by Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch
May 28, 2017
He’s huge. Outsized. He fills the news hole at any moment of any day. His over-tanned face glows unceasingly in living rooms across America. Never has a president been quite so big. So absolutely monstrous. Or quite so small.
He’s our Little Big Man.
I know, I know... he induces panic, fear, anxiety, insomnia. Shrinks in liberal America will tell you that, since November 2016, their patients are more heavily medicated and in worse shape. He’s a nightmare, a unique monster.
It’s been almost two years since he first entered the presidential race and in all that time I doubt there’s been a moment when the cameras haven’t been trained on him, when he wasn't “breaking news.”
He and his endless controversial statements, flubs, tweets, lies, insults, boasts, tales from outer space, and over-the-moon adjectives are covered daily the way, once upon a time, only Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination was.
Think of him as the end of the world as we, or maybe anyone, including Vladimir Putin, knew it. To me, that means one thing, even though most of you won’t agree: I think we owe Donald Trump a small bow of thanks and a genuine debt of gratitude. He’s teaching us something invaluable, something we probably wouldn’t have grasped without him. He’s teaching us just how deeply disturbed our American world actually is, or he wouldn’t be where he is.
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Guardian mourns Corbyn’s Polling Surge
by Jonathan Cook - Dissident Voice
May 27th, 2017
It is quite extraordinary to read today’s coverage in Britain’s supposedly left-liberal newspaper the Guardian. In the “man bites dog” stakes, the day’s biggest story is the astounding turn-around in the polls two weeks before the British general election. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has narrowed the Conservatives’ lead from an unassailable 22 points to 5, according to the latest YouGov survey.
It looks possible for the first time, if the trend continues, that Corbyn could even win the popular poll. (Securing a majority of the British parliament’s seats is a different matter, given the UK’s inherently undemocratic electoral system.)
Is the news that the “unelectable” Corbyn has dramatically closed the gap with the Tories front page news for the Guardian? Well, only very tangentially. It is buried in the paper’s lead story, which is far more interested in issues other than the new poll finding.
The story – headlined “May puts Manchester bombing at heart of election with attack on Corbyn” – largely adopts Conservative leader Theresa May’s line of attack against Corbyn for his suggestion that there might be a link between long-term western violence in the Middle East (now usually referred to as “intervention”) and terror attacks like the one in Manchester last week. Labour’s dramatic rise in the polls is briefly mentioned 12 – yes, 12! – paragraphs into the story. It is almost as though the Guardian does not want you to know that Corbyn and his policies are proving far more successful in the election campaign than the Guardian predicted or ever wanted.
The Coyote Hunt
by Christopher Ketcham - CounterPunch
April 28, 2017
I walked up the mountain in the howling snow and the drifts and the flashing of the moon behind the clouds, looking for coyote traps to sabotage. The coyote hunt was on that weekend, and I heard there were traps up on Hubbell Hill.
It was snowshoe, mitten, balaclava weather. I brought several flashlights in case one or the other went dead, and I wished I’d brought a gun, because you never know.
A 19-year-old folk singer in Canada was killed not long ago by coyotes. Nothing amiss with the animals. They were healthy and strong, no rabies, not starving, which are the usual reasons wild canids attack and kill people – and we should remember they almost never do so.
Here in New York State I get into arguments with both sides, the hunters who kill with a passion and the animal rightsers whose love is as irrational. I’m told by the hunter crowd that coyotes in a ravening state will eat your balls off. God bless the coyotes! Let them feast – especially on New Yorkers, who are too many and need to be culled.
Photo: Rebecca Richardson
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The Vancouver Aquarium Is Swimming In 'Alternative Facts'
by Jeff Matthews - HuffPost
The new bylaw banning whale and dolphin captivity in Stanley Park has put Vancouver Aquarium's venerable PR machine into overdrive. In some cases, their message clearly arises from desperation, if not from some other reality.
Take the aquarium CEO John Nightingale's recent claim that they've "never done shows" with whales and dolphins. Their own advertising, as well as hundreds of YouTube videos, establish this as an obvious "alternative fact."
So what about the rest of their claims surrounding the bylaw?
It is important to remember that this bylaw comes from Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, whose jurisdiction begins and ends at the borders of the city's public parks.
May 25, 2017
The Trump administration seems intent on tossing recent history down the memory hole. Admittedly. Americans have never been known for their strong grasp of facts about their past.
Still, as we struggle to keep up with the constantly shifting explanations and pronouncements of the new administration, it becomes ever harder to remember the events of yesterday, let alone last week, or last month.
The Credibility Swamp
Trump and his spokespeople routinely substitute “alternative facts” for what a friend of mine calls consensus reality, the world that most of us recognize. Whose inaugural crowd was bigger, Barack Obama’s or Donald Trump’s? It doesn’t matter what you remember, or even what’s in the written accounts or photographic record. What matters is what the administration now says happened then. In other words, for Trump and his people, history in any normal sense simply doesn’t exist, and that’s a danger for the rest of us.
Think of the Trumpian past as a website that can be constantly updated to fit the needs of the present. You may believe you still remember something that used to be there, but it’s not there now. As it becomes increasingly harder to find, can you really trust your own memory?
This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
May 24, 2017
In the waning days of its provincial mandate, outgoing Energy Minister, Bill Bennett announced a BCLiberals plan to create, if re-elected, an "independent wildlife agency" that could make politically unpalatable decisions regarding wildlife "management." And though couched in the language of conservation, in essence what that "management" means is continued recreational hunts of Grizzly Bear, and expanded culls against the top predator populations of Cougar and Wolves.
In a March 22nd press conference, now-retired East-Kootenay MLA, Bill Bennett proposed a $5 million start-up budget for the "expert and stakeholders" operated agency that would be funded using the near 10 million dollars in hunting licenses and fees collected annually.
Bennett said, the idea is to "get politics out of the way," but some of the "stakeholders" not invited to participate promise, politics will happen!
Dr. Alan Burger is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Victoria. He's also professional wildlife consultant, based in the interior town of Merritt, B.C.
Alan Burger in the first half.
And; in the run-up to the provincial poll, BC Hydro Chair, Brad Bennett, grandson to the Grandaddy of dam builders, W.A.C. Bennett warned the electorate to beware of "fake news" when it comes to Site C saying,
“I take issue with the fake news crowd, talking about Site C and whether it’s needed or not. The fact is it’s needed. We know it’s needed. Our forecasting shows that very, very clearly.”
With all due respect to the Chair, there are many, many for whom that need is not very, very clear.
Ken Boon is a Peace River Valley farmer whose multi-generation family farm is in the way of Site C. He's long argued Site C is not only not needed, but is too a massive mistake that will prove a white elephant for the province for generations to come. Boon is president of the Peace Valley Landowners Association and a past target of BC Hydro legal actions.
Ken Boon and Site C fakery in the second half.
And; CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us virtually at the bottom of hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good going and planned for the coming week around here. But first, Alan Burger and minding the proposed minders in BC's wilds.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: https://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/Add a comment
What’s In A Name? U.S. Takes Syria’s Al-Qaeda Off Terror Watchlists
by Whitney Webb - MintPressNews
May 22, 2017
By changing its name to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda has managed to secure its removal from the U.S. and Canadian terror watchlists, allowing citizens of those countries to donate money and travel to fight with them.
WASHINGTON, D.C.– It turns out that getting off the U.S.’ and Canada’s terror watchlist is as simple as changing your name. While the terror watchlist in the U.S. has long been both secretive and controversial – as “reasonable suspicion” is enough to label any individual a “terrorist” – terrorist groups tied to al-Qaeda have found that getting off the watchlist only requires minor rebranding.
The terror group, long known to most as Jabhat al-Nusra or the al-Nusra Front, has continued to function as al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria long after Daesh (ISIS) renounced its allegiance to the group in 2014.
It was first placed on the U.S. and Canadian terror watchlists in 2012. But by changing its name to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the group has managed to secure its removal from terror watchlists in both the U.S. and Canada, allowing citizens of those countries to donate money to the group, travel to fight with them and disseminate the group’s propaganda without incident.
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May 22, 2017
The following contextual essay was written by a member of Frome Stop War, Dr Mike Magee
Probably every conflict is fought on at least two grounds—the battlefield and the minds of the people, via propaganda. Propaganda is to rally people behind a cause, often a miliary or political one, by publicising it, but also by exaggerating, misrepresenting, and lying about it.
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Trump in the Middle East
by Craig Murray - CraigMurray.org
May 20, 2017
It is unlikely to become an opera like “Nixon in China” but the arrival of Trump in Saudi Arabia is pregnant with meaning. The first and most obvious is the United States’ continuing identification with the Sunni side in an escalating Sunni/Shia conflict across the Middle East.
The exception to this of course is Iraq, where US forces are helping Shia forces to pulverise the Sunni city of Mosul.
The paradox is that the plunge of the United states firmly into the Sunni camp was precipitated by their realisation that, in removing Saddam Hussein, they had installed a Shia government in Iraq which was going to be highly susceptible to Iranian influence. The paradox is that Europe, and most of the rest of the world, accepts that Iran is no longer a particular threat to world peace under the comparatively moderate President Rouhani, who was re-elected today.
But the hatred for the Shia in the Gulf states is visceral.
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Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State
by Mike Whitney - CounterPunch
May 19, 2017
Why is it a “conspiracy theory” to think that a disgruntled Democratic National Committee staffer gave WikiLeaks the DNC emails, but not a conspiracy theory to think the emails were provided by Russia?
Which is the more likely scenario: That a frustrated employee leaked damaging emails to embarrass his bosses or a that foreign government hacked DNC computers for some still-unknown reason?
That’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?
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Deadly rhetoric: Saudi Arabia opens war of words with Iran
by Sharmine Narwani - RT
May 17, 2017
For years the Saudis have waged proxy battles against Iran, with little success. Now, despite this history of losses, Riyadh appears to be mobilizing for an ill-conceived confrontation with the Islamic Republic.
"We know we are a main target of Iran," speculated Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) in an interview early this month.
Then came the threat.
Trump greets Mohammed bin Salman
in the White House May 17, 2017
"We are not waiting until there becomes a battle in Saudi Arabia, so we will work so that it becomes a battle for them in Iran and not in Saudi Arabia."
Washington Post Reveals ISIS was "Partner" Supplying Trump Intelligence Briefing for Russia Officials
by John Helmer - Dances with Bears
May 17, 2017
Moscow - A Washington Post reporter has revealed that the Islamic State (IS) laptop plot story, which President Donald Trump mentioned to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the White House last week came from IS itself, through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The reason for the leaking against Trump, which followed in the Post and in the Anglo-American media, has also been disclosed by the Post.
The CIA and at least one senior staff official of the National Security Council, who briefed the CIA on what Trump had said, are angry at the President for revealing collaboration between IS operatives and their US Government handlers in attacks on Russian targets, including Russian airline travellers.
A report published by the Washington Post on Monday evening claimed Trump had,
“[R]evealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister [Lavrov] and ambassador [Sergei Kislyak] in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.”
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