Jan
23

The So-Called Intelligence So-Called Community's Dumb Isolated View of the Future

Tag: Peace and War

Thank you to Tom Engelhardt for pointing out that the people who couldn't predict the end of the Soviet Union, the crimes of 9-11, the decency of numerous whistleblowers, the election of Donald Trump, the likelihood that utilities in Vermont would point out that they had not been hacked by Russians, or -- I'm willing to bet -- the timing of rush hour in Northern Virginia, have just predicted the shape of the future of everything. Of course they've gotten it all ridiculously wrong, but they have revealed things about themselves rather than about the world in the process.

Many of us would list climate chaos and nuclear war as the big dangers to avoid. The "community" of U.S. spies lists: "the Arab Spring, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, and the global rise of populist, anti-establishment politics" as examples of dangers the future holds. These people may be paid billions of dollars by us primarily to keep secrets, but they don't keep their contempt for democracy secret very well.

Jan
23

Why Impeach Donald Trump

Tag: Impeachment

By David Swanson, FireDonaldTrump.org

What are the grounds for impeachment?

They will likely be piling up rapidly. President Trump did use Day 1 to advise the CIA that the United States should have stolen all of Iraq's oil. But here is a place to start. We already have a president who is violating two clauses in the U.S. Constitution, one forbidding any gifts or benefits from foreign governments, the other forbidding the same from the U.S. government or any U.S. state. This is the result of Donald Trump refusing to separate himself from major business interests as past presidents have done. Those interests will also inevitably involve Trump in violating the STOCK Act which forbids the use of non-public government information to make a private profit.

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states: "The President ... shall not receive ... any other emolument from the United States, or any of them." This means that the President cannot receive personal financial gains from the United States government or from the governments of any of the 50 states while he is president. This restriction is absolute and cannot be waived by Congress. Trump is already in violation of it and will be more so with every law, rule, regulation, enforcement, or lack thereof that his subordinates, Congress, or any agency of the federal government enacts to the benefit of Trump's businesses and possessions.

For example, Trump's lease of the Old Post Office Building violates an explicit clause in the General Services Administration lease contract which states: "No ... elected official of the Government of the United States ... shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom." The GSA's failure to enforce that contract is an unconstitutional benefit to Trump.

Jan
20

Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse

Tag: Peace and War, Political Ideas

Here I am in occupied DC. The White House looks like a Green Zone. There was a time when you could walk up to it. Caravans of police cars and black SUVs zoom by with sirens blaring and everyone else forced aside. Do people look outraged? No, they grin and admire. We need more democratic perspectives. Here are six.

1. Get active around policy not personality. And try to nudge newly active or re-activated people in that direction. To take one example of thousands, we should be cheering more loudly for the commutation of Chelsea Manning's sentence. And we should have raised a lot more hell than we did over the idea of locking her up to begin with -- and Obama's pronouncing her guilty before his subordinates tried her -- and over all the other whistleblowers still in cages or facing persecution. More support for not bombing Syria in 2013, and more condemnation for arming proxies instead. More -- hell, any -- support for Trump deescalating hostility with Russia, and more opposition to his proposals to "kill their families" and "steal their oil."

Jan
18

Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell

Tag: Peace and War

At the Atlantic Council -- a "think" tank funded by such bastions of democracy as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, not to mention that center of peaceful nonviolence NATO -- Samantha Power announced on Tuesday that Russia is a menacing danger to the United States of America and to the rule of law in the world, which statement in fact constituted a menacing danger to the U.S. and to the rule of law in the world.

Power cited the "Russian government’s aggressive and destabilizing actions."

"For years, we have seen Russia take one aggressive and destabilizing action after another. We saw it in March 2014, not long after mass peaceful protests in Ukraine brought to power a government that favored closer ties with Europe, when Russia dispatched its soldiers to the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. The 'little green men,' as they came to be called, for Russia denied any ties to any of them, rammed through a referendum at the barrel of a gun, which Mr. Putin then used to justify his sham attempted annexation of Crimea."

The "peaceful protests" involved hundreds of casualties, while the "ramming at the barrel of a gun" involved zero. The "peaceful protests" followed the preemptive exposure of U.S. facilitation of a coup. The new government quickly began threatening the rights and lives of ethnic Russians. The annexation of Crimea followed an overwhelming vote, which the United States has never dared to propose be re-done. The annexation was successful. Russia always had troops in Crimea. That it sent in more was to its discredit but legal under its basing agreement.

"We saw it months later in eastern Ukraine, where Russia armed, trained, and fought alongside separatists. Again Russia denied any role in the conflict it manufactured, again flouting the international obligation to respect the territorial integrity of its neighbor."

Russia did not manufacture the conflict. It certainly did not in any major way "fight alongside" the "separatists" -- many of whom were not seeking separation. It's noteworthy that the claims about shooting down an airplane that were so central to this sort of speech for so long have faded away along with the idea that there was evidence to back them up.

Jan
17

Talk Nation Radio: Antonia Juhasz on Tillerson, Trump, and Oil

Tag: Environment, Political Ideas, Talk Nation Radio

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-antonia-juhasz-on-tillerson-trump-and-oil

Antonia Juhasz is an energy analyst, author, and investigative reporter. She recently wrote a profile of Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for In These Times magazine. We discuss Tillerson and the oil spill he floated in on. See also:http://www.antoniajuhasz.net

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.Producer: David Swanson.Music by Duke Ellington.

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Jan
13

The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us

Tag: Peace and War

What do these pieces of evidence tell you?

The United States and Russia each possess enough nuclear weapons to destroy all life on earth many times over.

Pentagon officials say the cold war with Russia is for profit and bureaucracy.

When there was danger of peace breaking out in Syria, the U.S. military acted to prevent it, apparently against the will of President Obama.

The U.S. facilitated a coup in Ukraine, characterized a secession vote in Crimea as an invasion and seizure by force, made unsubstantiated claims about the shooting down of an airplane, opened a missile base in Romania, started building a missile base in Poland, moved more troops and equipment into Eastern Europe than seen since World War II, dropped all pretense that the enemy provoking all this was Iran, and spread the word through endless repetition that Russia was threatening Europe (even though Russia, for all its real crimes and offenses, including bombing Syria, was not threatening Europe).

The U.S. so-called intelligence so-called community put out the word that Russia had hacked Vermont's electricity grid -- a story it had simply made up.

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