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For the First Time, Half of Members of Congress are Millionaires… Democrats Worth more than Republicans

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | January 11, 2014

Members of Congress continued to get richer last year, resulting in more than 50% of lawmakers possessing a net worth of $1 million or more—something that’s never happened before in congressional history.

Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 were millionaires, according the Center for Responsive Politics’ review of financial disclosure reports filed last year.

The median net worth for the 530 lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May 2013 filing deadline was $1,008,767—up from $966,000 during the previous year.

The center also found that Democrats overall were a little wealthier than Republicans in Congress, $1.04 million versus $1 million.  Both groups saw their collective net worth go up, from $990,000 for Democrats and $907,000 for Republicans in the previous year.

Democrats in the House were richer than their GOP counterparts, $929,000 versus $884,000. House Republicans, however, could boast having the richest member: Darrell Issa of California, who has had this distinction in other years. The Viper car-alarm magnate has a net worth of $464 million.

In the Senate, the GOP caucus was noticeably wealthier than the Democratic caucus, $2.9 million versus $1.7 million.

Senate Democrats experienced a steep drop in their median net worth from $2.4 million in 2011, due in part to the loss of two multimillionaires: John Kerry of Massachusetts (net worth $248 million) and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey ($87.5 million). Nonetheless, the four richest senators are still Democrats: Mark Warner of Virginia ($257 million), Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut ($104 million), Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia ($101 million) and Diane Feinstein of California ($68 million).

The center noted: “Members of Congress have long been far wealthier than the typical American, but the fact that now a majority of members—albeit just a hair over 50 percent—are millionaires represents a watershed moment at a time when lawmakers are debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and the minimum wage, which affect people with far fewer resources, as well as considering an overhaul of the tax code.”

To Learn More:

Millionaires’ Club: For First Time, Most Lawmakers are Worth $1 Million-Plus (OpenSecrets.org)

Half of Congress Members Are Millionaires, Report Says (by Eric Lipton, New York Times)

2012 Personal Financial Disclosures

The Rich Get Richer…and So Does Congress (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Wealth Gap between Congress and Other Americans Widens to 9 to 1 (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

January 11, 2014 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Less Than 20% Of Americans Believe That There’s Adequate Oversight Of The NSA

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | November 11, 2013

One of the key responses from the NSA and its defenders to all of these Snowden leaks is that there is “rigorous oversight” of the NSA by the courts and Congress. Of course, that talking point has been debunked thoroughly, but NSA defenders keep trotting it out. It appears that the public is not buying it. At all. A recent poll from YouGov found that only 17% of people believe that Congress provides “adequate oversight” on the spying of Americans. A marginally better 20% (though, within the 4.6% margin of error, so meaningless difference really) felt that Congress provides adequate oversight of the NSA when it comes to collecting data on foreigners. Basically, that part of the NSA story just isn’t particularly believable in light of everything that’s come out. Oh, and people are paying attention to the news. A full 87% had heard something about the spying on foreign countries — with only 14% thinking that such a program has helped US interests abroad.

Oh, and it gets worse. According to a different study, the more informed people are about the NSA, the less they like what the NSA is doing. The NSA has been insisting if people could only understand more about its actions they’d be much more comfortable with the agency’s actions, but this study suggests that’s not quite true either.

Neither of these findings should come as a shock to most people outside of the NSA, but for our friends over at the NSA reading this, it would appear that your talking points aren’t working. Perhaps, next time, try (1) telling the truth and (2) not trampling all over the Constitution.

November 12, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel expects Congress to approve strike on Syria

MEMO | September 4, 2013

Israelis initially criticized the Obama administration when he referred the approval of a military strike on Syria to the Congress last week.
Israeli officials are expecting that US President Barack Obama will get Congressional approval for a military strike on Syria next week when the Congress reconvenes.

Israeli media reports said that the Israel lobby is working hard to convince lawmakers to support this decision.

Israelis initially criticized the Obama administration when he referred the approval of a military strike on Syria to the Congress last week.

However former head of the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee in the Knesset Tzahi Hangbi told Israel’s military radio on Wednesday that calling the Obama administration “dead” was premature.

Hangbi, who is close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, praised Obama’s decision to seek congressional support. He stated that Obama’s request would unite the administration and the congress, and the practical result of this step would be to widen the scope for any potential strike.

 

September 5, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

How AIPAC Rules

By JEFF KLEIN | CounterPunch | May 31, 2013

Last week the Senate passed Resolution 65, mandating a new round of sanctions against Iran and promising to support Israel if it should choose to launch a unilateral war.  The bill contradicted explicit US policy in a number of areas:  it imposed secondary penalties on US allies; it lowered  the bar for military action to Israel’s preferred language of “nuclear capability” rather than acquisition of a nuclear weapon; and it interferes with the attempt to reach a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear impasse at a delicate time.  No wonder Secretary of State John Kerry implored Congress not to pass the bill when he testified before the Senate Foreign relations committee last month.

Nevertheless, the Senate bill came to a vote on May 22, and the result – in a roll call vote – was 99-0 in favor of the bill.

In the last Congress, another Iran Sanctions measure – an amendment attached to the 2012 Defense Appropriation Bill — was also opposed by the Obama administration. The provision, probably illegal under WTO rules, mandated secondary penalties against foreign banks which did business with Iran’s oil sector (US banks were already banned from doing so).  Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner wrote a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee “to express the Administration’s strong opposition to this amendment because, in its current form, it threatens to undermine the effective, carefully phased, and sustainable approach we have taken to build strong international pressure against Iran.”  Two State Department officials of the Administration testified against the amendment; Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry also opposed the measure.

However, when the amendment’s sponsors insisted on a roll call vote, it passed 100-0.  Even Senator Kerry voted for the measure he had earlier opposed.

To understand how this can happen, it is useful to look at the Israel Lobby’s legislative MO — as well as the larger dynamic around Israel advocacy within the US Congress, in our political system and in the press.

AIPAC, of course, is the premier Israel Lobby organization.  Every March at its annual Conference the group assembles a huge turnout of moneyed and grassroots lobbyists.  Scores of members of Congress from both parties and political aspirants of all stripes jockey to express their loyalty to the Lobby.  It is at these conferences that AIPAC’s major legislative priorities for the year are unveiled.  This always includes renewed (and increased) military aid for Israel and for the last ten years or so various measures to oppose, sanction and preferably make war on to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran — Israel’s last remaining serious military opponent in the Middle East.

Here is the way it works.

–In the days before the yearly AIPAC conference in early March, reliable members of Congress from both parties – preferably non-Jews – are prevailed upon to submit AIPAC-drafted bills with a substantial number of initial bi-partisan sponsors.  This year the highlighted legislation included House Res. 850, The Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, introduced on February 28 by California Democrat Rep. Edward Royce and 31 co-sponsors (16 Democrats and 15 Republicans); and Senate Res. 65, Strongly Supporting the Full Implementation of United States and International Sanctions On Iran, also introduced on February 28 by the every dependable Senator Lindsey Graham [R-SC] and 22 initial co-sponsors (13 Democrats and 9 Republicans).  Another bill, apparently a late entry from the March 2-4 Conference itself, did not follow the preferred pattern.  House Res. 938, The United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013 was introduced hurriedly on March 4 by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL27] with only two Democratic co-sponsors.  These three bills embodied AIPAC’s 2013 declared legislative priorities: Prevent Iranian Nuclear Weapons Capability; Strengthen U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation;  Support Security Assistance for Israel.

– Then, before leaving Washington, the AIPAC Conference attendees launch themselves on Capitol Hill to recruit more co-sponsors for the AIPAC bills.  Initially, this is mostly pushing on an open door, as many legislators are eager to join the bandwagon;  some were simply not asked earlier in the interest of bi-partisan balance; some were not quick enough to get listed when the initial bills were introduced.  Within a few weeks of the AIPAC Conference Senate Res. 65 had an additional 55 co-sponsors, House Res. 850 added more than 250 sponsors; and House Res. 983 more than 150.

–The effort continues to line up more cosponsors with the aim of securing an irresistible momentum for the bills.  Many legislators simply take more time to pin down; others (few) might have been reluctant holdouts persuaded not to find themselves isolated against the AIPAC juggernaut.  An AIPAC staffer once famously bragged that “in twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on a napkin”. It took a little longer this time, but Senate Res. 65 already had 91 co-sponsors before it came up for a vote. House Res. 850, still pending, now has 351 co-sponsors; H. Res. 983 has 271.

–Not all AIPAC-initiated legislation follows this pattern.  Other bills or amendments come up during the year and are pushed as opportunities or needs present themselves.  Some of these bills – and the frequent “Congressional Letters” of support for Israel — have little practical impact on policy but are part of AIPAC’s promotion of discipline among US legislators.  I call it “puppy training,” so that members of Congress are reflexively obedient to AIPAC’s legislative agenda.  The 29 standing ovations for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he addressed Congress in 2011 are a good illustration of the outcome.  Pavlov had nothing on the Israel Lobby.

It might be tempting to conclude – as AIPAC and its allies contend – that Congress acts in response to the overwhelming public support for Israel.  However, it is important to observe that votes on the Lobby’s bills are rarely much publicized in the US – as opposed to Israeli –mainstream media.  Of course, the pro-Israel political machine, the Rightwing and Zionist blogosphere do pay close attention, ever-ready to reward or punish legislative misbehavior. Most of the public remains, by design, completely unaware of these political maneuverings.  Not long ago, House Republican Whip Eric Cantor proposed voting separately on military aid to Israel so as to insulate it from potential cuts to Pentagon spending, but he was quickly persuaded to drop the idea.  The Israel Lobby prefers to have the $3 billion plus in annual aid to Israel discretely hidden within the vast Defense Appropriation Bill.

So the power of AIPAC derives not fundamentally from Israel’s vast popularity.  Although opinion polls do regularly confirm the public supports Israel at a much higher level than the Palestinians (no surprise), substantial pluralities still prefer that the US stay neutral in the conflict.  I have seen no polling about support for the billions in military aid to Israel each year.  It is hard to imagine that the majority response would be anything but negative in the light of cuts to funding other popular government programs. Not surprisingly the Lobby prefers “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on the question of yearly$billions for Israel.

The apparent dominance of the Israel Lobby in Congress stems from what I would call “asymmetric politics”.  AIPAC represents the power of a well-funded and single-issue political machine.  It is quick to punish recalcitrant legislators – or to reward good behavior with dollars and campaign support from the many PACS and rich donors who take its direction.

On the other side, the advocates for Palestinian rights are scattered, poor and little threat to incumbent legislators. The Arab and Muslim communities cannot match the Israel Lobby’s Jewish financial base or its mobilized grassroots numbers. Many of their communities are relatively new in the US, insecure and targeted by the well-funded complex of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim mobilization since 9/11.  The great mass of the public are simply not involved and not paying much attention to the Israel-Palestine conflict or much aware of pro-Israel political power in Congress.

Seen in this light, members of Congress – ever averse to risk, as are all elected officials – are behaving rationally when they defer to the Israel Lobby.  They pay little or no price for playing ball with AIPAC and risk a backlash with no apparent reward if they don’t.

As for the broader anti-war and progressive movements, even when they have adopted good positions on Palestinian rights or opposing the Lobby-supported drive for war with Iran, these issues usually turn out to be “expendable” in comparison to other agendas.

Two recent examples will illustrate this dynamic.

This Spring, a well-established national peace organization, with a significant branch in Massachusetts, decided to endorse Democratic Rep. Ed Markey prior to the special primary election for John Kerry’s vacated Senate seat.   Markey is on the right side of most issues progressives hold dear, but he was also an initial supporter of the Iraq War.  And he has become a very reliable backer of Israel-Lobby legislative priorities, where in Massachusetts he is something of an outlier on these issues. He was among only three Massachusetts delegation co-sponsors of H. Res. 850 and among only two of H. Res. 983.  He is also a dependable signer of whatever letter AIPAC is collecting signatures for, such as the one supporting the assault on Gaza a few years ago.

Some members of the peace organization argued in favor of no endorsement for Markey – at least in the primary – because of his poor record on Iran and Palestine, but they were outvoted.  The majority argued that an endorsement and fundraising for Markey would give them “access” to promote better positions on these issues after the election.  A cynic may wonder whether Markey, or any other progressive legislator would take this seriously.  A long-serving national board member of the group resigned in protest.

Then there is Massachusetts’ celebrity Senator Elizabeth Warren.  Many of her progressive supporters were uneasy over the boiler-plate pro-Israel language on her campaign web site, however there was little doubt that she was a genuine populist on other issues and would bring a rare progressive voice to the halls of Congress.  This, in large measure, she has done.

However, when push came to shove, Sen. Warren was persuaded to add her name as a sponsor to Senate Res. 65 – late to be sure (not until May 7) – and she joined in the unanimous vote in favor of the bill.  Now Warren, a faculty member of Harvard Law School undoubtedly knows the score on the Israel and Iran issues.  It is hard to imagine she hasn’t had certain conversations in the Faculty Club about Palestine, heard about the many events at her school on issues of Human Rights and International Law in the Middle East or understood the role of the Israel Lobby in war-promotion and military spending.

No doubt Warren rationalized her vote pragmatically.  Why risk becoming an isolated Senate freshman and losing her political credibility?  Why not submit to what was required in order to give her space to battle on other political issues she cared about?  For Senator Warren – as for so many progressives and Liberals — her seat is worth the price of a vote for AIPAC.

This is the way asymmetric politics works for the Israel Lobby.  It is the dynamic that puts our country in opposition to most of the world with respect to International Law and peace in the Middle East.  And it may yet succeed in getting us into a war with Iran.

Jeff Klein is a retired local union president, peace and justice activist, Palestinian rights supporter.  He just started a blog at http://atmyangle.blogspot.com/ and can be reached at jjk123@comcast.net

May 31, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cynthia McKinney: Israel Lobby shaping US policy

It is fitting that on the same day as this headline appeared, “Pro-Israeli US lawmakers urge bombing Syria air bases, arming militants, invasion” I delivered the following remarks to the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine:

From Cynthia McKinney: Remarks at the UN International Meeting on Palestine in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

My name is Cynthia McKinney and I served as a Member of the U.S. Congress for 12 years. During my time in Congress, I strove to make respect for human rights a central feature in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy. Amid minor successes, I have to say that my efforts while, broadly appreciated by many, failed miserably. That failure stems in part from the peculiarities of U.S. politics that allow policy formulation to deviate from and in many cases become diametrically opposed to the values of the people of the U.S. Sadly, what we in the U.S. call “special interests” are able to buy public policy by way of campaign contributions and misleading media campaigns. These “special interests” are aided and abetted in the U.S. by a concentrated media that has no obligation according to U.S. court decisions to tell the public the truth. In other words, U.S. media have won in U.S. court the right to knowingly lie to the people they ostensibly serve. I will briefly delve into this unusual and anti-”democratic” state of affairs now controlling in the U.S. once again before I conclude my remarks.

After my tenure in Congress, I became involved in international human rights activism. During Israel’s Operation Cast Lead (which was its war against Hamas and others), I joined with a group of human rights activists who tried to deliver medical supplies to the people of Gaza; the Israeli Military stopped us. While in international waters, an Israeli Defense Forces warship rammed the pleasure boat that I was on with the other volunteers, and totally destroyed our boat. Neither the medical supplies nor us volunteers reached Gaza.

Approximately six months later, we, the volunteers from the first thwarted effort, reassembled in order to make another attempt to reach Gaza by sea, traveling through international waters, with the hopes of entering into Palestine by way of Gaza’s territorial waters. By this time, Operation Cast Lead had ended, President Barack Obama had been sworn in, and he had appealed publicly for an easing of the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Gazans had made an appeal for school supplies for the children still reeling from the trauma of three weeks of what the United Nations called “one of the most violent episodes in the recent history of the Palestinian territory.” So, some of us answered that call with school supplies for the children and building supplies for the adults so that Gaza could rebuild from the devastation after Operation Cast Lead. On this effort to answer a humanitarian call for help, I, along with 20 other volunteers, was kidnapped by the Israeli military while in international waters, our boat was seized, we were taken by an extremely circuitous route to Israel where we never intended to go, and I was incarcerated in an Israeli prison for 7 days. Sadly, what I witnessed while in Israeli prison pointed to Israel as an apartheid state and the gross mistreatment of, particularly, Ethiopian women who had been lured to the “Holy Land” for job opportunities that vaporized because they were not of the correct religion. In addition to that, my observation at the time was that Ethiopian Jews are used as an important pillar–even enforcer, ironically, of Israeli apartheid. I can expand on this aspect of my observations later if there are specific questions or requests for more information from this body or from individuals in attendance at this Conference.

Needless to say, for a second time, I was prevented from entering Gaza. Upon hearing of my ordeal, Member of Parliament George Galloway who was in Cairo leading “Viva Palestina USA,” contacted me and invited me to come to Cairo and enter Gaza by land, which I did. Upon entering Gaza, I was able to see the destruction inflicted on the people by Israel’s Operation Cast Lead. I scooped up a bit of the soil and put it in this container. Sadly, as noted in the Goldstone Report and admitted by the Israeli Defense Forces, this Gaza soil is probably contaminated with whatever remains of the chemicals that were used by the Israelis against the people of Gaza: chemicals ranging from white phosphorus to inert metals. And while I unsuccessfully tried to pass legislation in Congress to end the use of depleted uranium in U.S. munitions because of the health effects, the Goldstone Report mentions that allegations were made that Israel used depleted uranium during Operation Cast Lead, which also might be in this soil. The United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights is also aware that civilian targets were bombed and totally destroyed. I visited a few of those targets.

One stop on my private tour of the destruction in Gaza was the American International School and amid the rubble I spotted a bright yellow something that I couldn’t quite make out what it was. So, I climbed through the jutted shards of concrete and exposed rebar to retrieve the object. This is that object: an English language children’s art book stamped with the initials of the American International School in Gaza, “AISG.” I was standing in what was left of the School’s library.

Another stop on my tour of the effects of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead was a neighborhood school, not nearly as big and grand as the American School. There, I could see the path of one missile that blew a hole clear through several walls of the school. There were markings on the chalkboard, including the Star of David. I saw several cans of peanuts on the floor. This is one of them. It is written in Hebrew. The Israeli soldiers blew up the school and then sat down in its ruins and enjoyed peanuts and drew religious and political markings on the chalkboard.

Both boats that I was on were seized by the Israelis and destroyed by them. The humanitarian aid on the boats did not reach Gaza and only token aid was delivered by the land convoy to the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza, the bulk of it stranded in Egypt, not allowed into Gaza by the Egyptians or the Israelis.

What is amazing is not only that this happens over and over again, but that Israeli leaders who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity, leave office, and are never held accountable for their policies, as was done by victims of Augusto Pinochet, and as is being done currently by the International Criminal Court. Another aspect of this impunity is that Israel continues to receive U.S. weapons and technology which it uses against civilians in contravention of U.S. law. As these weapons are used or become outdated, the U.S. replenishes Israel’s weapons stock every year.

One measure of this impunity is brought to bear by the pro-Israel Lobby that operates in the political sphere of the U.S. I am a former Member of Congress because pro-Israel sympathizers known as the “pro-Israel Lobby” ensured my ouster from Congress and that of many other Members of Congress who dared to try and draw attention to U.S. law, Israel’s human rights violations, Israel’s misuse of U.S. weapons, or any other inconvenient facts that were better buried and left unknown.

What many of you might not know, because these things just aren’t discussed as widely as they should be, is that many of those Members of Congress who were put out of office by the pro-Israel Lobby were the stolen children of Africa, descendants of Africans trafficked in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. I will call the names of a few and tell you where you can find information about them as they tell their own stories:

· Gus Savage, Member of Congress from Chicago, Illinois was targeted for defeat by the pro-Israel Lobby because he dared to engage in foreign relations within the purview of a Member of Congress on the African Continent, in Egypt among other places. He recounted his ordeal on the Floor of the House of Representatives and revealed the secrets of the pro-Israel Lobby on the Congressional Record where students and others interested in this topic can find his words today.

· Earl Hilliard, Member of Congress from Birmingham, Alabama was the first Black Member of Congress to serve the people of Alabama since the U.S. Civil War’s Reconstruction Era. He was ejected from the Congress by the pro-Israel Lobby because he, like Gus Savage, traveled to Africa, and in particular to Libya. He also traveled to Lebanon and learned of new weapons for that time, that had been used there by Israel. For this transgression, Earl Hilliard had to go. He is interviewed in a Dutch documentary that is available on youtube where he describes the vicious campaign that was run against him by the pro-Israel Lobby.

· And then, there’s me. Just this month, I published a book entitled Ain’t Nothing Like Freedom, in which I describe just a few of the tactics that were used against me by the pro-Israel Lobby to destroy my career in Congress.

· These three political “take-downs” were very publicly done in order to send a message to others who might also be inclined to speak up out of moral conviction, as Savage, Hilliard, and I did.

· This weeding out also occurs on the local level with state and local elected officials like my father and others targeted for defeat because of the potential threat to the interests of the pro-Israel Lobby that they pose.

· In addition, on a public and private level, targeted individuals have to endure soft repression that makes life difficult. All of this needs to be put on the record if one is to fully understand the power of the pro-Israel Lobby and the pall that it casts on the political process in the U.S. and from what I have been told, also in Europe.

· Finally, the political landscape for Blacks in the U.S. is negatively affected by this weeding out process, because their strongest and most outspoken authentic leaders are vulnerable to the challenges from candidates that are well funded by outside “special interests.”

In light of this, I would like to put this thought to you: can you even imagine what U.S. policy would be like at the United Nations if the will of the people were carried out without the interference of the pro-Israel Lobby? The Durban World Conference Against Racism was a watershed that could be revisited time and time again with U.S. support and participation, except that powerful Lobbies want otherwise. I know, it’s hard to imagine things differently. But it is not hard for me and that is one vision that keeps me going: U.S. policy made in the image of the values of the people of the U.S. At a Conference whose theme is African solidarity with the Palestinian people, I thought it was important to mention not only how the pro-Israel Lobby skews politics in the U.S. against the Palestinians, but also against African-descendants inside the U.S.

I focus on this important aspect of policy-making by focusing on who gets to make the policy because I believe that this is one key reason why Palestinians are forced to suffer while, at best platitudes and delay, serve as the effective policies of the US and European countries.

The short version of this tragic story is that pro-Israel forces inside the U.S. are willing to use their money to buy political influence and protection for Israel across the political spectrum while the same cannot be said of pro-peace, pro-justice forces. I liken the situation to game day when one team shows up in beautiful new uniforms with all of the latest and best equipment, primed and ready to execute its strategy in the game of play, while the other team doesn’t even show up on the pitch. I believe that one remaining untested justice frontier is the political battleground in U.S. and European capitals. It is inside these essential capitals that pro-Israel Lobbies have become comfortable operating with very little opposition from the other side.

I am tired of losing when, I believe, we really do not have to lose. I fundamentally believe that the people of this world are good and want peace. I have spoken to Afghanis and Pakistanis, to Yemenis and to Somalis, Palestinians and Americans, and I find them to be peace-loving peoples.

So, how do we move from where we are to where we need to be? That is the fundamental question. I focus on the political because the political creates the legal. And the political creates impunity.

Just in my personal experiences, I have outlined breaches of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, international law, and U.S. law by the occupying power: Israel.

I served as a juror on the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Palestine that recently concluded its Sessions with a finding that both the U.S. and Europe are guilty of contributing to the atmosphere of impunity with which apartheid Israel carries out its policies against Palestinians and anyone who stands in its way.

I also recently served as an Official Observer as the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission received testimony from Palestinians on their treatment inside Israel as well as in the Occupied Territories.

Through my service with both of these organizations, I have met too many courageous Palestinians and Israelis who want to live peacefully with each other and who put their lives and their livelihoods on the line every day for peace and the rule of law. I do believe that much of the suffering could be alleviated if we would put sufficient energy and resources behind putting out in public view how the pro-Israel Lobby misdirects U.S. and European policies and prevents pro-peace and justice politicians from ever having the opportunity to put those values, along with our basic human dignity, permanently on the table for public debate.

Finally, I am not Palestinian. I am not Arab. I am not Muslim. But I am human. And that is enough for me to acknowledge the dignity of others who are oppressed and to epitomize what this Conference is all about: African Solidarity with the Palestinian People for the Achievement of its inalienable rights, including the sovereignty and independence of the State of Palestine.

Thank you.

April 30, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

US: Senate Leaders Block Public Database of Congressional Financial Disclosure

By Matt Bewig | AllGov | April 14, 2013

Quietly and after many members had left for the weekend, the Senate voted Thursday night to approve a new bill, S. 716, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), that no one had read, and that was not publicly available on the Library of Congress website until after the vote.

The purpose of the bill was to gut key provisions in the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act requiring broad disclosure of already public reports about the personal finances of public officials and employees. Responding to concerns that some provisions of the STOCK Act were overly broad and might put some government employees at risk, the Senate decided to exclude legislative and executive staffers from the online disclosure requirements entirely and to delay implementation of other mandates for themselves.

The STOCK Act, which is only a year old, requires online posting of the personal financial disclosure statements filed each year by lawmakers and congressional candidates, the president and vice president, cabinet members and high-ranking staff. The data is supposed to be made available in machine readable format that is searchable and downloadable by this October.

With no public notice or hearings on the issue, the Senate voted to eliminate both the online disclosure requirement for congressional and executive branch staff members and the creation of a searchable public database containing the information in the reports. At present, the financial disclosure reports are filed on paper and made available as non-searchable pdf files, which makes them cumbersome and onerous to use for research. The requirement of searchability was a key reform intended to allow citizens to easily research patterns of financial influence.

None of the concerns regarding the publication of federal employees’ financial information raised any issues regarding the requirement that the disclosures of legislators, candidates, the President, Vice President and cabinet members be in searchable format by October, but the Senate took the opportunity to kill that mandate as well. Although the provision barring insider trading by members of Congress was left intact, without searchable disclosure forms the heavy volume of data renders its analysis slow and politically toothless.

April 14, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Wars for Israel | , , , | Comments Off on US: Senate Leaders Block Public Database of Congressional Financial Disclosure

End the Nuclear Lobby

By PETER G. COHEN | CounterPunch | January 30, 2013

For decades the peace movement has been satisfied with scraps from the table of nuclear weapons and their beneficiaries. Even the New START Treaty was offset by the Obama administration promise to spend $185 billion in this decade on modernization of nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

The vulnerable point in the complex of nuclear weapons corporations, their lobbies, their campaign recipients in Congress and the resulting ongoing budget for these weapons and facilities, is the delivery of corporate money by lobbyists to the key members of Congress.

“In the 2012 election cycle, the top 14 nuclear weapons contractors gave a total of $2.9 million to key members of Congress with decision making power over nuclear weapons spending. These firms have donated $18.7 million to these same members of Congress over the course of their careers.” –Bombs Versus Budgets: Inside the Nuclear Weapons Lobby, By Hartung and Anderson at the Center for International Policy, June 6, 2012, –( a MUST read!)

There is ample evidence that nuclear weapons are useless in our national defense, that they and their delivery systems are extremely expensive and that their possession and modernization by the United States prevents any progress toward abolition by the other nuclear powers. Above all, we now know that any use, accident, or hacking of these weapons, anywhere, endangers the people of the world and all complex forms of Life on Earth.

Therefore, when we protest nuclear weapons we are defending the future of Life on Earth. And when corporations bribe our Representatives to preserve their contracts and profits, regardless of actual need, they risk the future of that life.

We must interfere with this lobbying (bribing) process. We must stand in the way. The children of the world demand that they not live under this “sword of Damocles” for the profits of the nuclear corporations, such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Boeing. The current situation of nuclear weapons is sick and beyond the moral compass of all religions.

It is urgent that the peace movement bring this truth to the attention of the American people. The methods of the last decades have been insufficient. The harsh reality of thousands of weapons on quick response demands a new approach. we must go beyond past experience, to learn from the methods of others who have had long, hard battles to change our society. Symbolically or actually, we must stand between the K Street lobbyists with their campaign contributions and the leaders of these House Committees. The public must be aroused to the insanity of our ongoing weapons and delivery systems preparations.

We must act now to preserve the wonder of Life on Earth. There is no nobler cause or greater meaning for our lives. We must venture forth with greater energy, imagination and determination to stop the insanity of investing in our extinction.

Peter G. Cohen, Santa Barbara, CA, is the author of www.nukefreeworld.com

January 30, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , , , , , | Comments Off on End the Nuclear Lobby

The Feinstein Fumble: Indefinite Detention Remains

By Blake Filippi | Tenth Amendment Center | November 30, 2012

The proposed language in the 2013 NDAA and the recent Feinstein Amendment do not fix the multiple Constitutional infirmities in section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA. Unfortunately, Congress is now poised to reaffirm the President’s ability to prosecute persons within the USA though military tribunals, potentially allow continued indefinite detention without charge or trial, and do nothing to limit the practice of extraordinary rendition.

The most troubling provisions of section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA provide that the all persons within the USA – including U.S. citizens – whom the President unilaterally determines “substantially supported” the Taliban, Al Qaeda or “Associated forces” may be designated as enemy combatants subject to indefinite detention, extraordinary rendition (the transfer to foreign jurisdiction or entities) or military tribunals. Importantly, there is no knowing and willful requirement to one’s “substantial support.”

While the indefinite detention language in the 2012 NDAA purports to allow no Due Process whatsoever, it is tempered – inadequately tempered — by Supreme Court precedent that requires limited Due Process rights for those designated as enemy combatants subject to indefinite detention.

By way of background: in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court ruled that Hamdi – a U.S. citizen captured on a foreign battlefield and held indefinitely within U.S. jurisdiction – generally possessed the right to a meaningful opportunity to challenge his enemy combatant status before a neutral military decision-maker.

In Boumediene v. Bush the Court then further defined the due process rights of enemy combatants captured on a foreign battlefield and held within U.S. jurisdiction. They possess Habeas rights in an Article III court to review the neutral decision-marker. However, as a review of a military decision, the Habeas procedures for continued indefinite detention are shockingly lacking and inadequate compared to normal criminal proceedings. There is no 6th Amendment jury right. Hearsay is freely admissible, i.e. the 6th Amendment right to confront right to face accusers is absent. The burden of proof is not beyond a reasonable doubt, not clear and convincing evidence, but a mere preponderance of the evidence. That is more likely than not based on hearsay that someone “substantially supported” a terrorist organization.

Then came the NDAA. The NDAA purports to extend the President’s war powers to the U.S. homeland. All persons within the USA — citizen and non-citizen alike — would now be subject to the Law of War with regards allegations of supporting terrorism, including the same indefinite detention limited Due Process rights articulated in Hamdi and Boumediene, as well as military tribunals and extraordinary rendition.

After the obvious outcry from citizens and States alike, Congress is now poised to pass the 2013 NDAA with what at first blush appear to be fixes to the indefinite detention provisions of the 2012 NDAA. However, the proposed text, and the recent Feinstein Amendment, may do little to restrict the President’s homeland war powers.

The operative language of the 2013 NDAA is contained in Section 1033(a):

Nothing in the Authorization for Use of Military Force or the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 shall be construed to deny the availability of the writ of habeas corpus or to deny any Constitutional rights in a court ordained or established by or under Article III of the Constitution for any person who is lawfully in the United States when detained pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force and who is otherwise entitled to the availability of such writ or such rights.”

First, section 1033 still speaks to ‘detention’ of persons within the USA – as in indefinite detention without charge or trial. And the Constitutional rights purportedly preserved by section 1033 of the 2013 NDAA are likely only the limited protections that are already judicially required under Hamdi and Boumediene for indefinite detention; the right to a limited Habeas reviewin an Article III Court wherein the Constitution does not require numerous procedural safeguards available in normal criminal proceedings. Section 1033 of the 2013 NDAA only appears to be a mere legislative codification of these limited Hamdi and Boumediene indefinite detention procedures. Importantly, the President’s 2012 NDAA authority to dispose of persons captured in the USA — including U.S. citizens – through military tribunal and extraordinary rendition are not curtailed.

Unfortunately, the Feinstein Amendment to the 2013 NDAA may also do little to fix the multitude of problems with the 2012 NDAA, because it 1) may reaffirm the limited indefinite detention Due Process articulated in Hamdi and Boumediene, 2) does not restrict military tribunals with numerous Due Process infirmities for persons within the USA, 3) and it does nothing to limit extrodinary rendition.

The operative language of the Feinstein amendment is as follows:

“(b)(1) An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or a similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charges or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.”

. . . .

“(b)(3) Paragraph (1) shall not be construed to authorize the detention of a citizen of the United States, a lawful permanent resident of United States, or any other person who is apprehended in the United States.”

The initial question is; how does the Feinstein’s amendment actually affect the 2012 NDAA? Feinstein Amendment paragraph (b)(1) still purports to allow indefinite detention upon the express authorization of Congress, and (b)(3) says that the amendment should not be construed to authorize such detention. Yet, section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA, intended to clarify the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force, specifically authorizes such indefinite detention. Moreover, section 1021 applies broadly to include all persons, including those within the United States (as advocated by the Obama Administration and numerous members of Congress). Thus,  section 1021 may still be interpreted as a specific enough authorization under the Feinstein Amendment for indefinite detention of persons within the USA; making the Feinstein Amendment worthless.

Now, let’s suppose the 2012 NDAA does not specify persons within the USA sufficiently to meet the Feinstein Amendment’s specific authorization requirement for indefinite detention; IT LIKELY CHANGES LITTLE.

Here’s why. The Feinstein Amendment does not specify what “charge” or “trial” mean. While this may seem like semantics, it is a very important omission because the judicial forum and attendant Constitutional protections present are not specified.

On one hand, the Feinstein Amendment could be interpreted as requiring the same limited Due Process articulated in Hamdi and Boumediene. Hamdi and Boumediene already require that those subject to indefinite detention are entitled to an opportunity to contest their enemy combatant status before a neutral decision maker, followed by civilian Article III Habeas review (with the extremely limited Due Process articulated above). By requiring charge and trial, the Feinstein Amendment may only legislatively codify the existing Hamdi and Boumediene limited Due Process rights those indefinitely detained under the 2012 NDAA are already entitled to. While this interpretation seems a stretch, we must remember that the Obama Administration has gone so far to declare that the President’s contemplation was sufficient Due Process prior to the drone assassination of U.S. citizens Al Allawaki and son.

On the other hand, it is more likely that the Feinstein Amendment’s “charge and trial” require more than the Hamdi and Boumediene procedures to contest indefinite detention as an enemy combatant (which procedures are not the product of formal charges or trials). We must remember that in addition to indefinite detention without trial or charge, section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA purports to authorize military tribunals. Military tribunals are initiated through formal charges and are deemed trials. Although the 2013 NDAA seeks to preserve Habeas rights and Constitutional protections when in an Article III Court, neither the 2013 NDAA or the Feinstein Amendment require that the actual charge and trial occur in an Article III civilian court (where all the Constitutional protections of normal criminal proceedings are present). The military tribunals authorized in the 2012 NDAA are simply not restricted. Thus, the “charge and trial” specified by the Feinstein Amendment likely refers to a military tribunal; the same tribunals ongoing in Guantanamo Bay.

The Constitutional protections in military tribunals are still woefully inadequate for a civilian arrested within the USA. The right to confront accusers is limited because significant testimonial hearsay can be admissible, the jury is composed of military members instead of peers, an unanimous verdict is not necessary for conviction, Miranda warnings are not applicable and search warrants are not required for admission of evidence. Importantly, Article III, Section III’s requirement that treason be proved by the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act may not be applicable.

Finally, and perhaps most troubling, is that the 2012 NDAA also authorizes the transfer of alleged enemy combatants to foreign jurisdictions and entities; that’s extraordinary rendition. The 2013 NDAA and the Feinstein Amendment do nothing to curb this horrific practice. The Constitution, laws and courts are completely irrelevant once someone has been transferred outside the jurisdiction of the USA. In this context, an accused’s Constitutional rights (and any rights purportedly preserved under in the 2013 NDAA and Feinstein Amendment) are only enforceable when within the jurisdiction of the courts. Nothing has been done to limit the President’s purported authority in the 2012 NDAA to transfer someone outside of the United States to some foreign country, entity, or military base, where they have no ability to compel a hearing to determine enemy combatant status, seek to be charged or tried, or pursue Habeas relief.

At most, the 2013 NDAA and the Feinstein Amendment require that persons within the USA designated as enemy combatants are at least entitled to military tribunals. Thus, the president retains the authority to prosecute according to the Laws of War. While military tribunals are a slight improvement over the Hamdi and Boumediene indefinite detention procedures, they still provide woefully insufficient civilian Constitutional protections. And nothing has been done about the President’s extraordinary rendition powers. Our Founders certainly did not intend for the president to have such domestic war powers – especially over citizens – without a Congressional declaration of War. Instead, Congress unconstitutionally purported to provide these war powers in the 2012 NDAA multi-hundred-page-appropriation-bill, and has done little to limit them with the ineffectual 2013 NDAA and its Feinstein Amendment.

If Congress intends to uphold the Constitution, it must immediately ban indefinite detention and require charge and trial in Article III civilian courts for persons within the USA – especially for civilians and legal aliens  – and strike the President’s purported extraordinary rendition powers. Congress must restore the rule of law! Otherwise, the terrorists have won

Blake Filippi [send him email] is a Legal Analyst for the Tenth Amendment Center. He is also the director of the Rhode Island Liberty Coalition, a constitutional attorney and the initial author of resolutions opposing NDAA detention provisions being introduced around the country. Visit RI Liberty online at www.riliberty.com.

December 4, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Feinstein Fumble: Indefinite Detention Remains

Politicians Lie– And Reporters Can’t Report That

By Peter Hart – FAIR – 08/23/2012

There’s an interesting Politico story (8/22/12) about Andrea Seabrook, who until recently was a Capitol Hill reporter for NPR. She’s moved on to a new independent reporting project, but it’s what she said about her previous gig that’s most revealing:

“I realized that there is a part of covering Congress, if you’re doing daily coverage, that is actually sort of colluding with the politicians themselves because so much of what I was doing was actually recording and playing what they say or repeating what they say,” Seabrook told POLITICO. “And I feel like the real story of Congress right now is very much removed from any of that, from the sort of theater of the policy debate in Congress, and it has become such a complete theater that none of it is real…. I feel like I am, as a reporter in the Capitol, lied to every day, all day. There is so little genuine discussion going on with the reporters…. To me, as a reporter, everything is spin.”

She says her new web-based project will try to “decipher Washington’s Byzantine language and procedure, sweeping away what doesn’t matter so listeners can focus on what does.”

Seabrook seems pretty clear that the problem isn’t the media: “I think the problem is the Congress itself. And we’re all in the same positions, scrambling to figure out how the hell to cover these a*sholes.”

So if a reporter is covering politicians who are lying to her every single day, what is preventing that reporter from saying as much? Why just repeat the lies?

The crystal clear implication here is that, for whatever reason, an NPR journalist doesn’t feel comfortable challenging lies and spin.  It’s a pretty important admission, and one that NPR listeners–and management– should think about.

August 23, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

9th Circuit Dismisses Al Haramain Case

By Cindy Cohn | Eff | August 7, 2012

Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the warrantless wiretapping case, Al Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama, on the technical legal basis known as sovereign immunity.

Essentially, on a complex statutory analysis, the court ruled that the only claim left in the case, for money damages under 50 U.S.C. section 1810, could not be brought against the government itself, and instead could only be brought against government officials in their individual capacity. The court then ruled that the specific claims made against an official in his individual capacity, FBI Director Mueller, were not sufficient and could not be amended.

While the analysis is complex, the upshot is clear and very troubling.

First, the Court ruled that Congress in passing this section of FISA created a cramped statute that, at least in section 1810, only allows a claim for redress if the government uses the information it illegally gathers, and creates no a remedy against the government for the unlawful collection of information. Apparently, when it came to granting a legal claim for damages, Congress intended to allow the government to do as much wiretapping in violation of the law as it wanted to, and only allow individuals to sue for use of the information illegally collected.  It seems unlikely that the American people believe that the line should be drawn in this strange way.

Additionally, the ruling certainly does not exonerate the government. To the contrary, the best that they could say is that they they got off on a pure technicality of Congressional drafting.  There is nothing in this opinion, or in the whole course of this litigation, that undermines the basic revelation: that President Bush authorized the warrantless illegal and unconstitutional wiretapping of the two attorneys helping this accused — and now defunct — charity in their lawful, privileged communications with their client.  No one should take this as a vindication of the Bush-era policies (or Obama’s continuation of them).

Finally, this ruling will have little, if any, affect on the EFF’s ongoing litigation Jewel v. NSA, where we seek to stop the ongoing surveillance of millions of innocent Americans, also without proper warrants or other judicial oversight.  Jewel has many causes of action, not just 50 U.S.C. section 1810, and it seeks an injunction to stop ongoing behavior, not just monetary damages for past acts.  So while we don’t agree with the Ninth Circuit’s ruling here, it will not prove a roadblock to our efforts to stop the spying. We’ve moved for a ruling in the Jewel case that FISA preempts the state secret privilege and hope to have that motion heard by the District Court in the fall.

August 8, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | Comments Off on 9th Circuit Dismisses Al Haramain Case

That Was Now, This is Then: Another Pro-War Resolution Hits the House Floor

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | May 17, 2012

On Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives debated H.Res. 568, an AIPAC-sponsored bill designed to outlaw diplomacy with Iran and take the United States Congress one step closer to authorizing an illegal, unprovoked and premeditated military attack on Iran.

Debunking statements about Iran made by House Representatives and Senators on the floor of Congress is tedious and boring. Most of the statements are inarticulate readings of AIPAC-drafted talking points and boilerplate hasbara. M.J. Rosenberg has already excellently addressed the point of this legislation and there is no need to repeat, ad nauseum, why most of what’s in the bill is wrong, how 13,000 AIPAC operatives were dispatched through the halls of Congress to garner sponsorship and support for the bill, how shameful it is for elected officials to spout pure propaganda about silly cartoon drawings and absurd assassination plots, and how – despite the many repetitions of the same infamous and longdebunked claim (which has literally appeared in over 50 Congressional resolutions since 2005) – even Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Dan Meridor admitted on Al Jazeera that Iran has never threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.”

No, instead of all that, this time around it’s best to just take a look at how statements made during yesterday’s floor debate compare to statements made over a decade ago, if not longer.  After so much deceit, destruction and death, how can anyone take this stuff seriously?

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), October 9, 2002:

Saddam Hussein is not far from developing and acquiring the means to strike the United States, our friends and our allies with weapons of mass destruction. Thus, if we do not act now, when?

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), May 15, 2012:

The Iranian regime continues to pose an immediate and growing threat to the United States, to our allies, and to the Iranian people.  We are running out of time to stop the nightmare of a nuclear weapons-capable Iran from becoming a reality…We must meet our responsibility to the American people and protect the security of our Nation, our allies, and the world from this threat of a nuclear capable Iran.

Madeleine Albright, February 18, 1998:

[T]hat the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.

Rush Holt (D-NJ), May 15, 2012:

The threat of nuclear proliferation is the greatest threat to world peace. A nuclear Iran would destabilize the region and threaten the United States and our allies.

Howard Berman (D-CA), October 10, 2002:

But under today’s circumstances, the best way to give peace a chance and to save the most lives, American and Iraqi, is for America to stand united and for Congress to authorize the President to use force if Saddam does not give up his weapons of mass destruction. Confront Saddam now, or pay a much heavier price later.

Howard Berman (D-CA), May 15, 2012:

What better time for this body to send an unambiguous message that Iran must never be allowed to achieve a nuclear weapons capability and that its nuclear weapons program must end once and for all?

George W. Bush, January 29, 2002:

By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger…[T]ime is not on our side.  I will not wait on events, while dangers gather.  I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer.  The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.

Gene Green (D-TX), May 15, 2012:

Iran is developing the capability to quickly produce a nuclear weapon at a time of its choosing. Iran’s acquisition of such a capability would create a significant new regional danger and be an immediate threat to America’s interest and allies in the Middle East.

John McCain (R-AZ), Jesse Helms (R-NC), Henry Hyde (R-IL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Harold Ford (D-TN), Jr., Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Trent Lott (R-MS), Ben Gilman (R-NY) and Sam Brownback (R-KS), December 5, 2001:

The threat from Iraq is real, and it cannot be permanently contained…We have no doubt that these deadly weapons are intended for use against the United States and its allies. Consequently, we believe we must directly confront Saddam, sooner rather than later.

Howard Berman (D-CA), May 15, 2012:

And so, as the window is closing, we send a clear message that the House is aligned with the administration in thoroughly rejecting containment…In fact, we have no choice but to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program before it ever reaches that point.

Steny Hoyer, (D-MD), October 9, 2002:

[Saddam Hussein] continues his efforts to develop and acquire weapons of mass destruction, and he sponsors international terrorism. Saddam Hussein continues to be an unacceptable threat whose duplicity requires action, action now.

Steny Hoyer (D-MD), May 15, 2012:

The most significant threat to peace, regional security, and American interests in the Middle East is Iran’s nuclear program…Iran continues to be a sponsor of groups committed to the destruction of our ally Israel and of groups that threaten Americans throughout the world.

John Edwards (D-NC), October 7, 2002:

Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel… Every day he gets closer to his longtime goal of nuclear capability. We must not allow him to get nuclear weapons.

Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa), May 15, 2012:

[I]t is imperative that the United States and the international community understand that a nuclear-capable Iran is a global threat and a danger to the United States and, just as important, to the State of Israel…This is a direct threat to our closest ally in the Middle East.

George W. Bush, March 19, 2003:

The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, May 15, 2012:

For the Iranian regime, the possession of the capability to produce a nuclear weapon would be almost as useful as actually having one…Tehran would be in the driver’s seat, and the security of the United States, Israel, and our many other allies would be in their hands.

George W. Bush, March 13, 2002:

First of all, we’ve got all options on the table, because we want to make it very clear to nations that you will not threaten the United States or use weapons of mass destruction against us, or our allies or friends…[Saddam Hussein] is a problem, and we’re going to deal with him. But the first stage is to consult with our allies and friends, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Rob Andrews (D-NJ), May 15, 2012:

[W]e are negotiating with a country that has conceived its nuclear weapons program in secret, that has brandished its nuclear weapons program with the rhetoric of hostility, and for whom the attainment of a nuclear weapon would be fraught with peril for free people everywhere…[O]ur position must be that we will not support or stand for an Iran with nuclear weapons.

George W. Bush, August 13, 2005:

As I say, all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we’ve used force in the recent past to secure our country…In all these instances we want diplomacy to work and so we’re working feverishly on the diplomatic route and we’ll see if we’re successful or not.

Barack Obama, January 24, 2012:

Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.

Howard Berman (D-CA), May 15, 2012:

The urgent nature of the Iranian nuclear threat demands that the United States work with our allies to do everything possible diplomatically, politically, and economically to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. No option, as the President has said, can be taken off the table.

May 17, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Comments Off on That Was Now, This is Then: Another Pro-War Resolution Hits the House Floor