Category: USA

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

Sinclair and the midterms: New York edition

 

If you live in a midsize city or battleground state, you are now more likely than ever to see pro-Trump propaganda and conservative spin on your local news — just in time for the 2018 election season — thanks to conservative media giant Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Media Matters has identified communities that will see competitive congressional midterm races and that have Sinclair-owned or -operated news stations. Many Sinclair stations are already airing national news programming with a conservative slant, and they will be ramping up coverage of their local races.

We’ve already tackled Nevada and Tennessee. Now, we’re taking a look at New York.

via Sinclair and the midterms: New York edition

No End in Sight for US-Backed Yemen War as Airstrike Kills At Least 20, Including Bride, at Wedding | Democracy Now!

At least 20 people died Sunday when a Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit a wedding party in northern Yemen. Most of the dead were reportedly women and children who were gathered in one of the wedding party tents. The bride was among the dead. Medics and residents said more than 46 others—including 30 children—were also injured. The attack on the Yemeni wedding party was one of at least three airstrikes over the weekend that killed Yemeni civilians. A family of five died in an airstrike in the province of Hajjah. And 20 civilians died on Saturday when fighter jets bombed a bus near the city of Taiz. Earlier this month, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said Yemen had become the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. We speak to Shireen Al-Adeimi, a Yemeni doctoral candidate at Harvard University.

Source: No End in Sight for US-Backed Yemen War as Airstrike Kills At Least 20, Including Bride, at Wedding | Democracy Now!

Nearly 4 People Are Evicted Every Minute: New Project Tracks U.S. Eviction Epidemic; Effects | Democracy Now!

A new project called the Eviction Lab examined more than 80 million eviction records going back to 2000 and found that in 2016 alone there were nearly four evictions filed every minute. More than 6,300 Americans are evicted every day. Studies show that eviction can lead to a host of other problems, including poor health, depression, job loss and shattered childhoods. Having an eviction on one’s record also makes it far more difficult to find decent housing in the future. Now the Eviction Lab’s database is being shared with the public in an interactive website that allows people to better track and understand evictions in their own communities. We speak with Matthew Desmond, who runs the project at Princeton University, where he is a professor of sociology. It grew out of his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.”

via Nearly 4 People Are Evicted Every Minute: New Project Tracks U.S. Eviction Epidemic & Effects | Democracy Now!

Trumpism: Why having US Ambassadors in 1/3 of Countries & Spec Ops in 3/4s is Bad

As of March 2018, the Trump administration has appointed only 70 of 188 U.S. ambassadors. At the same time, it has increased the deployment of special operations forces to 149 countries – up from 138 during the Obama administration in 2016. So while U.S. ambassadors are operating in one-third of the world’s capitals, special operations forces are active in three-fourths.

 

via Trumpism: Why having US Ambassadors in 1/3 of Countries & Spec Ops in 3/4s is Bad

Muslims are seen as a threat in the US – but the Florida shooter wasn’t. Why? | Trita Parsi | Opinion | The Guardian

Students protested against gun violence on Wednesday on Capitol Hill, one week after 17 were killed in the latest mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida.

Trump has shifted our focus towards immigrants and Muslims as threats, while willfully neglecting the threat posed by racists and rightwing extremists

How will gun control be discussed at a conference of conservatives this week? Follow developments in an experimental format for mobile

via Muslims are seen as a threat in the US – but the Florida shooter wasn’t. Why? | Trita Parsi | Opinion | The Guardian

Trump’s 0 Bn. Bag of Goodies for the Military-Industrial Complex

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“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

Those words still seem salient today. As Americans experience acute income inequality, the rising cost of a college education, and ongoing deindustrialization in the heartland, the country’s runaway spending continues to rise precipitously. The planned 2019 Pentagon budget is now expected to hit a staggering $716 billion — more than much of the rest of the world’s defense spending combined

via Trump’s 0 Bn. Bag of Goodies for the Military-Industrial Complex

MSNBC Breaks Down Significance Of Russian Indictments | Crooks and Liars

So there was, in this case, unwitting help from Americans and the question that Robert Mueller is investigating is whether there was any witting help to this from members of the trump campaign.

via MSNBC Breaks Down Significance Of Russian Indictments | Crooks and Liars

A Crisis of Democracy: Trump’s block of Dem Response to Nunes

 

A Crisis of Democracy: Trump’s block of Dem Response to Nunes

Trump’s refusal to release the response of the Democratic minority on the House Intelligence Committee to the declassified Nunes memo cherry-picking intelligence reports has been decried as a politicization of intelligence. It has been pointed out by legal scholar Laurence Tribe that Congress could in any case override Trump and declassify the Democratic response itself, if the GOP representatives wanted to. So this controversy isn’t about Trump or Nunes. It is about a Republican Party determined not to play fair.

While these analyses is certainly correct, they miss a crucial problem with our declining democracy in the United States: classified documents are inherently undemocratic and should be rare.

via A Crisis of Democracy: Trump’s block of Dem Response to Nunes

Republicans Run **Actual Nazi** In IL-03 | Crooks and Liars

Republicans Run **Actual Nazi** In IL-03

Arthur Jones is a former leader of the American Nazi Party and now heads a group called the America First Committee, which I’m sure that it’s only a coincidence bears the same name as the group fronted by Charles Lindbergh in the 1930s and 40s that tried to keep the United States out of World War II. And of course, there’s no relationship to the current Nazis occupying the White House.

via Republicans Run **Actual Nazi** In IL-03 | Crooks and Liars

Can American Democracy survive six Standing Wars? | Informed Comment

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Whether the rationale is the need to wage a war on terror involving 76 countries or renewed preparations for a struggle against peer competitors Russia and China (as Defense Secretary James Mattis suggested recently while introducing America’s new National Defense Strategy), the U.S. military is engaged globally. A network of 800 military bases spread across 172 countries helps enable its wars and interventions. By the count of the Pentagon, at the end of the last fiscal year about 291,000 personnel (including reserves and Department of Defense civilians) were deployed in 183 countries worldwide, which is the functional definition of a military uncontained. Lady Liberty may temporarily close when the U.S. government grinds to a halt, but the country’s foreign military commitments, especially its wars, just keep humming along.

via Can American Democracy survive six Standing Wars? | Informed Comment

Rising risk of conflict in northern Syria between US and Turkey

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signs a drone at a military airbase in Batman, Turkey, on Saturday.

When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched an offensive there last month against US-backed Kurdish fighters, he started in an area where American troops aren’t embedded with their allies.

But he said the operation will soon extend further east, to the town of Manbij, where they are. “We’ll press against terrorists without taking into consideration who’s next to them,” Erdogan said on January 30. Several ministers have made the same point.

via Rising risk of conflict in northern Syria between US and Turkey

Jailed Russian says he can prove hack of DNC on Kremlin’s orders

Washington: A jailed Russian who says he hacked into the Democratic National Committee computers on the Kremlin’s orders to steal emails released during the 2016 US presidential election campaign now claims he left behind a data signature to prove his assertion.

Jailed Russian says he can prove hack of DNC on Kremlin’s orders

Sanders attacks tax plan as Trump celebrates with friends: ‘You all just got a lot richer’ | US news | The Guardian

Bernie Sanders on the day of the Senate vote on the tax reform bill, 20 December 2017 in Washington DC.

Sanders’ criticism came as a report claimed Trump had said to wealthy guests at a dinner at Mar-a-Lago on Friday evening, “You all just got a lot richer”.

The senator, speaking to CNN’s State of the Union, said: “At the end of 10 years, 83% of the the benefits go to the top 1%, 60% of the benefits go to the top one-tenth of 1%, meanwhile well over 80 million Americans will be paying more in taxes, 13 million will lose their healthcare and we will have an additional $1.4tn deficit …”

via Sanders attacks tax plan as Trump celebrates with friends: ‘You all just got a lot richer’ | US news | The Guardian

USA Today calls Trump unfit to clean Obama’s toilets in scathing editorial

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Will Trump’s lows ever hit rock bottom?

With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favours for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office. Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday dismissed the president’s smear as a misunderstanding because he used similar language about men. Of course, words used about men and women are different. When candidate Trump said a journalist was bleeding from her “wherever,” he didn’t mean her nose.

via USA Today calls Trump unfit to clean Obama’s toilets in scathing editorial

‘Jews will not replace us’: Vice film lays bare horror of neo-Nazis in America | US news | The Guardian

A Vice News film crew embedded with a far-right speaker in Charlottesville last weekend seeks to highlight the motivations of white supremacists

Source: ‘Jews will not replace us’: Vice film lays bare horror of neo-Nazis in America | US news | The Guardian

Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer ‘was standing up for what was right’

“It was obvious that he had this fascination with Nazism and a big idolatry of Adolf Hitler,” Mr Weimer said. “He had white supremacist views. He really believed in that stuff.””When you’re a teacher and you see one of your former students do this, it’s a nightmare scenario.”This was something that was growing in him. I admit I failed. I tried my best. But this is definitely a teachable moment and something we need to be vigilant about because this stuff is tearing up our country.”

Source: Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer ‘was standing up for what was right’

Trump Blames Bigotry “On All Sides” in Charlottesville During Self-Aggrandizing Speech – Mother Jones

President Donald Trump declined to directly denounce white nationalists who sparked violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., Friday night and Saturday.

Source: Trump Blames Bigotry “On All Sides” in Charlottesville During Self-Aggrandizing Speech – Mother Jones

“Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor”: Trump Admin Attacks Emma Lazarus’s Iconic Poem on Statue of Liberty | Democracy Now!

Opposition is growing to the Trump administration’s new proposal to implement radical changes to U.S. immigration law and slash the number of immigrants allowed into the United States by half. The RAISE Act would create a so-called merit-based immigration system that would favor applicants who speak English, have advanced degrees or can demonstrate job skills. On Wednesday, CNN’s Jim Acosta pressed senior policy adviser Stephen Miller over President Trump’s push to admit only English-speaking immigrants in a back-and-forth that lasted for several minutes. Acosta asked Miller about the iconic poem “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus that is inscribed at the base of the State of Liberty, which reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” We speak about the woman who wrote those words, Emma Lazarus, with her biographer, Esther Schor, about why Lazarus wrote the poem, how it became one of the most iconic verses about the United States and why she has long been a target of white nationalists.

Source: “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor”: Trump Admin Attacks Emma Lazarus’s Iconic Poem on Statue of Liberty | Democracy Now!

As a general rule: Trump administration adds another military general to civilian leadership — RT America

President Donald Trump’s administration has appointed a slew of former US generals to his cabinet and to lead executive agencies. Now, another military man is being brought on board, this time to direct the federal prison system.

Source: As a general rule: Trump administration adds another military general to civilian leadership — RT America

Trump Administration Is Demoting Scientists In The Hope They’ll Quit, Says Whistleblower | IFLScience

Climate change is a dirty word in the United States federal government. Speaking about it gets you, at best, a “visceral reaction” from Rick Perry, and at

Source: Trump Administration Is Demoting Scientists In The Hope They’ll Quit, Says Whistleblower | IFLScience

North Korean missile launch pits China and Russia against the US – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

For US President Donald Trump, there are no good options when it comes to dealing with North Korea, writes Ben Knight.

Source: North Korean missile launch pits China and Russia against the US – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Sy Hersh, Exposer of My Lai and Abu Ghraib, Strikes Again, Exposing US Lies About Alleged Assad Sarin ‘Attack’

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the journalist who exposed the My Lai massacre of Vietnamese women, children and old people by US troops, the Abu Ghraib prison torture …

Source: Sy Hersh, Exposer of My Lai and Abu Ghraib, Strikes Again, Exposing US Lies About Alleged Assad Sarin ‘Attack’

Neo-Nazi with explosive materials, framed picture of Timothy McVeigh deemed “not a threat” and granted bail – Salon.com

Brandon Russell leads a neo-Nazi group and had bombmaking materials, but a judge granted him the option of bail

Source: Neo-Nazi with explosive materials, framed picture of Timothy McVeigh deemed “not a threat” and granted bail – Salon.com

ISIL Hits Tehran; Trump Blames Victim, Iran Hard-Liners Blame Saudis | The Nation

Washington demonizes Iran as a supporter of terrorist groups because of its backing for Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has primarily functioned as a national liberation movement and more recently has fought Al Qaeda and ISIL (as well as some less radical rebel groups) in Syria. None of the terrorist assaults in the United States or Western Europe in recent years have been linked to Iran. Also on Wednesday, the US Senate voted to place more stringent sanctions on Iran.

 

Source: ISIL Hits Tehran; Trump Blames Victim, Iran Hard-Liners Blame Saudis | The Nation

‘A very big deal’: James Comey testifies Donald Trump sought to change Russia probe

Americans watched agog as sacked FBI director James Comey used his forensic legal skills and flashes of anger to inflict significant damage on Donald Trump.

Source: ‘A very big deal’: James Comey testifies Donald Trump sought to change Russia probe

Australian woman ‘strip-searched and jailed’ in Hawaii after US border checks

A Melbourne woman bound for a holiday in the United States claims she was strip-searched, locked up in a federal prison and sent back to Australia by border officials.

Source: Australian woman ‘strip-searched and jailed’ in Hawaii after US border checks