Friday, May 26, 2017

Hillary at Wellesley

Right now on MSNBC.

An excellent and forthright liberal speech.

It seems to me now that the contrast between the Democrats and the Republicans is as stark and as harsh as the contrast between Lincoln in 1860, the anti-secessionist and abolitionist Republican, and the opposing candidates who defended secession, slavery, or both.

Imagine the contrast between a speech by Lincoln against slavery and secession and a speech by Jefferson Davis defending both.

Imagine it's the summer of 1860 and issues are coming to a head.

You know you have to choose.

Do you really have the least, tiniest difficulty lining up with the right side?

Not just the speechmaker but the people she was speaking to, her values and theirs, her views and theirs, her anger and theirs.

Hillary supporters or Trump supporters, Lincoln supporters or Jeff Davis supporters, which are your people?

Trump a wrecker at G7

Hopes for refugee crisis plan fall into chasm between G7 and Trump

Disagreements with US are so fundamental that Sicily summit might not be able to issue communique.

Breitbart is thrilled.

Another Muslim mess

Russia investigates 'gay purge' in Chechnya

Russian officials are actively investigating claims of a purge of gay men in Chechnya, a process that could lead to a showdown between Moscow and the local Kremlin-backed strongman, Ramzan Kadyrov.

Dozens of men in the southern republic are reported to have been held in extrajudicial detention and tortured as part of a campaign against gay males in Chechnya that began several months ago. 

Many have fled and are in hiding in other regions of Russia or have gone abroad.

. . . .

Most of the Chechen men involved are frightened about going public with their allegations because they fear not only for their own safety but that of their families. 

Homosexuality is a huge taboo in Chechnya and many fear reprisals from their own families if they come out publicly. 

They also fear their families will be made to suffer a “stain on their honour” for having a gay relative. 

. . . .

So far, the response from Chechen authorities has been denial and threats. 

Kadyrov, in an interview on 22 April, denied the allegations on the basis that there were “no gay men in Chechnya”. 

He said: “These are not traditional things, psychiatrically abnormal things. We don’t understand them. Our people do not understand.”

Chechnya’s press and information minister, Jambulat Umarov, wrote on Instagram that Novaya Gazeta should “apologise to the Chechen people” for the “filthy provocation” of suggesting gay people existed in Chechnya. 

He also suggested that people “who are more annoyed by your newspaper than we are” would “take care” of the journalists if they continued with their publications.

More frequent and generally worse

Jihader attacks in Muslim countries, as compared to their attacks in the Occident.

Gunmen kill 28 in latest attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt

Twenty-eight people, including children, have been killed and 22 wounded in a gun attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians south of Cairo, the latest in a series of terrorist incidents targeting the religious minority in Egypt.

Local media reported witnesses saying that between eight and 10 gunmen, dressed in military uniform, carried out the attack. 

Egypt’s interior ministry said the attackers, travelling in four-wheel-drives, “fired indiscriminately” at a car, bus and a truck in the al-Idwah district outside Minya, roughly 135 miles (220km) south of Cairo.

Or elsewhere.

'They kill defenceless people': thousands flee Philippine city of Marawi

The attack on Marawi, a mainly Muslim city of 200,000 people, by the Islamic State-linked Maute group this week has led to a fierce three-day battle, with the army deploying attack helicopters and special forces.

At least 46 people – 15 members of the security forces and 31 militants – have been killed.

. . . .

In a sign that the long-standing problem of militancy in the south could be expanding, the solicitor general, Jose Calida, said foreigners were fighting alongside the gunmen in Marawi, including Indonesians and Malaysians. 

Calida called the violence an “invasion by foreign terrorists, who heeded the call of Isis to go to the Philippines if they find difficulty in going to Iraq and Syria”.

So it was an American leak?

Rex Tillerson: US takes ‘full responsibility’ for Manchester leaks

Bozo has a personal foreign policy, hidden behind the conventional internationalism of his national security front men

While his official, "grownup" advisors continue to pledge America to its historic military internationalism, to NATO, and to a strong and prosperous EU, Trump seems to continue with his own agenda, the white nationalist and America First Buchananism of his campaign days, at least as regards Europe.

The agenda beloved of Steve Bannon, Pat Buchanan, the likes of Nigel Farage, and Vladimir Putin.

The Fix Is In; Nato Is Out

[T]his cluster of signs and provocations suggests strongly that we are still in the same place, still in a position where the President of the United States is actively seeking to undermine NATO and – through different modalities and for slightly different reasons – the EU as well.

Each of these aims, each of these goals lines up more or less perfectly with the strategic ambitions of the Russian Federation, which sees NATO as a bulwark of Western/US military strength hemming Russia in behind borderlands it sees as within its proper sphere of influence and with the EU, representing a liberal internationalist order which it has set itself against. 

A lot of this thinking comes from the Bannonite/”nationalist” part of the Trump crew, though Trump has espoused elements of this vision for years. 

That group, in turn has deep ties to various European rightist parties which share this anti-NATO, anti-EU, politically illiberal stance. Many or most are funded by Russia. 

Whether or not this is being done on Putin’s behalf, it clearly lines up within Putin’s and Russia’s aims. 

Putin wants a fragmented Europe; Trump does too.


We should not lose sight of this elemental fact in what seems like a herky-jerky parade of provocations and gaffes on this latter portion of Trump’s trip. 

The Russia story isn’t just what happened last year. 

It continues.

Josh Marshall.

Or maybe all of this is just a colossal distraction at the end of a trip that was itself a distraction - from the ongoing Russia scandals, sure, but also from the CBO score of the health care bill, from the horrific budget, and from the godawful tax proposals of the Congressional Republicans.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Trump scolds NATO, demands they spend more

The expected commitment by Trump to Article 5, of which Trump reportedly made absolutely no mention, did not appear, though other speakers had raised the topic and pointed out Europe and Canada all came to our aid in Afghanistan in the immediate wake of the attacks of September 11.

That was, in fact, the first and only time Article 5 has been invoked.

Stone faces on the leaders of our allies.

Watching MSNBC.

CNN writeup.

Who says it's US services that are leaking?

Leaks are to US media because we have no Official Secrets Act and the American press cannot be punished for publishing leaked information.

The case is quite otherwise for the Brit press.

But that does not mean the leaks are from the US services rather than Brit sources.

Theresa May and the Manchester cops appear to be merely assuming that.

UK police stop passing Manchester bombing information to US over leaks

Maduro continues the Communist tradition

The Bolivarian Revolution blackens the names of social democracy and liberalism.

Venezuela opposition blasts president's plan to rewrite constitution and delay elections

Let them die! continued.

23 million fewer Americans insured under House GOP bill, says CBO

The House Republican health care bill would leave 23 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2026 than under Obamacare, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

The highly anticipated CBO score is likely to trigger another round of negative headlines and more hurdles for Republicans as they look to advance a controversial piece of legislation that was passed in the House earlier this month.