Trump and Balfour Compared

By James J. Zogby | Global Research | 02/06/20

Much has already been written about the Trump administration’s release of its long-awaited plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace. I will not repeat the criticisms. Instead, I will focus on what I found to be the striking and disturbing parallels between this Trump “Deal of the Century” and last century’s infamous “Balfour Declaration”.

Though certainly longer and more pretentious than the “Declaration”, in many ways, the “Deal” reflects much the same intent and logic as its predecessor. There are also, of course, some significant differences.

One initial difference, of course, is that while Lord Balfour’s statement was just one rather complicated sentence of 67 words, President Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity: A vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People” is over one hundred pages, including appendices of details, maps and charts. But here’s what they have in common. Both are examples of the extraordinary arrogance of imperial powers. Both are inherently racist, viewing one group of people as superior, with their rights as more important than those of another less favoured group. And both were motivated by callous political considerations.

In the 20th century, the founders of the political Zionist movement realised they could not achieve their ambition of founding a national home for the Jewish people unless they had an imperial sponsor to support them. In succession, they courted the Ottoman sultan, the German kaiser, and even the Russian czar. When it became clear that Great Britain would be a willing accomplice, they focused energy on winning its support.

The British needed little convincing since they understood the potential role Jewish colonisation could play in securing their Middle East ambitions. And the British government was hopeful that by issuing the Declaration, they might win the support of influential Jewish leaders in the US to support the Allied powers against the Central Powers in World War I.

In issuing his Declaration, Balfour pledged to support the creation of a Jewish “national home” that would help to secure their interests in the eastern Mediterranean region. In doing so, Balfour gave no consideration to the fact that the land he was promising was not his to give. Great Britain was, after all, an imperial power and could whatever it wanted to do.

He also demonstrated little or no regard for the rights of the inhabitants of that land.

The Declaration did include a phrase saying “that nothing should be done which may prejudice the rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”, but that was never intended to be taken seriously. When chided by then US President Wilson, that the aspirations and rights of the inhabitants of Palestine should be considered, Balfour made his intentions clear, saying that

“In Palestine, we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the inhabitants of their wishes…Zionism…is of far greater importance…than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who inhabit that land.”

Imperial arrogance, racism and disregard for the rights of the Palestinians, and callous domestic politics, these were the elements that motivated Balfour. They are the same elements that can be seen to be behind Trump’s “Deal of the Century”. There is, however, in the Trump “Deal” an additional element that makes it even more disturbing than its predecessor — and that is its blatant disingenuousness.

In awarding to Israel huge swaths of the West Bank, including all of “East Jerusalem”, like Balfour, Trump “gives” away land that isn’t his to give, but then, the US, under Trump, sees itself as a law unto its own and can do whatever it pleases. In subordinating Palestinians rights to Israeli security concerns and placing onerous burdens on Palestinians, while placing none on the Israelis, Trump, like Balfour, is demonstrating that, in his mind, Israeli needs and their very humanity are of greater importance to him than those of the “Arabs who inhabit that ancient land”. And in timing the release of his plan to deflect from his trial in the US Senate and inviting to its launch his most ardent Jewish and right-wing Christian Evangelical supporters, Trump was making clear that domestic politics were of utmost importance in his calculations.

What makes this “Deal” more disturbing than the “Declaration” is that it ignores the history and consequential developments of the last century, two devastating world wars, the emergence of a body of international law and conventions that sought to learn the lessons of those wars and regulate the behavior of nations in times of war, and multiple Arab-Israeli wars that have taken the lives of tens of thousands, left millions as refugees, and created a deep well of bitterness among those who were expelled and those denied their legitimate rights under a cruel occupation.The Trump “Deal” pretends that it can brush all of this history aside, tear up this body of laws and conventions, and disregard the humanity of the victims of dispossession and loss of rights.

Most disturbing is that, like a real estate huckster, the “Deal” attempts to do all this with a trickster’s “sleight of hand”, saying  “it’s a great deal for the Palestinians”, “theirs for the taking”, “a win-win”, “it’s their last chance”, and then cynically adding “if they don’t screw it up”. In this regard, the Trump “Deal” makes clear where it is ultimately different than Balfour’s Declaration. At least Balfour was honest about his disregard for the rights of the Palestinians.

I would like to be high-minded and state that this “Deal” will never succeed. But I have learned my own hard lessons from history. An uncontested imperial power can flaunt international law and wreak havoc, leaving vulnerable people to pay the price for its arrogance and callousness. As it is, the embrace of Trump’s plan by the Israel right, and that includes both Netanyahu and his opposition, will embolden them to move aggressively to take advantage of this license they have been given to consolidate their hold over the Occupied Territories. The divided and visionless Palestinian leadership is in no position to mount an effective challenge either to Trump or Israel. And the equally divided Arab World and the ineffectual EU will complain but take no meaningful action as Israel moves to consolidate its hold on the territories. What we have, finally, is a one-state reality, an apartheid state, and with that, we enter a new period of struggle for equality and human rights.

Welcome to the world ushered in by the “Deal of the Century”. It is a world not unlike the one that confronted Arabs in Balfour’s World War I era, the injustices it will bring forth and the struggle for justice it will give birth to will continue.

Matt Gaetz Files Ethics Complaint, Criminal Referral Request Against Nancy Pelosi For Tearing Up SOTU Speech

By Tyler Durden | ZeroHedge | 02/05/20

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has written a letter to the House Ethics Committee requesting an investigation into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to tear up a copy of President Trump’s State of the Union address, arguing that “Her unseemly behavior certainly warrants censure.”

Gaetz has also requested a criminal referral for Pelosi’s potential violation of 18 U.S. Code § 2071 (Concealment, removal, or mutilation of documents).

Pelosi, still steaming after House Democrats’ impeachment gambit only drove President Trump’s approval ratings to all time highs, sat through Trump’s Tuesday night address staring daggers into the back of Trump’s head and mumbling to herself – only to test, pre-rip, and then tear up her copy of Trump’s SOTU speech.

According to Gaetz, President Trump delivered remarks “which received overwhelming (and frequently bipartisan) support,” that were an “uplifting celebration of the diversity of the American experience and the triumph of the American Spirit.”

Pelosi’s theatrics were “utterly dismissive of the President’s achievements, and, more importantly, the achievements of the American People.”

Gaetz argues that Pelosi’s actions appear to violate clauses 1 and 2 of House Rule XXIII, and does not “reflect creditably on the House,” or follow “the spirit and the letter of the Rules of the House.”


Incompetence: DNC Scandals Are A Feature, Not A Bug

By Caitlin Johnstone | Medium | 2//05/20

The Iowa caucus scandal has continued to get more egregious by the hour, with new revelations routinely pouring in about extremely suspicious manipulations taking place which all just so happen to disadvantage the campaign of Bernie Sanders in the first Democratic electoral contest of 2020. By the time you read this article, there will likely have been more.

Following the failure of an extremely shady app developed by vocally anti-Sanders establishment insiders which reportedly was literally altering vote count numbers after they were entered, Black Hawk County supervisor Chris Schwartz shared the election results in his county on Facebook so the public could have some idea of what’s going on as the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) slowly trickles out the results of the caucuses.

Sanders supporters quickly highlighted the fact that the IDP’s reported numbers for Black Hawk County were wildly different from those reported by Schwartz, with votes taken from Sanders and given to minor fringe candidates Deval Patrick and Tom Steyer. The IDP then announced that it would be making “a minor correction to the last batch of results”, which just so happened to be in Black Hawk County and just so happened to give Sanders back some votes (but still remains different from that reported by Schwartz).

It’s probable that this only happened as a result of one Black Hawk County supervisor taking to social media to report the vote tallies for this one particular county. What about all the Iowa locations where this did not happen and local Democratic Party officials didn’t report their numbers on social media? Does anyone actually believe that the one instance where the IDP got caught is the one instance in which such vote tampering occurred?

That would be a very silly belief to hold, in my opinion. It would be like a store clerk discovering that a can of beans is completely rotten, then going ahead and putting the rest of the pallet on the shelf under the assumption that the other cans are fine.

Another of the countless revelations hemorrhaging from this fustercluck is a report from CNN and The New York Post that the DNC, not the IDP, is “running the show” in managing the Iowa caucus scandal. This means that this Democratic presidential primary scandal is being managed by the same committee which orchestrated the last Democratic presidential primary scandal, and that the campaign being victimized by this scandal, that of Bernie Sanders, is the same in both cases.

This would be the same DNC whose chairperson, Tom Perez, recently stacked its nominating committee with dozens of odious alt-centrist establishment insiders who are ideologically opposed to Sanders in every meaningful way.

“Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez has nominated dozens of lobbyists, corporate consultants, think tank board members, and former officials linked to the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton to serve on the Democratic National Convention (DNC) nominating committee this July,” Kevin Gosztola reported for Grayzone last month. “Many of Perez’s nominees are vocal opponents of Senator Bernie Sanders and spoke out against his campaign when he challenged Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2016.”

As these scandalous revelations continue to emerge I don’t see anyone online expressing surprise that the Democratic establishment is once again stacking the deck against Sanders, but I do see some people expressing surprise that they are being so brazen about it. Which is perfectly understandable; if this party wants to screw over progressive voters, you’d expect that they’d at least try to hide it a little bit so they don’t alienate their progressive base before November.

The flaw in this expectation is its premise that Democratic Party elites care if their party wins in November. They do not.

Put yourself in the shoes of one of the leading movers and shakers within the Democratic Party for a minute. Pretend you’re getting a nice paycheck, pretend you’re getting great healthcare benefits, pretend you get plenty of prestige and exclusive access and invitations to classy parties. And pretend you’re the type of person who’s willing to manipulate and deceive and kiss up and kick down and do whatever it takes to get to the top of such a structure.

Now ask yourself, if you were such a person in such a situation, would you care if voters pick Donald Trump or Pete Buttigeig in November? Would it affect your cushy lifestyle in any way whatsoever? Would you lose your job, your prestige or your influence? No party elites lost those things in 2016. Why would you expect this time to be any different?

But you might be at risk of losing your cushy lifestyle if a forcefully anti-elitist progressive movement gets off the ground and takes control of your party. So you’d stand everything to gain by doing everything you can to prevent that from happening, and, because you don’t care if Trump gets re-elected, you’d stand absolutely nothing to lose.

These people do not care if Trump gets re-elected, because they lose nothing if he does. The only people who stand anything to lose are the ordinary citizens who are suffering under a corrupt status quo of soul-crushing neoliberalism and increasing authoritarianism, many of whom currently support Sanders. Democratic Party elites are perfectly happy to keep shrieking about Russia for another four years while making sure that the status quo which rewards their manipulative behavior remains intact, and ensuring that they never wind up like those poor suckers out there who are suffering from poverty and lack of healthcare.

And everything I just said is equally true of the media class who are currently working in conjunction with the DNC’s shenanigans to spin Pete Buttigeig as the clear winner of the party’s first presidential electoral contest. They enjoy all the same perks, and move in many of the same circles, as Democratic Party elites, and it’s all conditioned on their protection of the status quo.

I keep seeing the word “incompetence” thrown around. “Gosh these Democratic Party leaders are so incompetent!”, they say. “How can anyone be so bad at their job?”

Well, they are not bad at their job. They are very, very good at their job. It’s just that their job isn’t what most people assume it is.

Their job is not to win elections and garner public support, their job is to ensure the perpetuation of the status quo which rewards them so handsomely for their malignant behavior. Toward this end they are not incompetent at all. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re doing it well.

They are extremely competent. Depraved, certainly. Sociopathic, possibly. But not incompetent.

They’re happy to make their nefariousness look like incompetence though, whenever they can get away with it. Any manipulator worth their salt always will be. If they can make their planned, deliberate acts of sabotage look like innocent little oopsies, they’ll gladly do so. But you learn in life that whenever you see someone making a lot of “mistakes” which just so happen to benefit them every time, you’re dealing with manipulation, not incompetence.

What do the bad guys say in the movies when they order someone’s murder? They say “Make it look like an accident.” If it’s an accident you’ve got no trouble. You won’t be seen for what you are.

But of course it’s no accident, and anyone with clear eyes and good intentions sees this. If you see someone working hard to make you believe that it’s incompetence, you are dealing with someone who is invested in maintaining the status quo in some way. You are being manipulated.

The system isn’t broken. It’s working exactly the way it’s intended to work. It ain’t a bug, it’s a feature. And that feature will remain in operation until the entire sick system is torn down and replaced with something healthy.


The Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX): Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and the Russians

By Joyce Nelson | Global Research | 01/31/20

A funny thing happened on the way to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX)…or rather, several funny things. And they all have to do with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s fear of “foreign meddling” in Canada’s pipeline politics.

You may recall that at a stop in Vancouver on March 6, 2018, Kenney told CBC News,

“I think we have legitimate questions to ask about the ultimate source of some of the funds that are being spent in Canadian politics to bottleneck our resources,” he said. “In whose interest is it that Canadian oil and gas does not get to global markets? Well, obviously, it’s in the interest of Russia, with the fourth-largest reserves on earth.”

There has long been fierce opposition to the TMX project (owned at the time by Texas-based Kinder Morgan), which will nearly triple the pipeline’s capacity to bring Alberta diluted bitumen (dilbit) to the West Coast.  Kenney further stated,

“If the Russian government decided to deploy an organized social media campaign to attack U.S. energy, so there’s less American energy exports, it’s entirely reasonable to assume they might have tried to do the same thing in Canada. I have no evidence of that, but it’s a reasonable question.” [1]

Kenney’s Russian musings may have been prompted by a lengthy, March 2, 2018 article in the Financial Post by Claudia Cattaneo entitled “Russian meddling another worry for Canadian energy exports.” [2]

Russian Bots?

All of this prompted the B.C. NGO Dogwood Initiative to launch an impromptu selfie campaign, urging supporters to send photos to Kenney to reassure him that they aren’t Russian bots. “It’s time to fess up,” Dogwood’s Kai Nagata wrote. “Are you being paid by Vladimir Putin? Post a picture of yourself with the hashtag #NotARussianBot to show that you’re a real Canadian, expressing your opinions in a democracy.” [3]

Throughout March 2018, the Russia meddling theory got widespread coverage in Canadian media, and then suddenly the coverage stopped.

I suspect that an aide to Jason Kenney quietly took him aside and told him something like this: “Mr. Kenney, sir, do you realize that the pipe being provided for Kinder Morgan’s TMX is actually being manufactured by a Russian-owned company?”

In other words: Oops.

On May 2, 2017 (almost a year before Kenney’s Russia musings), Kinder Morgan had announced an agreement to purchase more than 75 per cent (nearly 300,000 tonnes) of the pipe needed for the TMX from a steelmaking factory in Regina owned by Evraz North America, subsidiary of Evraz Plc, Russia’s No.2 steelmaker. [4]

As Dogwood put it in a posting on March 22, 2018 while “everyday British Columbians have no ties to Vladimir Putin, Kinder Morgan does. If Kenney is fond of conspiracy theories, he should look at the Russian businessmen who have every interest in seeing this pipeline built.” [5]

Meanwhile, a more serious problem concerning those pipes was starting to get some attention, at least from pipeline opponents.

Condition 9

The National Energy Board (NEB) had determined 157 conditions to be met by Kinder Morgan for its TMX project. Condition 9 required the company to file, and get approval for, a Quality Management Plan (QMP) 4 months prior to the manufacturing of any pipe and major components for the project.

But in November 2017, DeSmog Canada (now The Narwhal) published an article revealing that Kinder Morgan had awarded pipeline manufacturing contracts (to Evraz North America) between May and July of 2017, and manufacturing of the pipe had begun in October, but without an approved QMP in place. [6]

As author Carol Linnit explained,

“The quality management plan requires Trans Mountain to supply documentation regarding the qualifications of pipeline contractors, vendors and suppliers, quality auditing of manufactured pipe and the preservation of pipe during shipping and storage.”

Given that Kinder Morgan had no such approved QMP before contracting the pipe manufacturing, Linnit noted that “Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain may be in violation of a condition [Condition 9] laid out by the National Energy Board, Canada’s federal pipeline regulator.” [7]

As Dogwood’s writer put it, this “corporate rule-breaking” is a “more concerning component of Kinder Morgan’s Russian pipe deal…It’s the kind of thing you might expect in a corrupt petrostate – like Russia.” [8]

New Angles

Jason Kenney then appeared to have moved on from his Russian meddling theory, to a surprising new angle. In a speech to oil executives at the Oil Sands Trade Show in Fort McMurray in September 2019, Kenney said that Alberta needs to take a hardline approach against environmentalists like autocratic regimes do against critics. He said,

“They know they couldn’t get away with this in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. In fact, Greenpeace did do a protest on an offshore rig in Russia and their crew was arrested and thrown in a Siberian jail for six months and funnily enough they’ve never been back – I’m not recommending that for Canada, but it’s instructive. It’s instructive.” [9]

(In reality, the Greenpeace crew was jailed in Saint Petersburg, released after a few months, and then won a lawsuit in which the Russian government had to pay them millions of dollars in compensation for the illegal seizure in international waters.) [10]

Not surprisingly, Canadian civil liberties groups reacted strongly to Kenney’s hardline approach. Amnesty International Canada warned Kenney that his anti-environmentalist initiatives undermine constitutional rights, and free speech. Kenney then accused Amnesty International of aligning with foes of Alberta’s oil patch and of protecting “foreign-funded billionaires”. [11]

But Kenney soon dropped that angle too. I suspect a dutiful aide again approached him and said something like this: “Mr. Kenney, sir, do you realize that Evraz North America, the company whose Canadian subsidiary manufactured the pipes for TMX, is actually owned in part by Roman Abramovich, a Russian citizen who also holds an Israeli passport and whose net worth is about $15 billion?”

Oops again.

“Pipe in the Ground”

By December 2019, the National Post was announcing that TMX construction was set to begin at a site near Edmonton, with “pipe in the ground before Christmas” and large stockpiles of pipe “massed at yards in the B.C. towns of Vavenby, Hope and Kamloops” and preparatory work ongoing in Valemount. [12]

That prompted me to try to determine what had happened with regard to that Kinder Morgan QMP and the lack of regulatory approval under Condition 9, which governs the actual pipes.

After all, a lot had happened since that November 2017 De Smog/ The Narwhal article had been published. A shortlist would include: the replacement of the National Energy Board by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER); the $4.5 billion purchase of TMX by the Canadian federal government; Jason Kenney’s launch of a “war room” (the Canadian Energy Centre, with Claudia Cattaneo on board) and a $2.5 million public inquiry into “anti-Alberta energy campaigns;” a Federal Court’s quashing of TMX approval due to lack of meaningful consultation with Indigenous groups; and a federal election.

As well, The Tyee writer Geoff Dembicki had thoroughly debunked Kenney’s Russian conspiracy theory, tracing its origins to a notorious U.S. PR firm. [13] (Equally interesting, in the U.S. The Nation magazine had thoroughly debunked widespread Russian meddling in the 2016 election.) [14]

But what about Condition 9 and those pipes, manufactured before any approved QMP and now stored at various locations across the pipeline route?

So in December 2019 I read through all the entries under Condition 9 on the NEB/CER website and could not find any mention at all of the actual pipes in these filings, which were made over many months and which ended as of mid-June 2018. In mid-December, I contacted the CER and asked: “Does this mean that full approval for Condition 9 compliance in the Quality Management Plan is still pending?”

In response to my question, the CER provided a letter sent by the NEB to Kinder Morgan, dated 22 June 2018. The letter stated that the NEB

“requires Trans Mountain to submit a letter signed by the Trans Mountain Accountable Officer confirming that the procurement, manufacture, transportation, and storage of all pipe and major components prior to 21 March 2018 was undertaken in conformance with Trans Mountain’s internal processes and procedures. The letter must also confirm that pipe and major components comply with all relevant internal specifications. The letter must be submitted to the Board no later than 29 June 2018.”

Kinder Morgan had duly responded with a letter (also provided to me by CER), dated 28 June 2018 and signed by Ian Anderson (President, Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC, Kinder Morgan Canada Inc.). It stated:

“As the accountable officer of Trans Mountain, I, to the best of my knowledge, as of the date of this confirmation and after due inquiry, confirm that the procurement, manufacture, transportation and storage of all pipe and major components prior to 21 March 2018 was undertaken in conformance with Trans Mountain’s internal processes and procedures. I also confirm that pipe and major components comply with all relevant internal technical specifications.”

Federal Regulation?  

I may be wrong, but it seems obvious to me that the NEB told Kinder Morgan exactly what to write in order to meet Condition 9 at that late date, and then Kinder Morgan wrote exactly that.

I then contacted Lynn Perrin, who has been following the pipeline regulatory approval process for years as a Director of Pro Information Pro Environment United People Network, otherwise known as Pipe Up.  I asked her: is it normal for the NEB/CER to accept a company letter confirming that all QMP guidelines and conditions for the pipes have been met, six months after the manufacturing had already begun?

Perrin’s answer by email was short and to the point: “Two Auditor General reports note that the NEB does not enforce Conditions the majority of the time!” The reports cover years of such lack of enforcement by the federal regulatory body. [15]

I guess this is how the politburo functions in a petro-state.

Nonetheless, opposition to TMX continues, regardless of “pipe in the ground” near Edmonton. Stay tuned for TMX Part 2: The Pipeline and The Supremes.


Article originally published to GlobalResearch.ca. The views expressed may not necessarily be the views of DCPeriodical.

Joyce Nelson is the author of seven books. She can be reached via www.joycenelson.ca

Notes

[1] Quoted in Justin McElroy, “Why Kinder Morgan and Russian interference in elections are more closely related than you think,” CBC News, March 6, 2018.

[2] Claudia Cattaneo, “Russian meddling another worry for Canadian energy exports,” Financial Post, March 2, 2018.

[3] Alexandra Bly, “Dogwood Snarks Back After Kenney Claims Pipeline Opponents Are Russian Agents,” The Energy Mix, March 9, 2018.

[4] Reuters Staff, “Russia’s Evraz to supply pips for Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion,” Reuters, May 2, 107.

[5] Sophie Harrison, “One Small problem with Jason Kenney’s ‘Russian bots’ theory,” Dogwood posting, March 22, 2018.

[6] Carol Linnit, “Kinder Morgan At Risk of Violating NEB Condition With Premature 300,000-Tonne Pipeline Order,” DeSmog/The Narwhal, November 3, 2017.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Harrison, op. cit.

[9] Quoted in “Jason Kenney: Vladimir Putin’s Jailing of Dissidents is ‘Instructive’ on How to Deal With Environmentalists,” Press Progress, September 11, 2019.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Geoffrey Morgan, “Trans Mountain construction set to begin, with ‘pipe in the ground before Christmas’,” National Post, December 2, 2019.

[13] Geoff Dembicki, “Enviros Tools of Russians? The Weird Conspiracy Theory Firing up Kenney’s Inquiry,” The Tyee, November 22, 2019.

[14] Aaron Mate, “New Studies Show Pundits Are Wrong About Russian Social-Media Involvement in US Politics,” The Nation, December 28, 2018.

[15] The 2 Auditor General Reports can be found at: [https://foroilfreeshores.fils.wordpress.com/2016/05/auditor-general-2010-report-on-transportation-of-dangerous-goods.pdf] and [http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_201601_02_e_41021.html#hd3a]

Featured image: Premier Jason Kenney and Cabinet at Government House, in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.  (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Alberta Government)The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Joyce Nelson, Global Research, 2020

Corporate Media Are the Real ‘Sanders Attack Machine’

By Julie Hollar | FAIR | 01/31/20

As the Iowa caucuses approach, corporate media are beginning to panic.

“Running Bernie Sanders Against Trump Would Be an Act of Insanity,” insisted  Jonathan Chait in New York magazine (1/28/20). The New York Times‘ Paul Krugman (1/20/20)—among many others (FAIR.org1/24/20)—revived the 2016 media trend of tarring Sanders as “Trumpian.”

Electability advice from the pundit who wrote “Why Liberals Should Support a Trump Republican Nomination” (New York2/5/16).

The Never Trumper holdouts—an increasingly endangered species—are as scared as the establishment Democrats. “Bernie Can’t Win,” David “Axis of Evil” Frum wrote pleadingly in the Atlantic (1/27/20). “Bernie Sanders’s Trump-Like Campaign Is a Disaster for Democrats,” cried the Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin (1/27/20). “Anyone But Trump? Not So Fast,” counseled the New York Times‘ Bret Stephens (1/24/20).

The Wall Street–funded Democratic think tank Third Way has also pulled out all the stops against Sanders’ rise—with media’s help. The group put out “A Warning” to Iowa Democrats (1/28/20), advising them that,

because of media negligence and the strategic calculation of his rivals, you have not seen much real exploration of the politically toxic background and ideas of the current polling leader in Iowa and a national co-frontrunner.

The memo proceeded to offer a lengthy list of ways Trump would attack Sanders—an easy list for them to compose, since some of them, such as that he’ll be called a socialist and that Medicare for All is unpopular, are ones the Third Way itself has used to attack Sanders.

The media have been happy to offer a platform for this message. The Washington Post recently gave Third Way an op-ed column (1/15/20) to make its case that “Bernie Sanders’s agenda makes him the definition of unelectable.” USA Today (1/29/20) likewise gave Third Way leaders space to charge, “Democrats Court Doom by Backing Bernie Sanders. His Ideas Are Toxic Outside Blue America.” And the group has been popping up in the latest round of centrist-source articles (among other usual suspects, like Rahm Emanuel and James Carville), in which establishment sources make unsubstantiated claims that reporters pass on without comment.

One of these ideas is that Sanders has flown under the radar, evading attacks or scrutiny from both his opponents and the media. “It’s past time for other Democrats to come off the sidelines and for the media to start doing its job to vet a serious contender for the nomination,” Third Way’s Matt Bennett told NBCNews.com (1/25/20) in an article headlined, “‘Oh My God, Sanders Can Win’: Democrats Grapple With Bernie Surge in Iowa.” In Politico (1/27/20), he ratcheted up the rhetoric: “[The media] let him get away with murder. They let him bluster past hard questions.”

Democrats are alarmed that too many Democrats want Bernie Sanders to be the nominee, NBC (1/25/20) reported.

Not all media observers agreed. In a bizarre “do they have an editor” moment, the Washington Post (1/26/20) published two news articles making opposite observations: “Bernie Sanders Faces Barrage of Attacks From Rivals as Polls Point to Surge in Early-Voting States” and “Rivals Aren’t Throwing a Lot of Roadblocks in Front of Sanders.” The former, by Chelsea Janes and Sean Sullivan, pointed to recent interviews and campaign messaging coming from Sanders’ opponents that target him. The latter, by David Weigel, reported on some of the same evidence, but came to the opposite conclusion, because some of the attacks were made in venues without a broad reach (a South Carolina newspaper, a campaign email) and some were ineffective. (Many “voters were unmoved” by Biden and Klobuchar’s attacks on Sanders as “upending the Obama legacy.”)

The Weigel piece argued that

All of Sanders’s rivals spend time, sometimes after a worried voter asks for it, explaining how they will pay for their plans without busting the budget. Sanders does not get these questions and spent months at town halls where he asked voters to describe their crises — health-care bills, student debt — so he could explain why only an unfair economy would even allow the problems to exist.

To set the record straight: Sanders has gotten a great deal of media scrutiny and pushback, as FAIR noted back in 2016 (5/25/16) and David Sessions (New Republic1/28/20) has usefully updated. Sessions wrote:

The notion that Sanders is sailing toward primary victories with nary a soul bothering to pose a question about his record or electability is a relic of the 2016 Democratic primary, when Hillary Clinton and her supporters grew frustrated with his durable presence in the race and pundits puzzled over the fact that Sanders polled better against Donald Trump. The common explanation settled on was that Sanders’s popularity was a mirage resting on his lack of scrutiny. But it’s hard to square that conventional wisdom with the written record—a compendium of “vetting” so varied and substantial that it raises the question as to whether the people who need vetting the most are those who continue to call for it long after their needs have been met.

Another line of attack is the revival of the “Bernie Bro” as a means to discredit the Sanders campaign. A central trope of the 2016 campaign, based on anecdotal evidence and repeated endlessly by Clinton supporters and journalists, the idea that Sanders supporters are predominantly white, male and viciously offensive on social media lingers on—despite its utter lack of basis in reality.

As all journalists and most of the rest of the world know, the internet is awash in vile rhetoric coming from all directions, not just from a small subset of Sanders supporters. As Glenn Greenwald put it (Intercept1/31/16):

There are literally no polarizing views one can advocate online — including criticizing Democratic Party leaders such as Clinton or Barack Obama — that will not subject one to a torrent of intense anger and vile abuse…. Pretending that abusive or misogynistic behavior is unique to Sanders supporters is a blatant, manipulative scam.

In fact, a March 2016 study found that, among voters, Sanders supporters were perceived as much less “aggressive and/or threatening online” (16%) than were Clinton supporters (30%), who in turn were perceived as much less so than Trump supporters (57%).

The New York Times ( 1/27/20) suggests that Sanders is responsible for his followers “venom” because he says things like, “I don’t go to the Hamptons to raise money from billionaires.” 

And yet the media persist with the trope. In the New York Times 1/27/20), this came as a lengthy front-page article headlined:

Bernie Sanders and His Internet Army: At the Start of His 2020 Bid, the Vermont Senator Told His Supporters That He Condemned Bullying. Is It His Problem if Many Don’t Seem to Listen? 

In the Daily Beast (1/22/20), the headline was “Bernie Bros Are Loud, Proud, and  Toxic to Sanders’ Campaign.” And the headline of an NBCNews.com (1/19/20) column announced, “Trump’s MAGA Supporters and Twitter Bernie Bros Have This Ugly Tactic in Common: Bernie Twitter Operates Under the Self-Righteous Guise of Being the True Progressives of the Internet. But Their Harassing Tactics Are Anything but Progressive.”

These pieces continue the trend of cherry-picking evidence and moving seamlessly between accusations of death threats and examples that hardly qualify as abuse (The closing piece of evidence in the New York Times: “Some of you millionaires need to realize that many of us actually *need* Bernie Sanders to win the presidency,” one account replied. “We can’t just ‘chill.’”).

In the Times piece, reporters Matt Flegenheimer, Rebecca R. Ruiz and Nellie Bowles regurgitated the completely unsubstantiated claim of chair-throwing at the 2016 Nevada convention (rated “false” by Snopes, but eagerly repeated across the media) and combined it with “a torrent of menacing messages” to the state party chair to justify associating Sanders’ campaign with violence: “In person, serious violence has been avoided, it seems, though there have been occasional low-grade clashes.”

Meanwhile, rivals are given the opportunity to cast blame on Sanders, again with no evidence. For instance, a strategist for both Obama and Clinton is quoted saying that Sanders “had empowered aides and surrogates who ‘have a tendency to aggressively amplify things that a campaign would normally shut down amongst supporters.’”

No evidence is supplied, unless you count the example given later in the article in which prominent Sanders supporter Shaun King tweeted that the Warren campaign “leaked this attack against Bernie to the press for political gain,” and that Warren staffers had told him that Warren “routinely embellishes stories.” The outcome, according to the Times? The Sanders campaign manager told King to stop; “but by then, much of the Sanders-aligned internet was about to begin tweeting snakes at Ms. Warren and her supporters en masse.”

In other words, the campaign did not empower King; they shut him down. But notice how King’s tweets are nonetheless held responsible for “the Sanders-aligned internet” that was “about to begin” tweeting snakes—and then Sanders’ campaign is apparently held responsible by association.

Hillary Clinton jumped into the fray with guns blazing in the Hollywood Reporter (1/21/20). When asked if she would endorse and campaign for Sanders if he got the nomination, her response was evasive but decidedly antagonistic:

I’m not going to go there yet. We’re still in a very vigorous primary season. I will say, however, that it’s not only him, it’s the culture around him. It’s his leadership team. It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women…. I don’t think we want to go down that road again where you campaign by insult and attack and maybe you try to get some distance from it, but you either don’t know what your campaign and supporters are doing, or you’re just giving them a wink and you want them to go after Kamala [Harris] or after Elizabeth [Warren]. I think that that’s a pattern that people should take into account when they make their decisions.

The Post‘s Rubin (1/21/20) drew on this quote and other excerpts from Clinton’s Hollywood Reporter interview to paint Sanders as having an “Attack Machine” centered on a “thinly veiled misogyny” that is now supposedly “com[ing] back to haunt him.”

The real Sanders attack machine isn’t the mythical machine run by Sanders to take down his opponents; it’s run by the establishment Democrats and their media counterparts to take down Sanders.

SIDEBAR:

‘Menacing’ Sanders ‘Tightens Grip’ by ‘Threatening to Seize Control’

New York Times (1/27/20)

The New York Times, in a piece headlined “In Iowa, the ‘Not Sanders’ Democrats Find Voters Torn” (1/27/20), described Sanders’ rise in alarming terms:

Mr. Sanders is threatening to seize control in the early states, taking narrow but clear polling leads in Iowa and New Hampshire and increasingly menacing Mr. Biden’s advantage in national polls.

“The liberal Bernie Sanders tightens his grip in Iowa,” the piece’s subhead warned, using imagery more often used to convey the movement of hostile military forces than to report a politician’s favorable polling results.


Article originally published to FIAR.org. The views expressed may not necessarily be the views of DCPeriodical.

US Announces Three New Bases in Iraq After Iraqis Demand Full Withdrawal

By Alan Macleod | MintPress News | 1/30/20

Less than a week after millions of Iraqis took to the streets demanding the U.S. military leave for good, the United States announced that is planning to build three new military bases in Iraq, according to military news service Breaking Defense. The three sites chosen – Erbin, Sulimania and Halabja – are all extremely close to Iran, with Halabja (the site of the 1988 chemical weapons attack) just eight miles from the border.

The news will come as a shock to the Iraqi parliament, who earlier this month voted overwhelmingly (with some abstentions) to expel American forces from the country. But the U.S. government has flatly refused to leave. “At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership — not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East,” said State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, adding, “We strongly urge Iraqi leaders to reconsider the importance of the ongoing economic and security relationship between the two countries… We believe it is in the shared interests of the United States and Iraq to continue fighting ISIS together.” Earlier this month the U.S. decided to send an extra 3,000 troops to the region.

President Trump responded by threatening sweeping mass punishments against the Iraqi people. “We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it…If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever,” he said. U.S.-led sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s are thought to have killed over one million people, including over half a million young children. Successive U.N. diplomats in charge of Iraq during the sanctions denounced them as genocide against its people. Trump said his sanctions would make the ones on Iran look tame by comparison.

“If there’s any hostility,” he said, “we are going to put sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions.” Trump also threatened to commit genocide against the people of Iran, destroying their cultural heritage sites in a move condemned by many and compared to the Taliban’s destruction of the world-renowned Buddhas of Bamyan in Afghanistan.

Despite the president’s threats, enormous numbers of Iraqis heeded Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s call for a “million man march” in Baghdad last week. While Time magazine claimed there were only “hundreds” in attendance, drone footage told a very different story. Some estimates put the total at over 2.5 million. And despite Bloomberg Quick Take originally claiming that they were “anti-government demonstrations,” the huge banner on the main stage reading “GET OUT AMERICA” in uppercase English letters suggested otherwise.

Hostilities between the United States and Iran threatened to spiral out of control after the January 3 assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani had been invited to Baghdad by Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi for regional peace talks. Abdul-Mahdi asked Trump for permission for Soleimani to enter Iraq. Trump accepted, then used the opportunity to kill the general with a drone strike, something the Iraqi parliament declared a violation of their national sovereignty. In retaliation, the Iranians fired ballistic missiles at U.S.-occupied bases in Iraq, causing pinpoint damage, but no fatalities, as the U.S. was warned of the impending response. The Pentagon has said that dozens of troops have suffered brain injuries as a result, but the president disagrees, claiming they amount to little more than headaches.

Source | Express

The plan to build new bases will be seen in Iran as an attempt to tighten the noose around it more tightly. There are already over 65,000 American military personnel in neighboring countries. The U.S. continues to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan since the invasions launched in the wake of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. 

Since 2003, an estimated 2.4 million people have been killed in the U.S. war on Iraq. One of the consequences of the wars in the Middle East was the rise of the Islamic State, which itself has led to further conflict. The U.S. military also operates from a network of bases in Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and many other states in the region. 

The move to establish three new U.S. military bases on Iran’s borders will not be a welcome move to those who wish to deescalate tensions, least of all by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, who moved their Doomsday Clock to just 100 seconds to midnight, citing a possible regional nuclear catastrophe as a factor. 


Article from MintPressNews.com. the views expressed may not necessarily reflect the views of DCPeriodical.

Israeli Puppet Donald Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” Plan is a Palestinian Insult

By Danny C. | DCPeriodical | 01/29/20

Yesterday both Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s current prime minister, and Benny Gantz, his adversary in Israel’s upcoming election, met separately with US President Donald Trump to discuss the release of their “Peace to Prosperity” plan.

The plan, spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is close family friends with the Netanyahus, has been touted by the White House as Trump’s “vision for a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,” but one look at the map released by Trump via Twitter solidifies it is anything but; nor was it Trump’s plan in the first place. As even the New York Times had to admit, Netanyahu was the actual driver behind the outrageous terms.

Palestinian Authority leaders, who weren’t even invited to take part in the discussions, as well as Hamas, shot the plan down immediately. In fact, as parts of the deal were leaked early they’d already declared it would be dead on arrival before it was even released.

The man on the left has been impeached by his country’s Congress for constitutional crimes. The man on the right is currently facing a possible 13 years in prison for multiple corruption charges brought by his country’s parliament. Both are guilty of war crimes. Together they just concocted a plan to officially steal even more land from the people of Palestine, and are both just insane enough to believe their deal will be agreed to.

Despite this, Trump, who released the plan alongside Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday afternoon in a press conference in Washington, said he believes it is the “deal of the century” for both Israelis and Palestinians. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Palestinians were not just absent from this meeting – they have boycotted the Trump administration ever since it unilaterally moved its embassy to Jerusalem. But they have essentially been presented with an ultimatum – accept the Trump parameters or else, and they have been given some four years to come around.

BBC

Since 1917, when the British government signed the Balfour Declaration which awarded a land that wasn’t their’s (Palestine) to a small group of European Jewish Zionists led by Lord Rothschild (a movement unpopular among Jews at the time that was later adopted after the Holocaust), an ongoing military effort of displacement, humiliation, starvation, degradation, apartheid, and all-around tyrannical war crimes have reduced the Palestinians to living within tiny tracts of their own lands — the Gaza Strip and the West Bank — most of which are occupied by Israeli militants, while their homes are still being taken from them by Israelis in what are internationally recognized as illegal settlements.

The Balfour Declaration

Experts have rightly labelled this unfolding of events as a clear-cut, modern-day genocide, not much different from what happened to the natives of the Americas or the aborigines of Australia.

An overview of the hostile and internationally illegal Israeli takeover of the territory of Palestine.

President Trump caused an international stir in December of 2017 when he declared Jerusalem the legitimate capital city of Israel, despite it being the internationally recognized capital of Palestine. He then moved the US Embassy to Israel there in 2018. His new peace plan, of course, specifies Jerusalem as “Israel’s undivided capital” — a major reason Palestinian Authority leaders will never agree to it.

In March of 2019 Trump then declared the occupied Golan Heights — Syrian territory — the property of Israel, in spite of this also being in conflict with international law. The Golan Heights, according to Trump’s new map, is designated as a part of Israel.

While Trump tried to appear compassionate to the Palestinians by declaring that “no Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes,” what this statement really means is that the existing illegal Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, all taken by force, will remain, as will the illegal settlements in East Jerusalem — another reason Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the deal nothing more than a “conspiracy.”

“I say to Trump and Netanyahu: Jerusalem is not for sale, all our rights are not for sale and are not for bargain. And your deal, the conspiracy, will not pass,” he said in a televised address from Ramallah in the West Bank.

BBC
Jewish settlers forcefully take the home of a Palestinian family — an act that has displaced thousands of families from the houses they had lived in for generations.

While President Trump is offering the Palestinians a state it would be a much truncated one. No Jewish settlers will be uprooted and Israeli sovereignty will apparently be extended to the settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley. The Palestinians might have a capital in the East Jerusalem suburbs. This “take it or leave it offer” will appal many long-standing students of the region. The question now is not so much what benefit this deal might bring but how much damage it may do by over-turning Palestinian aspirations.

-BBC

The UN stated they aren’t getting behind the Trump plan and are only interested in a peace deal based on the borders set by them before the 1967 war, when Israel took hold of Gaza and the West Bank.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem stated:

The American administration’s plan branded as the “Deal of the Century” is more like Swiss cheese, with the cheese being offered to the Israelis and the holes to the Palestinians. There are many ways to end the occupation, but the only legitimate options are those based on equality and human rights for all. This is why the current plan which legitimizes, entrenches and even expands the scope of Israel’s human rights abuses, perpetuated now for over 52 years, is utterly unacceptable.

As the group also pointed out, Trump’s plan “drains the principles of international law of any meaning and completely neuters the concept of accountability for breaching them. Trump suggests rewarding Israel for the unlawful and immoral practices in which it has been engaging ever since it seized the Territories. Israel will be able to continue plundering Palestinian land and resources; it will also get to keep its settlements and even annex more territory; all in complete defiance of international law.”

This plan reveals a world view that sees Palestinians as perennial subjects rather than free, autonomous human beings. A “solution” of this sort, one that fails to ensure the human rights, liberty and equality of all people living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and instead perpetuates one side’s oppression and dispossession of the other – is not a legitimate solution. As a matter of fact, it is no solution at all, just a recipe for generations more of oppression, injustice, and violence.

After the deal’s details were released, Netanyahu was already announcing he would be bringing the plan to annex the Jordan Valley and all settlements in the West Bank to a vote during next week’s cabinet meeting.

If the Israeli cabinet approves Netanyahu’s first annexation proposal, which will include the Jordan valley, Palestinians living in annexed territories would come under direct Israeli rule but, under the plan, would not be allowed to vote in Israeli elections. That is the very definition of apartheid.

Consortium News

Since Donald Trump has taken office, he has continuously governed, especially when it comes to Middle Eastern policy, based on the commands of Israel — recognizing the occupied territory of the Golan Heights as Israeli property, escalating tensions with Iran, assassinating Soleimani (which Israel attempted and failed to do in the past), moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, supporting the illegal settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank, pledging 38 billion in American taxpayer dollars for Israeli military purposes over ten years, etc.

It is true that Trump is the puppet of a foreign nation, but it isn’t Russia — sanctions still remain and the nuclear arms race is back in full effect, not to mention the fact Trump is stoking war with Russia’s closest ally. Trump is no Russian puppet. He is clearly the property of Israel. This plan proves it.

With his close, decades-long ties to Jeffrey Epstein, a known sexual blackmail operative said to have been an agent of Israel by several sources, including known ex-Israeli spy Ari Ben Menasche, it makes one wonder if and what the small Middle Eastern nuclear power may have over the impeached president to have him serve them so vehemently.

Whatever the case, this insulting “peace plan” proposed to the Palestinians by the impeached Trump on behalf of the indicted Netanyahu is nothing less than a travesty. There is zero chance the Palestinians will agree to it — as they shouldn’t.


Princeton & NYU Professor Emeritus Obliterates Adam Schiff’s “Ignorant” Red Baiting (Video)

By Aaron Maté | The Grayzone | 01/28/20

At the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, chief Democratic prosecutor Adam Schiff has claimed that the US is arming Ukraine “so that we can fight Russia over there so we don’t have to fight Russia here” and called Russia a “wounded, dangerous animal.” Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University, says that Schiff’s rhetoric is “ignorant and debased.”

Guest: Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University, contributing editor at The Nation, and author of “War with Russia: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate.”


Netanyahu Officially Indicted on Corruption Charges, Can’t Blame Antisemitism This Time

By Danny C. | DCPeriodical | 01/28/20

Well, it’s going to be hard for old Bibi to wage his famous “anti-Semite” defense against those who have stood up to him for his crimes this time, because those people are officials inside his own government.

After withdrawing his request for immunity, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu has been formally indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust over allegations that he granted hundreds of millions of dollars worth of state favors to Israeli media moguls in return for gifts and bias coverage.

Any time Israel under Netanyahu has been criticized, be it by UN officials, US lawmakers, UK politicians, journalists, or the International Criminal Court (who is currently investigating Israel for war crimes), whoever, the prime minister has always auto-responded with charges of antisemitism as if it’s involuntary — like Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo. This time, with his fellow Israeli officials being the ones attempting to bring him to justice, in Trump-fashion he is simply playing the part of an innocent victim subject to a left-wing “witch hunt,” showing he is completely unable to take responsibility for his criminal actions as a leader or as a man.

Israel’s longest-serving prime minister issued a statement on Facebook on Tuesday, saying the immunity proceedings in parliament would have been a “circus” and he did not want to take part in a “dirty game”.

Al Jazeera

Originally, when the charges were made public, Netanyahu tried to claim immunity from them, shamelessly arguing that since he is the prime minister he should essentially be above the law.

Israel’s parliament, known as the Knesset, was set to debate this request and expected to reject it. As elections are nearing, Netanyahu feared the rejection would deal a major blow to his campaign and withdrew his request. Israel’s attorney general filed the indictment almost immediately.

Israeli media reported he really had no choice but to withdraw his request.

“Netanyahu hates to be the loser,” said Israeli columnist Akiva Eldar. “He wanted the immunity and he wasn’t able to get it. He stood no chance. He doesn’t have a majority in the Knesset to get the immunity.”

The prime minister’s chief rival, Benny Gantz, who leads the Blue and White alliance, said in a statement: “Netanyahu is going to trial – we must go forward.”

“Nobody could run a country and simultaneously manage three serious criminal charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust,” he added.

Despite his manipulative tactics to control narratives through his bought-and-paid-for connections in the media, Ayman Odeh — leader of the Joint List of Arab parties in the Knesset — said that “no diplomatic public relations stunt in the world” would be able to spare Netanyahu from justice this time.

In June Bibi’s wife Sara Netanyahu was indicted on charges of misusing state funds.

Sara Netanyahu stands accused of ordering hundreds of meals using government funds to the prime minister’s residence totaling over $100,000. At the same time she deceptively claimed the residence had no cook, even though there was a cook employed on the state’s dime, presumably in order to keep the expensive outside ordered meals coming and to avoid exposure. 

ZeroHedge

If convicted, Netanyahu, the fascist despot who claimed to have America wrapped around his finger when he thought the cameras weren’t rolling back in 2012, will face a possible three years for his fraud and breach of trust charges and a maximum of 10 years for his bribery charges.

When the news was released, Netanyahu was in America with his puppet Donald Trump drawing up a “peace plan” between Israel and the people it has displaced, conquered, and occupied since 1947, the people of Palestine. The plan is a recipe for apartheid. You can see the details here: