“I think Western politicians are already realising the growing and fast-spreading threat of terrorism,” Lavrov said, referring to Islamic State advances in Syria and Iraq.“And they will soon have to choose what is more important, a [Syrian] regime change to satisfy personal antipathies, risking deterioration of the situation beyond any control, or finding pragmatic ways to unite efforts against the common threat.”In comments likely to irritate Washington, Lavrov said the US had made the same mistake with Islamic State as it had with al-Qaeda, which emerged in the 1980s when US-backed Islamist insurgents were fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. (Emphasis added)“At the start the Americans and some Europeans rather welcomed [Islamic State] on the basis it was fighting against Bashar al-Assad. They welcomed it as they welcomed the mujahideen who later created al-Qaeda, and then al-Qaeda struck like a boomerang on September 11, 2001,” Lavrov said.“The same thing is happening now.”
As the situation in Ferguson continues to unfold, one aspect of the shooting should be examined profusely: the initial action of Officer Darren Wilson.
The only witness to the initial contact outside of Wilson is Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, so this is a bit of a he-said-he-said. But, as has been widely reported, according to Johnson the first words between both parties were Wilson’s and they allegedly were, “Get the f— on the sidewalk.” This may seem insignificant, but it most certainly is not.
We have to remember that police officers are supposed to be “peace” officers. In order to keep peace in every civil situation, a peace officer must deescalate the atmosphere, such as keeping angry combatants away from each other and calming them down to a level where talk can ensue. If Wilson did use those exact words when first contacting the two young men, he failed to do his job and actually escalated a calm situation. If anyone wants to dispute that, fine. Just show me where it says in any law enforcement training manual to start out every calm situation with a profanity while clearly disrespecting a person.
In fact, we could even say there is a bit of racism in Wilson’s profiling of the men, which is easy to prove. If the person walking in the street had been an old white woman, would Wilson have used the same words and tone in the initial contact? How about a white man in an expensive suit? In defense of Wilson, let’s have all the old white women and rich white men step forward and tell their stories of how Wilson cursed at them when fracturing an incredibly minor law that was hurting no one.
That would be the sound of crickets you are hearing right now.
Simply put, if Wilson would have treated a different person with some actual respect, then his words and initial action should be heavily questioned. I’m not saying Wilson stopped because he is racist. I’m just saying his attitude certainly suggests there was a tinge of it present.
And I know what the reaction to this will be: you are not a police officer so you don’t know what it is like dealing with people, particularly criminals, on a regular basis. Maybe so, but I do know a definitive way to make situations worse: treating people horribly from the first contact, which is what happened. And if a police officer has lost the ability to do this, maybe it’s time for another profession.
All said, it’s Wilson’s fault this situation delved into a dead body in the street. Despite the clear attempts at demonizing Michael Brown, Wilson failed to do his job appropriately and that is why we are where we are now. Wilson deserves to be put on trial, just like anyone else would be in a similar situation if they were not wearing a badge.
It was initially reported by Israel that Palestinian militants had emerged and opened fire and captured an Israeli soldier when IDF was destroying a tunnel around Rafah. Two points should be noted here.
First, the Israeli military’s version of events is always taken as gospel by American media while the Palestinian version is typically brushed off by being given a sentence or two most of the time. Any perusing of articles about the breaking of the ceasefire on Friday would certainly prove that. But hey, Israel has no interest in giving a biased version of events, do they?
Second, one might ask why it is okay for the Israeli military to continue operations, possibly inside Gaza (most stories took the IDF’s word that the event occurred “around Rafah” but did not further specify), during the ceasefire and destroying the tunnels. It should be noted the tunnels were largely created because of the illegal blockade of Gaza by Israel (an act of war, of course) and were used to transport “building materials, foods, medicines, drugs, and people, accounting for an estimated $700 million per year“. If Palestinian militants were on Israeli territory blowing up important roads used for transporting weapons and ammunition being resupplied by the U.S., what would the reaction be?
Then there are the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping and killing of the IDF soldier. It would seem exactly how the young man died should be heavily questioned and examined. Israel claims they recovered evidence to suggest he had died but not a body. Very little detail is given. While on the other hand, Hamas claims it lost contact with the militants in the area possibly involved in the battle and suggest they were killed by the Israeli attack on the area after the ceasefire was declared off.
This would beg a couple of important questions: was the Israeli soldier killed by friendly-fire and is this the reason Israel knows he is dead and can’t recover the body? Was the soldier buried under the rubble of a building Israel destroyed that day?
There doesn’t seem to be much interest in investigating this possibility. If it were true he was killed by his own military, it would put even more pressure on Israel to explain why it is using such ferocious attacks on a civilian population it has illegally oppressed for so many years.
Certain people, who had their egos (not national security) terribly hurt by the Edward Snowden revelations, continue to call Snowden names and stuff and show their outrage toward him for exposing the NSA’s wrongdoing. It would seem, however, they might want to redirect their outrage toward another former employee of the NSA: ex-chief Keith Alexander.
It was revealed yesterday the NSA is now being sued by a reporter for not disclosing Alexander’s financial records in the interest of making sure there were no conflicts of interest occurring while all of the other civil rights violations were being carried out under his direction. And it has been noted by the Atlantic that this information, by law, should be made public unless it is stopped by the president because it could be damaging to national security, a claim that would be completely absurd.
And this isn’t the only question (or even the most important one) about money surrounding Alexander. He is now offering his consulting services on security for the tiny sum of $1,000,000…per month. Looking at this situation and considering his expertise, it is hard not to see the obvious: he is offering his knowledge of classified government information and tactics for money. This is illegal, as Representative Alan Grayson has pointed out:
Disclosing or misusing classified information for profit is, as Mr. Alexander well knows, a felony. I question how Mr. Alexander can provide any of the services he is offering unless he discloses or misuses classified information, including extremely sensitive sources and methods. Without the classified information that he acquired in his former position, he literally would have nothing to offer to you. (Emphasis added)
In other words, when Alexander isn’t busy getting annihilated in interviews by comedians or admitting he lied to Congress, he is asking for a ton of money to shield companies from the snooping of the agency he former headed.
And this is happening in comparison to the wrongful demonizing of Snowden, who did not sell his secrets to anyone and did his whistle blowing in a manner that was very controlled so as not to put any lives in danger or damage national security. Unless, of course, someone can actually provide an iota of evidence to the contrary, which hasn’t happened even a year later.
This brings us to a very fair question: who is the real villain now, Alexander or Snowden? The answer gets more and more obvious as time goes on.
Hard right-winger Stephen Moore took a break from pushing debunked trickle-down economic policies to take a pathetic shot at clean energy. Let the stupid begin.
…radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today…
Seriously? He goes on to mention the famed Sierra Club as one of these forces. And where did they rank in 2013 on lobbying: 755. In fact, if we look at the top 50 interest groups giving to members of Congress this year, no sign of a “clean energy” or “renewable energy” group in the rankings. Yet, they are one of the “most influential” because Stephen Moore says so and not because any facts back it up.
Kind of like the blackouts induced by the infallible private sector giant, Enron, in California over a decade ago? Remember kids, always let the fossil-fuel guys have their way and nothing will ever go wrong.
America gets about 40 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants.
Correct. And one day, whether it’s because climate change has erased mankind off the face of the earth or because we run out of coal, that percentage will be zero, which is the whole point of finding renewable sources and getting them in use as fast as possible. This ignores other ugly realities of coal, such as the destruction caused by mountain top removal. Moore might want to look into that some time.
But the environmentalists are…raising unsupported objections to fracking.
Unsupported? If they are so unsupported Mr. Moore, please allow a fracking operation to begin close to your home, just like the CEO of Exxon refused to do. And what about the growing research showing the relationship between fracking and increased earthquakes? Unsupported? Not really.
Sorry, for the foreseeable future, we aren’t going to get our power for our $18 trillion economy from wind turbines and solar panels. And if we begin to try, prices are going to skyrocket.
This ignores the reality that the cost has been falling for things like solar. As noted in this piece from the Guardian:
Panels now sell for less than a quarter of their 2008 price…Bloomberg estimates that the world will have 600GW of photovoltaic solar worldwide by 2020 (an increase from about 150GW today) and 1,900GW by 2030; making up 5-7% of the global electricity mix. These positive predictions are based on the falling prices of renewables.
And one last absurd quote from Moore:
…the Greens think oil is a “dirty” fuel that causes global warming.
Let me fix that statement for you. Scientists know oil is a “dirty” fuel that causes global warming. There you go, Mr. Moore. You’re welcome for the assistance.
First off, it was announced on Friday that Germany had arrested a man accused of spying for the United States and passing on the details of a German parliamentary committee’s investigation. It’s pretty disgraceful that the U.S. is spending taxpayer dollars to buy spies so we can know about an ally’s parliamentary actions, but it gets worse. The intelligence the U.S. wanted from this man is what the committee was investigating: NSA spying on Germany and its Chancellor Angela Merkel. A Reuters exclusive posted today confirms the role of the CIA in paying the spy.
There’s a lot to hate about these stupid actions, but the harm to foreign relations should be noted and is properly pointed out in the first article:
…the new allegation of American spying on an ally may make it harder for the US to get German help in its efforts to oppose Russian activity in Ukraine, and also to control Iranian nuclear ambitions.
Then, on Sunday, the Washington Post published another blistering article detailing the abuses of the NSA and its mass collection of the data of innocent Americans. The main point of the article is the NSA is wastefully collecting data on nine people for every one alleged target it is tracking. Which begs the often repeated questions, why is the extra tracking needed and why is there not a warrant needed for this additional tracking of innocent Americans? An example given toward the end of the article speaks volumes on this issue.
The Washington Post article also reignites the question of why James Clapper is still DNI after clearly lying to Congress.
On the bright side of all of these revelations, we now know more about what is being done with our tax dollars and in our names as Americans. There is no doubt these agencies have overstepped their bounds by a ton and are doing so in ways that are simply disgraceful and wasteful. The more the American people know about NSA and CIA actions, the more they can be reigned in.
The type of secrecy these agencies are able to operate under would make any authoritarian regime envious and gets to the point of why they are such an offense to the idea of true democracy. The fact that we spied on our allies, their leaders, and their cell phones is shameful enough but now we have doubled-down on this stupidity by spending more tax dollars trying to find out about their investigations into our spying on them.
Quick show of hands. Who wanted their tax dollars spent on spying on Angela Merkel in the first place? No one? How about spending more resources on looking into their investigation of that and damaging our standing in the world even more? Still no one?
One last question: who is in favor of continually increasing the unknown budget for this stupidity at the cost of cutting helpful social programs like education, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.?
It should be noted that the one decrease for a Republican, Reagan, is also the president with the highest sustained double-digit unemployment of any of these.