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Green Party support grows as alarms sound on climate crisis

Rabble News - 14 hours 3 min ago
May 21, 2019Green Party support grows as alarms sound on climate crisisWith 17 elected Green Party members at the provincial and federal levels, the Greens look to be competitive in a number of federal ridings across Canada in the October 21 election.

Rand Corp: how to destroy Russia, by Manlio Dinucci

Voltaire dotnet - 14 hours 11 min ago
The conclusions of the latest confidential report by the Rand Corporation were recently made public in a « Brief ». They explain how to wage a new Cold War against Russia. Certain recommendations have already been implemented, but this systemic exposure enables us to understand their true objective.

Saudi Feminist Loujain al-Hathloul Was Waterboarded, Flogged and Electrocuted

Truthout - 14 hours 11 min ago

It’s been a year since women’s right activist Loujain al-Hathloul was detained and jailed in Saudi Arabia for leading a movement to lift the kingdom’s ban on female drivers and overhaul its male “guardianship” system. Despite international outcry, she’s been imprisoned ever since. During that time, her family says, she’s been held in solitary confinement and faced abuse, including electric shocks, flogging and threats of sexual violence. The Saudi government has resisted calls from human rights groups and lawmakers from around the world to release Loujain and the other jailed activists. We speak with two of Loujain’s siblings, Walid and Lina al-Hathloul.

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to Saudi Arabia’s jailing of female activists who have challenged one of the world’s most misogynistic governments. It was a year ago this month, on May 15, 2018, when Saudi authorities arrested Loujain Al-Hathloul and four other women. They were accused of undermining national security. She has been held ever since. Born in 1989, Loujain is an icon of the Saudi women’s rights movement. For years, she led a movement to lift a ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia and to overhaul the kingdom’s male guardianship system. In 2014, she was arrested after attempting to drive from the United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia. A video of her driving went viral.

LOUJAIN AL-HATHLOUL: [translated] Hello. I’m Loujain Al-Hathloul. I’m on the Quwaifa highway. I’m going to try to cross the Saudi borders. I’m driving a car I own, and I have a United Arab Emirates driving license, in an attempt to continue the women driving campaign. Let’s see what happens.

AMY GOODMAN: In 2015, Loujain attempted to run in the first municipal election open to female candidates, but she was subsequently disqualified. Despite multiple arrests, Loujain continued to speak out for women in Saudi Arabia. She was arrested again May 15, 2018, as part of a broader crackdown on female activists and critics of the Saudi government. According to human rights groups, she has since been held in solitary confinement, has been subjected to abuse, including electric shocks, flogging and threats of sexual violence. The Saudi government has resisted calls from human rights groups and lawmakers from around the world to release Loujain and the other activists.

Tonight, Loujain Al-Hathloul is being honored with the 2019 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award along with two other imprisoned Saudi female activists, Nouf Abdulaziz and Eman Al-Nafjan. Loujain was also recently included on the Time 100 list recognizing the world’s most influential people.

We’re joined right now by Loujain’s brother and sister, Walid and Lina Al-Hathloul, who are in New York to accept the PEN award on behalf of their sister.

Lina, thank you very much for joining us. Talk about what [Loujain] is facing in jail, what you understand Loujain is going through right now?

LINA AL-HATHLOUL: So, there have been different periods since her arrest. So, she was arrested in May 2018. So, from May 2018 ’til August 2018, we weren’t allowed to have any visits. And so, starting from August, my parents could see her once a month. So, from August ’til December, she was in prison in Jeddah.

And during this period where we weren’t allowed to have any visits, she has been tortured. As you said, she has been flogged. She has been electrocuted. She has been sexually harassed. She has been deprived of sleep. And that was the period where she was in a secret prison.

And when they allowed for the visits, she was back in the normal prison. In December, she was flown back to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, where my parents live. And starting from December, January, it was again the one visit per month.

In March, they announced that there was going to be a trial. So, that’s when she found out the charges. So, for almost a year, she didn’t know what the charges were. So now she’s still in prison. She’s facing a trial, but the trial is really not transparent, because we don’t know when the next session is. We don’t know how everything is going to be processed. So, she’s just waiting endlessly, yeah.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Walid, in terms of the charges against her, what is the government accusing her of doing?

WALID AL-HATHLOUL: So, typically, when — before her arrest, local media was saying that, like — local media, that is semi-government and, to some extent, owned by the government, typically they were saying that she was accused of being associated with foreign entities — we don’t know who these entities are; they haven’t specified them — like working as a spy, basically, getting finance from foreign entities and undermining state security.

When the trial started, we didn’t know exactly like what the official charges were at the time. But when — on the first session of the trial, which was on March 13, when we saw the list of charges, like, really, there is nothing that says that she was being a spy or she was being financed by foreign entities. Like, there is, like, a document, that is a fake document, that is being circulated on Twitter and social media, saying that she received a check of 9 million Qatari riyals. I believe it’s around 2 million U.S. dollars. So, they are showing that she got that. But on the official list of charges, there’s really nothing that says that. Like, most of the charges are related to her human rights activism, like having contacts with Human Rights Watch, having contacts with Amnesty International, like having contacts with foreign — accredited foreign journalists in Saudi Arabia. And even one of the charges is actually applying for a job at the United Nations. So, clearly, there is nothing that says — that is actually backing these allegations that started when she was first arrested.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about who — Lina, can you talk about who Saud al-Qahtani is, one of the top advisers to the crown prince? And what is he doing in this jail with your sister?

LINA AL-HATHLOUL: So, officially, I don’t think he has any power anymore. But what we have been hearing is that — so, before all of the Saudi affairs, he was a consultant in the Royal Court. And so, he was one of the people who were welcoming Loujain when she arrived in Jeddah, when she was transferred the first time, when she got arrested. And when she arrived in Jeddah, he asked her: Would she prefer 20 years of imprisonment or the death penalty? So that was the first time she saw him. And then — so, during the torture sessions, she told us that he was part of these torture sessions and that he was the one ordering it and that he was clearly laughing at her and mostly enjoying these times.

AMY GOODMAN: Was he threatening her with rape?

LINA AL-HATHLOUL: Yes, he did. He was threatening her with rape and murder. And he even said that if he wants it, he can even make her body disappear in the sewage system.

AMY GOODMAN: Was she waterboarded?

LINA AL-HATHLOUL: Yes, she was. She was waterboarded. She was sexually harassed. She was flogged. She has been electrocuted. She has been deprived of sleep. She has been forced to eat ’til she couldn’t accept it anymore.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you — in her years of activism, I’m wondering the conversations you had with her in terms of her insistence that she had to stand up in a society that is so repressive of women, and what kinds of conversations you had about what drove her to take this courageous stand.

LINA AL-HATHLOUL: I mean, Loujain has always been very brave and courageous, and she has always hated injustice. And she has always told us that it has been — because they always tell her, “Yeah, slow down. It’s going to happen. Don’t force things.” And she has always been saying, “It’s been 20 years that we’ve been silent, and women still can’t drive. Women still can’t — are considered as child ’til their death. So, I don’t want to wait anymore, and things have to happen, and we have to act.” So, she was really convinced that acting was the right thing.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to your sister. I want to go to Loujain Al-Hathloul in her own words. In 2016, she and her husband were interviewed by Nick Pelham of The Economist magazine.

NICOLAS PELHAM: And what difference would it make to your own lives if you actually — if you could drive, if your wife could drive? Would your life fundamentally change? Is it such a huge issue for you?

LOUJAIN AL-HATHLOUL: It’s a constant issue that I face every day, and not only once a day, like emotionally, too, because we fight a lot because of that issue. Like, who’s going to drive me around? Who’s going to take me? And just to beg people to take me around is insulting enough. For the financial part also, it does affect a lot. It takes a good 30% to 40% of my salary sometimes to pay for drivers just to take me to the necessary things, the necessary places, like home to work, work to home.

AMY GOODMAN: That is Loujain Al-Hathloul. She has been imprisoned for a year now, just over a year. According to U.S. intelligence officials, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sanctioned an operation to carry out a secret campaign against dissidents. The missions were carried out by what U.S. officials call the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group, whose members appear to have been involved in the torture and killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The group also seems to have been involved in the detention and abuse of more than a dozen Saudi women’s rights activists who campaigned against the ban on driving by women, including Loujain. Can either of you talk about this force? Do you know about it?

LINA AL-HATHLOUL: No, I don’t.

AMY GOODMAN: And let me ask you, on the driving issue: Is it true that when the crown prince announced that women would have limited access — they would be able to drive, that at the same time the world was hailing him as a great, forward-thinking leader, he was arresting the very driving activists, like your sister, who had fought for this for so long, telling them they should not tweet, they should not comment, on Saudi Arabia ending the ban on driving? Can you explain what this was all about?

LINA AL-HATHLOUL: Yes. So, before the announcement, all of the activists have been told not to comment anything. And at the very beginning, we really thought it was a good thing, because maybe in a society that’s a bit traditional, etc., maybe it’s the good thing to do to calm down maybe the people who are against it and who are not used to changes. So we really thought, “OK, it’s OK. We won’t comment anything. Just make it happen, because what we want is change.” And so, we didn’t — they didn’t comment anything. And when we saw that afterwards, even they stayed silent, but they got arrested. They got tortured. So we really — we now changed our vision, and we really think it wasn’t maybe the right thing to do, to be silent from the beginning.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Walid, I wanted to ask you — both you and your sister now live abroad, obviously, not in Saudi Arabia. Do you have concerns yourself about the reach of the Saudi authorities to those who speak out, even if they’re not in the country?

WALID AL-HATHLOUL: To some extent, yes. But I’m taking my — you know, I’m being very cautious in terms of my movements and where I go and, you know, also how to communicate. Yes, I do have some concerns, but so far I have not been — I haven’t received any direct threats. But I do have — I do receive, like, threats on social media. But that’s not a direct threat to me. So, yes, I do have that kind of concern, because we have seen people who were targeted abroad, and I fear that this could happen to me, as well.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And your parents are still in Saudi Arabia. How are they faring? And how often do they get to speak to your sister?

WALID AL-HATHLOUL: So, they speak with my sister like every Sunday. But I have, like, limited contact with them, because we can’t really reach them on a daily basis, if we can put it that way. Yeah. So we have really limited communications with them.

AMY GOODMAN: At a gala dinner last month honoring Time‘s list of the world’s 100 most influential people, the comedian Hasan Minhaj called for the release of Loujain. Minhaj also called out Jared Kushner, who was at the gala, over his close relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

HASAN MINHAJ: I know there’s a lot of very powerful people here, and it would be crazy if — I don’t know — if there was just like a — I don’t know — like if there like a high-ranking official in the White House that could WhatsApp MBS and say, “Hey, maybe you could help that person get out of prison, because they don’t deserve it.” But that would be crazy. That would be — I mean, that person would have to be in the room. But it’s just a good comedy premise.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Hasan Minhaj speaking at the Time 100 event, where Jared Kushner was. And he was talking about freeing your sister. What do you want Jared Kushner, President Trump to do?

LINA AL-HATHLOUL: So, we’re speaking for things to change. So, whoever has the power to do something about it, we really wish they would act and ask for her release. And that’s what — all we want is our sister to be free. So, whoever has the power.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the importance of, tonight, your sister being honored by PEN?

LINA AL-HATHLOUL: That’s really great. I think that a recognition, even for Loujain, I mean, it gives her so much more — knowing that she’s supported gives her — she breathes a bit of freedom while in jail, knowing that she’s supported. And I think it’s really important for her to stay strong. And for us also, I mean, it’s — we’re a bit weak sometimes because we feel like we don’t have any power in our hands to change things. But knowing that people are being supportive is really good, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you comment, very quickly, on the two women who are also being honored along with your sister, Nouf Abdulaziz and Eman Al-Nafjan, also Saudi feminist activists in prison?

LINA AL-HATHLOUL: Yes. I think it’s really great that it’s not only Loujain, that other women who are maybe a bit less internationally known are also awarded, because they have fought as much as Loujain, and they also deserve it, yes. And I’m really proud of them, as well, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Jared Kushner is sometimes referred to as the — well, the two of them, MBS and Jared Kushner, “the crown prince and the clown prince.” What do you think of their close relationship, almost seen as the crown prince whisperer, just recently went there, to Saudi Arabia, to meet with him yet again, even after the murder of Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist?

LINA AL-HATHLOUL: To be honest, I’m not very political, so all I know is really my sister’s story. And I can’t comment something I really don’t know anything about, so…

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you so much for being with us, Lina and Walid Al-Hathloul, sister and brother of the jailed Saudi activist Loujain. She has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for more than a year for her fearless advocacy for women’s rights.

Happy Birthday to Tey-Marie Astudillo!

How Trump’s Immigration Policies Led to Child Deaths at Border

Truthout - Tue, 2019-05-21 23:58

A 16 year-old Guatemalan boy died in U.S. custody Monday after spending a week in immigration jail. Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez was found dead at a Border Patrol station at Weslaco, Texas, just one day after being diagnosed with the flu. He was not hospitalized. This marks the fifth death of a Guatemalan child apprehended by Border Patrol since December. Before last year, it had been more than a decade since a child died in the custody of U.S. immigration officials. We speak with Fernando Garcia, the founding director of the Border Network for Human Rights, an advocacy organization based in El Paso, and Jennifer Harbury, a longtime human rights lawyer based in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas.

TRANSCRIPT

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We begin today’s show with yet another tragedy on the U.S.-Mexico border, where a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died in U.S. custody Monday after spending a week in immigration jail. Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez died at a Border Patrol station at Weslaco, Texas, after being diagnosed with the flu. He was not hospitalized. This marks the fifth death of a Guatemalan child apprehended by Border Patrol since December. Before last year, it had been more than a decade since a child died in the custody of U.S. immigration officials.

AMY GOODMAN: Carlos Hernandez was arrested near the border in the South Rio Grande Valley May 13th and taken to a processing center in McAllen, Texas, where hundreds of migrants are held in large pens and forced to sleep on mats. U.S. law typically requires minors to be sent to facilities operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services within three days of being detained, but Carlos was held in McAllen for more than double that time. On Sunday, six days after he was first arrested, he reportedly was diagnosed with the flu after telling Border Patrol agents he was sick. Rather than hospitalize the 16-year-old, officials prescribed him Tamiflu and transferred him to another Border Patrol station in Weslaco. He was found dead the next morning.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The teenager’s death comes less than a week after a 2-and-a-half-year-old boy, whose family was apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso in April, died on May 14th, after spending weeks in the hospital with pneumonia and a high fever.

Two weeks before that, another 16-year-old, Juan de León Gutiérrez, died after being apprehended by Border Patrol agents near El Paso. The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry said Gutiérrez died of complications from an infection in his brain’s frontal lobe.

The spate of migrant child deaths began in December, when 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin died of a bacterial infection after being in Border Patrol custody. Soon after that, an 8-year-old boy, Felipe Gómez Alonzo, died of a flu infection while in Border Patrol custody on Christmas Eve.

AMY GOODMAN: For more on the humanitarian crisis, we’re joined by two guests. Here in New York, Fernando Garcia is with us, the founding director of the Border Network for Human Rights, an advocacy group based in El Paso. And in Weslaco, Texas, we’re joined by Jennifer Harbury on the telephone. She’s a longtime human rights lawyer based in the Rio Grande Valley, along the U.S.-Mexico border, an activist with the Angry Tias.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Jennifer has a long history in Guatemala, as well. But let’s begin with Fernando Garcia. Your response to this latest death, the death of Carlos, which follows the death of a 2-and-a-half-year-old, which follows, which follows, which follows?

FERNANDO GARCIA: Well, thanks for having me. I mean, these are — it’s important to say that these are not circumstantial deaths. I mean, migrants are dying — children are dying — because of the way that the U.S. administration, the Trump administration, is treating these refugees and asylum seekers. And it’s not circumstantial, because we had five deaths since December, but also in the whole year we had another one that happened in last May. So we have six children dying while in detention.

The conditions that we had documented in detentions are horrific conditions. This is not the America that we know. I mean, we had children sleeping on the ground in the dirt, with no access to water and medical attention, very limited medication and healthcare. I think we have a human rights crisis — not only a humanitarian crisis, a human rights crisis — because, at the end of the day, the borders define the nation, the character of the nation, and what we have today, it is that children are dying because of U.S. strategies.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Fernando, I wanted to read to you what the acting Customs and Border [Protection] commissioner, John Sanders, said in a statement. He said, quote, “The men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are saddened by the tragic [loss] of this young man and our condolences are with his family. CBPis committed to the health, safety and humane treatment of those in our custody.” Your response to his statement?

FERNANDO GARCIA: You know, that is sure to be cynic. I mean, the situation on the ground doesn’t reflect what they are saying in this statement. They are showing a complete disregard of the lives and the rights of immigrants and refugees. Let’s remind ourselves, many of these families, many of these children are fleeing violent conditions in the country, economic depression, looking for a better life. And what they had found, it is, in this case, children dying at the border. And again, what we have documented is gross human rights violations in these detention centers.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to bring in Jennifer Harbury. You’re there in Weslaco. You’ve been visiting some of the migrants and the refugees as they’re being held in detention. What’s your take on what’s happening?

JENNIFER HARBURY: Well, I see a lot of the people in Reynosa, Mexico, where they’re gathering, quote-unquote, “waiting their turn” to cross. And then I see a lot of them when their families are being released to go north. Those are the ones who are crossing with children. And they have just been released from the hielera, literally. They’ve gone to the church refuge center to get a change of clothes and stuff, and arrived at the bus station.

And the difference in their health conditions is extraordinary. In Reynosa, they’re exhausted. They’re terrorized, because they could be kidnapped, or have been kidnapped, at any moment in northern Mexico. There’s gunfights going on. But, overall, they and their children are OK. Some of them have a stomach bug. Some of them have colds. A couple of them have flu, here and there. But, overall, they’re doing all right. By the time they come out of the hielera, where I see them and people like them at the bus station not long thereafter — right? — almost all of them are really sick, with extreme respiratory problems, because they’re kept in holding cells with the AC cranked up so high, and then given no blankets, just those mylar ones, so that they just literally are freezing for days on end. All of them are seriously sick, the children with diarrhea and also, like I say, severe respiratory problems from the cold.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Jennifer —

JENNIFER HARBURY: But also, they’re all piled in.

AMY GOODMAN: Hielera is Spanish for “icebox.” Where are you talking about these, as they’re called, iceboxes are? And what do they look like inside?

JENNIFER HARBURY: OK, I cannot go into the icebox. I see people just after they’re released from the icebox. But the one that would be in our area is the notorious one at Ursula, just south of the city of McAllen.

AMY GOODMAN: So it’s in the United States. It’s on the U.S. side of the border.

JENNIFER HARBURY: It’s in the — that’s right. So, people come across from Reynosa, where they have gathered at the shelter, and conditions are really rough, but they’re OK. By the time the hielera on the U.S. side gets through with holding them for a few days, they’re really sick. And I’ve had like a mom with her child just recovering from chickenpox, and she said, “Yeah, you know, we got it in there. And they kept us all together in the sleeping area. We’re piled all in on top of each other. And they didn’t take us to a clinic.” Extreme diarrhea, you don’t get take — there’s basically no medical care.

So, by the time they come out, they’re really sick, and it’s almost too late. So we have cases like this tragedy of the person who got sent on from there exactly up to the Weslaco processing center and just abandoned in a room somewhere because he couldn’t be held with the adults.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Jennifer —

JENNIFER HARBURY: I just think the child — yeah.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The fact that so many of those who have died have been Guatemalan, because, obviously, people are coming over from Honduras and Salvador, as well.

JENNIFER HARBURY: Yes.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the particular impact, especially to you, with your long history, in terms of the Guatemalan popular movement there, your reaction to that, as well?

JENNIFER HARBURY: I’m not sure what the cause of that is. And I certainly do want to find out. I think part of it is the extreme lack of resources of anyone from Guatemala in making their way north, and it’s probably just a much rougher trip. They were exposed to the conditions and probably were much more exhausted by the time they got here, and then were tossed into these rooms, or dormitories or pigpens or whichever you would like to call them, without any medical protection or care. People are sleeping on the floor, packed in. And so they all get everything from each other, and more caused by the cold.

AMY GOODMAN: Fernando Garcia, you’re nodding your head as Jennifer is down there in Weslaco talking about that area where Carlos just died. What is the legality of this? Keeping children in iceboxes, in freezing boxes. How long are they being held for?

FERNANDO GARCIA: You know, they’re supposed to be — I mean, children, specifically children, they’re supposed to be held only for 72 hours in these Border Patrol or ICE detention centers. And then, after that, they should be either released or transferred. But that is not necessarily happening. I mean, in the case of Carlos Gregorio, he was held by Border Patrol for seven days. They cannot wash their hands and say that they didn’t know anything that happened in those seven days. I mean, that is ridiculous.

What we are seeing is a complete lack of accountability and oversight of these institutions. I think the standards that they are acting, they are not only violating human rights, but also the U.S. Constitution. I mean, they are clearly buying into this rhetoric that immigrants are rapists, criminals, and this xenophobic sentiment. And I think that is the reason why there is this treatment that they are going through in the detention centers.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what kind of access do civil society organizations or local governments or even members of Congress have to be able to get into these detention centers and ascertain for themselves what’s happening?

FERNANDO GARCIA: Well, we don’t have access. I mean, and that actually became very clear after Trump got elected. In the past, we had very good relations with the local Border Patrol stations and ICE officers. After Trump was elected, we saw a number of things happening. The Tornillo case, where we had, like, children being separated from their mothers, and we didn’t have access to that. Now there are other detention centers being built. The hieleras, the iceboxes, they have at least one in every detention center, in every processing center. And sometimes they are being used to punish people. If they misbehave, they will send them to the hieleras.

So, we don’t have access. We had requested many times to go and observe what is the situation that these children, these families are going through. And it’s very limited. I mean, it seems that they are hiding something. And what they are hiding is these conditions that are leading up to all of these children dying.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Lindsey Graham has introduced a bill that would deny people the right to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, forcing them instead to take their claims to U.S. consulates in their home countries, even if their lives are in danger. Graham’s bill would also increase the number of days that migrant children could be detained to 100, five times the current limit. Fernando, your response?

FERNANDO GARCIA: No, you know, I think this is part of a larger vision, of a larger agenda, that’s being applied at the border. They not only don’t want more legal immigrants coming into the country, but they are strengthening the militarization of the border, that we have more military, police officers, Border Patrol, like never before. I think we have one of the most militarized areas. And even in those conditions, they still want to reject asylum seekers. And I think, at the end of the day, they are going against American history. Let’s remind ourselves that many people came from other countries because of the same conditions. Europeans came to the United States through Ellis Island because they were fleeing violence. It seems that the Trump administration is going against history and against our American values.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to talk more about that in a minute, but we have to break. Fernando Garcia, founding director of the Border Network for Human Rights, is joining us in studio, usually in El Paso. And Jennifer Harbury is with us, longtime human rights lawyer based in the Rio Grande Valley, speaking to us from Weslaco.

This is Democracy Now! After that, we will be speaking with a brother and sister of the leading Saudi feminist human rights activist, who’s been jailed for more than a year. They and she say that she has been tortured in Saudi prison. Stay with us.

Trump’s “Genocidal” Tweets Against Iran Come With a Price

Truthout - Tue, 2019-05-21 23:47

Donald Trump threatened to wipe Iran off the map in a moment of yet-to-be-explained Twitter-rage Sunday night. “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” he wrote. After a few days of apparent de-escalation between the US and Iran, Trump managed to once again fuel fears of an impending war. Yet, Trump’s tweet is likely more a reflection of his frustration over the failure of his pressure and coercion strategy than a carefully thought-through plan for war.

Trump is not the first U.S. official to threaten Iran with genocide. Back in 2008, then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton threatened to “obliterate” Iran. John McCain liked to sing songs about bombing Iran. George W. Bush never missed an opportunity to remind Iran that “all options are on the table.” In fact, this is not even Trump’s own first transgression into genocidal territory. Last July, he warned — in an all-caps tweet — that Iran “WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

But Trump’s Sunday night tweet came as a surprise because it had been preceded by a few days of apparent de-escalation from both sides. Trump had insisted that he “hopes” there won’t be a war with Iran. The Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a statement insisting it doesn’t want war but will be ready to defend itself against Iran if Tehran attacks it. A senior Iranian commander had issued a similar statement, insisting Iran wasn’t “looking for war.”

So, was Trump’s Twitter meltdown a reaction to an Iranian threat or was it, as some have suggested, a reaction to a Fox News story on the showdown with Iran? Based on Trump’s other tweets Sunday afternoon, much indicates that he was watching TV that day and reacted to a threat-inflated segment on Fox that presented Iranian warnings of retaliation as Iranian threats against the US.

But if, on the other hand, there is a logic behind Trump’s erratic oscillation between escalation and de-escalation, then the most plausible explanation is as follows.

This is what we know: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who recently took credit for convincing Trump to leave the Iran nuclear deal — the Saudi Crown Prince, John Bolton and the other proponents of war with Iran have convinced Trump that Barack Obama’s big mistake with Iran was that he opted for diplomacy too quickly, arguing that Iran would have caved and capitulated had he only continued with his sanctions for another six months.

Convinced of this logic, Trump opted for a “maximum pressure” strategy, thinking that once Iran’s economy was close to collapse, Tehran would crawl to the negotiating table and beg for mercy. “I’m sure that Iran will want to talk soon,” he said recently, hinting that Iran simply won’t be able to withstand the pressure.

As long as Trump continues to let Bolton, Netanyahu and the Saudis drive his Iran policy, he will be boxed into corners that will leave him and the US with no good options.

Bolton, Netanyahu and the Saudis, however, know that Iran will not negotiate under these circumstances. In fact, the absurd 12 preconditions that Secretary of State Pompeo has put forward virtually guarantee that Tehran will see negotiations with Trump not as a mere capitulation, but suicide. Instead, Iran will fight back, which Bolton and his cohorts can use to corner Trump and push him to take military action — lest he is willing to see his credibility, ego, and manhood crushed by Iranian defiance.

Here’s also what we can be quite certain of: Trump recognizes that the anger against the Iraq War was an important factor that propelled him into the White House. Bolton knows this and likely recognized that given Trump’s political instincts against further military adventures in the Middle East, the former reality TV star would push back. (The United States has spent “$7 trillion over the past 17 years in the Middle East,” Trump bemoaned in April 2018. “We get nothing out of it. Nothing.”)

So Bolton, Netanyahu and the Saudis probably sought to convince Trump that Iran is all talk and no walk. The U.S. can degrade Iran’s military through air power and the Iranians will have no choice but to take it. They won’t respond. Airstrikes simply will not lead to a war, they’ve probably argued to Trump. (This is an argument many neoconservatives have made repeatedly in the past two decades). Just last week, a state-aligned Saudi newspaper called on Trump to launch “surgical” strikes on Iran in response to sabotage of two Saudi oil tankers that Riyadh blames on Iran. (Incidentally, the U.S. has no defense agreement with the Saudi kingdom.)

This is where Bolton’s plan probably fell apart. As the national security advisor issued threats of war and sent U.S. warships to the Persian Gulf, U.S. intelligence noticed that Iran began to transfer some of its missiles. According to press reports, Bolton desperately tried to twist this as Iranian aggression: Tehran was planning to strike U.S. troops in the region. In reality, the intelligence suggested that Iran was acting defensively. Either Iran was expecting the U.S. to attack and wanted to protect its retaliatory capabilities, or it was preparing to counter-strike the U.S. Either way, Iran was responding to Bolton’s aggression and escalation.

At this point, it appears Trump realized he was being fed lies by Bolton. This was only days after Trump expressed frustration with Bolton’s failed strategy in Venezuela, which Trump felt had boxed him into a corner and left him with no good options. Now Bolton was doing the same on Iran — promising him that Iran was an easy pushover and that sanctions and military strikes wouldn’t lead to Iranian retaliation, whereas in reality, Iran was preparing to strike the U.S. and defend itself if the U.S. attacked. Bolton had promised Trump no war, but was, in reality, leading him straight into one.

Determined not to have a repeat of the Venezuela debacle, Trump presumably began signaling his disinterest in war while repeating his desire for direct talks with Tehran. But as he started to dial things back, sounding almost desperate for talks, the very logic of his pressure strategy began to fall apart.

Trump had escalated tensions with Iran, calculating that once the pressure was too much to bear, Iran would have no choice but to throw in the towel. Ultimately, Trump was looking for capitulation, not war. But as Iran signaled its readiness to defend itself, it was Trump — and not Iran — that had to back down. Tehran had called his bluff. A bluff Trump only was lured into because of Netanyahu, Bolton and the Saudis.

An angry, genocidal tweet may restore the image — however questionable — that Trump holds all the cards in this standoff. But it won’t change the reality that as long as Trump continues to let Bolton, Netanyahu and the Saudis drive his Iran policy, he will be boxed into corners that will leave him and the US with no good options.

Pelosi’s Own Leadership Team Demands Trump Impeachment Proceedings

Truthout - Tue, 2019-05-21 23:47

After the Trump administration instructed former White House counsel Don McGahn to refuse to comply with a Judiciary Committee subpoena to testify, several members of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team privately confronted the Democratic leader late Monday and demanded impeachment proceedings against the president immediately in response to the latest attempt to stonewall congressional oversight.

According to the Washington Post, at least “five members of Pelosi’s leadership team — four of whom also sit on the House Judiciary Committee, with jurisdiction over impeachment — pressed Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a closed-door leadership meeting to allow the panel to start an [impeachment] inquiry, which they argued would help investigators attain documents and testimony that Trump has blocked.”

One of the lawmakers who reportedly pressed Pelosi to approve impeachment proceedings on Monday was House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who has faced calls to act as his repeated attempts to investigate President Donald Trump and administration officials have been brazenly denied by the White House.

“The meeting marks the first time a chairman and top rank-and-file lawmakers — including members of Pelosi’s leadership team — have lobbied her to change her long-held position on impeachment,” the Post reported.

“That inquiry is also what happened during Watergate,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) told the Post in an interview following the Democrats’ private meeting. “It’s not like the House Judiciary Committee just dropped articles of impeachment. There was an investigation that preceded it. This inquiry could lead to impeachment, or it could lead to nothing. But I think if McGahn doesn’t show, we have to at least start it.”

Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin (Md.), Joe Neguse (Colo.), and David Cicilline (R.I.) — all of whom are members of the House Judiciary Committee — reportedly joined Lieu in pressuring the House Speaker to support an impeachment inquiry.

“There’s no doubt that opening an inquiry strengthens the hand of Congress in forcing compliance with subpoenas, whether it’s for documents or individuals,” Cicilline told the Post.

Raskin reportedly made a similar case during the meeting, arguing that impeachment hearings “would allow leadership to streamline and centralize all of the investigations into one — and let everyone else focus on the Democratic agenda items that won them the majority in 2018,” the Post reported.

Senior members of Judiciary Committee who are also in leadership broached the idea tonight. Rep. Raskin took the lead.

Reps. Cicilline and freshman leadership Rep. Neguse also on board.

Meeting grew tense as Raskin kept returning to idea, irritating Pelosi

— Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) May 21, 2019

Seems to me this is doubly significant — first, that Pelosi’s team is finally losing patience with her shit, and second, they ran to the Post 10 seconds after the meeting concluded with the embarrassing details. https://t.co/byeHUFkrEX

— Elon Green (@elongreen) May 21, 2019

Pelosi, however, refused to budge despite backlash from her own leadership team.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), DCCC chair Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), and Democratic caucus chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) all reportedly sided with Pelosi in the face of pressure from their colleagues as well as grassroots demands for Democrats to act on their grave warnings that the U.S. is in the midst of a “constitutional crisis.”

“This isn’t about politics at all. It’s about patriotism. It’s about the strength we need to have to see things through,” Pelosi reportedly said of her refusal to sign off on impeachment hearings, a remark that provoked bafflement among progressives on social media.

Nancy Pelosi says she’s avoiding impeachment for patriotic reasons ??? https://t.co/Y2wCE76Z99

— Rachel Cohen (@rmc031) May 21, 2019

The internal Democratic rebellion against Pelosi on impeachment comes just days after Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) became the first congressional Republican to break with his party and call for impeachment proceedings against Trump after carefully examining Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings.

“Plenty of liberals are asking why there aren’t more Republican members of Congress with the guts, eloquence, or honesty to say what Amash has said,” The Intercept‘s Mehdi Hasan wrote in a column on Monday. “It’s a good question. But a better, more relevant question is this: Why aren’t there more Democrats willing to say the same?”

If Pelosi won’t do the job she was hired to do, then Dems should find someone who will https://t.co/epMKEP72Xe

— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) May 21, 2019

During a live event in Washington, D.C., Monday night, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) — a member of the House Judiciary Committee — made the case for launching impeachment proceedings against the president right away.

“I really believe we are now at the point where we have to start an impeachment inquiry. I don’t say that lightly, I mean I think we have taken every possible step we can,” said Jayapal. “We’ve issued subpoenas, we’ve called for witnesses, the president has issued blanket executive privilege over the Mueller report.”

“If you have a president who thinks he’s king, and isn’t accountable to anybody, and is above the law,” Jayapal said, “that is absolutely not acceptable.”

Watch:

“I really believe we are now at the point where we have to start an impeachment inquiry.” — Rep. @PramilaJayapal on the newest episode of #PodSaveAmerica.

“Republican(s) for Impeachment.” (LIVE from DC!) out now: https://t.co/q2BL3hsnti pic.twitter.com/yY1fZIwKes

— Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) May 20, 2019

UPDATE: McGahn did not show up for his scheduled testimony.

Jamie Oliver’s collapse threatens over 1,000 jobs, but his fortune’s intact

Canary, The Other - Tue, 2019-05-21 23:32

On 21 May, news broke that over 1,000 people may lose their jobs after Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain collapsed. With administrators set to go in, many suppliers could also lose out. Yet Oliver’s multi-million-pound net worth remains largely intact.

Not “pukka”

The collapse closed 22 of his 25 restaurants: Jamie’s Italian around the UK and London-based Fifteen and Barbecoa. If administrators KPMG can’t find new buyers, around 1,300 people may lose their jobs. The union Unite also pointed out the uncertainty that this will cause to the chain’s many suppliers.

In a statement, Oliver said:

I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade. I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.

Yet although Oliver invested his own money into the restaurants in 2018, savvy business deals mean that he’s financially buffered from the collapse. His media business, which includes TV shows and cookery books, is booming. He also owns majority shares in cooking equipment and homeware companies. In fact, according to Spear’s, in May 2019, his net worth was £240m.

Several people pointed out that his personal wealth stands in stark contrast to those people who’ll lose out:

It will come as a relief to his fans that @jamieoliver personal wealth won't be affected by this collapse… so no real harm done. Can't wait for the next book Jamie I understand it's titled 'eating on the dole' which will come just in time for the 1,300 that have lost their jobs

— Trudie 'Truth' Fury (@TrudieTruthFury) May 21, 2019

I really feel for the workers who now need to find employment with imidiate effect. @jamieoliver can relax with his wealth while throwing everyone else under the bus. He genuinely does not care. Full of hot air. He’s lost a lot of supporters/fans now. https://t.co/6L8kwE3sAN

— Kevin (@kpldesigns) May 21, 2019

Jamie Oliver will retain his wealth, many of his staff and creditors will lose everything.

— Terry Casey (@tcliverpool) May 21, 2019

Naked profits

Oliver rose to fame as The Naked Chef in 1999. In many ways, he’s the epitome of Tony Blair‘s New Labour policies. One of the poster boys of the middle-class Cool Britannia era, Oliver still continued to expand his business empire as Conservative-led austerity bit. Few people struggling under austerity could afford to eat at his restaurants, where an average main meal cost over £15. But that didn’t stop the rise and rise of his businesses.

In 2015, however, he admitted he’d “fucked up about 40%” of his business ventures. And then, in 2018, he said “I honestly don’t know [what happened]”, when forced to use his own money in an effort to save the Jamie’s Italian chain. At that point, around 600 people lost jobs when 12 restaurants closed. Yet he still kept his lucrative branded media and lifestyle companies separate from the Restaurant Group company.

So as yet more people face unemployment and unpaid supply bills, perhaps it’s no surprise that his personal wealth remains intact. On one level, all this news did is dent Oliver’s ego – but capitalists can survive that with millions in the bank.

Featured image via Flickr – Land Rover MENA

By Fréa Lockley

Is the U.S. Ignoring Its Own Research That Proves Cell Phone and WiFi Radiation Exposure Causes Biological Harm?

Activist Post - Tue, 2019-05-21 23:08

By B.N. Frank

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is not a health or environmental protection agency even though their role is to protect Americans by regulating the Telecom Industry.  To say they’ve been doing a bad job for many years now is putting it lightly.  It’s only become worse with the promotion and forced widespread installation of 5G technology which the Telecom Industry won’t even say is safe.

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Thanks to Camilla Rees of ElectromagneticHealth.org for compiling a list of half a century of research that proves there are biological health effects from exposure to all sources of RadioFrequency (RF) Radiation.

It is a fallacy that the only risk from electromagnetic fields are the thermal effects.

The FCC exposure guidelines today are non-protective of existing cell phone and wireless exposures. They do not take into consideration the large body of science documenting non-thermal effects, including the U.S. government’s own science, nor the reality that the biological effects of our many kinds of exposures these days are additive and cumulative. And, the guidelines are certainly also non-protective from the coming higher frequency and higher pulsation (i.e. more biologically disruptive) millimeter exposures planned for antennas using 5G, that the industry plans to densely place throughout our neighborhoods, on every few utility poles, unless the American people stand up for their right to health.

The U.S. government has terribly failed the American people by not acting on the very serious risks its own science has long revealed. And we are at a disgraceful place where industry’s plans for further antenna densification may put our very species at risk.

Activist Post regularly reports about this topic.  Please see our archives for more details.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Categories: News for progressives

The Game of Thrones finale reminds us that elites don’t want the masses involved in politics

Canary, The Other - Tue, 2019-05-21 23:04

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers about Game of Thrones season eight. You have been warned!

 

Game of Thrones (GOT) is finally over. And now, the country shall stumble about in an emotional stupor desperately looking for new escapism from our miserable reality.

For nearly ten years, GOT has taught us lessons about the ruthless political manoeuvring of the privileged and aspirational. But before it abandoned us, it taught us another important political lesson: elites hate real democracy.

A brutally realistic portrayal of power politics

People will be picking at the show’s carcass for years. ‘It should have been longer’; ‘the last season sucked’; ‘her character arc made no sense’; and so on. But the enduring legacy of GOT will be its success at captivating a mass audience with a brutally realistic depiction of power politics. The absolute investment of audiences is all the more impressive considering this political realism is situated in a fantasy world inhabited by dragons and ice zombies.

GOT has always been at its best depicting the political calculations and interrelationships of its power-driven characters. And it taught us some memorable lessons about what power in society really means. “Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall,” Lord Varys once suggested:

Or is power cruder than that? “Power is power,” Cersei Lannister asserted:

Final lessons from the final episode

Few blockbuster shows ask audiences such big questions. And the final episode didn’t disappoint either.

There was the obvious ‘power corrupts’ theme. It ultimately led to the dragon queen Daenerys Targaryen’s murder, to avoid her continued rise as a self-righteous tyrant.

Couldn't really put it better myself #politics #GameofThrones pic.twitter.com/H5dss03wCn

— ShnuggyG (@GShnuggy) May 17, 2019

There was also the visual metaphor of the Iron Throne itself being melted; the throne being a symbol of absolute power, for which so many died over eight seasons of fighting:

The throne that was forged by dragon flame, melted by a dragon flame

Britain and its Failed Attempt to Propagandize Hysteria

New Eastern Outlook - Tue, 2019-05-21 22:44

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the sitting British politicians can be short-sighted enough to support Theresa May’s failing policies, while the UK media remain scared to openly discuss the ongoing Brexit disaster as well as the fact that under the current political leaders the country took a wrong turn and rapidly approaching an imminent calamity. In this situation the massive British propaganda machine made the decision to carry on distracting the public opinion from the most pressing challenges of today by spreading anti-Russian hysteria. No matter how absurd this may sound, but today an average British citizen is required to believe that the “Russians are coming,” even though nobody has been able to provide logical explanation of the notion that Moscow for some strange reason could be interested in invading the UK. However, under this dubious pretext the Tories are pushing things like increased military spendings down people’s throats, while making every attempt to escape criticism for cuts in social benefits that are still being provided to British citizens, most of which are in a state of distress these days.

One doesn’t have to go far to find evidence supporting the above mentioned statement. For instance, Lebanon’s Al-Mayadin has recently shed light on the tactics of hybrid warfare that the UK keeps waging against Russia. In fact, London has been spending millions of pounds to stir anti-Russian sentiments across the world under the guise of supporting the so-called Integrity Initiative. This fact was revealed by the hackers of the Anonymous movement that stole documents revealing the rationale behind this latest money drain.

To be specific, it was revealed that the so-called Integrity Initiative project was founded in the UK in 2015 with the goal of interfering in the internal affairs of various European countries. The masterminds behind this project wanted to undermine any attempts that EU states could take at seeking rapprochement with such countries as Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela. The documents leaked by Anonymous hackers indicate that Britain’s foreign office would launch British subversive activities in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Norway, Serbia and Montenegro. For instance, it turned out that the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung operating in Germany was among the beneficiaries of the Integrity Initiative, which in turn is accused of sponsoring the fascist coup d’etat in Ukraine.

It curious enough that the Integrity Initiative was founded by a man called Christopher Nigel Donnelly who occupies the position of the co-director at the Institute for Statecraft. Back in the 90s this figure was employed at the position of Special Adviser for Central and Eastern European Affairs to the Secretary General of NATO and he carries on receiving paychecks from the British government every month. Donnelly’s affiliates are known for conducting seminar on the Orthodox church as a weapon of war and the practical implementation of the ideas that those people advance in their sermons is the recent provocation in Ukraine that resulted in a split within the Orthodox church.

However, splitting religious communities is hardly the only tool London would use in its subversive activities. In fact it would use the tactics of alleged leaks to stir anti-Russian sentiments across the EU. It would present its propaganda messages in a form of a document that was allegedly leaked by some government body. Due to the fact that those alleged leaks are being publicized by media sources with London taking no official position on those, when a representative of the government body that was described as the source of the leakage would come forth to rebuke those lies, nobody would believe him or her anyway.

It’s curious that the now broke Britain would pay generous benefits to any state willing to support the anti-Russian hysteria it has been stirring for decades. This notion is confirmed by the British media sources that are telling us that Ukraine received 700 million pounds for its determination to “resist Russia”. In turn, Warsaw’s willingness to support Britain’s anti-Russian sentiments resulted in Poland receiving over 5 million pounds each year!

One can only imagine the benefits that the former British Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson received for stating in an interview with the Telegraph that Russia was about to kill thousands upon thousands of British civilians in the course of the imminent military aggression that would aim at the destruction of UK’s infrastructure and power supply lines.

One can remember how the British media would go on for month about the alleged “use of misinformation” by foreign players, namely Russia, in its alleged attempts to interfere with the democratic processes of the United Kingdom. However, last October London would reveal that it had no evidence to support such claims.

Yet, this fact didn’t make British propagandists from the BBC and the Times any wiser as they proceeded with spreading fake reports about Russia’s alleged involvement in the staging of the ongoing protests in France. However, France’s Journal du Dimanche would reveal that upon studying those claims and conducting an investigation French intelligence agencies found no trace of Russia’s involvement in the yellow vests movement. This resulted in the BBC confessing to the fact that its provocative accusations against Russia had nothing to do with reality whatsoever. Moreover, British journalists revealed that they were demanded to implicate Russia in the staging of such protests by their superiors.

However, the BBC is not the only offender here, as Reuters would run a provocative article about Venezuela circumventing US sanctions by spending the money received from oil trade through Russia in mid-April. Mere days later under the pressure of irrefutable evidence Reuters was forced to take down this article and acknowledge its false pretext, while recognizing the fact Moscow did nothing to undermine the existing sanctions regime.

It goes without saying that for someone to put his name under fake reports this person must have his or her principles and integrity shattered in one way or another. This notion can be exemplified by the confession made by the Financial Times journalist Joel Lewin, who revealed that he was engaged in shop lifting during his employment in this media source, adding that he would often get high on crack while performing his duties.

According to Bloomberg there’s a visible fatigue from “Anglo-Saxon lecturing” to be observed all across the globe, which is a sign that the English-speaking world is losing intellectual legitimacy. So British propagandists would be better off getting their facts straight while they still have some readers to fool.

Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” 

Russians Have Meddled in 36 Elections. The US Has Meddled in 81.

Truthout - Tue, 2019-05-21 22:41

In this country, reactions to the Mueller report have been all-American beyond belief. Let’s face it, when it comes to election meddling, it’s been me, me, me, 24/7 here. Yes, in some fashion some set of Russians meddled in the last election campaign, whether it was, as Jared Kushner improbably claimed, “a couple of Facebook ads” or, as the Mueller report described it, “the Russian government interfer[ing]… in sweeping and systematic fashion.”

But let me mention just a few of the things that we didn’t learn from the Mueller report. We didn’t learn that Russian agents appeared at Republican Party headquarters in 2016 with millions of dollars in donations to influence the coming election. (Oops, my mistake! That was CIA agents in the Italian election of 1948!) We didn’t learn that a Russian intelligence agency in combination with Chinese intelligence, aided by a major Chinese oil company, overthrew an elected U.S. president and installed Donald Trump in the White House as their autocrat of choice. (Oops, my mistake again! That was the CIA, dispatched by an American president, and British intelligence, with the help of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, later BP. In 1953, they overthrew Mohammad Mossadegh, the elected prime minister of Iran, and installed the young Shah as an autocratic ruler, the very first — but hardly the last — time the CIA successfully ousted a foreign government.) We didn’t learn that key advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin were in close touch with rogue elements of the U.S. military preparing to stage a coup d’état in Washington, kill President Barack Obama in a direct assault on the White House, and put the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in office. (Sorry, again my slip-up and full apologies! That was President Richard Nixon’s adviser Henry Kissinger in contact with Chilean military officers who, on September 11, 1973 — the first 9/11 — staged an armed uprising during which Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of that country, died and army commander-in-chief Augusto Pinochet took power.) We didn’t learn that, at the behest of Vladimir Putin, Russian secret service agents engaged in a series of plots to poison or in some other fashion assassinate Barack Obama during his presidency and, in the end, had at least a modest hand in encouraging those who did kill him after he left office. (Oh, wait, I was confused on that one, too. I was actually thinking about the plots, as the 1960s began, to do in Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.) Nor, for that matter, did we learn that the Russian military launched a regime-change-style invasion of this country to unseat an American president and get rid of our weapons of mass destruction and then occupied the country for years after installing Donald Trump in power. (Sorry one more time! What I actually had in mind before I got so muddled up was the decision of the top officials of President George W. Bush’s administration, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, to launch a “regime-change” invasion of Iraq in 2003, based on fraudulent claims that Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, and install a government of their choice in Baghdad.)

No, none of that happened here. Still, even though most Americans might find it hard to believe, we weren’t exactly the first country to have an election meddled with by an intrusive foreign power with an agenda all its own! And really, my examples above just begin an endless list of events the Mueller report didn’t mention, ones that most Americans no longer know anything about or we wouldn’t have acted as if the Russian election intervention of 2016 stood essentially alone in history.

I don’t, however, want that to sound like blame. After all, if you lived in the United States in these years and didn’t already know the secret history of American intervention and regime change across the globe from the end of World War II to the collapse of the Soviet Union, you could be forgiven for thinking that never had anyone done anything quite so dastardly as did the Putin regime in attempting to hack and alter the results of an American election. In the media, that Russian intervention has (with the rarest of exceptions) been covered as if it were an event unique in history. Admittedly, whatever the Russians did do in 2016 to lend a hand to Donald Trump, they didn’t plan a coup d’état; it wasn’t an assassination attempt; and it wasn’t, in the normal sense, what has come to be known as “regime change.”

A World of Chaos Without End

Let’s start with one thing that should have been (but wasn’t) obvious since the first reports on Russian meddling in the election campaign of 2016 began to appear. Historically speaking, such a plan fits well with a classic Russian tradition. As scholar Dov Levin discovered in studying “partisan election interventions” from 1946 to 2000, the Russians — the Soviet Union until 1991 — engaged in a staggering 36 of them globally.

If, however, you jumped to the conclusion that such an impressive cumulative figure gave the Russians the world’s record for election meddling, think again. In fact, it left them languishing in a distant second place when it came to interfering in other countries’ elections over more than four decades. The United States took the crown with, by Levin’s count, a distinctly imperial 81 interventions! (USA! USA!)

Put another way, the two Cold War superpowers together meddled in approximately “one of every nine competitive elections” in that era in at least 60 countries covering every part of the planet but Oceania. Moreover, only seven of them were in the same election in the same country at the same time.

And elections are but one part of a story of meddling on a scale that has been historically remarkable. In her book Covert Regime Change, Lindsey O’Rourke notes that between 1947 and 1989, a span of nine Cold War-era American administrations, the least number of “U.S.-backed regime-change attempts” per president was three (Gerald Ford’s administration), the most 30 (Dwight D. Eisenhower’s). Harry Truman’s administration came in second with 21, Lyndon Johnson’s third with 19, Ronald Reagan’s fourth with 16, John F. Kennedy’s fifth with 15, and Richard Nixon’s sixth with 10.

And keep in mind that, while such numbers remain unprecedented, despite a number of short-term successes from Iran to Guatemala, this was not generally a notable record of success in remaking the world in the image Washington desired. Many of those regime-change attempts, especially against countries in the Soviet bloc, failed dismally. Others created chaos or regimes that not only did their citizens little good but didn’t end up doing much for Washington either. Still, that didn’t stop one administration after another from trying, which is why the numbers remain mind-boggling.

And then the Soviet Union imploded and there was but a “sole” superpower left on Planet Earth. Its leaders had no doubt that its ultimate moment had come and it was to be no less than “the end of history”! The planet was obviously Washington’s for the taking. No more need for subterfuge, subtle election meddling, secret support for dissidents, or even covert regime change, not when the only opposition to an American planet was a few weak “rogue states” (think: the “axis of evil,” also known as Iran, Iraq, and North Korea), a desperately weakened and impoverished but still nuclear-armed Russia, and a modestly rising future power in Asia.

And then, of course, came 9/11, that staggering act of blowback — in part from one of the great “successes” of CIA covert action in the Cold War, the decisive defeat of the Red Army in Afghanistan thanks to the funding and arming of a set of extremist Islamist militants, a war in which a young Saudi named Osama bin Laden gained a certain modest reputation. On that day in 2001, the last superpower, the one exceptional nation, became the planet’s greatest victim and all hell was let loose (just as bin Laden hoped it would be).

In response, in a world without other superpowers, the country with, as one president proudly put it, “the finest fighting force that the world has ever known” no longer needed to meddle secretly (or at least in a fashion that allowed for “plausible deniability”). With the invasion of Afghanistan that October, open regime change became the order of the day. Iraq would come in 2003, Libya in 2011. The U.S. Air Force and the CIA’s drones would bomb and missile at least seven countries across the Greater Middle East and North Africa repeatedly in the years to come, helping reduce great cities to rubble, uprooting and displacing massive numbers of people, creating failed states galore, and setting in motion forces that, from Pakistan to Syria, Yemen to Niger, would in turn unsettle a significant part of the planet.

And, of course, it would all prove to be a militarized failure of the first order. And yet, with a potential new conflict ramping up in Iran and the U.S. still fighting in Afghanistan almost 18 years later, America’s wars show little sign of winding down. Only recently, for instance, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff assured a group of senators that the American military would “need to maintain a counterterrorism presence as long as an insurgency continues in Afghanistan,” which should be considered the very definition of a forever war. Think of it as a world of chaos without end and now consider again that Russian meddling in an American election.

Exceptional Meddling

By the way, whatever the Russians did in 2016 (or may do in the future to American or other elections) is deplorable and should be denounced, no matter how slapdash it might have been. After all, as Dov Levin discovered, it doesn’t necessarily take much to affect the result of an election in another country. Here’s his conclusion for election meddling in the Cold War era:

“I find that an electoral intervention in favor of one of the sides contesting [an] election has a statistically significant effect, increasing its vote share by about 3%. Such an effect can have major ‘real life’ implications. For example, such a swing in the vote share from the winner to the loser in the 14 U.S. presidential elections occurring since 1960 would have been sufficient to change the identity of the winner in seven of these elections.”

As we all know, a 3% shift in the 2016 election in several states would have made a staggering difference. After all, as the Washington Post reported, in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by “0.2, 0.7, and 0.8 percentage points, respectively — and by 10,704, 46,765, and 22,177 votes. Those three wins gave him 46 electoral votes; if Clinton had done one point better in each state, she’d have won the electoral vote, too.”

So the issue isn’t faintly whether Russian electoral meddling was despicable or not. The issue is that it’s been covered here, like so much else has in this century, as yet another case of American exceptionalism (but never narcissism). As on 9/11 — forget that first 9/11 in Chile — we eternally stand alone in our experiences because, by definition, we are the special ones, the ones who matter.

In the case of election meddling, however, this country just joined a moiling crowd of the interfered with — and largely by us. It was a classic case of getting a taste of one’s own medicine and not liking it one bit. It should have taught us a lesson about our own global behavior since World War II. Instead, it’s simply continued us on a path of exceptional meddling that will prove someday to have been one of the great follies in history.

Don McGahn Defies Subpoena for Testimony, Faces Contempt Vote

Truthdig - Tue, 2019-05-21 22:38

WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler gaveled open a Trump-Russia hearing Tuesday with an empty witness chair and a stern warning that former White House Counsel Don McGahn will be held in contempt for failing to appear in defiance of the committee’s subpoena.

“Our subpoenas are not optional,” Nadler said. The panel will hear from McGahn “one way or another,” he said. “This committee will have no choice but to enforce the subpoena against him.”

Democrats are facing yet another attempt by President Donald Trump to stonewall their investigations. This time they’re blocked from hearing from McGahn — a chief eyewitness to the president’s handling of the federal Russia investigation — on orders from the White House.

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Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, spoke scornfully of Nadler’s position, calling the session a “circus” and saying the chairman preferred a public “fight over fact-finding.”

Democrats are “trying desperately to make something out of nothing,” Collins said, in the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings in the Russia probe.

The committee voted to adjourn the hearing immediately after Collins’ remarks.

A lawyer for McGahn had said he would follow the president’s directive and skip Tuesday’s hearing, leaving the Democrats without yet another witness — and a growing debate within the party about how to respond.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, backed by Nadler, is taking a step-by-step approach to the confrontations with Trump. Nadler said the committee would vote to hold McGahn in contempt, and take the issue to court.

“We will not allow the president to stop this investigation,” the chairman said. A contempt vote is not expected until June, as lawmakers are scheduled to leave town for a weeklong recess.

Democrats are encouraged by an early success on that route as a federal judge ruled against Trump on Monday in a financial records dispute with Congress. Trump’s team filed notice Tuesday that they would appeal.

But Pelosi’s strategy hasn’t been swift enough for some members of the Judiciary panel who feel Democrats should be more aggressive and launch a formal impeachment inquiry as they try to get information from the administration. Impeachment hearings would give Democrats more standing in court and could stop short of a vote to remove the president.

The issue was raised in a meeting among top Democrats Monday evening, where some members confronted Pelosi about it, according to three people familiar with the private conversation who requested anonymity to discuss it.

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin made the case that launching an impeachment inquiry would consolidate the Trump investigations and allow Democrats to keep more focus on their other legislative work, according to the people.

Pelosi pushed back, noting that several committees are doing investigations already and they have already been successful in one court case. But some members, several of whom have spoken publicly about a need to be more aggressive with Trump, are increasingly impatient. Other Democrats in the meeting siding with Raskin included Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, California Rep. Ted Lieu and freshman Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse.

Just before the start of Monday’s meeting, Cicilline tweeted: “If Don McGahn does not testify tomorrow, it will be time to begin an impeachment inquiry of @realDonaldTrump.”

In the hours after the discussion, Pelosi and Nadler met privately. Shortly afterward, Nadler said “it’s possible” when asked about impeachment hearings.

“The president’s continuing lawless conduct is making it harder and harder to rule out impeachment or any other enforcement action,” Nadler said.

McGahn’s refusal to testify is the latest of several moves to block Democratic investigations by Trump, who has said his administration will fight “all of the subpoenas.” The Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt earlier this month after he declined to provide an unredacted version of special counsel Mueller’s report. And the House intelligence committee is expected to vote on a separate “enforcement action” against the Justice Department this week after Barr declined a similar request from that panel.

McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, said in a letter to Nadler that McGahn is “conscious of the duties he, as an attorney, owes to his former client” and would decline to appear Tuesday.

Still, Burck encouraged the committee to negotiate a compromise with the White House, saying that his client “again finds himself facing contradictory instructions from two co-equal branches of government.”

McGahn was a key figure in Mueller’s investigation, describing ways in which the president sought to curtail that federal probe. Democrats have hoped to question him as a way to focus attention on Mueller’s findings and further investigate whether Trump did obstruct justice.

If McGahn were to defy Trump and testify before Congress, it could endanger his own career in Republican politics and put his law firm, Jones Day, in the president’s crosshairs. Trump has mused about instructing Republicans to cease dealing with the firm, which is deeply intertwined in Washington with the GOP, according to one White House official and a Republican close to the White House not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

Administration officials mulled various legal options before settling on providing McGahn with a legal opinion from the Department of Justice to justify defying the subpoena.

“The immunity of the President’s immediate advisers from compelled congressional testimony on matters related to their official responsibilities has long been recognized and arises from the fundamental workings of the separation of powers,” the department’s opinion reads.

A federal judge rejected a similar argument in 2008 in a dispute over a subpoena for Harriet Miers, who was White House counsel to George W. Bush. U.S. District Judge John Bates said it was an unprecedented notion that a White House official would be absolutely immune from being compelled to testify before Congress. Miers had to show up for her testimony, but still had the right to assert executive privilege in response to any specific questions posed by legislators, said the judge.

But in 2014, under the Obama administration, the Justice Department issued an opinion arguing that if Congress could force the president’s closest advisers to testify about matters that happened during their tenure, it would “threaten executive branch confidentiality, which is necessary (among other things) to ensure that the President can obtain the type of sound and candid advice that is essential to the effective discharge of his constitutional duties.”

___

Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo, Jonathan Lemire, Eric Tucker and Mark Sherman contributed to this report.

Saudi Arabia informed of advance of attacks in Sri Lanka

Voltaire dotnet - Tue, 2019-05-21 22:31
Sri Lankan police have arrested a Wahhabi preacher, Mohamed Aliyar, director of the Islamic Guidance Center in Kattankudy, a Muslim-dominated Eastern city. He would be related to Zahran Hashim, the leader of the operation led by Daesh at Easter, which claimed the lives of nearly 270 people and injured more than 500. The Islamic Guidance Center, which was attended by the local Daesh leader, is funded by donations from Mohamed Aliyar's Islamic classmates in Riyadh. The Hezbollah-based (...)

“Take Action Tuesday” Encourages Americans to Call Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. with Questions to Ask the FCC on 5G and RF Exposure Guidelines

Activist Post - Tue, 2019-05-21 22:14

By B.N. Frank

Thanks to Americans for Responsible Technology for organizing “Take Action Tuesday”.

This week’s action involves reaching out to Congressman Frank Pallone Jr.

Americans for Responsible Technology

TAKE ACTION TUESDAY: Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. is Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which oversees the FCC. We’re asking Chairman Pallone to get answers to these questions (below) before more wireless radiation transmitters are installed in our communities!

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Why hasn’t the FCC updated its radio-frequency microwave radiation (a.k.a. wireless radiation) human exposure guidelines in more than 23 years?

Why are those guidelines only based on thermal exposures, …and not biological harm, as has been demonstrated in hundreds of recent studies?

Why is the FCC pushing the rollout of 5G infrastructure without any scientific evidence that the technology is safe?

Activist Post has being covering the increasing American and worldwide opposition to the widespread installation of 5G technology and other sources of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR).  There’s a lot of misinformation out there.  However, people from all walks of life are fighting to correct this and affect change.  Please see our archives for more details.

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Categories: News for progressives

Throwing milkshakes ‘spreads hate’, complain hateful people

Canary, The Other - Tue, 2019-05-21 22:14

Do you know what’s fine according to much of our press? Rampant Islamophobia. Do you know what’s not fine? Tossing a chilled milk drink at someone who promotes such bigotry:

This raises a question. Can you truly call yourself a tolerant person if you don’t stand by and allow the hateful hard right to slowly seize power and crush their enemies? After all, it’s not like there are any – shall we say – cautionary tales from history in which the slow creep of intolerance went massively awry.

Lactose intolerant

Centrists are fond of the quote:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Leftists usually lean towards:

We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.

Proto-fascists tend to just say whatever appeals to their supporters – using the establishment’s feebleness against itself to break into the mainstream and get a platform for their hateful ideology.

This is how figures like Nigel Farage have made themselves ‘mainstream’ in the eyes of establishment journalists and politicians. There wasn’t a referendum on it. That’s why people are having small referendums of their own. As one protester explained:

If Tommy Robinson is a serious politician, then how come he’s covered in milkshake?

Milking it

If you’re one of the centrists who are still incredibly worried about people getting milkshaked, there’s something you can do. Just imagine that the milkshake is Tony Blair, and the hate-prick getting splatted is a million Iraqis.

Is that morally acceptable to you now?

If you’re a member of the hard right complaining, well, you would, wouldn’t you? But we all know you’ve got a lot worse than milkshakes in mind for the people you’re rallying hatred against.

When you argue that fascists should be defeated through debate what you're actually suggesting is that vulnerable minorities should have to endlessly argue for their right to exist and that at no point should the debate be considered over and won.

— Michael J Dolan (@michaelxdolan) May 20, 2019

Featured image via pixabay

By John Shafthauer

Texting While Walking May Soon Be Fineable in New York. Similar U.S. Legislation Passed Elsewhere Already. Will It Be Enough to Deter Screen Addicts?

Activist Post - Tue, 2019-05-21 22:13

By B.N. Frank

Research from the Mayo Clinic determined that texting on smartphones triggers a new type of brain rhythm. “Digital Addiction” or “Screen Addiction” has been validated by many credible sources as a serious medical condition despite the fact that some are still actively promoting heavy screen use as normal, productive and sometimes even cool.

Texting and walking is a safety concern and not just for those who are doing it.  But will legislation and fines be enough to stop addicts?  Or should there be more efforts to discourage heavy screen use in children and adults whether they are walking in public places or not?

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From USA Today

ALBANY, N.Y. – You probably shouldn’t walk across a street and look at your phone at the same time. Now New York might make it illegal.

A bill sponsored by Democrats who control the state Legislature would allow police to issue a ticket between $25 to $50 for a first offense of getting caught texting while walking — unless you can prove it was an emergency.

The law would be simple enough, the bill states: “No pedestrian shall cross a roadway at any point while using any portable electronic device.”

The bill was first introduced last year by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, but it picked up majority support in the Senate earlier this month from Sen. John Liu, D-Queens.

“It has been proven that distraction from texting while walking can cause pedestrians to cross roads very unsafely,” the bill said.

“Not only can trips and falls occur, but even getting hit is more than just a possibility.”

The bill cited various statistics from safety studies, including the National Safety Council  that point to the dangers of distracted walking when using a mobile phone.

The group said that teenagers are now more likely to get hit by a car than younger people because they can be distracted by walking across the street and looking at a phone.

“The National Safety Council is focused on efforts to eliminate distracted walking – specifically walking while using a mobile device,” the group said on its website. “Kids often don’t recognize the dangers of distracted walking.”

Honolulu made it illegal to walk across the street while looking at a phone, as did the city of Montclair, California. Neighboring states Connecticut and New Jersey have also introduced legislation to have statewide bans.



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Image credit: Pixabay

Categories: News for progressives

Polarity, Yes … Matter? Not So Sure

Activist Post - Tue, 2019-05-21 22:12

By Peter Tocci

Most people know something about polarity—North Pole/South Pole; putting the phone battery in the right way—opposing aspects of one thing. Less people may have considered what Einstein said concerning matter: “Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

What follows is a theory about the nature of existence, including the nature of human being. It differs from religious and scientific views with the confession that ultimately it’s a great mystery. It will never be totally fathomed mentally, even though there are ideas and concepts that have been and can be expressed about it.

The best we may be able to do is develop/nurture a human capacity given little respect by science and virtually ignored in guiding society’s development(s): Intuition/Wisdom.

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One thing that seems deplorable in any case, however, is routinely taking things for granted. How many people marvel, even occasionally, about the miracle of just being able to blink or wiggle a little finger? Little fish clean the rhinoceros standing under water—and his teeth. This amazes me (glad it’s not my job, though

Categories: News for progressives

Fed Encourages Runaway Debt as “Minsky Moment” Approaches

Activist Post - Tue, 2019-05-21 22:09

By Clint Siegner

Federal Reserve officials like to pretend they can use interest rates like a motorcycle throttle on the U.S. economy. They can either rev things up by dropping interest rates or slow things down by moving rates higher.

The public has been led to believe the central planners can do whatever is needed with rates to keep things purring along.

The truth is the central planners at the Fed are meddling with forces beyond their control. They are encouraging consumers, companies, and government to take on debt. Soon, the nation will choke on it.

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The U.S. government is once again running trillion-dollar annual deficits. That’s enough to terrify anyone who believes in balanced budgets and limited government.

However, in just a few years, virtually all of what the federal government borrows will be needed just to make interest payments on existing debt. ZeroHedge refers to this as the “Minsky moment.”

If politicians want to continue spending money they don’t have on other programs (and you can bet they will), a lot more will need to be borrowed on top of what is needed to pay interest on the debt.

Fed officials will utterly fail at stopping the expansion of the debt bubble by moving interest rates higher. Their feeble attempt at hiking rates ended rather quickly when the equity markets began tanking late last year, and political pressure from President Donald Trump mounted.

The central bank’s control over the economy is an illusion. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and the other wizards there won’t be fine tuning economic growth by adjusting the cost of money up and down.

They can push short-term rates around directly and try to indirectly control long-term rates through bond purchases. Even that amount of control could be stripped from them when the market asserts itself.

The truth is that risk associated with lending money to the insolvent U.S. government has been way underpriced for years. This will eventually dawn on Treasury buyers.

Giving a long-term loan at 2-3% interest to such an organization as insolvent as the federal government is a risky bet.

Perhaps the realization will strike when deficits double or triple again in the not-too-distant future. Maybe it will be when foreign buyers, such as the Chinese, decide they have had enough.

The latter could happen a lot sooner than the market expects.

The Chinese have pointedly said they may dump Treasuries in retaliation for increased tariffs.

When legitimate buyers of U.S. debt at artificially low rates vanish, the Fed is likely to step back in as the buyer of last resort. The central bank got away with that once before. The debt monetization program was called Quantitative Easing.

Will officials be able to pull it off again – on an even larger scale?

The Fed needs confidence at very high levels to support interest rates at these historically low levels. It will be difficult to maintain confidence as the debt levels continue accelerating up the exponential curve.

The day is coming when those with capital to lend will demand a much higher interest rate than Jerome Powell wants them to get. That is when interest rates will rise, and it won’t matter too much what the central planners at the Fed think about it.

Clint Siegner is a Director at Money Metals Exchange, a precious metals dealer recently named “Best in the USA” by an independent global ratings group. A graduate of Linfield College in Oregon, Siegner puts his experience in business management along with his passion for personal liberty, limited government, and honest money into the development of Money Metals’ brand and reach. This includes writing extensively on the bullion markets and their intersection with policy and world affairs.

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Categories: News for progressives

Green Party support grows as alarms sound on climate crisis

Rabble News - Tue, 2019-05-21 21:59
EnvironmentPolitics in Canada

What do Ireland, the British Parliament, and Ottawa and Vancouver city councils have in common? All voted in 2019 to declare a climate emergency.

Following the Green Party win in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection, both the NDP and the Liberals proposed climate-change emergency resolutions for debate in the House of Commons.

On May 16, the day the motions were being debated, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May presented "Mission Possible," a 20-point green action plan.

The first point calls climate the greatest security threat the world has ever seen.

For the Greens, climate is no longer just an environmental issue -- it requires putting Canada on a war-like footing, directed by a multi-party inner cabinet, on the model Winston Churchill employed during the Second World War to combat fascism.

Since its inception in 1983 the Green Party of Canada has not attracted enough voter support to be seen as a big threat by other political parties. But recently announced voting intentions for the Greens at 12 per cent now have other parties paying attention.

The Green Party has been gaining political representation: in P.E.I., where it now forms the Official Opposition, and in New Brunswick, where it has party status. Green Party leaders have won seats in Ottawa and in four provinces, and hold the balance of power in B.C.

With 17 elected Green Party members at the provincial and federal levels, the Greens look to be competitive in a number of federal ridings across Canada in the October 21 election.

The first-past-the-post electoral systems used in Canada have worked against the Green Party. A vote for a small party is often considered a wasted vote because it means not defeating a troublesome government or boosting a more likely winner.

When feelings run strong against a ruling party, supporting a fourth party amounts to being complicit with those wielding power.

However, a vote for a third or fourth party is also an opportunity to send a message to parliamentarians and the public.

In a minority government situation, with a multi-party parliament, a small party can be the linchpin in a coalition or influence the legislative and spending agenda, and can even determine which party forms government. 

Leader Elizabeth May told the Huffington Post's Althia Raj that given his position on the climate, Andrew Scheer is "unfit to govern."

May asserted that her party is ready to join with other parties to help the Liberal Party form a government, if Justin Trudeau finds himself with fewer seats than the Conservatives in a minority parliament after the next election.

In a hyper-partisan political world, where anger and invective work to undermine trust in political parties and attention to public debate, the federal Green Party offers a detailed program of action -- Vision Green -- based on serious research and reflection.

The ecological crisis is a result of the way we produce goods and services and exploit natural resources. This has propelled political forces of the left to identify capitalism as the driving force behind environmental crisis and climate change.

Since the Green Party of Canada does not denounce capitalism or capitalist imperialism, the political left has largely ignored the Greens or heaped disdain on their efforts.

Outside Parliament, environmental activism has a history of building successful citizen action groups and acting through NGOs.

The nonviolent resistance group Extinction Rebellion was established in Britain in May 2018 and already has considerable public support. It believes no political party has the will to fight against ecological collapse and calls on activists to organize on a local basis to prevent climate breakdown and species extinction. 

The 20-point Green Party action plan ranges from buying water bombers to fight forest fires instead of F-35 stealth bombers for their first-strike capacity, to banning fracking and restoring carbon sinks.

The Liberals are increasingly going to be called upon to deliver on green projects as city councils, regional jurisdictions, and civil society groups initiate their own climate emergency calls.

The Green Party 20-point plan calls for an "all-hands-on-deck" approach to the climate emergency. Recognizing that Canada has one of the worst records on Earth for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Greens assert "we can still be the global leaders we must be."

Duncan Cameron is president emeritus of rabble.ca and writes a weekly column on politics and current affairs.

Photo: Bob Jonkman/Flickr

Help make rabble sustainable. Please consider supporting our work with a monthly donation. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Climate Changegreen party2019 federal electionDuncan CameronMay 21, 2019Politics in Canada is never easy -- and it is about to get seriousCanadian politics is about to get serious for those contesting the 2019 federal election. Very soon, the Canadian public is going to tune into what choices they face at the polling station.The big battle over climate change is just startingAs the Conservatives attack the carbon tax, while the NDP and Greens say the Liberals should do more, the war for public opinion is now fully engaged -- and that opinion seems to be deeply divided.Stop fiddling while the planet burnsSome federal and provincial political leaders continue to downplay or deny the reality and severity of climate disruption, loudly opposing proven measures to address it.

Talk Nation Radio: Danny Haiphong on American Exceptionalism and Innocence

Washington's Blog - Tue, 2019-05-21 21:34

Danny Haiphong is an activist, journalist, and scholar. For the last five years, Haiphong has been a weekly contributor to Black Agenda Report. His articles have also appeared in The American Herald Tribune, MintPressNews, and CounterPunch. His work was featured in former Congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney’s latest book How the U.S. Creates Sh*thole Countries (2018). Haiphong recently co-authored the book American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News-from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror.

Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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