Thursday, October 18, 2018

Joe Biden does not want Democrats to impeach Trump

NBC News         ADAM EDELMAN          Oct 18th 2018 
Former Vice President Joe Biden cautioned Democrats about pushing impeachment against President Donald Trump if they win back the House in November.

"I hope they don't. I don't think there's a basis for doing that right now," Biden told CBS “This Morning.”

“I think we should wait until the report comes out,” he added, referring to the report being assembled by the team of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He urged Democrats to focus, instead, on “all the terrible things that are happening now in terms of interest of the middle-class people and working-class people.”

"There are so many things to attend to immediately. Let's see where the investigation takes us," Biden said.

Biden, in a wide-ranging interview, also talked about voter suppression and weighed in on Trump’s response to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He said "absolutely, positively, without question" voter suppression was occurring in the U.S. and said Trump “seems to have a love affair with autocrats.”

Trump said Monday that the leader of Saudi Arabia had denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi has not been seen since visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 2.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mueller Ready to Deliver Key Findings in His Trump Probe, Sources Say

By Chris Strohm , Greg Farrell , and Shannon Pettypiece
© J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo Special counsel Robert Mueller's work isn't expected to be completed before the midterms. 
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections as he faces intensifying pressure to produce more indictments or shut down his investigation, according to two U.S. officials.

Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice, according to one of the officials, who asked not to be identified speaking about the investigation.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Mueller’s findings would be made public if he doesn’t secure unsealed indictments. The regulations governing Mueller’s probe stipulate that he can present his findings only to his boss, who is currently Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The regulations give a special counsel’s supervisor some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released.

The question of timing is critical. Mueller’s work won’t be concluded ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections, when Democrats hope to take control of the House and end Trump’s one-party hold on Washington. But this timeline also raises questions about the future of the probe itself. Trump has signaled he may replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the election, a move that could bring in a new boss for Mueller. Rosenstein also might resign or be fired by Trump after the election.

Rosenstein has made it clear that he wants Mueller to wrap up the investigation as expeditiously as possible, another U.S. official said. The officials gave no indications about the details of Mueller’s conclusions. Mueller’s office declined to comment for this story.

Pre-Election Lull

With three weeks to go before the midterm elections, it’s unlikely Mueller will take any overt action that could be turned into a campaign issue. Justice Department guidelines say prosecutors should avoid any major steps close to an election that could be seen as influencing the outcome.

That suggests the days and weeks immediately after the Nov. 6 election may be the most pivotal time since Mueller took over the Russia investigation almost a year and a half ago. So far, Mueller has secured more than two dozen indictments or guilty pleas.

Trump’s frustration with the probe, which he routinely derides as a “witch hunt,” has been growing, prompting concerns he may try to shut down or curtail Mueller’s work at some point.

There’s no indication, though, that Mueller is ready to close up shop, even if he does make some findings, according to former federal prosecutors. Several matters could keep the probe going, such as another significant prosecution or new lines of inquiry. And because Mueller’s investigation has been proceeding quietly, out of the public eye, it’s possible there have been other major developments behind the scenes.

Mueller only recently submitted written questions to Trump’s lawyers regarding potential collusion with Russia, and his team hasn’t yet ruled out seeking an interview with the president, according to one of the U.S. officials. If Trump refused an interview request, Mueller could face the complicated question of whether to seek a grand jury subpoena of the president. The Justice Department has a standing policy that a sitting president can’t be indicted.

At the same time, Mueller is tying down some loose ends. Four of his 17 prosecutors have left the special counsel’s office in recent months. Three are going back to their previous Justice Department jobs, and the fourth has become a research fellow at Columbia Law School.

After several postponements, Mueller’s team has agreed to a sentencing date for Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements last year. The Dec. 18 date comes more than a year after Mueller secured a cooperation deal with Flynn, suggesting that Mueller’s team has all it needs from him.

Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, struck his own cooperation agreement with Mueller last month, after being convicted at trial in Virginia on eight counts of bank fraud, filing false tax returns and failure to file a foreign bank account. The plea agreement let him avoid a second trial in Washington. The judge in the Virginia trial, who wasn’t part of the plea agreement, has scheduled a sentencing hearing Friday, which could complicate Manafort’s cooperation agreement with Mueller.

Mueller’s prosecutors also have met with Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer. Cohen pleaded guilty in New York in August to tax evasion, bank fraud and violations of campaign finance laws. That separate investigation, headed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, is one of several New York probes involving the Trump Organization, and could ultimately prove to be more damaging to the president than Mueller’s work.

Manafort’s Plea

Former federal prosecutors said that Manafort’s plea deal probably advanced Mueller’s timeline for determining whether there was collusion.

Manafort could be assisting Mueller’s team on questions related to whether the Trump campaign changed the Republican party’s stance on Ukraine as part of an understanding with the Russian government, and whether the Russians helped coordinate the release of hacked emails related to Democrat Hillary Clinton with members of Trump’s campaign, said another former prosecutor who asked not to be named.

QuickTake:From Cohen to Collusion, Tallying Trump’s Legal Risks

Manafort is also key to understanding a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians who had promised damaging information concerning Clinton, the former official said.

Manafort appears to have good material to offer, said Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at Duke University School of Law. “He’s not going to get that deal unless he can help Mueller make a case against one or more people,” Buell said. Cooperators can’t expect leniency unless they provide "substantial assistance in the prosecution of others," Buell added, citing sentencing guidelines.

Although the days and weeks after the election might test Mueller in new ways, he has confronted pressure before to shut down.

Done by Thanksgiving

Trump’s lawyers have attempted to publicly pressure Mueller into wrapping up his investigation, setting artificial deadlines since the early days of the probe when they predicted it would wrap by the end of 2017. In August 2017, then-White House lawyer Ty Cobb said he would be “embarrassed” if the investigation dragged on past Thanksgiving.

Even if Mueller’s probe stretched through 2019, the timeline wouldn’t be unprecedented. Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr spent four years investigating President Bill Clinton before releasing his report on the Monica Lewinsky affair, which spun out of a probe into an Arkansas land deal known as Whitewater.


It took almost two years for Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to indict Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, for lying to investigators and obstruction of justice in October 2005 in the investigation into the public outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Chief Justice Roberts asks federal judges to handle Kavanaugh ethics complaints

 
Brett Kavanaugh is sworn-in as Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy on October 8 at the White House.
 
  Chief Justice John Roberts is referring ethics complaints against new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to federal judges in Colorado and neighboring states.
The complaints deal with statements Kavanaugh made during his confirmation hearings. They were filed originally with Kavanaugh’s old court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Roberts took no action on them while Kavanaugh’s nomination was pending. He received the first three of 15 eventual complaints on Sept. 20, a week before Kavanaugh’s angry denial of a sexual assault allegation by Christine Blasey Ford.
It’s possible the complaints will never be investigated if the lower-court judges determine they have no jurisdiction over a Supreme Court justice under the judiciary’s ethics rules. The judges may be forced to conclude “that intervening events have rendered the allegations moot or make remedial action impossible,” said Arthur Hellman, an ethics professor at the University of Pittsburgh.
Another ethicist, Stephen Gillers of New York University, disagreed that the complaints are moot. Kavanaugh remains a federal judge and the complaints “allege misconduct that occurred while Kavanaugh was on the D.C. Circuit and subject to the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. Any violation of the Code does not disappear because he is now on another federal court,” Gillers said in an email.
But Gillers said the complaints “may be found not to be meritorious in the end.”
The judiciary’s rules allow members of the public to lodge complaints about federal judges. They typically are dealt with by experienced judges in the courthouse or region where a judge serves. Judges who receive complaints have a range of options that include dismissing them out of hand, having local judges investigate them or asking Roberts, in his capacity as head of the federal judiciary, to assign the complaints to judges in a different part of the country.
Roberts assigned the complaints to the ethics council of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to deal with the complaints, according to a letter posted Wednesday on the D.C. Circuit’s website.
Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit, typically deals with ethics complaints, but he apparently stepped aside from complaints against Kavanaugh.
The first public word of the complaints came Saturday when D.C. Circuit Judge Karen Henderson acknowledged that complaints about Kavanaugh had been filed. They only “seek investigations … of the public statements he has made as a nominee to the Supreme Court,” Henderson said in a statement. Details of the complaints have not been made public.
Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit, typically deals with ethics complaints, but he apparently stepped aside from complaints against Kavanaugh. Garland had been nominated to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama, but Senate Republicans never acted on the nomination.
Roberts’ letter was sent to Judge Timothy Tymkovich, the 10th Circuit’s chief judge. Tymkovich was on President Donald Trump’s list of possible Supreme Court nominees.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Kavanaugh’s on the Court precisely because he’s ‘a close-minded partisan zealot’

 Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)                                    
By Jesse Jackson           10/08/2018
 Brett Kavanaugh is now a justice of the Supreme Court. He is there only because he is what he showed himself to be in the Senate hearings:  a vicious, partisan operative utterly committed to a right-wing judicial activism that will inevitably lead to a constitutional crisis.

The Republicans ensured that there would not be a full investigation of the charges against Kavanaugh, yet Maine Sen. Susan Collins dishonestly called the cribbed FBI investigation comprehensive.

Yet Kavanaugh revealed in the hearings exactly who he is — and why Trump chose him and Republicans lined up to confirm him, no matter what the evidence. A close-minded partisan zealot, he bizarrely embraced the most fantastical of conspiracy theories, including somehow that all this was revenge hatched by the Clintons. He demonstrated stunning contempt for senators — yet Republican senators, led by Chairman Charles Grassley, no longer have any institutional pride. The Senate be damned; they are purely into tribal partisan politics.

They stuck with Kavanaugh because they know who he is. He claims to be an “originalist” and “textualist” who only applies the Constitution, but that is simply a threadbare cover. He was vetted and approved by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation — both dedicated to promoting activist right-wing lawyers who will overturn precedent to serve conservative ends.

Kavanaugh’s ascension to the court locks in a five-person majority for an extreme activist position. We’ve already seen what the conservative gang of five is prepared to do. They ignored unanimous Congressional intent to gut the Voting Rights Act. They overturned decades of precedent to empower corporations to pour money into elections. They trampled precedent to gut the ability of public employee unions to collect dues from the members they represent.

The threat Kavanaugh poses to Roe v. Wade, and a woman’s right to control her own body is clear. Less attention has been paid to his consistent effort to protect corporations from accountability. When faced with a choice between the polluter and the poisoned, Judge Kavanaugh stands with the polluter. When faced with a choice between the boss and the worker, he stands with the boss. When faced with a choice between a predator corporation and a consumer, he stands with the predator.

Public Citizen did an analysis of Judge Kavanaugh’s opinions on the U.S. Court of Appeals in cases where the court was divided. They found that nearly 9 of 10 times, Kavanaugh ruled against the public interest and for the corporate interest. In 17 cases involving worker rights, he stood with the employers 15 times. In 13 cases on the environment, he was with the polluter 11 times. In 22 cases between corporations and consumers, he stood with the corporations 18 times. On seven cases involving police abuse or human rights, he ruled against the victims in all seven.

In the Senate hearing, Kavanaugh vowed to have a partisan frame. Blaming Democrats for challenging his nomination, he pledged that “what goes around, comes around.”

The right wing has consolidated a majority on the court. It is a gang of five that is increasingly out of step with a society that grows more diverse, more inclusive, and is increasingly challenged by corporate corruption, big money politics, obscene inequality and catastrophic climate change. The gang of five is likely to stand in the way of fundamental reforms vital to this country.

The only thing that can save Democracy is the democracy. Even the Supreme Court responds to election returns. If Trump Republicans remain in control of the Congress and the White House, the gang of five will be emboldened. If voters rebuke them at the polls — if they elect progressive majorities focused on the changes we need — the gang of five will be more cautious.

Judge Kavanaugh is probably impervious to the will of the people, too bitter, too ideological, too zealous to be reached. But Chief Justice John Roberts and perhaps Neil Gorsuch may understand that their own legacy and the court’s legitimacy will be at risk if they try to defend the rich and corporations from a people demanding justice. Our task is clear. Don’t mourn, organize.

With this appointment, the Senate has traduced its reputation and abandoned its responsibilities. Now it is time for the people to speak.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Happy Birthday to the smartest boy in all over the world!


If you look in the dictionary under “Precious Cargo,” you’ll find your picture in there. They also have your photo under “birthday,” but that’s a special for today only.
You are a dreamer, and today, part of your dream comes true. May you find your way to the biggest star. May all your big dreams come true.
Today, you are a year older and wiser than you were last year, but not quite as old as you will be this time next year. Life is complicated,
As a new chapter begins in your life, I’d like you to wish that it brings you all the love and happiness you could have ever hoped to have.
You are never too old to learn something new. You are never too awkward to try something different. Welcome to another chapter of your life.
Words alone are not enough to express how happy  we are  you are celebrating another year of your life!  Our  wish for you on your birthday is that you are, and will always be, happy and healthy! Don’t ever change.
Today is the time of celebration; We  hope you have a beautiful day with loads of love and surprises. May your birthday gives you the best memories till the next one, may you have success waiting ahead.Celebrate the best-ever party today, but don’t forget to celebrate every day, along with the happiness that each day brings.
Happy Birthday our precious 'Little Man'
Daddy , Mama , Jonny , Sha , Jenny
Poppa in Spirit 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Trump’s new trade deal gets a few things right while falling short

 The Trump administration has worked out a new trade with Canada and Mexico. | Photo by Lars Hagberg / AFP
ByJesse Jackson     10/01/2018
Donald Trump on Monday announced a new NAFTA draft treaty, renamed for showtime as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Canada, ignoring Trump’s insults and gibes, threats and posturing, joined Mexico in making a deal. The new pact contains some much needed reforms — and falls glaringly short in critical areas. Auto workers and truckers get some relief. Big oil and Big Pharma get paid off. The prices of prescription drugs will go up in Canada and Mexico.

For Trump, the agreement is about politics. He set the arbitrary deadline for signatures so that he might have a revised draft agreement to trumpet during the run-up to the November elections. For working people, particularly manufacturing workers and farmers, the show is less important than the substance. And the substance is a very mixed bag.

Trump is to be applauded for forcing the renegotiation, despite the hand-wringing of the corporate trade advocates in both parties. In many ways, he had little choice.

Working people had paid a huge price under the original NAFTA and demanded change. Labor unions built a large coalition against NAFTA and future agreements like it, including the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren led the assault on the outrageous private legal system that NAFTA and other agreements set up for corporations, giving them the right to sue the U.S. before private tribunals with corporate lawyers acting as judges.  Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Rosa DeLauro built the coalition that made it clear that the TPP would never gain approval from the Congress.

 By the time of the 2016 election, every major candidate — Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump — announced their opposition to the TPP and criticized NAFTA. Trump was savvy enough to make trade and NAFTA a centerpiece of his economic argument in the campaign.

Trump’s deal makes some significant reforms that should be applauded. It reins in the outrageous Investor State Dispute Settlement, curbing the ability of corporations to use private tribunals to collect millions and attack environmental and health policies. It raises safety standards on trucks coming from Mexico, a significant concern for citizens across the country.

It increases the North American (read Mexico, Canada and U.S.) domestic content for tariff free automobiles and auto parts from 62.5 percent to 75 percent, which should help retain some jobs from being shipped to low wage producers across the seas.

It contains a truly innovative provision requiring that 30 percent of work done on automobiles be carried out by workers making at least $16 per hour. That helps protect workers in the U.S. and Canada, since it is three times the prevailing wage in Mexico.

It is, however, truly deplorable that the floor on autoworkers wages is $16 an hour, in contrast with the wages that they used to get before NAFTA.

But there is much in Trump’s new trade deal that reflects the corrupt corporate dealings of the old NAFTA. Big oil won the ability to sustain the private tribunals for its operations in Mexico. Big Pharma won increased monopoly protections. The price of drugs will go up Canada and Mexico and stay up in the U.S. as a result of this agreement.

More work remains to be done. As Lori Wallach of Citizen Trade Watch notes, “Unless there are strong labor and environmental standards that are subject to swift and certain enforcement, U.S. firms will continue to outsource jobs to pay Mexican workers poverty wages, dump toxins and bring their products back here for sale.”

Worse, Trump’s agreement waives buy American protections for U.S. procurement, leading to the continued outsourcing of U.S. jobs created from taxpayer’s money.

Canada and Mexico are our largest trading partners, with $1.2 trillion in trade between the three nations. Canada is the largest recipient of U.S. exports, our second largest trading partner and our second largest investor. Canada is a NATO ally whose soldiers have fought and died at our side.

We also have a huge stake in Mexico’s economic welfare. Part of the horrors of the first NAFTA was that it disrupted peasant agriculture in Mexico, forcing many workers to head north to care for their families. The resulting tensions from immigration — legal and illegal — have had a poisonous effect in our politics, with Trump and others profiting from an ugly, racialized posturing.

Getting this right is important.

Sadly, the deal, while an improvement over the old one, doesn’t get it right. Labor rights and environmental protections still lack serious enforcement. Mexico’s ability to pursue a clear economic course is circumscribed by protections of Big Oil and Big Pharma, among others.


Trump deserves credit for renegotiating NAFTA, something that his Democratic and Republican predecessors failed to do. Trump will no doubt use the new agreement as a centerpiece of his claim of “Promises made, promises kept.” A more accurate description would be “Promises made, performance lacking.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Trump’s stump speech is a con job

  President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
ByJesse Jackson   September 25 , 2018
 President Donald Trump is back on the stump, promising to campaign “six or seven days a week” until the general election to try to keep Republicans in control of both Houses of Congress.

His stump speech is characteristically bombastic, filled with the exaggerations, insults and flat-out lies that people have come to expect.
EDITORIAL:
Trump’s speech is at its core a con job. Republicans’ tax cuts went to the rich and the corporations, and the promise that everyone would get a $4,000 raise went up in smoke. Republican efforts first to repeal and then to lacerate Obamacare will deprive millions of health care, even as prices spike this fall because of the damage they’ve done.

Trump has ushered in the most corrupt administration in memory, appointing corporate lobbyists to rig the rules and roll back protections for workers and consumers and the environment.

Trump can point to a strong economy, but he inherited a growing economy from President Barack Obama. Working families still haven’t benefited from the so-called recovery. Trump has broken his promise to invest in rebuilding our dangerously decrepit and uncompetitive infrastructure. Inequality is worse than ever, with Trump’s tax cuts adding to the divide.

College tuitions continue to rise, and the student debt crisis gets worse and worse. Drug costs continue to soar, despite Trump’s promises to do something about it. The opioid epidemic claimed 72,000 lives last year, as the administration floundered in responding to the crisis.

 Even as catastrophic climate change ravages the U.S. from California to Houston to North Carolina and Puerto Rico, Trump remains in denial, with mere mentions of global warming erased from government web sites. As the crises accumulate, FEMA’s woeful performance in Puerto Rico makes President Bush’s disastrous operation after Hurricane Katrina look efficient in comparison.

The administration’s war on workers makes it harder for them to share in the benefits of the good economy. Republican governors and state legislatures work to block cities from raising the minimum wage within their own boundaries. The first vote of Trump’s appointee to the Supreme Court was to gut labor rights for public employees, as Republicans continue to undermine the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively.

Despite all of Trump’s tough talk, new data show the U.S. trade deficit in July grew at its fastest rate since 2015, as monthly deficits with China and the European Union both reached new records.

Given all this, the content of Trump’s stump speech is predictable. It is designed to distract and divide, not inform and unite.

As illustrated by his recent speech in West Virginia, his themes have an ugly racial cast. He began that speech by slandering NFL players, describing their protest against police brutality as “defaming our flag” and our “beautiful, beautiful national anthem.” He railed against Democrats, suggesting that they would make America safe for criminal aliens, take away the Second Amendment and rewrite our Constitution.

The “beating heart of this election,” he argued, “is border security.” He roused his audience against the “Russian witch hunt” on the same day his personal lawyer pleaded guilty and his campaign manager was convicted by that same investigation.

Americans need to decipher the Trump bombast. He boasts about adding billions to our military –—that already consumes over one-third of the world’s military spending — without admitting that he wants to slash investment in education, in clean energy, in Medicare and Medicaid.

He boasts of his tax cuts, without admitting that the next round will be to savage programs for the most vulnerable to help pay for the tax cuts larded on the rich and corporations. He brags about repealing the Clean Power Plan and abandoning the Paris climate accord, without mentioning that he’s opening the door to fouling our water and air and ignoring the greatest threat to our national security.

He trumpets record low black and Hispanic unemployment, without noting that he’s ended efforts to curb police brutality and racial profiling, gutting enforcement of civil rights laws, and encouraged efforts to suppress the right to vote.

I believe in passion in politics. Passionate stump speeches don’t offend me. Hyperbole, wit and humor have their place. But Trump is peddling division and fostering fear. He wants Americans to think that they are threatened most by immigrants and burdened most by the vulnerable.

But immigrants and the vulnerable don’t rig the rules to benefit the few. Trump is betting he can use our fears to divide and distract us to blind us from his con.

I believe that America is better than that. The election this fall will tell us who is right.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

By enforcing climate change denial, Trump puts us all in peril



Bob Richling carries Iris Darden as water from the Little River starts to seep into her home on Monday in Spring Lake, North Carolina. Flood waters from the cresting rivers inundated the area after the passing of Hurricane Florence. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
By  Jesse Jackson       09/17/2018 
North Carolina has been hit with a storm of biblical ferocity.

Florence has left at least 17 dead there, 500,000 without power, with flash flooding across the state from the coast to the western mountains. Landslides and infectious diseases are predicted to follow. North Carolina is not alone, of course.

We’ve witnessed the devastation wrought by Katrina in New Orleans, Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, Hurricane Harvey in Houston and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Maria is now estimated to have taken 2,975 lives, nearly as many as died on Sept. 11, 2001.

As economics historian J. Bradford DeLong summarizes, the four storms — all in the past 15 years — are among the most damaging in U.S. history. No one storm can be attributed to any one cause. But repeated storms of greater force are the “predictable result” of catastrophic climate change, and they are a mild augury of what is likely to follow.

President Donald Trump has enforced climate denial in Washington. He has systematically sought to repeal even the inadequate steps the U.S. had taken to begin to address the problem. Last year he announced the U.S. was withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.

He’s geared up to repeal President Barack Obama’s executive orders on energy, climate and gas mileage. He’s opening up more public lands to mining and drilling and weakening environmental restrictions on coal, oil and natural gas, including most alarmingly, restrictions on the release of methane gas from natural gas pipes.

 Web pages with climate change information have been removed or buried at the EPA and the Interior and Energy departments. The rest of the world vows to continue to deal with climate change, but with the wealthiest nation in the world scorning the effort, it is certain to be more inadequate than it already is.

Catastrophic climate change is a clear and present threat to our national security. The Pentagon realizes this. It is developing contingency plans for bases around the globe that will be threatened by rising waters and raging storms. Its intelligence agencies warn that climate change will be more destabilizing than terrorism across the developing world.

DeLong offers one snapshot of the threat. Two billion poor farmers toil in the six great river valleys of Asia. Their existence is dependent on the snow melt from the region’s high plateaus arriving at the right moment and in the right volume to support the crops on which the billions rely. Another billion depend on the monsoon arriving at the right time each year.

Now as the planet heats up, the sea levels rise, the polar ice caps melt, so too the snow melt will change dramatically, as will the monsoons and cyclones. The disruption will wreak havoc on billions, forcing dramatic migrations to who knows where. The same is predicted as Africa gets hotter and drier, and desertification continues to uproot long settled peoples.

The effects are already here, visible in the scorching heat experienced across the country, the fires in the West, the drought in the South and the storms in the East. We are seeing climate change with our own eyes. Yes, no one storm or heat wave can be directly attributed to global warming. But global warming guarantees that catastrophic weather events will get more frequent and more ferocious.

Some suggest it is too late. The carbon already in the atmosphere will take us beyond the warming levels that the international community suggested were manageable. We are headed into the unmanageable.

But denial is no answer. Continuing to do more of the same is simple madness. It is not too late to make the wholesale cuts need in greenhouse gas emissions. Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University notes: “It is not going off a cliff; it is like walking out into a minefield. So the argument that it is too late to do something would be like saying: ‘I’m just going to keep walking.’ That would be absurd.”

Trump’s chaos presidency is corrosive and divisive. His impulsive and uninformed decision-making is terrifying. Now on what surely is becoming the greatest threat to our security — indeed human existence, if not addressed — he and the Republican Congress that aids and abets him, are adding fuel to the fire.

Without vision, the Bible says, the people perish. Trump’s blind denial of the reality around us seems intent on demonstrating how true that is.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Trump’s mutterings are stark contrast to Lincoln’s eloquence

 President Donald Trump speaks during a "Make America Great Again" rally in Billings, Montana on Sept. 6. | Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
        By Jesse Jackson                09/10/2018
Last week, President Trump, in a rambling stump speech in Montana, bizarrely compared his oratory to that of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, arguing (incorrectly) that Lincoln was “ridiculed” for the speech.

“He was excoriated by the fake news. … Fifty years after his death, they said it may have been the greatest speech ever made in America,” Trump noted. “I have a feeling that’s going to happen with us.”

Don’t hold your breath, Donald. Nothing could be a farther remove from Lincoln’s austere, measured eloquence than Trump’s often incoherent mutterings. And nothing could be farther removed from the Republican Party of Lincoln than the right-wing politicians who today carry the Republican label.

The Republican Party emerged in 1854 in the fight against the extension of slavery to the new territories opening up in the West. Republicans opposed the extension, with its strategists arguing that slavery would die out if it were contained in the South.

Under Lincoln, the Republican Party stayed true to the nation in the civil war that ended with the abolition of slavery. Democrats were the party of Jefferson Davis, the leader of the rebelling states of the South.

As the party of the Union, Republicans dominated American politics from the Civil War to the 1930s. They believed in free labor, free soil, free men. They favored what Lincoln called “domestic improvements,” building the railroads, and investing in public infrastructure. They favored spending more money to improve public education, with Lincoln founding the land grant colleges across the country.

They believed in science, supporting sophisticated research in agricultural techniques and production. The party of business, they supported protective tariffs and liberal immigration policy. They passed the first income tax, the homestead laws that distributed lands to settlers, and the national banking system. Under Teddy Roosevelt, they pushed anti-trust laws, sought to clean up government and favored protective measures for workers — from the eight-hour day to environmental protection to worker safety laws.

In the 1960s, Republican senators helped pass the civil rights laws over the implacable opposition of Southern Democrats. As late as the 1970s under Gerald Ford, Republican leaders were pro-choice, pro-equal rights, pro-civil rights and leading environmentalists.

Just as Donald Trump is no Abraham Lincoln, today’s Republican Party stands in stark contradiction to the Republican Party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Gerald Ford. This Republican Party is now the party of Jefferson Davis, the party of states’ rights. It waves the Confederate flag and glorifies Jefferson Davis and Robert E Lee.

When LBJ pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, he told Bill Moyers that he feared he had lost the South for a generation. Turns out he was too optimistic.

Adopting a cynical “Southern strategy,” Republicans turned themselves into a party grounded in white Southerners still resisting equal rights for all. Dixiecrats such as Strom Thurmond led Southern Democrats into the Republican Party. The party aligned with the conservative evangelical church movement that rose through the South. And, of course remained the party of big business and conservative money.

Today’s Republican Party tramples every principle of the party of Lincoln.

Under Trump, they are systematically rolling back enforcement of equal protection for minorities and women. Instead of tax increases and public investment, they tout tax cuts for the rich and privatization. Instead of environmental protection, they open the door to corporate polluters, while denying even the existence of catastrophic climate change.

Instead of investing in education, they seek to slash public education and privatize schools. They are anti-choice, anti-women’s rights, and anti-worker rights. Instead of offering the poor a hand up as Lincoln did with the homestead acts and the land grant public colleges, they seek to cut aid to the vulnerable, working to roll back Medicaid, food stamps, Pell grants for students and more.

Trump’s manic stump performances pose a stark contrast to Lincoln’s eloquence. But it’s the contrast in substance that is telling. Trump rails against immigrants, embraces neo-Nazis, assails the free press and seeks, with his Republican allies, to dismantle effective governance.

Lincoln understood the importance of the public sphere. As he put it in his message to Congress in 1861, it is important to maintain “in the world, that form and substance of government, whose leading object is to elevate the condition of man, to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life.”

For that fundamental principle, Lincoln would be vilified in Trump’s Republican Party.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Kitchener woman charged with slapping officer at U.S. border

A Kitchener woman has been arrested at the Rainbow Bridge crossing at Niagara Falls after allegedly slapping a U.S. customs official.
A Kitchener woman has been arrested at the Rainbow Bridge crossing at Niagara Falls after allegedly slapping a U.S. customs official. 

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont.—A Kitchener woman is in hot water after allegedly slapping a U.S. border officer during an ill-fated trip to Niagara Falls.
American officials said 40-year-old Tianna Natasha McPherson was arrested Sept. 2 at the Rainbow Bridge border crossing, where she had been dropped off by cab with the intention of visiting Niagara Falls State Park in New York.
A U.S. Attorney’s report states that due to “derogatory information” about McPherson’s past behaviour while crossing the border, she was taken aside for secondary inspection, denied admittance into the U.S. and told she would be returned to Canada.
At this point, officials say she became verbally combative and unco-operative. They said she insisted she was an American citizen and tried to leave. When a Customs and Border Protection officer blocked the exit and told her to sit down, the report says McPherson challenged the officer and “open-hand slapped the officer on the left side of her face.”
McPherson was arrested and charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding an officer of the United States, and is being held in custody. The charge carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Her next detention hearing is set for Thursday.
That is a pretty steep penalty and fine for a wee slap. She didn't poke the guard's eye out or try to throttle her. Who is  this guard anyway?
I thought it was rather amusing, at first, but there is a more serious, underlying side to this incident, that reflects the times we live in.
 I think that because McPherson  was a previous trouble maker, they detained her and rather rudely sent her packing.  After that indignity, I might feel like slapping someone too.
 It seems everyone at border crossings, these days, guards and travellers alike, are tense, and defensive. I have crossed the border at the Rainbow Bridge a hundred times , conservatively, and the process used to be quick, very polite and relaxed. We often chatted and joked with the border guards. The guards on both sides treated Americans and Canadians alike and equally, like friends and neighbors. It changed a little after 9/11.   Neither country could believe what had happened and were saddened and confused by it. The border guards looked at us a bit more suspiciously and asked more questions. But these days they seem deadly serious, they can be rude, rougher, conduct body cavity searches and we are all looked upon as potential terrorists or criminals. The border guards perhaps reflect the attitudes of the present administration. Friends and allies are now suspicious strangers. I sincerely hope that after the next election we can return to friendlier times.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

mmmask a radical agenda that hurts everyday people

The Trump administration rolled back the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's efforts to slow global warming, the Clean Power Plan that restricts greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. | AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
ByJesse Jackson
 Trump’s serial scandals — Stormy Daniels, the Russia investigation, the Paul Manafort verdict, the Cohen guilty plea, the juvenile tweets — fill the headlines. Beneath the noise, however, Trump’s appointees and the Republican Congress are relentlessly pursuing a radical right-wing agenda that is gutting basic protections for workers, consumers and the environment.

This is often characterized as Trump’s fixation on erasing everything Obama, but it goes far beyond that.

Trump’s administration and Congress are not only rolling back President Obama’s policies, but weakening the advances of the Great Society, the Civil Rights Movement, and even pillars of the New Deal. Consider:

Eviscerating the Voting Rights Act
The Department of Justice has essentially abandoned enforcement of voting rights.  The signal was sent when DOJ lawyers withdrew from the Texas voter-ID case in which the Obama Justice Department was co-counsel, arguing that the Texas act was intentionally designed to discriminate against people of color. Combined with the Supreme Court’s right-wing gang of five weakening the act in Shelby County v. Holder, there is now a virtual vacuum of voting rights enforcement.

Savaging enforcement of civil rights
While Attorney General Jeff Sessions has dramatically weakened enforcement of basic civil rights in the Justice Department, the same is true across the government.  The Labor Department disbanded its civil rights division. The Department of Education gutted the budget of its Office of Civil Rights. The Environmental Protection Agency targeted the Environmental Justice program for elimination.

For immigrants, basic civil rights have been trampled — from the travel-ban orders affecting predominantly Muslim countries, upending the DACA program for the young people who were born here and know no other country, to the grotesque policy that separated children from their parents at the border.

Under Sessions, the Justice Department has also essentially abandoned what was a bipartisan effort to bring about criminal justice reform, with Sessions ordering a review of the consent decrees that were addressing systematic racial discrimination and police brutality.

Climate change denial
Trump famously has announced he will pull the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, while his appointees have sought to scrub any mention of climate change from government websites. EPA Director Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, replaced the Obama administration Clean Power Plan that limited the release of greenhouse gases from power plants.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has abandoned efforts to end the 30-year ripoff of government by fossil fuel companies mining public lands.  At a time when even the Pentagon recognizes climate change as real and present threat to national security, the Trump administration remains in denial.

Undermining public education
Under Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education has become the vessel of for-profit plunder. Her budgets seek to use public funds for private school vouchers.  Stunningly, the DOE is pushing plans to make it harder for students to repay their college debts, ending or weakening various plans to limit the burden.

Now DeVos is jettisoning rules that require for-profit colleges to provide an education that actually prepares graduates for decent jobs, opening the door for rip-offs like Trump’s own notorious university.

Savaging worker rights
In one of his first votes, Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch provided the determining vote in the Janus decision that weakened the ability of public employees to organize and bargain collectively.

Trump’s Labor Department repealed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Rule that required companies with federal contracts to disclose and correct labor and safety violations. It also announced it would not defend Obama’s order that increased the number of employees eligible for overtime pay, effectively depriving tens of thousands of workers of a raise.

Tax cuts for the rich, cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for the rest

Trump’s one main legislative victory — the Republican tax cut — lavishes its benefits on the rich and the corporations. Trump and Republicans are using the deficits they created to push for deep cuts in Medicaid, Medicare and — watch for it if they survive the November election — Social Security.

Trump’s budgets call for deep cuts in virtually every program for the vulnerable, including food stamps, affordable housing and more.

We can’t allow ourselves to be distracted by the circus which is the Trump presidency. Under the chaos, Trump’s appointees and the Republican Congress are pursuing a radical and very destructive agenda. These measures are incredibly unpopular, or would be if Americans knew about them.

They are done by executive order, by administrative rulings, by judicial decisions, by budget cuts. Their effect is masked by the good economy. But they are incredibly destructive, systematically making America more unequal, undermining equal justice under law and elevating corporate rights over worker rights.

They must be exposed and stopped. The elections this fall will be the first chance to curb this misrule.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Remembering John McCain

 
The amazing life of John McCain has been well-documented and well-publicized. But there was so much more to this incredible man than his career in politics.


John Sidney McCain III was born on Aug. 29, 1936, in Panama at Coco Solo Naval Air Station. He was born into a prominent military family. His father, John McCain Jr., and grandfather, John McCain Sr., were the first father-son admiral pair in U.S. naval history.


 
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In high school, he was a wrestler and was given the nicknames “Punk” and "McNasty." Later in life, he was nicknamed "the white tornado" because of his prematurely gray hair.

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After high school, he attended the United States Naval Academy and graduated in 1958. McCain’s two siblings, Jean “Sandy” and Joseph, also chose careers within the military.

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He was married twice and had seven children, including one adopted daughter. Two of McCain's sons are continuing the family’s military tradition: the youngest son, Jimmy, is a Marine, while another son, Jack, is in the Navy.

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 McCain served in the military from 1958 until 1981. His 1999 autobiography, “Faith of My Fathers,” tells about his early life and capture as a POW while serving in Vietnam. The book was made into a television movie in 2005; a first-person account was published in U.S. News & World Report.

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Wounded McCain was dragged from the sea by hostile Vietnamese when his bomber was shot down.
He had a broken leg and shattered arm.  The Vietnamese beat him and stabbed him as they dragged him ashore.
 
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He was routinely beaten and tortured for five and a half years
 
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 His long awaited release. He was particularly targeted for torture  because his father and grandfather were simultaneously admirals in the US navy during the Vietnam war.
 
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He received several military decorations and awards, including the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Navy Commendation, and Prisoner of War. He received the Liberty Medal in October 2017.
 
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McCain began a career in politics in 1977, serving as the Navy’s liaison to the U.S. Senate. From 1983 to 1986, McCain served in Congress as the U.S. representative for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. His career as a U.S. senator for Arizona began in 1987.
 
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SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Pictured: (l-r) Senator John McCain plays stoned, hippie art teacher "Pete Van Vliet" opposite SNL cast members Maya Rudolph and Rachel Dratch as middle school talk show host "Megan" and sidekick "Sheldon" in the recurring sketch "Wake Up Wakefield."
 
He appeared on NBC's “Saturday Night Live” in 2002 in a mock edition of “Meet the Press” and twice more....once with Sarah Palin, his chosen running mate.
 
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McCain ran for president twice. In his first campaign, in 2000, he withdrew from the race against Republican rival George W. Bush. In his second campaign, in 2008, he lost the election against Democratic rival Barack Obama.

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After his cancer diagnosis and exploratory brain surgery last year, he immediately returned to work on the floor of the senate, knowing his time was very short. He tried to restore the integrity and courage of that body of public servants by reminding them that they worked for the American people, not Mr Trump. He added, they were not subordinate to the president but were his equals. I believe he was greatly disappointed in the change of attitude among his colleagues.
 
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Senator John McCain died at the age of 81 on Aug. 25, 2018. He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, in July 2017 and decided to discontinue treatment on Aug. 24, 2018. His remains will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, a honor presented to less than three dozen people in U.S. history, including former presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.
 
 
 Please remember John McCain. He was a hero and a true patriot with that strong sense of justice and fairness that we all admire Americans for. He represented the best America has to offer. He earned his place in history. He wrote seven books and many treatises and the following is one of  his quotes:
 
 
Rest with the angels
Witchy and Shadow