Archive for March 12th, 2009
Straight from Politico: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has come up with a vivid new way to express his contention that the nation is spending way too much money it doesn’t have.
McConnell includes the tweaks in his opening remarks on the Senate floor on the 51st day that President Obama has been in office.
“In just 50 days, Congress has voted to spend about $1.2 trillion between the Stimulus and the Omnibus,” McConnell says. “To put that in perspective, that’s about $24 billion a day, or about $1 billion an hour—most of it borrowed. There’s simply no question: government spending has spun out of control.”
The math: 50 days times 24 hours equals 1,200 hours. 1,200 times 1 billion equals 1.2 trillion (a thousand billions is a trillion).
Even as he proposes a huge increase in the reach of government, the president continued to try to show his concern about spending by making an announcement Wednesday about earmark reform.”
Straight from The Raw Story: “Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh dropped a bombshell on Tuesday when he told an audience at the University of Minnesota that the military was running an “executive assassination ring” throughout the Bush years which reported directly to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
The remark came out seemingly inadvertently when Hersh was asked by the moderator of a public discussion of “America’s Constitutional Crisis” whether abuses of executive power, like those which occurred under Richard Nixon, continue to this day.
Hersh replied, “After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet.”
Hersh then went on to describe a second area of extra-legal operations: the Joint Special Operations Command. “It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently,” he explained. “They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. … Congress has no oversight of it.”
“It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on,” Hersh stated. “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.”
Hersh told MinnPost.com blogger Eric Black in an email exchange after the event that the subject was “not something I wanted to dwell about in public.” He is looking into it for a book, but he believes it may be a year or two before he has enough evidence “for even the most skeptical.”
Stories have been coming out about covert Pentagon assassination squads for the last several years. In 2003, Hersh himself reported on Task Force 121, which operated chiefly out of the Joint Special Operations Command. Others stories spoke of a proposed Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group.
As Hersh noted in Minnesota, the New York Times on Monday described the Joint Special Operations Command as overseeing the secret commando units in Afghanistan whose missions were temporarily ordered halted last month because of growing concerns over excessive civilian deaths.
However, it appears that Hersh is now on the trail of some fresh revelation about these squads and their connection to Vice-President Cheney that goes well beyond anything that has previously been reported.
Eric Black’s blog posting, which includes an hour-long audio recording of the full University of Minnesota colloquy, is available here.”
Straight from Reuters, the bastion of truth: “Afghanistan’s Taliban on Tuesday turned down as illogical U.S. President Barack Obama’s bid to reach out to moderate elements of the insurgents, saying the exit of foreign troops was the only solution for ending the war.
Obama, in an interview with the New York Times, expressed an openness to adapting tactics in Afghanistan that had been used in Iraq to reach out to moderate elements there.
“This does not require any response or reaction for this is illogical,” Qari Mohammad Yousuf, a purported spokesman for the insurgent group, told Reuters when asked if its top leader Mullah Mohammad Omar would make any comment about Obama’s proposal.
“The Taliban are united, have one leader, one aim, one policy…I do not know why they are talking about moderate Taliban and what it means?”
“If it means those who are not fighting and are sitting in their homes, then talking to them is meaningless. This really is surprising the Taliban.”
In Iraq, the use of Sunni Muslim community leaders to employ their people to patrol their neighbourhoods has been credited as one of the main reasons behind sharp falls in violence.
Obama did point out that compared to Iraq, the situation was more complex in Afghanistan, where nearly 70,000 foreign troops, 38,000 of them American, are due to be joined in coming months by another 17,000 U.S. soldiers.”
Straight from Fox News: “A San Francisco police union has accused former domestic terrorist William Ayers, co-founder of the Weather Underground, and his wife in a 1970 bombing that killed one sergeant, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The union, in a letter to a conservative organization lobbying for arrests in the case, accused Ayers and wife Bernardine Dohrn of bombing a city police station.
On Feb. 16, 1970, a bomb placed on a window ledge of Park Station killed Sgt. Brian McDonnell and injured eight other officers, the Chronicle reported.
The union said it had not been in contact with investigators nor did it have new evidence, but it cited Larry Grathwohl, who works with the conservative organization America’s Survival of Maryland and claims that he infiltrated Weather Underground as an FBI informant and heard Ayers confess, the Chronicle reported.
“There are irrefutable and compelling reasons to believe that Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn … are largely responsible for the bombing of Park Police Station,” the Feb. 24 letter reads, according to the Chronicle.
Ayers denies any involvement in the bombing and told the Chronicle in January that his accuser, Grathwohl, was a “paid dishonest person.”
Ayers was once again thrust into the spotlight during last year’s presidential campaign, when President Obama’s ties to the radical were questioned.
Ayers is now an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dohrn is a law professor at Northwestern University.”