Saturday, September 17, 2011

Obama: All Americans must pay fair share to cut deficit


Obama still trying to deflect responsibility for present economic situation from banks, Congress, Senate and HIS administration and place it on the victims:  the American people

Reuters
By Laura MacInnis
09/17/2011

President Barack Obama said on Saturday that Americans need to be ready to "pay their fair share"* to narrow the deficit, previewing his proposals to Congress that are expected to include more taxes on the rich.

    In his weekly radio and video address, the Democrat said his $447 billion jobs plan that features tax breaks for workers and small businesses, plus funds for public works projects and schools, "will not add to the deficit. It will be paid for."

Obama on angry, destitute Americans:  "So?"
 "On Monday, I'll lay out my plan for how we'll do that -- how we'll pay for this plan and pay down our debt by following some basic principles: making sure we live within our means and asking everyone to pay their fair share."

Obama has repeatedly argued for the wealthiest Americans to face higher taxes with fewer loopholes and exceptions as part of the effort to ensure the U.S. debt-load remains in control.

   He is likely to float more taxes on the rich, as well as companies getting some tax breaks, in his Monday suggestions to a congressional "super committee" tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings over 10 years.

   Republicans, who have raised the volume on Washington's fiscal problems as the November 2012 presidential election nears, see higher taxes on the wealthy as a problem for jobs, given that entrepreneurs and companies would be strongly affected.

Tent city in Sacramento, California
In his party's weekly address, Republican Congressman Peter Roskam said Obama's barnstorming about the jobs bill had masked other constraints on the economy that are keeping people from getting back to work.

Mystery Grave in Jakarta

Mystery American Lies Buried in Jakarta Prasasti Graveyard 

09/17/2011


    Assistant Publisher for The 5th Estate and photographer Imas Kurniawati-Finnegan was exploring this small graveyard in Central Jakarta today when she happened upon the grave of an American of what appears to be Irish decent.  A local man told a story of Missionaries that were supposedly buried in the cemetery but he could not identify this man, Eric Richard Connelll, 27, born in Brooklyn New York on September 29, 1861 and died in Jakarta (formerly Batavia) on September30, 1888.

    From the looks of the gravestone, he had parents that were still alive at the time of his death.

Copyright Imas Kurniawati-Finnegan 09/17/20011

    A records check turned up nothing on the man or anyone by that name.

    We are now going search American records for him, but it looks to be a long-shot at identification.

    Can you help is find the identity of this mystery American that died in a faraway land during a time period when it took months or years to communicate between Java and America?  He appears to have been lost in time:  rsfinnegan@gmail.com.

    Any information readers could provide would be appreciated, and included in a follow-up story.... that is if we can find out anything on him or his American family.  It would put to rest an enduring mystery here in Jakarta, Indonesia, and possibly inform existing family of his or their fate.



Is facism coming to America, and if so, dressed as what


In the U.S. it's "Justice for all... who can afford it"

Counterpunch
By Alexander Cockburn
09/18/2011

Opinion

First, a simple rule for killers:  If you are going to murder someone in the United States, don’t try to get the job done in Texas. Keep your captive alive in the car till New Mexico, which recently banned the death penalty, or press on to California, which retains the death penalty but makes available very large sums of state money – potentially, hundreds of thousands of dollars — for a capable death penalty defense.

     That’s enough to hire good investigators, lawyers and expert witnesses who can spend many years on the case — first the trial and then the penalty phase and then the appeals process, which can go on for decades. California currently has 648 prisoners on death row in San Quentin, and since 1976, it has managed to execute only 13, just enough to keep people on their toes.

San Quentin gas chamber
An indigent person charged with murder in the state of Texas, however, can count on maybe $500 for a court-appointed attorney to pay for special expenses. Yet the cost of importing an expert witness, who will be charging transportation, hotel and a fat fee, easily can exceed $10,000.
    
   Business is correspondingly brisk in the lethal injection chamber in Huntsville, Texas. There are currently 413 on death row, and at the time of writing, 475 have been executed since 1976, 235 of them during Rick Perry’s decade-long stint as governor.

    It turned out Thursday  we won’t have to adjust the numbers yet. On Sept. 15, the scheduled execution day for Duane Edward Buck, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of execution for Buck, (who on Sept. 12 had his clemency request turned down by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles,) while it reviews the case.

    No one claims that Buck, 48, didn’t shoot to death his former girlfriend and her male companion and wound a third in Houston in 1995. He himself admits his crimes. At issue is what an expert witness told the court during the sentencing hearing, where the jury decides whether the convicted murderer should go to prison for a life term or get lodgings on death row.

   To get Buck lined up for the lethal needle, his prosecutors needed to prove “future dangerousness.” How might Buck behave in the event he ever got out of prison?

Dr. Walter Quijano, a psychologist practicing in Conroe, a town just south of Huntsville (and no doubt filled with employees for the big prison in Huntsville, some of whom may well have resort to Quijano’s ministrations), had actually been called by the defense, who hoped that he would testify that Buck’s killing spree was an act of rage unlikely to be repeated.

  Under cross-examination, however, the prosecutors asked Quijano: “The race factor, black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons; is that correct?”

   “Yes,” Quijano answered, probably out of sheer force of habit, because usually he was the prosecution’s expert, and he had testified in similar fashion for the prosecution in six other cases, racially profiling the defendants into the Huntsville death house.

    His “yes” was enough for the jury, which cut smartly through all uncertainty about Buck’s future decisions by saying he should die, thus rendering speculation unnecessary.

    In 2000, then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn (now a Republican U.S. senator), recognizing the constitutional abuse for what it was, called for Buck and the other six to receive a retrial. Buck is the only condemned man who hasn’t gotten one. On Sept. 13, Linda Geffin, one of Buck’s prosecutors in 1995, joined the chorus of voices calling on Gov. Perry to stay his execution.

Heil  Perry.   Texas governor digs executing innocent people
What mostly has people marveling is Quijano’s career stint in the 1990s as an “expert witness.” Buck’s was the only case for which he was called by the defense. Expert witnessing is a trade — often a very profitable one — in which by far the most desirable characteristic is predictability. A truly expert witness for the defense would have regarded it as his first duty to reassure the jury of Buck’s lamb-like character, utterly inconsistent with possibly lethal recidivism.

    Juries like a well-spoken expert witness, gravely deploying forensic data. The popularity of shows like “CSI” has enhanced the reputation of forensic “experts,” even though much forensic testimony, up to and including fingerprints, is disfigured by inherently  faulty science, mishandled materials and unending mendacity.

   Taken as a whole, forensic evidence as used by prosecutors is inherently untrustworthy. For example, for years many people went to prison on the basis of the claims of a North Carolina anthropologist, Louise Robbins. She helped send people to prison or to Death Row with her self-proclaimed power to identify criminals through shoe prints. As an excellent Chicago Tribune series a decade ago on forensic humbug recalled, on occasion she even said she could use the method to determine a person’s height, sex and race, just like Sherlock Holmes. Robbins died in 1987, her memory compromised by the conclusion of many Appeals Courts that her methodology was bosh. There have been similarly hollow claims for lip prints and ear prints, all of them invoked by their supporters as “100 per cent reliable” and believed by juries too easily impressed by passionate invocations to 100 per cent reliable scientific data.
 
    Of course the apex forensic hero of prosecutors, long promoted as the bottom line in reliability–at least until the arrival of DNA matching–has been the fingerprint, whose career was once the subject of a fine, derisive  piece here by your two editors.

    Also, it doesn’t help anyone on Death Row, headed for the injection chamber and amid last-ditch appeals, that we’re in campaign mode and right after Perry issued a fervent endorsement of the death penalty, earning him hearty cheers in the auditorium of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library when he stressed that imposing it has never lost him a moment’s sleep.

   The most notorious example of presidential ambition trumping any humane considerations came on Jan. 24, 1992, when Bill Clinton — beset by the Gennifer Flowers sex scandal amid his vital primary race in New Hampshire — hastened back to Little Rock, Ark., to preside over the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a black man who had managed to botch a suicide bid after his murders and had no idea why they were strapping him down.

"Kill 'em Bill"  liked to execute mentally challenged black people
As they hunted for 45 minutes for a vein into which to shoot the sodium thiopental, Bill was having dinner with Mary Steenburgen. But that was Bill. Maybe Perry has been on his knees asking for guidance from the Lord or — the functioning modern equivalent — seeking reassurance from his pollsters.

    Gay Perry?

    Here’s an item we ran in February, 2004, in our CounterPunch newsletter, under the headline

    “’The Gay Adulterer?’ Bush’s Successor as Defender of Straight Marriage in Texas In Eye of Storm”.

    “At the very moment, late February, that President George W. Bush let the world be known that if he were governor of Texas, he would insist that the sacred vows of holy matrimony could be exchanged only by a man and a woman,  that he would  press for a constitutional amendment insisting on this, at that very moment Austin,  the state capital of Texas, was  convulsed with charges that the current Republican governor’s wife Anita Perry  has been on the verge of suing her husband Rick Perry  for divorce on the grounds of infidelity, said infidelity possibly being with someone of the same sex as  Rick. On one account  Anita Perry has engaged the services of Becky Beaver, ‘the most notorious ball-breaker divorce attorney in Austin.’

    “On Tuesday, February 24, so we learn from our friend Michael King, city editor of the weekly Austin Chronicle, a small group of protesters (almost outnumbered by reporters and photographers) gathered at the Governor’s Mansion for what was disingenuously billed as a“support rally” under the theme, ‘It’s OK to Be Gay.’

    “In a tolerant and forgiving world what Rick might or might not have done behind Anita’s back, would be for him and Anita and maybe the other party to discuss, but our world is neither tolerant nor forgiving and there may be a hypocrisy issue here.

    “Last spring Perry endorsed and signed the Defense of Marriage Act,a statement by the Texas legislature that it believes gay and lesbian Texans deserve fewer rights than other citizens. The Texas GOP’s platform declares that  ‘The party opposes the decriminalization of sodomy.’ Further diminishing the possibility of any ambiguity on this issue, the platform also declares that ‘The Party believes that the practice of sodomy tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.’ Perry approved the statement, and all candidates who run as Republicans in Texas have to sign it, or forfeit financial support by the party.”

    Not long after Rick Perry became Governor of Texas, according to an Associated Press release on May 12, 2001 he signed the James Byrd Hate Crimes Act (HB 587) named for a black man in Jasper, Texas, who was dragged to death behind a pickup in 1998. James’ mother Stella, who died last year, was present for the signing.

James Byrd
In the  bill-signing ceremony on May 11, 2001 Perry said:

“As the Governor of our diverse state, in all matters it is my desire to seek common ground for the common good. In the end, we are all Texans and we must be united as we walk together into the future. That’s why today I have signed House Bill 587 into law. Texas has always been a tough-on-crime state. With my signature today, Texas now has stronger criminal penalties against crime motivated by hate.”

    President Obama signed a similar law, and the Texas statute signed by Perry does effectively establish a special “protected class” status including enhanced sentencing for crimes allegedly motivated by bias against it.  I’ve always agreed with the libertarians that hate crimes laws are profoundly misguided. I agree with  Steve Baldwin, a conservative author, who wrote  in World Net Daily (WND) on August 14, 2011:

    “Such a law gives harsher sentences to certain crimes based upon a person’s perceived bias to some class or group. But juries really can’t determine what’s in a person’s heart and, besides, all crime should be punished equally, regard[less] of the race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. of the victim. In other words, under hate-crimes law, if someone beats up a white person and then beats up a gay person, they receive a heavier sentence for the latter crime. This makes a travesty of the concept of equal application of the law and is likely unconstitutional.

    “Indeed, the idea of hate crime requires that the prosecutors know the thoughts and motivation of a perpetrator, therefore effectively making such designated crimes into thought crimes. And among many conservative Republicans, that concept is at odds with the constitutional precept that all Americans are equal under the law.”

     I should add that our 2004 story concluded thus: “Michael King spends much of his story prudently insisting that he couldn’t find a shred of evidence to substantiate the rumors about Perry.”

At last! The Fascist Threat

    “Instead of the Sermon on the Mount, we are now confronted by well-funded conservative evangelicals promoting a sinister vision of America as a corporate autocracy, with Dominionists as Gauleiters of a totalitarian state religion.”

    So Lawrence Swaim, Executive Director of the Interfaith Freedom Foundation wrote on this  site last week. Swaim concluded with a familiar quote: “This recalls the prescient words of novelist Sinclair Lewis: ‘When fascism comes to America,’ he wrote in 1935, ‘it will come wrapped in the flag, and carrying a cross.’”

    Not in my opinion.  As a rule, the field of battle between secularism and our Christian  ultras ends up stained with the blood of the latter, as Satan counter-attacks. Just glance at the the career of the original Know-Nothings or the history of prohibition. Indeed, looking across the American landscape, I’d say the Dark One has scant cause for lament amid quavering pieces about the Dominionist threat which so delight  fundraisers for nonprofits touting the menace of Christian evangelism. Back in the god-sodden Fifties who could presage that a half century later tots could go online to view fornication in every guise and combination.

Satan getting the boot from heaven
In my view fascism mostly crosses the threshold these days wrapped in Green clothing, with a thousand  summary edicts, which people gloomily strain to read by the pallid glimmer of the new, mercury-filled light bulbs promoted by greens, the General Electric Corp., and signed into law by George Bush Jr. whose own timid  effort to promote the fusion of church and state – allowing religious  non-profits to run some government programs — didn’t fare too well.

    The main purpose of invoking the fascist threat is to scare people into voting Democrat, as Frank Bardacke has often remarked to me. In 1964 it was the Goldwater threat, in 2011 – for now – the Perry threat.  Obama will save us from fascism.  Alas, fascism is currently wrapped in the decorous clothing of this self-same former constitutional professor.

    Back on September 13, 2001, I wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed that “The lust for retaliation traditionally outstrips precision in identifying the actual assailant. The targets abroad will be all the usual suspects — the Taliban or Saddam Hussein, who started off as creatures of U.S. intelligence. The target at home will be the Bill of Rights.”

    It was maybe an hour after the north tower of the World Trade Center collapsed that I heard the first of a thousand pundits that day saying that America might soon have to sacrifice “some of those freedoms  we have taken for granted.” They said this with grave relish, as though the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution –  was somehow responsible for the onslaught, and should join the rubble of  the towers, carted off to New Jersey and exported to China for recycling into abutments for the Three  Gorges Dam, with a special packet of “nano-thermite” (aka paint dust) reserved for Paul Craig Roberts to sprinkle on his porridge.

    Of course it didn’t take 9/11 to give the Bill of Rights  a battering. It  is always under duress and erosion. Where there’s emergency, there’s opportunity for the enemies of freedom. The Patriot Act, passed in October 2001  (the bits that Bill Clinton’s DOJ forgot to put into the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act) and periodically renewed in most of its essentials in the Bush and Obama years,  kicked new holes in  at least six of our Bill of Rights protections.

   The government can search and seize citizens’ papers and effects without probable cause, spy on their electronic communications, and has, amid ongoing court battles on the issue, eavesdropped on their conversations without a warrant.

    Goodbye to the right to a speedy public trial with assistance of counsel. Welcome  indefinite incarceration without charges, denial of  the assistance of legal counsel  and  of the right to confront witnesses or even have  a trial. Until beaten back by the courts, the Patriot Act gave a sound whack at the 1st Amendment, too, since the government could now prosecute librarians or keepers of any records if they told anyone the government had subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.


Alcatraz  (Photo: Imas Kurniawati 2006)
Let’s not forget that a suspect may be in no position to do any confronting or waiting for trial  since American citizens  deemed a threat to their country can be extrajudicially and summarily executed by order of the president, with the reasons for the order  shielded from the light of day as “state secrets”.  That takes us back to the bills of attainder the Framers expressly banned in Article One of the U.S. Constitution, about as far from the Bill of Rights as you can get.

  There’s a difference between fascism and a efficiently functioning modern police state. America well into to the latter, instrumented by laws shoved through on a federal bipartisan basis and through state legislatures. Check out the DUI laws and penalties, state by state. A friend here in California was just telling me about a friend up on his second DUI, among whose penalties for his offense has been 45 days house arrest, with a camera installed to observe every move. No visitors allowed. He can go out for two hours a day to do his shopping.  The supervising officer in semi-SWAT rig enters his house without knocking or permission at any time. Let’s not even talk about the treatment of sex offenders.

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The 5th Estate is making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.




Afghanistan, TET and "The light at the end of the tunnel"


Similarities between Vietnam and Afghanistan, Westmoreland and Petraeus, Nixon and Bush, Johnson and Obama and these illegal/immoral wars cannot be ignored - especially now

World News
By Dallas Darling
09/15/2011

Boom! Boom! Boom!  Three loud explosions had just interrupted General Westmoreland's interview with dozens of reporters. They had gathered to question Westmoreland, America's commander of military operations in its war against Vietnam's reunification, and to report on the 1968 TET Offensive. Although he tried to muster a smile, it was evident that Westmoreland was irritated, even dazed and confused.

Vietnam TET War Criminal William Westmoreland
The Vietnamese had just attacked over one-hundred targets. Westmoreland was trying to reassure reporters that major combat operations were over. At first, he said EOD forces were setting off the explosions. But when more explosions occurred, followed by small arms fire, he became angry and stuttered, "The enemy was deceitful, taking advantage of the cease fire...They...they...the...are causing maximum consternation."


    Consternation, or feeling alarmed and shocked, was a good word to describe America's war in Vietnam. During the TET offensive, one soldier claimed the "enemy was nowhere and everywhere." The Vietnamese were also difficult to dislodge. Fighting raged from house to house and roof to roof. While U.S. soldiers tried clearing buildings and homes, burning them to the ground, they were met with sniper fire.

    Until Vietnam's TET Offensive in 1968, the Johnson Administration repeatedly told Americans it had a winning strategy. Generals, political officials, and the president himself, continually proclaimed United States troops were making progress and that the military situation was improving. They repeatedly said they could see the light at the end of the tunnel. But in reality, it was another public relations campaign, another publicity stunt.

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese were planning a major offensive to change the course of the war. The U.S. military was aware of the offensive, which involved highly coordinated attacks against one-hundred U.S. military installations, airfields, and naval stations. But few wanted to believe it could be possible. Flawed military data and a dependency on enemy body counts fed the assumption that the Vietnamese could not replace those killed.

But a major Vietnamese offensive did occur and it was very devastating. Military bases were attacked and besieged, including the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Some attacks were crushed in a matter of days, but others continued for months. And then there was the scene that stunned the world. At point blank range, South Vietnam's Chief of Police executed an alleged Vietnamese guerilla by shooting him in the head.


 Beliefs are extremely powerful and are necessary for a society to function. They can either be constructive or destructive in their nature. The TET Offensive demolished the belief that the U.S. military controlled South Vietnam and had won the hearts and minds of its people. It also revealed political and military officials were in a state of denial and had chosen to embrace an unrealistic mission. There would be no light at the end of the tunnel.

   Before his death, Richard Holbrooke, envoy to Afghanistan, thought the military conflict in Afghanistan could become President Barack Obama's Vietnam. According to Holbrooke, some of the talks with Obama in the Situation Room reminded him of conversations with President Lyndon Johnson in the White House. When Holbrooke raised the issue of possibly losing in Afghanistan, Obama did not want to hear about it.

   The recent sustained attacks against the U.S. Embassy, NATO Headquarters, and other military targets in the heart of Kabul, are again raising fresh doubts if American forces are winning in Afghanistan. A massive bombing that just wounded dozens of U.S. soldiers again challenges the belief that U.S. forces are securing the hearts and minds of Afghans. A sharp rise in civilian casualties forces one to wonder who the real enemy is.

   These attacks come on the heels of an ongoing offensive, one that started months ago. In the midst of air strikes, Afghan insurgents overran U.S. and NATO positions in Nuristan and Kunar. In Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, government buildings and U.S.-NATO troops were hit in several days of heavy fighting. Meanwhile, Britain's former ambassador accused American commanders of citing Taliban deaths as a sign of progress.

Obama and Petraeus
Afghan insurgents now control Waygal district too, where they recently overran U.S.-Afghan troops while raising the white flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Spring Offensive has also occurred in provinces like Zabul, Paktika, and Kamdesh, where several NATO and U.S. troops were killed. Since many Afghan insurgents are allied with tribes in Pakistan, it is difficult to prevent supplies and new fighters from arriving.

    Despite President Obama increasing troop strength last year by adding an extra 30,000-bringing the total number to just over 100,000-a new report revealed both U.S. and Afghan fighters are experiencing tremendous combat-induced stress and low morale, mixed with anxiety and depression. And even though President Obama's promised withdrawal plans begins in July, U.S. soldiers are reporting more intense fighting.

Marines slug it out with NVA during TET
Already, politicians and military generals are desperately redefining withdrawal plans, claiming they are contingent on security. They have predicted that the Spring Offensive will spill over into the Summer, and that battles and violence will increase. U.S. and NATO troops are also expecting Afghan insurgents to broaden their offensive in trying to regain lost territory in Kandahar and Helmand.

In many ways, the U.S.-led Vietnam and Afghan wars are different. But in some ways they are similar. After ten years of fighting and hearing about progress, war continues. Afghan insurgents are still able to launch coordinated attacks, and U.S. and NATO soldiers are still dying. The cost of America's Afghanistan Experience is draining the U.S. economy. Like Vietnam, corruption in armaments industries continues to increase.

    Horrendous atrocities against innocent civilians are also being committed on both sides. America's enemy is still underestimated, its strategies are still in question, and military data-body counts-still flawed. Just as tragic, though, is the belief that things are going so well that one should not think or believe otherwise. In such a state of abject denial and contradiction, more futile sacrifices will be made.

Afghan victim of NATO airstrike
Perhaps the real light at the end of the tunnel, at least for the United States, should have been the realization that not every war is winnable and not every military mission can be achieved. Beliefs should always be questioned and challenged. Discussions about past and present wars, including their differences and comparisons, should be heard. One must wonder if light will ever shine in America's tunnel vision of war and militarism.

Dallas Darling (darling@wn.com)

Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John's Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for World News.  

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The 5th Estate is making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


In Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood Confronts Military Leadership


Normally cautions and largely silent, Muslim Brotherhood now desires power sharing with Egyptian government

STRATFOR
09/15/2011 - 1158 GMT

Summary

The Egyptian public is growing more distrustful of Egypt’s military leadership, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). This has led the country’s largest Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), to become more vocal about its grievances, particularly regarding elections, the writing of the constitution and the SCAF’s relationship with Israel. The MB is a historically cautious group, but it currently faces an unprecedented opportunity to increase its political power — an opportunity that the MB fears may soon be closing in light of the SCAF’s recent moves. The SCAF will likely accept the MB’s new stance for now, as too harsh a response could unite the disparate elements of the Egyptian public against the military.

Analysis
  Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has begun assuming a far more confrontational demeanor toward the country’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), a shift away from the conciliatory stance the MB had previously taken. Several grievances against the SCAF are contributing to the MB’s shift. The MB fears that the military council will again delay parliamentary elections — currently expected to take place in November. The group also opposes the SCAF’s recent reinforcement of laws designed to limit dissent and the military’s plans to affect the formation of Egypt’s next constitution. Internally, MB leadership also is under rising pressure from its followers to speak out against the SCAF’s relationship with Israel.

Since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, the MB has been careful to avoid antagonizing the SCAF. The events of the past month appear to have changed that. The turnout for a protest in Alexandria on Sept. 16, after calls for the protest by certain MB members, will say a lot about how the situation has evolved. The changing dynamic between the SCAF and Egypt’s largest Islamist group will place larger pressures on the military, which is seeking to preserve the regime, but also will create additional risks for the MB, an organization that has operated with extreme caution for much of the past several decades.

Egyptian Anti-Israeli Sentiment

    
     In the past month, anti-Israeli sentiment has been rising in Egypt among nearly all segments of society. This theme has moved to the forefront of many demonstrations for the first time since the uprising against Mubarak. 

    The initial trigger was the Israeli response to the Aug. 18 Eilat attacks that emanated from the Sinai Desert: an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) strike that left six members of the Egyptian security forces dead. The SCAF expressed anger over the incident, but for strategic reasons, Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel trumped popular demands for a more severe reaction. The SCAF did not even go so far as recalling its ambassador. This created bad publicity for the SCAF at home.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood:  democracy amid internal discord
The anti-Israeli sentiments that continued after the fallout from Eilat directly led to the Sept. 9 storming of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Who exactly organized the diversion of protests to the embassy from Tahrir Square remains unknown. The MB had officially boycotted the Sept. 9 Tahrir protests, but STRATFOR sources in Egypt claim that the MB was prominent in the gathering outside the embassy. What is clear is that the military allowed the protests outside the embassy to build to a near crisis situation before it dispatched commandos to rescue the remaining Israeli staff.

    Israel thanked Egypt for its help on the issue, but the reports that SCAF leader Mohamed Hussein Tantawi had failed to talk with the Israelis during the affair — and even forced U.S. officials to wait for hours before answering their phone calls — show that the SCAF is not simply going to side with these two allies over its own citizenry without pause. Nonetheless, Egyptians perceived the military as having rushed to save the Israelis, while not valuing the lives of the Egyptians killed by the IDF strike in August. The MB issued a statement after the storming of the embassy that called the actions of the protesters justified and cited what it called an insufficient Egyptian response to the IDF strikes following the Eilat attacks, putting the group in opposition to the SCAF on two significant issues.

IDF  (Israeli Defense Forces)
The SCAF viewed the actions of Sept. 9 differently than it had previous protests and sit-ins, as shown by its Sept. 10 announcement that it was reinforcing the emergency laws that predate its assumption of power. Virtually all Egyptians are united in their opposition to the Mubarak-era emergency laws, which grant the military the legal authority to detain protesters without cause and try them in military courts. The MB has only recently begun to address the issue with a greater sense of urgency. Essam el-Erian, deputy chairman of the MB-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party, has said that the MB would “not allow” parliamentary elections to be held so long as the emergency laws were still in place.

Parliamentary Elections

    
    The timing of elections is another issue that has greatly contributed to the change in the MB’s posture toward the SCAF. Elections were supposed to be held in September, but the military pushed them back when it released its list of electoral laws July 20 (no exact date was established, but they were expected for November). Now there is a rising sentiment that the SCAF will again push elections back, and the MB is under pressure to vocally oppose such a move.

SCAF leader Mohamed Hussein Tantawi
The Egyptian government previously pledged to open nominations for parliamentary elections on Sept. 27. A leading Alexandria-based MB member, Hasan ElBrence, said Sept. 13 that if the SCAF turns back on this pledge, the MB will protest. Speaking at a popular rally in Egypt’s second largest city, ElBrence reportedly said of his group, “We were raised on the idea of martyrdom, and we are more than happy to offer new martyrs and begin new protests and strikes in Tahrir Square if the will of the people is denied.” (It should be noted that ElBrence’s reference to “martyrdom” is not a threat to adopt jihadist tactics; rather, he is saying the MB is prepared to risk a potentially brutal SCAF crackdown when it takes to the streets.) Hussein Ibrahim, the secretary general of the Alexandria wing of the Freedom and Justice Party, said Sept. 13 that the interim government is trying to foment a counterrevolution. Ibrahim’s is just the type of charge the MB would have avoided making in the first few months following Mubarak’s ouster.

    Then there is the long-running debate over the military’s plans to implement a set of “supra-constitutional principles” during the writing of Egypt’s next constitution. The MB has opposed this from the outset and has openly criticized the SCAF for the plan. The SCAF has never admitted the objective of the supra-constitutional principles, which would be to prevent a freshly elected parliament — potentially composed largely of Islamists — from overly influencing the nature of the new constitution. This debate has now taken on a new twist. Allegations have been made that the SCAF intends to appoint the 100-person committee responsible for writing the constitution, rather than allowing the eventual parliament to select members from its ranks. This would decrease the utility of the supra-constitutional principles, since in theory the people charged with drafting the new document would be under the influence of the SCAF. 

Muslim Brotherhood:  Flexing it's muscles
The MB is internally divided on how to proceed. The group’s history as Egypt’s “loyal opposition” has made it exceedingly cautious in nature, but it currently faces an unprecedented opportunity to increase its political power. Now, the MB increasingly sees that opportunity closing in light of the SCAF’s recent moves. The MB has thus begun to make a gamble, increasing its public opposition to the SCAF while hoping that the military’s reaction is not so severe as to wipe out any potential gains for the MB.

   The SCAF has not indicated its intent regarding elections, but its strategic relationship with Israel is extremely unlikely to change, as is its desire to influence the writing of the constitution and the enforcement of the emergency laws (even if it nominally abandons them at some point). The SCAF has shown that while it will tolerate a certain amount of dissent, it is willing to adopt harsher tactics in the face of open opposition. The SCAF’s overall strategy thus far, however, has been to play different groups off one another. Adopting too harsh a tone now would risk uniting the opposition, which is exactly what the SCAF will seek to avoid.

"In Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood Confronts Military Leadership" is republished with permission of STRATFOR."

NYT/CBS Poll: Congress approval at 12%


Congress appears blind/contemptuous to poll numbers, electorate.  Few incumbents expected to be re-elected

Politico
By Mackenzie Weinger
9/16/11 7:57 AM EDT  Updated: 9/16/11 12:00 PM EDT

Just 12 percent of Americans approve of how Congress is doing its job, matching the all-time record low, according to a new poll Friday.

    The overwhelming dissatisfaction with Congress last hit its rock bottom of 12 percent approval in October 2008, the CBS News/New York Times poll shows.

Congress:  With nothing but contempt for voters, in deep trouble
And members better watch out for their jobs come 2012. Only 6 percent of voters say members deserve reelection — the lowest percentage ever in the past 20 years, dropping even below the 9 percent who thought that before the 2010 midterm elections.

   Almost six in 10 voters told the pollsters they didn’t even think their own representative should be reelected. Typically, Americans poll more positively when asked about their own member, but CBS wrote that the percentage wanting to vote their representative out nears the highest it has ever surveyed.

    The disapproval of Congress cuts across party lines, but more Americans are unhappy with Republicans in Congress than Democrats. Among those polled, 72 percent say they are displeased with Republicans’ performance, while 63 percent say Democrats are doing a bad job.

    The CBS News/New York Times poll was conducted Sept. 10-15 and surveyed 1,452 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The 5th Estate is making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Romney Praises Cheney - "person of wisdom and judgement"


Cheney's daughter participated in Romney's 2008 campaign


By NBC's Garrett Haake
09/16/2100

SUN LAKES, AZ -- In what was a free-wheeling town hall that felt more like a rally, Mitt Romney, with shirt sleeves rolled up and pacing the stage, seemed to be able to do no wrong -- receiving generous applause, even as he praised one of the most controversial political figures in recent American history: former Vice President Dick Cheney.

    "I think it was last weekend I was watching C-SPAN, and I saw Vice President Dick Cheney and he was being asked questions about a whole host of issues -- following 9/11, the affairs in various countries in the world. And I listened to him speak and said whether you agree or disagree with him, this a man of wisdom and judgment, and he could have been president of the United States," Romney told the crowd to their loud approval. "That's the kind of person I'd like to have --  a person of wisdom and judgment."

"Mittens" shoots self in head - again
That answer came to a question about whether Romney would name a "Tea Party person" as his vice presidential nominee. Romney demurred, saying only that his one "overwhelming criteria" for a VP choice, should he be lucky enough to make one, would be that that person is ready to become president, as he felt Cheney was.

Romney, fresh from a fundraising luncheon, was buoyed by a crowd estimated to be nearly 800 strong -- mostly seniors, whose parked cars stretched for block after manicured block here in the Sun Lakes golf and retirement community near Phoenix. It was perhaps the largest, friendliest Romney crowd of the campaign season, which one Romney aide said showed the candidate's strength in Arizona, but also could have been related to a front-page story in this morning's Arizona Republic, which several attendees said was how they learned of the event.

    The former governor of Massachusetts stung his biggest rival, Rick Perry of Texas, on issues likely to carry more than a little water in this now early-voting, senior-heavy, border state: Social Security and immigration.

    On Social Security, Romney joked, "You may have watched the debate. It came out in a big way."

    "Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme," Romney began telling a questioner, to the laughter and approval approval of the crowd. "Social Security has worked for 75 years pretty darn well. You guys have not taken advantage of Social Security; you contributed to it. It's a savings plan, a pension plan. There are no bad guys in Social Security, so I don't call it a Ponzi scheme."

    But Romney, who said he wouldn't touch the plan for current seniors, admitted the funding system would need changes in the long term to keep it solvent for younger generations. How would he accomplish this?

    "No.1, we're not going to change it by sending it back to the states. Gov. Perry, in his book, said: 'Look, it's unconstitutional at the federal level, give it back to the states,'" he said. "Look, you can't have people who move from state to state to state having different plans state to state. I wouldn't want the state legislatures raiding the trust funds of Social Security state by state. It needs to be a federal entitlement. I will save Social Security as a federal program and as a federal entitlement."*

    On immigration, Romney gave mostly his standard answer, and did not reference Perry directly -- instead, the crowd did it for him. Romney said that he likes legal immigration, that he supports building a fence to stop illegal immigration, and that he wants to turn off the "magnet" in the United States.

Cheney fears War Crimes prosecution
"We create advantages for people to come here illegally -- jobs, employers who hire people who are here illegally, giving in-state tuition to people who come here illegally," Romney said, drawing laughs and applause just as he mentioned in-state tuition, something Perry has approved in Texas, of which Romney has at times been sharply critical.

   Romney took some criticism of his own in one testy exchange. He was questioned about his Massachusetts health-care plan, which one woman in the crowd pressed him to admit was a failure. The questioner continued speaking over Romney as he first tried to respond, saying he put "Obamacare" into place in Massachusetts, and that he made Masschusetts the most expensive state for health care.

    "First of all, you're wrong," Romney responded, showing perhaps a flash of annoyance. "And let me explain why I said that. First, you said Obamacare. We had ours in place before Obamacare. We had ours in place before Obama had his. Four years before, we put our bill in place. And let me tell you -- Massachusetts health-care is the most expensive in the nation -- and it was before our bill -- and it was after."

    That exchange aside, the crowd was consistently a friendly one, which after also covering Iran, school choice, and a few other meaty issues, presented the following as the penultimate question:  Everyone who becomes president turns old on the job. Can you tell us why do you want to take on the responsibility?

    Romney laughed as he responded. "It won't happen to me! It won't happen to me! I'm already old! I'm 64," he said to applause, adding: "I could live here!"

    As he put up his microphone, Romney was mobbed -- as if he were Justin Bieber and the crowd, preteen girls. Autograph seekers with Romney's jobs book in hand, and seniors with iPhones looking for pictures surged around him, as he made his way towards the exits and a final evening fundraiser.

    As he approached the door, Romney shook hands with one supporter who pumped his arm vigorously as he told the candidate, "I named my yacht 'Deregulation'. It was a political statement."

*There are no such things as "entitlement programs," this a Rovian propaganda creation of the Bush and Obama administrations, GOP, senate and congress in order to further loot Social Security and Medicare, both of which would be far into the black and self-sustaining had both programs not been continually been emptied of worker contributions by the legislators and successive administrations over the years.  In actuality, both tremendously successful programs are funded by mandatory deductions from payroll checks from all Americans throughout their working lives and must now be repaid, a huge problem for the administration and congressional and senate "lawmakers" as the coffers are now near empty.  - Ed.,  The 5th Estate.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The 5th Estate is making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.






U.S. to execute possibly innocent man


Seven out of nine witnesses in 1991 trial have recanted or changed their testimony, no murder weapon ever found, no DNA evidence, fingerprints tie Davis to crime

Agence France-Presse
09/16/2011

Some 300 protest rallies were held worldwide Friday ahead of a last-ditch parole board hearing for death row inmate Troy Davis, whose planned execution sparked an international movement.

    Davis is set to be executed September 21 for the 1989 shooting death of a police officer in Savannah, Georgia, but his supporters say there is strong evidence supporting his claim of innocence.

152  people executed by Bush,  9 later exonerated

 On Thursday, petitions with 663,000 names were handed to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles urging clemency. The board convenes Monday to consider the case.

Laura Moye, the Death Penalty Abolition campaign director for Amnesty International USA, said a march was planned in downtown Atlanta at 6:00 pm Friday (2200 GMT) followed by a service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual center of the civil rights movement in the 1960s under Martin Luther King.

    She said rallies for Davis started earlier in Hong Kong and carried on throughout the day in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

    Moye said there were 10 events in France on behalf of Davis, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection next week at a prison in Jackson, Georgia, south of Atlanta.

    The parole board is made up of five members and it takes just a simple majority to decide a case.

    "We hope the message they hear is that there is too much doubt in this case," Moye said. "Can we even rely on the conviction of Troy Davis? Can we be sure we are not going to execute someone who is innocent?"

    In the more than two decades that he has been in jail for the murder of white police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, Davis, who is African-American, has maintained his innocence.

Troy Davis set to die on Wednesday September 21
Additionally, seven out of nine witnesses who gave evidence at his trial in 1991 have recanted or changed their testimony.

No murder weapon was ever found, no DNA evidence or fingerprints tie Davis to the crime, and other witnesses have since said the murder was committed by another man -- a witness who testified against him.

    The case has became internationally famous as the face of what critics call a corrupted justice system in the US deep South, with a black man wrongly and hastily convicted of killing a white officer.

    American Civil Liberties Union attorney Tanya Greene said the events will carry on over the weekend.

   "There is a great mobilization, this is more than I have known in recent history... because it's so clear that he was railroaded, the witnesses lied. We have all the evidence now," she said.

   The petitions delivered to the Georgia parole board included signatures from 26 former death row prisoners who were exonerated of their crimes.

    The US Supreme Court became involved in 2009 and ordered a federal judge in Savannah to convene a hearing to consider new evidence.

    In August 2010, however, the district court in Georgia ruled that Davis had failed to prove his innocence and denied him a new trial. The top US court turned down a subsequent appeal.

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The 5th Estate is making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

 photo
Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

 photo
STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

 photo capitalism_zpsah78uy5p.jpg
We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

 photo TAMIFLU_small_zpssojx6okt.jpg
THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


 photo WHO02_zpsplmhtlpr.jpg
The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

READ MORE >>