Jan Weinberg explains the TPP as an aspect of the US’s pivot to Asia.
Jan Weinberg explains the TPP as an aspect of the US’s pivot to Asia.
Parents in our state should be given the means to exercise their right to opt out of sending their kids’ names and contact information to military recruiters.
Please click below to send this email to your state legislators and governor:
“As a constituent, I urge you to follow the example set by Maryland. The federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” contains a provision that compels high schools to provide the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all students to any military recruiter who requests the information. The law also says that parents have the right to remove their kids’ names from the lists being sent to the Pentagon, and that schools have the responsibility to tell parents that.
Only in Maryland are parents given an easy and directly presented means of opting out. The choice remains theirs, and they are empowered to make it. A right you do not learn about – or find any means to act on – is not a right at all!
Maryland is the only state thus far to pass a law that puts the military recruiter “opt-out” language on the school’s mandatory emergency contact form. As a result, large numbers of Marylanders have exercised their right to opt out.
Please make our state the second to take this step.”
Hello, I am Greg Gerritt, a Green Party member since 1984 and a resident of Rhode Island. The State of the Union is fragile, threatened by three interconnected issues, the expansion of the war machine, growing inequality, and climate change. When the President and the Congress borrow money to give tax breaks to billionaires and prop up the fossil fuel industries and the war machine, while more kids go hungry, we deport dreamers, and the storms get fiercer, you know we are going in the wrong direction.
“The electoral fraud supported by the U.S. State Department in favor of the dictatorship has forced our people to protest massively throughout the country, despite savage government repression that has taken the lives of more than 34 young people since the election, and in which hundreds of protestors have been criminalized and imprisoned.”
Zelaya: Open Letter to the American People
People of the United States:
For the past century, the owners of the fruit companies called our country “Banana Republic” and characterized our politicians as “cheaper than a mule” (as in the infamous Rolston letter).
Honduras, a dignified nation, has had the misfortune of having a ruling class lacking in ethical principles that kowtows to U.S. transnational corporations, condemning our country to backwardness and extreme poverty.
We have been subject to horrible dictatorships that have enjoyed U.S. support, under the premise that an outlaw is good for us if he serves transnational interests well. We have reached the point that today we are treated as less than a colony to which the U.S. government does not even deign to appoint an ambassador. Your government has installed a dictatorship in the person of Mr. Hernández, who acts as a provincial governor–spineless and obedient toward transnational companies, but a tyrant who uses terror tactics to oppress his own people. Certain sectors of Honduran private industry have also suffered greatly from punitive taxes and persecution.
You, the people of the United States, have been sold the idea that your government defends democracy, transparency, freedom and human rights in Honduras. But the State Department and Heide Fulton, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires who is serving as de facto Ambassador to Honduras, are supporting blatant electoral fraud favoring Mr. Hernández, who has repeatedly violated the Honduran Constitution and (as noted by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) basic human rights. He is responsible for the scandalous looting of USD $350 million from the Honduran Social Security Institute and while he lies to you shamelessly that he is fighting drug cartels, he has destroyed the rule of law by stacking the Supreme Court with justices loyal to him.
The people of the United States have the right to know that in Honduras your taxes are used to finance, train and run institutions that oppress the people, such as the armed forces and the police, both of which are well known to run death squads (like those that grew out of Plan Colombia) and which are also deeply integrated with drug cartels.
People of the United States: the immoral support of your government has been so two-faced that for eight consecutive years the U.S. Millenium Challenge Corporation has determined that the Hernandez regime does not qualify for aid because of the government’s corruption, failing in all measures of transparency. With this record, the Honduran people ask: Why is the U.S. Government willing to recognize as president a man who the Honduran people voted against, and who they wish to see leave office immediately?
People of the United States: We ask you to spread the word, to stand up to your government’s lies about supporting democracy, freedom, human rights and justice, and to demand that your elected representatives immediately end U.S. support for the scandalous electoral fraud against the people of Honduras, who have taken to the streets to demand recognition of the victory of the Alliance Against the Dictatorship and of President-Elect Salvador Alejandro César Nasralla Salúm.
We can tolerate difference and conflict, seeking peaceful solutions as a sovereign people, but your government’s intervention in favor of the dictatorship only exacerbates our differences.
The electoral fraud supported by the U.S. State Department in favor of the dictatorship has forced our people to protest massively throughout the country, despite savage government repression that has taken the lives of more than 34 young people since the election, and in which hundreds of protestors have been criminalized and imprisoned.
We stand in solidarity with the North American people; we share much more with you than the fact that the one percent has bought off the political leaders of both our nations.
As descendents of the Independence hero Morazán, we want to live in peace, with justice and in democracy.
The Honduran people want to have good relations with the United States, but with respect and reciprocity. •
Tegucigalpa, December 21, 2017
José Manuel Zelaya Rosales
Consitutionally Legitimate President of Honduras 2005-2010
Chief Coordinator, Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship
José Manuel Zelaya Rosales is the Constitutionally Legitimate President of Honduras (2005-2010), and Chief Coordinator of the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship.
Twenty-Seven psychiatrists and mental health experts have produced a book called The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, which I think, despite stating that the fate of the world is in the hands of an evil madman, understates the danger.
The case that these authors make is one that I believe would strike most readers not loyal to Trump as common sense. The evidence that they compile, and with which we’re mostly already familiar, strongly supports their diagnosis of Trump as hedonistic, narcissistic, bullying, dehumanizing, lying, misogynistic, paranoid, racist, self-aggrandizing, entitled, exploiting, empathy-impaired, unable to trust, free of guilt, manipulative, delusional, likely senile, and overtly sadistic. They also describe the tendency of some of these traits to grow ever worse through reinforcing cycles that seem to be underway. People, they suggest, who grow addicted to feeling special, and who indulge in paranoia can create circumstances for themselves that cause them to increase these tendencies.
As the Justice Department closes in on Trump, writes Gail Sheehy, “Trump’s survival instincts will propel him to a wag-the-dog war.” Of course, this builds in the assumptions that Trump stole the election and that we will all remain dogs, that we will start approving of Trump if he starts bombing more people. Certainly this has been the U.S. corporate media’s approach thus far. But need it be ours? The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists disapproves and has moved the doomsday clock closer to zero. The Council on Foreign Relations has begun listing the United States as a top threat to the United States. A Congressional committee has held a hearing on the danger of a Trumpian nuclear war (even while feigning impotence to do anything about it). It’s not beyond the realm of imagination that the U.S. public could refuse to cheer for more mass murder.
In this regard, certainly most past presidents have been more successful, not less, than Trump at what Robert J. Lifton calls the normalization of evil. He gives as an example the creation of the acceptance of torture. And certainly we’ve moved from Bush Jr. secretly torturing to Obama refusing to prosecute to Trump publicly supporting torture. But many still deem torture unacceptable. Hence this book’s assumption that the reader will agree that torture is evil. But murder by bomb or drone missile has been so normalized, including by Barack “I’m really good at killing people” Obama, that it’s passed over by this book as simply normal. Lifton does refer to the normalization of a nuclear threat during the (previous) Cold War, but seems to believe that phenomenon to be a problem of the past rather than one so successfully normalized that people don’t see it anymore.
Most of the symptoms found in Trump have existed in various degrees and combinations in past presidents and in past and current Congress members. But some of the symptoms seem to serve only as icing. That is, alone they are deemed unobjectionable, but in combination with others they point to severe sociopathy. Obama switched positions, lied, schemed, falsely marketed wars, reveled in the commission of murder, joked about using drone missiles on his daughter’s boyfriends, etc. But he spoke well, used a better vocabulary, avoided blatant racism, sexism, and personal bullying, didn’t seem to worship himself, didn’t brag about sexual assault, and so on.
My point, I very much wish it were needless to say, is not the equivalence of any president with another, but the normalization of illnesses in society as much as in individuals. This book goes after Trump for falsely claiming that Obama was spying on him. Yet the unconstitutional blanket surveillance of the NSA effectively means that Obama was indeed spying on everyone, including Trump. Sure, Trump was lying. Sure, Trump was paranoid. But if we avoid the larger reality, we’re lying too.
The symptoms from which Trump suffers may be taken as a guide to action by his followers, but they have long been understood to be an outline of the techniques of war propaganda. Dehumanization may be something Trump suffers from, but it’s also a necessary skill in persuading people to participate in war. Trump was given the presidential nomination by media outlets that asked primary candidates questions that included “Would you be willing to kill hundreds and thousands of innocent children?” Had a candidate said no, he or she would have been disqualified. The authors fault Trump for his joining the long list of presidents who have threatened to use nukes, but when Jeremy Corbyn said he wouldn’t use nukes, all hell broke loose in the UK, and his mental state was called into question there. Alzheimer’s may be a disease afflicting Trump, but when Bernie Sanders mentioned important bits of history like a coup in Iran in ’53, the television networks found something else to cover.
Is it possible that refusing to confront reality has been normalized so deeply that the authors join in it, or are required to by their agent or editor? Academic studies say the U.S. government is an oligarchy. These doctors say they want to defend the U.S. “democracy” from Trump. This book identifies Vladimir Putin as being essentially the same as Adolf Hitler, based on zero offered evidence, and treats Trump denials of colluding with Russia to steal an election as signs of dishonesty or delusion. But how do we explain most members of the Democratic Party believing in Russiagate without proof? How do we explain Iran being voted the biggest threat to peace in the world by Americans, while people in most countries, according to Gallup and Pew, give that honor to the United States? What are we to make of the vast majority of Americans claiming to “believe in” “God” and denying the existence of death? Isn’t climate denial child’s play beside that one, if we set aside the factor of normalization?
If a corporation or an empire or an athlete or a Hollywood action film were a person, it might be Donald Trump. But we all live in the world of corporations, empire, etc. We also apparently live in a world in which numerous men enjoy abusing women. That all these sexual harassers in the news, some of whom I am guessing are innocent but most of whom appear guilty, have convinced themselves that women don’t really mind the abuse can, I think, be only a small part of the explanation. The large part seems quite clearly to be that we live in a country of sadists. And shouldn’t they get a chance to elect someone who represents their point of view? Trump has been a public figure for decades, and most of his symptoms are nothing new, but he’s been protected and even rewarded throughout. Trump incites violence on Twitter, but Twitter will not disable Trump’s account. Congress is staring numerous documented impeachable offenses in the face, but chooses to look into only the one that lacks evidence but fuels war. The media, as noted, while remarkably improving on its enabling deference, still seems to give Trump the love he craves only when he brags about bombing people.
The U.S. Constitution is and has always been deeply flawed in many ways, but it did not intend to give any individual beyond-royal powers over the earth. I’ve always viewed the obsession with the emperor that this article I’m now writing feeds as part of the problem of transferring power to him. But the authors of The Dangerous Case are right that we have no choice but to focus on him now. All we’d need would be a Cuban Missile Crisis and our fate would be sealed. The Emperor Formerly Known As Executive should be given the powers of the British queen, not be replaced by an acceptable Democratic emperor. The first step should be using the Constitution.
Similar analyses of George W. Bush’s mental health, not to mention a laundry list of abuses and crimes, never resulted in any action against him. And despite this new book’s claim to defend “democracy” it does not use the word “impeachment.” Instead, it turns to the 25th Amendment which allows the president’s own subordinates to ask Congress to remove him from office. Perhaps because the likelihood of that happening is so extreme, and because further stalling and protecting of Trump is naturally a means of appearing “reasonable,” the authors propose a study be done (even though they’ve just written a book) and that it be done by Congress. But if Congress were to take up this matter, it could impeach Trump and remove him without asking permission of his cabinet or doing any investigations. In fact, it could impeach him for any of a number of the behaviors that are studied in this book.
The authors note that Trump has encouraged imitation of his outrages. We’ve seen that here in Charlottesville. They note that he’s also created the Trump Anxiety Disorder in those he frightens. I’m 100% on board with treating fear as a symptom to be cured.
From Jason Berteotti on Facebook:
“There is a lot of tension in this region, but the desire for peace seems greater than the hatred stemming from the past.”
Eric Baculinao and Greg Yu and Mia Li and Reuters Dec . 17, 2017
NANJING, China — China marked the anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre by Japan with a message of peace and friendship last week, potentially helping to realign relations between the rival Asian powers.
A somber President Xi Jinping led a nationally televised ceremony to remember the estimated 300,000 Chinese who died when Japan’s Imperial Army occupied Nanjing, then China’s capital, 80 years ago.
China has consistently reminded its people of the 1937 massacre, but in what is being interpreted as a highly significant diplomatic gesture, Xi did not lay wreaths or speak at the event on Wednesday, as he did on the same occasion three years ago.
Instead, the memorial speech was relegated to a lower-ranking senior party official, Yu Zhengsheng, who called for China and Japan “to grasp the broad direction of peaceful and friendly cooperation … and pass on friendship from generation to generation.”
A postwar international tribunal put the death toll from the massacre at 142,000, while some conservative Japanese politicians and scholars deny that one took place at all. Ties between China, the world’s second-largest economy, and Japan, the third-largest, have also been plagued by a territorial dispute over islets in the East China Sea and suspicion in China about efforts by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to amend Japan’s pacifist constitution.
Wednesday’s conciliatory message, delivered on the occasion of the most brutal episode in Japan’s invasion of China, was not lost on observers.
After years of disputes over history, regional rivalry and even maritime territory, “China is clearly shifting gear and seeking to lower tension and improve ties with Japan,” said Zhang Lifan, a political historian in Beijing.
“As China expands its influence and encounters resistance in the region and beyond, improved relations with Japan can mitigate the situation and help China to focus on more urgent threats like the North Korean nuclear crisis,” he said.
“We have to move on and we still need to deal with Japan, trade with Japan, send students to Japan”
“With President Trump urging Japan to bear more responsibilities, Prime Minister Abe cannot but think of various ways to have a modus vivendi with China,” he added.
China is committed to improving ties with Japan by “taking history as a mirror and looking forward to the future,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told NBC News when asked about the significance of the Nanjing event.
Others argued, however, that geopolitical self-interest is truly driving the changing dynamic between the regional rivals.
“On the one hand, Abe will follow Trump, as on the North Korean issue,” said Shi Yinhong, Dean of the School of International Studies at Beijing’s Renmin University. “But on the other hand, Japan has some doubts about Trump’s policies.”
“The decisive factor, however, is that conflict is too costly for both sides,” added Shi, who supports “new thinking” for better relations between China and Japan.
The diplomatic signaling that emerged from the Nanjing ceremony merely represents “a continuation of a process,” he said, pointing out that the turning point in relations may actually have been Japan’s endorsement of the Belt and Road project, Xi’s signature economic program to link Asia with Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
A breakthrough was then apparently achieved in November when the country’s two leaders emerged from a meeting on the sideline of a regional summit in Hanoi to declare “a fresh start” in the relationship.
This was followed days later by Abe’s declaration that ties had improved to the point that the two leaders could visit each other’s capital next year.
The momentum led Tokyo and Beijing to agree in early December to establish a maritime hotline to prevent and control accidental clashes in the East China Sea. It has taken 10 years to reach a deal on the issue because of ongoing disputes over a group of uninhabited islands that Japan controls but over which China claims sovereignty.
The issue of forging a friendship with Japan continues to divide Chinese public opinion, however — often over the Nanjing massacre itself.
“If a friend is someone you can trust, then China and Japan will never be friends,” said Zhang Boyu, 22, a Peking University student from the Northeastern province of Jilin, a region once occupied by Japan.
Another student, Yu Qiran, 21, who attends the Communications University of China, said: “We can be friends as long as they admit what they did and face it. But if someone will not respect history, then I will never be friends with them.”
Noting the debate over whether Japan’s apology for wartime atrocities is sincere, Yuan Gang, a government professor at Peking University, argued that “history should not be an impediment” to developing relations. “Are you requiring the Japanese to kneel?” he asked, stressing that Japan supported China’s open-door policy and economic reforms.
Bian Weipin, 58, a retired driver and native of Nanjing, shared that sentiment.
“The painful history will always be in our heart,” he said. “But we have to move on, and we still need to deal with Japan, trade with Japan, send students to Japan.”