The tabs on their shoulders read "Special Forces," "Ranger," "Airborne." And soon their guidon -- the "colors" of Company B, 3rd Battalion of the US Army's 7th Special Forces Group -- would be adorned with the "Bandera de Guerra," a Colombian combat decoration.
"Today we commemorate sixteen years of a permanent fight against drugs in a ceremony where all Colombians can recognize the special counternarcotic brigade's hard work against drug trafficking," said Army Colonel Walther Jimenez, the commander of the Colombian military's Special Anti-Drug Brigade, last December. America's most elite troops, the Special Operations forces (SOF), have worked with that Colombian unit since its creation in December 2000. Since 2014, four teams of Special Forces soldiers have intensely monitored the brigade. Now, they were being honored for it.
Part of a $10 billion counter-narcotics and counterterrorism program, conceived in the 1990s, special ops efforts in Colombia are a muchballyhooed American success story. A 2015 RAND Corporation study found that the program "represents an enduring SOF partnership effort that managed to help foster a relatively professional and capable special operations force." And for a time, coca production in that country plummeted. Indeed, this was the ultimate promise of America's "Plan Colombia" and efforts that followed from it. "Over the longer haul, we can expect to see more effective drug eradication and increased interdiction of illicit drug shipments," President Bill Clinton predicted in January 2000.
Today, however, more than 460,000 acres of the Colombian countryside are blanketed with coca plants, more than during the 1980s heyday of the infamous cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. US cocaine overdose deaths are also at a 10-year high and first-time cocaine use among young adults has spiked 61% since 2013. "Recent findings suggest that cocaine use may be reemerging as a public health concern in the United States," wrote researchers from the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in a study published in December 2016 -- just after the Green Berets attended that ceremony in Colombia. Cocaine, the study's authors write, "may be making a comeback."
Colombia is hardly an anomaly when it comes to US special ops deployments -- or the results that flow from them. For all their abilities, tactical skills, training prowess, and battlefield accomplishments, the capacity of US Special Operations forces to achieve decisive and enduring successes -- strategic victories that serve US national interests -- have proved to be exceptionally limited, a reality laid bare from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen to the Philippines.
The fault for this lies not with the troops themselves, but with a political and military establishment that often appears bereft of strategic vision and hasn't won a major war since the 1940s. Into this breach, elite US forces are deployed again and again. While special ops commanders may raise concerns about the tempo of operations and strains on the force, they have failed to grapple with larger questions about the raison d'être of SOF, while Washington's oversight establishment, notably the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, have consistently failed to so much as ask hard questions about the strategic utility of America's Special Operations forces.
Special Ops at War
"We operate and fight in every corner of the world," boasts General Raymond Thomas, the chief of US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM). "On a daily basis, we sustain a deployed or forward stationed force of approximately 8,000 across 80-plus countries. They are conducting the entire range of SOF missions in both combat and non-combat situations." Those numbers, however, only hint at the true size and scope of this global special ops effort. Last year, America's most elite forces conducted missions in 138 countries -- roughly 70% of the nations on the planet, according to figures supplied to TomDispatch by US Special Operations Command. Halfway through 2017, US commandos have already been deployed to an astonishing 137 countries, according to SOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw.
Special Operations Command is tasked with carrying out 12 core missions, ranging from counterinsurgency and unconventional warfare to hostage rescue and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Counterterrorism -- fighting what the command calls violent extremist organizations (VEOs) -- may, however, be what America's elite forces have become best known for in the post-9/11 era. "The threat posed by VEOs remains the highest priority for USSOCOM in both focus and effort," says Thomas.
"Special Operations Forces are the main effort, or major supporting effort for US VEO-focused operations in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, across the Sahel of Africa, the Philippines, and Central/South America -- essentially, everywhere Al Qaeda (AQ) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are to be found..."
More special operators are deployed to the Middle East than to any other region. Significant numbers of them are advising Iraqi government forces and Iraqi Kurdish soldiers as well as Kurdish YPG (Popular Protection Unit) fighters and various ethnic Arab forces in Syria, according to Linda Robinson, a senior international policy analyst with the RAND Corporation who spent seven weeks in Iraq, Syria, and neighboring countries earlier this year.
During a visit to Qayyarah, Iraq -- a staging area for the campaign to free Mosul, formerly Iraq's second largest city, from the control of Islamic State fighters -- Robinson "saw a recently installed US military medical unit and its ICU set up in tents on the base." In a type of mission seldom reported on, special ops surgeons, nurses, and other specialists put their skills to work on far-flung battlefields not only to save American lives, but to prop up allied proxy forces that have limited medical capabilities. For example, an Air Force Special Operations Surgical Team recently spent eight weeks deployed at an undisclosed location in the Iraq-Syria theater, treating 750 war-injured patients. Operating out of an abandoned one-story home within earshot of a battlefield, the specially trained airmen worked through a total of 19 mass casualty incidents and more than 400 individual gunshot or blast injuries.
When not saving lives in Iraq and Syria, elite US forces are frequently involved in efforts to take them. "US SOF are... being thrust into a new role of coordinating fire support," wrote Robinson. "This fire support is even more important to the Syrian Democratic Forces, a far more lightly armed irregular force which constitutes the major ground force fighting ISIS in Syria." In fact, a video shot earlier this year, analyzed by The Washington Post, shows special operators "acting as an observation element for what appears to be US airstrikes carried out by A-10 ground attack aircraft" to support Syrian Democratic Forces fighting for the town of Shadadi.
Africa now ranks second when it comes to the deployment of special operators thanks to the exponential growth in missions there in recent years. Just 3% of US commandos deployed overseas were sent to Africa in 2010. Now that number stands at more than 17%, according to SOCOM data. Last year, US Special Operations forces were deployed to 32 African nations, about 60% of the countries on the continent. As I recently reported at VICE News, at any given time, Navy SEALs, Green Berets, and other special operators are now conducting nearly 100 missions across 20 African countries.
In May, for instance, Navy SEALs were engaged in an "advise and assist operation" alongside members of Somalia's army and came under attack. SEAL Kyle Milliken was killed and two other US personnel were injured during a firefight that also, according to AFRICOM spokesperson Robyn Mack, left three al-Shabaab militants dead. US forces are also deployed in Libya to gather intelligence in order to carry out strikes of opportunity against Islamic State forces there. While operations in Central Africa against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a brutal militia that has terrorized the region for decades, wound down recently, a US commando reportedly killed a member of the LRA as recently as April.
What General Thomas calls "building partner nations' capacity" forms the backbone of the global activities of his command. Day in, day out, America's most elite troops carry out such training missions to sharpen their skills and those of their allies and of proxy forces across the planet.
This January, for example, Green Berets and Japanese paratroopers carried out airborne training near Chiba, Japan. February saw Green Berets at Sanaa Training Center in northwest Syria advising recruits for the Manbij Military Council, a female fighting force of Kurds, Arabs, Christians, Turkmen, and Yazidis. In March, snowmobiling Green Berets joined local forces for cold-weather military drills in Lapland, Finland. That same month, special operators and more than 3,000 troops from Canada, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom took part in tactical training in Germany.
In the waters off Kuwait, special operators joined elite forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council nations in conducting drills simulating a rapid response to the hijacking of an oil tanker. In April, special ops troops traveled to Serbia to train alongside a local special anti-terrorist unit. In May, members of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Iraq carried out training exercises with Iraqi special operations forces near Baghdad. That same month, 7,200 military personnel, including US Air Force Special Tactics airmen, Italian special operations forces, members of host nation Jordan's Special Task Force, and troops from more than a dozen other nations took part in Exercise Eager Lion, practicing everything from assaulting compounds to cyber-defense. For their part, a group of SEALs conducted dive training alongside Greek special operations forces in Souda Bay, Greece, while others joined NATO troops in Germany as part of Exercise Saber Junction 17 for training in land operations, including mock "behind enemy lines missions" in a "simulated European village."
"We have been at the forefront of national security operations for the past three decades, to include continuous combat over the past 15-and-a-half years," SOCOM's Thomas told the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities last month. "This historic period has been the backdrop for some of our greatest successes, as well as the source of our greatest challenge, which is the sustained readiness of this magnificent force." Yet, for all their magnificence and all those successes, for all the celebratory ceremonies they've attended, the wars, interventions, and other actions for which they've served as the tip of the American spear have largely foundered, floundered, or failed.
After their initial tactical successes in Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, America's elite operators became victims of Washington's failure to declare victory and go home. As a result, for the last 15 years, US commandos have been raiding homes, calling in air strikes, training local forces, and waging a relentless battle against a growing list of terror groups in that country. For all their efforts, as well as those of their conventional military brethren and local Afghan allies, the war is now, according to the top US commander in the Middle East, a "stalemate." That's a polite way of saying what a recent report to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found: districts that are contested or under "insurgent control or influence" have risen from an already remarkable 28% in 2015 to 40%.
The war in Afghanistan began with efforts to capture or kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Having failed in this post-9/11 mission, America's elite forces spun their wheels for the next decade when it came to his fate. Finally, in 2011, Navy SEALs cornered him in his long-time home in Pakistan and gunned him down. Ever since, special operators who carried out the mission and Washingtonpower-players (not to mentionHollywood) have been touting this single tactical success.
In an Esquire interview, Robert O'Neill, the SEAL who put two bullets in bin Laden's head, confessed that he joined the Navy due to frustration over an early crush, a puppy-love pique. "That's the reason al-Qaeda has been decimated," he joked, "because she broke my fucking heart." But al-Qaeda was not decimated -- far from it according to Ali Soufan, a former FBI special agent and the author of Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of Bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State. As he recently observed, "Whereas on 9/11 al-Qaeda had a few hundred members, almost all of them based in a single country, today it enjoys multiple safe havens across the world." In fact, he points out, the terror group has gained strength since bin Laden's death.
Year after year, US special operators find themselves fighting new waves of militants across multiple continents, including entire terror groups that didn't exist on 9/11. All US forces killed in Afghanistan in 2017 have reportedly died battling an Islamic State franchise, which began operations there just two years ago.
The US invasion of Iraq, to take another example, led to the meteoric rise of an al-Qaeda affiliate which, in turn, led the military's secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) -- the elite of America's special ops elite -- to create a veritable manhunting machine designed to kill its leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and take down the organization. As with bin Laden, special operators finally did find and eliminate Zarqawi, battering his organization in the process, but it was never wiped out. Left behind were battle-hardened elements that later formed the Islamic State and did what al-Qaeda never could: take and hold huge swaths of territory in two nations. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda's Syrian branch grew into a separate force of more than 20,000.
In Yemen, after more than a decade of low-profile special ops engagement, that country teeters on the brink of collapse in the face of a US-backed Saudi war there. Continued US special ops missions in that country, recently on the rise, have seemingly done nothing to alter the situation. Similarly, in Somalia in the Horn of Africa, America's elite forces remain embroiled in an endless war against militants.
In 2011, President Obama launched Operation Observant Compass, sending Special Operations forces to aid Central African proxies in an effort to capture or kill Joseph Kony and decimate his murderous Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), then estimated to number 150 to 300 armed fighters. After the better part of a decade and nearly $800 million spent, 150 US commandos were withdrawn this spring and US officials attended a ceremony to commemorate the end of the mission. Kony was, however, never captured or killed and the LRA is now estimated to number about 150 to 250 fighters, essentially the same size as when the operation began.
This string of futility extends to Asia as well. "US Special Forces have been providing support and assistance in the southern Philippines for many years, at the request of several different Filipino administrations," Emma Nagy, a spokesperson for the US embassy in Manilla, pointed out earlier this month. Indeed, a decade-plus-long special ops effort there has been hailed as a major success. Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines, wrote RAND analyst Linda Robinson late last year in the Pentagon journal Prism, "was aimed at enabling the Philippine security forces to combat transnational terrorist groups in the restive southern region of Mindanao."
A 2016 RAND report co-authored by Robinson concluded that "the activities of the US SOF enabled the Philippine government to substantially reduce the transnational terrorist threat in the southern Philippines." This May, however, Islamist militants overran Marawi City, a major urban center on Mindanao. They have been holding on to parts of it for weeks despite a determined assault by Filipino troops backed by US Special Operations forces. In the process, large swaths of the city have been reduced to rubble.
Running on Empty
America's elite forces, General Thomas told members of Congress last month, "are fully committed to winning the current and future fights." In reality, though, from war to war, intervention to intervention, from the Anti-Drug Brigade ceremony in Florencia, Colombia, to the end-of-the-Kony-hunt observance in Obo in the Central African Republic, there is remarkably little evidence that even enduring efforts by Special Operations forces result in strategic victories or improved national security outcomes. And yet, despite such boots-on-the-ground realities, America's special ops forces and their missions only grow.
"We are... grateful for the support of Congress for the required resourcing that, in turn, has produced a SOCOM which is relevant to all the current and enduring threats facing the nation," Thomas told the Senate Armed Services Committee in May. Resourcing has, indeed, been readily available. SOCOM's annual budget has jumped from $3 billion in 2001 to more than $10 billion today. Oversight, however, has been seriously lacking. Not a single member of the House or Senate Armed Services Committees has questioned why, after more than 15 years of constant warfare, winning the "current fight" has proven so elusive. None of them has suggested that "support" from Congress ought to be reconsidered in the face of setbacks from Afghanistan to Iraq, Colombia to Central Africa, Yemen to the southern Philippines.
In the waning days of George W. Bush's administration, Special Operations forces were reportedly deployed to about 60 nations around the world. By 2011, under President Barack Obama, that number had swelled to 120. During this first half-year of the Trump administration, US commandos have already been sent to 137 countries, with elite troops now enmeshed in conflicts from Africa to Asia. "Most SOF units are employed to their sustainable limit," Thomas told members of the House Armed Services Committee last month. In fact, current and former members of the command have, for some time, been sounding the alarm about the level of strain on the force.
These deployment levels and a lack of meaningful strategic results from them have not, however, led Washington to raise fundamental questions about the ways the US employs its elite forces, much less about SOCOM's raison d'être. "We are a command at war and will remain so for the foreseeable future," SOCOM's Thomas explained to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Not one member asked why or to what end.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump in their first face-to-face meeting. The meeting comes as Lockheed Martin announced a deal to begin making F-16 fighter jets in India. Modi is part of a notorious gallery of strongmen that have swept into power across the globe. One of the key issues expected to come up during the meeting is the fate of the H-1B visa program, which permits thousands of Indian computer engineers to enter the United States each year. Trump signed an executive order in April to review the visa program. We speak with Mumbai-based Teesta Setalvad, a civil rights activist and journalist. We also speak with Prachi Patankar, cofounder of the South Asia Solidarity Initiative, based in New York.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMYGOODMAN: President Trump is welcoming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House for their first face-to-face meeting. Modi is head of the Hindu nationalist BJP party and has led India since 2014. Modi was once banned from the United States on charges he did not intervene in a massacre against Muslims in 2002 when he headed the Indian state of Gujarat.
The meeting comes just days after the White House announced a $2 billion deal to sell India 22 Guardian surveillance drones. The deal will help India expand its use of drones in occupied Kashmir as well as along the Pakistani border. In addition, Lockheed Martin has just announced a deal to begin making F-16 fighter jets in India.
Another top agenda item of today's Trump-Modi meeting is the future of the H-1B visa program, which thousands of Indian computer engineers use each year to come to the United States. In April, President Trump signed an executive order to review the visa program.
Many observers have compared Trump to Modi. In January, Steve Coll wrote in The New Yorker magazine, quote, Trump "will join Modi as the latest figure in the world's swelling ranks of populist-nationalist leaders, a gallery of strongmen in countries rich and poor, some more democratic and some less so, who govern partly through intimidation and a certain curated arbitrariness," unquote.
To talk more about today's meeting, we're joined by two guests. Teesta Setalvad is a civil rights activist and journalist based in Mumbai, India. She's the secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace. And here in New York, Prachi Patankar, co-founder of the South Asia Solidarity Initiative.
We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Prachi, let's begin with you. Talk about the significance of this meeting today between Trump, the president of the United States, and Modi.
PRACHIPATANKAR: Well, I think, just like any of the other predecessors or of these leaders of these countries, the US and India, I imagine they'll talk about similar long-term issues like economic trade deals and nuclear deals. And I think, like you mentioned, they'll talk about the arms deal that they're about to sign. And, of course, given the latest pulling of -- from the climate deal that Trump saw, that they will talk that, as well.
But what differentiates these two leaders from the past leaders is that they are -- they come together as for their authoritarianism. Modi led the way a few years ago, coming into power led by a very much kind of fascistic and Hindu fundamentalist regime, followed by what he did in Gujarat. And I think that this is what brings them together.
Another thing that also brings them together is their kind of populist and symbolic rhetoric. So, Trump has the "Make America Great Again" symbolic idea that he campaigned on, but Modi also talks about making India. So they're both kind of these nationalists, keep jobs at home, talk about the economy in that way.
But what is happening within their home countries, as we know, in -- Modi announced, actually, on the US Election Day on November -- in November, the demonetization, the disastrous demonetization policy, which was -- had disastrous consequences for the poor and marginalized people of India, many of them farmers and Dalits, who are the most lowest rung of the caste society in India. And those people are, you know, resisting these policies, as we see in my home state. In Maharashtra, there was a farmer strike, because farmers have the -- face the brunt of these policies, as well.
AMYGOODMAN: Let's go to Teesta Setalvad, a civil rights activist and -- who is based in Mumbai, and journalist. Prachi just mentioned Gujarat, but most people, I think, in the United States, and perhaps around the world, are not familiar with what she's referring to, and you're very involved with this issue. Can you talk about Modi's history?
TEESTASETALVAD: Yeah, it's very important to understand Modi's history, particularly when we look at the meeting of Modi and Trump, because I think two large -- the two world's largest democracies, talking about the democratic will of the people, having come to power in a certain manner, and both representing a certain kind of majoritarianism.
Modi is different from Trump in the sense that I know that Trump's father had links with the Ku Klux Klan, different in a sense that Modi's grooming, political grooming, and entire growth has been with an organization called the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Now, people just know a little bit about this. There have been a lot of academic studies and a lot of real issues down at the ground when we had communal violence breaking out. The RSS is an outfit that is protofascist, that does not really believe in a constitutional democracy as India is now. So Modi, in a sense, is today a very popular leader, for sure, but he comes from the grooming of the RSS that believe in a supremacist India, that believes in differentials in citizenship.
So, the pogrom of 2002, which Prachi referred to, very rightly, was on Modi's watch. It was -- you know, it was poor governance, at best, and brutal, at worst. You have almost 2,000 Muslims' lives being killed in reprisal violence after a despicable burning of a coach, which was actually allowed to, in rhetorical terms, to be seen as if Hindu nationalists were being burned and attacked by Muslims in the city of Godhra. But for virtually seven months after that, you had reprisal violence and the state just looking on. Modi was chief minister then. And to date, he has not really apologized or even expressed regret for that massacre.
AMYGOODMAN: And explain how many people -- this was in 2002.
TEESTASETALVAD: That's right.
AMYGOODMAN: With Modi at the -- as the kind of -- well, the equivalent of governor of Gujarat.
TEESTASETALVAD: That's right.
AMYGOODMAN: How many people died? And then, what the US action was that followed, banning him from or refusing to give him a visa to the United States?
TEESTASETALVAD: You see, this was a very, very successful campaign launched by Indians, expat Indians, based in the United States, who actually campaigned there on the issue of the 2002 massacre being a genocidal carnage, and argued that for a man who was chief minister of the state, he should not be allowed to visit the United States of America. And, therefore, the ban came through, and the ban was subsequently held, repeated even as he rose and became more and more powerful.
What we need to remember about Modi is that within a three -- or, within five years, he won two or three -- three successful elections in the state of Gujarat on the back of the massacre, which tells you something quite frightening about Indian democracy, and possibly all democracies, that we actually go on a -- we travel a very, very -- walk the razor's edge, if you like, that democracy is the will of the people, but the day democracy becomes the rule of the mob and mobocracy and majoritarianism, and you can actually whip up mob hysteria through an election process, which Modi has successfully done in 2002 itself, after the massacre, 2007 and then in 2012 again, that is what is a really worrying signal as far as Modi and Trump are concerned, because they represent, in a sense, the democratic will of the people, but they also represent subversion of democratic institutions, which are checks and balances to majoritarianism and supremacism within democracy.
AMYGOODMAN: We're talking to Teesta Setalvad, a civil rights activist and journalist based in Mumbai, India -- we're speaking to her by Democracy Now! video stream in Mumbai -- and Prachi Patankar, who is here in New York, activist and educator, co-founder of South Asia Solidarity Initiative. Prachi, this $2 billion sale of Guardian drones, the significance of this? I know Modi is going next to Israel and was sort of playing both. In case he didn't -- things didn't go well here, he could get them perhaps from Israel. But talk about the significance of these drones. And then the F-16s being built in India?
PRACHIPATANKAR: Mm-hmm. I mean, I think this is not surprising. The US and India have had conversations and relationships around arms deals for almost a decade. And India is also talking with other countries, as you mentioned. But both of these countries have committed grave human rights violations in the places that they have gone to war or occupied. In the case of India, we have Kashmir, which is a place where Indian Army has around -- almost 600,000 troops placed there. And the escalation of human rights violations for the Kashmiri people, against the Kashmiri activists and human rights activists there, have been going up. And given that, this is a worrisome move. I also think that given the ongoing conflicts between Pakistan and India, Afghanistan being right there and Trump talking about increasing intervention in Afghanistan, I think what US is probably thinking is that they need an ally in the region, and India is one of those allies that they probably need.
AMYGOODMAN: And now Prime Minister Modi has come out in support of the climate accord --
AMYGOODMAN: -- is becoming a spokesperson around the world around that, and, of course, Donald Trump pulling out.
PRACHIPATANKAR: Mm-hmm, yeah. I mean, yes, I think Donald Trump pulling out of the climate deal is, I think, seen by the entire world as not necessarily a good thing, I think. So, Trump, and including China -- India, and including China, are, I think, seeing themselves as kind pushing that forward as countries taking a different kind of stand. But I would say, in terms of practice, what's happening within India and what Modi has been saying internally, he has been against -- he has denied climate change openly. He has been -- he has made anti-science remarks also in the past. So he certainly doesn't necessarily care about climate change. Within the policies, economic policies in India and development policies, he has been pushing for more fossil fuel extractions, more coal mining projects, and supporting companies that do that. And that has affected millions of people, who -- indigenous people within different places in India, whose lives will be tremendously impacted by Modi's development projects.
AMYGOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you both for being on with us, and we will continue this discussion as we turn to Arundhati Roy, who is traveling through the United States. Prachi Patankar is activist and educator, co-founder of the South Asia Solidarity Initiative. And Teesta Setalvad is a civil rights activist and journalist based in Mumbai, India. This is Democracy Now! Arundhati Roy up next.
On the chopping block are funds that would go to the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal programs -- agencies that serve the needs of the American public.
If Donald Trump really wants to take an "America First" approach, why is he slashing our domestic budget and putting money into a war machine that only continues to inflame tensions around the world? We engage in wars that never seem to end, our tax dollars are squandered, innocent lives are lost in the process and these military interventions are certainly not making us safer at home.
We are involved in military operations all over the world. Many of these conflicts are not easily summarized, but let's take a look at some of America's conflicts and where they stand, through the prism of this proposed military spending increase.
Major combat operations ended in 2011, but our service members still die there and the war rages on for the Iraqi people. Under Saddam Hussein's brutal regime, sectarian violence was minimized. When we removed him it exploded. The unintended consequence is that we unleashed sectarian violence.
Another unanticipated result of our invasion of Iraq was the creation of ISIS. It was at a US prison in Iraq called Camp Bucca where embittered Sunni prisoners, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, created ISIS. Now we are spending billions trying to defeat the very force we helped to create.
We invaded in late 2001 and are still there. It is America's longest war, and there is no end in sight. We removed the Taliban government, eventually killed Osama bin Laden -- found in "allied" Pakistan -- and set up a government that is at least officially friendly toward us. But there is now a resurgence of the Taliban.
Syria has been reduced to ruins, not only by us but by Russia, ISIS, the Syrian government and other warring factions within and without. The Trump administration's recent cruise missile attack on Assad regime forces, followed by the shooting of a Syrian fighter jet and Iranian drones, puts the US military at even greater risk of direct confrontation not only with Assad but Iran and Russia. The number of Syrians killed, wounded and forced to flee their homes is astronomical, while the idea of a political solution seems more and more remote.
Lost Blood and Treasure
The National Priorities Project (NPP), using information obtained from the United States budget, has drawn some conclusions about how much we pay for these wars. We pay $615,482 per hour for ongoing operations against ISIS. Afghanistan costs us $4 million per hour (without counting the new troops being sent there). The remaining operations in Iraq cost us $117,000.00 per hour. NPP has concluded we pay $8.36 million per hour for all the wars since 2001.
What else could we do with all that money? The NPP illustrates how it could be spent to help our own people and our own economy:
• Millions of teachers could be hired.
• Millions of jobs could be created in poverty-stricken communities.
• Our ailing infrastructure could be remodeled and rebuilt.
• Scholarships could be funded for students who can't afford college.
• Our military veterans could receive the care they deserve.
The list goes on.
Americans are tired of war, yet Donald Trump's budget sends an unfortunate but clear message. He is willing to cut funds that help the poor, protect the environment, and promote the arts -- things that generally keep us happy and safe -- in order to fund a never-ending, ever-growing war machine. He's taking money from Meals on Wheels to buy billion-dollar bombers.
Fortunately, Trump's budget is only a request. Congress has to approve it. Even though the president enjoys a Republican-majority House and Senate, it does not mean his budget will go through. Members of Congress are under pressure from the administration, the Pentagon and the companies that profit from making weapons. But they are also receiving pressure from their constituents who are demanding that our money goes to community needs, not down a black hole of endless war. You can sign a petition to Congress here. Let's see who they listen to.
A patient is examined at a practice in Taylorsville, Kentucky, January 15, 2014. President Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut off the federal funding that makes the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reductions work for insurers and patients. (Photo: Luke Sharrett / The New York Times)
After much secrecy and no public deliberation, Senate Republicans finalized release their "draft" repeal and replace bill for the Affordable Care Act on June 22. Unquestionably, the released "draft" will not be the final version.
Amendments and a potential, albeit not necessary, conference committee are likely to make some adjustments. However, both the House version -- American Health Care Act (AHCA) -- and the Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) will significantly reduce coverage for millions of Americans and reshape insurance for virtually everyone. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to provide final numbers early the week of June 26.
If successful, the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act would be in rare company. Even though the US has been slower than any other Western country to develop a safety net, the US has rarely taken back benefits once they have been bestowed on its citizenry. Indeed, only a small number of significant cases come to mind.
The first major federal grant program for health purposes was also the first one to quickly be eliminated. The program was authorized under the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act of 1921. It provided the equivalent of US$20 million a year in today's dollars to states in order to pay for the needs of women and young children.
Overall, the program was responsible for more than 3 million home visits, close to 200,000 child health conferences and more than 22 million pieces of health education literature distributed. It also helped to establish 3,000 permanent health clinics serving 700,000 expectant mothers and more than 4 million babies.
The program continued until 1929, when Congress, under pressure from the American Medical Association, the Catholic Church and the Daughters of the American Revolution, terminated the program. Without federal support, a majority of states either eliminated the programs or only provided nominal funding. Fortunately for America's children and mothers, the Social Security Amendment of 1935 reestablished much of the original funding and expanded it over time.
Helping US Farmers During the New Deal
America's next major program confronted a similar fate. To address the challenges of rural America during the Great Depression, the federal government developed a variety of insurance and health care programs that offered extensive and comprehensive services to millions of farm workers, migrants and farmers.
Some of these programs provided subsidies to farmers to form more than 1,200 insurance cooperatives nationwide. At times, the federal government's Farm Security Administaton (FSA)'s Farm Security Administaton (FSA) provided extensive services directly to migrant farm workers through medical assistance on agricultural trains, mobile and roving clinics, migratory labor camps that included health centers staffed with qualified providers, full-service hospitals and Agricultural Workers Health Associations (AWHA).
In all cases, services were generally comprehensive and included ordinary medical care, emergency surgery and hospitalization, maternal and infant care, prescription drugs and dental care.
Although these services were accepted during wartime, the American Medical Association and the Farm Bureau opposed them, which ultimately led to their demise shortly after World War II. Millions of farmers lost their insurance.
Medicaid in the 1980s
Perhaps the most indicative expectations on what will happen in case congressional Republicans are able to pass their proposal hails from the Medicaid program itself.
In the early 1980s, Medicaid underwent a series of cuts and reductions leading to the first contracting in the program's history. These involved both a reduction in federal funding and in eligibility, and an increase in state flexibility to run the program, as do the Republican proposals in Congress.
The 1980s also saw the creation and quick demise of another health care program. The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 sought to fill in the gaps of the original Medicare program for America's seniors. Specifically, it sought to provide them with protection from major medical costs and offer them a prescription drug benefit for the first time.
Similarly to the Affordable Care Act, the law had a redistributive foundation by requiring richer seniors to contribute more than poorer individuals. Also, similarly to the Affordable Care Act, it phased in benefits over a period of time.
Congress, confronted by affluent seniors who would have shouldered much of the financial burden of the program, quickly repealed much of the law before its provisions came into effect.
It took more than a decade to provide America's seniors with a prescription drug benefit through Medicare Part D, while only limited steps have been taken to protect seniors from major medical losses.
On June 14, 33 women who have been detained and incarcerated by ICE in California's Adelanto Detention Facility launched a hunger strike. They were protesting the poor conditions at the facility as well as the policies that were keeping them away from their children and loved ones. The facility is the largest private immigration detention facility in the US.
On June 14, 33 women who have been detained and incarcerated by ICE in California's Adelanto Detention Facility launched a hunger strike. They were protesting the poor conditions at the facility as well as the policies that were keeping them away from their children and loved ones.
The Adelanto Detention Facility, with a capacity of 1,940, is the largest private immigration detention facility in the United States. Run by the GEO Group, ICE pays $111 per person per day for the first 975 detainees, thus guaranteeing GEO a minimum of $40 million each year. If more than 975 people are detained inside Adelanto, the daily rate drops to less than $50 per day.
Since March 2017, three people have died at Adelanto. Others have reported medical neglect and, on at least one occasion, being punished for seeking medical care. Norma Gutierrez, one of the women on hunger strike has suffered multiple strokes during her incarceration at Adelanto. Instead of receiving proper medical care, she was placed in solitary confinement. Such medical neglect is not new; Human Rights Watch found that Adelanto has had ongoing failures in providing medical care to detainees, including extended delays in responding to medical requests, overmedication of people with mental disabilities, the use of shackles during psychiatric appointments, a lack of continuity of care for those with chronic conditions, delayed or denied care for people whose removal seems to be imminent, and denial of care or misdiagnoses for people with serious conditions or diseases.
Among the women's demands were better medical care, respectful treatment by prison staff, an end to ICE's unreasonably high bonds, and reunification with their children and families. According to Christina Mansfield, co-founder and co-executive director of CIVIC, many of the women had been detained for over six months by that point. "We want them to speak to us like we are humans, not animals. We don't want to be disrespected and cursed at," Sara Salcido, one of the women on hunger strike, told Mansfield.
This is not the first hunger strike in Adelanto this month. The week before, nine men launched a hunger strike protesting these same conditions. They had arrived with a refugee caravan from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala claiming asylum at the US border. Instead, they were detained and sent to Adelanto.
On Monday, June 12, they refused to return to their assigned beds for count, a practice in prisons, jails and immigrant detention centers in which all movement stops while each and every person is counted. But that morning, the nine men locked arms; in response, guards pepper sprayed them and put them in isolation. Advocates said that guards also physically beat the men, a claim that ICE officials disputed in an email statement, saying that the guards "applied the necessary degree of force to extract the resisting detainees from the residence unit and transfer them to a restricted housing area." Shortly after, six of those men began refusing food.
The men issued nine demands: a fair bond for all detainees, political asylum, new uniforms -- especially new underwear -- instead of clothes previously worn by other people, more time for religious services, paperwork provided in their own languages, 24-hour access to clean water, better food, and an end to throwing away their belongings. They also demanded that they be released on their own recognizance rather than remain detained for their inability to pay bond.
The women were aware of the men's actions, Mansfield said. Hoping to avoid similar forms of retaliation, they asked that their names be made public.
That Wednesday morning, as 33 women refused to eat breakfast, Mansfield received another call from inside. According to the women calling her, guards had threatened the women with pepper spray, solitary confinement and confiscation of their belongings if they continued to refuse food.
However, that afternoon, 20 of the women, all of whom had been unsuccessfully seeking health care, were taken to see medical staff. Jail staff also agreed to treat the women with respect, including respecting their religious freedom. However, ICE officials told the women that they have no control over the bonds. In reality, however, the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, has the authority to grant conditional parole and release a person on their own recognizance rather than set bond.
By dinner that evening, the women had ended the hunger strike.
In the limited communication Mansfield has received since, none of the women have reported retaliation. But that doesn't mean that Adelanto staff and GEO administrators are not on the alert and ready to quash any future signs of activism or solidarity.
On June 20, one week after the women's hunger strike and two weeks after the men's, CIVIC and over 60 faith leaders and attorneys boarded a bus to head to Adelanto, 85 miles outside of Los Angeles, to visit the people detained inside. Upon disembarking, the group held a five-minute interfaith prayer outside the facility. In response, GEO staff not only denied the visitors entrance, but also placed the entire facility on lockdown and kicked out the attorneys and family members who were already inside waiting to visit.
Though ICE's federal standards mandate that detention facilities provide 24-hour access for attorneys to visit their clients, Christina Fialho, an attorney as well as CIVIC's other co-founder and co-executive director, was denied visits with 14 of her clients despite having received prior approval from ICE. Other attorneys were denied entry as well, including those who had not come or were not affiliated with the bus from Los Angeles.
"When we see abuse in detention, it is our moral obligation to speak up and stand in solidarity with our friends in detention," Fialho stated. "By denying us access after a peaceful and short prayer, ICE has tried to make us choose between our First Amendment rights and visiting our friends and clients in immigration detention. This is not a choice our government can legally ask us to make."
In the last week, the controversial Hindenburg Omen has started to cluster ominously once again.
Combined with divergent market internals and rates off the zero-bound (and global central bank balance sheets actually shrinking), John Hussman warns of the rising likelihood of an interim market loss on the order of 50-60% over the completion of the current cycle.
On the basis of the most reliable valuation measures we identify (those most tightly correlated with actual subsequent 10-12 year S&P 500 total returns), current market valuations stand about 140-165% above historical norms. No market cycle in history, even those prior to the mid-1960s when interest rates were similarly low, has failed bring valuations within 25% of these norms, or lower, over the completion of the market cycle. On a 12-year horizon, we project likely S&P 500 nominal total returns averaging close to zero, with the likelihood of an interim market loss on the order of 50-60% over the completion of the current cycle.
As I’ve observed for decades, even a richly overvalued market can move higher, provided that investors remain inclined to speculate, which we infer from the uniformity of market action across a broad range of market internals (when investors are inclined to speculate, they tend to be indiscriminate about it). In prior market cycles across history, however, even favorable market internals were overruled once extreme “overvalued, overbought, overbullish” syndromes emerged. The half-cycle since 2009 was different. In the face of zero interest rates, yield-seeking speculation persisted even after those extreme syndromes emerged. The best indication of that speculative mindset is that market internals remained uniformly favorable during most of the period prior to mid-2014. Importantly, even since 2009, the S&P 500 has lost ground, on average, in periods when extreme overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndromes were accompanied by deteriorating market internals. That’s the situation we observe at present.
Put simply, with market internals unfavorable and interest rates off the zero bound, the two main supports that made the half-cycle since 2009 “different” have already been kicked away. From here, we expect the dynamics of this market cycle to resemble other periods when offensive valuations and extreme overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndromes were joined by deteriorating market internals (particularly when interest rates were off their lows). Short term market outcomes are anybody’s guess, but across history, that overall combination has typically defined crash dynamics.
Notably, we’ve observed a widening of internal dispersion in recent weeks. For example, weekly NYSE new lows have averaged about 4% of traded issues recently, with nearly 6% last week, even with the S&P 500 near record highs. Meanwhile, nearly 40% of stocks are already below their 200-day averages. I’ve noted before that raw “Hindenburg Omens” (days when both NYSE new highs and new lows exceed about 2.5% of traded issues) are typically not ominous at all. The exception is where they are accompanied by a broader syndrome of tepid market breadth even with the major indices still elevated, when multiple signals appear in close succession, and when market internals are unfavorable on our own measures. On that note, we’ve observed 4 such daily signals in recent weeks, with two last week alone. We saw similar widening of internal dispersion in December 1999, July and November 2007, and July-August 2015. Still there are a few signals such as 2006 and 2013 that were followed by only minor hiccups. That improves the average outcome, though the average is still negative overall.
Overall, our current market outlook remains strongly negative, but we would be inclined to adopt a more neutral outlook if our measures of market internals were to improve. As I’ve often observed, the most favorable market return/risk profile we identify typically emerges when a material retreat in valuations is joined by an early improvement in market action. Whether that occurs after a moderate correction, or after a market collapse, that’s the combination most likely to move us to a constructive or aggressive outlook, depending on the status of valuations and other conditions at that point. The most extreme overextended syndromes we identify are now accompanied by deteriorating market internals and interest rates that are well off the zero bound. My impression is that without a shift back to uniformly favorable market internals, the continued faith in monetary support may prove to be the same awful bet it was during the 2000-2002 and 2007-2009 collapses, both which were accompanied by aggressive monetary easing all the way down.
We’ll take our evidence as it arrives.
Finally, we note that two things are different than the last time the market flashed numerous 'failed' Hindenburg Omens: 1) as the chart above shows, The Fed is no longer printing money ad nauseum like it was during QE3 (and in fact is heading towards unwinding its own balance sheet), and 2) the global central bank balance sheet has actually begun to shrink - the most since December - in the last 8 days...
The CBO has scored the Senate version of the healthcare bill, which was passed by the House as H.R.1628, and found a few more modest improvements relative to its scoring of the Healthcare Bill as of May 24 . Here are the apples to apples comparisons with the last proposed version of the bill:
Under the Senate Bill, the US budget deficit would be reduced by $321 billion between 2017 and 2026, which is $202 billion better than the House version, which would have cut the cumulative deficit by $119 billion. This
The CBO also found that the number of Americans expected to lose their health coverage would rise to 22 million in 2026, which is 1 million fewer than the 23 million forecast in the May scoring of the House bill. It is also a little over 100% more than are currently enrolled in Obamacare.
The CBO concludes that in 2026, an estimated 49 million people under age 65 would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law. Under the last CBO estimate, the number of Americans wihtout insurance in 2026 was 51 million of Americans under 65, so an improvement of 2 million.
Under the Senate bill, average premiums for benchmark plans for single individuals would be about 20% higher in 2018 than under current law, mainly because the penalty for not having insurance would be eliminated, Those premiums would be about 10 percent higher than under current law in 2019.
However, in 2020, average premiums for benchmark plans for single individuals would be about 30 percent lower than under current law.
Below is the "bridge" of the budget deficit reduction from the CBO. Of note: virtually all of the $541 billion in cumulative increase in deficits due to "non-coverage provisions" shown below, is the result of "repeal or delay of taxes on high-income people."
Some quickly highlighted the only two categories that matter:
CBO and JCT estimate that, over the 2017-2026 period, enacting this legislation would
reduce direct spending by $1,022 billion and reduce revenues by $701 billion, for a net reduction of $321 billion in the deficit over that period (see Table 1, at the end of this document):
The largest savings would come from reductions in outlays for Medicaid— spending on the program would decline in 2026 by 26 percent in comparison with what CBO projects under current law—and from changes to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) subsidies for nongroup health insurance (see Figure 1). Those savings would be partially offset by the effects of other changes to the ACA’s provisions dealing with insurance coverage: additional spending designed to reduce premiums and a reduction in revenues from repealing penalties on employers who do not offer insurance and on people who do not purchase insurance.
The largest increases in deficits would come from repealing or modifying tax provisions in the ACA that are not directly related to health insurance coverage, including repealing a surtax on net investment income and repealing annual fees imposed on health insurers.
Some other observations from the CBO, first a chronology of major proposed changes:
In 2018, the legislation would provide funding to health insurers to stabilize premiums and promote participation in the marketplaces.
In 2019, four major coverage provisions would take effect:
Appropriating funding for grants to states through the Long-Term State Stability and Innovation Program.Requiring insurers to impose a six-month waiting period before coverage starts for people who enroll in insurance in the nongroup market if they have been uninsured for more than 63 days within the past year.
Setting a limit whereby insurers would charge older people premiums that are up to five times higher than those charged younger people in the nongroup and small-group markets, unless a state sets a different limit.
Removing the federal cap on the share of premiums that may go to insurers’ administrative costs and profits (also known as the minimum medical loss ratio requirement) and effectively allowing each state to set its own cap.
In 2020, the following additional major coverage provisions would take effect:
Changing the tax credit for health insurance coverage purchased through the nongroup market and repealing current-law subsidies to reduce cost-sharing payments. People with income below 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) who are not eligible for Medicaid would become eligible for the tax credit, and people with income between 350 percent and 400 percent of the FPL would no longer be eligible. The maximum percentage of income specified by the bill that people would pay at different ages toward the purchase of a benchmark plan would be lower for some younger people and higher for some older people. The benchmark plan used to determine the amount of the tax credit would have a lower actuarial value.
Capping the growth in per-enrollee payments for nondisabled children and nondisabled adults enrolled in Medicaid at no more than the medical care component of the consumer price index (CPI-M) and for most enrollees who are disabled adults or age 65 or older at no more than the CPI-M plus 1 percentage point, starting in 2020 and going through 2024. Starting in 2025, the rate of growth in per-enrollee payments for all groups would be pegged to the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U).
Starting in 2021, the bill would reduce the federal matching rate for funding for adults made eligible for Medicaid by the ACA; that rate would decline 5 percentage points per year through 2023 and then fall to equal the rate for other enrollees in a state in later years.
And most importanly, Effects on Premiums and Out-of-Pocket Payments
The legislation would increase average premiums in the nongroup market prior to 2020 and lower average premiums thereafter, relative to projections under current law, CBO and JCT estimate. To arrive at those estimates, the agencies examined how the legislation would affect the premiums charged if people purchased a benchmark plan in the nongroup market. In 2018 and 2019, under current law and under the legislation, the benchmark plan has an actuarial value of 70 percent—that is, the insurance pays about 70 percent of the total cost of covered benefits, on average. In the marketplaces, such coverage is known as a silver plan.
Under the Senate bill, average premiums for benchmark plans for single individuals would be about 20 percent higher in 2018 than under current law, mainly because the penalty for not having insurance would be eliminated, inducing fewer comparatively healthy people to sign up. Those premiums would be about 10 percent higher than under current law in 2019—less than in 2018 in part because funding provided by the bill to reduce premiums would affect pricing and because changes in the limits on how premiums can vary by age would result in a larger number of younger people paying lower premiums to purchase policies.
In 2020, average premiums for benchmark plans for single individuals would be about 30 percent lower than under current law. A combination of factors would lead to that decrease—most important, the smaller share of benefits paid for by the benchmark plans and federal funds provided to directly reduce premiums.
That share of services covered by insurance would be smaller because the benchmark
plan under this legislation would have an actuarial value of 58 percent beginning in 2020. That value is slightly below the actuarial value of 60 percent for “bronze” plans currently
offered in the marketplaces. Because of the ACA’s limits on out-of-pocket spending and
prohibitions on annual and lifetime limits on payments for services within the EHBs, all
plans must pay for most of the cost of high-cost services. To design a plan with an
actuarial value of 60 percent or less and pay for those high-cost services, insurers must
set high deductibles—that is, the amounts that people pay out of pocket for most types of
health care services before insurance makes any contribution. Under current law for a
single policyholder in 2017, the average deductible (for medical and drug expenses
combined) is about $6,000 for a bronze plan and $3,600 for a silver plan. CBO and JCT
expect that the benchmark plans under this legislation would have high deductibles
similar to those for the bronze plans offered under current law. Premiums for a plan with
an actuarial value of 58 percent are lower than they are for a plan with an actuarial value
of 70 percent (the value for the reference plan under current law) largely because the
insurance pays for a smaller average share of health care costs.
And looking all the way at the end of the 10 year horizon:
By 2026, average premiums for benchmark plans for single individuals in most of the country under this legislation would be about 20 percent lower than under current law, CBO and JCT estimate—a smaller decrease than in 2020 largely because federal funding to reduce premiums would have lessened. The estimates for both of those years encompass effects in different areas of the country that would be substantially higher and substantially lower than the average effect nationally, in part because of the effects of state waivers. Some small fraction of the population is not included in those estimates. CBO and JCT expect that those people would be in states using waivers in such a way that no benchmark plan would be defined. Hence, a comparison of benchmark premiums is not possible in such areas.
Then Durable Goods data and The Chicago Fed's National Activity Index both tumbled and massively missed expectations -smashing the Citi Macro Surprise Index to its weakest since August 2011...
Then Nasdaq (led by FANGs) tumbled at the cash open after levitating overnight - oddly reactive to the tumble in Bitcoin...
Bitcoin was clubbed like a baby seal - down over 15% - the biggest drop since Jan 2015...
On the day, only Nasdaq closed red...markets closed weak (NOTE, the European close saw a buying panic reappear in Nasdaq briefly)
FANG Stocks fell most since the day after the tech-wreck closing NOT "off the lows"...
VIX was smashed back to a 9 handle...But as the chart below shows, it didn't help push stocks back up...
Treasury yields all fell on the day - even the short-end was bid in a very strong auction. The drop started on the dismal data early...
The Treasury yield curve slumped flatter once again with 2s10s dropping to a 78bps handle - lowest since Aug 2016
2s30s tumbled again to 134bps - the flattest since the last recession begain...
The Dollar Index roller-coastered to end the day slightly higher...
Yen was sold hard today (and Yuan weakened)...
Both Gold and Silver flash-crashed overnight but rallied on the weak US data...
On the bright side, WTI Crude saw a modest bounce today... testing below $3 briefly...
We note that while Bitcoin was battered today, it found support at its exponential trendline off March lows...
All 20 of the largest cryptocurrencies were deep in the red...
Finally, we note that at least one corner of the equity market might be getting nervous about the S&P 500 Index hovering near all-time highs. Options contracts that pay off with a drop in the benchmark gauge outnumber those betting on a gain by a rate of more than 2-to-1, the most since January 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Since the start of the bull market, the S&P 500 has lost 0.3 percent in the 10 days following put-to-call ratios at or above the current level, compared with a 0.6 percent gain in all 10-day stretches during that period.
It appears that Trump has been handed a 'partial' victory on his travel ban by the Supreme Court. While SCOTUS revived a "narrowed" ban, they found that it can not be applied to people with a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."
SUPREME COURT TEMPORARILY NARROWS TRAVEL BAN
SUPREME COURT LIFTS MOST OF INJUNCTION THAT BLOCKED TRUMP'S TRAVEL BAN ON SIX MUSLIM-MAJORITY NATIONS
COURT SAYS BAN CAN APPLY TO PEOPLE WITHOUT U.S. RELATIONSHIP
U.S. SUPREME COURT AGREES TO HEAR TRUMP APPEALS OF RULINGS BLOCKING TRAVEL BAN ON SIX MUSLIM-MAJORITY NATIONS
The ban will exclude people visiting a close family member, students who have been admitted to a university or workers who have accepted an employment offer, the court said. But the court said people can’t avoid the travel ban by entering into a relationship solely to enter the U.S.
The policy will suspend entry into the U.S. by people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for a period of 90 days and it will take effect in 72 hours.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said they would have let the entire ban take effect immediately.
THOMAS, ALITO, GORSUCH ISSUE PARTIAL DISSENT ON TRAVEL BAN
Meanwhile, it seems that SCOTUS may be taking tweeting tips from the President...though we're not entirely sure...maybe "bona dude" is a technical term.
Here is the full SCOTUS decision:
* * *
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will wrap up its 2017 session today and will likely issue a decision on Trump's controversial travel ban. As you may recall, Trump's "travel ban" was designed to impose a 90-day pause in travel from citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Decisions are expected to be revealed publicly at 10AM EST.
Of course, the case has ended up in the Supreme Court because two federal appellate courts ruled against the Trump travel policy on the basis of religious and "nationality-based" discrimination. Per CBS:
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said the ban was "rooted in religious animus" toward Muslims and pointed to Trump's campaign promise to impose a ban on Muslims entering the country as well as tweets and remarks he has made since becoming president.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the travel policy does not comply with federal immigration law, including a prohibition on nationality-based discrimination. That court also put a hold on separate aspects of the policy that would keep all refugees out of the United States for 120 days and cut by more than half, from 110,000 to 50,000, the cap on refugees in the current government spending year that ends Sept. 30.
Trump's first executive order on travel applied to travelers from the six countries as well as Iraq, and took effect immediately, causing chaos and panic at airports over the last weekend in January as the Homeland Security Department scrambled to figure out who the order covered and how it was to be implemented. A federal judge blocked it eight days later, an order that was upheld by a 9th circuit panel. Rather than pursue an appeal, the administration said it would revise the policy.
In March, Trump issued a narrower order, but it too was promptly blocked.
Of course, back in June, during what became a fairly public dispute with his own Attorney General, Trump blasted the "watered down, politically correct" version of his travel ban that is currently before the Supreme Court.
The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.
Meanwhile, today's session could also draw buzz as rumors have surfaced of late that Justice Kennedy could announce his retirement. Moreover, it is expected that Kennedy's retirement would push SCOTUS even further to the right as he was often considered the "center of the court." More from Axios:
White House sources think Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court's ideological fulcrum, may announce his retirement today, as the justices gather on the bench for the last time this term.
Trump's first Court appointment, of Justice Neil Gorsuch, was a one-for-one ideological swap for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Replacing Kennedy would be even more historic and consequential: a momentous chance to edge the Court right, since Kennedy is the center of the Court — the one most willing to listen to both sides. On a controversial case, both sides pitch to him. It's been called "Kennedy's Court."
No one's predicting: Court watchers say no one knows, and Kennedy has said nothing publicly. He could well wait one more year: The Court buzz is that it'll be this year or next.
Lyle Denniston, who has covered the Supreme Court for 58 years, headlines a post on his website, "High drama: Supreme Court term is ending": "[R]umors have continued to make the rounds that ... Kennedy, who will be 81 in July, could reveal plans [today] to end his career. ... The longest serving of the Justices, Kennedy joined the court more than 29 years ago."
If true, of course, this would give the Trump administration the opportunity to replace a second Supreme Court justice within the first year of his administration.
In 2017 the United States finds itself with a billionaire president who defeated, as adjudged by electoral college votes, the multimillionaire Hillary Clinton. In fact, high political office in the US has become a stepping stone to personal enrichment.
The TSA is testingnew requirements that passengers remove books and other paper goods from their carry-on baggage when going through airline security. Given the sensitivity of our reading choices, thisraisesprivacy concerns.
Pyongyang, June 23 (KCNA) — A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry Friday released the following statement over the fact the U.S. administration authorities are heating up the anti-DPRK smear campaign by abusing the humanitarian measure taken by the DPRK as an inhuman act, concerning the death of Warmbier, an American citizen: Warmbier is clearly […]
The U.S. military and/or the CIA outsourced parts of their ongoing torture campaign in Yemen to the United Arab Emirates, reports AP. Some “interrogations” are done in the presence of U.S. personal and on U.S. ships: MUKALLA, Yemen (AP) — Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared into a […]
US seeks to ‘milk’ terrorism sponsor Saudi Arabia – Iran’s Revolutionary Guard As the US influence in the Middle East wanes, it increasingly associates itself with dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, whose “dark face” and “role in supporting terrorism is known to everyone in the region,” a high ranking Iranian Revolutionary Guard official told RT. The […]
Bull’s eye! “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice … You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people!” The Donald has never spoken truer words but also has never sunken lower into abject victimhood. Indeed, what is he waiting for– handcuffs and a perp walk? Just to be clear, “he” doesn’t need to be the passive object of a “WITCH HUNT” by “they”. If Donald Trump had any kind of presidential strategy and propensity to take command, he would have had all the intercepts of Russian chatter gathered up weeks ago. He would then have had them declassified and made public, even as he launched a criminal prosecution against Obama’s hit squad-John Brennan, Susan Rice and Valerie Jarrett for illegally unmasking and leaking classified information.
Rebutting Big Pharma’s Talking Points About the Safety of Aluminum (and Mercury) in Vaccines “I predict that Gardasil will become the greatest medical scandal of all times because at some point in time, the evidence will add up to prove that this vaccine…has absolutely no effect on cervical cancer and that all the very many […]
nsnbc : The German government noted that it doesn’t expect to see any of those of Turkish President Erdogan’s bodyguards who were involved in uncivilized beatings of protesters in Washington, during his visit to the upcoming G-20 summit in the German city of Hamburg on July 7 – 8. Eleven people were hurt when Erdogan’s […]
nsnbc : Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Angolan Foreign Minister Georges Rebelo Chicoti discussed the possibilities for starting the production of Belarusian equipment including the assembly af tractors in Angola. Lukashenko and Chicoti met during the Angolan Foreign Minister’s visit to the Belarusian capital Minsk on June 26. The Belarusian State news agency BelTa reported […]
nsnbc : The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) made new gain in Raqqa and captured an additional district despite stiff and increasing resistance from ISIS. The Raqqa Civilian Council, for its part, declared a humanitarian amnesty for 83 captured persons with links to ISIS as a goodwill gesture on the Eid holiday. The Predominantly Syrian […]
nsnbc : The United Nations World Food program (WFP) announced that the first convoy of three trucks reached Qamishli in Syria’s northeastern Hasaka governorate. This is the first time that WFP has been able to deliver food by land in two years since the area became inaccessible for the WFP in December 2015. Since that time, […]
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), launched two attacks against Syrian Arab Amy (SAA) position within two days, claiming shells had been fired from Syrian-controlled territory into the Israeli occupied. Syrian Golan heights. Israeli involvement and manipulations have since 2013 created a “safe zone” for Al-Nusra and affiliated terrorists in the Golan, displacing UNDOF […]
Can you count how many ways the government manipulates people to be the type of citizen they can easily control? I think that would be impossible to come up with an actual number when every facet of government is dedicated to shaping the citizen in ways contrary to his or her nature. It […]
A new book traces how the CIA and U.S. counterinsurgency warfare operatives adopted lessons from the Nazis’ fight against the partisans and evolved into a dangerous law onto themselves, writes retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce. Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the […]
In 1992 Fran and Dan Keller were convicted despite the absence of any evidence of raping a 3-year old, a crime that never occurred. Among the absurd charges was the transport of children to Mexico to be raped by military officials. The Kellers spent 21 years in prison before finally being exonerated by a conviction […]
Patrick J .Buchanan In the first round of the special election for the House seat in Georgia’s Sixth District, 30-year-old Jon Ossoff swept 48 percent. He more than doubled the vote of his closest GOP rival, Karen Handel. A Peach State pickup for the Democrats and a huge humiliation for President Trump seemed at […]
“The world has no particular objection to vice, but it does have an insuperable repugnance to hearing vice called by its proper name.” ~ William Thackeray Last week in the UK, a local police commissioner, Alison Hernandez (suffering from an attack of “malicious honesty,” albeit only temporary), indicated that she was open to the […]
A Russian submarine has successfully launched a missile from the Barents Sea near Norway to a test site in the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East, the Russian Defense Ministry reports.
"The strategic Borey-class nuclear submarine, Yuri Dolgoruky, has successfully fired the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from a designated area in the Barents Sea to the Kura Missile Test Range in Kamchatka," the MoD said in a statement.
"The launch was made from an underwater position in accordance with the combat training plan."
"According to the confirmed data from mission control, the ICBM units completed the full flight program and successfully hit the targets in the range."
I realized the United States hates Russia because Russia refuses to be a client state.
It started in 2008. Before that I did not pay attention to what was happening in Russia. I saw a few headlines: Chechnya, default, wheat shipments in aid. They were the sort of thing you see on the crawl at the bottom of the screen on CNN. That was enough; I had other things to worry about.
But then my cousin said, check out this picture of a meeting between Putin and Bush in Beijing. They were in the bleachers talking about something bad - Putin looked fierce and Bush looked flummoxed. Whoa, there was a war starting? What war? Where?
Liquid water comes in two forms — low density and high density, scientists have found.
The findings add to the anomalous properties of this ubiquitous, life-giving liquid, which is like no other on Earth.
"The new remarkable property is that we find that water can exist as two different liquids at low temperatures where ice crystallization is slow," Anders Nilsson, a chemical physicist at Stockholm University in Sweden, said in a statement.
A dozen or so House Democrats want Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to go after a dispiriting loss in a House election in Georgia. They just don't know how to make it happen.
"We can't keep losing races and keep the same leadership in place. You have a baseball team that keeps losing year after year. At some point, the coach has got to go, right?" said Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., on Friday.
The frustrated Democrats met in Rice's office a day earlier to discuss their options as they face long odds of knocking out the woman who has led the Democratic caucus for nearly 15 years from minority to majority and back, raised tens of millions of dollars and has had multiple legislative successes. Their action plan: Keep talking. Keep raising the concern that something needs to change within the ranks of the party's leadership.
It's about all they can do.
"We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times; where there are no secrets from government." ― William O. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice, dissenting in Osborn v. United States, 385 U.S. 341 (1966)
The government has become an expert in finding ways to sidestep what it considers "inconvenient laws" aimed at ensuring accountability and thereby bringing about government transparency and protecting citizen privacy.
Indeed, it has mastered the art of stealth maneuvers and end-runs around the Constitution.
It knows all too well how to hide its nefarious, covert, clandestine activities behind the classified language of national security and terrorism. And when that doesn't suffice, it obfuscates, complicates, stymies or just plain bamboozles the public into remaining in the dark.
Case in point: the National Security Agency (NSA) has been diverting "internet traffic, normally safeguarded by constitutional protections, overseas in order to conduct unrestrained data collection on Americans."
It's extraordinary rendition all over again, only this time it's surveillance instead of torture being outsourced.
In much the same way that the government moved its torture programs overseas in order to bypass legal prohibitions against doing so on American soil, it is doing the same thing for its surveillance programs.
By shifting its data storage, collection and surveillance activities outside of the country—a tactic referred to as "traffic shaping" —the government is able to bypass constitutional protections against unwarranted searches of Americans' emails, documents, social networking data, and other cloud-stored data.
The government, however, doesn't even need to move its programs overseas. It just has to push the data over the border in order to "[circumvent] constitutional and statutory safeguards seeking to protect the privacy of Americans."
Credit for this particular brainchild goes to the Obama administration, which issued Executive Order 12333 authorizing the collection of Americans' data from surveillance conducted on foreign soil.
The Manchester Terror Attack took place at a concert for Ariana Grande – an music industry superstar. It was a grand and horrifying clash of the worlds of entertainment and high-stakes terrorism. The Manchester terror attack was sickening for several reasons. Its aftermath was also sickening, for a slew of other reasons. It was about […]
This year, the Bilderberg meeting is taking place in Virginia, USA. Here’s a look at the topics that will be discussed at this elite meeting and the full list of attendees. The three-day summit of the political and economic elite began on June 1st at the Westfields Marriott in Virginia. The luxury hotel has been […]
Local legends about the Sansevero Chapel of Naples claim that the astonishing works of art it contains are the result of sorcery and black magic. The sculptures appear impossible to create by hand, while a macabre display featuring two actual human bodies is said to be the result of ritual killings. Also, adding to the occult aura […]
In “Bon Appétit”, Katy Perry is cooked by chefs and offered as a meal to a party of elite guests. It directly alludes to bizarre rituals the occult elite practice behind closed doors – and in plain sight. About a week before the Bon Appétit video came out, I wrote an article entitled What is […]
In this edition of SPOTM: Ed Sheeran, Britney Spears, Bella Thorne and so much proof that the industry is controlled by people worshipping the one-eye sign. There are a quite a few articles about Britney Spears on this site. Why? Because she is one of the most obvious cases of Monarch programming in the entertainment business […]
Only stable communities empowered with the necessary resources can stop Baltimore's out of control violence, say Retired Deputy Police Commissioner Tony Barksdale, law enforcement veteran Neill Franklin, Councilwoman Shannon Sneed, Rose Street Community Center's Clayton Guyton, and clinical psychologist Kevin McCamant
Jeremy Kowalski, author of "Domestic Extremism and the Case of the Toronto 18," explains how his investigation of the "Toronto 18" uncovered a link between state violence and the development of domestic extremist groups
Seymour M. Hersh reports for Die Welt: On April 6, United States President Donald Trump authorized an early morning Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in central Syria in retaliation for what he said was a deadly nerve agent attack carried out by the Syrian government two days earlier in the rebel-held town of […]
Masha Gessen writes for Harper’s Magazine: When each day brings more news than we are used to seeing in a week, and the kind of news that only the most catastrophic imagination can accommodate, we find ourselves talking about the Reichstag fire. Time feels both accelerated and slowed down, and so we imagine that we […]
James West writes for Mother Jones: In June 2016, Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy and put itself up for auction. The company’s high-profile demise came after it lost a $140 million libel lawsuit brought by wrestler Hulk Hogan, whose sex tape had made its way to Gawker‘s readers in 2012. Soon after the verdict, we found out […]
Joshua Holland reports for The Nation: In the wake of the mass shooting in suburban Virginia last week that left House majority whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and three others wounded, conservatives have been furiously waving the bloody shirt. With left-wing hate filling half the screen, Sean Hannity blamed Democrats, saying they “dehumanize Republicans and paint […]
Jon Schwarz reports for The Intercept: Chuck Grassley, a Republican senator from Iowa, is known on Twitter for expressing his yearning for the History Channel to finally show some history. The good news for Grassley, and for everyone else, is that starting Sunday night and running through Wednesday the History Channel is showing a new four-part series called […]
The Senate health care bill was unveiled on Thursday, and it appears to be dead on arrival. At least four conservative senators say that they can’t vote for the current version because it doesn’t go far enough, while several moderate Republicans are expressing concerns that it goes too far in repealing popular Obamacare provisions. You [...]
It has become exceedingly clear that the Democratic Party is in deep trouble. Close to 55 million dollars was spent on the race in Georgia’s sixth congressional district, and that shattered all kinds of records. Democrat Jon Ossoff was able to raise and spend six times as much money as Karen Handel and yet he [...]
Do you have an emergency fund? If you even have one penny in emergency savings, you are already ahead of about one-fourth of the country. I write about this stuff all the time, but it always astounds me how many Americans are literally living on the edge financially. Back in 2008 when the economy tanked [...]
The quote in the headline comes from Ron Paul, and it should be the goal of every conservative lawmaker in the entire country. When professional politicians tell you that they are in favor of reforming the tax code or reducing taxes a little bit, essentially what they are telling you is that they are perfectly [...]
Margaret Thatcher once said that the big problem with socialist governments is that “they always run out of other people’s money”, and unfortunately we are witnessing this play out in a major way in the state of Illinois right now. At this point, the Illinois state government has more than 15 billion dollars of unpaid [...]
After 70 years of ministry, Morris Cerullo became so sick he begged God to take him. Instead God healed him, then sent Morris to help you walk in miracles. See a store full of Sid Roth’s work, including, “They Thought for Themselves,” “Truth Seekers,” “Supernatural Healing,” “The Incomplete Church,” “There Must be Something More,” “Supernatural [...]
The U.S. Supreme Court slapped down the lower courts’ blocking of President Trump’s travel ban Monday and ruled that the administration can go ahead with implementing the ban until the court can hear the full case in October. But there is a caveat to Monday’s ruling as the Court threw open the door to a [...]
If Gov. Bruce Rauner and his legislature in Springfield do not put a budget together by Friday, the Land of Lincoln will be the first state in the Union to see its debt plunge into junk-bond status. Illinois has $14.5 billion in overdue bills, $130 billion in unfunded pension obligations and no budget. “We can’t [...]
(CNBC) — U.S. equities traded mostly higher Monday as a rise in the financials sector helped offset losses from large-cap technology stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average gained about 50 points in choppy trade, with Goldman Sachs contributing the most gains. The 30-stock index briefly rose more than 100 points earlier in the session. The [...]
(NEW SCIENTIST) — Is this a cigarette habit with some benefits? A species of urban bird seems to harness the toxic chemicals in cigarette butts in its fight against nest parasites – although there is a downside to the practice. Constantino Macías Garcia at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and his colleagues, have spent [...]
Today in the corporate media, Venezuela’s economic problems are used to paint the country as a failed state, in need of foreign-backed regime change. To get the Bolivarian government’s side of the crisis, Abby Martin interviews Venezuela’s Minister of Economic Planning, Ricardo Menéndez. They discuss shortages, oil dependency, the role of the US-backed opposition movement and more. The Empire Files … Read More
Robbie Martin interviews Abby Martin about her recent trip to Venezuela, where she explains the reality on-the-ground, dissects the corporate media’s propaganda campaign against the government and describes firsthand the fascistic, violent nature of opposition protesters carrying out daily barricades, known as “guarimbas”. They also discuss the legacy of Hugo Chavez and why his brand of socialism poses such an … Read More
Empire Files host Abby Martin just returned from Venezuela where she saw first hand how violent opposition protesters attempt to intimidate reporters and thereby give a false impression of what is happening. Sharmini Peries: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Violent protests between opposition demonstrators and police forces in Venezuela have been going … Read More
Robbie and Abby Martin discuss Trump’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia, the “Russia Gate” scandal reaching an impeachment fever pitch, the alt-right’s free speech “trolling”, Assange and Wikileaks’ role in the information war and breaking down the Seth Rich conspiracy theory. This podcast is the product of many long hours of hard work and love. If you want to encourage … Read More
Prominent members of the right-wing Venezuelan opposition, including professors and journalists, are spreading blatant lies about U.S. journalists, inciting violence and subjecting them to a torrent of extreme death threats. As the price of oil has plummeted, Venezuela has seen growing inflation and goods shortages. The South American nation’s right-wing opposition — which has long been backed by the United … Read More
The Senate’s Obamacare replacement healthcare bill, introduced for discussion today, is an example of the way the legislative process should work, says Robert Romano. Before being brought to the floor, legislators will have an opportunity [...]
Survivors of the brutal attack on the USS Liberty ship in 1967 gather together, earlier this month, to honor the fallen and preserve the memory of what happened on that terrible day. By Dave Gahary [...]
Day after day, it seems, this popular, unattributed quote becomes more appropriate. . . . “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” By AFP Staff First they came for the “fringe, radical right” and [...]
The U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, is once again moving to prop up the “too-big-to-fail” banks by playing games with interest rates, and the financial media will not explain this, let alone cover it, [...]
The Second Amendment was enshrined in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution as a means to ensure that a well-armed populace would be able to defend itself against all domestic and foreign enemies. The [...]
According to POLITICO, the US administration is considering the possibility of withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty). The INF Treaty is a bedrock arms control agreement banning an entire class of nuclear missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. It has removed thousands of nuclear weapons from the European continent and marked the first time the superpowers agreed to actually eliminate nuclear weapons and utilize extensive on-site inspections for verification. Now the landmark Treaty is teetering on the brink...
Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.
Right after the U.S. government shot down a Syrian government plane in Syria, the Russian government broke off the coordination of its operations along with the U.S. and America's allied forces in Syria (otherwise known as «deconfliction of forces» there), and warned that...
June 23rd 2016 was the date of the infamous EU Referendum in the so-called United Kingdom. One year on and not a great deal has actually happened in Britain apart from the country playing up to all the worst stereotypes that people around the world hold regarding the British/English and indulging in one of the most obscene naval gazing exercises of insular provincialism, internal chaos, poor Governance and angry running battles between the young and old, the haves and the have nots, the educated and uneducated, the internationalists and the nationalists.
‘As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm’ Adan SalazarPrison Planet.comJune 26, 2017 The Trump administration is lauding the Supreme Court’s recent decision approving parts of his executive order banning travel from six terror-prone nations. Very grateful for the 9-O decision from the U. S. Supreme Court. We […]
Published time: 26 Jun, 2017 16:16 Northern Ireland’s hard-right Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a “milder form” of the US-based Klu Klux Klan, which once terrorized and murdered black citizens, Respect Party leader George Galloway says. The former MP was part of a panel discussion on the Tory-DUP confidence and supply arrangement in which the […]
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assessed the Republican-proposed healthcare bill facing the US Senate will cost 22 million people insurance by 2026, even as the GOP amended the bill to prevent people from gaming the system by letting coverage lapse. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) unveiled the Better Care Reconciliation Act of […]
The European Union is reportedly fining Google a record $1.2 billion this week over the internet giant’s anti-competitive practices. Multiple reports on Monday said the EU was planning to hand down the record fine as soon as Tuesday. Brussels’ regulatory arm, the European Commission, has declined to comment on the reports. “We continue to engage constructively […]
Australian government’s $70 million court settlement covers up crimes against refugees By Max Newman 26 June 2017 The Australian government has settled a class action lawsuit, agreeing to pay $70 million to 1,905 current and former detainees in the Australian-run refugee prison camp on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, as well as legal costs […]
A public hearing for the case against Dmitry Bogatov is taking place on June 28th at 3pm, at Presnenskiy court in Moscow, the #FreeBogatov campaign tweeted today. Family and supporters of Bogatov are calling for maximum support for the Russian Software developer who was arrested on April 6th, 2017, for running a Tor exit node, “incitement to mass riots” […]
Here’s Luke’s latest weekly news wrap-up with many of the stories that are under reported or grossly censored. This week he dives into Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and of course Israel. The most shocking, with the most global ramifications is the news that Israel has just attacked the Syrian army inside of […]
Right now, insane nightmares are coming to life through intensifying global proxy wars ~>Watch the video<~ The US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel along with Syrian rebels are jointly fighting Iran, China, Russia and the Syrian government. It’s especially important for Trump supporters to be aware of this insane situation, which has been going on for […]
In Jason Bermas’ new video, he discusses how Bill Cosby’s mistrial is an example of a greater problem- our celebretarded culture. Celebrities can wield their power of persuasion over the population. These kind of events are conveniently used as distractions by the mainstream media to focus attention away from other super topics like what’s going […]
A man has been arrested on suspicion of terror offences after he drove a van into a group of worshippers close to a mosque in north London. One man, who had taken ill before the attack began, died and nine others were taken to hospital, some of whom were critically injured. A total of eleven people sustained […]
We end the show today in Jackson, Mississippi, where just one week from today social justice activist and attorney Chokwe Lumumba will be sworn is as the city's next mayor. He has vowed to make Jackson the "most radical city on the planet." He is the son of the city’s former mayor, the late Chokwe Lumumba, who was once dubbed "America’s most revolutionary mayor." We air the mayor-elect’s speech at the People’s Summit and speak to him in Jackson about his plans for the city and his father's legacy.
We speak with renown Indian writer Arundhati Roy on the rise of Hindu nationalism and the pressures she experienced as the "face of the new India," which came at a time when the Hindu nationalist BJP party came to power. She has just published her second novel, "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness." It's her first work of fiction since the Booker Prize-winning "The God of Small Things" published in 1997.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump in their first face-to-face meeting. The meeting comes as Lockheed Martin announced a deal to begin making F-16 fighter jets in India. Modi is part of a notorious gallery of strongmen that have swept into power across the globe. One of the key issues expected to come up during the meeting is the fate of the H-1B visa program, which permits thousands of Indian computer engineers to enter the United States each year. Trump signed an executive order in April to review the visa program. We speak with Mumbai-based Teesta Setalvad, a civil rights activist and journalist. We also speak with Prachi Patankar, co-founder of the South Asia Solidarity Initiative, based in New York.
Republicans Call for Delay of Healthcare Vote as Opposition Grows, WaPo: Obama Knew Putin Was Directly Involved in Election Interference, NYT: Full-Page Report Chronicles Every Lie Trump Told Since Taking Office, Carrier's Plant Facing Massive Layoffs, Despite Trump's Promises, U.N.: Yemen Facing World's Worst Cholera Outbreak, Iraqi Civilians Continue to Flee Fighting in Mosul, Two Journalists Die of Injuries Sustained in Mine Explosion in Mosul, Report: U.S.-Led Coalition Airstrikes Killed 700 Civilians in Raqqa, Syria, 50,000 Protesters Form Human Chain to Demand Belgium Close Nuclear Reactors, Pakistan: 150 Killed in Fuel Tanker Explosion, Colombia: 13 Killed in Mine Explosion, 2nd Mistrial Declared in Murder Case of Fmr. Officer Ray Tensing, Chelsea Manning & Gavin Grimm Celebrate at NYC Pride Parade, MA: 98-Year-Old Activist Frances Crowe Arrested Blockading Pipeline
An ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by the South Sudanese government has triggered one of the biggest refugee crises in Africa. The United Nations has accused the government's Sudan People's Liberation Army, known as the SPLA, of committing atrocities including mass rape and torture, as well as burning down entire villages. A U.N. report published in May says the abuses may amount to war crimes. We speak with journalist Nick Turse, a reporter with The Investigative Fund. He spent six weeks in South Sudan and refugee camps in neighboring countries.
King Salmane ben Abdelaziz Al Saoud (81 years old) has removed from office 57 year old Emir Mohammed ben Nayef Al Saoud. The latter was the Crown Prince, Vice-Prime Minister and the Minister of Home Affairs, all at the same time. De facto, the King's son, Prince Mohammed ben Salmane Al Saoud (31 years), will become the new Crown Prince. Mohammed ben Nayef Al Saoud was considered as the US's man. He has been trained first in Oregon, then later by the FBI and Scotland Yard. He obtained (...)
At the beginning of the race to space, the Great Powers had agreed in the UN to refrain from storing weapons in space. However, without knowing whether or not it had violated this principle, the United States then deployed a range of weapons enabling it to destroy enemy satellites; in theory from Earth and not space.
As the Middle Eastern States split between the partisans and adversaries of clericalism, Washington, Moscow and Beijing are negotiating a new deal. Thierry Meyssan evaluates the impact of this earthquake on the Palestinian, Iraqi-Syrian and Yemeni conflicts.
Every year, the comedian Dieudonné awards prizes called “Quenelles d'or de la subversion”. The prize giving is a wild ceremony which takes place in the Parisian region before a wide audience (about a 1000 persons). This prize had been created following a fruitless battle launched by the French government to silence the comedian. On 17 June 2017, Dieudonné awarded a “Special Quenelle” to Thierry Meyssan for “the entirety of his work”. The recipient had recorded a video of acceptance at Damascus. (...)
Acting in accordance with promise it gave on 11 April 2016, Egypt has finally returned the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia . This act triggers an obligation on the part of Riyadh to respect the Camp David agreements under which ownership over these two small islands must not prevent movement in the straits and must allow Israeli ships to move freely. A number of Egyptians have challenged President Al-Sissi's decision to transfer sovereignty. To make them accept it, the (...)
On Thursday of last week (22/6/17) the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly by 94 votes to 15, with 64 abstentions, on a motion advanced by Mauritius seeking a referral to the International court of Justice (ICJ) for an advisory opinion on the Chagos Islands. One suspects that the majority of any given population in […]
On 29 June 2017, the Congolese Solidarity Campaign (CSC), a grassroots human rights based social movement will once again hold its Un-Independence Day event in a form of panel discussion. It will take place at the Diakonia Centre — 20 Diakonia venue, Durban, South Africa. While the rest of the country celebrates 57 years of […]
Here in south Louisiana we are, to a degree, surrounded by levees. For those not familiar with them, levees are manmade earthen barriers that are designed to protect the inhabited areas of the region from rising waters and storm surges. They are not a new strategy, historical accounts tell us of levees being erected by […]
That little kind gesture, which was almost without effort and you were barely even conscious of… was in fact a ‘Sign’ the little ‘Miracle’ she had prayed for. The ‘Smile’ you freely returned with a comforting hand upon shaking shoulder, lasted merely seconds… but, it seeded ‘Hope’ when all was thought lost and germinated into […]
War And weaponry Have their uses That is why Ploughshares Fall from the sky Cutting Through clouds Is just what is Needed Raking the corpses Peace seeds Impeded. Converting The soul Converting The gun Using napalm With ease Insulating Fair game Residents In flame Jelly on toast While 27 floors1 Roast Bodies left Charred Steel […]
Turmeric is one of the most potent spices, and when it comes to health benefits, nothing can match it. Not only is turmeric one of the most impressive free radical scavengers, it’s also been shown to support brain health, protect cell integrity, and even encourage a balanced mood. New research is showing that turmeric may ...
By: Daniel Lang, SHTFplan | It’s always funny to debate socialists on the merits of their ideology. If you point to a country like Venezuela, and say “See! This is what socialism leads to,” they’ll no doubt claim that it isn’t a real example of socialism. But if you went back in time by just a ...
On Tuesday, for the fifth time in recent weeks, US warplanes attacked Syrian military targets, flagrant acts of aggression. They’re part of Washington’s diabolical regime change plan – at the same time, testing Russia’s resolve in the wake of its announced halt in cooperating with America in Syrian airspace, following the downing of one of ...
The career political class is the quintessential predatory clique. If you remember and understand any aspect about politics, let it be the nature of the people who devote their lives to a band of thieves. Forget about the seeming dissimilarities in ideology, the political culture maintains a common conduct. Ignore the rhetoric that resembles opposing ...
When I used to work in the city, my office location was not in the best area of town. Frequently, there were questionable people walking around. At the time, there had been an increase of violent crimes and some vehicles had been carjacked in the area. Needless to say, I did not want to be the next ...
The Department of Justice has just conducted a series of raids across Los Angeles and arrested 238 people in connection with a Hollywood pedophilia network.
According to police, the arrests included some "major Hollywood players" as well as politicians, white-collar professionals, a monk, and other high-ranking clergy members.
The raids were conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes against Children task force, working directly with the Justice Department.
Codenamed "Operation Broken Heart III", the sweeping raids targeted offenders wanted for the sexual exploitation of children, child prostitution, sex tourism and possessing and distributing child pornography, said Deputy Chief Matt Blake of the Los Angeles Police Department.
In its latest dystopian innovation, Facebook has decided it would like to surreptitiously spy on people through their cameras, employing contentious facial recognition technology to analyze their emotions — in essence, this amounts to reading a person’s mind.
A recently-resurfaced patent filed by Facebook previously evinces the social media platform’s remarkably Orwellian goal of reading users’ emotions upon encountering various content — information which would then be used to tailor material for relevance to a person’s mood.
Flatly called “Techniques for emotion detection and content delivery,” the patent — filed in November 2015 and rediscovered by New York-based marketing intelligence firm, CB Insights, upon its granting on May 25, 2017 — “would automatically add emotional information to text messages, predicting the user’s emotion based on methods of keyboard input.
“The visual format of the text message would adapt in real time based on the user’s predicted emotion. As the patent notes (and as many people have likely experienced), it can be hard to convey mood and intended meaning in a text-only message; this system would aim to reduce misunderstandings.
Studies of human populations suggest that our health and longevity could be affected by the diets and experiences of our grandparents.
For example, studies of a small community in northern Sweden where detailed historical records were kept found correlations between food availability for one generation and the mortality rate for that generation's grandchildren.
But the exact nature of these effects and how they are transmitted across generations remain unclear.
In Susan Strome's lab at UC Santa Cruz, research on a tiny roundworm called C. elegans is helping to solve this puzzle.
While US defense executives discussed how to solve air flow regulators aboard US jets like the F-35 at the Paris Air Show, MiG general director Ilya Tarasenko quietly confirmed that plans are moving along swiftly with the MiG-35. Testing of the aircraft will be complete by late 2017 or early 2018.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. ~ Sun Tzu The US plan for the Balkanization of Syria is now laid bare for all to see. The events of the past few weeks have removed any rose-colored glasses from all but the […]
At the ” One Belt, One Road” forum held in Beijing in May 2017 – with much pomp – the absence of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was associated by almost all world mass media with India’s disagreement with the conditions for the establishment of the China-Pakistani economic corridor (CPEC), which has a key […]
Recent studies conducted by Baltic sociologists are confirming that a Europe of “two speeds” is not merely a fantasy of some journalists. A few days ago, Lithuanian research center Spinter Tyrimai published a rather disturbing report indicating that every sixth Lithuanian studies English in order to emigrate to another European country that can be found […]
“…one shouldn’t put one’s trust in speeches like that from the gentlemen, for on such occasions the gentlemen liked to say agreeable things, but they had little or no significance and, once uttered, they were forgotten for all time, but admittedly, on the very next occasion one got caught again in their trap.” With these […]
Christiane Amanpour was barbequed by RT’s Anissa Naouai some years back over an interview the CNN anchor conducted in which Amanpour left out significant parts. Today the legendary war correspondent accused in the past of “one sided” journalism is called out over her reporting on the Aleppo boy Omran Daqneesh the White Helmets group so […]