Barack Obama

Obama’s Just the Enemy and Always Was

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 19/09/2017 - 6:33am in

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Barack Obama

One of the most amusing things about the 07/08 primary season was how often Obama praised Reagan and how few people took him seriously. Obama thought Reagan was great and said so repeatedly.

“He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like, you know, with all the excesses of the 60s and the 70s, and government had grown and grown, but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people just tapped into — he tapped into what people were already feeling, which was, we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

What’s important about this is that Obama agrees with Reagan about what was wrong with America.

He also felt, correctly, that Reagan was a transformative President, but Obama wasn’t one, because what Obama did was follow Bush: He enhanced the security state, cracked down further on civil liberties, deported more people, ran TARP and the bailout, and so on. Obama was the person who institutionalized Bush, not a President who turned in a different direction.

Fundamentally, Obama agreed with Republicans on a lot of key issues, he just didn’t always want to do as much (no more tax cuts). Even Obamacare was a Republican plan, something Republicans have forgotten.

None of this is to say Obama did no good things; of course he did, but overall he was disastrous.

A lot of people, however, want to say that isn’t what was in his heart. For them, I offer this:

Barack Obama rang Conservative headquarters on election night with a mistaken but reassuring message for Theresa May because Labour insiders had told him the party was expecting to lose seats, according to a new book about the election.

Shortly before the exit poll, which sent shockwaves through both party headquarters, the former US president contacted a friend in Tory central office with the soothing news that Labour was expecting to see the Conservatives increase their majority.

It’s really impossible to overstate how evil the Tories have been. These are people who literally have been taking wheelchairs away from cripples. They’ve tripled the deficit, de-funded health care and generally acted as cruelly as possible.

A particularly egregious example is the following.

The thing is, if you follow the British news, you know this is what Tory policies are designed to do: Shove the most vulnerable people off any support. Examples are legion, and for every case that makes the media, one knows there are many, many more.

This is cruelty by design. The Tories tripled the debt largely because of tax cuts, austerity, and bail outs for rich people, and then they tried to make some of it up on the backside by hurting the most vulnerable people; people who were not responsible for the financial crisis and have not benefited from the tax cuts.

This is what Obama is okay with–this is what he prefers to a social democrat like Corbyn.

Obama’s just an evil man. He has always been an evil man. He has spent his time since office hobknobbing with billionaires and getting rich off the very people he helped bail out as president, and whom he refused to prosecute despite their clear crimes.

He’s just a bad man. He was never left-wing in any sense, and he’d rather see vast amounts of cruelty than see any sort of social democrat anywhere near power.

Again, for the dull, this does not mean he is not better than, John McCain, say. It just means that he’s still evil, still a bad man, still someone whose hatred of the left is so strong he’d rather see cripples losing their wheelchairs than have the left win.

The enemy.

For America, or the world, to improve we need to start electing people who are, on balance, good, not evil.

We simply cannot expect to routinely elect evil people and have good results come from it.

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US Left, You Have Been Duped

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 13/09/2017 - 6:16am in

by Richard Hugus, via Dissident Voice On August 19, a week after a heavily publicized clash over a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, an estimated 8,000 people converged on Boston Common to protest a speaking event organized by a group calling itself the Boston Free Speech Movement. Who are the Boston Free Speech Movement and what do they stand for? We’ll never know because antifascists, leftists, anti-racists, and progressives of Boston prevented them from even speaking. Some might say this was a good thing — no one wants to hear from bigots (if that’s who they were) — but, in fact, the left in all its self-righteousness was duped into an assault on the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees the right of free speech, for everyone. The left have been the pawns of much more powerful forces who, if they aren’t organizing these news events and provocations outright, are certainly happy to see precedents set for publicly shutting down free speech by the use of force. First it will …

As a Dreamer, I Will Not Be A Bargaining Chip for Trump’s Attack on Immigrants

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 08/09/2017 - 4:00am in

This post first appeared at the American Civil Liberties Union website.

So many words come to mind right now to describe how I feel about the loss of DACA: devastation, anger, rage, betrayal, hopelessness, fear, sadness. DACA transformed my life.

Growing up undocumented, I couldn’t imagine my future. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to go to college or pay for it. Once I was in college, before I got DACA, I did not know if I was going to be able to use my degree afterward.

DACA allowed me to attend college, plan for my future, and work. But one of the most valuable things DACA brought me was peace of mind. I knew that I would no longer have to duck my head to scurry past police officers. I knew I would have my driver’s license as a form of government-issued ID so I would not stand out when boarding a plane or even getting a library card. I stopped constantly fearing deportation. I slept easier at night knowing that I would wake up the next day with the ability to plan at least the next two years of my life and that I would be able to help my parents. I didn’t have a seemingly unending pit of fear in my stomach that often turned into full-fledged panic attacks.

The enormity of the obstacles I had been up against, for once, seemed manageable. I became more confident in my status and in talking openly about it. But now, as I once again “become” undocumented, I worry that many of us who have been public about our stories will be forced to go back into the shadows.

Being undocumented forces people to live a huge amount of uncertainty. My parents and I came to the United States from Chile in search of a better life when I was 6 years old. Growing up undocumented, I couldn’t imagine my future. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to go to college or pay for it. Once I was in college, before I got DACA, I did not know if I was going to be able to use my degree afterward. Even as I consider grad school now, I don’t know whether I’ll be able to attend, or later, to work. My way of handling all of this has been by carefully concocting contingency Plans B, C, D and E, always prepared to go into effect at any moment. “Expect the worst and hope for the best” is my family motto.


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Around 2000 people gathered in downtown Minneapolis to rally in support of immigrants and refugees on Feb. 11, 2017. (Photo by Fibonacci Blue | Flickr CC 2.0)

What Trump’s New Immigration Plan Means For America

BY Jake Johnson | August 3, 2017

Thousands of DACA recipients will lose their work permits each day after it is rescinded, meaning thousands of families that depend on those young people will risk losing their livelihoods. Student loans and mortgages will go unpaid. Young parents will be unable to provide for their children. Your co-worker, teacher or boss will not show up to work. People’s plans and dreams will fade, some people might even disappear from your life entirely, as more people will consider going into hiding, or committing suicide as some did after the election. This is real pain. We, together as a community, must go through a mourning process.

But in some sense, this is also liberating. We all knew this day would come. DACA was so fragile. Not because it’s unconstitutional, as Attorney General Sessions claims — he’s wrong — but because it was a superficial solution for a much bigger problem, a temporary Band-Aid that would eventually have to be replaced by something stronger. DACA set up a narrative of good versus bad immigrant; it creates the categories of those who are deserving and undeserving by criminalizing our parents, who did us a great service by bringing us to this country. We should not have to hide behind the rhetoric that “we were brought here through no fault of our own.” It felt like it forced a choice between our parents, who brought us to this country with nothing but hope of a better life for us, and our own futures.

Of course, we will fight and resist the end of DACA, but we must also prepare ourselves for the bigger battles ahead. We must think beyond this limited disqualifying narrative that aims to divide us the immigrant community into good and bad people. We must strive for a solution that reaches beyond the 800,000 Dreamers who were granted DACA.

The Trump administration wants to use Dreamers as a bargaining chip to get Congress to fund and authorize a massive crackdown on immigrant communities in this country. They want to force us — in a desperate attempt to save Dreamers — to throw the very people who taught us how to dream under the bus: our parents. The people who came before us and who fought before us. Saving Dreamers should not mean that more detention centers are built or funding for the wall. We have to resist, no matter how appealing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers will appear, and fight for a clean, standalone Dream Act and, ultimately for a pathway for all 11 million undocumented people in this country. We have to stand by our principles and by the people who made it possible for us to dream.

The success of DACA, not only for individuals but for the country, reveals the need for a larger solution. That’s why business leaders have banded together to fight the program’s end. DACA created a different America. Now 800,000 people who received it are out of the shadows. We found our voices. We have further integrated ourselves into the social fabric of the United States. We will not retreat and disappear again. We will not allow our families to be torn apart.

I am now speaking directly to all 800,000 of you out there who are directly impacted by today’s announcement. Allow yourself to grieve — your pain and suffering are justified. Cry all your tears, scream, break down, do whatever you need to do to express the devastation that we all feel. Then wake up tomorrow and be ready to fight, because we are in for the fight of our lives, and I’m ready to win.

The post As a Dreamer, I Will Not Be A Bargaining Chip for Trump’s Attack on Immigrants appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Trump’s Arts Council ‘Resists’; Will More Artists Take a Stand?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 22/08/2017 - 8:01am in

On August 3, long before the conflagration at Charlottesville marked a turning point in Donald J. Trump’s presidential career, Norman Lear threw down a gauntlet. Though Lear would accept the Kennedy Center honor to be awarded to him in December for his unique role in American society as the pioneering creator of politically charged situation comedies, he announced that he would not attend the White House reception preceding the event, a decision Lear said he made in protest of Trump’s denial of funding to the arts. (Trump has proposed the elimination of the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities.)

If Trump’s refusal to take his place in the Kennedy Center Honors proves anything, it’s the power that artists hold when they choose to wield it.

The intervening days saw Trump equate the motives of anti-racism activists with those of the armed neo-Nazis and other white supremacists who took over the Virginia town to wreak mayhem that crescendoed to an act of domestic terrorism. Following rebukes of the president from military leaders and the defection of business leaders from two presidential commissions, the entire membership of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigned from their posts with an artfully crafted letter in which the first letter of each paragraph spelled out the word “RESIST” in a vertical, all-caps column. In the letter, they called on the president to resign his office.

On Thursday, two days after Trump’s impromptu press conference at Trump Tower, dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, another Kennedy Center honoree, announced she would also sit out Trump’s reception. She did so, she wrote in a statement, “in light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in, and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for. …”

Then Saturday brought word that the president and the first lady would not attend the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, a nationally televised affair at which the president traditionally addresses the assembled who’s who of political and entertainment power circles, and says something nice about each of the honorees, who are selected by a committee of which he is not a member. The honorees also make remarks. For Trump, who can’t abide a note of criticism, attendance at the event would have been fraught indeed.

Trump’s refusal to attend this year’s ceremony is a bigger deal than it might initially appear, given the turmoil and chaos his administration has laid upon the country since the president’s willfully divisive and insulting inaugural address. The Kennedy Center Honors ceremony is one of the nation’s foremost celebrations of American arts and culture, and one aimed at a broad viewing audience. (This year, all but one of the five awardees are people of color.) Only rarely have presidents bowed out, usually due to important foreign policy events, and never before “to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction,” as an August 19 statement from the White House described as the reason for the Trumps’ withdrawal from the event.

 

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Authoritarian leaders nearly always find artists to be problematic, save for those few willing to contort their artistic impulse to serve the authoritarian’s needs. Artists are unruly; you never know quite what they’ll do. That’s why we all stay glued to the screen into the wee hours on Academy Awards night, why a Golden Globes award ceremony can turn into a political moment. It’s not for nothing that Trump has announced his opposition to funding the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. The people who receive support from those institutions are unlikely to sign a loyalty oath to Donald J. Trump.


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A protester holds a banner reading during a rally against President Donald Trump next to Trump Tower in New York on Aug. 14, 2017. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

‘Hymn’

BY Sherman Alexie | August 18, 2017

Trump’s contempt for the arts is amply demonstrated in the White House’s events calendar. Typically, by this point in his presidency, a commander-in-chief, together with the first lady, would have presided over an East Room concert by an American superstar. George W. and Laura Bush celebrated jazz master Lionel Hampton; the Obamas gathered stars to honor composer and musician Stevie Wonder. The only performing artists Trump has invited to the White House so far appear to be Kid Rock and Ted Nugent, who once threatened to assassinate Barack Obama, whom he called “a subhuman mongrel,” and suggested that Obama “suck on my machine gun.” What Nugent said about former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is not printable here. In April, Trump had the pair, joined by former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, to dine with him and mock a portrait of Hillary Clinton.

By the time the Trumps withdrew from the Kennedy Center event, Susan Bro, whose daughter was killed in a motor vehicle attack by a white supremacist in Charlottesville on August 12, told ABC News that she would not take a phone call from the president of the United States, given the president’s indictment of left-wing counterprotesters as being no better than the neo-Nazis they had come to oppose. (Although the president did describe James Alex Fields Jr., the driver of the car that plowed into a group of peaceful protesters, killing Bro’s daughter, Heather Heyer, as “a disgrace to himself, his family and his country,” he declined to describe Fields’ attack on the crowd as an act of terrorism.)

Given this trajectory, it’s not hard to see why Trump would cower at the specter of a lecture from Norman Lear, a 95-year-old Jewish man, beloved by Americans for his creation of such television characters as Archie and Edith Bunker and George and Louise Jefferson. Perhaps Lear would talk about his time in a bomber over Europe, when he served as an Army Air Force gunner, having enlisted in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Or speak with pride of his co-founding of the advocacy group People for the American Way, which tracks right-wing attacks on democracy. Maybe he would upbraid the president for his starving of the arts, or address the flames of racial division the president has been fanning, race being a topic that is often central to Lear’s television shows and other projects. Or Lear might do none of these things. The event is scheduled for December 3, so who knows what we’ll be talking about then.

And what of the other honorees, who include de Lavallade, Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan and LL Cool J (the latter being the first hip-hop artist so honored)? What might they say? For Donald J. Trump, to be in their presence — and powerless to shut them up — would indeed be a moment fraught with peril.

 

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If Trump’s refusal to take his place in the Kennedy Center Honors proves anything, it’s the power that artists hold when they choose to wield it. Artists in the realm of popular entertainment can shape the ideas and outlook of ordinary people to an extraordinary degree. One need only look to how Norman Lear’s sitcoms brought the issues of the day into American living rooms, during the time of day when families gathered together around their TV sets.

Individual acts of dissent, such as Lear’s snubbing of an invitation from the president, are powerful in and of themselves. So, too, are the organized acts of artists and their supporters who are less known to the broader public, as is the case with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.


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Maya Angelou

Going Home With Maya Angelou

August 7, 2014

Just imagine, then, what power performing artists and behind-the-scenes powerhouses might have if they came together to organize everyday people. They could play a pivotal role in saving the republic from the despotic oligarchy it seems destined to become in the age of Trump (assuming it hasn’t become such already).

Artists and storytellers who live closer to the ground have been organizing as part of the resistance since the day after the election. In January, PEN America convened a panoply of writers and poets on the steps of the New York Public Library amid a crowd outfitted with posters designed by artist and writer Molly Crabapple. In November, the cast of Hamilton confronted Vice President-elect Mike Pence from the stage with a direct appeal stating the cast’s fears that the incoming administration “would not protect” the rights of people from racial and ethnic minorities. Last January in Washington, DC, a small parade of jazz musicians, some with instruments in hand, protested Trump’s attack on the NEA, whose minuscule slice of the federal budget — 0.013 percent, according to Quartz — largely goes to organizations that bring the arts to underserved communities.

These protests, pleadings and acts of dissent hopefully serve as harbingers of even greater acts of resistance to come from the nation’s arts communities. A coordinated strategy among top-name artists, such as that employed by leading artists in the civil rights era, could spur regular people to action. If we examine the work, both in the spotlight and behind the scenes, of Harry Belafonte, Miriam Makeba, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, and Dick Gregory (whose August 19 passing we mourn today), we find a group of artists who collaborated in protest and deployed themselves strategically to expand the civil rights movement.

At the vanguard of nearly every successful liberation movement, artists have led the way. With America on the verge of capture by the forces of unbridled greed — avarice enabled by the stoking of racial and ethnic hatred — the nation is in dire need of liberation. And Donald J. Trump, the ringmaster of those forces, cowers before the power of America’s artists.

Trump’s demonstrated contempt for the arts displays not only disregard for the common culture of the American people, but his ongoing assault on anyone who speaks out against him. The president’s attacks on both the press and the arts rely on implements from the authoritarian toolkit.

If the actions of Kennedy Center honorees Norman Lear and Carmen de Lavallade spur fellow artists to similar protests, that will be a powerful thing. And if artists seize the moment to mobilize the resistance movement already underway, the movement will be unstoppable. One could scarcely imagine a worse nightmare for the artless Donald J. Trump, and the destructive and divisive forces he represents.

The post Trump’s Arts Council ‘Resists’; Will More Artists Take a Stand? appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

The story of Charlottesville was written in blood in the Ukraine

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/08/2017 - 1:37pm in

by Ajamu Baraka, August 16, 2017, via Black Agenda Report Some of the neo-Nazis President Obama helped put in power in Ukraine carried Confederate flags. U.S. society has been moving rightward for decades — and pulling much of Europe with it. What is the character of racist right-wing politics today?  Is it the crazed white supremacist who plows into an anti-fascist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, or can it also be the assurance by Lindsay Graham that an attack against North Korea would result in thousands of lives lost…. but those lives will be “over there”?  What about the recent unanimous resolution by both Houses of Congress in support of Israel and criticism of the United Nations for its alleged anti-Israeli bias?  Would that qualify as racist and right-wing, since it appears that the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians is of no concern?  And what about the vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to go even beyond the obscene proposal of the Trump administration to increase the military budget by $54 billion dollars and instead add …

Presenters of Sam Seder’s Majority Report Defend Themselves against Accusations of Anti-Semitism

Readers of this blog will know very well that the Zionist lobby in Britain and America has repeatedly smeared decent, anti-racist people with the accusation that they are anti-Semites, when their only offence is that they have dared to hold Israel to the same moral standards as the rest of the world.

Israel is a racist state, which occupies the Palestinian territories on the West Bank, and which has engaged in a decades long campaign of brutalization and ethnic cleansing towards the indigenous Arabs population.

Those, who oppose this policy of massacre, persecution and expulsion include Torah-observant, and secular Jews as well as decent, anti-racist gentiles. Despite the fact that very many anti-Zionists and supporters of Palestinian rights are self-respecting Jews, who may be active members of their community, they are vilified as anti-Semitic, or self-hating, every bit as much as the non-Jewish opponents of the Israeli state. Indeed, some are subject to worse abuse.

Sam Seder’s Majority Report is a left-wing internet news programme. Mr. Seder and at least one other of his fellow presenters and staffers on the show is Jewish. In 2014 they made a series of videos reporting the carnage in Gaza, and fiercely criticized the Israeli state’s oppression of the Palestinian people. They also attacked and mocked a Republican mouthpiece, Ben Shapiro, for his stupid accusations about Obama’s administration similarly being anti-Semitic.

So, inevitably, the show received a message from a viewer accusing them of anti-Semitism. In this clip below, the presenters Michael Brooks and Matt Binder, defend themselves and the show from these accusations and make the point that criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitism. The presenter begins by stating that he reported the numbers of Palestinian and Israeli casualties, 500 Palestinians to 15 or 16 Israelis, not because he believed that they should be higher or more equal, but because he felt that there should be none at all. No-one should have died, regardless of whether they were Israeli or Palestinian. He also makes the point that his Jewish identity, which is specifically a German Jewish identity, is very important to him.

He states that the use of the accusation of anti-Semitism to close down a conversation about the systemic abuse of human rights by Israel, a sovereign state, is cynical and cheapens anti-Semitism. He states that he doesn’t often read the comments on YouTube. Sometimes the comments are anti-Semitic. Sometimes, after condemning actions by Hamas, and then offering an objective assessment condemning occupation, bombardment and civilians (by Israel), they have been called anti-Semitic. He states that he cannot understand the mindset, but believes some of those, who make the accusation are too caught up emotionally to make a rational judgement.

But with others, it is just a cynical ploy to stop criticism. And one which he states insults the long history of genocide, exodus, expulsion, torture and persecution that the Jewish people have suffered down the centuries. It cheapens also the Jews, who have been tortured and killed simply because of their Jewish identity by terrorists and suicide bombers. It’s a cheap, disgusting parlour trick. He states very clearly that Israel needs to be held to the same moral standards as a normal nation state, not criticized because it is Jewish, nor excused for its wrongful actions for the same reasons either.

The Israeli government and those before it have a policy of expanding Israeli settlement and limiting those of Palestinians. This is a vital issue, and using the accusation of anti-Semitism to stop it is disgusting and disingenuous.

Sam Seder is attacked because he mocked Ben Shapiro, who called Obama’s government one of the most anti-Semitic administrations. The presenter states that this is stupid, and calling Seder himself anti-Semitic is moronic. Seder, he states, is one of the most Jewish people around, outside the Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who live in Crown Heights. Many of whom, he says, are lovely people, as he used to live around there. If you’re going to describe him as ‘anti-Semitic’, at least say he’s self-hating instead.

As for Ben Shapiro, the presenter describes him as ‘a prepubescent little schmuck’ whose statement was too much even for Trump’s spokeswoman, Megyn Kelly. To call them, the producers of the show, anti-Semitic because they spent three minutes mocking him, shows how stupid the caller is, and they have to have compassion on that. But he also makes the point that it’s clearly wrong to call this mockery anti-Semitic, and claim it comes from the same motives as the Holocaust and the murder and torture of Jewish people, such as those, who were killed by the terrorists in Mumbai.

He and the producer then make a few sarcastic, but very accurate points about being called ‘anti-Semitic’ and accused of denying the Holocaust in their turn, simply because they have told their accusers that they’re morons and made even more comments mocking Shapiro.

I’ve put this up as this response to the accusations of anti-Semitism by Sam Seder’s fellow broadcasters – Seder himself goes on to rebut it himself in a later video – because it’s also an excellent response to the smears made by the Zionist lobby over here against Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker and the many other decent people, who were targeted simply because they supported Jeremy Corbyn, as well as people like Mike, who was smeared simply because he dared to defend Livingstone, Walker and several of the others on grounds of historical accuracy.

Many of those smeared and suspended from the party were Jews, or of Jewish heritage, and had suffered genuine anti-Semitic abuse. One person had had her son attacked by a British Nazi. As for the non-Jews smeared as anti-Semites, like Mike, these were anti-racists, and many of whom similarly had a proud personal history of attacking anti-Semitism. Like Red Ken, who attacks it, along with anti-Black racism, and the British state’s recruitment of real Nazis in their battle with Communism during the Cold War, in his 1987 book, Livingstone’s Labour. These were real Nazis, who had committed horrific crimes against Jews during the Holocaust.

For the non-Jewish people smeared as anti-Semites, the other point the presenter raised remains valid: the accusation of anti-Semitism is a cheap, disgusting rhetorical smear to try to shut down their pertinent criticism of the state of Israel for its crimes. And by using anti-Semitism in this way to deflect criticism of a sovereign nation – Israel- for its disgusting human rights abuses on the same grounds as other nations are attacked and criticized, grotesquely cheapens and insults the real history of Jewish persecution and the memory of those, who suffered.

Critics of Israel, who have suffered these smears, like Norman Finkelstein, have made the same point again and again. But the Zionist lobby carries on with the same vile libels. And the point needs to be made: as well as being a cheap response in itself, it’s also a case of crying wolf. As we’ve seen from the events in Charlottesville several days ago, there are now real Nazis on the march, killing people. These are the real anti-Semites, and if that accusation has to retain its power to shock and reveal just how vile the real Nazis are, then it should not be squandered on vilifying decent people, just for the benefits of the supporters of a vile, racist state, who can only defend their country by smearing decent people as the type of goose-stepping, chanting thugs, who killed an innocent woman and injured 19 others in Charlottesville.

Democrat Lawmakers Wish to Strip Trump of His Power to Launch Nuclear Missiles

At last, after the mindless, terrifying posturing of Trump and Kim Jong In, there’s a bit of common sense in this latest nuclear crisis. A group of Democrat politicos, including Mark Lew, are demanding a change in legislation that would strip the American president of his current power to launch a nuclear attack without Congress’ authorization. This piece of legislation is currently backed by 50,000 signatures from the American public. A previous version of the law was signed by 500,000 people.

In this clip from The Ring of the Fire, the front man not only welcomes this piece of legislation, which would restrain Trump as someone too dangerously unstable to have this power, but asks why it was never passed before. All the past presidents, including Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan and George Dubya, had the power to launch a nuclear missile somewhere without having to seek Congress’ approval. This means that they could destroy a region anywhere, and leave it uninhabitable for 30 years. The presenter makes the point that no-one should power.

He’s absolutely right. The British comics writer and creator, Pat Mills, made a similar point back in an edition of Diceman, a comic whose strips were all Role-Playing Games. In one of these, the reader played Ronald Reagan, who had to go back in time to undo the series of events which were about to start a nuclear war with the former Soviet Union. Mills wrote in the notes to the game a piece detailing how little operational machinery there was in place to check a president’s decision to launch a nuclear attack, or halt hostilities once they had began. These procedures were so few that, if America had been on the brink of a nuclear to the point where the president had gone aboard Airforce 1 to escape an attack on the White House, his chance of contacting the Russian premier to negotiate a peace and pull back from Armageddon would depend literally on a three mile length of wire dangling from the aircraft as an emergency aerial.

And this was under Reagan, whose rhetoric and conduct towards the USSR and Communism was especially belligerent. He nearly started a nuclear holocaust himself with that stupid joke he made at a Republican rally. He stood in front of the cheering crowd, and declared that ‘Congressed has passed legislation outlawing the Soviet Union. Bombing begins in five minutes’. A little while later, the Observer reported under the headline, ‘Nearly the Last Laugh of All’, that after Reagan made that stupid joke, one of the Soviet nuclear bases in Siberia went on red alert for half an hour before standing down.

We can’t have the power to start a nuclear war, and turn this planet into a lifeless cinder, unilaterally held by the President, without a comprehensive system of check. It shouldn’t be held by Reagan, Barack Obama or Clinton, let alone a pratt like Trump.

I have a feeling that the system may have been set up the way it has been for swiftness of response. If Russia had fired nuclear missiles at America, the president could have launched a rapid counterattack in the precious last few minutes the country still existed, instead of seeking Congressional approval.
But the Americans discussing abandoning their ‘no strike first’ policy, removing this power from the presidency is a small price to pay for increased global security.

It’s also similar to a proposal in Britain to strip the Prime Minister of the right to start a war without the consent of parliament. This is precisely what Blair and his cronies did when they joined Bush in the invasion of Iraq. Looking through Waterstone’s shelves the other month, I saw a book by a British general arguing against the proposal, on the grounds that it would hinder Britain’s ability to wage war.

A fair reply to this argument would be ‘Good.’

The Iraq invasion was an illegal act of aggression, launched on a tissue of lies that Saddam Hussein was planning another attack, and had weapons of mass destruction. He wasn’t and didn’t. The result has been the destruction of one of the richest, most secular nations in the Middle East, the devastation of its priceless antiquities, and millions dead, wounded and displaced not only in Iraq itself but across the Middle East.

It plunged the country into a vicious, sectarian civil war, in which the American occupying forces gave material aid and sanction to Shia death squads, while the mercenaries employed by the West ran completely out of control. These private military contractors were responsible for prostitution to murder, sometimes just killing ordinary Iraqis and Arabs just for kicks.

There is a very strong case for hauling Blair, Bush and the other warmongers up before the Hague as war criminals. This has been tried by British, Canadian and Greek lawyers, but American pressure on the Hague War Crimes Tribunal put a stop to it. And a few weeks ago a British court also ruled that Blair could not be indicted as the war criminal he is.

Considering the horror Blair unleashed through his decision to go to war, against the wishes of over a million ordinary Brits, who marched against it – Christian, Muslim, atheist, whatever, then it’s only too right that the Prime Minister should have to call parliament before they declare war.

Jimmy Dore Show: Obama Rejected North Korea Nuclear Peace Deal in 2015

Over the past week the major news issue has been about Trump and North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, ratcheting up the tension that could easily lead to a nuclear war. The North Koreans have test fired another missile, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, and have threated to hit the island of Guam, on which America has a military base. In return, Trump has vowed to retaliate ‘with fire and fury, such as the world has never seen.’

This is terrifyingly like some of the Cold War rhetoric I grew up under in the 1980s, when the spectre of a global nuclear holocaust was all too real. It was also completely unnecessary, a product of Reagan and Thatcher’s militant posturing and determination to spread capitalism around the globe, no matter what the dangers. All while pretending to be the champions of political freedom.

In this clip from The Jimmy Dore Show, the American comedian and his guests Ron Placone and Steffi Zamorano, the Miserable Liberal, comment on a very revealing piece on another liberal internet news channel, Democracy Now. They interviewed the respected academic linguist and veteran critic of American militarism and capitalism, Noam Chomsky. Chomsky revealed that two years ago, the North Koreans offered to make a peace deal with Barack Obama. They would freeze their nuclear programme. In return, they wanted the Americans to stop conducting manoeuvres close to their borders, including flights by B52 bombers, which are capable of carrying nuclear bombs.

Obama refused.

Which, they comment, kind of makes America look like the aggressor. Dore makes the point that during the Korean War, the country was literally flattened by American bombing, so that there were no targets left. A million people were killed. And the North Koreans have very long memories.

Obama’s refusal of the peace offer by the North Koreans, and this latest jingoistic saber-rattling by Trump, also shows that it doesn’t matter who’s in the White House, the military-industrial complex gets its way anyway.

They also comment on the complicity of the American media in promoting a possible war. There are no journalists working for MSNBC, or writing for the New York Times or Washington Post, advocating peace. No Hans Blix, the UN weapons inspector, who told George Dubya what he really didn’t want to hear: that Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. And no Phil Donohue either, who was sacked because he also spoke out against the war in Iraq. And the New York Times also sacked one of its journos for writing a piece arguing against the invasion of Iraq.

Dore makes the point that this piece needs to go viral, and be reblogged, because you aren’t going to read it or hear about it in the mainstream news. Or if you do, it’ll be on page 88, after a long piece demanding America go to war.

There’s no doubt that Kim Jong Un is a psychopathic dictator, a Stalinist autocrat with the taste for murdering his own family of a Roman emperor. This doesn’t change the fact that this episode, and the horrifying possibility of nuclear war, could have been avoided.

Just like tensions are being ratcheted up with Iran on the same issue of nuclear weapons, and for apparently the same reasons: the American military-industrial complex and bought politicians want a war with Iran. A war which would have similar devastating consequences for the country and the wider Middle East as the Iraq War.

And this is another piece of news that tarnishes the gilded reputation of Barack Obama. Obama, remember, won the Nobel Peace Prize when he was elected, despite not having done anything. It was enough that he was America’s first Black president, and that great things were expected of him. Once in power, however, his radical critics on the Left have pointed out that he was as centrist and corporatist as his predecessors. And far from being anti-war, he massively expanded American military adventures into a further five nations. And Hillary Clinton, who served him as America’s foreign minister, was responsible for backing another Fascist military coup in Honduras. This installed a right-wing government that has restored power to American corporations, and conducted a reign of terror against trade unionists, indigenous peoples and activists for their rights, and the left wing opposition. Killary was also close friends with Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s close aide, who has been dubbed the greatest unindicted war criminal because of the murderous regimes and atrocities he backed from Pinochet’s coup in Chile, Pakistan’s attacks on Bangladesh during their war of independence, and the Vietnam War.

This is why so many Americans want change, and flocked to Bernie Sanders when he denounced Clinton for her friendship with Kissinger, and said that America should no longer interfere in other countries’ domestic affairs.

And the silence of the press over this – both in America and over here, in Britain, on similar issues, is why we need to support the internet and left-wing news shows like Dore’s and Democracy Now, as well as independent bloggers like Mike, despite attempts by Google and Facebook to close them down by denying them an audience.

The Bane of Bain

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 02/08/2017 - 5:32am in

Back in 2012, Barack Obama made so much hay out of Mitt Romney’s connection to Bain Capital that a distraught Cory Booker was inspired to cry out, “Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright.” Booker called Obama’s attacks “nauseating” and “ridiculous,” which earned him a supportive tweet from John McCain.

Fast-forward to 2017. The Obama people are now pushing hard for Deval Patrick, the former two-term governor of Massachusetts, to run for the Democratic nomination in 2020. Guess what Patrick has been doing since he left the governor’s mansion? Working at Bain Capital.

It’s something. The combined forces of Wall Street and the Hamptons—sorry, Clinton and Obama—are pushing hard, variously, for Joe Biden (who’s making strong noises that he’ll be running in 2020), Kamala Harris, and Deval Patrick.

What do these three people have in common? None of them is the most popular politician in the United States.

 

Why Obamacare Repeal Won’t Die

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/07/2017 - 5:10am in

The zombie-like resilience of GOP efforts to repeal-and-replace Obamacare would be the stuff of a Hollywood epic—were it not so devastating to millions of Americans.

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