person:chuck schumer

  • Trump starts fundraising minutes after his first primetime Oval Office address – Alternet.org
    https://www.alternet.org/2019/01/trump-starts-fundraising-minutes-after-his-first-primetime-oval-office-add

    Non, mais on vit où là ?
    Ainsi donc Trump constitue un fichier des « vrais américains » qui payent pour construire son mur... que fera-t-on des autres demain ?

    The Trump presidency has been little more than an extension of his presidential campaign, starting when he filed papers for re-election the day he was sworn in to office.

    So perhaps it comes as no surprise that literally minutes after delivering his first primetime Oval Office address to the nation on what he labeled the “crisis” at the border, Trump was fundraising off his speech.

    A primetime address from the Oval Office is generally reserved for the absolute, most important events in a president’s time in office. It is literally an attempt to place the weight and magnitude of the entire presidency in view of the American people, in order to convey the extreme magnitude of the President’s speech and the issue at hand.

    President John F. Kennedy addressed the nation on the Cuban Missile Crisis from the Oval Office.

    President Ronald Reagan spoke to comfort the nation from the Oval Office after the Challenger space shuttle disaster.

    President George W. Bush addressed the nation from the Oval Office the night of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    President Barack Obama used the Oval Office to address the nation on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    None of them fundraised off their speeches.

    On Tuesday night, about 15 minutes after President Trump finished his speech, likely thousands if not millions of supporters received a text asking them to “Donate to the Official Secure the Border Fund NOW.”

    MSNBC’s Joy Reid posted a screenshot of the text:

    If that weren’t enough, Trump sent a fearmongering fundraising email, trashing Democratic leaders and urging supporters to donate half a million dollars by 9 PM, the time of his speech. The email was sent around 5:30 PM.

    “Drugs are poisoning our loved ones,” it reads. “MS-13 gang members are threatening our safety.” “Illegal criminals are flooding our nation,” it warns.

    “I want to make one thing clear to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi: Your safety is not a political game or a negotiation tactic!”

    If these scare tactics weren’t enough, Trump used high-pressure tactics to eek every dime out of his supporters – many of whom are low income earners or retirees.

    “I want to know who stood with me when it mattered most so I’ve asked my team to send me a list of EVERY AMERICAN PATRIOT who donates to the Official Secure the Border Fund,” the email reads.

    In other words, the President of the United states is saying if you don’t send him money, you’re not a patriotic American. And he’s taking names. Literally.

    “Please make a special contribution of $5 by 9 PM EST to our Official Secure the Border Fund to have your name sent to me after my speech.”

    The Official Secure the Border Fund is not a fund that will actually secure the border. It’s just Trump’s re-election campaign fund.

    Here’s the email:

    #Trump #Fichier


  • Trump ne bouge pas sur le mur : le « #shutdown » pourrait se prolonger longtemps
    https://www.latribune.fr/economie/international/trump-ne-bouge-pas-sur-le-mur-le-shutdown-pourrait-se-prolonger-longtemps-

    La fermeture partielle des administrations américaines pourrait se prolonger "un certain temps" encore, a prévenu le président américain Donald Trump, qui cherche toujours à obtenir du Congrès qu’il prévoit les fonds pour la construction d’un mur à la frontière entre les États-Unis et le Mexique.

    La fin du "shutdown", qui paralyse 25% des administrations fédérales de la première puissance mondiale depuis le 22 décembre, n’est pas en vue. À l’issue d’une réunion qui s’est tenue à la Maison blanche mercredi, Donald Trump s’est montré inflexible sur le mur qu’il veut édifier à la frontière avec le Mexique, ses adversaires démocrates ont réaffirmé leur refus catégorique de le financer.

    « Cela pourrait durer longtemps », a ainsi lancé le président américain en évoquant la paralysie partielle de l’administration fédérale. Il a convié les responsables des deux bords à une nouvelle rencontre vendredi.

    En exposant les mesures envisagées pour assurer la sécurité à la frontière mexicaine, la Maison blanche espérait lors de cette réunion convaincre les démocrates de l’importance de la construction d’un mur, mais ceux-ci ont interrompu l’exposé de la secrétaire à la Sécurité intérieure Kirstjen Nielsen. Le chef de file de la minorité démocrate au Sénat, Chuck Schumer, a quant à lui déploré que le président et les élus républicains prennent les Américains "en otage".

    Les démocrates, qui seront à partir de jeudi majoritaires à la Chambre des représentants - sauf immense surprise, Nancy Pelosi devrait prendre le perchoir -, ont indiqué qu’ils présenteront un plan de financement de l’administration en deux parties, mais sans prévoir le financement du mur voulu par Trump.

    Le texte propose d’adopter les budgets de la plupart des administrations jusqu’au 30 septembre tout en ne finançant que jusqu’au 8 février le budget sensible du département de la Sécurité intérieure, aux niveaux actuels. Il alloue 1,3 milliard de dollars pour la clôture des frontières et 300 millions de dollars pour d’autres éléments de la sécurité frontalière, par exemple pour les caméras de surveillance.

    Mais l’équipe Trump a par avance rejeté cette démarche, estimant qu’elle "ne garantit pas la sécurité aux frontières". Le chef de file des républicains au Sénat, Mitch McConnell, a décrit cette initiative comme une mise en scène politique.

    Donald Trump continue à défendre bec et ongles le bien-fondé de sa promesse emblématique de campagne. Il réclame plus de 5 milliards de dollars pour édifier son mur afin de lutter contre l’immigration clandestine. Ses adversaires politiques s’y opposent, jugeant que le "magnifique mur" vanté par le magnat de l’immobilier n’est en aucun cas une réponse adaptée au débat complexe sur l’immigration.

    Si les démocrates se sont redits favorables à une sécurité "forte" aux frontières, ils jugent le mur "coûteux" et "inefficace".


  • Opinion | Is Boycotting Israel ‘Hate’? - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/04/opinion/is-boycotting-israel-hate.html

    Opponents of the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement are involved in a dishonest branding campaign.

    By Joseph Levine
    Mr. Levine is a philosophy professor and a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Academic Advisory Council.

    The debate over the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement against Israel has been one of the most contentious in American political culture for more than a decade. Now, given the tumultuous and deadly events of the past several months, it is likely to heat up further.

    Casualties in the ongoing protests in Gaza, which began in March, continue to mount; nearly 180 mostly unarmed Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli forces, with more than 18,000 injured, according to the United Nations. Dozens of those deaths came in mid-May, as the United States took the provocative step of moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Tensions will surely spike again following last week’s decision by the United States to stop billions in funding to the United Nations agency that delivers aid to Palestinian refugees.

    B.D.S. began in 2005 in response to a call by more than 100 Palestinian civil society organizations, with the successful movement against apartheid South Africa in mind. The reasoning was that Israel, with its half-century occupation of Palestinian territories, would be equally deserving of the world’s condemnation until its policies changed to respect Palestinian political and civil rights. B.D.S. calls for its stance of nonviolent protest to remain in effect until three conditions are met: that Israel ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantles the wall; that Israel recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and that Israel respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in United Nations Resolution 194.

    • The debate over the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement against Israel has been one of the most contentious in American political culture for more than a decade. Now, given the tumultuous and deadly events of the past several months, it is likely to heat up further.

      Casualties in the ongoing protests in Gaza, which began in March, continue to mount; nearly 180 mostly unarmed Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli forces, with more than 18,000 injured, according to the United Nations. Dozens of those deaths came in mid-May, as the United States took the provocative step of moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Tensions will surely spike again following last week’s decision by the United States to stop billions in funding to the United Nations agency that delivers aid to Palestinian refugees.

      B.D.S. began in 2005 in response to a call by more than 100 Palestinian civil society organizations, with the successful movement against apartheid South Africa in mind. The reasoning was that Israel, with its half-century occupation of Palestinian territories, would be equally deserving of the world’s condemnation until its policies changed to respect Palestinian political and civil rights. B.D.S. calls for its stance of nonviolent protest to remain in effect until three conditions are met: that Israel ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantles the wall; that Israel recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and that Israel respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in United Nations Resolution 194.

      Opposition to B.D.S. is widespread and strong. Alarmingly, in the United States, support for the movement is in the process of being outlawed. As of now, 24 states have enacted legislation that in some way allows the state to punish those who openly engage in or advocate B.D.S., and similar legislation is pending in 12 more states. At the federal level, a bill called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act would criminalize adherence to any boycott of Israel called for by an international agency (like the United Nations). The bill has garnered 57 Senate co-sponsors and 290 House co-sponsors, and may very well come up for a vote soon.

      While these bills certainly constitute threats to free speech — (a view shared by the ACLU) — I am interested in a more subtle effect of a fairly widespread anti-B.D.S. strategy: co-opting rhetoric of the anti-Trump resistance, which opposes the growing influence of racist hate groups, in order to brand B.D.S. as a hate group itself.

      In my home state of Massachusetts, for example, where a hearing for one of the many state bills aimed at punishing B.D.S. activity took place in July 2017, those who testified in favor of the bill, along with their supporters in the gallery, wore signs saying “No Hate in the Bay State.” They took every opportunity to compare B.D.S. supporters to the alt-right activists recently empowered by the election of Donald Trump. (Full disclosure: I am a strong supporter of B.D.S. and was among those testifying against the bill.)

      The aim of this activity is to relegate the B.D.S. movement, and the Palestine solidarity movement more generally, to the nether region of public discourse occupied by all the intolerant worldviews associated with the alt-right. This is an area the philosopher John Rawls would call “unreasonable.” But to my mind, it is the anti-B.D.S. movement itself that belongs there.

      There are two dimensions of reasonableness that are relevant to this particular issue: the one that allegedly applies to the B.D.S. campaign and the one I claim actually applies to the anti-B.D.S. campaign. Rawls starts his account of the reasonable from the premise of what he calls “reasonable pluralism,” an inevitable concomitant of modern-day democratic government. Large democratic societies contain a multitude of groups that differ in what Rawls calls their “comprehensive doctrines” — moral, religious or philosophical outlooks in accord with which people structure their lives. What makes a comprehensive doctrine “reasonable” is the willingness of those living in accord with it to recognize the legitimate claims of differing, often conflicting doctrines, to accord to the people that hold them full participation as citizens and to regard them as deserving of respect and equal treatment. We can label this dimension of reasonableness a matter of tolerance.

      The second dimension of reasonableness is associated with the notion of “public reason.” When arguing for one’s position as part of the process of democratic deliberation in a society characterized by reasonable pluralism, what kinds of considerations are legitimate to present? The constraint of public reason demands that the considerations in question should look reasonable to all holders of reasonable comprehensive doctrines, not merely one’s own.

      For example, when arguing over possible legal restrictions on abortion, it isn’t legitimate within a democracy to appeal to religious principles that are not shared by all legitimate parties to the dispute. So, while the personhood of the fetus is in dispute among reasonable doctrines, the status of African-Americans, women, gays and Jews is not. To reject their status as fully equal members of the society would be “unreasonable.”

      One of the essential principles of democratic government is freedom of thought and expression, and this extends to the unreasonable/intolerant as well as to the reasonable, so long as certain strict limits on incitement to violence, libel and the like are observed. Still, doctrines within the “tent of the reasonable” are accorded a different status within public institutions and civil society from those deemed outside the tent. This is reflected in the kinds of public support or reprobation representatives of the state and other civil society institutions (e.g., universities) display toward the doctrines or values in question.

      To put it simply, we expect what’s reasonable to get a fair hearing within the public sphere, even if many don’t agree with it.

      On the other hand, though we do not suppress the unreasonable, we don’t believe, in general, that it has the right to a genuinely fair hearing in that same sphere. For instance, after the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., in August last year, students at my campus, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, were greeted in the fall with signs plastered everywhere that said “Hate Has No Home at UMass.” This was intended to let the Richard Spencers of this world know that even if it may not be right or legal to bar them from speaking on campus, their message was not going to be given the respectful hearing that those within the tent of the reasonable receive.

      The alleged basis for claiming that B.D.S. advocates are anti-Semitic, and thus worthy only of denunciation or punishment, not argument, is that through their three goals listed in their manifesto they express their rejection of Jews’ right to self-determination in their homeland. This idea was put succinctly by Senator Chuck Schumer at the policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) in March, where he said, “Let us call out the B.D.S. movement for what it is. Let us delegitimize the delegitimizers by letting the world know when there is a double standard, whether they know it or not, they are actively participating in an anti-Semitic movement.”

      B.D.S. supporters are “delegitimizers,” according to Schumer, because they do not grant legitimacy to the Zionist project. Some might quibble with this claim about the B.D.S. goals, but I think it’s fair to say that rejection of the legitimacy of the Zionist project is fairly widespread within the movement. But does this constitute anti-Semitism? Does this put them outside the tent of the reasonable?

      To justify this condemnation of the B.D.S. movement requires accepting two extremely controversial claims: first, that the right to self-determination for any ethnic, religious or racial group entails the right to live in a state that confers special status on members of that group — that it is “their state” in the requisite sense; and second, that Palestine counts for these purposes as the rightful homeland of modern-day Jews, as opposed to the ancient Judeans. (I have argued explicitly against the first claim, here.)

      With regard to the second claim, it seems obvious to me, and I bet many others when they bother to think about it, that claims to land stemming from a connection to people who lived there 2,000 years ago is extremely weak when opposed by the claims of those who currently live there and whose people have been living there for perhaps a millennium or more.

      Remember, one needn’t agree with me in my rejection of these two principal claims for my point to stand. All one must acknowledge is that the right at issue isn’t obvious and is at least open to question. If a reasonable person can see that this right of the Jews to establish a state in Palestine is at least open to question, then it can’t be a sign of anti-Semitism to question it! But once you admit the B.D.S. position within the tent of the reasonable, the proper response is not, as Senator Schumer claims, “delegitimizing,” but rather disputing — engaging in argument, carried out in the public sphere according to the rules of public reason.

      But now we get to my second main point — that it’s the anti-B.D.S. camp that violates reasonableness; not because it is an expression of intolerance (though often it flirts with Islamophobia), but because it violates the constraints on public reason. Just how far the positive argument for the legitimacy of the Zionist project often veers from the rules of public reason is perfectly captured by another quote from Mr. Schumer’s speech to Aipac.

      “Now, let me tell you why — my view, why we don’t have peace. Because the fact of the matter is that too many Palestinians and too many Arabs do not want any Jewish state in the Middle East,” he said. “The view of Palestinians is simple: The Europeans treated the Jews badly, culminating in the Holocaust, and they gave them our land as compensation. Of course, we say it’s our land, the Torah says it, but they don’t believe in the Torah. So that’s the reason there is not peace. They invent other reasons, but they do not believe in a Jewish state, and that is why we, in America, must stand strong with Israel through thick and thin …”

      This quote is really quite remarkable, coming from one of the most powerful legislators in our democracy. After fairly well characterizing a perfectly reasonable attitude Palestinians have about who is responsible for the Holocaust and who should pay any reparations for it, Mr. Schumer then appeals to the Torah to justify the Jewish claim against them. But this is a totally illegitimate appeal as a form of public reason, no different from appealing to religious doctrine when opposing abortion. In fact, I claim you can’t find any genuine argument that isn’t guilty of breaching the limits of the reasonable in this way for the alleged right to establish the Jewish state in Palestine.

      This almost certainly explains why opponents of B.D.S. are now turning to the heavy hand of the state to criminalize support for it. In a “fair fight” within the domain of public reason, they would indeed find themselves “delegitimized.”

      Joseph Levine is a professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the author of “Quality and Content: Essays on Consciousness, Representation and Modality.” He is a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Academic Advisory Council.

      #Palestine #USA #BDS #criminalisation_des_militants #liberté_d'expression #censure

      Et aussi à ajouter à la longue liste d’articles sur la confusion entretenue entre #Antisionisme et #Antisémitisme :

      https://seenthis.net/messages/337856
      https://seenthis.net/messages/580647
      https://seenthis.net/messages/603396
      https://seenthis.net/messages/604402
      https://seenthis.net/messages/606801
      https://seenthis.net/messages/690067
      https://seenthis.net/messages/700966
      https://seenthis.net/messages/716567
      https://seenthis.net/messages/718335
      https://seenthis.net/messages/719714


  • Net neutrality will be repealed Monday unless Congress takes action | Ars Technica
    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/06/net-neutrality-will-be-repealed-monday-unless-congress-takes-action

    With net neutrality rules scheduled to be repealed on Monday, Senate Democrats are calling on House Speaker Paul Ryan to schedule a vote that could preserve the broadband regulations.

    The US Senate voted on May 16 to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules, but a House vote—and President Trump’s signature—is still needed. Today, the entire Senate Democratic Caucus wrote a letter to Ryan urging him to allow a vote on the House floor.
    Further Reading
    Senate votes to overturn Ajit Pai’s net neutrality repeal

    “The rules that this resolution would restore were enacted by the FCC in 2015 to prevent broadband providers from blocking, slowing down, prioritizing, or otherwise unfairly discriminating against Internet traffic that flows across their networks,” the letter said. “Without these protections, broadband providers can decide what content gets through to consumers at what speeds and could use this power to discriminate against their competitors or other content.” The letter was spearheaded by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai led a commission vote to repeal the rules in December 2017, but the rules remain on the books because the repeal was contingent on US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of modified information-collection requirements. The OMB approval came last month, allowing Pai to schedule the repeal for Monday, June 11.

    #Neutralité_Internet


  • This will make your day.

    “We got Scotch tape, the clear kind,” Lartey recalled in an interview. “You found pieces and taped them back together and then you gave it back to the supervisor.” The restored papers would then be sent to the National Archives to be properly filed away.

    Lartey said the papers he received included newspaper clips on which Trump had scribbled notes, or circled words; invitations; and letters from constituents or lawmakers on the Hill, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

    “I had a letter from Schumer — he tore it up,” he said. “It was the craziest thing ever. He ripped papers into tiny pieces.”

    Lartey did not work alone. He said his entire department was dedicated to the task of taping paper back together in the opening months of the Trump administration.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/10/trump-papers-filing-system-635164


  • Jackson Lears · What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking : #Russiagate · LRB 4 January 2018
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n01/jackson-lears/what-we-dont-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-russian-hacking
    La pensée unique aux États Unis de plus en plus sectaire et pesante

    Jackson Lears

    American politics have rarely presented a more disheartening spectacle. The repellent and dangerous antics of Donald Trump are troubling enough, but so is the Democratic Party leadership’s failure to take in the significance of the 2016 election campaign. Bernie Sanders’s challenge to Hillary Clinton, combined with Trump’s triumph, revealed the breadth of popular anger at politics as usual – the blend of neoliberal domestic policy and interventionist foreign policy that constitutes consensus in Washington. Neoliberals celebrate market utility as the sole criterion of worth; interventionists exalt military adventure abroad as a means of fighting evil in order to secure global progress. Both agendas have proved calamitous for most Americans. Many registered their disaffection in 2016. Sanders is a social democrat and Trump a demagogic mountebank, but their campaigns underscored a widespread repudiation of the Washington consensus. For about a week after the election, pundits discussed the possibility of a more capacious Democratic strategy. It appeared that the party might learn something from Clinton’s defeat. Then everything changed.

    A story that had circulated during the campaign without much effect resurfaced: it involved the charge that Russian operatives had hacked into the servers of the Democratic National Committee, revealing embarrassing emails that damaged Clinton’s chances. With stunning speed, a new centrist-liberal orthodoxy came into being, enveloping the major media and the bipartisan Washington establishment. This secular religion has attracted hordes of converts in the first year of the Trump presidency. In its capacity to exclude dissent, it is like no other formation of mass opinion in my adult life, though it recalls a few dim childhood memories of anti-communist hysteria during the early 1950s.

    The centrepiece of the faith, based on the hacking charge, is the belief that Vladimir Putin orchestrated an attack on American democracy by ordering his minions to interfere in the election on behalf of Trump. The story became gospel with breathtaking suddenness and completeness. Doubters are perceived as heretics and as apologists for Trump and Putin, the evil twins and co-conspirators behind this attack on American democracy. Responsibility for the absence of debate lies in large part with the major media outlets. Their uncritical embrace and endless repetition of the Russian hack story have made it seem a fait accompli in the public mind. It is hard to estimate popular belief in this new orthodoxy, but it does not seem to be merely a creed of Washington insiders. If you question the received narrative in casual conversations, you run the risk of provoking blank stares or overt hostility – even from old friends. This has all been baffling and troubling to me; there have been moments when pop-culture fantasies (body snatchers, Kool-Aid) have come to mind.

    Like any orthodoxy worth its salt, the religion of the Russian hack depends not on evidence but on ex cathedra pronouncements on the part of authoritative institutions and their overlords. Its scriptural foundation is a confused and largely fact-free ‘assessment’ produced last January by a small number of ‘hand-picked’ analysts – as James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, described them – from the CIA, the FBI and the NSA. The claims of the last were made with only ‘moderate’ confidence. The label Intelligence Community Assessment creates a misleading impression of unanimity, given that only three of the 16 US intelligence agencies contributed to the report. And indeed the assessment itself contained this crucial admission: ‘Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation and precedents.’ Yet the assessment has passed into the media imagination as if it were unassailable fact, allowing journalists to assume what has yet to be proved. In doing so they serve as mouthpieces for the intelligence agencies, or at least for those ‘hand-picked’ analysts.

    It is not the first time the intelligence agencies have played this role. When I hear the Intelligence Community Assessment cited as a reliable source, I always recall the part played by the New York Times in legitimating CIA reports of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s putative weapons of mass destruction, not to mention the long history of disinformation (a.k.a. ‘fake news’) as a tactic for advancing one administration or another’s political agenda. Once again, the established press is legitimating pronouncements made by the Church Fathers of the national security state. Clapper is among the most vigorous of these. He perjured himself before Congress in 2013, when he denied that the NSA had ‘wittingly’ spied on Americans – a lie for which he has never been held to account. In May 2017, he told NBC’s Chuck Todd that the Russians were highly likely to have colluded with Trump’s campaign because they are ‘almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favour, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique’. The current orthodoxy exempts the Church Fathers from standards imposed on ordinary people, and condemns Russians – above all Putin – as uniquely, ‘almost genetically’ diabolical.

    It’s hard for me to understand how the Democratic Party, which once felt scepticism towards the intelligence agencies, can now embrace the CIA and the FBI as sources of incontrovertible truth. One possible explanation is that Trump’s election has created a permanent emergency in the liberal imagination, based on the belief that the threat he poses is unique and unprecedented. It’s true that Trump’s menace is viscerally real. But the menace posed by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney was equally real. The damage done by Bush and Cheney – who ravaged the Middle East, legitimated torture and expanded unconstitutional executive power – was truly unprecedented, and probably permanent. Trump does pose an unprecedented threat to undocumented immigrants and Muslim travellers, whose protection is urgent and necessary. But on most issues he is a standard issue Republican. He is perfectly at home with Paul Ryan’s austerity agenda, which involves enormous transfers of wealth to the most privileged Americans. He is as committed as any other Republican to repealing Obama’s Affordable Care Act. During the campaign he posed as an apostate on free trade and an opponent of overseas military intervention, but now that he is in office his free trade views are shifting unpredictably and his foreign policy team is composed of generals with impeccable interventionist credentials.

    Trump is committed to continuing his predecessors’ lavish funding of the already bloated Defence Department, and his Fortress America is a blustering, undisciplined version of Madeleine Albright’s ‘indispensable nation’. Both Trump and Albright assume that the United States should be able to do as it pleases in the international arena: Trump because it’s the greatest country in the world, Albright because it’s an exceptional force for global good. Nor is there anything unprecedented about Trump’s desire for détente with Russia, which until at least 2012 was the official position of the Democratic Party. What is unprecedented about Trump is his offensive style: contemptuous, bullying, inarticulate, and yet perfectly pitched to appeal to the anger and anxiety of his target audience. His excess has licensed overt racism and proud misogyny among some of his supporters. This is cause for denunciation, but I am less persuaded that it justifies the anti-Russian mania.

    Besides Trump’s supposed uniqueness, there are two other assumptions behind the furore in Washington: the first is that the Russian hack unquestionably occurred, and the second is that the Russians are our implacable enemies. The second provides the emotional charge for the first. Both seem to me problematic. With respect to the first, the hacking charges are unproved and may well remain so. Edward Snowden and others familiar with the NSA say that if long-distance hacking had taken place the agency would have monitored it and could detail its existence without compromising their secret sources and methods. In September, Snowden told Der Spiegel that the NSA ‘probably knows quite well who the invaders were’. And yet ‘it has not presented any evidence, although I suspect it exists. The question is: why not? … I suspect it discovered other attackers in the systems, maybe there were six or seven groups at work.’ He also said in July 2016 that ‘even if the attackers try to obfuscate origin, ‪#XKEYSCORE makes following exfiltrated data easy. I did this personally against Chinese ops.’ The NSA’s capacity to follow hacking to its source is a matter of public record. When the agency investigated pervasive and successful Chinese hacking into US military and defence industry installations, it was able to trace the hacks to the building where they originated, a People’s Liberation Army facility in Shanghai. That information was published in the New York Times, but, this time, the NSA’s failure to provide evidence has gone curiously unremarked. When The Intercept published a story about the NSA’s alleged discovery that Russian military intelligence had attempted to hack into US state and local election systems, the agency’s undocumented assertions about the Russian origins of the hack were allowed to stand as unchallenged fact and quickly became treated as such in the mainstream media.

    Meanwhile, there has been a blizzard of ancillary accusations, including much broader and vaguer charges of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. It remains possible that Robert Mueller, a former FBI director who has been appointed to investigate these allegations, may turn up some compelling evidence of contacts between Trump’s people and various Russians. It would be surprising if an experienced prosecutor empowered to cast a dragnet came up empty-handed, and the arrests have already begun. But what is striking about them is that the charges have nothing to do with Russian interference in the election. There has been much talk about the possibility that the accused may provide damaging evidence against Trump in exchange for lighter sentences, but this is merely speculation. Paul Manafort, at one point Trump’s campaign manager, has pleaded not guilty to charges of failing to register his public relations firm as a foreign agent for the Ukrainian government and concealing his millions of dollars in fees. But all this occurred before the 2016 campaign. George Papadopolous, a foreign policy adviser, has pleaded guilty to the charge of lying to the FBI about his bungling efforts to arrange a meeting between Trump’s people and the Russian government – an opportunity the Trump campaign declined. Mueller’s most recent arrestee, Michael Flynn, the unhinged Islamophobe who was briefly Trump’s national security adviser, has pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI about meeting the Russian ambassador in December – weeks after the election. This is the sort of backchannel diplomacy that routinely occurs during the interim between one administration and the next. It is not a sign of collusion.

    So far, after months of ‘bombshells’ that turn out to be duds, there is still no actual evidence for the claim that the Kremlin ordered interference in the American election. Meanwhile serious doubts have surfaced about the technical basis for the hacking claims. Independent observers have argued it is more likely that the emails were leaked from inside, not hacked from outside. On this front, the most persuasive case was made by a group called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, former employees of the US intelligence agencies who distinguished themselves in 2003 by debunking Colin Powell’s claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, hours after Powell had presented his pseudo-evidence at the UN. (There are members of VIPS who dissent from the VIPS report’s conclusions, but their arguments are in turn contested by the authors of the report.) The VIPS findings received no attention in major media outlets, except Fox News – which from the centre-left perspective is worse than no attention at all. Mainstream media have dismissed the VIPS report as a conspiracy theory (apparently the Russian hacking story does not count as one). The crucial issue here and elsewhere is the exclusion from public discussion of any critical perspectives on the orthodox narrative, even the perspectives of people with professional credentials and a solid track record.

    Both the DNC hacking story and the one involving the emails of John Podesta, a Clinton campaign operative, involve a shadowy bunch of putatively Russian hackers called Fancy Bear – also known among the technically inclined as APT28. The name Fancy Bear was introduced by Dimitri Alperovitch, the chief technology officer of Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC to investigate the theft of their emails. Alperovitch is also a fellow at the Atlantic Council, an anti-Russian Washington think tank. In its report Crowdstrike puts forward close to zero evidence for its claim that those responsible were Russian, let alone for its assertion that they were affiliated with Russian military intelligence. And yet, from this point on, the assumption that this was a Russian cyber operation was unquestioned. When the FBI arrived on the scene, the Bureau either did not request or was refused access to the DNC servers; instead it depended entirely on the Crowdstrike analysis. Crowdstrike, meanwhile, was being forced to retract another claim, that the Russians had successfully hacked the guidance systems of the Ukrainian artillery. The Ukrainian military and the British International Institute for Strategic Studies both contradicted this claim, and Crowdstrike backed down. But its DNC analysis was allowed to stand and even become the basis for the January Intelligence Community Assessment.

    The chatter surrounding the hack would never have acquired such urgency were it not for the accompanying assumption: Russia is a uniquely dangerous adversary, with which we should avoid all contact. Without that belief, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s meetings with Russians in September 2016 would become routine discussions between a senator and foreign officials. Flynn’s post-election conversations with the Russian ambassador would appear unremarkable. Trump’s cronies’ attempts to do business in Russia would become merely sleazy. Donald Trump Jr’s meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya would be transformed from a melodrama of shady intrigue to a comedy of errors – with the candidate’s son expecting to receive information to use against Clinton but discovering Veselnitskaya only wanted to talk about repealing sanctions and restarting the flow of Russian orphans to the United States. And Putin himself would become just another autocrat, with whom democracies could engage without endorsing.

    Sceptical voices, such as those of the VIPS, have been drowned out by a din of disinformation. Flagrantly false stories, like the Washington Post report that the Russians had hacked into the Vermont electrical grid, are published, then retracted 24 hours later. Sometimes – like the stories about Russian interference in the French and German elections – they are not retracted even after they have been discredited. These stories have been thoroughly debunked by French and German intelligence services but continue to hover, poisoning the atmosphere, confusing debate. The claim that the Russians hacked local and state voting systems in the US was refuted by California and Wisconsin election officials, but their comments generated a mere whisper compared with the uproar created by the original story. The rush to publish without sufficient attention to accuracy has become the new normal in journalism. Retraction or correction is almost beside the point: the false accusation has done its work.

    The consequence is a spreading confusion that envelops everything. Epistemological nihilism looms, but some people and institutions have more power than others to define what constitutes an agreed-on reality. To say this is to risk dismissal as the ultimate wing-nut in the lexicon of contemporary Washington: the conspiracy theorist. Still, the fact remains: sometimes powerful people arrange to promote ideas that benefit their common interests. Whether we call this hegemony, conspiracy or merely special privilege hardly matters. What does matter is the power to create what Gramsci called the ‘common sense’ of an entire society. Even if much of that society is indifferent to or suspicious of the official common sense, it still becomes embedded among the tacit assumptions that set the boundaries of ‘responsible opinion’. So the Democratic establishment (along with a few Republicans) and the major media outlets have made ‘Russian meddling’ the common sense of the current moment. What kind of cultural work does this common sense do? What are the consequences of the spectacle the media call (with characteristic originality) ‘Russiagate’?

    The most immediate consequence is that, by finding foreign demons who can be blamed for Trump’s ascendancy, the Democratic leadership have shifted the blame for their defeat away from their own policies without questioning any of their core assumptions. Amid the general recoil from Trump, they can even style themselves dissenters – ‘#the resistance’ was the label Clintonites appropriated within a few days of the election. Mainstream Democrats have begun to use the word ‘progressive’ to apply to a platform that amounts to little more than preserving Obamacare, gesturing towards greater income equality and protecting minorities. This agenda is timid. It has nothing to say about challenging the influence of concentrated capital on policy, reducing the inflated defence budget or withdrawing from overextended foreign commitments; yet without those initiatives, even the mildest egalitarian policies face insuperable obstacles. More genuine insurgencies are in the making, which confront corporate power and connect domestic with foreign policy, but they face an uphill battle against the entrenched money and power of the Democratic leadership – the likes of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons and the DNC. Russiagate offers Democratic elites a way to promote party unity against Trump-Putin, while the DNC purges Sanders’s supporters.

    For the DNC, the great value of the Russian hack story is that it focuses attention away from what was actually in their emails. The documents revealed a deeply corrupt organisation, whose pose of impartiality was a sham. Even the reliably pro-Clinton Washington Post has admitted that ‘many of the most damaging emails suggest the committee was actively trying to undermine Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign.’ Further evidence of collusion between the Clinton machine and the DNC surfaced recently in a memoir by Donna Brazile, who became interim chair of the DNC after Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in the wake of the email revelations. Brazile describes discovering an agreement dated 26 August 2015, which specified (she writes)

    that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics and mailings.

    Before the primaries had even begun, the supposedly neutral DNC – which had been close to insolvency – had been bought by the Clinton campaign.

    Another recent revelation of DNC tactics concerns the origins of the inquiry into Trump’s supposed links to Putin. The story began in April 2016, when the DNC hired a Washington research firm called Fusion GPS to unearth any connections between Trump and Russia. The assignment involved the payment of ‘cash for trash’, as the Clinton campaign liked to say. Fusion GPS eventually produced the trash, a lurid account written by the former British MI6 intelligence agent Christopher Steele, based on hearsay purchased from anonymous Russian sources. Amid prostitutes and golden showers, a story emerged: the Russian government had been blackmailing and bribing Donald Trump for years, on the assumption that he would become president some day and serve the Kremlin’s interests. In this fantastic tale, Putin becomes a preternaturally prescient schemer. Like other accusations of collusion, this one has become vaguer over time, adding to the murky atmosphere without ever providing any evidence. The Clinton campaign tried to persuade established media outlets to publicise the Steele dossier, but with uncharacteristic circumspection, they declined to promote what was plainly political trash rather than reliable reporting. Yet the FBI apparently took the Steele dossier seriously enough to include a summary of it in a secret appendix to the Intelligence Community Assessment. Two weeks before the inauguration, James Comey, the director of the FBI, described the dossier to Trump. After Comey’s briefing was leaked to the press, the website Buzzfeed published the dossier in full, producing hilarity and hysteria in the Washington establishment.

    The Steele dossier inhabits a shadowy realm where ideology and intelligence, disinformation and revelation overlap. It is the antechamber to the wider system of epistemological nihilism created by various rival factions in the intelligence community: the ‘tree of smoke’ that, for the novelist Denis Johnson, symbolised CIA operations in Vietnam. I inhaled that smoke myself in 1969-70, when I was a cryptographer with a Top Secret clearance on a US navy ship that carried missiles armed with nuclear warheads – the existence of which the navy denied. I was stripped of my clearance and later honourably discharged when I refused to join the Sealed Authenticator System, which would have authorised the launch of those allegedly non-existent nuclear weapons. The tree of smoke has only grown more complex and elusive since then. Yet the Democratic Party has now embarked on a full-scale rehabilitation of the intelligence community – or at least the part of it that supports the notion of Russian hacking. (We can be sure there is disagreement behind the scenes.) And it is not only the Democratic establishment that is embracing the deep state. Some of the party’s base, believing Trump and Putin to be joined at the hip, has taken to ranting about ‘treason’ like a reconstituted John Birch Society.

    I thought of these ironies when I visited the Tate Modern exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, which featured the work of black American artists from the 1960s and 1970s, when intelligence agencies (and agents provocateurs) were spearheading a government crackdown on black militants, draft resisters, deserters and antiwar activists. Amid the paintings, collages and assemblages there was a single Confederate flag, accompanied by grim reminders of the Jim Crow past – a Klansman in full regalia, a black body dangling from a tree. There were also at least half a dozen US flags, juxtaposed in whole or in part with images of contemporary racial oppression that could have occurred anywhere in America: dead black men carted off on stretchers by skeletons in police uniform; a black prisoner tied to a chair, awaiting torture. The point was to contrast the pretensions of ‘the land of the free’ with the practices of the national security state and local police forces. The black artists of that era knew their enemy: black people were not being killed and imprisoned by some nebulous foreign adversary, but by the FBI, the CIA and the police.

    The Democratic Party has now developed a new outlook on the world, a more ambitious partnership between liberal humanitarian interventionists and neoconservative militarists than existed under the cautious Obama. This may be the most disastrous consequence for the Democratic Party of the new anti-Russian orthodoxy: the loss of the opportunity to formulate a more humane and coherent foreign policy. The obsession with Putin has erased any possibility of complexity from the Democratic world picture, creating a void quickly filled by the monochrome fantasies of Hillary Clinton and her exceptionalist allies. For people like Max Boot and Robert Kagan, war is a desirable state of affairs, especially when viewed from the comfort of their keyboards, and the rest of the world – apart from a few bad guys – is filled with populations who want to build societies just like ours: pluralistic, democratic and open for business. This view is difficult to challenge when it cloaks itself in humanitarian sentiment. There is horrific suffering in the world; the US has abundant resources to help relieve it; the moral imperative is clear. There are endless forms of international engagement that do not involve military intervention. But it is the path taken by US policy often enough that one may suspect humanitarian rhetoric is nothing more than window-dressing for a more mundane geopolitics – one that defines the national interest as global and virtually limitless.

    Having come of age during the Vietnam War, a calamitous consequence of that inflated definition of national interest, I have always been attracted to the realist critique of globalism. Realism is a label forever besmirched by association with Henry Kissinger, who used it as a rationale for intervening covertly and overtly in other nations’ affairs. Yet there is a more humane realist tradition, the tradition of George Kennan and William Fulbright, which emphasises the limits of military might, counselling that great power requires great restraint. This tradition challenges the doctrine of regime change under the guise of democracy promotion, which – despite its abysmal failures in Iraq and Libya – retains a baffling legitimacy in official Washington. Russiagate has extended its shelf life.

    We can gauge the corrosive impact of the Democrats’ fixation on Russia by asking what they aren’t talking about when they talk about Russian hacking. For a start, they aren’t talking about interference of other sorts in the election, such as the Republican Party’s many means of disenfranchising minority voters. Nor are they talking about the trillion dollar defence budget that pre-empts the possibility of single-payer healthcare and other urgently needed social programmes; nor about the modernisation of the American nuclear arsenal which Obama began and Trump plans to accelerate, and which raises the risk of the ultimate environmental calamity, nuclear war – a threat made more serious than it has been in decades by America’s combative stance towards Russia. The prospect of impeaching Trump and removing him from office by convicting him of collusion with Russia has created an atmosphere of almost giddy anticipation among leading Democrats, allowing them to forget that the rest of the Republican Party is composed of many politicians far more skilful in Washington’s ways than their president will ever be.

    It is not the Democratic Party that is leading the search for alternatives to the wreckage created by Republican policies: a tax plan that will soak the poor and middle class to benefit the rich; a heedless pursuit of fossil fuels that is already resulting in the contamination of the water supply of the Dakota people; and continued support for police policies of militarisation and mass incarceration. It is local populations that are threatened by oil spills and police beatings, and that is where humane populism survives. A multitude of insurgent groups have begun to use the outrage against Trump as a lever to move the party in egalitarian directions: Justice Democrats, Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists of America, as well as a host of local and regional organisations. They recognise that there are far more urgent – and genuine – reasons to oppose Trump than vague allegations of collusion with Russia. They are posing an overdue challenge to the long con of neoliberalism, and the technocratic arrogance that led to Clinton’s defeat in Rust Belt states. Recognising that the current leadership will not bring about significant change, they are seeking funding from outside the DNC. This is the real resistance, as opposed to ‘#theresistance’.

    On certain important issues – such as broadening support for single-payer healthcare, promoting a higher minimum wage or protecting undocumented immigrants from the most flagrant forms of exploitation – these insurgents are winning wide support. Candidates like Paula Jean Swearengin, a coal miner’s daughter from West Virginia who is running in the Democratic primary for nomination to the US Senate, are challenging establishment Democrats who stand cheek by jowl with Republicans in their service to concentrated capital. Swearengin’s opponent is Joe Manchin, whom the Los Angeles Times has compared to Doug Jones, another ‘very conservative’ Democrat who recently won election to the US Senate in Alabama, narrowly defeating a Republican disgraced by accusations of sexual misconduct with 14-year-old girls. I can feel relieved at that result without joining in the collective Democratic ecstasy, which reveals the party’s persistent commitment to politics as usual. Democrat leaders have persuaded themselves (and much of their base) that all the republic needs is a restoration of the status quo ante Trump. They remain oblivious to popular impatience with familiar formulas. Jess King – a Mennonite woman, Bard College MBA and founder of a local non-profit who is running for Congress as a Justice Democrat in Lancaster, Pennsylvania – put it this way: ‘We see a changing political landscape right now that isn’t measured by traditional left to right politics anymore, but bottom to top. In Pennsylvania and many other places around the country we see a grassroots economic populism on the rise, pushing against the political establishment and status quo that have failed so many in our country.’

    Democratic insurgents are also developing a populist critique of the imperial hubris that has sponsored multiple failed crusades, extorted disproportionate sacrifice from the working class and provoked support for Trump, who presented himself (however misleadingly) as an opponent of open-ended interventionism. On foreign policy, the insurgents face an even more entrenched opposition than on domestic policy: a bipartisan consensus aflame with outrage at the threat to democracy supposedly posed by Russian hacking. Still, they may have found a tactical way forward, by focusing on the unequal burden borne by the poor and working class in the promotion and maintenance of American empire.

    This approach animates Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis, a 33-page document whose authors include Norman Solomon, founder of the web-based insurgent lobby RootsAction.org. ‘The Democratic Party’s claims of fighting for “working families” have been undermined by its refusal to directly challenge corporate power, enabling Trump to masquerade as a champion of the people,’ Autopsy announces. But what sets this apart from most progressive critiques is the cogent connection it makes between domestic class politics and foreign policy. For those in the Rust Belt, military service has often seemed the only escape from the shambles created by neoliberal policies; yet the price of escape has been high. As Autopsy notes, ‘the wisdom of continual war’ – what Clinton calls ‘global leadership’ –

    was far clearer to the party’s standard bearer [in 2016] than it was to people in the US communities bearing the brunt of combat deaths, injuries and psychological traumas. After a decade and a half of non-stop warfare, research data from voting patterns suggest that the Clinton campaign’s hawkish stance was a political detriment in working-class communities hard-hit by American casualties from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Francis Shen of the University of Minnesota and Douglas Kriner of Boston University analysed election results in three key states – Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan – and found that ‘even controlling in a statistical model for many other alternative explanations, we find that there is a significant and meaningful relationship between a community’s rate of military sacrifice and its support for Trump.’ Clinton’s record of uncritical commitment to military intervention allowed Trump to have it both ways, playing to jingoist resentment while posing as an opponent of protracted and pointless war. Kriner and Shen conclude that Democrats may want to ‘re-examine their foreign policy posture if they hope to erase Trump’s electoral gains among constituencies exhausted and alienated by 15 years of war’. If the insurgent movements within the Democratic Party begin to formulate an intelligent foreign policy critique, a re-examination may finally occur. And the world may come into sharper focus as a place where American power, like American virtue, is limited. For this Democrat, that is an outcome devoutly to be wished. It’s a long shot, but there is something happening out there.

    #USA #cuture #politique


  • Jackson Lears · What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking: #Russiagate · LRB 4 January 2018
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n01/jackson-lears/what-we-dont-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-russian-hacking

    Like any orthodoxy worth its salt, the religion of the Russian hack depends not on evidence but on ex cathedra pronouncements on the part of authoritative institutions and their overlords. Its scriptural foundation is a confused and largely fact-free ‘assessment’ produced last January by a small number of ‘hand-picked’ analysts – as James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, described them – from the CIA, the FBI and the NSA. The claims of the last were made with only ‘moderate’ confidence. The label Intelligence Community Assessment creates a misleading impression of unanimity, given that only three of the 16 US intelligence agencies contributed to the report. And indeed the assessment itself contained this crucial admission: ‘Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation and precedents.’ Yet the assessment has passed into the media imagination as if it were unassailable fact, allowing journalists to assume what has yet to be proved. In doing so they serve as mouthpieces for the intelligence agencies, or at least for those ‘hand-picked’ analysts.

    [...]

    The consequence is a spreading confusion that envelops everything. Epistemological nihilism looms, but some people and institutions have more power than others to define what constitutes an agreed-on reality. To say this is to risk dismissal as the ultimate wing-nut in the lexicon of contemporary Washington: the conspiracy theorist. Still, the fact remains: sometimes powerful people arrange to promote ideas that benefit their common interests. Whether we call this hegemony, conspiracy or merely special privilege hardly matters. What does matter is the power to create what Gramsci called the ‘common sense’ of an entire society. Even if much of that society is indifferent to or suspicious of the official common sense, it still becomes embedded among the tacit assumptions that set the boundaries of ‘responsible opinion’. So the Democratic establishment (along with a few Republicans) and the major media outlets have made ‘Russian meddling’ the common sense of the current moment. What kind of cultural work does this common sense do? What are the consequences of the spectacle the media call (with characteristic originality) ‘Russiagate’?

    The most immediate consequence is that, by finding foreign demons who can be blamed for Trump’s ascendancy, the Democratic leadership have shifted the blame for their defeat away from their own policies without questioning any of their core assumptions. Amid the general recoil from Trump, they can even style themselves dissenters – ‘the resistance’ was the label Clintonites appropriated within a few days of the election. #Mainstream Democrats have begun to use the word ‘progressive’ to apply to a platform that amounts to little more than preserving Obamacare, gesturing towards greater income equality and protecting minorities. This agenda is timid. It has nothing to say about challenging the influence of concentrated capital on policy, reducing the inflated defence budget or withdrawing from overextended foreign commitments; yet without those initiatives, even the mildest egalitarian policies face insuperable obstacles. More genuine insurgencies are in the making, which confront corporate power and connect domestic with foreign policy, but they face an uphill battle against the entrenched money and power of the Democratic leadership – the likes of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons and the DNC. Russiagate offers Democratic elites a way to promote party unity against Trump-Putin, while the DNC purges Sanders’s supporters.

    For the DNC, the great value of the Russian hack story is that it focuses attention away from what was actually in their emails. The documents revealed a deeply corrupt organisation, whose pose of impartiality was a sham. Even the reliably pro-Clinton Washington Post has admitted that ‘many of the most damaging emails suggest the committee was actively trying to undermine Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign.’ Further evidence of collusion between the Clinton machine and the DNC surfaced recently in a memoir by Donna Brazile, who became interim chair of the DNC after Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in the wake of the email revelations. Brazile describes discovering an agreement dated 26 August 2015, which specified (she writes)

    [...]


  • Les médias et l’establishment politique passent à autre chose alors que les résidents de Houston retournent dans leur ville dévastée
    http://www.wsws.org/fr/articles/2017/sep2017/mape-s07.shtml

    Le maire de Houston, Sylvester Turner, un démocrate, a proclamé dimanche que « la ville de Houston est ouverte aux affaires » . Il a poursuivi en disant : « Écoutez, les gens se sentent bien. Même dans ce refuge où nous sommes en ce moment... Nous n’allons pas commencer à pleurnicher ». Turner reprend ici la déclaration délirante et insensée de Trump qui, la veille dans un refuge de Houston, a dit : « Même si cela a été très dur, [la réaction] a été fantastique… les gens apprécient ce qui a été fait ». Tant les commentaires de Trump que de Turner n’ont suscité la moindre contre-réaction significative dans la presse.

    Tel que le reflète la réaction des médias, la classe dirigeante serre les rangs en réaction à Harvey, non pas pour venir en aide aux habitants de Houston, mais pour dissimuler leurs actions.

    Nancy Pelosi et Chuck Schumer, qui sont les démocrates les plus en vue respectivement à la Chambre des représentants et au Sénat, ont publié une déclaration commune indiquant leur volonté de travailler avec l’administration Trump et sa politique intérieure, qui comprend une réduction massive de l’impôt sur les sociétés. Leur communiqué déclare : « La fourniture de l’aide dans le sillage de Harvey et l’augmentation du plafond de la dette sont des questions importantes, et les démocrates veulent travailler pour concrétiser une solution à ces deux enjeux... Compte tenu de l’interaction entre tous les problèmes auxquels le Congrès doit s’attaquer en septembre, les démocrates et les républicains doivent discuter de tous les problèmes ensemble afin de trouver un consensus bipartite. »

    La réaction des médias et de l’establishment politique suit ce qui est maintenant un scénario bien usé et radoté après chaque catastrophe majeure, que ce soit un ouragan, une inondation, une tornade ou un incendie de forêt. Pendant les événements, ils évitent tout examen sérieux des conditions sociales et politiques qui l’ont préparée. Une fois que les eaux baissent, que les incendies s’éteignent ou que les vents se calment, les médias travaillent le plus rapidement possible pour détourner l’attention populaire des problèmes de classe soulevés par la catastrophe vers des sujets en accord avec les intérêts stratégiques fondamentaux de la classe dirigeante américaine.

    #catastrophe #inondation #argent #spéculation


  • Congress may stiff Trump on wall funding

    Congressional Republicans might deliver some more bad news for President Donald Trump, fresh off their embarrassing failure to scrap Obamacare: No new money is coming to build his wall.
    “The border wall is probably not a smart investment,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who proposes funding the wall as part a package legalizing some young undocumented immigrants and beefing up enforcement.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/border-wall-trump-congress-funding-236561
    #congrès #USA #congress #Etats-Unis #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #financement #résistance #Trump


  • La ligne dure du trumpisme à l’épreuve de l’exercice du pouvoir

    http://www.lemonde.fr/ameriques/article/2017/02/11/la-ligne-dure-du-trumpisme-a-l-epreuve-de-l-exercice-du-pouvoir_5078080_3222

    Trois hommes, longtemps marginalisés par un « système » qu’ils exècrent, sont à la manœuvre auprès de Donald Trump. Les décisions du président portent leur marque.

    Ils sont unis autant par l’idéologie que par l’envie de régler des comptes avec un système politique qui les a longtemps cantonnés à sa marge, alors qu’ils en occupent désormais le centre. Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller et Jeff Sessions ont été les artisans de la victoire de Donald Trump. Ils sont désormais attelés à la traduire dans les faits, notamment par un tapis de bombes de décrets présidentiels.
    Les débuts mouvementés de la nouvelle administration porte leur marque, notamment le décret anti-immigration dont la suspension a été confirmée par une cour d’appel de Californie, jeudi 9 février, une décision qui constitue son premier gros revers.

    Il y a un an, Jeff Sessions n’était encore qu’un sénateur méconnu du Parti républicain, élu et réélu pendant vingt ans dans le bastion sudiste de l’Alabama. Sa confirmation, le 8 février, à une fonction régalienne, celle d’attorney général des Etats-Unis (ministre de la justice), a effacé son échec de 1986, lorsque le Sénat s’était opposé à la nomination de ce juriste à une cour d’appel pour des propos prêtant le flanc à des accusations de racisme.

    Miller, un franc-tireur

    La procédure de confirmation, qui s’est déroulée dans un climat tendu, a ravivé ce souvenir, mais ce sont les positions de M. Sessions sur l’immigration, illégale comme légale, qui se retrouvent dans une bonne partie des décisions de M. Trump.

    Les deux hommes s’étaient rencontrés pour la première fois en 2005, lorsque le sénateur avait invité le magnat de l’immobilier à témoigner au Sénat contre le coût jugé exorbitant de la rénovation du siège des Nations unies, à New York.
    En 2014, le sénateur de l’Alabama avait aussi ferraillé contre un projet de réforme de l’immigration élaboré par des sénateurs démocrates et républicains, mais finalement bloqué par la Chambre des représentants. Il avait pu compter alors sur l’activisme de son responsable de la communication, Stephen Miller, pas encore trentenaire.

    Ce dernier, issu d’une famille de démocrates de Californie aujourd’hui convertis au conservatisme, a très tôt donné libre cours à son tempérament de franc-tireur.

    Il occupe désormais les fonctions de conseiller politique du président à la Maison Blanche. Et il est aussi sa « plume ».
    En bon disciple du polémiste David Horowitz – considéré aujourd’hui comme islamophobe par le Southern Poverty Law Center, spécialisé dans le suivi des groupes radicaux –, il est entré en guerre dès ses plus jeunes années contre ce qu’il considère être la chape de plomb culturelle pesant sur les Etats-Unis. C’est d’ailleurs par le biais de M. Horowitz que Stephen Miller avait pu rencontrer Jeff Sessions au Congrès et devenir l’un de ses assistants.

    Consécration du « grand manipulateur »

    Auprès du sénateur, il a pu mesurer l’effet de levier que procurait un soutien médiatique. Jeff Sessions a en effet disposé de celui, inconditionnel, du site BreitBart News, dirigé depuis 2012 par Stephen Bannon.

    Ce dernier est la figure désormais la plus connue de cet axe en place au cœur de la nouvelle administration américaine et notamment à la Maison Blanche, où il occupe les fonctions de conseiller stratégique.
    Une couverture du magazine Time, accompagnée du titre « Le grand manipulateur », a consacré sa prépondérance début février, sanctifiée par l’officialisation de sa présence aux réunions stratégiques du Conseil de sécurité nationale, une première pour un non-expert.
    Cette promotion, pour un homme passé par la Navy et Goldman Sachs mais dépourvu d’expérience dans les affaires publiques, a été critiquée par l’ancien chef d’état-major Mike Mullen dans une tribune publiée par le Washington Post.

    Autre preuve de sa consécration, Stephen Bannon a fait l’objet d’une question sur son image dans le dernier sondage de la Quinnipiac University, aux côtés du président, du vice-président Mike Pence et des responsables du Sénat, le républicain Mitch McConnell et le démocrate, Chuck Schumer.

    Parmi la multitude de décrets signés par M. Trump depuis le 20 janvier, une partie relève certes du programme républicain classique. Il s’agit des mesures en faveur de la dérégulation, en particulier celle de Wall Street, de la relance de projet d’oléoducs demandée avec insistance par le lobby pétrolier, ou encore de la suppression de la réforme de la couverture sociale créée par l’administration précédente, du fait du rôle central que cette dernière réserve au gouvernement fédéral.

    Nationalisme économique

    Une autre partie relève en revanche des convictions du trio, partagées par M. Trump. Lors du débat organisé au Congrès en 2015 pour accorder au président Barack Obama des pouvoirs accrus en matière de négociation de traités commerciaux, Jeff Sessions avait été l’un des rares élus républicains à faire part de son opposition à des accords qui, selon lui, empiètent sur la souveraineté américaine.
    Le sénateur de l’Alabama avait considéré que les projets de traités alors en vue avec des pays riverains du Pacifique et avec l’Union européenne lui évoquaient la mise en place d’un espace supranational. Il avait d’ailleurs fait la comparaison avec les débuts de la construction européenne, évidemment pour le déplorer.

    Cette défiance est partagée par Stephen Bannon qui développe par ailleurs la vision d’une entité occidentale menacée par l’éloignement des valeurs judéo-chrétiennes, et par la sécularisation de la société.
    A peine arrivé à la Maison Blanche, M. Trump a fait la preuve de la vigueur de son protectionnisme – que M. Bannon assimile à un nationalisme économique –, en retirant les Etats-Unis du projet de libre-échange dans le Pacifique.

    Le décret anti-immigration qui prévoit un gel des entrées en provenance de sept pays à majorité musulmane d’Afrique et du Moyen-Orient porte aussi la signature des trois hommes, en plus de celle du président. Selon la presse américaine, MM. Bannon et Miller, auraient été décisifs pour que le texte soit rédigé sans consulter les agences concernées.

    Rupture

    Le décret concernant la lutte contre l’immigration illégale en provenance de la frontière Sud des Etats-Unis est frappé du même sceau, tout comme les attaques contre un système de visas (H-1B) considéré comme un facteur de sous-traitance favorable aux sociétés étrangères.

    M. Trump a cependant résisté jusqu’à présent à l’exhortation de M. Sessions de remettre en cause un décret de M. Obama protégeant les sans-papiers arrivés aux Etats-Unis alors qu’ils étaient mineurs. De même, le président n’a pas nommé comme juge à la Cour suprême le protégé de l’ancien sénateur de l’Alabama, William Pryor, un choix jugé trop provocateur compte tenu des prises de position radicales de ce dernier.

    Un dernier texte est inspiré de la campagne : celui qui vise à séparer plus strictement les activités politiques de celles de conseil et de lobbying. M. Trump a aussi été élu sur la promesse d’« assécher le marigot » que représente selon lui Washington, où les élus font souvent le va-et-vient entre le Congrès et les groupes d’intérêts.
    MM. Miller et Bannon ont activement milité par le passé contre des figures républicaines jugées trop liées à ces milieux, qu’il s’agisse de l’ancien responsable de la majorité à la Chambre des représentants, Eric Cantor, ou du speaker (président) de la même assemblée, Paul Ryan.

    Car la rupture avec une partie des idées classiques du Parti républicain ne vise pas des aspects secondaires de son programme. Le conseiller stratégique de M. Trump ne cache pas son ambition, partagée par MM. Miller et Sessions, de transformer en formation populiste un « Grand Old Party » (GOP) jugé sous la coupe d’un « globalisme sans âme », selon l’expression du nouvel attorney général des Etats-Unis. Une formule que MM. Miller et Bannon ont également faite leur.


  • #ISRAËL : L’ONU ADOPTE UNE RÉSOLUTION RÉCLAMANT L’ARRÊT DE LA #COLONISATION DES #TERRITOIRES_PALESTINIENS
    http://www.lci.fr/international/israel-l-onu-adopte-une-resolution-demandant-l-arret-de-la-colonisation-des-terr

    La décision des #Etats-Unis de ne pas utiliser leur droit de #veto, contrairement à un précédent projet de texte, a permis l’adoption par le Conseil de sécurité de l’#ONU d’une résolution condamnant les colonies israéliennes vendredi 23 décembre.

    • Against Israel’ at Security Council

      Israel rejects anti-settlement motion out of hand, will work with incoming U.S. administration to ’negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution,’ Prime Minister’s Bureau says in statement.
      Barak Ravid Dec 23, 2016 11:39 PM

      http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.761011

      Israel said it will impose sanctions on two states that pushed for the UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli ambassadors in New Zealand and Senegal for consultation. Israel does not have diplomatic ties with the two other states that called for a vote on the resolution – Venezuela and Malaysia.

      The prime minister’s bureau said that Netanyahu has canceled an impending visit of the Senegalese foreign minister to Israel, and ordered the Foreign Ministry to void all planned aid to the country. He also canceled the visits of the non-resident ambassadors from Senegal and New Zealand.

      Netanyahu’s bureau also lambasted United States President Barack Obama for not casting a veto against the resolution.

    • #Obama Allows Toothless UN Resolution Against Israeli Settlements to Pass
      https://theintercept.com/2016/12/23/obama-allows-toothless-un-resolution-against-israeli-settlements-to-pa

      The administration’s abstention reflects a larger reality: President Obama did more to shield Israel from international pressure at the United Nations than any of his predecessors.

      This was the only Security Council resolution calling on Israel to respect international law that Obama ever refused to veto. Under George W. Bush, six similar resolutions were allowed through. Under H.W. Bush, nine resolutions critical of #Israel were allowed through.

    • Représailles diplomatiques d’Israël contre la Nouvelle-Zélande et le Sénégal
      Le Figaro, le 24 décembre 2016
      http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2016/12/24/97001-20161224FILWWW00024-represailles-diplomatiques-d-israel-contre-la-nou

      Le premier ministre israélien Benyamin Nétanyahou a ordonné samedi « une série de mesures diplomatiques » contre la Nouvelle-Zélande et le Sénégal qui ont obtenu qu’un vote soit organisé vendredi à l’ONU sur une résolution contre les colonies israéliennes.

      La résolution, initialement proposée par l’Egypte et qui devait être votée jeudi, avait finalement été présentée au vote vendredi à l’initiative de la Nouvelle-Zélande, du Sénégal, de la Malaisie et du Venezuela, après une volte-face du Caire. Israël n’entretient pas de relations diplomatiques avec la Malaisie et le Venezuela.

      Netanyahou a annoncé quelques heures seulement après le vote de la résolution, le rappel « immédiat » de ses ambassadeurs en Nouvelle-Zélande et au Sénégal « pour consultations ».

      Il a également décidé d’annuler la visite du ministre sénégalais des Affaires étrangères, prévue en janvier, ordonné l’annulation de tous les programmes d’aide au Sénégal, et l’annulation des visites en Israël des ambassadeurs non résidents du Sénégal et de Nouvelle-Zélande.

      #Sénégal

      Compile #Israfrique :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/685758

    • Colonisation israélienne : le résultat de la frustration d’Obama
      Dave Clark24 décembre 2016
      https://fr.news.yahoo.com/colonisation-isra%C3%A9lienne-r%C3%A9sultat-frustration-dobama-074454

      Mais l’abstention décidée par Barack Obama a été sévèrement critiquée à Washington, des démocrates et des républicains criant à la trahison du plus proche allié au Moyen-Orient.

      Le président élu Donald Trump, qui s’était impliqué personnellement dans le dossier en obtenant jeudi un premier report du vote, a tenu à rassurer les Israéliens. « Concernant l’ONU, les choses seront différentes après le 20 janvier », date de sa prise de fonctions, a-t-il dit sur Twitter.

      Le sénateur démocrate Chuck Schumer, qui a fait pression sur l’administration Obama jusqu’à la dernière minute, a décrit une décision « extrêmement frustrante, décevante et déconcertante ».

      L’AIPAC, puissant groupe de pression pro-Israël à Washington, a estimé que ce vote montrait une fois de plus que « les Nations Unies sont un forum destiné à isoler et délégitimer Israël ».

      Pour beaucoup d’experts, la décision de Barack Obama, prise alors qu’il passe la fin de l’année à Hawaï, s’explique en partie par ses mauvaises relations personnelles avec le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu. C’est une relation « empreinte de méfiance », souligne Jonathan Schanzer, vice-président de la Fondation pour la défense des démocraties, un centre de réflexion de Washington.

    • ONU : pourquoi Obama a « lâché » Israël
      Intransigeance israélienne sur les colonies, relations exécrables avec Benjamin Netanyahu : l’abstention des États-Unis lors du vote à l’ONU était attendue.
      Par Armin Arefi
      Modifié le 24/12/2016
      http://www.lepoint.fr/monde/onu-pourquoi-obama-a-lache-israel-24-12-2016-2092816_24.php#xtor=CS2-239

      Pourtant, un ancien ministre français des Affaires étrangères qui a côtoyé Benjamin Netanyahu affirme que ce dernier a en tête l’idée de finalement déplacer les Palestiniens en Jordanie. Et l’arrivée au pouvoir du gouvernement le plus à droite de l’histoire d’Israël, qui fait la part belle aux colons ultra-orthodoxes et aux nationalistes, ne laisse guère de place au compromis.

    • Le Conseil de sécurité exige d’Israël qu’il cesse ses activités de peuplement dans les territoires palestiniens
      http://www.un.org/apps/newsFr/storyF.asp?NewsID=38705

      23 décembre 2016 – Le Conseil de sécurité a adopté vendredi une résolution réaffirmant que la création par Israël de colonies de peuplement dans le Territoire palestinien occupé depuis 1967, y compris Jérusalem-Est, n’a aucun fondement en droit.

      La résolution, présentée conjointement par la Malaisie, la Nouvelle-Zélande, le Sénégal et le Venezuela, a été adoptée avec 14 voix pour, zéro contre et une abstention – celle des Etats-Unis.

      Dans sa résolution, le Conseil exige « de nouveau » d’Israël qu’il arrête « immédiatement et complètement » toutes ses activités de peuplement.

      Les membres du Conseil ont réaffirmé que la création de colonies de peuplement par Israël constitue une violation flagrante du droit international ainsi qu’un « obstacle majeur à la réalisation des deux Etats et à l’instauration d’une paix globale, juste et durable ».

      Aucune modification aux frontières du 4 juin 1967, « y compris Jérusalem », ne sera reconnue, a indiqué le Conseil, à l’exception de celles convenues par les parties par la voie de négociations.

    • Résolution 2334 (2016)
      Adoptée par le Conseil de sécurité à sa 7853e séance,
      le 23 décembre 2016
      http://www.un.org/fr/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2334(2016)

      Le Conseil de sécurité,
      Rappelant ses résolutions sur la question, notamment les résolutions 242(1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478(1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) et 1850 (2008),
      Guidé par les buts et principes énoncés dans la Charte des Nations Unies et rappelant notamment que l’acquisition de territoire par la force est inadmissible, (...)

    • Netanyahou organise lui-même le boycott diplomatique d’Israël
      http://www.pourlapalestine.be/netanyahou-organise-lui-meme-le-boycott-diplomatique-disrael

      Une caricature d’Obama a été largement répandue sur les réseaux sociaux par les propagandistes sionistes aussitôt après le vote de la résolution 2334 : le Président des États-Unis poignardant dans le dos un soldat israélien en train de prier.


  • Adjectives fail me. Best to let David Friedman speak for himself - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    Qui est le nouvel ambassadeur américain en Israël?

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.760246

    I’ve spent the better part of two days trying to craft a column about David M. Friedman, the man Donald Trump has just nominated to be America’s Ambassador to Israel. I can’t do it. Adjectives fail me. Better to let him speak for himself. What follows are selections from Friedman’s writings, with brief responses in italics. 
    August 20, 2015: “The Jew is convicted and sentenced in a show trial, although subsequent evidence emerges which results is his complete exoneration and pardon. That was the affair of Captain Alfred Dreyfus that captivated France from 1894 to 1906. But it sure sounds like Chuck Schumer in 2015… the blatant anti-Semitism emanating from our President and his sycophantic minions is palpable.”
    Dreyfus, a French Jewish officer wrongly convicted of treason by an anti-Semitic French military establishment, spent five years in prison on a remote island in French Guiana. Schumer, a Jewish Democratic Senator from New York, opposed President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, and will soon become, with Obama’s support, the Democratic Minority Leader in the Senate. The parallel escapes me.
    Oct 20, 2015: Palestinians in the West Bank “have freedom of speech, the right to free enterprise, the right to worship freely, the right to elect their leaders.”
    Palestinians in the West Bank live inside the state of Israel. The Israeli army—and the army of no other country—can enter any square inch of the West Bank any time it chooses and arrest anyone it wants, including officials of the Palestinian Authority. Thus, the real “leaders” of West Bank Palestinians are the leaders of Israel. But West Bank Palestinians cannot elect them because they cannot vote in Israeli elections. As non-citizens, West Bank Palestinians live under military law. This dramatically restricts their freedom of speech, worship and their right to pursue free enterprise. Under Military Order 101, for instance, West Bank Palestinians need Israeli military permission to hold a political gathering of more than ten people, even if it is occurring in a private home. West Bank Palestinians also require Israeli military permission to visit Jerusalem, the West Bank’s religious and commercial hub. How easy is it to obtain that permission? According to Daniel Seidemann, a lawyer specializing in Jerusalem residency issues, “Due to Israeli restrictions, today it is easier for a Palestinian Christian living just south of Jerusalem in Bethlehem to worship in Washington’s National Cathedral than to pray in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Today a Muslim living in Turkey has a better chance of getting to Jerusalem to pray at the Old City’s al-Aqsa mosque than a Muslim living a few miles away in Ramallah.” (Although Seidemann wrote these words in 2010, he confirmed to me that they remain true today). 
    November 28, 2015: “When Russia defeats ISIS, it will have accomplished something that the United States hasn’t done since 1945 nor Israel since 1973: win a war.”


  • US Jews want Congress to approve Iran deal, by whopping 53 to 35, far more than Americans overall
    http://mondoweiss.net/2015/07/congress-whopping-americans

    An important survey of Jewish opinion by the LA Jewish Journal says that American Jews are overwhelmingly for the Iran deal, even though they believe it endangers Israel. Here are the numbers. Incredible; they are a lot like the Iraq war, which the Jewish orgs supported but the Jewish street was against.

    Jews support the deal 49 percent to 31 percent, while all Americans are only 28 to 24 percent in favor of the deal. (Notice the low number of general respondents; people are ill-informed.)

    Here’s the headline. Should Congress vote to approve the deal? Jews say Yes, 53 percent to 35 percent. The overall American numbers are only 41-38.

    Broken out by ideology and party. Liberals are for the deal 72-18. Democratic Party members: 70-20. Hear that, Chuck Schumer? You voted for the US to invade Iraq, when your Jewish constituents were against that.

    And asked, Have you been to Israel?, even the visitors to Israel support the deal, 48-44 percent, compared to the ones who haven’t been there, 58-30.


  • Who Makes US Foreign Policy ? - Lawrence Wilkerson On Reality Asserts Itself (1/3)
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11839

    ... it’s incredibly complex, difficult to analyze from a strictly governmental standpoint, but when you start probing and you start analyzing, you begin to discover that there are centers in this mess (...) that are getting what they want. And what they want is basically wealth and power. And they then turn that wealth and power back into political contributions, which now almost have no limits, no constraints on them, and they influence people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham and Bob Menendez as and Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank when he was in there and so influential with the banking committee, and they get what they want in terms of legislation that oftentimes I’m convinced the legislatures do not even realize they’re doing. They don’t understand that they’re fulfilling this objective of a particular oligarch or conglomeration of oligarchs. And yet they’re doing it. And they’re doing it because they are well paid for doing it, in the sense that their PACs are flush and full and they get reelected.

    Is John McCain motivated entirely by this? Is Bob Menendez motivated entirely by this? Of course not. They’re not intellectual giants, and they don’t spend lots of time analyzing this situation in the complex ways that we do. So they think they’re actually fulfilling their principles and bending over a little bit to accept the money and the cash necessary to do that. So that’s how the system works. That’s not even half the explanation, but that’s how the system works. And, incidentally, it has worked that way for a very long time, I would say probably since about Andrew Jackson coming into the White House after we’d really established ourselves.