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Obama and the Myth of Hiroshima

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On May 27, Barack Obama became the first sitting American president to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the site of the world’s first atomic bombing. Though highly photogenic, the visit was otherwise one that avoided acknowledging the true history of the place.

Like his official predecessors (Secretary of State John Kerry visited the Peace Memorial in early April, as did two American ambassadors before him), Obama did not address the key issues surrounding the attack. “He [Obama] will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb,” Benjamin Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, stated.

With rare exception, the question of whether the atomic bombs were necessary to end World War Two is debated only deep within the safety of academic circles: could a land invasion have been otherwise avoided? Would more diplomacy have achieved the same ends without the destruction of two cities? Could an atomic test on a deserted island have convinced the Japanese? Was the surrender instead driven primarily by the entry of the Soviets into the Pacific War, which, by historical accident, took place two days after Hiroshima—and the day before Nagasaki was immolated?
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Third Battle For Fallujah -- Time To Finally Come Home?

Iraqi military troops along with Iran-backed Shia militias are fighting to expel ISIS from its two year control of Fallujah. That unfortunate city is also the location of two US battles to "liberate" the city and both times the place was flattened. The US says it is fighting in Iraq to rid the country of ISIS, but is very conflicted over the Iranian role in expelling ISIS. The US government has no strategy to "fix" Iraq, and in fact what it is trying to achieve -- a non-sectarian, unified country not aligned with Iran -- was already achieved by Saddam Hussein before the US "liberation." The only sensible place for the US military to go is home.
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Thank The Troops for Destroying Our Country

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While Americans are expected to thank the troops for their service all year long, today — Memorial Day — we are called upon to thank them even more profusely. The idea is that since the troops are defending our country and protecting our rights and freedoms, we should express our gratitude to them.

But there is just one big problem with that picture: In actuality, the troops are destroying our country and our fundamental rights and freedoms. That’s not something any American should be grateful for.

Consider the out-of-control spending and borrowing that are sure to bring on an economic and monetary crisis that could make the Great Depression look like child’s play. A big part of all that federal spending and borrowing is for the warfare state, where the troops play a major role.

Of course, the warfare-state people exclaim, “We’re not at fault. We’re protecting national security. The fault lies with the welfare state side of the federal government. Cut their dole instead of ours.”
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Government Can’t Help; It Can Only Hurt

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Three recent stories regarding three government agencies — the IRS, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) — show why we should oppose big government for practical, as well as philosophical, reasons.

In recent months, many Americans have missed their flights because of longer-than-usual TSA security lines. In typical DC fashion, the TSA claims the delays are because of budget cuts, even though Congress regularly increases the TSA’s funding!
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As Our Past Wars Are Glorified This Memorial Day Weekend, Give Some Thought To Our Prospects Against The Russians And Chinese In World War III

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The Saker reports that Russia is preparing for World War III, not because Russia intends to initiate aggression but because Russia is alarmed by the hubris and arrogance of the West, by the demonization of Russia, by provocative military actions by the West, by American interference in the Russian province of Chechnya and in former Russian provinces of Ukraine and Georgia, and by the absence of any restraint from Western Europe on Washington’s ability to foment war.

Like Steven Starr, Stephen Cohen, myself, and a small number of others, the Saker understands the reckless irresponsibility of convincing Russia that the United States intends to attack her.

It is extraordinary to see the confidence that many Americans place in their military’s ability. After 15 years the US has been unable to defeat a few lightly armed Taliban, and after 13 years the situation in Iraq remains out of control. This is not very reassuring for the prospect of taking on Russia, much less the strategic alliance between Russia and China. The US could not even defeat China, a Third World country at the time, in Korea 60 years ago.

Americans need to pay attention to the fact that “their” government is a collection of crazed stupid fools likely to bring vaporization to the United States and all of Europe.
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Memorializing the Horrors of War with 10 Must-See War Films

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Nearly 71 years ago, the United States unleashed atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 
killing more than 200,000 individuals, many of whom were civilians.

Fast forward to the present day, and President Obama—the antiwar candidate and Nobel Peace Prize winner who has waged war longer than any American president and whose legacy includes targeted-drone killings and at least 1.3 million lives lost to the US-led war on terror—is paying lip service to the victims of America’s nuclear carnage, all the while continuing to feed the war machine.

America has long had a penchant for endless wars that empty our national coffers while fattening those of the military industrial complex. Since 9/11, we’ve spent more than $1.6 trillion to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Adding in our military efforts in Pakistan, as well as the lifetime price of health care for disabled veterans and interest on the national debt, that cost rises to $4.4 trillion. Even now, the war drums are sounding as Obama prepares to deploy US troops on a long-term mission to Libya and continues to police the rest of the world with more than 1.3 million US troops being stationed at roughly 1000 military bases in over 150 countries.


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Europe Revolts Against Russian Sanctions

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From ministerial offices to barricades on the streets, Europe is in open revolt against anti-Russian sanctions which have cost workers and businesses millions of jobs and earnings. Granted, the contentious issues are wider than anti-Russian sanctions. However, the latter are entwined with growing popular discontent across the EU.

Germany’s vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel is among the latest high-profile politicians to have come out against the sanctions stand-off between the European Union and Russia.

At stake is not just a crisis in the economy, of which the anti-Russian sanctions are symptomatic. It is further manifesting in a political crisis that is challenging the very legitimacy of EU governments and the bloc’s institutional existence. The issue is not so much about merely trying to normalize EU-Russian relations. But rather more about preserving the EU from an existential public backlash against anti-democratic and discredited authorities.
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The New State Department Report on Hillary’s Email, and Why it Matters

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The State Department Inspector General’s (IG) investigation report leaked out a day early on May 25 makes a number of significant points. These matter, and need to be considered by anyone voting in November.

What’s in the IG Report

— Neither Clinton nor any of her senior staff would participate in the IG’s investigation.

— Clinton never sought approval, legal or technical, for her unprecedented private email system.

— IT staffers and others at State warned her against it.

— Had she sought approval, the State Department would not have granted it.

— Clinton violated Federal Records laws.
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State Department Refutes Key Statements By Clinton On Email Scandal; Finds That She Violated Clear Rules

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While the New York Times has reported that the “State Department’s inspector general sharply criticized Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server” and “undermined some of Mrs. Clinton’s previous statements”, the report did far more than criticize and undermine. It directly contradicted Clinton’s assertions on a number of key points. It further indicated not only clear violations of the State Department rules, but rules that were made clear to Clinton and her staff.  (The Washington Post took a more critical view of Clinton’s statements in light of the report).  Moreover, while this report deals with State regulations and rules (as well as the Federal Records Act), it does have bearing on the ongoing criminal investigation to the degree that it shows knowledge or reckless disregard of the security protocols and rules. It does show precisely that.

The report clearly establishes a number of damaging facts. First, the State Department made clear that a personal server was not allowed and would present serious security risks for the country. Second, Clinton never asked or received permission for such a server. Third, the State Department would
never have approved such a server. Fourth, Clinton’s objections to using the secure State Department system was not convenience (as she previously stated) but access to her personal emails. Fifth, her actions failed to comply with the Federal Records Act. Sixth, Clinton suspected that she was being hacked but continued to use her personal server exclusively. Finally, the report indicates that Clinton did not fully cooperate with the subsequent inquiries and investigation.
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My Dreams Seek Revenge: Hiroshima

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Unlike President Obama, who today is the first sitting president to ever visit the site of the first atomic bombing, I’ve visited Hiroshima many times while living in Japan.

The thing that always struck me about Hiroshima was simply being there. The train pulled into the station under an announcement that you had arrived in Hiroshima. It was another stop on the bullet train’s long run from Osaka to Fukuoka, so they called out the name as if it was just another stop. I’d get off the train, step out into the sunlight — that sunlight — and I was in Hiroshima. I had the same feeling only once before, taking a bus out of Munich and having the driver announce the next stop as Dachau. Somehow such names feel wrong being said so prosaically.

I guess no matter how many times I went to Hiroshima, I always expected something different to happen, when in fact nothing happened. There were 200,000 souls out there that no matter how much concrete and paving had been laid down could not have been buried deep enough. I couldn’t see them for the crowds of people pushing into the station, and I couldn’t hear them over the traffic noise.
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