Friday, 2 August 2013

Unions Desperate to Halt Decline in Membership




Unions no longer have any useful function in modern societies.

http://www.moneynews.com/PrintTemplate?nodeid=518365

Moneynews

Unions Get Creative to Halt Decline in Membership

Friday, August 2, 2013 07:13 AM

By: SAM HANANEL

With union membership on the decline, labor leaders are getting more creative — and some say more desperate — to boost sagging numbers and rebuild their waning clout.

Unions are helping non-union fast food workers around the country hold strikes to protest low wages and poor working conditions.

They are trying to organize home day care workers, university graduate students and even newly legalized marijuana dealers. Members of a "shadow union" at Wal-Mart hold regular protests at the giant retailer, which long has been resistant to organizing.

Labor leaders say unions must create new models and new ways to represent workers to reverse the steady slide in the union ranks. Those efforts have taken on greater urgency since the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier this year that union membership has declined to just 11.3 percent of the workforce — its lowest point in nearly a century.

"To be blunt, our basic system of workplace representation is failing to meet the needs of America's workers by every critical measure," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a recent speech.

The most high-profile tactic has seen hundreds of low-wage workers at McDonald's, Burger King and other fast food chains walk off their jobs this week in a series of one-day strikes to demand better pay and the right to unionize. Workers are demanding wages of $15 an hour, more than double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25.

The actions in New York, Chicago, Detroit and other cities are being coordinated by local worker centers, nonprofit organizations made up of unions, clergy and other advocacy groups. While not technically labor groups, they receive generous financial support and training staff from the Service Employees International Union and other unions.

"Our primary goal is to help workers boost wages," SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said. "We think a key part of that is helping workers form organizations where they can directly bargain for wages with their employers."

Labor strategists say the fast food campaign has long-term potential for unions. If unions can't organize through traditional methods, they see the smaller mobilizations through worker centers as a way to show low-wage workers how coordinated action can win some concessions from employers. That might make workers in the rapidly growing fast food industry more sympathetic to the idea of joining a union later on.

"The fast food and Wal-Mart strikes are exciting examples of workers reinventing the strike, going on offense and challenging inequality," said Stephen Lerner, a labor and community organizer and architect of the Justice for Janitors campaign in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

But the tactic has raised the concern of business groups, which say these organizations are merely "union fronts" designed to operate outside labor laws so they don't have to follow restrictions on secondary picketing, boycotts or file reports with the Labor Department. House Republicans wrote a letter to the Labor Department last week asking officials whether the groups need to abide by labor laws.

"An advantage of these groups is they allow unions to gain entry into a block of workers without them realizing this is just a front for a traditional union," said Glenn Spencer, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Workforce Freedom Initiative.

The number of worker centers has grown from five in the 1990s to more than 200 today, including the Restaurant Opportunity Center, National Day Laborers Organizing Network and the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The AFL-CIO and member unions are trying to leverage alliances with those groups, as well as progressive groups that have similar goals. At the AFL-CIO's upcoming convention in Los Angeles next month, the federation is expected to announce stronger partnerships with the NAACP, Hispanic advocacy groups and the Sierra Club.

"The worker centers are obviously springing up to address an unmet need in geographic areas or in particular industries," said Craig Becker, general counsel at the AFL-CIO.

The AFL-CIO is also seeking to expand its Working America affiliate, which has more than 3 million members sympathetic to unions, but don't work under collective bargaining agreements and pay only token dues or nothing at all.

As businesses have become more aggressive and successful at battling union organizers, unions are also increasingly targeting non-traditional workers for membership. In Minnesota, lawmakers this year authorized unions to try organizing some 12,700 home day care providers who take care of children subsidized by the state. Similar measures affect home care workers in Vermont and Rhode Island.

Unions claim collective bargaining will help home care workers earn better wages and benefits for health care and retirement. But critics say the added costs will be borne by parents who can't afford it.

Unions also hope to target thousands of graduate students at private universities. Labor advocates are urging the National Labor Relations Board to overturn a 2004 decision that said graduate assistants are more like students than employees under federal labor laws.

The NLRB indicated last year that it would reconsider the question, and with the board's newly confirmed Democratic majority this week, unions may have a chance. Some universities are wary, though. Peter Weber, graduate school dean at Brown University, told lawmakers at a House hearing last year that unionizing grad students would "damage the fabric of graduate education."

One surprising area where unions have had success recently is organizing marijuana dealers in states that have legalized the drug for recreational or medical use. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the nation's largest union for retail workers, helped support ballot measures to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington last year and now counts about 3,000 members in the industry.



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Footage of Nancy Pelosi in Secret Obamacare Meeting






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Czech attorney: “To outlaw the entire Islamic association is bold, but not unrealistic”






Better to just outlaw muslims.

 

B

 

Czech attorney: “To outlaw the entire Islamic association is bold, but not unrealistic”

Publikováno 16.07. 2013 | Autor: Slávek

Muneeb Hassan Alrawi, head of Center of Muslim Communities

An atheist association in the Czech Republic (OSACR) filed a legal complaint against the formal head of Czech Muslims – Muneeb Hassan Alrawi. The complaint centres on his potential illegal conduct in a sermon where he calls on Muslims to teach their children to hate “kufr” (usually translated as all things unacceptable and offensive to God and defined in Qur’an by acts of  “unbelievers“, „disbelievers“, or „infidels”) and to beat them if they refuse to pray*. Such preaching is especially peculiar in a country which is often ranked as one of the least religious in the world and where Muslims represent a tiny fraction of the population.

Yes, it is not surprising from radical clerics, but Mr. Alrawi is chairman of the “Center of Muslim Communities” in the Czech Republic (UMO) making him formally the highest representative of Muslims in the country. Next year UMO plans to acquire a higher legal status that would allow them – among other advantages – to teach their version of Islam in schools, prisons etc.

 Nevertheless, what makes this case perhaps unique is the response of the state attorney J. Petrásek. He stated in the newspaper Rovnost that the case is “interesting and unique, and if accepted it would probably be classified as a threat to the moral education of youth and Mr. Alrawi would be immediately prosecuted”. Furthermore Mr. Petrasek said that “to outlaw the entire Islamic association is bold, but not unrealistic” which sounds reasonable in light of Mr. Alrawi’s response that he had read a translated sermon and that the content of his teaching is an integral part of Islam.

Jan Werner on behalf of the atheist association said: “We regard it unacceptable that the state grants a registration to a group whose leaders regularly call to hate unbelievers”. “Our association cares about advancement of humanism, secular values, tolerance and understanding. However, we see a direct threat to these values in extremist organisations like UMO”  added Werner.

 *the full statement from Mr. Alrawi’s sermon:

“Your duty in this period is to teach him (a child between 7 and 10) to love Islam, and – that he could become a Muslim – teach him to express hate towards kufr. Teach him hate towards everything immoral and not good. Mainly, teach him to hate kufr, hence not-accepting Allah.”

“Teach your children salah (prayer) at age 7 and you can beat them when they are 10 if they don’t do so.”

contact for further inquiries: Slávek Černý, slavek@osacr.cz, +420 608 612 423



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The next U.S. war will be over blue water, not desert sand





http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/making-waves-hawaii-perspective-washington-politic/2013/jul/30/de-gracia-next-us-war-will-be-over-blue-water-not-/#.Ufl01b3bjvg.email

 

The next U.S. war will be over blue water, not desert sand

·

Photo: The Navy has an important role to play in the decades to come. (U.S. Navy File Photo)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - Making Waves: A Hawaii Perspective on Washington Politics by Danny de Gracia

Danny de Gracia

HONOLULU, July 30, 2013 ― Over the next 30 years the U.S. Navy hopes to acquire some 266 new ships, including among others six Ford-class aircraft carriers, 33 Flight-IV Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, 66 littoral combat ships, 33 Virginia-class attack submarines and 12 ballistic missile submarines of a future design. The plan has been criticized by some as fiscally unreasonable, but recent geopolitical shifts may require a prioritization towards naval forces to ensure the security of U.S. interests.

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, America’s military posture has chiefly revolved around the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as antiterrorism operations spread across the Middle East-North Africa region. During the last three presidential elections, candidates were judged on how “tough” they appeared against terrorists and rogue Middle Eastern regimes.


In a political climate where America’s enemies are believed to be AK-47 toting guerillas, machete wielding warlords or insane dictators armed with 1950s rocket technology, the Navy with its aircraft carriers and boomer submarines is often perceived by Beltway pundits as clumsy, vestigial remnants of the Cold War era. But though the political class may not discern it, the world is already changing in ways that have made the post-9/11 security model obsolete.

Control of the oceans, not desert sand is the key to the next decade and beyond.

The rise of China

For the last two decades, China has aggressively developed and procured ocean area-denial platforms. Taken in the context of China’s skyrocketing fossil fuel consumption which today is second only to the U.S., China can be expected in the near future to assert itself more both in access to oil-rich ocean areas and control of shipping.

The question of whether the Chinese PLAN and U.S. Navy will clash at sea is not a question of “if” but an inevitable “when.” Protecting Asia-Pacific allies as well as Alaska, Hawaii and the continental United States will require a Navy that can effectively cover the strategic points of the world’s largest ocean. In the event of war, fewer ships means less capability to absorb losses and more difficulty in securing a decisive victory.

Environmental warfare

In the future, climate change and possibly large natural disasters can be expected to significantly alter the environment, making access to fishing areas and use of the continental shelf extremely competitive. It is not an unreasonable possibility that entire wars may be fought over crucial areas of land and sea that provide scarce food to large populations.

 

U.S. policymakers have placed a low premium on surface and antisubmarine warfare since the end of the Cold War, but planetary changes may place the Navy of the 2030s and beyond in the role of protecting the environment as a vital national interest. To accomplish that kind of mission, the Navy will require robust cyber, aerospace, surface and submarine assets. The science and research necessary to maintain technological dominance in these areas should also take top funding priority in Congress’ consideration of budgetary planning.

Three quarters of the planet is covered in water. For better or worse, whoever controls the world’s oceans and what lies beneath will control the world. Admiral Hyman Rickover recognized the military significance of this fact when he handed President Kennedy a plaque of the Old Breton prayer “O, God, Thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.”

America needs to stop playing in the sandbox and once more recognize its chief responsibility is to ensure the oceans are the domain of free nations.

 



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The Truth Behind Obama's Mid East "Peace Process" Policy





The Truth: Behind Obama's Mid East "Peace Process" Policy

Aug 01, 2013 07:47 pm | Jeff Dunetz

By Barry Rubin


At last we have an explanation for what has been going on with Israel-Palestinian talks. It is credible yet ridiculous. And it is very important.

Here is today's New York Times.

"In recent weeks, Mr. Kerry and his aides have outlined several basic arguments for why his efforts might bear fruit. Perhaps the most important one, which Mr. Kerry advanced almost the moment he was picked for the State Department post, is that the United States does not have the luxury of staying on the sidelines."

"With the Palestinians poised to take their claim for statehood to the International Criminal Court and United Nations bodies, American officials say the two sides were facing a downward spiral in which the Israelis would respond by cutting off financing to the Palestinian territories and European nations might curtail their investment in Israel, further isolating the Israelis."

Now, what is this saying?

--The Palestinian Authority (PA) intends to violate all the pledges used over the last 20 years of negotiations and in obtaining the West Bank and, previously, Gaza Strip. (Not a good precedent for the likelihood of their keeping future commitments.)

--For doing so it is not being punished but rewarded.

--The PA will seek statehood not through negotiations with Israel but unilaterally. No Israel agreement will be necessary.

--Note a key assumption here: The United States either will not oppose, or effectively oppose, this effort. Let's pause here. You mean the United States cannot lead or pressure such countries as Britain, France, Germany, or Italy in saying ""no." The New York Times doesn't point out what a failure of Obama Administration influence that would be. Let's also note the incompetence and failure of that government to stop leading allies at the UN General Assembly to vote for non-member statehood (a non-binding vote) last year despite a one-year warning the PA would try this.

--To summarize, the United States proposes surrender to a development breaking its more than 20-year-long policy that no comprehensive solution would be achieved without real mutual agreement.

--After the ""success" of the unilateral independence for Palestine--remember, with no control of the PA over Gaza--Israel will take action, understandably since it has been sold out by its allies.

--European states, again with no effective action by America, will punish Israel and Israel will be worse off.

Where to begin in analyzing this remarkable foundation for policy?

First, as I pointed out, it presumes incompetence and betrayal by the Obama Administration. It presumes that any battle to block either unilateral independence or punishment of Israel for opposing it would be doomed. This includes a refusal for the United State or European states to punish the PA even while they are believed they will eagerly punish Israel.

Incidentally, this explains Kerry's seeming slip about Palestine already being an independent country! Will the Obama Administration recognize a state of Palestine not achieved through negotiation with Israel?

Second, it presumes that after everything it has done for 20-40 years has proven to be based on false promises, Israel should base itself on more of such promises.

Third, it presupposes that the punishment would be worse than the risk taken by Israel, and ignores any possible costs faced by the Palestinians. Just because the EU has put sanctions--far looser and less significant than they seem--against special economic privileges for Israeli settlements in Europe does that mean the EU will do major sanctions against Israel in its recognized territory? (If Israel has such indications we don't know about it and, again, it shows how the United States has not fought against this.

Fourth, it assumes that having been given every reason to believe that they hold all the cards, the PA will make any compromises. This is not likely to result in a deal since Kerry has already told them that in a year or two more they can have anything. Here is Mahmoud Abbas radiating confidence that he is about to get a state. Remember that Kerry's last Middle East negotiations was when he thought he would easily wean away Syria's dictatorship from Iran.

And fifth, why would the PA keep any post-treaty commitments? We know that Hamas will not, and that Iran would not accept them. How long before new cross-border attacks and new demands would be made.

I presume that talks would fail and after this explanation of what Kerry is doing I feel even more strongly that this will happen. That's why the Israeli government has accepted this bad deal, believing--I think accurately--that the PA will make the talks fail. I understand why this option was taken--also because there might be American or European additional threats and promises; nobody can be as bad as Obama in future--but really this tactic is getting tired.

---------------------
We need your support. To make a tax-deductible donation to the GLORIA Center by PayPal or credit card: click Donate button: http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com. Checks: "American Friends of IDC." "For GLORIA Center" on memo line. Mail: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th St., 11th Fl., NY, NY 10003.
------------------------
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press. Other recent books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center and of his blog, Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia

Please email me at yidwithlid@aol.com to be put onto my mailing list. Feel free to reproduce any article but please link back to http://www.jeffdunetz.com

 



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The Five Flaws of Kerry's Mideast Peace Process




First flaw:  Kerry's involved.

 

B

 

August 2, 2013

The Five Flaws of Kerry's Mideast Peace Process

By Noah Beck

1) No Palestinian reciprocity at the outset. Israel agreed to release 104 convicted terrorists just to get the Palestinians to talk peace. Would the U.S. agree to release 104 Guantanamo prisoners for talks with anyone?

Israel will undoubtedly be blamed if negotiations fail, so it's unlikely that fair judgment by the international community motivated the release. Perhaps it was the price that Israel had to pay for a U.S. promise to prevent Iranian nukes and/or support Israel's efforts to stop them. If so, is the U.S. as good as its word (despite Obama's repeated demonstrations that his Mideast "red lines" are meaningless)?

Whatever the explanation for Israel's good-faith opening, there were plenty of ways for the Palestinians to reciprocate: removing anti-Israel incitement from their textbooks and/or official media, recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, promising to "freeze" their anti-Israel diplomatic offensives, etc. But Secretary of State John Kerry preferred to establish that Palestinian reciprocity is optional: if Israel isn't volunteering what the Palestinians demand, they need only threaten to leave the talks and Kerry will compel the Israelis to comply.

2) No Palestinian good faith. The Palestinians will be represented by Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh. Shtayyeh's Facebook page displays a map of Israel's internationally recognized borders, plus the West Bank and Gaza -- all emblazoned with the Arabic letters for "Palestine." So the person entrusted with negotiating a "two-state solution" openly admits that his Mideast map has room for only a Palestinian state. Just as alarming, during a recent sermon attended by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and broadcast on Palestinian television, Religious Endowments Minister Mahmoud al-Habbash compared the PA's decision to negotiate with Israel to the Prophet Muhammad's Treaty of Hudaibiya (in the year 628 CE): "in less than two years, based on this treaty, the Prophet returned and conquered Mecca. This is the example. It is the model."

3) No religious freedom in a future Palestinian state. Palestinians insist (ironically) that "peaceful coexistence" means no Jewish settlers in their state. But, on principle, why should Jews be banned from living in a future Palestinian state -- particularly when Muslims constitute over 17% of Israel's population? Will the future Palestinian state be as hostile to religious minorities as other Muslim majority states are? Unfortunately, recent history gives little reason to hope otherwise. Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning Arab journalist, reported the following about a year ago:

According to the Greek Orthodox Church in the Gaza Strip, at least five Christians have been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam in recent weeks... Church leaders... accused a prominent Hamas man of being behind the kidnapping and forced conversion of a Christian woman, Huda Abu Daoud, and her three daughters. Radical Islam, and not checkpoints or a security fence, remains the main threat to defenseless Christians not only in the Palestinians territories, but in the entire Middle East as well.

While Gaza is ruled by Islamists, the PA has also shown its hostility to Christians. On March 12, 2012, Algemeiner reported that

"A week after Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told an [international] audience of Evangelical Protestants...that his government respected the rights of its Christian minorities, [PA] officials... informed Bethlehem pastor Rev. Naim Khoury that his church lacked the authority to function as a religious institution under the PA... [T]here is a sense among Christians in Bethlehem that anti-Christian animus has gotten worse in the city... Khoury said."

A few weeks ago, Palestinians vandalized the Cave of the Patriarchs, Judaism's second holiest site. How safe will non-Muslim holy sites be if there is no more Israeli presence in the West Bank? Will a future peace agreement specifically guarantee protection of and Israeli access to Jewish holy sites?

If Israel's presence in the West Bank has helped to moderate Muslim rule there, will Israel's complete departure mean that West Bank Christians can expect their persecution to worsen to Gazan levels (with abductions and forced conversions)? Palestinian insistence that their future West Bank state be "Judenrein" doesn't bode well for the indigenous Christians there (or for religious freedom).

4) No Palestinian mandate to negotiate peace. There are about 2.1 million Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and 1.7 million in the Gaza Strip. But Hamas-ruled Gaza vehemently opposes peace negotiations and denies Israel's right to exist. Islamic Jihad and Hamas recently lambasted PA leaders for meeting with Israelis to talk peace. The last time that the PA announced direct talks with Israel, Hamas announced plans to launch terrorist attacks at Israel, in coordination with 12 other Gaza terrorist organizations.

And it's not even clear that West Bank Palestinians favor these talks. Last Sunday, they rallied against peace until PA police violently suppressed the protest. Human Rights Watch has urged the Palestinian government to investigate the police beatings.

At best, the PA can deliver only half of any peace that it promises, which lets Palestinians have their cake and eat it too: the PA can extract painful territorial concessions from Israel at the negotiating table, while Hamas can continue terrorist attacks to achieve the one-state solution embraced on Facebook by PA "peace negotiator" Mohammad Shtayyeh.

5) Transferring the West Bank could be Israel's geostrategic undoing. Jordan could collapse any day from a flood of about 500,000 Syrian refugees (and growing daily); severe poverty; popular discontent over corruption, inequality, and lack of freedom; acute water shortages; and/or Muslim Brotherhood action to overthrow King Abdullah's monarchy. These factors make the Abdullah regime's survival increasingly uncertain. After Israel militarily withdraws from the West Bank, will Hamas topple the PA there as it did in Gaza (two years after Israel's 2005 Gaza withdrawal)? What if the Hamas-allied Muslim Brotherhood then takes over Jordan? If Jordanian-Palestinians -- the largest ethnic group in Jordan -- create a Palestinian state there (as advocated by this Jordanian-Palestinian writer), would Palestinians effectively have two states? The range and severity of threats to Israel from the combination of a post-Abdullah Jordan and a Palestinian West Bank state are considerable. Is it even possible to address these Israeli security concerns in a way that leaves Palestinian negotiators satisfied enough to sign a peace treaty?

With so many inherent defects in the current peace talks, why would the U.S. push its most reliable Mideast ally (and the only Middle East democracy) into such perilous waters or inevitable blame? One explanation is the increasingly fashionable idea (promoted by Arab governments) that settlements are blocking a peace deal that would produce Mideast stability. But inconvenient facts completely contradict this idea: Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, and Yemen (etc.) would remain the same conflict-torn mess as they are now after any Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East.


Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/../2013/08/the_five_flaws_of_kerrys_mideast_peace_process.html at August 02, 2013 - 01:59:06 PM CDT



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Washington Post: "Fox News must apologize to muslim terrorist Reza Aslan"




August 01, 2013

The enemedia is still in an uproar over Fox's Lauren Green daring to question the motives their darling of the moment, Khomeinist Reza Aslan, a board member of a lobbying group for the bloodthirsty Jew-hating Iranian mullahs. They're not demanding that Green be beheaded (yet), but they are demanding an apology: the Washington Post actually ran a piece by Erik Wemple entitled, "Fox News must apologize to Reza Aslan."

Can you imagine? This foul-mouthed, immature subversive Aslan is fawned over on every show by everyone -- and one interviewer goes off the reservation, and the enemedia lines up the firing squad. Can you imagine what they would be doing if Reza faced one-hundredth of the negative, prosecutorial media coverage I get, and other foes of jihad get, on a routine basis? Reza would be in a towering rage, firing off f**k bombs on twitter left and right, and the Washington Post would have to run a special section devoted to nothing but demands for apologies to him.

Imagine if this same brown-nosing treatment were accorded to friends of freedom, and not just to its enemies. Imagine the WaPo running a piece entitled, "60 Minutes must apologize to Pamela Geller," for Scott Pelley asking me if I even thought I had an obligation to tell the truth, or "CNN must apologize to Pamela Geller," for Suzanne Malveaux's fawning over a deceitful imam who lied about the violent passages in the Qur'an, and never giving me a chance to reply, or for Erin Burnett abruptly cutting off my remarks in another interview when I started telling the truth about Hamas-CAIR. Where is WaPo's story "Russell Brand must apologize to Pamela Geller" for his planting a "protester" in his studio audience for the sole purpose of smearing me?

Such stories would be absurd. I would never expect them. But they show up the obsequious absurdity of Wemple's WaPo piece about Reza. Leftists and Islamic supremacists are so used to being treated with kid gloves in interviews. They have no idea what it is like to face an adversarial media -- and when any of their heroes even get close to it, they start calling for the head of the interviewer who dared to treat him as if he were anything less than royalty.

The media truly is the enemy. They are the ones who have no interest in telling the truth. Their making a hero out of a potty-mouthed creep like Reza Aslan, who lies about his foes and runs from any actual discussion or debate with them, is just the latest evidence of that.

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2013/08/wapo-fox-news-must-apologize-to-reza-aslan.html



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Racism Explained






RACISM EXPLAINED

 

 

A black kid asks his mother, "Mama, what's a

Democracy?"

 

 

"Well, son, that's when white folks go to work every day so we can

get all our benefits, you knows like free cell phones for each family

member, rent subsidy, food stamps, WIC, free healthcare, utility subsidy,

& the list goes on & on, you knows".

 

 

"But mama, don't the white people get pissed off about

that?

 

 

"Sure they do, and that's called racism!"



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The Top 7 Lies of Obam-a-CON-omists … So Far





Sard posted: " Via Townhall Finance: [snip] The Top 7 Lies of Obam-a-CON-omists… So Far 7) Government Sequester- Remember when the world was coming to an end because the government was required to cut spending about half the amount that citizens were required to? Yeah"

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The Top 7 Lies of Obam-a-CON-omists … So Far

by Sard

Via Townhall Finance: [snip] The Top 7 Lies of Obam-a-CON-omists… So Far 7) Government Sequester- Remember when the world was coming to an end because the government was required to cut spending about half the amount that citizens were required to? Yeah. I do too. 6) Oil and Energy- you see a big problem is […]

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Sard | August 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Categories: Conservatism | URL: http://wp.me/p1SHGG-arx

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Last Hurrah of the Interventionists?


Last Hurrah of the Interventionists?
Friday - August 2, 2013 at 2:31 am
By Patrick J. Buchanan

In what a Washington Post columnist describes as a rout of Rand Paul isolationism, the Senate just voted overwhelmingly to send another $1.5 billion in foreign aid to Egypt.

The House voted 400-20 to impose new sanctions on Iran's oil exports, two days before Iran's new president, elected on a pledge to re-engage the West on the nuclear issue, takes his oath.

Do these triumphs of AIPAC and the War Party, of neocons and liberal internationalists, tell us where we are going? Or are they the last hurrahs of the interventionists, as America's long retreat proceeds apace.

If we take what Richard Nixon called "the long view," the trend line seems unmistakable. Under President Obama, America has pulled all U.S. forces out of Iraq and has scheduled a full withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.

Despite his "red line" in Syria having allegedly been crossed, and the cawing of Hill hawks like Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain, Obama seems the very portrait of a reluctant warrior in Syria.

A large majority of Americans, too, want no part of that civil war.

On Iran, the Pentagon seems to concur with Obama, in opposition to a new Mideast war. And as Congress votes new sanctions on Iran and new billions for an Egyptian army that just arrested its elected government, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is laying out scenarios for reducing the size, reach and power of the U.S. military.

"Without the controlling principle that the nation must maintain its objectives and its power in equilibrium, its purposes within its means, and its means equal to its purposes, its commitments related to its resources, and its resources adequate to its commitments, it is impossible to think at all about foreign affairs." So wrote Walter Lippmann in 1943.

That is our situation today.

During World War II, we were united in defeating Germany and Japan. After the war, we became united on a new foreign policy ­ containment of communism and a Soviet Empire that had spread from the Elbe River to the Bering Sea. Through great sacrifices we ensured that our resources were adequate to our commitments.

Vietnam shattered the Cold War consensus. Yet enough of it survived for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush to lead the nation and the West to victory.

Bush I then set out to build his "New World Order." He invaded Panama, drove Iraq out of Kuwait and put U.S. troops into Somalia. The country sent him packing.

After 9/11, Bush II invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and undertook to nation-build in both. The country removed his party from power in both houses of Congress in 2006 and from the presidency in 2008.

George W. was going to "end tyranny in our world." Enough said.

Obama began the long retreat of American power that proceeds today despite a bellicosity on Capitol Hill redolent of the Cold War.

Today, as government at all levels consumes nearly 40 percent of gross domestic product, as the deficit is growing three times as fast as the GDP, as China continues to grow at four times the U.S. rate, we need to ask ourselves:

What should we fight for? Whom shall we defend? What can we afford in the way of national defense? What must we afford?

Consider America's alliances, almost all of which date to a Cold War no American under 25 can even remember.

NATO was formed in 1949 to protect Western Europe from a Soviet Bloc and a Soviet Union that disappeared a generation ago.

U.S. treaties with Japan and the Philippines date to the 1950s, when Chairman Mao was exporting communist revolution. Should these treaties now require us to go to war with China to defend disputed islets and rocks in the East and South China Sea?

Our treaty with South Korea dates to a war against the North that ended in a truce 60 years ago. South Korea today has twice the population of the North and 40 times the GDP.

Must we still deploy a U.S. army on the Korean DMZ?

In 1977 we undertook to give $5 billion in annual foreign aid to Israel and Egypt. After 35 years, how long should the United States, whose middle class has not seen a rise in real income since 1977, borrow from China to pay Egyptians and Israelis $5 billion a year not to fight each other?

Through a mindless adherence to policies that date to a long-dead past, America is forfeiting her future.

Through our abandonment of economic patriotism and embrace of globalism, we have run up $10 trillion in trade deficits since Reagan. We have fought two trillion-dollar wars in 12 years.

Every year we go into world financial markets to borrow tens of billions for the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and foreign aid to send to regimes that routinely vote against the us in the United Nations.

Is Rand Paul really the one living in yesterday?

http://buchanan.org/blog/last-hurrah-of-the-interventionists-5741

Committing War Crimes is a Duty; Reporting Them is a Felony


Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Committing War Crimes is a Duty; Reporting Them is a Felony
William N. Grigg

Bradley Manning is the only combat veteran of the Iraq war whose service is worth honoring. Like hundreds of thousands of servicemen, Manning carried out unlawful orders to participate in an illegal war. Unlike any of the rest, he took necessary action to expose discrete criminal acts committed in the larger context of that illegal enterprise.

While serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, Manning sometimes felt as if he were "watching nonstop snuff films," according to a New York magazine profile.  His job consisted of sitting at a work station and evaluating Iraqis as targets. This meant "reducing a human being to a few salient points. Then he made a quick decision based on imperfect information: kill, capture, exploit, source."

Unlike countless other U.S servicemen who took refuge in the idea that obedience to superiors immunizes criminal behavior, Manning tried to discriminate between "insurgents" and innocent bystanders, only to find that such distinctions do not exist when one is fighting a war of aggression. When he expressed concerns about this to his superiors, Manning was told to choke down such questions and get back to the task of killing people who resented being occupied by a prohibitively stronger foreign power.

In late 2009, Manning told a psychological counselor "about a targeting mission gone bad in Basra" in which an unambiguously innocent bystander was killed. That incident left Manning incapacitated with guilt and remorse. It's quite likely that it also led Manning to confront the moral reality that every use of lethal force by U.S. personnel in Iraq was an act of murder.

Shortly after speaking with a psychologist about the Basra incident, Manning performed a heroic act in the service of his country and the rule of law by leaking the Iraq war logs and the notorious "Collateral Murder" video documenting the slaughter – by two U.S. Apache helicopter gunships – of twelve innocent civilians.

During the recently concluded show trial of Manning, the prosecution insisted that by publicizing the "Collateral Murder" video, the whistleblower had given material aid to the enemy. In fact, he had exposed a criminal policy imposed and carried out by the superior officers to whom he was expected to report such atrocities . Former U.S. Army Specialist Ethan McCord, who can be seen in the video attempting to carry two wounded children to safety – has testified that the crime documented in the video was the product of "standard operating procedure" dictating "360 degree rotational fire" in residential neighborhoods in retaliation for IED attacks on occupation troops. 

When Manning became aware of war crimes, he was legally and morally obligated to report them – not just to his superior officers, who were at best aggressively indifferent to them, but to the public from whom those officers derive their supposed authority. Tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers witnessed war crimes, but as far as we presently know, Manning was the only soldier deployed to Iraq who had the character and moral courage necessary to avoid silent complicity in them.

Although Manning was acquitted of the charge of aiding the enemy – which carried a potential sentence of life without parole – he was convicted of 19 criminal counts, including five espionage charges, and could still find himself facing the equivalent of a life sentence. Prior to his trial, Manning was held for nine months in an especially severe form of solitary confinement that involved forced nudity, sleep deprivation, and persistent abuse. His treatment, which constituted torture, won him a reduction off 112 days from the prison sentence he will receive for the supposed offense of exposing officially sanctioned crimes.

If Manning had been a war criminal, rather than an honorable soldier who exposed war crimes, his pre-trial confinement would have led to dismissal of the charges against him – or his sentence being overturned. 

Like Private Manning, Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins served in Iraq. He committed war crimes of the kind Manning helped expose to the public. He led an eight-man squad that kidnapped an innocent Iraqi man from his home, took him to a ditch and shot him in the face. They then planted a gun and a shovel and claimed that the Iraqi, a retired police officer, was a suspected insurgent.

Hutchins was sentenced to 11 years for murder. A military appeals court has overturned that conviction, claiming that his rights were violated when he was unlawfully detained without a lawyer for seven days. Hutchins was released after serving roughly five and a half years in prison. Manning has already spent more than three years behind bars. His father described the convicted murderer as a "scapegoat," insisting that he "was unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The same was true of every other U.S. soldier who took part in the occupation of Iraq, including Private Manning. The difference was that Hutchins faithfully carried out orders to murder Iraqis, and Manning understood that the government that employed him is not exempt from the moral law.

Sgt. Ray Girouard is another war criminal who was granted leniency by the government that had employed him. Like Hutchins, Girouard commanded a combat unit that committed an atrocity – in this case, the murder of three handcuffed Iraqi detainees. Like Hutchins, Girouard was convicted on the testimony of his comrades, all of whom were given lighter sentences in exchange for testifying against their squad leader. And like Hutchins, Girouard claims that he is a "scapegoat" who carried out orders and then covered up for his men "out of loyalty" when they "messed up."

Girouard commanded a May 9, 2006 mission in which he was ordered to "kill all military-age males" in an area described as a terrorist training camp. His unit dragged three men out of a house, zip-tied their hands, and called for a chopper. Girouard claims that when he left the house, "I [heard] this volley of gunfire…. I run back and see these three bodies lying on the ground with their blindfolds half-off. My guys are shouting, `They tried to escape. We shot them. They were terrorists. They were going to come back and kill us.'"

It should be acknowledged that attempting to kill foreign invaders who have occupied your country is not an act of terrorism. It's also worth underscoring the fact that this account, if taken at face value, marked the soldiers under Girouard's command as incurable cowards. Their behavior is eerily reminiscent of the conduct of police officers who lose bladder control and gun down unarmed citizens who are seen as a threat to "officer safety." This isn't surprising, given that the crime in Iraq was carried out by another branch of the Regime's fraternity of armed bullies.

According to Girouard, he covered up the killings by filing a false official report claiming that the victims had attacked his men. That would make him an accessory to murder. However, the soldiers who carried out the murders later testified that they had done so under Girouard's orders. One of them, Specialist Juston Graber, claimed that he had "finished off" a wounded detainee after being explicitly ordered to do so by Girouard.
 
After being found guilty of negligent homicide, Girouard was given a ten-year prison sentence. He spent three years in Ft. Leavenworth before his conviction was overturned and he was given a "general discharge under honorable conditions."

"It's such a blessing," exulted Girouard after returning to his home in Sweetwater, Tennessee. "I get all my benefits and everything now."

Such leniency is reserved for those who are faithful in carrying out imperial crimes. From the perspective of those who control the Regime, committing war crimes is a duty, but reporting them is a felony.

http://www.freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2013/07/committing-war-crimes-is-duty-reporting.html