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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Some are more equal than others

In the current political climate much is made by the progressive left about social/economic "inequality" promoting the perception of class warfare.

We hear all the time about the evil rich people, about the evils of capitalism and the protection of the 1%er's at the top. Wealth should be redistributed and taxation should be used to confiscate the monies of the evil rich and given to the disadvantaged. We are "owed that wealth" we are told, the capitalist pigs have stolen it from the "working poor".

It may interest you to know that the "University of North Carolina School of Law pays Professor Gene Nichol $205,400 annually for his one class per semester workload. On top of his teaching salary, he receives a $7,500 stipend as director of the law school’s Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity." According to The College Fix "UNC law professor’s holdings include $1.5M in real estate, and meanwhile he chastises Republicans for their ‘unforgivable war on poor people’

A controversial, outspoken law professor who frequently bashes Republicans and specializes in poverty issues as a self-proclaimed champion of the poor earns $205,400 per year – for teaching one class per semester."
“I’m a full time faculty member – doing all the varied things faculty members do,” he stated. “That’s the basis for the salary you quote. Beyond that, I’m paid $7,500 to run the poverty center – the same as all the other law school center directors.” 
When asked about his compensation compared to other law professors, Nichol said: “Several make a good deal more than I do at Carolina, some make less.” 
The News & Observer lists the UNC Distinguished Professor of Law Thomas Lee Hazen’s salary at $222,000. However, he is slated to teach four classes this fall, and two in the spring. UNC Distinguished Professor of Law Sarah Elizabeth Gibson earns $200,000 annually, and has a similar workload to Nichol at one class per semester. 
Assistant and associate professors at the UNC School of Law tend to earn about $130,000 annually, according to the News & Observer database. Their work load ranges from one class per semester up to four. 
As for Nichol, in the past he served as president of the College of William and Mary from 2005 to 2008, that is, until his contract was not renewed following a string of controversies.
Among them, he allowed a sex workers’ art show on campus and removed a cross from permanent display in the chapel of the historic Christopher Wren building, citing the facility’s use for secular events.
Prior to that, Nichol was the dean of UNC’s law school from 1999 to 2005.
Today at UNC, Nichol runs the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, which was founded by the now-disgraced Democrat John Edwards. The center is a self-proclaimed non-partisan, interdisciplinary institute that aims to study and mitigate poverty in North Carolina and the nation. 
... In his leadership role there, Nichol is known to use inflammatory political rhetoric.
For example, on the center’s website he writes that “the scourge of debilitating poverty is the largest problem faced by the people of North Carolina – even if our political leaders ignore it, or declare, with a breathtaking stupidity, that it doesn’t exist.” North Carolina has a Republican-controlled majority of lawmakers. 
Yet while Nichol champions the poor – even chastising Republicans in a March News & Observer op-ed for its “unforgivable war on poor people” – it’s unclear how well he can relate to those living in poverty. 
His wife, chief of staff for the UNC Health Care System and the UNC School of Medicine, earns $407,000 annually. Combining his and his wife’s salary, the couple makes at least $612,000 per year. 
The Nichol family lives in a Chapel Hill home with a tax value of more than $1 million. They also own a bungalow on the beach at Emerald Isle, valued by Carteret County at more than $512,000. In the summer months, Nichol rents his four-bedroom bungalow for nearly $2,000 per week.
No stranger to controversy, Professor Nichol once the President of William & Mary School of Law, sent out a defiant departure email, claiming he was ousted due to ideological reasons, and Michael Powell’s steadfast denial that the non-renewal was based on ideology following the board decision not to renew his contract.
First, as is widely known, I altered the way a Christian cross was displayed in a public facility, on a public university campus, in a chapel used regularly for secular College events — both voluntary and mandatory — in order to help Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and other religious minorities feel more meaningfully included as members of our broad community. The decision was likely required by any effective notion of separation of church and state. And it was certainly motivated by the desire to extend the College’s welcome more generously to all. We are charged, as state actors, to respect and accommodate all religions, and to endorse none. The decision did no more. 
Second, I have refused, now on two occasions, to ban from the campus a program funded by our student-fee-based, and student-governed, speaker series. To stop the production because I found it offensive, or unappealing, would have violated both the First Amendment and the traditions of openness and inquiry that sustain great universities. It would have been a knowing, intentional denial of the constitutional rights of our students. It is perhaps worth recalling that my very first act as president of the College was to swear on oath not to do so. 
... And, finally, to the life-changing and soul-inspiring students of the College, the largest surprise of my professional life, those who have created in me a surpassing faith not only in an institution, but in a generation, I have not words to touch my affections. My belief in your promise has been the central and defining focus of my presidency. The too-quick ending of our work together is among the most profound and wrenching disappointments in my life. Your support, particularly of the past few weeks and days, will remain the strongest balm I’ve known. I am confident of the triumphs and contributions the future holds for women and men of such power and commitment.
What else is this pompous ass capable of? He also writes about "the leading edge of Southern civil rights oppression"
But if gubernatorial derision is par for the course, the United States’ decision, two weeks ago, to sue North Carolina for violating the Voting Rights Act is not. 
Attorney General Eric Holder announced “more in sorrow than in anger” that key provisions of McCrory and friends’ new election law are racially discriminatory “in both intent and impact.” We “cannot simply stand by,” Holder declared, “as North Carolina minority communities are shut out of self-governance.” 
But there was much more. In one sense, Holder’s bold legal move has been under-reported. Not only does he seek to invalidate a laundry list of the law’s provisions, he has demanded that North Carolina “be subjected to a pre-clearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.” 
In short, Holder triggered a formal process to have North Carolina declared an outlaw state – unwilling to protect the essential rights of its citizens. Federal receivership is necessary because we cannot be trusted to comply with the foundational American duty to govern fairly. If successful, Holder’s suit will assure that, for the first time, all 100 North Carolina counties (instead of the original 40 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act) submit to pre-clearance duties. An ironic legacy for McCrory and crew. 
Read more here:
Facing South details North Carolina budget director Art Pope recently filed a broad Freedom of Information Act request seeking all emails and other records of a University of North Carolina law school professor and anti-poverty crusader over a month-long period.
FOIA laws were designed to ensure government information is available to the public. But in recent years, requests from conservative groups for the records of academics in Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin and Michigan have raised questions whether FOIA is being used for politically motivated harassment. 
"For a crowd that talks so much about liberty, they sure love to shut people up," Nichol told Facing South. 
Civitas, which was also behind the controversial database of Moral Monday arrestees, filed the information request 11 days after Nichol published a column in The News & Observer of Raleigh in which he called North Carolina's new election law imposing strict photo voter ID requirements and other limits on voting the "most oppressive in the nation" and likened Gov. Pat McCrory (R) to "a 21st century successor to Maddox, Wallace and Faubus," referring to the segregationist governors of Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas. 
Nichol's column sparked an angry response from Civitas Executive Director Francis De Luca and Jane Shaw, director of the Art Pope-founded Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. In an Oct. 18 blog post at the Civitas website titled "Academic Freedom or Shrill Partisanship?", they accused Nichol of going "over the top in his invective": 
A nasty attack of this sort on a governor might be ignored if Gene Nichol were a fringe figure. But he is not. He is a law professor who receives $205,400 per year from North Carolina taxpayers. 
A request for comment from De Luca, who submitted the FOIA request, was not immediately returned because he is traveling. Civitas played an important role in building support for the election law changes that Nichol criticized. The former director of the North Carolina chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group founded with the support of the billionaire brothers behind the Koch Industries oil and chemical conglomerate, De Luca was recently appointed to the N.C. Ethics Commission.
Jane Stancill further details the controversies surrounding the "champion of the poor and down-trodden"
Gene Nichol, a UNC-Chapel Hill law professor, wrote a column last month in which he urged an end to the “unforgivable war on poor people” in North Carolina. 
“It is a rank violation of our history, our ethics, our scriptures and our constitutions,” he wrote in The News &  Observer. “We’re a decent people. We aren’t bullies. And we don’t like those who are.” 
Printed under the column were his name, his title as the Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor and this statement: “He doesn’t speak for UNC.” 
Since late October, the disclaimer has appeared whenever Nichol, a provocative and prolific writer, pens a piece for the newspaper’s opinion pages. 
According to email records obtained by the N&O, Nichol, a former dean and college president and well-known liberal, has also been asked by his bosses to give them a day or two days’ notice – a “heads up” before his columns appear. And when the subject doesn’t involve poverty, he’s been urged to omit his title as director of the privately funded, university-based Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity – an organization that has been a lightning rod because its founding was tied to former presidential candidate and disgraced Democrat John Edwards. 
The university’s unusual requests followed an Oct. 15 column by Nichol in which he was sharply critical of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. 
The emails show significant angst on the part of university officials who fretted about budget consequences for the university in North Carolina’s highly politicized atmosphere. Though Nichol agreed to the limits, some say they threaten the university’s proud tradition of academic freedom and unfettered expression. 
“The attempt to pressure the university to control Gene Nichol’s speech is illegitimate, and frankly, borders on the unconstitutional,” said Rich Rosen, an emeritus professor of law at UNC. 
Read more here:
It may be just me, but I think it's disingenuous at best to pretend you are a champion of the poor while drawing a public funded salary of $205,400 with $1.5 million in real estate holdings.

Or have I been eating paint chips again?

The Crisis of dazzling divinity, and equality for "All Americans"

In her latest example of pandering and "equality" Nancy Pelosi wishes she could take all these "American" children home with her ... to raise voters presumably.

In a sickening display reported by Breitbart Pelosi likens the plight of these children to the divine, infering the any who oppose the Democrat position on immigration reforms are obviously evil.
Saturday at a press conference from the Rio Grande Valley, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) discussed her tour of a border holding facility and addressed the humanitarian crisis of thousands unaccompanied minors flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border, which she called a "humanitarian opportunity."
Pelosi explained, "We are all Americans -- north and south in this hemisphere," and urged America to see this as not a crisis but an opportunity "to be helpful." She also said she wished she could simply "take home" the thousands of children temporarily housed in the overburden facilities.

Elizabeth Espinosa reports in Valley Central
U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says the influx of Central American immigrants along the border is not a crisis, but rather an “opportunity.”
Congresswoman Pelosi took part in a special press conference with U.S. Representative Filemon Vela at the Brownsville Events Center Saturday morning.
The two had toured a nearby Border Patrol facility that is currently housing Central American immigrants.
“This crisis, that some call it crisis, we have to view it as an opportunity,” Pelosi said.
The California congresswoman said it’s an opportunity for the United States to show the world how it deals with the women and children, who she says are refugees.
... The immigration crisis has left Border Patrol facilities in the Rio Grande Valley filled with more immigrants than the building can hold.
Pelosi recalled that she saw on child immigrant in solitary confinement at the Border Patrol facility.
Really? My heart goes out the the children that are being exploited, but the first duty of our Federal Government is to protect our citizens FIRST, and not illegal aliens pouring in.
Or have I been eating paint chips again?

Why the right keeps losing, politics of race baiting

There is a political climate in America which profits greatly from organized, institutionalized racially based, race baiting campaigns running unchallenged and unchecked.


It actually gets worse than this however:
Until such a time that the right rises up and challenges this completely false "platform" we will continue to lose. This movement is growing in power at every level of our political system, and has been evident since the 2007-8 presidential campaign season. The latest and maybe worst example of it is the runoff election between incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel. In The UK Mail Online it was "claimed that supporters of conservative McDaniel had connections to the Ku Klux Klan and that McDaniel had a 'racist agenda.'They also warned that black Democrats 'could lose food stamps, housing assistance, student loans, early breakfast and lunch programs and disaster assistance' if he were to become the Republican U.S. Senate nominee."
A series of three racially charged radio ads that ran in rural Mississippi on Election Day played a role in driving black Democrats to vote in a Republican primary run-off election. MailOnline has exclusively obtained audio of the ads.
They were broadcast 48 times in a 12-hour period Tuesday on WMGO-AM radio in the town of Canton, and urged black Mississippians to cross party lines and support GOP Sen. Thad Cochran in his smash-mouth contest against tea party insurgent Chris McDaniel.
Each carried a required acknowledgement stating that it was 'paid for by Citizens for Progress.' Clerks at the office of Mississippi's secretary of state told MailOnline that no such group is registered there as a political committee.
The Federal Election Commission also lacks any registration from a group with that name.
Politics in America's Deep South is historically a full-contact sport replete with its own tradition of dirty tricks, but the radio ads indicate a level of race-baiting that is rarely seen in twenty-first century U.S. politics.
They claimed that supporters of conservative McDaniel had connections to the Ku Klux Klan and that McDaniel had a 'racist agenda.' They also warned that black Democrats 'could lose food stamps, housing assistance, student loans, early breakfast and lunch programs and disaster assistance' if he were to become the Republican U.S. Senate nominee.
'Vote against the tea party. Vote Thad Cochran,' one ad said. 'If the tea party, with their racist ideas, win, we will be sent back to the '50s and '60s.'
MailOnline has learned that 'Citizens for Progress' is tied to a longtime Democratic political operative who was paid $44,000 to run racially explosive 'robocalls' in the same race.
A political action committee founded by former Republican National Committee chair and former Republican Gov. Haley Barbour made those payments.
The calls were placed in predominantly black and Democratic regions of the state during the final days before Tuesday's runoff, according to a political operative in Mississippi.
Mitzi Bickers, an Atlanta pastor and former president of the Atlanta school board, used the same nonexistent group name – 'Citizens for Progress' – in a 2013 campaign for a local sales tax proposal.
After it was reported that Bickers filed a fraudulent financial disclosure report related to the campaign, she resigned her post as a senior adviser to Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed.
The political 'super PAC' that paid her to run the robocalls is called Mississippi Conservatives, according to National Review.
Haley Barbour, the former governor, founded the PAC, which is now run by Henry Barbour, his nephew.
Read more here
Audio of these ads:

Mitzi Bickers is certainly no stranger to controversy and race baiting political campaigns. She has an established record here in Atlanta, GA for conflict of interest violations and fraud as reported by National Review.
Meet what appears to be one of the keys to Thad Cochran’s black-turnout operation, Mitzi Bickers.
She is, from all appearances, something of a renaissance woman: She is not only the pastor of Atlanta’s Emmanuel Baptist Church but also a former president of the Atlanta school board, a former construction-company executive, and a Democratic staffer and political strategist with a checkered past. Last year, she left her job as a senior adviser to Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed after news surfaced that she had filed a fraudulent financial-disclosure statement.
In a bizarre turn of events, it seems that Bickers was in the middle of a bitterly contested Republican Senate primary. Two Atlanta-based entities affiliated with Bickers, The Bickers Group and the Pirouette Company, were paid thousands of dollars to make robo-calls on Senator Cochran’s behalf by a super PAC that backed Cochran in his bid for reelection. Documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show that Mississippi Conservatives, the political-action committee run by former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour’s nephew Henry, paid the groups a total of $44,000 for get-out-the-vote “phone services.”
... Though not a Mississippi native, Bickers is no stranger to get-out-the-vote efforts. She has worked in Atlanta politics for years and, as a campaign operative for Kasim Reed, who came from behind to win the city’s mayoralty in 2009, Bickers, who is African American and openly gay, worked to get black voters to the polls. Reed won by just over 700 votes and, in the wake of his victory, the former executive director of the Georgia Democratic party called Bickers “the most well-known and well-respected” political operative in the state when it comes to turning out the vote.
Though the content of the robo-calls Bickers placed on Cochran’s behalf is unknown — Henry Barbour says he never heard the final calls, and that her efforts were “far more” about making live calls than robo-calls — it makes sense that the Barbour clan would reach out to her in an election that required Cochran and his allies to execute a near-perfect voter-turnout strategy, particularly among Democrats and African Americans. Henry Barbour says Bickers was referred to him by a local Mississippi mayor. Like Henry’s uncle Haley, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and the force that loomed over Cochran’s reelection effort, Bickers is a hardened, southern politician who has learned how to win political grudge matches in a city and a state with a reputation for corruption and double dealing.
The Cochran supporters’ arrangement with Bickers is especially notable, given the role of racial politicking generally and of one sketchy robo-call ​in particular that raised the ire of tea-party voters as the race drew to a close. Near the end of the runoff campaign, a recording came to light — it was first reported by investigative reporter Charles Johnson – of a racially tinged call that urged voters to combat the Tea Party by casting a ballot for Cochran. It accused the Tea Party of “disrespectful treatment of the country’s first African-American president.” The Cochran campaign has denied any connection to the call, and Barbour says the call was not from the Mississippi Conservatives PAC or from Bickers. He believes, he says, that Bickers placed two automated calls to African-American households.
As Atlanta's WSB-TV reported in 2013
ATLANTA — A top aide to Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed changed her financial disclosure statement after Channel 2 Action News raised questions about its accuracy.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher uncovered evidence that Mitzi Bickers was deeply involved in several political campaigns last year. Until Belcher started digging, Bickers had disclosed nothing about that work.
Bickers is a former Atlanta school board member and a well-known figure in local politics. A disclosure form for her position is required and states it is submitted under penalty of perjury. In other words, failing to tell the truth could result in criminal prosecution.
Bickers failed to mention her affiliation with a company that did half-a-million dollars in campaign work.
Bickers worked on Mayor Reed’s campaign in 2009 before taking a job as his director of human services. Last year, she took unpaid leave from her city job to work for Pirouette Companies.
So desperate is the GOP to hold on to power and punish the Tea Party, that they actually hired this proven fraud (Bickers) to perpetuate lies about McDaniel. This is taking race baiting and building a false climate and perception of racism where none exists to a whole NEW level. Until now, there have been no serious challenges have ever been brought against such tactics, and very little nation-wide coverage of this level of corruption, false allegations and outright lies. While such dirty politics have mostly been limited to Democrats accusations and campaigns to slander without recourse or accountability their political opponents, it has now moved over into the dirty arena of GOP against Tea Party and other conservatives.  Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has lead the way with this effort to crush any opponent, but this is definitely a new low
Chris McDaniel vows to fight on and challenge this latest horrible new level as reported by Breitbart
HATTIESBURG, Mississippi — Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) survived the most intense challenge he’s ever faced in his 41-year political career, winning a runoff against conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
The Associated Press called the race for Cochran, who is up 6,880 votes with 99.9 percent of precincts reporting.
A source close to McDaniel told Breitbart News that he is considering legal challenges over ballots. Democrats who voted for Cochran on Tuesday but voted three weeks ago in the Democratic primary in the state were not allowed to vote in Tuesday’s election.
Election results indicate Cochran's late appeal to Democratic voters paid off, with the incumbent senator picking up sizable vote totals in precincts with heavily black populations. Partisanship in Mississippi is largely polarized on racial lines, and Cochran allies paid key Democratic operatives to help turn out the vote.
... The campaign has been one of the nastiest in recent memory, after a blogger—Clayton Kelly—was arrested back in May for entering the nursing home and photographing Cochran’s wife Rose. Cochran’s team—which sat on evidence for three weeks before approaching police about the incident—seized on the issue, providing Cochran a moment of sympathy heading into the primary. three other conservative activists—including one key Tea Party leader—have also been charged in connection with Kelly’s alleged activities.
During the campaign, Cochran's relationship with his longtime executive assistant came under scrutiny. Cochran lives in the basement apartment of a house she owns and lives in, and she accompanied him on dozens of taxpayer-funded trips overseas. DC authorities are investigating whether Webber filed required paperwork to rent the apartment commercially to Cochran, and Cleta Mitchell, a high-profile conservative lawyer representing the Tea Party Patriots, has alleged that the duo ran afoul of campaign finance rules when Cochran's campaign paid Webber to use the house as a venue for fundraisers.
Attorney Mark Mayfield "vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, was one of three men charged with conspiring with Clayton Kelly to photograph U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's bedridden wife in her nursing home to use in a political video against Cochran in the Republican Senate primary against state Sen. Chris McDaniel." as reported by the Clarion Ledger was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Friday at his Ridgeland home.
Ridgeland police said they received a 911 call at 9:03 a.m. from a woman who said her husband had just shot himself.
Officers responded to the home on Cherry Laurel Lane in the Bridgewater subdivision at 9:07 a.m. and were directed by Mayfield's wife to a storage room in the garage.
Officers found Mayfield lying on the floor with a single gunshot wound to his head, according to a Ridgeland Police Department statement. Police found a "large caliber revolver" near the body. "The death is classified as a death investigation-pending, due to an awaiting autopsy to be performed at an undetermined time."
Ridgeland Police Lt. John Neal said an initial investigation at the scene did not reveal any indication of foul play. The only other person at the residence at the time of the gunshot was Mayfield's wife.
"Today my husband, Mark Mayfield, took his own life. Mark was my husband for 31 years and a wonderful dad to our two sons, William and Owen," Robin Mayfield said Friday afternoon.
"Mark had absolutely no history of any mental illness or depression. He was actively involved in his community and church and was liked and loved by all who knew him. He had no harsh words for anyone, even the people who used him for political gain. The pain we are feeling is indescribable. We appreciate the prayers and support from everyone."
And so we lose more ground every day, in a climate where anything goes in the race to keep the status quo in the hands of the political "elite" in either major party. The scummiest tactics of all are now running unchecked in BOTH parties as we spin closer to a socialist oligarchy with each election cycle.
Or have I been eating paint chips again?

Pax Romana - Pax Americanus

Let's face it, US foreign policy has been absolutely lousy or non-existent since President Ronald Wilson Reagan.  It just IS.

Obama's foreign policy has been absolutely damaging to the reputation of America, and allied interests, and emboldened our enemies the world over.  I believe we are witnessing the last days of America's greatness, and only our oldest ally England remain, and that largely because we have a shared heritage and many mutual interests globally.  We also have a reputation of standing for liberty the world over.
Do you recall Obama's empty promise to restore America and even borrowing Reagan's famous words "shining beacon on a hill"?


The world has seen several collapses notably Pax Romana, and the British Empire.  When compared to such events, is it really such a stretch to conclude that America's best days are well and truly behind her?  I think NOT and I'm not alone:
Victor Davis Hanson writing for The Hoover Institute draws exactly the same conclusion and details it marvelously:
Amid all the talk of the isolationism that supposedly characterizes the Obama administration’s foreign policy, we forget that since World War II, the global order has largely been determined by U.S. engagement. The historically rare state of prosperity and peace that defined the postwar world were due to past U.S. vigilance and sacrifice.
Germany in the last 150 years has been at the center of three European wars, winning one, losing another, and destroying much of Europe and itself in the third. Yet present-day Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. It is a global leader in high technology and industrial craftsmanship. For seventy years Germany, even after its second historic unification in 1989, has not translated such economic preeminence into military power, much less aggression. In fact, the strategic status quo of postwar Europe—with Britain and France, and their relatively smaller and weaker economies, as the continent’s two sole nuclear powers—remains mostly unquestioned.
That strange fact is due almost entirely to the U.S.-led NATO’s determination to protect the Eastern flank of Europe from potential enemies, to reassure Germany that it need not rearm to enjoy pan-European influence, and to quietly support the European nuclear monopolies of Britain and France. While the U.S. has always talked up the American-inspired United Nations, its first allegiance has always been to assure liberal democratic states in Europe of unshakeable American support. Any weakening of the latter might send Europe back into the tumultuous twentieth century.
A similar paradox exists in Asia. Pakistan and North Korea are two of the weakest economies and most unstable political systems in the region. Yet both nations are nuclear—despite rather than because of U.S.-led efforts at nonproliferation. In comparison, by any logical measure, far wealthier and more sophisticated states like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and perhaps the Philippines should all be nuclear, given their expertise, dangerous locales, and the looming shadows of three proud, and sometime aggressive nations—China, India, and Russia—in their midst. Yet none have. That fact too is largely because of American security guarantees.
... Then there is the rogue’s gallery. Just as Rome once put down nationalists, insurrectionists, and challengers of the Pax Romana, such as Ariovistus, Boudicca, Cleopatra, Jugurtha, Mithridates, Vercingetorix, and Zenobia, so too the United States has gone after state and non-state enemies of the postwar system, both during and after the Cold War. Sometimes authoritarians sent their armies across national borders or were guilty of genocide; at other times, unhinged nation-states and free-lancing zealots sponsored or committed acts of international terrorism. In response, the U.S.—sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much—has gone to war or at least gone after the likes of Moammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Slobodan Milosevic, Ho Chi Minh, Manuel Noriega, Kim Il-sung, and the Taliban. Like it or not, only the United States can prevent the theocracy in Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the Assad dictatorship from gassing its own people, or al Qaeda from staging another 9/11 attack.
... The Obama administration declares climate change the chief global threat. That new inanimate target is welcome news to aggressive nations that had once feared that their own reckless behavior might have been so singled out.
Americans did not fully appreciate the costly postwar global order that the United States had established over the last seventy years. Maybe they will start to as they witness it vanish.
We witness these and similar blunders in the handling of the Middle East under Obama also. The "Arab Spring" and the overthrow of the government in Egypt, the killing of Muammar al-Gaddafi and events in Libya, the events in Syria, and now Iraq have destabilized vast regions, and killed hundreds of thousands of people. With ISIS/ISIL ravaging Syria and Iraq and may be moving into Jordan. Stratfor Global Intelligence summarized the situation: "The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are connected. The border between the two countries has become meaningless, and the emerging crisis in Iraq has direct consequences on the fighting in Syria. Neither the Syrian regime nor the rebels that oppose it stand to gain a decisive advantage from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's recent actions in Iraq. As things stand now, the primary beneficiary will be the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant itself."
Stratfor continues:
Because of the way its military advance in Iraq has played out, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has earned prestige and a propaganda boost -- it is viewed as a competent organization capable of decisive results. This growing perception will be crucial in the group's ability to attract a growing share of the foreign fighters heading toward the region, and possibly draw additional Syrian rebel fighters to its ranks. The group's seizure of weapons and vehicles -- much of this equipment taken from retreating Iraqi soldiers -- and reportedly more than $1 billion in funds during the recent Iraq offensive will only increase its attractiveness to jihadist fighters.
... The growth in the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's prestige could in theory have detrimental effects on the rebels and on the Syrian regime. Since the transnational jihadists serve the cause of neither, their efforts in Iraq will create a mixed set of variables for the combatants in Syria
... Perhaps the greatest negative consequence for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad is the shift of Iraqi Shiite militants back to their homeland to confront a resurgent Sunni opposition. The Syrian regime has come to rely heavily on foreign fighters -- be they Hezbollah combatants, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps advisers or Shiite volunteers from across the region -- to bolster its ranks and negate its demographic disadvantage. These foreign fighters, most notably the Hezbollah members, played a critical role in halting the string of defeats that beset the regime in late 2012, and they continue to spearhead regime offensives across Syria. Furthermore, and unlike what has happened with the Syrian rebels, the regime has not suffered from divisive infighting due to the influx of foreign fighters.
... The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's current focus on Iraq has also wrought a notable decline in the intensity of rebel infighting. In the months prior to the fall of Mosul, rebel infighting in Deir el-Zour province in particular resulted in hundreds of rebel casualties as Jabhat al-Nusra and its rebel allies battled against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant fighters. Though these clashes continue, particularly in Aleppo and Deir el-Zour provinces, the intensity of the fighting has markedly decreased, a clear sign that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has turned its attention, and likely a large number of its fighters, to Iraq. It could always move its forces back across the unrecognized border, but for now, the group appears to be prioritizing Iraq and will likely keep reinforcing its fight there against Iraqi government counteroffensives.
... However, Washington and its allies will be increasingly nervous about supplying advanced weaponry to the rebels in Syria. Having shown it can seize weaponry from the Iraqi army, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's potential ability to seize weapons delivered by the United States to often ragtag rebel groups worries the Americans. This re-evaluation comes at a particularly bad time for the rebels, who seemed on the verge of finally convincing the United States and other allies to deliver substantially more weapons to their fighters.
Interestingly, while the regime preferred not to interrupt its enemies' infighting, it undertook a notable aerial bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, both within Syria and across the border in Iraq, after the fall of Mosul. Two things can explain this turn of events. First and less important, the regime may sense an opportunity to strike at the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and relieve pressure on regime forces that come into contact with the militant rebels -- particularly the 17th division in Raqqa province -- while the group is busy in Iraq. The primary reason, however, is the regime's need to demonstrate that it is invested in the well-being of its allies, and in particular that it is attuned to the concerns of its patron, Iran. With the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant becoming a major threat to Baghdad, Hezbollah and Tehran's interests in Iraq, the Syrian regime will try to show that it is doing its part in the wider struggle. The al Assad regime can leverage an opportunity to share intelligence with others, since the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is now the prevalent regional threat.
It is clear that the fall of Mosul and the spike in the fighting in Iraq have further complicated an already elaborate regional conflict where borders are fast losing their importance. For the Syrian battle space, the developments in Iraq bring a mixed array of advantages and disadvantages to the varying combatants. Even if it does not decisively tilt the battle, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's Iraq pivot will play an important role in the conflict in Syria.
Read the rest of the Stratfor report here
"Iraq's Crisis Changes the Battle Space in Syria is republished with permission of Stratfor."
Bob Taylor, of Communities Digital News goes even further in observations of this disastrous administration:
CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 26, 2014 — While the media wrings its hands over the formation of a caliphate by ISIL in Iraq, we should understand that we have been living under a mini-caliphate in the U.S. for nearly six years.
Barack Obama never wanted to be a “real” president of the United States. He much prefers to think of himself as a prophet. Obama came into office being hailed as a messiah, but “prophet” is more suitable to his goals during his administration.
What is happening in the Middle East with the formation of a terrorist army called ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is no accident. Perhaps it was not the actual design of the Obama Administration, but the president’s foreign policy inexperience combined with his disinterest in international affairs, his Islamic leanings, his political correctness and his ultra-liberal ideologies have resulted in serious global consequences that are far more dangerous than we have the ability to control.
Sadly, while President Obama dithers about what to do in the Middle East, the enemy gains strength by the day.
Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters summed it up on “The Kelly File”: “When America is strong, the world complains. When America is weak, the world suffers.”
Meanwhile, there are rumblings about impeachment along with reports that House Majority Leader John Boehner intends to sue Obama for overstepping his presidential authority. At this stage of Obama’s tenure, both measures are a waste of time, energy and resources.
There is already a program in place for removing corrupt politicians from office. It is called an election.
During the campaign of 2012 it was obvious that Obama was lying to the American people about every aspect of his presidency. The pundits followed suit by making it a Republican/Democrat competition for the presidency, but it was never anything close to that. The election of 2012 was about the very survival of our country.
These stark indictments of an incompetent and dangerous president lead me to conclude that Pax Americanus is going the way of Pax Romana, it just won't take us 500 years to get there.
Or have I been eating paint chips again?

Obama fiddles, while Baghdad burns

President Obama dithers and spins, while taking time out for fund raising and a round of golf, while Iraq falls deeper into sectarian violence.

Nassir al Saedi a Shia cleric loyal to cleric Moqtada al Sadr issues a warning that the possible return of US troops saying: "We will be ready for you if you are back."
Al Saedi's threats highlight a potentially dangerous secondary front for US forces heading to Iraq. Moqtada al Sadr's militia fought the Americans in at least two rounds of street warfare during the eight years US troops were on the ground there.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday urged the Iraqi government and its supporters not to retaliate against Sunni communities in revenge for ISIS' "barbaric attacks".
He warned that any possible airstrikes against the Islamist militants "might have little lasting effect or even be counter-productive" if Iraq's feuding communities fail to unite against the terrorists.
Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has asked the US to launch airstrikes to contain the militant group.
On Thursday, Mr Obama said "targeted" military action remained an option in Iraq, but said US forces on the ground would not take part in combat operations.
Another Sky News piece reports "Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani says all Iraqis should join the fight against ISIS as the prime minister comes under increased pressure."
Iraq's senior Shia religious authority has called for a new government for the country as it struggles to stop Sunni militants seizing controls of towns across large areas of the country.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for the newly-elected parliament to start work without delay after the results of recent elections were ratified by Iraq's federal court.
Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shia Muslim, has come under pressure since Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) insurgents took control of Mosul and began moving south towards Baghdad.Ayatollah Sistani had previously called for Iraqis to join the fight against the militants.
Speaking in the shrine city of Karbala, his spokesman Abdul Mehdi al-Karbalai said the call to arms "was for all citizens, without specifying a religion".
"The goal was to get ready to face the takfiri group called ISIL, which now has the upper hand ... in what is happening in many provinces," he said, using an Arabic word that loosely translates as extremist.

In other news, Yahoo/AFP report "some residents of the northern Iraq city of Mosul feel the clock has been turned back hundreds of years."
Baghdad (AFP) - In the two weeks since it was seized by Sunni militants, some residents of the northern Iraq city of Mosul feel the clock has been turned back hundreds of years.
The militants, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, have begun imposing an extreme interpretation of Islamic law in the days since they took the city, residents reached by telephone told AFP.
"These militants will return us and our country hundreds of years backwards, and their laws are the opposite of the laws of human rights and international laws," said Umm Mohammed, a 35-year-old teacher.
"We live in continuous fear of being subjected to new pressures," she said. "We are afraid of being prevented from working and contributing to building the community."
The city, known before 2003 for its historic sites and parks and in later years as a hub for deadly violence, fell on June 10 to the militants, who subsequently overran surrounding Nineveh province and swathes of other territory.
Security forces in Mosul, a city of some two million people before the offensive, wilted in the face of the onslaught, in some cases abandoning uniforms and even vehicles in their haste to flee.
Read the rest of the report here
Zero Hedge and others reported "Judge Who Sentenced Saddam Hussein To Death Has Been Executed By ISIS, Local Media Reports"
Back in 2006, after the second US invasion of Iraq culminated if not with the discovery of the WMDs (which were the pretext for the invasion in the first place), but the unearthing (literally) and kangaroo court trial of Saddam Hussein, the US was quick to announce "mission accomplished." Recent events have made a mockery of that claim, however what is truly the straw that broke the back of poetic justice, to mix metaphors, are reports from local media that as part of its blitz-campaign to take over northern Iraq, ISIS found and the promptly executed Rauf Rashid Abd al-Rahman, the judge who sentenced Saddam to death: a death which to many was the crowning moment of the second US invasion of Iraq, and the confirmation of successful US foreign policy.
It goes without saying that if true, the murder of the man who indirectly did the US bidding in slamming the book shut on the Saddam regime (and with it US claims of Iraqi "liberation") and was responsible for Saddam's death, means the last "Mission Accomplished" posted can now be safely taken down.
As LiveLeak first reported, Rauf Rashid Abd al-Rahman was the replacement chief judge of the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal's Al-Dujail trial of Saddam Hussein in 2006.
More details from Almesryoon.com, google translated.
Iraqi rebels: the execution of Saddam Hussein judge
There were reports the execution of Iraqi judge, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, who spent the same judgment on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, according to confirmed the pages on the social networking site, without official confirmation from the Iraqi government.
The pages on social networking sites, including Page MP Jordanian Khalil Attieh on the site "Facebook" to "revolutionaries Iraqis arrested him and sentenced him to death in retaliation for the death of the martyr Saddam Hussein," he said, adding that Rauf tried to escape from Baghdad after wearing uniforms dancers.
She page Izzat al-Douri, vice-president Saddam Hussein, the "Facebook" to the rebels Iraqis were able to arrest the Kurdish judge Rauf Rashid, who issued a death sentence against the former Iraqi leader, which is currently in the "grip of the soldiers of the Islamic State and the men of the Baath Party."
She page address, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, "Judge Rauf Rashid in the grip of Mujahideen equipped Aahalki neck", in reference to al-Maliki, also falling in the hands of insurgents.
The Romanian site Mesager is running a similar story also Google translated "Iraqi rebels say they captured Rauf Rashid Abd al-Rahman - the judge who in 2006 sentenced to death by Saddam Hussein"
Islamist rebels in the group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ethyl) and party members banned "Baas" says their Facebook page that they have captured the judge Rauf Rashid Iraq Abd al-Rahman who in 2006 sentenced to death by Saddam Hussein .
Officials irqiene until now have not denied the news.
Yes all is rosy in Obama's world, his foreign and domestic policies in shambles except to his band of merry delirious followers ...
Or have I been eating paint chips again?

Is Jordan next to fall to ISIS/ISIL ?

"Jordan Could Be the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's Next Target is republished with permission of Stratfor."

Summary
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, buoyed by its recent successes in Iraq, wants to expand its regional reach. Reports that Iraq has withdrawn forces from western towns close to its 180-kilometer (110-mile) border with Jordan have left Amman feeling vulnerable, and the Hashemite kingdom, certainly a target of interest for the jihadist movement, has deployed additional security personnel along the border.
However, taking on Jordan would be tough for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The group has the ability to stage terrorist attacks in the country, but significant constraints will prevent it from operating on the levels seen in Iraq and Syria.
Analysis
The June 15 edition of the Jordan Times reported that Amman had beefed up security along its border with Iraq amid fears that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is inching toward the kingdom. Quoting unnamed Islamist sources, the report added that the jihadist group had established a branch within the kingdom as part of its plans to create a regional emirate.
The militant group's intent to expand into Jordan follows the region's geopolitical logic. After its push into Iraq, and already controlling significant swathes of Syrian territory, the jihadist group can try to push into the Hashemite kingdom from two directions. Jordan is the only opening available to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant -- the group cannot move north into Turkey, nor could it move southwest into Lebanon. Even in Jordan, though, the group faces considerable challenges.
For starters, the Jordanian regime is far more stable than Syria or Iraq, and its security forces have proved to be quite effective. Furthermore, Jordan has strong backing from the United States and Saudi Arabia, especially since the kingdom became a critical staging ground for support to Syrian rebels. Washington and Riyadh can extend financial, intelligence and military assistance to Amman. But Jordan is also a key sanctuary for rebels, and this aids the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's cause.
Jordan has long had a substantial Salafist and jihadist presence. Since the start of the civil war in Syria, jihadists have moved frequently across the Jordan-Syria border. Amman has tried to crack down on this cross-border traffic, but it has not brought it to a stop.
Read more: Jordan Could Be the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's Next Target | Stratfor
This is chilling indeed, made possible in large part to the Obama Administration of destabilizing the entirety of the Middle East, aiding, arming and training terrorist organizations from Libya to Pakistan.  This hapless, careless administration and their version of foreign policy which has seen the overthrow of governments in Egypt, Libya, brutal war in Syria and Iraq, now involving RussiaIran and spilling over into other counties also.
As Salon observed way back in 2011 when Obama's supporters were breathlessly witnessing the beginnings of "Arab Spring" what he is really sewing is utter chaos:
It’s a story that should take your breath away: the destabilization of what, in the Bush years, used to be called “the arc of instability.” It involves at least 97 countries, across the bulk of the global south, much of it coinciding with the oil heartlands of the planet. A startling number of these nations are now in turmoil, and in every single one of them — from Afghanistan and Algeria to Yemen and Zambia — Washington is militarily involved, overtly or covertly, in outright war or what passes for peace.
Garrisoning the planet is just part of it. The Pentagon and U.S. intelligence services are also running covert special forces and spy operations, launching drone attacks, building bases and secret prisons, training, arming, and funding local security forces, and engaging in a host of other militarized activities right up to full-scale war. But while you consider this, keep one fact in mind: the odds are that there is no longer a single nation in the arc of instability in which the United States is in no way militarily involved.
... In addition to waging more wars in “arc” nations, Obama has overseen the deployment of greater numbers of special operations forces to the region, has transferred or brokered the sale of substantial quantities of weapons there, while continuing to build and expand military bases at a torrid rate, as well as training and supplying large numbers of indigenous forces. Pentagon documents and open source information indicate that there is not a single country in that arc in which U.S. military and intelligence agencies are not now active. This raises questions about just how crucial the American role has been in the region’s increasing volatility and destabilization.
... The United States is now involved in wars in six arc-of-instability nations: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. It has military personnel deployed in other arc states, including Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. Of these countries, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates all host U.S. military bases, while the CIA is reportedly building a secret base somewhere in the region for use in its expanded drone wars in Yemen and Somalia. It is also using already existing facilities in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates for the same purposes, and operating a clandestine base in Somalia where it runs indigenous agents and carries out counterterrorism training for local partners.
Please remember, this article was published in 2011. Things then were rosy by comparison. I've been very disappointed with Senator John McCain in the last decade, but he makes an impassioned speech here:


Or have I been eating paint chips again?

How about those non-existent WMD's in Iraq, sure are causing a flap now !

"We stopped the fighting [in 1991] on an agreement that Iraq would take steps to assure the world that it would not engage in further aggression and that it would destroy its weapons of mass destruction.  It has refused to take those steps.  That refusal constitutes a breach of the armistice which renders it void and justifies resumption of the armed conflict."

Senator Harry Reid (Democrat, Nevada)
Addressing the US Senate
October 9, 2002
Congressional Record, p. S10145
Could President George W. Bush have been right all along? In February 2002 former Senator Al Gore sure seemed to think so.
Al Gore said last night that the time had come for a "final reckoning" with Iraq, describing the country as a "virulent threat in a class by itself" and suggesting that the United States should consider ways to oust President Saddam Hussein.
In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Mr. Gore generally praised President Bush's performance since Sept. 11, but raised questions about how Mr. Bush had worked with other nations in the war in Afghanistan and against Al Qaeda. ...
"The coalition so skillfully assembled by the president is one that may dissipate as rapidly as it coalesced, unless we make an investment in its permanence, beginning with a more evident respect on our part for the views and interests of its members," he said.
Mr. Gore, speaking four miles from the ruins of the World Trade Center, applauded Mr. Bush for singling out Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil" in his State of the Union address. But Mr. Gore argued that there were underlying forces in the Islamic world that were encouraging anti-American sentiment and breeding terrorism that the United States needed to urgently address.
"There is another axis of evil in the world: poverty and ignorance; disease and environmental disorder; corruption and political oppression," he said. "We may well put down terror in its present manifestations. But if we do not attend to the larger fundamentals as well, then the ground is fertile and has been seeded for the next generation of those born to hate the United States of America."
More on Al Gore's position on how President George H.W. Bush handled Iraq during Desert Storm and his conclusions about the dangers posed by Iraq later ...
While President Obama is deciding what action(s) to take regarding the increasingly dangerous situation in Iraq, the rest of the world is not sitting idly by. "Vladimir Putin has offered Russia's "complete support" to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the fight against Isis-led insurgents, according to a statement from the Kremlin. As yet, there is no detail on what such an offer means - will the Russian leader seize the opportunity to step in with the help the US has so far refused? As well as an opportunity for a little geopolitical one-upmanship, Mr Putin also has his beleaguered ally Bashar al-Assad to think about - should Isis be victorious in Iraq, it will be far harder for the Syrian leader (like Maliki, also a Shia, though of the Allawite sect) to hold on to power across the border." as reported by the UK Telegraph
Watch The Telegraph's exclusive interview with Sheikh Ahmed al-Dabash, a founder of the Islamic Army of Iraq, a group formed to fight the Americans in the wake of the 2003 invasion and which is now battling Iraqi troops alongside Isis:

[FeaturedVideo]
A top commander of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq has told The Telegraph how his men are fighting alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham to take back Baghdad, even if it means pushing the country to civil war.
Sheikh Ahmed al-Dabash, 47, a founder of the Islamic Army of Iraq, who fought the allied invasion in 2003, has told how thousands of his men are participating in the Isis-led insurgency that swept across northern Iraq, and which now threatens the gates of the capital.
The Islamic Army, however, does not share the same extremist ideology of Isis, Mr Dabash said in an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, and raised the prospect of his faction one day turning its guns on their jihadist comrades.
“If Maliki [the Iraqi prime minister] does not step down, then there is no doubt that we are moving on Baghdad,” said Mr Dabash. “We will go all the way.”
So what about the Saddam era weapons now in Sunni hands? Are they viable weapons that may be used in the present conflict or future actions?
Washington—Sunni extremists in Iraq have occupied what was once Saddam Hussein's premier chemical-weapons production facility, a complex that still contains a stockpile of old weapons, State Department and other U.S. government officials said.
U.S. officials don't believe the Sunni militants will be able to create a functional chemical weapon from the material. The weapons stockpiled at the Al Muthanna complex are old, contaminated and hard to move, officials said.
Nonetheless, the capture of the chemical-weapon stockpile by the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, known as ISIS or ISIL, the militant group that is seizing territory in the country, has grabbed the attention of the U.S.
"We remain concerned about the seizure of any military site by the ISIL," Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said in a written statement. "We do not believe that the complex contains CW materials of military value and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to safely move the materials."
Thats interesting, in 2006 The US Department of Defense National Ground Intelligence Center report found that though somewhat degraded, these munitions still met the criterion for WMD's.
WASHINGTON, June 29, 2006 – The 500 munitions discovered throughout Iraq since 2003 and discussed in a National Ground Intelligence Center report meet the criteria of weapons of mass destruction, the center's commander said here today.
"These are chemical weapons as defined under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and yes ... they do constitute weapons of mass destruction," Army Col. John Chu told the House Armed Services Committee.
The Chemical Weapons Convention is an arms control agreement which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. It was signed in 1993 and entered into force in 1997.
The munitions found contain sarin and mustard gases, Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said. Sarin attacks the neurological system and is potentially lethal.
"Mustard is a blister agent (that) actually produces burning of any area (where) an individual may come in contact with the agent," he said. It also is potentially fatal if it gets into a person's lungs.
The munitions addressed in the report were produced in the 1980s, Maples said. Badly corroded, they could not currently be used as originally intended, Chu added.
While that's reassuring, the agent remaining in the weapons would be very valuable to terrorists and insurgents, Maples said. "We're talking chemical agents here that could be packaged in a different format and have a great effect," he said, referencing the sarin-gas attack on a Japanese subway in the mid-1990s.
This is true even considering any degradation of the chemical agents that may have occurred, Chu said. It's not known exactly how sarin breaks down, but no matter how degraded the agent is, it's still toxic.
"Regardless of (how much material in the weapon is actually chemical agent), any remaining agent is toxic," he said. "Anything above zero (percent agent) would prove to be toxic, and if you were exposed to it long enough, lethal."
Though about 500 chemical weapons - the exact number has not been released publicly - have been found, Maples said he doesn't believe Iraq is a "WMD-free zone."
President Obama seems to have the same idea about the Iraqi government as Sheikh Ahmed al-Dabash:
WASHINGTON—The Obama administration is signaling that it wants a new government in Iraq without Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, convinced the Shiite leader is unable to reconcile with the nation's Sunni minority and stabilize a volatile political landscape.
The U.S. administration is indicating it wants Iraq's political parties to form a new government without Mr. Maliki as he tries to assemble a ruling coalition following elections this past April, U.S. officials say.
Such a new government, U.S., officials say, would include the country's Sunni and Kurdish communities and could help to stem Sunni support for the al Qaeda offshoot, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, that has seized control of Iraqi cities over the past two weeks. That, the officials argue, would help to unify the country and reverse its slide into sectarian division.
On Wednesday, Iraq stepped up efforts on several fronts to blunt the insurgency's progress, deploying counterterrorism units and helicopter gunships to battle them for control of the country's main oil refinery, in Beiji.
As The Washington Post reported earlier today "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will not readily surrender power and is unlikely to do so unless chief ally Iran insists that he go, Maliki’s foes and supporters are warning as pressure mounts on the embattled Iraqi leader to make concessions to rivals or step aside."
“This is not going to be easy,” said Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak, a Sunni who has led many fruitless efforts to build parliamentary coalitions against Maliki in the past. “Maliki will not go quietly.”
Previous attempts to oust Maliki through constitutional means have foundered on the inability of his foes to unite around an alternative candidate. According to the parliamentary system of government spelled out in Iraq’s constitution, drawn up under U.S. supervision in 2005, whoever commands a majority of seats in the parliament forms the government, making it theoretically possible to replace any leader by mustering the support of enough lawmakers.
A bigger obstacle to forcing Maliki’s departure, however, could be the support of Iran, which has shown no sign that it is preparing to dilute its backing for the prime minister. The support includes funding and training for the private militias that back Maliki, many of whose members have taken to the streets in recent days in response to a call to arms.
“The only outside power that could get rid of Maliki is Iran,” said Kenneth Pollack of the Washington-based Brookings Institution. “And even if the Iranians decided they wanted him out, I am not sure they could do it. Maliki has the loyalties of the security forces and the loyalty of the militias, and it is going to be extremely hard to get rid of him.”
And so it's becoming increasingly clear that the non-existent WMD's in Iraq sure are causing a flap now, just as they did all those years ago. It is also abundantly clear that it was a mistake to campaign on "ending the war in Iraq" for political purposes before a stable government and a proper Status of Forces Agreement had the support of the incoming Obama Administration was a complete folly.
For further reading and study I offer the following back ground on the position(s) of various Democrats during the Clinton and Bush administrations:
Then Senator Al Gore on Iraq, Terrorism, and WMD under President George H.W. Bush
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc1h1wg7LeQ
Senator Hillary Clinton Iraq War Full Speech 10/10/02 Part 1 & Part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wyCBF5CsCA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8fknhbB-Xo
Quotes and Facts on Iraq
http://www.freedomagenda.com/iraq/wmd_quotes.html
Snopes on "Words of Mass Destruction" (yeah I HATE Snopes too)
http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/wmdquotes.asp
And finally for some perspective:
Or have I been eating paint chips again?