10 of the candidates running in the Democratic Party primary race went on stage on 31 July for the latest televised debate. Facing off against several establishment figures who argued for traditional centrist proposals, Bernie Sanders made waves with his full-throated advocacy for bold progressive action, including a call for an end to the war in Afghanistan. But it was radical healthcare reform that dominated the debate. And Sanders led the way.
Sanders laying the smackdown
One of the most memorable parts of the debate came when one of the various unmemorable centrist Democrats on stage tried to dismiss Sanders’ Medicare-for-all proposal as unrealistic. Sanders was listing all the things that could easily be covered when congressman Tim Ryan interrupted him by claiming Sanders couldn’t be sure that universal care could be that comprehensive. But Sanders quickly replied, “I do know that; I wrote the damn bill.”
When it comes to carbon emissions, the transport, energy and food industries are usually (and rightly) in the crosshairs of progressive activists and media commentators. But a recent study reveals that there is another major culprit: the US military. In addition to its record of violating human rights, national sovereignty and international law, it turns out that the US military is also a major producer of carbon emissions as well.
A carbon behemoth in its own right
The study from three UK-based academics shows that, if the US military were its own country, it would be the 47th biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, ranking between Peru and Portugal. Summarizing their findings in the Conversation, the researchers say their report “shows that the US military is one of the largest polluters in history.”
The last few months have seen US aggression toward Iran creep dangerously close to war. Washington’s propaganda line is generally that Iran is the major aggressor in the Middle East. But amid this saber-rattling, Donald Trump has just given the latest in a long line of free passes to what is perhaps the region’s biggest villain.
Free pass to Saudi Arabia, yet again
On 24 July, Trump announced a veto over resolutions passed in the Senate to block weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Thousands of protesters calling for the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló have brought Puerto Rico almost to a standstill. Public outrage was prompted by his texts mocking victims of the devastating 2017 hurricane, Maria.
Protesters were joined by a number of high-profile Puerto Rican celebrities, including Latin pop singer Ricky Martin and rapper René Pérez Joglar, also known by his stage name ‘Residente.’ Many businesses, including the Plaza Las Américas mall in San Juan, closed throughout the day in anticipation of the demonstration.
19 July 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the successful culmination of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. On that date in 1979, Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) guerrillas declared victory after ousting the US-backed Somoza dictatorship and embarked on a path of social reform and national independence. Washington, however, never accepted this disobedience in its ‘backyard’ and soon began waging a proxy war via its CIA-backed right-wing ‘Contra’ terrorist force.
Although the Contras are no more, four decades later the US campaign of destabilization and attempted regime change continues.
On 14 July, US President Donald Trump sent out a series of menacing tweets directed at the freshman cohort of progressive House Democrats: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilham Omar and Ayanna Pressley. Utilizing his characteristic right-wing bully tactics, he accused them of hating the US and Israel and implored them to “go home,” in spite of the fact that all four of them are US citizens. The tweets have been met with strong backlash in the media and even from erstwhile allies on the international stage including UK prime minister Theresa May. The fact that Trump is a bigot hardly constitutes news, but when shone through the prism of things we already know about him the tweets provide the most decisive proof yet that Trump is at heart a dyed-in-the-wool white supremacist.
Take, for instance, Trump’s own personal background. After all, he can hardly trace his entire lineage back to the landing of the Mayflower. His mother was neither born nor grew up in the States – unlike three of the four progressive congress members he attacked. She immigrated to the US from Scotland as a young adult in the 1930s and gained US citizenship in 1942 – presumably in large part because she married a US citizen, Fred Trump. But Trump’s father hardly could have traced his ancestry back to the Mayflower either. Both of Fred Trump’s parents were immigrants from the Kingdom of Bavaria, which is in modern-day Germany. So, Donald Trump himself is only first-generation US-born on his mother’s side and second-generation on his father’s.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has introduced a bill that would protect the right to boycott Israel, apparently related to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. We look at why the legislation is bound to be dead on arrival.
Omar (D-Minnesota) formally submitted the resolution to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Though the bill’s text does not explicitly mention BDS, it unmistakably endorses the movement that seeks to launch an international pressure campaign to incentivize Israel to withdraw from occupied territories and negotiate a peace settlement with the Palestinian leadership
On 14 July, Donald Trump sent out a series of menacing tweets telling progressive Democratic congress members to “go back” to their home countries. His targets – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley – are all US citizens. Only Omar was not born in the US.
The tweets added yet another thread to the rich tapestry of Trump’s fascist credentials. And he has not only refused to retract or apologize for them, but has been adding further fuel to the flames. At his latest rally, for example, he defiantly doubled down, issuing a further set of attacks and insults toward the four congress members – and Omar in particular. But it was the reaction of the crowd that was perhaps most worrying.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has defiantly refused to cooperate with a UN human rights tribunal, saying that if he is ever to be put on trial over his ‘War on Drugs’, it would have to be in the Philippines.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution last Thursday to investigate alleged human rights abuses by Duterte’s government as part of Manila’s ‘War on Drugs.’ The measure was introduced to the 48-member international body by Iceland, prompting Duterte to consider severing ties with the Nordic nation.
After defeating a right-wing challenger in 2017 to succeed supposed ally Rafael Correa, Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno lurched strongly to the right once in office. This year, for example, he has handed Ecuadorian citizen Julian Assange to British authorities and supportedWashington’s coup attempt in Venezuela.
Domestically, meanwhile, he oversaw a shocking economic reversal in March. Where his predecessor had opposed submission to Washington’s neoliberal international institutions, Moreno entered into an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – an organization notorious for its coercive imposition of austerity measures in exchange for loans across the globe. Now, a leading research institute in Washington has exposed the likely brutal realities of this deal.