“Romney is loath to mention Bush on the campaign trail, for obvious reasons, but today they sound like ideological soul mates on foreign policy. Listening to Romney, you’d never know that Bush left office bogged down by two unpopular wars that cost America dearly in blood and treasure. Of Romney’s forty identified foreign policy advisers, more than 70 percent worked for Bush. Many hail from the neoconservative wing of the party, were enthusiastic backers of the Iraq War and are proponents of a US or Israeli attack on Iran. Christopher Preble, a foreign policy expert at the Cato Institute, says, “Romney’s likely to be in the mold of George W. Bush when it comes to foreign policy if he were elected.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exhorted the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday to draw “a clear red line” to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. In a theatrical gesture, Netanyahu held up a cartoon-like drawing of a spherical bomb and drew a red line below the fuse, “before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment to make a bomb,” he said. “It’s not a question of whether Iran will get the bomb. The question is at what stage can we stop Iran from getting the bomb,” said Netanyahu, who also accused Iran of aggression.
And a meme was born:
via: ghamidh: “About here, there’s no more chips. It’s just air.”
“I’m not going to be drawn into the American election. And what’s guiding my statements is not the American political calendar, but the Iranian nuclear calendar. I’m talking to [President Obama]. I just talked to him the other day. We are in close consultation. We’re trying to prevent that. It’s really not a partisan issue. It’s a policy issue, not a partisan issue.” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
“According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Netanyahu sent his defense minister, Ehud Barak, to deliver a goodwill message to Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel on Thursday afternoon.
“An aide to Israeli leader said “no comment” when questioned about nature of the meeting and a spokeswoman for Emanuel would only confirm that Barak met with the Chicago mayor Thursday afternoon.
“This marks the second time in six days the Israeli leader has sought, either personally or through back channels — Barak and Emanuel are friends — to distance himself from the perception he is agitating for the president’s defeat in November.”
Bibi has, apparently, “snapped out of it.” Good for him. The neocon bromance for political gain sputters to an end.
Remember Romney’s Gafftastic World Tour? Mitt Romney meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before a meeting at the Prime Minister’s office, July 29, 2012 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Avi Ohayon/Getty Images)
Out of Romney’s 24 special advisors on foreign policy, 17 served in the Bush-Cheney administration. If Romney were to win, it’s likely that many of these people would serve in his administration in some capacity — a frightening prospect given the legacy of this particular group. The last time they were in government, it was disastrous. — The Romney-Cheney Doctrine
greatestgeneration: Congressman Mike Kelly compared the August 1st birth-control mandate to Pearl Harbor. Senate Pro Tempore Daniel Inouye, a witness to Pearl Harbor, World War II veteran, and Medal of Honor winner, responded. A history lesson ensued.
“I witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor and had the privilege of serving in the United States Army during World War II. It is complete nonsense to suggest that a matter discussed, debated, and approved by the Congress and the President is akin to a surprise attack that killed nearly 2,500 people and launched our nation into the second World War, or a terrorist attack that left nearly 3,000 dead and led to fighting and dying in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Inouye added that Kelly should “share his comparison” with veterans from the two ongoing wars.
What a group of total losers this thing called the Republican Party has turned into.
“Culture makes all the difference. Culture makes all the difference, And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.” — Mitt Romney on Monday morning, suggesting that the Israeli economy had outpaced the economy of the Palestinian territories in part because of advantages of “culture.”
Abraham Diskin, a political science professor at the Inter-Disciplinary Center outside of Tel Aviv said it’s true that Israel has logged tremendous achievements, … but “you can understand this remark in several ways… You can say it’s anti-Semitic. ‘Jews and money.'”
Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, responded: “All I can say is that this man needs a lot of education. He doesn’t know the region, he doesn’t know Israelis, he doesn’t know Palestinians, and to talk about the Palestinians as an inferior culture is really a racist statement… I’ve never heard this from any Israeli, to be honest.”
Palestinians are outraged since Romney didn’t mention any of the very NON-CULTURAL REASONS for the economic disparities:
- Israel controls crossings to both Palestinian areas. Israel has imposed a blockade on its boundary with Gaza since the Islamic militant group Hamas took over there in 2007.
- In the West Bank, Israel continues to restrict Palestinian trade and movement.
- the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have said repeatedly that the Palestinian economy can only grow if Israel lifts those restrictions.
But Mitt Romney doesn’t care about all of that: He left Israel for Poland Monday with over $1 million more in his campaign war chest than when he arrived, following a first-ever presidential fundraiser in the country. Some 47 people attended breakfast at a room at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel with Romney, his wife, and one of his sons, at the price of $50,000 per couple.
Mitt’s truly a national treasure.
Mitt’s feeling a bit insecure so hang on, everybody — we’re going to war again! Wheeee!!
Think Progress reports that Dan Senor, a top right-wing foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney, told reporters in Jerusalem that “Iran should not be able to attain a nuclear “capability” — a significant break in language from state U.S. policy.” Senor stated: “If Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing the capability, the governor would respect that decision.”
“During an appearance with Romney in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he agreed with Romney’s approach, falsely claiming that “all the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota.” U.N. sanctions have delayed Iran’s nuclear progress. A U.N. ban on selling Iran weapons technologies appears to have set back their ballistic missile programs as well.
“President Obama considers a potential Iranian nuclear weapon a threat to both the security of the U.S. and its allies in the region, as well as the nuclear non-proliferation regime. And he’s vowed again and again to keep all options on the table to deal wtih it. U.S., U.N. and Israeli intelligence estimates give the West time to pursue a dual-track approach of building international pressure and using diplomacy to resolve the crisis. Questions about the efficacy and potential consequences of a strike have led U.S. officials to declare that diplomacy is the “best and most permanent way” to resolve the crisis. Obama has also reaffirmed Israel’s “sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs.”
“Romney has long supported military involvement in the Middle East and still defends President Bush’s preventative invasion in Iraq...”
Not only is Mitt trying to take some of the American Jewish support away from Obama, but Romney must feel he needs to commit himself to a penis-measuring contest with the President, maybe because of London. Romney’s going to prove he’s manlier than Obama and more willing to order our troops into Iran — at Israel’s request!– so it’s good to know who’d actually be calling the shots if Romney won the election.
Another major factor in Mitt’s new wide stance on Israel / Iran is that apparently Sheldon Adelson’s gambling money can buy just about anything, including what the U.S. military will be used for if Romney wins. Adelson is in Jerusalem and will be meeting with Romney this week for Mitt’s debriefing and further marching orders.
Watch this Blackwater vehicle hit an Iraqi civilian and keep going. And the cameraman keeps filming. “Oh, my God,” is all he says, as another civilian rushes to the man who was hit and then moves out of frame.
Now imagine if this were a foreign
mercenary security company operating in an occupied United States, for no good reason. No problem, right?
Via randomactsofchaos: Journalist, author and publisher Charles Glass has a feature in this month’s edition of Harper’s magazine called “The Warrior Class,” a feature covering the rise of private security contractors after 9/11. The article describes a number videos shown to Glass by a source who had worked for Blackwater. Harpers published clips from the videos yesterday, which show Blackwater guards and other private security contractors operating as if living in the Wild West. One video shows a contractor randomly and “enthusiastically” firing an AK-47 from the turret of an armored vehicle and another shows a private guard yelling obscenities at passers-by and other armored cars smashing into civilian vehicles:
[Video] — all 5 videos can be viewed at this link
Spencer Ackerman reports on a memo he obtained through a FOIA request, written by State Department counselor Philip Zelikow, which advised the Bush Administration that enhanced-interrogation techniques, like water-boarding, were torture and were therefore illegal:
A top adviser to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned the Bush administration that its use of “cruel, inhuman or degrading” interrogation techniques like waterboarding were “a felony war crime.”
What’s more, newly obtained documents reveal that State Department counselor Philip Zelikow told the Bush team in 2006 that using the controversial interrogation techniques were “prohibited” under U.S. law — “even if there is a compelling state interest asserted to justify them.”
Zelikow argued that the Geneva conventions applied to al-Qaida — a position neither the Justice Department nor the White House shared at the time. That made waterboarding and the like a violation of the War Crimes statute and a “felony,” Zelikow tells Danger Room. Asked explicitly if he believed the use of those interrogation techniques were a war crime, Zelikow replied, “Yes.”
Zelikow first revealed the existence of his secret memo, dated Feb. 15, 2006, in an April 2009 blog post, shortly after the Obama administration disclosed many of its predecessor’s legal opinions blessing torture. He briefly described it (.pdf) in a contentious Senate hearing shortly thereafter, revealing then that “I later heard the memo was not considered appropriate for further discussion and that copies of my memo should be collected and destroyed.”
At least one copy survived.
1) PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS
- President Obama repeats call to end subsidies for Big Oil - “… at a time when big oil companies are making more money than ever before, we’re still giving them $4 billion of your tax dollars in subsidies every year. Your member of Congress should be fighting for you. Not for big financial firms. Not for big oil companies. In the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies. And when they do, we’re going to put every single Member of Congress on record: They can either stand up for oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people. They can either place their bets on a fossil fuel from the last century, or they can place their bets on America’s future. So make your voice heard. Send your representative an email. Give them a call. Tell them to stand with you.”
- Medicare fight is not over yet – Rep. Steve Israel - This Republican Congress of Chronic Chaos is dusting off last year’s same failed playbook — where seniors would lose their Medicare while Republicans give more tax breaks to millionaires and Big Oil companies. I have one response: Bring it on. Tone-deaf House Republicans are preparing a budget that will — again — protect millionaires over Medicare. As with their last budget, House Republicans are giving Americans a window into their souls. And the American people don’t like what they’re seeing: Republicans’ relentless, reckless promise to protect the ultrawealthy at the expense of the middle class and seniors. Republicans might stand for those failed priorities, but middle-class families and seniors won’t. Medicare is a sacred bond with seniors that cannot be broken.
2) YOUR 2012 GOP PRIMARY
- Rick Santorum: If I win the Illinois primary, I win the nomination – “This is a primary, and turnout is everything. You do your job, you do your job, then this is the pledge,” Santorum said. “If we’re able to come out of Illinois with a huge or surprise win, I guarantee you, I guarantee you that we will win this nomination.” Illinois has largely been predicted to favor Mitt Romney for Tuesday’s primary. The vote is expected to be driven by Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, pegged as unfavorable territory for the former Pennsylvania senator’s brand of conservatism. But in areas like Effingham, hours south of the Windy City, Santorum hopes to fire up a Republican base that is often overshadowed by its Democratic counterparts to the north.
- Ahead of Ill. primary, Romney blasts Obama on gas prices, defends his own wealth - Romney accused three administration officials—Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson— of working to push up energy prices. He said they should either resign their offices or be fired by the president. [...] He ended the event with a defense of his business success, which has helped him amass a huge personal fortune. “I am not in this race to make money,” he said to rising cheers from the audience. “I’ve already made enough… I’m not embarrassed about being successful, but I’m embarrassed for people who think there’s something wrong with that.”
3) YOUR 21st CENTURY REPUBLICAN (TEA)PARTY
- Why Conservatives Are Still Crazy After All These Years – But are right-wingers scarier now than in the past? They certainly seem stranger and fiercer. I’d argue, however, that they’ve been this crazy for a long time. Over the last sixty years or so, I see far more continuities than discontinuities in what the rightward twenty or thirty percent of Americans believe about the world. The crazy things they believed and wanted were obscured by their lack of power, but they were always there – if you knew where to look. What’s changed is that loony conservatives are now the Republican mainstream, the dominant force in the GOP. [...] conservatism continues to thrive. That’s because power begets power: Democrats can be counted on to compromise with conservative nuttiness, and the media can be counted on to normalize it. And it’s because there will always be millions of Americans who are terrified of social progress and of dispossession from whatever slight purchase on psychological security they’ve been able to maintain in a frightening world. And because there will always be powerful economic actors for whom exploiting such fear, uncertainty and doubt pays (and pays, and pays).
- Tea party leader suspected of sexual assault - San Diego tea party spokesperson Michael Kobulincky was placed into custody and accused of abduction and sexual assault on a 56-year-old woman in February. Authorities say the woman was pulled into a car and assaulted before she was dropped off. Surveillance cameras and a picture released to the public led to Kobulincky being identified as a suspect. The San Diego Tea Party released a statement, citing that Kobulincky has been relieved of his spokesperson’s role and has been inactive since January. He is facing a myriad of felony charges, including kidnapping, sexual assault and sex with a foreign object.
4) REPUBLICAN WAR ON WOMEN
- Romney plans to pay for his tax cuts for millionaires by getting rid of Planned Parenthood – Mitt Romney just offered up one more way he is failing American women. He knows that his plan to spend $151 billion on tax cuts for millionaires in one year alone is going to require slashing other programs. His first target? Planned Parenthood. Describing how he’d reduce the debt, Romney said, “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.” The Democratic National Committee released this video noting exactly who Romney is standing up for and how women will pay the price. Take a look, and then share it with your friends.
- Breaking: “First Degree Homicide Of The Unborn Child Bill” Passes CO House On Second Reading – Horrible news for women’s rights from the state House tonight. From State Rep Daniel Kagan (D): “…we were unable to prevent the Republican majority in the House from passing on second reading the First Degree Homicide of the Unborn Child bill. Under some circumstances, it makes both termination of pregnancy and the use of the morning after pill a homicide. It also confers personhood on a newly fertilized egg.” Kos readers may believe this bill will be stopped in the Senate. Tea Party legislators have been successful in passing 135 bills nationwide to limit women’s reproductive rights this year. To assume it cannot happen in Colorado is a dangerous assumption…
- Violence Against Women Act Divides Senate - But Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, found multiple reasons to oppose the bill when it came up for a formal consideration last month. The legislation “creates so many new programs for underserved populations that it risks losing the focus on helping victims, period,” Mr. Grassley said when the committee took up the measure. After his alternative version was voted down on party lines, the original passed without a Republican vote. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, one of two women on the judiciary panel, said the partisan opposition came as a “real surprise,” but she put it into a broader picture. “This is part of a larger effort, candidly, to cut back on rights and services to women,” she said. “We’ve seen it go from discussions on Roe v. Wade, to partial birth abortion, to contraception, to preventive services for women. This seems to be one more thing.” [image: leftish]
5) PROTECTING THE WEALTH OF THE ONE PERCENT: GOP WAR ON THE 99%
- Yet another income redistribution scheme. Notice the GOP never recommends more revenue with a tax increase to the one percent? Medicare bill would hike costs to federal workers – Four Republican senators have introduced legislation designed to improve Medicare, but with federal employees paying a price. Under the Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act, Medicare recipients would enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP). Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.), the main sponsor of the bill, said it would save taxpayers $1 trillion over 10 years. He acknowledged, however, that the legislation would result in higher premiums for federal employees… An organization that represents older Americans on Medicare and federal employees does have arguments against the legislation. “This is a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone kind of proposal that would both bring down Medicare as we know it and threaten the stability of the FEHBP,” said Joseph A. Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
- A Senate Republican plan to replace Medicare – For years, Republicans have insisted that they would not end Medicare as we know it and that any changes to the program would not affect those in or near retirement. In the span of 20 minutes Thursday, they jettisoned both promises. [...] But DeMint and his colleagues think the time to end Medicare is now — with a cold-turkey conversion to a private program, effective in 2014. … Paul says his plan would cut funding of Medicare by $1 trillion over 10 years and reduce Medicare’s liabilities by $16 trillion. It would do that by enrolling Medicare recipients in the health plan now used by federal workers. The government would pay 75 percent of the insurance premium on average but 30 percent or less for those who earned more than $100,000 a year. The eligibility age would gradually be raised to 70 from 65. If seniors can’t afford their share of the premium, they can apply for Medicaid, the health program for the poor. || The GOP has always been against Medicare — remember THIS?
- Ryan Budget to Include Firewall of Defense Sequester – President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have stated they want defense spending to be part of a larger budget deal on taxes and spending. The sequester mandates that both defense and discretionary spending will take a hit beginning next January. Defense spending would account for $600 billion of all mandated cuts over 10 years. Some Republicans not wanting to flirt with national security have said they want to keep defense out of the negotiations surrounding the sequester, which are expected to last until after the November elections. Panetta has stated any further cuts could be “devastating,” but has insisted Congress should negotiate on taxes and spending in a comprehensive way without pulling defense. [...] But by firewalling defense from further cuts, House Republicans would need to pay for those expected cuts another way. At a House Budget Committee hearing, Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told Panetta he felt entitlement spending should be on the table. [chart: MotherJones « click for larger image]
- Mossad ‘agrees with U.S.’ on Iran nuclear goals - Israel’s intelligence service Mossad agrees with US assessments there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb, even though Israeli leaders have talked about Tehran’s plans to acquire nuclear weapons, The New York Times reported. “Their people ask very hard questions, but Mossad does not disagree with the US on the weapons program,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed former senior US intelligence official as saying. “There is not a lot of dispute between the US and Israeli intelligence communities on the facts,” the former official said. The Times reported last month that the latest assessments by US spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program.
- BUT THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE! Record highs set Wednesday. Open circles indicate records were tied, circles with an x indicate records were broken. (National Climatic Data Center) Temperatures more characteristic of June have broken hundreds of temperature records over the last several days and promise to continue into the next week in many areas. In some places, temperatures have been an eye-popping 30-40 degrees above normal, nearing or surpassing the warmest temperatures ever recorded so early in the season. Since Sunday, an amazing 943 new record highs have been broken or tied across the U.S. compared to just 9 record lows On Wednesday alone, an incredible 400 new record highs were were broken (307) or tied (93). Record heat spanned from Florida to Montana. [...] The backdrop for these warm weather records is an atmosphere that’s bulking up. Levels of carbon dioxide and methane (two key greenhouse gases) are higher than they’ve been in at least 800,000 years, and global temperatures over the last decade are unsurpassed in the modern climate record. All 11 years of the 21st century rank among the 13 warmest globally since 1880 according to NOAA.
JANUARY 11, 2011 — A university professor has been killed by a bomb placed on his car by a motorcyclist in northern Tehran, Iranian media reported.
The professor was a “nuclear scientist” who “supervised a department at Natanz Enrichment Facility, the Fars news agency said.
The incident on Wednesday coincided with the anniversary of a explosion that killed a senior Iranian nuclear scientist.
Witnesses said a motorcyclist stuck a magnetic bomb on the side of the car which then exploded, killing one and injuring two people inside.
Daily Show sidenote:
Is Santorum more excited about the thought of killing scientists or of starting new wars with Russian and Iran?
- America spends more on its military than THE NEXT 15 COUNTRIES COMBINED
- The total known land area occupied by U.S. bases and facilities is 15,654 square miles — bigger than D.C., Massachusetts, and New Jersey combined.
- By 2033 the U.S. will be paying $59 billion a year to its veterans injured in the wars
- In 2007, the amount of money labeled ‘wasted’ or ‘lost’ in Iraq — $11 billion — could pay 220,000 teachers salaries
- Defense spending is higher today than at any time since the height of World War II
- America’s defense spending doubled in the same period that its economy shrunk from 32 to 23 percent of global output*
- (see title)
- Each day in Afghanistan costs the government more than it did to build the entire Pentagon
- In 2008, the Pentagon spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earned in a year
- The pentagon budget consumes 80% of individual income tax revenue
- Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Defense Department still has more than 40 generals, admirals or civilian equivalents based in Europe
- The amount the government has spent compensating radiation victims of nuclear testing ($1.5 billion) could fully educate 13,000 American kids
- The Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety
- The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population — but almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure
- So where do they get all that money?
This is why we can’t have nice things.