The headline on a recent Daily Beast story was “Are we really done with Iraq?” I doubt it, even though Barack Obama is saying our involvement there will end in a few months. Interesting that Obama conveniently left out the fact that the U.S. is withdrawing its remaining forces reluctantly, after a breakdown in negotiations with the Iraqi government:
It was in the final months of George W. Bush’s presidency that the United States negotiated an agreement to withdraw its troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.
In his first year as commander in chief, Obama promised to adhere to the timeline, even though many US and Iraqi military leaders said some American forces should remain in the country. The US position on the 2011 date changed this year, however. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his predecessor, Robert Gates, said publicly that some US troops should remain in the country after the withdrawal. The conflict has claimed 4,200 American lives.
Proponents of remaining in Iraq argued that the smaller US footprint would be needed to train the Iraqi military on new American equipment – and as a trip wire if sectarian tensions flared up again and threatened to plunge the country into another civil war. Continue Reading »
Samuel Johnson wrote “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Never has this adage seemed more true:
October 26 [marked] the 10th anniversary of the USA Patriot Act, the first among many bipartisan government assaults on the Bill of Rights over the past decade. It is a time to mourn our lost freedoms.
Our constitutional rights have dramatically eroded, turning the “land of the free” into the “land of the easily intimidated.” We have traded liberty for a false impression of security, and we will regret it.
President Bush originally signed the Patriot Act into law on Oct. 26, 2001, and – despite documented, recurring and ongoing abuses – President Obama has signed reauthorization bills no fewer than three times. Even though more than 400 cities and towns, plus eight states, have issued official resolutions repudiating domestic surveillance, the national security juggernaut has continued to steamroll the Constitution. Continue Reading »
Want to see a rough sketch of how low the Republican Party will sink in waging war against those who would pass the American Jobs Act? Here you are:
Karl Rove’s organization American Crossroads, which functions as a kind of privately run Republican Party organization, has a memo laying out how the party ought to oppose President Obama’s jobs bill. It’s a telling window into the contours of the jobs debate. The specifics of Obama’s proposal are all highly popular, and the Republican challenge is to oppose it anyway. The memo offers a fascinating look at the mechanisms of political spin in general, and the particular dilemma of the Republican Party as it blocks economic action in the face of crisis.
The key fact to understand about the bill, delicately left unmentioned by the American Crossroads memo, is that Americans want to do all the things Obama proposes. By a twenty-point margin, they favor funding new road construction and a payroll tax cut. By a 30-point margin, they agree with higher taxes on the rich to cut the long-term deficit. They support helping stave off layoffs of police officers, firefighters, and teachers by a 50-point margin. How do you fight that?
You redefine the issue as a generalization. People don’t like firing police officers and teachers? Fine, just call them “union workers”:
Similarly, 70% of respondents initially favor Obama’s proposal to “give billions to states to stop layoffs of teachers and firefighters.” But when the same idea is described as “giv[ing] billions to states to keep government union workers on the payroll,” 52% turn against the idea.
We received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality, which we did not remove. Separately, we received requests from a different local law enforcement agency for removal of videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. We did not comply with those requests, which we have categorized in this Report as defamation requests.
Late last night after a 5 and-a-half hour marathon city council meeting, in which 72 speakers took the floor to express the need for the Occupy OC Tent Village to be accepted as a form of free speech, the city council passed an emergency motion to add the needs of The 99% to their official agenda. This was a feat which, according to one more conservative Councilman, he had never seen in 7 years of service.
The council members each spoke in turn to the civility, articulateness and peaceful process represented by the Irvine Occupation at contrast with the several other Occupational Villages in California, which were, at that very moment being tear-gassed. The general sentiment being: This is quite clearly the model. And the occupation most in tune with city needs.
One councilman stated clearly, I disagree with most of what you’re saying. But you’ve clearly shown that this is an issue of free speech. So if you need to sleep on our lawn by all means sleep on our lawn. Continue Reading »