Posted by: quiscus | May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010

1.  “House Kills Plan to Close Guantánamo

President Obama’s hopes of closing Guantánamo, which were already gravely wounded by his inability to meet his self-imposed deadline of a year for the prison’s closure, now appear to have been killed off by lawmakers in Congress.

Although the House Armed Services Committee was happy to authorize, by 59 votes to 0, a budget of over $700 billion for war ($567 billion for “defense spending” and $159 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) for the fiscal year beginning in October, lawmakers unanimously saw through – and turned down – a fraction of this budget for what the administration had labeled a “transfer fund” – money intended to close Guantánamo and buy a new prison in Illinois for prisoners designated for trials or for indefinite detention without charge or trial.”

2.  “US Funds Apartheid Roads on West Bank”

3.  “In Canada once more, U.S. troops fleeing a war ”

4.  “Masking the Extent of the Disaster: The Worst of the Gulf Oil Spill has not been Revealed

One of the biggest hurdles to covering the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was actually getting a good look at the oil. For somewhat murky reasons (health, safety of fragile habitats), press has been repeatedly forbidden to enter impacted areas by the Coast Guard, BP, or the Fish & Wildlife Service.

I was on the ground in the Gulf. Trying to get the story from one of the fishermen contracted to work with BP was like asking them if they’d like a root canal on the spot. Word is that cleanup workers are told if they talk to the press, they’re fired. And then there are the toxic chemical dispersants, which plays the biggest role in masking the extent of the disaster’s damage by breaking the oil up and spreading it out — at who knows what cost. So, the question is, will anyone ever see the worst of the catastrophic BP Gulf oil spill? Here are the five main reasons that you might not.

1. It’s Not a Photogenic Disaster … Yet

2. Chemical Dispersant Cover-Up

3. BP, Feds Cutting Off Press?

4. Relative Public Apathy

5. It’s More Convenient to Conceal the Devastation

5.  “War on whistle-blowers intensifies

It isn’t hard to see why Obama despises leaks.  Just look at the front page of The New York Times today, which details a secret order from Gen. David Petraeus last fall ordering vastly increased Special Forces operations in a variety of Middle Eastern countries, including “allies” such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and “enemies” such as Iran and Syria.  As Iran experts Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett contend, this constitutes, at the very least, “the intensification of America’s covert war against Iran.”  That is how we also learned of what is, in essence, a covert war in Yemen as well (not to mention the covert war in Pakistan).  Most of what our Government does of any real significance happens in the dark.  Whistleblowers are one of the very few avenues we have left for learning about any of that.  And politicians eager to preserve their own power and ability to operate in secret — such as Barack Obama — see whistleblowers as their Top Enemy.

Hence, we have a series of aggressive prosecutions from the Obama administration of Bush era exposures of abuse and illegality — acts that flagrantly violate Obama’s Look Forward, Not Backward decree used to protect high-level Bush administration criminals.  As John Cole has suggested, perhaps if these whistleblowers had tortured some people and illegally eavesdropped on others, they would receive the immunity that Obama has so magnanimously and selectively granted.  Instead, they merely exposed secret government corruption and illegality to the world, and thus must be punished.”

6.  Of course we are:

Afghans Believe US is Funding Taliban

7.  “Grayson’s Smart Calculus Makes War Cost Real for Taxpayers

Grayson proposes to change this circumstance with a bill he has introduced: “The War Is Making You Poor Act.”

“The purpose of this bill is to connect the dots, and to show people in a real and concrete way the cost of these endless wars,” he explains.

To make the cost of war real for working Americans, Grayson performs a simple calculus:

“Next year’s budget allocates $159,000,000,000 to perpetuate the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s enough money to eliminate federal income taxes for the first $35,000 of every American’s income. Beyond that, (it) leaves over $15 billion to cut the deficit.”

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