The pretense of Russian Special Forces and military advisers in Syria is a further sign Moscow is drawing a line in the sand in the Middle East to let Israel, the United States and others in the West know it will not permit the overthrow of another government there. Units of Russia's special forces, Spetsnaz, left Sevastopol on Dec. 4, 2011, on board the Black Sea fleet patrol ship Ladny, which linked up with the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and other vessels weeks later in the Mediterranean. On January 8, 2012, they sailed into the Syrian port of Tartus, where Russia . has a large naval facility. It was there that a US spy satellite reportedly caught Spetsnaz military advisers and weapons being unloaded into Syria. The Russian move should not have come as a surprise to Tel Aviv or Washington. Sooner or later, Russia was going to put its foot down after it became apparent Israel was close to dragging the US into a war with Iran and had Washington's for covert strategies to overthrow the Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad. For some time, Israel and its backers on Capitol Hill have failed to recognize Russia has a strategic interest in the region and is never going to permit a reshaping of the map of the Middle East to suit Israel and the United States. There are big issues at stake that the hawks in Tel Aviv and Washington ignore at their peril. Beginning with Iran, Russia sees it as a major energy source and a doorway to the Caucasus and the Caspian Basin. The Iranians fear if that doorway were to be closed by the creation of a pro-Zionist regime in Iran, Russia and China's energy pathways would be in jeopardy. To reinforce that point, on January 12, Dmitry Rogozi, Russia's deputy prime minister, warned an attack on Iran would threaten Russia's national security. A similar view was expressed in the past by Vladimir Putin, who was recently elected for the third time as Russian president.
Public education and even modern science are relatively new developments in human history. So it makes sense that it would have taken the populace a while to catch up to understanding that evolution did happen, and that angels probably aren't real. But recent polling data suggests that gradual acceptance of the facts may not be the trend when it comes to the theory of evolution. In the 30 years since Gallup started asking people whether they believe humans evolved, evolved under the guidance of God, or were created fully formed by God, the percentage of people adhering to the creationist view has actually gone up slightly over time, and now stands at 46 percent of the population. This is just the tip of the iceberg of a growing problem of public rejection of science. At the same time, there's been a steady rise in people who believe that humanity evolved without any supernatural guidance, and now stands at 15 percent. What this seeming conflict suggests is that the issue is getting more polarized, as people feel they either have to pick Team Evolution or Team Creationism. It turns out that education isn't enough to fight ignorance, not when it comes to heavily politicized issues like evolutionary theory. As Chris Mooney argues in his book "The Republican Brain", political identity generally trumps sober-minded assessment of the facts when it comes to convincing people of an argument or idea. The theory of evolution isn't being rejected on its merits by the people who don't buy it. It really can't be by someone who is honestly assessing the evidence.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is directing $1.1 million to fit students in seven US public school districts with galvanic skin response bracelets. The devices are designed to measure students' receptivity to teachers lessons through biometric technology that reads and records skin conductance, a form of electro-dermal activity that grows higher during states such as boredom or relaxation. The funding is part of the Gates Foundations $49.5 million Measures of Effective Teachers project that is presently experimenting with teacher evaluation systems. As Melinda Gates put it on the PBS News Hour, What the Foundation feels our job is to do is to make sure we create a system where we can have an effective teacher in every single classroom across the United States. The effort of extraordinarily wealthy elites to further subvert educational practices through neuromarketing techniques, is the latest example in a long sequence of educational reforms, dating to the early 1900s. Indeed, the Gates Foundations fixation on stimulus-response measurement and data collection is a fitting chapter of this history. State sanctioned education in the United States has become a type of task-oriented training, quite apart from what education once involved, the cultivation of the human will and intellect. Children in most public schools today receive this type of conditioning, while the more affluent often send their offspring to private institutions or home school. What passes for education today, is to a significant degree the legacy of late-nineteenth-to-early-twentieth century German psychologist Wilhelm Wundt and the Rockefeller family's philanthropic project. A professor at University of Leipzig, Wundt was the originator of what he termed a new or experimental psychology of any of its potential philosophical concerns with the soul, will, or self-determination of the individual.
Is the sky falling on this Beacon on the Hill, ending a century of Yankee dominance, crushing the greatest, most brashly exceptional nation known to mankind? Is this worldwide wonder of freedom and democracy, the intersection of divine history and human destiny, kaput, on its last legs, about to implode? Not quite, not yet, and that's no endorsement of the status quo: powers-that-be hold high trump cards. Every generation endures end-of-the world scenarios, and we still dread last century's, nuclear holocaust. Drama, let alone anxiety, commands our attention and heartstrings, Pandemics, portable nukes, fiery asteroids, religious mania, starvation, right-wing nuts, and looming climate change, all threaten millions. But anxiety, even nightmare projections, do not mean Armageddon is upon us, nor that pundits suddenly clasp reliable crystal balls. Discretion is the better part of this valor. Global warming looms, likely to cut world population and food production, but that's not extinction or end of times, or displacing destructive capitalism. Want good news? Harvard professor Steven Pinker argues our belligerent species has cut our wartime-violence killing sprees. Are we not exiting Iraq, sort of? Life expectancies, even for the impoverished, grow annually, if you count enough people. Only 43 Americans endured capital punishment in 2011, half the 2000 totals, mostly in W's Texas. Okay, we live in grim times, but take heart: we don't guillotine yet. And most of life's simple pleasures haven't been banned, yet. No doubt, systemic cracks abound, thanks to myopic leadership blunders, not just across state and national politics but corporate's best and brightest, sports leagues, and fundamentalist denominations that turn Jesus into a racist warmonger. Pedophilia, misogyny and reaction still stalk the west's oldest organized church. But even wobbly, distrusted centers, like moons and planets, can wobble in place a good long time.
Back in September 2001, Dick Cheney was, according to Jane Mayer in "The Dark Side" being chauffeured around Washington "in an armored motorcade that varied its route to foil possible attackers." In the backseat of his car, just in case, adds Myer, "rested a duffel bag stocked with a gas mask and biochemical survival suit." And lest danger rear its head, "rarely did he travel without a medical doctor in tow." Ah, weren't those the days? How quiet, how boring his life must be now, his new ticker in place, hosting fundraisers for Mitt Romney in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, auctioning off lunches with himself for charity, and, for a little genuine excitement, slamming President Obama as an "unmitigated disaster." And yet, what if thousands of miles from Washington, years from his "taking off the gloves" heyday, promoting "enhanced interrogation techniques," and plunking for invasions in the Greater Middle East, his ghost still lives in the nation's capital, and not in some vague way somewhere in the Republican opposition, but deep in the beating heart of the Obama administration. It's the sort of thought that should take you aback, and yet Michael Klare, TomDispatch regular and author, most recently of "The Race for What's Left: The Global Scramble for the World's Last Resources, makes the case that the Cheney ticker is beating hard right now in President Obama's chest. Don't believe it? Then, take a deep dive into Obama's world. Is Barack Obama Morphing Into Dick Cheney? Four Ways the President Is Pursuing Cheney's Geopolitics of Global Energy!
When Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase Bank, appeared before the Senate Banking Committee on June 13, he was wearing cufflinks bearing the presidential seal. Was Dimon trying to send any particular message by wearing the presidential cufflinks? Asked CNBC editor John Carney. Was he subtly hinting that he really was the guy in charge? The groveling of the Senators was so obvious that Jon Stewart did a spoof news clip on it, featured in a Huffington Post piece titled Jon Stewart Blasts Senates Coddling Of JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and Matt Taibbi wrote an op-ed called Senators Grovel, Embarrass Themselves at Dimon Hearing. He said the whole thing was painful to watch. What is going on with this panel of senators? asked Stewart. They-re sucking up to Jamie Dimon like they're on JP Morgans payroll. The explanation in a news clip that followed was that JP Morgan Chase is the biggest campaign donor to many of the members of the Banking Committee. That is one obvious answer, but financial analysts Jim Willie and Rob Kirby think it may be something far larger, deeper, and more ominous. They contend that the $3 billion-plus losses in London hedging transactions that were the subject of the hearing can be traced, not to European sovereign debt, as alleged, but to the record-low interest rates maintained on US government bonds. The national debt is growing at $1.5 trillion per year. Ultra-low interest rates MUST be maintained to prevent the debt from overwhelming the government budget. Near-zero rates also need to be maintained, because even a moderate rise would cause multi-trillion dollar derivative losses for the banks, and would remove the banks chief income stream!
Recently a contradictory, but in important areas, remarkably sunny opinion poll on progress in Iraq, conducted in April, was released. It was, it has to be said, a divide and rule sort of survey as it split respondents in to Shia, Sunny, Kurdish. The Shia, obviously were largely supportive of Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki, from the Iranian backed Dawa Party. However, for those in the West wishing a phoenix to rise from Iraq's ashes, the illegal invasion, occupation, destruction, resultant mass graves of maybe one and a half million beings, the million orphans, the over four million displaced, the unimaginable, near industrial scale, often daily carnage, nearly a decade on incredibly, things are looking up: Around half the respondents thought Iraq was going in the right direction, and that Nuri al Maliki was OK at the steering wheel. Don't mention torture, secret prisons, hasty swathes of executions and a largely more than questionable judiciary. Near three quarter polled said it: Was more important to have a strong leader to keep Iraq stable, even if it meant giving up some freedoms. Arguably then, they would have done better with President Saddam Hussein. He even managed to keep the lights and water on for longer, the streets safe and grenade and car bomb free, with the exception of the occasional car bombs, allegedly courtesy of CIA-backed, former post-invasion, interim, allegedly British passport holding Prime Minister Iyad Allawis Iraq National Accords handiwork. Seemingly, if an election were held immediately, al Malikis Dawa Party would be a popular choice. An unasked question was whether that would be because of of the cited fraud, death threats, confiscation of the life-line ration cards until people voted the right way, as in previous free and fair, post-invasion elections.
"The first 24 hours of the invasion will be decisive, the fate of Germany depends on the outcome for the Allies, as well as Germany, it will be the longest day." Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. On June 6 1944, the armies of "Britain, the Empire, and America,"supported by mighty naval and air forces, were hurled across the English Channel to "exterminate" Nazi tyranny. During the preceding night, paratroopers and glider-born assault troops had boldly landed behind the invasion beaches. Allied naval flotillas comprising 7 battleships, 25 cruisers, 105 destroyers, 4,021 landing ships, landing craft, and barges, and with two prefabricated artificial harbors in tow, were unchallenged by the meager German naval units remaining in occupied France. The thousands of fighters and bombers of the western allies controlled the skies over the channel and far inland as well, making daylight movement by enemy ground units perilous. This titanic endeavor was, and remains, history's greatest amphibious invasion, but despite the overwhelming allied superiority on land, sea, and air, success was far from certain. Realizing the invasion could fail, General Eisenhower famously prepared a message accepting responsibility for the defeat of Operation Overlord. Thankfully, that message proved unnecessary. What many in the west fail to acknowledge is the central role played by the USSR in the allied victory on D-Day and throughout the war. On 6 June 1944, nearly two thirds of the German Army was far from Normandy, on the defensive and hard pressed by the Red Army and Red Air Force.
From June 20 to 22, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio20, in Rio de Janeiro, will highlight the presence of more than 115 heads of state and government. They will focus on discussions on the defense of the environment with sustainable development and social inclusion. Attention will be focused on the presidents Francois Hollande (France) Vladimir Putin (Russia) and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran), among others. For the first time, Hollande, who took office in the last 15 days, will come to Latin America. In a speech in favor of sustainable development and efforts in search of the fight against hunger and poverty, the French have the sympathy of several Latin American presidents, including President Rousseff. For the second time in the presidency of Russia, Putin is considered one of the main leaders of the world. He promotes, along with China and Iran, actions to prevent military intervention in Syria, whose social and political crisis has been ongoing for the last 15 months. Russia is also responsible for preventing the adoption of more restrictive measures against the government of Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad. Ahmadinejad will travel to Brazil for the second time. The first was in 2009, when he met with then President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. His visit comes as Iran is to resume negotiations with the international community in trying to end the impasse over their nuclear program. The presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the President of China, Hu Jintao, and South Africa, Jacob Zuma, who make up the BRICS, a group formed by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Latin American presidents will also attend: Cristina Kirchner (Argentina), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Rafael Correa (Ecuador) and Jose Pepe Mujica (Uruguay), among others.
A political deal will be struck to save the Democrat Party from total collapse and protect the Republican Party from revelations of complicity in the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people. A growing number of Americans are now learning that Barack Obama, according to Article II, Section I, Clause 5 of the US Constitution, is an illegal President. The law requires a candidate for the Presidency to be a "natural born citizen," that is, a second generation American, a US citizen, whose parents were also US citizens at the time of the candidate's birth. Obama's father was a citizen of Kenya and a British subject at the time of his birth, which made him forever ineligible for the Presidency. Practically speaking, that issue is not a problem for Obama, because the Republican Party also wants to violate the Constitution. Many Republicans are aggressively advocating Florida Senator Marco Rubio as Mitt Romney's Vice Presidential candidate. Rubio is ineligible because, even though he was born in the United States, his parents were Cuban citizens at the time of his birth. Since 1975, both Democrat and Republican politicians have been trying unsuccessfully to amend Article II, Section I, Clause 5 of the US Constitution. The election of Obama has allowed them to do so, not legally, but by "fait accompli."According to the wishes of Democrat and Republican politicians, Anwar al-Awlaki, killed by a drone strike on September 30, 2011, was eligible to be President because he was born in New Mexico of Yemeni parents. Al-Awlaki was the "spiritual leader" of al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula, whose sermons at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia were attended by two hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks, Nawaf al-Hamzi and Hani Hanjour. Likewise, accused Fort Hood shooter and alleged al-Awlaki disciple, Nidan Malik Hasan, is eligible to be President because he was born in Virginia of Palestinian parents. There are also persistent questions about the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate, Selective Service registration and his use of a Social Security number not issued to him, all serious crimes with the potential for lengthy prison sentences.
Sunday's elections in Greece brought victory to the center-right New Democracy, which has favored a bank-friendly bailout of the economy, over the leftist Syriza party. The middle class, it seems, got scared of losing everything and looked to the conservatives for protection. So what will the New Democracy party do with the harsh austerity package Greece has been handed? Will it even be able to form a government? Will Greece get any real relief? And what does it all mean to you and me? For the short term, it appears we won't have a "Grexit" a Greek exit from the Euro, which has led many commentators to suggest that a crisis has been averted. A typical Bloomberg article takes that line: "Greece avoids chaos: Big Hurdles Loom." But how, exactly, is the acceptance of an ill-advised austerity program, even if cosmetic adjustments are made, going to help hospitals get access to essential medical supplies? If the Greek government is made to enforce a program that is killing its private sector by cutting spending and not paying legitimate bills, and the unemployment rate creeps towards 25 percent in general and 50 percent for youth, you can be sure that the social fabric in Greece will continue to fray. To paraphrase Pete Townsend, meet the new chaos, same as the old chaos. Greece and the entire euro-zone are continuing down the road to hell, where financiers are highway robbers and ordinary people are attacked at every step!
Back in 1992, the Pentagons' Joint Chiefs of Staff held a "Strategy Essay Competition." The winner was a National War College student paper entitled, "The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012."Authored by Colonel Charles J Dunlap, Jr, the paper is a well documented,"darkly imagined excursion into the future." The ostensibly fictional work is written from the perspective of an imprisoned senior military officer about to be executed for opposing the military takeover of America, a coup accomplished through "legal" means. The essay makes the point that the coup was the outgrowth of trends visible as far back as 1992, including the massive diversion of military forces to civilian uses, particularly law enforcement. Colonel Dunlap cites what he considered a dangerous precedent, the 1981 Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies Act, an act that sanctioned US military engagement with law enforcement in domestic support operations, including civil disturbance operations. The act codified the lawful status and use of military assets in domestic police work. Since that time, the American people have been subject to a series of deeper encroachments upon our basic freedoms, increasingly extensive deployment of military operations on the home front, perpetrated by a corporate driven military mission creep that now claims the right and duty to arrest and detain us on the word of a Pentagon or White House operative. President Obama's signing of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), whose Section 1021 sanctions the military detention of American citizens without charge!
"In order to facilitate the action of "liberative" forces, a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals. Once a political decision has been reached to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria, CIA is prepared, and MI6 will attempt to mount minor sabotage and "coup de main" incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals. Incidents should not be concentrated in Damascus. Further, a "necessary degree of fear - frontier incidents and staged border clashes", would provide a pretext for intervention. The CIA and MI6 should use capabilities in both psychological and action fields to augment tension."(Joint US-UK leaked Intelligence Document, London and Washington, 1957). In this online interactive I-book, we bring to the attention of our readers a selection of feature articles on the Syrian crisis. Our objective is to dispel the tide of media lies and government propaganda, which presents the events in Syria as a "peaceful protest movement". The "protests" did not emanate from internal political cleavages as described by the mainstream media. From the very outset, they were the result of a covert US-NATO intelligence operation geared towards triggering social chaos, with a view to eventually discrediting the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad, and destabilizing Syria as a Nation State. Since the middle of March 2011, Islamist armed groups, covertly supported by Western and Israeli intelligence, have conducted terrorist attacks directed against government buildings including acts of arson. Amply documented, trained gunmen and snipers, including mercenaries have targeted the police, armed forces as well as innocent civilians.
Yes, it was bound to happen, and now it's here: A full fledged Jewish Police State with Jewish-enabled US Military Drones, 30,000 of them by 2015, spying and armed against you and me: No one realized that Jew Levin's NDAA carried a Drone statute that after 90 days the US military would be flooding our skies with Jew-enabled Drones: America is Jew-owned and Jew spied. Jews have taken over both on the ground and in the skies. I am determined to take Jewry down. Plans are now being made preparing a law suit to bring down the Hanukkah Menorah from the White House Lawn, and that will be just the beginning, but I need your help. I've got the energy, the time, the will to see Jewry Destroyed. It was bound to happen sooner or later, a frightening scenario that makes Orwell's 1984 look like a children's bedtime story. For with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act last January, known as the NDAA, not only is the US military empowered to arrest any American citizen without charges or trial, but also, after a 90 day waiting period, and that period is up now, to share US air space with civilian aircraft. Military Drones, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAVs, barely seen from the ground and remotely controlled from Air Force bases, Predators, Reapers, used in Afghanistan, about to be unleashed on us: Up to 30,000 of them with 3,000 pound payloads and heat sensitive surveillance cameras. on It's a whole new way to wage war, and that war is about to be waged us. The sponsor of the NDAA, Jewish Senator Carl Levin, who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee, Chuckie Schumer, head of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security, look upon the rest of us as "enemies" of their Judaic Police State!
Daily Caller reporter Neil Monroe interrupts Obama's immigration announcement: Barack Obama demonstrated that he wants the GOP to believe he is desperate in his efforts to win re-election in November. Just one week before Barack Obama is to travel to Orlando, Florida to address National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, he announces yet another illegal and unconstitutional Executive Order where he has directed the Department of Homeland Security to NOT enforce the Laws of the United States. Its important for the American People and the GOP to NOT to not fall for "Obama is desperate so he is pandering for the Hispanic vote, " because as he sees it, if you fall for it and respond as if this is the case, it may very well come back to bite you. Today's announcement comes just days after the Obama campaign begun running a bevy of Spanish language ad's on Florida TV and Radio stations saying Mitt Romney does not care about the poor, that Romney has made millions of dollars out of putting people out of work, and more. Yes, we listen to the Spanish Radio stations 100.3 FM and 98 out of Orlando! Many will, and have already begun arguing that many of the people Obama has ordered protected from deportation procedures are 'not a threat to national security or to public safety.' In fact, Barack Obama today said that most of these individuals are already working, which, if correct, is a criminal act in and of itself, and with his action would allow them to do so legally, paying into the Social Security trust fund etc. When Obama and/or anyone else makes the argument that "these individuals by no fault of their own," such argument falls flat when the very individuals you say are law abiding members of society, have knowingly committed fraud in using Social Security Numbers that are not issued to them!
Hundreds of families have volunteered for a government study to spray their suburban yards with pesticide, which researchers hope can protect them from Lyme disease, but that environmentalists warn is unsafe. The goal, federal and state health officials say, is to find a new way to prevent the widespread illness, which is spread by tick bites and can cause fever, headaches and fatigue, and if untreated, may even affect joints, nerves and the heart. Half of the 185 families who've signed up this year in Maryland's Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties are having the edges of their yards sprayed by bifenthrin, a pesticide commonly applied around homes to fight ticks, fleas and mosquitoes. The others, without knowing it, are getting their property sprayed with water, so officials can judge the effectiveness of the treatment. "The question is, does it actually prevent a common, sometimes severe disease, and second, what's the lowest dose you can do?" said Dr Clifford S Mitchell, assistant director for environmental health and food protection in the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Environmental activists, though, contend that the study itself is putting the families at risk. Adults and children alike are being exposed to a pesticide that is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a possible carcinogen, critics say, and that is being studied by the EPA for possible harm to reproductive and immune systems, among other things. "It's improper to be conducting a human experiment like this," says Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, a national group based in Washington.
At a press conference held on June 4, marking the beginning of China's presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of June, Li Baodong, Chinas Ambassador to the UN, observed that there are different versions of the facts of the Houla Massacre. Now we have different stories from different angles, he noted. Now we have the story from the Syrian government, and from the opposition parties, and from different sources. Since the Security Council has a team on the ground, we want to see first-hand information from our own people. He hoped this would make it possible to put the different pieces of information together and to come to our own conclusion with our own judgment. The expectation was that Joint UN-Arab League Envoy Kofi Annan would be able to provide further information from the UNSMIS Observer mission when he came to speak with the Security Council on Thursday, June 7. It was anticipated that Annans presentation would help to clarify the facts of the massacre. On June 7, however, instead of providing new information from such an investigation, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and several of the other speakers at the Informal General Assembly (GA) meeting put the responsibility for the Houla Massacre on the Assad government. This was also the dominant response of the nations that spoke at the Informal GA meeting, even though there had not yet been any adequate investigation into facts of the situation. Also, there were claims of a new massacre. Some of the member nations that spoke at the Informal GA meeting, however, objected to coming to such a conclusion,especially, in the absence of an adequate investigation.
Albert Einstein, May 1946: "Our world is faced with a crisis that has never before been envisaged in its whole existence. The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift towards unparallelled catastrophe." As the bad news gradually spreads that the debacle at Fukushima nuclear power plant #1 is becoming more perilous rather than less so, the words of Albert Einstein come to mind. Recall that the legendary physicist, Einstein, helped to set in motion the Manhattan Project, whose personnel designed and built the first atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. In his letter to US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939, Einstein warned that if the United States did not enter and win the race to harness the destructive potential of atomic weaponry, Germany would almost certainly do so! The Manhattan Project became a primary prototype for the Research and Development, R and D partnerships linking the US government and for-profit corporations in what Dwight D Eisenhower would later describe as the military-industrial complex. Einstein himself did not directly participate in this huge initiative aimed at defeating the Axis powers, linking Japan with Germany and Italy. One of the twentieth century's most iconographic thinkers watched from the sidelines as other physicists and technologists applied many of Einstein's theories to the building of atomic weaponry. After Japan lay in ruins, not only from the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also from the massive carpet bombing of Tokyo and several other urban centers, Einstein went public with his fears and anxieties. In famous passages that have been subject to various translations and paraphrasing, Einstein observed, Our world is faced with a crisis that has never before been envisaged in its whole existence. The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking!
If anyone could spare just a minute (30 seconds?) to vote in a poll, it would be VERY much appreciated. Local activists here in Oregon are trying to stop a "Social Cleansing" of our homeless population, which our local police have been quite ruthless towards. Please vote "YES" to the poll question: Should the Eugene City Council grant the request to provide land for a homeless camp? For further information about how bad the problem is, here is an EXCELLENT letter on the subject written by a local activist: "Countless times, I've looked-on in horror as downtown cops have roughly shoved old vets around, man-handled elderly gents for the crime of holding an 'anything helps' cardboard sign. I've seen squad cars parked wildly on sidewalks Starsky & Hutch style, and had steroid-aggressive uniforms gesture wildly to 'keep moving' so there are fewer witnesses as their class-cops rough up the poor downtown. Bank robbery in progress? More often, some jug-band buskers, Jaywalkers, Loiterers in tie-dye. Well meaning people keep bringing this very real and ongoing concern to City Hall, but it was City Hall who found 7 mil for downtown policing, on behalf of a vocal elite-primarily three high-end restauranteurs, a bourgeois social club, and some misguided able viewers who only race downtown in over-sized white vehicles, endangering pedestrians en route to big-box franchises and malls in the suburbs, anyway. The first three years I lived downtown, it felt like a happy haven for bohemians and academics. I spent countless hours at Saturday Market, sitting around the Park Blocks, admiring all the beautiful artwork in downtown windows, watching shows at WOW Hall, seeing Frank Black in the window of Cosmic. Loved the "Unfine" Art Museum, Cosmic, the Kiva, etc.
The Obama administration's blockbuster immigration announcement is a huge victory to "progressives" and immigration rights activists, and puts Republicans in a very awkward situation. It's only a few hours old, but we are already seeing how Republicans will likely respond to this move, which fundamentally changes the parameters of the presidential campaign on the key issue of immigration. But first the policy: The administration will stop deporting young undocumented immigrants, who meet certain criteria. They have to have graduated from a US high school or earned a GED or served in the military, have no criminal record, be younger than 30 and have been brought to the US under the age of 16, by no fault of their own, as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on a conference call with reporters this morning. These approximately 800,000 immigrants will have an opportunity to obtain work permits, which will give them legal status in the country. Essentially, the administration is using its executive authority to implement the dream act, the much discussed policy that many Republicans used to support, but no longer. Now for the politics. The move puts Republicans, who are torn internally over immigration, and especially Mitt Romney, in a very uncomfortable spot: Romney has repeatedly said that he would veto a "Dream Act" if elected president, and Kris Kobach, his hard-right immigration adviser and the author of Arizona's notorious immigration law, has said the candidate will not support anything that gives undocumented immigrants a path to legal status!
In the fact that military drones are already being used in tandem with law enforcement in order to conduct warrant-less surveillance on the American people wasn't troubling enough, we now have 110 potential drone bases on US soil. Let's not forget that drones have also been used to help carry out arrests and with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accelerating the integration of these unmanned crafts into our airspace and the drone industry boasting about their influence over "our" government, we can only expect more. The newly released document, which was originally reported on by Inside Defense, is a report to Congress,which lists every one of the 110 potential sites, as well as the models of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), better known as drones, which will fly out of said site: These bases span 39 out of 50 states, as well as bases in Guam and Puerto Rico. The drones which will operate out of these sites range from the relatively tiny AeroVironment RQ-11B Raven to the considerably larger General Atomics MQ-1 Predator and beyond. Indeed, many of the drones listed are far from the usual drones I would expect to see, such as the RQ-4 Block 10 Global Hawk, produced by Northrop Grumman, which is to be operated out of NAS (Naval Air Station) Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida, as well as the RQ-4 Block 10 Global Hawk, produced by Northrop Grumman, which is to be operated out of NAS (Naval Air Station) Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida, as well as the RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk to be operated out of Grand Forks Air Base in North Dakota.
After the US begins to wind down more than ten consecutive years of combat, mainly counter -insurgency, operations in what has variously been labeled the Broader, Greater and New Middle East, war-tested troops are being prepared for redeployment to Africa and Latin, largely South America. Last September President Barack Obama hailed the five million US soldiers that have served in the so-called global war on terror, what he called the 9/11 generation, in the preceding decade. American commanders issue regular statements that war-time experience in Afghanistan and Iraq has trained the armed forces for new operations in other parts of the world. Africa, Latin America, those parts of the Middle East so far not undermined and attacked, the Balkans-Black Sea-Caucasus arc and the Asia-Pacific region. On June 8, the Gannett newspaper chain's Army Times cited the commander of US Army Africa, Major General David Hogg, disclosing that a brigade-size force of US troops, 3,000 "and likely more" will begin regular deployments to the African continent beginning next year. As a component of US Army Africa's regionally aligned force concept, the American military personnel will concentrate on training the armed forces of US Africa Command's new military allies, which have grown to include all 54 African nations, except for Eritrea, Sudan and Zimbabwe after the overthrow of the governments of Ivory Coast and Libya last year, and, in Pentagonese, to advise, assist, partner, enable and mentor in counterinsurgency campaigns like those underway in Mali, Somalia and Central Africa. As Africa is alone in not being the site of extensive and sustained US military deployments, according to Hogg As far as our mission goes, its uncharted territory. In the words of the Army Times, Africa is "the Army's last frontier."