Trump returns to cowardice – blames opposition to Nazis and Klan for clash


Trump speaking at his NYC Berghof

President Trump on Tuesday condemned the counter-protesters who showed up at Saturday’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, stating that they had attacked the other group and were partially responsible for the violence that ensued. His comments drew swift criticism from those who believed the president was attempting to justify the initial rally, which was meant to protest the removal of a Confederate monument and unite white supremacists and Nazi-sympathizers behind a common cause…

Trump then claimed that the counter-protesters initiated the clashes by “violently attacking the other group.” He did not present evidence to support the claim.

Those poor little racists and nazis need Trump to defend them, I guess.

He’s already gathering in the fruits of his sophistry getting congratulations from the Klan leader David Duke:

Sorry, folks. I have no sympathy for folks who were gullible enough to believe Trump’s campaign lies. All he did was imitate the worst of the politicians he said he condemned. That’s flattery, not an alternative.

Now, the whole nation must suffer under a morally bankrupt, profiteering thug. The United States is a laughingstock to the rest of the world. We are ruled by a man without the courage to stand up to racism and bigotry, a man who condemns ordinary citizens whose home town is invaded by criminals and push back to let them know they are not wanted.

Mafioso love the free market


Photo/AFP

❝ Democracy and free markets are intimately connected to organised crime, notes Federico Varese in this new book, Mafia Life, his wide-ranging exploration of global mafias. Authoritarian regimes don’t scruple to stamp out their power, he explains, while democracies often come up short.

Powerful mafias emerged in Sicily, Japan and Russia as their societies underwent a sudden transition to the market economy, abetted by weak legal structures. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Varese suggests, the West was focused on the rush to privatisation, when it should have been helping to strengthen legal institutions. It was a costly error.

❝ Varese has been studying organised crime for more than two decades and has worked as an adviser on the Russian mafia to John le Carré on his 2010 novel Our Kind of Traitor. In Mafia Life, he digs deep into the culture and practices of Japanese Yakuza, Hong Kong Triads, the Sicilian Mafia and their Italian-American counterparts, as well as post-Soviet criminal gangs.

❝ The last have their roots in the vory-v-zakone – men who follow the code – a Russian criminal class that the French-Russian spy Maximilien de Santerre encountered in the gulags in the late Forties, noting their elaborate religious tattoos and private language.

RTFA for more on the sub-culture that so many politicians are willing to join in bed and elections.

Donald Trump refuses to call out white supremacist violence

❝ Donald Trump refuses to name the problem of white supremacist violence

His remarks on violence in Charlottesville were ignorance to the point of callousness.

❝ White nationalists rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend against the removal of Confederate statues in public spaces. White nationalists attacked counter-protesters on Friday night, punching and kicking them and (reportedly) pepper-spraying them. One counter-protester was killed and several were injured when a car rammed into them after accelerating for over a block.

President Trump blamed both sides

❝ This is not just a failure to condemn the white nationalists who were responsible for the bulk of the violence and disorder in Charlottesville with the same vehemence that Trump condemns “radical Islamic terrorism” during any attack of any size in the US or abroad. It is an actively misleading account of what happened.

It implies that both rally-goers and counterprotesters were equally to blame for violence, leaving the door wide open for Trump supporters to assume that “the left” started it. It implies that the “hate and division” are equally distributed, and that the counterprotesters seeking to stand up to the rallygoers are every bit as hateful as the rallygoers sporting swastika pins. And by calling for the “swift restoration of law and order,” it implies that the problem is disrespect for police — encouraging the misinterpretation that this is somehow the fault of anyone else but the white nationalists themselves.

Racism and violence go together like ham and cheesy excuses from chickenshit politicians. They are as American as apple pie – and they’ve been around in this land since the first day white folks landed and shoved nonwhites to the side of the road. Centuries have passed and lip service from politicians hasn’t changed anything. People of courage and conscience have. Threatening the gravy train in city hall, the statehouse, Congress and the White House has provoked every bit of change in modernizing the halfway decent start we had to a Constitution.

It took pressure and demonstrations to bring voting rights to all – and change in the legislation provided by politicians running scared from that pressure. Now, with one of the two candyass parties we’re allowed campaigning on the basis of shutting down voting rights a fightback is imperative.

Nazis and racists are emboldened by a thug in the White House they feel is one of their own. Certainly, his failure to stand responsibly aids their reactionary cause. It’s time all people of conscience acted to slide the mostly creeps in Congress out of office, work to elect independent, progressive women and men to office whether they’re called Democrats or Republicans or whatever they choose!

“Most Hated Man in America” Convicted of Securities Fraud

❝ Martin Shkreli, once dubbed “the most hated man in America,” is now a convicted felon.

Shkreli, notorious for raising the price of a potentially life-saving drug by 5,000 percent, was found guilty Friday of defrauding investors in two hedge funds and in Retrophin Inc., a pharmaceutical company he co-founded.

❝ He is now almost certain to go to prison. Shkreli faces as long as 20 years behind bars, although he’s likely to serve much less. U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto allowed him to return home and wished Shkreli well after the verdict was read. She said she would see him soon, though she hasn’t set a date for sentencing…

Shkreli was convicted of three of eight charges, including securities fraud. He was acquitted of fraud charges related to allegations that he looted Retrophin to pay off his hedge-fund investors. Sentencing guidelines take into consideration the size of losses, so the Retrophin allegations carried the potential for the most severe penalty.

❝ In the end, it was Shkreli’s lies to his investors that cost him his freedom, not his 2015 decision to jack up the price of an anti-parasitic drug. Prosecutors said Shkreli, 34, misled clients about the performance of his failing hedge funds, secretly used their money to start Retrophin, and then took $11 million from the drug-development company to repay them.

Shkreli played financial manipulation games almost as well as, say, a Congressman keeping his re-election fund after retiring. The operative word being “almost”. Plus, like like one of our politicians most notorious for his daily accumulation of lies, he never learned when to keep his mouth shut.

Trump signed a global death warrant for thousands of women

❝ Six months ago, one powerful white man in the White House, watched by seven more, signed a piece of paper that will prevent millions of women around the world from deciding what they can and can’t do with their own bodies.

In that moment, on his very first Monday morning in office, Donald Trump effectively signed the death warrants of thousands of women. He reversed global progress on contraception, family planning, unsustainable population growth and reproductive rights. His executive order even has implications for the battle against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

❝ Rarely can the presidential pen have been flourished to such devastating effect. The policy it reintroduced will shut health clinics in Uganda and HIV programmes in Mozambique; it will compel women from Nepal to Namibia to seek out deadly back-street abortions…

“Girls are kicked out of school if they get pregnant. They are very often forced to marry the fathers. Very often they have to live in their in-laws’ house, where they have to do unpaid labour. It is a violation of women’s rights. We need to see this as a gender issue and very much as a power issue.”

Tewodros Melesse, director general of the the International Planned Parenthood Federation…said the US move “seeks to restrict the rights of millions of women. It asks us as a health provider, to stop providing services which are entirely legal in countries through our members – where some of the most poorest women, depend on them.

RTFA. Congressional Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats, don’t care. As usual.