By Joe Emersberger for Tele Sur – Based on allegations of drug trafficking, the U.S. government has added Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami to its list of “sanctioned” Venezuelan officials. Unsurprisingly, Westerns journalists uncritically spread the allegations. Borrowing from Einstein, a definition of corporate journalism could be “the practice of uncritically citing the same dishonest sources over and over again no matter how catastrophic the result.” The targeting of El Aissami is part of the United States’ “regime change” policy toward Venezuela that goes back nearly two decades. It began shortly after the late President Hugo Chavez was first elected in 1998. As always, the international media’s collaboration with U.S. government objectives is crucial.
By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report – Sometimes, when ruling class competitors collide, the villainy of both factions is made manifest. Donald Trump did the nation’s public schools a great service by nominating Betsy DeVos, the awesomely loathsome billionaire Amway heiress, for secretary of Education. In turning over that rock, Trump exposed the raw corruption and venality at the core of the charter school privatization juggernaut. Only an historic tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence saved DeVos from rejection by the U.S. Senate. Two Republicans abandoned their party’s nominee, joining a solid bloc of Democrats, including New Jersey’s Cory Booker, a school privatizer that crawled out of the same ideological sewer as DeVos and has long been her comrade and ally.
By Justin Sink, Elizabeth Dexheimer, and Katherine Chiglinsky for Bloomberg – President Donald Trump will order a sweeping review of the Dodd-Frank Act rules enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis, a White House official said, signing an executive action Friday designed to significantly scale back the regulatory system put in place in 2010. Trump also will halt another of former President Barack Obama’s regulations, hated by the financial industry, that requires advisers on retirement accounts to work in the best interests of their clients. Trump’s order will give the new administration time to review the change, known as the fiduciary rule.
By Sarah Harvard for Mic – President Donald Trump has signed an executive order Friday that imposes a 30-day ban on entry to the United States for visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. After word of Trump’s pending executive order spread, the administration faced a lot of pushback — especially the early stages of his Muslim ban. The executive order is widely viewed as the first step to fulfill a campaign promise to ban Muslims from immigrating to the United States. “We are excluding certain countries,” Trump said of visa issuances during a Wednesday interview with ABC News.
By Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept – IN 2010, President Obama directed the CIA to assassinate an American citizen in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki, despite the fact that he had never been charged with (let alone convicted of) any crime, and the agency successfully carried out that order a year later with a September, 2011 drone strike. While that assassination created widespread debate – the once-again-beloved ACLU sued Obama to restrain him from the assassination on the ground of due process and then, when that suit was dismissed, sued Obama again after the killing was carried out – another drone-killing carried out shortly thereafter was perhaps even more significant yet generated relatively little attention.
By Staff for Zoom in Korea. When these current conflicts are put into the context of US history with Korea the actions of the United States are even more threatening. The first US effort to attack Korea was in the late 1800s and throughout the last century the US has been in conflict with the people of Korea. They refused to let them create their own democracy and instead installed a dictator after World War II and has continued to control the selection of Korean leaders since the Korean War. The US has refused to enter into a final peace treaty with North Korea since the end of the Korean War and has opposed any movements toward reunification between the north and south. The US has escalated its mock attacks on North Korea, especially under President Obama and has continued to point missiles and advanced weaponry at North Korea. The people of the United States need to realize that the US military has been the aggressor in Korea and the media and government have been misleading us on the role our government is playing in destabilizing the region.
By Mike Whitney for Counter Punch – The election of Donald Trump has sent millions of people pouring out onto the streets to protest a man they think is a racist, misogynist, xenophobic bully who will destroy US democracy in his quest to establish himself as supreme fascist ruler of the country. Maybe they’re right. Maybe Trump is a fascist who will destroy America. But where were these people when Obama was bombing wedding parties in Kandahar, or training jihadist militants to fight in Syria, or abetting NATO’s destructive onslaught on Libya, or plunging Ukraine into fratricidal warfare, or collecting the phone records of innocent Americans, or deporting hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers, or force-feeding prisoners at Gitmo, or providing bombs and aircraft to the Saudis to continue their genocidal war against Yemen?
By Eric Draitser for Mint Press News – The corporate media is predictably churning out nauseating retrospectives of Obama’s presidency, gently soothing Americans to sleep with fairy tales about the progressive accomplishments of President Hope and Change. But amid the selective memory and doublethink which passes for sophisticated punditry within the controlled media matrix, let us not forget that in Africa the name Barack Obama is now synonymous with destabilization, death, and destruction. The collective gasps of liberals grow to a deafening roar at the mere suggestion that Obama is more sinner than saint, but perhaps it would be useful to review the facts and the record rather than the carefully constructed mythos being shoehorned into history books under the broad heading of “Legacy.”
By Stansfield Smith for Counter Punch – It should be a scandal that leftists-liberals paint Trump as a special threat, a war mongerer – not Obama who is the first president to be at war everyday of his eight years, who is waging seven wars at present, who dropped three bombs an hour, 24 hours a day, the entire 2016. Here is some of the worst of this anti-Trump hysteria propagated by mouthpieces for liberal Democrats – calling Republicans “fascist” is a favorite left-liberal sport. It is probably true Trump represents “a regime of grave danger,” an “immoral peril to the future of humanity and the earth itself,” by his denial of global warming. Yet Obama was also clearly a grave peril, one many progressives chose not to see clearly.
By Nicolas J S Davies for Consortium News – As President Obama leaves office, much of his foreign policy record remains shrouded in the symbolism that has been the hallmark of his presidency. The persistence of Obama’s image as a reluctant war-maker and a Nobel Peace Prize winner has allowed Donald Trump and his cabinet nominees to claim that Obama has underfunded the military and been less than aggressive in his use of U.S. military power. Nothing could be further from the truth, and their claims are clearly designed only to justify even more extravagant military spending and more aggressive threats and uses of force than those perpetrated under Mr. Obama’s “disguised, quiet, media-free” war policy.
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Chelsea Manning’s sentence has been commuted. She had been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction. She served longer than any other whistleblower. Now, under the terms of Obama’s commutation announced today, Manning will be freed in five months, on May 17 of this year. If she had served the full term of her sentence she would not have been released until 2045. I was a member of the Chelsea Manning Support Network from soon after her arrest and tens of thousands of people donated to legal defense and the campaign to release her as well as protested on her behalf. Tens of thousands urged President Obama to pardon her or commute her sentence. When we learned last week that Manning had made the short list to receive clemency from the president, it still felt like an unlikely outcome. But today, President Obama gave us the best news he could in his final days with the release of Manning. Manning is not only a historically important whistleblower, she has also become a leader of the trans movement as she went public on her sexual identification and fought for her medical and personal rights while incarcerated by the military. She has inspired many with her courage, bravery and actions.
By Staff for Agency France Press. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will agree to be extradited to the United States if President Barack Obama grants clemency to the former US soldier Chelsea Manning, jailed for leaking documents, the company said on Thursday. “If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ (US Department of Justice) case,” WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter. Assange has been living in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.