Jill Stein on U.S. Policy in the Mideast

My regular readers know that I am thinking Green and that I firmly believe that foreign policy will be the most telling of issue in this election….

I have written extensively about the positions of the two major candidates and their issues on foreign policy….but I have written very little on the stands of the Green Party candidate, Dr. Jill Stein……and then I found an interview with her on this subject…..

The foreign policy positions of third-party candidates haven’t received a great deal of media attention in the 2016 presidential election, but that could change in the weeks ahead as polls continue to tighten in crucial battleground states.

“[M]ost voters think/assume that Clinton is going to win. That can de-motivate turnout, or shift votes to [third] parties,” tweeted elections analyst Nate Silver.

RealClearWorld had the opportunity this week to discuss a variety of foreign policy issues with Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein. This email interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Source: Jill Stein on U.S. Policy in the Mideast | RealClearWorld

Nothing in this interview would change my mind on Dr. Stein…..her answers to the few questions were commonsense answers that I can live with….

Voters need to look at all aspects of their candidates positions….just to follow someone because of rhetoric is sheer lunacy…..look what it has wrought in the last 50 years…..

These may not make sense to you….but to anyone that knows about international relations they make perfect sense and are positions that could end many of the conflicts we do NOT need.

That’s it for today my friends…I am off to lecture…..will be back tomorrow….

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The Meaning of Political Protest

On this day in 1784 America’s first daily newspaper, Packet and Daily, hits the streets.

For most of my adult life I have been on the front lines of political protest….not so much these days….age and a handicap  has kept me sidelined with only words and moral support have been my only tools.

In the past I have been a protester on many issues….labor, war, military spending, etc…..I think that there is no greater stand than to stand for something good…..

The younger generation is not as committed as us old farts…they protests but it is more about their personal relationship with the economics of the state….not about principles…..

Political protests are the foundation of what makes this country what it is and without the ability to protest and make ones voice heard, we continue down this dangerous path of conflating the true meaning of the word democracy while condemning its actual practice. People who only identify themselves as patriotic by standing up during the national anthem or saluting the American flag when it’s presented before them are falsely identifying what it means to be an American.

Patriotism can reveal itself in different ways and does not require the application of standing for a song that has racist historical roots, or standing for a flag of a country that was started under the contradictory promotion of freedom and slavery. Our country has a complicated history and to be a patriot in the most basic terms one is allowed to look at the country with questionable pride and demand that things can be better and you want that change for everyone. The idea of only connecting patriotism to the the military belittles the true flexibility and development of freedom and oversimplifies the identity of what makes America the country we all speak of.

Source: The Meaning of Political Protest

Millennials have a singer, John Mayer, that had a hit song “Waiting for the world to change”………My advice is do not wait for change….force it!

Syria: OOPS! Our Bad!

Last week the powers involved in the fight in Syria were pleased with themselves…..after months of talks there is a ceasefire in place……there have been some violations but for the most part the ceasefire has held for 5 days and counting…..

Everyone was certain that it would not last….that there are too many players for all of them to act as responsibly as the US…..

And then the news broke…….

Syrian government warplanes and special forces on Sunday destroyed several positions of ISIS in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour. The advance regained territory lost Saturday when Syrian troops were accidentally hit with airstrikes by the US-led coalition, reports the AP. The incident has threatened an already-fragile US and Russian-brokered ceasefire that has largely held despite dozens of alleged violations on both sides. The Syrian Foreign Ministry called the strikes a “dangerous and blatant aggression.” The ministry’s statement, sent to the presidents of the United Nations and the UN Security Council, said US warplanes repeatedly attacked Syrian army positions Saturday in strikes that were “on purpose and planned in advance,” and killed dozens of soldiers.

Russia’s military said at least 62 soldiers were killed in the Deir el-Zour air raid and more than 100 wounded. On Sunday, the state-run SANA news agency quoted an unnamed military official as saying that dozens of ISIS fighters were killed in the offensive on Tharda mountain under cover of Syrian airstrikes; ISIS had claimed its fighters captured Tharda mountain. The Syrian military official said government troops had regained control of areas the extremists captured, “as a result of the American aircraft aggression.” Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said ISIS fighters shot down a Syrian warplane over Tharda mountain, adding that its pilot was killed. The Observatory said intense strikes by Russian warplanes have killed at least 38 ISIS fighters since Saturday.

After all the finger pointing and accusations….it would seem that the US and its air power have destroyed a fragile ceasefire.

In the defense of the Deir Ezzor Airport, the Syrian military has long depended on an army base in Jebel Tharda to repel ISIS advances. That base has been lost this weekend, after a disastrous series of US-led airstrikes killed a large number of Syrian troops defending the base, and ISIS quickly overran what was left.

For over 20 minutes, the coalition warplanes attacked the base. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attack killed at least 83 Syrian troops and wounded 120 others. The US Central Command claimed they thought the base belonged to ISIS.

It does now. With the forces decimated by the US attack, ISIS quickly overran the base. Syrian state media claimed an ongoing effort to recover the site, but it does not appear to have been successful yet, as ISIS managed to shoot down a Syrian warplane, flying out of Deir Ezzor Airport, over Jebel Tharda.

Never ask what could go wrong….just a thought.

While writing this post it became official……

Syria’s military command has declared the US-Russian brokered ceasefire over, blaming the country’s rebel groups for undermining the agreement that lasted seven days, reports the AP. In a statement Monday, the Syrian military said that “armed terrorist groups” repeatedly violated the ceasefire that came into effect last week. It said the armed groups also took advantage of the truce to mobilize and arm themselves while attacking government-held areas. The statement said the rebels wasted a “real chance” to stop the bloodshed. Activists and rebel groups also accuse the government of violating the ceasefire. The UN said the Syrian government has obstructed the delivery of aid, a key component of the deal.

Speaking earlier Monday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, US Secretary of State John Kerry said some humanitarian assistance is moving. The truce took effect last Monday with the goal of creating a joint US-Russia military facility to coordinate airstrikes on ISIS and an al-Qaeda affiliate. That was to be set up after seven days of reduced violence and sustained aid deliveries to Aleppo and other areas. Syrian state TV earlier quoted President Bashar al-Assad as saying that the airstrike of the US-led coalition against his troops was meant to support ISIS. Assad described the attack that killed dozens of Syrian soldiers in the eastern province of Deir ez-Zour as a “blatant American aggression.”

Who Was Witold Pilecki?

In these days of all the “patriotism” goons that have lots to say but are real short on acts…..there are heroes and those that pretend to be heroes…..there are those that wrap themselves in a flag and speak loud and then there are those that do with little said…..Witold Pilecki was a hero….

But who was Witold Pilecki?

Witold Pilecki was a soldier of the Second Polish Republic, the founder of the Secret Polish Army Polish resistance group, and a member of the Home Army. He is now recognized as the only known person to volunteer to be imprisoned at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.

Pilecki was born on May 13, 1901 in Karelia, Russia where his family had been forcibly resettled by Tsarist Russian authorities after the suppression of Poland‘s January Uprising of 1863-1864. In 1910, Pilecki moved with his family to Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania) where he joined the secret ZHP Scouts organization. In 1918, during World War I, Pilecki joined Polish self-defense units in the Wilno area with which he helped collect weapons and disarm retreating German troops in what became the prelude to the Vilna offensive. During the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920, Pilecki commanded a ZHP Scout section that was overrun by the Bolsheviks. He later joined the regular Polish Army and fought in the Polish retreat from Kiev. On August 5, 1920, Pilecki joined the 211th Uhlan Regiment and fought in the Battle of Warsaw and at Rudniki Forest and took part in the liberation of Wilno.

During World War II, Pilecki smuggled himself into Auschwitz under the false name Tomasz Serafinski in 1940 and began recruiting members for an underground resistance group that he organized into a coherent movement. He began sending information about what was going on inside the camp and confirming that the Nazis were seeking the extermination of the Jews to Britain and the United States as early as 1941. Pilecki used a courier system that the Polish Resistance operated throughout occupied Europe to channel the reports to the Allies. Documents released from the Polish Archives that provided details of these reports again raised questions as to why the Allies, particularly Winston Churchill, never did anything to put an end to the atrocities being committed that they learned of so early in the war.

In 1944, Pilecki was captured while fighting in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 and spent the rest of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp. He joined the Free Polish troops in Italy in July of 1945 and agreed to return to Poland and gather intelligence on its takeover by the Soviets. Pilecki was caught by the Polish Communist regime, tortured, interrogated on his espionage, and executed following a trial at which he was given three death sentences. Pilecki was executed on May 25, 1948 at Warsaw’s Mokotow Prison.

Now that my friends is the definition of a hero.

2016: The Slight Stink Of Authoritarianism

Finally the Right turds have their attack that they can write about ad nauseum…..they have had little to go on about other than the Clinton health “scare”…..now they will have their “told you so” moment.

But I digress.

By now the clownish process of picking a president has become a puke-fest……for people that think campaigns should be about issues then this time you are sadly disappointed…..this time around it has NOTHING to do with the issues and everything to do with the manure of the candidates.

This election has seen an issue that most thought was not possible in this country……that of the rise of authoritarianism.

It is interesting that those that support Trump cannot see it….even if they look up the characteristics they still do not believe what they read.  Then when confronted with the facts and they still will not see the similarities leads me to believe that they support his rhetoric totally….all the hate, vile and the bigotry.

Because they can find nothing in his rhetoric that is objectionable–they must agree with his total message.

Amazing that the same message has been spouted in Europe for a long time from the far Right…….and it is the same message that is uttered by Mr. Trump……disguised as “Make America Great Again” con.

The more I watch and read the rhetoric of Donald Trump, the more I find myself at times unexpectedly reflecting on some lessons I learned in the Central European country of Slovakia when I was a Fulbright Fellow there in 2002, and had as my host a man who was a member of the Slovak parliament and a prominent politician in that nation’s right wing, fascist-leaning political party. The similarities between Trump’s rhetoric and that of my host and his right wing platform are striking. It is unlikely this shared rhetoric is another case of plagiarism by the Trump campaign, since I suspect Trump is no student of post-communist politics, but there is no doubt the similarity stands as an example of how those with authoritarian interests gravitate to the same themes and attempt to tap the same anger and the same common fears among those they hope to control.  While he is trying to soften some of his rhetoric now in order to gain credibility for a general election, the fact remains that Trump’s interests are authoritarian, and his previous tactics were successful because he followed the authoritarian playbook for mobilizing anger and fear. Having witnessed up-close how such characters justify their authoritarian motives, the only thing I have found surprising about Trump’s rise is not that it could happen in the U.S., but that it could happen to a person who lacks what I thought was a requisite charisma to bear forth such rhetoric. My host in Slovakia had such charisma, and while I was never mesmerized by it or lost my bearings in relationship to it, I did get to glimpse how such a person with such beliefs gains support.

Source: Donald Trump Is a Typical Authoritarian Right out of Central Europe — I’ve Seen Them Up Close | Alternet

I do not want to use the “F” word….but it does have a slight odor about it.

Trump is even sounding like some of the European old time Far Righties……

The British vote on EU membership could be an early sign of a European political tsunami, as insurgent political parties across the continent use referendums as their weapon of choice to challenge the traditional political elites. From the Brexit vote to Hungary’s upcoming referendum on the EU’s migrant resettlement plans, how is Europe’s foreign policy being affected? Douglas Carswell, UKIP MP for Clacton, gives his opinion

The rhetoric in the US during this election should have the voter concerned….but it appears as if none seem to notice the tone and the implications during this time.