Page 56 of 71 FirstFirst ... 6465354555657585966 ... LastLast
Results 551 to 560 of 708

Thread: USA under presidency of a know-nothing neo-fascist, racist, sexist mobbed-up narcissist!!

  1. #551

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lemkin View Post
    Hope and Change was his big theme and that hope and change never, IMO, came to pass - he really misled his followers. This endless hope for the lesser of evils will get us nowhere but with an 'evil', by definition. We can and must do better.
    Exactly. And some people wonder why other people voted for Trump. He too was offering hope and change. Not the Democrats. They even cheated to keep the status quo.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  2. #552

    Default Cutting Meals for Poor Seniors is Compassionate in Trump-Think

    President Trump has unveiled his 2018 budget proposal to Congress, which calls for an unprecedented $54 billion increase in military spending while slashing environmental, housing, diplomatic and educational programs. The budget would also cut spending for the State Department and USAID by 28 percent and slash billions of dollars in funding for the United Nations.
    The Office of Management and Budget director describes Trump’s proposal as an America First budget. The big winners are the Pentagon and Homeland Security. Trump is requesting a $2.8 billion increase in funding, largely to pay for expanding the border wall and hiring 1,500 new Border Patrol and ICE agents, despite the fact that for over a year he said Mexico would pay for that wall, which Mexico has adamantly refused to do.
    The big losers are almost every other sector of government. The National Institutes of Health would see its funding slashed by 20 percent. And Trump is proposing a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency along with the elimination of 3,200 jobs there. If approved, the EPA’s budget would become the smallest it’s been in 40 years. The budget calls to end funding for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, climate change research and related efforts. It also reduces Superfund cleanup funding and eliminates funds to clean up the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.
    Meanwhile, Trump’s budget calls for the outright elimination of 19 agencies, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports public radio and television stations across the country, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Education Department would see a $9 billion cut, even as so-called school choice programs would receive $1.4 billion more in funding. Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has been a major backer of such programs, which include vouchers for private and religious schools that divert public funding out of the public school system. Numerous programs to help the poor are on the chopping block, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps the poor pay for heat during the winter, the Legal Services Corporation, which funds free legal aid nationwide, and the Community Development Block Grant program, which partially funds, among other things, Meals on Wheels to feed the elderly, the poor, veterans and the disabled.
    During Thursday’s news conference, OMB head Mick Mulvaney described the budget as "compassionate" when he was asked about cuts being made.
    JIM ACOSTA: Just to follow up on that, you were talking about the steelworker in Ohio and the coal miner in Pennsylvania and so on, but those workers may have an elderly mother who depends on the Meals on Wheels program, who may have kids in Head Start. And yesterday or the day before, you described this as a "hard-power budget," but is it also a hard-hearted budget?
    MICK MULVANEY: No, I don’t think so. In fact, I think it’s—I think it’s probably one of the most compassionate things we can do to actually—you’re—
    JIM ACOSTA: Cut programs that help the elderly and kids?
    MICK MULVANEY: You’re only focusing on half of the equation, right? You’re focusing on recipients of the money. We’re trying to focus on both the recipients of the money and the folks who give us the money in the first place. And I think it’s fairly compassionate to go to them and say, "Look, we’re not going to ask you for your hard-earned money anymore." Single mom of two in Detroit, OK? "Give us your money." We’re not going to do that anymore, unless we can—unless we can—
    JIM ACOSTA: And if the single mom has two kids—what if that single mom has two kids in Head Start?
    MICK MULVANEY: —unless we can guarantee—please let me finish, please let me finish—unless we can guarantee to you that that monies actually be used in a proper function. And I think that is about as compassionate as you can get.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lemkin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Varnell View Post
    Henry A. Giroux's article was excellent until he got to this:

    solidified under the anti-democratic, war on terror, permanent war policies of the Bush-Cheney and Obama administrations. During this period, democracy was sold to the bankers and big corporations. Whistleblowers were sent to prison. The financial elite and the CIA tortures were given the green light by the Obama administration that they could commit the gravest of crimes and act with impunity.


    Bush-Cheney opened CIA torture black sites and okayed waterboarding.

    How is that the same as Obama closing CIA black sites and outlawing waterboarding?

    How was the Obama-Putin negotiated removal of chemical weapons from Syria the same as Bush-Cheney invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq?

    How was the Obama-led negotiated removal of nuclear weapon technology from Iran part of a strategy of permanent war?

    Obama deserves plenty of criticism for his Drone Terror Campaign, which creates more jihadism than it takes off the battlefield, but let's not indulge the false equivalency that Obama's policies were identical to Bush's.

    A million dead Iraqis by the hand of Bush tell otherwise.

    Obama deserves plenty of criticism for his crackdowns on whistle-blowers and undocumented aliens, but let's not forget that Trump's proposals in these areas are far worse.

    The passage of Obamacare was the first top-to-bottom wealth transfer since the New Deal, so let's not forget Trumpcare's $1 trillion bottom-to-top wealth transfer proposal.

    Obama made the internet a utility, preserving net neutrality -- let's not forget Trump's denunciation of net neutrality and vow to kill it.

    Same sex marriage, trans-folks rights, the $11 billion returned to victims of credit card abuse, the opening to Cuba.

    Let's critique the Obama years with clear eyes, but let's quit pretending he was just like Clinton/Bush.

    Where the hell is Giroux's near-term "memory"?

    Cliff, On some things the Obama Administration were better [or less bad] than what came before or after. On others, there was little change. On a few, such as drone strikes, NDAA, going after whistleblowers, bank bail-outs with none going to jail or even charged [and others], Obama may well have been even worse. If I had to choose, I'd choose Obama over Bush or Trump for sure - but that is not the real issue - nor choice. The 'pluses' were not ever going to change the system to be a fair and democratic one. Now, we have one that will make such a change even more difficult. Obama was infinitely more intelligent and savvy than Trump and cared a little [little is the operative word] for those at the bottom - on some things domestic; not on others that really displeased his 'masters'. Trump cares about no one but himself and his rich oligarch cronies. All that said, and I could detail more on the plus and minus side for Obama, in the end he carried out the 'usual' foreign policies and kept the trickle up going on, with the wars and the National Security State et al. We need none of the above - we need a total change. I miss having an African-American in the White House, especially when replaced by a White bigot and worse. As for the majority of Obama's important policies, they were the same old, same old [in part due to the Congress - but in part due to his agenda or that of those who pulled his strings]. Yes, on a few things he was more humane, but given Bush and Trump that was easy as pie. He did however mislead his flock. Hope and Change was his big theme and that hope and change never, IMO, came to pass - he really misled his followers. This endless hope for the lesser of evils will get us nowhere but with an 'evil', by definition. We can and must do better.
    The lesser of two evils is one way to look at it.

    A half of a loaf is better than no loaf at all -- that's another way to look at it.

  4. #554

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Varnell View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lemkin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Varnell View Post
    Henry A. Giroux's article was excellent until he got to this:

    solidified under the anti-democratic, war on terror, permanent war policies of the Bush-Cheney and Obama administrations. During this period, democracy was sold to the bankers and big corporations. Whistleblowers were sent to prison. The financial elite and the CIA tortures were given the green light by the Obama administration that they could commit the gravest of crimes and act with impunity.


    Bush-Cheney opened CIA torture black sites and okayed waterboarding.

    How is that the same as Obama closing CIA black sites and outlawing waterboarding?

    How was the Obama-Putin negotiated removal of chemical weapons from Syria the same as Bush-Cheney invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq?

    How was the Obama-led negotiated removal of nuclear weapon technology from Iran part of a strategy of permanent war?

    Obama deserves plenty of criticism for his Drone Terror Campaign, which creates more jihadism than it takes off the battlefield, but let's not indulge the false equivalency that Obama's policies were identical to Bush's.

    A million dead Iraqis by the hand of Bush tell otherwise.

    Obama deserves plenty of criticism for his crackdowns on whistle-blowers and undocumented aliens, but let's not forget that Trump's proposals in these areas are far worse.

    The passage of Obamacare was the first top-to-bottom wealth transfer since the New Deal, so let's not forget Trumpcare's $1 trillion bottom-to-top wealth transfer proposal.

    Obama made the internet a utility, preserving net neutrality -- let's not forget Trump's denunciation of net neutrality and vow to kill it.

    Same sex marriage, trans-folks rights, the $11 billion returned to victims of credit card abuse, the opening to Cuba.

    Let's critique the Obama years with clear eyes, but let's quit pretending he was just like Clinton/Bush.

    Where the hell is Giroux's near-term "memory"?

    Cliff, On some things the Obama Administration were better [or less bad] than what came before or after. On others, there was little change. On a few, such as drone strikes, NDAA, going after whistleblowers, bank bail-outs with none going to jail or even charged [and others], Obama may well have been even worse. If I had to choose, I'd choose Obama over Bush or Trump for sure - but that is not the real issue - nor choice. The 'pluses' were not ever going to change the system to be a fair and democratic one. Now, we have one that will make such a change even more difficult. Obama was infinitely more intelligent and savvy than Trump and cared a little [little is the operative word] for those at the bottom - on some things domestic; not on others that really displeased his 'masters'. Trump cares about no one but himself and his rich oligarch cronies. All that said, and I could detail more on the plus and minus side for Obama, in the end he carried out the 'usual' foreign policies and kept the trickle up going on, with the wars and the National Security State et al. We need none of the above - we need a total change. I miss having an African-American in the White House, especially when replaced by a White bigot and worse. As for the majority of Obama's important policies, they were the same old, same old [in part due to the Congress - but in part due to his agenda or that of those who pulled his strings]. Yes, on a few things he was more humane, but given Bush and Trump that was easy as pie. He did however mislead his flock. Hope and Change was his big theme and that hope and change never, IMO, came to pass - he really misled his followers. This endless hope for the lesser of evils will get us nowhere but with an 'evil', by definition. We can and must do better.
    The lesser of two evils is one way to look at it.

    A half of a loaf is better than no loaf at all -- that's another way to look at it.
    If one looks at 'Obamacare' that might be a reasonable analogy....but not on many other things. For most things Obama kept the half loaf of his predecessors but disguised it in eloquent speeches and musings. I'm even tempted to believe he believed some [not all] of that eloquent and humane verbage - but was constrained by the powers behind the office. Obama and soon 'Obamacare' will be gone, I'm afraid. Now, we need to fight for single payer - but so many other things totally unrelated to that important but single issue. Trump has defunded EPA and many other non-military agencies. He is going to do massive transfers of wealth from the poor and middle class [a dying species] to the ultra-rich, and he has started to 'Make American Hate Again' as it has not in a long time - although those undercurrents were always there, but are now given approval from the top. Time to think of new ways to move ahead, as all of the past leaders and more so the secret/hidden forces behind them have always failed the majority of citizens in most all countries. Democracy is a fiction to varying degrees in different countries and times - but rarely even almost a reality - and this is by design. The Environment is dying - and this is by design. Wealth is being transferred up and fast by design. The game of control of the populace with fear and spying on them is increasing. The use of sequel wars has now been replaced by endless war with lots of other mini-warlets by design. False-flag ops, always used, are not getting more common and held on bigger 'stages'. Things that help humans are giving way to things that only help a few grow more powerful and rich...and one could go on.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  5. #555

    Default Financial Analysis of Trumpf Plans - Well Worth The Watching!

    Richard Wolff giving his monthly economic analysis. Much of it is on Trumpf & Co. - the rest on the nefarious financial 'system' we have in the USA. Very good stuff not heard anywhere else, such as plans to enslave the illegal immigrants [to benefit the prison industrial complex] arrested, even before they see a immigration court...and many other 'delights'. Wolff is the best financial analyst of the US system and neoliberalism [and what came before it], IMO.

    Note: the first 10 or so minutes of the video are not of much interest as they try to get everyone seated due to overflow crowd. Just skip that part, if wanted. It gets good soon enough!!!

    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  6. #556

    Default

    And if you liked Wolff, above, here is his February monthly review and views.....

    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  7. #557

    Default Expect a lot more of this....

    Texas judge: ICE raid in Austin was retaliation for sheriff's new 'sanctuary' policy




    By Gabe Ortiz
    Tuesday Mar 21, 2017· 7:07 PM CET





    31Comments(22 New)68




















    According to U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin, a recent ICE raid in Austin, Texas, was payback for a new “sanctuary” policy from Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez designed to limit local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration officials. As former American Immigration Lawyers Association president David Leopold tweeted earlier today, “a B.F.D. if true”:
    In a back-and-forth between ICE agent Laron Bryant, Judge Andrew Austin said he and another federal magistrate were briefed by ICE in late January about the upcoming raids. They were told that the agency would be conducting operations in the Austin area as a “result of the sheriff’s new policy” and because a meeting between ICE and Hernandez in January “didn’t go very well,” according to an audio transcript obtained by the Observer. Bryant confirmed that was the case. The Austin American-Statesman first reported the story.
    In February, Hernandez implemented a policy limiting her department’s cooperation with detainer requests from ICE to undocumented immigrants charged with serious crimes, such as murder, aggravated sexual assault and human trafficking. Such policies have attracted opposition from the Trump administration, Governor Greg Abbott and other Republican lawmakers.
    What ICE has always preferred is for local law enforcement to hold all undocumented immigrants—even those arrested for minor reasons, like traffic offenses—in jail for them to pick up later. But this is a waste of local resources and destroys the fragile trust between immigrant communities and police. If members of the community don’t trust law enforcement, they are less likely to report crimes, and that makes the entire community less safe for all. So, knowing where she lives best, Sheriff Hernandez took action—and apparently, so did ICE.
    According to the Austin American-Statesman, “ICE characterized the operation as routine and said the Austin area was not being targeted.” But as immigration advocates have long known, what ICE says and what ICE does are two different things. Donald Trump said he would be targeting only “bad hombres” and violent criminals for arrest and deportation, but according to the Statesman, 28 of the 51 immigrants rounded up in the February raid didn’t even have a criminal history.



    While a retaliatory action from ICE would be truly vile, it would not be unprecedented. Just look at the case of Dreamer Daniela Vargas earlier this month:
    Last week, officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 22-year-old Dreamer Daniela Vargas, a Mississippi resident who has been living in the United States since she was 7. But for a temporary lapse in her status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy, Vargas has been everything America says it wants in an immigrant: well-educated, ambitious, law-abiding, and patriotic. It should surprise nobody that she is about to be deported.
    Vargas was taken into ICE custody just moments after she publicly criticized the Trump administration’s immigration raids, a move that makes it appear as if she was swept up by the immigration agency on account of what she said to the press. ICE agents have confirmed that Vargas was taken into custody “during a targeted immigration enforcement action.”
    This is just the kind of vindictiveness to expect from an administration that would so cruelly target immigrant moms and dads trying to provide for their families while pulling crap like this.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  8. #558

    Default Gorsuch always sides with corporations over individuals

    One of the most riveting moments in the Gorsuch hearing occurred when Minnesota Senator Al Franken questioned Gorsuch about his ruling in a case involving a truck driver who got fired after he disobeyed a supervisor and abandoned his trailer that he was driving, because he was on the verge of freezing to death. The truck driver couldn’t drive off with the trailer, because the trailer’s brakes had frozen. In the case, Judge Gorsuch cast the sole dissent ruling in favor of the trucking company against the trucker. In a moment, we’ll hear Franken questioning Judge Gorsuch about the case, but first let’s turn to the truck driver himself, Alphonse Maddin, who spoke in Washington, D.C., a few days ago at an event organized by Senate Democrats.
    ALPHONSE MADDIN: In January of 2009, I was working as a commercial truck driver for TransAm Trucking Incorporated of Olathe, Kansas. I was hauling a load of meat through the state of Illinois. After stopping to resolve a discrepancy in the location to refuel, the brakes on the trailer froze. I contacted my employer, and they arranged for a repair unit to come to my location. I expected that help would arrive within an hour.
    I awoke three hours later to discover that I could not feel my feet, my skin was burning and cracking, my speech was slurred, and I was having trouble breathing. The temperature that night was roughly 27 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The heater in the cabin was not producing heat, and the temperature gauge in the truck was reading minus-7 degrees below zero. After informing my employer of my physical condition, they responded by telling me to simply hang in there.
    As I sat there physically suffering in the cold, I started having thoughts that I was going to die. My physical condition was fading rapidly. I decided to try to detach the trailer from the truck and drive to safety. When I stepped out of the truck, I was concerned that I may fall, because I was on the verge of passing out. I feared that if I fell, I would not have the strength to stand up, and would die. I walked to the back of the trailer to place a lock on the cargo doors. The distance that I walked to the back of the trailer seemed like an eternity, as my feet absolutely had no feeling at all.
    I eventually was able to detach the tractor from the trailer. Before I left, I called my employer to notify them that I had decided to head for shelter. And they ordered me to either drag the trailer or stay put. In my opinion, clearly, their cargo was more important than my life. My employer fired me for disobeying their orders. And I’d like to make it clear that although I detached the tractor from the trailer, I returned, and I completed my job. And I was still fired.
    OK, I disputed my termination from TransAm Trucking and ultimately won. This was a seven-year battle. Seven different judges heard my case. One of those judges found against me. That judge was Neil Gorsuch.
    AMY GOODMAN: That was Alphonse Maddin, the trucker, the driver, in the case involving Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. At Tuesday’s hearing, Senator Al Franken questioned Gorsuch about his dissent in the case.
    SEN. AL FRANKEN: There were two safety issues here: one, the possibility of freezing to death, or driving with that rig in a very, very—a very dangerous way. Which would you have chosen? Which would you have done, Judge?
    JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH: Oh, Senator, I don’t know what I would have done if I were in his shoes, and I don’t blame him at all, for a moment, for doing what he did do.
    SEN. AL FRANKEN: But—but—but—
    JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH: I empathize with him entirely.
    SEN. AL FRANKEN: OK, just you’ve—we’ve been talking about this case. Don’t—you don’t—you haven’t decided what you would have done? You haven’t thought about, for a second, what you would have done in his case?
    JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH: Oh, Senator, I thought a lot about this case, because I—
    SEN. AL FRANKEN: And what would you have done?
    JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH: I totally empathize and understand—
    SEN. AL FRANKEN: I’m asking you a question. Please answer questions.
    JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH: Senator, I don’t know. I wasn’t in the man’s shoes. But I understand why he did—
    SEN. AL FRANKEN: You don’t know what you would have done.
    JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH: I understand—
    SEN. AL FRANKEN: OK, I’ll tell you what I would have done. I would have done exactly what he did.
    JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH: Yeah, I understand that.
    SEN. AL FRANKEN: I think everybody here would have done exactly what he did. ... It is absurd to say this company is in its rights to fire him because he made the choice of possibly dying from freezing to death or causing other people to die possibly by driving an unsafe vehicle. That’s absurd. Now, I had a career in identifying absurdity, and I know it when I see it. And it makes me—you know, it makes me question your judgment.
    AMY GOODMAN: That’s Senator Franken questioning Judge Gorsuch. We’re joined now by two guests. Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, she’ll be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Elliot Mincberg is a senior fellow at People for the American Way, former chief counsel for oversight and investigations of the House Judiciary Committee.
    Kristen, let’s begin with you. Can you talk about the significance of this case, Judge Gorsuch, the sole dissenter, siding with the company that this man should have remained in subfreezing weather in this broken-down truck, even if it meant he would die?
    KRISTEN CLARKE: Well, you know, it’s not just this one case. At the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, what we historically do is we review the full record of nominees that are put forth for the Supreme Court. And we did that with Judge Gorsuch. We looked at many of the cases that he authored or joined the opinion in during his tenure on the 10th Circuit.
    And what we found was a pattern that suggests that he is not someone who believes that victims should be using the courtroom as a place to vindicate their civil rights. He has a very narrow view of civil rights. This was a pattern that emerged for us as we evaluated the many cases that were issued or authored by Judge Gorsuch. We found this pattern especially pronounced in the criminal justice context—when we looked at cases involving police officers, for example. Judge Gorsuch is someone who is a—has a very law-and-order outlook. He’s somebody who is very pro-law enforcement. There’s one case that stands out from his record, in which an officer sought qualified immunity after being sued in a wrongful death matter after shooting a victim in the head at close range with a Taser. The victim died. And there, Judge Gorsuch determined that the officer was entitled to qualified immunity. And there were a number of cases like this.
    In a separate criminal justice matter—you know, Judge Gorsuch, throughout these hearings, has gone to great lengths to say that he looks at people individually. But in some of the criminal justice cases, he talked about cops as a general group who, you know, we shouldn’t question or second-guess their judgments. So, he’s somebody who is bringing to bear a very pro-law enforcement perspective. And I think that’s important, because victims in the trucking case, victims in criminal justice cases, often are, you know, going to the courts as a forum of last resort, and Mr. Gorsuch is not somebody who views the courts as a place for victims of discrimination to really vindicate their rights. And that’s deeply problematic.
    AMY GOODMAN: Elliot Mincberg of People for the American Way, this particular case is stunning, and Senator Franken spent a lot of time on this, asking Judge Gorsuch would he want to be on the road of a trucker who was experiencing hypothermia, who was not able to drive this road correctly. Not only would he be endangering himself, the trucker, but other people on the road. Can you talk more about this case?
    ELLIOT MINCBERG: Well, you’re exactly right. And it’s interesting. In the excerpt you played, the judge continues to try to claim that he has empathy for this truck driver. But when the pedal hit the metal, so to speak, he did precisely the opposite. He did what he does in so many cases, but sided with the corporation, which claimed under the law that it had the ability to insist that that truck driver either drive the truck with the trailer attached or stay right where he is. As Senator Franken pointed out, the result of either one of those likely would have been his death. And the majority in that case and all the other judges that looked at it saw very clearly that the Labor Department was correct and that there was no good justification for what the employer had done. Gorsuch disagreed, as he so often does in cases involving corporations, where he very consistently tends to favor the corporation over the individual employee, consumer, whatever the case may be. In fact, we found that out of 11 dissents that he wrote relating corporations, 10 of them—all but one—were in favor of the corporation. The only exception was a case where a local community wanted to regulate an adult bookstore.
    AMY GOODMAN: And what happened in that case?
    ELLIOT MINCBERG: In that case, he went along with the local community and went against the corporation. That was the only dissent in which he did that. And even in those cases that he tried to talk about, under usually Republican questioning, where he favored employees—which he did occasionally—almost always they tended to be against a municipal corporation. When it’s a corporation, a private corporation, involved, the kind of corporation that he represented in private practice, he very, very consistently votes for the corporation, not the little guy. And that’s not what we want on the Supreme Court.
    Last edited by Peter Lemkin; 03-23-2017 at 06:48 AM.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  9. #559

    Default "May I see your passport?" "Is it real?"

    We turn now to what seems to be a growing chorus of U.S. citizens sharing accounts of having been detained at airports across the country since the start of the Trump administration.
    Boston-based civil rights attorney Iván Espinoza-Madrigal says he was returning home on March 12th from a vacation in Portugal, when he was detained at Boston’s Logan Airport. In an article in The Huffington Post, Espinoza-Madrigal, who was born in Costa Rica, explains that he has lived in the U.S. for three decades, became a citizen, oh, 20 years ago, in 1996. He writes, quote, "It is disempowering and dehumanizing to have government officials question my citizenship and passport. My citizenship is not only a legal status; it is deeply rooted in my identity. ... If my personal experience at Logan is any indication, airport inspections are now targeting not only Muslims, but other minorities—including U.S. citizens—for 'extreme vetting.'"
    A day later, the former police chief chief of Greenville, North Carolina, says he was detained for over an hour by Customs and Border Protection agents when he was flying into New York City’s JFK Airport after returning from visiting his mother in Paris. In a Facebook post, he wrote he was a U.S. citizen and had worked in law enforcement in the U.S. for nearly 30 years. Hassan Aden wrote that after his detention, quote, "This country now feels cold, unwelcoming, and in the beginning stages of a country that is isolating itself from the rest of the world and its own people in an unprecedented fashion."
    Espinoza-Madrigal and Aden now join us, along with many other citizens, including a U.S. Olympic medalist, a NASA scientist, the son of a boxing legend, Muhammad Ali Jr., who have all been detained at airports across the country since the start of the Trump administration. For more, we’re joined by Iván Espinoza-Madrigal and Hassan Aden.
    Hassan Aden, let’s begin with you. You’re the former police chief of Greenville, North Carolina. Talk about what happened to you at JFK.
    HASSAN ADEN: So, I had spent a weekend in Paris celebrating my mom’s 80th birthday and returned back to the United States. I was looking forward to seeing my family and, you know, getting back to work and doing my thing. And everything was business as usual. You know, I got off my flight, went through the automated passport check, got my customs sheet printed out. And I walked up and handed my passport to a CBP agent, who barely even looked up at me. He scanned my passport, looked at me, asked me if I was traveling alone. I responded "yes." And then he stood up and said, "Let’s take a walk"—my first red flag that something was not—was not the same as always. I travel frequently. I travel internationally. I travel nationally weekly, multiple times. And I have never, ever been stopped by CBP. And this is not to say that I don’t support and really appreciate the mission of CBP. They have a difficult job with lots of complexities. But the detention is the piece that I question, and the length of the detention.
    So, I was taken back to a room, that was a makeshift office that appeared to be some sort of a storage room. And for the next hour and a half, they held my passport. I questioned whether I was being detained, and the original officer that took me back there said, "No, this is not a detention." There are lots of—lots of different arguments about that. I was clearly not free to leave. And eventually I was released. It took about 90 minutes. And it took one very respectful and helpful customs agent, or customs, yeah, agent, that she started her shift, and she took an interest in my case, because what I imagine she saw was a lot of foreign nationals being brought in and released in about five minutes after their passports were vetted, and I was just sitting there for about 90 minutes. And finally, she helped me get my—whatever the vetting was, done, and I was on my way.
    But really, the issue for me here is the policies of CBP, and something has changed. As I have stated, I travel internationally frequently. And it’s always been a welcoming home, something that I always look toward when I get off my flight. Customs agents have always been polite, say, "Welcome back to the United States. Welcome home." Not the case. And this was the first time that I’ve traveled internationally in 2017.
    AMY GOODMAN: They took your phone?
    HASSAN ADEN: No.
    AMY GOODMAN: You had your phone in your possession at all times?
    HASSAN ADEN: I had my phone in my possession at all times. However, I was restricted from using it. There were two signs that were very, very clear in what they wanted you to do. One was remain seated at all times. And two, use of mobile devices and telephones strictly prohibited—another sign that I was actually being detained.
    AMY GOODMAN: I want to bring in Iván Espinoza-Madrigal. Talk about your own experience.
    IVÁN ESPINOZA-MADRIGAL: Thank you, Amy. My experience was somewhat similar. I was returning home from a vacation in Portugal, and I went through the passport control line, like usual. And the difference here is that instead of asking me, you know, "Where were you? How long were you gone for? Are you bringing any fruit and vegetables?" what the officer did is that he looked at me very suspiciously, as if I had done something wrong, and took my passport, left the kiosk and proceeded to confer with a couple of other CBP officers, returned, asked me questions like "Where did you get this passport? Who gave you this passport? Where does this passport come from?" clearly indicating that the authenticity of my passport was at issue, that there was some notion that my passport may be fake or invalid in some fashion, and questioning my citizenship and the fact that I have this U.S. passport.
    At that point, the passport was scanned through the CBP system, clearly confirming my identify and that that passport was issued by the U.S. Passport Agency in New York. And instead of releasing me at that time, what the officer did was to escalate the matter by calling over another CBP officer to escort me to a separate security room, where my vetting continued and where I was asked to produce additional proof of identity so that they can confirm who I was. This is the first time that I traveled since the inauguration, and it was the first time ever that I had been subjected to this type of additional scrutiny and vetting. The last time I traveled was in January, right before the inauguration. And I came in through the country perfectly fine, like any other U.S. citizen.
    AMY GOODMAN: So, well, let me ask you something, Iván. Your group sued President Trump this year on behalf of the—
    IVÁN ESPINOZA-MADRIGAL: Yeah.
    AMY GOODMAN: —cities of Lawrence and Chelsea in Massachusetts over the president’s executive order defunding sanctuary cities?
    IVÁN ESPINOZA-MADRIGAL: That’s right. We sued on February 8th. My organization was the first one in the country to sue on behalf of sanctuary communities. We represent two heavily immigrant towns in Massachusetts that are being threatened by the Trump administration for defunding based under immigrant-friendly policies. And the lawsuit is the only one in the East Coast at this time. This litigation was very important, because we need to protect all families and children in our communities. And so, it’s very important for my organization to be out there right now, at a time of significant federal uncertainty, protecting families. And to be treated as suspect at the airport was incredibly, not just humiliating, but unpowering, when my job, day to day, is to protect immigrant families.
    AMY GOODMAN: Last month, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president wanted to "take the shackles off" the nation’s immigration and customs agents.
    PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER: The president needed to give guidance, especially after what they went through in the last administration, where there were so many carve-outs that ICE agents and CBP members didn’t—had to figure out each individual, whether or not they fit in a particular category and they could adjudicate that case. The president wanted to take the shackles off individuals in these agencies and say, "You have a mission. There are laws that need to be followed. You should do your mission and follow the law."
    AMY GOODMAN: Hassan Aden, your thoughts on what he’s saying? Do you see this—I mean, you’re law enforcement. Do you see this as an unshackling of law enforcement?
    HASSAN ADEN: Well, they took the shackles off of CBP and placed them on others, U.S. citizens and others that are subjected to this kind of conduct now. It is humiliating, as Iván stated. It is a position of—you know, it just—it makes you extremely vulnerable, and you have no idea what is happening to you at the time that it’s happening. The reason why I really wanted to bring this up, and very publicly, was because there are so many people that are voiceless. Iván and I both have voices and platform, and I think that it is our responsibility to shed light on this problem.
    AMY GOODMAN: And, Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, do you think you were targeted because of the lawsuit?
    IVÁN ESPINOZA-MADRIGAL: I’m not sure. I don’t know what they were thinking. But what I know is that one of the greatest strengths of this country is that we do not have classes of citizenship. All citizens have the same rights and privileges. And that was certainly not my experience at the airport. So, for whatever reason it was, whether I was targeted for my civil rights advocacy or based on the color of my skin and my identity, it’s unconstitutional and un-American.
    AMY GOODMAN: And, Hassan Aden, you’re familiar with databases that law enforcement use, as a former police chief. What database do you think you’re in?
    HASSAN ADEN: I’m not sure. I do think that—I believe—I was never told that by CBP, but I believe it’s some sort of—what I was told was that my name was used as an alias and that some database flagged it. So I believe it’s something to do with a terrorist watchlist or fusion center. But what I do know is that one of three things is going on with this database. One, either the database is—
    AMY GOODMAN: We have five seconds.
    HASSAN ADEN: There’s a problem with the database and the policies behind it. It should not take 90 minutes to clear someone holding a U.S. passport.
    Last edited by Peter Lemkin; 03-23-2017 at 06:47 AM.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  10. #560

    Default The Hidden [BLACK] Money behind: Trump, Bannon, Gorsuch, Breitbart and more....

    NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to look at the man who is said to have out-Koched the Koch brothers in the 2016 election. His name is Robert Mercer, a secretive billionaire hedge-fund tycoon who, along with his daughter Rebekah, is credited by many with playing an instrumental role in Donald Trump’s election.
    Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, said, quote, "The Mercers laid the groundwork for the Trump revolution. Irrefutably, when you look at donors during the past four years, they have had the single biggest impact of anybody, including the Kochs." Before Bannon and Kellyanne Conway joined the Trump campaign, both worked closely with the Mercers. The Mercers bankrolled Bannon’s Breitbart News, as well as some of Bannon’s film projects. Conway ran a super PAC created by the Mercers to initially back the candidacy of Ted Cruz.
    The Mercers also invested in a data mining firm called Cambridge Analytica, which claims it has psychological profiles of over 200 million American voters. The firm was hired by the Trump campaign to help target its message to potential voters.
    While the Mercers have helped reshape the American political landscape, their work has all been done from the shadows. They don’t speak to the media and rarely even speak in public.
    AMY GOODMAN: During the entire presidential campaign, they released just two statements. One was a defense of Donald Trump shortly after the leak of the 2005 Access Hollywood tape that showed Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women. The Mercers wrote, quote, "We are completely indifferent to Mr. Trump’s locker room braggadocio." They went on to write, "America is finally fed up and disgusted with its political elite. Trump is channeling this disgust and those among the political elite who quake before the boombox of media blather do not appreciate the apocalyptic choice America faces on November 8th. We have a country to save and there is only one person who can save it. We, and Americans across the country and around the world, stand steadfastly behind Donald J Trump." Those were the words of Robert and Rebekah Mercer one month before Trump won the election.
    Since the election, Rebekah Mercer joined the Trump transition team, and Robert Mercer threw a victory party of sorts at his Long Island estate. It was a hero and villain’s costume party. Kellyanne Conway showed up as Superwoman. Donald Trump showed up as himself.
    To talk more about the Mercers, we’re joined now by Jane Mayer, staff writer at The New Yorker, her latest piece headlined "The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency." Jane is also author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, which just came out in paperback.
    Jane Mayer, welcome back to Democracy Now! The beginning of the piece talks about a former colleague of Mercer’s saying, "In my view, Trump wouldn’t be president if not for Bob." Explain who Robert Mercer is.
    JANE MAYER: Well, he’s a, as you’ve mentioned, a New York hedge-fund tycoon. He’s a computer scientist, a kind of a math genius and uber-nerd, who figured out how to game the stocks and bonds and commodities markets by using math. He runs something that’s kind of like a quant fund in Long Island, and it’s called Renaissance Technologies. He’s the co-CEO. And it just mints money. So he’s enormously wealthy. He earns at least $135 million a year, according to Institutional Investor, probably more.
    And what he’s done is he has tried to take this fortune and reshape, first, the Republican Party and, then, America, along his own lines. His ideology is extreme. He’s way far on the right. He hates government. Kind of—according to another colleague, David Magerman, at Renaissance Technologies, Bob Mercer wants to shrink the government down to the size of a pinhead. He has contempt for social services and for the people who need social services.
    And so, he has been a power behind the scenes in Trump’s campaign. He kind of rescued Trump’s campaign in the end, he and his daughter. And, you know, most people think Trump was the candidate who did it on his own, had his own fortune, and he often boasted that he needed no help and had no strings attached, and he was going to sort of throw out corruption. And, in fact, there was somebody behind the scenes who helped enormously with him.
    AMY GOODMAN: Talk about that moment, when you talk about them saving Donald Trump, which has become particularly relevant today. This was the time that Manafort was forced out as the campaign manager for Donald Trump. The campaign was in disarray. He was being forced out because of his ties to Ukraine and Russia and the money that was being revealed that he might or might not have taken. So, take it from there.
    JANE MAYER: Well, right. And this was—really, Trump’s campaign was—it was floundering. It was in August, and there was headline after headline that was suggesting that Paul Manafort, who had been the campaign manager, had really nefarious ties to the Ukrainian oligarchs and pro-Putin forces. And it was embarrassing. And eventually, after a couple days of these headlines, he was forced to step down.
    And the campaign was, you know, spinning in a kind of a downward spiral, when, at a fundraiser out in Long Island, at Woody Johnson’s house—he’s the man who owns the Jets—Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of this hedge-fund tycoon, Bob Mercer, sort of cornered Trump and said, "You know, we’d like to give money to your campaign. We’ll back you, but you’ve got to try to, you know, stabilize it." And basically, she said, "And I’ve got just the people for you to do the job."
    And they were political operatives who the Mercer family had been funding for a couple of years, the main one being Steve Bannon, who is now playing the role to Trump—he’s the political strategist for Trump—that’s the role he played for the Mercer family prior to doing it for Trump. So, these are operatives who are very close to this one mega-donor. The other was Kellyanne Conway, who had been running this superfund, as you mentioned in your introduction, for the Cruz campaign, that was filled with the money from the Mercers. And so she became the campaign manager. Bannon became the campaign chairman. And a third person, David Bossie, whose organization Citizens United was also very heavily backed by the Mercer family, he became the deputy campaign manager. So, basically, as Trump’s campaign is rescued by this gang, they encircle Trump. And since then, they’ve also encircled Trump’s White House and become very key to him. And they are the Mercers’ people.
    NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Jane Mayer, Rebekah Mercer, whom you mentioned, is known—described as "the first lady of the alt-right." Now, you tried to get Rebekah and Robert Mercer to speak to you for this piece. What response did you get?
    JANE MAYER: Oh, I mean, it was hopeless, clearly, from the start. They have nothing but disdain for, you know, the mainstream media. Robert Mercer barely speaks even to people who he works with and who know him. I mean, he’s so silent that he has said often that he—or to a colleague, he said once—I should correct that—that he much prefers the company of cats to humans. He goes through whole meetings, whole dinners, without uttering a word. He never speaks to the media. He’s given, I think, one interview I know of, to a book author, and who described him as having the demeanor of an icy cold poker player.
    His daughter, Rebekah Mercer, who’s 43 and has also worked at the family’s hedge fund a little bit and is a graduate of Stanford, she’s a little more outspoken. She has been in fundraising meetings on the right. She has spoken up—and very loudly and irately, actually. But she doesn’t speak to the press. And so, I had very little hope that they would.
    AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about when they first met, the Mercers, Robert and Rebekah Mercer, first met Andrew Breitbart, and what that progression was and how they came to be linked up with Bannon?
    JANE MAYER: Well, sure. The Mercer family, Robert and his daughter Rebekah, met Andrew Breitbart back—I think it was late 2011 or early 2012, speaking at a conference of the Club for Growth, another right-wing group. And they were completely taken with Andrew Breitbart. He was pretty much the opposite kind of character from Bob Mercer. Breitbart was outspoken and gleefully provocative and loved to offend people and use vulgar language just to catch their attention. And you’ve got this kind of tight-lipped hedge-fund man from the far right who just fell for Breitbart big time.
    And he—mostly what he was captivated by, I think, was Breitbart’s vision, which was, "We’re going to"—he said, "Conservatives can never win until we basically take on the mainstream media and build up our own source of information." He was talking about declaring information warfare in this country on fact-based reporting and substituting it with their own vision. And what he needed, Breitbart, at that point, was money. He needed money to set up Breitbart News, which was only just sort of a couple of bloggers at that point.
    AMY GOODMAN: And talk about Breitbart News, about what the alt-right represented, whether we’re talking about anti-Semitism or white supremacy, and why they were attracted to this.
    JANE MAYER: Well, I mean, you know, it changed. What happened was—I mean, it started as a—Andrew Breitbart had helped The Huffington Post get set up. And his idea was that he was going to launch The Huffington Post of the right. And so, he was setting it up, and his very close friend was Steve Bannon. And Bannon had been in investment banking. So Bannon got the Mercers to put $10 million into turning this venture into something that was really going to pack a punch. And they were just about to launch it in a big day—big way. They were a few days away from it, when Andrew Breitbart died. That was in March of 2012. He was only 43, and he had a sudden massive heart attack. And so, this operation was just about to go big. It was leaderless. And that’s when Steve Bannon stepped in and became the head of Breitbart News.
    And in Bannon’s hands, it became a force of economic nationalism and, in some people’s view, white supremacism. It ran, you know, a regular feature on black crime. It hosted and pretty much launched the career of Milo Yiannopoulos, who’s sort of infamous for his kind of juvenile attacks on women and immigrants and God knows what. You know, just it became, as Bannon had said, a platform for the alt-right, meaning the alternative to the old right, a new right that was far more angry and aggressive about others, people who were not just kind of the white sort of conservatives like themselves.
    AMY GOODMAN: So they made a $10 million investment in Breitbart. They owned it—
    JANE MAYER: A 10 million.
    AMY GOODMAN: —co-owned it.
    JANE MAYER: They became the sponsors, really, behind it. And it’s interesting to me that—one of the things I learned was that Rebekah Mercer, this heiress, who’s had no experience in politics, is so immersed in running Breitbart News at this point. I mean, she—her family is the money, big money, behind it. That she reads every story, I’m told, and flyspecks, you know, typos and grammar and all that kind of thing. I mean, there is a force behind Breitbart News that people don’t realize, and it’s the Mercer family. So, anyway, it became very important, increasingly, on the fringe of conservative politics, because it pushed the conservatives in this country towards this economic nationalism, nativism, anti-immigration, pro-harsh borders, anti-free trade, protectionist. And it spoke the language of populism, but right-wing populism.
    NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Jane Mayer, I mean, as you’ve said, one of the things that has made the Mercers so successful in their political interventions is precisely this, the way in which they’ve invested in an alternative media and information network, of which Breitbart is, of course, a very significant part. But can you also talk about the Government Accountability Institute, which you discuss in your piece?
    JANE MAYER: Sure. I mean, and this was, you know, very much a design. You’ve got this family with all the money in the world, wanting to change American politics. And they hadn’t been very effective in their earlier efforts at this, until they joined forces with Steve Bannon, who’s a very sort of farsighted strategist who kind of sees the big picture and understands politics. And so, he very much focused their efforts on this information warfare, first with Breitbart, $10 million into that. And then, after 2012, when the Mercers were very disappointed that Obama got re-elected, at Bannon’s direction, they started to fund a brand-new organization called the Government Accountability Institute. It’s based in Tallahassee. It’s small. It’s really a platform for one major figure, Peter Schweizer, who is a conservative kind of investigative reporter.
    And what they did with this organization, which the Mercers poured millions of dollars into, was they aimed to kind of create the—drive the political narrative in the 2016 campaign. They created a book called Clinton Cash, which was a compendium of all the kinds of corruption allegations against the Clintons. And they aimed to get it into the mainstream media, where it would pretty much frame the picture of Hillary Clinton as a corrupt person who couldn’t be trusted. And their hope was that they would mainstream this information that they dug up. It was like an opposition research organization, sort of masked as a charity and nonprofit. And they took this book, Clinton Cash, gave it to The New York Times exclusively, early, and the Times then ran with a story out of it, that they said they corroborated. But they ran with it, nonetheless, on their front page, which just launched this whole narrative of Hillary Clinton as corrupt. And it just kept echoing and echoing through the media after that. So, it was a real home run for them. A year later, they made a movie version of it also, which they launched in Cannes.
    AMY GOODMAN: You’re talking about Peter Schweizer and, as well, the Mercers. What about Cambridge Analytica, in addition to the Government Accountability Institute? And also, the Mercers’ obsession with the Clintons, the whole issue that you write about.
    JANE MAYER: Well, this is something that—
    AMY GOODMAN: They’re talking about they’re murderers.
    JANE MAYER: I mean, really—I mean, one of the—one of the challenges of writing about the Mercers, for me, was to figure out—OK, so they’re big players. There are players in the Democratic Party who put in tons of money, too. They’re not the only people who put money into politics. But they’re maybe the most mysterious people who put money into politics. Like nobody really knew what do they believe, what’s driving them. And so, I was trying to figure that out.
    And what I finally was able to do what was talk to partners and people they work with in business and people who’ve known them a long time, who paint this picture of them as having these really peculiar beliefs, and based on kind of strange far-right media. Among their beliefs are that—Bob Mercer has spoken to at least three people who I interviewed, about how he is convinced that the Clintons are murderers, literally, have murdered people. Now, you hear that on the fringes sometimes when you interview people who are ignorant, but these are people who are powerful, well educated and huge influences in the country. And Bob Mercer was convinced that the Clintons are murderers. OK, so he’s driven by this just hatred of the Clintons and, coming into 2016, is determined to try to stop Hillary Clinton, and looking for a vehicle who would do that, who eventually becomes Trump.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •