Tag Archives: USA

Vox Political scrapbook: June 8

The news was dominated by the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol, but there were two snippets from the States.

One showed how the American public had reacted to their president’s decision to wall himself inside a big fence (he likes putting up barriers, doesn’t he?):

The other shows how the American authorities respond to police officers who attack members of the public.

I hope people in the United States have aken note, and realised that the system they have created has been perverted against them.

No longer government of the people, by the people and for the people, it is government by the elite, against the people, and terrorising the people.

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Trump’s ‘prophets of doom’ speech suggests the UK should NOT enter trade deal with him

Doom: While Donald Trump tells Davos nothing is wrong, the habitat of Australian species – like kangaroos – has been destroyed in fire. Do the flames have to be spreading up Pennsylvania Avenue before he’ll admit the facts?

If the UK enters a trade deal with Donald Trump, won’t it be joining an ‘axis of doom’ with one of the world’s principle climate crisis deniers?

That’s the message from his speech at Davos, where the US president made clear that he was not planning to change his country’s high-carbon economy.

The man who has absolute power to dominate, transform and control the lives of most people in the world decried climate protesters for demanding “absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives.”

That’s a bit hypocritical, isn’t it?

Oh, he said he’d sign up to an initiative to plant, restore and conserve a trillion trees – but hasn’t he noticed how all the trees seem to be catching fire, in the Amazon and Australia?

Climate crisis icon Greta Thunberg has – and she was at Davos where Mr Trump’s speech failed to impress her.

“Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fuelling the flames by the hour, and we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else,” she said.

“You say: ‘We won’t let you down. Don’t be so pessimistic.’ And then, silence.”

And she asked: “What will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing… climate chaos that you knowingly brought upon them? That it seemed so bad for the economy that we decided to resign the idea of securing future living conditions without even trying?”

The trouble is, she has been saying this for more than a year and those in power haven’t lifted a finger; in other words, she’s right about them.

And history may view such people with extreme prejudice – as UK TV presenter Chris Packham made clear in a speech to TV executives at the annual Bafta television lecture.

He wasn’t afraid to name names, either. He said future generations may come to regard Mr Trump, Vladimir Putin, Jair Bolsonaro and Scott Morrison in a similar way as current generations see Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, because by then they could have caused the deaths of millions of people.

But while the leaders pay nothing more than lip-service to action on climate change, UK prime minister Boris Johnson is inching closer to a trade deal with Mr Trump – one that, we’re told, will bind him into policies that deny the danger.

Already he has failed to seize opportunities to make a real difference.

Will he bottle it again – and sell us all down the river just so he can have a few American dollars?

Source: Davos: Trump decries climate ‘prophets of doom’ with Thunberg in audience – BBC News

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Hear this satirical song that mocks Trump’s hypocrisy on racism

Victims of racism and misogyny: Donald Trump has told these four Congresswomen to “go back” to the countries from which they came; they are all US citizens.

Has anybody else been watching the ongoing soap opera of Donald Trump, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib (together with other US Democratic Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley), and the Israeli government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu with the same astonished bemusement as This Writer?

I mean, how can anybody justify this out-and-out racism from the leaders of two supposedly democratic countries?

You’ll remember it started when Mr Trump decided to publish racist tweets about the four ladies (three of whom were born in the US and one was naturalised after coming to that country as a child), suggesting they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”.

Unless he was referring to “totally broken and crime infested places” in the United States, that’s stark racism, right there.

The when Ms Omar and Ms Tlaib were preparing to visit Israel, he put pressure on Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to block them from being allowed entry to that country. The first Muslim women elected to Congress, they were going to visit the occupied Palestinian territories, most notably the West Bank.

Ms Omar responded to the ban by saying it was an “affront” for Mr Netanyahu to give in to pressure from Mr Trump. Others have strongly criticised the US president for influencing a foreign leader against his own political opponents.

“Trump’s Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected Members of Congress,” said Ms Omar.

“Sadly, this is not a surprise given the public positions of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has consistently resisted peace efforts, restricted the freedom of movement of Palestinians, limited public knowledge of the brutal realities of the occupation and aligned himself with Islamophobes like Donald Trump.”

Mr Netanyahu’s decision has harmed Israel’s position among US politicians, with staunch Israel support and minority leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, calling it a sign of “weakness, not strength”, and saying it would “only hurt the US-Israeli relationship and support for Israel in America”.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi added that it was “beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel”. She said Mr Trump’s interference was “a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the office of the president”.

2020 Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders said, “It is disgusting that a bigot like Trump is attacking Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar in this way. Opposing Netanyahu’s policies is not ‘hating the Jewish people.’ We must stand together against those who promote hatred and racism in Israel, Palestine, the US and everywhere.”

And yet Mr Trump seems to be hugely popular with a certain slab off the American people – popularity that has no rational explanation and that has been lampooned rather brutally but effectively in the following video:

Perhaps this is the way forward?

After Nick Clegg had the satirical song treatment with Sorry, which turned his apology for the Liberal Democrats’ decision to ditch their policy to cancel student tuition fees and support tripling them instead, in order to go into the disastrous coalition government with the Conservatives, he disappeared from public view and is now in charge of censoring left-wing political websites combating ‘fake news’ on Facebook.

It’s true that right-wing politicians hate the ridicule of the mob.

But will it work on Mr Trump?

Let’s be honest. Based on our experience of the last few years, he’d probably claim it was adulation.

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POLL: Theresa May has taken us to war. What should she do now?

Warmonger: Theresa May.

The opprobrium is all over the Internet – not least from Russia.

Here’s what President Putin has to say about the premature air strikes ordered by Donald Trump and enacted by the US military and his lackeys Theresa May in the UK and Emmanuel Macron in France:

“On April 14, the United States, supported by its allies, launched an airstrike against military and civilian targets in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

Already you’re probably thinking, “Civilian targets?” Well…

https://twitter.com/arturaskerelis/status/984968539604955137

“Just as one year ago, when the Shayrat Airbase in Syria came under attack, the US used as a pretext a staged chemical attack against civilians, this time in Douma, a Damascus suburb. Having visited the site of the would-be chemical attack, Russian military experts did not find any traces of chlorine or any other toxic agent. Not a single local resident was able to confirm that a chemical attack had actually taken place.

“The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons dispatched its experts to Syria in order to investigate all the circumstances. However, in a sign of cynical disdain, a group of Western countries decided to take military action without waiting for the results of the investigation.”

This is accurate, it grieves me to report:

Ah,  but there was! It was vitally important for Mrs May to bypass democracy:

Why the desperation for airstrikes, in any case? A former head of the UK armed forces was interviewed by Sky News – but isn’t it convenient that he was cut off when he started straying from the officially-approved story?

“Through its actions, the US makes the already catastrophic humanitarian situation in Syria even worse and brings suffering to civilians. In fact, the US panders to the terrorists who have been tormenting the Syrian people for seven years, leading to a wave of refugees fleeing this country and the region.”

Yes – half a million dead and 10 million displaced. Many have become refugees, but Theresa May didn’t want them in the UK!

“Russia will convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the aggressive actions by the US and its allies.”

That is an astonishingly restrained response.

It is possible that Mr Putin expects public opinion to bear against the Western leaders who ordered the air strikes and – apparently – killed more innocent people. There’s certainly no shortage of disapproval! Here’s a representative sample:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/985014372895481856

UK Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has rightly savaged Mrs May’s “legally questionable” decision in which she “trailed after Donald Trump”.

He said: “Bombs won’t save lives or bring about peace,” adding that the strikes risked further escalation of the conflict in Syria and – crucially – “makes real accountability for war crimes and use of chemical weapons less, not more likely.

“Britain should be playing a leadership role to bring about a ceasefire in the conflict, not taking instructions from Washington and putting British military personnel in harm’s way.

“The Government should do whatever possible to push Russia and the United States to agree to an independent UN-led investigation of last weekend’s horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account.”

He said: “Theresa May should have sought parliamentary approval, not trailed after Donald Trump.”

We are left with one burning question:


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It’s war: Trump drags the UK into air strikes on Syrian ‘chemical weapons’ targets

Syria: At the time of writing (2.43am, April 14), explosions have apparently taken place outside Damascus, where chemical weapons facilities are believed to be located.

Here it is, then:

You heard him – Donald Trump has dragged France and the United Kingdom into pointless air strikes against targets in Syria that are believed to manufacture chemical weapons.

There was no vote in the US Congress, just as there has been no vote in the UK’s Parliament. These strikes have no democratic legitimacy at all.

And the British public don’t want them:

Public opinion on the social media is – well, see for yourself:

Jeremy Corbyn has been the voice of reason in this – as with so many other issues lately. He demanded that Parliament should have a chance to debate any proposed military action – especially as it risks a huge escalation of conflict in the Middle East:

But Theresa May was determined – absolutely adamant – that this was a chance to show her utter weakness.

I know she thinks it will be a display of strength, but Mr Corbyn had it right when he said she was sitting by the phone, “waiting for instructions” to do whatever Donald Trump told her.

Here’s her statement. She is trying to look like a statesperson – speaking slowly and seriously:

But she just looks like she’s patronising us – talking down, treating us all like children.

Mrs May’s Cabinet backed her plan to support action in Syria on Friday (April 13). And look at this:

So the plan has been to link Russia into the Syrian chemical attack, using the dubious connection of a chemical attack here in the UK, to which Russia has not been successfully linked?

That is miserably weak.

It comes after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad invited UN chemical weapons inspectors – the now-ubiquitous Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – to investigate the attack that triggered the current hostilities, in Douma. They were due to arrive today (April 14).

Russia has warned that western military strikes would risk triggering a much larger war.

Is this what Trump, May and possibly even Macron want?

Interestingly, the French president spoke with Russian president Vladimir Putin only yesterday. Both agreed to aid the OPCW inspectors in Syria wherever possible, and to ensure their foreign and defence ministers stayed in close contact, to prevent the situation from escalating.

France’s contribution to the air strikes must seem a betrayal. How will that affect the wider international situation?

UPDATE 3.10am: According to the US military, all planned airstrikes have been carried out and no further action is currently being contemplated.

The bad news is that the United States did not notify Russia of its attacks.


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While Theresa dithers, Trump attacks – fuelling ‘Britain First’ row between UK and US

“Just a reminder of the liklihood of a robust response from our Foreign Secretary to the incontinent tantrum of the President of the United States,” according to cartoonist Martin Rowson.

Weakling UK prime minister Theresa May has still not responded to US President Donald Trump’s decision to retweet hate messages by far-right organisation Britain First.

So Mr Trump has attacked comments by a Downing Street spokesperson who said simply that it was “wrong” to have retweeted the misleading, extremist messages.

The message from Downing Street was: “British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents – decency, tolerance and respect.”

Here’s Mr Trump’s response:

This is a clear endorsement of the hate message put forward in the Britain First tweets.

Mr Trump is urging Mrs May to consider all Muslims in the UK to be potential terrorists and to launch a racist policy against them.

This is utterly unacceptable from a foreign leader. He is trying to divide members of the UK community from the rest of us and accusing them of conspiring against the majority in a way that simply isn’t true, except in a tiny minority of cases. He knows next to nothing about the situation – clearly, as he is getting his information from far-right propaganda-peddlers.

And he is trying hard to make it worse. One has to question his motives, attempting to destabilise the UK at a time when this country’s domestic political situation is already highly-charged.

But still Theresa May remains silent, leaving it to her Downing Street spokespeople – and the public – to comment.

Note that the tweet above is also a retweet – originally Mr Trump sent the message to the wrong Theresa May (from which we may draw our own conclusions about his state of mind):

Mrs May’s deputies, in Parliament, have done their best to cover for her, with Home Secretary Amber Rudd trying to answer an Urgent Question in the Commons – answering the kind of criticism no US president has ever received from Parliament in the past:

Ms Rudd said the Government will not tolerate any groups that spread hate by demonising other faiths or ethnicities – but refused to condemn the US President, saying the UK-US relationship is “vital” and MPs needed to focus on the “bigger picture”.

She would not accept calls to cancel the invitation for Mr Trump to make a state visit to the UK.

But – shockingly – she could not answer a simple question: Whether the UK government had asked for Mr Trump to take the offending tweets down.

As part of the debate, Labour MP Khalid Mahmood made a very useful point, asking the Home Secretary if a Muslim would still be welcome in Britain if they had shared similarly inflammatory material to that posted by the US President.

Depressingly, Mr Trump’s retweets have revived the fortunes of Britain First, the far-right group that originally posted the messages. Deputy leader Jayda Fransen has been interviewed on both the BBC and Channel 4, providing a huge and harmful public platform for the minority organisation’s extremist views.

https://twitter.com/liamyoung/status/935936527867236352

https://twitter.com/MattTurner4L/status/935899310276988930

https://twitter.com/KamBass/status/935917093169582085

Meanwhile the condemnation continues to rack up. Here’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was criticised by Mr Trump over his response to terror attacks in the UK’s capital city:

Trump’s support for Britain First sparks passionate reaction – with notable exceptions (THERESA MAY)

Theresa May has been desperate to build a close relationship with US President Donald Trump. His decision to show support for a UK-based hate group has put her in an extremely difficult position. She doesn’t want to comment – so we must demand it.

Donald Trump’s retweeting of hate messages by the far-right organisation Britain First has triggered a strong response from all sides of the UK’s political spectrum. But minority prime minister Theresa May has yet to offer any comment. Why?

Mr Trump retweeted messages by Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen, including one that purportedly showed violence by a Muslim – but actually didn’t. Ms Fransen then appeared to admit that her tweets were hate messages:

It should be remembered that murderer Thomas Mair named Britain First when he killed Jo Cox.

Her husband Brendan made his feelings about Mr Trump’s actions clear:

He followed this message with a tweet thanking Americans who had contacted him to say Trump did not represent the rules and values of their country – and he is quite right to give recognition to that.

Mr Cox has also written an opinion piece in The Guardian:

And he has appeared on TV, calling for Mr Trump’s planned visit to the UK to be cancelled:

Prominent figures from all sides of British politics have come together to condemn Mr Trump’s actions. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn led the charge of condemnation:

Tory Nadhim Zahawi has written to Mr Trump, expressing his own outrage, as follows:

He wrote: “The videos you have chosen to distribute to your 43.6 million Twitter followers seek to conflate all Muslims into one skewed and twisted stereotype in the hope of inciting religious hatred toward the Islamic community. Whether the videos are valid or not, the individuals within them do not represent the overwhelming majority of those who adhere to the many forms of the Islamic faith.”

He continued: “I fear that your actions today have put in jeopardy some of the hard work done by our state bodies, making it easier for terrorist groups to portray our countries as their enemies and stoking the flames of radicalisation further.”

And he wrote: “I… urge you to delete the retweets and do all you can in future to resist courses of action that play into the hands of those who seek to destroy us and our way of life.”

Some of our politicians have been less forthcoming with their vilification.

Here’s our pitiful excuse for a Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. His tweet is followed by one from the Artist Taxi Driver, Mark McGowan, offering a possible reason for Mr Johnson’s reluctance to condemn Mr Trump:

And what of our absentee prime minister, Theresa May?

She is currently on a junket around some Middle East countries that are predominantly – if not entirely – Muslim. But she could not bring herself to say anything against Mr Trump’s behaviour.

Nor has she responded to calls for his invitation to visit the UK to be rescinded, in the light of this clearly unacceptable behaviour:

Perhaps Mrs May thinks that Mr Trump’s clear admiration for a hate group responsible for inciting people into acts of violence against their fellow UK citizens is none of our business.

Perhaps she thinks if she stays quiet about the issue, it will go away.

Perhaps we should make sure she is mistaken. Agreed?


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Here’s why *I* would be a better ambassador to the US than #NigelFarage

The 'special relationship' between the US and the UK, as envisioned by political cartoonist Ben Jennings. My way is better, I think.

The ‘special relationship’ between the US and the UK, as envisioned by political cartoonist Ben Jennings. My way is better, I think.

(But don’t think for a moment that I would put myself forward.)

The news has been full of nonsense about Donald Trump wanting Nigel Farage to be the UK’s ambassador to the United States, in return for whatever services Farage managed to deliver for the Trump presidential campaign.

We may conclude from this that Mr Trump wishes to hand out appointments as rewards for services delivered to him – personally – rather than to the best person for his country, or to request that they are made along those lines.

I disagree with this; it shows poor leadership – leadership by cronyism.

The best leadership is, of course, leadership by example. Let me provide an example of it, in support of the claim in the headline.

This Writer recently met and befriended a young lady who is a US citizen – the granddaughter of an acquaintance who lives here in Mid Wales. She is travelling around the world and stopped off to visit her grandma for a while.

As bad luck would have it, her grandma fell ill yesterday and was rushed to hospital in a town more than 30 miles away – unbeknownst to the American granddaughter.

Finding out later, the young lady was beside herself. She was terribly concerned for her grandma’s safety but had absolutely no way of travelling to the hospital to find out more (nobody here would tell her anything).

So I gave her a lift. It was a simple act of kindness that generated a huge amount of goodwill.

Now let’s get metaphorical. I’m the UK’s ambassador to the US; the granddaughter is the US. Are you with me so far?

As ambassador, I provided vital help to the US at a time of need. I don’t want any personal favours in return. As I mentioned before, the best leadership is leadership by example – I want the US to remember what I did and help someone else when they need it.

(From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs – but don’t tell the Americans who coined that phrase!)

Of course, because it was a UK representative that gave aid when the US needed it, the US is grateful, and it may be that the UK (the country, not the representative) receives preferential treatment from now on – the reputation of the country as a whole improves as a result of the actions of the ambassador.

So, from a simple act of goodwill, several very beneficial results follow – not just for the US and the UK, but hopefully for other countries as well.

Therefore I would be a better ambassador to the United States than a selfish toad like Nigel Farage.

His attitude can be judged from his behaviour as a Member of the European Parliament – get paid a fortune and do nothing.

Source: Nigel Farage would be great UK ambassador to US, says Donald Trump | Politics | The Guardian

Afterword: Responses to President-elect Trump’s suggestion have been almost uniformly negative. The Huffington Post provides some, here.

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History lesson for Nigel Farage after silly #Brexit tweet

161112-farage

This, from Political Scrapbook:

Nigel Farage never misses an opportunity to crow about Brexit.

And he did so again today regarding the U.S. elections.

[Here’s the response he got:]

Nigel Farage and his kind managed to persuade a tiny majority of voters (but only around a quarter of the UK population) to support leaving the EU, based on claims about the European Union’s past behaviour and about the assumed benefits of leaving.

But it seems history and fact were never Nigel’s strong points.

Source: Nigel Farage gets taught a history lesson over a foolish Brexit tweet | Political Scrapbook

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Trump voters think he’d start a nuclear war – but still prefer him to Clinton

161108-donald-trump-war-aav

This, from Another Angry Voice, seems a bitterly accurate representation of the US presidential race:

“It’s extraordinary that almost a quarter of Donald Trump supporters hate Hillary Clinton so much they’d rather have him trigger nuclear Armageddon than have her as their President!”

This Writer hesitates to think what’s going to end up in the White House.If the last six years have been rocky, the next four look set to be an avalanche.

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