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Venezuela’s Maduro mocks US criticism of democracy

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Democracy and human rights are the two issues on which USA claims advantages and therefore criticizes the weak or anti-capitalist –imperialist nations and, whenever possible, it attacks to further weaken and destabilize them.

Destabilization of entire world except USA thus is basis of US democracy that USA seeks especially in the Islamic world. It is indeed a perfect anomaly that the super nation which has killed maximum people across the globe during its existence after “discovery” as the closest ally of its English master UK and has also terrorized the humanity, is still talking about democracy, human rights and rule of law.

USA can still talk because it is the super nation effectively controlling entire world, including the nations that oppose US domination. Though these days Washington does not speak much about democracy deficits in other nations as many human rights are denied to American citizens on some flimsy grounds, recently it did criticized democracy of Venezuela in Latin America where, like in West Asia, it does not have many friends or allies. 

Seeking to make the world of global US colonies to help advance military supremacy forever, USA, even after the fall of the mighty Soviet Russia and weakening of non committed China,  still hates socialism and communism, though both themselves have not been able to provide safety, security and prosperity to the common global people.

The atomic bomb is too dangerous to be loose in a lawless world. That is why Great Britain, Canada, and the USA that have the secrets about its production, do not let others make nukes and do not intend to reveal that secret until means have been found to control the bomb so as to protect ourselves and the rest of the world from the danger of total destruction.

The USA, which intervenes in the domestic affairs of any weak or totally independent nation which does not promote US interests in the region, refuses to let them advance their legitimate interests if that does not toe the US line, has a long sordid history of interventionist meddling and regime change in Latin America and around the world, and that is what’s going on in Venezuela.

Maduro wins Venezuela

Venezuela is one the few remaining countries that claim to be socialist but continue to ignore the popular concerns while the super power USA considers them as shame nations without essential human rights. The main concern of Venezuela is to save the nation from the western propaganda manipulative tactics to showcase Socialism as anti-human.

Last week Venezuela’s socialist government won a popular mandate with all seats having been won to dramatically recast the country’s political system against the will and fancies of capitalist USA. Electoral authorities said more than 8 million people voted July 30 to create a constitutional assembly endowing President Nicolas Maduro’s ruling party with virtually unlimited powers, while opposition members and independent analysts put the total number from between 2 to 4 million.

The official result would mean the ruling party won more support than it had in any national election since 2013, despite a crisis ridden economy, spiraling inflation, shortages of medicine and malnutrition. President Nicolás Maduro has suggested the constitution needs to “restore peace” to the country so that measures could be implemented to  improve the living conditions of the people. .

A newly-elected body, consisting mostly of Maduro allies and even his wife, will be given the ability to dissolve state institutions and possibly rewrite the constitution. The people have delivered the constitutional assembly,” Maduro said on national television. “More than 8 million in the middle of threats.  It’s when imperialism challenges us that we prove ourselves worthy of the blood of the liberators that runs through the veins of men, women, children and young people.”

Maduro said he had received congratulations from the governments of Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua, among many others. Maduro and his supporters have dismissed criticism of the assembly as merely the latest in Washington’s attempts to interfere in Venezuela and other Latin American countries.

Maduro promised that the new assembly would quickly “restructure” the office of the chief prosecutor.

Rejection

Maduro called the vote for a constitutional assembly in May after a month of protests against his government, which has overseen Venezuela’s descent into a devastating crisis during its four years in power. Due to plunging oil prices and widespread corruption and mismanagement, Venezuela’s inflation and homicide rates are among the world’s highest, and widespread shortages of food and medicine have citizens dying of preventable illnesses and rooting through trash to feed themselves.

Venezuela is in turmoil following the contentious vote over the weekend which critics say is an attempt by Maduro to consolidate power. More than 120 people have died this year in clashes protesting the Venezuelan president’s rule, including a candidate for the assembly killed in the night of the election.

The opposition, which the USA considers as its own ally against the regime, estimated only 2.5 million ballots were cast. Opposition leaders estimated the real turnout at less than half the government’s claim in a vote watched by government-allied observers but no internationally recognized poll monitors.  Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, the governor of the central state of Miranda, urged Venezuelans to protest against an assembly that critics fear will effectively create a single-party state.

Opposition leaders had earlier called for a boycott of the vote, declaring it rigged for the ruling party. Ahead of the vote, the opposition organized a series of work stoppages as well as a July 16 protest referendum that it said drew more than 7.5 million symbolic votes against the constitutional assembly.  The president of the opposition-led National Assembly, Julio Borges, told Venezuelan news channel Globovision that Maduro’s foes would continue protesting until they won free elections and a change of government. He said Sunday’s vote had given Maduro “less legitimacy, less credibility, less popular support and less ability to govern.”

Opposition decried the vote as a fraud and called on supporters to protest again as of midday.  “The constitutional assembly will not resolve any of the country’s problems, it just means more crisis,” opposition leader Henrique Capriles said. “As of tomorrow, a new stage of the struggle begins.”

Several countries refused to recognize the results, while Spain and Canada joined in the condemnation. Latin American nations from Argentina to Mexico, which are historically wary of siding with Washington in hemispheric disputes, sharply condemned the vote.  The EU said the constituent assembly could not be part of the negotiated solution to the country’s crisis, noting it was elected under doubtful and often violent circumstances.

Throughout these past four months of often violent protests in Venezuela, the country’s army has, several times, reaffirmed its “unconditional loyalty” to President Maduro. Despite the incident as well as demonstrations, the situation appears to be calm in the country. Meanwhile a search is under way in Venezuela for 10 men who escaped with weapons after an attack on a military base, according to President Nicolás Maduro.

Protests

Venezuela has been rocked by months of protests against the government of Maduro, who was elected in 2013 following the death of Hugo Chavez, and there have been at least 125 deaths. Opposition leaders call the election a naked power grab meant to keep the Socialist Party in office despite anger over an economic crisis that has spurred malnutrition and left citizens struggling to obtain basic consumer products.

Countries across the Americas, as well as the European Union, denounced the creation of the assembly, which will have the power to rewrite the constitution. The USA – the top market for the OPEC oil – called the vote a sham, and officials in Washington said they were preparing oil-sector sanctions. “A spokesperson for Emperor Donald Trump said that they would not recognize the results of Venezuela’s constituent assembly election,” Maduro told a crowd of cheering supporters following the completion of the vote. “Why the hell should we care what Trump says?” he added. “We care about what the sovereign people of Venezuela say.”

Opposition leaders call the election a naked power grab meant to keep the Socialist Party in office despite anger over an economic crisis that has spurred malnutrition and left citizens struggling to obtain basic consumer products. Opposition leaders decried the vote as a fraud and called on supporters to protest again as of midday.  “The constitutional assembly will not resolve any of the country’s problems, it just means more crisis,” opposition leader Henrique Capriles said. “As of tomorrow, a new stage of the struggle begins.”

Meanwhile, the Vatican has urged Venezuela’s president not to proceed with a controversial new assembly that his critics say would give him unprecedented power. In a statement issued on the day  Maduro was set to install the new assembly – a vote for which last week was boycotted by the opposition parties and denounced as “rigged – the Vatican called on “all political actors, and in particular the government, to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the existing constitution”. “The Holy See appeals firmly to all of society to avoid all forms of violence and invites, in particular, the security forces to refrain from excessive and disproportionate use of force,” it said. The statement also it urged the government of Maduro “to prevent or suspend ongoing initiatives such as the new Constituent Assembly which, instead of fostering reconciliation and peace, foment a climate of tension”.

At least 10 people were killed in protests against the unpopular Maduro, who insists the new body known as the constituent assembly will bring peace after four months of protests that have killed more than 120 people. Countries across the Americas, as well as the European Union, denounced the creation of the assembly, which will have the power to rewrite the constitution.

Maduro has also said he would use the assembly’s powers to bar opposition candidates from running in gubernatorial elections in December unless they sit with his party to negotiate an end to hostilities that have generated four months of protests that have killed at least 125 and wounded nearly 2,000. Maduro says a new constitution is the only way to end such conflicts.

US agenda

USA has a major agenda globally – to ferment troubles in every region by suing the opposition parties. It obstructs peaceful environment everywhere and invades energy rich Arab nations, among others, maintain military superiority. It uses  major powers even in Mideast to its own advantage and help sustain the tensions in every region.

As the super power, the USA has a vast nuclear arsenal capable of blowing up the planet several times. The World commemorates the 72nd anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6, 9, 1945)- the worst  human tragedy ever inflicted upon the people of Japan by the corporatist American regime. .

Fishing in the troubled regional waters has been the key foreign policy parameter of USA and every president- white or black- dutifully pursued imperialist policies by promoting global capitalism. . .

USA badly wants a regime change in Venezuela in order to make entire Latin America pro-American. Opinion polls highly influenced by outside forces showed 85 percent of Venezuelans disapproved of the constitutional assembly and similar numbers disapprove of Maduro’s overall performance.

Maduro said the opposition had been backed by anti-government leaders based in the USA and Colombia. Maduro has threatened that one of the constitutional assembly’s first acts would be jailing opposition leader Freddy Guevara inciting violence.

The USA quickly pledged potentially devastating oil sanctions and condemnations of the process poured in from governments around the capitalist world and the opposition at home. Many capitalist countries, among them the USA, the UK, and Mexico, have denounced the move by Maduro, claiming it is a move to seize additional power for his party at a time when his approval rating stands at just 20 per cent. The USA has issued sanctions against Maduro and 13 of his close advisors and threatened more.

The European Union and nations including Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Spain, Britain and the USA criticized Sunday’s vote. The Trump government promised “strong and swift actions” against Venezuelan officials, including the 545 participants in the constitutional assembly, many of them low-ranking party members.

Crippling sanctions are indeed economic terrorism being imposed by USA and its powerful western allies on weak nations that do not subscribe to US agenda. After Iran and North Korea now USA and its cohorts seek to impose sanctions on Venezuela with which it has problems.

Politicians throughout the Americas, as well as leaders from the UN, expressed concern with the decision and demanded its reversal, though the Venezuelan government justified its decision as a reaction to “coup-like actions” allegedly performed by the opposition. On 1 April 2017, the TSJ reversed its decision, thereby reinstating the powers of the National Assembly.

Under pressure from USA, Latin American nations from Argentina to Mexico, which are historically wary of siding with Washington in hemispheric disputes, sharply condemned the vote. Several refused to recognize the results, while Spain and Canada joined in the condemnation. The EU said the constituent assembly could not be part of the negotiated solution to the country’s crisis, noting it was elected under doubtful and often violent circumstances. ‘Nobody can escape the food shortages and spiraling inflation faced by millions every day’.

Perspective and Problems

Like Turkey, Venezuela is also facing troubles from outside especially USA that uses the opposition to advance its capitalist and anti-national objectives.

The people of Venezuela are struggling with food shortages, economic hardship and an inflation rate of around 600 per cent. If the US goes ahead with its threat to sanction the oil industry – Washington currently purchases 700,000 barrels a day from Venezuela – the situation would likely worsen considerably. Many supporters of Chavez appear to have lost faith in Maduro, yet reports suggest most of them are still supporting him in fear of what might follow him. The conservative opposition parties in Venezuela have long had ties to Washington, and some of their leaders were involved in a 2002 coup that briefly unseated Chavez.

America believes economic terrorism in the form of sanctions would weaken the Venezuela and make people fight against the regime.

The US sanctions are planned to cripple the economy of Venezuela, make the life of common pepole miserable so that they oppose the elected government.  In a strike at Venezuela’s already flailing economy, the Trump government is preparing to levy new sanctions on Venezuela, following through on threats to impose penalties if the country went through with the weekend election. The new sanctions could be imposed and will likely target Venezuela’s oil sector, including possibly its state owned petroleum company. One official said an announcement was imminent. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Many experts believe the US has been seeking a change of government in Caracas since Chavez was elected in 2002. During  past years, Venezuela has been facing serious crisis alongside protest era.

Following the death of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuela faced a severe socioeconomic crisis during the presidency of his successor, Nicolás Maduro, as a result of their policies. Due to the country’s high levels of urban violence, inflation, and chronic shortages of basic goods attributed to economic policies such as strict price controls, civil insurrection in Venezuela culminated in the 2014–17 protests. Protests occurred over the years, with demonstrations occurring in various intensities.

The discontent with the Bolivarian government saw the opposition being elected to hold the majority in the National Assembly for the first time since 1999 following the 2015 parliamentary election. As a result of that election, the lame duck National Assembly consisting of Bolivarian officials filled the TSJ with allies. Into early 2016, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) of Venezuela alleged that voting irregularities occurred in the 2015 parliamentary elections and stripped four lawmakers of their seats, preventing an opposition super-majority in the National Assembly which would be able to challenge President Maduro. The TSJ court then began to approve of multiple actions performed by Maduro and granted him more powers.

After facing years of crisis, the Venezuelan opposition pursued a recall referendum against President Maduro, presenting a petition to the National Electoral Council (CNE) on 2 May 2016. The opposition organized an unofficial referendum over Maduro’s plan earlier in July, when more than 7 million voters overwhelmingly rejected his constituent assembly and voted in favor of early elections. On 21 October 2016, the CNE suspended the referendum only days before preliminary signature-gatherings were to be held. The CNE blamed alleged voter fraud as the reason for the cancellation of the referendum. Western observers criticized the move, stating that CNE’s decision made Maduro look as if he were seeking to rule as a dictator.

Days after the recall movement was cancelled, 1.2 million Venezuelans protested throughout the country against the move, demanding President Maduro to leave office, with Caracas protests remaining calm while protests in other states resulted in clashes between demonstrators and authorities, leaving one policeman dead, 120 injured and 147 arrested. That day the opposition gave President Maduro a deadline of 3 November 2016 to hold elections, with opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

Days later, then National Assembly President and opposition leader Henry Ramos Allup announced the cancellation of 3 November march to the Miraflores presidential palace, with Vatican-led dialogue between the opposition and the government beginning. By 7 December 2016, dialogue halted between the two and two months later on 13 January 2017 after talks stalled, the Vatican officially pulled out of the dialogue. Further protests were much smaller due to the fear of repression, with the opposition organizing surprise protests instead of organized mass marches.

Actions by President Maduro and his Bolivarian officials included a 7 February 2017 meeting which announced the creation of the Great Socialist Justice Mission which had the goal of establishing “a great alliance between the three powers, the judiciary, the citizen and the executive”, with Maduro stating that “we have been fortunate to see how the judicial power has been growing and perfecting, carrying a doctrine so complete with the constitution of 1999” while stating that the opposition-led National Assembly “took power not for the majority not for the people but for themselves”.

On 29 March 2017, the TSJ took over legislative powers of the National Assembly. The Tribunal, mainly supporters of President Nicolás Maduro, also restricted the immunity granted to the Assembly’s members, who mostly belonged to the opposition. The dissolution of assembly was termed as a “coup” by the opposition while the Organization of American States (OAS) termed the action a “self-coup”. The decision was condemned by some media outlets, characterizing the move as a turn towards authoritarianism and one-man rule.

Observation

USA is eager to unseat President Nicolás Maduro. American worry is compounded by a communist model poll in Venezuela as allies of the Socialist Party won all 545 seats in the new assembly, which will also have the power to dissolve state institutions such as the opposition-run Congress and sack dissident state officials.

The electoral council’s vote counts in the past have been seen as reliable and generally accurate, but the widely mocked announcement appeared certain to escalate the polarization and political conflict paralyzing the country.  

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro celebrated the election of a new legislative superbody that is expected to give the ruling Socialist Party sweeping powers and mocked US criticism that the vote was an affront to democracy. Venezuela’s socialist government says a national election has given it a popular mandate to dramatically recast the country’s political system even as condemnations of the process have poured in from nations abroad and the opponents at home.

The 545-seat constituent assembly will have the task of rewriting the country’s constitution and will have powers above and beyond other state institutions, including the opposition-controlled congress.

On Friday, the new 545-member assembly was formally opened. Maduro promised that the new assembly would quickly “restructure” the office of the chief prosecutor.   The assembly unanimously elected well-known Socialist Party leaders to its leadership, with former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez to serve as the president and former Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz as First Vice President. The constituent assembly would hold sessions in the same legislative palace as the existing congress, which the opposition took over in a landslide 2015 victory. 

Calling itself “The Binary Guardians”, a hacking group has attacked Venezuelan government websites in an operation targeting the “dictatorship” of President Nicolás Maduro. The group posted messages appearing to support the actions of a group of armed men who attacked a military base in the central city of Valencia on Sunday.

Meanwhile, supporters of President Maduro marched in the capital Caracas. They called for an end to months of opposition protests and unrest.

Interestingly, Americans, while criticizing polls in countries like Russia, China, Venezuela, are unable to control their own presidential poll.  Americans blame Russia for interference in US presidential poll that demolished the hopes of Democratic Party’s Madam Clinton just like the besieged Palestinians and their children have real hopes of a future under the continued attacks and genocides by Israel which keeps the occupational crimes and control mechanism to squeeze the youth of Palestine.

Maduro made it clear in a televised address that he intends to use the assembly not just to rewrite the country’s charter but to govern without limitation. Describing the vote as “the election of a power that’s above and beyond every other,” Maduro said he wants the assembly to strip opposition lawmakers and governors of constitutional immunity from prosecution — one of the few remaining checks on ruling party power. Declaring the opposition “already has its prison cell waiting,” Maduro added: “All the criminals will go to prison for the crimes they’ve committed.”

Any country, and particularly any socialist governed country, that nationalizes their oil industries (or any other US corporate interests, i.e., United Fruit Company in Guatemala and Honduras) become targets for regime change by the USA by using the opposition parties. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Venezuela, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Pakistan et al are living examples. The methods begin with economic warfare, destabilizing their economies via sanctions and withholding of investments and loans, denial of access to markets and imposition of punitive tariffs. When the people feel the economic pain they blame the government and this is exacerbated by covert CIA teams and CIA fronts like National Endowment for Democracy (see Ukraine) who infiltrate and organize, fund and foment “democratic” opposition.  USA achieves total destabilization thanks to Neocon plans.

It is unfortunate that any independent nation must also obey the “democratic” US dictates in order to survive in the comity of nations. Any refusal to dance according to the CIA-Pentagon muse should be ready for a terror attacks.

Who can tie the ball around US neck?

Only in fairy tales a super hero emerges to save the weak ones from monsters.

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‘Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People’: Time to retire

Mohammad Ghaderi

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Again, another mass shooting, again a school, again a troubled teen, a racist, a white supremacist, a Bloods or Crips gangster, a refugee, a war veteran, a mad policeman, a terrorist from al-Qaeda, al-Nusra Front or from the ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Daesh) terrorist outfits … what difference does it make and again dead bodies lying on the ground in their blood. Who believes they were alive seconds ago. The story goes on and to my surprise it is having less effect than it used to have years ago. Why?

We are getting bad. We are not hurt anymore. Too much violence has made us numb.

What does the motto on the entrance of the United Nations building says? A poem by the Iranian influential poet Sa’adi, from the 13th century, the medieval period. The poem has many translations however one is this:

The sons of Adam are limbs of each other,
Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time affects one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If you have no sympathy for the troubles of others,
You are unworthy to be called by the name of a Human.

Give it a thought, try to put it in practice, politician and statesmen in the United Nations, New York, United States. It is ludicrous that almost all of them call for end of wars, urge foe peace and tranquil but at the same time produce and sell arms.

War, violence and killing is simply unacceptable, nasty and painful in any kind and form, whether it occurs in a house, street, city, countries like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine or the United States of America.

U.S. teen confesses to mass shooting at Florida Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

A troubled teen with alleged ties to a white supremacist group confessed on Thursday to murdering 17 people at his former high school in Florida, as the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) admitted it had received a tip-off about the 19-year-old gunman yet failed to stop him.

As Americans reeled from the country’s worst school massacre since the horror at Sandy Hook six years ago, the U.S. President Donald Trump suggested the root cause of the violence was a crisis of mental health — and defied calls to address gun control.

Terrified students hid in closets and under desks on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, texting for help as the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, stalked the school with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle.

Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, appearing on Thursday afternoon before a judge who ordered him held without bond.

After being read his legal rights, “Cruz stated that he was the gunman who entered the school campus armed with a AR-15 and began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on the school grounds,” court documents showed.

Cruz also admitted he discarded his rifle — which he bought legally in Florida — and tactical gear in order to blend in with the crowd to flee the campus, the documents showed.

The recent mass shooting at a school in Florida is the latest reminder that the United States is a “very violent country,” a journalist in Detroit says.

After the shooting, he stopped at a Wal-Mart store and then McDonald’s, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters. He was detained 40 minutes later, after police identified him using school security camera footage.

Expelled from school for disciplinary reasons, Cruz was known to be fixated on firearms — and had reportedly been identified as a potential threat to his classmates.

In a somber televised address to the nation in response to the 18th school shooting so far this year, Trump vowed to make mental health a priority — after tweeting about the “many signs” the gunman was “mentally disturbed” — while avoiding any talk of gun curbs.

Earlier in the day, Trump had asserted that “neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”

But U.S. authorities themselves were under scrutiny, after the FBI confirmed it was alerted last September to a message posted on YouTube, in which a user named Nikolas Cruz vowed: “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”

In a statement, the FBI said it had carried out “database reviews and other checks” but was unable to identify the person who made the post.

Trump cites mental health, not guns, in speech on shooting

Declaring the nation united and grieving with “one heavy heart,” Trump promised on Thursday to tackle school safety and “the difficult issue of mental health” in response to the deadly shooting in Florida. He made no mention of the scourge of gun violence.

Not always a natural in the role of national comforter, Trump spoke deliberately, at one point directly addressing children who may feel “lost, alone, confused or even scared.”

“I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be,” Trump said. “You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you.”

However, the ones killed were alone when they were shot in cold blood in fear and hope. The ones who lost their precious lives had many hopes and ambitions.

Now they are dead, and it could be every and each one of us, at a school, stadium, concert hall, cinema, home, Middle East, Americas… anywhere, it could be.

Such incidents are cause of sorrow and pain, I cannot explain how I felt when I saw the horrible pictures of the Florida High School shooting, just like how I felt when I saw the massacre committed by the ISIL terrorists killing cadets in Camp Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. At the time of the attack there were between 4,000 and 11,000 unarmed cadets in the camp. ISIL terrorists singled out Shia and non-Muslim cadets from Sunni ones and murdered them.

Who arms and supports terrorist groups like ISIL? No one can be so naeive to believe that they have just popped out. I recall the U.S. President Trump as saying on his election campaign to Hillary Clinton that the U.S. created ISIL. Well done!

While Trump stressed the importance of mental health and school safety improvements, his latest budget request would slash Medicaid, the major source of federal funding for treating mental health problems, and cut school safety programs by more than a third. Last year, he signed a resolution blocking an Obama-era rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people.

Trump’s silence on guns was noted with displeasure by many who are seeking tougher firearm restrictions. But the White House said the president wanted to keep his remarks focused on the victims.

Before he was a candidate, Trump at one point favored some tighter gun regulations. But he embraced gun rights as a candidate, and the National Rifle Association spent $30 million in support of his campaign.

During his brief, televised statement, Trump said he wanted to work to “create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life,” a phrase likely to resonate with his conservative base.

In contrast, former President Barack Obama tweeted out a call for “long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws.” Obama wrote: “We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job.”

In reacting to previous mass shootings, Trump has largely focused on mental health as a cause, dismissing questions about gun control. After a shooting at a Texas church in November left more than two dozen dead, the president said, “This isn’t a guns situation.”
The US has averaged one school shooting every 60 hours since the beginning of 2018, data shows.

Trump was criticized in early August for saying that both white nationalists and counter-protesters were responsible for the violent clashes at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

While Trump has offered somber responses to some tragedies, he has also drawn criticism for other reactions.

After the Orlando shootings at a gay nightclub that left 49 dead in June 2016, then-candidate Trump tweeted, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” In the wake of a deadly terror attack in London last June, he went after Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter.

Sadiq Khan compares the US president’s rhetoric against Islam to tactics used by ISIL to inspire terror attacks in Western cities.

First published in our partner Tehran Times

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On Jettisoning Failed Leaders and Mass Shootings in the U.S.

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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The scene is the House of Commons; the date May 7, 1940.  A simple motion to adjourn for the ten-day Whitsun recess is of little concern to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who has a comfortable 213 seat majority.  Then things take a turn.  A plan approved by the first Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill to land troops in Norway and engage the Germans directly has been a disaster with huge losses, and the eventual naval evacuation of the expeditionary force — an Arctic Dardanelles planned by the same man.

Chamberlain rises to defend Churchill and the conduct of the war in what has now come to be known as the “Norway Debate”.  In the most unlikely of scenarios and with no evidence of Winston trying to put his name forward — in fact the opposite — when the tide turns against Chamberlain, within three days as more favored candidates are shed, he has become prime minister.  Such is the parliamentary system.  Margaret Thatcher is another example, toppled shortly after success at the polls.

The American system, however, puts the president beyond such reach other than through a laborious impeachment.  Analogous to the third Roman Emperor Caligula, Donald Trump, too, has no military or political experience.  Caligula made his horse a senator or some say consul; Trump has the equivalent running government departments and agencies.  Caligula declared himself a god; Trump tweeted he is a ‘stable genius.’  If Caligula’s reign ended with assassination, Trump’s will be more prosaic — just disaffected voters.

Another mass shooting this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Seventeen are dead and  many more injured.  The gunman, identified as Nikolas Cruz, used an AR-15 assault type rifle, a weapon far deadlier than a pistol — perhaps he watched the coverage of the Las Vegas shooting.  He was a former pupil who had been suspended from the school, and who students recalled as disturbed and scary.

President Trump in his remarks following the incident did not bring up the obvious question of why an AR-15 was so easily available for purchase.  Gun owners and the gun lobby are part of his constituency.

Following a mass shooting in April 1996 when a man armed with two semi-automatic rifles killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania, the Australian government put together strict gun laws.  They were supplemented with a mandatory gun-buyback program through which 650,000 firearms were destroyed.  Did the program work?  The data tells the story more vividly:  From 1979 to 1996, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings; since 1997 it has had none.

Under his usual theme of ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’, President Trump continues to talk about finding ways to deal better with disturbed people.  The sure Australian way is to stop them acquiring guns.

Lost in the Florida school story was another shooting the same day when trigger-happy guards let loose at a National Security Agency entrance.  The forested area is a confused mass of entries and exits.  It has happened before that somebody inadvertently makes a wrong turn and panics when faced with shouting armed guards.  In this incident, bullet holes can be seen in the windshield and the three men in the car were injured.

Introducing the Gates Foundation’s annual philanthropic letter a few days ago, Bill and Melinda Gates appealed to Donald Trump to not cut foreign aid — “even a 10 percent cut could lead to 5 million deaths in the next decade”, Bill Gates warned.  Will President Trump listen?

Despite the many wonderful aspects the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, when it comes to jettisoning incompetent leaders, it is difficult to best the parliamentary system for immediacy.

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Trump’s new nuclear doctrine just rhetoric

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Recently the US President Donald Trump unveiled his new nuclear doctrine which had remained unchanged since 2010. Many experts consider Trump’s new doctrine which enjoys many ambiguities as just campaign rhetoric. To shed more light on the issue we reached out to Prof. Filip Kovacevic, University of San Francisco geopolitics.

The US new nuclear doctrine was published several days ago. This document had remained unchanged since 2010. What are the reasons for new changes?

According to the US military establishment, the most important reason for changes is that the world has been a more dangerous and geopolitically unstable place. What the generals are not saying, though, is that it was their own actions which are responsible for this state of affairs. The hegemonic US foreign policy, the attempt to force a neo-liberal Pax Americana on the diversity and richness of the world’s cultures and traditions, is the cause of the present world problems.

Of course, you won’t find this stated openly in the doctrine. What you will find there, in a typical manipulative fashion, are the accusations of others for the problems that the US foreign policy has caused itself. In fact, this hypocritical pattern of behavior, where you take the legitimate reactions of others to your own provocations and aggressive moves as the main cause of tensions and conflicts, goes back many decades into the past.

What is the most significant difference between the new doctrine and the previous one?

In my opinion, the most significant difference is that a lot more money will be poured into the development of nuclear weapons. This will inevitably lead to a nuclear arms race with other states and to the proliferation of nuclear weapons as more and more countries will want to acquire them. But it will bring tremendous profits to the US military-industrial complex. In fact, the Trump administration is completely under the control of this section of the US corporate oligarchy. Trump is essentially breaking down all the institutional checks and balances in the US political system and paving a way for a military dictatorship. I have no doubt that the next US president will be a military officer. This means that we are about to see more wars and more deaths around the world, including in the Middle East. Many old, frozen conflicts will be re-opened across Asia and, apparently, the US is also setting a stage for the first-time use of a low yield nuclear weapon. Let’s not forget, though, that the bombs with depleted uranium have already been extensively used in the US /NATO conflicts, starting with the attack on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, causing horrific public health and environmental problems for generations to come.

In new doctrine, the use of nuclear weapons is allowed in extraordinary situation. There are some ambiguities around this. What are those extraordinary situations exactly?

The fact that the US reserves the right to respond with a nuclear weapon to a non-nuclear attack is nothing new. In fact, the US dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki even though there was no nuclear threat from the Imperial Japan. However, what is new in this doctrine is that now the US considers the potential use of a nuclear weapon against a large-scale cyber-attack. This is extremely worrying, because, as is well known, it is very difficult to correctly attribute the source of a cyber-attack. This could make a false-flag attack by some rogue terrorist faction or by the inside provocateurs misinterpreted as an attack by another nuclear power and lead to the nuclear annihilation of all life on Earth.

As the US considers the first strike on Russia acceptable, it means the spirit of the cold war is governing this new doctrine. Why has the US taken this approach?

Provoked by the rapid and aggressive expansion of the US political, economic, and cultural influence in Central and Eastern Europe under the umbrella of NATO, Russia has embarked on the campaign of re-arming and strengthening its defense and security apparatus in recent years. It appears that the US thought that Russia would cave in under its demands and accept to be a third-rate power in Eurasia. However, this was a serious misunderstanding of the Russian history and tradition. Now that Russia pushes back, the US establishment does not know what else to do but to make threats. However, these are empty threats because any kind of use of nuclear weapons against Russia or against its allies within the Collective Security Treaty Organization would quickly lead to mutual destruction. The spirit of the old Cold War has returned, and it will be with us for a long time to come. Accordingly, we will see the flare-up of proxy conflicts and covert actions across the world.

How do you assess the US new doctrine toward Iran? What are the new points?

Iran is one of only four states separately mentioned in the doctrine. The others are Russia, China, and North Korea. Iran is given the least coverage because it is not seen as an immediate nuclear danger to the US .The main emphasis is on what will happen after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ends in 2031. It is stated that after this period, Iran will be able to produce a nuclear weapon within a year. Interestingly, there is no mention of the US getting out of the JCPOA before that time, which is in contradiction to what the US president Donald Trump has been saying recently. It appears that Trump’s statements are just campaign rhetoric intended to please some important and wealthy interest groups, but that, in reality, it will be difficult for the US to get out of the JCPOA, considering that all other signatories are still backing it. However, this is not to say that the US will not use all other means at its disposal, including its vast media and intelligence resources, to sow discord within the Iranian political elite and create an economic and political crisis in the country.

First published in our partner Mehr News Agency

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