May 222013
 

National Review
Jim Geraghty

There’s really no reason for the press to suggest that the recent slew of scandals involving the Obama administration — Benghazi, the AP phone-record seizure, the snooping in James Rosen’s e-mail, the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, and so on — are a confusing jumble. There is a very clear thread running through all of the administration’s actions:

All of these actions involve an effort to control information.

Some parts of this administration focus on preventing information that is contrary to the administration’s agenda from getting out, or hindering its distribution, and making sure that the only information that goes out supports the perspective of the administration. Other parts leak confidential information designed to attack the reputations of those holding perspectives the administration opposes (NOM, the nine conservative groups) or other whistleblowers (ATF agent Dodson).

Continue reading »

Apr 152013
 

Global Research
Dr. Helen Caldicott

radiation5

Civilian Cancer Deaths Expected to Skyrocket Following Radiological Incidents

The White House has given final approval for dramatically raising permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents and dirty bombs. The final version, slated for Federal Register publication as soon as today, is a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its proponents call a “new normal” for radiation exposure among the U.S population, according Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These guides govern evacuations, shelter-in-place orders, food restrictions and other actions following a wide range of “radiological emergencies.” The Obama administration blocked a version of these PAGs from going into effect during its first days in office. The version given approval late last Friday is substantially similar to those proposed under Bush but duck some of the most controversial aspects:

In soil, the PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems. This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period;

  • In water, the PAGs punt on an exact new standard and EPA “continues to seek input on this.” But the thrust of the PAGs is to give on-site authorities much greater “flexibility” in setting aside established limits; and
  • Resolves an internal fight inside EPA between nuclear versus public health specialists in favor of the former. The PAGs are the product of Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator for air and radiation whose nomination to serve as EPA Administrator is taken up this week by the Senate.
  • Despite the years-long internal fight, this is the first public official display of these guides. This takes place as Japan grapples with these same issues in the two years following its Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“This is a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace. If this typifies the environmental leadership we can expect from Ms. McCarthy, then EPA is in for a long, dirty slog,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that the EPA package lacks a cogent rationale, is largely impenetrable and hinges on a series of euphemistic “weasel words.”

“No compelling justification is offered for increasing the cancer deaths of Americans innocently exposed to corporate miscalculations several hundred-fold.”

Reportedly, the PAGs had been approved last fall but their publication was held until after the presidential election. The rationale for timing their release right before McCarthy’s confirmation hearing is unclear.

Since the PAGs guide agency decision-making and do not formally set standards or repeal statutory requirements, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and Superfund, they will go into full effect following a short public comment period. Nonetheless, the PAGs will likely determine what actions take place on the ground in the days, weeks, months and, in some cases, years following a radiological emergency. Continue reading »

Apr 102013
 

Breitbart
Wynton Hall

Those wondering why the Department of Justice has refused to go after Jon Corzine for the vaporization of $1.6 billion in MF Global client funds need look no further than the documents uncovered by the Government Accountability Institute that reveal that the now-defunct MF Global was a client of Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer’s former law firm, Covington & Burling.

There’s more.

Records also reveal that MF Global’s trustee for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy retained as its general bankruptcy counsel Morrison & Foerester–the very law firm from which Associate Attorney General Tony West came to DOJ.

And more.

As Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer explains in the Washington Times Thursday, the trustee overseeing MF Global’s bankruptcy is former FBI Director Louis Freeh. At Holder’s Senate confirmation hearing Freeh served as a character witness for Holder and revealed that Holder had previously worked for Freeh. “As general counsel,” Freeh said, “I could have engaged any lawyer in America to represent our bank. I chose Eric.”

Until now, the conventional wisdom for why Holder wouldn’t throw the book at Corzine was that Corzine is an Obama campaign bundler. Indeed, as Breitbart News reported, four of the top officials at the Department of Justice–Eric Holder, Thomas Perrelli, Karol Mason, and Tony West–were also big money bundlers for Obama.

But the newly understood crony connections reveal conflicts of interest that extend well beyond mere political support for a common candidate–they go to a tangle of prior business dealings that further underscore the need for a special prosecutor in the Corzine case.

At least 65 members of Congress have already signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate MF Global’s collapse and the loss of $1.6 billion in customer money. What’s more, even progressives have begun to wonder whether Holder’s Covington & Burling connection explains why the Department of Justice has not charged, prosecuted, or jailed a single Wall Street executive after the biggest financial collapse in American history.

As Richard Eskow of the Huffington Post recently wrote:

More and more Washington insiders are asking a question that was considered off-limits in the nation’s capital just a few months ago: Who, exactly, is Attorney General Eric Holder representing? As scandal after scandal erupts on Wall Street, involving everything from global lending manipulation to cocaine and prostitution, more and more people are worrying about Holder’s seeming inaction — or worse — in the face of mounting evidence.

This isn’t going away.

Both the left and the right are onto Holder’s Wall Street head fake. With the revelation of the new crony connections, the time for Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor in the Corzine/MF Global case is now. Continue reading »

Apr 062013
 

AZCentral
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will release a budget next week that proposes significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security and fewer tax increases than in the past, a conciliatory approach that he hopes will persuade Republicans to sign on to a grand bargain that would curb government borrowing and replace deep spending cuts that took effect March 1.

Obama will break with the tradition of providing a sweeping vision of his ideal spending priorities, untethered from political realities. Instead, the document will incorporate the compromise offer Obama made to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, last December in the discussions over the “fiscal cliff.” They included $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction through spending cuts and tax increases.

“It’s not our ideal policy. It’s a compromise that we’re willing to do to get a bigger deal,” a senior White House official said Friday. “We want to make clear that it’s something that we’re willing to do. To not put it in the budget would be a conversation disconnected with reality.”

The senior official added that including the offer was not a hard call. Failing to do so, the official said, would have provoked howls from Republicans that “you moved the goal posts.”

Boehner, in a statement on Friday, accused Obama of holding entitlement cuts “hostage” in an effort to win support for more tax hikes, despite warnings from congressional Republicans not to do so.

“That’s no way to lead and move the country forward,” Boehner said. He also criticized the budget proposal because it does not balance, although according to White House estimates it would significantly reduce the deficit as a percentage of the economy over the next decade.

In addition to Republican opposition, the president also is likely to face immediate heat from some Democrats and liberal supporters over his proposed cuts to entitlement programs.

Obama proposes, for instance, to change the cost-of-living calculation for Social Security in a way that will reduce benefits for most beneficiaries, a key Republican request that he had earlier embraced only as part of a compromise.

Many Democrats say they are opposed to any Social Security cuts and are likely to be furious that such cuts are now being proposed as official administration policy.

“While this is not the president’s ideal deficit- reduction plan, and there are particular proposals in this plan like the cost-of-living change that were key Republican requests and not the president’s preferred approach,” a senior administration official said, “this is a compromise proposal built on common ground, and the president felt it was important to make it clear that the offer still stands.”

The full budget will be released Wednesday, but officials gave a top-line overview to reporters on Friday and have previously released details of the offer to Boehner.

Overall, the budget request reflects Obama’s stark shift in strategy over the past month as he has adopted a far more congenial posture toward the opposition. He has begun a charm offensive, reaching out to rank-and-file House and Senate Republicans, dining and speaking privately with them in hopes that they will take seriously his offer to overhaul entitlement programs in exchange for increasing tax revenue.

Obama is set to have dinner with a group of Republicans on Wednesday night, just hours after his budget is released.

Obama’s aides have not been overly optimistic about the prospects for a deal. But they now argue that a strategy of private outreach coupled with public events offers the best path forward for progress not only on the deficit but also on other issues, including immigration and gun control.

Although the White House is portraying the budget proposal as a compromise, many Republicans are likely to say that it is simply rehashing an offer previously made by the president and rejected because it raises taxes.

They are also likely to focus on the fact that, unlike the Republican budget that passed the House last month, Obama’s budget does not balance within 10years.

The GOP has made the failure to balance the budget a key talking point in recent weeks.

Obama’s budget for the fiscal year starting Oct.1 would fund several new priorities, including the creation of a new program offering preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income backgrounds and a significant new investment in brain research.

Officials propose an increase in tobacco taxes to pay for the early-childhood education initiative and would also seek to generate revenue by limiting how much wealthy individuals can accrue in their tax-retirement accounts.

Such accounts would be capped at $3million in 2013 dollars — which officials say is enough to finance a $205,000-a-year income.

He would also seek to scrap a loophole in the law that lets people collect both unemployment insurance and disability payments — so-called double-dipping.

The budget request comes on top of a deal struck at the start of the year to raise taxes on the wealthy by more than $600billion over a decade — mainly by returning to Clinton-era rates for households earning over $450,000 annually.

Through that pact and earlier agreements, Congress and Obama have agreed to reduce the annual budget deficit — how much more the government spends than it collects — by $2.5 trillion over the next decade. If left in place, the deep spending cuts that took effect March1, known as sequestration, would reduce the deficit by an additional $1.2 trillion over the same period. That would be just about enough to keep deficits from rising and to stabilize the debt, as measured as a percentage of the overall economy.

Obama’s budget proposal, however, would eliminate sequestration and replace it with a variety of other deficit-reduction measures, together worth $1.8 trillion, according to White House estimates. The deficit, which is projected this year to be equal to 5.5 percent of the size of the economy, would shrink to 1.7 percent of the economy by 2023.

By comparison, the House Republican budget — which would curtail spending on dozens of programs for the poor, repeal Obama’s health-care law and partially privatize Medicare for people now younger than 55 — aims to eliminate the deficit by 2023. A more liberal plan passed by Senate Democrats would make the deficit 2.2 percent of the size of the economy by that point.

The budget is more conservative than Obama’s earlier proposals, which called for $1.6 trillion in new taxes and fewer cuts to health and domestic spending programs. Obama is seeking to raise $580billion in tax revenue by limiting deductions for the wealthy and closing loopholes for certain industries like oil and gas.

Those changes are in addition to the increased tobacco taxes and more limited retirement accounts for the wealthy that are meant to pay for new spending.

The budget proposal slices $200billion from already tight defense and domestic budgets. It would cut $400billion from Medicare and other health programs by negotiating better prescription-drug prices and asking wealthy seniors to pay more, among other policies.

It would also generate $200billion in savings by scaling back farm subsidies and federal retiree programs, among other proposals.

The proposal to change the formula to calculate Social Security payments, also originally part of the offer to Boehner, would generate $130billion in savings and $100billion in revenue, a result of the impact of the formula change on other government programs.

But it is the change in Social Security payments to most recipients that is likely to generate the greatest outcry from the Obama administration’s traditional allies.

“Millions of working people, seniors, disabled veterans, those who have lost a loved one in combat, and women will be extremely disappointed if President Obama caves into the long-standing Republican effort to cut Social Security,” Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., who caucuses with Democrats, said earlier this week, after reports surfaced that Obama might include the change in his budget.

“In 2008, candidate Barack Obama told the American people that he would not cut Social Security. Having him go back on his word will only add to the rampant political cynicism that our country is experiencing today.”

Obama is submitting his budget two months late, after aides scrambled to deal with the end-of-year fiscal cliff and then the March1 deadline for sequestration.

Obama signed into law late last month a measure that funds the government through the end of the fiscal year in September — locking the sequester cuts into effect for the time being.

Two upcoming debates will provide opportunities for lawmakers and the White House to revisit those cuts and debate Obama’s budget offer. This summer, Congress will once again be forced to raise the federal debt ceiling or risk a default on the national debt. Republicans in February decided not to mount a fight over the debt ceiling, as they had in 2011, and it is not yet clear whether they will oppose an increase this time. In addition, Congress and the White House will have to agree to a new budget plan at the end of September.

Although it is conciliatory, the White House argued that Obama’s budget should not be seen as a list of options that Republicans can choose from.

“This isn’t about political horse-trading; it’s about reducing the deficit in a balanced way that economists say is best for the economy and job creation,” the senior administration official said. “That’s why the president’s offer — which will be reflected in his budget — isn’t a menu of options for them to choose from. It’s a cohesive package that reflects the kind of compromise we should be able to reach.” Continue reading »

Apr 062013
 

The Examiner
Joe Newby

 U.S. President Barack Obama addresses gun control issues during a speech at the Denver Police Academy on April 3, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.

While speaking in Denver on Wednesday, President Obama mocked concerns expressed by gun owners and said that he is “constrained” by a “government of and by and for the people,” CBS reported.

“You hear some of these quotes,” he said. “‘I need a gun to protect myself from the government.’ ‘We can’t do background checks because the government is going to come take my guns away,'” he added. “Well, the government is us. These officials are elected by you. They are elected by you. I am elected by you. I am constrained, as they are constrained, by a system that our Founders put in place. It’s a government of and by and for the people.”

Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro responded by saying that if Obama’s statement was true, Americans would “never have to worry about democracies turning tyrannical, or electing tyrannical rulers.”

“In this odd vision, Germany, Italy, and Spain remained liberal democracies throughout the twentieth century, World War II never happened, and Egypt, the Gaza Strip, and Turkey are all thriving centers of freedom,” he added.

Shapiro argued that Obama’s statement was “odd.”

“The natural inference seems to be that if it were not for the Constitution, Obama would indeed pursue a federal gun seizure,” he wrote.

But the concern is very real for a large number of Americans.

A Rasmussen poll released Thursday shows that 44 percent of likely voters believe the government will try to confiscate all privately owned guns “over the next generation or so,” while half say it isn’t likely.

A recent Quinnipiac poll showed that nearly half — 48 percent — said that government could use information obtained from background checks to confiscate legally-obtained firearms, The Hill reported Thursday.

On the same day as Obama’s speech urging action on gun control, the Heritage Foundation reported that “loose language” in a bill put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., could signal the start of a national gun registry.

David S. Addington wrote that the language “could be construed to allow the Department of Justice itself (or another agency specified by the Attorney General) to keep centralized records of who received what guns and where, by sale or gift from one individual to another.”

In February, the NRA revealed an Obama Justice Department memo that said an assault weapon ban would not be effective without mandatory gun confiscation and that universal background checks would only work with federal gun registration.

Despite Obama’s statement, the concerns are quite real, and not without merit.

“Like the villain at the end of every Scooby Doo cartoon, Obama’s offhand protest suggests that if it weren’t for those darn kids, he would have gotten away with it. Except that the kids are the founders, and ‘it’ is massive gun control,” Shapiro said.

Continue reading »

Feb 222013
 
Global Research

Nicola Nasser
palestine (2)

The “unbreakable alliance,” which will be confirmed by the upcoming visit of President Barak Obama to Israel , will disqualify the United States as an honest broker of peace in the Arab – Israeli conflict in Palestine , a Palestinian veteran peace negotiator says.

This “unbreakable alliance” will doom whatever hopes remain during Obama’s visit for the revival of the U.S. – sponsored deadlocked “peace process,” on the resumption of which depends the very survival of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ leadership, and explains as well the Palestinian frustration, low expectations, unenthusiastic welcome and the absence of celebrations for their most cherished among world celebrities, in a stark contrast to the euphoria that is sweeping Israel in waiting for what the U.S. and Israeli officials are describing as an “historic” visit.

On February 19, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office released the official blue, red and white logo that will be on all documents and signs during Obama’s visit late in March. The logo shows the words “Unbreakable Alliance” written in English and Hebrew under a combined Israeli and U.S. flags.

During his visit, Obama will become the first ever serving U.S. president to receive Israel’s presidential medal to honor the fact that he has “established the closest working military and intelligence relationship with Israel in the country’s history: Joint exercises and training, increased security assistance every year, unprecedented advanced technology transfers, doubling of funding for Israel’s missile defense system, and assistance in funding for the Iron Dome system,” according to Steven L. Spiegel in Huffington Post late last year.

Speaking exclusively to RFI Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian veteran peace negotiator and member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Israel’s partner in signing the defunct Oslo peace accords, said the first – term Obama administration “have just managed to buy more time for Israel” to “create facts on the (Israeli – occupied Palestinian) ground.”

“Our experience has been really tragic with this American administration,” which “started with such high hopes and tremendous promises,” but “they backed down so quickly it was incredible,” she added, to conclude: “The U.S. has disqualified itself as a peace broker.”

Therefore, “there are no plans to celebrate” Obama’s visit to Ramallah, because “they haven’t forgotten the part he played” in aborting the PLO’s efforts in 2011 to win the United Nations’ recognition of Palestine statehood as a full member and in opposing its UN recognition as a non – member observer state the next year, according to Shlomi Eldar in Al-Monitor on February 14. Still, to make a bad situation worse, Obama will convey the same message to Abbas during his upcoming visit, because “our position has not changed” neither to Palestinian statehood nor to Palestinian national reconciliation according to U.S. State Department spokeswoman Olivia Nuland on February 19.

Obama will visit on the backdrop of a two –year old simmering Palestinian – U.S. political crisis, which potentially could explode in the aftermath of his visit.

The U.S. subscription to the UN recognition of Palestinian statehood would establish irrevocably the prerequisite to make or break the only viable “two – state solution” for the almost century – old conflict, because it would confirm the 1967 borders as the basis for such a solution and, consequently, will for sure defuse the time bomb of the Israeli illegal settlement enterprise in the Palestinian occupied territories and pave the way for the resumption of negotiations. However neither Obama nor the U.S. is forthcoming and they continue to “manage” the conflict instead of seriously seeking to solve it.
Continue reading »

Feb 142013
 

Global Research
Norman Solomon

obamadoublespeak

The words in President Obama’s “State of the Union” speech were often lofty, spinning through the air with the greatest of ease and emitting dog whistles as they flew.

Let’s decode the president’s smooth oratory in the realms of climate change, war and civil liberties.

“For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.”

We’ve done so little to combat climate change — we must do more.

“I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change…”

Climate change is an issue that can be very good for Wall Street. Folks who got the hang of “derivatives” and “credit default swaps” can learn how to handle “cap and trade.” The corporate environmental groups are on board, and maybe we can offer enough goodies to big corporations to make it worth their while to bring enough of Congress along.

“The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that.”

Dual memo. To T. Boone Pickens: “Love ya.” To environmentalists who won’t suck up to me: “Frack you.” (And save your breath about methane.)

“That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.”

Blow off steam with your demonstrations, you 350.org types. I’ll provide the platitudes. XL Keystone, here we come.

“After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.”

How’s that for an applause line? Don’t pay too much attention to the fine print. I’m planning to have 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan a year from now, and they won’t get out of there before the end of 2014. And did you notice the phrase “in uniform”? We’ve got plenty of out-of-uniform military contractors in Afghanistan now, and you can expect that to continue for a long time.

“And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.”

If you believe that, you’re the kind of sucker I appreciate — unless you think “our war in Afghanistan” doesn’t include killing people with drones and cruise missiles.

“Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We’re negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.”

We’re so pleased to help Afghan people kill other Afghan people! Our government’s expertise in such matters includes superb reconnaissance and some thrilling weaponry, which we’ll keep providing to the Kabul regime. And don’t you love the word “counterterrorism”? It sounds so much better than: “using the latest high-tech weapons to go after people on our ‘kill lists’ and unfortunately take the lives of a lot of other people who happen to be around, including children, thus violating international law, traumatizing large portions of the population and inflicting horrors on people in ways we would never tolerate ourselves.”

“We don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we’ll need to help countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.”

We don’t need flag-draped coffins coming home. We’re so civilized that we’re the planetary leaders at killing people with remote control from halfway around the world.

We must enlist our values in the fight. That’s why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. And I recognize that, in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we’re doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”

I’m sick of taking flak just because I pick and choose which civil liberties I want to respect. If I need to give a bit more information to a few other pliant members of Congress, I will. The ones who get huffy about the Bill of Rights aren’t going to get the time of day from this White House. I recognize that some of my base is getting a bit upset about this civil-liberties thing, so I’ll ramp up the soothing words and make use of some prominent Democratic members of Congress who are of course afraid to polarize with me. Don’t underestimate this president; I know how to talk reverentially about our great nation’s “checks and balances” as I undermine them.

“The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations. And we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.”

Maybe it’s just about time for another encore of “preemptive war.”

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He writes the Political Culture 2013 column. Continue reading »

Feb 122013
 

The Daily Bell

The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden… Is Screwed. For the first time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden tells his story — speaking not just about the raid and the three shots that changed history, but about the personal aftermath for himself and his family. And the startling failure of the United States government to help its most experienced and skilled warriors carry on with their lives. – Esquire

Dominant Social Theme: Bin Laden is dead.

Free-Market Analysis: This article attempts to provide us with a blow-by-blow description of Osama bin Laden’s death by putting the killing within the context of the “shooter’s” life.

The article is purportedly about the injustices being heaped upon the killer of the world’s most famous terrorist. He has injuries, can’t move his neck much and is facing a good deal of difficulty in paying his bills, as he can’t find a job to replace his regular service salary of about US$60,000 a year.

The article is by Phil Bronstein, who works out of a non-profit called the Center for Investigative Journalism in Berkeley, California. Bronstein and his colleagues are all eminent journalists who appear to have run major newspapers and are now keeping the tradition of independent journalism alive as best they can.

But one thing that struck us about the article was that it used a photo of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and others in the White House’s “situation room.” In the famous photo, Hillary has her hand over her mouth as if watching something grave or terrible on the screen in front of them (which cannot be seen from the photographer’s vantage.) Her colleagues, including the President of the United States, look terribly grave.

But as we learn from Wikipedia and elsewhere, these notables were NOT in the White House situation room but in a side room nearby. And Hillary had her hand over her mouth because she had allergies and was trying to suppress a cough.

This photo has been published numerous times and usually with the implication that Hillary, Obama and the others were gathered there watching the death of bin Laden. But as has been stated numerous times, there were no interior shots of the “compound” and therefore, none of the people pictured saw bin Laden’s actual death.

There are other problems. Osama bin Laden had perhaps been dead for ten years of Marfan syndrome that elongated his body, made him sickly and ruined his kidneys. He was reportedly on dialysis in 2000. It is highly doubtful that a man in such a condition could have survived another decade before being shot by a Navy SEAL.

Additionally, as we have reported, there are various eyewitness accounts that cast doubts on how the operation was conducted and whether the SEALS even landed as described.

One point that sticks out is that the SEALS came down on top of the compound supposedly but such an approach makes no sense. Ordinarily in such occurrences, the landing is done well away from the target. For our extensive reporting on the subject just conduct a ‘Net search for “bin Laden’s death” and “Daily Bell.”

It is the photo in the Esquire article that we are fixated on because it has much resonance and has been thoroughly debunked on the Internet. In a pre-Internet era, we would have no way to fully understand the falsity of what is presented to us. And even the Wikipedia article about the photo reads like something out of a schizophrenic’s description. While virtually admitting the photo is false, the article continues on and on – explaining the importance of the photo as if it were real. Here’s some of the description.

Some historians have commented on the historical significance of the photograph, particularly its depiction of the crossing of gender and racial boundaries. Lehigh University political science professor Saladin Ambar said that the picture suggests “a new American landscape that we’re still crossing into.” He continued “When Obama was elected, there were some people who thought that we had crossed a racial threshold. What his presidency is revealing is that there are many crossings.”

The photograph has also been noted to depict a change in presidential leadership style. Historian Clarence Lusane said that past presidents have felt a need to project “machismo” and “swagger.” Meredith College sociology professor Lori Brown said it is significant however, that Obama is neither in the center of the room nor in the tallest chair. Political analyst Cheryl Contee said “Obama’s willingness to be photographed without the typical Oval Office swagger gives birth to a new type of swagger.” She said that the image shows Obama’s leadership style as a collaborator.

The New York Times commented on Clinton’s expression in the photograph, writing, “She is what the French critic Roland Barthes called the ‘punctum,’ the not necessarily conspicuous detail that gives a photograph its emotional resonance.” They also stated the mystery of the photograph—what are they looking at?—was analogous to the uncertainty of Western democracy‘s relationship with Islamic militant terrorism.

Ambar stated that the photograph also shows how entrenched women have become in U.S. politics; Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason are in the photograph, while the similar photograph of John F. Kennedy and his staff during the Cuban Missile Crisis does not show any women. Lori Brown said in a CNN article that the photograph also shows how women have made progress in U.S. political life, although Brown said that Clinton’s visible reaction dulled the impact somewhat, because women “are often more physical in their emotional responses and in a ‘power situation’ it may not seem as acceptable.”

But it is not “history” – or not at least the history that has been described. Again, the facts are seemingly not in dispute. The photo did not take place in the actual “situation room.” The people in the room were not watching the death of bin Laden, as the live feed – or whatever it was – did not extend inside of bin Laden’s compound. Finally, the photo’s so-called punctum, Hillary Clinton, was putting her hand up to her mouth to shield a sneeze, not because she’d just seen something awful.

If great evil is also great banality, then this banal photograph of a number of people crammed into a small room watching a phony feed – while one suppresses a sneeze – shall go down in history not as a great gathering of leaders but as a gathering of political actors playing out their assigned roles.

Because that’s what is more likely going on. The power elite that wants to build world government and controls governance in many countries already, has created a phony war on terror to justify its depredations regarding civil liberties. People must lose their freedoms so that global institutions can be built.

The killing of bin Laden was doubtless part of this phony show. These people were just following orders like everyone else, and all the fulsome articles in big US magazines cannot alleviate the narrative’s phoniness.

More likely, if someone was shot it was a blameless, aged victim – perhaps the man who actually owned the house. Or perhaps no one was shot at all. The article ends by pointing out that the shooter may be in danger from other al Qaeda types that know his name. But he is probably more in danger from the US government that concocted this phony bin Laden death – in part to re-elect Obama – and is desperate to ensure that the truth does not leak out.

But the truth already HAS leaked out, just like the truth about the photo that Esquire uses to punctuate the gravity of the moment when shooting occurred.

It seems to be a phony photo, a phony moment, a phony shooting and a phony narrative. If it tells us anything at all, it is how what we call the Internet Reformation has changed the context of 21st century information.

Twenty-five years ago, this would have been a significant article. Today, knowing what we do about the US government and its serial lying at the behest of a tiny and impossibly wealthy power elite, we can only shake our collective heads in wonder that those orchestrating these promotions still don’t understand how things have changed.

It is this as much as anything else that makes us confident that plans to gather up the world are not going well. The photo discussed above is an apt metaphor for how little they have learned and how unable they are to respond with legitimate anti-Internet strategies.

They have no idea how to contain the knowledge that the Internet has dispersed about the Way the World Really Works short of shutting down the Internet, which they cannot do.

Instead, they run long articles in magazines that are way past their prime telling people what they ought to think about this or that promotion. Don’t they understand that thinking people can go on the ‘Net and debunk these strategies with a single click of the keyboard?

Conclusion: It’s not that they don’t know anything better. It’s that they cannot think of anything else. And what does that tell us? Think about it … Continue reading »

Feb 092013
 

Global Research
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

1984
The Bush regime’s response to 9/11 and the Obama regime’s validation of this response have destroyed accountable democratic government in the United States.

So much unaccountable power has been concentrated in the executive branch that the US Constitution is no longer an operable document.

Whether a person believes the official story of 9/11 which rests on unproven government assertions or believes the documented evidence provided by a large number of scientists, first responders, and structural engineers and architects, the result is the same. 9/11 was used to create an open-ended “war on terror” and a police state. It is extraordinary that so many Americans believe that “it can’t happen here” when it already has.
We have had a decade of highly visible evidence of the construction of a police state:
  • the PATRIOT Act, illegal spying on Americans in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,
  • the initiation of wars of aggression–war crimes under the Nuremberg Standard–based on intentional lies,
  • the Justice Department’s concocted legal memos justifying the executive branch’s violation of domestic and international laws against
  • torture, the indefinite detention of US citizens in violation of the constitutionally protected rights of habeas corpus and due process,
  • the use of secret evidence and secret “expert witnesses” who cannot be cross-examined against defendants in trials,
  • the creation of military tribunals in order to evade federal courts, secret legal memos giving the president authority to launch preemptive cyber attacks on any country without providing evidence that the country constitutes a threat, and the Obama regime’s murder of US citizens without evidence or due process.
 As if this were not enough, the Obama regime now creates new presidential powers by crafting secret laws, refusing to disclose the legal reasoning on which the asserted power rests. In other words, laws now originate in secret executive branch memos and not in acts of Congress.  Congress?  We don’t need no stinking Congress.
Despite laws protecting whistleblowers and the media and the US Military Code which requires soldiers to report war crimes, whistleblowers such as CIA agent John Kiriakou, media such as Julian Assange, and soldiers such as Bradley Manning are persecuted and prosecuted for revealing US government crimes. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33804.htm  The criminals go free, and those who report the crimes are punished.
The justification for the American police state is the “war on terror,” a hoax kept alive by the FBI’s “sting operations.”  Normally speaking, a sting operation is when a policewoman poses as a prostitute in order to ensnare a “John,” or a police officer poses as a drug dealer or user in order to ensnare drug users or dealers. The FBI’s “sting operation” goes beyond these victimless crimes that fill up US prisons.
The FBI’s sting operations are different. They are just as victimless as no plot ever happens, but the FBI doesn’t pose as bomb makers for terrorists who have a plot but lack the weapon. Instead, the FBI has the plot and looks for a hapless or demented person or group, or for a Muslim enraged over the latest Washington insult to him and/or his religion. When the FBI locates its victim, its agents approach the selected perpetrator pretending to be Al-Qaeda or some such and ply the selected perpetrator with money, the promise of fame, or threats until the victim signs on to the FBI’s plot and is arrested.
Trevor Aaronson in his book, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s War on Terrorism, documents that the FBI has so far concocted 150 “terrorist plots” and that almost all of  the other “terrorist cases” are cases unrelated to terrorism, such as immigration, with a terror charge tacked on. See video
The presstitute American media doesn’t ask why, if there is so much real terrorism requiring an American war against it, the FBI has to invent  and solicit terrorist plots.
Neither does the media inquire how the Taliban, which resists the US invasion and attempted occupation of Afghanistan, fighting the US superpower to a standstill after 11 years, came to be designated as terrorists. Nor does the US presstitute media want to know how tribesmen in remote regions of Pakistan came to be designated as “terrorists” deserving of US drone attacks on the citizens, schools and medical clinics of a country with which the US is not at war.
Instead the media protects and perpetrates the hoax that has given America the police state. The American media has become Leni Riefenstahl, as has Hollywood with the anti-Muslim propaganda film, Zero Dark Thirty. This propaganda film is a hate crime that spreads Islamophobia. Nevertheless, the film is likely to win awards and to sink Americans into both tyranny and a hundred-year war in the name of fighting the Muslim threat.
What I learned many years ago as a professor is that movies are important molders of Americans‘ attitudes.  Once, after giving a thorough explanation of the Russian Revolution that led to communist rule, a student raised his hand and said: “That’s not the way it happened in the movie.”
At first I thought he was making a witty joke, but then I realized that he thought that the truth resided in the movie, not in the professor who was well versed in the subject. Ever since I have been puzzled how the US has survived for so long, considering the ignorance of its population.  Americans have lived in the power of the US economy. Now that this power is waning, sooner or later Americans will have to come to terms with reality.
It is a reality that will be unfamiliar to them.
Some Americans claim that we have had police states during other wartimes and that once the war on terror is won, the police state will be dismantled. Others claim that government will be judicious in its use of the power and that if you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to fear.
These are reassurances from the deluded. The Bush/Obama police state is far more comprehensive than Lincoln’s, Wilson’s, or Roosevelt’s, and the war on terror is open-ended and is already three times longer than World War II. The Police State is acquiring “squatter’s rights.”
Moreover, the government needs the police state in order to protect itself from accountability for its crimes, lies, and squandering of taxpayers‘ money.  New precedents for executive power have been created in conjunction with the Federalist Society which, independent of the war on terror, advocates the “unitary executive” theory, which claims the president has powers not subject to check by Congress and the Judiciary. In other words, the president is a dictator if he prefers to be.
The Obama regime is taking advantage of this Republican theory. The regime has used the Republican desire for a strong executive outside the traditional checks and balances together with the fear factor to complete the creation of the Bush/Cheney police state.