Tuesday, September 10, 2013


On this 9-11 The President is delaying the vote to authorize military force against the brutal dictator, Assad, and pursuing an international diplomatic solution that includes Russia, China and the UNSC to have Assad give up his poison gas supplies and have them destroyed under UN supervision. Of course, we are all skeptical that he will actually comply, but it wouldn't be the first time an evil dictator backed down in the face of the threat of force. I would personally have preferred a strike to Kill Assad AND take out his weapons, but I am not in charge (unfortunately). The President stated in tonight's speech that he didn't want the USA to be responsible for whatever would happen next in Syria if he was taken out/killed. I disagree with that, but it is not without merit. Many removals of dictators have left the country in worse shape. There is always a new asshole to step up in his place. Bethatasitmay... in this case Assad seems willing to give up his poison gas rather than get bombed. A smart choice for an evil man. We will see what happens. One thing is for sure - if OUR threat of force was weak and not unified, the threat would carry little weight. That was the case in this case. We were fragmented on our decision to use military force and still are. Some of this was based on bad information and propaganda, mostly coming from the far left, unfortunately, who are all too easy to fool when it comes to protecting Arabs. (The other criticism came from the right who said that a small strike was not enough. I agree, but still remain a progressive democrat somehow. Some of the far left, i.e. Chris Hayes, Anonymous, a lot of OWS, wtc, are the same people who coddle the so-called "Palestinian" regimes as they cry for independence while planning an Islamofacist takeover of the middle east and blow themselves up in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. This, however is not a tangent, it is also relevant to the Syria issue) Some of it was actual caution based on logical analysis and good intel. Democracy is messy, but it is what we have seen in congress lately on this issue for the most part. A far cry from Bush and Reagan's M.O. for going to war. I wished that 9-11-13 would be a day of bombing Assad, but unfortunately I did not get my wish. Cooler heads prevailed. Meanwhile, Assad is shooting up people in a Christian city in Syria today, but as far as we have heard, not using poison nerve gas. They will bleed to death instead of gag. I guess its none of out business. We will watch the headlines to see how far it goes before it becomes our business. Or not, I guess. So far, diplomacy has failed. For 2 years. Sanctions failed. I hope the world has better luck this time. One thing is for sure though, Assad would not even consider budging if he wasn't facing live ammo. Let's stop neutering The President on this one I say. I have been keeping up with it ALL and he seems to have a pretty good handle on the situation. If I were a congressman I would let him keep his powder dry just in case.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Samantha Power’s case for striking Syria

Good afternoon.
I’m very glad to be back in Washington this afternoon and among so many friends here at the Center for American Progress. As you know, my topic today is Syria, which presents one of the most critical foreign policy challenges we face. Syria is important because it lies at the heart of a region critical to U.S. security, a region that is home to friends and partners and one of our closest allies. It is important because the Syrian regime possesses stores of chemical weapons that they have recently used on a large scale and that we cannot allow to fall into terrorists’ hands.
It is important because the Syrian regime is collaborating with Iran and works in lockstep with thousands of extremist fighters from Hezbollah.
And Syria is important because its people, in seeking freedom and dignity, have suffered unimaginable horror these past two and a half years. I also recognize how ambivalent Americans are about the situation there. But I also recognize how ambivalent Americans are about the situation there. On the one hand, we Americans share a desire, after two wars which have taken 6,700 American lives and cost over $1 trillion to invest taxpayer dollars in American schools and infrastructure. Yet, on the other hand, Americans have heard the president’s commitment that this will not be Iraq, this will not be Afghanistan, this will not be Libya. Any use of force will be limited and tailored narrowly to the chemical weapons threat.
On the one hand, we share the deep conviction that chemical weapons are barbaric, that we should never again see children killed in their beds, lost to a world that they never had the chance to try to change.
Yet, on the other hand, some are wondering why, given the flagrant violation of an international norm, it is incumbent on the United States to lead since we cannot and should not be the world’s policeman.
Notwithstanding these complexities, notwithstanding the various concerns that we all share, I’m here today to explain why the cost of not taking targeted, limited military action are far greater than the risks of going forward in the manner that President Obama has outlined.
Every decision to use military force is an excruciatingly difficult one. It is especially difficult when one filters the Syria crisis through the prism of the past decade.
But let me take a minute to discuss the uniquely monstrous crime that has brought us to this crossroads. What comes to mind, for me, is one father, Nalguta (ph), saying goodbye to his two young daughters. His girls had not yet been shrouded. They were still dressed in the pink shorts and leggings of little girls. The father lifted their lifeless bodies, cradled them, and cried out, “Wake up! What would I do without you? How do I stand this pain?”
As a parent, I cannot begin to answer his questions. I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to feel such searing agony. In arguing for limited military action in the wake of this mass casualty chemical weapons atrocity, we are not arguing that Syrian lives are worth protecting only when they are threatened with poison gas.
Rather, we are reaffirming what the world has already made plain in laying down its collective judgment on chemical weapons. There is something different about chemical warfare that raises the stakes for the United States and raises the stakes for the world.
There are many reasons the government representing 98 percent of the world’s population, including all 15 members of the U.N. Security Council, agreed to ban chemical weapons. These weapons kill in the most gruesome possible way. They kill indiscriminately. They are incapable of distinguishing between a child and a rebel. And they have the potential to kill massively.
We believe that this one attack in Damascus claimed more than 1,400 lives, far more than even the worst attacks by conventional means in Syria. And we assess that although Assad used more chemical weapons on August 21 than he had before, he has barely put a dent in his enormous stockpile. And the international community has clearly not yet put a dent in his willingness to use them.
President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and many members of Congress have spelled out the consequences of failing to meet this threat. If there are more chemical attacks, we will see an inevitable spike in the flow of refugees on top of the already two million in the region, possibly pushing Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey or Iraq past their break — breaking points. The fourth largest city in Jordan right now is already the Zaatari refugee camp.
Half of Syria’s refugees are children, and we know what can happen to children who grow to adulthood without hope or opportunity in refugee camps. The camps become fertile recruiting grounds for violent extremists.
And beyond Syria, if a violation of a universal agreement to ban chemical weapons is not met with the meaningful response, other regimes will seek to acquire or use them to protect or extend their power, increasing risks to American troops in the future.
We cannot afford to signal to North Korea and Iran that the international community is unwilling to act to prevent proliferation or willing to tolerate the use of weapons of mass destruction. If there are no consequences now for breaking the prohibition on chemical weapons, it will be harder to muster an international consensus to ensure that Hezbollah and other terrorist groups are prevented from acquiring or using these weapons themselves.
People will draw lessons if the world proves unwilling to enforce the norms against chemical weapons use that we have worked so diligently to construct. And Israel’s security is threatened by instability in the region, and its security is enhanced when those who would do it harm know that the United States stands behind its word. That’s why we’ve seen Israel supporters in the United States come out in support of the president’s proposed course of action.
These are just some of the risks of inaction, but many Americans — and some members of Congress — have legitimately focused as well on the risks of action. They have posed a series of important questions, and I would like to use the remainder of my remarks to address a few of them.
Some have asked, given our collective war-weariness, why we cannot use non-military tools to achieve the same end. My answer to this question is: We have exhausted the alternatives.
For more than a year, we have pursued countless policy tools short of military force to try to dissuade Assad from using chemical weapons. We have engaged the Syrians directly — and at our request, the Russians, the U.N., and the Iranians sent similar messages — but when scuds and other horrific weapons didn’t quell the Syrian rebellion, Assad began using chemical weapons on a small scale multiple times, as the United States concluded in June.
Faced with this growing evidence of several small-scale subsequent attacks, we redoubled our efforts. We backed the U.N. diplomatic process and tried to get the parties back to the negotiating table, recognizing that a political solution is the best way to reduce all forms of threat. We provided more humanitarian assistance. And on chemical weapons specifically, we assembled and went public with compelling and frightening evidence of the regime’s use.
We worked with the U.N. to create a group of inspectors and then worked for more than six months to get them access to the country on the logic that perhaps the presence of an investigative team in the country might deter future attacks or, if not, at a minimum, we thought perhaps a shared evidentiary base could convince Russia or Iran — itself a victim of Saddam Hussein’s monstrous chemical weapons attacks in 1987-1988 — to cast loose a regime that was gassing its people. We expanded and accelerated our assistance to the Syrian opposition. We supported the U.N. Commission of Inquiry.
Russia, often backed by China, has blocked every relevant action in the Security Council, even mild condemnations of the use of chemical weapons that did ascribe blame to any particular party. In Assad’s cost-benefit calculus, he must have weighed the military benefits of using this hideous weapon against the recognition that he could get away with it because Russia would have Syria’s back in the Security Council.
And on August 21, he staged the largest chemical weapons attack in a quarter-century while U.N. inspectors were sitting on the other side of town.
It is only after the United States pursued these nonmilitary options without achieving the desired results of deterring chemical weapons use that the president concluded that a limited military strike is the only way to prevent Assad from employing chemical weapons as if they are a conventional weapon of war.
I am here today because I believe — and President Obama believes — that those of us who are arguing for the limited use of force must justify our position, accepting responsibility for the risks and potential consequences of action. When one considers pursuing nonmilitary measures, we must similarly address the risks inherent in those approaches.
At this stage, the diplomatic process is stalled because one side has just been gassed on a massive scale and the other side so far feels it has gotten away with it. What would words in the form of belated diplomatic condemnation achieve? What could the International Criminal Court really do, even if Russia or China were to allow a referral? Would a drawn-out legal process really affect the immediate calculus of Assad and those who ordered chemical weapons attacks?
We could try again to pursue economic sanctions, but even if Russia budged, would more asset freezes, travel bans, and banking restrictions convince Assad not to use chemical weapons again, when he has a pipeline to the resources of Hezbollah and Iran? Does anybody really believe that deploying the same approaches we have tried for the last year will suddenly be effective?
Of course, this isn’t the only legitimate question being raised. People are asking, shouldn’t the United States work through the Security Council on an issue that so clearly implicates international peace and security? The answer is, of course, yes. We could if we would — we could — we would if we could, but we can’t.
Every day for the two-and-a-half years of the Syrian conflict, we have shown how seriously we take the U.N. Security Council and our obligations to enforce international peace and security. Since 2011, Russia and China have vetoed three separate Security Council resolutions condemning the Syrian regime’s violence or promoting a political solution to the conflict.
This year alone, Russia has blocked at least three statements expressing humanitarian concern and calling for humanitarian access to besieged cities in Syria. And in the past two months, Russia has blocked two resolutions condemning the generic use of chemical weapons and two press statements expressing concern about their use.
We believe that more than 1,400 people were killed in Damascus on August 21, and the Security Council could not even agree to put out a press statement expressing its disapproval.
The international system that was founded in 1945, a system we designed specifically to respond to the kinds of horrors we saw play out in World War II, has not lived up to its promise or its responsibilities in the case of Syria. And it is naive to think that Russia is on the verge of changing its position and allowing the U.N. Security Council to assume its rightful role as the enforcer of international peace and security.
In short, the Security Council the world needs to deal with this urgent crisis is not the Security Council we have.
Many Americans recognize that while we were right to seek to work through the Security Council, it is clear that Syria is one of those occasions — like Kosovo — when the council is so paralyzed that countries have to act outside it if they are to prevent the flouting of international laws and norms. But these same people still reasonably ask, beyond the Security Council, what support does the United States have in holding Assad accountable?
While the United States possesses unique capabilities to carry out a swift, limited and proportionate strike so as to prevent and deter future use of chemical weapons, countries around the world have joined us in supporting decisive action. The Arab League has urged international — international action against Syria in response to what it called the ugly crime of using chemical weapons. The NATO secretary general has said that the Syrian regime is responsible and that we, quote, “need a firm international response to avoid that chemical weapons attacks take place in the future,” end quote.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation blamed the Syrian government for the chemical attacks and called for decisive action. And 11 countries at the G-20 summit today called for a strong international response and noted their, quote, “support for efforts undertaken by the United States and other countries to reinforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons,” end quote.
As I have found over the last week at the U.N., the more that countries around the world are confronted with the hard facts of what occurred on August 21, the more they recognize that the steep price of impunity for Assad could extend well beyond Syria. The president’s decision to seek congressional support has also given the United States time to mobilize additional international support. And there is no question that authorization by our Congress will help strengthen our case.
One of the most common concerns we have heard centers less on the how or when of intervention, but on the what. Some Americans are asking, how can we be sure that the United States will avoid a slippery slope that would lead to full-scale war with Syria? On the other hand, others are asking, if the U.S. action is limited, how will that have the desired effect on Assad? And these are good and important questions.
The United States cannot police every crisis anymore than we can shelter every refugee. The president has made it clear, he is responding militarily to a mass casualty chemical weapons incident. Any military action will be a meaningful, time-limited response to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again and to degrade its ability to do so.
From the start of the Syrian conflict, the president has consistently demonstrated that he will not put American boots on the ground to fight another war in the Middle East. The draft resolution before Congress makes this clear.
President Obama is seeking your support to employ limited military means to achieve very specific ends, to degrade Assad’s capacity to use these weapons again and deter others in the world who might follow suit. And the United States has the discipline as a country to maintain these limits.
Limited military action will not be designed to solve the entire Syria problem. Not even the most ardent proponents of military intervention in Syria believe that peace can be achieved through military means.
But this action should have the effect of reinforcing our larger strategy for addressing the crisis in Syria. By degrading Assad’s capacity to deliver chemical weapons, we will also degrade his ability to strike at civilian populations by conventional means.
In addition, this operation, combined with ongoing efforts to upgrade the military capabilities of the moderate opposition, should reduce the regime’s faith that they can kill their way to victory. In this instance, the use of limited military force can strengthen our diplomacy and energize the efforts by the U.N. and others to achieve a negotiated settlement to the underlying conflict.
Let me add a few thoughts in closing.
I know I have not addressed every doubt that exists in this room, in this town, in this country or in the broader international community. This is the right to pay for us to have. We should be asking the hard questions and making deliberate choices before embarking upon action. There is no risk-free door number two that we can choose in this case.
Public skepticism of foreign interventions is an extremely healthy phenomenon in our democracy, a check against the excessive use of military power. The American people elect leaders to exercise judgment, and there have been times in our history when presidents have taken hard decisions to use force that were not initially popular, because they believed our interests demanded it.
From 1992, when the Bosnian genocide started, til 1995, when President Clinton launched the air strikes that stopped the war, public opinion consistently opposed military action there. Even after we succeed in ending the war, and negotiating a peace settlement, the House of representatives, reflecting public opinion, voted against deploying American troops to a NATO peace-keeping mission.
There is no question that this deployment of American power saved lives and returns stability to a critical region of the world and a critical region for the United States.
We all have a choice to make, whether we are Republicans or Democrats, whether we have supported past military interventions or opposed to them, whether we have argued for or such action in Syria prior to this point. We should agree that there are lines in this world that cannot be crossed and limits on murderous behavior, especially with weapons of mass destruction that must be enforced. If we cannot summon the courage to act when the evidence is clear, and when the action being contemplated is limited, then our ability to lead in the world is compromised. The alternative is to give a green light to outrages that will threaten our security, and haunt our conscience, outrages that will eventually compel us to use force anyway down the line which has far greater risks and costs to our own citizens. If the last century teaches us anything, it is this.
Thank you so much.

Friday, August 23, 2013

update on the American Taliban GOP and their shenanigans RANT


How are these wing-nuts different from corporations and Wall St. entities who also refuse to pay taxes and submit to regulations? Answer: Not very different at all. Some might say "well, they're not hurting anyone or killing anyone, right?" But they are. They are polluting the earth in unprecedented extremes and and investing in politicians and lie campaigns to further austerity and sidestep voter's rights laws and a slew of other regulations, and they are , in effect, cutting citizens off from the help they are supposed to get from the government - the government that people are paying taxes to and fighting to protect in the military. The government is set up so the rich, who utilize the public services, such as roads, sewage systems, police and fire protection, public education, libraries, etc., pay their fair share to help out those of us who are disables or widowed or orphaned or hurt in war or unemployed, etc., with small amounts of food and benefits. Those benefits are very small and are not enough to get by on. Yet, their right wing campaign of political bribery and lie campaigns and sidestepping regulations (and eradicating regulations) work hard every day to stop or reduce those benefits. They, organizations like Heritage foundation and their Fox News puppets, and their bought and paid for politicians, and the Koch brothers who fund them, and this guy Pope who is buying North Carolina, are buying up the country's power structure all the way to the SCOUTS, and have real victims everywhere you look, And they are laughing all the way to the bank. Wake up Sheeple! We supposedly invade other countries to "restore" democracy, but we don't really have it here. That is hypocritical. Today, they are busy in Texas and NC suppressing voter's rights. They have redistricted NC (and Texas & other states) to rig the elections. And they put the NC governor in power to run rampant against voters rights and civil liberties. Attorney general Holder is suing them right now. Texas, and probably soon the culprits in NC. So if you think that this is a conspiracy theory and you watch fox news and believe their bullshit, then why is the US Attorney general trying to stop them (finally)? Battle lines are being drawn. The shit is going to hit the fan. The far right wing-nuts who refuse to pay taxes, yet utilize the services of the land are no different from the right wing-nut organizations who basically do the same thing. And if you let them, they will suppress the truth by buying up newspapers and media outlets and spreading millions of dollars of false information to you in the mainstream. Stay informed and get ready to take a stand. They are already chipping away at everything decent in this country while they line their cronies pockets. Thinking about voting republikkan? Look at what is happening right now with the governor of Virginia. He is a microcosm of what the republikkkans are doing everywhere. Google it or check out my previous posts. These people did not legitimately earn the right to govern. They Gerrymandered the country to suit themselves and are grabbing power and money - From YOU. Meet the American Taliban. The GOP and their cronies.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Islamofacism, or Christofacism,

Any faction or party whose goal is to vote to elect a government that will oppress the citizens with Sharia law is not a political party but a religious fascist entity. In this case they are Islamofacists in Egypt who want people like Morsi in power, a man who neutered the judiciary check and balance in his own government whilst in power. They protest and burn down churches claiming they want to have a democracy where they can elect people who don't actually practice democracy. Much like the extreme right wing here in the USA does when they restrict voting rights and women's health choices...and the right to health care for all citizens, thus abusing their power as legislators. It's instructive to ponder how such people get in to power in the first place. Here in the USA, follow money in elections i.e. bribery and gerrymandering, the well-funded lies & propaganda machine in the right wing media that lies to us when they tell us that there are instances of voter fraud justifying draconian voter suppression legislation...and follow the CHURCH IN STATE tactics of the said machine. They act like they have GOD on their side, but the constitution forbids that. No one religion has the right to influence policy. And besides, what religion says that there should be boter suppression in addition to trap laws to close down abortion clinics, and running interference with already set-in-motion legislation such as Obamacare? Beware, both here at home and in Egypt, idiots claiming to represent the people when they really represent money and Islamofacism, or Christofacism, and use the fragile democratic process to further anti-democratic agendas. In short, they get themselves elected, often using lies and corruption (i.e. Citizens United, right-wing media, bribes, gerrymandering, etc) and, once in power, undermine freedom by pushing agendas that favor big corrupt polluting oppressive criminal businesses and corporations..and bible- or koran thumping bullshit. Know thy enemy. Wolves in cheap clothing. Pigs in lipstick. The Muslim Brotherhood... Heritage Foundation, ALEC, the governor of Virginia and NC, puppets in SCOTUS, Liars in Texas (Perry and his cronies), the NRA, Hamas, Hezbollah,  the tea party... they must be neutered of any power or we are in for an even worse shitstorm both here and in the middle east.  Also, beware ultra-left liberals who coddle Hamas and cry about Palestinian statehood. Just like the Muslim brotherhood, once the so-called Palestinians get their state they will only use that power to oppress citizens with a church-in-state agenda, just like the tea party and ultra right wing slimeballs are doing over here right now. They might not be burning churches like in Egypt, but they are sure closing down abortion clinics and voting/election apparatus in a big way right now. What's next on their list? I will tell you. Anything that helps people who are not rich.