NOT Good Enough for the Fearful?

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson explains the Syrian refugee screening process

In the days since the terrorist attack in Paris, there has been a huge debate in the United States over Syrian refugees. While the U.S. has committed to taking 10,000 people fleeing the Syrian civil war, some have argued that there is no way to ensure that terrorists won’t enter the country posing as refugees. The Obama administration has responded by saying that the vetting process is extremely rigorous.

So, putting aside emotional rhetoric about this issue, what exactly is that process?

According to Secretary Jeh Johnson, more than 23,000 potential refugees have been referred to the U.S. and that only 2,000 have made it past the screening. But according to the GOP fearmongers, our process isn’t good enough for them.  Is that because 2,000 worthy souls actually made it through the process?

Head more …. HERE

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2012-11-23: What I’ve been reading

Mexico Officials: Allowing GM Corn Will Devastate Crops

Lisa Garber, News Report: None of us here likely know who Bill Gates truly is at the end of the day. But let’s be frank: at best, he’s yet another one of the billions funding biotech and Big Ag propaganda. Does he truly believe that genetic modification comes without consequences. At worst, however, Gates, Monsanto, DuPont, and Dow simply do not care that farmers across the world commit suicide in the thousands after going bankrupt thanks to overpriced, ineffective GM seeds.

Go Ahead, Talk Religion and Politics at the Table

Robert Jensen, Op-Ed: It’s difficult not to take disagreements about sexual behavior personally, but we can cultivate the ability to consider not just our own choices but the social consequences. For example, on the contentious subject of pornography, instead of immediately defending or condemning the use of sexual material, we can ask: “What stories about sex and intimacy does pornography tell, and what is the effect of those stories?” That opens up the conversation.

Why So Secretive? The Trans-Pacific Partnership as Global Corporate Coup

Andrew Gavin Marshall, Investigation: Dubbed by many as “NAFTA on steroids” and a “corporate coup,” only two of the TPP’s 26 chapters actually have anything to do with trade. The agreement stipulates that foreign corporations operating in the United States would no longer be subject to domestic U.S. laws regarding protections for the environment, finance or labor rights, and could appeal to an “international tribunal” which would be given the power to overrule American law and impose sanctions on the U.S. for violating the new “rights” of corporations.

Incidents Raise Suspicions on Motive: Killing of Journalists by US Forces a Growing Problem

Dave Lindorff, Op-Ed: The ruthlessness of the slaying of journalists was exposed for all to see when the whistle-blower outfit Wikileaks released the now famous video it obtained from the gunsight camera of a US helicopter, whose crew opened up with machine gun fire on a group of men and two children in a Baghdad square. Two of those killed were cameramen working for Reuters. One of the two was literally hunted down and machine gunned after, already gravely wounded, he tried to crawl away, unarmed, to safety. The crew could be heard laughing as they killed him.

Change? Learn? Compromise? Grow? Not These Republicans

Joe Conason, Op-Ed: Republican leaders also seem inclined to ignore voter sentiment on the issue of taxes, despite majorities of 70 percent or better that agree the rich should pay more (including many voters who identify with the GOP). Rep. Mike Pence, who will become the governor of Indiana next January, told the Republican governors that he remains firmly opposed any tax increase, especially on "those in the best position to put hurting Americans back to work,”

Amy Goodman | In Gaza, It’s the Occupation, Stupid

Amy Goodman, Op-Ed: “The Palestinian people want to be free of the occupation,” award-winning Israeli journalist Gideon Levy summed up this week. It is that simple. This latest Israeli military assault on the people of Gaza is not an isolated event, but part of a 45-year occupation of the sliver of land wedged between Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, where 1.6 million people live under a brutal Israeli blockade that denies them most of the basic necessities of life. Without the unwavering bipartisan support of the United States for the Israeli military, the occupation of Palestine could not exist.

10 Things Progressives Can Be Thankful For

News Report: We’re thankful for the advocates who protected our right to vote. The past few years saw a raft of new voter suppression laws and tactics, but most of the worst laws were blocked at least temporarily by the courts or repealed by lawmakers. The challenge going forward will be to maintain these victories as litigation in several of these cases continues and the U.S. Supreme Court considers a challenge to the Voting Rights Act.

Jim Hightower | Lord Help Us – Bosses Gone Berserk

Jim Hightower, Op-Ed: The sky is falling! The end times are upon us! It’s all over for America! And it’s all because of you execrable voters. This is the wretched wail of a few corporate chieftains who claim to be somewhere between flummoxed and furious that Barack Obama is back in the White House. With his diabolical Obamacare and tax-the-rich attacks on us wealthy job creators, they moan, this president is out to destroy American business. "There’s a tsunami coming," cried one, so we must save ourselves.

Gaza Is A Pawn: Iran Is a Prize

Thomas Magstadt, Op-Ed: “None of the dead was the person the Israeli Defense Force said it was trying to kill when it struck the Dalu family house. It’s not clear that they had anything to do with him.” This is how Amy Davidson writing in the New Yorker describes one incident in the latest war between Israel and Gaza. It is a cliché to call it a tragedy, but what is missing in the reporting and what passes for mainstream “news analysis” is not the tragedy, but the travesty. The story line does not start or end with the status of Gaza or the Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands.

Homeland Security Has Spent $430 Million on Radios Its Employees Don’t Know How to Use

Theodoric Meyer, News Report: Getting the agencies responsible for national security to communicate better was one of the main reasons the Department of Homeland Security was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But according to a recent report from the department’s inspector general, one aspect of this mission remains far from accomplished. DHS has spent $430 million over the past nine years to provide radios tuned to a common, secure channel to 123,000 employees across the country. Problem is, no one seems to know how to use them.

President Obama Reelected – But Where Is the Pathway to Good Jobs?

Amy Dean, Op-Ed: With Barack Obama’s reelection last night, we witnessed the labor movement once again, as in every successful Democratic presidential race in recent decades, saving the president. Its ground troops and financial backing provided the bulwark to shore up Obama’s lead against Romney. By aiding in Obama’s victory, unions helped avert the crisis that the election of Romney/Ryan would have represented—an attack not only on organized labor, but on women’s rights and the whole of the social safety net.

Newt’s Been Sating Himself on Bull-Puckey

If you’ve been watching political TV of late, you’ve seen way too much of Mr. Gingrich huffing and puffing that President Obama has the absolute worst record of ANY President on foreign policy and national security.    Well Mr. Gingrich, you’re not only wrong, you’re lying through your teeth (or is it your dentures) … whatever!

It never ceases to amaze me how RepubliBans (I’ve changed their name to a more appropriate spelling, since they always want to BAN something) can accuse President Obama of making America less safe, when his foreign policy achievements include taking out multiple terrorist leaders using a strategy of small teams of America’s elite military forces.  So the next time on of your Tea Party acquaintances tries repeating a claim such as Mr. Gingrich’s, here’s a short list to remind everyone of just how seriously President Obama takes the national security of the United States:

  1. 2012/01:  Abdullah Khorsani … Al-Qaeda senior external operations planner  … KILLED
  2. 2011/09:  Anwar al-Awlaki …Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader  … KILLED by US Hellfire missles
  3. 2011/09:  Abu Hafs al-Shahri … Al-Qaeda’s chief of Pakistan operations  … KILLED by Predator strike in Pakistan
  4. <2011/09:  Yunis al-Mauritani … AQ external operations commander … ARRESTED  in Pakistan
  5. 2011/09:  Ali Saleh Farhan … AQAP senior operative  … KILLED
  6. 2011/08:  Atiyah ‘Abd al-Rahman … Al-Qaeda deputy leader … KILLED by Predator strike in Pakistan
  7. 2011/06:  Ilyas Kashmiri … Al-Quaeda commander  … KILLED by Predator strike in Pakistan
  8. 2011/06:  Ammar al-Wa’ili … AQAP senior operative  … KILLED in an air strike on a cell in Yemen
  9. 2011/06:  Qassem al-Rimi … Al-Qaeda senior military commander  … KILLED in an air strike on a cell in Yemen
  10. 2011/06:  Ayedh al-Shabwani  … Al-Qaeda operative in Yemen … KILLED in an air strike on a cell in Yemen
  11. 2011/06:  Saleh al-Tais … Al-Qaeda operative in Yemen  … KILLED in an air strike on a cell in Yemen
  12. 2011/06:  Abu Ali al-Harithi … AQAP senior operative  … KILLED by a U.S. air strike
  13. 2011/06:  Harun Fazul … Al-Qa’ida in East Africa (AQEA) senior leader  … KILLED in Somalia
  14. 2011/05:  Osama bin Laden … Al-Qaeda Mastermind  … KILLED in Pakistan during a raid to capture him
  15. 2010/06:  Hamza al-Jawfi … Al-Qaeda commander  … KILLED in Pakistan
  16. 2010/05:  Sheik Saeed al-Masri … Al-Qaeda’s number three commander  … KILLED in Pakistan
  17. 2010/04:  Abu Ayyub al-Masri … Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader  … KILLED in Iraq
  18. 2010/04:  Abu Omar al-Baghdadi … Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader  … KILLED in Iraq
  19. 2010/03:  Hussein al-Yemeni … AQ  operative  … KILLED in Pakistan
  20. 2010/02:  Abdul Ghani Beradar …  Taliban deputy and military commander  … CAPTURED in Pakistan
  21. 2010/02:  Muhammad Haqqani … Haqqani network commander  … KILLED in Pakistan
  22. 2010/02:  Qari Zafar … Lashkar-e Jhangvi leader  … KILLED in Pakistan
  23. 2009/12:  Abdallah Sa’id … Al-Qaeda operational commander  … KILLED in Pakistan
  24. 2009/12:  Saleh al-Somal … Al-Qaeda operational commander … KILLED in Pakistan
  25. 2009/o9:  Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan … AQEA planner  … KILLED in Somalia
  26. 2009/o9:  Noordin Muhammad Top … Jemayah Islamiya operational planner  … KILLED in Indonesia
  27. 2009/o8:  Baitullah Mahsud … Tehrik e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader  … KILLED in Pakistan

Oh … and let’s not forget about the ability to build a coalition to go after Moammar Kadafi. And let’s not forget the multiple Somali pirates and multiple Somali hostage takers killed or captured as well.  But if you’re still confused about which man would keep America safer, I think the following quote will make it clear.

“This is one of the great tragedies of the Bush administration. The more successful they’ve been at intercepting and stopping bad guys, the less proof there is that we’re in danger … It’s almost like they should, every once in a while, have allowed an attack to get through just to remind us.”  — Newt Gingrich, at a book talk in Huntington, NY, April 2008, saying that republicans should allow terrorist attacks on American soil just to remind us of the dangers in the world.

Now, what exactly was it that Candidate Obama said before becoming President … that he would track down and take out Al-Qaeda’s leadership and that if Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan and the Pakistani’s wouldn’t take action … he would.  HE did!

“And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act, and we will take them out.”  — Candidate Obama during the October 2008 Debate

Sorry Newt, but America is a much safer place, thanks to President Obama, his administration and our military.