"Only everything," answered artist and activist Harry Belafonte. "With his simple, mean, boy's heart, Mr. Trump wants us to follow him blind into a restoration [of 'American Greatness'] that is not possible and could not be endured if it were."
"Perhaps more than any other person, [newly confirmed Attorney General Jeff] Sessions stands at the nexus of many of the potential plot lines that we should fear most about the Donald Trump presidency," writes Greg Sargent at The Washington Post. Voter suppression, weakened civil rights, immigrant deportation: "Trump's well-documented authoritarian impulses could conceivably tip him into genuine authoritarian rule."
Before Alabama Senator Sessions could even sit down at his desk to bask in illegitimate glory, Usurper-in-Chief Donald Trump outlined his mandate to protect law enforcement officers from the public, in an ass-backwards assignment of blame for violent crimes. Investigation of outstanding murders by police is likely to be curtailed, and commitment to police reform forgotten, if we don't act decisively.
Despite a pattern of excessive force against Chicago residents, police officers are held in higher repute than their victims. The false narrative of "crime on the rise" (violent crime in the United States has actually decreased significantly over several decades) gives rise to the "new era of justice" platitudes of a president in denial.
Donald Trump's wall against reality defends what Dr. Brian Moench calls "a Mad Hatter's tea party of scientific absurdity," contradicted by real news and real science. "We're living in a new era, where an unverified report about possible, unsubstantiated rumors of alleged, unconfirmed evidence hacked from an undisclosed source competes on an equal footing with real information," he adds. "But 'Making America Great Again' goes even further, and is apparently code for 'Making America Ignorant'."
"Donald Trump represents the dark side of human nature: ugliness, ignorance and fear," says Jesse Berney, writer for Rolling Stone. "He wants to build a giant wall, an act contrary to the idea of art. He won on the promise of banning a religion, a rejection not just of an entire culture but of the idea of culture itself."
What do we have to lose? Our humanity, if Trump has his way. We must drive out this fascistic regime. Sooner than later.
A federal appeals court in San Francisco will hear arguments February 7 at 3 PM on whether to restore President Donald Trump's controversial immigration order, reports Matt Zapotosky at the Washington Post:
"Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril," Trump wrote. "If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!"Opposition [to Trump's travel order] has been successful so far, and it is growing. On Monday, ten former high-ranking diplomatic and national security officials; nearly 100 Silicon Valley tech companies; more than 280 law professors; a coalition of 16 state or district attorneys general, including those from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia; and a host of civil liberties and other organizations formally lent their support to the legal bid to block Trump's order...Trump and his supporters have continued to press the case that the short-term stoppage on refugees and immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen is necessary for national security reasons. Trump went so far as to suggest on Twitter that if an attack were to happen, the judiciary would be to blame.
The President called opposition to his executive order "fake news." Polls reflect a different reality: thousands of people in the streets, on a regular basis, across the U.S.
Some of us remember that refrain from supporters of the Vietnam War. The rationale for endless wars of U.S. imperialism devolves from administration to administration, from allegations of communist conspiracy to supposed threats against Christianity, but the core motivation of Empire endures: exploitation of world resources, including human labor, to maximize assets of a ruling class.
Lawmakers held up candles in front of the Supreme Court tonight, in opposition to President Trump's illegitimate sanctions against Muslim air travelers over the weekend. House Democrats were scheduled to vote on a series of natural resources bills Monday, Senators on confirmation of Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, former Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. It's not clear yet how, or if, they voted. What is clear is that the crowd wanted their representatives to do more.
"Do your job! Do your job! Do your job!" shouted hundreds of demonstrators. But it's up to us, with millions of people in the streets to create a political crises that forces Trump from office. Take part.
This afternoon White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the ban imposed by Trump has been "blown way out of proportion" and dismissed those challenging it, including any State Department officials who might back a draft dissent cable initiated by State Departments employees. "I think they should either get with the program or they can go," Spicer responded when asked if the administration was aware of the cable and its message.
In other news, President Trump is expected to announce his Supreme Court pick Tuesday night.
And no, he's not referring to a move to Canada. "I'm gonna make [the American dream] bigger and better and stronger than ever before," says the President. Foreigners need not apply.
Eleven days into the Trump imperium, the Pentagon is determining exemptions to the Muslim ban. Navy spokesman Captain Jeff Davis says the list will include Iraqis who have tangibly demonstrated their commitment to supporting U.S. forces.
- U.S. judge issues an emergency order barring deportations under Trump's immigration ban
- Trump authorizes his first military action, a ground raid in Yemen that kills between 14 and 30
- After legal actions and protests nationwide, the Trump administration walks back part of the immigration ban, saying green card holders from the 7 countries will be allowed to return to the U.S.
"We call on each and every one who opposes what this regime stands for... to take part in and actively build, resistance and refusal," reads the New York Times ad. It's up to us, who refuse to accept the outrageous treatment of targeted travelers at airports across the country today, to tune into and join calls to action, or initiate your own (Refuse Fascism offers Tips On Organizing A Protest here). Release all detainees to legal counsel NOW!
In San Francisco, Sunday January 29, SFO Bay Resistance is on-going; sign up for a rapid response text alert system at http://bayresistance.org/. The Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC) is a good source of on-the-ground reports for SFO action, with video. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) provides updates on the "Muslim Ban," here.
Detainees get reprieve from immediate expulsion, but their futures are uncertain.
Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn ruled that sending plaintiffs home could cause them "irreparable harm."
While none of the detainees will be sent back immediately, lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case expressed concern that all those at the airports would now be put in detention, pending a resolution of the case. Inviting the lawyers to return to court if the travelers were detained, Judge Donnelly said, "If someone is not being released, I guess I'll just hear from you." -- NYTimes
The ruling affects 100 to 200 people trapped at airports Saturday. Hostages are beginning to speak out. Share your story with World Can't Wait, including and especially arriving passengers who joined the protest on the ground,
"The following are the protests I'm aware of at this time," posts Karoli Kuns to Raw Story Saturday night:
At JFK Airport, hundreds of people are jamming the international terminal with signs of welcome. I have also heard reports that lawyers are on their way to these airports to assist anyone detained by DHS under this new order.
Newark, NJ will be underway shortly.
SFO (San Francisco) [continues to grow; last estimate 1,500].
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, Georgia:
In Philadelphia, protesters are planning to be there at 2PM tomorrow, too.
Chicago International Airport is planned for 6PM.
Two events are planned for LAX: One tonight at 5PM and another tomorrow at 1PM.
Seattle International Airport at 5PM.
Boston International at 7PM.
Denver at 5PM.
I am also hearing about possible protests at Miami, Dallas/Fort-Worth, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Houston, Minneapolis, and Detroit this weekend, but haven't yet gotten any details on those. I will update the post as necessary.
The cancellation of Donald Trump's illegal, immoral, outrageous order to ban Muslims -- more than 134 million people from Muslim-majority countries -- and suspend entry of all refugees can't wait. Within hours that legislation was interpreted to include even green card holders; permanent residents are being forced out of the U.S. upon landing. Protests at airports across the country erupted soon after, including now San Francisco International Airport (SFO), where the crowd is growing reports Priya Anand.
"We don't want them here," said the President. His January 27 executive order bars permanent immigration from Syria and Iraq, indefinitely, reports the NY Times. "But the order is illegal. More than 50 years ago, Congress outlawed such discrimination against immigrants based on national origin."
"The use of coercion, including the inflicting of pain and extreme discomfort, to extract information has been attractive to those charged with protecting the public - as well as to criminals, psychopaths, warlords, dictators and sadists, for as long as any have existed," writes Jason Burke at The Guardian. But anything said under duress is inherently unreliable. Even "tactically, let alone morally, this is a problem." If torture 'worked' would it be OK?
Tortured prisoners will say anything to make the pain stop. "You can always make someone talk ... The problem is what they say," said one of Saddam Hussein's former torturers in an interview.
A commenter at The Northern Echo suggests "He [the torturer] might also have been talking about Mr. Trump who continues to dominate the international news agenda by stirring up fear, hatred and small-mindedness. The President appears hell bent on creating a world where all nations stoop to the most base behavior, where nothing is off limits, where no one upholds decency, human rights and the rule of law."
The argument over efficacy of torture to extract information peaked with the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, says the author (Burke) of The New Threat. U.S. Senate investigation of CIA torture policy found no evidence that terror attacks were stopped, terrorists captured or lives saved through the use of 'enhanced interrogation techniques'. But President Trump has re-ignited debate with unsubstantiated rebuttal to the conclusion of that report, threatening to bring back waterboarding, "and worse." His pick to head the CIA, Rep. Mike Pompeo says he is open to revival of torture practice, contradicting his "absolutely not" testimony during confirmation hearings.
What Kind of A Country Tortures People? "The torture story is not just the individually criminal acts over days and months and years, against many individuals, whose names the American people are not even supposed to know," says World Can't Wait's Stephanie Tang. "The U.S. uses torture to terrorize whole peoples... to say to the world: American can do anything it wants, to anybody anywhere."
We say NO! to Torture and NO! to Trump Supporters who Advocate Its Use. We refuse to accept the dictates of an illegitimate government!
Falling in line behind George W. and Laura Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton plan to attend Donald Trump's inauguration, reports the Associated Press. Former President Jimmy Carter was the first to RSVP for the event.
Carter praised Trump's 'malleability'. "I don't think he has any fixed (positions) he'd go [to?] the White House and fight for." The Nobel Peace Prize recipient also took part in the peaceful transition of power to Ronald Reagan.
"It's going to be an elegant event," said a source close to Trump. Celebrity performers are not impressed. Dixie Chicks manager Simon Renshaw commented, "If anyone does do it, I hope that the check that they get is in the nine figures. Because it's probably the last check they're ever going to get...No one is prepared to normalize what is going on in the country right now."
"Rightist governments in Hungary and Poland are already cheering Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric" warns Washington Post editor Jackson Diehl; "the more moderate of the two leading candidates to become France's next president, François Fillon, authored a book titled Conquering Islamic Totalitarianism. Even Germany's Angela Merkel, the most prominent remaining defender of liberal democratic values, felt obliged to strike an anti-Islamic pose last week, proposing a crackdown on the minuscule number of German women who wear a burqa."
President-elect Donald Trump's national security adviser appointee, retired General Flynn, calls Islam a political movement masquerading as a religion and the product of an inferior culture: "I don't believe that all cultures are morally equivalent, and I think the West, and especially America, is far more civilized, far more ethical and moral." Chief strategist and senior counselor Steve Bannon suggests that people living in the U.S. "all hold hands and sing 'Kumbaya' around capitalism."
Diehl expects Trump's crusade-against-Islam team to continue ongoing offensives against the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and Libya. But the immediate consequence of an American war of terror will be experienced by average citizens across the Muslim world. "They will see it in the 'extreme vetting', if not an outright ban, they will be subjected to in seeking to enter the United States. And they will feel it in the ramping up of U.S. support for dictators and monarchs who are judged by Trump to be tactical allies in the civilizational war."
"'Deus Vult' -- or 'God wills it' or 'it is the will of God' -- has become a kind of far-right code word," writes reporter Ishaan Tharoor of the hashtags proliferating around fascist social media. "Whatever his own beliefs, Trump will arrive in the White House with the backing of myriad people crying out for a holy war."
We don't have to accept this. Cultural critic Edward Wadie Said rebuked political scientist Samuel P. Huntington's hypothesis on the 'clash of civilizations' in a 2001 article, calling the theory an example of "the purest invidious racism, a sort of parody of Hitlerian science directed today against Arabs and Muslims." Massive mobilization can create political conditions which stop a Trump regime in its tracks.
Answer the Call to Refuse Fascism: On MLK weekend, there needs to be massive demonstrations of many thousands in key cities, including Washington, D.C., that grow to millions over the next week, protests that don't stop . . . where people refuse to leave and more and more people stand up with conviction and courage demanding:
NO! We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America!
The nightmare election of 2016 demands that we buck up to reality. No one - no personage, no governmental institution, no constituency of partisan politics - will stop the horrors of a Trump presidency save ourselves.
Whether you support a winner-take-all system of government, or not, Donald Trump is not our president - yet. Capitalist democracy is contingent on citizen approval, or the perception of such, for legitimacy. There is still a real chance to prevent Trump-Pence from coming to power.
The current crisis of leadership is about more than a misinterpretation of the U.S. Constitution. The foundational meanness of white supremacy is as immoral today as it was in 1789. While Black individuals are no longer counted 3/5 of a person, children born in the United States are still citizens, and the Electoral College is recognized for pro-slavery bias that has out-lived its purpose, the threat of resurgent racism is all too real and gaining momentum.
A vehicle for the massive mobilization required to prevent the reality of a Trump regime exists. RefuseFascism.org has a plan and a Call to Action. There has never been a better time to rise and shine. Be the example your children, your friends, your neighbors crave. Display the courage to inspire others:
Saturday December 31 - New Years Eve: political demonstrations and manifestations at Trump's 555 California Street property and Justin Herman Plaza in particular, of such a character that they seize the news that day, announcing to the world the presence of the NO! movement. Share the event on your Facebook page.
Saturday - Monday January 14-15-16: Martin Luther King Weekend actions around which to highlight & raise determined opposition to the white supremacist, American chauvinist, religiously bigoted character of this fascist movement and regime which draw forward everything thus far built and build further. People begin coming to DC.
Tuesday - Thursday January 17-18-19: fill the streets of DC with millions; millions more demonstrate in every major city and small town all over the US and the world, demanding that Trump-Pence be prevented from taking office before January 20.
In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!
Donald Trump is so unpopular with Hollywood that two talent wranglers told TheWrap they were offered ambassadorships in exchange for booking top singers.
Many of those approached have said they do not want to "normalize" Trump's presidency.
In a gesture to "defend the values we hold dear," the publicity firm Sunshine Sachs has cancelled its annual holiday celebrations as a gesture of support for immigrants, women, LGBT people and the environment. CEO Shawn Sachs says it's time to come together: "However I felt the morning after [the November presidential election] was nothing compared to how I felt talking to people in this office, those who felt their citizenship -- in a matter of moments -- was gone or had been lessened. Being the diverse workplace we are, many of us felt under assault."
Cheers! to the entertainment community for setting an example of opposition to the Trump/Pence regime.
"As Donald Trump's rule begins, it appears that Americans are entering a period in which civic formations and public spheres will be modeled after a state of racist warfare," writes McMaster University Professor Henry A. Giroux. "During his presidential campaign, he provided a nativist language that targeted the most vulnerable in American society, including immigrants, Blacks and Muslims. He also provoked society's vilest impulses, energizing a range of extremist racist and anti-Semitic groups, including authoritarians, fascists, neo-Nazis and white nationalists, some of whom seek to normalize their bigotry under the umbrella of the 'alt-right'."
Author of the descriptive term, white nationalist Richard Bertrand Spencer describes his followers as younger people, often recent college graduates, who recognize the "uselessness of mainstream conservatism" in a "hyper-racialized" world.
The Alt-Right movement is not monolithic, but takes on many issues of importance to white nationalists. Despite the diversity of opinion among adherents with regard to Jewish culpability for the 'plight' of white culture, all share a vision of society determined by race.
"In this moment, as we countenance Mattis' planned ascension as secretary of defense, I'd like to share an excerpt from my book Beyond the Green Zone," proffers Truthout staff reporter Dahr Jamail. "Taken from a chapter about the April 2004 US siege of Fallujah, this report offers a clear view of the war crimes over which Mattis presided, including the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians, widespread collective punishment and more. . .
"It is clear that Trump's secretary of defense selection of Mattis, an unprosecuted war criminal, is yet another egregious act against justice and the rule of international law."
13 years after a coalition of Western forces invaded and occupied the sovereign state of Iraq, the world is still waiting for U.S. withdrawal of its troops. We are convinced that U.S. intent is not to "save" Iraqis, but to advance its own imperial agenda.
Late in 2001 an Office of Special Plans was created by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to make the case to invade Iraq. "The office was charged with collecting, vetting and disseminating intelligence completely outside of the normal intelligence apparatus," says congressman David Obey. "In fact, it appears that information collected by this office was in some instances not even shared with established intelligence agencies and in numerous instances was passed on to the National Security Council and the president without having been vetted with anyone other than political appointees."
Government lies fabricated to justify military intervention in Iraq have largely been exposed, but the terrible consequences of endless war on the Middle East continue to fuel a reactionary battle between Jihad on the one hand and western imperialism on the other.
In the interest of confronting the truth of this and other sordid episodes in U.S. history, Revolution Newspaper publishes "American Crime" as a regular feature of revcom.us.
Case #70: "Operation Iraqi Freedom," 2003 follows:
THE CRIME: At 10:15 pm on March 19, 2003, George W. Bush announced to the world: "At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger."
As Bush spoke, U.S. bombs and missiles were raining on Iraq. Some 160,000 troops--overwhelmingly American--were poised to storm the country by land. Twenty-one days later, after a blitzkrieg-like invasion and some 27,000 bombs, the U.S. had seized control of Iraq's major cities. Baghdad, Iraq's capital, had fallen on April 9. Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist regime had been deposed and the U.S. took control of the country. On May 1, standing on the deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in front of a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner, Bush declared "major combat operations" were over.
The U.S. government, military, and media portrayed this operation, with its "precision" bombs and missiles, as clean and surgical. The U.S. refused to count or release figures for civilian casualties. Images were widely broadcast picturing Iraqis welcoming the coalition forces as "liberators."
But in reality, thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed and wounded. During the most intense fighting in and around Baghdad, some of its hospitals were flooded with more than a hundred patients an hour. There were many instances of U.S. troops firing on people in cars and trucks. It turned out that U.S. military planners designated certain areas as "kill boxes"--grid-like zones where U.S. pilots were ordered to bomb and fire on anything that moved. In all, Iraq Body Count estimates that some 7,415 Iraqi civilians were killed during the invasion phase of the war in March and April.
But this was only a tiny glimpse of the staggering horrors that would be unleashed by the U.S. invasion, its nine-year occupation, and its aftermath. The U.S. shattered Hussein's Ba'athist state, and then installed a reactionary, Shi'ite-dominated regime. This unleashed all kinds of reactionary forces battling for a share of power. This included an armed Sunni-based insurgency, Sunni fundamentalist jihadists (which later formed ISIS, or the Islamic State), and Shi'ite militias with backing from Iran. The U.S. has attempted to play these different forces off against each other, and other regional powers have also entered the battle over Iraq's future.
The net result: the Iraqi people have suffered in unbelievable ways--thanks to the U.S. invasion and occupation, and all the reactionary forces and warfare it unleashed.
The toll has been staggering in its dimensions, its magnitude, and its duration. Iraq Body Count has documented between 168,239 and 187,378 civilian deaths from violence, and total violent deaths including combatants at 251,000 from 2003 through September 2016. Other studies of the direct and indirect toll of the war (due, for example, to the destruction and disruption to water and power systems, health care and food production): 655,000 according to a 2006 Lancet study; 1 million according to a 2008 Opinion Research Business study; and other current estimates reaching 1.2 to 1.4 million. More than 4.2 million Iraqis have been injured and at least 4.5 million have been driven from their homes. Women have suffered terribly, directly from the war and from the new, U.S.-backed government's imposition of reactionary Sharia law with separate, unequal laws for women.
And this reactionary violence by different Iraqi forces, as well as by the U.S., continues to this day. In October 2016 alone, at least 5,561 people were killed and 2,463 were wounded across Iraq--a heart-rending count that barely merits coverage in the U.S. press. . .
From the tributes paid to Trump's nominee for Secretary of Defense you'd expect retired Marine Corps General "Mad Dog" Mattis to be some kind of 'warrior poet'. Dig a little deeper. His quips about warfare are neither amusing nor benign.
The "most revered Marine in a generation" advised his troops that fighting is "a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling."
The commander who "left soldiers to die" in Afghanistan faces a requirement of consent from both houses of Congress to waive the seven year waiting period between retirement of military officers and employment in a civilian role. Serious resistance to Mattis' appointment is not expected, despite objection from Representative Adam Smith and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, members of the respective Armed Services Committees. "Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy, and I will not vote for an exception to this rule," said Gillibrand.
The president-elect's move to pack his administration with military brass presages an increased militarization of American policy.
Trump is expected to pick retired General John Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security. Kelly served three years as head of U.S. Southern Command during the Obama administration's failed attempt to close Guantanamo. Kelly is a veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He takes a tough stance on border security, warning Congress of smuggling rings in Mexico that spirit "tens of thousands of people to our nation's doorstep."
Retired Army Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn has been tagged by the president-elect for the position of National Security Adviser. The former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency was retired early at age 56, his 'gung-ho' style deemed too 'disruptive' for an (Obama) administration determined to sweep the history of Iraq and Afghanistan under the rug.
Trump is also considering ousted General David H. Petraeus for Secretary of State. The former CIA director stepped down on November 9, 2012 after pleading guilty to mishandling classified information; he had given his biographer, who was also his mistress, sensitive material.
You can't make this stuff up, and you shouldn't go along with it.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy denied an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe today, initiating a search for alternate routes.
"We celebrate Army Corps decision but will stay vigilant: THERE IS NO SAFE ROUTE FOR #DAPL," posts RoseAnn DeMoro. "There is no such thing as a safe pipeline."