About TRP

The Rational Progressive is a publication focused on progressive news and issues. Focused forward and focused on the facts, we avoid demons and demagogues.



by James Andre

  • The fight against the Right is over. The Left lost.

    The Guardian just out with a story connecting Trump's Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Billionaire Robert Mercer, and the Brexit campaign that is severing England from the EU. This is a frightening, but not surprising, story that adds to a growing list of facts that demonstrate the existence and operation of a shrinking number of geopolitical players whose power is growing… Read more… 

  • Trump raised more money from small donors than Clinton and Sanders combined. America has a problem.

      The Campaign Finance Institute just released an analysis of FEC filings for the 2016 election. You may remember Bernie Sanders bragging about the money he was raking in from small donors at an average of $27 each. Well, Hillary Clinton beat him in small donations. And Trump beat them both - combined. Not only did Trump raise more small… Read more… 

  • Think About This – Monday 8/8/16

    Here are a few things to think about this week when you are talking politics and policy: • The world grows more peaceful and prosperous everyday. Violence and warfare have been declining since World War II. • Respect for civil and human rights in the U.S. is growing greater every day. More police are wearing cameras, and more are being… Read more… 

  • Haters, Whine All You Want. Hillary’s Nomination Is Unprecedented.

    I just wanted to write a quick note to Hillary supporters with some info for when you hear haters complaining that Hillary is not the first woman to run for president. That is true, however:   • The Clinton campaign is not making that claim. Maybe some in the media have. • Hillary is the first woman to win the… Read more… 


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Progressivism

Progressivism is not an ideology at all, but an attitude towards the world of politics that is far less black-and-white than conservatism or liberalism, breaking free from the false and divisive dichotomy of liberal vs. conservative that has dominated American politics for too long.

Progressives aren't simply liberals; progressives see the world for what it is, accept it as ever-changing and dynamic, and choose the best course of action in line with decidedly American values.

-From an article on Alternet.org by Andrew Garib

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The fight against the Right is over. The Left lost.

US billionaire Robert Mercer

The Guardian just out with a story connecting Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Billionaire Robert Mercer, and the Brexit campaign that is severing England from the EU.

This is a frightening, but not surprising, story that adds to a growing list of facts that demonstrate the existence and operation of a shrinking number of geopolitical players whose power is growing exponentially. Almost to a man, these players are well known for their fascistic and egocentric tendencies.

If there is one point I could drive home to the fractious middle and left, it is this: for all intents and purposes, the rapacity of the Right has taken over. They have won. Their independence and depth of control over events in the world is unparalleled.

That is why I say time and again we have no time and should have no tolerance for purity tests. We must vote for the best outcomes, not the best personalities. Otherwise we are literally lining ourselves up in front of the firing squad.

In 2016 the best choice was Hillary Clinton. Even if you think she is another of this type of self-interested corporatist, we know from her actions that our outcomes with her would have been better. At this point that is all that matters.

NEVER vote for the guy that tells you you can play a rigged game and beat the house. For fuck’s sake take a look around. Casinos and state lotteries explicitly explain the terrible odds and they take in billions. Trump did the same thing.

Betting on revolution against a house that controls the guns, fuel, food, and water is about the most asinine and useless thing you can do. It is no longer 1776 or 1861. Today’s despots have private jets and boots on the ground.


 

 

 

Third white terrorist arrested in less than a week; White Americans: 3, Muslims: 0

Ex-convict and white supremacist Benjamin McDowell, 28, was arrested after buying a handgun and ammunition from an FBI agent for $109.

McDowell had complained on facebook that fellow white supremacists were all talk and no action: “All they wanne (sic) do is stay loaded on drugs the Jews put here to destroy white man and they feast on the drugs. they should be Feasting on the enemy that stole their Heritage and their bloodline” he wrote, also citing Dylan Roof, the white mass murderer sentenced to death for the murder of a group of black churchgoers.

Authorities began investigating McDowell in December after he posted threats to a synagogue on Facebook.

Since President Trump was sworn in, vowing to keep America safe from terrorism, and issuing a travel ban against Muslim countries that was later blocked by the courts, this is the third white American to be investigated for a terrorist plot.

Less than a week previously, William Christopher Gibbs, a self-described “White Racial Loyalist” and member of the Georgia Church Of Creativity, a white-separatist organization founded in 1973, was arrested in Georgia after complaining at a hospital about possible exposure to the deadly toxin ricin.

An investigation of Gibbs’ car turned up traces of the toxin. Gibbs was arrested on state charges of reckless conduct and probation violation, and is currently under investigation by the FBI.

Ricin has been used by white supremacists before. In 2014, two other Georgia men were sentenced to 10 years in prison for a plot to make the deadly poison ricin and disperse it. During the investigation of the plot, one man was recorded talking about a list of government employees, politicians, corporate leaders and members of the media he thought needed to die.

Finally, about the same time last week that Gibbs was being arrested for investigation over ricin, Mark Charles Barnett (48, Ocala, FL) was delivering 10 homemade bombs to a confidential source in a plot to place explosives in Target stores along the east coast, an act of economic terrorism designed to depress Target Stores stock. Barnett is a previously convicted felon and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

While the White House seems to be focused on the threat from Muslim extremists, even purportedly attempting to rewrite the blocked immigration ban, as yet no terror plots by Muslim extremists have been uncovered. Yet, three white terrorists have been arrested in just one week.

So far it seems that law enforcement is still keeping a watchful eye out for all potential offenders. However, with Trump at war with the intelligence services over leaks, and the increasing politicization of law enforcement, it may be just a matter of time before something slips through the cracks.

Trump complains about Flynn leaks, still no statement on Russian provocations

During a mid-week joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump complained that the leaks were an attempt to “cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had”, and that “It’s a criminal act.”

Trump has called reports about now-resigned National Security Advisor Flynn’s conversations with Russian officials the work of “fake media”, but when Press Secretary Spicer was asked what was fake about the reports, his response was  “I’ll get back to you on that.”

The new Trump administration has been under a cloud since the election campaign because of its connections to Russia, specifically an unusual amount of communication between a presidential campaign and Russian officials, and Trump’s unwillingness to clarify his relationship with Russia or Vladimir Putin, or even criticize him, going so as to imply that the United States is as equally guilty of transgressions, including murder, as Putin. An unusual position for a President of the United States.

Questions about Trump’s relationship with Russia and potential blackmail materials Russian intelligence services may have on Trump grow each day, as the White House has made no statements about the administration’s relationship or contacts with Russia, and an even bigger concern, no statement about recent Russian military provocations.

There have been two proximity incidents between Russian aircraft and U.S. forces in the past week. A Russian intelligence gathering is currently cruising the east coast of the United States. And the President’s National Security Advisor was forced out after not being forthcoming about his communications with Russian officials.

The administration’s only comments have been that Flynn was treated unfairly by the media, and to call intelligence leaks that led to Flynn’s resignation “criminal”. The President tweeted about the leaks “One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

As the White House has shown no inclination even under these circumstances to shed light on their relationships with Russian officials, or to even criticize, or question, anything the Russians do, even when provoking the U.S. military, it seems that questions about the Trump administration and Russia will continue.

Chaffetz asks for investigation over Flynn

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz on Tuesday said there was no need to investigate former National Security Advisor Flynn’s conversations with Russian officials because the situation was “working itself out.” On Wednesday, Chaffetz sent a letter to the Inspector General of the Department of Justice requesting “an immediate investigation” not into Flynn’s conversations, but into suspected mishandling of classified information as evidenced by public leaks about Flynn’s conversations and administration discussions about the matter.

The U.S. representative for Utah, Chaffetz may be best known for the interminable investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and for admitting without apology that he “absolutely” voted to cut funding for the U.S. embassy in Benghazi – the statement about cutting funding coming while investigating Clinton’s role in the Benghazi attack which occurred under her tenure as Secretary of State.

After becoming House Oversight Chairman, Chaffetz called potential investigations into Hillary Clinton a “target rich environment” promising that “we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up.” He later tweeted his support for then candidate Trump, also stating “HRC is bad for the USA”.

Chaffetz’s investigations turned up no evidence of illegalities, and were subsequently dropped after Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election.

Hours before resigning from the Trump administration, Flynn criticized the leaks, saying “You call them leaks. It’s a criminal act. This is a crime.”

Each new administration in the White House brings their own staff and appointees. Incoming presidents can replace many of the heads and top positions in most organizations, but the majority of employees of any agency, including intelligence services, are career employees, working through multiple administrations. It is impossible to replace everyone without crippling the organizations and swamping a new administration, preventing them from focusing effort on their agenda.

The new administration seems to be coming face-to-face with the harsh reality of Washington: you can’t change the culture overnight, and loyalties stretch far beyond any one presidential term. We are getting a demonstration of what you get when you elect an anti-establishment candidate: Washington will not be ‘torn down’, and the result will ultimately be a chaotic administration.

Price tag for border wall estimated at $21.6 billion

A Donald Trump for President campaign sticker is shown attached to a U.S. Customs sign hanging on the border fence between Mexico and the United States near Calexico, California, U.S. February 8, 2017. Picture taken February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Reuters reports on in internal Homeland Security review of the costs and timeline for building a wall on the U.S./Mexico border. DHS estimates the cost at over $21B and the project to take between three to four years.

Of course, these numbers far exceed the optimistic projections that have been stated up to this point, and Mexico has made it clear that they have no intention of paying for the wall.

It is odd that Republicans, notorious for their lack of confidence in the government’s ability to manage large-scale projects for some reason feel that this project will somehow come in under budget and under schedule.  Large scale projects like this, either in the public or private sector, typically require several years of planning alone. While building a wall seems a simple prospect, site surveys and logistics alone for a project that covers such a large area requires a great deal of planning.

The current DHS report is a plan for 1250 miles of wall to be completed sometime in 2020.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-immigration-wall-exclusive-idUSKBN15O2ZN

Democrats’ War on Due Process and Terrorist Fearmongering Long Predate Orlando

Even worse was the messaging that came from an operative with CAP, who has become a little Twitter star among the Democratic faithful for his endless Cheneyite exploitation of terrorism fears to attack Republicans and justify gun watchlists. This is how he described Feinstein’s bill:

It’s hard to put into words how appalling that is. This CAP official is not only outright lying about Feinstein’s bill: pretending that it bars “terrorists” — rather than people placed on a suspicion watchlist — from buying guns. Worse than rank dishonesty, he is literally, explicitly equating people who will be deemed suspicious by the U.S. government — overwhelmingly Muslim, needless to say — with “terrorists.” As Sam Adler-Bell put it about this tweet, “Referring to all people on the DOJ’s watchlist as ‘terrorists’ is legally incorrect and ethically ugly.” In Volsky’s mind, or at least in his propaganda, anyone deemed by the government to be suspicious is now a “terrorist” — no evidence needed, no trial held, no due process accorded.

For eight years, this mentality was the driving force behind the worst Bush/Cheney war-on-terror abuses. No matter what the extremist policy was — indefinite detention, warrantless eavesdropping, torture, no-fly lists, Guantánamo, rendition, CIA black sites — Republicans would justify it by saying it was merely being done to “terrorists” and would accuse their due process-advocating critics of wanting to “protect terrorists.” What they actually meant was that all of this was being done to people accused by the U.S. government of involvement in terrorism. But in their mind, “government accusations of terrorism” were synonymous with “proof of guilt.”

That is exactly the warped, Orwellian formulation Democrats embrace: As is extremely obvious, the Democrats’ definition of “terrorist” is “anyone whom the U.S. government suspects of being a terrorist.” Just as was true of all those GOP abuses, what makes these Democratic proposals so dangerous is that they constitute a war on the most basic right of due process. As Vox’s Dara Lind explained, “If you give the government more power to ban terrorists from having guns, you’re reinforcing the power it has to define who counts as a terrorist.” That’s why the ACLU yesterday wrote to the Senate and denounced Feinstein’s bill:

Source: Democrats’ War on Due Process and Terrorist Fearmongering Long Predate Orlando


 

Where Does the Islamic State Get Its Weapons?

The new data were collected by a three-year-old, London-based group called Conflict Armament Research, which sends investigators to conflict zones to identify the types and origins of weaponry. Its latest report, financed by the European Union, lists the origins of more than 1,700 cartridges collected in July and August in northern Iraq and northern Syria by investigators working alongside Kurdish forces that had fought IS.

The cartridges they found after four battles were manufactured for machine and submachine guns, rifles, and pistols. One Soviet-manufactured cartridge dated from 1945, a grim testament to the long-lasting impacts of weapons production.

Manufacturers in Russia and the former Soviet Union made a total of 492 of the recovered shells, according to the report. Russia has been a major arms supplier to the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, whose forces also have been battling the Islamic State.

The presence of such weapons in IS’s hands makes clear that its fighters seized substantial stocks not only from Iraqi troops, but from Syrian troops as well. Another 26 of the recovered shells were made in Iran, an ally of Assad’s, and 18 were made in Syria itself, the report states.

The next-biggest country of origin for IS’s weapons was China. Of the cartridges recovered from Islamic State forces 445 came from China.

The third-highest supplier was the United States, with 323 cartridges, the report said. Some of these shells, meant for M16A4 assault rifleswere made at the U.S. Army’s munitions factory in Independence, Missouri, according to the report.

Source: Where Does the Islamic State Get Its Weapons?


 

Hillary Clinton full CNN interview

cnnhrc-trp

Hillary Clinton discusses EgyptAir, the war on terror, and Donald Trump with CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – September 21, 2015

TRP News with James Andre.

This week – New numbers for the budget deficit and the same old story with Republicans and the federal budget. Europe struggles with the record flow of migrants. The Left is adopting the destructive and divisive tactics of the Right, and what does it mean to be ‘progressive’?

0:30 Budget
8:30 Migrants
16:02 Political Tactics
28:42 Progressivism
For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – July 13, 2015

TRP News with James Andre.

This week South Carolina finally takes down the confederate flag from the capitol, BP reaches a settlement on the Gulf spill while Shell moves forward with Arctic drilling plans, Islamic State propaganda and activity around the world, and a deal with Iran on nuclear research is said to be imminent.

0:30 South Carolina Confederate flag
2:50 BP Settlement/Shell arctic drilling
9:35 Islamic State
16:09 Iran negotiations

 

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – June 1, 2015

TRP News with James Andre.

This week focus on Iowa and a new poll in the presidential primary race, Provisions of the Patriot Act expire including the NSA’s bulk data collection program, Iraq pushes back ISIS but loses 2,300 humvees, the migrant crises around the world escalates with the summer weather, and the migrant crises in southeast Asia may become a sticking point for Malaysia and the TPP.

:20 Quinnipiac Primary Poll
6:42 Patriot Act Provisions
13:22 ISIS
15:30 Migrant Crises
26:25 Malaysia/TPP

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews

 

 

 

Saudi-led coalition announces end to Yemen operation

Smoke rises during an air strike on an army weapons depot on a mountain overlooking Yemen's capital Sanaa

The Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen for almost a month announced on Tuesday the end to its military operation, but a Saudi spokesman said forces would continue to target the Iran-allied Houthi movement as necessary.

“Operation Decisive Storm has achieved its goals…(including) removing the threat to Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries especially in terms of heavy weapons,” said a statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA.

“With its end, the new Operation Restoring Hope begins with the following goals: continuing to protect civilians, continuing to fight terrorism and continuing to facilitate the evacuation of foreign nationals and to intensify relief and medical assistance to the Yemeni people.”

The move suggests the campaign’s next phase is more political than military, especially after almost a month of bombing that destroyed or damaged heavy weaponry held by the Houthis’s allies in Yemen’s army, but that hostilities are not definitively over.

>> Read original full article.


 

Why Netanyahu’s speech didn’t do his American allies any favors

Netanyahu argues that if the U.S. walked away, Iran would eventually capitulate on everything; the “better deal” he imagined is one in which Iran does everything short of dismantling its government. He had nothing to say about why this might happen if we weren’t negotiating, other than that we should “keep up the pressure.” That’s his alternative: Do nothing, and instead of just going ahead and developing nuclear weapons, Iran will see the light and completely reverse everything it’s been doing.

To call that position “absurd” is too kind. You don’t have to be some kind of foreign policy whiz to grasp that there’s something weird about arguing that 1) Iran is a nation run by genocidal maniacs; 2) they want nuclear weapons so they can annihilate Israel; and 3) the best way to stop this is to abandon negotiations to limit their nuclear program and just wait to see what they do. But that’s the position Netanyahu and his supporters in the Republican Party are now committed to.

>>Read original article – The Washington Post.


 

Mass shooting hysteria and the death of John Crawford

umbrella-or-gun

…there may be unintended consequences to our oversaturated coverage of mass shootings and the widespread belief that they’re increasing, even if neither produces a single new law. In 2010, there was an incident at a Las Vegas-area Costco that bears a striking resemblance to what happened in Ohio. Police gunned down Eric Scott, 38, outside the store after employees complained about the gun he was legally carrying. Though the Costco had a surveillance system, the store claimed that the cameras mysteriously malfunctioned at the time of the shooting. Scott was a West Point graduate with no criminal record. His family says he may have been agitated when hassled about a gun he was legally permitted to carry, but like Crawford’s family, they find it hard to believe that a guy with no criminal history or emotional problems would have intentionally provoked the police into shooting him.

It isn’t difficult to see how the misconception that mass shootings are becoming ubiquitous might make us see threats and potential mass killers instead of, say, a guy checking out a pellet gun, or a Costco shopper with a legal sidearm. And it isn’t difficult to see how a frightened witness might even exaggerate what he saw to get the police to take him seriously. Last month, the California State University San Marcos campus was put on lockdown and a SWAT team was sent in after someone mistook a staff member carrying an umbrella for a mass shooter. Umbrellas have caused similar lockdowns in Issaquah, Wash.;  Fort Washington, Pa.; and Akron, Ohio.

via Mass shooting hysteria and the death of John Crawford – The Washington Post.

 


 

Ferguson – You’re Doing It Wrong

Riot police stand guard as demonstrators protest the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri

 


Last night someone shouted. Last night someone moved a traffic cone. Last night someone stood in the street. Someone threw a bottle, threw a rock. Last night someone threw their hands in the air.

Today, people are waking to closed schools and a state of emergency. They are waking to military troops and military vehicles. Some walk through streets and yards where tear gas and smoke still cling to the buildings, trees, grass, and ground. They walk through streets strewn with gas and smoke canisters, and ‘less lethal’ riot rounds. Some have yet to wash the tear gas from their clothes.

Now we are told press will be arrested if they don’t ‘look like’ press. Now we are told that the reason for the overwhelming militarized response is a few ‘determined violent agitators’ from outside the community.

To the Missouri State Police, to the St. Louis police, and to all law enforcement in Ferguson:

If all you have to show for all the noise, all the man hours, all the thousands of dollars spent, all the gas, the smoke, the smashed and burned businesses, the terrorized children – if all you have to show for all that effort fighting ‘a few violent agitators’ is six reporters in jail, two handguns, and a bottle of Olde English –

You’re doing it wrong.

 


Report: Missouri among worst states for gun violence, trafficking

The category where Missouri ranked as the worst of 50 states was in the “time to crime” measure of how quickly a gun is used to commit a crime. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms ATF says a “strong indicator” of illegal gun trafficking is when the time between getting a gun and using it to commit a crime is less than two years.

In Missouri, the percentage of guns used in crimes in 2009 that were in that short “time to crime” category was a whopping 40.2 percent, according to a Mayors Against Illegal Guns study. That contrasts with the national average of 22.6 percent, and Illinois’ 17 percent. The only other state anywhere close to Missouri’s level was Arizona, at 30 percent.

via Report: Missouri among worst states for gun violence, trafficking – St. Louis Beacon.

 


 

 

 

Eric Holder, President Obama to meet on Ferguson

Attorney General Eric Holder will brief President Barack Obama on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday afternoon after perhaps the most violent night of demonstrations since the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The president, who arrived at the White House early Monday morning for a scheduled break in his family vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, will meet with Holder at 1:15 p.m., according to the White House.

Early Monday morning, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced he was deploying the state National Guard to Ferguson to address the “intensifying violent attacks” there. The Democratic governor’s announcement came after increased tensions in the Missouri city following the release of the identity of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown on Aug. 9, and the institution of a state of emergency and curfew over the weekend.

via Eric Holder, President Obama to meet on Ferguson – Jonathan Topaz – POLITICO.com.

 


 

 

 

U.S. revives group to fight homegrown extremists


Oklahoma-city-bombing-sofrep-630x433

The United States is re-establishing a law enforcement group to fight those it designates as domestic terrorists, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Following hate-motivated shootings such as the one at a Jewish Community Center in Kansas City, Missouri in April, federal prosecutors have pressed the need to coordinate intelligence about such criminals on a national level, Justice Department officials told Reuters.

In a statement, Attorney General Eric Holder said the United States remains concerned about threats from Islamic extremist groups, but other motives for attacks within U.S. borders must also be watched.

“We must also concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice,” Holder said in announcing the group, named the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee.

via U.S. revives group to fight homegrown extremists | Reuters.

 


 

John Kerry: Edward Snowden a ‘coward … traitor’

Edward Snowden is a “coward,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday in response to the NSA leaker’s first television interview.

“Edward Snowden is a coward,” Kerry told Chuck Todd on MSNBC. “He is a traitor. And he has betrayed his country. And if he wants to come home tomorrow to face the music, he can do so.”

In a series of interviews on the Wednesday morning shows, Kerry addressed the interview between Snowden and NBC News anchor Brian Williams.

The nation’s top diplomat conceded to Todd that the debate about privacy and the NSA would not have “risen” to its current level without the Snowden disclosures. But he insisted the issues were important to President Barack Obama before the leaks and said the disclosures imperiled national security.

“More importantly, much more importantly, what he’s done is hurt his country,” he said. “What he’s done is expose, for terrorists, a lot of mechanisms which now affect operational security of those terrorists and make it harder for the United States to break up plots, harder to protect our nation.”

via John Kerry: Edward Snowden a ‘coward … traitor’ – Jonathan Topaz – POLITICO.com.