Saturday, May 21, 2011

Shepard Ambellas on Obama & His CIA Connections

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Obama Should Follow His Own Advice on the ‘Moral Force’ of Non-Violence

Obama Should Follow His Own Advice on the ‘Moral Force’ of Non-Violence | Sovereign Independent

by Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis

Given that President Obama daily authorizes the firing of hellfire missiles and the dropping of cluster bombs in places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, it was awful odd seeing him wax eloquent this week about the “moral force of non-violence” in places like Egypt and Tunisia. But there he was, the commander-in-chief of the largest empire in history, praising the power of peaceful protest in countries with repressive leaders backed by his own administration.

Were we unfamiliar with his actual policies – more than doubling the troops in Afghanistan, dramatically escalating a deadly drone war in Pakistan and unilaterally bombing for peace in Libya – it might have been inspiring to hear a major head of state reject violence as a means to political ends. Instead, we almost choked on the hypocrisy.

Cast beforehand as a major address on the Middle East, what President Obama offered with his speech on Thursday was nothing more than a reprisal of his 2009 address in Cairo: a lot of rhetoric about U.S. support for peace and freedom in the region contradicted by the actual – and bipartisan – U.S. policy over the past half-century of supporting ruthless authoritarian regimes. Yet even for all his talk of human rights and how he “will not tolerate aggression across borders” – yes, a U.S. president said this – Obama didn’t even feign concern about Saudi Arabia’s repressive regime invading neighboring Bahrain to put down a pro-democracy movement there. In fact, the words “Saudi Arabia” were never uttered.

It was that kind of speech: scathing condemnations of human rights abuses by the U.S.’s Official Enemies in places like Iran and Syria and muted criticism – if any – of the gross violations of human decency carried out by its dictatorial friends in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen.

Obama predictably glossed over the reality of U.S. policy and, in an audacious attempt to rewrite history, portrayed his administration as being supportive of the fall of tyrannical governments across the Middle East and North Africa, ludicrously suggesting he had supported regime change in Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt – a claim betrayed by the $1.3 billion a year in military aid his administration provided to Mubarak’s regime right up until the moment he resigned. The president’s revisionism might fool a few cable news personalities (what wouldn’t?) but it won’t fool Egyptians, less than one in five of whom even want the closer relationship with the U.S. that Obama offered in his speech, at least one that involves more military aid and neoliberal reforms imposed by the International Monetary Fund.

And Obama’s remarks shouldn’t fool their primary audience: American voters.

Contrary to the rhetoric of Obama’s speech, if the U.S. has sided with Middle Eastern publics against their brutal dictators it has not been because of their dictators’ brutality, which in the case of Mubarak was seen as a plus in the age of the war on terror. Nor has that support for the oppressed come in the form of – hold your laughter – non-violence. Rhetoric of change aside, how best to use the liberating power of bullets and bombs continues to be the guiding principle of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

And Obama certainly isn’t apologizing for that. In his speech called the war in Iraq, which conservatively speaking has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, “costly and difficult” – and, grotesquely, “well intended” – but that was as much an acknowledgement as he was willing to make of the deadly failure of U.S. policy toward the region in recent decades. Indeed, Obama argued it was not a failure of policy but merely a failure of rhetoric, a “failure to speak to the broader aspirations of ordinary people” that had prompted the “suspicion” the U.S. pursues its own interests at the expense of those living in the countries it invades or whose dictators it supports.

Read More : Common Dreams

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A Brief Primer on the Recent Supreme Court Decision in Kentucky v. King :

A Brief Primer on the Recent Supreme Court Decision in Kentucky v. King :: :: informazione dal medio oriente :: information from middle east :: [vs-1]
Empire Burlesque, May 21, 2011

Can cops now invade your home without a warrant anytime they feel like it?

Sure they can.

Doesn't this completely and literally eviscerate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and specifically requires the use of a warrant?

Sure it does.

So, was there really any point in having an American Revolution, if we have ended up with a tyranny far more implacable, intrusive, violent and extremist than anything in the wildest dreams of the most retrograde royalist serving King George III?

Reckon not.

Tornado reported in suburban Minneapolis

Tornado reported in suburban Minneapolis -

MEDINA, Minn., May 21 (UPI) -- A tornado touched down in Medina, Minn., Saturday evening as severe storms sprung up across the region, the National Weather Service said.

The weather service issued a string of tornado warnings for the areas just west and north of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

No injuries or serious damage were reported as a result of the 6:30 p.m. twister, the newspaper said.

Medina police Sgt. Jason Nelson said he saw a funnel cloud but didn't see it touch the ground.

"There were rotational winds," Nelson said. "You could see debris blowing and leaves. It looked bad."

Heavy rain and large hail were reported in Corcoran, Maple Grove, Osseo, Dayton, Rogers, Champlin, Coon Rapids, Anoka, East Bethel and Andover.

Read more:

Spaniards protest before elections despite ban

Spaniards protest before elections despite ban | Reuters
Main Image

MADRID | Sat May 21, 2011 8:37pm EDT

(Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people filled Madrid's Puerta del Sol on Saturday evening to protest high unemployment and austerity measures, defying a ban on demonstrations on the eve of local elections.

Protesters of all ages including families with small children and pensioners joined hundreds of young Spaniards, who have been camping out in Madrid for a week, in peaceful protest against the government's handling of the economic crisis.

The number of demonstrators, dubbed "los indignados" (the indignant), swelled to around 30,000 people on Saturday night, cramming into Madrid's main square and surrounding streets.

"I'm protesting because I've got no job future in Spain even though I've finished my degree in tourism," said 25-year-old Inma Moreno in Madrid. "This should make the political classes aware that something is not right."

Protesters also gathered in Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao and other cities urging people not to vote for either of Spain's two main parties, the ruling Socialists or the center-right opposition Popular Party.

The Socialists are expected to suffer major losses in the elections for 8,116 city councils and 13 of 17 regional governments.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who has failed to contain the highest unemployment in the European Union at 21.3 percent, has said he understands the protesters.


Until now, Spaniards have been patient with austerity measures and a youth unemployment rate of 45 percent, but the protests show the frustration over the prolonged economic malaise.

"I'm happy that they're finally protesting. It was about time," said Maria, an elderly woman with a cane, sitting next to a sleeping, dreadlocked young man on a sofa that had been moved into the Puerta del Sol plaza.

The woman, who declined to give her family name, said she was at the protest on Saturday to visit her grandson.

"We knew something like this would eventually happen. Spain's politics has not been very convincing and with all the effects of the crisis. Something had to happen," said sociologist Fermin Bouza of the Complutense University.

Fearing violent clashes, the government has not yet sent in police to enforce the ban, which went into effect at midnight and prohibits political events on the eve of the election.

Sheriff: Man 'pocket dials' 911, drug talk heard

Sheriff: Man 'pocket dials' 911, drug talk heard - US news - Weird news -
updated 5/19/2011 10:26:42 PM ET

Authorities say a Georgia man "pocket-dialed" 911 and the dispatcher on the other end overheard people discussing a drug deal.

    1. C'mon — what's not to like?

      Hoof it over to Facebook to join the weird news herd.

The Hall County sheriff's office says no one was on the call made around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Col. Jeff Strickland says the dispatcher could overhear several people talking about a drug deal involving prescription narcotics.

Authorities say a deputy was sent to a Gainesville Waffle House restaurant where the call originated.

Strickland says the deputy eventually discovered the phone in an employee's pocket. Strickland said the employee then discovered he had accidentally dialed 911.

Authorities say they confronted the 18-year-old Sugar Hill man and found that he had hydrocodone and alprazolam tablets and charged him with drug possession.

Water from swollen river inches closer to La. towns, leaving residents with an agonizing wait


The final wave of holdouts has mostly packed up and left this Louisiana town as water from the swollen Atchafalaya River has inched toward their homes, with their frustration and hope painted on signs posted outside.

"Nothing left worth stealing," read one. "Stay strong. Believe," urged another. "Our hearts are broken, but our spirits are not. We will come HOME," are the words Kip and Gwen Bacquet spray-painted on the plastic liner that covers the entire first floor of their house.

Most had left Butte LaRose days earlier amid high tension as the water continued creeping toward the area, about 45 miles west of Baton Rouge.

The Army Corps of Engineers partially opened the Mississippi River's Morganza floodway May 14 to spare Baton Rouge and New Orleans from catastrophic flooding, but the water it was diverting from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya Basin still hadn't reached the town nearly a week later.

While Mississippi communities that line their namesake river were waiting for floodwaters to recede Saturday, Louisiana residents in the path of diverted waters were enduring an agonizing wait.

In St. Martin's Parish, La., a mandatory evacuation was ordered to take effect Saturday, only to be pushed back at least two days after officials said the river would crest May 27 at a lower level than previously thought. Meanwhile, communities along the Mississippi River in Mississippi wait for floodwaters to recede.

The delayed evacuation in St. Martin's Parish, La. is likely to be a source of both optimism and further frustration for residents who have heard the same grim forecast for days on end. Once the water comes, residents may not be able to return for weeks. They'll have to wait until Monday for officials to decide whether to reinstate the evacuation order.

"It's probably a blessing for some because maybe some people who didn't have time to do additional sandbagging will now have more time," said Maj. Ginny Higgins, a spokeswoman for the St. Martin's Parish sheriff's office.

Kip and Gwen Bacquet moved their furniture and other belongings to the second floor of their home, 9 feet off the ground. They are bracing for up to 5 feet of water to inundate their neighborhood. Gwen Bacquet, 54, said the canal in their backyard has been rising about 4 inches per day. Their pier already was underwater.

The couple moved here last summer for a change of pace from their native Lafayette, a city of about 120,000 some 60 miles west of Baton Rouge. The Bacquets savored their final hours before evacuating by lounging on the deck overlooking the canal in their backyard, sharing a few bittersweet laughs with two friends who came to help.

Educating a telemarketer who called me

Freedom 101! Stefan Molyneux of Freedomain Radio interviewed on Resistan...