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Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
VERGING ON TREASONOUS:
Generals' Revolt Threatens Obama Presidency
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
If Gen. Petraeus and Gen. Odierno oppose Obama’s plan for a pullout from Iraq, they should resign first and then speak out if they wish.If an article by Gareth Porter run by InterPress is correct that CentCom Commander Gen. David Petraeus and Iraq Commander Gen. Ray Odierno, backed by a group of lower-ranking generals, are planning to mount a public campaign to try and undermine President Obama’s plan for a withdrawal from Iraq in 16 months, Obama needs to act fast and nip this dangerous act of insubordination in the bud.
It was a similar act of insubordination on the part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that effectively destroyed the Clinton administration almost from day one. Recall that one of President Clinton’s first acts following his inauguration was to make good on a campaign promise to end discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military. His initial order was to simply end the ban on homosexuality in the military. But the Joint Chiefs publicly rebelled, and Clinton caved, coming up with the ridiculous and unworkable “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, under which gays and lesbians could serve in the military, but had to hide their sexual orientation or face ouster.
When Clinton, as commander in chief of the armed forces, allowed his generals to defy his orders, and, instead of sacking them all for insubordination and stripping off their stars, left them in their offices and surrendered to their objections, he didn’t just cave in to the military. He also alerted the Republican opposition that he was a political pushover.
Obama, on a much more serious issue—the conduct of and termination of a war—is now apparently being more or less openly defied by his top generals, who after all get their glory and power by having troops in battle, and who are also worried that a collapse of the puppet regime in Iraq could leave them looking like losers. They are thus opposing a pullout from Iraq (and a hardly precipitous one at that!) out of self-interest and self-preservation.
If Commander in Chief Obama allows this insubordination and political opposition to exist among his senior generals, his presidency is toast. He will be a prisoner to a militarist policy in Iraq and Afghanistan that will drag down his presidency in the same way that Lyndon Johnson’s presidency was destroyed by the generals running the Vietnam War. Furthermore, just as Republicans in Congress saw Clinton’s weakness in his dealings with the Joint Chiefs and began dogging his every more, they, and Obama’s opponents among the Blue Dog Democrats in Congress, will see weakness and move against him.
There is only one answer to this challenge to presidential authority: President Obama must sack both Petraeus and Odierno, and any other general who tries—openly or behind the scenes--to move politically against his military strategy and orders. The model for this action is President Harry Truman—widely viewed, whatever his faults, as a forceful leader—who fired the popular Gen. Douglas McArthur when McArthur went behind his back to Republicans in Congress to push for a wider war in Korea.
This is not just a matter of salvaging an Obama presidency. It is also a profound constitutional issue. There is no greater threat to democratic freedom than a military that refuses to accept, or that actively works to undermine civilian authority. Generals and admirals certainly have a right to object to the decisions made by their commander in chief, but they cannot act in defiance or those decisions while in uniform. Admiral William Fallon took the right course of action. Opposed to Bush/Cheney administration plans to attack Iran, he chose to resign his post as CentCom Commander and to resign from the military. If Gen. Petraeus and Gen. Odierno oppose Obama’s plan for a pullout from Iraq, they should do the same and then speak out if they wish.
For the past eight years, the biggest threat to American democracy was that a president and vice president attempted to convert the office of president into a military dictatorship, with the position of commander in chief subsuming and replacing the position of president. Now the danger is that the nation’s top generals are trying to eliminate or emasculate the president’s role as commander in chief, making the generals the leaders of the nation’s military. Both dangers are equally threatening to constitutional government.
About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on February 3, 2009.
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