By Martin Khor*
PENANG, Feb 17 2017 (IPS) – A new and deadly form of protectionism is being considered by Congress leaders and the President of the United States that could have devastating effect on the exports and investments of American trading partners, especially the developing countries.
Paul Krugman – The New York Times
The story so far: A foreign dictator intervened on behalf of a U.S. presidential candidate — and that candidate won. Close associates of the new president were in contact with the dictator’s espionage officials during the campaign, and his national security adviser was forced out over improper calls to that country’s ambassador — but not until the press reported it; the president learned about his actions weeks earlier, but took no action.
By Kate E Pickett *,Richard G Wilkinson** - Research to Publication Programme
Each year, at its meeting in Davos, the World Economic Forum produces a report on global risks, highlighting the biggest challenges the world is facing and the connections between them. Inequality entered the list of global risks in 2012, and in 2017 rising income and wealth disparity ranked as the most important trend likely to determine development across the world over the next decade.1 Oxfam also issues reports on inequality at Davos—in 2014 shocking the world with its estimate that the 85 richest people in the world owned as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion; this year reporting that just eight men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world.2 , 3
By Joan Walsh – The Nation
Michael Flynn is out, but until there’s an investigation by Congress, we’re at the mercy of intelligence leaks for the story.
The country is a little bit safer with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn deposed as National Security Adviser—but not much. It’s a relief to be rid of the paranoid, Islamophobic, fact-averse Trump adviser who reportedly didn’t know he needed Congress to approve new arms deals. But let’s be clear: The White House cover story for Flynn’s departure makes no sense. The most dangerous person in the White House still has a job.
By Robert Fisk* – The Independent
If the President toured these Arab dictatorships, he’d feel very much at home. Great security, fantastic police, lots of torture, alternative facts, extremely dodgy elections and massive economic projects which damage the environment but prove absolutely useless
David Brooks – The New York Times
How should one resist the Trump administration? Well, that depends on what kind of threat Donald Trump represents.
It could be that the primary Trump threat is authoritarianism. It is hard to imagine America turning into full fascism, but it is possible to see it sliding into the sort of “repressive kleptocracy” that David Frum describes in the current Atlantic — like the regimes that now run Hungary, the Philippines, Venezuela and Poland.
By Saleemul Huq *
Feb 8 2017 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh) – Although President Trump has only been in office for less than a month, it is already becoming clear how he intends to carry out implementing his campaign pledges and who he is appointing in his cabinet. It is therefore possible to assess some likely actions and policies on climate change based on his campaign statements and also some of his advisers’ statements and most importantly from his own Twitter statements.
by Eli Clifton –Lobelog*
The White House’s omission of Jewish victims of the Holocaust in its statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day raised objections from Jewish groups across the political spectrum but the Trump administration’s combative defense was perhaps the most surprising move by a presidency facing record low approval numbers. Last Monday, Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka refused to admit that that it may have been poor judgment not to specifically acknowledge the suffering of Jews in the Holocaust.
Por Boaventura de Sousa Santos*
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution (RR)1 and also the 150th anniversary of the publication of the first volume of Karl Marx’ Das Kapital. Combining the two historic dates may seem strange because Marx never wrote in detail about the revolution and communist society and, even if he had, it is unimaginable that what he might have written could bear any resemblance to what the Soviet Union (USSR) was, especially after Stalin took over the leadership of both the party and the State.
By Paul Raskin / Tellus Institute
Where is the bold vision to save the world from an exploitative economic system and myopic politics?
The following is an excerpt from Paul Raskin’s new book Journey to Earthland (Tellus Institute, 2016).
We are bound together on a precarious passage to a land unknown and unnamed. Even a stray dog, as Hannah Arendt once noted, has better odds of surviving when given a name.
Roger Cohen – The New York Times
Fact-based journalism is a ridiculous, tautological phrase. It’s like talking about oxygen-based human life. There is no other kind. Facts are journalism’s foundation; the pursuit of them, without fear or favor, is its main objective.
But in this time of President Trump’s almost daily “fake news” accusations against The New York Times, and of his counselor Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts,” and of untruths seeping like a plague from the highest office in the land, there’s increasing talk of “real” or “fact-based” journalism.
By Baher Kamal
ROME/GENEVA, Feb 9 2017 (IPS) – “The world is in a crisis, not least because governing élites have estranged themselves from the needs and aspirations of ordinary people. This sense of being left behind has lead the latter to rebel against their country’s stratified governance,” warns a Geneva-based human rights and dialogue centre.
BY OWEN MATTHEWS , JACK MOORE , DAMIEN SHARKOV – NEWSWEEK
Russia is clawing its way back to being a superpower—at the expense of U.S. influence and prestige.
On the morning of January 11, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar climbed up the companionway of an aircraft carrier floating off the Mediterranean port of Tobruk. As a Marine band played and an honor guard presented arms, an admiral in a white full-dress uniform greeted the Libyan strongman, who was a senior commander in the U.S.-backed rebel forces that ousted the dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011. After the welcoming ceremony, the 73-year-old Haftar, an American citizen who for many years lived in the United States, was escorted below decks for a secure video conference with the Middle East’s most energetic foreign power broker.
By Jonathan Power*
LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) – So what does President Donald Trump think about NATO? Twice during his campaign he rubbished it publically, saying it was “obsolete”. Yet early February when he met the UK’s prime minister, Therese May, it was all hunky dory. He told her he supported NATO 100%.
Gary Younge – The Guardian
Gun deaths – intentional, accidental and self-inflicted – dwarf those related to terror. The talk is of secure borders but within the US many live in a state of fear
Shortly before leaving America for Britain, after 12 years as a correspondent, the relative of one of my son’s friends politely declined my invitation to visit us in London.
“I don’t think I could go to Europe,” she said. “It doesn’t seem safe.”
Try as I might I could not suppress a laugh. My wife and children are African American. I am British. We were living in Chicago.
“The odds of you being shot dead here are far greater than of you being killed in a terrorist attack over there.”
By Carl Pope* – The Huffington Post
It’s staggering to recall that one of Donald Trump’s main appeals to many of his voters was a pledge to “drain the swamp” and rid Washington of corruption. In only two weeks he has, instead, begun stocking the swamp with new and poisonous creatures, making it yet more deadly, much as sugar planters did in the Caribbean importing fleur-de-lance and other poisonous snakes to discourage slaves from making new lives for themselves by escaping into the jungle.
BY CHRIS SOMMERFELDT – NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
President Trump’s most recent executive order effectively bans citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days — but some Muslim countries were spared from the order’s blacklist, even though they have deep-seated ties to terrorism.
Paul Mason – The Guardian
Both Steve Bannon and Newt Gingrich engage in dangerous fantasies about US history – and come to chilling conclusions about the future
A controversial and divisive US president is elected. State governments defy his will. Popular discontent erupts into low-level violence in several states. And then what?
We’ve been here before. In 1861, the newly elected president, Abraham Lincoln, had to be spirited through Baltimore on a secret train to Washington DC, to thwart a suspected assassination plot. Not long after he took power, a five-year civil war began.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres marked the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation with a speech calling for a global effort to end the practice. Studies suggest around 200 million women and girls have been subjected to FGM, a practice the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal aims to abolish by 2030.
Isabel Hilton – Opinion, The Guardian
The US president has dismayed the world; Xi Jinping has wooed it. This could be a huge win for Beijing
Two years ago, some European and US experts gathered to discuss China in an elegant English country house. The setting was seductive, but the mood was dark. Two years into Xi Jinping’s presidency, China’s politics were turning away from the liberalising trend of the previous three decades, towards a hard-edged nationalism that was discomfiting China’s immediate neighbours and their western allies.