Special coverage in the Trump Era

From Public Citizen's Corporate Presidency site: "44 Trump administration officials have close ties to the Koch brothers and their network of political groups, particularly Vice President Mike Pence, White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney."

Dark Money author Jane Mayer on The Dangers of President Pence, New Yorker, Oct. 23 issue on-line

Can Time Inc. Survive the Kochs? November 28, 2017 By
..."This year, among the Kochs’ aims is to spend a projected four hundred million dollars in contributions from themselves and a small group of allied conservative donors they have assembled, to insure Republican victories in the 2018 midterm elections. Ordinarily, political reporters for Time magazine would chronicle this blatant attempt by the Kochs and their allies to buy political influence in the coming election cycle. Will they feel as free to do so now?"...

"Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America" see: our site, and George Monbiot's essay on this key book by historian Nancy MacLean.

Full interview with The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer March 29, 2017, Democracy Now! about her article, "The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer Exploited America’s Populist Insurgency."

Democracy Now! Special Broadcast from the Women's March on Washington

The Economics of Happiness -- new version

Local Futures offers a free, shortened version of its award-winning documentary film The Economics of Happiness. This 19-minute abridged version "brings us voices of hope of in a time of crisis." www.localfutures.org.

What's New?

February 10, 2018

While the Two Koreas Talk, Trump Is Throwing Shade

Christine Ahn: "The White House seems hell bent on hijacking an Olympic moment of inter-Korean unity... By now it’s clear that serious military plans are being drawn up to strike North Korea before its missiles can carry a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the mainland."

Published on Friday, February 09, 2018 by Foreign Policy In Focus and posted on commondreams.org
By Christine Ahn

"As South Korean and North Korean athletes walk together during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, carrying a One Korea flag, the Trump administration is actively working to undermine the good vibes flowing across the DMZ.

Last month, North Korean and South Korean leaders met for two high-level meetings to discuss how to defuse tensions that reached a boiling point last year. Relations between the two Koreas had frozen after a decade of hardline rule in South Korea, but the dangerous threat of a new Korean War prompted both Korean governments to seize the hopeful opportunity presented by the Olympics. This was soon followed by the United States agreeing to South Korea’s request to honor the Olympics Truce by postponing the joint annual spring war drills.

Many hoped that 2018 signaled a turn towards a diplomatic resolution to the Korean conflict.

Instead, last week, news emerged that the Trump administration had axed the nomination of Victor Cha for the U.S. ambassador post in South Korea — for allegedly opposing White House plans for a “bloody nose” strike on the North.

By now it’s clear that serious military plans are being drawn up to strike North Korea before its missiles can carry a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the mainland.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said that the U.S. approach to North Korea is “firmly in the diplomatic lane,” but there’s no sign of genuine diplomacy that would invite dialogue. Instead, the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign to further isolate North Korea aims to foment regime collapse by imposing ever more sanctions and forcing other countries to cut off relations with Pyongyang.

As if there were any doubt, Vice President Mike Pence announced in Japan on the eve of the Olympics that the United States would be unveiling the “toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever” — and that this policy of strangulation would be in place until its “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization.”

Sanctions Against the Most Vulnerable

The North Korean economy has been built over the last 65 years to withstand the U.S. economic blockade in place since the Korean War. But the new round of sanctions, including those imposed by the UN Security Council, target major sectors of the North Korean economy that have nothing to do with nuclear weapons or missiles, or even luxury goods for the Kim regime.

According to political economist and University of Sussex Professor Kevin Gray, measures contained in the UN resolution that passed last September belie its claims that they’re “not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population.” Instead of succeeding in forcing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, these U.S.-led sanctions have been hitting North Korean civilians, especially the most vulnerable.

According to a January 2018 UNICEF report, up to 60,000 North Korean children could starve as a result of the sanctions..."

Read full article here