December 2016 Archives
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."