• Robert Taylor
  • 03
  • Jan
  • 10

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how the outlets of the mainstream press in the US are rapidly losing readers and relevancy. These rags of wasted ink and paper, these “news” programs with screaming talk heads, are not “liberal” or “conservative.” They are nothing more than mouthpieces for the centralized whims of the DC war machine.

This theme was echoing through my mind as I witnessed the coverage of the latest events unfolding in the US military’s ongoing occupation of Afghanistan.

Last week, the Taliban launched a suicide attack on a US base that is directing deadly drone strikes over the skies of Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing a handful of CIA agents in the process.

The mainstream press jumped all over the story, warning Americans about the “dangerous instability” in those Central Asian mountains. They noted that the female station chief at the US base who was killed was “a mother of three children.” The prescription of course, is more killing.

This story is definitely news worth reporting, but contrast the coverage of this Taliban bombing with the attention given to another significant story, and the media’s bias is revealed.

In a horrific incident, US troops dragged innocent children out of their bed during a raid, handcuffed them, and shot them, execution style (including an 11-year old girl!). Here is an eyewitness testimony from The London Times (a non-American news outlet, of course):

In a telephone interview last night, the headmaster [of the local school] said that the victims were asleep in three rooms when the troops arrived. “Seven students were in one room,” said Rahman Jan Ehsas. “A student and one guest were in another room, a guest room, and a farmer was asleep with his wife in a third building.

“First the foreign troops entered the guest room and shot two of them. Then they entered another room and handcuffed the seven students. Then they killed them. Abdul Khaliq [the farmer] heard shooting and came outside. When they saw him they shot him as well. He was outside. That’s why his wife wasn’t killed.”

A local elder, Jan Mohammed, said that three boys were killed in one room and five were handcuffed before they were shot. “I saw their school books covered in blood,” he said.

The investigation found that eight of the victims were aged from 11 to 17. The guest was a shepherd boy, 12, called Samar Gul, the headmaster said. He said that six of the students were at high school and two were at primary school. He said that all the students were his nephews.

For some reason, Afghans don't like being occupied (Ahmad Masood/Reuters).

As dlindorff notes in his excellent blog, there was only one report about this war crime in the US. The New York Times mentioned it once, and only about how those pesky civilian killings are getting in the way of the war effort.

The report of this massacre has sparked outrage all over Afghanistan, and more and more Afghans are protesting the US occupation (with its daily dose of bombings and raids) and demanding that Obama stop the bloodshed.

If only Obama were listening. Unfortunately, our chickenhawk-emperor just deployed an extra 30,000+ American troops and is telling us that the US will continue to be killing Afghans indefinitely because of the supposed “threat” the Taliban poses to the US.

Yes, the Taliban are basically Nazis with turbans, but they have no desire to harm the continental US. As attacks like the recent bombings show, they want nothing more than US and NATO troops out of their country. The Taliban are simply responding as most people tend to do when foreign soldiers build bases all over their country, kick in doors pointing machine-guns, and rain down bombs.

The US media could end this trillion dollar war in a heartbeat if it truly valued honest journalism and reporting. They could simply show the countless pictures of maimed Afghans and Marines, or report cowardly bombings from 10,000 feet and the CIA’s soulless drone strikes (Obama’s favorite imperial tool).

Thankfully, information-starved Americans are starting to flock to the free and mostly unregulated Internet for their news as CNN, FOX, NBC and mainstream “news”papers are on life support.

Good riddance.

_

For more of Robert’s work, please visit his Libertarian Examiner blog.

  • Robert Taylor
  • 20
  • Dec
  • 09

When news stories started reporting that DC might be closed this weekend due to a blizzard that was sweeping across the East Coast, I finally got into the Christmas spirit; let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. For the brief bliss of one weekend, Americans would be spared  from the draconian legislation that usually crawls its way out of DC.

Members of the Imperial Senate, however, did find time on Friday to put the finishing touches on President Obama’s 2010 “defense” budget (H.R. 3326, which passed 93 to 6 in the Senate and 400-30 in the House), a $636 billion appropriations bill. It is loaded with all the corruption you would expect in the largest welfare program in US history, $20.5 billion more than President Bush’s last defense bill.

While taking a look through the bill, it’s easy to see why so many members of Congress enthusiastically voted in favor of such a monstrosity. Americans will be robbed of nearly a trillion of their dollars in order to fund pork, pet projects, foreign aid to abusive governments, defense contractors, and all of the politically-connected cronies that always gravitate towards DC when “defense” budgets are being voted on.

I say “defense” because if Congress or the President were interested solely in the defense of this country, than the amount of money needed for effective intelligence gathering and protection of our shores would be about 2-3% percent of this.

George Orwell famously noted that manipulating the language is an essential task of any government, and labeling this a “defense” bill would make Orwell laugh (or cry).

For example, $30 billion is guaranteed to the Israeli government over ten years, which means that the US taxpayer will be funding about a fifth of Israel’s military expenditures every year. $500 million is headed to the thuggish Palestinian Authority. Additionally, Israel is required to spend at least 75% of this money on US contractors. Who says Obama isn’t creating any jobs!

$130 billion of it will be used to keep funding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which despite claims by the Obama Administration that we’ll be leaving just in time for his re-election run, we’re not leaving anytime soon.

So far under President Obama’s watch, 231 soldiers (and counting) have died in Afghanistan since he took office, over one-fourth of the total American casualties of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 10 months. After that $130 billion is spent, how many more Marines will have died? And how much more money will be thrown at this mess?

The bill also increases funding to the US Navy, which already has 11 nuclear-armed warships patrolling every ocean and is larger than the next thirteen biggest navies combined. Part of this money has probably funded the US Navy’s new PR campaign, asking more farm-boys and poor blacks to join the “global force for good.”

Even our Navy admits that the US is a global empire.

In addition to the Democrats who voted yay, 34 out of 40 Republicans in the Senate and 170 out of 178 Republicans in the House also voted for this Leviathan bill, which means the Boeing’s and Lockheed Martin’s in their district will continue to supply the money and lobbying power to get them reelected again and again.

This “defense” bill proves that Congress and the President are not divided; they are united behind a single, imperial cause: war.

_

For more of Robert’s work, please visit his Libertarian Examiner blog.

  • Rob Spectre
  • 15
  • Dec
  • 09

As the final year of this decade of fail draws to a close, everyone with a keyboard is making a list and checking it twice.  It’s the hour for picking the winners and picking the losers; the snoozer season when writers can phone it in for a few weeks with top ten drivel and self-serving ratings.  For those with an eye on Washington, we are producing a familiar name on lists both favorable and failing:  Joe Lieberman.

Photo: US Senate

Photo: US Senate

He kicked off the 21st century as the base play on the Democratic ticket – the guy who was supposed to solidify the Democratic diehards behind former veep Al Gore during his impossible run against the red state calculus that had tilted in strong favor of George W. Bush.  He was the guy to whip Clinton’s old guard behind the less charismatic, but no less thoughtful, leader of a new Democratic party.  Neither he nor his commander-in-chief-to-be succeeded in either task, little match against a decade of gerrymandered districts and Karl Rove’s timely tactics.

Just under ten years ago, Joe Lieberman was the guy you went to if you needed Democrats on your side.  Now, they can barely speak his name without spitting it.  Particularly as we near the endgame for Barack Obama’s healthcare initiative, Lieberman (I-CT)  may be a pariah in cocktail party circles but his careful manipulation of the letter beside his home state has assured his spot as a power broker in the United States Congress.

This week was one where his handiwork was particularly characteristic.  With a single press conference he catapulted himself from the annoying periphery of voices regurgitating talking points to the place where he always seems to end up – the center of the action.  No sooner was a compromised healthcare package announced by Harry Reid’s Democratic caucus that was it torpedoed effortlessly by a short public statement of opposition by Lieberman.  Within hours of his remarks, party leaders were hurriedly meeting and scurrying about, with Joe’s smug smile to greet them across the table.

A few days later, the public option is out.  Early Medicare buy-in is out.  And several previously core provisions of a healthcare reform bill already neutered in committee now seem to be on the table.  Lieberman is playing coy, saying he is “moving towards a yes vote.”   The store might be sold outright by the time the deal is done, leading some on the progressive side of the supposed Democratic supermajority to squeal.  Even some used to the pariah label themselves are calling for an outright revolt, with former DNC chairman (and real-life doctor) Howard Dean calling for the Senate bill to be killed.

Indeed it would seem that Lieberman holds all the cards in Washington and by the masterful straddling of the aisle until the last possible second, he has usurped even the President of the United States as the sole man in America who says what will or will not happen.

If only Lieberman were that man.

But behind the eye popping headlines is the truth that Lieberman is just an instrument of a larger machine, a pawn in a game with stakes so high the odds are always certain.  Were his stand against the Medicare buy-in the principled stance of a deficit hawk holding firm, Democrats would have great cause for concern with Joe Lieberman.  The problem is, he doesn’t believe a bit of it.  Just this past September – three months ago – he said straight into a rolling camera that he believed that people should be able to buy into Medicare at the age of 55.

What caused the flip-flop?  In September, public universal healthcare looked like it could really happen.  Now with the negotiations dragged on by Republicans and Reid’s ineffective caucus coming up short in the red zone, the public option is thoroughly defeated.  With that obstacle down, Lieberman is free to turn on the firehose to water down the bill even more.  While Obama takes a bath in the negotiating room, the bill soaks up the excess until it poses little danger at all to the status quo.

How did the status quo effect such a dramatic change of heart in Joe Lieberman?  Through over $1 million in donations from health insurance in this decade.    During his last campaign in 2006, he ranked second in the Senate for health insurance donations.  And his home state is headquarters to many of the nation’s leading insurance companies, employing 22,000 in Connecticut.  The private health insurance system that raked in billions keeping America sick during the last ten years paid for Lieberman’s independent run.

And this year, that investment is looking awfully sound.

But before Joe Lieberman is vilified as the Judas Big Healthcare bought to kill the public option, before he makes the tops of the movers and the bottoms of the shakers, we should consider his company.

He’s not the only one on the payroll.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/12/15/lieberman-moving-towards-a-yes-vote/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_politicalticker+%28Blog%3A+Political+Ticker%29&utm_content=Google+Reader
  • Robert Taylor
  • 09
  • Dec
  • 09

There are plenty of reasons to look upon the “climate change” circus conference in Copenhagen with worried skepticism: the smug narcissism of its participants, the deliberate spreading of unwarranted fear and paranoia, and calls for (surprise, surprise) more taxes, more regulations, and more government.

But the one that stands out to me is the claim that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant” that must be limited. This is one of the most illogical and irrational statements I have ever heard.

Life itself is the product of carbon and its exchange between other living beings. Animals exhale carbon, which is absorbed by plants, who then supply the rest of us with the oxygen we need to survive. Every decision and action we make leaves a “carbon footprint” no matter how human beings acquire their energy.

The sole reason we are being told that CO2 is a threat to human life is because of the power this will give the state to monitor, regulate, spy on, and control our lives and ultimately the free and voluntary actions that are the cornerstones of our individual liberty.

Carbon is the essence of life, yet our “leaders” have the gall to tell us that the expenditure of energy (carbon dioxide) is somehow a bad thing? “Carbon dioxide emissions” have produced philosophy, literature, a greater standard of living for millions of people, cheaper products and services that are essential to civilization (food, water, shelter), and millions of technological innovations that have benefited mankind immensely. Rejecting “carbon footprints” is essentially denying the biological facts of life and progress.

Even if human actions were somehow threatening a planet that has shrugged off comets, ice ages, the magnetic reversal of the poles, and continuous bombardment by solar rays, the expansion of government control would not be the answer. After all, the US government is by far the biggest polluter in the history of the world.

It’s easy to see why a coercive monopoly would do the most damage to the land it controls; like a thief inside a diamond shop, its aim is to get in and get out with as much short-term loot as possible. When property is privately owned, however, there is an incentive for good care, investment in labor and resource saving technology, and the right to sue anyone who invades or pollutes that property.

The Copenhagen crowd wants the world in a panic over a gas that makes up about .04% of the atmosphere, and demand that states all around the world employ more violence against their citizens in order to reduce its levels.

While ignoring the ugly environmental collectivism that they prescribe, we should instead affirm life and increase our carbon footprint.

_

For more of Robert’s work, please visit his Libertarian Examiner blog.

  • Robert Taylor
  • 05
  • Dec
  • 09

It’s been a few days since President Obama’s West Point Speech where he announced his Afghanistan troop escalation. 30,000 more troops will be shipped over just in time for Obama to receive his Nobel Peace Prize in Norway on December 10th.

This has been the perfect chance to witness the credibility of Obama’s conservative opposition, and without failure, its has been incredibly disappointing.

Relying on their militaristic instincts, the mainstream Right has criticized Obama for not sending the 80,000 troops General McKiller had asked him for and for setting a supposed timetable for withdrawal. Instead of prudently questioning the merits of LBJ-ing our way through another pointless war, conservative hawks are screeching for more blood. According to the cringe-inducing Glenn Beck, Obama should emulate a “real” leader like President Lincoln, who fired general after general until he got the mass-murderer that fit.

What has been pleasantly surprising, however, is the emergence of opposition from some very noteworthy liberal pundits and commentators. Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart have been highly critical of Obama’s second escalation in seven months; Michael Moore has written an open condemnation letter to the President; and Barbara Streisand is even joining the anti-Afghan escalation chorus.

It’s easy to see why there is growing resentment from some Obama supporters about his decision. In his speech announcing the escalation, he sounded shaky, nervous, and unsure, and every argument he gave for this deployment is incredibly unconvincing.

According to Obama, 30,000 more American troops are going to be sent in order to “prevent a cancer from once again spreading throughout the region” and “denying Al-Qaeda a safe haven.” Obama has used this “safe haven” argument before, but the only haven the 9/11 hijackers needed was in Florida, Virginia, and an apartment in Germany. Even if a cruise missile had taken out bin Laden before 9/11, the plot was already fully planned in place and would have likely happened away.

Al Qaeda is a highly decentralized group with barely more than 100 members, and bombing havens in Afghanistan does very little damage to their coordination.

Obama then aimed his crosshairs at the Taliban, accusing them of “maintaining common cause” with Al Qaeda. The only “evidence” that he sites is the immediate events after 9/11, where the US asked the Taliban to give up supposed Al Qaeda members. The Taliban was happy to comply, provided that the US provide proof that they were involved. Three weeks (and no proof) later, bombs away.

It also turns out Obama’s July 2001 “withdrawal” promise was a bit of a truth-stretcher as well. According to Secretary of State Robert Gates and National Security Adviser General James Jones, the US has no intention of leaving Afghanistan anywhere near 2011.

Obama’ Afghan “surge” will only lead to a surge in bodycounts, and it ignores the central lesson of 9/11. The masterminds did most of their planning right in our backyard, just like the London and Madrid bombings were plotted in England and Spain. So why is Obama sending more troops when he obviously is aware of these facts?

A cynic might suggest that this troop escalation is nothing more than playing politics; he appears strong, all the while enriching Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, GE, and the rest of the Pentagon’s merchants of death. And who says Obama isn’t creating any jobs? He’s sending 30,000 government employees overseas.

As Obama celebrates Christmas in the comforts of his DC mansion, his surge will just be arriving in Afghanistan with the gifts of more death and more destruction.

Somehow I think this isn’t exactly how the Prince of Peace would want his birthday celebrated.

_

For more of Robert’s work, please visit his Libertarian Examiner blog.