Trump And America’s Fascist Forefathers

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By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report – Donald Trump was even more agitated and combative than usual at Tuesday’s press conference. How could he draw a line to separate the “neo-Nazis” and assorted “white supremacists” that had descended on Charlottesville, Virginia — one of whom used his car to crush the life out of a young woman — and the “very fine people” that favored keeping Robert E. Lee’s statue on its pedestal in (recently renamed) Emancipation Park? And, where would the racist-removal project end? The answer, as somebody once said, was blowing in the wind. “So this week, it is Robert E. Lee,” warned Trump . “I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” There is nothing wrong with Trump’s logic. If the legacy of slavery is to be excised root and branch, then nothing less than the most profound social transformation is in order. Why stop with statues of long dead men? If you rightly condemn Washington and Jefferson as loathsome oppressors of humanity, you are then obligated to purge the nation and world of the poisoned fruit of their racist perversion. What these forefathers “brought forth on this continent” was “a new nation, conceived” NOT in liberty, nor was it dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal.

Condemning Trump Not Enough, People Must Condemn Racist Laws

Mark Dixon / Flickr

By Peter Certo for Other Words – Our president has no trouble naming his enemies — CNN, Rosie O’Donnell, Nordstrom, immigrants, Muslims, the all-women version of Ghostbusters, etc. etc. But when it comes to violent white supremacists, his passive streak is impossible to miss. When neo-Nazis and Klansmen incited a riot in Charlottesville, Trump famously blamed “many sides.” Even after a belated statement finally condemning the racist perpetrators, Trump immediately backtracked. The very next day, he blamed the fictitious “alt-left” for the violence and insisted there were “many fine people” among the torch-bearing Confederates. This was far too much even for many Republicans. Senator Jeff Flake accused the president of “making excuses” for “acts of domestic terrorism.” John McCain insisted “there’s no moral equivalency between racists” and their opponents. Marco Rubio worried the president was resurrecting an “old evil,” while Texas Rep. Will Hurd called on Trump to apologize. These Republicans (and many others) deserve credit for speaking out. But condemning Nazis is the lowest bar in the broader fight against white supremacy.

Latin America Rejects Trump’s Military Threat Against Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro speaking to National Constituent Assembly, Aug. 10 , 2017. By

By Brian Ellsworth and Mitra Taj for Reuters. After months of attacking Venezuela’s unpopular President Nicolas Maduro, Latin America came out strongly against U.S. threats of military action against the crisis-hit nation. U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprise comments on Friday may bring the beleaguered Maduro some respite in the region, just as Venezuela was on verge of becoming a pariah over its recent installation of a legislative superbody, widely condemned as a power grab by the ruling Socialists. Following Trump’s assertion that military intervention in Venezuela was an option, Maduro’s critics are caught between backing the idea of a foreign invasion of Venezuela or supporting a president they call a dictator. The sudden escalation of Washington’s response to Venezuela’s crisis preceded U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to the region beginning Sunday. He is set to visit Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Panama. Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino on Friday disparaged Trump’s warning as “craziness” and Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Saturday Venezuela rejected “hostile” threats, calling on Latin America to unite against Washington.

It’s Time to Ask Again: Can A Sitting President Be Indicted?

Donald Trump at a 2016 presidential campaign rally in Bethpage, N.Y. (Julie Jacobson / AP)

By Bill Blum for Truth Dig – The Trump presidency has been a boon for at least three groups of people: late-night comics who see him as a boundless source of hilarity; conspiracy theorists panicked over the “deep state’s” machinations to subvert his electoral victory; and constitutional lawyers, scholars and commentators who feel compelled to survey the legal wreckage caused by the president’s policies and behavior. Count me among the last. In my circles, the issue du jour is whether a sitting president can be indicted. President Trump is on the hot seat for possible criminal prosecution for obstruction of justice arising from his firing on May 9 of FBI Director James Comey and his more recent threats to discharge Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller. Who else but Trump—the real estate mogul and former TV game show host turned most powerful person in the world—could have resurrected the indictment question last raised during the presidency of Bill Clinton? Trump may have failed to deliver on his campaign pledge to “Make America Great Again,” but he certainly has prompted the country to debate again.

Seymour Hersh Cracks ‘RussiaGate’ As CIA-Planted Lie, Revenge Against Trump

The Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin: Did the Russians hack U.S. election databases? (Yahoo News photo illustration, photos: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters, Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters, AP, AP)

By Eric Zuesse for Global Research – The kid gets — I don’t think he [Seth Rich] was murdered [because of this] I don’t think he was murdered because of what he knew, the kid was a nice boy, 27, he was not an ITS person, he learned stuff, he was a data-programmer, but he learned stuff, and so he was living on one street, somewhere, he was living in a very rough neighborhood, and in the exact area where he lived, there had been about, I am sure you know, there had been about 8 or 9 or 10, violent robberies, most of them with somebody brandishing a gun, and I am sure you know, his [the kid’s] hands were marked up, the cops concluded [HERSH SAW THE POLICE REPORT] he fought off the people, he tried to run, and they shot him twice in the back with a 22, small-caliber, and then the kid that did it ran, he got scared. So, the cops do this, here’s what nobody knows, what I am telling you, now maybe you do know something about it: When you have a death like that, DC cops, as you’re [dealing now with a person who is] dead, you generally don’t zip and go, yep I know, what’s the motive, what’s going on, you have to get to the kid’s apartment and see what you can find.

Black Peace Advocate Wonders If Trump Can Rein In CIA

Trump flanked by the Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, a Momentive investor and Trump’s ‘jobs czar’, and the General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By Bruce A. Dixon for Black Agenda Report – President Trump’s cancellation of the CIA’s longstanding mission to train, arm and finance a jihadist overthrow of the Syrian government is recognition that “the Obama war has basically failed,” said Ajamu Baraka, spokesperson for the newly organized Black Alliance for Peace and the Green Party’s 2016 vice presidential candidate. Given that the military and intelligence services rebelled against President Obama’s attempts to cooperate with the Russians in Syria, last year, “it remains to be seen to what extent these elements of the ‘deep state’ are going to obey that directive,” said Baraka, who is also an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report.

Did Trump Really End The CIA’s Secret War In Syria?

by Kenny Cole | CC BY 2.0

By Jeff Mackler for Counter Punch – “Trump Ends Covert Aid to Syrian Rebels Trying to Topple Assad,” read a July 19 New York Times headline. Citing The Washington Postas its source, the article noted that the official termination of the “secret” U.S. program “was never publicly announced, just as the beginnings of the program four years ago were officially a secret, authorized by President Barack Obama through a ‘finding’ that permitted the C.I.A. to conduct a deniable program.” “Mr. Trump’s decisions,” said The Times, “amounted to an acknowledgment that no escalation of the program, which began in 2013 in concert with the C.I.A.’s counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan, was likely to yield a different result.” The CIA and its “counterparts” were intervening in Syria even before 2013, if not congruent with the brief Arab Spring mobilizations of 2011, when poor peasants, democratically minded youth, and others protested against the Bashar Assad government’s neo-liberal and repressive policies. The New York Times revealed on June 21, 2012, that the CIA had been ferrying arms, recruiting, and training anti-Assad groups based in Turkey. The U.S. was simultaneously the major power behind the Syrian National Council (SNC), which it established to be the new Syrian “government in waiting.”

Trump Appoints Abusive Gitmo General As Chief Of Staff

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By Staff of CCRJusitce – General Kelly’s aggressive oversight of the illegal military prison at Guantánamo Bay disqualifies him to head the Department of Homeland Security. Presiding over a population of detainees not charged or convicted of crimes, over whom he had maximum custodial control, Kelly treated them with brutality. His response to the detainees’ peaceful hunger strike in 2013 was punitive force-feeding, solitary confinement, and rubber bullets. Furthermore, he sabotaged efforts by the Obama administration to resettle detainees, consistently undermining the will of his commander in chief. His temperament and actions make him unfit to lead an agency that currently holds tens of thousands of immigrants, including many fleeing violence and many in long-term indefinite detention. Kelly’s recent vow to end “political correctness” in U.S. national security policy is a thinly veiled endorsement of policies and practices that are illegal and immoral, including torture and racial and religious profiling. His statement is a clear warning sign, and the Senate must reject his nomination to preserve and protect the rule of law.

Police Chiefs Criticize Trump Speech On Police Violence

Police laugh as President Trump speaks to International Association of Chiefs of Police, July 28, 2017. Photo by Jonathan Ernst for Reuters.

By Carla Herreria for Huffington Post. Law enforcement officials from around the world released a statement in apparent response to President Donald Trump’s speech Friday to cops in New York in which he appeared to encourage police brutality. His comments elicited cheers from the audience of law enforcement, which included local lawmakers, officers from the Suffolk County Police Department, the Nassau County Police Department acting police commissioner Patrick Ryder, Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco and deputies and jail guards from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office, according to Newsday reporter Nicole Fuller. After his speech, the International Association of Chiefs of Police published a blog post that detailed its use-of-force policies and training, highlighting the need for officers to “ensure that any use of force is carefully applied and objectively reasonable.” The association explained that officers are trained to treat all individuals “with dignity and respect.” “This is the bedrock principle behind the concepts of procedural justice and police legitimacy,” the IACP wrote.

Swift Backlash Meets President’s Tweet Declaring Ban On Transgender Military Service

Veterans and hundreds of LGBTQ supporters mobilized with hits of the President’s tweet announcing a ban on transgender military service members. Photo: John Zangas

By John Zangas for DC Media Group – Washington, DC– A tweet issued by President Trump Wednesday morning appeared to rescind a Department of Defense policy which allows transgender men and women to serve openly in the U.S. Armed Forces. Activists were quick to react and staged a protest outside the White House within hours. “I am shocked, angry and feel betrayed,” said Kara Zajak, a U.S. Navy Submariner, who identified as a transgender woman. “We had all this going through, it was passed, we had the [military] instructions and we were following them,” she said. Trump’s tweet caught the Pentagon flat-footed, and its website showed the policy was still in effect as of Thursday. The president apparently did not directly order military leaders to change policy in any documented form. According to a letter seen by Reuters, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the military that no changes would be implemented until a presidential directive. In June 2016, former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced implementation of the policy paving the way for transgender people to serve in the military.

Trump Faces Down CIA And Co-Opts Pentagon On Syria (For The Time Being)

From blackagendareport.com

By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report – It’s not like Donald Trump to “stifle” himself, as TV’s Archie Bunker used to say, but the president has been relatively subdued about his decision, reportedly made last month, to terminate the CIA program that has armed, trained, directed and protected jihadist fighters in Syria. Trump’s uncharacteristic reticence on the matter is understandable, given the agency’s homicidal culture and history. It is also likely that Trump’s gaggle of White House generals, led by Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis and national security advisor H.R. McMaster, have kept the Pentagon in check, preventing a reprise of the mutiny that sabotaged President Obama’s cease-fire and intelligence-sharing agreement with Russian forces in Syria, on September 17 of last year. In a blatant rebellion against civilian authority, U.S. warplanes killed 100 Syrian soldiers at Deir Ez-Zor, allowing ISIS to overrun half the city. The next week, with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at his side, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “The U.S. military role will not include intelligence sharing with the Russians.” The Pentagon had “punked” lame duck President Barack Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry.

Times Square Protest Against Donald Trump’s Transgender Military Service Ban

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Tanya Walker, a trans woman and U.S. Army veteran, said she is “appalled” by Donald Trump’s proposed policy.

By Hayley Miller for The Huffington Post – New Yorkers came out in droves Wednesday to protest President Donald Trump’s seemingly sudden decision to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military. Hundreds rallied in front of the U.S. Army Career Center in Times Square as trans activists and allies blasted the president’s discriminatory policy proposal, which he announced in a series of tweets early Wednesday morning. Tanya Walker, a trans woman and U.S. Army veteran, said she was “appalled” by Trump’s tweets, and led the crowd in chanting “Shame! Shame! Shame!” ″It is our duty to fight,” Walker told the crowd. “It is our duty to win. We must love each other and protect each other.” The ban would reverse an Obama-era policy that allowed transgender people to openly serve in the country’s armed forces. The policy would affect thousands of transgender people actively serving in the U.S. military. Trump announced the ban on Wednesday on Twitter and claimed he made the move after consulting with military experts, despite the Pentagon lifting the ban on transgender service members in 2016. Jacqueline Swannick, a trans woman and former Army medic, joined protesters demonstrating against the proposed ban on Wednesday.

President Trump Cruelly Threatens Trans Service Members With Rank Discrimination

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By Chase Strangio for ACLU – Apparently that extensive work over many years and across many areas of expertise was reversed in a matter of minutes — over Twitter. Indeed, contrary to Trump’s suggestion on Twitter, retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified in Congress just last week that inclusion of transgender individuals in the military promoted readiness and caused no disruption or cost. He explained that “[t]he military conducted a thorough research process on this issue and concluded that inclusive policy for transgender troops promotes readiness” and urged Congress “to respect the military’s judgment and not to breach the faith of service members who defend our freedoms.” Congress ultimately rejected a proposal to ban health coverage for transgender servicemembers and dependents. As Mullen noted, “Thousands of transgender Americans are currently serving in uniform and there is no reason to single out these brave men and women and deny them the medical care that they require.” This is not about cost. This is not about readiness or a strong military. Today’s announcement is about targeting, demonizing, and endangering a group of people who are risking their lives every day for our country.

Whistleblower Case Shows How Trump Tries To Silence Science

Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of senators sent letters reminding Trump administration officials of whistleblowers' rights. Credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

By Sabrina Shankman for Inside Climate News – For the first time since the Trump administration came to office and began dismantling the key science underpinnings of federal climate policy, a senior agency official has invoked the protections of the whistleblower law to publicly object to what he calls an illegal attempt to intimidate him. The official, Joel Clement, had been the director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the Interior Department before he says he was arbitrarily reassigned to an obscure accounting post to punish him for speaking up about protections for native Americans in Alaska. He says that was ordered by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to force him to be quiet or quit—and to send a message. Clement, who publicized his formal complaint in a commentary published Wednesday in the Washington Post, said his case is not an isolated example but part of a pattern. “It’s been a difficult few months for those of us on the inside,” he told InsideClimate News in an interview. “This administration has abused a long list of rules and procedures to purge scientists and experts that don’t agree with their political views. We need to work together strategically to end these abuses or the health and safety of more Americans will be at risk.”

NAFTA Renegotiation Objectives Indicate Possible Stealth Attack On Public Health, Food, Agriculture

Flickr/Tim & Selena Middleton

By Audrey Fox for Friends of the Earth – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released the Trump Administration’s objectives for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Trade promotion authority legislation requires the President to provide “a detailed summary” of the objectives of trade negotiations 30 days before negotiations begin. Friends of the Earth Senior Trade Analyst Bill Waren issued the following response: Donald Trump demonized NAFTA and the TPP during his presidential campaign and made assurances he would rework trade deals to protect the American people. Now, it appears that Trump has modified his message. Since taking office, Trump has shown repeatedly that he plans to “re-do” NAFTA to benefit corporations. Trump’s statement indicates he plans to step up his war on public health and the planet by modeling NAFTA’s provisions related to environmental regulation on the TPP. These objectives appear to set the stage for a stealth attack on strong regulation of food, agriculture, chemicals, and biotechnology.