Donald J. Trump, the President?


Quotes, Intro / Articles, latest first

Quotes, Intro

"Trump is undocumented--throw him out! His birth certificate is a fake. He was born in Russia. Why else the favoritism? Pass it on. #mentallyIllprez" - Colby Glass. posted 3/1/17


"Why does Trump hate undocumented people? Because he is one of them! His birth certificate is a fake. He was born in Russia. Why else the favoritism? Pass it on. #mentallyIllprez" - Colby Glass.


See #EarthToTrump below

99 Ways to Fight Trump great list, many links for action

Trump Is Full of Crap: Facebook by Left Action

offer him a sweet deal -- a retirement package before he even starts. Cash – if he agrees to just go away.

Wall-of-us he promised a wall; he will be stopped by a wall of us. Concrete actions every week

Donald Trump is Corrupt tracks the corruption.


Master of Distraction; disgustingly makes fun of handicapped people





Articles, Latest First

Iowa’s Largest Newspaper Issues Scathing Rebuke of GOP and Endorses Every Democrat Running for Congress

Alternet, 1-14-18

'Outrageous' Voter Suppression by 'Cowardly Republicans' in Georgia Is Part of A Nationwide GOP Attack on Democracy

Alternet, 1-14-18

The Age of the Imbecile

Medium, 10-14-2018, by Umair Haque


The World is Turning Catastrophically Stupid. Here’s How Not to Join It.

I’d bet, these days, shortly after reading the headlines, you’ve thought, shaking your head and muttering, something like: “Jesus. We live in an age of impossibly catastrophic stupid.”

You’re not wrong. About a decade or so ago, hot on the heels of the financial crisis, something happened?—?an old story began to be rewritten, as the world found itself poorer once again. There was an explosion, somewhere deep in the human heart, and a tsunami rippled across the globe?—?one boiling and bubbling with every imaginable variety of stupid: human folly, gleeful ignorance, self-destructive greed, reckless spite, dim-witted cruelty parading itself as enlightenment.

And so now a tsunami of imbecility is rolling like a slow-motion thermonuclear bomb across the globe. Lightning bolts of foolishness shiver down it. Smoke clouds of idiocy billow from it. Here are the five kinds of stupid wrecking the globe?—?because your first job, these days, as a human being, is to make sure you’re not being turned into an imbecile by this wave of stupid, too.

Economic stupid is nationalism, populism, or austerity, three words that craftily mean the same thing. It’s the idea that “we don’t have the money to pay for it!!”, whether “it” is school lunches, healthcare, education, parks, libraries, media, or trains. Sure we have the money. What do you think an era of zero interest rates mean? It means that there is so much money sloshing around in the treasure chests of the global economy, so much loot piled up by Jeff Bezoses and Bill Gateses, that there is nowhere left to put it. Not a single place: all the yachts, super mansions, and trophy castles have been bought.

Nada left to buy equals zilch interest to lend at. Zero interest doesn’t just means “societies can borrow for better than free and give everyone healthcare, education, an income, and savings”?—?it means that if they don’t, the economy will go right on cruising into oblivion, because that money will go on piling at the top, instead of doing anything remotely useful, beneficial, or necessary.

Now, who’s the prime exemplar of austerity? America, of course. There, thanks to four decades of people imbecilically destroying their very own government, those very people live in rank indignity--they have no healthcare, retirement, pensions, safety nets, and therefore, they have no mobility, opportunity, stability, security, and therefore, quite reasonably, they have no hope or optimism left, which is why they’re turning to harder and harder drugs to numb the pain of it all.

But see the point: the nationalist says: “us first!!!”, but ironically, he only means “them last!!” He is too stupid to invest in his very own society. He wants, instead, to kick out the scapegoats, exclude the minority, scorn the weak. But he doesn’t see that “us first” and “them last” are not opposites?—?they quite often go hand in hand in a race to the bottom of the abyss. Ah, only a true imbecile would confuse up for down.

So my next form of stupid is social stupid. Social stupid is the idea that a society can function without a social contract. That Uber can replace ambulances and hyperloops can replace buses and what next? Vending machines can replace hospitals and schools, I guess.

“Wait, Umair!”, you cry. “Who’d be stupid enough to believe that? LOL!” Alas, as it turns out, plenty. All those extremist parties arising around the globe? They look to America as an example--not as a warning. That’s what they want to become. Hence, the bombastic demagogues that run them stand for cutting public services, deconstructing governance, shredding the social contract, and replacing it with various forms of authoritarianism, kleptocracy, and feudalism, which don’t really have social contracts as much as pledges of fealty. It took human beings millennia to develop these things called social contracts--and yet here we are, timewarping backwards centuries by the month.

But it’s not just demagogues and extremists who want fealty these days, is it? I read an article in the Guardian where Elon Musk said that to survive the next World War, we have to colonize Mars. Ahahaha LOL. Elon. My dude, my dude. Maybe we could try to…prevent the next world war? You know, save millions of lives, instead of running away while they turn into radioactive dust?

That’s my third form of stupid. It’s technological. Let’s call this one techno-determinism?--he idea that we can engineer solutions to our problems, like, say going to Mars. Elon hasn’t quite considered the fact that if humans who make world wars go to a different planet, all that’s likely to happen is world wars on Mars, Venus, and Pluto. We can’t solve human problems with technology.

That’s why Twitter turned into the world’s largest emotional toiletbowl, why Facebook chose profits over democracy, and why YouTube is a place kids go to get educated on subjects like murder, bullying, and torture, not, say Renaissance literature and watercolours. Now, this form of stupid, techno-determinism, goes deeper than we think. But let me try to boil it down.

Do you think that we can even really see human problems without ever reading books, watching plays, studying ourselves, and learning history? If you do, congratulations, you’re a techno-determinist, you just don’t know it.

But techno-determinism is hardly alone in it’s raging quest for easy, comfortable solutions, that require no thought, consideration, reflection, or growth. This brings me to my fourth form of stupid. It’s cultural. Let me call it salvationism.

The rise of extremist religion, whether Islamic, Christian, or otherwise? Salvation--in the next world, so who needs this one? The rise of demagogues and strong men? Salvation--safety in daddy’s muscular arms. The rise of bizarre forms of magical thought--on both the left and right, the right-wing version being “race science” and genetic determinism, just like in the good old Nazi days, and the left version being the idea that shouting at Donald Trump on Twitter is going actually resolve problems of poverty, abuse, and violence?

Salvation, my old friend. Everwhere we look, people want a way out of this age. It’s no surprise that they look for the easiest, least painful one. You might laugh at opioid addicts?—?but I’d bet if you look at yourself a little more carefully, well...

And that brings me to my fifth and final form of stupid. It’s the biggest one of all, and it’s psychological. Denial. We are in deep, profound denial about... everything, more or less.

Take America again. Just a few weeks ago, kids were massacred with a machine gun. The nation went hysterical--and now it’s back to mostly caring about TV shows. Denial.

Nobody can pretend they don’t know kids massacring each other is terrible--they can only be in denial, no? But I could extend that example endlessly--because my first four forms of stupid are really also forms of denial. Nationalism, extremism, demagoguery, the rebirth of literal Nazism, salvationism, determinism--all the manifold, maddening forms of stupidity that define this age of globally catastrophic stupid--these are all strategies of denial. Denying someone else rights, dignity, a chance, a future, belonging, a self.

Denial. Self-chosen ignorance. Socially constructed mass delusions. Overweening folly. About the world, humanity, life, and each other. Things will be OK, go back to normal. We stick our fingers and cry “LA LA LA LA!!” at the merest mention of even the tiniest inconvenient truth?—?quick, change the channel, unlike that person, unfollow. So here are a few of those truths, now that I’ve got you in a position where you can’t squirm away so easily.

The climate is changing. Inequality is spiking. Young people’s lives are declining. The global economy is broken. Democracy is slowly fading, if not dying. We are in deep, deep shit as a world, as a species, as human beings. I could go on.

The point isn’t to depress you. Sorry, you’re not that important. The point is that it isn’t about you. What isn’t? This. All of it. The planet. Society. Democracy. Life. Even your life. Denial is a way to retain one’s egoism, really, to cling to the delusion that one is all-powerful. “If I ignore it long enough, it’ll go away!!” Sorry. You just don’t matter that much. The great truth of this age begins right there.

The world is telling us something pretty important these days, if we listen. It is that we don’t matter at all. Not this way. We have lived all wrong for the last century or so. Materialism, rationalism, individualism. What have they produced? Greed, brutality, cunning, competition. What have those produced? At a human level--beneath the festooned gadgets and the glittering spires? Loneliness, bitterness, rage, anger, fear, envy. Inequality and stagnation and immobility and decline. Despair and cruelty and misery at the meaningless of it all.

But it is we ourselves who chose all this. This meaninglessness. This futility, emptiness, hollowness. We chose it by saying nothing mattered at all, except winning, conquest, cruelty, possession. Nothing mattered except having the power to make nothing matter.

That, my friends, is the definition of imbecility. This is the age of the imbecile.

The point is to make it all matter again. Society. Democracy. Prosperity. Life. The planet. Each other. Then we will matter again, too. But if we do not make those things matter, then we will not either. We will vanish, unremembered, like the dust on the wind that we are. Tiny blind creatures who thought they were something more than that?—?how funny. Swept away by the oceans in the blink of an eye. And not a star in the universe wept a tear.

That is the message of this age. But we are not quite ready to hear it yet, I fear. What does it really mean, this word, “stupid”? It means something like: “what I thought would matter didn’t, and what I thought wouldn’t did. I got it all backwards. Doh! I was so stupid.” Doesn’t that describe where we are today? We made everything meaningless, a game, a contest, a reality show, including ourselves, keep right on doing it, and then wonder--“wait!! why is my life going nowhere?! Why don’t I matter?!” Ah. Well. That’s because nothing matters to you, including and beginning with you--not the planet, democracy, society, prosperity, your grandkids, nor your mind, heart, body, or soul.

Such a person is an imbecile, who cannot assign meaning to the world, only subtract meaning from it. And that’s because they swallow lies most children wouldn’t believe. Cruelty is kindness. Put your neighbour last. Scorn the weak. Despise the stranger. Such lies make fools of us--because when we believe them, soon enough, nothing means anything, except our immediate desires, but in that way, nothing much matters at all, and in the end, we are left baffled by the lack of meaning in our worlds, selves, lives.

That---assigning, giving, and deriving meaning--is the signal test of intelligence. Human beings are failing spectacularly it today. The world is engulfed in stupid, which is a way to say: nothing means anything, precisely because the only kind of power we desire anymore is the power to take meaning away from things, not give meaning to them.

A world of self-interested pleasure-maximizing robots in human flesh will happily watch everything burn for another hit of greed, envy, power, and hate. And that level of stupid, that absolute and total lack of meaning, which is what totalitarianism really is, is what must begin with changing if we are to come back to our senses again.

America Exposed, Donald Trump ,A Documentary That everybody Must See video by Mary Enter.

"Too much money makes your head go funny" Aberdeen comedian

Trump and son ruining Aberdeen for golf course

Blowhard Trump said he would spend one billion pounds. Scottish government overuled Aberdeenshire rejections of his plan.

Trump used compulsory purchase to throw people out of their homes.

Destroyed last wild location in the area.

Trump lied about everything.

Construction destroyed the trees and everythiing else the locals valued.

They built a road on top of a well where people got water.

Trump put the police on the people for complaining.

Trump used police, threats, violence to bully the people

Double standard evident everywhere.

Trump comes off as an ignorant, incompetent bully.

His priveleged background makes him odorous.

His celebrity protects him from retribution or justice.

Harassment and bullying is his primary method.

People marched, trying to stop the environmental destruction

People victimized by Trump and his profit grasping ways

Trump refers to people's homes as "pigstys."

In June 2012, Trump threatened to abandon his promise to build a golf course hotel, saying a proposed offshore windfarm would spoil the view.

Trump is now widely vilified in Scotland.

Trump’s Weak Khashoggi Response Tells Dictators They Can Get Away With Murder

ICH October 13, 2018 By Jonah Shepp

Countdown to Women’s March on the Pentagon

ICH By Cindy Sheehan October 13, 2018

our schedule of events for the weekend of October 20-21

The US Is Once Again Supporting Death Squads in Central America

June 06, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - The United States has been quietly funding and equipping elite paramilitary police units in El Salvador accused of extrajudicially murdering suspected gang members, according to a forthcoming United Nations report reviewed in advance by CNN.

UN Calls on US to “Immediately Halt” Policy of Detaining Migrant Children

June 06, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - The United Nations human rights office on Tuesday demanded that the Trump administration “immediately halt” its policy of tearing migrant children away from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, declaring that the practice “always constitutes a child rights violation.”

The United States Is a Force for Chaos Across the Planet

By Mark Karlin [] May 29, 2018

The United States is "incapable of producing any results other than destruction and further fragmentation across staggeringly large parts of the planet," argues Tom Engelhardt, author of A Nation Unmade by War. Since 1991, the US has been engaged in a misguided and destructive exercise of triumphalism. In this interview, Engelhardt discusses why the US is an empire of chaos.

Mark Karlin: How much money has gone to the US "war on terror" and what has been the impact of this expenditure?

Tom Engelhardt: The best figure I've seen on this comes from the Watson Institute's Costs of War Project at Brown University, and it's a staggering $5.6 trillion, including certain future costs to care for this country's war vets. President Trump himself, with his usual sense of accuracy, has inflated that number even more, regularly speaking of $7 trillion being lost somewhere in our never-ending wars in the Greater Middle East. One of these days, he's going to turn out to be right.

At home, in a far quieter way, the impact has been similar. Just imagine, for instance, what our American world would have been like if any significant part of the funds that went into our fruitless, still spreading, now nameless conflicts had been spent on America's crumbling infrastructure, instead of on the rise of the national security state as the unofficial fourth branch of government. (At TomDispatch, Pentagon expert William Hartung has estimated that approximately $1 trillion annually goes into that security state and, in the age of Trump, that figure is again on the rise.)

New Authoritarian GOP Removed "Democracy" from Textbooks As Too "Partisan"

unday July 01, 2018


The de-evolution of the GOP into the Cult of Trump is more frightening by the day. In my younger years, the Reagan conservatives touted democracy—usually when they were contrasting us to their number one enemy: Russia. How times have changed.

Right-wing conservatives in Michigan, led by Trump nut state Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R), (@pjcolbeck), are forcing Michigan schools to adopt “new standards” that do some sick stuff to social studies. The term “core democratic values” has been stricken---replaced with “core values”

The reason? It’s too “partisan”:

One requirement for anyone wanting to be governor should be an understanding of the term “democratic”. Several teachers and professors have tried to take Colbeck back to school in an op-ed posted by the Detroit Free Press:

"Core democratic values are derived from the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and other specific documents, speeches and writings of the nation. They include the rights to liberty, equality, the common good (general welfare), diversity (pluralism) and property.

"Developing a reasoned commitment to these values enables students to recognize shared beliefs that bind them together as citizens, even when they disagree on particular public issues. As teacher educators we are deeply concerned about any de-emphasis of the core democratic values in name or in substance."

This Person Is Mentally Ill. And He Has The Power To Destroy Your Lives.

Dartagnan Saturday July 07, 2018

Just search your minds and try to think of a time when an American President, Republican or Democratic, would send this message out to the American people. In an attempt to convey his innermost thoughts:


Just read that. Then read it again.

These are the rantings of someone who is suffering from a mental pathology.

Someone who should not be negotiating “trade deals.”

Someone who should not be selecting “Supreme Court Justices.”

Someone who should not be appointing people to head our “Justice Department.”

Someone who should not be in charge of our country’s “Environmental Protection.”

Someone who should not be in charge of “Homeland Security.”

Someone who should not be in command of our Armed Forces.

Someone who should not have his hands anywhere near our nuclear weapons.

Someone who should not be in charge of “approving” or “vetoing” legislation.

Someone who should not be tasked with submitting a coherent” budget” to keep this country operating as a going concern.

Someone who should not be holding “Summits” with anyone, or any country.

Someone who should not be formulating any “policy” decisions at all.

This is someone who is mentally incapacitated.

And if he stays in office for much longer, something very, very bad is going to happen.

And I guarantee you, it will impact all of us. Equally.

Abraham Lincoln Warned Us About Donald Trump.

If the corruption and rot currently stinking up the Oval Office has had one salutary effect, it has been to force many Americans to actually think about their civic responsibility towards the nation. This 4th of July as we commemorate our country’s repudiation of British tyranny, many of us have found ourselves wondering what exactly this Holiday represents, and how it can be reconciled with the criminal Buffoon that our fellow Americans recklessly saddled us with in November of 2016.


Our 16th President, widely viewed as our best, explained in clear terms what this Holiday should mean to us, we who have inherited the legacy the authors of the Declaration of Independence sought to bestow upon future generations. It is not simply the rejection of British rule and the desire for self-governance, but the “universal” principles that justified our separation that matter. And as Lincoln warned, fealty to those principles must transcend any individual politician—including the President.

Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic, resurrects Abraham Lincoln’s words and sees in them a warning about today:

"Now, my countrymen, if you have been taught doctrines in conflict with the great landmarks of the Declaration of Independence,” he declared in 1858, “if you have listened to suggestions which would take away from its grandeur and mutilate the fair symmetry of its proportions; if you have been inclined to believe that all men are not created equal in those inalienable rights enumerated in our charter of liberty, let me entreat you to come back. Return to the fountain whose waters spring close by the blood of the revolution. Think nothing of me—take no thought for the political fate of any man whomsoever—but come back to the truths that are in the Declaration of Independence. You may do anything with me you choose, if you will but heed these sacred principles."

--------

"Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began -- so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built."

Well that moment has arrived, and with it Lincoln’s challenge to all of us to uphold the country’s principles, now under assault not only by a malevolent autocrat, but by a thoroughly corrupt and slavish political party that sustains him

There’s No Migration Crisis - The Crisis is Political Opportunism

By Doug Saunders June 28, 2018

“Desperate times at our southern border call for desperate measures on the other side:” That was the very loud message from right-wing leaders in the United States and Europe this week.

Their desperate measures shocked the world. The Trump administration’s policy requiring thousands of infants and children to be seized from their parents and held in detention left leaders and citizens aghast (and its most inhumane elements remain in place). On the other side of the Atlantic, we watched the new Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini order boatloads of migrant families turned back into the sea, following his call last year to deal with immigration with a “mass cleansing, street by street, quarter by quarter.”

Most reasonable people agree that these are not humane ways to deal with what these politicians call a “migration emergency.” But too many people take their word that there actually is some sort of a migration emergency.

To be clear: There is no immigration crisis in 2018. Not in the United States, not in Europe, not in Canada.

“It is not a migration emergency – it’s a political emergency,” William Lacy Swing, the American director-general of the International Organization for Migration, said this week. The IOM’s 8,400 staff monitor the movement of people around the world, and while they’ve identified plenty of challenges, there aren’t any overwhelming or unmanageable movements of people this year. “The overwhelming majority of migration is taking place in a regular, safe and orderly fashion,” he said.

“There is a very serious problem of communication, but what we’re seeing is that the numbers are pretty modest,” said Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The OECD, which advises 34 countries (including the United States and Canada) on immigration policy, this week released its annual report on migration levels in OECD countries. It showed a fall in numbers to ordinary, non-crisis levels.

The United States has always had movement, some of it undocumented, across its southern border. The 2018 numbers are somewhat higher than the 2017 numbers – but they’re a small fraction, less than a third, of the rate experienced in the 2000s under George W. Bush, or in the 1990s under Bill Clinton, or in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan. Since 2008, illegal crossings have fallen to lows not seen since the early 1970s.

What has risen, since 2014, has been the far smaller fraction of people on the Mexican border who are refugee claimants from Guatemala, Honduras and especially El Salvador. Those countries are experiencing crises of political and civic violence [instigated in most cases by the USA] In no way are these migration challenges associated with crime or violence. U.S. President Donald Trump tried to justify his baby-seizing policy this week by claiming that the United States might become like Germany, whose million unplanned migrants in 2015-16, he said, had caused crime to soar. In fact, Germany’s Interior Ministry reported last month that criminal offences, including violent crime, had fallen to their lowest levels since 1992. Despite a growing population, an increasing number of criminal statutes and a million recent migrant arrivals, the German crime rate has not been so low since the 1980s. The only significant rise was in anti-Semitic crimes – almost all of them committed by supporters of right-wing parties., and those fleeing have legitimate claims for asylum under the Refugee Convention, to which Washington subscribes. They are not illegal and they’re certainly not dangerous.

The European Union has had a problem with thousands of people crossing the Mediterranean on rafts and fishing boats, and sometimes walking over from Turkey, since about 2003. That problem began when the European Union eliminated temporary-work visas, creating an illegal market. It was reduced dramatically a decade ago when governments struck deals with sending countries, creating pathways for legitimate migration and return. When those countries fell into political crisis, those arrangements fell apart.

After experiencing more than 100,000 sea arrivals a month during the Syrian crisis – peaking at 200,000 in mid-2015 – Europe is currently experiencing between 4,000 and 10,000, roughly the level of a decade ago. This remains deadly– more than 3,000 people died or went missing last year alone – but it’s a European policy challenge, not an emergency.

In no way are these migration challenges associated with crime or violence. U.S. President Donald Trump tried to justify his baby-seizing policy this week by claiming that the United States might become like Germany, whose million unplanned migrants in 2015-16, he said, had caused crime to soar.

In fact, Germany’s Interior Ministry reported last month that criminal offences, including violent crime, had fallen to their lowest levels since 1992. Despite a growing population, an increasing number of criminal statutes and a million recent migrant arrivals, the German crime rate has not been so low since the 1980s. The only significant rise was in anti-Semitic crimes – almost all of them committed by supporters of right-wing parties.

In the United States, crime statistics repeatedly show that immigrants – including illegal immigrants and refugees from Latin America – have considerably lower rates of criminality, including violent crime, than Americans do.

So even if there were a migration emergency, those waves of illegals would be making Americans safer by lowering their crime rates. But there’s no emergency, and the only danger in 2018 is coming from within.


How to plant a tree every time Trump mocks climate change

Treehugger, by Melissa Breyer

Don't throw your phone at the wall every time the president says something infuriating about the environment, plant a tree instead!

I am psyched to have discovered a new coping tool: Treespond [ https://treespond.com/ ].

Capitalism, Changed By Its Contradictions

By Professor Richard Wolff, August 27, 2018

"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome." - Nelson Mandela.

Becoming Serfs

ICH By Chris Hedges August 27, 2018

The elites divert attention from their pillage by blaming foreign countries such as China or undocumented workers for the economic demise of the working class.

You know the statistics. Income inequality in the United States has not been this pronounced in over a century. The top 10 percent has 50 percent of the country’s income, and the upper 1 percent has 20 percent of the country’s income. A quarter of American workers struggle on wages of less than $10 an hour, putting them below the poverty line, while the income of the average CEO of a major corporation is more than 300 times the pay of his or her average worker, a massive increase given that in the 1950s the average CEO made 20 times what his or her worker made. This income inequality is global. The richest 1 percent of the world’s population controls 40 percent of the world’s wealth. And it is getting worse.

What will the consequences of this inequality be economically and politically? How much worse will it get with the imposition of austerity programs and a new tax code that slashes rates for corporations, allowing companies to hoard money or buy back their own stock rather than invest in the economy? How will we endure as health care insurance premiums steadily rise and social and public welfare programs such as Medicaid, Pell Grants and food stamps are cut? And under the tax code revision signed by President Trump in December, rates will increase over the long term for the working class. Over the next decade, the revision will cost the nation roughly $1.5 trillion. Where will this end?

We live in a new feudalism. We have been stripped of political power. Workers are trapped in menial jobs, forced into crippling debt and paid stagnant or declining wages. Chronic poverty and exploitative working conditions in many parts of the world, and increasingly in the United States, replicate the hell endured by industrial workers at the end of the 19th century. The complete capture of ruling institutions by corporations and their oligarchic elites, including the two dominant political parties, the courts and the press, means there is no mechanism left by which we can reform the system or protect ourselves from mounting abuse. We will revolt or become 21st-century serfs, forced to live in misery and brutally oppressed by militarized police and the most sophisticated security and surveillance system in human history while the ruling oligarchs continue to wallow in unimagined wealth and opulence.

“The new tax code is explosive excess,” the economist Richard Wolff said when we spoke in New York. “We’ve had 30 or 40 years where corporations paid less taxes than they ever did. They made more money than they ever did. They have been able to keep wages stagnant while the productivity of labor rose. This is the last moment historically they need another big gift, let alone at the expense of the very people whose wages have been stagnant. To give them a tax bust of this sort, basically reducing from 35 percent to 20 percent, is a 40 percent cut. This kind of crazy excess reminds you of the [kings] of France before the French Revolution when the level of excess reached an explosive social dimension. That’s where we are.”

When capitalism collapsed in the 1930s, the response of the working class was to form unions, strike and protest. The workers pitted power against power. They forced the oligarchs to respond with the New Deal, which created 12 million government-funded jobs, Social Security, the minimum wage and unemployment compensation. The country’s infrastructure was modernized and maintained. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) alone employed 300,000 workers to form and maintain national parks.

“The message of the organized working class was unequivocal,” Wolff said. “Either you help us through this Depression or there will be a revolution.”

The New Deal programs were paid for by taxing the rich. Even in the 1950s, during the Eisenhower presidency, the top marginal rate was 91 percent.

The rich, enraged, mounted a war to undo these programs and restore the social inequality that makes them wealthy at our expense. We have come full circle. Dissidents, radicals and critics of capitalism are once again branded as agents of foreign powers and purged from universities and the airwaves. The labor movement has been dismantled, including through so-called right-to-work laws that prohibit agreements between unions and employers. The last remaining regulations to thwart corporate pillage and pollution are removed.

Although government is the only mechanism we have to protect ourselves from predatory oligarchs and corporations, the rich tell us that government is the problem, not the solution. Austerity and a bloated and out-of-control military budget, along with the privatization of public services and institutions such as utilities and public education, we are assured, are the way to economic growth. And presiding over this assault and unchecked kleptocracy are the con artist in chief and his billionaire friends from the fossil fuel and war industries and elsewhere on Wall Street.

The elites cook statistics to lie about a recovery from the 2008 global financial crash. To gather unemployment statistics, for example, government agents ask people two questions: Are you working? If they answer “yes” they are counted as employed even if they have a temporary job in which they work only an hour a week. If they say “no” they are asked if they have been looking for work. If they have not looked for work in the last four weeks they are magically erased from the unemployment rolls. And then there is the long list of those not counted as unemployed, such as prisoners, the retired, stay-at-home spouses and high school and college students who want jobs. Alternative facts did not begin with Donald Trump.

“You don’t have to be a statistical genius to understand that over the last 10 years, a significant number of people gave up looking because it’s too disgusting,” Wolff said. “The jobs they were offered were inferior to what they had before or so insecure that it made their family life impossible. They went back to school, went into the illegal economy or began to live off their friends, relatives and neighbors.”

“The quality of the jobs, the security, the benefits and the impact on physical and mental health have been cascading downward as the wages remain stagnant,” he went on. “We’re not in a recovery. We’re in an ongoing decline, which, by the way, is why Mr. Trump got elected. This is happening to capitalism in Western Europe, Japan and the United States. This is why an angry working class is looking for ways to express and change its circumstances.”

“Society has a responsibility to itself,” Wolff said. “If the private sector can’t or won’t manage that, then the public sector has to step in. It’s what [Franklin] Roosevelt said when he came on the radio: ‘If there are millions of Americans who ask for nothing other than a job, and the private sector can’t provide it, then it’s up to me. Who else is going to do it?’ If we cut back on welfare we are making people depend on the private sector. What happens to people thrown on a private capital sector that cannot and will not function in a socially acceptable way?”

“Instead of creating a middle class, it polarizes everything,” he said of the inequality. “It allows the top executives to go completely crazy with their pay packages. They are paid beyond what’s reasonable, beyond what their fellow capitalists receive in other parts of the world. There is a collapse of the ability to buy things.

"A company that saves all this money through a tax cut from Mr. Trump is not going to spend its money hiring people, buying machines, producing more. They’re having trouble selling what they already produce. They’re impoverishing the very people they sell to. What do they do with the money?

"They take it and pay themselves. They give themselves higher pay packages. They buy back their own stock, which they’re legally allowed to do. It pushes the price of the stock up. Their [personal] compensation is connected to how well the price of the stock does. No jobs are created. No growth is created. The price of stock is going up even though the viability of the enterprise—because of the [company’s] collapsing market—is shrinking.”

“Capitalism is hollowing itself out,” he said. “The capitalists refuse to face this because they are making money, for a while. That’s the same logic as the monarchs before the French Revolution building the fantastic Versailles without understanding they were digging their own graves in those lovely gardens.”

The elites divert attention from their pillage by blaming foreign countries such as China or undocumented workers for the economic demise of the working class.

“It’s a classic ploy of crooked politicians stuck with a problem of their own making, blaming somebody else,” Wolff said. “We take the poor 10 or 11 million immigrants in this country with questionable legal status and we demonize them. We scapegoat them. They couldn’t possibly account for the difficulties in this economy. Throwing them out does not fundamentally change the dynamics of the economy. It’s childishly easy to show this. But it’s good theater. ‘I am smiting the foreigner.’ ”

“Tariffs are another way to smite the foreigner,” Wolff went on. “The tariff is a punishment of others. These days, the bugaboo is China. They are the bad ones. They are doing this. I’d like to remind people two or three things about these tariffs. One: Historically, they don’t work very well. It’s very easy to evade. For example, we put a tariff on steel from China. What do the Chinese do? They cut a deal with the Canadians or the Mexicans or the Koreans or the Europeans. Sell it to them, who resell it here. It’s on the same ship coming here. It just has a different flag at the back. This is childish. It’s well known.”

“Number two: It’s political theater,” he said. “It doesn’t change very much. For example, a good half of the goods that come from China come from subsidiaries of American corporations that went to China over the last 30 years to produce for the American market. You are smiting them by closing off their market. They’re going to be angry. They’re going to lose their investments. They’re going to take corrective action. All of this is negative for the American economy. It’s bizarre.”

“Finally, the Chinese, their politicians being not that different from ours, will have to posture in return and retaliate,” he said. “They’re already targeting our farm products. It is chaos. The United States, when we were a young country, was accused by the British and the Europeans of stealing their technology and intellectual property. Never before has it been easier to communicate intellectual property than it is today. The Chinese have been doing their share of this as an up-and-coming economy. It’s not new. It’s not frightening. It’s a part of how capitalism works. To suddenly get people outraged as if something special is going on, that’s just dishonest.”

There is no discussion in the corporate-controlled media of the effects of our out-of-control corporate capitalism. Workers struggling under massive debts, unable to pay for ever-rising health care and other basic costs, trapped in low-wage jobs that make life one long emergency, are rendered invisible by a media that entertains us with court gossip from porn actresses and reality television stars and focuses on celebrity culture. We ignore reality at our peril.

“We’ve given a free pass to a capitalist system because we’ve been afraid to debate it,” Wolff said. “When you give a free pass to any institution, you create the conditions for it to rot right behind the facade. That’s what is happening.”

Chris Hedges, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years. https://www.truthdig.com/author/chris_hedges/

John Brennan, Free Speech, And The Coming Constitutional Crisis: Trump crosses another line

On Wednesday, President Trump revoked former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance. The reason, according to the White House’s official statement, was “the risks posed by his erratic conduct and behavior.”

Brennan, now a private citizen, is an outspoken critic of the president. More than any other former national security or intelligence leader, he’s attacked Trump’s patriotism and character, using the president’s favorite mediums: television and Twitter.

Ex-officials retain clearance so that, if current officials ask them for help, they can access classified information. But they’re not active intelligence consumers, receiving daily briefs or directing assets. Trump is the first president to cut a former CIA Director out of that network.

It provoked quite a reaction.

Retired Admiral William McRaven, a former leader of Joint Special Operations Command, defended Brennan in the Washington Post, warning Trump:

If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken

13 retired intelligence leaders?—?including CIA Directors and Deputy Directors who served under Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan?—?offered a similar criticism.

“The president’s action,” they wrote in an open letter:

has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances?—?and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech

These people spent their careers in a secretive world. In retirement, they usually stay out of the spotlight. This is the first time they’ve publicly rebuked a sitting president.

... But revoking Brennan’s security clearance was the unambiguous type of free speech violation. An American spoke out against the head of the government, and the government punished him in response. You don’t need to agree with Brennan?—?or like him at all?—?to find that concerning.

This didn’t come out of nowhere. Trump has frequently threatened to use the powers of the presidency against his critics, including former officials, active officials, and media figures.

The Coming Constitutional Crisis
In October last year, when Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort got indicted, I argued that America’s on a collision course with a Constitutional crisis. Soon, we will be forced to answer “is the president above the law?”

Trump’s decision appears impulsive and vindictive, rather than strategic. Brennan’s a threat to the president because he might sway public or elite opinion?—?and because, as Director of the CIA in 2016, he oversaw the first stages of the Russia investigation?—?not because he currently has security clearance.

No matter how it works out, it’s an escalation. And it’s more evidence that Trump is willing to toss aside norms and risk breaking laws to do what he sees?—?whether by impulse or calculation?—?as defending himself.

How far will he go?

Why is the mob angry? Because Trump is ripping us apart with bigotry and hatred.

WP 10-12-18 by Gred Sargent

President Trump and Republicans have adopted a closing electoral strategy that depicts the Democratic Party and “angry” leftist protests against Trumpian rule as the only real reigning threat to our country’s civic fabric and the rule of law.

But much of the resulting debate over all this is hollow, because it is not putting these basic realities front and center: Trump, more than any leading U.S. figure in recent memory, has actively tried to stoke civil conflict on as many fronts as possible. He has concertedly subverted the rule of law, not just to shield himself from accountability, but, more to the point for present purposes, with the deliberate purpose of exciting his minority base — and enraging millions on the other side of the cultural divide — in a manner that is thoroughly corrupt to its core.

Capitalism’s Final Solution Is Nothing Less than Complete Ecological Collapse

This is the nightmare logic of scarcity capitalism... Alternet, 10-12-18

Trump’s arm-twisting of the Fed is what’s truly ‘loco’

Most Americans Don't Think Kavanaugh Should Be on the Supreme Court — And They Want Congress to Investigate Whether He Should Be Removed

Alternet, 10-12-18

The Real Point of Trump's USA Today Op-Ed Was to Threaten His Enemies With Violence

Alternet, 10-12-18

'Trump Anxiety Disorder': Psychologist Warns the President Is Making Americans Sick

Trump's deleterious effect on peoples' mental health isn't just affecting liberals --even conservatives are having anxiety issues. Alternet, 10-12-18

Trump Made Socialism Great Again: The president has disrupted democratic complacency, and that’s a good thing

Shadi Hamid, Aug. 15, 2018

The election of Trump?—?and the populist upsurge he helped encourage?—?has confirmed that politics is no longer the art of the possible, but the improbable. If Trump can win the highest office in the land, then why can’t the rest of us run for something, too? Why shouldn’t a 33-year old Egyptian-American named Abdul run for Michigan governor? Why shouldn’t a 28-year old, who was only a bartender a year ago, defeat a Democratic establishment stalwart? And why shouldn’t that person say, without shame or apology, that she’s a socialist?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary-election victory, coming on the heels of Bernie Sanders’s insurgent presidential campaign, has thrust “socialism” into the center of the American political conversation. Ideas once dismissed as radical are now gaining a hearing. Fights are raging within the Democratic Party, and on the political left. And that reinvigorated debate?—?and the other political conflicts Trump has inflamed?—?may be one of Trump’s more unlikely and ultimately positive contributions to American democracy.

Few people would say that conflict is a thing to be embraced. The usual assumption is that conflict and polarization undermine democracy. We hear paeans to civility, unity, and coming together as a nation. But conflict, or at least the threat of it, can be a powerful motivator.

If a government has no fear that the poor might one day revolt, then it will have few incentives to check the excesses of the rich. If elected leaders have no fear that they might lose the minority vote, they will have little reason to take racism as seriously as they should. If established parties have no fear that populist parties might take their place, they will have little reason to rethink their basic approach to politics. Without pressure from populist challengers, centrist parties will avoid addressing sensitive issues, instead postponing them until crisis hits. And crisis almost certainly does.

This confusion around the desirability of conflict makes it difficult to assess how well or poorly the world’s most established democracies are faring, now that nearly every one of them has been significantly affected (with Portugal being a notable exception). As some would have it, America, along with large chunks of Europe, is on the verge of dictatorship from which it may never recover.

If you view the very election of Trump?—?to say nothing of what he’s actually done in office?—?as an “extinction-level event,” then alarmism is precisely what’s called for: the more, the better. But I, for one, do not believe that Trump is anything more than damaging and destructive?—?as bad as that is. Two or six years from now, America will emerge with considerable damage, but intact. And by then, the experience of having lived under Trump will produce other consequences, some of them positive. In fact, it’s already producing them.

Trumpism?—?or some variation of the populist-nationalism that has proved so compelling from Italy and Poland to Israel and India?—?will survive Trump. The ideas of this visceral but vague populism?—?obsessed with demographic change and trafficking in proposals that only 4 years ago would have been beyond the pale?—?are almost entirely unconcerned with the norms of what was, up until 2016, a somewhat narrow mainstream consensus.

As Ben Judah wrote recently, a door has been opened: “Because by embracing everything about Donald Trump, [the Right] has embraced the idea that something is terribly wrong with America, and that the country needs big, beautiful solutions for terrible, awful problems. When the Right becomes populist, embraces deficits, dunks on free trade, and rails against elites, it suddenly becomes a lot tougher for it to ridicule a populist Left that is credibly offering more.”

Where Trump told voters that he (and only he) would “make America great again,” Hillary Clinton countered by saying “America was already great.” America is already great, but the problem with making that the theme of a national campaign is that it promises only minor variations of the status quo. Clinton?—?and so many of the center-left and center-right candidates hoping to forestall populist challengers?—?offered voters stability in a time of instability. Experiencing Trump on a daily basis tends to help one appreciate the prospect of once again being bored by politics. But stability, particularly in the long run, is an overrated political good that can actually forestall the kinds of deep changes that every society needs from time to time.

Another way of viewing it, and probably the easier way, is to see Trump as an accident of history and not something to ponder too deeply. Since the results could have easily been otherwise?—?had, say, James Comey not issued his letter in those final, critical days?—?there is no particular reason to shift our view of politics or democracy. To view Trump’s election as an extinction-level event is to argue, in effect, that the solution to Trump is self-evident: his removal from office. Politics can then return to at least some degree of normalcy. If Trump, however, is a product of a political order that is fundamentally broken, then the need for radical, unusual, or at least out-of-the-mainstream proposals becomes just as necessary if and when Trump loses?—?or even if he hadn’t won in the first place.

Civility and consensus are only possible in homogeneous societies with a strong, shared national identity, something that the United States and most European countries can no longer claim. In diverse societies, where citizens no long agree on the common good, conflict and polarization are unavoidable. Like conflict, the word radical is usually used pejoratively, signifying chaos and disorder. But like conflict, radicalism isn’t necessarily bad, particularly if it allows a larger number of citizens to feel they have a stake in their own society. It also leaves open the possibility that ideas that were once considered unacceptable can be accepted. Some unacceptable ideas are unacceptable for a reason. Some, though, are not.

Today, ideas that were once considered radical and even politically suicidal, like same-sex marriage, are now so culturally pervasive that it’s hard to remember that they were once only held by a small minority. (As recently as 2009, President Barack Obama, despite his seeming private openness to gay marriage, was unwilling to endorse it publicly). It’s precisely through radical voices that the bounds of what’s politically and socially possible expands. At one point in American history, for example, the abolition of slavery was seen as outside the bounds of what was possible or acceptable. Through Bernie Sanders’s presidential candidacy, the idea of single-payer universal health care became normalized, shifting the entire debate around health-care provision onto what many Americans would consider a more moral foundation. (Of course, many other Americans see it as an unacceptable intrusion on the part of the state.)

To find a silver lining to this disruption of political complacency is not to excuse Trump. The families torn apart at the border; those who have lost their healthcare; the communities that will be polluted by environmental disaster; or the millions of people abroad who have suffered from Trump’s unashamedly pro-dictator foreign policy would have been better off had he never run for office. But even without Trump, disruption and conflict were coming; he was merely the catalyst. This?—?whatever this is exactly?—?is a universal phenomenon, emerging in dozens of incredibly different national contexts, across varying cultures, regions, religions, and levels of economic development. It may be hard to define, but what we are seeing is nothing less (or perhaps nothing more) than a rebirth of politics, with all the conflict that that entails.

The point about radical ideas is that some of them may be good, but there’s no way to know, definitively, whether they are, until they’re debated openly and freely. And, today, that’s precisely what’s happening. That’s a good thing, and we may have Trump to (partly) thank for that.

U.S. judges balk at ICE detention of defendants granted bail under Trump ‘zero tolerance’ push

WP

U.S. Quits UN Human Rights Council, Saying It’s Anti-Israel

By Nick Wadhams June 19, 2018

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, making good on a pledge to leave a body it accused of hypocrisy and criticized as biased against Israel.

“For too long, the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias,” Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, said Tuesday at the State Department in Washington. She said the decision was an affirmation of U.S. respect for human rights, a commitment that “does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”

The 47-member council, created in 2006 and based in Geneva, began its latest session on Monday with a broadside against President Donald Trump’s immigration policy by the UN’s high commissioner for human rights. He called the policy of separating children from parents crossing the southern border illegally “unconscionable.”

The Trump administration is under intense criticism from business groups, human rights organizations and lawmakers from both parties over the recently imposed policy.

While that timing was jarring, the U.S. withdrawal had been in the works for some time. National Security Adviser John Bolton had also opposed the body’s creation when he was U.S. ambassador to the UN in 2006. Current Ambassador Haley warned a year ago that the U.S. would pull out if the council didn’t address what she saw as its bias toward Israel and the fact that many of its current members -- they include China, Saudi Arabia and Egypt -- have poor human rights records themselves.

The council also has been a forum for criticism of Trump’s economic policies. In a report on the U.S. due to be submitted to the Human Rights Council this week, Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on poverty, said the president’s tax overhaul “overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality.”

The report says that while the U.S. has long been the most unequal among developed nations, it’s getting worse under Trump. “The policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest,” it said.

Trump is rebuked after questioning number of deaths attributed to Hurricane Maria

WP By John Wagner and Joel Achenbach 9/13/18

Trump administration draws fire for ‘misleading’ report linking terrorism, immigration

WP By Ellen Nakashima 9/14/18

Trump really hates apologizing for misogyny and racism. New reporting explains why.

WP By Greg Sargent 9/13/18

President Trump does not believe that people — that white men like himself — should have to apologize for their public displays of misogyny or racism. But this isn’t simply because he doesn’t want to give ground to critics out of stubbornness or a fear of displaying weakness.

Rather, the refusal to apologize for these things is itself a political statement, even a statement of values. And you can bet that many of his supporters hear it in precisely this way.

The Post has a remarkable piece of reporting today that gets inside Trump’s refusal to admit error about anything, ever. Trump insists the response to Hurricane Maria was impeccable, even though nearly 3,000 people died. He asserts that firing his former FBI director in an effort to obstruct an investigation into himself was correct, even though it led to a special counsel and has put him in serious legal and/or political jeopardy.

Trump’s aides believe this is largely rooted in his penchant for nonstop salesmanship and hyperbole, and his certainty that his voters will swallow whatever he tells them. As the Post piece puts it, Trump “tells senior aides that his supporters will believe his version of events.”

This once again displays Trump’s seething contempt for his own voters’ intelligence. But beyond this, on certain occasions when this happens, something even uglier than that is at work. The Post piece contains this revelation:

He has also complained that aides publicly admitted mistakes earlier this year over their handling of allegations that former White House staff secretary Rob Porter was emotionally and physically abusive toward his two ex-wives. “You should have never apologized,” he told a group of communications aides, according to two people. “You don’t ever apologize.”

You don’t ever apologize, even for failing to perform due diligence on a very senior administration official’s repeated alleged incidents of domestic abuse. But why don’t you ever apologize?

Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear,” provides insight into Trump’s instincts in this regard. Trump’s highest profile offer of something approaching an apology came after he blamed “many sides” for the white supremacist violence and murder in Charlottesville. Under pressure from aides, Trump then gave a second speech condemning anti-black racism more directly, decrying the “KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups.”

But as Woodward recounts, Trump privately chafed at doing this. When a top adviser showed him a draft of that second speech, Trump said: “This doesn’t feel right to me.” The adviser concluded, as Woodward puts it, that Trump didn’t want to “bend to political correctness.”

[...]

But Woodward’s reporting suggests that this didn’t remotely reflect his real sentiments. Woodward recounts a remarkable episode in which Trump and his advisers debated whether he should do a TV interview and reiterate his apology. His advisers handed him language in which he would admit that his vile language (which included boasting about grabbing women by the “p—y”) was “not acceptable for a president.”

But Trump exploded. “I can’t do this,” he raged. “This is weak. You guys are weak.” Once elected, Trump even took to suggesting that the voice on the tape wasn’t his.

[...]

Trump views racial discord as a positive — the more of it, the better. The whole point is deliberate provocation, both out of genuine racist conviction and the belief that it tightens his political bond with his supporters. Trump pardoned racist Joe Arpaio as “a way of pleasing his political base.” He revived his attacks on football players for protesting racism because this “revs up his political base.” After Trump deliberately stoked racial discord after Charlottesville, Stephen K. Bannon subsequently said it would be a political winner for the president.

The refusal to capitulate to demands for contrition for the original racist or misogynist sentiment isn’t an act of stubbornness. It is active validation of the sentiment itself. The refusal to back down is itself the political statement.

... What Trump basically declares again and again, in one form or another, is that those who demand resistance to our basest and most divisive and hateful instincts should just shut up and stop ruining all the fun. Instead, by all means, go ahead and revel in them — without apology.

'The GOP Needs to Be Razed to the Ground': Conservative Commentator Urges Voters to Vote 'Straight-Ticket Democratic Party' Alternet 10/10/18

Conservative commentator Max Boot [columnist for Washington Post] called for the total destruction of the Republican Party to undo the damage by President Donald Trump.

The author and former Wall Street Journal editor appeared Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to promote his new book, "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right."

"It's hugely harmful to the long-term future of the Republican Party as America becomes less white," Boot said. "The Republicans are being identified as the white nationalist party."

Boot warned that was disastrous in political terms and wrong in moral terms, and the Soviet émigré blamed Trump for making racial hatred an overtly celebrated value in the GOP.

"I came here at age 6, I learned to speak English -- I think I speak it reasonably well," Boot said. "I try to fit in, blend in -- I thought I achieved that. I thought of myself as an ordinary American, not as a hyphenated American. Donald Trump is making me to think in those terms, he's making me think there's something less American than me. I wasn't born here, I'm Jewish. I'm not the kind of American that Donald Trump celebrates. It's a tragedy for me and heartbreaking for me."

Boot said that trend would metastasize if the GOP achieved midterm election victories, and the former Republican called for voters to send a strong message opposing racial hatred.

Dishing up lies while proclaiming the love of facts, Trump and Sarah Sanders gaslight America WP 10/4/18

President Trump’s assault on truth — and would-be truthtellers — has hit a new low.

It may not seem possible, considering that this is a president who has misled or lied to the public thousands of times.

But consider what happened in a White House news briefing Wednesday afternoon. Then consider this week’s rushed and restricted FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. And, finally, consider the administration’s response to the New York Times’s groundbreaking investigation of Trump family finances that was published this week.

There can be no doubt: We’re in a whole new phase of the Orwellian nightmare in which black is called white, and you’d better not dare object to that.

In White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s briefing Wednesday, she blatantly lied in describing her boss’s ridicule, at a rally the night before, of Christine Blasey Ford.

Vote ‘no’ on Kavanaugh WP Editorial Board 10/4/18

Unfortunately — and unnecessarily; it didn’t have to be this way — too many questions remain about his history for senators to responsibly vote “yes.” At the same time, enough has been learned about his partisan instincts that we believe senators must vote “no.”

We do not say so lightly. We have not opposed a Supreme Court nominee, liberal or conservative, since Robert H. Bork in 1987.

UN Court Orders United States to Lift Iran Sanctions Linked to Humanitarian Goods, Civil Aviation

ICH By Mike Corder October 03, 2018

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The United Nations' highest court on Wednesday ordered the United States to lift sanctions on Iran that affect imports of humanitarian goods and products and services linked to civil aviation safety.

The ruling by the International Court of Justice is legally binding, but it remains to be seen if the administration of President Donald Trump will comply.

Trump moved to restore tough U.S. sanctions in May after withdrawing from Tehran's nuclear accord with world powers. Iran challenged the sanctions in a case filed in July at the International Court of Justice.

In a preliminary ruling, the court said that Washington must "remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from" the re-imposition of sanctions to the export to Iran of medicine and medical devices, food and agricultural commodities and spare parts and equipment necessary to ensure the safety of civil aviation.

Could Trump Take Down the American Empire?

ICH By Gareth Porter October 03, 2018

More than any other presidency in modern history, Donald Trump’s has been a veritable sociopolitical wrecking ball, deliberately stoking conflict by playing to xenophobic and racist currents in American society and debasing its political discourse. That fact has been widely discussed. But Trump’s attacks on the system of the global U.S. military presence and commitments have gotten far less notice.

Trump had entered the White House with a clear commitment to ending U.S. military interventions, based on a worldview in which fighting wars in the pursuit of military dominance has no place. In the last speech of his “victory tour” in December 2016, Trump vowed, “We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we knew nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with.” Instead of investing in wars, he said, he would invest in rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure.

In a meeting with his national security team in the summer of 2017, in which Secretary of Defense James Mattis recommended new military measures against Islamic State affiliates in North Africa, Trump expressed his frustration with the unending wars. “You guys want me to send troops everywhere,” Trump said, according to a Washington Post report. “What’s the justification?”

Mattis replied, “Sir, we’re doing it to prevent a bomb from going off in Times Square,” to which Trump angrily retorted that the same argument could be made about virtually any country on the planet.

Trump had even given ambassadors the power to call a temporary halt to drone strikes, according to the Post story, causing further consternation at the Pentagon.

Trump’s national security team became so alarmed about his questioning of U.S. military engagements and forward deployment of troops that they felt something had to be done to turn him around. Mattis proposed to take Trump away from the White House into “the Tank” at the Pentagon, where the Joint Chiefs of Staff held their meetings, hoping to drive home their arguments more effectively.

It was there, on July 20, 2017, that Mattis, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other senior officials sought to impress on Trump the vital importance of maintaining existing U.S. worldwide military commitments and deployments. Mattis used the standard Bush and Obama administration rhetoric of globalism, according to the meeting notes provided to Woodward. He asserted that the “rules-based, international democratic order”—the term used to describe the global structure of U.S. military and military power—had brought security and prosperity. Tillerson, ignoring decades of U.S. destabilizing wars in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, chimed in, saying, “This is what has kept the peace for 70 years.”

Trump said nothing, according to Woodward’s account, but simply shook his head in disagreement. He eventually steered the discussion to an issue that was particularly irritating to him: U.S. military and economic relations with South Korea. “We spend $3.5 billion a year to have troops in South Korea,” Trump complained. “I don’t know why they’re there. … Let’s bring them all home!”

At that, Trump’s chief of staff at the time, Reince Priebus, recognizing that the national security team’s effort to get control of Trump’s opposition to their wars and troop deployments had been an utter failure, called a halt to the meeting.

Those Trump complaints prompted H.R. McMaster, then the national security adviser, to call for a National Security Council meeting on the issue on Jan. 19. Trump again demanded, “What do we get by maintaining a massive military presence in the Korean peninsula?” And he linked that question to the broader issue of the United States paying for the defense of other states in Asia, the Middle East and NATO.

But such arguments made no impression on Trump, who saw no value in having troops abroad at a time when the United States itself was crumbling. “We have [spent] $7 trillion in the Middle East,” Trump said at the end of the meeting. “We can’t even muster $1 trillion for domestic infrastructure.”

Before the Singapore summit with Kim, Trump ordered the Pentagon to develop options for drawing down those U.S. troops. That idea was viewed by the news media and most of the national security elite as completely unacceptable, but it has long been well known among military and intelligence specialists on Korea that U.S. troops are not needed—either to deter North Korea or to defend against an attack across the DMZ.

Trump’s willingness to practice personal diplomacy with Kim and to envision the end or serious attenuation of the U.S. troop deployment in South Korea was undoubtedly driven in part by his ego, but it could not have happened without his rejection of the ideology of national security that had dominated Washington elites for generations.

Donald Trump’s grotesque fraud

WP 10/3/18

The White House fired back at a New York Times report that
President Trump built his wealth by shielding millions from taxes. (Reuters)

When Donald Trump set up Trump University, he promised to share his “secrets of success.” He said he would tell people how they could “just copy exactly what I’ve done and get rich.” It was a fraud. Now, courtesy of the New York Times, we know for certain it could never be anything but a fraud. The only knowledge Trump can impart to anyone about wealth is an unteachable skill: have rich parents.

As the Times’s investigation revealed, Trump’s success depended on massive transfers of family wealth from his father, real estate developer Fred Trump. Ultimately, Fred Trump gave hundreds of millions of dollars to his children, a staggering amount turbocharged, as the Times reported in extensive detail, reportedly by fraud.

By age 3, the Times reports, the young Donald Trump received an income that was the equivalent of $200,000 in today’s dollars from his dad. He was a millionaire before finishing elementary school. The largesse continued into adulthood. He even paid for the adult Donald’s car, and Manhattan offices — the same ones where the future president gave interviews claiming business genius.

The story Trump told on the campaign trail, about how he received only a “small” $1 million loan from his dad to build his business — and one Fred Trump made him pay back. “It has not been easy for me,” he whined. Garbage. The Times reports that the senior Trump loaned his son $60.7 million at a minimum, most of which was never repaid.

Radiation? Chemicals? No big deal, says the Trump administration.

WP 10/3/18

Trump’s lying, mocking, despicable verbal mugging of Christine Blasey Ford

WP 10/3

When a leader can hold power only by dividing his country, stoking its anxieties and hostilities, ridiculing his opponents, and disrespecting every norm of decency, the result is a broken democracy and a demoralized nation.

At this moment in our history, there is only one party being led by President Trump and only one that rushes to his defense over and over.

Trump regularly and unashamedly reminds us of his vileness and thus single-handedly demolishes the everybody-does-it narrative.

Trump’s lying, mocking, despicable verbal mugging of Christine Blasey Ford during a Mississippi rally on Tuesday night may not be a new low for him because there have been so many other lows. But his willingness to suggest that Ford is one of the “evil people” and his twisted account of her testimony about Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee ripped the mask of respectability off the campaign to confirm Trump’s appointee.

EPA excluded its own top science officials when it rewrote rules on using scientific studies

WP 10/3/18

When former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt launched an effort to limit what kinds of scientific studies could be used to protect public health, he left out some key experts: the Environmental Protection Agency’s own Office of the Science Advisor, according to an email exchange obtained by The Washington Post.

Federal judge, citing Trump racial bias, says administration can’t strip legal status from 300,000 Haitians, Salvadorans and others — for now

WP 10/4/18

A federal judge in California temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s plans to terminate the legal status of about 300,000 immigrants who fled violence and disaster in Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

In a decision late Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen in San Francisco found substantial evidence that the administration lacked “any explanation or justification” to end the “temporary protected status” designations for immigrants from those countries.

At the same time, he said there were “serious questions as to whether a discriminatory purpose was a motivating factor” in the administration’s decision, which would violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

He cited statements by President Trump denigrating Mexicans, Muslims, Haitians and Africans, including his January remark about “people from shithole countries” and his June 2017 comments stating that 15,000 recent immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS.”

Cocoa Bliss




Susan Rice Announces She May Run to Defeat Susan Collins for Her Betrayal of Women Alternet

Historian of Nazism Explains Why GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell Is the 'Gravedigger of American Democracy' Alternet

V When Banks Matter More Than People

Monsanto Relied on These “Partners” to Attack Top Cancer Scientists

Kavanaugh fight foreshadows a wild lame-duck session and crazy 2019 in Congress WP 10.5.18

Taiwan is revolutionizing democracy WP 10.5.18

Trump says America is respected again. He is quite wrong. WP 10.5.18

This is what sleepwalking into war looks like WP 10.5.18

The U.S. takes a disturbing plunge into protectionism WP 10.5.18 George Will

Betsy DeVos’s security detail could cost $7.7 million WP 10.5.18

The cost of providing U.S. marshals to protect Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is expected to rise to $7.7 million this year, a nearly $1 million annual increase but an expense “commensurate with the existing threat” against DeVos, the U.S. Marshals Service said this week.

The Education Department signed an agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service that went in to effect Sunday, the start of the fiscal year. The agreement, first reported by Politico, includes round-the-clock protection for the secretary, who frequently travels to schools across the country and sometimes travels internationally for her job.

DeVos is the first education secretary and the only Cabinet member to receive protection from U.S. marshals. The marshals are typically responsible for apprehending fugitives and guarding judges and witnesses. Previous secretaries were protected by an Education Department security team, which included Secret Service veterans.

While DeVos’s security arrangement is unprecedented, so, too, is the vitriol she faces. Her advocacy for charter schools and private-school vouchers and her lack of public school experience have made her a polarizing figure, and she has faced boisterous protests during school visits and speeches. A yacht owned by her wealthy family was recently untied from a dock in Ohio, sending it adrift on Lake Erie. The stunt led to $5,000 to $10,000 worth of damage to the boat.

Trump Is Full Of It N.Y. tax agency weighs probe after report that Trump family built wealth through tax-avoidance schemes and fraud, WP David A. Fahrenthold, 10/2/18

New York Times story that President Trump participated in “dubious tax schemes” that allowed his father to pass him more than $413 million while minimizing tax payments.

In some instances, these schemes amounted to “outright fraud,” the Times story said.

The Times said it had unraveled a complex effort by Trump’s father, Fred, to build and then pass along his wealth by examining more than 100,000 pages of documents from the businesses of Fred Trump. It said that, starting in the 1990s, Donald Trump had helped his father lower his tax bills via a sham corporation that processed padded invoices, by using improper tax deductions and by systematically undervaluing his father’s real estate properties.

“The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the [Times] article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation,” said James Gazzale, a spokesman for the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.

On Capitol Hill, some Democrats renewed calls for Trump to release his tax returns — which he has repeatedly declined to do, unlike his predecessors.

The New York Times reported that President Trump’s father,
Fred, gave him more than $413 million over the years. (Adam Scull/Photolink/MediaPunch/IPX/AP)

In a statement to the Times, Harder [Trump's lawyer] wrote that its findings were “100 percent false, and highly defamatory.”

“There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone,” Harder told the newspaper. “The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate.”

The New York attorney general sued him in June, saying Trump allowed “persistently illegal conduct” at his charitable foundation.

Democratic attorneys general and congressional lawmakers are prying for details about the Trump Organization’s transactions with foreign governments as part of two separate civil suits.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has delved into the Trump Organization’s business dealings with Russia. And the U.S. attorney in Manhattan is investigating Trump’s involvement in hush-money payments made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels.

The Times story could spark a new line of investigations from state authorities in New York and possibly from Congress, if Democrats take control of either chamber in November’s elections.

“We must see Trump’s tax returns to know just how far and how deep the crimes go,” Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement. “This Trump exposé paints a portrait of a man whose entire professional life was built on his father’s money, skirting accountability, and ‘outright fraud.’ ”

The Times investigation contradicts the image Trump has projected of himself for decades, as a self-made billionaire who inherited a small sum and amassed his own fortune through smarts and grit.

On Tuesday, one former White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly said Trump will “freak out” about the piece because he has been so protective over the years about what the ex-official termed “his own financial legend.”

Fred Trump was a Queens-based developer who made a fortune building drab but serviceable low-rise apartment blocks for a fast-growing city. When Donald Trump tells the story of his own origins in business, he often emphasizes that he was a self-made man — who didn’t need, or get, much help from his father.

“My father gave me a very small loan in 1975, and I built it into a company that’s worth many, many billions of dollars,” Trump said during a 2016 presidential debate.

The Times story says that [Trump's] account is false — that, in reality, Fred Trump spent decades quietly ceding his fortune and his business empire to his son, in ways that seemed designed to avoid taxes on gifts and inheritance.

The family created a business, All County Building Supply & Maintenance, which was supposed to be a middleman between Fred Trump’s company and its vendors. Then, the story said, Fred Trump’s company overpaid All County for those services, based on phony, inflated invoices, and All County kept the difference.

In December 1991, Fred Trump sold his 7.5 percent stake in the Trump Palace condominium building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to his son. The stake was worth about $15.5 million, the Times said, but Donald Trump bought it for just $10,000 — allowing his father to dodge millions in tax liability.

In the years before his father’s death, the Times said, Donald Trump participated in an effort to systematically lower the appraised values of Fred Trump’s buildings. That included dividing their ownership among a series of new companies to give the impression that Fred Trump did not control them.

The Times described these machinations as the “alchemy of turning real estate that would soon be valued at nearly $900 million into $41.4 million.”

Trump doubles down on male victimhood WP 19/3/18 Jennifer Rubin

President Trump on Tuesday cranked up the volume on his white male base’s primal scream to ear-shattering decibels. He worries that this is a “very scary time for young men” in America, who are at risk of being accused of things they didn’t do. He insists, “My whole life I’ve heard you’re innocent until proven guilty, but now you’re guilty until proven innocent. That is a very, very difficult standard.” The president — with more than a dozen accusers claiming he engaged in unwanted sexual conduct — knows a thing or two about victimhood, he’d have you believe.

Just in case anyone doubted what he thought of female accusers, he mocked Christine Blasey Ford at a rally Tuesday night in Mississippi. “I don’t know. I don’t know. What neighborhood was it? I don’t know,” he told the crowd. “Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs? Downstairs? Where was it — I don’t know. But I had one beer, that’s the only thing I remember.” She is no victim in his mind. She’s a punchline.

Trump’s concern for the falsely accused doesn’t extend to either Bill or Hillary Clinton, whom he’d like to “lock up” without further ado. His concern for false accusations did not extend to the Central Park Five, the African American teenagers whom he initially wanted executed — and 14 years after the fact still claimed were guilty despite DNA evidence exonerating them.

His concern about the presumption of innocence doesn’t extend to Mexican immigrants (“rapists!”), Muslim immigrants (“terrorists!”), FBI agents (liberal schemers), President Barack Obama (tapped his wires) or really anyone except privileged, rich white men whose lives and politics resemble his own.

In Yemen and Beyond, U.S. Arms Manufacturers Are Abetting Crimes against Humanity ICH By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies September 27, 2018

Our leading weapons dealers have developed a business model that feeds on war, terrorism, chaos, political instability, and human rights violations.

Trump’s “Opposition” Supports All His Evil Agendas While Attacking Fake Nonsense ICH By Caitlin Johnstone, September 27, 2018

This is about as depraved as anything you could possibly imagine. US-made bombs have been conclusively tied to civilian deaths in a war which has caused the single worst humanitarian crisis on earth, a crisis which sees scores of Yemeni children dying every single day and has placed five million children at risk of death by starvation in a nation where families are now eating leaves to survive.

Nobody other than war plutocrats benefits from the US assisting Saudi Arabia in its monstrous crimes against humanity, and yet Pompeo chose to override his own expert advisors on the matter for fear of hurting the income of those very war plutocrats.

US Way Or No Way: Trump Treated Rest Of World as America’s Footstool at UNSC By Finian Cunningham, September 27, 2018

Donald Trump chaired the UN Security Council this week to deliver a thuggish ultimatum to the world to obey American orders on Iran or face retribution for not kowtowing to Washington’s diktat.

The world’s highest forum for maintaining global security and peace was thus turned into a platform for brazen, criminal American rhetoric.

Why Do Republicans Hate Women? ICH By César Chelala, September 27, 2018

If one follows the behavior of Republican law-makers over the last several years, a pattern soon emerges: most of their policies tend to limit women’s rights, in an overt or clear way. And one cannot but wonder about what prompts this negative behavior. Are they, perhaps, unaware of it or, more pointedly, it reflects their deep-rooted prejudices against women?

The recent Republicans’ misdeeds in the path leading to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court are telling. Led by Chuck Grassley, the Senate Judiciary chair (a man from whom I certainly wouldn’t buy a used car) the Republican legislators used every possible subterfuge to try to assure the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. And they did that despite important evidence that, in his youth, Brett Kavanaugh committed abusive sexual acts against defenseless women.

However, this behavior is not new. For decades the Republicans’ actions have gone against women’s rights and wishes. The term “war on women,” was originally used by feminist author Andrea Dworkin in 1989. In a 1996 memoir entitled The Republican War Against Women: An Insider’s Report from Behind the Lines, Tanya Melich, a former Republican political consultant, wrote about the incorporation of the pro-life movement and the opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment by Republicans as diverging from feminist causes and concerns.

Brett Kavanaugh's Anger

Kavanaugh is the Face of American Male Rage Medium, by JESSICA VALENTI, 9/27/18

Men are being held accountable — and it has them mad as hell

It was the laughing, she said, that she couldn’t forget. Christine Blasey Ford, in testimony lauded on both sides of the political aisle as credible and moving, told the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27 that the amusement of her tormentors was the most lasting memory of the sexual attack she alleges Brett Kavanaugh committed in 1982.

“They were laughing with each other,” she said through tears, “two friends having a really good time with one another.”

A cruel irony of sexual assault and harassment is that the traumas which frequently determine the trajectory of women’s lives are just as often unremarkable to the men who have inflicted them.

This is why, I suspect, these men become so shocked and enraged when they’re asked to answer for their actions: When they say “nothing happened,” it’s not just a denial?—?it’s that they truly believe the incident was not a big deal.

Incredulous male rage has snowballed recently, rolling alongside the #MeToo movement at a steady pace and picking up steam over the last month. Men accused of being abusers are demanding back their coveted spots as comedians, writers, radio hosts and more. How dare women take them away to begin with!

Yesterday, Kavanaugh was the face of that backlash?—?an avatar for entitled, white male rage in the U.S. Angry, sputtering, petulant?—?the judge could barely contain his fury over being expected to answer for himself. As Slate’s Lili Loofbourow put it: “This person does not seem to have a lot of experience coping with not getting what he wants.”

Instead of responding to questions directly, Kavanaugh repeated his professional and academic bonafides as if his elite background was proof of good character. When Senator Sheldon Whitehouse asked the judge about references in his high school yearbook about drinking to the point of vomiting, Kavanaugh responded, “I was at the top of my class academically.”

“Captain of the varsity basketball team,” he continued. “Got in Yale College. When I got into Yale College, got into Yale Law School.”

Don’t you know who I am?

When Sen. Amy Klobuchar - who prefaced her questions with anecdote about her own father’s alcoholism - asked Kavanaugh if he had ever blacked out, the judge snapped, “Have you?” Even after she repeated the question, once again Kavanaugh sneered: “I’m curious if you have.”

In that moment, it was not hard to imagine the belligerent, drunk Brett Kavanaugh as described by his former classmates.

Alexandra Schwartz at the New Yorker called this behavior “a model of American conservative masculinity…directly tied to the loutish, aggressive frat-boy persona that Kavanaugh is purportedly seeking to dissociate himself from.”

And, as is often the case with frat boys, Kavanaugh’s brothers had his back. One after another, the male Senators gave emotional apologies to the judge for even having to be there, bemoaning the loss of his life and reputation. Like Kavanaugh, they were appalled that the judge was expected to explain himself.

As if the possibility of him NOT ascending to the Supreme Court?—?and just continuing to serve on the second most important court in the country - would be a travesty. As if Kavanaugh was owed a smooth, unquestioned, path to whatever he wanted. And with that, the hearing stopped being about Blasey Ford’s experience or even Kavanaugh’s fitness for the job, and instead became a stage for broader and bitter male resentment?—?furious over the seemingly new expectation of accountability, and raging over not immediately being given what was promised to them.

That Blasey Ford was so accommodating and kind throughout the day?—?repeating multiple times that she just wanted to be helpful?—?only drove home this feeling: Even as women calmly and expertly explain the ways in which men have hurt us, our pain is immediately drowned out and glossed over by men’s belief that they should not have to answer to us, of all people.

My optimistic side would like to think that yesterday was the last loud gasp of a dying patriarchy, an astounded sexist minority trying its best to rebel against an emerging feminist majority. The less hopeful part of me, though?—?the part that still thinks quite a lot about America’s history of choosing poorly between a measured, informed woman and a belligerent, snapping man?—?is worried that Kavanaugh, and the men like him, will still be laughing in the end.

How Conservatives Rationalized Their Being Cold Warriors ICH By William Blum, 9/26/18

Can the man be serious? Yes, he is. God help us. I’ve published 5 books which give the lie to that statement, detailing all the foreign governments the US has overthrown, or tried to, because they were too friendly with Moscow, or were themselves too communist or too socialist, or simply too liberal. China, France, Italy, Greece, Korea, Albania, Iran, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Haiti, British Guiana, Iraq, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Congo, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Ghana, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Australia, Portugal, East Timor, Angola, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Philippines, Grenada, Suriname, Libya, Panama... I’m only up to 1989... God help us... Read my books...

So, overthrowing governments and assassinating their leaders because they’re friendly to the Soviet Union is not a contradiction to trying to improve relations with the Soviet Union. Interesting. The CIA also connived to get Soviet diplomats expelled from various countries and did various things to block Soviet international financial transactions, etc., etc. All signs of trying to improve relations with Moscow? Silly me for not thinking of that. I’ll have to revise my books.

The above is one example of how conservatives rationalized their being Cold Warriors -– The United States always meant well. No matter how bad their foreign interventions may have looked, America’s heart was always in the right place. The current US secretary of Defense, James Mattis, recently stated: “We are the good guys. We’re not the perfect guys, but we are the good guys. And so we’re doing what we can.”

Russian interference in US election [is] The new Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction
The Washington Post has a regular “fact checker”, Glenn Kessler, who checks the accuracy of statements made by politicians and other public figures. On September 3 he announced that President Trump’s first 592 days in office had produced 4,713 false or misleading claims; that’s about 8 per day.

The article included a list of the types of claims, including the investigation into “Russian interference in the 2016 election” and whether people in the Trump campaign were in any way connected to it. Kessler believes they were. “All told, more than 200 times the president has made claims suggesting the Russia probe is made up, a hoax or a fraud.”

The “fact checker” needs to be fact-checked. He takes it as gospel that Russia consciously and purposefully interfered in the election, but like all the many other commentators offers no evidence. It’s conceivable that evidence of such has actually been presented and I was in a coma that day. (Would I remember that I was in a coma? Probably only if someone told me. So far no one has told me that I was in a coma.)

Keep in mind that a statement from the CIA that Russia interfered in the election does not count as evidence. It’s merely a statement.

Keep in mind that a statement from the FBI that Russia interfered in the election does not count as evidence. It’s merely a statement.

Keep in mind that a statement from the NSA that Russia interfered in the election does not count as evidence. It’s merely a statement.

Keep in mind that a statement from a dozen other US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election does not count as evidence. It’s merely a statement.

Here’s James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence: “To me it stretches credulity to think that the Russians didn’t have profound impact” on the outcome of the election. Clearly if the man had any evidence to substantiate his statement he would have provided it at the time. He did not provide any. So all we get is another statement.

There are not many government bureaucrats who would publicly contradict the CIA, the FBI and the NSA on an important intelligence matter. How impressed would you be if a dozen Russian intelligence agencies all declared that Russia did not interfere in any way in the US 2016 election?

Moreover, keep in mind that numerous notices and advertisements posted to Facebook and other social media calling for the election of Trump and/or the defeat of Clinton do not count as evidence of Russian interference in the election even if some or most of the postings were seemingly made by Russians. Countless other notices and advertisements called for the election of Clinton and/or the defeat of Trump.

Moreover, many of these social-media postings (which members of Congress and the media like to make so much of) were posted well before the candidates were chosen, or even after the election took place.

So what do we make of all this? Well, it’s been pointed out that most of these postings were to so-called “click-bait” Internet sites that earn payments based on their volume of traffic. I have not come across any other explanation of the huge number of electoral postings during 2014-2017.

And forget about Trump aides like Paul Manafort and his partner Rick Gates, who’ve been charged with various financial crimes such as money laundering, tax and bank fraud, failure to register as a lobbyist, and more; in part the charges involve Ukraine – But NOTHING to do with Russian interference in the 2016 US election, although their cases have undoubtedly fed that story.

[...]

Even if you assumed that all the charges made about “Russian interfering in the elections” were true, and put them all together, they still wouldn’t have a fraction of the impact on the 2016 elections as did Republicans in several states by disenfranchising likely Democratic voters (blacks, poor, students, people in largely Democratic districts), by purging state voting lists.

Noam Chomsky has pointed out that Israeli intervention in US elections “vastly overwhelms” anything Russia has done. Israeli leader Netanyahu goes directly to speak to Congress without even consulting the president.

The United States joined a grand alliance with the forces of the communist Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin in World War II, but Washington can’t even talk civilly now with capitalist Russia.

When your goal is world domination any country that stands in the way of that is an enemy. American conservatives in particular have a most difficult time shaking this mind-set. Here’s the prominent conservative host of National Public Radio (NPR), Cokie Roberts, bemoaning Trump’s supposed desire to develop friendly relations with Russia, saying: “This country has had a consistent policy for 70 years towards the Soviet Union and Russia, and Trump is trying to undo that.”

If Trump were to establish good relations with Russia the lack of a European enemy would also leave NATO (= the US) even more obviously unnecessary.

Then we have the Skripal poisoning case allegedly carried out by Russia in the UK: There are just two things missing to support this allegation: 1) any verifiable evidence, AT ALL, and 2) any plausible motive for the Russian government to have carried out such a crime. But stay tuned, the Brits may yet find Vladimir Putin’s passport at the scene of the crime.

One of Washington’s greatest crimes

The world will long remember the present immigrant crisis in Europe, which has negatively affected countless people there, and almost all countries. History will certainly record it as a major tragedy. Could it have been averted? Or kept within much more reasonable humane bounds?

After the United States and NATO began to bomb Libya in March 2011 – almost daily for more than six months! – to overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi (with the completely phoney excuse that Gaddafi was about to invade Benghazi, the Libyan center of his opponents, and so the United States and NATO were thus saving the people of that city from a massacre}, the Libyan leader declared: “Now listen you people of Nato. You’re bombing a wall, which stood in the way of African migration to Europe and in the way of al Qaeda terrorists. This wall was Libya. You’re breaking it. You’re idiots, and you will burn in Hell for thousands of migrants from Africa.”

Remember also that Libya was a secular society, like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, all destroyed by America while supporting Saudi Arabia and various factions of al Qaeda. It’s these countries that have principally overrun Europe with refugees.

Gaddafi, like Saddam Hussein, had a tyrant side to him but could in important ways be benevolent and do very valuable things. He, for example, founded the African Union and gave the Libyan people the highest standard of living in all of Africa; they had not only free education and health care but all kinds of other benefits that other Africans could only dream about. But Moammar Gaddafi was never a properly obedient client of Washington. Amongst other shortcomings, the man threatened to replace the US dollar with gold for payment of oil transactions and create a common African currency. He was, moreover, a strong supporter of the Palestinians and foe of Israel.

In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the prime moving force behind the United States and NATO turning Libya into a failed state, where it remains today. The attack against Libya was one that the New York Times said Clinton had “championed”, convincing President Obama in “what was arguably her moment of greatest influence as Secretary of State.”

The American people and the American media of course swallowed the phoney story fed to them, though no evidence of the alleged impending massacre has ever been presented. The nearest thing to an official US government account of the matter – a Congressional Research Service report on events in Libya for the period – makes no mention at all of the threatened massacre. Keep this in mind when reading the latest accusations against Russia.

The US/NATO heavy bombing of Libya led also to the widespread dispersal throughout North African and Middle East hotspots of the gigantic arsenal of weaponry that Gaddafi had accumulated. Libya is now a haven for terrorists, from al Qaeda to ISIS, whereas Gaddafi had been a leading foe of terrorists.

Oh my god, I’ve been called an anti-Semite!

British Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and many others in the UK and the US are attacked for being anti-Semitic if they criticize Israel. But John McCain had very friendly meetings, and posed for photos, with prominent neo-Nazis in Ukraine and the Middle East – without being accused of being anti-Semitic. People involved in political activity on the left have to learn to ignore charges of anti-Semitism stemming from their criticism of Israel. These accusations are just thrown out as a tactic to gain political advantage – like with “anti-American” and “conspiracy theorist” – and do not deserve to be taken seriously. Whenever possible, such name-calling should be made fun of.

There’s an unwritten rule in right wing circles: It’s okay to be anti-Semitic as long as you’re pro-Israel. Evangelical preacher Pat Robertson is such an example.

While in the past an “anti-Semite” was someone who hates Jews, nowadays it is the other way around: An anti-Semite is someone the Jews hate.

“God appointed America to save the world in any way that suits America. God appointed Israel to be the nexus of America’s Middle Eastern policy and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is a) anti-Semitic, b) anti-American, c) with the enemy, and d) a terrorist.” – John LeCarré

George Bush, Sr.’s Secretary of State, James Baker, famously said to a colleague: “Fuck the Jews! They don’t vote for us anyway”.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser under Jimmy Carter: “An anti-Israel bias is not the same as anti-Semitism. To argue as much is to claim an altogether unique immunity for Israel, untouchable by the kind of criticism that is normally directed at the conduct of states.”

What the man [Trump] actually believes about his presidency

He keeps bragging about how he forced NATO to collect more money from members other than The United States. Here he is in a phone conversation with Bob Woodward of the Washington Post.

"You do know I'm doing a great job for the country. You do know that NATO now is going to pay billions and billions of dollars more, as an example, than anybody thought possible, that other presidents were unable to get more? ... So it's a tremendous amount of money. No other president has done it. It was heading down in the opposite direction."

Woodward said nothing to contradict Lord Trump. Someone other than the Post’s star reporter might have – just might – have pointed out that giving NATO billions more is not necessarily a good thing, that the member countries might have – just might – have spent that money on health, education, the environment, etc., etc. for their own people instead of more planes, bombs and tanks.

If not at that very moment on the phone, Woodward or the Post could at least have mentioned this subsequently in print.

William Blum is an American author, historian, and critic of United States foreign policy. He worked in a computer-related position at the United States Department of State in the mid-1960s. Initially an anti-communist with dreams of becoming a foreign service officer, he became disillusioned by the Vietnam War. https://williamblum.org

The Path to World War III: Risky Israeli behavior threatens everyone ICH by Philip Giraldi September 26, 2018


The minimal U.S. press coverage accorded to last Monday’s shooting down of a Russian intelligence plane off the coast of Syria is, of course, a reflection both of lack of interest and of Israel’s involvement in the incident. If one had read the New York Times or the Washington Post on the morning after the shoot-down or watched the morning network news it would have been easy to miss the story altogether. The corporate media’s desire to sustain established foreign policy narratives while also protecting Israel at all costs is as much a feature of American television news as are the once every five minutes commercials from big pharma urging the public to take medications for diseases that no one has ever heard of.

All Wars Are Illegal, So What Do We Do About It? ICH By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, September 26, 2018

Every war being fought today is illegal. Every action taken to carry out these wars is a war crime.

In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact or Pact of Paris was signed and ratified by the United States and other major nations that renounced war as a way to resolve conflicts, calling instead for peaceful ways of handling disputes.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact was the basis for the Nuremberg Tribunal, in which 24 leaders of the Third Reich were tried and convicted for war crimes, and for the Tokyo Tribunal, in which 28 leaders of the Japanese Empire were tried and convicted for war crimes, following World War II.

Such prosecutions should have prevented further wars, but they have not. David Swanson of World Beyond War argues that a fundamental task of the antiwar movement is to enforce the rule of law. What good are new treaties, he asks, if we can’t uphold the ones that already exist?

The United States is violating international law, and escalating its aggression

All wars and acts of aggression by the United States since 1928 have violated the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the United Nations Charter since it was signed in 1945. The UN Charter states, in Article 2:

"All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."

Yet, the United States has a long history of threatening aggression and using military force to remove governments it opposed and install friendly ones. Illegal attacks by the US since World War II have resulted in 20 million people being killed in 37 nations. For example, as we outline in “North Korea and the United States: Will the Real Aggressor Please Stand Down,”the United States used violence to install Syngman Rhee in power in the 1940’s and subsequently killed millions of Koreans, in both the South and the North, in the Korean War, which has not ended. Under international law, the “war games” practicing to attack North Korea with conventional and nuclear weapons are illegal threats of military action.

The list of interventions by the United States is too long to list here. Basically, the US has been interfering in and attacking other countries almost continuously since its inception. Currently the US is involved directly in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. The US is threatening Iran and Venezuela with attack.

The United States has 883 military bases in 183 countries and has hundreds of outposts scattered throughout the world. Lynn Petrovich recently examined the new defense budget. With regard to the Pentagon’s 2019 budget report, she writes:

If the planet is our community, America is the bully in the neighborhood. Reference to the word ‘lethal’ is sprinkled no less than 3 dozen times throughout The Report (‘more lethal force’ p. 2-6, ‘technology innovation for increased lethality’ p.1-1, ‘increasing the lethality of new and existing weapons systems’ p. 3-2)."...

"Were it not for The Report’s dire (yet, fully funded) predictions for world domination, one would think this budget request was satire by The Onion."

Included in the new budget are funds to recruit 26,000 more of our youth into the military, purchase ten more “combat ships,” build more F-35s, even though they don’t work, and “modernize” our nuclear weapons. At a time when the United States is losing power in the world and falling behind in wealth, the government voted nearly unanimously to provide $74 billion more than last year to be more aggressive. Imagine what that money could do if it were applied instead to improving public education, transitioning to a clean energy economy and a public works program to restore our failing infrastructure.

The United States empire is falling and blindly taking all of us down with it as it tries to assert its power.

What to do about it

The peace movement in the United States is being revived and building alliances with peace activists in many countries, and it can’t happen fast enough. There are many opportunities for action this fall, the “Antiwar Autumn.”

The World Beyond War conference, #NoWar2018, just concluded in Toronto. The focus of the conference was legalizing peace. Among the topics discussed was how to use courts to prevent wars, stop the escalation of militarism and investigate war crimes. Professor Daniel Turp of the University of Montreal and his students have sued the Canadian government over participating in extraditing prisoners to Guantanamo, potential intervention in Iraq and providing weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Turp recommends that activists who are considering legal action first look to domestic courts for a remedy. If none exists or domestic action is unsuccessful, then it is possible to turn to international bodies such as the International Criminal Court or the United Nations. Any people or organizations can file a report or complaint with these bodies. Before doing so, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible, first hand accounts are strong but even hearsay can be grounds to trigger an investigation.

Currently, Popular Resistance is supporting an effort to ask the International Criminal Court to launch a full investigation of Israel for its war crimes. People and organizations are invited to sign on to the letter, which will be delivered by a delegation, including us, to the Hague in November.

SIGN ON: TELL THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT TO INVESTIGATE ISRAEL’S CRIMESSince the Nakba in 1947, Israel has displaced, brutalized and murdered Palestinians. The United States is Israel’s biggest supporter and regularly provides cover for the crimes committed by Israel.

The US gives more money to Israel than to any other country, almost $135 billion since 1946. The last Memorandum of Understanding with Israel, signed by President Obama, gives a record $38 billion over ten years.

The United States and Israel consistently vote as a bloc in the United Nations to oppose recognition of Palestine and to prevent criticism of Israel’s actions. During the six weeks of peaceful actions by Palestinians starting in March to demand their Right of Return, the United States tried to block a UN resolution calling on Israel to show constraint instead of injuring and murdering Palestinians, including children, reporters and medics. Fortunately, the resolution passed without the US in June.

William Curtis Edstrom of Nicaragua wrote a letter to the United Nations in advance of Trump’s visit to serve as the chair of the Security Council meeting. He is requesting “hearings, debate and vote on an effective plan of action against various crimes that have been committed by people working for the government of the US that are of significance to the global community.”

This week, Medea Benjamin confronted a Trump administration official, the head of the new “Iran Action Group,” at the Hudson Institute. President Trump is planning to advocate for more aggression against Iran at the United Nations. When the US tried this in the past, it has received push back from other nations Now it is clear it is the US, not Iran, that has violated the nuclear agreement and is conducting an economic war against Iran while threatening military action. The world is likely to stand up to Trump and US threats.

Recent progress towards peace by North and South Korea show that activism is effective. Sarah Freeman-Woolpert reports on efforts by activists in South Korea and the United States to build coalitions and organize strategic actions that create the political space for peace.

Leaders of both countries met this week to discuss improving relations and finding a compromise between North Korea and the United States. President Moon will meet with President Trump at the United Nations this month. Korean activists say that their greatest concern is that Koreans finally having “the ability to shape the future of [their] country.”

When we understand that war is illegal, our task becomes clear. We need to make sure that all nations, especially the United States, obey the law. We can replace war with mediation, conflict resolution and adjudication. We can legalize peace.

Noam Chomsky on the State of the Empire ICH By Jeremy Scahill and Noam Chomsky 9/26/18

The world laughed at U.S. President Donald Trump at the United Nations, but the imperial declarations he issued are no laughing matter.

Trump may come off as a buffoon, but his global agenda is consistent with the bipartisan empire machine that runs the United States.

Bannon Declares ‘War Rooms’ to Win European Elections – and That’s Not Meddling? ICH By Finian Cunningham, September 26, 2018

One trait of imperial decadence is untrammeled hubris. Given the increasingly arrant arrogance on display by United States’ officials, public figures and news media we can safely conclude that this empire is accelerating into decadence.

A recent spectacular example comes with separate visits to Europe by US defense secretary James Mattis and Steve Bannon, the former aide to President Trump.

Bannon was addressing a rightwing forum in Italy at the weekend in which he declared that he would be devoting “80 per cent” of his time to help anti-European Union parties win seats in the next European parliamentary elections due in May 2019.

How Conservatives Rationalized Their Being Cold Warriors ICh By William Blum

Israeli intervention in US elections "vastly overwhelms" anything Russia has done.

Email from Science Action Alert, 9/23/18: Trump proposes MASSIVE cuts to cancer research

There’s no shortage of words to describe this: Despicable. Short-sided. Cruel. Disturbing.

Major scientific and medical breakthroughs of tomorrow aren’t going to happen if Trump pulls the plug on hundreds of millions of dollars in critical research funding.

[What a dick! -CG]

Trump orders ‘immediate’ declassification of FISA documents, DOJ-FBI texts RT 17 Sep, 2018

US President Donald Trump has ordered “immediate declassification” of materials related to the surveillance of his campaign aide Carter Page, as well all text messages related to the Russia investigation.

The decision was made at the request of a number of congressional committees and “for reasons of transparency,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday.

Trump’s order instructs the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Department of Justice - including the FBI - to immediately declassify pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court, used to justify surveillance of Carter Page, as well as “all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.”

Email from Friends of the Earth, 9/14/18: Methane

This week, Trump and Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler launched another attack on our environment and our communities.

They announced a plan to gut the EPA’s methane pollution standards. If their plan goes through, it would mean polluters would be free to pour even more of this dangerous greenhouse gas into our atmosphere. This would harm our health and bring us further to the brink of climate disaster.

Methane is one of the biggest drivers of climate change. What’s more, it’s linked to severe public health impacts -- including increasing the risk of asthma and cancer.

The EPA’s restrictions on methane pollution are a common-sense effort to protect our environment and our communities. The only reason the Trump administration wants to roll them back is to help its friends in the fossil fuel industry make more profits.

This is just the latest in a string of efforts by the Trump administration to hand over our environment to corporate polluters. Trump’s Department of the Interior is also poised to roll back restrictions on methane pollution. And just last week, it advanced its plan to gut the Clean Power Plan.

Trump's tweets on 9/11 show he’s 'out of touch,' John Kerry says WP 9/13/18

With all the world's crises, this is John Bolton's top concern? WP 9/13/18 By Editorial Board

IN A normal U.S. administration, the president’s national security adviser would be preoccupied by the daunting array of current global crises, including: the incipient Russia-backed offensive in Syria that could kill or displace hundreds of thousands; the massive wave of refugees pouring out of Venezuela, which U.N. officials say is the largest such exodus in Latin American history; and China’s campaign against Muslims in its Xinjiang region, the most sweeping mass repression the regime has conducted since the Mao Zedong era. That’s not to mention Russia’s continuing effort to sabotage Western democracy, including the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.

Thus, it was remarkable to hear the content of John Bolton’s first significant public address as President Trump’s top foreign policy strategist: a narrow and essentially irrelevant assault on the International Criminal Court (ICC). Rather than address the most urgent challenges to U.S. strategic interests, Mr. Bolton chose to champion a pet peeve.

Mr. Bolton has crusaded against the ICC for decades, and spent much of his tenure in the George W. Bush administration trying to neuter the court. Though the court has its defects, some of his own colleagues regarded his efforts as, at best, a waste of time and, at worst, harmful: Mr. Bolton endangered security cooperation programs with key allies, such as Mexico, by insisting they sign agreements pledging never to cooperate with the ICC in a case involving an American — an entirely theoretical prospect. Mr. Bolton called that pointless campaign “one of my proudest achievements.”

In reality, the ICC has devoted its prosecutions almost entirely to Africans. Though investigators have begun a preliminary inquiry of possible war crimes in Afghanistan, no cases against Americans have been opened.

Anatomy of a Trump rally: 68 percent of claims are false, misleading or lacking evidence WP 9/13/18 By Glenn Kessler

More than two-thirds of every factual claim made by President Trump at two of his rallies turns out to be false, misleading or unsupported by evidence.

Arrests of migrant families rose 38 percent in August in what Trump officials call a ‘crisis’ at the border WP by Nick Miroff, 9/12/18

[We would not be having this problem if the US would quit farting around with central and south american democracies. We keep overthrowing them and placing dictators in their place who then use death squads on their own people. OF COURSE people are fleeing to the US. It is the closest safe place.

Overturn Trump's stupid stupid fight against immigrants and refugees. Sheesh!]

Border Patrol terrorizing decent people (Matt York/AP)

Email from Michael Moore, 9/11/18: My new movie

Donald J. Trump did not just fall from the sky. His rise to the presidency was not an aberration and should not have come as a shock. It was the logical end result of a long, downward spiral in America that culminated in one of our most loathsome citizens conquering our most powerful political office. One of our most deceptive minds commanding the bully pulpit. One of our most fraudulent hucksters armed with the powers of the presidency to protect him.

How did this happen?! What did we do to deserve this?!

Well, where shall I begin ...

For the past several months, I've been working on my next film, "Fahrenheit 11/9," and I'm finally ready to share it with the world.

It is already being talked about as one of the most anticipated films of the fall.

With the film, I set out to answer the two questions that have been haunting most Americans since that fateful morning on 11/9/2016, when, at 2:29 a.m., the Associated Press officially called the election for Donald J. Trump: How the f**ck did we get here and, most importantly, how the f**ck do we get out of it?

This is not a film telling you what a jerk Trump is, or what an buffoon Trump is, or what a liar Trump is. You already know that. Everybody already knows that, except for your conservative brother-in-law, whose mind you'll never be able to change. I wouldn't waste your time or my time making the kind of film that would convince him. And with all due respect to your conservative brother-in-law, we don't need him. We're the majority in this country, he's the minority; he knows it, and that's why he's so mad!

Instead, my team and I were on a mission to tell a much more important story. It's a story about hope ... and what comes after it. It's a story about deception and betrayal. It's a story about what happens to people when they've hit rock bottom. It's a story about who we are as a people and what it means to be an American in the era of Trump. Ultimately, it's a story about where we might be heading as a society.

My team and I have moved heaven and earth to make sure we delivered this film to you in time to have an impact in this year’s midterm elections. I'm excited to announce to you that "Fahrenheit 11/9" will open in more movie theaters than any of my previous films; it will be in over 1,500 theaters across America! And I know that MoveOn members like you are moving heaven and earth to win this election.

We open nationwide on September 21, 45 days before the most important election in American history (and with voter registration still open nationwide!).

I've made a film that was meant to be seen on a big screen, in a dark theater, filled with a hundred strangers. My hope is that you will experience the magic of cinema the way that it was meant to be experienced and that you will be moved and entertained by it. But that you also will be inspired to act.

I'm writing you today because I need your help. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing updates and rallying folks to join MoveOn’s efforts to get MILLIONS of Americans to the polls this November.

Every bit of anger, despair, or frustration that you've felt over the past few years must be channeled into action this fall! And I'm excited to be partnering with my friends at MoveOn to help make sure that happens. MoveOn is working around the clock to help organize and turn out volunteers to get the vote out in November.

We're the majority. But we need to rise up. That's the only way out of this.

This is it. It's up to us. Let's rise up.

Ethiopia – A Case Study in Take-Over by Western Interests By Peter Koenig, September 11, 2018

Ethiopia is a landlocked country, bordering on Somalia which is dominating the Horn of Africa. Due to several border conflicts during the past decades with Somalia, many of them supportive of Ethiopia by the US military, the border between the two countries has become porous and ill-defined. Ethiopia is also bordering on Djibouti, where the United States has a Naval Base, Camp Lemonnier, next to Djibouti’s international airport. The base is under AFRICOM, the Pentagon’s African Command. AFRICOM has its boots in Ethiopia, as it does in many other African countries.

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, has already demonstrated that he is poised to hand over his country to western interests, vultures, such as the World Bank, IMF and eventually the globalized Wall Street banking clan. In fact, it looks like these institutions were instrumental in manipulating parliamentary maneuvers, with arm-twisting of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to make Mr. Abyi the new Prime Minister, succeeding Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, who rather suddenly was forced to resign in February 2018, amidst endless foreign induced protests and violent street demonstrations. With EPRDF Ethiopia is a de facto one-party state. EPRDF is a coalition of different regional representations.

Proud Ethiopia, has never been colonized by western powers per se, except for a brief Italian military occupation (1935 – 1939) by Mussolini. And now, in the space of a few months, since Mr. Abiy’s ascent to power, the country is being enslaved by the new western colonial instruments, the so-called international development institutions, the World Bank, IMF – and others will follow.

Mr. Abiy is an Oromo leader; Oromia being a disputed area between Ethiopia and Somalia. The latter is effectively controlling the Horn of Africa, overseeing the Gulf of Aden (Yemen) and the entire Iran controlled Persian Gulf area. Control over the Horn of Africa is on Washington’s strategic wish list and may have become an attainable target, with the Oromo leader and new PM, Abiy Ahmed.

Think about it – Yemen, another ultra-strategic location, being bombed to ashes by the Saudis on behalf of the western powers, primarily the US and the UK, being subdued for domination by the west wanting to control the Gulf area, foremost Iran and her riches. On the other hand, Ethiopia, a prime location as an assault basis for drones, war planes and ships.

John Bolton: U.S. Will Not Cooperate with International Criminal Court Bolton threatened ICC judges with sanctions if they attempt to prosecute Americans over alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

The ICC is an intergovernmental organization based in the Netherlands that hears cases on genocide and other crimes against humanity.

Scarborough 9/11 op-ed: Trump more of a threat to US 'than any foreign adversary' The Hill

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough writes in a new column that President Trump is more of a threat to the United States "than any foreign adversary," including terror groups like al Qaeda.

The commentary from the former Republican party member and GOP congressman in a Tuesday Washington Post op-ed comes as the country marks the 17th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 attacks , which killed more than 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

"Sixteen years of strategic missteps have been followed by the maniacal moves of a man who has savaged America’s vital alliances, provided comfort to hostile foreign powers, attacked our intelligence and military communities, and lent a sympathetic ear to neo-Nazis and white supremacists across the globe," wrote "Morning Joe" co-host.

"For those of us still believing that Islamic extremists hate America because of the freedoms we guarantee to all people, the gravest threat Trump poses to our national security is the damage done daily to America’s image," he continues.

"Osama bin Laden was killed by SEAL Team 6 before he accomplished that goal. Other tyrants who tried to do the same were consigned to the ash heap of history. The question for voters this fall is whether their country will move beyond this troubled chapter in history or whether they will continue supporting a politician who has done more damage to the dream of America than any foreign adversary ever could," Scarborough concludes.

The GOP has a communicable disease WP By Richard Cohen, September 10

The Republican Party has a communicable disease. It has been intimate for so long with President Trump that it acts pretty much as he does. He lies and then Republicans lie about his lies — they don’t matter, just noise, the wall is more important, etc. These evasions are intended to suggest that moral squalor can be cleansed by a jump in the Dow Jones or a handshake with Kim Jong Un. The months of Trump have taken a toll. The GOP has been stripped of its dignity and honor by a president who has neither.

A new kind of McCarthyism has emerged. It is not the one named for that bullying fraud, the late senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. This new one takes its name from Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader from California. He has traveled the country on behalf of Republican House candidates, name-dropping the ultimate name as a credential. “I developed a relationship with the president long before he was president and so you have a trust level,” the Wall Street Journal quotes him as saying. Maybe. But does McCarthy have a “trust level” in Trump’s judgment, honesty, competence, knowledge and — dare we say it — stability? If McCarthy does, it is a Guinness-worthy confession of idiocy.

McCarthy wants to succeed Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) as speaker, and he might if the GOP keeps its majority and if meanies to his right do not deprive him of the necessary votes. If that happens, he’d stand second in succession to the presidency — right behind the mannequin with the bobbing head posing as Vice President Pence [called an "abject enabler" on TV]. Yet McCarthy not only failed to protest when the president asked his attorney general to investigate who wrote an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times; he also called the writer a “subversive” who should be “exposed and fired.” Has the president never heard of the First Amendment? Has McCarthy?

Famous abusers seek easy forgiveness. Rosh Hashanah teaches us repentance is hard. WP By Danya Ruttenberg [Danya Ruttenberg is rabbi-in-residence at Avodah.] September 6

Since the #MeToo movement exploded almost a year ago, our culture has been grappling with questions about what repentance and redemption should look like in the context of sexual misconduct. A great many men have been named as perpetrators and suffered almost unprecedented professional consequences for it. Yet not even a full year later, many of the accused whose careers initially seemed ruined are angling for comebacks, including Mario Batali, Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly, Garrison Keillor and Kevin Spacey . Matt Lauer told some fans in late August, “Don’t worry, I’ll be back on TV,” despite allegations of an extreme and rampant pattern of sexual harassment. Louis C.K. performed a couple of weeks ago at a comedy club, his first gig since admitting that he had forced a number of women to watch him masturbate.

Are these men sorry? Should they be forgiven? More to the point, perhaps, who has the right to forgive them?

For such questions, sometimes you need a rabbi. Judaism has thousands of years of scholarship on forgiveness and atonement; this is the season when Jews traditionally make tshuvah — engaging in a process of repentance and repair for all we’ve done wrong this past year. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins Sunday night, and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, follows 10 days later. And the classical Jewish categories of “repentance,” “forgiveness” and “atonement” might be able to offer some insight to Jews and non-Jews alike.

The Jewish tradition teaches that repentance is really hard work, in contrast to the glib and easy way these accused perpetrators are seeking cheap forgiveness from popular culture. America is often perilously quick to welcome comebacks, in part because we don’t really know what it means to atone.

According to Jewish law, though, the most critical factor is repentance, tshuvah — the work that a person who has done harm must undertake. There are specific steps: The bad actor must own the harm perpetrated, ideally publicly. Then they must do the hard internal work to become the kind of person who does not harm in this way — which is a massive undertaking, demanding tremendous introspection and confrontation of unpleasant aspects of the self. Then they must make restitution for harm done, in whatever way that might be possible. Then — and only then — they must apologize sincerely to the victim. Lastly, the next time they are confronted with the opportunity to commit a similar misdeed, they must make a different, better choice.

The perfunctory public apologies that we have so often seen in the wake of allegations could, at best, be considered part of the first step toward repentance, taking ownership of the harm done. But they must reflect a genuine ownership of all actions taken — not “if I did behave then as he describes ,” as Spacey said; not complaining about the impact on their work (Keillor), fans (Batali) or family (Lauer), with minimal focus on the victims; not minimizing the complaints as Rose did, blaming God as O’Reilly did or guessing what the victims might have thought, as C.K.’s initial statement last year did. Issuing such superficial and narcissistic public statements is the only thing that any of the above-named men have done to signal any sort of repentance process, at least publicly.

Even if these men had taken full responsibility in their statements, a few months away from the spotlight isn’t long to be gone, given all the inner work that must be done. We’ve seen few indications that these accused perpetrators have gone directly to those they have harmed to make restitution — financial or otherwise — amends or apologies. Their interest in jumping back into the spotlight at the first opportunity raises suspicions about where their focus might really be.

What would indicate that their tshuvah was in earnest? A shift in priorities, an investment of their wealth or time into work protecting victims of assault and harassment or creating policies that would better prevent abuse. They would be stepping away from the ego-stroking, power-holding limelight that makes abuse so easy to perpetrate in the first place.

We would see something like the work of Rabbi Yosef Blau, who, after understanding his complicity in enabling a sexual abuser to continue his work as both a high school principal and youth group leader, has dedicated much of his life and work to advocating for victims of sexual assault. Or we might see real commitment to preventing harm in the future. Shira Berkovits, founder of Sacred Spaces , told me of a Christian man she once met who was incarcerated after raping his nephew. As he was preparing to be released, he wrote to churches telling them what he had done and asking for permission to pray there. For, he said, “I can’t be safe and the people around me can’t be safe unless we talk about the real risk” — the abuse that he knows he’s capable of committing.

He owned the harm he had done and asked for help from prospective faith communities to ensure that he’s not put in situations where he could rape again — all the while, of course, making himself very vulnerable to social rejection. While this is not necessarily complete tshuvah — I don’t know what amends he made to his victim, and I don’t know what choices he made once released — he was clearly working hard to change, not to do the same harm again. There are no shortcuts.

Of course, this work is not always lived out well, even in the Jewish world. Barry Freundel, a Washington rabbi jailed in 2015 for filming more than 150 women as they undressed for the ritual bath, issued a public apology that was clearly shaped by his knowledge of classical tshuvah literature. But as one of his victims noted, its impact was mitigated by his actions, including appeals for a lighter sentence — showing an unwillingness to accept the full consequences of his deeds.

And sometimes it’s simply not clear. When renowned sociologist Steven M. Cohen was accused by eight women of sexual harassment and misconduct, his public statement to the press hit all the right notes, also clearly informed by Jewish text. “I am committed,” he wrote, “to making the changes that are necessary to avoid recurrences in the future and, when the time is right, seek to apologize directly to, and ask forgiveness from, those I have unintentionally hurt.”

But I’ve spoken to several of his victims, including Keren McGinity, who is in touch with many more; to the best of her and my knowledge, he has not yet reached out to anyone for any sort of apology or amends. Whether he will at some point remains to be seen.

On a human, ethical level, there is always a path toward repentance, toward understanding the harm we have caused and toward doing the work of repair and restitution, to whatever degree that is possible. People can always grow and become better.

But how are the rest of us to decide whether these men and others like them have, in fact, repented? We don’t have to. Society can’t make the determination about when a perpetrator has done sufficient tshuvah, and the people who stand to earn money from enabling their “redemption” can’t make that determination, either. No matter what, we don’t need to reward men who have done harm with more opportunities for wealth, prestige, power and celebrity. Part of repenting is accepting the consequences of your actions; in this case, those consequences might come from the criminal justice system or from professional censure.

Whether an abuser’s victim or victims have forgiven them is a separate question from whether perpetrators — public entertainers or not — have done tshuvah, and it’s their business, not ours. There are many talented people whose work we could reward instead of rushing back to people who haven’t truly repented. That would send a clear message about not tolerating rape culture.

Rosh Hashanah is almost here. The Talmud teaches that the gates of repentance are always open. Maybe this will be the year that more perpetrators choose to walk through them.

What Donald Trump could learn from the Jewish tradition about apologizing WP By Mark Oppenheimer October 8, 2016

It's not enough to say you're sorry to a teleprompter.

Along with so much else that we learned about Donald Trump with the release of Friday’s tape — that he likes to “grab them by the p—y,” that being recently married is no impediment to such grabbing, that he has no idea when a microphone is live — we learned that even when Trump tries to apologize, he gets it all wrong.

We still have time to repent for American racism WP By Danya Ruttenberg [Danya Ruttenberg is rabbi-in-residence at Avodah.] September 18, 2017

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins Wednesday night. This is the season during which Jews make tshuvah — engage in the work of repentance and repair — for all we’ve done wrong in the past year. Tshuvah isn’t just about saying sorry; it’s really about healing wrongs, to whatever extent that might be possible.

And it’s that part about healing wrongs that makes this cultural moment in the United States so unsurprising. The rise of white nationalism, the election of a man who campaigned and governs on a platform of racist fearmongering, even the fact of Confederate statues serving as a political lighting rod — it’s all the product of tshuvah left undone.

Maimonides, the great 12th century philosopher and sage, defines complete tshuvah as that which happens when a person has the opportunity to commit the same sin as he had in the past, but does not — he makes a different choice the second time around. How could it be that you might return to the exact situation in which you had previously screwed up? Who gets an instant replay like that? My rabbi, Alan Lew, used to explain Maimonides thusly: “If you haven’t done the work of tshuvah in any kind of serious way, you’ll get back there.” That is, without the necessary soul-searching and growth, you will undoubtedly manage to find yourself in some variation of the same situation over and over and over again.

Our country is in that position. The Christian writer Jim Wallis has famously described racism as America’s “original sin.” Our country has never done tshuvah for its many racist wrongs — particularly those committed against black and indigenous people.

There has been no real introspection by those who hold institutional power, no formal apologies made to those enslaved or their descendants. There has been, on an official level, no display of curiosity about whether restitution is needed and what that might possibly look like.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) has introduced the bill that’s now known as H.R. 40 (the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act”) in Congress every single year for the last 28 years. It establishes a commission to study and develop reparation proposals that would “examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present” and make recommendations for solutions. Not to hand out money, just to study and make recommendations; implementation would be an entirely optional step outside the scope of the bill. Conyers’s bill has never even made it to the House floor.

We have never done the work of tshuvah as a country, and so we continue to find opportunities to commit the same sins, again and again and again. We went from slavery to lynchings, from Jim Crow to redlining to mass incarceration and challenges to voting rights. From the Trail of Tears to Wounded Knee to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

As Ta-Nehisi Coates put it:

To ignore the fact that one of the oldest republics in the world was erected on a foundation of white supremacy ,,, is to cover the sin of national plunder with the sin of national lying …. What is needed is an airing of family secrets, a settling with old ghosts. What is needed is a healing of the American psyche and the banishment of white guilt …. We cannot escape our history. All of our solutions to the great problems of health care, education, housing, and economic inequality are troubled by what must go unspoken.

There are several steps to making tshuvah: You have to acknowledge what you did wrong (no matter whether it was intentional). You have to take actions to correct the mistake, or to make amends, if possible. And you need to invest some time working out how things can be different next time.

Can an entire nation make tshuvah? One needs only look to Germany’s behavior over the past 70 or so years to know that it is, at the very least, possible to do some of the work at a national level. They have taken full responsibility for the Holocaust, issued formal apologies, paid over 66 billion euros in reparations payments, built memorials to the victims of atrocities — in sharp contrast to the veneration of Confederate slaveholders here — and are committed to being different, now. Everything from their attitude toward military engagement to the language in their textbooks is influenced by the knowledge that to become different, they need to behave differently.

There is much discussion in Maimonides’s “Laws of Tshuvah” and elsewhere in Jewish literature about whether or not someone who has committed an atrocity can ever do complete tshuvah — particularly in a situation in which true amends can never be made. Meaningful restitution can never be made to Nat Turner, Emmett Till, Sandra Bland, or 500 years’ worth of other human lives. But whether the United States — or Germany, for that matter — can, or should, ever be forgiven by our victims or their descendants isn’t the question. The work should be done not to attain absolution, but because it is the only moral way forward.

I don’t have a lot of hope that those with the greatest power in our federal government will be undertaking a tshuvah process for the sins of American racism any time soon. It’s much more likely that new wounds will be created in the coming months, new traumas, an entrenching of some oppressive systems and perhaps even the creation of new ones. We continue to arrive to the same place, again and again. But Maimonides reminds us that the gates of tshuvah are always open — we can become baalei tshuva, penitents, even on the day of our death. Perhaps one day our country will be ready to interrupt the cycle of injury and injustice on an institutional level. Until then, well, the rest of us have plenty of work to do.

Why Jews have a special obligation to resist Trump WP By Jill Jacobs and Daniel Sokatch November 21, 2016

Those of us who awoke after the presidential election in a state of disbelief have by now begun to recognize our frightening new political reality — and to act.

Donald Trump’s winning platform includes pledges to ban Muslims from entering our country, to forcibly deport millions of people, to remove legal protections from vulnerable minorities and to reinstate the use of torture. The president-elect has threatened massive attacks on human rights and constitutional freedoms. Just last week, he appointed to the highest advisory position in the White House Stephen K. Bannon, a former publisher of Breitbart News, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the “media arm” of the white supremacist alt-right movement. Noted anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney is reportedly serving as an adviser to the transition team. Jeff Sessions, considered too racist to be a federal judge in the 1980s, has been tapped as attorney general.

This platform is terrifying for many Americans, and not only for those Trump and his supporters have explicitly targeted. Protests and marches have sprung up nationwide. Already, Americans are turning dashed hopes and disbelief into principled action.

Half a century ago, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, “Let us yield no inch to bigotry, let us make no compromise with callousness.” As leaders of Jewish organizations committed to human rights, we believe that if ever there were a moment to commit to making no compromises with callousness, that moment must be now.

A platform so explicitly bigoted may be unprecedented in modern American politics, but it isn’t new to Jews. Many of us are alive today because, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents fled government persecution in Europe and other parts of the world. The United States allowed our families to find refuge here, and we built institutions to strengthen our ability to counter anti-Semitism and to work together toward social justice for all.

Jewish communal organizations have always worked with both Democratic and Republican administrations to make progress on the issues we care about, such as funding social services, supporting Israel and protecting civil liberties.

And we’ve already seen signs that some members of our community will treat this administration no differently. Several congratulated Trump on his victory; some expressed their faith that he would make good on his victory speech promise to “bind the wounds of division.”

For many Jewish organizations, it will be tempting to “move past” the disturbing policy goals and divisive rhetoric we heard during the campaign from Trump and his team and to engage in business as usual with the new administration. But if we take the president-elect at his word — and we must — we can’t afford business as usual. Now is the time for principled opposition, not accommodation.

At many points in our history, the Jewish community has fallen into the trap of believing that we can protect ourselves by proximity to power: by being the “Court Jew” or the shtadlan charged with lobbying the governments of medieval Europe on behalf of Jewish subjects. We thought that these relationships and “special” positions would protect us.

But they don’t protect us. Over the past year, we have watched as Trump’s campaign trafficked in blatant anti-Semitism alongside racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, ableism and Islamophobia. He has empowered white supremacists and provoked a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan.

Trying to conduct business as usual with the Trump administration could prevent us from joining with other threatened groups to protect our neighbors. Jews know that when one minority is vulnerable, we all are vulnerable. If American Muslims will be targeted and those entering the country from elsewhere forced to “register,” if immigrants will be torn from their families and their homes, if women are assaulted as access to justice disintegrates, policies that attack Jews could be next. Jewish history and values demand that we step up and act in opposition.

Even if Jews were not personally threatened as Jews, it would still be imperative for us to call upon all of the communal strength we have and all of the institutions we have fought to create to oppose threats to other people. This is an obligation that comes from our tradition. In the Torah, one of God’s first commands to the Jewish people after our liberation from slavery is to protect those who are most vulnerable, as we, too, know the experience of being strangers.

Our history has taught us that autocracy does not arrive all at once, but through the slow erosion of individual liberties and the pitting of one group against another. We cannot look away or hope for the best when politicians promise to assault our civil liberties and threaten human rights.

Nor can we excuse winks and dog-whistling at white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups that understand this election as a mandate to carry out attacks on members of minorities or on our institutions. If we ignore these signs, we risk waking up to an America that is no longer recognizable.

As a first step, we must not take a “wait-and-see” approach. Benefit of the doubt must be earned, and this incoming administration hasn’t done so. We should meet each and every step toward authoritarianism with strong opposition, as many of us have done in calling on the president-elect to reverse his decision to appoint Bannon.

But condemnation alone isn’t enough. In the coming years, we must build a strong and effective opposition to protect people who are likely to be targeted under new racist, anti-woman, anti-immigrant policies. We should support brave political leaders, such as the mayors of New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities for affirming that their communities will remain places of sanctuary. And as Jews, we must marshal the full resources of our community, including the institutions built over more than 100 years, to protect the rights of all minorities — ourselves, yes, but not only us.

In the words of Rabbi Heschel, this is a moment for “moral grandeur and spiritual audacity.” We cannot sell out our values in the name of one-off successes. It’s time for American Jewish leaders to say no to business as usual.

What the Hanukkah story teaches us about the Trump administration Today, we have to be the Maccabees. WP By Danya Ruttenberg December 23, 2016

In 175 B. C., an insecure, despotic ruler came to power. He was narcissistic and known for a level of extravagance and display that bordered on the bizarre. Despite his occasional ability to captivate his subjects by appearing gracious, he was said to have, in his heart, a cruel tyrant’s contempt for his subjects. Political positions under him were easily bought; he installed unqualified cronies in high positions and quickly turned on one if another offered him more money for the same job. He was quick to anger, nicknamed “the madman,” and it wasn’t long into his reign that he began curtailing civil liberties, restricting the freedom of religion, and pillaging his subjects’ resources for his own profit.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes seized rule illegitimately over the Seleucid Empire, including Judea; the kingship was meant to have gone to his nephew, but he took it by force. He allowed bribes to drive his appointments of the high priest several times and plundered the treasury of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem for its gold. In a fury about a humiliating loss in Egypt, he cracked down in Judea, outlawing observance of the Sabbath and ritual circumcision and defiling the temple by erecting an altar to Zeus there, complete with pig sacrifice. He sent his officers to slay and destroy, with an agenda that was less about Hellenism — that is, the demand that the Judeans assimilate into the kingdom’s dominant Greek-influenced culture — than it was about denationalization, a full eradication of their way of life.

As Hanukkah begins, the parallels between that ancient story and what’s happening in U.S. politics are hard to ignore. There are the questions around Donald Trump’s rise to power — his connections to Vladimir Putin and possible Russian interference in the election. There’s his cabinet, stacked with donors and those whose positions on everything from minimum wage to immigration, public schools, privatization and the environment could affect us in devastating ways. Trump’s pursuit of his own financial gain seems to be pointing us toward a kleptocracy, collusion with brutal regimes and terrifying shifts in foreign policy. He threatens freedom of speech, assembly and the press, as well as American Muslims‘ free exercise of religion, among his other authoritarian tendencies. Trump may very well sack the temple of our democracy and social safety nets. Like Antiochus, he could eradicate the way of life that has defined this country.

Antiochus’s regime was, needless to say, terrifying and devastating for the Judeans, who had to decide whether to be martyred — as many were — or to submit to his demands. A small handful of zealots chose a third option, however, protesting his decrees and the complicity of some of their fellow Judeans. After an initial skirmish, the Maccabees ran for the hills and, soon, were engaged in all-out warfare with the massive Seleucid army. They were outmanned and underarmed; many of the Maccabean soldiers didn’t even have swords and armor. But they made use of their superior knowledge of their terrain: They were light, quick and mobile, relying on ambush techniques and superior tactical skill. Slowly, painstakingly, they beat back the Seleucids and eventually gained their freedom.

The miracle of Hanukkah is that an outnumbered, weaker minority was brave enough to resist a repressive regime — to fight back, against all odds. They held fast to their ideals and pushed back against the narrative that their faith was a just target for oppression. Their smart thinking and intimate knowledge of their own country was enough to outmaneuver a government bent on maintaining power through force.

It’s likely that some, if not all, of the things that many of us fear about the Trump administration will come to pass. If so, our acts of nonviolent resistance may be painful. We may have times of uncertainty and literal or metaphorical cold and hunger. We’re going to have to be smarter and more savvy than we have been, to be resourceful and make use of all the assets we have — perhaps not by hiding in caves but by building coalitions, developing protest strategies, creating novel uses for technology. and engaging civic processes and the legal system in new and innovative ways.

Black Lives Matter activists are nimbly shifting approaches to focus on local reform and coalitions with other marginalized groups. Houses of worship, universities and cities are declaring themselves places of sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. More than 1,000 employees of tech organizations have pledged to refuse to use their skills to the detriment of immigrants or American Muslims. Phone calls to members of Congress are already way up, and some former Capitol Hill staffers have put together a public document explaining how to best use local representatives to frustrate Trump’s agenda.

Crowdsourced guides for helping vulnerable populations cope with Trump’s policies have popped up around the Web. New apps, agendas and tools are emerging everyday. We are going to have to be quick, light and strategically flawless, and we are going to have to settle in for the long haul.

Before going into the Battle of Emmaus, Judah Maccabee addressed his soldiers, urging them to fight valiantly. “For,” he said, “it is better for us to die in battle than to see the evils of our nation and of the holies. Nevertheless, as it shall be the will of God in heaven, so be it done.”

We will need to be brave. We will need to resist.

We will have to make the miracle ourselves.

Don't compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. It belittles Hitler. One was a psychopath who believed his raving rants. The other is a con man. WP By Shalom Auslander September 13, 2016

Before their recent meeting — and I suspect a few times after — Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. He wasn’t the first to do so, even in his own country. Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, has also compared Trump to Hitler. Cher has compared Trump to Hitler. Abraham Foxman, former national director of the Anti-Defamation League, has compared Trump to Hitler (although in fairness, that’s kind of his whole brand). Even Glenn Beck compared Trump to Hitler. We’ll no doubt hear it again many times before this election is over, and, to be honest, it’s a comparison that bothers me for two reasons.

I am a Jew — a New York Writer Liberal Jew, the scariest Jew of all — and from a very young age, I was taught about an unimaginable horror called the Holocaust and about an evil man named Adolf Hitler. The elderly man who sat beside me every Saturday morning in synagogue was a Holocaust survivor, and his elderly wife was a Holocaust survivor, as well. And so the first reason the comparison of Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler bothers me is not because it belittles the deaths of millions of innocents, but because, frankly, it belittles Adolf Hitler.

Hitler believed Jews were the cause of every problem. He believed extermination was the solution. He believed that the “Spear of Destiny,” the spear the Romans used to poke Jesus on the cross, would give him magical powers. He had an elaborately developed, hideous, deplorable theory of how things worked, and he believed in it deeply.

Trump doesn’t.

Hitler was a psychopath. Trump is just a con man.

Hitler had some opinions, he had some plans. They were monstrous and evil, and reason enough for even an avowed atheist to consider the existence of Satan. But I don’t recall Hitler flip-flopping. I don’t see him saying one morning, “I’m going to invade Poland,” and then “softening” his stance that afternoon after meeting with Sean Hannity. He didn’t decide to kill the Jews, then change his mind when his new campaign manager arrived. “I said the kill the Jew — singular, one Jew, not all the Jews. Just the bad ones.” Hitler was a megalomaniacal psychopath who should burn in Hell for eternity… who actually believed in something.

There’s a difference. Trump is a two-bit con man. He’s playing the fools.

Whether he’s jacking up room rates 400 percent when his campaign uses his hotels, or spending campaign money to buy his own books, or blowing racial dog whistles and then accusing his rival of being a bigot, or lying about crime rates to win African American votes, or just plain old running out on his bills — it is all, top to bottom, one long con. A scheme. A grift. To make a buck, to get out of hock, to get some fame, to get his own TV network — the ignominious ends always justify the ignoble means. Even his run for president is a con, a way to gain even more power than this millionaire’s son was already born with. It certainly isn’t to implement any deeply felt ideas. It can’t be. He hasn’t got any. It’s all about the con.

And give the man credit, by the way — he’s good at it. He is, as he says, the best. The white nationalists are eating it up, and they are a tough, tough room. The guy is a fantastic con man.

But he’s no Hitler. Not even close.

Am I praising Hitler? No. I’m saying that if you absolutely had to find just one thing to say about Hitler that was positive — if you could somehow siphon out all the festering, maggot-infested sewage that filled his soul to reveal one razor-thin sliver to point to in his favor — you could possibly say, well, at least he believed what he said.

Which you can’t say about Donald Trump.

Is Trump a megalomaniacal demagogue? Yes. Is he a sociopath? Undoubtedly. Is he dangerous? Maybe.

Which brings me to the second reason the comparison of Trump to Hitler bothers me: This isn’t the comparison that matters. It’s the easy comparison, the one that leaves us — We The People — safe from criticism.

The comparison that matters is not, “Is Donald Trump like Hitler?” but, “Are we like Hitler’s willing executioners?”

Will we look the other way, say we didn’t know, stand silently by while millions of our neighbors are rounded up, while women who get abortions are “punished,” while immigrants are given “ideology tests” and our leader heaps praise on oppressive tyrants?

Well? Will we?

Are we that terrified? Are we that hateful? Are we that frightened, that cowardly, that selfish, that helpless, that cold-hearted, that dumb, that easily manipulated, that easily provoked? Are we so bereft of answers, so pathetically hopeless, that all we can come up with is easy scapegoating and blind fealty to Our Great Leader? Are We The People really going to fall for the dumbest, oldest, easiest trick in the book?

Because if we are, then we won’t need an Adolf Hitler to embrace that darkness. Even a two-bit con man like Donald Trump will be enough.

Donald Trump is America's Silvio Berlusconi Laughing at a buffoon won't stop him from having an impact on politics. WP By Rula Jebreal September 21, 2015

The lessons of Italian history ought to make Americans a lot more nervous about Donald Trump than they seem to be. Calculated buffoonery is a longstanding tactic for right-wing demagogues looking to alter national political calculations to their own advantage — masking as farce the tragedy they portend.

Ask Italian voters, who spent a total of nine years between 1994 and 2011 being governed by Silvio Berlusconi. Italy’s longest-serving prime minister, Berlusconi started out as a wealthy demagogue on the brink of bankruptcy, whose celebrity was — like Trump’s — rooted in both real estate and popular entertainment culture.

Berlusconi presented himself as Italy’s strongman, speaking like a barman, selling demonstrably false promises of wealth and grandeur for all. He made the electorate laugh while stoking fears of communists and liberals stripping privileges and increasing taxes. Presaging Trump, the Italian media mogul cast himself as the only viable savior of a struggling nation: the political outsider promising to sweep in and clean up from the vanquished left and restore the country to its lost international stature.

“I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I sacrifice myself for everyone,” Berlusconi said. Now we find Trump promising “to make America great again,” pledging to become the “greatest jobs president [...] ever created.”

Like Berlusconi, Trump is running on his claim of being a rich, successful businessman, despite the fact that he was the owner of at least four bankrupt companies — just as Berlusconi promised Italians to make them as rich as he was, while in reality his companies were deeply in debt at the time he first ran, as extensively documented in Marco Travaglio’s book “Clean Hands.” Both men exploited voters’ rage at a discredited, gridlocked political establishment.

Trump encourages voters’ fearful nativism and legitimizes racist and sexist anxieties called forth by claims to equality for women and minorities. He styles himself as the man willing to bluntly state “truths” held to be self-evident by fearful white conservatives, abandoning the politeness and political correctness of mainstream candidates who know they can’t win elections if they sound too much like Archie Bunker.

Like Berlusconi in Italy, Trump has built a political campaign employing unvarnished language and jaundiced humor, which has succeeded in the United States, a country that — embarrassingly — ranks second among wealthy industrialized nations, only behind Italy, in terms of being uninformed on key issues of the world.

Trump's crude attacks on female candidates and journalists — such as characterizing Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly as having “blood coming out of her… wherever" and attacking presidential candidate and opponent Carly Fiorina’s appearance — are reminiscent of Berlusconi's history of misogyny. He once dismissed opponents as "too ugly to be taken seriously" and insulted a fellow European leader during a conversation with a newspaper editor, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel as "an unf—able fat bitch." (Il Giornale, Berlusconi's own newspaper, characterized the allegation as "gossip.") Berlusconi was known to advise U.S. businessmen to invest in Italy because they have "beautiful secretaries ... superb girls."

Like Trump, Berlusconi relied on the fact that Italy’s liberal mainstream would treat him as a joke, using his ugly gaffes as an effective, disruptive campaign strategy to distract both from his lack of well-thought-out policy ideas, as well as his dangerous ignorance on foreign policy.

That seems to be Trump’s plan, too. They both turned the jokes on the political elite by stirring up the electorate’s disdain for their critics. Challenged about his complicated personal life, the twice-divorced Berlusconi contemptuously and proudly stated, “it’s better to be fond of beautiful girls than to be gay.” Meanwhile, Trump, who has been twice divorced and thrice married, opposes gay marriage on the grounds that it’s not traditional.

Berlusconi sold an impossible dream, convincing Italian voters that all that stood between them and the sort of wealth and grandeur he enjoyed was a hapless, self-serving political class. He promised to amend the constitution, deregulate markets and shrink government, thus packaging a billionaire’s dream agenda as if it offered salvation to “the average Giuseppe.” Trump has been vague about his economic policies, other than to bluster that his business experience means voters should trust him. But, like Berlusconi, he responds to tough questions with scandalous insults so as to focus the conversation on those insults rather than on his platform.

Trump’s political path has been carved by a media culture that favors entertainment over news. Political debate and discussion on TV have been reduced to mud-wrestling, with the recent “Trump vs. Rest of GOP” debates being a perfect illustration. Berlusconi’s opponents fell into his PR trap in the same way in Italy, rushing to condemn his gaffes and his deliberately provocative statements calculated to rouse the far right. Like Berlusconi, Trump has already succeeded in making himself the center of the conversation.

Berlusconi may have been even more shameless than Trump. In 2005, I was one of five journalists from the Middle East invited to brief Berlusconi on how to improve his relationship with the Muslim world — whose civilization he had dismissed as inferior and backward. Berlusconi feared that Italy would be targeted for terrorist attacks similar to those seen in London and Madrid, the latter of which immediately preceded the ouster by Spanish voters of Berlusconi’s ideological analog, José María Aznar. My journalist colleagues and I unanimously advised him to distance himself from the Iraq invasion, of which he had been an enthusiastic backer.

The following day, Berlusconi appeared on my TV news show and proceeded to deny having ever supported the Iraqi war, going as far as to claim that he had tried — in vain — to dissuade President George W. Bush from undertaking the ill-fated venture. If necessary to avoid a potential pitfall, Berlusconi was willing to deny in the evening precisely what he had stated that same morning.

Before the interview, in an apparent effort to ingratiate himself to me, Berlusconi cited the fact that he had dated Arab women as “proof” that he did not actually believe Muslims to be inferiors. (That was before it was made public that one of those Arab women was “Ruby the Heartstealer,” an underage Moroccan prostitute whose services Berlusconi had previously engaged.)


As with Trump, Berlusconi’s antics make mockery of the idea of politicians being guided by convictions. Nonetheless, Italians were endlessly entertained by the comedy he brought to politics. Trump’s bullying of Univision’s Jorge Ramos also has a Berlusconi antecedent — Italy’s best journalists, such as Marco Travaglio, Michelle Santoro and Enzo Biagi, were either sued or fired from their jobs because they dared to challenge Berlusconi’s policies. Even comedians like Daniele Luttazzi were not spared. Trump, meanwhile, sued HBO’s Bill Maher for mocking the tycoon’s hairdo.

It is precisely that authoritarian demagoguery wrapped in comedy that Trump has brought to American politics. So it’s now urgent that America learns the lessons taught (and havoc wrought) when Italy’s political and media establishment underestimated Berlusconi. They viewed him as a joke, an ignorant buffoon, and he was widely dismissed as a comical figure, unfit to lead a serious country. None of that stopped him.

Trump has managed to tap into real anger and disillusionment with an American political class owned by billionaires like him. He’s taken populism to new depths, tacitly embracing a call to “get rid of” all American Muslims. Even worse, he communicates his backward views with a tone and tenor that screams of rejection and disregard of America’s civil rights achievements of the past century. The gridlocked political system is incapable of taking action to relieve the plight of middle class Americans, much less help the poor.

In Italy, it was their own poor reputations in voters’ eyes that prevented established politicians from fending off Berlusconi’s challenge. They were viewed as inept, corrupt, boring and uninterested in the concerns of ordinary Italians. Berlusconi appealed to their most base instincts and sanctified their prejudices, rendering them willing to overlook the obvious hypocrisy and fallacy of his promises. So effective was Berlusconi’s narrative that the electorate was willing to forgive — repeatedly — his utter failure to deliver on his economic promises.

Ultimately, it was the leaders of the European Union who forced him to resign, in exchange for rescuing Italy’s tanking economy during the debt crisis. Berlusconi stepped aside amid fears that the Italian economy, the third largest in Europe, was headed the same way as Greece.

It would be a terrible mistake for America’s political establishment to dismiss Trump’s populist appeal and presume him unelectable. Even if he doesn’t win, he’s already done damage: Laughing at, or simply ignoring his rhetorical, xenophobic bellowing can, perversely, further kindle Trump’s resentment-based politics, allowing them to fester unchallenged. The poisonous impact his campaign and antics are having on the country’s politics are exploiting and galvanizing broad, deep-seated, toxic resentment of the status quo, which has already defined this campaign — and which may well outlive Trump’s candidacy.

The rise and fall of King Con Express Daily UK

IN the early hours of Sunday December 17, 1922, a Native American walked down the gangplank of the ocean liner SS Regina on to the quayside at Liverpool to be greeted by reporters and photographers.

Edgar Laplante posing as Chief White Elk circa 1918 (Image: NC)

Prince Tewanna Ray, also known as Chief White Elk, posed proudly for pictures in his traditional tribal clothes and answered questions about his journey.

As the smoke from the flash guns cleared, White Elk made the announcement that he was to meet with royalty as an emissary of the Cherokee people and plead for better education for his race in the British Dominion of Canada.

The reporters noted down his touching words about the plight of the native peoples of North America, details of his personal history and his flattering observations about British hospitality.

Unbeknown to them the visit was not an awareness-raising exercise by a 58-year-old Cherokee chieftain but the latest leg of a journey around the world by one of the greatest con men of the Jazz Age.

Unravelling the web of lies, false names and scams to get to the truth of who Edgar Laplante was and why he lived such a life is the task taken on by author Paul Willetts in his new book King Con.

Thanks to the rampant ego of the man and his constant desire for publicity it proved surprisingly easy to track him across the globe through newspaper reports and gossip-column snippets that seemed to cover his every move.

Mugshots of Edgar Laplante, taken by the Swiss police,
January 1925 (Image: NATIONAL ARCHIVES)

When Laplante arrived in England he was 34 and running away from the US where he had left a trail of unpaid bills, unfortunate victims and frustrated policemen.

The story of how Laplante rose to become the most notorious con man of his era begins in the blue-collar Rhode Island city of Central Falls, where he was born to French-Canadian parents in 1888.

Initially a vaudeville performer, who began his career in travelling medicine shows playing “Red Indian” characters, by 1917 Laplante was a small-time con artist moving from city to city.

He began by posing as real-life Native American Olympic marathon runner Tom Longboat.

With the chutzpah of a born grifter Laplante gave well-paid motivational talks to soldiers, businessmen and churchgoers.

Meanwhile the real Longboat was living in Toronto just north of the US border unaware of what was going on in his name.

Looking back at the story from today’s perspective, with instant communications and numerous ways of checking the truth, it is hard to fathom how people could fall for Laplante’s lies.

The real Tom Longboat in 1907 (Image: ALAMY)

But back then information and photographs, like everything else, moved much more slowly.

And he had luck on his side. By the time word reached Toronto about the imposter the real Longboat was being shipped across the Atlantic to fight in the First World War.

Such was the confusion he sowed that when the Olympian was killed in action, news reports were accompanied by a photograph of Laplante rather than the real Longboat.

Laplante then embarked on his boldest reinvention of all: Chief White Elk.

The Native American chieftain was, according to Laplante, a revered leader of the Cherokee nation, a wounded war hero, sporting celebrity, movie star, vaudeville performer and a noted tenor.

What’s more he spoke 21 languages and had entertained “kings, queens, tsars and presidents”.

Dressed in buckskins and headdress he travelled the length and breadth of the country promoting Indian rights and collecting donations for the cause – in this case his alcohol and drug addictions and taste for fine living.

King Con digs into the fascinating
life of con artist Edgar Laplante (Image: NC)

When his activities came to the attention of the FBI, Laplante made his way to England where his plan to meet the future King Edward VIII was only scuppered when a national newspaper published an exposé sent from across the Atlantic.

But even this was not enough to put a stop to Laplante’s scheming.

Nor did it seem to turn the public against him.

He performed his own brand of Indian dances in theatres and held fundraisers for his tribe’s orphans until the bisexual Laplante had a homosexual affair which brought unwanted attention from Scotland Yard and forced him to move to Manchester.

There he continued to play the part of the exotic Native American and entered into a bigamous marriage after seducing a local girl.

But when the cash dried up Laplante had no hesitation in ditching her and heading to the French Riviera.

Once there he wangled an introduction to the beautiful young Austrian Contessa, Antoinette Khevenhüller-Metsch, who came from a fabulously wealthy family.

Using the plight of his peoples as an opener, Chief White Elk worked his magic with the naive 27-year-old and her widowed mother Milania and was soon extracting large wads of cash from the gullible pair.

He guaranteed these “loans” by convincing them that he owned swathes of land in Canada of which the British had taken temporary control.

By the time the women called in the police he had taken millions from them and pushed them to the brink of financial ruin.

Strangely Laplante habitually gave away much of the cash – in today’s terms an estimated £45million.

It went in the form of hugely generous tips to hotel and restaurant staff, fistfuls of cash to the poor and needy and – after moving on to Italy – big donations to Mussolini’s Fascist party, which rewarded him with the title Honorary Corporal – second only to Mussolini’s First Honorary Corporal.

Laplante only fell from grace with the Fascists after he was arrested by Italian police following complaints from the Khevenhüller-Metsch family.

Even then he managed to move across the border to Switzerland and continue his scams.

But the Swiss police were far less forgiving when he tried to skip out on a huge hotel bill and his thinly constructed fabric of lies started to unravel.

An image representing the article Mary Morris on the Colorful Characters of the Jazz Age

At his trial, the prosecution called him “the biggest swindler of all time” and he was convicted and sentenced to a year behind bars.

When the prison gates opened to let him out in October 1925 he was driven straight to the Italian border and handed over to police there.

He was again convicted of fraud and given seven years, five months and 15 days in prison along with a fine of over 1million lira – which of course he could not pay.

Some four and a half years into his sentence Laplante was freed and boarded a boat back to New York, where he soon faded from public view.

Scraping a living playing Native American roles on radio, stage and screen he moved around the country unable to continue his scams because of his notoriety and improved police technology.

Slowly his health worsened and in January 1944, aged 55, Edgar Laplante – living penniless and alone in a paupers’ hospital in Arizona – died of a heart attack.

And probably most appallingly for him, the obituary writers did not even care to note his passing.

White Elk, Black Shirt by Paul Willetts, August 9, 2018

Edgar Laplante, photographed in New York City, August 1917.

Laplante’s extraordinary adventures in England, Belgium, and France, where he sampled the decadent cabaret scene and rubbed elbows with the cream of the Parisian art world, served as the prelude to his ascent to the elite level of conmen. He was no ordinary grifter, though. In search of the acclaim he craved, Laplante rapidly doled out most of the proceeds from his trans-European jaunt — equivalent to as much as $58.9 million in present-day currency.

Like numerous unfortunate people who fell for his well-practiced patter, I experienced something akin to love at first sight back in 2015 when I came across his file summary in the digital catalog of the U.K. National Archives. The summary was headed, “Raymond or Raj Tawanna alias Edgar La Plante alias Chief White Elk, American international swindler.” I wasted no time in arranging to view the file itself. Though it was far more modest in scale than the lies Laplante told about himself, the file didn’t disappoint. I knew I’d found the subject for what would become KING CON.

Were Laplante a character in a novel, readers would regard him as wildly implausible. He reminds me of a cross between Jay Gatsby and Tom Ripley, supplemented by more than a dash of David Bowie’s sexual ambiguity and shapeshifting theatricality. Given Laplante’s beguiling flamboyance, together with the dramatic nature of his escapades and the worldwide fame his Italian tour earned him, I’m astonished that he’s never previously been the subject of a full-length book — just a hastily cobbled together little volume, published more than 90 years ago by an obscure Italian press. Of course, this says a lot about the transience of fame. And the story itself says as much about our collective obsession with celebrity.

Far from being the modern phenomenon it’s often branded, the worship of celebrities has been a longstanding feature of Western society, a feature that Laplante so cannily exploited. While he may seem quintessentially Jazz Age in his excesses, there’s something strangely topical about his antics. It reminds us how susceptible we are to the trappings of fame and to flamboyant personalities endowed with theatrical flair — not to mention a glamorous partner named Melania.

Donald Trump's new favorite slogan was invented for Nazi sympathizers WP By Eric Rauchway June 14, 2016

'America First' was Charles Lindbergh's motto in the 1930s

He has made this slogan a theme for his campaign, and he has begun using it to contrast himself with President Obama, whose criticism of Trump’s rhetoric on Tuesday was answered with a Trump statement promising, “When I am president, it will always be America first.”

He wasn’t quite promising “America über alles,” but it comes close. “America First” was the motto of Nazi-friendly Americans in the 1930s, and Trump has more than just a catchphrase in common with them.

Trump defines the “America” he wants to put “first” by saying who does not properly belong in it. That definition does not include certain people of foreign descent born in the United States, who are to him still foreigners and whom he labels accordingly (in the past few weeks, Trump has referred to native-born Americans as “Mexican” or “Afghan”). It does not include Muslim residents, whom he would “certainly” and “absolutely” force to register their presence with the U.S. government (asked how this proposed policy differs from Nazi laws regarding Jews, Trump replied, “You tell me“).

... This is what Trump’s “America First” means: a white America (committed, to be sure, to “take care of our African American people”), living behind higher walls and screens, lashing out to prove its strength and then retreating again — not a government suspiciously tolerant of foreign threats.

And this is also largely what “America First” has historically meant.

During the early 1930s, as the Nazis consolidated control over Germany, the U.S. media baron William Randolph Hearst began touting the slogan “America First” against President Franklin Roosevelt, whom he saw as dangerously likely to “allow the international bankers and the other big influences that have gambled with your prosperity to gamble with your politics.” Hearst regarded Roosevelt’s New Deal as “un-American to the core” and “more communistic than the communists” — unlike Nazism, which he believed had won a great victory for “liberty-loving people” everywhere in defeating communism.

With the beginning of World War II in Europe and the Germans’ swift conquest of the continent, Roosevelt began to commit his administration more firmly to the aid of the those fighting Nazism. He incurred the ire of various anti-intervention constituencies, ranging from committed religious or principled pacifists to American communists, who supported the Nazi-Soviet pact and therefore the notion that the United States should stay out of the European war.

But the most prominent of his opponents were the founders of the America First Committee, formed in September 1940. The committee opposed fighting Nazism and proposed a well-armed America confined largely to the Western hemisphere. It soon afterward adopted the noted aviator and enthusiast of fascism, Charles Lindbergh, as their favored speaker. Lindbergh accepted a medal from Herman Goering “in the name of the Fuehrer” during a visit to Germany in 1938, and “proudly wore the decoration.” He thought democracy was finished in Europe, that the western powers could not effectively resist the Nazi war machine and that the United States had better make terms with Adolf Hitler.

Lindbergh wasn’t against wars per se; he could support fighting if it came to “a question of banding together to defend the white race against foreign invasion.” His definition of the white race apparently had little room for Jewish people, about whom he thought Hitler had a point: “We are all disturbed about the effect of the Jewish influence in our press, radio, and motion pictures,” Lindbergh believed, though he allowed the country could benefit from “a few Jews of the right type” — just as Trump would presumably allow Muslims who could pass a perfect and proper screen.

The famed automaker and celebrity anti-Semite Henry Ford also joined America First. Like many others, they fought against the “groups” who, Lindbergh said, were pushing the country into war: “the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt administration.”

As with the Trump campaign, not all America First Committee supporters in 1940 were so egregious as their most visible spokesmen. But also as with the Trump campaign, neither did the moderate anti-Roosevelt anti-interventionists quite repudiate their fascist-friendly leaders.

With a shrinking EPA, Trump delivers on his promise to cut government WP By Brady Dennis, Juliet Eilperin and Andrew Ba Tran September 8. 18

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump vowed to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency “in almost every form. We’re going to have little tidbits left, but we’re going to take a tremendous amount out.”

As president, he is making headway on that promise.

During the first 18 months of the Trump administration, records show, nearly 1,600 workers left the EPA, while fewer than 400 were hired. The exodus has shrunk the agency’s workforce by 8 percent, to levels not seen since the Reagan administration. The trend has continued even after a major round of buyouts last year and despite the fact that the EPA’s budget has remained stable.

Those who have resigned or retired include some of the agency’s most experienced veterans, as well as young environmental experts who traditionally would have replaced them — stirring fears about brain drain at the EPA. The sheer number of departures also has prompted concerns over what sort of work is falling by the wayside, from enforcement investigations to environmental research.

According to data released under the Freedom of Information Act and analyzed by The Washington Post, at least 260 scientists, 185 “environmental protection specialists” and 106 engineers are gone.

Several veteran EPA employees, who have worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations, said the agency’s profound policy shifts under Trump ­hastened their departure.

“I felt it was time to leave given the irresponsible, ongoing diminishment of agency resources, which has recklessly endangered our ability to execute our responsibilities as public servants,” said Ann Williamson, a scientist and longtime supervisor in the EPA’s Region 10 Seattle office.

She left in March after 33 years at the agency, exasperated by having to plan how her office would implement President Trump’s proposed cuts and weary of what she viewed as the administration’s refusal to make policy decisions based on evidence. “I did not want to any longer be any part of this administration’s nonsense,” she said.

Ann Williamson left in March after 33 years at the agency,
exasperated by having to plan how her office would implement President Trump’s proposed cuts and
weary of what she viewed as the administration’s
refusal to make policy decisions based on evidence.
(Andrew Burton/for The Washington Post)

In a statement Friday, Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said he was focused on right-sizing the EPA, which Republicans have argued overreached under President Barack Obama, burdening industry with regulations such as those focused on climate change.

“With nearly half of our employees eligible to retire in the next five years, my priority is recruiting and maintaining the right staff, the right people for our mission, rather than total full-time employees,” he said.

Congress has so far maintained the EPA’s budget at just more than $8 billion, and while current proposals could shrink that amount, any cuts are likely to be modest.

“The Trump administration comes in and goes way, way beyond what the budget requires,” said Rep. David E. Price (D-N.C.), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and whose district is home to a major EPA research center. Price said multiple constituents have told him that working at the EPA has become “intolerable” after seeing their findings sidelined.

“It is profoundly demoralizing, and I think, profoundly damaging in terms of the agency’s mission,” he said.

The EPA is not alone in shedding personnel under Trump, despite the fact that Congress passed a $1.3 trillion budget bill in March that boosted both military and domestic spending.

The State Department’s total number of permanent employees, for instance, fell 6.4 percent between Trump’s inauguration and March 2018, according to federal records, while the Education Department declined 9.4 percent during that time.

Part of the drop stems from a government-wide hiring freeze Trump imposed after his inauguration, which lasted nearly three months. The president has continued to press for a leaner federal payroll, asking Congress recently to withhold pay raises for federal workers in 2019.

... Christopher Zarba, who retired in February after serving as director of the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, disagreed with former administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision last year to overhaul the board’s membership. Zarba, a 38-year EPA veteran, said that for many staff members, a belief in the agency’s mission had compensated for less-than-ideal working conditions.

“That is the crazy glue that holds the place together, the idea, ‘This is important. We’re making a difference,’?” he said. “And when that crazy glue begins to fall apart, things change.”

Christopher Zarba retired in February after serving as executive director
of the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board. He disagreed with former
administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision last year to overhaul the
board’s membership. (Doug Kapustin/For The Washington Post)

That sentiment played a role in Betsy Smith’s decision to retire in June after 20 years with the EPA’s Office of Research and Development — a department singled out for massive cuts in Trump’s first budget proposal. She said officials largely shelved a project she was leading that aimed to help port communities deal with climate change and other environmental challenges.

“It’s really awful to feel like you don’t have any role to play, that there’s not any interest in the work you’re doing,” said Smith, 62. “My feeling was I could do better work to protect the environment outside the EPA.”


Trump has spent a THIRD of his time as president on ‘Trump properties’—about 25% playing golf Dialy Kos Walter Einenkel Friday September 07, 2018

When Trump was publicly not invited to be anywhere near the late Senator John McCain’s funeral, he did what he does best—he went golfing!* Many felt that this was a prime example of Donald Trump’s pettiness. It was. It was also the Don’s default scam-level. You see, Donald Trump doesn’t really want to be president but he does seem to enjoy golfing and being around golf-type stuff. He also enjoys having the American taxpayer front the bill.

Do the crime, not the time! Matt Bors Wednesday September 05, 2018

Email from Elizabeth Warren on the Kavanaugh hearings

What we saw this week wasn't a Supreme Court confirmation hearing – it was a charade.

Donald Trump and the Senate Republicans are still hiding over 100,000 pages of Brett Kavanaugh's records from his work in the George W. Bush Administration. They're trying to ram Kavanaugh's nomination through the Senate as quickly as possible, starting with this mob rule hearing.

Because here's the deal: Brett Kavanaugh is unpopular – REALLY unpopular.

A recent poll has Brett Kavanaugh at just a 33 percent approval rating (that's even lower than Trump's lousy approval ratings). In fact, Kavanaugh is the most unpopular Supreme Court nominee since Robert Bork in the 1980s.

Republican super PAC uses ill-gotten security application to attack Democrat in new TV ad Dialy Kos David Nir Thursday September 06, 2018

Disgusting: Even though the United States Postal Service admitted to disclosing Democrat Abigail Spanberger's application for federal security clearance in error and asked for it back, the Congressional Leadership Fund has gone ahead and released an attack ad that nevertheless makes use of those ill-gotten documents. It's unadulterated fearmongering bullshit:

What is Abigail Spanberger hiding? Spanberger doesn't want us to know that she taught at an Islamic school nicknamed "Terror High"—a terrorist breeding ground. One graduate plotted to assassinate President Bush. Another was arrested for trying to bring a butcher knife on an airplane. So dangerous, even Chuck Schumer called for the school to be shut down. But Abigail Spanberger cashed her paychecks like nothing was wrong.

Spanberger taught English as a substitute teacher at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Northern Virginia in 2002 and 2003, while she waited on the CIA to process her job application. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch notes, that was many years before the incidents cited in CLF's ad, and as Spanberger herself points out, the CIA soon thereafter hired her as an officer and granted her top secret security clearance—not something the agency would have done had it had concerns about her background.

This attack would be garbage even if it didn't rely on improperly obtained materials, but CLF has no problem playing as dirty as it gets with both means and message. We can only conclude they're rolling around in this deep gutter because they're genuinely worried that Spanberger will defeat Republican Rep. Dave Brat in Virginia’s 7th District this November.

‘It sure isn’t normal; it’s radical’: Former president Barack Obama says Trump and Republicans are knowingly dividing America WP By Michael Scherer September 7

Ending months of self-imposed restraint, former president Barack Obama delivered a blistering critique of President Trump and Republican politics Friday, one that prompted a back-handed dismissal by the man who now occupies the Oval Office.

Examples are piling up of President Trump’s condescension toward parts of his base WP By Eugene Scott September 8

While president Trump's approval ratings are pretty low in general, he remains popular with some of the demographic groups who sent him to the White House. He's rewarded them by emphasizing issues that get them fired up: immigration and patriotism, to name a few.

But you always hurt the ones you love the most, as the old saying goes. And several recent comments suggest the president holds some condescending views about the people who carried him to victory, and that he questions whether even their loyalty is sufficient.

At a rally Thursday in Montana, a state that he won by 20 points in 2016, Trump, whose scandal-ridden presidency dominates news headlines, suggested that if he is impeached — something that some Democratic lawmakers have advocated — it would not be due to his actions or those of his administration, but instead his supporters would be the ones to blame.

Sept. 5, 2018 A protester is dragged from the Senate Judiciary
Committee room during Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s
confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Melina Mara/The Washington Post

So this is how Paul Ryan says goodbye WP By Dana Milbank September 7, 2018

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) in Washington on Sept. 6. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

So this is how retiring House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wishes to leave public service: with lies, name-calling and racism?

The fall general-election season has begun, and the $100 million Congressional Leadership Fund, which Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, and his House GOP leadership team endorse and raise money for, has released a flurry of ads in recent days that leave no room for misinterpretation: It intends to make the election a series of personal attacks, largely devoid of policy.

Consider what the CLF super PAC, the dominant player in the GOP’s campaign to defend its majority in the House, has done in recent days:

A racist ad released Wednesday in Upstate New York has doctored images showing Democratic congressional candidate Antonio Delgado, an African American, rapping. It says he has “extreme New York City values” and shows an image of two white people who would pay “higher taxes” if he has his way. “He’s still New York City’s voice, not ours,” it says of Delgado — a Rhodes scholar and Harvard Law School graduate. CLF did this despite complaints about racism in previous versions of the ad.

A week earlier, CLF offered a similar attack on Aftab Pureval, an Indian Tibetan Democrat running in Ohio. CLF’s ad accused Pureval of “selling out Americans,” and said “Pureval’s lobbying firm made millions helping Libya reduce payments owed to families of Americans killed by Libyan terrorism.”

Pureval, fresh out of law school, didn’t work on the Libya settlement, which, in any case, was blessed by President George W. Bush.

On Thursday, the CLF group attacked former CIA officer Abigail Spanberger, a Democratic candidate in Virginia, because she “taught at an Islamic school nicknamed ‘Terror High,’ a terrorist breeding ground” and “cashed her paychecks like nothing was wrong.” Spanberger was a substitute English teacher at the school in 2003 — long before there were “Terror High” allegations and before her career serving in the CIA’s clandestine service.

This came after a group hired by CLF used a Freedom of Information Act request to receive Spanberger’s federal security-clearance questionnaire — which had been improperly released by the government.

... No longer just the party of Donald Trump, Republicans sound like they are Donald Trump. And their strategy amounts to an extraordinary acknowledgment of failure: After two years of undivided control of Congress and the White House, and eight years of GOP legislative majorities, Republicans cannot come up with a single policy achievement — on taxes, health care, regulations or anything else — that they believe will resonate with voters.

Republicans had intended to make the tax cut the centerpiece of their campaign, but they discovered in the Pennsylvania special election and elsewhere that this didn’t work. Now, saddled with a deeply unpopular president, they have decided their only avenue is the low road.

Stop Brett Kavanaugh— A Corporation Masquerading as a Judge ICH By Ralph Nader, 9/7/18

Observers say that confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become President Trump’s second pick for a lifetime job on the Supreme Court will make the Court more conservative. It is more accurate to say Kavanaugh will make the Court more corporatist.

With Kavanaugh, it is all about siding with corporations over workers, consumers, patients, motorists, the poor, minority voters, and beleaguered communities.

Repeatedly Kavanaugh’s judicial opinions put corporate interests ahead of the common good—backing the powerful against the weak, the vulnerable, and the defenseless.

Apart from his declared views pouring power and immunity into the Presidency (which is why Trump wants him), Kavanaugh could be the most corporate judge in modern American history. Two meticulous reports on his judicial decisions, one by the Alliance for Justice (AFJ) and one by Public Citizen demonstrate that for him it’s all about corporations uber alles.

Here is AFJ’s summary:

Kavanaugh has repeatedly ruled against efforts to combat climate change and the regulation of greenhouse gases. He also repeatedly ruled against protections for clean air. He has repeatedly sided with the wealthy and the powerful over all Americans. He has fought consumer protections in the areas of automobile safety, financial services, and a free and open internet. Kavanaugh has also repeatedly ruled against workers, workplace protections and safety regulations.

Kavanaugh is a corporate supremacist to a fanatic level of protecting corporate cruelty and greed. Giving him an unaccountable lifetime position on the Court will weaken our democracy and empower the corporate state.

Email from democraticags.org, 9/6/18

Betsy DeVos is at it again, Colby: As hundreds of thousands of students return to school and face high tuition costs, DeVos has chosen to protect predatory for-profit colleges by trampling over students' rights! In her latest attack, DeVos is attempting to destroy Obama-era protections for student victims of for-profit colleges that have engaged in fraudulent and predatory practices. Oftentimes, these student victims are left with debt upward of tens of thousands of dollars, even after these schools are shut down.

This isn't the first time DeVos has failed student borrowers. Under DeVos, the Department of Education has flipped from protecting students' access to quality education to instead protecting business ($$$) interests of for-profit colleges. And her attacks keep coming.

Another Trump appointee going to the devil -CG

from LeftAction.org

Eight states are fighting Trump’s attempt to declaw the Migratory Bird Treaty WP By Darryl Fears September 5, 18

Eight state attorneys general filed a legal challenge Wednesday to the Trump administration's bid to dramatically weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a century-old law established to protect birds.

The lawsuit, led by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, and supported by Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, California and New Mexico, is an effort to stop the Interior Department from fully implementing a directive to its law enforcement division to forgive mass bird kills, even when the animals are threatened or endangered.

‘The sleeper cells have awoken’: Trump and aides shaken by ‘resistance’ op-ed WP By Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey, September 5, 18

An anonymous Trump official wrote a column published by the New York Times on Sept. 5,
describing how senior officials are working to protect the nation. (Reuters)

President Trump and his aides reacted with indignation Wednesday to an unsigned opinion column from a senior official blasting the president’s “amorality” and launched a frantic hunt for the author, who claims to be part of a secret “resistance” inside the government protecting the nation from its commander in chief.

The extraordinary column, published anonymously in the New York Times, surfaced one day after the first excerpts emerged from Bob Woodward’s new book, in which Trump’s top advisers painted a devastating portrait of the president and described a “crazytown” atmosphere inside the White House.

Taken together, they landed like a thunder clap, portraying Trump as a danger to the country that elected him and feeding the president’s paranoia about whom around him he can trust.

President Trump pauses to listen a question from a
reporter regarding The New York Times' anonymous
op-ed after a meeting with sheriffs at the
White House Wednesday. (Calla Kessler/The Washington Post)

Trump reacted to the column with “volcanic” anger and was “absolutely livid” over what he considered a treasonous act of disloyalty and told confidants he suspects the official works on national security issues or in the Justice Department, according to two people familiar with his private discussions.

Trump questioned on Twitter whether the official was a “phony source,” and wrote that if “the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!”

In a column titled, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” the person whom the Times identifies only as a “senior official” describes Trump’s leadership style as “impetuous” and accuses him of acting recklessly “in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.”


[Top appointees are ‘thwarting’ Trump, says ‘senior official’ in New York Times opinion piece]

The official writes that Cabinet members witnessed enough instability by their boss that there were “early whispers” of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office but decided instead to avoid a constitutional crisis and work within the administration to contain him.

“Many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided im­pulses until he is out of office,” the official writes.

“The problem for the president is it could be so many people,” said one administration official, who like many others interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. “You can’t rule it down to one person. Everyone is trying, but it’s impossible.”

An anonymous senior Trump official wrote in a column published by the New York Times
on Sept. 5. Late hosts had plenty to say about it. (The Washington Post)

The phrase “The sleeper cells have awoken” circulated on text messages among aides and outside allies.

“It’s like the horror movies when everyone realizes the call is coming from inside the house,” said one former White House official in close contact with former co-workers.

The stark and anonymous warning was a breathtaking event without precedent in modern presidential history.

... “This is what all of us have understood to be the situation from Day One,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters. He added, “That’s why I think all of us encourage the good people around the president to stay.”....

The two most overlooked, inexplicable stories from Bob Woodward’s Trump book WP By Aaron Blake September 5, 18

... Trump's apparent confusion about South Korea's importance as an ally. According to Woodward, Trump at one point asked his military leaders why the United States couldn't just withdraw from the Korean Peninsula. They explained to him that it would mean we wouldn't know about North Korean missile launches for 15 minutes rather than learning about them almost instantly, within seven seconds. This is the flap that led Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to reportedly suggest Trump was intellectually and temperamentally akin to “a fifth- or sixth-grader."

What got Mattis's goat, according to the book, was that he felt like they'd had this exact conversation many times before, and Trump refused to either remember or process it. As Mattis explained the reasons for a U.S.-South Korean alliance, Trump repeatedly returned to the idea that the United States is running a trade deficit with South Korea — suggesting the alliance was hurting the American economy. Mattis tried to explain that having troops in South Korea was actually the most cost-effective — and effective, period — means of preventing World War III. Trump, who often seems to misunderstand what exactly a trade deficit means, wouldn't have it.

Trump suggests that protesting should be illegal WP By Felicia Sonmez, September 5, 18

President Trump has long derided the mainstream media as the “enemy of the people” and lashed out at NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem. On Tuesday, he took his attacks on free speech one step further, suggesting in an interview with a conservative news site that the act of protesting should be illegal.

Trump made the remarks in an Oval Office interview with the Daily Caller hours after his Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh, was greeted by protests on the first day of his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill.

The U.S. public is ready to drop
impeachment on Trump. -RootsAction, 9/4/18

There Was a Deeper, Darker Agenda Afoot When The US Administration Cut UNRWA Funding ICH By Jonathan Cook September 04, 2018

Central to that disruption is stripping millions of Palestinians of their status as refugees.

Refugees are the final loose end in forcing Palestinians to accept Trump's 'deal of the century' peace plan

The Trump administration’s decision to scrap all future aid payments to the main agency helping Palestinian refugees marks a new – and most likely disastrous – chapter in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The US State Department said on Friday that it would no longer continue its $360 million annual contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), depriving it of a third of its budget. US officials described the organisation as “irredeemably flawed”.

The move follows an announcement last week that Washington had slashed $200 million from other aid programmes for the Palestinians.

About five million Palestinians – many languishing for decades in refugee camps across the Middle East – rely on the agency for essential food, healthcare and education.

Jordan, which hosts two million Palestinian refugees, has called a meeting at the UN later this month, along with Japan, the European Union, Sweden and Turkey, to “rally political and financial support” for UNRWA.

Traditional American and European backing for the UN agency could be viewed as reparations for their complicity in helping to create a Jewish state on the ruins of the Palestinians’ homeland. That act of dispossession turned the Palestinians into the world’s largest stateless population.

Except there are few signs of guilt.

The handouts provided via the UN have served more like “hush money”, designed to keep the Palestinians dependent and quiet as western states manage a crisis they apparently have no intention of solving.

That was why the European Union hurriedly promised to seek alternative funds for UNRWA. It noted that the agency was “vital for stability and security in the region” – a stability that has enabled Israel to disappear the Palestinians, uninterrupted, for seven decades.

The Trump administration, by contrast, is more brazen about the new way it wishes to weaponise aid.

US officials have not concealed the fact that they want leverage over the Palestinians to force them to submit to Donald Trump’s long-promised “deal of the century” peace plan.

But there is a deeper and darker agenda afoot than simply reviving failed negotiations or pandering to the Trump administration’s well-known antipathy towards international institutions.

Over the past 25 years, peace talks have provided cover for Israel’s incremental takeover of what was supposed to be a future Palestinian state. In the words of Palestinian lawyer Michael Tarazi, while Israel and the Palestinians were discussing how to divide the pizza, Israel ate it all.

So Mr Trump’s team has, in effect, reverse-engineered a “peace process” based on the reality on the ground that Israel has created.

If Israel won’t compromise, Mr Trump will settle the final status issues – borders, Jerusalem and the refugees – in the stronger party’s favour. The only hurdle is finding a way to bully the Palestinians into acceptance.

In an indication of how sychronised Washington and Israel’s approaches now are, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, made almost identical speeches last week.

In an address to American Jewish leaders, Mr Friedman noted that a “different way of thinking” prevailed in the Middle East. “You can’t talk your way, you just have to be strong,” he said.

The next day, Mr Netanyahu reiterated that message. He tweeted: “The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive.”

That sounded uncomfortably like a prescription for the Palestinians’ future.

Bob Woodward’s new book reveals a ‘nervous breakdown’ of Trump’s presidency WP By Philip Rucker and Robert Costa September 4, 2018

Aides routinely stole documents off Trump’s desk. Military leaders ignored the president’s orders. And the backstabbing went both ways.

John Dowd was convinced that President Trump would commit perjury if he talked to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. So, on Jan. 27, the president’s then-personal attorney staged a practice session to try to make his point.

In the White House residence, Dowd peppered Trump with questions about the Russia investigation, provoking stumbles, contradictions and lies until the president eventually lost his cool.

“This thing’s a goddamn hoax,” Trump erupted at the start of a 30-minute rant that finished with him saying, “I don’t really want to testify.”

The dramatic and previously untold scene is recounted in “Fear,” a forthcoming book by Bob Woodward that paints a harrowing portrait of the Trump presidency, based on in-depth interviews with administration officials and other principals.

... Woodward depicts Trump’s anger and paranoia about the Russia inquiry as unrelenting, at times paralyzing the West Wing for entire days. Learning of the appointment of Mueller in May 2017, Trump groused, “Everybody’s trying to get me”— part of a venting period that shellshocked aides compared to Richard Nixon’s final days as president....

A central theme of the book is the stealthy machinations used by those in Trump’s inner sanctum to try to control his impulses and prevent disasters, both for the president personally and for the nation he was elected to lead.

Woodward describes “an administrative coup d’etat” and a “nervous breakdown” of the executive branch, with senior aides conspiring to pluck official papers from the president’s desk so he couldn’t see or sign them.

Again and again, Woodward recounts at length how Trump’s national security team was shaken by his lack of curiosity and knowledge about world affairs and his contempt for the mainstream perspectives of military and intelligence leaders.

At a National Security Council meeting on Jan. 19, Trump disregarded the significance of the massive U.S. military presence on the Korean Peninsula, including a special intelligence operation that allows the United States to detect a North Korean missile launch in seven seconds vs. 15 minutes from Alaska, according to Woodward. Trump questioned why the government was spending resources in the region at all.

“We’re doing this in order to prevent World War III,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told him.

After Trump left the meeting, Woodward recounts, “Mattis was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.’?”

... Inside the White House, Woodward portrays an unsteady executive detached from the conventions of governing and prone to snapping at high-ranking staff members, whom he unsettled and belittled on a daily basis....

Chief of Staff John F. Kelly in the Oval Office in February. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly frequently lost his temper and told colleagues that he thought the president was “unhinged,” Woodward writes. In one small group meeting, Kelly said of Trump: “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”

... With Trump’s rage and defiance impossible to contain, Cabinet members and other senior officials learned to act discreetly. Woodward describes an alliance among Trump’s traditionalists — including Mattis and Gary Cohn, the president’s former top economic adviser — to stymie what they considered dangerous acts.

“It felt like we were walking along the edge of the cliff perpetually,” Porter is quoted as saying. “Other times, we would fall over the edge, and an action would be taken.”

After Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical attack on civilians in April 2017, Trump called Mattis and said he wanted to assassinate the dictator. “Let’s fucking kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the fucking lot of them,” Trump said, according to Woodward.

Mattis told the president that he would get right on it. But after hanging up the phone, he told a senior aide: “We’re not going to do any of that. We’re going to be much more measured.” The national security team developed options for the more conventional airstrike that Trump ultimately ordered.

... Under orders from the president, Porter drafted a notification letter withdrawing from NAFTA. But he and other advisers worried that it could trigger an economic and foreign relations crisis. So Porter consulted Cohn, who told him, according to Woodward: “I can stop this. I’ll just take the paper off his desk.”

Despite repeated threats by Trump, the United States has remained in both pacts. The administration continues to negotiate new terms with South Korea as well as with its NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico.

Cohn came to regard the president as “a professional liar” and threatened to resign in August 2017 over Trump’s handling of a deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Cohn, who is Jewish, was especially shaken when one of his daughters found a swastika on her college dorm room.

... Woodward illustrates how the dread in Trump’s orbit became all-encompassing over the course of Trump’s first year in office, leaving some staff members and Cabinet members confounded by the president’s lack of understanding about how government functions and his inability and unwillingness to learn....

... The president’s family members, while sometimes touted as his key advisers by other Trump chroniclers, are minor players in Woodward’s account, popping up occasionally in the West Wing and vexing adversaries.

Ivanka Trump and her husband, White House senior
adviser Jared Kushner in March. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

~ White House senior adviser Stephen K. Bannon, second from left,
national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus,
right, in 2017. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Woodward recounts an expletive-laden altercation between Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and senior adviser, and Stephen K. Bannon, then the chief White House strategist.

“You’re a goddamn staffer!” Bannon screamed at her, telling her that she had to work through Priebus like other aides. “You walk around this place and act like you’re in charge, and you’re not. You’re on staff!”

Ivanka Trump, who had special access to the president and worked around Priebus, replied: “I’m not a staffer! I’ll never be a staffer. I’m the first daughter.”

Such tensions boiled among many of Trump’s core advisers. Priebus is quoted as describing Trump officials not as rivals but as “natural predators.” ...

One week -- Can we go ONE WEEK without Donald Trump
jeopardizing our health and the safety of our communities?! - 314 Action

Donald Trump is filling the EPA with insiders from the very industries the EPA is charged with regulating.

We’ve endorsed a historic number of Democratic scientists who will put an end to this in November.

"Absolutely Repulsive": After $1.5 Trillion Tax Giveaway to the Rich, Trump Cancels Modest Pay Raise for Federal Workers ICH By Jake Johnson August 31, 2018

"President Trump pushed through a tax scam that gave unprecedented handouts to billionaires and corporations—but believes it's too expensive to pay hardworking federal workers a reasonable wage."

Suddenly expressing deep concern for "fiscal sustainability" just months after signing a tax bill that is expected to add $1.9 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years, President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he is canceling pay raises for nearly 1.8 million federal workers because he claims "federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases." [Let's hope they all vote Democratic -CG]

The president's abrupt move—which comes less than a week after a federal court struck down his attempt to undermine federal workers' right to bargain collectively—was met with widespread condemnation by progressive lawmakers and labor activists, who argued that the $25 billion Trump claimed the pay raises would cost is a drop in the bucket compared to the GOP's enormous gifts to the rich.

Exposing the Giants: The Global Power Elite ICH By Robert J Burrowes August 31, 2018

Developing the tradition charted by C. Wright Mills in his 1956 classic The Power Elite, in his latest book, Professor Peter Phillips starts by reviewing the transition from the nation state power elites described by authors such as Mills to a transnational power elite centralized on the control of global capital.

Thus, in his just-released study Giants: The Global Power Elite, Phillips, a professor of political sociology at Sonoma State University in the USA, identifies the world’s top seventeen asset management firms, such as BlackRock and J.P Morgan Chase, each with more than one trillion dollars of investment capital under management, as the ‘Giants’ of world capitalism. The seventeen firms collectively manage more than $US41.1 trillion in a self-invested network of interlocking capital that spans the globe.

This $41 trillion represents the wealth invested for profit by thousands of millionaires, billionaires and corporations. The seventeen Giants operate in nearly every country in the world and are ‘the central institutions of the financial capital that powers the global economic system’. They invest in anything considered profitable, ranging from ‘agricultural lands on which indigenous farmers are replaced by power elite investors’ to public assets (such as energy and water utilities) to war.

In addition, Phillips identifies the most important networks of the Global Power Elite and the individuals therein. He names 389 individuals (a small number of whom are women and a token number of whom are from countries other than the United States and the wealthier countries of Western Europe) at the core of the policy planning nongovernmental networks that manage, facilitate and defend the continued concentration of global capital. The Global Power Elite perform two key uniting functions, he argues: they provide ideological justifications for their shared interests (promulgated through their corporate media), and define the parameters of action for transnational governmental organizations and capitalist nation-states.

More precisely, Phillips identifies the 199 directors of the seventeen global financial Giants and offers short biographies and public information on their individual net wealth. These individuals are closely interconnected through numerous networks of association including the World Economic Forum, the International Monetary Conference, university affiliations, various policy councils, social clubs, and cultural enterprises. For a taste of one of these clubs, see this account of The Links in New York. As Phillips observes: ‘It is certainly safe to conclude they all know each other personally or know of each other in the shared context of their positions of power.’

The Giants, Phillips documents, invest in each other but also in many hundreds of investment management firms, many of which are near-Giants. This results in tens of trillions of dollars coordinated in a single vast network of global capital controlled by a very small number of people. ‘Their constant objective is to find enough safe investment opportunities for a return on capital that allows for continued growth. Inadequate capital-placement opportunities lead to dangerous speculative investments, buying up of public assets, and permanent war spending.’

Because the directors of these seventeen asset management firms represent the central core of international capital, ‘Individuals can retire or pass away, and other similar people will move into their place, making the overall structure a self-perpetuating network of global capital control. As such, these 199 people share a common goal of maximum return on investments for themselves and their clients, and they may seek to achieve returns by any means necessary – legal or not…. the institutional and structural arrangements within the money management systems of global capital relentlessly seek ways to achieve maximum return on investment, and … the conditions for manipulations – legal or not – are always present.’

Like some researchers before him, Phillips identifies the importance of those transnational institutions that serve a unifying function. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, G20, G7, World Trade Organization (WTO), World Economic Forum(WEF), Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, Bank for International Settlements, Group of 30 (G30), the Council on Foreign Relationsand the International Monetary Conference serve as institutional mechanisms for consensus building within the transnational capitalist class, and power elite policy formulation and implementation. ‘These international institutions serve the interests of the global financial Giants by supporting policies and regulations that seek to protect the free, unrestricted flow of capital and debt collection worldwide.’

But within this network of transnational institutions, Phillips identifies two very important global elite policy-planning organizations: the Group of Thirty (which has 32 members) [https://group30.org/] and the extended executive committee of the Trilateral Commission (which has 55 members) [http://trilateral.org/]. These nonprofit corporations, which each have a research and support staff, formulate elite policy and issue instructions for their implementation by the transnational governmental institutions like the G7, G20, IMF, WTO, and World Bank. Elite policies are also implemented following instruction of the relevant agent, including governments, in the context. These agents then do as they are instructed.Thus, these 85 members (because two overlap) of the Group of Thirty and the Trilateral Commission comprise a central group of facilitators of global capitalism, ensuring that ‘global capital remains safe, secure, and growing’.

So, while many of the major international institutions are controlled by nation-state representatives and central bankers (with proportional power exercised by dominant financial supporters such as the United States and European Union countries), Phillips is more concerned with the transnational policy groups that are nongovernmental because these organizations ‘help to unite TCC power elites as a class’ and the individuals involved in these organizations facilitate world capitalism. ‘They serve as policy elites who seek the continued growth of capital in the world.’

Developing this list of 199 directors of the largest money management firms in the world, Phillips argues, is an important step toward understanding how capitalism works globally today. These global power elite directors make the decisions regarding the investment of trillions of dollars. Supposedly in competition, the concentrated wealth they share requires them to cooperate for their greater good by identifying investment opportunities and shared risk agreements, and working collectively for political arrangements that create advantages for their profit-generating system as a whole.

Their fundamental priority is to secure an average return on investment of 3 to 10 percent, or even more. The nature of any investment is less important than what it yields: continuous returns that support growth in the overall market. Hence, capital investment in tobacco products, weapons of war, toxic chemicals, pollution, and other socially destructive goods and services are judged purely by their profitability. Concern for the social and environmental costs of the investment are non-existent. In other words, inflicting death and destruction are fine because they are profitable.

So what is the global elite’s purpose? In a few sentences Phillips characterizes it thus: The elite is largely united in support of the US/NATO military empire that prosecutes a repressive war against resisting groups – typically labeled ‘terrorists’ – around the world. The real purpose of ‘the war on terror’ is defense of transnational globalization, the unimpeded flow of financial capital around the world, dollar hegemony and access to oil; it has nothing to do with repressing terrorism which it generates, perpetuates and finances to provide cover for its real agenda. This is why the United States has a long history of CIA and military interventions around the world ostensibly in defense of ‘national interests’.

An interesting point that emerges for me from reading Phillips thoughtful analysis is that there is a clear distinction between those individuals and families who have wealth and those individuals who have (sometimes significantly) less wealth (which, nevertheless, is still considerable) but, through their positions and connections, wield a great deal of power. As Phillips explains this distinction, ‘the sociology of elites is more important than particular elite individuals and their families’. Just 199 individuals decide how more than $40 trillion will be invested. And this is his central point. Let me briefly elaborate.

There are some really wealthy families in the world, notably including the families Rothschild (France and the United Kingdom), Rockefeller (USA), Goldman-Sachs (USA), Warburgs (Germany), Lehmann (USA), Lazards (France), Kuhn Loebs (USA), Israel Moses Seifs (Italy), Al-Saud (Saudi Arabia), Walton (USA), Koch (USA), Mars (USA), Cargill-MacMillan (USA) and Cox (USA). However, not all of these families overtly seek power to shape the world as they wish.

Similarly, the world’s extremely wealthy individuals such as Jeff Bezos (USA), Bill Gates (USA), Warren Buffett (USA), Bernard Arnault (France), Carlos Slim Helu (Mexico) and Francoise Bettencourt Meyers (France) are not necessarily connected in such a way that they exercise enormous power. In fact, they may have little interest in power as such, despite their obvious interest in wealth.

In essence, some individuals and families are content to simply take advantage of how capitalism and its ancilliary governmental and transnational instruments function while others are more politically engaged in seeking to manipulate major institutions to achieve outcomes that not only maximize their own profit and hence wealth but also shape the world itself.

So if you look at the list of 199 individuals that Phillips identifies at the centre of global capital, it does not include names such as Bezos, Gates, Buffett, Koch, Walton or even Rothschild, Rockefeller or Windsor (the Queen of England) despite their well-known and extraordinary wealth. As an aside, many of these names are also missing from the lists compiled by groups such as Forbes and Bloomberg, but their absence from these lists is for a very different reason given the penchant for many really wealthy individuals and families to avoid certain types of publicity and their power to ensure that they do.

In contrast to the names just listed, in Phillips’ analysis names like Laurence (Larry) Fink (Chairman and CEO of BlackRock), James (Jamie) Dimon (Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase) and John McFarlane (Chairman of Barclays Bank), while not as wealthy as those listed immediately above, wield far more power because of their positions and connections within the global elite network of 199 individuals.

Predictably then, Phillips observes, these three individuals have similar lifestyles and ideological orientations. They believe capitalism is beneficial for the world and while inequality and poverty are important issues, they believe that capital growth will eventually solve these problems. They are relatively non-expressive about environmental issues, but recognize that investment opportunities may change in response to climate ‘modifications’. As millionaires they own multiple homes. They attended elite universities and rose quickly in international finance to reach their current status as giants of the global power elite. ‘The institutions they manage have been shown to engage in illegal collusions with others, but the regulatory fines by governments are essentially seen as just part of doing business.’

In short, as I would characterize this description: They are devoid of a legal or moral framework to guide their actions, whether in relation to business, fellow human beings, war or the environment and climate. They are obviously typical of the elite.

Any apparent concern for people, such as that expressed by Fink and Dimon in response to the racist violence in Charlottesville, USA in August 2017, is simply designed to promote ‘stability’ or more precisely, a stable (that is, profitable) investment and consumer climate.

The lack of concern for people and issues that might concern many of us is also evident from a consideration of the agenda at elite gatherings. Consider the International Monetary Conference. Founded in 1956, it is a private yearly meeting of the top few hundred bankers in the world. The American Bankers Association (ABA) serves as the secretariat for the conference. But, as Phillips notes: ‘Nothing on the agenda seems to address the socioeconomic consequences of investments to determine the impacts on people and the environment.’ A casual perusal of the agenda at any elite gathering reveals that this comment applies equally to any elite forum. See, for example, the agenda of the recent WEF meeting in Davos. Any talk of ‘concern’ is misleading rhetoric.

Hence, in the words of Phillips: The 199 directors of the global Giants are ‘a very select set of people. They all know each other personally or know of each other. At least 69 have attended the annual World Economic Forum, where they often serve on panels or give public presentations. They mostly attended the same elite universities, and interact in upperclass social setting[s] in the major cities of the world. They all are wealthy and have significant stock holdings in one or more of the financial Giants. They are all deeply invested in the importance of maintaining capital growth in the world. Some are sensitive to environmental and social justice issues, but they seem to be unable to link these issues to global capital concentration.’

Of course, the global elite cannot manage the world system alone: the elite requires agents to perform many of the functions necessary to control national societies and the individuals within them. ‘The interests of the Global Power Elite and the TCC are fully recognized by major institutions in society. Governments, intelligence services, policymakers, universities, police forces, military, and corporate media all work in support of their vital interests.’

In other words, to elaborate Phillips’ point and extend it a little, through their economic power, theGiants control all of the instruments through which their policies are implemented. Whether it be governments, national military forces, ‘military contractors’ or mercenaries (with at least $200 billion spent on private security globally, the industry currently employs some fifteen million people worldwide) used both in ‘foreign’ wars but also likely deployed in future for domestic control, key ‘intelligence’ agencies, legal systems and police forces, major nongovernment organizations, or the academic, educational, ‘public relations propaganda’, corporate media, medical, psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries, all instruments are fully responsive to elite control and are designed to misinform, deceive, disempower, intimidate, repress, imprison (in a jail or psychiatric ward), exploit and/or kill (depending on the constituency) the rest of us, as is readily evident.

Defending Elite Power

Phillips observes that the power elite continually worries about rebellion by the ‘unruly exploited masses’ against their structure of concentrated wealth. This is why the US military empire has long played the role of defender of global capitalism. As a result, the United States has more than 800 military bases (with some scholars suggesting 1,000) in 70 countries and territories. In comparison, the United Kingdom, France, and Russia have about 30 foreign bases. In addition, US military forces are now deployed in 70 percent of the world’s nations with US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) having troops in 147 countries, an increase of 80 percent since 2010. These forces conduct counterterrorism strikes regularly, including drone assassinations and kill/capture raids.

‘The US military empire stands on hundreds of years of colonial exploitation and continues to support repressive, exploitative governments that cooperate with global capital’s imperial agenda. Governments that accept external capital investment, whereby a small segment of a country’s elite benefits, do so knowing that capital inevitably requires a return on investment that entails using up resources and people for economic gain. The whole system continues wealth concentration for elites and expanded wretched inequality for the masses….

‘Understanding permanent war as an economic relief valve for surplus capital is a vital part of comprehending capitalism in the world today. War provides investment opportunity for the Giants and TCC elites and a guaranteed return on capital. War also serves a repressive function of keeping the suffering masses of humanity afraid and compliant.’

As Phillips elaborates: This is why defense of global capital is the prime reason that NATO countries now account for 85 percent of the world’s military spending; the United States spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined.

In essence, ‘the Global Power Elite uses NATO and the US military empire for its worldwide security. This is part of an expanding strategy of US military domination around the world, whereby the US/ NATO military empire, advised by the power elite’s Atlantic Council, operates in service to the Transnational Corporate Class for the protection of international capital everywhere in the world’.

This entails ‘further pauperization of the bottom half of the world’s population and an unrelenting downward spiral of wages for 80 percent of the world. The world is facing economic crisis, and the neoliberal solution is to spend less on human needs and more on security.

It is a world of financial institutions run amok, where the answer to economic collapse is to print more money through quantitative easing, flooding the population with trillions of new inflation-producing dollars. It is a world of permanent war, whereby spending for destruction requires further spending to rebuild, a cycle that profits the Giants and global networks of economic power. It is a world of drone killings, extrajudicial assassinations, death, and destruction, at home and abroad.’

Where is this all heading?

So what are the implications of this state of affairs? Phillips responds unequivocally: ‘This concentration of protected wealth leads to a crisis of humanity, whereby poverty, war, starvation, mass alienation, media propaganda, and environmental devastation are reaching a species-level threat. We realize that humankind is in danger of possible extinction’.

He goes on to state that the Global Power Elite is probably the only entity ‘capable of correcting this condition without major civil unrest, war, and chaos’ and elaborates an important aim of his book: to raise awareness of the importance of systemic change and the redistribution of wealth among both the book’s general readers but also the elite, ‘in the hope that they can begin the process of saving humanity.’ The book’s postscript is a ‘A Letter to the Global Power Elite’, co-signed by Phillips and 90 others, beseeching the elite to act accordingly.

‘It is no longer acceptable for you to believe that you can manage capitalism to grow its way out of the gross inequalities we all now face. The environment cannot accept more pollution and waste, and civil unrest is everywhere inevitable at some point. Humanity needs you to step up and insure that trickle-down becomes a river of resources that reaches every child, every family, and all human beings. We urge you to use your power and make the needed changes for humanity’s survival.’

But he also emphasizes that nonviolent social movements, using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a moral code, can accelerate the process of redistributing wealth by pressuring the elite into action.

Conclusion

As I read Phillips’ insightful and candid account of elite behavior in this regard, I am reminded, yet again, that the global power elite is extraordinarily violent and utterly insane: content to kill people in vast numbers (whether through starvation or military violence) and destroy the biosphere for profit, with zero sense of humanity’s now limited future.

For this reason I do not share his faith in moral appeals to the elite, as articulated in the letter in his postscript. It is fine to make the appeal but history offers no evidence to suggest that there will be any significant response. The death and destruction inflicted by elites is highly profitable, centuries-old and ongoing.

I would also encourage independent action, in one or more of several ways, by those individuals and communities powerful enough to do so.

If we cannot persuade the global power elite to respond sensibly to that predicament, or nonviolently compel it to do so, humanity’s time on Earth is indeed limited.

Postmodernism didn’t cause Trump. It explains him. WP By Aaron Hanlon Aug 31, 2018

(André da Loba for The Washington Post)

Postmodern theory may be the most loathed concept ever to have emerged from academia. Developed within literature and philosophy departments in the 1970s, it supposedly told us that facts were debatable, that individual perspectives mattered most, that shared meaning was an illusion and that universal truth was a myth.

The right quickly identified these notions as a danger to the very foundations of society and spent decades flogging the university lefties who promoted them.

In “Tenured Radicals,” Roger Kimball accused academic theorists of trying to redefine the traditional humanities as “a species of political grievance-mongering” for which virtue equals “whatever sexual, feminist, Marxist, racial, or ethnic agenda to which the particular critic has declared his allegiance.”

Norman Podhoretz believed that postmodernism was an attack on moral order....

Later, centrists and liberals searching for a culprit behind the ascent of Donald Trump and the war on fact that surrounds him joined the conservative crusade.

Michiko Kakutani, the cultural critic and author of “The Death of Truth,” blames the relativism that facilitated Trump’s rise on “academics promoting the gospel of postmodernism.”

Lamenting the state of American politics under Trump, philosopher Daniel Dennett said in an interview last year, “I think what the postmodernists did was truly evil.” And when Rudy Giuliani recently told NBC’s Chuck Todd that “truth isn’t truth,” Vox claimed that it wasn’t “the first time Trump’s legal team has played postmodernist and hinted that it might be too hard to discern the truth because it’s all relative anyway.”

These challenges to postmodern theory did identify an important crisis: Losing a shared vocabulary for the world’s problems, for the way we relate to one another and for current events may be the greatest threat to American society.

By the 1980s, conservative scholars like Allan Bloom — author of the influential “The Closing of the American Mind” — challenged postmodern theorists, not necessarily for their diagnosis of the postmodern condition but for accepting that condition as inevitable. Unlike so many of today’s critics, Bloom understood that postmodernism didn’t emerge simply from the pet theories of wayward English professors. Instead, he saw it as a cultural moment brought on by forces greater than the university. Within academia, however, Bloom was particularly worried about students — as reflections of society at large — pursuing commercial interests above truth or wisdom.

Describing what he saw as the insidious influence of pop music, Bloom lamented “parents’ loss of control over their children’s moral education at a time when no one else is seriously concerned with it.” He called the rock music industry “perfect capitalism, supplying to demand and helping create it,” with “all the moral dignity of drug trafficking.”

How many migrant children are still separated from their families? 497 as of Aug 27

The Trump administration’s decision to criminally prosecute all adults crossing the southern border led to the separation of more than 2,600 children from their parents or other adults this spring. After President Trump [under pressure] halted the separations on June 20, a federal judge ordered the government to reunite all children under age 5 with their families by July 12 and all older children by July 26.

As of Aug. 27, 497 children remain stripped from their parents or guardians and in government custody -- 22 of them children aged 4 and younger.

“The reality is, for every parent who is not located, there will be a permanently orphaned child, and that is 100 percent the responsibility of the administration,” U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw told the federal government at an Aug. 3 hearing about reunifying separated families.

U.S. [Trump] ends aid to United Nations agency supporting Palestinian refugees Wp By Karen DeYoung, Ruth Eglash and Hazem Balousha, August 31

The United States will no longer contribute to the United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees, the State Department announced Friday, amid widespread Palestinian outrage charging that the decision violates international law and will aggravate an already dire humanitarian situation, particularly in Gaza.

Blaming UNRWA and other international donors for failing to reform the organization’s “way of doing business,” the statement said the United States remained “very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children.”

Three men unfit to eulogize John McCain WP By Jennifer Rubin August 31, 2018

I can think of only one living American politician who can compare to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in physical and moral courage, in international stature, and in length of career and breadth of accomplishments: President George H.W. Bush, who was shot down as a young pilot in World War II, who went to serve in Congress, the CIA, the vice presidency and the presidency and, like McCain, represents time-honored virtues. Aside from him, everyone else is going to come up short. That said, there are people worthy of expressing admiration and respect for McCain — two presidents who will speak Saturday at a memorial service, and former vice president Joe Biden, who spoke eloquently on Thursday.

And then there were the three who spoke on Friday. You had to control your gag reflex watching Vice President Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) extol McCain’s greatness as he was accorded the honor of lying in state.

President Trump despised McCain and routinely mocked him. Suggesting that Pence was there to represent Trump would require him to insult and mock McCain. Pence accepted the vice presidency and stuck with Trump despite the “Access Hollywood” tape, despite Trump’s denigration of McCain’s service, despite overt racism and contempt for human rights. He has not batted an eye over the hush-money payments to women, the attacks on the rule of law, the evisceration of decorum. Only in Washington could such a spineless creature sally forth to declare McCain a hero.

To call McCain a hero is to recognize his heroic qualities, of which Trump has none. You can worship Trump or admire McCain; it’s metaphysically impossible to do both. Meghan McCain’s glare was an appropriate reaction to Pence’s hypocrisy.

McConnell acknowledged McCain as a “generational leader in the Senate.” McConnell said that McCain represented all the values the Capitol stands for. But what does McConnell stand for? He has accommodated Trump, ignoring or rationalizing his worst behavior.

McConnell personally destroyed the comity in the Senate by denying Judge Merrick Garland a hearing and then extinguishing the filibuster for Supreme Court justices. He has refused to protect the rule of law by preventing a bill protecting the special counsel from reaching the floor. In short, he too is everything McCain is not, and has presided over the very changes in the Senate that McCain despised.

McCain, with all his soul, cared for and fought for the Constitution, the dignity of all men and women and the basic values we hold dear. McConnell cares about power, ready to enable Trump at every turn. There is no principle for him beyond winning.

When Ryan urged us “to stand up and to embrace the cause of [McCain’s] life,” you wondered when and how Ryan will manage to do this. Might he remove Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) from chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee, which Nunes has used to smear our intelligence community and the FBI? Perhaps he’d actually hold a hearing on the grotesque conflicts of interest and emoluments clause violation that Trump has committed? Don’t hold your breath. Instead of the causes dear to McCain — the rule of law, simple decency, the obligation to defend the country against abuses of power — Ryan has again and again taken the road of least resistance. He is quite simply a moral coward.

President non grata: Trump often unwelcome and unwilling to perform basic rituals of the office WP By Ashley Parker August 28, 18

Shunned at two funerals and one (royal) wedding so far, President Trump may be well on his way to becoming president non grata....

Less than two years into his first term, Trump has often come to occupy the role of pariah — both unwelcome and unwilling to perform the basic rituals and ceremonies of the presidency, from public displays of mourning to cultural ceremonies.

McCain behaved like a hero. Trump is behaving like a vengeful brat. WP By Kathleen Parker Columnist August 28, 18

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at a rally in Hanoverton,
Ohio, in 2008. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

The world seems already a lesser place with the passing of Sen. John McCain.

The ensuing deluge of accolades and tributes — notwithstanding the president’s limp and late acknowledgment of McCain’s service to the nation — has revealed a level of reverence we don’t see often....

A stalwart patriot who gave nearly his all to the country he so loved, McCain reminded us of the values that formed a nation — hard work, self-sacrifice, bravery, strength, and goodness of intention and spirit. ...

McCain fared less well with the president of the United States, who has behaved like a vengeful brat the past few days. Perhaps he is aiming for consistency rather than compassion, or maybe he’s simply undone by the inevitable contrasts — a larger-than-life hero vs. the trite bully whom even pulpits find distasteful.

And this is our commander in chief, who this week couldn’t cough up a kind word for McCain — nor maintain the White House flag at half-staff for more than a day — until, apparently, he could no longer bear the torture of harsh critics shoving condemnation under his thin skin.

In victory for unions, judge overturns key parts of Trump executive orders WP By Lisa Rein, Reporter August 25, 2018

Members of the American Federation of Government Employees from across
the country attend an anti-union-busting rally July 25, 2018, at John Marshall
Park in Washington. They decried what they say are anti-union and undemocratic executive
orders signed by President Trump. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

the country attend an anti-union-busting rally July 25, 2018, at John Marshall
Park in Washington. They decried what they say are anti-union and undemocratic executive
orders signed by President Trump. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

Unions representing federal workers on Saturday declared victory in what they have described as an assault by the Trump administration after a federal judge struck down key provisions of a set of executive orders aimed at making it easier to fire employees and weaken their representation.

The ruling, by U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in Washington, was a setback to the White House’s efforts to rein in federal unions, which have retained significant power over working conditions even as private-sector unions are in decline.

“It’s a big win for us,” said David Borer, general counsel for the American Federation of Government Employees. With 750,000 members, the AFGE was the largest of about a dozen unions to sue the administration to block the new rules affecting 2.1 million civil servants.

In a 122-page decision, Jackson — nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama in 2013 — took issue with key elements of each order and immediately barred the administration from enacting them.

Elizabeth Warren unveils anti-corruption plan, takes aim at Trump WP By David Weigel August 21, 2018

If Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has her way, federal judges will face steep new ethics standards, high-ranking government officials will be banned from ever becoming lobbyists — and any candidate for president will have to release at least eight years of past tax returns.

“Padlock the revolving door between big business and government,” Warren said Tuesday at the National Press Club. “It’s insane that we have to beg the president of the United States to put the American people ahead of his own business interests. Insane.”

Warren’s speech, focusing on the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act that she’s introducing this week, highlighted a set of transparency reforms that would affect everything from how lobbyists have to report meetings with members of Congress to what would be accessible in Freedom of Information Act requests.

Warren took several swings at the Trump campaign and administration. She pointed to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s remarks about the preference campaign donors got when they sought meetings with members of Congress.

And, citing the trial of Trump 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort as a reason to “ban Americans from getting paid to lobby for foreign governments” completely, Warren said: “If foreign governments want to express their views, they can use their diplomats.”

“There’s no real question that the Trump era has given us the most nakedly corrupt leadership this nation has seen in our lifetimes,” Warren said. “But they are not the cause of the rot.”

Even after lobbyists are banned from giving campaign contributions — one of Warren’s proposals — it would be necessary to “prosecute companies that knowingly mislead government agencies and stop the practice of companies paying for sham ‘studies’ designed to derail the rulemaking process.”

To prevent “the spectacle of HHS secretaries and herds of congressmen caught up in insider trading schemes,” Warren suggested they be banned from owning stocks. “They can put their savings in conflict-free investments like mutual funds, or they can pick a different line of work,” she said.


Elizabeth Warren is right: Corruption is rotting the U.S. from within WP By Helaine Olen August 22, 2018

Tuesday was the perfect day for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to debut ambitious new legislation designed to combat government corruption. President Trump’s former “fixer” Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to banking and tax law violations, as well as violating campaign finance laws “at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” while Trump’s former campaign boss Paul Manafort was found guilty by a Virginia jury on eight counts of tax and bank fraud. And just as the day was ending, news broke that Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.), an early Trump backer, was indicted for misusing campaign funds for personal expenses big and small, including dental bills and a trip to Italy.

Warren’s bill takes on what is usually termed the legalized corruption, the dirty dealings of Washington. Among other things, the legislation would:

increase salaries for congressional staffers, so they will be less tempted to “audition” for lobbying jobs while working for government

ban the “revolving door” for elected officials

expand how lobbying is defined to include anyone who is paid to lobby the federal government as well as halt permitting any American to take money from “foreign governments foreign individuals and foreign companies” for lobbying purposes.

prohibit elected officials from holding investments in individual stocks

require that presidential candidates make their tax returns public

The goal? To make government once again responsive to voters, not the corporations and the wealthy donors responsible for the vast majority of the $3.37 billion spent lobbying Washington in 2017. Under Donald Trump Military Deaths Are Climbing At Alarming Rate By Farron Cousins [] December 19, 2017

According to new statistics, deaths of active duty military service members in war zones are increasing, already surpassing the total number of people killed in action in 2016. In addition, the number of civilian deaths in war zones since Trump took office has already surpassed all the civilian deaths that occurred during the entire Obama administration.

Furthermore, and this statistic is a little more striking for people, there have been more than 1,000 civilian casualties around the world this year as a result of 'ald Trump’s so-called war on ISIS. That is more civilian deaths in the last 10 months than we had through the entire eight year period of Barack Obama being president of the United States.


US Leaders Aid and Abet War Crimes in Yemen ICH By Marjorie Cohn, 8/24/18

US leaders who provided military support to the Saudi-led coalition that bombed civilians in Yemen this August could be charged with aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes under customary international law, which is part of US law.

The 500-pound laser-guided MK 82 bomb, which the coalition dropped on August 9, killed 51 people, including 40 children. The bombing constituted a war crime.

Lockheed Martin, one of the leading US defense contractors, manufactured the bomb, which was part of a US-Saudi arms deal last year.

email from Elizabeth Warren, 8/24/18

Too many Americans believe that Washington works for the wealthy and the well-connected -- but it's just not working for them.

And you know what? They're right.

Our government systematically favors the rich over the poor, the donor class over the working class, the well-connected over the disconnected. This is deliberate, and we need to call it what it is? -- corruption, plain and simple. And then we need to rip it out by its roots before it destroys our democracy.

On Tuesday morning -- just hours before the Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen news blew up -- I introduced the most ambitious anti-corruption legislation since Watergate. It's a BIG bill designed to address an enormous problem. But I believe that we can save our government, if we all join together and fight for it.

In Washington, the government-to-lobbying revolving door spins so fast that it could make you dizzy. The Anti-Corruption Act puts a padlock on that door.

This bill bans federal elected and top appointed officials from becoming lobbyists after they leave office. Not for one year. Not for two years. For the rest of their lives.

It will help stop public officials from using their government position to pad their own pockets and help out their former employers. And it will stop corporations from working in the shadows to undermine public interest rules.

I'll be honest: I know that a lot of Washington insiders -- including some of my friends -- are going to hate this bill. They're going to fight these reforms tooth and nail. It's going to take a groundswell of public support to turn this legislation into law. And DFA members like you are a key part of building this groundswell.

As the circus surrounding Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen proves, the Donald Trump era has given our country the most nakedly corrupt leadership of our lifetimes. But they didn't cause the rot -- they’re just the biggest, stinkiest example of it.

For too long, our government has failed to fix the problems that face our working families. Instead, it has made the problems worse by giving more money, more power, and more advantages to those who already have all three.

And so often? -- whether it leads to poisoned water or toxic bank loans? -- ?communities of color are hit first and hit hardest.

This is unacceptable. We need to finally cure the corruption that has been rotting Washington from the inside out. Join with me and show your support for the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act by adding your name now.

Trump Power Plan = Wildlife Extinctions, Human Suffering


Trump tweets the word ‘Africa’ for first time as president — in defense of whites in South Africa WP By Isaac Stanley-Becker , 8/23/18

President Trump on Wednesday night said he was directing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures,” as well as the “killing of farmers.”

He then quoted Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host, who earlier Wednesday had railed against plans by South Africa’s ruling party to pursue constitutional changes allowing the government to redistribute land without compensation. The measure is designed to redress racial inequalities that have persisted nearly a quarter-century after the end of apartheid in 1994.

The episode represented a case study in how the president runs his administration. The apparent basis of Trump’s directions to the nation’s top diplomat were accusations leveled by Fox — accusations that echo talking points used by white-nationalist groups, including an organization that has referred to “the so-called apartheid” and the “so-called ‘historical injustices of the past.’”

The South African government responded to the president on Twitter, saying the country “totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.” The government pledged to “speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation.”

Any attempt by the State Department to influence land policy in South Africa would probably be undermined by the absence of an ambassador to South Africa, one of Africa’s top economies. Trump has yet to name a replacement for Patrick Gaspard, who left the post in December 2016.

Republicans won’t have anything left to salvage WP Dana Milbank, 8/22/18

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

What President Trump and his cadre have done is very bad.

What Republican leaders are doing is unforgivable.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) stood on the Senate floor Wednesday morning for his first public remarks since the seismic events of the day before: The president’s former personal lawyer pleaded guilty to fraud and breaking campaign finance laws, implicating the president in a crime; the president’s former campaign chairman was convicted on eight counts of financial crimes, making him one of five members of Trump’s team who have been convicted or have admitted guilt; and a Republican congressman was indicted, the second of Trump’s earliest congressional supporters to be charged this month.

It was time for leadership. McConnell ducked.

Instead, he hailed Trump’s campaign rally in West Virginia the night before. He disparaged President Barack Obama’s record. He spoke about low unemployment “under this united Republican government.” He went on about coal, taxes, apprenticeship programs, health research, prisoner rehabilitation and more — and not a peep about the corruption swirling around the president. When reporters pressed McConnell in the hallway for comment, he brushed them off.

McConnell’s counterpart in the House, Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), was equally cowardly. “We are aware of Mr. [Michael] Cohen’s guilty plea to these serious charges” was his office’s official statement. “We will need more information than is currently available at this point.”

The U.S. isn't a banana republic, so why are sitting presidents immune to prosecution?
(Kate Woodsome, Breanna Muir, Adriana Usero/The Washington Post)

What more do you need, Mr. Speaker? What more will it take, Republicans? It seems nothing can bring them to state what is manifestly true: The president is unfit to serve, surrounded by hooligans and doing incalculable harm.

A scroll through Republican lawmakers’ tweets since the Cohen-Manafort combination punch late Tuesday found shameful silence. GOP House leaders Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Steve Scalise (La.) tweeted about a murder allegedly committed by an illegal immigrant.

It briefly appeared that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) was doing the right thing. He tweeted a suggestion to read Gerald Seib’s Wednesday Wall Street Journal column proclaiming the “darkest day of the Trump presidency.” Fourteen minutes later came a corrective tweet from Grassley: He meant a previous Seib column, on another subject.

Among the few Republican lawmakers demonstrating dignity: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), ex-FBI agent, commended his former colleagues for “upholding the rule of law.”

This intolerable silence of the Republicans — through “Access Hollywood,” racist outbursts, diplomatic mayhem and endless scandal — is what allows Trump and his Fox News-viewing supporters to dock their spaceship in a parallel universe where truth isn’t truth. At Tuesday night’s rally in West Virginia, Trump’s irony-challenged audience could be heard chanting “Drain the Swamp!” and “Lock her up!” (Hillary Clinton, that is), just a few hours after Paul Manafort’s conviction and Cohen’s guilty plea.

Trump's claim that the Mueller investigation is a 'witch hunt'
just got the wind knocked out of it. (Adriana Usero, Kate Woodsome/The Washington Post)

Republican lawmakers fear that with 87?percent of Republican voters backing Trump, crossing him is political suicide. But this is circular. Support among the Republican base remains high because Republican officeholders validate him.

It took a year from the Watergate break-in to Republican Sen. Howard Baker’s immortal 1973 question about a Republican president: “What did the president know and when did he know it?”

Instead of Baker, today we have Texas’s John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, saying: “I would note that none of this has anything to do with the Russian collusion or meddling in the election.”

And Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.): “Thus far, there have yet to be any charges or convictions for colluding with the Russian government by any member of the Trump campaign.”

And Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah): The “president should not be held responsible for the actions of the people he’s trusted.”

And Grassley: “I don’t think I should be speculating.”

But there doesn’t have to be collusion, or even speculation, to recognize that something is terribly wrong. There is no good answer to the question Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis posed after his client said under oath that Trump directed him to pay off two women to influence the election: “If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?”

A few Republican senators (Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, Ben Sasse, Susan Collins, Richard Burr) have rhetorically distanced themselves from Trump. But their modest efforts don’t sufficiently protect the party, or the country, from Trump’s sleaze and self-dealing.

The moral rot is spreading. Two weeks ago, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) was arrested on charges related to insider trading — from the White House lawn. On Tuesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and his wife were charged with using campaign funds for travel, golf, skiing, tuition, tickets, clothing, makeup, dental work and more, often while claiming the funds were being used on charities.

His office’s Trumpian response: “This action is purely politically motivated.”

If Republicans don’t put some moral distance between themselves and Trump, there will soon be nothing left to salvage.

The spectacular greed and stupidity of Team Trump WP By Megan McArdle, 9/22/18

If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen. Don’t take my word for it: On Wednesday morning, those exact words were tweeted by the president of the United States, famously Cohen’s onetime client. Or as he is now known to the Justice Department, “Individual-1.”

The charges make fascinating reading, particularly because there is such an eerie similarity between the crimes that President Trump’s lawyer pleaded guilty to and those that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty of on the same day... But both stories involve tax fraud and fraudulent loan documents. Which is to say, dishonesty — and stupidity.

Dishonesty explains itself. But the stupidity bears some examination. Tax fraud is never right, but provided one’s moral fiber was sufficiently flimsy, it used to be an arguably reasonable calculated risk. Lots of businesses transacted most of their exchanges in cash, giving the proprietor the opportunity to siphon off a percentage before the IRS learned about the income. And if you had serious amounts of money, there were foreign banking havens that would happily hide it.

A combination of technical and legal changes is making it harder to pull this sort of thing off. Cash has significantly declined as a medium of exchange, while banking surveillance has tightened dramatically. Your bank reports any large cash transactions straight to the government (causing headaches for banks and for small businesses that have a legitimate reason to be depositing cash). As for moving money abroad, rich-world governments have spent the past decade forcing foreign tax havens to open up their books.

That’s not to say no one ever gets away with tax evasion, of course; there remains a significant gap between the taxes the IRS collects and those it is owed, and the IRS should be given more resources to close that gap. But tax chicanery has become significantly more challenging than it was in the past, and even those of grasping nature and atrophied conscience should refrain out of sheer self-interest.

Consider all the money that Manafort spent on tasteless expensive clothes — in part, perhaps, because it was a relatively easy way to get his foreign funds into the United States. Why not just forgo a few ostrich jackets and suits that screamed “1970s family room couch” and get right with the IRS? Why didn’t he and Cohen put aside some of their considerable earnings for a rainy day rather than resort to loan fraud?

Well, because they are both clearly spectacularly greedy and shortsighted, and evidently not troubled by shirking their civic obligations or defrauding people. And it seems hardly a mere coincidence that they ended up in the orbit of a man who displays so many of those qualities himself: cheating vendors, lying to the public on an unprecedented scale, using the highest office in the land to enrich himself.

.... But then, what sort of judgment do you expect from a man who would hire Paul Manafort as his consultant, or Michael Cohen as his lawyer?

A Gangster State ICH By Craig Murray August 22, 2018

The contracting out of state violence for private profit ought to be unthinkable to any decent person.

Max Weber defined a key attribute of a state as holding the monopoly on the legitimate exercise of violence within a given territory. For anybody other than the state to use substantive physical force against you or to imprison you is regarded as an extremely serious crime. The state itself may however constrain you, beat you, imprison you and even kill you. That link is on deaths in police custody. I might also quote the state murder of 12 year old British child Jojo Jones, deliberately executed by drone strike by the USA with prior approval from the British government.

That is but one example of the British state’s decreasing reticence over the use of extreme violence. The shameless promotion of Cressida Dick to head the Metropolitan Police as reward for orchestrating the cold-blooded murder of an innocent and unresisting Jean Charles de Menezes is another example. So is Savid Javid’s positive encouragement of the US to employ the death penalty against British men stripped of citizenship.

There are a class of states where the central government does not have sufficient control over its territories to preserve its monopoly of violence. That may include violence in opposition to the state. But one further aspect of that is state sanctioned violence in pursuit of state aims by non state actors, done with a nod and a wink from the government – death squads and private militias, often CIA supplied, in South America have often acted this way, and so occasionally does the British state, for example in the murder of Pat Finucane. In some instances, a state might properly be described as a gangster state, where violent groups acting for personal gain act in concert with state authorities, with motives of personal financial profit involved on both sides.

It appears to me in this sense it is fair to call Britain a gangster state. [Et tu, Trump. -CG] It has contracted out the exercise of state violence, including in some instances to the point of death, against prisoners and immigration detainees to companies including G4S, who exercise that violence purely for the making of profit from it. It is a great moral abomination that violence should be exercised against humans for profit – and it should be clear that in even in most “humane” conditions the deprivation of physical liberty of any person is an extreme and chronic exercise of violence against them. I do not deny the necessity of such action on occasion to protect others, but that the state shares out its monopoly of violence, so that business interests with which the political class are closely associated can turn a profit, is a matter of extreme moral repugnance.

Inside America’s Meddling Machine: The US Funded Group that Interferes in Elections Around the Globe ICH By Max Blumenthal

Filmed inside the Capitol, this Grayzone special explores the National Endowment for Democracy, a taxpayer funded organization that has interfered in elections, mobilized coups, and orchestrated public relations campaigns against nations that resist Washington’s agenda.

On June 13, 2018 the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy presented its 2018 Democracy Award to a collection of Korean activists who aim to topple the communist government of North Korea.

The event was timed to coincide with President Donald Trump’s peace summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-Un. The ceremony appeared to be the opening shot of a massive public relations effort aimed at stifling normalized relations with North Korea

I covered the ceremony because these organizations are doing precisely what Congress accuses Russia-funded media outlets and troll farms of doing in the United States. They interfere in other countries’ politics with foreign money. The only difference is they do it openly, and in the name of spreading freedom.

Founded in 1983 by then president Ronald Reagan, the National Endowment for Democracy became an international vehicle for the neoconservative agenda. Its founding cadre were Cold War ideologues who were, like so many early neoconservative operatives, former Trotskyists who once belonged to the Social Democrats USA party.

Over the years, the NED and its partner organizations have weaponized civil society and media against governments that stand in the way of right-wing, free market parties and corporate interests.

Heavy payouts for anti-DPRK testimony, often with embarrassing results

Among the groups honored at the NED gathering was the Unification Media Group. They foment internal opposition to the North Korean government through shortwave radio broadcasts.

Also on hand was a collection of defectors. These activists are responsible for much of what the West believes about North Korea and its human rights record. While many tell harrowing tales of escape from political repression, others have been exposed as serial fabricators lured by hefty sums of cash.

In 2017, South Korea quadrupled the payout for testimony from North Korean defectors to a whopping $860,000. The bounty has incentivized colorful accounts of sadistic — and unusually creative — human rights abuses.

According to one defector, a crowd of 10,000 was forced to watch the execution of 11 musicians for the crime of viewing porn. He said the musicians were shot with anti-aircraft guns, then run over with tanks. Another defector claimed female prisoners were raped and then forced to hand their babies over to be used as food for hungry guard dogs.

That same year, news of the defection of 13 North Korean waitresses provided a boost to Pyonyang’s opponents

But recently, the waitresses’ manager admitted to tricking the women into leaving under pressure from the South Korean intelligence services. The scandal is now under UN investigation.

A separate UN investigation accusing Kim Jong-Un of crimes against humanity was marred by fabricated testimony from defectors like Shin Dong-hyuk, who confessed to inventing parts of his story.

Testimony to US Congress by another defector, Kwon Hyuk, who claimed to have witnessed live human experimentation in North Korean prisons, helped drive the passage of the North Korea Human Rights Act in 2004. But Kwon too was unmasked as a fabulist and quickly disappeared from the public eye....

The Transitional Justice Working Group, an NED grantee, is responsible for delivering some of these testimonies to the West.

At the NED ceremony, we met the group’s director, Hubert Younghman Lee, who emphasized the importance of American backing: “I’d like to express our sincere gratitude to bipartisan support, and also US congresspeople and US citizens especially. We are doing this work with US citizens’ tax [dollars].”

As with many high profile defectors, information delivered to Western media by South Korean intelligence has often proven unreliable, and provoked some embarrassing media updates.

In 2016, Western media filled with reports that North Korea had executed General Ri Yong-gil. However, General Ri turned up alive days later.

Three years before, Western media buzzed with reports that Kim Jong Un had executed his ex-girlfriend, Hyon Song-wol, by firing squad. Months later, Hyon appeared alive as ever, performing her music on North Korean television.

So this begs the question: is North Korea populated by zombies who rise from the dead? Or is a US-funded influence operation cultivating opposition to engagement with North Korea by relying on often unreliable sources with dubious agendas?

Bipartisan support

During the NED ceremony, Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi recalled a trip she took to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. “When we saw the people in Pyonyang — the blank faces, the brainwashing that went on — the poverty of spirit I saw exceeded the poverty [of] any place in the world.”

Pelosi then claimed that locals were executed on the spot for unauthorized corn consumption. “They would get shot if they just took one corn on the cob, one husk of corn,” she claimed.

Pelosi was among a bipartisan cast of lawmakers on hand to pay homage to the NED. They included Republican representatives like Ed Royce and Pete Roskamp, as well as Democrats like Rep. Julian Castro and Stephanie Murphy.

Though the NED was hailed by Congress as a politically benign entity advancing democracy and human rights, its record tells a different story.

Sowing chaos, spreading instability, and opening markets

The NED’s first success was the defeat of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua’s 1990 elections, replacing it with the neoliberal party of Violeta Chamorro.

Since then, the NED’s advanced US interests in countless countries: it helped swing a Russian election for Boris Yeltsin in 1996, it drove a failed coup attempt in Venezuela in 2002, it orchestrated a successful one in Haiti in 2004, and another one in Ukraine in 2014, which paved the way for neo-Nazis to move into the mainstream.

Philip Agee, the late CIA whisteblower, described the work of the NED as a more sophisticated version of the old-fashioned covert operations that Langley used to engineer. “Nowadays, instead of having the CIA going around behind the scenes and trying to manipulate the process by inserting money here and giving instructions secretly and so forth, they have now a sidekick, which is this National Endowment for Democracy, NED.”

Agee’s words were openly confirmed by Alan Weinstein, a former Trotskyist and founding member of the NED. Weinstein told the Washington Post in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly twenty-five years ago by the CIA.”

Since then, NED funding has almost quadrupled. In the past four years alone, the organization has directed at least 4 million dollars into parties and media outfits in Nicaragua.

That prompted an NED funded publication — the Global Americans — to boast of the role the group played in “laying the groundwork for change” in Nicaragua, where violent protests attempted to topple the country’s elected president, Daniel Ortega. The article went on to say that “it’s becoming more and more clear that U.S. support has helped play a role in nurturing the current uprisings.”

Uyghur “re-education camp” allegations against NED target China

Another top target of NED and its Washington partners is China.

The US has worked closely with Uyghur Muslims, an ethnic minority group that has faced discrimination at the hands of the Chinese government. As the confrontation with Beijing deepens, the US has attempted to use Uyghurs as a bargaining piece to ratchet up the pressure on Beijing.

At the ceremony, I met Omer Kanat, chairman of the World Uyghur Congress — a group funded almost entirely by the NED.

“The Chinese authorities have put more than one million Uyghurs in re-education camps, it is very similar to concentration camps,” Kanat claimed to me.

He said that his organization, a top NED grantee, had supplied much of the information the US government and Western media rely on about the alleged camps.

Indeed, along with the US-funded Radio Free Asia, which Kanat used to work for, Kanat’s US-funded Uighur Congress is responsible for widely reported claims that as much as one tenth of the Muslim population of China’s Xianjing province has been placed in re-education camps.

The numbers of Uighurs said to be housed in these camps vary wildly, from 120,000 to 500,000 to a million. And the sources invariably boil down to US-backed media like Radio Free Asia.

Western analysts concede that testimonies from actual camp prisoners is rare. One of the few detailed testimonies arrived through an anonymous source.

Kanat himself conceded that he did not know how many people were in the alleged camps, and that he was relying on “Western media estimates” to make his claim of one million.

The disturbing but still-unverified allegations about Uyghur re-education camps have added momentum to a new Trump national defense doctrine that singles out China as a top American adversary. With help from pundits like late night comedian John Oliver, who also echoed the claims of US-government backed sources on Xianjang, Washington appears to be hoping that a carefully crafted PR campaign will reverse Americans’ generally favorable attitude towards China.

Making Mongolia neoliberal

The NED has also turned up the heat on China by interfering in its neighbor’s elections.

Back in 1996, the International Republican Institute (IRI) — an NED partner group — helped propel right-wing libertarian parties to victory in Mongolia, dealing a death blow to the country’s socialist tradition and driving record levels of economic inequality.

At the NED ceremony, I spoke to an IRI staffer, Alexander Moree, who presented the group’s work in Mongolia as a blueprint for a post-communist North Korea. “So we took a group of defector-scholars over to Mongolia to study their transition,” Moree explained to me. “So Mongolia’s transition, if you don’t know, it was a peaceful democratic transition, there was no fighting, there was no revolution. But it developed a successful free market economy with peaceful elections without any dramatic turnover of power. It’s more of an island of democracy in Asia, and that’s more the model we want to encourage the North Koreans to pursue.”

“So like, transitioning from a socialist economy to a free market economy is paramount?” I asked him.

“Exactly.”

The meddling machine McCain built

The IRI has been led for years by Senator John McCain, who turned the group into what the New York Times called “a revolving door for lobbyists and out-of-power Republicans that offers big donors a way of helping both the party and the institute’s chairman.”

Carl Gershman founded the National Endowment for Democracy. He’s neoconservative activist with roots in Trotskyism. Today, Gershman still embraces the ideology of permanent worldwide revolution.

But with peace looming on the Korean peninsula, Gershman was forced to reassure his grantees that their work for regime change would not become irrelevant.

“There is some concern among the activists that the focus on the nuclear issue today will reduce pressure for human rights in North Korea and maybe even reduce support for the kind of work that is being done by the organizations that we have honored this evening,” Gershman said. “I want to assure our friends that NED’s support is solid.”

In the Longworth hallway outside of the NED event, I asked Nancy Pelosi if she thought the US government should stop funding organizations that seeking regime change against North Korea if it signed a peace treaty with the South. “I don’t know if that’s what they do,” Pelosi responded, referring to the NED and regime change, “but I do know they promote human rights where ever they [are].”

I then asked if she considered NED activities to be the same sort of foreign meddling Russia is accused of carrying out in the US. “I’m not going into any hypotheticals,” she said, dismissing the issue out of hand.

America remains obsessed with the specter of Russian interference and Moscow’s supposed active measures against our political system. But at the same time, official Washington celebrates its own taxpayer funded meddling machine as an engine of “democracy promotion.” Does the American public know what’s being done with its money, and will there ever be a public debate on the consequences of Washington’s regime change efforts?

America is sacrificing the future WP By George F. Will August 3, 2018


“Science, like the Mississippi, begins in a tiny rivulet in the distant forest.” — Abraham Flexner

In 1933, when America’s most famous immigrant settled in Princeton, N.J., Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to invite Albert Einstein to the White House. Abraham Flexner, the founding director of the Institute for Advanced Study that had brought Einstein to Princeton, intercepted FDR’s letter before the intended recipient saw it. Flexner declined the invitation and rebuked Roosevelt: “Professor Einstein has come to Princeton for the purpose of carrying on his scientific work in seclusion, and it is absolutely impossible to make any exception which would inevitably bring him into public notice.” Robbert Dijkgraaf, the institute’s current director, says that subsequently “Einstein made sure he personally answered all of his mail.”

Dijkgraaf recounts this episode in a slender volume that, read in the right government places, might inoculate the nation against philistine utilitarianism. In the volume, which reprints Flexner’s 1939 essay in Harper’s magazine, “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge,” Dijkgraaf notes that the April 1939 opening of the World’s Fair in New York — Einstein was honorary chair of the fair’s science advisory committee — featured such marvels as an automatic dishwasher, an air conditioner and a fax machine. There was no intimation of electronic computers or nuclear energy. (Four months later, Einstein urgently wrote to Roosevelt about the element uranium being turned into a new and important source of energy, including bombs, which might explain why Germany had stopped the sale of uranium from Czechoslovakian mines.)

Flexner’s theme, says Dijkgraaf, was the practicality of “unobstructed curiosity” that sails “against the current of practical considerations.” The 1953 discovery of the structure of DNA, which led to the 1970s arrival of recombinant DNA technology and to today’s biotech industry and pharmacology, was the result of scientific curiosity “without any thoughts of immediate applications.”

Flexner, who died in 1959 at age 92, recalled asking a great philanthropist who he considered the world’s “most useful worker in science.” When the philanthropist said “Marconi,” Flexner responded:

Radio has enriched human life, but Guglielmo Marconi’s contribution to creating it was “practically negligible.” Marconi was “inevitable” and added only “the last technical detail” after the basic science (concerning magnetism and electromagnetic waves) by Heinrich Hertz, James Clerk Maxwell and others. They had no concern whatever about “the utility of their work” that “was seized upon by a clever technician .?.?. Hertz and Maxwell were geniuses without thought of use. Marconi was a clever inventor with no thought but use.”

It has been said that the great moments in science occur not when a scientist exclaims “Eureka!” but when he or she murmurs “That’s strange.” Flexner thought the most fertile discoveries come from scientists “driven not by the desire to be useful but merely the desire to satisfy their curiosity.” He wanted to banish the word “use” to encourage institutions of learning to be devoted more to “the cultivation of curiosity” and less to “considerations of immediacy of application.” It is axiomatic that knowledge is the only resource that increases when used, and it is a paradox of prosperity that nations only reap practical innovations from science by regarding them as afterthoughts, coming long after basic science.

The practical lesson from Flexner’s hymn to impracticality is this: Indifference to immediate usefulness is a luxury central to the mission of some luxuries of our civilization — the great research universities, free from the tyranny of commercial pressures for short-term results. Only government can have the long time horizon required for the basic research that produces, in time, innovations that propel economic growth.

As 10,000 baby boomers retire each day into the embrace of the entitlement state, rapid economic growth becomes more imperative and, because of the increasing weight of the state, more difficult to maintain. Entitlement spending and the cost of servicing the surging national debt increasingly crowd out rival claims on scarce public resources, including those for basic science. Because it is politically expedient to sacrifice the future, which does not vote, to the consumption of government services by those who do, America is eating its seed corn.

The future’s vital, and only, constituency is the conscience of the present. Testifying to Congress in 1969 concerning the possible Cold War utility of a particular particle accelerator, the physicist Robert Wilson said: “This new knowledge has all to do with honor and country, but it has nothing to do directly with defending our country, except to help make it worth defending.”

‘Do that on your own time’: Official’s decision to kneel during pledge divides her small town WP 8/3/18 By Kristine Phillips

The crowd stood up, but Melissa Schlag didn’t. Scattered boos drowned out the Pledge of Allegiance, and as they reached the last phrase of the oath, “with liberty and justice for all,” they raised their voices, nearly screaming the words as they looked down at the silent protester kneeling in front of them.

Schlag has been both vilified and admired in the small Connecticut town of Haddam since she began kneeling during the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance last month. The Democratic town official said she’s kneeling to protest President Trump, and for as long as he is in office, she will keep kneeling. It was the kind of silent protest that has both angered and inspired people nationally as NFL players took a knee during the singing of the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

In Haddam, where 51 percent voted for Trump and 43 percent for Hillary Clinton, the issue seemed just as polarizing, as evidenced by events of the past two weeks.

Many saw Schlag’s protest as disrespecting U.S. soldiers, and they showed their disapproval by laying 1,000 little American flags near a veterans’ memorial. Connecticut state Sen. Art Linares, a Republican, called for Schlag’s resignation and demanded that she apologize. Schlag’s supporters, meanwhile, also rallied, holding signs defending freedom of speech. And the Hartford Courant published an editorial calling Schlag’s silent protest an act of bravery.

Schlag, a member of the board of selectmen, or the town’s executive body, did not respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post. In a Facebook post, she called Monday’s town meeting “a verbal stoning.”

“The intolerance and hate was palpable in the room. The room booed throughout their own pledge as they belted the pledge at me like [a] weapon. I was told I urinated on the graves of dead soldiers. I was told I hate my country,” she wrote in the Facebook post Wednesday.

More controversy seems to have erupted after a video taken during the town meeting captured Schlag saying, “This town is fascist and racist.” Schlag apologized, saying in her Facebook post that she does not think the entire town breeds racism and fascism. But, she said, “strong veins of fascism (forced patriotism) and racism” run deep in Haddam.

Schlag began kneeling July 16, when Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Trump stood next to Putin during a news conference and did not support the collective finding of his own intelligence agencies that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He also appeared to equate the credibility of his intelligence agencies with that of Putin.

During a town meeting that day, Schlag knelt for the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time in her life, she said in a lengthy letter posted on Facebook last month.

“I knelt out of extreme sorrow for our country, that the leader of our great nation, rejected the advice and findings of all American intelligence agencies and would rather support the lies of a murderous dictator,” she wrote, adding that she’s also protesting the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy that has resulted in the separation of thousands of migrant children from their families.

She further wrote: “Therefore, as long as Donald J. Trump is the president of the United States, I will kneel. I will kneel for all the people, regardless of party affiliation, and continue to fight for their rights. This is not the America I grew up in, or the country we should be, but I will work every day to get us back to that place.”

ICH Newsletter, 8/20/18

Do Americans Understand They’re Beginning to Commit The Legal Definition of Genocide? No, You Don’t Know What Genocide (Really) Is. But You Should.


Putting little kids in camps. Kids of a certain kind, in camps of a certain kind. Where they are not allowed to hug or be hugged. Where the lights stay on 24 hours a day. Where their diapers aren’t changed. Where they are separated from their siblings and parents. Where soothing these damaged kids has itself become a crime.

Now I am going to make your blood run cold, and your eyes weep. I don’t say that to boast. I say it because at times like these, anything less is indecent, inhuman, and empty. These are self-evidently among the lowest and most debased things that a people can do. But what do the acts above mean?—?to history, to the world, to the future, and to our better selves? What is the exact word we would use to describe them? What word contains them?

Here is the UN’s definition of genocide under the statutes of the International Criminal Court.

“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

a Killing members of the group;

b Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

c Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

d Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Hold on?—?isn’t that exactly what we’re doing?

I told you I’d make your blood run cold, didn’t I? Now I am going to make you weep. Let me ask you four questions.

I’d bet that at this precise instant, your mind is going into a panic, trying to pick holes in all this. Something in you is shouting: “No! We can’t be! Genocide? Are you crazy? You’re wrong!” In other words, you are trying to deny it. Why?

Let’s take your first objection. “But we’re not putting all the kids of that group in camps?—?just some! That’s not enough for genocide!! Is it?” Let’s go back to the definition. It reads: “in whole or in part.” We aren’t putting every Latino or Hispanic kid in the world in a camp?—?but genocide only means at its outermost extreme exterminating every single member of a group. It’s enough to say that a society is trying to rid itself of a group, forcibly, to meet the definition of genocide. Hence, “in whole or in part”?—?a criterion most certainly being met today. Go ahead and work your way through all your objections?—?better minds than you or I have defined the statute above, and it is logically bulletproof. You’re perfectly right to say that we don’t satisfy the definition 100%. That would be unspeakable. But isn’t it self-evident that we meet the minimum bar, now? So the fact is that we are at least dipping a toe into, if not standing ankle-deep in, the dark and bottomless ocean of genocide.

So. The real question is: why are you trying to deny it? Let’s ask that another way. What is it in us that rises, disgusted, repelled, ashamed, and indignant, against this?—?at least those of us who are still civilized people? We know that putting kids in camps is among the lowest acts that a people can commit. But precisely why?

Our moral minds, which we are all born with, and keep, unless we are badly damaged ourselves, know that hurting another is wrong. The functioning adult in us, which is present if we have been allowed to mature emotionally, knows that hurting a little child is a terrible and shameful thing. But there’s something else, too. In the civilized and educated person in us, the one who has been taught history and reason, an unconscious thought arises, which is quickly batted away. Our defense mechanisms kick in. A thought we don’t allow ourselves to hold at all, because it is too painful to think.

That thought is this. Torturing little children is the a way to begin exterminating a people. We know it, implicitly, because the lessons of the last century are obvious. Still, we don’t really know it, precisely, technically?—?what is a “genocide”, anyways??—?and that is why the mental tension arises, why we hope to deny it.

So here is my second question. Why don’t you know what a genocide really is? The basic legal definition of it? Well, it’s because it’s not taught to you in college or in school?—?probably not even in law school. But don’t you think that it should be? Let’s just think about it simply.

If we really wanted to exterminate a people, where would we begin? With the little children, of course. That way, we would ensure that such people never grew, reproduced, expanded in number. Wiping out the adults would not help us much towards our cause, only a little bit. That is why the Nazis were so intent on wiping out children?—?not just adults that they deliberately targeting them separately.

So here is my third question. If it’s self-evident that we are beginning, at least, to commit genocide, then: why don’t our thinkers and pundits, our intellectuals and wise men, discuss it? Admit it? Even understand it? Why don’t they seem to have the mental equipment to grasp any of the above?

Today, I saw Ezra Klein, who has been exactly wrong about every single major event in the last decade, stagnation, implosion, authoritarianism, say: “I don’t think Nazi analogies are helpful.” LOL. Here we see the game of denial above played out in public?—?as well as profound ignorance of what genocide is. But what kinds of people commit genocide? Isn’t even the beginning of a genocide enough to say: “There is true fascism at work here?” If it isn’t?—?then what bar would we need to meet? Have we learned anything from history at all? Or have America’s wise men become history’s fools, incapable of learning at all, to begin with?

So here is my fourth question.

What kind of people do all that? 1) Begin to commit the legal definition of genocide 2) Don’t understand or know what genocide is 2) Deny it 3) Hope to protect themselves from the unbearable reality of it, by never talking about? Go ahead and judge for yourself. I won’t put any words in your mouth. I will just ask this. Is that the kind of people we are becoming? Can you let your defense mechanisms stop protecting you from these thoughts?—?and hold them for just a second, even though they are painful to think? Because, my friends, the reality couldn’t be any clearer.

What happens to such people?—?people who deny that they are doing the very things that they are doing? They have no power over their own actions. They become what they fear most. Monsters, that come for each others’ children, in the darkest of night.

Umair
June 2018

the Trump administration is censoring science, email from 314 Action, 8/20/18

The Guardian just published an EXPLOSIVE news report about how numerous scientists are being stalled and censored in an “unprecedented” manner by the Trump Administration:

The official in question, Steve Howke, doesn’t have any experience with scientific research and lacks a STEM background. His qualifications? Playing football with Interior Secretary Zinke.

Syria - Pentagon Plants High ISIS Numbers To Justify OccupationBy Moon Of Alabama August 17, 2018

The U.S. aim in Syria is still 'regime change'. The Pentagon has made it clear that it wants to stay in the country even after the Islamic State vanished. A little propaganda trick is now used to create a justification for its continuing occupation.

The United States Destroys Venezuela’s Economy By Margaret Kimberley August 17, 2018

“Sanctions are war by other means, invisible to most eyes.”

Corporate media in this country deliver a steady onslaught of anti-Venezuelan propaganda. The Washington Post fumes about Venezuelan "pirates" while the New York Times reports that Ecuador is overwhelmed by desperate Venezuelan migrants. Unfortunately the propaganda has succeeded to a large degree. "Socialism doesn't work, just look at Venezuela," is an all too common trope. It is rare that anyone with a public platform reveals a simple truth. Venezuela's problems were created by the United States government, first during the Obama administration and now continuing under Trump's.

Is Capitalism Killing Us? By Paul Craig Roberts August 17, 2018

A strong case can be made that this is the situation we currently face.

Ecological economists, such as Herman E. Daly, stress that as the external costs of pollution and resource exhaustion are not included in Gross Domestic Product, we do not know whether an increase in GDP is a gain or a loss.

External costs are huge and growing larger. Historically, manufacturing and industrial corporations, corporate farming, city sewer systems, and other culprits have passed the costs of their activities onto the environment and third parties. Recently, there has been a spate of reports with many centering on Monsanto’s Roundup, whose principle ingredient, glyphosate, is believed to be a carcinogen.

A public health organization, the Environmental Working Group, recently reported that its tests found glyphosate in all but 2 of 45 children’s breakfast foods including granola, oats and snack bars made by Quaker, Kellogg and General Mills.

In Brazil tests have discovered that 83% of mothers’ breast milk contains glyphosate.

The Munich Environmental Institute reported that 14 of the most widely selling German beers contain glyphosate

Glyphosate has been found in Mexican farmers’ urine and in Mexican ground water.

Scientific American has reported that even Roundup’s “inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.”

A German toxicologist has accused the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and the European Food Safety Authority of scientific fraud for accepting a Monsanto-led glyphosate Task Force conclusion that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.

Controversy about these findings comes from the fact that industry-funded scientists report no link between glyphosate and cancer, whereas independent scientists do. This is hardly surprising as an industry-funded scientist has no independence and is unlikely to conclude the opposite of what he is hired to conclude.

The point is that if glyphosate is carcinogenic, the cost of the lost lives and medical expenses are not borne by Monsanto/Bayer. If these costs were not external to Monsanto, that is, if the corporation had to bear these costs, the cost of the product would not be economical to use. Its advantages would be out-weighed by the costs.

It is very difficult to find the truth, because politicians and regulatory authorities are susceptible to bribes and to doing favors for their business friends. In Brazil, lawmakers are actually trying to deregulate pesticide use and to ban the sale of organic food in supermarkets.

In the case of glyphosate, the tide might be turning against Monsanto/Bayer. The California Supreme Court upheld the state’s authority to add the herbicide glyphosate to its Proposition 65 list of carcinogens.

Last week in San Francisco jurors awarded a former school groundkeeper $289 million in damages for cancer caused by Roundup. Little doubt that Monsanto will appeal and the case will be tied up in court until the groundkeeper is dead. But it is a precedent and indicates that jurors are beginning to distrust hired science. There are approximately 1,000 similar cases pending.

What is important to keep in mind is that if Roundup is a carcinogen, it is just one product of one company. This provides an idea of how extensive external costs can be. Indeed, glyphosate’s deletarious effects go far beyond those covered in this article.

GMO feeds are also taking a toll on livestock.

Now consider the adverse effects on air, water, and land resources of chemical agriculture. Florida is suffering algae blooms from chemical fertilizer runoff from farmland, and the sugar industry has done a good job of destroying Lake Okeechobee.

Fertilizer runoffs cause blue-green algae blooms that kill marine life and are hazzardous to humans. Currently the water in Florida’s St. Lucie River is 10 times too toxic to touch.

Red tides can occur naturally, but fertilizer runoffs fuel their growth and their persistance. Moreover, pollution’s contributions to higher temperatures also contribute to red tides, as does draining wetlands for real estate development, which results in water moving quickly without natural filtration.

As water conditions deteriorated and algae blooms proliferated, Florida’s response was to cutback its water monitoring program

When we consider these extensive external costs of corporate farming, clearly the values attributed to sugar and farm products in the Gross Domestic Product are excessive. The prices paid by consumers are much too low and the profits enjoyed by corporate agriculture are far too high, because they do not include the costs of the massive marine deaths, the lost tourist business, and the human illnesses caused by the algae tides that depend on chemical fertilizer runoff.

In this article I have barely scratched the surface of the problem of external costs. Michigan has learned that its tap water is not safe. Chemicals used for decades on military bases and in the manufacture of thousands of consumer items are in the water supply.

As an exercise, pick any business and think about the external costs of that business. Take, for example, the US corporations that offshored Americans’ jobs to Asia. The corporations’ profits rose, but the federal, state, and local tax bases declined. The payroll tax base for Social Security and Medicaid declined, putting these important foundations of US social and political stability into danger. The tax base for school teachers’ and other government employees’ pensions declined. If the corporations that moved the jobs abroad had to absorb these costs, they would have no profits. In other words, a few people gained by shoving enormous costs on everyone else.

Or consider something simple like a pet store. All the pet store owners and customers who sold and purchased colorful 18 to 24 inch pythons, boa constrictors, and anacondas gave no thought to the massive size these snakes would be, and neither did the regulatory agencies that permitted their import. Faced with a creature capable of devouring the family pet and children and suffocating the life out of large strong adults, the snakes were dumped into the Everglades where they have devastated the natural fauna and now are too numerous to be controlled. The external costs easily exceed many times the total price of all such snakes sold by pet stores.

Ecological economists stress that capitalism works in an “empty economy,” where the pressure of humans on natural resources is slight. But capitalism doesn’t work in a “full economy” where natural resources are on the point of exhaustion. The external costs associated with economic growth as measured by GDP can be more costly than the value of the output.

A strong case can be made that this is the situation we currently face. The disappearance of species, the appearance of toxins in food, beverages, water, mothers’ breast milk, air, land, desperate attempts to secure energy from fracking which destroys groundwater and causes earthquakes, and so forth are signs of a hard-pressed planet. When we get right down to it, all of the profits that capitalism has generated over the centuries are probably due to capitalists not having to cover the full cost of their production. They passed the cost on to the environment and to third parties and pocketed the savings as profit.

Update: Herman Daly notes that last year the British medical journal, Lancet, estimated the annual cost of pollution was about 6 % of the global economy whereas the annual global economic growth rate was about 2 percent, with the difference being about a 4% annual decline in wellbeing, not a 2 percent rise. In other words, we could already be in the situation where economic growth is uneconomical.

Why We Shouldn’t Treat Supremacists and Fascists as Our Equals umair haque vampire. Jul 31, 2018


What Equality Really Means (And Why it Matters)

American kids are raised from day one to scent weakness, indoctrinated early into the only law operant in America, the rule of the strong over the weak. So they lit upon this strange, haunted giant, like a ravenous pack of wolves. Every day, kids of a certain kind - the jocks, all budding patriarchs, a little preening tribe of testosterone, cologne, muscles and logos - would surround Joe, and scream at him. "Fag!" "Pussy!" "Freak!" "Dumbfuck!" "Loser!" I had only a little understanding then, an unconscious one, that they were doing it because he was their physical ideal - a giant - but didn't live up to their cultural one, of cruelty, greed, superiority, and dominance. And so he had to be, like all false idols, destroyed. So they tormented him to destruction, day after day.

Now, something in me - skinny, frail, green hair, leather jacket - was enraged by all this. The daily public humiliation - and sometimes beating - that Joe suffered, over and over again. It made me frown, and then go volcanic inside. I'd see him when no one else was looking - a giant curled into a ball, there, under the bleachers, crying. How terrible. How odd. How sad. So I welcomed him into our motley crew of misfits - punks, artists, poets, musicians. Outcasts on an island of the damned. I thought - or maybe I just hoped - being part of a tribe might shield him. And the truth was that the guys picking on him were scared of us. Our spikes and studs and combat boots.

But it created something like an instantaneous civil war instead. There was Joe being picked on again. Now the punks were involved, too. We'd try and pull him out of the clutches of the jocks. Every so often, there'd be an epic brawl, fists flying, shirts tearing, faces bleeding, boots kicking. And the jocks would shot: "Fags!" "Freaks!" "Fucking weirdos!" "We'll kill you, you fucking pussies!!" We'd laugh, sneer, and give them hell.

I didn't know it then - but Joe had become something like a fault line, in our little world, cleaving sharply between the fundamental ideas of civilization - equality, freedom, gentleness towards human fragility - and those which most truly define its opposite: patriarchy, supremacy, domination, violence, the power to destroy, not the power to lift up. We were re-enacting an old war. Maybe as old as time itself. Maybe we still are - but I'll get to that part.

"Break it up!!" We’d be called into the principal's office. All of us they could find. Sneering punks, scowling jocks, a bewildered Joe. And the teachers would look at us sternly, and say something that dumbfounded me. "You need to respect each other. It's OK if you don't like each other. Everyone has a right to their opinions. Just don't take it out with your fists."

Something in me would erupt at that point. "Respect each other? It’s OK when they call Joe a fag and a freak? They're the ones picking on Joe!", I'd cry. They'd look at me, frowning with a kind of dumb pity, and reply, "Everyone has a right to their opinion. They don't like Joe. Joe's different. That's OK. But you all need to get along."

"How can we get along with people who want to hurt us?" I'd ask. "That's your job. You're equals. With equal rights to your opinions. Figure it out," they'd reply.

I'd walk out, sneering. Nothing would change. The bullying, the fights, the brawls. It would go on and on. And I'd keep thinking that something was badly wrong with this idea of "equality." It just didn't work in practice - it only seemed to protect the strong, and turn them into predators, who preyed on the weak, a little more viciously each day. It had to be a profoundly flawed notion, this version of "equality" - one which had torn our little world apart, two halves which no one could put back together again - but I couldn't say how yet.

Fast forward a few decades. Here we are, all of us - in my high school. The supremacists and fascists of the world are picking on the Joes. Gays, Jews, immigrants, minorities, refugees, anyone who's weak in any way. And the liberal response is: "everyone has a right to their opinion! Be civil to them. You must treat them as equals."

It's exactly what my teachers said to me all those years ago - and now, as then, it's as laughably disappointing. It only emboldens the fascists. In just a few short years, using this principle of "equality", we've gone from grievance to predation - kids in camps, while we're still told to "respect" supremacists as equals.

Only now I understand what went wrong with this idea of equality. How fatally flawed and illogical it is. Let me put it to you like this. Marcuse once said that the one thing we must never tolerate is intolerance. I think there's another way to see that. When someone asserts supremacy, they've in that precise instant given up a claim to equality - and so there's no need to treat them as equals.

What, then, should we do? Our first obligation isn't to "treat them with respect" and "hear them out". That essentially legitimizes and licenses their predation, just as "Fag!" "Weirdo!" and "Freak!" all those years ago legitimized and licensed the jocks making Joe's every day a living hell. Instead, our first obligation is to shun, ostracize, deny, and reject supremacists, wherever we find them.

If they come to our restaurants, we should jeer them. If they come to our bars, we should mock them. If they come to our theatres, we should expel them. If they want to do business with us, we should refuse them. Any kind of contact whatsoever must be minimized, to the point that supremacists are as small a part of society as is possible. Does that sound harsh to you? Maybe unfair? Does it make perfect sense?

Let's think about it. When a person or group asserts supremacy, what are they really doing? They are putting themselves above everyone else - inherently, in an iinescapable and irreversible way. I am pure in blood, genetically better - whatever, the message is that I am strong, and my destiny is to prevail over the weak. Now, at that very moment, they themselves have decided to "opt out of", as we'd say these days, being equals. They cannot be true equals anymore. They do not wish to be treated as such - and therefore they don’t treat anyone else as such, either?

So why would we treat people who don't treat anyone else as equals…as equals? Do you see how foolish it is? What happens if we do that? Then, as I've said, we license and legitimize supremacy. We make it possible for supremacists to mistreat anyone and everyone--just like my foolish teachers' notion that "Fag!", "Freak!", and "Pussy!" versus "Don't call this poor kid those names" are "opinions" with equal moral weight. They aren't. That's exactly how we end up with white supremacists on CNN and in the New York Times, isn't it--and that licenses and legitimizes them, too, doesn't it?

One is predation, and one is an expression of equality. If we are to value equality, then we cannot say that supremacy is just another valid opinion, position, or perspective. It is the very absence and negation of equality, and in that way, those who assert it have rejected equality a priori, and therefore, there is no obligation to treat them as equals--but the very opposite. To treat those as equals who have already rejected the idea of equality is to debase and devalue the very idea of equality itself.

This is the war, in many ways, the world is fighting today. Are we equals? Or am I better than you? Me, the American, me the Brit, me the Hungarian, me the Pole. Over the immigrant, the refugee, the unwashed immigrant, the dirty Muslim, the filthy Jew. Make Us Great Again! Better! The best! When worlds fall apart, people revert back to tribal hierarchies. But the problem with tribal hierarchies is that then each tribe must in turn compete for the highest position of all, so that its members are above all the others. That is why the world made no progress at all until the creation of the idea of equality--only war, in an endless cycle, forever, peasants fighting for their kings. Just like scared little boys, fighting each other, in high school hallways.

It's an old war, isn't it? It goes on and on. We've been fighting it since the beginning of time. Athens and Sparta. Caesar and Brutus. Kings and free men. Free men and unfree women. The slavers and the abolitionists. The Axis and the Allies. And on the wheel turns. It's as old as time, this great cleavage among human beings. Between those who are for equality, and those who are supremacy.

I won't say to you that the arc of history bends towards justice. Justice is something we get only if we're fortunate. Joe taught me that much. But if there is to be something like greater and truer justice in the lives of men and women, then there must first be equality. Equality is dignity, respect, and gentleness for the fragility in every human soul. But it is not equating all that with supremacy, because the supremacist has already ceded any claim to be (treated as) an equal. That's what I was trying to tell my high school teachers. Equality, therefore is, created only this way: through the obligation to reject supremacy, as much as we can, in whatever ways we can, wherever we find it, in all its forms. Not with violence, unless it is done to us, perhaps--but at least with scorn, refusal, defiance,rebellion, laughter, and grace.

Umair

It Is Time for The Government and Military to Be Held Accountable By Harry Wagne August 05, 2018

The government from the office of President down to the lowest civil servant is more dedicated to self-interests than to the survival of the nation's citizens.

The conduct of our military and CIA has become more than questionable. They have become a law unto themselves with no regard for the Constitutional restrictions that have been placed upon them.

I’ve seen from experience government bureaucrats who often outnumber the workers and too often distort the problems and take edited credit for the results. As the American government has rapidly increased in size as to employment and operational costs, the distortions have increased and they have become unjustifiable and shielded by lies.

Our political system of government of a nation, “of, for, and by the people” has become so corrupted as to be criminally responsible for supporting a failing society with dishonest government. My personal belief is that we are all here, no two alike, but we all survive by living a productive life, at least a life that is sustainable by honest work, at whatever is necessary to coexist with others. There is a code of behavior between us all; it may not be written or codified but it does exist and we all know it, but some, for one reason or other, care to disregard it. Experience has taught us that once this indifference is allowed to expand there can be serious troubles from it.

That brings us to where we are today with the pending financial and economic collapse of our system that has actively supported a shift toward military martial law government contrary to our Constitutional form of government. The Executive branch of government from the office of President down to the lowest civil servant is more dedicated to self-interests than to the survival of the nation’s citizens. The excuse by the CIA and Military of the “War on Terrorism” as cause to continue the attack and murder of civilians worldwide by their own admission without Congressional approval or debate and with retention and torture without due process are criminal acts that warrant the highest and severest punishment.

Harry Wagner is an 88-year-old veteran of Korea and Vietnam. He worked in Military Intelligence, Psychological Operations, USAID, and the Phoenix Program. He has written a book about his experience in Vietnam and includes proven strategies to transition our military from a belligerent agent of war to an advocate on a quest for peace; The Headless Snakeis available on Amazon. He can be reached by email at peaceteamforward@gmail.com. You can follow his blog peaceteamforward.wordpress.com .

US agencies collaborated to ‘trap’ immigrants who showed up for legal status interviews, ACLU saysGabe Ortiz Wednesday August 15, 2018

Instead of being put on a path to citizenship, immigrants just trying to follow the rules by going to their legal status interviews are being put on a path to deportation.


Illinois manufacturer says it will close its doors and move to Mexico because of Trump tariffs Walter Einenkel Wednesday August 15, 2018

Donald Trump’s “big stick” the past few months has been the trade tariffs on China. Those “economically anxious” Trump supporters are getting the full con man treatment, as they serve to bear the brunt of the tariffs and their consequences. Consumer goods have begun to skyrocket, manufacturing unions have warned their members that these trades could mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and Republicans have been working to give farmers welfare checks that will delude them into thinking everything is going just fine.

But while all of that happens, manufacturers like Stack-On Products, a storage safe manufacturer, begin to close up shop and head on down to Mexico.

“The operation is really not profitable,” Fletcher said. He said the decision to relocate operations to Juarez, Mexico, was made about two months ago when President Donald Trump announced tariffs on numerous goods and materials from China as well as other countries, to reduce what the president has called an unfair trade deficit.

“Mr. Trump is part of this,” Fletcher said. So far, the United States has imposed tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese technology goods and $3 billion of Chinese steel and aluminum, and has proposed another $16 billion.

The Chicago Tribune says that about 153 people will be laid off in the Chicago area as a result of Stack-On’s closures. But wait, there’s more! There are at least “885 coming job cuts that Illinois employers reported last month to the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.” Those numbers come from an act that forces businesses planning on laying off more than 75 workers to give 60 days notice.

The Law As Weapon What the Manafort trial should tell you is how utterly and totally corrupt the United States is.

By Paul Craig Roberts August 13, 2018

Robert Mueller is supposed to be investigating Russiagate, which has been shown to be a hoax concocted by former CIA director John Brennan, former FBI director James Comey, and current deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. As Russiagate is a hoax, Mueller has not been able to produce a shred of evidence of the alleged Trump/Putin plot to hack Hillary’s emails and influence the last presidential election.

With his investigation unable to produce any evidence of the alleged Russiagate, Mueller concluded that he had to direct attention away from the failed hoax by bringing some sort of case against someone, knowing that the incompetent and corrupt US media and insouciant public would assume that the case had something to do with Russiagate.

Mueller chose Paul Manafort as a target, hoping that faced with fighting false charges, Manafort would make a deal and make up some lies about Trump and Putin in exchange for the case against him being dropped. But Manafort stood his ground, forcing Mueller to go forward with a false case.

That Russiagate continues on its corrupt course should tell you how powerless President Trump is. Trump cannot even influence his own Department of Justice, which is doing its best to destroy him.

Omarosa claims Betsy DeVos wants to ‘replace public education with for-profit schools’ — and that Trump calls her ‘Ditzy DeVos’ WP 8/15/18--

The Law As Weapon What the Manafort trial should tell you is how utterly and totally corrupt the United States is.

By Paul Craig Roberts August 13, 2018

Robert Mueller is supposed to be investigating Russiagate, which has been shown to be a hoax concocted by former CIA director John Brennan, former FBI director James Comey, and current deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. As Russiagate is a hoax, Mueller has not been able to produce a shred of evidence of the alleged Trump/Putin plot to hack Hillary’s emails and influence the last presidential election.

With his investigation unable to produce any evidence of the alleged Russiagate, Mueller concluded that he had to direct attention away from the failed hoax by bringing some sort of case against someone, knowing that the incompetent and corrupt US media and insouciant public would assume that the case had something to do with Russiagate.

Mueller chose Paul Manafort as a target, hoping that faced with fighting false charges, Manafort would make a deal and make up some lies about Trump and Putin in exchange for the case against him being dropped. But Manafort stood his ground, forcing Mueller to go forward with a false case.

That Russiagate continues on its corrupt course should tell you how powerless President Trump is. Trump cannot even influence his own Department of Justice, which is doing its best to destroy him.

'I don't understand why the Democrats are not pounding on this chart every single day' Donald Trump said the Republican tax bill would boost the average family’s disposable income by $4,000. Donald Trump said wealthy people like him would lose big after the bill was passed.


Donald Trump says a lot of things. Hardly any of them are true.

And here’s the stark proof that, when it comes to the Republican tax scam, Trump’s critics were right, while Trump was just wanking off to an ‘80s pin-up of the Laffer curve:


It’s so eye-opening, in fact, it prompted equities analyst and Bloomberg Television contributor Barry Ritholtz to state: “I don't understand why the Democrats are not pounding on this chart every single day from now until the midterm election.”

Coincidentally, the above chart looks eerily similar to a graph that shows a sharp divergence between wages and productivity since Ronald Reagan made the world safe for greedy assholes again:


And then there’s this chart, from the nonpartisan Charles M. Schulz Center for Economic Horseshit:


Trump Assassination Plot Discovered! Since the day President Donald Trump became president, there’s been a growing wave of harassment and violence against Trump supporters across America.

The mainstream media is largely refusing to report it… and Democratic politicians are refusing to condemn it.

And thanks to the lack of coverage and outrage, these violent thugs are taking their despicable actions in a new, dangerous direction… now threatening to KILL President Trump! [As the kids say, he started it! -CG]

According to The Daily Caller, members of left-wing Antifa are being investigated by the Secret Service for threats of murder and violence against President Trump.

"The Secret Service is aware of the incident," said a Secret Service spokesperson, noting that, as a matter of policy, they cannot comment further on "protective intelligence investigations."

Over the weekend, Antifa and other left-wing activists took to the streets of Washington, D.C. in attempt to shut down the 30 or so white nationalists and alt-right figures permitted to hold the so-called "Unite the Right 2" rally. Antifa harassed and attacked law enforcement officers and media members and made open threats on the president's life.

"I would murder him," said one protester when asked by a reporter what he'd do if Trump were to show up at the event. "Do him like Gaddafi," said another, referencing the murdered Libyan leader.

Others said they would "slap" and "beat" Trump. [He deserves it. He is ignorant, egotistical, and racist. -CG]

Can you imagine the outrage and national news coverage these kind of comments would have received if they were directed at Barack Obama?!

But once again, the mainstream media refuses to report, or condone, these threats against Trump.

Trump’s Walk of Fame star: The West Hollywood City Council wants it permanently removed WP By Samantha Schmidt August 7, 2018

The West Hollywood City Council on Aug. 6, unanimously voted on a proposal to remove the star. However, the move is only symbolic. (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)

Since the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star has seen just about everything. It was smashed into pieces — twice. It was vandalized with a swastika, enclosed with a miniature border wall, defaced with profanity and graced with the presence of a gold-painted toilet telling passersby to “TAKE A TRUMP.”

Trump supporters have fought back, defending the star. Late last month, hours after a man destroyed the star with a pickax, a fierce brawl ensued, leaving one person kicked in the head and another bleeding from the face.

The site has become a symbol not only of the nation’s celebrity president but of the polarization surrounding him. And a nearby city council has had enough of it.

America is swarming with Paul Manaforts WP By Catherine Rampell Columnist August 6 2018

One possible lesson of the many brazen, conspicuous scandals related to President Trump and others in his orbit: The U.S. government has been massively underinvesting in enforcement and prosecution of white-collar crime.

But the right question isn’t why Mueller is going after Manafort now. It is: Why didn’t someone go after Manafort before? After all, there were just So. Many. Red. Flags.

Trump administration lifts ban on pesticides linked to declining bee numbers Environmentalists say lifting the restriction poses a grave threat to pollinating insects

Reuters Fri 3 Aug 2018

Trump says collusion isn’t a crime. He’s right. It’s actually many crimes. WP By Barry Berke, Norman Eisen and Dani James August 1, 2018

... collusion is a rubric that in fact encompasses many crimes. As criminal law experts with a collective century of experience prosecuting and defending criminal charges, we believe the sudden pivot to this baseless legal defense signals concern among Trump and his attorneys about emerging evidence that will show collusion.

Many fall under the rubric of conspiracy: an agreement to further illegal action. The core federal conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371, would be triggered here if there were any agreement by Trump or those around him with Russian agents to do something that the law forbids. For example, if in or around the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, the Russians and a Trump representative tacitly or explicitly agreed about the release or use of illegally obtained information, that could plausibly support a conspiracy charge. Indeed, there is already some evidence of just that, including Donald Trump Jr.’s infamous email that “if it’s what you say I love it.”

... If the president knowingly accepted something of value from the Russians, such as harmful information about his opponent, that could be an illegal contribution by foreign nationals. That is an election law crime. If he accepted that information in exchange for the promise of some action (like taking a more accommodating posture toward the Russian invasion of Ukraine) that he or his administration would take if his campaign proved successful, that could constitute an illegal quid pro quo — that is, bribery.

Physicists and earth scientists have played an integral part in saving lives and preventing wildfires for decades. But at a time when forest fires are literally destroying California, Trump REFUSES to fund fire research -- and instead is slashing hundreds of millions of dollars for these programs.

This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of a “Religious Liberty Task Force” in the Justice Department that will ensure certain religious groups can keep "practicing their beliefs" in public despite government regulations.

The president is flouting the law in plain sight By Max Boot, Columnist, Wash. Post, August 1

There are so many smoking guns in the Russiagate scandal that it can be hard to clearly discern what’s going on amid all the haze. But clear away the confusion and what you see is the president flouting the law, not (as usually happens) behind closed doors but in plain sight.

On Wednesday, President Trump proclaimed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further.” Sessions recused himself from the investigation last year, but Trump would dearly love for that decision to be reversed so Sessions could shield him from justice.

Trump’s team, on cleanup duty, claimed the president is offering an opinion, not issuing a formal order. But when a boss tells a subordinate he “should” do something, it’s not just an innocent opinion like “that’s a nice shirt.” Last year, then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that the president’s tweets are “official statements.” Indeed, the president fired then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by tweet. If Trump was just expressing a nonbinding opinion, why isn’t Tillerson still on the job?

When the president tells his attorney general he “should” stop an investigation of his alleged misconduct, that is strong evidence of obstruction of justice. It doesn’t matter, from a legal perspective, whether the directive is whispered in secret or shouted for all to hear. It doesn’t even matter whether the investigation is actually stopped or not. A crime is still a crime even if it’s not carried out to a successful conclusion.

Little wonder that Mueller is reportedly investigating Trump’s tweets, which form the most public confession of official misconduct in U.S. history.

Note that to be convicted of obstruction of justice under 18 U.S. Code § 1503 , you don’t have to be successful in stopping a federal investigation — you just have to “endeavor” by “any threatening letter or communication” to “influence, intimidate or impede” an officer of the court. Prosecutors do, however, have to prove “corrupt intent.” Trump’s tweets and tirades provide a gold mine of such corroboration.

The impeachment proceedings would have already started if congressional Republicans weren’t colluding with Trump to obstruct justice.

Future generations will feel only contempt By Ruth Marcus, Deputy editorial page editor, Washington Post, August 1

President Trump’s outrageous tweets are testing, once again, our capacity for outrage. They are not harmless venting. Rather, they pose a threat to the rule of law.

Consider: Trump unhinged, Wednesday edition. He launched another unfounded attack against special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as being “totally conflicted.” He slandered the prosecutors (“17 Angry Democrats”) doing Mueller’s “dirty work” as a “disgrace to USA.”

And, most alarmingly, Trump called on his attorney general to “stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further.” A measure of how alarming was the scrambling by Trump’s team of enablers to explain that the president was not, in fact, ordering Attorney General Jeff Sessions to kill the investigation. Rather, in this soft-core retelling, Trump was merely expressing his opinion about what should happen — as if that is much better, when the opinionizer is the president.

Note to the president: “Our country” is doing just fine with the Mueller probe. Actually, the United States is benefiting from it. The country being stained by the investigation is the one that tried to interfere with our election on Trump’s behalf.

One of the indictments that Mueller has produced alleged that Russian individuals and companies engaged in a sophisticated social-media campaign to help swing the election to Trump. Another accused Russian military intelligence agents of hacking into the emails of Democratic campaigns and operatives.

Someone needs to ask — or would ask, if the president ever took more than a few shouted questions from a few favored reporters — how bringing such cases is a “stain” on the United States. Rather, it is a defense of the country and its electoral system, which is more than we have seen from the Trump administration.


Trump Sons: Deadbeats

Cities sue over Trump's unconstitutional Obamacare sabotage by Joan McCarter, August 02, 2018

The cities of Chicago, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Baltimore have filed suit in a Maryland federal court, arguing that Russian asset Donald Trump has "waged a relentless effort to use executive action alone to undermine and, ultimately, eliminate the law." The suit says his actions are in violation of the Article II of the Constitution, requiring the president to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

Trump brings back crappy insurance, catastrophic health bills, and medical bankruptcy by Joan McCarter, August 01, 2018

Russian asset Donald Trump has finally deployed one more Affordable Care Act sabotage, one that everyone in the industry, from insurance companies to providers, has panned. It's an expansion of short-term, limited-duration plans allowed under Obamacare that functioned as a stop-gap for people waiting to secure permanent insurance.

Trump's base mindset/cult and the Dunning-Kruger effect by Shockwave, Wednesday August 01, 2018

Ignorance, racism, theocracy on steroids

Many have been proposing that Trump’s base is like a cult since before that day in November 2016. A personality cult? For some. A religious cult? Some fundies think he was sent by G.d. His personality cult went on steroids when he started leading the birtherism movement back in 2011 as you can see in this toxic The View video where he also hinted at running.

The November midterms are a pivotal moment in our history as the battles of Yorktown, Gettysburg and Midway were. When you go into battle it helps to understand your enemy, both its capabilities and its mindset.

I am not a psychologist, far from it, but I look around. I started looking around when Scientology tried to recruit me back in 1976. I was a programmer in a tech company. I did not know my boss was one of them. As time passed one by one my fellow programmers started becoming Scientologists. So I got a copy of Dianetics and read it. I was shocked. I looked around some more and I came across a book on brainwashing, cults and deprogramming. I needed my job so I came up with a plan. I bought a poster of Blue Oyster Cult and pinned it on my cubicle. Whenever one of the converted came to invite me I just told them that I belonged to a cult already. It worked. Thankfully I soon got another job.

35 years later, I got into a live-in relationship that lasted 5 years with an actress (who an ex-Kossack introduced me to) that had escaped from Scientology, a harrowing escape that can be googled. During this time, I sold a very significant computer system to Scientology while I managed to hide my relationship with her from them. But I did have to attend their annual meeting where I was the only non-Scientologist in a VIP box.

Over the years I have learned a lot about cults and not just Scientology.

One of the things I realized is that actors and computer programmers are the key targets of scientology. Programmers have high IQs and general knowledge but typically low EQs (emotional quotient) on the average and many feel disconnected with society. Actors are the antithesis of programmers, with high EQs but low general knowledge, again on the average. As a computer geek who has lived near Hollywood for decades I know this.

No wonder Scientology targets actors and geeks.

Recently, in the Twitter feed of another ex-Kossack I stumbled on this article;

A Neuroscientist Explains How Trump Supporters Are Easily Hoodwinked Because of This One Psychological Problem

In the past, some prominent psychologists have explained President Donald Trump’s unwavering support by alluding to a well-established psychological phenomenon known as THE “DUNNING-KRUGER EFFECT.” The effect is a type of cognitive bias, where people with little expertise or ability assume they have superior expertise or ability. This overestimation occurs as a result of the fact that they don’t have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge. Or, stated more harshly, they are “too dumb to know they are dumb.” This simple but loopy concept has been demonstrated dozens of times in well-controlled psychology studies and in a variety of contexts. However, until now, the effect had not been studied in one of the most obvious and important realms—political knowledge.

Hoodwinked is not brainwashed, but if you are hoodwinked every day you will be brainwashed unless you know you are being hoodwinked. That is what Faux News and others ranging from Alex Jones to Rush Limbaugh in right-wing media do to them every day.

This is the key graphic that explains the Dunning-Kruger effect;


A new study published in the journal Political Psychology, carried out by the political scientist Ian Anson at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, not only found that the Dunning-Kruger effect applies to politics, it also appears to be exacerbated when partisan identities are made more salient. In other words, those who score low on political knowledge tend to overestimate their expertise even more when greater emphasis is placed on political affiliation.

While the results of Anson’s study suggest that being uninformed leads to overconfidence across the political spectrum, studies have shown that Democrats now tend to be generally more educated than Republicans, making the latter more vulnerable to the Dunning-Kruger effect. In fact, a Pew Research Center poll released in March of this year found that 54 percent of college graduates identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic, compared to 39 percent who identified or leaned Republican.

Perhaps this helps explain why Trump supporters seem to be so easily tricked into believing obvious falsehoods when their leader delivers his “alternative facts” sprinkled with language designed to activate partisan identities. BECAUSE THEY LACK KNOWLEDGE BUT ARE CONFIDENT THAT THEY DO NOT, THEY ARE LESS LIKELY THAN OTHERS TO ACTUALLY FACT-CHECK THE CLAIMS THAT THE PRESIDENT MAKES.

L Ron Hubbard And Trump

So, less educated or less knowledgeable people have become the main target for the Trump machine (and it is a machine with a plan, as I will diary soon).

We are dealing with a Trump base that has been brainwashed over the years and now has become a cult. Trump is their L. Ron Hubbard.

7/31/18

Donald Trump is subpar in every way but that doesn't stop Republicans from overwhelmingly supporting him. URL = [https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/7/22/1781670/--Twice-as-good-as-them-to-get-half-what-they-have-Racism-and-the-subpar-presidency-of-Donald-Trump

'Poverty Is Criminalized, Wealth Is Immunized': Report Shows Corporate Crime Enforcement Has Plummeted Under Trump "The message to big business couldn't be more clear: Feel free to run roughshod over rules that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat."


In addition to padding the bottom lines of America's largest corporations by cutting their taxes and eliminating scores of longstanding regulations, President Donald Trump is also protecting major companies' profits by refusing to punish them for ripping off consumers and trampling federal rules that safeguard the planet.

That is the central conclusion of a new Public Citizen analysis out Wednesday, which finds that corporate America has largely been exempt from Trump's so-called "law-and-order" agenda. Titled Corporate Impunity (pdf), the report shows that enforcement actions carried out by major government agencies declined drastically during Trump's first year in the White House.

"When it comes to large corporations, the supposedly 'tough-on-crime' Trump administration is undertaking an epic retreat from law enforcement—slashing fines, declining to bring cases against corporate wrongdoers, and cutting enforcement programs," Public Citizen president Robert Weissman said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to Public Citizen, the largest drop in enforcement actions came at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is currently headed by former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler after previous agency chief Scott Pruitt resigned amid an ever-growing mountain of scandals.

The consumer group's new analysis shows that EPA penalties against corporate criminals has dropped a staggering 94 percent since Trump took office last year.

In Trump’s first year, EPA penalties dropped 94 percent — the most of any federal agency. Under Scott Pruitt, the EPA decreased penalty sums against polluters from $23 billion in Obama’s last year to $1.4 billion in Trump’s first. - Public Citiaen

The decline in penalties leveled by other White House agencies has been similarly striking.

Trump's Department of Justice (DOJ), for instance, imposed $4.9 billion in penalties against major corporations for violating the law. In contrast, during the last year of the Obama administration—which could hardly be described as tough on corporate crime—the DOJ imposed $51.5 billion in fines against businesses.

"The greedy leader sets the pace," noted legal scholar Jennifer Taub in response to Public Citizen's figures. "Under the Trump doctrine, it's corruption without accountability all the way down."

Correction: K's in graphic should be M's. All percentages are still accurate. - Public Citizen

Because the Trump administration has demonstrated that it is not interested in holding corporations accountable for defrauding consumers and wrecking the environment, Public Citizen argues in its report that we can expect an even larger wave of corporate crime in the near future."

"If the chances of being prosecuted for lawbreaking drop and the penalties when caught are slight, we should expect a surge in corporate wrongdoing," the analysis notes. "That means more workers needlessly injured and killed on the job. It means more consumers ripped off by predatory lenders... It also means a greatly increased chance of corporate catastrophes, on the scale of the BP Gulf oil disaster and the 2008 financial crash, both of which can be traced directly to regulatory enforcement failures.""

Succinctly summarizing America's two-tiered justice system—which Trump has tilted even further in favor of the rich by letting corporations run "roughshod"—Public Citizen's Rick Claypool wrote, "While poverty is criminalized, wealth is immunized."

Trump admin declares mission accomplished as hundreds of migrant kids remain separated Friday July 27, 2018

The Trump administration declared mission accomplished following the court-mandated deadline Thursday to reunite migrant families they tore apart, yet more than 700 kidnapped children continue to be separated from their families, many because the U.S. had already deported their parents. While 1,820 children were reunited with parents in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody or released in “other appropriate circumstances,” 711 others continue to remain in Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facilities. “Without details or transparency,” notes one immigrant rights group, the administration has deemed them “not eligible or currently not eligible” for reunification.

“Democratic Institutions?” – 10 Lessons From History That Will Destroy Your Trust In The CIA By Off Guardian July 20, 2018


In the hysterical wake of the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki, President Donald Trump was roundly criticised in the media for taking the side of a “hostile state” over his own intelligence agencies. The Guardian referred to Mueller as a “heroic marine” who Trump disbelieved in favour of a “Russian dictator”.

In the past, when Trump has criticised the FBI, CIA or NSA he has been accused of “undermining faith in our institutions”. He’s been blamed for a collapse of trust in the government. But was this trust ever earned?

At every corner, we are urged to simply believe what we are told. Whether it is about believing Porton Down and MI6 about “novichok”, or believing the White Helmets about Sarin, or believing the FBI about “collusion”, we are present with no facts, just assertions from authority. Those who question those assertions are deemed “bots” at best or “traitors” at worst.

Well here, fellow traitors, are the Top Ten reasons to question anything and everything the CIA – or any intelligence agency – has ever told you.

10. OPERATION PAPERCLIP

In 1945, as the allies were advancing on Berlin from both sides, American Army Intelligence (this was before the CIA were founded) were “capturing” (read: recruiting) over 1600 Nazi scientists and engineers. Most famous of them was Werhner von Braun…sorry, SS Sturmbannführer von Braun.

Whilst Allied soldiers died in the name of defeating fascism, the CIA’s predecessors were actively recruiting Nazis to come and build bombs for them.

9. OPERATION NORTHWOODS

The original, and important, precedent for accusations that the CIA et al. might engage in false-flag attacks. Operation Northwoods was a joint CIA/Pentagon proposal designed around the idea of escalating a war with Cuba by stoking public anger:

The proposals called for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or other U.S. government operatives to commit acts of terrorism against American civilians and military targets, blaming it on the Cuban government, and using it to justify a war against Cuba.

The idea was vetoed by President Kennedy. Fifty years later, the CIA and Pentagon still very much exist, but there’s no longer a Kennedy there to veto their more psychopathic ideas. Funny how that worked out.

8. ALLENDE COUP

In 1970 Salvador Allende was elected to the Chilean Presidency. A Physician and dedicated socialist, Allende was the first socialist president elected in South America. The Nixon-lead government of the United States immediately implemented “economic warfare” (as they do, to this day, against Cuba, Venezuela and others). The economic warfare did not work, and in 1973 Allende’s socialist party increased their parliamentary majority.

In response, the US “assisted” (read: instructed) the Chilean military in carrying out a coup. Allende allegedly shot himself, and Augusto Pinochet was placed in power as the first dictator in Chile’s history. Pinochet was a fascist who executed Chilean “subversives” by the thousand…and was the darling of Western leaders.

7. MOSADDEGH COUP

I could just copy-and-paste the above paragraph and the change the names for this entry. In 1953, the Prime Minister of Iran – Mohammad Mosaddegh, a democratic socialist – wanted to audit the income of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company with an eye to limiting foreign control of Iran’s oil. Within a few months, a joint US/UK operation – Operation Ajax – had removed Mosaddegh’s elected government and turned over full control of the state to the Shah. He was a brutal absolute monarch, but the question of Western control of Iran’s enormous oil reserves wasn’t raised again under his leadership.

6. OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD

A CIA operation that you could deduce existed, even if were not proven….and it is proven. Mockingbird was the CIA project to coerce, train, control or plant CIA-friendly journalists in major news networks all across the country and in every medium. It’s existence is no longer disputed, thanks to FOIA releases of internal memos.

Mockingbird was allegedly shut down in 1976 – just after its existence was leaked – then CIA director George HW Bush claiming:

…effective immediately, CIA will not enter into any paid or contractual relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station.”

If you’re willing to stake anything on the word of a Bush, well, good luck with that. It’s a decision that flies in the face of historical evidence.

Remember this one when you hear about the need to trust the CIA from some pundit on CNN or MSNBC.

5. MASS SURVEILLANCE

It’s not really talked about much these days – what with the vast majority of the media and huge sections of the supposedly “anti-establishment” progressive left marching in-step with the Deep State – but the NSA spied on the whole world. The whole world. We know this to be true because an employee of the Deep State – Edward Snowden – leaked the information.

When challenged on this issue, representatives of the NSA and CIA lied. They lied to the public, and they lied to congress. When they were proven to have lied, they carefully qualified their lies.

A qualified lie is still a lie.

There is no indication they have stopped this illegal surveillance, but they may have passed laws to make it legal.

4. NAYIRAH

A classic of “atrocity propaganda”, Nayirah should be required reading material for anybody looking top hop on a pro-war bandwagon. Nayirah – who originally gave only her first name – was a fifteen year old girl who testified in front of the United States Congress. She claimed to be a volunteer from at a Kuwaiti hospital, and to be an eye-witness to Iraqi soldiers throwing Kuwaiti babies out of incubators and leaving them to die:

I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital with twelve other women who wanted to help as well. I was the youngest volunteer. The other women were from twenty to thirty years old. While I was there I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators and left the children to die on the cold floor. It was horrifying.

It was later revealed, not only that her full name was Nayirah al-Sabah and she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador, but that she had never volunteered at a hospital and had seen no babies, soldiers or incubators. The whole thing was a fiction. A fiction paid for by the “Citizens of Free Kuwait”, an NGO (and obvious CIA front) set up to lobby the US to intervene in the Iraq-Kuwait war.

By the time this fiction was revealed it was too late, and the US had launched Operation Desert Storm….which was, of course, the entire point of the exercise

Remember this, when you hear about Assad gassing children or bombing kittens.

3. COINTELPRO

The FBI’s long running (and sometimes illegal) COunter INTELligence PROgram, COINTELPRO was a series of domestic projects carried out by the FBI (with cooperation from other agencies), over decades, with the aim of “surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations”.

These political organizations included anti-Vietnam protestors, civil rights groups (including both MLK and Malcolm X), socialists, Communist Party USA, environmental groups and feminist organizations.

The brief for these “disruptions” came straight from J. Edgar Hoover who wanted the FBI to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise Neutralize” people he perceived to be enemies of the state. The capital N in “neutralise” is no accident, as the FBI was implicated in the deaths of several Black Panther leaders, including Fred Hampton.

COINTELPRO didn’t just involve undermining left-wing groups, but also creating right-wing groups:

The FBI also financed, armed, and controlled an extreme right-wing group of former Minutemen, transforming it into a group called the Secret Army Organization that targeted groups, activists, and leaders involved in the Anti-War Movement, using both intimidation and violent acts.

Whether this was done to actually push a right-wing agenda, create a fake threat to step up police powers, or just sow division and chaos, is unclear. But it definitely happened.

Much like MKUltra (below), COINTELPRO was “officially shut down”, not long after the public found out it existed. However, the accidental outing of undercover policeman at a rally in Oakland, and recent relaxation of the laws limiting the FBI’s powers, means that COINTELPRO – or a modern successor – is very likely still a thing.

The aim of COINTELPRO was to “Neutralize” anti-establishment political figures – the vast majority of targets were left wingers – through “smearing individuals and groups using forged documents and by planting false reports in the media”. Remember that when you see Rand Paul called a “traitor” on twitter, or read about “Russian collusion”, or see Jeremy Corbyn branded an anti-Semite.

Remember that it is proven that the Deep State – our trusted intelligence agencies – pay people to plant false stories and discredit political opponents.

2. PROJECT MKULTRA

It might sound like something from a 70s sci-fi TV series, but it is unfortunately real. MKUltra was a series of (illegal) experiments carried out by the CIA from 1953 until it was *cough* “officially halted” in 1973 (just after its existence was leaked). The experiments were wide-ranging, achieved varied levels of success, but pretty uniformly brutal and unethical. They included, but were not limited too:

~ Giving LSD to unsuspecting soldiers to see what happened.
~ Mass hypnosis and mass suggestion
~ Torture studies
~ Studies on the effect of verbal and/or sexual abuse

We’ll never know the full range of studies, or how they were carried out, because in 1973 Richard Helms, then director of the CIA, ordered all MKUltra files destroyed. Only a fraction of them survive, thanks to FOIA requests, but it’s reasonable to assume they destroyed the worst parts and kept the more quote-unquote innocent files.

The CIA were not unique in this regard either, MKUltra was their baby – but there were parallel projects in other quarters of the deep state. Army Intelligence had Edgewood Arsenal, whilst the Department of Defense had Project 112. All these projects were “officially halted” in the early 70s…just around the time the public found out they existed.

The CIA (et al.) have strongly denied that these experiments and projects have ever been continued in any way, shape or form…but if you’d asked them in 1969, they would have denied they had ever taken place at all.

1. THE IRAQ WAR

This might not be the most callous, the most dangerous, the most recent, the most secret or the most insidious of the items on this list, nevertheless it is – must be – number one…because it is the most brazen.

The war was started in the name of “weapons of mass destruction” that everyone – EVERYONE – knew never existed. They all knew the truth, but they lied.

The President lied, the vice-president lied, the secretary of defence lied, the secretary of state lied. The Prime Minister lied, the defence minister lied, the foreign minister lied. They lied to the press, the people and the UN.

The CIA, the NSA, the FBI – then headed by the “heroic marine” Robert Mueller – they lied too. The press repeated these lies, without question (see: Operation Mockingbird). They weren’t “misinformed”, they weren’t “mistaken”. They lied, they lied repeatedly – and provably – and they did it in order to start a war, make money, take control, spread influence.

One million Iraqis died.

Our ruling class is peopled with psychopaths and war criminals, who have so little regard for the people they lie to they recycle the same childishly simple falsehoods to further their evil agenda again and again and again. They tried the same in Libya…it worked again. They tried again in Syria…luckily, it didn’t work there.

Our “democratic institutions” lie to start wars. There’s no reason to think they aren’t doing – or wouldn’t do – the same thing about Iran, North Korea…or Russia.

That’s our list, and there’s really only one lesson you can take away from it:

These people, agencies and institutions deserve no trust, have earned no trust and have abused every micron of trust ever placed in them. To suggest we have a duty to believe them – or that they have ever done anything to serve the public good – is to live in a dream world.

This list is not a full catalogue of Deep State crimes, it would be 1000s of entries long if it were, but these ten are important. They’re important because they are admitted, proven and beyond debate. They are important because they show the many facets of dishonesty, hypocrisy and abuses of power that Intelligence agencies engage in, and they are important because they form the best riposte to the disingenuous clamour for “trust” in our “democratic institutions”.

Never trust the CIA, they have proved they don’t deserve it.

Finally, a (not retiring) Republican Congressman admits Trump is being manipulated by Putin 7/22/18


Republican Congressman Will Hurd (TX-23) has told the truth about Trump in a way no other Congressman running for re-election has done yet.

He just published an Op Ed i the NY Times titled,

“TRUMP IS BEING MANIPULATED BY PUTIN.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?”

In explaining Trump as a manipulated Russian asset, Hurd writes:

(Trump) actively participated in a Russian disinformation campaign that legitimized Russian denial and weakened the credibility of the United States to both our friends and foes abroad.

Make no mistake, Russian disinformation campaigns are working.

Of course, what with Hurd being a weasel Republican, you won’t be surprised that, “What should we do?” amounts to virtually nothing substantive.

Abbreviated pundit round-up: Trump 'treason' talk soars; democratic socialism's 'visionary realist' 7/22/18--E.J. Dionne Jr. at The Washington Post writes—Democratic socialism’s time has come around:

“Socialism has known increments of success, basic failure and massive betrayal. Yet it is more relevant to the humane construction of the twenty-first century than any other idea.”

With those words, Michael Harrington began his book “Socialism,” published in 1972. In his day, Harrington was often called “America’s leading socialist.” He was also one of the most decent voices in politics, a view shared not just by his friends but also by most of his critics.

Harrington founded Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which, in the often splintered politics of the left, was a breakaway group from the old Socialist Party. My hunch is that Harrington — whom I counted as a friend until his death in 1989 at the age of 61 — would be amazed, though not entirely surprised, by the extraordinary growth of DSA since Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.

It would thrill him that the organization is now heavily populated by the young, although I also suspect he would have spirited tactical arguments with youthful rebels about what works in politics. Harrington was a visionary realist, and the dialectic between those two words defined his life. He preached vision to those worn down by a tired political system, and realism to those trying to change it.

Socialists have had quite a journalistic run since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old DSA member, defeated veteran Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), a genial and rather liberal stalwart of the old Queens Democratic machine, in a primary last month.

Opinion has been divided, roughly between those who see her as the wave of the future and those who warn of grave danger if Democrats move “too far to the left.” I use quotation marks because that phrase has been repeated so much, and because it’s imprecise and misleading. [...]

Warren confronts Trump nominee on family separation: 'That’s a moral stain that will follow you' What does Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have to do with Trump’s family separation policy? We don’t know—and that’s the problem. Sen. Elizabeth Warren pushed hard to pin Kathy Kraninger down during her confirmation hearing, but the nominee, who is currently at the Office of Management and Budget, twisted and dodged to avoid admitting to just what involvement she’s had in tearing children from their parents.


The entire GOP are traitors. It's that simple. American traitor Donald Trump's shameful performance at the Surrender Summit has removed all doubt about where his allegiances lie--believing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s lies over his own intelligence agencies. His slavish performance, akin to a puppy dog desperate for his master's attention, wasn't just geopolitically embarrassing, it wasn't just humiliating to watch as an American, it was also an overt admission that America is now a Russian puppet state.

Yet for the most part, the Republican Party has dithered between silence and outright surrender in the face of this Russian aggression—aggression that has extended to brazenly murdering allies. And Trump and his Republicans don’t care, and haven’t, since the day that top Republicans Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarty were taped saying that they believed that Trump and other Republicans were literally on the Kremlin payroll. But they got their tax cuts and Supreme Court seats, so what do they care? If they had to surrender their country to their historical boogeyman to enact their agenda, well, it was an acceptable price to make.

Trump has done the impossible, he's left his propaganda machine speechless. I got up at 9:15 am PDT, so I missed watching His Lowness perform various political acts of oral sex on Vlad the Imp live. But the compilation if his "greatest shits," oops, I meant "greatest hits" was bad enough. And when the squeals of "outrage," and "disappointment" coming from a bunch of GOP Senate doormats wasn't enough to cheer me up, I new I was in trouble. What I needed was a fresh perspective.

So, I set off on a quest for self enlightenment. If the infamous peddlers of "FAKE NEWS!" couldn't be counted on to present a fair and unbiased representation of what just went down, what were the bastions of conservative truth, decency, and moral fiber saying about Der Gropinfuror's latest conquest?

Turns out, as little as possible. Y'all owe me, I put on my water wings, and went snorkeling in the Trump media cesspool. And even in that benighted realm of sadistic leather fetish fantasy, Glorious Bleater has left them scrambling to find rays of bitter sunshine.

Reference is to the Helsinki news conference with Putin.


Something POWERFUL happened at my little country church today There are two foreign-born couples in our church, British and Dutch. All four of them are my age -- mid-70's; all born in their native countries in the closing days of WW II. All are US citizens now, though they go back home at least once a year. The Brits are members of our local Democratic Party while the Dutch couple are Republicans.

One of our regular members is an outspoken Republican, to the point of getting on a lot of nerves. We were seated at a round table today at the potluck -- wife and I, the Brits, the Dutch couple, the outspoken Republican and silent wife, and the former pastor of the church.

We had barely sat down before the outspoken Republican asked the Brits and Dutch why Trump had been treated so badly over the past few days. Silence. Then, the Brits and the Dutch unloaded on him with heavy artillery. Here is a summary of what they said -- this is only a summary -- you should have been there. Went on for 15 minutes, non-stop.

Both British and Dutch couples said:

“We were born in the last days of WW II. We grew up watching our towns, cities, roads, bridges, industries being rebuilt from the destruction brought on us by one man -- Adolf Hitler.”

“More than the physical recovery was the mental, emotional and political recovery. We asked ourselves for years and years -- and some of us still ask ourselves -- how was it possible for a man and a system that evil to come to power?”

Then the Dutch lady stood up.

"My father was a wealthy businessman who knew Otto Frank, Anne Frank's father. We Europeans study our history and we know how Hitler came to power. We are determined that it will not happen again. I'm a Republican but I did not vote for Trump and I will not vote for Trump because WHEN I LOOK AT TRUMP AND WHEN I LISTEN TO TRUMP I SEE AND HEAR HITLER. You want to know why Europeans don't like Trump? Because we were destroyed by Nazis and Trump is a Nazi. You Americans do not see what Trump is doing because you never lived through it. We lived through Hitler. Never, never again."

And she sat down.

By that time, many of us were almost in tears. The Republican's wife tugged at his sleeve, whispered in his ear, and they left.

Republicans Can Not Govern Honorably by greenandblue Community Thursday July 19, 2018

Respect for people, human rights, freedom, truth and equality is honorable. Misusing respect for the flag is dishonorable.

We are well aware that the current occupant of the White House regularly partakes in receiving emoluments, attacking federal agencies, denigrating opponents, disparaging allies, coddling dictators, and colluding with Russia. Donald Trump also has personal issues that are widely considered immoral or unethical, such as laundering money for criminals, as well as, infidelity to wives and business contracts alike. But, is Trump an aberration or a symptom of increasing malignancy? How far back do we have to go to find a Republican president who fulfilled his duties with honor? Nixon set the precedent for criminal behavior in the modern Republican party with the break in and theft of DNC materials. The criminal cover-up of those crimes led to his resignation, thanks to pressure from Republicans with a modicum of shame and honor.

Reagan followed up a half decade later by negotiating for Iran to keep our hostages until he became president. Then, during his term, he either ignored or approved the illegal selling of arms to Iran and using the proceeds to illegally fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Now, Reagan is practically considered a saint, while members of his administration who carried out the crimes are revered among Republicans.

George HW Bush might have been the most honorable of the modern lot, but he was caught up in Iran-Contra too, and later invaded Panama on dubious pretenses before starting the decades long military intervention in Iraq.

George W Bush, under false pretenses, eventually invaded Iraq, which killed and hurt millions of people, and which has been a significant contributor to instability in the region to this day. Let’s also not forget the previously unacceptable torture that Bush Jr approved.

NYT bombshell: Cohen secretly recorded Trump discussing hush money payoff (and the FBI has the tape)

Michael Cohen's penchant for recording conversations is about to come back to bite him and Donald Trump ~~ Donald Trump, Michael Cohen and Don Jr. with a gaggle of future potential hush money recipients.

The FBI's top cybersecurity officials are jumping ship Friday July 20, 2018

Hard to imagine why FBI officials don't want to hang around in this administration.

They are: Scott Smith, assistant FBI director who runs the Bureau's cyber division who is leaving this month as well as Smith's deputy, Howard Marshall who is already gone; Smith's supervisor David Resch, executive assistant director of the FBI’s criminal, cyber, response and services branch; and Carl Ghattas, the agency's national security branch executive assistant director. These are all senior-level officials, civil service professionals who were around through previous administrations. Also, too, "One U.S. official said more people are expected to leave soon, declining to provide additional names."

Are Trump and his minions in the House driving them out? Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) suggests so. "One-and-one-half branches of our government appear to be committed to attacking the Bureau, its workforce and its mission on a near-daily basis." FBI Director Chris Wray downplayed this, saying "Would they (FBI agents) prefer not to get criticized? Of course. […] But at the end of the day, the criticism we care about is the people who know our work." But former officials say there are high levels of frustration, particularly in cybersecurity. "There’s an internal tension in terms of how to staff cyber properly. […] We constantly have new people in leadership reinventing the cyber program," one former official told the WSJ.

This comes at a time when intelligence officials are ratcheting up their public comments about ongoing and likely increasing levels of Russian hacking and interference efforts, particularly in our elections. The White House is clearly a-okay with all that, as are congressional Republicans.

email from Ricken Patel, 7/20/17

It’s now shockingly clear that Donald Trump is Putin’s poodle.

But we need the world to understand why, before it’s too late…

Trump's businesses went bankrupt so many times in the 1990s that many legitimate banks wouldn’t lend to him anymore. He turned to Russian oligarchs -- Putin’s ruling clique -- to bankroll his projects, and launder their dirty money for them. This was, and continues to be, a huge part of his business.

He’s a Russian money launderer.

"We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia." - Donald Trump JR, 2014

This isn’t speculation or hyperbole. There's mountains of evidence. Here’s the top 5 facts everyone should know about Trump's long collusion with Russian organised criminals -- forward this email and share it on Facebook -- we all deserve to know the truth:


1. Trump’s main financial backer for the Trump Tower Toronto was a Russian-Canadian billionaire who got the money by selling a massive steel mill in Ukraine for nearly a billion dollars. $100 million of that money was paid to a Kremlin-backed fixer, likely as a bribe to VERY high Russian officials. The Chairman of the Bank who financed the deal? Vladimir Putin.

2. Trump bought his home in Palm Beach, Florida for $40 million. A few years later, with no real increase in the value -- he sold it for almost $100 million -- the most expensive home in America at the time! Why? A major Russian oligarch bought it -- we don’t know yet why he effectively ‘gave’ Trump $60 million. But it’s classic money laundering practice.

3. Trump's real estate deals were often fuelled by Russian money, typically passed through shady shell companies. 77% of Trump Soho apartments were bought with cash by such mysterious companies. At least 13 people with links to Russian oligarchs or mobsters lived in Trump properties, including one of Russia's top mobsters. One even ran a high-stakes illegal gambling ring in the apartment right below Trump's!

4. Trump’s financial broker and “Senior Advisor” was a Russian convicted felon named Felix Sater, widely known as a mafia figure who once stabbed someone in the face with a broken margarita glass, requiring over 100 stitches. Sater helped set up shell companies, and arranged funding for Trump’s projects, including plans for Trump Tower Moscow. He’s also part of Putin’s inner circle. Here’s one email he wrote to Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen in November, 2015:

"Michael I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected. We both know no one else knows how to pull this off without stupidity or greed getting in the way. I know how to play it and we will get this done. Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will." - New York Times, August 27, 2017

5. Trump’s other main business is casinos -- which are classic money laundering vehicles. One of his casinos was 100 times found in violation of federal rules protecting against money laundering, and paid the largest fine ever levied against a casino for having “willfully violated” anti-money laundering rules. Trump has a legal obligation to do “due diligence” for all his businesses to prevent laundering. His senior executive’s comment on this was “Donald doesn’t do diligence”.

The Big Picture

Putin is a former KGB officer who has used chemical weapons, assassinated people in other countries, invaded the Ukraine, occupied Crimea, shot down the MH17 airliner with almost 300 passengers on board, aided a murderous regime in Syria, condoned the beating and torture of gays, stolen up to $200 billion from his own people, hacked foreign elections and launched what NATO calls the largest hybrid warfare campaign in history to undermine western liberal democracies. He is also widely believed to have ordered the murder of Russian journalists and critics, and bombed hundreds of Russian civilians to fake a terrorist attack and justify a war in Chechnya.

Yet when asked at their press conference [in Helsinki two days ago] if Trump had any criticism of Putin, he had none, and ridiculed US law enforcement for investigating Russian attacks on US democracy!

Why? Trump has been working for Putin's corrupt inner circle for almost 20 years. And it's that corrupt circle that promises to make him rich for the next 20 (he's refused, in violation of all ethics, to divest from his businesses as President).

Trump *may* be a Russian intelligence asset, he *may* have colluded with Putin to sabotage the US election. But what is clear is that he is a corrupt Russian money launderer, in the pocket of a KGB dictator. The whole world needs to know this, and rally together to prevent the damage this corrupt alliance threatens.


The. New. York. Daily. News. Cover. July 16, 2018

Update: Trump's Most Fervent Supporter Cancels TV Appearance, Refusing to Defend #TreasonSummit Monday July 16, 2018

Treason--Trump takes Russian Side


Coming Coup Against Trump By Finian Cunningham July 17, 2018

The American backlash against President Trump over his summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin has been as ferocious as it was predictable.

Every possible vilification has been thrown at him. But it is the slur of Trump as "traitor" that puts this president in grave danger.

Democrats, Republicans, state intelligence pundits, hawkish media, liberal media — all have launched a torrent of attacks on Donald Trump for daring to meet with Putin in Helsinki this week.

The Washington Post accused Trump of "openly colluding with the criminal leader of a hostile power". Let those extreme words sink in for a moment. The implication is as serious as it can get.

As with other politicians and media outlets, the Post said the president had "betrayed" American intelligence services by siding with President Putin in denying that Russia had interfered in US elections.

Former CIA chief John Brennan denounced Trump as a "traitor" who had "committed high crimes" in holding a friendly summit with Putin.

It can't get more seditious than that. Trump is being denigrated by almost the entire political and media establishment in the US as a "treasonous" enemy of the state.

Following this logic, there is only one thing for it: the US establishment is calling for a coup to depose the 45th president. One Washington Post oped out of a total of five assailing the president gave the following stark ultimatum: "If you work for Trump, quit now".

The US political class have cast their verdict that Trump is a state enemy, and are openly calling for a mutiny against the White House.

Trump-Putin Summit and Mounting Hysteria By Off-Guardian July 17, 2018

Yesterday, Trump and Putin met for a summit in Helsinki. The resulting hysteria, all throughout the mainstream media and in the minds of neocon and (self-described) “liberals” alike.

Growing body of evidence suggests 'worst-case scenario'—Trump has been a Russian asset for years


Former CIA Director calls Trump's comments at Putin press conference 'nothing short of treasonous' Monday July 16, 2018

The joint press conference with Donald Trump and Vladmir Putin after their one-on-one meeting, a meeting in which Donald Trump insisted there be no note-takers to record their conversation, has been nothing short of a disaster for America and democracy.

Before the pair even got started, a reporter was forcibly hauled out by security. Trump and Putin eventually took their respective podiums to begin taking questions and Donald Trump’s responses were shocking, chilling, unpatriotic and downright dangerous. Former CIA Director John Brennan called the performance “nothing short of treasonous.” Jump below to see why.

Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???--Tweet by John O. Brennan

Harsh words from John Brennan, but here’s why: Donald Trump took Putin’s side and bashed everyone from U.S. Intelligence services to Hillary Clinton, placing blame on everyone but Russia, despite unequivocal evidence Russia has launched an attack on America.

Asked if he believes US intel agencies or Putin about Russia's interference in the 2016 election, Trump immediately starts pushing debunked DNC & Hillary conspiracy theories.

"I don't see any reason why it would be" Russia, Trump says, affirming he believes Putin's denials. -- Tweet from Aaron Rupar

Steven Pifer, a nuclear arms control expert and former United States Ambassador to Ukraine weighed in, calling Trump’s performance “bad” and “embarrassing.”

I have watched US-Soviet/#Russia presidential press conferences for more than 30 years, sometimes in the room. Have never seen anything as bad or embarrassing as @realDonaldTrump's just-concluded performance. -- Tweet from Steven Pifer

David Rothkopf, CEO and Editor of Foreign Policy Magazine Dares Call It Treason. Sunday July 15, 2018


David Rothkopf, CEO and Editor of Foreign Policy Magazine, takes the gloves off and puts a good old fashioned beat-down on the GOP in this powerful piece for The Daily Beast.

“This is an extraordinary moment. It is without equal, not only in American history but in modern history. A hostile foreign power intervened in our election to help elect a man president who has since actively served their interests and has defended them at every turn.

Trump may deny collusion. But given that this the attack continues, denying it is collusion, distracting from it is collusion, obstructing the investigation of it is collusion — because all these things enable it to go on.

That the president is abetted in his aid for the Russians — again, in the midst of this ongoing attack — by the leadership of the Republican Party makes the situation all the more extraordinary and dangerous. As Republicans seek to undermine the investigation, they serve Russia as directly as if they were officers of the GRU. Some now reportedly seek to impeach Rosenstein on trumped up charges. To attack one of our national defense leaders as we are being attacked, and to do so to benefit our foreign adversary, is textbook treason.

That is strong language. But consider this: If we updated our definitions of war to include cyberwar, then aiding a foreign power engaged in such a war against us would certainly meet the Constitutional definition: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

When only semantics protect our president and our ruling party from the harsh sentences treason demands, we need to recognize the severity of the situation. But more importantly, we need to recognize one of the most important implications of yesterday: while we who watch or chat on cable news have lost the plot here, while the GOP makes it about personal attacks on FBI officers, while the President makes it about him, while many of us make it about partisan politics, Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein have kept their eye on the ball.”

Trump thought the NK statement was a denuclearization agreement There you have it, folks. All this time, Trump thought (and apparently still thinks) that the Singapore joint statement was a “contract,” one in which NK agreed to denuclearize.

Of course, it was not. No such language exists in the statement, no such “contract” exists, and there was never any agreement to denuclearize. Now that it’s obvious NK is not doing so, Trump is complaining that they had a deal that was never made. Not some informal handshake deal, but something he believes they signed.

To me, this is not some simple opportunity for mockery. The mere fact that Trump misunderstood the statement raises a bunch of very serious questions about our executive branch. Questions like:

Did Trump get confused about this on his own, by misunderstanding the statement, or is he being purposefully insulated by staff who told him for whatever reason that he totes denuked the North Korean peninsula? Is the president of the US being kept in a fantasy bubble, or is he making his own?

Why would the President of the US be allowed to sign a statement of such diplomatic import without being made to understand its meaning? We justifiably focus our criticism on this one guy, but isn’t there a bigger and broader problem if the apparatus around the president lets him sign stuff in a general state of confusion?

Am I overthinking this? Could it be instead that he understood the statement at the time, or stated that he understood at the time, but got his memories confused since then? Perhaps when he’s now insisting that they had a signed contract, it’s simply a Trumpian tendency to just say whatever, regardless of truth value?

In any case, I hope our news media will have the sense to point out that Trump is talking about a thing that doesn’t exist---that China can’t be “exerting negative pressure on the deal” because there wasn’t a deal---and that he appears to be confused about, and unable to accurately remember, even basic details about a very significant event that happened less than a month ago.

Here's How British Newspapers Welcomed Donald Trump To The UK "THE EGO HAS LANDED."

~

~

Trump sabotages UK Prime Minister May with 'astonishing political knifing' Donald Trump seemed very happy to be with Theresa May on Thursday, smiling, waving, even holding the British prime minister’s hand as they strolled following a gala dinner May threw in honor of his visit. But Trump’s apparent attitude was really the ugly, anticipatory joy of the naughty child who has left a sack of something vile on the doorstep and is just waiting for the moment when it’s discovered.

Anti-Trump protests in the UK On the second day of the US president’s visit to the UK, protesters were out in force. Selected by Natasha Rees-Bloor. Fri 13 Jul 2018 07.05 EDT ~ Crowds with anti-Trump placards demonstrate against his visit, in London. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

The Stop Trump Coalition march through London. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA ~ Drag queens join the Bring The Noise march in London, protesting against Trump’s anti-LGBT policies. Photograph: Steve Parkins/REX/Shutterstock

Ben Nicholson with his specially designed Trump flags in Parliament Square, London. Photograph: Finbarr Webster/REX/Shutterstock ~ Trump for Prison sign at the Parliament Square demonstration. Photograph: Dinendra Haria/REX/Shutterstock

7/12/18 fightforreform.org

Satire" Hardcore Hitler on Hitler in Helsinki By C.J. Hopkins July 11, 2018

Here it comes, the moment we’ve been waiting for, when Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki to officially launch the Destruction of Democracy, and very possibly the Apocalypse itself.

The plan is to do away with NATO, withdraw all American troops from Poland, let Putin rape and pillage Western Europe, and then have North Korea nuke both coasts of the US mainland (and Canada, of course) so that a Putin-Nazified Middle Amerika will have carte blanche to exterminate the Mexicans and make women wear those “Handmaid” costumes, or some other ridiculously paranoid scenario, possibly involving Susan Sarandon as some kind of Putin-Nazi triple agent.

Thank God at least the corporate media are raising their collective voices in protest. In a recent piece in The Washington Post, Max Bergmann of the Center for American Progress warns that “this is a summit about appeasement, and we should be terrified that Trump is going to sell out America and its allies.”

Not to be out-apocalypsed by The Post, Roger Cohen of The New York Times published a full-blown dystopian vision wherein Trump, Putin, Marine Le Pen, the AfD, and a variety of other globalist-hating Hitler-alikes form “the Alliance of Authoritarian and Reactionary States” (the “AARS”), disband the European Union and NATO, impose international martial law, and start ethnically cleansing the West of immigrants.

What we’re experiencing now is more akin to the kind of behavior that goes on in cults … where people are conditioned to surrender their reason (and, ultimately, to conform their perception) to whatever paranoid official narrative the leader of the cult has invented, and eventually to direct their fear and hatred, not only at the cult’s official enemy, but at anyone who questions the cult’s “reality.”

Trump is turning to literal threats, 7/11/18

Everyone in the room was visibly cringing as Donald Trump badmouthed Germany at NATO breakfast July 11, 2018 Donald Trump continues to embarrass the United States, both at home and abroad. Ahead of his visit to the United Kingdom, the song “American Idiot” by Green Day shot up the charts to #1 this week, some 16 years after its debut. Watching this video, it is easy to see why. Here’s Donald Trump claiming (projecting) that Germany is controlled by Russia because of a pipeline and saying NATO member nations need to pay more.

To the cheers of right-wing militias, Trump issues pardon to child-abusers, serial arsonists July 10, 2018 In a press release, Donald Trump announced full pardons for Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond. The pair have long been the focus of right-wing extremists who rallied to their side, including Ammon and Ryan Bundy who organized their supporters to take over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in January 2016. The standoff lasted roughly five weeks before the last of the supporters were convinced to lay down their weapons and surrender to the FBI.

Dwight and Steven Hammond have a history of arson in Oregon, setting fires to nearby properties to allegedly help their own ranch, despite being repeatedly warned against such action by Bureau of Land Management firefighters and law enforcement.

Pregnant women say they've been shackled, denied adequate care, miscarried in immigration detention July 10, 2018 Pregnant women in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention say in interviews and written affidavits that they have been “shackled around the stomach” and denied adequate medical care, some testifying that they were “ignored when they were obviously miscarrying,” according to Buzzfeed. “Those descriptions were backed by interviews with five legal aid workers, four medical workers, and two advocates who work with ICE detainees.”

Is the president above the law or not? July 11, 2018

Last year, Trump's SCOTUS pick argued net neutrality was 'unlawful' and violated 1st Amendment July 10, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh--He got on the list for being an extremist, so of course he's an extremist. That was the whole point.

Trump's court pick would be murder on the environment—and consumers wouldn't fare well either July 11, 2018 Nobody found it too surprising to learn that Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is, when it comes to his feelings on the government, a bit of a crackpot; being a crackpot is the only way you end up on the shortlist of the Federalist Society's list of potential Supreme Court justices most likely to crackpot their way back to an 18th century version of "civil rights," a robber baron-era version of "regulation", and an biblical-era interpretation of what the womenfolk are obliged to abide when the menfolk are in their oak and leather decision-rooms doing the decision-making.

He was a 'predator': BBC reveals more evidence that Trump is a giant, gross perv 7/9/18

“Donald Trump is a disgusting, concupiscent diaper full of ogre shit with a diseased lab monkey brain who preys on vulnerable underage girls” will likely not be the lead headline from the pr*sident’s upcoming visit to the UK, but it probably should be. Especially in light of the following (can we say “shocking” anymore in reference to ShOTUS?) report from the BBC.

Via Vice News:

A few days before President Trump heads to the U.K. to meet the queen and the prime minister, a BBC investigative program has revealed fresh allegations of sexually inappropriate actions by Trump during the 1980s and 1990s, comparing him to a “predator” at parties with girls as young as 14.

The report featured Monday on the BBC Panorama investigative documentary series, entitled “Trump: Is the president a sex pest?” included testimony from two women who said they encountered Trump at parties during his time as a real estate magnate and operator of beauty pageants.

Donald Trump Throws Tantrum Over Wind Power in Scotland Michael Graham Richard February 21, 2012

Exhibiting his trademark restraint and good taste, Donald Trump told Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmon what he thought of Scotland's ambitious offshore wind projects. “With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history." Why is The Donald so mad? Because distant offshore wind turbines might be visible from his luxury golf resort in Aberdeenshire, and such a "destruction of Scotland's coastline" is simply unacceptable to Mr. Trump. [What a dick! - CG]

Yes, Trump is a narcissist. But it's literally millions of times worse than that. Daily Kos staff Monday July 09, 2018

Yes, the hallmarks of narcissism are painfully obvious in the president of the United States. The endless projection. The delusion of grandeur masking a paper-thin skin that punctures under the most benign criticisms. The nonstop gaslighting. But you know who else every single one of these attributes describes?

His base.

Trump’s deplorable, unmovable base are cult-like followers who could watch him shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and still follow him, who give no shits that he is a serial sexual assaulter and defender of molesters, who get fleeced by his tariffs, by his family’s blatant disregard for the emoluments clause, and yet continue to vote for him even when it seemingly serves no interest of their own. Kool-Aid drinkers in the most macabre sense of the metaphor, they will follow him right to hell and never look back. None of it makes any logical sense, until you realize they are serving their own interests. Because none of the details matter if you see yourself in the narcissist delivering the rhetoric that feeds your own sense of narcissism.

Trump’s base is nothing more than a collection of narcissists, and I find this a lot more interesting than the fact that Trump himself is a narcissist. Trump simply represents the abhorrent qualities of his entire base.

The Coming Collapse of the American Economic System By Richard Wolff and Chris Hedges July 10, 2018

Wolff: We have given a free pass to the capitalist system because we have been afraid to debate it. When you give a free pass to any institution, you create the conditions for it to rot right behind the facade, and that it what I think is happening..

Hedges: the top 1% globally controls 40% of the wealth.

This late stage of capitalism which the Trump administration is accelerating.

Wolff: Capitalism wanted to present itself in contrast to feudalism and slavery as a system which creates a massive middle class. That lifts everybody up. What we have, now that it has become the global system, is the exact opposite. It has reproduced the inequalities of history. It is a stunning expose' of what it could not promise and now wants to distract everyone from this harsh reality. It cannot deliver its own claims. Instead we have political theater.

Hedges: The assault is being exacerbated by the new tas code.

Wolff: The new tax code is an explosive excess. It is so grotesque that everyone sees what it is. We have had 34 years of corporations making more money, keeping wages stagnant. This is the last moment when they need another tax break.

A 40% cut in their taxes reminds you of the late Louis' before the French revolution when the level of excess reached the explosive social dimensions..

That's where we are.

email from Elizabeth Warren, 7/10/18

Brett Kavanaugh. That’s the name of Donald Trump’s awful Supreme Court nominee. As a judge, he has a long record of decisions that hurt women, workers, and consumers.

Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh last night puts rights we hold dear at stake like never before. Women’s rights to control their own bodies, workers’ rights, consumers’ rights – you name it. It could all get squeezed to the breaking point if Kavanaugh is confirmed.

from Daily KOS, 7/9/18

Experts now rank the United States among the world's 'declining democracies' by Hunter Saturday July 07, 2018

And here are the four people most directly responsible for that.

A new report on the state of the world's democracies makes for some grim reading. Writing in the Washington Post, the authors say the study "shows that democracy's decline is gaining momentum: One-third of the world's population lives in a backsliding democracy," and within that tally of declining democracies is the United States itself.

The outlook in the United States is especially dark, say authors Anna Luhrmann and Matthew Wilson, with experts' ratings sliding downward in "precipitous and unprecedented" fashion.

Experts lowered their estimates of democracy in the United States because they began to be skeptical that the U.S. Congress will rein in executive overreach. Similarly, experts lost faith that the opposition party can contribute to overseeing, investigating or otherwise checking the majority party. The U.S. executive branch was assessed as showing less respect for the Constitution and compliance with the judiciary, two indicators that the judicial branch can restrain the executive.

For all four indicators, the score for the United States declined. The downward trend in the United States is much worse than in other countries. In terms of government compliance with decisions of the Supreme Court, the United States used to rank among the top countries of the world — but has now declined to No. 48.

There seems little room to argue any of these things. It is self-evident that the Republican Congress has no interest in curtailing corruption within the Trump administration or, in fact, even allowing full investigation of those acts. They are steadfastly blocking opposition efforts to do so, and will apparently continue to do so regardless of what else federal investigators discover. And the Constitution, apparently, has been reduced to a petty slogan.

Frustrated Dutch PM interrupts Trump to explain what a world leader is and how world trade works Donald Trump is a stupid insecure dummy of a man. The fact that he’s the head of a family is troubling enough; the fact that he’s the head of our executive branch is the reason there are people in the streets fighting for human rights.


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands was in town on Monday to meet with the orange Putin doll, and during their photo-op Trump blathered away about all the good news (whatever lies he decided to spew forth today). During that rambling idiotic Trump drool, Trump began sort of talking about his “trade tariff” threats. Prime Minister Rutte was visibly frustrated, though he hid it behind an almost maniacal smile at how cavalier Trump was being about the sole reason these two men were in the same room taking pictures.

The Times finally gets to the bottom of Trump supporters: It turns out they're garbage human beings In the New York Times' quest to get to the bottom of what makes every last Trump supporter in America tick, we have been treated to endless interviews, loving tributes to downtrodden towns in which nary a non-white person is ever seen, and one particular day when the op-ed pages were turned over to Trump supporters to argue for Trump's genius directly. But this is still not enough, and so Sunday's paper included a zoological analysis from a journalist who grew up among them.

Go team adultery / child detention / fake charities / money laundering / sexism / racism / actual genuine treason.

It is meant to be flattering, or at least neutral, but the short version is that the people who have been bleating about "family values" for the last half-century do not actually give a flying damn about family values and never did. It was all garbage from the get-go.

... all had harsh words for the crooked, lying, adulterous, misogynist trash-heap of a human being, the salt-of-the-earth Trump supporters back in Nebraska could not possibly care less about the bullshit-laden values attributed to them in fawning tributes to the heartland's common clay.

~~~~~

Email from Daily KOS

7/5/18

Trump shouldn't just lose. He should be crushed. And the GOP with him.

Scott Pruitt is gone. In a puff of smoke. A trail of slime. And a hearty good riddance 7/5/18. With a set of scandals that seemed endless, zero hesitation about seizing any graft, and a willingness to lie openly to the press and Congress, Scott Pruitt was the Donald Trumpiest of Donald Trump’s cabinet members.

But now he’s out of there.

Democrats are SUING Trump for VIOLATING the Constitution

Democrats are SUING Trump for VIOLATING the Constitution

email from Daily Kos 7/4/18 Destroy Trump’s anti-immigrant policies

"Why Can't the US Just Simply Invade?" Officials Say Trump Pushed U.S. Military Overthrow in Venezuela "Happy Independence Day. Our f*%king madman in the White House really wants to go to war in Venezuela."

By Jon Queally July 04, 2018

Surrounded by his top military aides in a White House meeting less than a year ago, the Associated Press on Wednesday reports that President Donald Trump wanted to know why the U.S. military couldn't "just simply invade" the country of Venezuela.

Based on the account of "a senior administration official familiar with what was said," AP reports that the president's comments "stunned" those at the meeting, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, both of whom have now left the administration.

The Orange Elephant in the Room Public trust is eroding for plenty of reasons, but let’s not discount the man at the heart of it all

Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The presidency of Donald J. Trump and the campaign he ran to get to the White House have been fueled by lies and misinformation that undermine the public’s trust in government and the electoral process and subvert the very idea of objective truth. The implications could not be more serious. The barrage of lies and conspiracy theories we are being subjected to today?—?from President Trump, his Republican enablers, and the right-wing media that amplifies his message?—?are normalizing mendacity, suspicion, and disdain for the rule of law.

When nihilism is ascendant and when perpetual scandal and deliberate distraction claim people’s attention in a data-overloaded society, serious policy issues fall by the wayside, politicians elude accountability, and the abnormal becomes routine.

The fake news stories shared on social media in the run-up to the 2016 election accelerated just this sort of confusion among voters. Russian trolls sought to not only help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton, but also amplify chaos and discord in America (trying to fuel existing racial, religious, and political divisions) in order to undercut their old Cold War adversary’s electoral system and to bolster their larger goal of subverting liberal democracy in the West.

In June 2018, the Washington Post reported that Trump had made 3,251 false or misleading claims in his first 497 days in office?—?an average of more than 6.5 claims per day. And those lies?—?along with his contempt for expertise, precedent, and norms of morality and common decency?—?have been shrugged off by roughly a third of the country.

Even as he has benefited from a growing populist hostility toward the establishment, Trump is willfully drumming up further mistrust?—?mistrust of the press, the judiciary, the FBI, any institution he finds threatening to his own autocratic whims. In the process, he is throwing sand into the gears of democracy and hacking away at the pillars that uphold the Constitution.

USA - The Failed State By Chris Hedges July 02, 2018

Our “corporate coup d’état in slow motion,” as the writer John Ralston Saul calls it, has opened a Pandora’s box of evils that is transforming America into a failed state. The “unholy trinity of corruption, impunity and violence,” he said, can no longer be checked.

The ruling elites abjectly serve corporate power to exploit and impoverish the citizenry. Democratic institutions, including the courts, are mechanisms of corporate repression. Financial fraud and corporate crime are carried out with impunity.

The decay is exacerbated by the state’s indiscriminate use of violence abroad and at home, where rogue law enforcement agencies harass and arrest citizens and the undocumented and often kill the unarmed.

A depressed and enraged population, trapped by chronic unemployment and underemployment, is overdosing on opioids and beset by rising suicide rates. It engages in acts of nihilistic violence, including mass shootings. Hate groups proliferate. The savagery, mayhem and grotesque distortions familiar to those on the outer reaches of empire increasingly characterize American existence.

And presiding over it all is the American version of Ubu Roi, playwright Alfred Jarry’s gluttonous, idiotic, vulgar, narcissistic and infantile king, who turned politics into burlesque.

Ubu Roi (Ubu the King or King Ubu) is a play by Alfred Jarry. It was first performed in Paris at the Théâtre de l'Œuvre, causing a riotous response in the audience as it opened and closed on December 10, 1896.[1][2] It is considered a wild, bizarre and comic play, significant for the way it overturns cultural rules, norms, and conventions. For those who were in the audience on that night to witness the response, including W. B. Yeats, it seemed an event of revolutionary importance. It is now seen by some to have opened the door for what became known as modernism in the twentieth century. - Wikipedia

The two political parties are one party—the corporate party. They do not debate substantive issues. They each support the expansion of imperial wars, the bloated military budget, the dictates of global capitalism, the bailing out of Wall Street, punishing austerity measures, assaulting basic civil liberties through wholesale government surveillance and the abolition of due process, and an electoral process that has cemented into place a system of legalized bribery.

We elect politicians based on how we are made to feel about them by the public relations industry. Politics is anti-politics.

The Republican Party built its political base in these culture wars around Christian fascists, nativists and white supremacists. The Democratic Party built its base around those who supported workers’ rights, multiculturalism, diversity and gender equality. The base of each party was used and manipulated by elites. The Republican Party elites had no intention of banning abortion or turning America into a “Christian nation.” The Democratic Party elites had no intention of protecting workers from predatory corporatism. Everyone was sold out.

All despotic regimes, Saul said, carry out their final battle for control by contending against public officials and government bureaucrats, the so-called deep state, which views the rise to power of demagogues and their sleazy enablers with alarm.

Despots see these courtiers and democratic institutions, no matter how anemic, as a threat. This explains the assaults on the State Department, the Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education and the courts. Despots use their appointees to undermine and destroy these institutions, mocking their existence and questioning the loyalty of the professionals who staff them.

Once a process of deconstruction is complete, the system calcifies into tyranny. There remain no internal mechanisms, even in name, to carry out reform. This corrosive process is being played out daily in Trump’s Twitter rages, lies, smears and the barrage of insults he levels against public servants, including some of his own appointees, such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as well as institutions such as the FBI.

“Trump gives these astonishingly Mussolini-ish press conferences,” he said. “He says to the press, ‘Shut up. Stop!’ The press screams at him like a mob, a bunch of cattle. How can they be taken seriously?

It is like the end of the Roman Republic. Important political leaders from the Senate, along with their rivals, would move around Rome with 50 people to protect them. Scenes, exactly like Trump’s interactions with the press, defined the end of the Roman Republic. Nobody knew what was going on. There was no dignity. You can’t have a democracy without a level of respect and dignity. You only have chaos.

This chaos eventually leads to a call for autocratic order. Trump benefits from the confusion, even though he resembles a cartoonish figure out of a funny novel, a character from Jean Genet’s ‘The Balcony,’ although without the self-awareness.”

Trump’s decision to launch a trade war—Canada will impose punitive measures on $12.63 billion worth of imported American goods in response—is an example of the damage a despot who has little understanding of the economy, politics, international relations or law can do.

“I’ve always opposed trade deals not because I oppose trade,” Saul said, “or because I thought they were about getting a fair balance in the trade, but because the trade deals were about something else. They were about deregulation. They were about handing power to corporations and banks. They weren’t about trade. Trump has again and again attacked the Canadian dairy system. Nobody has stopped to ask him, ‘Why are you opposing this instead of adopting it for yourself?’ A lot of American dairy farmers would like to have the Canadian system.”

“The problem with the Western world is surplus production,” Saul said. “We’re in surplus production in almost every area. But there is a terrible distribution system where people around the globe suffer and die from starvation. This is a distribution problem, not a production problem.”

Saul said the imposition of tariffs and the crude insults Trump uses against American allies—he called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “dishonest and weak”—are rapidly destroying America’s clout and standing in the global hierarchy. This behavior is having very negative political, economic and social consequences for the United States.

People want to identify with the United States. It’s been that way since the Second World War. All this is being thrown away. Like or dislike Obama, he rebuilt a great part of the world’s admiration for the United States. I know what his failures were. But I also know his strengths. He was a president who was capable of acting and talking like the intelligent, civilized American that everyone wants to admire.”

“But there’s always a shadow to the bright tower,” Saul went on. “Trump’s feeding that shadow. ‘Americans are stupid. Americans are corrupt. Americans are not educated. Americans can’t be trusted.’ The whole list. The longer the chaos goes on, the worse it gets.”

The collapse of the legislative and executive branches of government has now been accompanied by the collapse of the judiciary. The loss of an independent judiciary, Saul warned, is especially ominous.

Saul despaired, at the same time, over the Trump administration’s attack on public education, which he called “the most fundamental service of government when it comes to a democracy.”

“What holds democracy up?” Saul asked. “What makes democracy work? Public education is number one. A well-educated citizen. [Secretary of Education] Betsy DeVos is undoing that. There is a special place for her in hell.”

U.S. trading partners and allies such as Canada and European states will, he said, reduce their dependence on the American market. The traditional strategic and political ties to Washington will be steadily weakened. And when the next financial crash comes, and Saul expects one to come, the United States will be bereft of partners when it needs them most.

Trial Runs For Fascism Are In Full Flow 7/1/18

Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism

To grasp what is going on in the world right now, we need to reflect on two things. One is that we are in a phase of trial runs. The other is that what is being trialled is fascism – a word that should be used carefully but not shirked when it is so clearly on the horizon. Forget “post-fascist” – what we are living with is pre-fascism.

It is easy to dismiss Donald Trump as an ignoramus, not least because he is. But he has an acute understanding of one thing: test marketing. He created himself in the gossip pages of the New York tabloids, where celebrity is manufactured by planting outrageous stories that you can later confirm or deny depending on how they go down.

Fascism doesn’t arise suddenly in an existing democracy. It is not easy to get people to give up their ideas of freedom and civility. You have to do trial runs that, if they are done well, serve two purposes. They get people used to something they may initially recoil from; and they allow you to refine and calibrate. This is what is happening now and we would be fools not to see it.

Go to hell, Mitch McConnell Wednesday June 27, 2018

You built Trump. You oversaw the collapse of your party into a racist, amoral, unethical cesspool. This, all of it, is you

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is more responsible for the decay in basic American decency than any other person in that supposedly distinguished body.

When our intelligence communities were warning that Russian spies and propaganda teams were seeking to undermine a United States election, it was Republican Mitch McConnell who warned the last president that if our leaders tried to more fully warn the public about those threats, Mitch McConnell would claim those efforts to be partisan efforts aimed at hurting the stupid, amoral, crooked Donald Trump.

When a Supreme Court justice died in his sleep, it was Mitch McConnell who invented the new rule that the nation's first black president was not allowed to fill that seat, for over a year, simply because Mitch McConnell did not want him to.

It is Mitch McConnell who is guiding his party into slow-walking the investigation into whether the Trump campaign team committed an act of treason against their nation, despite ample public evidence that they did. It is Mitch McConnell who is stonewalling all efforts to hold the Trump administration to any ethical standards whatsoever, whether it be profiting from foreign governments funding Trump's own private hotel chain to the Trump refusal to abide by any other prior long-held national norm.

But more than that: Sen. Mitch McConnell, more than any other American senator, is a shameless, flagrant, and prolific liar. He, more than any other American senator, is a dishonest man. His speeches are Christmas trees ornamented with lies, half-truths, and fervent opinions he happens to have that he did not have yesterday and will argue bitterly against tomorrow. He is a living monument to the doctrine of party over country—that there is no law, no ethical boundary, no act of corruption or treason that cannot be overlooked if he, Mitch McConnell, can squeeze a little personal power out of the deal for himself.

America’s Caesar “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”… The piece of wisdom from Jesus of Nazareth finds new meaning in Friday’s Diary. Bill outlines what could come from rendering unto America’s new Caesar: Donald J. Trump

"The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as a high wall in his own conceit." - Proverbs 18:11

We’ll check out the odds of building a high wall around the American economy – turning it into an island of stability, calm, and high wages in an ocean of globalized competition and chaos.

We’ll take a look at North Korea and see what high walls have done for its economy.

And we’ll see how trade barriers expand the reach of the Deep State, replacing win-win private sector deals with the win-lose deals of the cronies and canoodlers.

Suicidal Business Strategy

Checking in with the markets first… we see that the Dow fell again yesterday, the eighth day in a row of losses. And on Tuesday, General Electric (GE) was booted out of the Dow after 100 years.

Under former CEO Jack Welch, GE – probably more than any other large company – led the swing away from manufacturing… that is, from honest output to financial hocus-pocus.

It borrowed money to buy businesses at the rate of one new company every five business days. As a business strategy, it was suicidal. There is no way managers could evaluate, understand, and absorb new enterprises at such a rate.

But as a financial strategy, it looked great. Each new business brought top-end growth and lazy, flattering headlines about what a genius Mr. Welch was and what a “dynamic” company he was running.

The share price rose, making it possible to borrow even more money.

But then, like all debt-financed spending sprees, the bills came in and it was hard to pay them. A lot of the acquisitions went bad, and GE executives had neither the time nor the talent to fix them.

Its share price has been falling for the last 18 years, down 55% in the last 18 months alone… And now, it’s back to where it began its spectacular rise in 1995.

Trump Declares National Emergency

President Trump has mobilized his entire administration to battle this problem by declaring it a National Emergency under federal law. And Congress just approved $6 billion to fight it.

Now a company is joining the battle by tackling one of the biggest problems our country has ever faced. In the past, companies in this niche saw peak gains of 96,900%, 196,500%, even 787,400%. Could this new company be the next to ride this unique wave?

GE was also a pioneer of outsourcing. That is, rather than make things itself at Appliance Park, its Louisville, Kentucky plant, it moved manufacturing to cheaper, foreign destinations. The Atlantic magazine was on the case:

The decision to offshore was made – more or less, honestly – by people in the private sector with some skin in the game. Nobody forced them to do it… and they hoped it would pay off.

But Caesar was already pulling strings. His central bank was providing fake money at fake, low interest rates. But that part of the story is for another day.

New Caesar

Today, we look at how Caesar is rigging the game even more directly. Yes, there were trade barriers on this and that… here and there… in Welch’s era.

But almost all economists had realized that they were a drag on wealth creation. Tariffs had generally been coming down for an entire generation.

Cometh now a new Caesar, in the person of the U.S. president, Donald J. Trump – along with his quack trade advisor, and four-time election loser, Peter Navarro.

And one thing they [economists] are right about is trade. It’s a fairly settled matter: Import taxes may be good politics, but they are very rarely (and perhaps never) good economics.

Okay. Let’s tuck in our underwear and think about this. This view may be widely shared among our readers. Can the nation – Caesar, using his win-lose power to wallop, whack, bludgeon, and bully – really help Americans earn more?

Hmm…

Email from Center for Biological Diversity

Trump Ready to Gut Key Environmental Law


The Trump administration this week launched the largest rollback in history to the vital protections for air, water and wildlife provided by the National Environmental Policy Act.

The president's Council on Environmental Quality began its assault on the 48-year-old law Wednesday, targeting its longstanding requirements for robust environmental review before federal projects are approved.

"The Trump administration is taking a sledgehammer to the process that gives scientists and the public a say on federal projects harming clean air, water and wildlife," said the Center for Biological Diversity's Paulo Lopes. "If this landmark law is gutted, the power plants and factories that corporations target for poor and underrepresented communities will routinely be rubberstamped."


Canadian Parliament Votes Unanimously To Condemn Trump

You’re a boor, eh?

Email from Daily KOS

Colby, I don't even know where to begin.

Friday morning, Trump walked out onto the White House lawn because he noticed his buddies from Fox and Friends were there. The next 60 minutes was nothing but a frightening deluge of authoritarian propaganda to the press.

He spewed lies that the FBI was plotting against him, that separating children from their mothers at the border was the Democrats fault, and about North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, who Trump said "speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same."

It was a train wreck that I couldn't stop watching. Every time he does one these impromptu press conferences or sends a tweet that is filled with lies and propaganda, he erodes Americans' confidence in our institutions.

Trump's plan is working when you look at support for the Mueller investigation. Last year, 62% of Americans supported the investigation, this year only 54% support it. What's worse, few Americans even know that the investigation has already turned up evidence of illegality, and charged or indicted two dozen people and companies.


UN Report Says US is a “Shithole Country” By John M. Repp June 15, 2018

Instead of corporate media basically ignoring the UN report, there should be screaming headlines.

The report is a terrible indictment of our country and of the Trump Administration. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel prize winning economist told The Guardian “This administration inherited a bad situation with inequality in the U.S. and is now fanning the flames and worsening the situation. What is so disturbing is that Trump, rather than taking measures to ameliorate the problem, is taking measures to aggravate it.” The U.S. has one in four of the world’s billionaires. But we also have 40 million citizens who live in poverty. Five million live in the absolute deprivation we usually associate with the developing world. Four in ten Americans are so broke that they could not cover an emergency expense of $400 without selling something or borrowing.

Caging Children, Separating Families: Has the War on Immigration Gone Too Far? By John W. Whitehead June 15, 2018

Rest assured, these same practices will be used against you.

There are some acts so wrong-headed, so immoral, and so inhumane that they simply cannot be defended on any grounds.

Be warned: the White House’s new “zero tolerance policy” for separating undocumented parents from their children at the border as a way of discouraging illegal immigration is pushing us into dangerous territory morally and otherwise.

IMF Warns US of 'Macroeconomic Impact' of Trade Policy Changes By Reuters-The Independent-CNN June 15, 2018

IMF predicts an economic crash by 2020 due to the cycle of retaliation tariffs likely to follow President Donald Trump's tax hike on imports.

Imposing trade tariffs to the European Union, Mexico, and Canada will only hurt the U.S. economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned Thursday.

It noted that the U.S. government’s tax and spending policies during a time when the economy is already experiencing strong growth and low unemployment “increases the range and size of future risks” including higher public debt and the greater likelihood of a recession.

Trump stunned his counterparts by backing out of a joint communique agreed by Group of Seven leaders in Canada last weekend that mentioned the importance of free, fair and mutually beneficial trade.

email from ACLU, 6/11/18

The Supreme Court just rubber-stamped Ohio's voter suppression tactics in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute.

The decision gives Ohio the power to target voters who miss just one election cycle for removal from the rolls. This is despite the National Voter Registration Act's express prohibition on purging voters just because they don't vote. I'm furious, but I'm more driven than ever to defend our most fundamental right.

This decision is a gutting reminder that the Trump administration is determined to turn back the clock on our voting rights. For decades, the Justice Department maintained this type of voter purge was illegal, but under the Trump administration and Attorney General Sessions, the department switched sides and supported Ohio's unnecessary restrictions on the right to vote.

Ten Years On, Putin Told Them So By Finian Cunningham June 11, 2018

The group of Western industrialized countries plus Japan may reformat as the "G6" without the US, in order to counteract Washington's "hegemony."

More Than Just Russia — There’s a Strong Case for the Trump Team Colluding With Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the UAE By Jeremy Scahill June 10, 2018

Trump has fully embraced both official, legalized corruption as well as good, old garden-variety individual corruption.

Over the weekend, Trump declared an autocracy Mark Summer, Monday June 04, 2018

On Saturday, the New York Times published information from a letter that had been sent by Trump’s attorneys to the special counsel’s office. In the letter, Trump’s legal team asserted not just that Trump can’t be prosecuted for obstruction, but that it’s impossible for Trump to obstruct—because Trump has the ability to nip any investigation in the bud. And should Trump not act quickly enough to prevent the start of an investigation, he can always act retroactively by pardoning anyone caught up in its findings.

Under this interpretation, Trump need not respond to a request for an interview by the special counsel. Or a subpoena from the grand jury. Or … anything at all. He is utterly exempt from legal actions.


If reporting around the letter seemed most focused on Trump’s ability to shrug off the Russia investigation, Trump’s principle public representative on these matters, Rudy Giuliani, went forth over the weekend to clarify the limits of Trump’s legal authority. What Giulani made clear is … there aren’t any.

The US Is Once Again Supporting Death Squads in Central America June 06, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - The United States has been quietly funding and equipping elite paramilitary police units in El Salvador accused of extrajudicially murdering suspected gang members, according to a forthcoming United Nations report reviewed in advance by CNN.

UN Calls on US to “Immediately Halt” Policy of Detaining Migrant Children June 06, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - The United Nations human rights office on Tuesday demanded that the Trump administration “immediately halt” its policy of tearing migrant children away from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, declaring that the practice “always constitutes a child rights violation.”


The U.S. Ambassador to Germany appointed by Donald Trump—Richard Grenell—thinks his job is political campaigning for the rising European far right-wing, instead of diplomacy.

Barely a month in his job, Grenell has publicly said he wants to use his position to "empower conservatives throughout Europe."

Given both the history of Germany and the Trump Administration's penchant for tolerating white supremacists, that is extremely dangerous language—and gives political cover to disturbing right-wing parties in Europe.

John Bolton Names Professional Islamophobe & Bush Official Fred Fleitz to National Security Staff By Democracy Now! June 02, 2018

War Of The Rich On The Poor By Mary Papenfuss June 02, 2018

American economist Jeffrey Sachs has written a scathing takedown of President Donald Trump, calling him a delusional, psychopathic "threat to the nation and the world."

He calls for removal of the president using the 25th Amendment.

He might be a "Manchurian Candidate" who is working as a "stooge" for some foreign power to destroy the U.S., Sachs wrote on CNN’s website Friday, referring to the spy movie thriller.

"Much more likely, Trump is just mentally unstable and narcissistic," he added, calling the new announcement of tariffs on exports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union part of a "psychopath's trade war."

Sachs, a renowned Columbia University professor who heads its Center for Sustainable Development and serves as a senior adviser at the United Nations, said no one expressed "a single word of respect for Trump" during his recent trip to Europe. Their question was: "How did America fall so far so fast?" Sachs wrote.

Trump’s "so-called policies are not really policies," he added. "Trade wars are on, off, on hold, on again, within the span of days. ... Foreign companies are sanctioned today and rescued the next. ... Global agreements and rules are ripped to shreds. Trump's garbled syntax and disorganized thoughts are impossible to follow."

Sachs has bashed Trump’s economic actions several times. Earlier this year, he said the president’s tariffs prove he "flunked economics" and makes "primitive errors because he hasn't a clue as to how the world economy works."

Regarding the steel tariffs, Sachs wrote for CNN, "whatever US steel producers might gain from a trade war would be offset by the losses to steel users and consumers, plus the social costs of protecting uncompetitive jobs."

One of Sachs’ biggest targets has been the massive tax cuts and budget deficit, which he has labeled part of the “war” of America’s rich on the poor. “We cannot afford tax cuts. The idea that somehow has gotten into our heads ... that 'oh, $1.5 trillion, that we can give away,' is unbelievable in any serious country," he told Bloomberg last year. He called the redistribution of wealth in the nation a “populism by the super rich" who "want more and more and more."

But Sachs' latest attack in CNN was far more personal about the president. The U.S. has “probably never before had a delusional president, one who speaks gibberish, insults those around him including his closest associates, and baffles the world. We strive to make sense of Trump's nonsense, implicitly assuming some hidden strategy. There is none," Sachs declared.

He warned: "Harming our closest allies, raising the prices on key intermediate products, and provoking retaliation cannot possibly deliver higher wages, better jobs, or an improved trade balance."

"The emperor had no clothes. This president has no sense," he concluded.

Trump Wants to Discourage the World From Using the Yuan as a Reserve Currency By Peter Koenig June 02, 2018

The US is broke. Everybody knows it. The US has a current debt of about 110% of her GDP, more than the Greek debt was in 2008.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on up to $150 billion of Chinese goods to combat what he has labeled unfair trade practices on the part of Beijing. Meanwhile, China has warned of equal retaliation, including duties on some of its most significant U.S. imports, like aircraft, soybeans and vehicles.

Trump hammers home nativist fear-mongering as the GOP's ultimate—and really only—midterm message Kerry Eleveld Daily Kos Staff Wednesday May 30, 2018

Donald Trump and the GOP have virtually nothing to sell the white working-class voters who helped elect him to office in 2016, other than his deep-seated racism and his commitment to immigrant bashing. It's an ugly populist playbook and Trump spent Tuesday night in Tennessee playing it to the hilt at a campaign rally for GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s Senate bid.

Here's a brief montage of Trump’s anti-immigrant slurs from the Washington Post, including his broken campaign promise that Mexico will pay for wall that is clearly being funded by American taxpayers:

“In the end, Mexico is going to pay for the wall,” Trump said. [...] “They’re going to pay for the wall and they’re going to enjoy it,” Trump said. [...]

“The Democrats want to use [immigration] as a campaign issue, and I keep saying I hope they do,” Trump said. Accusing Democrats of wanting “open borders,” Trump added: “That’s a good issue for us, not for them.”

He focused on the Central American and U.S. gang MS-13 and what he claimed is Democratic inaction to confront it, asking the crowd at one point to repeat his characterization of the gang as “animals.”

“MS-13 takes advantage of glaring holes in our immigration laws to infiltrate our country,” Trump said. [...]

“You have to vote for Marsha,” he said, adding that “Phil whatever-his-name-is, this guy will 100 percent vote against us every single time.”

Trump called [Democrat Phil] Bredesen “an absolute tool” of Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and “MS-13-loving Nancy Pelosi,” a reference to the senior House Democrat.

Trump's hate-filled immigrant bashing is what the GOP has left after their tax cut for the 1 percent has failed to gain traction with the other 99 percent of Americans and gas prices are spiking. In fact, in House races across the country, GOP candidates are driving the very same messages.


email from FightForReform.org: this bill could destroy Medicare

Trump just COMMANDED Republicans to GUT Medicare:


[I'll tell you, if anyone takes away my Medicare, WHICH I PAID FOR, I shall sue them - CG]

Canada’s Prime Minister blows away Trump tariffs, condemns U.S. government—not the American people Friday June 01, 2018

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to Donald Trump’s new U.S. tariffs issued Thursday morning. During a press conference Thursday evening, Trudeau seemed to hold nothing back in his response to Trump. The anger and resolve in eyes and voice make that perfectly clear.

Trudeau begins

“Let me be clear. These tariffs are totally unacceptable.”


Trump tried to get Sessions to un-recuse himself and keep investigation in hands of a 'loyalist' Mark Summer Wednesday May 30, 2018

Trump’s insistence that he needed “a loyalist” in charge of the investigation is now part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump attempted to obstruct the Justice Department from conducting a thorough look into his campaign.

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Trump goes full white nationalist in service of the Republican Party. Greg Dworkin Wednesday May 30, 2018

the current WH Spencer Ackerman/Daily Beast:

Viktor Orban won reelection as Hungary’s prime minister last month through a blood-and-soil campaign that married antisemitism with Islamophobia. Donald Trump’s secretary of state is about to reverse years of U.S. policy and receive Orban’s chief diplomat at Foggy Bottom.

Current and former State Department officials expressed alarm that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is giving facetime to an envoy for the demagogic and authoritarian Orban, who also happens to be Vladimir Putin’s best European friend.

“I’m fucking disgusted,” said a State Department official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. The official considered Pompeo “cozying up to individuals like Orban” part of a broader pattern of the Trump administration ignoring human-rights abuses and democratic backsliding.

NPR:

Trump Tests Midterm Message On Immigration, MS-13 'Animals' During Tenn. Rally

President Trump tried out his own midterm playbook Tuesday at a campaign rally in Tennessee by ramping up his rhetoric on illegal immigration and gang-related crimes.

The president's main goal with the Nashville event was to campaign for GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who finds herself in a close Senate contest with former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen that could be pivotal in deciding control of the Senate.

"I've never heard of this guy — who is he?" Trump chided Bredesen. "He's an absolute tool of Chuck Schumer, and of course the MS-13 lover Nancy Pelosi."

Justin Hendrix photo

As Donald Trump derides immigrants and goads the crowd into chanting that members of MS-13 "ANIMALS!", it's impossible for any right thinking person not to see a fascist on the podium.

email from FightforReform.org: Republicans AMBUSH Democrats in Texas

TERRIBLE NEWS: Republicans launch Pro-Gerrymandering SuperPAC to rig elections against Democrats

LOOK AT WHAT THE GOP IS DOING IN TEXAS

Republicans are TERRIFIED of our Democratic WAVE. They’re pouring money into Texas to Gerrymander Congressional districts!


Email from Daily KOS:

This is bad, Colby. Trump has turned up his attacks on the FBI and Justice Department, inventing whole scandals to try and undermine them:

Here are the facts: The Washington Post reported that "a well-connected veteran of past GOP administrations" talked to three Trump campaign officials in 2016 and spoke with the FBI about his concerns. The FBI did not implant the source within the campaign, and he was not a "spy." But Trump and his Russian nesting puppets in Congress demanded the name of the source be revealed. Against the advice of national security experts, it was.

But this isn't the story Trump is peddling on Twitter and being gobbled up by his goose-stepping followers. The story in Trumpland is that the FBI embedded a spy in his campaign to undermine him in the election.

Trump's version "Spygate" is complete fiction—a made-up scandal to discredit the only government institutions trying to hold him accountable.

Trump's attacks put the rule of law itself in jeopardy, and Republicans in Congress are aiding and abetting him. That's why we need to take back Congress this fall.

The Coming Collapse By Chris Hedges May 21, 2018

The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny.

If we do not stand up we will enter a new dark age.

Trump, like all despots, has no ethical core. He chooses his allies and appointees based on their personal loyalty and fawning obsequiousness to him. He will sell anyone out. He is corrupt, amassing money for himself—he made $40 million from his Washington, D.C., hotel alone last year—and his corporate allies. He is dismantling government institutions that once provided some regulation and oversight. He is an enemy of the open society. This makes him dangerous. His turbocharged assault on the last vestiges of democratic institutions and norms means there will soon be nothing, even in name, to protect us from corporate totalitarianism.

TOP STORY -- 314 ActionAdd contact: yet ANOTHER victory for Big Pharma 5/22/18


FIRST he appointed pharmaceutical industry insiders to lead the Department of Health and Human Services AND head his drug price reform plan.

THEN Big Pharma shattered lobbying record after lobbying record in the hopes of pressuring Trump to protect their interests.

NOW Trump is breaking his own campaign promise and refusing to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices -- which would save us money and SAVE LIVES!

Millions of Americans struggle to afford their prescription drugs. It’s never been more URGENT to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prices.

Yet, more than 2,500 drugs have increased in price by more than double digits since Trump became president -- and now, he won’t let Medicare step in!!

Mr. Trump, You Have Been Served 5/20/18


Top officials, including former CIA officers, Pentagon officials, US Army officers and former diplomats demand explanation of Israeli actions

In a letter addressed to President Donald Trump, with copies to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the UN Security Council, four top former officials at the highest level of the US government have given him legal notice about his duty to advise the US Congress, the ICC and the UNSC, among others, about Israel’s actions coinciding with the “70th anniversary of the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes.”


White House will not apologize for comment that McCain doesn't matter because he's 'dying anyway'

The War On Iran Has Begun. Russia Must End It The destruction of states such as Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Iran is about isolating Russia when its own turn comes

By Dan Glazebrook May 03, 2018

Things are escalating again in one of Syria's many wars. On 29 April, two massive strikes - presumed by Israel - reportedly hit the Syrian Arab Army's 47th Brigade military base and arms depots near Hama, as well as Nayrab Military Airport in Aleppo.

The strikes reportedly targeted Iranian surface-to-surface missiles intended for deployment in Syria, and killed between 26 and 38 people, including 11 Iranians.

The attack appears to have been coordinated with the US, coming just hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Jerusalem - where, according to Haaretz, he had "thrilled Netanyahu with hawkish talk on Iran". That same day, noted the Times of Israel, "news also broke of a phone call between Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump", while Israel's defence minister, Avigdor Liberman, was meeting his US counterpart James Mattis in Washington.

The War On Iran Has Begun. Russia Must End It The destruction of states such as Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Iran is about isolating Russia when its own turn comes

By Dan Glazebrook May 03, 2018

Things are escalating again in one of Syria's many wars. On 29 April, two massive strikes - presumed by Israel - reportedly hit the Syrian Arab Army's 47th Brigade military base and arms depots near Hama, as well as Nayrab Military Airport in Aleppo.

The strikes reportedly targeted Iranian surface-to-surface missiles intended for deployment in Syria, and killed between 26 and 38 people, including 11 Iranians.

The attack appears to have been coordinated with the US, coming just hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Jerusalem - where, according to Haaretz, he had "thrilled Netanyahu with hawkish talk on Iran". That same day, noted the Times of Israel, "news also broke of a phone call between Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump", while Israel's defence minister, Avigdor Liberman, was meeting his US counterpart James Mattis in Washington.

The White House-Mercenary Connection By Lawrence Davidson [retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA.] April 30, 2018

When the United Nations General Assembly met in December 1989, one of its most important achievements was passage of the Mercenary Convention – the “International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries.” The Convention was subsequently ratified by 35 countries and went into effect as an international treaty in 2001.

Considering that, historically, mercenaries have, with rare exception (today’s Swiss Guard at the Vatican), proven to be lawless killers who both spread and thrive on anarchy, this move by the General Assembly was a prescient one. The problem was, and still is, that many of the world’s “great powers” are remarkably short-sighted and refuse to sign on. Among these is the United States. In the meantime the mercenary business has become a worldwide big business. So much for the UN Mercenary Convention.

Now, some 29 years later, we have a president of the United States, Donald Trump, who thinks the world’s most notorious mercenary – an American by the name of Erik Prince – can help achieve the misguided goals of the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East. It would seem that the answer to that perennial question, “Will they ever learn?” is no.

Under Prince’s leadership Blackwater was employed by the G. W. Bush administration to protect convoys of American diplomats in Iraq. It did so in a predictable “cowboy” fashion, leaving a large number of dead civilians in its wake. Most of Blackwater’s second-tier administrators ended up under indictment in the U.S., and some of its operatives in Iraq and Afghanistan have been charged with murder. None of this was surprising to anyone who knew the history of mercenary forces.

In 2010 Erik Prince decided he “needed a break from the United States” and moved to Abu Dhabi, where he now acts as a military adviser to the United Arab Emirates.

Donald Trump and Erik Prince are a good match. First, both men believe in the privatization of almost all activities (including military ones) that are, in truth, best carried on by responsible governments. The “free” market is their ultimate definition of freedom generally. As we will see, this really makes them both advocates for anarchy. Here they follow in others’ footsteps. Remember that Prince’s initial employer was the Bush Jr. administration, also made up of conservative “free” market ideologues.

Second, both men are immoral – they have no scruples. This is pretty obvious when it comes to Trump and his corrupt cohorts, and Prince is in at the fringes of that syndicate. He reportedly served as a go-between for Trump and Russian bankers with close connections to Vladimir Putin. This effort was allegedly made to establish a back-channel connection between the incoming Trump administration and the Russians. It is possible that, in sworn testimony before Congress, Prince lied about the nature of his activities in this regard.

Religious zealots, just like most ideological fanatics, are prone to violence, and some of history’s bloodiest crimes have been committed in the name of religion. That includes recent ones like G. W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. G.W. reportedly claimed he was told to invade by God. The problem is ongoing. To judge from today’s headlines, it would seem that violent religious zealots are the scourge of our age. So Prince fits right in.

President Trump’s present interest in Prince has to do with the bloody mess in Syria. Trump is under some pressure from the U.S. military to pull out the 2,000 or so U.S. troops still in that country. But in Trump’s view this would be a step toward turning the western part of that country (where the U.S. forces operate) over to the Assad government, the Iranians and the Russians. So he needs an alternative strategy. Trump has consulted with the Saudis and Gulf Arabs about funding and manning what amounts to a mercenary army to replace the U.S. troops in Syria. And who is the West’s expert in mercenary endeavors – the fellow who can put all of this together and make it work? It is Erik Prince.

The notion that the good society is the one that looks after the basic needs of its citizens so as to create a platform for the realization of their creative potentials is, if not dead, then in serious abeyance. Something has come along to undermine this ideal. What now competes with it is the idealization of anarchy. And, in this the United States leads the way. The main route to this end is economic – the privatization of just about everything while simultaneously destroying regulation. We know, again from history, that this can only lead to disaster, but the politicians who are leading this charge are themselves ideologues who don’t give a fig for any history that might call into question their free market preferences.

The main route opens into many tributaries and one of them leads to the mercenary – the gun for hire. It is hard enough keeping professional soldiers in line – those operating under rules of engagement put in place by states which have signed on to the Geneva Conventions. Bring mercenaries into the mix and, as Niccolo Machiavelli realized at the end of the 15th century, you are now tying your interests to untrustworthy and quite bloodthirsty barbarians. To grasp this fact you must know something about the history of warfare and be able to correctly learn from the experiences of others. Most politicians seem not to be able to do either of these things. It’s an old story and seems to be today’s story as well.

Trump Administration Sends a Dark, Threatening Message to Kim Jong Un By Alex Lockie Ap 30, 2018

President Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, has said that the US will use Libya as a model for North Korean denuclearization — but it may have been a dark, even threatening message to North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.

Kim has displayed an about-face since he and Trump traded nuclear threats across the Pacific last year, now appearing to pursue peace and diplomacy broadly and willingly — though there has been little follow-through on several promises from the North Korean leader.

So far, Kim has agreed to denuclearize and seek a peace treaty with South Korea, but he has not taken verifiable steps toward disarming. Though North Korea announced it would invite the US and South Korea to watch the dismantling of its nuclear test site, it has taken similar steps before only to back out of deals later.

Bolton, a noted North Korea hawk who has vocally pushed for war with the country, made an unsavory comparison in an interview with CBS's "Face the Nation" that Kim is sure to have picked up on.

Of plans to denuclearize North Korea, Bolton said, "I think we're looking at the Libya model of 2003, 2004."

Bolton added: "In the case of Libya, for example, and it's a different situation in some respects ... One thing that Libya did that led us to overcome our skepticism was that they allowed American and British observers into all their nuclear-related sites.

" Shortly after the US invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein, Libya's Muammar Gaddafi agreed to have international inspectors visit his country to certify that his nuclear and chemical weapons programs had halted.

~

Trump Lied to the American People, 23 Times in 7 Minutes, Destroying his Presidency By Charles Bausman April 14, 2018

It was clear from the first few minutes of War secretary Mattis's press conference last night that these strikes were going to be symbolic. They change nothing on the ground militarily. Russia's threat to respond worked - the US essentially backed down.

Far more important is the damage Trump did to himself politically. One can only guess at the pressures brought to bear on him to take this suicidal (politically) act. I'm starting to think that this whole charade, starting with the Skripal poisoning a month ago, was an elaborate plot to mortally damage his presidency, not to achieve anything in Syria - well, if so, the plotters have succeeded.

Trump has said and done many things that can hurt him over the past 18 months, but nothing as bad as standing up in front of the American people, and with great solemnity and invoking WW1 gassings, 'nobility' of warriors, prayer, and all this sort of talk, telling one whopping lie after another, looking straight into the camera. He knows they are lies, and a good chunk of the American electorate knows they are - I'm guessing 30% of the whole, and a good 50% of his base. That is not something you can come back from.

He just burned his bridges with a lot of people who think telling the truth is important.

Watching the conservative wall lining up against the bombing yesterday I wrote with great conviction that Trump would not do it, and confidently called it a day. How mistaken I was.

Evidence Of No Evidence! French Declassified Intelligence Report On Alleged, Syria Gas Attacks

By Reuters April 15, 2018

How On Earth Would Killing MORE People Rescue Syria? By Peter Hitchens April 15, 2018

Why do so many people in politics and the media want to start wars? Since I toured a sordid hospital full of wounded people in Bucharest at Christmas 1989, and even more after I saw for the first time (in Vilnius in 1991) what a human head looks like after a bullet has passed through it, I have seen it as an absolute duty to warn against armed conflict. It is a filthy thing.

Any fool can kill a man in a second and ruin a city in a week. But it takes long years of nurture to raise a child to adulthood, and centuries to build a civilisation.

Trump Attacks Syria April 14, 2018

Cost Of War

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "1,455,590"

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America's War On Iraq: 4,801

Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 3,430

Total Cost of Wars Since 2001

$4,500,929,161,896

Cost of National Security

TRUMP WON'T LET SYRIAN REFUGEES INTO THE US, BUT HE WILL USE THEIR SUFFERING AS AN EXCUSE FOR WAR - Adrienne

Our Twitter In Chief By Paul Edwards April 13, 2018


Donald Trump is the first president in U.S. history (even world history) to conduct the business of his presidency through frequent tweets addressed to those he considers his enemies.

He also uses them for personal, and sometimes even cruel and unnecessary personal attacks.

The Trump Regime Is Insane By Paul Craig Roberts April 13, 2018

Is it insane to push for war with Russia, a major nuclear power?

Is it insane to threaten Russia and bring false charges against her?

Is it insane to brag about killing “hundreds of Russians”?

A normal person would answer “yes” to the three questions. So what does this tell us about Trump’s government as these insane actions are the principle practice of Trump’s government?


Trigger-Happy Trump and Syria: “The Worst Case Scenario Is Now Our Reality.” By Felicity Arbuthnot April 13, 2018

Barring a miracle, Draft Dodger in Chief, Donald Trump might trigger a world war, over an incident in Syria which is entirely evidence free.

The discredited White Helmets – a “rescue” group only operating in areas held by “rebels” who routinely decapitate, including children, set fire to people and commit numerous unspeakable acts – have produced a video of an apparent chemical attack on 7th April.

The “White Helmets” are funded in millions by the UK Foreign Office, the US, Canada and various other Western governments. Coupled with this is: A UK government £5.3 million media activists programme included training Syrian independent journalists and activists, including for reporting of “White Helmets” activities across Twitter and Facebook. (See Foreign and Commonwealth Office: “Providing non-humanitarian assistance in Syria”, Updated 1 December 2015.)

No wonder every seemingly staged “rescue” always has a few convenient camera people handy, recording the “victims.” The duty of first responders of course, is to also protect the victim at all cost, in their vulnerable state, from public view.

It also seems to have escaped the Trumposphere that in 2013, Syria surrendered all stocks of chemical weapons, under the auspices of the UN Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons and international observers and participants.

It is worth noting that those dealing with patients suffering the effects of a chemical weapons attack need specific protective clothing. Pictures have been shown of an allegedly affected toddler being sprayed with water, held and sprayed by people in jeans, t-shirts and without even plastic gloves.

Strangely at the site of an alleged chemical attack at Khan Sheikhun on 5th April 2017, just two days over a year before the latest allegations, pictures not only emerged of first responders with no protective clothing, gloves, but of the White Helmets in flip flops and casual clothing “gathering soil samples” from areas allegedly hit by the weapons.


The rats are fleeing the White-tanic.

'I'm A Holocaust Survivor—Trump's America Feels Like Germany Before Nazis Took Over' Jacobs thinks there's a "direct parallel" with Germany between the two world wars.

He worries about what’s happening right now in America, where he has lived and prospered since arriving a couple of years after Buchenwald’s liberation on April 11, 1945.

“Things just go from bad to worse every day,” Jacobs, a successful New York architect who designed the Holocaust memorial at Buchenwald, tells Newsweek. “There’s a real problem growing.”

“Things that couldn’t be said five years ago, four years ago, three years ago—couldn’t be said in public—are now normal discourse. It’s totally unacceptable.

In Trump, Jacobs says, the far-right sees an “enabler.”

“He’s a sick, very disturbed individual. I couldn’t say that Trump is a fascist because you’ve got to know what fascism is. And I don’t think he has the mental power to even understand it.”

“Fascism could have been won in Spain. It could’ve been stopped. But appeasement of fascism is what led to everything,” Jacobs warns.

On Easter Sunday, Trump rails against child immigrants [What a jerk! -CG]

4/1/18

Trump Picks His Former Caddy to Replace Hope Hicks as White House Communications Director Donald Trump's lack of any political experience or intelligence has manifested itself in a multitude of ways. Most troubling are those wherein he implements policies that are overtly idiotic and harmful. But he also demonstrates his inability to govern by his appointments to critical White House and cabinet positions. These include his daughter Ivanka, her husband Jared, Ben Carson, Rick Perry, Scott Pruitt, etc.

Now CNN is reporting that Trump has found a replacement for his departing White House Communications Director Hope Hicks. And he has managed to select another person who completely lacks the requisite skills and experience to do the job.

Trump’s Protectionism: A Great Leap Backward By James Petras, April 03, 2018

Washington's resort to excluding China from US markets has nothing to do with China 'stealing' US patents and secrets.

Rethink Weapons Exports By Kristin Y. Christman, April 03, 2018

Why has the United States, democracy's alleged leader, become the world's largest weapons exporter?


Is Trump Assembling a War Cabinet? By Patrick Buchanan March 27, 2018

Trump’s Approach to Drugs Won’t Solve Anything?—?Economics Explains Why

The rats are fleeing the White-tanic.

Joe Biden When He Saw The Intelligence: “If this is true, It’s treason.” Tuesday Mar 13, 2018

In Totally Unhinged Speech Trump Slobbers Over Foreign Despots While Attacking America's Free Press Sunday Mar 11, 2018

Stormy Daniels' lawyer says she was physically threatened and six more women are stepping forward Friday Mar 16, 2018


Russia Says U.S. Plans to Strike Damascus, Pledges Military Response By Reuters March 14, 2018

Russia said on Tuesday it had information that the United States planned to bomb the government quarter in Damascus on an invented pretext, and said it would respond militarily if it felt Russian lives were threatened by such an attack. Damascus where he said Russian military advisers, Russian military police and Russian ceasefire monitors were based.

Trump’s Trade War – or “De-Globalization”? By Peter Koenig March 14, 2018


President Trump’s bold ‘protectionist’ move of introducing import duties of 25% and 10% for steel and aluminum, respectively – and possibly more to come – may be more than just ‘populism’ and fulfilling a campaign promise. And why is the term ‘populism’ always used with a derogative slant? As if it was way below the intellect of those who deride it as addressing the thoughtless and primitive behavior by the people? Aren’t politicians supposed to work for the people? Educate them with the truth instead of ridiculing them; giving them real news instead of ‘fake news’

Donald Trump's Nobel Peace Prize nomination being investigated for fraud The BBC is reporting that Donald Trump, best known for being a hate-filled, incompetent, rich, bloated windbag and fraud is having his mind-blowing Nobel Peace Prize nomination investigated.

Charlie Sheen Blasts Media Reaction To His Prayer That 'ald Trump Be Next 2016 Fatality

Among those who have reacted:

Sheen’s Two and a Half Men mother Holland Taylor:

Dear God
Trump next, please!
Trump next, please!
Trump next, please!
Trump next, please!
Trump next, please!
Trump next, please!

USDA officially withdraws organic standards In yet another blow to common decency from the Trump Administration, the rule that would have added animal basic animal welfare regulations for meat, eggs, and dairy that are labeled as “organic” has been officially withdrawn.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has eliminated Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices after deciding that it, “exceeds the department’s statutory authority and that the changes to the existing organic regulations could have a negative effect on voluntary participation in the National Organic Program.”

What’s even more confusing with the “organic” label is how words and phrases like free-range, cage-free, natural, grass-fed, pasture-raised, humane, antibiotic-free, or no added hormones can be used in tandem with the organic label. These words and terms themselves, more often than not, have very little to do with whether the product was farmed or processed organically.

Every time you purchase a product, you are voting with your dollars. Rather than participate in a system that is responsible for rampant abuse, human rights violations, and environmental destruction, choose to go the only real “humane” route and opt for a plant-based substitute.

Exposing our “populist” president as a naked plutocrat Hightower Lowdown, February 13, 2018


Have you noticed that 'ald Trump constantly prefaces his outlandish lies with such phrases as: “To be honest with you,” “To tell the truth,” and “Believe me”?

Why? Because like a snake-oil salesman, he constantly needs to convince himself that he’s speaking the truth in order to perform his next lie convincingly. The show must go on… and on. In fact, he already ranks as the lyingest president in US history. And that includes Nixon!

Trump’s biggest whopper is that he’s an honest-to-God “populist,” standing up for America’s hard-hit middle class against Wall Street, corporate lobbyists, and moneyed elites. This prevarication has duped many working stiffs into thinking he’s their champion. The huckster doubled-down on this lie in his inaugural address last year, pompously declaring, “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”

It’s not merely that he’s an irredeemable liar, but that Trump himself is a lie. The Public Citizen expose is titled “Forgetting the Forgotten: 101 Ways 'ald Trump Has Betrayed the Middle Class” and it drives the stake of truth through the heart of his populist pretensions. '’t just read it – use it like a Thomas Paine pamphlet to spread the truth. To download a free copy, go to CorporatePresidency.org/forgotten. [see immediately below]

Corporate Presidency Public Citizen tracks Trump damage

This Is Your Brain on Money: Why America’s Rich Think Differently Than the Rest of Us Economist Chris Dillow cites research by Cameron Anderson and Sebastien Brion, showing that overconfident individuals are seen by others as more competent. He argues that, “overconfident people are more likely to be promoted. And this could have positive feedback effects. Higher status will itself breed even more overconfidence. (E.g. “I got the job so I must be good.”) And if bosses employ like-minded subordinates, the result could be entire layers of management which are both over-confident and engaged in groupthink.” Many other studies cited.

Forgetting the Forgotten: 101 Ways 'ald Trump Has Betrayed his Populist Agenda Public Citizen, 2.20.18, Corporate Presidency


Last we checked, handing over our government to giant corporations and Republican mega-'ors was not part of 'ald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Unfortunately, it has been a defining feature of his administration.

More recently, Trump blurted out the truth about which interests he actually represents. “You all just got a lot richer,” Trump told friends at a holiday dinner at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where the initiation fee is $200,000.

The sad reality is that decision after decision by the Trump administration will benefit ultra-rich elites — at the expense of everyday American families. It’s all a stark betrayal of the populist promises Trump made as a candidate.

We chronicled 101 examples of how Trump has contradicted his campaign’s populist agenda and betrayed the interests of his own supporters:

1. Failing to divest his businesses: Trump maintained ownership of his businesses around the globe, leaving him vulnerable to the influence of foreign governments and other corporate interests. While Trump has turned over day-to-day control of his business to his sons, he has spent roughly a third of his time at Trump properties.

2. Failing to release his tax returns, leaving a confusing and complex picture of his finances and business entanglements for the public to decipher.

3. Staffing his administration with corporate insiders: Trump’s initial “landing teams” at federal agencies were chock full of corporate executives, corporate lawyers and former lobbyists. When it came time to nominate permanent officials, nearly 70 percent of sub-Cabinet officials had a clear corporate connection.

4. Naming a cabinet full of plutocrats: Trump named a corporate cabinet with deep connections to ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, Koch Industries, Devon Energy, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, among others.

And many more...

Hiring more than three dozen former lobbyists
Picking a former Goldman Sachs executive to run his economic team:
Hiring more than 40 officials with close ties to the Koch brothers
Following the Koch Brothers agenda:
Rushing cabinet nominees through the Senate without fully vetting conflicts of interest

Doing the bidding of big business by directing federal agencies to repeal two existing federal regulations for every new one without considering benefits to health, safety and the environment. (Public Citizen is suing the Trump administration over this action.)

Keeping secret the names of who is meeting with top Trump administration officials.
Meeting with executives from more than 300 corporations in the early months of his presidency
Failing to “drain the swamp:”
Withholding documents about his Washington, D.C. hotel
Putting severe strains on the Secret Service budget with bloated travel spending for Trump and his family
Playing a lot of golf
Going soft on corporate offenders
Encouraging private corporations to run prisons
Criminalizing poverty
Proposing to eliminate funding for legal services that assist the poor.
Encouraging police to take private property without proof of a crime.
Giving colleges that '’t deliver a real education a free pass
Making debt relief harder to get for students deceived by for-profit colleges
Ending cooperation between regulators charged with policing student loan industry
Hiring a for-profit college lawyer to work as special assistant to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Giving tax breaks to wealthy families who can afford private schools

Putting the future of human civilization at risk by ignoring climate change

Picking an advocate for polluters to run the Environmental Protection Agency
Weakening fuel economy standards
Hiring a former chemical industry trade group official to lead the EPA office that regulates the chemical industry
Refusing to ban a pesticide that causes brain damage in kids
Scaling back the EPA’s efforts to enforce pollution laws
Making it easier for big companies to pollute our water
Watering down protections against toxic chemicals
Proposing to eliminate programs that protect kids from dangerous lead paint.
Picking a climate change denier to run the Energy Department
Propping up dirty energy
Closing an Energy Department office that worked on international climate change
Leaving coastal communities vulnerable to flooding by revoking an Obama-era order
Picking a fossil fuel enthusiast to run the Interior Department
Repealing fracking rules
Rolling back offshore drilling safety rules
Renewing copper and nickel mining leases in a Minnesota wilderness area,
Proposing to hike entrance fees for national parks
Allowing construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines
Blocking new energy efficiency standards
Proposing to eliminate funding for low-income home heating
Undoing protections against Wall Street excesses
Reversing course on a promise to reestablish the separation between commercial and investment banking
Installing a former financial industry lawyer as acting Comptroller of the Currency
Installing a former banker to run the OCC, despite a recent fraud settlement
Blocking consumers and workers from banding together against corporations in class-action lawsuits
Installing White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Enabling predatory lenders
Undermining protections for retirement savers
Aban'ing a plan to cut premiums charged by a government mortgage-insurance program
Scaling back penalties for Wall Street
named a corporate lawyer to lead the Securities and Exchange Commision
Dialing back requirements that banks lend to minority communities.
Ignoring small farmers by withdrawing Obama-era rules
Undermining efforts to improve the quality of school lunches
Scrapping animal welfare standards for organic meats
Delaying improved nutrition labels
Endangering worker safety and health
Failing to hire workplace safety inspectors at OSHA
Withdrawing a plan to test truck drivers for a sleep disorder
Repealing rules that helped states provide retirement programs to private-sector workers
Eliminating restrictions on states’ ability to require drug tests for unemployment benefits
Naming the former chairman of a coal mining firm to run the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration
Nominating a FedEx executive to lead the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Cutting labor protections for fast food and hotel workers
Undoing the expansion of overtime pay
Undercutting American workers by allowing low-wage temporary workers to compete against them
Allowing bosses to run stealth campaigns against unions
Giving restaurant bosses the power to keep or redistribute workers’ tips through a “tip-stealing” rule
Preventing workers from organizing
Making it harder to find out whether workers have been injured on the job
Killing a rule requiring federal contractors to disclose past safety violations
Scrapping an effort to collect data about unequal pay among women and men
Reducing the amount of information about workplace fatalities
Nominating a former pharmaceutical company executive to run the Department of Health and Human Services
Backtracking on a promise to negotiate prices on prescription drugs purchased through Medicare
Hiring a former lobbyist for giant drug company Gilead to work on pharmaceuticals in the White House
Aban'ing promises to preserve Social Security
Trying to repeal — and sabotage — Obamacare
Allowing junk health plans
Failing to ensure that poor children have healthcare
Dialing back the use of fines against nursing homes that harm residents
Allowing states to impose work requirements on poor people who receive their health care through Medicaid
Misleading the public about who will benefit from Trump’s tax plan
Failing to publish a thorough analysis of how the GOP’s tax cut plan would be funded
Removing from the Treasury Department website
Repeatedly lying about how the Trump tax cut would affect his personal finances
Heeding the wishes of a phalanx of tax lobbyists
Making rich families even richer
Doing the bidding of big corporations
Backtracking on corporate tax evasion
Caving in to hedge funds and private equity firms
Installing a former Verizon lobbyist as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission
Repealing rules preventing Internet companies from tracking the online behavior of customers without their permission
Establishing a disingenous commission to “investigate” phony allegations of voter fraud
Supporting a move by Ohio to purge its voting rolls

Scholars’ rankings offer good news for Obama, bad news for Trump 2.19.18

In honor of Presidents’ Day, the New York Times published the results of an interesting survey today. Members of the American Political Science Association’s Presidents and Executive Politics section – 170 scholars, in total – ranked each of the presidents from best to worst.

Here, for example, is the new top 10 list:

1. Lincoln
2. Washington
3. F.D. Roosevelt
4. T. Roosevelt
5. Jefferson
6. Truman
7. Eisenhower
8. Obama
9. Reagan
10. L.B. Johnson

[Just a note from the professor:

I would have rated them as follows:

1. Washington
2. Jefferson
3. FDR
4. LBJ
5. John F. Kennedy
6. Jimmy Carter

I would have thrown Reagan and Shrub to the bottom of the list with Trump.]

And here’s the list of the bottom 10:

35. Taylor
36. Hoover
37. Tyler
38. Fillmore
39. Harding
40. A. Johnson
41. Pierce
42. W.H. Harrison
43. Buchanan
44. Trump

When the scholars are broken down by party affiliation, Trump ranks #44 among Democratic scholars, #43 among independents, and #40 among Republican scholars. In other words, according to scholars of every stripe, our current president is off to a truly abysmal start and is well on his way to historical ignominy.

Mass shooters' gun of choice is too easy to buy, and Trump's making it even easier 2.15.108

Sandy Hook, Aurora, San Bernardino, and Orlando: each one of these mass shootings was perpetrated using a version of the AR-15.

The AR-15 was designed to inflict maximum damage as quickly as possible. It isn’t a hunting weapon; it’s not a self-defense measure.

Trump has been riling up racists—sorry, “white identitarians”—and encouraging violence even as he works to make it easier to get and wield assault weapons.

Trump’s quest to pack the judiciary—the most critical branch of late when it comes to gun safety—with judges who will lift rather than uphold gun restrictions is a much, much greater threat than any lawmaker’s bluster. Legislation can be repealed, but federal judges enjoy lifetime appointments.

How Did Trump Win? Follow the Dark Money A major new study says a last-minute infusion of "dark money," coupled with declining unionization rates, were among the key factors that handed 'ald Trump the biggest upset in US political history. We speak to co-author Thomas Ferguson of the University of Massachusetts

This is the real heart of the problem with both the Comey and the Russian internet story -- it's that when you actually look at what happened, not only did Hillary dip in the polls, but at the very same time the chances of the Democrats taking the Senate collapsed. When you've got two collapses, not one, and they very closely tracked each other, as we show in a figure in our paper, so, what's going on there? Well, when you look, first of all, you can take the Senate one very straightforwardly. There's no doubt about what happened. Mitch McConnell and company were going to 'ors and saying, as nice articles in Bloomberg and elsewhere on this that we cite, they're saying, "You guys can't afford to lose both the presidency and the Senate. So, you better help us."

They did. An enormous wave of cash came in for the Senate

in terms of investment, investor confidence in the Trump campaign, I'm sure was boosted when Robert Mercer, the hedge-fund billionaire, he was the one who brought in Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon, essentially,

T. FERGUSON: Targets of cesspool anti-union drives

And more broadly, I have to tell you that whenever I hear Democratic Party politicians talking about bringing back the Democratic Party, making a big fight in states and local areas ... the truth of the matter is that for much of the United States where there's a Democratic Party, if you have no unions you have not much of a Democratic Party unless it's built on some ethnic organization, some of the Hispanic organizations in Texas or something like that. And I mean, there's an awful lot of self-deception in the discussions about rebuilding the Democratic party. It can't be 'e, I suspect, in any normal Midwestern, northeastern state while unions continue to just bleed members. It's just not gonna happen.

Trump Infrastructure Scam

3 Reasons Why Millions Still Support Trump: They're standing by their man, even as he fails to live to his promises.

It's incomprehensible to many of us that people could support a president who, in Bernie Sanders' words, "is compulsively dishonest, who is a bully, who actively represents the interests of the billionaire class, who is anti-science, and who is trying to divide us up based on the color of our skin, our nation of origin, our religion, our gender, or our sexual orientation."

Based on various trusted sources and a dab of cognitive science, it's fair to conclude that there are three main reasons for this unlikely phenomenon.

1. Trump's Followers Believe They're Better Than Other People

Nationalism, exceptionalism, narcissism, racism. They're all part of the big picture, although it's unfair to simply dismiss Trump people as ignorant racists. Many of them are well-educated and wealthy. But well-to-do individuals tend to feel entitled, superior, uninterested in the people they consider beneath them, and less willing to support the needs of society. Thus many wealthy white Americans are just fine with Trump's disdain for the general population.

Poorer whites also feel superior, in the sense that they're reluctant to give up their long-time self-assigned position at the top of the racial hierarchy.

2. They're Driven by Hatred for Their Perceived Enemies

According to an ancient proverb, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. For many besieged Americans, the friend is 'ald Trump, the enemy of his followers' enemies, based on his belligerent put-downs of so many target groups that have been recklessly blamed for America's problems. He's been against a 'lying' media, 'job-stealing' immigrants, 'business-stifling' environmentalists, 'elites' like Hillary Clinton who are thought to look down on struggling middle-class whites, and the LGBTQ community and pro-abortion groups, which threaten the religious right's 'traditional' values to a point they consider much worse than Trump's moral depravity.

Their greatest enemy may be the traditional politician, who has allowed the middle class to falter. Trump is unconventional, different from anyone before him. As long as their president is disrupting the status quo, change is happening, and any change, his supporters believe, is likely to defeat one or more of their enemies.

3. They Refuse to Admit They Were Wrong

In fact, the more they're proven wrong, the stronger their resolve. This is called cognitive dissonance. It's common for conservatives to construct their personal beliefs on a moral basis, to adhere to them in the face of any controversy, and if necessary to reshape the evidence to fit these beliefs. Many conservatives continue to fall for Trump's hyperbole about a "booming" economy and new jobs and better times to come.

The Deadly Rule of the Oligarchs By Chris Hedges February 12, 2018

Oligarchic rule, as Aristotle pointed out, is a deviant form of government.

Oligarchs care nothing for competency, intelligence, honesty, rationality, self-sacrifice or the common good. They pervert, deform and dismantle systems of power to serve their immediate interests, squandering the future for short-term personal gain.

“The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest; but governments that rule with a view to the private interest, whether of the one, of the few or of the many, are perversions,” Aristotle wrote.

The classicist Peter L.P. Simpson calls these perversions the “sophistry of oligarchs,” meaning that once oligarchs take power, rational, prudent and thoughtful responses to social, economic and political problems are ignored to feed insatiable greed. The late stage of every civilization is characterized by the sophistry of oligarchs, who ravage the decaying carcass of the state.

[... perfect description of the thinking of Trump and his ilk.]

Oligarchs accelerate social, political, cultural and economic collapse. The unchecked plunder leads to systems breakdown. The refusal to protect natural resources, or the economic engines that sustain the state, means that poverty becomes the norm and the natural world becomes a toxic wasteland. Basic institutions no longer work. Infrastructure is no longer reliable. Water, air and soil are poisoned. The population is left uneducated, untrained, impoverished, oppressed by organs of internal security and beset by despair. The state eventually goes bankrupt.

They lose touch with reality. In the end, they are overthrown or destroy the state itself. There is no institution left in America that can be called democratic, and thus there is no internal mechanism to prevent a descent into barbarity.

“The political role of corporate power, the corruption of the political and representative processes by the lobbying industry, the expansion of executive power at the expense of constitutional limitations, and the degradation of political dialogue promoted by the media are the basics of the system, not excrescences upon it,” the political philosopher Shel' Wolin wrote in “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.” The FBI and the President – Mutual Manipulation By James Petras February 12, 2018

Few government organizations have been engaged in violation of the US citizens’ constitutional rights for as long a time and against as many individuals as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Seldom has there been greater collusion in the perpetration of crimes against civil liberties, electoral freedom and free and lawful expression as what has taken place between the FBI and the US Justice Department.

The liberals and Democrats and their allies in the FBI, political police and other elements of the security state apparatus were deeply involved in an attempt to implicate Russian government officials in a plot to manipulate US public opinion on Trump’s behalf and corrupt the outcome of the election. However, the FBI, the Justice Department and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller have produced no evidence of collusion linking the Russian government to a campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton’s candidacy in favor of Trump. This is despite thousands of interviews and threats of long prison sentences against former Trump campaign advisers. Instead, they focus their attack on Trump’s early campaign promise to find common ground in improving economic and diplomatic ties between the US and Russia, especially in confronting jihadi terrorists.

The liberal-progressive FBI cohort turned into rabid Russia-bashers demanding that Trump take a highly aggressive stance against Moscow, while systematically eliminating his military and security advisors who expressed anti-confrontation sentiments. In the spirit of a Joe McCarthy, the liberal-left launched hysterical attacks on any and every Trump campaign adviser who had spoken to, dined with or exchanged eyebrows with any and all Russians!

The conversion of liberalism to the pursuit of political purges is unprecedented. Their collective amnesia about the long-term, large-scale involvement by the FBI in the worst criminal violations of democratic values is reprehensible.

The FBI investigated the private lives of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, even threatening their family members. They illegally spied on and infiltrated civil liberties organizations, and used provocateurs and spies in anti-war groups. Individuals lives were destroyed, some were driven to suicide; important popular American organizations were undermined to the detriment of millions. This has been its focus since its beginning and continues with the current fabrication of anti-Russian propaganda and investigations.

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. - https://petras.lahaine.org/

Email from Lauren DeRusha Florez, Corporate Accountability, 2.12.18

Trump's disastrous infrastructure plan

Trump’s plan isn’t about fixing ailing water systems, roads, and bridges in communities that need it most. No, this plan could open the floodgates for corporations to privatize the infrastructure and services we all rely upon, like our water systems. It would endanger basic services, threaten our communities and the environment, and enrich corporations at people’s expense.

Email, David Richardson, 2.12.18

Trump just unveiled his new budget, and it will pay for his tax cuts for the rich by cutting Medicaid by $1.3 trillion, slashing Medicare by $554 billion, AND taking $10 billion away from the Social Security disability insurance program!

This comes after the GOP health care bill would have thrown 30 million people off their insurance, ended Medicaid as we know it, eliminated protections for those with preexisting conditions, and raised premiums. It's like they intentionally are trying to hurt as many people as possible, while giving insurance companies and the wealthy what they want!

What’s Really Behind America’s Objections to Trump’s Military Parade By Finian Cunningham February 11, 2018

They know the spectacle will serve to illustrate to the American public and the rest of the world that the United States is a rogue military regime.

Email fro MySA: Dow Jones industrial average takes its biggest loss in more than 6 years

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/article/After-a-bad-week-US-stock-indexes-slip-again-12551938.php

Dow plunges 1,175 points in worst day for stocks since 2011

Banks fared the worst as bond yields and interest rates nosedived [Yeeeah! - C]. Health care, technology and industrial companies all took outsize losses and energy companies sank with oil prices [Oil deserves to die - ].

[Tell us again, Trump. How is the economy doing better under Fascism--AKA disaster capitalism?]

Trump’s Financial Arsonists--The Next Financial Crisis -- Not If, But WhenBy Nomi Prins February 03, 2018

There’s been lots of fire and fury around Washington lately, including a brief government shutdown. In 'ald Trump’s White House, you can hardly keep up with the ongoing brouhahas from North Korea to Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation, while it already feels like ages since the celebratory mood over the vast corporate tax cuts Congress passed last year. But '’t be fooled: none of that is as important as what’s missing from the picture. Like a disease, in the nation’s capital it’s often what you can’t see that will, in the end, hurt you most.


Amid a roaring stock market and a planet of upbeat CEOs, few are even thinking about the havoc that a multi-trillion-dollar financial system gone rogue could inflict upon global stability. But watch out. Even in the seemingly best of times, neglecting Wall Street is a dangerous idea. With a rag-tag Trumpian crew of ex-bankers and Goldman Sachs alumni as the only watchdogs in town, it’s time to focus, because one thing is clear: 'ald Trump’s economic team is in the process of making the financial system combustible again.

Collectively, the biggest U.S. banks already have their get-out-out-of-jail-free cards and are now sitting on record profits after, not so long ago, triggering sweeping unemployment, wrecking countless lives, and elevating global instability. (Not a single major bank CEO was given jail time for such acts.)

5 Studies That Show How Wealth Warps Your Soul

Why the Notion of the Self-Taught, Self-Made Billionaire Is a Lie A look at the educational background of the 1 percent, courtesy of the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census, reveals that the “rags to riches” narrative we’re fed about the rich being “self-taught self-starters” is a fallacy. The world’s billionaires are “disproportionately likely” to have received a degree at one of several elite (and, one could add, elitist) institutions... “Education [is] the way that some people make their way up and it’s the way of consolidating privilege.”

Chris Hedges: The Myth of the Free Press The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud and promote the myth of American democracy—even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote. They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes... The role of the mass media is to entertain or to parrot official propaganda to the masses.

But to maintain this myth they have to destroy the credibility of journalists such as Webb and Assange who shine a light on the sinister and murderous inner workings of empire, who care more about truth than news.

Email from Action Required (via 314 Action)

Taylor Weyeneth, deadbeat

Meet Trump’s Deputy Drug Czar, Taylor Weyeneth:

He's a 24-year-old campaign volunteer.
He LIED repeatedly on his resume.
He was FIRED from his previous job for “not showing up for work.”

We need 25,000 signatures calling on this UNQUALIFIED hack to resign

Trump appointed an UNQUALIFIED, 24-year-old deadbeat to help lead America's fight against the opioid epidemic.

He MUST resign before any more damage is 'e.


Trump Has Lied Nearly 2,000 Times During His First Year in Office Over the past 347 days, President Trump has lied to or intentionally misled the public a staggering 1,950 times, according to The Washington Post's fact checker.

Petition: ''T LET TRUMP PAR' MICHAEL FLYNN

Email from Murshed Zaheed, 1/2/18

Trump siding with Big Pharma on Medicare

'ald Trump spent most of 2016 insisting he would attack the pharmaceutical drug companies behind skyrocketing prices. But ever since he seized office, he has been unsurprisingly missing in action.

Congressional Democrats who actually care about sick people have tried repeatedly to get Trump’s attention, and he has ignored them. Instead, the Trump regime has announced plans “hitting everybody except the drug industry.”

Now, Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive champions have introduced a bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug price discounts.3 If they can shame Trump into helping, it would be a win for struggling Americans – and if not, they will expose Trump as a phony puppet of Big Pharma.

Promise not kept

Julian Assange Just Warned of a Deep State Coup Meant to Install Mike Pence as President The founder of WikiLeaks is warning the public about a Deep State plot to overthrow Trump, and install Mike Pence as President of the United States.

Essentially, Assange is saying is that the aforementioned stakeholders who want to see Trump gone have played a long-game, whereby they have worked “to extract as many unpopular positions as possible (e.g tax cuts for the super rich), push the resulting political corpse to Mueller & install Mike Pence.”

This, of course, was 'e as means of severing Trump from his political base, which largely opposes CIA interventionism, Zionism, and globalist banking cartels. The idea behind it being that when Mueller moves to recommend impeachment, Trump will have strayed so far from the positions that got him elected that there will be a minimal public outcry in his defense.


Email from Daily Kos, 12/14/17

\ Colby, the FCC—headed by Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai—voted to end net neutrality on a party line vote this afternoon.

This is a huge loss to a years-long campaign waged by Daily Kos and partner organizations across the country, and it's a huge threat to Daily Kos' continued existence.

Net neutrality used to prevent internet service providers from blocking sites, throttling traffic, or offering so-called "fast lanes." But without these protects, internet users and small media outlets like Daily Kos are at the mercy of big telecom companies to be blocked or slowed down unless de facto ransom fees are paid.

But this fight doesn't end with the FCC. Lawsuits will be filed, members of Congress are demanding hearings and investigations, and you can sure as hell bet that Daily Kos will be there every step of the way, burying Congress in letters and calls to make our voices heard and stop this shakedown from Big Telecom.

Psychiatrists Sound Alarm: Trump Deteriorating By the Day. We Are All In Danger. Saturday Dec 09, 2017

It’s getting worse.

Before Trump decided to enflame the Middle East, just this past week he tweeted violent, fake, racist videos and said the Access Hollywood tape was faked.

Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee:

What we're seeing is someone mentally falling apart. This is what we mean when someone is coming unglued or unhinged. With stress, they will be less able to tell apart what is real from what is unreal, become more bizarre and, in the case of Mr. Trump, will likely become violent. He will have thoughts and reasoning that will be hard for us to follow because he is pulled more by his internal processes, what's going on in his head, be they fantasies, conspiracy theories or imaginary threats than what is going on in the real world.

At no other time in U.S. history has a group of mental health professionals been so collectively concerned about a sitting president.

Thing of it is—Republicans KNOW he is mentally deteriorating. They know he is not well.

His own cabinet says they actively ignore him—even faking bad reception to get him off the phones. The Secretary of Defense and Chief of Staff have said they would literally tackle the man with the nuclear football. White House aides are “terrified” about the President’s mental health.

For the first time in half a century, a Senate panel was convened on what would happen if a nutty president orders a nuclear strike. Some Pentagon leaders said they would ignore the president, but in reality, if Trump wants to start a nuclear war---NOTHING CAN STOP HIM.

Trump reacts to bomb exploding at the New York City Port Authority bus terminal Monday by calling it "fake news"

email from Anerucans for Tax Fairness, 12/9/17

A new Americans for Tax Fairness report shows how the pharmaceutical industry will get an $80 billion tax break under the Trump tax scam while continuing to price gouge the American people.

If 'ald Trump and Congressional Republicans pass their massive tax cuts largely benefiting the richest 1% and wealthy corporations, a big winner will be the pharmaceutical industry, which wields enormous power through a small army of corporate lobbyists.

And, in 2016, the Pharma Big 10 had $506 billion in untaxed profits stashed offshore. These profits soared by two-thirds since 2011, as drug prices skyrocketed.

Senator Bernie Sanders said:

“This important new report highlights what we already know—pharmaceutical companies are gouging the public with outrageous prescription drug prices, while dodging tens of billions of dollars in U.S. taxes on their offshore profits. But instead of doing anything to rein in these tax dodgers, the Republican tax plan rewards drug companies with massive tax cuts on their current and future offshore profits. These corporations can no longer be allowed to rip off Americans, who already pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. Instead of giving big pharmaceutical companies that are sheltering their profits overseas a massive tax break, we must demand that they pay their fair share of taxes so that we can rebuild the disappearing middle class.”

Petition against Trump On December 4, 2017, President Trump announced plans to reduce Bears Ears National Monument by a staggering 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante by 45 percent in order to open up the land for oil and gas extraction, mining, logging, and other commercial activities. This proposal is the largest reversal of federally-protected land in U.S. history.

Bears Ears National Monument was established as a national monument by President Obama in December 2016, and Grand Staircase-Escalante was set as a national monument by President Clinton in 1996. Both monuments are not only home to wildlife like bighorn sheep and elk and breathtaking natural wonders like towering rock formations, but they are also ecologically, historically, and culturally significant as the landscape holds fossils and ancient artifacts that existed long before the United States was ever established as a nation.

Several Native American tribes, including the Navajo Nation, consider the areas to be sacred, holding the history and burial grounds of their ancestors. Russell Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation, said this about Trump’s proposal: “We will stand and fight all the way…[the United States government has already taken] millions of acres of my people’s land.”

Donald Trump Is a Dictator in Training By Jim Hightower May 11, 2017


Posing as Patton-on-the-Potomac, President Donald Trump is out to "Make America Feared Again."

Comandante, Trump, El Jefe, the gringo strongman!

That's the image our current Commander-in-Chief seems to be cultivating. He has surrounded himself with generals, cavalierly threatens war with all "bad hombres," is drastically bulking up military spending, and imperiously slaps foreign leaders, whole ethnic groups and entire nations with demeaning tweets and public rants. Posing as Patton-on-the-Potomac, President Donald Trump is out to "Make America Feared Again."


Freaked out by Trump and his menagerie of mutants? Let’s focus our anger–and have a greater impact I’ve thought of that moment recently as I’ve seen instance after instance of the innate rebelliousness of the American people erupting across the country in surprising ways, unexpected numbers, and with astonishing intensity. No need to wonder where this comes from, however. The outbursts are a spontaneous, rapidly expanding mass rejection of Trumpism.

Cartoon by Brian Duffy

Our Twitter-president plays to his most frenzied partisans with his daily rata-tat-tat of executive orders and public fulminations–... no telling who’s next. But while some delightedly squeal at his wild moves, many more see Trump as not merely unpresidential, but bullgoose bonkers! And dangerous

The 'ald’s deep darkness has sparked a prairie fire of mass opposition, raging political activism, and movement organizing for the long haul. The rebellion is on!

Cartoon by Brian Duffy

After all, millions of our neighbors have long been disengaged, viewing the political scrum as somewhere between irrelevant and repugnant. But, suddenly they’re back–alert not only to Trump, but to their congress critters and to that menagerie of freaky, rightwing corporate mutants that Trump-Pence has put in charge of our government. In January, one red-district Texan told a reporter: “I think of politics the way I think of my car. I just want it to run [without my spending] a lot of time.” Only a few weeks into the Trump-Does-Washington spectacle, he’s now learned a fundamental lesson: “You get the politics you work for.”


11/26/17 following troubles for many leaders accused of sexual harrassment and lewd behavior

Trump Sinks to a New Low--Even For Him. By Dartagnan Wednesday Nov 15, 2017

The Trump administration plans to allow hunters to import trophies of elephants they killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia back to the United States, reversing a ban put in place by the Obama administration in 2014, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official confirmed to ABC News today.


Zimbabwe is currently in a state of martial law.

Trump’s son posing with his “trophy" elephant’s tail.

From ABC News:Savanna elephant populations declined by 30 percent across 18 countries in Africa from 2007 to 2014, according to the Great Elephant Census published last year, which put their remaining numbers at just over 350,000.

The ban was originally imposed because Zimbabwe, one of the most corrupt nations on Earth, could not show that its management of elephants enhanced the elephant population, nor could they demonstrate any ability to implement or enforce laws designed to protect that population. However the regime did enjoy the influx of cash from “hunting advocacy organizations" shuttling in wealthy Americans eager to “hunt" endangered species and bring their severed body parts home to impress their friends and neighbors:

“It’s a venal and nefarious pay-to-slay arrangement that Zimbabwe has set up with the trophy hunting industry,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society.

That did not deter the Trump Administration:

Even though elephants are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, a provision in the act allows the government to give permits to import these trophies if there is evidence that the hunting actually benefits conservation for that species. The official said they have new information from officials in Zimbabwe and Zambia to support reversing the ban to allow trophy hunting permits.

Sick Fucks.

Video: Trump Begging Countries To Buy Weapons The Young Turks

Articles Of Impeachment Introduced Against Trump By House Democrats By Associated Press November 15, 2017


A half-dozen Democrats on Wednesday introduced articles of impeachment against President 'ald Trump, accusing him of obstruction of justice and other offenses, in a long-shot effort that stands little chance in the Republican-led House.

Email from The Intercept, 11/18/17

Much of the discussion on President 'ald Trump’s proposed border wall has focused on its cost and impracticality, as well as the anti-immigrant and racist world view it embodies.

Little attention, however, has been paid to who stands to gain from building the structure. But as Alice Speri reports, Wall Street is already profiting from the potential bonanza along the southwest border [https://theintercept.com/2017/11/16/trump-border-wall-sterling-construction-company-blackrock-jpmorgan-wells-fargo/].

One building firm, Sterling Construction Company, has seen its stock increase in value by 65 percent since it was chosen by Customs and Border Protection to build a prototype. Which means companies like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Blackrock — all of whom have increased their holdings in Sterling stock — are cashing in, even as their CEOs have distanced themselves from Trump's bigotry.

Far more corrosive than Trump’s pet border boondoggle has been the political corruption of the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In the first installment of an ambitious data-driven investigation of federal prosecutors, Brooke Williams and Shawn Musgrave report that the DOJ is using plea agreements to pressure noncitizens to waive their right to an immigration hearing, including appeals for asylum or protection from persecution. The waivers are yet another sign of Trump's rapidly expanding deportation machine.

UN summit shows how 'ald Trump is doing more damage to world's climate than we ever realised Trump has committed to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement – but that won't happen until 2020. Until then, he threatens to wreck it from the inside out


As the UN climate talks drew to a close in Bonn on Friday, delegates will look back on these talks as the moment the US tried to present 'ald Trump’s vision for environmental action – and was met with outrage and derision.

These two weeks have seen nearly 200 countries come together to support the Paris agreement, in an unprecedented effort to coordinate against climate change. Now with Syria on board, the US is left as the only country outside of this global endeavour.

No one here has been slow to speak out against the US federal government. Yet the summit has also shown clearly how the US under 'ald Trump can continue to damage the Paris accord, and thereby the world, in ways we are only just beginning to understand.

“They [thd US] have decided that they are not going to be playing the game of the Paris agreement but they still want to be inside the room and decide the rules,” Harjeet Singh, Action Aid’s global lead on climate change, told The Independent.

But, according to Mr Singh, there is a danger that other rich countries in the EU, as well as the likes of Australia and Canada, use the general outcry against America as a “cover-up” to avoid genuine progress on key issues such as ramping up ambition before the Paris deal comes into effect in 2020.

“The US is becoming a punching bag. Everybody is focusing on what they are doing and nobody is noticing what other rich countries are doing,” said Mr Singh.

Massive Overkill: Brought to You By the Nuclear-Industrial Complex By William D. Hartung November 14, 2017


But give 'ald Trump credit. When it comes to nukes, he’s gotten our attention. He’s prompted renewed concern, if not outright alarm, about the possibility that such weaponry could actually be used for the first time since the 6th and 9th of August 1945. That’s what happens when the man in the Oval Office begins threatening to rain “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on another country or, as he did in his presidential campaign, claiming cryptically that, when it comes to nuclear weapons, “the devastation is very important to me.”

Trump’s pronouncements are at least as unnerving as President Ronald Reagan’s infamous “joke” that “we begin bombing [the Soviet Union] in five minutes” or the comment of a Reagan aide that, “with enough shovels,” the United States could survive a superpower nuclear exchange.

Whether in the 1980s or today, a tough-guy attitude on nuclear weapons, when combined with an apparent ignorance about their world-ending potential, adds up to a toxic brew.


Email from information@senatemajority.com 11/5/17

Rachel Maddow: "Our new president will FLAT-OUT LIE to us ... He blatantly, and overtly, bluntly, simply LIED."

'ald Trump has lied about nearly everything that has happened since he became president.

Email from Bernie, 11/2/17

The Republican tax bill is out today, and—as Senator Bernie Sanders warned us earlier this week—it's morally obscene.

Wealth and income inequality is the great moral, economic, and political issue of our time. The wealthiest Americans—the top 1/10 of 1 percent—own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. Unbelievably, the GOP plan would make matters even worse.

Trump Is Killing Record Numbers of Civilians By Marjorie Cohn November 01, 2017

During the 2016 presidential campaign, 'ald Trump advocated killing innocent families of suspected terrorists. "When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families," he declared. Besides the immorality of killing innocents, the targeting of civilians violates the Geneva Conventions.

The George W. Bush administration unlawfully detained and tortured suspected terrorists. Determined not to send more suspects to Guantánamo, Barack Obama's administration illegally assassinated them with drones and other methods, killing many civilians in the process.

Trump granted increased authority to the CIA and the Pentagon to conduct drone strikes. He also loosened the targeted killing rules in large areas of Yemen and Somalia by designating them "areas of active hostilities."

In March alone, the Trump administration killed 1,000 civilians in Iraq and Syria, according to Airwars, a non-governmental organization that monitors civilian casualties from airstrikes.

We can expect to see increasing numbers of civilian deaths as Trump continues the "war on terror" he inherited from his predecessors. Since Bush launched this war after 9/11, we have become more vulnerable to terrorism. Civilian killings heighten anger toward the United States and lead to stepped-up recruitment of those who would do us harm.

Our Ever-Deadlier Police State By Chris Hedges October 24, 2017

None of the reforms, increased training, diversity programs, community outreach and gimmicks such as body cameras have blunted America’s deadly police assault, especially against poor people of color. Police forces in the United States—which, according to The Washington Post, have fatally shot 782 people this year—are unaccountable, militarized monstrosities that spread fear and terror in poor communities. By comparison, police in England and Wales killed 62 people in the 27 years between the start of 1990 and the end of 2016.

Police officers have become rogue predators in impoverished communities. Under U.S. forfeiture laws, police indiscriminately seize money, real estate, automobiles and other assets. In many cities, traffic, parking and other fines are little more than legalized extortion that funds local government and turns jails into debtor prisons.

Because of a failed court system, millions of young men and women are railroaded into prison, many for nonviolent offenses. SWAT teams with military weapons burst into homes often under warrants for nonviolent offenses, sometimes shooting those inside. Trigger-happy cops pump multiple rounds into the backs of unarmed men and women and are rarely charged with murder. And for poor Americans, basic constitutional rights, including due process, were effectively abolished decades ago.

Jonathan Simon’s “Governing Through Crime” and Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” point out that what is defined and targeted as criminal activity by the police and the courts is largely determined by racial inequality and class, and most importantly by the potential of targeted groups to cause social and political unrest. Criminal policy, as sociologist Alex S. Vitale writes in his new book, “The End of Policing,” “is structured around the use of punishment to manage the ‘dangerous classes,’ masquerading as a system of justice.”

The criminal justice system, at the same time, refuses to hold Wall Street banks, corporations and oligarchs accountable for crimes that have caused incalculable damage to the global economy and the ecosystem. None of the bankers who committed massive acts of fraud and were responsible for the financial collapse in 2008 have gone to prison even though their crimes resulted in widespread unemployment, millions of evictions and foreclosures, homelessness, bankruptcies and the looting of the U.S. Treasury to bail out financial speculators at taxpayer expense.

The grotesque distortions of the judicial system and the aggressive war on the poor by the police will get worse under President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. There has been a rollback of President Barack Obama’s 2015 restrictions on the 1033 Program, a 1989 congressional action that allows the transfer of military weaponry, including grenade launchers, armored personnel carriers and .50-caliber machine guns, from the federal government to local police forces. Since 1997, the Department of Defense has turned over a staggering $5.1 billion in military hardware to police departments.

The Trump administration also is resurrecting private prisons in the federal prison system, accelerating the so-called war on drugs, stacking the courts with right-wing “law and order” judges and preaching the divisive politics of punishment and retribution.

The Praetorian Guard of the elites, as in all totalitarian systems, will soon be beyond the reach of the law. As Vitale writes in his book, “Our entire criminal justice system has become a gigantic revenge factory.”

This is what Trump is playing to. This idea that the only appropriate role for the state is one of coercion and threats—whether it’s in the foreign policy sphere or in the domestic sphere.”

Police forces, as Vitale writes in his book, were not formed to ensure public safety or prevent crime. They were created by the property classes to maintain economic and political dominance and exert control over slaves, the poor, dissidents and labor unions that challenged the wealthy’s hold on power and ability to amass personal fortunes. Many of America’s policing techniques, including widespread surveillance, were pioneered and perfected in colonies of the U.S. and then brought back to police departments in the homeland. Blacks in the South had to be controlled, and labor unions and radical socialists in the industrial Northeast and Midwest had to be broken.

Again, the direct connection between colonialism and the domestic management of workers. … It’s a two-way exchange. As we’re developing ideas throughout our own colonial undertakings, bringing those ideas home, and then refining them and shipping them back to our partners around the world who are often despotic regimes with close economic relationships to the United States. There’s a very sad history here of the U.S. exporting basically models of policing that morphs into death squads and horrible human rights abuses.”

The accelerated assault on the poor and the growing omnipotence of the police signal our transformation into an authoritarian state in which the rich and the powerful are not subject to the rule of law. The Trump administration will promote none of the conditions that could ameliorate this crisis—affordable housing; well-paying jobs; safe and nurturing schools that do not charge tuition; better mental health facilities; efficient public transportation; the rebuilding of the nation’s infrastructure; demilitarized police forces in which most officers do not carry weapons; universal, government-funded health care; an end to the predatory loans and unethical practices of big banks; and reparations to African-Americans and an end to racial segregation.

Trump and most of those he has appointed to positions of power disdain the poor as a dead weight on society. They blame stricken populations for their own misery. They seek to subjugate the poor, especially those of color, through police violence, ever harsher forms of punishment and an expansion of the prison system.

Sen. Flake's Scathing, Anti-Trump Speech Video and Transcript

"We must never regard as "normal" the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country - the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.

"None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that this is just the way things are now. If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that this is just politics as usual, then heaven help us.

"Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as "telling it like it is," when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.

"And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy. Such behavior does not project strength -- because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit, and weakness.

"A Republican president named Roosevelt had this to say about the president and a citizen's relationship to the office:

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile." President Roosevelt continued. "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

"When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country and instead of addressing it goes looking for somebody to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society. Leadership knows that most often a good place to start in assigning blame is to first look somewhat closer to home. Leadership knows where the buck stops. Humility helps. Character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly and debased appetites in us.

"Despotism loves a vacuum. And our allies are now looking elsewhere for leadership. Why are they doing this? None of this is normal. And what do we as United States Senators have to say about it?

"The principles that underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too vital to our identity and to our survival to allow them to be compromised by the requirements of politics. Because politics can make us silent when we should speak, and silence can equal complicity.

"There is an undeniable potency to a populist appeal -- but mischaracterizing or misunderstanding our problems and giving in to the impulse to scapegoat and belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking people. In the case of the Republican party, those things also threaten to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking minority party.

"We were not made great as a country by indulging or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorying in the things which divide us, and calling fake things true and true things fake. And we did not become the beacon of freedom in the darkest corners of the world by flouting our institutions and failing to understand just how hard-won and vulnerable they are."

U.S. Nuclear Bombers Prepare to Go on 24-Hr Alert for First Time Since the Cold War


Washington, DC – With tensions continually escalating on the Korean peninsula, the U.S. Air Force is reportedly preparing to put its fleet of nuclear-armed B-52 bombers on 24-hour ready alert for the first time since the end of the Cold War in 1991.


WATCH: Illegal ICE Raid Shows How the US Is Starting to Look Like Nazi Germany A disturbing warrantless raid by ICE agents was captured on video this week showing how the US is quickly slipping into tyranny.

Just like the Nazis during their occupation of the Netherlands warrantlessly barged into private property like the place Anne Frank was hiding in, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, is increasingly doing the same thing in America. As the video below shows, the constitution does little to stop armed agents of the state from violating the rights of innocent people.

Capturing the Wisdom and the Beauty of 'ald J. Trump By William Blum October 22, 2017

Capturing the wisdom and the beauty of 'ald J. Trump in just one statement escaping from his charming mouth:

“Our military has never been stronger. Each day, new equipment is delivered; new and beautiful equipment, the best in the world – the best anywhere in the world, by far.”

Here the man thinks that everyone will be impressed that the American military has never been stronger.

And that those who, for some unimaginable reason, are not impressed with that will at least be impressed that military equipment is being added EACH DAY. Ah yes, it’s long been a sore point with most Americans that new military equipment was being added only once a week.

And if that isn’t impressive enough, then surely the fact that the equipment is NEW will win people over. Indeed, the newness is important enough to mention twice. After all, no one likes USED military equipment.

And if newness doesn’t win everyone’s heart, then BEAUTIFUL will definitely do it. Who likes UGLY military equipment? Even the people we slaughter all over the world insist upon good-looking guns and bombs.

And the best in the world. Of course. That’s what makes us all proud to be Americans. And what makes the rest of humanity just aching with jealousy.

And in case you '’t fully appreciate that, notice that he adds that it’s the best ANYWHERE in the world.

And in case you still '’t fully appreciate that, notice that he specifies that our equipment is the best in the world BY FAR! That means that no other country is even close! Just imagine! Makes me choke up.

Lucky for the man … his seeming incapacity for moral or intellectual embarrassment.

He’s twice blessed. His fans like the idea that their president is no smarter than they are. This may well serve to get the man re-elected, as it did with George W. Bush.

The Iran Dilemma – The Tyrant Has Spoken The tyrant, of course, is 'ald Trump. He launched tirade after tirade, and keeps launching them, insult after insult, lies after lies after miserable lies at the Government of Iran


Since it is now difficult for Mr. Trump or any of his handlers to pretend that Iran has failed the agreement, Trump has changed his language. He, and some of his most ridiculous stooges say now that Iran is infringing on the “spirit” of the agreement, as if Trump even knew what spirit and spirituality means.

He, the tyrant, keeps insulting and hammering down on the Government of Iran all the same – spreading lies which even Iran’s enemies know are lies: Iran is spreading and funding terrorism in the region, and the world, they are[military] threat to the region – and they are even a ‘National Security Threat’ – 12,000 km away from Washington. Imagine, one of the most peaceful countries in the world. The only National Security Threat to virtually ALL the nations of the globe, minus Israel, is the only rogue state we know – the United States of America.

Iran is beyond sanctions. Iran is already part of the new economic system – the one emanating from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led by China and Russia, and detached from the dollar hegemony. Therefore, slandering Iran, threatening Iran with war and sanctions or both, is one big bluff – and Trump, Netanyahu’s puddle, believe the world will go for it.

Both countries are trading with the world since quite a while outside of the fiat dollar system, using instead yuans and rubles convertible into gold. That’s the new currency standard offered to the world. The west can take it or leave it.. It’s like jumping on the fast train that has already left the Shanghai station, racing through Eurasia towards Europe, called the OBI – the One Belt Initiative, President Xi’s answer to the western economy of fraud, that will lay the tracks for a new and peaceful economy, possibly for the next few hundred years.

I have said it many times before, and will keep repeating it, the future is in the east; the west is passé. It is committing suicide, greed, war and lie-driven auto-destruction. Iran, India, Pakistan are already members of the SCO, others, including NATO Turkey, are vying to join and be no longer vulnerable to US imposed sanctions and sledgehammer policies.

Even far-away Venezuela has decided to trade her hydrocarbon resources with China in gold-convertible yuans. Hence, Venezuela is detaching herself from the dollar economy, freeing herself from the financial and economic shackles of Wall street, the FED and the Bretton Woods Institutions. Venezuela is a beacon illuminating a new economy for South America, as well as an example of a solid democracy, as demonstrated by this past weekend’s regional fully transparent elections to elect governors and state legislators – a new path to follow by other Latin American countries, who are still enslaved and trampled by the dictate of Washington.

Is Congress about to wreck the Grand Canyon and other national park treasures? The Antiquities Act has been used to preserve some of America’s beloved lands and landmarks but it is facing assault from Trump and Congress

National park ban saved 2m plastic bottles – and still Trump reversed it. The Grand Canyon had banned the sale of plastic water bottles in its gift shops. Photograph: Atlantide Phototravel/Getty Images

One-hundred-eleven years and a few months ago, Theodore Roosevelt signed the landmark law that helped cement his place as America’s conservation president.

The Antiquities Act is brief – just two sentences allow a president to set aside for federal protection “objects of historic or scientific interest”. It’s been used dozens of times by 16 presidents from both parties to preserve some of America’s most beloved wild lands and historic landmarks, laying the foundations for national parks and generations of family adventures. Many national parks – including South Dakota’s Badlands, Alaska’s Kenai Fjords and Nevada’s Death Valley – began as national monuments.

Those lands are now facing a two-headed assault from Congress and the Trump administration, and the act itself faces an uncertain future.

Sunrise over Bryce Canyon. Photograph: Nick Jackson/REX Shutterstock

If a bill quietly working its way through the House of Representatives right now were law 111 years ago, Devil’s Tower wouldn’t have qualified as a national monument. Neither would the Grand Canyon, which Roosevelt protected as a monument in 1908 before it was made a national park. Nor would the Petrified Forest national park, Utah’s Zion national park, Bryce Canyon or many of America’s other legendary protected lands.

The Grand Canyon

under the bill, sponsored by Republican Rob Bishop of Utah. Like many monuments, it’s too big. The measure would cap the size of monuments and, critically, remove the ability to protect monuments of scientific interest, ruling out places selected for their unique formations like the giant sequoia trees of California and Wyoming’s Fossil Butte. In an op-ed in the Washington Examiner, Bishop called the Antiquities Act, “a menace to constitutional government”. Bishop targeted Barack Obama’s use of the act to protect 553.6m acres in two dozen monuments across the country. “Actions such as these are not the rule of law,” he said. “It is arbitrary rule by one man.”

A winding road through Sequoia national park. Photograph: Nick Jackson/Rex Shutterstock

Bishop’s bill, which has drawn united opposition from sporting and recreation groups across the country, could give legal authority to the Trump administration to shrink monuments. The interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, this summer recommended reducing the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou monument, but he hasn’t made his review public.

Bishop’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the measure, which last week passed the House natural resources committee without public hearing.

Three million comments left by the American public

Moon over Baldy Peak and La Cueva, on the west side of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peak, New Mexico. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

The vast majority – one appraisal says 96% – favor keeping current monuments for future generations. Zinke has dismissed the flood of comments, saying they were part of a “well-orchestrated national campaign”. And yes, many are repetitive; many are personal.


Trump Has Killed More Civilians with Illegal Drone Strikes in 9 Months Than Obama Did in 8 Years While the mainstream media focuses on anything but the current state of U.S. intervention in the Middle East, the Trump Administration is breaking records by accumulating a horrific number of civilian deaths.


Trump administration unveils the 'Fetal 14th Amendment' Sunday Oct 15, 2017

For the Trump administration, some persons are more equal than others. Some of them aren't persons at all.

Secret Service had to intervene to protect someone FROM 'ald Trump

In what is surely a first, the Secret Service had to intervene to protect someone from a presidential candidate. Or, to be more precise, from the consequences of his hate-filled rhetoric. The person was Katy Tur, a journalist for MSNBC. She tells her story in Marie Claire. Last fall she covered the Trump campaign for several months, and earned Trump’s extreme displeasure for reporting about protesters interrupting his speeches. He demanded an apology and she refused. So at a December rally Trump pointed out Tur to the crowd and said:

“What a lie. Katy Tur. What a lie it was. Third. Rate. Reporter. Remember that.”

The crowd of Trump supporters turned so fiercely against her that Tur says the Secret Service had to protect her while she was walking to her car, simply to keep her safe.

In His Own Words: 'ald Trump reveals the real, spiteful reason he is sabotaging ObamaCare (Video)


On Wednesday 'ald Trump signed an executive order that significantly damages the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). It's purpose is to force people into the old "junk" plans that failed to provide necessary coverage. What's more, it will remove the protections for people with preexisting conditions. And he wasn't finished with his mission to deliberately destroy ObamaCare.

It's a monstrously cruel decision on Trump's part that defies reason. Except that Trump took a few questions from reporters Thursday morning wherein he helpfully offered the reason himself (video below):

"If you take a look at CSR payments, that money is going to insurance companies. To prop up insurance companies. That money is going to insurance companies to lift up their stock price. And that's not what I'm about. Take a look at who those insurance companies support, and I guarantee you one thing. It's not 'ald Trump."

And there you have it. Trump is taking out his vengeance on an industry that he thinks hasn't been generous enough to him. Like almost every other decision he makes, it's all about Trump or go suck an egg.

~

Looks Like He's Just Going to Let Them Die In a series of—what else?--tweets this morning, the Bleeder of the Free World outlined his long-term plans for recovery and rebuilding in Puerto Rico. They can be spelled out with blank Scrabble tiles.

Trump tweet: "Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making."

[Actually, Trump cronies, Vulture bankers, scammed Puerto Rico into huge debt]

Trump tweet: "...We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!"

Surprised? Like DACA, like the ACA, Himself’s answer to the challenge of actually, you know, governing, is to do whatever he can as Executive to destroy systems already damaged, then pull a Pilate and say, “Congress better do something about this,”


Trump takes his rage out on Obamacare, again, with new executive orders Thwarted by the Republican Congress's inability to take health insurance away from millions of people, 'ald Trump is continuing his efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act from the inside. He's expected to sign executive orders on Thursday intended to siphon off healthy Obamacare enrollees into skimpy cheaper plans. The order will loosen rules for what these plans have to cover and who they have to cover, like people with pre-existing conditions. The cumulative effect of the new rules he's ordering will be to damage Obamacare's regulated markets, leaving just the sickest, most expensive patients there.

Trump & GOP are pushing their tax bill, 10/12/17

Trump would rather destroy American credibility than admit that something Obama did is working By Mark Sumner Thursday Oct 12, 2017

'ald Trump has constantly complained, both throughout the campaign and since occupying the White House, that the nuclear agreement with Iran is a terrible deal. A deal that damages the United States. An “embarrassment.” And it’s clear that there is a national embarrassment.

~

[Trump] was incensed by the arguments of Secretary of State Rex ­Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and others that the landmark 2015 deal, while flawed, offered stability and other benefits. He did not want to certify to Congress that the agreement remained in the vital U.S. national security interest and that Iran was meeting its obligations. He did not think either was true.

“He threw a fit,” said one person

Trump’s refusal to listen to reason made White House staff come up with a plan that would let 'ald Trump stomp his foot and scream about the plan, but actually throw in a roadblock to eliminating the deal. Coming up with elaborate ways to soothe the fury of Trump while desperately working behind the scenes to stop the world from blowing up fits in with a series of actions where staff has attempted to keep Trump from either exploding, or blowing up the rest of us. That’s how things work at the White House daycare.


ZOMG ... Trump is not a moron, what Tillerson actually said will amaze you! Another day in the presidential covfefe-grinder

Trump suggested he could beat Tillerson at an IQ test. That remark follows a report from NBC News last week that Tillerson, frustrated with the president, called Trump a "moron."

Trump & GOP are determined to eliminate ObamaCare, even with no replacement!

Trump laughs and jokes during solemn “Retreat” ceremony This needs to go viral. It is perfect example of Trump’s (and Hannity’s) ignorance and false patriotism. They had no idea “Retreat” was being played and they were supposed to stand and respect the flag. Ironically he also brought the NFL player’s not standing for the National Anthem up in this interview.

'ald Trump refused to stand or honor the American flag as a bugle played signalling the "Retreat" ceremony on a military base 10/11/17

Trump's Short Film About The Civil War see video a bit down screen


Former Wharton Professor: "'ald Trump Was the Dumbest Goddam Student I Ever Had."

Puerto Rico ex-Gov explains Trump's lack of response to their disaster: "He's just racist"

Tweet-aholic Trump Pours Out His Frantic Fear Of Vote Recount In Unhinged Tirade

As the Trump team continues to stitch together their administration, efforts to certify the election results are also progressing. In an unprecedented display of support, Green Party candidate Jill Stein has raised over six million dollars for recounts. That's enough for Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and Michigan will require only a million more.

Not surprisingly, 'ald Trump is aghast at the potential challenge to his Electoral College victory. And consistent with his juvenile temperament, he is once again taking to Twitter to whine about the burdens of democracy. Terrified of being exposed as a loser, crybaby Trump is lashing out at Hillary Clinton for doing exactly what he planned on doing himself.

Trump Tirade

Climate deniers cheer study that shows Trump’s policies will destroy America Widely misreported study confirms that only immediate and deep cuts in carbon pollution can avert a climate catastrophe

JOE ROMM SEP 25, 2017

This is what America will look like if we follow Trump's climate policies: PROJECTED WARMING UNDER AGGRESSIVE CLIMATE ACTION (LEFT) VERSUS TRUMP CLIMATE POLICIES (RIGHT).

This study, which found that super-aggressive emissions reductions could prevent total global warming from hitting 2.7°F would raise alarm bells in a more normal media environment. After all, the world has not embraced instantaneous and sharp emissions reductions.

Instead, President 'ald Trump has said global warming is a hoax and has adopted policies aimed at undermining U.S. and global climate action.

In reality, the world has not come close to adopting such policies. Worse, Trump’s domestic and global climate policies, which include leaving the Paris climate agreement, make them all but unattainable.


The End of Empire By Chris Hedges October 02, 2017


The American empire is coming to an end. The U.S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits

Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U.S. treasury in the form of bailouts.

Overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists and warmongering generals. And to be clear, I am speaking about Democrats, too.

The empire will limp along, steadily losing influence until the dollar is dropped as the world’s reserve currency, plunging the United States into a crippling depression and instantly forcing a massive contraction of its military machine.

Short of a sudden and widespread popular revolt, which does not seem likely, the death spiral appears unstoppable, meaning the United States as we know it will no longer exist within a decade or, at most, two.

The global vacuum we leave behind will be filled by China, already establishing itself as an economic and military juggernaut, or perhaps there will be a multipolar world carved up among Russia, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and a few other states.

Or maybe the void will be filled, as the historian Alfred W. McCoy writes in his book “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power,” by “a coalition of transnational corporations, multilateral military forces like NATO, and an international financial leadership self-selected at Davos and Bilderberg” that will “forge a supranational nexus to supersede any nation or empire.”

Under every measurement, from financial growth and infrastructure investment to advanced technology, including supercomputers, space weaponry and cyberwarfare, we are being rapidly overtaken by the Chinese.

The Department of Defense issued a sober report titled “At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World.” It found that the U.S. military “no longer enjoys an unassailable position versus state competitors,” and “it no longer can … automatically generate consistent and sustained local military superiority at range.” McCoy predicts the collapse will come by 2030.

Empires in decay embrace an almost willful suicide. Blinded by their hubris and unable to face the reality of their diminishing power, they retreat into a fantasy world where hard and unpleasant facts no longer intrude. They replace diplomacy, multilateralism and politics with unilateral threats and the blunt instrument of war.

This collective self-delusion saw the United States make the greatest strategic blunder in its history, one that sounded the death knell of the empire—the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. The architects of the war in the George W. Bush White House, and the array of useful idiots in the press and academia who were cheerleaders for it, knew very little about the countries being invaded, were stunningly naive about the effects of industrial warfare and were blindsided by the ferocious blowback.

The deep disillusionment and anger that led to 'ald Trump’s election—a reaction to the corporate coup d’état and the poverty afflicting at least half of the country—have destroyed the myth of a functioning democracy. Presidential tweets and rhetoric celebrate hate, racism and bigotry and taunt the weak and the vulnerable.

We are worldwide objects of ridicule and hatred.

“The demise of the United States as the preeminent global power could come far more quickly than anyone imagines,” McCoy writes.

“So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly wrong, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, eleven years for the Ottomans, seventeen for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, just twenty-seven years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003 [when the U.S. invaded Iraq],” he writes.

Many of the estimated 69 empires that have existed throughout history lacked competent leadership in their decline, having ceded power to monstrosities such as the Roman emperors Caligula and Nero. In the United States, the reins of authority may be in the grasp of the first in a line of depraved demagogues.

“For the majority of Americans, the 2020s will likely be remembered as a demoralizing decade of rising prices, stagnant wages, and fading international competitiveness,” McCoy writes.

The empire will collapse and the nation will consume itself within our lifetimes if we do not wrest power from those who rule the corporate state.

Impeach Trump before he starts a nuclear war. RootsAction email 10/2/17

Robert Reich: "'ald Trump Is No Longer The President Of The United States" By ursulafaw Sunday Oct 01, 2017

Oh sure, he has the title and he has the bully pulpit – from which he’s bullying everyone from NBA players to people protesting white supremacists to DACA kids.

But he’s not actively governing the United States. That work is happening elsewhere – in Congress, the courts, the Fed, the career civil service, lobbyists, and in the states. Or it’s not happening at all.

It’s not just that Trump lost the epic battle to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Trump never understood the Affordable Care Act to begin with, and played no part in developing Republican alternatives.

The budget Trump submitted to Congress in March was dead on arrival. House Republicans ignored Trump’s request for $54 billion in cuts to departments and agencies and decided instead to cut non-defense spending by just $5 billion, and explode the defense budget.

Trump’s relations with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have become so strained they have no interest in looping him into policies before they have to.

Meanwhile, Trump has run out of Obama executive orders he can declare void. Major regulations, such as the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, can’t just be repealed. They have to go through a legal process that could take years.

Trump doesn’t seem to be aware of this.

Recent Released Audio: Trump Mocks a Dying Man, Proving He's A Sociopath Sunday Oct 01, 2017

I asked myself who would think it a good idea to go golfing at a N.J. Country Club after a hurricane completely leveled Puerto Rico. Trump’s ill-conceived vacation was a large reason the federal response has been so deadly slow. 10 days later, Trump still hasn’t submitted a request for Congressional aid, still hasn’t visited the island, and refuses to call for an all-out relief effort—but he did return to the golf course this weekend.

The mayor of San Juan, after repeatedly being blown off, was literally begging Trump to save the lives of her dying citizens and tried to appeal to his compassion

Imploring Trump to feel something for his fellow man is a complete waste of time.

John McCain, who is dying from an aggressive form of brain cancer, cannot raise his arms because of torture by the Viet Cong. Trump thought it funny, and mocked him at the golf course. (BTW, McCain’s daughter was none too pleased when she found out.)

This isn’t just abnormal. This is sociopathic behavior.

I am not calling Trump a sociopath as an insult--I am stating clearly what is wrong with him and why appealing to his humanity is pointless.

This isn’t even the first time Trump has mocked a dying man.

'There's a medical center down here and everyone that was in the Intensive Care Unit died. Everyone' Saturday Sep 30, 2017

CHIP Expired Today. Insurance For Nine Million Children...Poof. Saturday Sep 30, 2017

While Trump tweeted about football players and Republicans in Congress salivated over tax cuts for the already insanely rich, the Children’s Health Insurance Program expired today.

The Super Patriotic Draft Dodger’s Rag: “Fire the Son-of-a-Bitch” Colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, racism – this is U.S. history, not the myths proffered by mythmakers, politicians, and schools. The system of exploitation is old and enduring, and the point of its spear is war. It is great that many players join in solidarity with Kaepernick. Racism must be opposed and freedom of speech exercised and defended. But it would be better indeed if more of those who rightly oppose Trump’s disgusting comments and support Kaepernick speak out about the triple devils King warned about. The system of racial exploitation does not stand alone; never has. Nor will it fall alone.

The Star Spangled Banner is a celebration of war, meant to stir martial emotions. It also contains racist lyrics.

Puerto Rico was just hit by a huge hurricane. Their entire infrastructure was destroyed. Trump has not addressed at all, instead fighting with NFL athletes over their kneeling during Pledge of Allegiance.

Descent into Barbarism: Trump Makes Virtue Out of War And Genocide at The UN By Finian Cunningham September 20, 2017

Trump's warning to "totally destroy North Korea is advocating the genocide of an entire people."

Thoughts on Trump’s UN Declaration of War Against Iran and North Korea By Paul Craig Roberts September 20, 2017

Trump’s UN speech makes it clear that Trump’s presidency, in terms of his campaign promise to remove Washington from the “policeman of the world” role, exit the Middle East, and repair the damaged relations with Russia, is over. The CIA and the military/security complex are in full control of the US government. Trump has accepted his captivity and his assigned role as the enforcer of Washington’s hegemony over every other country. Washington uber alles is the only foreign policy that Washington pursues.

The US has become the 4th Reich.

Trump’s “Mein Kampf” Tirade at the United Nations By Bill Van Auken September 20, 2017

The fact that nobody in the assembly moved for Trump's arrest as a war criminal, or even told the fascistic bully to sit down and shut up, is a measure of the bankruptcy of the UN itself.


Mexico* will pay for the wall. (*see above image for location of Mexico)

Diseases of Despair By Chris Hedges September 04, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

The opioid crisis, the frequent mass shootings, the rising rates of suicide, especially among middle-aged white males, the morbid obesity, the obsession with gambling, the investment of our emotional and intellectual life in tawdry spectacles and the allure of magical thinking [https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/200911/magical-thinking "Magical thinking is defined as believing that one event happens as a result of another without a plausible link of causation. For example: "I got up on the left side of the bed today; therefore it will rain."], from the absurd promises of the Christian right to the belief that reality is never an impediment to our desires, are the pathologies of a diseased culture. They have risen from a decayed world where opportunity, which confers status, self-esteem and dignity, has dried up for most Americans. They are expressions of acute desperation and morbidity.

Plato wrote that the moral character of a society is determined by its members. When the society aban's the common good it unleashes amoral lusts—violence, greed and sexual exploitation—and fosters magical thinking. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus called those who severed themselves from the moral and reality-based universe idiotes. When these idiotes, whose worldview is often the product of relentless indoctrination, form a majority or a powerful minority, the demagogue rises from the morass.

The demagogue is the public face of collective stupidity. Voegelin defined stupidity as a “loss of reality.” This loss of reality meant people could not “rightly orient his [or her] action in the world, in which he [or she] lives.” The demagogue, who is always an idiote, is not a freak or a social mutation. The demagogue expresses the society’s demented zeitgeist. This was true in Nazi Germany. It is true in the United States.

“The fool in Hebrew, the nabal, who because of his folly, nebala, creates disorder in the society, is the man who is not a believer, in the Israelite terms of revelation,” Voegelin wrote. “The amathes, the irrationally ignorant man, is for Plato the man who just does not have the authority of reason or who cannot bow to it.

The stultus for Thomas [Aquinas] is the fool, in the same sense as the amathia of Plato and the nebala of the Israelite prophets. This stultus now has suffered loss of reality and acts on the basis of a defective image of reality and thereby creates disorder. … If I have lost certain sectors of reality from my range of experience, I will also be lacking the language for appropriately characterizing them. That means that parallel to the loss of reality and to stupidity there is always the phenomenon of illiteracy.”

A society convulsed by disorder and chaos, as Voegelin pointed out, elevates and even celebrates the morally degenerate, those who are cunning, manipulative, deceitful and violent. In an open society these attributes are despised and criminalized.

But the social, cultural and moral norms in a diseased society are inverted. The attributes that sustain an open society—a concern for the common good, honesty, trust and self-sacrifice—are detrimental to existence in a diseased society. Today, those who exhibit these attributes are targeted and silenced.

The deep alienation experienced by most Americans, the loss of self-esteem and hope, has engendered what Durkheim referred to as a collective state of anomie. Anomie is a psychological imbalance that leads to prolonged despair, lethargy and yearnings for self-annihilation. It is caused by a collapse of societal norms, ideals, values and standards.

Pope John Paul II in 1981 issued an encyclical titled “Laborem exercens,” or “Through Work.” He attacked the idea, fundamental to capitalism, that work was merely an exchange of money for labor. Work, he wrote, should not be reduced to the commodification of human beings through wages. Workers were not impersonal instruments to be manipulated like inanimate objects to increase profit. Work was essential to human dignity and self-fulfillment. It gave us a sense of empowerment and identity. It allowed us to build a relationship with society in which we could feel we contributed to social harmony and social cohesion, a relationship in which we had purpose.

The pope castigated unemployment, underemployment, inadequate wages, automation and a lack of job security as violations of human dignity. These conditions, he wrote, were forces that negated self-esteem, personal satisfaction, responsibility and creativity. The exaltation of the machine, he warned, reduced human beings to the status of slaves. He called for full employment, a minimum wage large enough to support a family, the right of a parent to stay home with children, and jobs and a living wage for the disabled. He advocated, in order to sustain strong families, universal health insurance, pensions, accident insurance and work schedules that permitted free time and vacations. He wrote that all workers should have the right to form unions with the ability to strike.

We will not bring those who have fled a reality-based world back into our fold through argument. We will not coerce them into submission. We will not find salvation for them or ourselves by supporting the Democratic Party. Whole segments of American society are bent on self-immolation. They despise this world and what it has 'e to them. Their personal and political behavior is willfully suicidal. They seek to destroy, even if destruction leads to death. We must organize our communities to create a new socialist order and overthrow the corporate state through sustained acts of mass civil disobedience.


Der Spiegel's New Magazine Cover: The True Face Of 'ald Trump

Der Spiegel's New Magazine Cover: The True Face Of 'ald Trump By First Amendment Friday Aug 18, 2017

After Charlottesville, this is what the rest of the world thinks of 'ald Trump.

Michael Moore's Open Letter to Ivanka Trump is a Must-Read There’s some unavoidable snark in it, but a great deal of simple concern for someone who is destroying himself before our eyes — and feeding a dark hunger in America.

Dear Ivanka:

I’m writing to you because your dad is not well.

Every day he continues his spiral downward—and after his call for gun owners to commit acts of violence against Mrs. Clinton, it is clear he needs help, serious help. His comments and behavior have become more and more bizarre and detached from reality. He is in need of an intervention. And I believe only you can conduct it.

Blow: "Failing All Tests of the Presidency" Monday Aug 21, 2017

Charles M. Blow is a powerful writer, who has been on the attack after Trump since before the election.

We are leaderless. America doesn’t have a president. America has a man in the White House holding the spot, and wreaking havoc as he waits for the day when a real president arrives to replace him.

'ald Trump is many things — most of them despicable — but the leader of a nation he is not. He is not a great man. Hell, he isn’t even a good man.

'ald Trump is a man of flawed character and a moral cavity. He cannot offer moral guidance because he has no moral compass. He is too small to see over his inflated ego.

Blow goes on to land blow after blow, directly on Trump to be sure, but also in providing us with detail on the murderer in Charlottesville who killed Heather Heyer (I will not dignify him by repeating his name), telling those who did not know about his pro-Nazi paper in high school and his history of threatening his mother to the point that authorities had to be called.

Garrison Keillor writes 'Sermon On The Mount' mocking Trump the 'boy president' by Leslie Salzillo, Sunday Mar 05, 2017

Author and beloved radio producer/personality of Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor has been on a social media roll for months. He seems to have the right words when describing and destroying 'ald Trump relaying his prose with a twist of humor — and a whole lot of truth.

Below are some excerpted highlights from two of his op-eds in The Denver Post. The first titled, "What Mark Twain killed, 'ald Trump has revived." Keillor starts off with “The Constitution does not allow 13-year-olds to become president and after last week we can see why.” and in most of his pieces he addresses Trump as “the Boy President.” Keillor writes about how Trump “proudly holding his latest executive order up for the cameras, to show that he knows right-side-up from upside-down.” (The image Keillor is referring to has been mocked countless times showing the words of the EO saying things a elementary child would write and phrases like “I '’t know what I’m doing” — or really anything that makes Trump look like the ass he is.)

In his second op-ed by Garrison Keillor titled, 'ald Trump’s tremendous Sermon on the Mount, Garrison Keillor decides to write a mock “Sermon on the Mount” as if he himself were Jesus (as he’s been described by some of his supporters — or second to Jesus)

Religious Trump’ begins:

The Lord is my shepherd. OK? Totally. Big league. He is a tremendous shepherd. The best. No comparison. I know more than most people about herding sheep. And that’s why I won the election in a landslide and it’s why my company is doing very very well. Because He said, “I’m with you, 'ald. You will never want.

So He was saying to me, Blessed are the deal-makers for theirs is the kingdom. Big time. Blessed are they who scorn: for they shall be comfortable. Blessed is machismo for it wins again and again. Blessed are they who are persecuted by the dishonest press for they shall continue down the paths of righteousness and that’s what is going on here. We are bringing righteousness to Washington for the first time and making incredible progress. I’ve 'e more in the past month than most presidents do in a year. Washington was without form and void and I issued an executive order, “Let there be light” and did I get credit for it? No, the dishonest press said, “It hurts our eyes.”

I tell you, I have been walking through the valley of the shadow of death. The shadow of death. I have to say that. Terrible. Because of the dishonest Midianites, or, as I call them, the media, including a lot of you here in this room, writing stories about chaos. Where’s the chaos? We’ve got light and darkness, day and night. There is no chaos. I know what’s true and the level of dishonesty is unbelievable. The story about the rich man in hell and the beggar Lazarus in heaven — fake news. Totally fake. ... I am not a bad person. You '’t get to 306 electoral votes by being a bad person.

I inherited a mess, the instability, divisiveness, darkness, iniquity, leprosy, madmen, but nonetheless the Lord has prepared a tremendous table before me in the presence of my enemies. Beautiful table. Steaks, seafood, tremendous wines, anything I want, … but the media is still bitter about Hillary losing in a landslide and the Lord anointing my head with oil which people make fun of and that’s OK, let them laugh at my hair, I got 306 Electoral College votes. They said there’s no way to get 222. No way, Jose. I got 306. That’s what I call the cup running over. Filled the cup and then it ran over. The overflow was tremendous. Huge overflow. Biggest overflow ever. Fantastic. Through the ceiling.

Keillor ends his second piece with Trump saying. “So it looks like I am going to be dwelling in the house of the Lord forever and I’m having a good time. I love this. I am having fun.” These are just samples of Garrison Keillor’s two op-eds.

It’s hard to stomach 'ald Trump, a man of such chest-beating, pompous evil, but Garrison Keillor helps get us through.

Robert Reich: We Can End Trump's Presidency Without Officially Removing Him from Office The Mueller probe could take months or even years. We may not have that long.

With Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, it’s unlikely Trump will be impeached or thrown out of office on grounds of mental impairment. At least any time soon.

Yet there’s another way Trump can be effectively removed. He can be made irrelevant.

It’s already starting to happen. The howling manchild who occupies the Oval Office is being cut off and contained.

Trump defends white supremacist/neo-Nazi violence, says 'alt-left' also to blame by Kerry Eleveld, Tuesday Aug 15, 2017

'ald Trump tried on Tuesday to make an infrastructure announcement but the press conference quickly spiraled out of control when he justified his reprehensible handling of the Charlottesville violence by defending the supremacist/neo-Nazi protest and blaming "both sides," including what he called the "alt-left."

OUCH! Newsweek exposes Trump as the business fraud he is. Trump’s big line is he should be president because he is a successful businessman. After reading this devastating Newsweek story, no Trump apologist can ever say that again.

~

My favorite stuff from the article:

Trump lied to Congress.
Trump was publicly insulting Native Americans while other real business people were making deals to help manage their casinos.
Trump signed a deal with one Native American casino, and they paid him $6 million to go away.
Trump punched his second grade teacher
Trump lied in his books, then blamed the same woman he blamed for Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech.
Trump lied in a filing with a bank where he was trying to get a loan about how much he was worth.
Trump lied about how much money he got from his dad.
Trump’s dad gave him illegal loans by taking cash to his casino, turning it over at a craps table, loading up a suitcase with $5,000 chips, and leaving.
Trump’s earliest deals all lost money and he only did well when his dad guaranteed loans.
Trump spent $1 million per plane to turn a shuttle into a luxury trip that no one wanted to take. The planes were only worth $4 million each.

Lost contracts, bankruptcies, defaults, deceptions and indifference to investors—Trump’s business career is a long, long list of such troubles, according to regulatory, corporate and court records, as well as sworn testimony and government investigative reports. Call it the art of the bad deal, one created by the arrogance and recklessness of a businessman whose main talent is self-promotion.

8 Ways Leading European Officials Perceive America's Big Embarrassment in the Oval Office By Kali Holloway / AlterNet August 10, 2017

Trump seems to think the world started when he took office.

How is 'ald Trump doing in his mission to impress the world’s Very Important People? Not so great

Trump Will Be the End of the GOP, and It Will Happen Sooner Than You Think By Michael Winship / BillMoyers.com August 11, 2017,

You’ve probably heard the story. It’s said that in ancient Rome, the emperor had a member of the Praetorian Guard who, amid all the pomp and all the accolades, would stand behind him and murmur: “Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.”

Sadly, the Little Caesar who currently rules the United States from the nearest Trump golf course is instead surrounded by guards who murmur enthusiastically, “Anything you say, boss. You’re a genius!”

Only Morons Believe What The US Government Says About North Korea By Daniel McAdams [] August 11, 2017

Usually foreign analysts of the American political scene are either sycophantic or just annoying, but no one would dare say that about Aussie observer Caitlin Johnstone, whose punk rock style of cutting to the chase is as refreshing as it can be shocking (I am not a fan of the strong language, but I get it). Since President Trump's "fire and fury" explosion yesterday Americans have to an unsettling degree once again rallied 'round the (false) flag of war propaganda. Today Ms. Johnstone provided a much-needed slap in the face to the mind-numbed masses once again clamoring for US bombs on a country they could not find on a map if their lives depended on it.

~

Johnstone reminded anyone with half a brain of one eternal truth: Governments and their house servants (the mainstream media, neocons, deep state, etc) are murderous liars and the only way they dare flush a few hundred billion dollars -- and oceans of blood -- down the toilet of war is to first lie their brains out to the people they are confident will swallow the poison pills and call them candy.

Of course the United States government and its minions are lying about North Korea, Johnstone reminds us. They ALWAYS lie!

She Writes:

The United States power establishment has an extensive history of using lies, false flags and propaganda to manipulate its hundreds of millions of citizens into supporting needless military interventionism. From the Gulf of Tonkin incident to the false Nayirah testimony to the amazing network of lies spun about Saddam Hussein to the 'humanitarian' intervention in Libya to the unconscionable Bana Alabed psy-op in Syria, there is no depth to which the US war machine will not stoop in deceiving the public about the need to unload the military-industrial complex’s expensive inventory onto some third world country overseas, no limit to the evils that America’s unelected power establishment will commit in order to secure geopolitical dominance, and no end to the mass media propaganda machine’s willingness to report war propaganda as objective fact.

It is quite literally impossible to be too paranoid about these people. If you had an acquaintance who was a known compulsive liar with an extensive history of duping people into fighting one another for his own sociopathic amusement, how would you react if he handed you a gun and told you that your neighbor is getting ready to attack you?

Blood's on your hands, not ours.

The Madman With Nuclear Weapons is 'ald Trump, Not Kim Jong-un By Mehdi Hasan August 09, 2017

The madman the rest of us should be worried about, however, is Trump himself, who — lest we forget — has the sole, exclusive and unrestricted power to launch almost 1,000 nuclear warheads in a matter of minutes, should he so wish.

'Stop the Insanity': Demand Grows to Strip Trump of Nuclear Authority By Jake Johnson August 09, 2017

Lawmakers urged Congress to revive legislation that would strip the executive branch of the power to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

Polls: US Is ‘the Greatest Threat to Peace in the World Today’ By Eric Zuesse August 09, 2017

WH correspondent & cronies: 'Native Indians' should 'go back to your country' By Mother Mags Wednesday Aug 02, 2017

Over at our favorite website for classy headlines and snarky stories, Wonkette, there’s a fall-flat-on-your-face article about a twitter exchange that begins with a post by White House correspondent Lucian Wintrich, who writes for the right-wing conspiracy blog The Gateway Pundit. Seems Mr. Wintrich was none too pleased with a photo of three Native Americans flipping off Mount Rushmore. Below is the photo with his response:

If you’ve been to Rushmore, you may have seen a protest by indigenous peoples. While most national parks have incorporated Native American perspectives into their exhibits, websites and other interpretative materials (histories that were often scrubbed in the past), the fact remains that the land was stolen from its original inhabitants. Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, etc.—Native people were living there when the federal government took possession, and most of them were removed.

In the case of Rushmore, located in South Dakota’s Black Hills, the mountain was a sacred place for the Sioux and other tribes. Not only was it taken by Europeans, renamed and then plundered for gold, but then the invaders’ icons were carved onto the hillside—a real slap in the face.

As awesome as Rushmore is as a work of art, it’s not too hard to imagine why indigenous peoples aren’t doing back flips over it, thus the picture of the three American Indians giving George, Tom, Teddy and Abe the bird.

History buff Lucian Wintrich, however, was having none of it, which prompted his boneheaded response about people who "break into our country" and "steal resources." That prompted a series of humorous, and truthful, replies, especially when it comes to “steal[ing] resources.” Excuse me?! Who stole the land, minerals, bison, wolves, fish and other natural resources?

The most braindead responses come from Wintrich’s cronies who believe, as he does, that ‘Native Indians’ snuck into the continent and stole the land and resources. This exchange is classic:

Why make the trip to do that, go back to your country if you '’t like the country or its history.

This is their country. They were here first

Really? They '’t look British at all

Not at all huh

They '’t look native Indian either

Another fellow griped about Hispanics who use the Mexican flag as their twitter avatar but '’t want to live in Mexico. Turns out this twitterman’s profile page is framed by a big Irish flag. (It’s okay if you’re white.) To borrow a question from one responder: “How do you not fall over more?”

Wait, it gets better. Mr. Wintrich saw the story about him on Wonkette and doubled down, responding to the website’s headline: Stupidest White House Correspondent On Internet Tells Native Americans To Go Back To Mexico. His reply? “And they should.”

The stupid, it hurts. And these are the people who voted for Trump so he’d build his stupid-ass wall.

Here’s what’s psychologically wrong with 'ald Trump (UPDATED) By Karen Wehrstein Thursday Jan 26, 2017

With all the talk of 'ald Trump’s mental health status, I’ve decided to do something I’ve put off for a while: write a diary that shows he is a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and spell out what that means in terms of what to expect from him and how to deal with it. Certainly the term “narcissist” is being applied to him a lot, but most people '’t know the entirety of what that means, psychologically.

If you find yourself completely baffled by Trump’s behavior, that’s because mentally-healthy people generally find NPD-rooted behaviors incomprehensible. The narcissist violates social norms that healthy people hold instinctively and therefore assume (usually correctly) that others hold—while at the same time he creates a semblance of normalcy, because being able to do so is part of the disorder. Because the rest of us cannot relate to, often cannot even imagine how a narcissist thinks and feels, it seems outside the realm of plausibility, and so his semblance of normalcy will fool us.

Federal Case Against Trump - Alleging Rape of 13 Year Old - Moves Forward

Bannon Admits Trump's Cabinet Nominees Were Selected To Destroy Their Agencies. By Dartagnan Thursday Feb 23, 2017

At CPAC this week Stephen Bannon, the Chief Advisor and intellectual heft behind the Twittering infant that sits in the Oval Office, provided a little glimpse of the future he has planned for all of us.

In the clearest explanation for why nearly all of Trump’s cabinet choices are known mostly for despising and attacking the very Federal agencies they’ve been designated to lead, Bannon explained—in very clear language--that they weren't appointed to lead these agencies, but to destroy them:

Atop Trump’s agenda, Bannon said, was the “deconstruction of the administrative state” — meaning a system of taxes, regulations and trade pacts that the president and his advisers believe stymie economic growth and infringe upon one’s sovereignty.

The crippling or wholesale elimination of Federal agencies that ensure we receive such things as clean air, clean water, fair labor laws, fair housing standards, anti-discrimination laws, financial protections, food and drug safety, national education standards and the like, has been a goal of far-right “thinkers" for decades. Their rationale, propagated by corporate and industry-funded think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, has always been that that the existence of these “unelected" agencies represents a mortal threat to American “sovereignty and self-government."

Trump and Sessions turn Civil Rights Division into weapon to protect white privilege by Mark Summer Tuesday Aug 01, 2017

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice hasn’t always been as effective as it could be in extending rights to all Americans. Under some presidents, it’s been forceful and energetic. Under others, enforcement has been much more lax. But under 'ald Trump, the division’s whole purpose is about to be perverted.

The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.

Under 'ald Trump, the EPA has become a tool for degrading the environment and the Education Department has become a means of damaging public schools. Now the Civil Rights Division is being used to reverse Civil Rights.

~

Kelly and Mattis had a pact: One of them must remain in the US at all times to supervise Trump By Kerry Eleveld Tuesday Aug 01, 2017

As Trump filled out his cabinet, it became clear that we might actually be dependent on a triumvirate of military men—Sec. Mattis, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and then-Sec. Kelly—to do the job. So far, none of them have succeeded in curbing Trump's eccentric incompetence enough to offer a coherent foreign policy.

John Kelly looks on as Trump mutters something.

from an AP report:

Mattis and Kelly also agreed in the earliest weeks of Trump’s presidency that one of them should remain in the United States at all times to keep tabs on the orders rapidly emerging from the White House, according to a person familiar with the discussions. The official insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the administration’s internal dynamics.

But what of a more basic question: Can they protect the nation itself from destruction at the hands of Trump? The only one who appears to have not compromised his integrity in service of Trump so far is Mattis. He has not kowtowed to Trump, for instance, at moments like the "Dear Leader" cabinet meeting where everyone followed the lead of now-ousted chief of staff Reince Priebus in thanking Trump for the "blessing" of serving him and his agenda.

Hasan Nasrallah: Trump Must Be Thanked For His Stupidity [video] We should thank Trump for revealing the true face of the racist, cruel, criminal and murderous U.S. government. Posted July 27, 2017

Trump Faces Down the CIA and Co-Opts the Pentagon on Syria By Glen Ford [Exec. Editor of www.blackagendareport.com/; progressive news] July 27, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

The crazed, racist, stupid, boorish man in the White House “this summer defied the War Party and its corporate media mouthpieces, negotiating a cease-fire with the Russians in several regions of Syria, and possibly ending the CIA’s not-so-covert role as Grandmaster of Islamic Jihad.” Which makes him less dangerous to the human species than Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

“'ald Trump has taken the strangest, messiest route imaginable towards fulfilling his campaign pledge to curtail Washington’s urge to regime change, and to ease tensions with Russia.”

It’s not like 'ald Trump to “stifle” himself, as TV’s Archie Bunker used to say, but the president has been relatively subdued about his decision, reportedly made last month, to terminate the CIA program that has armed, trained, directed and protected jihadist fighters in Syria. Trump’s uncharacteristic reticence on the matter is understandable, given the agency’s homicidal culture and history.

'ald Trump... surrounded himself with generals before setting foot in the White House, perhaps to shield his presidency from falling prey to its own “Seven Days In May”-type scenario. Or, maybe Trump the Bully just likes the company of other crude and stupid men. At any rate, Trump this summer defied the War Party and its corporate media mouthpieces, negotiating a cease-fire with the Russians in several regions of Syria, to be followed by additional truces, and ending the CIA’s not-so-covert role as Grandmaster of Islamic Jihad. It seemed...unreal.

Peace-loving people around the world held their breath, waiting for the War Party’s revenge. Trump seemed to hold his breath -- and his tongue -- too, playing down the cease-fire arrangement, even as French President Emanuel Macron stood at his side in Paris, July 13, telling the press: “No matter who they are, we want to build an inclusive and sustainable political solution. Against that background, I do not require Assad’s departure. This is no longer a prerequisite for France to work on that, because I can only tell you that, for seven years, we did not have an embassy in Damascus, and still we have no solution.”

Trump was remarkably low-key in Paris: "We are working on a second ceasefire in a very rough part of Syria,” he said. “If we get that and a few more, all of a sudden, you're going to have no bullets firing in Syria, and that is a wonderful thing."

“People around the world held their breath, waiting for the War Party’s revenge.”

“Neither paper is concerned that the CIA project violates international laws against unprovoked attacks on sovereign nations, or that half a million Syrians have died, as a result.”

Trump's presidency has been six months of pain and confusion.

But, if Hillary Clinton had been elected, we might all be dead.


Astonishing idiocy on 7/25/17 by tweet no less; military in chaos

President Trump’s reckless Paris climate retreat has isolated the United States, weakened America’s position as a leader in the surging clean energy economy, and threatened our health and environment. -from email Sam Perry, Environmental Defense Fund.


How Trump signed a global death warrant for women

With one devastating flourish of the presidential pen, worldwide progress on family planning, population control and reproductive
rights was swept away. Now some of the world’s poorest women must count the cost - Guardian 7/22/17

Brennan, Rice, Power -- Lock Them Up! By David Stockman [David Stockman is the ultimate Washington insider turned iconoclast. He began his career in Washington as a young man and quickly rose through the ranks of the Republican Party to become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street.] July 22, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

the unrelenting witch hunt that has been unleashed by Imperial Washington against the legitimately elected President of the United States, 'ald J. Trump. This campaign of lies, leaks and Russophobia is the handiwork of Obama’s top national security advisors, who blatantly misused Washington’s surveillance apparatus to discredit Trump and to effectively nullify America’s democratic process.


That is, constitutional protections and liberties were systematically breached, but not simply to intimidate, hush or lock up citizens one by one as per the standard totalitarian modus operandi. Instead, what has happened is that the entire public debate has been hijacked by the shadowy forces of the Deep State and their partisan and media collaborators.

The enabling culprits are Obama’s last CIA director, John Brennan, his national security advisor Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power. There is now mounting evidence that it was they who illegally “unmasked” NSA intercepts from Trump Tower; they who confected the Russian meddling narrative from behind the protective moat of classified intelligence; and they who orchestrated a systematic campaign of leaks and phony intelligence reports during the presidential transition—-all designed to delegitimize Trump before he even took the oath of office.

So all three of them should be locked­up—-that’s for sure. But the more urgent solution would be to unlock and make public all the innuendo, surmises, assessments, half-truths and boilerplate intelligence chatter on which the entire false narrative about Russian meddling and collusion is based.


Stated differently, without the nation’s massive intelligence apparatus and absurd system of secrecy and classified information to hide behind, the RussiaGate witch hunt would have never gotten off the ground.

The purported Chinese threat is even more ludicrous. Notwithstanding the fertile imaginations of the Deep State fear-mongers who believe the South China Sea is actually an American Lake, the Red Suzerains of Beijing know fully well that without the continuous custom of Wal-Mart and Amazon warehouses, the Red Ponzi would collapse in a heartbeat. And that they would be hung by angry mobs from the CCTV (China Central Television) Tower shortly thereafter.

In fact, we '’t need the $75 billion Surveillance State to deal with the Taliban, the jihadist warlords of Somalia or any of the warring Sunni vs. Shiite (Houthis) parties of Yemen, either. They do not threaten America’s security in the slightest.

Media Largely Silent on Trump’s Killing Of 3,700 Civilians In Iraq By Adam Johnson July 21, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

Earlier this week, human rights group Amnesty International issued a lengthy report accusing US-backed forces of “repeated violations of international humanitarian law, some of which may amount to war crimes,” in Mosul, Iraq, causing the deaths of at least 3,700 civilians. Neither this report, nor the broader issue of the civilian toll in the US war against ISIS, has come close to penetrating US corporate media.

Neither Amnesty’s charges, nor the broader issue of civilian deaths in Mosul, garnered any coverage in television news, with no mention on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN or MSNBC.

The Torture-Friendly Trump Administration Only stupid people say torture works — and one of them is sitting in the White House.

By Medea Benjamin, 7/19/17

everyone from interrogators to researchers have repeatedly concluded that torture doesn’t work. People will say whatever you want them to say to make the pain stop, making torture not only inhumane but also bad for intelligence.

A 2009 Senate Armed Services Committee review concluded that torture “damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.” That’s why the Senate voted in 2015 to turn the presidential ban on torture into official law.

Is 'ald Trump Mentally Ill? 5 Professors of Psychiatry Say 'ald Trump is “unraveling” and Call on Congress “to remove him from office” By Richard Green July 17, 2017

On November 29, 2016, three distinguished Professors of Psychiatry from Harvard and The University of California decided to defy “The Goldwater Rule”, publicly diagnose 'ald Trump and to warn President Obama and the country about what they saw as his severe personality disorders and mental incapacities.

They shared their letter with me and I posted it in an article here in The Huffington Post, “Is 'ald Trump Mentally Ill? 3 Professors Of Psychiatry Ask President Obama To Conduct ‘A Full Medical And Neuropsychiatric Evaluation’”

Yesterday these three professors and two additional professors from Yale and Columbia University felt the need to inform The United States Congress that “The signs of the president’s unraveling are stark” and that “The power of the presidency has accentuated Mr. Trump’s failings with devastating effects”.

They urge Congress to “invoke the Constitutional provisions to remove him from office.” They shared this letter with me and I post it here.

"In your guts, you know he's nuts" - http://www.peacebuttons.info


War With Iran is Back on The Table - Thanks to Trump ~~~ Trump does not want to starve the beast of terrorism. His country created and reared that beast, and still does.

Trump’s Worst Collusion Isn’t With Russia — It’s With Corporations By Peter Certo [the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of OtherWords.org. ] July 14, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

The billionaires who backed Trump are making out a lot better than Putin.

“The effects of the crime are undetectable,” the legendary social critic Noam Chomsky says of the alleged Russian meddling, “unlike the massive effects of interference by corporate power and private wealth.”

The top priority in Congress right now is to move a health bill that would gut Medicaid and throw at least 22 million Americans off their insurance — while loosening regulations on insurance companies and cutting taxes on the wealthiest by over $346 billion.

Meanwhile, majorities of Americans in every single congressional district support efforts to curb local pollution, limit carbon emissions, and transition to wind and solar. And majorities in every single state back the Paris climate agreement.

Yet even as scientists warn large parts of the planet could soon become uninhabitable, the fossil fuel-backed Trump administration has put a climate denier in charge of the EPA, pulled the U.S. out of Paris, and signed legislation to let coal companies dump toxic ash in local waterways.

Meanwhile, as the administration escalates the unpopular Afghan war once again, Kushner invited billionaire military contractors — including Blackwater founder Erik Prince — to advise on policy there.

Elsewhere, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and other architects of the housing crash are advising Trump on financial deregulation, while student debt profiteers set policy at the Department of Education.

Chomsky complains that this sort of collusion is often “not considered a crime but the normal workings of democracy.” While Trump has taken it to new heights, it’s certainly a bipartisan problem.

The President is a traitor. By Kristina40 Sunday Jul 09, 2017

His malignant narcissism is spiraling out of control in real time for the whole world to see. He is clearly unfit and needs to be removed from office before anymore real, lasting damage can be 'e to the Republic.

America’s Embarrassment By Margaret Kimberley July 08, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

Trump is a truly repugnant human being, but he did not attack seven nations (Obama), destroy a major social welfare program (Clinton), or authorize massive new surveillance on Americans (Bush and Obama).

'ald Trump is a national embarrassment.

But when one considers what this country is like, the outrage over comportment doesn’t amount to very much.

Consider that the United States has the world’s largest prison population, more than two million people. Consider again that this mass incarceration system has been targeted specifically against black people, and that one eighth of all imprisoned people on the planet are black Americans.

Death at the hands of police is the fate of an average of three people every day in the United States.

Many Americans love to brag that theirs is “the richest country in the world.” There are certainly big banks, rich individuals and trillions of dollars in the treasury but the masses of people rarely benefit from this wealth. This country routinely ranks near the bottom when compared to other “developed” nations in any measure of how it treats its people. It is now considered a “second tier” nation in terms of the wellbeing of its citizens.

It is certainly unusual to have such a decidedly boorish president. Trump literally pushes other presidents aside, engages in public feuds with celebrities and makes anyone an enemy who dares to oppose him or his policies. He makes up terms like “bigly” and “modern presidential” and excoriates the press when they criticize him. Condemning this kind of behavior is the lowest hanging fruit.

Trump is putting into practice Republican Party voter suppression schemes. He has established what he calls an election integrity commission and asked every state to provide names, Social Security numbers and party affiliation of their voters. The inevitable result will be the removal of black people from voter rolls.

The list of reasons to be embarrassed about America is very long and it existed before Trump was inaugurated. He has surely added to that ledger but legitimate cause for concern shouldn’t be pushed aside in favor of phony outrage about optics. President Trump is an ill- mannered, impulsive, happily uninformed bigot. Most of his predecessors were better behaved and followed rules of public relations. But they filled the jails, ended the right to public assistance, killed millions of people abroad, kept wages low and used a variety of schemes to make the rich even richer. Despite his obvious shortcomings 'ald Trump is not the worst among them. And that is the most embarrassing fact of all.


Trump alone at G20, too egotistical to work with anyone; isolating our country

Ethics watchdog at Justice Department resigns over Trump's corruption Monday Jul 03, 2017 A former federal prosecutor and veteran ethics officer at the Department of Justice left her job in June because she said it felt hypocritical to ask companies to comply with rules that 'ald Trump and his administration are evading himself. Hui Chen had served in the agency's Fraud Section of the Criminal Division for more than a year and a half

Trump is deranged but 42 percent of Republicans say 'freedom of the press' is out of control Monday Jul 03, 2017


There's no other way to slice it: 'ald Trump appears to be decompensating at an alarming rate


After the shooting of a Congressman during their congressional baseball practice, Trump made a call for unity, and others made calls to tone down political rhetoric. Too bad Trump and his followers didn't do that last year, or for the previous eight years when they hypocrite-in-chief called for political violence, made racist accusations and generally was basically the most divisive political figure in generations. - DailyKos 6/28/17

A day in the life of Trump's man-made disaster of a White House By Kerry Eleveld Friday Jun 23, 2017 Daily Kos

'ald Trump's White House is positively toxic. Friday's news alone was a tour de force of the all-encompassing virulence that's now seeping from Trump throughout the entire executive branch and everything it touches.


Trump's days start with a crack-of-dawn phone call about everything Russia that's clearly aimed at distracting him and his thumbs from Twitter. Why his aides aren't just jingling some keys in front of him is a mystery, but the call is nothing but a venting session intended to soothe a sulking and brooding pr*sident.

This is all based on Friday reporting alone and, frankly, it’s not even the half of it. Trump's exceedingly dark world view and his sense that everyone is out to get him is infecting every level of government. Unfortunately, Trump has no ability to distinguish between his real and imagined threats.

“What’s playing out is a psychological drama, not just a political drama or a legal drama,” said Peter Wehner, who was an aide in George W. Bush’s White House and has frequently been critical of Trump. “The president’s psychology is what’s driving so much of this, and it’s alarming because it shows a lack of self-control, a tremendous tropism. .?.?. He seems to draw psychic energy from creating chaos and disorder.”

A simple and horrifying way to explain Trumpcare's impact on all Americans By SquireForYou Friday Jun 23, 2017 Daily Kos

Now we have the vaguest outline available for the Senate's version of Trumpcare, it pretty much confirms that it's as bad as we thought it was. Long story short- cut as much care as possible to enable funding of huge tax cuts, with amazingly interesting corporate handouts to boot. Some of it would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic- like the "party of personal responsibility" trading the "No Free Rider" amendment that forced everyone to pay at least a little, with a $50b handout to insurance companies- and on top of that, they get to completely deduct executive salaries that’re greater than $500k. What a deal! I'm glad we have a master negotiator for a President!


https://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/6/23/1674569/-Okay-NOW-I-m-starting-to-get-worried

US Gov’t Proves Loyalty To ISIS As Bill To ‘Stop Arming Terrorists’ Gets Only 13 Supporters By Matt Agorist [Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Matt is the founder of The Free Thought Project. http://thefreethoughtproject.com/] June 21, 2017 "Information Clearing House"


Tulsi Gabbard [D-HI], author of the bill

One of the most rational bills ever proposed, barring the Feds from giving money and weapons to child murdering terrorists, has almost ZERO support.

For the last several decades, the US government has openly funded, supported, and armed various terrorist networks throughout the world to forward an agenda of destabilization and proxy war. It is not a secret, nor a conspiracy theory, America arms bad guys.

Given the insidious history of the American empire and its creation and fostering of terrorist regimes across the globe, it should come as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of politicians would refuse to sign on to a law that requires them to ‘Stop Arming Terrorists.’ And, that is exactly what’s happened.

H.R.608 – Stop Arming Terrorists Act was introduced by Rep. Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI] on January 23 of this year. The bill doesn’t have any crazy strings attached and its original cosponsors are a mix of Republicans and Democrats — highlighting that it transcends party lines.

After nearly 5 months since its introduction, only 13 of the 535 members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors. What this lack of support for the bill shows is that the federal government is addicted to funding terror and has no intention of ever stopping it.

To add insult to treason and murder, Senator Rand Paul [R-KY] introduced this same legislation in the Senate. He currently has zero cosponsors.

Given the overwhelming lack of support for a bill that simply asks the government to stop giving money to people who behead children and video it, it should come as no surprise that 'ald Trump signed hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons deals with other countries who also fund these people.

As Americans bicker over Trump’s bogus and non-existent Russian scandal, he’s signing a deal worth hundreds of billions of dollars with the largest state sponsor of terror in the world — ensuring decades of future wars and the continuation of the cycle of terrorism.

What’s more is the fact that less than one week after publicly reprimanding Qatar for terrorism, President Trump signed off on the sale of $12 billion in weapons to the country he referred to as a “funder of terrorism.” This move, in Trump’s own stance, makes him a de facto funder of terrorism now.

What this lack of support for the bills and the recent moves to arm the terrorist regimes illustrates is the fact that the US has no intention of ever stopping terrorism. Trump, just like Obama and Bush before him, will continue to foster the growth of terrorism to enrich those who profit from war.

Terrorism is necessary for the state. War, is the health of the state.

Without the constant fear mongering about an enemy who ‘hates our freedom,’ Americans begin questioning things. They challenge the status quo and inevitably desire more freedom. However, when they are told that boogeymen want to kill them, they become immediately complacent and blinded by their fear.

While these boogeymen were once mostly mythical, since 9/11, they have been funded and supported by the US to the point that they now pose a very real threat to innocent people everywhere.

Trump is proving that he can lie to get into power and his supporters ignore it. If you doubt this fact, look at what Trump did by calling out Saudi Arabia for their role in 9/11 and their support for terror worldwide prior to getting elected. He now supports these terrorists and his constituency couldn’t care less.

Trump’s Claws Penetrating Bali By Andre Vltchek [a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary novel “Aurora” and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. ~ This article was first published by NEO from Moscow] June 16, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

“America first” and “to hell with the rest of the world”! One single stroke of hand, one signature, and over 1,000 hardworking people in Bali, In'esia, suddenly ended up on the pavement. No second thoughts, no mercy. American savage capitalist ways met and embraced that fabled In'esian feudalism, which was implanted into this country several decades ago, precisely after the 1965 military coup sponsored by the West.

U.S. President 'ald Trump, always on the lookout for some great business opportunities, finally found one in Bali (and one more in West Java), a tropical, once paradise-like In'esian island. And not just somewhere in Bali, but right next to the holiest and the most spectacular Hindu temple in the country, Tanah Lot.

Mr. Trump is now planning something truly monumental here, in the middle of the iconic rice fields and dormant rural countryside: a shout of he'ism, a 6-star opulent, a concrete monstrosity, which will certainly and irreversibly dwarf the local culture and the traditional Balinese aesthetics.

School bullies are using the words and name "Trump" to harass & attack their classmates Buzzfeed News has confirmed more than 50 incidents in 26 states where students have been harassed at school using themes they picked up from the Republican president’s campaign and administration.


Uneducated, childish bully, Trumpf

Trump Pulls U.S. From Paris Climate Accord "We're getting out," Trump said at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden in which he decried the Paris accord's "draconian" financial and economic burdens.


Trump only thinks of his voters; no reality; no facts


Trump Steals Money from Children? Shame!

Prime Ministers of Five Countries Openly Mock Trump


Trump lost and clueless

Fearless French President Lumps Trump In With Tyrants & Dictators


Trump Flunky Henchmen: Incompetent traitors!


Trump's Budget Boosts Defense, Cuts Trillions in Spending
5/24/17 obscenity--vastly enlarge military budget; cut drastically everything decent

Facebook page: A Skunk Named Trump

Facebook page: Not OUR President--Dump Trump

Personal Note

It strikes me that Trump is a pirate, only interested in rape and pillage, ignoring both the laws and the norms of human society. A freebooter, a marauder, a charlatan, a mercenary, a brigand, a hooligan, a pillager, a plunderer, a villain. -Colby


Trump fired Comey 5/8/17; final straw?

Is Trump Really President? By Jack Rasmus [] May 04, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

Is Trump being allowed to “play at President” for public consumption, while the generals, spooks, and financial pirates run the show?

These are strange times in U.S. politics. And stranger still is the emerging character of the Trump presidency. Events are appearing with growing frequency, raising the question who is really running the White House and the U.S. government? Is Trump really the president?


Trump, president of banana republic

Trump sits there on the second floor, spending late evenings into early mornings tweeting to the world. In itself, that’s politically weird. But even more strange is what he’s tweeting and the next day fallout.

We hear about the aircraft carrier task force in Asia that was reportedly steaming at full speed to the North Korean coast a few weeks ago, only to learn soon after it was actually headed in the opposite direction to Australia. Did 'ald imagine that? Was the U.S. Navy informed or requested by its titular commander in chief to turn around and go north … and then didn’t? Was Trump’s command to go north perhaps countermanded by some head of Naval operations, or maybe someone else in the White House or government?

And then there was the announcement by Trump that his big budget was going to be announced in a few days. It wasn’t even prepared. Government bureaucrats had to quickly slap something together in a couple of pages to provide to the press.

Trump did it again, tweeted announcing his big tax cuts. Again the bureaucrats were caught off guard and had to throw some general outline together and issue it to the press. All this happened after it was generally known that the tax cut proposals were not going to be developed until late summer, and that the Obamacare Repeal bill had to go forward first.

Or perhaps Trump is being allowed to sit up there on the second floor of the White House and do his tweet thing, while others actually run the government. By others, perhaps it is vice-president Pence in charge, working with some inside committee of key cabinet officers and the intelligence spooks in the NSA-CIA-FBI?

Is Trump being allowed to “play at President” for public consumption, while the generals, spooks, and Goldman Sachs financial pirates run the show?

It’s hard to believe that the members of his administration and the government State bureaucracy knew in advance of Trump’s recent tweets welcoming Philippines President Duterte to the White House. Or that Trump would tweet recently that he’s willing to meet with North Korea’s president, for whom he, Trump, had great respect. You can imagine the political constipation that comment caused the spooks and the generals in charge of State, Defense, and National Security.

Nov. 30, 2016, this writer wrote a piece predicting that Trump the right wing populist would be successfully ‘tamed’ by the political elites of this country that really run the show. I laid out some ideas how that would be accomplished. (see my blog, jackrasmus.com). But I didn’t think it would happen so fast and so easily.

The past month has witnessed Trump doing a total about face on virtually all his right-wing populist proposals during the election. He’s backtracking so fast it’s a wonder he hasn’t tripped over himself. (Check that, he has). What explains his 180 degree turnabout?


Was his talk of right wing populism during the campaign all political election hype?

So what we actually got so far from Trump during his first 100 days is government by ‘executive orders’—i.e. repealing environmental protections, gutting immigrants’ rights, going after sanctuary cities, opening up national monuments and parks to mining and cattle exploitation, subsidizing killer coal companies, attacking consumer protection, smoke and mirror changes to H1-B skilled worker import quotas that haven’t changed, gutting K-12 education and shifting funds to private schools from public, opening up offshore drilling, and so on. But elsewhere it’s been a wholesale retreat from his election positions, proposals and promises.

Is this a presidency where the 'ald gets to sit on the second floor of the White House and do his late night tweets, and the bureaucrats scurry the next day to clean up? Where 'ald is brought downstairs to the oval office for Executive Order signings or occasional reporter interviews and then trotted back upstairs? Is it a presidency where he makes his late night calls to his moneybag friends, like the billionaire Mercers and others, to find out ‘how am I doing guys’? While the rest of the representatives of the economic and political elite run the show?

The quality of the American presidency has been in steady decline for decades. From the crook Nixon to the inept peanut farmer, Carter; from the movie-actor, camera friendly Reagan to the morally sleezy opportunist Bill Clinton; from know-nothing George Bush to the super-cautious false progressive Obama; and now to the fake right populist, blowhard, tweety-bird called 'ald Trump.


https://www.facebook.com/Livingblueinaredstate/photos

Hightower Lowdown, Vol. 18, No. 4, Apr. 2017

Most presidents get an honeymoon of 2-3 years. Trump's was 8 days.

"Some politicos grow in high public office. Some just bloat. Trump earned his precipitous slide in public opinion by putting bloat on spectacular display from Day One. He has proven routinely irrational, plunging into prolonged fits of petty paranoia, succumbing to delusions of imperialist grandeur, conjuring enemies, spouting absurd tales fabricated by right-wingnuts, denying facts, and being pathologically addicted to lying."

The Trump Administration After 100 Days: A Second-Rate Salesman Surrounded by Con Men and Losers By Gary Legum / Salon April 28, 2017

At the rate Trump is going, the internet could run out of space cataloging all of his administration’s deficiencies as a functional entity, its destruction of governing norms and the hash it has made of both domestic and foreign policy, long before he leaves office. But two observations from the first 100 days stand out to me.

The first is the extent to which Trump’s struggles can be attributed to his pronounced tendency to staff his administration with mediocre, two-bit hustlers and con men whose careers indicate they have a lot more luck than smarts or talent.

The second observation that stands out about the president’s first 100 days in office is just how thoroughly his self-created image as the consummate dealmaker has been punctured and deflated.

A World in Turmoil, Thank You Mr. Trump! By Philip Giraldi April 12, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Unz Review"


The man who promised a sensible and non-interventionist Middle Eastern policy and a reset with Moscow has now reneged on both pledges. His nitwit United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has directly linked Russia and Syria for punishment by the omnipotent Leader of the Free World lest anyone be confused.

Trump, regarded by many including myself as the sensible “peace candidate,” appears to be preparing to engage militarily on multiple fronts worldwide. And things are particularly heating up in the Middle East and South Asia. More U.S. troops are being deployed to Iraq and also to Syria, in that latter case without any invitation from Damascus or legal justification or even a phony United Nations mandate, and thousands more soldiers will be returning to Afghanistan to “stabilize” the situation. Meanwhile Yemen continues to suffer as the U.S. supports Saudi aggression.


Russia meanwhile is indicted without evidence for trying to overthrow our democratic system and the recent terrorist attack in St. Petersburg would have been reported more extensively but for the fact that those Soviet holdovers probably deserved it. No one is asking why the United States should believe itself to be empowered to intervene anywhere unless it is actually being directly and seriously threatened by some other nation.

So it is all a mess, largely of our own creation due to our tendency to get involved in places regarding which we know nothing and could really care less about. And by supplementing all of that with our inclination to believe in the myth of our national Exceptionalism as a genuine force for good, you wind up with a witch’s brew that has fueled anti-Americanism worldwide, led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and emptied our treasury. Ambassador Chas Freeman has aptly perceived the U.S. government as the “foreign relations equivalent of a sociopath – a country indifferent to the rules, the consequences for others of its ignoring them, and the reliability of its word.”


Trump installs worst justice in history

77 celebtraties who went broke 'ald Trump Not only did one of the most powerful people in the world filed for corporate bankruptcy, he did it 4 times.


Trump introduces worst budget ever

President Andrew Shepherd has a quick word for those who think dropping bombs is presidential [The American President is a 1995 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Rob Reiner and written by Aaron Sorkin. The film stars Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, and Richard Dreyfuss. In the film, President Andrew Shepherd (Douglas) is a widower who pursues a relationship with environmental lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade (Bening) – who has just moved to Washington, D.C. – while at the same time attempting to win the passage of a crime control bill. -Wikipedia] by Lawrence Lewis Saturday Apr 08, 2017

So, the guy who has tried very hard to prevent refugees from a hideous war from entering the United States suddenly cared enough about the victims of that war to bomb an air field, inflicting so much damage that the air field was used the very next day to bomb more victims, just not with nerve agents. And for the Fareed Zakarias of the world, that made him presidential. War makes even the personification of a daily disaster presidential.

Matthew Yglesias says: "Trump is an unstable, ignorant, madman with no regard for democracy but I'm glad he's shooting missiles" is a bizarrely popular take.

President Andrew Shepherd: Leon, somewhere in Libya right now, a janitor's working the night shift at Libyan Intelligence Headquarters. He's going about doing his job... because he has no idea, in about an hour he's going to die in a massive explosion. He's just going about his job, because he has no idea that about an hour ago I gave an order to have him killed. You've just seen me do the least Presidential thing I do.


Trump just placed the worst justice ever on the Supreme court 4/7/17

Colby: Listener on Thom Hartmann show, referring to Boss Tweed, the most corrupt politician in American history, said we should call Trump "Boss Tweet."


It's Time to Dismantle Trump's Murder Budget and Defund Militarism By Maya Schenwar [Maya Schenwar (born November 10, 1982) is the editor-in-chief of Truthout,[1] and a writer focused on prison-related topics.] March 22, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

During the last three years of the Bush administration, I reported on the military budget, following the supplemental spending bills for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since Congress has not formally declared war since World War II, these budget bills were the mechanism that was keeping our wars going.

Every time the war budgets came up for a vote, I held my breath. Even though I knew better, I watched C-SPAN for hours, hoping for a surprise. There were a few stalwart Congress members who usually held out -- Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Dennis Kucinich -- but for the most part, Republicans and Democrats alike got in line to flood the war coffers, again and again.

The predictable passage of blank checks for war was an expression of the acceptability of the status quo. The status quo was murder,..

From the US's early days, the military evolved largely as a vehicle for colonialism and genocide. As Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz writes in An Indigenous People's History of the United States, "the Iraq War was just another Indian war in the US military tradition."

The way in which US militarism is taken for granted mirrors the ways in which other forms of mass violence are deemed inevitable -- policing, deportation, the genocide and erasure of Indigenous peoples, the exploitative market-driven health care system, the vastly inequitable education system and disastrous environmental policies.

The proposed budget doesn't simply represent an act of deprioritization or neglect of most people's needs. It is an attack on the lives of poor people and people of color. It is a call-to-arms against the environment, and thus, against the long-term survival of most species on Earth. It is a battle against the arts, against learning, against recreation, against shared space -- against the things that help give us life beyond mere survival.

We should not be surprised that these attacks on civil society and fundamental human rights are accompanied by a surge in military spending. The cuts and the hikes are part of the same murderous project.

We have to choose life-giving priorities over violent ones. We have to stop taking all forms of state violence -- war, militarism, deportations, prisons, surveillance, colonial destruction, disinvestment and deprivation -- for granted.

One way to start might be to imagine how we could reroute the money currently funneled toward this violence. For example, the National Priorities Project suggests that instead of increasing the military budget by $54 billion, as Trump suggests, we slash the military budget by that same amount. That $54 billion could provide Medicaid for 15 million adults, or grant 1.6 million students a free four-year college education, or create 1 million infrastructure jobs, or fund the Meals on Wheels program for 7,180 years.

Taking this a step further, military cuts could easily help fund programs that we ''t yet have but desperately need, such as Medicare for all. With real cuts to the budgets of murder and devastation -- including not only the military, but also police, prisons, ICE and other violent institutions -- we could set viable plans to end homelessness, dramatically step up climate justice efforts, provide universal child care and more.

This should serve as a reminder for all of us that rising military budgets are not a prescription for "public safety," as Trump has claimed. They are a prescription for murder. As long as taxpayers continue to be complicit in filling that prescription, it seems that we have a responsibility to act against it.

A Last Chance for Resistance By Chris Hedges March 20, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Truth Dig"

The crawl toward despotism within a failed democracy is always incremental. No regime planning to utterly extinguish civil liberties advertises its intentions in advance. It pays lip service to liberty and justice while obliterating the institutions and laws that make them possible.

The current administration’s budget proposes to give the war industry, the domestic policing agencies, the fossil fuel industry, Wall Street, billionaires and the national security and surveillance agencies more than they could have imagined possible before the election. These forces, as in all fascist states, will be the pillars of the Trump regime. They will tolerate 'ald Trump’s idiocy, ineptitude and unbridled narcissism in exchange for increased profits and power. Despots are often buffoons.

If Trump’s budget is approved by Congress, there will not even be a pretense of civil society. Trump and his family will profit from his presidency. Corporations will profit from his presidency. Wall Street will profit from his presidency. And the people will be made to pay.

Despots demand absolute loyalty. This is why they place family members in the inner circles. The Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, whose vanity rivaled that of Trump, and Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein filled their governments with their children, siblings, nephews, nieces and in-laws and rounded out their inner courts with racists, opportunists and thugs of the kind that now populate the White House.

Despots distrust diplomats. Diplomats, often multilingual and conversant with other cultures and societies, deal in nuances and ambiguities that are beyond the grasp of the despot... Despots replace diplomats with sycophants with no diplomatic experience, such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who promise to impose the despot’s will on the rest of the world.

It will be increasingly difficult to carry out mass protests and civil disobedience. Repression will become steadily more overt and severe. Dissent will be equated with terrorism. We must use the space before it is shut. This is a race against time.

It Begins: Trump’s FCC Launches Attack on Net Neutrality Transparency Rules The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to eliminate open internet transparency protections for millions of consumers, in the Trump administration's most overt salvo yet in its nascent campaign to dismantle net neutrality protections.

As a result of Thursday's action, "thousands" of small and medium-sized internet service providers (ISPs) around the country are no longer required to give their customers detailed information about broadband prices, speeds and fees, according to the FCC.

The Age Of Trump Is the Age Of Disaster Capitalism video from Thom Hartmann

Trump’s “Moderate” Defense Secretary Has Already Brought Us to the Brink of War By Mehdi Hasan [a British political journalist, broadcaster and author. As a journalist and author, Hasan is the co-author of a biography of Ed Miliband and the political editor of the UK version of The Huffington Post.], March 02, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "The Intercept"

Did you know that the Trump administration almost went to war with Iran at the start of February?

Perhaps you were distracted by Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser or by President Trump’s online jihad against Nordstrom. Or maybe you missed the story because the New York Times bizarrely buried it in the midst of a long piece on the turmoil and chaos inside the National Security Council.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, according to the paper, had wanted the U.S. Navy to “intercept and board an Iranian ship to look for contraband weapons possibly headed to Houthi fighters in Yemen. … But the ship was in international waters in the Arabian Sea, according to two officials. Mr. Mattis ultimately decided to set the operation aside, at least for now. White House officials said that was because news of the impending operation leaked.”

Get that? It was only thanks to what Mattis’s commander in chief has called “illegal leaks” that the operation was (at least temporarily) set aside and military action between the United States and Iran was averted.

Trump’s Proposed Increase in U.S. "Defense" Spending Would Be 80 Percent of Russia’s Entire Military Budget By Alex Emmons, February 28, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "The Intercept"

The U.S. government already spends $600 billion dollars a year on its military — more money than the next seven biggest spenders combined, including China and Russia.

On Monday, the White House said it would request $54 billion more in military spending for next year. That increase alone is roughly the size of the entire annual military budget of the United Kingdom, the fifth-largest spending country, and it’s more than 80 percent of Russia’s entire military budget in 2015.


The share of world military expenditure of the 15 states with the highest expenditure in 2015. Graphic: SIRPI

U.S. military spending has been at permanent wartime levels since the 2001 terror attacks... U.S. military spending in 2015 remains at 190 percent of what it was before 9/11.

Trump orders military to prepare for world war By Tom Eley [Freelance journalist. Lives in Nottingham, England] 28 January 2017, WSWS.org

During a visit to the Pentagon on Friday, President 'ald Trump issued an executive action calling for stepped up violence in Syria and a vast expansion of the US military, including its nuclear arsenal, to prepare for war with “near-peer competitors”—a reference to nuclear-armed China and Russia—and “regional challengers,” such as Iran.

The US currently spends approximately $600 billion on its military annually—excluding expenditures on the intelligence agencies and Veterans Administration— more than the next nine largest military spenders combined. American “defense” spending accounts for, by itself, over one third of all global military spending, and it consumes the great majority of the federal discretionary budget.

Increases in military spending, coupled with Trump’s promises to drastically lower taxes on corporations and the rich, must inevitably be paid for by cuts to education, health care and infrastructure, and by plundering Social Security and Medicare.

Mikhail Gorbachev: Appears 'The World Is Preparing for War' 'Wars must be outlawed, because none of the global problems we are facing can be resolved by war,' writes former Soviet leader

Some Might Call It A “Palace Coup” Trump’s term will last less than 200 days — the second shortest ever

By Ronald L. Feinman [author of Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, August 2015)] February 18, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Raw Story"

The news of the forced resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, due to the scandal that he, as a private citizen, spoke to the Russian ambassador in December after President Barack Obama issued sanctions on Russia for their aggressive behavior, has rocked the 'ald Trump Presidency.

Many foreign policy professionals are shaking their head at Trump’s inappropriate behavior and language every time he speaks in public, or issues a Twitter comment, and his instability and recklessness.

His having a security meeting over the North Korean missile test in public space at dinner in full vision of other guests is a sign of his failure to act responsibly.


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg: "Some terrible things have happened in the United States... we are not as mindfull of what makes America great"

His abrupt ending of a phone call to the Australian Prime Minister, our loyal ally in four wars in the past hundred years, is alarming. His inconsistent message in his dealings with China, first indicating he accepted the idea of two Chinas, and then backing off under pressure, is disturbing. His inconsistency on the two-state solution in the Middle East is a major problem, as is his seeming lack of respect for Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, and lack of strong support for NATO.

The fact that Vice President Mike Pence played a major role in pushing Flynn out is a sign that Pence is already asserting himself with Trump, and it seems clear that Pence will not stand by and allow our foreign policy to be damaged, or our national security to be endangered.

Pence knows how to play “hard ball” and it is clear by his demeanor and body language that he is often uncomfortable with Trump’s freewheeling and careless behavior. An investigation into the Flynn matter will develop, with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promoting it.

Additionally, Senators John Cornyn of Texas, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and John McCain of Arizona all are pushing for hearings. As the FBI investigates this situation further, which would be expected to occur as a normal procedure after such a high level and immediate scandal, the earliest ever in any Presidential term (25 days), there will be calls for Trump to resign or be impeached.

Pence could, even if Trump vehemently opposed it, invoke the 25th Amendment, Section 4 with the approval of a majority of the cabinet, which would make Pence “Acting President.”

Some might call it a “palace coup” but Pence could make a convincing case that it is too risky to leave Trump in power. Pence faces a great burden, and whether one agrees with his own agenda on domestic and foreign policy, it seems clear that the Vice President would do what he feels compelled to do if the situation further deteriorates. The Pence Presidency seems inevitable.

There Is a Growing Movement Across the Legal Community to Plan a Nationwide Walkout Against Trump The legal professionals whose careers are premised on working within the system are now taking aim at the system itself, throwing their weight behind a call for a strike on Friday, February 17 to oppose the Trump administration.

“Lawyers, legal workers, law students, paralegals, court interpreters, investigators, social service advocates and others who work in the courts will gather in front of courthouses across the country in coordination with the nationwide #GeneralStrike planned for the same day,” reads a statement from the National Lawyers Guild. “This is an opportunity for the legal community to express our solidarity with the growing movements against the new regime and its white supremacist agenda.”

ACTIVISM: We Will Not Pay: The Americans Withholding Their Taxes to Fight Trump The new president has driven some to make a statement with their bank accounts—despite fears such a protest could send demonstrators to jail.

A nascent movement has been detected to revive the popularity of tax resistance – last seen en masse in America during the Vietnam war but which has been, sporadically, a tradition in the US and beyond going back many centuries.


President Trump exhibits classic signs of mental illness

There is something psychologically wrong with Trump; mental health pros are finally speaking out

Time Is Already Running Out on Our Democracy, Says Expert By Kali Holloway / AlterNet February 13, 2017

We may have a year or less, and it has happened to countries like us before, says a Yale professor.

Timothy Snyder, a Yale scholar and an authority on European political history, has spent decades studying the rise of fascist movements. With the ascension of 'ald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Snyder sees echoes from history, and warns that the time to save America from autocracy is in short supply.

“I think things have tightened up very fast; we have at most a year to defend the republic, perhaps less,” Snyder stated in an interview with German outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung. “What happens in the next few weeks is very important.”

Post-Fascist Europe Tells Us Exactly How to Defend Our Democracy Have your passports ready, watch your language, and other advice from a Yale history professor.

by Timothy Snyder posted Jan 13, 2017

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are 20 lessons from the 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today.


1. Do not obey in advance.

Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given... Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

2. Defend an institution.

Institutions '’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

3. Recall professional ethics.

When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.

4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words.

Look out for the expansive use of “terrorism” and “extremism.” Be alive to the fatal notions of “exception” and “emergency.” Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.

5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.

When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. .. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. '’t fall for it.

6. Be kind to our language.

Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. ('’t use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom. Read.)

7. Stand out. Someone has to.

It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

8. Believe in truth.

To aban' facts is to aban' freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

9. Investigate.

Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Learn about sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.

10. Practice corporeal politics.

Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.

11. Make eye contact and small talk.

This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.

12. Take responsibility for the face of the world.

Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.

13. Hinder the one-party state.

The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.

14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can.

Pick a charity and set up autopay.

15. Establish a private life.

Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.

16. Learn from others in other countries.

Keep up your friendships abroad or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.

17. Watch out for the paramilitaries.

When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a leader, the end is nigh.

18. Be reflective if you must be armed.

If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no.

19. Be as courageous as you can.

If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.

20. Be a patriot.

The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.

The Inevitability Of Impeachment Trump has been trying to govern by impulse, on whim, for personal retribution, for profit, by decree ? as if he had been elected dictator. It doesn’t work, and the wheels are coming off the bus. After a week!

Impeachment is gaining ground because it’s so horribly clear that Trump is unfit for office. The grownups around Trump, even the most slavishly loyal ones, spend half their time trying to rein him in, but it can’t be 'e.

Only with his lunatic effort to selectively ban refugees (but not from terrorist-sending countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt where Trump has business interests) has Trump discovered that the American system has courts. It has courts. Imagine that.


Another Trump lie: I'm smart
The only two words 'ald Trump has
uttered more frequently than “you’re fired” are “I’m smart.”

According to an Internet article, our presidents have varied in IQ, most in the mid 120s. Some were outstanding; the smartest was Thomas Jefferson at 150. This article says Trump is at 120. An overestimation in my opinion.

American Psychosis By Chris Hedges Posted on Jan 29, 2017

Demagogues always infect the governed with their own psychosis.

Reality is under assault. Verbal confusion reigns. Truth and illusion have merged. Mental chaos makes it hard to fathom what is happening. We feel trapped in a hall of mirrors.

Our new president, a 70-year-old with orange-tinted skin and hair that Penn Jillette has likened to “cotton candy made of piss,” is, as Trump often reminds us, “very good looking.” He has almost no intellectual accomplishments—he knows little of history, politics, law, philosophy, art or governance—but insists “[m]y IQ is one of the highest—and you all know it!

... even in the face of a rising despotism, the Democratic Party refuses to denounce the corporate forces that eviscerated our democracy and impoverished the country... No one speaks about the destructive force of corporate power. The warring elites pit alternative facts against alternative facts. All engage in demagoguery.

Trump and those around him have a deep hatred for what they cannot understand. They silence anyone who thinks independently. They elevate pseudo-intellectuals who adhere to their bizarre script. They cannot cope with complexity, nuance or the unpredictable. Individual initiative is a mortal threat.

The order for some employees of several federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research service, the National Park Service and the Department of Health and Human Services, to restrict or cease communication with the press or members of Congress, along with the attempt to impose 10-year felony convictions on six reporters who covered the inauguration protests, signals the beginning of a campaign to marginalize reality and promote fantasy.

The Christian right’s magical thinking will merge seamlessly with Trump’s magical thinking. Idiocy, self-delusion, megalomania, fantasy and government repression will come wrapped in images of the Christian cross and the American flag.

OFFICIAL He's Not My President Facebook

Take Republicans Down Facebook page

Johns Hopkins’ Top Psychotherapist Releases Terrifying Diagnosis Of President Trump Almost daily, Trump tweets about the “biased media,” “fake news,” or a world leader who has suddenly 'e something so terrible that he must take to Twitter to publicly berate them. Notice, however, that it’s always someone else with the problem. It’s never him.

However, John D. Gartner, a registered psychotherapist from the renowned Johns Hopkins University Medical School seems to think Trump may, in fact, be the one with the problem.

Gartner says “'ald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president.” ‘We’ve seen enough public behavior by 'ald Trump now that we can make this diagnosis indisputably,’ Gartner claims.

Malignant narcissists are: ‘Determined to gratify their wishes and furious if thwarted. Their desire can be so consuming that there is little comprehension of, respect for or ability to empathize with the other. They lack guilt or remorse and tend to feel or pronounce that it is they who have been mistreated.'

I posted to Facebook 1/28/17

Trump is a typical business manager, ignorant and inept. When I started at JCPenney I had to start at the bottom and learn every aspect of the business. Nowadays, however, the consensus is that you learn to be a business manager by going to "business school." So you end up in charge of a business with no experience and no respect for those below you. Your ego swells because you are "in charge." Based on no merit, no knowledge. You can't see what's coming because you ''t really know the business. Trump's frequent reversals and mistakes come from his ignorance and lack of experience. He is a typical new age "manager."

Trump orders military to prepare for world war By Tom Eley [Freelance journalist. Lives in Nottingham, England] 28 January 2017, WSWS.org

During a visit to the Pentagon on Friday, President 'ald Trump issued an executive action calling for stepped up violence in Syria and a vast expansion of the US military, including its nuclear arsenal, to prepare for war with “near-peer competitors”—a reference to nuclear-armed China and Russia—and “regional challengers,” such as Iran.

The US currently spends approximately $600 billion on its military annually—excluding expenditures on the intelligence agencies and Veterans Administration— more than the next nine largest military spenders combined. American “defense” spending accounts for, by itself, over one third of all global military spending, and it consumes the great majority of the federal discretionary budget.

Increases in military spending, coupled with Trump’s promises to drastically lower taxes on corporations and the rich, must inevitably be paid for by cuts to education, health care and infrastructure, and by plundering Social Security and Medicare.

Gaslighting

"Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, hoping to make the target question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target's belief. The term owes its origin to Gas Light, a 1938 play and 1944 film, and has been used in clinical and research literature." [Wikipedia]


1944 film, Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Joseph Cotton

Gaslighting: Destructive Behavior “Gaslighting” is manipulation, an attempt to skew reality by telling people that what they know happened did not happen, and what they know is true is not true.

It comes from literature — most popularly, the 1944 film “Gaslight,” starring Ingrid Bergman as a woman whose husband makes her doubt her sanity. A piece of jewelry goes missing, and he blames her. A painting disappears, and he says she moved it. She sees gas lights flickering, and he denies they are.

In real life, perpetrators use gaslighting — lying, denying, contradicting, misdirecting, blaming the victim — as a way to throw victims off balance. Slowly and insidiously, spouses who have been “gaslighted” start to question their every thought and decision... victims blame themselves for their abuser’s handiwork.

Psychology Today: Gaslighting We as Americans are in a committed relationship with our leaders. We expect our government to be truthful with us. We rely on facts being true when the government passes along information. Our sanity as individuals as well as a nation depends on a climate of basic trust.

We are not living in a movie: if we are repeatedly lied to in the political arena, there are consequences to our national emotional health, whether we realize it or not. Individuals who have a personal history of being betrayed or lied to may be especially vulnerable, but every person is at risk. Everyone’s brain is traumatized when it is forced to continually reconcile what it knows to be fact with falsehoods it is being told.

You may think it doesn’t matter; that we’re all able as adults to discern the facts. But that is to underestimate the very real effects of gaslighting. The perpetrator gaslights because he knows how effective and disorienting it is. He does it because it is a powerful way to manipulate others. He does it because it takes the focus off whatever he is doing that he doesn’t want you to know about. And he may well get away with it because there is not always either a detective or a therapist—or in this case, a news outlet or a governing body—available to help pick up the pieces.,p. Psychology Today: How to Deal with a Narcissist ...particularly those of the grandiose type may share the larger “Dark Triad” traits, along with so-called "Machiavellianism" (manipulativeness) and psychopathy (lack of remorse and empathy).

Trump Issues Media Blackout at Multiple Federal Agencies Moves come amid growing concern that Trump and his appointees will suppress scientific innovation and research to advance their own ideological agenda

On Tuesday, BuzzFeed broke the news that scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are no longer allowed to share information about taxpayer-funded research with the public.

center>

At the same time, Trump surrogate Myron Ebell, a climate change denier who has led the transition for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has confirmed reports that the new administration has ordered a "freeze" on grants and contracts at the agency—a move that the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) warns "could seriously impede the agency's work...protect[ing] our health and the environment from pollution."

"These actions ''t just threaten scientists—they threaten everyone in the country who breathes air, drinks water, and eats food," said Rosenberg. "These agency scientists carry out research in support of policies that protect our health and safety and help farmers, and it makes no sense to put up walls between them and the public, or unilaterally halt the work they do."

"That the administration has moved so quickly to clamp down on scientists shows that the Trump administration is more focused on lifting rules on polluters than keeping our air and water clean," he added.

But that's not all. It has become apparent that the Trump administration has also ordered a media blackout at the EPA, as well as at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Trump Administration Tells EPA to Cut Climate Change Page From Website The Trump Administration has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) communications team to take down the agency's page on climate change, Reuters reported Tuesday.

According to an anonymous source in the agency, staffers are rushing to save some of the information, which represents "years of work."

Government Agencies Defy Trump by Tweeting Climate Facts In a political era where "alternative facts" are used in place of actual facts, several government bodies have been tweeting doses of reality in defiance of President 'ald Trump and his many controversial stances. That is, until someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. notices and forces them to delete their social media missives.

Get Ready for the First Shocks of Trump’s Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein, January 24 2017, The Intercept

We already know that the Trump administration plans to deregulate markets, wage all-out war on “radical Islamic terrorism,” trash climate science and unleash a fossil-fuel frenzy. It’s a vision that can be counted on to generate a tsunami of crises and shocks: economic shocks, as market bubbles burst; security shocks, as blowback from foreign belligerence comes home; weather shocks, as our climate is further destabilized; and industrial shocks, as oil pipelines spill and rigs collapse, which they tend to do, especially when enjoying light-touch regulation.


Trump's Disaster Capitalism

Trump and Pence come to power at a time when these kinds of disasters, like the lethal tornadoes that just struck the southeastern United States, are coming fast and furious. Trump has already declared the U.S. a rolling disaster zone. And the shocks will keep getting bigger, thanks to the reckless policies that have already been promised.

What Katrina tells us is that this administration will attempt to exploit each disaster for maximum gain. We’d better get ready.

How the GOP Is Playing Trump Until They Can Dump Him By Robert Reich January 22, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

Republican: They’ll get as much as they want – tax cuts galore, deregulation, military buildup, slash all those poverty programs, and then get to work on Social Security and Medicare – and blame him. And he’s such a fool he’ll want to take credit for everything.

Pence is their guy. They all think Trump is out of his mind.

So the moment Trump does something really dumb – steps over the line – violates the law in a big stupid clumsy way … and you know he will ...


'ald Trump Preaches Angry Nationalism, While Practicing Goldman Sachs Capitalism [The Intercept]

Email from Roots Action, day of inauguration,

We are calling upon Congress to pass a resolution calling for the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of 'ald John Trump, President of the United States.

As of January 20, 2017, President Trump’s refusal to divest from his business interests has placed him in direct violation of the United States Constitution.

The nation is now witnessing a massive corruption of the presidency, far worse than Watergate. Indeed, Nixon White House Counsel John Dean told reporters: “I '’t think Richard Nixon even comes close to the level of corruption we already know about Trump.”

Given the opportunity of ten full weeks between the election and the inauguration to divest his business interests, Mr. Trump chose instead to announce, just nine days before inauguration, a wholly inadequate plan to step away from operations, but not ownership or income streams, of the Trump Organization. Instead, he has chosen to profit from the presidency at public expense, in violation of the United States Constitution. The violations, the corruption, and the threat to our republic are here now.

Charlie Sheen Blasts Media Reaction To His Prayer That 'ald Trump Be Next 2016 Fatality

Among those who have reacted:

Sheen’s Two and a Half Men mother Holland Taylor:

Dear God
Trump next, please!
Trump next, please!
Trump next, please!
Trump next, please!
Trump next, please!
Trump next, please!

'ald Trump Will Cause US Power to Collapse By Harriet Agerholm [journalist for the Guardian, The Independent, Muck Rack] December 08, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "The Independent"

A sociologist credited with predicting the fall of the Soviet Union has warned that US global power is in a phase of accelerated decline under the leadership of 'ald Trump — and will collapse while the property mogul is the White House.

Norwegian professor Johan Galtung is known as the "founding father" of peace studies as a scientific subject and is recognised for correctly predicting numerous historical events, among them the Tiananmen Square uprising in China and the September 11 attacks.

He attracted controversy in 2000 when he predicted US global power would collapse by 2025.

But under the Bush administration he revised his forecast for the collapse to 2020. Now, he says that reality that is materialising following election of the bombastic billionaire.


From Liberty Tree Foundation

'Silence Not an Option': Calls Grow to Disrupt Trump Inauguration 'The Majority have spoken—by nearly 2.7 million votes & counting!' Michael Moore tweeted, linking to grassroots group's website planning direct actions on January 20

The organizers, known as the D.C. Counter-Inaugural Welcoming Committee, "call on all people of good conscience to join in disrupting the ceremonies. If Trump is to be inaugurated at all, let it happen behind closed doors, showing the true face of the security state Trump will preside over. It must be made clear to the whole world that the vast majority of people in the United States do not support his presidency or consent to his rule."

"Trump stands for tyranny, greed, and misogyny," they write. "He is the champion of neo-nazis and white nationalists, of the police who kill the black, brown, and poor on a daily basis, of racist border agents and sadistic prison guards, of the FBI and [National Security Agency] who tap your phone and read your email."

In addition to the #DisruptJ20 movement, the inauguration will be met with a women's march on Washington, with thousands of people expected to join from all over the country to protest Trump's history of misogyny, including bragging about sexually assaulting women.


See Below

#Earth2Trump: Campaign Kicking Off to Galvanize Resistance The call-to-action states: "We must stand and oppose every Trump policy that hurts wildlife; poisons our air and water; destroys our climate; promotes racism, misogyny or homophobia; and marginalizes entire segments of our society."


Santa Claws gives Trump his opinion on his environmental policies

Degeneration Nation: It Takes a Village of Idiots to Raise a Kakistocracy Like 'ald Trump’s By Sophia A. McClennen / Salon December 17, 2016

Ever since 'ald Trump launched his campaign last year we have searched for the right word to define the sort of government he would lead. Would it be populist or fascist? Would he be a demagogue or a dictator? Would he be the first reality TV president? Would his new administration be an oligarchy, a plutocracy, or a kleptocracy?

Now that he has been elected and he and his minions are busily filling slots in the cabinet and government, we now have an answer to what form of government he will lead. And the answer is all of the above.

Luckily we have one word that sums it all up: a kakistocracy, which literally means government by the worst element of a society. A kakistocracy is a government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens. Trump plans to bring us the worst of both. The word’s first known appearance was in 1829 in “The Misfortunes of Elphin,” written by the English satirical writer Thomas Love Peacock. In the United States the word is first recorded from American poet James Russell Lowell, who wrote in a letter in 1876: “Is ours a government of the people, by the people, for the people, or a kakistocracy rather, for the benefit of knaves at the cost of fools?”

Lowell nails our current situation just right.

President-Reject: '’t Say His Name Instead, we might consider refusing to acknowledge him altogether. If he craves the spotlight, pull the plug. If he desperately needs attention, starve him of it. If he wants to be the boss, go out on strike. If he demands obedience, conscientiously object. If he profits from publicity, simply stop watching him. If he wants power, render him superfluous. If he seeks to be in the center, then let’s place him in the margins. If he builds a Cabinet out of defective materials, let’s not place anything important in there. Indeed, this spirit is reflected in #notmypresident and other forms of rejection, offering a glimmer of noncompliance. We can take this a symbolic step further by refusing to even invoke his name, and thus curtail the brand. The hashtag #'tsayhisname offers an opportunity to turn the tables without inviting him in.

Trump Campaign Is Threatening Electors To Vote For Him Or Else Salon reports "Trump goons are contacting the GOP electors one by one and threatening them with "political reprisal" if they dare consider voting against the Fuhrer."

Trump Trumpets His Real Plans byRalph Nader Only if there is a superlative to the word “nightmare” can the dictionary provide a description of his bizarre selection of men and women marinated either in corporatism or militarism, with strains of racism, class cruelty and ideological rigidity. Many of Mr. Trump’s nominees lack an appreciation of the awesome responsibilities of public office.

As the profiteers of Wall Street and the war hawks blend with the corporate statists, the super-confident Trump is telling us what their products will be like and that he’ll be their salesman.

Bernie Sanders: Look Beneath the Surface When Trump Attacks People "[Trump was] sending a message to the entire trade union movement.. 'Do not stand up and fight for working people, we're going to go after you.'"


Bernie talks to Chuck Jones about the Trump attack on him

WSWS.org By Eric Lon', 8 December 2016

The unprecedented prominence of the military in the incoming cabinet is a dangerous sign that the American ruling class is preparing for war abroad and repression at home.

In counterterrorism speech, Obama hints at danger of dictatorship

Robert Reich Facebook post 12/7/16:

To date, Trump has picked an Attorney General who doesn’t believe in the Voting Rights Act; a Secretary of Heath and Human Services who doesn’t believe in government-provided health insurance; a Treasury Secretary who wants to “strip back” the Dodd-Frank Act, designed to prevent another bank meltdown; a Secretary of Education who’s against public schools; and, now, a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development who doesn’t believe in the Fair Housing Act.

Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I '’t think the Senate should confirm people who are on record as being against the laws they have a constitutional duty to implement.

Waiting for the Barbarians by Chris Hedges, 11/28/16

We await the crisis. It could be economic. It could be a terrorist attack within the United States. It could be widespread devastation caused by global warming. It could be nationwide unrest as the death spiral of the American empire intensifies. It could be another defeat in our endless and futile wars. The crisis is coming. And when it arrives it will be seized upon by the corporate state, nominally led by a clueless real estate developer, to impose martial law and formalize the end of American democracy.

When we look back on this sad, pathetic period in American history we will ask the questions all who have slid into despotism ask. Why were we asleep? How did we allow this to happen? Why didn’t we see it coming? Why didn’t we resist?

The failure of our capitalist democracy was collective. It was bred by ignorance, indifference, racism, bigotry and the seduction of mass propaganda. It was bred by elites, especially in the press, the courts and academia, who chose careerism over moral and intellectual courage. Our rights as citizens were taken from us one by one. There was hardly a word of protest.

Where were the lawyers, judges, law professors and law school deans who should have ferociously defended our rights to privacy, due process and habeas corpus? Why didn’t they challenge Barack Obama’s signing into law Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act? Section 1021 overturns the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibited the military from acting as a domestic police force. The section also permits the military to carry out extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers.

And where were all the economists pointing out the absurdity of the neoliberal ideology that told us that human society should be governed by the dictates of the market—that is, until the market collapsed in an orgy of fraud and corruption and needed the government to bail it out?

The desiccation of our liberal institutions ensured the demise of our capitalist democracy. History has amply demonstrated what was to come next. The rot and political paralysis vomited up a con artist as president along with an array of half-wits, criminals and racist ideologues. They will manufacture scapegoats as their gross ineptitude and unachievable promises are exposed. They will fan the flames of white supremacy and racial and religious bigotry. They will use all the tools of legal and physical control handed to them by our system of “inverted totalitarianism” to crush even the most tepid forms of dissent.

The last constraints will be removed by a crisis. The crisis will be used to create a climate of fear. The pretense of democracy will end.

Neoliberalism: the deep story that lies beneath 'ald Trump’s triumph How a ruthless network of super-rich ideologues killed choice and destroyed people’s faith in politics

The events that led to 'ald Trump’s election started in England in 1975. At a meeting a few months after Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservative party, one of her colleagues, or so the story goes, was explaining what he saw as the core beliefs of conservatism. She snapped open her handbag, pulled out a dog-eared book, and slammed it on the table. “This is what we believe,” she said. A political revolution that would sweep the world had begun.

The book was The Constitution of Liberty by Frederick Hayek. Its publication, in 1960, marked the transition from an honest, if extreme, philosophy to an outright racket. The philosophy was called neoliberalism.

It saw competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. The market would discover a natural hierarchy of winners and losers, creating a more efficient system than could ever be devised through planning or by design. Anything that impeded this process, such as significant tax, regulation, trade union activity or state provision, was counter-productive. Unrestricted entrepreneurs would create the wealth that would trickle down to everyone.

This, at any rate, is how it was originally conceived. But by the time Hayek came to write The Constitution of Liberty, the network of lobbyists and thinkers he had founded was being lavishly funded by multimillionaires who saw the doctrine as a means of defending themselves against democracy. Not every aspect of the neoliberal programme advanced their interests. Hayek, it seems, set out to close the gap.

He begins the book by advancing the narrowest possible conception of liberty: an absence of coercion. He rejects such notions as political freedom, universal rights, human equality and the distribution of wealth, all of which, by restricting the behaviour of the wealthy and powerful, intrude on the absolute freedom from coercion he demands.

Democracy, by contrast, “is not an ultimate or absolute value”. In fact, liberty depends on preventing the majority from exercising choice over the direction that politics and society might take.

He justifies this position by creating a heroic narrative of extreme wealth. He conflates the economic elite, spending their money in new ways, with philosophical and scientific pioneers. Just as the political philosopher should be free to think the unthinkable, so the very rich should be free to do the undoable, without constraint by public interest or public opinion.

The ultra rich are “scouts”, “experimenting with new styles of living”, who blaze the trails that the rest of society will follow. The progress of society depends on the liberty of these “independents” to gain as much money as they want and spend it how they wish. All that is good and useful, therefore, arises from inequality.

Hayek insisted that there is “an overwhelming case against a free health service for all” and dismissed the conservation of natural resources. It should come as no surprise to those who follow such matters that he was awarded the Nobel prize for economics.

It was inevitable that the blazing, insurrectionary confidence of neoliberalism would exert a stronger gravitational pull than the dying star of social democracy. Hayek’s triumph could be witnessed everywhere from Blair’s expansion of the private finance initiative to Clinton’s repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act, which had regulated the financial sector.

As I warned in April, the result is first disempowerment then disenfranchisement. If the dominant ideology stops governments from changing social outcomes, they can no longer respond to the needs of the electorate. Politics becomes irrelevant to people’s lives; debate is reduced to the jabber of a remote elite. The disenfranchised turn instead to a virulent anti-politics in which facts and arguments are replaced by slogans, symbols and sensation. The man who sank Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency was not 'ald Trump. It was her husband.

The paradoxical result is that the backlash against neoliberalism’s crushing of political choice has elevated just the kind of man that Hayek worshipped. Trump, who has no coherent politics, is not a classic neoliberal. But he is the perfect representation of Hayek’s “independent”; the beneficiary of inherited wealth, unconstrained by common morality, whose gross predilections strike a new path that others may follow.

human beings, by comparison with any other animals, are both remarkably social and remarkably unselfish. The atomisation and self-interested behaviour neoliberalism promotes run counter to much of what comprises human nature.

Robert Reich's First 100 Days Resistance Agenda

1. Get Democrats in the Congress and across the country to pledge to oppose Trump’s agenda. Prolong the process of approving choices, draw out hearings, stand up as sanctuary cities and states. Take a stand. Call your senator and your representative (phone calls are always better than writing).

2. March and demonstrate—in a coordinated, well-managed way.

3. Boycott all Trump products, real estate, hotels, resorts, everything. And then boycott all stores (like Nordstrom) that carry merchandise from Trump family brands.

4. Letters to Editors: A national letter-writing campaign, from people all over the country, every walk of life and every level of society, from celebrities to sports heroes to grassroots Americans. In most papers, the Letters to the Editor section is the most-read part of the paper.v 5. Op-Eds: A steady flow of arguments about the fallacies and dangers of Trump’s First 100 Day policies and initiatives, from name-brand thinkers and doers to ordinary folk writing for their city’s or community’s newspaper.

6. Social media: What about a new YouTube channel devoted to video testimonials about resisting Trump’s First 100 Day Agenda? Crowd-sourced ideas, themes and memes. Who wants to start it?

7. Website containing up-to-date daily bulletins on what actions people are planning around the country, and where, so others can join in. Techies, get organized.

8. Investigative journalism: We need investigative journalists to dig into the backgrounds of all of Trump’s appointees, in the White House, the Cabinet, ambassadors and judges.

9. Lawsuits: Our version of “Drill, baby, drill” is “Sue, baby, sue.” Throw sand in the gears. Lawyers, get organized.

10. Coordinated fund-raising: Rather than having every public-interest group appeal on their own, have a coordinated fund-raising program to fill the coffers of the most endangered and effective opposition groups. Is there a way to do a televised fund-raiser with celebrities raising money for the resistance?

11. Symbolic opposition: Safety pins are already appearing. What else? What more? Make the resistance visible with bumper stickers, a label pin, a branding campaign that has great language, great logo, great wristband (remember the Lance Armstrong “Livestrong” yellow wristband—it sold millions!).

12. Intellectual opposition: Take Trump on where he’s weakest—with serious ideas. I’ll try to do my part. You do yours, too.

13. Serious accountability: Establish performance metrics to evaluate his delivery on his campaign promises. An updated website of promises made and not kept. This is one especially suited to public policy students.

14. Your idea goes here. Call a meeting of family and friends this weekend.

Stop Calling It the Alt-Right The right-wing movement doesn’t deserve such a neutral description.

Jim Hightower: When The Mourning is Over, Join the Revolution It's time to build on progress and grassroots structures of Sanders' seminal run.

The ‘Hell No’ Caucus: Some Democrats May Not Work With 'ald Trump At All

Noam Chomsky Drops Truth Bomb on Trump's Election

How the Trump Presidency Is Killer News for the Military-Industrial Complex Get ready for bigger bombs, bigger armies, and Reagonomics on steroids.

'The Slime Factor Is Overwhelming': Charles Blow Obliterates Charlatan President-Elect Trump Nov. 8, 2016, Trump was elected U.S. President

We thought the uneducated ilk would back him. But 1/3 of the college graduates voted for him. A surprising number of blacks and Hispanics voted for him. People wanted change; the status quo was anathema to them. Reminds me of Berlusconi in Italy, and Reagan here.

A chilling encounter with a German student left me shaking... By scamperdo Sunday Nov 13, 2016

No encounter has ever left me as shaken as my Saturday ride with a German student coming home from a goodbye party. His parents came to the painful and hard decision some grandparents did not make 80 some years ago. He departs for home on Monday, without finishing his semester because fear is spreading across Germany.

I was honestly and sincerely just stunned speechless to hear that his parents screamed at them, "the unthinkable has happened and America has fallen, you need to get OUT NOW before it's too late."

They needed no more proof than France's far right, fascist party invited to Trump Tower and Le Pen announcing they are collaborating together.

I heard how many old and wise Germans are sounding the clarion call.

A fascist taking over America will topple France next Germans are warning. France falling will destroy the European Union which in turn, will topple Merkel and without her strong, reassuring voice the once unthinkable will happen again in Germany. Without American support against Putin, European democracies will tumble.

Right-wing German Hate Groups Plan Attacks With American Counterparts Emboldened by Trump Nov 18, 2016

Throughout his campaign, 'ald Trump exploited existing racist and xenophobic sentiments across his base. Since he launched his election bid 18 months ago, a number of hate crimes have carried out by whites who openly admitted being inspired by Trump’s rhetoric. Since the election, racial and religious minorities have reported being targets in an unprecedented number of attacks.

Boycott List of Companies that Do Business with and/or Back the Trump Family Amazon clothing.

President-Elect 'ald Trump Has Time For Celebrities, But Not Crucial Federal Agencies 'ald Trump’s team hasn’t contacted the State Department, Pentagon or several other federal agencies to discuss details of the transition to a new administration, but has had time to speak with a number of well-wishers, including celebrities and noted conspiracy theorists.

John Oliver Has A Whole Post-Election Plan For You To Follow John Oliver summed up many people’s feelings on Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight” when he named 2016 “the fucking worst,” and tried to make sense of 'ald Trump’s victory.

“We’re going to need to stay here and fight.”

"Trump is ab-normal."

While You Weren’t Looking, 'ald Trump Released a Plan to Privatize America’s Roads and Bridges

So this is kind of cute. While most of us were tearing our hair out over the FBI and Hillary Clinton's emails last weekend, 'ald Trump's campaign quietly released a plan to privatize new infrastructure development in the United States.

The Rules For Survival In A Trump Administration By Dartagnan 11/12/16

"I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now..."

During the Presidential campaign, Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen wrote this article [below] for the New York Review of Books, predicting what America would look like immediately in the wake of Trump's election.


Massive protests after Trump election

She presciently described a period of protests and counterdemonstrations, much like we are seeing right now, and most strikingly captured the feeling of unreality during the transition when the stock market, for example, would chug along unconcerned, much like it has over the past few days, and people went about their daily lives, much as we all are now starting to do. The article described what would come next as well, as Trump mobilized certain segments of the American populace to support his policies. [article below]

After November 8, 2016 (a calendar date which may end up etched in the world's consciousness as September 11, 2011) Gessen wrote another article for the NYRB, originally titled “Why We Must Resist" and now bearing the heading of "Autocracy : Rules For Survival”.

As we await the inauguration of the first President to be accused of child rape, the first President who has successfully prevented Americans from seeing his tax returns, the first President who won the office on a platform of hatred and rhetoric intended to divide and inflame Americans against each other, and the first President to rely on Twitter-bots masquerading as grassroots support, the natural temptation is to cleave to illusions of normalcy, if for no other reason than to preserve our individual sanity.

Gessen, who has lived under autocracies, is having none of it. And neither should we. Her rules for surviving the coming onslaught are terse and to the point.

Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization. This will happen often: humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable.

The entire rise of Hitler was predicated on assumptions by other world leaders and a hopeful media that he did not mean what he said. While Trump is not Hitler, he now has the power and tools of government to make life as miserable and fearful for many Americans as if he was.

Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. Consider the financial markets this week, which, having tanked overnight, rebounded following the Clinton and Obama speeches. Confronted with political volatility, the markets become suckers for calming rhetoric from authority figures. So do people.

Americans' short attention span and the normalization of Trump by our news media is exactly what got him elected in the first place. Although it may be counter-intuitive in our media cycle-centric world, the fact that things take time to get worse does not prevent them from getting worse.

Rule #3: Institutions will not save you. It took Putin a year to take over the Russian media and four years to dismantle its electoral system; the judiciary collapsed unnoticed. The capture of institutions in Turkey has been carried out even faster, by a man once celebrated as the democrat to lead Turkey into the EU. Poland has in less than a year un'e half of a quarter century’s accomplishments in building a constitutional democracy.

The problem with reliance on the strength of American institutions, Gessen points out, is that those institutions require a modicum of good faith by our political representatives to survive. The Republican Party has already demonstrated that it would hold the Judicial Branch hostage in an election. It has vowed to default on the national debt if the whims of its most radical members are not catered to.

Rule #4: Be outraged. If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised. But in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. This will lead people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting. It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself.

Gessen warns that the easiest way to enable an autocrat and diminish whatever power you have is to compromise for the sake of "expediency.”

Rule #5: '’t make compromises. Like Ted Cruz, who made the journey from calling Trump “utterly amoral” and a “pathological liar” to endorsing him in late September to praising his win as an “amazing victory for the American worker,”... Democrats in Congress will begin to make the case for cooperation, for the sake of getting anything 'e

Autocracy: Rules for Survival by Masha Gessen, Nov. 10, 2016.

Michael Moore Nails Every Racist, War-Mongering, Pseudo-Christian, RW Gun Extremist - In One Tweet tweeted a sentence that put the full scope of Right Wing extremism into its proper place of chronic, historical hypocrisy.

One proud White American, in less than 2 minutes, has killed TWICE as many Americans as ISIS has in 2 years. White Terrorists. #WISIS.

He's one of the most outspoken activists in America. Most people either love Michael Moore, or they hate him. Death threats and assaults have followed him with every '''t Go There' issue he tackles - especially over Bush and the Iraq war. He's brave, compassionate, intelligent, brash, poignant, and sometimes very amusing. It's easy to see why many Republicans despise him.

The Trump-Putin Fallacy by Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen. 11/12/16.

The Darkness Awaiting The U.S. With A Trump Presidency, Through The Lens Of An Anti-Putin Journalist by Dartagnan 7/29/16

'ald Trump's Victory Speech video 'I will not let you down': Trump's victory speech


Trump Victory speech / The Nightmare of victory

Live - Election Day Coverage 2016 Video

'Trump's Election Is a Disaster' Totally freaked out is the best way I can explain how I'm feeling right now knowing 'ald Trump has won the presidency. Yes, the billionaire television personality who denies climate change, has ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline, and has promised to "renegotiate" the Paris agreement and completely dismantle the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will be the next President of the United States!

~~~
"Trump is a con man" Eleanor Clift 24 July 2016, just after the RNC.

Trump’s Terrifying Pitch: It Was Better Than You Think byRichard Eskow 22 July 2016

To be fair, this speech needed to be long. Trump needed to present a number of false and contradictory identities to the electorate, and that takes time. He was both a firebrand populist and a rock-ribbed Republican. He was an enemy of big business, and he swore to deregulate industry. He was compassionate toward all people – but he’ll build a wall to keep millions of people out.

Trump also needed time to present an America that’s a study in contrasts: a war-torn landscape with a bright future, a desolate wasteland filled with untapped potential, a desperate and dangerous dystopia that will become an Eden as soon as he is sworn into office.


Trump in 1998 / Trump at the RNC, 2016

That’s Demagoguery 101: Terrify, then reassure. Threaten people with destruction, then reassure them with the warm embrace of your fatherly arms. It’s what kidnappers do to instill Stockholm syndrome in their prisoners. And Trump’s eerily good at it.

It’s true that Trump’s speech was filled with lies – sweeping, stunning, audacious lies. (We list some of them below.) But there was truth in it, too. A good con man mixes truth with lies for the same reason an assassin mixes sugar with strychnine: The poison goes down easier that way.

And underlying it all, a jingoistic credo: “… our plan will put America First.”

At the mention of this phrase, born of anti-Semitism and unwillingness to fight Hitler’s Germany, the crowd erupted in wild cheers: USA! USA!

“Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo,” Trump continued. Americanism: a word that can mean whatever the listener wants it to mean.

Fact Check:

The United States is not “one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.” The Tax Policy Center concluded that total U.S. tax revenue came to only 24 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), “well below the 34 percent average for developed countries.” And the OECD, an organization of developed nations, found in 2015 that the U.S. ranks 31st out of 34 countries in its level of taxation. (Only South Korea, Chile, and Mexico scored lower.)

While Trump claims that we have “no proven vetting system” in place for Syrian refugees, refugees are screened by several different agencies and the process takes 18 to 24 months.

There is no evidence to suggest that regulation “costs” the economy $2 trillion a year. What’s more, regulation saves an enormous amount of money – through the prevention of environmental damage, improvements in public health, increased competition, fraud prevention, and a number of other ways.

We didn’t “give” Iran $150 billion as part of the nuclear deal. In fact, we didn’t give Iran any money at all. Frozen Iranian assets – that is, their money, not ours – was released as part of the agreement.

Law enforcement is primarily handled at the local and state level, so there is no way “safety will be restored” by Trump “on January 20, 2017.”

Trump’s statement that “Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities” also said “there was no clear pattern” among the cities and that “public safety has been improving for two decades, and lethal violence in large cities is still rare by historical standards.”


RNC 21 July 2016 / Trump at the RNC, 2016

Full text: 'ald Trump 2016 RNC draft speech transcript

Trump's Acceptance Speech at RNC, Annotated

5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win byMichael Moore 23 July 2016

This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ‘cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: “PRESIDENT TRUMP.”

Never in my life have I wanted to be proven wrong more than I do right now.

You need to exit that bubble right now. You need to stop living in denial and face the truth which you know deep down is very, very real. Trying to soothe yourself with the facts – “77% of the electorate are women, people of color, young adults under 35 and Trump cant win a majority of any of them!” – or logic – “people aren’t going to vote for a buffoon or against their own best interests!” – is your brain’s way of trying to protect you from trauma.

Here are the 5 reasons Trump is going to win:

1. Midwest Math, or Welcome to Our Rust Belt Brexit.

I believe Trump is going to focus much of his attention on the four blue states in the rustbelt of the upper Great Lakes – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Four traditionally Democratic states – but each of them have elected a Republican governor since 2010 (only Pennsylvania has now finally elected a Democrat)... he’s said (correctly) that the Clintons’ support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest. Trump is going to hammer Clinton on this and her support of TPP and other trade policies that have royally screwed the people of these four states.

What happened in the UK with Brexit is going to happen here. Elmer Gantry shows up looking like Boris Johnson and just says whatever shit he can make up to convince the masses that this is their chance! To stick to ALL of them, all who wrecked their American Dream! And now The Outsider, 'ald Trump, has arrived to clean house! You '’t have to agree with him! You '’t even have to like him! He is your personal Molotov cocktail to throw right into the center of the bastards who did this to you! SEND A MESSAGE! TRUMP IS YOUR MESSENGER!

All Trump needs to do to win is to carry, as he’s expected to do, the swath of traditional red states from Idaho to Georgia (states that’ll never vote for Hillary Clinton), and then he just needs these four rust belt states. He doesn’t need Florida. He doesn’t need Colorado or Virginia. Just Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And that will put him over the top. This is how it will happen in November.

2. The Last Stand of the Angry White Man.

Our male-dominated, 240-year run of the USA is coming to an end. A woman is about to take over! How did this happen?! On our watch! There were warning signs, but we ignored them... Before we knew it, Beyoncé stormed on the field at this year’s Super Bowl (our game!) with an army of Black Women, fists raised, declaring that our domination was hereby terminated! Oh, the humanity!

You can see where this is going. By then animals will have been granted human rights and a fuckin’ hamster is going to be running the country. This has to stop!

3. The Hillary Problem.

Can we speak honestly, just among ourselves? And before we do, let me state, I actually like Hillary – a lot – and I think she has been given a bad rap she doesn’t deserve. But her vote for the Iraq War made me promise her that I would never vote for her again.

Let’s face it: Our biggest problem here isn’t Trump – it’s Hillary. She is hugely unpopular — nearly 70% of all voters think she is untrustworthy and dishonest. She represents the old way of politics, not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected.

No Democrat, and certainly no independent, is waking up on November 8th excited to run out and vote for Hillary the way they did the day Obama became president or when Bernie was on the primary ballot. The enthusiasm just isn’t there. And because this election is going to come down to just one thing — who drags the most people out of the house and gets them to the polls — Trump right now is in the catbird seat.

4. The Depressed Sanders Vote.

The fire alarm that should be going off is that while the average Bernie backer will drag him/herself to the polls that day to somewhat reluctantly vote for Hillary, it will be what’s called a “depressed vote” – meaning the voter doesn’t bring five people to vote with her.

He doesn’t volunteer 10 hours in the month leading up to the election. She never talks in an excited voice when asked why she’s voting for Hillary. A depressed voter. Because, when you’re young, you have zero tolerance for phonies and BS. Returning to the Clinton/Bush era for them is like suddenly having to pay for music, or using MySpace or carrying around one of those big-ass portable phones.

They’re not going to vote for Trump; some will vote third party, but many will just stay home.

Hillary Clinton is going to have to do something to give them a reason to support her — and picking a moderate, bland-o, middle of the road old white guy as her running mate is not the kind of edgy move that tells millenials that their vote is important to Hillary.

Having two women on the ticket – that was an exciting idea. But then Hillary got scared and has decided to play it safe. This is just one example of how she is killing the youth vote.

5. The Jesse Ventura Effect.

Finally, do not discount the electorate’s ability to be mischievous or underestimate how any millions fancy themselves as closet anarchists once they draw the curtain and are all alone in the voting booth. It’s one of the few places left in society where there are no security cameras, no listening devices, no spouses, no kids, no boss, no cops, there’s not even a friggin’ time limit. You can take as long as you need in there and no one can make you do anything.

You can push the button and vote a straight party line, or you can write in Mickey Mouse and 'ald Duck. There are no rules. And because of that, and the anger that so many have toward a broken political system, millions are going to vote for Trump not because they agree with him, not because they like his bigotry or ego, but just because they can.

Remember back in the ‘90s when the people of Minnesota elected a professional wrestler as their governor? They didn’t do this because they’re stupid or thought that Jesse Ventura was some sort of statesman or political intellectual. They did so just because they could. Minnesota is one of the smartest states in the country. It is also filled with people who have a dark sense of humor — and voting for Ventura was their version of a good practical joke on a sick political system. This is going to happen again with Trump.

Coming back to the hotel after appearing on Bill Maher’s Republican Convention special this week on HBO, a man stopped me. “Mike,” he said, “we have to vote for Trump. We HAVE to shake things up.” That was it. That was enough for him. To “shake things up.” President Trump would indeed do just that, and a good chunk of the electorate would like to sit in the bleachers and watch that reality show.


Jon Stewart on Colbert show 22 July 2016 / Ugly white people listening to Cruz behind the itty-bitty wall LA street artist Plastic Jesus built around Trump's Hollywood Star of Fame, complete with razor wire and a sign urging, "Stop Making Stupid People Famous."

Stewart To the Ugly Madman In the Castle: This Country Isn't Yours

Confronting our national catastrophe, Stephen Colbert brought out his old buddy Jon Stewart to likewise offer some historical perspective. Stewart ripped the hypocrisy of right-wing media figures like Sean Hannity - aka Lumpy - who've spent years bad-mouthing Obama as "a divisive thin-skinned narcissist with no government experience," but who fall silent before their own divisive thin-skinned narcissist with no government experience, and a racist bully to boot.

He blasted those like Rep. Steve King arguing that Black Lives Matter and other "subgroups" are "divisive" for demanding their rights: "You've got a problem with those Americans fighting for their place at the table?...Take it up with the founders...Those fighting to be included in the ideal of equality are not being divisive. Those fighting to keep those people out are."

Stewart saved his most righteous rage for the duplicity and empty, ugly, nationalistic rhetoric of Trumpsters who pretend to take the moral high ground when their beliefs are in fact unconscionable. "You ''t own patriotism," Stewart told them, his voice rising. "You ''t own Christianity. And you sure as hell ''t own respect for the police and military" - especially, he added furiously, when so many fought against giving 9/11 First Responders the rights and benefits they deserve.

"This country isn't yours," he proclaimed. "It never was." Jon, we've missed you. Now that we're faced with the bitter, shoddy prospects of the future - Trump and Hillary and WTF?! Kaine, such a betrayal - please come back to help us through.


Trump Apocalypse / Trump mad


Send comments to co@dadbyrn.com, Colby Glass, MLIS, PhDc, Professor Emeritus