In the News

 

Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can't vent any anger against them; I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence.

Charles Bukowski

 

A Botanist in Swedish Lapland

By JAMES PROSEK

MAY 16, 2017, © The New York Times

The plan was to retrace part of a journey that Carl Linnaeus made in 1732 when he was 25, from Uppsala, just north of Stockholm, to the northernmost region of Sweden, known as Swedish Lapland. Linnaeus kept a detailed journal of his travels, often called his "Lapland Journal," with maps of the mountains, rivers and lakes, drawings and his squiggly handwriting.

I came to Swedish Lapland in part to try to get to know Linnaeus better, but also to see if I was judging him unfairly. Linnaeus was the man who invented that clean two-name system, binomial nomenclature, which gave a generic and specific epithet (genus and species) to organisms — like Homo sapiens for humans or Salmo trutta for brown trout. Those names are steady and dependable, but as I grew older and spent more time in nature, I began to see and appreciate nature on its own terms, and learned that it is messy, chaotic and overwhelming and does not always fit into neat categories, as we'd like it to.  full article>

 

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

Margaret Atwood

 

Israel Lobby Pays the Political Piper

By Jonathan Marshall

May 21, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

In this age of rancorous hyper-partisanship, getting members of Congress to agree on anything beyond the naming of a post office is a challenge. Yet in late April, all 100 members of the U.S. Senate signed a tough letter to the U.N. Secretary General, demanding that the organization end its "unwarranted attacks" on Israel's human rights record.  full article>

 

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

Marie Curie

 

Donald Trump's speech to the Muslim world was filled with hypocrisy and condescension

Robert Fisk

May 21, 2017, © The Independent

Despite claiming he wouldn't give a lecture, the President did just that, displaying a blatant anti-Iran bias intended to appease the nation with whom he'd just signed a multi-billion dollar arms deal at the expense of the truth  full article>

 

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.

Helen Keller

 

This FBI Whistleblower and Former Undercover Agent Talks the Comey Firing, the Russia Investigation, and What We Can Expect From a Trump FBI

By Matthew Harwood

May 22, 2017, © ACLU

The last week and a half may be unprecedented in U.S. history — raising the specter of a possible constitutional crisis.

It began with President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey last Tuesday night, May 9. A little more than a week later, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tapped Robert Mueller, the FBI director before Comey, to lead an investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russian interference in November's presidential election and any directly related issues.  full article>

 

Når man har læst sin avis og lukket for radioen, trænger man til at tale med sin hund.

Storm P.

 

Primate of the Day

Bald Uacarí:

The facial skin and ears of the Nald Uacarí ( Cacajao Calvus Calvus) are unpigmented and appear pink-to-scarlet because of their blood in subcutaneous capillaries.

(photo: Luis Claudio)

 

Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions.

Joyce Carol Oates

 

Donald Trump's ignorance is becoming more evident with each passing day

David Cay Johnston

Tuesday 9 May 2017, © The Guardian

Let's connect the dots between Donald Trump's "tax plan", his invitation to the murderous leader in Manila and saying he would be "honored" to meet with the dictator of North Korea. And let's throw in his claim that Trumpcare will be better than Obamacare and that his skeletal tax plan would make him pay more.  full article>

 

It vexes me when they would constrain science by the authority of the Scriptures, and yet do not consider themselves bound to answer reason and experiment.

Galileo Galilei

 

Israel's New Cultural War of Aggression

by Richard Falk

May 8, 2017, © Counterpunch

A few weeks ago my book Palestine's Horizon: Toward a Just Peace was published by Pluto in Britain. I was in London and Scotland at the time to do a series of university talks to help launch the book. Its appearance happened to coincide with the release of a jointly authored report commissioned by the UN Social and Economic Commission of West Asia, giving my appearances a prominence they would not otherwise have had. The report concluded that the evidence relating to Israeli practices toward the Palestinian people amounted to 'apartheid,' as defined in international law.  full article>

 

There is no religion that has a monopoly on bigotry.

Louis Theroux

 

Trump Uses Power of FCC to Pay Back Friends at Sinclair Broadcasting

By Michael Corcoran

May 8, 2017, © FAIR

This morning Sinclair Broadcast Group, the conservative media behemoth that owns more local news stations than any other company in the country, just got even bigger. It announced it was buying Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, creating what Bloomberg (5/8/17) calls a "TV goliath."

The purchase, which gives Sinclair a staggering reach of nearly 69 percent of the US population (Free Press, 5/8/17), would've been in violation of ownership restrictions just weeks ago. But last month, the Trump-appointed FCC chair, Ajit Pai, reinstated the "UHF discount," an outdated loophole that allowed media conglomerates to exceed the nation's 39 percent cap on ownership (New York Post, 4/20/17). Sinclair made a $420 million deal to buy Bonten Media Group (Baltimore Sun, 4/21/17) the very next day.  full article>

 

Even the alternative weekly newspapers, traditionally a bastion of progressive thought and analysis, have been bought by a monopoly franchise and made a predictable shift to the right in their coverage of local news.

Bernie Sanders

 

El llegat de les 'primaveres àrabs'

David Forniès

dimecres, 3 maig 2017, © Critiq

La ciutat de Tunis s'alça a pocs quilòmetres de l'antiga Cartago. Terra d'història en majúscules, la capital de Tunísia també ho és de les 'primaveres àrabs', onada de protestes i de revoltes que van canviar la cara del nord i de l'est de la Mediterrània. Sis anys després, tres països —Egipte, Tunísia i el Marroc— exemplifiquen els camins divergents i alguns rerefons comuns d'aquells esdeveniments.  full article>

 

No civilisation can claim to have a monopoly on universal values and no one can claim to be always faithful to his own values.

Tariq Ramadan

 

It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and the broken promises.

Chief Joseph

 

Settler State Repression: Standing Rock Battles Continue in the Courts

By Dahr Jamail

Wednesday, May 03, 2017, © Truthout

As a means of making bombing, sanctioning or invading other countries palatable to the general population, the US government has consistently used the actions of other governments against their own people as an excuse.

Those actions have included the use of chemical weapons, torture, setting dogs against people, beatings, surveillance, forcibly removing people from their land, jailing them unjustly, holding staged trials, and issuing verbal and physical threats, among many others.  full article>

 

Our relations with the Indians have been governed chiefly by treaties and trade, or war and subjugation.

Nelson A. Miles

 

Government Smearing of Israel's Critics

By Lawrence Davidson

May 3, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

"Back in the day," which in this case was Feb. 8, 2007, the U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism adopted a "working definition" of anti-Semitism which included the following point: It is anti-Semitic to "deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor)."  full article>

 

All treaties between great states cease to be binding when they come in conflict with the struggle for existence.

Otto von Bismarck

 

Lola Schnabel: FLUTTUAZIONI

09.05.2017 – 21.05.2017

Palazzo Marin, Venice

Lola Schnabel: FLUTTUAZIONI, presented by Zuecca Projects

Venue: Palazzo Marin | San Marco 2541, Venice 30124 | Vaporetto stop: Giglio

Opening: May 09, 2017 | from 06.00 PM to 10.00 PM

 

 

In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.

George Orwell

 

The Military Now Runs US Foreign Policy

By Patrick Lawrence

May 2, 2017, © The Nation

You would expect, amid all the tiresome comment written and broadcast on Donald Trump's "first 100 days," something worth thinking about might have appeared somewhere. I have had no luck looking. Instead of detached, thought-through analysis, it has been either pabulum, echo, or more of the usual and not-very-useful denigration—the unpolished style, the dismissal of Washington decorum, the doings at Mar-a-Lago, and other urgent matters of global import.  full article>

 

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.

George Orwell

 

NYT Cheers the Rise of Censorship Algorithms

By Robert Parry

May 2, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

Just days after sporting First Amendment pins at the White House Correspondents Dinner – to celebrate freedom of the press – the mainstream U.S. media is back to celebrating a very different idea: how to use algorithms to purge the Internet of what is deemed "fake news," i.e. what the mainstream judges to be "misinformation."  full article>

 

We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.

George Orwell

 

Three Reasons Bret Stephens Should Not Be a NYT Columnist–and the Real Reason He Is One

By Jim Naureckas

May 2, 2017, © FAIR

You know the reasons why Bret Stephens should not be a New York Times columnist:

1. He's a climate denier.

Here's a question for the New York Times editors: Do you think there's a meaningful chance that virtually all climate scientists are wrong and Bret Stephens is right when he says "temperatures will be about the same" in a hundred years as they are now (Wall Street Journal, 11/30/15)?  full article>

 

Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

George Orwell

 

 

Canine of the Day

Red Fox:

Foxes match the coyote's ability to cope with civilization. Foxes are in the same family as wolves and coyotes (Canidae) but not the same genus. Gray (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) and red (Vulpes vulpes) foxes inhabit about three-quarters of the United States. Swift (Vulpes velox) and kit (Vulpes macrotis) foxes inhabit only small portions of the western United States. Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) live in the northern portions of Canada, Alaska and outlying areas of Greenland.

 

We're Investigating Hate Across the U.S. There's No Shortage of Work.

by Joe Sexton and Rachel Glickhouse

April 24, 2017, © ProPublica

An African-American homeless man slain with a sword on the streets of New York. A mosque attacked in Fort Collins, Colorado, its windows smashed by a man who finished off his assault by hurling a Bible inside the Muslim house of worship. A portion of Junction City, Wisconsin, evacuated after a man angry with his Hmong neighbor opened fire. A man arrested in Port St. Lucie, Florida, for trying to set fire to a convenience store he suspected was owned by a Muslim, after which he said he'd just been trying to "do his part for America."  full article>

 

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

Albert Einstein

 

While the United States Threatens War, in Afghanistan the Work of Peace Continues

by Kathy Kelly

April 20, 2017, © The Progressive

Three former United Nations officials with many decades of experience as diplomats recently wrote a blunt appraisal of the U.S. role in undermining peace efforts and promoting wars. The authors call out President Donald Trump for "embracing a toxic form of messianic nationalism," with exclusionary policies "illustrative of a regressive and Islamophobic outlook."  full article>

 

Confusion of goals and perfection of means seems, in my opinion, to characterize our age.

Albert Einstein

 

Why Not a Probe of 'Israel-gate'?

April 20, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

The other day, I asked a longtime Democratic Party insider who is working on the Russia-gate investigation which country interfered more in U.S. politics, Russia or Israel. Without a moment's hesitation, he replied, "Israel, of course."

Which underscores my concern about the hysteria raging across Official Washington about "Russian meddling" in the 2016 presidential campaign: There is no proportionality applied to the question of foreign interference in U.S. politics. If there were, we would have a far more substantive investigation of Israel-gate.  full article>

 

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Søren Kierkegaard

 

The First 100 Days of Resistance Restored Our Faith in Democracy

By John Nichols

April 24th, 2017, © The Nation

The awful irony of Donald Trump's first 100 days as president is that a man who is still frequently described as "erratic" has governed as an entirely predictable corporate conservative—as everyone paying attention knew he would. Trump was always going to choose billionaire-ism over economic populism. The outsider who promised to "drain the swamp" was always going to pack his administration with Goldman Sachs cronies and corporate lobbyists pushing privatization, deregulation, and austerity. The fabulist who inflated claims about his opposition to the Iraq War was always going to drop bombs and escalate conflicts. A political newcomer, Trump was always going to revert to xenophobic bombast and a permanent campaign of fear and bigotry in order to hold on to a base of supporters who will never get the security and prosperity that he promised. full article>

 

There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.

Søren Kierkegaard

 

The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation.

Simone Weil

 

The Problem is Washington, Not North Korea

by Mike Whitney

April 17, 2017, © Counterpunch

Washington has never made any effort to conceal its contempt for North Korea. In the 64 years since the war ended, the US has done everything in its power to punish, humiliate and inflict pain on the Communist country. Washington has subjected the DPRK to starvation, prevented its government from accessing foreign capital and markets, strangled its economy with crippling economic sanctions, and installed lethal missile systems and military bases on their doorstep.  full article>

 

For greed all nature is too little.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet

Bill McKibben

Monday 17 April 2017, © The Guardian

Donald Trump is so spectacularly horrible that it's hard to look away – especially now that he's discovered bombs. But precisely because everyone's staring gape-mouthed in his direction, other world leaders are able to get away with almost anything. Don't believe me? Look one country north, at Justin Trudeau.  full article>

 

We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.

Stephen Hawking

 

Full Interview: Julian Assange on Trump, DNC Emails, Russia, the CIA, Vault 7 & More

April 12, 2017, © Democracy Now

 

 

An empire founded by war has to maintain itself by war.

Charles de Montesquieu

 

 

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And I'm Juan González. Welcome to all of our listeners and viewers around the country and around the world.

Seventy-five days ago today, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. On the international front, Trump has expanded U.S. military operations in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Somalia, while resuming arms sales to Bahrain. On Monday, he welcomed Egyptian leader General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at the White House as thousands of activists remain locked up in Egypt. At the United Nations, the Trump administration led a boycott of U.N. talks to ban nuclear weapons, while pushing for the United States to expand its own nuclear arsenal. Trump has also threatened to unilaterally act against North Korea.

On the environmental front, Trump picked climate deniers to head the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department, while slashing the EPA's programs to combat climate change. Trump's budget calls for an unprecedented $54 billion increase in military spending, while ending dozens of environmental, housing, diplomatic and educational programs. Trump is also requesting a nearly $3 billion increase in funding for the Department of Homeland Security, largely to pay for expanding the border wall and hiring 1,500 new Border Patrol and ICE agents.

AMY GOODMAN: However, the Trump agenda has faced some judicial and legislative setbacks. Federal courts have blocked the implementation of two travel bans targeting residents from six majority-Muslim nations. And in Congress, Trump failed in his attempt to repeal Obamacare, which would have stripped up to 24 million people of health insurance while giving the rich a massive tax break. Meanwhile, his administration is facing an FBI probe over its dealings with Russia before the election. This all comes as a resistance movement is growing throughout the country.

To help make sense of where the country stands 75 days into the Trump administration, we're joined by one of the world's best-known dissidents, the linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he taught for more than 50 years. He is the author of more than a hundred books. His latest book comes out today. It's titled Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.

Noam Chomsky, welcome back to Democracy Now! It's great to have you with us.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Glad to be with you again.

AMY GOODMAN: So, why don't we start, on this 75th day, by your assessment of what has happened in these first few months?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I think it was captured pretty well by a Los Angeles Timeseditorial, which simply called it a "train wreck." But it's very consistent, very systematic. Anything that can be of assistance to ordinary people, working people, middle-class people, people on the street—any such program has to be decimated. Anything that adds to wealth and power or that increases the use of force, that we carry forward.

And it's done with—there's kind of a two-tiered system working—I presume, consciously, so systematic it's hard to question. The Bannon-Trump team wants to make sure that they dominate the headlines. So, whatever they do, that's what people look at, and one crazy thing after another, the assumption apparently being you'll forget the old ones by the time the new ones come in. So, no one talks anymore about the 3 million illegal immigrants who voted for Clinton. That one, we've forgotten. We're on to the next one, and we'll go on to the next one. While this is going on in front, the Paul Ryan-style budgetary and planning operations are going on quietly in the back, ripping to shreds any element of government that can help people either today or tomorrow. That's the point of the destruction of the environmental system. It's not just the EPA which was slashed. Most of the environmental programs were actually in the Energy Department. Their research and activist programs were slashed very seriously.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what do you make in terms of—when you're talking about decimation, clearly, one of the big failures was their inability to end Obamacare. Could you talk about the—what you're seeing now as the potential in terms of the healthcare system in the country, what they will try to do and what the potential is there?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Actually, there was a pretty interesting poll about it that came out a couple of days ago, simply asking people what they preferred. The Republican proposal was the lowest of the choices available. I think about 15 percent of the population were willing to accept it. Somewhat higher was the existing system, so-called Obamacare. And on that, it's worth bearing in mind that a lot of people don't know that Obamacare is the Affordable Care Act. So you have negative attitudes towards Obamacare, thanks to lots of propaganda, but more positive attitudes towards the Affordable Care Act, because of what people see.

Most popular of all—over half—was the so-called public option, a government-guaranteed healthcare program, which is pretty remarkable because no one publicly advocates that. But it's been a consistent polling result for decades, that when people are asked what they want, they say that's their choice. And, in fact, that's about the only proposal that makes any sense. The U.S. healthcare system is an international scandal. It's roughly twice the per capita costs of comparable countries, and some of the worst outcomes, mainly because it's privatized, extremely inefficient, bureaucratized, lots of bill paying, lots of officials, tons of money wasted, healthcare in the hands of profit-seeking institutions, which are not health institutions, of course. And for decades people have preferred what every other country has, in some fashion: either straight national healthcare or heavily government-regulated healthcare like, say, Switzerland. Sometimes the support is astonishingly high. So, in the late Reagan years, for example, about 70 percent of the population thought that guaranteed healthcare should be a constitutional guarantee, because it's such an obvious desideratum. And about 40 percent thought it already was in the Constitution. The Constitution is just this holy collection of anything reasonable, so it must be there.

But it just doesn't matter what people think. When Obama put through his own program, I think support for the public option was almost two-thirds, but it was simply dismantled. When this is—occasionally, this is discussed in the press, New York Times, others. And they mention it. They say it's a possibility, but it's called politically impossible, which is correct, which means you can't pass it through the pharmaceutical corporations and financial institutions. That's politically possible in what's called democracy. Sometimes they say "lacking political support," meaning from the institutions that really matter. There's kind of this population on the side, but we can dismiss them, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think there could be a kind of "Nixon in China" moment with Trump? He has, in the past, expressed support for single payer. He's extremely angry right now at the Freedom Caucus. He can't decide which more—which are the villains in this more, the Freedom Caucus or the Democrats. He goes back and forth. Do you think he could sort of throw it all out? Or is it going to just go as we're seeing in these past few days, where it looks like they're going to revive it to what the Freedom—so-called Freedom Caucus wants?

NOAM CHOMSKY: I think they'll probably revise it. Trump is all over the place. You don't know what he believes. He says almost anything that comes to his mind at 3:00 a.m. But the people who are really setting the policy in the background—essentially, the Ryan ultra-right Republicans—they understand what they're doing. And they want to destroy the—any—the aspects of the healthcare system that are beneficial to the general public, that's systematic policies. Probably what will happen is the kind of compromise that's already being discussed, with states having the right to opt out of whatever the federal program is, which might satisfy the ultra-right Freedom Caucus, make it even worse than the current Republican proposal.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to turn to—

NOAM CHOMSKY: Just today, incidentally, one—I think Kansas—turned down expansion of Medicaid. I mean, anything that's going to help people in need has got to be wiped out.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Noam Chomsky, I'd like to ask you about something that's been in the news a lot lately. Obviously, all the cable channels, that's all they talk about these days, is the whole situation of Russia's supposed intervention in American elections. For a country that's intervened in so many governments and so many elections around the world, that's kind of a strange topic. But I know you've referred to this as a joke. Could you give us your view on what's happening and why there's so much emphasis on this particular issue?

NOAM CHOMSKY: It's a pretty remarkable fact that—first of all, it is a joke. Half the world is cracking up in laughter. The United States doesn't just interfere in elections. It overthrows governments it doesn't like, institutes military dictatorships. Simply in the case of Russia alone—it's the least of it—the U.S. government, under Clinton, intervened quite blatantly and openly, then tried to conceal it, to get their man Yeltsin in, in all sorts of ways. So, this, as I say, it's considered—it's turning the United States, again, into a laughingstock in the world.

So why are the Democrats focusing on this? In fact, why are they focusing so much attention on the one element of Trump's programs which is fairly reasonable, the one ray of light in this gloom: trying to reduce tensions with Russia? That's—the tensions on the Russian border are extremely serious. They could escalate to a major terminal war. Efforts to try to reduce them should be welcomed. Just a couple of days ago, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jack Matlock, came out and said he just can't believe that so much attention is being paid to apparent efforts by the incoming administration to establish connections with Russia. He said, "Sure, that's just what they ought to be doing."

So, meanwhile, this one topic is the primary locus of concern and critique, while, meanwhile, the policies are proceeding step by step, which are extremely destructive and harmful. So, you know, yeah, maybe the Russians tried to interfere in the election. That's not a major issue. Maybe the people in the Trump campaign were talking to the Russians. Well, OK, not a major point, certainly less than is being done constantly. And it is a kind of a paradox, I think, that the one issue that seems to inflame the Democratic opposition is the one thing that has some justification and reasonable aspects to it.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, of course, because the Democrats feel that that's the reason, somehow, that they lost the election. Interesting that James Comey this week said he is investigating Trump campaign collusion with Russia, when it was Comey himself who could have—might well have been partly responsible for Hillary Clinton's defeat, when he said that he was investigating her, while, we now have learned, at the same time he was investigating Donald Trump, but never actually said that.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, you can understand why the Democratic Party managers want to try to find some blame for the fact—for the way they utterly mishandled the election and blew a perfect opportunity to win, handed it over to the opposition. But that's hardly a justification for allowing the Trump policies to slide by quietly, many of them not only harmful to the population, but extremely destructive, like the climate change policies, and meanwhile focus on one thing that could become a step forward, if it was adjusted to move towards serious efforts to reduce growing and dangerous tensions right on the Russian border, where they could blow up. NATO maneuvers are taking place hundreds of yards from the Russian border. The Russian jet planes are buzzing American planes. This—something could get out of hand very easily. Both sides, meanwhile, are building up their military forces, adding—the U.S. is—one thing that the Russians are very much concerned about is the so-called anti-ballistic missile installation that the U.S. is establishing near the Russian border, allegedly to protect Europe from nonexistent Iranian missiles. Nobody seriously believes that. This is understood to be a first strike threat. These are serious issues. People like William Perry, who has a distinguished career and is a nuclear strategist and is no alarmist at all, is saying that we're back to the—this is one of the worst moments of the Cold War, if not worse. That's really serious. And efforts to try to calm that down would be very welcome. And we should bear in mind it's the Russian border. It's not the Mexican border. There's no Warsaw Pact maneuvers going on in Mexico. And that's a border that the Russians are quite reasonably sensitive about. They've practically been destroyed several times the last century right through that region.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In line with your concern about the growing threat in terms of nuclear weapons, there are also maneuvers going on off the coast of Korea, and the words that we've heard from President Trump in the last few days, that if China doesn't deal with North Korea, the U.S. will. Can you talk about his policies already, his developing policies toward Korea and toward China?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, it's kind of interesting to look at the record. The claim is "Well, we've tried everything. Nothing works. Therefore, we have to use force." Is it true that nothing's worked? I mean, there is a record, after all. And if you look at the record, it's interesting.

1994, Clinton made—established what was called the Framework Agreement with North Korea. North Korea would terminate its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The U.S. would reduce hostile acts. It more or less worked, and neither side lived up to it totally, but, by 2000, North Korea had not proceeded with its nuclear weapons programs. George W. Bush came in and immediately launched an assault on North Korea—you know, "axis of evil," sanctions and so on. North Korea turned to producing nuclear weapons. In 2005, there was an agreement between North Korea and the United States, a pretty sensible agreement. North Korea agreed to terminate its development of nuclear weapons. In return, it called for a nonaggression pact. So, stop making hostile threats, relief from harsh sanctions, and provision of a system to provide North Korea with low-enriched uranium for medical and other purposes—that was the proposal. George Bush instantly tore it to shreds. Within days, the U.S. was imposing—trying to disrupt North Korean financial transactions with other countries through Macau and elsewhere. North Korea backed off, started building nuclear weapons again. I mean, maybe you can say it's the worst regime in history, whatever you like, but they have been following a pretty rational tit-for-tat policy.

And why are they developing nuclear weapons altogether? I mean, the economy is in bad shape. They could certainly use the resources. Everyone understands that it's a deterrent. And they have a proposal, actually. There's a proposal on the table. China and North Korea proposed that North Korea should terminate its further development of nuclear weapons. In return, the United States should stop carrying out threatening military maneuvers with South Korea right on its border. Not an unreasonable proposal. It's simply dismissed. Actually, Obama dismissed it, too. There are possible steps that could be taken to alleviate which could be an extremely serious crisis. I mean, if the U.S. did decide to use force against North Korea, one immediate reaction, according to the military sources available to us, is that Seoul, the city of Seoul, would simply be wiped out by mass North Korean artillery aimed at it. And who knows where we'd go from there? But the opportunity to produce—to move towards a negotiated diplomatic settlement does not seem outlandish. I mean, this Chinese-North Korean proposal is certainly worth serious consideration, I would think.

And it's worth bearing in mind that North Korea has some memories. They were practically destroyed by some of the most intensive bombing in history. The bombing—you should—it's worth reading. Maybe you should read, people, the official Air Force history of the bombing of North Korea. It's shattering. I mean, they had flattened the country. There were no targets left. So, therefore, they decided, well, we'll attack the dams—which is a war crime, of course. And the description of the attack on the dams is—without the exact wording, I hate to paraphrase it. You should really read the—they were simply exalting, in the official histories, Air Force Quarterly and others, about the—how magnificent it will be to see this massive flood of water coursing through North Korea, wiping out crops. For Asians, the rice crops is their life. This will destroy them. It will be magnificent. The North Koreans lived through that. And having nuclear-capable B-52s flying on their border is not a joke.

But, most significantly, there's a record of partial success in diplomatic initiatives, total failure with sanctions and harsh moves, and options that are on the table which could be pursued. Now, instead of concern about whether somebody talked to the Russians, this is the kind of thing that should be—that should be pursued very seriously. That's what the Democrats or anyone hoping for some form of peace and justice should be working for.

AMY GOODMAN: Which brings us to China. President Trump said, "If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will." Are you concerned that with Trump at an all-time low for presidents, when it comes to popularity, with suffering defeat after defeat, lashing out and trying to focus on a foreign enemy? But at the same time, you have China coming to the United States, this meeting that he's going to have with the Chinese leader, Xi, in Mar-a-Lago—also very interesting, considering it's a golf course, right? He hates golf and forbade Communist Party members to play golf. Is it more about Trump feeling he has more access to shut down press coverage or any information about who's meeting with him, when it's in his private resort? But more importantly, what the agenda is there and what our relationship is with China?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, as you recall, one of the interesting incidents was a public discussion of significant security issues in the resort with people sitting around drinking coffee and having drinks. Maybe they keep the press out, but they didn't seem to keep the guests out.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, not if you pay $200,000 a year and you're a member of Mar-a-Lago.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Right. Then you pass the filter.

AMY GOODMAN: And then you get to take photos, selfies, with the man carrying the nuclear codes.

NOAM CHOMSKY: The "football."

AMY GOODMAN: The "football."

NOAM CHOMSKY: He's extremely unpredictable. But this—the relations with China are an extremely serious issue. China is not going to back down on its fundamental demands, concerning Taiwan, for example. And if Trump—a lot of what China is demanding, I think, is—it shouldn't be—is not acceptable. It shouldn't—it's not internationally acceptable. But the reaction through use of force is just extraordinarily dangerous. I mean, you cannot play that game in international affairs. We are too close to destroying ourselves. You take a look at the record of—through the nuclear age, of near—of accidental—sometimes accidental, sometimes kind of irrational actions. It's almost miraculous that we've survived.

And anything that—to get a good estimate of this, of the danger, take a look at the best monitor of the global security situation that we have as a simple measure—namely, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' Doomsday Clock. This is set every year, since the beginning of the nuclear age, 1947, by a group of serious specialists, scientists, political analysts and others, who try to give a measure of the danger that the human species faces. Midnight means we're finished. In 1947, the clock was set at seven minutes to midnight. In 1953, right after the U.S. and Russia tested hydrogen bombs, thermonuclear weapons, it went to two minutes to midnight. That's the closest it's been to total disaster. Right now, as soon as Trump came in, it was moved to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight, both because of the nuclear threat, recognized to be serious, and the threat of environmental catastrophe, which was not considered in the earlier years, now is.

Now, those are, overwhelmingly, the most crucial issues that face us. Everything else fades into insignificance in comparison to them. Those are literally questions of survival. And two-and-a-half minutes to midnight means extraordinary danger. These should be the major focus of attention. And it's kind of astonishing to see the way they're ignored. Throughout the whole electoral campaign, practically no mention of them. Every Republican candidate, every single one, either—with regard to the climate, either denied what is happening or else said—the moderates, like Jeb Bush, Kasich, said, "Well, maybe it's happening, but doesn't matter. We shouldn't do anything about it."

AMY GOODMAN: Well, the U.S. just led the boycott at the U.N. of the nuclear ban talks.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Of the nuclear ban. It joined with the other nuclear powers, unfortunately. There are—there's also the question of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. There are now three nuclear powers which have refused to ratify it: China, the United States and Israel. And if tests begin again, it's an extremely serious danger. As I mentioned, it was when the first tests were carried out that the Doomsday Clock went to two minutes to midnight.

There's the problem of the New START Treaty, a treaty—there has been inadequate, but significant, reduction in nuclear weapons since the end of the Cold War. The New START Treaty is supposed to carry it forward. Russia and the United States have the overwhelming mass of the nuclear weapons. And this would cut down the number, but also the more threatening ones, would reduce it. Trump has indicated—I don't know—nobody knows what he means, but he's indicated that is what he calls a bad deal for the United States, suggesting maybe we should pull out of it, which would be a disaster. I mean, these are major issues. And the fact that they're barely being discussed is a shattering commentary on the level of contemporary civilization.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Noam Chomsky, I wanted to ask you—those on the left are accustomed to looking at the American government basically as in the service of the capitalist class, the politicians. Occasionally, you had a Rockefeller or an actual member of the capitalist class who went into government. But now, with this Trump administration, it's an extraordinary number of extremely wealthy people have actually moved directly into government. And yet you're seeing this narrative that they are attracting support from the white working class of the country. Could you talk about this, the capitalists directly taking over the running of government?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, as you say, they've run it all the time. The simple measures, like campaign funding alone, simple measure like that, is a very close predictor, not only of electoral victory, but even of policies. That's been true for a century. And if you take a look at the analysis of public attitude—a major topic in academic political science is comparing popular attitudes with public policy. It's pretty straightforward. Public policy, you can see. Popular attitudes, we know a lot about from extensive polling. And the results are pretty startling. Turns out that about 70 percent of voters, which is maybe half the electorate—about 70 percent of voters are literally disenfranchised, the lower 70 percent on the income scale, meaning that their own representatives pay no attention to their—to their attitudes and preferences. If you move up the income scale, you get a little more correlation, more—a little more influence. The very top, which is probably a fraction of 1 percent, if you could get the data, it's where policy is set. Now, the Trump administration is kind of a caricature of this. It's always pretty much true. But here they're—it's as if they're kind of purposely trying to flaunt the fact that this country is run by Goldman Sachs and billionaires, and nobody else counts.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Wilbur Ross, Betsy DeVos.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Right, all of them. I mean, it's almost like a shocking parody, as if they're trying to show, "Yeah, what we all know is true is dramatically true, and we're going to show it to you."

The interesting—an interesting question, the one you raise, is: How are they maintaining support among the people they're kicking in the face? That's not uninteresting. And if you look into it, there's a number of factors. One—first of all, many of the Trump voters, white working-class voters, quite a few of them voted for Obama in 2008. You go back to the Obama campaign, the exciting words were "hope" and "change." I don't usually agree with Sarah Palin, but when she asked, "Where's this hopey-changey stuff?" she wasn't talking nonsense. It quickly became clear there's no hope and there's no change. And the working people were significantly disillusioned. You could see it right in Massachusetts, where—when Kennedy died, you know, the "liberal lion." There was going to be a vote for—to replace him, 2010. Amazingly, a Republican won, in Democratic Massachusetts, Kennedy's seat. And union voters didn't vote for the Democrats. They were very upset by the fact that they had been cheated, they felt, rightly, by the Obama campaign of promises. And they turned to their bitter class enemy, who at least talks the words. The Republicans have mastered the technique of talking words as if you're sort of an ordinary guy, you know, kind of guy you'd meet in a bar, that sort of thing. It goes back to Reagan and his jellybeans, and Bush, you know, mispronouncing words, and so on and so forth. It's a game that's played. And it's a con game. But in the absence of any opposition, it works.

And what happens when there is an opposition? That's very striking. The most astonishing fact about the last election, which is the Sanders achievements, that's a break from a century of American political history. As I said, you can pretty well predict electoral outcomes simply by campaign funding alone. There's other factors that intensify it. Here comes Sanders, somebody nobody ever heard of. No support from the wealthy, no support from corporations. The media ignored or disparaged him. He even used a scare word, "socialist." Came from nowhere. He would have won the Democratic Party nomination if it hadn't been for the shenanigans of the Obama-Clinton party managers who kept him out. Might have been president. From nothing. That's an incredible break. It shows what can happen when policies are proposed that do meet the general, just concerns of much of the population.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think he could still win if he ran again?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, there was a Fox News poll, couple of days ago—Fox News—asking who's the—trying to ask who's your favorite political figure. Sanders was way ahead, far ahead of anybody else, with no vocal, articulate support among the concentrations of power—media, corporations, elsewhere. In fact, if you look at policy preferences, you see something similar. We already mentioned the health issue. That's—and on issue after issue, much of the public that is actually voting for their bitter class enemy, if you look at the policies, actually favor social democratic policies, even environmental policies.

AMY GOODMAN: We've had hundreds of questions come in from every means to ask you. One of them is Ty Williams, who asks via Twitter about Trump exploiting fear. Ty asked, when you—"(Can) you please expand on your comments in AlterNet that Trump admin could stage attack? What historical parallel do you have in mind?"

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, actually, the statement I made was pretty muted. It wasn't quite as strong as the headlines indicated. What I pointed out—and what everyone, I think, is aware of—is that sooner or later this con game is not going to work. People will understand he's not bringing back jobs. He's not going to recreate the partly illusory, partly real picture of what life was like in the past, with manufacturing jobs and a functioning society, and you could get ahead, and so and so forth. He's not going to create that.

What happens at that point? Something has to be done to maintain control. The obvious technique is scapegoating. So blame it on immigrants, on Muslims, on somebody. But that can only go so far. The next step would be, as I said, an alleged terrorist attack, which is quite easy. It's, in fact, almost normal to—like Condoleezza Rice's mushroom clouds. That's easy to construct, alleged attacks. The other possibility is a staged attack of a minor kind. And how hard would that be? Take the FBI technique, which they're using constantly, of creating situations of entrapment. Well, suppose one of them goes a little too far, that you don't stop it right in time. That wouldn't be hard to work out. I don't particularly anticipate it, but it's a possibility. And this is a very frightened country. For years, this has been probably the most frightened country in the world. It's also the safest country in the world. It's very easy to terrify people.

AMY GOODMAN: Noam—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you another question that came in, from Melbourne, Australia, Aaron Bryla. He said, "Defense Secretary James Mattis this week described Iran as the greatest threat to the United States. My question: Why does the U.S. insist on setting the potential grounds for war with Iran?"

NOAM CHOMSKY: That's been going on for years. Right through the Obama years, Iran was regarded as the greatest threat to world peace. And that's repeated over and over. "All options are open," Obama's phrase, meaning, if we want to use nuclear weapons, we can, because of this terrible danger to peace.

Actually, we have—there's a few interesting comments that should be made about this. One is, there also is something called world opinion. What does the world think is the greatest threat to world peace? Well, we know that, from U.S.-run polls, Gallup polls: United States. Nobody even close, far ahead of any other threat. Pakistan, second, much lower. Iran, hardly mentioned.

Why is Iran regarded here as the greatest threat to world peace? Well, we have an authoritative answer to that from the intelligence community, which provides regular assessments to Congress on the global strategic situation. And a couple of years ago, their report—of course, they always discuss Iran. And the reports are pretty consistent. They say Iran has very low military spending, even by the standards of the region, much lower than Saudi Arabia, Israel, others. Its strategy is defensive. They want to deter attacks long enough for diplomacy to be entertained. The conclusion, intelligence conclusion—this is a couple years ago—is: If they are developing nuclear weapons, which we don't know, but if they are, it would be part of their deterrent strategy. Now, why is the United States and Israel even more so concerned about a deterrent? Who's concerned about a deterrent? Those who want to use force. Those who want to be free to use force are deeply concerned about a potential deterrent. So, yes, Iran is the greatest threat to world peace, might deter our use of force.

AMY GOODMAN: Today is the 50th anniversary of Dr. King giving his "Beyond Vietnam" speech at Riverside Church, where he said the United States is "the greatest purveyor of violence on Earth." Your thoughts today, as we wrap up, and if—in the last 30 seconds?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, that speech by King was very important, also other speeches he gave at the same time, which have, at the time, seriously harmed his reputation among liberal Northerners. He sharply condemned the war in Vietnam, which was the worst crime since the Second World War.

AMY GOODMAN: Five seconds.

NOAM CHOMSKY: The other thing he was doing was trying to create a poor people's movement, a non-racially separated poor people's movement.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: You were talking about Martin Luther King and the Poor People's Campaign. I wanted to take a—ask you to talk about a section of your book, Requiem for the American Dream, where you talk about this famous Powell Memorandum that Justice Powell sent to the Chamber of Commerce and to others, major business groups, in 1971, where he said that business is losing control over the society and that something has to be done to counter these forces. Now, this is a Supreme Court justice issuing something like this. Could you talk about this effort by the business community basically to beat back the movement of the '60s?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Actually, he was appointed Supreme Court justice a little bit after that. He was then a corporate lawyer, I think, working for tobacco firms or something. And he wrote an interesting memorandum. It went to the American Chamber of Commerce. It was supposed to be an internal memorandum, basically, to the business community. It leaked, and—as things usually do, and it's quite interesting.

He didn't actually say that business is losing control. What he said is, business is the—is being beaten down by the massive forces of the left, which have taken over everything, the—even mentioned the devils who are leading the campaign: Ralph Nader, with his consumer safety efforts, Herbert Marcuse, who's mobilizing the students to carry out a revolution. And he says they've taken over the media, they've taken over the universities, they're practically in control of the whole country. And meanwhile, the poor, embattled business community can barely survive under this incredible assault. It's a very interesting picture. The rhetoric should be paid—you should pay attention to the rhetoric. It's kind of like a spoiled 3-year-old who expects to have everything, and somebody takes a piece of candy away from him, and they have a tantrum. The world's ending. That's pretty much the picture. Of course, business was essentially running everything, but not totally. There was—there were democratizing tendencies in the '60s. The public became more engaged in public affairs and was considered a serious threat. So he calls on the business community to defend theirselves from this monstrous attack. And he says, "Look, after all, we're the ones who have the resources. We have the funds. You know, we're the trustees of the universities. We should be able to protect ourselves from this assault that's wiping out the American way, business and so on." That's the Powell Memorandum. And indeed, it—the lesson was understood, not just listening to him. There was a reaction to the activism of the '60s. The '60s are often called "the time of troubles." They were civilizing the country. That's extremely dangerous.

But no less interesting than the Powell Memorandum is another publication that came out from the opposite side of the mainstream political spectrum, the book called The Crisis of Democracy, published around the same time by the Trilateral Commission. That's liberal internationalists from the three major capitalist centers—Europe, the United States and Japan. The political complexion of this group is illustrated by the fact that they almost entirely staffed the Carter administration. That's where they're coming from. The American rapporteur Samuel Huntington, professor at Harvard, the well-known liberal intellectual. What's the crisis of democracy? Pretty much the same as the Powell Memorandum. They said there's too much democracy. People who are usually passive and apathetic, the way they're supposed to be, are pressing their demands in the public arena, and it's too much for the state to accommodate. They didn't mention one group: corporate interests. That's the national interest. These are the special interests, and they called for more moderation and democracy. Now, they were particularly concerned with what they called—this is their phrase—"the institutions responsible for the indoctrination of the young"—universities, schools, churches. They're supposed to be indoctrinating the young, and they're not doing their job, as you can see from all these kids running around calling for women's rights and ending the war and so on and so forth. So we have to have better indoctrination of the young. They were also concerned about the media. They said the media are becoming too adversarial. If you look at what was happening, that's about as much of a joke as Powell. They said, if the media don't control themselves and discipline themselves, maybe the state will have to move in and do something about it. This was the liberals. This is the liberal end of the spectrum.

You take these two publications side by side. They differ rhetorically. The Powell Memorandum is literally a tantrum. The Crisis of Democracy is big words, moderate, you know, intellectuals and so on. But the message is not that very different. It's saying we—that democracy is simply a threat. The population has to be restored to passivity, then everything will be fine. In fact, Huntington, the American rapporteur, says, kind of nostalgically, that Truman had been able to run the country with the cooperation of a few corporate executives and Wall Street lawyers. That was the good old days, when democracy was functioning. You didn't have all these demands and so on. And remember, this is the liberal end of the spectrum. Then you get the Powell Memorandum, which is the harsher end and rhetorically, literally, kind of like a tantrum.

It's within that framework of thinking—which they didn't initiate, they articulated—that you get the neoliberal reaction of the past generation, which, on every front, including education, economy, undermining of the functioning of political democracy—all the factors that have led to the disillusionment and anger of the people who end up being Trump voters, voting for their class enemy. It's worth remembering that these people have just concerns, very serious concerns. It's revealed by some pretty remarkable recent revelations. You've seen them, probably reported on the quite remarkable fact that mortality is increasing among middle-class, lower-middle-class, working-class white Americans, middle-aged white Americans. That's something unknown in developed societies. Mortality keeps declining. Here it's increasing. And the roots of it are what are called diseases of despair. People don't have hope for the future—and for pretty good reasons, if you look at the facts of the matter. Real male wages today are pretty much at the level of the '60s. In 2007, at the time when there was a good deal of euphoria about the economy, how wonderful it's doing, great moderation and so on, economists praising Alan Greenspan as the greatest figure since Moses or something—"Saint Alan," he was called—right at the peak of euphoria, right before the crash, real wages for American workers were lower than they were in 1979, when the neoliberal experiments were just beginning. These affect people's lives seriously. They're not starving. These are not the poorest people. You know, they're kind of surviving, but without the hope for—without a sense of dignity, of worth, of hope for the future, of some meaning in your life, and so on. So they're reacting in often very self-destructive ways.

AMY GOODMAN: Noam, I wanted to ask you about the Middle East, this latest news we have out of Idlib, a rebel-held area, that, according to reports, has been hit by some kind of gas attack, chemical attack, 11 children under the age of eight killed, scores of other people, hundreds wounded. This is in northwest Syria. Can you comment on what has taken place? The U.S., the—Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, the U.N.—the U.S. secretary—the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, saying on Friday the U.S. is changing its position: While it thinks the people don't want Assad, it's not going to try to get Assad out. And then you have this attack. What are your thoughts on Syria, Russia, the United States?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Syria is a horrible catastrophe. The Assad regime is a moral disgrace. They're carrying out horrendous acts, the Russians with them.

AMY GOODMAN: Why the Russians with them?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, pretty simple reason: Syria is their one ally in the whole region. Not a close ally, but they do have—their one Mediterranean base is in Syria. It's the one country that's more or less cooperated with them. And they don't want to lose their one ally. It's very ugly, but that's what's happening.

Meanwhile, there have been—it's kind of like the North Korean case we were discussing. There have been possible opportunities to terminate the horrors. In 2012, there was an initiative from the Russians, which was not pursued, so we don't know how serious it was, but it was a proposal to—for a negotiated settlement, in which Assad would be phased out, not immediately. You know, you can't tell them, "We're going to murder you. Please negotiate." That's not going to work. But some system in which, in the course of negotiations, he would be removed, and some kind of settlement would be made. The West would not accept it, not just the United States. France, England, the United States simply refused to even consider it. At the time, they believed they could overthrow Assad, so they didn't want to do this, so the war went on. Could it have worked? You never know for sure. But it could have been pursued. Meanwhile, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supporting jihadi groups, which are not all that different from ISIS. So you have a horror story on all sides. The Syrian people are being decimated.

AMY GOODMAN: And the U.S. now sending 400 more troops to Syria. But if the U.S. has a better relationship with Russia, could that change everything?

NOAM CHOMSKY: It could lead to some kind of accommodation in which a negotiated diplomatic settlement would be implemented, which would by no means be lovely, but it would at least cut down the level of violence, which is critical, because the country is simply being destroyed. It's descending to suicide.

AMY GOODMAN: President Trump met with Sisi on Monday, meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan on Wednesday at the White House, saying they're not raising the issue of human rights anymore. Your thoughts on this, and then also, of course, Israel-Palestine?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, raising the issue of human rights is—it means something, but not very much, because—take, say, Saudi Arabia, one of the worst human rights violators in the world. It's our darling. You know, they pour weapons in. Obama sold them more weapons than, I think, any predecessor. Sisi is particularly disgraceful. His dictatorship has driven Egypt into some of its worst days. The United States kind of supported him, but not openly and vigorously the way Trump is doing. Trump is—it's a little bit like what you said about the Cabinet. It's kind of like a parody of what goes on all the time. Usual thing is to support brutal dictators, but not with enthusiasm, and with some tapping on the wrist, saying, "Look, what you're doing is not very nice," and so on. Here, it's saying, "You're great. We love you. You know, go ahead and torture and murder people." That's—it's a terrible blow to the people of Egypt. But Jordan is sort of a mixed story. But these steps are very regressive.

With regard to Israel-Palestine, actually, Trump has pulled back from his original position. But his original position that—he and his administration—was that there's nothing wrong with the settlements. They're not an obstacle to peace. If you look at the way the settlements have been treated over the years—of course, they're totally illegal. They're destroying any hope for Palestinian rights. There's a systematic Israeli program, very systematic. It's been going on since 1967. It's to try to quietly take over every part of the West Bank that is of any value to them, while excluding the areas of Palestinian population concentration. So they're not going to take over Nablus or Tulkarm, but take over everything that's of significance and value, leave dozens, maybe even hundreds, of isolated enclaves and Palestinian population concentrations, which can kind of rot on the vine. Maybe the people will leave. Whatever happens, we don't care. That's been going on consistently. Now, if you go back to about 1980, the U.S. joined the world not only in calling them illegal, but in demanding that they be dismantled. Go back to the U.N. Security Council resolutions, I think 465, approximately. So, you have to dismantle the illegal settlements. That has been weakened over the years. So, under Reagan, they stop—

AMY GOODMAN: Now you have David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, who's been approved—right?—who raised money for the settlements. And you have Jared Kushner in charge of the policy.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah, it's been step by step. Reagan weakened it. Clinton weakened it. Obama cut it back to not help—obstacles to peace. Trump, it's not helpful to peace. Meanwhile, we fund—Jared—the Kushner Foundation and, of course, this new ambassador are strong supporters of the ultra-right far right, way to the right of Netanyahu. The Beit El, the community that they're pouring their money into, is run by an Orthodox rabbi whose position is that the army shouldn't follow orders, has to follow the rabbi's orders. This is way at the right end of the Israeli spectrum. Originally, they said they were going to move the embassy to Jerusalem. They're kind of backing off on that. At first, their position was there's nothing wrong with settlements. Now there's a mild "they're not helpful to peace." But, meanwhile, the U.S. continues to pour money and support into fulfilling this project of constructing a Greater Israel.

I should say that the general discussions about this, I think, are extremely misleading. What's said on all sides, actually—Israel, Palestinians, international commentary—is that there are two options: either a two-state settlement, in accord with the long-standing international consensus, or else one state, which would be an apartheid state, in which Palestinians wouldn't have rights, and you could have an anti-apartheid struggle, and Israel would face what's called the demographic problem—too many non-Jews in a Jewish state. But those are not the two options.

There's a third option, the one that is actually being implemented—namely, construction of a Greater Israel, which will not have a demographic problem, because they're excluding the areas of dense Palestinian population, and they're removing Palestinians slowly from the areas they expect to take over. So you'll get a—what's called Jerusalem as maybe five times as big as it ever has been, goes all the way into the West Bank. There are corridors going to the east, which break up the remaining territory, one to Ma'ale Adumim, a town which was built mostly during the Clinton years, which pretty much bifurcates the West Bank. There's others to the north. The so-called Area C, where Israel has total control, about 60 percent of the West Bank, is slowly being incorporated into Israel with big infrastructure programs and so on. And this program is just taking place right before our eyes. The United States is providing diplomatic, economic and military support for it. It will leave the Palestinians with essentially nothing. There will be a Greater Israel, which will have—which will not face the dread demographic problem.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I'd like to, if we can, shift focus to another part of the world. I wanted to ask you about Latin America. We had a period, for about 10 years, of enormous social progress in Latin America—all these socially minded governments, reduction of income inequality, the only part of the world where there are no nuclear weapons. And yet, now we've seen, in the last few years, real steps backwards. Quite a few of the popular governments, with the exception of Ecuador, recently have been thrown out of office, and a deepening crisis in Venezuela. Your sense of what has happened, in that, after so much promise, all of a sudden it seems that the region is going backward?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, there were—there were real achievements. But the left governments failed to use the opportunity available to them to try to create sustainable, viable economies. Almost every one—Venezuela, Brazil, others, Argentina—relied on the rise in commodity prices, which is a temporary phenomenon. Commodity prices did rise, mainly because of the growth of China. So there was a rise in the oil price, of soy, and so on and so forth. And instead of trying to develop a sustainable economy with manufacturing, agriculture and so on—like Venezuela is potentially a rich agricultural country, but they didn't develop it—they simply relied on the commodity—raw materials commodities they could export. That's a very harmful—it's not only not a successful, it's a harmful development model, because when you export grain to China, let's say, they export manufacturing goods to you, and that undermines your manufacturing industries. And that's pretty much what's been happening.

On top of that, there was just enormous corruption. It's just—it's painful to see the Workers' Party in Brazil, which did carry out significant measures, just—they just couldn't keep their hands out of the till. They joined the extremely corrupt elite, which is robbing all the time, and took part in it, as well, and discredited themselves. And there's a reaction. I don't think the game is over by any means. There were real successes achieved, and I think a lot of those will be sustained. But there is a regression. They'll have to pick up again with, one hopes, more honest forces that won't be—that will, first of all, recognize the need to develop the economy in a way which has a solid foundation, not just based on raw material exports, and, secondly, honest enough to carry out decent programs without robbing the public at the same time.

AMY GOODMAN: What about Venezuela?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Venezuela is really a disaster situation. The economy relies on oil as to a great—probably a greater extent than ever in the past, certainly very high. And the corruption, the robbery and so on, has been extreme, under the—especially after Chávez's death. So, it's a—I mean, if you look at it, it still has—if you look at, say, the U.N. Human Development Index, Venezuela still ranks, say, above Brazil. So it's the—there are hopes and possibilities for reconstruction and development. But the promise of the earlier years has been significantly lost.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you, your first article, you wrote when? In February of 19—was it 39? How old were you?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Ten.

AMY GOODMAN: Ten years old. So I want to go back to this first article. It was on the fall of—

NOAM CHOMSKY: First one I remember. There maybe have been others.

AMY GOODMAN: The fall of Barcelona to Franco.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: So you were talking about fascism and fascist forces.

NOAM CHOMSKY: (inaudible) fascism. I remember—I'm sure it was not a very memorable article. I hope it's been destroyed. But—

AMY GOODMAN: Do you see—

NOAM CHOMSKY: But if I remember, the part of it—it began by concern about the apparently inexorable spread of fascism—Austria, Czechoslovakia, Toledo in Spain, Barcelona, which was quite significant. That's the end of the Spanish Revolution. That took place in February 1939. And it looked like it was just going to go on. It was very frightening at the time.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think it's accurate to use the word "fascism" or talk about the rise of fascism in the United States?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, you know, "fascism" has become a kind of a scare word. But many of the aspects of fascism are not far below the surface. You go back to, say, the 1940s. Robert Brady, great political economist, Veblenite political economist, wrote a book called Business as a System of Power, in which he argued that in all of the state capitalist economies—so-called capitalist economies, really state capitalist—there were developments towards some of the institutional structures of fascism. He was not thinking of concentration camps and crematoria, just the nature of the institutional structures. And that was not entirely false. Could you move towards what Bertram Gross, around 1980, called "friendly fascism"? So, fascist-type structures without the crematoria, which is not a core, necessary part of fascism. It could happen.

We should recall that through the 1930s the fascist regimes had pretty favorable attitudes towards them in the West. Mussolini was called, by Roosevelt, "that admirable Italian gentleman," and who was maybe misled by Hitler. In 1932, one of the main business magazines—I think Forbes—had an article with the headline—front-page story where the headline was "The wops are unwopping themselves." Finally the Italians are getting their act together under Mussolini. The trains were running on time, that sort of thing. The business community was quite supportive. As late as the late 1930s, the U.S. State Department was—can't actually say "supporting" Hitler, but saying we ought to tolerate Hitler, because he's a moderate standing between the extremes of right and left. We've heard that before. He's destroying the labor movement, which is a good thing; getting rid of the communists, the socialists, fine. There's right-wing elements, ultranationalist elements at the other extreme. He's kind of controlling them. So we should have a kind of a tolerant attitude toward him. Actually, the most interesting case is George Kennan, great, revered diplomat. He was the American consul in Berlin. And as late as 1941, he was still writing pretty favorable comments about Hitler, saying you shouldn't be too severe, there are some good things there. We associate fascism now with the real horror stories of the Holocaust and so on. But that's not the way fascism was regarded. It was even more strongly supported by the British business community. They could do business with them. There was a—largely business-run regimes, which were—there was a lot of support in Germany, because of the—it did create something like full employment through indebtedness and military spending, and it was winning victories.

Could we move in that direction? It's been recognized. You can read it right now in mainstream journals, asking, "Will the—will the elements of Gross's friendly fascism be instituted in a country like the United States?" And it's not new. Maybe 10 years ago, there was an interesting article in Foreign Affairs, main establishment journal, by Fritz Stern, one of the major German historians of Germany. It was called "Descent into Barbarism." And he was discussing the way Germany deteriorated from what was, in fact, maybe the peak of Western civilization in the 1920s into the utter depths of history 10 years later. And his article was written with an eye on the United States. This was the Bush administration, not today. He was saying—he didn't say we're—Bush is Hitler, wasn't saying that. But he was saying there were signs that we should pay attention to. He said, "I sometimes have concern for the country that rescued me from fascism, when I see what's happening."

AMY GOODMAN: And do you see the—Donald Trump's attack on the press as part of that trend toward fascism, his calling the press the enemy of the people?

NOAM CHOMSKY: It's dangerous, but Nixon did the same thing. You remember the—Agnew and so on. Yes, it's dangerous, but I think it's well short of what we regard as fascism. But it's not to be dismissed. And I think we can easily see how a—if there had been a charismatic figure in the United States who could mobilize fears, anger, racism, a sense of loss of the future that belongs to us, this country could be in real danger. We're lucky that there never has been an honest, charismatic figure. McCarthy was too much of a thug, you know? Nixon was too crooked. Trump, I think, is too much of a clown. So, we've been lucky. But we're not going to be lucky forever necessarily.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Noam Chomsky, we want to thank you so much for being with us. We're going to let you fly out now, as you head off to the airport. I'll see you on April 24th at the First Parish church in Cambridge. Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 50 years. His latest book—he's written over a hundred—comes out today, Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.

 

 

Corrupt U.S. Politician of the Day

Randy "Duke" Cunningham:

Cunningham, a decorated Navy fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, represented San Diego as a Republican in the U.S. House from 1991 to 2005, when he resigned from Congress in disgrace. His story is best told in the book, "The Wrong Stuff: The Extraordinary Tale of Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, the Most Corrupt Congressman Ever Caught," written by the Copley News Service reporters who helped expose him.

Cunningham sat on the powerful House subcommittee that designates spending to certain defense programs, and he resigned from Congress in November 2005 after pleading guilty to bribery. He admitted taking bribes of at least $2.4 million -- the highest known amount a congressman has ever taken -- from at least three defense contractors in exchange for government business.

Cunningham had used the bribes to make extravagant purchases such as a yacht, Roll Royce, suburban-D.C. condominium and a mansion. On March 3, 2006, Cunningham was sentenced to eight years in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution.

(source realclearpolitics.com)

 

Iona Craig on What Really Happened When U.S. Navy SEALs Stormed a Yemeni Village, Killing Dozens

 

AMY GOODMAN: Iona Craig, I wanted to ask you about the Navy SEAL raid in Yemen in January that you've investigated, the White House warning journalists and lawmakers last month against criticizing the botched raid by U.S. commandos on a Yemeni village that left 25 civilians and one U.S. soldier dead, William Ryan Owens. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports the January 28th assault killed nine children under the age of 13, with five other children wounded. Among those critical of the raid was Arizona Republican Senator John McCain.

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: When you lose a $75 million airplane, and, more importantly, American lives are—a life is lost, and wounded, I don't believe that you can call it a success.

AMY GOODMAN: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer lashed out at Senator McCain and journalists for criticizing President Trump's decision to order the raid.

PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER: It's absolutely a success. And I think anyone who would suggest it's not a success does disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens. He fought knowing what was at stake in that mission. And anybody who would suggest otherwise doesn't fully appreciate how successful that mission was, what the information that they were able to retrieve was and how that will help prevent future terrorist attacks.

KRISTEN WELKER: But even Senator John McCain—

PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER: I understand that. I think my statement is very clear on that, Kristen. I think anybody who undermines the success of that rage (sic) owes an apology and a disservice to the life of Chief Owens.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that is Sean Spicer. President Trump, when he addressed a joint session of Congress, brought in the widow of Ryan Owens, but Ryan Owens' father, William Owens, refused to meet with President Trump when his son's body was brought to Dover Air Base, harshly critical of this raid, saying, "Why did he have to do this now, to move so quickly in his administration?" That was one Navy SEAL, and then you have the number of civilian casualties, women and children. What did you find, Iona?

IONA CRAIG: Well, really, the civilians that I spoke to when I went to the village had exactly that same question: Why? Why did the Trump administration choose to carry out this raid? For what reasons? And what are they going to do about it now? Because not only did they put the lives of Navy SEALs at a huge amount of risk, which was highly predictable if you had even a vague understanding of the local politics in that particular area of Yemen at the time, but obviously caused mass civilian casualties. There were 26 people in that village who were killed. As you've already mentioned, many of those were women and children. That village has essentially been abandoned now, because not only—after that raid happened, not only was the entire village strafed and more than 120 livestock were killed, but the U.S. went back a month later, at the beginning of March, and bombed it for four consecutive nights, both with drone strikes and helicopter gunfire, and killed two more children and several more adults. So the last person that I spoke to who was living there, Sheikh Aziz al Ameri, he then left the village and is now living under trees several miles away.

So, the impact on the local population, who were essentially on the same side as U.S. in the civil war in Yemen at the moment—they were fighting against the Houthis, which is exactly what the U.S. has been doing over the last two years—they've not only alienated the entire local population around there, but caused to huge amount of anti-American sentiment. And now tribesmen, who were not al-Qaeda, who are not even al-Qaeda now, but were not before, but are now quite willing and wanting to fight the Americans as a result of this and a result of them killing their children and their wives.

So, I think that what was quite clear before they even went in there was that, and what actually happened was the fact that, all of the local tribesmen in that area came to defend the village when the U.S. Navy SEALs went in there. And that was because they thought the village was being raided by the people they'd been fighting for the last two-and-a-half years, which is the Houthis. They had no notion that it was Americans that were coming in to attack the village when it happened. And that was quite clearly a huge risk when the Americans went in there to carry out this raid, that that would indeed happen. It's the middle of a civil war. That village is right behind the front lines. They had been receiving rocket fire and mortar fire from their opponents in the civil war in the days and weeks before the raid. So, of course it was their assumption that their village was being stormed by the Houthi rebels, whom they've been fighting for so long. So, every man within hearing distance of gunfire came running. I spoke to a man who drove 45 minutes from his neighboring village when he got the call to come and help defend his neighbors' area. And so, I think the risk to the Navy SEALs was massive before they even went in there. It appears that there had been at least some knowledge within the village that they were in fact coming, as well. And so, for all those reasons, the Navy SEALs were being put under a huge amount of risk, and it was highly likely that somebody was going to—one of their team was going to get killed, not to mention then the fact that they inevitably got pinned down by fire, then had to call in air support and basically decimate the entire village in order to be able to extract themselves safely from that situation. And from what I saw, and talking to people, most of that was predictable before they even went in there.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Iona Craig, as you report in the piece, White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said the purpose of the raid was intelligence gathering and not specifically targeting anyone, and that initially the U.S. Central Command posted a video backing Spicer's claim, but that video was subsequently removed when it was proven that it was 10 years old.

IONA CRAIG: Yeah, I mean, two things on that front. Certainly, from what I was told and in addition to statements that appear to have come out from the military since then, they were in fact going after the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a man called Qasim al-Raymi. I think it's extremely unlikely that they would have been carrying out such a high-risk mission in order to gather laptops, cellphones or intelligence, as they suggest. He was not in the village and, in fact, released an audio statement mocking both Trump and the raid several days later. Although there were some low-level al-Qaeda militants there in one particular house, because of the situation of how the Navy SEALs came under fire, that house was in fact bombed by an airstrike before the SEALs could even get into it, so whatever intelligence they claim to have gathered from there would have come from other buildings where there were no al-Qaeda militants present.

That video that you mentioned, that was—when it was first posted, was labeled as an AQAP—so that's al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula—video of how to make bombs, as you say, was—had turned out was 10 years old, had already been available on the internet. Well, AQAP, as it is now, didn't even exist 10 years ago, so even to label it as an AQAP video was kind of laughable, really. And if that's the best of the intelligence that came out of there, then it seems that that was a very high-risk undertaking for very little gain, if that's the best that they can show for it.

But as I mentioned, certainly, the people I spoke to on the ground, when I asked them about what houses the Navy SEALs got into or perhaps access to the dead bodies, who may have been carrying, let's say, cellphones or electrical equipment, they couldn't even clarify to me that the Navy SEALs had got inside buildings or had actually access to the dead. They couldn't say either way, because of the chaos of the situation, it being extremely dark. They obviously didn't have night vision goggles like the Navy SEALs would have. So it wasn't even clear that they had in fact got into any buildings or not. So I think that's highly disputed, that intelligence. And certainly, some of the claims being made over the last few days, that the whole laptop ban was linked to intelligence gathered from the Yemen raid, do not add up at all, from what I've seen being written in the media on that, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: Iona, we have less than a minute to go, but earlier this month Amnesty International urged Trump to block future arms sales, writing, "Arming the Saudi Arabia and Bahrain governments risks complicity with war crimes, and doing so while simultaneously banning travel to the U.S. from Yemen would be even more unconscionable," Amnesty wrote. A front-page story in The New York Times today, "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has decided to lift all human rights conditions on a major sale of F-16 fighter jets and other arms to Bahrain in an effort to end a rift between the United States and the critical Middle East ally." If you can, very quickly, talk about the role of U.S. weapons in these conflicts?

IONA CRAIG: In Yemen, it's huge. The U.S. is the biggest exporter to Saudi Arabia, and it's big business for the U.S. But, of course, we know that the majority of civilian casualties in the war in Yemen have been caused by Saudi-led airstrikes. And the U.S. has a huge influence over this. They were—those precision-guided weapons were suspended at the end of last year, and now we're looking at a resumption of that, where the U.S. does actually have influence over Saudi Arabia—not just over Saudi Arabia, but also the continuation of this war, for the weapons that it sells to them and to the logistical support it gives to the Saudi-led coalition in the terms of refueling and in the terms of targets, as well.

So, this is—it is, obviously, worrying for those people and campaigners who have been trying to prevent the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, but also the terms of those sales. There are indications now that those weapons may be sold under commercial terms rather than under military, which also then doesn't attach the same end use issues with them, so there isn't so much scrutiny then with the end use of those weapons in a war like Yemen. And that's also deeply concerning. So, I think now, at a stage where really the attempt should be made to de-escalate the conflict, it's—all indications are now that, in fact, the war in Yemen will be escalated by the activities of the U.S. government right now.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, one last, very quickly, Iona, that we—as we said in our introduction, there have been more airstrikes carried out since the start of 2017 than there were in all of 2016. But you've pointed out in a recent interview that there were more drone strikes in Yemen over the space of 36 hours than there were in all of 2016.

IONA CRAIG: Yes, absolutely. And even in the last 24 hours, there have been U.S. airstrikes—and not just airstrikes, there's naval bombardments, as well, which, of course, were being done under the Obama administration, but those airstrikes have been carried out in Abyan province, in Shabwah, in Hadhramaut, in Ma'rib—in the last 24 hours in Ma'rib, in Shabwah and in Abyan, and also in Al Bayda, as well, earlier on in March. So, yes, there's definitely—there's not just this surge at the beginning of March, where we saw that 36 hours of airstrikes happening very rapidly, but that's been a continuation, as well, now. And as I say, it's not just drone strikes. It's airstrikes from fighter jets, and it's also coming from the sea.

AMY GOODMAN: Iona Craig, we want to thank you for being with us, freelance journalist who was based in Sana'a for years, has continued to go back and forth reporting on what's happening there. Thanks so much for joining us.

 

 

Covetousness is both the beginning and the end of the devil's alphabet - the first vice in corrupt nature that moves, and the last which dies.

Michel de Montaigne

 

Catalunya i Israel: convenis polítics i negocis empresarials polèmics

Marc Font

diumenge, 26 març 2017, © Critiq

Els intercanvis comercials entre Israel i Catalunya no han deixat de créixer els darrers anys. Des del 2011, ACC1Ó, l'agència governamental per a la internacionalització de l'empresa catalana, ha intensificat la seva presència a l'Estat hebreu, que els darrers executius han considerat un "referent" i un "exemple", tant des del punt de vista econòmic com pel que fa a la creació d'un Estat. Els acords entre els dos països, però, generen recels, tant a bona part de l'oposició al Parlament com a col¬∑lectius propalestins o a organismes com l'Observatori de Drets Humans i Empreses, que qüestionen que tenir-hi determinats tractes contribueixi a resoldre l'etern conflicte araboisraelià.  full article>

 

Man was made at the end of the week's work, when God was tired.

Mark Twain

 

Media Spin Headlines to Downplay US Responsibility for Mosul Massacre

By Ben Norton

Mar 30 2017, © FAIR

If you read the headlines of major corporate media outlets, you'd think hundreds of Iraqi civilians coincidentally died in the same location that just so happened to be hit by a US airstrike.  full article>

 

Stubborn and ardent clinging to one's opinion is the best proof of stupidity.

Michel de Montaigne

 

Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang: Networks' Lack Of Climate Coverage Is "Bad News For Science" And A Disservice To Viewers

March 31, 2017, © MEDIA MATTERS

Angela Fritz of The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang questioned why the major TV networks are turning a blind eye to climate change given that a majority of Americans are concerned about the issue, calling the "shockingly small number of minutes" the major networks devoted to climate change in 2016 "bad for science."  full article>

 

To whom it may concern: It is springtime. It is late afternoon.

Kurt Vonnegut

 

"Irrational," "Reckless," "Irresponsible": The EPA Just Accidentally Told the Truth About Trump's Climate Plan

Oops.

Rebecca Leber

Mar. 30, 2017, © Media Matters

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump visited the Environmental Protection Agency, where he signed an executive order dismantling key Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change. On Thursday morning, the EPA sent out a press release highlighting some wonderful praise that Trump's order has received from groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and—of course—Republican politicians. But the top quote in the EPA's email, attributed to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), had an unexpected message:

With this Executive Order, President Trump has chosen to recklessly bury his head in the sand. Walking away from the Clean Power Plan and other climate initiatives, including critical resiliency projects is not just irresponsible— it's irrational. Today's executive order calls into question America's credibility and our commitment to tackling the greatest environmental challenge of our lifetime. With the world watching, President Trump and Administrator Pruitt have chosen to shirk our responsibility, disregard clear science and undo the significant progress our country has made to ensure we leave a better, more sustainable planet for generations to come.  full article>

 

Science is magic that works.

Kurt Vonnegut

 

Just as a man would not cherish living in a body other than his own, so do nations not like to live under other nations, however noble and great the latter my be.

Mohandas K. Gandhi

 

Israel Approves First New Settlement in Decades

By ISABEL KERSHNER

MARCH 30, 2017, © The New York Times

Israel's government on Thursday approved the establishment of a new settlement in the West Bank for the first time in more than two decades, and also laid the groundwork for further expansion despite a request from President Trump to hold off on settlement activity.  full article>

 

The pre-eminent obstacle to peace is Israel's colonization of Palestine.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, March 10, 2006

 

Israel Hits Back Against Boycott

By Marjorie Cohn

March 30, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

On March 19, Israeli tax officials arrested Omar Barghouti, a prominent Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Omar and his wife Safa, an Israeli citizen, were detained for 16 hours and have been subjected to daily interrogation sessions.  full article>

 

I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any. I refuse to live in other people's houses as an interloper, a beggar or a slave.

Mohandas K. Gandhi

 

Israel aprueba el primer nuevo asentamiento en dos décadas

Juan Carlos Sanz

Jerusalén 31 MAR 2017, © El País

Benjamín Netanyahu ha ordenado este jueves aprobar la construcción del primer asentamiento de nueva planta en Cisjordania en casi dos décadas. El primer ministro israelí convocó para ello al Gabinete de Seguridad —el sanedrín que agrupa a los ministros clave del Gobierno—, para informar sobre la compleja negociación en marcha con la Administración del presidente norteamericano, Donald Trump para limitar la expansión de las colonias. La polémica decisión, que amenaza con arruinar la mediación de paz en Oriente Próximo auspiciada por Estados Unidos, fue adoptada por unanimidad.  full article>

 

How many extraordinary phenomena like this, so foreign to human comprehension, might lie concealed in space? Do we need to travel everywhere bringing destructive power on our ships, so as to smash anything that runs counter to our understanding?

Stanisław Lem

 

The saddest fact of climate change - and the chief reason we should be concerned about finding a proper response - is that the countries it will hit hardest are already among the poorest and most long-suffering.

Bjørn Lomborg

 

'Climate change is real': companies challenge Trump's reversal of policy

Jamiles Lartey

29 March 2017, © The Guardian

In 2015, when Barack Obama signed the nation's clean power plan, more than 300 companies came out in support, calling the guidelines "critical for moving our country toward a clean energy economy". Now, as Donald Trump moves to strip those laws away, Mars Inc, Staples and The Gap are just a few of those US corporations who are challenging the new president's reversal on climate policy.  full article>

 

It is fairly well-known what has been behind that climate change denial in America: vast sums pumped into an ignorance industry by the oil and gas lobbies.

Naomi Wolf

 

Kushner and Trump: Taped At Secret Trump Tower Meetings With Russians?

March 28, 2017, © patribotics

On March 3rd, Donald Trump made a series of tweets. Three were about a wiretap at Trump Tower. Two, however, were about Jeff Sessions meeting the Russian ambassador. Those tweets got lost in the resulting storm.

Over the past week, Devin Nunes obstructed justice on TV, both announcing that one White House staffer was under investigation and that a transition team member was recorded in a FISA intercept.

As we exclusively reported, that staffer was almost certainly Boris Epshteyn, named by Comey in his first failed FISA application in June.

Also as we exclusively reported, Michael Ellis is suspected of having leaked this material to Nunes.

But what would be so bad that it would cause Nunes to rush to the White House to illegally receive top-secret FISA evidence?  full article>

 

XL Keystone Pipeline ~ New CIA (Cowboy Indian Alliance)

 

The Trump Administration photo-op "XL Keystone Pipeline" March 24, 2017, once again demonstrates the failing power of the Office of the Presidency to represent and lead the broad deep concerns and bottom-line will of the majority of the people. It appears from the media frenzy, fearfulness happening in the Trump Administration, that the administration is owned and operated by the fossil fuel industry, Wall Street Investment Bankers, and the health and well-being of citizenry is of no real concern. The administration cloaks privatization of public assets as a job creation solution when facts contradict rhetoric in every domain investigated. The G20 Finance chiefs met in preparation for July 2017 meeting and failed to pledge their support to finance steps to prevent climate change because of intimidation by Trump Administration skepticism labeling the science as a "hoax." The Administration is currently cutting EPA funding by 31% in their planned budget.

 

Effective leaders offer appreciative conversations with others that inspire moods of trust, confidence, ambition by offering solutions to human concerns within networks of historic conversations. The Trump Administration is like watching an American wrecking ball creating distrust, confusion, resentment and resignation in a moment of truth requiring unified actions of all nations and peoples in building the earth for future generations. We Americans operate in a mood of joyful concerns not fear, intimidation or demands for obedience. So, in the deepest sense of ourselves we are questioning the meaning of our own democracy.

 

We are witnessing outright indifference to creative climatic solutions applying Moore's Law to Carbon and empowerment of American ingenuity in leading the world. The millennial generation is not buying into old patriarchal myths in current institutional discourses. The startling fact today is that only 17% of Americans were in favor of Trump's Repeal and Replace Healthcare. While 70% of Americans are concerned about climate change and want effective actions from Congress. The claim made by President Trump during the photo-op is that the XL Pipeline is a job creation story for American workers. Nothing could be further from the truth in reality. Applying "Moore's Carbon Roadmap for Decarbonization" the world can technically in economics meet or exceed agreed upon goals of the human community of nations.

 

The American society started debating a new energy policy in 1980 with the notion of full employment of citizenry in building efficiency in usage of energy within a renewable energy policy framework. The fact that we as a people in 2017 are witnessing the EPA budget slashed by 31% in a moment when the fossil fuel industry needs restrained in growth for National Security, Commercial Large Loss Events, Climate Terrorism, and the health and well-being of our citizenry future productivity is insane. The real public debate long overdue is a civil triadic appreciative inquiry and dialog about people, water and our human responsibility to earth changes occurring based in the facts not belief systems.

 

Climate change is not a belief system. My plea today is that the Trump Administration at all levels of government respond in public to the recommendations for a Carbon Fee Dividend by the "Climate Leadership Council Treasury Report" benefiting 70% of Americans in a proactive economic solution and job creating initiative. CLC is led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, former Secretary of State George P. Schultz and Henry M. Paulson Jr. former Secretary of the Treasury. The fee structure on carbon pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is a conservative climate solution based on free-market principles that benefits all peoples, conserves the waters of life as essential to our future happiness on earth, and cares for the imminent changes on the horizon requiring responsibility for our human activities by initiating new possibilities and disclosing new worlds in building the earth for future generations.

 

Oglala Lakota Chief Mel Lone Hill's proclamation today invites global citizenry to unite in solidarity to serve the next seven generations of humanity as a joyful concern by enacting a "Carbon Fee Dividend" in creating a new circular economy. We are the new and improved CIA Cowboy Indian Alliance. Children and millennials in universities are becoming activists in "Put a Price On Carbon." The Citizens Climate Lobby is a International grass root organization supporting the CLC notion of a Carbon Fee Dividend. The Climate Reality Project is releasing a Carbon Fee Dividend Report in the near future that will substantiate the immediate benefits in mitigation of carbon on the health of Mother Earth, and the long-term deliberate intentional consequences of the Carbon Fee Dividend to unleash creative solutions by people, serving the earth and designing a future world together.

 

Let's make the change in 2017 in a mood of joyful concerns embracing this ancient manner of wolakota. Wolakota is a covenant person to person of peace and friendship enacting appreciative inquiry and dialog in our shared human concerns. Join MSTi Carbon Fee Dividend Passport "Back Into The Future." Our primitive ecological knowing is hard-wired into our passionate desires to become human beings in a biology of love created by our creator in the web of life.

 

THE OGLALA-LAKOTA PROCLAMATION

 

TO:

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE LAKOTA NATION

 

THE MAJORITY LEADER OF CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES, MR. PAUL RYAN

 

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, MR. DONALD J. TRUMP

 

THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES, MR. JOHN ROBERTS

 

THE ELLEN MACARTHUR FOUNDATION FOR A CIRCULAR ECONOMY,

 

MSTi CARBON FEE DIVIDEND PASSPORT and EVERY WORLD CITIZEN

 

LET IT BE KNOWN:

 

The undersigned, acting in my capacity as CHIEF of the OGLALA LAKOTA SIOUX TRIBE, and member of the OCETI SAKOWIN, Seven Fires Council of the LAKOTA NATION, and fully aware of the responsibility bestowed upon me by MY PEOPLE, I hereby

 

DECLARE:

 

The LAKOTA NATION is still awaiting the day when the Government of the United States will show willingness to abide by the FORT LARAMIE TREATY which recognized our PEOPLE and ITS REPRESENTATIVES as their counterparts in the signing of this formal document; and consequently, recognized our NATION and its TERRITORY as the moral and legal limit to its power and to US sovereignty.

It is in such capacity that I dare speak out on behalf of our LAKOTA NATION to denounce the fact that in the approval of the building of the XL Keystone PIPELINE (DAPL Standing Rock et al) our PEOPLE have not been taken in consideration at all, in spite of the many overt manifestations of our opposition. Today, I am leaving no doubt that the pipeline traverses OUR territory; and expressly condemning the fact that it is being built WITHOUT OUR CONSENT.

Nevertheless, in full recognition of our limited strength to physically and legally impede the construction of the XL Keystone Pipeline, at the same time we seek to do the RIGHT THING. So, in the name of the OGALA TRIBE and the LAKOTA NATION, the very least I can do is to fully endorse the immediate creation of a CARBON FEE DIVIDEND, urging the US CONGRESS to ACT and by doing so, help raise awareness at a world level of the fact that preserving life comes at a cost to all of us; that the exploitation of Mother Earth's irreplaceable resources should demand our full attention; and that those who will benefit privately from carbon energy should do their part in creating a future where the four R's (recycle, recover, restore and reuse) of a new CIRCULAR ECONOMY will be commonplace. The Carbon Fee Dividend is a first step in uplifting our commitment to protect people and water as sovereignty in action that stands in solidarity with peoples throughout the world.

Last but not least, I give the outmost importance to the wisdom found in the words of the great Gregory Bateson, one of the distinguished founding fathers of Cybernetics and a friend of all living things when he said: "The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think."

 

I THEREFORE, EXHORT:

 

The peoples of all Nations, and all other Friends of Life, and in our manner of wolakota peace and friendship in all beings be related. The Lakota people lived for millennia in this ancient scientific life way of wolakota and this root experience owns us and also gives us the right to speak honestly regarding the impending cataclysmic crises on the horizon with our Mother Earth. I invite you to join me in circulating this message of sovereignty in action contained in our commitment to serve the welfare of the "next seven generations" of all peoples by enacting a CARBON FEE DIVIDEND in 2017.

MEL LONE HILL

CHIEF OF THE OGLALA SOUIX TRIBE

Message to the world from the Pine Ridge Reservation

March 24, 2017

 

_____________

 

 

"Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war. The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another's throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose--especially their lives."

Eugene Debs, the 1918 speech for which he was sentenced to ten years in prison

 

NYT Says Congress Has 'Duty' to Make War - Rather Than the Right to Reject It

By Adam Johnson

Mar 27 2017, © FAIR

As reports come in detailing the degree to which Donald Trump has escalated the "War on ISIS"—and killed hundreds more civilians in the process—this would seem like a good time for the country to sit back and examine the United States' approach to fighting "terrorism" and its recent iteration, the so-called Islamic State.  full article>

 

We're no longer in the Cold War. Eavesdropping on friends is unacceptable.

Vladimir Putin

 

How US Flooded the World with Psyops

By Robert Parry

March 25, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

Newly declassified documents from the Reagan presidential library help explain how the U.S. government developed its sophisticated psychological operations capabilities that - over the past three decades - have created an alternative reality both for people in targeted countries and for American citizens, a structure that expanded U.S. influence abroad and quieted dissent at home.

The documents reveal the formation of a psyops bureaucracy under the direction of Walter Raymond Jr., a senior CIA covert operations specialist who was assigned to President Reagan's National Security Council staff to enhance the importance of propaganda and psyops in undermining U.S. adversaries around the world and ensuring sufficient public support for foreign policies inside the United States.  full article>

 

Literature is eavesdropping.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Trump's policies are not the answer to London terrorism

By Matthew Dunn

March 26, 2017, © CNN

I'm a former British Intelligence officer who combated terrorism for six years. Counter-terrorism is a nasty, complex and often frustrating job. It's not for the faint-hearted. Sometimes terrorists slip through the net, but often they are stopped in their tracks by the use of arrests or absolute force.

All of us who've worked on the front lines know that gunning down a terrorist is only one part of the solution. We don't want violence, because the bottom line is that we're fighting violence. We want other solutions.  full article>

 

There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.

Thornton Wilder

 

Most Dangerous Animal of the Day:

Humans

Human beings may not stand to win in a fair fight against the world's other most dangerous animals but, thanks to their ingenuity, they have learned how to arm themselves with weapons and tools which have placed them at the top of the food chain (at least for the time being). They also get extra points on the deadly scale for their aggression, not only toward other animals but toward each other. The scale to which they take their destructiveness is unique. No other animal starts worldwide wars or blasts whole regions of the earth into total ruin with nuclear weapons. Without a doubt, the most dangerous animal in the world is the face you see in the mirror each day.

(source: Conservationinstitute.org)

 

Coywolves are Taking Over Eastern North America

By Marissa Fessenden

November 3, 2015, © smithsonian.com

People living in Eastern Canada and U.S. are probably familiar with the smart, adaptable wild canine that lives in their forests, neighborhood parks and even cities. What they may not know is that eastern coyotes aren't true coyotes at all. They might better be known as hybrids, or coywolves.  full article>

 

The 'pathology of normalcy' rarely deteriorates to graver forms of mental illness because society produces the antidote against such deterioration. When pathological processes become socially patterned, they lose their individual character. On the contrary, the sick individual finds himself at home with all other similarly sick individuals. The whole culture is geared to this kind of pathology and arranged the means to give satisfactions which fit the pathology. The result is that the average individual does not experience the separateness and isolation the fully schizophrenic person feels. He feels at ease among those who suffer from the same deformation, in fact, it is the fully sane person who feels isolated in the insane society - and he may suffer so much from the incapacity to communicate that it is he who may become psychotic.

Erich Fromm, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness

 

Un anciano carpintero de Minnesota, identificado como un terrible comandante nazi

J. M. AHRENS

14 MAR 2017, © El País

Llevó la calavera y las runas con orgullo. Mató a hombres, mujeres y niños. Arrasó poblaciones enteras. Era la bestia de Chlaniów (Polonia). Durante décadas se ocultó en Estados Unidos, buscó un hogar y tuvo seis hijos. Ahora, tras una larga peripecia periodística y judicial, su identidad ha sido confirmada por las autoridades polacas. El anciano y tranquilo carpintero Michael Karkoc, de Minneapolis, fue comandante de la Legión de Autodefensa Ucrania, encuadrada en las letales SS de Adolf Hitler.  full article>

 

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.

George Orwell, 1984

 

Scott Pruitt vs. the Entire Scientific Community

by Mrill Ingram

March 10, 2017, © The Progressive

It's been a bad week for those of us still clinging to an ever-thinning veil of hope regarding the pathology of climate denial. You know, the kind of hope that includes Trump Administration officials suddenly applying their vaunted business acumen to a green economy based on renewable energy. Or maybe even just a few Republicans relocating their faith in the Enlightenment, and crossing party lines to defend the scientific process.  full article>

 

We are threatened with suffering from three directions: from our body, which is doomed to decay..., from the external world which may rage against us with overwhelming and merciless force of destruction, and finally from our relations with other men... This last source is perhaps more painful to use than any other.

Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents

 

México halla restos de 250 personas en el mayor cementerio clandestino ubicado hasta ahora

PABLO FERRI

14 MAR 2017, © El País

En apenas siete meses, las autoridades mexicanas han encontrado restos de al menos 250 personas en el mayor cementerio clandestino descubierto en México hasta la fecha. Así lo ha confirmado esta mañana el fiscal del estado, Jorge Winckler, en una entrevista con el canal principal de Televisa. "Veracruz", ha dicho, "es una gran fosa, quizá una de las más grandes del mundo". Winckler ha informado de que hasta el momento solo han explorado el "30%" de la zona, un área boscosa a las afueras del Puerto de Veracruz. El número de personas enterradas allí, ha dicho, podría ascender considerablemente.  full article>

 

Any foolish boy can stamp on a beetle, but all the professors in the world cannot make a beetle.

Arthur Schopenhauer

 

Act of Civil Disobedience of the Day:

The Salt March

(Gandhi led the Salt March protest against the government monopoly on salt production. Image: Central Press/Getty Images)

Gandhi's defiance of British colonial laws over the empire's salt monopoly, beginning in March 1930, sparked a wave of civil disobedience that contributed to expelling the British empire. Salt laws taxed the production of Indian salt so that the country had to import British salt. Gandhi and his supporters began a long, expanding march to produce salt and transport it without paying the tax. It did not stop the practice: the British suppressed the march fiercely, arresting tens of thousands, and refused to make any concessions. It was also limited by its failure to win Muslim support.

However, the campaign had long-term effects that weighed against its failure to win its immediate goals. In the first instance, it was inspiring for those taking part, since many had never been organised before. Second, it announced to the world that the Indian masses were a serious force, and that the British authorities had been forced to negotiate with their leader. Third, it stimulated further waves of civil disobedience. Finally, the Salt March had a tremendous influence on the thinking and strategy of other insurgents, such as Martin Luther King.

(source: The Guardian)

 

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves and the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem.

Howard Zinn

 

The Democrats' Undemocratic Strategy of Smearing the Green Party

by Nat Parry

March 8, 2017, © Essential Opinion

Four months since the upset election of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, one of the primary scapegoats of the Democrats for its stunning electoral failure remains the Green Party and its 2016 presidential nominee, Jill Stein. Pointing to final vote tallies in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan that showed Trump's margin of victory as being below the total vote count for Stein, Democrats have coalesced around the conventional wisdom that Stein voters flipped the election by failing to unite behind the Democratic nominee.  full article>

 

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.

Frank Zappa

 

'We Are Conditioned by Mass Media to Choose Up Sides'

By Janine Jackson

Mar 9, 2017, © FAIR

Janine Jackson: "Sessions Met With Russian Envoy Twice Last Year, Encounters He Later Did Not Disclose," was the Washington Post and other media's spin on what others didn't hesitate to call a lie: Attorney General Jeff Sessions' denial, under oath, of the kind of meetings he now acknowledges he had. That bit of damage control came off elite media's startlingly generous, you might say, reception to Donald Trump's speech to Congress, in which the New York Times actually credited him for "following the written text on the teleprompters more closely than any major speech of his presidency." "Trump Advocated White Nationalism With an 'Indoor Voice,' and Pundits Loved It," was how Media Matters put it.  full article>

 

A multitude of causes unknown to former times are now acting with a combined force to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind, and unfitting it for all voluntary exertion to reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor.

William Wordsworth

 

Israel se enroca en sus fronteras e intenta silenciar a las ONG pacifistas

Juan Carlos Sanz

12 MAR 2017, © El País

Dos años después de las elecciones que desembocaron en la formación del Gobierno más derechista en la historia de Israel, una batería de reformas legales amenaza con amordazar las expresiones de disidencia, en especial las de las ONG pacifistas y grupos que aspiran a ser la conciencia crítica del Estado Hebreo sobre la ocupación de territorios palestinos, próxima a cumplir medio siglo. La última muestra de esta legislación restrictiva se ha plasmado esta semana en la aprobación por la Knesset (Parlamento) de una enmienda que deniega el visado de entrada al país a los extranjeros que llamen al boicot de Israel o de los asentamientos judíos.  full article>

 

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

Friedrich Nietzsche

 

RICHARD BEHAR IN Discussion WITH ALIX LAMBERT

March 11th, 1PM

85 N 15th St., Brooklyn, NY 11222

Filmmaker Alix Lambert will lead a discussion with journalist Richard Behar on Trump-Russia connections and a free press.

Since 2012, Behar has been the Contributing Editor of Investigations for Forbes magazine, where he recently wrote an exposé (based on internal emails he obtained) of Donald Trump's business dealings with a Russia-born, mob-connected felon. From 1982 - 2004, Behar was a staffer at Forbes, Time and Fortune. In 2005, he launched Project Klebnikov, a media alliance committed to shedding light on the Moscow murder of Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov.

Behar was interviewed by Lambert for her book, The Silencing.

SOON TO BE RELEASED: Digital Edition of The Silencing on Ibooks, contact us for more information.

 

Poisonous Frog of the Day:

Golden Poison Dart Frog

Some of the most beautiful things on this planet are also some of the most deadly. But that's the point -- by standing out with vibrant colors, a species can ward off potential predators. This is the strategy of these tiny, vibrantly colored, and highly toxic frogs.

The golden poison frog is one of the most toxic of all poisonous frogs, and perhaps the most poisonous animal in the world. Even its scientific name, Phyllobates terribilis, shows that small things can be incredibly harmful. The poison it carries is derived from its diet, and depending on location and diet, the average wild golden poison frog contains about one milligram of poison, which is enough to kill somewhere between 10 and 20 humans. Despite having this staggeringly powerful self-defense, it is still an endangered species.

(source: treehugger.com)

 

Our Political Economy Is Designed to Create Poverty and Inequality

By Dennis Kucinich

March 6, 2017, © The Nation

Let me begin by sharing with you the story of an inner-city Cleveland family of seven, two adults and five children all under the age of 11.

The family did not own a home. They were renters. As the family grew, it became ever more difficult to find rent. At one point the old car in which they roamed the city in search of rent became their living quarters. Evenings, the father and mother and a newborn slept in the car's front seat, and the four other children, in the back.

They found rent by understating the number of children, which, when discovered, led to eviction and the same cycle of wandering as urban nomads. The father, a truck driver, had a war-related injury that occasionally required medical treatment, taking him out of work. Bills piled up, which led to garnishments. The mother suffered from post-partum depression, compounded by noisy, rambunctious children.  full article>

 

 

In 1991, Shell Produced This Alarming Video Warning About Climate Change Dangers

Inae Oh

Feb. 28, 2017, © MotherJones

A 1991 public documentary produced by Shell, in which the oil giant acknowledged the dangerous effects of climate change and the fossil fuel industry's role in accelerating "ferocious" climate patterns globally, has resurfaced this week.  full article>

 

By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.

Adolf Hitler

 

Israel's Anti-Semitism Smears Backfire

By Ann Wright

March 1, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

An often-used tactic to squelch criticism of Israeli state policies toward the Palestinians is to call the criticism anti-Semitic. The sponsors of the event become afraid of the label, anti-Semitism, false as it is, and cancel the event to avoid any controversy. The tactic is used widely across Europe and the United States.

This week, the talk that I was to give in a room at the Rome City Hall about the Women's Boat to Gaza and the conditions in Gaza was cancelled 24 hours before the event by the council member who had agreed to arrange for the room. His staff revealed that he had gotten intense pressure from the Israeli Embassy and Rome's Jewish Community Association to stop the presentation.  full article>

 

The truth is the best picture, the best propaganda.

Robert Capa

 

Another Hatchet Job on Snowden

By Ray McGovern

March 3, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

In depicting National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden as a Russian spy, author Edward Jay Epstein acknowledges his debt to the CIA's famously paranoid counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton, who specialized in counterintuitive thinking that surely smeared more honest CIA officers than it snared actual spies.  full article>

 

All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.

Adolf Hitler

 

These 5 Trump Cabinet Members Have Made False Statements to Congress

Eric Umansky and Marcelo Rochabrun, ProPublica

Mar. 4, 2017, © MotherJones

As most of the world knows by now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not tell the truth when he was asked during his confirmation hearings about contacts with Russian officials.

But Sessions isn't the only one. At least four other cabinet members made statements during their nomination hearings that are contradicted by actual facts: EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.  full article>

 

There is something very wrong when a nation divided politically has one major network operating as a propaganda arm of the Republican Party and 90 percent of talk radio is dominated by right-wing extremists.

Bernie Sanders

 

Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia

by Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin "Chuck" Spinney

February 24, 2017, © Counterpunch

The Nuclear Question is becoming increasingly obfuscated by spin and lobbying as the West sleepwalks into Cold War II — a walk made all the more dangerous when the loose lips of the U.S. tweeter-in-chief announced that another nuclear arms race is a great idea (see link and link). Two Cold War II issues are central and almost never addressed: What will be the Russians' understanding of all the propaganda surrounding the Nuclear Question and the looming American defense spendup? And how might they act on this understanding?  full article>

 

In the early 1940s, as a young teenager, I was utterly appalled by the racist and jingoist hysteria of the anti-Japanese propaganda. The Germans were evil, but treated with some respect: They were, after all, blond Aryan types, just like our imaginary self-image. Japanese were mere vermin, to be crushed like ants.

Noam Chomsky

 

Trump Versus the Media: How to Cover a Hostile President

By Nic Dawes

March 1, 2017, © The Nation

This is a time of testing for American journalism—will it rise to the occasion? Today's media environment faces dangers as threatening as our physical environment faces from climate change. Journalism's operating model has been under siege for more than a decade; now it confronts an existential risk as an authoritarian populist attacks democratic norms once taken for granted. But this moment of peril is also a moment of opportunity. Much depends on how a media system already under stress from the epochal changes in technology, economics, and audience behavior responds to this new challenge. And much is at stake: not only a renewal of the journalistic vocation, public trust in the media, and its commercial potential, but also the accountability architecture of American democracy itself. Securing these things will mean returning to some old principles: fairness, accuracy, rigor, and, above all, a position outside of power, exerting pressure on it, rather than inside, transmitting its message. And even that on its own may not be enough. To truly confront this moment and emerge strengthened, the press will require new and sometimes uncomfortable strategies.  full article>

 

Stick it to the man.

__________

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBGUqMyyvnI

 

Statement by all Nominated Directors, Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, 2017:

On behalf of all nominees, we would like to express our unanimous and emphatic disapproval of the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians.

The fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a meansto justify violence destroys the things that we depend on – not only as artists but as humans: the diversity of cultures, the chance to be enriched by something seemingly "foreign" and the belief that human encounters can change us for the better. These divisive walls prevent people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all not so different.

So we've asked ourselves: What can cinema do? Although we don`t want to overestimate the power of movies, we do believe that no other medium can offer such deep insight into other people's circumstances and transform feelings of unfamiliarity into curiosity, empathy and compassion – even for those we have been told are our enemies.

Regardless of who wins the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday, we refuse to think in terms of borders. We believe there is no best country, best gender, best religion or best color. We want this award to stand as a symbol of the unity between nations and the freedom of the arts.

Human rights are not something you have to apply for. They simply exist – for everybody. For this reason, we dedicate this award to all the people, artists, journalists and activists who are working to foster unity and understanding, and who uphold freedom of expression and human dignity – values whose protection is now more important than ever. By dedicating the Oscar to them, we wish to express to them our deep respect and solidarity.

Martin Zandvliet – "Land of Mine" ( Denmark )

Hannes Holm – "A Man Called Ove" ( Sweden )

Asghar Farhadi – "The Salesman" ( Iran )

Maren Ade – "Toni Erdmann" ( Germany )

Martin Butler, Bentley Dean – "Tanna" ( Australia )

 

 

Parasite of the Day

Mind-Manipulating Fungi:

(source-http://www.iflscience.com)

So you're a fungus that lives in a tropical forest that experiences fluctuating humidity and temperature, but you can only thrive within a specific range of these variables. What do you do? Parasitize an ant, turn it into a zombie and make it seek out your perfect environment, of course. Oh, and then kill it and grow a big fungal pole out of its head, just for good measure.

The fungal parasite Ophiocordyceps is a spectacular example of host manipulation. Numerous different species have been described which differ in their host choice and death location. O. unilateralis, for example, infects carpenter (Camponotus) ants. The fungus then manipulates the host so that it abandons its usual habitat and heads for the sheltered underside of a leaf with ideal conditions for the fungus to grow. Here, the ant bites down on the leaf, usually on a vein, performing what is known as a "death grip." The ant then dies and the hyphae (tubular fungal structures) grow inside the host, eventually tearing through the back of the head, looking like something out of Game of Thrones. Spores are then released from the fungus into a small area below the leaf referred to as an "infectious killing field," ready to start the process over again. Lovely.

O. unilateralis infected ant with hyphae growing out of the head.

(Image credit: David Hughes, Maj-Britt Pontoppidan, PLoS ONE‚Äã, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

Mental Health Professionals Warn About Trump

FEB. 13, 2017, © The New York Times

To the Editor:

Charles M. Blow (column, nytimes.com, Feb. 9) describes Donald Trump's constant need "to grind the opposition underfoot." As mental health professionals, we share Mr. Blow's concern.

Silence from the country's mental health organizations has been due to a self-imposed dictum about evaluating public figures (the American Psychiatric Association's 1973 Goldwater Rule). But this silence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer.

Mr. Trump's speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).

In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump's speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.

LANCE DODES
JOSEPH SCHACHTER
Beverly Hills, Calif.

Dr. Dodes is a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Schachter is a former chairman of the Committee on Research Proposals, International Psychoanalytic Association. The letter was also signed by 35 other psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers.

 

The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.

James Madison, Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787

 

"We have at most a year to defend American democracy, perhaps less"

By Matthias Kolb

February 7, 2017, © Süddeutsche Zeitung

SZ: Donald Trump has been president for three weeks. How would you describe his start?

Timothy Snyder: The first thing that we have to notice is that the institutions have not thus far restrained him. He never took them seriously, acts as if they don't exist, and clearly wishes they didn't. The story that Americans have told themselves from the moment he declared his candidacy for president, was that one institution or another would defeat him or at least change his behavior – he won't get the nomination; if he gets the nomination, he will be a normal Republican; he will get defeated in the general election; if he wins the presidency will mature him (that was what Obama said). I never thought any of that was true. He doesn't seem to care about the institutions and the laws except insofar as they appear as barriers to the goal of permanent kleptocratic authoritarianism and immediate personal gratification. It is all about him all of time, it is not about the citizens and our political traditions.  full article>

 

Neofascism in the United States takes the form of big money, big banks, big corporations, tied to xenophobic scapegoating of the vulnerable, like Mexicans and Muslims and women and black folk, and militaristic policies abroad, with strongman, charismatic, autocratic personality, and that's what Donald Trump is.

Cornel West

 

Worst Joke Ever? U.S. Spy Chief Gives Saudi Prince Highest Award for "Fighting Terrorism"

by Mike Whitney

February 14, 2017, © Counterpunch

On Friday, the Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, used his first trip abroad to present Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef with the CIA's highest award for fighting terrorism, the George Tenet Medal. Although the ceremony wasn't covered by any of the major media, it was picked up on various blogsites where the news was greeted with predictable howls of outrage. Not surprisingly, most American's still see Saudi Arabia as the epicenter of global terrorism, a point which was underlined in a recent article at The Atlantic titled "Where America's Terrorists Actually Come From".  full article>

 

Social conservatism and neoconservatism have revived authoritarian conservatism, and not for the better of conservatism or American democracy. True conservatism is cautious and prudent. Authoritarianism is rash and radical. American democracy has benefited from true conservatism, but authoritarianism offers potentially serious trouble for any democracy.

John W. Dean

 

Are U.S. Agents Carrying Out Trump's Muslim Ban at Airports in Canada and Ireland? We Aim to Find Out.

By Sarah Mehta

February 13, 2017, © ACLU

As part of our multiple tactics to keep up the pressure against President Trump's Muslim immigration ban, on Friday the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request with U.S. Customs and Border Protection demanding records on the implementation of the executive order at all 15 CBP "preclearance" airport locations abroad. These are facilities at airports in other countries where people coming to the U.S. go through U.S. immigration and customs before being allowed to get on their flights.  full article>

 

The relative freedom which we enjoy depends of public opinion. The law is no protection. Governments make laws, but whether they are carried out, and how the police behave, depends on the general temper in the country. If large numbers of people are interested in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it; if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.

George Orwell

 

Brutal: Los hinchas de San Lorenzo versionan el 'Despacito' de Luis Fons

Una vez más, la afición de San Lorenzo volvió a confirmar que es una de las mejores del mundo. Se hace unos meses adaptaron la canción 'Duele el corazón' de Enrique Iglesias, ahora han hecho lo propio con el último éxito de Luis Fonsi y Daddy Yankee 'Despacito'.

 

The way things are supposed to work is that we're supposed to know virtually everything about what they (the government) do: that's why they're called public servants. They're supposed to know virtually nothing about what we do: that's why we're called private individuals.

Glenn Greenwald

 

Surrender of the Day

Egyptian-Hittite Peace Treaty:

Likely signed sometime in 1259 BCE, the Egyptian-Hittite peace treaty is the oldest known written peace treaty in history. It was probably negotiated by representatives of both Egypt and the Hittite Empire, and the two monarchs never met face to face. While there is no record of a ceremony to go along with the signing, there is text in the recovered versions of the treaty that includes descriptions of elaborate figures and seals carved into the tablets given to the other side.

 

Amnesty is as good for those who give it as for those who receive it. It has the admirable quality of bestowing mercy on both sides.

Victor Hugo

 

Roaming Charges: Big Boss Man

by Jeffrey St. Clair

February 10, 2017, © Counterpunch.org

When Trump speaks these days it's usually in a strictly-controlled environment, before a self-selected (if not always compensated) crowd that bows, laughs and applauds on cue, like the "live studio audience" of a sit-com.

This week Trump cloaked himself in a pack of gung-ho sheriffs summoned from Trump-devoted counties across the country. The mutual backslapping and banal banter between the President and the cops took an ominous turn when Harold Eavenson, Sheriff of Rockwell County, Texas, complained to Trump that soft-on crime politicians were threatening the financial firepower of the war on drugs by trying to enact minor reforms in asset seizure laws, which allow police departments to confiscate the property of suspects in drug crimes, sell it off and keep the money to fund their own operations.  full article>

 

Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal.

Arthur C. Clarke

 

Canada, Leading the Free World

Nicholas Kristof

FEB. 4, 2017, © The New York Times

President Trump's harsh travel ban reflects a global pattern: All around the world, countries are slamming the doors shut.

One great exception: Canada. It may now be the finest example of the values of the Statue of Liberty.  full article>

 

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

NYT: Unlike Russian Wars, US Wars 'Promote Freedom and Democracy'

By Adam Johnson

Feb 9 2017, © FAIR

The New York Times, in its recent rebuff of comments President Donald Trump made about Russia, seems not to have evolved its understanding of US geopolitics past an 8th grade level. Trump had been asked by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly (2/5/17) why he wouldn't condemn Vladimir Putin, whom O'Reilly called a "killer."  full article>

 

All cruelty springs from weakness.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

"Great News!": White Nationalists See Sessions' Attorney General Confirmation As Major Step Toward Achieving Their Racist Goals

TIMOTHY JOHNSON

February 9, 2017, © Media Matters

White nationalists cheered the confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, claiming that "we are one step closer to solidifying Trump's authoritarian dictatorship," and "we finally have an AG who will defend decent American people - rather than thugs," and predicting that Sessions "will truly make our country great" and target "domestic terrorist groups" like Black Lives Matter.  full article>

 

The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don't ask for their love; only for their fear.

Heinrich Himmler

 

Military occupation of the Day

Israel's Occupation of Palestine:

 

 

Israeli-occupied territories

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Israeli-occupied territories are the territories occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967. Originally, those territories included the Syrian Golan Heights, the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip and Jordanian-occupied West Bank. The first use of the term 'territories occupied' was in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 following the Six-Day War in 1967, which called for "the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" to be achieved by "the application of both the following principles: ... Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict ... Termination of all claims or states of belligerency" and respect for the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries.

From 1967 to 1982, the four areas were governed under the Israeli Military Governorate (also named as Occupied Arab territories 'citation needed' by the UN). The IMG was dissolved in 1982, after the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty. In the process, Israel handed the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, the Golan Heights was incorporated into the Northern District by the Golan Heights Law, and West Bank continued to be administrated via the Israeli Civil Administration. Despite dissolving the military government, in line with Egyptian demands, the term Israeli-occupied territories remains in use, referring to the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and Western Golan Heights. Between 1998 to 2012, the term Palestinian territories, Occupied was used to refer to territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The International Court of Justice, the UN General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council regards Israel as the "Occupying Power". UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk called Israel's occupation "an affront to international law." The Israeli High Court of Justice has ruled that Israel holds the West Bank under "belligerent occupation". According to Talia Sasson, the High Court of Justice in Israel, with a variety of different justices sitting, has repeatedly stated for more than four decades that Israel's presence in the West Bank is in violation of international law. Israeli governments have preferred the term "disputed territories" in the case of the West Bank. Officially Israel maintains that the West Bank is disputed territory.

Israel asserts that since the disengagement of Israel from Gaza in 2005, Israel no longer occupies the Gaza Strip. However, as it retained certain control of Gaza's airspace and coastline, as of 2012 it continued to be designated as an occupying power in the Gaza Strip by the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly and some countries and various human rights organizations.

 

Overview

 

The significance of the designation of these territories as occupied territory is that certain legal obligations fall on the occupying power under international law. Under international law there are certain laws of war governing military occupation, including the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention. One of those obligations is to maintain the status quo until the signing of a peace treaty, the resolution of specific conditions outlined in a peace treaty, or the formation of a new civilian government.

Israel disputes whether, and if so to what extent, it is an occupying power in relation to the Palestinian territories and as to whether Israeli settlements in these territories are in breach of Israel's obligations as an occupying power and constitute a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and whether the settlements constitute war crimes. In 2015, over 800,000 Israelis resided over the 1949 Armistice Lines, constituting nearly 13% of Israel's Jewish population.

 

Sinai Peninsula

Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt in the 1967 Six-Day War. It established settlements along the Gulf of Aqaba and in the northeast portion, just below the Gaza Strip. It had plans to expand the settlement of Yamit into a city with a population of 200,000, though the actual population of Yamit did not exceed 3,000. The Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in stages beginning in 1979 as part of the Israel–Egypt Peace Treaty. As required by the treaty, Israel evacuated Israeli military installations and civilian settlements prior to the establishment of "normal and friendly relations" between it and Egypt. Israel dismantled eighteen settlements, two air force bases, a naval base, and other installations by 1982, including the only oil resources under Israeli control. The evacuation of the civilian population, which took place in 1982, was done forcefully in some instances, such as the evacuation of Yamit. The settlements were demolished, as it was feared that settlers might try to return to their homes after the evacuation.(citation needed) Since 1982, the Sinai Peninsula has not been regarded as occupied territory.

 

South Lebanon

Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon took place after Israel invaded Lebanon during the 1982 Lebanon War and subsequently retained its forces to support the Christian South Lebanon Army in Southern Lebanon. In 1982, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and allied Free Lebanon Army Christian militias seized large sections of Lebanon, including the capital of Beirut, amid the hostilities of the wider Lebanese Civil War. Later, Israel withdrew from parts of the occupied area between 1983 and 1985, but remained in partial control of the border region known as the South Lebanon Security Belt, initially in coordination with the self-proclaimed Free Lebanon State, which executed a limited authority over portions of southern Lebanon until 1984, and later with the South Lebanon Army (transformed from Free Lebanon Army), until the year 2000. Israel's stated purpose for the Security Belt was to create a space separating its northern border towns from terrorists residing in Lebanon.

During the stay in the security belt, the IDF held many positions and supported the SLA. The SLA took over daily life in the security zone, initially as the official force of the Free Lebanon State and later as an allied militia. Notably, the South Lebanon Army controlled the prison in Khiam. In addition, United Nations (UN) forces and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were deployed to the security belt (from the end of Operation Litani in 1978).

The strip was a few miles wide, and consisted of about 10% of the total territory of Lebanon, which housed about 150,000 people who lived in 67 villages and towns made up of Shiites, Maronites and Druze (most of whom lived in the town of Hasbaya). In the central zone of the Strip was the Maronite town Marjayoun, which was the capital of the security belt. Residents remaining in the security zone had many contacts with Israel, many of whom have worked there and received various services from Israel.

Before the Israeli election in May 1999 the prime minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, promised that within a year all Israeli forces would withdraw from Lebanon. When negotiation efforts failed between Israel and Syria—the goal of the negotiations was to bring a peace agreement between Israel and Lebanon as well, due to Syrian occupation of Lebanon until 2005—Barak led the withdrawal of the IDF to the Israeli border on 24 May 2000. No soldiers were killed or wounded during the redeployment to the internationally recognized border of Blue Line.

 

Golan Heights

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. A ceasefire was signed on 11 June 1967 and the Golan Heights came under Israeli military administration. Syria rejected UNSC Resolution 242 of 22 November 1967, which called for the return of Israeli-occupied State territories in exchange for peaceful relations. Israel had accepted Resolution 242 in a speech to the Security Council on 1 May 1968. In March 1972, Syria "conditionally" accepted Resolution 242,(citation needed) and in May 1974, the Agreement on Disengagement between Israel and Syria was signed.

In the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Syria attempted to recapture the Golan Heights militarily, but the attempt was unsuccessful. Israel and Syria signed a ceasefire agreement in 1974 that left almost all the Heights under Israeli control, while returning a narrow demilitarized zone to Syrian control. A United Nations observation force was established in 1974 as a buffer between the sides. By Syrian formal acceptance of UN Security Council Resolution 338,which set out the cease-fire at the end of the Yom Kippur War, Syria also accepted Resolution 242

On 14 December 1981, Israel passed the Golan Heights Law, extending Israeli administration and law to the territory. Israel has expressly avoided using the term "annexation" to describe the change of status. However, the UN Security Council has rejected the de facto annexation in UNSC Resolution 497, which declared it as "null and void and without international legal effect", and consequently continuing to regard the Golan Heights as an Israeli-occupied territory. The measure has also been criticized by other countries, either as illegal or as not being helpful to the Middle East peace process.

Syria wants the return of the Golan Heights, while Israel has maintained a policy of "land for peace" based on Resolution 242. The first high-level public talks aimed at a resolution of the Syria-Israel conflict were held at and after the multilateral Madrid Conference of 1991. Throughout the 1990s several Israeli governments negotiated with Syria's president Hafez Al-Assad. While serious progress was made, they were unsuccessful.

In 2004, there were 34 settlements in the Golan Heights, populated by around 18,000 people. Today, an estimated 20,000 Israeli settlers and 20,000 Syrians live in the territory. All inhabitants are entitled to Israeli citizenship, which would entitle them to an Israeli driver's license and enable them to travel freely in Israel.(citation needed) The non-Jewish residents, who are mostly Druze, have nearly all declined to take Israeli citizenship.

In the Golan Heights there is another area occupied by Israel, namely the Shebaa farms. Syria and Lebanon have claimed that the farms belong to Lebanon and in 2007 a UN cartographer came to the conclusion that the Shebaa farms do actually belong to Lebanon (contrary to the belief held by Israel). UN then said that Israel should relinquish the control of this area.

 

Palestinian territories

 

Background

Both of these territories were part of Mandate Palestine, and both have populations consisting primarily of Palestinians Arabs, including significant numbers of refugees who fled or were expelled from Israel and territory Israel controlled after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Today, Palestinians make up around half of Jordan's population.

Jordan occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, from 1948 to 1967, annexing it in 1950 and granting Jordanian citizenship to the residents in 1954 (the annexation claims and citizenship grants were rescinded in 1988 when Jordan acknowledged the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole representative of the Palestinian people). Egypt administered the Gaza Strip from 1948 to 1967 but did not annex it or make Gazans Egyptian citizens.

West Bank

The West Bank was allotted to the Arab state under United Nations Partition Plan of 1947, but the West Bank was occupied by Transjordan after the 1948 war. In April 1950, Jordan annexed the West Bank, but this was recognized only by the United Kingdom and Pakistan. (see 1949 Armistice Agreements, Green Line)

In 1967, the West Bank came under Israeli military administration. Israel retained the mukhtar (mayoral) system of government inherited from Jordan, and subsequent governments began developing infrastructure in Arab villages under its control. (see Palestinians and Israeli law, International legal issues of the conflict, Palestinian economy)

Since the Israel – Palestine Liberation Organization letters of recognition of 1993, most of the Palestinian population and cities came under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, and only partial Israeli military control, although Israel has frequently redeployed its troops and reinstated full military administration in various parts of the two territories. On July 31, 1988, Jordan renounced its claims to the West Bank for the PLO.

In 2000, the Israeli government started to construct the Israeli West Bank barrier, within the West Banks, separating Israel and several of its settlements, as well as a significant number of Palestinians, from the remainder of the West Bank. State of Israel cabinet approved a route to construct separation barrier whose total length will be approximately 760 km (472 mi) built mainly in the West Bank and partly along the 1949 Armistice line, or "Green Line" between Israel and Palestinian West Bank. 12% of the West Bank area is on the Israel side of the barrier.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion stating that the barrier violates international law. It claimed that "Israel cannot rely on a right of self-defence or on a state of necessity in order to preclude the wrongfulness of the construction of the wall". However, Israel government derived its justification for constructing this barrier with Prime Minister Ehud Barak stating that it is "essential to the Palestinian nation in order to foster its national identity and independence without being dependent on the State of Israel". The Israeli Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, stated that Israel has been holding the areas of Judea and Samaria in belligerent occupation, since 1967. The court also held that the normative provisions of public international law regarding belligerent occupation are applicable. The Regulations Concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, The Hague of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War 1949 were both cited.

About 300,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank along the Israeli West Bank barrier (and a further 200,000 live in East Jerusalem and 50,000 in the former Israeli–Jordanian no-man's land).(citation needed) The barrier has many effects on Palestinians including reduced freedoms, road closures, loss of land, increased difficulty in accessing medical and educational services in Israel, restricted access to water sources, and economic effects. Regarding the violation of freedom of Palestinians, in a 2005 report, the United Nations stated that: ...it is difficult to overstate the humanitarian impact of the Barrier. The route inside the West Bank severs communities, people's access to services, livelihoods and religious and cultural amenities. In addition, plans for the Barrier's exact route and crossing points through it are often not fully revealed until days before construction commences. This has led to considerable anxiety among Palestinians about how their future lives will be impacted...The land between the Barrier and the Green Line constitutes some of the most fertile in the West Bank. It is currently the home for 49,400 West Bank Palestinians living in 38 villages and towns.

 

Gaza Strip

Gaza Strip was allotted to the Arab state under United Nations Partition Plan of 1947, but Gaza Strip was occupied by Egypt after the 1948 war.

Between 1948 and 1967, the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian military administration, being officially under the jurisdiction of the All-Palestine Government until in 1959 it was merged into the United Arab Republic, de facto becoming under direct Egyptian military governorship.

Between 1967 and 1993, the Gaza Strip was under Israeli military administration. In March 1979, Egypt renounced all claims to the Gaza Strip in the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty.

Since the Israel – Palestine Liberation Organization letters of recognition of 1993, the Gaza Strip came under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.

A July 2004 opinion of the International Court of Justice treated Gaza as part of the occupied territories.

In February 2005, the Israeli government voted to implement a unilateral disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip. The plan began to be implemented on 15 August 2005, and was completed on 12 September 2005. Under the plan, all Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip (and four in the West Bank) and the joint Israeli-Palestinian Erez Industrial Zone were dismantled with the removal of all 9,000 Israeli settlers (most of them in the Gush Katif settlement area in the Strip's southwest) and military bases. Some settlers resisted the order, and were forcibly removed by the IDF. On 12 September 2005 the Israeli cabinet formally declared an end to Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip. To avoid allegations that it was still in occupation of any part of the Gaza Strip, Israel also withdrew from the Philadelphi Route, which is a narrow strip adjacent to the Strip's border with Egypt, after Egypt's agreement to secure its side of the border. Under the Oslo Accords the Philadelphi Route was to remain under Israeli control to prevent the smuggling of materials (such as ammunition) and people across the border with Egypt. With Egypt agreeing to patrol its side of the border, it was hoped that the objective would be achieved. However, Israel maintained its control over the crossings in and out of Gaza. The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza was monitored by the Israeli army through special surveillance cameras. Official documents such as passports, I.D. cards, export and import papers, and many others had to be approved by the Israeli army.

The Israeli position is that Gaza is no longer occupied, inasmuch as Israel does not exercise effective control or authority over any land or institutions in the Gaza Strip. Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel Tzipi Livni stated in January, 2008: "Israel got out of Gaza. It dismantled its settlements there. No Israeli soldiers were left there after the disengagement." Israel also notes that Gaza does not belong to any sovereign state.

Immediately after Israel withdrew in 2005, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated, "the legal status of the areas slated for evacuation has not changed." Human Rights Watch also contested that this ended the occupation. The United Nations, Human Rights Watch and many other international bodies and NGOs continues to consider Israel to be the occupying power of the Gaza Strip as Israel controls Gaza Strip's airspace, territorial waters and controls the movement of people or goods in or out of Gaza by air or sea.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs maintains an office on "Occupied Palestinian Territory," which concerns itself with the Gaza Strip. In his statement on the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur on "the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories" wrote that international humanitarian law applied to Israel "in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war." In a 2009 interview on Democracy Now Christopher Gunness, spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) contends that Israel is an occupying power. However, Meagan Buren, Senior Adviser to the Israel Project, a pro-Israel media group contests that characterization.

In 2007, after Hamas defeated Fatah in the Battle of Gaza (2007) and took control over the Gaza Strip, Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza. Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli raids, such as Operation Hot Winter continued into 2008. A six month ceasefire was agreed in June 2008, but it was broken several times by both Israel and Hamas. As it reached its expiry, Hamas announced that they were unwilling to renew the ceasefire without improving the terms. At the end of December 2008 Israeli forces began Operation Cast Lead, launching the Gaza War that left an estimated 1,166–1,417 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.

In January 2012, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General stated that under resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly, the UN still regards Gaza to be part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

 

East Jerusalem

Jerusalem has created additional issues in relation to the question of whether or not it is occupied territory. The 1947 UN Partition Plan had contemplated that all of Jerusalem would be an international city within an international area that included Bethlehem for at least ten years, after which the residents would be allowed to conduct a referendum and the issue could be re-examined by the Trusteeship Council.

However, after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Jordan captured East Jerusalem and the Old City, and Israel captured and annexed the western part of Jerusalem(citation needed). Jordan bilaterally annexed East Jerusalem along with the rest of the West Bank in 1950 as a temporary trustee at the request of a Palestinian delegation, and although the annexation was recognized by only two countries, it was not condemned by the UNSC. The British did not recognize the territory as sovereign to Jordan. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War. On June 27, Israel extended its laws, jurisdiction, and administration to East Jerusalem and several nearby towns and villages, and incorporated the area into the Jerusalem Municipality. In 1980, the Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law, which was declared a Basic Law, which declared Jerusalem to be the "complete and united" capital of Israel. However, United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 declared this action to be "null and void", and that it "must be rescinded forthwith". The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem and considers it occupied territory.

UN Security Council Resolution 478 also called upon countries which held their diplomatic delegations to Israel in Jerusalem, to move them outside the city. Most nations with embassies in Jerusalem complied, and relocated their embassies to Tel Aviv or other Israeli cities prior to the adoption of Resolution 478. Following the withdrawals of Costa Rica and El Salvador in August 2006, no country maintains its embassy in Jerusalem, although Paraguay and Bolivia once had theirs in nearby Mevasseret Zion. The United States Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, stating that "Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999." As a result of the Embassy Act, official U.S. documents and web sites refer to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Since passage, the law has never been implemented, because of opposition from Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, who view it as a Congressional infringement on the executive branch's constitutional authority over foreign policy; they have consistently claimed the presidential waiver on national security interests.

 

 

International law violations

The establishment of Israeli settlements is held to constitute a transfer of Israel's civilian population into the occupied territories and as such is illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. This is disputed by other legal experts who argue with this interpretation of the law

In 2000, the editors of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Palestine Yearbook of International Law (1998–1999) said "the "transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory" amounts to a war crime. They hold that this is obviously applicable to Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Arab Territories."

In 2004 the International Court of Justice, in an advisory, non-binding opinion, noted that the Security Council had described Israel's policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in the occupied territories as a "flagrant violation" of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Court also concluded that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established "in breach of international law" and that all the States parties to the Geneva Convention are under an obligation to ensure compliance by Israel with international law as embodied in the Convention.

In May 2012 the 27 ministers of foreign affairs of the European Union published a report strongly denouncing policies of the State of Israel in the West Bank and finding that settlements in the West Bank are illegal: "settlements remain illegal under international law, irrespective of recent decisions by the government of Israel. The EU reiterates that it will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties."The report by all EU foreign ministers also criticized the Israeli government's failure to dismantle settler outposts illegal even under domestic Israeli law."

Israel denies that the Israeli settlements are in breach of any international laws. The Israeli Supreme Court has yet to rule decisively on settlement legality under the Geneva Convention.

 

2012 UN report on settlements

The United Nations Human Rights Commission decided in March 2012 to establish a panel charged with investigating "the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem." In reaction the government of Israel ceased cooperating with the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and boycotted the UN Human Rights Commission. The U.S. government acceded to the Israeli government demand to attempt to thwart the formation of such a panel.

On January 31, 2012 the United Nations independent "International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory" filed a report stating that Israeli settlement led to a multitude of violations of Palestinian human rights and that if Israel did not stop all settlement activity immediately and begin withdrawing all settlers from the West Bank, it potentially might face a case at the International Criminal Court. It said that Israel was in violation of article 49 of the fourth Geneva convention forbidding transferring civilians of the occupying nation into occupied territory. It held that the settlements are "leading to a creeping annexation that prevents the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination." After Palestine's admission to the United Nations as a non-member state in September 2012, it potentially may have its complaint heard by the International Court. Israel's foreign ministry replied to the report saying that "Counterproductive measures – such as the report before us – will only hamper efforts to find a sustainable solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The human rights council has sadly distinguished itself by its systematically one-sided and biased approach towards Israel."

 

2013 EU directive for 2014 to 2020

Following a decision by European Union (EU) foreign ministers in December 2012 stating that "all agreements between the state of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967," the European Commission issued guidelines for the 2014 to 2020 financial framework covering all areas of co-operation between the EU and Israel, including economics, science, culture, sports and academia but excluding trade on 30 June 2013. According to the directive all future agreements between the EU and Israel must explicitly exclude Jewish settlements and Israeli institutions and bodies situated across the pre-1967 Green Line – including the Golan Heights, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. EU grants, funding, prizes or scholarships will only be granted if a settlement exclusion clause is included, forcing the Israeli government to concede in writing that settlements in the occupied territories are outside the state of Israel to secure agreements with the EU

In a statement, the EU said that "the guidelines are ... in conformity with the EU's longstanding position that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and with the non-recognition by the EU of Israel's sovereignty over the occupied territories, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law. At the moment Israeli entities enjoy financial support and cooperation with the EU and these guidelines are designed to ensure that this remains the case. At the same time concern has been expressed in Europe that Israeli entities in the occupied territories could benefit from EU support. The purpose of these guidelines is to make a distinction between the State of Israel and the occupied territories when it comes to EU support."

The guidelines do not apply to any Palestinian body in the West Bank or East Jerusalem, and they do not affect agreements between the EU and the PLO or the Palestinian Authority, nor do they apply to Israeli government ministries or national agencies, to private individuals, to human rights organizations operating in the occupied territories, or to NGOs working toward promoting peace which operate in the occupied territories.

The move was described as an "earthquake" by an Israeli official who wished to remain anonymous, and prompted harsh criticism by prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu who said in a broadcast statement: "As prime minister of Israel, I will not allow the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who live in the West Bank, Golan Heights and our united capital Jerusalem to be harmed. We will not accept any external diktats about our borders. This matter will only be settled in direct negotiations between the parties." Israel is also concerned that the same policy could extend to settlement produce and goods exported to European markets, as some EU member states are pressing for an EU-wide policy of labelling produce and goods originating in Jewish settlements to allow consumers to make informed choices. A special ministerial panel led by prime minister Netanyahu, decided to approach the EU and demand several key amendments in the guidelines before entering any new projects with the Europeans. A spokesperson for the EU confirmed that further talks would take place between Israel and the EU, stating: "We stand ready to organise discussions during which such clarifications can be provided and look forward to continued successful EU-Israel cooperation, including in the area of scientific cooperation."

Palestinians and their supporters hailed the EU directive as a significant political and economic sanction against settlements. Hanan Ashrawi welcomed the guidelines, saying: "The EU has moved from the level of statements, declarations and denunciations to effective policy decisions and concrete steps, which constitute a qualitative shift that will have a positive impact on the chances of peace."

 

 

Lesson in Observation

 

Pay attention, the world which appears now
at zero point zero and one degree
was,
as far as is known, the only one
that strayed from the silence.

 

It hovered inside a blue bubble, quite large:
and sometimes there were clouds, sea breezes,
occasionally a house, maybe a kite, and children,
and here and there an angel,
or a large park, or a city.
Beneath these were the dead, and beneath them
the rock, and beneath it the prison of fire.

 

Clear? I'll say it again: Outside there were
clouds, cries, air to air missiles,
fire in the fields, memory.
Deep below these, were houses, children. what else.

 

And that point on the side? This it appears
is the sole moon of that world.
It extinguished itself well before then.

 

Dan Pagis

(translated from Hebrew by Jane Medved)

 

Israel passes bill retroactively legalising Jewish settlements

Peter Beaumont

Monday 6 February 2017, © The Guardian

Israel's parliament has approved a controversial bill to retroactively "legalise" illegal Jewish outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land, setting up an inevitable confrontation with the international community.

The so-called regulation bill paves the way for Israel to recognise thousands of illegally built Jewish settler homes constructed on privately owned Palestinian land in what opponents have dubbed a "theft" and "land grab".  full article>

 

Khamsin* on the Hills

 

Do you remember that
khamsin on the hills? The branches
full of thorns sent to us by
the thirsty wild plums? The
blazing rocks and the scent
of toasted pine needles?
The blush that rose on your cheeks, and the drops
of your gentle sweat? My soul
reached out to you then my love.
And I did not guess there that such
would be our lives: crowns of thorns,
and the heat of the khamsim, and the blush of
the sweat of love. And the sorrow that eats
at us from inside for the speed of elusive
time and the lightning vision of
painful memory, flying away.

 

Elisha Porat

(translated from the Hebrew by Cindy Eisner)

*Khamsin, from the Arab language, a hot dry and windy day in Israel and the Levant.

 

Explained: Israel's New Palestinian Land-grab Law and Why It Matters

Israel's parliament voted on a bill that expropriates private Palestinian land in the West Bank. What does the new law change, who is affected and why is it such a big deal?

Allison Kaplan Sommer

Feb 07, 2017, © Haaretz

What exactly does the new law change?

The law allows Israel to expropriate private Palestinian land in the West Bank where Israeli settlements or outposts have been built. It allows Jewish settlers to remain in their homes, even though it does not grant them ownership of the land they live on. It denies the Palestinian owners the right to claim the land or take possession of it "until there is a diplomatic resolution of the status of the territories."

Wait – back up – what is the name of the law?

Good question. Part of the confusion surrounding the bill is its name. In Hebrew, it has been given a misleading moniker with confusing translation options – most commonly, it is translated as the "Regularization Law."  full article>

 

p

As He Walks Away

 

The enemy who drinks tea in our hovel
has a horse in smoke, a daughter with
thick eyebrow, brown eyes and long hair
braided over her shoulders
like a night of songs.
He's never without her picture
when he comes to drink our tea
but he forgets to tell us about her nightly chores
about a horse of ancient melodies
abandoned on a hilltop.
Relaxing in our shack, the enemy
slings his rifle over my grandfather's chair
eats our bread like any guest,
dozes off for a while on the wicker couch.
Then, as he stoops to pat our cat on the way out,
says:'Don't blame the victim.'
'And who might that be?' we ask.
'Blood that won't dry in the night.'
His coat-buttons flash as he walks away.
Good evening to you! Say hello to our well!
Say hello to our fig trees! Step gingerly
on our shadows in the barley fields.
Greet our pines on high. But please
don't leave the gate open at night.
And don't forget the horse's terror of airplanes.
And greet us there, if you have time.
That's what we want to say at the doorstep.
He hears it well enough,
but muffles it with a cough,
and waves it aside.
As long as the earth turns around itself inside us
the war will not end.
Let's be good then.
He asked us to be good while we're here.
He recites Yeats's poem about an Irish Airman:
'Those that I fight I don't hate,
Those that I guard I don't love.'
Then he leaves our wooden ramshackle hut
and walks eighty meters to our old stone house on the edge of the plain.
Greet our house for us, stranger.
The coffee cups are the same.
Can you smell our fingers still on them?
Can you tell your daughter
with the braid and thick eyebrows
she has an absent friend
who wishes to visit her, to enter her mirror
and see his secret.
How was she able to trace his age in this place?
Say hello to her, if you
have time.
What we want to tell him
he hears well enough, but muffles with a cough
and waves aside.
His coat buttons flash
as he walks away.

 

Mahmoud Darwish

(translated from Arabic by Sargon Boulos)

 

Israel's New Land Law: Clearing the Path to Annexation

by Jonathan Cook

February 8, 2017, © Counterpunch

The Israeli parliament passed the legalisation law on Monday night – a piece of legislation every bit as suspect as its title suggests. The law widens the powers of Israeli officials to seize the final fragments of Palestinian land in the West Bank that were supposed to be off-limits.  full article>

 

BLESSING

(After Ezekiel)

 

Only good things. Best wishes roll off your forked tongue
surrounding me, limp, to do me good.
Your evil eye sways the walls. There's no
current from the fire. The world will end in this room.
I'll still hear from you. I won't escape. Then with a bang
mountains crumble, stairs collapse, every wall will
fall to the ground.

 

Navit Barel

(translated from Hebrew by Adam Seelig)

First published on Poetry International, 2013

 

Israel's settlement law: Consolidating apartheid

By Ramzy Baroud

February 8, 2017, © Aljazeera

"Israel has just opened the 'floodgates', and crossed a 'very, very thick red line'." These were the words of Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations' Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, in response to the passing of a bill at the Israeli Knesset on February 7 that retroactively legalises thousands of illegal settler homes, built on stolen Palestinian land.  full article>

 

I Come From There

 

I come from there and I have memories
Born as mortals are, I have a mother
And a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends,
And a prison cell with a cold window.
Mine is the wave, snatched by sea-gulls,
I have my own view,
And an extra blade of grass.
Mine is the moon at the far edge of the words,
And the bounty of birds,
And the immortal olive tree.
I walked this land before the swords
Turned its living body into a laden table.
I come from there. I render the sky unto her mother
When the sky weeps for her mother.
And I weep to make myself known
To a returning cloud.
I learnt all the words worthy of the court of blood
So that I could break the rule.
I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word: Homeland.....

 

Mahmoud Darwish

 

CONGRATULATIONS

TO THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

FOR AN EPIC SUPER BOWL VICTORY!

 

Movie of the Day

Movie of the Year

"Moonlight"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Director of the Day

Yasujirō Ozu (小津 安二郎)

Ozu was a Japanese film director and screenwriter. He began his career during the era of silent films. He first made a number of short comedies, before turning to more serious themes in the 1930s. Marriage and family, especially the relationships between the generations, are prominent themes in his work. His most lauded films include "Late Spring" (1949), "Tokyo Story" (1953), "Floating Weeds" (1959), and "An Autumn Afternoon" (1962). Ozu's reputation has continued to grow since his death, and he is widely regarded as one of the world's most influential directors. In the 2012 Sight and Sound poll, his "Tokyo Story" was voted the greatest film of all time by world directors.

 

I don't try to guess what a million people will like. It's hard enough to know what I like.

John Huston

 

How many working-class populists are in Trump's new government?

December 8, 2016, © Jim Hightower

Actor Jack Nicholson says he finally understood the meaning of the word irony when his mother called him a "son of a bitch."

So let us consider Donnie Trump, who campaigned as the populist champion of the working-class, promising that – by gollies – he was gonna take on Wall Street and the corporate elites. But the bitter irony for the working-class is that they now see what the SOB meant – he's literally "taking on" the moneyed powers by taking them on-board his administration. For example, he's brought in Wall Street billionaires to fill the three top economic policy positions in his cabinet!  full article>

 

The only safe thing is to take a chance.

Mike Nichols

 

Trump Has Created a Constitutional Crisis

By John Nichols

January 30, 2017, © The Nation

Richard Nixon was a miserable excuse for a president who appears credible only by comparison with several of his more miserable successors. But, as bad as Nixon was, it took the former president the better part of five years to get into a fight with the Department of Justice and fire a top lawyer for following the rule of law rather than the dictates of an out-of-control and unconscionable White House.

It took Donald Trump ten days.  full article>

 

The more opinions you have, the less you see.

Wim Wenders

 

Sen. Angus King: Trump's Muslim Ban Is 'Worst Foreign Policy Decision Since Invasion Of Iraq'

By John Amato

1/31/17, © Crooks and Liars

Sen. Angus King (I) told CNN this morning that Trump's travel ban is "the worst foreign policy decision since the invasion of Iraq."

On CNN's New Day this morning, host Alisyn Camerota asked Senator King why he disagreed with Trump that the ban will make America safer.

"It will make America much more dangerous. I think this is probably the worst foreign policy decision since the invasion of Iraq."  full article>

 

I'm like a navigator and I try to encourage our collaboration and find the best way that will produce fruit. I like fruit. I like cherries, I like bananas.

Jim Jarmusch

 

 

10 Classic (U.S. Studio) Political Movies -

Power, Money and Politics on the Silver Screen

By Laurie Boeder

(Updated March 02, 2016 - classic film.about.com)

Hollywood has always been fascinated with politics - and vice versa. Here are 10 great old movies about politics, money, and power, from political thrillers to screwball comedies.

 

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington:

Patriotic, smart and stirring, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is the story of a political innocent who comes to the Capitol full of ideals and reverence for democracy, and who meets with corruption and dirty dealing. Its sharp insights on the political process are as valid today as they were in 1939, and Jimmy Stewart is irresistible as Mr. Smith. An antidote to cynicism about the sorry state of politics, and a reminder that public servants have a lot to live up to.

 

All the King's Men:

A brilliant film from a brilliant novel, All the King's Men is a fictional re-telling of the life of Louisiana Governor Huey Long, the Kingfish, and his rise to power as a populist. Country lawyer Willie Stark builds his own empire as he builds roads, schools and hospitals for the poor, and plays bare-knuckled politics with the remnants of the political aristocracy in his old southern state. The role of a lifetime for Broderick Crawford, it's a clear-eyed look at a man striking the uneasy balance between public service and the corruption of power. Remade in 2006 with Sean Penn.

 

Citizen Kane:

Another thinly veiled biopic, Citizen Kane is among the best films of all time. It traces the rise of publisher William Randolph Hearst, in the guise of Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles), and included a failed run for governor of New York. Less a movie about the inner workings of politics than a biography, Citizen Kane is a portrait of the kind of American icon who seeks power in all the arenas of American life -- through wealth, fame, the voice of the media and the votes of the public.

 

Dr. Strangelove:

An incisive black comedy and the best movie ever made about the Cold War, the 40-year standoff between the Soviet Union and the United States that threatened to wipe out every living thing on the face of the planet. Bleak and funny, it features Peter Sellers in an astonishing three roles, George C. Scott as a testosterone-charged general, and Sterling Hayden as the bat-guano-crazy base commander who brings the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation.

 

Fail Safe:

The dead-serious counterpart to Dr. Strangelove, Fail Safe is another Cold War cautionary tale about what might have happened if any of our bomb-laden B-52s had ever flown beyond their "fail safe" points, and were about to drop their nukes inside the Soviet Union. Henry Fonda stars as a president trying to find a way out of a hopeless situation, and somehow prevent global Armageddon. Long before he was J.R. in "Dallas," Larry Hagman was affecting as the interpreter between the President and the Russian leader, with the fate of the world in the balance.

 

Seven Days in May:

Another Cold War "what if" scenario, Seven Days in May posits a coup by the military to take power away from a President who was being insufficiently warlike in the face of Communist aggression. Possibly inspired by General Curtis LeMay and other right-wing military leaders' sharp disagreements with President John F. Kennedy, it's a tense political thriller with a brainy script by Rod Serling and an outstanding cast. Kudos to a film that makes the viewer consider -- and care deeply about -- civilian control of the military.

 

The Manchurian Candidate:

There's never been anything quite like this chilling, surreal Cold War piece. Angela Lansbury is the stone-cold evil tool of the Communists, manipulating her weak McCarthy-esque Senator husband and serving as the "controller" for her own son, a Korean War hero turned into a robotic assassin by sinister commie brainwashers. With Frank Sinatra as another brainwashed soldier, some bizarre dialog, and just plain trippy scenes of the brainwashing, the film is nonetheless gripping. The Manchurian Candidatewas remade in 2004 with Denzel Washington.

 

Advise and Consent:

The melodramatic story of a President's nominee to be Secretary of State (Henry Fonda) and the political skullduggery that ensues when a southern senator (Charles Laughton in his last role) attempts to undermine the choice. Real Washington locations and great sets highlight Advise and Consent, showing what the city and the Senate really looked like in the 1960s. From a best-selling novel, it was the first mainstream film to depict a gay bar in pre-Stonewall New York, where a Utah senator confronts his blackmailer.

 

Born Yesterday:

From a Broadway hit, Born Yesterday is the sweetly funny story of a gangster's girlfriend (Judy Holiday) who comes with him to Washington as he attempts to bribe a congressman to the benefit of his junk-dealing business. The junk-dealer (Broderick Crawford) hires a journalist to help teach her about the finer things so she'll make a more presentable date -- but unfortunately for him the "finer things" she takes to heart include ethics and a sense of civic responsibility. Remade with Melanie Griffith in 1993.

 

His Girl Friday:

His Girl Friday is a terrific movie about the newspaper business and its pursuit of crooked government officials. The second movie version of the Ben Hecht play "The Front Page," the film pits reporter Rosalind Russell and editor Cray Grant against a crooked city and state administration, as politics swirl around the fate of a mild-mannered prisoner about to be hanged. Rapid-fire, overlapping dialog and a clever and complicated plot, it will make you laugh out loud.

 

If there's specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can't change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies.

Kathryn Bigelow

 

Genocide of the Day

Armenian Genocide:

The Ottoman Empire, whose center point during its declining years was modern-day Turkey, was responsible for a great many human rights violations—none more horrifying than the Armenian Genocide. Beginning in 1915, while the rest of the world was distracted by World War One, the Ottomans turned fiercely on the Armenians, a Christian minority. Although not so nearly well known as the Holocaust, this genocide was every bit as horrible. Able-bodied men were slaughtered, and women and children were forced to embark on death marches through the Syrian desert. Entire villages were burned to the ground with their inhabitants still inside, and boatloads of Armenians were taken out into the Black Sea and sunk. There were at least two dozen concentration camps established, where poisoning and gassing occurred. Innocent children were injected by Turkish doctors with the blood of typhoid fever patients. Again, the true death counts are up for debate, but estimates of between 600,000 and 1.8 million dead Armenians have been advanced.

 

You can talk about Holocaust denial, but it's really marginal for the most part. What is compelling about the Armenian genocide, is how it has been forgotten.

Atom Egoyan

 

Lawmakers Warn of a 'Constitutional Crisis' as Refugees and Green-Card Holders Remain in Detention

By Alex Kane

January 30, 2017, © The Nation

Airports around the country were transformed into ad hoc legal centers over the weekend, as attorneys continued furiously to file petitions to free detained clients who were ensnared by President Donald Trump's executive order restricting entry into the United States. Attorneys and politicians charged that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents were flouting the federal judiciary by not allowing lawyers access to detainees, not releasing the names of those in detention, and pressuring those in detention to sign papers to speed up their removal from the United States.  full article>

 

A genocide in Africa has not received the same attention that genocide in Europe or genocide in Turkey or genocide in other part of the world. There is still this kind of basic discrimination against the African people and the African problems.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali

 

The Case for Impeachment: Donald Trump's Islamophobia and the Threat to the Constitution

by Anthony DiMaggio

January 30, 2017, © Counterpunch

The ink on Donald Trump's executive order barring Muslim immigrants from the U.S. is barely dry, but that's all the more reason to begin calling for his impeachment. If it only took a week for him to issue a blanket ban on immigrants, how much damage he can do to civil liberties and the Constitution over the next few months or year? As the New York Times reported on January 28th, Trump issued an executive order banning all Muslim refugees from Syria, in addition to all immigrants from numerous countries, including Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. The order mandates a 120-day ban for refugees, and a 90-day blanket bank from the countries above.  full article>

 

Genocide begins, however improbably, in the conviction that classes of biological distinction indisputably sanction social and political discrimination.

Andrea Dworkin

 

I'm an Iranian Woman Whose Dream Is to Study in America. Here's My Message for Trump.

Samantha Michaels

Jan. 29, 2017, © MotherJones

My name is Shadi Heidarifar—in Persian, Shadi means "happiness." I'm 23 years old, and I've lived my whole life in Tehran, the capital of Iran. My father recently retired from his job as a manager at a gas station, my mother is a housewife, and I have a younger brother in high school.

I was the first in my family to go to university—I finished my bachelor's in philosophy at the University of Tehran—and I recently got admitted to NYU's philosophy department, where I planned to get a master's degree. It was very difficult to come up with the money for the application. Most American universities have an application fee of around $70 to $100, which is enough for a month of living expenses in most cities of Iran. Money can be tight sometimes, so I worked part time at a bookstore near my university for more than a year to pay the application fees.  full article>

 

If we do a little bit of insight into history, how many times have there been people doing hate discourse, blaming everything on a certain group of people. That really is the genesis of genocide, where it kind of sparks.

Gael Garcia Bernal

 

MSF: Suspension of U.S. Refugee Resettlement Endangers People Fleeing War Zones

January 28, 2017, © Doctors without Borders

NEW YORK, JANUARY 28, 2017 - President Donald J. Trump's executive order suspending refugee resettlement to the United States is an inhumane act against people fleeing war zones, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today, calling for a resumption of refugee resettlement.  full article>

 

I have issued the command - and I'll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad - that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in readiness - for the present only in the East - with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?

Adolf Hitler

 

Trump's Incoherent Anti-Terrorism Policy

By Paul R. Pillar

January 30, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

Donald Trump's efforts, during his first week in office, to give substance to his campaign rhetoric have involved executive orders that have generated reactions ranging from bemusement over their vagueness to worried waiting for other shoes to drop. But the previous orders do not do as much quick damage, both to individual U.S. persons and their families and to broader U.S. foreign relations and national security, as the grossly mistitled order, "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States."  full article>

 

You Are Not Equal. I'm Sorry.

 

A post is making rounds on social media, in response to the Women's March on Saturday, January 21, 2017. It starts with "I am not a "disgrace to women" because I don't support the women's march. I do not feel I am a "second class citizen" because I am a woman...."

 

This is my response to that post.

 

Say Thank You

 

Say thank you. Say thank you to the women who gave you a voice. Say thank you to the women who were arrested and imprisoned and beaten and gassed for you to have a voice. Say thank you to the women who refused to back down, to the women who fought tirelessly to give you a voice. Say thank you to the women who put their lives on hold, who –lucky for you — did not have "better things to do" than to march and protest and rally for your voice. So you don't feel like a "second class citizen." So you get to feel "equal."

 

Thank Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul for your right to vote.

 

Thank Elizabeth Stanton for your right to work.

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Thank Maud Wood Park for your prenatal care and your identity outside of your husband.

 

Thank Rose Schneiderman for your humane working conditions.

 

Thank Eleanor Roosevelt and Molly Dewson for your ability to work in politics and affect policy.

 

Thank Margaret Sanger for your legal birth control.

 

Thank Carol Downer for your reproductive healthcare rights.

 

Thank Margaret Fuller for your equal education.

 

Thank Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shannon Turner, Gloria Steinem, Zelda Kingoff Nordlinger, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Malika Saada Saar, Wagatwe Wanjuki, Ida B. Wells, Malala Yousafzai. Thank your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother who did not have half of the rights you have now.

 

You can make your own choices, speak and be heard, vote, work, control your body, defend yourself, defend your family, because of the women who marched. You did nothing to earn those rights. You were born into those rights. You did nothing, but you reap the benefits of women, strong women, women who fought misogyny and pushed through patriarchy and fought for you. And you sit on your pedestal, a pedestal you are fortunate enough to have, and type. A keyboard warrior. A fighter for complacency. An acceptor of what you were given. A denier of facts. Wrapped up in your delusion of equality.

 

You are not equal. Even if you feel like you are. You still make less than a man for doing the same work. You make less as a CEO, as an athlete, as an actress, as a doctor. You make less in government, in the tech industry, in healthcare.

 

You still don't have full rights over your own body. Men are still debating over your uterus. Over your prenatal care. Over your choices.

 

You still have to pay taxes for your basic sanitary needs.

 

You still have to carry mace when walking alone at night. You still have to prove to the court why you were drunk on the night you were raped. You still have to justify your behavior when a man forces himself on you.

 

You still don't have paid (or even unpaid) maternity leave. You still have to go back to work while your body is broken. While you silently suffer from postpartum depression.

 

You still have to fight to breastfeed in public. You still have to prove to other women it's your right to do so. You still offend others with your breasts.

 

You are still objectified. You are still catcalled. You are still sexualized. You are still told you're too skinny or you're too fat. You're still told you're too old or too young. You're applauded when you "age gracefully." You're still told men age "better." You're still told to dress like a lady. You are still judged on your outfit instead of what's in your head. What brand bag you have still matters more than your college degree.

 

You are still being abused by your husband, by your boyfriend. You're still being murdered by your partners. Being beaten by your soulmate.

 

You are still worse off if you are a woman of color, a gay woman, a transgender woman. You are still harassed, belittled, dehumanized.

 

Your daughters are still told they are beautiful before they are told they are smart. Your daughters are still told to behave even though "boys will be boys." Your daughters are still told boys pull hair or pinch them because they like them.

 

You are not equal. Your daughters are not equal. You are still systemically oppressed.

 

Estonia allows parents to take up to three years of leave, fully paid for the first 435 days. United States has no policy requiring maternity leave.

 

Singapore's women feel safe walking alone at night. American women do not.

 

New Zealand's women have the smallest gender gap in wages, at 5.6%. United States' pay gap is 20%.

 

Iceland has the highest number of women CEOs, at 44%. United States is at 4.0%.

 

The United States ranks at 45 for women's equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.

 

But I get it. You don't want to admit it. You don't want to be a victim. You think feminism is a dirty word. You think it's not classy to fight for equality. You hate the word pussy. Unless of course you use it to call a man who isn't up to your standard of manhood. You know the type of man that "allows" "his" woman to do whatever she damn well pleases. I get it. You believe feminists are emotional, irrational, unreasonable. Why aren't women just satisfied with their lives, right? You get what you get and you don't get upset, right?

 

I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don't want to believe you're oppressed. Because that would mean you are indeed a "second-class citizen." You don't want to feel like one. I get it. But don't worry. I will walk for you. I will walk for your daughter. And your daughter's daughter. And maybe you will still believe the world did not change. You will believe you've always had the rights you have today. And that's okay. Because women who actually care and support other women don't care what you think about them. They care about their future and the future of the women who come after them.

 

Open your eyes. Open them wide. Because I'm here to tell you, along with millions of other women that you are not equal. Our equality is an illusion. A feel-good sleight of hand. A trick of the mind. I'm sorry to tell you, but you are not equal. And neither are your daughters.

 

But don't worry. We will walk for you. We will fight for you. We will stand up for you. And one day you will actually be equal, instead of just feeling like you are.

 

Dina Leygerman, 2017

 

 

 

Female Resistance Fighter of the Day

Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya:

 

She was barely 18 years old when she was executed for her guerilla activities in World War II. She was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, the first woman to be named so in World War II. In October of 1941, she had volunteered for a class of guerrilla fighters known as the Red Army Western Front sabotage and reconnaissance force. Her unit was sent behind enemy lines, near Moscow at the time, to set land mines and to cut off German supply lines. Ordered to burn the village of Petrischevo, Kosmodemyanskaya set fire to a stable and a couple other buildings and was caught by locals. Some accounts say she was betrayed by one of her compatriots, Vasily Klubkov, after he was captured and interrogated. German forces tortured Kosmodemyanskaya by stripping and whipping her and marched her around naked in the cold. Still, she gave no information on her unit. The next day, she was hanged in a public ceremony, a sign on her chest reading "arsonist." Her body was left hanging, displayed for a month before burial. A Pravda article about Kosmodemyanskaya published in 1942 says she died still pledging her loyalty to the Soviet Union. Be warned that if you search for photographs of Kosmodemyanskaya, there are graphic pictures of her dead body.

(source: mental floss.com)

 

Against legitimacy is arrayed usurpation; against modest,

single-minded, righteous, and brave resistance to encroachment

is arrayed boastful, double-tongued, selfish, and treacherous

ambition to possess.

Charlotte Brontë

 

The Guardian view on Donald Trump's inauguration: a declaration of political war

Friday, January 20, 2017, © The Guardian

In its outward details, the orderly transfer of American presidential power accomplished in the inauguration-day scene on Capitol Hill today felt time-honoured. The ceremonial essentials of the occasion – the stars and stripes banners, the dignitaries and the prescribed rituals of the swearings-in – were familiar and traditional. Political rivals took their places on the podium as they do every four years, shook hands and applauded one another, offering gracious compliments and providing a show of national dignity.  full article>

 

Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Le Pen anuncia el nacimiento de un nuevo mundo con el ejemplo de Trump

LUIS DONCEL

21 ENE 2017, © El País

Más de 2.000 años después de que los romanos bautizaran como Confluentes el lugar donde se unen los ríos Rin y Mosela, esta ciudad alemana sirvió el sábado como escenario de confluencia de las fuerzas populistas antinmigración de Europa. En Coblenza, los líderes de la ultraderecha de Francia, Alemania y Holanda dieron la bienvenida a la oleada de cambios que comenzó con el Brexit y continuó con la victoria en EE UU de Donald Trump.  full article>

 

Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.

Thomas Paine

 

Media Should Report That President Trump Is Violating The Constitution -- And It's An Impeachable Offense

TIMOTHY JOHNSON

January 20, 2017, © Media Matters

According to experts, President Donald Trump's continued ownership interest in the Trump Organization means that he is in violation of the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the president from personally benefiting from actions taken by foreign governments and their agents. Will media hold Trump accountable for this impeachable offense or will they normalize his flagrant violation of the supreme law of the land?  full article>

 

Big oil, big steel, big agriculture avoid the open marketplace. Big corporations fix prices among themselves and thus drive out of business the small entrepreneur. Also, in their conglomerate form, the huge corporations have begun to challenge the very legitimacy of the state.

Gore Vidal

 

Has America Ever Elected a 'Legitimate' President?

By Rev. Jesse L. Jackson

January 20, 2017, © The Nation

Civil-rights icon Congressman John Lewis, in an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd, indicated he didn't think President-elect Donald Trump would be a "legitimate" president and that he would not be attending his inauguration because Russia conspired to interfere in America's presidential election.  full article>

 

Most centrist Democrats... try to distance themselves from controversies that recall the 1960s. There are journalistic centrists as well, who avoid hard truths for the sake of acceptance and legitimacy.

Tom Hayden

 

Great Pianist of the Day

Clara Schumann:

(Young German soldier, 1916)

One of the few female pianists to compete in the largely male world of 19th-century music, Clara Schumann (1819-1896) was a superstar of her day. Her talents far outshone those of her composer husband Robert. She wrote her own music as well. One critic of the time said: "The appearance of this artist can be regarded as epoch-making... In her creative hands, the most ordinary passage, the most routine motive acquires a significant meaning, a colour, which only those with the most consummate artistry can give." (source: classicfm.com)

 

Media populism means appealing to people directly through media. A politician who can master the media can shape political affairs outside of parliament and even eliminate the mediation of parliament.

Umberto Eco

 

How the NYT Plays with History

By Robert Parry

January 19, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

Whenever The New York Times or some other mainstream news outlet holds itself out as a paragon of professional journalism – by wagging a finger at some pro-Trump "fake news" or some Internet "conspiracy theory" – I cringe at the self-delusion and hypocrisy.

No one hates fake news and fact-free conspiracy theories more than I do, but the sad truth is that the mainstream press has opened the door to such fantasies by losing the confidence of the American people and becoming little more than the mouthpiece for the Establishment, which spins its own self-serving narratives and tells its own lies.  full article>

 

No chord in populism reverberates more strongly than the notion that the robust common sense of an unstained outsider is the best medicine for an ailing polity. Caligula doubtless got big cheers from the plebs when he installed his horse as proconsul.

Alexander Cockburn

 

The Media and Martin Luther King

Jan 20 2017, © FAIR

Quite a few newspapers carried conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg's complaint that the inauguration boycott by Rep. John Lewis and others "is exactly what the Russians probably wanted from the beginning." (Goldberg's proof that Lewis' stance is mere partisanship is that he also boycotted George W. Bush's 2001 inauguration.)  full article>

 

There is no maxim in my opinion which is more liable to be misapplied, and which therefore more needs elucidation, than the current one: that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong. Taking the word "interest" as synonomous with "Ultimate happiness," in which sense it is qualified with every necessary moral ingredient, the proposition is no doubt true. But taking it in the popular sense, as referring to immediate augmentation of property and wealth, nothing can be more false. In the latter sense it would be the interest of the majority in every community to despoil & enslave the minority of individuals; and in a federal community to make a similar sacrifice of the minority of the component States. In fact it is only reestablishing under another name and a more specious form, force as the measure of right; and in this light the Western settlements will infallibly view it.

James Madison,
letter to James Monroe on "interest and happiness", 5 October, 1786

 

When Was America Great?

by Andrew Levine

January 20, 2017, © Counterpunch

Donald Trump ran for President on the slogan "Make America Great Again," implying that America had been great once, but no longer is.

True to form, Hillary Clinton's rejoinder was clueless. America is great now, she would insist every chance she got — indispensably great, "exceptional" even.  full article>

 

Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.

H. L. Mencken

 

Just about ready to take over:

 

Bloody Battle of the Day

The Battle of the Somme:

(Young German soldier, 1916)

Also known as the Somme Offensive, it was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November, 1916, on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies and was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front. More than one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.

 

Why Did the US Drop 26,171 Bombs on the World Last Year?

By Greg Grandin

January 15, 2017, © The Nation

The United States started bombing Iraq on January 16, 1991, and, except for a few brief intervals, hasn't stopped since. Twenty-six years this Monday, more than a quarter of a century, and four US presidents, all of whom have bombed Iraq. Last year, the rate of bombing increased over 20,105. The lion's share of the 26,171 bombs dropped by the United States on the world was split evenly between Iraq and Syria, though we did reserve a dollop for Yemen. And the United States dropped more on Libya, about 500, in 2016, than in 2015. Trump, and Trumpism, is a symptom of the sickness, not the source.  full article>

 

War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.

Ambrose Bierce

 

The Ugly Specter of Torture and Lies

By Jonathan Marshall

January 18, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

January 17 was an unusually good day for truth and human rights on both sides of the Atlantic. Even before President Obama commuted whistleblower Chelsea Manning's long prison sentence, the British Supreme Court ruled unanimously that government ministers cannot claim "state immunity" or other specious grounds to avoid legal accountability in cases of abduction (rendition) and torture. The decision was heralded by Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists, and other human rights groups.  full article>

 

A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

 

El agua que entra en el suelo no puede salir

Por Nicolás Romero

19 de enero de 2017, © Pagina12

"El cambio climático nos sigue pasando factura", había declarado el presidente Mauricio Macri, en conferencia de prensa, al referirse al drama de las inundaciones. Los especialistas opinan otra cosa, y no simplifican.  full article>

 

Hay suficientes recursos en el mundo para satisfacer las necesidades del ser humano, pero no para satisfacer su codicia.

Mahatma Ghandi

 

Agroecology Is Booming in Argentina

By Fabiana Frayssinet

Tuesday, January 17, 2017, © truthout

Organic agriculture is rapidly expanding in Argentina, the leading agroecological producer in Latin America and second in the world after Australia, as part of a backlash against a model that has disappointed producers and is starting to worry consumers.  full article>

 

The practical importance of the preservation of our forests is augmented by their relations to climate, soil and streams.

John Muir

 

The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump's Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)

by Gary Leupp

January 18, 2017, © Counterpunch

It is an extraordinary situation. The ruling class seems by and large quite shocked by the election result. Donald Trump is surely a representative of the class—in that he's a billionaire for god sake—but, for the majority of the richest and most powerful, not their preferred choice as chief executive of the USA. This is apparent by Trump's treatment at the hands of the corporate media (that he continues to insult), by the foreign policy establishment, by the intelligence agencies (which he sometimes disparages), by Congressional leaders of both parties who generally regret that he won. The Deep State seems to have its knives drawn for him.  full article>

 

Coup d'État of the Day

The Egyptian Revolution of 1952:

 

Also known as the July 23 Revolution, began with a military coup d'état that took place on July 23, 1952 by a group of young army officers who named themselves "The Free Officers Movement". The revolution was initially aimed at overthrowing King Farouk I. However, the movement had more political ambitions and soon moved to abolish the constitutional monarchy and establish a republic. The success of the revolution inspired numerous Arab and African countries to undergo a similar process to remove what they believed to be corrupt regimes. The significance of this coup is that not only did it inspire other countries to revolt, it also lead to the suez canal being nationalized which caused the suez crisis which forced France and Britain to decolonize.

(source: listverse.com)

 

There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as 'moral indignation,' which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue.

Erich Fromm

 

The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us

by John Pilger

January 17, 2017, © Counterpunch

On the day President Trump is inaugurated, thousands of writers in the United States will express their indignation. "In order for us to heal and move forward ...," say Writers Resist, "we wish to bypass direct political discourse, in favour of an inspired focus on the future, and how we, as writers, can be a unifying force for the protection of democracy."  full article>

 

The best things in history are accomplished by people who get tired of being shoved around.

Robert A. Heinlein

 

The Persistent Racism of America's Cemeteries

By Atlas Obscura Contributor, © Slate

In 2016, the city of Waco, Texas issued an order to remove a fence in the city's public burial ground, Greenwood Cemetery. But it wasn't just a cosmetic change: Using a forklift and power tools, City of Waco Parks & Recreation staff cut apart the chain-link fence that had been used to divide the white section of the cemetery from the black section.  full article>

 

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

Bertrand Russell

 

The new founder

November 29, 2016, © Hightower Lowdown

When you think of America's great Constitutional originators, names like Jefferson, Washington, and Franklin come to mind. And, of course, Abbott.

Last January, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott revealed that he has penned NINE new amendments to the US Constitution. Abbott is proposing a Bill of Sale, effectively transferring our national government from The People to The Plutocrats. His "tweaks" would outlaw government actions that restrain corporate abuse of workers and consumers, while also preventing future Congresses from meeting crucial public needs such as health care, voter rights, and restoration of our national infrastructure.  full article>

 

I think that change happens, typically not because somebody on high decides that it's going to happen, but rather because at a grassroots level enough people come together that they force the system to change.

Barack Obama

 

Establishment Narcissism – The Democrats' Game of Thrones

by Yoav Litvin

January 13, 2017, © Counterpunch

Shame is an emotional state that is felt when a behavior does not match up with a person's expectation of him/herself and/or societal standards. One normally feels shame in situations of embarrassment and humiliation, which ensues from being exposed either physically or otherwise, as in the biblical story of Adam and Eve.

Shame evokes a series of physiological responses that are universal and include activation of the sympathetic nervous system and stress response. According to psychoanalytic theory, chronic feelings of shame are coupled with a sense of inferiority, are incredibly agonizing and evoke the construction of narcissistic defenses. This makes sense, as when a person feels shame and insecurity at the inner self, s/he seeks constant emotional support, fortification and justification from the outside.  full article>

 

Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.

George Orwell

 

Snow Storm of the Day

Lhunze County, Tibet -- 2008

 

Tibet is known for some of the world's tallest mountains, including Mount Everest. It gets bitterly cold there in the winter, but the climate is generally very arid. Some passes through the Himalayas remain passable throughout the year because of the low snowfall rates. For that reason, the snow storm that hit Lhunze County in October 2008 was a shock to its citizens.

Chinese officials reported an average snow depth of 59 inches (1.5 m). Some villages experienced continuous snow for 36 hours, dropping five or six feet (1.52 or 1.83 m) of snow on the ground (source: China Daily). The amount of snow was so great that many buildings collapsed, resulting in seven deaths. Roads were closed for days as rescue crews fought to clear them and bring food to people trapped by the storm.

The economic effects of the storm were particularly harsh, as many locals were forced to slaughter or sell off large parts of their yak herds, or lost them entirely in the storm's aftermath.

(Source: science.howstuffworks.com)

 

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.

Thomas Jefferson

 

My President Was Black

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

January/February 2017 Issue, © The Atlantic

In the waning days of President Barack Obama's administration, he and his wife, Michelle, hosted a farewell party, the full import of which no one could then grasp. It was late October, Friday the 21st, and the president had spent many of the previous weeks, as he would spend the two subsequent weeks, campaigning for the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. Things were looking up. Polls in the crucial states of Virginia and Pennsylvania showed Clinton with solid advantages. The formidable GOP strongholds of Georgia and Texas were said to be under threat. The moment seemed to buoy Obama. He had been light on his feet in these last few weeks, cracking jokes at the expense of Republican opponents and laughing off hecklers. At a rally in Orlando on October 28, he greeted a student who would be introducing him by dancing toward her and then noting that the song playing over the loudspeakers—the Gap Band's "Outstanding"—was older than she was. "This is classic!" he said. Then he flashed the smile that had launched America's first black presidency, and started dancing again. Three months still remained before Inauguration Day, but staffers had already begun to count down the days. They did this with a mix of pride and longing—like college seniors in early May. They had no sense of the world they were graduating into. None of us did.  full article>

 

Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.

Mahatma Gandhi

 

Colombia: Sexual Violence, Hidden Violence

January 13, 2017, Doctors without borders

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams treated 645 survivors of sexual violence in two Colombian cities in 2016.

Though sexual violence against women and girls is one of the most frequently committed forms of assault in Colombia—and around the world—each year, it remains a largely underreported and unacknowledged crime. In some places, this abuse is so common, it's actually considered acceptable or part of the norm.  full article>

 

Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Playing Politics with Terrorism List

January 16, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

By Paul R. Pillar

Legislation introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida, to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) is regrettable on multiple counts. It represents a perversion of the FTO list and reflects an attitude that is likely to increase rather than decrease Islamist terrorism.  full article>

 

People were already beginning to forget, what horrible suffering the war had brought them. I did not want to cause fear and panic, but to let people know how dreadful war is and so to stimulate people's powers of resistance.

Otto Dix

 

An Enemy of the Kremlin Dies in London

Jeffrey E. Stern

January/February 2017 Issue, © The Atlantic

In November 10, 2012, Alexander Perepilichny was feeling a little under the weather. He decided to try to shake it off by taking a few laps around the gated community southwest of London where Russian émigrés like him lived in multimillion-dollar mansions alongside members of the English elite. Perepilichny jogged through a neighborhood of homes once owned by Elton John, Kate Winslet, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr.  full article>

 

I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.

Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Crumbling Reactors and Other Nightmares of a Trump-Perry Energy Policy

by Harvey Wasserman

January 13, 2017, copy; The Progressive

In the area of energy policy under the presidency of Donald Trump, two concerns loom above all others.

One is Trump's support for nuclear power and fossil fuel energy, at a time when other powerful countries are going renewable. Trump's economic commitments to nuclear energy and fossil fuels contrast sharply with China's massive new commitment to energy sources including solar and wind. If China, the world's number-two economy, joins Germany (number four) and possibly Japan (number three) in converting to 100 percent renewable sources, the U.S. economy will be left in the dust.  full article>

 

Poet of the Day

Federico García Lorca:

 

Deseo

 

Sólo tu corazón caliente,
y nada más.

 

Mi paraíso un campo
sin ruiseñor
ni liras,
con un río discreto
y una fuentecilla.

 

Sin la espuela del viento
sobre la fronda,
ni la estrella que quiere
ser hoja.

 

Una enorme luz
que fuera
luciérnaga
de otra,
en un campo
de miradas rotas.

 

Un reposo claro
y allí nuestros besos,
lunares sonoros
del eco,
se abrirían muy lejos.

 

Y tu corazón caliente,
nada más.

 

Federico García Lorca

 

The Crimes of Seal Team 6

Matthew Cole

January 10 2017,© The Intercept

Officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, SEAL Team 6 is today the most celebrated of the U.S. military's special mission units. But hidden behind the heroic narratives is a darker, more troubling story of "revenge ops," unjustified killings, mutilations, and other atrocities — a pattern of criminal violence that emerged soon after the Afghan war began and was tolerated and covered up by the command's leadership.  full article>

 

I have always thought of poems as stepping stones in one's own sense of oneself. Every now and again, you write a poem that gives you self-respect and steadies your going a little bit farther out in the stream. At the same time, you have to conjure the next stepping stone because the stream, we hope, keeps flowing.

Seamus Heaney

 

Obama Belatedly Says No to Israel

By Marjorie Cohn

January 10, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

For the first time in his eight-year presidency, Barack Obama said no to Israel. When the Security Council voted to condemn Israel for building illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, the Obama administration abstained, allowing the resolution to pass.  full article>

 

The Foundation

 

1.

Watch me, I'm running, watch me, I'm dancing, I'm air;
the building I used to live in has been razed and I'm skipping,
hopping, two-footedly leaping across the blocks, bricks,
slabs of concrete, plaster, and other unnameable junk . . .

 

Or nameable, really, if you look at the wreckage closely . . .
Here, for instance, this shattered I-beam is the Bible,
and this chunk of mortar? Plato, the mortar of mind,
also in pieces, in pieces in me, anyway, in my mind . . .

 

Aristotle and Nietzsche, Freud and Camus and Buber,
and Christ, even, that year of reading "Paradise Lost,"
when I thought, Hell, why not? but that fractured, too . . .
Kierkegaard, Hegel, and Kant, and Goffman and Marx,

 

all heaped in the foundation, and I've sped through so often
that now I have it by heart, can run, dance, be air,
not think of the spew of intellectual dust I scuffed up
when in my barely broken-in boots I first clumped through

 

the sanctums of Buddhism, Taoism, Zen, and the Areopagite,
even, whose entire text I typed out—my god, why?—
I didn't care, I just kept bumping my head on the lintels,
Einstein, the Gnostics, Kabbalah, Saint This and Saint That . . .

 

2.
Watch me again now, because I'm not alone in my dancing,
my being air, I'm with my poets, my Rilke, my Yeats,
we're leaping together through the debris, a jumble of wrack,
but my Keats floats across it, my Herbert and Donne,

 

my Kinnell, my Bishop and Blake are soaring across it,
my Frost, Baudelaire, my Dickinson, Lowell and Larkin,
and my giants, my Whitman, my Shakespeare, my Dante
and Homer; they were the steel, though scouring as I was

 

the savants and sages half the time I hardly knew it . . .
But Vallejo was there all along, and my Sidney and Shelley,
my Coleridge and Hopkins, there all along with their music,
which is why I can whirl through the rubble of everything else,

 

the philosophizing and theories, the thesis and anti- and syn-,
all I believed must be what meanings were made of,
when really it was the singing, the choiring, the cadence,
the lull of the vowels, the chromatical consonant clatter . . .

 

Watch me again, I haven't landed, I'm hovering here
over the fragments, the remnants, the splinters and shards;
my poets are with me, my soarers, my skimmers, my skaters,
aloft on their song in the ruins, their jubilant song of the ruins.

 

C. K. Williams

 

Al Franken Tears Into Sessions Over Civil Rights Claims

Pema Levy

Jan. 10, © MotherJones

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) tore into his colleague Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) during Sessions' confirmation hearing on Tuesday to be the next attorney general, suggesting that Sessions has not honestly portrayed his record on civil rights to the public.  full article>

 

A Walk

 

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.

going far ahead of the road I have begun.

So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;

it has inner light, even from a distance-

 

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,

into something else, which, hardly sensing it,

we already are; a gesture waves us on

answering our own wave...

but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

 

Rainer Maria Rilke

(translated by Robert Bly)

 

Return of the Flat Earth Society

Jud Lounsbury

January 5, 2017, © The Progressive

"The topic today is... Is the Earth Flat?"

That's what I heard yesterday surfing radio stations while driving home in rural Wisconsin. It was the hook for a national broadcast called the Brannon Howse Show, which airs weekdays on hundreds of religious radio stations across the country on a network called Worldview Radio. Not that the show's content is religious—topics last year included "How Hillary Clinton and the United Nations Want to Destroy Parental Rights" and "Could it Be that Hillary is Suffering from Parkinson's Disease?" The show is really more of an alt-right, fake news channel (Howse even has his own page over at Right Wing Watch!)  full article>

 

Bee of the Day

Orchid Bee, Belize:

 

The Repository of Depravity: Dismembered Animals Line the Shelves of a Federal Warehouse

By Randy Malamud

December 27, 2016, © Truthout

It is hard to describe the array of confiscated animals and animal parts that fills the shelves of the National Wildlife Property Repository, a federal warehouse on the fringes of Denver, Colorado. With multiple representatives of every species imaginable, it seems at first a bit like an ark, but a perverse one: perhaps fittingly so for our precarious ecological situation.  full article>

 

In a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it.

Thucydides

 

I look forward to seeing more and more people willing to resist the direction the world is moving in, a direction where our personal experiences are irrelevant, that we are defective, that our communities are not important, that we are powerless, that our future is determined, and that the highest level of humanity is expressed through what we choose to buy at the mall.

Rachel Corrie

 

We Do Not Live in "Post Truth" World, We Live in a World of Lies and We Always Have

by ROBERT FISK

DECEMBER 30, 2016, © Counterpunch

We do not live in a "post-truth" world, neither in the Middle East nor in the West – nor in Russia, for that matter. We live in a world of lies. And we always have lived in a world of lies.  full article>

 

Boldness be my friend.

William Shakespeare

 

Francis Hallé "Une plante n'a ni queue ni tête, c'est pour cette altérité que je suis devenu botaniste"

Par Catherine Calvet

29 décembre 2016, © Libération

Ce n'est pas vraiment un atlas, plutôt un herbier qui incite au voyage. L'Atlas de botanique poétique qui vient de paraître chez Arthaud a pour auteur le botaniste français Francis Hallé, également biologiste et dendrologue (spécialiste des arbres). Les dessins et les aquarelles qui illustrent chaque plante sont son ≈ìuvre. Le dessin est pour Francis Hallé le meilleur moyen de se souvenir de tous ces végétaux qu'il rencontre depuis un demi-siècle en parcourant le monde, et surtout les forêts tropicales. Une simple photo prise en moins d'une seconde ne suffirait pas à cette mémorisation.  full article>

 

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.

Theodore Roosevelt

 

The tragedies of Syria signal the end of the Arab revolutions

Robert Fisk

23 December 2016, © The Independent

Just as the catastrophic Anglo-American invasion of Iraq brought an end to epic Western military adventures in the Middle East, so the tragedy of Syria ensures that there will be no more Arab revolutions. And it's taken just 13 bloodsoaked years – from 2003 to 2016 – to realign political power. Russia and Iran and the Shia Muslims of the region are now deciding its future; Bashar al-Assad cannot claim victory – but he is winning.  full article>

 

The social inefficiency of capitalism is going to clash at some point with the technological innovations capitalism engenders, and it is out of that contradiction that a more efficient way of organising production and distribution and culture will emerge.

Yanis Varoufakis

 

Sensible Statement of the Day:

Photo by Debra Sweet | CC BY 2.0

 

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.

Mahatma Gandhi

 

No Man Will Shake Me From This Land

Dr. Bones

Dec 23, 2016, © Disinfo.com

The spirit of my people is wedded to this land.

The bones of my Ancestors lie in a small churchyard in rural Kentucky, a place without cell phone reception and filled with people who may have never seen a plane fly over their heads. There, among those secluded stones, rest nearly every one of my Kin that walked the clays, sand, and dirt we now label the United States.  full article>

 

The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.

Albert Camus

 

The Pathologies of War: Dual Propaganda Campaigns in Reporting on Syria

by Anthony DiMaggio

December 28, 2016, © Counterpunch.org

The travesty of war in Syria represents a defining political issue today. The Pew Research Center estimates that by 2016, as many as six in ten Syrians were displaced from their homes due to the civil war between Syrian and Russian government forces and rebel groups (Connor and Krostad, 10/5/16). This represents an astounding 12.5 million people. Estimates vary, but when taken in total suggest that deaths from the conflict are in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps as large as half a million (Barnard, 10/11/16).  full article>

 

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.

Albert Einstein

 

Civil Rights Lawyers Are Vital under Trump

Jonathan Markovitz

December 19, 2016, © The Progressive

Social movement lawyers never fight individual battles. When we fight, we're using weapons forged through decades of struggle.

42 U.S.C. Section 1983, one of the major statutes used to fight for people's constitutional rights, is also known the "Ku Klux Klan Act"; it was borne out of Reconstruction-era civil rights battles. The Voting Rights Act is a product of the modern civil rights movement and would not exist if people hadn't been willing to fight and even die for it. Lawyers waging legal battles over reproductive or sexual freedom rely on the efforts of feminist and LGBTQ activists.  full article>

 

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

Oscar Wilde

 

Here's wishing all Happy Holidays and a great start to 2017 from Perceval Press!

 

 

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

Mary Oliver

 

36 Hours in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

By ONDINE COHANE

DEC. 22, 2016, © The New York Times

Despite its reputation for numerous Señor Frogs and lowbrow all-inclusive resorts, Puerto Vallarta — and especially the older part known as Viejo Vallarta — was actually once one of the country's most glamorous getaways, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton among the A-list fans. Now the destination is drawing a new set of stylish devotees for its vibrant local community and charming architecture, as opposed to the coastal towns built in the last decades just for tourists. Because of this authentic but still party-happy vibe and the excellent beaches, Puerto Vallarta has become one of the country's preferred getaways, both for snowbirds and for visitors looking for a long weekend escape. But it is not just sun and sand that make "P.V." (as it is known locally) a draw, but the new generation of shops, restaurants and galleries that have grown up in the old town's storefronts.   full article>

 

Tyranical Leader of the Day

<

Maximilien Robespierre:

He was the leader of the French Revolution, but when he gained power he became obsessed with guillotining people. He saw everyone around him as an enemy. He suspected even his closest friends. He killed people for not supporting the Revolution, for hoarding, rebellion and other things he saw as crimes. He guillotined entire families of aristocrats as well as ordinary people with no trial. In 1794, he was guillotined without trial.

 

Si eres orgulloso conviene que ames la soledad; los orgullosos siempre se quedan solos.

Amado Nervo

 

Extracting Aleppo from the Propaganda

By Dennis J Bernstein

December 20, 2016, © Consortiumnews.com

It's rare for Americans to hear any version of the Syrian conflict other than the simplistic accounts favored by the U.S. government and the mainstream news media that rely heavily on rebel sources and their international supporters who often traffic in propaganda.

One of the few independent Western journalists covering the horrific conflict is Eva Bartlett who has traveled to Syria six times in the last two years and just returned from a six-month stint in the war-torn country where she investigated human rights violations and terrorism against Syrians.  full article>

 

L'orgueil est un des vices le plus jaloux de se venger des abaissements qu'il éprouve.

Abbé Roubaud

 

Declassify the Evidence of Russian Hacking!

December 21, 2016, © The Nation

The revelations of a CIA assessment charging that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in order to help Donald Trump, and Trump's contemptuous dismissal of the charge as "ridiculous," have set off another round of ugly, divisive commentary regarding both the legitimacy of the election and Trump's alleged ties to Russia.  full article>

 

La senda de la virtud es muy estrecha y el camino del vicio, ancho y espacioso.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

 

Lies of Paul Ryan; Medicare is going broke

December 21, 2016, © Progressive Review Undernews

Center on Budget & Policy Priorities - House Speaker Paul Ryan is repeating a myth that we and others have debunked before: that Medicare is running out of money. "Medicare goes bankrupt in about 10 years," he said on CBS' "60 Minutes," adding that "for the X-Generation on down, it won't be there for us on its current path." That's just not true.  full article>

 

That which is given with pride and ostentation is rather an ambition than a bounty.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

Urgent to Progressives: Stop Fueling the Anti-Russia Frenzy

Norman Solomon

DEC 20, 2016, © disinfo

This week began with a mass email from the head of the Democratic National Committee, who declared: "By now, Americans know beyond any reasonable doubt that the Russian government orchestrated a series of cyberattacks on political campaigns and organizations over the past two years and used stolen information to influence the presidential campaign and congressional races." DNC chair Donna Brazile went on: "The integrity of our elections is too important for Congress to refuse to take these attacks seriously."  full article>

 

L'orgueil est le vice qu'on pardonne le moins ; il blesse essentiellement l'amour-propre. L'orgueilleux ne peut être ni affable ni reconnaissant, ce n'est qu'en nous abaissant qu'il cherche à satisfaire sa hauteur.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

 

America Goes Insane

by ROB URIE

DECEMBER 16, 2016, © Counterpunch.org

The charge of 'fake news' currently at the fore of American political chatter is held forward on its own and is tied to the related charge that the Russian government 'hacked' the recent presidential election. Both charges proceed from the oppositional premise that some functioning state of affairs, some normalcy, preceded these onslaughts. The follow-on premise is that this hallowed state of affairs was diminished by 'external' malevolent forces.  full article>

 

In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.

John Ruskin

 

EPA Concludes Fracking a Threat to U.S. Water Supplies

by Patrick G. Lee

Dec. 14, 2016, © ProPublica

Starting in 2008, ProPublica published stories that found hydraulic fracking had damaged drinking water supplies across the country. The reporting examined how fracking in some cases had dislodged methane, which then seeped into water supplies. In other instances, the reporting showed that chemicals related to oil and gas production through fracking were winding up in drinking water, and that waste water resulting from fracking operations was contaminating water sources.  full article>

 

My pride fell with my fortunes.

William Shakespeare

 

In Memoriam: John Kim

p

Bea Edwards

December 08, 2016, © Whistleblower.org

We were profoundly saddened to learn of John Kim's death on November 27th. John was a deeply ethical man who worked at the World Bank for nearly 30 years and was identified as a source for a journalist who criticized then Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. As a result of the exposure of wrongdoing by Wolfowitz, he and his top aides resigned in 2008.  full article>

 

Isabel y Fernando

por Bernardo Sánchez

Yo me fío más de un español justito, moderadamente español, de un español de menos de cinco de minutos que de un patriota a tiempo completo. Prefiero un 'mal español'; en el sentido en el que, por ejemplo, Franco calificó de 'mal español' a Luis García Berlanga tras ver en el Pardo El verdugo. Porque lo llamó 'mal español', sí. Pensando que era peor que llamarle rojo. No me cabe duda que Berlanga se lo debió tomar como un elogio. Un 'mal español', Berlanga, que era ex-divisionario y había realizado la mejor película del cine... español. Si un mal español hace El verdugo, me pregunto qué dejas entonces para un mal español. No es descartable que Franco, como guionista de Raza que era, le tuviera celillo profesional a Berlanga. En La Reina de España, por cierto, el caudillo se presenta en el rodaje, como quien visita a sus colegas, pero la reina no lo tiene para ruidos y le asesta una réplica mortal, más disolvente que el juicio histórico más adverso. No les digo qué le espeta la reina al caudillo. Tendrán que verlo. Hablo de Macarena Granada, no de Isabel I de Cifesa, que ésta no lucía ese remango. Yo creo que en esto de ser español, o kantiano, o athlético, ¡o incluso berlanguiano!, menos es más. Y que no conviene despilfarrar, porque entonces lo sustancial se devalúa. Hay dos formas de demostrarse español: o se puede sacar pecho, sobrao, o se puede reconocer públicamente que no te has sentido español ni cinco minutos. Sobre todo si se trata de investirte como una gloria nacional. Léase un Premio Nacional de Cinematografía. Y si tienes cinco minutos de modestia. Porque se es español en la medida de las posibilidades de cada uno. Además, 'ser' y 'sentirse' no es la misma cosa, y quién puede mandar en esto. Yo estoy seguro que Fernando Trueba, en ese mismo momento en el que advertía a las autoridades que igual no se sentía suficientemente nacional, estaba preparado para que el propio Ministro, de motu propio, le hubiera retirado el premio y le hubieran acompañado a la salida. Y Fernando Trueba lo hubiera entendido. Hasta le hubiera aliviado. Qué se le va hacer, si no llegas al minutaje medio de españolidad; si te ringlas al minuto... tres, pongamos, porque anda baja la moral de la tropa, por lo que sea. Tampoco le hubiera extrañado en 1994 que tras declararse ateo ante la televisión de un país en el que hasta la moneda cree en Dios, alguien de seguridad le hubiera quitado el Oscar que le acaban de entregar por Belle Époque. Pero él, ya lo dijo, sólo creía en Billy Wilder; qué se le va a hacer; si hay algún problema con esto, pues ya se les devuelve el muñeco y tan amigos. Lo extraño, para lo que Fernando Trueba no estaba preparado, ni nadie, es que un año y medio después, al cabo de haber dado, con La Reina de España, trabajo a muchos compatriotas –¡y a súbditos del imperio austro-húngaro! pues en parte se rodó en Hungría-, y de jugarse hasta las pestañas para hacer industria española, llenar de público las salas españolas (con sus empleados, etc...); hacer comedia española (crítica, hilarante y a veces doliente, de la que tan necesitados estamos); pues que tras ese riesgo, alto riesgo, muchos buenos españoles -no como él: un traidor, un subvencionado, un desagradecido, el villano de la película- intenten ahora por todos los medios y todas la redes causarles la enésima avería a esos desafectos del cine, hundir una empresa española y difamar y arruinar a un ciudadano. Pero esto sí que es muy español. Tendría ya aquí Fernando asunto para una tercera parte de la historia: como, años más tarde, ya en democracia, el público español boicotea las películas de Macarena Granada. ¿Qué ha pasado en medio? He vuelto a ver, por si en su día se me escapó algún matiz ofensivo, el dichoso discurso de la entrega del Premio, no sea que ahora me tenga yo también que cabrear con Fernando e incitar desde esta columna a un boicot para que nadie vea, por segunda vez, La Reina de España. Y me sigue pareciendo lo mismo: que yo que el ministro, y que cualquier español medio, me hubiera quedado muy tranquilo sabiendo que lo recogía un tipo que se declaraba anti-fronteras, 'sin fronteras', como el cine y la música que ha producido siempre; un tipo que reconocía no albergar sentimientos nacionales (con el peligro que hay últimamente en este negociado); un tipo que, metidos en guerra con el vecino, su estrategia estaría más cerca de Miguel Gila, pasándose al bando del vecino. En fin, todo lo contrario de invadir Polonia. Y una cosita, para acabar: no es por desilusionar a los que llamaron al boicot contra La Reina de España escandalizados por la escasa tasa de españolidad de su director -felicidades, majos, objetivos militares cumplidos- pero los directores de las películas extranjeras que batieron a La Reina de España el fin de semana pasado, David Yates (Animales fantásticos y dónde encontrarlos), el bueno de Robert Zemeckis (Aliados), Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn (Trolls) y Denis Villeneuve (La llegada); si les preguntas, pues son gente que también te dirá que nunca se han sentido españoles ni cinco minutos.

 

————————

 

Below is the excellent poster for Fernando Trueba's new movie, "La reina de españa", which is the long-awaited sequel to his much-lauded "La niña de tus ojos" (1998). The poster is actually a beautifully-detailed oil painting by Joaquín Risueño that harkens back to the mid-1950s era depicted in the movie.

 

 

As the article above this text by Bernardo Sánchez, and the one below it point out, Trueba has been unjustly maligned in his country for being a free-thinking Spanish artist and citizen of the world. Whatever one's opinion of Trueba as a person or a Spanish citizen might be, these factors have absolutely nothing to do with the movie. Very few people in the media and in the country's movie business circles have come to Trueba's defence. For the record, I have seen the movie twice this week on the big screen, and I am certain that it will have an important place in Spanish film history once the hypocrisy and cowardice of the media and the national film community fade from memory. Much has happened with "La niña de tus ojos", many of the same critics that initially gave "La reina de España" such a cold shoulder will adjust their evaluation of the movie in a year or two - of course without acknowledging their about-face. In keeping with the alarming extreme rightward swing of much of the voting public throughout Europe, a boycott of the movie by a minority of fascists in Spain has been organised because the director had the temerity to express his admiration for the culture of France. Joaquín Risueño's beautiful poster art was also savaged on the internet, by self-appointed art critics displaying an equally provincial mind-set. Universal, the distributor of the movie, bowed to the cyber-bullying shortly before the release of the movie, changing the poster for the "safer" one shown below. Judge for yourself as to their relative merits, of course.

 

 

In any case, the public poster "debate" as well as the questioning of Fernando Trueba's patriotism have undoubtedly handicapped the launch of the movie in the forum of public opinion. Gossip is king, in Spain as in other countries, now more than ever in our brave new world of internet lynch-mobbing.

 

————————

 

Que no hable ni Dios

06/12/2016, © infoLibre

Bueno, Dios sí. De las subvenciones que recibe la Palabra Revelada nunca hablan los que tanto gritan.

La polémica creada por el rescate de unas palabras que pronunció Fernando Trueba con motivo del estreno de su película La Reina de España significan el triunfo moral de la extrema derecha de este país. Un triunfo que viene avalado con la toma de sus consignas, de sus proclamas, por parte de la llamada "centro derecha", que asume sus postulados suavizando las formas, con lo que se permiten decir las barbaridades a las que nos tienen acostumbrados desde "el respeto y la tolerancia", ocupando un espacio que correspondería por sus reivindicaciones y su esencia a fuerzas extraparlamentarias. Lo mismo ha ocurrido en Francia con Fillon, el nuevo candidato a las elecciones presidenciales de 2017. Se ha celebrado mucho su victoria cuando sus planes en poco o nada difieren de los del Frente Nacional, salvo que estos los plantean con una retórica visceral cuya puesta en escena implica una militancia que sonroja a los republicanos franceses que ven en Fillon el justo término de lo que sería el signo de los tiempos.  full article>

 

HAPPY NOAM CHOMSKY DAY!!!

‚Äã

 

Politician's Stupid Statement of the Day:

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

—President George W. Bush, August 5th, 2004.

 

Mi ideal político es el democrático. Cada uno debe ser respetado como persona y nadie debe ser divinizado.

Albert Einstein

 

Resurrección

David Trueba

6 DIC 2016, © El País

Si hoy es martes, hay razones para el desasosiego. En los últimos tiempos no hay semana en que falte noticia de la extrema pobreza en que viven algunos españoles. No ha provocado escándalo la muerte de dos hombres que sobrevivían dentro de una furgoneta. Al parecer, la estufa que utilizaban para calentarse en las noches de frío terminó por envenenar el aire de su refugio improvisado. Antes fue una anciana que iluminaba su casa con velas y cada día historias anónimas de precariedad y desamparo. Son noticias de un tiempo cruel, que no reciben el sobrenombre de lunes negro o martes negro, y mucho menos de viernes negro, que viene a significar exactamente lo contrario, una invitación a consumir para demostrarte que estás vivo. En el país europeo que más dinero gasta en cocaína, hablar de los pobres es crítica fácil, ser el aguafiestas en la recuperación de unas décimas en la prima de riesgo. Así que mejor dejarlos de lado y que se arreglen como puedan.  full article>

 

La democracia no es el silencio, es la claridad con que se exponen los problemas y la existencia de medios para resolverlos.

Enrique Múgica Herzog

 

Families Have a Lot to Lose – and Protect – Long Before Inauguration Day

LeeAnn Hall

December 6, 2016, © OurFuture

The right-wing assault on the advances our country has made in the more than 70 years since the presidency of FDR isn't waiting for Donald Trump's inauguration.

The battle to take away our health care, retirement benefits, and even food aid has already begun, with the Republican right-wing in Congress conspiring to hand the federal budget over to big corporations and slip in devastating deregulatory measures before they adjourn this year, while few are paying attention.  full article>

 

Man is born an asocial and antisocial being. The newborn child is a savage. Egoism is his nature. Only the experience of life and the teachings of his parents, his brothers, sisters, playmates, and later of other people FORCE HIM to acknowledge the advantages of social cooperation and accordingly to change his behavior.

Ludwig von Mises

 

d

With Ben Carson at HUD, America's Cities Really Could Become Hellholes

By Joan Walsh

December 7, 2016, © The Nation

If Democrats want to make the case that Dr. Ben Carson is unqualified to be secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, they can use the words of Carson himself: "Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience; he's never run a federal agency," his friend Armstrong Williams told reporters, when rumors of Donald Trump's plan to put Carson at HUD first emerged. Carson told Trump, "I preferred to work outside of government as an adviser." But on Monday, Trump tapped Carson to head the $47 billion agency that oversees home-mortgage lending, public-housing administration, desegregation efforts, and fighting housing discrimination.  full article>

 

In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.

Aristotle

 

Swindle of the Day

The Original Ponzi Scheme:

Charles Ponzi's swindle became so famous that the term "Ponzi scheme" came to define all other similar schemes that followed. The Italian native spent time in prison for forging a check before embarking on an even more ill-conceived scheme. Ponzi seized on the notion of trading to take advantage of different international postage rates, which was not illegal. Ponzi's plan fell afoul of the law when he began promising investors extravagant returns and paying those returns using the money from new investors. By the time the scheme was uncovered in late 1920, Ponzi had defrauded investors of around $20 million (roughly $225 million at 2012 rates). Six banks even failed in the wake of the swindle. Ponzi went on to serve more than a dozen years in prison before being deported to Italy. According to one account of Ponzi's post-American life, he talked his way into a government finance job in Italy, and later embezzled funds before fleeing to South America during World War II.

 

We hand folks over to God's mercy, and show none ourselves.

George Eliot

 

"

The Orwellian War on Skepticism

By Robert Parry

December 1, 2016, © Consortiumnews.com

Under the cover of battling "fake news," the mainstream U.S. news media and officialdom are taking aim at journalistic skepticism when it is directed at the pronouncements of the U.S. government and its allies.

One might have hoped that the alarm about "fake news" would remind major U.S. news outlets, such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, about the value of journalistic skepticism. However, instead, it seems to have done the opposite.  full article>

 

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.

Joseph Campbell

 

Here Are the Sanctuary Cities Ready to Resist Trump's Deportation Threats

Sara Rathod

Dec. 2, 2016 © MotherJones

President-elect Donald Trump still has about two months to go before he is inaugurated, but pockets of resistance to his mass immigrant deportation plan are already emerging across the country. Since his election, local officials in at least 18 major "sanctuary" cities have pledged to limit their cooperation with federal immigration officials. By one estimate, 12 of these cities account for roughly 20 percent of all undocumented immigrants in the United States.  full article>

 

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.

Milan Kundera

 

Ministry Of Propaganda: Dick Cheney Tells CNN 'We Don't Need You Guys Anymore' Because Trump Has Twitter

12/04/16, © Crooks and Liars

Former Vice President Dick Cheney recently suggested President-elect Donald Trump's social media skills meant that the American people no longer needed the news media.

At the Reagan National Defense Forum, CNN's Barbara Starr asked the former vice president if Trump's casual tone on Twitter was dangerous.  full article>

 

We have only one task, to stand firm and carry on the racial struggle without mercy.

Heinrich Himmler

 

Historical Misconception of the Day

"Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned":

When asked who fiddled while Rome burned, the answer "Nero" will get you a zero. Legend has it that in A.D. 64, mad Emperor Nero started a fire near the imperial palace and then climbed to the top of the Tower of Maecenas where he played his fiddle, sang arias, and watched Rome flame out. But according to Tacitus, a historian of the time, Nero was 30 miles away, at his villa in Antium, when the fire broke out.

Nero wasn't exactly a nice guy -- he took his own mother as his mistress, then had her put to death. Despite this, historians believe that the fire was set by Nero's political enemies, who were right in thinking that it would be blamed on him. Actually, Nero was a hero, attempting to extinguish the blaze, finding food and shelter for the homeless, and overseeing the design of the new city.

 

All generalizations are false, including this one.

Mark Twain

 

El Celtic i la causa palestina: una història d'afinitats ambivalents

Carles Viñas

dimecres, 23 novembre 2016, © Crítiq

Fa pocs dies Eoin Wilson, un periodista irlandès, fou deportat pel govern d'Israel després de ser interrogat per membres del Ministeri de l'Interior i les agències d'inteligència del país per un seguit d'articles que havia escrit sobre Palestina. Els agents també es van interessar pel seu suport al Celtic de Glasgow. El reporter, a qui han prohibit l'entrada a Israel durant un període de deu anys adduint raons de seguretat i ordre públic, es preguntava sorprès si el fet de donar suport al Celtic era sinònim de simpatitzar amb la causa palestina.  full article>

 

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

Joseph Campbell

 

Netanyahu's Divine Intervention

by Yoav Litvin

November 25, 2016, © Counterpunch.org

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the quintessential Teflon politician. Though his many years as a statesman have been plagued by one scandal after another, he remains at the helm of Israel unscathed and unchallenged.  full article>

 

No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.

Abraham Lincoln

 

The Electoral College Lets Losers like Trump Become President

John Nichols

November 29, 2016, © The Progressive

In the mid-1980s, shortly after Ronald Reagan won a forty-nine-state landslide victory in his campaign for a second term, David Bowie had a top-forty hit with a haunting song from the soundtrack to the spy drama The Falcon and the Snowman. The song resonated with people who felt disconnected from their nation. It was titled "This Is Not America."  full article>

 

Everything is funny, as long as it's happening to somebody else.

Will Rogers

 

Aria of the Day

"Piangero, la sorte mia" from Georg Friedrich Händel's Giulo Cesare:

here sung by Cecilia Bartoli:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWK_CGf57sk

 

In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.

Dalai Lama

 

Trouble Ahead: With Trump and For Him

by Andrew Levine

November 18, 2016, © Counterpunch

The good news is that Hillary Clinton won't be starting World War III. Also, at least for now and probably forever, we are rid of the two most noxious political families in recent American history, the Bushes and the Clintons.  full article>

 

In the end, it's about the teaching, and what I always loved about coaching was the practices. Not the games, not the tournaments, not the alumni stuff. But teaching the players during practice was what coaching was all about to me.

John Wooden

 

o

The World Bank and Dams Part 4: Behind the Times on Renewable Energy

Wednesday, October 5, 2016, © International Rivers

As wind and solar power have taken off globally, the World Bank is far behind the curve in its continued focus on large hydro. Given its poor track record and recent failures in the sector, it's time for the Bank to catch up with the world and embrace new renewables.  full article>

 

Why do you not practice what you preach?

St. Jerome

 

Causes of the disaster: The Clinton myth

Sam Smith

November 17, 2016

Next to the Trump con job that won him the election, one of the greatest myths in American politics has been the presumed popularity of the Clintons. The Clinton myth was propelled by a Democratic establishment that thought having an Arkansas guy who went to Oxford was about as good as you could get.  full article>

 

Now I believe I can hear the philosophers protesting that it can only be misery to live in folly, illusion, deception and ignorance, but it isn't -it's human.

Desiderius Erasmus

s

 

Punk Rock Album of the Day

"Double Nickels on the Dime", The Minutemen

 

I couldn't wait to get on the ice. I couldn't wait to get to practice. As a kid, I couldn't wait to shoot pucks or play in parking lots, or play on the river or play on the bay.

Bobby Orr

 

De los ricos, por los ricos, para los ricos

Por: Raúl Kollmann

20 de noviembre de 2016, © Pagina12

La economía en su peor momento y cada vez más enojo de gran parte de los argentinos. Esta es una síntesis del cuadro de situación de la opinión pública en este noviembre y es lo que se reflejó en la movilización del viernes, con una parte de los dirigentes sindicales tomando cierta distancia de la Casa Rosada.  full article>

 

There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen meurt à 82 ans

10 novembre 2016, © La Presse

Leonard Cohen, incontournable ambassadeur culturel de Montréal à travers le monde, n'est plus.

Véritable légende dans le domaine de la chanson et de la poésie, l'auteur-compositeur-interprète, reconnaissable au timbre grave de sa voix et à ses textes souvent sombres, mélancoliques ou dédiés aux femmes de sa vie, est mort aujourd'hui. M. Cohen avait 82 ans.  full article>

 

Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act.

Leonard Cohen

 

World mourns the death of Leonard Cohen – as it happened

Michael Hann and Claire Phipps

Friday 11 November 2016, © The Guardian

Leonard Cohen has died aged 82. Here we round up tributes and reaction as they flood in for Canada's cultural icon  full article>

 

If I knew where the good songs came from, I'd go there more often.

Leonard Cohen

 

Muere Leonard Cohen a los 82 años

Pablo Ximénez de Sandoval

Los Ángeles 11 NOV 2016, © El País

Leonard Cohen, cantautor y poeta canadiense que sedujo a varias generaciones con canciones como Suzanne o I'm your man, falleció este lunes a los 82 años, aunque hasta el jueves 10 su familia no dio el anuncio en su página de Facebook. "Con profunda tristeza informamos de que el legendario poeta, cantautor y artista Leonard Cohen ha fallecido. Hemos perdido a uno de los visionarios más prolíficos y reverenciados de la música. Se celebrará un funeral en Los Ángeles en próximas fechas. La familia pide privacidad durante este momento de dolor".  full article>

 

Everything established, settled, everything to do with home and order and the common ground, has crumbled into dust and has been swept away in the general upheaval and reorganization of the whole of society. The whole human way of life has been destroyed and ruined. All that's left is the bare, shivering human soul, stripped to the last shred, the naked force of the human psyche for which nothing has changed because it was always cold and shivering and reaching out to its nearest neighbor, as cold and lonely as itself.

Boris Pasternak

 

Kucinich: Public 'totally dissatisfied' with both parties

By Azi Paybarah

11/09/16, © Politico

Walking down the Avenue of the Americas in Midtown this morning, ignoring the rain, was a downcast Dennis Kucinich, former congressman from Ohio who ran for president as a little-appreciated, anti-war, progressive in 2008.

What happened last night?

He said voters rejected all semblance of convention, and voted their rage — fueled by economic anxiety brought on by years of free trade agreements, Wall Street bailouts and expensive wars.

"This isn't about a victory of the Republican Party over Democrats, and it certainly wasn't a victory of conservatives over liberals, or right over left," he said. "This is a very clear demonstration that the American people are totally dissatisfied with establishment politics. ... Both parties held hands and bailed out the banks."

Kucinich said the issue of "bread or bombs" was overlooked.

"It was submerged in the primaries because Bernie Sanders did not take Hillary Clinton on, on her bad choices in foreign policies," Kucinich said. "She voted to fund those wars, to transfer the resources of the American people to more war and that's an issue that isn't resolved yet."

Kucinich demurred when asked who speaks to those issues better, who he would like to see step forward.

"Is there anybody out there picking it up? No," he said. "Because the political establishment has been more or less wed to the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex. That's the game that's played. That no matter who wins, they win."  full article>

 

I hold a beast, an angel and a madman within me.

Dylan Thomas

 

 

In Other Words

 

Nothing in life is to be feared.

It is only to be understood.

—MARIE CURIE

 

Nothing is easier than to

denounce the evildoer;

nothing is more difficult

than to understand him.

—FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY

 

I do not study in order to know more, rather to be less ignorant.

—SOR JUANA INÉS DE LA CRUZ

 

We must make haste then,

not only because we are daily

nearer to death, but also

because the conception of

things and the understanding

of them cease first.

—MARCUS AURELIUS

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come.

Words

 

Words are like days:

coloring books or pickpockets,

signposts or scratching posts,

fakirs over hot coals.

 

Certain words must be earned

just as emotions are suffered

before they can be uttered

- clean as a kept promise.

 

Words as witnesses

testifying their truths

squalid or rarefied

inevitable, irrefutable.

 

But, words must not carry

more than they can

it's not good for their backs

or their reputations.

 

For, whether they dance alone

or with an invisible partner,

every word is a cosmos

dissolving the inarticulate

 

Yahia Lababidi

Hijos de la Selva

Perceval Press is pleased to announce the release of HIJOS DE LA SELVA/SONS OF THE FOREST. The book outlines the story of German Ethnographer and explorer Max Schmidt, and includes many of the remarkable photographs that he made in the field while studying the cultures of the Mato Grosso region of Brazil and remote areas of Paraguay between 1900 and 1935.

Conquered people tend to

be witty.

Saul Bellow

ALIX LAMBERT

$25

In our effort to publish and distribute texts that otherwise might not be presented we are offering a three book special purchase of:

 

© PERCEVAL PRESS