In her recently published memoir, Hard Choices, Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, admitted to playing a role in ensuring that Honduran President Manuel Zelaya would not return to office. Al-Jazeera America posits that Ms. Clinton’s role in the Honduran coup aftermath reflects nothing more than a political calculation, saying “There is little risk of losing votes for admitting her role in making most of the hemisphere’s governments disgusted with the United States. On the other side of the equation, there are influential interest groups and significant campaign money to be raised from the right-wing Latin American lobby, including Floridian Cuban-Americans and their political fundraisers.”
Yesterday, US airstrikes in Syria hit four different provinces of the country, including regions where ISIS has little foothold. While President Obama has stated that the United States is not simply in a war against ISIS, current trends indicate that US strikes have been targeting many rebel groups within the country. As the strikes continue to hit parts of rebel-held Syria “the more extreme factions of the Syrian rebellion are going to increasingly see this as not a US war against ISIS, but a US war against the rebellion in general.” In a related story, US strikes killed civillians yesterday when they struck a grain silo mistaken for a jihadist base.
In the follow up survey reporting on the Chicago Council on Global Affairs 2014 report, the Chicago Council found that some 61% of American believe that Israel is being given too much foreign aid on an annual basis. Equally surprising are the findings that 64% of Americans prefer not to take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and 55% would oppose sending troops to protect Israel if it struck Iran. On the other hand, 58.5% of Americans believe that Iran already has nuclear arms – a fact confirmed by no “credible Western intelligence agency.”
As President Obama’s air war with the Islamic State continues, stock prices for Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman have set all-time record highs in the last week. Further “Defense contractor stocks have far exceeded the performance of the broader market. A Bloomberg index of four of the largest Pentagon contractors rose 19 percent this year, compared to 2.2 percent for the S&P 500.” As the war in Syria continues to escalate, munitions makers stand to profit, and the US government is ready to pay, Congress recently allocated 85$ billion dollars to the Syrian war effort — $26 billion more than President Obama requested.
On Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on the United States to reset relations with Moscow. While being interviewed by Russian media Lavrov called for a normalization of relations between the United States and Russia, but was adamant that it had been the United States who had wrecked relations between the two countries.
On Wednesday the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe has confirmed the existence of two mass graves. The graves have been used as an example of the brutality employed by the Ukrainian government against pro-Russian separatists. In addition to finding the bodies, evidence of torture has also been discovered.
Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed with Texas Health Officials that an individual who recently returned from Liberia tested positive for the Ebola virus. While the CDC acknowledged that their announcement would likely raise concerns among Americans, their director, Dr. Tom Frieden was quick to stress “there’s all the difference in the world between the U.S. and parts of Africa where Ebola is spreading. The United States has a strong health care system and public health professionals who will make sure this case does not threaten our communities.” Meanwhile, there have been 6,500 confirmed cases of Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, which have resulted in more than 3,000 fatalities.
On Sunday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that would require all public colleges in the state of California to adopt a “yes-means-yes” policy “of unambiguous, affirmative consent by students engaged in sexual activity.” The bill will also provide for additional training for faculty members responsible for the complaints process, counseling and healthcare services and additional resources for victims. Further, public California colleges will be required to provide consent and sexual assault awareness trainings at student orientations. The bill’s advocates claim that it marks a paradigm shift in how colleges respond to allegations of sexual assault and rape.
On Monday, the Supreme Court returned from its summer vacation to render a decision regarding Ohio’s early voting period. In a 5-4 decision divided on party lines, the Court allowed cuts to Ohio’s early voting period. The cuts are expected to disproportionately affect African American voters in Ohio.
According to Bush-era Oklahoma Federal Judge Ronald A. White, much of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) must be defunded. Much of Judge White’s decision is based on analysis by Professor Richard Epstein, a prominent conservative legal scholar who has described Supreme Court decisions regarding Medicare as “catastrophic, ignorant and uninformed decisions.” Judge White’s decision largely flies in the face of binding Supreme Court precedent following the National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius decision in 2012.