Archive for middle east

Surprise: Newest American Saboteurs are Democratic Senators

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aipac

When you hear names like Charlie Schumer, Mark Warner, Cory Booker, Kay Hagen, Mary Landrieu, Bob Casey and Richard Blumenthal, you usually hear that some Democratically sponsored bill has their support. And usually you're right, give or take one of the above.

Yet recently, led by Senator Bob Menendez, these US elected officials to the upper house have been sold a bill of goods. And it's not a jobs or education bill. Nor is it some health plan or civil rights issue. It's war.

Real war. A potential nuclear war.

Why these guys? This isn't the Republican Party war stalwarts, Lindsay Graham and John McCain. These are normal people -- at least as normal as it gets in the senate.

The truth is these new Hawk senators are on the dole. Not necessarily news there -- all elected officials are influenced by lobbyists. But this time, and I'm going to take heat for this, it's the Jewish Mafia. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It's the most influential Jewish lobby group in the US. And historically they have backed candidates who fight for justice and equality in social issues, and political ones when it comes to Israel.

Now Israel has a special place in my heart. Not just because it's the Jewish homeland and I was born a Jew, but my wife is a Sabra, a native born Israeli. And once you have that in your blood, you're generally a dyed-in -the-wool supporter of anything the Israeli Knesset (parliament) proposes.

This brings us to war and peace. For nearly 30 years we've been in a cold war with Iran. We've had no formal diplomatic talks with them and we've been the world leader in getting other nations to impose austere economic sanctions against them. That was until about four months ago. There was a breakthrough. John Kerry reported back to the US that talks on stopping or at least tightening nuclear safeguards with Iran were possible. But like all negotiations, there's a bit of 'give a little' to 'get a little.' The price for us was to hold off on further economic sanctions while negotiations would take place (a six months moratorium). The price to the Iranians is to allow open international monitoring of the Iranian nuclear program -- full inspections.

This was a great tit for tat -- especially as pressure was building for war between our two countries.  That would ultimately would result in a nuclear conflagration. There's no way around that. Yet here's a potentially peaceful solution at hand. The only ones unhappy in that region are Saudi Arabia (remember where the 911 trainees spent much of their pre-attack time) and Israel -- the other nuclear armed country in the region who doesn't want any competition in weapons superiority. And I can understand that.

Obviously those in the pocket of the neo-cons -- the entire GOP party hierarchy -- were against this. But the Democrats? How could they be against peace -- especially one their President is working so hard to accomplish? And if you're looking at public opinion, over 60% favor a peaceful solution with Iran over war. So how could 16 Democrats come out and favor new sanctions which would lead to Iran pulling away from the negotiating table?

Obama was told in no uncertain words that new sanctions  against Iran would be a line in the sand by the their President. Secretary of State Kerry was told the talks would be DEAD if Congress passed new sanctions by the Iranian Foreign Minister. So until we find a reason not to, why not give peace a chance?

The Republicans want war and they've been able, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. to stir the pot and brainwash the Jewish senate members (or those gentile members who aren't totally anti-semitic) by selling a bill of goods that peace negotiations can't be trusted. Netanyahu along via the dangerous and borderline deranged John McCain (who's totally bonkers) contacted his influential PAC, the AIPAC, and forced them to exert pressure on the weak and vulnerable among the Democratic senators. Face it, backbone is not a prerequisite for being a Democrat.

But don't take my word for it. Here's Chris Hayes:

Finally, some sense of sanity. Obama spoke to the Democratic Senate Caucus last night and evidently they've seen the light of their wayward ways.

UPDATE: Since this airing, according to WAPO:

But editorial boards and commentators have harshly condemned the push for a vote. Many Senate Democrats have continued to remain silent, which could well be a sign of an unwillingness to sign on to the bill. A couple Dem senators have come out against it in the last couple of days, joining 10 Dem committee chairs who have already done the same. At last whip count, this bill will not get past Harry Reid and is now considered dead.

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Video- Former Israeli PM, Army Commander Ariel Sharon Has Died

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One of the first "political" names I remember hearing as a child.

(CNN) -- Ariel Sharon, whose half century as a military and political leader in Israel was marked with victories and controversies, died Saturday after eight years in a coma, Israeli Army Radio reported. Sharon was 85.

Sharon died at Sheba Medical Center in the Tel Aviv suburb of Tel Hashomer.

The Israeli statesman was a national war hero to many Israelis for his leadership, both in uniform or as a civilian, during every Israeli war.

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Mainstream Press Drinks Polluted Water -- Gets Dysentery

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Duty

Two nights ago, Lawrence O'Donnell, as he often does, takes a breaking national story and rather than become a mouth-piece lemming and following along, or a parrot repeating back talking points, he examines the full story with an eye from overhead, giving him a wider view. Instead of flowing downhill with the jabberhead mainstream press through heavily germ-filled waters of bunk, spin and political pollution, he looks a bit deeper and sees some runoffs that might actually lead to fresh water.

Such is the case with Robert Gates new book, his memoir of the few years he served in the Obama Administration. Many thought it was a strange choice to keep Gates as he served in the corrupt GW Bush administration, but President Obama saw something in him. Perhaps it was his boldness. Maybe his honesty. Or possibly something else, he was a near perfect barometer. Perhaps Obama knew that if Gates was in favor of something, the wise choice was to do just the opposite.

DUTY: MEMOIRS OF A SECRETARY AT WAR, according to O'Donnell, actually makes a good argument for that. Gates was a litmus test. That's always good to have around when there's a toxic situation.

At yesterday's press conference the adjective "explosive" was tossed about like a hot potato. It was used so much, it was obvious that it was a prepared, planned buzzword. It's like "IRS Conspiracy," "Benghazi," and "Trainwreck" when referring to the ACA rollout. Explosive was the word of the day that Jay Carney needed to defend. If only he had Lawrence O'Donnell with him it would have been a cake walk.

During the Rewrite segment on THE LAST WORD yesterday O'Donnell took great delight in pointing out these explosive revelations are perhaps not as damaging as the headless chickens of the beltway press would have you think. Rather than look at what the ex-CIA chief and defense secretary really said, these brainless reporters took to their imaginations and interpreted what was really written. They took words like "vaguely" and changed them to "definitively" and phrases like "conceded political opposition to the Iraq surge" meant Obama's opposition, not his parties or the nation's opposition. When you twist words, you can get them to say almost anything.

Watch this systematic destruction of the "explosive accusations" in the book, and enjoy how it's actually becomes a most complimentary Obama piece. For instance, Gates writes Obama's decision to launch an attack on Osama Bin Laden (against Gate's advice) was, "One of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House."

Yes sir. This book is not a hammering away at Obama. It's a tribute to a fine military and diplomatic leader.

Take a look. This clip is bit longer than I usually add, but I think every minute of it's worth it to understand just how much the White House really loves what William Gates had to say, as it makes Obama one of the strongest and definitive leaders ever to rule the roost. This is one time that Obama is no Jack Kennedy, and we're all better because of it. (Watch the clip and you'll understand that reference.)

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The Three Stooges, McCain, Graham and Barrasso Commit Treason In Israel

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three stooges

Secretary of State John Kerry has just wrapped extensive three day talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding a foundation for peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis. These were authorized, official talks, ordained by the individual countries themselves.

Reuters:

(Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday the Israelis and Palestinians were making some progress in peace talks, though there was still a chance no accord would be reached.

This all  comes despite anti peace talks carried on unofficially by three warmongers, Senators McCain, Graham and Barrasso from the United States who UNOFFICIALLY crashed the peace talks and tried to submarine and sabotage the progress made by the US Secretary of State. The three GOP stooges willfully and intentionally undermined the official work of the US Secretary of State. Under a broad interpretation of their mission, that borders on treason.

Mondoweiss:

How often does a U.S. Senate delegation visit a foreign country, during a visit of a high ranking State Department official in order to make their opposition to the official U.S. position known?  Has it ever happened before?  And does the fact that we are talking about Israel make it OK?

The answer is this has never been done before and that it's not okay. We have a President. He sets foreign policy. Not the three stooges.

These three US Senators had no official business in Israel. Their unofficial purpose was strictly political, to interfere with any progress Sec. Kerry could make. Their interests are in keeping war-like conditions going in the Middle East to justify their lobbyists' interests in that region.

The Middle East is a complex situation. And working toward a solution in bits and pieces is the only way to go. There will be no grand peace without making smaller concessions on each side. So the US has gone to its strongest ally in the region, Israel, to begin the progress. While McCain, Graham and Barrasso stir the pot of hostilities and fear, claiming the biggest issue is Syria, the three stooges forget that we're already in talks with Syria -- talk that have resulted in continuing destruction of chemical warfare agents.

Kerry's doing Obama's bidding. And Obama sets our foreign policy. These three out of touch senators are helping destroy any potential progress. Interfering in the President's official policy making, damaging our standing and giving aid and comfort to the enemy is treason. These stooges better watch their step. Our national security is fragile enough without unauthorized interference. And seeing the three stooges behind bars pounding rocks was one of my favorite episodes. Maybe it's time to do a reboot.

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Call Me, Irresponsible, Call Me John McCain

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shut up

Once again, it's Sunday's favorite talking heads GOP puppet John McCain who's running off at the mouth without really thinking of what he's saying. Along with his apology for overstating the significance of the Obama-Raul Castro handshake, McCain took to the winds with another tack.

This time it's the Obama White House not doing enough to find an American who disappeared while on a secret intelligence mission to Iran back in March of 2007. If you start first with the date, you'll find it's nearly two years before Obama was first inaugurated. If we're going to place initial blame on anyone, it should be the Bush Administration which had been in total charge of the CIA for over 7 years at that time.

Initially the report of American Robert Levinson going missing in Iran was that he was a U.S. citizen, a tourist. No mention was made publicly that he actually was a CIA spy. And realistically, getting caught is a routine risk these brave men and women serving in that capacity run. Though I'm not a CIA operative or know for sure, I've certainly heard through numbers of articles and documentaries that agents are told that their affiliation with "the organization" or "the Company" would be denied. So why the CIA didn't come forward to report US spy Robert Levinson went missing and is believed to be in Iranian hands makes a lot of sense.

Yet not to Senator McClain. According to Talking Points Memo:

McCain said he is confident the U.S. is doing all it can to learn what has happened to Robert Levinson, but he told CNN's "State of the Union" the CIA has not been forthcoming with the Congress about him.

With all the leaks the Congress is responsible for -- just look to Darrell Issa as a perfect example -- it's understandable sharing this kind of news with every congressperson is irresponsible. Maybe it was shared, but not with McCain or his committees. It might have been shared with others. Yet even if it wasn't disseminated, who do you point the finger at? I'd think the sitting president who in this case was George W. Bush.

The U.S. long has publicly described Levinson as a private citizen who traveled to an Iranian island on private business. McCain, R-Ariz., told CNN "the CIA did not tell the truth to the Congress" about Levinson.

As of this writing, the Iranian government actually has denied they are holding U.S. Spy, Levinson. and let's hope their right. It was only last week that the issue of Levinson being a CIA operative came to light:

An Associated Press investigation published last week found that Levinson was working for the CIA -- investigating the Iranian government. The U.S. long has publicly described Levinson as a private citizen who traveled to an Iranian island on private business.

How the AP got this info is something the CIA and perhaps congress might want to look into. But to have McCain going out on national television, taking away some deniability by the CIA on this man's true identity and his mission puts Levinson's life in a more precarious position. Frankly, it's irresponsible.

There still is no definitive proof of CIA sanctioned activity by Levinson.

After he vanished, the CIA at first told lawmakers he had previously done contract work for the agency, but he had no current relationship with the agency and there was no connection to Iran. However, in October 2007, Levinson's lawyer discovered emails in which Levinson told a CIA friend that he was working to develop a source with access to the Iranian government. The emails were turned over to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which touched off an internal CIA investigation.

Three veteran analysts were forced out of the CIA and seven others were disciplined as a result of a breach of agency rules.

Well if Levinson went rogue, it was bad enough. Sharing that news with others was his risk. But when this info came to light, the CIA did what it was supposed to do. It notified Congress. More so, it took action by firing and disciplining those guilty of leaking this info or taking part in this activity. Now McCain joins the public fray. Perhaps an investigation sanction against the senator from Arizona is called for.

Darrell Issa, are you listening?

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This Holiday Season Megyn Kelly Wears Ignorance On Her Sleeve And It Suits Her Well -- No Joke

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Black Santa

Oh, so it was just a joke, claims Megan Kelly. Normally, when you tell a joke, when it's over you know the person telling it was not serious. Sadly, comedienne Kelly who's never been known for her comedy stylings, pulled one over on all of us -- or so she'd have us believe. It took her two days to come up with that one?

It's such a relief to know that Fox News' Megyn Kelly is not backing down -- she's staring facts right in the eye and refuses to blink. God, isnt' that the true test of a really strong comic. Make it seem so real. It's reassuring to find someone who sticks to their guns (how appropriate on the 1st anniversary of Sandy Hook's massacre), even when facts seem to be opposing her views. But why let those pesky little morsels of truth or even anthropology get in the way of a good joke.

After Kelly's controversial (though she claims are tongue-in-cheek) statements on Wednesday night, which included two subjects, both relating to race, she was bounced from the air until the firestorm of criticism died down. It only took a day, but it gave her the time to reflect on her outrageous statements and compose a response. The first of her gaffs was a two-fold issue. She claimed as gospel, that Santa Claus was not only a real person, but that he was white. Her second tenet of contention was that Jesus too was unquestionably white.

Well, the second one is easiest to debate. She's probably wrong. Christians are taught that Jesus was the son of God. If we humans were made in His image, Jesus too would be all races and nationalities. But even more anthropomorphically speaking, the population of Bethlehem (the accepted Jesus birthplace - that little manger down near 5th and Main) was not composed of white  people, at least as American consider white people today.

Judas Iscariot had to indicate to the soldiers whom Jesus was because they could not tell him apart from his disciples. That would mean he looked like the "natives" of that area. They were much more Arabic in their features -- perhaps even African ethnic would be more appropriate.

Now unless Jesus's mother Mary was knocked up by a Roman and not the immaculate conception that we've all been told was the "cause" of this event, then Jesus most likely didn't look like Meagan Kelly's brother or cousin -- that kind of white.

So, let's say that Jesus's skin color is very much open for discussion, that has not silenced by Megyn's ignorant spouting. Here is what Jesus most likely looked like, according to ScienceMechanics:

face-of-jesus-01-0312-mdn

Next we get to Santa Claus. Well, our fearless hostess with the leastess stands by her earlier statement that Santa is real.

Flesh and blood, a real dude. From everything I have ever read he's a created character. Not the surest of sources, but certainly in sync with everything else I can find, here's the story behind the "creation" of Santa Claus according to Wikipedia:

The modern figure of Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, which, in turn, has part of its basis in hagiographical tales concerning the historical figure of Christian bishop and gift giver Saint Nicholas. During the Christianization of Germanic Europe, this figure may have absorbed elements of the god Odin, who was associated with the Germanic pagan midwinter event of Yule and led the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky. Over time, traits of this character and the British folklore character Father Christmas merged to form the modern Santa Claus known today.

The truth, which Megyn constantly is a stranger to, is that Santa is a composite of characters, real and fictional. But some people can't separate fact from fiction. Ms. Kelly is one of them.

Now with a last name like Kelly, I'm going to to out on the limb and guess she celebrates Christmas. She has three children. At one point or another, didn't she confess to her kids that there really isn't a Santa Claus? Or worse yet, that he's dead.

Santa as a character has been the source for many movies, plays and books. But evidently, Kelly has never heard of fiction. I can't wait until she see's Saving Mr. Banks and proclaims Mary Poppins was real and could actually fly. She even sights a movie "Miracle on 34th Street" as her source to clear up any Santa conjecture.

Does Santa really come every Christmas and deliver gifts to Megyn's kids? She's so lucky she doesn't have to go shopping like the rest of us parent for our kids gifts. Please Megyn, drop Santa my name so  next year I don't have to fight Black Friday shopping and can just sit back and wait for presents to appear under the tree. Oh, the money I'll be saving.

Now it's to watch Ms. Kelly in action and judge for yourself. Was she joking or was she just demonstrating how ignorant she can be. I'm gonna guess you'll pick the latter.

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Starve The Old, Feed War Fever

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nuclear explosion 2

War costs money. And spending tax revenue on Defense is what the Republican party is all about. Certainly education, jobs, healthcare, immigration, women's right to chose, our infrastructure, science, technology, global warming, clean air, renewable energy can all go to hell in the GOP-run world. It's DEFENSE SPENDING that's the only thing that matters. They'll sacrifice all other things to keep war going and to stop peace at any cost -- even if it means killing seniors if that's what's necessary. Nothing has priority over the DOD. Go Pentagon!

If you don't believe me, The Huffpo reports this:

A pair of House Republicans have a new bill that would spare the military from sequestration by cutting the Social Security benefits of many Americans who already experience painful federal budget cuts.

Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) are introducing the Provide for the Common Defense Act on Tuesday. The legislation would cancel out the next two years of sequestration cuts for the Pentagon by putting a heavier burden on senior citizens and federal workers.

Through Secretary of State Kerry, the Obama administration has so far successfully avoided further confrontations in Syria over chemical weapons use -- the real WMD's that Bush only lied about. Those weapons, through negotiated peaceful means are being destroyed as of this writing. This, of course was done over the hawkish objections of the Republican party stalwarts and pro-war at any cost mouthpieces, McCain and Graham.

The cost of American human lives on that peaceful, negotiation front? Zero.

Now it comes to Iran -- our biggest threat in the middle east. For nearly 30 years, we weren't even directly talking. Now we are. On this Iran front, where the same GOP warmongers have been pushing for armed conflict, we've reached a tentative accord to curtail and perhaps even reverse the nuclear threat this country presents. A conflagration there would certainly lead to potential world war and resulting annihilation. One would think that a potential peaceful solution would meet with cheers and hosannas, but we're dealing in Congress with the GOP war merchants, and peace means they can't justify increases in military spending. Damn, they might have to legislate within their own designed sequestration restraints.

We're not finished with Syrian and Iranian threats by a long shot. But we've barely given peace a chance and the Republican military industrial complex is trying to starve our seniors, just in case. They want to cut their benefits substantially reducing their already meager existances. If there ever was, as Michele Bachmann claimed, death panels, it's got to this GOP goon squad. This time it's being chaired by Reps. Jim Bridenstine and Doug Lamborn. It's not called the Affordable Care Act. It's known as the Common Defense Act (CDA). The only thing common about it is the continuing war on the middle class and poor it propagates.

In the GOP/Tea Party world we need more nukes, less Grandmas and Grandpas.

BTW, rumor has it there's a secret bill being circulated as a fall back if this CDA doesn't pass. It's going to require the oldest Social Security recipients to work to qualify for senior benefits. Over 75 and you'll be forced to register to be outfitted with explosives and dropped as bombs in the Middle East if this bill doesn't pass.

Remember Slim Pickets in Dr. Strangelove? Just picture John McCain playing that iconic role of Major King Kong.

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