THE ABSURD TIMES — STILL

IN PHOTOS ~~ #UNBLOCK CUBA

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on November 5, 2017

Desertpeace

Demo in New York on 1/11 ….. Day of UN Vote

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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U.N. calls again for end of U.S. embargo on Cuba

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The Absurd Times DONALD TRUMP:,DEPLORABLE BULLY

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on October 29, 2017

THE ABSURD TIMES

TRUMP: OUR FACE TO THE WORLD
@honestcharlie [twitter]

Trump and how he makes us look: DONALD TRUMP: DEPLORABLE BULLY
If you need a compendium of facts and data concerning what Trump means or represents, this is the only account you can trust.

I remember vividly a recent march, not for women’s rights, or justice, or some other such cause, but a march in favor of FACTS!!! Now just let that sink in for a second. Who in their right mind would oppose facts? Did you ever think that it would be a time to actually march or demonstrate in favor of facts? The entire thing is absurd.

In fact, some time ago, we decided to cut way back, even cease or suspend publication as absurdity had become so obvious that we were not need in order for them to be recognized. There are simply too many to keep up with.

Well, in the excerpt for the book cited below, Dennis Campbell and his team of "Muckrakers," a lovely and forgotten word evoking the days when news mattered, you can see what is in the one book I recommend.

A few words about Denis himself: his biography is included below, but there are a few things I would like to add. For example, he is well conversant with both United States and British Culture. He spent some time as an MP in England as a Lib Dem. While that party did little but give the conservative government a majority, its politics were not at all conservative. It was actually high time that the so-called "New Labor" personified by the glib Tony Blair was ousted and given a chance to become the Labor Party again. He resigned his career in professional politics to return to journalism.

At one point I became aghast at the idiocy of the two women running to head the Conservative Party. The one who lost actually said that she was a better candidate because she had given birth and implied that no other qualification was needed. He actually brought that up on his podcast with his fellow journalists who actually thought I had made it up. Nope, things were that bad in England that sane people could not believe it. Well, it turns out that Brits had enough sense to realize how absurd things had become and yet many were surprised when Jeremy Corbyn, sort of a Bernie Sanders in the states, won his party’s leadership swimmingly, so to speak. The current Prime Minister called an early election and people were amazed at how she just managed to squeak by with the narrowest of margins as Mr. Corbyn opposed her.

At any rate, here is a bit of the book and what it’s about (he sent me this in a pdf file and this is the best I’ve been able to convert it, sorry sport!):

DONALD TRUMP:
DEPLORABLE BULLY
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Denis G. Campbell is the author of nine books on politics, business and personal development. For two decades, he continues to provide global political and business commentary to dozens of broadcast outlets and numerous newspapers and magazines. He is under contract to four international television, and five global radio, properties. He is founder and editor of UKProgressive.co.uk Magazine and Producer/co-host of The Three Muckrakers, a weekly political show that for three years has covered US, UK, EU and international politics. He spent the last 14 years living and writing in Wales, United Kingdom from the seaside villages of Ogmore by Sea and Monknash.
Denis is a global business consultant in London, Singapore, Beijing, Washington, Miami and Los Angeles.
He was a director with Price Waterhouse and a business and
regulatory lobbyist in Washington DC and LA. He is the
managing director of the global consultancy Target Point
Ltd.
He is an Honors graduate of Boston College and has lectured at the Universities of Miami, Maryland, Johns Hopkins, American University (Washington, DC and Beirut), Erasmus Universiteit in Rotterdam, Zayed University in Dubai, UCLA, UWIC, Cardiff University, and others, on politics and business topics. A dual British and US national, he lives and writes high atop the cliffs of the historic Glamorgan Heritage Coast.
Please follow him on:
· Twitter – @ukprogressive
· Facebook – Denis G. Campbell: World
Politics Series
· Instagram – ukprogressive

…SEVEN MONTHS HAVE AGED US…
The worry over what this angry, bullying, petulant, tweeting man-child will do next, scares us to death. We are grateful for Sundays because that seems to be the only day in ANY week where we can catch our breath for about ten hours before he careens off, bored at the "dump" of a White House he feels he is forced to live in, and creates his next crisis. He has spent almost 60 days of the 230 or so in office at one of his hotel or golf properties.
There is a feckless meanness to every action he takes that terrifies us. He has been completely enabled by the mainstream media and a Republican tea party that turns its head the other way, sticks its fingers in its ears and sing, "La-la-laaa, I’m not listening!"
This book should have been written during the presidential campaign. Let me explain why wasn’t. In 2012, I wrote four books from various stops along the campaign trail. I followed the then "seven dwarfs," traditional Republican candidates standing that year against President Obama.
It was a traditional, conservative, red-meat feast within the Republican/GOP/Tea Party (they are by the way, one and the same. I use the terms interchangeably and the letters GOP stand for its nickname, the Grand Old Party). They followed predictable culture war memes in 2012. It all felt quite sane and digestible. Seven candidates fought each other for the right to challenge a very popular President Obama in November. It was orderly. It was measured. There was time to think and react to the news of the day. You could go out for lunch and know you would not miss earth-shattering headlines during that hour.
2016, however, was nightmare-inducingly insane. There were literally no words to describe a 71-yearold man-child wandering around the world in his pajamas, yelling and tweeting at the world.
3
Forget a 24-hour news cycle. Trump made sure this was a two-hour, peripatetic, never-ending news cycle. And his presidency continues down the same exhausting path. A month of activity in Trumpville can be measured in dog years.
So much crazy occurs in any 24-hour cycle, that every time I sat down to write about a topic, seven other things would happen to throw me off the scent due to the sheer frenetic pace.
The plan for 2016 was to do a reprise…sit and write four 60-page books and combine them at the end into a recap. That was made impossible in January of 2016 when seventeen candidates entered the race. And, if we were playing chess, Trump strode in like a carnival barker and threw the board and pieces into the air. He was a tweeting, insulting, exhausting, childish, pedantic, peripatetic, attention-seeking, whore-mongering celebrity who made any serious, real-issue discourse impossible.
And he was winning.
He was the perfect candidate for our social-mediafilled, celebrity-obsessed, culture. The media helped to create him, then complained about his antics. Every time he spoke it was like watching the 1970s E.F. Hutton television commercials: "When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen." Everyone fell silent to see what worldsalad nonsense Trump would release.
The campaign threw all political and journalistic science out the window. Indeed, it set the window and the house on fire. Forget discussing issues. This was a 140-character assault, aided and abetted by a complicit and pandering mainstream media. Everyone’s senses and sensibilities were under constant emotional attack. You didn’t know what to believe any more and you just wanted it all to stop.
Rather than discuss issues, this was the politics of Twitter and personal attack. That ensured any reasonable and qualified candidate would fall quickly by the wayside.
4
It was political campaign as reality show. Survivor on steroids, as each week another candidate was voted off the island.
In January, prohibitive favorite Jeb Bush was struggling. Just like his brother before him in 2000, the GOP establishment lined up with checkbooks in hand to give him a huge financial lead. More than $100m was in his war chest.
He did poorly in Iowa. But no worries, the Bushes always were uncompetitive in that state’s corrupt beauty contest caucus system. He was still tapped as the prohibitive populist favorite in New Hampshire and South Carolina. These were the first real contests where the Bush family name and history always resonated with establishment Republicans.
So, Jeb pretty much ignored Iowa. Rose above the fray in the debates when Donald attacked him as "lowenergy Jeb" and got his ass whupped but good. Trump was landing massive body blows in the fight. Jeb brought a butter knife to a gun fight and he never recovered. The fight was personal, nasty, and completely off most campaign operative’s scripts. Jeb’s team were like a production crew in the booth trying to find their place in the script and advance the teleprompter fast enough. It was classic Donald Trump.
Trump had no campaign staff. He conducted no opposition research. Produced no polls. Didn’t buy any advertising. And yet he won New Hampshire in a field of fourteen candidates with 35% of all votes cast. Jeb Bush gave lengthy policy speeches. Trump did pep rallies attacking his opponent and Hillary Clinton. Bush finished a distant fourth behind Trump, Kasich and Cruz with only 11% of the vote.
South Carolina was to be Jeb’s firewall. This was where he would spend every penny of what he had left to get on the field and in the game. He did even worse. Jeb finished fourth again in a winner-take-all primary. In delegates, Trump led 61-3. The rout was on. $100m of 5 organization and media time bought Jeb two embarrassing fourth place finishes. He dropped out of the race a few days later.
Trump sold massive amounts of merchandise. His red Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats were a profit-making arm of his branding business. With no hint of irony, they were made in China and shipped by the container-load. Trump sold his hats and filled up arenas with angry supporters. Aside from arena rentals, his biggest campaign expense was merchandise, but it was income, not expense. Trump was about to run the first political campaign in history that made a profit for all his businesses.
His opponents were barnstorming across states with multiple stops each day. Trump showed up for one big event a day. The news media followed and usually broadcast it live because no one knew what he would say next. Trump was ratings gold because he was so unpredictable.
The rules of campaigning no longer applied. Nothing he said was outrageous enough to disqualify him because he was not a politician. He did what he wanted, when he wanted, how he wanted.
A Missouri politician in 2012 was crushed in his
Senate election when he uttered the words "legitimate
rape." Donald Trump bragged about "grabbing women
by the pussy." And yet, he won.
Most thought his stunts on the campaign trail were him just doing what he felt he had to do win the election. Almost every pundit said, "Once there, the gravity of the office is such he would have to pivot towards running the country and become much more presidential." We were all very, very wrong.
The mainstream media ate his act up. He was the perfect candidate for our times. An internet troll who spoke his mind. People identified with that. I would reply during numerous interviews trying to explain that, "Look, my uncle speaks his mind too. That doesn’t mean 6 he is qualified to be president."
At the end of the campaign, it was estimated that while other candidates spent millions on television and online advertising, Trump earned a massive $2.4bn in free advertising as his Trump-branded Boeing 757 pulled up to airport hangars filled with his supporters. Every media outlet covered each move and word. The media even covered his attacks against them for being fake news. He’d bound off his jet, speak for 40 minutes and then fly home to sleep each night in his own bed. Journalists and campaign operatives were befuddled.
It worked. He got the lion’s share of the media coverage. He also knew better than anyone how to touch a midwestern rust belt, racist, anti-immigration, raw, aggrieved white person’s nerve. It was like what UKIP did in 2016 in the United Kingdom over Brexit.
The stream of angry @realDonaldTrump tweets was relentless; five new crises would befall the campaign daily over them. And, somehow, at the end of each day, despite condemnation by the other candidates and the President, he would move on untouched in the eyes of his base to fight another day.
His fans liked him because he was a straight shooter, despite the serial lies. He convinced people in closed factory towns that he would fight for them no matter what. He converted solid former Democratic Party voters, upset that their candidate Hillary was ignoring them and their plight. They wanted to send a message to Washington to focus on matters here in our country. When the General Election votes were tallied, a mere 80,000 out of the more than 120,000,000 votes cast, decided three key industrial states. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were reliably blue states that were angry no one in either party was listening to them. Despite an overall national majority of 3,000,000 votes, Hillary lost these three states and, as a result, the Electoral College vote. That was the ballgame.
Trump was the only candidate who consistently 7 showed up at airports. He would pledge that he, and he alone, would help them, bring back manufacturing jobs and solve their problems. A huge majority believed him despite pledges that proved to be campaign-trail lies at Carrier Air Conditioning and other locations. The more outrageous Donald Trump behaved, the crazier the coverage became of his airplane landing in a new city. That led to bigger voter turnouts for him in those primary states. He was Britain’s Nigel Farage writ large. A place for voters to, at first, lodge a protest vote and a personality everyone wanted to want to have a pint with…if he drank.
Then, something funny happened. Hard-working folks believed he could win. They ignored Trump’s oftrepeated lies as "fake news." He was as charismatic to them as a travelling Baptist preacher. He pledged to "drain the swamp" and clean up Washington. He would be the working white man’s champion. They believed his hype and refused anything that resembled a provable contrarian fact. They did not want to know, nor did they care, about his past. He alone would shake up Washington and bring change. This was a television reality star unleashing every trick in the book to build an audience.
And it worked.
No one in the political world understood what he was doing or how he did it. This was largely because no one knew what he would do next. His rallies gained steam and attracted thousand to venues. He placed the press in pens like circus animals, then blamed them for poor coverage, and called out reporters by name. They were subjected to incredible abuse online and offline from his minion followers and Russian social media bots. He incited violence. Told supporters to "Knock the crap out of protestors," and that he would "Pay their legal bills," which, of course, he never did. The mediacreated monster climbed atop the Empire State Building swatting away the heavy artillery aimed at him.
8
At the point of writing this book, we are 45 weeks into an improbable election win and presidency. We start 12 days before the election with a real October surprise, assisted by then FBI Director, James Comey. He announced a reopening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. That saw her go overnight from a 10-point lead in the polls to a loss.
She never got back on the front foot and Trump used his time in those last few days to beat "Crooked Hillary," and "Lock her up!" drums. Despite her being cleared a second time a few days before the election, the damage was done. Hillary was a dead woman walking. The book ends with a Friday night news dump as Hurricane Harvey hits Texas, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is pardoned, a detailed memo to the military demands they ban the service of transgender troops in the US military, Trump then clumsily handled the Harvey relief efforts, and his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program meant new chaos and fear on the immigration front. DACA temporarily lifted the threat of deportation for immigrants brought to the US before they were 16 now Trump was ending the programme and threatening them with deportation. Oh, and a Category 5 hurricane, Irma, was taking dead aim at Florida and there still were no leaders heading The Federal Emergency Management agency (FEMA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) or the Department of Homeland Security since John Kelly was elevated to be his Chief of Staff.
The Three Muckrakers
For three years, I have produced a weekly current affairs programme and iTunes podcast in the United Kingdom called The Three Muckrakers. Our first broadcast was on the day of the 2015 Scottish Referendum to leave the UK. 133 episodes later, we have broadcast 44 weeks/year 9 covering US Congressional and Presidential Elections;
Brexit; the devolved government elections for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland; elections in France, The Netherlands, Germany and other EU states; and two UK General Elections.
I am joined weekly in the studio by the political and religious commentator, Paul Halliday. Past co-presenters included co-founders: Phil Parry, former BBC anchor and editor of The Eye Investigates and Dr. Dario Llinares, senior lecturer in media at The University of Brighton. Many weeks we have been joined by as many as 40 news and thought leaders on various topics including:
North Korea; Mexican-American discrimination in the USA; healthcare; environment and anti-fracking; US, Dutch, UK and EU members of Parliament and Congress. We discuss political developments weekly in the US, UK and around the globe.
The as-aired scripts and topic rundowns form the basis of this book. It was, frankly, the only way we could keep up with the breathtakingly-mindless pace and continual misdirection, smoke and mirrors of this new administration.
Shameful "45"
In the USA, President Trump is often referred to as "45", his number in the line of presidential succession. (Washington was number 1, Lincoln, 16, and Obama was 44).
It’s been 45 shameful weeks of President 45. They truly feel like 45 months or even 45 years. It has been a wild ride so far. We will look at:
· The Russian election hack and cozy Putin relationship.
· The Mueller investigation.
· The former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele’s
10 dossier and related crimes that, even if pardoned, will continue in New York state.
· His fight with the intelligence community.
· Cabinet officers who fill vs "Drain the
Swamp."
· His tweets and their aftermath.
· The Charlottesville racist protest and death led by white supremacists / neo-Nazis.
· His limited vocabulary and speech
schizophrenia.
· "The Wall" and immigration.
· His personal attacks on eleven US senators…in his own party!
· The Administration labelling any news it does not like as "Fake News" and their dishonest media attacks backfiring spectacularly.
· Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria: Trump’s
Katrinas.
· Trump as a totalitarian leader, whipping up his
base and dividing the nation.
Let’s start with how we got here.


Posted By Czar Donic to The Absurd Times at 10/29/2017 03:01:00 PM

DONALD TRUMP:,DEPLORABLE BULLY

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on October 29, 2017

THE ABSURD TIMES

TRUMP: OUR FACE TO THE WORLD
@honestcharlie [twitter]

Trump and how he makes us look: DONALD TRUMP: DEPLORABLE BULLY
If you need a compendium of facts and data concerning what Trump means or represents, this is the only account you can trust.

I remember vividly a recent march, not for women’s rights, or justice, or some other such cause, but a march in favor of FACTS!!! Now just let that sink in for a second. Who in their right mind would oppose facts? Did you ever think that it would be a time to actually march or demonstrate in favor of facts? The entire thing is absurd.

In fact, some time ago, we decided to cut way back, even cease or suspend publication as absurdity had become so obvious that we were not need in order for them to be recognized. There are simply too many to keep up with.

Well, in the excerpt for the book cited below, Dennis Campbell and his team of “Muckrakers,” a lovely and forgotten word evoking the days when news mattered, you can see what is in the one book I recommend.

A few words about Denis himself: his biography is included below, but there are a few things I would like to add. For example, he is well conversant with both United States and British Culture. He spent some time as an MP in England as a Lib Dem. While that party did little but give the conservative government a majority, its politics were not at all conservative. It was actually high time that the so-called “New Labor” personified by the glib Tony Blair was ousted and given a chance to become the Labor Party again. He resigned his career in professional politics to return to journalism.

At one point I became aghast at the idiocy of the two women running to head the Conservative Party. The one who lost actually said that she was a better candidate because she had given birth and implied that no other qualification was needed. He actually brought that up on his podcast with his fellow journalists who actually thought I had made it up. Nope, things were that bad in England that sane people could not believe it. Well, it turns out that Brits had enough sense to realize how absurd things had become and yet many were surprised when Jeremy Corbyn, sort of a Bernie Sanders in the states, won his party’s leadership swimmingly, so to speak. The current Prime Minister called an early election and people were amazed at how she just managed to squeak by with the narrowest of margins as Mr. Corbyn opposed her.

At any rate, here is a bit of the book and what it’s about (he sent me this in a pdf file and this is the best I’ve been able to convert it, sorry sport!):

DONALD TRUMP:
DEPLORABLE BULLY
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Denis G. Campbell is the author of nine books on politics, business and personal development. For two decades, he continues to provide global political and business commentary to dozens of broadcast outlets and numerous newspapers and magazines. He is under contract to four international television, and five global radio, properties. He is founder and editor of UKProgressive.co.uk Magazine and Producer/co-host of The Three Muckrakers, a weekly political show that for three years has covered US, UK, EU and international politics. He spent the last 14 years living and writing in Wales, United Kingdom from the seaside villages of Ogmore by Sea and Monknash.
Denis is a global business consultant in London, Singapore, Beijing, Washington, Miami and Los Angeles.
He was a director with Price Waterhouse and a business and
regulatory lobbyist in Washington DC and LA. He is the
managing director of the global consultancy Target Point
Ltd.
He is an Honors graduate of Boston College and has lectured at the Universities of Miami, Maryland, Johns Hopkins, American University (Washington, DC and Beirut), Erasmus Universiteit in Rotterdam, Zayed University in Dubai, UCLA, UWIC, Cardiff University, and others, on politics and business topics. A dual British and US national, he lives and writes high atop the cliffs of the historic Glamorgan Heritage Coast.
Please follow him on:
· Twitter – @ukprogressive
· Facebook – Denis G. Campbell: World
Politics Series
· Instagram – ukprogressive

…SEVEN MONTHS HAVE AGED US…
The worry over what this angry, bullying, petulant, tweeting man-child will do next, scares us to death. We are grateful for Sundays because that seems to be the only day in ANY week where we can catch our breath for about ten hours before he careens off, bored at the “dump” of a White House he feels he is forced to live in, and creates his next crisis. He has spent almost 60 days of the 230 or so in office at one of his hotel or golf properties.
There is a feckless meanness to every action he takes that terrifies us. He has been completely enabled by the mainstream media and a Republican tea party that turns its head the other way, sticks its fingers in its ears and sing, “La-la-laaa, I’m not listening!”
This book should have been written during the presidential campaign. Let me explain why wasn’t. In 2012, I wrote four books from various stops along the campaign trail. I followed the then “seven dwarfs,” traditional Republican candidates standing that year against President Obama.
It was a traditional, conservative, red-meat feast within the Republican/GOP/Tea Party (they are by the way, one and the same. I use the terms interchangeably and the letters GOP stand for its nickname, the Grand Old Party). They followed predictable culture war memes in 2012. It all felt quite sane and digestible. Seven candidates fought each other for the right to challenge a very popular President Obama in November. It was orderly. It was measured. There was time to think and react to the news of the day. You could go out for lunch and know you would not miss earth-shattering headlines during that hour.
2016, however, was nightmare-inducingly insane. There were literally no words to describe a 71-yearold man-child wandering around the world in his pajamas, yelling and tweeting at the world.
3
Forget a 24-hour news cycle. Trump made sure this was a two-hour, peripatetic, never-ending news cycle. And his presidency continues down the same exhausting path. A month of activity in Trumpville can be measured in dog years.
So much crazy occurs in any 24-hour cycle, that every time I sat down to write about a topic, seven other things would happen to throw me off the scent due to the sheer frenetic pace.
The plan for 2016 was to do a reprise…sit and write four 60-page books and combine them at the end into a recap. That was made impossible in January of 2016 when seventeen candidates entered the race. And, if we were playing chess, Trump strode in like a carnival barker and threw the board and pieces into the air. He was a tweeting, insulting, exhausting, childish, pedantic, peripatetic, attention-seeking, whore-mongering celebrity who made any serious, real-issue discourse impossible.
And he was winning.
He was the perfect candidate for our social-mediafilled, celebrity-obsessed, culture. The media helped to create him, then complained about his antics. Every time he spoke it was like watching the 1970s E.F. Hutton television commercials: “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen.” Everyone fell silent to see what worldsalad nonsense Trump would release.
The campaign threw all political and journalistic science out the window. Indeed, it set the window and the house on fire. Forget discussing issues. This was a 140-character assault, aided and abetted by a complicit and pandering mainstream media. Everyone’s senses and sensibilities were under constant emotional attack. You didn’t know what to believe any more and you just wanted it all to stop.
Rather than discuss issues, this was the politics of Twitter and personal attack. That ensured any reasonable and qualified candidate would fall quickly by the wayside.
4
It was political campaign as reality show. Survivor on steroids, as each week another candidate was voted off the island.
In January, prohibitive favorite Jeb Bush was struggling. Just like his brother before him in 2000, the GOP establishment lined up with checkbooks in hand to give him a huge financial lead. More than $100m was in his war chest.
He did poorly in Iowa. But no worries, the Bushes always were uncompetitive in that state’s corrupt beauty contest caucus system. He was still tapped as the prohibitive populist favorite in New Hampshire and South Carolina. These were the first real contests where the Bush family name and history always resonated with establishment Republicans.
So, Jeb pretty much ignored Iowa. Rose above the fray in the debates when Donald attacked him as “lowenergy Jeb” and got his ass whupped but good. Trump was landing massive body blows in the fight. Jeb brought a butter knife to a gun fight and he never recovered. The fight was personal, nasty, and completely off most campaign operative’s scripts. Jeb’s team were like a production crew in the booth trying to find their place in the script and advance the teleprompter fast enough. It was classic Donald Trump.
Trump had no campaign staff. He conducted no opposition research. Produced no polls. Didn’t buy any advertising. And yet he won New Hampshire in a field of fourteen candidates with 35% of all votes cast. Jeb Bush gave lengthy policy speeches. Trump did pep rallies attacking his opponent and Hillary Clinton. Bush finished a distant fourth behind Trump, Kasich and Cruz with only 11% of the vote.
South Carolina was to be Jeb’s firewall. This was where he would spend every penny of what he had left to get on the field and in the game. He did even worse. Jeb finished fourth again in a winner-take-all primary. In delegates, Trump led 61-3. The rout was on. $100m of 5 organization and media time bought Jeb two embarrassing fourth place finishes. He dropped out of the race a few days later.
Trump sold massive amounts of merchandise. His red Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats were a profit-making arm of his branding business. With no hint of irony, they were made in China and shipped by the container-load. Trump sold his hats and filled up arenas with angry supporters. Aside from arena rentals, his biggest campaign expense was merchandise, but it was income, not expense. Trump was about to run the first political campaign in history that made a profit for all his businesses.
His opponents were barnstorming across states with multiple stops each day. Trump showed up for one big event a day. The news media followed and usually broadcast it live because no one knew what he would say next. Trump was ratings gold because he was so unpredictable.
The rules of campaigning no longer applied. Nothing he said was outrageous enough to disqualify him because he was not a politician. He did what he wanted, when he wanted, how he wanted.
A Missouri politician in 2012 was crushed in his
Senate election when he uttered the words “legitimate
rape.” Donald Trump bragged about “grabbing women
by the pussy.” And yet, he won.
Most thought his stunts on the campaign trail were him just doing what he felt he had to do win the election. Almost every pundit said, “Once there, the gravity of the office is such he would have to pivot towards running the country and become much more presidential.” We were all very, very wrong.
The mainstream media ate his act up. He was the perfect candidate for our times. An internet troll who spoke his mind. People identified with that. I would reply during numerous interviews trying to explain that, “Look, my uncle speaks his mind too. That doesn’t mean 6 he is qualified to be president.”
At the end of the campaign, it was estimated that while other candidates spent millions on television and online advertising, Trump earned a massive $2.4bn in free advertising as his Trump-branded Boeing 757 pulled up to airport hangars filled with his supporters. Every media outlet covered each move and word. The media even covered his attacks against them for being fake news. He’d bound off his jet, speak for 40 minutes and then fly home to sleep each night in his own bed. Journalists and campaign operatives were befuddled.
It worked. He got the lion’s share of the media coverage. He also knew better than anyone how to touch a midwestern rust belt, racist, anti-immigration, raw, aggrieved white person’s nerve. It was like what UKIP did in 2016 in the United Kingdom over Brexit.
The stream of angry @realDonaldTrump tweets was relentless; five new crises would befall the campaign daily over them. And, somehow, at the end of each day, despite condemnation by the other candidates and the President, he would move on untouched in the eyes of his base to fight another day.
His fans liked him because he was a straight shooter, despite the serial lies. He convinced people in closed factory towns that he would fight for them no matter what. He converted solid former Democratic Party voters, upset that their candidate Hillary was ignoring them and their plight. They wanted to send a message to Washington to focus on matters here in our country. When the General Election votes were tallied, a mere 80,000 out of the more than 120,000,000 votes cast, decided three key industrial states. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were reliably blue states that were angry no one in either party was listening to them. Despite an overall national majority of 3,000,000 votes, Hillary lost these three states and, as a result, the Electoral College vote. That was the ballgame.
Trump was the only candidate who consistently 7 showed up at airports. He would pledge that he, and he alone, would help them, bring back manufacturing jobs and solve their problems. A huge majority believed him despite pledges that proved to be campaign-trail lies at Carrier Air Conditioning and other locations. The more outrageous Donald Trump behaved, the crazier the coverage became of his airplane landing in a new city. That led to bigger voter turnouts for him in those primary states. He was Britain’s Nigel Farage writ large. A place for voters to, at first, lodge a protest vote and a personality everyone wanted to want to have a pint with…if he drank.
Then, something funny happened. Hard-working folks believed he could win. They ignored Trump’s oftrepeated lies as “fake news.” He was as charismatic to them as a travelling Baptist preacher. He pledged to “drain the swamp” and clean up Washington. He would be the working white man’s champion. They believed his hype and refused anything that resembled a provable contrarian fact. They did not want to know, nor did they care, about his past. He alone would shake up Washington and bring change. This was a television reality star unleashing every trick in the book to build an audience.
And it worked.
No one in the political world understood what he was doing or how he did it. This was largely because no one knew what he would do next. His rallies gained steam and attracted thousand to venues. He placed the press in pens like circus animals, then blamed them for poor coverage, and called out reporters by name. They were subjected to incredible abuse online and offline from his minion followers and Russian social media bots. He incited violence. Told supporters to “Knock the crap out of protestors,” and that he would “Pay their legal bills,” which, of course, he never did. The mediacreated monster climbed atop the Empire State Building swatting away the heavy artillery aimed at him.
8
At the point of writing this book, we are 45 weeks into an improbable election win and presidency. We start 12 days before the election with a real October surprise, assisted by then FBI Director, James Comey. He announced a reopening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. That saw her go overnight from a 10-point lead in the polls to a loss.
She never got back on the front foot and Trump used his time in those last few days to beat “Crooked Hillary,” and “Lock her up!” drums. Despite her being cleared a second time a few days before the election, the damage was done. Hillary was a dead woman walking. The book ends with a Friday night news dump as Hurricane Harvey hits Texas, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is pardoned, a detailed memo to the military demands they ban the service of transgender troops in the US military, Trump then clumsily handled the Harvey relief efforts, and his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program meant new chaos and fear on the immigration front. DACA temporarily lifted the threat of deportation for immigrants brought to the US before they were 16 now Trump was ending the programme and threatening them with deportation. Oh, and a Category 5 hurricane, Irma, was taking dead aim at Florida and there still were no leaders heading The Federal Emergency Management agency (FEMA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) or the Department of Homeland Security since John Kelly was elevated to be his Chief of Staff.
The Three Muckrakers
For three years, I have produced a weekly current affairs programme and iTunes podcast in the United Kingdom called The Three Muckrakers. Our first broadcast was on the day of the 2015 Scottish Referendum to leave the UK. 133 episodes later, we have broadcast 44 weeks/year 9 covering US Congressional and Presidential Elections;
Brexit; the devolved government elections for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland; elections in France, The Netherlands, Germany and other EU states; and two UK General Elections.
I am joined weekly in the studio by the political and religious commentator, Paul Halliday. Past co-presenters included co-founders: Phil Parry, former BBC anchor and editor of The Eye Investigates and Dr. Dario Llinares, senior lecturer in media at The University of Brighton. Many weeks we have been joined by as many as 40 news and thought leaders on various topics including:
North Korea; Mexican-American discrimination in the USA; healthcare; environment and anti-fracking; US, Dutch, UK and EU members of Parliament and Congress. We discuss political developments weekly in the US, UK and around the globe.
The as-aired scripts and topic rundowns form the basis of this book. It was, frankly, the only way we could keep up with the breathtakingly-mindless pace and continual misdirection, smoke and mirrors of this new administration.
Shameful “45”
In the USA, President Trump is often referred to as “45”, his number in the line of presidential succession. (Washington was number 1, Lincoln, 16, and Obama was 44).
It’s been 45 shameful weeks of President 45. They truly feel like 45 months or even 45 years. It has been a wild ride so far. We will look at:
· The Russian election hack and cozy Putin relationship.
· The Mueller investigation.
· The former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele’s
10 dossier and related crimes that, even if pardoned, will continue in New York state.
· His fight with the intelligence community.
· Cabinet officers who fill vs “Drain the
Swamp.”
· His tweets and their aftermath.
· The Charlottesville racist protest and death led by white supremacists / neo-Nazis.
· His limited vocabulary and speech
schizophrenia.
· “The Wall” and immigration.
· His personal attacks on eleven US senators…in his own party!
· The Administration labelling any news it does not like as “Fake News” and their dishonest media attacks backfiring spectacularly.
· Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria: Trump’s
Katrinas.
· Trump as a totalitarian leader, whipping up his
base and dividing the nation.
Let’s start with how we got here.

CENSORING PALESTINE ON CAMPUS

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on October 25, 2017

Desertpeace

Israel lobby stalwart and retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz appears determined to use Columbia as a proving ground for censorship of dissent, especially from the left.

FaceBook is also guilty of censoring Palestine by censoring Latuff

First they censor Palestine …

Three students at Barnard College, which is affiliated with New York’s Columbia University, are facing punishment for protesting a speech earlier this month by a notorious white supremacist.

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the British Islamophobe and English Defence League founder who goes by the pseudonym Tommy Robinson, spoke to Columbia students via Skype on 10 October.

According to campus newspaper The Columbia Spectator, dozens of students interrupted Robinson’s speech and held up signs, while 250 more protested outside the venue.

Almost 5,000 people have signed a petition supporting the students, and mobilizations to defend them are being organized on campus.

“By attempting to silence protesters while providing…

View original post 1,666 more words

The Absurd Times Finally, Why Gaddafi Had to Go

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on October 24, 2017

THE ABSURD TIMES

Finally, the truth about Lybia.

Illustration: A rare glimpse of Trump or ex-French President before morphing into their modern shapes.

Finally, we get the facts from somewhere else than here on why Gaddafi had to go. Thought I’d pass it along.

AMYGOODMAN: Mark Fancher, can you talk about what the U.S. troops are doing right now in Niger? I’m surprised many a number of senators, although apparently they’ve been briefed several times this year—that at least 800 U.S. soldiers are in Niger right now. Can you talk about why a drone base is being built? Can you talk about where Agadez is, what they’re doing both in Niger and in other places in that region?

MARKFANCHER: Well, it’s not just Niger. What many people also don’t know is that this level of military presence can be found in many countries throughout Africa—most of them, as a matter fact. Since 2007, the United States has been expanding its reach and has been planting small groups of people in various different locations, not always with what would be regarded as military bases, but as embassy-based operation centers, where they carry out military training and different operations using African armies. So, it’s no different in Niger. And the use of drones is just an extension of the basic idea of carrying out reconnaissance missions, and sometimes actual attacks, without putting U.S. troops at risk. So, this is very much par for the course.

And I really think it’s important to really understand what has happened in Africa over the last 10 years. In 2007, when AFRICOM was created, the presence of terrorists, to the extent that we see them now, was—there was nothing comparable. The presence, if any, was minimal. What was going on in Africa at the time was that you had organizations like the Movement to Emancipate the Niger Delta, or MEND, which had engaged in very militant kinds of attacks on U.S. oil installations, breaking up pipelines, kidnapping U.S. oil company and Western oil company personnel, and issuing a threat in 2006 that they could not guarantee the safety of either the facilities of oil companies in and about Nigeria and in that region or the people who were sent there to work on them. It was at that moment that the United States decided that it was going to set up this special command, which was unprecedented, for Africa exclusively.

You know, you also see what was happening during that period was what they branded as piracy off the coastal waters of Somalia. These were fishermen whose waters had been contaminated by people who had come in and had plundered and raided their fishing facilities and had made them unable to engage in a livelihood. And in retaliation, they began to attack those boats and ships that were coming through those waterways, which was a major international shipping lane.

So, these twin concerns about access to the coastal region in Somalia, the oil that was being produced in the Niger Delta and in the Gulf of Guinea, those were the primary drivers for the creation of AFRICOM. And the more that the U.S. military established a presence in that region and throughout Africa, the more terrorism tended to grow.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Mark Fancher, I wanted to ask you about another key event in the history of Africa, the recent history of Africa, which was the U.S. participation in the overthrow of Gaddafi and the situation in Libya. To what degree did the total destabilization of Libya and the—Libya is now, in essence, a failed state—have an impact on the growth of extremism and terrorist groups in other parts of Africa?

MARKFANCHER: Oh, it had a huge impact. And if you look at the infamous emails of Hillary Clinton, which are available at the State Department’s website, you see an email exchange where State Department personnel are talking very frankly about their conversations with Sarkozy about his interest in overthrowing Gaddafi because he wanted two things. One, he wanted to eliminate the threat of a pan-African currency, gold-backed currency, that Gaddafi wanted to establish, because he was afraid that it would devalue the franc. And he also wanted access to Gaddafi and Libya’s oil fields. That was the bottom line for why they went after Gaddafi in the way that they did.

And in order to do it, AFRICOM stepped in and played a major role in recruiting local forces within Libya to attack Gaddafi. They chose to establish relationships with some of the worst elements in Libya. In fact, one of the groups that they established a relationship with was one which, by its very name, said that its mission was to eliminate black people from Libya. And so they gave guns, heavy artillery, to all kinds of people in Libya, with the hope and expectation that they would, you know, carry out this overthrow of the Libyan government and assassinate Gaddafi. That played itself out, but those weapons were still there. And—

AMYGOODMAN: Professor Horace Campbell, we just have 30 seconds. Your final comment in talking about what’s happened in this latest attack in Niger—also five Nigeriens were killed—not to mention what happened in Somalia with over 358 dead?

HORACECAMPBELL: I want to follow up on the point about what happened in Libya and why the progressive forces must continue to press for a United Nations investigation in what happened in Libya. I spelled all this out in my book, Global NATOand the Catastrophic Failure in Libya.

What is happening in Niger is a continuation of what happened in Libya. France is in deep crisis. France is over—has taken over as undersecretary of peacekeeping forces in the United Nations. France tried to put a resolution through the United Nations Security Council to get more money for France in Niger, in Chad, in Mali and Burkina Faso.

AMYGOODMAN: Horace Campbell, we’re going to have to leave it there, and Mark Fancher, as well, but we’ll do Part 2 and post it online at democracynow.org.

AMYGOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, was we continue to examine the U.S. military presence in Africa and what happened during the ambush of U.S. Special Forces in the West African nation of Niger, which is now the subject of both a military and FBI investigation, with the death of four Green Berets, five Nigerien soldiers, and at the same time, you have President Trump attacking the African-American congresswoman, friend of the La David Johnson family. The widow herself feels under attack, as well, by the president of the United States.

We’ll look at all of this with Horace Campbell. He’s in Luanda, Angola. Professor Campbell is currently spending a year in West Africa as the Kwame Nkrumah chair at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, peace and justice scholar and professor of African American studies and political science at Syracuse University in New York.

You’re now in Luanda, Angola, Professor Campbell, but I wanted to go back to Part 1 of our conversation, where we started to talk about Libya. You say in order to understand what’s happening in Niger, we have to understand what has happened in Libya. Can you take us down that path?

HORACECAMPBELL: Thank you, Amy. And, you know, I wrote a book called Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa in the Forging of African Unity. We now know, as was said on this program, that Sarkozy of France said that France went into Libya to save the Europe. There are 14 African countries who cannot have independent monetary and fiscal policy because their currency is tied to the euro through France. Now, France mobilized jihadists, those who are called terrorists, especially from among the Tuareg, in Libya to fight. France mobilized jihadists to overthrow Gaddafi. Those same jihadists were guided to Mali to overthrow the people and to disrupt the situation in Mali. The same France that mobilized the jihadists then went to the United Nations in 2013 to get the United Nations Security Council to support France to fight against terrorism. This is duplicity.

The same thing is happening with Chad. Chad had 4,000 troops fighting in Libya. Chad is part of this five-nation-plus-one that is working with France to destabilize West Africa and the Sahel. Now, the United States has recently placed the government of Chad on the list of countries that have a Muslim ban. And the United States call the government of Chad duplicitous. It is the same government of France and Chad and the United States of America that is working to undermine efforts of the African Union to bring peace and reconstruction and the African currency to Africa.

So what we must be clear about to the progressive forces in the United States of America, that neither France nor the United States can have any political legitimacy in Africa, when on the streets of the United States of America fascists are walking around with Nazi flags and police are killing black people. I want to go back to the point that we made at the beginning. United States has no legitimacy for fighting terrorism in Africa, because you cannot fight to defend black lives in Africa when black lives are not important in the United States of America.

AMYGOODMAN: Professor Campbell, I don’t know how much you’re following back in the United States as you’re there in Angola, but I wanted to go to this unusual news conference that the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Joseph Dunford had on Monday laying out a timeline of the deadly October 4th Niger ambush in which five Niger soldiers and four U.S. soldiers were killed while on patrol, promising the military would conduct a thorough and transparent investigation.

The general’s explanation came as the widow of U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson spoke out against Donald Trump’s handling of the aftermath of her husband’s death, saying during a condolence call the president couldn’t remember the name of her husband. In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America Monday, Myeshia Johnson reaffirmed she and others heard President Trump say, quote, "He knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway." You know, that statement refutes Trump’s claim that the remark was "totally fabricated."

So you have here in the United States the widow of one of the four Green Berets and the congressmember, both African-American, Frederica Wilson, who’s a dear friend of the Johnson family, making these allegations against Trump on the morning of the funeral of La David Johnson. President Trump did not tweet honoring La David Johnson. He attacked the congressmember as "wacky." Both of these women are African-American. And, of course, Sergeant La David Johnson was the only African-American of the four Green Berets who died in Niger. Can you make this connection around everything that has happened, Professor Campbell?

HORACECAMPBELL: We should send our condolences to Mrs. Johnson, because what is being played out with the congresswoman and Mrs. Johnson is a reflection of the relationship between the present White House and African population in the United States of America. We know the history of Donald Trump, the Republicans and the conservative forces, when it comes to the African people in the United States of America. It was inevitable that we would have this relationship, because one of the difficulties for the United States in Africa is that it’s very nervous about the presence of black people in the U.S. military, because if black people in the U.S. military get in touch with the revolutionary forces in Africa, then it could create bigger problems for the United States of America. So the nervousness that we see at the top of the U.S. military, in the White House, over its relationship with black people was manifest in what happened with the congresswoman and with Mrs. Johnson.

And what we should be doing is to intensify the call for the dismantling of the U.S. Africa Command, and that every cent that is being spent within the U.S. Africa Command to militarize and destabilize Africa should go to reconstruction in Detroit, in the inner cities and to provide water, healthcare and education for people in the United States of America. Africa is very rich. Africa can reconstruct itself, if the United States is not in Africa to ensure that the dollar is the currency of world trade and that African dictators send billions of dollars out of Africa to keep the dollar as the international currency.

AMYGOODMAN: Professor Campbell, before we go, we talked about Niger, five Nigerien soldiers killed, four U.S. Green Berets killed. In Somalia, over, it looks like, 358 Somalis were killed in what’s known now as the Mogadishu massacre. It may be—there’s speculation that the Somali involved with this terrible bombing, his own village was drone-struck this summer. Can you talk about what happened in Somalia and also this trip that the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is now in the midst of, in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo?

HORACECAMPBELL: Let us be clear: The United States is very weak in Africa. I was in Djibouti in May, where the United States has 4,000 troops, the largest number of troops in Africa. They’re basically prisoners there. In 1993, we had the incident of the United States being militarily defeated in Somalia and this famous case called Black Hawk Down. It was decided then that the United States would not re-enter Somalia because the presence of United States troops instigate memories of the United States presence in Somalia and would be a recruiting tool for those who are extremists in Somalia.

Well, the situation is like this in Somalia, that the people of Kenya want the Kenyan troops to withdraw from Somalia. Uganda plans to withdraw from Somalia. Next door, in Ethiopia, there’s a revolutionary situation in Ethiopia, and Ethiopia cannot deploy troops into Somalia as it did in the past. Then, the United States have to deploy troops in Somalia in order to quell the possibilities of revolution in Ethiopia and to support the conservative forces in Kenya—if you note that the head of the Africa Command said to the Kenyan people that electing Raila Odinga would be wrong, because Raila Odinga is calling for U.S. troops to depart from Somalia.

So, the United States, by going back into Somalia, has a number of reasons: one, to intensify the destabilization of Somalia; number two, to prop up those conservative governments in Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya, who have troops in Somalia; and, number three, more importantly, to act as an ally of Saudi Arabia, Israel, in the planned war against the people of Iran. It is for those reasons why we have to see the United States’ militarization of the region as part of its failed militarization of the Near East and Iraq and Afghanistan. And Africans will not tolerate this militarization. So, the United States’ presence in Africa is creating the basis for supporting military dictators, as we have in Ethiopia.

AMYGOODMAN: And the visit of Nikki Haley, the significance of where else she is going, like the Democratic Republic of Congo?

HORACECAMPBELL: Yes. Nikki Haley is someone who doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on in Africa. And in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we have, again, a situation where, for 40 years, the United States has supported the oppressive forces, after assisting in the killing of Patrice Lumumba. Again, in that society, the African Union, the peacekeeping forces and the democratic forces want peace. There is a collaboration between the United Nations peacekeeping forces and the government of the Congo to ensure that the situation remain destabilized so that the Congo can be looted. The same about South Sudan, where we have more generals than schoolteachers—I’m sorry, more generals in South Sudan than—the amount of generals is so much that millions of dollars are being spent on both sides. And the African Union had an investigation into how to bring peace into South Sudan. Nikki Haley, the United Nations, United States of America are stirring up fires in Africa to ensure that there’s no peace in Africa.

AMYGOODMAN: Well, we’ll have to leave it there, and I thank you very much, Horace Campbell, for joining us, joining us today from Luanda, Angola, currently spending a year in West Africa as the Kwame Nkrumah chair at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, peace and justice scholar and professor of African American studies and political science at Syracuse University in New York. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report.


Posted By Czar Donic to The Absurd Times at 10/24/2017 04:41:00 PM

Finally, Why Gaddafi Had to Go

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on October 24, 2017

THE ABSURD TIMES

Finally, the truth about Lybia.

Illustration: A rare glimpse of Trump or ex-French President before morphing into their modern shapes.

Finally, we get the facts from somewhere else than here on why Gaddafi had to go. Thought I’d pass it along.

AMYGOODMAN: Mark Fancher, can you talk about what the U.S. troops are doing right now in Niger? I’m surprised many a number of senators, although apparently they’ve been briefed several times this year—that at least 800 U.S. soldiers are in Niger right now. Can you talk about why a drone base is being built? Can you talk about where Agadez is, what they’re doing both in Niger and in other places in that region?

MARKFANCHER: Well, it’s not just Niger. What many people also don’t know is that this level of military presence can be found in many countries throughout Africa—most of them, as a matter fact. Since 2007, the United States has been expanding its reach and has been planting small groups of people in various different locations, not always with what would be regarded as military bases, but as embassy-based operation centers, where they carry out military training and different operations using African armies. So, it’s no different in Niger. And the use of drones is just an extension of the basic idea of carrying out reconnaissance missions, and sometimes actual attacks, without putting U.S. troops at risk. So, this is very much par for the course.

And I really think it’s important to really understand what has happened in Africa over the last 10 years. In 2007, when AFRICOM was created, the presence of terrorists, to the extent that we see them now, was—there was nothing comparable. The presence, if any, was minimal. What was going on in Africa at the time was that you had organizations like the Movement to Emancipate the Niger Delta, or MEND, which had engaged in very militant kinds of attacks on U.S. oil installations, breaking up pipelines, kidnapping U.S. oil company and Western oil company personnel, and issuing a threat in 2006 that they could not guarantee the safety of either the facilities of oil companies in and about Nigeria and in that region or the people who were sent there to work on them. It was at that moment that the United States decided that it was going to set up this special command, which was unprecedented, for Africa exclusively.

You know, you also see what was happening during that period was what they branded as piracy off the coastal waters of Somalia. These were fishermen whose waters had been contaminated by people who had come in and had plundered and raided their fishing facilities and had made them unable to engage in a livelihood. And in retaliation, they began to attack those boats and ships that were coming through those waterways, which was a major international shipping lane.

So, these twin concerns about access to the coastal region in Somalia, the oil that was being produced in the Niger Delta and in the Gulf of Guinea, those were the primary drivers for the creation of AFRICOM. And the more that the U.S. military established a presence in that region and throughout Africa, the more terrorism tended to grow.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Mark Fancher, I wanted to ask you about another key event in the history of Africa, the recent history of Africa, which was the U.S. participation in the overthrow of Gaddafi and the situation in Libya. To what degree did the total destabilization of Libya and the—Libya is now, in essence, a failed state—have an impact on the growth of extremism and terrorist groups in other parts of Africa?

MARKFANCHER: Oh, it had a huge impact. And if you look at the infamous emails of Hillary Clinton, which are available at the State Department’s website, you see an email exchange where State Department personnel are talking very frankly about their conversations with Sarkozy about his interest in overthrowing Gaddafi because he wanted two things. One, he wanted to eliminate the threat of a pan-African currency, gold-backed currency, that Gaddafi wanted to establish, because he was afraid that it would devalue the franc. And he also wanted access to Gaddafi and Libya’s oil fields. That was the bottom line for why they went after Gaddafi in the way that they did.

And in order to do it, AFRICOM stepped in and played a major role in recruiting local forces within Libya to attack Gaddafi. They chose to establish relationships with some of the worst elements in Libya. In fact, one of the groups that they established a relationship with was one which, by its very name, said that its mission was to eliminate black people from Libya. And so they gave guns, heavy artillery, to all kinds of people in Libya, with the hope and expectation that they would, you know, carry out this overthrow of the Libyan government and assassinate Gaddafi. That played itself out, but those weapons were still there. And—

AMYGOODMAN: Professor Horace Campbell, we just have 30 seconds. Your final comment in talking about what’s happened in this latest attack in Niger—also five Nigeriens were killed—not to mention what happened in Somalia with over 358 dead?

HORACECAMPBELL: I want to follow up on the point about what happened in Libya and why the progressive forces must continue to press for a United Nations investigation in what happened in Libya. I spelled all this out in my book, Global NATOand the Catastrophic Failure in Libya.

What is happening in Niger is a continuation of what happened in Libya. France is in deep crisis. France is over—has taken over as undersecretary of peacekeeping forces in the United Nations. France tried to put a resolution through the United Nations Security Council to get more money for France in Niger, in Chad, in Mali and Burkina Faso.

AMYGOODMAN: Horace Campbell, we’re going to have to leave it there, and Mark Fancher, as well, but we’ll do Part 2 and post it online at democracynow.org.

AMYGOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, was we continue to examine the U.S. military presence in Africa and what happened during the ambush of U.S. Special Forces in the West African nation of Niger, which is now the subject of both a military and FBI investigation, with the death of four Green Berets, five Nigerien soldiers, and at the same time, you have President Trump attacking the African-American congresswoman, friend of the La David Johnson family. The widow herself feels under attack, as well, by the president of the United States.

We’ll look at all of this with Horace Campbell. He’s in Luanda, Angola. Professor Campbell is currently spending a year in West Africa as the Kwame Nkrumah chair at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, peace and justice scholar and professor of African American studies and political science at Syracuse University in New York.

You’re now in Luanda, Angola, Professor Campbell, but I wanted to go back to Part 1 of our conversation, where we started to talk about Libya. You say in order to understand what’s happening in Niger, we have to understand what has happened in Libya. Can you take us down that path?

HORACECAMPBELL: Thank you, Amy. And, you know, I wrote a book called Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa in the Forging of African Unity. We now know, as was said on this program, that Sarkozy of France said that France went into Libya to save the Europe. There are 14 African countries who cannot have independent monetary and fiscal policy because their currency is tied to the euro through France. Now, France mobilized jihadists, those who are called terrorists, especially from among the Tuareg, in Libya to fight. France mobilized jihadists to overthrow Gaddafi. Those same jihadists were guided to Mali to overthrow the people and to disrupt the situation in Mali. The same France that mobilized the jihadists then went to the United Nations in 2013 to get the United Nations Security Council to support France to fight against terrorism. This is duplicity.

The same thing is happening with Chad. Chad had 4,000 troops fighting in Libya. Chad is part of this five-nation-plus-one that is working with France to destabilize West Africa and the Sahel. Now, the United States has recently placed the government of Chad on the list of countries that have a Muslim ban. And the United States call the government of Chad duplicitous. It is the same government of France and Chad and the United States of America that is working to undermine efforts of the African Union to bring peace and reconstruction and the African currency to Africa.

So what we must be clear about to the progressive forces in the United States of America, that neither France nor the United States can have any political legitimacy in Africa, when on the streets of the United States of America fascists are walking around with Nazi flags and police are killing black people. I want to go back to the point that we made at the beginning. United States has no legitimacy for fighting terrorism in Africa, because you cannot fight to defend black lives in Africa when black lives are not important in the United States of America.

AMYGOODMAN: Professor Campbell, I don’t know how much you’re following back in the United States as you’re there in Angola, but I wanted to go to this unusual news conference that the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Joseph Dunford had on Monday laying out a timeline of the deadly October 4th Niger ambush in which five Niger soldiers and four U.S. soldiers were killed while on patrol, promising the military would conduct a thorough and transparent investigation.

The general’s explanation came as the widow of U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson spoke out against Donald Trump’s handling of the aftermath of her husband’s death, saying during a condolence call the president couldn’t remember the name of her husband. In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America Monday, Myeshia Johnson reaffirmed she and others heard President Trump say, quote, “He knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway.” You know, that statement refutes Trump’s claim that the remark was “totally fabricated.”

So you have here in the United States the widow of one of the four Green Berets and the congressmember, both African-American, Frederica Wilson, who’s a dear friend of the Johnson family, making these allegations against Trump on the morning of the funeral of La David Johnson. President Trump did not tweet honoring La David Johnson. He attacked the congressmember as “wacky.” Both of these women are African-American. And, of course, Sergeant La David Johnson was the only African-American of the four Green Berets who died in Niger. Can you make this connection around everything that has happened, Professor Campbell?

HORACECAMPBELL: We should send our condolences to Mrs. Johnson, because what is being played out with the congresswoman and Mrs. Johnson is a reflection of the relationship between the present White House and African population in the United States of America. We know the history of Donald Trump, the Republicans and the conservative forces, when it comes to the African people in the United States of America. It was inevitable that we would have this relationship, because one of the difficulties for the United States in Africa is that it’s very nervous about the presence of black people in the U.S. military, because if black people in the U.S. military get in touch with the revolutionary forces in Africa, then it could create bigger problems for the United States of America. So the nervousness that we see at the top of the U.S. military, in the White House, over its relationship with black people was manifest in what happened with the congresswoman and with Mrs. Johnson.

And what we should be doing is to intensify the call for the dismantling of the U.S. Africa Command, and that every cent that is being spent within the U.S. Africa Command to militarize and destabilize Africa should go to reconstruction in Detroit, in the inner cities and to provide water, healthcare and education for people in the United States of America. Africa is very rich. Africa can reconstruct itself, if the United States is not in Africa to ensure that the dollar is the currency of world trade and that African dictators send billions of dollars out of Africa to keep the dollar as the international currency.

AMYGOODMAN: Professor Campbell, before we go, we talked about Niger, five Nigerien soldiers killed, four U.S. Green Berets killed. In Somalia, over, it looks like, 358 Somalis were killed in what’s known now as the Mogadishu massacre. It may be—there’s speculation that the Somali involved with this terrible bombing, his own village was drone-struck this summer. Can you talk about what happened in Somalia and also this trip that the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is now in the midst of, in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo?

HORACECAMPBELL: Let us be clear: The United States is very weak in Africa. I was in Djibouti in May, where the United States has 4,000 troops, the largest number of troops in Africa. They’re basically prisoners there. In 1993, we had the incident of the United States being militarily defeated in Somalia and this famous case called Black Hawk Down. It was decided then that the United States would not re-enter Somalia because the presence of United States troops instigate memories of the United States presence in Somalia and would be a recruiting tool for those who are extremists in Somalia.

Well, the situation is like this in Somalia, that the people of Kenya want the Kenyan troops to withdraw from Somalia. Uganda plans to withdraw from Somalia. Next door, in Ethiopia, there’s a revolutionary situation in Ethiopia, and Ethiopia cannot deploy troops into Somalia as it did in the past. Then, the United States have to deploy troops in Somalia in order to quell the possibilities of revolution in Ethiopia and to support the conservative forces in Kenya—if you note that the head of the Africa Command said to the Kenyan people that electing Raila Odinga would be wrong, because Raila Odinga is calling for U.S. troops to depart from Somalia.

So, the United States, by going back into Somalia, has a number of reasons: one, to intensify the destabilization of Somalia; number two, to prop up those conservative governments in Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya, who have troops in Somalia; and, number three, more importantly, to act as an ally of Saudi Arabia, Israel, in the planned war against the people of Iran. It is for those reasons why we have to see the United States’ militarization of the region as part of its failed militarization of the Near East and Iraq and Afghanistan. And Africans will not tolerate this militarization. So, the United States’ presence in Africa is creating the basis for supporting military dictators, as we have in Ethiopia.

AMYGOODMAN: And the visit of Nikki Haley, the significance of where else she is going, like the Democratic Republic of Congo?

HORACECAMPBELL: Yes. Nikki Haley is someone who doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on in Africa. And in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we have, again, a situation where, for 40 years, the United States has supported the oppressive forces, after assisting in the killing of Patrice Lumumba. Again, in that society, the African Union, the peacekeeping forces and the democratic forces want peace. There is a collaboration between the United Nations peacekeeping forces and the government of the Congo to ensure that the situation remain destabilized so that the Congo can be looted. The same about South Sudan, where we have more generals than schoolteachers—I’m sorry, more generals in South Sudan than—the amount of generals is so much that millions of dollars are being spent on both sides. And the African Union had an investigation into how to bring peace into South Sudan. Nikki Haley, the United Nations, United States of America are stirring up fires in Africa to ensure that there’s no peace in Africa.

AMYGOODMAN: Well, we’ll have to leave it there, and I thank you very much, Horace Campbell, for joining us, joining us today from Luanda, Angola, currently spending a year in West Africa as the Kwame Nkrumah chair at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, peace and justice scholar and professor of African American studies and political science at Syracuse University in New York. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report.

Oh Well. . .

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on October 15, 2017

THE ABSURD TIMES

Nothing more be said about Vegas.

And a wise man pointed out that all the fires in California make the North Korean Nukes seem much less ominous.

SPORTS? OR SPURTS?

It has been while that the insanity continued and it’s pretty late to try to catch up now. This begs the question: Why would anyone want to?

So, let’s start with the National anthem. It is nothing more than one long rhetorical question to which the only possible correct answer can be NO. I don’t see it now, some 250 odd years later.

What about kneeling during it? We really never really got that part, but it is supposedly a protest against racism, especially manifested by cops killing balck people who are unarmed and running away from them and then the cops saying in court “I feared for my life.” Not guilty.

Today, our Moron in Chief wants any NFL owner to bench any player who kneels during the anthem. Now, the editor here would not play football, even though asked to. He did teach other players how to throw a spiral and how to hit moving targets and all that, but being attacked by a bunch of angry thugs who outweighed him by about 100 pounds was not appealing to him.

So now, think about this: the defensive linemen are supposed to stop those angry morons until the quarterback throws the ball. The quarterback is clearly the most vital member of the team as he calls plays, directs traffic, and actually has a three digit IQ. Now, suppose three or four defensive linemen decide to kneel. Is the quarterback going to be stupid enough to play? In he does, how long will he last? It just will not work. And that is the end of the sports section.

Fake News

This is interesting. He threatens NBC’s license, but it doesn’t have one. The FCC gives licenses to individual TV and Radio stations that use the “Public Airwaves”. That’s why Sirius, Fox, etc can send out whatever they want (so long as it is profitable.

Although the meeting took place long ago in Trump time, it was only last Wednesday that he heard Tillerson call him a “Fucking Moron.” I imagine this means he doesn’t listen? Or that NBC should lose its “license”?

Never mind, during the meeting he wanted to increase the nuclear weapons by a great deal. This should bother nobody, as a widespread nuclear war would end the hurricanes. In fact, it should end everything. “A consummation devoutly to be wished.”

Obama as Key

This is important to think about. Foreign leaders tell us that when faced with a decision, he asks them “What would Obama do?” and then does the opposite. So, all we really have to do to straighten things out is to get him to believe that Obama wanted to do all the crazy things Trump has done and so on. That way, he’d reverse policy.

His moves on Iran mean absolutely nothing. Only Nitwityahoo is excited about him. This name for the Israeli rime Minister has caused confusion. So, a Yahoo is a character in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Book 4. There, the most developed life forms are horses and “human beings” live mainly in trees, throwing feces at whatever, and shouting ‘YAHOO!” (Hence their name.) It seems also to be a favorite expression amongst fraternities in the United States during College football Season with consumption of alcohol. “Nit wit” seems self-explanatory.

Conclusion

As we think about it, there is little point in continuing. Suffice to say that the Trump Presidency is muck like Trump University – except that we are all unwilling classmates in it.

Chomsky on Trump

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on October 3, 2017

THE ABSURD TIMES

We thought you should have this. Best to use the link:

ZCommunications

Chomsky on Trump

Recently, Noam Chomsky wrote about the new book RPS/2044:

“Basing himself on a lifetime of dedicated and highly productive activism and many years of detailed inquiry into the kind of society to which we should aspire, Mike Albert has now undertaken a novel and imaginative approach to leading us to think seriously about these fundamental issues and concerns – which may fade under the impact of immediate demands but should be prominent in our minds as we develop ways to deal with concerns of the moment More than anyone I know, Mike has emphasized the need to relate long-term vision to devising practical strategies for today. This imaginative oral history from the future is a provocative and most welcome contribution to this urgent and ever-present task.”

In an interview conducted by David Barsamian excerpted from Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy, the new book by Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian to be published this December, CHomsky said the following about Trump and immediate social issues:

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David Barsamian: You have spoken about the difference between Trump’s buffoonery, which gets endlessly covered by the media, and the actual policies he is striving to enact, which receive less attention. Do you think he has any coherent economic, political, or international policy goals? What has Trump actually managed to accomplish in his first months in office?

Noam Chomsky: There is a diversionary process under way, perhaps just a natural result of the propensities of the figure at center stage and those doing the work behind the curtains.

At one level, Trump’s antics ensure that attention is focused on him, and it makes little difference how. Who even remembers the charge that millions of illegal immigrants voted for Clinton, depriving the pathetic little man of his Grand Victory? Or the accusation that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower? The claims themselves don’t really matter. It’s enough that attention is diverted from what is happening in the background. There, out of the spotlight, the most savage fringe of the Republican Party is carefully advancing policies designed to enrich their true constituency: the Constituency of private power and wealth, “the masters of mankind,” to borrow Adam Smith’s phrase.

These policies will harm the irrelevant general population and devastate future generations, but that’s of little concern to the Republicans. They’ve been trying to push through similarly destructive legislation for years. Paul Ryan, for example, has long been advertising his ideal of virtually eliminating the federal government, apart from service to the Constituency — though in the past he’s wrapped his proposals in spreadsheets so they would look wonkish to commentators. Now, while attention is focused on Trump’s latest mad doings, the Ryan gang and the executive branch are ramming through legislation and orders that undermine workers’ rights, cripple consumer protections, and severely harm rural communities. They seek to devastate health programs, revoking the taxes that pay for them in order to further enrich their Constituency, and to eviscerate the Dodd-Frank Act, which imposed some much-needed constraints on the predatory financial system that grew during the neoliberal period.

That’s just a sample of how the wrecking ball is being wielded by the newly empowered Republican Party. Indeed, it is no longer a political party in the traditional sense. Conservative political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have described it more accurately as a “radical insurgency,” one that has abandoned normal parliamentary politics.

Much of this is being carried out stealthily, in closed sessions, with as little public notice as possible. Other Republican policies are more open, such as pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, thereby isolating the U.S. as a pariah state that refuses to participate in international efforts to confront looming environmental disaster. Even worse, they are intent on maximizing the use of fossil fuels, including the most dangerous; dismantling regulations; and sharply cutting back on research and development of alternative energy sources, which will soon be necessary for decent survival.

The reasons behind the policies are a mix. Some are simply service to the Constituency. Others are of little concern to the “masters of mankind” but are designed to hold on to segments of the voting bloc that the Republicans have cobbled together, since Republican policies have shifted so far to the right that their actual proposals would not attract voters. For example, terminating support for family planning is not service to the Constituency. Indeed, that group may mostly support family planning. But terminating that support appeals to the evangelical Christian base

ANOTHER MIXED BAG OF TOONS AND IMAGES FOR A MIXED UP WORLD

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on September 28, 2017

Desertpeace

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Jeff Koterba, Omaha World Herald

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Kneeling for LIBERTY

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Today in American sports… We salute the athletes who took a knee.
Reminiscent of prayer, like in this photo of MLK and Ralph Abernathy, prior to going to jail in Selma, Alabama. Much more will be asked of us in the coming months.

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Latuff added the following …

With 40 years of soft war against Iran, will Trump finally be the president to send Americans to die in an Israeli war?

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Waterboarding Liberty

Where your tax dollars go …

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Bottom line is …

Whatever you allow the Government to do to others 🤔 it will eventually do to you DUMBASS

View original post

The Absurd Times TRUMP THE VULGAR

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on September 26, 2017

THE ABSURD TIMES

What we are all about:

Seems to fit:

Palestine: just a reminder

Trump the Vulgar

So, what does vulgar mean? It does not mean swear words. What we have in mind is something between that and what the original term "Vulgate" meant when books were published in languages other than Latin so the "common" people could read them.

Our President gave the most vulgar speech by a U.S. President in the history of the United Nations. At the time, we simply stated: "Friends, Delegates, and Heads of State. Lend me your ears! He doth not speak for me nor doth he in my manner, this man of Orange." That is enough.

Someone very prescient suggested that, instead of the National Anthem, which was made a tradition in football in 2009, perhaps a stirring rendition of the Bill of Rights would be appropriate: At least a summary of some of the key points. That is what it is all about, anyway.

Once in high school several of us were sent to the discipline office, run by the Vice Principal, who had also been my baseball coach. Since the idea was to investigate a lack of patriotism, we were asked why we did not sing it. Several answers where: 1) the range is too wide and I can not hit all of those notes, 2) it is scored in the key of X but was played in Y, and 3), mine, "it is one long rhetorical question to which the only logical answer is ‘no’." After he thought a bit about that, he said all we had to do was mouth the words and "fake it". I started to protest, but he stopped me immediately, saying, "Hold on, I know you are very good at faking hitters out and you can at least fake out the monitor there." That was the end of that.

Have we officially recognized Global Warming yet?

North Korea in protest called our President a "dotard," leading to the intense online search for definitions by the U.S. citizenry. The BBC immediately knew that it meant and how to pronounce it (showoffs) and the major U.S. Networks caught on in a matter of hours. I pointed out that it "does not rhyme with not! That seemed to help.

Someone mentioned that, thus, North Korea has done more to advance American literacy than Betsy Devoss (our Secretary of Education and sister of Blackwater owner). It is said that she had something to do with not shooting bears near a high school and has also made it easier for college guys to rape people, it seems.

Much has been made of Putin interfering with the election. Well, yes, what do you expect? He had no desire to see Clinton elected and was able to screw up the U.S. well with Trump. What would you expect? He’s happy. And if you are so upset with the hacking of Podesta’s e-mails, his account was on AOL and his password was PASSWORD. He had also been warned ahead of time by the FBI. We have not yet decided which was more disturbing, AOL or the lousy password. Also, much has been said about Russia spending 100K on Facebook Ads. What a huge sum compared to donations given to Trump by Billionaires. Why, it almost amounts to 20 seconds of their earned income. Many who voted for Trump in the key states (Wisconsin, Michigan, and even Pennsylvania), had voted for Obama in 2008. This was not the case with his "base".

Nuclear disarmament in Korea? I think that the lesson of Saddam and Gaddafi will make North Korea think twice, if even once. Even if we think we can easily shoot down one of the armed missiles, they could rig it so that it would explode prior to impact emitting an Electromagnetic pulse that would fry a great deal of electronic equipment on the west coast. Well, before you dismiss the idea, remember that Trump lost the entire west coast in the last election.

You may wish to reflect upon the last great international nuclear crisis, the Cuban missile crisis. At that time, the opposing leaders were Mikita Kruschev (who survived Stalin and became leader of the Soviet Union) and JFK to be remember forever. Today we have a 32 year old kid who kills his Uncles, brothers, and whomever to stay in power and who never led a country and our President whose governmental service is limited to what we have seen since the inauguration, a dotard. Things look grim indeed.

One final observation before we leave you with a very apt discussion of the NFL v. Trump, who obviously does not know what "Mother" means to many of these players, as he does not understand their culture. Colin’s (#7) mother tweeted: "Guess that makes me a proud ‘bitch’."

From Democracy Now:

In the biggest display of athletic defiance in years, football teams across the nation protested President Donald Trump after he attacked the NFL, NBA and some of their most popular athletes for daring to draw attention to racism and police violence. We look at the unprecedented role of political activism among athletes under the Trump presidency and the politics of playing the national anthem at games. We speak with Dr. Harry Edwards, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of several books, including "The Revolt of the Black Athlete," reissued this year for its 50th anniversary edition. He was the architect of the 1968 Olympic Project for Human Rights and is a longtime staff consultant with the San Francisco 49ers. We’re also joined by Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation magazine, who notes that playing the national anthem before games has a long and hallowed history that goes back to the days of "Jersey Shore" and Justin Bieber.

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