January 2017 Archives
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!