Category: United States foreign policy

Hillary Clinton’s Role in Honduras Coup

| August 30, 2016 | Reply

Here is another troubling story about Hillary Clinton’s willingness to interfere with other governments to serve the interests of U.S. corporations, at the expense of ordinary people. Clinton has eagerly embraced Henry Kissinger as her role model for Secretary of State.

The story was told by Dana Frank at Democracy Now, interviewed by Amy Goodman.

As Hillary Clinton seeks to defend her role in the 2009 Honduras coup, we speak with Dana Frank, an expert on human rights and U.S. policy in Honduras. “This is breathtaking that she’d say these things. I think we’re all kind of reeling that she would both defend the coup and defend her own role in supporting its stabilization in the aftermath,” Frank says. “I want to make sure that the listeners understand how chilling it is that a leading presidential candidate in the United States would say this was not a coup. … She’s baldly lying when she says we never called it a coup.”

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Obama- hoist by his own terrorist petard

| September 18, 2013 | Reply
Obama- hoist by his own terrorist petard

But what happens when President Obama aids the enemy?  Will we as a nation insist that the President should also be subject to the law?  Are we a nation of laws, or corrupt banana republic which only enforces the law against those powerless to resist?

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Matt Taibbi’s review of Zero Dark Thirty

| January 21, 2013 | 1 Reply

I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty and I don’t plan to do so. I’ve read enough about the film’s glorification of torture and violence, and the falsifications of history, that I’m not interested. I did read Matt Taibbi’s review, however, which is primarily a comment on what this film says about us:

The real problem is what this movie says about us. When those Abu Ghraib pictures came out years ago, at least half of America was horrified. The national consensus (albeit by a frighteningly slim margin) was that this wasn’t who we, as a people, wanted to be. But now, four years later, Zero Dark Thirty comes out, and it seems that that we’ve become so blunted to the horror of what we did and/or are doing at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and Bagram and other places that we can accept it, provided we get a boffo movie out of it. That’s pathetic. Bin Laden was maybe the most humorless person who ever lived, but he has to be laughing from the afterlife. We make an incredible movie that celebrates his death – a movie so good it’ll be seen everywhere in the world – and all it does is prove him right about us.

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Looking Forward?

| November 7, 2012 | 2 Replies
Looking Forward?

As usual, Florida is still undecided, a mess. According to NPR, though, it is leaning heavily toward Obama, despite the shenanigans of the state GOP in suppressing the vote.

I didn’t watch last night. Couldn’t. We went to bed early.

But then Donna got up around midnight and woke me by a whoop of joy that I briefly mistook for anguish.

To my small surprise and relief, Obama won.

I will not miss the constant electioneering, the radio ads, the tv spots, the slick mailers. I will not miss keeping still in mixed groups about my politics (something I am not good at, but this election cycle it feels more like holy war than an election). I will not miss wincing every time some politician opens his or her mouth and nonsense spills out. (This is, of course, normal, but during presidential years it feels much, much worse.) I will not miss…

Anyway, the election came out partially the way I expected, in those moments when I felt calm enough to think rationally. Rationality seemed in short supply this year and mine was sorely tasked. So now, I sit here sorting through my reactions, trying to come up with something cogent to say.

I am disappointed the House is still Republican, but it seems a number of the Tea Party robots from 2010 lost their seats, so maybe the temperature in chambers will drop a degree or two and some business may get done.

Gary Johnson, running as a Libertarian, pulled 350,000 votes as of nine last night. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, got around 100,000. (Randall Terry received 8700 votes, a fact that both reassures me and gives me shivers—there are people who will actually vote for him?)

Combined, the independent candidates made virtually no difference nationally. Which is a shame, really. I’ve read both Stein’s and Johnson’s platforms and both of them are willing to address the problems in the system. Johnson is the least realistic of the two and I like a lot of the Green Party platform.

More . . .

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The alleged wackiness of Dennis Kucinich

| March 11, 2012 | 2 Replies
The alleged wackiness of Dennis Kucinich

Rep. Dennis Kucinich recently lost his race to return as a Congressional representative of Ohio. The blame for his loss sits largely at the door of the cowardly news media, which would rather make a cartoon of Kucinich than give serious heed to his well-formulated arguments.

At Salon.com, Glenn Greenwald also laments the way the establishment media has treated Dennis Kucinich. Greenwald argues that the media blithely painted him as wacky because of Kucinich’s friendship with Shirley McLaine (who believes in reincarnation). The media loves to report that (according to McLaine) Kucinich once “claimed to have an encounter with a UFO.”

For these “sins,” the establishment media advises that we are not to take any of Kucinich’s political positions seriously. Greenwald dismantles this insanity in two stages. First, he compares the alleged beliefs of Kucinich with the purported beliefs of most politicians, which the news media gives a free ride:

[Are any of Kucinich’s beliefs] any more strange than the litany of beliefs which the world’s major religions require? Is Barack Obama “wacky” because he claims to believe that Jesus turned water into wine, rose from the dead and will soon welcome him to heaven? Is Chuck Schumer bizarre because he seems to believe that there’s some big fatherly figure sitting in the sky who spewed fire and brimstone at those who broke the laws he sent down on some stones and now hovers over him judging his every move? Is Harry Reid a weirdo because he apparently venerates as divine the “visions” of a man who had dozens of wives, including some already married to other men? Neither the Prospect nor the Post would ever dare mock as “wacky” the belief in invisible judgmental father-figures in the sky or that rendition of life-after-death gospel because those belief systems have been deemed acceptable by establishment circles.

Step two of the analysis is to step back to see the political views of Kucinich that have been ridiculed by the mainstream media:

[More . . . ]

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Why Americans are at war in the Middle East

| January 9, 2012 | 3 Replies
Why Americans are at war in the Middle East

Glenn Greenwald keeps unveiling stunning information about U.S. foreign policy. The following video by General Wesley Clark is jaw dropping, especially in light of the events that have unfolded since the conversations he reveals. The bottom line is that a pro-war U.S. foreign policy is repeatedly enacted without any national debate. The U.S. considers the Middle East to be U.S. property. How else can you explain that we are operating armed drones in six Muslim countries, and that politicians are actively discussing the “need” to invade Iran?

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Meet the protesters of Occupy St. Louis – October 14, 2011

| October 15, 2011 | 10 Replies

I occasionally listen to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show because I consider it important to understand how it is that my views differ from those of people who oppose my views. Two days ago, I listened to Limbaugh bloviating about the people who are participating in the Occupy Protests springing up all over the United States.  By  some reports, there are more than 1,000 such protests ongoing, and they are actually occurring all over the world.   Limbaugh announced, without hesitation, that these protesters are mostly unemployed, lazy, dirty, amoral, socially irresponsible and ignorant young people. Those who rely on Rush Limbaugh for their facts might thus be highly likely to object to these protests (including Occupy Wall Street) based on Limbaugh’s description of the protesters.  But is the description he gave to his many (though dwindling number of) listeners accurate?  I had an opportunity to check this yesterday at the Occupy St. Louis protest in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.

Over the past few days, I’ve been quite occupied at my day job, and it was only while walking back to my law office from the federal courthouse at 4 pm yesterday that I spotted an organized march coming down Market Street in downtown St. Louis.  I would estimate that there were almost 1,000 people marching.  I didn’t have my video camera with me, but I did have my Canon S95 pocket camera, so I got to work taking hand-held video and still shots of the protesters.  Here’s the finished product, which will allow you to actually meet the types of people who are participating in the Saint Louis Occupy protest.  You can now be your own judge of what these protesters are like:

As you can see from the parade route pans and the interviews, none of these people fit the description given by Rush Limbaugh.  Off camera, I asked most of the protesters about their “day jobs,” and all of them indicated that they were gainfully employed, and in a wide variety of challenging fields.   These “young” protesters of Occupy St. Louis ranged in age from 20’s to their 80’s.   The on-camera statements of the people I interviewed show that they are well-informed, thoughtful, highly articulate and good-hearted.  Many of the people I spoke with indicated that they are not going away.  They have been waiting for a good time and place to express their deep concerns about the way our government works, and they have finally found what they’ve been looking for.

In case anyone is concerned that I intentionally skewed my sampling regarding who I interviewed, this was my method:  I simply walked up to someone nearby and asked whether he or she would be willing to give a short statement about why they were attending the protest.   I approached 12 people.  One woman sympathetic to the protest apologized and said she couldn’t talk on camera because she was a member of the news media. One man said that he supported the protest, but he’d rather not go on camera.  Another man said he had never been part of a protest before, but he read about this protest recently and then said to himself, “Yeah, these people are right on these issues.”   The other nine people I approached agreed to give statements on camera.  I’d like to thank each of these folks for taking the time to talk (I’ve listed their names in the order in which they appear in my video):

  • Al Vitale
  • Fred Raines (a retired economics professor, who said that he compiled the statistics displayed on one of the signs appearing on the video)
  • Apollonia Childs
  • Chrissy Kirchhoefer
  • Curtis Roberts
  • Michel Kiepe
  • Jeff Schaefer
  • Matt Ankney, and
  • Frances Madeson

Based on the above video, there is no lack of intellectual moorings for this protest. The focus is that our government, including politicians of both major parties, has been substantially bought by big business, and many destructive things are flowing from the consequent misuse of government power.

About a dozen protesters have have formed a camp in Kiener Plaza, a public gathering spot across the street from the towering downtown headquarters of Bank of America. I was told by several protesters that some of the camping protesters had been evicted from the camp over the past week, but that the intent is nonetheless maintain a presence in Kiener Plaza indefinitely. The Bank of America building has been the geographical focus of other recent protests, including this one in August, 2011. (A payday loan protest by a group called GRO occurred at this same bank last year–here’s video).  I should note that most of the people who work in the huge Bank of America building work for companies other than the Bank of America, yet the building remains a symbol of what has gone so very wrong with the political process.

I’d also like to mention that the St. Louis Police, who were out in the hundreds, were courteous and professional.   The protesters were there merely to protest-to get their message out.  There were no untoward incidents that would distract from the central message of the protests.

For more on yesterday’s protest, see this description by St. Louis blogger Gloria Bilchik at Occasional Planet. See also, this post by another St. Louis blogger, Adam Shriver at St. Louis Activist Hub.

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Time to rename our national holidays after the big businesses who are calling the shots

| September 4, 2011 | 2 Replies
Time to rename our national holidays after the big businesses who are calling the shots

It has become abundantly clear that the United States has evolved from somewhat of a democracy to much more of a corporatocracy. It’s time to rename the national holidays to reflect this reality.

I was inspired to write this post when re-considering the attached photo of corporate flags, which I took at the downtown St. Louis Fourth of July celebration this year. Based on the ubiquitous corporate sponsors of that holiday (combined with the salient lack of people who cared about the original reason for this holiday), I’d recommend that we rename Fourth of July as Big Business Day. It’s clear now that (as Representative Dick Durbin once said), the banks own the place (referring to Congress), that we set aside a day to remember that development. But why stop there? There’s no more need for Labor Day either, since most politicians are leaving workers to fend for themselves. Further, a lot of us don’t have jobs anymore. Therefore, let’s rename Labor Day as Banker’s Day.

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The many ways in which the United States financially props up Israel

| September 2, 2011 | 2 Replies
The many ways in which the United States financially props up Israel

According to Antiwar.com, the American taxpayers are financially propping up Israel in ways downplayed by the media of both the U.S. and Israel:

In the past 10 years alone, Americans have given Israel the equivalent of approximately $200,000 per Israeli family of five. In addition, there have been weapons subsidies, loan forgiveness programs, special trade preferences, and other generous gifts from American taxpayers to Israel. In fact, despite being one of the world’ smallest nations, Israel receives more U.S. tax money than any other country.

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