By Tyler Durden for Zero Hedge. With the Trump inauguration just over 10 days away, attention has now shifted to what Trump will do the moment he steps foot in the White House, and as The Hill reported this morning, judging by his campaign promises, Donald Trump will be a busy man starting on his first day in the Oval Office: “Trump has pledged to take sweeping, unilateral actions on Jan. 20 to roll back President Obama’s policies and set the course for his administration. Many of Obama’s policies he can reverse with the simple stroke of a pen.” The reality, however, is a bit more nuanced than captured in the report, and has to take into consideration not only what Trump’s intentions are, but how they would integrate with Congress, where simply structural limitations could put hurdles ahead of the Trump agenda.
By Red Wedge Magazine. John Berger is dead. There are very few people who, when they pass on, leave you at such a loss for words. Mostly because there are so few as versatile and prodigious as he was. Art critic, painter, poet, novelist, socialist. And he was consistently brilliant in every one of these roles. Often, he was more than one simultaneously. His first novel A Painter of Our Time was available for a month in 1958 before the publisher withdrew it under pressure from the anti-communist Congress for Cultural Freedom. When he won the Booker Prize in 1972, he donated half the prize money to the Black Panthers. Landscapes, a recently published collection of his works, nestles musings on Cubism next to moving tributes to Rosa Luxemburg.
By Richard D. Wolff for Truthout. Over the last century, capitalism has repeatedly revealed its worst tendencies: instability and inequality. Instances of instability include the Great Depression (1929-1941) and the Great Recession since 2008, plus eleven “downturns” in the US between those two global collapses. Each time, millions lost jobs, misery soared, poverty worsened and massive resources were wasted. Leaders promised that their “reforms” would prevent such instability from recurring. Those promises were not kept. Reforms did not work or did not endure. The system was, and remains, the problem. Inequality likewise proved to be an inherent trend of capitalism. Only occasionally and temporarily did opposition from its victims stop or reverse it.
By Misty Dawn Spicer-Sitzes for Shareable. Workers in California are taking economic change into their own hands. The Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives is one of the shining examples of how shared ownership empowers workers and builds community. For the past 20 years, the association, comprised of six bakeries, has been innovating the way business is done. What’s its recipe for success? It turns out that it is more than just tasty treats: Each bakery is democratically-owned and governed by its workers. A worker-owned cooperative is a business in which each employee owns one equal part of the company. They share the profits in the good times, and they share the burdens in the hard times. Worker co-ops can have anywhere from three members to thousands, and they have varying pay scales and job structures.
By Staff of News 24 – Kinshasa – Nineteen pro-democracy activists arrested during a protest against the Democratic Republic of Congo’s president Joseph Kabila were released on Tuesday, their organisation and a UN official said. “Lucha confirms that 18 comrades arrested during a sit-in in Goma (in eastern DRC) on December 21 … were released on Tuesday,” the opposition movement’s Ghislain Muhiwa said. “Another Lucha activist, Gloria Senga, who had been kidnapped on December 18 in Kinshasa, has also been freed,” he said. Seven other Lucha activists are still behind bars, he added.
By Andrew Reynolds for The News and Observer – In 2005, in the midst of a career of traveling around the world to help set up elections in some of the most challenging places on earth – Afghanistan, Burma, Egypt, Lebanon, South Africa, Sudan and Yemen, among others – my Danish colleague, Jorgen Elklit, and I designed the first comprehensive method for evaluating the quality of elections around the world. Our system measured 50 moving parts of an election process and covered everything from the legal framework to the polling day and counting of ballots. In 2012 Elklit and I worked with Pippa Norris of Harvard University, who used the system as the cornerstone of the Electoral Integrity Project.
By Sam Biddle for the Intercept. There’s a lot of evidence from the attack on the table, mostly detailing how the hack was perpetrated, and possibly the language of the perpetrators. It certainly remains plausible that Russians hacked the DNC, and remains possible that Russia itself ordered it. But the refrain of Russian attribution has been repeated so regularly and so emphatically that it’s become easy to forget that no one has ever truly proven the claim. There is strong evidence indicating that Democratic email accounts were breached via phishing messages, and that specific malware was spread across DNC computers. There’s even evidence that the attackers are the same group that’s been spotted attacking other targets in the past. But again: No one has actually proven that group is the Russian government (or works for it). This remains the enormous inductive leap that’s not been reckoned with, and Americans deserve better. . . in times of extraordinary risk, with two enormous military powers placed in direct conflict over national sovereignty, we need an extraordinary disclosure. The stakes are simply too high to take anyone’s word for it.
By Zoom in Korea. Seoul, South Korea – On December 9, lawmakers of the South Korean National Assembly passed a historical motion to impeach the current president Park Geun-hye. 234 out of 300 legislators in the National Assembly voted in favor of the impeachment motion. Now that the National Assembly has passed the motion to impeach Park, it is up to the Constitutional Court to decide whether to make the impeachment final in accordance with the constitution. Park will be suspended for the time being as the Constitutional Court deliberates. During this period, the current Prime Minister, Hwang Kyo-ahn, will serve as the acting president. In order for the impeachment to go officially in effect, six out of the nine judges of the Constitutional Court must agree to rule in favor of the motion within 180 days.
By West Papua Action Network. Indonesia came to absorb the region known as West Papua in 1969 following the withdrawal of the Dutch colonial administration. This occupation resulted in a protracted conflict over freedom and autonomy between the Indonesian government and the indigenous people of West Papua. For more than five decades, the West Papuans have organized many protests and ceremonies aimed at attaining self-determination or joining Papua New Guinea as part of a federation of independence states. This interview was conducted with Herman Wainggai, a leader of a nonviolent movement in West Papua to discuss their fight for self determination and prospects for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
By Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Washington, DC – Earlier this year, Popular Resistance took action in solidarity with a peace delegation from South Corea* that represents activists who are working to end the crackdown on progressive political parties and free speech, to free activists who are in prison and to end the Korean War. We demonstrated at the White House and at the Korean embassy. We learned about the May 18th Democracy Uprising in 1980 in which hundreds were killed. And we learned that the current president, Park Geun-hye, the daughter of the dictator Park Chung-hee who ruled in the 1970′s, banned the Unified Progressive Party in violation of international law and has violated other rights.
By Alexandra Sims for Independent – South Korean President Park Geun-hye is facing increasing pressure to resign as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators join nationwide protests over corruption claims. In what is believed to be one of the largest demonstrations so far over the allegations engulfing Ms Park, organisers said 1.3 million protesters filled the streets in the capital of Seoul on Saturday evening, with 1.5 million estimated to join by the end of the night.
By Liz Essley Whyte for the Center for Public Integrity. Despite massive losses for Democrats in races from the White House to governors’ offices Tuesday, those on the left celebrated some significant victories with state ballot measures. From marijuana to minimum wage to gun control laws, they won many key initiatives among the 162 statewide measures — part of a concerted plan put in motion more than a year ago to circumvent Republican-led legislatures and take policy questions directly to voters. Progressive advocates appeared to lose major healthcare initiatives in California and Colorado, however. The Center for Public Integrity tracked how those fighting over these measures shaped their messages with TV ads, typically an expensive yet far-reaching endeavor. Media tracker Kantar Media/CMAG estimates that more than $384 million was spent through Monday just to air TV ads about such measures this election.