The Democrats Futile Search for Evidence

If there is anyone to blame for the election of Donald Trump,  it is not the Russians – it is the Democratic Party and its allies in the MSM.

It does not take a Trump supporter or a registered Republican to recognize that the Democrats

hysterical allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign to influence the election has no merit and are nothing but petty, ideological over-reactions to their humiliating losses throughout the country in the 2016 election.

And it does not take a trained psychologist to see that the Democrat/MSM campaign to destroy a democratically elected President have perpetuated the anti-Russian effort as a coping mechanism to avoid the painful truth that they have suffered a publicly embarrassing loss of power and status.   After 8 years of pretending that Barack Obama was a perpetual political gift they could ride to victory, the reality is too damned excruciating to admit that their own betrayals to peace, health care, the economy and jobs have brought them down.

The challenge for the Democrats is to suck it up and behave like mature professionals who deserve to be elected.  Currently, they chose to remain in the wilderness of confused cognitive entanglement; unable to stretch beyond their narrow view of themselves as morally and intellectually superior.   Instead, unable to do any independent thinking, they encourage the party’s rank-and-file to remain in the unproductive throes of an unhinged emotional breakdown that seeks to threaten the constitutional stability of the country.

While Wikileaks can take credit for revealing the DNC’s links with the MSM as now indisputable (a job well done by Operation Mockingbird), the joint Democrat/MSM attacks on the Trump – Russia have inadvertently revealed the potent politicization of the FBI, CIA and NSA as well as the morally bankrupt nature of the Democratic party.

Even the assertion of “no evidence” from multiple intel agencies has not stopped the delusional Democrats from going hog-wild insane; daring to suggest that unproven allegations of electoral interference should be considered as an ‘act of war”.  Having sold their souls to the war machine during Obama’s terms in office, Congressional Dems have now linked arms with the appalling former Bush VP Dick Cheney and Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-Az).

An impeccable example of Democratic neurosis that has identified a conclusion lacking evidence, long time apologist for Israel Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca), ranking minority of the House Intel Committee, has set himself up as a moral arbiter of wildly unsubstantiated charges like  “notwithstanding an abundance of evidence that Russia hacked our political institutions,” and more recently “there’s more than circumstantial evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.”    Schiff has consistently failed to provide one iota of proof supporting his accusations while the MSM takes his fabrications as fact.

In an intensely partisan dispute that is about political control rather than national security, Schiff has demanded that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Ca) Chair of the House Intel Committee, recuse himself from the Committee investigation citing an inability to conduct an impartial hearing.

In a memorable December 8th interview on FoxNews with Tucker Carlson (which is ‘unavailable’ on YouTube), Schiff met with push-back from Carlson who is perhaps the only iconoclast interviewer on all of commercial TV.   Carlson makes a game out of systematically peeling back the layers of any well established, status quo argument, frequently leaving his guest in knots or otherwise looking ridiculous.  He is a joy to watch as he ripped the mask off the pompous Schiff.

In a typical response from an inquisitor who has lost control of the narrative, here are a few choice excerpts as Schiff escalates the witch hunt but cannot substantiate  his claims as he seeks diversion by accusing Carlson of ‘carrying water for the Kremlin”:

Carlson:   “I get it, I get it…Nobody’s for hacking.   Let me just make one clear point.  You don’t know that Vladimir Putin was behind those hacks?”

Schiff:   “Well, we do know this…”

Carlson:   “but you don’t know that so let’s not pretend you do..”

Schiff:   “Well, let’s not ignore what the Director of National Security and the Secretary of Homeland Security said publicly which is that these hacks were of such seriousness that they could not have taken place without approval of the highest levels of the Kremlin.”

Carlson:   “That’s speculation.  What is speculation… is it a statement of fact”

Schiff:   “it is not speculation.  It is a statement of the intelligence community’s best assessment.  Because there’s a political reason to do it.. this is what the intelligence professionals are saying.”

Carlson:   “Ok .. I remember vividly the massive stockpiles of wmd in Iraq which the intelligence community assured us were there and they weren’t  so pardon my skepticism.”

***

Carlson:  “I’ve been following this.  I get it.  There’s been lots of hacking, at the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA Director’s personal email was hacked, we think in some cases by Russia.  I don’t remember  you holding a press conference and saying, hey, Obama Administration,  you’re  cyber security is  pathetic.  In this letter to the President, you don’t mention the fact that American cyber security is inadequate and that the Administration is partly responsible for allowing these hacks to happen.  Why don’t you mention that?”

Schiff:    “You haven’t been watching the opening hearings of the…”

Carlson:   “I have…”

Sciff:    “I don’t think you have because if you had, you would see me pressing the Administration on the failures to protect our data …”

Carlson:   “Then why not mention it in this letter?”

Schiff:   “Because this letter was about Russian meddling and if you don’t think that’s significant that a power that is an adversary of ours is bombing civilians in Syria right now, that’s invading its neighbor’s and also interfering in our political process as well as our allies…if you don’t think that’s serious, it’s hard for me to imagine that you’re of the same party as Ronald Reagan.”

***

Carlson:   “What were the means they used?

Schiff   “…the means they used were hacking into  democratic institutions and the leaking of documents designed in the primary process to sow division between Clinton and Sanders camps something we saw actually took place as a result of that because of that and then in general election  to attempt to discredit secretary of State Clinton in a way to harm her and would  help Donald Trump”

Carlson:  “How did they do that?”

Schiff:    “Well it was pretty obvious, wasn’t it? ….they haeked, they released documents that were…”

Carlson:     “..that were real..”

Schiff:      “Oh yes they were real and they were ones that were damaging to Secretary Clinton.”

***

Carlson:   “But they don’t know that the Putin government and neither do you.   You don’t know that Putin was behind those hacks.  I think it’s irresponsible for you to say that and you don’t know.”

Schiff:    “You know what is irresponsible Tucker, is that you make that claim without looking at the evidence and more importantly have not seen the Russians…. “

Carlson:   “You can’t say that you know the Putin government did that.”

Schiff:     “..and more importantly for the president elect today to say that he doesn’t know whether the Russians…”

Carlson:   “You’re dodging.    You’re on the Intel Committee.  Let me just ask you one final question. Can you look right into the camera and say that you know for a fact that the government of Vladimir Putin was behind the hacks of John Podesta emails. “

Schiff:    “Absolutely.   The government of Vladimir Putin was behind the hack of our institution, not only in the US but also in Europe”

Carlson:   “ …of John Podesta’s email.  you know that you’re dodging.  You can’t say it.. Look and say that they hacked  Podesta’s email.”

Schiff:   “I think Ronald Reagan would be rolling in his grave that you are carrying water for the Kremlin”

Carlson: “I am not carrying water for the Kremlin.  Look, you are a sitting member of Congress on the [House Intelligence Committee] and you can’t say they hacked..”

Schiff    “You’re going to have to move your show to RT – Russian television because this is perfectly…”

Carlson:  “You know what? That’s so beneath your office because it’s so dumb, and you are being duplicitous. I’m asking you did they hack [John] Podesta’s emails and you can’t say it.”

Schiff:   “You should not resort to personal insults like that Tucker.”

Carlson:   “You just said I was carrying water for Putin.  That’s pretty hilarious.”

Schiff:    “When you essentially are an apologist for the Kremlin, that’s what you do.”

Carlson:   “One last time Congressman.  Look into the camera and say they hacked John Podesta’s emails.  We know for a fact that the Russians hacked John Podesta’s emails.  You can’t and you know you can’t and you ae hiding behind weasel words.”

Schiff:   “I’m not going to be specific….”

Carlson:   “..because you don’t know it, that’s why.   Done.  You don’t know it and you’re alleging it without any evidence. “

Schiff:    “You’re ignoring the evidence because you don’t care because the fact that it helped the Republican candidate is all you need to know.”

Carlson:    “That totally false.   I just think that if you’re going to make a serious allegation against actual country with an actual government you ought to know what you’re talking about and you don’t.”

Schiff:    “…ought to accept Republicans on intel committee if you.”

Carlson:    “..if you could say it, you would have but you didn’t.  I got to go. I’m taking cash from Putin, on RT.”

Schiff:   “If you’re willing to be in denial because it suits a Republican president….”.

Carlson:   “You can blather on all you want.  I gave you a chance to state it clearly and you couldn’t.  I  need to take a call from Vladimir Putin so I need to put you on hold for one second.”

Meanwhile, as the Dems/MSM continue to waste time and energy on inane investigations of Russian collusion, the Russians have recently opened an office in Beijing to phase-in a gold back standard of trade while the Chinese have opened a new central bank office in Moscow that will allow the Russians to issue federal loan bonds in the yuan – thereby decreasing their dependence on the dollar-based trade.   

And if there is going to be an investigation of interference in US elections, let it include Israel.

The Inextricable Links Between Mining and Violence

Last year South Africa’s bountiful Wild Coast saw the assassination of Sikhosiphi Rhadebe, activist against proposed dune mining on his homeland. The commemoration of Rhadebe who went by the name Bozooka coincided with this year’s Human Rights day. At least 500 people came to stand together in solidarity to call for an end to violence under the glaring sun of the Wild Coast far off the tarred national roads.

Saluting the deceased Rhadebe, leader of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, gun shots were fired in the air giving a vivid demonstration of the sound of death that was heard on the Wild Coast a year ago. Mark Caruso, CEO of the company that applied for a permit for titanium mining on the Wild Coast had (according to local media) previously bragged in an internal email: “I am enlivened by [the] opportunity to grind all resistance to my presence.”

Violence and mining do not meet spontaneously – they are uncanny bedfellows.

Acclaimed mining scholar Anthony Bebbington calls the choice communities are facing when mining companies approach “Faustian in the extreme”. Companies offer compensation (mostly money) for multiple forms of dispossessions; namely dispossession of “land, territory, landscape and natural resources”. According to Bebbington no matter if mining is to go ahead or not it will irrevocably divide communities over the question. Defying the notion of win-win situations invoked by mining companies’ global examples show that mine-affected communities typically lose while a class of investors, CEOs and some local managers wine and dine on the generous revenues.

Blockadia in the making?

But as the Wild Coast people testify quite a number of activists are not shying away to take on mining Goliaths. Environmental justice activists are putting themselves in the frontlines of a global battle that Naomi Klein calls “Blockadia” – a new conflict zone “cropping up with increasing frequency and intensity wherever extractive projects are attempting to dig and drill, whether for open-pit mines, or gas fracking, or tar sands oil pipelines.” The struggle of Standing Rock is a case in point where indigenous activists faced the heavily armoured police.

But media attention to extractive struggles is rarely that persistent. And even in cases in which the media reports diligently from these conflict zones, time seems to be on the side of mining companies and oil firms. If extractive operations face resistance the nature of mineral resources allows companies to change strategies and come back when resistance is at its weakest.

Death toll of mining

The imbalance of resource also plays to the hands of companies as they have the means to bring delinquents on their side. In an academic paper entitled Conflict and Astroturfing in Niyamgiri, which is very instructive beyond the confines of academia, Romy Kraemer and others tell the story of a young tribal activist who received global attention for his fight against bauxide mining in India. In the cause of the struggle however the company manages to buy the activist out and provide him with a scholarship away from his native land. This is a rather peaceful case if one considers how many violent conflicts are reported around extraction worldwide. Ken Saro-Wiwa who died in the struggle against Shell as well as environmental justice activist Berta Cáceres from Honduras paid with their lives for their vocal oppositions. Their names, just as much as Sikhosiphi Rhadebe’s, echo in the struggles against exploitative extractivism of today.

The number of casualties in operating mines should not be forgotten either. In a single accident in the Turkish coal mine in Soma in 2014, at least 301 miners died in an underground fire. Even in the absence of major accidents miners are pressured to take ever higher risks in anticipation of the ever greater emphasis on production.

Increasingly struggles over mining are fought under environmental banners. The Environmental Atlas mapping of the social and environmental impacts of mining and other invasive developmental projects counts 158 conflicts over coal as well as 105 reported escalations over natural gas – the list is far too long to complete it. To get an overview it is certainly worthwhile to have a look at the globe full of colourful dots marking conflicts in virtually every region of the planet.

Consent or choice?

Is this just another case of the resource curse thesis suggesting that countries with large amounts of mineral endowment are worse off than their resource-poor counterparts? The answer is not that straightforward. In an ideal world communities could decide freely on whether or not they opt for mining in their community. In cases in which they opt in favour of mining communities should benefit from operation at every stage which would require the involvement of local entrepreneurs and schemes to upskill locals (I am still talking about an ideal world). Initiatives such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples demand free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC). This might not go far enough as critics argue that “consent” should be replaced by “choice”. This seems easier said than done in the face of cosy relationships between mining capital and elite politicians.

South Africa’s impasse

Let me go back to South Africa where I currently do research on popular mobilization around the extractive industries. According to Corruption Watch, South Africa’s mining industry is at high risk of corrupt practices. Evidence certainly suggests that companies and governing African National Congress (ANC) politicians are working together quite closely.

President Jacob Zuma’s son is heavily and controversially involved in mining ventures. Vice-president Cyril Ramaphosa held large shares of the mining company which saw 34 of its miners shot down in 2012. It is because of these conflicting interests that political economy professor Patrick Bond does not trust South Africa’s decision-makers to oversee mining relations. He likens them to a drunk nephew who “finds the key to the cupboard containing the family jewels, and he takes them all away, then finds a sleazy foreign buyer on the street corner who pays him a small portion of the value of the jewels, at which point the nephew goes to the bottle store and gets the most vile booze available, swigs it down and comes home to the same house, and vomits it all up, passing out and leaving the Auntie to clean up the mess.”

So the challenge will be to become sober about how to manage mining relations in a country in which close to 10 percent GDP comes from mining operations and where countless other sectors are connected to mining. Under the current fast-tracking methodology Phakisa, the South African government is currently embarking on streamlining decision-making processes in mining. To many this sounds like more top-down decision-making at the expense of communities that will have to host mines.

The T-shirts on Human Rights day on the Wild Coast read: “No mining on our land”.

We will see more of those where people’s freedom of choice becomes violated.

Jasper Finkeldey is a PhD researcher at the University of Essex studying social and environmental impacts of mining in South Africa. He is currently based at the Centre for Civil Society in Durban.

This essay was written as a special report for The Ecologist.

Clinton Loyalist Shifts Right, Begs Sanders Supporters Not to Primary Her

During a private fundraiser, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) asked Bernie Sanders supporters to join her re-election campaign in 2018.

“All of you who are Bernie supporters … I need you. I want you. I want to talk to you. I want you to be part of our effort,” McCaskill said. “We can’t get divided in a state like Missouri or we’re cooked.” McCaskill has previously voiced concern she is worried about facing a Democratic Primary challenger from the progressive wing of the party, though no candidate has yet emerged to challenge her.

“I’m a little worried about a primary against me because I think the Republicans would want to return the favor,” she said. “I think the Republicans might give a lot of money to one of my primary opponents doing a similar thing to what I did for Todd Akin,” in reference to ads McCaskill ran in favor of Todd Akin, the most extreme conservative candidate, during the 2012 GOP Primary.

McCaskill has received criticism from Sanders Supporters for her centrist stances, such as recently claiming Democrats blocking Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch would put the Supreme Court in “jeopardy.” McCaskill also voted in favor of most of Trump cabinet nominees.

During the 2016 Democratic Primaries, McCaskill served as a surrogate for the Clinton Campaign, having endorsed her for President in 2013, two years before Clinton formally announced her campaign. In June 2015, she complained the media was giving him a free pass because ““I think Bernie is too liberal to gather enough votes in this country to become president.”

In Missouri, Hillary Clinton pulled off a marginal victory against Sanders in the Democratic Primary, winning 50-49%, by just over 1,500 votes. Nearly 80 percent of voters 18-29 years-old and over 60 percent ages 30 to 44 voted forSanders, according to Exit poll data. One of the reasons McCaskill may be so worried about facing a Democratic Primary challenger is given how unpopular the Democratic Party is, especially in comparison to Bernie Sanders, a viable challenger could hand McCaskill a defeat.

The Democratic Party is facing an increasing rise in support for Bernie Sanders and progressive policies as an alternative to Trump and the Republican Party, who have successfully decimated Democrats in elected offices across the country. The demise of Democrats is due in part to their lack of  meaningful policy stances and their shift to the “pragmatic” center.

Former Vice President Joe Biden recently acknowledged the party’s ongoing failure in a speech at the University of Pennsylvania. “This is the first campaign that I can recall where my party did not talk about what it always stood for, and that is how to maintain a burgeoning middle class,” he said. Instead of talking about the issues facing working, middle class, and low income Americans, Democrats are still obsessed with scapegoats for why Hillary Clinton lost. Russia, fake news, Bernie Sanders, third party voters, and various other excuses are still more frequently cited and discussed over real issues.

Senator McCaskill knows this, but instead of appealing to progressives and Sanders Supporters by taking meaningful policy stances, she is insisting on party unity while continuing to cower to the establishment center.

Trapped and Starving to Death in Mosul’s Old City

People trapped in the Old City of Mosul are dying of hunger because they have not received any food for almost three weeks according to a resident.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Karim, a 28-year-old taxi driver who lives in the ancient centre of Mosul, says that many people, including several he knows, one of them a friend, have already died of malnutrition.

“Some areas of the Old City have not had any food delivered for 20 days and most people have spent all their savings,” says Karim. He adds that during this period there has been no water and no electricity and nobody can leave the area because Isis shoots them if they try to do so. “We cannot get out of our houses,” he says, “it is not safe at all.”

Karim’s account, given over a weak mobile telephone link to east Mosul, throws light on what is happening in the Old City, a warren of narrow alleyways and ancient houses which is crammed with people and still largely controlled by Isis. Aid agencies estimate that there are 400,000 people living here and a further 200,000 on the outer periphery whose status in terms of food and safety has hitherto been unknown. People are unable to escape to areas already captured by Iraqi government forces and join the tens of thousands fleeing south away from the fighting. These board blue and white buses that take them to camps at Hamam Alil where they are vetted to detect Isis members, fed, receive medical attention and housed in tents.

Karim gives a vivid picture of the confusion and terror in Old City, with its narrow alleyways where no vehicle can go, makes it ideal terrain for Isis’s style of urban guerrilla warfare. Isis squads of half a dozen or more fighters, including highly experienced snipers and bomb makers, slip from house to house through holes in the walls. Surprisingly, Karim says there are not many Isis fighters in the southern part of the Old City, but the army has not yet entered the area.

Though Karim is still in an Isis-held neighbourhood, the Iraqi security forces or the Hashd al-Shaabi, the Shia paramilitary militia, are not far away. He says that ”yesterday, I heard some Shia songs. When we hear such songs, we realize that the Hashd or the Army are close to the area. The Hashd usually raises the volume of their songs which can be heard clearly at night.”

Karim believes that Isis is moving its wounded to the north part of the Old City away from the frontline in the south. He says that “I talked to my cousin who lives in Az Zanjili neighbourhood. He said his son was with dozens of people in Al-Jumhuri Hospital [where they had gone to escape airstrikes in the belief that it would not be hit] and they could see the Daesh wounded were being transported to other areas to the north of the city. People who live near the hospital said that the Daesh vehicles transported the wounded to Hay 17 Tammoz neighbourhood.”

Isis fighters are under intense pressure from air attack and ground forces that far outnumber them. They have managed to hold back Iraqi Federal Police and other units on the southern periphery of the Old City, inflicting heavy casualties. The Iraqi government does not reveal its losses, but General Joseph Votel, the head of US Central Command, says that Iraqi forces have lost 284 killed and 1,600 wounded so far in their bid to capture west Mosul that started on 19 February, compared to 490 killed and 3,000 wounded in its successful three month-long battle for east Mosul. Civilian loss of life is not known.

Iraqi government forces have changed their tactics and Isis is now being attacked by the so-called Golden Division, a specially trained 10,000-strong elite unit attacking the Old City from the west. The plan is evidently to make multiple attacks on Isis, which has an estimated total of between 3,000 and 4,000 fighters in Mosul, to spread them out and make it easier for assault teams to penetrate into the Old City.

Everywhere in and around those parts of west Mosul held by Isis, perhaps a quarter of the city as a whole, remain highly dangerous where a simple mistake can have lethal consequences. Earlier this week, a 33-year-old taxi driver called Jasim made just such a mistake which almost cost him his life as it led to his house being targeted by a drone.

By his account, three weeks ago the Iraqi military had told people in Mosul not to cover their car or property with canvas or any other material or they would be targeted by drones or aircraft. The reason apparently was that Iraqi officers, or American special forces that are also calling in air strikes, believed that Isis was using these materials to hide weapons and munitions. People in government-held east Mosul were told about this and asked to inform their relatives and friends in the west, if they could reach them by phone. Unfortunately for Jasim, he misunderstood the point and thought the warning only applied to canvas covering cars and also forgot that there was a piece of canvas covering one part of the roof of his house.

Jasim, whose house is close to the Tigris River that flows through Mosul, had other worries last Sunday because he was trying to find a way of getting his mother safely across the river to the government-held east of the city without her being killed by Isis or government snipers. He gave an interview to The Independent over a weak phone link to east Mosul describing conditions in his neighbourhood. What happened on the following day is best described in his own words as they give a graphic sense of the perils facing people trying to survive in Mosul today. He says:

“We see small jet aircraft every day and when they get close we see that they are a drone flying without a pilot. There is a small lobby in my house that opens on one side onto a small square. The drone threw a bomb which fell on the corner of the house near the water tank. When it exploded, I didn’t lose consciousness. Everything in front of me had become all dusty as part of the wall collapsed. After a while, I felt a severe pain on my leg, and after few moments I realised I was injured. I partly walked and partly crawled to a small temporary clinic nearby, but they could not treat my leg properly. They said it needed a surgery, but they do not have the equipment. They gave me some bandages to help ease the pain.

Jasim went back to his house which he shares with his mother and three sisters. When The Independent spoke to him again he was in bed and crying because of the pain of his injury and complaining that the sound of explosions and aircraft overhead prevented him sleeping. He explained that many people in west Mosul like himself did not know they should not use canvas to cover cars or other property, if they wanted to avoid being targeted by drones. He says that his ignorance of this was scarcely surprising because in west Mosul mobiles can seldom be used “and people cannot visit each other [to exchange information] even in day time in some places because of the airstrikes and Daesh (Isis).”

People in Mosul, once a city of two million, are desperate to escape by any means. Isis fighters demand a bribe of $2,000 to let a person escape according to one source, though this is difficult to verify. Many who try to make their way to safety are killed by Isis snipers. One man with his wife and two children who tried to cross the Tigris at a place called Dawasa was shot dead by a sniper earlier this week.

What Will $54 Billion in New Pentagon Spending Buy You? Another War, Obviously

So, let me see if I’ve got this right.

North Korea has been pushing its ally China to rein in the United States. Pyongyang is worried that Washington is about to launch a preemptive attack, so it has tried to use whatever minimal amount of influence it has to persuade China to use its considerable economic leverage with the United States to get those knuckleheads inside the Beltway to listen to reason.

Or maybe I misheard the report on the radio.

How about this: As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to stop reckless U.S. military interventions overseas, like the one he so disliked (after it failed) in Iraq. So, as president, he is withdrawing all troops from Syria, reducing U.S. military presence in Asia, and pulling the United States out of NATO. Oh, and he’s going to cut the military as part of his overall promise to downsize government.

Perhaps I misheard that report as well.

During the Obama administration, the comic duo of Key and Peele famously introduced the “anger translator” who could give voice to what President Obama was really thinking as he provided measured responses to all manner of nonsense lobbed in his direction. Ah, those were halcyon days when we made fun of the American president for not giving voice to his true feelings.

What kind of translator do we need for the Trump era? Perhaps a “reality translator” that reveals the simple, id-like intentions behind the current president’s Tweet-rants and policy proposals.

Type in “Obama bugged Trump Tower” and out comes: “Hey, hey, stop looking at my links to Russia, okay!?” Type in “2017 budget proposal” and out comes: “I’m gonna destroy every potential source of resistance to me and my ambitions.” Type in “Trumpcare” and out comes “I’m going to rob poor Peter to pay propertied Paul.” (To quote just one example: Trumpcare would encourage health care companies to pay their overpaid CEOs even more money!)

I’ve come to the conclusion, after about 60 days of presidential antics, that the problem is not “fake news.” The problem is a fake administration.

It’s no surprise that Donald Trump, as president, just makes things up. He’s been doing that all his career. But now an entire government is being re-engineered around the pathological dishonesty of the executive and his advisors. This is bait-and-switch on a level never seen before in the United States.

It would all be rather amusing if millions of lives weren’t at stake — both domestically through the self-destruction of the federal government and internationally through the very real prospects of war.

This president, with his insuperable ambition to score some “wins,” is in search of some missions to declare accomplished. North Korea and the Islamic State are at the top of the list. But don’t be surprised if the $54 billion that Trump wants to add like an enormous cherry on top of the Pentagon’s over-rich sundae will translate into even more conflicts around the world.

Let’s Go to the Numbers

If Trump’s proposed Pentagon increase of $54 billion were the military budget of a distinct country, it would come in fifth on the list of global military expenditures. Basically, Trump wants to add an entire annual British military budget on top of what the United States already spends — which already towers above any imaginary coalition of potential rivals.

With the rest of his deplorable budget request, Trump will encounter pushback from Congress and cities and major constituencies like the over-65 set. Some of his own voters might finally come to their senses when they realize that Trump the Great is waving his magic hand in the air to distract them from seeing the other hand pick their pockets.

But on the military side, Trump has, if anything, underbid. Congressional hawks are complaining that Trump is not throwing enough money at the Pentagon. They say that he’s only offering a 3 percent increase over what the Obama administration estimated for 2018, that Trump the candidate made even grander promises, that the Pentagon should get at least another $37 billion. If Congress comes back with this figure, it would increase the increase to $91 billion. Trump’s boost alone would then rise to number three on the list of global spenders, after the United States and China.

What does Trump want to spend all this extra money on? He wants a 350-ship navy — even though the Navy is already undertaking a 30-year program to raise the number of ships from the current 272 ships to 308. He has hinted at pulling out of the New START treaty with Russia — once he found out what it was — so that he could build more nukes. There would be more soldiers, including as many as 60,000 more in the Army.

But all of this is just skirting the real issue. Donald Trump wants to spend more money on the military because he wants to go to war.

First: Islamic State

As a candidate, Donald Trump focused most of his martial fury on the Islamic State. He promised to “bomb the hell” out of ISIS and, within 30 days in office, come up with a plan to defeat the entity. When he was elected, radical jihadists predictably rejoiced: Bring it on, they effectively said.

Within 30 days, Trump indeed published a memorandum on defeating ISIS. Bottom line: We need to come up with a plan.

In the absence of a strategy, what Trump has done is chilling enough. He has unleashed the CIA to conduct drone strikes, reversing an Obama administration order. He has continued to sanction B-52 strikes, like the one this month in the Syrian village of Al Jinah that killed dozens of civilians. He’s sending 1,000 troops to join the fight against ISIS in Syria. He wants to rely more on Special Forces in raids like the one in Yemen in January that went so spectacularly wrong, leaving one Navy SEAL and several civilians dead.

In some ways, Trump is merely continuing Obama-era practices. But it promises to be a no-holds-barred version of the last administration counter-terrorism program.

Even our allies in the region are getting concerned. Trump met this week with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, pledging to stand side-by-side with Iraq in the campaign to defeat ISIS.

But after the meeting, Abadi apparently had second thoughts. “Committing troops is one thing. Fighting terrorism is another thing,” he said at the U.S. Institute of Peace. “You don’t defeat terrorism by fighting it militarily. There are better ways.” Perhaps Abadi was thinking of the Trump administration’s initial inclusion of Iraq among the seven countries on the “Muslim travel ban” list. Or maybe he was thinking of Trump’s alarming pledge to seize Iraqi oil now under ISIS control.

Or perhaps the “better ways” simply referred to all the non-military parts of U.S. foreign policy — diplomacy, food aid, cooperation with international organizations — that Trump wants to ax from the federal budget. Even stalwart Trump supporters like Bob Dole are up in arms about humanitarian programs — like the Dole-McGovern initiative that provides school meals to 40 million children around the world — that are now on the chopping block.

What better way of creating the next generation of America haters?

Next: North Korea

Rex Tillerson, the empty suit that Trump has installed in the now supererogatory position of secretary of state, is trying to get back in on the action. On a recent trip to Asia, Tillerson sat down with Chinese premier Xi Jinping to plot the further isolation of North Korea.

Tillerson pointed out that the “strategic patience” approach toward North Korea had failed over the last eight years. That’s obviously true. The alternative, however, was much worse: Tillerson said that all options, including military ones, were on the table.

All of the military options come with unacceptable risks of retaliation and escalation to full-scale war. The United States could try to destroy a single missile launch, take out as much of North Korea’s nuclear complex as possible, or attempt a full regime change a la Iraq. “North Korea would perceive even a limited strike as the start of a war,” Max Fisher points out in The New York Times, “and respond with its full arsenal.”

Given the relatively crude ICBM capability that North Korea currently possesses, the people who would suffer from an escalation would be Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese.

Perhaps Trump is simply trying to scare the Chinese into doing more to rein in its erstwhile ally. But China doesn’t have that kind of influence in Pyongyang (just as it doesn’t have that kind of influence in Washington to change the Trump administration’s policies).

Or perhaps the Trump administration will go to war simply out of a general attitude of un-strategic impatience.

Beyond ISIS and Pyongyang

Building the Navy up to 350 ships and inducting another 60,000 people into the Army have little to do with dealing with either ISIS or North Korea, unless the Trump administration anticipates sending another large occupation force to the Middle East or Asia. Even Trump knows that dispatching tens of thousands of American troops to a warzone is a political mistake.

Partly Trump’s moves are about ensuring that the military is on his side. Partly it’s about tilting government in general away from soft power and toward hard power. Partly it’s about Trump’s personal vulnerability on military matters given his decision not to fight in Vietnam. It wouldn’t be the first time that a guy stocked up on weapons as part of a grand scheme of compensation.

There’s been speculation that Trump is really bulking up for a showdown with China. Given Trump’s phone call with Taiwan, his threats to impose tariffs on Chinese imports, and his bellicose rhetoric about China’s role in the island dispute in the South China Sea, there does seem to be some good evidence for this possibility. But the Trump administration has recently dialed back the hostility. Trump himself assured Chinese leader Xi Jinping of U.S. commitment to the “one-China” policy. Tillerson followed with a visit in Beijing that emphasized “mutual respect.”

The uncomfortable truth is that Trump probably doesn’t have any specific war-fighting scenario beyond laying waste to ISIS territory and declaring mission accomplished over the smoking ruins. Rather, he wants to put the United States on a permanent war footing as a way to sustain his unpopular presidency.

Until a challenger emerges that can focus U.S. national security concerns, Trump will let fire at range of targets such as terrorists, journalists, and Germans. Perhaps his provocative rhetoric and actions will encourage some small country to stand up suicidally against the United States and allow Trump to declare a Grenada-like or Panama-like victory.

Like the $19.5 billion that the Trump administration is giving NASA for its Mars program, Trump’s war plans are a long shot. Casinos know that once a gambler wins on a long shot, they’ll go bankrupt trying to reproduce that once-in-a-lifetime event. Unfortunately, bankruptcy in Trump’s case means collective ruin for the rest of us.

Any chance we can convince NASA to send Trump on its first manned mission to Mars — so that he can return to the planet that birthed him?

Medicaid Saved Obamacare and Single-Payer May Be Back on the Agenda Sooner Than You Think

A lot of the reporting on Trump’s epic failure on the attempted repeal of Obamacare has focused on the Freedom Caucus, a group of libertarian-minded representatives for whom the administration’s bill did not go far enough in obliterating the gains from the Obama administration’s expansion of health care coverage.

But the defeat of Trump’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) may have had more to do with the pressure — including grassroots organizing — and risks faced by many Republican representatives who feared taking away insurance that most voters want. And one cannot assume that all members of the Freedom Caucus acted out of ideological concerns; they too have constituents that need health care.

Much of this is explained, with examples and some history, in an excellent article from The New York Times. And there are broader implications for the way forward.

About 11 million of the approximately 20 million people who gained health insurance under Obamacare did so under its provision for expansion of Medicaid, the joint Federal/state program that provides health insurance for low-income Americans. The expansion included people with income up to 138 percent of the poverty line.

The Times summed up how far-reaching Medicaid had become, now enrolling 21 percent of the population — more than Medicare (the program of public health insurance for Americans over 64):

Medicaid now provides medical care to four out of 10 American children. It covers the costs of nearly half of all births in the United States. It pays for the care of two-thirds of people in nursing homes. And it provides for 10 million children and adults with physical or mental disabilities […] almost two-thirds of Americans in a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation said they were either covered by Medicaid or had a family member or friend who was.

Medicaid is not a universal entitlement, but it is an entitlement that now affects tens of millions of people who are not poor. This provides it with some considerable political protection. The only major entitlement that was taken away from us was Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), which was undone by the Clinton administration in 1996. It was vulnerable because it served only poor people; sadly, since its repeal, there has been a large increase in the number of people living in extreme poverty.

The Republicans thought they could similarly decimate a program that was designed for low-income people, but this one now has too big of a base. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Republican bill would have reduced the number of people receiving Medicaid by 14 million over 10 years. And a lot more people would be affected than these numbers indicate: millions go in and out of enrollment, and millions of people have family members in nursing homes or who are disabled, that they could not afford to take care of without Medicaid.

In the area of health insurance, as in retirement income, universal social insurance is clearly the way to go. Social Security has become the “third rail” of American politics — nobody can touch it — because it works and because most Americans believe in the basic values that it represents: that people have a right to a secure retirement, and it is reasonable to tax current income in order to provide for the future retirement security of everyone. Attempts to partially privatize it in the 1990s and in 2005 were defeated.

Obamacare was a step toward universal health care, most importantly with the expansion of Medicaid. Obama could not get universal, single payer health care but the system that was created suffers from a number of weaknesses, including adverse selection in the private insurance exchanges that it created (i.e. not enough healthy people in the insurance pool). Trump has announced that he would await its impending “implosion” and “explosion,” and has plenty of administrative power to sabotage the current system. Other Republicans have declared they will find a way to repeal it.

In the wake of the Republican defeat, Bernie Sanders announced that he would introduce a bill for universal, single payer, health insurance — i.e. Medicare for everyone. With the Republicans controlling Congress and the presidency, this may seem a symbolic or even quixotic gesture. But there are some sensible reasons to relaunch this effort right now. Even if the Democrats were in charge, it would take a few years to make any significant progress toward this goal. If present trends continue, the Trump presidency will be an unmitigated disaster, and we will be facing a very different political alignment four years from now.

Some polls have shown majorities in favor of single payer health care. In the last election cycle we also went rather quickly from a widely believed politician-and-media-backed falsehood that Social Security was in serious financial trouble, to even Hillary Clinton saying that benefits needed to be expanded, not cut. That is the direction that the country is going, with Bernie Sanders, despite losing the Democratic presidential primary, being one of the most popular politicians in the country; and Trump in the doghouse with 37 percent approval.

The economic case for universal, single-payer health care has long been irrefutable, and the fact that we pay twice as much per person for health care as the average high-income country and have worse health outcomes is a constant reminder. Of course there is the political power of the private insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and other special interests, and that has stood in the way. But look at what just happened to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. That was legislation that the most powerful interests in the country — not only corporations but also the “national security state” wanted so badly they just couldn’t stop lying about it. And yet the public interest prevailed.

That was a result of 20 years of organizational and educational work. Hopefully it won’t take us that long to get to real universal health care. But there is no time to waste.

This article originally appeared in The Hill.

In Anaconda, Montana, History Repeats Itself

The more things change…

My first full-time reporting job was in Anaconda, back in 1980. One of our neighbors, at the first house we lived in, was an ancient Italian woman who filled me in on a lot of local history.

One story of hers I never forgot was about what happened in the old days when a worker died up on the hill, at the smelter owned by the Anaconda Copper Mining Co. Within a day or two, she said, a company lawyer would show up at the widow’s door with money and a piece of paper.

The sum of money changed over the years, but it was always pretty paltry—unless you happened to be a newly widowed woman with a houseful of kids. The piece of paper, which you had to sign to receive the money, contained a binding promise that you would seek no more money from the company, nor file any sort of lawsuit over the death of your spouse.

Most of the women, my neighbor told me, didn’t read the release, or if they had, probably couldn’t have penetrated the legal jargon anyway. All they knew was that they had to sign to get the money.

I would learn a lot more about the ACM over the years—the way it chewed up workers’ lives, caused environmental degradation on an almost unbelievable scale, corrupted the state’s politics for many decades—but that was the story that made me angriest.

And here we are in 2017 and the company that succeeded the ACM is pulling a similar stunt.

As the Montana Standard reported, Anaconda residents whose property was contaminated by heavy metals from the smelter, which was shut down in 1980, have been receiving letters from the Atlantic Richfield Co., offering $1,000 to those who give up the right to sue the company.

Anaconda is a Superfund site and ARCO, a subsidiary of BP, is involved in cleaning up contaminated residential properties. The company initially told the Standard only that it was in the process of securing access agreements in order to conduct cleanup efforts on residents’ land.

A bit later, after a meeting was held in Anaconda to talk about the letters and the continuing cleanup, Bill Everett, chief executive of Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, said ARCO had agreed to allow anyone who had signed the agreement to void it if they chose to do so.

The company still has not publicly mentioned the $1,000 offer, as far as I can tell.

Getting sued by Anaconda property owners is not an abstract threat for ARCO. For the past seven years it has been fighting—or tangling up in court, at least—a lawsuit filed by 98 residents of Opportunity who claim that ARCO and the Environmental Protection Agency inadequately cleaned up their property.

Opportunity is the little town that sits a few miles east of Anaconda, astride the vast network of tailings ponds that used to poison the Clark Fork River while the smelter’s giant smokestack, pumping out tons of arsenic and heavy metals every day, poisoned the land.

Those residents of Opportunity say they are still living on dangerously contaminated property, years after ARCO supposedly did its “remediation” work. The EPA is siding with ARCO, saying the courts have no business intervening in an agreement already negotiated between the government and the company.

But the EPA, no less than private companies, has to be held accountable by somebody. Under a Trump administration the agency won’t be held to account by its own chief, Scott Pruitt, a corporate shill if ever there was one. Let’s hope the courts do the job.

Meanwhile, here was ARCO hoping to head off any future lawsuits by offering residents of Anaconda money and a piece of paper, just like the ACM of old.

The Montana Standard looked at one of those letters, brought in by a woman, a lifelong resident of Anaconda, who asked to remain anonymous. She also brought in the results of ground sampling done by ARCO, showing dangerously elevated levels of lead and arsenic in her yard.

She said she was worried about her health and that of her family, especially of her grown son, who used to play in the yard.

“It makes you feel there isn’t much value in your life,” she told the Standard.

I guess it depends on how you define “much.” We know that to the Atlantic Richfield Co., her life is worth a thousand bucks.

This piece first appeared in Last Best News.

A Story of Courage, Creativity and Survival

In 1939, the relentless Nazi bombardment of Warsaw destroyed the city’s zoo. What the Nazis didn’t know, however, is that what they had destroyed was not an ordinary zoo but the extraordinary creation of an unusual Christian Polish couple, Jan and Antonina Zabinski. Thanks to them and their son Ryszard’s efforts, approximately 300 Jewish women, men and children were saved from certain death.

They were able to do it because, at different times, the zoo and the Zabinski’s home hid dozens of Jewish women, children and men from Nazi persecution. They hid them in their home’s closets, rooms and even in the animals’ old cages in the zoo. All of it while trying to maintain a normal life in very abnormal times, times of cruelty and ruthless persecution.

Jan and Antonina were a married Christian couple from Warsaw. Jan was a zoologist and zoo technician, and also a scientist, organizer and director of the renowned Warsaw Zoo before and during World War II. He became director of the Zoo before the war broke out and during the occupation of Poland held the prestigious job as Superintendent of the city’s public parks.

During all that time, Antonina Zabinski and her young son Ryszard looked after the needs of the many Jews hidden in their home. Although Jan Zabinski initially paid with his own funds for feeding and hiding his new guests, he was later helped by Zegota (Council Aid to the Jews.) After the Nazi bombing of the zoo, Jan joined the Polish resistance while at the same time teaching biology at an underground university. He was also bringing food into the Warsaw Ghetto and also using the zoo to hide arms for the resistance. In addition, a true war hero, Jan was building bombs, sabotaging trains and poisoning meat sent to the Germans.

To hide these activities, Antonina tried to show a brave face, inviting guests, holding receptions at their home and trying to show to the world outside a normal face even though the three of them were under the constant threat of being found out and if so of probable torture and death.

Both Jan and Antonina were quite different from each. While he was a courageous risk-taker who had befriended many Jews, Antonina was often fearful and it was her connection to the animal world that they kept in the zoo what made her aware of other beings’ suffering.

An orphan since she was nine, Antonina was a cultured woman who spoke several languages and loved animals. After marrying Jan in 1931 she raised animals in their own home, among them orphaned lynx and lion cubs. When her husband Jan smuggled Jews out of the ghetto where they were living, she also adopted them and brought them to their home.

The Zabinskys went through some grueling times when all this was happening. Lutz Heck, a German zoologist who took most of their animals from their zoo to the Berlin zoo decided one day to ingratiate himself with his Nazi friends and SS higher-ups. So he invited them to a private hunting party, this time in the Warsaw zoo.

When Heck and the Nazi officers arrived at the zoo wielding pistols Antonina took her terrified son and ran indoors. From her son’s room they could see through the drawn curtains the carnage of animals taking place outside. That “sheer gratuitous slaughter” made her wonder how many human beings would later lose their lives that same cruel way.

In 1944 Jan participated in the Warsaw Uprising, to liberate the city from the German forces. He was injured and became a prisoner of war. Two years later, he returned to Warsaw from the prisoner of war camp where he had been held after he was arrested by the Germans.

Soon afterwards, the Zabinkis started the difficult process of rebuilding their zoo. Antonina also wrote several children’s books, all of which feature animals in the story. Before Jan died in 1971 he spoke admiringly about his wife, and told a reporter how a “timid housewife” had found the strength to face brutality and hatred.

George Wuerthner: A Bold Voice for Wild Nature

Environmental writer George Wuerthner is receiving the Fund for Wild Nature’s Grassroots Activist of the Year Award for 2017.  Through his writing, George has consistently been a bold voice in defense of wildlife and wild places, and his work has had a real impact.

George was selected for the award this year in part to celebrate the creation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine’s North Woods in October 2016. The idea for this monument can be traced back to George, who wrote a series of articles proposing new national parks in New England. His writings caught the attention of wilderness advocate Michael Kellett. Together, Michael and George founded a group called RESTORE the North Woods to advocate for a big new national park in Maine.

RESTORE’s outreach inspired Roxanne Quimby, the co-founder of Burt’s Bees, to buy large amounts of land in the North Woods with the goal of helping create the proposed national park. These forests, which are part of one of largest undeveloped areas in the US outside of Alaska, are home to black bears, lynx, martens, and moose.  Despite many obstacles created by anti-environmental forces in the region, Roxanne was ultimately able to donate 87,500 acres to the National Park Service as the Katahdin National Monument. In short, this monument is a great example of how a bold idea can ultimately have a big effect.

Beyond the Katahdin accomplishment, George writings (many of them published by CounterPunch) have often been ahead of the times in terms of exposing a variety of controversial threats to wild places. He has written and edited 38 books addressing topics such as the harms to public lands from livestock grazing (Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West), off-road vehicles (Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation), fossil fuel extraction (Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth), and the suppression of forest fires (Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy). George’s writings are based intimate first-hand experience with North America wildlands.  He has visited over 400 designated wilderness areas and hundreds of proposed wilderness.

The damage he has witnessed from livestock grazing in wildlands has been a particular concern to George. This concern first arose in the 1970s when he was studying ecology at the University of Montana.  As George explained, “I kept seeing the negative impacts of grazing on fish, plants, etc. It lead me to an ‘ah-ha’ moment where I began connecting the dots and realized that ultimate cause of many problems for wildlife was livestock.”

George began writing candidly about the harms from grazing, which earned him the enmity of the livestock industry. The Montana Stockgrowers Association called George the “Ralph Nader” of the environmental movement in Montana. He faced death threats and other harassment. For example, one rancher wrote a letter about polluting the Yellowstone River with George’s blood.

Perhaps more unexpected were the difficulties George faced from some of the larger environmental groups in Montana. As he explained, “A recurrent problem was when environmental groups allowed big ranchers to be on their board of directors— in  a way that they wouldn’t have allowed an oil executive—and then these groups would muzzle staff from speaking publicly about the ecological damage from livestock.”

One key group not afraid to challenge harmful grazing is the Western Watersheds Project, and George was invited to join their board of directors– a role that he continues to serve to this day.

George’s research on grazing ultimately attracted the interest of Doug Tompkins, a former business executive turned philanthropist who created the Foundation for Deep Ecology. Tompkins asked George to co-edit a massive book documenting the ecological impacts of livestock—Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West. George was then invited to become the Foundation for Deep Ecology’s Ecological Projects Director.

In that role, he produced a series of other large-format environmental books, including Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy. Wildfire has been another long-term interest for George. He first explored it in a book tilted Yellowstone and the Fires of Change, which was written shortly after the large forest fire in Yellowstone National Park in 1988. While the fire was occurring, the media generally presented it in negative terms. Instead, George decided to look deeper and identified the great wildlife habitat that was created by the fire. His book was ultimately at the forefront of a larger shift in understanding of fire ecology as the public saw that the fire had revitalized Yellowstone in many ways.

Wildfire has become an even more prominent issue since then. Faced with widespread public opposition to commercial logging on national forests, in the 1990s and 2000s the Forest Service increasingly repackaged its controversial logging projects to instead be portrayed as being done to reduce large wildfires. This narrative has depended on presenting large, intense fires in negative terms, rather than seeing them as natural and beneficial ecosystems processes. George’s writings have helped turn those fire-phobic mischaracterizations on their head. Whereas some reporters present fires as getting “worse,” George famously described a particularly active year as the “Best Fire Season Ever!”

George has developed an encyclopedic knowledge of fire science, and has often highlighted the deep divide between the latest research on the ecological importance of mixed-severity fires in western forests and the fire-related logging promoted by the timber industry, Forest Service, and even some environmental groups. He has written extensively on this subject (including numerous pieces published in Counterpunch) and frequently gives public presentations.

To continue this work, George founded a new organization in 2016 called Public Lands Media—a project of Earth Island Institute—that focuses on getting the best available science regarding wildfires and other issues affecting public lands protection into the hands of reporters, policymakers, and the public. Amid the ramped up assaults on public lands occurring under the Trump administration, this work is even more important now. We need clear and direct voices like George’s— people who will stand up for ecological science even when it is not easy to do so.

George embodies the boldness in defense of the earth that the Fund for Wild Nature seeks to help nurture. The Fund for Wild Nature was created by grassroots activists to help fund the boldest grassroots groups working to protect wildlife and wild places, knowing how difficult it can be for these groups to get assistance from large foundations, and also recognizing how even a small amount of money for these groups can lead to big results. Unlike most other foundations, the Fund for Wild Nature depends entirely on annual contributions from the public, which it then redistributes to support worthy grassroots biodiversity protection groups throughout North America. In addition to providing grants, the Fund sponsors the Grassroots Activist of the Year Award as another way to promote bold activism. We are honored to have George Wuerthner as the recipient of our award for 2017.

Douglas Bevington is a member of the board of the directors of the Fund for Wild Nature and is the author of The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism from the Spotted Owl to the Polar Bear.

Pig Peril: the Real Threat to America!

You may have seen the scary story in The Hill by James Woolsey and Peter Pry, How North Korea could kill 90 percent of Americans

Frightening eh?  Especially the bit about  ‘Why do the press and public officials ignore or under-report these facts?’  Note that Woolsey is a former Director of the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency. Intelligence, as in really smart and CIA, as in fiendishly devious. Or perhaps not smart, but certainly devious.

Devious?  Yeah, because they are not telling us the real story.

The clever folks at MSN put their fingers on it. MSN, as in Microsoft, as in Vista, as in Windows 7, as in really smart. Anyway, they highlighted the danger:

…which reminded Americans that North Korea could in theory use a satellite weapon to send an electromagnetic pulse over the United States, triggering widespread blackouts and ultimately, societal collapse.

OK, think about that ‘in theory’ and think of pig.

Why pig?

Well there are hundreds of millions of pigs. A lot of them in Russia. None in Israel or Saudi Arabia. What does that tell us?  You know people by the friends they keep. Or in this case animals.

OK, so the North Koreans don’t like us. There are lots of maladjusted people in the world like them. OK, so we killed 2 million, 3 million of them in the 1950s, but gooks, who’s counting? The Germans, the Japanese, the Vietnamese, they got over our killing them and moved on, so if the Koreans can’t do that it says something about them, right? OK, then there’s our sanctions causing malnutrition in their children. So they grow up stunted, if they grow up, but is that the end of the world? Means they can live in smaller houses and save money.

But pigs. Now that’s where real hatred lies. Think bacon, think ham, think pork crackling – now that gets me hungry. Anyway, pigs don’t like us. Pigs detest us.  Pigs hate us. Perhaps they’re envious of our freedom and democracy, or perhaps they just don’t like being slaughtered and eaten, who knows?

Now let’s go back to the folks at MSN, and instead of being side-tracked by this nonsense about North Koreans, think of the real enemy.

Woolsey and Fry, and MSN, tell us that, in theory, the North Koreans could kill 90% of us.

They’re right, but they’re pointing in the wrong direction

In theory, if they mastered the technology, pigs could fly.

And if they could fly, who would they attack?

Us, of course

And the North Koreans?  Only 25 million of them and we know where they live. And we have thousands of times more missiles and nuclear weapons than they could possibly have. And aircraft carriers, and B-52s, and B-1s, and F-22s and F-35s – after all those billions they must be useful for something. And all those bases in South Korea and Japan.

North Korea is not a problem, but pigs are a different matter. Sly, intelligent, tasty (sorry, slip of the tongue), and cunning. Oh, so cunning.

So why do the press and public officials ignore this clear and present danger? Are they in the pay of Putin (and how many pigs does he own?).

And it’s not merely a matter of foreign pigs. There are millions and millions of pigs here in the US. How many of them are Russian agents? Or Chinese?  If you’ve ever been to a Chinese restaurant you’ll realize that the Chinese have a love affair with pigs. And probably that love is reciprocated and many of what we fondly think of as our American pigs are really controlled from Beijing

So pigs here in America and pigs around the world pose an existential threat to our national security, our freedoms, our values, all that we hold dear.

As soon as they master the technology, which in theory they can

And when pigs can fly, we will face a frightening danger.

Why do our media and our public officials ignore it?  Is this because the highest in the land are secret porcinists?  Have you wondered why Barack Obama, born to a Muslim father became a Christian? Is that suspicious or is that suspicious? Was it to do with his love of pig? And have you seen a photograph of Donald Trump recently?

Wake up America, the pig peril is nigh!