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Barack Obama’s wasted, deadly, and destructive presidency

Eight years ago, President Obama’s administration started with hope and change. Eight years later, we end up with a legacy of nothing but waste, death, and destruction.

Jacob Hornberger​

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First published on the Future of Freedom Foundation.

Libertarians never had any hope, of course, that Barack Obama would dismantle any aspect of the welfare state. As a died-in-the-wool liberal, his commitment to socialism, regulation, and economic interventionism is unwavering. When, for example, he addressed the healthcare crisis brought on my Medicare, Medicaid, regulation, and interventionism by foisting Obamacare onto the American people, we libertarians were not surprised.

Where libertarians (and lots of liberals) had hope was that Obama would change the direction that the George W. Bush administration had set for America with respect to foreign policy and civil liberties.

After all, Obama had made a big deal of having opposed Bush’s war on Iraq. On the campaign trail he also emphasized his supposed deep commitment to civil liberties, especially given his legal understanding of constitutional principles.

Alas, no change. Obama’s eight years turned out to be nothing more than a continuation of Bush’s eight years, which, like Obama’s, consisted of waste, death, and destruction.

What a shame. Obama had the opportunity to go down in history as having had an extraordinary presidency, one that brought an end to foreign empire and foreign interventionism, brought all the troops home and discharged them, ended Bush’s “war on terrorism” (and war on Muslims), and dismantled the extraordinary totalitarian powers that Bush had unilaterally adopted and that were supposed to be only “temporary.”

Today, U.S. troops are still fighting, killing, and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, with no end in sight. Many Americans have no hope that they will ever be ended. They have both become America’s forever wars.

Americans today continue to live under a regime that has the omnipotent power to assassinate them, put them into concentration camps, torture them, and secretly spy on them. How in the world are such totalitarian-like powers reconcilable with the principles of a free society?

Unfortunately, that’ s not all. Obama also initiated one of the national-security state’s classic regime-change operations, this one in Libya. Like all the others, the result is chaos, crisis, civil war, violence, death, and destruction.

It’s no different, of course, in Syria, another target of a U.S. regime-change operation — this one against a ruler, Bashar al-Assad, who once served as a torture-rendition partner in the U.S. war on terrorism. Just ask Canadian citizen Mahar Arar, who the CIA kidnapped at Dulles Airport and renditioned to Syria under a torture agreement that is still so secret that the American people are not permitted to know its terms. It bears mentioning that Arar, after suffering a year of brutal torture in Syria because of the CIA, turned out to be a totally innocent man.

The result of the U.S. government’s regime-change operations in Syria? Ongoing death, destruction, and misery, just like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.

Let’s also not forget the massive refugee crisis in Europe produced by all this U.S-produced mayhem.

The news media is reporting that Obama’s forces dropped more than 26,000 bombs in the Middle East in 2016 alone. That obviously begs a question: How many bombs did they drop in the previous 7 years? It has to be a lot. And as everyone knows, when bombs are dropped, the results include death and destruction.

Indeed, after eight years as president, Obama didn’t even succeed in closing the Pentagon’s and CIA’s prison and torture center in Cuba. He had, of course, promised to do that when he was running for president eight years ago.

On top of all that, Obama succeeded in igniting a new Cold War against Russia, especially by breaking the U.S. promise to Russia to keep NATO in check. Instead, breaking the promise, NATO began gobbling up former Warsaw Pact countries and moving NATO forces (which include German soldiers) and missiles inexorably closer and closer to Russia’s borders.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that those moves, along with the U.S.-supported coup in Ukraine, would produce a crisis with Russia with respect to Crimea and Ukraine. After all, what would the U.S. national-security state do if Russia started sending troops and missiles to, say, Cuba or Mexico? We all know that U.S. officials would go ballistic, just like Russian officials did when they ordered the takeover in Crimea in response to what the U.S.-run NATO was doing.

Meanwhile, during his eight years in office, Obama went after government whistleblowers with a passion and a fierceness that defies credulity. After all, whistleblowers ordinarily disclose government wrongdoing. Isn’t that something good? Apparently not to Obama, notwithstanding his very late commutation of the draconian sentence meted out to military whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who committed the cardinal sin of disclosing grave wrongdoing on the part of the U.S. military.

What gives? Why did Obama end up continuing and expanding the Bush legacy? What happened to the hope and change?

Those are fascinating questions, ones that unfortunately the mainstream press isn’t asking.

My hunch is that Obama simply lacked the power and the fortitude to overcome the segment of the federal government that is really running the show — the national-security establishment — i.e., the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

I recommend reading the excellent book National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, a professor at Tufts University. Glennon hits the nail on the head. He shows that it’s the national-security establishment that is really in charge of the federal government. It permits the other three sections — the president, the Congress, and the judiciary — to maintain the appearance that they are in charge.

In my opinion, that’s why Gitmo is still open. I think the Pentagon and the CIA wouldn’t permit it to be closed and mobilized their forces in Congress to ensure that it wouldn’t be closed. I think that’s why the U.S. is still in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East and in Afghanistan. That’s why there is a Cold War II with Russia. That’s why American warships have “pivoted” to the South China Sea, where they can gin up crises with China. Indeed, I think that’s why U.S. forces are being sent to Poland in the last week of the Obama presidency.

I could, of course, be wrong. It’s entirely possible that Barack Obama suddenly decided, for some unknown reason, to abandon his pre-election promises and principles and shift course by using his presidency to mimic the legacy of George W. Bush. I just think that my explanation — that Obama found himself unable to stand up to and oppose the overwhelming power of what President Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex” — makes more sense.

After all, let’s not forget who has been the beneficiary of sixteen continuous years of death and destruction and loss of liberty and prosperity — the national security establishment.

Will the next four years be any different from the last 16 years? We will soon find out.

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Germany Wants Nuclear Bombers

Germany does not manufacture atomic weapons but has come to consider itself as a nuclear power because it has vectors to use them.

The Duran

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Via VoltaireNet.org:


Germany’s armed forces are currently studying the possibility of acquiring nuclear bombers capable of using the new American B61-12 atomic bombs.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon itself plans to deploy these new atomic bombs in the German region of Eifel, in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The German air force already has multi-tasking Tornado warplanes, which are already capable of deploying American atomic bombs. But those aircraft are going to be replaced, possibly, by European-developed Eurofighters, or by United States manufactured F/A-18 Super Hornets.

Either way, the warplane that Germany selects will have to be equipped with the AMAC (Aircraft Monitoring and Control) system, which allows the use of the new American atomic bombs and enables the regulation of the power of the explosion as well as at what height the bombs explode after they are launched.

Germany does not manufacture atomic weapons but has come to consider itself as a nuclear power because it has vectors to use them, and believes that this gives it the right to sit on the UN Security Council sharing the permanent member position occupied by France.

Both countries would thus represent the European Union, under the auspices of NATO.

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1st since Notre Dame: Yellow Vests back despite ‘unifying’ disaster & they are angry

‘Yellow Vests’ march in Paris for 23rd straight week.

RT

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Via RT…


Yellow Vests protests brought clashes and tear gas back to the streets of Paris, despite politicians’ calls for “unity” in the wake of the Notre Dame fire. For protesters, the response to the fire only showed more inequality.

Saturday’s protests mark the 23rd straight weekend of anti-government demonstrations, but the first since Notre Dame de Paris went up in flames on Monday. Officials were quick to criticize the protesters for returning to the streets so soon after the disaster.

“The rioters will be back tomorrow,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters on Friday. “The rioters have visibly not been moved by what happened at Notre-Dame.”

For many of the protesters, grief over the destruction of the 800-year-old landmark has made way for anger. With smoke still rising from Notre Dame, a group of French tycoons and businessmen pledged €1 billion to the cathedral’s reconstruction, money that the Yellow Vests say could be better spent elsewhere.

“If they can give dozens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame, they should stop telling us there is no money to respond to the social emergency,” trade union leader Philippe Martinez told France 24.

Saturday’s protests saw a return to scenes familiar since the Yellow Vests first mobilized in November to protest a fuel tax hike. Demonstrators in Paris’ Bastille district set barricades on fire and smashed vehicles, and police deployed tear gas to keep the crowds at bay.

Sporadic incidents of vandalism and looting were reported across the city, and some journalists even reported rioters throwing feces at police.

60,000 police officers were deployed across the country, and in Paris, a security perimeter was set up around Notre Dame. A planned march that would have passed the site was banned by police, and elsewhere, 137 protesters had been arrested by mid afternoon, police sources told Euronews.

Beginning as a show of anger against rising fuel costs in November, the Yellow Vests movement quickly evolved into a national demonstration of rage against falling living standards, income inequality, and the perceived elitism and pro-corporation policies of President Emmanuel Macron. Over 23 weeks of unrest, Macron has made several concessions to the protesters’ demands, but has thus far been unable to quell the rising dissent.

After Notre Dame caught fire on Monday, the president postponed a television address to the nation, during which he was expected to unveil a package of tax cuts and other economic reforms, another measure to calm the popular anger in France.

Macron’s address will be held on Thursday.

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O Canada! The True North Strong and Free – Not

Maybe it’s past time for Canadians to get serious again about their independence.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Canadian visitors to Washington sometimes wonder why their embassy stands at the foot of Capitol Hill.

The answer? To be close to where Canada’s laws are made.

A main showcase of Ottawa’s craven servility to Washington is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s complicity in the US-led regime change operation being conducted against Venezuela. Not content with ruining his own country with multiculturalism, polysexualism, and the like, Li’l Justin has acted in lockstep with Big Brother to the south inslapping sanctions on Venezuelan officials and serving as a US agent of influence, especially with other countries in the western hemisphere:

‘A Canadian Press report published at the end of January revealed that Canadian diplomats worked systematically over several months with their Latin American counterparts in Caracas to prepare the current regime-change operation, pressing [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro’s right-wing opponents to set aside their differences and mount a joint challenge to the government. “The turning point,” said the Canadian Press [Global News], “came Jan. 4, when the Lima Group … rejected the legitimacy of Maduro’s May 2018 election victory and his looming January 10 inauguration, while recognizing the ‘legitimately elected’ National Assembly.” The report cited an unnamed Canadian official as saying the opposition “were really looking for international support of some kind, to be able to hold onto a reason as to why they should unite, and push somebody like Juan Guaidó.”

‘One day prior to Maduro’s inauguration, [Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia] Freeland spoke to Guaidó, the newly-elected National Assembly speaker, by telephone to urge him to challenge the elected Venezuelan president.’

But that’s not all. Canada is out front and center in the “Five Eyes” intelligence agencies’ war on China’s Huawei – with direct prompting from US legislators and intelligence.  As explained by Col. Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Gen. Colin Powell, it’s not that Huawei violated any law when circumventing US sanctions but it is the US that is acting illegally by unilaterally imposing sanctions that were never agreed to internationally. But that’s OK – when it comes to Washington’s claims of jurisdiction over every human being on the planet, Justin and Chrystia are happy to oblige!

Also, let’s not forget Chrystia’s role in keeping the pot boiling in Ukraine. It would of course be cynical (and probably racist) to attribute anything relating to Ukraine to her own interesting family background …

To be fair, the lickspittle attitude of Canadian officials towards their masters south of the 49th parallel is hardly unique in the world. Also to be fair, it’s natural and would be generally beneficial for Canada to have a positive relationship with a powerful, kindred neighbor rather than a negative one. Think of Austria’s ties to Germany, or the Trans-Tasman relationship of Australia and New Zealand, or the links that still exist between Russia and Ukraine despite efforts by the west to set them against each other (as, for example, Spain and Portugal were at loggerheads for several centuries, when the latter was a loyal ally of Spain’s foe, Great Britain, to such an extent that Portugal was sometimes shown on maps and globes in the same pink as British possessions; a similar situation existed between Argentina and British ally Chile).

A close and mutually advantageous relationship is one thing, but Canada’s de facto loss of independence is another. Not only does the US control Canada’s diplomacy, military, and intelligence but also her financial system (with, among other levers, the notorious FATCA law, which places Canadian institutions under the supervision of the IRS, with Canada’s revenue service acting, care of the Canadian taxpayer, as a cat’s paw for not only the IRS but the NSA and other snooping agencies). As explained by one Canadian nationalist (yes, they do exist!), the redoubtable David Orchard, trade is also a critical issue:

‘Canada …, after almost three decades of “free trade” with the U.S., has more than $1.2 trillion in federal and provincial debt, large deficits at every level, no national child or dental care, high university tuition, miserly old age pensions, years of massive budget cuts, and giveaway prices for its exports of oil, gas, timber and minerals.

‘For 150 years, great Canadian leaders have warned that without an economic border with the United States, we would soon no longer have a political border.

‘We once owned the world’s largest farm machinery maker, Massey Harris, headquartered in Toronto; built the world’s largest and most respected marketer of wheat and barley, the Canadian Wheat Board, based in Winnipeg; created a great transcontinental railway system, beginning in Montreal, which tied our country together; and saw Vancouver’s shipyards produce the beautiful Fast Cat ferry.

‘Instead of spending hundreds of billions on foreign-made machinery, electronics, automobiles, ships, fighter jets and passenger aircraft (even payroll systems for federal employees!), we can build our own, both for the domestic and export market.

‘We once designed and built the world’s most advanced jet interceptor, the Avro Arrow, so we know it can be done. [Emphasis added] With Canada’s resources and ingenuity, it could create a prosperous, domestically controlled economy that would give Canadians multiple benefits, security and pride of ownership. All that is required is some of the will that drove our ancestors to create an alternate power in North America. As George-Étienne Cartier, the great Québécois Father of Confederation, put it, “Now everything depends on our patriotism.”’ [Note: Orchard is the author of the must-read book The Fight for Canada: Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism. To begin at the beginning, in the late 1680s, as part of English-French rivalry in North America, Massachusetts Puritans sought to root out the nest of popish deviltry known as Quebec. Following their disastrous 1690 defeat, they decided to fight Satan closer to home by hanging witches. The rest, as they say, is history…]

Scratch a Canadian patriot and you’ll hear about the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow. As a watershed moment in Canada’s downward slide into subservience, the cancellation of what by all accounts was a magnificent aircraft – and a snapshot of what Canada’s international competitiveness (including in advanced aerospace) could have looked like had it been able to develop independently – might have been the point of being sucked into the American vortex. As noted by one response to my suggestion that Ottawa’s stance on Venezuela amounted to Canada’s annexation by the US: “Canadian here…unfortunately, the above is true (not literally of course, but in practice). It goes back even before the time of Diefenbaker, who canceled our Avro Arrow program on demand from the US – thus destroying our aerospace industry and causing brain drain to the US/Europe.”

To this day, the decision of then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to kill the Arrow project (and “put 14,528 Avro employees, as well as nearly 15,000 other employees in the Avro supply chain of outside suppliers, out of work”) on what came to be known as “Black Friday,” February 20, 1959, remains controversial and shrouded in mystery. A mix of budgetary, political, technological, and personality factors has been cited, none of them conclusive. Pressure from the US side, including unwillingness of Washington to purchase a Canadian aircraft when the US could pressure them to buy American planes and missiles, no doubt played a key role: “Instead of the CF-105, the RCAF invested in a variety of Century Series fighters from the United States. These included the F-104 Starfighter (46 percent of which were lost in Canadian service), and (more controversial, given the cancellation of the Arrow) the CF-101 Voodoo. The Voodoo served as an interceptor, but at a level of performance generally below that expected of the Arrow.”

While we may never know reliably why Diefenbaker cancelled the Arrow or how Canada or Canadian industry might have followed a different path, there’s no question of the superior capabilities of the Arrow. As it happens, one of the few pilots who had a chance to test the Arrow in an impromptu friendly dogfight is now-retired USAF fighter pilot Col. George Jatras, later US Air Attaché in Moscow (also, this analyst’s father). As he related in 2017:

‘I’ve received a number of messages in the last couple days about this bird, including some that say it may be revived. I don’t know how The Arrow would compare to today’s aircraft, but I had a first-hand lesson on how it faired against the F-102.

‘In 1959, I was stationed at Suffolk County AFB on Long Island with the 2nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron. We had an informal exchange program with a Canadian fighter squadron stationed near Montreal. From time to time, two or four aircraft from one of the squadrons would fly to the other’s base on a weekend cross country.

‘On one such exchange, I was #3 in a four ship formation led by [former Tuskegee airmanErnie Craigwell (I don’t recall who the other pilots were). As we entered Canadian airspace, cruising at about 40,000 ft., we spotted a contrail well above our altitude (probably at 50,000ft.) and closing very fast.  As the other aircraft appeared to be passing by, we could clearly see the delta shaped wing and knew it was the Avro Arrow that the Canadian pilots had told us about. Then, instead of just passing by, he rolled in on us! Ernie called for a break and we split into elements. When we talked about the encounter afterwards we all agreed that our first thought was, “This guy is in for a surprise; he doesn’t know that he’s taking on the F-102.”  Well, we were the ones in for a surprise. Even with two elements covering each other, not one of us could get on his tail. His power and maneuverability were awesome.  After he had played with us for a few minutes, like a cat with four mice, he zoomed back up to about 50K and went on his way. What an aircraft! What a shame that it never went into production.’

What is perhaps most curious about the Arrow’s demise is that “everything was ordered brutally destroyed; plans, tools, parts, and the completed planes themselves were to be cut up, destroyed, scrapped and everything made to disappear.”  Why? Well, security of course! Don’t engage in conspiracy theories …

The Canadian national anthem finishes with a pledge: “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.” It should be noted that understandably resentful Loyalists fleeing the US following the American Revolution were a major contribution to the growth of Canada’s English-speaking population. American troops – back when we were the plucky underdog fighting the mighty British Empire – invaded Canada in 1775 and during the War of 1812 but were defeated. Relations got testy during the American Civil War as well, and even afterwards the US was wary of a proposed united “Kingdom of Canada,” hence the choice of the name “Dominion” in 1967. If today’s Canadians think we-all down here don’t know whom they’ve mostly had in mind to “stand on guard” against all this time, they’d better think again.

Maybe it’s past time for Canadians to get serious again about their independence – eh?

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