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Cornel West: Obama is a ‘war criminal’ who has killed ‘over 200 children’

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Appearing on the radio Thursday with host Tavis Smiley, professor Cornel West argued that President Barack Obama is, like Presidents George W. Bush and Richard Nixon before him, a “war criminal” uniquely responsible for the deaths of “over 200 children.”

West’s words were in response to a question about the administration’s seeming preference for killing terrorism suspects from the air rather than risking American lives to take them prisoner and hold them for an indefinite amount of time in military custody. A legal whitepaper obtained by NBC News recently exposed the Obama administration’s once-secret justification for the program, which authorizes a deadly airstrike if intelligence officials believe it may take out any “senior operational leaders” of al Qaeda or “associated forces,” even if that includes an American citizen.

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“I think, my dear brother, the chickens are coming home to roost,” West told Smiley. “We’ve been talking about this for a good while, the immorality of drones, dropping bombs on innocent people. It’s been over 200 children so far. These are war crimes.”

Troublingly enough, West is right on the number: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that up to 216 children have died in three countries the U.S. is not formally at war with — Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia — as a result of suspected U.S. drone strikes starting in 2002 and dramatically escalating during Obama’s first term. Out of an estimated 451 total drone strikes during that period, over 300 were ordered by Obama against Pakistanis alone. The Bureau estimates that up to 4,643 people in all have been killed by drone strikes in those three countries.

Similarly, a United Nations committee said this month that “hundreds” of children have been killed by U.S. drone strikes since 2008, many which are personally approved by Obama, according to The New York Times.

“I think we have to be very honest, let us not be deceived: Nixon, Bush, Obama, they’re war criminals,” West said. “They have killed innocent people in the name of the struggle for freedom, but they’re suspending the law, very much like Wall Street criminals. The law is suspended for them, but the law applies for the rest of us. You and I, brother Tavis, if we kill an innocent person we go to jail, and we’re going to be in there forever.”

Despite the largely unchecked, secret military campaigns abroad, Obama said in a recent public discussion on Google Plus that no drone strike has ever killed an American on U.S. soil, and said he’s pushing Congress for enhanced oversight of the program.

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“I am not somebody who believes that the president has the authority to do whatever he wants, or whatever she wants, whenever they want, just under the guise of counter terrorism,” he said. “There have to be checks and balances on it.”

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, along those same lines, endorsed the idea of establishing a secret drone court that would weigh the evidence against an American citizen abroad who officials suspect is involved in terrorism, potentially shutting down a planned drone strike if the proof is not compelling enough.

John Brennan, Obama’s nominee to lead the CIA, was a key architect of the administration’s drone program. His confirmation hearing was delayed this week until after a recess by Senators demanding Obama release more information on the drone program and last year’s attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

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This audio is from “Tavis Talks,” aired Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, snipped courtesy of Mediaite.


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Photo: Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock.com


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Things are so bad for Republicans the GOP had to send money to Texas

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In 2016, then-anti-Trump Republican Sen. Linsey Graham proclaimed, "If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it." It seems his prediction is coming closer to fruition.

Financial reporting reveals that the Republican Party was forced to send $1.3 million to ruby-red Texas as the election nears.

It was something spotted by ProPublica developer and ex-reporter Derek Willis Sunday.

"That's never happened before," he tweeted.

He noted that the Texas GOP raised $3.3 million in August, but nearly half of that came from their national parents.

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What the London ‘Blitz’ reveals about how much pain and tragedy people can handle in 2020

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It's hard to imagine how 2020 could possibly get worse. "If we lose Betty White," a friend said on a drive to the Supreme Court to lay flowers.

So many Americans have lost friends or family members to COVID-19. Thousands of Americans survived the virus only to desperately needed organ transplants and forever will struggle to breathe the way they once did. Others are still suffering without smell or taste even three months after having the virus. Millions of Americans are out of work. Debt is stacking up for those trying to survive in the COVID economy. A lack of health insurance can mean hospitalizations from the virus are putting people into bankruptcy.

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Stop trying to convince people you’re right — it will never persuade anyone: expert

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MSNBC host Joshua Johnson noted that this year has been full of strife, with Americans having a lot to stand up about. Whether the slaying of unarmed Black men and police brutality, or healthcare, and the coronavirus, Americans are lining up to protest.

Johnson asked if people try to start tough conversations, how do they keep it productive, and when it's time to give up. In her book, We Need to Talk, Celest Headlee explains tools that people can use to have productive conversations about tough issues that help move the needle.

"Keep in mind that a protest isn't a conversation, right?" she first began. "That's a different kind of communication. The first thing is that our goal in conversations is not always a productive one. In other words, oftentimes, we go into these conversations hoping to change somebody's mind or convince them that they are wrong. You're just never going to accomplish that. There's no evidence. We haven't been able to -- through years and years of research we haven't been able to find evidence that over a conversation somebody said, 'You're right, I was completely wrong.' You've convinced me. So, we have to stop trying to do that. We have to find a new purpose for those conversations."

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