When someone gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right?
And so it goes in Freedom Land of Iraq, where for many, now out from under the heels of Islamic State, the Iraqi people have only to clear out all the bombs, IEDs, and unexploded ordnance left everywhere they want to live by all sides in this ongoing clusterf*ck of foreign policy adventurism.
Despite the gazillions of dollars in U.S. aid, Iraq claims not to have the personnel to defuse all the explosives left behind once freedom reigns in places like Fallujah. So, concerned local citizens, who have been making defusing bombs for decades (handling explosives is an Olympic event in Iraq), smelled a business opportunity.
After a four-year court battle, the FBI has agreed to turn over records it created when it spied on Antiwar.com and pay $299,000 to settle our attorneys’ fees.
The action only settles a portion of the lawsuit. ACLU attorney Julia Mass said “We will continue to challenge the FBI’s collection and maintenance of descriptions of our clients’ First Amendment activities in violation of the federal Privacy Act.”
The news is rife with President Trump’s threatened and actual military misadventures: in Syria, Yemen, and North Korea. But these military actions take on a new gravity considering the vast and secret powers Trump inherited.
Former President Obama escalated the use of drone strikes – including in non-battlefield arenas such as Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen – so it is no surprise that President Trump has continued with abandon. While Obama put some constraints on drones, Trump gave the secretive, unaccountable CIA new authority to conduct drone strikes against “suspected militants.”
Specifically, President Obama’s constraints on drones included that targets pose an “imminent threat,” that their capture is “not feasible,” and that there be “near certainty” civilians will not be injured or killed. However, Obama didn’t always hew closely to his own policy, which evolved throughout his Presidency as legitimate criticism of drone strikes increased. One of the most famous Americans targeted and killed by a drone, al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki, met none of the early purported criteria. Still, the Justice Department under Obama maintained that the President had the unilateral authority to target and kill American citizens like al-Awlaki. That power now rests with President Trump who has undertaken aggressive and messy military actions in the early days of his presidency.
The U.S. Military, apparently eager to test a huge out-dated bomb – anacronym “MOAB” for “Mother Of All Bombs” – dropped one for the first time in the sparsely populated mountains of Afghanistan this week.
One of the greatest joys of my life was being able to work right next to William Norman Grigg at The New American magazine from 1994-2001 in Appleton, Wisconsin. I had been one of the staffers who had moved out from Belmont, Massachusetts to Appleton in 1989, and he was quickly added to the magazine’s staff after some brilliantly-written columns in 1993.
"Thesaurus Rex," as he was sometimes called in Appleton, wrote for the internal newsletter of the company we called "The Insider Report" with a wit and vocabulary that made everyone in the office belly laugh. Hardly any of his satiric wit made it into the print magazine, because the style of the magazine at the time was to limit satire. But it was a joy to read, and I’m richer for having access to it. Much of my own writing style is a pale shadow of Will Grigg’s thundering style of prose.
After steadily-increasing tension under the Obama Administration, candidate Trump wondered why it was a bad thing to get along with Russia. Hillary Clinton promised more of the confrontational Obama approach. More conflict. The people chose Trump. What happened? President Trump has thus far brought us closer to war with Russia than at any time since the height of the Cold War. Does Trump have a Russia policy and if so what is it? We discuss in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report: