Beyond Ferguson: The reality of Black persecution & colonization in 2016

Richard Sudan is a London-based writer, political activist, and performance poet. His writing has been published in many prominent publications, including the Independent, the Guardian, Huffington Post and Washington Spectator. He has been a guest speaker at events for different organizations ranging from the University of East London to the People’s Assembly covering various topics. His opinion is that the mainstream media has a duty to challenge power, rather than to serve power. Richard has taught writing poetry for performance at Brunel University.

 

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The problem of US police violence was rammed home on Aug 9 2014 with the killing of Mike Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri by white officer Darren Wilson.

Many more examples of police violence and abuse of power continue to surface, and while the problem has always existed, more and more people are at least now discussing the issue.

Cases like that of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot dead by a Cleveland police officer. The police officer later walked free, while the world reeled in disbelief at the complete failing of the so-called justice system.

The murder of Trayvon Martin, 17, for example, who was killed by one George Zimmerman, who was not a police officer, but whose resume revealed him to be an aspiring one, with a history of racism to boot.

There is a deep history to places like Ferguson, where there is a tendency for the indiscriminate killing of young Black men, and a history of struggle against the same state which once recognized slavery as legal.

To understand what is happening today, we need to understand that history, while also recognizing the degree to which things are made worse today by the effects of a failing neo-liberal economy at crisis with itself. The problems of today can be explained by the crimes of the past, but the current severity of the problems we now face can be explained by the unique conditions we now confront.

The problems of today are not new, but as the crisis which brought them about reaches its apex, the crisis of capitalism, so the problems caused by the crisis worsen in severity. Political problems, social problems, economic problems, and corruption, all worsen and are magnified under such a crisis.

The problems associated with the abuse of state power in this sense are no different. As the crisis of capitalism deepens, so too do the abuses of power by the apparatus of the state, in this case the police, unto the very communities which built the so-called free world, the birthplace of capitalism, with free labour extracted from slavery, over a period of more than 300 years.

Africans in the USA never got a slice of the pie, and now Blacks in poor communities are expected to remain calm while the very same state which exploited them, now guns down Black people in the street with complete impunity.

Black Americans have every right to resist, defend themselves and fight what is quite simply, the ongoing colonization and social control of Black people in America.

Given the history of the treatment of Blacks in America, and today when looking at levels of education, employment figures, welfare numbers, and disproportionate prison population numbers, is not hard to see why many view the racist history of the United States as being a continual line which simply traces itself from the past, right up to the present day, in the tragedies we see played out. If you’re Black in America, you are more likely to be imprisoned or killed by the police than other ethnic groups. All of these factors speak to the very real and unaccounted for history, in America’s very recent past.

The relationship Black people have with the police today, is arguably no different to the relationship previously with the Klu Klux Klan-it fact some argue its much worse today, with Black people dying at the hands of the state at a quicker rate than at the height of the KKK’s prominence.

As Malcolm X once noted ‘nowadays the KKK have traded in their sheets for police uniforms’. Who could argue with Malcolm’s assessment, when we see the treatment of young Blacks in the US today?

There now exists a private prison system, interwoven with the role of the police, which seeks to make money from imprisoning Black men, a sequence of events which is permeated by a popular culture which still teaches Black people and other minorities to know their place in America.

While scenes like those in Ferguson are repeated around America, and to differing degrees, it is crystal clear that the problem of institutionalized police-state violence is very real, and it is also clear that the problem is widespread.

While it’s true, that since the founding of the USA, minorities and marginalized communities have always been on the receiving end of police violence as part of the class war waged against them, and while it’s also true that now, with the advent of the camera phone, that more of these instances are captured, increasingly, police violence in the United States also is becoming more and more militarized.

Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal — Unruly Hearts editor

Hillary Clinton’s Emails Confirm The “Real Agenda” Behind the US-NATO War on Libya

 

“Overthrowing Gaddafi and Confiscating Libya’s vast wealth”

 

Hillary-Clinton-Libyan-rebels-400x289Revelations that involve Hillary Clinton and her email scandal confirms what the real motives of the US-NATO led war on Libya to remove Muammar Gaddafi and it was not for democracy or to protect the Libyan people. It never was.

There are several reasons why Western powers want Africa under their  control besides their  appetite for natural resources and that is to keep Africa under their control. Washington and Paris want to remain a dominant power politically and economically with their currencies in place instead of Gaddafi’s idea which called for the gold dinar to replace U.S. dollars and Euros. Africa is to remain a captive market under the West because it is their corporations and special interest groups who should profit.

U.S. Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton and her email prove that the Obama and Sarkozy administrations wanted Libya’s oil, gold and silver under their  control with their puppets (or terrorists) in place after Gaddafi was removed from power. Zero Hedge linked the actual email exposing what Washington and Paris had been discussing regarding the situation in Libya:

According to sensitive information available to this these individuals, Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver. During late March, 2011 these stocks were moved to SABHA (south west in the direction of the Libyan border with Niger and Chad); taken from the vaults of the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli. This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French.franc (CFA).

(Source Comment: According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya

Thanks to the discovery of Clinton’s emails that revealed the truth. But dob Hillary Clinton supporters care that she was involved in the overthrow of Libya’s government for its natural resources and its gold and silver holdings? Don’t count on it. What is interesting about Clinton’s emails is that it describes what Sarkozy planned in Libya’s aftermath:

According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:

  • A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
  • Increase French influence in North Africa, UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05779612 Date: 12/31/2015 UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05779612 Date: 12/31/2015.
  • Improve his intemai political situation in France,
  • Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
  • Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa)

The revelations on Clinton’s email not only confirm what the original motives were from the start, it shows the hypocrisy behind Washington’s quest for “spreading its democratic values” across the planet. Hillary Clinton spoke about the situation in Libya as Secretary of State in Paris, France on March 19, 2011. Here is part of what she said:

The international community came together to speak with one voice and to deliver a clear and consistent message: Colonel Qadhafi’s campaign of violence against his own people must stop. The strong votes in the United Nations Security Council underscored this unity. And now the Qadhafi forces face unambiguous terms: a ceasefire must be implemented immediately – that means all attacks against civilians must stop; troops must stop advancing on Benghazi and pull back from Adjabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya; water, electricity, and gas supplies must be turned on to all areas; humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.

Yesterday, President Obama said very clearly that if Qadhafi failed to comply with these terms, there would be consequences. Since the President spoke, there has been some talk from Tripoli of a ceasefire, but the reality on the ground tells a very different story. Colonel Qadhafi continues to defy the world. His attacks on civilians go on. Today, we have been monitoring the troubling reports of fighting around and within Benghazi itself. As President Obama also said, we have every reason to fear that, left unchecked, Qadhafi will commit unspeakable atrocities

Clinton declared that Gaddafi had a “campaign of violence against his own people” and that he “Defied the world” was a call for a US-NATO intervention. However, the actual planning stages to topple Gaddafi began shortly after the September 11th terror attacks in 2001 when former U.S. General Wesley Clark told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now that Washington planned to “take out 7 countries in 5 Years”, Libya was on that list.

Promoting “Democracy” with the Help of the Libyan rebels

Washington’s history of regime change follows the same pattern of its past interventions and orchestrated coups. Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) such as The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) granted $118 million by the Department of State (DOS) for the ‘Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2010’ which covered North Africa and the Middle East. The DOS documents stated that “In authoritarian countries such as Iran, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, NED will assist activists in working in the available political space, and try to strengthen their institutional capacity”. The “political space” would allow Washington and their European allies to fill that space to gain economic and political advantages. The NED then enlisted the help of the ‘International Federation of Human Rights’ (Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme) or the FIDH along with the ‘Libyan League for Human Rights’ (LLHR). The NED, the FIDH and the LLHR and other U.S. funded “democracy promotion groups” or NGO’s such as the all too familiar operations of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched operations in Libya to manipulate and guide social movements, labor organizations, student movements, news organizations and anti-Gaddafi activists. The role of the NGO’s in Libya was designed to change the political landscape that was more aligned with Western interests. It was planned several years before Gaddafi was toppled. But that was just one part of the destabilization process.

A report by online news source ‘France24’ reported on the complexities of the Libyan Islamist fighters who joined the anti-Gaddafi rebels. We need to look back to the early 1990’s where the Gaddafi ordered a crackdown on radical Islamists in eastern part of Libya. But according to Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam his father had made deals with his radical Islamic rebels who were originally his arch enemies. There is even speculation that infighting between the radical Islamic factions and the Libyan rebels known as the ‘National Transitional Council (NTC)’ were involved in the “killing of the top Libyan rebel commander, General Abdel Fattah Younes, in the rebel capital of Benghazi.” The France24 report quoted what Ali Tarhouni, the NTC oil minister on the situation within the ranks of the ‘Abu Obeida Ibn al-Jarah brigade’ and who was actually behind the murder of Younes which complicated matters for the opposition:

Ali Tarhouni, the NTC’s oil minister, told reporters that Younes was murdered by “renegade” members of the Abu Obeida Ibn al-Jarah brigade. Named after one of the Prophet Mohammed’s companions and most successful military commanders, the Abu Obeida Ibn al-Jarah brigade is an Islamist faction that is one of at least 30 semi-independent militias operating in rebel-held eastern Libya, according to Noman Bentoman, a senior analyst at the London-based counter-extremism think tank, the Quilliam Foundation.

“The military structure of the Libyan rebels has two elements,” Bentoman explained in a phone interview with FRANCE 24. “There are the professional soldiers under the National Liberation Army, of which General Younes was the supreme commander. The Obeida Ibn al-Jarah brigade is not part of the National Liberation Army. They’re operating as what you would call ‘independent revolutionaries”

What complicated the situation among the Libyan rebels was the number of “independent revolutionary groups” who had slightly different agendas although they had one goal in common, to remove Gaddafi from power. France24 reported the following on what Noman Bentoman had said about various groups joining the Libyan rebels:

Bentoman was a former commander in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a jihadist group that emerged in the early 1990s among Libyans who fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan and then returned to Libya, where they waged a violent insurgency against Gaddafi’s regime. Once close to Osama bin Laden and senior al Qaeda leaders, Bentoman quit the LIFG shortly after the 9/11 attacks and is now a prominent critic of Islamist violence

According to Bentoman, the LIFG disbanded in August 2009, but during the current uprising it has regrouped under a new name: Al-Haraka Al-Islamiya Al Libiya Lit-Tahghir, or the Libyan Islamic Movement for Change. Many of the new group’s leaders and members, Bentoman notes, have now joined the Libyan rebels

Pepe Escobar, a journalist for the Asia Times wrote an article in 2011 titled ‘How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli’ explained how al-Qaeda became part of the anti-Gaddafi forces:

His name is Abdelhakim Belhaj. Some in the Middle East might have, but few in the West and across the world would have heard of him. Time to catch up. Because the story of how an al-Qaeda asset turned out to be the top Libyan military commander in still war-torn Tripoli is bound to shatter – once again – that wilderness of mirrors that is the “war on terror”, as well as deeply compromising the carefully constructed propaganda of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO’s) “humanitarian” intervention in Libya.

Muammar Gaddafi’s fortress of Bab-al-Aziziyah was essentially invaded and conquered last week by Belhaj’s men – who were at the forefront of a militia of Berbers from the mountains southwest of Tripoli. The militia is the so-called Tripoli Brigade, trained in secret for two months by US Special Forces. This turned out to be the rebels’ most effective militia in six months of tribal/civil war.  Already last Tuesday, Belhaj was gloating on how the battle was won, with Gaddafi forces escaping “like rats” (note that’s the same metaphor used by Gaddafi himself to designate the rebels).

Abdelhakim Belhaj, aka Abu Abdallah al-Sadek, is a Libyan jihadi. Born in May 1966, he honed his skills with the mujahideen in the 1980s anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan. He’s the founder of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and its de facto emir – with Khaled Chrif and Sami Saadi as his deputies. After the Taliban took power in Kabul in 1996, the LIFG kept two training camps in Afghanistan; one of them, 30 kilometers north of Kabul – run by Abu Yahya – was strictly for al-Qaeda-linked jihadis. After 9/11, Belhaj moved to Pakistan and also to Iraq, where he befriended none other than ultra-nasty Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – all this before al-Qaeda in Iraq pledged its allegiance to Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and turbo-charged its gruesome practices. In Iraq, Libyans happened to be the largest foreign Sunni jihadi contingent, only losing to the Saudis. Moreover, Libyan jihadis have always been superstars in the top echelons of “historic” al-Qaeda – from Abu Faraj al-Libi (military commander until his arrest in 2005, now lingering as one of 16 high-value detainees in the US detention center at Guantanamo) to Abu al-Laith al-Libi (another military commander, killed in Pakistan in early 2008)

Escobar’s analysis gives you an idea on how the anti-Gaddafi rebels were formed under the auspices of Washington’s control grid. Another factor was the Western media propaganda against Gaddafi, one particular article was published on March 21st, 2011 by the New York Times which claimed that the rebels were comprised of “secular-minded professionals” who wanted democracy and human rights:

The behavior of the fledgling rebel government in Benghazi so far offers few clues to the rebels’ true nature. Their governing council is composed of secular-minded professionals — lawyers, academics, businesspeople — who talk about democracy, transparency, human rights and the rule of law. But their commitment to those principles is just now being tested as they confront the specter of potential Qaddafi spies in their midst, either with rough tribal justice or a more measured legal process

And of course the people of the West believed the propaganda. They also believed that Gaddafi handed out “Viagra” to his troops to rape women according to the London-based ‘The Guardian’ newspaper on June 11th, 2011:

Luis Moreno-Ocampo told reporters at the UN in New York last night there were strong indications that hundreds of women had been raped in the Libyan government clampdown on the popular uprising and that Gaddafi had ordered the violations as a form of punishment.

The prosecutor said there was even evidence that the government had been handing out doses of Viagra to soldiers to encourage sexual attacks. Moreno-Ocampo said rape was a new tactic for the Libyan regime. “That’s why we had doubts at the beginning, but now we are more convinced. Apparently, [Gaddafi] decided to punish, using rape”

The claims of Gaddafi’s troops using Viagra to rape women because they disagreed with Gaddafi’s policies was absurd. Cherif Bassiouni, who was the lead UN human rights investigator, had told the press that claims of rape by Viagra induced Libyan soldiers was a “massive hysteria” according to Australia’s Herald Sun. The report also said that Bassiouni mentioned 70,000 questionnaires distributed by a woman to rape victims who supposedly received 60,000 responses, but Bassiouni never received the questionnaires:

The investigator also cited the case of a woman who claimed to have sent out 70,000 questionnaires and received 60,000 responses, of which 259 reported sexual abuse. However, when the investigators asked for these questionnaires, they never received them

Reuters reported in 2011 what Bassiouni’s team actually uncovered:

His team uncovered only four alleged cases — Eman Al-Obaidi who claimed she was gang-raped by pro-government militiamen and three women in Misrata who said they had been sexually abused. “Can we draw a conclusion that there is a systematic policy of rape? In my opinion we can’t,” Bassiouni said. “For the time being, the numbers are very limited”

Western propaganda was another element that instigated the removal of Gaddafi. The MSM was the cheerleader for the US-NATO intervention in Libya from the start. NGO’s, various elements of the Libyan rebels with Al-Qaeda in the mix and Western propaganda all had a hand in the death of Gaddafi. Washington and Paris were behind the civil war between the Gaddafi forces and the Libyan rebels from the start.

Chaos in Libya and “Conspiracy Theories”

Libya was Africa’s most developed country and was completely destroyed. Massive terror attacks and murders persist. Libya is a training ground for potential future terrorists. Last year, the Washington Times published an interesting story on Libya’s chaos titled ‘Hillary Clinton says Libya chaos shows consequences of U.S. withdrawal from unstable places’ which does mention Bill Roggio, editor of ‘The Long War Journal’ which is funded and published by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a neoconservative think tank based in Washington, DC which said that “The administration provided military assistance to overthrow the government in 2011 and has since provided nothing concrete to deal with the problems on the ground.” Roggio went on further to say that critics of the Obama administration say Libya’s intervention to overthrow Gaddafi and replace him with terrorists is of course, a “conspiracy theory”:

The worst part of the situation, Mr. Roggio said, is that Washington’s inaction in Libya has provided ammunition for some of the most radical critiques of the Obama administration’s overall policy toward the Middle East.

“We overthrow the regime, jihadists take control of various areas and the country becomes a basket case,” he said. “It’s amazing how we’re now playing into those narratives that feed conspiracy theories that the U.S. actually supports the overthrow of governments and then supplants them with jihadist groups. “They are conspiracy theories,” Mr. Roggio said. “What is truly going on is shortsightedness in U.S. policy and a failure to understand who’s who on the ground, which groups are operating, and then the lack of political heft on the ground to get involved”

Well, Hillary Clinton’s exposed emails and proof that other elements including the fieldwork of the NGO’s and US intelligence prove that Mr. Roggio is wrong. Libya’s war was basically about its natural resources (oil and gas reserves) and its gold and silver holdings with the possibility that a sovereign nation in Africa can free its people from the West and that is not what Western powers want. They want the Libyan people and all of Africa to live in debt peonage while exploiting their resources. Gaddafi was going to change that arrangement.

Historically speaking, since the West (Europe and the US) has conquered and exploited Africa, not too many nations within the continent have actually benefitted and that even holds true today. Libya had gold, silver and oil to change the dynamics that challenged the US dollar and Euro hegemony in Africa and that would have added another dilemma for the establishment.

The Libyan invasion was not to protect the people as Clinton once claimed; it was about overthrowing Gaddafi and confiscating Libya’s vast wealth.

But according to Roggio, it’s all a “conspiracy theory”. The ultra-rich will get rich even by stealing if they have to, and that is something empires past and present do well.

One thing is certain: Hillary Clinton’s emails are documents that historical revisionists will not be able to rewrite what Washington and its European allies were after all along in Libya and it was not democracy.

WHY AMERICA IS BURIED IN THE MUD? Top 7 Hillary and Obama Foreign Policy Failures

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America needs leaders who will help keep our country secure. President Obama and Hillary Clinton have proven time and again that their misguided foreign policy efforts do far more harm than good. We have compiled seven of the top ways that Clinton and Obama’s policies have failed the American people and left our country vulnerable:

1. Supporting the Iran deal

Both President Obama and Hillary Clinton support a nuclear deal with Iran that endangers America and our allies around the world. Even though Iran has called for “Death to America,” Obama and Hillary seem unconcerned. They have both publicly backed the deal, despite major concessions that would allow Iran to develop their nuclear program.

2. Negotiating with Terrorists

When it comes to terrorist groups, President Obama and Hillary Clinton have both shown that they are more than willing to negotiate. Obama has shown time and again that negotiating with terrorists is no problem for him, on everything from Bergdahl and the Iran deal. Hillary’s foreign policy is guided by the outlook that we should be dealing with groups like ISIS by “trying to understand and empathize with their perspective.” How’s that working out, Hillary?

3. Allied with the Muslim Brotherhood

Both President Obama and Hillary Clinton reached out to the Muslim Brotherhood in an effort to to create a new ally, one who is now labeled a terrorist organization. The Muslim Brotherhood was a violent Islamic Regime that actively supported terrorism and spread chaos around the Middle East. Hillary and Obama have both had many meetings with these violent thugs and Clinton even hired a senior member to the Clinton Foundation. He was later arrested for and charged with inciting violence.

4. Failed to Curb Russian Aggression

Both President Obama and Hillary Clinton sought to appease Russia, which only lead Russia to act more boldly. Between the “Russian Reset” and President Obama telling Vladimir Putin on a hot mike that he could have more flexibility about removing the missile shield that protects millions lives after an election, it is clear that we need a leader who will stand up to Russian aggression.

 

5. Lied About Benghazi

Despite knowing the truth within hours of the attack, Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration continued to blame a YouTube video for the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. In the years since the Benghazi attack, both Hillary and Obama have continued to mislead the American people about the details of the attack. When questioned about the events leading up to the Benghazi attack, Hillary shot back, “What difference does it make?

 

6. Contributed to Yemen’s Failure

Both President Obama and Hillary Clinton supported actions that lead to the fall of Yemen, and both praised the success that was the Yemeni state. Now the country is overrun with terrorists supported by the Iranian government whose motto reads, “God is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam.”

 

7. Disrespect our Allies in Israel

Obama and Clinton have both repeatedly shown complete disregard for maintaining a strong relationship with Israel. When Prime Minister Netanyahu visited Congress, President Obama refused to meet with Bibi. In 2010, Obama snubbed Netanyahu, forcing him to come in through the back door of the White House, then leaving during the middle of their meeting. Hillary Clinton has bragged about her years the State Department’s “designated yeller,” including an incident where she spent 45 minutes berating Netanyahu over the phone.

 

It is clear that these “leaders” are not helping keep our country secure. Donate?  If some one should donate are the two ignorant laughing about the terrorist attack in Benghazy. Mrs Clinton can donate a few million dollars to her country if she loves it soooooooooooooo  much!

 

TOMORROW:   “TWO OF THE MANY MORE FOREIGN POLICY “MISTAKES” MADE BY HILLARY CLINTON.

Media turn blind eye to Hillary Clinton’s glaring mistakes

THE WASHINGTON POST

 

 

When Hillary Clinton can study up, work out her one-liners, figure out the best way to deflect questions and fence with inquisitors she does well. She thrives, therefore, in a debate or as a witness. She is the quintessential “A” student. No one will cram harder before the big exam than she.

Left to her own devices, however, she is consistently her own worst enemy. Before she worked out her lines, spontaneous answers about her finances (“We were broke”) or her initial stance toward the Benghazi scandal (“What difference does it make . . .?) disastrous. Refusing to take scandals seriously, her first attempts at brushing back the press come across as evasive, haughty and just plain false. In supposedly friendly settings, with her guard down, she winds up saying ludicrous things that come back to haunt her.

If not for Jeb Bush’s self-immolation this week, more attention would have been paid to yet another clueless Clinton moment. Asked about the Veterans Administration scandal in a softball MSNBC interview, she argued that “it’s not been as widespread as it has been made out to be.” She claimed Republicans were exploiting the situation and wanted the VA to “fail.” Her instinct to cast blame and attack political opponents renders her entirely tone deaf at times.

[Charles Krauthammer: Skip the investigations, win the election]

As you will recall, the scandal first uncovered in Phoenix turned into a nationwide investigation, forcing out the secretary and prompting new legislation. (From the Arizona Republic: “The Office of Inspector General concluded that hundreds of thousands of patients were subjected to unacceptable delays in care, and many died while awaiting appointments; wait-time records were falsified or inaccurate at 70 percent of the VA facilities nationwide; and department leadership was contaminated by bullying, reprisal and a lack of accountability. The public furor forced out VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and other administrators, while prompting the largest reform in department history.”)

It is incomprehensible that she would want to downplay the suffering of vets. A series of officials at veterans groups decried her comment. Stars and Stripes reported:

Veterans groups lobbed criticism at Clinton this week for being out of touch with veterans issues.

The conservative group Concerned Veterans for America charged Clinton with downplaying and ignoring the VA’s problems. Paul Rieckhoff, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, called her comments on the VA a “head-scratcher.”

The VA scandal that began last year with an agency cover-up of health care delays “was so widespread it has its own Wikipedia entry,” Rieckhoff tweeted Tuesday.

And lawmakers on both sides of the aisle lashed out. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said he was “appalled.” Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) declared, “The problems we’ve seen at the Phoenix VA are devastating and real. The VA scandal has nothing to do with partisan politics and everything to do with systemic failure, negligence and lack of accountability.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) blasted her, observing that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose Senate committee investigated the VA, was better on veterans issues than Clinton.

Her campaign tried to assure us she understands how “systematic” the problem is. No apology or correction from her was forthcoming.

[Opinion: Republicans are right. We in the media do suck.]

Now imagine if Republicans had said, well “Democrats are just exaggerating the impact of Hurricane Katrina.” The mainstream hardly blinked when it was Clinton, fresh from passing her endurance test at the House select committee on Benghazi.

The Republican opposition research team America Rising later put out a devastating ad, recounting one news report after another detailing the abuses, corruption and ensuing deaths. It ends with McCain saying, “She doesn’t understand veterans, she doesn’t understand what they need, and she is politicizing the issue. Shame on her.”

This episode reminds us of Clinton’s severe limitations as a candidate. It also should prompt Republicans to recognize the media is back in Clinton-rooting mood. Her outlandish statements will become headlines like: “Republicans try to exploit…” The media will shrug its collective shoulders at her inaccuracies and outright deceptions. This is all the more reason to find a superbly skilled nominee, one who can focus on her liabilities and cut through the media chatter.

At the recent debate and in subsequent interviews, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) used his time in the spotlight to focus on the evidence that immediately after the Benghazi attack she told family members and the Egyptian prime minister it was a terrorist attack while the administration perpetrated a false cover story for weeks.

Republicans cannot repeat often enough evidence of her ethical lapses and shoddy record. The press sure isn’t going to dwell on it.

Headlines From Political Wire

 

U.S. ELECTIONS 2016

 

For the Democrats, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton by 4 points. The last Marquette survey showed Sanders leading by one point.

‘Gold Standard’ Marquette Wisconsin Poll to Be Released Today
March 30, 2016

This afternoon, Marquette University Law School will release its final poll before next Tuesday’s Wisconsin Republican primary. In the school’s last survey, in late February, Donald Trump held a 30%-19% lead over Ted Cruz, with John Kasich below 10%.

A few polls out in the interim have shown a tightening race, with Trump and Cruz now tied in the 270toWin polling average, while John Kasich has been gaining significant ground.

The Marquette poll is seen by many as the ‘gold standard’ in Wisconsin, so it will be interesting to see where it ends up.

Wisconsin has 42 delegates, 18 are winner take all for the statewide winner, while the other 24 are winner take all based on the vote within each of the state’s 8 congressional districts (3 per district).

There has been less polling for the Democratic primary. The last Marquette survey showed the race a dead heat.

The poll often includes general election match-ups as well.

Sanders Sweeps Three Saturday Caucuses, Narrowing Clinton’s Delegate Lead
March 27, 2016

Bernie Sanders cruised to easy wins in all three Democratic caucus states Saturday, surpassing 1,000 total delegates in the process. The Vermont Senator received about 70% of the vote in Washington state and Hawaii, while scoring north of 80% in vote equivalents in Alaska. Sanders won 30 of the 41 total Alaska/Hawaii delegates and, at this point, has won 25 of 34 allocated delegates in Washington.

Here’s where things stand as of this morning. Sanders has narrowed Clinton’s lead by 35 delegates:

Another 67 delegates remain to be allocated in Washington. An estimate by The Greenpapers (as of Sunday AM) gives Sanders a 74-27 total for the state, meaning he would win about 49 of the remaining 67 delegates there.
Election News
Rubio Granted Request For Return of Five Alaska Delegates
March 30, 2016

Marco Rubio’s five Alaska delegates were returned to him this week, the result of a request granted by the State Republican Party. Donald Trump lost three of those, Ted Cruz two.

Per Alaska rules, delegates earned by those who withdraw from the race are redistributed based on the state’s proportional allocation method. In his letter to the Party, Rubio argued that he had suspended his campaign, but had not withdrawn from the race.

While small in number, any loss of delegates by frontrunner Donald Trump increases the likelihood that he will not receive the necessary 1,237 before the July Convention in Cleveland. Trump needs about 53% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination.

This is another reason why campaigns are usually suspended and not formally ended.

Headlines From Political Wire
Trump Meets with RNC Officials
“Donald Trump is meeting on Thursday with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus during his trip to Washington, just two days after…
Bentley Used ‘Burner’ Cell Phones
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “personally bought multiple inexpensive, disposable cell phones last year at a Best Buy in Tuscaloosa,” the…
Paul Plans ‘Major Announcement’ Tomorrow
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is teasing a “major endorsement announcement” that he plans to give tomorrow, The Hill reports. “Paul has maintained…
Another GOP Power Struggle Brewing
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Cruz, Sanders Lead in Wisconsin, Marquette Law Poll Finds
March 30, 2016

Ted Cruz has opened up a 10 point lead on Donald Trump in Wisconsin, per the latest survey from the respected polling unit at Marquette University Law School. This result is directionally consistent with recent polls showing a shift in the race, but it is the first survey to find the Texas Senator with the outright lead, beyond the margin of error.

Interestingly, Trump’s support is unchanged, at 30%, since the last Marquette survey in late February. Both Cruz and John Kasich saw significant gains, picking up voters that previously supported a now-withdrawn candidate or who have made up their mind in the final few weeks before the April 5 primary.

On the Republican side, Wisconsin has 42 delegates, 18 are winner take all for the statewide winner, while the other 24 are winner take all based on the vote within each of the state’s 8 congressional districts (3 per district).

 

Sanders Leading in Wisconsin PPP Poll, Winning Black Voters by Over 10% YEAH!

Bernie Sanders for President!

Bernie Sanders for President!

Thursday Mar 31, 2016 · 12:35 PM EST

A common criticism of Bernie Sanders’ campaign is that he “can’t appeal to anyone but young, white men.” Despite the fact that he won Latino voters in Nevada and did well with them in Illinois, and that he got 35% of the Black vote in Michigan, Clinton fans still like to cling to the fantasy that Bernie fans are all white. For the record, I’m a first-generation Iranian-American male.

Nate Silver now has Bernie with a 57% chance to win Wisconsin, a huge swing from the over 80% chance Hillary had to win just a few days ago. This is based on two polls that show Bernie with decently-sized leads in the state, with just a few days to go before Wisconsinites hit the polls on April 5th.

The latest of these two, a poll by PPP has Sanders leading 49% to 43%.

However, the key part of this poll that nobody has noticed is that Bernie is actually leading with Black voters in the state, earning 51% of their vote to 40% for Hillary Clinton.

Looks like April 5th will be an interesting night.

The US Election Campaign and the Curse of McCarthyism

 

How a Kindly Senator from Vermont Helped Save America From Fascism. And What Wisconsin Can Do Now to Shake off the McCarthy Curse

 

“Joseph McCarthy is the only major politician in the country who can be labeled “liar” without fear of libel.” Joseph Alsop

“The State Department is infested with communists. I have here in my hand a list of 205 names that were made known to the Secretary of State (Dean Acheson) as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.”  – Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy, February 9, 1950, Wheeling, West Virginia

“If somebody would only smuggle me aboard the Democratic campaign special with a baseball bat in my hand, I’d teach patriotism to ‘Little Adlai’.” – Joseph McCarthy, mocking 1952 Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson). – Joseph R. McCarthy

 ”I call Marco Rubio, ‘Little Marco’. That frightened little puppy couldn’t be elected dog-catcher in Florida.” – Donald Trump

“Joseph McCarthy was a disgrace to Wisconsin, to the Senate, and to America” – William Proxmire, Democratic Party successor to McCarthy. (Proxmire was elected US Senator in a special election in August, 1954 and was subsequently re-elected by landslides 5 times {71% of the vote in 1970, 73% in 1976 and 65% in 1982}. In his last two Senate campaigns , he refused to take any campaign contributions, and in each campaign he spent less than $200 (out of his own pocket) — to cover the expenses related to filing for re-election and for return postage for unsolicited contributions. He was an early advocate of campaign finance reform.

“There are significant analogies between the American fear of Communism during the McCarthy era and the American fear of Islam at the beginning of the twenty-first century.” ― Ben DanielThe Search for Truth about Islam:  A Christian Pastor Separates Fact from Fiction

*

Not too long ago, a mild-mannered, 73 year old US Senator from Vermont rose to speak on the floor of the US Senate and introduced Resolution 261 (read it further below). The senator had reached the limits of his patience with a name-calling, mocking, free-swinging, demagogic, megalomaniacal, right-wing politician who had bamboozled thousands of Wisconsin voters to support him.

The name of the Vermont senator was Ralph E. Flanders, and the date was June 1, 1954. Flanders was a moderate Republican, and name-calling politician who had bamboozled thousands of Wisconsinites to support him, was Joseph Raymond McCarthy. Some Republicans back then were moderates and some of them agreed with Flanders that the far-right McCarthy was destroying the Republican Party while selfishly working to achieve his self-promoting agenda.

And so, just like the candidacy of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the courageous, likeable Vermont Senator Flanders spoke up when it was his duty to do so in order to save America from fascist influences like the infamous Friendly American Fascist, Joseph R. McCarthy.

Flanders and Sanders were and still are simply following a critically-thinking, justice-seeking and independent-minded Vermont tradition. There must be something in the still pure water and still pure air up there. Wisconsin – and my state of Minnesota – still have relatively pure water and air in the northern halves of their states; that is, unless extractive industries like the mining and industrial-strength pig farming industries have anything to say about it.

As an aside, I should mention that recent studies have shown that the drinking water in the eastern, more conservative part of Wisconsin has been contaminated for an unknown number of years with the non-nutritive metallic element strontium (for which there are no known positive health benefits) with undetermined adverse effects. I am certain that the agricultural parts of Wisconsin are probably as contaminated with the agricultural toxins Atrazine and Round-up as are the agricultural parts of southern Minnesota, whose drinking water has been contaminated for years with both toxic pesticides. Those realities are worth speculating about since brain-altering chemicals can affect one’s personalities and politics.

But I digress. Back to Wisconsin politics and proto-fascism.

Before relating what Senator Flanders did to save America from another rightward lurch toward fascism and demagoguery back in 1954, I include some more background to the story.

The Late, Lamented, Friendly American Fascist from Wisconsin, Joseph R. McCarthy

Joseph McCarthy grew up on a Wisconsin farm in a large, poor Irish Catholic family. After growing up and failing at chicken farming, he got a law degree at Marquette University, a Jesuit college. After setting up what turned out to be a failed law practice, he served for two years in WWII and then, on returning home from the war, went into politics. In 1946, he just barely managed to get elected to the US Senate (by bamboozling Wisconsin voters to vote for him by campaigning on false stories of his “heroism” in the South Pacific (where he was a non-combat desk jockey). The major hurdle in getting to the Senate was his upset primary election victory over Wisconsin’s incumbent senator Bob La Follette, Jr.

La Follette had been a pro-farmer/pro-labor Wisconsin Progressive Party US Senator, but the Progressive Party had recently been dissolved so he had to run for re-election as a Republican in 1946. Having been advised that it should be unnecessary to run an active campaign against the unknown upstart McCarthy, he was narrowly defeated by just 5,000 votes.

McCarthy’s first three years in the Senate were uneventful, except for the fact that he fell in with a variety of nefarious corporate interests that included Texas millionaires, the sugar lobby and real estate interests. He also became known for his proclivity for betting on the ponies, drinking too much and speculating in the stock market.

The Beginning of the Proto-Fascist McCarthy Era

On February 9, 1950, eager to make a name for himself, McCarthy finagled a speaking gig at a Women’s Republican Club/Lincoln Day event in Wheeling, West Virginia. In that speech he made the infamously false claim that he knew of the existence of 205 communists in Truman’s State Department.

With that revelation, McCarthy suddenly began generating 24/7 media coverage from fawning right-wing newspapers, their reporters and their photographers, similar to how the media covers big city gangsters like Al Capone or narcissistic, megalomaniac wannabe politicians like Donald Trump. Significantly, McCarthy revised the 205 number down to 57 by the time he got back to Washington.

Tellingly, McCarthy never made his fake list available to the public, just as our modern-day Republican McCarthy “look-alikes” like Rafael “Ted” Cruz or “act-alikes” like Trump and Cruz refuse to say how they will deal with any number of the many complex foreign or domestic policy issues that real presidents have to deal with.

As one example of the similarities between the current GOP candidates for president, Trump has refused to talk about any of the details concerning one of his biggest applause lines, promising to build a wall along the entire northern border of Mexico and then having Mexico pay for it.

The entire world is laughing at a nation that will even tolerate such delusional thinking.

The Conservative Media Went Gaga Over McCarthy – for About 4 Dangerous Years

Newspapers back in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt New Deal era (and they perform the same way today) consistently favored conservative politicians and their anti-labor union, pro-business, pro-banking and war-profiteering interests by 5 to 1 margins, and they covered those issues and candidates in a similarly disproportionate fashion. One only has to recall the huge “Dewey Wins!!” headline on the ultra-conservative Chicago Tribune’s front page as President Truman proudly displayed it the day after his upset win over the conservative Dewey in 1948.

Starting with the Wheeling speech, and buoyed by the overweening press coverage he was given free of charge, the narcissistic far right wing senator from Wisconsin expanded his anti-communist agenda until he foolishly bit off more than he could chew and accused the US Army of harboring communists. It wasn’t long before the hard-drinking, hard-gambling, paranoid demagogue was exposed as a total fraud, and he was justly humiliated out of power.

The final blow occurred on June 9, 1954, the 30th day of the televised Army-McCarthy hearings, when the chief counsel for the Army, Joseph Welch, ended his interrogation of McCarthy with the statement that finished the senator’s destructive political career. Here is Welch’s famous accusation of McCarthy – and the fatal question (which “went viral”):

“Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel…If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I would do so. I like to think I’m a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me…You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

Following that truth-telling statement, the press instantaneously lost interest in the spectacle of McCarthy, and the deluded, megalomaniacal senator drank himself to death over the next couple of years. Partly because the Republican Party had tolerated such a demagogue for as long as it had been to their political advantage, the Democrats regained both the House and the Senate in the 1954 mid-term elections. Justice sometimes does happen in politics, especially when a courageous person of influence does his duty.

So let’s go back to hear more about the Flanders/Sanders resistance against Friendly American Fascism.

The Flanders/Sanders Connection: The Role of Independently Thinking Vermont Senators

Even before the Army-McCarthy hearings began, Senator Flanders had been concerned that even war hero president Dwight D. Eisenhower (who actually despised McCarthy) seemed to be reluctant to confront the bullying tactics of “Tail-gunner Joe” (aka the “Pepsi-Cola Kid” – because of his early efforts on behalf of the soft drink company’s sugar interests). So on behalf of the better nature of his party and calling McCarthy “a Dennis the Menace”, Flanders issued Resolution 261, which read as follows:

“Resolved, that the conduct of the Senator from Wisconsin is unbecoming a member of the US Senate, is contrary to senatorial traditions and tends to bring the Senate into disrepute. Such conduct is hereby condemned.”

The GOP Habit: Fighting Communism with Fascism

Two days later, as part of the senator’s continued efforts to persuade the GOP-dominated Senate to finally take action against McCarthy’s hysterical anti-communist witch-hunting, he appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and proclaimed to the nation what everybody in Washington already knew (but nobody dared to say out loud): that McCarthy had become “the sole private eye, prosecutor, judge, jury and sentencer (of suspected anti-fascist, liberal, pro-democracy, so-called “communists”). This is so clearly in the direction of fighting communism with fascism that I am seriously disturbed.”

Two months earlier (March 9, 1954), well before the Army-McCarthy hearings began, the well-respected Flanders had spoken on the Senate floor, accusing McCarthy of trying to destroy the Republican Party. In the speech, Flanders said of McCarthy:

“He dons his war paint. He goes into his war dance. He emits his war whoops. He goes forth to battle and proudly returns with the scalp of a pink Army dentist [google the “Irving Peress affair”]. We may assume that this represents the depth and seriousness of Communist penetration at this time.”

What Wisconsin you can do NOW to Shake off the McCarthy Curse

This next week is the run-up to the 2016 Wisconsin primary elections scheduled for Tuesday, April 5. Bernie Sanders is running not just for president of the United States. He is also running for the sustainable future for the planet and for people all over the earth. The rest of the world understands that.

Bernie is arguably the most important politician coming from a number of independent-minded, justice-seeking, whistle-blowing senators (from Vermont or wherever), and he is coming off three impressive landslide victories over the center-right Wall Street and War Street-favored candidate Hillary Clinton in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.

The mainstream media should be totally ashamed of itself for the way it has handled Bernie’s dramatic, ground-breaking news story.

Over the few days preceding the primary elections in those three states, there was absolutely nothing new to report from the Republican campaigns. The Brussels bombings had already been discussed, ad nauseum; but the 5 to 1 ratio held true to form.

On the three Sunday morning network TV shows the day after Bernie’s dramatic victories every panel member on every show was either covering Trump or Clinton or the campaign perspectives of Wall Street and War Street. Discussion about the Sanders campaign was shut out.

Trump and Terrorism totally over-shadowed the real important news about the Sanders revolution. No coverage of the amazing bird that hopped up on the podium and looked at Bernie was shown. Even most of the late-night talk shows gave short shrift to Bernie’s campaign.

So now Wisconsin, you who have the unusual checkered history of alternately producing or being governed by major Socialist Party politicians or major Progressive Party politicians or your embarrassing lapses into being governed by far-right, anti-labor, anti-democracy, proto-fascist GOP politicians like Joseph McCarthy and Scott Walker (whose paymasters were and still are big corporations and multimillionaires and billionaires who are seeking more privileges and wealth for themselves (like lower taxes and less regulations) and fewer privileges and wealth for the working class (like lower wages and poor access to affordable health care).

So from one of your neighbors to the west, please be aware that a lot of progressive young Wisconsinites are out there working for Bernie Sanders the next week. Please watch one of Bernie’s heartfelt rallies on YouTube, feel the Bern and join the anti-fascist revolution.

Dr Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN, USA. He writes a weekly column for the Reader, Duluth’s alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns mostly deal with the dangers of American fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, malnutrition, psychiatric drugging, over-vaccination regimens, Big Pharma and other movements that threaten the environment or America’s health, democracy, civility and longevity. Many of his columns are archived at http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn