Obama to Announce Major US Escalation in Syria

 

 

obama-syria-war-400x213The Wall Street Journal is reporting that tomorrow (Monday) President Obama will announce that he is quintupling the number of US troops inside Syria. From the current 50 troops the US admits are operating in Syria, the US will raise the total to 300 under the guise of increasing efforts against ISIS in the country. 

The Journal reports that Obama has been “persuaded by his top military advisers and others that additional U.S. personnel would allow the Pentagon to extend recent gains against Islamic State.” He will make the announcement while in Germany.

These additional troops are said to be in pursuit of the US policy of persuading Sunnis to join with the Kurds to fight ISIS around its self-proclaimed capital in Raqqa. This strategy has never made much sense aside from in the feverish imaginations of Beltway interventionists. In reality it is part of a larger US effort to deny the Syrian government a victory against ISIS in the city and in eastern Syria.

The “race for Raqqa” began in earnest in February, when Russian-led efforts left ISIS in full retreat eastward toward their capital. The “race” was intensified after Syrian forces liberated Palmyra from ISIS and threatened to sweep ISIS from the country.

Washington is at war with both ISIS and the Syrian government, insisting that somewhere there is a moderate, democratic force just waiting to step in and govern Syria once both Assad and his enemies are defeated. Like in Libya…er…

That is why the US government did not welcome the Syrian government liberation of Palmyra from ISIS. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren saidof that liberation: “in our view, that is kind of like going — at least for the people of Palmyra, that is certainly a movement from the frying pan into the fire, isn’t it?” Washington would rather have ISIS in charge of Palmyra than the Syrian government.

We should remember that the US military presence in Syria, as well as the US military presence above Syrian airspace is a violation of Syria’s sovereignty and a violation of international law. Despite John Kerry’s admonition to Russia that, ”you just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text,” that is exactly what the United States is doing in Syria.

The US escalation will prolong the suffering of the Syrian people and delay or deny a victory by the secular Syrian government over Saudi/Turk/US-backed Islamist extremists who have fought for five years to overthrow it. And it may just get some US service members killed, ironically fighting to the ultimate benefit of ISIS or al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front which will likely take over Syria if the Assad government is defeated.

Protests against Money in Politics: Thousands of Enraged Americans Storm Washington. Media Yawns Over 1,400 Advocates Were Arrested Outside the Capitol Building Last Week

 

                             Over 1,400 Advocates Were Arrested Outside the Capitol Building Last Week

 

 

Manipulation-médiatiqueThis article first appeared on WhoWhatWhy

But an ongoing story about the fight for the very soul of that democracy has been given short shrift.

More than 5,000 activists descended on the Capitol from across the country, including hundreds who had marched there from Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy. It was a campaign that recalled the non-violent civil rights protests of the 1960s.

Media Gives Event… 29 Seconds

On April 12, largely unnoticed by the corporate media, they began a weeklong series of rallies protesting money in politics and calling for a restoration of the sanctity of the election process.

In a show of civil disobedience designed to raise awareness of the devastating influence of money in politics, more than 1,400 people got themselves arrested outside the Capitol.

Notwithstanding the timeliness of the event — and its direct relevance to the presidential race — coverage has been miniscule. An analysis by the advocacy group Media Matters has found that the major news networks between April 11 and April 18 devoted to the protests a grand total of … 29 seconds, and only on PBS.

The only time the media seemed to find anything worth reporting was when celebrities were taken away in shackles. Actress Rosario Dawson was arrested Friday, April 15. Vermont’s ice cream royalty, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, were arrested as part of Democracy Awakening on Monday.

“It’s always exciting when celebrities really get into this kind of thing,” said Cassady Sharp, a Greenpeace employee who has been working as a spokesperson for Democracy Awakening, one of the two groups that organized the protests, along with Democracy Spring.

“So it doesn’t totally surprise me that people were really pumped to see the Ben & Jerry’s co-founders get arrested. I certainly hope that people realize that they had hundreds of people behind them.”

At the Heart of the Protest: Campaign Finance

The organizers of the event knew that getting front-page coverage was going to be an uphill battle.

“Campaign finance is not the sexiest of all issues,” Peter Callahan, the communications director for Democracy Spring, told WhoWhatWhy. Though polls have shown overwhelming majorities of Americans want to get money out of politics, they also rarely list it as one of the most important issues for voters.

“Other people have lots of issues that are near and dear to their hearts,” says Callahan.

But Callahan and the organizers of Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening see campaign finance as the issue that encompasses all other issues. They point to Black Lives Matter, and environmental activists — as well as advocacy groups from the right — who see getting money out of politics as the first step in enacting change.

The protests received endorsements and assistance from over 300 different advocacy groups, including People For The American Way, Greenpeace and the NAACP.

“Our message is that 1) systemic corruption is at the root of many issues, 2) there are existing solutions that congress can implement today, and 3) the way to get there is nonviolent civil disobedience,”

Ardon Shorr, the Pittsburgh organizer for Democracy Spring, told WhoWhatWhy.

Overflowing Protesters Put in Warehouses

Shorr was one of the hundreds arrested on the first day of protests. The number of arrests was so high the police ran out of room and had to put the protesters in overflow warehouses. Organizers claim it was the largest act of civil disobedience at the Capitol in history.

For the people pushing for change, these protests are just the beginning.

“People are waking up to the fact that there are solutions,” Rio Tazelwell toldWhoWhatWhy. Tazelwell is the manager for the Government By The People Campaign at People For The American Way, and an organizer for Democracy Awakening.

“We want to keep pushing at the national level, but then we also want to plug people into campaigns that are already underway at the local and state level, particularly ballot initiatives and some legislative proposals.”

One of their stated goals is a 28th amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing the right to fair elections. The activists see history on their side.

“No movement has failed after mobilizing 3.5 percent of a population,” Shorr said, referring to the research of the political scientist Erica Chenoweth.

“That’s a lot of people, but it’s really a tiny minority. This is achievable.”

“Being willing to get arrested creates a moral dilemma for Congress: Either side with the people, or side with big corporate interests and continue to send hundreds of patriotic Americans to jail every day.”

The original source of this article is WhoWhatWhy
Copyright © Jon Hecht, WhoWhatWhy, 2016

Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal — Unruly Hearts editor

 

Joe Biden praises Bernie Sanders for ‘thinking big’

Story highlights

Vice President Joe Biden has not endorsed a candidate in the 2016 race, but he recently praised Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for thinking big when it comes to how to lead the country.

Joe Biden praised Bernie Sanders for aiming high even if it doesn’t work out
“I like the idea of saying, ‘We can do much more,’ because we can,” Biden says of Sanders

WATCH CNN INTERVIEW OF JOE BIDEN HERE

Washington (CNN)Vice President Joe Biden has not endorsed a candidate in the 2016 race, but he recently praised Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for thinking big when it comes to how to lead the country.

“I like the idea of saying, ‘We can do much more,’ because we can,” Biden told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday.

Sanders’ critics — most notably surrogates for his primary opponent Hillary Clinton and the candidate, herself — often question how realistic his proposals are, but Biden dismissed that concern.

“I don’t think any Democrat’s ever won saying, ‘We can’t think that big — we ought to really downsize here because it’s not realistic,'” Biden said. “C’mon man, this is the Democratic Party! I’m not part of the party that says, ‘Well, we can’t do it.'”
Biden, who considered entering the race himself, praised Sanders for aiming high even if it doesn’t work out.
“Presidents have always been told by really smart people: ‘Don’t push something that you can’t succeed in — it diminishes your power,'” he said. “I completely disagree with that proposition.”

“Everything I’ve ever cared about — with the exception of the President’s brilliant passage of the Affordable Care Act — takes time,” he added. “The only way to get these big things done is talk about them.”

It’s not the first time Biden has made comments interpreted as boosting Sanders. During a CNN interview with Gloria Borger in January, Biden praised Sanders’ fight on income inequality and said Clinton was “relatively new” to the effort.

Biden ended months of intense speculation about his political future last fall with a sudden announcement that he wouldn’t seek the presidency.
The vice president, who has wanted the top spot for decades, said he regrets “every day” that he didn’t enter the 2016 presidential race — but that his decision was in his family’s best interests.

“I regret it every day, but it was the right decision for my family and for me. And I plan on staying deeply involved,” Biden said in January.

Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal — Unruly Hearts editor