Tag Archives: Americans

How Western media would cover Baltimore if it happened elsewhere

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April 30

If what is happening in Baltimore happened in a foreign country, here is how Western media would cover it:

International leaders expressed concern over the rising tide of racism and state violence in America, especially concerning the treatment of ethnic minorities in the country and the corruption in state security forces around the country when handling cases of police brutality. The latest crisis is taking place in Baltimore, Maryland, a once-bustling city on the country’s Eastern Seaboard, where an unarmed man named Freddie Gray died from a severed spine while in police custody.

Black Americans, a minority ethnic group, are killed by state security forces at a rate higher than the white majority population. Young, black American males are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than white American males.

The United Kingdom expressed concern over the troubling turn of events in America in the last several months. The country’s foreign ministry released a statement: “We call on the American regime to rein in the state security agents who have been brutalizing members of America’s ethnic minority groups. The equal application of the rule of law, as well as the respect for human rights of all citizens, black or white, is essential for a healthy democracy.” Britain has always maintained a keen interest in America, a former colony.

Palestine has offered continued assistance to American pro-democracy activists, sending anti-tear-gas kits to those protesting police brutality in various American cities. Egyptian pro-democracy groups have also said they will be sharing their past experience with U.S.-made counter-protest weapons.

A statement from the United Nations said, “We condemn the militarization and police brutality that we have seen in recent months in America, and we strongly urge American state security forces to launch a full investigation into the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. There is no excuse for excessive police violence.” The U.N. called on the United States to make a concerted effort to make databases of police violence public to improve transparency and cut down on corruption in the justice system.

International analysts predict the seeds of a so-called “American Spring,” fomented by technology. “It’s amazing what social media is doing for the cause of justice in America,” said a political rights analyst based in Geneva. “The black youth of America are showing what 21st-century civil rights activism looks like, using technology, social media and a decentralized organizing strategy to hold authorities accountable and agitate for change. These kids represent what modern-day freedom fighting looks like. The revolution will be tweeted, Periscope-d and Snapchatted.”

Local leaders in the American township of Baltimore imposed a state of martial law this week after peaceful protests turned violent. In response, countries around the world have advised darker-skinned nationals against non-essential travel to areas noted for state violence against unarmed people of color, especially in recent hot spots such as New York, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Ohio, California, Michigan, Virginia and now Maryland.

International human rights groups have appealed to the global community to facilitate asylum for America’s ethnic black minorities. When asked whether the European Union was willing to take on more black refugees risking their lives in fleeing American state violence, an E.U. human rights spokesman said: “More black refugees? We are dealing with our own Mediterranean crisis, so now is not really a good time for that for us. Furthermore, we believe in American solutions to American problems.” The African Union has not responded to requests for comment.

American government officials took to state media, characterizing the protesters as “thugs,” a racially coded word increasingly used to describe black males in America. Commentators in national media have frequently compared the protesters and riots to various characters and events from the popular television series “The Wire,” set in early-2000s Baltimore.

America’s ethnic blacks have been displaced from many of their communities due to a phenomenon experts on the region call “gentrification,” when wealthier residents move into a lower-income area. Baltimore is no exception to this trend, with some areas seeing home values rise as much as 137 percent after corporate dollars move in on opportunities in poverty-stricken areas.

Resident Joe Smith, a member of the white majority ethnic group, said outside of a brand-new Starbucks near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, “I don’t know why these blacks are destroying their own communities. Why don’t these people follow Martin Luther King’s example? Those guys got it good from the police back then too, but they didn’t try to rise up and fight back and make everyone uncomfortable, you know?”

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‘Try not paying your gas bill for just 3 months, see what happens’

Russia has to stop gas subsidies to Ukraine as it cannot keep supporting the bankrupt anti-Russian regime in Kiev, energy asset manager Eric Kraus told RT, adding that it will be the EU’s problem if Ukraine eventually starts stealing their transit gas.

RT: Ukraine says it wants heavily discounted gas from Russia. Does it have grounds to ask for that?

Eric Kraus: I think it is fairly absurd considering that you have a strongly anti-Russian regime which has been brought into place by the Europeans and by the Americans in Kiev. You can’t really ask the Russians to fund this regime, can you?

RT: On the other hand, Russia has doubled prices in the span of just a few months, perhaps some calling that too harsh?

EK: It is harsh, but basically what they did is not double prices. What they did is they removed subsidies.

Russia has been very heavily subsidizing Ukraine, since Ukraine became independent, because they needed a friendly, at least a neutral state at their border. Now if Ukraine wants to align itself with NATO and basically anti-Russian countries, then they are going to have to pay their own way.

RT: The US says Russia’s blackmailing Ukraine and Europe and says Moscow should not use gas as a political weapon. And president Putin reacted to the statements joking, it is bad to read other people’s correspondence. What is your reaction?

EK: First of all for the Americans to accuse anyone of using economic blackmail is a major case of the pot calling the kettle black. They have been threatening illegal sanctions against Russia for weeks. So, who is using the blackmail here? And secondly, yes, the letter was not addressed to the American president.

RT: Ukraine hasn’t paid for gas in three months. What are Russia’s options now?

EK: Try not paying your gas bill for three months and then see what happens. Basically at some point Russia says it sells gas for money and at some point if the client does not pay, they have to close it off.

The problem is then, the danger is that Ukraine will start siphoning off the Russian gas which is being provided to Europe. And the Europeans brought this upon themselves. It is a European problem. They’re going to have to solve it. They can simply pay for Ukraine’s gas if they wish.

RT: There have been reports that several petroleum companies have allegedly discovered a mother lode of shale gas in Western Ukraine, near the European border. What kind of implications could that bring to the table?

EK: We have been hearing about the Ukrainian shale gas for a long time. All of the attempts to produce thus far have been failures, as has been the case for Polish shale gas. The geology is somewhat different. I don’t know if this time it is for real, but it will have major implications for the European, at least for Ukrainian gas supply. But I would be very skeptical until we see this confirmed.

RT: Who do you think is to blame at the end of the day for the crisis in Ukraine?

EK: I think it has started as a democratic movement against particularly corrupt and incompetent president who was never Mr. Putin’s choice by the way. Mr. Putin never liked Yanukovich.

Unfortunately as the revolutionary movement progressed, it was replaced by a vanguard of neo-fascists of far right wing parties which then took power by violence ,and are now complaining of eastern Ukrainians seeking to take power by that same violence.

The problem has been that the Europeans and the Americans have been attempting to use this. They are not concerned with the interests of the Ukrainian people. There is a game of power politics here and they are trying to push Russia into a corner and Ukraine provides convenient means of doing so.

 RT Op-Edge.

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Obama defends NSA programs during rare White House press conference

United States President Barack defended the surveillance tactics used by the National Security Agency during a rare press conference from the White House on Friday in which he denied allegations that the NSA has abused those programs.

Earlier this week an independent review panel selected by the president to audit the NSA’s operations in the midst of a far-reaching surveillance scandal supplied the White House with a report containing 46 recommendations for the intelligence agency.

“Over the next several weeks I’m going to assess, based on conversations not just with the intelligence community but others in government and outside of government, how we might apply and incorporate their recommendations,” Pres. Obama said Friday afternoon during his last scheduled press conference of 2013.

“I think they did an excellent job,” he said of the five-person Review Group.

The president will wait until January to decide what suggestions, if any, the NSA should heed, however, but during his exchange with journalists on Friday he again dismissed accusations that the spy agency has unlawfully conducted surveillance operations.

Compelling telecommunication companies daily for the phone data pertaining to millions of Americans is not on par with “domestic surveillance,” the president said, instead insisting that “having that data in one place and retained for a certain period of time” is a crucial counterterrorism tool. Among the recommendations made in the Review Group’s 208-page report are relying on the telecoms or another third-party to hold into that data, which the president said on Friday “is possible.”

“I think it’s important to note that in all the reviews of this program that have been done, in fact, there have not been actual instances where it’s been alleged that the NSA in some ways acted inappropriately in the use of this data,” Obama continued. “But what is also clear is from the public debate, people are concerned about the prospect, the possibility of abuse.”

On the contrary, though, a federal judge in Washington, DC wrote earlier this week that the dragnet collection of telephony metadata is likely unconstitutional and that the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against the Obama administration can have an injunction protecting themselves from having their own phone records collected by the NSA. And despite the president’s claim, in another instance the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — the body that approves these programs — accused the NSA of having NSA “frequently and systematically violated” its own oversight requirements,

Should the White House agree to reform that and other practices, the president said the intelligence community would be without a tool that’s been hailed by proponents of the agency’s operations as critical for national security.

“The question we’re going to have to ask is can we accomplish the same goals that this program is intended to accomplish in ways that give the public more confidence that in fact the NSA is doing what it’s supposed to be doing,” Obama said. “I have confidence in the fact that the NSA is not engaging in domestic surveillance or snooping around, but I also recognize that as technologies change and people can start running algorithms and programs that map out all the information that we’re downloading on a daily basis into our telephones and our computers that we may have to refine this further to give people more confidence. And I’m going to be working very hard on doing that.”

Fox reporter Ed Henry was quick to follow up the president’s remark by reminding the commander-in-chief that just six months earlier he said his administration struck “the right balance” between security and privacy concerns with regards to the NSA’s operations.

“You can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, then I think we’ve struck the right balance,” Henry quoted from a statement made by the president on June 7 — two days after the media began to report on the NSA’s metadata collection program due to leaked documents disclosed by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

“That was only six months ago,” Henry said. “Now, there’s judges are saying no; your own panel is saying no; even you’re saying no, we haven’t really struck the right balance, perhaps, that changes have to be made.”

“My question is, were you wrong then because you were not fully read in, not just on these programs, but on other programs, outside of the ones you just talked about, where we were potentially listening in on the German leaders, the Brazilian leaders and others, that suggest there were abuses, number one?” he asked. “On surveillance, you looked the American people in the eye six months ago and said, we’ve got the right balance. And six months later, you’re saying, maybe not.”

“What is absolutely clear to me,” the president responded, “is that given the public debate that’s taken place and the disclosures that have taken place over the last several months that this is only going to work if the American people have confidence and trust.”

That confidence could come through way of reform, the president suggested, which some say would not have been possible without Snowden sharing those files with the media.

 

 

Obama’s New Imperial Decree | FrontPage Magazine

For purely partisan reasons, the Obama administration cynically unveiled extra-legal plans on the eve of Thanksgiving to unilaterally delay the launch of a website for small businesses to select plans through federal health care insurance exchanges.It’s just the latest sleazy political move by the Community-Organizer-in-Chief to salvage his party’s fading electoral prospects by delaying at least some of the approaching tens of millions of health insurance policy cancellations until after the national vote next November.

It is also a sign of the Obama White House’s growing desperation over the political ramifications surrounding the grotesque failings of Obamacare. The administration said Wednesday it will unilaterally delay the upcoming launch of the online portal for small businesses. The website, which would allow small businesses to window-shop plans through the federal health insurance exchanges, won’t be ready for another year.

President Obama, whose political stature seems to shrink almost hourly, is feverishly trying to keep congressional Democrats aboard his sinking political ship. On Capitol Hill, Democratic lawmakers are now openly panicking at the damage the growing public backlash over Obamacare is going to inflict on their standings in the next Congress. Recent developments suggest that an electoral tsunami is developing that threatens to drown Democrats and give Republicans a healthy majority in the Senate.

The new one-year small business signup delay is just the latest in a series of unilaterally imposed deadline changes. One allows consumers to enroll until Dec. 23 — instead of Dec. 15 — to get coverage in time for the new year. The president also announced plans to push back the beginning of individual enrollment next year from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, or after the 2014 midterm congressional elections. Obama has no legal authority to do this but he doesn’t care.

As Obama, a one-time part-time constitutional law lecturer ought to know, obstructing the implementation of a duly enacted federal law by refusing to enforce it in order to secure partisan political advantage almost certainly rises to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” as the Framers of the Constitution recognized when they wrote the presidential impeachment provision in Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution. Of course, hardly a day goes by in Obama’s increasingly imperial presidency without the Chief Executive creating new grounds for his own impeachment, and so this latest outrage is, unfortunately, barely newsworthy.

The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) that is being delayed was supposed to help small businesses by providing tax credits that could be used to defray the cost of premiums, according to the Washington Times.

“In the case of SHOP, the administration said that online tool won’t be ready until November 2014. Department of Health and Human Services officials said they are still allowing enrollment through agents, brokers and insurers in the federal marketplace.

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees, which are not required to offer coverage under the Affordable Care Act, can compare plans online starting Dec. 1, even if they have to rely on non-Internet applications to qualify for tax credits and gain coverage for employees, officials said.”

Republicans say this is the latest indication that Obamacare should be repealed outright.

“The president bit off more than he can chew with this health care law, and small businesses are now forced to bear the consequences,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio).

House Small Business Committee chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said that “another last-minute delay is just more proof that the law is unworkable and beyond the capabilities of the administration.” He added, “if small firms failed to provide services this frequently, they would be fired.”

Although Obamacare critics may be enjoying some well-deserved schadenfreude at the expense of the Obama administration as the bureaucratically bungled HealthCare.gov enrollment website launched Oct. 1 continues to malfunction, the president’s law is still helping to wreak havoc among health care consumers and cause upheaval in the health care industry, just as it was designed to do. No websites have to be functioning properly in order for Obamacare to collapse the system.

Government officials are still trying to fix the federal website, which is used in the 36 states that chose not to create their own health insurance exchanges. They say the website should be working for the “vast majority” of users in the individual market this weekend, but they’re probably guilty of wishful thinking at best, or of lying, at worst.

Health insurers have already dropped –or in Obama-speak, “transitioned”– at least five million Americans from their health plans despite President Obama’s oft-repeated promise that under Obamacare all Americans would be allowed to keep their current policies. And tens of millions more –perhaps more than 1 in 2 of all persons insured through their employers– will be pushed over the cliff next year as various provisions of the Affordable Care Act come into force.

Calculating left-wingers counted on being able to blame the insurance companies for the wave of policy cancellations, but so far the public isn’t buying it. Americans know President Obama lied over and over again about how Obamacare would work and his already-abysmal public approval ratings continue to fall. Too many people are experiencing real hardship as the Affordable Care Act causes their insurance to be canceled — and they know who to blame for their pain and suffering.

Stung by public anger and his rapidly plunging approval ratings, President Obama cried crocodile tears earlier this month as he tendered his now-infamous non-apology apology for lying about Americans being able to keep their plans.

Around that time he also proposed delaying the cancellation of existing health care insurance policies for one year. The House of Representatives responded quickly, approving Congressman Fred Upton’s (R-Mich.) quixotic legislation that would supposedly allow Americans to keep their insurance plans. No one knows how the statute would actually work in the real world.

The legal infrastructure of the health care insurance market has been changed. Policies were canceled because they don’t subsidize all the new services that Obamacare mandates. Those policies no longer exist for a reason. Insurers can’t just push a button and bring them back into existence.

Obama’s bizarre pronouncements reflect leftists’ disdain and ignorance of market processes, and the president’s determination to proceed in defiance of those processes. A locomotive going 60 miles per hour can’t stop instantly when brakes are activated. Nor can the Obamacare juggernaut which has so many moving parts spread out over such a wide area that locking up one part of the beast won’t stop it from continuing to barrel forward.

But Obama wants to have a Communist Chinese-style rubber-stamp Congress for the final two years of his presidency.

As Obama sees it, in order to accomplish this almost unprecedented feat he has to distance himself from the most visible damage that is being inflicted on society by his signature legislative achievement. He has to pretend to try to mitigate the damage done by Obamacare.

Obama will do whatever he feels he has to do, including lying and demonizing Republicans, in order to gain total control over Congress.

Strap yourself in for 11 months of intensified class warfare, overblown rhetoric, and shameless mendacity.

Obama’s New Imperial Decree | FrontPage Magazine.

CBS Finally Reports: Benghazi a Planned Attack | FrontPage Magazine

The Obama White House said last July that it considers the controversy over the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack to be one of the “phony scandals” that President Obama had accused his adversaries of exploiting to distract the American people from more important issues. But there is nothing phony or distracting about insisting on the unvarnished truth regarding the death of four American public servants at the hands of al Qaeda on the anniversary of 9/11.

“We’re here to kill Americans,” were the chilling words the al Qaeda jihadists used as they undertook their attack that claimed the lives of the four brave Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, John Christopher Stevens. The victims’ families deserve to know the truth. The American people deserve the truth. More than a year later, however, the Obama administration has continued its stonewalling, preferring instead to cast stones at those who insist on accountability for what happened.

By now, Obama and his apologists have probably convinced themselves that they had successfully buried the Benghazi scandal for good. Indeed, much of the mainstream press has been complicit in Obama’s wall of silence, leaving Fox News and some persistent Republican congressmen and senators to try to unravel the web of lies while facing charges of bias and partisanship.

To this day, nobody has been held accountable for the failure beforehand to provide adequate security for Americans in Benghazi, for the stand-down order issued in the midst of the fighting that prevented a possible rescue, or for the cover-up that tried to falsely characterize the pre-meditated jihadist attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound and CIA facility known as the Annex as some sort of spontaneous mob reaction to an anti-Islam video. But the truth has a way of emerging sooner or later. Finally, the wall of silence, fortified by a pliant mainstream media, is beginning to crack.

CBS News put Benghazi back on the front burner with a scathing report on “60 Minutes” this past Sunday. The “60 Minutes” twitter that supplemented the TV report concluded: “Contrary to early WH statements, Benghazi was a planned, sophisticated attack by Al Qaeda against the barely protected American compound.”

That’s a 180 degree turn from last year when CBS News helped the Obama administration deep six during the presidential campaign a clip of an interview for “60 Minutes” with President Obama on Sept. 12, 2012, one day after the Benghazi attack. In the originally unaired clip, Obama suggested that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was premeditated, rather than a spontaneous reaction to an obnoxious video that became the administration’s talking point.

CBS News correspondent Lara Logan, no shrinking violet as she proved during a personal assault she suffered at the hands of Islamists while reporting from Cairo, delivered the no-holds-barred account of the Benghazi saga. She better have a tough skin. Her CBS colleague Sharyl Attkisson, who had been looking into Benghazi as well as the Fast and Furious scandal, discovered that her computer was hacked by an unauthorized party on multiple occasions.

Lara Logan interviewed several individuals with first-hand knowledge of the mounting security concerns during the months preceding the attacks. Their concerns were conveyed to Washington and ignored. She interviewed “Morgan Jones” (pseudonym), a former British soldier involved with training the unarmed Libyan security force who manned the Benghazi compound’s gates. While performing his duties, he noticed that the separate armed militia hired by the State Department to defend the compound in the event of an attack were not up to the job. “I was saying, ‘These guys are no good. You need to– you need to get ‘em out of here,’” he told Ms. Logan. The warnings went unheeded.

Ambassador Stevens’ deputy based in Tripoli, Greg Hicks – a 22-year veteran of the Foreign Service who testified earlier this year before Congress – told Ms. Logan that, after already having been rebuffed twice in his request for additional security assets, he “was in the process of trying to frame a third request but it was not allowed to go forward.”

There were also clear warning signs that senior Obama administration officials chose to ignore. Green Beret Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wood, who was one of the top American security officials in Libya where he remained until three months before the attack, was quoted by Lara Logan as saying: “We have learned the U.S. already knew that this man, senior al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi was in Libya, tasked by the head of al Qaeda to establish a clandestine terrorist network inside the country.” It was not until more than a year after the attacks that this al Qaeda leader was arrested by U.S. forces in Libya and then transported to New York City where he will face a trial in federal court on prior charges relating to his alleged role in bombing two U.S. embassies in Africa.

The failure of the Obama administration to heed multiple warnings to more effectively secure the Benghazi facilities in time and capture or eliminate Bu Anas al-Libi before he could carry out his al Qaeda mission was inexcusable in itself. But the failure to use all possible resources to attempt a rescue of Americans while they were actually under attack was a case of wilful abandonment.

Here is a chilling exchange between Lara Logan and Greg Hicks:

Lara Logan: You have this conversation with the defense attache. You ask him what military assets are on their way. And he says–

Greg Hicks: Effectively, they’re not. And I– for a moment, I just felt lost. I just couldn’t believe the answer. And then I made the call to the Annex chief, and I told him, ‘Listen, you’ve gotta tell those guys there may not be any help coming.’

Lara Logan: That’s a tough thing to understand. Why?

Greg Hicks: It just is. We–, for us, for the people that go out onto the edge, to represent our country, we believe that if we get in trouble, they’re coming to get us. That our back is covered. To hear that it’s not, it’s a terrible, terrible experience.

Who gave the stand-down order? Where was the commander-in-chief during the seven hours of the attacks? These are among the many lingering questions that the Obama administration refuses to answer. It is still stonewalling, but the stones are beginning to crumble.

As for CBS, Lara Logan’s report was a refreshing example of honest journalism in today’s mainstream media. But it may be an anomaly. A day after the “60 Minutes” report aired, CBS News announced that former Obama Chief of Staff Bill Daley is joining the network as a contributor. The revolving door between the Obama administration and mainstream media continues.

CBS Finally Reports: Benghazi a Planned Attack | FrontPage Magazine.