Category: USA

Livestream: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the New Left

The Intercept’s Senior Politics Editor Briahna Gray for a conversation with New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about identity, race and class, and how these debates are likely to play out in the years ahead.

via Livestream: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the New Left

GOING BACKWARDS: Trump To Slash Renewables Funding in New Budget

Trump Escalates War On Renewables, Slashes DOE Budget By 70%

Trump has taken 4 companies and applied his inventive policies to them and sent them bankrupt those companies greatest success was screwing the lives of the people who were involved with them. Trump merely walked away. Mind you I bet he took money out first and left the debt. Nothing has changed really. (ODT)

A senior Trump administration official has told Bloomberg News that the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would see its $2.3 billion budget slashed by about 70 percent, to $700 million, under President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget request, which will be released on Monday.

Conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation have called for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, to be eliminated entirely, saying energy innovation is best left up to the private sector.

via GOING BACKWARDS: Trump To Slash Renewables Funding in New Budget

Donald Trump is under investigation and the Democrats may be fishing for impeachment grounds – Analysis & Opinion – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Donald Trump stands next to Allen Weisselberg, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

The President started out the week with this uncharacteristically mild comment.

“I cooperate all the time with everybody,” he told reporters on Monday, when asked if he’d answer the committee’s requests.

He added that he thought the probe was “a political hoax”.

But as the chatter about the probe grew, so did his fury.

By Tuesday the Democrats were “stone cold crazy”.

Despite saying he’d cooperate, the President can and probably will flex his executive privilege to block access to some of these documents.

So, yep, another lengthy court battle is likely.

Just another step in a long and complicated process.

via Donald Trump is under investigation and the Democrats may be fishing for impeachment grounds – Analysis & Opinion – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Tucker Carlson’s ‘Daily Caller’ Photoshop-shames AOC to Preserve Male Chauvinist Plutocracy

Where the political DIRT BRIGADE is financed by Murdoch media Fox News (ODT)

Daily Caller which published AOC’s fake photo is financed by far-right Tucker Carlson. Carlson is a far-right commentator for the pro-Donald Trump Fox news.

“Many have recognized that @FoxNews has crossed a line beyond conservatism and into outright bigotry with their financing of Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. Tucker finances the @DailyCaller, which posted fake nudes of me,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet responding to the news.

via Tucker Carlson’s ‘Daily Caller’ Photoshop-shames AOC to Preserve Male Chauvinist Plutocracy

The Mystery Military Bases the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Know About

This needs repeating over and over again unaccounted for bases and 44,000 troops hides the truth about a very flawed country that declares it’s a Democracy. (ODT)

President Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria means that the 2019 Base Structure Report will likely be the most accurate in years. For the first time since 2015, the Pentagon’s inventory of outposts will no longer be missing the al-Tanf garrison (or then again, maybe it will). But that still potentially leaves hundreds of off-the-books bases absent from the official rolls. Consider it one outpost down and who knows how many to go.

via The Mystery Military Bases, the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Know About

Do we need Tanf? US’s 4,775 global Military ‘Sites,’ cost us 6 bn/ yr.

Officially, the Department of Defense (DoD) maintains 4,775 “sites,” spread across all 50 states, eight U.S. territories, and 45 foreign countries. A total of 514 of these outposts are located overseas, according to the Pentagon’s worldwide property portfolio

The Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition notes that the United Statespossesses up to 95% of the world’s foreign military bases, while countries like France, Russia, and the United Kingdom have perhaps 10-20 foreign outposts each. China has just one.

However Unofficially

The Department of Defense even boasts that its “locations” include 164 countries. Put another way, it has a military presence of some sort in approximately 84% of the nations on this planet — or at least the DoD briefly claimed this. After TomDispatch inquired about the number on a new webpage designed to tell the Pentagon’s “story” to the general public, it was quickly changed. “We appreciate your diligence in getting to the bottom of this,” said Lieutenant Colonel Baldanza. “Thanks to your observations, we have updated defense.gov to say ‘more than 160.’”

via Do we need Tanf? US’s 4,775 global Military ‘Sites,’ cost us 6 bn/ yr.

Persecution & intimidation: Fate of Russians in US prisons casts shadow on American justice system — RT World News

These developments shed light on how the US justice works, at least when it comes to Russians. RT looks at some of the high-profile cases, involving Russian citizens who have been detained or imprisoned in the US.

via Persecution & intimidation: Fate of Russians in US prisons casts shadow on American justice system — RT World News

America only wants the ‘best’ immigrants, but would its own people pass the test? | Conor P Williams | Opinion | The Guardian

‘If we’re going to set new standards for newcomers seeking to join our national team, sooner or later we’re going to apply them to folks who’ve been here longer.’ (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Australia wants the “best” but the conservative’s “best” don’t want to come. Are we still a prison colony? (ODT)

via America only wants the ‘best’ immigrants, but would its own people pass the test? | Conor P Williams | Opinion | The Guardian

Islamic State threatens US & EU cities with drone attacks in chilling new poster after Gatwick chaos — RT UK News

Islamic State threatens US & EU cities with drone attacks in chilling new poster after Gatwick chaos

The War that Trump won against ISIS is over. I don’t think so. (ODT)

via Islamic State threatens US & EU cities with drone attacks in chilling new poster after Gatwick chaos — RT UK News

Donald Trump Plans To Pull All U.S. Troops Out Of Syria – Here’s Why That’s Awesome – Collective Evolution

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. It doesn’t justify a reason for keeping it. Not all of Trump’s declarations are wrong but nor do they mollify the rightfull opposition to him him. (ODT)

Abandoning the American-backed Kurdish allies, Pentagon officials have argued, will hamper future efforts by the United States to gain the trust of local fighters, from Afghanistan to Yemen to Somalia.

It is worth remembering that even high-ranking military personnel from within the US government have ‘blown the whistle,” on behind-the-scenes tactics. In 2007 General Wesley Clark, a four star US General and NATO’s supreme allied commander, for example, listed a number of countries including Iraq, Iran and Syria that the US planned to take down long before 9/11, simply because they have “a good military and can take out governments.” (source)

Maj. Danny Sjursen
Maj. Danny Sjursen is a U.S. Army officer and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan…

via Donald Trump Plans To Pull All U.S. Troops Out Of Syria – Here’s Why That’s Awesome – Collective Evolution

Trump’s Syria move pleases dictators and hands initiative to Isis | US news | The Guardian

US forces, accompanied by Kurdish fighters, in northern Syria, on the border with Turkey.

It was a good week for Isis. The pressure is off in Syria, while its vicious urban bombing campaign in Afghanistan prospectively faces less resistance. It now has a chance to regroup and regain the initiative to threaten the west again. Analysts fear it could be “Iraq all over again” – a reference to the way the jihadists came back from the dead and swept to power in Mosul and Raqqa after the US quit in 2011 with the job unfinished.

Trump “will lose the peace by withdrawing” tweeted retired US army general Jack Keane. “Isis will re-emerge, Iran a greater threat, will own all of Syria, Israel more in danger.”

via Trump’s Syria move pleases dictators and hands initiative to Isis | US news | The Guardian

George H.W. Bush (1924-2018), American War Criminal- Audio

Jeremy Scahill details the crimes of Bush, the sick propaganda of the corporate media memorials, and the trail of blood, death, and tears Bush leaves behind. Independent journalist Arun Gupta covers decades of Bush, from his time at the helm of the CIA to the presidency. Gupta discusses Bush’s support for Manuel Noriega and his eventual invasion of Panama, the pardoning of Iran-Contra criminals, the dirty wars in Central America, the support for Saddam Hussein, and the launch of the Gulf War. Acclaimed Iraqi poet and scholar Sinan Antoon describes his life under the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Saddam, the horrors of the Gulf War, and how Bush’s destruction of Iraqi civilian society led to the rise of ISIS.

via George H.W. Bush (1924-2018), American War Criminal

America Needs to Reckon With the Death Toll of Post-9/11 Wars

Afghan men offer funeral prayers near the bodies of civilians killed in a NATO air strike, on the outskirts of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. An Afghan official says a NATO strike in the country's east has killed several civilians, but the U.S.-led coalition says that it targeted insurgents and that its initial reports indicate no civilian casualties. Afghan and NATO officials regularly differ as to whether civilians have been hit in attacks. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has made denunciations of reported civilian deaths in airstrikes a pillar of his political strategy. (AP Photo/Nisar Ahmad)

Brown University’s Costs of War Project this month released a new estimate of the total death toll from the U.S. wars in three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The numbers, while conservatively estimated, are staggering. Brown’s researchers estimate that at least 480,000 people have been directly killed by violence over the course of these conflicts, more than 244,000 of them civilians. In addition to those killed by direct acts violence, the number of indirect deaths — those resulting from disease, displacement, and the loss of critical infrastructure — is believed to be several times higher, running into the millions.

via America Needs to Reckon With the Death Toll of Post-9/11 Wars

NRA tells American doctors’ to ‘stay in their lane’

US doctors are breaking their silence on guns.

At first, Judy Melinek didn’t know how to respond when she learned about an NRA tweet last week telling doctors who dared enter the gun debate to stay “in their own lane.”

But two days later, when the forensic pathologist was on her way to the morgue to examine the body of one of the country’s many forgotten gunshot victims, the words came to her.
US doctors are breaking their silence on guns.

US doctors are breaking their silence on guns.

“Do you have any idea how many bullets I pull out of corpses weekly? This isn’t just my lane,” she tweeted on Friday. “It’s my [expletive] highway.”

Joseph Sakran, a trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, who suffers from a paralysed vocal cord after taking a stray bullet in the neck almost 25 years ago, refused to stay silent as the country’s latest mass shooting hit the news.

“I have Two Words for you Hell No! #Hell No for #ThousandOaks #Hell No for all black men that die & no one hears about it. #Hell No for all those that we still may be able to save,” Sakran wrote.

Melinek and Sakran are among countless medical professionals who have taken to Twitter in the past few days to fire back at the NRA – creating a viral response that has ricocheted around the Internet under the hashtags #thisisourlane and #thisismylane.

via NRA tells American doctors’ to ‘stay in their lane’

World News – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Trumpsters are no accident and it will always be supported by Fox News because that’s where the cash flow is (ODT)

Sarah Sanders accused of sharing ‘doctored’ video to justify CNN reporter’s suspension

The White House press secretary — who is upfront in accusing media of sharing “fake news” — tweets a video which analysts claim contains extra frames to make it appear Jim Acosta struck a female intern.

via World News – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

CNN head slams Trump media attacks as the network, Clinton and Obama targeted by ‘possible explosives’ – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Trump is enabling Voter Suppression, Terrorism while blaming Immigration for everything (ODT)

Key points:

  • The packages sent to Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama were intercepted during mail screening
  • A live explosive device and white powder was sent to CNN’s bureau in New York
  • New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says the incidents were “clearly an act of terrorism”

The head of CNN has slammed US President Donald Trump for his media attacks after police intercepted suspected pipe bombs sent to the network, former US president Barack Obama, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and other public figures.

via CNN head slams Trump media attacks as the network, Clinton and Obama targeted by ‘possible explosives’ – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Socialism is Healthy: US Barracuda Capitalism is Literally Killing us

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The US has fallen off a cliff on global health statistics, plummeting an unprecedented 21 places in the world index. Moreover, the US is expected to fall even further behind over the next 20 years. Mellan Solly at The Smithsonian Magazine analyzed the numbers in a just-published Lancet article

via Socialism is Healthy: US Barracuda Capitalism is Literally Killing us

GOP candidate improperly purged 340,000 from Georgia voter rolls, investigation claims | US news | The Guardian

Georgia secretary of state Brian Kemp, who is running for governor against Stacey Abrams, is alleged to have improperly purged voters from state registration rolls.

Georgia secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp improperly purged more than 340,000 voters from the state’s registration rolls, an investigation charges.

Greg Palast, a journalist and the director of the Palast Investigative Fund, said an analysis he commissioned found 340,134 voters were removed from the rolls on the grounds that they had moved – but they actually still live at the address where they are registered.

via GOP candidate improperly purged 340,000 from Georgia voter rolls, investigation claims | US news | The Guardian

Sex, Rape, Justice and the Law

Sex, Rape, Justice and the Law. 63010.jpeg

What I am saying is that everyone accused has the right to defend themselves, to refute the evidence, to question its veracity, to question the character of a person who goes screwing around, takes money then asks for more, under the law. What I am saying is that the two sides of the story belong expressly and uniquely to the forum of law, and not the public domain.

The way we have things today, everyone ends up being a victim, whatever the outcome. Time to draw the line.

via Sex, Rape, Justice and the Law

On 10th Anniversary of Wall Street Crash, Warren Says: Break Up the Banks and Jail the Bankers

When corporate crime is rife in the US and Australia so why is the Australian PM focusing on the Unions? (ODT)

To avoid another crash, the Massachusetts senator says the U.S. must “force law-breaking bankers to trade in their pinstripe suits for orange jumpsuits.”

via On 10th Anniversary of Wall Street Crash, Warren Says: Break Up the Banks and Jail the Bankers

US threatens ‘punishment’ for help with Afghan war crimes probes

US national security adviser John Bolton has long opposed the ICC, seeing it as an attack on national sovereignty.

Where did America disappear to overnight the nation we once knew has vanished (ODT)

The United States will threaten to punish individuals who cooperate with the International Criminal Court in a potential investigation of US wartime actions in Afghanistan, according to people familiar with the decision.

US threatens ‘punishment’ for help with Afghan war crimes probes

Poll: Democrats Favor Socialism Over Capitalism

Democrats in 2018 feel more positive toward socialism than capitalism, according to a Gallup Poll released Monday.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents indicated they had a positive view of socialism, a percentage that has not changed drastically since 2010. “The major change,” Gallup reports, “has been a less upbeat attitude toward capitalism, dropping to 47% positive this year—lower than in any of the three previous measures.”

via Poll: Democrats Favor Socialism Over Capitalism

‘US Is Now Allied With al-Qaeda in Yemen’: AP Reveals American-Backed Saudi Coalition Forged Deals With AQAP Fighters

A man walks on rubble of a building destroyed in airstrikes carried out by warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition hours after the UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths departed Sana’a on June 06, 2018 in Sana’a, Yemen.

As the United States continues to fuel Yemen’s worsening humanitarian crisis, and boast that it’s targeting al Qaeda in the impoverished nation (AQAP) with airstrikes, new reporting reveals that the U.S.- and U.K-backed Saudi coalition waging a bombing campaign there is recruiting al Qaeda fighters to join its ranks, and paying off the extremists to leave areas.

The militants were guaranteed a safe route out and allowed to keep weapons and cash looted from the city—up to $100 million by some estimates—according to five sources, including military, security, and government officials. […]

Coalition-backed forces moved in two days later, announcing that hundreds of militants were killed and hailing the capture as “part of joint international efforts to defeat the terrorist organizations in Yemen.”

via ‘US Is Now Allied With al-Qaeda in Yemen’: AP Reveals American-Backed Saudi Coalition Forged Deals With AQAP Fighters

‘Poverty Is Criminalized, Wealth Is Immunized’: Report Shows Corporate Crime Enforcement Has Plummeted Under Trump

"When it comes to large corporations, the supposedly 'tough-on-crime' Trump administration is undertaking an epic retreat from law enforcement—slashing fines, declining to bring cases against corporate wrongdoers, and cutting enforcement programs," Public Citizen president Robert Weissman said in a statement on Wednesday. (Photo: Public Citizen)

“When it comes to large corporations, the supposedly ‘tough-on-crime’ Trump administration is undertaking an epic retreat from law enforcement—slashing fines, declining to bring cases against corporate wrongdoers, and cutting enforcement programs,” Public Citizen president Robert Weissman said in a statement on Wednesday.

via ‘Poverty Is Criminalized, Wealth Is Immunized’: Report Shows Corporate Crime Enforcement Has Plummeted Under Trump

US diplomats act like imperial governors riding roughshod over sovereignty of national governments — RT Op-ed

Protest against Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega's government in Managua, Nicaragua May 30, 2018 © Oswaldo Rivas

At the time of this conversation, early February 2014, their enemy Viktor Yanukovych was still president. The leaked recording proved that the US and its Kiev embassy were actively involved in a regime change operation. The composition of the post-Maidan government corresponded exactly with US plans.
What few people knew at the time was that such levels of control over the composition of foreign governments had become standard practice for US embassies all over the world. As I could see on my very numerous travels around the Balkans in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the US ambassador was treated by the political class and the media in those countries not as the officially accredited representative of a foreign government but instead as an imperial governor whose pronunciamentos were more important than those of the national government.

via US diplomats act like imperial governors riding roughshod over sovereignty of national governments — RT Op-ed

US fingerprints all over Nicaragua’s bloody unrest — RT Op-ed

DATE IMPORTED:March 29, 2015A soldier of the U.S. Army waves as he arrives in the Czech Republic during the

It’s all well and good saying things like ‘let Nicaraguans decide their future for themselves without foreign interference’, but criticism of Nicaragua’s young activists, based purely on the grounds of their acceptance of foreign backing, misses the point. Doing so ignores the historic fact that the Sandinistas also received extensive foreign support from the Cuban intelligence service (DGI) during the revolution. The difference between the two, however, are the stringent financial and economic conditions that go hand-in-hand with US support. When it comes to Washington backing your fight, there’s no such thing as a free ride.

via US fingerprints all over Nicaragua’s bloody unrest — RT Op-ed

Donald Trump claims ‘illegal’ spying after Carter Page warrant papers unveiled – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

US President Donald Trump has claimed, without evidence, that newly released documents relating to the wiretapping of his onetime campaign adviser Carter Page show that intelligence agencies misled the courts that approved the warrant.

via Donald Trump claims ‘illegal’ spying after Carter Page warrant papers unveiled – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Overstretch? US Special Ops Military deployed to 144 Countries Last Year:

Donald Trump wants recognition as a PEACEMAKER otherwise known as a GUN (ODT)

Unless they end in disaster, most missions remain in the shadows, unknown to all but a few Americans. And yet last year alone, U.S. commandos deployed to 149 countries — about 75% of the nations on the planet. At the halfway mark of this year, according to figures provided to TomDispatch by U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM), America’s most elite troops have already carried out missions in 133 countries. That’s nearly as many deployments as occurred during the last year of the Obama administration and more than double those of the final days of George W. Bush’s White House.

via Overstretch? US Special Ops Military deployed to 144 Countries Last Year

Trump TV? Russians Broadcast That Fox News Is ‘Run By’ Trump | Crooks and Liars

It’s reasonable given Fox was the only media chosen to travel with Trump

This was a shocking revelation by Russian State media:

Stephanie Ruhle pointed out this morning that the Kremlin translation of Putin called Fox News “the network run by the president.”

This in addition to former Fox exec Bill Shine working for the White House and current Fox host Sean Hannity working for Trump.

It’s an utterly incestuous relationship.

via Trump TV? Russians Broadcast That Fox News Is ‘Run By’ Trump | Crooks and Liars

US stuns world health community by opposing breastfeeding

Economic errorism by the the worlds largest Industrial Military Complex. Ready to alter the biology of mankind (ODT)

Then the US delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.

American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.

When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs.

The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.

via US stuns world health community by opposing breastfeeding

The Pentagon’s new mission statement: Neo-colonialism & hegemony unmasked — RT Op-ed

The Pentagon's new mission statement: Neo-colonialism & hegemony unmasked

The US has long sought to deny its hegemonic character while emphasizing its democratic character. It now seems all such pretence has been abandoned.

Now, with the US Department of Defense amending the mission statement of the US military from a ‘deter war’ stance to a ‘sustain American influence abroad’ stance all pretense, as mentioned, is over, allowing the country’s political and military elite to bask in the warm glow of hegemony unmasked.

via The Pentagon’s new mission statement: Neo-colonialism & hegemony unmasked — RT Op-ed

Trump sidelined as UN Security Council plus Germany Meet Iran’s Rouhani in Vienna

I’m of a generation where the idea of the UN Security Council meeting without the US is hard to imagine. The conference is eloquent about how isolated and increasingly irrelevant Trump has made America. The rest of the world now sees Washington as an annoying problem to get around.

Moreover, think of it. This meeting involves three of America’s closest military and economic allies–Britain, France and Germany– having been pushed by Trump into the same corner with Russia and China in seeking to have better relations with Iran. I guess Trump has taught *them* a lesson.

Trump is ordering the US Department of the Treasury to slap third party sanctions on non-US firms who do business with Iran. Companies like Total, S.A., the French oil giant, who do business with the US, cannot afford to buck the Treasury Department and so are pulling out of planned Iran investments.

via Trump sidelined as UN Security Council plus Germany Meet Iran’s Rouhani in Vienna

Bankrupting Ourselves to Death: How We’re Borrowing to Fight the Wars we’re Losing

Warmongers walk away with the purse leaving the rest to pay and Australia is a victim as well. (ODT)

Even if Washington stopped spending on its wars tomorrow, it will still, thanks to those conflicts, owe more than $8 trillion in interest alone by the 2050s.

Never before has this country relied so heavily on deficit spending to pay for its conflicts. The consequences are expected to be ruinous for the long-term fiscal health of the U.S., but they go far beyond the economic. Massive levels of war-related debt will have lasting repercussions of all sorts. One potentially devastating effect, a new study finds, will be more societal inequality.

via Bankrupting Ourselves to Death: How We’re Borrowing to Fight the Wars we’re Losing

The American March to Inequality: Why the UN Alston Report Alarms the Trump Plutocrats

American poverty just issued by UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston. It throws loads of light on how unequal a society America is, how it is marching rapidly toward even greater, Third World levels of inequality, and how peculiar the US is, as a land of rapacious robber barons and 40 million completely marginalized poor.

via The American March to Inequality: Why the UN Alston Report Alarms the Trump Plutocrats

Not only Is Trump’s Refugee Policy Morally Wrong, it is Illegal in US and Int’l Law

From Oct. 15 to present, 2017-2018, only 15,383 refugees were legally admitted to the US. By the way, in previous years up to 40% of those given asylum were Muslims, but almost none of those recently admitted are. Refugee rights organizations reckon that the US will accept only 25,000 refugees this year, down from 110,000 in Obama’s last year. Trump had reduced the ceiling for refugees to 50,000, but has put in place obstacles to the process that result in only half that number coming in. These measures are being taken at a time when the world refugee crisis is more acute, with 68 million displaced, than at any time since World War II.

via Not only Is Trump’s Refugee Policy Morally Wrong, it is Illegal in US and Int’l Law

Scapegoating Iran

 

Mr. Fish / Truthdig

NEW YORK—Seventeen years of war in the Middle East and what do we have to show for it? Iraq after our 2003 invasion and occupation is no longer a unified country. Its once modern infrastructure is largely destroyed, and the nation has fractured into warring enclaves. We have lost the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban is resurgent and has a presence in over 70 percent of the country. Libya is a failed state. Yemen after three years of relentless airstrikes and a blockade is enduring one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. The 500 “moderate” rebels we funded and armed in Syria at a cost of $500 million are in retreat after instigating a lawless reign of terror. The military adventurism has cost a staggering $5.6 trillion as our infrastructure crumbles, austerity guts basic services and half the population of the United States lives at or near poverty levels. The endless wars in the Middle East are the biggest strategic blunder in American history and herald the death of the empire.

via Scapegoating Iran

Free speech is dead: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange deserved Nobel Peace Prize, not the loss of liberty — RT Op-ed

Free speech is dead: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange deserved Nobel Peace Prize, not the loss of liberty

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a speech delivered on April 13 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, insisted that disclosures about what the CIA and intelligence community are doing is a threat to the safety of Americans. He then went on to address WikiLeaks stating “We can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” What exactly was Pompeo referring to when he said”against us”.

via Free speech is dead: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange deserved Nobel Peace Prize, not the loss of liberty — RT Op-ed

If Trump talks with North Korea, why should the U.S. boycott Hamas? | +972 Magazine

Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh speaks to the press upon his arrival at the Rafah border crossing, after reconciliation talks in Egypt with the Fatah movement mediated by Egyptian intelligence, in the southern Gaza Strip, September 19, 2017. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90)

North Korean Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol met with President Donald Trump at the White House this week. As part of its efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, the Trump administration is conducting negotiations with one of the world’s most brutal regimes. Human Rights Watch has described North Korea’s political prison camps as “the modern day equivalent of the Russian Gulag where prisoners are starved, beaten, tortured and worked to death.” North Korean guards club starving children to death for stealing rice, a UN report explained. Mothers have reportedly been required to observe the infanticide of their newborn babies as a form of punishment.

Despite these ongoing, egregious human rights violations, the White House is pursuing talks with Pyongyang to further U.S. interests. Washington’s engagement with Kim Jong Un makes its policy of refusing to speak with the Palestinian leadership in Gaza even more confounding. While Hamas has carried out horrific attacks, it would be hard to argue that the Islamist group’s actions, especially those in the past year, are more abhorrent than those of North Korea. If advancing U.S. interests is enough of a reason to negotiate with North Korea despite the government’s egregious human rights record, then the same logic must be considered with Hamas.

via If Trump talks with North Korea, why should the U.S. boycott Hamas? | +972 Magazine

Rebecca Gordon’s blog | The Smirking Chimp

 

They are like the camel’s nose, lifting a corner of the tent. Don’t be fooled, though. It won’t take long until the whole animal is sitting inside, sipping your tea and eating your sweets. In countries around the world — in the Middle East, Asia Minor, Central Asia, Africa, even the Philippines — the appearance of U.S. drones in the sky (and on the ground) is often Washington’s equivalent of the camel’s nose entering a new theater of operations in this country’s forever war against “terror.” Sometimes, however, the drones are more like the camel’s tail, arriving after less visible U.S. military forces have been in an area for a while.

 

via Rebecca Gordon’s blog | The Smirking Chimp

America’s ‘War on Terror’ Has Cost Taxpayers $5.6 Trillion | The Nation

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War on Terror from September 12, 2001, through fiscal year 2018. That figure: a cool $5.6 trillion (including the future costs of caring for our war vets). On average, that’s at least $23,386 per taxpayer.

Keep in mind that such figures, however eye-popping, are only the dollar costs of our wars. They don’t, for instance, include the psychic costs to the Americans mangled in one way or another in those never-ending conflicts. They don’t include the costs to this country’s infrastructure, which has been crumbling while taxpayer dollars flow copiously and in a remarkably—in these years, almost uniquely—bipartisan fashion into what’s still laughably called “national security.”

via America’s ‘War on Terror’ Has Cost Taxpayers $5.6 Trillion | The Nation

US threatens European companies with sanctions after Iran deal pullout | World news | The Guardian

John Bolton listens as Donald Trump conducts a cabinet meeting at the White House.

Donald Trump is prepared to impose sanctions on European companies that do business in Iran following his withdrawal of the US from the international nuclear deal, his administration reiterated on Sunday.

via US threatens European companies with sanctions after Iran deal pullout | World news | The Guardian

The Koch Brothers’ secret Coup on behalf of the Billionaire Class

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They believe that their great wealth entitles them to rule over the many. For decades, they’ve been running a surreptitious assault on the rules that protect the majority of us from their abuse. From whacking our voting rights to busting unions, their intent is nothing less than to pull a coup on democracy, installing a government of, by, and for the superrich.

via The Koch Brothers’ secret Coup on behalf of the Billionaire Class