In an effort to increase the United States debt, Obama and congressional Democrats are using a tool that was intended for reducing it.
The House and Senate are preparing to pass President Barack Obama’s radical budget blueprint, with only minor modifications, by using (abusing would be more accurate) the budget “reconciliation” process. This process circumvents the Senate’s normal rules requiring 60 votes to prevent a filibuster. Reconciliation was created by Congress in the mid-1970s to enforce deficit reduction, the opposite of what the president and his party are aiming for.
Feith and the Geneva Convention
Much of the hullabaloo over torture and allegations that enemy combatants don’t deserve protection under the Geneva Conventions stems from a lie. Douglas Feith says
In conclusion, I urged “[h]umane treatment for all detainees” and recommended that the president explain that Geneva “does not squarely address circumstances that we are confronting in this new global war against terrorism, but while we work through the legal questions, we are upholding the principle of universal applicability of the Convention.”
I briefed these arguments directly to the president at that Feb. 4 NSC meeting, and his decision on Geneva’s applicability to the war against the Taliban was consistent with them.
The allegation that I argued against Article 3 protection was invented by a British lawyer named Philippe Sands and published in an angry, wildly inaccurate book called “Torture Team.” Mr. Sands asserts that, in our interview, I admitted making the case against Article 3. He was eventually compelled to publish the interview transcript, however, and it shows that nothing I said supports his allegation, that he grossly misquoted me on a number of points, and that he never asked me a single question about Article 3.
Not “Too Big to Fail”. Rather, “1,000 Blooming Flowers”
When a company fails, its assets don’t just go up in a puff of smoke (unless perhaps it’s a financial institution). That’s why no company is too big to fail. To wit
Carl Schramm doesn’t buy the idea that some businesses are “too big to fail.” That notion, says the president of the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation, only creates obstacles for entrepreneurs. Instead, he sees the failure of big companies as the “moment when 1,000 flowers can bloom.”
The Smear of Congressman Eric Cantor
Obama bi-partisan? Republicans not? Sure. Let’s do everything we can to ensure that the Republicans don’t rebound to resurrect their part of old.
…the furious campaign — waged by every blog, pundit, union, 527, and even the White House — to kneecap Republicans who might help lead a makeover. Mr. Cantor is the top target.
This kicked off after the GOP’s unanimous vote against the stimulus, which Democrats saw as an opening to brand Mr. Cantor as the public face of partisan opposition to the “bipartisan” president. The Virginian has in fact publicly reached out to the White House, and has been deeply involved in producing alternatives to administration policies. But never let the facts get in the way of a good smear.
Noam Chomsky: “Why Does NATO Exist?”
Chomsky answers this question on DemocracyNow:
NATO is a US creature. Gorbachev’s remarkable concession of letting unified Germany join an alliance hostile to Soviets. The quid pro quo was that “NATO would not expand one inch to the east”. One of Bill Clinton’s first acts was to break this promise, on the pretext of bringing former Warsaw Pact states into European Union (Austria, Sweden, etc. already did not belong to NATO). Afghanistan has always been of geostrategic importance, especially because of its energy resources. US-sponsored atrocities in East Timor (Dealey Massacre?) and Turkey (against Kurds) in late 90’s much worse than in Balkans. Dennis Blair, one of Obama’s current national security advisors, was involved in encouraging Indonesian crackdown against East Timor. NATO is now just an intervention force. Once used to balance against Soviets, it is now to counteract the technological innovations of Middle Eastern countries. Obama’s new troops will face two enemies: the Taliban and the opinion of 75% of Afghans. Like Pashtuns in India whose territory was artificially divided by British. When Hamid Karzai began to ask Obama to stop killing Afghans and to set a timetable for withdrawal, he became looked upon as corrupt and persona-non-grata by the American press/Establishment. There are now plans by the Establishment to replace him. Obama is expanding the war because of our unrivaled military force and imperial mentality among both major US parties. We are as the hammer seeing everything as a nail. US (Obama) wants to run a major natural gas pipeline through Kandahar, Afghanistan, thus isolating/bypassing Iran and splitting East Asian “stans” from Russia. John Kerry recently spoke of creating alliance with Israel and moderate (they do what we say) Arab states (such as Egypt) against Iran. Afghans should make the decision of whether US and coalition troops move out, and we should abide by their decision.
Triple Canopy to Replace Blackwater in Iraq
The Obama administration is using Triple Canopy to protect US diplomats in both Iraq and Israel. Jeremy Scahill states that the Obama administration is continuing many of the most sinister policies of the Bush Administration. Triple Canopy lists Lincolnshire Illinois as its primary address. Triple Canopy, DynCorp, and Blackwater are the three big mercenary groups. Triple Canopy hired more third-country nationals, including bloodthirsty Salvadoran and Chilean military veterans. Blackwater still is on US government payroll in Afghanistan and with the Drug Enforcement Agency. Blackwater guys are jumping over to Triple Canopy. Secretive Worldwide personal Protective Service started under the Clinton administration. Government Accountability Office is concerned at the huge costs of hiring private mercenaries.
Obama is Clinton Redux
Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, reported last November on alternet.org that the Obama administration is dominated by Clinton retreads. Additionally, Obama is backpedaling on getting US troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011. Blackwater has changed its name to “Xe” (Xe is the symbol for the element Xenon, and comes from the Greek meaning “foreign or strange“), perhaps in the hope that no one will notice that they are still operating in Iraq. The Obama administration likely hopes that no one will notice that it recently signed a contract to pay Xe–er–Blackwater to stay in Iraq even after they were dismissed as personae non grata by the Iraqi government. Scahill wonders
With the U.S. economy in shambles and millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet and keep their homes, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton need to explain to U.S. taxpayers how they justify these mega-payments to a scandal-plagued mercenary company.
The Lies About AIG Bonuses
At least 11 of those receiving more than $1 million bonuses for AIG no longer work for AIG. This kind of puts to shame the claim that the reason for providing the bonuses were for “employee retention”. Obama surrounds himself with advisors who are too cosy with Wall Street, like Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner. Instead of supporting the homeowners avoid foreclosure, we instead propped up mortgage lenders. Banks sold subprime mortgages to the poor, knowing they would be bailed out. Beleagured US taxpayers are in essence supporting filthy rich US tax dodgers.
“Debt-Encumbered Home Owners Don’t Go On Strike”
The latest economic crisis has been the greatest loss of value for African Americans in the history of the United States. People are being made to pay with loss of their homes while the bankers are walking away richer than before. David Harvey of City University of New York may be a Marxist, but I definitely agree with him more than I agree with Timothy Geithner and his financial cronies. The capitalism of the past thirty years, that awards its high priests with a larger and larger piece of the pie, is a disgrace. The Mexican bailout wasn’t a bailout of Mexico; it was, rather, a bailout of New York bankers. The capitalists are now trying to save the pre-existing power structure. Bankers want to get people in homes, loaded with heavy debt, because “debt-encumbered home owners don’t go on strike.” They can’t afford to. We now have essentially only four major banks in the U.S.
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