US-NATO campaign to justify Syria war disintegrates as attack looms
By Thomas Gaist and Alex Lantier
29 August 2013
Washington’s campaign to justify war against Syria is disintegrating, as it becomes ever clearer that the war is illegal, and that Washington has no evidence to back up charges that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons in Ghouta. Despite press reports of an imminent US-NATO attack, US and British officials suggested yesterday that they might delay launching the war.
There is rising concern inside the political establishment about how to package a war in Syria modeled on the hated 2003 invasion of Iraq. Again, Washington and London are moving to launch a war based on lies about weapons of mass destruction and without legal sanction from the UN Security Council—that is, in violation of international law. (more…)
The Obama administration appears to be pressing ahead with military strikes on Syria despite new obstacles at home and abroad. On Wednesday, an informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council failed to reach an agreement after Russia and China opposed any authorization of force in response to last week’s alleged chemical attack by Assad forces in Ghouta. After domestic pressure, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he will seek parliamentary authorization for using force against Syria, and only after U.N. inspectors complete their current mission. And in Washington, the White House plans to brief lawmakers today following growing calls that President Obama seek congressional backing for any use of force. The administration is expected to make public soon some of its intelligence, but skeptics say there remains no smoking gun implicating the Assad regime. We host a debate on military intervention in Syria between Tariq Ali of the New Left Review and Steven Clemons of The Atlantic.
Former bank regulator William Black and Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi join us to dissect the career of Jack Lew, President Obama’s pick to replace Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither. Currently Obama’s chief of staff, Lew was an executive at Citigroup from 2006 to 2008 at the time of the financial crisis. He backed financial deregulations efforts while he headed the Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton. During that time, Clinton enacted two key laws to deregulate Wall Street: the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. Black, a white-collar criminologist and former senior financial regulator, is the author of “The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.” A contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine, Taibbi is the author of “Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History.”
As the most expensive presidential election in U.S. history comes to an end, broadcaster Tavis Smiley and professor, activist Dr. Cornel West join us to discuss President Obama’s re-election and their hopes for a national political agenda in and outside of the White House during Obama’s second term. At a time when one in six Americans is poor, the price tag for combined spending by federal candidates — along with their parties and outside groups like super PACs — totaled more than $6 billion. Together, West and Smiley have written the new book, “The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto.” Both Tavis and Smiley single out prominent progressives whom they accuse of overlooking Obama’s actual record. “We believe that if [Obama] is not pushed, he’s going to be a transactional president and not a transformational president,” Smiley says. “And we believe that the time is now for action and no longer accommodation. … To me, the most progressive means that you’re taking some serious risk. And I just don’t see the example of that.” West says that some prominent supporters of Obama “want to turn their back to poor and working people. And it’s a sad thing to see them as apologists for the Obama administration in that way.
An unexpected glitch almost caused one central Pennsylvania voter to cast his ballot for the wrong candidate, highlighting concerns about voter fraud in a number of states on an already tense Election Day. The Election Protection coalition, for instance, has reported ballot scanning problems in Ohio in Cleveland, Dayton, and Toledo. “I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted,” writes Centralpavote on YouTube, of the glitch in central Pennsylvania. “I assumed it was being picky so I de-selected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney.”
The man, a software developer, tried troubleshooting the screen, selecting different names. But “the top of Romney’s button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama’s name was all active for Romney.” A few more taps, and he discovered that the only way to select Obama was to click on a small sliver of the screen. All of the buttons for the other candidates seemed to work fine. (more…)
A former U.S. president is accusing the current president of sanctioning the “widespread abuse of human rights” by authorizing drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists. Jimmy Carter, America’s 39 th president, denounced the Obama administration for “clearly violating” 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, writing in a New York Times op-ed on Monday that the “United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.”
“Instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends,” Carter wrote.
While the total number of attacks from unmanned aircraft, or drones, and the resulting casualties are murky, the New America Foundation estimates that in Pakistan alone 265 drone strikes have been executed since January 2009 . Those strikes have killed at least 1,488 people, at least 1,343 of them considered militants, the foundation estimates based on news reports and other sources. (more…)
HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama signed a wide-ranging defense bill into law Saturday despite having “serious reservations” about provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists. The bill also applies penalties against Iran’s central bank in an effort to hamper Tehran’s ability to fund its nuclear enrichment program. The Obama administration is looking to soften the impact of those penalties because of concerns that they could lead to a spike in global oil prices or cause economic hardship on U.S. allies that import petroleum from Iran.
In a statement accompanying his signature, the president chastised some lawmakers for what he contended was their attempts to use the bill to restrict the ability of counterterrorism officials to protect the country.
Administration officials said Obama was only signing the measure because Congress made minimally acceptable changes that no longer challenged the president’s terrorism-fighting ability. “Moving forward, my administration will interpret and implement the provisions described below in a manner that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which this country was founded,” Obama said in the signing statement. (more…)
WASHINGTON — Former pizza king Herman Cain can pile it on when talking about what he likes on his slice — but when asked for his opinion on Libya, he seemed to have forgotten the recipe. The GOP presidential hopeful looked hungry for a cheat sheet when the editorial board of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel asked him if he supported Obama’s backing of the revolution that toppled Moammar Khadafy.
“Okay … Libya,” Cain responded haltingly, according to a video of the interview.
He stared at the ceiling, fiddled with his blazer, blinked a bunch of times and pushed his water bottle away from him on the table.
Eleven seconds later, he spoke:
“President Obama supported the uprising, correct?” said the normally chatty former head of the Godfather’s Pizza chain.
“President Obama called for the removal of Khadafy — just wanted to make sure we are talking about the same thing,” he added, as if trying to goad his interviewers into confirming what he said was true. (more…)
Poster’s Note: So you’re going to let this guy make you reschedule on the opening night of the football season at that? Of course we know the corporations and wealthy really run it, but other than that who is really running the country? Sometimes I wonder….
President Barack Obama will deliver an address to Congress outlining his new jobs agenda on Sept. 8 instead of the original date the White House requested on Wednesday.
White House Adviser Dan Pfeiffer announced Wednesday morning that the president requested to speak to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7, which would have conflicted with a Republican presidential debate planned at the same time. House Speaker John Boehner rejected the request and suggested the president deliver his speech a day later. A Boehner spokesman said Boehner’s office had never been consulted about the president’s plans.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced the change, but challenged Boehner’s claim that Republicans did not know about the original date. (more…)