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Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

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"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

11 responses to “Whitehouse delivers unsatisfying answers on Pompeo vote”

  1. PinkHatLib

    “We have Russia, which has already potentially interfered in our election with potentially psychological warfare against our population…”

    Whoa! Potentially interfered with potential warfare? When’s the bombing start, Senator?

    (Some might call that plausible but baseless speculation.)

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    1. PinkHatLib

      What’s crazy is that’s the takeaway the Senator got from evidence leaked that his party rigged the primary and put Trump in the Whitehouse… guess we’ll need to have more aggressive surveillance then!

      Nothing to see here, progressives, move along (and smile for the cameras brought to you courtesy of the U.S Senate).

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  2. Barry Schiller

    This illustrates a reason progressives do so badly in American politics, wasting energy undermining one of our best Senators just because of one area of disagreement. He is up for re-election in 2018 and see Golocal or the Projo to see what the right wing says about him. Doesn’t anyone ever learn from the results from so much undermining, even trashing Hillary Clinton? Do we want to wind up with a Republican Senator instead of Whitehouse??

    Lets cut some slack, reasonable people can disagree just where to pick your fights, in this case its reasonable to conclude Pompeo was going to be easily confirmed, save your fire for what can actually have a chance of making a difference: defending medicare/medicaid (as Whitehouse did last week in Johnston,) the EPA, access to birth control and abortion, civil rights for immigrants and others….

    By the way, what “rigged primary??” Nonsense. Sanders won RI easily despite the establishment backing of Clinton, but Clinton won millions more votes mainly due to backing of African-American primary voters. That kind of talk has helped give us Trump who will hurt a lot of people.

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    1. PinkHatLib

      “reasonable people can disagree just where to pick your fights…”

      You should follow your own advice and stop preaching to the rest of us when we chose to disagree with you. Whitehouse is mostly good on a number of issues, so ask nothing else of him? Baloney!

      And mince words if you like as to whether the primary was “rigged,” but there’s no question at all that the DNC was actively working to promote Clinton. Not “potentially” but “actually” working to promote one candidate over another…
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/24/here-are-the-latest-most-damaging-things-in-the-dncs-leaked-emails/

      “Many of the most damaging emails suggest the committee was actively trying to undermine Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Basically all of these examples came late in the primary — after Hillary Clinton was clearly headed for victory — but they belie the national party committee’s stated neutrality in the race even at that late stage.”

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    2. PinkHatLib

      “Do we want to wind up with a Republican Senator instead of Whitehouse??”

      btw this is why many on the left think progressives do so badly in American politics. We pull punches when our guys are in office, which is rightly viewed as hypocritical by our opponents and is ultimately self-defeating.

      Here’s one example from earlier this week, but we could say the same about any number of policies protested during the Bush years and tacitly accepted when continued or even accelerated by Obama. You don’t want a Republican President, do you? (and guess what we got!)

      Double Standards: Where Were the Liberal Protestors During Obama’s Wars?
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/26/double-standards-where-were-the-liberal-protestors-during-obamas-wars/

      The election of Donald Trump has sent millions of people pouring out onto the streets to protest a man they think is a racist, misogynist, xenophobic bully who will destroy US democracy in his quest to establish himself as supreme fascist ruler of the country.

      Maybe they’re right. Maybe Trump is a fascist who will destroy America. But where were these people when Obama was bombing wedding parties in Kandahar, or training jihadist militants to fight in Syria, or abetting NATO’s destructive onslaught on Libya, or plunging Ukraine into fratricidal warfare, or collecting the phone records of innocent Americans, or deporting hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers, or force-feeding prisoners at Gitmo, or providing bombs and aircraft to the Saudis to continue their genocidal war against Yemen?

      Where were they?

      They were asleep, weren’t they? Because liberals always sleep when their man is in office…

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  3. Johnnie

    “On 15 December 2016, the British tabloid Daily Mail quoted Craig Murray, a former U.K. ambassador to Uzbekistan and “close associate” of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as saying that the Democratic National Committee’s e-mails were not obtained by WikiLeaks due to the efforts of Russian hackers but were instead leaked by a disgruntled DNC operative who had legal access to them:

    Murray said he retrieved the package from a source during a clandestine meeting in a wooded area near American University, in northwest D.C. He said the individual he met with was not the original person who obtained the information, but an intermediary.

    He said the leakers were motivated by ‘disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.”
    http://www.snopes.com/former-british-ambassador-says-he-not-russia-is-the-dnc-leaker/

    “In his final press conference, [Jan. 2017] beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material. This undermines the stream of completely evidence-free nonsense that has been emerging from the US intelligence services this last two months, in which a series of suppositions have been strung together to make unfounded assertions that have been repeated again and again in the mainstream media.
    Most crucially of all Obama refers to “The DNC emails that were leaked”. Note “leaked” and not “hacked”. I have been repeating that this was a leak, not a hack, until I am blue in the face. William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, has asserted that were it a hack the NSA would be able to give the precise details down to the second it occurred, and it is plain from the reports released they have no such information. Yet the media has persisted with this nonsense “Russian hacking” story.
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/01/stunning-admission-obama-wikileaks/

    The question needs to be asked: Why is a story about Russian hacking of the DNC, which is at its very best inconclusive, continually cited by the elite media and Whitehouse as fact? What would the average American say if you asked them who hacked the DNC? This is how public opinion is manipulated by unscrupulous, slimy bastards who think nothing of sending your children to war.
    Whitehouse is very consciously preparing and training the American people to see Russia as a threat and enemy, while giving himself an out by saying he used the word ‘potentially.’

    Both the Democrats and the Republicans will conciliate with Trump and the lunar right, because they are on the same team. The only serious objections you will hear — aside from the theatrics and playing to their constituents at home — will be any move by Trump to seek some accommodation with Russia.

    ………“the truth is the greatest enemy of the state”— Joseph Goebbels

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    1. Johnnie

      “Two senators are convening an investigation into Russia’s election interference, joining other efforts in Congress to examine what happened.
      Senators Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, said their investigation would focus on Russian interference both in the United States’ election and in other elections around the world. (Senator Graham is the chairman and Senator Whitehouse is the ranking member of a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee that is focused on crime and terrorism.)
      “Our goal is simple,” the senators said in a joint statement. “To the fullest extent possible we want to shine a light on Russian activities to undermine democracy.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/us/politics/russia-election-hacking-white-house-doctor.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

      Mr Shitehouse: As long as you are investigating the “undermining of democracy,” Congress might want to explain to the American people what role the US played in overthrowing the democratically elected presidents of the Ukraine and Honduras during Obomber’s reign of regime change and terror by drone. Russia looks like some petty gangster and pales in comparison.

      If the Neocons and the Deep State want war with Russia, why hold your disinformation hearings and search for a pretext. Simply explain to the American people why war with Russia is necessary and how it will protect the US and make the world a safer place.

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      1. Johnnie

        “US senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham: The dastardly duo made a trip to the Donbass front line just after the new year, where they gave incendiary speeches egging on Ukrainian troops to restart hostilities. 

        Unbelievably, Graham sought to directly instigate a new attack, speaking these words:
        Your fight is our fight, 2017 will be the year of offense. All of us will go back to Washington and we will push the case against Russia. Enough of a Russian aggression. It is time for them to pay a heavier price.

        John McCain was no less provocative: 
        I believe you will win. I am convinced you will win and we will do everything we can to provide you with what you need to win.

        John McCain and Lindsey Graham are two men totally bought and paid for by the military-security establishment. They serve the CIA and the Neocon ideologues who want to spread American influence by force and believe in provoking conflict where necessary. 

        Just a few days ago, the US President accused the two men of trying to start World War III:…………………”

        http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/enough-it-time-lock-john-mccain-and-lindsey-graham/ri18781

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    2. Johnnie

      “At a press event in Washington on Tuesday, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, called Election Day 2016 “a day that will live in cyber infamy.” Previously, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, called the Russian hacks of the Democratic National Committee “an act of war,” while Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, has claimed that there is near unanimity among senators regarding Russia’s culpability.”

      https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/03/a-reprise-of-the-iraq-wmd-fiasco/

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  4. Johnnie

    What has given rise to Trump, Le Pen, Modi and Duterte—with more to come— are the same conditions that gave rise to Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and Tojo in the 1930s — a crisis within the capitalist system and increasing contention for control of and expansion of markets by the imperial powers.

    NATO is beginning to rearm, with member countries being asked to commit at least 2% of their yearly GDP to new armaments. The US is leading war games and militarizing Russia’s western border. US troops and armored battalions are now stationed in Poland and Estonia, which is less than 30 miles from the important population center of St. Petersburg. NATO soldiers and armaments are also being deployed and exercised as part of Operation Resolve and Operation Anaconda. The US-led NATO war bloc is encircling and containing Russia.

    The US-led Asian war bloc of India, Japan, Korea and Australia is also rearming, encircling and containing China in what is called the Pivot to Asia. Inter-imperialist rivalries and contentions, and the crisis of capitalism, is destabilizing the whole world and has created millions of war and economic refugees — the most since WW11.

    The imperialists do not go to war or put their empires on the line because of some whim or slight, it’s a calculated move. They very consciously prepare their people and armies for war.

    The Providence Journal editorialized today about the importance of a “fearless” press being central to our democratic institutions. How many people have even heard of Operation Anaconda or Resolve and the militarization of the Russian and Chinese borders? What would the US be saying if Russian and Chinese destroyers, aircraft carriers and bombers were regularly operating off the Atlantic and Pacific US coasts?

    And that is just a small part of what the rulers are up to here and around the world which barely gets reported, if at all. It would be laughable if wasn’t so serious.

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  5. Johnnie

    I think I should include citations for the comments above, so here two I found quickly.
    https://www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/0514_Atlantic-Resolve

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/06/nato-launches-largest-war-game-in-eastern-europe-since-cold-war-anaconda-2016

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