Thursday, November 20, 2008

John F. Kenney On an Open Society


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blackwater Exploiting Piracy Crisis off the Coast of Somalia

Here is some breaking news that may indicate why the US Navy announced this week that "it can't be everywhere" and therefore chose not to intervene in the Saudi Oil Tanker Incident:

The American security company Blackwater is planning to cash in on the rising threat of piracy by launching a flotilla of gunboats for hire by shipping companies.

The firm, which gained international notoriety when its staff killed civilians in Iraq, has already equipped one vessel, the McArthur, which will carry up to 40 armed guards and have a landing pad for an attack helicopter.

The McArthur, a former survey ship, arrives in the Gulf of Aden, the scene of high-profile hijackings and shootouts with Somali pirates, at the end of the year.

It is to be joined by three or four similar vessels over the next year to form the company's private navy.
We saw this coming over the last couple of months, long before piracy off the Somali coast was pushed by the press as
"a problem":

"Blackwater Worldwide today announced that its 183-foot ship, the McArthur, stands ready to assist the shipping industry as it struggles with the increasing problem of piracy in [Somalia's] Gulf of Aden," the firm says in a statement. "As a company founded and run by former Navy SEALs, with a 50,000-person database of former military and law enforcement professionals, Blackwater is uniquely positioned to assist the shipping industry."

Somali pirates have hit commercial vessels 100 times, just in this year. The U.S. Navy and its allies have admitted than they don't have a big enough fleet to ensure every ship's safety. So ship owners are now reaching out to Blackwater for protection, according to Executive Vice President Bill Matthews.

It's not exactly a brand-new idea. Mercenaries have been battling pirates for a good eight centuries, off and on. Back in 2005, the Somali government tried to hire a U.S. security contractor for maritime protection -- only to have the company fall victim to scandal. This June, there were conflicting reports that a French security outfit had won a $150 million deal to take the American firm's place. One U.S. admiral even joined in the pirate-fighting mercenary chorus, allegedly. But it "raises more legal issues than anyone could possibly count."

Meanwhile, Blackwater is looking for new income streams, as its business protecting diplomats and executives in Iraq looks increasingly fragile. Blackwater employees are protecting missile interceptors in Japan, schooling Taiwan's secret police, and rescuing blonds in Kenya. The company is assembling a private fleet of airplanes, helicopters, and spy blimps. And let's not forget about Blackwater's work after Katrina in New Orleans. Maybe the company will get a chance to follow up another mess.
In fact, by the time they made that noble offer they had already begun remodeling light ships, such as the geophysical survey ship, The MacArthur seen in the photo, equipping them with heliports and quick offloading speedboats.

Blackwater's 183-foot vessel MacArthur underway. The ship is based in Norfolk with a 14-person crew, and is ready to deploy with small rigid-hull boats and helicopters to provide escort. (Blackwater photo)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Alan Keyes Files Lawsuit Challenging Obama's Right to Serve

It's the birth certificate issue again.

Alan Keyes, 2008 American Independent Party candidate, filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court today challenging Barack Obama's right to serve under the Constitution that specifies that candidates for the presidency must be "natural born" citizens of the United States.

The suit demands that Obama produce a certificate of live birth from a hospital in Hawaii to prove his status as natural born. More specifically, the suit petitions the State of California and it's Secretary of State to withhold Californian's electoral votes from Obama at its meeting of electoral delegates in December unless he can provide documentary proof of his "natural born" status.

The suit asserts that the Hawaiian hospital that claims it holds the certificate on file but will not release it has not provided sufficient evidence to show proof of "natural born" citizenship. Under Hawaiian law, a birth certificate can be issued in Hawaii if the parents are citizens of Hawaii but the child does not actually have to be born in Hawaii. The suit asserts that if this was the basis for issuance of Obama's certificate it does not meet the requirement that he be a "natural born" citizen under the United States Constitution. Here is the portion of the petition for writ of mandate that makes that point of contention:
74. A press release was issued on October 31, 2008, by the Hawaii Department of Health by its Director, Dr. Chiyome Fukino. Dr. Fukino said that she had “personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Senator Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.” That statement failed to resolve any of the questions being raised by litigation and press accounts. Being “on record” could mean either that its contents are in the computer database of the department or there is an actual “vault” original.

75. Further, the report does not say whether the birth certificate in the “record” is a Certificate of Live Birth or a Certificate of Hawaiian Birth. In Hawaii, a Certificate of Live Birth resulting from hospital documentation, including a signature of an attending physician, is different from a Certificate of Hawaiian Birth. For births prior to 1972, a Certificate of Hawaiian Birth was the result of the uncorroborated testimony of one witness and was not generated by a hospital. Such a Certificate
could be obtained up to one year from the date of the child’s birth. For that reason, its value as prima facie evidence is limited and could be overcome if any of the allegations of substantial evidence of birth outside Hawaii can be obtained. The vault (long Version) birth certificate, per Hawaiian Statute 883.176 allows the birth in another State or another country to be registered in Hawaii. Box 7C of the vault Certificate of Live Birth contains a question, whether the birth was in Hawaii or another State or Country. Therefore, the only way to verify the exact location of birth is to review a certified copy or the original vault Certificate of Live Birth and compare the name of the hospital and the name and the signature of the doctor against the birthing records on file at the hospital noted on the Certificate of the Live Birth.
Adding to the controversy, a Video has been posted to YouTube that claims Obama was born in Kenya. Someone does not want this man to be president.

Here is a PDF copy of the lawsuit filed today in Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento. There are purportedly five other lawsuits pending that make the same challenge.

The rides not over. The Right-Wing didn't get to sing and its not over till their fat lady from the Wagnerian opera "does her thang."

Brünnhilde Palin

This breaking news report has been cross-posted to the writer's blog at:
Open Salon: Southern Perspectives

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Initiates 2012 Presidential Campaign; Selects Rahm Emanuel as Chief-of-Staff

Obama's caution in last night's victory speech that "change" will not happen all at once is not encouraging in the light of today's announcement of Rahm Emanuel's selection as chief of staff.

I. First, during the primaries, he tip-toed away from his commitment to Progressives to limit the influence of lobbyists. This is the bedrock of change; you simply cannot restore the Republic without limiting the influence of the lobbies.

The lobbies were the financial engine employed by Tom DeLay in the complete and utter destruction of the
democratic process in the House of Representatives.

The largest o
f these is the Israel Lobby, followed by the National Rifle Association. Bankers and other corporatists employ a variety of lobbies but they were all being organized under the "K-Street Project"in Washington D.C. by the minions of Tom DeLay and his comrade in corruption, lobbyist organizer Jack Abramoff.

II. The second sign of the betrayal was Obama's surprise vote in favor of the renewal and upgrade of the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) along with the immunity provision for the telecommunications companies, a provision that all but eliminates any hope that the National Security Agency (NSA) can be effectively investigated in their use of "offshore" telecom companies to spy on the American people.

Interestingly, the central telecoms involved, who NSA and the Neocon Pentagon wished to protect, were those "offshore" in Tel Aviv under private contract along with with Mossad and CIA sigintel crews operating
on-site, among whom were telecoms involved in the intel that warned against the terrorist strikes on 9-11 but, as it is now alleged, were ignored by the Bush Administration leaving open the question of complicity by the Office of the Vice President in facilitating the attacks. If true, it opens the Bush Administration to charges of high treason and the use of terrorism against the American people as an act of (false-flag) provocation in order to initiate a region-wide war of adventurism in the middle east.

Obama had changed his mind to vote with the Bush Administration on
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) literally over a weekend where he was under intense pressure from his Indiana colleague Rahm Emanuel and the threat from the McCain Campaign to use a no-vote as evidence that Obama is weak on security issues. Members of Congress were denied access by the Administration to a list of telecoms the immunity provision would affect, an unusual act of disrespect indicating a lack of trust and/or the desire for a guarded outcome by manipulation for the expected rubber stamp from a compliant, indeed possibly criminally complicit, Congress.

III. The third event in this time line happened almost immediately
after the vote on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He met with the Israeli Lobby, speaking before AIPAC and followed-up with a visit to Israel. All the while Joe Lieberman played the roll of yapping dog biting at the seat of his pants throughout this entire period of change.

From a progressive-pandering candidate of the people who recognized the paramount prerequi
site of limiting lobbies and special interests in the great task of rescuing democracy from the plundering hands of the Corporatists and Neocons, Barack Obama moved under the Shadow of the wings of the Great Shades of the right-wing in what seemed like only weeks.

And now Obama wants us to accept Rahm Emanuel? The "pit-bull" of big-donor fund raising? The Jack Abramoff of the Democratic Party? The former Bill & Hillary Clinton "New Democrat" apparatchic? I'm sorry, that is just too in-your-face. And what separates Rahm Emanuel from Joe Lieberman is that Emanuel never had to change parties in order to overtly expedite his dual loyalties.

So going into an Obama Administration that touts change in Washington as well as the withdrawal of forces from Iraq, the very first appointment Obama makes is a cross between Jack Abramoff and Joe Lieb
erman with the added nuance that Emanuel served in the Israeli Defense Forces under wartime conditions, hails from a family of -- let's call his father a "Zionist paramilitary insurgent" to be kind -- and holds dual citizenship in both the United States and Israel.

This is a major red flag that cannot be ignored. There is more th
an naiveté going on here on the part of a president elect, unfamiliar with the nuances of foreign policy and the contrivances of K-Street who wishes to demonstrate loyalty to an extremely talented Chicago collegue. Here, in the minds of Progressives from every quarter, we have the suspicion of a sell-out that some suspect was planned from the very beginning and approved by the Israeli Lobby.

If indeed, this is part of some lobbyist conspiracy that Obama hasn't yet figured out, this is as sinister as it gets. If his appointment of Emanuel in predicated on a calulated political gamble that he will be able to control the volitile and aggressive Emanuel, Obama reveals himself as overly optomistic and prone to take unnecessary risk as the boldest members of the Kennedy dynasty. Th
e selection of dual citizen Rahm Emanuel doesn't just smack of lobbies, it stinks to high heaven of APAC-Likud influence, of Bibi Netanyahu [on the right] and the extremist right-wing Zionism of Sheldon Adelson, the third richest man in America, 12th richest in the world, who sits on top of the largest money laundering operation in the world, the Las Vegas, Nevada, casino industry, which Adelson is using to fund the Netanyahu campaign in Israel.

Emanuel has already alienated himself from left-of-center Democratic stalwarts such as DNC Chairman Howard Dean and special issues philanthropist George Soros; although, their relationships were said to be on the mends going into the 2008 elections cycle. If former Clinton political adviser James Carville is still looking askance at Howard Dean, Dean can count the days before he is forced out since Obama's choice of Emanuel, if nothing else, indicates an alliance with the Clintons and their well-oiled political machine.

If the selection of Rahm Emanuel is indicative of Obama's current right-of-center political leanings, the betrayal by Obama of the Progressive Movement will not be undone soon, unless of course, Obama intuits that Progressives are part of a necessary coalition in order to insure a successful administration. And if the utility for personal exploitation is the criteria he imposes for his personnel and policy decissions, rather than the ideological needs for the restoration of repu
blican democracy, then Obama will very quickly be defined by his detrectors as the pandering narcissist some Progressives have already projected upon his dubious character, given numerous instances of insencerity, avoidance of taking stands before he can determine what's in it for him personally and, of course, his betrayals.

Indeed, with this appointment, it may already be to late for Obama to placate the Democratic Left. The now predictable ouster of Howard Dean will confirm the betrayal yet again and the Progressive Movement may well turn again to its favored son, Howard Dean, for a future challenge to Obama.

Many in this country think that Israel controls American
politics. They allow their antisemitism to drive their thinking from an emotional ground, one immersed in hate. It is just the opposite: The Zionist-Corporatist right-wing, its neoconservative aparatchicks in American government and a Zionist-Christianist American populist base controls Israeli politics.

More appropriately, we should describe it, as did Hillary, although indirectly, as a "vast right wing conspiracy," one that involves the largest of the lobbies that, in their aggregate, are responsible for the corruption of government with which Obama has pledged to change.

But "calling a spade a spade" doesn't go far enough. It's not just that the Israel Lobby is the largest of the lobbies and wields the most political power of any of the major lobbies simply by buying the candidates. It's not just that it implies an even greater risk to democracy that this lobby is dominated by internal right-wing forces of corporatism, shutting out the more moderate and progressive voices of the Jewish American community that seek to mitigate the extremist Zionism of their efforts. Even that seriously mendacious condition does not sound the alarms from "beyond the pale" as does the fact that this vastly powerful right-wing lobby, which has extended its tentacles via the interrelationship of the K-Street organization into virtually every lobbying wing in the United States, operates on behalf of the interests of a foreign nation -- a decidedly right-wing militarist foreign nation so paranoid for its existence as it render stability in the entire Middle East at risk with the coming ascension of its most extremest expression, the Likud Party under Benyamin Netanyahu.

And we didn't get enough of the Neocons with Scooter Libby, David Wolfowitz, David Wumzer, Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith?

My God, who will rescue us from these Corporatists and Neocons if not Obama? Does Obama have any idea what he's gotten himself into by making this apparent deal with the devil? Is this how he got elected. Did he cut a deal with them to get them not to commit election fraud against him? It this sounds over the top and I like a conspiracy theory fabulist, then you haven't been paying attention, dear reader.

Extending this discussion to the Vice President Elect, someone today said Joseph Biden is a good guy but also noted with caution that he proclaims himself to be a proud Zionist. Some would label Biden's pandering comments to Shalom TV the yammering of a politician. I confess that I don't know what to make of them.

But let's see, how long did it take? Obama was declared a winner last night around 11:00 PM and his announcement of Rahm Emanuel came at noon today! Let's hope he was only floating a name in order to gauge the American response. If that's the case, we should start making the phone calls first thing in the morning.

One thing seems predictable in Obama's strategy thus far: He is certain to avoid any decisions that threaten his current sweetheart relationship with the Isreal Lobby. If we can take him at his word when he warned last night in his victory speech from Grant Park in Chicago that we should not expect change to occurr overnight, we will see no change until he wins reelection in 2012, if then. His very first move, even before assuming office in January of 2009, was to initiate the reelection campaign of Obama-2012.


Will the Circle Be Unbroken? A Condolence

While I grieve and let go this evil that has possessed my soul for the past eight years, this cynical regime that exploited religion and instilled in me hatred for its leaders, I recall that even more immediately Barack Obama and his family will need time to let go and grieve as well -- that many of you here will experience a similar process and need a time to grieve.

Music is part of my family roots, particularly the music of the blue grass country and the Irish who carried it to these shores. It is a way through grief that opens the heart to spiritual healing.

My great-great grandfather watched the family plantation south of Atlanta burn while Sherman's soldiers poured molasses into my great grandmother's imported piano, breaking her heart and taking from her the final dignity.

One can sense the trauma and the defeat in my great-great grandfather's eyes in the family photo to the left. I am a son of the South, a grandson of her past tattered and defeated aristocracy. I know the suffering of a people enslaved and the people who enslaved them. The stories have burdened my conscience since childhood, even as racism continued to grip my family and I fought them.

I am a rebel against my extended family -- a true outsider, a man exiled from his own family traditions and yet I too have a mother whose memory lives on inside my grieving heart and because of her memory, my love for her, my respect for all those suffering and for Barack Obama's great victory tonight in the midst of his grief, a bitter-sweet victory, I offer this tribute from the hearts of people of the land, a land of the grasses that run blue in the springtime: A condolence to Barack Hussein Obama. May the lineage holders of all our parallel family narratives come together some day to sing a final dirge to The South and to the memories of family members we hold dear.

I regret deeply that Georgia did not join us tonight.

My grandfather was the Georgia state blue grass fiddle champion for so long they retired him and made him a judge so that the competition could continue before the contestants resigned. My father played on the radio for a time during the Great Depression. My youngest brother has the very fiddle that our great grandfather carried with him on military campaigns throughout the War Between the States. It was a bloody struggle. Some have still not surrendered.

For a Brief time in his youth, my father was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in Florida, one of the largest chapters in the South at the time. But when he was 19, having lied about his age in order to get a job as a bus driver busing the St. Louis Cardinals around during spring camp in Sarasota, the brakes on his bus went out on a regular run. He was unable to prevent his bus from plunging into a canal while traffic stopped ahead at a draw bridge. He was knocked unconscious. His porter, a young black man, went into the canal and pulled him out of the bus, saving his life. From that day, my father refused to attend another meeting of the Klan. I am so proud of him. He was named after Woodrow Wilson, one of the intellectual leaders of the Progressive Movement of the early 20th century.

Racism contaminated that movement.

Tonight looking at the electoral map, it is obvious to me that the war continues. The hatred lives on needlessly, tragically.

Ask yourself this: Who does this hatred benefit?


This narrative is crossposted to my blog at Open Salon:
Southern Perspectives; The Decline & Fall of the Southern Strategy

Obama Wins!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pax Amerikana in Decline: The Plundering Continues

In the wake of the Great Depression, and after a half-century struggle between the American people and the corporatist robber barons who were plundering -- and continue to plunder -- the great American continent for its natural resources, Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie posited a radical populist notion in the American progressive conscience: "This land is your land; this land is my land."

This is a folksong that continues to intrude upon the American conscience, a conscience grown dim after having entrusted all responsibility for the land and it's management into the hands of a cynical right-wing who has continued to facilitate the personal fortunes of the robber barons -- their cronies -- while manipulating their base of conservative evangelicals and dominionists with the grandiose delusion that this generation is the last -- that these are the "End Times," and that, therefore, the environment is of no pressing concern.

To those not given to such delusions, they have proffered outright lies and denials about global warming, denigrated the honest work of scientists, exploited the Christianist fear of science, sought to distract attention from the reality of the Earth's great climatological crisis, covered up the devastations facilitated through "fair trade agreements," and have continued to facilitate the plundering and contamination of our forests, our waters, our oil and gas reserves and other natural resources held in common by the people of this great land and they've done it in the name of free market economy. They have enlisted the corporatist-owned resources of the mainstream media against us in doing so.

Now, under cover of the national elections, these duplicitous Amerikan Corporatists, led by Bush & Company, are currently attempting to slip one by us in the waning days of The Regime. This is a self-serving affront by the neoliberal oligarchy that Bush represents against Justice and the common good:

By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent Mon Nov 3, 5:02 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the U.S. presidential candidates sprint toward the finish line, the Bush administration is also sprinting to enact environmental policy changes before leaving power.

Whether it's getting wolves off the Endangered Species List, allowing power plants to operate near national parks, loosening regulations for factory farm waste or making it easier for mountaintop coal-mining operations, these proposed changes have found little favor with environmental groups.

The one change most environmentalists want, a mandatory program to cut climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions, is not among these so-called "midnight regulations."

Bureaucratic calendars make it virtually impossible that any U.S. across-the-board action will be taken to curb global warming in this administration, though both Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama have promised to address it if they win Tuesday's U.S. presidential election.

Even some free-market organizations have joined conservation groups to urge a moratorium on last-minute rules proposed by the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

[The article continues here]
The question remains: After we elect a new president, will he, Nancy Pelosi and a "Democratic" Congress allow the plundering and contamination of our economy, our natural resources and our very ecosystem to continue? Whose country is this, anyway?