Crimes of the Trump Era (a Preview): The 25/8 News Cycle Is Already Rolling, But the Looting of America Hasn’t Really Begun
by Tom Engelhardt - Tom Dispatch
February 7, 2017
It started in June 2015 with that Trump Tower escalator ride into the presidential race to the tune of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” (“But there's a warnin' sign on the road ahead, there's a lot of people sayin' we'd be better off dead, don't feel like Satan, but I am to them...")
In a sense the rockin’ has never stopped and by now the world, free or not, has been rocked indeed. No one, from Beijing to Mexico City, Baghdad to Berlin, London to Washington could question that.
Who today remembers that, in those initial moments of his campaign, Donald Trump was already focused on the size of his first (partially hired) crowd? (“This is beyond anybody’s expectations. There’s been no crowd like this...”) And he’s been consistently himself ever since -- less a strong man than a bizarrely high-strung one. In the process, while becoming president, he emerged as a media phenomenon of a sort we’ve never seen before.
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Radio: Andy Worthington Discusses Life in Trump’s America and the Future of Guantánamo with Chris Cook on Gorilla Radio
[Please support my work! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the first two months of the Trump administration.]
Last week, I was delighted to speak to Chris Cook of Gorilla Radio, based in British Columbia, about life in Donald Trump’s America, and the current situation regarding the prison at Guantánamo Bay.
Chris and I have spoken many times before — generally at this time of the year, to reflect on the situation at Guantánamo around the time of the anniversary of its opening, on January 11.
For this year’s interview, I ran though the dying days of the Obama administration, pointing out how, despite President Obama’s promise, on his second day in office in January 2009, to close the prison, it remained open as he left office primarily because he had persistently failed to prioritize its closure throughout the previous eight years.
I acknowledge that Congress made life as difficult for him as possible, passing laws that prevented him from bringing any prisoners to the US mainland for any reason, and which also raised as many hurdles as possible to prevent the release of prisoners to other countries, but as the president, Obama could and should have engaged with Congress earlier in his presidency, and with greater urgency and indignation than he ever showed.
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Historical Ignorance, Spineless ‘Dissent’: the Dangers of Decorous Resistance
by Chris Floyd - CounterPunch
I’ve copied them below, cleaning up the format for easier reading, but not changing the wording. I’ve added a few further points afterward.
Lee Fang @lhfangLefty
riots in 1968 gave us Nixon, LA riots gave us the 1994 Crime Bill, riots over a message board troll will help Trump win reelection.
Chris Floyd @empireburlesque
@lhfang I lived thru the Wallace campaign in the South and I know EXACTLY why so many Dems deserted the party then. It wasn’t ‘lefty riots. The 60s ‘lefty riots’ were anti-war; HHH was pro-war, for god’s sake.
Wallace cost Dems the South & the election because of racism — just as LBJ said it would when he signed Civil Rights Act. Wallace appealed to bedrock racism & broke the “Solid South.” I saw it with my own eyes: neighbors abandoning century-old party allegiance because of busing, fair housing laws, etc. It had absolutely nothing to do with “lefty riots” against the war. I was there. I saw the racism in action, rising to the surface.
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The Anti-Empire Report #148
by William Blum
February 4th, 2017
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Alice in Wonderland
"Since Yalta, we have a long list of times we’ve tried to engage positively with Russia. We have a relatively short list of successes in that regard." – General James Mattis, the new Secretary of Defense1
(If anyone knows where to find this long list please send me a copy.)
This delusion is repeated periodically by American military officials. A year ago, following the release of Russia’s new national security document, naming as threats both the United States and the expansion of the NATO alliance, a Pentagon spokesman declared:
“They have no reason to consider us a threat. We are not looking for conflict with Russia.”2
Meanwhile, in early January, the United States embarked upon its biggest military buildup in Europe since the end of the Cold War – 3,500 American soldiers landed, unloading three shiploads, with 2,500 tanks, trucks and other combat vehicles. The troops were to be deployed in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary and across the Baltics. Lt. Gen. Frederick Hodges, commander of US forces in Europe, said,
“Three years after the last American tanks left the continent, we need to get them back.”
The measures, General Hodges declared, were a “response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea. This does not mean that there necessarily has to be a war, none of this is inevitable, but Moscow is preparing for the possibility.” (See previous paragraph.)Add a comment
Human Extinction 2026
by Robert Hunziker - Pacific Free Press
February 3, 2017
Los Angeles - Human Extinction by 2026, a controversial/questionable idea, is examined in some detail on the web site: arctic-news.blogspot.com.
Within the posted article, a bright red box highlights the hypothesis: “Will Humans Be Extinct By 2026?” Of course, simply posing the question is tantamount to endorsing the conclusion in the affirmative.Also of recent, but not directly related to the extinction article, scientists moved the infamous Doomsday Clock ahead by 30 seconds closer to midnight because of rising global nationalism and failure to confront both nuclear weapons and climate change, coincidentally as Trump takes over control of the big red button, which is mythological.
By definition, an article dealing with human extinction is highly provocative and touchy and generally dismissed as balderdash. After all, it sounds kinda crazy. Still, the named article: “Will Humans Be Extinct By 2026?” warrants serious consideration.
Here’s why: The Arctic News blog is an amalgam of serious research by topnotch scientists that “speak to truth.” They endorse the distinct possibility of an extinction event that will catch humanity flat-footed.
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Plastic and Capitalism Are Killing Ocean Life
by Yves Engler - Dissident Voice
January 31st, 2017
For 21st century capitalism the more disposable the better. Ocean life and human health be damned. According to a recent Ellen MacArthur Foundation study, the world’s oceans are set to have more plastic than fish by 2050.
At the current rate of production and disposal the net weight of plastic in the oceans will be greater than that of fish in a little over three decades. There are currently 150 million tonnes of plastic debris floating in the world’s oceans.
Most of it takes centuries to break down.
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Clamoring for Israeli Approval: Trump’s Election Promises Will Haunt Him
by Ramzy Baroud - ramzybaroud.net
February 1, 2017
US President Donald Trump promises to be pro-Israel in every aspect. ‘I'm the best thing that could ever happen to Israel,’ he boasted at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Presidential Forum in Washington DC, in December, 2015.
For a brief moment, Trump appeared as if rethinking his unconditional support for Israel, when in February 2016, the Republican presidential nominee pledged ‘neutrality’ between Palestinians and Israelis.
“Let me be sort of a neutral guy,” he said during an MSNBC town hall meeting. Since then, this position has been surpassed by the most regressive rhetoric, beginning with his speech before the Israeli lobby (AIPAC) conference, the following month.
As for Israel, its expectations of the US President are very clear: unconditional financial and military support, blank check to expand illegal settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank and an end to any form of political ‘pressure’ through attempting to revive the so-called ‘peace process’. Not that Trump has had any qualms with these expectations.
This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.ca
February 1, 2017
Three presidents and fifteen years into the long war the George W. Bush promised, the prison at Guantánamo Bay symbolizes both America's abrogation of international conventions on the treatment of prisoners, and the failure to end the global paranoia, arms races, and proxy turf battles of the Cold War era.
Any hope for the alluded "peace dividend" following the collapse of the Soviet Union is long forgotten. In fact, the world is poised again above the abyss as accusation and sabre-rattling replaces diplomatic discourse between remnant Russia and the financially fragile United States.
And, into this china shop blusters Donald Trump, who says he would like keep Guantánamo open, and "load it up with bad dudes" among other things.
Andy Worthington is freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker, and singer-songwriter who has made an annual pilgrimage to America from his native Britain to lobby for the infamous prison's closure, and he was there again last month in the run up to the Trump inauguration.
Andy's book titles include: 'Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison, 'Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion', and 'The Battle of the Beanfield.' He also co-directed (with Polly Nash) the documentary film, 'Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.'
Andy Worthington in the first half.
And; there's no bigger china shop in the world than China, and bull moose Donald has done little to disguise the cross-hairs his administration has drawn on the global economic superpower's business.
For the last half of his tenure, Obama tried repeatedly to orchestrate his so-called "Asia pivot," an effort to move America's foreign policy focus back to the Pacific where it's uncontested half-century of dominance has come under challenge. What will a Trump administration do to make America's hegemony in Asia great again; and how will China receive its efforts?
Peter Lee is a freelance journalist writing on East and South Asian affairs as they intersect with US global policy. He's the driving force behind the Asian affairs website China Matters, providing critical updates on China and Asia-Pacific, and his articles also appear at Asia Times, and at CounterPunch.org, among other internet news sites. News sites like Newsbud.com who just last month launched Peter's weekly report, China Watch.
Peter Lee and a not so Happy Chinese New Year for America's Year of the Bull in the second half.
And Christina Nikolic will be here at the bottom of the hour to, in association with Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus, Janine Bandcroft, bring us news of good things planned for the coming week in and around our town and beyond. But first, Andy Worthington, an Englishman in New America.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/Add a comment
Football Is Trumpball Lite: Can Kaepernick Save Us?
January 31, 2017
The Super Bowl is superfluous this year. Who needs a reality show about violence, domination, and sexism, not to mention brain damage, now that we have Trumpball, actual reality that not only authenticates football’s authoritarianism but transforms us from bystanders into victims?
Before this game is over, the players may swarm the grandstands and beat the hell out of us. Pro football actually helped prepare us for the new president’s upset victory by normalizing a basic tenet of jock culture: anyone not on the team is an enemy, the Other. And it’s open season on opponents, the fans of opponents, critics, and women (unless they’re cheerleaders or moms). Trash talking is the lingua franca of this Trumpian moment, bullying the default tactic.
Yet pro football has also provided us with the single most vivid image of current American resistance to racism. Last summer, before a pre-season game, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the playing of the national anthem as a symbol of his refusal “to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
As the season progressed, he started going down on his right knee when the anthem began, revealing that he was wearing black socks decorated with pigs in police hats. These, he said, represented “rogue cops that are allowed to hold positions in police departments.” He would eventually stop wearing them, convinced that the socks were a tactical mistake.
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by Satya Sagar - PacificFreePress.com
January 29, 2017
The Indian ruling class have become Slum Lords and India has become, what can only be called a Slumdog Republic.
It was always the worst kept secret in India, but has now finally become official – those who run the Republic of India do not need the Public of India at all. What is worse, they in fact see the latter as a grave threat to their very existence. All this was amply evident on Republic Day this year, as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister unfurled the Indian flag at Chennai’s Marina Beach.
There was much pomp and show but a minor detail was somehow missing from the scene – there was no audience. While the tricolor did flutter prettily in the cool sea breeze to the melody of the national anthem, it did so ‘amidst tight security’ and to empty stands.
The absence of people at the ceremony in Chennai had a background to it of course. In the run up to the Republic Day event, for nearly a week, over thirty thousand people had gathered at the same venue to demand the lifting of a ban on the traditional Tamil bull-taming sport of jallikattu.
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White Silence Equals Violence: Awaiting a Verdict
by Kathy Kelly - Voices for Creative Non-Violence
The court case stems from an action protesting the execution of Jamar Clark, age 24, who died in the early morning of November 15, 2015 outside a north Minneapolis apartment complex.
Two Minneapolis police officers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, were involved in the shooting. Jamar Clark died after a bullet was fired directly into his head. Several witnesses say that he was handcuffed and motionless when he was shot dead. The police officers have been cleared of all charges and are back on the job.
Dan and I are among 25 defendants charged with obstructing a Minneapolis Metro transit vehicle on April 11, the opening day of the Minnesota Twins baseball season.
The Legal Rights Center lawyers working with us arranged a calendar so that small groups would be tried weekly. Earlier this month, two people were acquitted of all charges and one person was convicted.
Trump, Atomic Bombs and Confused Japanese Samurais
by Andre Vltchek - Dissident Voice
January 26th, 2017
Goodbye President Obama! Japan is mourning your imminent departure. It is mourning because you were such a good friend, an exceptionally predictable ruler, and a truly traditional imperialist. You spoke so well, and tormented all those unruly colonies with admirable zeal and effectiveness!
What is soon coming is untested and therefore frightening. Obedient and disciplined Japan historically detests unpredictability. It doesn’t really mind prostituting itself, but only if it brings great tangible benefits and as long as strict protocol and decorum are fully respected.
The upcoming scenario could be frightening: Who knows? That new big ugly chap across the ocean could soon ruin all etiquette; calling whores and profiteers by their real names. The Japanese government and big business are now shaking in dread, day and night. What changes are coming? How to please the new foul-speaking lord?
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