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Addicting Info- February 3, 2012

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A day after Mitt “Moneybags” Romney stated his lack of concern for the economically disadvantaged (an old school Republican touchstone), President Obama shot back by finally using the right-wing’s bullets against them.  Despite constantly being smeared as a secret Muslim, Barack Obama in fact subscribes to Christianity.  Today’s perverse version of Christianity typically refers to super rich, white proselytizers who flagrantly manipulate the pure teachings of Jesus and spew bilious hatred towards gays, women, single moms, blacks, and the poor and middle-class. It also tends to refer to making a bunch of bombs to kill a bunch of Middle Easterners so that some  defense contactor can continue to eat caviar.  So it’s only natural for thinking people to stay within 100 yards of it. But, much like everything else under the sun, the Republicans love co-opting it blatantly injecting it into politics in order to claim higher ground.

Former president Bush, a simple-minded lummox with virtually nothing to offer other than his ability to relate to even dumber people, understood that invoking Jesus’ name would guarantee universal support of his hawkish foreign policy no matter how severely flawed and unreasonable it may have been.  For that reason, I have been constantly saying that President Obama should put on his best decider face, hold a press conference on the white house lawn, and state that his good homeboy JC told him that he should return taxes on the highest earners to the levels during the Clinton era. But that’s not the style of the guy of the president who sings Al Green.

During the National Prayer Breakfast in D.C. that took place yesterday, the president revealed that his Christian (or Christ-like) faith heavily influenced his economic policies– including calling for the wealthy to pay more taxes and overhauling the healthcare system. He explained to the attendees that the nation’s challenges require smart policies coupled with a strong values system, and not of the philandering on your dying wife, or subscribing to anti-gay policies and making anti-gay rhetoric only to have secret gay sex variety.

It’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone,’President Obama said.

“For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that, for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,’ he added, referencing verse 48 of chapter 12 in the Gospel of Luke. “To answer the responsibility we’re given in Proverbs to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute,” added Obama.

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by Paul Craig Roberts, Foreign Policy Journal, Dec 31, 2010

”Dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors.”

–Lewis H. Lapham

The year 2011 will bring Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard by the US government of US law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media sycophancy.

2011 is shaping up as the terminal year for American democracy. The Republican Party has degenerated into a party of Brownshirts, and voter frustrations with the worsening economic crisis and military occupations gone awry are likely to bring Republicans to power in 2012. With them would come their doctrines of executive primacy over Congress, the judiciary, law, and the Constitution and America’s rightful hegemony over the world.

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by Paul Woodward, War in ContextJuly 23, 2010

On September 11, 2001, America froze in shock and the shock was followed by a mix of fear, anger and bewilderment.

Yet for some, the first response was also the enduring response: a knowing dread that what followed would be far worse than what just happened; that America’s reaction would be wildly disproportionate and vastly more destructive than the events of that day.

Some of us had the luxury of holding that dispassionate wide-angle perspective from the comfort of distance — I lived on the West Coast at that time. But there were others who saw what was coming even while still breathing the dust from the collapsed Twin Towers. Tom Engelhardt was such an observer and has been chronicling the 9/11 fallout ever since.

Dan Froomkin reviews a distillation of those observations captured in Tom’s new book, The American Way of War; How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’s.

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On Being Led By the Nose

By James  Abourezk, Counterpunch, July 12, 2010

I picked up a copy of a memoir written by the long-gone CIA Director, George Tenet.   On the first page of the book’s preface, Mr. Tenet described what it was like on the day after the World Trade Towers had exploded as a result of the terrorists’ actions on 9-11-01.

I quote Mr. Tenet here:

“All this weighed heavy on my mind as I walked beneath the awning that leads to the West Wing and saw Richard Perle exiting the building just as I was about to enter.  Perle is one of the godfathers of the neoconservative movement and, at the time, was head of the Defense Policy Board, an independent advisory group attached to the Secretary of Defense.  Ours was little more than a passing acquaintance.  As the doors closed behind him, we made eye contact and nodded.  I had just reached the door myself when Perle turned to me and said, ‘Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday.  ‘They bear responsibility.’ (Italics added).

“I was stunned but said nothing.  Eighteen hours earlier, I had scanned passenger manifests for the four hijacked airplanes  that showed beyond a doubt that al-Qa’ida was behind the attacks.  Over the months and years to follow, we would carefully examine the potential of a collaborative role for state sponsors.  The intelligence then and now, however, showed no evidence of Iraqi complicity.”

The idea that George W. Bush’s neocon advisers–Perle included–convinced him that the U.S. should invade Iraq received some attention after the Iraqi war started.  But to my knowledge, no one, either in politics or the media, pressed the case too hard, lest they discover that those who wanted to invade Iraq had, not America’s interest, but Israel’s interest in mind.

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Middle East Online, April 19, 2010

True, the demonizing of Arabs and Muslims in America began well before the terrible tragedy of September 11, 2001 but, what is new post-9/11, is that now demonizing Muslims and Islam is not only more widespread but also considerably more mainstream and respectable. In short, Muslim-bashing has become socially acceptable in the United States, notes Abdus Sattar Ghazali.
As if the adult media’s vitriol wasn’t enough, the seven-million strong American Muslim community, is now being faced by the alarming publication of a series of ‘children’s books’, containing misleading and inflammatory rhetoric about the Islamic faith. The 10-book series – entitled the “World of Islam,” – is published by Mason Crest Publishing in collaboration with the Philadelphia-based pro-Israel and pro-war Foreign Policy Research Institute.

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Eric S. Margolis, Khaleej Times Online, March 22, 2010

A fascinating scandal has erupted in Washington over the use of mercenaries (‘private contractors’ in US terminology) that is exposing the dark underbelly of America’s foreign wars. It has been that the Pentagon and other US intelligence agencies secretly fielded mercenaries in Afghanistan, Pakistan (aka “Af-Pak”), and Iraq to assassinate tribal militants.

US law forbids murder or using mercenaries. But, as the Roman jurist Cicero said, “laws are silent in times of war.”

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By Mark Feeney and Bryan Marquard, The Boston Globe, Jan 27, 2010

Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and whose books, such as “A People’s History of the United States,” inspired young and old to rethink the way textbooks present the American experience, died today in Santa Monica, Calif, where he was traveling. He was 87.

His daughter, Myla Kabat-Zinn of Lexington, said he suffered a heart attack.

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APF Reveals Little Information

By Nick Lough & Katie Ussin

Story Published: Sep 28, 2009 at 7:53 PM MDT

Story Updated: Sep 29, 2009 at 10:00 AM MDT
Multimedia

BILLINGS – Confusion and secrecy about American Police Force has grown during the last few weeks.

“APF has been here for 10 months but it has never been stealth,” said APF spokesperson Becky Shay at a press conference on Saturday morning. The group announced its plans to fill the $27 million dollar detention facility and build a police training center next to the jail. While they gave details for the site, other questions went unanswered.

Where will the prisoners come from? What experience does APF have in prisoners and training police officers? Why was Two Rivers Authority Executive Director Greg Smith placed on administrative leave?

During the press conference APF also refused to release any information on its funding or organization “The decision is the name of the parent company will not be released,” said Shay.

When questioned about the decision to show up in Hardin last week in vehicles with “Hardin Police” templates, members were brief in their explanation. “They are to show are intentions are good,” said APF leader Captain Michael Hilton. “Why not put an APF logo on it,” said Shay. “You know we’re getting there.” All of the decals were removed from the vehicles two days later.

APF has consistently stated the community has nothing to fear and says its plans will help stimulate the Hardin economy. “This corporation’s intention is to buy local and stay local and do local business as much as we can,” said Shay.

Residents appear split in their feelings over the company. Some want more information, but others believe it will be a tremendous boost to the area. The company plans to hold a job fair in Hardin the third week of October.

Another development this weekend was the naming of Shay as APF’s new public relations director. Shay was a reporter with the Billings Gazette who had covered the detention facility story for last few years. She announced on Friday she was leaving the paper and hosted the APF press conference Saturday morning.

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By Ramsey Clark, Information Clearing House, September 9, 2009

Throughout history, torture has always been an instrument of tyranny. The very purpose of the Grand Inquisitor was to compel absolute obedience to authority. Torture was the weapon he used in the struggle to force freedom to submit to authority.

Fear is the principal element in both public acceptance of torture and individual submission to it. The frightened public is persuaded that only torture can force confessions essential to prevent catastrophic acts—terrorism in the present context. The frightened victim is persuaded torture will be unbearable, or be his death.

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By William Pfaff | william.pfaff.com, Aug 18, 2009

It would be a great service to the American nation if Barack Obama would tell us what he himself thinks the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan are about. To capture Osama bin Laden? There have been eight years in which to capture bin Laden and it’s not been done yet, and there seems no reason to think that anything important would change if the thousands of Marines now scheduled for Afghanistan did capture him. What did it change to capture and execute Saddam Hussein in Iraq?

General Stanley McChyrstal says the Taliban are winning (he subsequently denied this). Does the president think he can have a military solution — or a political solution? The latter is not impossible.

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