Thursday, August 29, 2013

Syria Can (Momentarily) Wait: while Barack tries to locate a fall guy

Never trust an 'informed' whore.  Whether it's Colin Powell, Steve Clemons or Barbara Slavin.  If they present as 'informed' but they refuse to pronounce Saddam Hussein or Bashar al-Assad's name properly (it's not "Sodom" it's not "  I realize it's way too much to expect these idiots to learn the language but they can at least learn to pronounce properly -- although, let's be honest, they intentionally distort the names. In doing so, they sound as stupid as they really are.   You didn't want to learn Arabic?  Got it.  But if you can't even pronounce someone's name right (even in an English version of Arabic), why the hell should we listen to you?  (Add in that you refer to "Don Rumsfeld" and call him "a remarkable man.")

You can catch Steve Clemons tired act on Democracy Now! today.  Tariq Ali wipes the floor with him.  Clemons lacks facts, mispronounces and that new 'do' really brings out the Lynndie England in his broad, round face.

What has Steve pissing his panties this morning?  That Barack might not get his attack on Syria.

Guy Faulconbridge and Andrew Osborn (Reuters) report UK Prime Minister David Cameron is being forced to take the matter to Parliament, "After imploring the world not to stand idly by over Syria's suspected use of chemical weapons, Cameron was forced into an awkward climbdown on Wednesday when the opposition Labour party and lawmakers in his own party said they wanted more evidence before voting for military action."

The move was actually started by MP Diane Abbot who made clear her opposition earlier this week.  Having taken principled stands before, Abbot's position had credence.   As George Eaton (New Statesman) noted yesterday, Ed Miliband then stood up and showed real leadership:

 He announced on Twitter that the party would table an amendment to the government's (then non-existent) motion requiring Cameron to return to the Commons to consult MPs after the UN team had reported on the Ghouta massacre. He added: "Parliament must tomorrow agree criteria for action, not write a blank cheque." Labour sources subsequently briefed that were the amendment not accepted, the party would vote against the motion.

As Ed knows,  the move also further draws a line between Labour and Tony Blair -- something desperately needed if Labour is going to return to power in the near future.

BBC News reports, "Labour now says it will vote against a watered-down motion on the "principle" of launching military action.  Mr Cameron was not confident of gaining the backing of MPs for military action without Labour's support, as a number of Tory and Lib Dem MPs were expected to rebel."  And the people are beginning to rebel as well.   This is Sarah Ensor's "'Don't Bomb Syria' protesters block Whitehall" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Up to 1,000 people blocked Whitehall and stopped traffic in central London yesterday evening, Wednesday, against David Cameron’s threat to bomb Syria.

The Stop the War Coalition (STW) called the protest at short notice once the British and US governments looked set for an immediate attack Syria. The current crisis began with a chemical weapons attack in Damascus last week.

The British parliament has been recalled for today, Thursday, to discuss an attack. The degree of hostility to intervention is so high that Cameron has had to retreat from voting on an immediate attack.

Obi, a student from London, was on her first demonstration. She told Socialist Worker, “This is a very flammable situation and the West could escalate it. Intervention won’t help the situation—we’ll just add fuel to the fire.”

Front bench Labour MP Diane Abbott addressed the crowd, saying she wanted to put it “beyond doubt” that she would vote against an attack.

Stop the War chair Jeremy Corbyn MP also spoke. Other speakers included Steve Hedley from RMT the transport union—who called for civil disobedience—and Mark Campbell, chair of Kurdish Federation in Britain.

Some tension was caused when a small group of protesters began actively shouting support for dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Support for Assad annoyed Syrian protester Sana Al Awabdh, who told Socialist Worker, “We’ve had two years of foreign intervention already with Iran and Hizbollah from Lebanon helping Assad. It’s beginning to be civil war.

“But it was a revolution in the beginning and still is a revolution because many of the Free Syrian Army fighters just want freedom.”
National demonstration: No attack on Syria
Saturday 31 August, assemble 12 noon, Temple Place (nearest tube Temple), London WC2R
Called by Stop the War and CND.

The protest against Britain bombing Syria last night
The protest against Britain bombing Syria last night (Pic: Guy Smallman)

In the US, Congressional critique has been led by Senator Rand Paul.  Alex Pappas (Daily Caller) notes that Paul has argued an attack on Syria is without any US "national security" rationale. And as in England, it's taking only one person to stand (and survive a flurry of attacks) for others to start questioning.  Michael O'Brien and Tom Curry (NBC News) report:

A growing minority of lawmakers in both parties are demanding that President Barack Obama seek approval from Congress before launching an attack against Syria.
Most senior leaders in Congress appear content with the administration’s efforts to keep lawmakers abreast of what appears to be a fast-approaching military response to Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against opponents in that country’s protracted civil war.
But ahead of any possible military action, a chorus of voices is calling for at least a Congressional debate, if not an explicit vote authorizing the use of force. 

David Lightman and William Douglas (McClatchy) add, "House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio on Wednesday wrote a lengthy letter to the president, asking about the administration’s objectives. It came after a day of mounting concern among lawmakers anxious for an explanation for the possible action against Syria."  And Rebecca Shabad (The Hill) reports, "More than 100 lawmakers, including 18 Democrats, have signed a letter that says President Obama would violate the Constitution by striking Syria without first getting authorization from Congress.  A total of 116 lawmakers had signed the letter as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, highlighting bipartisan interest and growing momentum in ensuring a role for Congress in any decision to use force in Syria."

So where do things stand? In conversations with two friends at the White House this morning, I heard that Barack wants England along as "fig leaf" to cover for any outrage/fallout domestically in the US.  He wants to be able to point to America's 'historical ally' if the whole thing goes horribly wrong so he's got an out and doesn't have to own his action all by himself.  France alone is not thought to cut it because it wasn't that long ago (2002 and 2003) in which not only Republicans but large segments of the press were actively ridiculing France.

If Cameron loses to Parliament, does that stop Barack from acting?

No, not necessarily but Barack prefers a fall guy to pretend his own hands are clean.  "If only [Hillary] Clinton were still here" it was lamented, noting how Barack would quickly rush to play up her judgment and approval of the action so it could be pinned on her if it all went wrong.

Don't think this is over.  Right now, Barack's just looking for a fall guy and he's never had a hard time in his life finding one of those.

On The New American Dream Radio Show,  Progressive UK editor Denis Campbell and French novelist Albert Russo are the guests tonight of hosts Chuck Gregory and Mike Palecek.   The show streams live at 7:30 EST, 6:30 Central and 4:30 Pacific. You can also use the link to listen to previously aired programs.

We'll close with this from the Center for Constitutional Rights:

Joint Statement of Muslim Advocates and CCR in Response to NYPD Designating Mosques as Terrorist Organizations
August 28, 2013, New York – Today, in response to revelations that the NYPD has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations, Muslim Advocates and the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
Today, the Associated Press revealed that the New York Police Department (NYPD) has designated entire swaths of Americans as "terrorists" without evidence of wrongdoing, simply because of their faith. This disturbing reminder of the urgent need for police reform in NYC comes on the 50th anniversary of the historic march in Washington DC, where brave and determined Americans convened with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to demand an end to the second-class citizen status of millions of Americans. The revelation that the NYPD has been secretly marking mosques as terrorism organizations, recording sermons in places of worship, and then spying on anyone who enters those mosques is shocking and is yet more evidence that the NYPD is trampling on Americans' fundamental rights and freedoms. Through its policy, anyone can be labeled a terrorist, spied on, and land in an NYPD file.  The NYPD’s program does active harm to victims of surveillance not only in New York City but beyond.  Our New Jersey clients have been marginalized, stigmatized and intimidated just for participating in daily activities that others take for granted – worshipping at religious services, going to school, attending a meeting of a college student organization, or even dining at a certain restaurant.   And the “public safety benefits” to New Yorkers are a myth.  In more than ten years of conducting this discriminatory program, the NYPD has obtained no leads at all.   NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and the department must stop egregious discriminatory policies that single out individuals simply because of how they pray.
Muslim Advocates and the Center for Constitutional Rights are co-counsel in Hassan v. City of New York, a lawsuit filed by American Muslims challenging the legality of the NYPD’s discriminatory surveillance program in New Jersey.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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