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Last updateMon, 25 May 2015 2pm

LOS ANGELES Wednesday, May 27th 2015 8:37

WAGE RAISE RAGE

  • WHO WE ARE-Nearly half of Los Angeles just gave itself a raise. Following a wave of state and local minimum-wage bills and initiatives, Los Angeles became one of the largest cities to dramatically raise its hourly base pay and join Seattle to hit the magic $15-an-hour demand pushed by labor and community groups nationwide. The City Council…
  • ​City Snookered by Westfield Billionaires

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In March of 2014, the Herb Wesson led City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti approved a 25 year, $48 million giveaway to help the $28.5 billion Westfield Corporation finance its $250 million development, The Village at Westfield Topanga. (Photo) But this subsidy championed by Councilman Bob Blumenfield was hardly necessary as The Village…
  • Slick With Denial: ‘Self-Regulation’ and the Latest Oil Spill

    Judith Lewis Mernit
    HISTORY LESSONS IGNORED-On Wednesday, May 20, the day after a Santa Barbara County fire inspector discovered a stream of contaminated crude oil flowing onto a pristine segment of the Southern California coast, a group of researchers published a study linking the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to a mass die-off of bottlenose dolphins. The 46…
  • Scaremongering about the Patriot Act Sunset

    Jameel Jaffer
    FALSE CLAIMS EXPOSED-In a last-ditch effort to scare lawmakers into preserving unpopular and much-abused surveillance authorities, the Senate Republican leadership and some intelligence officials are warning that allowing Section 215 of the Patriot Act to sunset would compromise national security. (One particularly crass example from Senator…
  • Still the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave

    Ken Alpern
    ALPERN AT LARGE-It's been another year and another successful Flag Placement at the West Los Angeles National Cemetery. Crawling out of bed in the morning on a holiday weekend to show up bright and early for a show of American patriotism and respect to our veterans and fallen heroes, the region and nation saw yet again how the Boy Scouts, Girl…
  • Retaliation: VA Police Target Veterans

    Robert L. Rosebrock
    LOS ANGELES – Recently, I was interviewed by John Ismay, an Iraqi War Veteran who is the “Veterans and Military Issues Reporter” for Southern California Public Radio. We met at the Los Angeles VA to discuss the never-ending misappropriation of land at this largest VA in the nation, within our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans. We were…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




ICYMI-Amy Schumer shows Dave her vagina

Remembering Ann Meara: 1929-2015

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Who Will the President Kill Next?

WAR’S TERRIBLE DECISIONS - The revelation that President Barack Obama is personally selecting names for a kill list of suspected al-Qaida terrorists is a striking illustration of what actually occurs behind the White House’s closed doors.

The New York Times revealed Tuesday how the president “has placed himself at the helm of a top secret ‘nominations’ process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical.” He insists “on approving every new name on an expanding ‘kill list,’ poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre ‘baseball cards’ of an unconventional war.”


The Times described how more than 100 members of “the government’s sprawling national security apparatus” meet in a video conference to go over potential nominees for the death list and “recommend to the president who should be the next to die.” The nominations then go to the White House where Obama, guided by his top counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, approves names added to the list.

Brennan, without mentioning the president’s role, had outlined the process in an April 30 speech to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, posted on the Lawfare website. Those who make the list, he said, pose “a significant threat to United States interests.” In such cases, he said, stopping them would prevent attacks, and capture is “not feasible.” Each nominee “will go through a careful review and, as appropriate, will be evaluated by the most senior officials in our government for decision.” The most senior, of course, is the president.

The idea of Obama picking out individuals for the death list brings back memories of President Lyndon B. Johnson selecting targets for bombing in Vietnam. So intent was Johnson on micromanaging the war that he lost sight of how the bombing strengthened the will of North Vietnam.
Like Johnson, Obama micromanaging the drone attacks, with their killings of noncombatants, may be strengthening our foes.

In his first campaign for the presidency, Obama pledged to pull most troops out of Iraq and concentrate on Afghanistan, capturing or killing Osama bin Laden and defeating al-Qaida. It was his promise to end the Iraq War that got the attention and affection of liberals, who ignored the underplayed but consistent warlike aspects of his foreign policy pitch.

But even those of us who took note of that militaristic strain were surprised by the way Obama eased into the war president’s role so quickly, and with methods that would have sent liberals into fierce protest were it the George W. Bush years.

With drone technology growing more refined and deadly, Obama has dispatched the robotic killers on an increasing number of missions. Two of those assassinated by the machines were Americans—Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric, and Samir Khan, a U.S. citizen traveling with him. Awlaki, a propagandist who called for more attacks on the United States, had plotted with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “underwear bomber” whose attack on an airliner bound for Detroit failed.

The Justice Department produced a memo justifying the killing of citizen-terrorists, saying that internal, secret executive branch deliberations satisfied Fifth Amendment requirements for due process. Such reasoning seems to constitute a threat to the freedom and the lives of any American targeted by the government as a terrorist or an accomplice. The Justice Department memo remains secret.

Obama’s drone attacks have also killed innocents, despite his efforts to prevent such deaths. Brennan defended the administration in his speech, saying that government “standards—for identifying a target and avoiding the loss of innocent civilians—exceed what is required as a matter of international law on a typical battlefield.”

But the Times’ story reported that Obama has approved “signature” strikes against training camps and compounds that American security personnel consider controlled by militants. Men loading fertilizer into trucks could be bomb makers, but they could also be farmers, the paper noted. In theory, a broad definition of a potential terrorist could mean attacks on compounds and villages with many fighting-aged men, as a way of eliminating them.

Pre-emptively killing potential fighters was a motive for the Balkans’ ethnic cleansing. We can assume that’s not going on with our government, but we have a right to be certain. With Obama’s secrecy, we’ll never know the criteria he uses for his death lists.

He and the rest of his administration brag about the killing of bin Laden as a justification for these deaths. But that was different. Bin Laden had been the subject of great public discussion for years. He was not some anonymous person put on a death list or an innocent killed in a drone attack.

In this election year, the Times story is probably a plus for Obama and his effort to project a tough image. If the process were put to a vote, most Americans would probably agree with his decisions.

But in 1942, most Americans agreed with President Franklin D. Roosevelt when he sent Americans of Japanese descent to prison camps. In the end, the imprisonment, planned in secret and sprung without warning on the victims, stained an otherwise admirable record. The secretive death list may do the same to Obama’s legacy.

(Bill Boyarsky is a journalist and blogs at truthdig.com where this column first appeared.) Photo credit:  Pablo Martinez Monsivais
–cw

Tags: Bill Boyarsky, President Obama, Franklin Roosevelt, terrorists, kill list, Lyndon Johnson, Iraq war, Afghanistan war, war







CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 44
Pub: June 1, 2012

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