Open thread for night owls: Western nations, led by U.S., are pouring weapons into Middle East

Sarah Lazare at Common Dreams writes Flood of Western Weapons Fueling Unrest, Extremism Across Middle East:

Western nations—led by the United States—are selling large quantities of weapons to governments in the Middle East and North Africa, providing little oversight for how these arms are used, and thereby fueling corruption and conflict in countries from Saudi Arabia to Egypt, a new report (pdf) from the watchdog organization Transparency International finds.
The investigation examines government defense corruption in Tunisia, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Syria, and Yemen. These countries together account for $135 billion in military spending in 2014 alone, making their expenditures as a percentage of GDP the “highest in the world,” the report finds. […]

Firearms

The role of the United States in driving this arms flow was well-established long before Transparency International’s report. The Stockholm International Peace

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Open thread for night owls. Alterman: pundits fawning over Paul Ryan as GOP savior don’t make it so

Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan didn’t conquer the Freedom Caucus. He capitulated to it.

At The Nation, Eric Alterman kicks some ass that dearly needed kicking in Meet Paul Ryan, Media Darling. He’s Sensible, Serious, and Totally Made-Up:

The beatification of right-wing Republican Paul Ryan has become an almost annual ritual among the punditocracy. This bizarre tradition began when Ryan released his first budget as chair of the House Budget Committee in 2011, and repeated itself a year later when he rereleased it. It occurred a third time when Mitt Romney—under powerful punditocracy pressure—picked Ryan as his running mate for the 2012 presidential campaign. Now we are in the midst of yet another episode in this sorry franchise, as Republicans and their apologists and propagandists beg Ryan to use his superhero powers to save them from the lunatics who have taken over their party. It’s a measure of how deeply the

owl
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Open thread for night owls: The House committee even worse than the Benghazi committee

David Roberts:

The Benghazi committee is not even the worst committee in the House. I’d argue that the House science committee, under the chairmanship of Lamar Smith (R-TX), deserves that superlative for its open-ended, Orwellian attempts to intimidate some of the nation’s leading scientists and scientific institutions.
The science committee’s modus operandi is similar to the Benghazi committee’s — sweeping, catchall investigations, with no specific allegations of wrongdoing or clear rationale, searching through private documents for out-of-context bits and pieces to leak to the press, hoping to gain short-term political advantage — but it stands to do more lasting long-term damage. […]

The science committee, Fox News, the Daily Caller, climate deniers, CEI — at this point, it’s all one partisan operation, sharing information and strategies.

The full article is well worth a read.



Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2002Mexico

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Open thread for night owls. Oil Change International: Tar sands running out of room to grow

Tar sands protest in St. Paul Minnesota, June 6, 2015

People power has an impact.

From Oil Change International:

In a new report that we released today along with our friends at Bold Nebraska, Environmental Defence Canada, Equiterre, IEEFA, NRDC, Sierra Club U.S., and 350.org, we take a data-driven look at the role this incredible and diverse movement is having keeping some of the world’s dirtiest oil—the Alberta tar sands—in the ground.
The report, Lockdown: The end of growth in the tar sands, is all about the numbers. We built a model (the first of its kind in the public sphere) that looks at the entire North American tar sands pipeline system. Using this model (INAP—the Integrated North American Pipeline model), we were able to determine bottlenecks, hurdles, and pressure points for the industry.

One story the model tells is a simple one: without major new pipelines, the tar sands have run out of room to

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Open thread for night owls: Koch-fueled hoaxer Inhofe threatens to crash climate talks … again

Sen. Jim Inhofe at CPAC in 2012.

Sen. Jim Inhofe’s clownish public stance on climate change has proved
 lucrative when it comes to oil and gas campaign cash.

Katie Herzog at Grist writes—Climate-denying senator threatens to crash climate talks:

The Hill reports that Sen. James Inhofe — noted climate change denier and author of such works of art as The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future — has threatened to crash the U.N. climate talks in Paris this December, along with Kentucky Republican Ed Whitfield. “We may send a group over to Paris, just to let them know that there’s another branch of government, in addition to the executive branch, on these issues,” said Whitfield.
The Paris climate talks — a meeting of over 190 countries seeking to create a global emissions pact and address the effects of climate change — won’t be the first time Inhofe has tried to

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Open thread for night owls: Carson links abortion to slavery and claims he is a ‘reasonable person’

Ben Carson

Daniel Politi at Slate writes—Ben Carson Likens Women Seeking Abortion to Slave Owners:

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson compared abortion to slavery in an interview on Sunday, insisting women who are raped or victims of incest should not be allowed to terminate their pregnancies. “Think about this,” Carson said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “During slavery—and I know that’s one of those words you’re not supposed to say but I’m saying it—during slavery, a lot of slave owners thought they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave, anything that they chose. And what if the abolitionists had said, ‘I don’t believe in slavery but you guys do whatever you want’? Where would be?”

Carson, who is challenging Donald Trump for the role of frontrunner in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination, said he would “love” to see Roe v. Wade overturned. When

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Open thread for night owls. Dayen: Icahn makes brazen $150 million bid to buy Congress

money, piles of money, cash

David Dayen at The Fiscal Times writes—Carl Icahn Is Making a Brazen $150 Million Bid to Buy Congress:

When people talk about money in politics, they invariably focus on elections—on the insidious role played by outside groups to push into office those with hidden political agendas. But for all the money spent on electoral politics, perhaps the bigger threat comes from greater sums spent in the First Amendment-protected exercise of lobbying.

This week, billionaire investor Carl Icahn announced the formation of a $150 million SuperPAC, which he says will be dedicated to ending the spectacle of “so many of our great companies leaving our country.” Icahn is particularly exercised about so-called “inversions,” where domestic corporations merge with a foreign partner and shift their corporate masthead overseas, pretending to be headquartered abroad to take advantage of a lower tax rate.
We’ll deal with what Icahn is really after

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