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Trump hosting Turkey's Erdogan as tensions simmer

Top Reuters News - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 13:39
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump was set to hold talks on Tuesday with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan amid tensions over the U.S. decision to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria that angered Ankara, a crucial partner in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State forces.

Sharapova denied French Open wildcard

Top Reuters News - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 13:25
PARIS (Reuters) - Twice former champion Maria Sharapova was surprisingly denied a wildcard into the French Open on Tuesday -- ending intense speculation about her place in the claycourt slam since she returned from a 15-month doping ban.

Trump to inform Congress of NAFTA talks next week: Mexico

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 13:23
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Tuesday he expects the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to notify Congress early next week of plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Judge Garland not interested in FBI job: sources

Top Reuters News - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 13:08
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. appeals court judge Merrick Garland, turned away by the Senate last year for a Supreme Court post, is not interested in serving as FBI director, two sources said on Tuesday, even as the top Senate Republican recommended him for the job.

Judge Garland not interested in FBI job: sources

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 13:08
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. appeals court judge Merrick Garland, turned away by the Senate last year for a Supreme Court post, is not interested in serving as FBI director, two sources said on Tuesday, even as the top Senate Republican recommended him for the job.

Manning leaves prison to a U.S. more accepting of transgender identity

Top Reuters News - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 13:02
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chelsea Manning, the U.S. Army soldier responsible for a massive leak of classified material, will walk out of prison on Wednesday after seven years to find a country that has grown more accepting of her transgender identity but less enamored with the cause that led to her incarceration.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone returning to the company

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 12:54

Shares of Twitter Inc. shot up 2% Tuesday after Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced he is returning to the company. Stone worked at Twitter for six years and then went on to start Jelly, a question and answer app acquired by Pinterest, and Medium, a blogging site. Stone wrote in a blog post that he recently attended an afternoon meeting at Twitter and was asked by Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey to come back to the company. In his role at Twitter, Stone said he will "guide the company culture," and will not be replacing anyone at company. "It's important that everyone understands the whole story of Twitter and each of our roles in that story. I'll shape the experience internally so it's also felt outside the company," he wrote. He will begin his post in "couple of weeks." Shares of Twitter have gained 20% in the past three months, compared to the S&P 500's gain of 2%.

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AMD's stock surges ahead of analyst meeting

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 12:49

Shares of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. surged 7.5% in midday trade Tuesday, to stretch their win streak to six sessions, ahead of the chip maker's analyst day. The stock has now run up 22% since it closed at a 3 1/2-month low of $10.04 on May 8, but was still down 9.8% since AMD reported first-quarter results that disappointed investors. Canaccord Genuity analyst Matthew Ramsay said the analyst gathering will give AMD management a chance to be much clearer on how its turnaround is on track, following a "rocky" post-earnings call with analysts earlier this month. He reiterated his buy rating and stock price target of $17, which is 38% above current levels, writing in a note to clients that "we remain confident in our positive thesis, despite the recent stock appreciation and then volatility, and continue to gain confidence in AMD's new management team and product roadmaps." Separately, Fudzilla reported Tuesday that Intel Corp. is licensing AMD's graphic chips, following similar chatter reported three months earlier. AMD's stock has more than tripled over the past 12 months, while the PHLX Semiconductor index has rallied 66% and the S&P 500 has climbed 16%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Instagram adds face filters, closing in on Snapchat's platform

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 12:42

Shares of Snap Inc. were down 1.3% Tuesday as Facebook Inc. introduced yet another Snapchat-like feature for Instagram. Instagram now has eight "face filters" in which users can overlay effects such as koala ears or a crown on photos or videos. The finished product can be sent through Instagram Direct messaging or into an Instagram Story. Facebook and Instagram have been adding more and more features that look similar to Snapchat, including its Instagram Stories, which have surpassed Snap's 166 million daily active users. Responding to analyst concerns about the competition, Evan Spiegel, chief executive of Snap, said on its recent earnings call that he is not surprised that "others" have copied the platform, but he believes the company's creativity sets it apart. Shares of Snap have fallen 9% month-to-date, while the S&P 500 has gained 1%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

U.S. factory output surges in April; homebuilding stumbles

Top Reuters News - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 12:01
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturing production recorded its biggest increase in more than three years in April, bolstering the view that economic growth picked up early in the second quarter despite a surprise decline in homebuilding.

Top U.S. diplomat for Middle East to retire, U.S. officials say

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 11:14
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East has told colleagues that he has decided to retire, three U.S. officials said on Tuesday, the latest senior U.S. diplomat to leave the Trump administration.

Iran election: Jahangiri quits, backs Rouhani

MiddleEasteye - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 11:03
Language Undefined

Many observers predicted Jahangiri would pull out of the race ahead of Friday's vote

Exclusive: Democrats in U.S. Senate try to slow Republican deregulation

Top Reuters News - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:55
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats are striking back at the regulation-cutting blitz in the U.S. Congress and White House, as Republicans ratchet up attacks on rules they say hurt business and give bureaucrats too much power.

Exclusive: Democrats in U.S. Senate try to slow Republican deregulation

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:55
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats are striking back at the regulation-cutting blitz in the U.S. Congress and White House, as Republicans ratchet up attacks on rules they say hurt business and give bureaucrats too much power.

Forty-Five Blows Against Democracy: How US Military Bases Back Dictators, Autocrats and Military Regimes

Truth-Out - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:41

Service members from countries participating in Cobra Gold 2010 salute during the exercise's opening ceremony at Utapao Naval Air Base in Thailand February 1, 2010. At least 45 less-than-democratic nations and territories host scores of US military bases. (Photo: Cpl. Uriel De Luna-Felix / US Marine Corp)

Much outrage has been expressed in recent weeks over President Donald Trump's invitation for a White House visit to Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, whose "war on drugs" has led to thousands of extrajudicial killings. Criticism of Trump was especially intense given his similarly warm public support for other authoritarian rulers like Egypt's Abdel Fatah al-Sisi (who visited the Oval Office to much praise only weeks earlier), Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan (who got a congratulatory phone call from President Trump on his recent referendum victory, granting him increasingly unchecked powers), and Thailand's Prayuth Chan-ocha (who also received a White House invitation).

But here's the strange thing: the critics generally ignored the far more substantial and long-standing bipartisan support US presidents have offered these and dozens of other repressive regimes over the decades. After all, such autocratic countries share one striking thing in common. They are among at least 45 less-than-democratic nations and territories that today host scores of US military bases, from ones the size of not-so-small American towns to tiny outposts. Together, these bases are homes to tens of thousands of US troops.

To ensure basing access from Central America to Africa, Asia to the Middle East, US officials have repeatedly collaborated with fiercely anti-democratic regimes and militaries implicated in torture, murder, the suppression of democratic rights, the systematic oppression of women and minorities, and numerous other human rights abuses. Forget the recent White House invitations and Trump's public compliments. For nearly three quarters of a century, the United States has invested tens of billions of dollars in maintaining bases and troops in such repressive states. From Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Republican and Democratic administrations alike have, since World War II, regularly shown a preference for maintaining bases in undemocratic and often despotic states, including Spain under Generalissimo Francisco Franco, South Korea under Park Chung-hee, Bahrain under King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, and Djibouti under four-term President Ismail Omar Guelleh, to name just four.

Many of the 45 present-day undemocratic US base hosts qualify as fully "authoritarian regimes," according to the Economist Democracy Index. In such cases, American installations and the troops stationed on them are effectively helping block the spread of democracy in countries like Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kuwait, Niger, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

This pattern of daily support for dictatorship and repression around the world should be a national scandal in a country supposedly committed to democracy. It should trouble Americans ranging from religious conservatives and libertarians to leftists -- anyone, in fact, who believes in the democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. After all, one of the long-articulated justifications for maintaining military bases abroad has been that the US military's presence protects and spreads democracy.

Far from bringing democracy to these lands, however, such bases tend to provide legitimacy for and prop up undemocratic regimes of all sorts, while often interfering with genuine efforts to encourage political and democratic reform. The silencing of the critics of human rights abuses in base hosts like Bahrain, which has violently cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrators since 2011, has left the United States complicit in these states' crimes.

During the Cold War, bases in undemocratic countries were often justified as the unfortunate but necessary consequence of confronting the "communist menace" of the Soviet Union. But here's the curious thing: in the quarter century since the Cold War ended with that empire's implosion, few of those bases have closed. Today, while a White House visit from an autocrat may generate indignation, the presence of such installations in countries run by repressive or military rulers receives little notice at all.

Befriending Dictators

The 45 nations and territories with little or no democratic rule represent more than half of the roughly 80 countries now hosting US bases (who often lack the power to ask their "guests" to leave). They are part of a historically unprecedented global network of military installations the United States has built or occupied since World War II.

Today, while there are no foreign bases in the United States, there are around 800 US bases in foreign countries. That number was recently even higher, but it still almost certainly represents a record for any nation or empire in history. More than 70 years after World War II and 64 years after the Korean War, there are, according to the Pentagon, 181 US "base sites" in Germany, 122 in Japan, and 83 in South Korea. Hundreds more dot the planet from Aruba to Australia, Belgium to Bulgaria, Colombia to Qatar. Hundreds of thousands of US troops, civilians, and family members occupy these installations. By my conservative estimate, to maintain such a level of bases and troops abroad, US taxpayers spend at least $150 billion annually -- more than the budget of any government agency except the Pentagon itself.

For decades, leaders in Washington have insisted that bases abroad spread our values and democracy -- and that may have been true to some extent in occupied Germany, Japan, and Italy after World War II. However, as base expert Catherine Lutz suggests, the subsequent historical record shows that "gaining and maintaining access for US bases has often involved close collaboration with despotic governments."

The bases in the countries whose leaders President Trump has recently lauded illustrate the broader pattern. The United States has maintained military facilities in the Philippines almost continuously since seizing that archipelago from Spain in 1898. It only granted the colony independence in 1946, conditioned on the local government's agreement that the US would retain access to more than a dozen installations there.

After independence, a succession of US administrations supported two decades of Ferdinand Marcos's autocratic rule, ensuring the continued use of Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base, two of the largest US bases abroad. After the Filipino people finally ousted Marcos in 1986 and then made the US military leave in 1991, the Pentagon quietly returned in 1996. With the help of a "visiting forces agreement" and a growing stream of military exercises and training programs, it began to set up surreptitious, small-scale bases once more. A desire to solidify this renewed base presence, while also checking Chinese influence, undoubtedly drove Trump's recent White House invitation to Duterte. It came despite the Filipino president's record of joking about rape, swearing he would be "happy to slaughter" millions of drug addicts just as "Hitler massacred [six] million Jews," and bragging, "I don't care about human rights."

In Turkey, President Erdogan's increasingly autocratic rule is only the latest episode in a pattern of military coups and undemocratic regimes interrupting periods of democracy. US bases have, however, been a constant presence in the country since 1943. They repeatedly caused controversy and sparked protest -- first throughout the 1960s and 1970s, before the Bush administration's 2003 invasion of Iraq, and more recently after US forces began using them to launch attacks in Syria.

Although Egypt has a relatively small US base presence, its military has enjoyed deep and lucrative ties with the US military since the signing of the Camp David Accords with Israel in 1979. After a 2013 military coup ousted a democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood government, the Obama administration took months to withhold some forms of military and economic aid, despite more than 1,300 killings by security forces and the arrest of more than 3,500 members of the Brotherhood. According to Human Rights Watch, "Little was said about ongoing abuses," which have continued to this day.

In Thailand, the US has maintained deep connections with the Thai military, which has carried out 12 coups since 1932. Both countries have been able to deny that they have a basing relationship of any sort, thanks to a rental agreement between a private contractor and US forces at Thailand's Utapao Naval Air Base. "Because of [contractor] Delta Golf Global," writes journalist Robert Kaplan, "the US military was here, but it was not here. After all, the Thais did no business with the US Air Force. They dealt only with a private contractor."

Elsewhere, the record is similar. In monarchical Bahrain, which has had a US military presence since 1949 and now hosts the Navy's 5th Fleet, the Obama administration offered only the most tepid criticism of the government despite an ongoing, often violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. According to Human Rights Watch and others (including an independent commission of inquiry appointed by the Bahraini king, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa), the government has been responsible for widespread abuses including the arbitrary arrest of protesters, ill treatment during detention, torture-related deaths, and growing restrictions on freedoms of speech, association, and assembly. The Trump administration has already signaled its desire to protect the military-to-military ties of the two countries by approving a sale of F-16 fighters to Bahrain without demanding improvements in its human rights record.

And that's typical of what base expert Chalmers Johnson once called the American "baseworld." Research by political scientist Kent Calder confirms what's come to be known as the "dictatorship hypothesis": "The United States tends to support dictators [and other undemocratic regimes] in nations where it enjoys basing facilities." Another large-scale study similarly shows that autocratic states have been "consistently attractive" as base sites. "Due to the unpredictability of elections," it added bluntly, democratic states prove "less attractive in terms [of] sustainability and duration."

Even within what are technically US borders, democratic rule has regularly proved "less attractive" than preserving colonialism into the twenty-first century. The presence of scores of bases in Puerto Rico and the Pacific island of Guam has been a major motivation for keeping these and other US "territories" -- American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands -- in varying degrees of colonial subordination. Conveniently for military leaders, they have neither full independence nor the full democratic rights that would come with incorporation into the US as states, including voting representation in Congress and the presidential vote. Installations in at least five of Europe's remaining colonies have proven equally attractive, as has the base that US troops have forcibly occupied in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, since shortly after the Spanish-American War of 1898.

Backing Dictators

Authoritarian rulers tend to be well aware of the desire of US officials to maintain the status quo when it comes to bases. As a result, they often capitalize on a base presence to extract benefits or help ensure their own political survival.

The Philippines' Marcos, former South Korean dictator Syngman Rhee, and more recently Djibouti's Ismail Omar Guelleh have been typical in the way they used bases to extract economic assistance from Washington, which they then lavished on political allies to shore up their power. Others have relied on such bases to bolster their international prestige and legitimacy or to justify violence against domestic political opponents. After the 1980 Kwangju massacre in which the South Korean government killed hundreds, if not thousands, of pro-democracy demonstrators, strongman General Chun Doo-hwan explicitly cited the presence of US bases and troops to suggest that his actions enjoyed Washington's support. Whether or not that was true is still a matter of historical debate. What's clear, however, is that American leaders have regularly muted their criticism of repressive regimes lest they imperil bases in these countries. In addition, such a presence tends to strengthen military, rather than civilian, institutions in countries because of the military-to-military ties, arms sales, and training missions that generally accompany basing agreements.

Meanwhile, opponents of repressive regimes often use the bases as a tool to rally nationalist sentiment, anger, and protest against both ruling elites and the United States. That, in turn, tends to fuel fears in Washington that a transition to democracy might lead to base eviction, often leading to a doubling down on support for undemocratic rulers. The result can be an escalating cycle of opposition and US-backed repression.

Blowback

While some defend the presence of bases in undemocratic countries as necessary to deter "bad actors" and support "US interests" (primarily corporate ones), backing dictators and autocrats frequently leads to harm not just for the citizens of host nations but for US citizens as well. The base build-up in the Middle East has proven the most prominent example of this. Since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian Revolution, which both unfolded in 1979, the Pentagon has built up scores of bases across the Middle East at a cost of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars. According to former West Point professor Bradley Bowman, such bases and the troops that go with them have been a "major catalyst for anti-Americanism and radicalization." Research has similarly revealed a correlation between the bases and al-Qaeda recruitment.

Most catastrophically, outposts in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan have helped generate and fuel the radical militancy that has spread throughout the Greater Middle East and led to terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States. The presence of such bases and troops in Muslim holy lands was, after all, a major recruiting tool for al-Qaeda and part of Osama bin Laden's professed motivation for the 9/11 attacks.

With the Trump administration seeking to entrench its renewed base presence in the Philippines and the president commending Duterte and similarly authoritarian leaders in Bahrain and Egypt, Turkey and Thailand, human rights violations are likely to escalate, fueling unknown brutality and baseworld blowback for years to come.

The Secret Service’s Obstruction of Justice in the JFK Case

Future of Freedom Foundation - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:40

All the hoopla over President Trump’s “obstruction of justice” over his firing of former FBI Director James Comey Jr. reminds me of the Secret Service’s obstruction of justice relating to the JFK assassination, which, for some reason, failed to produce even a murmur of objection from the mainstream media.

The reason I put “obstruction of justice” in Trump’s case in quotation marks is because firing a FBI director does not, in and of itself, constitute the crime of obstruction of justice. The reason I don’t put quotation marks around obstruction of justice with respect to what the Secret Service did is because its actions constituted, without a doubt, the actual crime of obstruction of justice.

What did the Secret Service do to obstruct justice? It knowingly, deliberately, and intentionally destroyed official records in the JFK assassination with full knowledge that a law enacted by Congress expressly forbade the destruction of such records.

The matter began in 1991 with the release of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, which posited that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was a regime-change operation carried out by the U.S. national-security establishment as a consequence of the vicious war that was being waged between JFK and the national-security establishment over the Cold War, Cuba, and the Soviet Union. (See FFF’s ebook JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne.)

At the end of the movie there was a trailer informing people of the vast amount of official records relating to the assassination that federal officials were keeping secret from the American people.

Keep in mind that after the Warren Report, the official government report that posited that Kennedy was killed by a man who was alleged to be a communist ex-U.S. Marine, was released, U.S. officials told the American people that the official records relating to the assassination would not be released for 75 years, by which time many people living in 1963 would be dead.

That movie trailer produced an outcry of public opinion, which drove Congress to enact the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, or simply the JFK Records Act. That law mandated that all federal agencies release their JFK-related records to the public. The deadline for release would be 25 years after the enactment of the Act, a deadline that expires in October of this year, when tens of thousands of long-secret records relating to the assassination are finally slated for disclosure.

To enforce the law, Congress brought into existence the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), which was in existence from 1992 to 1998.

After the enactment of the law, the National Archives specifically advised the Secret Service of the requirements of the law. Nonetheless, the Secret Service proceed to knowingly, deliberately, and intentionally, destroy records relating to Secret Service protection of the president for other trips taken in the fall of 1963. The records, of course, would have served as a point of comparison to Secret Service security measures prior to Dallas and those that were taken (or not taken) in Dallas.

It would be difficult to find a better example of obstruction of justice than that. Secret Service officials knew that the law prohibited the destruction of the records and they proceeded to destroy them anyway. Even worse, the boxes that contained the destroyed records were labeled “Retain permanently for eventual transfer to the National Archives or a Presidential Library.”

The Secret Service then decided to keep what it had done secret from the ARRB. The secrecy was finally pierced in 1995, when the ARRB discovered what the Secret Service had done. According to an online post by Vince Palamara,

On July 25, 1995 Review Board Chairman John R. Tunheim sent a powerfully worded letter to the Director of the Secret Service registering the Review Board’s displeasure about its recent discovery that the two boxes in question had been destroyed over a half a year previously. A letter from Board Chair Jack Tunheim (rather than David Marwell or Jeremy Gunn) addressed directly to the Head of the Secret Service (instead of to the administrative officials with whom the ARRB staff had been dealing) was a powerful signal that the Review Board was immensely displeased and took the matter very seriously.

Needless to say, the Secret Service’s response of “routine destruction” did not sit well with Tunheim. According to Inside the Assassination Records Review Board, the excellent 5-volume book by Douglas Horne, who served on the staff of the ARRB (and who will be a speaker at FFF’s upcoming June 3 conference “The National Security State and JFK”),

I reported to work at the ARRB on August 7, 1995, and I still distinctly recall that this controversy was raging full force during the first two weeks I was on the job. I recall both General Counsel Jeremy Gunn and Executive Director David Marwell being particularly upset; they were seriously considering holding public hearings in which the Secret Service officials responsible for said destruction would be called to account and castigated, in an open forum, with the media present…. Eventually – and unfortunately – tempers cooled and no public hearings were held.

Needless to say, no criminal indictments were ever issued against Secret Service officials for what was clearly the crime of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time the Secret Service had obstructed justice in the JFK case. As I detail in my ebook The Kennedy Autopsy, as soon as President Kennedy was declared dead, a team of armed Secret Service agents took possession of the body and, screaming profanities and brandishing guns, refused to permit the Dallas medical examiner to conduct an autopsy, which was required under Texas law. Their objective? To get the body out of Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, put it onto Air Force One (where Lyndon Johnson was waiting for it), and put it into the hands of the military, which then conducted an autopsy under highly secret and highly auspicious circumstances. (See not only The Kennedy Autopsy but also my article “The JFK Autopsy Cover-Up: The Testimony of Saundra Spencer.

This coming October, the National Archives is set to release tens of thousands of records relating to the assassination that federal agencies, including the CIA, wanted to keep secret until the very end. At this point, the only thing that can prevent the records from being disclosed is if the CIA or any other agency makes a request for continued secrecy, on grounds of “national security,” and President Trump grants such a request. Of course, another way to keep them secret is through more knowing, deliberate, and intentional illegal destruction of assassination-related records, like the Secret Service did back in the 1990s.

 

The post The Secret Service’s Obstruction of Justice in the JFK Case appeared first on The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Nakba Day

LibertarianInstitute - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:38

Yesterday was Nakba Day, the day set aside to remember the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian Arabs in 1948 in connection with the creation of the “Jewish State” of Israel. Over 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and villages, and many massacred, in an ethnic-cleansing operation that should shock the conscience. Hundreds of villages were erased and replaced by Jewish towns. The Arabs who remained in the Israeli state that was imposed on them by Zionist military forces have been second-class citizens, at best, from that time.

Since 1967 the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, many of whom were refugees from the 1948 catastrophe, have lived under the boot of the Israeli government. Their day-to-day lives are under the arbitrary control of the Israeli government. Gaza is an open-air blockaded prison camp subject to periodic military onslaughts (the latest was last year), while the West Bank is relentlessly gobbled up by Jewish-only settlements and violated by a wall that surrounds Palestinian towns and cuts people’s homes off from their farms. For the Israeli ruling elite, the so-called peace process is a sham. Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now embarking on an unprecedented fourth term as prime minister, rejects any realistic plan to let the Palestinians go — that is, have their own country on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He insists that they must recognize Israel as the Jewish state, that is, as the state of Jews everywhere, even though it sits largely on stolen property (PDF) — which raises an interesting question: Is subjugation of the Palestinians an instantiation of Jewish values or is it not? If it is (as apparently most of its supporters believe), then what does that say for Jewish values? If it is not, then what does that say for Israel’s purported status as the Jewish State?

Again, I note that the best short introduction to the catastrophe is Jeremy Hammond’s The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination: The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict. Further, Hammond debunks the myth that the United Nations created the state of Israel.


Additional reading: “Why the Inconvenient Truths of the Nakba Must Be Recognized,” by Tom Pessah; “The Anti-Semite’s Best Friend,” by Jonathan Cook;  “Israel Must Recognize Its Responsibility for the Nakba, the Palestinian Tragedy,” by Saeb Erekat; and “The sacking of Jaffa during the Palestinian Nakba, as narrated by three Omars,” by Allison Deger.

Nakba Day was first posted on May 16, 2017 at 9:38 am.

Trump at Masada is like Michael Corleone giving a homily at St Peter's

MiddleEasteye - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:33

Openly supporting oppressors and speaking at inappropriate locations, Trump's first foreign visit heralds a return of US diplomacy to dark days

S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite record highs come despite negative breadth

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:18

The stock market appears to be in rally mode, with both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rising into record territory, but breadth data suggests the market of stocks are actually declining. The number of decliners is outnumbering advancers by a 1,408-to-1,241 score on the NYSE, and by a 1,207-to-1,074 margin on the Nasdaq exchange. Volume data is more positive, however, with volume in advancing shares representing 51.5% of the total on the NYSE and 55.3% of the total on the Nasdaq. This suggests the indexes are being propped up by fewer, but more popular, larger-capitalization stocks, as the Russell 2000 small-cap tracker is slipping 0.1%. The S&P 500 is up 0.1%, the Nasdaq Comp is 0.2% better and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is gaining 30 points.

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