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Islamophobia Infects the Government As Anti-Muslim Bigotry Becomes Socially Acceptable in Trump's America

June 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Arnold R. Isaacs, TomDispatch

It seems unlikely that this scary trend will be reversed any time soon.


Imagine that a nominee for secretary of state had shared platforms with white nationalist Richard B. Spencer and been given a major award by his National Policy Institute, which describes itself as “an independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States and around the world.” With that on his record, is it likely the nominee would have been confirmed, or nominated in the first place, to head the State Department?

Or what if someone under consideration for a top White House job had written an admiring foreword for a book by Holocaust denier David Irving or perhaps one by the psychologist and alt-right sympathizer Kevin MacDonald, who describes Jews as “a hostile, adversary elite” conducting “ethnic war” against Christianity and “traditional institutions of European-American culture”? Would such an endorsement keep him from being named as the president's national security advisor?

While those are hypothetical questions, there can't be much doubt about the answers. Views like Spencer's (“This country does belong to white people, culturally, politically, socially, everything. We defined what America is”) and MacDonald's (“Given Jewish influence over the political process… it is vitally important for those of us attempting to reverse White dispossession to understand this, to call attention to it, and to combat it”) certainly have a following, but are broadly seen as inconsistent with mainstream American values and beyond the borders of acceptable public discourse.

A Double Standard on Bigotry

When Muslims are the target of bigotry, however, the reaction is quite different. Evidence of that double standard abounds. Consider Brigitte Gabriel, not quite a household name but a leading voice in the Islamophobic choir. Gabriel, whose organization ACT for America is one of the most active and visible anti-Muslim groups in this country, has maintained longstanding and warm relations with various high-ranking political figures, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In rhetoric that is very similar in tone and logic to that of the white nationalists, Gabriel argues that the people she disparages …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'It’s Kind of Like a Political Donation': Women Are Showing Up for Stormy Daniels in a Big Way on Her Strip Show Tour

June 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Chris Sosa, AlterNet

Full nudity meets the resistance as Trump's most visible foe takes her place in American history.


A weekend feature from the Cap Times by Jessie Opoien highlights the surreal role Stormy Daniels has come to occupy in the resistance to President Donald Trump's administration.

Daniels made a Friday stop at Silk Exotic Gentlemen’s Club in Middleton, Wisconsin. The crowd featured folks of varied genders and ages coming to show their opposition to the president and support the world's most famous porn star.

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford but prefers the adult film moniker, rose to prominence by suing the president with the assistance of lawyer Michael Avenatti.

The ensuing media tour, which included a star-making 60 Minutes interview, cemented Daniels as the most visible foil to a lying, misogynistic president. 

“It’s a lot of f*****g pressure,” Daniels says of the women who call her an inspiration. “It’s super fun. But it is a lot of pressure.”

“Look what she’s doing for women in this country,” 70-year-old Linda Nelson, who had never entered a strip club before Daniels' full-nude performance, told Cap Times. “She’s suing our president. What could be stronger than that?”

The Cap Times reports how Daniels is becoming part of a political activism legacy:

“I want to tell my kids and grandkids I saw Stormy Daniels,” says 30-year-old Jennifer Gramer of Madison, who came to the club with members of her feminist book club. “If she’s the person who brings down the president — for $15 (a ticket), why not?”

“It’s kind of like a political donation,” attendee Don Esser explained. “This is a cause I believe in.”

“I’m doing my patriotic duty tonight,” said an individual who declined to provide a full name.

As for Daniels, her posture is one of gratitude for the unexpected role she's come to occupy in America's unusual Trump era.

“Thank you so much,” Daniels said as members of the Trump resistance showed their support with dollar bills.

 

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Trump's Trade Policies Make the World Poorer

June 10, 2018 in Blogs

By The Conversation

Nations sell goods and services to each other because this exchange is generally mutually beneficial.


Nations sell goods and services to each other because this exchange is generally mutually beneficial.

It’s easy to understand that Iceland should not be growing its own oranges, given its climate. Instead, Iceland should buy oranges from Spain, which can grow them more cheaply, and sell Spaniards fish, which are abundant in its waters.

That’s why the explosion in free trade since the first bilateral deal was penned between Britain and France in the mid-1800s has generated unprecedented wealth and prosperity for the vast majority of the world’s population. Hundreds of trade agreements later, the U.S. and several other countries established an international rules-based trading system after World War II.

But now the U.S., which has played an integral role in bolstering this system, is actively trying to subvert it. At the recent G-7 summit in Quebec, for example, the Trump administration objected to even referring to a “rules-based international order” in the official communique – and the president ultimately refused to sign it.

My research in international economics tells me that trade policy – because it is inherently forward-looking and global – requires three interrelated attributes to be successful: It needs to reduce uncertainty, ease long-term decision-making, and be legal and credible.

President Donald Trump’s recent trade policy fails all three tests.

Birth of modern free trade

Britain and France signed the first post-Industrial Revolution trade agreement, dubbed the Cobden-Chevalier treaty, on Jan. 23, 1860.

In it, both countries agreed to either reduce or eliminate import barriers and grant the other most favored nation status, which means any trade concessions offered to another nation would automatically apply to them as well.

Within just 15 years, various countries inked 56 more bilateral treaties. Thus began the first wave of globalization, which lasted from 1870 until 1914, the beginning of two destructive world wars.

From those ruins emerged a rules-based international trading system, known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, which came into force in 1948. …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump Could Be Using Advanced Game Theory Negotiating Tactics — But It's Way More Likely He's Just a Lost Amateur

June 10, 2018 in Blogs

By The Conversation

Hopefully the president will come to understand what is at stake soon, before it is too late.


The latest G-7 summit, held June 8 to 9 in Quebec, was one of the most contentious in years.

That’s because Donald Trump and his counterparts from six other industrialized countries have been at loggerheads over the president’s aggressive but unstable trade policy. Trump’s renunciation of the Iran nuclear deal, his efforts to renegotiate NAFTA and his intransigent stance on climate change are not helping matters. Nor is his proposal to readmit Russia to the G-7 gathering.

But the ink on the G-7 communique wasn’t dry before Trump darted to Singapore to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for nuclear talks, another example of his unpredictable decision-making style. One moment he’s threatening war with the dictator, and the next he’s buttering him up for a summit.

One way to understand Trump’s foreign policy decisions is to focus on their inconsistency rather than their content. Let’s take trade policy as an example.

I have written a number of times about the economic dangers of the Trump administration’s tilt toward protectionism. And I have pointed to the risk that Trump’s use of trade policy as a unilateral weapon could undermine the rule-based international order.

I remain worried about these issues, but what has struck me much more deeply in recent days is the seeming inconsistency, indeed instability, of Trump’s behavior on trade. It is worth considering its causes and consequences – which extend far beyond trade to his nuclear game of chess with North Korea and Iran.

Trouble in Trump trade land

First let’s review just a few of Trump’s recent trade decisions.

At the G7, Trump’s belligerent and unpredictable trade policy was the main reason the other leaders – which also include Germany’s Angela Merkel, the U.K.‘s Theresa May and France’s Emmanuel Macron – are so perturbed. Some commentators are even beginning to term the meeting a “G6 plus one” to signify Trump’s estrangement from his allies.

Recent events have inflamed tensions significantly. The White House said …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump Reportedly Considers Opening American Embassy in North Korea If Talks Go Well with Dictator Kim

June 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Chris Sosa, AlterNet

A source told Axios that the idea of an American embassy in North Korea has already “been discussed.”


A report from Axios says President Donald Trump is considering the opening of an embassy in North Korea if discussions about denuclearization with dictator Kim Jong-un go well.

“POTUS will consider any idea anyone brings him if it delivers on denuclearization that is irreversible and verifiable. He won't be played by Kim,” a source told Axios. “But it is not his style to — on the front end — rule out possibilities of what could happen or may happen depending on how negotiations go.”

The source also told Axios that the idea of an American embassy in North Korea has already “been discussed.”

North Korea is widely viewed as the world's most egregious human rights offender. Up to 130,000 people are currently being held in the country's concentration camps.

There is no word about whether Trump will address this with Kim during his scheduled summit this week.

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Source: ALTERNET