Category Archives: Donald Trump

Trump’s Speech to Congress

After struggling mightily with whether or not to tune in, I was able to overcome my fears and convince myself to sit down in the privacy of my den and watch President Trump present his first address to the U.S. Congress.  What fears?  Well, maybe not quite the same fears that motivated early Christians to outlaw dancing as the “work of the Devil,” but in that general ballpark.

As it turned out, my trepidation was unfounded.  Trump’s “Devil Dance” was both spectacularly tame and, simultaneously, spectacularly ambitious (but not in a good way). Even acknowledging that presidents are allowed to inspirationally bullshit us during their inaugural addresses and speeches to a joint Congress, Trump clearly abused that privilege.  Basically, the man went off the deep end and promised us Utopia.

Unless I missed something, Trump not only pledged to cut taxes on everybody and everything—corporations, the rich, the superrich, the middle-class, the poor—he vowed to get rid of those pesky regulations that hamper businesses.  Accordingly, the following morning’s stock market was up a couple hundred points.

And despite what has to be a staggering loss of tax revenue, President Trump also promised to launch a massive government-sponsored program to repair our infrastructure (our roads, bridges, dams, aqueducts, hydro-electric plants, nuclear reactors, airports, seaports, all of it).

He even went so far as to assure us that “all of the problems” that plague us can be solved.  He actually said that.  All of our problems.  In short, he promised that everything wrong with this country can be fixed.

Presumably, this included drug addiction, inadequate health care, crime, spousal abuse, homelessness, malnutrition, substandard education, low-paying jobs, and the shabby treatment of veterans.  He did fail to mention the rising cost of cable TV, but let’s assume he meant that as well.

Earlier in the week, to placate the saber-rattlers and flag-wavers, he had announced that he wanted to increase the military budget by some $34 billion.   Of course, for all this money Trump is talking about spending–money we clearly don’t have—Congress (even a docile, Republican-dominated Congress) is going to have to approve it, and that may not be easy.

Let’s not forget that there is no shortage of “deficit hawks” in Congress—Republicans mainly, but Democrats also—who can’t bear to see the government continue to accrue debt.  These are people who are already pissed off at the amount of money being wastefully spent on office supplies.  As appropriate as it would be, does anyone honestly expect them to approve of a massive, New Deal-style infrastructure program?

The simple truth is that you can’t have both.  You can’t have national health care and a massive infrastructure rebuild, and at the same time be increasing an already bloated defense budget.  And you can’t do it by pretending that corporations and wealthy people shouldn’t have to pay their fair share of taxes.  But putting all that aside, it was a stunningly “optimistic” speech, one for the ages.  Alas, it meant absolutely nothing.

Descendants of Slaves, Forerunners of Justice

I had recently been asked to give a talk about “being an American Muslim in the United States.” Although wary of the uses and abuses of the term, I obliged.

Islam is a religion propelled by values, not race nor, theoretically, by blind tribal allegiances, I explained.

The ‘American Muslim’ identity which has been under constant investigation in US media, politics and society is completely different from what American Muslims associate themselves with.

The media’s ‘American Muslim’ is a suspect, a fifth column, potentially dangerous and more receptive to violence than every other collective identity in the US. While this contrasts sharply with real Islam, facts hardly matter in the age of American nationalism, predicated on cultural and religious identification and ‘alternative facts’.

Caught within this brutal, baseless logic, some American Muslims no longer define themselves around their own political priorities, nor do they mobilize themselves alongside their natural allies – those who come from historically oppressed communities. Instead, they have taken to apologizing for their ‘Muslim-ness’, rather than demand an apology, justice and equality.

Many Muslims find themselves, as a collective, being forced to demonstrate their humanity, defend their religion and distance themselves from every act of violence, even if only allegedly committed by a Muslim anywhere in the world.

Long before the Trump Administration’s ‘Muslim Ban’ – banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days – Muslims in the US have always, to varied degrees, been embattled, collectively demonized, racially profiled by government agencies and targeted in numerous hate-crimes by fellow Americans.

In reality, hatred of Muslims goes back even before 9/11, and the US war in Iraq in 1990-91 – a hatred based solely on media fear-mongering and Hollywood stereotyping.

There is also an odd ‘discovery’ by various liberal groups that American Muslims are mistreated in their own country.

In truth, the cause of the ‘defenseless Muslim’ is used as a political tool, with Democrats and others attempting to undermine the actions of their Republican rivals.

The administrations of Democratic presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, both had horrific legacies of violence and discrimination against Muslim countries.

In a landmark study released in March 2015, the Washington-based group, Physicians for Social Responsibly, showed that the US self-styled ‘war on terror’ had killed anywhere between 1.3 million to 2 million Muslims in the first ten years since the September 11 attacks.

Award-winning investigative journalist, Nafeez Ahmed, concluded that at least 4 million Muslims have been killed by the US since 1990.

This excludes killings that have taken place in the last two years, or the countless civilians who perished during the US-sanctions on Iraq, starting in 1991, which were enforced throughout the Clinton Administrations.

Yet, all this is meant to be ignored and seen merely as the issue of an obnoxious president and that the pinnacle of the American violence against Muslims can be reduced to a 90-day travel ban on selected countries.

Subscribing to this mischaracterization reflects both ignorance and also complete disregard for the millions of innocent lives that have been lost, in order for the US to preserve its vastly dwindling empire.

At the Democratic Party National Convention (DNC) last July, former President Bill Clinton took the stage to articulate a retort to the Republican party convention’s hate-fest of Muslims, Blacks, Latinos and everyone else who did not subscribe to their skewed view of the world.

But Clinton’s words were a mere liberal spin on the same chauvinistic, racist and exclusionist culture that often drives the political discourse of the Right.

“If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together, we want you,” Clinton said before a large audience, which roared in applause.

For Muslims, feeling that their inclusion, citizenship and humanity are conditioned by a set of condescending rules, articulated by a White, Christian elite, is utterly dehumanizing.

What Clinton has wished to forget is that an estimated third of the slaves who built his country were, in fact, Muslims – shackled and dragged against their will to assemble the United States, field by field and brick by brick. It is the slaves that mainly brought Islam to America, and it is Islam that armed them with the virtue of patience and strength of character in order to survive one of the most ghastly genocides in human history.

Precisely for this reason, the identity of the American Muslim is, at its heart, a political one, concerned with human rights, justice and equality, with Black Muslims playing a tremendous role in confronting, challenging and clashing with the ruling White elitist order that controlled the US from the beginning.

It is the Martin-Luther King Jr.-Malcolm X-type movements – backed by millions of Black people throughout the country – that helped define the modern character of the Black American. They led the Civil Rights Movement, exacting basic human rights at a heavy price and against terrible odds.

It is important that American Muslim youth understand this well, and that their fight for equality and human rights in their country is not a manifestation of some Democratic Party’s political game.

Those aspiring to be the ‘good Muslim’, the Uncle Tom, the ‘not-all- Muslims- are- terrorists’ type, can only hope for a second-class status. But those who aspire for true equality and justice ought to remember the words of American revolutionary, Assata Shakur: “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of people who were oppressing them.”

The oppressors constantly try to redefine the nature of the struggle of those whom they oppress. For Bill Clinton, the issue is solely Islamic terrorism, never the terror inflicted upon Muslim nations by his and other administrations through a series of unjust wars and sanctions, killing millions.

The colonizer, oppressor, invader is always blind to his crimes. He sees only the violent reaction – however minuscule – of the people whom he subjugates.

According to the New America Foundation, alleged ‘Jihadists’ killed 94 people in the US from 2005-2015, during which time the US also killed nearly 2 million Muslims in their own countries.

Yet, the government media-driven, fear-mongering, anti-Muslim and anti-Islam discourse (for which both liberals and conservatives are equally responsible) has made terrorism the leading fear among Americans, according to a major national survey in 2016.

In his book, Wretched of the Earth, one of the 20th century most powerful revolutionary voices, Frantz Fanon, wrote, “Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity.”

For this generation of American Muslims, this is their moment – to discover and fulfill their mission, to define and assert who they are as the descendants of slaves, immigrants and refugees – the three main building blocs of America.

The Trump-Netanyahu Circus

The President of the United States can hardly be taken seriously, saying much but doing little. His words, often offensive, carry no substance, and it is impossible to summarize his complex political outlook about important issues.

This is precisely the type of American presidency that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, prefers.

However, Donald Trump is not just a raving man, but a dangerous one as well. His unpredictability must worry Israel, which expects from its American benefactors complete clarity and consistency in terms of its political support.

At the age of 70, Trump is incapable of being the stalwart, pro-Zionist ideologue in a way that suits Israeli interests well.

Take, for example, the White House press conference following the much anticipated visit by Netanyahu to Washington on February 15.

The visit was scheduled immediately after Trump’s inauguration on January 20, and is considered the Trump Presidency’s answer to what Israel wrongly perceives as a hostile US administration under former President Barack Obama.

However, Obama has granted Israel 38 billion dollars over the course of ten years, estimated to be the most generous aid package in US history. He has supported all Israeli wars against Palestinians throughout his presidency, and unfailingly defended Israel before the international community, at the United Nations and every global forum in which Israel was justifiably criticized.

But Israel expects blind support. It needs a US administration that is as loyal as the US Congress, always praising Israel, degrading Palestinians, dismissing international law, calling to stop funding the UN for daring to demand accountability from Israel, feeding Israeli ‘security’ phobias with monetary and absolute political backing, demonizing Iran, undermining the Arabs and repeating all Israeli talking points fed to them by Tel Aviv and by the fifth column lobbyists in Washington.

Trump is striving to be that person, the messiah that Israel’s army of right-wing, ultranationalists and religious zealots have been calling for. But this appears beyond the man’s control, no matter how hard he tries.

“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” Trump said in answer to a journalist’s question, implying to Israel that the US will no longer impose solutions; instead, Trump pushed the ‘one-state solution’ idea to the very top of the discussion. It is not what Israel wanted – or expected.

In Washington, Netanyahu, with unmistakable pomposity, stood before the media and simply lied. He painted Israel as vulnerable, a prey for dark ‘radical Islam’ forces, ready to strike from every corner.

He presented Iran’s nuclear capabilities as if it is lined up to incinerate Israel, itself built atop the graves and villages of dispossessed Palestinians. No journalist had the courage to quiz the Israeli leader about his own country’s massive nuclear arsenal and other weapons of mass destruction. Listening to him preach fabricated history to the incurious American media, one would think that militarily powerful Israel is occupied by hostile Palestinian foreigners, and not vice versa.

Netanyahu claimed his people belonged to Palestine as the French belonged to France and the Chinese to China.  But if European Jewish immigrants are the natives of Palestine, then what is one to make of Palestinians? How is one to explain their existence on land that has carried their collective name for millennia?

This is inconsequential to the US government and mainstream media. US media is as uninformed about the realities of the Middle East as Trump, who seems to have only two main talking points about the whole issue, both embarrassingly bizarre:

Israel has been treated ‘very, very badly’ by the US, and he has a ‘really great peace deal’ in store.

On the contrary, Palestinians have been treated ‘very, very badly’ by the US, the most generous supporter of Israel.  Israel has used mostly American weapons in its wars against Palestinians and other Arab nations, with thousands of Palestinians losing their lives because of this blind American patronage.

As for his ‘really great peace deal,’ Trump has nothing. ‘Really great’ seems to be his answer to everything, to the point that his words are becoming ineffectual clichés, suitable for twitter jokes and comedy.

Furthermore, Netanyahu, urged on by – to quote former Secretary of State, John Kerry – the ‘most right-wing coalition in Israeli history‘ – wants the US to unconditionally support Israel as the latter is finalizing its future ‘vision’.

Now, it seems that Israel is concluding that territorial quest. The ‘Regularization Law’ passed recently in Israel’s parliament – Knesset – will retroactively validate all Israeli illegal settlers’ claims over Palestinian land. Top Israel officials now openly speak of annexation of the West Bank, using language that was formerly reserved for Jewish extremists.

Israel’s president believes annexation is the answer. “I, Rubi Rivlin, believe that Zion is entirely ours. I believe the sovereignty of the State of Israel must be in all the blocs,” Rivlin said, emphasizing that he was referring to the entire West Bank, as quoted by the Times of Israel.

The consensus among Israel’s ruling class is that a Palestinian state should never be established. Trump, although incoherent, granted them just that.

So what does Netanyahu want? We know he does not want a Palestinian state and plans to annex all Jewish colonies, while continuing to expand over stolen Palestinian land. He wants Palestinians to exist, but without political will of their own, without sovereignty, forced to accept that Israel is a Jewish state (thus signing off on their historic right to their own land); to remain subdued, passive, disarmed, dehumanized.

Netanyahu’s end game is Apartheid, racist segregation where one party, Israeli Jews, dominates and exploits the other – Palestinian Arabs: Muslims and Christians.

But human dignity is not open for negotiation, no matter how a ‘good negotiator’ Netanyahu is – according to Trump’s assertion.

Palestinians have resisted Israel for nearly seventy years because they challenge their servitude. They will continue to resist.

Israel has the military means to punish Palestinians for their resistance, to push them behind military checkpoints and trap them behind walls. Yet, it is not a matter of firepower, and no wall can be high enough to stymie the echoes of oppressed people striving for freedom, human rights, equality and solidarity.

Netanyahu must feel triumphant because of Trump’s assuring words. The Israeli leader wants any victory, however illusive, to buy time and the allegiance of his camp of extremists, especially now that he is being investigated for fraud and is likely to be indicted.

He may even initiate a war against Gaza to create further distraction, and will readily spin facts so that his country is presented as a victim, to test American support and to ‘downgrade’ Hamas’ and other Palestinian groups’ defences.

However, none of this will change the reality that Netanyahu has unwisely constructed. His vision for Israel is the perpetual subjugation of Palestinians through a system of racial discrimination that will continue until the world unravels the lies and the propaganda.

Having Trump by his side, Netanyahu will work diligently to perfect the Palestinian prison in the name of Israel’s security.

Palestinians must now respond, without the irrelevant rhetoric of a ‘two-state solution’, but with a unified universal message to the rest of the world: expecting – in fact, demanding – freedom, equality, full rights in a society that is not predicated on racial order, but on equal citizenship.

Israel has laid out its dark vision. Palestinians must present the antithesis to that destructive vision: a road map towards justice, equality and peace for all.

Eleven Examples of Resistance to Government Raids

Resistance to unjust government action is the duty of all people who care about human rights.

As Dr. King reminded us in his letter from a Birmingham jail, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

It is now clear that Latinos and Muslims are Trump’s first target for government actions.  The orders just released put ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and US Customs and Border Protection on steroids.  These new policies also will have a devastating impact on LGBTQ, as well as Black and Muslim communities.

Here are eleven recent examples of how people are directly resisting.

One.  Blocking vehicles of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A coalition of undocumented immigrants, faith leaders and other allies blocked a bus in San Francisco which was full of people scheduled for deportation. Other buses were blocked in Arizona and Texas. People blocked streets outside of ICE facilities in Los Angeles.

Two.  People have engaged in civil disobedience inside border highway checkpoints to deter immigration checks.  People have called neighbors to warn them that ICE is in the neighborhood and held up signs on  highways that ICE is checking cars ahead.

Three.  Cities refusing to cooperate with immigration enforcement and targeting. Hundreds of local governments have policies limiting cooperation with immigration enforcement.

Four.  Colleges and universities declining to cooperate with immigration authorities and declare themselves sanctuary campuses. Dozens of schools have declared themselves sanctuary campuses and over a hundred more are considering some form of resistance to immigration enforcement.

Five.  Churches sheltering and protecting immigrants scheduled for deportation in their sanctuary. Over a dozen churches are already doing this with hundreds more considering sanctuary.  The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles declared itself a Sanctuary Diocese in December 2016 and pledged to defend immigrants, and others targeted for their status.

Six.  Detained people demanding investigation into illegal actions. Over 400 detained immigrants in Broward County, Florida wrote and publicized a letter to government officials challenging the legality and conditions of their confinement.

Seven.   Divesting from stocks of private prisons. Private prison companies CCA and GEO have pushed for building more prisons for immigrants and have profited accordingly. Columbia University became the first university to divest from companies which operate private prisons.

Eight.  Lawyers have volunteered to defend people facing deportation. People with lawyers are much less likely to be deported yet only 37 percent of people facing deportation have an attorney and of those already in jail the percentage drops to 14 percent.  Los Angeles has created its own fund to provide legal aid to those facing deportations. Other groups like the American Bar Association recruit and train volunteer lawyers to help.  Know Your Rights sessions are also very helpful.  Here are CAIR Know Your Rights materials for Muslims.  Here are Know Your Rights materials for immigrants from the National Immigration Law Center.

Nine.  Restaurants declaring themselves safe space sanctuaries for undocumented and LGBTQ workers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 25 percent of workers in restaurants are Latino.

Ten.  Sit-ins at elected and appointed officials at government buildings. Bodegas have gone on strike.

Eleven.  Social self-defense.  Jeremy Brecher pointed out that decades ago communities in Poland organized themselves into loose voluntary networks called Committees for Social Self-Defense to resist unjust government targeting.  This opens resistance in many new forms in addition to the ones identified above including: setting up text networks for allies to come to the scene of ICE deportation raids, to document and hopefully stop the raids; identifying and picketing homes of particularly aggressive ICE leaders; providing medical, legal and financial assistance to help shelter people on the run from authorities; and boycotting businesses and politicians that cooperate with ICE.

Resist!  For more information on how, check out some of the many organizations already resisting targeting and deportations.  Mijente offers creative ideas and examples for action to expand the idea of sanctuary to protect all residents from criminalization and deportation.  National Day Laborer Network has many resources for communities seeking to stop deportations.  Central to the campus sanctuary movement is MovementCosecha.  The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild provides resources for lawyers.  Faith communities looking into this should connect with the Sanctuary Movement.  Puente Arizona is a great example of grassroots organizing in local communities.

America’s Cultural Autism

It appears that America has little awareness of the value of awareness since fake news and fake values arrived to take possession of the body politic. Solipsism appears to lurk behind a modus operandi of tough talking American empire-speak when it addresses its ire to other centres of power daring to challenge its hegemonic brand of self-centred conceits, now spreading across the globe.

President Trump visited the Boeing hangar in South Carolina 16 February, hours after it was reported he was considering using the National Guard to round up undocumented migrants and had this to say: “We are going to build up a military might so great that no one will dare to challenge it. None!”.  Needless to say, the media honed in on his words as if this was the very first occasion where imbecility du jour had raised its ugly head to defile an American presidential narrative.

Talking off-the-cuff, the President…as is his wont…expressed himself candidly in a manner that had the gall to rile an ‘intelligentsia’ essentially mute on the question of America’s inability to comprehend much beyond its own navel. The mess America made in the Middle East falls on the shoulders of the entire American community and the President allows no sensitivities to interfere with his passion for tweeting twaddle concerning the Foreign Policies follies of his predecessors.

Nobody can pretend to be unaware of the carnage America has engaged in abroad. It has gone on for decades, yet amazingly little was said about the subject in the recent presidential elections. The media along with academia may consider it expedient to adopt discretion as the better part of valour, but these instrumentalities at best, merely exist to hoodwink the masses into believing that there is just-cause behind the aggression its government and war profiteers engage in.

Think of it! Presidents and war criminals retire to ponder the nature of love, mathematics, the value of their assets…some even paint pictures… while consigning the history of their imbecility as commanders of one kind or another to their diaries…and the rest of us are expected to merely tag along.  It’s the power of the brand that keeps people unfree, coaxing them to get behind that most unholy patriotic narrative that fronts for the armament industry.

Have we come to accept permanent war as the norm? The images of cities destroyed and the ever mounting toll of human collateral damage hardly penetrates public consciousness anymore, because we are told that the ‘other’ had to be destroyed before they became the clients of an alien hegemonic force that could damage our free trade arrangements. Hegemonic masculinity works in mysterious ways; it is resilient and incorporates an autistic dimension so to avoid explaining itself to Main Street.

Awareness and language are flip sides of the same coin. There is no self-awareness without awareness of the ‘others’ existence; language is the medium which enables definition of the particular to circumscribe identity for the purpose of constructing social perspectives that may have the capacity to benefit one and all.

The young mother discovers the power of emergent language as the infant in her charge commences to demonstrate awareness of co-equal reality by observing responses in the ‘other’; every word and gesture conveying meaning of ‘otherness’ puts awareness in context. If all babies are born equal, then language itself must be a fulcrum capable of achieving comity in the theatre of social interaction.

But what corrupts American ‘boys’ after they leave the bosom of the nursery to become equals by serving in a military culture of command? Is it a desire to plough on, move forward, press on, push on, advance upwards, believing expediency to be the only indisputable means of achieving material success and a dominant role in society for themselves…or is it the naïve assumption that it is the only option available to them? Or does the uniformity of military culture endow the individual with a form of courage that only comes into being in the context of the group?

The American penchant for growing hegemony vis-a-vis expediency began with the covered wagon and quickly spread across that vast continent under the protection of canon, musket and the protection of the military. The genocidal slaughter used against the native peoples to achieve hegemony over their lands was of little concern to them. They were a people who spoke different languages, dressed strangely and had a skin colour that identified them as near subhuman in the eyes of the occupiers.

So, did the cult of the boys-in-uniform find fertile ground in the belief that slaughtering the indigenous population was necessary in order to supplant them with virile American stakeholders attuned to the wiles of colonial exploitation as it was a sure-fire means of thieving from the native people?  After all, awareness was something that only occurred in the minds of sissies.

From its inception, America managed to blindside interpretations of its actions by demonising the people it wanted to eradicate. It was through misinformation that it sought to portray its intentions as morally sound, while vilifying all resistance to its cause. In reality, American history has more to do with false-flag misinformation than truth.

The seeds of un-awareness were sown and cultivated in jargon that presented the case for colonial trading practices as being contingent upon civilised intercourse. The public had come to believe they were exceptional because the elites kept telling them it was so. Believing that they had finally reached nirvana, the public gave themselves over to the expediency of the capitalist juggernaut, not aware that the military-industrial-complex was parasitically burrowing its way into the heart of the American dream-enterprise.

The “Base Structure Report, Fiscal 2010 Baseline” shows how covered-wagons have transmuted into ‘aerial-wagons’ equipped with ballistic missiles over time.  According to this report, the U.S. has 662 overseas bases in 35 foreign countries. So when the President of America says “We are going to build up a military might so great that no one will dare to challenge it”, it appears that he is unaware of the fact that his ‘adversaries’ are also in possession of a vast number of weapons of mass destruction…the nuclear overkill sort come to mind and they are a far cry from the humble bow and arrow!

The challenge facing America now is its lack of any real self-awareness…or lack of awareness of values outside of its known sphere of limited knowledge, for that matter. The world has become suspicious of an American brand of capitalistic-democracy that continues to impose — by military means — its authority on the rest of the world, hence the blowback against the loud mouth devoid of diplomatic skills.

At home, the media and the intelligence agencies continue to expunge truth from the public narrative by virtue of their ability to distort reality. Technology is the tool that gives them this advantage. By virtue of this advantage, security apparatuses in the service of government manipulate public perceptions so as to inform the public whom they should regard as friend or foe.

The elites who control the system instill fake news and fake values in the media in order to control awareness. The interests of the establishment are served by expedients that come in the form of binary perspectives that feed off the fear of blowback. If the rule of the elites is threatened in any which way, the patriotic card is the one that is automatically extracted from the deck.

There is little concern for facts on the ground when corporate-minded capitalist expediency vaunts its interests in, and plans for, free trade agreements. The global business trade-cycle ‘in-question’ is nothing more than a scam to eliminate points of particularism that claim the right to retain multiple centres of activity as the healthier way of conducting trade. Neo-conservative capitalism adheres to the myth that one size fits all. American hegemonic enforcement as implemented by the military-industrial-complex will have to inevitably roll back as alternative means of negotiating trade come into existence.

The world is now alert to America’s fork-tongued affair with Anglo Zionism and awareness of the duplicity surrounding the fake peace talks is breaking out all over. Pulverising people and countries across the Middle East attest to America and Israel’s cupidity. That they have been relegated to the status of the most reviled countries on the planet comes as no surprise.

Security walls, plus extrajudicial killings, plus the genocide of the Palestinian people may have brought America and Israel together as bedfellows…but having cavorted together in ways most treacherous, the smell and sight of their dirty linen is now on show for the whole world to behold…and the so called ‘honest broker’ stands diminished and soiled as a consequence of the role he played in that unholy union.

If Americans continue to see themselves as units in an economy that seeks greatness and virility with the help of an overblown military, then doomsday may not be far off.  Without questioning the facts presented to them by the government (deep-state interests) and the media, the public at large will remain captive to a culture of fake news and fake values that trap them in a web of placebo realities. There is now an abundance of evidence to show that the ‘deep-state’ is more or less a collection of monstrous parasites gnawing on the entrails of the host. Reason suggests that bringing the affairs of The State out into the light of day should be the top priority.

The deep state — or the chain of command as it was formerly known as — has many points of particularity, but none of them directly represent the interests of main-street-America.  The system we presently have, seeks to replicate the human genome apparatus by hierarchically regulating and delegating control over the economy — the central nervous system — for the purpose of establishing command of an order it can oversee and profit from. The result of this maneuvering within the body politic is that democracy has been pushed off the page.

To date, the history of America has been one where hegemonic masculinity appears to have triumphed militaristically over reason. But with the establishment of an army of intelligence agents, another layer of ‘macho power’ was added to the gun-ships of state. It should be noted that having chosen ‘agro’ as the gene of choice for the State, the skills of diplomacy were stifled very early in the piece. Thus did brawn manage to smother America’s better self and consign its ‘dream’ to the isolation of the autistic ward.

Americans are now struggling to comprehend the thought processes of their Commander In Chief. They sense that the Commanders at The Pentagon, Commanders at Wall Street, Commanders at NATO, Commanders at Fleet Street, Commanders at AIPAC, Commanders at the CIA and the FBI are actively part of a genome chorus of imbedded interests seeking to retain as much power in the chain of command as possible in ways that corrupt the democratic process…which leaves it to the jury to form an opinion.

The jury is the American People and they are slowly becoming aware of the duplicity that has corrupted them from the very start. But wait! The centre is no longer holding and the people might come out of their long coma yet to discover that it is high time they freed themselves from the fake news and fake values that represent the current American brand. Clearly, the existing American brand of governance is the product of straw-men!

President’s Quest for Détente with Russia Continues Despite Fierce Opposition

President Trump rose from the ashes of Mike Flynn at his press conference last Thursday. In a bravura performance, defiant and funny at times, the President took on the corporate media en masse.

It is a performance that should not be missed. You can savor both video and transcript at your leisure here.

The press

Trump: “Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, D.C., along with New York, Los Angeles in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system. The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. Tremendous disservice. We have to talk to find out what’s going on, because the press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.”

Sounds like what many “progressives” have been saying for a mighty long time, and it deserves resounding applause from them.

Trump: “And I’ll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word ‘tone.’ The tone is such hatred. I’m really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such — I do get good ratings, you have to admit that — the tone is such hatred.”

And: “Now, I will say this. I watch it. I see it. I’m amazed by it. The public gets it, you know. Look, when I go to rallies, they turn around, they start screaming at CNN. They want to throw their placards at CNN. You know.”

The bias of the press against Trump is so obvious and heavy handed that no one can miss it. I asked one friend who is an avid and careful reader of the NYT whether he could name a single pro-Trump article over the last year. He could not. Does the press believe that the public are such fools that they cannot see this tone? This is but one more sign of the contempt that the clueless Elite have for the working stiff.

Russia and Putin

The most important point of the press conference was undoubtedly Trump’s refusal to back off one inch from his desire to “get along with Russia,” what some call New Détente or Détente 2.0. It is the most important, because tension between the two nuclear powers could well lead to war and nuclear exchange. For antiwarriors of every stripe Trump’s steadfastness was good news. The Flynn episode has not changed Trump’s resolve one iota.

Trump continued. Were he to denounce Russia and Putin, he instructed the press, it would be much easier for him politically. He would be hailed by the corporate press, the elitists of both Parties, the neocons, the Hillarycons and the entire foreign policy establishment, all of whom are itching for a fight, heedless that it might lead to a nuclear exchange. So Trump’s willingness to hold to this position is hardly opportunistic.

But he went farther. Trump let the press know that the atmosphere they are creating would make it difficult to negotiate with Putin, to defeat ISIS, or to bring an end to the crises in Ukraine or Syria nurtured by the US over the last six plus years. Why? Because he would have difficulty making concessions, giving as well as taking which any negotiation or deal demands. Any concession would trigger the charge that Trump is Putin’s puppet, the crazed mantra with which we are harangued daily and for which after all these many months there is not a shred of evidence. This is the very same point that Stephen F. Cohen, Emeritus Professor of Russian History at Princeton and NYU, often makes in his weekly discussions (Jan.25 episode especially) of U.S., Russia relations with John Batchelor on WABC.

Trump: “But I want to just tell you, the false reporting by the media, by you people, the false, horrible, fake reporting makes it much harder to make a deal with Russia. And probably Putin said ‘you know.’ He’s sitting behind his desk and he’s saying ‘you know, I see what’s going on in the United States, I follow it closely. It’s going to be impossible for President Trump to ever get along with Russia because of all the pressure he’s got with this fake story.’ OK? And that’s a shame because if we could get along with Russia — and by the way, China and Japan and everyone. If we could get along, it would be a positive thing, not a negative thing. (Emphasis, jw).

And later, Trump: “But you know what? I want to do the right thing for the American people. And to be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world.

If Russia and the United States actually got together and got along — and don’t forget, we’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. There’s no upside. We’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. I have been briefed. And I can tell you one thing about a briefing that we’re allowed to say because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, nuclear holocaust would be like no other. (Emphasis, jw)… They’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are we. If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.”

The idea of “getting along” with other nations, even as we compete with them economically, is of course the way to peace and the very antithesis of the path the neocons and liberalcons from the Clintons to Bush to Obama have set us on these past thirty plus years of killing and destruction. And yet the “peace movement” expresses nothing but hatred for Trump and pushes for his impeachment. Some “peace” movement, that.

Back to l’affaire Flynn for a moment. Permit this writer to make a surmise, scarcely a ripple on the sea of surmises these days about the Deep State, Trump etc. Flynn did nothing illegal. Trump did not have to let him go, and it can easily be argued that Trump may have kept blood out of the water by sticking by Flynn and keeping him on. Flynn has been an asset. He is a champion of Détente 2.0 with Russia. He knows the national “intelligence” apparatus and where all its skeletons are closeted. He seems to know the deep story of the support that the Obama and Hillary forces gave to ISIS – certainly indirectly through US allies and probably also directly through the CIA, Mossad etc. But Flynn is also a man near crazed with an irrational bellicosity to Iran. That would have thrown a monkey wrench into Détente 2.0 since Russia and Iran have close ties especially in the fight against Sunni fundamentalist terrorism. So sooner or later Flynn had to go to preserve Détente 2.0. Did Trump take this opportunity to do so? And did Tillerson also crave this? It is a suspicion worth pondering. Trump has shown a cold-blooded capacity to say “you’re fired” when someone’s liabilities outweigh their assets. This writer suspects that Flynn’s time had come.

Trump’s Clarifying Moment for Israel and Palestinians

For 15 years, the Middle East “peace process” initiated by the Oslo accords has been on life support. Last week, United States president Donald Trump pulled the plug, whether he understood it or not.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could barely stifle a smile as Mr Trump demoted the two-state solution from holy grail. Instead, he said of resolving the conflict: “I am looking at two states or one state … I can live with either one.”

Given the huge asymmetry of power, Israel now has a free hand to entrench its existing apartheid version of the one-state solution – Greater Israel – on the Palestinians. This is the destination to which Mr Netanyahu has been steering the Israel-Palestine conflict his entire career.

This week it emerged that at a secret summit in Aqaba last year – attended by Egypt and Jordan, and overseen by US secretary of state John Kerry – Mr Netanyahu was offered a regional peace deal that included almost everything he had demanded of the Palestinians. And still he said no.

Much earlier, in 2001, Mr Netanyahu was secretly filmed boasting to settlers of how he had foiled the Oslo process a short time earlier by failing to carry out promised withdrawals from Palestinian territory. He shrugged off the US role as something that could be “easily moved to the right direction”.

Now he has the White House where he wants it.

In expressing ambivalence about the final number of states, Mr Trump may have assumed he was leaving options open for his son-in-law and presumed peace envoy, Jared Kushner.

But words can take on a life of their own, especially when uttered by the president of the world’s only superpower.

Some believe Mr Trump, faced with the region’s realities, will soon revert to Washington’s playbook on two states, with the US again adopting the bogus role of “honest broker”. Others suspect his interest will wilt, allowing Israel to intensify settlement building and its abuse of Palestinians.

The long-term effect, however, is likely to be more decisive. The one-state option mooted by Mr Trump will resonate with both Israelis and Palestinians because it reminds each side of their historic ambitions.

The international community has repeatedly introduced the chimera of the two-state solution, but for most of their histories the two sides favoured a single state – if for different reasons.

From the outset, the mainstream Zionist movement wanted an exclusive Jewish state, and a larger one than it was ever offered.

In late 1947, the Zionist leadership backed the United Nations partition plan for tactical reasons, knowing the Palestinians would reject the transfer of most of their homeland to recent European immigrants.

A few months later they seized more territory – in war – than the UN envisioned, but were still not satisfied. Religious and secular alike hungered for the rest of Palestine. Shimon Peres was among the leaders who began the settlement drive immediately following the 1967 occupation.

Those territorial ambitions were muffled by Oslo, but will be unleashed again in full force by Mr Trump’s stated indifference.

The Palestinians’ history points in a parallel direction. As Zionism made its first inroads into Palestine, they rejected any compromise with what were seen as European colonisers.

In the 1950s, after Israel’s creation, the resistance under Yasser Arafat espoused a single secular democratic state in all of historic Palestine. Only with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Palestinians’ growing isolation in the early 1990s, did Arafat cave in and sign up for partition.

But for Palestinians, Oslo has not only entailed enduring Israel’s constant bad faith, but also created a deeply compromised vehicle for self-government. The Palestinian Authority has split the Palestinian people territorially – between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza – and required a Faustian pact to uphold Israel’s security, including the settlers’, at all costs.

The truth, obscured by Oslo, is that the one-state solution has underpinned the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for more than a century. It did not come about because each expected different things from it.

For Israelis, it was to be a fortress to exclude the native Palestinian population.

For Palestinians, it was the locus of national liberation from centuries of colonial rule. Only later did many Palestinians, especially groups such as Hamas, come to mirror the Zionist idea of an exclusive – if in their case, Islamic – state.

Mr Trump’s self-declared detachment will now revive these historic forces. Settler leader Naftali Bennett will compete with Mr Netanyahu to take credit for speeding up the annexation of ever-greater blocs of West Bank territory while rejecting any compromise on Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Palestinians, particularly the youth, will understand that their struggle is not for illusory borders but for liberation from the Jewish supremacism inherent in mainstream Zionism.

The struggle Mr Trump’s equivocation provokes, however, must first play out in the internal politics of Israelis and Palestinians. It is a supremely clarifying moment. Each side must now define what it really wants to fight for: a fortress for their tribe alone, or a shared homeland ensuring rights and dignity for all.

• First published in The National