All 54 Republicans in the US Senate will vote against ratification of the Iran nuclear pact negotiated between Tehran and the P6 nations. They’ll need 13 Democrats to vote with them and the deal is effectively stillborn. Democratic senator Chuck Schumer could deliver the Republicans the votes they need.
Israeli prime minister Netanyahu has shamelessly lobbied Congress to reject the deal, arguing it leaves Israel in peril. No surprise there. But what if Netanyahu gets his way and his US minions sabotage the deal? James Traub from the Center for International Cooperation says failure at this point could wreck relations (Read more…)
During the hour that it took the world’s elite G7 politicians discussing climate change to wander through an enchanting meadow of flowers in Germany’s Bavarian Alps earlier this week, at least 800 people died prematurely from the impact of air pollution, most of it caused by the burning of non-renewable fossil fuels.
Wanting to show the world – particularly voters at home – that they care about the seven-million people a year dying from various pollution and carbon related causes, the leaders of the world’s richest countries, including Canada, signed a joint declaration calling for a global phasing-out of fossil (Read more…)
BREAKING: Obama’s own Senators have just put the brakes on Fast Track and the TPP, potentially derailing the process for the foreseeable future.
Slated for debate in the Senate this afternoon, President Obama’s Trade Promotion Authority Bill, better known as ‘Fast Track Legislation,’ was shut down before it even reached the floor, effectively derailing the plan to pass the Bill as soon as possible and demonstrate momentum to the 11 other countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
. . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: BREAKING: Fast Track and the TPP have been derailed
It seems pretty clear that Barack Obama came into the presidency intending to extricate the United States from its foreign wars. There were two at the time, Iraq and Afghanistan. Today there are five.
Obama pledged in his 2013 inaugural address that “a decade of war is now ending,” but the numbers suggest otherwise. The U.S. takes regular lethal action in at least five countries. U.S. troops are deployed in three conflict zones. And America is directly involved in a pair of Arab civil wars.
Some administration officials fear that things will get worse before (Read more…)
Tossing ideas around yesterday I came to a “What If” moment. What if, I wondered, Israeli prime minister re-elect, Benjamin Netanyahu, has destroyed Israel’s lifeline – the backing of the president of the United States of America.
It’s been the American president, who alone controls his country’s veto at the United Nations Security Council, who has intervened dozens of times over the years to prevent the U.N. from responding to Israel’s excesses, particularly its half-century of mauling of the captive Palestinian people.
What if? Could it possibly happen. Then, this morning, Boris from The Galloping Beaver left a comment (Read more…)
Barack Obama didn’t pull any punches in giving his opinion about Alberta’s bitumen.
Obama said he was still not sure whether he would approve Keystone, the $8-billion TransCanada Corp. project that would send oil from Alberta and the Northern U.S. to refineries in Texas. But he was more critical than ever, telling a South Carolina audience that the pipeline would create few jobs, pose a risk to Nebraska farmland, and “benefit, largely, a foreign company.”
“The reason that a lot of environmentalists are concerned about it is the way that you get the oil out in Canada (Read more…)
What? I Stepped In What?
With just three weeks to go, Israel’s national election has turned into a real nail-biter. The governing Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu is in a dead heat tie with the rival Zionist Union party, each of which stands to collect 24-seats according to the latest polls. Of course it’s not all that simple. With 11-parties expected to meet the 4-seat party threshhold, forming a government coalition really is a matter of herding cats.
Being tied for first isn’t an enviable position for Netanyahu’s Likud, not when the prime minister is about to stage his potentially (Read more…)
It’s said to be Barack Obama’s first veto of any significant legislation since he took office. It comes as no surprise. He said he would do it. It doesn’t decide the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline one way or the other.
Congress forwarded a bill authorizing the construction of the pipeline. Obama vetoed the bill.
The president has said he’ll take his time and wait until all environmental and regulatory reports are in before deciding on the project.
Barack Obama may have had enough of Benjamin Netanyahu’s stunts. It might just be time for Bibi to go. Foreign Policy’s Aaron David Miller writes that Obama is pursuing regime change in the upcoming Israeli elections.
Welcome to regime change, Obama-style. There are few opportunities to change the mullahcracy in Tehran. But Jerusalem may be another story. By accepting Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress — now widely seen as a real bungle — the prime minister has given the Obama administration an opening. And you can bet the White House is taking (Read more…)
Go Ahead, Pick One.
Oh my, my, what comes out of the mouth of that man!
The Western narrative we’ve been force fed by liars like Harper and his collaborators on the other side of the aisle, is that Vlad Putin plotted to use the unrest in Ukraine to seize Crimea. Hillary openly compared Putin to Hitler seizing the Sudetenland for Lebensraum.
While we were busy watching the Super Bowl, Barack Obama was on another channel being interviewed by Fareed Zakaria when he dropped this:
“Mr. Putin made this decision around Crimea and Maidan not because of some grand (Read more…)
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…)