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12 Nov

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analys

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

The Age>>

The Observer>>

View All>>

Climate Visuals photography award 2019: winners and shortlisted

 

My community deserves the unvarnished truth from me, its mayor. Ignorance and arrogance delivered us ashes

 

Fire and rescue team inspects damage around Torrington in Glen Innes

‘Members of my family are in hospital. Two community members, my neighbours for decades, are lost to us.’ Photograph: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

Heeding the advice of fire controllers and decades of scientific reports, Glen Innes Severn council last month declared a climate emergency. As the New South Wales government itself has now declared, those emergency conditions extend far beyond our shire borders and touch every community across the state.

Within our borders we have seen a magnificent, humane and unstinting response from the Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service, Red Cross, Salvation Army, NSW Police, Glen Innes Severn council employees, fellow councillors, the deputy mayor, Dianne Newman, and hundreds of community volunteers who for months now have done everything from sweep gutters to pitch tents to butter bread for sandwiches.

The anger is real. The anger is justified. Because this disaster was all foreseen and predicted

Throughout this time, every effort has been made to prepare and defend both private and public properties in my community of Wytaliba, NSW, which last week succumbed to merciless physics that pay no heed to opinion, nor folklore, nor politics.

Members of my family are in hospital. Two community members, my neighbours for decades, are lost to us. We have lost dozens of homes beloved by hundreds of people. An entire community has been all but wiped off the map.

In the face of this tragedy already I have received a personal message of support from the NSW governor, Margaret Beazley, for whose humane and wise words I am most humbly grateful, and for whose leadership of the state of NSW we are together all indebted.

Alongside everyone in this community, I also welcome the commitment of our state member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall, to the rebuilding of Wytaliba public school, a much-loved school which burned to the ground on the same day that the federal government announced that only private schools will share in $10m of drought support funding.

While all this is a personal tragedy for my family and myself, it is but one story within an unfolding statewide and global disaster, about which our community deserves nothing less than the honest and unvarnished truth.

There are already those who, following such statements, will aim to shoot the messenger. To those people I say this: take your best shot, for I have already been through hell and there is nothing you can say or do that can touch me now.

But for the sake of the future, for the sake of our community and the rising generation who will inherit this scorched Earth, one can only hope there will be enough people remaining who retain the common decency to listen, to heed the cries of those in harm’s way, who will now together take decisive and collective action to save our ecosystem and our civilisation from collapse.

Already there are armchair experts ready with free advice about meeting with disaster. Let it be made perfectly clear that all the area that burned has already been a fire ground for two months. There were hazard reduction and backburns under state authority last month and last year. The properties were all well-prepared and extensively defended. People who have lived with fire risk for decades knew exactly what to do, and they did it. The full expertise and advice of fire controllers has been heeded at every turn.

I’ll put my 20-year Rural Fire Service medal up against your free advice any day of the week.

The anger is real. The anger is justified. Because this disaster was all foreseen and predicted. For decades the link between a hotter, drier climate, land-clearing, excessive irrigation and increased fire risk have all been attested in scientific papers.

Equally for decades there have been those who insist they know better. Their ignorance and arrogance have delivered us only ashes – let these now be swept away.

Instead, we will turn towards the sober and sensible measures recommended by fire controllers, and by scientists. We will insist that governments at all levels take heed of that advice, for we have seen now up close the result when they do not.

We turn to those governments now to seek what support is needed and available to assist these devastated communities to get back on their feet. To protect these communities from future harm by curbing climate change. To commit to a saner, safer world where we measure our progress in terms of sustainability, and our wealth in terms of community.

In the face of disaster, everyone learns something about themselves and the people around them. What, I wonder, will be the lesson learnt from this disaster? That remains to be seen. But for now it is the words attributed to Winston Churchill that are salutary: “if you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Carol Sparks is the mayor of Glen Innes Severn council

World Politics

United States

The McGlynn: A fool, following in his Dad’s footsteps. Hell, what did you expect?!

Donald Trump Jr and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, were forced to cut short a launch event for his book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, at the University of California, Los Angeles, because of loud booing from the audience.

The audience was angry that Trump Jr and Guilfoyle would not take questions.

Trump Jr tried to argue that taking questions risked creating soundbites that leftwing social media posters would distort

  • Trump falsely tweets that Daca covers ‘hardened criminals’

  • Court to decide on status of 700,000 undocumented migrants

 

A crowd of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) program supporters is reflected in Rosario Lopez’s glasses during a protest on Olivera Street in Los Angeles, California, in 2017.

A crowd of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) program supporters is reflected in Rosario Lopez’s glasses during a protest on Olivera Street in Los Angeles, California, in 2017. Photograph: Kyle Grillot/Reuters

Crowds cheered and cars honked outside the supreme court on Tuesday morning, hours before the nation’s highest court was to weigh a case that will determine whether 700,000 young undocumented immigrants can remain in the US under a program the Trump administration has sought to end.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) applies to undocumented migrants who were brought to the country as children. It was introduced by Barack Obama in 2012 and shut down by the Trump administration in September 2017.

The court will consider whether it has the jurisdiction to review the government’s decision to end Daca and, if so, whether the Trump administration ended it lawfully.

Early on Tuesday, Trump incorrectly tweeted that some Daca recipients, who he has repeatedly expressed support for in the past, were “hardened criminals”. The program bars convicted felons and others convicted of serious crimes.

The fate of Daca recipients, or Dreamers, has become a pawn in relations between Democrats in Congress and the Trump administration.

On Tuesday morning, Trump also wrote: “If supreme court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!”

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11 Nov

Veterans’ Day 2019

Normandy American Cemetery

The McGlynn: Originally Published in 2007

HUBRIS

 Now, tell me, again, what did our President say

as he ended his review of the war in Afghanistan?

 

Did our President say, “I am going to finish the job.”?

I am going to finish the job.” just “I” as in “I, the decider”?

just “I,” not “we,” not “our brave soldiers,” not “our allies,” not “the congress”?

I am going to finish the job.” Did our President say that?

 

Tell me, again, what did our President say?

Did he say, “I am going to finish the job.”

finish” as in “to successfully complete,” “finish” as in “to accomplish”?

finish,” as in “to win,” not “to re-think,” not “to change direction,” not “to bring to an end”?

“I am going to finish the job.” Did our President say that?

 

Tell me, again, what did our President say?

Did he say, “I am going to finish the job“?

the job” as in “a definite piece of work,” “the job” as in a “certain mission”?

the job” as in “the bombing, the killing, the dying,”?

the job” as in “that which we began eight years ago”?

the job” as in his “war of necessity”?

“I am going to finish the job.” Did our President say that?

 

Tell me again, what did our President, Barack Obama, say

as he ended his review of the mess in Afghanistan?

 

“I am going to finish the job.”

 

*hubris, as in “arrogance resulting from excessive pride which goes before the fall”

 

By Mary O’Leary McGlinn Datwyler

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09 Nov

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analys

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

The Age>>

The Observer>>

View All>>

The week in wildlife – in pictures

 

Activists of all ages join actor in Washington for her fifth ‘Fire Drill Friday’, focused on the military

Jane Fonda (center, in red) leads hundreds of people in a march from the US Capitol to the White House.

Jane Fonda (center, in red) leads hundreds of people in a march from the US Capitol to the White House. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Hundreds of protesters joined the celebrity activist Jane Fonda in Washington DC for her fifth Friday urging radical change to fight the climate crisis.

In front of the US Capitol, Fonda spoke of the “urgency of the climate crisis and need for activism on an unprecedented scale”.

“We cannot leave it to young people to fight this fight for their future by themselves,” Fonda said.

Donning her signature vivid red coat – which she says will be the last she will ever buy, in an effort to be more sustainable – she swayed and sang protest songs while embracing an anti-war activist, Jodie Evans, the co-founder of Code Pink.

Fonda, 81, has been leading protests at her “Fire Drill Fridays” for more than a month, and she has been arrested four times. Her climate action has followed the work of youth protesters around the world who have been striking from school on Fridays, including the 16-year-old Swedish climate advocate Greta Thunberg.

Fonda had not been arrested as of 3pm ET on Friday, but she is scheduled to appear in court over previous arrests later this month.

This week’s protest theme was about how the war and military contribute to the climate crisis. The US military is one of the biggest emitters of carbon in the world.

“I started in the streets with Jane in 1970, 49 years ago. And I’ve never ever seen her lose her passion or energy. Nobody works like Jane. She does put her body on the line and she is not afraid to be uncomfortable,” Evans said.

Fonda is a longtime political activist with roots opposing the Vietnam war. She gained the nickname “Hanoi Jane” in the 1970s when she was photographed atop a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun on a visit to Hanoi. A conservative counter-protester, walking alone alongside those who marched with Fonda to the White House, shouted “four more years, Hanoi Jane,” at the group.

A large contingent of activists urging the impeachment of Donald Trump also joined the march, as did veterans of the Vietnam war.

At one streetcorner, the Fonda protest encountered a separate group marching in support of undocumented migrants who arrived in the US as children, known as Dreamers. The two crowds sang each others’ chants.

Fonda’s protest attracted teenagers and seniors alike. Two first-year college students said they had been introduced to Fonda through her Netflix show, Grace and Frankie, and were drawn to her climate message.

“When you read climate studies and see Greta Thunberg and all of these other young activists at work, and then you see someone older also making an effort to try to do something about climate change, it just kind of compels you. You need to be there. You need to have your voice heard,” said one of the students, TJ Boland.

But many of the protesters were at the march for more than the climate. They expressed frustration with a system of governance that they see as exploiting the poor and people of color in order to benefit the wealthy and corporations at the expense of the environment.

Julie Heffernan and Anne Landsman, two friends in their early 60s, traveled from New York City for the protest.

“I’ve been very angry ever since Trump was elected about the fact that we have somebody who is lacking in every quality that I consider as important for a leader, starting off with just basic decency. He’s a misogynist, he’s a racist, he is just everything I despise,” said Landsman, who came to the US from South Africa during apartheid.

“The thought that I’d emigrated and moved to a country that I thought was some bastion of decency and just see it just take this dive down has been incredibly upsetting.”

Ruth Zalph, 89, who traveled from North Carolina, was protesting against the climate crisis and militarism. She said if money was spent on the “military industrial complex”, it could not be spent on ending poverty and fighting rising temperatures.

“I have a great-granddaughter who is six months old, and I’d like to see her grow up in a safe world where people are not having to fight for water and food,” Zalph said at the beginning of a roughly two-mile march to the White House.

World Politics

United States

‘I would love to go’: Trump considers Putin invite to Russia – video

Source: Reuters

The McGlynn: This man? is not only a fool but more important is that he is a traitor!

Donald Trump has said he is considering attending a Russian military parade in May, claiming he has been invited by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. The US president spoke to reporters on the White House lawn, where he also talked about Michael Bloomberg entering the Democratic primary. ‘He’s not going to do well, but I think he’s going to hurt Biden actually … There’s nobody I’d rather run against than little Michael,’ he said

Mulvaney tests House subpoena power as Republicans push for Hunter Biden>>

Sessions ‘hostage tape’ 2020 ad lauds Trump, the man who humiliated him>>

 

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06 Nov

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

The Age>>

The Observer>>

View All>>

As a member of the Patriotic Millionaires organization I’ve seen how our system perpetuates gross inequality but now I’m a proud ‘traitor to our class’

People look at yachts moored at the Hercules Port in Monaco.

People look at yachts moored at the Hercules Port in Monaco. Photograph: Valéry Hache/AFP/Getty Images

If Donald Trump really wants to make America great again, he’d do what our country did when it was at the height of its economic stability and equality: increase the top income tax rate to 90%.

Instead, what we have now is a tax system put into place for present-day robber barons – one that enables the interests of a small number of powerful industries to dominate national policy, for the benefit of only themselves and to the detriment of working people.

Under the current revenue system, companies such as Facebook and Exxon pay a lower rate on their 20 billionth dollar of profit (21%) than the top rate that dental assistants, sales workers, mechanics, telephone operators, painters and postal clerks pay on their average annual wage of $39,400 (22%).

Thanks to Trump and his 2017 tax bill, income inequality has now reached its highest level since the US Census Bureau first began to tabulate it 50 years ago.

As a successful entrepreneur and founder of Men’s Wearhouse, I’ve seen how tax breaks for corporations and the rich perpetuate income inequality.

Last year, the country’s “Gini” index, which measures the nation’s income distribution, reached its highest reading ever. In our modern-day Gilded Age, more of the nation’s wealth is going to fewer people.

If the trend was a half-century in the making, the Trump tax bill that slashed corporate tax rates has fueled it to an extreme. It calls into question the very sustainability of capitalism, with ramifications for everything from climate change to racial justice to who has a true economic stake in our nation.

Philanthropy alone won’t cut it. Advocacy is in order

In 2010, I joined an organization called the Patriotic Millionaires. We believe that those of us who benefit the most from our capitalist system must ensure that it also works for our employees, our customers, our communities – in short, all of the nation’s stakeholders, not just our shareholders.

As “traitors to our class” – as we proudly call ourselves – we must press lawmakers at every level of discussion to revitalize the union movement, to increase the national minimum wage to $15 an hour, and to restore the working middle class that rose to prominence in America when our tax system was at its equitable best.

In order to do that, we need to bring back a fair and progressive tax code – one in which our nation’s wealthiest pay for investments in infrastructure, clean energy, public transit, early childhood education, re-entry programs for the formerly incarcerated and federal support for affordable housing.

That’s why the Patriotic Millionaires are hosting a Tax the Rich! conference in November. We’re meeting at the ground zero of 21st-century inequality – San Francisco – to challenge our wealthy peers to fight for a fairer tax code.

We’ll be joined by Robert Reich, Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez, three University of California, Berkeley economists whose research has shifted the way we look at taxation and inequality, as well as an array of other thinkers, activists and elected leaders.

By discussing how to address inequality, we can provide for a truly great American future. We can debate the numbers, the rates, the programs. But when it comes to recreating American greatness, the ones who extract the greatest share of the national wealth must be the ones who pay the most to restore it.

  • George Zimmer is the founder and former CEO of Men’s Wearhouse, and the founder, CEO and chairman of Generation Tux

The draconian ban on XR protests has rightly been ruled unlawful, but we need more than judges to fight the climate crisis

Extinction Rebellion protesters outside the Ministry of Justice in Westminster, London.

Extinction Rebellion protesters outside the Ministry of Justice in Westminster, London. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

This morning the high court ruled that the Metropolitan police acted unlawfully when it introduced an unprecedented, London-wide ban on Extinction Rebellion protests last month. Imposed late in the evening of Monday 14 October, the move involved an application of the Public Order Act so draconian that it would usually require the home secretary’s sign-off.

The judgment invalidating that ban is clearly a victory for democratic process and the rule of law. The court agreed with our lawyers that the police had unlawfully overstepped the limits of their powers in a way that disproportionately curtailed the right to protest, and that while the police could impose conditions on protest gatherings, they could not prohibit them from happening altogether.

The government’s attitude to climate protest reflects its wider approach to legislating for the protection of the planet

It is also a victory for those seeking to draw attention to what scientists have been telling us for decades: that the planet is warming, we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, we are responsible – and there is a limited amount of time to do something about it.

The ban was not aimed at activists who mounted planes and trains, or stopped vehicles during the two-week International Rebellion in October. Those actions were likely illegal regardless of this ban, and taken with the intention of being arrested in a desperate attempt to jolt politicians out of their inertia.

Instead the ban sought to criminalise anyone who wished to assemble under the banner of Extinction Rebellion in any way. A pair of picnickers or a few school children traipsing around their local park wearing XR insignia would have been guilty of a criminal offence and at risk of arrest. Indeed, we estimate that more than 300 people were detained using these powers.

In the short term, this judgment sets a legal precedent that reaffirms the right to protest and invalidates the arrests of those detained under the ban, many of whom will have claims for compensation from the police for their wrongful arrest and detention.

But in the longer term, it offers little solace. While the law has dug us out of this particular hole, nitpicking through the courts won’t be enough to forestall the climate and ecological emergency.

The government’s attitude to climate protest reflects its wider approach to legislating for the protection of the planet. Just as it has sought to dodge the difficult decisions and hide behind the police to unlawfully ban Extinction Rebellion’s protests, the government continues to dodge the trade-offs that are required to fight the climate crisis, hiding instead behind targets that lie six full parliaments away – as far off in the future as the Berlin Wall is in the past.

Rather than shirking responsibilities until it ends up in court, the government needs to confront those trade-offs now to interrupt catastrophe. The emergency we face requires system change, not incremental tinkering with the status quo.

Police clear and arrest protesters from Trafalgar Square in October 2019.

Police clear and arrest protesters from Trafalgar Square in October 2019. Photograph: Steve Parkins/Rex Features

But a government that suspends fracking in the same week as it approves a new coalmine in Cumbria is clearly not interested in structural transformation. You need not take this from me – the government’s own Committee on Climate Change concluded this summer that: “UK action to curb greenhouse gas emissions is lagging far behind what is needed, even to meet previous, less stringent, emissions targets. Over the past year, the government has delivered just one of 25 critical policies needed to get emissions reductions back on track.”

Non-violent peaceful protest is the last resort of people desperate to divert the trajectory of a system in which inequality rises with the oceans, which ignores the science and the scientists (11,000 of whom warned yesterday that we’re heading for “untold suffering due to the climate crisis”), and turns the mantra “keep calm and carry on” into a suicide note.

The truth is that change is coming whatever we do. Our choice is what kind of transformation we want.

We can choose a transformation that heeds the science, listens to citizens but levels with them too, shoulders our responsibilities to current and future generations and promises an improvement in our collective wellbeing.

Or we can scrap for a few more years in the lingering twilight of business-as-usual – in which up to a million animal and plant species will become extinct – before descending swiftly into a politics of ecofascism forged in the crucible of scarce resources, droughts, floods, climate wars and forced migration.

Against that kind of politics the courts that protected our rights today will not be able to defend us.

It’s not too late for us to choose. In five weeks an election will decide who’s in power for half of the decade the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tells us we have left to limit climate catastrophe. The question all of us should be asking every parliamentary candidate between now and then is: where is your plan?

Tobias Garnett is a human rights lawyer and coordinator of Extinction Rebellion’s legal strategy team

World Politics

United States

Kentucky governor race: Democrat Andy Beshear declares victory – video

The Democratic challenger Andy Beshear has declared victory in the Kentucky governor’s race, but the Republican incumbent Matt Bevin has refused to concede, citing unspecified ‘irregularities’. In a speech in Lexington on Monday night, Donald Trump – who won Kentucky by 30 percentage points in 2016 – told voters they needed to re-elect Bevin, or else pundits would say the president ‘suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world’

Democrat claims victory as Kentucky governor’s race remains tight>>

Incumbent Kentucky governor Matt Bevin refuses to concede defeat to Democratic rival – video>>

Woman who gave Trump the finger elected in Virginia>>

US briefing: Sondland backtracks, Democrat wins and Boeing’s woes>>

No 3 official at state department to defend failure to protect Ukraine envoy>>

Trump’s EU envoy admits Ukraine quid pro quo in updated testimony>>

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