One of these people is Not Happy to Be Here
Barack Obama cuts short his state visit to India, after lecturing his hosts on tolerance and women’s rights, so that he can kiss the slippers of the new Saudi king, Salman.
So, Barack, how do you explain that one? “Sometimes we need to balance our need to speak to them about human rights issues with immediate concerns we have in terms of counter-terrorism or dealing with regional stability.”Okay, I get it. The state that has had its sticky fingers in every major terrorist outfit from al Qaeda (Read more…)
From Barrett Brown, a wrongfully jailed journalist… in the USA. He’s imagining speaking to the founding fathers about the country’s progress:
Benjamin Franklin: “It was among my fondest dreams that my beloved Philadelphia would someday grow into one of the world’s great centers of high culture, and become a by-word for the gentlemanly arts. Tell me, has this come to pass?”
Me: “Uh …”
America… the failed experiment in liberty?
Now that Washington and Havana appear to be on the road to kissing and making up, it’s worth considering whether the timing is really that spontaneous?
Cuba was always the Soviet’s toe hold in the Americas. It was over Soviet designs in Cuba that the world was brought to the brink of nuclear Armageddon.
The Soviets propped up Fidel Castro by buying Cuba’s sugar crop at premium prices. With the collapse of the USSR, Cuba’s economy took a big hit as Moscow withdrew. Since then Cuba has been mainly important to American foreign policy for the Cuban exile vote in (Read more…)
US Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, put it bluntly. ”No other mission we have is more important.“
The mission Hagel was referring to was a trillion-dollar, 30-year programme to upgrade America’s nuclear weapon arsenal. A trillion dollars. Even today that’s serious money.
According to the Associated Press, Hagel told the Pentagon on Friday that the decision to upgrade the US nuclear weapons arsenal came after a series of reviews. He said that the internal and external reviews revealed “a consistent lack of investment and support for our nuclear forces over far too many years has left us with too (Read more…)
The CO2 emissions deal reached this week by the presidents of the US and China is a positive step, no doubt about that. It’s also far too little, much too late, although it’s reflective of how inflexible our global society has become even in matters of our very survival.
Even the numbers are squishy. Obama has pledged that America will reduce CO2 emissions by 25 to 28% from 2005 levels by 2020. The Chinese pledge is even more obscure. It commits China to cap its emissions by 2030 and then begin reductions.
What’s wrong with this? Well, for starters, these (Read more…)
Hamid Karzai talked tough about getting Western forces out of Afghanistan immediately if not sooner. Afghanistan, however, is under new management that means America’s longest war ever will be extended for another decade.
Barack Obama, elected president in 2008 on a wave of anti-war sentiment, will pass off both the Afghanistan war and his new war in Iraq and Syria to his successor. In 2010, his vice president, Joe Biden, publicly vowed the US would be “totally out” of Afghanistan “come hell or high water, by 2014.” In fairness to Joe, he said “hell or high water.” (Read more…)
Watched “Gasland Part II” [9/10] on HBO on demand, and it is something you have to see. The case it makes against fracking is a very strong one, and it shows the depths of corruption in the US system that has allowed the poisoning of water tables across America.
And on a different note, here are “15” tips to be a better blogger.
In recent weeks Western media has been sounding the alarm over the speedy territorial gains made by the Islamic State – also known as ISIL and ISIS – with warnings of the threat it poses to the West. In some of the more alarmist commentary you would think ISIL had arisen like a desert djinn and magically metastasized into an evil contagion threatening the so-called “civilized” world. The creation and progress of ISIL is far from a recent development. It arose on the back of the chaos in Iraq in the years following the US invasion – fertile soil for (Read more…)
Since Obama started this ‘get ISIS’ coalition-building business, the Sunni Arab world has been conspicuous by its absence.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s chief foreign correspondent, Paul McGeough, weighs in on Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s decision to jump in with both boots.
The smart thing for Western leaders in the wake of John Kerry’s session with Arab leaders in Jeddah on Thursday last, would have been to bide their time. And it would have been smart too to bide their time a bit more after Sunday’s grim reports of another Westerner beheaded by these crazed thugs who strut as Islamic freedom fighters in (Read more…)
Barack Obama has a mess on his hands in Iraq and has no idea what to do to clean it up. And so he falls back on neo-America’s default option – bomb it.
Retired US Army commander turned academic, Andrew Bacevich, offers some insights that reveal how hapless – and hopeless – American policy toward the Middle East has become. American policy is in a rut reminiscent of the movie, “Groundhog Day.”
Even if Obama cobbles together a plan to destroy the Islamic State, the problems bedeviling the Persian Gulf and the greater Middle East more broadly (Read more…)
Since the crisis in Ukraine made the headlines Russia has been cast as the villain with predictable stereotypes and misconceptions about things Russian showing up on MSM. From a Russian perspective a lot of it must seem clueless, tiresome or outright offensive but such “insights” add to a tabloid narrative that gets very little critical scrutiny. The tendency to caricature Russia isn’t just a tabloid pastime, it shows up in the commentary of politicians in sometimes surprising ways.
Obama and his speech writers could use some remedial assistance when it comes to Russian history.
During a brief stop-over in Estonia (Read more…)
Vlad Putin is going for his nukes and we need to grasp our role in getting him there. Russia is re-arming with a new class of nuclear submarines, a new and possibly illegal inter-continental ballistic missile and a new strategic bomber.
Our sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine are working. They’re hammering the Russian economy which, in turn, destabilizes the state. In case you don’t get it, a destabilized nation just brimming with nuclear weapons is never a good idea.
NATO has been ratcheting up the pressure on Russia by announcing plans to establish two new bases (Read more…)
Vlad Putin, it seems, has a response to the hectoring recently from the likes of Sideshow Steve Harper and John Baird and others – “meet me in the Arctic.”
The Guardian reports that Putin has had enough of Western criticism of Russian involvement in the Ukraine whose government he likens to Nazis.
Hours after Barack Obama accused Russia of sending troops into Ukraine and fuelling and upsurge in the separatist war, Putin retorted that the Ukrainian army was the villain of peace, targeting residential areas of towns and cities like German troops did in the former Soviet Union.… (Read more…)
The out-of-control police response to protests against the killing of Michael Brown in a St. Louis, MO suburb, continues.
Our reporter @rdevro was shot with rubber bullets/beanbags by police last night, spent night in jail. Is due to be released w/o charge soon.— The Intercept (@the_intercept) August 19, 2014
Yesterday more journalists were arrested without charge, leaving little evidence for the wronged reporters to seek damages in a civil lawsuit.
.@DrDawg I see his point, but his exceptions are really rendered moot by the racist justice system. No opportunity for oppressed to sue.— Saskboy K. (@saskboy) (Read more…)
Following the downing of Malaysian Airlines MH-17, anti-Russian rhetoric was hard to miss on MSM. The rhetoric has toned down of late. The Obama administration has also been noticeably quieter on the subject of MH-17. For former rep Ron Paul the ratcheting down of the volume in itself raises questions, in particular about what the Obama administration has come to know about the downing of the airliner.
Ron Paul has access to intelligence information and Washington sources that don’t necessarily buy into administration spin. Paul believes the Obama administration is ‘likely hiding the truth’ on the downing of MH-17.
Scotland, Gaza, and the Shameful Silence of So Many Canadians Montreal Simon Blog Friday August 1st http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca
I share Simon’s horror at the silence….and I wonder if this is what it felt like for Jews during the critical times of WW2 when they were desperately seeking refuge in other countries, and Canada, to its eternal shame, turned its back on them, as did many other countries..or ignored heir plight altogether.
This current insanity is brought to us by those who, only recently,went through he same horror themselves. How quickly history is forgotten, even (Read more…)
Scarcely a week passes without news of a shooting stateside… seemingly random homicidal acts targeting the unsuspecting in malls, streets and schools.
American children go to school with the awareness that it isn’t just the hallway bullies they need to worry about or cyber-targeting or in some cases the lack of a decent breakfast… there is also the specter of a shooter toting a semi-automatic. The psychological impact of school shootings will have untold effects on children raised in the shadow of the new bogeyman, who like Slender Man and Batman is as American as McDonalds and Disney World.
New (Read more…)
Coal is one of the worst sources for energy given that its contribution to destruction of our planet is unmatched. There have been attempts to make coal branded as “clean coal” but even then, the radiation emitted from coal power plants is too high and the pollutants released into the air is still too much.
President Obama has decided to transition America’s power supply system away from coal and to better, cleaner alternatives. This is a good step in stemming the amount of pollution the country dumps into the air. Let’s hope that there is more money into sustainable power (Read more…)
Well as you know Stephen Harper has been duelling with the voices in his head. Seeing enemies everywhere, and losing track of what century he's living in.Two days ago he was channelling Margaret Thatcher, fighting the Cold War all over again.Challenging Vladimir Putin to knock down the Berlin Wall, and surrender the ethnic vote. Or ELSE !#@!!!!. And today he tried to go after Obama only to get clobbered. Or impaled on his own petard. Read more »
An interesting ethical debate is taking place. FirstLook Media, the controversial and adversarial media outlet owned by PayPal’s inventor, has withheld the name of the 5th country the NSA collects recordings of all phone calls from. SOMALGET and MYSTIC are Top Secret programs revealed by the Snowden leaks from the NSA. Following on the earth shaking revelations of last year starting with the “metadata” gathering in the US called PRISM, MYSTIC is again changing Americans’ views of what their spy agencies are actually working toward.
Wikileaks might cause a shitstorm this week if/when they reveal what country's communications the US (Read more…)
“If you were a betting man (or woman) what odds would you place on President Obama approving the Keystone XL pipeline before the end of his term and why?”
Ms Soapbox posed the question to a panel* discussing the future of Alberta’s energy industry. The panelists, bless their hearts, didn’t leave the stage en masse…partly because Ms Soapbox was the moderator and had control of the agenda.
Instead this group of economists, politicians, academics and businessmen pegged the odds between 25% to 80%; with a higher chance of approval based on Mr Obama holding off on a decision until (Read more…)
Putin’s Push: Reality versus Rhetoric
Congratulations to Thomas Graham, a senior fellow at the Jackson Institute, who was the senior director for Russia on the US National Security Council staff 2004-2007. He has shrewdly analyzed the Russian push under Putin, in its historical context, and outlined the steps that the West has to take to deal with Putin. Visa denials and economic sanctions, while nice sound bytes, are pretty meaningless. His views:
The way to stymie Russian expansion is not by denying visas and freezing assets of Russian officials and their business associates, the West’s current approach. Nor will (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Some Commensense on Dealing with Russia