October 6, 2017
Sergei Magnitsky, the Russian lawyer for Bill Browder, whose murder in 2007 invited economic sanctions against Russia, and especially Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his money-moving colleagues. Those sanctions angered Putin so much, he worked to swing the 2016 presidential election against Hillary Clinton.
Campaign for human rights in Russia rolled through Canada yesterday.
Canada’s parliament passed a bill authorizing trade and other sanctions against Russia, partly over Russia’s actions in killing human rights acitivists in Russia.
U.S. businessman Bill Browder was the client of Sergei Magnitsky. Browder works tirelessly to see that Magnitsky’s murder is not forgotten. Browder, with a huge assist from Hillary Clinton’s State Department, put sanctions on money transactions for Vladimir Putin, suspected of being the person who ordered Magnitsky’s murder. Those sanctions worked, and crippled Putin’s ability to move and launder money, and the ability of his ally oligarchs in Russia. Stopping Clinton, and getting those sanctions lifted, is the chief reason Putin interfered in the U.S. presidential election in 2016 (and it explains all the meetings Trump campaign officials and administration officials have had with Russian officials and lobbyists and minions).
Contrary to complaints from President Donald Trump, there is a lot of dirt around Russian dealings and sanctions under the U.S. Magnitsky Act.
Yesterday, Canada agreed to support the memory of Sergei Magnitsky, and justice.
Watch those spaces.
Here’s a Twitter Moment with news of the new Canadian law.
November 24, 2013
Foreign ministers of several nations collaborated in Geneva, Switzerland, to get an agreement to stop proliferation of nuclear weapons to Iran; an agreement to lead to a larger agreement was struck Saturday, November 23, 2013. After the agreement was announced, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry embraced.
Obama, Iran, Kerry, Nuclear, sanctions
Image and caption via CNN: Chief negotiator Catherine Ashton and Iran’s foreign minister announce agreement on Iran’s nuclear program early on Sunday, November 24 in Geneva. From left to right: British Foreign Secretary William Hague, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
August 26, 2013
Seven paragraphs, if one counts the cheery close.
Letter to the editor of the Financial Times of London, explaining who is who and who is whose enemy, in the Middle East. August 22, 2013, captured by Randy Prine
A woman named Randy Prine (@RandyPrine) Tweeted this photo, and said:
THIS is why we Voted for an analytical and not ‘shoot from the hip’ McCain or ‘How can I make money’ Romney.
Most of the ObamaH8ers I run into can be stopped on almost all Middle East issues simply by asking them whether the group they rant at, at that moment, is Sunni or Shiite. For some odd reason, they never know.
Read the rest of this entry »
October 15, 2012
Here’s the editorial cartoon that should win the Pulitzer for Pat Bagley of the Salt Lake Tribune, this year:
Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, October 2012
Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune
Perhaps Bagley has a few he could enter in the Ranan Lurie UN cartoon judging, too.
October 6, 2012
From the Truman National Security Project, a video featuring testimony from veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan especially, questioning whether Mitt Romney has what it takes to be Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces:
This is rather the opposite of “swift boating,” isn’t it? An established organization active on national security issues, with a distinguished staff and board of directors, working on a shoe-string, with identified spokesmen.
The Truman Project’s blog lays out the case for President Obama’s election with respect to his initiatives on behalf of veterans. As much as I would prefer to see those positive achievements emphasized, campaigns don’t really allow much time for careful, thoughtful explanation.
Will there be any effect from this advertisement? What do you think?
- “New ad questions Romney’s ability to serve as commander-in-chief,” Think-Progress; “The one minute video first highlights Romney’s various foreign policy fumbles throughout the campaign, including his confusing Afghanistan policy, his failure to mention the war there and commemorate U.S. troops in his RNC speech, and his campaign’s reluctance to talk about national security. ‘You have shown us from London to Libya that you are over your head,’ an Army vet says, with the ad closing with three other vets saying they don’t trust Romney to lead the military.”
- Reuters: “Swing state ad from hawkish Democrats hits Romney on foreign policy” – “There are more than 20 million American veterans, 15.8 million of whom cast ballots in the 2008 election cycle, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many veterans live in states key to Obama’s re-election, such as Ohio, where there are more than 900,000 veterans, according to Department of Veterans Affairs data.”
- Veteran unemployment rate dips, but crisis deepens for ex-military women (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- Veterans retreating from Obama (politico.com)
- Mike Breen, North Hampton vet, speaks out with Truman Project; Seacoastonline; [From the article]: Contrast that with the “dead silence” at the Republican National Convention on the topic of the troops, and [New Hampshire Attorney General Phil McLaughlin] said the positions of the two candidates could not be more clear. “It’s as though (to Republicans) there were no Iraq. It’s as though there were no Afghanistan. It’s as though there were no veterans,” he said.
August 26, 2012
Burma (Myanmar) (dark green) / ASEAN (dark grey) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Economist carries the good news, with the sober warning that press freedom remains beyond the grasp of Myanmar journalists:
But as part of a wider reform programme introduced by President Thein Sein, the old media rules have gradually been relaxed. For several months many editors have no longer been required to submit articles for prepublication censorship on such subjects as the economy. The latest announcement removes the need to submit articles on more sensitive topics, such as politics or Myanmar’s ethnic conflicts.
The country’s journalists welcome the news, but they also give warning that this by no means ends restrictions on press freedom. These remain numerous and burdensome. In particular, two bits of repressive legislation remain: the Printers and Publishers Registration Act, dating from the start of military rule in 1962, and the 2004 Electronic Transactions Law. Under the first, publications can lose their licences if they supposedly harm the reputation of a government department, threaten peace and security, and much else. Under the second, a person can be imprisoned for up to 15 years for distributing via the internet information that the courts deem harmful to the state. Meanwhile, the censor board itself seems likely to remain in business, ready to punish reporters or editors who overstep the mark.
But, good news is good news, yes? See the entire article at The Economist.
July 18, 2012
All that bellyaching about Obama’s out of control spending? Bunk.
All that ballyhoo about how the U.S. spends way too much on foreign aid? Dangerous anti-American propaganda; we don’t spend enough.
For evidence, look at the Congressional Budget Office‘s non-partisan analysis of the State Department reauthorization act for the coming year, Fiscal 2013. And please, get the facts before you start to complain.
Page 1 of CBO’s analysis:
H.R. 6018 would authorize appropriations for the Department of State and related agencies, the Peace Corps, and international broadcasting activities. CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $15.8 billion over the 2013-2017 period, assuming appropriation of the specified and estimated amounts.
We’re talking actual outlays for the State Department, for all of our diplomatic efforts to prevent war, secure and strengthen peace, represent U.S. interests in trade and defense and culture, and manage the provision of about $37 billion in aid to other nations, of a total around $9.3 billion for FY 2013. (See page 2)
That’s a pittance.
Even if we include the $37 billion in foreign aid payouts, that’s less than $50 billion a year to manage and maintain our vital relationships in the world.
You can get the country-by-country breakdown of foreign aid, from the horse’s mouth, at this site.
Less than 1% of our national budget goes to foreign aid.
Less than 1 penny of every dollar you pay in taxes, goes to foreign aid.
How much would be enough? We could double foreign aid without any significant effect to the deficits, but with huge effects in good will and actual production of peace overseas.
Most people think a “fair” percentage of the budget to dedicate to foreign aid would be about 10%.
This is no time for austerity in federal spending.
What’s changed in this chart from 2010? Not much: