutor of Siegelman to the campaign manager of his main Republican opponent, a description of an email that didn't become public until years after Siegelman's trial. "We don't know what else they have to hide," said Joseph Siegelman.

I asked Joseph Siegelman about the Supreme Court's decision to hear McDonnell's case and not his father's, and he exclaimed, "How can our system of justice be so skewed?"

The worst of it may be that a ruling in favor of McDonnell and the inherent right to accept Rolexes from lobbyists could leave Siegelman sitting in prison. He never accepted any Rolex. And he did re-appoint that healthcare professional to that healthcare board.

Should the Supreme Court further legalize bribery, the people of the United States should send Benjamin Franklin a note informing him that we were not able to keep a republic after all. Or they should rise up and compel the Congress, or compel the states to go around the Congress in amending the Constitution, to end all forms of bribery, ban all private election spending, create free and equal media air time on our air waves for all qualified candidates, provide public financing for campaigns, and for godsake free Don Siegelman.

Lunacy trumps logic: Brash Trump Bashed for Bigotry in UK’s Parliament

By Linn Washington, Jr.

  

London -- In a rational world where the rules of arithmetic apply it just doesn’t add up to declare that 40,000 is mathematically more significant than 500,000.

Bernie v. Media

Originally published by American Herald Tribune

Bernie Sanders 14b15

Major corporate media outlets in the United States are reporting on a new viability for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, based on his rise in the polls nationally and in Iowa and New Hampshire -- and possibly, though this goes largely unmentioned, based on his big new advertising purchases from major corporate media outlets. In independent progressive media as well, there's a small flood of maybe-he-can-really-win articles.

Whether this goes any further or not, something remarkable has happened. The Donald Trump campaign (in many ways outlandish and uniquely dangerous) more or less fits the usual mold in terms of media success; the data are very clear that the media gave Trump vastly disproportionate media coverage, following which he rose in the polls -- the same polls later used anachronistically to justify the coverage. This was the story of how the media created Howard Dean's success before tearing him down in 2004, and it has been the story of most candidates, successful and otherwise: the polling closely follows the coverage, not the other way around.

Bernie is something new. The major media has given him ridiculously little coverage, and belittled him in most of that coverage. Yet he has surged in the polls, in volunteers, in small-donor fundraising, and in real world events. While television news has shunted aside actual events, crises, social movements, the state of the natural environment, any number of wars, countless injustices, and most legislative activities in order to focus more than ever on the next election, and has done so ever since it was nearly two years away, the media has also given wildly disparate attention to certain candidates, in a way that bears no correlation to polling or internet searching or donors or any such factor. As of last fall, Bernie Sanders had received a total of 8 minutes of coverage from broadcast evening news, less than Mitt Romney or Joe Biden got for deciding not to enter the race.

And yet, Bernie polls better against Donald Trump (now that a pollster finally asked that question and released the results) than does Hillary Clinton. And Bernie is gradually catching up to Clinton in polls of Democrats. If he wins New Hampshire (very likely) and Iowa (pretty likely), all sorts of bandwagon jumpers could switch their support to him, and uninspired voters become inspired to vote in the next several primary states, snowballing the magical force of "momentum" into an upset victory with great media ratings, even if horrifying political implications from the point of view of major media outlets' corporate owners.

According to Ted Rall, we are seeing the failure of propaganda: "Everyone in a position to block Sanders' campaign did everything they could to sabotage him. ... Marginalization always used to work. Remember John Edwards? His 2008 primary campaign was doomed because TV networks refused to cover him. But the media's cold shoulder isn't hurting Bernie."

As Glenn Greenwald sees it, Sanders is riding the same wave of backlash against the establishment that Jeremy Corbyn has surfed in Britain. Part of that tidal wave may also motivate Trump supporters who, in some cases, admit that they don't like his views but simply love that he says whatever he feels like saying. Sharp policical observer Sam Husseini pointed out to me that the more the media demanded Bill Clinton's impeachment, the more the public opposed it. Sometimes what the media wants backfires. As the media shifts from ignoring Sanders to attacking him, that could benefit him, or it could hurt him. As Dave Lindorff and others have pointed out, "socialist" is actually a popular word now. Pundits in whose world "socialist" is equated with traitor, could actually hurt the cause of derailing the Bern inferno if they keep labeling him a socialist.

Some observers are far less sanguine about the defeat of propaganda. "If Bernie wins the nomination," media critic Jeff Cohen told me, "I suspect we'll see a barrage of mainstream news media bias and smear and distortion against Bernie and his platform on healthcare and Wall Street and taxes and government-funded jobs that will be at a level rarely witnessed in history. Not to mention a new level of attack ads bought by dozens of GOP and corporate SuperPACs. And all this will have impact, partly mitigated thanks to social media and indy media."

Cohen draws on history, which he clearly believes has not ended: "The anti-Bernie barrage will be reminiscent of 1934 when former Socialist Party leader Upton Sinclair left that party and stunned the nation by winning the Dem nomination for governor of California on a totally progressive platform; Sinclair was defeated in the general election by new innovations in smear politics from business interests, especially the Hollywood studios. If Bernie somehow gains the nomination, we'll see whether, aided by new media, the public is any smarter 80 years later in seeing through and fighting back against the distortions."

For the better part of a year I have shared Cohen's expectations for what the media might try to do to Sanders in early 2016. I assumed it would wait this long because a contest makes for better ratings than a coronation. But I did not predict this level of success for Sanders. I think we will see media support for all kinds of lies coming from the Clinton campaign, like those issued recently around healthcare. We'll see smears about sexism, and all variety of molehills turned into mountains. We'll also see Sanders denounced as a cowardly pacifist endangering us all by refusing to bomb enough people.

The tragic and ironic flaw in Sanders' strategy may be this. He'll take criticism as a socialist because he is one. And he'll take criticism as a pacifist although he's become a dedicated militarist at heart, intent on continuing drone kills and "destroying" ISIS, and unwilling to say he'll cut military spending. Not only is cutting military spending incredibly popular, not only would proposing to cut it lead to people like me knocking on doors for Bernie, but if Bernie were willing to cut a small fraction of the military that he routinely says is loaded with fraud and waste, he wouldn't have to fund healthcare or college or anything else with any sort of tax increases.

The U.S. government does not need more money in order to provide world-class social services. It needs to tax multi-billionaires in order to reign in their power. But it can fund our wildest dream by shifting money out of the military. And Bernie knows this. Yet he has opened himself up wide to what will likely be the most common criticism: "He wants to raise taxes!" He can explain that you'll save more by ending private health insurance than you'll pay in higher taxes, but how will he fit that in 4 seconds? How will he repeat it as often as the accusation? How can we be sure people are both mad at the establishment and intelligent enough to see through its deceptions?

Incidentally, peace groups have tried everything short of interrupting a Sanders event on the Black Lives Matter model. The Black Lives Matter activists who did that may have looked ill-informed, but they improved Bernie's campaign and benefited his campaign and thereby the country. Peace activists should consider that.

Most media deceptions are somewhat subtle. Look at this Time magazine video and text. The video at the top of the page is remarkably fair. The text below it, including an error-plagued transcript apparently produced by a robot, is less fair. Time says of Bernie: "[H]e's so far been unable to convince most Democrats he'd make a better candidate against a Republican than Clinton." By no stretch of the English language is the 48% or 52% backing Clinton in polls "most Democrats." The polling story should be that Sanders has climbed from 3% to 37% or 41% without any help.

Here's Time's summary of Sanders' platform: "He talked taxes (he'd raise them), turning points (he thinks he's at one) and tuxedos (he's never owned one)." Notice that two of the three items are sheer fluff and the only serious one is that he'll raise your taxes. Time follows that by linking to an article making the case that Sanders cannot win. Time of course has no "balancing" argument that he can win.

Time then links to an article on "The Philosophical Fight Underlying the Democratic Debate," which presents this very serious, well-researched reporting: "If Sanders and Clinton were in business together, he'd be the dreamy one pitching the next big thing while she'd be the hard-nosed one arguing that they need to stay within their budget. The decision voters will have to make is: do they want big dreams or clear-eyed realism?" Gosh, I want clear eyes and a hard nose, doesn't everyone?

What weighs against this steady stream of bias on the Time website is the transcript of Sanders' own comments, and his willingness to push back against the media. Pushing back against the media is even more popular than taxing billionaires or cutting the military. Here's Sanders replying to a cheap shot from Time: "Someone says oh you're raising taxes by $5,000. No, I am lowering your healthcare costs by $5000. So you can take a cheap shot, say I'm just trying to raise taxes. That's a distortion of reality. We are substantially lowering healthcare costs." Fewer people will hear his reply than hear the accusation, but they'll hear it in the context of media criticism, and that could inspire them. Check out this exchange:

Time: "So as president you're calling rallies—"

Bernie: "It's not just rallies, don't be sarcastic here."

The media mocks popular assembly, free speech, and petitioning the government for a redress of grievances, and Sanders instructs the media not to be sarcastic. That's a plus for Bernie.

Will it get him past the onslaught? If it does, will the super delegates outvote the people? Will the DNC outmaneuver him? Is the voting process itself rigged? If he gets elected will anything get through Congress? Let's Bern those bridges when we come to them.

Focus: Islamic State in Libya - Jan 23, 2016


U.S. and Allies Said to Plan Military Action on ISIS in Libya - The New York Times


New Western security plans for Libya take shape as the Islamic State threat grows - The Washington Post


Here’s How U.S. Special Operations Command Views Libya - Defense One


In Libya, U.S. Courts Unreliable Allies to Counter ISIS - The New York Times


New Libyan deputy PM says doesn't want British ground troops to fight Islamic State, foreign boots could offend national pride - Telegraph


West ignoring grave threat from IS in Libya, Israeli terror experts warn - The Times of Israel


REPORT: ISIS in Libya: a Major Regional and International Threat - Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center


REPORT: Libya’s Chaos: Threat to the West - Gatestone Institute


Islamic State leader Baghdadi sends Iraqi commander to tighten grip on new Libya stronghold - Telegraph


ISIS directs jihadi recruits to 'Libya Province' in bid to establish second homeland - Washington Times


Fires still raging at major Libyan oil terminal after an attack by Islamic State - Reuters


Libya Sees Militant Attacks on Oil Storage Tanks Hurting Exports - Hellenic Shipping News


ISIS behead man for sorcery in Sirte - but he was a complimentary therapist practising acupuncture - Mirror Online


Whipped for drinking alcohol and executed for stealing: The horrific moment three men are shot dead in front of a mob by ISIS in Sirte - Daily Mail Online


Gaddafi warned Blair his ousting would 'open door' to jihadis - The Guardian


Clinton Emails on Libya Expose The Lie of 'Humanitarian Intervention' - huffingtonpost.com

 

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ISIS goes global: Over 60 attacks in 20 countries - FOX6Now.com


Jihadists Deepen Collaboration in North Africa - The New York Times


As ISIS Expands In North Africa, Morocco Faces Rising Threat Of Islamic State Terrorism - IBTimes


Daesh & Boko Haram May Form ‘Axis of Terror’ In North Africa: German Defense Minister - ElectroAkhbar


Boko Haram benefited enormously from the vacuum created following the West’s ousting of Gaddafi - Black Agenda Report


Burkina Faso attack confirms al Qaeda revival in Africa - CNN.com


A list of recent Islamic extremists attacks in Africa - AP


ISIS targets North African nations in massive media blitz, A slew of propaganda videos calls for militants to attack governments - vocativ.com


VIDEO: New ISIS Videos Threaten Maghreb, North Africa - Heavy.com


ISIS video uses Oliver Reed fighting Libyans in Lion of the Desert, The video's audio claims ISIS will not stop until it has conquered Rome (VIDEO) - Daily Mail Online


REPORT: Al Qaeda and ISIS: Existential threats to the US and Europe -  American Enterprise Institute


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Clinton now red-baiting Sanders: Desperation in Hillary Camp as Bernie Gains in Iowa and New Hampshire

By Dave Lindorff

 

Someone should have warned Hillary Clinton and the goon squad at the Democratic National Committee that old-fashioned red-baiting isn't going to cut it in today's United States. It's not the 1950s anymore and the Soviet Union and Comintern are ancient history.

Oregon Militia Standoff - Jan 22, 2016


Oregon governor Kate Brown urges feds to boot refuge occupiers immediately and 'hold all of the wrongdoers accountable' - usatoday.com


VIDEO: Oregon Governor Kate Brown Criticizes Fed Response to Burns Standoff , Says Occupation 'Must Be Resolved Immediately' - YouTube


Read Gov. Brown's letters to Obama and the Justice Department, urging end to Malheur occupation - statesmanjournal.com

 

FBI releases statement on Malheur refuge situation - registerguard.com


Rep. Walden Sends Message to the Oregon Militia - .kbnd.com


The Bureau of Land Management Considers Reinstating Hammond Grazing Leases - OPB


Oregon standoff leader Ammon Bundy speaking to FBI - Fox News


VIDEO (Raw): Ammon Bundy talks on the phone to FBI, starts at 7:00 min (full) - YouTube


Oregon standoff leader Finicum: militants have no plans to leave refuge, 'this facility will not go back to the federal government, ever' - Jefferson Public Radio


The Bundys plan to open up the 300-square-mile Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for cattle this spring - WBAL 


Militants claim they want to return Paiute artifacts from Oregon reserve in new video (VIDEO) - rawstory.com


'God wants us here': More militiamen arrive at Malheur - koin.com


Malheur National Wildlife Refuge staff publishes open letter: 'We hope to be back soon' - OregonLive.com


Oregon standoff exposes urban, rural divide - Capital Press


How tough-on-crime laws became linked to anti-terrorism, The strange legislative history that led to the standoff in Oregon - slate.com

 

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Utah Congressmen Bishop and Chaffetz release draft of public lands bill - Moab Sun News


VIDEO: Bishop discuss hotly-debated public lands bill - The Salt Lake Tribune


Here are the basics of Bishop and Chaffetz's plan for Utah's public lands - The Salt Lake Tribune


Text of Congressmen Bishop and Chaffets public lands initiative - utahpli.com


After unveiling of Utah public lands proposal, many enviromental groups decry its contents - standard.net


Utah tribes say public-lands bill 'adds insult to injury,' petition Obama to designate monument - The Salt Lake Tribune


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Tomgram: Nick Turse, How to Succeed at Failing, Pentagon-Style

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Syria/Turkey News - Jan 21, 2016

 

U.S., Russia fail to bridge Syria gap, Moscow considers two Islamist militias backed by Gulf states and Turkey as terrorist groups - Bloomberg


Syria's opposition says cannot attend talks if third party joins, only its council can choose the opposition delegation - Reuters


U.N. Envoy Signals That Riyadh Is Obstructing Syria Peace Talks - Foreign Policy


Davutoglu: Turkey will not allow Syrian Kurds to join Geneva gathering alongside the opposition, only 'on the regime side' - Kurdpress Aganecy


Syrian Kurdish leader warns it won’t respect Geneva Conference decisions if receives no invitation - Kurdpress Aganecy 


Top U.S. General says Russian strikes in Syria stabilized Assad, American-led coalition made gains against Islamic State - New York Times


Millions in 'Daesh cash' destroyed in US strikes, Pentagon has released videos of huge blasts of what it says are cash-collection facilities - Yahoo News


North East Syria: American forces begin to operate out of Remelan airport, a launching pad for bombarding areas controlled by the Islamic State - syrianobserver.com


US reportedly considering training base in northeast Syria - NOW


Daraa FSA rebels ordered by Jordanian, US and British intelligence officials to stop fighting Syria regime, to focus their efforts against Al-Nusra Front: report - NOW


The CIA’s secret Syria program: There should be a Congressional hearing on CIA-armed groups collaborating with Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front - The Daily Beast


Russian bombs take toll in Syria as Islamic State under pressure - Yahoo News


Russian air force strikes Syrian city besieged by Islamic State, delivers aid - Yahoo News


Russia considering airbase in Syria’s Qamishli: monitor - NOW


The secret contract between Russia and Syria that gives Moscow carte blanche (Text in Russian included) - The Washington Post


ISIS cuts fighters’ salaries by half due to ‘exceptional circumstances’ (VIDEO) - NBC


Islamic State's double standards sow growing disillusion, ‘It’s a gang pretending to be a state’ - AP


British mother Tareena Shakil who fled with toddler to Syria to join ISIS breaks down, says Raqqa was hell (VIDEO) - Daily Mail Online


Zaman Al Wasl obtains names, nationalities and jihadi backgrounds of ISIS fighters, the leaked documents will be published very soon - Zaman Al Wasl

 

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Turkish President Rules Out Return to Peace Process With Kurdish PKK, Says The Organization Will Be Liquidated - VOA


Probe launched into Turkey’s main opposition leader for calling president ‘sham dictator’ - hurriyetdailynews.com


Pro-Kurdish HDK accuses President Erdoğan of staging a coup in Turkey - todayszaman.com


Pro-Kurdish HDP says its politicians caught in line of fire in Cizre, 10 people injured - todayszaman.com


Erdogan warns Turkey academics to pay price over critical petition criticizing his policies in the Kurdish southeast - THE DAILY STAR


Ankara's mayor declares US ambassador persona non grata after his support for freedom of expression for academics - Al-Monitor


Turkish academics’ call on the government to stop its ongoing military operations in the Southeast finds abundant support in foreign universities - todayszaman.com


American Political Science Association calls on Erogan to respect academic freedom, expressing its deepest concern over crackdown on critics of the government policies - todayszaman.com


Turkey infiltrates Syria, eyewitnesses report that the Turkish forces have not encountered any resistance from ISIS fighters - Jerusalem Post


Security sources deny Turkish troops entered Syria, claim soldiers were clearing land mines near border - aa.com


Turkey bombs Kurdish headquarters in northern Syria - ARA News


Clash erupts between FSA-affiliated Syrian Turkmen and Kurdish forces in northern Syria - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Ankara warned US of Kurdish presence west of River Euphrates, Turkey fears a YPG presence along its entire border with Syria - Rudaw


Jailed journalists in Turkey say arrest aimed at gagging press, they uncovered a story about intelligence officials transporting arms to Syria rebel groups - huffingtonpost.com


ARCHIVE: Review of Turkish MPs allegations that their government avoided investigating purchase by Nusra of chemicals for production of sarin used in the 2013 Goutha attack - Who Attacked Ghouta?


Iraqi FM calls Turkey’s military presence in his country ‘unbearable’ - todayszaman.com


3 prominent journalists targeted in Erdoğan insult cases - todayszaman.com


Turkey jails woman for 'obscene hand gesture at Erdogan' - Yahoo News


Trial of judges set to begin 9 months after incarceration, they were jailed for rulings on far-reaching graft probes against the government and the Erdogan family - todayszaman.com


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

If a Social Movement Falls Outside of the Media, Are Any Lives Improved?

When We Fight We Win! is the overly violent and overly optimistic title of a very good new book about recent nonviolent social struggles in the United States for LGBTQ rights, immigrants rights, economic justice, public education, a sustainable environment, and an end to mass incarceration.

My initial response to this book was very different from my considered response.

My initial response to a table of contents like the one in this book is always: Where the hell is war? Don't they know that war eats up all the money that could solve all these problems with ease? Haven't they considered that immigrants are refugees from war? That discrimination and hate feed off war? That the top destroyer of the environment is the military -- which destroys the environment in the process of killing people for oil with which to destroy the environment?! Goddamn it, when did acceptance of mass murder become progressive?!

Then I calm down a bit, wipe the blood off my forehead, pick up the broken dishes, apologize to the owner of the coffee shop, and read the book.

By the end of this book, I was wondering why a completely different topic was missing, or rather, why it wasn't in the headline since its shadow so dominates almost every page. That topic is media reform / media production.

The chapter on LGBTQ rights reminds us of the length and complexity of the struggle, and of how much it has been a struggle of communication. The chapter itself, like the rest of the book, is in fact not so much devoted to analyzing activist strategies as to actually engaging in the strategy of communicating the stories of the relevant people. The book is an act of communication, and such acts are the heart of the activism described.

Accounts of successes are inspiring, even if we harbor doubts that the oligarchy really objects to LGBTQ rights. But the point of the chapter is largely to do what a truly democratic television channel or newspaper or online journal could do: show us what is unfair, make us feel suffering, bring us in on people's struggles for justice, convert us to the cause.

When it comes to the defense of public education, we're dealing with a struggle against vast wealth, and it is mostly a losing struggle, but this book focuses on successes, including in Chicago where Rahm Emanuel got a little too greedy. The lessons learned include the need to organize and build personal relationships, but also the need to communicate through the media and through artwork and by aligning teachers with parents and community in a major struggle for huge goals, not technical details.

With mass incarceration and the environment we see potential in divestment campaigns and, again, the need to build large coalitions. But a big focus is media reform in the piecemeal sense of forcing the worst programing, such as Cops, off the air via public pressure. ColorofChange.org targets prisons by targeting ugly and racist portrayals of black men on television. (Peace groups have done the same with war shows.) Immigrants rights groups have persuaded the Associated Press to stop calling people "illegal."

They've also moved President Obama by standing up to him -- and meeting with him but refusing to shake his hand, refusing to censor outrage -- and by threatening to make news advancing their cause with one of his party's Republican rivals. Longtime organizer Marshall Ganz "advised the activists that their story could be their most potent tool for social change." The media attention given to the Occupy movement is also recorded as a successful tool for social change, and for state-level reforms that have been achieved in housing and lending.

It's not that everything is communications, or the media is all that matters, but the media is hugely important. You can watch Bernie Sanders in 1988 propose that labor unions and progressives pool their money and create media outlets. Apart from some small but significant steps on the internet, that's never really happened. I used to work for the AFL-CIO and lobby it to create media outlets, and it chose to put everything into pitching stories to the corporate media.

Seen any good stories about the struggles of working people in the corporate media lately?

And yet somehow Bernie Sanders, who's had the right positions on media reform for decades, has found his way into what amounts to a massive amount of media attention for someone saying something decent -- a significant percentage even of the media coverage Joe Biden received for not entering the presidential race; Sanders may even reach double figures in time spent belittling him as a percentage of the time spent hyping Donald Trump in the media. That could be worth many millions of dollars.

Bernie Sanders' platform is, of course, the same as the table of contents of When We Fight We Win. He's not communicating much, if anything, about peace as an alternative to war. But he's communicating a similar message to Occupy's about wealth and economic justice. If people actually don't know what Scandinavian countries do, or if people literally can't imagine funding education and retirement rather than billionaires, Bernie could be a single-handed movement for change. At the moment, I think he is.

But to the extent that what people learn is that a movement should be a presidential candidate, and should live or die with that candidate, then they are learning a deeply flawed lesson with great potential for debilitating disappointment and despair.

On all of the topics in When We Fight We Win, Bernie advances the discussion beyond where the usual candidates take it. If the media does to him what I've long assumed it will do, or if -- as I certainly hope -- it doesn't, the question will be the same: how can we seize opportunities to accomplish larger and more lasting steps forward, building on anything that anyone learned from his campaign?

A good place to start is with When We Fight We Win.

Leaked EPA Document Showing Water Contamination Could Be Smoking Gun in Federal Lawsuit

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

A PowerPoint presentation obtained from a source and published by DeSmog in August 2013 has made its way into a major hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") related legal case, which is set to go to trial soon in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. 

New Book Reveals Koch Brothers Paid Firm Run by Former NYPD Chief to Smear Journalist

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The just-published book "Dark Money," penned by New Yorker staff reporter Jane Mayer, reveals that the Koch Brothers hired the former commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD) — and his daughter, a former FBI agent  to smear her as a "plagiarist" in the months after the release of her August 2010 bombshell article on the Kochs.

Talk Nation Radio: Colin Beavan on How to Be Alive

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-colin-beavan-on-how-to-be-alive

Colin Beavan attracted international attention for his year-long lifestyle redesign project and popular book and documentary film, No Impact Man. He has appeared on Nightline, Good Morning America, The Colbert Report, The Montel Williams Show, and NPR, and his story has been featured in news outlets from Time magazine to The New York Times. A sought after speaker by wide-ranging audiences, he also consults with businesses on improving eco-friendly and human-centered practices. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. And his new book is called How to Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps the World.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Tomgram: Bill McKibben, The Real Zombie Apocalypse

 This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Focus: Bernie Sanders on Assad - Jan 19, 2016


Sanders on Assad at the Democratic debate: "And we all know, no argument, the secretary is absolutely right, Assad is a butcher of his own people, man using chemical weapons against his own people. This is beyond disgusting. But I think in terms of our priorities in the region, our first priority must be the destruction of ISIS. Our second priority must be getting rid of Assad through some political settlement, working with Iran, working with Russia.”


Assad is not a ‘butcher of his own people'. Evidence suggests that a Syrian opposition group carried out the Ghouta sarin attack occurred on Aug 21, 2013 that killed hundreds of people. Since the beginning of the civil war the Syrian government and people has been the target of a ferocious, ruthless assault by armed rebel groups, Nusra, Islamic State, etc. The Syrian military bombs and sieges rebel-controlled areas killing civilians but the death toll has been exagerated by sources affiliated with opposition factions.


The language of the Sanders statement, ‘getting rid of Assad through some political settlement’, will be perceived as offensive by the counterparts, not facilitating a diplomatic solution. Assad is supported by Iran and Russia. Iraq share with Syria government the same enemy, i.e. Islamic State, and the same Shite religion. Assad is supported by a significant sector of the population comprised of Alawites, Christians and secular Sunnis. Syrian Kurds, who are battling Islamic State and Nusra, warn that “if the [Assad] regime collapses because of the salafis [fundamentalist Islamic militants] it would be a disaster for everyone.”


The Syrian State institutions are functioning, not near collapse. With Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah help the Syrian military is gaining territory. The Syrian government is open to talk with the opposition about a political settlement leading to U.N. supervised democratic elections. So far the opposition has refused any dialogue by setting the ouster of Assad and his inner circle as pre-condition which is not acceptable by the Syrian government, Russia and Iran.


Note: In general, unlike Clinton, the Sanders diplomacy-driven foreign policy platform is in sync with the world.


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Rethinking Bernie Sanders: Attacking Wall Street and the Corrupt US Political System Makes Sanders a Genuine Revolutionary

By Dave Lindorff

 

            I admit I’ve been slow to warm up to the idea of supporting Bernie Sanders. Maybe it’s because I publicly backed Barack Obama in 2008 and quickly came to rue that decision after he took office.

 

Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, How to Resolve the ISIS Crisis

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

The Struggle for Merdeka in West Papua

It has been argued that nonviolent struggles to liberate occupied countries – such as West Papua, Tibet, Palestine, Kanaky and Western Sahara – have failed far more often than they have succeeded but that secessionist struggles (that have sought to separate territory from an existing state in order to establish a new one) conducted by nonviolent means have always failed. See Why Civil Resistance Works: The strategic logic of nonviolent conflict.

 

"Modernizing" the Opportunities for Nuclear War

A fight now underway over newly-designed U.S. nuclear weapons highlights how far the Obama administration has strayed from its commitment to build a nuclear-free world.

Focus: Clinton, Sanders, Obama, Trump, Cruz on Iran - Jan 18, 2016


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton on Iran: 'They continue to destabilize Middle East governments and use proxies and terrorist groups' - NBC News


Hillary Clinton Statement on Iran - hillaryclinton.com


Clinton calls for new sanctions on Iran - TheHill


Former Iranian Prisoner Accuses Hillary Clinton of ‘Inflaming Tensions’ with Iran - Mediaite


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton Respond to Former Iranian Prisoner Shane Bauer - CNN


Sanders Suggests Clinton Wouldn't Have Gotten Iran Deal, Prison Swap - huffingtonpost.com

 

--------------------------------------------------------

Obama hails diplomacy with Iran over "another war" in Middle East - CBS News


VIDEO: President Obama Delivers Remarks on Iran Deal: It Makes the World Safer - White House


TRANSCRIPT: President Obama addresses the Iran nuclear deal and U.S.-Iran swap - The Washington Post


U.S., E.U. lift Iran nuclear sanctions after Tehran complies with nuclear deal - slate.com


U.S. Imposes new limited sanctions on some Iranian citizens and companies for violating United Nations resolutions against ballistic missile tests - The New York Times

 

----------------------------------------------------------

Trump thinks Iran deal was not fair to the U.S.: 'We give them $150 billion, we give them 21 people and we’re getting back four people' - TheHill


VIDEO : Donald Trump comments on U.S-Iran prisoner swap - YouTube


Cruz blasts 'dangerous' prisoner swap with Iran, "it reflects a pattern we've seen in the Obama administration over and over again of negotiating with terrorists" - TheHill


VIDEO: Cruz Talks Iran - YouTube


What we know about the seven Iranians offered clemency, U.S. official says they are not 'people who have been prosecuted for offenses related to terrorism . . . or violent crime' - Washington Post


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

The Scale of the Slaughter: Passive Reporting vs Scientific Mortality Studies

How many people have been killed in the wars in Afghanistan, IraqSyria, Yemen or Somalia?  On November 18th, a UN press briefing on the war in Yemen declared authoritatively that it had so far killed 5,700 people, including 830 women and children.  But how precise are these figures, what are they b

Yelp censors comments critical of TSA

A few weeks ago fellow TSA crusader Jim Bovard told me that there were all these TSA reviews on Yelp. I was surprised, given that I think of Yelp only in terms of hotel, restaurant, and other business reviews. He gave me a link to reviews of the TSA at Chicago O'Hare (ORD), but I  soon discovered that there are several different pages of Yelp TSA reviews.

So I posted one, under the name “Lisa S.”

Sanders campaign offers a historic opportunity: We Need a Mass Movement Demanding Real Social Security and Medicare for All

By Dave Lindorff

 

            The rising fortunes of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist US senator from Vermont, in the Democratic presidential primaries, provides a unique opportunity for organizing a new radical movement around key political goals including a national health care program for all Americans, not just the elderly and disabled, and a national retirement program that people can actually live on.

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