Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 24, 2017. (Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr)
These clowns own the whole federal government from soup to nuts, and their response to laying hold of such a rare prize has been to light their own neckties on fire every time they get near the furnace. By 2018, most GOP House members will probably vote against themselves, just so they can flee the town and the next two years.
Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 24, 2017. (Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr)
Growing up in New England, you see some wild stuff in wintertime. A flock of chubby cedar waxwings, 50 strong at least, swarming into a withered cherry tree to strip every last old berry off the branches. A pair of bobcats like oiled smoke disappearing into the woods with the snow hissing down. An old upright piano standing sentinel in a shoveled-out Brighton parking spot announcing a defiant mine. One memory stands out above all, however: A huge dump truck filled with gravel gone sideways on an icy hill, sliding slowly, almost gracefully toward its inevitable crunching doom as its engine howls in futility.
I think of that truck today, and feel like I have a good understanding of what it must be like to be a Republican in 2017.
Sarah Palin made famous the "How's that Hope and Change thing working out for ya?" line during the Obama administration. One hundred days into the Trump phenomenon, and one is forced to wonder how that "winning" thing is working out for rank-and-file Republicans. Despite controlling the White House, Senate and House, they've barely won anything, and the Democrats have had very little to do with the string of disasters and fiascos the GOP has unleashed on itself. It isn't just Trump, either. These clowns own the whole federal government from soup to nuts, and their response to laying hold of such a rare prize has been to light their own neckties on fire every time they get near the furnace.
Take this last week as a prime example. The first and most important issue on the table was passing a continuing resolution before the weekend to keep the government open and functioning. In the time it took for Trump to fire up his Twitter account on Monday, the bill was suddenly in mortal peril because the president appeared all too willing to hold the process hostage until he got funding for his Mexico wall. Nervous breakdowns began popping off all over Capitol Hill and in the Treasury Department until someone sat The Donald down and said, "Hey, buddy, you keep up with this and the government will shut down exactly on your 100th day. We call that a bad look, boss. Put this back in the crackerjack box it came from, K?" Amazingly enough, common sense prevailed.
Then, in an eruption of loose-cannonism that makes the Blue Man Group look like a Nebraska prayer circle by comparison, Trump abruptly went in 17 directions at once, and at the top of his voice: THIS 100 DAYS THING IS SO SILLY I MUST HAVE VICTORIES FOR MY 100 DAYS EVEN THOUGH IT'S MEANINGLESS WE MUST WIN BIGLY AT EVERYTHING OR MAYBE JUST ONE THING SO LET'S BLOW UP HEALTH CARE AGAIN. Paul Ryan once again tried to cobble together a bill that would be acceptable to the Freedom Caucus even as it became even more radioactive to the rest of the House, managed to do so, and watched the thing die on his doorstep like a worm on a hot sidewalk. The bill never made it out of the kitchen, and a second Trump campaign promise -- the wall and repealing Obamacare -- collapsed like so much dandelion fluff.
Finally, there was the Trump tax "plan" that was unveiled in the middle of the week. It consisted of 19 bullet points that explained nothing beyond, "Here's a bunch of money for rich people, let's explode the deficit." The GOP's deficit hawks must have felt like the Catholics after Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to their door. "You're gonna do what now? Remove the deduction for real estate taxes? I mean, I don't like New Jersey much either, but this is goofy. How are you paying for this? Oh, you're not." Add another dead letter to the pile.
Are Trump and the Republicans bereft of "accomplishments" as we reach this ceremonial centennial moment? Far from it. Neil Gorsuch will be haunting the Supreme Court for decades to come. Vital environmental protections are being erased on a seemingly daily basis. The State Department and the EPA have almost ceased to exist. Perhaps worst of all, Trump has seen with his own two eyes how the media become chickens lost in a glorious ecstasy of fluttering and flapping whenever missiles are fired from a US warship. It’s been bad, all right, but damn. It could have been so very much worse if these people had figured out early on how the lights work in the meeting rooms.
One begins to get conspiratorial when confronted with such condensed incompetence. Are the congressional Republicans secretly running some kind of rear-guard action against Trump, blowing up bridges and cutting phone cables like the French Resistance in order to undo a president they wanted nothing to do with from the get-go? It wouldn't surprise me; Trump is going to kill that party. By 2018, most GOP House members will probably go out and vote against themselves, just so they can flee the town and the next two years.
That's a fun little mind movie, but in all probability Occam's Razor -- the simplest explanation is the correct one -- prevails again. When three full political generations are raised on "Government is the problem," you get people who think Donald Trump was actually a viable choice, and who haven't the faintest idea how government actually works. Republicans campaign like angry sharks, a talent that has been in their DNA since Lee Atwater's day, but they have very few people qualified to actually govern. Paul Ryan, the GOP's anointed Jedi, has turned out to be a menace to himself and others when handed a sharpened pencil. He's the best they've got, and at this point, he couldn't shepherd through a bill declaring water to be wet.
There's a truck coming down the hill. Stand aside and let it slide by. You don't see this kind of thing every day.
The sharing of strategies is a first step in recognizing that these two movements -- both reinvigorated by Trump's election -- should be explicitly joined: The push for women's rights must also be for sanctuary. If we don't think about them together, we risk inadequately addressing important forms of discrimination and exclusion.
People gather in Washington Square Park in Manhattan on International Women's Day, March 8, 2017. (Todd Heisler / The New York Times)
On May 1, International Workers Day, immigrants will join many from the labor movement by striking, marking a "day without immigrants." While this is a strategy that has been used every May Day since 2006, this year, it is also part of a larger struggle for sanctuary, countering Trump's explicitly racist and restrictive immigration policies.
On March 8, women borrowed this tactic to mark International Women's Day. They called for "a day without women" to protest Trump's sexist and homophobic policies.
The sharing of strategies is a first step in recognizing that in fact, these two movements -- both reinvigorated by Trump's election -- should be explicitly joined: The push for women's rights must also be a push for sanctuary.
As a recent Texas case poignantly shows, the struggles against gender-based violence and deportation are very much connected. On February 9, immigration officials arrested Irvin González, a transgender woman originally from Mexico, at a courthouse where she was seeking a protective order against an abusive boyfriend. She was charged with illegal re-entry to the US and is now facing up to a decade in federal prison on immigration charges. The backlash was swift. Women's rights advocates rightly argue that her arrest sends a message to domestic violence survivors that they should not seek help if they do not want to be deported.
In fact, just as these advocates feared, on March 21, four women in Colorado dropped their cases of domestic abuse for fear of being detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who were spotted outside a Denver courthouse, waiting to make arrests.
These two political struggles -- while not identical -- are nevertheless inextricable. If we do not think about them together, we risk not adequately addressing important forms of discrimination and exclusion.
Viewing these issues together brings to light the gendered dynamics of the ways immigrant and citizenship statuses are lived, and indeed, to the way every relationship to the state is gendered. And González's case provides a stark example of how citizenship and asylum processes are not only gendered, but also racialized: one must present oneself in the right "gendered" form to be considered a "worthy" immigrant, or a "legitimate refugee." These misguided views are often based on hurtful, discriminatory stereotypes.
For instance, as much scholarshipshows, non-Muslims in Europe and the United States often perceive Muslim women as oppressed, and in need of being saved from their patriarchal cultures. As such, Muslim women are more likely to be recognized and given papers if they present themselves to immigration or asylum officers as subjugated and demure. And law enforcement and immigration officials in the US tend to consider men of color more compelling and less suspicious if they are appropriately masculine so as to conform to basic gender norms without being so masculine as to be seen as "threatening."
For LGBTQ folks, receiving asylum on the basis of homophobic discrimination requires very particular gendered performances. Again, for lesbians, research has demonstrated that appearing as a "butch" -- whether or not one may identify as "high femme" -- is most effective in persuading immigration officials of one's need for asylum.
As a society, we must be attentive to the different risks and forms of gendered violence. Otherwise, we risk perpetuating a situation where women and trans people with precarious citizenship status will not leave abusive homes for fear of being denounced or deported. Even without the contemporary climate of regular immigration raids and the heightened fear of federal and local authorities, such ignorance can have deadly consequences.
Thinking about sanctuary and women's rights together is necessary to protect many kinds of people from violence, but understanding them as part of a larger struggle also enables shared learning and strategizing. As such, it can lead us to new political concepts and openings.
For instance, LGBTQ communities of color have already pioneered projects to transform physical space, to make them safe, while being attentive to police brutality and racial profiling. As Jordan Dunn, a leader of the Sanctuary Working Group at the New School, stated, "The Audre Lorde Project's Safe OUTside the System Collective focuses on community based strategies for preventing anti-LGBTQ violence without relying on police. This is something the sanctuary movement can learn from."
Through initiatives by cities and communities committed to sanctuary, forms of local sovereignty are being experimented with, built from the ground up, with the goal of protecting the health, safety and welfare of all residents within their communities, regardless of immigration status. There are sanctuary cities (even states) and sanctuary campuses, and increasingly, a range of different spaces in between, from the original churches and faith-based institutions that have long provided shelter for undocumented immigrants, to restaurants and arts spaces.
Looking at these struggles together, we are prompted to ask if we could extend the concept of sanctuary to all kinds of difference -- gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality and so on -- not simply to immigrant status?
Indeed, while sanctuary -- and the idea of shelters or protected, safe spaces -- suggests that there is always a dangerous "outside" as a counterpoint to the safer "inside," might we imagine otherwise? Could sanctuary be deployed to get rid of the "outsides," opening up to everyone, and acknowledging that we all need forms of protection? As a society, could we create sanctuary cities for all forms of violence and exploitation?
The sanctuary movement offers us a flexible political concept. Indeed, the fact that sanctuary has no particular legal status actually allows us to deploy it politically in new and powerful ways. In its intersection with feminist and queer movements, we can push to imagine new forms it might take -- we can stretch it.
Feminist notions of vulnerabilitycan be helpful here, calling into question the body as discrete, singular, autonomous and self-sufficient, and understanding embodiment as relational, including our dependency on material infrastructural conditions. In this sense, we all need protection -- we all need infrastructure to live. We are mutually vulnerable, mutually exposed. To be clear, emphasizing vulnerability in this sense does not assume we are all victims first and foremost. Rather, vulnerability is inherent to political action. We are politically active, and we mobilize precisely because we are vulnerable together, and require certain material and social conditions to live.
To be sure, even within these struggles, there are differences and layers. Take, for example, the issue of immigrant labor and the fact that migrant women are often employed -- and sometimes exploited by -- other women. There is an inherent tension there that makes clear that women are not a homogeneous group. Neither, of course, are immigrants.
Still, thinking about feminism and sanctuary together can allow us to re-imagine what protection means for everyone who is subject to threat, discrimination or violence. Working together, we could call on sanctuary to create an egalitarian, respectful order that is based on equal access to and the sharing of the commons for everyone.
As the contours of Donald Trump's presidency over its first 100 days -- and the priorities of the Republican-majority Congress -- take shape, the economic impact on working families of this agenda is becoming clearer.
Trump ran for election on a hard nationalist, economically populist platform, wooing voters in depressed regions of the country, and in declining industries such as coal, by stressing economic protectionism, job creation, and massive infrastructure spending, and by promising to create a "beautiful" health care system for all Americans.
But as the rubber hits the road, the populist premise of his candidacy is morphing into a presidency that, many observers argue, redistributes opportunity away from those near the bottom of the economic, educational and social ladder.
"The industrial center of the country has been on a declining trend for 40 years," says University of Texas at Austin professor of government James Galbraith. "The real premise of the Trump campaign was he was going to reverse this trend. But is he going to be able to? The answer is no. The reality is that a protectionist policy is not very credible to business."
Neither the US House of Representatives nor the US Senate has shown any inclination to embrace either a quick move to protectionism or huge, publicly funded infrastructure plans of the kind that could re-industrialize economically devastated areas of the country. Meanwhile, the plans put forward to replace the Affordable Care Act would, by most accounts, curtail rather than increase access to the medical system for America's poorest and sickest residents.
Once these elements of Trump's agenda are stripped out, what's left is a series of spending cuts, deregulatory measures -- Trump's initial nominee as US Labor Secretary, for example, was vociferous in his opposition to the minimum wage and overtime rules -- and rollbacks of social protections.
Falling Through the Cracks
Ernestina Sandoval, a 42-year-old single mother of two, is a low-wage McDonald's worker in Richmond, California, a San Francisco Bay Area city. Sandoval shares a bedroom with her daughter in a friend's rented apartment. For her share in the apartment, with utilities, Sandoval spends roughly $600 a month, half of her total earnings.
Five years ago, finding it impossible to make ends meet on the $1,200 that she brings in each month by working the overnight shift at the local franchise, Sandoval sent her son, then age 4, to live with his father in Mexico. Unable to afford the plane ticket to visit Mexico, she says she has not seen the boy since.
Sandoval has leukemia. She says that she gets her health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Without the ACA, she wouldn't be able to afford insurance. Without insurance, she wouldn't be able to pay for chemotherapy. She and her family would, in all likelihood, simply fall through the cracks.
Stories such as Sandoval's are legion these days. Nearly one in six Americans lives below the government-defined poverty line, and that dire situation could, anti-poverty advocates fear, soon get even worse.
According to George Goehl, the Chicago-based co-director of the grassroots coalition People's Action, Trump is going after income supports that "are allowing people to get by. People who are already on the margins are going to slide so far down. You'll have increased homelessness, people not going to school, a rise in workplace accidents, debt. This will be a boot on the neck of anti-poverty programs."
Reshaping the Social Contract
From cuts to affordable housing investments to steep decreases in the Pell grant program; from revamping health care systems in ways that cut services for the poor to reducing expenditures on job training programs -- combined with funding tax cuts for the affluent -- the role of the federal government in shaping the American social compact is being re-imagined in dramatic ways.
Trump's proposed budget cumulatively takes away tens of billions of dollars from programs that benefit poor Americans, both those outside the labor force and those with jobs that pay at or near minimum wage. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development faces cuts of $6 billion, meaning large reductions in rental assistance and other programs aimed at extending access to affordable housing for the working poor and homeless Americans.
Local communities would lose over $4 billion in grants aimed at alleviating poverty, with programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program taking big hits. More than $400 million would be removed from job training programs for nurses and others in the health care professions.
A whopping $6 billion would be drained from the National Institutes of Health's $26 billion budget -- money not allocated explicitly for anti-poverty programs, but used to bulk up the public health, education, outreach and research infrastructure, which is particularly important for protecting communities that under-access insurance-based health systems.
Lower-income students would face huge cuts not only to Pell Grants but to programs designed to help them complete high school and college, to mentoring programs, and to job training programs for disadvantaged youth.
"It's going to be pretty terrible," worries Brianna Tong, a 22-year-old organizer with The People's Lobby campaign, who works with students in the Chicago area on social justice campaigns.
"The federal aid is a huge part of what's helping people to go to school. If the Pell grants get cut, we'll have a ton of people unable to be in school; having their life plans messed up."
Tong has had students come to her concerned that they will either have to drop out of school if the budget cuts kick in, or that they will have to go ever more deeply into debt in order to finish their education. "This is a worry that students all over the country are having," Tong says. "A lot of people, in a lot of states, are freaking out."
Meanwhile, health care reforms, if they ever come to pass in Congress, would likely result in millions of Americans losing regular, affordable, access to doctors and to necessary prescription medicines. In the run-up to the March vote on US House Speaker Paul Ryan's ill-starred replacement plan for the ACA, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that as many as 24 million Americans could lose their health coverage over the coming decade.
Turn Medicaid into a limited block grant to the states, as the more conservative members of Congress have urged, and the risk of catastrophic numbers of poor Americans being left entirely outside the health care system during economic downturns increases. In fact, the idea and use of block grants remain controversial in US cities, including Chicago.
Cutting investments in affordable housing, education, public transport, pollution control and anti-poverty strategies all contribute to worsening health, argues Don Berwick, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama. "The federal budget blueprint is undercutting many of the social programs that work against these health destroyers," he says.
Add into the mix the proposed rollback to ACA, and Berwick fears the consequences could be disastrous. "For disadvantaged populations, when you take away health access, diseases and mortality increase."
"If it all comes to pass, poor families will be in much worse shape. It's really bad policy," explains Ben Spielberg, a project manager and research associate at the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
"But, I'm hopeful. I don't think much of it will come to pass. Low- and middle-income people will be relying on defeating a lot of the ideas that have come out of the administration so far."
"We Have People Power"
Under the Obama Administration, progressive economists and social justice advocates saw a window of opportunity to reshape federal policy in a way intended to expand access to vital social goods, such as health care and higher education. These days, those same economists and community organizers are playing defense and planning for the future, as they work on solutions if, as Berwick puts it, the federal government "leaves the field."
The scope of change is so broad that advocates find themselves working on multiple fronts -- trying to convince Congress to limit the scope of cuts; seeking to embarrass a pro-employer US Department of Labor into preserving at least some workplace safety rules, overtime protections and other systems of particular importance to low-wage workers; and campaigning to convince at least some more progressive cities and states to pick up the slack in the provision of services and the protection of wages at the bottom of the economy.
At town hall meetings around the country, angry constituents have challenged legislators on the scope of federal cuts.
"You strip out food stamps, Meals on Wheels, Medicaid and places that are already struggling mightily are going to go further downhill," says Chicago's Goehl, whose coalition has organized many large town hall protests. "It's going to hurt. And you'll see a new phase of resistance as a result."
With California and other progressive states, as well as cities such as Seattle and New York, starting to move forward on minimum wage increases (Seattle led the way a couple years back by passing a $15 an hour living wage ordinance; other cities and states have followed suit); on expanded investments in public transport; on bonds for large-scale affordable housing investments; and on protecting access to health care, it's possible that two distinct systems will emerge in Trump's America.
Wealthy blue states, pushed to the left by force of circumstance, might increasingly resemble social democracies in their policy priorities.
Meanwhile, red states -- as well as blue states without the size and economic clout to go their own way on expanding social programs -- are likely to see further constrictions on access to basic services, further economic dislocation for the working poor, as well as even higher levels of inequality than those that have emerged in recent decades.
'The underlying irony is the red states are the poor states and the blue states are the rich states," says Marshall Ganz of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Roll back taxes for the wealthy, as Congress seems poised to do, and blue states such as California, Washington and New York, where a disproportionate number of wealthy Americans live, could suddenly find themselves with large amounts of money available to tax at a state level in order to fund social services.
"In a way," Ganz notes, "this is an incredible opportunity to reground, redefine and deepen progressive politics in America, coming up with ways to move forward in honest and far less equivocal ways" (at least in those states that can afford to do so).
Faced by a federal administration that is "taking a meat cleaver to everything," Ganz believes that progressive governors and mayors must create a counter-narrative that revolves around shaping "values-based policies" that make a real difference in people's lives. By so doing, he believes, they could sow the seeds for a progressive chapter in American politics that might pull the country as a whole leftward down the road in much the same way as the rise of the Tea Party pulled it rightward over the past several electoral cycles.
Ernestina Sandoval agrees. Having joined the Fight for $15 movement, which aims to raise the minimum wage, she now spends much of her time organizing with numerous other hourly workers and social justice allies around the living wage.
"We can't feel fear, can't feel weakness," she argues, despite her illness and the long nights she works at McDonald's to keep her family afloat. "We can overtake anything that comes our way. We have people power. Everything we want, and we need, we have to fight for it."
US Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr. takes part in an Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Day commemoration ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, April 26, 2016. (Photo: Logan Mock-Bunting / The New York Times)
Attempts by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to ease the concerns of North Korean leadership may have backfired spectacularly on Thursday, when a high-ranking military commander refused to rule out the possibility of the US toppling Pyongyang "for the heck of it."
Adm. Harry Harris, head of Pacific Command, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to brief lawmakers about the simmering conflict on the Korean peninsula -- tensions that could ratchet up following the unsettling exchange between the admiral and Sen. Graham.
Characterizing Kim Jong Un's dash to a deliverable nuclear weapon as an "insurance policy" against perceived US aggression, Sen. Graham tried to assure the North Korean government that they're mistaken, and that the US isn't interested in regime change.
"Is it fair to say, we do not have any intention of invading North Korea at all?" Graham asked Adm. Harris. "Nobody has told you get ready to invade North Korea."
"That is not fair to say, sir," Harris countered. "I believe the President has said that all options are on the table."
"Yeah, but I mean we're not just going to go in and take North Korea down for the heck of it," Graham responded, trying again to get the Admiral to dispel the notion of US aggression.
Harris persisted, replying: "I don't want to get into what we could or couldn't do."
"Well North Korea thinks we're going to invade at any moment," Graham pushed on. "Do you think that's part of our national security strategy—without provocation to attack North Korea?"
"I think North Korea has provided provocation already," Harris said.
Despite the exchange, Graham concluded his questioning with a message to Pyongyang: "In case North Korea is listening, none of us want to invade your country."
The senator's overtures, however, weren't just undermined by US Pacific Command, but also by his own prior words. A day earlier, during an interview with NBC, Graham defended the idea of a preemptive strike on North Korea.
"It'd be terrible, but the war would be over there, it wouldn't be here," Graham said. "It would be the end of North Korea, but what it would not do is hit America."
On Wednesday, the entire US Senate was invited to the White House for a rare briefing on the North Korea situation. Most lawmakers emerged from the meeting confused about its purpose.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told CNN that he "learned nothing new" at the gathering. "I'm not quite sure why we went all the way down to the White House," he said.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the briefing, "okay." When asked if it was "worthwhile," Corker said: "I'm not sure."
During Thursday's hearing, Adm. Harris told lawmakers that a newly-deployed missile defense system in South Korea would be "operational in the coming days."
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system was installed over the objections of Russia and China, who are concerned about the radar system's wide reach.
North Korean state news, meanwhile, reported that there was a massive military drill ongoing Wednesday, featuring a live-fire artillery barrage. The drill was held to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the North Korean army's creation.
US and South Korean military units have also been conducting joint drills of their own.
With all the discussion of the contentious 2016 election, the most shocking fact is often ignored: that millions of people had their votes stolen through malicious means. The Republican Party is currently working to purge millions more voters leading up to the 2018 election.
To explain this major attack on our supposed democratic process, Abby Martin interviews investigative reporter Greg Palast, who has done the most extensive work uncovering this massive disenfranchisement campaign.
European Union leaders have unanimously agreed the negotiating guidelines for Brexit talks with UK will be "firm and fair," and will begin on June 8th after the UK general election. As The BBC reports, EU officials said leaders burst into applause as the negotiating stance was waved through, with the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, proudly proclaiming: "we are ready... we are together."
"Unity in action," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Twitter as he announced the 27 EU governments - UK PM Theresa May was not present - rubber-stamped the negotiating strategy in less than 15 minutes at a summit in Brussels.
Policy makers arrived declaring that they were united in their approach to Brexit and that Britain wouldn’t be allowed to be better off outside the bloc than inside it. Prime Minister Theresa May’s government was told it will have to agree to pay a financial settlement and resolve the rights of citizens before the EU allows discussions to turn to a future trade deal.
French President Francois Hollande said there would inevitably be "a price and a cost for the UK - it's the choice that was made".
"We must not be punitive, but at the same time it's clear that Europe knows how to defend its interests, and that Britain the UK will have a less good position tomorrow outside the EU than today in the EU."
Which is very ironic given AFP reported German Chancellor Merkel earlier commented: "no one is allied against Britain."
The UK response was quick - Brexit Secretary David Davis emailed that:
“There is no doubt that these negotiations are the most complex the U.K. has faced in our lifetimes. They will be tough and, at times even confrontational,”
And, as Bloomberg reports, to Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of May’s Conservative Party who campaigned for Brexit, Europe’s approach is nothing more than posturing anyway:
"People go: ‘Oh look they are showing resolve and their strength.’ Well, what would you expect?" he told Bloomberg.
“They are about to head in to a negotiation. You know, I have been in business. You always start in your firm position."
So what happens next?
29 April - EU leaders (excluding the UK) meet in Brussels to adopt Brexit negotiating guidelines
7 May - French voters decide between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen as their next president
8 June - UK parliamentary election - Brexit talks to start soon after the vote
24 September - German parliamentary election, with Mrs Merkel seeking a fourth term
29 March 2019 - Deadline for ending talks on UK exit terms (any extension requires agreement of all member states)
May or June 2019 - European Parliament election (without UK)
Ratification - Any Brexit deal requires ratification by all EU's national parliaments and European Parliament
I keep asking the same question on Brexit and keep coming up with the same answer: Why bother? There is absolutely no reason the UK should start a negotiation given the repeated EU demands. Once again, on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel repeated the EU’s “not reversible” position.
I have read many articles in the Financial Times and on Eurointelligence expressing optimism on these talks. I fail to see why. Sure, we have been through countless 11th-hour deals with Greece. But the UK is not Greece.
In regards to NAFTA, a reader on my blog commented the other day “You would be surprised at how often parties could have reached a win-win agreement only to part ways fighting instead.”
I responded “I agree with you fully. A critical Brexit opportunity is coming up and I expect it to fail. There is an easy win-win compromise but the desire to punish the UK and set rules in the name of solidarity is too great.”
The EU’s first position is the UK has more to lose. The EU’s second position is that the time factor is on the EU’s side. Both are Fantasyland positions.
This is not a divorce where a one-sided judge sets alimony. This is a treaty that can be canceled at any time by walking away. Unless and until Theresa May lets it be known she will walk away, the EU has the upper hand.
The proper response from UK prime minister Theresa May is to inform the EU there will be no discussion as long as the EU insists on a divorce bill negotiated first.
Only by walking away – showing a willingness to let time expire – does the UK have a chance at reasonable negotiations. Even then, I am not sure what the chance is because the “EU’s desire to punish the UK and set rules in the name of solidarity” likely exceeds the desire to walk away with a win-win situation.
Less than a year after former president Dilma Rouseff was impeached and ousted for corruption, Brazil's economy continues to deteriorate at an alarming pace, and on Friday Brazilian police tear-gassed demonstrators and rioters burned buses in the violent conclusion of a general strike - the first in 21 years - that shut down transport, schools and banks in protest against the government's austerity reforms.
As Reuters reports, what started off as a peaceful protest by several thousand people in central Rio in the afternoon turned violent, with small groups smashing bank windows, erecting barricades and setting fires, including torching at least eight buses.
Buses burn during clashes between demonstrators and riot police in Brazil
The police responded with barrages of rubber bullets and tear gas, which covered Rio in a suffocating fog that reached all the way to the top floors of local office buildings.
Similar disturbances were observed in Sao Paulo, the country's economic powerhouse, where a crowd attempted to march to the private residence of President Michel Temer and clashed with police, who also fired rubber bullets and stun grenades. Protesters hurled rocks, set fires, smashed street lamps and threw concrete blocks into the center of the avenue.
While earlier in the day, Brazil reported that its labor market deteriorated even further in March, with the unemployment rate surging to 13.7%, resulting in a record 14.2 million unemployed workers and up from 11.1mn a year ago...
... what prompted the ugly scenes, associated more frequently with Brazil's imploding neighbor Venezuela, were protests at the government's proposed reforms, especially a steep cut to the generous pension system.
The protests came at the close of a day in which unions and leftwing groups managed to paralyze much of Brazil. The metro systems in Sao Paulo, the capital Brasilia and Belo Horizonte, another major city, were shut down. Curitiba, where Brazil's huge "Operation Car Wash" anti-corruption investigation is based, was left without bus services, as was the big northeastern city of Recife, local media reported according to AFP.
A demonstrator takes part in a protest against Brazils proposed reform
According to the Forca Sindical union, at least 40 million people had responded to the call for a 24-hour nationwide strike which started after midnight on Friday, ahead of a long weekend with Labor Day on Monday. The strike had the greatest effect in heavily unionized parts of the economy, including transportation, banks, schools, the post office and some hospital staff. The metallurgical workers' union said 60,000 members downed their tools.
The strike had a large impact on auto production in Sao Paulo, which concentrates the bulk of the industry in Brazil. General Motors, Ford Motor, Toyota and Daimler all halted production, according to company officials, unions and market analysts. Union officials said most workers at state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro, known as Petrobras, joined the strike, but the company said the stoppage had no significant impact on output. Iron ore miner Vale SA said the strike did not affect its operations.
Although a spokesman for the National Civil Aviation Agency told AFP that operations at the airports are functioning normally, there were multiple reports of delayed and canceled flights.
"We can't keep quiet anymore with a government that isn't legitimate, which wasn't elected to dismantle the rights of workers," said Ricardo Jacques, a striking bank employee in Sao Paulo.
Assuring that things will get worse before (if) they get better, Temer's center-right government has said that reforms are needed to save Latin America's biggest economy from further damage after more than two years of deep recession. Temer criticized the "unfortunate and serious incidents" during the protests and the curtailing of "freedom of movement for citizens."
Members of Brazil's Movimento dos Sem-Teto (Roofless Movement) throw wooden tables onto a burning barricade
Deeply unpopular President Temer also said Brazil's economy faces a meltdown without severe fiscal discipline and belt tightening, and while he may be right, he also may not be around long enough to supervise the outcome of his just as unpopular reforms. As noted previously, his most controversial measure has been to curb pension costs by raising the retirement age to 65 for men and 62 for women, up from the current 60 and 55. The government is also pushing for a liberalization of labor laws and has succeeded in getting Congress to pass a 20-year freeze on spending increases.
Meanwhile, as we expected when discussing the Rouseff impeachment, the popular mood is fast turning against her replacement, Temer, whose days in charge may now be numbered.
As Reuters adds, Friday's strikes were one of the biggest protests to hit the Temer administration since he took over from impeached president Dilma Rousseff last August.
Adding fuel to the fire, Rouseff's predecessor and mentor, the former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, praised the strike, Valor Economico website said.
"This is a clear demonstration that people are determined to paralyze (the country) in protest against the government's stripping away of their rights," the site quoted him as saying.
Still, not all Brazilians agree. Marcelo Faisal, a landscape architect travelling from Sao Paulo to Rio, said "reforms need to take place" and that the general strike did not live up to the hype.
"They didn't succeed in getting people to adhere to the strike, so they burned tires to block some points here and there, which just causes some disruption," he said. The economy, for years reliant on China's insatiable commodity appetite, shrank 3.8% in 2015 and is expected to have contracted a further 3.5 percent in 2016, the most painful recession on record; many have called it a depression.
And as the economic collapse accelerates, the political situation remains in turmoil as the economic depression is dovetailing with the country's worst corruption crisis in history. The infamous "Car Wash" probe has uncovered a massive network of embezzlement and bribery at the heart of Brazil's economic and political elite.
Having already taken down the previous regime, it threatens to do the same to the current government.
In a stark example of how the revolution eats its own, last month the former speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, who drove the successful impeachment of former President Rousseff and who was forced from his position as speaker in July and was arrested in October on accusations he received millions in bribes from the purchase of an oil field in Benin by state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA, was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for corruption, making him the highest-profile political conviction yet in the "Operation Car Wash" scandal.
Former speaker of Brazil's Lower House of Congress, Eduardo Cunha (C), is escorted by federal police officers
Meanwhile, eight of Temer's ministers - or nearly a third - are under investigation and the president himself has been accused of chairing a meeting in which his PMDB party negotiated a $40 million bribe from the Odebrecht engineering conglomerate. Temer and his allies deny any wrongdoing. Lula and a host of other leftist figures are also targets of anti-corruption prosecutors.
The month of April is a nightmare for anyone with a conscience, as we only have until “tax day” - which usually falls on April 15 - to give the taxman what he says he deserves. So if you pay taxes to Uncle Sam and you’re also aware you’re paying for mass murder in the Middle East and in U.S. streets due to the drug war, you should also feel sick to your stomach as you write that check.
To a restaurant customer, this may have served as enough incentive to remind his server that taxation is always immoral — but he didn’t stop there.
Last week, a customer at a Missouri restaurant gave the waitress a “personal gift” instead of a tip, writing the now popular line “Taxation is theft” in the tip section of the receipt.
In a second note, the fiscally conscious customer added:
“This is not a tip. This is a personal gift and not subject to federal or state income taxes.”
With major progressive news outlets like ATTN: reporting on this story, left-leaning reporters started to debate wages in the food and service industries, discussing the fact that tips end up being factored as wages, meaning they are always taxable.
But as that discussion developed, reporters were quick to realize that when personal gifts are in the mix, the taxman can’t take part of those earnings away. After all, a gift would have to exceed $13,000 to be subject to taxation, meaning that even if the customer had spent hundreds, the “personal gift” would not amount to anything close to the requirements stipulated by the IRS.
With that, ladies and gentlemen, it becomes easier to not only tip with class, but also with substance, giving your waiter a lesson on what’s moral and how to legally go around the rules to make sure they enjoy their full tip — not just the percentage deemed to be fit by the federal government.
As this story becomes part of the popular movement ignited by libertarians, expect to see more progressive news outlets becoming familiarized with the actual concept of taxation. What’s left for us to find out is if they are going to change their tune and start attacking people like this customer when the two-party pendulum swings once again and a fully Democratic slate takes over Washington.
Are they going to remain consistent in discussing taxation from the point of view of the worker, or are they going to side with the leech?
As JPMorgan wrote back in February, while IEA estimated the OPEC crude oil production fell by 1mbd to 32.06mbd in January, suggesting an initial compliance of 90% with the output agreement reached end 2016, the latest oil supply details released by China customs today suggest a reduction of supplies was not yet seen by China, the world’s largest oil importer.
In fact, quite the contrary: crude oil shipments from the 11 OPEC nations committed to a 1.2mbd output cut increased by 28% yoy, and more importantly, rose 4% from December 2016 - in a time when production was supposed to be declining - to 4.6mbd in January, accounting for 57% of China’s total oil imports.
Fast forward two months when Reuters analyst Clyde Russell looks at the same data and asks whether "it is time to call the crude oil output cuts by OPEC and its allies a failure?"
Echoing what we cautioned two months ago, Russell said that "certainly there is an increasing disconnect between the rhetoric of OPEC and other producers cutting output on the one hand and the reality of a well-supplied crude oil market and mixed signals on the level of global inventories on the other."
The paradox: on one hand, OPEC and non-OPEC producer nations, including Russia, have been touting the high compliance with the agreement to reduce output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from January to June. Having failed to boost the price of crude sustainably above $50, OPEC is now set to prolong the deal for another six months, with the announcement expected at a meeting scheduled for May 25. Needless to say, Russell is skeptical that merely extending what (N)OPEC tried before for another six months, will succeed.
When the deal took effect from Jan. 1, Brent traded in a narrow range for two months, before falling sharply in early March, but the support level of $50 held, with only a brief foray to an intraday low of $49.71 on March 22.
But Brent is once again testing the bottom of the post-agreement range, dropping to as low as $51.42 a barrel on Monday, as scepticism mounts over the ultimate effectiveness of the OPEC measures.
And it is here that Russell notes that more important for determining the longer-term price outlook is to look at the amount of oil available and the levels of inventories, something we have been skeptical about since the Vienna summit, and certainly since our February article.
The math is simple:for OPEC and its allies to achieve their aim of sustainable higher prices, both global supplies and inventories have to be reduced, the so-called market re-balancing. Yet "it's here that the main evidence of the failure of the OPEC agreement is to be found."
As the charts below demonstrate, oil shipments by tanker around the globe were at a record high in April, according to vessel-tracking data compiled by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodity forecasts. As of last week, the data shows that an average 50.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude is being shipped in April, up from the previous record 46.1 million bpd in January. While the data excludes crude moved by pipelines, it's extremely unlikely that pipeline supplies have been cut by more than seaborne cargoes have increased.
Worse, the data also show that Saudi Arabia, which undertook to make the largest output cut among those producers party to the November deal, is actually increasing tanker shipments in recent months, to levels well above those that prevailed late last year.
In short, OPEC may be producing less - if only believes the OPEC-sourced data - but actual global deliveries of oil have never been higher!
And here are the four charts in question which prompted Russell to declare the OPEC deal a failure.
Some more details: Saudis are expected to ship 8.29 million bpd in April, up from 7.94 million bpd in March, 7.73 million bpd in February and 7.83 million bpd in January. Furthermore, Chinese customs data released last week showed that the world's biggest crude importer received higher supplies from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Angola, Iran and Iraq in March than it did the previous month.
Repeating virtually verbatim what we said two months ago, Reuters then goes on to say that "the Chinese numbers don't exactly fit in with the narrative of successful output cuts, rather they show the opposite."
For those confused, what the above means is that a picture that emerges in which there is a gaping difference between reducing output and actually cutting supplies. As a result, while it is likely the case that OPEC and its allies have been in high compliance with their agreed output cuts, but this hasn't necessarily translated into significantly lower shipments of crude oil.
Then there is, of course, the shale wildcard: US producers outside the agreement have been increasing production and shipments. The plentiful supply of oil can be seen in global inventories, with the International Energy Agency saying recently that inventories in industrialised countries were still 10 percent above their five-year average."
There is some good news for oil bulls: "barrels stored in less visible places, such as in developing nations and in floating storage, do appear to be drawing down, but there is a question mark over whether this is happening fast enough to provide a basis for higher oil prices in future months. But for OPEC and its allies to achieve lasting success, they will actually have to reduce the amount of crude being shipped."
So far, not only has that not happened, but the Vienna deal participants have been aggressively boosting deliveries in behind the scenes attempts to capture market share from each other.
In a separate report from Bloomberg, according to the head of research at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Saudi Arabia - the world’s biggest crude exporter - has been rapidly losing market share to Iraq and Iran as a result of OPEC’s agreement to curb supplies to bolster prices, “If you’re talking about winners, you can count Iran and Iraq,” Christof Ruehl said Wednesday at a conference in Dubai.
OPEC agreed to production limits for most of its members at a meeting in November and brought 11 other nations on board with the deal in December. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, agreed to cut output by 486,000 barrels a day while Iraq said it would cut 210,000 barrels a day. Iran was permitted to increase output by 90,000 barrels a day, according to the OPEC accord.
Ironically, US shale production has increased by almost exactly the amount that Saudi production has declined by, suggesting that Saudi Arabia is losing market share not only to Iraq and Iran, but also to US oil producers.
Saudi Arabia knew it would lose share because Iran’s production was on the rebound, said Robin Mills, founder of Dubai-based consultant Qamar Energy. “The Saudis agreed to production cuts at a time when Iranian production was at a high.”
The struggle over market share is most pronounced in Asia, according to Mills and Edward Bell, commodities analyst at Dubai-based lender Emirates NBD PJSC. Iran and Iraq increased crude sales to China last month, while Saudi Arabia slipped behind Russia and Angola as the largest suppliers to the nation, data released Tuesday by the General Administration of Customs show.
“The Saudis are losing out because other countries are able to squeeze out more production,” Bell of Emirates NBD said. Saudi Arabia is cutting crude pricing to Asia to hold on to its share, Bell said. The kingdom will likely release its official crude pricing for June next week, with most other regional producers following.
The bottom line, according to Russell, is that it doesn't matter how much you talk about reducing output or drawing down producer inventories, what ultimately matters for the price is the amount of crude that buyers can access. And right now, the data on crude flows indicates that the OPEC deal is failing, even as Saudi Arabia is facing increasing market share losses, which will sooner or later prompt the kingdom to aggressive undercut its competition once prices fail to rebound materially, sending the price of crude tumbling once again, as OPEC goes back to square one in a world where the real question market is not the future of supply, but what happens to demand.
After a mangled deployment of Trump's aircraft carrier "armada" during which miscommunication between the White House and the Pentagon meant the USS Carl Vinson would arrive off the North Korea coast weeks after what Trump had initially suggested, on Saturday Japan's public broadcaster NHK aired footage of the U.S. aircraft carrier sailing off the coast of Nagasaki prefecture in southern Japan, hours after the latest failed ballistic missile test by North Korea..
NHK said it shot the footage Saturday morning from a helicopter. Nagasaki is in Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four main islands. On Friday, the Vinson conducted joint training with two Japanese destroyers and two Japanese F-15 fighter jets in waters further south off the Japanese island of Okinawa.
The USS Carl Vinson is heading north toward the Korean peninsula over rising concerns the Kim regime may conduct another nuclear test, one day after Pyongyang provoked not only the US but also China and Russia with its latest failed missile test.
Since Nagasaki is just a few hundred kilometers away from the Korean coast, and less 800 km from Pyongyang (by air), it will likely reach its destination off the Korean coast during the next few hours.
Meanwhile, according to AP, shortly after receiving notice that North Korea had conducted another missile launch, one of Tokyo's major subways systems said it had shut down all lines for 10 minutes early Saturday. Tokyo Metro official Hiroshi Takizawa said service was halted on all nine lines at 6:07 a.m. It resumed at 6:17 a.m. after it was clear there was no threat to Japan; the temporary suspension affected 13,000 passengers. Takizawa says it was the first time service had been stopped in response to a missile launch. Train service is generally suspended in Japan immediately after large earthquakes. Tokyo Metro decided earlier this month to stop for missile launch warnings as well.
Earlier on Satirday, Japan protested the latest missile launch by North Korea: Abe spokesman Yoshihide Suga said that a ballistic missile firing would be a flagrant "violation of U.N. security council resolutions." He added that Japan "cannot accept repeated provocation by North Korea" and had "lodged a strong protest against North Korea." Japan has become increasingly concerned in recent weeks about the possibility of a North Korean missile attack targeting Japan or U.S. forces stationed in Japan.
Despite protests around the world, the Cassini space probe—containing more deadly plutonium than had ever been used on a space device—was launched 20 years ago. And this past weekend—on Earth Day—the probe and its plutonium were sent crashing into Saturn.…
The residents of Seongju and Gimcheon were caught off guard when the United States Forces Korea and the South Korean Defense Ministry forced key parts of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system into the former Lotte Skyhill …
The clock is about to run out on North Korea. For all of the bluster of Kim Jong Un and the North Korean display of live and fake missiles, the repulsive thuggish bully Kim Jong Un has finally rallied the international community to action. Urging peace, one last attempt at sanctions was the theme of […]
Damascus, SANA-President Bashar al-Assad affirmed that the objective of the American and western allegations about chemical weapons is to support terrorists in Syria. President al-Assad added in an interview given to Venezuelan Telesur TV that the solution in Syria should be through stopping outside support to the terrorists and reconciliation among the Syrians. Journalist: Mr. […]
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46956.htm Villainizing the Kremlin—without much evidence—for crises from Washington and Europe to Syria, Ukraine, and Afghanistan is increasing the possibility of a US-Russian war. By Stephen F. Cohen Stephen Frand Cohen is an American scholar and professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University. Radio: http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/contact http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/schedules Twitter: @batchelorshow https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/04/25/the-gops-russia-investigation-is-a-joke-and-americans-know-it/?utm_term=.7d16defeebf1 […]
In the end, there was hardly a reset; rather a sort of tentative pause on Cold War 2.0. Interminable days of sound and fury were trudging along when President Trump finally decided NATO is “no longer obsolete”; still, he wants to “get along” with Russia. Just ahead of meeting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson […]
So far, the Trump administration seems to think that threats or ultimatums serve as an effective foreign policy. The president’s simple two-word message to North Korea: “Gotta behave.” This, after Vice President Mike Pence visited the Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea, saying that “the era of strategic patience is over” and citing the […]
Not everyone likes to hear about the threat of nuclear war. Some find refuge in denial and say that nuclear war is impossible because it makes no sense. Unfortunately, humankind has a long record of doing things that make no sense. In previous posts in recent years I have pointed out both written documents and changes in US war doctrine that indicate that Washington is preparing a preemptive nuclear attack on Russia and China. More recently, I have shown that Washington’s demonization of Russia and President Putin, the incessant lies about Russian deeds and intentions, and the refusal of Washington to cooperate with Russia on any issue have convinced the Russian government that Washington is preparing the Western populations for an attack on Russia. It is obvious that China has come to the same conclusion.
nsnbc : The Mozambican parliament, earlier this week on Wednesday, adopted a law on operationalizing 16 new districts with a budget of 892 million meticais (EUR 12.4 million ). The law was adopted with the votes from the ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo), and of the Movimento Democrático de Moçambique (MDM). Renamo, the third-largest party voted […]
nsnbc : Indonesian President Joko Widodo (a.k.a. Jokowi) visited the Philippines and met Phillippine President Rordrigo Duterte. Jokowi was accompanied by his wife. A new shipping line between the two countries was inaugurated. Jokowi, his wife Iriana and his delegation arrived at Col Jesus Villamor Airport, Manila, Philippines on Friday. Bey Machmudin, Head of Press, Media and […]
nsnbc : Lawmakers at Montenegro’s parliament, on Friday voted in favor of joining NATO. The decision was made as opposition lawmakers, who have boycotted parliament in recent months, protested outside parliament. Russia expressed concerns while NATO welcomed the decision. 46 out of 81 lawmakers voted in the capital Cetinje to ratify the treaty with the […]
nsnbc : The United Nations human rights office, yesterday, expressed grave concerns about the executions of four men in the United States state of Arkansas within a span of eight days to make use of one of the drugs used executions by lethal injection before its expiration date. The fourth convict to be executed Kenneth […]
nsnbc : Turkey, this week, escalated airstrikes as well as ground offensives against the Syrian – Kurdish YPG and the Turkish offensive continues and continues to claim victims. However, Turkey’s strategy backfire d as the PKK declared that it offensives against Turkey in response to the continuous oppression of Kurds in Turkey and the recent […]
“We live in such a dangerous society that we never know when terror will strike…” At least, that must be what Newport, Oregon police thought went through the mind of the concerned citizen who snapped the above photo when they took to Facebook apparently worried that a cat sniper with a rifle was stalking […]
From the president’s future to Pelosi’s past — and most points in between — it’s time for a look back at the week that was. Personal Liberty Digest® presents: The WIRE! Plenty of reflections from all corners this week as President Donald Trump finished his first 100 days in office. Of course, there was little […]
Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com President Donald Trump declared Friday that an “eight-year assault” on Second Amendment rights had come to a “crashing end” with his election. “No longer will federal agencies be coming after law-abiding gun owners. No longer will the government be trying to undermine your rights and freedoms as […]
A police officer allegedly trying to “clear his gun” ended up negligently discharging it into his knee cap. He was supposedly sitting in his car, trying to make sure the gun was clear, and somehow managed to lay his finger on the bang switch. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department responded and noticed the officer was […]
One hundred plus days into his topsy- turvy presidency, Donald Trump and his administration are sending conflicting messages about the agenda he ran on in his 2016 campaign.
In many cases, he appears to be backing away from the hardcore positions that appealed to his legions of cheering supporters who catapulted him into the White House.
In recent weeks, Trump and his advisers have abandoned key components of his plan to deport millions of illegal Hispanic immigrants, suggesting that many or even most of them will remain in this country.
President Trump has just signed a new Executive Order, this time specifically on agriculture, directing the Secretary of Agriculture to undertake a 180-day review to "identify and eliminate" what Trump says are "unnecessary regulations".1 The Presidential Order also creates a new task force to recommend eliminating food and agriculture legislation, policies, and regulations that might hinder the profit-making of "agribusiness."
What kind of regulations are they looking at? Well, the details are slim, but what is there doesn't look good. We know that regulations regarding the oversight, production, and export of genetically engineered crops are high on the list.2 The Executive Order also seems to push for faster and/or easier approvals for pesticides and biotech crops, pushing biotech crops abroad to ease export market access, easing the privatization of scarce public water resources for corporate gain, and opening public lands up to mining, farming, ranching and other activities that don't belong on our public lands.3
President Donald Trump has hit his 100-day mark as commander in chief. While Trump has made good on some of his promises such as making adjustments to government agencies, creating a coalition to combat the opioid crisis, and making sweeping changes to the federal tax code, he made a plethora of campaign declarations and pledges that he has either abandoned — in a most hypocritical fashion — or is unable to fulfill.
Rand Paul warned that Trump was a chameleon in 2015 and cautioned that he was a "consummate insider." As many of Trump's former supporters have learned, he was right. Some of the pledges since dismissed by Trump were the very reasons why many voters ultimately chose Trump over Hillary Clinton or a third-party candidate.
For the second time in less than a year, a police officer with the Buda Police Department is being sued for excessive force and violating the civil rights of two elderly citizens. The Free Thought Project brought you the story of 73-year-old veteran Juan Martinez, who was thrown to the ground in a Buda, TX by Officer Demerriel Young in the local Walmart for questioning his authority apparently.
This time, he's being sued for excessive use of force against a senior citizen, in his own home.
Leonard Miguel Garcia, of Buda, was at his home when police arrived to remove his grandchildren from his home, an action which is likely to make anyone become anxious.
Police officers DeMerriel Young and Kellie Metz were present and were invited into the home.
It is important to unite the efforts of Russia and the US-led coalition in order to improve efficiency of the fight against terrorists in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday.
"We believe that in order to solve this problem [to improve efficiency of anti-terror fight] it is important to unite the efforts of all those who fight terrorism in Syria, I mean both the Russian Aerospace Forces and the coalition led by the Americans," the Russian minister said at a meeting with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi.
Speaking about the role of Moscow and Washington in the Syrian settlement, Lavrov added that Jordan's King Abdullah II repeatedly stressed the necessity of US-Russian cooperation on the Syrian issue. He added that Moscow was ready for this interaction and expected the same approach from Washington.
A Brazilian student has mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind a locked room covered in encrypted texts, 14 handwritten books and a massive statue of occultist Giordano Bruno. Bruno Borges, a 24-year-old student from Brazil, reportedly vanished on March 27th after completing a secretive project consisting of thousands of pages of encrypted texts combined with mysterious symbols. […]
The YouTube channel of an artist named That Poppy has been mystifying viewers for years. Behind the weirdness of her videos is a disturbing story: The mind control of a young pop star. After receiving several e-mails requesting to check out That Poppy, I sat down and went through the 70+ videos on her YouTube channel. […]
After years of silence, models are speaking out against the sadistic behavior of people in the fashion industry where abuse, exploitation, and even torture is rampant. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. In my series of articles Symbolic Pics of the Month, I often feature fashion photoshoots where abuse and violence are […]
Two nuns who are strongly opposed to Katy Perry purchasing their former convent accused Katy Perry of witchcraft and of “selling her soul to the devil”. They really don’t want her to move in there. The singer whose last single was about people being too “comfortable in their bubble” has been attempting to buy, for […]
In this edition of SPOTM: Emma Watson, Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, a triceratops and some inappropriate stuff happening at the Kid’s Choice Awards. Emma Watson is an “It” celeb at this particular moment and, of course, the media attention comes with a bunch of symbolic stuff (even photo “leaks”). Some controversy surrounded the following Vanity Fair […]
Tzeporah Berman, the Executive Director of PowerUp Canada, explains that the Trudeau's government's environmental policies are an important improvement over the previous government, but it is far from enough
Craig Aaron of Free Press says the fight to stop FCC chair Ajit Pai's attempt to undo net neutrality, which protects equal access to internet content, depends on a resurgence of the grassroots activism that helped push it through in 2015.
Sharmini Peries speaks with Thomas Barlow, the Senior Editor of Real Media, who analyses the electoral panorama for the upcoming 8th June general election in Britain. (The Real News)Filed under: Interviews, UK, UK Politics/Society
George Monbiot writes for The Guardian: […] Yes, Jeremy Corbyn is disappointing. Yes, his leadership has been marked by missed opportunities, weakness in opposition and (until recently) incoherence in proposition, as well as strategic and organisational failure. It would be foolish to deny or minimise these flaws. But it would be more foolish still to use […]
Tina Nguyen writes for Vanity Fair: Milo Yiannopoulos, the former tech editor at Breitbart, has made political provocations, often deeply offensive ones, a business model. But his career seemed to come crashing down in recent months when one of his speaking appearances, at the University of California, Berkeley, led to riots. Weeks later, videos emerged […]
Amy Goodman speaks with economist James Henry of the Tax Justice Network about the Trump White House plan to give the nation’s millionaires and billionaires a massive tax break. (Democracy Now!)Filed under: Banking/Finance, Corporations, Donald Trump, Interviews, Tax Havens, USA
Bethan McKernan reports for The Independent: More than 10,000 dead. Approximately 19 million people in desperate need of humanitarian aid, including 7.3 million on the brink of famine. The figures in Yemen’s two-year-old civil war are staggering – but they don’t convey the daily suffering of civilians. “The numbers do not show the human aspect. Unlike Syria, where news about […]
Those that were predicting that the U.S. economy would be flying high by now have been proven wrong. U.S. GDP grew at the worst rate in three years during the first quarter of 2017, and many are wondering if this is the beginning of a major economic slowdown. Of course when we are dealing with [...]
We have just witnessed one of the greatest routs in modern American political history. We are still waiting to see if a spending agreement can be reached so that a government shutdown at midnight on Friday can be averted, but whether a shutdown actually happens or not, the Democrats have won this round by a [...]
Have you ever wondered how tech companies that have been losing hundreds of millions of dollars year after year can somehow be worth billions of dollars according to the stock market? Because I run a website called “The Economic Collapse“, there are naysayers out there that take glee in mocking me by pointing out how [...]
Well, that didn’t take long. Yesterday I reported that the Democrats were threatening to force a government shutdown if money for a border wall was included in the bill to fund the government, and one day later Donald Trump has unconditionally surrendered. Despite all of Trump’s promises, a border wall isn’t going to happen at [...]
Is Donald Trump going to unconditionally surrender to the Democrats and completely give up his dream of building a border wall in order to avoid a government shutdown on his 100th day in office? As I have warned before, the Democrats are perfectly willing to force a government shutdown if the Trump administration and the [...]
(Campus Reform) Saturday will mark Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, an important milestone for U.S. presidents ever since the flurry of panicked flailings with which Franklin Roosevelt began his administration. While supporters of President Trump point to his slew of executive orders and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch as markers of [...]
(Fox News) Humpback whales are dying at an alarming rate off America’s East Coast with more than 40 washing ashore in little over a year, and U.S. scientists are investigating why it is happening. An “unusual mortality event” has been declared for East Coast humpback whales, defined as “a stranding that is unexpected; involves a [...]
(Federalist) Bill Nye, who has been recently spending time yelling at people that gender is fluid and has nothing to do with DNA, used to tell everyone that science says chromosomes determine if a person is a boy or a girl. In an episode of his show “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” circa 1996, the [...]
(Smithsonian Magazine) If you’re looking for the middle of nowhere, the Bjaeldskovdal bog is a good place to start. It lies six miles outside the small town of Silkeborg in the middle of Denmark’s flat, sparse Jutland peninsula. The bog itself is little more than a spongy carpet of moss, with a few sad trees [...]
(Fox News) On the eve of his 100th day in office, President Trump rallied a convention of the National Rifle Association by vowing to “never, ever infringe” on Second Amendment rights and declaring his predecessor’s alleged “assault” on those freedoms is over. “I am here to deliver you good news: the eight-year assault on your [...]
With all the discussion of the contentious 2016 election, the most shocking fact is often ignored: that millions of people had their votes stolen through malicious means. The Republican Party is currently working to purge millions more voters leading up to the 2018 election. To explain this major attack on our supposed democratic process, Abby Martin interviews investigative reporter Greg … Read More
Listen to “US News Propaganda Silences Dissenters; ‘MOAB’ used in Afghanistan” on Spreaker. “By Any Means Necessary” host Eugene Puryear is joined by Abby Martin, journalist and host of The Empire Files, a weekly investigative news program on teleSUR to talk about the shocking ways in which mainstream media outlets have created a witch hunt against alternative news outlets that … Read More
Oregon State University Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights hosted a panel discussion with independent journalists Rania Khalek, Abby Martin (The Empire Files), and Mnar Muhawesh (MintPress News) to discuss Syria, Palestine, and Yemen in a way the mainstream media refuses to cover. Perspectives on Palestine, Syria, and Yemen – Abby Martin, Mnar Muhawesh, Rania Khalek ** @AbbyMartin | @MnarMuh … Read More
Robbie Martin discusses the recent U.S. strike on a Syrian air base, the misconception that Trump and the alt-right are anti-intervention, the ploy to paint anti-Syrian war activists as Neo-Nazis, and the alt-right using their own media outlets as a conduit for Trump administration propaganda. This podcast is the product of many long hours of hard work and love. If … Read More
At the American Muslims for Palestine (NJ Chapter) 2017 Benefit Dinner, Abby Martin shares her experiences from a recent trip to Palestine and why her journalism and activism focus on Palestine and it’s people. American Muslims for Palestine Benefit Dinner ** @AbbyMartin & @AMPalestine
What happened to the Donald Trump who campaigned for president, the one who embraced an anti-interventionist foreign policy for the U.S. under a Trump administration? Whose path is he now following, and how have the [...]
Beginning in 1962, secret U.S. military units, referred to as “Ghost Walkers,” operated clandestinely in North Korea. Their missions were so secret, in fact, the U.S. government refuses to acknowledge the experiences in the records of these black-ops [...]
France’s first round of presidential voting is over, and the news is surely alarming to globalists and EU-firsters everywhere. Marine Le Pen of the populist, right-wing National Front Party has come in second place, having secured the [...]
...Indeed, it is just as—if not more—likely that North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are about staving off U.S.-led regime change. What do Saddam Hussein and Muammar el-Qaddafi both have in common? Both did not have nuclear weapons and both were on the receiving end of regime change. That reality is probably not lost on Kim Jong-un.
The problem of realising the significant cooperation potential between Austria and Russia in the economic and investment fields (the gas energy sector, transcontinental transport links, and the high-tech segment of engineering) is looming large not just for business people, but for politicians as well.
President Trump is very flexible when it comes to foreign policy. He promised to stay away from overseas military adventures but seized limelight with his cruise missile strikes against Syria. He said the North Atlantic Alliance was obsolete and not needed. Now he says «I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete». Here is another flip-flop of his foreign policy.
Zero HedgeApril 29, 2017 Having blasted the Trump administration for their hyprocritical flip-flop from “loving WikiLeaks” to “arrest Assange,” Ron Paul made his feelings very clear on what this signals: “If we allow this president to declare war on those who tell the truth, we have only ourselves to blame.” Today he sits down with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for a […]
Published time: 26 Apr, 2017 09:52Edited time: 27 Apr, 2017 08:22 Boris Johnson will play only a minor role in the Tory’s election campaign after MPs urged Theresa May to sideline the gaffe-prone foreign secretary, it has emerged. Read more At least three senior ministers want Johnson – who was heavily criticized for his performance […]
A group representing 40 native Alaskan tribes has severely criticized US President Donald Trump’s new executive order that paves the way for oil drilling in the Arctic. Read Full Article at RT.com Via RT. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.
Luke begins his live stream walking around the grounds at UC Berkeley. Ann Coulter was due to speak but has canceled her appearance over safety fears. 13:11 – The empathy tent is back! LIVE: Battle For #Berkeley The Empathy Tent is back!!! pic.twitter.com/tsKl9Hov1a — Anonymous (@Anon_Emy) April 27, 2017 13:27 – Luke says hello to Lauren […]
Luke Rudkowski is live on the ground at UC Berkeley, California, covering the Free Speech Rally today. Ann Coulter was due to speak but has canceled her appearance over safety fears. The atmosphere is likely to heat up quickly between pro-Trump protesters and Antifa. Violence has become common place at these types of events and is […]
Luke Rudkowski is live on the ground at UC Berkeley, California, covering the Free Speech Rally today. Ann Coulter was due to speak but has cancelled her appearance over safety fears. The atmosphere is likely to heat up quickly between pro-Trump protesters and Antifa. Violence has become common place at these types of events and is […]
The patriots VS the globalists are facing off in the upcoming French presidential election. Emmanuel Macron is adored by the warmongering globalist bankers and neoliberals as the mainstream media announces his ‘inevitable victory’. Marie Le Pen, who the mainstream media has been branded as a far right, wants France out of the EU, and is […]
Youtube personalities and channels are seeing a huge decrease in ad revenue to the point where people are calling this the Adpocalypse. What is the solution? Will this spell the end for youtubers? FOLLOW TIM Instagram – http://instagram.com/Timcast Twitter – http://twitter.com/Timcast Minds – http://Minds.com/Timcast Facebook – http://facebook.com/Timcastnews SUPPORT JOURNALISM. DONATE AT PATREON.COM/TIMCAST FOLLOW WE ARE […]
To mark the 100th day of Donald Trump's presidency, thousands of climate activists from around the country are converging in Washington, D.C. on Saturday for the People's Climate March. Already, Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, begun dismantling President Obama's climate legacy and revived the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. He has also put climate change deniers in charge of several key agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, and proposed slashing the budget of the EPA and other climate programs. This comes as scientists have confirmed 2016 was the warmest year on record. Our guest is Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, who helped organize this latest march and notes: "Weekends are for fighting tyranny."
As we broadcast from Burlington, Vermont, which is a sanctuary city, Vermont Rep. Peter Welch says there has been enormous citizen support toward undocumented workers. "You're just seeing people across this country say, 'Wait a minute, that is not the America I know,'" Welch notes. He also discusses the need for local control over whether police departments enforce immigration laws and says, "It is appropriate for law enforcement to have discretion."
Our guest Congressman Peter Welch explains why he joined his Democratic colleagues on the House Oversight Committee in demanding White House documents on President Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn. In a letter to chairman Jason Chaffetz, the group wrote, "There is obviously a paper trail that the White House does not want our Committee to follow. If the White House refuses to produce the documents requested by the Oversight Committee—as it has to date—we believe the Committee should consider employing compulsory measures as it did in similar cases during the previous Administration."
As President Trump marks his first 100 day in office, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) argues many of his plans have increased inequality. "The tax plan is one where the benefits go to the elites in urban areas and corporations," Welch says. "Those are direct policies that will be crushing to the economic prospects of folks, especially in rural America." Meanwhile, a plan that backed by the Koch brothers to classify the Internet as a public utility would leave the industry to largely police itself.
As President Trump marks his first 100 days in office, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) argues many of his plans have increased inequality. "The tax plan is one where the benefits go to the elites in urban areas and corporations," Welch says. "Those are direct policies that will be crushing to the economic prospects of folks, especially in rural America." Meanwhile, a plan that backed by the Koch brothers to classify the Internet as a public utility would leave the industry to largely police itself.
He signed dozens of executive orders, welcomed leaders from around the globe, and, oh boy, did he tweet. As Donald Trump enters his 100th day as the 45th president of the United States, POLITICO takes a day-by-day look back at the command, color, and at times chaos, he's brought to the office.
Reacting to a recent law that prohibits women from wearing a Burkha (a complete veil), the Austrian President, Alexander Van der Bellen has expressed his wish that all Austrian women would all wear the veil on one day, marking resistance to Islamophobia. Contrary to what President Van der Bellen believes, the veil forms no part of Islam in its traditional form. None of the Prophet's wives covered herself with the veil. It was only in the VIII century, in Bagdad, with the Abbasid caliphs, (...)
Russia's Attorney General has declared that three humanitarian NGOs created by the family of Mikhaïl Khodorkovski (photo) are not welcome in Russia: Open Russia (United Kingdom) (directors: Henry Kissinger and Lord Jacob Rothschild); Open Russia Civic Movement (United Kingdom); and Institute of Modern Russia (United States). They are added to the other seven «NGOs» that have been proscribed under the Law of July 2015: National Endowment for Democracy (NED); OSI Assistance Foundation (...)
The US NGO, Enough, has published a report, Border Control from Hell, How the EU's migration partnership legitimizes Sudan's "militia state", challenging the EU policy on Sudan. The NGO believes that the Union is subsidizing the establishment of two detention camps in Sudan as well as fitting out and training security forces to limit the influx of African migrants into Europe. Yet, the principal beneficiaries are the Rapid Support Forces (“RSF”). The latter were established by former soldiers (...)
As-salamu alaykum! I consider it a great gift to be able to begin my Visit to Egypt here, and to address you in the context of this International Peace Conference. I thank my brother, the Grand Imam, for having planned and organized this Conference, and for kindly inviting me to take part. I would like to offer you a few thoughts, drawing on the glorious history of this land, which over the ages has appeared to the world as a land of civilizations and a land of covenants. A land of (...)
On 24 April, 2017 guess who supped with President Donald Trump? Senator John McCain, his wife Cindy and his colleague Lindsey Graham. It appears that they have come to some sort of agreement: the United States would continue to protect Europe and therefore, would abstain from reaching an alliance with Russia, but at the same time would pull out from the “expanded Middle East”. To seal this agreement, Washington's policy in Europe would be entrusted to neo-conservatives. Tom Goffus, one of (...)
Nhuận’s dismay with Thiệu climaxed during the national elections of 1971, when Thiệu resorted to the same dirty tricks Kỳ tried to use in 1967. Thiệu, however, was so successful in rigging the presidential election that the other candidates withdrew in protest. Thiệu ran unopposed and was elected, but his power grab dealt a fatal […]
In the UK you can start a petition on the Government website. If it reaches 10,000 signatures you get a response from the Government. If it tops 100,000 it will be considered for debate in Parliament. Currently there’s a petition saying the UK must apologise for the Balfour Declaration and lead peace efforts in Palestine. […]
Moral Injury and Nonviolent Resistance is not an easy train read. It is, however, a “Must Read” and very compelling. In a culture where war is taken for granted, whether it be on a foreign battleground or in a domestic arena, the Lynds offer their book as a plea for Peace. Peace through nonviolent actions. […]
Moral Injury and Nonviolent Resistance is not an easy train read. It is, however, a “Must Read” and very compelling. In a culture where war is taken for granted, whether it be on a foreign battleground or in a domestic arena, the Lynds offer their book as a plea for Peace. Peace through nonviolent actions. […]
For many of us, it is insanely difficult to wrap our hearts and minds around the prospects which lie ahead for humanity. The list of potential calamities is long and varied, and the scenarios that rise to the top of the ‘most probable today’ column shift all the time. Are we looking at full-blown nuclear […]
On Monday, Xi Jinping and Trump spoke for the second time by phone on North Korea since the Chinese president’s visit to Mar-a-Lago earlier this month. Instead of stressing peaceful resolution of the issue alone, Xi said all parties must “shoulder their due responsibilities and meet each other halfway.” Yet he called for “restraint,” avoiding ...
It is hard to believe that a little over a year ago I decided to pull up stakes and search for the perfect survival retreat. More than a retreat, I wanted to find a forever home. It has been quite the journey and now that I am within days of fully moving into my new ...
If you’re trying to lose weight (and even if you’re not), it’s imperative your diet is in check. That means lots of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables are a must and making smoothies can be a great way to ingest them. What are Smoothies? Smoothies usually contain blended or puréed fruits and/or vegetables. Sometimes ice ...
The small town of Hanover, Massachusetts, population ~13,000, has become the first in the state to obtain a license from the FAA to fly a surveillance drone. According to media reports, the police and fire department plan to use it. I’m curious to learn why the Hanover police department wants a drone, and how it plans ...
The ultimate form of political and economic power is the power to commit crimes with impunity. – John Titus The Shadow of Truth is pleased to present a preview of, “All The Plenary’s Men,” the new film by John Titus (Best Evidence videos / Bailout Films). The term “plenary” in this context is defined as, “complete in ...
The 1972 U.S. Clean Water Act was supposed to ensure clean water for swimming, fishing and drinking.1 Unfortunately, after more than four decades of regulations, American waterways are in serious jeopardy.
Toxic runoff from industries, improper disposal of medications and agricultural runoff from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and large factory farms all contribute to a severe water pollution problem.
Not only are groundwater aquifers rapidly depleting, but much of the world's water supply has become too contaminated to drink or bathe in. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly two billion people don't have safe drinking water.2
Ronald Bernard is a Dutch financial wizard who worked at the most secret level of global currency traffic. When he launched his career, he was warned to "put your conscience in the deep freeze."
Little did he know that was an understatement.
"You get so deep in these circles... I was trusted by the people playing at that level. To put it tactfully, most of those people follow a fringe religion... For them, it's truth and reality, and they served something immaterial that they called Lucifer."
"... at some point I was invited to participate in sacrifices. Abroad. That was the breaking point. Children."
Located at the Tamya Oasis in Saudi Arabia is a fascinating megalith called Al-Naslaa. It is perfectly split in half and has curious symbols portrayed on its surface.
If that wasn’t enough, the two rocks split in half with laserlike precision have managed to remain standing for centuries, and are somehow perfectly balanced. The stones were split in half with an LASER-LIKE precision.
Imagine walking around in the desert, exploring the unknown and you come across a massive standing stone, split in half by a PERFECT LINE. What would be the first thing that jumps to your mind?
The standing stone(s) of Al-Naslaa truly are a GIANT mystery. Located in Saudi Arabia, the two stones split in half have created confusion among experts ever since their discovery.
Fear, frustration and a feeling of insecurity encourage many Germans to store their jewelry in safes, a sales representative, Wolfgang Meier, with the Hansa Tresor company in Bremen told Sputnik Germany.
Turkey's position on a number of internal issues, such as debates on death penalty and arrests of journalists, is unacceptable, President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani said Saturday, expressing hope that the situation in the country would change.
Following the outbreak of violence in the Macedonian parliament the country has found itself split in two, journalist Milenko Nedelkovski told Sputnik Serbia. For her part, MGIMO professor Elena Ponomareva believes that the crisis is part of a broader strategy aimed at uniting the Albanians of the Balkans into a larger national entity.
The US has reportedly demanded $1 billion from South Korea for the placement of the THAAD missile system on South Korea’s territory. Radio Sputnik spoke with an expert, Alexander Vorontsov, who noted that Trump applies a “rigid-push approach on his ally.”
Today, on April 29, one may celebrate Trump’s hundred days in office, if somebody is still in the mood for celebration after what we’ve seen so far. It’s true that the hundred-day marker is never an absolutely reliable indicator of a four-year term that we can expect, yet, it can make one’s evaluation of the […]
On April 22, as was already customary in the era of King Salman and his son, Prince Mohammed, a series of royal decrees were unexpectedly adopted and immediately published. The essence of these decrees is twofold: on the one hand, the level of salaries and bonuses for state employees will be restored, after having been […]
We’ve all heard about “Muslim terror attacks” in European countries, and all the countries which are supposed to be sponsoring terrorism. We are even being told there is an end result to all this terrorism – ISIS has established various caliphates, which are supposed to represent the new world order under the banner of terrorism, […]
“Some have called Afghanistan ‘the graveyard of empires,’ and it probably is the graveyard of empires.” James G. Stavridis Indeed, many great empires over the centuries came to crash against the stubborn will of Afghanistan, only to drive this one people to think their land an extension of their national identity – the very air […]
After any crime, regardless of scale, a swift, impartial and independent investigation is required if any accountability at all is desired. The French government, in the wake of an alleged “chemical weapons attack” near Syria’s northern city of Idlib, has claimed that it is “committed to ensuring that the perpetrators of this heinous attack are held […]