Mapped: The U.S. military’s presence in Africa:
The United States may be deploying 10 additional troops to Mali, but that’s just a drop in the bucket of the U.S. military’s presence in Africa, which has been quietly building for the last decade. You’ve probably heard about the 2,000-troop hub at Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, and the 100 special operators hunting Joseph Kony. But less is known about the handful of U.S. drone bases scattered across the continent and the dozens of exercises involving hundreds, if not thousands, of American troops.
[Click the title link to get to an interactive map and learn more about each location.]
11:14 am |
May 2 2013
| 102 notes
“We must encourage all efforts to humanize the populations of countries in the crosshairs of the warmakers. The general public is whipped into a war frenzy without knowing the first thing – or hearing only propaganda – about the people who will die in that war. The establishment’s media won’t tell their story, so it is up to us to use all the resources we as individuals have, especially online, to communicate the most subversive truth of all: that the people on the other side are human beings, too.”
— Lew Rockwell, “Humanize the Demonized”
2:30 pm |
May 1 2013
| 68 notes
It’s not only Obama vs. Congress on the Gitmo question. It’s also Obama vs. Obama, and Obama vs. justice and the rule of law.
Not only talked, but passed an executive order. It’s Congress that is blocking it and have passed laws preventing it from happening.
He’s tackling this again like right now. But when congress continues to block his options …
Ok, let’s get this straight: Congress is also at fault, but it’s simply not true that Obama is desperately trying to close Gitmo and being stopped by Congress. I know he likes to claim this, as he did yesterday, but it’s a lie.
Furthermore, this is the same administration which has fought tooth and nail in court to prevent the release of a Guantanamo prisoner who has been cleared of all suspicion of terrorist activity:
[In] 2010, U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson granted Slahi’s habeas corpus petition andordered his release. The Obama administration appealed that ruling and to this day refuses to release Slahi, who has been cleared of any involvement in any terrorist plot by every imaginable government investigator that could conceivably be involved in his case.
And that’s why Obama’s statement that Guantanmo “needs to be closed,” is utterly meaningless.
Finally, if Obama really wanted to close Guantanamo, as head of the Executive Branch and Commander-in-Chief, he could (or he could at least do most of the job). This article at FireDogLake does a good job of running through the reasons and I recommend reading the whole thing, but here’s a key excerpt:
[It] is true Congress has fought the administration on the closure. President Obama has also signed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legislation twice that constrains the administration’s options for closing the facility. Empty threats to veto the legislation have been made. Signing statements that will not get the facility any closer to being closed or help the prisoners be freed have been written. In January, it was reported the administration had shuttered the office in the State Department [which is under Obama’s control], where officials were working to repatriate or resettle Guantanamo prisoners.
And that’s just what Obama has
done, not what he’s neglected to do. Seriously, read this whole piece
. It’s just not accurate to say that Congress has tied his hands on this one. Technically you’re right that Obama has done more than just talked about closing Gitmo — it’s just that the more he did was not actually in favor of closing it.
2:22 pm |
May 1 2013
| 33 notes
The cruelest irony? The building’s owner moved here from Iran to be more free and prosperous:
Anaheim small-business owner Tony Jalali fled Iran in 1978 for a better life in the land of liberty, but he soon may find his American Dream unconstitutionally taken from him by the city of Anaheim and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Southern California in a ploy that should leave most Americans shaking their heads in disgust. Jalali faces the loss of his well-maintained office building if the city and the federal government get away with an attempt to do an end-run around California laws.
Over the past few years, Jalali rented out his small office building on Ball Road to numerous businesses, including two medical marijuana dispensaries – businesses that are legal in California. Jalali felt comfortable doing this because, not only is medical marijuana legal under California law, but Anaheim itself since 2010 has hosted the world’s largest marijuana trade show in its city-owned Anaheim Convention Center (and is slated to host again in July). The federal government, right up to the president of the United States, said it had “bigger fish to fry” than to undermine state laws on medical marijuana.
The city asked government attorneys to take Jalali’s property through drug-related civil forfeiture – which allows the government to take and sell your property without ever charging you with a crime, let alone convicting you of one. To make the deal sweeter for both the city and the feds, through a program called “equitable sharing,” Anaheim and its police would collect up to 80 percent of any bounty seized, while the federal government would bank the remaining 20 percent. The property owner would be left with nothing.
Read the full story here. Civil Asset Forfeiture is truly one of the most appalling and least known ways our government screws us over.
2:15 pm |
May 1 2013
| 129 notes
iam-drugs asked: Do you know, by chance, how much Obama has actually talked about closing Gitmo in various speeches/meetings? I feel like after the elections and the idea of placing the prisoners at a prison somewhere in Illinois the subject sort of dropped off the map for the Administration, but I may be wrong.
I haven’t closely tracked it over the years — the big highlights I can rattle off are the pre-election pledges to close the prison in 2007/2008, the Executive Order in 2009 which accomplished nothing, this year’s shutting down of the office for shutting down Guantanamo, and then this week’s come [back] to Jesus moment.
I’ve been sharing this short timeline of what Obama has said and done about closing Guantanamo Bay since 2007, but in researching an answer to your question, I came across two more timelines, both of which offer additional insight:
- Obama and Guantanamo: A chronology of his broken promise
- The Obama/Gitmo Timeline [this focuses on direct quotes from the President, so maybe the best article for your question]
12:43 pm |
May 1 2013
| 9 notes
Ozymandias W. Bush
I’ve never been one for poetry — prose is my game. But one poem I’ve always appreciated is Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias, a short poem which tells of a once-glorious statue to a powerful king, now abandoned and decaying with time. Here’s the text:
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Our modern kings take Ozymandias’ lead, but they tend to be less interested in statues and more interested in libraries — specifically, Presidential Libraries.
Above, the five living U.S. Presidents stand in front of the newly-dedicated George W. Bush Presidential Library while literally being heralded by a row of trumpeters. Ozymandias would be proud.
In the wake of the recent opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, Reason has a good piece from Gene Healy calling for an end to tax-dollar funding of Presidential libraries. “Let America’s former presidents burnish their legacies on their own dimes,” cheekily declares the tagline.
I completely agree. Not only are these fluff projects expensive:
At 226,560 square feet and a cost of $250 million, the Bush Presidential Center is the biggest and most expensive yet of the 13 presidential libraries that one scholar has derisively called “America’s Pyramids.” […]
Though the libraries’ construction is privately funded, they’re managed by the National Archives and Records Administration, using federal tax dollars. Last year, it cost the American taxpayer some $75 million to keep them open.
…but they also (in this case, at least) seek to justify the unjustifiable, serving as a new wing of the self-glorification campaign in which ex-Presidents apparently love to engage:
One of the key exhibits at the Bush megalith is Decision Points Theater, a virtual Situation Room wherein visitors can “consult” video advisers and make their own calls on some of the “Decider’s” key decisions, like war with Iraq, the response to Hurricane Katrina, and bailing out the banks. […]
In Decision Points Theater, if you decide not to go to war with Iraq, “43” himself comes onscreen to tell you flatly that you’re wrong: ”Saddam posed too big a risk to ignore. … The world was made safer by his removal.”
Wow. Should we count the theater among the waning minority of the American public who agrees with Bush on this one? (Perhaps Mitt Romney is really the one to ask if theaters are people.)
All sarcasm aside, let’s be honest: These libraries are vanity projects, nothing more — fodder for field trips and president-worship incarnate. Erected to memorialize the greatness of Presidents not yet dead, they’re Ozymandias’ statue modernized: ”My name is George W. Bush, Decider of Deciders: Look on my works, ye Tourists, and accept that I’m right!”
Let’s be honest again: These guys are not poor. Of the living ex-Presidents, Clinton clocks in as the wealthiest with an estimated net worth of $38 million, and even Carter, the “poorest,” is not exactly struggling at $7 million.
If former Presidents want to play Ozymandias, let them also play financier. They’re better situated to it than are we.Healy concludes, “As it happens, our recent presidents have mainly left us a patrimony of mounting debt, intrusive government, and permanent war. If you seek their monument, look around you.”
Perhaps our Presidents have surpassed the ancient king in one regard: They’ve skipped straight to the decay.
11:18 am |
May 1 2013
| 37 notes