Five years ago, UC Merced students successfully persuaded First Lady Michelle Obama to speak at their commencement ceremony that spring. They had bombarded her with hundreds of valentines and pulled every possible political string between Central California and Washington. To their delight and surprise, she accepted and addressed what was the new school’s first graduating class.
Now, UC Irvine is hoping similar tactics will work with her husband, reports the Los Angeles Times.
“The Orange County campus has asked President Obama to deliver the school’s commencement address on June 14, possibly at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. An anticipated 10,000 invitation postcards from students, alumni and staff are scheduled to be delivered to the White House soon.
“Plans are in the works to also send a special video from the campus basketball team, aiming at the president’s love of watching and playing hoops.
“UC Irvine spokeswoman Janet Wilson said a presidential visit would be appropriate because then-President Johnson spoke at the dedication ceremony for the campus on June 20, 1964. “We’d like to kick off our 50th anniversary celebration with another visit from the president of the United States,” she said.UC Irvine officials understand that there is a lot of competition among universities, but the school is “very hopeful” to receive a positive response in April, Wilson said. Last spring, Obama delivered three graduation speeches: at Morehouse College in Georgia, Ohio State University and the U.S. Naval Academy.”
Outside the United States, the Pentagon controls a collection of military bases unprecedented in history, reports todays Le Monde. “With U.S. troops gone from Iraq and the withdrawal from Afghanistan underway, it’s easy to forget that we probably still have about1,000 military bases in other peoples’ lands. This giant collection of bases receives remarkably little media attention, costs a fortune, and even when cost cutting is the subject du jour, it still seems to get a free ride.
“With so much money pouring into the Pentagon’s base world, the question is: Who’s benefiting?
“Some of the money clearly pays for things like salaries, health care, and other benefits for around one million military and Defense Department personnel and their families overseas. But after an extensive examination of government spending data and contracts, I estimate that the Pentagon has dispersed around $385 billion to private companies for work done outside the U.S. since late 2001, mainly in that baseworld. That’s nearly double the entire State Departmentbudget over the same period, and because Pentagon and government accountingpractices are so poor, the true total may be significantly higher. Continue reading “America’s 1,000 Plateaus”
Alternative news sources from around the world are reporting today about findings from the Open Society Justice, documenting how 54 countries have been helped the American CIAin it’s kidnapping program, known as “rendition,” in which terrorism suspects were held in secret prisons overseas or turned
over to foreign governments for interrogation.
Governments in Europe, Asia and Africa have been secretly involved in global kidnap, detention and torture of at least 136 people on behalf of the United States after September 11, 2001 attacks, reports Al Jazeera.
“’By engaging in torture and other abuses associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition, the US government violated domestic and international law, Continue reading “CIA gets kidnapping help from around the globe”
The U.S. military has begun a staged build-up of military airpower within striking distance of China. Reported today in Danger Room, the five-year process that will see each of America’s three main stealth warplane types deployed to bases near China.
“When the deployments are complete in 2017, Air Force F-22s and B-2s and Marine Corps F-35s could all be within striking range of America’s biggest economic rival at the same time. With Beijing now testing its own radar-evading jet fighters — two different models, to be exact — the clock is counting down to a stealth warplane showdown over the Western Pacific. Continue reading “US building air capacity to strike China”
This month the United Nations declared access to contraception a basic human right. In its new State of World Population 2012 report titled “By Choice Not By Chance,” the U.N. addressed the issue of family planning and stressed the importance of making contraceptives accessible in developing countries. According to the UN, an estimated 222 million women worldwide at risk of unintended pregnancy.
The report stated that “voluntary family planning should be available to all, not just the wealthy or otherwise privileged.” That concept, of making accessible forms of contraception Continue reading “U.N. declares contraception a basic human right”
You might think America isn’t in the war business any more––what with so much recent talk about troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Colin Powell endorsement of the peace loving Obama, and Romney’s yammering about U.S military decline. But hang on a second. It’s not that the U.S. isn’t fighting. The combat actually continues, but it’s quite different than what most people conceive as “war,” per se. While official wars involving the U.S. are winding down, all sorts of smaller special operations or war-by-proxy campaigns are being undertaken on America’s behalf.
By some accounts the U.S. is currently conducting secret wars in 75 nations. These are explained in a lengthy article by Nick Turse appearing in Le Monde, entitled “A Failed Formula for Worldwide War: How the Empire Changed its Face, But Not its Nature.”
“In one way or another, the U.S. military is now involved with most of the nations on Earth,” Turse writes. Continue reading “War by any other name”
Economic sanctions like those now in place for Iran are intended to put pressure on a national government by making things tough for businesses. The sanctions now in place by the U.S. and European Union restrict sales to Iran of just about everything, except medical items and food, which are permitted though a case-by-case basis permitting process. Unfortunately, the permitting process is so slow that as many as 6-million Iranians now are not receiving needed medicines. Many of those affected are cancer patients. As reported in Al Jazeera, The New York Times, and elsewhere, efforts are now underway to correct what has recently been recognized as a public health crisis in Iran, largely resulting from U.S. actions. The news of Iranian suffering is further escalating anti-American sentiment.
In “Iran Sanctions Take Unexpected Toll on Medical Imports,” Thomas Erdbrink writes, “Sitting on one of the Continue reading “Iran sanctions deny medicine to 6-million”