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DNC Stacking the Deck Against Bernie Sanders - Again!

by Oui Sun Feb 2nd, 2020 at 08:14:29 PM EST

Not only Europe raises concern about keeping a level playing field  ... Democracy at stake!

"A Who's-Who" of People Against Progressive Agenda: DNC's Perez Under Fire for Convention Committee Picks | Common Dreams |

Former Congressman Barney Frank, who wrote a 2015 op-ed entitled "Why Progressives Shouldn't Support Bernie," is among those nominated.

Progressives raised alarm this weekend after Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez released his picks for the 2020 Democratic National Convention committees.

The list of nominees, Sunrise Movement political director Evan Weber said, looks like "a who's-who of people explicitly opposed to the progressive agenda."

Kevin Gosztola, managing editor of Shadowproof, sparked a flurry of responses when he shared Perez's list on social media Saturday afternoon.

DNC Chair Candidate Tom Perez's Bank-Friendly Record Could Kneecap the Democratic Party | The Intercept - Feb. 2017 |

Democrats at a loss on policy and campaign tactics to win an election.

More below the fold ...

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The Mistrial of Donald Trump

by ARGeezer Sat Feb 1st, 2020 at 04:59:25 AM EST

The House impeaches, the Senate tries the case, per the US Constitution. If only it were that simple. At the moment all hangs in uncertainty. Tonight it appears certain that at least 51 Republican senators will vote not hear additional witnesses and to acquit Donald J. Trump of the charges in the House Articles of Impeachment: Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. This is despite the fact that retiring Senator Lamar Alexander conceded that the House Impeachment Managers had proven their case.

WASHINGTON -- As he weighed the evidence against President Trump, Senator Lamar Alexander reached an unavoidable conclusion: Mr. Trump had done what he was accused of, pressuring a foreign power to investigate his political rival. But however inappropriate his conduct, another conviction overrode the first: Americans would not tolerate the Senate stepping in to substitute its own judgment for that of the voters fewer than 10 months before the next election.

"The Senate reflects the country, and the country is as divided as it has been for a long time," Mr. Alexander said Friday during an interview in his Capitol office. "For the Senate to tear up the ballots in this election and say President Trump couldn't be on it, the country probably wouldn't accept that. It would just pour gasoline on cultural fires that are burning out there."

With that logic, Mr. Alexander delivered a victory to Mr. Trump -- and to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, with whom Mr. Alexander has been friends for more than a half-century. In announcing he would vote to block witnesses at Mr. Trump's impeachment trial, he set Mr. Trump on a quick course to his inevitable acquittal.

But this national crisis will not be resolved with the acquittal of Trump. In effect, for reasons listed below, this trial was a mistrial.

Great summary of the state of play - Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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ON FREEDOM (1963)

by Oui Fri Jan 31st, 2020 at 06:23:47 PM EST

    "So let freedom ring. From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, let freedom ring. But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. And when this happens, when we let it ring, we will speed that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last, free at last -- Thank God Almighty, we're free at last."

    (TIME: Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929 - 1968)

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Brexit Day

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jan 31st, 2020 at 12:25:42 AM EST

It is with very mixed feelings that I approach Brexit day. On the one hand I have argued strenuously and at length that Brexit is in the interests of neither the UK nor the EU, and plays into the hands of ultra-nationalists, disaster capitalists, global corporations, and great power imperialists. On the other hand I have tired of the seemingly perpetual whingeing, prevarication, lying, and sheer incompetence of successive UK administrations and their oppositions.

From a purely practical point of view, it is reasonable to hope that the EU institutions will operate more coherently, cohesively and efficiently without the continual disruptions caused by UK participation. The loss of 73 mostly far right and often disruptive UK MEPs will be no loss at all. It his high time the EU focused on other priorities and for Brexit and Brexiteers to leave the stage.

Although EU Chief negotiator Barnier and Trade Commissioner Hogan will continue to be centrally involved in UK EU trade negotiations, I expect that issue will gradually decline in the list of EU priorities and the UK's baneful influence on EU foreign policy will also diminish. A lot still depends on whether President Trump is re-elected, or not, but it is relations and trade with the US, China, Russia and third world countries that will gradually come to dominate the EU agenda.

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Departure

by Oui Wed Jan 29th, 2020 at 08:14:00 PM EST

Gone down in history as Britain's villain or your very own Benedict Arnold.

More below the fold ...

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US Ally Soleimani's Global Fight Against Terror

by Oui Tue Jan 28th, 2020 at 08:42:02 PM EST

    * He fought the Iraqi invasion of Islamic Republic of Iran by Saddam Hussein
    • He fought the Soviet invaders of Afghanistan in the 80s
    • He fought the Taliban in the 90s
    • He fought the invaders of Iraq post March 2003
    • He fought Al Qaeda and Islamic State foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq alongside the US coalition

On Jan. 2, 2020, Qasem Soleimani was struck by the Hand of G*d ... the whimp of a Fascist leader in the White House.

Why Afghan Politicians Express Anger And Grief Over Soleimani's Killing | RFERL |

The United States confirmed killing the powerful commander of Iran's elite Qods (Quds) Force in the late hours of January 2 in an air strike near Baghdad International Airport.

The same day, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah expressed his condolences to Iran. In a statement, he acknowledged Soliemani's cooperation with Afghans during decades of war in Afghanistan. Abdullah's statement was not as harsh as his political party's - Jammiat Islami. The lengthy press release on January 3 named Soleimani as a martyr and said the news of his death is received with deep grief and anguish.


Qassem Soleimani in Afghanistan. (Undated photo)

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Watch Your Left - New, Young Progressives

by Oui Mon Jan 27th, 2020 at 03:45:34 PM EST

Democratic Voters Moving Left On A Range of Issues | The Atlantic - Nov. 2918 |

The New Power of the Progressive Movement In Democratic Politics | Pacific Standard - Feb. 2019 |

Joe Biden's Frontrunner Success Shows Identity Politics Aren't Moving Democratic Voters (May 2019)

More below the fold ...

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US Congress impeaches self

by Cat Thu Dec 19th, 2019 at 05:47:12 PM EST


Pelosi threatens to delay Senate impeachment trial
"Some legal scholars have suggested she could consider refusing to transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate". Those are Article I, Abuse of power, and Article II, Obstruction of Congress. The business of the US Congress is after all above the law. Members choose the rules of personal and legislative conduct predicated by the political expedience of the majority faction ruling each chamber. (archived: #FactsMatter?)

The US constitution does not require the senate to proceed from referral of articles by the house. Also, impeachment is not a trial. It's a morality play for public consumption.
Unfortunately, 319 days remain until US voters may attempt to execute the verdict, derived from findings of fact, findings of law, or, gosh darn it, Gödel's incompleteness theorems.

Comments >> (254 comments)

US Spy Plane Crashed On Taliban Territory Afghanistan

by Oui Tue Jan 28th, 2020 at 04:18:36 AM EST

Unconfirmed reports a high-ranking CIA officer was on board ...

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Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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Yad Vashem and Holocaust: Putin's Private Party

by Oui Fri Jan 24th, 2020 at 08:16:47 PM EST

Coming week Israel and the occupied territory of Palestine will receive word from the White House how the West Bank will be carved up to the advantage and "security" of the Jewish settlers. Trampling on the historic rights of the Palestinian people living in the Middle East as refugees. With the signature of the man in the White House, the UN Security Council Resolution will be dropped in the trash bin of US History, including the Rights for Independence and Freedom of all people. The Third Intifada just ahead with all the bloodshed of innocents?

Trump's peace plan may polarize the Middle East it seeks to calm | Ynet News |

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Brexit: Digital Approach #SettledStatus In UK

by Oui Thu Jan 23rd, 2020 at 08:30:05 AM EST

Digital Approach #SettledStatus In UK

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Last Obama Stronghold In Libya About to Fall

by Oui Sun Jan 19th, 2020 at 01:37:45 PM EST

It is well known that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton favoured the coalition of Turkey, Qatar and Morsi of Egypt for rapprochement to Iran. This proved to be a too daring policy and was shut out of the air by Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Emirates and most important the opposition Republicans in Congress.

After removing Colonel Gaddafi from power in Libya, the struggle for the nation and its fossil fuels supplies began. The dozens of tribes in Libya sought new alliances. A protected CIA asset from Alexandria, Virginia, returned from exile to set up a militia centred around Benghazi and the oil infrastructure on the coast. Haftar eliminated strongmen competition and his influence grew supported by the Sunni Arab states.

    Khalifa Hifter was once a top military officer for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but after a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s, Hifter [also spelled Haftar, Hefter] switched to the anti-Gadhafi opposition. In the early 1990s, he moved to suburban Virginia, where he established a life but maintained ties to anti-Gadhafi groups.

    [...]

    According to a State Department summary of the meeting ...

    The episode and others like it, the officials said, reflect a Libyan culture rife with corruption, kickbacks, strong-arm tactics and political patronage since the United States reopened trade with Colonel Qaddafi's government in 2004. As American and international oil companies, telecommunications firms and contractors moved into the Libyan market, they discovered that Colonel Qaddafi or his loyalists often sought to extract millions of dollars in "signing bonuses" and "consultancy contracts" -- or insisted that the strongman's sons get a piece of the action through shotgun partnerships. [Source: McClatchy and Business Insider]

The Morocco Agreement of 2015 was ratified by a unanimous decision of the UN Security Council. It established to GNA government in Tripoli and lasted until the end of 2016 with the loss of Democrats to the Republicans of Trump.

The GNA was supported by Morocco, Tunisia, Italy, Greece and the global powers. After the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt, strongman Gen. Sisi turned to the Sunni States of the Gulf for funding and economic recovery. The Suez Canal was widened for higher proceeds of shipping and initiatives were started for industrial zones offering a great number of jobs.

More below the fold ...

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The EU28 Is Dead - Long Live the New EU3!

by Oui Fri Jan 17th, 2020 at 12:08:29 PM EST

We have all become Anglo-Saxons now.

UK must get post-Brexit 'defence privileges', says German minister | The Guardian |

The European Union should offer Britain "privileged third-party status" in defence and foreign policy cooperation after Brexit, the German defence minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, has said in a speech in London.

She said that such status should include access to projects such as Future Combat Air System, the Franco-German stealth jet programme.

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Impeachment gets real

by ARGeezer Fri Jan 17th, 2020 at 08:46:26 AM EST

Until yesterday it seemed likely that the best possible outcome of Trump's impeachment would be that the evidence would be presented and widely known and that this might make his reelection less likely. That the Senate would convict seemed very unlikely. The question was whether the Senate would even hear from witnesses, other than those already deposed by the House Intelligence Commitee.

The two part interview of Lev Parnas by Rachael Maddow, aired Wednesday and Thursday night has had impact. Parnas revealed that Jay Sekulow from the White House Office of Counsel, who was presented as one of  President Trump's Trump's defenders in the Senate proceeding, had reluctantly directed Parnas in some of his endeavors for Rudy Guiliani in Ukraine. This likely presents a conflict of interest for Sekulow. This is likely a problem for Trump, as he wants an attorney he can trust - a mouthpiece.

Parnas also stated that John Dowd, formerly a legal adviser to Trump in the Mueller probe, had tried to convince him to be a fall guy when he came to 'help' Parnas after Parnas was arrested in the fall. Parnas fired him on the spot. Parnas claimed that his motive for going public while under federal indictment was that he feared what William Barr, Attorney General, and Barr's Justice Department might do to him more than he feared conviction under existing charges. Parnas also implicated Barr in the Ukraine affair.

Already, three Republican Senators, Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, have indicated that they favor calling additional witnesses. Even if there are no more Republican Senators forthcoming, this might result in a tie vote which Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts could break, possibly in favor of additional witnesses. John Cornyn of Texas has noted that the Senate is the jury and should not be deciding how the trial is conducted. Michael Bennett of Colorado has been critical of Trump over withholding funds illegally, per the General Accounting Office memo, and in violation of his oath to faithfully execute the laws of the nation.

I suspect that the dam has broken and that many more may sign on to having a full and fair impeachment trial. This inherently brings into play the ambitions of some Senators to be the next Republican Presidential Nominee. First Trump has to go. In situations like this Senators find safety in numbers - herd instinct. It looks like the herd is getting spooked.

Interesting times. Stay tuned.

Comments >> (26 comments)

The narcissism of minor differences

by Frank Schnittger Tue Jan 14th, 2020 at 08:46:08 PM EST

An Taoiseach Leo Varadker has called a general election in Ireland for February 8th. - in the immediate wake of Brexit actually happening at the end of January and the devolved institutions being restored in N. Ireland following an agreement between the N. Ireland parties and the British and Irish governments.

The timing is significant for a number of reasons. Fine Gael's slim Dail majority had become increasingly precarious as the "confidence and supply" agreement with Fianna Fail had faltered and as various independent and other TD's threatened to withdraw their support. A no-confidence motion in Health Minister Simon Harris could well have been carried and would have further high-lighted the governments greatest failing while in office.

Leo Varadker and deputy prime Minister (Tanaiste) Simon Coveney are widely seen as having done a good job on Brexit and so it was in their interest to hold the election while Brexit was still high on the news and political agenda. When the two governments and the N. Ireland parties finally agreed to the restoration of the N. I. Assembly and Executive after a 3 year hiatus, another important item on the Government's to do list was ticked off.

That said, a win for Leo Varadker and Fine Gael is anything but a done deal. Fine Gael have led the government for almost exactly nine years since 2011 and it is rare for any Irish government to win 3 elections in a row. There is considerable yearning for change in the country, despite full employment, the economy growing at c. 5% p.a., and the government actually running a surplus. Failures in public housing, healthcare, and transport policy have sapped the electorate's patience and homelessness, rapid housing rent increases, hospital waiting lists and impossible commuting times are likely to figure prominently in the campaign.

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Environment Anarchists

by Oui Mon Jan 13th, 2020 at 08:38:32 PM EST

Of course ... domestic terror!

Revealed: US listed climate activist group as 'extremists' alongside mass killers | The Guardian |

A group of US environmental activists engaged in non-violent civil disobedience targeting the oil industry have been listed in internal Department of Homeland Security documents as "extremists" and some of its members listed alongside white nationalists and mass killers.

The group have been dubbed the Valve Turners, after closing the valves on pipelines in four states carrying crude oil from Canada's tar sands on 11 October 2016 which accounted for about 15% of US daily consumption. It was described as the largest coordinated action of its kind and for a few hours the oil stopped flowing.

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Reagan and (Dis)Honor - USS Vincennes 290 Killed

by Oui Mon Jan 13th, 2020 at 09:55:31 AM EST

During the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1989

'Guerrilla Warfare At Sea': Persian Gulf, 1987-88

TASK FORCE MIDDLE EAST ON CALL

The U.S. Navy had been operating out of Manama, Bahrain, since 1948. From a nominal presence of five ships, the U.S. flotilla was expanded to a peak of 27 ships and 16,800 personnel assigned to the Joint Middle East Task Force (later to become the 5th Fleet in 1995) in early 1988. American warships sailed the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and the North Arabian Sea. Carrier battle groups rotated duty in the Arabian Sea.

Among the specialized naval units deployed were explosive ordnance disposal detachments, a team of specially trained bottle-nosed dolphins and special warfare outfits. Platoons from five SEAL teams and 23 detachments from a half dozen Special Boat Units served during the convoy operations. Several Contingency Marine Air-Ground Task Forces also saw duty in the Gulf.

Navy carrier units formed the backbone of air support. But the Air Force provided E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System planes, which routinely flew 24-hour surveillance patrols. Strategic Air Command sent KC-10 and KC-135 tankers.

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A Final Warning: Rise of Fascism

by Oui Fri Jan 10th, 2020 at 08:59:56 PM EST

How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler | Smithsonian |

Reports on the rise of fascism in Europe were not the American media's finest hour

How to cover the rise of a political leader who's left a paper trail of anti-constitutionalism, racism and the encouragement of violence? Does the press take the position that its subject acts outside the norms of society? Or does it take the position that someone who wins a fair election is by definition "normal," because his leadership reflects the will of the people?

These are the questions that confronted the U.S. press after the ascendance of fascist leaders in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

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Ukraine Plane Crash - East-West Conspiracies

by Oui Thu Jan 9th, 2020 at 08:27:17 PM EST

[Update-1]

END OF UPDATE

I had written a few posts about Ukraine flight -- CFM56 engine failures --  

Early this morning in a Dutch newspaper I read of a suspicion that missile debris was found on the crash site. It was linked to a Ukrainian expert Oleksiy Danilev who leads a team of investigators and on their way to Tehran. In search who this person was, I found out the following:

Zelensky appoints Danilov as Secretary of National Defense Council

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky appointed Oleksiy Danilov as Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC), having previously dismissed him from the office of NSDC Deputy Secretary. The respective decrees were published on the official website of the president.

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Icon Che Guevara Replaced by Qassam Soleimani

by Oui Wed Jan 8th, 2020 at 07:30:22 PM EST

Trump created a hero for the Muslim Shia community - a legend is born.  

Assassination elevates Soleimani as icon of resistance | France24 |

Portraits of Qasem Soleimani have been carried aloft in rallies from Gaza to Yemen, raising the prospect that his violent death will elevate him as an icon of anti-American resistance.

The powerful Iranian commander, who was buried on Wednesday, was hailed as a "living martyr" in the Islamic republic for his military and strategic exploits that included halting the Islamic State group as it rampaged across Iraq and Syria.

Soleimani spearheaded Iran's Middle East operations as head of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, masterminding Shiite proxy militias, and some Sunni allies, in a career that saw President Donald Trump brand him a "monster".

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News and Views

 December 2019

by Colman - Dec 11, 483 comments

Your take on this month's news

 End of Year (and possibly times) thread

by Colman - Dec 11, 99 comments

What could possibly go wrong?

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