Recently, the United Kingdom appointed a Minister of Loneliness to attend to the growing public health crisis of loneliness reported by 9 million people in their country

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

-Luke 15:20

Recently, the United Kingdom appointed a Minister of Loneliness to attend to the growing public health crisis of loneliness reported by 9 million people in their country. Our culture has mastered the art of relational distance. Too many of us are content to view one another from a long way off. Our past hurts, pains, disappointments and biases keep us so isolated and alone. But like this father who saw his son and became proximal to him, we are being nudged to close the chasm of difference and remember our shared humanity.

Pastor Michael McBride (known as “Pastor Mike”) is a native of San Francisco and has been active in ministry for over 20 years. Pastor McBride’s commitment to holistic ministry can be seen through his leadership roles in both the church and community organizations. A graduate of Duke University’s Divinity School, with a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Ethics and Public Policy, Pastor McBride founded The Way Christian Center in West Berkeley, where he presently serves as the Lead Pastor.

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Stephen King on Trump’s Fanatics:“Jesus, man ….You act like the Red Chinese army was invading.”– “They’re just a bunch of scared and hungry people…”

From Stephen King {MID-320340}
Stephen King
(Image by
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Bestselling author Stephen King on Monday weighed in on President Trump’s recent warnings to the migrant caravan moving through Mexico toward the United States. King’s criticism came in response to a tweet Trump shared on Sunday stating that “full efforts are being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens from crossing our Souther (sic) Border.” “Jesus, man,” King said in response to the tweet. “You act like the Red Chinese army was invading.” “They’re just a bunch of scared and hungry people,” the author said.

Read the rest of the story HERE:

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A Dad’s Work to Stop Superbugs

The Pew Charitable Trusts
Antibiotic Resistance Project
Inside NIH’s Fight Against Superbugs
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addresses some of the greatest superbug threats—and what the agency is doing about them.
In Superbug Fight, ‘Victory Is Not at Hand’
“It’s a long road from exciting things happening in the lab to getting through a clinical process to the patient’s bedside,” Kathy Talkington, director of Pew’s antibiotic resistance project, explains in a Chicago Tribune editorial.
A Dad’s Work to Stop Superbugs
For Men’s Health Month—June—get to know Chris Linaman. After his heartbreaking superbug experience, he’s working to help others avoid the trauma he endured.
Antibiotics Weren’t Used to Cure These Patients. Fecal Bacteria Were.
Superbugs Could Render Even the Most Routine Procedures Deadly, Warns Chief Medical Officer
Stanley Falkow, Microbiologist Who Studied Bacteria and the Diseases They Cause, Dies At 84
Antibiotic-Resistant UTIs Are on the Rise Around The World
Antibiotics May Raise the Risk for Kidney Stones
Was this forwarded to you? Don’t miss the next email!
Antibiotics are fundamental to modern medicine, essential for treating everything from routine skin infections to strep throat, and for protecting vulnerable patients receiving chemotherapy or being treated in intensive care units.

Pew’s antibiotic resistance project is working to ensure both the prudent use of existing drugs and a robust pipeline of new drugs in order to meet current and future patient needs.

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Even if John Stewart is Gone, We all Need to Keep taking on FOX and all the Media

I am going to put a lot of John Stewart videos in the comment section, like this one:

You probably heard the great news – after a few years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show–but the Boycott Must Go On!!

Ten years ago, Media Matters launched with a revolutionary mission: to systematically monitor the U.S. media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. We’ve been calling out right-wing lies for a decade — and we’re not done yet. Will you contribute now to help us raise $10,000 for our 10th anniversary?

Media Matters Timeline

For ten years, we’ve successfully fought back against the bad actors that poison our media with right-wing lies and smears. It’s been an amazing beginning, and we couldn’t have done it without your support.

We’re in this for the long haul. Make an anniversary gift today to kickstart the next ten years of media accountability.

Dear Kevin,
You probably heard the great news – after two years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show.
Beck was targeted after he slandered President Obama by saying, “This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don’t know what it is… This guy, I believe, is a racist.”
Activists at ColorOfChange, Media Matters, StopBeck, FoxNewsBoycott, and of course responded with a boycott of advertisers on Glenn Beck’s show. Ultimately over 300 advertisers pulled their ads from Beck, costing FOX over $40 million.
Advertiser boycotts work! And it’s time to boycott all FOX News advertisers:
We’re starting our boycott of all FOX News with Proactiv, which sells acne medicine to teenagers and young adults. Why?
First, there are lots of other acne treatments. Second, young adults above all are hurt by FOX News, which promotes right-wing policies on race, education, healthcare, the environment, and war. Let’s get our future leaders to lead the fight against FOX News!
Sign the petition to Proactiv and enter the email address of every young adult over 18 you know:
Beyond President Obama, FOX regularly slanders nearly everyone: Democrats, unionized workers, the unemployed (including veterans and 99ers), environmentalists, feminists, blacks, Hiics, Jews, Muslims, progressives, scientists, and any other group it disagrees with.
FOX News broadcasts rightwing extremist slander, incitement to violence, political propaganda, and outright lies to promote its rightwing political agenda. This is not “news,” but rather a never-ending “war on news” – and it’s all documented in our petition.
Why would any decent company want to fund it? Tell Proactiv to stop advertising on FOX News:
Thanks for all you do!
Bob Fertik

GLEN BECK ADMITTED in 2007, “I Am RACIST and Barack Obama is very White” THIS MAKES Boycotting FOX NEWS needed NOW

By Kevin Stoda

Dear, American supporters of the Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) news networks.

AMERICANS are getting less tolerant of your racism and stronghold on our major media.

For example, we have noted that in his 2007 TV program from FOX (See on You-Tube), Glen Beck admitted he himself was racist. Further, Beck then, in contrast to 2009, called Barrack Obama much more white than black. (Apparently, Beck now he has other nonsense to mush men’s minds.)

Using a major news platform to promote racism and to tell people to disrespect a whole presidential administration through mixed truths, outright lies, and xenophobia, is not to be tolerated any more.

On Democracy Now today, Amy Goodman asked Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP what he thought of Wal-Mart’s pull-out from advertising on the Glen Beck program on FOX.

NOTE: Goodman had simply asked , “The whole attack by Glenn Beck that drove this (resignation)? In your response from the NAACP to Van Jones, it says, ´The only thing more outrageous than Mr. Beck’s attack on Van Jones is the fact that there are sponsors that continue to pay him to provide this type of offensive commentary.` Do you support the continued boycott of companies like Wal-Mart of Beck’s show on Fox?”

This is a particularly important point because Glen Beck´s HATE CAMPAIGN ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION led recently to a great American policy maker, Van Jones, quitting the government this week.

Mr. Jealous said, “We certainly support them (Walmart) choosing with their dollars who they’re going to support. I mean, it’s—Glenn Beck is somebody who’s told a seven-year-old girl, a seven-year-old black girl, that he would buy her a ticket back to Africa, that she needed to go back to Africa. And then he comes out, and he says that healthcare is the beginning of reparations. I mean, this guy plays the race card on a weekly basis. He does it very aggressive—you know, in a very hateful way.”

Recall, first, that Van Jones is one of the most important and thoughtful men in America—however, the FOX (Fascist Oddball Xenophobic) news network chose to support a man, like Glen Beck, rather than seeing that tens of millions of Americans need to get health care from promoters like Jones and that our America economy needs to move starting today to the kind of economy that its competitors worldwide are already doing.

Let’s quote the wisdom and influential words of Van Jones on the absolute necessity to green the American economy NOW!

“I think it’s really important to point out that we’re sort of at the end of an era of American capitalism, where we thought we could run the economy based on consumption rather than production, credit rather than creativity, borrowing rather than building, and also, most importantly, environmental destruction rather than environmental restoration.”

Jones continued, “We’re trying to make the case in this book that that era is over. We now have to move in a very different direction. And key to that will be basing the US economy not on credit cards, but based on clean energy and the clean energy revolution that would put literally millions of people to work, putting up solar panels all across the United States, weatherizing buildings so they don’t leak so much energy and put up so much carbon, building wind farms and wave farms, manufacturing wind turbines. We argue you could put Detroit back to work not making SUVs to destroy the world, but making wind turbines, 8,000 finely machine parts in each one, twenty tons of steel in each wind tower, making wind turbines to help save the world.”

Finally, Van Jones wisely noted, “So we think that you can fight pollution and poverty at the same time. We think that you can actually power our way through this recession by putting people to work, but we’re going to have to start building things here and re-powering, retrofitting, retooling America, and that that’s the way forward both for the economy, for the earth and for everyday people.”

Note: These statements came from a program on DN from October of last year:

Van Beck has written a book of the same title, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.

America needs such voices as Van Jones in government leadership in America—not Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) types.

Clean up the American airwaves of all its fascism and racism, today.

NOTE: One way to change the noise of Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) media moguls is to support alternative media organizations

and alternative monitoring websites.

Another way, is to demand that local radio and TV channels put better programming on, such as Democracy Now or news sources promoted by serious progressive journalists:

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Collective Occlusion: American Narratives and Silencing of Important Cultural Memories

May 29, 2013 by eslkevin      

By Kevin Stoda

I have taken a lot of time to write on collective memory in film and society over the years.  I have written, for example on the Holocaust and on the presentation of memory in Germany and commemorations and/or memorials in other lands. I have written about memories of WWII on three continents.  Finally, I have written about the Vietnam era and post-Vietnam war education–and memories surround the movie Forrest Gump and the film’s relationship to images used in other films, i.e. its relationship to the reality on the ground of which it represents.

Recently, I came across an older–but trailblazing–article on the topic of USA history and how society teaches it:  “What Can Forrest Gump Tell Us about Students’ Historical Understanding?” It was published in 2001 by Sam Wineburg, Susan Mosborg, and Dan Porat in a journal on social education. Again, in this article, the topic of Forrest Gump, the film, is used to make the case that media may have a stronger influence on the teaching of Vietnam Era history in America than do any classroom experiences of our American students in either our primary or secondary schools these days.  The authors go further, though, and indicating that media is also overwhelming possible family practices in educating our youth about America’s own history.

The authors of the article,  “What Can Forrest Gump Tell Us about Students’ Historical Understanding?” were concerned with how America students are acquiring their American history up through the period of the 9-11 events (which have since transformed further our Vietnam era memories). The article exposes the initial findings of both a social-educational experiment and a set of investigations involving students in their last years of high school.  Moreover, it also involved the students and their parents in extensive interviews and engaged them in written responses on similar historical topics, themes, events, and images. [1]

Note:  As it has been claimed that even more than the Vietnam War, the events of 9-11 have supposedly changed living-American-generations’ filters of history. I would certainly like to see similar new research (as undertaken by Weinburg, et. al) to be undertaken today. I personally find that the Cold War-Era with its own particular narrations have, however, continued to fuel American memory even as the period of Global Terrorism has supposedly overtaken our current new conceptualizations of reality and memory.

The article by Weinburg et. al. begins [2] as follows: HISTORICAL NARRATIVES envelop us everywhere–at home, at church, at the movies; in the buildings we inhabit, the parks we visit, the stamps we lick; in the days we take off from work, the newspapers we read, and the six-o’clock news we receive from Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and Dan Rather. By the time young people reach their eighteenth birthday in our culture, they possess a rich narrative of origins–how the United States came into being, the roots of the race issue that divides American society, something about Pilgrims, colonists, and settlers. In terms of impact and influence, no algebra or French teacher can compete with such famous history teachers as Steven Spielberg or Oliver Stone, whose devoted students number in multiples of millions.

Each of us grows up in a home with a distinct history and a distinct perspective on the meaning of larger historical events. Our parents’ stories shape our historical consciousness, as do the stories of the ethnic, racial, and religious groups that number us as members. We attend churches, dubs, and neighborhood associations that further mold our collective and individual historical selves. We visit museums. We travel to national landmarks in the summer. We camp out in front of the TV and absorb, often unknowingly, an unending barrage of historical images. By the time children have celebrated a decade of Thanksgivings and Martin Luther King Days, they are already seasoned students of American culture and history.

But the notion that all these sources form a coherent whole mocks the complexity of social life. Historical consciousness does not emanate like neat concentric circles from the individual to the family to the nation and to the world. Lessons learned at home contravene those learned at school. What we hear at school conflicts with what we hear at church or synagogue–if not in the pews then certainly in the bathrooms. If we pay attention to the lyrics of rap music or tune our dials to Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern, we confront more disjunctures. To make historical sense, we must navigate the shoals of the competing narratives that vie for our allegiance.[p. 55]”

Collective Occlusion

In writing their piece for a social education journal, Weinburg et. al. have decided to use the wording “collective occlusion” to describe what concerns them the most in the wake of their research on cohort generations [3] of America, their media, and their education in history, specifically Vietnam War Era social education.  The researchers and authors explain that they prefer the term “collective occlusion” to a term, such as “collective amnesia” for several different reasons.

“First, occlusion conveys a sense of blockage; it is not that these memories are erased or forgotten but they are not salient or easily seen.  Second, even when memories are occluded, they are, in historical and archival cultures. Available in books, on the Web, and often taught in specialized university seminars. ‘Amnesia’ misrepresents the complexity of social memory by conveying monolithic, socially uniform processes.  The partiality and opacity of ‘occlusion’ conveys this complexity more fully [p.58].”

Weinburg, et. al. wrote the following concerning the need to have awareness of collective occlusion in our curriculum development in history and social education in America by noting: “When we began this work, we hypothesized that there would be significant points of tension between the history taught in schools and the history available in film, music, and TV in the culture at large.  This may be the case but it is not what we found.  In fact, rather than forming a separate sphere, the school often became the purveyor of the history curriculum offered by popular culture, the place where young people first sat and sampled its wares:  Hollywood movies, made-for-TV documentaries, and the like. [p.57]”

I should add that the researchers spent hundreds of hours observing classrooms at three different high schools in the American Northwest for their research.  This enabled them to observe what kind of interaction the students under  investigation had with teachers in their own “official” history classes.

Based on their home and family discussions (as well as blindly submitted written reports submitted from the two cohort generations in each household), the researchers  wrote, “Similarly, the home” has become “a venue in which parent and child often shared in the joint experience of the past by turning on the VCR [nowadays the CD/DVD or digital memory of mass media sources] and together [have been] witnessing a celluloid version of it.”  Importantly,  the child-generation (or younger of the two cohort generations), i.e. who had had no personal direct experience living in the Vietnam War Era, seem to have absorbed the biases and misleading information of mass-media rather than relying more on what expert witnesses and expert researchers tell them about history on-the-ground in the Vietnam era.

Note: Some of these expert witnesses may have even been the parents of the very high school students under study—hence, there have certainly been some disagreements between or among the generations as to how to interpret images and history. For example, the movie Forrest Gump crept up in 60% of the interviews conducted with parents and their children, i.e. concerning the topic of the Vietnam War era.  In other words, for some of those youth interviewed “the sequences of images and dialogues, invented by director Robert Zemeckis [creator of the film Forrest Gump], was the sharpest and clearest recollection of the entire Vietnam era.[Ibid.]”

One example of occlusionary memory  (or exclusionary memory) presented by Weinburg has been the absences of information in films concerning the massive support for the Vietnam War in the USA throughout the 1960s. From watching movies and some documentaries in recent years, one often has the view that the Vietnam War was proceeding along for a decade or more with only a few supporters. This was, in fact, generally not true. Throughout the Cold War, too many Americans bought into the government’s and CIA’s domino theories about communism.

This occlusion of memory is important because the biggest lesson of the Vietnam War is for individuals and society to not any longer simply follow our leaders (like lemmings over the next cliff).  When they try to lead us off to fight the Great Communist Myth—or the Great Eternal War on Terror Myth we must be more analytical and do our homework on the facts.  American youth have to be more introspective, question our leaders very tough early on, and stand up for what is right early on—and not stop fighting to end war and other global nonsense until all our children are brought home again.

According to Weinburg, et. al., “As late as 1972, the war . . . . having spread to Cambodia and Laos, still commanded overwhelming support in public opinion polls.” This reality reflects the same lacks attitude that people have had in the USA in putting up with 13 years of endless war on terrorism that we are experiencing in 2013.

Weinburg and his fellow researchers noted that despite fact that Americans had allowed themselves to be hoodwinked en-mass for so very long about the Vietnam War’s importance in the greater scheme of things, “Domestic support for the Vietnam War was rarely mentioned in our interviews.”  In short, this important detail has not been made clear to subsequent generations of America, i.e. in post 1975 America.

These sort of discoveries about “occlusion” and American memory led the authors to these conclusions:

(1)   The belief that the “family as educator” is a dominant source for moderating or revising media, textbook and school history lessons is less of a reality than has been perceived. In short, the family’s role as “history educator” is possibly not as important as it was before the age of electronic media.  Instead of mediating the media, families are often transmitting stories to one another that more often replicate Hollywood or the many mainstream documentaries on history, i.e. rather than actually taking time to pass down the real context of the family’s or country’s lived-out  history to younger generations. Weinburg notes, “The family still educates, to be sure, but not in some stylized Norman Rockwell way…: the family mediates the larger cultural narrative provided by Hollywood [p.57].”

(2)   History lessons in school must be reconceptualized to take into account the deficits leading to the occlusion of important historical facts in dominant historical narrations.  This is true whether the history stems from mass media, textbooks, or from the family’s misdirection or occlusion of memory.

(3)   History books and history courses need to make sure that students understand the discrepancies between everyday-knowing and other forms of knowing or knowledge. This will require a lot of hands on research practice, which require a lot of research and discovery time both in and out of the classroom.

(4)   Further improvements on American societal-educational delivery would also include suggestions discussion topics and home along with critical questions for parents to discuss with the next generation, i.e. questions and discussion topics for at home usage which enable students to move to deeper and less superficial notions of America and what facts or impressions it might be more important to internalize about our American memories.

This last point makes it clear that a lot of the point of showing a Hollywood film or a documentary in the classroom should be for the purpose of comparing and contrasting reality from fable. In addition, history that has been occluded from text and film needs to be our primary point when summarizing and discussion film and texts in the classroom. If we are not doing this already in our history and other classes, we teachers must turn from our ways.

Likewise, we parents must take on more seriously the task of teaching critical listening, reading, and watching skills to our children at home when it comes to gaining history from mass-media.  Neglect of this mission at home and in school will lead to things like have happened to American youth after 9-11, i.e. we were sent off to war en-masse in foreign lands—as Forrest Gump might say, “AGAIN, Again.”

Forrest Gump Quotes


[1] The research for “What Can Forrest Gump Tell Us about Students’ Historical Understanding?” involved followed “youngsters from three different schools and communities across a year of eleventh grade history instruction and into the twelfth grade.(1) But the school curriculum was just one of the venues in which we located our study. We believed that the home was also a prime venue for teaching us to become historical, for influencing the shape of the narratives we tell about ourselves and our nation. We conceptualized the development of historical understanding not as a series of courses in school but as a complex …[p. 55]”

Wineburg, Sam; Mosborg, Susan; Porat, Dan (2001) “What Can Forrest Gump Tell Us about Students’ Historical Understanding?” Social Education, Vol. 65, No. 1

[2]  I feel free to publish the three paragraph introduction of this article because this portion is now published publicly online at:

[3]  Cohort generation refers to the generation here of (a) either the generation of parents of those being studied or (b) the generation of the high school students involved in the study.  The authors compare and contrast their responses to images and memories of the Vietnam era.  These images were discussed both in writing and orally by the two generations under research here.

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Patrick Philben, White House Counsel, says American People do not understand the constitution or the law

Image result for Patrick Philbin,"

Why did Philbin begin his speech at 10pm tonight that Americans do not understand?

He then proceeded to mislead the listeners.


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Polls Show Majority of American Favor Trump Removal

Image result for American people want to hear witnesses poll"

Majority Favors Trump Removal as Impeachment Trial Begins: Poll

The new survey shows stark partisan, gender and racial divisions on the subject ahead of Trump’s trial in the Senate.

By Susan Milligan, Senior Politics Writer Jan. 21, 2020, at 11:02 a.m.

Majority Favors Trump RemovalMore

US President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at the airport in Zurich, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. President Trump arrived in Switzerland on Tuesday to start a two-day visit to the World Economic Forum. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

51% of those surveyed want the Senate to make President Donald Trump the first president in U.S. history to be convicted and forced out of office, compared to 45% who think the Senate should not do so, according to poll.(EVAN VUCCI/AP)

MORE THAN HALF OF Americans want President Trump convicted and removed from office and the vast majority want to hear from witnesses in the president’s trial, according to a new poll – unwelcome news for a president in a tight reelection campaign and a Senate Republican majority eager to provide him a speedy, witness-free proceeding.[ 

SEE: Political Cartoons on President Donald Trump ]

The CNN/SSRS poll – released while Trump is at an economic conference in Switzerland and several soon-to-be Senate jurors were in early primary states campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination – showed that 51% of those surveyed want the Senate to make Trump the first president in U.S. history to be convicted and forced out of office, compared to 45% who think the Senate should not do so.

While those numbers would be a standard display of a politically divided country on policy issues, they are remarkable for a matter of such gravity and historic consequence. A majority of Americans did not support President Richard Nixon’s removal from office until right before he resigned in August 1973, an act he took to avoid certain impeachment by the House. In the week of President Bill Clinton‘s Senate trial, polling showed that two-thirds of the American public did not want him removed from office.

Political Cartoons on Impeachment

The CNN poll is the news organization’s fist showing majority support for removing Trump from office. In mid-December, CNN polling found that 45% supported conviction and removal, while 47% opposed it.

The survey is the first major poll taken since Lev Parnas, the indicted former associate of Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, publicly implicated Trump in the Ukraine affair, in which the president is accused of pressuring the foreign nation to investigate a potential political rival in exchange for already-appropriated military aid and a White House meeting sought by the country’s president.

Image result for American people want to hear witnesses poll"

The new poll also showed stark partisan, gender and racial divisions, with Democrats, women and people of color wanting Trump out, while the president had the strongest support among men and white people. Women favor conviction and removal from office by a 59-38% divide, while men are opposed to it, 52-42%.[ 

READ: Timeline: Trump’s Impeachment Trial and What’s Next ]

Nearly 7 in 10, or 69%, of non-whites – including 86% of African Americans and 65% of Latinos – want Trump convicted and removed, while 27 percent of non-whites surveyed don’t want Trump ousted. A majority of whites, 55%, think the Senate should not convict the president and eject him from the Oval Office, compared to 42% of white people who think lawmakers should. That’s reflective of Trump’s 2016 election, when 62% of white men voted for him, according to exit polls.

The CNN poll also underscored the consistently partisan divide over the impeachment of Trump: Nearly 9 in 10, or 89%, of Democrats believe Trump should be convicted and removed from office, a view shared by 48% of self-described independents and 8% of Republicans.

The same divide is happening in the Senate, where GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has openly declared he is working with the White House on Trump’s defense and Democrats have been highly critical of Trump’s behavior and are expected to vote almost unanimously to convict him. Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, notably was a prosecutor at Clinton’s trial in 1999 but has been an ardent defender of Trump, provoking outrage from critics.[ 

MORE: Trump Faces the Ghosts of Presidents Past ]

“You can reasonably argue that the Senate was right to acquit President Clinton in 1999, but should convict President Trump today But you *can’t* reasonably contend that the Senate should have convicted Clinton but should now acquit Trump,” George Conway, a Republican lawyer who has been critical of Trump, tweeted.

There is not much difference among men and women and white and non-white Americans, however, about whether the Senate should hear from new witnesses before deciding the historic matter. On that question, 71% of women and 66% of men want to hear more testimony, a view shared by 75% of non-whites and 65% of whites.

Only on party identification was there more of a divide, with 86% of Democrats, 48% of Republicans and 69% of independents thinking the Senate should hear from new witnesses.

Susan Milligan, Senior Politics Writer

Susan Milligan is senior political writer at U.S. News & World Report. She has covered …  READ MORE

Tags: Donald TrumpimpeachmentpollssurveysSenateCongress2020 presidential electionUnited StatesWhite House

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Missouri Senators Sleepwalking through history and ignoring voter's interest in hearing more evidence and testimony

by Kevin Stoda

I called my US Senators Hawley and Blunt have ignored our phone calls here in Missouri to direct Mitch McConnell to let the documents and witnesses be brought to the trial. Have you witnessed similarly non-democratic senators acting falsely in your name this week?

By —

Gretchen Frazee

See the new evidence from the Trump impeachment investigation

Politics Jan 14, 2020 7:15 PM EST

House Democrats have disclosed new evidence ahead of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, which is expected to begin this week.

The documents include handwritten notes by Lev Parnas, a business associate of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, that read “get Zalensky to Annonce that the Biden case will Be Investigated.”

They also include text messages between Parnas and others, including Giuliani, about efforts to oust then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

The impeachment debate has centered around a July 2019 phone call in which Trump asked the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

During House impeachment hearings, U.S. officials testified about a coordinated effort by Giuliani to remove Yonvaovitch from her post. Democrats allege Trump wanted Yovanovitch removed because she was likely to oppose any investigation by Ukraine into the Bidens.

The House of Representatives is set to vote Wednesday to send two articles of impeachment–abuse of power and obstruction of Congress–against Trump to the Senate. On Thursday, Senators are expected to be sworn in for the trial, over which Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will preside.

View the evidence.

Left: The evidence includes handwritten notes from Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.


Go Deeper

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Duterte's deadly 'drug war' won't allow investigations

‘Those charges are bulls**t’: Philippines jailed de Lima defiant

Senator was detained three years ago after she began a Senate probe into President Duterte’s deadly ‘drug war’.by Ana P Santos20 Jan 2020

Detained Philippine Senator Leila de Lima who was allowed to vote in last year's elections has condemned the charges against her [Mark R Cristino/EPA]
Detained Philippine Senator Leila de Lima who was allowed to vote in last year’s elections has condemned the charges against her [Mark R Cristino/EPA]


Manila, Philippines – When Senator Leila de Lima initiated a Senate investigation into the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines, she did not expect that she would end up charged with drug trafficking and arrested.

Nearly three years later, she remains in detention. 

“I don’t deserve to be here. Those drug charges are bulls**t,” de Lima, dressed in a blue-and-beige striped top, jeans and black sandals, told Al Jazeera. 

Sitting in a spartan receiving area in police headquarters in Manila where she is being imprisoned, de Lima said her arrest was meant to punish her for questioning a state-sanctioned crackdown on illegal drugs that has left thousands dead.

Foreign governments and international human rights organisations have condemned the killings and de Lima’s arrest.

Earlier this month, the United States went one step further by passing a resolution calling for Philippine government officials responsible for extrajudicial killings and de Lima’s prolonged detention to be blacklisted, banning their entry into the US and freezing their US assets.

The resolution invoked the 2016 Global Magnitsky Act which authorises the US government to sanction foreign government officials of any country implicated in human rights violations. 

US Senator Edward Markey authored the resolution which also condemned the harassment of independent media, particularly journalist Maria Ressa who has been arrested several times and is currently out on bail. Her news site, Rappler, has reported extensively on the drug war and been critical of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Philippines Leila de Lima

Leila de Lima was arrested in February 2017 and accused of being involved in the illicit drugs trade. She had earlier initiated a Senate investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal crackdown on drugs [Rolex dela Pena/EPA]

Earlier, an amendment in the 2020 US state and foreign operations appropriations bill included a provision denying entry to those involved in De Lima’s arrest. 

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo called the US moves a “form of bullying”. 

“We will not be bullied by any foreign country or by its officials, especially by misinformed and gullible politicians who grandstand at our expense,” Panelo said. 

The Philippine government has responded by levying its own sanctions, barring the three US Senators including Markey following their push for the Global Magnitsky Act.

Fear and killings on the rise in Duterte’s war on drugs (2:41)

Failed Drug War

Since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, a brutal crackdown on illegal narcotics has seen thousands of mostly poor young men accused of being drug offenders killed in a mix of police operations and vigilante killings. 

The government has put the number of dead at about 6,000. Human rights groups estimate the number to be more than 20,000 and the UN has called for an investigation into the crackdown.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who is elected separately and comes from an opposition party, has called the drug war a failure.

Robredo co-chaired the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) for 19 days in November before she was sacked by Duterte. 

Citing police data, Robredo said during her brief stint in office she had discovered that the seized methamphetamines and drug money did not even reach 1 percent of the total drugs consumed and their street value.

“That’s 1 percent. If this were an exam, the score of the government would be one over 100,” said Robredo, speaking to the media on January 6.

It was this drug war that de Lima wanted to investigate in the early months of Duterte’s presidency in a probe that angered Duterte and many people who supported the president and the drug war.

Duterte, known for being intolerant of dissent, reserved a special kind of public shaming for de Lima.

“I will destroy her,” Duterte promised in 2016.

Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte began his ‘war on drugs’ shortly after coming to office [File: EPA]

The president detailed one of her past romances in lurid detail and alleged that de Lima’s former lover conspired with her.

His allies opened a congressional inquiry into de Lima’s drug charges and loaded the cross-examination with sexual innuendo that played on de Lima’s purported immorality. 

Opposition senator Risa Hontiveros described the character assassination of de Lima “as  a state-sponsored assault on women.” 

“But maligning de Lima not as a lawmaker or public official but as a woman, the president and his cohorts revealed themselves as the faces of misogyny at its worst and ugliest,” said Hontiveros. 

Leila de Lima arrested and accused of drugs charges (2:05)

“I know he hates me, but I never thought he would have me jailed. He made an example out of me,” de Lima said. 

Her years in detention have made her more reflective, but no less defiant.

“They needed to demonise me to make the public believe the drug charges. Underneath the bravado, he is a coward. He knows I’m not afraid of him.”

Minister of Justice Menardo Guevarra told Al Jazeera that de Lima’s detention was “neither wrongful nor unlawful” and that the detention had been affirmed by the Supreme Court.

“She may still file a petition for bail if she truly believes that the evidence of the prosecution is weak or fabricated,” he said. “She has never attempted to do so. Instead, she relies on foreign groups, including US senators, to cry for her freedom. This is utter disrespect for our country’s legal and judicial processes.”  

Analysts doubt the Magnitsky Act will have much effect on her case.

“It is just a tit-for-tat war of words,” said political analyst Ramon Casiple. “I don’t imagine the Philippine government bending or changing its policies because it does not believe the accusations that they are violating human rights.

“It only authorises the Secretary of Senate (to enact a ban) but it does not oblige him to do it within a prescribed timeframe. I don’t see it prospering. President Trump and President Duterte are friends.”

Philippines Leila de Lima

Leila de Lima’s supporters took to the streets after she was arrested in 2017 [File: Aaron Favila/AP Photo]

Fhillip Sawali, de Lima’s chief of staff disagrees.

“It would be very difficult for President Trump to brush aside the emerging global coalition around the Global Magnitsky Act. Countries are coming together to hold human rights violators accountable.”

‘Divine justice’

Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the United Kingdom have enacted laws inspired by the Magnitsky Act. The European Union and Australia are considering pursuing similar legislation.

Taking to Twitter, de Lima said she had made a list of perpetrators responsible for her detention, likening herself to Arya Stark, the Game of Thrones character who every night recites a litany of people from whom she will someday exact justice. 

De Lima stressed that she does not wish her detractors to meet a tragic fate like the characters in the hit mini-series, one of the pre-approved shows she is allowed to watch a couple of times each month. She is also allowed books but is kept separate from other detainees at the facility.

The Global Magnitsky Act was a “tool of divine justice”, she said but has a tempered view of how it will affect her case. She hopes it will hasten the verdict on her drug-trafficking charges but acknowledges the judges handling her case are caught in a bind. 

“If they convict me, it will be a violation of their conscience. If they acquit me, it will be career suicide for them under this administration. They may just decide to convict me so I can appeal the decision,” said de Lima. 

An appeal would take years and would mean more time in detention. 

“I hope not. I’m not getting any younger. I’m already 60,” she said with short brittle laugh that quickly turned into a sigh.

“I’m raring to get out of here. I miss my old life and all the things I used to do – driving my car, cooking, walking around my neighbourhood, being with my family.” 

A sliver of justice might be looming on the horizon. Freedom is another matter altogether. 

101 EAST

Duterte’s New War


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Study finds shock rise in levels of potent greenhouse gas

Scientists had expected fall in levels of HFC-23 after India and China said they had halted emissions

Matthew Taylor

Tue 21 Jan 2020 05.00 EST

An air conditioner shop in Delhi, India
 HFC-23 is used in fridges, inhalers and air conditioners. Photograph: Altaf Qadri/AP

Efforts to reduce levels of one potent greenhouse gas appear to be failing, according to a study.

Scientists had expected to find a dramatic reduction in levels of the hydrofluorocarbon HFC-23 in the atmosphere after India and China, two of the main sources, reported in 2017 that they had almost completely eliminated emissions.

But a paper published in the journal Nature Communications says that by 2018 concentrations of the gas – used in fridges, inhalers and air conditioners – had not fallen but were increasing at a record rate.

Matt Rigby, from Bristol University, who co-authored the study and is a member of the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment, said academics had hoped to see a big reduction following the reports from India and China.

“This potent greenhouse gas has been growing rapidly in the atmosphere for decades now, and these reports suggested that the rise should have almost completely stopped in the space of two or three years. This would have been a big win for climate.”

Scientists say the fact they found emissions had risen is a puzzle and could have implications for the Montreal protocol, an international treaty that was designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer.

Kieran Stanley, the lead author of the study, said that although China and India were not yet bound by the agreement, their reported reduction would have put them on course to be consistent with it.

“Our study finds that it is very likely that China has not been as successful in reducing HFC-23 emissions as reported,” he said. “However, without additional measurements, we can’t be sure whether India has been able to implement its abatement programme.”

HFCs were hailed as an answer to the hole in the ozone layer that appeared over Antarctica in the 1980s because they replaced hundreds of chemical substances widely used in aerosols that depleted the thin layer of ozone that protects Earth from harmful rays from the sun.

But in recent years there has been mounting concern at how the potent greenhouse gas was undermining efforts to keep global heating below dangerous levels. Scientists say one tonne of HFC-23 emissions is equivalent to the release of more than 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Experts estimate that had the HFC-23 emissions reductions been as large as reported, the equivalent of a year’s worth of Spain’s CO2 emissions would have been avoided between 2015 and 2017.

As the climate crisis escalates…

… the Guardian will not stay quiet. This is our pledge: we will continue to give global heating, wildlife extinction and pollution the urgent attention and prominence they demand. The Guardian recognises the climate emergency as the defining issue of our times.

You’ve read 5 articles in the last four months. We chose a different approach: to keep Guardian journalism open for all. We don’t have a paywall because we believe everyone deserves access to factual information, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.

Our editorial independence means we are free to investigate and challenge inaction by those in power. We will inform our readers about threats to the environment based on scientific facts, not driven by commercial or political interests. And we have made several important changes to our style guide to ensure the language we use accurately reflects the environmental catastrophe.

The Guardian believes that the problems we face on the climate crisis are systemic and that fundamental societal change is needed. We will keep reporting on the efforts of individuals and communities around the world who are fearlessly taking a stand for future generations and the preservation of human life on earth. We want their stories to inspire hope. We will also report back on our own progress as an organisation, as we take important steps to address our impact on the environment.

We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

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I'd vote for Bernie, too




Supporters of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders took to Twitter to post their love and support for the independent senator from Vermont after former presidential opponent Hillary Clinton trashed him in a new documentary.

“Nobody likes him,” Clinton said in the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.RELATED STORIES

“He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him…. Nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done,” Clinton argued. “He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney, and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”

Asked by the Reporter whether she would back Sanders if he gets the Democratic Party’s nomination in 2020, Clinton declined to answer. “I’m not going to go there yet,” she said, while also criticizing Sanders’ surrogates and supporters.

Less than impressed by Clinton’s criticism, many of Sanders’ supporters quickly made the hashtag #ILikeBernie trend on Twitter.

“@HillaryClinton thanks for the motivation. Every time you trash him, I will give more #iLikeBernie #RespondWithSolidarity,” Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson tweeted, sharing a screenshot showing that he had just contributed to Sanders’ campaign.


The #consumer is changing, but are these changes in line with conventional wisdom? Explore our findings.See More

“#Bernie2020 Fam, stay fierce & stay focused. The moment to respond to resentful smears will come, but our mission is too important to stray from the work. ‘Perfectly timed’ attacks are meant to bait us away from expanding our coalition,” Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator who co-chairs Sanders’ national campaign, tweeted. “We have the MOMENTUM #iLikeBernie.”

“#IlikeBernie because he fights for all of us,” Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American organizer and surrogate for Sanders, posted. In a follow-up tweet, she encouraged supporters of the Vermont senator to contribute to his campaign.

“How many know what it’s like when bullies say ‘nobody likes’ them? I do,” Abdul El-Sayed, an author and former Michigan gubernatorial candidate, wrote. “It’s a marginalizing tool of elites—on the schoolyard or in politics. Well, I like @BernieSanders. He’s my friend + millions of others,” he continued. “Why? Rather than say nobody likes us, he’s fighting for us.”

Despite Clinton’s criticism, Sanders is a clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination, with the latest data from Morning Consult showing that he has the highest favorability of all candidates in the primary race. Sanders is viewed positively by 76 percent of voters, while former Vice President Joe Biden is viewed favorably by 71 percent. Senator Elizabeth Warren comes in third at 65 percent.

Meanwhile, only 17 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of Sanders, while 22 percent had an unfavorable view of Biden. Warren was viewed unfavorably by 18 percent.

Additionally, Morning Consult survey data from the fourth quarter of 2019 showed that Sanders was the most popular lawmaker in the Senate. Sixty-five percent of respondents approved of the progressive senator, with only three other senators having approval ratings above 60 percent.

Bernie Sanders
Senator Bernie Sanders introduces the Medicare for All Act of 2019 with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Jeff Merkley on April 9, 2019.MARK WILSON/GETTY
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End the Status Quo of the Wealthy!!! Our World is Ablaze

Greta Thunberg Addresses Global Elite at Davos: Our House Is Still on Fire

JANUARY 21, 2020 Watch Full Show  This is viewer supported news. Please do your part today.DONATE

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  • Greta Thunbergteenage Swedish climate activist. She was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019.


The 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered a speech Tuesday to the world leaders and global elite gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, one year after she first condemned the forum for its inaction on climate change. “We don’t need a ‘low-carbon economy.’ We don’t need to ‘lower emissions.’ Our emissions have to stop,” Thunberg said. “And until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We end today’s show with the words of a 17-year-old: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. She just turned 17 in the last weeks. She addressed world leaders today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

GRETA THUNBERG: One year ago, I came to Davos and told you that our house is on fire. I said I wanted you to panic. I’ve been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do. But don’t worry. It’s fine. Trust me. I’ve done this before. And I can assure you: It doesn’t lead to anything.

And for the record, when we children tell you to panic, we’re not telling you to go on like before. We’re not telling you to rely on technologies that don’t even exist today at scale and that science says perhaps never will. We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching net zero emissions or carbon neutrality by cheating and fiddling around with numbers. We’re not telling you to offset your emissions by just paying someone else to plant trees in places like Africa, while at the same time forests like the Amazon are being slaughtered at an infinitely higher rate. Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough of what is needed, and it cannot replace real mitigation and rewilding nature.

And let’s be clear: We don’t need a low-carbon economy. We don’t need to lower emissions. Our emissions have to stop, if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5-degree target. And until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero, because distant net-zero emission targets will mean absolutely nothing if we just continue to ignore the carbon dioxide budget that applies for today, not distant future dates. If high emissions continue like now even for a few years, that remaining budget will soon be completely used up.

The fact that the U.S.A. is leaving the Paris accord seemed to outrage and worry everyone. And it should. But the fact that we are all about to fail the commitments you signed up for in the Paris Agreement doesn’t seem to bother the people in power even the least. Any plan or policy of yours that doesn’t include radical emission cuts at the source starting today is completely insufficient for meeting the 1.5- or well below 2-degree commitments of the Paris Agreement.

And again, this is not about right or left. We couldn’t care less about your party politics. From a sustainability perspective, the right, the left, as well as the center, have all failed. No political ideology or economic structure has been able to tackle the climate and environmental emergency and create a cohesive and sustainable world, because that world, in case you haven’t noticed, is currently on fire.

AMY GOODMAN: Seventeen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressing world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She spoke just after President Trump spoke at the gathering, touting the economy but not talking about the climate crisis, which is the focus of the World Economic Forum, the World Economic Forum in Davos. That does it for our show. We’ll post her whole speech online.The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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Why did National Archives Seek to Mislead Us All? Who gained? Who ordered the manipulation at Women's Exhibition?

National Archives Doctored Photo of 2017 Women’s March to Blur Messages Critical of Trump

Image result for National Archives Doctored Photo of 2017 Women’s March to Blur Messages Critical of Trump"

JANUARY 21, 2020 Watch Full Show This is viewer supported news. Please do your part today.DONATE


  • Louise Mellingdeputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.


The National Archives and Records Administration apologized Saturday for doctoring a photo of the 2017 Women’s March to remove criticisms of President Trump. In an exhibit called “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote,” the National Archives had displayed a large image of the first Women’s March. But at least four signs referencing Trump had been blurred to remove his name, including a poster reading “God Hates Trump.” Signs in the photo referencing female anatomy were also blurred. The shocking revelation that the archives — which calls itself the country’s “record keeper” — had altered the image was first reported in The Washington Post last week. The National Archives initially stood by its decision to edit the photo, telling The Washington Post that the changes were made “so as not to engage in current political controversy.” But Saturday, as tens of thousands in Washington, D.C., and across the country took to the streets for the fourth Women’s March, officials at the archives were seen flipping over the image at the exhibit as an apology went up in its place. But critics say an apology is not enough. We speak with Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The job of the National Archives is to record history. Its job is not to manipulate history … so as to obliterate critiques of the president,” Melling says.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, the National Archives and Records Administration apologized Saturday for doctoring a photo of the 2017 Women’s March to remove criticism of President Trump. The shocking revelation that the agency — which calls itself the country’s, quote, “record keeper” — had altered the image were first reported in The Washington Post last week. In an exhibit called “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote,” the National Archives displayed a large image of the first Women’s March. But signs referencing Trump had been blurred to remove his name, including a poster reading “God Hates Trump” and another reading “Trump and GOP, hands off women.”

AMY GOODMAN: Signs in the photo referencing female anatomy were also blurred. One sign reading “If my vagina could shoot bullets, it’d be less REGULATED” had the word “vagina” blurred out. Another erased the word “pussy” from a sign reading “This Pussy Grabs Back.”

The National Archives initially stood by its decision to edit the photo, telling The Washington Post the changes were made, quote, “so as not to engage in current political controversy.” Archives spokeswoman Miriam Kleiman said, “Modifying the image was an attempt on our part to keep the focus on the records.” But Saturday, as tens of thousands in Washington, D.C., and across the country took to the streets for the fourth Women’s March, officials at the archive were seen flipping over the image at the exhibit. An apology went up in its place. It began, “We made a mistake.”

Well, for more, we’re joined in our New York studio by Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Welcome to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you with us. Respond to what’s happened. I mean, the actual head of the National Archive was an Obama appointee.

LOUISE MELLING: Good morning. Lovely to be here today. As you said, the job of the National Archives is to record history. Its job is not to manipulate history and, in particular, to manipulate history so as to obliterate critiques of the president. As you just pointed out, the archives has come out and apologized. That’s an important first move, but it’s completely insufficient. What we need now from archives is an accounting of who made this decision, why they made this decision. And really, have they done this before?

AMY GOODMAN: Oh, interesting. No, I mean, they changed the meaning of the photo.


AMY GOODMAN: When you have a poster that says “God hates Trump” and you blur out “Trump,” it makes you look like someone is carrying a poster that just says “God hates.”

LOUISE MELLING: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, they changed history. I mean, they are whiting out criticism. They are whiting out and erasing women’s bodies.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, the other aspect of this, though, is your take on their initial reasons for doing this. Even if they had some concerns, they should have at least had some kind of explanation at the exhibition or chosen a different photograph. Why not just simply choose a different photograph?

LOUISE MELLING: I can’t imagine an explanation that’s sufficient for the National Archives to doctor and alter photographs that are part of an exhibit. They’re putting up a photograph of the 2017 march. Their job, again, is — their job is to record history, to show us history. Their job is not — what they did, as you said, was to manipulate history. What they did was to obliterate criticism of the president. What they did was to obliterate references, just references, to women’s bodies, as if to say that those things are not acceptable. If we can’t trust the archives to actually be accurate, what can we trust? I mean, you were talking earlier about faith in democracy, faith in institutions. That’s essential to democracy, to our full functioning. And this is one institution, I think, where we clearly thought the job was more basic perhaps than others, like, and here they are altering photographs. It’s Orwellian.

AMY GOODMAN: And talk about the fact that this is all discovered by a Washington Post reporter who goes over to the archive as the women are marching all over the country.

LOUISE MELLING: Yes, kudos to Joe Heim from The Washington Post, who reports in his Twitter account and then in a story that he had gone over to the archives researching a story, he noticed the photograph as he walked by, he noticed that there were images who blurred, checked out the credits on the photograph, went back to the office, working with a photographer from the Post who he’s credited also in his Twitter account, and then uncovers and reveals and tells us all about what happened. I mean, it’s happenstance, and thank goodness he was there. Thank goodness he did the homework, and thank goodness he publicized it.

AMY GOODMAN: And what has the archive responded to the ACLU, your demand for an explanation?

LOUISE MELLING: I have seen nothing other than the statement that it’s a mistake. And I will say, as to mistake, like, when I think about mistake, mistake is if I spilled coffee on the photo. This was an affirmative act. Somebody made an affirmative choice to blur those images so as to blur and erase criticism of the president and criticism of — you know, words like “vagina.”

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you, Louise, for joining us. Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union.The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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Steelhenge–A Disaster Project for North Americans

January 16, 2020
Tomgram: William deBuys, Creating Steelhenge on the Border

Lately, we Americans have had little choice but to think about this country’s imperiled Eastern border. No, I don’t mean the Atlantic coast. What I had in mind were those borderlands in the Middle East where another 4,500 American military personnel have recently been sent and perhaps 50,000 were already stationed — significantly more than when the Trump presidency began. I’m thinking of garrisons with American troops like al-Assad Airbase in Iraq, missiled (very carefully) by the Iranians only the other week. What surprises me is that the president who has long bad-mouthed those “endless wars” of ours, while dispatching ever more military personnel into their vicinity, hasn’t thought about the obvious: building a Great Wall along the Iraq-Iran border.

After all, President Trump only recently brought up the subject of “options in the Middle East” in an address to the American people on the Iranian situation. Yet the man who rode a Trump Tower escalator into the last presidential race, touting the “great, great wall” he, and he alone, would build on our southern border to stop Mexican “rapists” from entering this country (the wall that Mexico would, of course, pay for) has yet to propose the same for the Middle East. And if Iran is indeed “standing down,” as he claimed in that address of his, what an opportunity! (By the way, in relation to Iran, the U.S. has done little but stand up since the CIA helped overthrow a secular democracy there in the summer of 1953.)  The president might even be able to build a new Trump Tower somewhere along that future wall, a cousin to the Trump International Golf Club in nearby Dubai.

Image result for Creating Steelhenge on the Border"

However, as environmentalist and TomDispatch regular William deBuys, author of The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth’s Rarest Creatures, reminds us, while our attention remains focused on the unsettling Iranian-American face-off in the Middle East, the original “great, great wall” is indeed slowly being built along the U.S.-Mexican border to the tune of billions and billions of dollars. And what a Trumpian disaster it’s likely to prove to be! Tom

Making America Great Again in a New Wild West
The Humanitarian and Environmental Disaster of Trump’s Border Wall
By William deBuys

A new Wild West has taken root not far from Tombstone, Arizona, known to many for its faux-historical reenactments of the old West. We’re talking about a long, skinny territory — a geographic gerrymander — that stretches east across New Mexico and down the Texan Rio Grande to the Gulf of Mexico. It also runs west across hundreds of miles of desert to California and the Pacific Ocean. Like the old Wild West, this one is lawless, save for the law of the gun. But that old West was lawless for want of government. This one is lawless because of it.

The Department of Homeland Security, under authority conferred by Congress, has declared more than 50 federal laws inoperable along sections of the U.S. boundary with Mexico, the better to build the border wall that Donald Trump has promised his “base.” Innumerable state laws and local ordinances have also been swept aside. Predictably, the Endangered Species Act is among the fallen. So are the National Historic Preservation Act, the Wilderness Act, laws restricting air and water pollution, and measures protecting wildlife, landscapes, Native American sacred sites, and even caves and fossils.

The new Wild West of the border wall is an authoritarian dreamscape where the boss man faces no limits and no obligations. It’s as though Marshall Wyatt Earp, reborn as an orange-haired easterner with no knowledge of the actual West, were back in charge, deciding who’s in and who’s out, what goes and what stays.

Prominent on the list of suspended laws is the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, which, until recently, was the nation’s look-before-you-leap conscience. The environmental analyses and impact statements NEPA requires might not force the government to evaluate whether a palisade of 30-foot-high metal posts — bollards in border wall terminology — were really a better way to control drug smuggling than upgrading inspection facilities at ports of entry, where, by all accounts, the vast majority of illegal substances enter the country. They would, however, require those wall builders to figure out in advance a slew of other gnarly questions like: How will wildlife be affected by a barrier that nothing larger than a kangaroo rat can get through? And how much will pumping scarce local water to make concrete draw down shallow desert aquifers?

The questions get big, fast. One that might look easy but isn’t concerns the flashfloods that stream down desert washes. The uprights of the border wall are to be spaced only four inches apart, which means they’ll catch flood debris the way a colander catches spaghetti.

Let’s get specific. The San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge abuts the border in the far southeastern corner of Arizona. Black Draw, a gulch running through the middle of the refuge, is normally as dry as a hot sidewalk. When thunderstorms burst over the vast San Bernardino Valley, however, the floodwaters can surge more than 20 feet high.  Imagine a wall of chocolate water sweeping up tree trunks, uprooted bushes, the occasional dead cow, and fence posts snarled in wire. Imagine what happens when that torrent meets a barrier built like a strainer. The junk catches and creates a dam. Water backs up, and pressure builds. If the wall were built like the Hoover Dam, it might hold, but it won’t be and it won’t.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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