Peter Van Buren: America Will Never Recover from Bush's Foreign Policy Disaster!

I was there, and there was nowhere, and nowhere was the place to be, if you wanted to see the signs of the end times for the American Empire up close. It was the place to be, if you wanted to see the madness, yes, it was madness, not filtered through a complacent and sleepy media, that made Washington's war policy seem, if not sensible, at least sane and serious enough. I stood at Ground Zero of what was intended to be the new centerpiece for a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the invasion of Iraq turned out to be a joke. Not for the Iraqis, of course, and not for American soldiers, and not the ha ha sort of joke either, and here's the saddest truth of all. On March 20th, as we mark the tenth anniversary of the invasion from hell, we still don't get it. In case you want to jump to the punch line though, it's like this: By invading Iraq, the US did more than to stabilize the Middle East, than we could possibly have imagined at the time, and we, and so many others, will pay the price for it for a long, long time! The Madness of King George. It's easy to forget, just how normal the madness looked back then. By 2009, when I arrived in Iraq, we were already at the last gasp moment, when it came to salvaging something from what may be seen as the single worst foreign policy decision in American history. It was then that, as a State Department officer assigned to lead two provincial reconstruction teams in eastern Iraq, I first walked into a chicken processing plant in the middle of nowhere. By then, the US reconstruction plan for that country was drowning in rivers of money, foolishly spent. As the centerpiece for those American efforts, at least after Plan A, that our invading troops would be greeted with flowers and sweets as liberators, crashed and burned, we had managed to reconstruct nothing of significance. First conceived as a Marshall Plan for the New American Century, six long years later, it had devolved into farce. In my act of the play, the US spent some $2.2 million dollars, to build a huge facility in the boondocks. Ignoring the stark reality, that Iraqis had raised and sold chickens locally for some 2,000 years, the US decided to finance the construction of a central processing facility, have the Iraqis running the plant purchase local chickens, pluck them, and slice them up with complex machinery brought from Chicago, package the breasts and wings in plastic wrap, and then truck it all to local grocery stores. Perhaps it was the desert heat, but this made sense at the time, and the plan was supported by the Army, the State Department, and the White House!    

Jonas E. Alexis: "King Bibi" Vs. the West!

Rabbi Yaacov Perrin: "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail" Mahim Maher of the Jewish Journal declared of the terrorist group Lashkar e Jhangvi last month that "I don't understand why the government, law enforcement agencies and the courts cannot just convict these terrorists once and for all. The politicians are so scared of them, and indeed so are the police, that no one takes action against them, writes against them, or convicts them. Even the judges are afraid, because these killers never forget, and never forgive. No one has the courage to deal with this problem, and all those mothers and wives who lost their loved ones, those children who lost their fathers will not forgive us for it." In the same vein, top US general James Mattis, a person who has been pushing a hawkish decision on Iran, declared of the Syrian rebels, "We don't want to inadvertently, with the best of intentions, arm people who are basically sworn enemies." But since Mattis is for the collapse of Iran, he subtly said, "The collapse of the Assad regime would be the biggest strategic setback for Iran in 25 years." All right. We all know that the Syrian rebels are largely terrorists by now. How, then, do they get the support of the neo conservative Zionist mafia? The answer is relatively simple: Israel and the Zionist regime in the West, pretend that they are fighting terrorism, but they are actually blessing terrorism by sponsoring terrorist cells, both strategically and monetarily. Next month, we will even see that the late Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir, was a terrorist, and the West knew this, yet Shamir never got water boarded, or even questioned by the west for his terrorist crimes. Where are Sam Harris and Steven Pinker, and Alan Dershowitz, and the neoconservative hawks, when you need them? But since the media is largely under the guiding principles of the Zionist mafia, they tell the American people what to think. In the process, 99 percent of Americans came to believe that Iranian nukes are a threat, while US intelligence and former CIA agents such as Paul R. Pillar tell us otherwise. Moreover, when Iran does not show any evidence that it is building nuclear weapons, the Zionist regime tells us that Iran is deceiving us. "We are deeply concerned with what appears to be Iran's unwavering commitment to deception, defiance, and delay, declared Joseph Macmanus, the US ambassador to the IAEA.      

Tony Cartalucci: US Plots Conquest of Venezuela in Wake

of Chavez' death! US corporate financier funded think tank, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), declared in its "post Chavez checklist for US policy makers," that the US must move quickly to reorganize Venezuela according to US interests. Upon its checklist for US policy makers were "key demands": The ouster of narco kingpins who now hold senior posts in government. The respect for a constitutional succession. The adoption of meaningful electoral reforms, to ensure a fair campaign environment, and a transparent vote count in expected presidential elections, and The dismantling of Iranian and Hezbollah networks in Venezuela. In reality, AEI is talking about dismantling entirely the obstacles that have prevented the US, and the corporate financier interests that direct it, from installing a client regime, and extracting entirely Venezuela's wealth, while obstructing, even dismantling, the progress and geopolitical influence achieved by the late President Hugo Chavez throughout South America and beyond. The AEI 'checklist' continues by stating: Now is the time for US diplomats to begin a quiet dialogue with key regional powers to explain the high cost of Chavez's criminal regime, including the impact of "chavista" complicity with narco-trafficers who sow mayhem in Columbia, Central America, and Mexico. Perhaps then, we can convince regional leaders to show solidarity with Venezuelan democrats, who want to restore a commitment to the rule of law, and to rebuild an economy that can be an engine for growth in South America. Of course, by "Venezuelan democrats," AEI means Wall Street backed proxies like Henrique Capriles Radonski, and his Primero Justico (Justice First) political front, two entities the Western media is already gearing up to support ahead of anticipated elections. The West has positioned proxies to strip Venezuela to the bone after Chaves' passing. Primero Justicia (Justice First), was co-founded by Leopoldo Lopez and his Primero Justicia (Justice First) political front, two entries the Western media is already gearing up to support ahead of anticipated elections. The West has positioned Proxies to Strip Venezuela to the bone after Chavez' passing. Primero Justicia was co founded by Leopoldo Lopez and Julio Borges, who, like Radonski, have been backed for nearly a decade by the US State Department. Primero Justicia and the network of foreign funded NGOs that support it, have been recipients of both direct, and indirect foreign support for at least just as long.       


Robert O'Dowd: Marines Need Funds to Publish Non Fiction Book!

Story of murder, narco-trafficking and environmental contamination, written by two Marine veterans. The connection is not a square peg in a square hole, but its damn close. Marine Corps leadership was involved in murder, crime scene cover up, narco trafficking, including cocaine, the drug of choice, the shredding of records, and the denial of injuries from exposure to deadly contaminants at both El Toro and Camp Lejeune. You don't have to believe in conspiracies to understand the threat to freedom of a small but powerful group of people in, and outside of government, subverting the Constitution, effectively executing a coup d' etat. Not in the United States, this is a free country, you must be paranoid, we're the good guys, you say. It is not hyperbole to say that thousands of Americans have fought and died for the right to remain free. Life was often short for those who served and died for the right to remain free. Life was too often for those who served and died to preserve our freedom to ignore the threats of a shadow government. Marine Colonel Jim Sabow placed his television on mute, rose from his easy chair, and left his house on Fifth Street at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro through the patio door. He walked the length of the patio, called the dogs, which were in the back yard, and enclosed them in the garage. This was a practice he routinely followed when visitors were expected. Whether he opened the front door to greet his visitors, or went out the back door onto his patio is not known, but we do know that he had only moments to live. Colonel Sabow, decorated Vietnam fighter with 221 combat missions, met his death at the hand of others. The unexpected blow to the right side of the head was violent, resulting in unconsciousness. Occipital skull fragments penetrated into the back of his brain. He was near death, due to the massive brain stem trauma, in which agonal hyper ventilation characteristic of this type of injury occurs. Sabow was aspirating blood from a wound in his pharynx, that resulted from a basilar skull fracture. In fact, the trachea, bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli were filed with blood, doubling the weight of the right lung. His shotgun was found under his body. No fingerprints on the gun. No suicide note. There was no mention of the tramline bruise, an indicator of the violent blow to his head, in the autopsy report or the crime scene, tampering by three men, who flashed government credentials, forcing Naval Investigative Service (NIS) agents to leave the crime scene.       

Marty Kaplan: Corporate Food Giants Have Reason to Worry!

Some very brave Supermarkets are sharing nutritional score numbers with customers. I couldn't believe my eyes. I was in a Minneapolis branch of Byerly's, an upscale grocery chain in Minnesota. Scanning the aisles for a small extravagance for my dinner hosts, I noticed that the shelf labels included not just the price per unit, which I am used to, but little blue and white linked hexagons marked on a scale of 1 to 100, a "NuVal" score. NuVal scores don't tip you off to a bargain. They tell you how good or bad a food is for your health. Yeah, right. The idea that a food store would admit, would explicitly declare, on the spot, as your hand is reaching for it, that a product it's selling is nutritionally crappy, that violates every principle of Marketing 101, not to mention Ayn Rand 101. This is different from the labels that the US Food and Drug Administration has required since 1990. Those are well intentioned marvels of confusion, containing so much information, are you getting your minimum daily requirement of magnesium?, so much disinformation, calculating calories per serving, when a serving is half the amount a runaway waif would eat, so much incomprehensible information. I forget, is tri potassium phosphate good or bad for you? that you can get an anxiety attack trying to figure out which granola will nourish you, and which will kill you. But NuVal stores make that simple, and sometimes shocking. Cocoa Puffs, for example, gets a NuVal score of 26, but so does Life. "you don't have to be a grown up to benefit from the whole grain inside", and Kashi Strawberry Fields Cereal, plenty of whole grain goodness, gets a 10, same as Cap'n Crunch. An apple gets a 96, which you might expect, but unsweetened applesauce gets a 29, apple juice gets a 15, and Mott's Original Applesauce, a great tasting snack that's actually good for you, gets a 4. Nabisco Nilla Wafers, simple goodness, get a 6, and Keebler Townhouse Bistro Multi Grain Crackers get a 3. You'd expect fresh broccoli to get 100, as does Birds Eye Cooked Winter Squash. Grapefruits are 99, and sweet potatoes are 96, but Vlasic Old Fashioned Sauerkraut gets a 4. Skim milk comes in at 91, 1 percent milk at 91, and 2 percent at 55. Capri Sun gets a 1. So does Odwalla Pomegranate Limeade with 20 percent juice. Who would buy products like these, if they actually knew what empty calories they amount to, and if they had manifestly better alternatives an arm's reach away?    

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers: America's Fiscal Crisis:

Sequester Facts on US Policy Manipulations you should know: Right now, the American people are like frogs in warm sequester water. For some, inundated with all the corporate media talk about out of control spending, the cuts to the deficit feel good right now. But as the sequester takes hold, and federal spending is pulled from the economy, those views are likely to change. US elected officials seem to be focused primarily on making sure the other party is to blame, when in fact both are to blame, and on measuring the political fallout. In many ways, this is part of the battle to determine which arm of the corporate duopoly will have a majority in Congress after the 2014 year elections. But for the rest of us, a large spending cutback by government in the midst of a job crisis, and shrinking GDP is exactly the wrong policy for the economy. The US economy is likely to find itself in a recession, shedding more jobs in 2013 with an increased deficit to GDP level in part because of the sequester, but also because the federal government was already in austerity, shrinking at a very fast rate, despite what the corporate media, pundits and politicians say. Thus the road to a double dip recession has sped up due to the sequestration. Here are some facts you should know: In fact, Zero Hedge published a disconcerting list of twelve recent events that show the next economic collapse may almost be upon us. And, they point out that the sequester will make things worse. Less money in the economy, when big business is not spending, is a sure sign of economic disaster, potentially even deflation, which could lead to worse than a recession. Federal Government Spending Percentage Change: The sequester will cut $85 billion in government spending from March 1 to September 30. It is a 5% cut for most federal spending, but because the fiscal year began on October 1, 2012, five months have already passed, and thus the one year cut is jammed into 7 months. Some agencies, like those providing unemployment benefits, have been unable to prepare, so there are likely to be 10% or so cuts in checks to the unemployed. Other agencies have been able to prepare, so there are likely to be 10% or so cuts in checks to the unemployed. Other agencies have been able to prepare, so there are likely to be 10% or so cuts in checks to the unemployed. Other agencies have been able to prepare somewhat, by not filling vacancies and taking other budgetary actions since last October. And others, which give out grants for research, will be giving out fewer funds in grants. How the sequester will impact agencies, will vary from program to program.        


Amy Goodman: Why the Obama Administration Persecutes Bradley Manning!

The following is a Democracy Now interview with Glenn Greenwald on the terrifying persecution of Bradley Manning. As we broadcast from the Freedom to Connect conference, we look at one whistle-blower, who used the Internet to reveal the horrors of war: US Army Private Bradley Manning. Military prosecutors have decided to bring the maximum charges against Manning, after he admitted during a pretrial hearing last week, to the largest leak of state secrets in US history. In a bid to secure a reduced sentence, Manning acknowledged on the stand, that he gave classified documents to Wiki Leaks, in order to show the American public the "true costs of war" and "spark a debate about foreign policy." Manning pleaded guilty to reduced charges on 10 counts, which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but instead of accepting that plea, military prosecutors announce Friday they will seek to imprison Manning for life without parole, on charges that include aiding the enemy. Manning's court martial is scheduled to begin in June. We speak with Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, who has long covered the case, about what this means for Manning, and its broader implications for whistle blowers, and the journalists they often approach. Glenn, welcome to Democracy Now! Glenn Greenwald: Great to be here. Amy Goodman: Talk about the significance of what the military prosecutors are pushing for now, life without parole for Bradley Manning, and what he said in court last week, not far from here, just down the road at Fort Meade. Glenn Greenwald: There are several levels of significance, the first of which is the most obvious, which is that this is a case of extraordinary prosecutorial overkill. The government has never been able to identify any substantial harm that has come from any of the leaks that Bradley Manning is accused of, and now admits to being responsible for. Certainly no-one has died as a result of these leaks, even though the government originally said that Wiki Leaks and the leaker has blood o their hands. Journalists investigated, and found that there was no evidence for that. So, just the very idea that he should spend decades in prison, let alone be faced with life on parole, given what is that he actually did, and the consequences of it, is really remarkable.     

Jonas E Alexis: Israel and the Zionist Regime Sponsor Terrorism!

The systematic use of terror, especially as means of coercion. "It is quite pedestrian for stupid people to fall for stupid ideas. More interesting, and of greater harm to society, is the phenomenon of smart people falling for stupid ideas. Ph.D.s, high IQs, and intellectual honors are not antidotes to thick headed-ness. Ideologues forgo independent judgment, in favor of having their views handed to them. To succumb to ideology, is to put your brain on autopilot. Ideology preordains your reaction to issues, ideas, and people, your views of politics, philosophy, economics, and history." "Despite the conviction and seeming depth of knowledge with which ideologues speak, they are intellectual weaklings, joiners, who defer to systems of belief and charismatic gurus for their ideas. For an intellectual, this is the unforgivable sin. Intellectuals think. When intellectuals let their ideology do their thinking, we can't with any justification continue to label them intellectuals." Daniel J. Flynn, Intellectual Morons. Terrorism, defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, are "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person, or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons." "Terrorism is the illegal use of extreme force and violence for the purpose of coercing a governmental entity or population to modify its philosophy and direction." William E Dyson, Terrorism: An Investigator's Handbook. Jonathan S Tobin of the neoconservative magazine Commentary, declared at the beginning of last month that "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a leading figure in a tyrannical regime that has murdered untold numbers of his own people, and which funds international terrorism, that has claimed the lives of many Americans, including our soldiers in Iraq." More than thirty years ago, the late Carl Sagan declared that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. Although Sagan did not live up to his skeptical standard on many issues, I partially agree with him on this point. He wrote, "If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything new. You become a crotchety old person, convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. There is, of course, much data to support you!   

Charles Foerster: Neurotoxins in Your Chocolate Milk?

This is a time, when the public has an opportunity to materially affect how they, the consumers, may protect their own health, and that of their offspring for generations to come. In that respect, the timer is running down, and anyone who consumes milk might want to see what the milk producers have planned. The 17 other dairy products on the hit list include: acidified milk, sweetened condensed milk, nonfat dry milk, nonfat dry milk fortified with vitamins A and D, evaporated milk, dry cream, heavy cream, light cream, light whipping cream, sour cream, acidified sour cream, yogurt, low fat yogurt, and non fat yogurt. To summarize the corporate petition, the IDFA and NMPF International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation have petitioned the FDA to seek approval to allow optional characterizing flavoring ingredients in milk, to be chocolate flavoring added to milk, to be sweetened with any safe and suitable sweetener, including non nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame. The Federal Register has the petition listed on their website, where it can be viewed, and comments can be posted. The proposed amendments to the milk standard of identity would be to promote more healthy eating practices, reduce childhood obesity, as well as promote honesty and fair dealing in the marketplace, so they say. A more likely scenario is that by using aspartame to flavor the dairy products, their costs will be lowered, and their profits will increase. Buyers beware. Without doubt, the petitioners are using childhood obesity as the talking point, to sell the idea of using the cheap but toxic aspartame as sweeteners for flavoring in dairy products. While the idea of more healthy eating habits, and a reduction in childhood obesity are obviously good ideas, using additional aspartame in the food chain is counter productive and dangerous. The diets of Americans and their children in particular, are loaded with the substance. Formula: C14H18N205. Molar mass: 294.3 g/mol IUPAC ID: N-(L a Aspartyl) -L phenylaline, 1-methyl ester. Melting point: 246 C Density: 1.35 g/cm3 So why should we be concerned? A study was done by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, which showed adverse health effects to people who consumed aspartame flavored diet drinks. The study suggested that instead of fighting obesity and its associated hazards, the use of aspartame might actually contribute to the conditions.


Tomgram: Victoria Britain, Fighting a Global War on Terror!

The Global War on Terror has had many victims, since it was launched by President George W. Bush, soon after September 11, 2001. In his "crusade," a word used publicly, before he thought better of it. "This crusade," he said, "this war on terrorism", the history of kidnappings and renditions, torture and abuse, imprisonment without charges or trial, drone assassinations and the killing of civilians is by now well known, for those of us who care to know. But there are other less noted kinds of "collateral damage" from more than a decade of such conflict, including damage to women on both sides, or perhaps ends of the war. The New York Times recently ran a two part report on the toll that the war on terror has taken on women in the US military, and it makes for startling reading. Back in January 2012, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta estimated that there could be as many as 19,000 sexual assaults in the US military, not in the whole war or terror era, but in a year of it, only about 3,000 of which actually get reported. Sexual assault and the threat of it, as the times recounted, only adds to the pressures that, in these years, have been placed on American soldiers. They have experienced striking rates of brain injuries, usually from roadside bombs, rising cases of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), soaring suicide rates among both on duty service personnel and veterans, increased use of drugs, legal and illegal, and a striking rise among women veterans in homelessness, a phenomenon that itself, reports the Times, is often connected to being raped, to the Military Sexual Trauma (MST) that follows, and to the PTSD that can follow as well. This, in other words, is one kind of collateral damage, seldom thought of as such, when the war on terror is brought up. On the other end of that war, in a world where terror suspects have next to no recourse, and Washington's record of doing terrible things to innocent men is daunting, are women and children connected to those suspects. As it happens, Victoria Brittain, a journalist and former editor at the British Guardian, has spent these last years with a group of such women. She saw first hand how, in her country as in the US effort more generally, a global war on terror became a global war on terror, a war that, at least in part, turned out to be against women and children. Her book on the subject, Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror, has just been published. Though both of these worlds, the world of the woman warrior and of the woman connected to a suspect in the war, we get, as Noam Chomsky wrote in a comment on her book, "a revealing picture of what we have allowed ourselves to become." Indeed!  

Lynn Stuart Parramore: Outrageous Statements from America's Big Mouthed Overlords.

When the chiefs of giant corporations are not blaming others for their mismanagement and unscrupulous behavior, they're explaining why their distorted worldviews are best for the 99 percent. They do this, of course, at a time of declining national median income, and huge paydays for executives. Recently, there has been an uptick of particularly stupid remarks, coming from the mouths of America's CEOs. Here are a few of the most out of touch and out of line oracles, a mix of recent gaffes and classic blunders. "That's why I'm richer than you." JP Morgan honcho Jamie Dimon has taken time out of his regularly scheduled program of mismanaging a systemically dangerous bank, to divulge why he's richer than the rest of us. Last week, Mike Mayo, who is both an analyst at CLSA, and a critic of too big to fail banks, was on an investor conference call, a forum in which executives typically offer BS about their company's performance. Mayo wasn't having it. He asked pointedly if customers might take their money to better capitalized banks than JPMorgan. Mayo: I think what I hear UBS saying in the presentation is that if I'm an affluent customer I'll feel a lot better going to UBS, if they have 13.5 percent capital ratio, than another big bank with a 10 percent ratio. Do you agree with that? Dimon: You would go to UBS and not JPMorgan? Mayo: I didn't say that. That's their argument. Dimon: That's why I am richer than you. The mystery of Dimon's riches solved! Dimon became 1 per center extraordinaire, because he operates in a lax regulatory climate that lets him get away with low capital ratios. That, of course, is one of the reasons the big banks blew up the economy during the recent financial crisis, they were over leveraged. Which is awful for just about everyone, investors, taxpayers and ordinary people dealing with economic ruin, but it sure is great for Dimon! James Saft over at Reuters was less than impressed by Dimon's musings: "The real issue isn't who is rich, but rather whose interests are being fairly served, and whose aren't. Dimon's approach gives short shrift to both shareholders and taxpayers. Taxpayers still carry substantial risks for which they are not being compensated, a state that will only change, when regulations are tightened, and hopefully vastly simplified. Shareholders do badly, because the kind of bank Dimon runs is prone to loss and volatility, leading markets to set a low value on the bank's earnings."   

Roi Tov, Columnist: Saying Peace, Meaning "War"!

We have our own values. We build or own special, our Jewish life, and we are proud, so very proud. Rabbi Meir Kahane. Maiming by maiming, death by death, killing by killing, peace distances itself from the Middle East. Distances itself, not like the sun during sunset, which in its infinite boredom reappears a few hours later from a different angle, a silly adult trying to scare a smarter baby,but like a star leaving the galaxy's gravitational power, and getting lost in the intergalactic vastness. March 4, 2013, looked like an ordinary day in Hell's Upper Neighborhood with its shouting devils. Yet, in its infinite boredom this day in Hell's Upper Neighborhood with its shouting devils. Yet, in its infinite boredom this day hid worrying news, peace had escaped our galaxy. Jewish Violence Reaches the Court. Hana Amtir Attacked by Religious Jews. Jewish Terrorism in Israel. Today, the Jerusalem District Court disclosed an event that took place last week, in the city's light railway. A Palestinian woman named Hana Amtir was attacked by three religious Jewish women. The event was caught by police video. The police representative in court, Jacky Ben Yakar admitted "in the video the girls are seen attacking the accuser, the latter is seen defending herself." Attackers Protected by the State. Generals in the Cabinet Room: How the Military Shapes Israeli Policy! The attacking girls, minors, asked Hana if she was an Arab. When Hana admitted that she was, she was hit and spat upon by the beasts. The police admitted that it was "nationalistic crime", and the investigation was delegated to a new unit of district's police, which specializes in this. The Jewish girls were sent home. A Court orders forbid disclosing their identities, thus the camouflage on the pictures. In contrast, Hana Amtir, the victim, has been exposed by the authorities. They have knowingly put her in danger. From now on, she will probably be persecuted by the attackers' relatives. They know where she stops every day, and there are good pictures of her on the media. Judges in Jerusalem, which devil hired you? A Muslim Jew Attacked by Israel: "While he was yet speaking, there came another, and said, "This text appears several times in the first chapter of the Book of Job, and had become a central Hebrew idiom, while describing repeated disasters.    

Victoria Brittain: The Global War War of Terror!

The Global War on Terror has had many victims since it was launched by President George W Bush soon after September 11, 2001. In his crusade, a word he used publicly before he thought better of it. This crusade, he said, this war on terrorism, the history of kidnappings and renditions, torture and abuse, imprisonment without charges or trial, drone assassinations and imprisonment without charges or trial, drone assassinations and the killing of civilians is by now well known, for those who care to know. But there are other less noted kinds of collateral damage from more than a decade of such conflict, including damage to women on both sides, or perhaps ends of the war. The New York Times recently ran a two part report on the toll that the war n terror era has taken on women in the US military, and it makes for startling reading. Back in January 2012, Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta estimated that there could be as many as 19,000 sexual assaults in the US military, not the whole war on terror era, but in a year of it, only about 3,000 of which actually get reported. Sexual assault and the threat of it, as the Times recounted, only adds to the pressures that, in these years, have been placed on American soldiers. They have experienced striking rates of brain injuries,, usually from roadside bombs, rising cases of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), soaring suicide rates among both on duty service personnel and veterans, increased use of drugs, legal and illegal, and a striking rise among women veterans in homelessness, a phenomenon that itself, reports the Times, is often connected to being raped, to the Military Sexual Trauma (MST) that follows, and to the PTSD that can follow as well. This, in other words, is one kind of "collateral damage" seldom thought of as such, when the war on terror is brought up. On the other end of that war, in a world where "terror suspects" have next to no recourse, and Washington's record of doing terrible things to innocent men is daunting, are women and children connected to those suspects. As it happens, Victoria Brittain, a journalist and former editor at the British Guardian, has spent these last years with a group of such women. She saw first hand how, in her country as in the US effort more generally, a global war on terror became a global war of terror, a war that, at least in part, turned out to be against innocent women and children. 


Veterans Today: Purple Heart Homes and Citi Provide Housing Solutions

and support for Service Connected Disabled Veterans and their families. A collaboration between Purple Heart Homes and Citi to provide housing solutions for service connected disabled veterans, will mean that a number of military veterans and their families will soon be able to start new lives in their homes. Starting this month, with former US Army Corporal Hamilton Kinard and his family, who moved into a fully renovated new home in Claxton, Georgia, Purple Heart Homes and Citi are helping injured returning troops begin the next phase of their lives with modified housing and support they need. Under the program, Citi works with Purple Heart Homes to identify properties in its REO inventory, that are in locations in which a service connected disabled veteran is in need of a housing arrangement that accommodates his or her injury related challenge. Purple Heart Homes then works with third party contractors to modify homes, based on the needs of the individuals and their families. Corporal Kindard, who sustained multiple injuries from an IED explosion, while serving in Iraq, is living with the challenges of traumatic brain injury (TBI), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cervical strain, hearing loss and degenerative disc disease. The Kinards' new five bedroom, single story ranch has been modified with wider doorways and hallways, a handicap accessible bathroom, and a new kitchen. As part of their assimilation back into civilian life, Corporal Kindard and his wife will also participate in a new mentor ship program, that will provide training on home maintenance and money management, as well as financial counseling and career guidance. "Both Purple Heart Homes and Citi recognize that service connected disabled veterans who have served our country need homes that can be modified and adapted to provide them with a safe, barrier free living environment," says John Galina, Co-founder of Purple Heart Homes. "In addition, they need training and the support of mentors to thrive in their new communities and civilian lives." When disabled veterans move into their newly decorated homes, the community plays a vital role by welcoming new families, and provide a crucial and immediate sense of belonging. Purple Heart Homes recruits and engages members of each community to volunteer with painting, landscaping, and gardening tasks, as well as raising funds to help cover the costs of the home modifications, which average $70,000 per property. Purple Heart Homes recipients are also encouraged to reciprocate, by getting involved in local volunteer opportunities.         

Sartre Batr: NYSERDA Agenda 21 Sustainability in Action!

With all the caustic New World Order climate change, and land use plans, and in spite of public outrage stemming from the global warming fraud, the bureaucratic juggernaut rolls on. Especially in New York State, the home of the sinister United Nations, the plotters against rational conservation, efficient energy policy and prudent economic growth, are destroying the very nature of sound environmentalism. Hard at work, are the brain dead toady bureaucrats, and the "true believers" in total denial meltdown mode. Turning the concept of self sufficiency into a dirty word, sustainability is the new catch phrase to distinguish vogue ignorance, in order to save the planet, you need to destroy it crowd. Ordinary citizens nee to rally, and put an end to central control government. Start with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation efforts in there, Sustainability Plan Guidance A Regional Plan. This outline adopts the objectives of imposing an Agenda 21 program as official NYS policy. "The core of the plan is the regional focus that enables a consortium of municipalities to create a shared vision, and then pool their resources towards achieving that vision." Efforts and criticism from the like of John W Wallace need to multiply across the state, and caution their neighbors. Now is the time to stop. Governor Andrew Coumo to implement United Nations' Agenda 21 in New York state via regional planning groups. Of course, the country and local government officials are unaware that by signing onto Agenda 21, and that their town, city, village or county will now appear on the ICLEI website. Most local residents will remain unaware of the implications of the new comprehensive plan and Agenda 21, until after it is promulgated in their own backyards, in the form of a regional draft comprehensive plan, that is intended to supersede local planning boards and zoning laws. In order to appreciate the scope and intrusion into local communities, the destructive role of the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, NYSERDA becomes required understanding. A recent case study assessment provides a firsthand testimonial of an attendee at a regional gathering. Please review the source links for supporting evidence. The following is the summary of activist Mary Kay Barton: On January 26, 2012, I attended the final meeting in Batavia, NY for the Finger Lakes "Regional Sustainability Plan", part of NYSERDA' s $10,000,000 expenditure state wide, to have regional Planning Departments orchestrate plans that coincide with the sustainability initiative described in NYSERDA's "Cleaner, Greener Communities" Program.

Shamus Cooke: Obama's Agenda, Direct Military Intervention

and the relentless destruction of Syria as a nation State. The recent announcement that the United States would increase its non lethal military aid to Syria's rebels shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Some speculated that Obama, having been repeatedly wrong about the Syria government's stability, would leave Syria in silent humiliation. Not so. The destruction of Syrian society will continue, indeed, increase. Although there are plenty of non military options the Obama administration could pursue, he's instead choosing the bloodiest course possible. Millions of Syrians have had their lives destroyed, and now millions more can look forward to a similar fate. US media outlets have reported that all of the hundreds of millions of dollars of US aid to Syria's rebels has been non lethal, but the New York Times admitted recently: "American government officials declined to discuss an ongoing covert program to train rebel fighters, or the extent to which it has made a difference on the battlefield It's no exaggeration to say that Obama is helping to orchestrate the largest state sponsored terror campaign since the still simmering genocides of the Congo and Yugoslav wars. This fact has been completely hidden from the view of the US public, but it's a fact nonetheless. For example, the only effective fighting force of the Syrian rebels, the Al Nusra Front, has been labeled a terrorist organization, even by the United States. Its frequent terrorist bombings have helped shred the fabric of Syrian society, its most recent massive car bombings killed 100 mostly innocent people in central Damascus, including dozens of children, and wounding hundreds more. UN Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi denounced the latest terrorist attack as a war crime, but such labels do not get attached to allies of the United States. Obama is ignoring the countless similar attacks by Syria's terrorist rebels, ensuring that such attacks will increase. In fact, US officials blocked a Russian sponsored resolution at the United Nations Security Council, condemning the recent terror bombings. Actions like these both minimize and encourage indiscriminate terrorist bombings. US Secretary of State John Kerry's most recent announcement of US aid to Syrian rebels, made sure to mention that the aid will not go to "terrorists", an absurd statement, considering that the terrorists in Syria are the ones in power on the ground for the opposition. Of course, most of the crucial aid will be funneled to them, no matter who initially receives it.


Rand Clifford: "Look Mummy. There's an Airplane in the Sky."

A child voices this opening line of Goodbye Blue Sky, a song from the eleventh studio album by the English progressive rock group Pink Floyd, released as a double album on November 30, 1979. The album is called, The Wall. Thirty four years later, perhaps Pink Floyd's creative genius, Roger Waters, might write something more along the lines of: "Look, Mummy. Chem trails up in the sky." Stratospheric Aerosol Geo engineering. "Sag" for short. Edward Teller is sometimes called "The father of the hydrogen bomb". Another of Teller's children was born via his: "While scientists continue research into any global climatic effects of greenhouse gases, we ought to study ways to offset any possible ill effects. Injecting sunlight scattering particles into the stratosphere appears to be a promising approach. Why not do that?" Thanks again, Dr Teller, for fathering another satanic child, the spraying of metallic aerosols to deflect sunlight and cool the Earth. Though Teller was unable to secure funding for his research, sunlight scattering particles are being sprayed into the stratosphere right now, have been for years. Insidious consequences are pining up like snow on the slopes of Mt Shasta, alarming people, especially in NATO countries around the world. Meanwhile, apathy, ignorance and distraction of American masses help to keep this taxpayer funded covert government operation as a Conspiracy Theory! The original patent for, "The Stratospheric Welsbach Seeding For Reduction of Global Warming" was issued to Hughes Aircraft in 1991, US patent #5,003,186. It involves spraying into the upper atmosphere a "very fine , white talcum like aerosol of aluminum oxide and other oxides" to reduce global warming. A best friend of SAG is something common under the right conditions: Contrails. Hot jet exhaust can produce contrails, streaks of condensed water vapor that readily dissipate. But for people occupied beyond paying attention to happenings above their heads, chem trails, contrails, what's the difference? Apparently it doesn't matter how many pictures, videos, testimonials of people involved, and evidence from the stratosphere to the ground, verify that SAG is already an enormous operation, many people don't want to believe their government could be such an enemy of the common good. Another line from The Wall: "Mother should I trust the government?"      

Olivia Nuzzi: Let's Use Boy Scouts to Secure the US Mexico Border!

The following is a satirical piece. There's been a great deal of talk about the Boy Scouts lately, due to a leak late last month, which uncovered plans for the organization to review its "no gays allowed" policy. I'm still not clear, as to what the Boy Scouts do exactly. I know it has something to do with "character building" and tree forts, and selling Christmas wreaths, but none of that seems particularly useful to me. What are the Boy Scouts doing for America? On Super Bowl Sunday, President Obama called on the Scouts to lift their ban on gay members. Still, they have decided to delay their final decision until May. Because April showers bring gay flowers, or whatever. "Not so fast, Obama" have said Right Wingers. More than 40 conservative organizations ran an ad in USA Today, pressuring the Boy Scouts to "stay true to their timeless values, and not surrender to financial or political pressures by corporate elites on the issue of homosexuality." "That's some pretty heavy stuff," sighed 9 year old Tommy, who said he was just in it to learn how to build a pinewood derby car." So what are the Boy Scouts doing for America? Assuming the answer to that is nothing, it must be asked: If the Boy Scouts don't actually do anything, why don't we use them to secure the border? I mean physically use their bodies as a human fence. "The Boy Scout Fence," if you will. I know, I know, that's crazy! But is it really? Think about it. The Boy Scouts of America love America. The word America is right in there in their official name. As of February 8th, the Boy Scouts of America have been loving America for 103 years. According to conservative logic, to love America is to loathe illegal immigrants, who march into town, looking to steal the jobs nobody else wants to do. So why not really stick it to Obama, by not supporting the Boy Scouts in their doubling down on "timeless values," bit by doing what he won't do by securing the border with "The Boy Scout Fence"? I say we line them up, and let them get the job done, armed with their Swiss Army knives and can do spirit. There are 2.7 million members, and 1 million adult volunteers in the Boy Scouts, and with the US Mexican border at an estimated 1,933 miles long, that means we could have 1,914 Boy Scouts per mile, with each Boy Scout or adult volunteer protecting his own 2.75 foot space! 

Marjorie Cohn: The Uncommon Courage of Bradley Manning!

Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to 10 charges, including possessing and willfully communicating to an unauthorized person, all the main elements of the Wiki Leaks disclosure. The charges carry a total of 20 years in prison. For the first time, Bradley spoke publicly about what he did, and why. His actions, now confirmed by his own words, reveal Bradley to be a very brave young man. When he was 22 years old, Bradley spoke publicly about what he did, and why. His actions, now confirmed by his own words, reveal Bradley to be a very brave young man. When he was 22 years old, Pfc Bradley Manning gave classified documents to Wiki Leaks. They included the Collateral Murder video, which depicts US forces in an Apache helicopter, killing 12 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists, and wounding two children. I believed if the public, particularly the American public, could see this, it could spark a debate on the military, and our foreign policy in general, as it applied to Iraq and Afghanistan, Bradley told the military tribunal during his guilty plea proceeding. It might cause society to reconsider the need to engage in counter terrorism, while ignoring the human situation of the people we engaged with every day. Bradley said he was frustrated by his inability to convince his chain of command, to investigate the Collateral Murder video, and other war porn documented in the files he provided to Wiki Leaks. I was disturbed by the response to injured children. Bradley was bothered by the soldiers depicted in the video, who seemed to not value human life, by referring to their targets as dead bastards. People trying to rescue the wounded, were also fired upon and killed. A US tank drove over one body, cutting the man in half. The actions of American soldiers shown in that video, amount to war crimes under the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit targeting civilians, preventing the rescue of the wounded, and defacing dead bodies. No one at Wiki Leaks asked, or encouraged Bradley to give him the documents, Bradley said. No one associated with the WLO Wiki Leaks Organization, pressured me to give them the documents, Bradley said. No one associated with the WLO, Wiki Leaks Organization, pressured me to give them the documents, Bradley said. No one associated with the WLO, Wiki Leaks Organization pressured me to give them more information. The decision to give documents to Wiki Leaks was mine alone.  


Ben Schreiner: Washington's Strategic Policy Shift on Syria!

Edging closer to direct military intervention? Though President Obama last year rejected a proposal from the State Department, Pentagon, and CIA to directly arm Syrian rebel fighters, his administration is once again edging closer to directly intervening in the Syrian war. As the Washington Post reported Tuesday, the Obama administration is moving toward a major policy shift on Syria, that could provide the rebels with equipment, such as body armor, armored vehicles, and possibly military training, and could send humanitarian assistance directly to Syria's opposition political coalition. White House spokesperson Jay Carney confirmed the Post's reporting Wednesday, stating that the US is constantly reviewing the nature of the assistance we provide to both the Syrian people, in the form of humanitarian assistance, and to the Syrian opposition, in the form of non lethal assistance. The exact nature of the additional US assistance is expected to be announced Thursday, at a meeting of the Friends of Syria in Rome. The US has previously sent communications equipment, and night vision goggles to rebels fighting in Syria. Perhaps the unlikely driver of the reported shift in US policy on Syria has been none other than new Secretary of State John Kerry, the very man who might continue to insist on being mislabeled as a dove. Speaking as early as February 13, Secretary of State Kerry proclaimed that there were additional things that can be done to force Syrian President Bashar al Assad aside, and on Monday, Kerry again went to reiterate that the West was determined to change the calculation on the ground for President Assad. We are examining and developing ways to accelerate the political transition, that the Syrian people want and deserve, Kerry commented further. Although a policy change for the Obama administration, advocating for a more direct role for the US in Syria has long been Kerry's position. As Kerry commented in May of 2012, the concept of a safe zone is a reality, and worth the discussion. The concept of working with the Turks and the Jordanians, if everyone is on the same page, there could be some military training of the opposition forces. If we can enhance the unity of the opposition, we could consider lethal aid, and those kinds of things. In the same interview, Kerry went on to voice support, under the right conditions for US or NATO led airstrikes on the Syrian military.     

Lynn Stuart Parramore: Private Jet as Security Write Off?

Ten Most Insane Tax Loopholes. With the national tax filing deadline fast approaching, Americans are once again plopping down with pen, paper, and potentially Turbo-tax, to determine just how much they owe their state and federal governments, but while the popular refrain posits that nothing in life is certain but death and taxes, for many corporations and wealthy individuals, having to pay a tax bill, is anything but a certainty. Due to the proliferation of loopholes, deductions, credits, and the growing use of offshore tax evasions, many rich Americans and corporations, are able to dodge the bulk of, if not all, their taxes. Between 2008 and 2011, 26 major American corporations paid nothing in federal corporate income tax, despite making $205 billion in pretax profits. In 2011, the last year in which data is available, corporations paid just a 12.1 percent effective tax rate, the lowest in four decades. Many wealthy individuals, meanwhile, are able to drive their tax rates down, below the rate paid by middle class families. Some drive it all the way to zero. There are certainly large, systemic reasons for these disparities, but part of the problem is that the rich and the largest companies have access to a slew of tax breaks, from which the average household or small business derives very little benefit. Here are 10 of the most ridiculous: 1. CEO "private security." A "common corporate tax trick" according to the New York Times, is corporate boards paying for private jets, and other perks for their CEOs under the guise of security. As Steven Dadidoff reported, typically CEOs would have to pay taxes on these benefits, but if the benefit is classified as necessary for security purposes, the chief executive will pay a reduced tax bill, or sometimes no tax at all. 2. Florida cow scam: In Florida, wealthy developers, lawmakers, and even some corporations, game the tax code by placing cows on their land for a limited amount of time each year, thereby qualifying for agricultural tax breaks. Senator Ben Nelson, (D-FL) has benefited from this absurd loophole for years, as has Disney World. But Florida isn't the only offender. From rock stars in New Jersey, to movie stars in Colorado, tax breaks meant for farmers get gamed by the most privileged, using everything from sheep to beehives.
3. Facebook stock options: The social media giant Facebook made more than $1 billion in profits last year, but paid no corporate tax, thanks to a huge write off, after its initial public offering. In fact, the company received a refund of $451 million.   

Dr. Franklin Lamb: The Oft-Predicted Fickle Surian Tipping f

Point Has Tipped. Can Washington and her Allies Stop Syria's Reconciliation Efforts? The Oft Predicted Fickle Syrian Tipping Point Has Tipped. Damascus, This observer lost count more than a year ago, of the sheer number of predictions by analysts and lobbyists, that the tipping point, signaling the Assad government's collapse was a sure thing, and would happen any time now. "It's just a matter of days, not weeks" President Obama declared back in 2011. Based on personal observations and interviews, with a fair number of informed people, who actually live in Syria, as opposed to the Zionist think tank armchair "expert" variety, this observer concedes that prognosticators are finally right. In point of fact, I have concluded over the past few months, that the long elusive "tipping point" in Syria has indeed reached, and the momentum has shifted decisively in this embattled nation. But not the tipping point that the rebel promoters were hoping for, including the NATO countries. Rather, the momentum here has tipped in favor of the current regime, due to its capacity to maintain a slowly rising level of popular support, and good relations with key foreign supporters, during the current run up to next year's Presidential election. Then, it will be up to the Syrian voters to decide who stays, goes, and or joins in their next government. I base my tentative conclusions, on among others, based on the following factors. The Syrian population here is so tired, so exhausted and beaten down, the killing has gone on for so long, and the Syrian people, like the Iranians and others I have observed, appear to exhibit a distinctly noticeable, profound and almost moral and religious bond with their countrymen, and they personally feel acutely their country's suffering. Such people on the streets are very shocked and incredulous at what is going on, and many, in fact feel less strongly about either side in the conflict, and just want the slaughter to end, and for life to return to normal, even without deep revolutionary across the board changes for now. Two days ago, mortars hit the campus of Damascus University. By the grace of God, there were no casualties this time, but students report that on average about six mortars or explosive devices hit Damascus every week.