Don and Steve's Awesome Asian Adventure: The Folly of Cornering China

Is President Trump Headed for a War with China? All Options Are “On The Table”
by Rajan Menon - TomDispatch


February 12, 2017


Forget those “bad hombres down there” in Mexico that U.S. troops might take out. Ignore the way National Security Adviser Michael Flynn put Iran “on notice” and the new president insisted, when it comes to that country, “nothing is off the table.” Instead, focus for a moment on something truly scary: the possibility that Donald Trump’s Washington might slide into an actual war with the planet’s rising superpower, China. No kidding. It could really happen.

Let’s start with silver-maned, stately Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state. Who could deny that the former ExxonMobil CEO has a foreign minister’s bearing? Trump reportedly chose him over neocon firebrand John Bolton partly for that reason. (Among other things, Bolton was mustachioed, something the new president apparently doesn’t care for.) But an august persona can only do so much; it can’t offset a lack of professional diplomatic experience.

That became all-too-apparent during Tillerson’s January 11th confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was asked for his view on the military infrastructure China has been creating on various islands in the South China Sea, the ownership of which other Asian countries, including Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei claim as well. China’s actions, he replied, were “extremely worrisome,” likening them to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, an infraction for which Russia was slapped with economic sanctions.

The then-secretary-of-state-designate -- he’s since been confirmed, despite many negative votes -- didn’t, however, stop there. Evidently, he wanted to communicate to the Chinese leadership in Beijing that the new administration was already irked beyond measure with them. So he added, “We’re going to have to send China’s leaders a clear signal: that, first, the island building stops and, second, your access to those islands is not going to be allowed.” Functionally, that fell little short of being an announcement of a future act of war, since not allowing “access” to those islands would clearly involve military moves. In what amounted to a there’s-a-new-sheriff-in-town warning, he then doubled down yet again, insisting, slightly incoherently (in the tradition of his new boss) that “the failure of a response has allowed them to just keep pushing the envelope on this.” 


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Re: Creating Alternative Media in Canada

Re: Creating Alternative Media in Canada

by C. L. Cook - Pacific Free Press

February 12, 2017

As a (small m) media producer in radio, television, print, and print online these last nearly twenty years, I can say the prospect of success in the endeavour of creating a viable alternative media in Canada, as described,1 is depressingly low.

I blame freedom first, or at least freely accessible information and the prevailing sense of entitlement among those on the alt. left holding the opinion they deserve to get their "real" news without paying for it.


White Phosphorus bombs fall on Gaza UN school compound during
2006 Operation Summer Rains 2008 successor, Operation Cast Lead

How many of those readers care I wonder about the thousands of hours others spend writing, or aggregating, formatting, and publishing articles; not to mention the costs of hosting sites and the social risks of becoming associated with the "wrong kinds" of stories?

It's been almost ten years now since my own association with the Peace, Earth, and Justice, (then news site ended. Some of the gray beards among whoever is left listening may recall what transpired at PEJ. Fewer yet may remember how what happened to us happened when we dared criticise Israel its murderous 2006 bombing of Lebanon and Gaza - the first in a series of practically ritual bi-annual outrages of a kind as it was to turn out.


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Making America Hate Again: Razing Lincoln's Foul Legacy

Blood Will Tell: Trump and Sessions Strike Historic Blow for Civil Rights

by Chris Floyd - CounterPunch

February 10, 2017

Washington  - President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order today overturning the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, saying former President Abraham Lincoln’s action had been “hugely unfair” to Southern property owners.

“Free enterprise more important than political correctness!” Mr. Trump tweeted immediately after signing the executive order.

“Beanpole Abe should know better! Sad!” 

Photo Ryan J. Reilly | CC BY 2.0

After Mr. Trump’s phone was gently prised from his hand by recently named Chief Operating Officer and Grand Vizier of the United States of America and All Its Dominions (Present and Future), Steve Bannon, the President read a prepared statement announcing the formation of a new Reparations Committee to “deal with the gross injustices arising from the abuse of federal power during the War for States’ Rights.”


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Paying for Yemen: UN Appeal Misses the Mark

UN's $28 Bln Yemen Appeal? Send the Bill to Washington, London, Riyadh

by Finian Cunningham - Sputnik

February 10, 2017

The United Nations this week launched an emergency appeal to raise $2 billion in humanitarian aid for Yemen, the Arabian Peninsula country where war has raged for nearly two years. The UN says some 12 million people - half the population - are facing starvation unless the international community urgently comes to their aid.

UN officials are making dramatic statements urging nations around the world to dig deep and come up with the necessary funds.

Stephen O'Brien, head of UN relief operations, called for "immediate action."

Another official, Jan Egeland, put the dire situation like this:


"In Yemen, if the bombs don’t kill you, a slow and painful death by starvation is now an increasing threat."

These UN officials are the same shameless people who have been distorting the nature of the conflict in Syria. They are now doing the same in Yemen. Their so-called "humanitarian" appeals are carefully disguised distortion about who the real culprits and causes of the crisis are.


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Killer Culture: Blunt Trump Truth Hits Home

Trump blurts out the truth about US killings and the media goes wild

by Bill Van Auken - WSWS

7 February 2017

The furor unleashed by the remarks of President Donald Trump in response to Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly’s calling Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer” during an interview broadcast Sunday has continued to reverberate, drawing hypocritical condemnations from leading figures in both the Republican and Democratic parities.In response to O’Reilly’s denunciation of Putin, Trump stated:


“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”

Trump went on to cite Iraq in support of his statement. O’Reilly’s face went slack. He clearly did not know what to say. The new leader of the “Free World” had wandered seriously off message.


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Amnesty's Dubious Saydnaya Promotion in Syria

Amnesty International Admits Syrian "Saydnaya" Report Fabricated Entirely in UK

by Tony Cartalucci - Land Destroyer

February 9, 2017

Amnesty International's 48 page report titled, "Syria: Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison, Syria," boasts bold claims, concluding:

...the Syrian authorities’ violations at Saydnaya amount to crimes against humanity. Amnesty International urgently calls for an independent and impartial investigation into crimes committed at Saydnaya. 



Image: What you are looking at is a 3D model fabricated entirely in the UK, based

solely on satellite pictures and hearsay. Passedoff as evidence this technique of

"forensic architecture" may soonbecome a new tool in the dissemination of war

propaganda if it is not exposed.

However, even at a cursory glance, before even reading the full body of the report, under a section titled, "Methodology," Amnesty International admits it has no physical evidence whatsoever to substantiate what are admittedly only the testimony of alleged inmates and former workers at the prison, as well as figures within Syria's opposition.

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Liberal Hating for All the Wrong Reasons

The Uncomfortable Truth: Are We Hating Donald Trump for the Wrong Reasons?

by Ramzy Baroud -

February 8, 2017

Trump American Gothic

I fear that many of us are hating Donald Trump for the wrong reasons. Multitudes are being swayed by mainstream media-inspired demonization of the new US president, based on selective assumptions and half-truths. US mainstream media, which rarely deviates from supporting the American government’s conduct, however reckless, is now presenting Trump as if an aberration of otherwise egalitarian, sensible, and peace-loving US policies at home and abroad.


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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Joyce Nelson, Jamie Kastner, Janine Bandcroft February 8th, 2017

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

February 8, 2017 


Welcome to the Great Undoing, an experiment in media-induced social dissonance so fantastic for sanity's sake it's essential you date all notifiers to remind this is indeed 2017.

Yes, much more than an homage to the days of yore, America's new model year president is a wholesale throwback to a time before your mother was born. Reference the archive under Cleaver, June; Smith, Kate; and Hudson, Rock... (somebody should probably tell the Chief about that last one...).

But, even more frightening than Mr. T's medievalist social policy is the unmitigated unfettering of the monsters he and his fellow Frankenstein's in Finance would loose on Wall Street and the World.



Listen. Hear.


Joyce Nelson is an award-winning Canadian freelance writer, researcher, and author whose articles appear in the Watershed Sentinel and at Her book titles include: ‘The Perfect Machine: TV in the Nuclear Age,’ ‘Sultans of Sleaze: Public Relations and the Media,’ ‘Sign Crimes/Road Kill: From Mediascape to Landscape,’ and, just in time the newly released, ‘Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New Feudalism.

Joyce Nelson in the first half.

And; this week Victoria hosts the 23rd Victoria Film Festival boasting a program of more than 120 theatrical features, shorts, documentaries, animated, Canadian, and international films. Just one of which is The Skyjacker's Tale, Canadian director Jamie Kastner's documentary chronicle of murder and intrigue in the lower latitudes, and Ishmael Muslim Ali's desperate flight from the law.

The genre-busting Kastner's films, Secret Disco Revolution, Kike Like Me, and The Skyjacker's Tale have between them screened in London and Rotterdam, and at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival.

Jamie Kastner and The Skyjacker's Tale in the second half.

And, Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of the good goings on planned for the streets of our town and beyond in the coming week. But first Joyce Nelson, Beyond Banksters.


Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:


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Readying for the 1,000% Trump Administration Crime Spree

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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Andy Worthington Live on Trump’s America and the Future of Guantánamo

Radio: Andy Worthington Discusses Life in Trump’s America and the Future of Guantánamo with Chris Cook on Gorilla Radio

by Andy Worthington


[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.

The hour-long show is available here as an MP3, and my interview took up the first 24 minutes.

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.

Check out our interviews in January 2014, January 2015 and January 2016.

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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Doing Disservice: Inconvient Historical Rewrites Don't Aid the Present and Threaten Our Future

Historical Ignorance, Spineless ‘Dissent’: the Dangers of Decorous Resistance

by Chris Floyd - CounterPunch

February 6, 2017

Lee Fang of The Intercept put up a tweet on Saturday so stunning in its historical ignorance and dangerous in its implications, I was driven to write a few brief replies.

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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Phil Ochs and Mr. T? "We Ain't Marching Anymore"

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.)
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