Saturday, November 12, 2016

Century of Injustice: The Balfour and Cambon Declarations 100 Years Later

Balfour and Cambon Declarations

by Mazin Qumsiyeh -

November 12, 2016

Towards the 100th anniversary of the infamous Balfour Declaration: We all need to act to highlight its catastrophic consequences, push for an apology for this and act on BDS and for a one democratic state. There was a parallel French declaration by since the 1916 Sykes-Pico agreement between imperial French and British governments set aside Palestine for British rule, it was the British

Below is what I wrote in my 2004 book about Balfour and Cambon Declarations:

The events leading up to the support of Britain and France for Zionist aspirations have received little historical discussion. In examining historical documents of powerful nations like France and Britain, we find these nations issuing declarations to support the Zionist aspirations. This came in France first with a letter sent from Jules Cambon, Secretary General of the French Foreign Ministry to Nahum Sokolow (at the time head of the political wing of the World Zionist Organization based in London) dated June 4, 1917:

"You were kind enough to inform me of your project regarding the expansion of the Jewish colonization of Palestine. You expressed to me that, if the circumstances were allowing for that, and if on another hand, the independence of the holy sites was guaranteed, it would then be a work of justice and retribution for the allied forces to help the renaissance of the Jewish nationality on the land from which the Jewish people were exiled so many centuries ago. The French Government, which entered this present war to defend a people wrongly attacked, and which continues the struggle to assure victory of right over might, cannot but feel sympathy for your cause, the triumph of which is bound up with that of the Allies. I am happy to give you herewith such assurance" (7).

Some five months later, on November 2, 1917, the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour conveyed to Lord Rothschild a similar declaration of sympathy with Zionist aspirations. It stated that:

"His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

Palestinians and others in the Arab world were immediately alarmed. This declaration was issued when Britain had no jurisdiction over the area, and was done without consultation of the inhabitants of the land that was to become a "national home for the Jewish people." The declaration also wanted to protect "rights and political status" of Jews who choose not to immigrate to Palestine. However, the native Palestinians are simply referred to as non-Jews and their political rights are not mentioned but only their "civic and religious rights".

Lord Balfour wrote in a private memorandum sent to Lord Curzon, his successor at the Foreign Office (Curzon initially opposed Zionism) on 11 August 1919:

"For in Palestine we do not propose to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants ... The four great powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land." (8)

The Jules and Balfour declarations are two documents that demonstrate the support made to the Zionist supranational entity that facilitated giving them control over a land that neither of the two governments had control of at the time Some British authors have provided explanations of this support based on a quid pro quo for Weizman's contribution to the British war efforts through such efforts as the development of better chemicals for explosives. Some argued that it was related to Britain's simple domestic situation with many Zionists both in the government and among the electorate. It could also be argued that Britain and France now had more reason had to benefit from a revival of their early 1840s desires to settle European Jews in Palestine as a way of a structural remodeling of Middle East geopolitics. Undermining the Ottoman Empire, which was now allied with Germany, provides only partial explanation and a poor one at best.

Jewish population in Palestine at the time was minuscule and most and was hardly in any position to engage in resistance against the Ottoman Empire. By contrast, nationalistic Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula were willing to oppose the Ottoman Empire and eager to liberate their native lands from the grip of the Turks. England in fact promised to support their independence as a result of their convergent interests as supported by documents such as the British correspondence with Sharif Hussain of Arabia and in the memoirs of T. E. Lawrence ("of Arabia"). As historians do, there is much argument about the factors and their relative importance that led to the decisions made by the governments in question. Much is now written about how the US entered the war and the possible role of influential corporate interests and US Zionists in bringing the US media and government to support the war efforts.

The British had also made a promise of independence to the Arabs if they aided them in opposing the Ottoman Empire. This was one of many "promises" but it was the one that was to over-ride all others as concrete actions were to reveal in just a short period of time. It important to note that these governments declared their public support for Zionism, even while simultaneously making private assurances to Arabs. The British and French public support was later joined by the Americans.

With acquiescence by the ailing President Wilson and an American administration slowly sinking into isolationism, the British had a free hand to implement their plans in Palestine. Palestinians, both Christians and Muslims, rioted against the British forces on February 27, 1920 in Jerusalem. The British command in Palestine recommended that the Balfour Declaration be revoked. However, the British leadership in London did not share the views of their soldiers and commanders in Palestine. As soon as Britain managed to secure the League of Nations mandate, it replaced its military governor there with a Zionist Jew: Sir Herbert Samuel as the first High Commissioner of Palestine (1920-25). It was Samuel who so effectively coached Weizmann during the Balfour negotiations. After Samuel became high commissioner, Jewish immigration greatly increased, and with it Palestinian resistance. Herbert Samuel and the Zionist leaning colonial offices in Palestine proceeded to set up the political, legal, and the economic underpinning for transforming the area to a Jewish country. Britain, with the acquiescence of other great powers, acquired the powers needed for its colonial venture. At the World Zionist Organization meeting held in London in July 1920, a new financial arm was established named the Keren Hayesod. The British-drafted Palestine mandate referred to this economic imperial structure:

"An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognised as a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration to assist and take part in the development of the country. The Zionist organization, so long as its organization and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognised as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty's Government to secure the co-operation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home." (9)

The fund was registered on March 23, 1921, as a British limited company. The executive of the Zionist Organization chose the chairman of the board and its members Funds that were collected helped finance the two largest projects to industrialize Palestine in the late 1920s; the Electric Company and the Palestine Potash Company (PPC) (10). Moshe Novemiesky, a leading Zionist, founded the PPC. In 1929, the British Colonial Office gave a concession to develop mineral resources in the Dead Sea to the PPC. The PPC was instrumental in generating large amounts of money funneled to the Zionist program. In 1952, after the state of Israel was established, the company became an Israeli State nationalized agency called the Dead Sea Works (11).

Arthur Rogers described the contribution of this British Concession to financing the Zionist movement after 1929 in his 1948 book (12). In the book there is a description of the report by the colonial office in 1925 on the fabulous wealth to be derived from the Dead Sea minerals. There is also a report of a Zionist Conference in Australia in 1929 in which Zionists were ecstatic about the fact that Britain gave this concession to a committed Zionist by the name of Novomiesky.

As early as October 25, 1919 Winston Churchill predicted that Zionism implied the clearing of the indigenous population, he wrote: "there are the Jews, whom we are pledged to introduce into Palestine, and who take it for granted the local population will be cleared out to suit their convenience".13 In public, Churchill sought to assure the Arabs that Britain was pursuing a humane policy of limited Jewish immigration, that there is space without displacing native Arabs, and there is no need for Jewish State. But British private cabinet meeting minutes of October 1941 speak differently:

"I may say at once that if Britain and the United States emerged victorious from the war, the creation of a great Jewish state in Palestine inhabited by millions of Jews will be one of the leading features of the peace conference discussions" (14).

This of course was contrary to the conclusion reached two years earlier by the British commission of inquiry at the end of the Palestinian uprising of 1936-1939. This Paper stated:

"The Royal Commission and previous commissions of Enquiry have drawn attention to the ambiguity of certain expressions in the Mandate, such as the expression `a national home for the Jewish people', and they have found in this ambiguity and the resulting uncertainty as to the objectives of policy a fundamental cause of unrest and hostility between Arabs and Jews. ... That Palestine was not to be converted into a Jewish State might be held to be implied in the passage from the Command Paper of 1922 which reads as follows:
 "Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that `Palestine is to become as Jewish as England is English.' His Majesty's Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated ..." 
"The disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the (Balfour) Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded IN PALESTINE." (highlight in original)
"But this statement has not removed doubts, and His Majesty's Government therefore now declares unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State. They would indeed regard it as contrary to their obligations to the Arabs under the Mandate, as well as to the assurances which have been given to the Arab people in the past, that the Arab population of Palestine should be made the subjects of a Jewish State against their will". (15)

It is clear from this candid paper that the British undertook obligations under vague (I would argue intentionally vague) wordings likely to give them flexibility in implementation. The events between 1918 and 1938 had caused them up to reconsider their position. However, by this point forces were in motion that made a change virtually impossible The Yishuv were already strong and well armed in Palestine, Britain entered World War II, and Hitler's attacks on Jews made it less likely for the British to begin to enforce their curbs on Jewish immigration to Palestine proposed in the White Paper. One of the first acts of the nascent state of Israel in addition to instituting laws to prevent native Palestinians from returning to their homes and lands, was to repeal the White paper.

End Section

Balfour Declaration Centenary Campaign launched 2nd November 2016

[These and similar campaigns must be established and expanded to hold the British and the French governments accountable for a century of destruction of Palestine.]

Facebook for the US Campaign

And 100 years later little has changes as "Western Leaders Grow Deaf"“peace-dreams”,-Shaath-says

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A Bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine

What Good Obama Can Do in His Last Days

With Trump En Route to the White House, New Close Guantánamo Video Urges President Obama to Get the Prison Closed

by Andy Worthington

November 11, 2016

With Trump en route to the White House, new close Guantánamo video urges Obama to get the prison closed. I wrote “New Close Guantánamo Video Reminds President Obama He Has Just 70 Days Left to Close the Prison Before He Leaves Office” for the “Close Guantánamo” website, which I established in January 2012, on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, with US attorney Tom Wilner.

Please join us — just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email.

Video features photos of some of the 500+ celebrities and concerned citizens who have sent in photos this year for the Countdown to Close Guantánamo, and a new song, “Close Guantánamo,” by The Four Fathers.

Following the news that Donald Trump has won the Presidential Election, the Close Guantánamo campaign has launched a new promotional video, urging President Obama to do all he can to fulfill the promise to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay that he made on his second day in office back in January 2009.

We believe that the need to close the prison is more urgent than ever, given that, on the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to keep Guantánamo open, to send new prisoners there, and to reintroduce torture.

See the video below via YouTube — and please note it is also featured on our Facebook page, and is also on the homepage of Close Guantánamo website.

The Close Guantánamo campaign was established in January 2012, on the 10th anniversary of the opening of the prison, by journalist Andy Worthington and attorney Tom Wilner, who was Counsel of Record to the Guantánamo prisoners in their Supreme Court cases in 2004 and 2008.

Tom Wilner says: “Obama has the authority to close Guantánamo. He has 70 days to do it. This lawless prison should not be his legacy.”
Andy Worthington says: “No more delays. Anything could happen after Donald Trump’s inauguration. Obama needs to close Guantánamo in his last ten weeks in office.”

The Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative was launched in January by Andy and music legend Roger Waters (ex-Pink Floyd), and over 500 celebrities and concerned citizens across the U.S. and around the world have sent in photos of themselves reminding President Obama, at 50-day intervals, of how many days remained for him to close Guantánamo. See the Celebrity Photos here, and Public Photos here, and here and also here. The newest photos are here. To get involved, print off a “50 days to go” poster, take a photo with it, and send it to us for November 30. You can also include a message to President Obama, if you wish, and let us know where you’re from.

The video features, amongst others, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, David Morrissey, former prisoners Shaker Aamer, Moazzam Begg and Djamel Ameziane, Reprieve’s founder Clive Stafford Smith, Andy Slaughter MP, Fowzia Siddiqui, the sister of “war on terror” victim Aafia Siddiqui, attorney Nancy Hollander, Yahdid Ould Slahi, the brother of recently released Guantánamo prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Yemi Hailemariam, the partner of UK citizen and Ethiopian political activist Andy Tsege, kidnapped by the Ethiopian government and abandoned by the British government, journalist Yvonne Ridley, Joy Hurcombe, the chair of the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, journalist and doctor Saleyha Ahsan, Joanne MacInnes, the co-founder of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, Mexican playwright Humberto Robles, and Muslim campaigner Suliman Gani.

The song featured in the video is by Andy Worthington’s band The Four Fathers, who also performed the campaign song for the We Stand With Shaker campaign, and is available as a download here.

For further information, and to discuss any aspects of the campaign to close Guantánamo relating to President Obama’s last ten weeks in office, and the significance of Donald Trump’s election victory, please contact Close Guantánamo.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album ‘Love and War’ and EP ‘Fighting Injustice’ are available here to download or on CD via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

After Elba: Napoleon's Last Stand

Review: Thomas Keneally’s “Napoleon’s Last Island”

by Charles R. Larson - CounterPunch

November 11, 2016

The talented and immensely prolific Australian novelist, Thomas Keneally, has published his thirty-fourth novel. Two of my favorites have always been The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1972) and Schindler’s List (1982), novels so opposite in subject matter and setting that they tell us much about what guides Keneally as a writer. He doesn’t keep re-telling the same story again and again, even though some readers want that. Instead, he repeatedly strikes out for new territory.

Jimmie Blacksmith was about the prejudice inflicted on Australia’s aboriginal people. We’re all familiar, I suspect, with Schindler’s List, in part because of the riveting film version, directed by Steven Spielberg (1993).

So along comes Keneally’s most recent novel about Napoleon’s final years, guiding us into still another area, era, and focus.

What an amazing career Keneally has had, beginning with his first novel, The Place at Whitton, published in 1964. And these facts do not even include a list of his many non-fiction works.

Napoleon is not the main character of Keneally’s new novel Napoleon’s Last Island, though his final years on St. Helena are central to the story. Earlier, he had been confined to Elba, but he escaped and returned to France, so his second incarceration—by the European allies who had fought France during the Napoleonic wars—placed him on the distant island in the south Atlantic. He still had to be watched carefully with security guards and ships patrolling the waters in case he and/or others assisted him in flight. Keneally’s story is related mostly by Betsy Balcombe, whose family moved to St. Helena when she was three years old. Her father was one of the managers of the East India Company. Because of its strategic location, the island was an important watering station for passing ships.

Betsy—along with her older sister, Jane—were briefly sent to England for their formal education, before Napoleon arrived on the island. But Betsy was always a bit of a wild child. She hated England but loved St. Helena, a better setting for her antics, to be certain. Thus, Betsy’s British education lasted only about a year, and by the time of Napoleon’s arrival in 1815, she was thirteen. The island had been a sleepy little place until Napoleon’s arrival, with the influx of all the soldiers watching him, doubling the island’s population overnight. Since the great military strategist’s facilities were not ready for him, he stayed temporarily with Betsy’s family (her parents, Jane, and younger brothers). It was during this brief period—when the construction at Longwood was being completed—that Betsy (and her family to a lesser extent) began to develop a friendship with the exiled leader. It helped that both sisters had studied French during their schooling in England, so they became translators for whatever dialogue was necessary between the Frenchman and his English-speaking overseers.

Napoleon was met with expected skepticism and ill regard when he arrived at St. Helena. Betsy constantly refers to him as an Ogre, a Monster, a Universal Demon, and the Phenomenon, but eventually the Balcombe family uses the letters OGF referencing him, meaning Our Great Friend.

That’s significant because Keneally humanizes Napoleon by the use of his young narrator, who is not an invented character but an actual figure who lived on the island. (Her journals exist and were used by the writer as a major source for his novel.)

It’s not too long before we see Napoleon playing with the two young girls—yes, playing with them. Betsy herself is described as “the childhood playmate Napoleon had never had.” Her ability to speak French facilitates this. We catch glimpses of Napoleon’s shyness, his surprisingly good cheer, revealing a practical joker. And then, rather abruptly, the natural friendship is ended by the completion of Longwood, after which time it’s much more difficult for Betsy (and her family) to see the captive in their midst.

Napoleon moves to the side for a significant part of the story as other events on the island are delineated. We are told that he had numerous visitors, mostly passengers from the ships stopping temporarily at the island. There are constant rivalries among the British functionaries who run the island and make certain that Napoleon is not able to escape. These jealousies eventually lead to Betsy’s father being removed from his position for the East India Company and the family’s return to England. Just before that a surprising incident takes place—not the anticipated seduction of Betsy and/or her older sister as we might have assumed. After they depart, Napoleon dies, in 1821 at age 51, but the story has already moved on to the Balcombe family and the fates of each of them.

I had hoped to enjoy Napoleon’s Last Island more than I did. It’s an impressive account of Betsy Balcombe’s encounter with a bigger-than-life character, who would be a challenge for any writer to understand and present with any neutrally. I found the action often pedantically slow in spite of the insights into Napoleon’s character, rounding him out in a Dickensian way. Betsy is obviously much more lively but a minor historical figure. My reservations, I am certain, will not dissuade devotees of historical fiction from reading the novel.
Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C. Email = Twitter @LarsonChuck.
More articles by:Charles R. Larson

Thomas Keneally: Napoleon’s Last Island
Atria, 423 pp., $30 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Fraud Revealed in Campaign 2016

Hillary Actually Won: Professor Mark Crispin Miller Reveals Election Fraud!

by Lee Camp, Redacted Tonight - RT

November 11, 2016

Mark Crispin Miller is a Professor of Media, Culture and Communications at New York University. He’s the author of “Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform” and “Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy.”


Lee Camp interviews this brilliant academic to find out exactly how our elections are compromised and how our most basic democratic right has been ripped away from us.

Can't Believe Trump Won? Don't Believe It!

The Election was Stolen – Here’s How

by Greg Palast

November 11, 2016

Before a single vote was cast, the election was fixed by GOP and Trump operatives.

Starting in 2013 – just as the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act – a coterie of Trump operatives, under the direction of Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, created a system to purge 1.1 million Americans of color from the voter rolls of GOP–controlled states.

The system, called Crosscheck, is detailed in my Rolling Stone report, “The GOP’s Stealth War on Voters,” 8/24/2016.

Crosscheck in action: 

Trump victory margin in Michigan: 13,107
Michigan Crosscheck purge list: 449,922

Trump victory margin in Arizona: 85,257
Arizona Crosscheck purge list: 270,824

Trump victory margin in North Carolina: 177,008
North Carolina Crosscheck purge list: 589,393

On Tuesday, we saw Crosscheck elect a Republican Senate and as President, Donald Trump. The electoral putsch was aided by nine other methods of attacking the right to vote of Black, Latino and Asian-American voters, methods detailed in my book and film, including “Caging,” “purging,” blocking legitimate registrations, and wrongly shunting millions to “provisional” ballots that will never be counted.

Trump signaled the use of “Crosscheck” when he claimed the election is “rigged” because “people are voting many, many times.” His operative Kobach, who also advised Trump on building a wall on the southern border, devised a list of 7.2 million “potential” double voters—1.1 million of which were removed from the voter rolls by Tuesday. The list is loaded overwhelmingly with voters of color and the poor. Here's a sample of the list.


Those accused of criminal double voting include, for example, Donald Alexander Webster Jr. of Ohio who is accused of voting a second time in Virginia as Donald EUGENE Webster SR.

Note: Watch the four-minute video summary of Crosscheck.

The investigation and explanation of these methods of fixing the vote can be found in my book and film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: a Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits (2016) – Request a screener.

No, not everyone on the list loses their vote. But this was not the only racially poisonous tactic that accounted for this purloined victory by Trump and GOP candidates.

For example, in the swing state of North Carolina, it was reported that 6,700 Black folk lost their registrations because their registrations had been challenged by a group called Voter Integrity Project (VIP). VIP sent letters to households in Black communities “do not forward.” If the voter had moved within the same building, or somehow did not get their mail (e.g. if their name was not on a mail box), they were challenged as “ghost” voters. GOP voting officials happily complied with VIP with instant cancellation of registrations.

The 6,700 identified in two counties were returned to the rolls through a lawsuit. However, there was not one mention in the press that VIP was also behind Crosscheck in North Carolina; nor that its leader, Col. Jay Delancy, whom I’ve tracked for years has previously used this vote thievery, known as “caging,” for years. Doubtless the caging game was wider and deeper than reported. And by the way, caging, as my Rolling Stone co-author, attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr., tells me, is “a felony, it’s illegal, and punishable by high fines and even jail time.”

There is still much investigation to do. For example, there are millions of “provisional” ballots, “spoiled” (invalidated) ballots and ballots rejected from the approximately 30 million mailed in. Unlike reporting in Britain, US media does not report the ballots that are rejected and tossed out—because, after all, as Joe Biden says, “Our elections are the envy of the world.” Only in Kazakhstan, Joe.

While there is a great deal of work to do, much documentation still to analyze, we’ll have to pry it from partisan voting chiefs who stamp the scrub lists, Crosscheck lists and ballot records, “confidential.”

But, the evidence already in our hands makes me sadly confident in saying, Jim Crow, not the voters, elected Mr. Trump.

What about those exit polls?

Exit polls are the standard by which the US State Department measures the honesty of foreign elections. Exit polling is, historically, deadly accurate. The bane of pre-election polling is that pollsters must adjust for the likelihood of a person voting. Exit polls solve the problem.

But three times in US history, pollsters have had to publicly flagellate themselves for their “errors.” In 2000, exit polls gave Al Gore the win in Florida; in 2004, exit polls gave Kerry the win in Ohio, and now, in swing states, exit polls gave the presidency to Hillary Clinton.

So how could these multi-million-dollar Ph.d-directed statisticians with decades of experience get exit polls so wrong?

Answer: they didn’t. The polls in Florida in 2000 were accurate. That’s because exit pollsters can only ask, “How did you vote?” What they don’t ask, and can’t, is, “Was your vote counted.”

In 2000, in Florida, GOP Secretary of State Katherine Harris officially rejected 181,173 ballots, as “spoiled” because their chads were hung and other nonsense excuses. Those ballots overwhelmingly were marked for Al Gore. The exit polls included those 181,173 people who thought they had voted – but their vote didn’t count. In other words, the exit polls accurately reflected whom the voters chose, not what Katherine Harris chose.

In 2004, a similar number of votes were invalidated (including an enormous pile of “provisional” ballots) by Ohio’s GOP Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell. Again, the polls reflected that Kerry was the choice of 51% of the voters. But the exit polls were “wrong” because they didn’t reflect the ballots invalidated by Blackwell.

Notably, two weeks after the 2004 US election, the US State Department refused the recognize the Ukraine election results because the official polls contradicted the exit polls.

And here we go again. 2016: Hillary wins among those queried as they exit the polling station—yet Trump is declared winner in GOP-controlled swings states. And, once again, the expert pollsters are forced to apologize—when they should be screaming, “Fraud! Here’s the evidence the vote was fixed!”

Now there’s a new trope to explain away the exit polls that gave Clinton the win. Supposedly, Trump voters were ashamed to say they voted for Trump. Really? ON WHAT PLANET? For Democracy Now! and Rolling Stone I was out in several swing states. In Ohio, yes, a Black voter may have been reluctant to state support for Trump. But a white voter in the exurbs of Dayton, where the Trump signs grew on lawns like weeds, and the pews of the evangelical mega churches were slathered with Trump and GOP brochures, risked getting spat on if they even whispered, “Hillary.”

This country is violently divided, but in the end, there simply aren’t enough white guys to elect Trump nor a Republican Senate. The only way they could win was to eliminate the votes of non-white guys—and they did so by tossing Black provisional ballots into the dumpster, ID laws that turn away students—the list goes on. It’s a web of complex obstacles to voting by citizens of color topped by that lying spider, Crosscheck.

Sunk Oil Barge Tug, Nathan E. Stewart Continues to Spew

Nathan E. Stewart continues to spew heavy oils into the water

by Heiltsuk Tribal Council

November 11, 2016

As of 3pm today, Nov 10th, the Nathan E. Stewart continues to spew heavy oils into the water. Dragging the tug across the seafloor appears to be releasing more oils than in previous days.

There are booms in place to contain the oils but as you can see it is only so effective.

Salvage operations will continue through the night. Hopefully in the morning the dirty tug will finally be raised from Heiltsuk waters.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pilger on Trump "Win" and Portents of His Presidency on Middle East Policy

'No One To Vote For’

by Going Underground: Featuring John Pilger - RT

November 10, 2016

John Pilger tells us what has been revealed by Trump winning the US election. Plus, what does a Donald Trump presidency mean for the Middle East?

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Age of Fools: A Review

Age of Fools - Book Review 

by Prof. David Werner

November 8, 2016

Age of Fools by William A. Cook is a hard book. It reads like a block of granite, unyielding, unsympathetic, difficult, harsh, cynical in the way that stone can be, yet strangely monumental in its cynicism, leaving the reader full of awe at the grandeur of its criticism.

The tone of its author Cook reminds me of Robinson Jeffers, the gray bearded prophet standing in the storm, arms raised, howling against the foibles and stupidity of the human race, or, perhaps, the later cynical Twain, to whose “War Prayer” Cook refers.

The particular part of the human race which is the focus of condemnation in Age of Fools is the “cabal” of the members of the George W. Bush administration, particularly the Neo-Cons, and particularly their prosecution of the war in Iraq and their single-minded support for the state of Israel.

In short, Age of Fools is a 342 page condemnation in the harshest of terms, in the aftermath of 9/11, of Ariel Sharon’s and Ehud Olmert’s persecution of the Palestinians and in turn, a condemnation of “the incestuous relationship that exists between the U.S. and Israel,” and the destruction of the Palestinians that that relationship has produced.

Age of Fools is what one might term a ‘literary history’ blending polemics with poems and plays that Cook has also written in order to present what the author calls “a record of the first decade of the 21st century, as the newly appointed administration of George W. Bush entered the White House and inaugurated a decade of deceit and destruction that catapulted the United States into a totalitarian dictatorship that ravaged the world at will.”

This is hardly an unbiased history. This is acceptable given its intent but occasionally this rankles. Cook, for example, continually refers to the Bush administration as “evil,” and the use of that word, I think, stretches the bounds of criticism and seems fraught with difficulty. I objected to Bush’s use of “Evil Empire” to condemn those he opposed, and while I agree with Cook that the Bush administration was unconscionable in many of its actions, yet I find Cook’s use of the term just as objectionable.

The grand and awe-inspiring part of the book is its monumental condemnation of the Bush administration; its confusing and irritating part is its format. Based in the tradition of literary criticism of the foibles of society, beginning with an obscure (to most readers) 15th century work Narrenschiff (Ship of Fools) by Sebastian Brant, the majority of Age of Fools is apparently a series of articles that Cook has written for various internet publications over the course of some time. In his attempt to fuse these “polemics” into a whole, Cook has decided not to specifically identify these articles and has instead left the reader with a confusing sense of time, as all the articles (chapters) are in the present tense, whether that time is 2001, 2005, or 2008. Because these were at one time articles, they also tend to repeat a great deal of information, with the result that the reader feels he or she is being continually beaten with the same political stick.

Ultimately Cook asks and asks continually whether a “small religious group” whose “God dispensed real estate to their forbears centuries ago” has the “right to confiscate that land from people who have lived on it and worked it for over two thousand years.” Cook claims, rightly, that this is at the core of the continuing crisis in the Middle East and that until the world can figure out how to resolve it, it is condemned to failure. The magnificence of Age of Fools is its ability to elucidate this problem; the tragedy of the book is that those who most need enlightenment will never read it.

David R. Werner
Associate Professor of English Emeritus
Los Osos, California. 2016

Trump's American Gothic

And, Not Speaking of Donald Trump...

Not One Mention of Donald Trump

by John Helmer - Dances with Bears

November 8, 2016

Moscow  - Swiss neutrality has as many holes in it as Swiss cheese. No holes in the Bear’s neutrality. From the beginning to the end, this website has not mentioned the words Donald Trump, not even once.

What was news we did report before anyone else – and that was the criminal receipt by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton of more than $13 million in funds stolen from a Russian insurance company by the Ukrainian oligarch, Victor Pinchuk.

Here is where that story began on February 17, 2014.


That was just four days before the putsch in Kiev started the US war against Russia on the Ukraine front.

Since then, the special relationship between Pinchuk, the stolen money, and Hillary Clinton can be followed in the release of emails Clinton sent or received. Click to open the full State Department dossier.

As of November 4, 2016, there are 47 messages referring to Pinchuk.

Reporters from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times refused to investigate Pinchuk’s theft of more than $100 million from the Rossiya Insurance Company in Moscow. At the time, incidentally, so did the research director of the Republication National Committee.

Standing Vigil in Standing Rock

Sleepless in Standing Rock

by John Laforge - CounterPunch

November 9, 2016  

With the Nov. 1 explosion in Georgia of Colonial’s gas pipeline killing one, injuring five, and burning 31 acres, the $3.8 billion crude oil Dakota Access Pipeline project is looking dirtier than ever.

Last week, a colleague and I visited the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s nonviolent resistance encampment just north of Cannon Ball, ND — alternately called Seven Council Fire Camp and Sacred Stone Camp — which has gathered thousands of activists, Indian and non-Indian, from 300 indigenous nations in the Americas and around the world, in the words of tribal chairman David Archambault, “in solidarity against the pipeline.”

The difference — so far — between the Georgia and Dakota disasters is that up north only the militarized police forces are endangering life and limb — repeatedly attacking and relentlessly harassing the large, well-organized, encampment of peaceful, nonviolent and mostly prayerful self-proclaimed Water Protectors.

Beyond the eco-disaster threatened by running DAP’s 30-inch oil pipe under the wide Missouri River near Cannon Ball, Standing Rock is opposed to the DAP’s desecration of cultural heritage sites and burial grounds by way of its enormous ditch digging machinery. The firm Energy Transfer, based in Texas, is digging the 1,172-mile trench to move Bakken and Three Forks oil field crude south.

Driving south to the camp from Mandan, police and State Patrol officers had set road blocks across Hwy 1806, so no one could reach Standing Rock from the north. State Troopers told us to drive around on “136.” When we found that gravel road, it too was blocked by deputies, this time from Vilas County in eastern Wisconsin — almost three states away.

Our last attempt to reach the camp from the west was blocked by Washington County, Wisconsin deputies (from Milwaukee) who openly complained about their assignment. Asked if they’d tried the buffet at the casino, they griped, “We’re doing 12-hour shifts for two weeks straight; then they’re sending us home. No time for anything else.” Protests against the use far flung police forces have occurred in Minneapolis and elsewhere.

We arrived at camp Oct. 27 just a few hours after hundreds of national guard, state patrol, deputy sheriff and municipal police officers from seven states, some carrying assault rifles, had attacked the blockade or “frontline” camp using armored vehicles, pepper spray, mace, tear gas, beanbag guns, stun guns, concussion or flash-bang grenades, noise cannon, rubber bullets, armored Humvees and a bull dozer. The assault ultimately saw 143 arrested at the site, about three miles north of the major Standing Rock encampment.

In the aftermath of the military-style clearing action, a few dozen gathered around a large campfire and listened to speaker after speaker describe the traumatic affects the police riot had had on children of the front-line camp. We heard elders and organizers repeatedly appeal for strict adherence to nonviolence. In the long-standing tradition of peaceful revolutionaries everywhere, speakers offered prayers not just for the 143 battered arrestees, including a pregnant 17-yr-old — who were reported sent to scattered and distant jails, kept in dog-kennels without furniture, and subjected to the Nazi-like numbering of their arms with permanent markers — but prayed also for the arresting police that they might overcome the stress and trauma disorders that result from perpetrating violence.

The one night we spent tenting out in the Seven Council Fire camp was mostly sleepless because of the police airplane that maintained an eight-hour-long buzzing of the camp. Once we’d fall asleep, the plane would roar overhead and wake us again. One middle-aged woman we tented near, who’d grown up on the Standing Rock Res, told us she’d been on site since mid-April and that the planes, drones and helicopters were overhead every night since June. I wondered how anyone managed to sleep through the noise and about the general level of harassment-induced stress.

A day after the police riot, Amnesty International dispatched a team of human rights observers to the Standing Rock to monitor police conduct the standoff.

The Standing Rock struggle has inspired thousands to join the camp, and organizers repeatedly urged others to join them, get ready for winter, and help stop the pipeline.


Most news reports note that the North Dakota crude oil headed for the DAP will be pumped to Patoka, Illinois. But this is not the end point. Catherine Ngai and Liz Hampton reported for Reuters Aug. 12 that the oil is going to Gulf Coast refineries from which it can be shipped anywhere, debunking claims that the project is about energy for the United States.

Reuters said: “The 450,000 barrel-per-day Dakota Access line, when it opens in the fourth quarter, will [provide] U.S. Gulf refiners another option for crude supply. Gulf Coast refiners and North Dakota oil producers will reap the benefits….

“The pipeline, currently under construction, will connect western North Dakota to the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline Project (ETCOP) in Patoka, Illinois. From there, it will connect to the Nederland and Port Arthur, Texas, area, where refiners including Valero Energy, Total and Motiva Enterprises operate some of the largest U.S. refining facilities.”

Bloomberg reported Aug. 3, “A unit of Enbridge Inc. and Marathon Petroleum Corp. have agreed to pay a combined $2 billion in cash for a stake in the Bakken pipeline system from an affiliate of Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners. … The deal gives Enbridge the ability to move shale oil from the Bakken to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast, through connections to its mainline….

The Bakken pipeline system consists of the Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline. Dakota Access will run from western North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, and the Energy Transfer line from Patoka to Nederland, Texas.”

— Researcher Mina Hamilton compiled information on the Gulf Coast endpoint for the DAP oil.
John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.
More articles by:John Laforge

Standing Rock at the Heart of Imperialism

Standing Rock and Imperialism Itself
by Gary Leupp - CounterPunch

November 8, 2016

The Dakota Access Pipeline was originally scheduled to cross the state of North Dakota north of Bismarck, the state capital (pop. 70,000). But then the route was shifted 40 miles south, to the south, to pass by the Standing Rock Sioux reservation (pop. 8200).

This is sovereign territory of the Sioux, whose reservation straddles North and South Dakota and whose members include Hunkpapa Lakota and Yaktonai Dakota.

The Sioux are a nation of about 170,000 people, divided linguistically into the Lakotas, Dakotas and Nakotas concentrated in what are now North and South Dakota. We know that there were some in what is now either Wisconsin or Minnesota in 1660 because French traders met them and recorded the encounter. They may have advanced into the Dakotas only after that.

(I mention these details only to suggest that the Sioux have not “always” been in their current zone. Native American tribes—like Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, Turkish or Bantu tribes elsewhere—migrated and settled over time, and sometimes reached a new territory simultaneous with the first Europeans’ arrival.

For example: the Apache may have migrated into what is now the U.S. Southwest some 500 years ago, just as the Spanish conquistadors were arriving. Since they spoke an Athabaskan language, it seems likely that they descended from people who had lived in Alaska 500 years earlier. They had wandered a long way from home.

The Inuit, who originated in Siberia over 10,000 years ago, entered Alaska’s North Slope around 3000 BCE and started spreading out throughout the islands of the Canadian Arctic Peninsula around 1000 CE reaching Greenland in a short time. They arrived on that large island around the same time that the Scandinavians did. Both had come a long way. We should always question the “My people have always been here” allegation. The native/settler dichotomy is simplistic. We all come from somewhere else.)

The Standing Rock Reservation’s boundaries are defined by the Fort Laramie Treaty (or Horse Creek Treaty) of 1851, which exchanged Sioux recognition of “the right of the United States Government to establish roads, military and other posts, within their respective territories” on their territory for a U.S. commitment “to protect the aforesaid Indian nations against the commission of all depredations by the people of the said United States, after the ratification of this treaty.” They are confirmed by another treaty signed in 1868.

Back to the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to the Bismarck Tribune, the route was changed due to concern that the DAPL, built by Sunoco and projected to send 500,000 gallons of oil every day from North Dakota to Illinois, would endanger the water supply to the city’s residents.

(These by the way are 92% white, 4% Native American, 4% other. Full disclosure: my father was born and grew up and was raised in North Dakota, as was his father before him. I visited Bismarck multiple times in my childhood. One of my mother’s brothers worked in government there. It is a very white place.)

The water issue is the first issue (of two) raised by those protesting the DAPL raise. The Missouri River that constitutes the reservation border is the people’s only source of water. (Specifically, Lake Oahe, which is a large swelling within the river straddling the two Dakotas.) It is at present quite pure. The pipeline will flow beneath it. The Army Corps of Engineers has assessed that it will pose no threat to the water, but the people point to reports that pipelines leak. The Standing Rock Sioux are arguing in court that the pipeline directly violates the tribe’s rights as a sovereign nation because it will hurt its drinking water resources.

Quick Google search: AP reports that from 1995 to the present, there have been over 2,000 significant accidents involving oil and petroleum pipelines in this country, producing billions of dollars in damage. Incidents rose from 2006 to 2015 by 60%. From 2013 to 2015, an average of 121 accidents happened every year. The Yellowstone River pipeline leak spilled 50,000 gallons of oil into the Glendale, Montana water supply in March 2015. 6000 residents were for a time instructed not to drink the water, like Flint residents were in 2014, although that involved a different poisoning issue.

Just check out Wikipedia’s list of pipeline accidents in the U.S. in the 21st century.

It includes this entry: In January [2005], a Mid-Valley owned and Sunoco operated pipeline ruptured, spilling 260,000 US gallons (980,000 L) of oil into the Kentucky and Ohio rivers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined the companies $2.5 million for the spill.

In other words, the Standing Rock Sioux have good reason for concern about the quality of their environment and health at Sunoco’s hands, and for outrage at the manner in which the Army Corps of Engineers conducted its environmental impact assessment. And the very fact that the route was shifted south from Bismarck to Indian Country precisely due to fears about water contamination—what is this but unbridled racism?

The second issue is that of sacred burial sites. This might seem less important, especially to the irreligious outsider. But the ongoing protest observances conducted by representatives of many tribes in North Dakota involve many religious practices related to identity: sacred songs and dancing, prayers, peace pipes, sweat lodge meetings, water protection rituals. They believe strongly in the appropriate handling of the burial grounds.

This does not mean demanding respect for the boundaries of a discrete cemetery site but rather the recognition that a broad swathe of sovereign land long used for burial purposes is off-limits from (to quote the treaty again) “depredations by the people of the…United States” such as typically accompany these projects. It seems reasonable to demand that recognition for burial sites, especially some of the most infuriating and provocative actions of the U.S. in relation to native peoples have involved the treatment of the latter’s remains.

The National Park Service recently built a $ 3 million boardwalk over native sacred burial sites and spent tax dollars damaging 78 such sites. It built over 200 sacred mounds without doing any impact analysis and, according to a Congressional report “know what they were doing was wrong.” And there’s a long history of the theft and exploitation of Native Americans’ remains. Doesn’t Yale University’s Skull and Bones Society still boast that it acquired Geronimo’s skull in the 1910s?

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has accused pipeline goons of “knowingly destroying sacred sites.” So this, too, is reason to oppose DAPL. But the main reason for opposition is not water purity, nor even respect for one’s ancestors, but the Sioux tribes’ aspirations for sovereignty, on land assigned them by violated treaties, as they come up against capitalist imperialism itself.

Why are the treaties so violated, still? Isn’t it all about private property, oil profits, indifference to the environment, inevitable state support to the biggest property-owners—that is to say, isn’t it all about the system itself? Which we all, in our different ways, oppose?

It was beautiful to see in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, the largest gatherings in recent times of representatives of native peoples from many tribes, and many allies from many places and movements, in defense of their rights. As it happens, the movement to stop DAPL dovetails with the bourgeoning Black Lives Matter Movement and the networks formed out of Occupy Wall Street and the disillusioned Bernie campaign. Young people of all ethnic backgrounds are realizing that capitalism and imperialism suck, and that the shameful history of slavery and racism needs to be recognized and repudiated.

Add to this the realization that Native Americans are rallying against Big Oil and in so doing benefiting all of us. And then imagine an anti-war, anti-Hillary movement that channels the energies of these several movements for economic justice, racial justice and native rights into a revolutionary movement focused on the real problem of imperialism itself, which the new president will likely personify.
Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at:
More articles by:Gary Leupp

Liberal Frankenstein Eats Washington

American liberals unleashed the Trump monster

by Jonathan Cook

9 November 2016

The earth has been shifting under our feet for a while, but all liberals want to do is desperately cling to the status quo like a life-raft. Middle- class Britons are still hyperventiliating about Brexit, and now middle-class America is trembling at the prospect of Donald Trump in the White House.

And, of course, middle-class Americans are blaming everyone but themselves.

Typifying this blinkered self-righteousness was a column yesterday, written before news of Trump’s success, from Guardian journalist Jonathan Freedland, Britain’s unofficial stenographer to power and Washington fanboy. He blamed everyone but Hillary Clinton for her difficult path to what he then assumed was the White House.

Well, here is some news for Freedland and American liberals. The reason Trump is heading to the Oval Office is because the Democratic party rigged the primaries to ensure that a candidate who could have beaten Trump, Bernie Sanders, did not get on the ticket. You want to blame someone, blame Clinton and the rotten-to-the-core Democratic party leadership.

But no, liberals won’t be listening because they are too busy blaming Julian Assange and Wikileaks for exposing the truth about the Democratic leadership set out in the Clinton campaign emails – and Russia for supposedly stealing them.

Blame lies squarely too with Barack Obama, the great black hope who spent eight years proving how wedded he was to neoliberal orthodoxy at home and a neoconservative agenda abroad.

While liberals praised him to the heavens, he poured the last US treasure into propping up a failed banking system, bankrupting the country to fill the pockets of a tiny, already fabulously wealthy elite. The plutocrats then recycled vast sums to lobbyists and representatives in Congress to buy control there and make sure the voice of ordinary Americans counted for even less than it did before.

Obama also continued the futile “war on terror”, turning the world into one giant battlefield that made every day a payday for the arms industry. The US has been dropping bombs on jihadists and civilians alike, while supplying the very same jihadists with arms to kill yet more civilians.

And all the while, have liberals been campaigning against the military-industrial complex that stole their political system? No, of course not. They have been worrying about the mass migrations of refugees – those fleeing the very resource wars their leaders stoked.

Then there is the liberal media that served as a loyal chorus to Clinton, trying to persuade us that she would make a model president, and to ignore what was in plain sight: that Clinton is even more in the pocket of the bankers and arms dealers than Obama (if that were possible) and would wage more, not less war.

Do I sound a little like Trump as I rant against liberals? Yes, I do. And while you are busy dismissing me as a closet Trump supporter, you can continue your furious refusal to examine the reasons why a truly progressive position appears so similar to a far-right one like Trump’s.

Because real progressives are as frustrated and angry about the status quo as are the poor, vulnerable and disillusioned who turned to Trump. And they had no choice but to vote for Trump because there was no one aside from him in the presidential race articulating anything that approximated the truth.

Sanders was ousted by Clinton and her corrupt coterie. Jill Stein of the Greens was made invisible by a corrupt electoral system. It was either vote for Clinton and the putrid status quo, or vote for Trump and a possibility for change.

Yes, Trump is very bad. He is as much a product of the plutocracy that is now America as Clinton. He, like Clinton, will do nothing to fix the most important issue facing humankind: runaway climate change. He is a climate denier, she is a climate evader.

But unlike Clinton, Trump understood the rising popular anger at the “system”, and he was articulate enough to express it – all it took was a howl of pain.

Trump isn’t the antithesis of liberal America. You liberals created him. You unleashed this monster. It is you in the mirror. You stayed silent, you took no stand while your country was stolen from you. In fact, you did worse: you enthusiastically voted time after time for those who did the stealing.

Now the path is clear and the route fast. The precipice is ahead, and American liberals are firmly in the driving seat.

Russia's Message of Congratulations to President-Elect Donald Trump

Congratulations to Donald Trump on winning the US presidential election

by President Vladimir Putin - The Kremlin

November 9, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, a few hours ago, the presidential election ended in the United States of America. We followed this election closely. I want to congratulate the American people on the end of this election cycle and congratulate Mr Donald Trump on his victory in the election.

We heard the statements he made as candidate for president expressing a desire to restore relations between our countries. We realise and understand that this will not be an easy road given the level to which our relations have degraded today, regrettably. But, as I have said before, it is not Russia’s fault that our relations with the United States have reached this point.

Russia is ready to and seeks a return to full-format relations with the United States. Let me say again, we know that this will not be easy, but are ready to take this road, take steps on our side and do all we can to set Russian-US relations back on a stable development track.

This would benefit both the Russian and American peoples and would have a positive impact on the general climate in international affairs, given the particular responsibility that Russia and the US share for maintaining global stability and security.

Thank you for your attention.

The Upside of Down: Getting Used to a Trump Presidency

Of silver tongues and silver linings: Trump’s Presidency, the Demise of the Major Parties, and the Need for a New Progressive Movement

by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening

November 9, 2016

Let’s look on the bright side.

Donald J. Trump is the next president of the United States. His stunning victory over Hillary Clinton came after he had first crushed the Republican Party establishment, steamrollering all the candidates it put forward and defeating party leaders’ concerted efforts to deny him the nomination as he rolled up victory after victory in that party’s primaries.

But Trump did more than that. He also, along with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, smashed the Democratic Party establishment too.

Get used to it: President-Elect Donald Trump

Trump’s win in traditionally Democratic strongholds like New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and his near win in Minnesota, not to mention his victories and near wins in states like Florida, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina and Virginia, all a result of the Democratic Party’s failure to energize it’s critical base in black and Latino communities, have exposed the total bankruptcy of a party whose leadership long ago abandoned the poor, the working class, African Americans, Latinos and organized labor, working on a now thoroughly discredited assumption that it would automatically win those votes anyhow because those “little people” would have no place to turn but to the Democrats.

The Democratic Party establishment this election cycle threw any shred of principle to the wind in orchestrating the nomination of Hillary Clinton, surely the most disliked candidate to run on a major party ticket in history. The party did this knowing that it was promoting a candidate who had a tin ear for the issues of ordinary people, who was demonstrably corrupt and dismissive of laws and ethical standards, and who was actually under investigation by the FBI the whole time she was running in the primaries.

We know, thanks to principled Democratic Party leaders who quit like Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, and to emails leaked by Wikileaks, that the DNC worked assiduously throughout the primary season to undermine Bernie Sanders’ insurgent primary campaign. The DNC and the Clinton campaign -- actually facets of the same malignant organization -- did this by scheduling early debates at times, like during the Superbowl, when few people would be paying attention, by working with corrupt mainstream journalists to plant hit pieces on Sanders, resorting to cheap red-baiting, lying about his history of civil rights activism, and questioning his mental abilities, and even resorting to voter suppression -- usually a tactic favored more by Republican Party operatives.

When this DNC bias and manipulation of the primary campaign was exposed, forcing the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Clinton immediately made that disgraced Florida congresswoman the titular head of her own campaign, demonstrating her utter contempt for ethics and for the Democratic base.

Nor was Clinton’s stolen party nomination the only corrupt act of the DNC. It also successfully defeated primary efforts by a number of aggressive popular, progressive Senate candidates who could have helped the party retake the Senate by running well-funded corporatist party hacks like Evan Bayh in Indiana and Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania, against those progressive candidates. In each case, these hacks went on to lose their races, leaving the Senate in Republican hands.

Hopefully, this highly visible corruption at the top of the Democratic Party will lead to a real effort to chuck this sclerotic and wholly corrupted organization and replace it with a genuine party of working people, the poor and minorities on the left. That long-overdue project needs to begin immediately.

But back to other silver linings of the Trump presidential win.

Most importantly, it seems likely that we will no longer have to worry about the US going to war with Russia. While Hillary Clinton, with her stated desire to establish a “no-fly zone” in Syria that even leading generals said would mean “war with Russia,” Donald Trump throughout the campaign made it clear that he did not want the US confronting Russia. He said, to the consternation of most establishment Republicans, that he thought the two countries “should be working together.” That view, if he is serious, bodes well for Syrians, and for Ukrainians as well. Trump has also condemned NATO, which since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been converted into a military adjunct to aggressive US efforts around the globe to sow chaos, mayhem and regime change -- something Trump has opposed. With luck Trump, who recognizes that Americans do not want endless war, may act to neuter NATO, hopefully by withdrawing US funding for the organization and allowing it to fade away -- something that should have happened in 1990 when the Berlin Wall came down.

Ramping down US imperial over-reach, which has caused the deaths of millions of innocents over the last decade and a half alone, angered nations and people around the world against the US, and cost Americans over $4.5 trillion since 2001, would be reason enough to cheer Trump’s victory. But revoking the so-called Affordable Care Act and leaving Americans to their own devices in an unregulated private insurance market would be another plus. The ACA, which is already becoming, to quote Trump, a “disaster,” with rates soaring 25% this year for many low income people, and with plans offering ever higher deductibles and worse coverage, was an insurance-industry boon that threatened to make a shift to a nationalized health plan impossible to achieve. By undoing it, as he and a Republican Congress have vowed to do, we can expect demands for a Canadian-style system to soar in no time, perhaps handing a key campaign issue to any new progressive party.

On the economic front, Trump has made it clear that he will oppose the pending Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and that he wants to undo or renegotiate earlier job-killing trade agreements, most notably the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). If he is serious about this anti-globalism policy, and acts on it, it will be a huge victory for working class Americans of all races, and a huge blow to the Democratic Party, which since the Clinton presidency has embraced the idea favored by corporate America that shipping production overseas to cheap labor countries was sound economic policy. Trump also spoke during the campaign of the need to raise the minimum wage, and in years past even supported a tax on wealth. If he does either or both of those things he will be a working class hero. But then, there’s no telling whether he was just campaigning, and will forget these ideas once in power.

Of course, there is no denying that Americans have elected a racist, misogynist, xenophobic narcissist, and that his successful campaign has made at least overt racism and anti-immigrant bigotry, if not overt sexism, socially acceptable. It will be critical for progressives and for the impacted groups themselves to organize a mass movement to resist these trends, as well as policies, like the overturning of women’s right to control their own bodies, and the right of people of color to quality schools and to be safe from aggressive, militarized policing. These are important concerns but they also expose the rot of the political system, which was allowed these trends to develop and fester for years.

On balance though, I would argue that Trump’s victory and his drubbing of a Democratic Party that has been fleeing from its New Deal and Great Society past for decades, is what is needed if we are to have any hope of restoring any kind of popular sovereignty in a US that was sleep-walking into a kind of corporatist oligarchy. Trump, along with the Sanders movement during the Democratic primaries, effectively tossed a Molotov cocktail into that whole system.

Bernie Sanders has said that the real “political revolution” he was calling for during his primary campaign would begin after the election. Of course, he was envisioning it being to put pressure on a President Hillary Clinton to live up to her campaign promises and the Democratic Party’s platform, not to oppose a Trump Presidency’s policies. Because he made the horrendous mistake of betraying his 12 million ardent supporters by surrendering his campaign before the Democratic Convention and by then converting himself into an active supporter of the very woman who had corruptly undermined his campaign and lied about him personally, ignoring his earlier spot-on indictment of her as a corrupt tool of the big banks and big corporations, though, he has lost much of his political appeal at this point. Nonetheless, his call for a political revolution remains correct.

We who had hoped Sanders could win the Democratic nomination, can look back and decry his gutless and politically disastrous decision not to accept Green Party leader Jill Stein’s offer to him to accept her party’s presidential nomination and run against Trump and Clinton in the general election, which he might well have won in such a three or four-person race. But that’s all history now. At this point, it’s on all of us on the left, and in the rest of the Democratic base -- the working class, union rank-and-file, people of color, immigrants, feminists, environmental activists and peace activists, to pick up the pieces and to build a movement of resistance and a new political party of the left to keep socialism on the political agenda in America and to fight for real progressive change and real democracy.

Ridin' the Big One Down: Reason and Nuclear Annihilation

Reasons to Risk Nuclear Annihilation

by Robert Parry - Consortium News

Nov 8, 2016

The latest neocon/liberal-hawk scheme to risk nuclear war to protect corrupt politicians in Ukraine and Al Qaeda terrorists in east Aleppo, two rather dubious reasons to end life on the planet. Obviously, I never wanted to see a nuclear war, which would likely kill not only me but my children, grandchildren, relatives, friends and billions of others. We’d be incinerated in the blast or poisoned by radiation or left to starve in a nuclear winter.

But at least I always assumed that this horrific possibility would only come into play over something truly worthy, assuming that anything would justify the mass extinction of life on the planet.
Slim Pickens' ‘Major T.J. King Kong’ rides 
the bomb to nuclear nirvana in Stanley 
Kubrick’s 1964 film, ‘Dr. Strangelove’

Now, however, Official Washington’s neocons and liberal interventionists are telling me and others that we should risk nuclear annihilation over which set of thieves gets to rule Ukraine and over helping Al Qaeda terrorists (and their “moderate” allies) keep control of east Aleppo in Syria.

In support of the Ukraine goal, there is endless tough talk at the think tanks, on the op-ed pages and in the halls of power about the need to arm the Ukrainian military so it can crush ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine who dared object to the U.S.-backed coup in 2014 that ousted their elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

And after “liberating” eastern Ukraine, the U.S.-backed Ukrainian army would wheel around and “liberate” Crimea from Russia, even though 96 percent of Crimean voters voted to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia – and there is no sign they want to go back.

So, the world would be risking World War III over the principle of the West’s right to sponsor the overthrow of elected leaders who don’t do what they’re told and then to slaughter people who object to this violation of democratic order.

This risk of nuclear Armageddon would then be compounded to defend the principle that the people of Crimea don’t have the right of self-determination but must submit to a corrupt post-coup regime in Kiev regardless of Crimea’s democratic judgment.

And, to further maintain our resolve in this gamble over nuclear war in defense of Ukraine, we must ignore the spectacle of the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev wallowing in graft and corruption.

While the Ukrainian people earn on average $214 a month and face neoliberal “reforms,” such as reduced pensions, extended years of work for the elderly and slashed heating subsidies, their new leaders in the parliament report wealth averaging more than $1 million in “monetary assets” each, much of it in cash.

A troubling departure

The obvious implication of widespread corruption was underscored on Monday with the abrupt resignation of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili who was the appointed governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region.

Though Saakashvili faces charges of abusing power back in Georgia, he was nevertheless put in charge of Odessa by current President Petro Poroshenko, but has now quit (or was ousted) amid charges and counter-charges about corruption.

Noting the mysterious wealth of Ukraine’s officials, Saakashvili denounced the country’s rulers as “corrupt filth” and accused Poroshenko and his administration of sabotaging real reform.

“Odessa can only develop once Kiev will be freed from these bribe takers, who directly patronize organized crime and lawlessness,” Saakashvili said. Yes, that would be a good slogan to scribble on the side of a nuclear bomb heading for Moscow:

“Defending the corrupt filth and bribe takers who patronize organized crime.”

But the recent finger-pointing about corruption is also ironic because the West cited the alleged corruption of the Yanukovych government to justify the violent putsch in February 2014 that drove him from office and sparked Ukraine’s current civil war.

Yet, the problems don’t stop with Kiev’s corruption. There is the troubling presence of neo-Nazis, ultranationalists and even Islamic jihadists assigned to the Azov battalion and other military units sent east to the front lines to kill ethnic Russians.

On top of that, United Nations human rights investigators have accused Ukraine’s SBU intelligence service of hiding torture chambers.

But we consumers of the mainstream U.S. media’s narrative are supposed to see the putschists as the white hats and Yanukovych (who was excoriated for having a sauna in his official residence) and Russian President Vladimir Putin as the black hats.

Though U.S. officials, such as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, helped organize or “midwife” the coup ousting Yanukovych, we are told that the Ukraine crisis was a clear-cut case of “Russian aggression” and Crimea’s decision to secede (and rejoin Russia) was a “Russian invasion” and an “annexation.”

So, all stirred up with righteous indignation, we absorbed the explanation that economic sanctions were needed to punish Putin and to destabilize Russian society, with the hoped-for goal of another “regime change,” this time in Moscow.

We weren’t supposed to ask if anyone had actually thought through the idea of destabilizing a nuclear-armed power and the prospect that Putin’s overthrow, even if possible, might lead to a highly unstable fight for control of the nuclear codes.

Silencing dissent

Brushing aside such worries, the neocons/liberal-hawks are confident that the answer is to move NATO forces up to Russia’s borders and to provide military training to Ukraine’s army, even to its neo-Nazi “shock troops.”

After all, when have the neocons and their liberal interventionist sidekicks ever miscalculated about anything. No fair mentioning Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or other lucky countries that have been on the receiving end of a benighted “regime change.”

An American who protests or even mentions the risk of nuclear war is dismissed as a “Kremlin stooge” or a “Putin puppet” or a “useful fool” repeating “Russian disinformation” and assisting Moscow’s “information war” against the U.S. government.

But if you’re still a bit queasy about risking nuclear annihilation to keep some Ukrainian kleptocrats in power, there is the other cause worth having the human race die over: protecting Al Qaeda terrorists and their “moderate” rebel comrades holed up in east Aleppo.

Since these modern terrorists turn out to be highly skilled with video cameras and the dissemination of propaganda, they have created the image for Westerners that the Syrian military and its Russian allies simply want to kill as many children as possible.

Indeed, most Western coverage of the battle for Aleppo whites out the role of Al Qaeda almost completely although occasionally the reality slips through in on-the-ground reporting, along with the admission that Al Qaeda and its fellow fighters are keeping as many civilians in east Aleppo as possible, all the better to put up heartrending videos and photos on social media.

Of course, when a similar situation exists in Islamic State-held Mosul, Iraq, the mainstream Western media dutifully denounces the tactic of keeping children in a war zone as the cynical use of “human shields,” thus justifying Iraqi and U.S. forces killing lots of civilians during their “liberation.” The deaths are all the enemy’s fault.

However, when the shoe is on the Syrian/Russian foot, we’re talking about “war crimes” and the need to invade Syria to establish “safe zones” and “no-fly zones” even if that means killing large numbers of additional Syrians and shooting down Russian warplanes.

After all, isn’t the protection of Al Qaeda terrorists worth the risk of starting World War III with nuclear-armed Russia? And if Al Qaeda isn’t worth fighting a nuclear war to defend, what about the thieves in Ukraine and their neo-Nazi shock troops? Calling Dr. Strangelove.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and