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Full Version: USA under presidency of a know-nothing, neo-fascist, racist, sexist, mobbed-up narcissist!!
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Peter Lemkin Wrote:It is laughable the news that 'Russia has assembled compromising information on Trumpf' compromising information on the man is widely and publicly available for anyone who cares to look. While it is likely yet another attempt to weaken Trumpf's hand from day one, I'm sure most every nation has or is assembling a dossier of compromising/embarrassing information on Trumpf and his cabinet, so they can have some leverage. This idea behind the report that Russia is or should be our natural enemy is insane. I know most Americans meet few Russians. Where I live, I meet several each and every day and I have also traveled there. I can assure those in the US and elsewhere that Russians, generally, are very nice and normal people [and all dog and Nature lovers] who do not want war nor to be aggressive. The Russian government now or in the past is no worse nor better than most governments, and has its good and bad points and figures.

Quote:{Unnamed} Senior U.S. intelligence officials presented classified documents to President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump alleging that Russia holds compromising personal and financial information on Trump, CNN and Buzzfeed reported Tuesday.

This is becoming more and more laughable. No one should believe what US intelligence says as a matter of principle. No one should believe what the WaPo and NYT says either. All are well beyond the pale of belief now. I can't actually remember anything like this poisoning of the waters before in my entire life.

Meanwhile, I also have interacted with several Russians and agree with you entirely and the wife of a very good friend of mine is Russian. I've found them to be smart and have a wonderfully developed sense of humour too. This Russian witch hunting drives me potty because it is obvious, to me, that the whole thing is founded on keeping Europe inside the American political and economic orbit and doing everything necessary to stop any sort of alignment between Germany and Russia.
On CNN today you had the Democrats grilling the Republican appointees if they would uphold America's policy of "spreading democracy around the world and putting pressure on other governments to practice democracy" (And doing so through military action and sanctions).

There's a real one for you.
Trump's Press Conference of just minutes ago was a thee-ring circus! He made an even bigger fool of himself than usual. He refused to let CNN ask a question, after he called them 'entirely fake news'. He really whacked intelligence community [which can whack back!]. His English syntax and sentence sophistication was strictly seventh grade level, if one is kind. His logic was faulty at best. His ego was even bigger than usual. Several times he complemented himself and how much smarter and better he is than others.My stomach is churning that this bombastic egotistical idiot is going to be the focus of the MSM and in entirely different ways the alternative media. Take your favorite mind altering substance and watch'll be rolling on the floor in laughter or tears, I promise. :Confusedhock:: ::face.palm:: :Sad: ::face.palm::
This is the problem. CNN IS a fake corrupted government-mouthpiece new source. The only problem is Trump intends to use this correct criticism of CNN to make the situation even worse. The useful idiots that voted for him don't even notice the difference.

This is how democracies crumble. The fascists use criticisms of things that honestly originated form themselves to assault the last remaining vestiges of democracy and the people vote for it because it looks like strong opposition to corruption.
Yes, most MSM reporting [not all] is fake news by commission, or faked news by omission. I doubt Trump has problems with CNN's standard all War coverage or other coverage, only with the fact they were one of the first outlets to report the leaked intelligence report against him. Its all about him in his 'world'...the rest of the Country and World don't really exist other than in how they play into his life. :Blink: He is going to ban or ignore any media outlet that crosses him. They will certainly do a 'number' on him in return. It is a grade-school food fight, and very dumbed-down interactions. It is all downhill from here.....:Violin:

Quote:Trump shuts down CNN reporter
Donald Trump refused to answer a question from a CNN reporter during his press conference at Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday, as retribution for the CNN story that said he and Barack Obama had been presented with claims that Russia had compromising financial and personal information about the president-elect.
"Not you. Your organization is terrible," said Trump, when CNN's senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta tried to ask a question.
"Since you're attacking us, can you give us a question? Mr president-elect, since you're attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance?" asked Acosta.
"I'm not going to give you a question. You are fake news," said the president-elect.
Trump was furious after BuzzFeed published an unverified and salacious 35-page report yesterday claiming to show connections between Trump and Russia, usingCNN's earlier story (which mentions the report without revealing its full contents or publishing it) as justification for publishing. BuzzFeed's decision triggered a storm over media ethics.

Trump repeatedly criticized CNN and BuzzFeed throughout his press conference at Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday, calling BuzzFeed a "left-wing blog" and a "failing pile of garbage" for publishing the unverified report. CNN later said that its decision to publish "carefully sourced reporting" on unverified intelligence documents concerning Donald Trump was "vastly different than BuzzFeed's decision to publish unsubstantiated memos".

His attack on CNN can be viewed as somewhat ironic.
Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, was the head of NBC Entertainment when it launched The Apprentice, and the success of that and the subsequent spin-off The Celebrity Apprentice helped Zucker become head of NBC. Then CNNgave Trump millions in free publicity thanks to its round-the-clock coverage of his presidential campaign.
In Wednesday's press conference, Trump also slammed intelligence agencies for supposedly leaking the report to news agencies.

"I think it was disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake" to get out, said Trump.
"As far as BuzzFeed, which is a failing pile of garbage writing it, I think they're going to suffer the consequences, and they already are," said Trump.
Many news outlets, including the Guardian, published articles based on the report, without publishing it in full or giving its full details because they are unverified.
The Guardian reported that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court last summer so that it could monitor four members of Trump's team suspected of contact with Russian officials, but the Fisa court rejected the application.


Trump conceded that Russia hacked the DNC and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, but, Trump said, a lot of other people try to hack the US too. Trump said Putin would stop such behavior when he, Trump, is president. Trump ignored a question about whether anyone in his campaign had had contacts with Moscow during the campaign. And he dismissed reports that Russia wanted him to win, saying he'll be tougher on Russia than Clinton would have been.


Trump claimed to have severed himself from his business interests, but this section of the news conference was a particularly troubling mess. Trump said that as president, he is not subject to a ban on conflicts-of-interest at any level, he appeared to assert. He served up a lawyer who made the same assertion. Then the lawyer described a "wall" to be erected between President Trump and the Trump Organization, which is to be managed going forward by Trump's sons. The lawyer said the Trump Organization would turn over hotel receipts from foreign governments to the US treasury. Trump said a big stack of manila folders next to his lectern contained documents in which he signed control of his organization over to his sons. But who knows what was in those folders; there was no mechanism described for transparency as the supposed restructure takes place, and it's unclear what window the public can hope to have on President Trump scrupulously not advising his sons about the Trump Organization.


Finally, Trump suggested that the intelligence community had fabricated documents describing Russia obtaining compromising information about him. He said "sick people," his "opponents", had assembled the documents, and "garbage" "fake news" media outlets had disseminated them. He rejected outright claims in the documents of contacts between his campaign and Russia, and of him behaving badly in Moscow. He said he always warned people traveling with him about cameras in foreign hotels and that in any case he is a germaphobe.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. attorney general, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, faced more than nine hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, during which he denied being a racist and tried to distance himself from Trump's most extreme promises. The hearing was repeatedly disrupted by protesters, who chanted, "No Trump! No KKK! No fascist U.S.A.!" This is Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina questioning Sessions.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: People have fairly promptly tried to label you as a racist or a bigot or whatever you want to say. How does that make you feel? And this is your chance to say something to those people.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: Well, does not feel good.
PROTESTER: This whole fascist regime needs to be stopped before it starts!
PROTESTERS: No Trump! No KKK! No fascist U.S.A.! No Trump! No KKK! No fascist U.S.A.! No Trump! No KKK! No fascist U.S.A.!
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: During his two decades on Capitol Hill, Senator Sessions has opposed legislation that provides a path to citizenship for immigrants, questioned if the Constitution guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the United States, and has criticized the courts for interpreting the separation of church and state too broadly, and has declared same-sex marriage a threat to American culture. He also voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, opposed the Voting Rights Act and has a history of making racist comments, which included reportedly saying he thought the Ku Klux Klan was, quote, "OK until I found out they smoked pot," unquote. On Tuesday, Sessions described allegations of bigotry that have dogged his career as "damnably false charges."
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: I abhor the Klan and what it represents and its hateful ideology. I assisted Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center in his lawsuit that led to the successful collapse of the Klan, at least in Alabama, the seizure of their building, at least for that period of time. As Civil Rights Division attorneys have testified before the committee, I supported fully their historic cases that the Justice Department filed to advance civil rights and that I supported, including cases to desegregate schools, abolish at-large elections for cities, county commissions and school boards. These at-large elections were a mechanism used to block African-American candidates from being able to be elected to boards and commissions. It was a deliberate and part of a systemic plan to reduce the ability of African Americans to have influence in the election and governing process. I never declared the NAACP was un-American or that a civil rights attorney was a disgrace to his race. There is nothing I am more proud of than my 14 years of service in the Department of Justice.
AMY GOODMAN: Jeff Sessions was the first sitting senator to endorse Trump for the presidency in early 2016. During Tuesday's hearing, he was asked about the legal boundaries of the Trump administration. He said he would reject a ban on Muslim immigration and that he would enforce a 2015 law that outlawed waterboarding terrorism suspects, even though he had previously opposed the law. He was questioned by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: As a question of law, does waterboarding constitute torture?
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: Well, there was a dispute about that when we had the torture definition in our law. The Department of Justice memorandum concluded it did not necessarily prohibit that, but Congress has taken an action now that makes it absolutely improper and illegal to use waterboarding or any other form of torture in the United States by our military and by all our other departments and agencies.
AMY GOODMAN: Senator Sessions also declared he would recuse himself from any decisions on Hillary Clinton's emails or the Clinton Foundation. During Tuesday's hearing, Sessions appeared to have support from moderate Republican senators like Susan Collins of Maine and Democrats like Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.
Today, the Senate is expected to hear from those who support and oppose his confirmation, including officials from the NAACP and ACLUtwo groups Sessions reportedly once called "un-American." Also set to testify are civil rights icon and Democratic Congressman John Lewis and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, marking the first time in Senate history a sitting senator will testify against another sitting senator for a Cabinet post during a confirmation hearing.
When we come back from break, we'll be joined by Chicago Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, Democrat of Illinois, member of the House Judiciary Committee, co-chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and from Raleigh, North Carolina, Reverend Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: Bobby Darin, "Splish Splash," here on Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman, with Juan González.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: For more on the confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump for Jeff Sessions, we are joined by two guests. From the Cannon Rotunda on Capitol Hill, we're joined by Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, Democratic of Illinois, a member of the Judiciary Committee and the co-chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He just released a statement saying, "Why I Will Not Be at Inauguration and Will Be Marching with Women."
Also with us is Reverend Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and Moral Mondays leader. On Monday, he led about 500 demonstrators to the Russell Senate Office Building, where they marched through the marble hallways and delivered an anti-Sessions petition to the offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others. Reverend Barber is the author of Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement.
Welcome, both of you, to Democracy Now!, both of you back to the show. Reverend Barber, I'd like to ask you about the protest you led against Jeff Sessions and your response now that you've heard some of his testimony yesterday at the Senate.
REV. WILLIAM BARBER: Well, first of all, Juan and Amy, thank you so much for having us.
Yeah, Repairers of the Breach, along with Faith in Public Life, with my good friend Reverend Jennifer Butler, and 500 clergy and impacted persons, we led a Moral Monday march to McConnell's office, Senate Leader McConnell, asking him and all of the other senators to reject the Sessions nomination. This was the first time, we understand, that clergy have done this at this period.
We really believe it's a moral crisis, and there's so much camouflaging that we have to get underneath so that we can get to the truth. First of all, when we talk about Jeff Sessions, they say, "Well, he's a Methodist." Well, so was George Wallace. They say, "Well, he's cordial." Well, Southern cordiality and racial animosity are two different things altogether. They say that he's been respectful. Well, you can be respectfulJesse Helms had certain levels of respect, but he was very racist in his policies.
What we look at now is where Sessions has stood on the issues. And let me point out what I mean by that. First of all, he has shown a contempt for the 15th Amendment of the Constitution, which says, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged." And then Section 2 says, "The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article." For 1,296 days, Senator Sessions has been a part of the group that has kept the Congress from enforcing the 15th Amendment by fixing Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. He has a contempt for the 15th Amendment. He has called the Voting Rights Act "an intrusive piece of legislation." That is the legislation that people died for. He says it is intrusive. In other words, it's a bother. He has stood against voting rights. He has applauded the Shelby decision, which gutted the Voting Rights Act, and has done nothing in the Congress to fix it. Even on yesterday, he said he did not know anything about the biggest voter suppression case in the country right now, the North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory, where the court said that North Carolina engaged in intentional racial discrimination, things they could not have done if Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was enforced.
So, here's the question for America: If Sessions has a contempt for the 15th Amendment as a senator, if he has tried to undermine the 15th Amendment as a senator, then why would you want him to be the attorney general, who is required to enforce the 15th Amendment? That's the kind of racism that we're talking about. Racism in America is not just about a white supremacist yelling the N-word or wearing robes or burning crosses. Racism is perpetrated through systems of power that consistently privilege white people while discriminating against people of color and other Americans. And when you look at his record on this, he has a contempt for the 15th Amendment, for the protection of voting rights, and has applauded false claims about voter fraud and real realities of voter suppression, that is greater than things we've seen since the days of Jim Crow.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Representative Luis Gutiérrez of Chicago, today we're going to see one of your colleagues in the House, John Lewis, as well as Senator Cory Booker, making a historic first-ever testimony by a senator against one of his colleagues on a presidential nomination. Your concerns about Jeff Sessions, and your reaction to his testimony yesterday?
REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: Well, I have a grave concern. I have a grave concern, beginning with his xenophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric and positions with the most extreme sectors, not only in the Senate, but across this country. I'm worried about 750,000 young men and women who have achieved legality in this country through President Obama's executive order, which he will threaten. He can easily threaten them. He can revoke that as the attorney general. Simply, somebody sues, and he says, "I agree," which is exactly his attitude. He doesn't believe in immigration. He'll say, "Well, I just want to take care of the illegal immigrants." No, he doesn't believe in immigration, period. So, as a man born in 1953, when "separate but equal" was the law of the land when I was born, I see in Jeff Sessions a man who wants black people to be quiet, immigrants to be silent and invisible, women back in the kitchen and gays in the closet. And there is a particular statement of the senator in a position to back up. So, if that's the America you want to make great again, then Jeff Sessions is your guy.
And so, I am very concerned about the progress that we have made, especially as the reverend has talked about the Voting Rights Act. Look, Juan, you and I would not be having this conversation. I would not have been elected to the Congress of the United States, had it not been for the brave men and women in America leading the civil rights movement that gave us a Civil Rights Act, a Voting Rights Act, which finally allowed me to be in Congress. And I'm going to raise my voice, because that is the tradition that I feel a responsibility to and a debt to. Latinos get to speak today, because black people were murdered and lynched, and their churches were burned, and others became allies of theirs in a great civil rights movement. We cannot simply turn our backs on that history, that great history of our nation.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to the letter that was just released of Coretta Scott King. On Tuesday, The Washington Post published a nine-page letter written by King in 1986 opposing Jeff Sessions' nomination to a federal judgeship. You know, this is very significant, nominated by Reagan. Ultimately, the Senate Judiciary Committeeit would only be Sessions and, I think, over the past 50 years from that point, one other person had not been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee for a judgeship. According to BuzzFeed News, which first reported the letter's existence, it was never entered in the Congressional Record by then-Judiciary Committee Chair Strom Thurmond. King's opposition, however, proved critical to the argument against Sessions' confirmation.
In the letter, she cites Sessions' attempted prosecution of three black civil rights workers in Marion, Alabama, for voter fraud. Coretta Scott King writes, "When the circumstances and facts ... are analyzed, it becomes clear that the motivation was political, and the result frighteningthe wide-scale chill of the exercise of the ballot for blacks, who suffered so much to receive that right in the first place. Therefore, it is my strongly-held view that the appointment of Jefferson Sessions to the federal bench would irreparably damage the work of my husband. "
King also writes, "The irony of Mr. Sessions' nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given a life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods. ... I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made ... toward fulfilling my husband's dream." Again, that a letter that Strom Thurmond did not enter into the Congressional Record, but that Coretta Scott King wrote opposing Sessions' U.S. attorneyjudgeship, rather, nomination in 1986.
I'm sure you know the case, Reverend Barber, of the Marion Three very well, close allies of Dr. King, the Turners, gone after by the U.S. attorney at the time, Jeff Sessions, in Alabama. Ultimately, they were acquitted.
REV. WILLIAM BARBER: I do. And there are several things that were so striking and hypocritical at that hearing yesterday. You know, when Senator Sessions said, you know, he denounced the Klan, you know, those are kind of common phrases to say, you know, "I did this"he said he didn't call the NAACP "un-American." Basically, he's saying, "I did these things. You all heard it. But you didn't really hear what you heard or see what you saw." In essence, he's calling Coretta Scott King a liar. He's saying the NAACP and our people are liars. He's even saying that Ms. Turner is a liar. You know, she's still alive. And just the other day, she says, "I know Jeff Sessions. The leopard has not changed his spots." She said that he tried to put her and her husband in jail for 250 years. That's the same length of time that black people were enslaved in this country. And it was all over a fraudulent case. He claims to have worked on cases, but there's a Washington Post article that says he really didn't work on those cases.
So what we have here is someone who has a clear record. He has a record in the past. He never repented of it. Now, he may say hehe may suggest they weren't his ideas, but he's never repented of it and become an advocate for voting rights and a staunch supporter of the 15th Amendment. If anything, he has hardened over the years and become more shrewd over the years. I keep saying this constantly, Amy, to people: This Congress, for 1,296 days today, has refused to do its job. In essence, you've had what Dr. King called interposition and nullification in the Congress, refusing to fix the 15th Amendment. That, in itself, alone, should be a disqualifier for someone who's being asked to lead the U.S. Attorney General's Office.
However, there's something else. Senator Sessions has stood against legislation that would help vulnerable Muslim Americans, that would help the LGBT community. He has voted against immigrant rights and the rights of refugees. He has even voted against the women's act, Violence Against Women Act. And he voted against a program that would help minorities, African Americans and women have access to federal contracts, which means he's not only in contempthe has a contempt for the 15th Amendment, he has a contempt for the 14th Amendment, whichI mean, excuse me, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says you cannot discriminate in any programs that receive federal money. So, he has a contempt for the 15th Amendment. He has shown contempt for the 14th Amendment, which says equal protection under the law shall be provided to all people, regardless of their race, their color, their creed, their sexuality. He's shown a contempt for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VI. So, someone who has shown a contempt for these things cannot be put in office to be the law enforcement officer over these things. It's like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.
REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: I mean, I'd like to just put it in a little bit of a personal perspective. So, the America that my daughters live in is a different America than the one that their mom and their grandmother. He wants to take Roe v. Wade and eliminate it. This isI mean, when you take the totality of the man, let's remember, when they say they want to make America great again, they want to go back to a time in which women and gays and Latinos were simply quiet and shut out of the process. And as the reverend has so articulately presented, it is very clear that that's. And let me just say this so that we're clear: When Donald Trump called for a ban and a registry on Muslims, he was the first one to stand up, the first senator and the first member of the Republican Party to stand up, support and applaud and endorse Donald Trump for president of the United States. So, he can say what he wants today, but I think we should judge him on his actions of yesterday.

We All Lose: Obama's Legacy and What It Means for a Trump Presidency

By John W. Whitehead
January 09, 2017

"This light of history is pitiless; it has a strange and divine quality that, luminous as it is, and precisely because it is luminous, often casts a shadow just where we saw a radiance; out of the same man it makes two different phantoms, and the one attacks and punishes the other, the darkness of the despot struggles with the splendor of the captain. Hence a truer measure in the final judgment of the nations. Babylon violated diminishes Alexander; Rome enslaved diminishes Caesar; massacred Jerusalem diminishes Titus. Tyranny follows the tyrant. Woe to the man who leaves behind a shadow that bears his form." ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
Let's talk about President Obama's legacy, shall we?
This was a candidate who was ushered into office promising hope and change, pledging to put an end to the endless wars that were bankrupting the country (he was actually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in anticipation of his efforts to bring about world peace), and vowing to put an end of the corporate revolving door that had turned our republic into an oligarchy.
After eight years in office, Barack Obama leaves our nation with a weakened Constitution that has been dealt one crippling blow after another by court rulings and government overreach, with more militarized police empowered to shoot first and ask questions later, with more SWAT team raids, with more government corruption, with more debt than ever before ($19 trillion and rising), with more racial tensions bubbling over into confrontations, with even greater surveillance intruding into the privacy of the citizenry, with less tolerance for free speech and thought, with taxpayers groaning under the weight of even more taxes disguised as fines and fees, with a more "imperial" president empowered to act unilaterally through the use of signing statements and executive orders, with a greater risk of blowback from military occupations, drone strikes and endless wars abroad, and with a citizenry more broken and oppressed than ever.
In other words, Obama leaves our nation worse off than when he took office.
You won't hear any of this from Obama, who believes he would have been re-elected had he been permitted to run for a third term. Nor will you hear it from the celebrities who are quick to sing Obama's praises, while likening Donald Trump to Hitler. And you certainly won't hear it from those who are staging sit-ins, marches and acts of civil disobedience to protest Trump's election, while having failed to voice even a whisper of protest over Obama's long list of civil liberties abuses.
Yet the reality we must contend with is that the world is a far more dangerous place today than it was eight years ago, and Obama must shoulder some of the blame for that. As President Harry S. Truman recognized, "The buck stops here."
How did we come to this?
How did a politician who showed such potential and managed to ignite such positive feelings among the citizenry, young and old alike, go from being a poster child for hope and change to being the smiling face of a government that is blind, deaf and dumb to the needs of its citizens?
Let me answer my own question in a roundabout way by quoting something Meryl Streep said recently in her recent Golden Globe acceptance speech.
Ostensibly taking aim at Trump for imitating a disabled reporter, Streep declared: "This instinct to humiliate, when it's modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody's life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose."
Streep is right in one sense.
We all lose when the powerful inflict violence, humiliation, disrespect on others.
However, where Streep goes wrong is in failing to recognize that "we the people" have been on the losing end of this relationship long before Trump's name was even being batted about as a possible candidate for the White House.
Indeed, the agents of the Obama administrationmany of whom belong to that permanent government bureaucracy that is unaltered by elections and flows in a continuous line from one president to anotherhave been consistently and persistently inflicting violence, humiliation and disrespect on the citizenry for the past eight years.
Every time a SWAT team funded by government grants crashes through a door, that's an infliction of violence. Every drone strike that kills innocent civilians is inflicting violence on the less powerful. Every roadside stop that ends with an unwarranted strip search is inflicting humiliation on the less powerful. Every law that criminalizes the speech or activities of those whose views may not jibe with the mainstream is tantamount to government-sanctioned bullying.
So for those lamenting the perils of a Trump presidency, who have been quick to blame racism, sexism and even the Russians for Trump's electoral victory, you might want to consider the old Native American proverb that says "every time you point a finger in scornthere are three remaining fingers pointing right back at you."
As civil rights activist Cornel West concluded, "The reign of Obama did not produce the nightmare of Donald Trump but it did contribute to it. And those Obama cheerleaders who refused to make him accountable bear some responsibility."
West goes on to document the many missteps that contributed to Obama's failed legacy: his allegiance to Wall Street, the drone strikes that have killed innocent civilians, the demonization of whistleblowers, the killing of U.S. citizens without due process, and his refusal to hold police accountable for excessive force and civil rights violations among others.
As West writes for The Guardian:
"[T]he mainstream media and academia failed to highlight these painful truths linked to Obama. Instead, most well-paid pundits on TV and radio celebrated the Obama brand. And most black spokespeople shamelessly defended Obama's silences and crimes in the name of racial symbolism and their own careerism. How hypocritical to see them now speak truth to white power when most went mute in the face of black power. Their moral authority is weak and their newfound militancy is shallow."
Let me also say that this is not only an indictment of all that Obama has failed to do in the past eight years. It is also an indictment of those administrations prior to Obama, Democrat and Republican alike, which have contributed to our present sorry state of affairs. And it is a warning to Trump as he begins to carve out a path for his own administration.
Every time I write one of these diatribes about the government, I'm always asked "what can I do to push back against the government?"
My answer, which I flesh out in greater detail in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, is always the same: When all is said and done, politicians are only as effective, trustworthy and accountable as they are made to be. And they are only made to be effective, trustworthy and accountable when the citizenry stays engaged, informed and active in the workings of government.
One of the best models I know for a citizen who took the duties of citizenship to heart every moment of the day was my good friend, mentor and hero Nat Hentoffone of the nation's most respected, controversial and uncompromising writers and a lifelong champion of the First Amendmentwho passed away on Saturday, January 7, 2017, at the age of 91.
Nat was a radical in the best sense of the word, a feisty, fiercely loyal, inveterate freedom fighter and warrior journalist with a deep-seated intolerance of injustice and a love of America that weathered the best and worst this nation has had to offer.
Nat didn't live to see the last days of Obama's reign, but he saw enough to describe the nation's 44[SUP]th[/SUP] president as "possibly the most dangerous and destructive president we have ever had." A few years back, I asked Nat how he maintains his optimism in the face of the constant barrage of discouraging news about government corruption, civil liberties abuses, war, etc.
I'll end with Nat's answer as he inscribed it in the foreword to my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State:
Government officials like to claim that everything they are doing is for security, to keep America safe in the so-called war against terrorism. What they are really effectuating is a weakening of why we are Americans. A lot of Americans today have a very limited idea as to why they are Americans, let alone why we have a First Amendment or a Bill of Rights. People are becoming accustomed or conditioned to what's going on now with the raping of the Fourth Amendment, for example. Too many Americans appear unconcerned about the loss of fundamental individual libertiessuch as due process, the right to confront their government accusers in a courtroom, and the presumption of innocencethat are vital to being an American. Yet the reason we are vulnerable to being manipulated by the government out of fear is that most of us do not know and understand our liberties and how difficult it was to obtain them and how hard it is to keep them.
I have spent a lot of time studying our Founders and people like Samuel Adams. What Adams and the Sons of Liberty did in Boston was spread the word about the abuses of the British. They had Committees of Correspondence that got the word out to the colonies. We need Committees of Correspondence now. The danger we now face is admittedly greater than any we have had before. If I were to judge what I do and write on the basis of optimism, I would probably go back to writing novels, but I figure you have to do what you feel you have to do and just keep hoping and trying to get people to understand why we are Americans and what we are fighting to preserve.
WC: 1678
Interview with John Whitehead:

Mystery order: Troops providing inauguration security to lose commanding general mid-ceremony

January 15, 2017Leave a comment

Mystery order: Troops providing inauguration security to lose commanding general mid-ceremony
Published time: 13 Jan, 2017 23:09
[Image: 58794dbfc361883a778b45a4.jpg]
Maj. Gen. Errol Schwartz, commanding general,DC National Guard (left) and Brig. Gen. Art Hinaman talk about the Guard's interoperability and coordination with local and federal officals ahead of the 2013 inauguration © D.C. National Guard / Facebook

Something unusual is set to happen during Donald Trump's inauguration: Nearly 8,000 National Guard troops protecting the nation's capital will lose their commanding general. It's unclear who approved the mid-ceremony change in command.
As the commanding officer of the DC National Guard, Major General Errol R. Schwartz is a presidential appointee. Schwartz will not only oversee the 2,700 troops in DC's Army and Air Force National Guard during the inauguration, but also an additional 5,000 unarmed troops from 40 states and military air support that are part of the Joint Task Force-District of Columbia (JTF-DC).
Schwartz will be removed from his post effective January 20 at 12:01pm local time ‒ as soon as the United States' commander-in-chief takes office, according to a memo obtained by the Washington Post. A post on the DC Guard's Facebook page says that he "will retire" and "step-down" at noon.
D.C. National Guard
on Friday

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 13, 2017) Joint Forces Headquarters, District of Columbia National Guard confirms the District of Columbia National Guard Commanding General Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz will retire from the National Guard after more than 40 years of distinguished service in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army National Guard, effective Jan. 20, 2017 at 12 p.m.
DCNG Land Component Commander Brig. Gen. William J. Walker, who is also currently dual-hatted as commander of Joint Task Force-District of Columbia, will assume command of the DCNG as the interim commanding general effective 12:01 p.m. on Jan. 20, 2017.
DCNG operations will remain normal in support of the inauguration. We will
"The timing is extremely unusual," Schwartz told the Post. "My troops will be on the street. I'll see them off but I won't be able to welcome them back to the armory."
The orders came from the Pentagon, Schwartz said, but he doesn't know who made the decision. He added that he would "never plan to leave a mission in the middle of a battle."
"I'm a soldier," Schwartz said. "I'm a presidential appointee, therefore the president has the power to remove me."
It is traditional for political appointees to tender their resignations ahead of the inauguration, regardless of incumbency. Since Schwartz, 65, was appointed to head the guard in 2008 by President George W. Bush, he offered resignation letters ahead of the 2009 and 2013 inaugurations of President Barack Obama, but those were not accepted, Major Byron Coward, a guard spokesman, told RT.
It is unclear who accepted Schwartz's resignation, which was tendered in December, Coward said. RT has reached out to Trump's transition team for comment, but has not received an answer.
DC City Council members decried the announcement and the timing of the removal.
"It doesn't make sense to can the general in the middle of an active deployment," Council Chairman Phil Mendelson told the Post. "He's been really very good at working with the community and my impression was that he was good for the Guard."
Schwartz isn't the only person who must leave his post as soon as Trump is sworn in as the United States' 45th commander-in-chief. The president-elect's transition team issued a blanket edict just before Christmas requiring that all politically appointed ambassadors leave their posts by January 20 "without exceptions," the New York Times reported.
It's also not the only potential opening that could be seen as a national security risk: The top two people at the National Nuclear Security Administration have not been asked to stay in their roles after the inauguration, and no replacements have been named, Gizmodo reported Monday, citing a source within the Department of Energy. The NNSA "maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile."
A leadership vacuum there wouldn't prevent the agency from fulfilling its essential duties, but it won't be able to advocate for itself in Congress, and the employees won't be answerable to anyone, Bob Rosner, the co-chair of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the former director of Argonne National Laboratory, told Gizmodo. The legislation authorizing the NNSA specifically states that non-NNSA officials are prohibited from managing agency staffers.
An NNSA official speaking on background denied the Gizmodo report, however, Defense News reported.
"The story is not accurate," the official said. "There have been no discussions between the president-elect's transition team and any of NNSA's political appointees on extending their public service past Jan. 20."
While the transfer of power between Obama and Trump takes place, Schwartz will transfer command of the DC Guard and the JTF-DC to Brigadier General William Walker, who currently serves as both the commander of the joint task force and the guard's land component commander. He has been trained to take over, Coward said.
"General Schwartz's retirement will have no impact to the support of the presidential inauguration mission or to our interagency partners. We will continue to be always ready, always there,' and supporting the presidential inauguration is no exception," the DC Guard said.
Unlike states, where governors tap the commanding officers of the National Guard, in the District, that job is left to the US president. The inauguration deployment is a complicated one, requiring DC to send a letter to the Secretary of the Army as part of a seven-step process to initiate the guard's activation. Soldiers and airmen in the guard will help local civilian authorities with traffic control and crowd management, among other activities. The DC Guard will also march in the inaugural parade.
Mmmm. If the general being "retired" thinks it's unusual timing then it really is.
David Guyatt Wrote:Mmmm. If the general being "retired" thinks it's unusual timing then it really is.

Curiouser and curiouser...