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Humpty Dumpty Word Usage In 'Trump's Wonderland'

Trump's lies fly

Like the famous line from fairy tale figure Humpty Dumpty about his prerogative to pervert words, President Trump and his defender/supporters routinely engage in a putrid practice of altering widely accepted meanings of words to obscure or to outright deceive.

Humpty Dumpty, when talking with Alice in the classic Louis Carroll novel “Alice In Wonderland’ declared that the words he uses are just what he choses those words “to mean – neither more nor less.”

So in ‘Trump’s Wonderland’ defenders of the President blithely downplay the June 9, 2016 impropriety committed by the President’s oldest son, Donald Jr., as the misstep of a “kid” not serious misconduct consciously committed by an adult.

Kid is a word usually used as a descriptor for children from babies to teens but not a 39-year-old man like the junior Donald.

Don Jr. has admitted – in public statements and in emails he released – that in June 2016 he eagerly met with a person presented to him as a representative of the Russian government who would supply him with political dirt on front-running Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Emails released by Don Jr. document that Don Jr. was clearly informed that the meeting to provide political dirt was part of efforts by the Russian government to help his father win the presidential election.

President Trump’s new Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, declared that Don Jr. “is a kid” when proclaiming that Don Jr. did “nothing wrong” by attending that secret June 2016 meeting with a representative of America’s avowed enemy. Scaramucci’s characterization of Don Jr. as a “kid” during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper perverted the traditional meaning of the word kid to minimize the actions of a grown man who Scaramucci described variously as a “great guy” and a neophyte in the world of big time politics.

While Scaramucci spun the line of that June 2016 meeting being a “non-event” Don Jr. obviously saw that event, held at Trump Tower in New York City, as really, really important. The importance of the meeting that Humpty Scaramucci Dumpty termed a “non-event” led Don Jr. to invite his father’s then presidential campaign manager to that meeting.

Uruguay Tells US Drug War to Take a Hike

The Increasing Decline of American Credibility

Newsflash! Uruguay has fashioned a marijuana legalization program that is smart and graceful, yet does not turn the little South American nation into a tourist Mecca like Amsterdam. Legalization only applies to citizens. It may be the best decriminalization model yet.

In the annals of beleaguered US Attorney General Jeff Sessions -- whose obsession with weed I wrote about earlier -- this amounts to another warning shot from the real world making it clear re-invigorating federal anti-marijuana law enforcement is not workable -- unless the plan is to assume an all-out police state mode. Everybody knows the bloodhounds are baying in the woods and getting closer on the scent of Sessions' Russia problem. In a front-page interview with The New York Times, President Trump makes it clear he’s fed up with Sessions for recusing himself on the Russia investigation. The president has bigger fish to fry than pot, and Jeff Sessions may be approaching pariah status in Trump World. Roger Stone, one of the president's loyal attack dobermans, told the New York Times, "there's a lack of aggressiveness with Sessions, unless it involves chasing people for smoking pot."

Uruguay’s actions are part of a general trend in Latin America that suggests leaders there don't give the US Drug War much credence any more. One leader after another has expressed frustration with the US military and police obsession with the supply of drugs from the South, while leaders in the US fail to socially address the demand at home that has always driven the so-called “war.” Latin American leaders are effectively reading the US the riot act. Bastante! Enough. That goes for leaders in Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Costa Rica, Jamaica and even Canada.

One of the most interesting examples of this shift occurred during the notorious summit meeting in Cartagena in 2012. Conservative Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos publicly requested of President Barack Obama that the US do more about demand and let up on Latin America for being the supplier of that dysfunctional US demand. Get your own house in order and stop scapegoating us.

Americans, however, never got this story. As many will recall, what we did get was a raft of juicy scandal stories about the president’s secret service detail getting laid by high-class Colombian prostitutes. (Prostitution is legal in Colombia and thrives in Cartagena.) Was this absence an insidious conspiracy? Or was it, rather, just the exceptionalist American subconscious at work making it clear the United States never recognizes problems having to do with itself. As any morally righteous gringo understands, the real horror was American special agents protecting the president of the United States having sex with dark and furtive Latin women for cash. Elite American warriors compromised by Mestizo honey pots! Now that's a story you can run with in Gringolandia. Editors decided Americans didn’t want to hear that the USA had been using its Drug War to demonize Latin America for supplying it what its population demanded -- as if that isn’t a perfect definition of free private enterprise.

Held Illegally 12 Years by US in Guantanamo, Child Soldier, 15, wins $8.1 Million

Canada apologizes for not aiding its captive citizen

 

The story of Omar Khadr has always been one of the ugliest chapters of the ugly story of the US War on Terror initiated with the Congressional passage of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force and the ensuing invasion of Afghanistan.

Yesterday, Khadr finally won a measure of justice when the Canadian government apologized to him for its failure to defend him against his US captors and to seek his release from confinement at the US prison compound at Guantanamo Bay, and awarded him damages of $8.1 million as compensation for his years of suffering.

Imprisoned at 15 at Guantanamo illegally, child soldier Omar Khadr has finally won vindication, an apology and $8 millionImprisoned at 15 at Guantanamo illegally, child soldier Omar Khadr has finally won vindication, an apology and $8 million
 

His vindication as a victim, and not a villain, was a long time coming.

It was in 2002, during the early days of America’s longest — and still ongoing — war against Afghanistan that Omar Khadr, a 15-year-old native of Canada, was wounded and then captured, still alive, and packed off to Guantanamo Bay, one of a number of child soldiers whom the US, under the Bush/Cheney administration’s rule-free War on Terror, held in violation of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty that was signed by the US and that is thus part of US law. It declares that all children under the age of 18 captured while fighting in wars are to be offered “special protection” and treated as victims, not as combatants.

Khadr’s story was never properly told in the US media, which simply lumped him in with all the other alleged “terrorists” held at Guantanamo. His 2010 “trial” — one of the few military tribunals actually conducted at Guantanamo — was a charade of justice which led to his conviction for murder and a sentence of 40 years. That sentence was later commuted to 8 years, to be served in Canada, not at Guantanamo, but Khadr had agree to plead guilty to the worst and most outrageous charges against him in order to escape from q lifetime at the mercy of the sadistic US guards at Guantanamo.

Khadr’s crime, according to his US captives? Murder of one US soldier, and the blinding of another, caused by a hand grenade that the young Khadr allegedly lobbed at them.

The truth? It's hard to know. Khadr had always insisted he did not toss a grenade until the deal under pressure that he agreed to, and even then, in "admitting" to throwing the grenade he insisted he did it out of fear, not a desire to kill. In any event, even if he did toss a grenade, he would have been doing what any courageous wounded soldier in his situation would hope to have the guts to do: defend himself, and take out the enemy at the risk of his own life. That would not be murder in an armed conflict!

Corbyn Defied Media Rules by Linking UK Wars to Terrorism

US corporate media blacked his message out

This article by DAVE LINDORFF was published first by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) at FAIR.org
 

When a terrorist killed 22 at a May 22 concert filled with young people in England’s Manchester, most journalists—especially US ones—assumed it would help the struggling Conservative Party and its standard-bearer, Prime Minister Theresa May, win the snap election she had called for June 8, just 17 days ahead.

Labour PM candidate Jeremy Corbyn gained support by calling the UK War on Terror a flop right after the Manchester terror bombinLabour PM candidate Jeremy Corbyn gained support by calling the UK War on Terror a flop right after the Manchester terror bombing
 

That is, after all, the conventional wisdom: In times of crisis, like a terror attack, the public looks to its leaders for tough talk and dramatic action. New York Times correspondent Steven Erlanger (5/24/17), noting that May’s “easy glide” to re-election had run into trouble prior to the bombing, wrote an article on how the attack “Shifts Political Narrative as UK Election Looms”:
 

If the Manchester bombing was a horrible tragedy for Britain, it was a political boon, however unwanted, for Prime Minister Theresa May.

Monday’s terrorist attack has changed the narrative of Britain’s election, just two weeks away — and in her favor. As the incumbent prime minister, Mrs. May inevitably speaks both to and for the nation from 10
Downing Street. And having been home secretary for six years before becoming prime minister, she is knowledgeable and comfortable with the issues of security, policing and terrorism.

 

Erlanger went on to report that May’s opponent, leftist Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was seen to have a “weakness” on security, citing his “old sympathies with Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army.” Erlanger quoted a historian’s view that “there can only be more questions” for Corbyn after the bombing, which opened him to attacks from right-wing media for being “soft on terror.”

But Corbyn took a bold and iconoclastic stand after the Manchester horror...
 

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF, please go to FAIR.org

Sy Hersh, Exposer of My Lai and Abu Ghraib, Strikes Again, Exposing US Lies About Alleged Assad Sarin Gas 'Attack'

What if you write a critically important story and nobody will print it?

 

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the journalist who exposed the My Lai massacre of Vietnamese women, children and old people by US troops, the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal in Iraq, and many other critically important stories, has now obliterated the US government's (and the US media's) claim that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military killed nearly 100 people with a Sarin nerve gas bombing in April, an incident which prompted President Trump to order a Tomahawk cruise missile attack on a Syrian Air Force base.

Hersh's My Lai expose was initially published by the Dispatch News Service, and was eventually run by 33 US newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times (which employed him in its Washington bureau during the Watergate Scandal era, from 1972-75). His later Abu Ghraib expose ran in the New Yorker magazine, as did several other important investigative pieces about the origins of the Iraq war, and about a US covert bombing campaign in Iran.

But this latest piece, arguably his potentially most explosive -- because it shows a President Trump risking triggering a World War III with Russia based upon his own rash decision, over the objections and to the dismay of his own military and intelligence advisers -- couldn't find a mainstream publisher in the US or the UK. Instead, he had to run it in a German newspaper, Die Welt.

Trump's 'War Room' discussing plans to bomb a Syrian airfield because of a fake Sarin gas attack story in AprilTrump's 'War Room' discussing plans to bomb a Syrian airfield because of a fake Sarin gas attack story in April
 

Fortunately, Die Welt, one of Germany's major daily newspapers, realized the importance of what Hersh was exposing, and has made the article, as well as a side-bar -- the transcript of a conversation between an American soldier and intelligence service person in Syria, available online -- in English. Here they are:

Trump's Red Line and We've got a fucking problem!

We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change

The Democratic Party is beyond hope

 

The failure of Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff to capture the vacant House seat left in a suburban Atlanta district by the Trump nomination of Republican Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services shows the disastrous state of the Democratic Party.

So beholden is that party to corporate interests that it cannot put up or support any candidate who is willing to challenge its neoliberal paradigm. The 30-year-old Ossoff tried to win by appealing to the so called “moderate middle” of voters, offering vague promises of economic growth and challenges to President Trump’s policies — for example his attack on the Obama administration’s so-called Affordable Care Act. It was a stupid campaign approach, especially for a special election, when voter turnouts are typically very low and voter enthusiasm is the key. No matter: despite polls showing overwhelming American support for a Canadian-style single-payer “Medicare for All” health care system, Ossoff did not call for such a change. Nor did he mention at all the need to slash US military spending — the single biggest reason, because it lays claim to some 54% of all federal tax dollars each year, why the US is approaching Third World status by most measures such as life-expectancy, infant mortality, infrastructure, education, etc.

The question now for progressives is: What is to be done?

With the Democratic Party in the hands of Neoliberals and third parties kept off ballots, progressives need a mass movement straWith the Democratic Party in the hands of Neoliberals and third parties kept off ballots, progressives need a mass movement stra
 

Clearly to be a viable and genuine opposition party to the ruling Republicans, the Democratic Party would have to be thoroughly deconstructed and rebuilt. The millionaire-packed Democratic National Committee leadership — the lobbyists, the elected officials and the well-heeled donors — would have to be tossed out entirely, and replaced by genuine progressives, labor activists, environmentalists, representatives of various minority groups and (gasp!) socialists. It would need a platform that was unequivocal and unflinching in its call for expanded and more generous Social Security benefits, for a well funded Medicare for All program, for a new National Labor Relations Act that routinizes the forming of labor unions and that safeguards, through severe penalties on recalcitrant employers, the right to bargain for contracts. It would have to stand foursquare for an emergency mobilization against climate change, and it would have to renounce the debunked neoliberal approach of coddling the rich and tossing crumbs to the poor, by standing for much higher taxes on the former and well-funded programs to help the latter. And finally, it would have to call for dramatic cuts in the military (not defense!) budget, and an end to US imperialism and militarism abroad.

New War Memorial in London Ends Historic Omission of Heroic Contributions

Blackout erased

London contains many of the thousands of memorials located across the United Kingdom commemorating the sacrifices of millions of military personnel during the bloody struggles of World War I and World War II.

There is even a ‘Animals In War’ memorial in London’s famed Hyde Park recognizing the contributions to those wars from dogs, donkeys, elephants, pigeons, glow worms and others animals.

However, not one of these memorials to the world wars – estimated at over 70,000 across Britain by the Imperial War Museum – is specifically dedicated to the contributions of the thousands from the Caribbean and Africa who helped secure victories of England in those two horrific 20th Century conflicts.

That omission of a formal recognition honoring the sacrifices of persons from Africa and the Caribbean in World Wars I and II ended on Thursday, June 22, 2017 with the dedication of a special monument: the African Caribbean Memorial.

This two and one-half ton sculpture fashioned from Scottish Whinstone sits outside the Black Cultural Achieve in the Brixton section of South London. The dedication ceremony for the African and Caribbean Memorial came on Windrush Day – the annual celebration for the onset of large-scale immigration to Britain from the Caribbean that began in 1948 when immigrants came to help London/England rebuild after WWII.

The idea for the African Caribbean Memorial (along with the long work to raise funds for the monument’s creation and siting) came from the Nubian Jak Community Trust, a British organization that has erected over thirty plaques around London and in other parts of England recognizing various contributions of persons of African descent.

Guns and Religion in a Small Town on Memorial Day

An anti-war vet in Trumpland

      When the legend becomes fact, print the legend
                  - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

I attended a "Salute to Veterans" this past Memorial Day in Waldoboro, Maine, organized by the town’s Historical Society at the headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and co-sponsored by the American Legion. For someone with my antiwar resume, albeit a veteran of a Vietnam combat unit, stepping over the threshold of a VFW Post can feel like crossing into hostile territory. I might exhibit a similar compunction about taking fermentation at certain blue color taverns in the Rust Belt, despite the fact that many of the regulars would pretty much look like me, white seniors with European roots – except maybe they voted for Trump and I didn’t. It’s not just politics; it’s a class thing. I spent my first eleven years in a working class subdivision while my dad, employed at a defense plant, “broke through the line” into management. We moved up and I went to college, then left my hometown in the dust.

The POW/MIA guest setting; and attendees at the Memorial Day event (Photos: Michael Uhl)The POW/MIA guest setting; and attendees at the Memorial Day event (Photos: Michael Uhl)

Most of those I sat among that afternoon in Waldoboro probably hadn’t been to college – an opportunity with far reaching class consequences - but they’d remained rooted in their communities. Being there, it was as if I’d been whisked back to some mothballed version of where I’d grown up in the fifties. All the musty forms and rituals were intact. The interior of the hall was a shrine to soldierly service. All manner of war and military memorabilia displayed on walls and tables. Mannequins outfitted full fig in uniforms of various epochs. Two rows of chairs faced the stars and stripes and the flags of all the services that stood tall across the front of the room. Stage-set on the left flank was an empty table with a single place setting and chair, the ubiquitous homage of the mainstream veteran service organizations to the MIAs.

One elderly lady saddled in beside me and sparkled brightly, “don’t worry, I won’t bite you.” Was she in the Ladies Auxiliary linked to one of the co-sponsors, I asked? She nodded yes without comment. The chair of the local Historical Society stepped to the podium, asked the body to stand, then summoned the Color Guard, having carried two flags to the rear, to proceed forward and return the standards to their stanchions. Two of the more senior men, costumed with bits and pieces of their old uniforms – both wore sergeant’s stripes – fairly dragged the heavy poles up the aisle. “It weighs a ton,” one of them grumbled under his breath, but loud enough to make his audience, including me, smile and nod in sympathy.

We, the birds in the field

A bird flies up from the tall grass when I enter the field.
Somewhere deep in that wild place
Is a nest, I wanted to say “concealed” for the hidden rhyme
But the image is the important thing:

Me, barefoot. Bird, flying up.
Even if I were a predator
I would not be able to find her nest.
But I don’t need to find its exact location

Any more than I need to worry about rhyming.
This is a poem about a bird’s desperation
As the tractor mows closer and closer.
The farmer and I have agreed

To save one. Go around.
That is how I mow the stone circle

Socialist Labour Party Candidate Jeremy Corbyn Closes 20% Poll Gap to Deny Tories a Parliament Majority

Historic upset in UK snap election

 

The British Labour Party and its party leader Jeremy Corbyn didn’t win Thursday’s snap election called last April 18 by Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, yet it was it nonetheless a historic victory for Corbyn, the British left and for the concept of socialist revolution in a democratic society.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, with a socialist, anti-war message, has upended British politicsLabour leader Jeremy Corbyn, with a socialist, anti-war message, has upended British politics
 

From the time Corbyn, a long-time hard-left anti-militarism back-bencher and protege of the late Tony Benn, was elevated to the leadership position of the Labour Party back in September 2015, he has (like Bernie Sanders in the US last year) had to combat a concerted effort to unseat him by the Labour Party establishment. Only last year, 172 elected Labour Party members of Parliament (that was out of a total of 232) cast a vote of no confidence that forced Corbyn into a party leadership election which he resoundingly won with over 60% of the votes of dues-paying party members.

When May, back in April, at a time when polls showed her trouncing Labour by a 20-25% margin, called a snap election for June 8 (after earlier promising that she would not do such a thing), the Labour establishment figured it would turn out a disaster and finish off Corbyn as party leader. Seven leading Labour MP’s announced that they weren’t going to run for re-election on a ticket headed by Corbyn, with several even saying publicly that they preferred May to Corbyn. Virtually the entire British news media, from the BBC on down, piled on, deriding Corbyn as a ‘70s relic out of touch with British voters.

At first, amid all that Corbyn bashing, it did seem as though the contest would be a historic wipe-out for the Labour party, which was already on its knees following an embarrassing performance in the 2015 electoral outing which left Conservatives with a 330-vote majority (just 4 more than needed to form a government), and Labor, at 232 seats, looking like it might be down for good. But then Corbyn, who during the 2017 campaign came out with a truly socialist manifesto calling for improved funding for the gutted and struggling National Health System, an end to tuition for college and university, a major campaign of building more public housing, better funding for public education, and, most importantly, an end to reflexive British support for America’s endless and ever expanding global War on Terror, something started to happen. Suddenly his poll numbers turned around dramatically, and as the days until June 8 voting ticked off, the margin between Labour and the Tories kept dwindling. Meanwhile, Corbyn’s popularity kept rising, eventually passing Prime Minister May’s numbers in some polls.

Even two brutal terror attacks, in Manchester and then in London, failed to significantly dent Corbyn’s charge — in large part because instead of reflexively hunkering down and supporting more draconian security policies as US politicians of both parties do each time some terror attack happens or some alleged terror plot is “disrupted,” he declared that the attacks proved that “the war on terror has been a failure.” Corbyn also took the offense and denounced his opponent May who, as home secretary of the Conservatives before becoming prime minister had overseen the defunding of 22,000 ordinary police officer positions — furloughing roughly a fifth of the country’s police force. “You can’t keep people safe on the cheap,” Corbyn declared on the stump to loud cheering.

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Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

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