Amidst all of the controversy surrounding the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Obama administration attempted to paint itself as an oppositional force against the bill, threatening to veto it if it passed. Now, however, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), co-author of the bill, has said that the administration in fact heavily lobbied to have removed from the bill language that would have protected American citizens from some of the bill’s provisions, such as indefinite detention without trial. According to Levin, who is Chairman of the Armed Services Committee:

 

JBS CEO Art Thompson's weekly video news update for December 12, 2011.

The Air Force has admitted that it dumped the remains of at least 274 fallen American warriors in a Virginia landfill — “far more than the military had acknowledged, before halting the secretive practice three years ago,” reported the Washington Post.

According to an earlier report in the Post, the Air Force had acknowledged that for years the Dover Air Force Base mortuary had disposed of the remains of soldiers in this manner, after assuring families that it would deal with the remains of their loved ones in a dignified and respectful manner. Families never knew that the remains had been dumped at the landfill, and officials said they had no plans to contact specific families now.

 

To say the least, there were a few red faces in the U.S. Senate following news that 93 Senators had voted for a defense authorization bill that included a repeal of Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) which bans soldiers from engaging in either sodomy or bestiality. At least two GOP lawmakers admitted they were not aware of the existence of the provision in the bill they voted to approve.

 

Now that memoirs by the late Bob Novak, former Vice-President Dick Cheney, and former President George Bush have all been published, we now know much more about the Valerie Plame case than we did before these individuals put what happened to paper. (Plame, if you'll remember, was a CIA agent whose identity was leaked to the press during a newsman's investigation into George W. Bush's explanation for going to war against Iraq.) Yet, the one book that still needs to be written is a memoir by Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the VP’s assistant, the only individual indicted by the Special Prosecutor looking into the leak and found guilty in this highly controversial case.

 

Tea Party favorite Rand Paul, Kentucky Senator and son of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, single-handedly thwarted an amendment proposed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) drafted to advance Georgia’s application for NATO membership.

In recent months, Paul, the constitutionalist, libertarian-leaning Senator has underscored his Republican credentials, sponsoring a range of GOP-led legislation, including a jobs bill with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a bill that would prioritize smaller harbors for dredging work with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and with his fellow Kentuckian, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a bill that would repeal net neutrality.

But last week, Paul’s amicable collaboration with his Republican colleagues came to a halt, as he sparred with Sen. Rubio, a fellow Tea Party favorite, over a foreign policy proposal critics say could have dealt a terminal blow to U.S.-Russian relations. In a bipartisan effort, the amendment "called for the President to lead a diplomatic effort to get approval of Georgia’s Membership Action Plan during the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago," said a Rubio spokesman.

Most shifts in history do not come with easy-to-remember dates associated with them. I could not tell you exactly when the U.S. war with Mexico began, though that war gave flesh and blood and considerable real estate to the U.S. claim that our "Manifest Destiny" was to push on through our western frontier “from sea to shining sea” and eventually become a power in the Pacific, where we would come into conflict with imperial Japan at a place called Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Following the Pakistani government’s recent decision to shut down NATO supply lines into Afghanistan indefinitely, Russian officials upped the ante by subtly threatening to close off northern routes for the occupation if the U.S.-led military alliance refuses to back down on a proposed missile defense system in Europe. According to analysts, such a move by Russia at this point would either spark a new war or force a rapid withdrawal of supply-starved Western forces from the region.

Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitri Rogozin was widely quoted last week as saying that if the military alliance refuses to offer a serious response to the Kremlin’s demands, "we have to address matters in relations in other areas." And the Russian government’s cooperation in the NATO occupation of Afghanistan could be one of those areas, he warned.

Supply routes through Pakistan for the Afghan war effort — which delivered about half of the alliance’s supplies — were completely sealed off late last month. The border closures came after NATO forces killed more than two dozen Pakistani military officers and soldiers in an attack inside Pakistan’s borders.

Two months after receiving the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for military bravery, former Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyer finds himself in an intense battle with a potentially far more pernicious foe than the Afghan Taliban: a global defense and security contractor with ties to the U.S. military.

In late November Meyer filed a lawsuit against his former employer, the U.K.-based defense contractor BAE Systems, for what he charges is retaliation against him after he criticized the company’s pending sale of high-tech sniper scopes to the Pakistani military. According to the suit, after Meyer resigned from BAE in protest over the sale, the company effectively blocked his hiring by another company by claiming he had a drinking problem and was mentally unstable.

 

Egyptian voters delivered a powerful victory to Islamists and the long-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in the first round of parliamentary elections, with hard-line Islamic parties winning around 65 percent of the vote. The news sparked widespread fears among Christians and others that Egypt could be plunged into tyranny once again while jeopardizing the security of neighboring Israel.

Official election results released on Sunday showed the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) garnering a sizeable lead with almost 37 percent of the vote. The more radical Salafi Muslim party Al Nour did far better than expected with close to 25 percent of the 10 million votes cast in the first of three rounds of elections.

The most significant secular party, the Egyptian Bloc, won less than 14 percent and came in third overall. But smaller moderate Islamic and secular parties performed poorly.

Questions are growing about what the new Egyptian government might look like after the first real elections in decades. It remains unclear whether the Brotherhood’s FJP will ally itself with the even more radical Islamist parties or form a coalition with liberal groups.
 

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