Category Archives: Presidential Abuse of Power

U.S. to strike Iran in June as Israel sits it out?

That seems to be the message that Obama will deliver to Netanyahu when he visits Israel next month according to the Times of Israel:

hen he visits Israel next month, US President Barack Obama will tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a “window of opportunity” for a military strike on Iran will open in June, according to an Israeli TV report Monday evening.

Obama will come bearing the message that if diplomatic efforts and sanctions don’t bear fruit, Israel should “sit tight” and let Washington take the stage, even if that means remaining on the sidelines during a US military operation, Channel 10 reported. Netanyahu will be asked to refrain from any military action and keep a low profile, avoiding even the mention of a strike, the report said, citing unnamed officials.

So much for the idea that the U.S. and Israel are allies rather than Israel being nothing more than a protectorate of the U.S.

In London Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry said an Iran with nuclear weapons was “simply unacceptable” and warned the time limit for a diplomatic solution was running out.

Well, John, what’s America’s position on Israel having nuclear weapons?  Oh, that’s right. Israel is our friend, so the rules are different for them.  And since when is diplomacy equal to threatening a country with military attack if they don’t surrender their sovereign right to  arm themselves against other nuclear powers like say, Israel?

There is no moral high ground in the U.S position on Iran.  It is simply a case of a super power imposing its will on another country by force in response to the demands of a powerful lobby.  And you can’t expect a government with the biggest military on the planet no to use it.  And our military is so large, our government uses it often.

The strategy being used against Iran is identical to the strategy that led to the invasion of Iraq and just as transparent.  Make impossible demands on the target country and, when they can’t comply, attack.  Iraq was invaded because they couldn’t prove they had no WMD.  They couldn’t prove a negative.  The outcome of such a strategy is inevitable which is exactly why it was used.

Does the President’s power to execute American citizens extend to American soil?

Apparently, the Obama administration isn’t saying even though they have repeatedly been asked.  From Greenwald:

The Justice Department “white paper” purporting to authorize Obama’s power to extrajudicially execute US citizens was leaked three weeks ago. Since then, the administration – including the president himself and his nominee to lead the CIA, John Brennan – has been repeatedly asked whether this authority extends to US soil, i.e., whether the president has the right to execute US citizens on US soil without charges. In each instance, they have refused to answer.

It seems pretty obvious that the Obama administration is unlikely to agree to a restriction on his power to use drones as he sees fit without a knock-down-drag-out fight and it is equally unlikely that a majority in Congress will put forth that degree of resistance.  while the democrats would be outraged by such a position from a republican president, they aren’t so bothered when the president is from their own party.  Another case of, “It’s okay when our guy does it.”

Afternoon Links

  • According to this New York Times article, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim 20,000 of the 30,000 deaths from guns in the U.S. in 2010 were suicides.  It turns out that a bullet to the brain is one of the most effective ways to kill yourself.  My question is, why the hell is the CDC tracking anything related to guns or suicide neither of which is a disease?  Oops.  I forgot.  As a government agency, there are no bounds to its mission.  Oh, and congratulations to the 50 million gun owning households that managed to make it through 2010 without any suicides.
  • There will be no armed drones in the U.S., at least until they change their minds or violate their own rules.  In terms of privacy, the FAA couldn’t care less.
  • Are republicans an endangered species?  We can only hope.  And we can only hope they take the democrats with them.  Personally, I’d much rather we replace the current two party system with a myriad of much more narrowly focused parties.  I can think of a couple.  An anti-war party.  A balanced budget party.  A small government party (I mean a real small government party, not the Tea Party).



U.S. escalates provocations aimed at Iran

From the New York Times:

Under the new crackdown, the United States is tightening the rules governing countries it has allowed to keep buying Iranian oil, as long as they show they are weaning themselves of it. From now on, when China, Japan, South Korea and India, among others, pay for oil deliveries, they will be required to put that money into a local bank account, which Iran can use only to buy goods within that country.

It would be hard not to see the similarity between this and the ramp up to the 2003 U.S. led invasion of Iraq.  In fact, it would be hard to see any difference between this situation and numerous other fabrications used by the U.S. to justify its use of war as its primary tool of foreign policy.  This time the WMD is Iran’s nuclear program.

Whether they are pursuing a nuclear weapons program or not, it’s impossible to make a case that Iran poses any direct threat to the U.S.  But. America’s role as defender of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian makes Iran a target of U.S. aggression.  In other words, we are Israel’s big bully brother and it’s become a foregone conclusion that the U.S. will stand side-by-side with Israel against any country Israel feels threatened by.  This is a touchy situation for the U.S. because Israel, with it’s take-over of “The Holy Land” and perpetual antagonism toward its historical residents as well as the surrounding nations, has the unique distinction of being capable of uniting the entire Arab world.  The only force that prevents that is the U.S. which, though its support of numerous corrupt dictators in the area, keeps the Arab countries at perpetually odds with each other.

In fact, the U.S. has a long history of aiding and abetting the subjugation of the Iranian people under despotic rulers, so the fact that they seem less than friendly toward American overtures is not exactly surprising even aside from our recent attempts to destroy their economy and destabilize their current government.

In any case the sanctions, while hurting the people of Iran, don’t seem to be having much impact on Iran’s nuclear policies or their willingness to kowtow to the U.S. government.

“The people may be suffering in Iran,” one senior official involved in Iran strategy said last week, “but the supreme leader isn’t, and he’s the only one who counts.”

And that Supreme Leader just blew off the U.S. offer for one-to-one talks.  I suspect the question the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei keeps asking himself is why the U.S. is so consumed by the Iranian nuclear program while showing no such interest in Israel’s secret development of nuclear weapons.

Afternoon links

  • Greenwald dissects the Obama administration’s latest rationalization for its power to act as judge, jury, and executioner of any American citizen it deems to maybe possibly pose an imminent threat to some U.S. interest somewhere, sometime, with absolutely no oversight or checks and balances by the other two branches of government (which probably suits those other two branches just fine). also weighs in.
  • Argentina still thinks they’re going to get the Falkland Islands back.  I think they’re right.  I expect it to happen about the same time as Israel reverts back to Palestine.  Both cases represent instabilities maintained by force of arms that will eventually be unsustainable.

Ron Paul says Mali may be the next target for U.S. military

We’ve been helping the French, first with cargo transport, then refueling war planes, and soon we’ll have a drone base in the area.  But, as RT quotes Paul

France “doesn’t have the military resources to sustain its fight against Mali’s jihadists without help from the US military. For now, that amounts to the use of giant transport planes to ferry French troops into Mali, and planes to refuel French combat aircrafts that are pummeling the militants’ positions,” writes USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham. “But that might now be enough. As recent events have shown, Northern Africa has become an expanding battleground for jihadist groups with links to al-Qaeda.”

Actually, France has a long history of military incapability that ultimately draws on other western powers for rescue.

The whole video is here:

States are rejecting federal controls over health care, gun control, light bulbs, and marijuana

Came across an interesting opinion piece about nullification in the Augusta Chronicle.  It carries the subtitle, “More citizens ignoring federal law — much like the federal government“.

Washington may have no one but itself to blame for the rise of the nullification movement – particularly the Obama administration, which has set the standard for ignoring the law.

Definitely not a flattering commentary on the federal government. going on to point out how Obama is increasingly leaning on the power of executive orders to bypass Congress and game the system around election time.  Meanwhile, democrats continue their ardent support for Obama’s strategies because, as everyone knows, “it’s okay when our guy does it“.

Obama on gun control

“…if there is a step we can take that will save even one child from what happened in Newtown, we should take that step…”

–Barack Obama, Jan. 14, 2013–.

Whenever someone claims that “saving even one child” justifies some legislation, you can be certain that you are about to become less free.  And, because this happens so frequently,  the child that is supposedly being saved, is going to grow up in a world much different from the one you enjoyed as a child.

Claims like this are intentionally designed to elicit an emotional reaction that trumps rational deliberation.   Not only does it work, but the public never seems to tire of it or see through the manipulation, which is why it is almost always used to justify bad legislation.  It’s has the effect of making people instantly stupid.

According to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, U.S. drone attacks have killed at least 204 children in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia over the last seven years.

You want to save some children, Mr President?  How about you clean your own house before laying the blame at the feet of the American public.  Stop your drone strikes. Don’t do it to save a bunch of Pakistani and Yemeni children.  We already know you don’t give a shit about them.  Do it to save American children who are likely to be the victims of the next 9/11-style attack that will inevitably come if we keep making enemies of the entire Muslim world by continuously and callously killing their children.

Obama selectively invokes MLK

An interesting observation by Glenn Greenwald:

Obama’s policies are a manifestation of exactly the militaristic mindset which King so eloquently denounced. Obama has always been fond of invoking King’s phrase “fierce urgency of now”, yet ironically, that is lifted from this anti-war speech, one that stands as a stinging repudiation of the continuous killing and violence Obama has spent the last four years unleashing on many countries around the world (Max Blumenthal suggested that Obama’s second inaugural speech be entitled “I have a drone”).

Ah, the irony.   After a warmongering President receives the Nobel Peace Prize, it should come as no surprise when he then uses the anti-war rhetoric of Martin Luther King to advance a conflicting agenda.

Opposition to America’s policy of routinely delivering liberation, peace, and security in the form of an air-launched missile will be a repeated theme on this website.  War is a tool of the state and, except in the case of popular rebellion, always benefits the government at the expense of the citizens.  The obviousness of this fact can only be suppressed by invoking mindless patriotism (usually on the part of the right) or the equally ignorant claim that the U.S. is bombing them for their own good, often referred to as a “humanitarian action” (a justification used by Bush and repeatedly by Obama).


Greenwald posted another column today that points out another outrageous misuse of MLK, this time to promote the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command.

The US military – which is currently bombing Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen at least, all in secret – just exploited one of the 20th Century’s greatest proponents of nonviolence and most vehement opponents of US militarism as a public face for its aggression and violence in the world.

America’s schizophrenic (two-faced) foreign policy

Glenn Greenwald writes about the conflict between the U.S. government’s claim to be on the side of freedom and democracy even as it enthusiastically supports the worlds worst despots.

Greenwald describes how clearly this point is made in a recent memo to Obama from former CIA officer and adviser to four presidents, Bruce Riedel.

Riedel stridently argues that the US must remain steadfastly opposed to any democratic revolutions in the region. That’s because Saudi Arabia is “America’s oldest ally in the Middle East, a partnership that dates back to 1945.” Thus, “since American interests are so intimately tied to the House of Saud, the US does not have the choice of distancing the United States from it in an effort to get on the right side of history.”

Riedel is not exactly a principled advocate of peace, being an enthusiastic supporter of starting a war with Iran, the only beneficiary of which would be Israel.

In 2012, Riedel contributed to a book on Iran by Brookings “scholars” which argued that the US could launch a war against Iran by covertly provoking its government into responses that could then falsely be depicted by the US to the world “as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression” – exactly what Brookings’ Ken Pollack proposed be done in 2002 to deceitfully justify the attack on Iraq.

It’s not hard to see that the U.S. sanctions against Iran, which would easily be considered an act of war if the situation were reversed, fit into that strategy and are remarkably similar to the initiation of war with Iraq.  There can be no doubt that the U.S. has been trying to coax Iran into a response that will justify military action.  So far, Iran hasn’t taken the bait, even though Israel has been chomping at the bit to attack Iran.

American politicians and their PR branch, commonly known as the mainstream press, spew forth all manner of rhetoric about humanitarian motives, but Greenwald points out that their actions say otherwise.

Just listen to the patently deceitful rhetoric that spews forth from US political leaders and their servants in the Foreign Policy Community when it comes time to rail against anti-US regimes in Libya, Syria and Iran. That the US and its Nato allies – eager benefactors of the world’s worst tyrants – are opposed to those regimes out of concern for democracy and human rights is a pretense, a conceit, so glaring and obvious that it really defies belief that people are willing to advocate it in public with a straight face.

The fact is that the U.S. government must maintain allies in the Arab countries if it is going to fulfill its commitment to AIPAC to protect Israel.  As Israel continues to occupy and expand further into Palestinian territory, the U.S. must sacrifice it’s integrity to maintain “friendships” with the few Arab countries that can be bought off with favors and advanced military technology.  Our continued support for these dictators is very likely to come back in the form of further terrorist attacks on U.S. property and citizens.

Greenwald sums it up this way:

The fact that one can have a memo like Riedel’s so clearly explaining US policy to support the worst tyrannies that serve its interests, sitting right next to endless US pro-war rhetoric about the urgency of fighting for freedom and democracy, is an outstanding testament to that myth-making.