.NEW. Six years ago, I joined with many around the world in appealing directly to Barack Obama, president of the United States, for executive clemency for Native American activist Leonard Peltier — the longest-serving political prisoner in the USA. Our appeal was for Obama to use his power of the presidency to set Peltier free. The legal case that the government of the USA constructed to put Peltier behind bars back in 1977 was marred through and through by incompetence and fraud, to put it mildly. It was time to let Peltier go and draw a close to that sad chapter of history.Read more...
It is early morning somewhere in rural South Africa, the sun not yet rising over the horizon. In the dim morning light, through the slowly lifting fog — or is it smoke from the nearby shacks? — I am walking up some makeshift steps on the side of a steep ravine. I look over at the person walking up next to me and study the lines on his face: It is Desmond Tutu, the revered Anglican Church archbishop of South Africa. He is showing me around here, he explains, because he wants me to see how people in South Africa really live, the poverty they still have to face in the land of apartheid.Read more...
News media worldwide are awash now with stories about the recent death of Colin Powell, a towering figure in the world of American military matters and diplomacy, at the age of 84 due to coronavirus-related causes. Past presidents of the United States, not to mention right-wing media and the corporate press in general, are showering the late Powell with praise as a “great American,” a patriot and a war hero in the grand tradition of warmongering in the USA.
But while being respectful toward those who have personally lost a loved one in Powell, let us also spare the niceties here for the controversial public icon: Colin Powell was no war hero. He was, more accurately, a war criminal. And he was in good company, standing alongside other war criminals at the highest levels of the American state. Powell, like the others, was never prosecuted for war crimes in his lifetime and never took responsibility for his role in carrying out those crimes.
Janice Mirikitani and a friend are walking down the sidewalk, as the friend’s recollection goes, in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, California, USA — one of the city’s poorer and more merciless areas. Coming down the sidewalk toward them is a man of the streets who is making loud barking and growling noises like a dog; he is obviously in need of some help.
The friend instinctively grabs Mirikitani’s arm to pull her away and out of the path of a perceived danger looming ahead. Just as instinctively, Mikiritani pulls the friend back close to her and keeps walking straight ahead, her stride intact. Soon, the man and Janice are standing face to face on the sidewalk and the friend’s heart is racing, fearing what might come next.
A half-year after the greatest crime against the USA that the universe has never seen — to borrow a Trumpish superlative — it bears looking closely at what has been happening since the 6 January 2021 failed coup attempt sparked by the former president of the United States and the inauguration of the legitimately elected president, Joe Biden, not long afterward.
In short, a downsizing of democracy is now underway that does not bode well for the future.
The violent insurrection on the United States Congress a few days ago in Washington DC, urged on by no less than the Fake President himself, Donald Trump, intended to reverse by force a free and fair election. More than that, the insurrection intended to overturn the system of democratic government in a coup attempt. That attempt failed, though it could easily have succeeded under the circumstances.
It was nearly four years ago, on 20 January 2017, during Trump’s own inauguration at the very same location on Capitol Hill, that he spoke of a country devastated by inferior education, poverty, drug addiction, joblessness, violence and weak immigration borders after eight years of outgoing president Barack Obama. and fair election.Read more...
Now that voters in the United States have politically buried their Fake President, Donald Trump, at the polls by a wide margin, we can all continue popping the corks off those celebratory bottles of champagne into the new year and finally close the book on that unfortunate reign of America’s self-appointed emperor…right?
Think again. As this blog post goes to press, the U.S. congressional runoff races in the state of Georgia are winding down, the U.S. Congress is preparing to officially certify the electoral votes by winning candidate Joe Biden, and Trump is cheerleading a mass demonstration of his right-wing extremist followers in Washington DC that promises to be violent. And if that weren’t enough, several former U.S. secretaries of defense, both Republicans and Democrats, have become concerned enough to issue a rare statement blasting Trump’s insistence on stealing an otherwise free and fair election.Read more...
The clock is now ticking down to the general election being held in the United States, in which a U.S. president, members of Congress and local issues will be decided by voters in just a couple more days. The most important campaign being watched, of course, is the one deciding which candidate — Donald Trump of the Republican Party or Joseph Biden of the Democratic Party — will occupy the presidential office in the White House. Both candidates’ campaigns are calling this particular election a “battle for the soul of the nation,” and it would be hard to disagree on that point.
The nation’s soul (if it ever had one) is indeed now at stake, and a deeply divided country will decide the outcome. Will the USA step back from the abyss and reject Trump and all that he stands for? Or will the country gleefully dive head-first over the edge of the cliff and reject Biden as president instead?
In the countryside, mountain wildfires rage out of control, destroying all life in their path for hundreds of miles at a time. The daytime skies are covered with layers of ash and smoke, and in the evening are lit up by a luminescent orange-yellow glow. Meanwhile, in the cities, mostly peaceful public protests boil over, igniting some local buildings in ferocious flames. The orange-yellow-tinted nighttime skies, punctuated by police helicopter searchlights, radiate with rage and the heat of history.
The United States of America, in the summer of 2020, has been a nation on fire, both in the country and in the city. At first glance, these rural and urban blazes across many different locations may seem to have little in common. But in fact, they do: centuries of officially sanctioned neglect, abuse and violence in the USA — against nature in the countryside and against human beings in the cities, especially Black lives. And as this year continues on, those two sets of blazes edge closer and closer toward each other, signaling an even worse fate to come that will not easily be extinguished.
A damaging impeachment trial, a ravaging global pandemic, a crashing domestic economy and explosive uprisings in cities across the United States: Any one of these factors would be enough to seal the fate of an American president, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, and consign a president’s legacy to the trash heap of history.
But then again, the Fake President of the United States, Donald Trump, is no ordinary president. He has managed to linger on, surviving one of these crises after another. Trump has done so by breaking all the norms of presidential tradition, fostering a culture of corruption and causing deep, lasting damage to the American republic.