It would appear that what began as an unexpected handshake between Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama back last year at Nelson Mandela’s funeral may have turned into actual negotiations that resulted today in the release of an American prisoner in Cuba, and the start of talks between the two countries about the resumption of diplomatic relations.
The U.S. is starting talks with Cuba to normalize full diplomatic relations and open an embassy, according to U.S. officials. The expanded relationship would also open imports of Cuban cigars somewhat, according to a CNN report. U.S. President Obama, Cuba’s Raul Castro plan to speak separately at noon ET about relations between the two countries. Obama plans to overhaul Cuba’s policy while Cuba plans to free 53 political prisoners and to allow U.S. debit and credit cards, Dow Jones reported. This follows Cuba’s release of American Alan Gross from a Cuban prison where he spent five years on espionage charges, NBC reported.
With the release of the long awaited report on the use of torture during the Bush/Cheney reign of terror following 9-11, public statements by current elected federal officials and many serving with Bush/Cheney, the United States of America appears to have exempted itself from all domestic and international law prohibiting torture.
Reports from such sources as Pepe Escobar, Asian Times, tell us that the new Caliph is raking in $2million a day from their stolen refineries in Syria and Iraq. The bucks are being generated still on an oil black market run mostly from our ally Turkey.
For years Republicans have held China’s resistance to a carbon reduction treaty as a reason to oppose President Obama’s efforts to address the climate crisis here. So, he cuts an amazing deal with China and what are Republicans doing? Opposing it. This is nothing short of treason.
Overrunning towns, pillaging, plundering, setting fire, torture, burning at the stake, rape, burning children alive, enslaving, beheadings, sacking places of worship, taking body parts for trophies, destroying libraries, cannibalism, crucifixions, opening bodies for swallowed treasure. A special place in paradise for warriors. Justice for infidels. Slaughter of their own. Robbing and keeping the riches.
The right accuses President Obama of not “leading”, and horror upon horrors, not having a strategery, err, strategy. They are amplified by much of the mainstream media who, with the right, succumbed to the same sky is falling bait fed by the right in 2003.
What concerns me more is this:
“As Ukrainian leaders warned on Monday of ‘a great war’ with Russia, NATO leaders meeting in Wales this week were expected to endorse their most concrete response yet to increased Russian military intervention in Ukraine: establishing a rapid-reaction force capable of deploying quickly to Eastern Europe[.] The new force of some 4,000 troops, capable of moving on 48 hours’ notice, will be supported with logistics and equipment pre-positioned in Eastern European countries closer to Russia, with an upgraded schedule of military exercises and deployments that are intended to make NATO’s commitment of collective defense more credible and enhance its deterrence.”
The fruitless search for moderate allies in the middle east is absurd. I’m an optimist, but this idea is ridiculous. Moderate nations to create both a political and military front to stop and roll back the ISIL caliphate? Syria? Iran? They were “enemies” before being considered as future allies.
Do you dread opening your daily newspaper and internet news source each morning like I do? Ferguson, Wilmington, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and countless other hotbeds of conflict, hate and destruction. And America is at the center of it all.
300 more to Iraq, for a total of 800. But we’re told, no boots on the ground. Just security forces for the 500 already there, mostly in the Taj Majal U.S. Embassy, just a few in foward positions as “advisors”. Sound familiar? It does for those of us who survived the 60’s and 70’s.
I’ve lived long enough to see now three iterations of the old Domino Theory; it goes something like…if we allow a country to fall, it will spiral into a cascade of other nearby countries to follow suit and be taken over by nefarious forces.
The drumbeat for a renewed Iraq intervention from the neo-cons and neo-liberals within and outside the administration is pissing me off. The media learned nothing from Vietnam, Iraq II and Afghanistan; they are fielding all the totally discredited talking heads to tell us President Obama needs to show strength.
Ok, Vladimir. Enough of the belligerence. Crimea was an outrage and eastern Ukraine doubly so. So was Georgia. Speaking for myself and possibly millions of my fellow Americans, we don’t want a renewal of one of our worst mutual eras, the Cold War.
One of my favorite investigative reporters, David Cay Johnston observes that our foreign trade deals in the last couple of decades figure in a big way in the systemic weakness of our domestic economy. Particularly hard hit by really bad trade deals are the non-college educated in the workforce.
Oh, wait. They’re talking about Crimea, not Texas. Nor Hawaii, or Midway, American Samoa, Wake Island and half dozen other pacific islands we annexed, from what I can see, without money changing hands. And there are a dozen other annexations the good old U.S. of A. pulled off where we actually paid the owner while we held a gun to their head. Such as Puerto Rico and Guam, not to mention the Panama Canal zone.
I’ve been trying to follow recent events in Venezuela. Here’s my take, informed by the work of activist Tom Hayden of Peace Exchange, Chris Gilbert, professor at Universidad de Venezuela and Rory Carroll, a reporter for the Guardian and Observer Latin America, based in Caracas for six years until recently.