Tony Blair admits he is baffled by rise of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn

Tony Blair has said he is struggling to understand the appeal of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn because both are hampered by “the question of electability”.

The former British prime minister, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, admitted that he is finding it hard to grasp popular movements in both Britain and the USfavouring mavericks who will “rattle the cage” and which reflect a loss of faith in the progressive centre.

In a joint interview with the Guardian and the Financial Times in Washington, he emphasised that Americans must make their own decision but made clear his scepticism about Sanders, the leftwing senator whose challenge to wealthy eliteshas energised young supporters.

“It’s very similar to the pitch of Jeremy Corbyn,” Blair said. “Free tuition fees: well, that’s great, but someone’s going to have pay for it. An end to war, but there are wars.” But not wars with quite the ramifications of the Iraq war eh Tony?

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Energy Security…..The Fear………

President Barack Obama called blasted Congress for not approving a new terrorism sanctions czar after receiving a briefing on the ongoing fight against Islamic State at the Pentagon. He also outlined the US strategy for defeating the terrorist group.

Obama blasted Congress for not confirming Adam Szubin, his nomination for the position of terrorism sanctions czar at the Department of Treasury, saying that the empty post hinders the US strategy against IS, he terrorist group also known as ISIS or ISIL.

“If Congress really wants to help in this effort, they can confirm Mr. Adam Szubin, our nominee for Treasury undersecretary, to lead this effort” against IS, Obama said. “This is a vital position to our counterterrorism efforts. Nobody suggests Mt. Szubin is not qualified ‒ he’s highly qualified. Unfortunately, his nomination has been languishing up on the Hill, and we need the Senate to confirm him as soon as possible.”

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and others briefed the president on the attempts to drive IS out of Iraq and Syria.

“Our mission to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group ISIL… is a cause… that’s united countries across the globe ‒ some 60 nations, including Arab partners,” Obama told reporters after his briefing. “Our comprehensive strategy against ISIL is harnessing all elements of American power across our government: Military, intelligence, diplomatic, economic, development and ‒ perhaps most importantly ‒ the power of our values.”

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In mid-June, the Department of Defense announced the expansion of the Taqaddum base in Iraq’s Anbar province. At the same time, Obama ordered 450 more troops to the base that is just 25 kilometers from Ramadi, the provincial capital, which fell into the hands of IS forces in May.

A week later, Carter admitted to Congress that the Pentagon has not been able to find enough “legitimate”Iraqi recruits to fight off IS extremists. At that point, the US military had trained some 9,000 Iraqi soldiers –far short of its 24,000-troop goal.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said that the briefing should lead Obama to conclude that the current strategy to defeat IS isn’t working.

“The President’s afternoon at the Pentagon should lead him to the same conclusion I have reached from similar briefings; his strategy to defeat ISIL isn’t working,” Thornberry said in a statement. “From Libya and Tunisia, to Afghanistan, ISIL continues to advance while we lose ground and time. I hope that the President will acknowledge these realities, end the veto threats on bills that would enhance his ability to take the fight to ISIL, and rethink his own inadequate strategy.”

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Remember Jonestown? No?

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Jonestown” was the informal name for the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project formed by the Peoples Temple, an American religious organization under the leadership of Jim Jones, in northwestern Guyana. It became internationally notorious when on November 18, 1978, over 900 people died in the remote commune, at the nearby airstrip in Port Kaituma, and in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital city. The name of the settlement became synonymous with the incidents at those locations.

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A total of 909 Americans died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning, in an event termed “revolutionary suicide” by Jones and some members on an audio tape of the event and in prior discussions. The poisonings in Jonestown followed the murder of five others by Temple members at Port Kaituma, including United States Congressman Leo Ryan.

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Ruletta Paul and her on 1 year old baby were the first to drink the Kool-aid and Cyanide Jim Jones was dishing out, other mothers and their children followed and soon every single adult in the community had knocked back a dose.The Jonestown poisoning was the largest such event in modern history and resulted in the largest single loss of American civilian life in a deliberate act until September 11, 2001.

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“Die with a degree of dignity. Lay down your life with dignity; don’t lay down with tears and agony.” He also said, “I tell you, I don’t care how many screams you hear, I don’t care how many anguished cries…death is a million times preferable to ten more days of this life.”

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So preached ‘Pastor’ Jones and if Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the social media world had been around a couple of decades earlier, who knows what and to whom he might have preached & how many more deaths might have occurred. If say the ‘good pastor’ had an international backer or two, if for example, he had the kind of support that would have granted him access to several tanks, anti-aircraft missiles, Kalashnikov’s, military know-how & combat training what mightn’t he have achieved? Globally speaking? All with the help of devout followers who would gladly have followed him to the point of ‘revolutionary suicide’ and beyond.

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One journalist who had access to the film footage of that final day at Jonestown, wrote this,

Why is this footage so disturbing? It is disturbing for many reasons. The inevitability of what you are watching. You look at all the people singing and dancing and just getting on with life, and you know that by sundown, all but a small handful will be dead. You look at Jonestown in the sunlight on the last day, and you get a tiny taste of the work that had gone into this little hamlet. You know from everything you have read about Jonestown that even the survivors almost didn’t survive their demons after the event.

But most of all, it is disturbing because there is no video or sound editor who has manipulated your emotions.

What you are watching and what you are seeing is the raw soundtrack of impending waste of huge human potential. You are watching nearly a thousand people who are preparing to bow to the will of a man who is preparing to take them all with him in death.’

-Niels Colesky

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“Like most outsiders, we didn’t have any idea what was happening outside closed doors.” -Rebecca Moore, a professor of religious studies at San Diego State University.

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Jonestown? Al-Qaeda? ISIS? Really, other than professed religious belief what is the difference? All three have advocated and are advocating ‘revolutionary suicide’. Real people with real lives, families & friends have bought the Kool-aid and drank it. The people left picking up the pieces? The families, the friends and of course the victims.

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IMF agrees $833mn emergency loan to Iraq

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it plans to provide Iraq with an emergency financial assistance of $833 million. 

The IMF has announced in a statement that the emergency loan will be meant to help Iraq with its war on ISIL terrorists as well as the effects of the low oil prices. It has further added that its Executive Board will meet to approve the initiative in July.

“The Fund is ready to assist Iraq in its efforts to tackle the economic impact of the conflict with ISIL and the decline in global oil prices,” the IMF said in its statement.

It further emphasized that the Iraqi economy contracted 2.1% in 2014 “mainly because of the violence”, and might grow only 0.5% this year. Also, weak oil revenues, the Fund added in its statement, are expected to increase Iraq’s budget deficit and decrease its foreign assets.

“We welcome the steps taken by the authorities to address these urgent challenges and support their request for IMF emergency assistance.

Iraq’s 2015 budget called for roughly $102 billion in spending, to be financed by $67 billion in oil revenues, $13 billions in customs and other tax revenues, and $22 billions in debt.

However, the IMF has warned in its statement that Iraq’s budget deficit is serious.

“Mainly because of the violence, the economy has contracted by 2.1 percent in 2014 and is projected to achieve only a modest recovery of 0.5 percent this year, despite solid growth in the oil sector,” the Fund said in its statement that was released on Friday.

“With low oil prices, export revenues have contracted, pushing the current account into a deficit expected to reach 8 percent of GDP in 2015. As a result, foreign assets have declined in 2014 to US$67 billion and are projected to fall further this year”.

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deficit expected to reach 8 percent of GDP in 2015. As a result, foreign assets have declined in 2014 to US$67 billion and are projected to fall further this year”.