The Real Reason Behind Trump’s Angry Diplomacy In North Korea

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By Ramzy Baroud for Politics for the People – To understand the United States’ stratagem in the Pacific, and against North Korea in particular, one has to understand the fundamental changes that are under way in that region. China’s clout as an Asian superpower and as a global economic powerhouse has been growing at a rapid speed. The US’ belated ‘pivot to Asia’ to counter China’s rise has been, thus far, quite ineffectual. The angry diplomacy of President Donald Trump is Washington’s way to scare off North Korea’s traditional ally, China, and disrupt what has been, till now, quite a smooth Chinese economic, political and military ascendency in Asia that has pushed against US regional influence, especially in the East and South China Seas. Despite the fact that China has reevaluated its once strong ties with North Korea, in recent years, it views with great alarm any military build-up by the US and its allies. A stronger US military in that region will be a direct challenge to China’s inevitable trade and political hegemony. The US understands that its share of the world’s economic pie chart is constantly being reduced, and that China is gaining ground, and fast. The United States’ economy is the world’s largest, but not for long. Statistics show that China is blazing the trail and will, by 2030 – or even sooner – win the coveted spot.

Wrongful Rhetoric And Trump’s Strategy On Iran

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By Kathy Kelly for VCNV – Mordechai Vanunu was imprisoned in Israel for eighteen years because he blew the whistle on Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program. He felt he had “an obligation to tell the people of Israel what was going on behind their backs” at a supposed nuclear research facility which was actually producing plutonium for nuclear weapons. His punishment for breaking the silence about Israel’s capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons included eleven years of solitary confinement. Yesterday, reading about President Donald Trump’s new strategy on Iran, Vanunu’s long isolation and sacrificial commitment to truth-telling came to mind. Donald Trump promised to “deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.” But it is Israel, which possesses an estimated 80 nuclear warheads, with fissile material for up to 200, which poses the major nuclear threat in the region. And Israel is allied to the nation with the world’s largest nuclear arsenal: the United States. Israel doesn’t acknowledge its nuclear arsenal publicly, nor does Israel allow weapons inspectors into its nuclear weapons facilities. Along with India and Pakistan, Israel refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. And it has used conventional weapons in numerous destabilizing wars which include aerial bombing of Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank. Vanunu, designated by Daniel Ellsberg as the “the pre-eminent hero of the nuclear era,” helped many people envision nations in the region making progress toward a nuclear weapons-free Middle East.

DOJ Seeking Info On 6,000 People Who ‘Liked’ Anti-Trump Facebook Page

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By Alberto Luperon for Law Newz – The ACLU-DC is trying to stop three search warrants that’d let the Department of Justice snoop around protesters’ Facebook accounts over Inauguration Day protests. They filed in D.C. Superior Court on Thursday, saying the government’s demands violate the Fourth Amendment because they are so broad, and threatening First Amendment speech. These warrants ask for too much information not directly relevant to the federal probe, argues the ACLU. This includes information on the plaintiffs’ friends, associates, and the approximately 6000 individuals who just “liked” an anti-Donald Trump Facebook page. Requested data would go back to Nov. 1, 2016, a week before the presidential election. “The warrants make no provision for avoiding or minimizing invasions into personal and associational/expression information, for preventing such information from being shared widely within the government, or for destroying irrelevant material when the investigation is concluded,” said the ACLU filing. In other words, this might chill First Amendment speech by giving the government means to observe anyone who were simply linked to anti-Trump protesters. This fight stems from arrests made Jan. 20. Demonstrators came to Washington D.C. to protest President Donald Trump‘s inauguration, and over 200 ended up getting charged with felony rioting.

Empire Files: Voices From The Anti-Trump Resistance

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By Abby Martin for The Real News Network – Abby Martin: We’re here at a national gathering in Washington D.C. called the People’s Congress of Resistance. About 1,000 activists, organizers, and community leaders from all over the country have converged here to build the real resistance against the Trump regime. Participants here say, “They are the representatives of the majority,” and they’re not here to simply lobby the U.S. Congress, but they want to replace Congress altogether. Yasmina Mrabet: Sisters and brothers, as the United States Congress works to cut deals with the Trump administration, we have assembled to represent the alternative of steadfast resistance, political independence, and a vision of revolution. According to our registration, as of Thursday night we had resistors from 37 states and 159 different towns and cities. Eugene Puryear: People say to me all the time, “You can’t bring together the undocumented people with the Black workers. It can’t be done. You can’t bring together Harlem with Appalachia. It can’t be done. You can’t bring together people who maybe only speak Spanish and people who only speak English. It can’t be done. There are too many divisions. People are too divided. We’re fighting too much amongst ourselves. There’s no way we can unite.” Honestly, what they mean is that you can never win. My message to those people is look around.

Trump’s Unpaid-For Tax Cuts May Total $5 Trillion In New Tax Plan

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By Staff of Americans For Tax Fairness – Failure to pay for tax cuts by closing tax loopholes may put Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Education on the Chopping Block. An analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness of the tax framework released today by President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress shows that Trump’s tax cuts could total a massive $6.7 to $8.3 trillion, $3 to $5 trillion of which may not be paid for by closing other tax loopholes and/or by limiting tax deductions. The resulting jump in the deficit threatens funding of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education and other vital services. The framework is very similar to key features of the tax plans previously released by President Trump and House Speaker Ryan, which is the basis for ATF’s analysis. The table below summarizes the proposed tax cuts in the Trump-Republican leaders’ tax plan, along with estimates of their considerable costs.

Trump Adds Venezuela And North Korea To Travel Ban

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By Staff of Tele Sur – The addition of North Korea and Venezuela broadens the restrictions from the original, mostly Muslim-majority list. U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that Venezuela and North Korea will be added to the list of countries banned from traveling to the United States. The order outlines different restrictions for each country on the list. In the case of Venezuela, the new decree is aimed at “certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members,” according to the White House press office. The new directive prevents Venezuelan officials involved in state security, law enforcement and migration functions from entering the United States. Immediate family members’ ability to enter the U.S. as nonimmigrants on business, tourist and tourist/business visas will also be suspended. The proclamation names ministries and state bodies involved in “screening and vetting procedures,” including the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration; the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and the Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations.

Trump’s Tax Plan: A Billion Or Three For Guys Like Him

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By Bob Lord for Inequality – What’s the largest personal stake a U.S. president has ever had in legislation he signed into law? Whatever it was, it’ll be dwarfed by what Donald Trump’s signature will be worth — to himself — if Congress passes his proposed tax plan and puts it on his desk. If that happens, Trump will be effectively cutting himself a check from the U.S. Treasury for several billion dollars. Call me cynical, but it seems that’s exactly what Trump has in mind. His plan just fits his tax situation — or what we know of it, without access to his tax returns — too perfectly. The president’s tax proposal eliminates two taxes that mostly benefit the wealthy, and cuts a third tax roughly in half. That would bestow a windfall worth billions on the Trump family. First, there’s the elimination of the alternative minimum tax, or AMT. The AMT applies to taxpayers whose income tax liability otherwise would be reduced excessively by certain deductions, including deductions commonly claimed by real estate owners like Trump. It’s like an alternative tax system in which the rates are lower but fewer deductions are allowed.

Trump Fans Just Held The ‘Mother Of All Rallies’ On Capitol Hill And Got Upstaged By Clowns

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By Colin Taylor for Verified Politics – Around 150 – 200 people showed up for a rally that was billed as a crowd of “millions,” drawing the usual assortment of racist idiots like rape apologist Gavin McInnes’ “Proud Boys” and the Three Percenter “sovereign citizen” militiamen. The MOAR wasn’t even the only rally in Washington D.C. today. The MAGA chuds were overshadowed by the March of the Juggalos, the fans of the “Insane Clown Posse” hip-hop group known for their clown face-paint, their love for Faygo soda, and their hatred for fascists and Confederates. The Juggalos are marching to protest their unfair designation as a “gang” by the FBI, which has made life very difficult for some prominent Juggalo fans, including making it harder for them to get jobs. Warriors for civil rights in general, the unifying tenet of the Juggalo Family is tolerance for everybody, no matter their race, sexuality, class, or gender, all united in their love for the music of ICP. It is beyond outrageous that the FBI has labeled them a “dangerous” gang.

Sanders Health Bill: Cover For Democratic Party Deals With Trump

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By Patrick Martin for WSWS. Senator Bernie Sanders took his campaign to whitewash the right-wing character of the Democratic Party to a new level Wednesday, introducing single-payer, “Medicare for all” legislation, co-sponsored by 15 Democratic senators, on the same day that House and Senate Democratic leaders were to visit the White House for cozy talks with President Trump on corporate tax cuts. The bill was given full-scale media promotion, including an op-ed column by Sanders in the New York Times, lengthy articles in all the major daily newspapers, and reports on the network and cable television news programs. This for a bill which has not the slightest chance of passage by the Republican-controlled Congress, which will never even hold a committee hearing, let alone bring it to a vote. This makes co-sponsorship an opportunity to strike a left pose without actually incurring the wrath of the insurance companies and other giant corporations that control the provision of health care in the United States. Accordingly, a half dozen Democratic senators who are beginning to promote themselves as potential 2020 presidential contenders signed on as co-sponsors—up from zero co-sponsors the last time Sanders introduced such a bill.

How To Read Donald Trump

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By Ariel Dorfman for Tikkum – The organizers of the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville last month knew just what they were doing when they decided to carry torches on their nocturnal march to protest the dethroning of a statue of Robert E. Lee. That brandishing of fire in the night was meant to evoke memories of terror, of past parades of hate and aggression by the Ku Klux Klan in the United States and Adolf Hitler’s Freikorps in Germany. The organizers wanted to issue a warning to those watching: that past violence, perpetrated in defense of the “blood and soil” of the white race, would once again be harnessed and deployed in Donald Trump’s America. Indeed, the very next day, that fatal August 12th, those nationalist fanatics unleashed an orgy of brutality that led to the deaths of three people and the injuring of many more. Millions around America and the world were horrified and revolted by that parade of torches. In my case, however, they also brought to mind deeply personal memories of other fires that had burned darkly so many decades before, far from the United States or Nazi Europe. As I watched footage of that rally, I couldn’t help remembering the bonfires that lit up my own country, Chile, in the aftermath of General Augusto Pinochet’s September 11th coup in 1973 — that “first 9/11,” which, with the active support of Washington and the CIA, had overthrown the popularly elected government of Salvador Allende.

ICE Illegally Held a U.S. Citizen in Detention Center for 1,273 Days

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By Jennie Neufeld for Alternet. What happens when ICE wrongly detains a U.S. citizen for almost three and a half years? Well, a whole lot of nothing. Take the case of Davino Watson, who was held in ICE detention facilities for 1,273 days faced with the improbable task of proving his American citizenship without access to a lawyer. According to two United States Court of Appeals judges, his detention was simply business as usual. But unlike his undocumented counterparts, Watson has been a U.S. citizen since 2002. ICE had no legal authority to hold Watson, or any other U.S. citizen. Watson, born in Jamaica, became a citizen under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which allows children under the age of 18 to automatically join their parents in citizenship if they are lawful permanent residents. Sadly, Watson’s story is “far from unusual,” says Chief Judge Katzmann. Thousands of Americans have faced detention or the threat of deportation—nearly 21,000 U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been unlawfully detained in a four-year period. And only 14 percent of detainees are able to acquire legal counsel . . .

Dreams Become Nightmares

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By Christopher Brauchli for the Human Raceand Other Sports. DJT sent a surly surrogate, Jeff Sessions, (a poor substitute for a tweet), to announce that DJT was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program known as “DACA, “that had been created by President Obama. It was created because Congress refused to enact legislation to address the plight of immigrant children brought into this country as youngsters by their parents. Those children had no contact with the countries from which they were brought and, in many cases, do not even know the language in their home countries. Eliminating the program, even though postponing the effective date for six months, introduces a plague of uncertainty into the lives of those who have been beneficiaries of the program. Many of them work in medicine, law and other occupations, or are in college or secondary school hoping to complete their educations. They are now confronted with the terrible uncertainty of not knowing what the future holds for them. The lives of 787,000 people (as of March 2017) will be affected when the program is ended. They are the people who are now protected by its provisions. They may recall, ruefully, that before ending the program, DJT had repeatedly said that: “We love the dreamers. We love everybody” and, “I think the dreamers are terrific.” The Dreamers might have taken comfort from those words . . . .

15 States And The District Of Columbia Challenge Trump Over DACA Decision

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By Emily Wells for Truth Dig – The argument could bear significant weight. Trump made a plethora of comments against Mexican immigrants during the presidential campaign, saying in 2015, “They are not our friend, believe me. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Trump also notoriously boasted that he would force Mexico to pay for a wall along the Mexican-American border. Nevertheless, the case may have a long road ahead, because the president has the authority to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” when it comes to the enforcement of immigration laws. “I wouldn’t say it’s a long shot, [but] I would say it is challenging, just because of the tradition against reviewing prosecutorial discretion,” Stephen Legomsk, a Washington University law professor and an Obama administration alum, told CNN. Cornell law professor and immigration attorney Steve Yale-Loehr said that “given the general deference that most courts provide to executive branch decisions on immigration, because immigration touches on national security and national sovereignty issues, they’re going to have an uphill battle in court. I wish them well, but as far as I can tell, I think they’ve got a less than 50% chance of winning in court.”

Newsletter: Climate Breakdown

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Climate breakdown is happening before our eyes at the same time the science on climate change grows stronger and has wider acceptance. Hurricane Harvey, which struck at the center of the petroleum industry – the heart of climate denialism – provided a glimpse of the new normal of climate crisis-induced events. In Asia, this week the climate message was even stronger where at least 1,200 people died and 41 million were impacted. By 2050, one billion people could be displaced by climate crises. Climate disasters demonstrate the immense failure of government at all levels.

How President Trump’s Tax Plan Would Really Affect The Middle Class

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By Chye-Ching Huang for CBPP – President Trump is set to speak in Missouri today where he will reportedly continue to tout his tax plan’s benefits for the middle class even though it would actually concentrate its tax cuts at the top — and could even hurt low- and middle-income families. Over the last two years, the President has released several different tax plans that would deliver trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and corporations but do little to help working families. Yet, he’s consistently promised to help the middle class: in his inaugural address, for example, he said that “every decision” on taxes will “be made to benefit American workers and American families.” In fact, if President Trump’s proposed tax cuts are paid for through the types of spending cuts he has proposed in his budget, low- and middle-income Americans would clearly end up far worse off.