Trump fears terrorists, but more Americans are shot dead by toddlers

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.”

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Trump Is Stocking, Not Draining The Swamp

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.

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President Trump’s Muslim ban excludes countries linked to his sprawling business empire


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.

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Trump’s advisers want a new civil war – we must not let them have it

Paul MasonThe 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.

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UN chief speaks out against FGM on Zero Tolerance Day

UN Wire

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. 

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Donald Trump is making China great again

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.

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Donald Trump Against the World

By John Feffer* – TomDispatch

The Birth of a New Nationalist World Order

Donald Trump is a worldly fellow. He travels the globe on his private jet. He’s married to a Slovene and divorced from a Czech. He doesn’t speak any other languages, but hey, he’s an American, so monolingualism is his birthright.

His fortune depends in large part on the global economy. He has business interests in nearly two-dozen countries on four continents. Many of the products anointed with the Trump brand roll off a global assembly line: Trump furniture made in Turkey and Germany, Trump eyeglasses from China, Trump shirts via Bangladesh and Honduras (among other countries).

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The Muslim Ban Could Cost America $66 Billion a Year

By Robert Kahn – Newsweek / Council on Foreign Relations.

As many as 132,000 jobs could be lost too.
All the human disruption and confusion associated with President Trump’s executive order on immigration released on Friday, it is also worth noting the potential for substantial negative macroeconomic dislocation from increased barriers to travel to the United States.

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How Populism Stumbles

Ross Douthat – New York Times
Populisms vary, but their genesis is generally the same. Some set of ideas commands public support but lacks purchase in elite policy debates. Then a combination of elite failure and popular pressure makes that tension ripe for exploitation, and some new figure or movement emerges, promising to follow the will of the people and override the ruling class.

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What we’re witnessing is a stress test of the US constitution

Mary Dejevsky – The Guardian
The firing of acting attorney general Sally Yates is one of doubtless many crisis points that will show us just how robust American democracy really is
Viewed – with amazement and concern – from Europe, the events of the past 24 hours have an obvious explanation. The Americans elect a reality TV star to the highest office in the land, and this is what they get: an individual as strong-willed, deed-driven and capricious as his media persona, who hesitates not a moment before telling a senior law officer who has crossed him that she is fired.

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‘It All Looks as if the World Is Preparing for War’

Mikhail Gorbachev* -Time
The world today is overwhelmed with problems. Policymakers seem to be confused and at a loss.
But no problem is more urgent today than the militarization of politics and the new arms race. Stopping and reversing this ruinous race must be our top priority.
The current situation is too dangerous.
More troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers are being brought to Europe. NATO and Russian forces and weapons that used to be deployed at a distance are now placed closer to each other, as if to shoot point-blank.

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The company’s CEO said the ban had been met with “confusion, surprise and opposition.”
The chief executive of Starbucks has pledged to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending the United States’s refugee program and halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

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Everything Donald Trump Did in His First Week as President

By George Zornick and Zoë Carpenter – The Nation
It’s been a dizzying week—but it’s crucial to keep an eye on what’s really happening.
The first week of Donald Trump’s presidency has been overwhelming—a flurry of executive orders, appointments, bizarre tweets, even stranger press conferences, and public appearances and interviews from the president that generated massive attention and controversy.

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Making the Rust Belt Rustier

Paul Krugman – The New York Times
Donald Trump will break most of his campaign promises. Which promises will he keep?
The answer, I suspect, has more to do with psychology than it does with strategy. Mr. Trump is much more enthusiastic about punishing people than he is about helping them. He may have promised not to cut Social Security and Medicare, or take health insurance away from the tens of millions who gained coverage under Obamacare, but in practice he seems perfectly willing to satisfy his party by destroying the safety net.

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Who Will Rule Trump Foreign Policy?

By Jim Lobe – Lobelog

The most frightening commentary I’ve read in the run-up to the inauguration—and there have been many—appeared in a column identifying the four people whose foreign policy ideas were likely to be most influential with the then-president-elect. It was written by The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin and entitled “Inside Trump’s Shadow National Security Council.”
Those four people, according to Rogin, are chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who “has been working on the long-term strategic vision that will shape the Trump administration’s overall foreign policy approach;” chief of staff Reince Priebus; Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and his national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.).
What is particularly striking about these four men is their collective lack of foreign-policy-making experience. I can’t see any in Bannon’s resume.

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