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July 10, 2011 - This story was first published Oct. 17, 2010. It was updated on June 21, 2011.
One weekend a year, nearly a thousand military veterans assemble in a camp in San Diego. What brings them is what they have in common: they're all homeless. The vets gather for something called "Stand Down," started in 1988 by a soldier turned psychologist named Jon Nachison.
Then, it was an emergency response to homelessness among Vietnam vets but, all these years later, Nachison is welcoming the generation from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Frankly that's very easy to answer, the country refuses to demand it's own sacrifice the greater majority cheer on but don't serve in or have direct connection to, especially the political party claiming their strength on "National Security" and it's the total opposite of what's being argued as to this debt ceiling and the growing deficit itself, remember these two present conflicts were kept off the books and fought on borrowed financing until put back on the books and our spending by the present administration. All those costs include the no bid contracts of the growing private armies as well as the numerous other private contractors serving a bottom line and not the country.
By Dave Lindorff
In ways little and huge, it is clear that we live in a nation, a culture and a society that is terminally ill.
The latest outrage -- the likely execution of a Mexican convicted in Texas of the brutal slaying of a 16-year-old girl in blatant violation of a universally adopted international treaty that requires that as a foreigner he be able to notify his home country’s consulate of his case -- is evidence of this sickness, which appears to have both physical and mental aspects.
As a journalist I have traveled widely in the world, often in police states like China or Laos, and I have always trusted in the fact that if I ran afoul of those police, at least I could count on the fact that the authorities would be legally bound to notify my embassy, so that I could get international attention and, hopefully, legal assistance.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Given the stark desperation stalking so many communities around an America oozing from miseries embedded in the stagnant economy, it’s almost an inane exercise to contemplate the state-of-democracy in this nation on July 4th -– Independence Day.
All of the flag waving, fireworks and fun of this national holiday can’t mask the disturbing fact that democracy in America is under unprecedented onslaught from forces intent on engaging in economic exploitation comparable to the colonial crown domination that compelled Americans to rebel against England over two hundred years ago.
Examples of this onslaught abound with one of the most pronounced being federal and state level elected officials – overwhelming Republican – bludgeoning and eliminating benefits that have aided the middle class and the poor, in the name of budget balancing austerity, while simultaneously battling to protect the profits and assets of the wealthy.
A 'Patriotic' U.S. company ripping off the Army and the American Tax Payers, and military procurement officers allowing it to happen, knowing many will go to work for these defense contractors after their service, especially with two long occupations still ongoing, say it ain't so!
And now we're over a decade of oh so many lessons not learned and in not one but two theaters of with a third front being bombed and invaded right next door to one of the two and joined with NATO in bombing another that the previous administration had brought the leader of back into the fold after years of calling him a terrorists supporter and supporting terrorists criminal acts!
As we were coming out of Vietnam, especially in the end of, the Country with almost one voice said they'd "never forget the lessons of!" that lasted oh probably five minutes or, even without cable then, a couple of news cycles as we've seen during this whole past decade. The War Hawk Neo-Cons thought they had the lessons, not the real lessons of wars of choice, needed to occupy and control an invaded country, well a decade plus later DeJa-Vu all over again.
June 10th, 2011 - First, we talk to an author about his new book concerning Muslim public opinion toward the United States. Then, we hear about Afghan tourism and its potential for bridge-building, literally and figuratively. Finally, we discuss the dangers of conflict reporting, and how journalists prepare for the battlefield. But first, a roundup of this week’s news.
Americans are feeling the chill of economic malaise, and the policy response should be to divert part of the defense budget and to tax U.S. corporations' offshore profits to develop an alternative energy infrastructure, columnist Cate Long writes.
Jun 8, 2011 - Our nation is in a serious economic crisis. Both political parties dance around each other with varying demands for cuts in entitlement programs, tax increases and a rise in the debt ceiling. It’s a doomsday prospect and the American people are feeling the chill of economic malaise.
If the U.S. Constitution says one thing, a treaty ratified by the United States says another, a law passed by Congress yet another, and another law passed by Congress another thing still, while a signing statement radically changes that last law but itself differs with an executive order, all of which statements of law conflict with a number of memos drafted by the Office of Legal Council (some secret and some leaked), but a President has announced that the law is something completely different from all of this, and in practice the government defies all of the above including the presidential announcement . . . in such a case, the obvious but possibly pointless question arises: what's legal?
The above theoretical example of legal confusion sounds extreme, but it is not far off the actual situation with regard to some of our most important public policies. Take the example of U.S. warmaking in Libya. Is that legal?
The big banks have sold us out.
Democrats and Republicans have sold us out.
No one is defending our interests.
Our future is going up in flames.
It’s time for us to stand up and defend ourselves.
Trillions of dollars in fraudulent activity by the big banks on Wall Street caused our current economic crisis. Paid off politicians from both parties, along with secret deals made by the Federal Reserve, gave trillions of taxpayer dollars and subsidies to the very people who caused our crisis. After taking our tax dollars, they had the audacity to give themselves all-time recording-breaking bonuses and consolidate wealth in unprecedented fashion within the economic top 0.01% of the population.
Posted on May 30, 2011 by kathleenkirwin
On this Memorial Day, 2011, Joni Mitchell’s Fiddle and the Drum is sadly all too relevant. As a Canadian, Joni composed the song in 1969 to tell the United States how “we have all come to fear the beating of your drum.” I have been singing this song ever since. It is a piece of my soul. I share it today in memory of the untold numbers who Amercia has killed while beating the drums of war.
And so once again
My dear Johnny my dear friend
And so once again you are fightin’ us all
And when I ask you why
You raise your sticks and cry, and I fall
Oh, my friend
How did you come
To trade the fiddle for the drum
You say I have turned
Like the enemies you’ve earned
But I can remember
All the good things you are
And so I ask you please
Can I help you find the peace and the star
Oh, my friend
What time is this
To trade the handshake for the fist
By Linn Washington, Jr.
The U.S. government won convictions against 23,506 drug traffickers nationwide during 2010, sending 96 percent of the offenders to prison, according to U.S. Sentencing Commission statistics.
Yet one of the biggest entities busted by the feds for involvement in drug trafficking last year received just a wrist-slap deal from federal prosecutors with nobody getting prison time.
During 2010, the U.S. government also won convictions against 806 persons involved in smaller-time drug-related money laundering, sending nearly 77 percent of those offenders to prison.
Yet when it came to a case involving billions of dollars in illegal drug profits, the federal government gave the same unusual wrist-slap to the same entity caught giving greed-blinded assistance to Mexican drug cartels by laundering billions of dollars in illegal profits for them.
The "Defense Authorization" bill now before Congress, HR
1750 1540, is arguably the worst bill ever considered likely to pass into law. It includes $118 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, wars a majority of Americans wants ended. But that's not why it's the worst bill ever.
This bill also includes $553 billion for other military waste. That's enough money to save and improve a lot of lives if it weren't being dumped into the war machine. But that's not why this is the worst bill ever.
The bill limits the President’s ability to implement the New START agreement unless there is full funding for the nuclear weapons complex, bars the retirement of nuclear weapons until two new nuclear facilities are completed, and bars further nuclear weapons reductions below New START levels unless approved by Congress. But that's not why this is the worst bill ever.
The bill invests heavily in a National Missile "Defense" system based in California and Alaska.
This bill revives a second engine for the F-35 that the Pentagon has no use for.
This bill bars any transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo.
But none of that is why this is the worst bill ever.
This is the worst bill ever because it gives presidents the power to single-handedly launch wars and to lock people up without trial.
This legislation, Section 1034 of the worst bill ever, undoes the limitations on one-man rule put in place by the U.S. Constitution over two centuries ago. This is the biggest formal shift of power in our government since we've had a government.
We have military operations now in some 75 countries, and a significant war in Libya, all illegal under the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Act. But the worst bill ever will erase the War Powers Act, and the Constitution will simply be ignored.
Meanwhile the significant withdrawal that President Obama promised to begin in Afghanistan has been scaled back to a withdrawal of 2.5 percent of U.S. forces
Call Congress today and tell your Representative and your two Senators:
Enough is enough!
End the wars!
Bring the troops home!
Convert the economy to peace!
And do not pass the worst bill ever!
Call toll-free 1-888-231-9276.
BY NOBEL PRIZE WINNER ADOLFO PEREZ ESQUIVEL, BUENOS AIRES, MAY 5, 2011:
FROM NOBEL TO NOBEL
In addressing you I do it fraternally and, at the same time, to express my concern and indignation after witnessing the destruction and death caused in several nations in the name of “freedom and democracy”, two words that have been twisted and stripped of meaning, and how you end up justifying murder, which was cheered up as if you were talking about a sports event.
My indignation refers to the big celebration of this assassination by North American social sectors, chiefs of state in Europe and other countries…a murder ordered by your administration and the satisfaction in your smiling face while stating that it was “in the name of justice”.
By Catherine Hornby
ROME | Wed May 18, 2011
(Reuters) - Up to 27 million people are modern-day slaves, and migrants fleeing violence in North Africa are among those most at risk of being exploited, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday.
Countries where migrants arrive should try to identify potential victims and protect them, rather than opting for immediate repatriation which often sends them back into the hands of human traffickers, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca said.
Tens of thousands of migrants are fleeing turmoil in North Africa, with many trying to reach Europe by boat, but the problem of slavery exists all over the world and India, Thailand and Malaysia are among the worst-affected countries.
BBC News - 19 May 2011
A US governor has signed a bill requiring a French railway company to disclose its role in the Holocaust if it is to win state contracts.
Martin O'Malley of Maryland signed a bill aimed at Keolis, a Paris company owned by French national railways SNCF.
The company had bid to operate commuter trains in the state of Maryland.
Historians say SNCF moved 76,000 Jews to Nazi camps during the Holocaust. The laws' supporters say it will force disclosure of war records.
"We hope this legislation can become a national model sooner rather than later so that Holocaust survivors who are still with us can know that the atrocities inflicted upon their families and their people will remain in our minds, will never be forgotten and will never be repeated," Mr O'Malley said on Thursday.
ScienceDaily (May 13, 2011) — Films depicting the 1787 mutiny aboard the British ship HMS Bounty show sailors living cheek by jowl, being forced to dance, enduring storm-ridden Cape of Good Hope crossings to satisfy the ship captain's ego and being flogged for trivial reasons.
We may not think that these harsh conditions have much relevance today. But mutinies continue to occur, especially in the armed forces of developing nations. And mutinies have similarities to other types of rebellions, including worker strikes, riots, prison rebellions and political uprisings.
University of Washington sociologists are studying naval records of mutinies as a way to see how modern-day ill-treatment toward subordinates can lead to violence.
With prince having a U.S. flag stamped on his forehead, done in our names, al Qaeda move over, new kid, same as the old, on the block!!
18 May 2011 - You can buy a war for half a billion dollars. But get in quick. That's at current market prices.
Costs may rise following last Saturday's New York Times story revealing that the United Arab Emirates has paid $529m to a company set up by Blackwater boss Eric Prince to recruit and train a mercenary army to undertake 'special missions' against the oil state's enemies, defend oil pipelines, crush internal opposition and so forth.
I hit the pavement today, running a reel of the past few months through the windmills of my mind. I’ve spent so much time, lately, in rooms of joy and sorrow, and hotels, and towns where I catch my reflection in some store window and think: Who is she?
I traveled with one son to visit another. Was sitting outside when the younger said, “Mom, you have beautiful feet. You have the feet of a sixteen-year-old.” Before I could tell him I know this, he continued, “It’s a shame I can’t say the same about your face.”
He and I had been discussing the dollar and what he calls my freak-ass economic doomsday tune. The whole foot thingy probably was an attempt to shift the subject.
13th May 2011 - The Chilcot Inquiry into the disastrous Iraq War has been a largely depressing affair.
It has cost millions of pounds, dragged on for two years and – when the key players appeared before the inquiry panel – the questioning was unfocused and inadequate.
Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell were slippery, unrepentant and able to complete their evidence unscathed –much to the anger and disgust of the families of the 179 soldiers who gave their lives in this most bloody of conflicts.
Numbers Racket: Why the Democratic Party is a Corporate Lickspittle and Cannot Be the People’s Party
By Dave Lindorff
A new Gallup Poll conducted for USA Today earlier this week reports that a majority of Americans (52%) say that they would prefer a third party instead of the two parties, Republican and Democrat, that have dominated American politics for nearly centuries.
The poll shows that one third of Democrats say there’s a need for a new political party, while 52% of Republicans say the same thing. Meanwhile, 68% of independents say they have no use for either Democrats or Republicans and would prefer another option (no surprise there--that’s why they are not registered with either of the two major parties).
By BEN HARTMAN, 07/05/2011
Mordechai Vanunu tells 'Post' no country has offered him asylum but that if he is allowed to leave "I will get on first flight anywhere out of here."
Nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu on Saturday demanded that Israel rescind his citizenship in keeping with a new law that strips Israelis convicted of treason of their citizenship.
In a letter written to Interior Minister Eli Yishai and released to the media on Saturday Vanunu, a Beersheba native, says "I have no interest in Israeli citizenship, I don't want to go on living here." Rest of the article at the Jerusalem Post
May 5TH 2011
MK Mr. Eli Yishai
Minister of Interior
The State of Israel
Re: Revoking my Israeli Citizenship
I am Mordechai Vanunu that was kidnapped from Rome on September 30, 1986 by The Israeli Secret Services.
I was tried by The Jerusalem District Court and convicted of Aggravated Espionage, High Treason and Assisting the Enemy and I was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. This followed an interview I gave to The London Sunday Times regarding the secret production of nuclear weapons materials in Israel.
I fulfilled the democratic principal of the right of the public to know.
I have served 18 years in Ashkelon Prison, mostly in solitary confinement.
I was released on 21 April 2004 with severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli Government.
Seven years past and the restrictions had been renewed again and again relying on The Emergency Laws from 1945.
Since my release I have lived 6 years in East Jerusalem and since September 2010 I live in Tel Aviv.
April seemed to drift in, whimpering and, then, banging shut. Caresses and blows.
Easter slid by. Where was I? North Carolina? Kentucky? Maryland?
Easter’s just candy, anyway, shaped like eggs, and a White House lawn with children on the hunt. Though I do remember something about a rock rolled away from a tomb.
Prince William and Kate were royally rocking and rolling, a circumstance of pomposity.
Now, we’re a week into May, Derby time with a parade of hats and thoroughly bred animals. Oh, and horses, too, racing for the first jewel in the Triple Crown, no thorns allowed.
This is celebration season. And many are celebrating death—the assassination of that mythical decider who claimed responsibility for “inspiring” 9-11 and scared us to bookstores to purchase bibles in freedomville where we can shop and choose a wireless plan with a special friends-and-family rate, radiation exposure, dropped calls, and surveillance included.
The National Security Archive at George Washington University has been releasing numerous Government documents and reports the past couple of days on bin Laden, our Government as related to him and that region especially Pakistan. The criminal cronies, both in and out of the Government at the time they took over from the Clinton administration to 9/11 and beyond have been coming out of the closet, including their talking heads, trying to justify their policies, especially as to torture, illegal by our laws and the international laws we help establish, that they should share in the take down of bin Laden or should receive the glory from. Frankly they're raising more questions by their tactic, questions that have been there the whole past decade some being answered with hard evidence that has leaked out and coming from the Iraq War Inquiries.
Restoring 'America's Honor' means living by ours and those international Laws we helped write, that means Torture is Illegal and Inhumane, any torture not just water boarding, which by the way is Not a fun experience, just ask any of us who've gone through CI/SERE training, that's why they use it in the training.
May 3: Malcolm Nance, former master instructor and chief of training at the Navy`s Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape School (the SERE School), talks with Rachel Maddow about the infrastructure of al-Qaida and the importance of Islamic democracy and the role of human intelligence in finding Osama bin Laden.
This is what should have happened directly after and as to 9/11! Terrorism is a criminal offense, international criminal terrorism is an international crime. We had the backing of most of the World then, meaning working with them and their resources added to ours. There should never have been Iraq and all that went with that as well as the added recruiting tools in Afghanistan. Once the Taliban were driven from there we should have worked to reign in the ghost al Qaeda while helping to rebuild Afghanistan after decades of war destruction, as we promised. But we walked away once again, like we did after the Afghan/Soviet debacle, rest is the present history as we created the next generations of bin Ladens!!