“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Obama’s legacy may be in the process of being forged. We might call it Shadow War Forever – coupled with the noxious permanence of Guantanamo. The Pentagon for its part will never abandon its “full spectrum” dream of military hegemony, ideally controlling the future of the world in all those shades of grey zones between Russia and China, the lands of Islam and India, and Africa and Asia.”

Obama and the Illusory State of the Empire
Global Research, February 13, 2013

Double O’s legacy
Obama’s legacy may be in the process of being forged. We might call it Shadow War Forever – coupled with the noxious permanence of Guantanamo. The Pentagon for its part will never abandon its “full spectrum” dream of military hegemony, ideally controlling the future of the world in all those shades of grey zones between Russia and China, the lands of Islam and India, and Africa and Asia.
Were lessons learned? Of course not. Double O Bama may have hardly read Nick Turse’s exceptional book Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, where he painstakingly documents how the Pentagon produced “a veritable system of suffering”. Similar analysis of the long war on Iraq might only be published by 2040.
Obama can afford to be self-confident because the Drone Empire is safe. [1] Most Americans seem to absent-mindedly endorse it – as long as “the terrorists” are alien, not US citizens. And in the minor netherworlds of the global war on terror (GWOT), myriad profiteers gleefully dwell.
A former Navy SEAL and a former Green Beret have published a book this week, Benghazi: the Definitive Report, where they actually admit Benghazi was blowback for the shadow war conducted by John Brennan, later rewarded by Obama as the new head of the CIA.
The book claims that Petraeus was done in by an internal CIA coup, with senior officers forcing the FBI to launch an investigation of his affair with foxy biographer Paula Broadwell. The motive: these CIA insiders were furious because Petraeus turned the agency into a paramilitary force. Yet that’s exactly what Brennan will keep on doing: Drone Empire, shadow wars, kill list, it’s all there. Petraeus-Brennan is also classic continuum.
Then there’s Esquire milking for all it’s worth the story of an anonymous former SEAL Team 6 member, the man who shot Geronimo, aka Osama bin Laden. [2] This is familiar territory, the hagiography of a Great American Killer, whose “three shots changed history”, now abandoned by a couldn’t-care-less government machinery but certainly not by those who can get profitable kicks from his saga way beyond the technically proficient torture-enabling flick – and Oscar contender – Zero Dark Thirty.
Meanwhile, this is what’s happening in the real world. China has surpassed the US and is now the biggest trading nation in the world – and counting. [3] This is just the first step towards the establishment of the yuan as a globally traded currency; then will come the yuan as the new global reserve currency, connected to the end of the primacy of the petrodollar… Well, we all know the drill.
So that would lead us to reflect on the real political role of the US in the Obama era. Defeated (by Iraqi nationalism) – and in retreat – in Iraq. Defeated (by Pashtun nationalism) – and in retreat – in Afghanistan. Forever cozy with the medieval House of Saud – “secret” drone bases included (something that was widely known as early as July 2011). [4] “Pivoting” to the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, and pivoting to a whole bunch of African latitudes; all that to try to “contain” China.
Thus the question Obama would never dare to ask in a SOTU address (much less in a SOTE – State of the Empire – address). Does the US remain a global imperial power? Or are the Pentagon’s – and the shadow CIA’s – armies nothing more than mercenaries of a global neoliberal system the US still entertains the illusion of controlling?


  1. FREDERICKSBURG — Gov. Bob McDonnell and President Obama have at least one policy in common: They’re staying mum on government use of surveillance drones.

    Speaking vaguely about “a range of capabilities,” the president never mentioned the unmanned aerial craft during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

    Virginia’s Republican governor isn’t saying whether he will sign or veto legislation to place a two-year moratorium on drones within the commonwealth.

    Approved overwhelmingly by the House and awaiting action in the Senate, House Bill 2012 would prohibit state and local law enforcement from using drone technology until July 1, 2015.

  2. The neocon “war forever strategy” would not be possible with an army of draftees. The American public and the Obama cheering section in the media would not tolerate it. Using a professional mercenary military attenuated the public noise level of dissent.

    Drones take it to the next step, but killing is killing. Murder is murder. You can soothe the conscience by calling slaughter, “Taking them out” and calling the innocent lives destroyed, “collateral damage” but murder by a street thug with a stolen hand gun has the same result to a victim of a US made missile fired at an unfortunate in a foreign land.

    Ignorance and indifference of geography and culture, cultural superiority and religious superiority changes nothing of the crime.

    1. I second and applaud the general emphasis of this piece, and whole-heartedly agree that we should be speaking out against this recourse toward distance and abstraction taken by the Obama administration. It’s not an end to endless war as he had promised, but just the search for a way to make it easier and more painless for us.

  3. All the President's Googly Men

    ...Mr. Brennan, on the other hand, was lively and wide-awake, the better to maneuver the U-turns through his conscience, renouncing many of the things he had been so confidently saying about the threats to the West from the perversions of Islam. It was if he had waterboarded his conscience.

    Mr. Brennan once energetically defended the "enhanced interrogation techniques" that extracted crucial information from evildoers, information that prevented further harm to Americans. "There [has] been a lot of information that has come out from these interrogation procedures that the agency has in fact used against the real hard-core terrorists," he told CBS News in 2007. "It has saved lives. And let's not forget, these are hardened terrorists who had been responsible for 9/11, who have shown no remorse at all for the deaths of 3,000 innocents."

    This so infuriated Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that they commissioned a partisan "study," no Republicans allowed, not to determine whether the enhanced interrogation techniques actually worked, but to conclude that they didn't. (Alice ran across this kind of "study" from the queen in Wonderland: "Sentence first, verdict afterwards.") The "study" concluded, 350 pages of argle-bargle later, that the enhanced interrogation did not work.

    Mr. Brennan was thoroughly housebroken when the Senate committee asked him just the other day what he thought about all that now. "I must tell you," he said, contrition puddling around his ankles, "that reading this report from the committee raises serious questions about the information that I was given at the time and the impression I had at that time. Now I have to determine what, based on that information as well as what the CIA says, what the truth is." Rarely has anyone so clearly expressed the Washington code, that conviction and conscience are important, subject only to the prevailing wind.

    Mr. Brennan is eager to embrace the company line, tough on al Qaeda during the Bush years, soft on al Qaeda now that he serves a president with a soft spot in his head. It's not that the president and his men want to go easy on terrorists — his drones have killed terrorists, even when accompanied by women and children, by the dozens. He just can't call terrorists for who they are. The terrorist who tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit was "an isolated extremist." When a terrorist tried to blow up Times Square, his homeland security secretary called it a "one-off." Those evildoers, in their telling of it, had nothing to do with radical Islam. The White House still hasn't got its stories straight on what happened at Benghazi.

    When the president hears "the sweetest music this side of heaven" (apologies to Guy Lombardo), his heart goes all googly at the sight of the crescent moon. He wants acolytes who can share the googly.

  4. Islamist Censorship Charges On

    Now sharia advocates are trying to stop the use of the word “Islamist.”

    - Karen Lugo

    In just the latest episode of censorship in the prophet’s name, Muslim activist groups now want reporters to stop using the word “Islamist.” “Islamist” is an important and useful word — it identifies the politically motivated Muslims who are intent on injecting sharia into Western law and culture, and distinguishes them from other followers of Islam.

    There is no question that sharia is anathema to the American sense of individual liberty and civil rights, so actual Islamists must hide behind Muslims who have no interest in bringing Muslim Brotherhood–style regulations to America. Uninhibited discussions of the conditions in Western Europe’s sharia enclaves evoke instant rejection of similar arrangements here in the U.S. Thus, the conversation must be stripped of frank terms such as “Islamist.” Those who seek to promote sharia are anxious to bypass debate on the matter on the way to cultural domination.

    If it can happen in London — as it has — it can happen anywhere in the civilized world. Caving to Islamist demands and criminalizing public debate as hate speech set the stage in Britain for Islamist vigilantes to accost Londoners who violate sharia’s rules on modesty, alcohol consumption, and homosexuality. Days ago, CNN’s OutFront covered the most recent manifestations of Muslim gang tyranny in Britain, Denmark, and Spain. The feature also showed Islamist bands demanding that Britain’s sharia courts, now merely endowed with civil authority, expand to prosecute criminal actions, including “un-Islamic behavior in Muslim areas.”

    Two recent video
    recordings – removed by YouTube, then reposted at alternate sites — show Islamist “patrols” staking out turf in areas of London while declaring,

    “This is not-so-Great Britain, this is a Muslim area. We are vigilantes implementing Islam upon your own necks.” A collective Western “Brava!” goes out to the women who responded, instead of meekly complying, “I cannot believe it!” and “I am so appalled, this is Great Britain.”

    Islamists certainly do not want the American public to consider the current international campaign to make inspection of Islamism a crime. In January, journalists and journalism students were invited to a conference in Istanbul where Turkish deputy undersecretary Ibrahim Kalin announced that the Turkish government “has been working on projects to have Islamophobia recognized as a crime against humanity.” Prime Minister Erdogan committed the Turkish government to “immediately start working on legislation against blasphemous and offensive remarks” and bragged that “Turkey could be a leading example for the rest of the world on this.”

  5. After the recent “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube controversy and the resultant Muslim riots, I visited a Southern California mosque and had a conversation with the chairman of its board.

    When I inquired as to his position on free speech he replied that the criminal punishment for offending Muslims should be equal to that for burning a mosque

    So far, America’s institutions have chosen to defer the moment that the culture must be defined and defended. Islamists have stepped into the void.

    For instance, at Islamists’ behest, the DOJ, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security have purged from counterterrorism manuals references to the connection between Islamic radicalism and jihadist terror.

    Many city- and county-level agencies have followed suit. If our law-enforcement agencies cannot stand up to the threat, how can we expect the media to?

    Those who doubt the need to identify and engage this activist element should consider the words of Zuhdi Jasser, an American Muslim civil-rights leader whose family emigrated from Syria in pursuit of American liberty. In his autobiographical book, A Battle for the Soul of Islam: A Muslim Patriot’s Battle to Save His Faith, Jasser writes:

    For the Islamists, total power is the ultimate goal. They will feign respect for “democracy” (e.g., elections), but ultimately their path is one that seeks to change the rules of the game to an Islamocentric system rather than one centered in reason, under God, with unalienable rights for all.

    Caving to demands for speech codes dangerously skews political arguments and makes the voices of the censors only louder. When one side of the argument is censored or restrained, conspirators are allowed to perpetrate a fraud on the majority. This is exactly how Islamists have been selling Americans on the idea that sharia is soft, socially just, and not a threat to the American way. By maligning the use of the word “Islamist” and thereby suppressing inspection of Islamism, sharia advocates hope to dismiss as racist any who would challenge them.

    It is not too late to frame the debate and press American Muslim leaders for honesty. Unapologetic and public conversations are key to defending American constitutional standards, and they demand clarity of terminology.

    Islamist Censorship Charges On

    1. "he replied that the criminal punishment for offending Muslims should be equal to that for burning a mosque."

      Says it all, embrace dhimmihude

  6. ..."his drones have killed terrorists, even when accompanied by women and children, by the dozens. He just can't call terrorists for who they are."

  7. the unintended consequences of stimulus

    ot such a happy Valentine’s in America today then. US health experts today revealed that an ‘ongoing, severe epidemic’ of sexually transmitted diseases is sweeping the country, with over 20 million new cases diagnosed every year.

    A study for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that over half the 20 million infections were contracted by people aged 15-24, a demographic that only makes up around a quarter of the US population.

    Catherine Lindsay Satterwhite, an epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told NBC News: “STIs take a big health and economic toll on men and women in the United States, especially our youth.”

    She added that, because every sexually transmitted disease is preventable, “we know that preventing STIs could save the nation billions of dollars each year”.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study focussed on the eight most common sexually transmitted diseases in America: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes, human papillomavirus, hepatitis B, HIV, and trichomoniasis.

    Its principal focus was to establish how much sexually transmitted diseases cost the US taxpayer each year, and concluded that that figure was around $16 billion.

  8. I think I used a condom once.

    ...but then I didn't fuck around much.

    Not at all, by today's standards.

  9. Latest figure I heard for Obamaphones was 2.2 BILLION.

  10. could we cut a single penny?

  11. The lesson learned is that the powers you are granting to a specific administration to deal with a specific threat is not relevant to the future when people you don’t like or trust wield the same powers. It was a mistake to grant Bush/Cheney those powers. Brennan didn’t even answer the question over if American citizens within the United States could be killed a drone. Excuse me?

    1. The 'powers' don't really seem to be granted but rather taken...

    2. In other words, Obama wants murder normalized if not legalized. Washington designates anti-war/imperial opponents as “terrorists.” He wants new rules giving him clear authority to murder them.

      It is the same as Israel which designates Palestinians wanting to live free from occupation and state terror in the same way. “murder is murder.”

    3. Jenny: It is the same as Israel which designates Palestinians wanting to live free from occupation and state terror in the same way. “murder is murder.”


      But you dont KNOW jack about Israel or the procedures inside Israel about Targeted Killings.

      To use your standards?

      Terrorists, that are planning attacks on civilians on purpose, that hide behind civilians (in violation of the Geneva Convention, and are held as the guilty party if those civilians are killed) are not innocents " wanting to live free from occupation and state terror", rather they are actively seeking GENOCIDE of Jews.

      Sorry Jenny If Israel strikes at those that live within 20 miles of it's borders of specific people who are actively in motion in carrying out acts of terror. BTW, the numbers of Americans murdered by these people typically make up about 20% of every attack on Israel.

  12. I second and applaud the general emphasis of this piece, and whole-heartedly agree that we should be speaking out against this recourse toward distance and abstraction taken by the Obama administration. It’s not an end to endless war as he had promised, but just the search for a way to make it easier and more painless for us.

  13. In 1976, President Ford issued Executive Order 11905 to clarify U.S. foreign intelligence activities. The order was enacted in response to the post-Watergate revelations that the CIA had staged multiple attempts on the life of Cuban President Fidel Castro.

    In a section of the order labeled "Restrictions on Intelligence Activities," Ford outlawed political assassination: Section 5(g), entitled "Prohibition on Assassination," states: "No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination."

    Since 1976, every U.S. president has upheld Ford's prohibition on assassinations. In 1978 President Carter issued an executive order with the chief purpose of reshaping the intelligence structure. In Section 2-305 of that order, Carter reaffirmed the U.S. prohibition on assassination.

    In 1981, President Reagan, through Executive Order 12333, reiterated the assassination prohibition. Reagan was the last president to address the topic of political assassination. Because no subsequent executive order or piece of legislation has repealed the prohibition, it remains in effect.

    The ban, however, did not prevent the Reagan administration from dropping bombs on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's home in 1986 in retaliation for the bombing of a Berlin discotheque frequented by U.S. troops.

    Additionally, the Clinton administration fired cruise missiles at suspected guerrilla camps in Afghanistan in 1998 after the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

    Following the September 11. 2001, attacks, the White House said the presidential directive banning assassinations would not prevent the United States from acting in self-defense.

    According to an October 21, 2001, Washington Post article, President Bush in September of last year signed an intelligence "finding" instructing the CIA to engage in "lethal covert operations" to destroy Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization.

    White House and CIA lawyers believe that the intelligence "finding" is constitutional because the ban on political assassination does not apply to wartime. They also contend that the prohibition does not preclude the United States taking action against terrorists.

    The Neocons had another idea and we allowed them to get away with it.

    1. I always liked the idea of an exploding cigar for Fidel. He earned it, he deserved it, too bad it didn't work.

    2. Jenny sounds like the kind of person that would swim from Miami to Havana, rather than the other way round.

    3. Full blown Stockholm Syndrome and not even a captive yet.

  14. We should simply retreat on all fronts and count on the well documented sociological fact that muslim societies, given enough time, moderate when they come into intimate contact with the West.

    See above:

    DougThu Feb 14, 08:26:00 AM EST
    DougThu Feb 14, 08:29:00 AM EST
    jack smithThu Feb 14, 08:40:00 AM EST
    DougThu Feb 14, 08:58:00 AM EST

    1. Everyone is aware the government has assigned the responsibility for the attacks on 9/11/ 2001 to Al Qaeda. The attack on 9/11/ 2001 produced the Authorization for Use of Military Force Act by Congress. The government would like to keep this act in full force and effect as it is the legal justification for killing with drones.

      However, a close reading of the act shows the use of military force is only authorized against those persons or entities who participated in a direct and active way in the attack on 9/11/ 2001. Notwithstanding this fact the government is trying to enlarge the category of Al Qaeda to include as many radical Islamists and radical Islamic groups as possible in order to make them subject to the authorization for use of military force and killing by drones. Despite the fact these other radical Islamist's may have no tangible connection to Al Qaeda at all and certainly had no participation at all in the attacks on 9/11/ 2001. Various names have been assigned to these radical Islamists such as Al Qaeda affiliates and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

      This expansive categorizing of other radical Islamists as Al Qaeda is a deception by the government meant to extend the authorization for killing with drones far beyond the definition of the authorization for use of military force as the government wants to use the authorization to kill people who may be troublemakers but are innocent of any involvement at all in the attacks on 9/11/2001. These killings are unlawful and are nothing less than murder. Obama should be compelled to make a public showing of the evidence which led him to determine anyone who was killed by drone was in fact a direct and active participant in the attacks on 9/11/ 2001. The president should be impeached and made to answer for these murders.

  15. If this is the case, Obama will go down in history as the American president who presided over global nuclear proliferation, including rogue regimes. After four years of restraining the Israelis, he may now be going to visit them next month for a good reason: to apologize.

    Middle East
    Why Iran Already Has the Bomb

    If North Korea has the bomb—as this week’s nuclear test indicated—then for all practical purposes, so does Iran
    By Lee Smith|February 14, 2013 12:00 AM

    Everyone should have the bomb. It is not fair otherwise. Pray for a sane and fair world where everyone has the bomb.

  16. “Nukes don’t kill people, people…” :-)

    1. There is truth in that, for sure. Some hands are more responsible than others. Do you think Israel would still exist if her enemies had nukes, and she did not? Israel has to this point behaved responsibly with its nuclear weapons.

    2. By that standard, which is non-use, so has Pakistan, India, Russia, China, France, England and North Korea.

      There is no evidence that any state power with nuclear weapons would have used them on Israel. Due to the nature of the relationship between the US and Israel, the conjecture is absurd.

      The US , the only nuclear power to have used nuclear weapons, was in a war with a belligerent power that attacked US soil and had killed US soldiers by the tens of thousands. It was expected that hundreds of thousands would have died in an assault on Japan. Whether it was necessary to target cities as opposed to a demonstration on a military base is debatable.

    3. deuce:

      There is no evidence that any state power with nuclear weapons would have used them on Israel. Due to the nature of the relationship between the US and Israel, the conjecture is absurd.

      Israel aint willing to take the chance on the survival of their people on "goodwill".

      After all the world stood by and did nothing to stop the genocide of the Jewish people just about 60 years ago and they didnt even have to use nukes.

      Under Bill Clinton he stood by and allowed genocide In Rwanda.

      Who was the America president that allowed 60,000 to die in the congo? in syria?

      So if you are wrong, will will send a "sympathy card" to Israel, or what's left of it.

      Not good enough.

      Unlike your examples, all are signatures of the NPT. Israel is not a signer of that treaty NOR did SHE get the technology that members of the NPT got. By signing the NPT there are rules and expectations and rewards for being part of that group.

      If you dont sign? you dont get the free goods.

      Iran, Syria, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan signed and lied. Got the goodies and gave us the shaft.

      Israel, as you love to tell us, is no "Friend" of America, just an interest.

      In 1948 America signed the recognition of Israel however America refused to arm her til much later. israel had to turn to the soviets (and their allies) for weapons.

      In 1956 America sided against france, england and Israel and for Egypt.

      In 1967 America did not support israel's right to the international waterway Straits of Titran

      America recently told england that if they go to war with argentina? you are on your own.

      If I was Taiwan? I'd be very nervous right now.

      Same goes for Poland, columbia and others.

  17. Long ago, George Kennan observed: "“I see the most serious fault of our past policy formulation to lie in something that I might call the legalistic-moralistic approach to international relations." Insertion of judicial review into a combat targeting process already regulated by the law of war and US military regulations is just,plain nuts.

    1. So, since the Administration has declared "war", a "war on terror" (no need for stinkin' congress for that?) then there is also no need for a "Legalistic-moralistic" approach to POTUS kills. Is that what you are saying annoying mouse?

    2. You're young, Ash, but George Kennan was 'the father of containment', which is the policy Deuce has been arguing. George wasn't still wet behind the ears, knew it was a jungle out there. Containment 'worked' with the Soviet Union, the question is whether it will work with religious fanatics.

    3. By the way, why aren't you this morning criticizing the California police for burning that cabin down, when they could have tried to wait/starve the culprit/cop killer out, and bring him in for trial, as the arrest warrant authorized them to do?

    4. You are one confused babbling old man there Bob - a boobie.

      Anon wrote:

      "Insertion of judicial review into a combat targeting process already regulated by the law of war and US military regulations is just,plain nuts."

      Law of War - requires war to be declared.

    5. You mean, your President hasn't declared war? And Congress hasn't declared war? Why Ash, you are naive. The Congress could stop 'the drone war' tomorrow if they wanted. It is obvious they don't want to do that. When was the last time Congress actually declared a war?

      In the United States, Congress, which makes the rules for the military, has the power under the constitution to "declare war". However neither the U.S. Constitution nor the law stipulate what format a declaration of war must take. War declarations have the force of law and are intended to be executed by the President as "commander in chief" of the armed forces. ((((The last time Congress passed joint resolutions saying that a "state of war" existed was on 5 June 1942,)))) when the U.S. declared war on Bulgaria, Hungary, and Rumania.[23] Since then, the U.S. has used the term "authorization to use military force", as in the case against Iraq in 2003.

      Sometimes decisions for military engagements were made by US presidents, without formal approval by Congress, based on UN Security Council resolutions that do not expressly declare the UN or its members to be at war. Part of the justification for the United States invasion of Panama was to capture Manuel Noriega (as a prisoner of war)[24] because he was declared a criminal rather than a belligerent.[citation needed]

      In response to the attacks on 11 September 2001, the United States Congress passed the joint resolution Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists on 14 September 2001, which authorized the US President to fight the War on Terror.[25]

    6. It is good to see your thoughts start to take some shape there bobbo. The POTUS, it appears, has a blank check to kill as he wishes with no need for rules of War, Military Regs, or Judicial review. And you think this is a good thing? Heck, given your rambling about the bad cop take-down in California, you also think the same concepts should be adopted by local law enforcement. Or is that NOT what you think rambling old man?

    7. You are such a delightful idiot, Ash.

      I answered you question.

      And, I was asking you what you thought about the burning down of the cabin. The police are saying they did not intentionally start the fire. I know what I think about it. Just wondering you opinion.

      Did they intentionally start the fire?

      If so, should they have?

      And why, or why not?

    8. (no need for stinkin' congress for that?)

      In response to the attacks on 11 September 2001, the United States Congress passed the joint resolution Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists on 14 September 2001, which authorized the US President to fight the War on Terror.[25]

    9. " Heck, given your rambling about the bad cop take-down in California, you also think the same concepts should be adopted by local law enforcement."

      Hint: I don't think the situations,. 'war on terror'/bad guy in cabin, are the same.

      I got to go to a meeting.


    10. Think the cops knew about the grenades they were using.
      ...didn't want to lose anymore cops.

      The owner was shocked to turn on the TV and recognize her retreat.
      To put it mildly.

  18. Senators turn tables on Caymans investor Jack Lew...

    Oversaw Up to 113 Island Investment Funds...drudge

    I miss Rufus. I would tuck this up his backside.

  19. Containment is the only thing that will work as well as well as maintaining the discretion to hold states responsible.

    1. I wish that simply affirming that containment is the only thing that will work would make it so.

      Like in magical thinking.

    2. You probably missed the Cold War.

  20. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he fears the Obama administration has opened “Pandora’s box” with its use of armed drones against Americans overseas who are suspected of terrorism.
    Paul is threatening to filibuster John Brennan's nomination for CIA director over the drone program. He says Brennan sidestepped a question at his confirmation hearing last week about whether it would ever be acceptable to target a citizen on American soil without some kind of judicial review.
    "What I want to hear from John Brennan before I let his nomination go forward is that no, a CIA or the Department of Defense cannot kill someone in America without any kind of judicial proceeding," Paul said Thursday on CNN.
    "By Brennan not saying no, that he won't strike Americans in America, he is essentially saying yes, and that is very scary and worrisome to me.”
    The White House’s drone program has come under fire since the release of white paper that outlined the government's legal rationale for using drones to kill suspected terrorism suspects overseas, regardless of nationality.
    Paul said he fears that creates a slippery slope. If the government is capable of killing American on foreign soil without due process, he said, there’s no reason to think it couldn’t happen on American soil as well.
    "Is that a high enough standard for Americans maybe coming out of a city or an encampment somewhere in the U.S. where they're meeting and saying anti-government things?" Paul said. "Are we going to have signature strikes in America?
    "It opens Pandora's box once you say you may well kill Americans in America without any judicial trial, with politicians making the decision. That's very worrisome."

  21. obama's legacy

    Obama, of course, has been asked about his policy. The answer he provided the New Republic recently is troubling: “How do I weigh tens of thousands who’ve been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?” The statement is disingenuous, suggesting that the inability to do everything excuses the unwillingness to do anything. It also prompts the question of why he militarily intervened in Libya, the Congo civil war notwithstanding. Obama’s reason for inaction in Syria is so unconvincing that it suggests the election is what prompted him to play it safe. Here, after all, was a president seeking reelection on what amounted to a peace platform: He had ended U.S. combat involvement in Iraq and was winding things down in Afghanistan. How could he justify intervention in Syria? Maybe by saying that the region was about to blow up, that Syria was lousy with chemical weapons, that the Kurds might break away (Kurdistan is the next Palestine), that a sectarian blood bath loomed and that thousands of civilians were in mortal danger. By now, more than 70,000 of them have been killed.

    1. Isn't that very paternalist view of the world? A world where the US must decide who stays in power, who dies? Maybe the US should concentrate on its own problems?

    2. Maybe America should not save anyone. We could try to be as selfish as most of the world.

    3. Ohhh, selfless sacrifice for the betterment of humanity has been America's history of intervention is it?

  22. From the WAPO, Feb 10:
    A senior Obama administration official cited Iranian claims that Tehran was backing as many as 50,000 militiamen in Syria. “It’s a big operation,” the official said. “The immediate intention seems to be to support the Syrian regime. But it’s important for Iran to have a force in Syria that is reliable and can be counted on.”

    Iran’s strategy, a senior Arab official agreed, has two tracks. “One is to support Assad to the hilt, the other is to set the stage for major mischief if he collapses.”

  23. Neither the deaths in the Congo or Syria effect US interests, directly.

    The Assad regime is antiIslamoid.
    An enemy to the Saudi

    The Congo is a showpiece foe international intervention.
    From the 1960's through to the present UN Piecekeepers.

    The two are not comparable conflicts, excepting the lack of US national interests in local civil conflicts of a kinetic nature.

    1. Nonsense.

      But you know that.

      you put these little "escape" values on everything you write so that you cannot be pinned to a pov.

      Or as most people that know you understand?

      All talk no substance.

      Just like "Norm" from Cheers, an opinion on everything and blows like the wind in the direction of the moment.

  24. The Senate is expected to vote again after next week's recess period, and some Republicans signaled that they will be willing to allow the nomination to advance at that time, after their colleagues have had more time to request information from the White House.

    Some senators have signaled that they will be more likely to support moving ahead on the nomination then. Once the Senate agrees to hold a vote, Mr. Hagel will require a simple majority of 51 votes to win confirmation.

    The failure to approve Mr. Hagel means that Mr. Panetta next week will travel to Brussels to represent the U.S. in meetings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Mr. Panetta had said his January trip to London, Rome, Madrid and Lisbon would be his last overseas trip as secretary of defense, but now he will make one more.

  25. Mr Pistorius's former coach, Andrea Giannini, was among those holding on to the hope that the shooting was "just a tragic accident".


    Mr Pistorius – whose determination to overcome being born without fibulae so that he could compete with the fastest men on the planet had won him admirers all over the world – spent last night in a prison cell in South Africa's political capital.

    His lawyer, Kenny Oldwage, said his client was "doing well but very emotional".

  26. San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials have positively identified the charred remains found in a mountain cabin Tuesday as being the body of Christopher Dorner.


    The announcement brings a formal end to the epic manhunt for Dorner, who was accused of killing four people, including two law enforcement officers. He was killed at the end of a hours-long standoff in a cabin near Big Bear on Tuesday afternoon.

  27. When President and Mrs. Coolidge were being given simultaneous but separate tours of a chicken farm, Grace asked her guide whether the rooster copulated more than once a day. “Dozens of times,” she was told.

    “Tell that to the president,” she said. When told, Coolidge asked, “Same hen every time?”


    In 1924, after the lingering illness and death of his 16-year-old son from blood poisoning, Coolidge demonstrated — if only our confessional culture could comprehend this — the eloquence of reticence: “When he was suffering he begged me to help him. I could not.”

  28. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 54 on January 22, 2013. The bill, titled Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2013, is a cleverly disguised gun grab.


    According to Gun Owners of America (GOA) the bill “could end gifts and raffles of firearms, and possibly ‘necessitate’ gun licensure across the country.”

    GOA’s Michael Hammond writes,

    At its core, Section 3 would send a person to prison for 20 years if you ATTEMPTED or PLANNED (“conspired”) to buy a firearm as a gift for another person or to conduct a raffle of a firearm, and negligently failed to note that the gift recipient or the winner of the raffle was, for instance, a veteran with PTSD who had been placed by the Department of Veteran Affairs onto the NICS list.


    The text of Section 5 reads,

    Section 922(d) of title 18, United States Code, is amended–

    (1) in paragraph (8), by striking `or’ at the end;

    (2) in paragraph (9), by striking the period at the end and inserting `;’; and

    (3) by striking the matter following paragraph (9) and inserting the following:

    `(10) is prohibited by State or local law from possessing, receiving, selling, shipping, transporting, transferring, or otherwise disposing of the firearm or ammunition;


  29. Breaking: Hagel filibustered — barely; Update: Rand Paul getting hammered by Ron fans for voting no
    posted at 5:21 pm on February 14, 2013 by Allahpundit

    He was one vote short. Republicans Cochran, Collins, and Johanns had all already committed to voting yes so the only mystery was whether Reid could find two more GOPers to cross the aisle. He found one: As expected, Murkowski ended up erring on the side of bipartisanship. Orrin Hatch voted present, which may or may not be his way of signaling that he’ll vote for Hagel when they try this again in a few weeks but not right now. But wait — what about Rand Paul? If ever there was a SecDef nominee whom the Ron Paul paleocon fan base could sort of dig, it’s a guy known for lamenting the “Israel lobby” and opposing Iran sanctions.

    Not that it makes much difference in the grand scheme of things.

    But it's nice to see it.

  30. EU governments are expected to agree on Friday to a month of DNA testing of beef and horsemeat, and to put the police agency Europol, based in The Hague, in charge of coordinating criminal inquiries. The French said the scandal had spread to 13 countries and 28 companies, involving a total of 750 tonnes of horsemeat.

    All the signs were that what started as a frozen lasagne scandal is escalating into a pan-European consumer and possibly health debacle.


    The volumes of meat involved were large. Seven sample charges cover deliveries ranging in size from 26,343kg to 5,206kg, the horsemeat dispatched to two French food processing companies, then to European supermarkets.

  31. The Washington Post reports that Iran has ordered banned magnets from a Chinese company that would result in its nuclear program expanding by five-fold and sharply compress Israel's timeline for dealing with Iran:

    Iran recently sought to acquire tens of thousands of highly specialized magnets used in centrifuge machines, according to experts and diplomats, a sign that the country may be planning a major expansion of its nuclear program that could shorten the path to an atomic weapons capability.

    Purchase orders obtained by nuclear researchers show an attempt by Iranian agents to buy 100,000 of the ring-shaped magnets - which are banned from export to Iran under U.N. resolutions - from China about a year ago, those familiar with the effort said. It is unclear whether the attempt succeeded.

    February 14, 2013
    Have Obama's policies led to an Iranian nuclear bomb?
    Ed Lasky

    Lest we forget, in his Cairo speech, he also declared that "no single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons." So take that Israel - a veiled threat that Israel should refrain from attacking Iran or face the prospect of dealing with international blowback without America having its back.

    Yup, nukes for everybody. What an idiot. The house started collapsing with the heralded 'Cairo Speech'.

  32. Pakistan's highest official religious authority pulled out of a planned meeting in Kabul intended to denounce violence and call on the Taliban to embrace negotiations, dealing a blow to Afghanistan's peace efforts.


    These scholars had been expected to meet at an unprecedented joint conference in March to condemn practices such as suicide bombings ...

  33. On this day in 2003, Dolly — a female sheep and the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell — was euthanised due to premature aging, a progressive lung disease and severe arthritis.

  34. A rich millionaire decides to throw a massive party for his 50th birthday, so during this party he grabs the microphone and he announces to his guests that down in the garden of his mansion he has a swimming pool with two great white sharks in it. ‘I will give anything they desire of mine, to the man who swims across that pool.’

    So the party continues with no events in the pool, until suddenly, there is a great splash and all the guests of the party run to the pool to see what has happened.

    In the pool is a man and he is swimming as hard as he can, and the fins come out of the water and the jaws are snapping and this guy just keeps on going and the sharks are gaining on him and this guy reaches the end and he gets out of the pool, tired and soaked.

    The millionaire grabs the microphone and says, ‘I am a man of my word, anything of mine I will give, my Ferraris, my house, absolutely anything, for you are the bravest man I have ever seen. So sir what will it be?’ the millionaire asks.

    The guy grabs the microphone and says, ‘Why don’t we start with the name of the bastard that pushed me in!’

    1. :)


      But, but, where is the usual sex interest?

  35. UFO down in Russia.


    1. Residents of the town of Emanzhilinsk, some 50 kilometers from Chelyabinsk, said they witnessed a flying object that suddenly burst into flames, broke apart and fell to earth. A black cloud was reported hanging above the town.

      Witnesses in Chelyabinsk said the city’s air smells like gunpowder.

  36. .

    Anecdotal fodder for the gun debate.

    Within the last couple days, the following have been reported on local news in Detroit.

    1. A 70 year old coach was escorting a couple of the female members of his basketball team to their car when he was attacked by two young hoods trying to rob him. He managed to pull his gun and shoot and kill one of the assailants. The other is being held on felony assault charges. The handgun was legal and no charges were issued against the coach.

    2. Two utility workers were working on a light that was out in one neighborhood. They were attacked by two youths in a robbery attempt. One of the utility workers pulled a gun and shot both boys. The attackers are both in the hospital now but are expected to recover at which time they will be charged with armed robbery and assault. The utility workers gun was legal and no charges were pressed against him.


    1. Three for the slammer, and one for the morgue.

    2. You should make it illegal to carry anything of value on the streets of Detroit. That might help.

  37. The end? This could be the beginning for a doomsday meme that hangs over a whole generation, if it's taken seriously. There's already a 586-page book about the coming apocalypse, titled "Petrus Romanus." One theologian, Michael K. Lake, is quoted as saying that "Catholic and evangelical scholars have dreaded this moment for centuries."

    Why the buzz over St. Malachy's 'last pope' prophecy outdoes 2012 hype

    The voices....the voices.....are telling a bunker.....


  38. JihadWatch hacked....

    I really don't have all that much to report, but I wanted to let you know I'm working on it. The situation is very much the same: the comments feature is still not working, it is still very difficult to post articles at all, and other features of the site are non-functional..

    Several tech experts are working on the problem. Some malicious code has been found, which makes it likely that the site was hacked, although this hacking was not a conventional one: no eradication of the main page and its replacement by a taunting message, as is the usual practice. In fact, the malicious code is apparently (if I understand the explanation correctly, which is chancy at best, since I'm no techie) slow-acting, unfolding over time. We are looking into how it got there, and who planted it.

    In any case, all I can say now is that we're working on it and will have the site fully operational as soon as possible. This kind of action just shows yet again how desperately insecure and thuggish the enemies of freedom are -- they can't refute us, so they try to shut us down. And how many Leftist and Islamic supremacist sites do you ever hear about getting hacked?

    Finally, thank you all very much for your many, many emails of concern and support.