Attention, folks! We have boots on the ground in Syria now. Lots of them, with the potential for many more. Marines have arrived in Northern Syria to assist in the fight against ISIS to reclaim Raqqa. A couple hundred Marines have deployed into Syria with heavy artillery guns, as part of the ongoing preparation for the… Continue Reading →
I guess Canada’s the new beacon of freedom:
Earlier today, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates issued a directive to staff not to defend the Muslim ban. Her memo letter said, “I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.” “At present, I am not… Continue Reading →
He thinks like a Hollywood producer:
WASHINGTON ― Part of being a great president is showing off America’s military strength, according to President-elect Donald Trump.
The military “may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Trump told the Washington Post in an interview published Wednesday. “That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.”
Trump spoke about his vision of military parades in vague terms, suggesting it was something he might oversee in the future. But according to several sources involved in his inaugural preparations, Trump has endeavored to ensure that his first day as commander-in-chief is marked by an unusual display of heavy military equipment.
During the preparation for Friday’s transfer-of-power, a member of Trump’s transition team floated the idea of including tanks and missile launchers in the inaugural parade, a source involved in inaugural planning told The Huffington Post. “They were legit thinking Red Square/North Korea-style parade,” the source said, referring to massive military parades in Moscow and Pyongyang, typically seen as an aggressive display of muscle-flexing.
The military, which traditionally works closely with the presidential inaugural committee, shot down the request, the source said. Their reason was twofold. Some were concerned about the optics of having tanks and missile launchers rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue. But they also worried that the tanks, which often weigh over 100,000 pounds, would destroy the roads.
I hate to link to the National Review, but this is important. Because I expect something like this will be replicated here:
I believe that Vladimir Putin came to power as the result of an act of terror committed against his own people. The evidence is overwhelming that the apartment-house bombings in 1999 in Moscow, Buinaksk, and Volgodonsk, which provided a pretext for the second Chechen war and catapulted Putin into the presidency, were carried out by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). Yet, to this day, an indifferent world has made little attempt to grasp the significance of what was the greatest political provocation since the burning of the Reichstag.
I have been trying to call attention to the facts behind the bombings since 1999. I consider this a moral obligation, because ignoring the fact that a man in charge of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal came to power through an act of terror is highly dangerous in itself. Russian human-rights defenders Sergei Yushenkov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, and Alexander Litvinenko also worked to shed light on the apartment bombings. But all of them were murdered between 2003 and 2006.
By 2007, when I testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the bombings, I was the only person publicly accusing the regime of responsibility who had not been killed. The bombings terrorized Russia. The Russian authorities blamed Chechen rebels and thereby galvanized popular support for a new war in Chechnya. President Boris Yeltsin and his entourage were thoroughly hated for their role in the pillaging of the country. Putin, the head of the FSB, had just been named Yeltsin’s prime minister and achieved overnight popularity by vowing revenge against those who had murdered innocent civilians. He assumed direction of the war and, on the strength of initial successes, was elected president easily.
Seem to be doomed to stand by helplessly as it repeats itself:
The rise of right-wing populism in Europe and the United States, accentuated by the election of Donald Trump, has led to growing fears about the possibility of new forms of authoritarianism. In search of insight, many commentators have turned to a book published some 65 years ago — Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism.” Arendt was a German Jewish intellectual who fled Germany with the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1933, lived in Paris as a stateless refugee and Zionist activist until 1941 and then fled to and settled in the United States.
“Origins,” first published in 1951, was based on research and writing done during the 1940s. The book’s primary purpose is to understand totalitarianism, a novel form of mobilizational and genocidal dictatorship epitomized by Stalinism in Soviet Russia and Hitlerism in Nazi Germany, and it culminates in a vivid account of the system of concentration and death camps that Arendt believed defined totalitarian rule. The book’s very first words signal the mood:
Two world wars in one generation, separated by an uninterrupted chain of local wars and revolutions, followed by no peace treaty for the vanquished and no respite for the victor, have ended in the anticipation of a third World War between the two remaining superpowers. This moment of anticipation is like the calm, that settles after all hopes have died . . . Under the most diverse conditions and disparate circumstances, we watch the development of the same phenomena — homelessness on an unprecedented scale, rootlessness to an unprecedented depth . . . Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest — forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries.
How could such a book speak so powerfully to our present moment? The short answer is that we, too, live in dark times, even if they are different and perhaps less dark, and “Origins” raises a set of fundamental questions about how tyranny can arise and the dangerous forms of inhumanity to which it can lead.
This is the craziest election ever, isn’t it?
U.S. intelligence officials now believe with “a high level of confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.
Putin’s objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn’t depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore,” the official said.
[…] Now the U.S has solid information tying Putin to the operation, the intelligence officials say. Their use of the term “high confidence” implies that the intelligence is nearly incontrovertible.
“It is most certainly consistent with the Putin that I have watched and used to work with when I was an ambassador and in the government,” said Michael McFaul, who was ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.
Reprinted with permission from AlterNet. The Obama White House’s December surprise, a new intelligence agency probe into Russia’s hidden hand in influencing the presidential election, has already yielded two new revelations. The Washington Post reported late Friday that a secret CIA assessment has already found the Russians helped Trump. The New York Times reported Saturday that… Continue Reading →
We know the next president of the United States uses his powerful platform to take revenge on individual citizens. He attacked Alec Baldwin for parodying him on Saturday Night Live, threatened to cancel a contract with Boeing because its CEO questioned his trade policy and called a union leader “terrible” for pointing out Trump lied in his characterization of the Carrier deal.
We know he doesn’t understand or care about the most fundamental constitutional rights, after he threatened to revoke the citizenship of anyone who burned a flag. We know he’s suggested using the power of his office to go after the press for vigorously reporting on what he says and does. (Quote him, and he’ll call you a liar.)
Add it all up, and what do you see? A child who reacts to the slightest perceived attack with vicious vitriol. A vengeful president who is willing to violate basic rights. A government run by incompetents, racists, bullies and conspiracy-mongers.
It’s a formula for tragedy.
No one can predict the future – we learned that lesson the hard way a month ago. But if you were to imagine what impending American fascism would look like, you couldn’t place the pieces on the board any more neatly than they’ve been placed in the last year.
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But I’m not. Every day looks worse for what’s left of our democracy:
I don’t actually have confidence that we will have a functional democracy by 2020. It’s entirely possible that historians, assuming the exist in a century, will see 2016 as the end of a period of American history where rights generally expanded. That’s because Trump, Giuliani, Sessions, Gingrich, Flynn, etc., etc., and most importantly huge chunks of the Republican base, simply do not respect the fundamental tenets of democracy and they are seeking to roll back two generation of social progress. Despite what I might have believed a mere few weeks ago, they are in fact reasonably likely to succeed. And I am disappointed in myself for not seeing this more clearly before the election. Democrats and liberals were holding on strictly to the presidency as a buffer between us and the apocalypse. Between gerrymandering, voter suppression, and a bloody ineffective DNC strategy to operate on the state level, Republicans had already grabbed most of the levers of government. And while Trump is uniquely bad in some ways, in many others, he really isn’t that much worse than your bog-standard mainstream Republican governing class such as Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Paul LePage, Rick Snyder, or, of course, Mike Pence.
All we really have in the end is massive resistance. That is where we are heading–acquiescence or resistance. You and I will all need to make our choices about whether we will stand up against oppression in ways that a lot of our ancestors did not stand up to Jim Crow, to Chinese Exclusion, to the Japanese internment camps, etc.