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Showing posts from January, 2018

EU pledges $53m to help build Palestinian state

The European Union has announced a new funding package of 42.5 million euros (nearly $53m) to help the Palestinians build their new state. 
The announcement on Wednesday came as Brussels urged the US to not go it alone in any effort to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
The EU  warned that doing so would end in failure. Read more.

After Tobacco Stock Purchases Exposed, Trump's CDC Director Resigns

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald—whose short tenure has already been mired in conflicts of interest—resigned Wednesday after a report revealed she bought stock in a major tobacco company and others that were potential conflicts while directing the public health agency that leads the federal government's efforts to reduce tobacco use.  Read more.

Presidential Vision: Lyndon B. Johnson's "Great Society"

Once upon a time American presidents saw one nation...undivided...believing in beauty and abundance...believing in community and shared opportunity.  President Johnson had such a vision, which he led this nation to aspire to. 

Johnson called it the "Great Society." 

A year before he signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which gave African-Americans the right to vote, and as such, full citizenship, Johnson gave one of his "Great Society" speeches in 1964.  Saying that:

The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use [our] wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization.

Your imagination, your initiative, and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth. For in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society an…

North Korea Catalog of US Rights Violations Makes Convincing Case

Just as U.S. President Donald Trump was preparing to lambast North Korea as "a menace that threatens our world" in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Pyongyang attempted to undercut Trump's "ominous" rhetoric by releasing a white paper that highlights America's "gross" human rights violations and deep inequities, from its failure to "embrace paid maternity leave" to its exorbitant healthcare costs.  Read more.

'Outrageous' Gold Rush-Style Grab of Public Lands To Begin in Less Than 48 Hours

Despite protests from conservationists, local tribe leaders, Democratic lawmakers, and even the United Nations' expert on indigenous rights, at 6am on Friday the Trump administration will allow citizens and companies to start staking claims on sections of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah so the new stakeholders can conduct hard rock mining on the formerly protected lands.  Read more.

A Booming Stock Market Does Not Mean a Strong US Economy

A Tribute to Robert Parry: Independent Journalism at Its Best

Journalism lost one of its most valuable investigators when Robert Parry died from pancreatic cancer on January 27, at the age of  68. He was the first reporter to reveal Oliver North’s operation in the White House basement (AP, 6/10/1985), and the co-author of the first report on Contra drug-smuggling (AP, 12/21/1985). He did some of the most important work investigating the 1980 Reagan campaign’s efforts to delay the return of US hostages held in Iran, a scandal known as the October Surprise.  Read more.

Robert Parry’s Legacy and the Future of Consortiumnews

It is with a heavy heart that we inform Consortiumnews readers that Editor Robert Parry has passed away. As regular readers know, Robert (or Bob, as he was known to friends and family) suffered a stroke in December, which – despite his own speculation that it may have been brought on by the stress of covering Washington politics – was the result of undiagnosed pancreatic cancer that he had been unknowingly living with for the past 4-5 years.  Read more.

Macron Leads France Back into Diplomatic Limelight

It was back in November, on Armistice Day in France, the day on which the end of World War I is celebrated, when Vésuve de Brekka trotted up the Champs-Élysées in a steady rain with French President Emmanuel Macron. Not quite two months later, he then accompanied Macron to Beijing, where the nine-year-old gelding ended up in a paddock in a Beijing suburb -- quarantined in conformance with the regulations. Read more.

US Lends a Hand in Prosecuting Brazil's Lula di Silva

Australia's national day fuels debate on colonial past

While most Australians fire up the barbecue and crack open beers to celebrate national day on Friday, Robbie Thorpe will be marching in the shadow of Victoria's state parliament.
Like many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, he doesn't see anything to cheer on Australia Day, which marks the arrival of the First Fleet in 1778 to establish a British penal colony.  Read more.

Trump’s latest interview shows he’s not really the president

President Donald Trump’s first non-Fox television interview in a long time, conducted with CNBC’s Joe Kernen from Davos, Switzerland, is in many respects weirdly devoid of substance. And much of the substance that’s there consists of misstatements of fact.
But lurking in that is an important insight: Trump is holding the office of president, but he’s not doing the job of president.  Read more.

Centrist Democrats Are Undermining Progressive Candidates

How the 'diversity industry' silences people of colour

This week Amena Khan became the latest woman of colour to be silenced in public. Just days after it was announced that Khan - a hijab-wearing Muslim beauty blogger -  was to join French cosmetics company L'Oreal's "diversity-celebrating" haircare campaign, she was forced to pull out. Her decision followed a right-wing witch-hunt against her over past tweets condemning Israel's actions during the war on Gaza in 2014.  Read more.

A Look at Germany's Extremely Unequal Wealth Distribution

The gathering of global political and industrial leaders in Davos each year leads many observers to wonder: Who benefits in the long term from economic growth and corporate profits? Society as a whole or just a select few at the very top? One way to approach that question is by looking at how the entire wealth of a given society is distributed among individual members of that society.  Read more.

Largest Marine Spill in History of Natural Gas Condensate

US Tourism Industry Blames Trump as Foreigners Flock Elsewhere

The tourism industry is blaming President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant policies and xenophobic rhetoric for a decline in foreign visitors to the U.S. since Trump took office a year ago.
The National Travel and Tourism Office saw a nearly four percent drop in foreign travelers entering the U.S. in 2017 and more than a three percent drop in spending by tourists.  Read more.

Special prosecutor to investigate 'every corner' of Michigan State University

A special prosecutor will investigate Michigan State University "from the president's office down" over how former MSU sports physician Larry Nassar could have sexually abused girls and young women for nearly 20 years without university action, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Saturday.  Read more.

Honduras: The Never-ending Coup

Land Grab in Barbuda implicate Robert Di Nero and others

Earlier this month, with almost no international news coverage and with the majority of Barbudans still displaced from the storm, an amendment to the law in question was quietly pushed through the Senate of Antigua and Barbuda — a body dominated by politicians from the wealthier and more populous island of Antigua. If the amendment stands, a tradition of communal land rights that dates back to the abolition of slavery in 1834 — and which has protected Barbuda as a rare beacon of sustainable development in the Caribbean — will be extinguished.  Read more.

One Year in, Trump's Guantánamo Policy Is an Echo of Bush -- and Obama

Nearly 17 years after 9/11 and one year into Donald Trump's presidency, dozens of detainees remain held in the United States' penal colony at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Obama's failure to close the US prison at Guantánamo and hold torturers accountable has made it easier for Trump to openly embrace torture and keep the facility open. Now, a year into the Trump administration, the Guantánamo military commissions system remains a kangaroo court and the US government maintains an abusive system of indefinite detention while waging perpetual war. These policies are more normalized than they've been before.  Read more.

Stupid but True: Burger King's Whopper Video on Net Neutrality

Denouncing 'FCC's Dangerous Ruling,' Cuomo Signs Order to Protect Net Neutrality in New York

In response to a recent move by the Republican-controlled FCC to roll back net neutrality, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on Wednesday to make New York the second state this week to ensure the consumer protections.
Paired with action taken by Montana on Monday, the orders to preserve net neutrality are being celebrated by free speech and consumer protection advocates, who have mounted a national movement against the...read more.

New York sues Big Pharma for deadly opioid epidemic

New York City is suing eight companies that make or distribute prescription opioids for their role in the ongoing opioid crisis. The suits aim to recover $500 million for current and future costs combating the epidemic.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said opioids killed more people in the city in recent years than car crashes and homicides.  Read more.

"Both Cops And Robbers At The Same Time"

Sgt. Wayne Jenkins was driving his squad’s car the wrong way down a one way street—as he often did—when he saw Oreese Stevenson, walking with a backpack. Jenkins slammed on the breaks. This encounter on March 16, 2016 would begin a long saga that illustrates the determined, almost obsessive, corruption in the...read more.

Inside the Trump Administration's War on UNRWA and Palestinian Refugees

The Trump administration’s decision to drastically slash American contributions to the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) has sent shockwaves through the organization and left millions of Palestinian refugees wondering if the basic ingredients for their survival will soon disappear. “This is the worst financial crisis in UNRWA’s history,” Chris Gunness told the...read more.

Oprah Is Not the US's Savior

Oprah Winfrey's remarkable Golden Globes speech rocked not only the event's A-list attendees, but almost all of America.
Winfrey cited the under-told story of Recy Taylor, a young black woman who was raped by six armed white men during the Jim Crow era. Despite threats to her life, Taylor reported her story to the...read more.

Trump Isn't Crazy, He's Just a Terrible Person

In an age when the current White House occupant has inspired unprecedented levels of armchair psychiatry, Allen Frances remains one of the foremost authorities in the field. As the chair of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) IV Task Force, he helped draft the criteria defining narcissistic personality disorder and other mental illnesses.  Read more.

Robert Reich: Trump Is Destroying the GOP from the Inside Out

America has never had a president as deeply unpopular at this stage of his presidency, or one who has sucked up more political oxygen. This isn’t good news for the Republican Party this November or in the future, because the GOP has sold its soul to Trump.
Three principles once gave the GOP its identity and mission: Shrink the deficit, defend states’ rights, and be tough on Russia.  Read more.

Apple: The Biggest Tax Cheaters in History Repatriate Profits Under Trump's Tax Bill

Fear of a Black Planet: Under the Republican Push for Welfare Cuts, Racism Boils

"Never tell anyone," my mother hissed, "that we're on welfare!" I sputtered, "Okay." She let go, angrily. People shuffled to the window where a tired man scanned their papers. That was 1982. Passing a poster of President Reagan, she shot him the middle finger. Later I realized, he rose to power by branding women like her "welfare queens."  Read more.

Cape Town Water Wars: A Literal Shitstorm

The US is Arming and Assisting Neo-Nazis in Ukraine

Last November, an American military inspection team visited the Azov Battalion on the front lines of the Ukrainian civil war to discuss logistics and deepening cooperation. Images of the encounter showed American army officers poring over maps with their Ukrainian counterparts, palling around and ignoring the Nazi-inspired Wolfangel patches emblazoned on their sleeves.  Read more.

Massive Oil Spill in East China Sea Is the Size of Paris

Massive Oil Spill in East China Sea Is the Size of Paris

#TheAssistance: Democrats Hand Trump Warrantless Spying

Congress Has Entrenched the Surveillance State

Sex-For-Repairs Victim: 'I Felt Like I Had to Do This to Keep My Home'

Norway to Trump: Keep Your Gold-Plated Sh*t Hole

So the Donald wishes more Norwegians would emigrate to America, instead of people from supposed “sh*thole” countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and Central America.
I happen to have spent two weeks visiting beautiful, democratic socialist Norway last summer. And I’ve got news for the Donald. Norwegians are not exactly lining up to...read more.

A different kind of MLK Day

On the night before Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, he invoked a lesson from biblical Egypt in a speech that is often called “Promised Land.” Pharaoh’s favorite formula for perpetuating slavery, he reminded us, was to keep the slaves fighting among themselves, for joined together they were too strong to subdue.  Read more.

New York officials denounce Trump as racist and maniac at Martin Luther King Day event in Harlem

As elected official after elected official spoke in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day in Harlem Monday, there was a common target of derision: President Trump.
City and state officials ripped Trump as they honored King at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s headquarters — blasting the President for labeling Haiti and African nations “s---holes,” and calling him...read more.

Florida prisoners plan Martin Luther King Day strike over 'slavery'

Inmates of Florida’s prisons are planning to use Monday’s Martin Luther King Day holiday to launch a statewide strike over conditions they say amount to modern-day slavery.
The unusual protest has been called by inmates angry at being used as unpaid clean-up crews for storm debris in sweltering temperatures last September, after Hurricane Irma struck the state.
But organisers cite a number of other longstanding grievances for the planned month-long action, in which prisoners will refuse to take part in work assignments and forego purchasing...read more.

If Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, politicians would denounce him

While King did care about black and/or poor people in the United States and around the world, he was no American exceptionalist. “Don’t let anybody make you think God chose America as His divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world,” King once said.
He also criticized how Americans “have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice” when “the fact is that capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor – both black and white, here and abroad”.  Read more.

Florida Inmates Launch Month-Long Campaign Protesting Prison Slavery, Inhumane Conditions

Inmates in Florida's prisons launched a month-long strike on Monday in protest of the state's use of "modern day slavery" within its correctional facilities.
In a statement released by the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons, one of several advocacy groups supporting the movement, the state's prisoners urged the prison population to refuse all work assignments during the strike:  Read more.

Hospital Dumping Woman Into Freezing Cold Stirs Demand for "Medicare for All"

Described as a horrifying depiction of "the reality of U.S. for-profit healthcare," a Baltimore-based psychotherapist this week caught on video University of Maryland Medical Center staff "dumping" a clearly incapacitated young woman into the freezing Maryland weather wearing only a thin hospital gown and socks.  Read more.

From Haiti to Africa, US Owes More Than a Trump Apology

Paramilitary Forces Threaten to Derail Colombia's Peace Agreement

I Live in a ‘Shithole Country.’ It’s Called the United States

It takes a level of pomposity inconceivable to most of us to describe another country as a “shithole.”
It’s unfortunately just one more of the obnoxious, racist, and altogether absurd statements we’ve come to expect from President Donald Trump. If the president were to venture beyond the manicured lawns of Mar-a-Lago or the White House, he might see that the U.S. is not exactly in a position to judge...read more.

For black Americans, Trump's 'shithole' comment was an insult to their histories

The president’s question was this: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
Technically — in its own crass way — it was a policy question. Specifically, President Trump was asking why the U.S. should accept immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations instead of immigrants from wealthy Norway, according to reports of the president's remarks to congressional lawmakers at a Thursday meeting.  Read more.

World Leaders Denounce Trump's "Reprehensible and Racist" Insult to Haiti and African Countries

Leaders from around the world expressed disgust and outrage as news spread on Friday that President Donald Trump reportedly referred to El Salvador, Haiti, and African countries as "shitholes."
Botswana's government released a statement questioning the president's apparent pivot away from—or lack of awareness of the...read more.

"Victory for Democracy" as Court Rules Against North Carolina Gerrymandering

In a ruling hailed as a major and historic "victory for democracy," a federal court on Tuesday deemed North Carolina's 2016 congressional map unconstitutional on the grounds that it was drawn to discriminate against Democratic voters -- marking the first time a federal court has struck down a redistricting plan for partisan gerrymandering.  Read more.

Judges Rule N. Carolina Representatives Cannot Choose their Voters

'Tide Is Turning': Cheers Erupt for NYC's Suit Against Fossil Fuel Giants and Divestment

Climate advocates hailed what they say is a "watershed" moment on Wednesday following two announcements by New York City: that the city would seek to divest its pension funds from fossil fuels within five years, and that it filed suit against five fossil fuel giants for their role in driving the climate crisis.  Read more.

Oprah 2020? A Progressive's Take

Money for Police and Prisons but Not for Heat in Classrooms

Outrage at Baltimore School Board Meeting Over Freezing Classrooms

Billionaire Tom Steyer and the Wealthy Trump Resistance Grifters

Hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer has launched himself into the Trump Resistance, pouring millions of dollars into advertisements and a website urging the impeachment of Donald Trump. He’s spent over $20 million so far on a nationwide ad campaign, starring himself, as the DNC and several grassroots organizations struggle to compete in fundraising against the billionaires backing Trump and the Republican Party.  Read more.

Can Prisons Be Flipped for Good?

Imagine a rural oasis of sustainable agriculture and community. There are aquaponic ponds filled with fish, fields lined with vegetable rows, pastures for farm animals, and hives buzzing with bees. There are dormitories for staff, a community kitchen for culinary classes, and even a climbing wall for energetic kids. Now picture all of this at the site of a former jail in Wagram, North Carolina -- the fish swimming in tanks in old jail cells, the cows contained by old prison fence lines, and the climbing wall converted from a guard tower. That's the vision put forth by...read more.

Oprah Lifts Up Women, Brings Down the House at Golden Globes

At the 75th Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night, where activists and actresses joined arms to say "time's up" for sexual abuse, Oprah Winfrey delivered a moving speech in which she reflected on the achievements of other black individuals in the entertainment industry and called for a more equitable world free from sexual harassment and assault.  Read more.

Baltimore's $12M Youth Fund Gives Community the Reins