The Daily Caller‘s Brendan Bordelon reports: Zaid Jilani, a former blogger with the left-wing think tank Center for American Progress, explained this week how the Obama administration frequently tries to censor the progressive organization’s content when it departs from the White House’s agenda.
Jiliani was reacting to two on-air protests by journalists opposed to Russia’s invasion of southern Ukraine. The two worked for Russia Today (RT) — an English-speaking media outlet funded directly by Moscow — and felt their bosses were trying to censor their opinions
“Essentially, they were doing the same thing to us RT America is telling its American producers to do now — align with your boss, who is the president of the country.”
In a post titled, ”How Working in Washington Taught Me We’re All A Little Like RT America,” Jilani explained how the White House frequently played the part of the Kremlin — leaning on management to push their writers in a particular direction, and punishing them if they strayed from the party line.
“Phone calls from the White House started pouring in,” Jilani claimed, “berating my bosses for being critical of Obama on this policy…”
“I’m writing this post to explain how working in Washington taught me we’re all a little bit like the good folks who work at RT America,” Jilani explained, “struggling against editorial censors, doing our best to follow our conscience despite sometimes suffocating pressures from our publishers and sponsors.” Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] More Sunday Talk Show Fun: Darth Vader Emerges, Says ‘No Question Putin Thinks Obama Is Weak’Posted: March 9, 2014
“I think there’s no question [Putin] believes he is weak . . . ,” the former vice president told Face the Nation. “We have created an image around the world, not just to the Russians, of weakness and indecisiveness.”
For The Weekly Standard, Stephen F. Hayes writes: On February 23, five days before Russia invaded Ukraine, National Security Adviser Susan Rice appeared on Meet the Press and shrugged off suggestions that Russia was preparing any kind of military intervention: “It’s in nobody’s interest to see violence returned and the situation escalate.” A return to a “Cold War construct” isn’t necessary, Rice insisted, because such thinking “is long out of date” and “doesn’t reflect the realities of the 21st century.” Even if Vladimir Putin sees the world this way, Rice argued, it is “not in the United States’ interests” to do so.
On February 28, Russian troops poured into Ukraine. As they did, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart. Kerry briefed reporters after their talk, plainly unaware of the developments on the ground. Kerry said that Russia wants to help Ukraine with its economic problems. Lavrov had told him “that they are prepared to be engaged and be involved in helping to deal with the economic transition that needs to take place at this point.”It was a remarkably transparent case of pretending the world is what we wish it to be, rather than seeing it as it is.
Hours later, television screens across the world displayed images of Russian soldiers infiltrating Crimea and Russian artillery rolling through Sevastopol. Obama administration officials told CNN’s Barbara Starr that the incursion was not “an invasion” but an “uncontested arrival” and that this distinction was “key” to understanding the new developments. Read the rest of this entry »
Murdock writes: Regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline, Obama might have a logical leg on which to stand if KXL were the first such conduit to ravage the American heartland with miles and miles of rivets and steel. Alas for Obama, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are long gone, and so is this country’s pipeline virginity. It lost its innocence, in that sense, in the same century when those explorers conducted their Corps of Discovery Expedition from St. Charles, Mo., to what is now Astoria, Ore., between May 1804 and September 1806.
The first U.S. pipeline to transport oil started carrying crude from Coryville to Williamsport, Penn., in 1879. In the intervening 135 years, the continental USA became interlaced with 2,600,000 miles of these steel tubes. And how many more such miles would KXL add? A grand total of 852. That’s an increase of 0.033 percent, or the rough equivalent of delivering an extra faucet to the plumbing department at your local Home Depot. Believe it or not, this microscopic change in America’s pipeline profile fuels this massive controversy.
If you are laughing, you are enjoying an unintentional comedy titled “I’m Thinking It Over,” starring Obama. Despite five neutral-to-positive reports from the State Department, he has spent five years and five weeks deeply contemplating KXL. Obama simply refuses to make up his mind and, instead, demands even further study.
I knew it…it was only a matter of time…only a few days…before the most senior figures from the Zombie Museum of Foreign Policy would pen Op-Eds, weighing in on the current developments in the Ukraine. A few days ago, Zbigniew Brzezinski was re-animated, today, we have none other than Henry Kissinger:
For the The Washington Post, Henry Kissinger writes: Public discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation. But do we know where we are going? In my life, I have seen four wars begun with great enthusiasm and public support, all of which we did not know how to end and from three of which we withdrew unilaterally. The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins.
“Foreign policy is the art of establishing priorities.”
Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.
Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States.
In the far distant future of 1985, a multi-national crew rockets out to the planet Venus, only to find its population was long ago wiped out by the misuse of nuclear power. A co-production from East Germany and Poland, this science fiction film was released in the Soviet Union and Soviet bloc countries under the translated title Silent Star. It was re-edited and released in the US as First Spaceship on Venus in 1962 by Crown International.
The Push to Ostracize Gun Fans on Facebook
This, at least, is the premise of a new gun-control petition, in which the entertainingly neurotic founder of Moms Demand Action, Shannon Watts, complains that “Facebook and Instagram are currently being used to facilitate sales and trades of firearms between private sellers.” In consequence, Watts and her cohorts are calling for the company to “ban gun-themed fan pages on the site,” technology website VentureBeat confirmed yesterday. Thus far, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a few drearily predictable celebrities, and nearly 100,000 Americans have added their names to the supplication.
“…After all, the Internet presents a genuine and welcome challenge to centralized authority, and the state has not yet managed to quell the unruly hordes. And do Facebook and Instagram contribute to this headache? Yes, of course…”
In her entreaty, Watts gripes that Facebook’s “platforms unfortunately allow users to buy, sell, and trade firearms without requiring criminal background checks.” This, she suggests, is “a threat to public safety and the security of our families.” In fact, the “platforms” “allow” no such thing. As a spokesman for Facebook noted with barely disguised irritation, “you can’t buy things on Instagram and Facebook, nor can you promote the sale or use of weapons in advertising.” What he presumably didn’t feel he needed to clarify is that what the two “platforms” dofacilitate is people talking to one another — a service, it should be remembered, that is provided by almost every interactive system on the Internet, including e-mail, instant- and text-messaging services, photo-sharing venues, blogging hosts, comments sections, and forums.
Don’t be fooled by Putin’s façade; the pillars of Russian power are steadily declining.
Zachary Keck writes: Everywhere one looks today, signs of a resurgent Russia are omnipresent. Although Vladimir Putin has undoubtedly worked hard to craft this image, it is a mirage. Russia is doomed over the long-term, and its short-term maneuvers aren’t enough to compensate for this fact.
Traditionally, Russian power has rested on four pillars: population, energy, weaponry and geography. Three of these are diminishing.
The backbone of modern Russian power has been its massive population. Nowhere was this better demonstrated than in WWII. Russia no doubt played a leading role in orchestrating Hitler’s demise, starting with its legendary stands in Leningrad and Stalingrad. However, Stalin sapped the military might of Nazi Germany less because of the strategic or tactical genius he possessed, and almost entirely through his willingness to expend the lives of his citizenry.
According to some estimates, the Soviet Union lost somewhere between 22 and 28 million people during WWII. To put this in perspective, the United States and Great Britain each lost less than half a million people and even Germany only lost between 7 and 9 million lives during the war. Nonetheless, for nearly half a century after the war the Soviet Union could credibly threaten the much richer West solely because of the sheer number of men it could put under arms.
Benedict Cary writes: He heard about the drug trial from a friend in Switzerland and decided it was worth volunteering, even if it meant long, painful train journeys from his native Austria and the real possibility of a mental meltdown. He didn’t have much time, after all, and traditional medicine had done nothing to relieve his degenerative spine condition.
“The effort is both political and scientific…We want to break these substances out of the mold of the counterculture and bring them back to the lab as part of a psychedelic renaissance.”
“I’d never taken the drug before, so I was feeling — well, I think the proper word for it, in English, is dread,” said Peter, 50, an Austrian social worker, in a telephone interview; he asked that his last name be omitted to protect his identity. “There was this fear that it could all go wrong, that it could turn into a bad trip.”
On Tuesday, The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease is posting online results from the first controlled trial of LSD in more than 40 years. The study, conducted in the office of a Swiss psychiatrist near Bern, tested the effects of the drug as a complement to talk therapy for 12 people nearing the end of life, including Peter. Read the rest of this entry »
David Francis writes: As the eyes of the world and the media turn to Ukraine, Syrian President Bashar al Assad has quietly been making momentous gains in his three-year civil war with rebels that all but assure he will leave office on his own terms.
“He is still in power, and with negotiations stalled, it’s unlikely he’ll be removed. In short, he’s won.”
Assad’s army has taken Yabroud, the last major town held by Sunni Muslim rebels, located near the Lebanese border. On Tuesday, with support from Hezbollah fighters and local paramilitary groups, Assad’s forces bombarded the town until the rebels retreated.
Taking Yabroud is an important victory for Assad, who has been fighting for months to control the surrounding region.. He has now effectively cut off rebel supply lines from Lebanon.
CNN is looking like Chicken Noodle News again. The morale at this news organization must be depressingly low, judging by the amateur quality of this segment alone. The reporter feels an abnormal, bizarre, overwrought compulsion to remind viewers multiple times that it’s a TEST, people, it’s all perfectly normal, it’s a test, it’s permitted under the START Treaty, it’s just a TEST, really only a TEST, actually just a TEST, it’s a TEST firing of a missile, people, only a TEST, and in case we didn’t mention it, it’s a TEST.
Question. Is she a spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry? Or a Public Relations Firm associated with the Pentagon? Or reporting on behalf of a Russina News Agency? Is she even reporting from the U.S.? Is she a even a reporter?
Is there something about this person, or CNN’s obligation to some unseen agency, that we should know? If she worked for a serious news organization, she’d have been fired for this report. But — it IS entertaining.
Chriss W. Street writes: Russia’s invasion of Crimea is a tipping point event that will further spur the American oil boom. The European Union (EU) and United States in 2008 threatened to slap economic sanctions on Russia for invading Georgia. But after a while the criticism faded and threats of sanctions were quietly dropped, because the EU is almost entirely reliant on Russia for energy supplies.
While oil production cut America’s trade deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars, the greatest boon has been in tapping America’s immense natural gas reserves.
A similar situation is unfolding today as the EU and U.S. are again making empty threats that they will stop exports of Russian oil and gas as punishment for invading the Ukraine. But due to the latest humiliation by the Russians, a consensus is emerging that will demand the United States and its North American partners “drill, baby, drill” for national security.
Twenty years ago on January 1st, the United States, Mexico, and Canada implemented the North American Free Trade Agreement. The volatile Persian Gulf at the time supplied 35% of U.S. oil, and most “experts” argued the world was approaching “peak oil” extraction point where supply would then dwindle rapidly. Although many Americans label NAFTA a failure, it was highly successful in generating greater economic cooperation to prioritize and develop North America’s vast energy resources.