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Longwood Gardens. May, 2013.  Photo by: joanneleon

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Longwood Gardens. May, 2013.  Photo by: joanneleon




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A must watch (Greenwald on Maher's show last night).  An aside, we're still not hearing about what the Benghazi Report says was the root cause of the attack on the consulate -- special ops being run out of the WH/NSC targeting Libyan militia leaders, without the knowledge of the ambassador.  This video does not just center on Benghazi though, Maher and Greenwald get down to some fundamentals about our dealings in the Middle East and religious wars. When Maher wants to shut someone up, he can usually do it by mocking, insulting, talking louder or getting the last word, etc. but Greenwald gets a workout every day countering attacks on himself so when Maher tries this Greenwald doesn't even blink and is like a bulldog.  Anyway, that's just the end of the segment and there are good points made by all the participants.

Bill Maher Gets Owned by Glenn Greenwald Over Benghazi and Interventionism - May 10, 2013

And Greenwald doesn't leave it there, he immediately writes an article challenging Maher and HBO.
Debating Bill Maher on Muslims, Islam and US foreign policy
The HBO host has become a leading advocate of the view that Islam is uniquely violent and threatening. Does that hold up under critical scrutiny?

Last night I was on Bill Maher's HBO show "Real Time". There have always been numerous views of Maher's with which I agree. But he has become one of the most vocal and extreme advocates of the view that - while religion generally should be criticized - Islam is a uniquely threatening and destructive force and that Muslims are uniquely oppressive and violent, and that mentality has infected many of his policy views [...] Our exchange ends up, I believe, capturing the crux of this debate - which is essentially similar to the one I had recently with Sam Harris and friends - rather well:

Sam Seder does a phone interview with Matt Taibbi.  The video is split into four parts.
Everything Is Rigged, The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever (w/ Matt Taibbi)

Greenwald, Sirota and Cenk in the same room.  Heads will explode.
‘The Young Turks’ for May 8, 2013

BuzzFeed’s Michael Hastings, Salon.com contributor David Sirota and The Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald join to discuss the state of American civil liberties and why the banks still aren’t being punished by the government.

The US economy is broken because corporations are 'legally bound to squeeze every penny out of...

Cenk, David Sirota, Glenn Greenwald, and Michael Hastings break down why the distribution of wealth in the US is broken.
Tune in Mon - Thursday at 7e/4p on Current TV

Is the US already a complete surveillance state?

Cenk, David Sirota, Glenn Greenwald, and Michael Hastings debate how seriously Americans should take claims that every citizen is constantly being recorded.

Cenk's progressive power panel agrees the Obama administration lied about Benghazi

Cenk, David Sirota, Glenn Greenwald, and Michael Hastings debate whether the Obama administration lied about not knowing Benghazi was a terrorist attack for political gain.

There is a debate going on about the ethics and effectiveness of drone strikes.  No, it's not happening in the country where drone strikes are a key part of our war strategy, it's going on in the UK (with some Americans participating) where they just carried out their first drone strike.
Change My Mind: Is Drone Warfare Ethical And Effective?

As the Ministry of Defence confirmed that the RAF carried out its first drone strike operated from the UK this week, the question of whether the use of unmanned drones to target enemies is an ethical, or even effective, form of warfare is set to rise up the political agenda.
[...]
Conveniently, last week the Oxford Union debated the motion: 'This House Believes Drone Warfare is Ethical and Effective'.

Here is a sampling of some of the debate arguments from the Oxford Union.  You can see more of them with the title link that I've provided.

Drones Are Not Ethical And Effective | Chris Cole | Oxford Union

Drones Are Ethical And Effective | David Aaronovitch | Oxford Union

Drones Are Not Ethical And Effective | Naureen Shah | Oxford Union

Harold Koh's Slippery, Inadequate Criticism of the Drone War
The strongest criticism he'll make of Team Obama is that they aren't transparent enough. But its targeted killing policies are problematic for many additional reasons.

If Koh believes all that is what should happen, then he believes the Obama Administration's current approach is deeply wrongheaded, and not just because of its indefensible dearth of transparency. It is not "consistent with due process" to target American citizens. The way Team Obama counts civilian casualties is not "consistent with international humanitarian law standards." Obama can't demonstrate that its strikes were all directed against imminent threats. Being more transparent about any of those things will in fact be discrediting, not redemptive.

Hence the secrecy.

And although he precedes everything with, "as President Obama has indicated he wants to do," Koh knows that Obama could do everything Koh endorses, but has in fact chosen not to do it.  

Family members have some grievances and questions about the crash that killed 17 Navy SEALS a few months after the bin Laden kill.  One of the fathers believes that the recent policy decision to reveal more information about the special ops teams, and specifically disclosing the identity of the unit who killed bin Laden, put them in danger of the ambush that killed them.  Far right Congress folk and a neocon organization (Freedom Watch) sponsored the protest and are probably fueling it.  What the families have to say though, is something that I find interesting, filtering out the neocon exploitation of them.  What's also interesting is the way it's been ignored by most of the media. I don't know enough to have a strong opinion on this except that some of their questions and grievances seem legitimate and others seem really problematic, regardless of who is exploiting them for political purposes.  For a whole bunch of reasons, I think it's important to understand as much about our wars as possible and about the reporting or non-reporting about them, and to learn as much about the "Dirty Wars" and elite forces (along with the intel orgs that sometimes partner with them) that are such a key part of the military strategy in this country.  A lot of different important issues are involved, like transparency, rules of engagement, etc.
Families of Seal Team 6 protest at White House

A total of seventeen of the service members were from Seal Team Six, the same team that shot and killed Osama Bin Laden. There were 30 Americans on board and eight Afghanistan operatives.

Their families say the U.S. Government is just as responsible as the Taliban because they were sent into battle without proper air support.

A totally substance-free article by Jon Chait.  And I'm no supporter of Christie.  Some of Chait's best friends... yeah, he went there!
Chris Christie Way Too Jersey for Republicans

One of the things standing between Chris Christie and the Republican nomination, aside from his handful of ideological deviations and high-profile embrace of President Obama last fall, is that he's from New Jersey. And not just from New Jersey in the sense that, I don't know, Bruce Springsteen is from New Jersey, but from New Jersey in the way Tony Soprano is from New Jersey.
[...]
I'm not endorsing the stereotype. Some of my best friends, employers, colleagues, spouses, and in-laws are from the New York and New Jersey area. They're wonderful folks, and none of them are involved in organized crime, to the best of my knowledge. 

[Emphasis added]

This has been grabbing a lot of attention on Twitter among some leading voices.  I can't claim to understand all the background of it and Angry Arab, but I think this whole conversation (this and the other related conversations, and the recent epiphany by Angry Arab) are something to watch.
The Angry Arab Interviews Himself About Syria

The Angry Arab has been conducting a series of interviews with journalists and analysts about the situation in Syria for a while now, asking questions that you would never see in the ‘mainstream media’ as he calls it. He had promised to interview himself at the end of the series, and we are lucky that he decided to allow us to publish this remarkable interview which sheds so much light on one of the most unusual Arab writers and commentators around today. It also gives a unique insight into the situation in Syria unlike anything you might read anywhere else. Here goes: [...]

Another protest at the White House yesterday, and this time, the only media reporting on it is Press TV, from Iran.  Medea Benjamin from Code Pink was arrested again.  Ray McGovern was there.  I don't know which organizations were involved.  There is some information on Twitter and probably on some blogs but otherwise you have to go to Iran to find out about it, or to Occupy livestreams, as Occupy Carlisle was there filming it too.
American protesters call for the closure of Guantanamo Bay Prison

Dozens of activists wearing prison-style jumpsuits converged in front of the White House late in the morning and by the afternoon, Pennsylvania Ave was shut down.

Bacon!
Pearl Cantrell, 105-Year-Old Woman, Says Bacon Is Key To Longevity

A 105-year-old Texas woman who worked a life of physical labor and mothered seven children revealed the secret to her longevity: bacon.
[...]
When Oscar Mayer found out about Cantrell's love of bacon, it sent one of its iconic Wienermobiles to make a bacon delivery to Cantrell's home.
                       



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