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Rand Paul: A new war without ANY Congressional debate or vote

“He [Obama] seems to have had a lot of time to talk to people. He talked to the Arab League, they had time to get together and vote on it. He talked to the UN, they had time to get together and vote on it. But he had utter disregard and contempt for the most important body in the United States that represents the people, US Congress. Utter contempt, he’s gone to NATO, he’s gone to our allies, he’s gone to the Arab League, but he has not had one single minute of debate in Congress.

— Rand Paul

Paul & Kucinich on Libya, empire and auditing the fed

As if it wasn’t bad and illegal enough to sneak the US into an unconstitutional, undeclared war, Dennis Kucinich explains that the way Obama forced the US into the Libyan war and the way he has executed the US action in the war “….exceeds even the wars powers act…it exceeds the UN mandate.” Kucinich states that “…we have a presidency right now that is dangerously close to being an imperial presidency because what the white house is doing essentially is nullifying the role that Congress has.”

Amy Goodman on Obama, Gaza attack, BP oil spill, & corporate-controlled media

Given her track record, Goodman is definitely someone who is motivated by principle and not by corporate sponsorship. Here she gives her views on Obama—  specificially saying that he is an “enormous disappointment” on the issue of expanded wars, bank bailouts, unemployment, torture, and his handling of the BP oil spill.

“I think the media has to be independent, it’s brought to us by corporations in the United States… when media is covering war they’re brought to you by weapons manufacturers, when they’re covering the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico they’re brought to you by the oil companies, when were covering the massy coal explosion in West Virginia they’re brought to you by the coal industry, they’re brought to you by the gas industry…”

Ron Paul Not Afraid To Criticize Obama’s Wars

The always consistent Ron Paul vs. the always inconsistent Michael Moore.

Paul: ‘This is allowing the fox to protect the henhouse’

Rachel Maddow Calls out Obama on Indefinite Detention

In a recent speech Obama stood on the shoulders of the Bush/Cheney Aministration’s past Constitutional/human rights violations and outlined an “appropriate legal regime” built around pre-crime, unconvicted indefinite detentions that are “consistent with our values and our Constitution.” Which Constitution is he referring to to? I must hand it to him, Obama is a master of double-speak.

As Maddow states, “this was a beautiful speech from President Obama today with patriotic, moving, even poetic language about the rule of law and the Constitution, and one of the most radical approaches for defying the Constitution that we have ever heard made to the American people.”

Also recommended is Glenn Greenwald’s article on Friday exposing the Facts and myths about Obama’s preventive detention proposal. Greenwald writes:

It’s important to be clear about what “preventive detention” authorizes. It does not merely allow the U.S. Government to imprison people alleged to have committed Terrorist acts yet who are unable to be convicted in a civilian court proceeding. That class is merely a subset, perhaps a small subset, of who the Government can detain. Far more significant, “preventive detention” allows indefinite imprisonment not based on proven crimes or past violations of law, but of those deemed generally “dangerous” by the Government for various reasons (such as, as Obama put it yesterday, they “expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden” or “otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans”). That’s what “preventive” means: imprisoning people because the Government claims they are likely to engage in violent acts in the future because they are alleged to be “combatants.”

Once known, the details of the proposal could — and likely will — make this even more extreme by extending the “preventive detention” power beyond a handful of Guantanamo detainees to anyone, anywhere in the world, alleged to be a “combatant.” After all, once you accept the rationale on which this proposal is based — namely, that the U.S. Government must, in order to keep us safe, preventively detain “dangerous” people even when they can’t prove they violated any laws — there’s no coherent reason whatsoever to limit that power to people already at Guantanamo, as opposed to indefinitely imprisoning with no trials all allegedly “dangerous” combatants, whether located in Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Western countries and even the U.S.

…For those asserting that there are dangerous people who have not yet been given any trial and who Obama can’t possibly release, how do you know they are “dangerous” if they haven’t been tried? Is the Government’s accusation enough for you to assume it’s true?

…As former Prime Minister John Major put it in opposing the expansion to 42 days:

It is hard to justify: pre-charge detention in Canada is 24 hours; South Africa, Germany, New Zealand and America 48 hours; Russia 5 days; and Turkey 7½ days.

By rather stark and extreme contrast, Obama is seeking preventive detention powers that are indefinite — meaning without any end, potentially permanent. There’s no time limit on the “preventive detention.” Compare that power to the proposal that caused such a political storm in Britain and what these other governments are empowered to do. The suggestion that indefinite preventive detention without charges is some sort of common or traditional scheme is clearly false.

…Traditional “POWs” are ones picked up during an actual military battle, on a real battlefield, wearing a uniform, while engaged in fighting. The potential for error and abuse in deciding who was a “combatant” was thus minimal. By contrast, many of the people we accuse in the “war on terror” of being “combatants” aren’t anywhere near a “battlefield,” aren’t part of any army, aren’t wearing any uniforms, etc. Instead, many of them are picked up from their homes, at work, off the streets. In most cases, then, we thus have little more than the say-so of the U.S. Government that they are guilty, which is why actual judicial proceedings before imprisoning them is so much more vital than in the standard POW situation.

…Giving trials to people only when you know for sure, in advance, that you’ll get convictions is not due process. Those are called “show trials.” In a healthy system of justice, the Government gives everyone it wants to imprison a trial and then imprisons only those whom it can convict. The process is constant (trials), and the outcome varies (convictions or acquittals).

Obama is saying the opposite: in his scheme, it is the outcome that is constant (everyone ends up imprisoned), while the process varies and is determined by the Government (trials for some; military commissions for others; indefinite detention for the rest). The Government picks and chooses which process you get in order to ensure that it always wins. A more warped “system of justice” is hard to imagine.

…Digby said it best:

…The mere fact that we are doing this makes us less safe because the complete lack of faith we show in our constitution and our justice systems is what fuels the idea that this country is weak and easily terrified. There is no such thing as a terrorist suspect who is too dangerous to be set free. They are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. There is not some finite number of terrorists we can kill or capture and then the “war” will be over and the babies will always be safe. This whole concept is nonsensical.

The sheep better wake up.

Jesse Ventura on Larry King, May 11, 2009

Ventura notes, “I was waterboarded…it IS torture.” Seems like all the military people who have been waterboarded have this same view of it. It’s all of the “chickenhawks” (as Ventura would call them) who have never experienced waterboarding who seem to think it’s ok.

See also:

Mancow Waterboarded, Admits It’s Torture “It is way worse than I thought it would be”
Jesse Ventura: Cheney should be waterboarded, but couldn’t survive it
Christians for Torture
Waterboard an A-rab for Jesus
Torture in the Church
Redefining Torture
“Waterboarding is inhumane, it is torture, and it is illegal,” say Retired JAGs in letter to Leahy

Ron Paul on the D.L. Hughley Show

Dr. Paul was on the D.L. Hughley show last night. I have to agree with D.L. Hughley, Ron Paul makes “too much sense to be a Republican” (or a Democrat).

Joel Skousen On Obama’s Ill-Fated Promise

World Affairs Brief
Joel Skousen
President Obama’s promise that, “We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before,” will go down to haunt him like the Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” Banner. When inflation comes back people will initially think a recovery has arrived, but fast rising prices will soon begin to rob all existing assets and savings of their value.

…Instead, we are starting down the path of draconian fiscal irresponsibility, warned against by the Austrian economic adage: “when you bailout an economy with ever increasing doses of fiat money, each subsequent boom-bust cycle is larger and more violent than the last.”

Check out Skousen’s website “World Affairs Brief“, worth a daily visit.

Ron Paul on Iraq: We Killed A Million Of Their People!

This is now the second longest war in U.S. history after Vietnam, with a price tag around $3 Trillion and over a million lives lost in a nation turned upside down. And yet there are still those who are claiming victory and calling it a “success”. Help me out with this, where was the victory again?

With Obama’s plan to “end” the war in over a year but still leave a large portion of troops in Iraq, as usual, its Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich making the most sense in Washington.

“You cannot leave combat troops in a foreign country to conduct combat operations and call it the end of the war. You can’t be in and out at the same time,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. “We must bring a conclusion to this sorry chapter in American history.”

Unread “Stimulus” Bill Passes, National Debt Rises

Ron Paul notes that only 5 printed copies of the bill were available to read, some of it handwritten. These copies were only made available after 12:30 AM last night, hardly enough time to even skim the surface of what was contained within the 1,071 pages. “The bankruptcy of the country is at our doorstep and the destruction of the dollar is the thing that will finally wake us up.”—Paul

GOP leader Boehner says the ‘stimulus’ bill is 1,071 pages, making it impossible for anyone to read it before the vote.

UPDATE 2.15.09:
After Rushing to pass the “stimulus” bill before anyone had a chance to read it, Obama “promptly took off for a three-day holiday getaway” and won’t sign the bill until he returns. What was the rush for (besides ensuring that no one could read the bill)? more…

Glenn Beck Speaking to Fellow Communist Comrades

Don’t Expect Obama to Bring Real Change in U.S. Foreign Policy

Afghanistan and Pakistan will be Obama’s Iraq. Only a few days after his inauguration, drone attacks were launched in Pakistan, killing 22. This comes as a 30,000 U.S. troop surge/escalation is being prepared for Afghanistan. Additional warning of this came from Joe Biden himself who said things are going to escalate there on CBS’ “Face the Nation”. A Washington Times article said the following on the issue:

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Sunday that there will be an “uptick” in American casualties in Afghanistan as the U.S. military increases its presence in that country, which he characterized as “a real mess.”

The vice president’s prediction prompted outrage from liberal antiwar groups who characterized it as “cavalier,” although a leading scholar at a Washington neoconservative think tank called the Biden remarks an overdue recognition of reality.

Of course the new administration is just blaming everything on Bush (who does deserve a huge amount of blame). But the point is that they are going to continue the same policies Bush had, just with different rhetoric. There will be no real change (except for the worse) as the powers that be bench “W” and put in their new man Barack. So much for Obama being an anti-war peace candidate. More broken campaign promises are on the way–of that we can be sure.

Ron Paul, as usual, summarizes things quite well:

Abortion Bailout

This is messed up on so many levels (see comments):

Obama repeals abortion aid rule
LA Times, 1.24.09

“Stepping quickly into an abortion debate he largely avoided as a candidate, President Obama on Friday overturned a controversial ban on U.S. support to international aid groups that provide abortion services around the world…Obama also announced he would release federal funding for the United Nations Population Fund as soon as Congress makes it available, ensuring renewed U.S. support for the U.N. family planning agency.”

“…President Obama campaigned on finding ‘common ground’ on abortion policy. But his first presidential decision to roll back the common-sense Mexico City policy signals to American taxpayers that the abortion bailout has begun,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the antiabortion Susan B. Anthony List.

Another Perspective on Israel and Gaza

The U.S. media can be very one-sided and deceptive. This is especially true when it comes to war and/or the Middle East. It is not unusual for the world to hear one thing while the controlled U.S. corporate “mainstream” media propaganda machine feeds us something else.

In the overall historical perspective (recent events aside) neither group in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is totally right or wrong in their behavior. But we only get one biased side of the issue in the U.S.. This is to be expected — the U.S. arms Israel and gives them huge amounts of money in foreign aid. Of course, the U.S. also leads the way in the so-called “War on Terror” and in pre-emptive war. Below are some resources to help fill in the information gaps.

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Ron Paul on the fighting between Israel and the Palestinians:

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Eric Margolis writes an excellent summary of the issue:

Israel’s ‘Fait Accompli’ in Gaza

There are two completely different versions of what is currently happening in Gaza.

In the Israeli and North American press version, Hamas – “Islamic terrorists” backed by Iran – have in an unprovoked attack fired deadly rockets on innocent Israel with the intent of destroying the Jewish state.

North American politicians and the media say Israel “has the right to defend itself.”

True enough. No Israeli government can tolerate rockets hitting its towns, even though the casualty totals have been less than the car crash fatalities registered during a single holiday weekend on Israel’s roads.

The firing of the feeble, homemade al-Qassam rockets by Palestinians is both useless and counterproductive.

It damages their image as an oppressed people and gives right-wing Israeli extremists a perfect reason to launch more attacks on the Arabs and refuse to discuss peace.

Israel’s supporters insist it has the absolute right to drop hundreds of tons of bombs on “Hamas targets” inside the 360 sq km Gaza Strip to “take out the terrorists.”

Civilians suffer, says Israel, because the cowardly Hamas hide among them.

Actually, it is more like shooting fish in a barrel.

Omitting facts

As usual, this cartoon-like version of events omits a great deal of nuance and background.

While firing rockets at civilians is a crime so, too, is the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which is an egregious violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions.

According to the UN, most of Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinian refugees subsist near the edge of hunger. Seventy per cent of Palestinian children in Gaza suffer from severe malnutrition and psychological trauma.

Medical facilities are critically short of doctors, personnel, equipment, and drugs. Gaza has quite literally become a human garbage dump for all the Arabs that Israel does not want.

Gaza is one of the world’s most-densely populated places, a vast outdoor prison camp filled with desperate people. In the past, they threw stones at their Israeli occupiers; now they launch homemade rockets.Call it a prison riot, writ large.

Click here to read the rest Eric Margolis’s article.

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Michel Chussudovsky details some of the real reasons behind the Israeli aggression in The Invasion of Gaza: ‘Operation Cast Lead’:

The aerial bombings and the ongoing ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli ground forces must be analysed in a historical context. Operation “Cast Lead” is a carefully planned undertaking, which is part of a broader military-intelligence agenda first formulated by the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001:

“Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.”[Barak Ravid, Operation “Cast Lead”: Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008]

It was Israel which broke the truce on the day of the US presidential elections, November 4:

“Israel used this distraction to break the ceasefire between itself and Hamas by bombing the Gaza strip.  Israel claimed this violation of the ceasefire was to prevent Hamas from digging tunnels into Israeli territory.

The very next day, Israel launched a terrorizing siege of Gaza, cutting off food, fuel, medical supplies and other necessities in an attempt to “subdue” the Palestinians while at the same time engaging in armed incursions.

In response, Hamas and others in Gaza again resorted to firing crude, homemade, and mainly inaccurate rockets into Israel.  During the past seven years, these rockets have been responsible for the deaths of 17 Israelis.  Over the same time span, Israeli Blitzkrieg assaults have killed thousands of Palestinians, drawing worldwide protest but falling on deaf ears at the UN.” [Shamus Cooke, The Massacre in Palestine and the Threat of a Wider War, Global Research, December 2008]

Planned Humanitarian Disaster

On December 8, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte was in Tel Aviv for discussions with his Israeli counterparts including the director of Mossad, Meir Dagan.

“Operation Cast Lead” was initiated two days day after Christmas. It was coupled with a carefully designed international Public Relations campaign under the auspices of Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

Hamas’ military targets are not the main objective. Operation “Cast Lead” is intended, quite deliberately, to trigger civilian casualities.

What we are dealing with is a “planned humanitarian disaster” in Gaza in a densly populated urban area.

The longer term objective of this plan, as formulated by Israeli policy makers, is the expulsion of Palestinians from Palestinian lands:

“Terrorize the civilian population, assuring maximal destruction of property and cultural resources… The daily life of the Palestinians must be rendered unbearable: They should be locked up in cities and towns, prevented from exercising normal economic life, cut off from workplaces, schools and hospitals, This will encourage emigration and weaken the resistance to future expulsions” Ur Shlonsky, quoted by Ghali Hassan, Gaza: The World’s Largest Prison, Global Research, 2005)

Click here to read the rest of Michel Chussudovsky’s article

Israeli Professor Neve Gordon Condemns Israeli Invasion of Gaza on Democracy Now 1/5/09

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SEE ALSO:

Israel Created Hamas, Pro-Israel Resolution a Mistake

Israel is Committing War Crimes The Wall Street Journal

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