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29.01.2017 – Berlin, Germany Reto Thumiger

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The East Side Gallery in Berlin should become a living Monument to Joy

Despite the fact that the East Side Gallery is a listed historic monument, it is deteriorating and becoming increasingly hemmed in. The main reason is that private interests are placed above public land rights and the law. People from all over the world, not just within Germany, are committed to the preservation of the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, which was painted by 118 artists from 21 different countries in 1990.

Christine MacLean, manager of the East Side Gallery during its creation, together with Jordi Pérez and Thomas Rojahn have more than rescuing it in mind. The East Side Gallery should be a living Monument to Joy. In a restaurant in the Kreuzberg neighbourhood, the three of them explain their plans and motives.

Jordi Pérez: As an initiative of the Alliance Save the East Side Gallery (Bündnis East Side Gallery retten!) we are against the commercial development of the land and want to preserve the area. We had an information caravan there for a few months. We often talked about what it is that captivates us and what the Wall means to us. The conversation often came round to the novel “Geteilter Himmel” (Divided Sky) by Christa Wolf whose title was rather a platitude for me, until I reached a place that gave me the impression that the old Berlin Wall was still closed. At that particular point, neither the beginning nor the end of the gallery was visible, then I looked up and it clicked. Suddenly I could see the divided sky. I saw the blue sky and this crass Wall. That’s why an unobstructed view is so important to us. Right there, where I had that experience, there is now a high-rise building. That experience is no longer possible.

Christine MacLean: When a part of the East Side Gallery was torn down in 2013 the international response was huge. Voice of America was on site before a single word was uttered by the German press. In the following months, as the conflict around the Wall continued, television crews came from Korea, China and Finland, as well as naturally from the USA and the UK. As a foreigner, it is incomprehensible to me how a section from a listed historic monument can simply be removed. The Berlin Senate simply doesn’t appreciate the significance of this monument. The huge importance of The East Side Gallery is better appreciated outside Germany. In addition, the law which applies to this monument has literally been broken. It is actually forbidden to build near it but the Berlin Senate acts as if it has some discretionary leeway.

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Jordi: The painting of the east side of the Berlin Wall between Ostbahnhof and the Oberbaumbrücke in 1990 was officially approved by the GDR’s Council of Ministers. Ironically, the Eastern municipal authorities are to be thanked for the fact that the East Side Gallery still exists today. The development of the former death strip violates the Berlin Monument Protection Law (§10 Heritage Protection Law Berlin). As the East Side Gallery is a border, it needs to remain so. New construction is not allowed when it affects the area surrounding the memorial.

How is the East Side Gallery different from the other memorials in Berlin and from the Berlin Wall Museum?

Jordi: The East Side Gallery is not a component of a negative memorial culture, as is often found in Berlin. It’s not about the documentation of horror, it’s a symbol of hope and joy.

Christine: The artists who painted the Wall in 1990 weren’t necessarily famous and many came from the East. Before, nobody could spit on the Wall on the east side, let alone paint it. The pictures are predominantly about peace, tolerance and love.

Jordi: They are the dreams, hopes and fears, which prevailed in 1989 as the Wall fell in the East and West. Above all, there was an optimistic mood that the Cold War was over and that the world had been given a new opportunity. This mood has manifested itself through the artists in their pictures and can still be felt today.

In the period afterwards many things occurred which have been forgotten. Starting with the peace and environmental movement, democracy in the GDR emerged. Even during the dictatorship round-table groups were formed and discussions with people in power began, almost on equal terms. It was a very progressive movement; the people were creative and artists could finally provide input. Different models of government were discussed and they worked on a draft constitution which was placed on record shortly before reunification.

It was this spirit of optimism and this feeling of freedom which was the moment of elation. When we look back today, people think primarily of reunification. Because of reunification, this new spirit of optimism was just lost in consumerism. As soon as they received their welcome money, the moment was gone or the people were no longer interested.

The end of the Cold War, which had the potential to become one of the greatest catastrophes in world history, simply became a peaceful reality overnight. The joy of it and the power which was then liberated at that time can still be felt today in Berlin. That is precisely this Berlin feeling, this freedom, which you have here in Berlin. These are still the late stages of that time, when suddenly there was an explosion of creativity. The East Side Gallery is a testimony to this momentous time. We should remember the power and the thoughts of that time and not simply focus on the 1990 reunification alone. We should recognize what occurred there exactly at that turning point and whether something can be found upon which to build a better world. This is the starting point of the Monument to Joy. The idea to call it that originated from Thomas.

Thomas Rojahn: I associate the joy that prevailed at that time and that strangers embraced on the street with the Ode to Joy, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. You simply need to recall the images of the night in which the Berlin Wall fell. In this or a similar way, I imagine the moment that Schiller and Beethoven wanted to express. An utopian moment when people truly became like sisters and brothers.

With Monument to Joy we are trying to reconnect to that time. The East Side Gallery is meant to remind you of this joy and that freedom is not given to you as a gift. To achieve this, we must discuss, reflect and become involved.

Jordi: A bit grandiose perhaps.  At the time of the fall of the Wall, the wing of the daughter of Elysium touched the earth. The day was really joyful, because it did not really matter which class you belonged to or which fashion you followed. There was pure joy.

Thus the East Side Gallery could be understood as a manifest ode to joy. Joy becomes the connecting element of mankind and overcomes all apparent differences that separate us.

This utopia, conceived by Schiller and Beethoven, became a reality in that split second; it was only a wing beat. This was followed by consumerism and freedom was hijacked. This is why the gallery is needed as a symbol and a finger in the wound. A reminder that it is not about the day of reunification but about the fall of the Wall and the period preceding it. A reminder of the democratic-freedom-minded thinking that, mainly in the East, paved the way. We want to invite people to imagine themselves right there at that time, to be bold and to become involved.

Does there need to be a new “turning point”

Jordi: First of all, we need direction! People are deeply unsettled, there is a lot of negative energy about. It is important to have a symbol to provide a positive orientation for human rights, freedom and solidarity.

What we are experiencing at the moment in Europe, especially with refugee issues, is frightening. In particular, it is a horrible thing to see that a new wall (indirectly, financed by German contributions) is being built along the Turkish-Syrian border. We distance ourselves from the fact that in the Mediterranean people are drowning in their thousands and we are not able to see that the cause lies with us. We want to protect the wealth we have extracted from the world by means of an inhumane (or unethical) and unfair economic, banking and finance system. We do not want to create scenarios of terror, something the extreme right takes pleasure in but create a clear symbol for freedom and joy. That is why the East Side Gallery is so important.

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There are no exact figures, but every year around 5 million people visit the East Side Gallery. There must be a reason for it. On the one hand people come because of the art, on the other hand, I am convinced that it is this sense of freedom that attracts people, even if they are perhaps not so aware of it.

Is this a reorientation of the original idea, Christine?

Christine: It’s a natural continuation. The Berlin Wall did not simply open, but the border was relaxed in stages. At the Oberbaum bridge, the people were queuing up to walk across the bridge, because with the prevailing traffic chaos it was often faster than driving. We, the organisers and artists who were working on the Wall at the time, overheard  the conversations of the people on the street.  We picked up on the prevailing energy and feelings and many artists’ works were influenced by this. As a natural medicine practitioner, I feel that the Wall has been transformed and healed by the work carried out on it and through the energy that everyone invested in it. Many people died because of this Wall but we transformed it.

What is the concept for the Monument to Joy?

Thomas: On the website of our initiative, “East Side Gallery – a monument to joy” you find food for thought. There is a reason that it is called food for thought and not a concept. We want an initiative from the bottom up and everyone should be able to have a say. It is not the intention to have some fancy concept presented from above. People should reflect on what they would like to see in this important place. The food for thought should simply provide inspiration points as to which direction this could go in.

Jordi: We especially like the idea of setting up a “Speaker’s Corner”. As a symbol of freedom, the Berlin Senate, like London, should pass a law so that everyone can talk freely.

Germany boasts about its freedom of opinion and the right of demonstration. In fact, one quickly sees that the reality is different. I’ve been picked up by the state security services because I’ve spent the whole day handing out flyers at the East Side Gallery.

You are also not allowed to spontaneously hold up a banner in Germany, if you do, it will be confiscated by the police. That’s why a speaker’s corner is needed to show that not everything is as good as it seems.

Thomas:  We would really like to invite artists along to events. There is still a lot of space behind the East Side Gallery which could be used for temporary art installations. Graffiti and street art belong to the Wall and by setting up boards or canvases for this purpose, a legally approved space for the expression of this kind of art could be created. That is just one example. In addition, if the existing infrastructure in the vicinity (such as the Radial System culture centre) was used for conventions, conferences and concerts around this theme then the East Side Gallery could become an even greater attraction.

It is important that the East Side Gallery doesn’t turn into a museum piece but is rather a living memorial to joy on which people will always have the opportunity to work.

Jordi: There is a huge risk that things will develop in another, less desirable direction. We now have three museums in the area which also call themselves East Side Museum or something similar. We just need to be very careful that the allure of the East Side Gallery is not abused and exploited for commercial gain. That is the biggest fear I have.

What does it take to realize this idea?

Christine: We want to mobilize people from outside, for example with an international campaign.

Thank you very much for the fascinating conversation!

Translation from German by skelly14 from Trommons, proofreading by Elena Blank from Trommons and Christine Mclean

 

L'immagine può contenere: 1 persona
Marginal Mennonite Society

Happy birthday, Anthony Benezet (Jan. 31, 1713 – May 3, 1784)! #Quaker. #Pacifist. #Abolitionist. Educator. War tax resister. Writer of anti-slavery tracts. Founder of one of the world’s first anti-slavery societies. Founder of the first public school for girls. Founder of the Negro School at Philadelphia. Benezet strived to persuade his fellow Quakers that slavery was wrong, at a time when even Friends accepted the legitimacy of the slave system. Married to Quaker minister Joyce Marriot. Born into a Huguenot family in Saint-Quentin, France. Died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
~The Marginal Mennonite Society Heroes Series.

30.01.2017 Pressenza London

Behind the bipartisan wall

Extending the Wall separating the United States and Mexico: the Western press condemns it, leaving no ground for appeal. Manlio Dinucci on the other hand, recalls that far from resulting from a desire to protect and [erect barriers], it is the product of a policy to globalize [and dismantle barriers]. This construction is a bi-partisan project, initiated by Bill Clinton, followed up by George Bush Jr and then by Barack Obama. Dinucci observes that it is NAFTA not the Wall that is responsible for the devastating effects that have rippled through Mexican society. NAFTA was conceived as a bridge between the three signatory states. It is a treaty which strives to broaden the normal process of delocalization yet carries the risk of poverty spreading [like an Albertan wildfire] in Mexico and then the United States.

| ROME (ITALY) | 28 JANUARY 2017

by Manlio Dinucci

It is 29 September 2006, and the US Senate is voting on the bill “Secure Fence Act” introduced by the republic administration of George W Bush. The [bill] provides for the building of 1,100 km of “physical fencing”, at the Mexican border, which will be heavily guarded to prevent the “illegal entry” of Mexican workers. Of the two Democratic senators representing Illinois, one, Richard Durbin, votes “No”; while the other one votes “Yes”. And the name of the other one? [No other than] Barack Obama who two years later will be elected President of the United States. Among the 26 democrats that are vote “Yes”, thus enabling the bill to be passed as a law, the name of Hillary Clinton, the Senator of New York State jumps out. Two years later she will become the Secretary of State in the Obama Administration.

By 2006 Hillary Clinton is already well versed in anti-immigrant fencing, for she promoted these as First Lady. Indeed, it was Bill Clinton, a Democratic president that got construction underway in 1994. This is the precise time that NAFTA, the North American “Free” Trade agreement between United States, Canada and Mexico enters into force. An agreement that opens the doors to free movement of capital and capitalists, yet at the same time bars Mexican workers from entering the United States and Canada.

NAFTA is rippling devastation in Mexico: Mexico’s market is swamped with US and Canadian goods, the production of which is subsidized by the state, enabling them to be sold at low prices. This has caused agricultural production to collapse with devastating social effects for the rural population. This enables the formation of a pool of cheap labour, whose members are recruited by factories (maquiladoras): thousands of industrial plants along the border of the Mexican territory are owned and controlled largely by US companies. [Such companies], exploiting the tax loopholes, export to Mexico semi-finished goods or components to be assembled. The finished products are then imported back into the United States. Windfall profits are being made from these operations due to Mexican labour being very cheap and other [investment] incentives.

A substantial chunk of the factories’ workforce are girls and young women. The shifts are punishing to the extent of exhaustion, the harmful effects very high, the salaries very low and trade union rights virtually non-existent. Widespread poverty, drug trafficking, prostitution and uncontained criminality: all of this makes life in these areas extremely degrading. Just recall Ciudad Juárez, at the border with Texas, which, rather sadly, became famous for the countless homicides of young women, most of which are factory workers.

This is the reality behind the wall: initiated by Clinton the Democrat, followed up by Bush the Republican and reinforced by Obama the Democrat. The same one that Trump the Republican wants to complete along the entire 3000 km border. This explains why so many Mexicans are risking their lives (thousands have [already] died) to enter the United States. For here they can earn more, working illegally, squeezed by other exploiters. Crossing the border is like going to war, fleeing helicopters and drones, the barbed fencing, the armed patrols (many comprised of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), that are trained by soldiers in the techniques used in the theatres of war. Symbolic is the fact that, when constructing some sections of the fencing with Mexico in the nineties, the administration of Clinton the Democrat used the metallic platforms of the runways from which the planes used to bomb Iraq in the First Gulf War took off. [This war] was a product of the administration of George H.W. Bush, the Republican. Using materials from the subsequent wars, can we complete a bipartisan wall? Yes we can.

Happy birthday, Lillian Willoughby (Jan. 29, 1915 – Jan. 15, 2009)! #Quaker. #Pacifist. Peace activist. War tax resister. In 1971, Lillian and her husband George helped form the Movement for a New Society, a network of activist collectives committed to the principles of nonviolent resistance. From 1971 to 1987, Lillian and George lived communally in The Life Center in West Philadelphia. Born in West Branch, Iowa. Died in New Jersey.
~The Marginal Mennonite Society Heroes Series.

L'immagine può contenere: 7 persone, persone in piedi

25.01.2017 Democracy Now!

This post is also available in: Italian

Protests over Trump’s Move to Revive Pipeline Projects
(Image by https://www.facebook.com/StandingWithStandingRock/?fref=ts)

Donald Trump’s move to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines sparked a number of emergency protests last night in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia and other cities. He signed the presidential memorandum as water protectors at Standing Rock in North Dakota were gathered to testify to a wide range of police abuse.

At the Sundance Film Festival, actor and activist Shailene Woodley, who  recently starred in the film “Snowden” about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, called for action against funders of Dakota Access Pipeline. She participated in a protest Monday against the festival’s sponsor Chase Bank over its support for pipeline and was arrested in October for protesting against it.

22.01.2017 Pressenza New York

Tracking Trump
Donald John Trump, aka Donald Trump, is a businessman and is the 45th President of the United States. (Image by Donkey Hotey – Creative Commons)

By Zoltan Zigedy

The 2016 election taught many lessons, few of which have penetrated the talking heads of the mainstream media. Most of what we could learn has been lost in the frenzy of the most outrageous political maneuvering witnessed in decades.

One of the more notable lessons is the diminished role of campaign money in determining this Presidential election outcome. Trump spent a third less than Clinton in this election (Washington Post: $932 million versus $1.4 billion). Some have made much of this discrepancy, along with the fact that Trump largely ignored the advice of his hired consultants and advisors. Of course, Clinton’s money actually bought over 3 million more votes in the nationwide count. And the mass media enthusiastically provided Trump with uncountable dollars’ worth of free coverage (Remember CBS CEO Les Moonves’s comment on Trump’s loud mouth, Berlusconi-like antics during the primaries: “I’ve never seen anything like this, and this is going to be a very good year for us… Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? …Who would have thought that this circus would have come to town?”)

Nonetheless, the Trump election undeniably showed that it is possible to mount an impactful campaign outside of the conventional rules of the game, especially when a substantial portion of the electorate has soured on the rules of the game.

It was this fact– the fact that there was a new mood emerging, especially among those most devastated by the continuing economic crisis — that was underestimated or missed by the punditry and is still largely ignored.

While the Trump election was a surprise, something new is clearly in the air. I wrote nearly a year ago:

The Sanders and Trump successes suggest that voters are not appeased by the thin gruel offered by the party elites this go-round. But something more profound is occurring—a refusal to settle for the usual charade. Moreover, party loyalty is unusually thin this time, challenging party leaders’ ability to count on a transfer from one candidate to another. What the pundits call “unpredictability” is actually the exercise of a new level of political maturity and independence. A recent Pew Research Center poll (December 8-13, 2015) bears out the mood of voter alienation: 62% of all respondents maintain that “the federal government does not do enough for middle-class people.” Thus, the notion that anti-government sentiment runs deep in the populace is a media-inspired illusion. Instead, people want better government. (A Moment Charged with Possibility 2-11-16)

We now know, thanks to Wikileaks, that the Democrats had no intention of allowing an insurgent like Sanders to address the “new mood” of the electorate. Instead, they chose to covertly ensure the nomination of the candidate of more-of-the-same– Hillary Clinton. In undermining Sanders, Democratic Party elites guaranteed that Trump would be perceived as the only authentic “outsider” candidate.
I wrote last year, in April, that the failures of the traditional support system for the “working class and poor people– unions, religious institutions, the Democratic Party, ethnic organizations, etc.– explains, in no small part, the desperate turn to Trump. Tepid, aloof liberalism breeds desperate options, like the outlandish Trump, when conditions deteriorate sharply and no radical options appear available.”

Thus, a careful assessment of the Trump victory should ascribe a role to working class disaffection with business-as-usual politics, but without a simplistic blanket condemnation of the working class, without a calloused dismissal of white workers as wholly racist, misogynist, or xenophobic.

But careful assessment is not popular after the recent election. Liberal pundit and darling of the “responsible” left, Paul Krugman, penned a harsh attack on the white working class:

…the fact is that Democrats have been pursuing policies that are much better for the white working class than anything the other party has to offer. Yet this has brought no political reward… The only way to make sense of what happened is to see the vote as an expression of, well, identity politics– some combination of white resentment at what voters see as favoritism toward non-whites (even though it isn’t) and anger on the part of the less educated at liberal elites whom they imagine look down on them. The Populist Perplex, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11-26-2016.

Krugman is hardly out of step with mainstream liberals with his barely concealed contempt for the motives of white workers. But compare this statement with what he said eight years earlier when he was shilling for Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama in the midst of their primary competition:

[Princeton colleague Frank] Bartels cited data showing that small-town, working class Americans are actually less likely than affluent metropolitan residents to vote on the basis of religion and social values… Does it matter that Mr. Obama has embraced an incorrect theory about what motivates working-class voters? His campaign certainly hasn’t been based on Mr. Frank’s book [What’s the Matter with Kansas?], which calls for a renewed focus on economic issues as a way to win back the working class. Indeed, the book concludes with a blistering attack on Democrats who cater to “affluent, white collar professionals who are liberal on social issues” while dropping the class language that once distinguished them sharply from Republicans.”… Anyway, the important point is that working-class Americans do vote on economic issues– and can be swayed by a politician who offers real answers to their problems. Clinging to a Stereotype, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4-19-2008.

Apart from the blatant hypocrisy exhibited by the marked reversal of Krugman’s views in only eight years, the earlier Krugman gets it right. Economic issues have been decisive in working class vote patterns, especially since the deindustrialization of the 1970s and 1980s and the economic catastrophe of 2007-8. And the earlier Krugman’s judgement that “working-class Americans… can be swayed by a politician who offers real answers to their problems” proved accurate with the campaign of Bernie Sanders. But with the Democratic Party actively burying that option, many workers misguidedly turned to the only other candidate promising to address their interests.

Contrary to the widespread impressions disseminated by media elites, the working-class vote was not overwhelmingly for Trump, nor was the working class vote the backbone of his success. The Electoral College totals swung his way thanks to narrow victories in a few key rust-belt states. Many factors contributed to the Trump victory, but two stand out, especially for a left analysis.

First, there was a discernable shift among many voters in working class strongholds previously giving majorities to Obama to turn in the direction of Trump in 2016. As Krugman noted in his 2008 alert and warning to the Democrats, addressing relevant economic issues is decisive in winning the working class vote. With the Sanders economic program strangled in the cradle, desperate voters saw nowhere to turn but to the false, demagogic hope of putting the industrial toothpaste back into the tube, of creating jobs out of Trump’s magic.

Democratic Party operatives and their media lapdogs have done their most to evade blame for the Party’s abandonment of working people’s interests. Instead, they have painted workers as pathologically bigoted and ignorant, a handy theme reinforced by elite media since the era of TV stereotype, Archie Bunker. Today’s archetypes for the socially dysfunctional (white) worker is found in the best-selling tell-all from a working class “escapee” (Hillbilly Elegy, J. D. Vance). By diverting the spotlight to working class dysfunction, the third-way, New Democrats who dominate the party can escape blame for their willful neglect of the multiracial working class’s increasingly desperate plight.

Second, Trump was a magnet for every backward, reactionary, racist element in the US. They, too, saw the arrogant, abrasive, loud-mouth as someone in whom they could place their hopes. Trump’s aggressive break with the typical politician’s syrupy civility was taken as a sign of contempt for the alien, the different, those perceived as threatening (Ironically, these same hates and fears were, in the past, invested in soft-spoken religious leaders and smooth-tongued conservative gentlemen). Trump engages in the Old South tactic of drawing attention by surpassing all others in race baiting and fear mongering, but it’s important to note that this simplistic tactic only works where an atmosphere of racial friction and fear already exists. It’s just that Trump opportunistically says it the loudest.

The contradiction between Trump’s appeal to workers and his courtship of the extreme right is unresolvable. Nevertheless, it is a common feature of right-wing populism, a political phenomenon emerging strongly in Europe and the US. It takes root where both objective and subjective conditions are ripe for radical change, but a weak or discredited left offers little hope. The extreme right reaches to fill the void with vague populism.

While it is not yet possible to entirely discern how Trump will attempt to resolve this contradiction, it is becoming increasingly clear that he is surrounded by advisors, confidents, and attendants fully committed to a pro-corporate, pro-capitalist domestic agenda, an agenda that, apart from theatrical moments, will leave little for workers.

Trump’s foreign policy is, however, a different kettle of fish. Domestic policy is crafted by many hands. Congress, which is 100% bipartisan for the interests of capitalism over any other interest, will have a big say over where Trump takes it. Moreover, there is space for debating divergent interpretations of the best interests of capital.

But foreign policy is largely crafted through the executive (even war powers have been commandeered by the executive branch). And there is little tolerance for dissidence from the policies of the foreign policy establishment. The tight reign over policy fixed by generations of rabid Cold Warriors continues to be a feature of governing. Many of Trump’s comments on prospective foreign relations challenge both the current consensus and those who police that consensus.

Trump’s deviance from that consensus on relations with Russia, NATO, and other matters explains the brazen intervention of US security services in post-election politics. A massive media campaign was mounted to distract the people from the Democratic Party fiasco and construct a reliable straw man, Russia, to take the blame for the embarrassing loss. The mainstream media shamelessly and nearly uniformly spread the speculative story that Russia had intervened profoundly in the US election. With skepticism rising, the joint US security agencies released an amateurish report, allegedly confirming Russian intervention. Many private security experts remained skeptical. Trump challenged the report.

Within days, government insiders released a second document– an addendum– reputedly based on a UK private investigation, alleging outrageous misconduct on Trump’s part and an extensive Russian disinformation campaign. The security agencies admitted sharing the report with Obama and Trump, denied leaking it, and refused to attest to its accuracy. In a recent interview, CIA Director Brennan was said “to give it no particular credence.” He said, instead: “I would have no interest in trying to give that dossier any additional airtime.” That, he says, “…would make no sense at all.”

So, if the report had no credence, if it made “no sense” to give it “more airtime,” why was it shared with the President and President-elect and leaked to the press in the first place?

The answer should be obvious to all but the gullible and kept corporate press: The memorandum was meant, on the part of the security agencies, as a threat to Donald Trump, a reminder that wandering off the establishment reservation is not tolerated.

The media’s failure to challenge this “memorandum,” its veracity, its timing, its source, and its leak is a new low in groveling before power. To think that the head of the CIA, the most formidable intelligence apparatus in the world, had a hand in confronting Trump with a document that Brennan claimed “he had no way to assess the allegations contained in the dossier of political opposition research…” (Wall Street Journal, 1-19-17) is outrageous (Brennan even claimed that he hadn’t read it). That the CIA held no interest or lacked the ability to confirm a dossier written by a former member of the close-knit intelligence community is preposterous. That the security agencies promoted a dossier that bore “no credence” and that they released it for any other reason than to intimidate Trump is unbelievable.

Of course, this would not be the first time that security agencies scared the hell out of politicians challenging establishment shibboleths. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover famously kept extensive files on virtually all political players and would frequently leak embarrassing information to media friends whenever he felt it was necessary to bring dissenters back into the fold. Among many other political maneuvers, the CIA notoriously overstated Soviet capabilities in order to influence US Cold War policies, elections, and funding. And beyond any dispute, the intelligence and foreign policy communities constructed an argument of lies to support the 2003 invasion of Iraq. We are asked to trust them today? And the too-often uncritical, gullible media believes them today?

In the wake of contemporary revelations of torture protocols and comprehensive spying on everyone, apparently witting opinion makers have now found the intelligence community to be wholly reliable and trustworthy. They surrender their critical faculties to the professional liars and plotters. Even George Orwell would be aghast!

We assuredly have every reason to fear the policies of President Trump and his supporters.

But based on recent events, we equally have every reason to fear the brazen power and intrusion of clandestine security agencies and the unreliability of the fawning, supine corporate media.

 

L'immagine può contenere: casa, cielo, albero, spazio all'aperto e natura
Marginal Mennonite Society

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On this date in 1834 (Jan. 20th), Michael Waldner was born. #Hutterite minister. It was Michael, along with fellow minister Jakob Hofer, who re-instituted the Hutterian community of goods in the village of Hutterdorf, Russia, in 1859. (The Hutterites had abandoned community of goods 40 years earlier in Radichev, Ukraine.) Michael was a blacksmith (schmied) by trade. Thus, his followers became known as Schmiedeleut. In 1874, this group migrated to South Dakota, near Yankton, where they formed the Bon Homme colony (pictured), the first Hutterite settlement in America. Michael Waldner died at Bon Homme on Oct. 13, 1889.
~The Marginal Mennonite Society Hutterite History Series.

20.01.2017 Pressenza New York

Don of a New Day
Mainstream Media in Action (Image by David Andersson)

Donald Trump, a combative New York businessman who harnessed a powerful populist message for a deeply divided country in his first bid for public office, took the oath of office Friday as the 45th president of the United States. Trump, accompanied by his wife, Melania, was sworn in shortly after noon under overcast skies by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts…”We citizens of America are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all our people,” Trump said, ins his address to the nation. “Together we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come.

20.01.2017 Pressenza New York

Women’s March On Washington Multiply to 600 ‘Sister Marches’
The Women’s March on Washington is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21 following the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, with 600 ‘sister marches’ scheduled for the same day across the globe.National ‘sister march’ spokesperson Yordanos Eyoel told The Huffington Post, “This is a global movement,” and it would be a mistake to overlook the hundreds of marches planned across the nation and on six continents.
Women for Climate Justice @ NYC Women’s March
Start: January 21, 2017 – 12:00 PM beginning at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, 833 1st Avenue,Links

Download & Print Free Shepard Fairey Protest Posters for the Trump Inauguration

Shepard Fairey probably first crossed your radar when he drew the iconic “Hope” poster so associated with Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. Now, he returns with another set of posters to help protest the inauguration of one Donald J. Trump.

Quaccheri cristiani ecumenici per fare il bene

L'immagine può contenere: 1 persona, primo piano
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Happy birthday, Kenneth Boulding (Jan. 18, 1910 – March 18, 1993)! #Quaker. #Pacifist. #Mystic. Poet. Scientist. Economist. Philosopher. Peace activist. In March 1965, he helped organize the first Teach-In about the Vietnam War at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. In March 1977 he conducted a silent vigil outside AFSC headquarters in Philadelphia to protest what he considered the organization’s distancing from Quakerism. Married to fellow Quaker activist Elise Boulding. Born in Liverpool, England. Died in Boulder, Colorado. Cremated.
~The Marginal Mennonite Society Heroes Series.

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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