Monday, January 20, 2020

Henry A. Giroux on the radical meaning of fighting for a truly democratic politics of impeachment and the stark necessity of putting both political parties and the capitalist system on trial…/the-battle-to-impeach-trump-is-part-…

Politics & Elections

The Battle to Impeach Trump Is Part of a Global Struggle for Democracy
by Henry A. Giroux
January 19, 2020

[Part of the Series: The Public Intellectual]

The impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump — with their abundance of political theater and insipid media coverage — often treat Trump’s crimes as the endpoint of an abuse of power and an illegal act. This is a grave mistake: We must understand Trump’s crimes not as an endpoint but as symptoms of a long history of conditions that have led to the United States’ slide into the abyss of authoritarianism.

Trump’s impeachment battle is part of the wider historical and global struggle taking place over democracy. This is apparent, as Larry Diamond points out, in Trump’s attack on “the independence of the courts, the business community, the media, civil society, universities and sensitive state institutions like the civil service, the intelligence agencies and the police.”

Trump’s crimes far exceed what is stated in the impeachment documents and include not only lies, threats and flirtation with extralegal violence, but also his attack on the press as the “enemy of the people” and his use of Twitter to spew relentless hatred at his critics and people of color. Ralph Nader argues that Trump’s most distinguishing impeachable offenses reside in his “abuses of the public trust,” which range from his lying and falsifications (over 15,000 lies since January 21, 2017) to his “endless racism and bigotry in words and deeds,” his support for voter suppression, and his “incitement of violence on more than one occasion.”

According to Nader, not only has Trump shredded and violated the Constitution, undermined its critical separation of power, and “illegally ordered his staff or ex-staff to ignore Congressional subpoenas to testify and provide documents,” but he has also ignored Congress’s right to declare war by inciting an unlawful crisis with Iran.

There is a lesson to be learned here regarding how history is reproduced in the present. Trump’s killing of a high-ranking Iranian general “based on thin evidence with an eye towards domestic politics” mimics, if not recalls, an older period in history when Hitler, following the crisis produced by the Reichstag fire, seized upon the ensuing fear, terror and war fever to further consolidate his power.

For Trump, pushing the United States to the edge of war through a military strike not only draws attention away from the impeachment process and his ongoing crimes and misdeeds, but suggests, as Elizabeth Warren points out, that he will do “whatever he can to advance the interests of Donald Trump.” Trump’s war fever is also a self-serving fascistic affirmation of his toxic hyper-masculinity and his admiration for military power and authoritarian displays generally associated with demagogues who use such displays as a tool to produce respect among their followers.

The Language of Violence in the Age of the Spectacle

Undoubtedly, there have been serious political debates regarding the impeachment of Trump, but they have not gone far enough. The debates have focused mostly on issues such as the inadequacy of the Democrats’ efforts to impeach, arguments regarding whether the impeachment charges go far enough, and the more favorable view that the impeachment process, however limited, is necessary to stop Trump from using the resources of the government to influence other governments to interfere in U.S. elections for his own personal and political gains.

Trump’s crimes far exceed what is stated in the impeachment documents.

There are also more extreme views largely coming from Trump and his supporters. Some have argued that the impeachment process is pure theater — a staged theatrical hoax. Others, such as Senators Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell, have claimed that the process is an attempt on the part of the Democrats to win favor in the 2020 elections. Trump himself has angrily dismissed the impeachment process as corrupt, and claimed, among other things, that he is the victim of a socialist plot.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to produce a well-worn pattern of threats against his critics. He and his allies frequently respond to congressional Democrats involved in the hearing by weaponizing language, turning it into a vehicle of threats and intimidation. For instance, he has stated that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff “should be arrested for treason.” In addition, Trump suggested that Schiff should be “be violently punished” in a manner of justice displayed by dictatorships such as Guatemala.

Jean Spanbauer, a Trump supporter, mused online that “Shifty Shiff (sic) needs to be hung. There is more at work here than the indiscriminate insult or infantile mocking. Language, in this instance, operates in the interest of violence, functioning so as to divert and punish. According to Victor Klemperer, an expert on Nazi Germany, this type of language has a precedent in the Third Reich in which it operated “as part of a linguistic malignant disease designed to spread the poison of mass seduction [and] destroy the intellect which defies it.” As Washington Post reporter Ishaan Tharoor observes, the use of such volatile and dehumanizing language in the current moment is not innocent and often leads to violence. He writes:

There are immediate consequences to such demagoguery, not least in the form of far-right terrorist attacks and violence carried out by people inflamed by this sort of rhetoric. But there’s also a long-term toll, one that’s more imperceptible, yet no less corrosive, to the body politic. It’s the kind of erosion on display in places such as Hungary, Poland and Turkey, where majoritarian, nationalist politicians have steadily undermined democratic institutions and the liberal norms they’re supposed to uphold.

Political Theater in the Age of Relentless Lies

Within the current crop of competing discourses analyzing the impeachment, the Democrats present themselves as the “last line of defense between constitutional democracy and tyranny” while Republicans repeat conspiracy theories and accuse the Democrats of producing a show trial whose purpose is the ultimate reversal of Trump’s 2016 election to the presidency. The Republicans have been particularly egregious and have used the hearings to badger witnesses, and showcase their “emotive hand-wringing, faux exasperation and yelling,” all the while making outlandish claims that turn the hearings into a “propaganda circus.”

In some cases, more insightful commentary has been produced such as comments from legendary journalist Bill Moyers, who views the impeachment hearings as a potential site for a lesson in civic education. For Moyers, the value of the impeachment proceedings lie in that making visible “things you would never know otherwise.” Bringing the concept of civic education to understanding the impeachment process is crucial, but what people learn from such events is limited by what is actually revealed both within and outside of the hearings. In this case, Trump’s impeachment process in the House was reduced to a political spectacle and served to undermine reason and informed judgment while promoting a steady stream of the performative diversions produced through a regimen of ignorance, self-serving lies and the triumph of illusion.

Unfortunately, the mainstream 24/7 news cycle, with its relentless torrent of dramatic sound bites, did its best to turn the House impeachment hearings into political theater by largely focusing on the political risks Democrats faced by conducting the hearings. In addition, mainstream media mostly adhered to the empty tactic of providing “balance” without trying to tell the truth about a president that enacts cruelty as an act of “patriotism,” justifies oppression in the name of national security, views undocumented immigrants as disposable, allows elections to be bought by the highest bidder, demonizes and threatens critics, and regards truth as a liability. What does balance posited by the mainstream media mean when Republicans in both the House and Senate have attempted to indict the impeachment process rather than listen to the evidence and issues at hand and presented arguments that appeared to come from Trump’s Twitter feed? It means that the media functions largely as a disimagination machine operating in the same world of denial and misinformation as the politicians. This isn’t journalism but a form of political theater concerned less about the truth than about increasing audience ratings. Under such circumstances, everything becomes a spectacle and politics is treated as entertainment. Certainly this is true from politicians such as Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, who suggested that the witnesses who appeared before the House Intelligence Committee were actors who had learned their scripts while rehearsing for what he called “the Democrats’ star chamber auditions, held … in the basement of the capital.”

Beyond the Two-Party System

What is missing from mainstream and conservative discussions regarding Trump’s impeachment is that both Democrats and Republicans share an unwillingness to address a range of social and political issues that brought Trump to power. These include illegal wars, state-sanctioned torture, the creation of black sites, economic policies that promote massive inequality and mass incarceration, an attack on public goods and racist policies that undermine democracy itself.

Impeachment should become a call to arms for a massive protest movement that moves beyond the ritual of trying Trump for an abuse of power.

Both parties in different ways claim they are protecting the Constitution, whether in the service of defending Trump or attempting to remove him from office. Both parties have aided and abetted in different degrees elements associated with a totalitarian state — these include political corruption, unwarranted state surveillance, support for a bloated military machine, the rise of white nationalism, the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a ruling elite, increased support for policies that promote the concentration of the media in few hands, and a willingness to corroborate with a government that is controlled by narrow financial interests. All of these issues are largely absent from the questions and issues raised around the impeachment process and the conditions that made it necessary.

Democracy may be in crisis, but there is little or no indication from the media, ruling elite or established politicians that the impeachment crisis is more than a free-standing event. We need to push back against this erasure of history and analyze Trump’s crimes within a more comprehensive politics that exposes the mobilizing passions of the fascist politics that has led to the Trump presidency and its rein of corruption, lawlessness and abuse of power.

What must be rejected is the notion that the impeachment process signals a crisis rooted in a power struggle between the two established political parties, one of which is at the forefront of the resistance to the growing authoritarianism accelerated by the Trump regime. While there are significant political and ideological differences between both parties — especially given the fact that the Republican Party has been taken over by ideological extremists — discussions focused on these differences fail to address the ideological and economic foundations of a toxic neoliberal capitalism that has become increasingly more dangerous at home and abroad. A discussion of these foundations would need to acknowledge that both parties are involved in defending existing power structures and the most basic rudiments of the corporate and surveillance state.

A Party of Right-Wing Extremists

While the Republican Party and Democratic Party share a fundamental commitment to the ideology and institutional structures of neoliberal capitalism, the Republican Party is far more extreme in its attacks on the U.S. press, judiciary, labor unions and protesters, as well as in its support for reversing environmental protection laws. Moreover, as Paul Krugman has argued, the Republican Party under Trump has become “a party of sycophants” that ignores Trump’s use of his office for personal gain; and who, like a cult, compares its leader to Jesus Christ. Ken Burns, the acclaimed filmmaker, columnist George Will, and New York Times opinion writer Paul Krugman (among others) have labeled Trump’s loyal party followers Vichy Republicans, referring to the war-era collaborationist Vichy government of France — run by cowardly French sympathizers and appeasers who gave their faithful loyalty to their Nazi German occupiers.

The Republican Party’s claim to stand for small government, fiscal soundness and national security is now palpably untrue. Instead, its most paranoid and racist elements now control the party. The Republican Party’s move to the right intensified in the 1990s under the influence of Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove, and later with the rise of Sarah Palin and the defeat of the centrist Mitt Romney in 2012.

Today, the Republican Party almost unilaterally has become a party of white supremacists, blood and soil nationalists, and political corruption, activating white panic, supporting voter suppression and defining citizenship in racial terms. The GOP openly supports race-baiting and dangerous foreign policy strategies, regardless of the excesses and ongoing assault on the country’s democratic institutions. This includes a racist campaign strategy, caging children, brutal attacks on undocumented immigrants, devaluing critics by calling them “treasonous,” slashing social provisions such as food stamps, a potential war with Iran and Trump’s serial lying. Acquiescence to Trump has become a defining feature of the Republican Party, in spite of his celebration of demagogues such as Kim Jong Un, whom he called a “real leader,” and overtly fascists leaders such as Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines.

Paul Krugman makes it clear that there are also the foreboding clouds of authoritarianism which extend far beyond the political career of Donald Trump. Krugman writes: “For whatever may happen to Donald Trump, his party has turned its back on democracy. And that should terrify you. The fact is that the G.O.P., as currently constituted, is willing to do whatever it takes to seize and hold power.” The impeachment hearings further reinforce an image of a party that, in the face of egregious crimes by the president, either remain silent or overtly support him in a show of ideological certainty, or what Robert Jay Lifton calls an act of “absolute purification” and a cult-like totalizing vision that reproduces a politics of “malignant normality.”

Democrats: A Party of the Financial Elite and War

Neither political party offers a substantive challenge to the military-industrial complex, or views capitalism as the enemy of democracy, if not the planet itself. In different ways, both parties have hollowed out democratic institutions and cozied up to dictators. In addition, neither party historically used the impeachment process to indict George W. Bush for launching an illegal war in Iraq – or, for that matter, George W. Bush for illegally kidnapping, jailing and torturing what he indiscriminately labeled as “enemy combatants.” Nor was Obama charged with a war crime when he “gave the executive branch of the government the right to act as judge, jury and executioner in assassinating U. S. citizens.” There is more at work here than acts of bad faith; there is also a thread of moral hypocrisy and a flight from social responsibility on the part of both parties.

One indication of a collusion between both parties is obvious in the fact that as the Democrats were railing against Trump’s abuse of power, they approved the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, which are deeply reactionary laws that attack individual privacy and civil liberties, while criminalizing protest in the interest of “national security.” Moreover, they have given Trump $1.4 billion for his border wall, and supported a $738 billion bloated military budget. This is a party defined by a sordid ruling class politics, an imperial foreign policy and a culture of war.

The politics of impeachment should be a rallying cry to put on trial both the Republican and Democratic Parties and the naked brutality of the political and economic system they have supported since the 1970s. That is, impeachment should become a call to arms for a massive protest movement that moves beyond the ritual of trying Trump for an abuse of power. Instead, impeachment should become a call to battle to put on trial the capitalist system while fighting for structural and ideological reforms that will usher in a radical and socialist democracy worthy of the struggle.


Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and is the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy. His most recent books include: Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (Haymarket 2014), The Violence of Organized Forgetting (City Lights 2014), Dangerous Thinking in the Age of the New Authoritarianism (Routledge, 2015), America’s Addiction to Terrorism (Monthly Review Press, 2016), America at War with Itself (City Lights, 2017), The Public in Peril (Routledge, 2018) and American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism (City Lights, 2018) and The Terror of the Unforeseen (LARB Books, 2019). Giroux is also a member of Truthout’s Board of Directors.

PHOTO: President Trump boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, November 6, 2019.  Joyce N. Boghosian / Official White House Photo

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Doctrine and Practice Of White Supremacy Remains the Fundamental and Foundational Template Of U.S. Politics and Culture In the Neofascist Age of Trumpian/Republican MisRule


Never and I mean absolutely never underestimate the bottomless pit of cruelty, envy, resentment, hatred, paranoia, stupidity, jealousy, idiocy, and misantrophy informing the raging sociopathic levels of bawling crybaby grievance fueled victimhood imposed by a dyed in the wool white supremacist society, culture, government, nation etc. This sort of braindead moronic behavior is all too typical of a deeply demagogic and deadly massive national rightwing zombie cult led by the most backward and reactionary political and cultural force in all of North America (i.e. the Republican Party) and the utterly criminal and corrupt neofascist regime led by a borderline psychopath who calls itself "The President" of these United Hates. Remember: 63 million American zombies actually voted for this gangster cult leader a mere 3 years ago and 91% of them were (and are) white Americans whether people “really wanna believe it or not." Stay tuned because the clear and present empirical and existential danger that we all justly despise and fear is gonna continue its vile and destructive ways from the present impeachment trial to the 2020 elections in November. Trust me: It's only going to get far uglier and more deadly from here on out...


Trump Targets Michelle Obama’s School Nutrition Guidelines on Her Birthday

The Agriculture Department proposed a rule that would further unravel nutrition standards set by Mrs. Obama when she was first lady.

by Lola Fadulu
January 17, 2020
New York Times

PHOTO: The proposal weakens requirements that providers offer a variety of vegetables.Credit...Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration moved on Friday to roll back school nutrition standards championed by Michelle Obama, an effort long sought by food manufacturers and some school districts that have chafed at the cost of Mrs. Obama’s prescriptions for fresh fruit and vegetables.

The proposed rule by the Agriculture Department, coming on the former first lady’s birthday, would give schools more latitude to decide how much fruit to offer during breakfast and what types of vegetables to include in meals. It would also broaden what counts as a snack.

A spokeswoman for the department said that it had not intended to roll out the proposed rule on Mrs. Obama’s birthday, although some Democratic aides on Capitol Hill had their doubts. Food companies applauded the proposal, while nutritionists condemned it, predicting that starchy foods like potatoes would replace green vegetables and that fattening foods like hamburgers would be served daily as “snacks.”

“Schools and school districts continue to tell us that there is still too much food waste and that more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals,” Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, said in a statement. “We listened and now we’re getting to work.”

Combating childhood obesity was Mrs. Obama’s signature issue, a rallying cry for her supporters and a lightning rod for conservative critics who saw it as epitomizing the liberal “nanny state” of the Obama era.

Mrs. Obama pressed to update federal nutrition standards and to bring healthier foods to schools. She planted the White House kitchen garden on the South Lawn — the first real garden since Eleanor Roosevelt’s World War II “Victory Garden” — and invited students to sow and harvest it each year. And she created the first Task Force on Childhood Obesity and developed the “Let’s Move!” campaign that aimed to get children to engage in 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

Mrs. Obama’s work “improved the diets of millions of children, especially vulnerable children in food insecure households,” said Juliana Cohen, a nutrition professor at Harvard University’s School of Public Health. More students are eating vegetables and whole grain-rich foods because of the former first lady.

“Food waste was a problem before the healthier standards were enacted, so rolling them back won’t solve that problem,” Ms. Cohen said. “It’s just that more people are paying attention to the issue now.”

With nearly 14 million American children, or about 19 percent, considered obese, few doubted Mrs. Obama’s intentions. And with more than 30 million children participating in the National School Lunch Program, school meals were a powerful way to target poor diets. Of that total, 22 million children are from low-income families.

But the cost and prescriptions of her policies had detractors from the beginning: beef-and-potato state lawmakers, libertarians and camera-ready conservatives like Sarah Palin, who showed up to events carrying cookies and accused Mrs. Obama of robbing children of dessert.

“The school breakfast and lunch programs have been riddled with waste for a long time, plate waste being one, and that turns into financial waste,” said Jonathan Butcher, a senior policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“Clearly, no one wants kids to be served unhealthy foods,” he added, but if nutrition requirements lead to children throwing away the food offered, the standards are pointless.

The Agriculture Department said the changes reflected requests made over the past two years by those at schools who serve meals to children and teenagers. The department plans to release a regulatory analysis and to open the public comment period on Jan. 21.

The proposal is the department’s second attempt to roll back nutrition standards promoted by Mrs. Obama through the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which required schools to serve children fruits and vegetables every day and to offer more whole grain-rich foods and fat-free or low-fat milk. It also required school meal providers to limit calories and reduce saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.

The department finalized a rule in December 2018 that gave school meal providers permission to serve flavored low-fat milk in the National School Lunch Program and school breakfast program. That rule stipulated that only half of the weekly grains must be whole grain-rich, not the 100 percent target of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, and it gave providers more time to reduce sodium in meals.

Attorneys general from six states and the District of Columbia and the Center for Science in the Public Interest have sued the department over the December 2018 rule, arguing that the rule puts millions of children at greater risk of health issues.

Friday’s proposal goes further. It allows schools to adjust fruit servings during breakfast, to reduce waste, it said, and to make room for “meats and meat alternates.” Under current regulation, providers must offer one cup of fruit during breakfast for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

The new rule would also relax current vegetable requirements, which say providers must offer a variety of vegetables, like leafy greens and starchy foods. A department official said the goal was to give more flexibility, not change the amount of vegetables offered.

The proposal would also allow schools to offer lunch entrees for à la carte purchase, to reduce waste.

Child nutritionists said the proposed rule could lead to school meal providers turning away from healthy foods, instead of coming up with ways to make that food more appealing. More flexibility on the types of vegetables offered could lead to meals dominated by starchy foods, like potatoes, which are cheaper than green vegetables.

The National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity said allowing à la carte purchases could create a “giant junk food loophole.” It could also lead to children frequently turning to meals that are meant to be eaten once a week, like hamburgers.

“With one in three of our kids on track to have diabetes, it’s unconscionable that the Trump administration would do the bidding of the potato and junk food industries,” said Sam Kass, who served as the executive director of the Let’s Move! campaign.

Democrats reacted furiously. Representative Ayanna S. Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts, said on Twitter that “The Occupant is trying to play petty with the food our babies eat. Add it to the list affirming that the cruelty is the point with this White House.”

Representative Robert C. Scott of Virginia, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said, “For many children, the food they eat at school is their only access to healthy, nutritious meals.”

The Trump administration, he added, was putting “special interests above the long-term health and development of America’s students.”

Those interests applauded, including the School Nutrition Association, which represents cafeteria workers and the food companies that provide schools with food.

“Updated nutrition standards for school meals have been a tremendous success over all, but a few of the requirements contributed to reduced lunch participation, higher costs and food waste,” Gay Anderson, the president of the association, said in a statement.

This rule is one of two that the Agriculture Department plans to propose next week. The other rule would give meal providers more flexibility under the summer meal programs.


Lola Fadulu is a reporter in the Washington bureau. @lfadulu

A version of this article appears in print on Jan. 18, 2020, Section A, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: U.S.D.A. Tries To Relax Rules On School Food. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper

PHOTO: The proposal weakens requirements that providers offer a variety of vegetables. Credit: Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

Thursday, January 16, 2020


Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy
by David Zucchino
Atlantic Monthly Press, 2020

[Publication date: January 7, 2020]

From Pulitzer Prize-winner David Zucchino comes a searing account of the Wilmington riot and coup of 1898, an extraordinary event unknown to most Americans

By the 1890s, Wilmington was North Carolina’s largest city and a shining example of a mixed-race community. It was a bustling port city with a burgeoning African American middle class and a Fusionist government of Republicans and Populists that included black aldermen, police officers and magistrates. There were successful black-owned businesses and an African American newspaper, The Record. But across the state—and the South—white supremacist Democrats were working to reverse the advances made by former slaves and their progeny.

In 1898, in response to a speech calling for white men to rise to the defense of Southern womanhood against the supposed threat of black predators, Alexander Manly, the outspoken young Record editor, wrote that some relationships between black men and white women were consensual. His editorial ignited outrage across the South, with calls to lynch Manly.


"Usually, when we read history, we at least have a cursory knowledge of the subject at hand. Sometimes, however, a book comes along that just surprises. How did we not know about this before? we ask ourselves. Wilmington’s Lie is such a book. After the Civil War, Wilmington, North Carolina prospered. It was the state’s largest city, with a busy port and a mixed race community that featured a burgeoning black middle class. But in 1898, a group of white supremacists decided to do something to turn back the page. David Zucchino’s well-researched book delivers an account of one of the few times a group of people has violently overthrown the government in this country. Although the violence that swept over Wilmington’s black community was later covered up as “a race riot,” this was a blatant act of racism, a brutal stab for power. We did not have to wait long for the first great history book of the new decade. —Chris Schluep

Praise for Wilmington's Lie:
“Brilliant…Zucchino, a contributing writer for the New York Times, does not overwrite the scenes. His moral judgement stands at a distance. He simply describes what happened and the lies told to justify it all…The details contained in the last part of the book are heart-wrenching. With economy and a cinematic touch, Zucchino recounts the brutal assault on black Wilmington.”―New York Times
“This is an amazing story.”―Dave Davies, NPR’s Fresh Air
“David Zucchino offers a gripping account of one of the most disturbing, though virtually unknown, political events in American history…Thanks to Mr. Zucchino’s unflinching account, we now have the full, appalling story. As befits a serious journalist, he avoids polemics and lets events speak for themselves. Wilmington’s Lie joins a growing shelf of works that unpeel the brutal realities of the post-Civil War South…it is books such as these, not least Wilmington’s Lie, that have redeemed the truth of post-Civil War history from the tenacious mythology of racism.”―Wall Street Journal
“Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Zucchino cuts through a century of propaganda, myth, and big white lies to unmask the stunning history of the Wilmington coup, its origins in the political climate of the era, and its far-reaching implications for North Carolina and the rest of the resurgent Confederacy in the decades that followed.”―New York Journal of Books
“Wilmington’s Lie is a riveting and mesmerizing page turner, with lessons about racial violence that echo loudly today.”―BookPage
“Usually, when we read history, we at least have a cursory knowledge of the subject at hand. Sometimes, however, a book comes along that just surprises. How did we not know about this before? we ask ourselves. Wilmington’s Lie is such a book…We did not have to wait long for the first great history book of the new decade.” ―Chris Schluep,
“Pierces layers of myth and invented history . . . Wilmington's Lie reconstructs the only violent overthrow of an elected government in U.S. history, tying the white supremacist bloodshed to political goals that are still relevant today.”―Shelf Awareness
“Extremely compelling and convincing...Even astute readers of history and civil rights will be alarmed by this story, which is why it should be read. For fans of American history, politics, and civil rights.”―Library Journal
“Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Zucchino delivers a searing chronicle of the November 1898 white supremacist uprising in Wilmington, N.C., that overthrew the municipal government…Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, Zucchino paints a disturbing portrait of the massacre and how it was covered up by being described as a “race riot” sparked by African-Americans. This masterful account reveals a shameful chapter in American history.”―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Zucchino shines his reporter's spotlight on what he aptly calls a murderous coup as well as exploring its background and longterm consequences…The result is both a page-turner and a sobering reminder of democracy's fragility.”―Booklist
“A searing and still-relevant tale of racial injustice at the turn of the 20th century… A book that does history a service by uncovering a shameful episode, one that resonates strongly today.”―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“One of the great journalists of our time has placed his discerning eye on the steaming cauldron of our shared racial history. The result is this extraordinary book written with the superb quality and journalistic excellence that is Zucchino’s trademark.” ―James McBride, National Book Award–winning author of The Good Lord Bird
“David Zucchino is one of the finest foreign correspondents I have ever worked with in 40 years of journalism. Now imagine you take someone with David’s reporting skills and transport him back in history to 1898 and Wilmington, North Carolina. And you tell him to tell us the story of the only violent overthrow of an elected government in American history. It was perpetrated by white supremacists seeking to reverse the remarkable advances in racial pluralism in Wilmington of that day―a positive example that was primed to spread throughout the state, and beyond. What you end up with is a gripping, cannot-put-down book that is both history and a distant mirror on just how much can go wrong in this great country of ours when populist politicians play the race card without restraint.”―Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times columnist
“A staggeringly great book, both thrilling and tragic, shining light on a dark passage of American history." ―Tim Weiner, National Book Award–winning author of Legacy of Ashes
“Wilmington’s Lie is riveting and meticulously reported and powerfully written. It is also scalding and revelatory. As David Zucchino shows with relentless drama, the end of the Civil War was not the end of slavery but the beginning of a period more terrifying, the unchecked rise of white supremacy that culminated in a day of unparalleled blood in a North Carolina coastal town. It is a forgotten chapter in American history. Zucchino has now made it an unforgettable one.” ―Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights


David Zucchino is a contributing writer for The New York Times. He has covered wars and civil conflicts in more than three dozen countries. Zucchino was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his dispatches from apartheid South Africa and is a four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist for his reporting from Iraq, Lebanon, Africa, and inner-city Philadelphia. He is the author of Thunder Run and Myth of the Welfare Queen.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Just Like Their Corrupt Gangland Boss Himself All the President's Men Are Scumbags As Well


All of the Scumbag-in-Chief's major (and minor) associates, appointees, colleagues, acolytes, enablers, accomplices and maniacal partners-in-crime are absolutely the worst species of human beings alive: Shameless, greedy, ruthless, mendacious, mean, pathological, hypocritical, and relentlessly, thoroughly, and unabashedly fullashit no matter what...HORRIBLE doesn't even begin to adequately describe exactly who and what they are...

MICHAEL FLYNN is not only no exception to this rule but remains (as always) at the very highest tier of this massive vile HOUSE OF CARDS that is the neofascist regime we currently still pretend is "our government." Stay tuned because not only is it all going to become worse than ever very soon but we will finally have to decide if these 21st century gangsters are going to continue to rule and define not just our politics but our very liives...



Michael Flynn, the ex-national security adviser, asked to withdraw his guilty plea in the Russia inquiry. He accused prosecutors of “bad faith.”

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
9:35 PM EST

The stunning request means that more than two years after first pleading guilty and after spending dozens of hours answering the questions of investigators for the special counsel, Mr. Flynn would take his chances at trial if a judge agrees to grant his motion.

That would set up a collision course with prosecutors who could decide to bring additional charges against him.

Read the latest:…/michael-flynn-withdraws-guilty-pl…

Michael Flynn Moves to Withdraw Guilty Plea in About-Face After Extensive Cooperation

Once cited by the special counsel team as an exemplary cooperating witness, Mr. Flynn had grown increasingly combative in recent months. 

by Adam Goldman
January 15, 2020
New York Times

PHOTO: Michael T. Flynn, President 
Trump’s former national security adviser, 
in 2018 in Washington. Credit: Tom Brenner 
for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn moved late on Tuesday to withdraw his guilty plea on charges of lying to investigators in the Russia inquiry, accusing prosecutors of “bad faith” and vindictiveness after they asked a judge to sentence him to prison for backing out of a deal to cooperate with them.

The last-ditch request means that more than two years after first pleading guilty and after spending dozens of hours answering the questions of investigators for the special counsel, Mr. Flynn would take his chances at trial if a judge agrees to grant his motion. That would set up a collision course with prosecutors who could decide to bring additional charges against him.

Mr. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general and former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency whose case marked a striking downfall, has already pleaded guilty twice to lying to the F.B.I. about conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the presidential transition in late 2016. As part of his agreement with the government, Mr. Flynn also admitted that he violated foreign lobbying laws when he failed to disclose work he had done for Turkey.

After he cooperated extensively with prosecutors in the Russia investigation, they recommended leniency in late 2018. Mr. Flynn even agreed to delay his sentencing at the time to offer further cooperation by testifying against a former business associate in a case in Northern Virginia. But Mr. Flynn grew increasingly antagonistic in recent months and hired combative new lawyers in mid-2019.

See Which Witnesses the Mueller Report Relied on Most

A partially redacted report of the special counsel’s findings released on April 18 cited interviews with 43 individuals at least 10 times.

Those lawyers had tried to convince a federal judge that the F.B.I. had ambushed him as part of a plot by biased investigators, hoping that the case would be thrown out. But the judge rejected those accusations this month as baseless, and prosecutors reversed their stance, saying Mr. Flynn should be imprisoned.

Because Mr. Flynn has already pleaded guilty twice, he cannot unilaterally withdraw from the plea deal. The federal judge in the case, Emmet G. Sullivan of Federal District Court in the District of Columbia, has to sign off on Mr. Flynn’s request and will most likely give prosecutors a chance to respond and schedule a hearing on the matter.

Mr. Flynn’s gamble raises questions about whether he and his lawyers were making a play for a presidential pardon. Days into his presidency, Mr. Trump dismissed Mr. Flynn after learning he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence and other senior administration officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, but he has also said Mr. Flynn was treated badly by investigators.

In a relatively disjointed motion filed on Tuesday, Mr. Flynn’s lawyers try to make the case that their client lived up to his plea agreement, including helping the case against his former business associate Bijan Kian.

At his original sentencing hearing late in 2018, Mr. Flynn reasserted his guilt and acknowledged to prosecutors that he lied about working to influence American officials on behalf of Turkey, though prosecutors charged him only with lying to the F.B.I. as part of the deal to secure his cooperation. But they have made it clear they have evidence to charge him with secretly lobbying for Turkey, crimes that carry a stiffer sentence.

Mr. Kian was himself charged with violating foreign lobbying disclosure laws when he worked with Mr. Flynn. On the eve of Mr. Kian’s trial last year in Virginia, Mr. Flynn changed his story, which was critical of the government’s case. Mr. Kian was convicted, but the judge later threw out the charges, saying prosecutors had failed to make a strong enough case.

Mr. Flynn’s lawyers now say their client made no false statements about his work on behalf of Turkey. They say without evidence that prosecutors “concocted” the false statements and accused them of deceit.

“It is beyond ironic and completely outrageous that the prosecutors have persecuted Mr. Flynn, virtually bankrupted him, and put his entire family through unimaginable stress for years,” his lawyers wrote.

They said Mr. Flynn learned only later about problems with foreign lobbying disclosures submitted to the Justice Department. He has blamed his former lawyers for filing inaccurate forms without his knowledge and accused the government of retaliating against him for hiring new lawyers who refused to let their client lie in Mr. Kian’s trial.
Mr. Flynn’s lawyers were silent on the issue of his acknowledgment in court that he lied to the F.B.I. in the Russia investigation. It is unclear how that squares with his decisions to plead guilty both in 2017 and 2018.

In their recent sentencing memo asking the judge to sentence Mr. Flynn to up to six months in prison, prosecutors said he was no victim.

“Far from accepting the consequences of his unlawful actions, he has sought to blame almost every other person and entity involved in his case, including his former counsel,” they wrote.

Read More About Michael Flynn’s Case:

Prosecutors Ask That Michael Flynn Get Prison Time
Jan. 7, 2020

Judge Rejects Michael Flynn’s Claims in His Attacks on Prosecutors
Dec. 16, 2019

Prosecutors Could Ask for Prison Time for Michael Flynn
Sept. 10, 2019

Michael Flynn’s Lawyers Escalate Attacks on Prosecutors
Aug. 30, 2019


Adam Goldman reports on the F.B.I. from Washington and is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. @adamgoldmanNYT 

PHOTO: Michael T. Flynn, President 
Trump’s former national security adviser, 
in 2018 in Washington. Credit: Tom Brenner 
for The New York Times