Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadows' wintry grey.
Little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,
hesitantly, reach toward the earth
from space, and country lanes are showing
these unexpected subtle risings
that find expression in the empty trees.
.... Rainer Maria Rilke - "Early Spring"
Click on the calendar for the spring song from 'Bambi'
NEWS BRIEFS - 6 MARCH 2017
Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist and the driving force behind the administration’s controversial ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, has a favorite metaphor he uses to describe the largest refugee crisis in human history.
“It’s been almost a Camp of the Saints-type invasion into Central and then Western and Northern Europe,” he said in October 2015.
“The whole thing in Europe is all about immigration,” he said in January 2016. “It’s a global issue today — this kind of global Camp of the Saints.”
“It’s not a migration,” he said later that January. “It’s really an invasion. I call it the Camp of the Saints.”
“When we first started talking about this a year ago,” he said in April 2016, “we called it the Camp of the Saints. ... I mean, this is Camp of the Saints, isn’t it?”
Bannon has agitated for a host of anti-immigrant measures. In his previous role as executive chairman of the right-wing news site Breitbart — which he called a “platform for the alt-right,” the online movement of white nationalists — he made anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim news a focus.
But the top Trump aide’s repeated references to The Camp of the Saints, an obscure 1973 novel by French author Jean Raspail, reveal even more about how he understands the world. The book is a cult favorite on the far right, yet it’s never found a wider audience. There’s a good reason for that: It’s breathtakingly racist.
“[This book is] racist in the literal sense of the term. It uses race as the main characterization of characters,” said Cécile Alduy, professor of French at Stanford University and an expert on the contemporary French far right. “It describes the takeover of Europe by waves of immigrants that wash ashore like the plague.”
The book, she said, “reframes everything as the fight to death between races.”
Upon the novel’s release in the United States in 1975, the influential book review magazine Kirkus Reviews pulled no punches: “The publishers are presenting The Camp of the Saints as a major event, and it probably is, in much the same sense that Mein Kampf was a major event.”
Linda Chavez, a Republican commentator who has worked for GOP presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush but opposed Trump’s election, also reviewed the book back then. Forty years later, she hasn’t forgotten it.
“It is really shockingly racist,” Chavez told The Huffington Post, “and to have the counselor to the president see this as one of his touchstones, I think, says volumes about his attitude.”
The plot of The Camp of the Saints follows a poor Indian demagogue, named “the turd-eater” because he literally eats shit, and the deformed, apparently psychic child who sits on his shoulders. Together, they lead an “armada” of 800,000 impoverished Indians sailing to France. Dithering European politicians, bureaucrats and religious leaders, including a liberal pope from Latin America, debate whether to let the ships land and accept the Indians or to do the right thing — in the book’s vision — by recognizing the threat the migrants pose and killing them all.
The non-white people of Earth, meanwhile, wait silently for the Indians to reach shore. The landing will be the signal for them to rise up everywhere and overthrow white Western society.
The French government eventually gives the order to repel the armada by force, but by then the military has lost the will to fight. Troops battle among themselves as the Indians stream on shore, trampling to death the left-wing radicals who came to welcome them. Poor black and brown people literally overrun Western civilization. Chinese people pour into Russia; the queen of England is forced to marry her son to a Pakistani woman; the mayor of New York must house an African-American family at Gracie Mansion. Raspail’s rogue heroes, the defenders of white Christian supremacy, attempt to defend their civilization with guns blazing but are killed in the process.
. . . . . . . . ..
Five days earlier, Trump had called his immigration enforcement efforts a “military operation.”
Although Department of Homeland Security officials walked back that statement, the president’s conflation of immigration with warfare did not go unnoticed.
“They see this as a war,” Chavez said.
Anti-Ban Protesters JFK Airport 28 January 2017
NEWS BRIEFS - 4 MARCH 2017
The group UpstateDroneAction.org released a statement Friday morning: "Four drone resisters, James Ricks, Daniel Burns, Brian Hynes, and Ed Kinane, from the 2015 big books action were found innocent of all charges at 11 p.m. at the Dewitt Town Court.
After deliberating for only about a half hour, the jury returned with a verdict of not guilty on all charges. Applause erupted in the courtroom upon the jurors' announcement of the verdict. The four were charged with obstruction of government administration, disorderly conduct, and trespass and faced a year in jail. Following the rendering of the verdict, a juror approached Brian Hynes and said 'I really support what you are doing. Keep doing it.'
"During the trial, Brian Hynes told the jury, 'This is not a case about contested facts, this is a case about contested meanings.' Hynes went on to explain to the jury that they could, in the words of the 4th Circuit of Appeals, acquit for any reason which appeals to their logic or passion. In powerful testimony, James Ricks told the jury about meeting the families of drone victims and seeing the wreckage of hellfire missiles. Jurors were brought to tears several times. Daniel Joseph Burns said, 'Would any of us deem it acceptable for our precious loved ones to be sacrificed for another nation's anticipatory self-defense? Of course not! Moreover, if drones were being aimed at my children by another country, I would hope with all my might that the citizens of that country might try and stop their country's illegal and immoral actions.' Ed Kinane told the jury in clear and powerful language about his time living in Iraq during the war and about the terror sown by drones...
"The trial resulted from an action on March 19, 2015. On the 12th anniversary of the U.S.' illegal invasion of Iraq, seven members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars shut the main gate of the Hancock Drone Ba-e (near Syracuse, NY) with a giant copy of the UN Charter and three other giant books -- Dirty Wars (Jeremy Scahill), "Living Under Drones" (NYU and Stanford Law Schools), and "You Never Die Twice" (Reprieve)
Man who saved two children from Manchester fire to be deported
A man has been told he will be deported from the UK weeks after he saved two children from a house fire in Manchester. Robert Chilowa, who was commended by police for the rescue, said the order felt like a “slap in the face”.
The Zimbabwean national was hospitalised for smoke inhalation after the fire at his neighbour’s house and says officials have now also told him he cannot use the NHS.
“I did a great job but now what they are saying is, ‘Get lost’,” he said on Friday. “Friends said, ‘When are you going to see the Queen? When are you going to be knighted?”
Chilowa ran out of his house barefoot when he heard screams in the early hours of 10 February. A girl who had jumped from the building told him her siblings were still inside. Fighting the heat and smoke, he called up and told the two youngsters to jump and he would catch them.
Three girls and one boy, aged between 10 and 17, and the youngsters’ uncle were taken to hospital after the fire. Mohammed Awad, 56, and Hasma Awad, 47, died at the scene.
His bravery “truly demonstrated community spirit”, police and fire chiefs said, and more lives could have been lost but for his “noble” actions, along with other neighbours.
He was also informed he could not claim benefits or get alternative accommodation from the local council. The letter said help may be available from the Salvation Army, Red Cross or religious organisations.
“It really broke my heart what I’m going through now,” Chilowa said. “I did nothing wrong. I don’t have a criminal record. Someone should have a heart.”
He was reluctant to go into details about why he did not want to return to Zimbabwe, for fear of consequences for his family still living there. The African state is in turmoil, suffers political violence and is ruled by dictator Robert Mugabe.
The fire is not being treated as suspicious. A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and every case is assessed on its individual merits. If someone is found not to need our protection we expect them to leave the UK.”
Hunger, outrage and bombs: how the Manchester Guardian reported the 1930s
From the bread lines of New York to the destruction of Guernica via an interview with Adolf Hitler, extracts from the Manchester Guardian’s reports
How the New Government Hides the Truth
From a special correspondent in Germany
28 March 1933
There is a widespread belief that Germany has been through a period in which some deplorable but nevertheless natural excesses have been committed – natural in so far as revolutions are habitually accompanied by a certain effervescence that usually leads to disorder and mob violence.
Indeed, amongst the supporters of the Hitlerite regime there is a certain pride – pride because the “revolution” was carried out with so little bloodshed, and the phrase “unbloodiest revolution in history” has become a favourite catchword.
“I only ask four years; after that the nation can do what it will with me – crucify me if it likes,” said Hitler during an interview which he gave this afternoon to a small group of British and American journalists.
. . . . .
The German Government, and more particularly Captain Göring, who, no less than Hitler himself, is the dictator of Germany, by admitting a few and denying the many excesses … attempt not only to conceal by far the greater and by far the more terrible part of the truth, but also to make themselves and their so-called “revolution” appear unique and resplendent by reason of the kindness and the magnanimity of its leaders, and the prodigious decency and self-discipline of their followers.
. . . . . .
Town of Ten Thousand in Ruins
28 April 1937
Guernica, a town of some 10,000 inhabitants, was yesterday reduced to a mass of burning ruins by countless numbers of German ‘planes which kept up a continuous bombing for three and a half hours.
The full story of yesterday’s massacre is not yet known, but what details there are are horrible enough. It is now disclosed that the rebel ‘planes bombed and set fire to isolated farmhouses for a distance of five miles around Guernica. Even flocks of sheep were machine-gunned.
California Nonprofit May Have Violated Tax Law By Donating to Anti-Muslim, Far-Right Dutch Candidate
The David Horowitz Freedom Center, a controversial California-based nonprofit that sponsors virulently anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant campaigns in the U.S., has quietly played a prominent role in financing Dutch far-right nationalist Geert Wilders’s People’s Party for Freedom (PVV). The PVV’s platform calls for an end to Muslim immigration and the closing down of mosques and Islamic schools in the Netherlands — and polls suggest it may win the largest number of seats in the Netherland’s parliamentary elections this month.
. . . . .
Records posted by the Dutch interior ministry show that in 2014 and 2015 the Freedom Center provided multiple donations totaling 126,354 euros — approximately $134,000 — to the “Stichting Vrienden van de PVV,” or the Friends of the PVV Foundation, the fundraising arm of the party.
The Friends of the PVV, a subsidiary group of the party, is the foundation used to solicit outside funds for Wilders, according to The Power of Populism, a book by historian Koen Vossen chronicling the rise of Wilders and his party. Go to the party’s website, and the “donate” button takes you to a PayPal account for the Friends of the PVV.
STATEMENT ON ARREST OF FORMER INTERCEPT REPORTER
We were horrified to learn this morning that Juan Thompson, a former employee of The Intercept, has been arrested in connection with bomb threats against the ADL and multiple Jewish Community Centers in addition to cyberstalking. These actions are heinous and should be fully investigated and prosecuted. We have no information about the charges against Thompson other than what is included in the criminal complaint. Thompson worked for The Intercept from November 2014 to January 2016, when he was fired after we discovered that he had fabricated sources and quotes in his articles.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement is deploying a new intelligence system called Investigative Case Management (ICM), created by Palantir Technologies, that will assist in President Donald Trump’s efforts to deport millions of immigrants from the United States.
In 2014, ICE awarded Palantir, the $20 billion data-mining firm founded by billionaire Trump advisor Peter Thiel, a $41 million contract to build and maintain ICM, according to government funding records. The system is scheduled to arrive at “final operating capacity” by September of this year. The documents identify Palantir’s ICM as “mission critical” to ICE, meaning that the agency will not be able to properly function without the program.
ICM funding documents analyzed by The Intercept make clear that the system is far from a passive administrator of ICE’s case flow. ICM allows ICE agents to access a vast “ecosystem” of data to facilitate immigration officials in both discovering targets and then creating and administering cases against them.
Trump Seeks Record Pentagon Budget Eclipsing Spending by Ronald Reagan & George W. Bush
President Trump has proposed increasing the military budget to just over $600 billion—a 10 percent increase—while deeply slashing the budgets of other agencies, likely including the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department. Speaking to a joint session of Congress, Trump said, "I am sending the Congress a budget that rebuilds the military, eliminates the defense sequester and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history."
Arkansas Bill Would Ban Howard Zinn Writings from Schools
And a bill before the Arkansas state legislature would prohibit publicly funded schools from teaching the works of late legendary historian Howard Zinn. In 1980, Howard Zinn published his classic book, "A People’s History of the United States," which would go on to sell more than a million copies. The Arkansas bill is not the first attempt to censor Howard Zinn’s works. Indiana’s governor attempted a similar measure in 2010, and in 2011, Arizona lawmakers removed "A People’s History" from schools in Tucson as part of the ban on Mexican American Studies.
European Parliament Votes to End Visa-Free Travel for Americans (Video)
The European Parliament voted Thursday to require Americans to obtain visas to travel within the European Union after the United States failed to agree to visa-free travel for the citizens of five EU countries.
The Independent reports:
It comes after the US failed to agree visa-free travel for citizens of five EU countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania – as part of a reciprocity agreement. US citizens can normally travel to all countries in the bloc without a visa.
The vote urges the revocation of the scheme within two months, meaning Americans will have to apply for extra documents for 12 months after the European Commission implements a “delegated act” to bring the change into effect. The Commission discovered three years ago that the US was not meeting its obligations under the reciprocity agreement but has not yet taken any legal action. The latest vote, prepared by the civil liberties committee and approved by a plenary session of parliament, gives the Commission two months to act before MEPs can consider action in the European Court of Justice.
Australia, Brunei, Japan and Canada were also failing in their obligations, but all four have lifted, or are soon to lift, any visa restrictions on travel for EU citizens. The Commission is legally obliged to act to suspend the visa waiver for Americans, but the European Parliament or the Council of the European Union have the chance to object to the “delegated act” it uses to do so.
Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, an undocumented immigrant, was released from detention after his pro-Trump community rallied around him.
President Trump promised a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigration, and his administration followed through last month by releasing a set of harsh immigration guidelines. Now, the effects of Trump’s policy are being felt across the U.S.
In the weeks since the president took office, startling details from individual deportation cases have come to light. There was the undocumented mother of two who had lived in the U.S. for decades; the undocumented woman with a brain tumor, who was held in a detention center despite her medical condition; and the 22-year-old undocumented Dreamer who was detained moments after speaking about immigration at a news conference.
These headlines have provoked outrage and empathy from readers around the country, but the detentions and deportations have continued nonetheless. One man’s story, however, has been touted across social media as an antidote to this tragic narrative.
Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, an undocumented immigrant arrested and detained last month, was released after his community—including local law enforcement —rallied around him.
Deutsche Bank prépare une augmentation de capital de 8 milliards d’euros
Revirement de stratégie pour la banque allemande, qui envisage aussi la mise en Bourse d’une partie de son département de gestion de fortune et de garder Postbank, faute de repreneur.
. . . .
Si elles étaient confirmées, ces mesures constitueraient un revirement de stratégie pour la banque. Selon Bloomberg, l’opportunité d’une augmentation de capital doit être discutée lors d’un conseil de surveillance prévu le 16 mars. Jusqu’ici, le PDG de la banque, John Cryan, avait exclu toute opération de cette nature. La vente de Postbank était également une des priorités du dirigeant, qui espérait augmenter par ce biais son taux de capitaux propres ainsi que la rentabilité du groupe.
Mais le projet s’est heurté à l’impossibilité de trouver un acheteur et à l’opposition du syndicat Verdi, qui craignait des suppressions d’emplois. Postbank, qui emploie 18 000 salariés, pourrait être réintégrée dans le groupe. Quelque 30 % du très rentable département de gestion de fortune pourraient aussi être mis en Bourse.
Enghien 1 March 2017