Posts tagged ‘Afghanistan’

How Right Wing Libertarians, John Birthers And Comspiracy Freaks Are Trying To Hijack The Occupy Movement


The Occupy movement’s evolving agenda is in danger of being sullied by association with neo-Nazi David Duke and antigovernment crusader Ron Paul.

End the Fed” signs, and other Ron Paul-inspired sloganeering have been a staple of Occupy encampments from the birth of the movement. To an extent, that reflects the Occupiers’ diversity of ideas. But Paul, who wrote a book called End the Fed in 2009, has a spotty reputation among champions of social justice, which was made worse this week with the release of another round of racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic comments excerpted from a newsletter he published throughout the 1980s.

At many Occupy encampments, “End the Fed” signs are everywhere, and Paul supporters are becoming more and more vocal — using the language of the Occupy movement in service of their extremist anti-government agenda.

For the most part cooler (and more progressive) heads prevail, but to a certain extent in the movement, anger at Wall Street and its bankers is morphing into anger at the Federal Reserve and international “banksters” — a term long popular among libertarians, John Birchers and the armed right-wing Patriot Movement.

The Occupy movement’s evolving agenda is in danger of being sullied by association with Paul, whose position includes at its core a conspiracy theory involving the Federal Reserve — a decades-old right-wing bugaboo. On the web, a crucial battleground in the era of the online revolution, the Occupy Movement’s central critique of the obscene power of corporations is in danger of being slapped way off course. Ron Paul supporters dominated the conversation in the public forum on OccupyWallSt.org, the movement’s unofficial Web site, throughout the fall. A December post on the forum complained about the Paul-partisan spammers, and warned against forging an alliance with “Wall Street’s religious fanatics, the libertarians, espousing their predatory free-market religion.”

A few weeks ago, the forum’s anonymous moderator finally banned Paul’s supporters from propagandizing:

“We do not support an election campaign for 2012. At all. We have removed election material for Obama, Paul, Warren, Paul, Cain, Paul, Perry, Paul, the green party, Paul, Nader, Paul, and did I mention Paul?”

At the same time, the forum mod announced a ban of “conspiracy theories, including any attempt to spam material by David Icke, Lyndon LaRouche, David Duke or Alex Jones.”

But elsewhere on the web, the Occupy message is being shanghaied by radical libertarians, Tea Partiers and worse.

On Martin Luther King Day, as the Occupy the Dream marchers were on the move in 13 cities, I Googled “Occupy Federal Reserve,” and the first result was a link to Infowars, a Web site run by Alex Jones, a Texas-based wingnut radio host. Jones, a longtime Ron Paul supporter, believes that the government staged both the World Trade Center attacks and the Oklahoma City bombings; that the Gates Foundation is a eugenics operation; and that the government has been taken over by agents of the New World Order who are planning to release a cancer-causing monkey virus.

Since the Occupy protests began, Jones, whom Rolling Stone has labeled “the most paranoid man in America,” has added a wrinkle to his shtick, ranting and blogging relentlessly on behalf of OWS and the 99 percent, while threading attacks on the 1 percent into his vitriolic rants. He also began to call (loudly) for the Occupy protesters to turn their attention to the Fed. Apparently it has become his chief mission to embrace — and be embraced by — the Occupy movement. His gambit may be working.

While Occupy the Fed appears to be largely a creation of Jones and other right-leaning libertarians, it is having some success weaving itself into the fabric of the movement. The Facebook page “Occupy Federal Reserve” contains status updates from thousands of Friends apparently affiliated with the mainstream Occupy movement. It also contains hundreds of updates posted by radical libertarians and wack-job conspiracy freaks. Days after launching, @OccupyFederalReserve posted a link to the 2007 documentary Zeitgeist, which claims to prove that 9/11 was orchestrated as a pretext for the creation of a police state, that the Fed and the IRS are criminal enterprises and, by the way, that Jesus Christ did not exist.

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Ron Paul’s Eye-Opening Ad on our Wars. This Ad Needs to go Viral.


The ad is brutally effective in fixing many of our misconceptions about the current so called war on terror. And I think it absolutely needs to go viral. It needs to be posted on forums, political blogs (both republican and democratic blogs alike) and Facebook pages everywhere. This is not about getting Ron Paul elected, because republicans absolutely hate him and will never give him the nomination. This is about opening as many eyes to the truth of what we’re doing, as possible before 2012.

In reply to the comments below, I want to reiterate, this is about the message, not the messenger. The message in the ad resonates and just because this message comes from someone we disagree with on several issues, doesn’t make it any less valid or any less important to get out there.

Ignoring this ad just because you disagree with the messenger on other issues, would be akin to ignoring Barack Obama’s message on the plight of the middle class just because you disagree with his stance on marijuana.

Lifting The Veil Exposing The Truth For It Is


Lifting the Veil from S DN on Vimeo.

American Banks ‘High’ On Drug Money: How a Whistleblower Blew the Lid Off Wachovia-Drug Cartel Money Laundering Scheme | | AlterNet


A fraud investigator helped expose the shocking world of multi-billion dollar drug laundering by American banks and the surprising lack of oversight by the Feds.

American Banks ‘High’ On Drug Money: How a Whistleblower Blew the Lid Off Wachovia-Drug Cartel Money Laundering Scheme | | AlterNet

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Republicans Losing Their Advantage on How to Handle the Deficit, Poll Finds


A new poll released Wednesday echoes what a Washington Post/ABC News poll reported a day earlier: President Obama doesn’t get good marks for his handling of issues involving the economy, but faith in Republicans doing a better job has slipped.While the way the questions were framed in the Post/ABC News poll was different from the one by the Pew Research Center — the Post/ABC survey focused on the economy in general and the Pew poll focused on dealing with the deficit — the results point to a similar trend suggesting a drop in enthusiasm for Republican policies since the party won big in last year’s midterm elections.The Post/ABC News poll found a majority disapproving of Obama’s handling of the economy, but those surveyed still said they trusted him more to do a better job in dealing with the issue than the Republicans.

Republicans Losing Their Advantage on How to Handle the Deficit, Poll Finds

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Countries seek nuclear stress tests, post-Japan disaster – International Business Times


Government officials from nearly 30 nuclear powered countries called for safety tests on Tuesday, after the disaster at Fukushima plant sparked concern over safety standards.A majority of delegates supported stress tests to determine how well nuclear plants could withstand major disasters at a meet hosted under France G20. * (Photo: REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes)
Ministers pose for the family picture at the Ministerial Seminar on Nuclear Safety at the OCDE headquarters in Paris June 7, 2011. Government ministers and officials from nearly 30 nuclear energy producing countries called on Tuesday for safety tests on all reactors, after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant sparked concern over standards. REUTERS/Gonzalo FuentesEnlarge Close(Photo: REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes)Ministers pose for the family picture at the Ministerial Seminar on Nuclear Safety at the OCDE headquarters in Paris June 7, 2011. Government ministers and officials from nearly 30 nuclear energy producing countries called on Tuesday for safety tests on all reactors, after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant sparked concern over standards. REUTERS/Gonzalo FuentesRelated ArticlesCountries seek nuclear stress tests after Japan crisisAustralian Stock Market Report 06/09/2011Europe eyes private sector role in Greek debt dealRelated Topics * Germany * European Union * Japan * Earthquake * Disasters * G20 * TsunamiGet World Emails&Alerts Get summaries of the top business news from a global perspective Sample”The Fukushima accident has shaken us all and the need arose very quickly to draw lessons, to improve and lift our standards and cooperation on nuclear safety,” French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet told at a news conference.The Group of Eight leaders summit in France last month had agreed for tougher nuclear safety rules and standards, Reuters reported.At present, there are no mandatory, international nuclear safety regulations.”Stress test or resilience tests are a first priority to identify vulnerabilities,” Germany’s Deputy Environment Minister, Ursula Heinen-Esser told Reuters.Get More IBTimesMust ReadBaldwin speaks at a ceremony where he accepted a star on the Walk of Fame in HollywoodAfter Weiner Scandal, Alec Baldwin considering run for mayorCoronal Mass Ejection as viewed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on June 7, 2011.Biggest Solar Flare Brightens Up [PHOTOS]Sponsorship LinkHow to make money from gold investmentThe officials also agreed on the need to support the IAEA’s role on nuclear safety.“Countries should first respect existing international conference and then submit to mandatory peer reviews,” Swiss Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said.”When you think my authorities are good enough and the peer reviews are welcome, why don’t we accept that it is mandatory? Why don’t we give transparency to our populations?” she asked.GROWING CONCERNSThe public concern over the dangers of reactors is surging

Countries seek nuclear stress tests, post-Japan disaster – International Business Times

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Cost of War to the United States | COSTOFWAR.COM


There’s a reason we can’t feed our poor, seniors, disabled, and the massive unemployed because we spend too much on wars and mass destruction.

Cost of War to the United States | COSTOFWAR.COM

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Afghanistan: Obama’s Moment of Decision – The Daily Beast


  A new Senate report says billions of dollars in aid go to waste in Afghanistan, where the president is about to make a decision about troop levels. But as Andrew J. Bacevich argues, the question is a distraction from a far more fundamental choice.Once the capital of a nation defined by inalienable rights; government of, by, and for the people; Fourteen Points; Four Freedoms; and “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!,” Washington is today preoccupied with Anthony Weiner’s crotch and parsing Sarah Palin’s interpretation of Paul Revere’s ride as a defense of the Second Amendment. What used to be known as the people’s business is today becoming indistinguishable from farce. Whether our ruling class possesses the ability even to identify the matters deserving the attention of senior policymakers has become an open question.

Afghanistan: Obama’s Moment of Decision – The Daily Beast

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How America Screws Its Soldiers


Everyone claims to “Support Our Troops.” But as Andrew J. Bacevich explains, telling the military it can do whatever it wants works for everyone—except for the soldiers themselves.

Riders on Boston subways and trolleys are accustomed to seeing placards that advertise research being conducted at the city’s many teaching hospitals. One that recently caught my eye, announcing an experimental “behavioral treatment,” posed this question to potential subjects: “Are you in the U.S. military or a veteran disturbed by terrible things you have experienced?”

Just below the question, someone had scrawled this riposte in blue ink: “Thank God for these Men and Women. USA all the way.”

Article - Bacevich Memorial Day Troops United States Marines place a colleague wounded in an IED strike into a waiting medevac helicopter in Helmand Province of southern Afghanistan, Friday, May 13, 2011. (Kevin Frayer / AP Photo)

Here on a 30 x 36 inch piece of cardboard was the distilled essence of the present-day relationship between the American people and their military. In the eyes of citizens, the American soldier has a dual identity: as hero but also as victim. As victims—Wounded Warriors —soldiers deserve the best care money can buy; hence, the emphasis being paid to issues like PTSD. As heroes, those who serve and sacrifice embody the virtues that underwrite American greatness. They therefore merit unstinting admiration.

Whatever practical meaning the slogan “support the troops” may possess, it lays here: in praise expressed for those choosing to wear the uniform, and in assistance made available to those who suffer as a consequence of that choice.

As the 10th anniversary of what we used to call the Global War on Terror approaches, a plausible, realistic blueprint for bringing that enterprise to a conclusion does not exist.

From the perspective of the American people, the principal attribute of this relationship is that it entails no real obligations or responsibilities. Face it: It costs us nothing yet enables us to feel good about ourselves. In an unmerited act of self-forgiveness, we thereby expunge the sin of the Vietnam era when opposition to an unpopular war found at least some Americans venting their unhappiness on the soldiers sent to fight it. The homeward-bound G.I. spat upon by spoiled and impudent student activists may be an urban legend, but the fiction persists and has long since trumped reality.

Today such egregious misbehavior has become unimaginable. Even if the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not especially popular or successful, no one blames the troops. Instead we cheer them, pray for them, and let them go to the front of the line when passing through airport security. And we take considerable satisfaction in doing so.

From the perspective of those who engineer America’s wars, the principal attribute of this relationship is that it obviates any need for accountability. For nearly a decade now, popular willingness to “support the troops” has provided unlimited drawing rights on the United States Treasury.

Since 9/11, in waging its various campaigns, overt and covert, the United States military has expended hundreds of billions of (mostly borrowed) dollars. By the time the last invoice gets paid, the total will be in the trillions. Is the money being well spent? Are we getting good value? Is it possible that some of the largesse showered on U.S. forces trying to pacify Kandahar could be better put to use in helping to rebuild Cleveland? Given the existing terms of the civil-military relationship, even to pose such questions is unseemly. For politicians sending soldiers into battle, generals presiding over long, drawn-out, inconclusive campaigns, and contractors reaping large profits as a consequence, this war-comes-first mentality is exceedingly agreeable.

One wonders how many of those serving in the ranks are taken in by this fraud. The relationship between American people and their military—we love you; do whatever you want—seems to work for everyone. Everyone, that is, except soldiers themselves. They face the prospect of war without foreseeable end.

Americans once believed war to be a great evil. Whenever possible, war was to be avoided. When circumstances made war unavoidable, Americans wanted peace swiftly restored.

Present-day Americans, few of them directly affected by events in Iraq or Afghanistan, find war tolerable. They accept it. Since 9/11, war has become normalcy. Peace has become an entirely theoretical construct. A report of G.I.s getting shot at, maimed, or killed is no longer something the average American gets exercised about. Rest assured that no such reports will interfere with plans for the long weekend that Memorial Day makes possible.

Members of the civil-military-corporate elite find war more than tolerable. Within its ranks, as Chris Hedges has noted, war imparts meaning and excitement to life. It serves as a medium through which ambitions are fulfilled and power is accrued and exercised. In Washington, the benefits offered by war’s continuation easily outweigh any benefits to be gained by ending war. So why bother to try?

As the 10th anniversary of what Americans once called their Global War on Terror approaches, a plausible, realistic blueprint for bringing that enterprise to a conclusion does not exist. Those who might once have felt some responsibility for articulating such a plan—the president, his chief lieutenants, senior military leaders—no longer feel any obligation to do so. As a practical matter, they devote themselves to war’s perpetuation, closing one front while opening another. More strikingly still, we the people allow our leaders to evade this basic responsibility to articulate a plan for peace. By implication, we endorse the unspoken assumption that peace has become implausible.

Here at last we come to the dirty little secret that underlines all the chatter about “supporting the troops.” The people in charge don’t really believe that the burdens borne by our soldiers will ever end and they are not really looking for ways to do so. As for the rest of us, well, we’re OK with that.

Andrew J. Bacevich is professor of history and international relations at Boston University.

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