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Profile Information

Name: Steven Leser
Gender: Male
Hometown: New York, NY
Home country: USA
Current location: NYC
Member since: Tue Jan 4, 2005, 04:36 PM
Number of posts: 30,260

Journal Archives

BENGOLA - New GOP term developed to attack Obama simultaneously about Benghazi and Ebola

Story developing, more soon...

We again have Republicans trying to claim there were WMD in Iraq

Their new claims: http://conservativetribune.com/nyt-wmds-in-iraq/ are based on this article: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/14/world/middleeast/us-casualties-of-iraq-chemical-weapons.html?smid=tw-nytimes&_r=1

I've reposted the below as a retort to this information on a number of occasions and sites but I think it is helpful that everyone have ready access to the links and info:

This is a long post but stay with it, its important.

Republicans are trying to claim there were WMD after all in Iraq at the Al Muthanna site. Problem is, there weren't. Here are to links that tell the story. First, the UN Weapons inspectors who visited Iraq prior to the war helped the Iraqis dispose of munitions there. See: http://www.foxnews.com/story/2003/03/18/sites-visited-by-un-weapons-inspectors/

Here are the money quotes:

Dec. 4, 2002

• U.N. inspectors entered the al-Muthanna State Establishment, which once produced chemical and biological agents, and a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which conducts the U.N.'s nuclear inspections, went to the al-Tuwaitha nuclear complex, famous for once being attacked by Israeli warplanes. The reportedly found found shells and mustard gas.


Feb. 14, 2003:

• On the day chief weapons inspectors were to report to the U.N. Security Council on whether Saddam Hussein is disarming, inspection teams returned to Iraq's al-Muthanna chemical weapons installation, where they have been destroying artillery shells and neutralizing four plastic containers filled with mustard gas. They also visited a mineral water plant.

Feb. 19, 2003:

• UNMOVIC inspectors visited at least 10 sites, including an Al Samoud missile site at Abu Ghraib, northwest of Baghdad. Inspectors have tagged several Al Samoud missiles. They stopped at al-Ma'moun, Ibn al-Haithem and al-Fidaa military compounds around Baghdad. A chemical team went to al-Muthanna site near the city while another team checked a Baghdad vegetable oil factory. Nuclear inspectors searched military compounds at al-Nidaa and al-Zawra. Another team conducted a nuclear survey at Nahrawan, south of the capital.

after the Iraq war, there was a 1500 person Iraq Survey group sent in to scour the country for WMD. Here is ISG report after Iraq war on Al Muthanna: http://goo.gl/qFClAV

and the money quotes from this are:

An exploitation of the facility reconfirmed previous imagery analysis that the site remained inoperable from bombings and UNSCOM compliance, including destruction of equipment and resources, and no significant production capabilities existed. Facilities and bunkers revealed no evidence of production since UNSCOM departed.


The entire Al Muthanna mega-facility was the bastion of Iraqi’s chemical weapons development program. During its peak in the late 1980s to early 1990s, it amassed mega-bunkers full of chemical munitions, and provided Iraq with a force multiplier sufficient to counteract Iran’s superior military numbers. Two wars, sanctions and UNSCOM oversight reduced Iraqi’s premier production facility to a stockpile of old damaged and contaminated chemical munitions(sealed in bunkers), a wasteland full of destroyed chemical munitions, razed structures, and unusable war-ravaged facilities. In 1998 Al Tariq State Establishment took over all remaining remnants at Al Muthanna.

A Pump War? (NY Times Thomas Friedman re: deliberate crashing of oil prices by US and Saudis)


Is it just my imagination or is there a global oil war underway pitting the United States and Saudi Arabia on one side against Russia and Iran on the other? One can’t say for sure whether the American-Saudi oil alliance is deliberate or a coincidence of interests, but, if it is explicit, then clearly we’re trying to do to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exactly what the Americans and Saudis did to the last leaders of the Soviet Union: pump them to death — bankrupt them by bringing down the price of oil to levels below what both Moscow and Tehran need to finance their budgets.

Think about this: four oil producers — Libya, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria — are in turmoil today, and Iran is hobbled by sanctions. Ten years ago, such news would have sent oil prices soaring. But today, the opposite is happening. Global crude oil prices have been falling for weeks, now resting around $88 — after a long stretch at $105 to $110 a barrel.


The Russians have noticed. How could they not? They’ve seen this play before. The Russian newspaper Pravda published an article on April 3 with the headline, “Obama Wants Saudi Arabia to Destroy Russian Economy.” It said: “There is a precedent such joint action that caused the collapse of the U.S.S.R. In 1985, the Kingdom dramatically increased oil production from 2 million to 10 million barrels per day, dropping the price from $32 to $10 per barrel. U.S.S.R. began selling some batches at an even lower price, about $6 per barrel. Saudi Arabia anything, because when prices fell by 3.5 times production increased fivefold. The planned economy of the Soviet Union was not able to cope with falling export revenues, and this was one of the reasons for the collapse of the U.S.S.R.”


The price decline is no accident. In an Oct. 3 article in The Times, Stanley Reed noted that the sharp drop in oil prices “was seen as a response to Saudi Arabia’s signaling ... to the markets that it was more interested in maintaining market share than in defending prices. Saudi Aramco, the national oil company, stunned markets by announcing that it was cutting prices by about $1 a barrel to Asia, the crucial growth market for the Persian Gulf producers, as well as by 40 cents a barrel to the United States.” The Times also noted that with America now producing so much more oil and gas, “net oil imports to the United States have fallen since 2007 by 8.7 million barrels a day, ‘roughly equivalent to total Saudi and Nigerian exports,’ according to a recent Citigroup report.”

If the Obama administration is deliberately doing this with the Saudis, I'm totally in favor of it and I think it is just punishment for Russian actions in Ukraine.

And it helps our economy and it is reversible if Putin cuts out the crap, which might be why we saw some reports of the Russian army pulling back from Ukraine. This probably has Putin worried. Seriously worried.

Crashing Oil Prices could crush Vladimir Putin (CNN)


In early March when Russia first sent troops into Ukraine, oil was trading comfortably above $100 per barrel. Now, it's around $81, a level not seen in three years.

That's a tough pill for Russia to swallow since the country relies heavily on oil revenues to bankroll its budget -- over half of the government's revenues come from oil and gas.

"We're probably getting closer to the point of pain," said Phil Flynn, an energy analyst at the Price Futures Group. "It's definitely putting the squeeze on their balance sheet."

The US should be pursuing a renewable energy program as if it is a national security issue, because it is one. Russia and the countries in the Middle East who pursue hostile internal and external policies should be starved of funds. US firms should develop renewable technology and sell it globally.

Blast from the Past Re: Paul Ryan who will be running for the GOP Nomination for POTUS in 2016

I'm going to talk a lot in the next two years on my show/blog/FB Page, etc about the folks running for the Republican nomination for President. Each one of them comes across as a combination of corrupt, dishonest and borderline (or completely) sociopathic, and that's before you get into those among them who have been indicted or investigated for corruption. Take this instance of Paul Ryan who it is said will be running in 2016.

Ryan, like many Republicans criticized the Obama stimulus which we now see has been a part of producing such amazing results turning around the economy. Ryan criticized it, then a freedom of information act request discovered he requested no less than four times to get stimulus money for his district and in those requests characterized the stimulus money as being able to be used economically.


Teabagger brands Obama the Ant Savior! In the name of the Formicidae, the Obama and the holy Insecta

What does the guy who discovered & named the Ebola virus say about the current outbreak...


'In 1976 I discovered Ebola - now I fear an unimaginable tragedy'
Peter Piot was a researcher at a lab in Antwerp when a pilot brought him a blood sample from a Belgian nun who had fallen mysteriously ill in Zaire


After Yambuku, you spent the next 30 years of your professional life devoted to combating Aids. But now Ebola has caught up to you again. American scientists fear that hundreds of thousands of people could ultimately become infected. Was such an epidemic to be expected?

No, not at all. On the contrary, I always thought that Ebola, in comparison to Aids or malaria, didn't present much of a problem because the outbreaks were always brief and local. Around June it became clear to me that there was something fundamentally different about this outbreak. At about the same time, the aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières sounded the alarm. We Flemish tend to be rather unemotional, but it was at that point that I began to get really worried.

There is actually a well-established procedure for curtailing Ebola outbreaks: isolating those infected and closely monitoring those who had contact with them. How could a catastrophe such as the one we are now seeing even happen?

I think it is what people call a perfect storm: when every individual circumstance is a bit worse than normal and they then combine to create a disaster. And with this epidemic there were many factors that were disadvantageous from the very beginning. Some of the countries involved were just emerging from terrible civil wars, many of their doctors had fled and their healthcare systems had collapsed. In all of Liberia, for example, there were only 51 doctors in 2010, and many of them have since died of Ebola.

More at above link

Job Openings hit highest level since 2001 - 4.835 million openings


WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - U.S. job openings rose to their highest level in more than 13 years in August even as hiring fell, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

Job openings were at a seasonally adjusted 4.835 million compared with a downwardly revised 4.605 million in July, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey on Tuesday. Job openings are used to measure labor demand.

Federal Reserve policymakers have said they are monitoring the JOLTS report as they consider their next step on monetary policy.

Employers hired a seasonally adjusted 4.640 million people in August, down from 4.934 million in July, the report said. August's hiring was 27 percent higher than in June 2009 when it was at its lowest level since the beginning of the recession.

more at above link... it's getting harder and harder to deny the massive improvements in the job market.

Putin Supports Project to ‘Secure’ Russia Internet


MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin appeared on Wednesday to throw his support behind a plan to isolate the Internet in Russia from the rest of the World Wide Web, but said the Russian government was “not even considering” censoring Internet sites.

In a speech to the Russian National Security Council, Mr. Putin said the plan was intended to build a backup system to keep websites in the Russian domains — those ending in .ru and .rf — online in a national emergency.

Mr. Putin said other countries had taken to using the Internet “for not only economic, but military and political goals” and said information security was a priority for the country.

The Russian news media has labeled the plan, some details of which were reported last month by Vedomosti, a Russian daily, a “kill switch” for the Internet, or Russia’s answer to the “Great Firewall” put up by the Chinese.

xpost from GD: Russia halts Student Exchange program due to LGBT Bigotry


Russia Just Banned Foreign Exchange Students From Studying In The US — And They’re Not Happy

Russia's past, present, and prospective participants in a popular U.S.-funded student exchange are lamenting their government's decision to halt its participation in the decades-old program amid Moscow's standoff with the West over the Ukraine crisis.
Moscow's Explanation

Russia's child-protection ombudsman said on October 1 that a same-sex American couple established guardianship over a Russian high school student who was in the United States on an exchange program. Pavel Astakhov said the alleged incident was one reason for Russia's decision to scrap the 21-year-old FLEX program.

More at above link
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