The news that President-elect Donald Trump called in disgraced retired Gen. David Petraeus for a job interview as possible Secretary of State tests whether Trump's experience in hosting "The Celebrity Apprentice" honed his skills for spotting an incompetent phony or not.
Does Trump need more data than the continuing bedlam in Iraq and Afghanistan to understand that one can earn a Princeton PhD by writing erudite-sounding drivel about "counterinsurgency" and still flunk war? Granted, the shambles in which Petraeus left Iraq and Afghanistan were probably more a result of his overweening careerism and political ambition than his misapplication of military strategy. But does that make it any more excusable?
In 2007, Adm. William Fallon, commander of CENTCOM with four decades of active-duty experience behind him, quickly took the measure of Petraeus, who was one of his subordinates while implementing a "surge" of over 30,000 US troops into Iraq.
Several sources reported that Fallon was sickened by Petraeus's unctuous pandering to ingratiate himself. Fallon is said to have been so turned off by all the accolades in the flowery introduction given him by Petraeus that he called him to his face "an ass-kissing little chickenshit," adding, "I hate people like that." Sadly, Petraeus's sycophancy is not uncommon among general officers. Uncommon was Fallon's outspoken candor.
The past decade has shown that obsequiousness to those above him and callousness toward others are two of Petraeus's most notable character traits. They go along with his lack of military acumen and his dishonesty as revealed in his lying to the FBI about handing over top-secret notebooks to his biographer/lover, an "indiscretion" that would have landed a less well-connected person in jail but instead got him only a mild slap on the wrist (via a misdemeanor guilty plea).
Indeed, Petraeus, the epitome of a "political general," represents some of the slimiest depths of the Washington "swamp" that President-elect Trump has vowed to drain. Petraeus cares desperately about the feelings of his fellow elites but shows shocking disdain for the suffering of other human beings who are not so important.
In early 2011 in Afghanistan, Petraeus shocked aides to then-President Hamid Karzai after many children were burned to death in a "coalition" attack in northeastern Afghanistan by suggesting that Afghan parents may have burned their own children to exaggerate their claims of civilian casualties and discredit the US, reported The Washington Post, citing two participants at the meeting.
"Killing 60 people, and then blaming the killing on those same people, rather than apologizing for any deaths? This is inhuman," one Afghan official said. "This is a really terrible situation."
Yet, on other occasions, the politically savvy Petraeus can be a paragon of sensitivity -- like when he is in danger of getting crosswise with the Israel Lobby.
Never did Petraeus's fawning shine through with more brilliance, than when an (unintentionally disclosed) email exchange showed him groveling before arch-neocon Max Boot, beseeching Boot's help in fending off charges that Petraeus was "anti-Israel" because his prepared testimony to a congressional committee included the no-brainer observations that Israeli-Palestinian hostility presents "distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests" and that "this conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of US favoritism for Israel. … Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support."
So, telling the truth (perhaps accidentally in prepared testimony) made Petraeus squirm with fear about offending the powerful Israel Lobby, but he apparently didn't hesitate to lie to FBI agents when he was caught in a tight spot for sharing highly sensitive intelligence with Paula Broadwell, his mistress/biographer. But, again, Petraeus realized that it helps to have influential friends. A court gave him a slap on the wrist with a sentence of two years probation and a fine of $100,000 -- which is less than he usually makes for a single speaking engagement.
Military Incompetent Without Parallel
And, if President-elect Trump isn't repulsed by the stench of hypocrisy -- if he ignores Petraeus's reckless handling of classified material after Trump lambasted Hillary Clinton for her own careless behavior in that regard -- there is also the grim truth behind Petraeus's glitzy image.
As a military strategist or even a trainer of troops, Petraeus has been an unparalleled disaster. Yes, the corporate media always runs interference for Official Washington's favorite general. But that does not equate with genuine success.
The Iraq "surge," which Petraeus oversaw, was misrepresented in the corporate media as a huge victory -- because it was credited with a brief dip in the level of violence at the cost of some 1,000 American lives (and those of many more Iraqis) -- but the "surge" failed its principal goal of buying time to heal the rift between Shiites and Sunnis, a division that ultimately led to the emergence of the Islamic State (or ISIS).
Then, in early 2014, the crackerjack Iraqi troops whom Petraeus bragged about training ran away from Mosul, leaving their modern US-provided weapons behind for the Islamic State's jihadists to play with.
In part because of that collapse -- with Iraqi forces only now beginning to chip away at ISIS control of Mosul -- the Obama administration was dragged into another Mideast war, spilling across Iraq and Syria and adding to the droves of refugees pouring into Europe, a crisis that is now destabilizing the European Union.
You might have thought that the combination of military failures and scandalous behavior would have ended David Petraeus's "government service," but he has never lost his skill at putting his finger to the wind.
During the presidential campaign, the windsock Petraeus was circumspect, which was understandable given the uncertainty regarding which way the wind was blowing.
However, on Sept. 1, 2015, amid calls from the mainstream US media and establishment think tanks for President Obama to escalate the US proxy war to overthrow the Syrian government, Petraeus spoke out in favor of giving more weapons to "moderate" Syrian rebels, despite the widespread recognition that US-supplied guns and rockets were ending up in the hands of Al Qaeda's Nusra Front.
The new harebrained scheme -- favored by Petraeus and other neocons -- fantasized about Al Qaeda possibly joining the fight against the Islamic State, although ISIS sprang from Al Qaeda and splintered largely over tactical issues, such as how quickly to declare a jihadist state, not over fundamental fundamentalist goals.
But more miscalculations in the Middle East would be right up Petraeus's alley. He played an important role in facilitating the emergence of the Islamic State by his too-clever-by-half policy of co-opting some Sunni tribes with promises of shared power in Baghdad and with lots of money, and then simply looking the other way as the US-installed Shia government in Baghdad ditched the promises.
Surge? Or Splurge With Lives
The so-called "surges" of troops into Iraq and Afghanistan are particularly gross examples of the way American soldiers have been used as expendable pawns by ambitious generals like Petraeus and ambitious politicians like former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The problem is that overweening personal ambition can end up getting a lot of people killed. In the speciously glorified first "surge," President George W. Bush sent more than 30,000 additional troops into Iraq in early 2007. During the period of the "surge," about 1,000 US troops died.
There was a similar American death toll during President Barack Obama's "surge" of another 30,000 troops into Afghanistan in early 2010, a shift toward a counterinsurgency strategy that had been pressed on Obama by Petraeus, Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Despite the loss of those 1,000 additional US soldiers, the counterinsurgency "surge" had little effect on the course of the Afghan War.
The bloody chaos that continues in Iraq today and in the never-ending war in Afghanistan was entirely predictable. Indeed, it was predicted by those of us able to spread some truth around via the Internet, while being blacklisted by the fawning corporate media, which cheered on the "surges" and their chief architect, David Petraeus.
But the truth is not something that thrives in either US politics or media these days. Campaigning early this year in New Hampshire, then-presidential aspirant Jeb Bush gave a short partial-history lesson about his big brother's attack on Iraq. Referring to the so-called Islamic State, Bush said, "ISIS didn't exist when my brother was president. 'Al Qaeda in Iraq' was wiped out … the surge created a fragile but stable Iraq. …"
Jeb Bush is partially right about ISIS; it didn't exist when his brother George attacked Iraq. Indeed, Al Qaeda didn't exist in Iraq until afterthe US invasion when it emerged as "Al Qaeda in Iraq" and it wasn't eliminated by the "surge."
With huge sums of US cash going to Sunni tribes in Anbar province, Al Qaeda in Iraq just pulled back and regrouped. Its top leaders came from the ranks of angry Sunnis who had been officers in Saddam Hussein's army and -- when the "surge" failed to achieve reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites -- the US cash proved useful in expanding Sunni resistance to Baghdad's Shiite government. From the failed "surge" strategy emerged the rebranded "Al Qaeda in Iraq," the Islamic State.
So, despite Jeb Bush's attempted spin, the reality is that his brother's aggressive war in Iraq created both "Al Qaeda in Iraq" and its new incarnation, Islamic State.
The mess was made worse by subsequent US strategy -- beginning under Bush and expanding under President Obama -- of supporting insurgents in Syria. By supplying money, guns and rockets to "moderate" Sunni rebels, that strategy has allowed the materiel to quickly fall into the hands of Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, Nusra Front, and its jihadist allies, Ahrar al-Sham.
In other words, US strategy -- much of it guided by David Petraeus -- continues to strengthen Al Qaeda, which -- through its Nusra affiliate and its Islamic State spin-off -- now occupies large swaths of Iraq and Syria.
Escaping a "Lost War"
All this is among the fateful consequences of the US-led invasion of Iraq 13 years ago -- made worse (not better) by the "surge" in 2007, which contributed significantly to this decade's Sunni-Shia violence. The real reason for Bush's "surge" seems to have been to buy time so that he and Vice President Dick Cheney could leave office without having a lost war on their résumés.
As author Steve Coll has put it, "The decision [to surge] at a minimum guaranteed that his [Bush's] presidency would not end with a defeat in history's eyes. By committing to the surge [the President] was certain to at least achieve a stalemate."
According to Bob Woodward, Bush told key Republicans in late 2005 that he would not withdraw from Iraq, "even if Laura and [first-dog] Barney are the only ones supporting me." Woodward made it clear that Bush was well aware in fall 2006 that the US was losing.
Indeed, by fall 2006, it had become unavoidably clear that a new course had to be chosen and implemented in Iraq, and virtually every sober thinker seemed opposed to sending more troops.
The senior military, especially CENTCOM commander Gen. John Abizaid and his man on the ground in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, emphasized that sending still more US troops to Iraq would simply reassure leading Iraqi politicians that they could relax and continue to take forever to get their act together.
Here, for example, is Gen. Abizaid's answer at the Senate Armed Services Committee on Nov. 15, 2006, to Sen. John McCain, who had long been pressing vigorously for sending 20,000 more troops to Iraq:
"Senator McCain, I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the corps commander, General Dempsey, we all talked together. And I said, 'in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq?' And they all said no.
"And the reason is because we want the Iraqis to do more. It is easy for the Iraqis to rely upon us do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future."
The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, sent a classified cable to Washington warning that "proposals to send more US forces to Iraq would not produce a long-term solution and would make our policy less, not more, sustainable," according to a New York Times retrospective on the "surge" published on Aug. 31, 2008. Khalilzad was arguing, unsuccessfully, for authority to negotiate a political solution with the Iraqis.
There was also the establishment-heavy Iraq Study Group, created by Congress and led by Republican stalwart James Baker and Democrat Lee Hamilton (with Robert Gates as a member although he quit before the review was competed). After months of policy review, the Iraq Study Group issued a final report on Dec. 6, 2006, that began with the ominous sentence "The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating."
It called for: "A change in the primary mission of US Forces in Iraq that will enable the United States to begin to move its combat forces out of Iraq responsibly… By the first quarter of 2008…all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq."
The little-understood story behind Bush's decision to catapult Robert Gates into the post of Defense Secretary was the astonishing fact that Donald Rumsfeld, of all people, was pulling a Robert McNamara; that is, he was going wobbly on a war based largely on his own hubris-laden, misguided advice.
In the fall of 2006 Rumsfeld was having a reality attack. In Rumsfeld-speak, he had come face to face with a "known known."
On Nov. 6, 2006, a day before the mid-term elections, Rumsfeld sent a memo to the White House, in which he acknowledged, "Clearly, what US forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough." The rest of his memo sounded very much like the emerging troop-drawdown conclusions of the Iraq Study Group.
The first 80 percent of Rumsfeld's memo addressed "Illustrative Options," including his preferred -- or "above the line" -- options such as "an accelerated drawdown of US bases … to five by July 2007" and withdrawal of US forces "from vulnerable positions -- cities, patrolling, etc. … so the Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country."
Finally, Rumsfeld had begun to listen to his generals and others who knew which end was up.?The hurdle? Bush and Cheney were not about to follow Rumsfeld's example in "going wobbly." Like Robert McNamara at a similar juncture during Vietnam, Rumsfeld had to be let go before he caused a President to "lose a war."
Waiting in the wings, though, was Robert Gates, who had been CIA director under President George H. W. Bush, spent four years as president of Texas A&M, and had returned to the Washington stage as a member of the Iraq Study Group. While on the ISG, he evidenced no disagreement with its emerging conclusions -- at least not until Bush asked him to become Secretary of Defense in early November 2006.
It was awkward. Right up to the week before the mid-term elections on Nov. 7, 2006, President Bush had insisted that he intended to keep Rumsfeld in place for the next two years. Suddenly, the President had to deal with Rumsfeld's apostasy on Iraq.?Rumsfeld had let reality get to him, together with the very strong anti-surge protestations by all senior uniformed officers save one -- the ambitious David Petraeus, who had jumped onboard for the "surge" escalation, which guaranteed another star on his lapel.
All Hail Petraeus
With the bemedaled Petraeus in the wings and guidance on strategy from arch-neocons, such as retired General Jack Keane and think-tank analyst Frederick Kagan, the White House completed the coup against the generals by replacing Rumsfeld with Gates and recalling Casey and Abizaid and elevating Petraeus.
Amid the mainstream media's hosannas for Petraeus and Gates, the significance of the shakeup was widely misunderstood, with key senators, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, buying the false narrative that the changes presaged a drawdown in the war rather than an escalation.
So relieved were the senators to be rid of the hated-but-feared Rumsfeld that the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Dec. 5, 2006, on Gates's nomination had the feel of a pajama party (I was there). Gates told them bedtime stories -- and vowed to show "great deference to the judgment of generals."
With unanimous Democratic support and only two conservative Republicans opposed, Gates was confirmed by the full Senate on Dec. 6, 2006.
On Jan. 10, 2007, Bush formally unveiled the bait-and-switch, announcing the "surge" of 30,000 additional troops, a mission that would be overseen by Gates and Petraeus. Bush did acknowledge that there would be considerable loss of life in the year ahead as US troops were assigned to create enough stability for Iraq's Shiite and Sunni factions to reach an accommodation.
At least, he got the loss-of-life part right. Around 1,000 US troops died during the "surge" along with many more Iraqis. But Bush, Cheney, Petraeus, and Gates apparently deemed that cost a small price to pay for enabling them to blame a successor administration for the inevitable withdrawal from America's failed war of aggression.
The gambit worked especially well for Gates and Petraeus. Amid glowing mainstream media press clippings about the "successful surge" and "victory at last" in Iraq, Gates was hailed as a new "wise man" and Petraeus was the military genius who pulled victory from the jaws of defeat. Their reputations were such that President Obama concluded that he had no choice but to keep them on, Gates as Defense Secretary and Petraeus as Obama's top general in the Middle East.
Petraeus then oversaw the "surge" in Afghanistan and landed the job of CIA director, where Petraeus reportedly played a major role in arming up the Syrian rebels in pursuit of another "regime change," this time in Syria.
Although Petraeus's CIA tenure ended in disgrace in November 2012 when his dangerous liaison with Paula Broadwell was disclosed, his many allies in Official Washington's powerful neocon community are now pushing him on President-elect Trump as the man to serve as Secretary of State.
Petraeus is known as a master of flattery, something that seemingly can turn Trump's head. But the President-elect should have learned from his days hosting "The Celebrity Apprentice" that the winning contender should not be the one most adept at sucking up to the boss.
(Now, with the whole Middle East in turmoil, I find some relief in this brief parody by comedienne Connie Bryan of Petraeus's performance in training Iraqi troops.)
Gen. James Mattis at his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, July 27, 2010. President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Mattis as his pick for secretary of defense. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / The New York Times)
Trump's choice for secretary of defense is a general who said, "it's fun to shoot some people," but some of his positions on Iran and Israel are a little more nuanced. It's now up to the people to pressure Congress and the White House to pursue peace.
Gen. James Mattis at his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, July 27, 2010. President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Mattis as his pick for secretary of defense. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / The New York Times)
President-elect Donald Trump has selected retired Marine General James Mattis to exercise civilian control over the Department of Defense. Originally known as the Department of War, it was renamed Department of Defense in 1949. But war is precisely what Mattis, known as "Mad Dog," has enthusiastically done throughout his career.
In 2005, Mattis declared, "It's fun to shoot some people." That was one year after he oversaw the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq, which began in April 2004, after four Blackwater Security Consulting mercenaries were killed and their bodies mutilated. In retaliation, US forces attacked the village and killed 736 people. At least 60 percent of them were women and children, according to independent journalist Dahr Jamail, who interviewed doctors at Fallujah General Hospital and at other small clinics inside the city both during and after the April siege.
In November 2004 NBC News correspondent Kevin Sites, embedded with the US Marines, heard Staff Sgt. Sam Mortimer radio that "everything to the west is weapons free." Weapons Free, explained Sites, "means the Marines can shoot whatever they see -- it's all considered hostile." The rules of engagement come from the top, and Mattis was in charge.
Collective punishment against an occupied population constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Yet, according to the Study Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the US attack on Fallujah in November 2004 killed between 4,000 and 6,000 civilians. Targeting civilians is a war crime.
Mattis' enthusiasm for battle may lead us into a war with Iran. A vigorous critic of the nuclear deal with Iran, Mattis said in an April 2016 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the Iranian regime is "the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East." He added, however, "there's no going back" on the deal and it would be an issue for the next president.
CIA Director John Brennan recently warned of the dangers of canceling the Iran deal, saying it would be "disastrous" and "the height of folly." In a BBC interview, Brennan explained that dismantling the deal would set off an arms race in the Middle East and embolden the hard-liners in the Iranian government.
To his credit, Mattis has been clear-eyed about blowback from US policy on Israel. He noted the United States is paying a "security price" in the Middle East because the US is considered biased in favor of Israel, and Israel is in danger of becoming an "apartheid" state.
"I paid a military security price every day as a commander of CENTCOM because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel," Mattis said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado in 2013, adding that this perception undercuts support from "all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, because they can't come out publicly in support of people who don't show respect for the Arab Palestinians."
Mattis criticized Israel for building settlements in the occupied West Bank, saying they "are going to make it impossible to maintain the two-state option." He added that the settlements might weaken Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state and could lead to apartheid.
"If I'm in Jerusalem and I put 500 Jewish settlers out here to the east and there's 10,000 Arab settlers in here, if we draw the border to include them, either it ceases to be a Jewish state or you say the Arabs don't get to vote -- apartheid," Mattis said.
Also to his credit, Mattis opposes torture -- because it doesn't work. During the presidential campaign, Trump pledged to reinstitute waterboarding, saying he would "bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding" because suspected terrorists "deserve it anyway, for what they're doing."
Waterboarding has long been considered torture, which is a war crime. Indeed, after World War II, the United States tried, convicted and hanged Japanese military leaders for waterboarding.
Trump may have changed his mind about torture after conferring with Mattis. Trump told The New York Times that when he asked Mattis what the general thought of waterboarding, Mattis replied, "I've never found it to be useful. I've always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture." Trump said he was "very impressed by that answer. I was surprised, because [Mattis is] known as being like the toughest guy."
Indeed, former high-level FBI interrogators, including Ali Soufan and Dan Coleman, maintain that a person being tortured will say anything to get the torture to stop -- even providing false information. The best results, interrogators add, are obtained with humane methods.
Moreover, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded, "the use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of obtaining accurate information or gaining detainee cooperation."
"If there's any concern at all [about Mattis], it's the principle of civilian control over the military. This role was never intended to be a kind of Joint Chiefs of Staff on steroids, and that's the biggest single risk tied to Mattis," a former senior Pentagon official told The Washington Post. The framers of the Constitution were wary of putting the military in charge of making foreign policy, which explicitly resides in the executive branch; that is, the president as commander-in-chief and his secretary of defense.
Trump has also chosen notorious hawks Michael Flynn for National Security Advisor and Mike Pompeo for CIA Director.
But the president-elect has stated, "We will use military force only in cases of vital necessity to the national security of the United States. We will put an end to attempts of imposing democracy and overthrowing regimes abroad, as well as involving ourselves in situations in which we have no right to intervene."
Let's hope Trump can maintain that position in the face of inevitable militaristic advice from Mattis, Flynn and Pompeo. Trump frequently makes contradictory statements about foreign policy. During the campaign, he insisted that he opposed the Iraq War and Libya regime change, when in fact he supported both. In fact, Trump called for all US troops in the Middle East to overthrow Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi.
It is our challenge to hold Trump's feet to the fire in every way we can -- speaking out, writing, demonstrating, and pressuring Congress and the White House. We cannot relent in demanding peace.
The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in November, almost equal to the pre-recession lows in 2007. However the sharp decline was partly due to people leaving the labor force, the employment-to-population ratio was unchanged at 59.7 percent. It actually fell slightly for prime-age (ages 25-54) workers, from 78.2 percent to 78.1 percent, although it is still 0.7 percentage points above its year ago level.
Most other data in the household survey was positive, most notably a drop of 220,000 in the number of people involuntarily working part-time to a new post-recession low. At the same time, those choosing to work part-time jumped by 327,000. This is likely a dividend of the Affordable Care Act with workers now having the option to get insurance through the exchanges so that they don't need full-time jobs to get insurance through an employer. This number is now up by almost 2.2 million from December 2013, the month before the exchanges came into existence.
Job growth for the month was 178,000, roughly in line with expectations. The average hourly wage reportedly fell 3 cents in November after a sharp jump reported for October. This is likely due to measurement error, but it does undermine the case for accelerating wage growth. Wages have risen by 2.5 percent over the last year. When we factor in the shift from non-wage to wage compensation (mostly a reduction in health care benefits), this means there is essentially no evidence of wage acceleration whatsoever.
While it is difficult to predict what this bevy of racist right appointees will do once they take the White House in January, undocumented people -- or people merely perceived to be undocumented -- have reason to be concerned.
An activist displays a sign at the Mobilization for Immigrant Justice in Chicago, Illinois, on March 10, 2011. (Photo: Sarah-Ji)
"After the election, we've been asking folks to prepare," Armando Carmona, spokesperson for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, told AlterNet over the phone from Los Angeles. "We don't want to get stuck in fear, but we need to be prepared, and be prepared for the worst."
Carmona is one of many organizers across the country reeling from the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, following Trump's campaign of racist incitement against immigrants, refugees, Muslims and the Black Lives Matter movement. Already, Trump has appointed white nationalist Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist. Jeff Sessions, who was determined too racist to serve as a federal judge under the Reagan administration, is Trump's choice for attorney general. Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a war hawk who says he is "open" to torture, is Trump's designate for national security adviser. The anti-immigrant hardliner Kris Kobach is just one of Trump's alarming picks to lead his transition team.
While it is difficult to predict what this bevy of racist right appointees will do once they take the White House in January, undocumented people -- or people merely perceived to be undocumented -- have reason to be concerned. From day one, Trump ran on an anti-immigrant ticket, issuing outrageous statements smearing Mexicans as "rapists" and repeatedly proclaiming he would build a wall along the US-Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it. He claims that, during the first 100 days of his presidency, he will "begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country." That threat follows earlier campaign pledges to build a "deportation force" to expel 11 million people.
Trump also says that, in his first 100 days, he will "suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur" and impose "extreme vetting" on "all people" coming into the United States. In addition, he vows to further criminalize immigrants by imposing a "2-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the US after a previous deportation, and a 5-year mandatory minimum for illegally re-entering for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanor convictions or two or more prior deportations."
Speaking after the election with Leslie Stahl on "60 Minutes," Trump said, "What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate."
This pledge goes far beyond the troubling precedent set by Secure Communities, which was initiated by George W. Bush and expanded by Barack Obama. According to Dara Lind, writing for Vox.com, Trump's policy "would put every unauthorized immigrant in the US under a one in four chance of being separated from family, thrown in jail, or sent back to a country that many of them haven't set foot in for years."
Kevin Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies of New York, told the New York Times that in order to accomplish large-scale deportations, Trump "would have to conduct a sweep, or raids or tactics such as those, to reach the numbers he wants to reach. It would create a police state, in which they would have to be aggressively looking for people."
Maria Poblet, the executive director of the Bay Area-based Causa Justa, said in an interview with AlterNet that these new conditions require re-calibration. "In this political moment, more than any other, the big Washington DC organizations that are oriented toward getting best possible policy out of the White House are not going to have the solutions," she said. "There is a need to face the communities impacted right now, to build the broadest possible front to address attacks on immigrants and lift up our shared humanity."
In interviews with grassroots organizers who work with undocumented people across the country, AlterNet was repeatedly told that the task, now, is not to petition or persuade the Trump government, but to fortify communities on the local level and coordinate resistance nationally, in order to levy the most effective and strategic defense of people at risk. At a time when many are upset, scared and willing to take bold steps to protect their neighbors, communities and families, these organizers are working to develop infrastructure for a nationwide fightback.
Expand the Sanctuary Movement
On November 16, as anti-Trump protests continued to rage nationwide, students at more than 80 high schools and universities across the country staged walkouts, protests and sit-ins to demand that their administrators declare sanctuary campuses for immigrants.
"There was a unified message around students standing up to hate and racism and asking administrators to not share personal information with Department of Homeland Security agencies, to make it clear that ICE is not welcome to campus," Carlos Rojas Rodriguez, an organizer with Movimiento Cosecha, told AlterNet. "Students were demanding protection for maintenance, janitorial and culinary workers who are taking care of students and the administration."
Rodriguez says that among immigrant rights networks, "the idea of sanctuary has been floated as a primary weapon of protection" from Trump's policies. The movement has roots in the 1980s-era sanctuary movement, in which religious congregations transported and housed refugees fleeing violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, often at the hands of US-backed militaries and death squads. According to Puck Lo, writing for the Nation, "At the movement's height, more than 500 congregations nationwide hosted refugees and operated an underground railroad that moved migrants from Mexico to cities all over the United States and as far north as Canada."
In 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced it was directing its forces to avoid enforcement efforts at "sensitive locations" like churches and funerals. Organizers with the new iteration of the sanctuary movement have sought to use this protection to expand safety and shelter for undocumented people targeted during the Obama years, which saw more than 2.5 million deportations.
In the face of the incoming Trump administration, says Rodriguez, now is an important time to "declare sanctuary in cities, colleges, universities, congregations, shelters and community centers." He indicated that the aim is to deter, as well as defend against hardline policies, posing the question, "What are some policies or symbolic statements that locations can use to send a clear message to ICE and the incoming administration that there is going to be a confrontation, and allies are willing to put their bodies on the line?"
Meanwhile, Trump has pledged that in the first 100 days of his presidency, he will "cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities," setting up potential battles between his administration and local lawmakers. According to Poblet, "Depending on the strength of local progressive movements, and the support they have in city hall, this could be a chance for lawmakers to be the champions of the people they represent."
Get Ready for Rapid Response to Raids
If people are unable to make it to an officially recognized "sensitive location" before ICE comes for them, organizers are preparing to bring sanctuary to them. "The idea is that if ICE comes to someone's house, they can't leave to seek sanctuary with the congregation," explained Peter Pedemonti, co-founder and director of the New Sanctuary Movement in Philadelphia. "So we're bringing the congregation to them. We're calling it 'sanctuary in the streets.'"
Pedemonti's organization works with 19 congregations in the Philadelphia area, including churches and synagogues, and hopes to double that number, in part by reaching out to area mosques. "We have an emergency hotline that people can call if ICE shows up, and it is staffed 24/7," he said. "Our plan is to have an alert system so that if ICE comes to get someone, everyone shows up at their house as soon as possible to pray, sing and film ICE. The purpose is to accompany and show solidarity with the family and to pressure ICE not to do this." Ideally, explained Pedemonti, a small number of the rapid responders would be willing to risk arrest to stage a direct action in defense of individuals targeted for deportation.
He said that before the election, 65 people were signed up to this rapid response team; now, there are 930. "It's been amazing and powerful," said Pedemonti. "Every day, 100 people are signing up. The next step is to get everyone trained."
Carlos Garcia is the director of Puente, the Arizona-based human rights organization that played a key role in unseating Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the November election. A prominent Trump surrogate, Arpaio spent 24 years terrorizing Maricopa County, Arizona residents by erecting a tent city prison he referred to as a "concentration camp"; publicly humiliating and torturing people incarcerated in his jails; and repeatedly defying court orders to stop racially profiling people of Latin American descent.
Garcia organizes in a state with some of the harshest immigration laws on the books, including SB 1070, which "requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is 'reasonable suspicion' they are not in the US legally," according to a summary from the ACLU. In this climate, Garcia says, it has been important to "create defense committees and really think of ways to defend ourselves. This means neighbors helping neighbors, finding places willing to provide sanctuary, finding allies. It means documented people being willing to risk arrest and stand in the way of people being taken. It's going to be important to alter our tactics once we understand how they're coming for us."
According to Garcia, coordinated defense is also critical once an individual is detained. "Where are your belongings, do you have children who need to get picked up, what are your plans in case you get picked up?" he posed. "Individuals should be creating their own defense plans. We've been doing it in Arizona for a long time."
"Trump has explicitly named Muslims and undocumented communities among his first targets," Darakshan Raja, a Washington DC-based organizer, told AlterNet. "Underneath the larger umbrella of immigration raids and the targeting of non-US citizens, Muslims without citizenship will be among the first to be targeted, including refugees, and undocumented community members."
From the onset, Trump has built his candidacy on Islamophobic threats, vowing to impose a "total and complete" ban on Muslims entering the country and openly calling for the profiling of Muslims and patrolling of "Muslim neighborhoods."
Reuters reporters Mica Rosenberg and Julia Edwards wrote Tuesday that Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state who helped draft Arizona's hardline immigration laws, "said in an interview that Trump's policy advisers had also discussed drafting a proposal for his consideration to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries."
Kobach already advanced precursor policies in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when he worked as a staffer in George W. Bush's justice department and aggressively pushed the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program, a registry for men over the age of 16 who hail from countries deemed to pose a "terrorist" danger to the United States. Of the 25 nations listed, 24 were majority-Muslim. Those policies were fiercely opposed by groups including the New York-based organization Desis Rising Up and Moving, which is now working to develop a strategy of resistance against Trump.
Meanwhile, registries that disproportionately target Muslims have been maintained under the Obama administration, in the form of the US government's overreaching terrorist watch-listing system.
In contrast to Bush and Obama, Trump and his supporters have been far more overt about the aim of creating a Muslim registry. Carl Higbie, a prominent Trump supporter and spokesperson for the Great America super PAC, recently told Megyn Kelly on Fox News that a potential Muslim registry has an earlier "precedent:" the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. The proposed registry also invokes another historical disgrace: the compulsory licensing of Jews living in countries occupied by Nazi Germany.
In light of these proposals, Raja says it is important to incorporate organizing against Islamophobia into the push to expand sanctuary.
"We need to be clear that if there is somebody being targeted, we are going to fight back and protect the communities that are uniquely targeted," she said. "When the white nationalist groups say they are going to violate a mosque or a community center, a rapid response network should be mobilized to come out and provide a defense field. If there is a hate crime, activists should be ready to mobilize and physically show up and intervene." When it comes to a registry, Raja says the goal should be "total shutdown" and zero tolerance for profiling of any community.
Cindy Wiesner, national coordinator for the US-based Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, agreed, telling AlterNet that "we have to think about community protection and defense and sanctuary cities as more expansive. It's important that we're not only thinking about undocumented people, but also gender-nonconforming people and Muslims."
"There is also a need to defend social movements," Wiesner continued. "We're going to see the increased criminalization of movements."
Build Organizations and Alliances
Amid this worst-case-scenario planning, it is important to maintain infrastructure to build power over the long haul, say campaigners.
"We have to ensure that our organizations that do true base-building organizing have the support they need to make it out of the next four years alive," Jacinta Gonzalez, an Arizona-based organizer with Mijente and #Not1 More, told AlterNet. "This looks like funding and giving support when they are attacked. We won't have deportation defense if we don't have organizations that know how to reach out to local communities. This means you should think about how you can support local groups doing this work in your own backyard."
According to Rodriguez, "For folks who are asking themselves what they can do, it's going to take a little bit of research. Go on a phone or computer and try to figure out who the local groups are that are trying to support immigrant families at this time."
Pedemonti maintains that "a key lesson from the George W. Bush administration was, even when the federal landscape was terrible, we could move things locally. You can build more power, engage more people, to influence national fight. In a time when we are seeing the rise of white nationalism, we will need to hold up our light and values even stronger and brighter."
Of course, this doesn't mean that the fight is solely local, and many organizers say they are in the midst of efforts to connect and strategize on a nationwide level. Poblet says she expects "there will be new organizations that emerge out of this period," explaining, "I think this is a period of reorganization."
Carmona explained that in Los Angeles, reorganization took the form of a 500-strong popular assembly just days after the election. "Folks shared testimony, personal experiences and their understanding and analysis of what's happening," he said. "We had breakout groups to think about how to do more assemblies in our own communities, how to organize know-your-rights workshops, how to develop legal defense strategies and how to generate awareness about challenges that may arise with next administration."
Meanwhile, on the national level, Carmona is involved in the Alto Trump campaign, which he described as an effort to "consolidate resources and experiences about how folks are organizing in their own locales."
Sarai Portillo is an organizer in the red state of Alabama, where residents face the most draconian anti-immigrant bill in the country, HB56, described by the ACLU as "an extraordinary attempt to regulate every aspect of the lives of immigrants." Portillo, the executive director of the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, told AlterNet that "the alliances we were able to make with African-American communities and faith communities have been important."
"It seems like dark times, but even in dark times there will be light at the end of the tunnel," Portillo continued. "That light is people power."
Refuse to Normalize Fascism
"We were never going to get Arpaio to stop doing what he was doing, but we could spread widespread condemnation of what he was doing," said Garcia. "We might not be able to stop him, he might deport as many people as he wanted, but we could expose his bigotry and call the moral question to everyone."
According to Garcia, "It wasn't just the vote that brought down Arpaio; it was actions, lawsuits and making everyone see who he really was. And then we used the vote as a tactic. When he started coming after us in 2007, his approval ratings were really high. We exposed his contradictions, racism and unfairness that was put forth. The lessons can be applied to Trump as well, because we expect him to be just like Arpaio."
Less than two weeks after Trump won the electoral college (but not the popular vote), many media outlets and political foes are already rushing to normalize his hate and call for a peaceful transition of power. Meanwhile, ordinary people across the country are taking safety risks to continue their anti-fascism protests, and hate crimes nationwide continue to climb, with the Southern Poverty Law Center documenting 701 such incidents so far.
Wiesner says now is a time for non-compliance, arguing, "We owe it to the planet, the next generation, all the people at the crosshairs of his attacks and ourselves to obstruct the imminent danger of what all of this means, from emboldened racist individuals to the rape culture that just got validated to the dig-burn-and-dump model that will be touted as the way to save our economy, to the regressive and harmful policies and Supreme Court rulings we will see at every level, including social services, education, policing and Social Security."
"I am not trying be righteous," she continued. "I am genuinely afraid, and I firmly believe in the power of people. I am heartened by all the people, especially young people in the streets. That is the movement I come from. We must disrupt, obstruct, hold each other, strategize, organize, and fight like we never have before."
From the 316 rig trough in May, American oil drillers have added 161 to 477 - the highest since January 2016. The rising rig count continues to track lagged oil prices higher and US crude production is following that trend to its highest level since June.
US Oil Rig count is up 3 in the last week to 477 - up 25 of the last 27 weeks...
And with the OPEC deal holding oil prices, is US production set to rise no matter what?
Shortly after Donald Trump picked former Goldman partner Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary, he was rumored to be considering another Goldmanite, current President and COO Gary Cohn - who as reported earlier this week is already contemplating "life after Goldman" - for energy secretary. The follows a previous report that Trump may appoint Cohn as head of the Office of Management and Budget. So, as Trump wonders which other Goldman banker to poach to fully outsource financial management of the US directly to Goldman, a taxpayer-backed hedge fund which has already taken over the world's central banks, he decided to spread the Wall Street love and earlier today announced that he has created an economic panel chaired by Blackstone's Stephen Schwarzmann, whose members will also include such illustrious "non-swampies" as Jamie Dimon and Larry Fink, as well as various other "prominent U.S. business leaders" to get Wall Street's advice on such matters as ... job creation.
President-elect Donald J. Trump today announced that he is establishing the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum. The Forum, which is composed of some of America’s most highly respected and successful business leaders, will be called upon to meet with the President frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as the President implements his plan to bring back jobs and Make America Great Again. The Forum will be chaired by Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of Blackstone.
Members of the Forum will be charged with providing their individual views to the President – informed by their unique vantage points in the private sector – on how government policy impacts economic growth, job creation, and productivity. The Forum is designed to provide direct input to the President from many of the best and brightest in the business world in a frank, non-bureaucratic, and non-partisan manner.
This is the same Schwarzman who during the Republican primaries in October 2015, characterized Trump as "the P.T. Barnum of America."
Other members include General Motors Co. chairman and CEO Mary Barra, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, Bob Iger of the Walt Disney, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. president and CEO Doug McMillon, and former Boeing Co. chairman James McNerney, as well as the above named Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and BlackRock Inc.’s Larry Fink,
“This forum brings together CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth,” Trump said in a statement issued by Blackstone. “My administration is committed to drawing on private sector expertise and cutting the government red tape that is holding back our businesses from hiring, innovating, and expanding right here in America.”
Sadly, it was the private sector's policies, expertise and "advice" to the Obama administration, that led to this particular outcome:
It also led to record stock buybacks and all time high stock prices, not to mention record CEO compensation, but surely Trump will see right any such attempts to pass "advice" meant to help the people whose only intention is to make a handful of Wall Street oligarchs even richer... right.
Schwarzman, the 69-year-old private equity executive who will chair the forum, said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council after the election that he is "excited" about the prospects for economic growth in America and expects the business horizon to look "infinitely better" in the next few years.
"Things are going to change, and I think things are going to change a lot," he said. He did not refer to Trump by name.
In an interview with Bloomberg before the election, Schwarzman said he was undecided between Trump and Clinton. He said the GOP nominee's plans for economic growth sound "wonderful if you could do that," but also expressed concerns about his immigration plans.
"If you were really removing a large number of people, that's got to adversely affect the economy," he said.
Other panel members are also prominent Clinton fans: Disney's Iger, 65, supported Hillary Clinton during the campaign and co-hosted a fundraiser for her over the summer. However, he too quickly changed his tune in the days following Trump's election, when he said he was "hopeful" about what's to come in an interview with CNBC.
"There is going to be far more energy around attacking the tax code, changing the tax code, closing loopholes on corporate taxes and lowering the base," he said. "We're not as competitive as we need to be as a country. I think that is going to be addressed on a timely, meaning a fast basis. That's certainly good."
Jim McNerney, former chairman and CEO of Boeing, who is also on the committee, once referred to Trump's rhetoric on trade as "dangerous."
The full list of panel members include the following:
Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of Blackstone
Paul Atkins, CEO, Patomak Global Partners, LLC, Former Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission
Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, General Motors
Toby Cosgrove, CEO, Cleveland Clinic
Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co
Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock
Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company
Rich Lesser, President and CEO, Boston Consulting Group
Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Jim McNerney, Former Chairman, President, and CEO, Boeing
Adebayo "Bayo" Ogunlesi, Chairman and Managing Partner, Global Infrastructure Partners
Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President, and CEO, IBM
Kevin Warsh, Shepard Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Economics, Hoover Institute, Former Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Mark Weinberger, Global Chairman and CEO, EY
Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO, General Electric
Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winner, Vice Chairman of IHS Markit
For some inexplicable reason, Warren Buffett failed to make the list, if only for the time being.
Only Menominee County, home to the Menominee Indian Reservation, fully reported its recounted results on the first day. It found 17 extra votes for Stein and 12 for Libertarian Gary Johnson, while removing two votes from Trump and one from Clinton.
When putting all the results together, that means the first day of the recount narrowed the gap between Clinton and Trump by just a single vote.
Trump defeated Clinton in the state of Wisconsin by just over 22,000 votes or about 1% of the total vote.
Stein filed for a Wisconsin recount after suggesting that fraud or technological glitches may have swayed the results but has admitted that there is no concrete evidence of voter fraud.
In September, headlines of Deutsche Bank trading clients pulling collateral sparked grave concern over the world's most systemically dangerous bank. Today, the stock is sliding once again as WSJ reports the bank said it would cease providing some coverage for about 3,400 actively trading clients in its global markets division, according to a memo sent to equities staff.
The memo to equity sales, sales trading and structuring staff said the move is with “immediate effect," according to The Wall Street Journal.
A Deutsche Bank spokesman confirmed the contents of the memo.
It follows a detailed review by the trading division of the German lender’s client list “to identify clients with whom it is not strategically viable for us to continue to do business,” according to the memo from Dixit Joshi.
The action is aimed at balancing “risk, revenue and profitability,” according to the memo. The cuts affect Institutional Client Group debt and equity sales, sales trading and equity structuring clients, according to the memo.
The question is - what knock-on effect will the liquidation of these 3,400 trading clients' collateral have on markets... and Deutsche Bank's risk.
Early this morning, in yet another session of panicked selling, the Turkish Lira crashed to new record lows to just shy of USDTRY 3.60, momentarily going bidless as the currency plunged nearly 400 pips in seconds, after Turkish President Recep Erdogan said the path for investors will be opened with lower interest rates, and urged the central bank to imitate Japan and U.S. where rates are low: “why should we go around with 14-15 percent?”
The answer is simple: the currency tends to drop when an economy is seen as weak, the political regime unstable, or - yes - a central bank cuts rates, which Turkey, as shown in the chart below, can not afford if it hopes to maintain a stable economy with the lira already at all time lows.
Normally, any other country would find itself in a dilemma: how to lower rates as per the president's demands to stimulate investment and the economy, without killing the economy... but not Erdogan. As AFP notes, the Turkish president "urged" his fellow Turks on Friday to convert their foreign currencies into gold and lira to stimulate the country's economy as the lira continued its slide against the dollar.
"For those who have foreign currencies under the pillow, come change this to gold, come change this to Turkish lira. Let the lira win greater value. Let gold win greater value," he said during a televised speech in Ankara.
It was not exactly clear how a few thousand Turks exchange lira for gold would "let gold win greater value", nor how the same number of locals converting their dollars to lira would withstand another selling onslaught as soon the the Turkish central bank cut rates again, but that's not really relevant for the Turkish president, who appears to have a far better understanding of how to wage "failed coups" than simple finance.
"What necessity is there to let foreign currency have greater value?" he asked.
There was no answer, but as he was speaking, the lira lost value against the US dollar, crashing just shy of 3.60. After his address, it stage a modest rebound at 3.55 against the greenback, a loss of over 1.5% on the day. In November alone, the lira has lost more than 10% against the dollar, and December was not starting off on the right foot either.
And no, he wasn't joking: as Hurriyet reported moments ago, Turkey’s main stock exchange, Borsa Istanbul, became the first institution to convert all of its cash assets into the Turkish Lira a few hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an called on people and institutions to back the struggling currency against the U.S. dollar. Borsa Istanbul said in a written statement on Dec. 2 that it would convert all of its cash assets into lira and keep them in lira accounts.
Erdogan also warned that there were forces "playing games" against Turkey, which Turks could counter by changing their money. He did not say whom he was referring to. "Don't worry, in a short while, we will destroy this game", clearly referring to "evil speculators" who could be destroyed if only mom and pop exchanged the dollars in their mattress for the local currency.
As noted above, the Lira was also reacting to Erdogan's repeated insistence on lowering interest rates because, he claims, there is "no other remedy". He referred to the United States, Japan and Europe as examples of where rates are low and questioned why Turkey still had such high rates.
In a surprise to some, after several months of rate cuts, the central bank stepped in with an unexpected hike of 50 basis points in its leading rate last month. This prompted many to wonder how long Erdogan will tolerate the insolence of his central banker who clearly has defied his decree.
To be sure, concerns over Turkey's political instability, including the government's race to expand Erdogan's powers, as well as its cracking relationship with the European Union meant a rally in the lira was shortlived after the bank's announcement.
Worries over Erdogan's influence grew after Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Thursday the government would bring a bill to parliament next week which proposes to change the constitution and give greater powers to the president. Considering Erdogan's track record, it is only a matter of time before he appoints himself central bank head too, at which point the Turkish Lira and the Venezuela Bolivar will begin a race which one can reach a value of 0 faster.
Incidentally, anyone who does convert their dollars into gold can simultaneously start a countdown how long it will take for the "authorities" to come knocking and confiscate said gold.
“The old ladies at the bingo club wouldn’t carry on as much as the politicians have about this whole backpacker tax.”— Fiona Hall, ABC News, Dec 2, 2016
The morning news on the ABC network featured blondes, and more blondes,…
Last night, the Syrian army and its allies withdrew from Sheikh Saeed neighborhood of Aleppo city under the pressure by Jaish al-Fatah militants. Government forces remain in control of some points in the southern part of the area where clashes…
On November 30th, Buzzfeed bannered “Intel Officials Believe Russia Spreads Fake News”. Their ‘reporter’ (that is, stenographer of U.S. government propaganda) opened: “US intelligence officials believe Russia helped disseminate fake and propagandized news as part of a broader effort to…
The Russians just gave (again) a public lecture of how to handle the wannabe-Sultan Erdogan.
Turkey entered Syria to end al-Assad’s rule: President Erdoğan – November 29
The Turkish military launched its operations in Syria to end the rule of…
Will Donald Trump be good for the US economy?
The American people seem to think so. According to a recent survey taken by Gallup “Americans have relatively high expectations (of) the president-elect… Substantial majorities (upward of 60%) believe the Trump…
The United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities found in 1975 that the CIA submitted stories to the American press: Wikipedia adds details: After 1953, the network was overseen by Allen W. Dulles, director of the CIA. By this time, Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 […]
Video and Transcript: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ-GoPvkuMU Russian President Vladimir Putin is delivering his annual address to the Federal Assembly of Russia in Moscow. Both houses of the Russian Parliament, members of the government, as well as other officials and public figures have gathered at the Kremlin’s St. George Hall for the event. “I certainly count on joining efforts […]
That he may not be “qualified” is unimportant. That he’s never held a government or elected position is unimportant. That on a personal level he may be a shmuck is unimportant. What counts to me mainly at this early stage is that he – as opposed to dear Hillary – is unlikely to start a war against Russia. His questioning of the absolute sacredness of NATO, calling it “obsolete”, and his meeting with Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, an outspoken critic of US regime-change policy, specifically Syria, are encouraging signs. Even more so is his appointment of General Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser. Flynn dined last year in Moscow with Vladimir Putin at a gala celebrating RT (Russia Today), the Russian state’s English-language, leftist-leaning TV channel. Flynn now carries the stigma in the American media as an individual who does not see Russia or Putin as the devil. It is truly remarkable how nonchalantly American journalists can look upon the possibility of a war with Russia, even a nuclear war.
PART IV, The End of Illusion Neoconservative pundits howled when Yale historian Paul Kennedy suggested in his 1987 study The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers that America and its global Empire, like all empires before it, was in a process of decline. The Conjurer by Hieronymus Bosch, circa 1450–1516 (Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons) The Conjurer by Hieronymus Bosch, circa 1450–1516 (Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons) The disintegration of the Soviet Union just a few years later in 1991 seemed to undermine Kennedy’s thesis, as the United States expanded its influence into the U.S.S.R’s former territories and moved on Moscow to bury the former communist economy. However, following the financial crash of 2008 and the chaos caused by Washington’s military adventurism in Iraq and Afghanistan, the illusion of American inevitability quickly vanished. Now, 30 years later, the idea that any empire facing unprecedented debt, political gridlock and military failure could somehow sustain itself purely on willpower and social media can only be described as delusional.The disintegration of the Soviet Union just a few years later in 1991 seemed to undermine Kennedy’s thesis, as the United States expanded its influence into the U.S.S.R’s former territories and moved on Moscow to bury the former communist economy. However, following the financial crash of 2008 and the chaos caused by Washington’s military adventurism in Iraq and Afghanistan, the illusion of American inevitability quickly vanished.
Now, 30 years later, the idea that any empire facing unprecedented debt, political gridlock and military failure could somehow sustain itself purely on willpower and social media can only be described as delusional.
Transcript (slightly expanded) of a Skype interview with Alex Knyazev – Russia TV24, Program ‘Geo-economics’ Since this interview was given, an important event happened, important for world history. Fidel Castro died on 25 November, at the age of 90 (1926 – 2016). Comandante Castro, a lawyer by education, with a true sense of justice for […]
Alternate Current Radio | Hesher and Randy J break down the underlying themes and read between the lines with regards to the machinations of the deep state elements and the intent of the House Oversight Committee.
Rachel Boothroyd-Rojas (VA) : The Organization of Oil Producing Countries (OPEC) has reached a much anticipated deal to cut production to 32.5 million barrels of oil a day across member states following months of negotiations. The organisation culminated its 171st Ministerial Conference in Vienna on Wednesday, confirming that it would slash oil output by 1.2 […]
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Colombia’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officially confirmed that the Bolivian BAe Avro RJ85 operated by Lamia, that crashed near Medellin, didn’t have mandatory fuel reserves on board. The crash killed 71, while 6 survived. However, further investigations and statements show that there may have been other factors involved, possibly implicating air […]
TC : The United Nations Secretary-General has announced a new approach to cholera in Haiti. Six years after the organisation introduced cholera into the country, with at least 9,200 people dead and 800,000 people sickened since that time, the UN has, at long last, apologized. It has also taken a major stride by agreeing the […]
Azly Rahman (nsnbc) : A few weeks ago Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, saw a clash between the Islamic fundamentalists and the government in a protest seeking the removal of the governor, a Chinese Catholic. It is important to look at the cultural logic of it as it exists within the context of regional and global […]
nsnbc : Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma and delegates visited the Chinese capital Beijing. On Thursday Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China will help the north-west African country to improve its industrialization and public health system, and upgrade bilateral relations into a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation. Presidents Xi Jinping and Ernest Bai Koroma witnessed […]
Last Saturday night, Vice President-elect Mike Pence made the mistake of trying to take in a Broadway show. I have no idea what Pence thought of Broadway’s latest example of how far downhill musical theater has slid since Andrew Lloyd-Webber stopped winning all the Tony Awards. However, I expect it will be a minute before […]
What worries me the most about fake news, isn’t that it’s fake, it’s that it’s being used by the left to try to silence opposing views. Take for example a story reported by the Los Angeles Times that included a professor who put together a Google document of “false, misleading, clickbait-y and satirical ‘news […]
We began writing on the War on Cash some time ago when it was still just a theoretical ploy that we believed banks and governments were likely to employ as their economic adventurism continued to unravel. But, in the last year, several countries have, as a part of the War on Cash, begun removing […]
“We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this time the government is telling us the truth.”—Former New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg Let’s talk about fake news stories, shall we? There’s the garden variety fake news that is not really “news” so much as it is titillating, […]
If one needed more evidence of the steep decay in academia, Donald Trump’s victory provided it. Let’s begin by examining the responses to his win, not only among our wet-behind-the-ears college students, many of whom act like kindergarteners but also among college professors and administrators. The University of Michigan’s distressed students were provided with […]
George H. W. Bush isn't the only member of the family who may be voting for Hillary next month.
His granddaughter Barbara Bush, one of George W. Bush's twins, 34, spent Saturday night partying with Huma Abedin in Paris at a Clinton gathering - and paid at least $5,000 for the privilege.
It's currently Paris Fashion Week and on Saturday Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and Huma hosted a Clinton Designed To Win fundraiser at a store followed by a private dinner at the home of a billionaire.
The pair radiated comfort as they posed for multiple photos together, also featuring man-about-town Derek Blasberg and dinner hostess Lauren Santo Domingo, far right
Photos from the exclusive dinner show Huma, Bush and actress Dakota Fanning, 22, who has been helping raise money for Hillary for over a year.Huma, along with Black Eyed Peas singer and producer Will.i.am and actress Fanning, spent Saturday afternoon at the Sonia Rykiel Paris store mobilize the expat vote with just five weeks to go. Will.i.am was a early and loyal Obama supporter in 2008, but this election has backed Clinton the whole time.
Tickets to the Sonia Rykiel event were $500 for entry and $1,000 for a photo.
The National Emergency Commission (CNE) reported that at least one house collapsed and dozens are damaged in cantons east of Cartago due to the strong earthquake that shook the province at 6:25 p.m. Wednesday.
Red Cross spokesman Gerald Jiménez confirmed to The Tico Times on Thursday that the organization had not received any reports of injured people.
Fifteen people in the canton of Alvarado were evacuated to a shelter, following recommendations from the CNE and the Firefighters' Corps. Experts from both agencies are evaluating homes in the area to assess whether their occupants can safely return, the CNE reported.
In addition to some 40 damaged houses there are also reports of landslides and cracked roads in the Cartago cantons of Jiménez and Alvarado. People in Turrialba, Alvarado, Jiménez and Oreamuno suffered power and water cuts.
On Thursday evening there were still some 4,000 people without water in various communities in Jiménez.
A hotline set up by UK charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in response to allegations of child sex abuse in English youth football received 860 calls in the first hour of operation.
The NSPCC reported that as a result of the calls it made 60 referrals to the police or children's services within the first three days of launching the hotline.
"We have had a staggering surge in calls to our football hotline, which reveals the worrying extent of abuse that had been going on within the sport," NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless said, according to the Associated Press.
It is reported that 350 people have come forward to report sexual abuse in football clubs. They include more than 20 former professional footballers who have spoken in the past fortnight to report historical cases of sexual abuse at a number of their former clubs.
Comment: Historical sex abuse in English football exposed, crisis deepens as more victims come forward
Britain must play a leading role in the right against the cult of 'strongmen' like Syrian leader Bashar Assad, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said.
Johnson also used his speech at London's Chatham House think-tank Friday morning to throw his weight behind US President-elect Donald Trump's call for more spending on NATO while arguing that boosting the military was key to saving democracy.
"We have the cult of the strong man, we have democracy in retreat, we have an arc of instability across the Middle East from Iraq to Syria to Libya," the foreign secretary told the audience.
He said that Brexit did not mean Britain was pulling up the "drawbridge."
"What is the answer of the UK? Is it to cower and put the pillow over our heads? Emphatically not," he said.
A group of campaigners occupying the old headquarters of squatting prevention company Camelot Europe were evicted on Thursday after two months living at the premises.
The residents of the so-called Came Squat told the media their occupation was political, highlighting that while companies like Camelot made a profit out of empty buildings, homelessness in Britain was on the rise.
The Investigatory Powers Bill forces internet providers to keep a full record of every site visited by each of its customers for over a year. Of course, government accounts are exempt from this Orwellian law. This bill is not simply about notifying the government if a specific site has been visited, it is about listing every […]
Kanye West has been hospitalized for ‘his own health and safety’ and his tour has been cancelled. According to a source, Kanye feels that he’s under ‘spiritual attack’. Kanye West is under psychiatric observation at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for “his own health and safety”. The rapper was “acting erratically” at his trainer’s house when the […]
Posters over at 4Chan and Reddit have been conducting an extremely bizarre investigation following the John Podesta e-mail leak (Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman) and the results are surreal: They’ve apparently uncovered an elite child trafficking network which celebrates its tendencies using code words and disturbing artworks. Warning: This article contains disturbing material In my article Clinton’s Campaign Chairman […]
I have to admit it. I fully did NOT expect Donald Trump to become the 45th President of the United States of America. All of the odds were against him: He was underfunded compared to Hillary’s money machine; Nearly every media source was openly against him; Not one major celebrity came out to support him; […]
The Podesta e-mails released by Wikileaks contain various bizarre entries, including an invitation to a ‘Spirit Cooking’ dinner from notorious occultist Marina Abramović. These parties include blood, semen, breast milk … and God knows what else. A leaked e-mail reveals that John Podesta was invited to a ‘Spirit Cooking’ dinner by Marina Abramović in 2015. John […]
Thomas G. Clark writes for Another Angry Voice: The Snooper’s Charter became law on the 29th of November 2016 meaning that the United Kingdom now has by far the most invasive state surveillance laws of any nation in the developed world. The invasive domestic snooping legislation means that the UK state will attempt to maintain […]
George Monbiot writes for The Guardian: Yes, Donald Trump’s politics are incoherent. But those who surround him know just what they want, and his lack of clarity enhances their power. To understand what is coming, we need to understand who they are. I know all too well, because I have spent the past 15 years […]
Greg Palast writes for Truthout: There’s been so much complete nonsense since I first broke the news that the Green Party would file for a recount of the presidential vote, I am compelled to write a short guide to flush out the BS and get to just the facts, ma’am. Nope, They’re Not Hunting for […]
Micah Zenko writes for Foreign Policy: The scope of war-making authorities and powers available to the Trump administration depends on decisions made by the Obama administration. Two recent news reports shed some troubling light on its approach to the coming transition. The Obama administration’s present mindset reflects a departure from its approach in the fall […]
Chris Ames and Jamie Doward report for The Observer: A cross-party group of MPs will make a fresh effort to hold Tony Blair to account for allegedly misleading parliament and the public over the Iraq war. The move, which could see Blair stripped of membership of the privy council, comes as the former prime minister tries […]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just announced that the only reason Turkish military forces have entered northern Syria is to “end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad”. By publicly proclaiming that Turkey intends to use military force to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Erdogan has essentially declared war on the Syrian [...]
Do they know something that the rest of us do not? There are tens of millions of ordinary Americans that are feeling really good about the future now that Donald Trump has won the election, but meanwhile the elite are feverishly constructing luxury bunkers at a pace unlike anything we have ever seen before. So [...]
Could you imagine spending the holidays in a homeless shelter, in a tent city surrounded by drug addicts and prostitutes, or in a sleeping bag on the cold, hard streets of an urban jungle? Unfortunately, that is what real life looks like for an increasing number of Americans. Most of the time when we think [...]
On Friday, hordes of desperate zombies were spotted desperately trying to save a few dollars on toys, apparel and cheaply made electronic goods all over America. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that virtually all of these goods were made outside of the United States in nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, [...]
Just when you thought it was safe to celebrate Trump’s victory, the left is hatching a plan to try to steal the election right from under his nose. A group composed of “prominent computer scientists” and “election lawyers” is urgently asking the Clinton campaign to challenge the election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. They [...]
(CBS NEWS) The speaker of the House tells Scott Pelley he and President-elect Donald Trump have made up and speak on the phone nearly every day. On the campaign trail, the two were at odds. Speaker Ryan had called one of Trump’s statements racist and Trump dismissed him as ineffective and disloyal, but Ryan says [...]
(FREE BEACON) A CNN crew member joked to reporter Suzanne Malveaux about Donald Trump’s plane crashing as they waited to go live while the president-elect was set to land in Indianapolis on Thursday. While making final preparations to go on air, an off-camera voice could be heard discussing the estimated arrival time of the Trump [...]
(LIFEZETTE) Actress Rosie O’Donnell has officially apologized to future first lady Melania Trump and her 10-year-son Barron after tweeting a video suggesting the president-elect’s 10-year-old son could be autistic. After sharing the video to her nearly 1 million followers and receiving heavy criticism for it, O’Donnell took to her website to defend her actions, while [...]
(USA TODAY) After the furor over HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines’ membership in a church whose pastor who says that anyone who defines marriage as something other than one man and woman is wrong, the home-improvement network issued a statement in which it stands firm on its commitment to inclusive programming. “We don’t discriminate [...]
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Supporters of Republican Donald Trump filed a federal lawsuit trying to halt Wisconsin’s ongoing presidential recount, and Michigan’s attorney general on Friday sued to stop a recount from happening in his state. The Wisconsin lawsuit and motion for a temporary restraining order was filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in [...]
Paul Jay and Abby Martin discuss Trump’s cabinet appointments, the Green Party effort to recount the vote, and who’s really producing the fake news. Abby Martin & Paul Jay on Trump’s Appointees & “Fake News” ** PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay. Well, Thanksgiving is over, and for those of you who may have thought … Read More
Filmmaker Robbie Martin and Paul Jay discuss Trump and Pence’s foreign policy appointments and advisors which include many of the neocons who created The Project for the New American Century and are now targeting Iran. Robbie Martin on Trump’s Web of Militarists Who Want to Attack Iran ** PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay. Well, … Read More
Filmmaker Robbie Martin and Paul Jay discuss Trump and Pence’s foreign policy appointments and advisors which include many of the neocons who created The Project for the New American Century, led the U.S. into war with Iraq – and are now targeting Iran Robbie Martin on Trump’s Web of Militarists Who Want to Attack Iran ** PAUL JAY: Welcome … Read More
Leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, has died on his own terms, after surviving at least 638 assassination attempts from the CIA. Unlike the glorification of brutal theocratic leaders like Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah, the establishment will be giving no accolades to Castro. Capitalism’s defenders vociferously attack Cuba as a freedomless dystopia, while downplaying the country’s amazing achievements under socialism. You … Read More
Leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, has died on his own terms, after surviving at least 638 assassination attempts by the CIA. Unlike the glorification of brutal theocratic leaders like Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah, the establishment will be giving no accolades to Castro. Capitalism’s defenders vociferously attack Cuba as a freedomless dystopia, while downplaying the country’s amazing achievements under socialism. You cannot … Read More
Following the Nov. 8 election, former Secret Service agent Gary Byrne sat down with AFP once again to discuss, among other things, his bestselling book about life in the White House with the Clintons and how happy he is to have played a significant part in the defeat
Following the Nov. 8 election, former Secret Service Agent Gary Byrne sat down with AFP once again to discuss, among other things, his bestselling book about life in the White House with the Clintons and how happy he is to have played a significant part in the defeat
Wastewater from oil and gas drilling, which contains poisons and unknown chemicals, is now being used in drought-stricken areas to irrigate farm crops and to water livestock. It’s a shocking scenario that is leaving some physicians, doctors, and food activists to question what cost this is going to
Wastewater from oil and gas drilling, which contains poisons and other unknown chemicals, is now being used in drought-stricken areas to irrigate farm crops and to water livestock. It’s a shocking scenario that is leaving some physicians, doctors, and food activists to question what cost this is going
Protests have popped up across the country against alleged discriminatory acts that have supposedly taken place in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election. The problem is, most of these “racist acts” have been a fantasy of far-left-wing groups like the Southern Poverty Law
European Parliament President Martin Schulz is quitting his job in Strasbourg and aiming for higher office in Berlin. Schulz, who, in 2003, was likened by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to a Nazi concentration camp guard, appears ready to take the helm of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in a gambit to prevent Germany from joining the ranks of the anti-European Union nations in Europe...
Organs of Official Washington, such as the State Department and The Washington Post, are becoming unhinged over their weakening grip on the narratives that the people are supposed to believe, as William Blum explains.
The great metascientist and statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb headlined on November 22nd a devastating takedown of U.S. ‘news’ media and academia, «Syria and the Statistics of War», and he began there by exposing the highly honored Harvard fraud, Dr. Steven Pinker, but then went pretty much through the entire U.S. ‘intellectual’ Establishment, including all of its major ‘news’ media, as being untrustworthy on the part of any intelligent person...
The news that President-elect Donald Trump called in disgraced retired Gen. David Petraeus for a job interview as possible Secretary of State tests whether Trump’s experience in hosting “The Celebrity Apprentice” honed his skills for spotting an incompetent phony or not...
This Sunday, 4 December, the second round of the presidential elections will take place in Austria. The elections are crucial to how the situation will develop not only in the central European country, but the whole of Europe. For the first time in the history of the European Union, a member of a party that Brussels regards as nationalistic and ultra-right wing could come to power in an EU member country. We are referring to Norbert Hofer from the Freedom Party of Austria...
Six granddaughters of a notorious Victorian sex cult leader have failed in their bid to receive the £1 million (US$1.25 million) made on the sale of the group’s church. The women are the living descendants of John Hugh Smyth-Pigott, a “sex-obsessed” former Church of England priest, and his lover Ruth Ann Preece. The proceeds are […]
The Israeli air force has bombed a town on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus used as a transit point for the Lebanese Hezbollah group—part of the military alliance fighting ISIS. The Bashar Al-Assad government confirmed the latest Israeli strike, but observers point out that the Syrians are unable to retaliate because they cannot […]
Three police officers in Los Angeles, California, were legally justified and acting in self-defense when they fatally shot a homeless man, Charly Leundeu Keunang, in March 2015, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has determined. Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Sergeant Chand Syed and Officers Francisco Martinez and Daniel Torres “acted lawfully in self-defense […]
The CODEPINK Tribunal taking place December 1 and 2, and live streamed by The Real News, is a historic collection of testimonies about the lies and costs of the Iraq war. It takes on new meaning with the incoming Trump administration, and the hawks who are flocking to join that administration with their sights set […]
NEW YORK (WeAreChange) — A Newsweek magazine editor appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Colson Tonight show Wednesday publicly admitting that the infamous Hillary Clinton ‘Madam President’ commemorative issue was neither proof-read nor written by any of their staff. In a highly embarrassing mess-up, the outlet was forced to recall 125,000 copies of the edition which was sent out […]
NEW YORK (WeAreChange) — After some earlier confusion, it appears that President-elect Donald Trump has indeed selected Retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense under his administration. The Associated Press (AP) tweeted out on Thursday evening: BREAKING: Donald Trump says he will nominate retired Gen. James Mattis as defense secretary. — The […]
PERU (WeAreChange) — A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck southern Peru on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. The quake’s epicenter was located 28 miles (45 km) northwest of the town of Juliaca and was relatively shallow being 19.9 miles (32 km) below the Earth’s surface. The USGS originally reported it as a magnitude 6.2. Mayor Nicolas […]
Promises by President-elect Donald Trump to deport millions of immigrants have drawn new attention to whether they can be detained indefinitely as they fight their cases. Currently immigrants have no right to a bond hearing. This is different from U.S. citizens who face trial in criminal court and can have a judge examine their case and determine if they should remain in jail until it is resolved. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court held a hearing on this issue in a case that could give immigrants the same right. We speak with Alina Das, a professor at the NYU School of Law, where she co-directs the Immigrant Rights Clinic, and with Hilarion Joseph, who was held for three years and two months in immigrant detention without a bond hearing when he faced deportation after his conviction for transporting weapons. He won his case and was released, and this year he became a U.S. citizen.
We look at two of Donald Trump's Cabinet picks: Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary and Wilbur Ross for commerce secretary. Mnuchin has deep ties on Wall Street, including working as a partner for Goldman Sachs, and his hedge fund played a role in the housing crisis after it scooped up the failing California bank IndyMac in 2008. Trump's commerce secretary pick, Wilbur Ross, is a billionaire private equity investor who specializes in flipping bankrupt companies for profit, often buying the U.S. companies at low prices and then selling them to overseas investors. He and his companies have sometimes shipped jobs and factories overseas—practices Donald Trump has railed against. We are joined by David Dayen, whose recent article for The Nation is "Wilbur Ross and Steve Mnuchin—Profiteers of the Great Foreclosure Machine—Go to Washington."
At an Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, Senator John McCain attacked reporting by our guest, Aaron Glantz, on the University of Phoenix's deceptive recruiting practices that prompted the Pentagon to put the for-profit school on probation for deceptive recruiting practices. The move was welcomed by consumer advocates and veterans groups. We air an excerpt of the report for Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and get Glantz's response.
Exit polls show Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton two to one among veterans, and analysts say they may have delivered the presidency to Trump because of the high percentage of veterans in Wisconsin and Michigan. "He never made really explicit promises beyond the promise that if you could not get an appointment quickly from the [Veterans Administration], that you could go see a private doctor," says longtime veterans' affairs reporter Aaron Glantz. "This has a lot of people worried that he will dismantle the VA system, which was built up over many generations, a national network of hospitals and many dedicated professionals who are real specialists in the needs of people wounded in war."
Ethics experts say President-elect Donald Trump must divest from his businesses to avoid conflicts of interest. "There are hard ethical questions in life, and this is not one of them," says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, who has written that "Trump’s Conflicts of Interest are Unprecedented in American History." Also with us in San Francisco is Aaron Glantz, senior reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, where his latest investigation is headlined "Trump's Indonesia hotel deals hint at his form of foreign relations."
Thierry Meyssan considers that General Flynn is getting ready to rock the world of US intelligence and override all post 9/11 reforms. This would put an end to the obsession with secret prisons and targeted assassinations and mark a return to the true nature of intelligence: making sense of and anticipating developments around the world.
The Western medias are unable to explain the wars which are shattering the «complicated Orient» because they refuse to see them in the regional context. Rather than discussing whether the events in Syria are a revolution, a civil war or an aggression, or whether or not the repression in Turkey is justified, Thierry Meyssan proposes another reading of the facts by presenting the example of the Kurds.
On November 23, 2016, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi speaking at the RTP Portuguese TV channel said: "There should be international support for the national armies of Libya, Iraq and Syria, to ensure the security of their countries." President el-Sissi thus broke a hitherto well-kept secret: Egypt dispatched weapons to the loyalist forces of these three countries despite the Saudi threats. On October 8, Egypt voted, at the Security Council, in favor of a Russian motion for a (...)
The next National Security Advisor of the United States, General Michael T. Flynn, has been successively lauded as one of the most brilliant intelligence officers of his generation, and then reviled as an Islamophobe and a torturer. In the meantime, he opposed President Barack Obama and joined the camp of candidate Donald Trump.
The Supreme Military Council of the Army of Conquest has put a bloody end to the demonstrations of 17 and 18 November 2016 in East Aleppo. The Syrian inhabitants were protesting against the decision by the Supreme Military Council to forbid them to leave the city. The Coucil answered them with live ammunition. According to the spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defence, Igor Konachenkov, during the first demonstration - «17 people, including two adolescents of 13 and 15 years old, were (...)
Ida B. Wells, an African-American native of Holly Springs, Mississippi, refused to give up her seat on a train on May 4, 1884, only to be dragged off by white men. Seven full decades prior to that event in Alabama on the Montgomery bus which made Rosa Parks into an icon. Why have most people heard […]
Police violence against the working-class Amnesty International’s recently released report1 documents the murderous and violent behaviour of the police within the island’s African working-class communities. Since the arrival of Africans in Jamaica as enslaved workers straight up to the present period of flag (in)dependence, relations between the African labouring classes and the law enforcement entities […]
These two top officials behind major US wars (Iran/Afghanistan and Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos) and regime change (against Allende, Chile) will speak at the first of a new event, The Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo, created by the Nobel Institute in Oslo. More here. The leaders of the two institutions declare that they are proud to have succeeded […]
These two top officials behind major US wars (Iran/Afghanistan and Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos) and regime change (against Allende, Chile) will speak at the first of a new event, The Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo, created by the Nobel Institute in Oslo. More here. The leaders of the two institutions declare that they are proud to have succeeded […]
Breaking update — on Obama’s forged birth certificate and fake ID! Hear Carl Gallups report current status of Obama fraud investigation — and announce deadline for release of final revelations by Maricopa County Sheriff’s office! When will Sheriff Arpaio reveal his findings to the public? How has he proven criminal fraud and forgery? How do ...
Another day ticks by and today we see yet another mainstream media article attacking anyone who dares to question the impossible-to-prove fake Sandy Hook event of December 14, 2012 and the reason why is simple. They are now clearly panicking, afraid that with the Wikileaks emails revealing deep-rooted occult-level corruption all over Obama’s White House ...
Unknown to the public at large, many vitamins today are produced through total chemical synthesis – a process whereby a complex organic molecule is synthesized from simpler, petrochemical-derived precursors, usually without the aid of a biological process. What this means is that many vitamins are essentially being produced from oil. Despite sharing certain chemical resemblances ...
Every few years, some people get mad and burn the American flag and all heck breaks loose. Currently, flags are being burned on a regular basis all over the country ever since Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the race for the presidency, and people are responding in the usual dramatic fashion, with cries for ...
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just announced that the only reason Turkish military forces have entered northern Syria is to “end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad”. By publicly proclaiming that Turkey intends to use military force to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Erdogan has essentially declared war on the Syrian ...
Many may think that the basic idea of a matrix has first emerged in this modern age, or rather, that the idea that we could live in a virtual reality has been established in the collective consciousness by the eponymous Hollywood films.
This is not the case! The notion that we are embedded in a form of simulation is very old and already the ancient Indian civilization had this fundamental concept in it’s Vedic scriptures, which they called “Maya” – the cosmic illusion, that deceives us from our true reality.
However, there should be no doubt, that the Matrix trilogy has massively contributed to the fact that this idea has recently gained a certain publicity with this widely used meme – “Matrix”.
There is a simple premise in esoteric literature: thoughts have power. Even modern science accepts that behind the structure we know as the material world is a web of energy, and the interactions between different types of energy create the semblance of solidity we call matter.
Thought, then, as a form of energy, has the same power. This is why in so many traditions there are admonitions about controlling the thought process, while thinking and doing are still different things, thinking does have its effects.
Clairvoyants of many persuasions have seen and documented the shapes and forms produced by various types of thought; witness the work of Charles Leadbeater.
While many of these forms are fleeting, when empowered by the emotions and by memory they become more than just thoughts, they become thought forms.
These thoughtforms exist beyond simply when they are thought – they take on an independent existence within the mind of the thinker. They then influence memory and condition our perceptions of everyday life.
In Douglas Adams’ So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, there is a scene where a spaceship lands on earth and a robot emerges from the craft, proclaiming that “I come in peace” and exhorting the earthlings to “take me to your Lizard.”
The story’s protagonist, Arthur Dent, has this strange request explained to him by his friend, Ford Prefect, an experienced galactic hitchhiker:
“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”
As President-elect's Donald Trump's transition rolls on, more and more attention is being paid to possible selections for a variety of high-ranking positions and meetings that might help decide these appointments.
On Monday, Trump will meet with John Allison, the former CEO of the bank BB&T and of the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute.
Kailasa temple, 1200-year-old Ancient Hindu Temple carved from a single rock in Ellora, stands majestically 29 kilometers away from the City of Aurangabad in the state of Maharashtra, India and it is a part of a set of 34 temples and monasteries renowned as the Ellora Caves.
This temple is a remarkable example of Dravidian architecture in the 8th century due to its almost accurate proportions and intricate workmanship by a set of dedicated sculptors in a time when there must have been only hand tools available for construction and elephants for transporting heavy building material.
It was sanctioned for construction by Krishna I, the king belonging to the Rashtrakuta dynasty which ruled over the large parts of the Indian Subcontinent between the sixth and the tenth centuries.
The whereabouts of the two Turkish servicemen recently abducted by Daesh have finally being confirmed as both men, injured but alive, currently reside in the terrorist group's so called 'capital' in Syria.
Iraqis taking refuge at a camp in Syria were forced to pay Daesh ransoms of between $500 and $1,000 in order to leave territory held by the terrorist group, refugees at a camp in Syria told Sputnik Arabic.
With the election of an outsider named Donald J. Trump to the presidency of the United States, the world is once again at a perilous crossroads. A Hillary Clinton disaster averted by an upset silent majority vote is one positive signal. Russia’s view however, should be one of guarded optimism rather than naïve enthusiasm. A […]
On the 29th of November, Canada once again proved its status as a national non-entity when it followed Washington’s example and orders and applied more “sanctions” against Russia. I put quote marks around the word because it implies that these actions are legal under international law. But they are not. They are flagrant violations of […]
International news agencies are already beginning to move ahead in the list of the top event involving a five-day visit (from November 18 to November 23, 2016) by the 14th Dalai Lama to Mongolia mainly due to the publicly expressed opposition against China making this visit. The official representative of the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged […]
In recent days, a number of Arab media sources have begun speaking about Egypt’s growing involvement in the Syrian war. In particular, with special reference to the Lebanese agency As-Safir, a number of Arab media outlets reported that Egypt is allegedly sending troops to provide assistance to Damascus. Moreover, we are being told now that […]
In recent days, a number of Arab media sources started speaking about Egypt’s growing involvement in the Syrian war. In particular, with a special reference to the Lebanese agency As-Safir, a number of Arab media reported that Egypt is allegedly sending troops toprovide assistance to Damascus. Moreover, we are being told now that Egyptian pilots […]