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Our environmental and human needs are desperate and urgent. We need to transform our economy, our politics, our policies and our priorities to reflect that reality. That means reversing the flow of our tax dollars, away from war and militarism, and towards funding human and environmental needs, and demanding support for that reversal from all our political leaders at the local, state and national levels.

We and the movements we are part of face multiple crises. Military and climate wars are destroying lives and environments, threatening the planet and creating enormous flows of desperate refugees. Violent racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, homophobia and other hatreds are rising, encouraged by the most powerful voices in Washington DC.

Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Teflon Wars

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Tomgram: Alfred McCoy, Would-Be Strongmen Worldwide

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

U.S. Out of Korea

My biggest concern is not the embarrassment of a U.S. public afraid of the tiny impoverished nation of North Korea. If that embarrassed me, how would I survive what U.S. culture makes of ISIS, or -- for that matter -- the election of Donald Trump? My biggest concern is that U.S. war profiteers may end up using Korea to get us all killed.

The United States bombed the living hell out of North Korea, and -- in hopes that nothing would survive -- dropped diseased insects on the place, hoping to start plagues. One bit of later collateral damage was the release of Lyme disease in Lyme, but Hollywood came out of it with the concepts of brainwashing and Manchurian candidates, so some might call it a fair trade.

The United States has thus far refused to ever end the war, sign a peace, or allow reconciliation. Southern and Northern efforts toward peace have been thwarted. Northern proposals (echoed by China) to halt nuclear testing if the U.S. will halt the "exercises" in which it practices for the nuclear bombing of the North have been mocked and scorned. North Korea has committed to no first use, as has China. The U.S. has proposed first use and made plans for it, while heavily militarizing South Korea, building a new base on Jeju Island, sending armed drones to the border, and installing THAAD.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), is part of what the United States calls "missile defense" and much of the world thinks of as missile offense. The U.S. calls it a (highly profitable) tool to protect South Korea from the attack that the North is not threatening. China sees it as part of U.S. efforts to encircle China and to be prepared to strike first and to minimize the Chinese response.

Giving not a rat's rear what China or North Korea or even South Korea has to say, distracted by its efforts to stir up World War III with Russia, and obsessed with prolonging its numerous wars in the Middle East and Africa, the United States simply pushes ahead.

On Wednesday, April 5, a group of South Koreans plans to demonstrate against the current course in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. One of them, Rea-kyung Lee, Chairman of the board of the Tomorrow Association, provided me with a statement that I paraphrase thus:

"The Korean people will be closely watching how U.S. President Trump and the Chinese National Chairman Xi Jin Ping deal with the deployment of THAAD onto the Korean Peninsula when they meet in the United States on April 6 and 7.

"The United States is unilaterally imposing THAAD deployment without any normal and proper agreement with South Korea. The former Korean president who initiated the process has recently been impeached for corruption. A new election is planned for early May. Meanwhile, China is imposing sanctions on South Korea in retaliation.

"The United States must halt THAAD deployment. China must end sanctions.

"The democratic citizens of South Korea have ousted a corrupt president using peaceful, non-violent candlelight demonstrations. The hurdles still faced are long-standing. Following the period of Japanese imperialism, the Korean people desired to establish an independent and unified nation, but were frustrated by the U.S.-Soviet military occupations of the peninsula, and the war between the United States and China.

"The residents of the Korean peninsula have been being forced to undergo the tragic status of national division, while constantly experiencing daily life under the threat of war for more than 70 years. The U.S. and China, in fighting for supremacy over the Korean peninsula, should not repeat such historical crimes."

Two ways to help:

1. Join the demonstration at the White House from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on April 5.

2. Attend the conference and demonstration planned for April 7-9 in Huntsville, Alabama.

Let Trump Golf, Let the Public Draft the Budget

One idea behind a representative government is to approximate what the public as a whole would do if it had the time to sit down and consider each matter itself. Of course the entire U.S. public does not have that time. But when a random sample of the public is asked to take the time on one topic, its results typically line up with opinion polls, not to mention basic human decency, far more closely than does the work of the Congress or the White House.

An example is found in the matter of the fiscal year 2018 federal budget. This can be a tricky topic to poll the public on, principally because most of the public has little idea what the budget looks like, and most discussions of the budget only make matters worse. Passionate pleas not to cut this or that valuable program leave people imagining that such programs make up a significant part of the budget, and that the White House proposal would shrink the government by cutting such programs.

In fact, only one item makes up a significant part of the discretionary budget -- over half of it, in fact -- and President Donald Trump's proposal is for the same size government, but with funding moved out of virtually everywhere else and into this one budget item: the military. Trump's budget proposal would push military spending up to above 60% of discretionary spending (not counting secret budgets, of course).

What would be the point of asking for budget recommendations from people who believe that military spending is 10% and foreign aid 20% of the budget? How responsible would that be? If the public were to decree that we must "increase" military spending to 15% of the budget, how would we implement that policy?

A democratic solution to this conundrum, short of an improved communications system, has been found by the staff of the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland. They simply show people the current 2017 budget, so that they know what it is, and ask them how to improve it. The results would only shock an elected "representative."

"By far the biggest gap," the researchers report, "is for ... military spending. Overall the Trump administration favors a $53.4 billion increase while the public favors a $41 billion cut – a $94.4 billion gap." And, of course, Trump favors cuts to pay for his militarism that the public opposes: on education, public housing, the State Department, medical research, the environment, and mass transit.

I'm with the public on this and every other topic I know of. A sample of informed public opinion should override any veto, filibuster, house resolution, or executive order as far as I'm concerned. We'd all be better off.

Dumping $700 billion into a never-audited department named "defense," against the will of the public, is certainly not defensive of democracy. Neither is it defensive of anything else. Only 20 countries reach $10 billion in annual military spending, nine of them NATO members, 8 more U.S. allies, and 3 potential allies if not treated with such hostility. One of them, Russia, has cut its military in the past 3 years from $70 billion to $48 billion. Somehow that's the government considered so terrifying in Washington, D.C., that all you'd have to do to stop Trump's budget would be to claim 1,000 times on television that a Russian wrote it.

That's going to be my Plan B. First let's try this. I suggest we cut the President some slack. Let him go golfing more often. The public can handle the government just fine.

Tomgram: Rajan Menon, Making America Insecure Again

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Terror attacks like the recent one in London send a shudder through Americans. Since 9/11, they have been the definition of what TomDispatch regular Rajan Menon calls “national (in)security.” They've also been the lifeblood of a media machine that loves to focus 24/7 on immediate and obvious horrors (especially against folks like “us”). In the age of Donald Trump, preventing such attacks has, if anything, become even more the essence of what American security is all about.

Focus: Syria - Mar 29, 2017

 

Clashes rage around Tabqa town after the Islamic State counter-attacks to fend off a US-backed advance near the militants' stronghold of Raqqa - alaraby.co.uk


Clashes renewed in the vicinity of al-Tabqa airbase between the Islamic State and the Syria Democratic Forces - SOHR


Raqqa-Tabqa road under SDF control - NRT English


Engineers repair Syria's Tabqa dam spillways after ISIS shelling - Reuters


VIDEO: ISIS began pounding the Tabqa dam with mortars. engineers evacuated and SDF/YPG reinforcements arrived. - syria.liveuamap.com


Engineer says Tabqa dam not in immediate damage, but needs urgent repairs (VIDEO) - almasdarnews.com


Red Crescent Team checks north side of Al-Tabqa dam in Raqqa province, say that the dam is out of service but it is not at risk (VIDEO) - Reuters


US- led coalition official: No imminent danger to Tabqa Dam, ISIS losing more ground in Raqqa - ARA News


VIDEO: ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq reportedly showing damage to the dam, states it was “completely out of service” and that its floodgates could not be opened - YouTube

 

Raqqa lives in darkness and thirst for the 5th consecutive day and panic in the city due to rumors about “the collapse of the near Euphrates Dam” - SOHR


The fight for a key dam in Syria could lead to 'catastrophe' for hundreds of thousands of people - Yahoo News


Monitoring groups say US behind deadly air strike on Syrian Tabqa dam that killed two local experts trying to repair it - FT


US-led coalition warplanes kill the man in charge of the Euphrates dam management in targeting him with a group of 12 persons including technicians in al-Tabqa – SOHR


Russian general claims US-led coalition hit Tabqa dam in Syria - militarytimes.com


More US troops may be needed for fight against ISIS near Raqqa, general says - Fox News


US-led Coalition to use Tabqa airbase during Raqqa operation - Sputnik


US military delivers equipment to Kurdish forces in northern Raqqa: report - almasdarnews.com


Syria's Raqqa expected to join Kurdish-led federalism: Kurdish leader - Reuters


Syrian Democratic Forces say handed over responsibility for the administration in the Raqqa countryside to the Raqqa Civil Council - Rudaw


US-led coalition has no intention to create federal Kurdish state in Syria: official - ARA News


The Kurds can take Raqqa, but they can’t stay, says top U.S. General. - Foreign Policy on Twitter

 

Syrian Coalition: Liberation of Raqqa should be assigned to the FSA - etilaf.org


Fantastic report based on interviews with the key 4 tribes in Raqqa. - A MUST READ, with important lessons - Charles Lister on Twitter


Lesson 1 - ALL of Raqqa’s key tribes are deeply hostile to U.S-backed YPG & skeptical of the SDF. Today’s strategy ensures further war. - Charles Lister on Twitter


Lesson 2 - A sizeable U.S troop deployment into eastern Syria based on today’s strategy is v. likely to spark a broader hostile insurgency - Charles Lister on Twitter


REPORT: Eyeing Raqqa: A Tale of Four Tribes - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


Turkey ends 'Shield' military operation in Syria, PM says - US News


Turkish observers: 'Ankara, Damascus must unite' to halt US-backed Kurdish state in northern Syria - Sputnik

 

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Four Syrian towns reach evacuation deals between pro-government and rebel forces -DW.COM


More links on the reported Fouaa–Kefraya/Zabadani–Madaya agreement - Aron Lund on Twitter


The National Coalition is not at all fond of the Four Towns agreement - Aron Lund on Twitter:


[Unverified] reports that HTS may have received $30 million for agreeing to recent “4 towns” evacuation deal - Charles Lister on Twitter


Fighters, civilians evacuated from last militant-held district in Homs (VIDEO) - almasdarnews.com


Syrian government troops entered Deir Hafer: Report - southfront.org


Syrian army advance on Jirah military airbase (VIDEO) - southfront.org


ISIS-held Jirah military air base in Aleppo to be encircled by Syrian army (MAP) - southfront.org


Syrian Army overruns jihadi groups in northern Hama - almasdarnews.com


Syrian Army regains the lead in northern Hama, recaptures another hilltop (VIDEO) - almasdarnews.com


ISIS offensive in Deir Ezzor ends in complete disaster, 30+ terrorists killed - almasdarnews.com


Syrian, Iraqi intelligence work together to destroy ISIS's largest base in Deir Ezzor - almasdarnews.com


HNC reiterates no role for Assad in transitional period & accuses Iranian-backed militias of war crimes - etilaf.org


U.S. envoy to U.N. Haley: Syria's Assad 'hindrance to moving forward' - Reuters


Russian Deputy FM rules out discussing Assad's future with US - Sputnik


Peace talks will continue until Syria has ‘territorial integrity’: Russian Deputy FM - almasdarnews.com


Russia urges Syrian opposition to not raise tensions - almasdarnews.com


Russia's Lavrov: still possible to renew cooperation with U.S. in Syria - Reuters


Lavrov interview: An “absolutely artificial hysterical situation was created” in U.S.-Russia relations—but not quite yet a Cold War. - The National Interest


Iraq will not sever ties with Iran despite pressure from Arab nations - Rudaw


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Tomgram: John Dower, Body Count for the American Century

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Focus: Yemen - Mar 27, 2017

 

UN urges political dialogue between warring parties to bring an early end to Yemen devastating conflict and avoid famine - AFP


UN rights chief calls for a cease-fire in Yemen - jurist.org


100 civilians killed a month in Yemen war, most by Saudi-led coalition: U.N. - Reuters


UN statement: Over 100 civilians killed in a month, including fishermen, refugees, as Yemen conflict reaches two-year mark - ohchr.org


Children paying the heaviest price as conflict in Yemen enters third year: UN - United Nations News Centre


More than 10,000 attacks on Yemeni women in 2016: UN - dnaindia.com


Defense Secretary Jim Mattis asks the White House to escalate U.S. military support for Persian Gulf states engaged in a protracted civil war in Yemen - The Washington Post


Mattis’ dangerous request to increase support for the war on Yemen - The American Conservative


Saudi Arabia’s brutal and futile war in Yemen turns two - The American Conservative


Two years on, Saudi intervention in Yemen leaves trail of death - DW.COM


Happy anniversary to America’s shameful travesty of a war in Yemen - Foreign Policy


Amnesty condemns US, UK over Yemen arms - France 24


Yemen: Multibillion-dollar arms sales by USA and UK reveal shameful contradiction with aid efforts - Amnesty International


Yemen: Saudi-led coalition attack on refugee boat likely war crime - Human Rights Watch

 

Senators clash over U.S. involvement and Iran's role in Yemen conflict - NIAC


Dick Durbin: "Count me in" for tying Saudi arms to stopping Yemen famine - The Huffington Post


The Arab Gulf states plan to 'win' the war in Yemen – we should be wary about what their victory would look like - The Independent

 

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Yemen war second anniversary: Tens of thousands protest against Saudi intervention in Sanaa - ibtimes.com


VIDEO: Drone footage: Over 100,000 Houthi supporters gather at Yemen rally - YouTube


Pro-Houthi court sentences Yemen president Hadi to death for treason - Reuters


Yemen president Hadi: Houthis cannot impose Iranian model on us - Al Arabiya English


Houti-backed president Saleh calls for ‘unconditional’ talks on Yemen - Middle East Monitor


Houthi leader slams Saudi Arabia, hails Egypt’s positions – Middle East Monitor


Saudi naval forces clear Houthi mines from Hodeida coast - Al Arabiya English


Russia warns against Yemen Hodeida port attack by the Saudi coalition - almasdarnews.com


Houthi forces turn the tides in the battle for western Yemen - almasdarnews.com


Houthi forces launch massive offensive in southern Saudi Arabia - almasdarnews.com


Yemeni long-range missile hit Saudi military base near Riyadh - almasdarnews.com


VIDEO: Watch the Yemeni rebels fire a long-range missile at the Saudi capital - almasdarnews.com

 

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Iran steps up support for Houthis in Yemen's war: sources - Reuters


Houthi forces appear to be using Iranian-made kamikaze drones to ram Saudi air defenses in Yemen, report says - The Washington Post


Iran behind Yemeni rebels' explosive boats - Washington Times


Iran's Hybrid warfare In Yemen: The Houthis are not an Iranian proxy at this time, but U.S. action could force the Houthis to deepen ties with Tehran - Critical Threats


If Yemen's Houthis weren't Iranian proxies before, they could be soon - Public Radio International


Iran’s small hand in Yemen: Iranian support for the Houthis has been marginal and does not shape their decisionmaking as much as local alliances and conflict dynamics do - CEIP


Iran’s policy towards the Houthis in Yemen: A limited return on a modest investment - researchgate.net


Hitting Iran where it doesn’t hurt: Why U.S. intervention in Yemen will backfire - Just Security


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Tomgram: Jon Else, Eyes on the Prize 2017

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Can Our Social Institutions Catch Up With Advances in Science and Technology?

H.G. Wells, one of the most prolific and prominent novelists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, consistently warned his contemporaries that social institutions were not evolving fast enough to cope with rapid changes in science and technology.

Liberalism's Communications Problem

Liberals in the United States are relatively educated, yet extremely inarticulate when it comes to Trump, his budget proposal, or the U.S. military.

In a typical email, Moveon.org sent out the message this week that nobody should confirm a Supreme Court nominee until it's determined that Trump is a "legitimate president." Until then, the U.S. military should go on slaughtering families for him? And once he's "legitimate" then a horrible fascist Supreme Court nominee should be approved? And what would it take for Trump to become "legitimate." According to the email, it would take proving that Trump didn't collaborate with Putin to rig the U.S. election. According to the linked video, it would take that plus seeing Trump's tax returns, plus proving that Trump is not violating the foreign emoluments clause. All three demands are given a xenophobic slant.

Focus: Syria - Mar 23, 2017


U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces expects to attack Tabqa dam and air base soon - Reuters


SDF will dominate Tabqa dam in next 72 hours: SDF commander declares - syria.liveuamap.com


VIDEO: YPG Footage showing the advance of the US backed SDF across Lake Assad/River Euphrates and towards Tabqa Dam - syria.liveuamap.com


US military helping operation to seize strategic Tabqa dam near Syria’s Raqqa - Al Arabiya English


US Coalition statement on the Syrian Democratic Forces assault near Tabqah dam - Operation Inherent Resolve


Reports starting to come in that US troops have been deployed to Tabqa (via helicopter). This account says 100 troops involved - Shiraz Maher on Twitter”


US special forces cut the main route between Aleppo and Raqqa, after making a surprise airdrop near Tabqah, Syria. - syria.liveuamap.com


Kurdish forces cutoff key ISIL supply line in northern Syria, capturing several villages along the strategic Aleppo-Raqqa Highway - almasdarnews.com


SDF soldier announces that more soldiers will be transported to the peninsula west of Tabqa in some hours - Syrian Civil War Map


Syrian Democratic Forces say need up to 15 days to block, start storming Raqqa - Sputnik


SDF's Talal Selou tells al-Watan's Junblat Shkai SDF would be happy to coordinate with the Syrian Army in Raqqa, if US approves - Aron Lund on Twitter

 

ISIS reportedly redeploys forces from Deir Ezzor To Raqqah - southfront.org

 

US General: "The YPG has a political office in Moscow itself, but the groups that we're providing support to on the ground are not being supported directly by Russian military forces” - Washington Examiner


US State Department warning against travel to Syria and urging US citizens in Syria to depart immediately - Haidar Sumeri on Twitter

 

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Turkey Deputy PM on Raqqa: If you are saying ‘We will bring in the PYD while taking Daesh away’, Turkey will never allow it. We will not be involved - Sputnik


Turkey still determined to play role in final Raqqa assault, set up the Army of Al-Jazirah and Euphrates Tribes - al-monitor.com


Turkey training the Free Syrian Police (FSP) to help out with secondary operations in Aleppo province - al-monitor.com


Turkey expects Russia to close Syrian Kurds' office in Moscow: Foreign Ministry - Sputnik


Turkey not convinced with Russian denial for military base in Afrin - hurriyetdailynews.com


Syrian Kurdish YPG says Turkey shells villages in northwest Afrin, wounding 10 civilians - Reuters


Russian armored vehicles w Russia YPG flags, heading to Afrin border towns, were being heavily shelled by Turkish military - Jack Shahine on Twitter

 

Russian troops go to Syrian area shelled by Turkey, Kurdish YPG says - Channel NewsAsia


Turkey summons Russian envoy, says fired into Kurdish-held Syria after soldier killed by sniper - Reuters


Turkish military says 71 Kurdish militants killed in Syria in last week - Jerusalem Post

 

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Syrian Army troops liberated city of Deir Hafer in Eastern countryside of Aleppo: Reports - southfront.org


ISIS withdraws from last east Aleppo stronghold Deir Hafer - almasdarnews.com


Syrian Army continues routing ISIS in rural Aleppo after Deir Hafer, liberates new village - almasdarnews.com


Qaeda-led Syrian rebels press major assault near Hama, the offensive also includes Free Syrian Army fighters - Reuters


Al-Qaeda rebels seize two more villages in northern Hama - almasdarnews.com


Syrian army prepares Hama counterattack ahead of renewed peace talks - Reuters


Elite Tiger Forces arrive in northern Hama to drive back Al-Qaeda - almasdarnews.com


Syrian Army recaptures two villages in northern Hama counter-offensive - almasdarnews.com


Syrian Army storms jihadist-held Al-Qaboun in east Damascus - almasdarnews.com


Syrian army regains control of Maghazel industrial area in Eastern Damascus - Sputnik


Jaish al-Islam (participant of peace talks) joins Hayat Tahrir al-Sham & Co in advance against government forces In Eastern Damascus - southfront.org


Ahrar-AlSham participates in HTS offensive to cut Homs-Salamiyah supply routes Syria - syria.liveuamap.com


Jihadist rebels mobilize in northeast Latakia for new offensive - almasdarnews.com


Three more Russians lost their lives in Syria: Media - southfront.org


UN-mediated Syria talks resume in Geneva - StarTribune.com


Statement by the UN Special Envoy for Syria on the fifth round of intra-Syrian talks, 23 March 2017 - ReliefWeb


Russia wants Syrian Kurds in Geneva talks despite Turkey’s resistance - ARA News


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

The Middle East for Dummies

The first point I'd like to touch on is the idea that the Middle East is a culturally violent place that can be made less violent by bombing it. The first problem with this is that bombing places makes them more violent, not less. Nobody is shocked or awed into nonviolence, not 14 years ago and not for the past century. The second problem is that the Middle East's violence cannot be compared with that of other cultures without figuring out how to factor out the influence of the West. A hundred years ago, Britain and France carved up Western Asia, and not to spread democracy.

Trump in No Hurry to Staff ‘Enemy of the People’ Offices

By Dave Lindorff


(published originally by FAIR.org)

Ryancare wreckage: Don the Con's Health Care Pushes Serious Problems Aside

fdsBy Linn Washington, Jr.

 

The desperate scramble of President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress to salvage a cure for their ailing health care proposal to replace Obamacare completely ignores correcting a deadly problem plaguing the very heart of America’s health care system.

Five Localities Pass Resolutions Against Trump Budget: Three of Them Done Well

New Haven, CT, Charlottesville, VA, and Montgomery County, MD, have passed resolutions opposing the Trump budget's moving of money from everything else to the military, urging that money be moved in the opposite direction.

There Won't Be Another Jimmy Breslin, But We Need More Like Him in the Mainstream Media

By Dave Lindorff

 

There only was and only will be one Jimmy Breslin, and after his death last Sunday at 88, he is no more.

Talk Nation Radio: William Geimer on Why Canada Should Stay Out of Other People's Wars

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/william-geimer-on-why-canada-should-stay-out-of-other-peoples-wars

William Geimer, author, peace activist, is a veteran of the U.S. 82d Airborne Division and Professor of Law Emeritus, Washington and Lee University. After resigning his commission in opposition to the war on Vietnam, he represented conscientious objectors and advised peace groups near Ft. Bragg NC, once representing Jane Fonda, Dick Gregory and Donald Sutherland in negotiations with police. A Canadian citizen, he lives with his wife near Victoria, British Columbia where he is a member of the Vancouver Island Peace and Disarmament Network. He is the author of Canada: The Case for Staying Out of Other People’s Wars and serves as advisor on policy issues of peace and war to Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament and Leader of the Green Party of Canada.
 
Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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Russia Conspiracists Claim to Possess Reality

An Associated Press story on Tuesday came with this headline: "Analysis: Reality catching up with Trump on Russia," and began:

"WASHINGTON (AP) — Reality is catching up with President Donald Trump. Hours after Trump dismissed reports that his campaign associates were being scrutinized for colluding with Russia as 'fake news,' FBI Director James Comey confirmed the investigation is real."

Note the slick sophistry here. Trump never denied that there was an investigation. He denied that he colluded with the Russian government to steal the election. But according to the Associated Press, Trump's denial of those charges is disproven by the fact that someone is investigating them.

If you watched the hearing on Monday, you saw Comey asked how the "intelligence" "community" knew that Vladimir Putin wanted Trump to win the election. Comey's answer was nothing but information publicly available for many months, restated as an "assessment." Asked whether the Russian government gave WikiLeaks the Democratic Party emails that showed the DNC sabotaging the Bernie Sanders campaign and denying itself a better shot at winning the general election, Comey said that he "assessed" -- which seemed clearly to mean: speculated based on the absence of any evidence -- that Russia did not do so directly but used a "cutout."

None of this makes it into the AP, which continues:

"The FBI chief also repeatedly insisted there was no evidence to back up Trump's explosive claim that his predecessor wiretapped his New York skyscraper. And Adm. Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, knocked down a report about Britain helping President Barack Obama with the alleged surveillance, although the White House had pointed to the report to try to boost Trump's case. Taken together, the disclosures in Monday's lengthy House intelligence committee hearing amounted to an extraordinary undercutting of a president, whose headline-grabbing accusations and Twitter-friendly attacks crumbled quickly under the weight of sworn congressional testimony from some of the nation's top security officials."

Yet, the possibility that the baseless assertions Trump was blurting out were false does nothing whatsoever to prove that the baseless assertions coming from his accusers are true. Nor does this address the comments from NSA whistleblower Bill Binney that the NSA very likely did have material from snooping on Trump for the simple reason that it is systematically snooping on everyone, while the perjurers who deny that to Congress continue to be treated as respectable authorities. Nor is the AP or any other corporate news company addressing the problem of Trump apparently not having access to the U.S. government's information despite being president. Nor is anyone questioning Comey's refusal to mention any details about anyone under investigation now, while he was willing to make public an investigation of Hillary Clinton pre-election at a time when he now claims there was also an investigation of Donald Trump that he chose to keep silent about.

The AP does, however, take the time to inform us that if we disagree with it, we (even those of us pushing for a Trump impeachment on fact-based grounds) are irrational Trump supporters (even as the AP gets around to admitting that no evidence of wrongdoing with Russia has been produced):

"Many of Trump's most ardent supporters are unlikely to be swayed by Monday's spectacle. Still, Trump's credibility and his standing as a reliable ally for his fellow Republicans in Congress are less assured. Even if his advisers are ultimately cleared in the Russia probe, as the White House insists they will be, the investigation could loom over Trump's presidency for months or even years, distracting from the ambitious domestic agenda he's vowed to enact."

AP then cites the media's love for the Russia conspirascandal as evidence of its importance:

"That reality was abundantly clear Monday. Most cable news channels carried Comey and Rogers' five hours of testimony live instead of the first congressional hearing for Neil Gorsuch, Trump's widely praised nominee for the Supreme Court. The Russia hearings came as Trump tried to give a hard sell to Republicans wary of his health care package, a legislative gamble with long-lasting implications for Trump's relationship with his own party."

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” --Karl Rove

Speaking Events

2017

 

August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.

 

September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.

 

October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference



Find more events here.

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