I apologize for complaining every year when the U.S. president, no matter who it is, pardons two turkeys just before Thanksgiving. I don’t think it’s funny or cute or festive. I think it’s an insult to every person in America who actually deserves a pardon. It’s bad enough for people like me, (or Jeffrey Sterling, Thomas Drake, or any other national security whistleblower) who have done their time, have applied for pardons from multiple presidents, and have been ignored. Imagine what it must be like for people who are innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. What must go through Leonard Pelletier’s mind every year at the end of November, for example? The Thanksgiving tradition began in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln pardoned a turkey, an act that wasn’t even reported in the press until 1865.
In a recent interview with CBS This Morning host Gayle King, former First Lady Michelle Obama contrasted her husband’s presidency with that of his successor by claiming that unlike Trump, the Obama family had had “no scandal”. “I had to sit in [Trump’s inauguration] audience, one of a handful of people of color and then listen to that speech, and all that I had sort of held onto for eight years, watching my husband get raked over the coals, feeling like we had to do everything perfectly, you know, no scandal,” Obama said.
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.
By Pepe Escobar for Information Clearing House - January 20, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik"- The Trump era starts now – with geopolitics and geoeconomics set for a series of imminent, unpredictable cliffhangers. I have argued that Trump's foreign policy guru Henry Kissinger's strategy to deal with the formidable Eurasia integration trio – Russia, China and Iran — is a remixed Divide and Rule; seduce Russia away from its strategic partnership with China, while keep harassing the weakest link, Iran. In fact that's how it's already playing out – as in the outbursts of selected members of Trump's cabinet during their US Senate hearings.
By Deji Olukotun and Peter Micek for Access Now - The largest mobile carriers in the U.S. have responded to a joint letter from Access Now and WITNESS asking them to provide adequate internet connectivity during the weekend of the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. The responses — from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular — indicate that the companies will boost capacity to handle the large influx of visitors to the capital, enabling free expression and documentation of any potential rights abuses. Our joint letter (PDF) specifically cites the need for expanded coverage not only at the inauguration but also demonstrations such as the planned Women’s March on Washington.
By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig - For Donald Trump, the presidency will be a vast stage for accommodating his megalomania and insatiable appetite for money. Those who mock, defy or anger him will feel the wrath of the state. Those who are not obsequious will be cast aside. He will invest most of his energy in his brand. Self-promotion is the only real talent he possesses. Corruption, already rife within the political system, will explode into a full-blown kleptocracy. Manufactured stories about Trump’s prowess, brilliance, sexual allure and goodness, as well as how America is becoming “great again,” will be pumped out by the White House smoke machine.
By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report - As a revolutionary Black nationalist whose socialism predates my facial hairs, I have no problem saying Donald Trump is not my president. Neither is the current occupant of the White House, nor were any of the Democrats, Republicans and Whigs that preceded him. On a chilly November day in 2009 a newly-created coalition, of which I was a co-founder, marched on the White House to denounce and renounce Barack Obama as a tool of white supremacy and the imperial war machine.
By Thomas Ruffin, Jr. - Indeed, with a legacy such as this, Obama deserves to be recognized for what he is: a president no different fundamentally from his white predecessors. If we honestly examine the presidencies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, John Tyler, Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B. Hayes, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and all the rest, we see that they managed and served a racially bigoted system of white capital supremacy. This system, and especially the regime that put it to work, made modest changes over the years in its form, in its operations, in its constituency, and, occasionally, as time passed, in the skin color of a few of its leaders. Nevertheless, the system remained intact, with its dominion continuously over our people.