KEEPING WATCH: THE WORLD WAITS
Mt. Pleasant — Peace Vigil - Mt. Pleasant - 7:00 pm this evening - Meet in Parking Lot West Across Main Street from the Courthouse. Walk about and talk about the options. - Pro and Con Petition. Visit the Veteran's Memorial.
THE TIME TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IS NOW
The headline news from Yahoo assures Us a military strike against Syria by the US is still on the table.
"Despite public backing from leaders of both parties to strike, almost half of the 433 current members in the House and a third of the 100-member Senate remain undecided, the AP survey found. They will be the subject of intense lobbying from the administration — as well as outside groups that have formed coalitions that defy the traditional left-right divide."
"Plenty of Republicans, including key congressional leaders, support Obama’s push for military action against the Syrian regime for allegedly using chemical weapons. But among constituents, rank-and-file members of Congress and many influential voices in the party’s echo chamber, the trend is decidedly anti-war." (emphasis added)
Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, in 2007 pushed for a deeper military commitment in Iraq. “Let’s do it right,” he wrote. Now, he says, “the state of our military today cannot afford another war.”
A PEACE VIGIL IN MT. PLEASANT
Monday evening, 9/9/2013 at 7:00 pm, there will be peace vigil in Mt. Pleasant. The public is invited to stop by to share ideas and to sign a petition for or against the proposed US attack on Syria.
If You are too busy, or its just too hot to stop by Monday evening to chat and sign up please be sure that You have contacted your Congressmen to let them know how You feel about the proposed US attack on Syria.
If you are out and about in the air conditioned comfort of your car and see visitors pausing at the Veterans Memorial on the courthouse lawn or gathered in the parking lot, please toot your horn to pay your respects and offer encouragement as You drive by.
This is not an organized event. Will anybody show? Yes, at least two or three and that is not counting You and yours. It is a shared personal opportunity for those seeking it to do something simple to publically demonstrate that You are serious about trying to better understand and to moderate the violence that has engulfed Syria. We will share what we learn from You as well as your questions with our Congressmen, and through this blog, with the community.
Stop by for a visit and a walk over to the Veteran's Memorial or just let us know that You give a toot when You drive by.
The best way to contain and minister to the injuries being inflicted on the people of Syria is to avoid participating in the proxy war and to actively supply only honest to God humanitarian aid in the form of food, medical supplies, refugee camps and shelter so that We can start the process of making friends of the People of Syria instead of making more enemies.
More violence, more enemies, more war.
There have been conflicting reports coming out of Syria on the current status of the Christian village of Maaloula. The latest appears to be...
"A coalition of Syrian rebel groups that includes members of al Qaida took control of one of the oldest Christian villages in the world (again?) on Sunday, raising concern about the potential destruction of ancient shrines and churches.
Rebel commanders vowed to protect the inhabitants of Maaloula and the village’s holy sites, but there were worries that the town’s many churches, monasteries and shrines from Christianity’s earliest years could be damaged as the Syrian government counterattacks to regain control.
Announcements of the town’s capture after five days of fighting that saw it change hands repeatedly were issued by the Nusra Front, a rebel group that has sworn allegiance to al Qaida, another conservative Islamist rebel group, Ahrar al Sham, and the more mainstream Farouk Brigade.
So why does Al Qaida want to occupy a Christian village - to protect it or to bait Assad to attack it? Strategically, Al Qaida appears to be in control of the war and the allied response. Will Al Qaida claim they are trying to protect the Christians even as reports of atrocities come out of Maaloula in an effort to bait government forces to attack and then blaming those forces for the suffering and damages sure to follow. My heart goes out to the people of Maaloula, all the actors gathered around them can very likely only bring, each in their own way, more destruction upon them.
“…, attacks on Christians and their marginalization in locations where anti-Assad "freedom fighters" have wrested control are on the rise. Logically, such persecution of Christians ought to have roused a measure of protest from the US and its European partners. However, all that the Christians of Syria witness in their travail is silence. Clearly, a decision has been taken that they are acceptable as collateral damage.... See: http://www.sunday-guardian.com/analysis/christians-big-losers-in-the-syrian-uprising
A statement from the Syrian Military Council, the group through which the West funnels aid to more moderate rebel groups, vowed to protect both the sites and “religious minorities” residing in the village.
“We emphasize that we are working very hard to protect all minorities and have sent army units to protect the people of Maaloula and importantly, all of the monasteries and shrines,” the statement said.
But the military council doesn’t command either the Nusra Front or Ahrar al Sham, and both groups have fought pitched battles with military council-affiliated groups before. Nusra and Ahrar al Sham generally are considered the anti-Assad movement’s most effective and aggressive rebel fighters, making it unclear that the military council would be able to enforce its pledge to protect the area." (emphasis added)
"I invite you to keep on praying so that the violence and devastation in Syria stops and so that people work with renewed commitment for a just solution to this fratricidal conflict," the pope said today." Fratricidal = Brother killing Brother. The Crusades fostered the spiritual rebirth of the Pope's name sake, St. Francis.
9/7/2013 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBJSBNj0Mnk Great trailer of the St. Francis movie, "Brother Sun, Sister Moon"
In an urgent appeal to the world’s most powerful leaders, Pope Francis has asked the heads of the G20 nations to “lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution” to the conflict in Syria and to “do everything possible to ensure humanitarian assistance to those suffering because of the conflict, both within and beyond the country's borders."
“Confronted with similar acts one cannot remain silent, and the Holy See hopes that the competent institutions make clear what happened and that those responsible face justice,” the Vatican’s Foreign Minister, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, told the 71 ambassadors regarding the chemical weapons attack that took place outside Damascus on August 21. The US and its allies believe the attack was launched by the Syrian government.
Mamberti said the main priority was to stop the violence which he said is risking the involvement of other countries and creating “unforeseeable consequences in various parts of the world.”
Updated: Friday, September 6 2013, 10:08 AM CDT
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Senator Chuck Grassley sat down with CBS 2 News to discuss the crisis in Syria. The Republican Senator says he plans to vote against authorizing military action, but says he wants to hear what the President and a classified intelligence briefing have to say next week. (emphasis added)
There is hope. If You have not already, email Senator Grassley and let him know how You feel.
If You are too busy to stop by and have already contacted your Congressmen then do a drive by the Court House Monday evening and honk and wave between 7 and 8 pm.
The historic vote is not over until it is over. At this point the most important thing is to have a sober sense of accountability and pride in what ever actions You have taken to make your voice heard.
SEN. TOM UDALL:
“I’m voting no because this policy moves the United States towards greater involvement in the Syrian civil war and an increasing regional conflict.”
So how is the house vote shaping up?
REP. ALAN GRAYSON:
“As I indicated earlier, the vote (in the house) at this point is overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly against this, almost 10 to one against this, according to the members who have already committed.”
President Obama: “What are our responsibilities?”
AMY GOODMAN: “Congress member Alan Grayson, can you respond to President Obama’s question?”
REP. ALAN GRAYSON: “Well, let’s talk about what our responsibilities are not. Our responsibilities are not to ignore the United Nations. Our responsibilities are not to ignore NATO or the Arab League. Our responsibility is not to ignore the international court of The Hague. Our responsibility is not to make vague remarks about red lines …”
"I’m very disturbed by this general idea, this notion, that every time we see something bad in the world, we should bomb it. And, in fact, the president himself has criticized that mindset, and now he’s adopted it. It’s simply not our responsibility to act alone and punish this. I’ll give you an example. There is substantial evidence right now, which the Russians have chosen to actually present to the United Nations, unlike the United States at this point, of the rebels using poison gas. Are we going to bomb both sides?”
"War begets war, violence begets violence.” Pope Francis
JUST SAY NO
"The Catholic Church has called for a global day of fasting and prayer on Saturday for peace in Syria and against any armed intervention, with Pope Francis scheduled to host a mass vigil on St Peter's Square.
The Argentine pope has called for a "cry for peace" from the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, Christians as a whole, believers from other faiths and atheists.
Syria's Sunni Muslim leader, Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, has called for Syrians to join in the prayers and the patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox, has said he is also backing the initiative.
A giant peace flag will also be raised in Assisi, the hometown of the patron saint of peace St Francis whose name the pope adopted when he was elected in March.
There has been a giant mobilization of Catholic churches worldwide -- through traditional homilies at mass as well as via social media -- for the faithful to pray for peace and engage in some form of fasting.
The four-hour prayer vigil in the Vatican starts at 1700 GMT but there will be similar smaller initiatives around the world from Baghdad to Jerusalem, from Mumbai to Buenos Aires, from Washington DC to Beirut.
Pope Francis wrote in one tweet.... "Never again war! War never again!"
Read more @http://news.yahoo.com/pope-leads-fasting-prayer-day-syria-041743052.html
See St. Francis just say no to war in the movie clip from "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" below.
Are We the People being set up to fail on the Syria decision? The fear of the responsibility is haunting. With the information that We need hidden from Us and manipulated like so much silly putty in secret meetings, how can We possibly succeed?
Might the hand of the cynic be upon Us. One way or the other, might the point be to make a mockery of the American people and the Congress by gagging us and keeping us in the dark to then briefly drag us out into the light only to point out our every lapse and then to ignore Us or -in response to the pleading of our sun shocked eyes - to lead Us back again, all smiles, into the false security of the darkness where no snake is ever seen though many die there of snake bite.
When I ran for supervisor I remember a couple of older ladies, each in their own way, asking incredulously, who do You think You are? Even more so, who do the People of America think They are? Are We up to it?
I remember Obama's speeches from his first campaign. The flowery language is no more, hanging lifeless over the door a twisted vine that serves to bind.
Can Obama renew himself? Can We renew America? Can We bear the burden of our failures and own our offenses? Or shall We surrender our ideals to those who are sure to bring their failures to bear on Us for the bonus of saving us from responsibility for our own?
The renewal of American is a daunting task and it is ours and we must rise to the occasion and as Brian Roth reminded me today, only those who can sustain in the face of failure and affliction a good heart are going to be found worthy of renewal.
If We confess our sins then God is faithful and just in forgiving us our sins and in cleansing Us from all uncleanliness ... so that We shall rejoice in the lessons We learn from the mistakes We make.
Join me if You dare, and declare, NO to the US bombing of the People on Syria. Let us instead determine case by case who is responsible for the use of chemical weapons in recent times, among both the winners and the losers, and search them out and snatch them up like Bin Laden was snatched up, but bringing them back alive to stand trial and to face their accusers. Shall We kill more innocents for the crimes of the guilty and not expect to incur their wrath? A military strike is no solution to the problems in Syria.
And too let us create a truth commission and bring out our own dirty laundry and wash it in the light of day and hang out in the sun to dry.
It is time to renew America. And it begins with the moral courage and the good heart of the People. Before pardoning Bush for treason, he must be found guilty.
Join me and just say "NO" to a US military strike on Syria.
9/6/2013 DOING THE LITTLE THINGS THAT CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.
The Pope called Catholics to designate Saturday a day of prayer for peace in Syria. Come Sunday, all of us, in our homes and in our churches do well to make the call for peaceful reflection our own.
On Monday between 7:00 and 8:00 pm will be the time for action. A time to walk about, talk about, and send the message that You are ready to get up and do something about containing the explosive situation in the Middle East. The significance of demonstrating that You care enough to turn out will not be lost on our representatives in Congress.
There will be folks in the parking lot west of the Courthouse with clip boards and petitions giving those who stop by an opportunity to send their representatives in Congress an energized message on military intervention in Syria. The People can also use this opportunity to chat and share their ideas and concerns with their fellow residents.
I look forward to seeing You there.
Click on the link below to see how your congressmen are leaning. Grassley is listed as undecided. He needs to hear from You.
To view previous posts see:
Look at the link below to see how your representatives in Congress are likely to vote on attacking Syria.
Dear Fellow Citizens,
I have compiled a “Top Ten” list of reasons why the U.S. should not undertake a military strike against the government of Syria:
• No. 1: Any U.S. military action is likely to lead to Syrian civilian casualties, for which the U.S. would then be responsible.
Vicki Claypool is a professor of political science at the University of Iowa.
The link below is a long one but worth the time for those who want to expand their understanding of who the warring parties are in the proxy war in Syria.
9/5/2013 PRAYERS AND A VIGIL
“Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.”
So said Pope Francis, addressing the crowd on Sunday in the Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square.
He was speaking about the crisis in Syria, as President Barack Obama ramped up a planned military strike there.
“I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people,” the Pope said.
Why would the U.S. risk killing innocent Syrian civilians to punish the Syrian regime for killing Syrian civilians?
What if a military strike was not an option? Obama could spend his time in Russia lobbying the G-20 world leaders to pressure Putin to use his influence to convince Syria to negotiate. Iran, another Syria ally but not a member of the G-20, has a new president, Hassan Rouhani. There are openings. All parties agree that, ultimately, the solution to the Syrian crisis will be political, not military. Why not start now?"
Amy Goodman and Dennis Moyniham - Democracy Now
"It is regrettable that, from the very beginning of the conflict in Syria, one-sided interests have prevailed and in fact hindered the search for a solution that would have avoided the senseless massacre now unfolding," the pope said.
"To the (G20) leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution."
The Vatican released the letter as the Holy See briefed ambassadors about the pope's initiatives, including an unprecedented international day of prayer for peace in Syria which he has called for this Saturday." Yes! Prayers on Saturday and MoveOn (see below) on Monday.
St. Francis is among my favorites and Pope Francis wears the name well. I have a movie of the early life of St. Francis, "Brother Sun, Sister Moon", that I have watched scores of times.
St. Francis saying no to war and leaving a life of luxury among the spoils of war to restore the church.
See a clip and enjoy the lyrics on the link below where Francis is rebuilding the church.
The growing congregation, got to love those ducks.
MoveOn asked every member to weigh in on whether MoveOn should support or oppose the congressional authorization to use military force in Syria.
The results are in, and they are unequivocal:
73% said MoveOn should oppose the congressional Authorization to Use Military Force in Syria.
MoveOn asked me... Now, can you host a vigil in Mount Pleasant this Monday, September 9 at 7 p.m.?
I have not yet agreed to host it, but I will be "there". So, yes, there is going to be a vigil of one or more Monday night at 7 pm somewhere in Mt. Pleasant in the spirit of the call of Pope Francis.
I hope to see You there. Call 986-6650 if You have ideas about a good place to meet.
What about Saturday? I wonder, are there churches going to do something? Anybody heard anything about this?
9/5/2013 A NATION OF LAWS?
Obama promised greater transparency, Snowden delivered it.
Speaking to the actions of Snowden, Obama said We are a nation of laws, but the invasion of Syria runs contrary to both our Constitution and the U N Charter.
“Despite agreement between the president(s)and the Congress, the presidents' actions and the congressional vote (on Viet Nam, Iraq and next Syria?) violate both the United Nations Charter and the United States Constitution.
"These votes (Viet Nam and Iraq) authorizing force were illegal (under the cardinal rule of the UN Charter, Article 2(4) - ) because (a) the United States was not subjected to an “armed attack” on its territorial borders…. and (b) the UN Security Council did not authorize the United States to resort to force” not in Vietnam not in Iraq (and not in Syria).
Significantly, there was a third count of illegality. As I mentioned recently, in 1967 the Lawyers Committee on American Policy toward Vietnam, which included some of the most prominent international law scholars and foreign policy intellectuals of that era, published an important legal memorandum called Vietnam and International Law.
In it, and while citing the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution—Article VI(2)—the Lawyers Committee wrote: “The United States Constitution considers ratified treaties to be the supreme law of the land and therefore considers any violation of such a treaty to be a violation of the Constitution.”
Thus, because the UN Charter is a treaty ratified by the United States, when the U.S. violates the Charter, it also violates the Constitution.
And, as the Lawyers Committee wrote: “No branch of Government is permitted directly or indirectly to violate the Constitution.”
The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is a multilateral treaty that bans chemical weapons.
If states-parties are found to have engaged in prohibited actions that could result in “serious damage” to the convention, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (located in the Hague in the Netherlands, not in Washington DC) could recommend collective punitive measures to other states-parties. In cases of “particular gravity,” the OPCW could bring the issue before the UN Security Council and General Assembly.
The Security Council, and not some rouge state(s), has the ultimate responsibility for enforcement.
This time the provocation for war is grossly inadequate and We the People are clearly opposed.
"36% of the public supports launching missile strikes against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if the U.S. has determined that Damascus has used chemical weapons against its own citizens, with nearly six in ten opposing such a move."
Is the US government, Democrats and Republicans alike, becoming a government of lawless rouges and hypocrites both at home and abroad?
What happens next will be telling.
If my language seems harsh, then take the tour of the Mai Lai Massacre or...
the US prisons in Iraq.
How can We understand the world and those who hate Us until We can see ourselves as they see Us?
Obama delivering on "a nation of laws."
"One of my first acts as President will be to pardon George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for treason, war profiteering, war crimes or any other crimes they're possibly indictable for over the past eight years."
Post Washington Reporter
November 15, 2008
IT IS TIME TO WALK HOME.
Al Qaeda rebels will be dancing in the streets and burning churches as "justice" Obama style rains down on Assad.
Even now "Rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad for control are imposing Islamic law, giving Christians the choice to flee or die."
In America We are considering taking justice into our own hands where we forgive our own offenses and then ignore the solution of the world's courts for Others opting instead for the sloppy violence of our rockets and bombs that compound the sorrows of the innocent and the rejoicing of the guilty.
In the wake of America's fearful wrath Al Qaeda has learned to grow.
"Al Qaeda Is Back"; The location Iraq; "Bellows the Daily Beast."
"Two spectacular al Qaeda prison breaks in Iraq, freeing over 500 of its members in two separate prisons simultaneously this week, demonstrate the group is back with a vengeance. Al Qaeda’s Iraq branch is also the moving force behind the jihadist success in Syria. The resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq has sobering implications for what is likely to follow the drawdown of NATO forces in Afghanistan for the al Qaeda mother ship in Pakistan."
Laura Davidescu, euronews: With the no-fly zone in place over Libya, and Western leaders insisting that the campaign is not about ousting Colonel Gaddafi, many ask what political results, if any, can the current military intervention yield? "
(Sounds familiar, Libya all over again in Syria.)
Libya: Al Qaeda flag flown above Benghazi courthouse.
The black flag of Al Qaeda has been spotted flying over a public building in Libya, raising concerns that the country could lurch towards Muslim extremism
Vice.com also reported that Islamists had been seen driving around the city's streets, waving the Al Qaeda flag from their cars and shouting....
The revelation came just days after it emerged that rebels in Libya have imposed Sharia law in the some parts of country since seizing power.
Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council, said Islamic Sharia law would be the "basic source" of legislation in free Libya.
The move towards Islamic extremism is likely to alarm many in the West who supported the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi
Obama's request for the authorization for the use of force appears wide enough to drive WWIII through. Maybe we are already in it and losing ourselves somewhere in the pages of the "Patriot" Act.
It appears Al Qaeda leads Us to destroy Arab nations and our own values and then grows vigorously in the fertile rubble and hatred We leave behind.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the United States "is within reach of strategically defeating al Qaeda."
"I think we have them on the run. I think now is the moment, now is the moment following what happened with bin Laden to put maximum pressure on them because I do believe that if we continue his effect that we really can cripple al Qaeda as a threat to this country," Panetta said in July.
Terrorists Won the War on Terror; 74% of Pakistanis View US as Enemy, 60% Have No Confidence in ObamaBy: Mike Shedlock | Sunday, September 1, 2013
Roughly three-in-four Pakistanis (74%) consider the U.S. an enemy, up from 69% last year and 64% three years ago. And President Obama is held in exceedingly low regard. Indeed, among the 15 nations surveyed in both 2008 and 2012 by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, Pakistan is the only country where ratings for Obama are no better than the ratings President George W. Bush received during his final year in office.
Moreover, when asked which is the biggest threat to their country, India, the Taliban, or al Qaeda, 59 per cent named India, said Pew Research Center.
How could we loose a PR war against the Taliban?
Thought provoking for the serious student:
9/4/2013 EVERYBODY OUT! IT IS TIME TO WALK HOME!
“The U.S., Britain, and France as well as the Arab League have accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for carrying out the chemical weapons attack, which mainly targeted civilians. U.S. warships are stationed in the Mediterranean Sea to launch military strikes against Syria in punishment for carrying out a massive chemical weapons attack. The U.S. and others are not interested in examining any contrary evidence, with U.S Secretary of State John Kerry saying Monday that Assad’s guilt was “a judgment … already clear to the world.”
However, from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.
“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.
Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”
Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.
Abdel-Moneim said his son and the others died during the chemical weapons attack. That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regime’s heartland of Latakia on Syria’s western coast, in purported retaliation.
“They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K.’ “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”
“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution. “
If the US wants to teach the world a lesson about using chemical weapons We need to begin with Fallujah where We teach that the US and only the US is authorized to use chemical weapons.
“information has surfaced, including hideous photographs and videos and interviews with American soldiers who took part in the Fallujah attack, which provides graphic proof that phosphorus shells were widely deployed in the city as a weapon.”
The next lesson could be to send a message to Saudi Arabia that they are not authorized to send chemical weapons to Syrian rebels with links to al –Qaida (at least until We decide who our enemies are.) A limited strike from off shore battleships on a decommissioned Saudi oil field should suffice to send the message that We are serious. Of course the Saudis would likely ask the US to pull its base out of Saudi Arabia if we did but rumors are the Saudis are thinking about doing that any way.
At the same time, “Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord,” the article stated.
“I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” Saudi Prince allegedly told Vladimir Putin.
Maybe the next step would be to hit a couple of Syrian rebel targets to let them know that the ban on the use of chemical weapons applies to everyone, and we do mean everyone - except the US of course.
Then We could hit a couple of abandoned Syrian targets just to make sure that Assad understands that he too must not use chemical weapons.
Or better yet, rather than attempting to dispense such a mockery of justice We could just stay out of any military involvement in Syria and let the Saudis own the problems they are creating there with their massive aid to the Islamist rebels. I understand the Saudis have insured the security of the Russian base.
One way or the other, We need to be ready to airlift the Christians out of Syria as Assad falls and the Islamist rise to power and go on Christian killing sprees or the Islamist are excluded from power and feeling betrayed they go on Christian killing sprees. And what about the Alawites?
Are You beginning to think that chemical weapons are a diversion? Are You beginning to wonder if Obama had already pulled the trigger even before drawing the red line?
What a mess! Everybody out! It is time to walk home!
Let's hope for some sanity, honesty and humanity at the G20 Meeting.
"The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." --Plato
CHRISTIANS BIG LOSERS IN THE SYRIA UPRISING
ROOTS OF POWER
“Two months ago, this columnist, while on a visit to Damascus, was asked by the Patriarch of Antioch why the Christian world had "forgotten their co-religionists in Syria". The Patriarchate of Antioch is the oldest church in Christendom, antedating the Church of Rome by more than two centuries. The Patriarch's worry was that the "freedom fighters" who were being vociferously backed by NATO and the GCC were increasingly targeting Christians. Why was nobody in the US or in Europe raising their voices against the growing persecution of Christians in Syria?
“…, attacks on Christians and their marginalization in locations where anti-Assad "freedom fighters" have wrested control are on the rise. Logically, such persecution of Christians ought to have roused a measure of protest from the US and its European partners. However, all that the Christians of Syria witness in their travail is silence. Clearly, a decision has been taken that they are acceptable as collateral damage in the ongoing crusade against Iran, whose only (independent) ally in the region is Syria. Getting rid of Assad will be the semi-final. The final will be played out in Tehran.”
And what is the end game? Are We going to morally and economically bankrupt ourselves just in time for China to take our place? Obviously the list of our enemies and the disillusionment of our friends is growing.
Chemical Attack by Rebels back in March.
USA TODAY: 7/9/2013 “Russia's U.N. ambassador said Tuesday that Russian experts determined that Syrian rebels made sarin nerve gas and used it in a deadly attack outside Aleppo in March. International analysts say a chemical weapon attack occurred March 19 in the government-controlled Aleppo suburb of Khan al-Assal. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin blamed opposition fighters for the attack, which he said killed 26 people, including 16 military personnel, and injured 86 others. The rebels have blamed the government for the attack.”
Read more @
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons ( OPCW) is the intergovernmental organization, located in The Hague, Netherlands that did the analysis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organization_for_the_Prohibition_of_Chemical_Weapons
The lack of stabilizers in the Sarvin indicated that a recent batch of home brew was used back in March, allegedly by the rebels, and was possibly cooked up with chemicals supplied by….. take your pick, Libya, CIA, France or Saudi Arabia? The important thing is that according to White House spokesman George Little, Obama's red line does not apply to the rebels but may well carry the death penalty accompanied with moral outrage if it is used by Assad's forces. That is why Kerry said nothing about the rebels using chemical weapons in Syria or the US using white phosphorus in Fallujah or.... The US is out to get Assad, and has been for sometime, and do You know why?
Again, I am not asking You to believe anybody, I am only asking that We do not convict and attack the People of Syria when confusion, hypocrisy and deception are running rampant both at home and abroad. If We must do something shall we attack both sides, kill some civilians and shoot ourselves in the foot all at the same time? And what then? Maybe we could launch a serious investigation into everything that shipped out of Benghazi and where it went? The responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic republic can be hell sometimes. Write your congressmen and let them know where You stand so they can represent You. There is nothing wrong with owning our confusion and our ignorance, it is what we do with it that counts.
9/1/2013 "ALLOWING THE PRESIDENTS TO ACT LIKE KINGS"
Obama insisted that he reserves the right to strike regardless of Congress's decision, and a White House official said the pause would also allow him time to build international support.
Before the President spoke on Wednesday, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, Jerrold Nadler issued a formal statement titled: Constitution Requires Congressional Authorization on Use of Force Against Syria. Nadler wrote:
“The Constitution requires that, barring an attack on the United States or an imminent threat to the U.S., any decision to use military force can only be made by Congress – not by the President. The decision to go to war – and we should be clear, launching a military strike on another country, justified or not, is an act of war – is reserved by the Constitution to the American people acting through their elected representatives in Congress.”
The somber historical consequences of letting this key power of Congress fall into disuse after WWII – in effect, allowing Presidents to act like Kings – speak eloquently to the folly of ignoring Article 1, Section 8. (emphasis added)
As of Thursday, more than a third of the House of Representatives have spoken out against being marginalized, as they were before Libya, many insisting that there be Congressional debate and a vote before any military strike on Syria. (emphasis added)
by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
READ MORE @ http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/31-2
8/31/2013 THE SAUDIS AGAIN?
"In a breaking article by long time Associated Press middle east correspondent Dale Gavlak he notes: “From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families…many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the (deadly) gas attack.” 26 rebel fighters lost their lives in Ghouta and according to Gavlak its because these fighters weren’t properly trained in handling the weapons."
"So is there anything to the Saudi connection suggested by the post at live leak.com? We know that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are spending billions providing weapons to Syrian rebels. We know that Saudi Arabians host live auctions sending suicide bombers to Syria. We know the geopolitical interests of these two predominantly sunni nations stand in sharp contrast to that of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran all of which are Shia and in the case of the later three have recently signed a $10bn gas pipeline leading directly through Syria. This undercuts, as we covered in our interview with Eric Draitser yesterday, Qatari and Saudi energy interests."
Like I keep saying We do not know what is going on. If the Saudis or Libya supplied the rebels with nerve gas would both France and the CIA know about it and did the supply line run through Benghazi and was Stevens opposed and therefore....? I have no idea. Out of my confusion I am not inclined to support a US attack on Syria.
Bridget Kendall Diplomatic correspondent, BBC News
This is not the first time rebel forces in Syria have come under suspicion for using chemical weapons.
The Syrian government has accused them, and some independent commentators have speculated some groups could conceivably have got hold of stocks when storming government facilities.
But allegations about sarin nerve agent use, possibly by Syrian rebels, coming from a senior UN official is a different matter. Carla del Ponte is a former war crimes prosecutor and serves on a UN commission looking into human rights abuses in Syria. So any comments from her carry weight.
Senior Libyan rebel "officers" sold Hezbollah and Hamas thousands of chemical shells from the stocks of mustard and nerve gas that fell into rebel hands when they overran Muammar Qaddafi's military facilities in and around Benghazi, DEBKAfile's exclusive military and intelligence sources report. Word of the capture touched off a scramble in Tehran and among the terrorist groups it sponsors to get hold of their first unconventional weapons.
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc),- The Syrian Arab News Agency SANA reports that the Syrian Army has seized two containers with Sarin nerve gas. The seizure of the banned chemical followed the recent seizure of two cylinders with Sarin from 12 members of the Jabhat al-Nusrah front by Turkish law-enforcement officers. The evidence trail may lead to Saudi-Arabia and Malaysia. Russia and Syria continue demanding full and independent investigations.
Ok, this time everybody may need to get out and walk home. (Scroll down to 8/28, As for the Truth)
Kerry was chosen as the messenger. Why not Obama? I am certainly not in a position to know how reliable the information is. I want Obama to be held accountable, not Kerry or Rice or….
See the following:
Kerry does not mention the possibility of rebels using gas but uses strong language about the effects of using gas on the people of Syria.
Conspicuously absent is any mention of the US violating the Geneva Protocol in using white phosphorus in Iraq.
This skillful distortion of perspective requires that I step back to appreciate a hypocritical play is being made on my emotions as Kerry is attempting to scapegoat Assad. Making such a play is unfortunate and counterproductive since I already know Assad is a scoundrel. Therefore the effect is bringing to mind Obama's “pardon” of Bush for War Crimes.
"One of my first acts as President will be to pardon George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for treason, war profiteering, war crimes or any other crimes they're possibly indictable for over the past eight years."
The history of CIA involvement is another complication that must be factored in.
"As they consider further intervention in Syria, Washington policymakers should be aware of the history of previous U.S. involvement there. During the Cold War’s early years, the United States tried to overthrow the Syrian government in one of the most sustained covert-operations campaigns ever conducted."
So now let’s look for accountability for and the effectiveness of any actions to be taken.
As noted above, Obama obviously believes (in his pardon of Bush) that neither he nor Bush should be held accountable for their actions as President. Avoidance of accountability negates trust but it does not negate the horrors of war in Syria.
This brings us to the question. What can We the People of the United States do, if anything, to reduce the horrors and the hardships suffered by the People of Syria in a civil war enkindled and inflamed by the government of the US? Be sure to share your ideas with your representatives in Congress.
Cairo institute for Human Rights Studies
“In fact, truth and justice are the most prominent victims of more than 30 months of political violence in Egypt, in addition to the thousands of dead and injured. Had there been genuine political will to achieve justice and to uncover the truth, impunity for crimes would not continue today, nor would blood be spilled on a daily basis as it has before, during, and after the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
An Early Spring and a Killing Late Frost.
CIA still in Benghazi?
On 26 July 2013, Al Mismari was shot dead shortly after Friday prayers upon exiting Masjid Al Ghoula in Birqa district in Benghazi; the perpetrators have yet to be identified. Two army generals, Salim Asarah and Mohamed Abdurrahim Khatab, were also assassinated in Benghazi. Three car bomb attacks against security officials also took place in Benghazi on 29 July 2013, one of which resulted in the death of Ahmad Al-Siddik Al-Zwai. Prime Minister Zeidan pledged to begin investigations into the assassination of Al Mismari immediately. No statement was made by the government with regard to whether any investigations would take place into the other assassinations.
"Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi this week blamed mainly non-oil workers and agitators pushing for regional autonomy in Libya for the strikes, which he said had cost the country $2 billion in lost revenue so far.
The closure of Libya's two largest oil terminals at the end of July, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, started the worst outage since the civil war in 2011.
The two ports have been closed for about a month now by armed security guards, who previously protected the sites."
The leader of the (Eastern - Benghazi area) autonomy movement, Ahmed al-Zubair, along with tribal and former rebel leaders, declared the eastern region of Cyrenaica as a semi-independent as of June 1. Al-Zubair also announced creation of a separate force to defend the region and collect weapons.
Libya's premier on Wednesday ordered relocation of the headquarters of the state-run oil company to the eastern city of Benghazi, fulfilling a long-standing demand by residents of the region and comes days after tribal declared semi-independent region in the east.
The link below connects with an excellent sobering in depth discussion of the situation in Syria surrounding the reported use of chemical weapons. I have watched it once and I need to hit the sack.
I am not sure that I can add much of note other than drawing attention to attempts to dance around specific requests for the specific information that was apparently supplied by Israel which indicated that there were elements in the Syrian government that were involved in attacks where chemical weapons were used followed by others in the Syrian government being aghast at the news.
If this information is credible, it leaves us wondering if Al Qaeda rebels have infiltrated the Syrian government. That is a big if however, since Israel has a significant interest in the production of "evidence" that would draw the US more deeply into the conflict. That conflict of interest severely limits the value of the information requiring more research for substantiation.
Remember the USS Liberty.
“The Obama administration gave green signal to a chemical weapons attack plan in Syria that could be blamed on President Bashar al Assad’s regime and in turn, spur international military action in the devastated country, leaked documents have shown. A new report, that contains an email exchange between two senior officials at British-based contractor Britam Defence, showed a scheme ‘approved by Washington’. As per the scheme ‘Qatar would fund rebel forces in Syria to use chemical weapons,’”
Keep in mind I am not calling You to trust anyone, not anyone, but to act in their own perceived self interest. The question of who stands to benefit the most from the gas attack can only be answered by Obama. Will it be Al Qaeda/Islamists or the Syrian Army or US/NATO economic interests? The evidence in the end will be the only truth we get.
Gadhafi, scoundrel that he was, was taken out to protect the West's control of the flow of oil out of northern Africa. No question that he wanted to nationalize Africa's resources. No question NATO and the US did not want to see that happen. As soon as Gadhafi was taken out the CIA began shipping arms and mercenaries out of Libya to Syria.
Gadhafi wanted to nationalize African Oil.
CIA moves mercenaries and arms out of Libya (Benghazi) to Syria.
Where will the house cleaning that started in Iraq end? Are we multiplying our friends or our enemies?
8/28/2013 AS FOR THE TRUTH
I can remember driving home with four kids just out of school fighting in the back seat of the Jeep. The kids remember me yelling and waving my arm blindly over the back of the seat attempting to stop the fighting and the yelling in the back seat. On one occasion, the most head strong among them refused to stop stirring the pot. She was sure she was right and making her point was worth the fight. I told her she would have to get out and walk if she did not settle. We were on a gravel about a mile from home. She did not settle. I stopped the Jeep and Joy drove the other three home leaving the two of us to walk.
I had learned on previous occasions that any attempt to find the truth and administer justice on such occasions was vain. I accepted that "Who started it?" was a stupid question. They were all wonderful kids and they were all kids. The self absorption of their childhood and their frustration with school and the close quarters in the Jeep created an explosive situation. On this occasional my lesson was - explosions in the front seat are not helpful. So I too walked home.
As I am keeping watch on world events I appreciate once more that any attempt for me to make a good decision on how to react to current events (a larger version of the fighting in the back seat) must depend on something other than me knowing the truth. None of the parties have an interest in, or perhaps even the capacity for, telling me the truth. All parties in their self absorption feel justified in their actions and in their lies and in their violence. The fault of the Other is an adequate excuse and cover for One's own. They are all good guys and they are all bad guys but most of all they are human beings caught up in the very tragic, very natural situation that leads us to the threshold of our spacious Destiny but no further. All of the religious wisdom of the world obviously fails Us, perhaps because We can see beyond our reach or perhaps because We are just not ready and/or not reaching.
Something about the two of us walking home together seemed to moderate passions and foster patience from then on.
Knowing that I do not know, and that I may never know the truth - the important thing would seem to be learning how to walk or ride home together in peace.
In Germany, Mainz University professor Guenter Meyer, a Syria expert, questioned the rush to implicate the Syrian government in chemical weapons use. He said Turkish police had arrested al Nusra members with two kilograms of sarin gas earlier this year. And he said evidence in the case of at least one previous alleged gas attack indicated that the Syrian government would not have been behind it, as those targeted were Assad supporters and regime soldiers.
“At this point, given the recent advances of the regime, the only side with strategic interest in using chemical weapons would be the rebels, in an attempt to get the west to step in against the regime,” he said.
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/08/28/200599/un-envoy-confirms-chemical-weapon.html#storylink=cpy
According to Turkish officials, however, there is concrete evidence that CIA’s mercenaries operating in Syria under the leadership of the al-Nusra Front, a terrorist group aligned with al-Qaeda in Syria, are in possession of deadly sarin gas and planned to use it against the Syrian Army. http://www.infowars.com/cias-al-qaeda-mercenaries-in-syria-caught-with-sarin-gas/
What are we to believe now? This much We know.
Obama wants to get involved in Syria. The People of the US do not. Obama needs a draw. A Gulf of Tonkin incident. He needs to appear to be hesitant. He created the nerve gas trigger (red line). But who pulled that trigger and why? We do not know.
Not knowing (unless in fact he does know because it was CIA backed rebels) still Biden seeks to create an illusion of knowing the Assad government is responsible.
Obama says he is not out to get rid of Assad. Does that mean the US will now be protecting Assad or is that simply a cover under which CIA mercenaries will act to take out Assad?
Again, We do not know.
The last thing to do is to go to war over rumors, unless You want to go to war for reasons that You do not want to openly share. And once at war, when has the public ever cared why?
To learn more see:
FALSE FLAG LEAK?
May 30, 2013
"It appears that the UK government is now seeking to create an appearance that the Guardian and Washington Post's disclosures are harmful, and they (the UK government) are doing so by intentionally leaking harmful information to The Independent and attributing it to others."
Snowden is talking about a false flag leak with real potential for creating a real national security risk in response to Snowden's leaks that only seek to create embarrassment for the scoundrels who have forgotten they are supposed to be serving Us not spying on Us.
The above reminds me of the recent flap over who is gassing who and why in Syria. The classic false flag was of course the USS Liberty. http://www.gtr5.com/
The written record of the monkey business of "leaders" betraying the best among their own for some hidden dark personal agenda goes back at least to King David, the hypocrite, adulterer and general scoundrel who murdered Uriah the Hittite - a brave soldier of extraordinary dedication to the king and to the cause.
In case You have forgotten the story You can find it in the Book of Second Samuel the 11th Chapter. There is much to be learned from these old stories about human nature. The first lesson being, We are slow learners.
Still, compare the life of David to the life of Jesus. Among his followers Jesus was the point man, the first to die for the cause, who, as their humble servant,washed the feet of those who would come after him.
David on the other hand had a secret adulterous relationship with the wife of his best man and then murdered that man to cover-up his tracks. If David wrote any of the Psalms - even all of them- history shows they failed to suffice as recompense for the prophecy "the sword shall never depart from your house" that continues to play out in the Middle East.
And yes, it was Israeli planes that attacked the USS Liberty though complicity by scoundrels at the highest levels of the US government cannot be ruled out and is even more shameful.
The lesson is... do not lead, I may not follow, do not follow, I may not lead, just reach out and take my hand in fellowship.... and... He who would be greatest among You must be the servant to the rest.
8/25/2013 "HOW CAN CONGRESS DEBATE A SECRET LAW?"
In May 2011, before the Senate was, again, scheduled to vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act, Senators Wyden and Udall, again, called for the declassification of the administration's secret interpretation of Section 215. This time, in a Huffington Post op-ed entitled "How Can Congress Debate a Secret Law?", they wrote:
“As members of the Senate intelligence committee we have been provided with the executive branch's classified interpretation of those provisions and can tell you that we believe there is a significant discrepancy between what most people – including many Members of Congress – think the Patriot Act allows the government to do and what government officials secretly believe the Patriot Act allows them to do.”
I think it's hard for the American people to trust their president when he says he respects democratic principles, when his actions over the course of nearly five years demonstrate very little respect for democratic principles.
In his book, Secrecy: The American Experience, former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan included a quote from a 1960 report issued by the House committee on operations, which I believe provides a far better response than anything I could write on my own:
Secrecy – the first refuge of incompetents – must be at a bare minimum in a democratic society for a fully-informed public is the basis of self-government. Those elected or appointed to positions of executive authority must recognize that government, in a democracy, cannot be wiser than its people.
By: Jennifer Hoelzer
Jennifer Hoelzer is a writer, strategic communicator and consultant. A former deputy chief of staff for Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon), she has since founded her own firm, IOC Strategies, Inc. Jennifer also writes for the blog Techdirt. Follow her on Twitter: @JIHoelzer
8/22/2013 AND SO HE GOES TO JAIL
"Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.” Bradley Manning
"Public accountability is essential to democracy. We can’t have meaningful “consent of the governed” without informed consent. We can’t have moral responsibility without challenging official hypocrisies and atrocities." Norman Solomon
Read more @ http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/22
The knee jerk reaction of the US Government in a tight situation is to tell a lie. Then the embarrassing information is quickly classified and covered up under the false flag of national security. The fundamental operating principle is, We the People must not know the truth. But We all know this, right? And in that knowledge We are accountable for the steady diet of lies upon which We feed.
Later, much later, when any revelation is sure to be boring and no longer nutritious, some smelly digested information will be allowed to leak out. This process makes a mockery of democracy and the honor of our soldiers and it needs a name that rings in our ears and clings to the accused. Something like treason, only much stickier and impossible to shrug off. Let truth telling in the form of full disclosure under oath be the only solvent able to effect release and let every elected official be subject to a call for clarity that must be answered under oath.
Remember The USS Liberty! (or even Remember Benghazi!) would be a suitable clarion call.
Thanks, Bradley Manning. You remind Us that America is still a great country, still worthy and still able of being defended by those who love Her, with the truth. You held your ground in Her defense bearing testimony to what there is about Her that is most worthy of being defended. America is still a great country, in no small part, because You are still here, a living testimony to Her defense in the midst of Her detractors.
I am aware that Bradley Manning suffers from gender identity confusion. I wonder what role, if any, that may have played in the decisions he made.
I worked with a gay guy once who made the argument that Jesus was gay. It was an interesting argument most of which I discounted. However what stuck with me was the idea that the teachings of Jesus on violence and sexuality and eunuchs were not in-keeping with the classical macho "testosterone high" perspective manifest in the Old Testament warriors and in Bush's pre-emptive strike on Iraq, all of which followed The Bloody Rule of "Do it unto Others before they get a chance to do it unto You." None of that turning the other cheek sort of stuff.
My Grandpa Miller trained horses. For my part I much enjoyed watching the performance of a well mannered stud horse set up on a tight reign that can make the earth thunder under his hooves as he paws the air he breaths through flaring nostrils and who will yet will stand at ease in the line up with a hot mare on one side and prancing stud on the other. A well behaved gentleman, obviously impassioned and in love with life but obviously well disciplined and too well loved. That would be both Grandpa and the horse.
I leave it to Bradley to make sense of his gender identity and sexual orientation and the problems that might create for him in prison while at the same time wondering if he has something to teach us about training horses or more importantly, about being more fully human.
I learned late the art of being tough enough to be tender. The fearless tenacity of Gandhi convinced me that the power of Jesus, clearing the temple one day and children on his knee the next, came from having all the passions of a complete man at his command.
Still, was there something about Bradley's sexual orientation that created the blend of sensitivity and passion that contributed to his heroic action? I have no clue but as they say, God moves in mysterious ways.
And just in case I have left You wondering, Marriage for me is still, One Man and One Woman for Life. However, unpredictable circumstances may call for exceptional accommodations. I have no desire to redefine Marriage but the Sabbath was made to accommodate the fundamental needs of Man and thus our definitions must always serve the spirit of the law which is.... God's love for each Us manifest in our love for each Other.
Oh yeah, the big white stallion Grandpa rode leading parades up on the square and at rodeos and horse shows out at the Fairgrounds was called Silver Sailor. He was "always" kept in the first stall on your right just inside the door of the horse barn out at McMillian Park, somewhere back in the 50's.
8/22/2013 BACK TO SCHOOL
“What are you thinking, Mr. President?”
“Is this really the legacy you want for yourself: the chief executive who trampled rights, destroyed privacy, heightened secrecy, ruined trust, and worst of all, did not defend but instead detoured around so many of the fundamental principles on which this country is founded?”
“And I voted for you.” (And so did I.... the first time.)
"Never did I imagine that you would instead become another Richard Nixon: imperial, secretive, vindictive, untrustworthy, inexplicable.”
Jeff Jarvis is journalism professor at the City University of New York.
Joy thinks I should cut Obama some slack. Ok... the man may be... as Bush so obviously was... in way over his head. He is not running the country, and perhaps he is running for his life. I need to know more about how the world works, so... it's back to school. Maybe the Presidency is an impossible job. Still, who ever is running the show, be it the Trilateral Commission, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, or who ever, they need to be exposed and to be held accountable. Who knows it may be Us, We the People, who in failing to rise to the awesome responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic republic are creating the unmanageable mess.
Classes started today at Iowa Wesleyan. I have signed up for Global Issues taught by Brian Carter which begins tomorrow. I have my degree and I am retired but it has become apparent to me that I need to better understand the world I live in. I need a better education and I know Brian can help me get one.
Today, after signing up, I paused to consider that through the years two motions have become diametrically opposed in the flow of my consciousness. On the positive side, I appreciate today, more than ever before, what America can yet become, drawing that appreciation in significant part from what I thought We already were!
I value the freedoms of being an American even more now than in my youth, even as now I watch in disbelief….. those freedoms eroding away.
I appreciate today the special part America has played in the history of the world even as I watch America fall from Grace into meddling imperialism that leaves nations in shambles behind in its wake.
Today I am beginning to understand why Arabs hate Us but still I know I need to understand that hatred much better.
Today I wonder, are Arabs ready for democracy? For instance, among the treasures to be found in our freedom of speech is our responsibility to be tolerant of the voices of Others who may offend Us.
Fully functional social freedoms come paired with the responsibilities of reciprocity in the spirit of “Do unto Others as You would have them do unto You.” That is difficult to do for those in many religions who find their security and rationalize their actions in sweeping forms of exclusivism. But We have learned from the genocide of the American Indian and We are still learning…. and so it’s back to school.
8/17/2013 Bulletin: Good News for Loyal Democrats from Fox News
San Diego 6 News also reported on a purported email from a CIA contractor which said (CIA Director) Brennan was behind "witch hunts of investigative journalists" and someone from the White House was targeting anyone printing material "negative to the Obama agenda."
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/08/14/journalist-michael-hastings-reportedly-working-on-story-about-cia-chief-before/#ixzz2cCtwEtQ8
8/17/3013 AND NOW THE FISA COURT
"The chief judge of the secret FISA court, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said the court lacks the tools to independently verify how often the government’s surveillance breaks the court's rules that aim to protect Americans’ privacy. Without taking drastic steps, it also cannot check the veracity of the government’s assertions that the violations its staff members report are unintentional mistakes."
In short, in an apparent response to the revelations of internal government documents made available by Snowden showing NSA staffers accrued thousands of surveillance violations a year (see 8/16 below) the court has confessed it cannot and it has not functioned in an oversight capacity.
The chief judge, pleading innocent by way of incapacitation, may have saved the honor of the court but he has trashed the arguments of the Obama administration which have "repeatedly pointed to the FISA court as proof that NSA surveillance has oversight."
It appears the Courts may be joining the Congress in being dysfunctional in relation to the unchecked powers of the Executive Branch. The restoration and enrichment of the checks and balances of the Democratic Republic of America depends now on "We the People" and of course it always has.
“The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since 2008, the Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing an internal audit and other top-secret documents.
In a trove of materials provided to the paper by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden…. agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The Post said the NSA audit, dated May 2012, counted 2,776 incidents in the preceding 12 months of unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications.
Some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, including Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, have been trying for some time to get the NSA to give some kind of accounting of how much data it collects "incidentally" on Americans through various electronic dragnets. The Obama administration has strongly resisted such disclosures.” (emphasis added)
What is troubling is not so much the corruption in government, as corruption is to be expected in all government, but the apathy of the People in response to the exposure of that corruption, which is out right Un-American. We appear to be more willing to send our Sons and Daughters to blindly follow liars to war than to demand the truth from our elected leaders. We are more likely to seek legal action against those who tell Us the truth than against those who lie to Us. This borders on the criminal abdication of the responsibility of the People in a government that defines itself as being of the People, for the People and by the People. There is no place for Us to hide. What is happening in America is what We are doing. Yes, Obama and Bush and Congress have betrayed the Constitution and made a mockery of our Patriotism in the Patriot Act but question is, will the People fulfill the responsibilities of their Citizenship in response?
"Now... two operators of private e-mail services – media entrepreneurs who found ways to encode their customers’ communications to try to keep them secure – have decided to close down entirely rather than have their customers’ data privacy compromised by such government searches. The two are Lavabit, whose owner hinted that his operation has already been targeted in some of the data sweeps, and Silent Mail, whose owner said that his operation has not yet been ordered to hand over anything, but who said he sees “the hand-writing on the wall.”
These are gestures of constitutional belief, stubborn assertions of the value of privacy in personal communications. Lavabit and Silent Mail have become Constitution-makers in their own right, in keeping with their vision of what the Fourth Amendment should protect, even if it does not now."
Just imagine that, people who are willing to make sacrifices to preserve the functionality of our Constitutional Liberties. These companies, who depended on the 4th Amendment for their bread a butter, shut down to protect their customers, rather than betraying them. Congress on the other hand, went on (and long has been on) vacation when it comes to maintaining the civil liberties of the People.
AMY GOODMAN: If you even talk about getting a national security letter, you face five years in prison.
NICHOLAS MERRILL: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: If you even mention it to a co-worker. Why don’t we turn to President Obama speaking in 2005 about national security letters (while) he was still a U.S. senator.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA: This is legislation (Patriot Act) that puts our own Justice Department above the law. When national security letters are issued, they allow federal agents to conduct any search on any American, no matter how extensive, how wide-ranging, without ever going before a judge to prove that the search is necessary. All that is needed is a sign-off from a local FBI agent. That’s it. Once a business or a person receives notification that they will be searched, they are prohibited from telling anyone about it, and they’re even prohibited from challenging this automatic gag order in court. Even though judges have already found that similar restrictions violate the First Amendment, this conference report disregards the case law and the right to challenge the gag order. If you do decide to consult an attorney for legal advice, hold on. You will have to tell the FBI that you’ve done so. Think about that. You want to talk to a lawyer about whether or not your actions are going to be causing you to get into trouble. You’ve got to tell the FBI that you’re consulting a lawyer. This is unheard of. There is no such requirement in any other area of the law. I see no reason why it’s justified here. And if someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document, through the library books that you read, the phone calls that you’ve made, the emails that you’ve sent, this legislation gives people no rights to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law. No judge will hear your plea; no jury will hear your case. This is just plain wrong.
For the rest of the story visit: http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/13/former_internet_provider_gagged_by_national
Yes, President Obama, I agree it is "just plain wrong" and that is why I did not vote for You the second time.
What happened to him? What is happening to American? How long will Americans plug their ears, wipe clean the slate of their memories and bite their tongues? There are responsibilities that go with the Bill of Rights.
8/13/2013 US REPRESENTATIVES IN THE DARK
Rep. Justin Amash, Michigan Republican
"I can now confirm that the House permanent select committee on intelligence did not, in fact, make the 2011 document available to representatives in Congress, meaning that the large class of representatives elected in 2010 did not receive either of the now declassified documents detailing these programs."
8/12/2013 SENATORS DO NOT KNOW THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES
"some current Intelligence Committee members aren’t fully aware of (their) power (under Section 8 of the Senate resolution 400 which established the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 1976). Asked about the authority (to declassify documents), Sen. Wyden confessed that he didn’t know the provision existed.
His Intelligence Committee colleague Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., also said he wasn’t aware of it."
That is why it took a Snowden!
Congress is dysfunctional.
Congress has surrendered to the executive branch. They have allowed the investigation of 911 to remain classified. They have refused to protect the civil liberties of Americans, wringing their hands as if they are powerless before intelligence agencies that are serving the military industrial complex and the oil companies.
The article below is certainly worth a read. It turns out that US Senators serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee have betrayed the American People in an abdication of their responsibility under section 8.
There are currently three dysfunctional levels of government, the national press, the People and the Congress. I exclude the presidency with some hesitance considering Obama's reversal on campaign promises. It appears the President is working for the same interests that controlled Bush. I think Presidents are over stepping their bounds in service to special interests while the Congress, the press and the People are failing to rise to the occasion.
"Intelligence agencies are impossible to control and it is impossible to know if they accept foreign law and my feeling is they don't.”
Steffen Bockhahn, responding to what NSA does with information it gets from monitoring telephone conversations. Bockhahn sits on the parliamentary committee that oversees the German intelligence agencies’ budget. It would appear that nothing NSA does surprises him and it is obvious to him they are not being effectively regulated.