ACT 1: Washington DC, United States Senate early 2016 Merrick Garland, an eminently qualified judge, was nominated by Barack Obama to the Supreme Court. For weeks afterwards, Republican senators responsible for considering the nomination refused to meet with him. Some of them slink out of their offices in the Senate to avoid the visiting judge. Several eventually do meet him after being shamed, but refuse to discuss confirmation hearings and restrict conversations to pleasantries. They work in lock step to deny Garland a hearing, and deny him the nomination. For the first time in the Republic’s history, a President’s judicial nominee is denied …Continue reading →
In a long article on Trump’s relationship with the military, WaPo reveals that Trump urged CIA employees to commit more war crimes. Trump came to office promising to give the Pentagon a free hand to unleash the full force of U.S. firepower. His impatience was evident on his first full day in office when he visited the CIA and was ushered up to the agency’s drone operations floor. […] Later, when the agency’s head of drone operations explained that the CIA had developed special munitions to limit civilian casualties, the president seemed unimpressed. Watching a previously recorded strike in which the agency held …Continue reading →
While 44 U.S. Senators on Tuesday were applauded by peace groups for voting in favor of a resolution that would have allowed Congress to begin reclaiming its war-making authority and ended the U.S. military’s backing of Saudi Arabia’s assault on Yemen, it was ultimately not enough to overcome entrenched opposition from the 45 Republicans and 10 Democrats who voted against it.
Introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah), the resolution (SJ Res. 54) would have ended the tacit military support—including targeting assistance, refueling, and intelligence sharing—of the Saudi’s campaign to wage war on Yemen, a nation currently embroiled in a civil war and experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises on the planet.
The final tally was 55-44 against the resolution, with only Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) not casting a vote. While five Republicans voted for the measure, the 10 Democrats senators who joined with the Republican majority to block it were: Coons (D-DE); Cortez Masto (D-NV); Donnelly (D-IN); Heitkamp (D-ND); Jones (D-AL); Manchin (D-WV); Menendez (D-NJ); Nelson (D-FL); Reed (D-RI); and Whitehouse (D-RI).
Anti-war groups, while disappointed with the outcome, celebrated the vote and heralded it as an important step in terms of getting congressional lawmakers to final assert themselves against an executive branch that has been allowed to wage war with nearly no restraint over the last 17 years.
“Because of the leadership put forth by Sens. Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee, and Chris Murphy — and the tireless advocacy of hundreds of thousands of Americans — the U.S. Senate was today finally forced to confront America’s unauthorized role in Yemen’s deadly civil war,” Kate Kizer, policy director for Win Without War, in a statement.
“We commend the 44 Senators who agreed that U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition is unconstitutional, counterproductive, and doesn’t serve U.S. national security interests,” she added. “Today’s vote should serve as a sober reminder to Saudi Arabia that it must immediately move to resolve this conflict diplomatically, and that American support for its war in Yemen is not unlimited.”
Prior to the vote Bernie Sanders spoke on the chamber floor to outline his position and to note the 15th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War:
Afterwards he tweeted his disappointment with the final tally:
I'm deeply disappointed that Congress again abdicated its constitutional duty to authorize war. Over and over, Congress has sat back and failed to ask the hard questions as administrations have misled us into conflicts, including Vietnam and Iraq, with disastrous consequences.
Today, Trump nominated a person to lead the CIA who ran torture sites and helped order the destruction of videotapes documenting the torture. Gina Haspel was passed over for a promotion in the Obama era, because she ran a CIA black site and destroyed evidence. She remained in place however, ready for a president with fewer qualms about torturing black and brown people. Trump, of course, has clearly said (as president) that he supports torturing people: Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick for CIA director, tied to use of brutal interrogation measures Haspel, 61, would become the first woman to lead the CIA if she is confirmed …Continue reading →
As the Trump administration continues to expand the U.S. military’s role in fueling the Saudi-led coalition’s deadly assault on Yemen—which has killed at least 10,000 civilians and sparked “the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis”—a coalition of senators led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a bipartisan joint resolution on Wednesday that calls for the removal of American armed forces from the country.
“The bill will force the first-ever vote in the Senate to withdraw U.S. armed forces from an unauthorized war,” Sanders, who will be joined by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) in introducing the resolution, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The U.S. has been heavily supporting Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen for years, supplying the kingdom with weaponry and military intelligence. Last August, the Pentagon acknowledged for the first time that American troops are on the ground in Yemen.
While American complicity in the Yemen crisis is rarely discussed on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives last November overwhelmingly approved a resolution declaring that U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen is not authorized.
With their legislation—titled the Yemen War Powers Resolution—Sanders, Lee, and Murphy are looking to take concrete steps toward ending U.S. complicity in Yemen’s suffering, which Murphy has called “a stain on the conscience of our nation.”
“By continuing to blindly back Saudi Arabia’s starvation campaign, on top of fueling Yemen’s suffering, the U.S. is creating more enemies and fueling the very extremism the War on Terror is supposed to be eradicating,” said Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy at Peace Action, in a statement on Wednesday. “Congress knows this, but Saudi Arabia’s legions of lobbyists on Capitol Hill have convinced some members of Congress to bury their heads in the sand.”
I’ve written previously about the Kushner family’s attempts to shore up their precarious finances by extorting fees from low-income tenants and selling green-cards to Chinese investors. As Bloomberg reported in August, the Kushners are desperately seeking cash to save their heavily-mortgaged Manhattan skyscraper as balloon payments come due over the next two years. Last week, Kushner took an unannounced trip to KSA: President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner returned home Saturday from an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia — his third trip to the country this year. Kushner left Washington, D.C., via commercial airline on Wednesday for the trip, which was not announced to …Continue reading →
The day before President Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, the Senate passed a bill authorizing another $700bn for the Pentagon. In a rare act of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, the Senate passed a $700 billion defense policy bill on Monday that sets forth a muscular vision of America as a global power, with a Pentagon budget that far exceeds what President Trump has asked for. Senators voted 89-9 to approve the measure, known as the National Defense Authorization Act; the House has already adopted a similar version. — www.nytimes.com/… Yes, you read that right. The Senate voted to spend even more than the president who wants …Continue reading →
Eric Trump is 32. Jared Kushner is 36. Donald Trump Jr. is 39. They’re all young enough to serve. Yes, the Army won’t allow Jared and Don Jr to enlist since they’re over 34, but I’m sure the President can make a call and request an exemption. If Donald Trump is going to deliver “fire & fury”, perhaps his kids and sons-in-law should help deliver it. Eric and Don are already “locked & loaded” so to speak. They have the ability to track and shoot dangerous animals as you can see in the photo above. They should require minimal training to …Continue reading →
This baby is learning to live life without her fingers after she was injured by a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Yemen. pic.twitter.com/qnkTzQ0mCN — Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) July 20, 2017 Our government sold the airplanes that dropped these bombs. Our government refuels the planes on their sorties. Our government makes and sells the bombs, including cluster bombs. We share responsibility for these atrocities. And please don’t believe any of the bullshit peddled to us about how our bombs bring “freedom” and “democracy”. The hands on the triggers are Saudi and we provide the political cover for the Saudis as they do this. …Continue reading →
On September 14, 2001 Barbara Lee strode up to the podium and made this speech to explain her vote against the AUMF in Afghanistan. x Rep Barbara Lee was the lone dissenting vote. The AUMF passed 420-1 in the house. We have now been at war in Afghanistan for almost 16 years. Her courageous vote that day echoed Jeanette Rankin’s lone vote against declaring war on Japan and entering World War II. As Lee explained in her speech: “We are not dealing with a conventional war,” she said. “We cannot respond in a conventional manner. I do not want to see this …Continue reading →
We have been at war in Afghanistan for almost 16 years now, and for much of that time, it’s been two steps forward and three steps back. This week, we went three steps back as ISIS captured the mountain fortress of Tora Bora. The ISIS forces in Afghanistan include the remnants of Al-Qaeda. Tora Bora is where Bin-Laden went immediately after 9/11. It’s a large complex with miles of tunnels, roads and caves dug into granite mountains. If you think this is only two steps back, recall that Tora Bora was originally built with funding from the CIA. The CIA helped build this …Continue reading →
Back in March, a bomb dropped from a US aircraft hit a building in Mosul and caused it to collapse. The strike was called in because Iraqi force on the ground saw two snipers in the building. Once the smoke had cleared, neighbors began pulling bodies out of the wreckage and there were reports that 200+ people had perished, including many children. This was the only building in the area with a basement and over a hundred people were sheltering there. The day the news broke, Iraqi forces told journalists that the building collapse was caused by a car bomb. This …Continue reading →
Today, the AFP is reporting that coalition airstrikes in the Syrian town of Meyadeen killed 80 people, 33 of whom were civilians. They’re being described as “relatives of ISIS fighters”. A US-led coalition air strike on the eastern Syrian town of Mayadeen early Friday killed at least 80 relatives of Islamic State group fighters, a monitoring group told AFP. “The toll includes 33 children. They were families seeking refuge in the town’s municipal building,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “This is the highest toll for relatives of IS members in Syria,” Abdel Rahman …Continue reading →