Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Woman fired for giving Trump motorcade the finger

Late last month, a woman biking alongside President Donald Trump‘s motorcade extended her middle finger and became a folk hero to the left. Now, she’s out of a job.

Juli Briskman revealed that her employer, Akima LLC, fired her once they realized she was the woman in the picture, she told the Huffington Post.

On its About page, Akima says it has a wide variety of interests in government contracting, playing “leadership roles in information technology, data communications, systems engineering, software development, cybersecurity, space operations, aviation, construction, facility management, fabrication and logistics.”

Briskman said that she recently changed her Facebook profile picture to herself giving Trump’s motorcade the finger, and when Akima found out about it, its HR department notified Briskman that she had violated its policy on social media posts.

“They said, ‘We’re separating from you. Basically, you cannot have ‘lewd’ or ‘obscene’ things in your social media. So they were calling flipping him off ‘obscene.’”

Briskman said she informed the company that her social media profile did not associate her with the company in any way, but Akima reportedly was concerned that her employment with the company could negatively affect their business, as they rely on government contracts. From the Huffington Post:

Briskman, who worked in marketing and communications at Akima for just over six months, said she emphasized to the executives that she wasn’t on the job when the incident happened and that her social media pages don’t mention her employer. They told her that because Akima was a government contractor, the photo could hurt their business, she said.

According to Briskman, her termination stands in contrast to a male employee at the company, who she says posted on Facebook in a thread about Black Lives Matter, calling someone “a fucking Libtard asshole.” Briskman said he deleted the post at the company’s request and was allowed to keep his job.

Read the whole interview at the Huffington Post here.

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/trump-motorade-finger-woman-fired/

Dem politician sees #Science disaster brewing at the White House (others, not so much)

Democrat Maryland legislator and candidate for U.S. Congress Aruna Miller sees a science emergency in the Trump administration:

Read more: https://twitchy.com/dougp-3137/2017/11/25/dem-politician-sees-science-disaster-brewing-at-the-white-house-others-not-so-much/

Meet the Porn Star Running for President in 2020

Cherie DeVille reasons that if a reality TV personality with zero previous political experience can be voted into office, then why not her? She feels just as qualified, if not more. The physical therapist has firm opinions on immigration, education, environmental reform, and how to handle the war on drugs.

Shes also a porn star.

The 39-year-old caused a bit of a stir when she, during a press conference, announced her bid to run for President of the United States in 2020. She was joined by her running mate Coolio, the rapper of Gangstas Paradise fame; Press Secretary Alix Lynx, herself a porn star as well; and DeVilles bodyguard, the WWE wrestler Virgil, who will serve as head of security.

Virgils familiarity and relationship with Donald Trump can help smooth over the transition process when Cherie DeVille is named President, the announcement read, alluding to the fact that Virgil and Trump crossed paths a few times when the 45th president hosted WrestleMania in the aughts, including his infamous Battle of the Billionaires with WWE owner Vince McMahon. DeVilles campaign, sponsored by the mens clothing brand Fucking Awesome, isnt the first time a porn star has announced a bid for U.S. public office. In 2003, adult actress Mary Carey ran for governor of California in the recall election (then lieutenant governor in 2005), and in 2009, Stormy Daniels launched a brief bid for Louisiana state senator. While Carey ran as an independent and Daniels a Republican, DeVille is representing the Democratic Partywhich makes sense, given the GOPs aversion to porn.

DeVille, meanwhile, considers the notoriety shes gained working in the adult entertainment business for the past six and a half years more of an asset than a hindrance.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, DeVille explains how serious she is about her run for the White House, and that this isnt just another desperate bid for attention. The slogan for her 2020 presidential campaign: Make America Fucking Awesome Again.

Do you have any background in politics?

Cherie DeVille: I dont. I grew up in the Washington D.C. area so Ive been somewhat surrounded by it but Ive never held political office.

All of my skeletons are on the internet for all to see. If you discount porn I have zero moral scandals. Id be a breath of fresh air.
Cherie DeVille

Why run for President?

It began when Trump was elected president. I always took it for granted that whether the Republicans or the Democrats won, someone reasonably appropriate was in office even if they werent my choice. Until this election cycle. I was incredibly disappointed in the political processand thats when I realized Trump basically won because hes a celebrity. It made good television. If Americans are going to vote based on celebrity and scandal, well, I can give them that.

What would you change if you were in office?

Im most passionate about health care, education, and immigration.

How would you handle the health care issue?

Im an adult actress and a physical therapist but Ive spent more of my life as a physical therapist. Over the seventeen years Ive spent as a physical therapist, Ive seen the repercussions of poverty and middle class Americans with staggering health care bills making choices about their bodies based not on their health or their needs but money. Health care is a basic human need that should and can be met.

You mentioned being passionate about education, what would you change about it?

Im not like some hardcore Democrats that feel all higher education should be free. I think college is the new high school. If we want our country to be competitive with the rest of the world, then our state-run educational institutions should be free. Im not suggesting we socialize all educationwe can still have private schoolsbut high school today is not the minimum; its not what our citizens need to succeed in the current economy.

How do you expect people to react to you as a porn star running for POTUS?

Negatively. Im not saying this to insult myself or my profession. I did my first scene as a personal larkit was something I wanted to say Ive done. Even if I dont win the bid for Democratic candidate I hope that my run can at least make enough of a splash to get some of my ideas out there, for people to see me as a sex worker and a human being. I want to expand the perception of sex workers.

What do you say to critics out there who are concerned with your lack of experience in politics? And your background in porn?

If Trump hadnt won Id have said no one without political experience can run for office, it cant be donebut clearly we as a country have decided you dont need political experience to run for the highest political office. Negative expectations? All of my skeletons are on the internet for all to see. If you discount porn I have zero moral scandals. Id be a breath of fresh air.

What would you try to legalize if you were voted into power?

I know this is controversial but I feel complete drug decriminalization is important. In poor communities, doing illegal things is the only chance some people have for advancement and they choose it, which forces them outside of the law. I think we could decrease the violence in underserved and poor communities by decriminalizing all drugs, not just marijuana. At the end of the day, not everyones going to start using heroin. Lets be honest: if someone wants to use heroin in any part of the country theyll find a way to get it. Decriminalizing it will keep the people who started selling drugs as a way to survive out of jail.

What about porn? Would you want to legalize filming everywhere?

Its absurd that its not legal in every state, but at the same time the adult community has to centralize somewhere. There are only a few hundred people making porn for the world, so wed congregate somewhere anyway.

Why should people vote for you?

Because I really do want to make America great again like Trump said, but in a way that helps all of the people. Every politician says they will help the middle class but few of them have ever been middle class. Ive actually lived my life as a middle and upper middle class citizen, and Coolio has grown up in poverty, so we understand what its like not to have decent health care or educational opportunities handed to us in a way most politicians cant understand. How can we ask the ultra-rich to make choices about something they dont have a handle on? They cant comprehend how the American people really live.

What would you do differently?

I have faith in the American people to do the right thing. Certain choices should be left up to them.

Do you really think people are that responsible?

Weve been pampered. We are a society of entitlementlook at our youngest millennial generationWe need to engage, we need to feel responsible for ourselves and the world, we need to get in the game. We cannot be passive and allow the Donald Trumps of the world to step all over us. We do have power and we need to wake up. I do have faith in people. We created this problem and now we need to snap out of it.

Do you think its cultural or generational?

Its a cultural thing. These kids are not at fault they were raised like thisthis is the advent of technology. Society has changed and we need to help the new generation of workers be strong and responsible. We need to help them, not roll our eyes at them.

What are your opinions on the sexual harassment allegations in the media?

Its disgusting. If youre an actor, actress, singer, or comedian in Hollywood it happens and I know people in all of those professions at the highest levels. When I go out with friends who are in those various professions, Im the only one whos never sucked a dick for a job and that is ridiculous. My comedian friends, my mainstream actress friends, and absolutely my fashion model friends have all felt pressure or been directly asked to perform sexual favors in the direct or indirect promise of work, and its disgusting. The male culture in Hollywood is disgusting to me and Im thrilled that these ladies are speaking out. I want those men to know we wont take this anymore.

Youve named the rapper Coolio as your running mate. How did you decide on him?

I knew I needed to do something crazy to get the American peoples attention. I needed someone that was passionate and well-known but it was also for shock value.

What steps have you taken to make your bid for president a reality?

Ive been testing the waters to see if anyone cares, and the past three weeks cemented it for me. It seems like the public is interested in hearing what I have to say, so Im doing this. Im going to find investors, file the paperwork, and do this.

How do you plan to finance your campaign?

Itd be silly to say the obvious. Im not going to take money from big lobbyists, not that theyd give it to me anyway. So Im going to go the grassroots way and start small.

Are you launching this campaign for attention?

My vagina gets more attention than this. Millions of people watch me everyday around the world. Im not trying to be conceited but as one of the few performers that works nearly every day of the week my porn is more prevalent than almost anybody elses. Whether people want to admit to knowing me or not, if youve watched porn youve watched me. My pornography has already and will continue to get more attention than this bid for president.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/meet-the-porn-star-running-for-president-in-2020

Free Press Group Ready to Cut Off WikiLeaks

In the heat of the presidential election campaign last year, Xeni Jardin, a journalist and free speech advocate, developed a sickening feeling about WikiLeaks.

Jardin had been a supporter of the radical transparency group since at least 2010, when it published hundreds of thousands of U.S. military and State Department documents leaked by Chelsea Manning. In 2012, Jardin was a founding member of the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit established as a censorship-proof conduit for donations to WikiLeaks after PayPal and U.S. credit card companies imposed a financial blockade on the site.

But during the election season, Jardin noticed WikiLeaks veering violently off its original mission of holding governments and corporations to account. Beginning in July of last year, Julian Assange, WikiLeaks driving force, began releasing a cache of stolen email from the Democratic National Committee, and injecting WikiLeaks influential Twitter feed with the kind of alt-right rhetoric and conspiracy theories once reserved for Breitbart and InfoWars.

Suddenly the voice of WikiLeaks seemed to be all about questioning one candidateHillary Clintonand doing so in a way that was designed to benefit the other, Jardin recalled to The Daily Beast. The tone also seemed to echo some of the language on the far right. So when the guy in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, who is normally of the extreme left, is echoing Nazi publications, something is wrong.

Her misgivings eventually led to a tense confrontation with Assange and touched off a year-long debate among the directors at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which has handled around $500,000 in individual donations for WikiLeaks over the last five years. Now the foundation acknowledges its on the brink of ending its assistance to WikiLeaks, on the grounds that the financial censorship Assange faced in 2012 is no longer in place.

At our last board meeting in October 2017, a consensus arose that we could not find any evidence of an ongoing blockade involving PayPal, Visa, or Mastercard, wrote Trevor Timm, co-founder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, in a statement to The Daily Beast. We decided we would therefore formally notify WikiLeaks that unless they could demonstrate that a blockade was still in effect, we would no longer provide a mechanism for people to donate to them.

***

The practical effect of the move is minimalWikiLeaks donors in America may no longer be able to claim a tax write-off. The symbolic import is much larger. The Freedom of the Press Foundation is something of a Justice League for the online privacy, transparency, civil liberties, whistleblower, and press-rights communities. Its board of directors includes Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower; Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers; open-internet pioneer John Perry Barlow; Citizenfour filmmaker Laura Poitras and her fellow Intercept founder Glenn Greenwald, the two journalists to whom Snowden provided his trove; the actor/activist John Cusack; Electronic Frontier Foundation activism director Rainey Reitman; technologist Micah Lee; and journalist/activist Timm, who founded the group with Reitman. (See the disclosures at the end of this article.)

Several members of the board, including Snowden, have grown disenchanted with WikiLeaks. Snowden has for some time considered it to have strayed far from its laudatory transparency and accountability missions, sources familiar with his thinking have told The Daily Beast.

The foundations impending split with Assange is a microcosm of a broader anxiety over him amongst his erstwhile allies now that WikiLeaks has made common cause with extreme right-wing forces, principally Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Some consider WikiLeaks transparency mission to dwarf Assanges personal crusades and transgressionswhich go beyond politics and into allegations of sexual assault. Others consider Assange to have brought WikiLeaks, its ostensible principles, and its advocates into disrepute.

When the guy in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, who is normally of the extreme left, is echoing Nazi publications, something is wrong.

WikiLeaks claims to be a transparency organization suffered a body blow on Monday night. The Atlantics Julia Ioffe published portions of a Twitter direct-message conversation the @WikiLeaks account, an account controlled at least in part by Assange, held with Donald Trump Jr.

The correspondence lasted from at least September 2016 to July 2017. In a series of pitches to Trumps son, @WikiLeaks provided the campaign with the guessed password of an anti-Trump political action committee. Just hours before Trumps victory, @WikiLeaks pitched the son of the eventual president of the United States to refuse conceding the election in the event of a Trump loss and instead CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging that occurred. Doing so would have plunged the U.S. into a political crisis that pundits were warning could easily turn violent.

After the election, when Trumps fortunes had clearly turned, WikiLeaks took a new approach: It floated to Trump Jr. the trial balloon of convincing Australia to appoint Assange as its next U.S. ambassador.

The outfit that once prided itself on promoting transparency and accountability was now stirring election chaos. Its hard to see what principled cause is advanced by advising a losing presidential candidate to question the outcome of a democratic election, said Ben Wizner, a senior ACLU attorney who also represents Snowden. It was not easy for even former defenders of WikiLeaks mission to see Assange as a regular guest on Sean Hannitys show, he added.

Many of WikiLeaks left-wing and libertarian supporters have struggled over the years to reconcile the idea of WikiLeaks with the reality; to maintain a principled stand for free speech and transparency without seeming to endorse the whole of Assanges personal and professional behavior.

Each WikiLeaks defender has their own internal red line. In 2010, Assanges plans to post Army field reports that included the names of Iraqi informants led several of WikiLeaks key staffers, including Assanges second-in-command, to shut down the sites infrastructure and resign.

Later, a rape allegation in Sweden, and Assanges decision to take refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy rather than confront the case, cost him more support, particularly as he dodged a reckoning and portrayed himself as a political prisoner. (Assange claims he evaded the case for fear Sweden would extradite him to the U.S.) Last year, Assanges wholesale dumping of stolen DNC emails drew criticism from Edward Snowden. Democratizing information has never been more vital, and @Wikileaks has helped, Snowden tweeted. But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake. The mild rebuke drew a sharp response from Assange: Opportunism wont earn you a pardon from Clinton.

***

WikiLeaks support of Trump and the divisive rhetoric of the alt-right was the last straw for Jardin.

In July 2016, WikiLeaks began publishing the hacked emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee. In October it started rolling out the emails taken from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. U.S. intelligence attributed both thefts to Russias military intelligence arm, the GRU.

But Assange didnt content himself with the genuine news that emerged from the leaks. He supplemented it with occasional exaggerations and distortions that appeared calculated to appeal to Trumps base. On July 22, for example, while Trump was bogged down in sexual assault allegations, Assange announced a plot to smear @realDonaldTrump by planting fake ads for hot women in Craigslist.

But the DNC email referenced in the tweet didnt bear out WikiLeaks claim. Far from a plot, it was an internal proposal for a website that would highlight Trumps record on gender issues.

In August 2016, Assange even fanned the right-wing conspiracy theory around slain Democratic Party staffer Seth Richa hoax thats inflicted endless pain on Richs familywhen he went out of his way in a television interview to imply that Rich was WikiLeaks source for the stolen DNC emails.

While WikiLeaks merged into the right lane, Donald Trump was increasingly drawing on the DNC and Podesta leaks on the stump, sometimes describing them accurately, sometimes not. And Trump was generous with his praise for WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks, he declared at an Oct. 10 rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Four days later in Charlotte, North Carolina: The Hillary Clinton documents released by WikiLeaks make it more clear than ever just how much is at stake come November 8. In the final month of the campaign, NBC reporters found, Trump referenced WikiLeaks 145 times.

Assange suggested Jardin praise Trump for doing something useful by promoting WikiLeaks. Is that a command? she shot back.

Jardin, like many Americans, found Trumps rallies deeply disturbing, with chants of Lock Her Up, protesters being ejected, and Trump describing his growing list of women accusers as liars. She was dismayed and angered to see WikiLeaks incorporated into the mix. She knew Assanges embrace of Trumpism had been good for WikiLeaks bank account, bringing small donations back to the levels of the Chelsea Manning era for the first time in years, and it bothered her that a nonprofit she served was helping Assange reap that windfall.

She voiced some of her frustration in a tweet during the Charlotte rally. Trump, his sons, and his surrogates are now dropping WikiLeaks into their anti-American rants like a hashtag, Jardin commented. Strangest of bedfellows.

Assange was watching.

***

He responded in a series of direct messages to Jardin, at first referencing himself in the third person and the majestic plural, as he often does. Since JA has never met or spoken to you we find it odd you should hold such a view, read the message. So whats it based on?

The messages went on to suggest Jardin praise Trump and his people for doing something useful for once by promoting WikiLeaks, instead of, outrageously, suggesting that it is some form of anti-Americanism.

Hi there Julian. Is that a command? Jardin shot back.

If you cant support the organization FPF [Freedom of the Press Foundation] was founded to support perhaps you should resign, wrote Assange. After a pause, he repeated the suggestion. You have a duty as a board member. If you cant dispense it, perhaps you should resign.

Knowing Assanges reputation for vindictiveness, Jardin interpreted the messages as a personal threat.

She politely asked Assange not to contact her again, and then forwarded the exchange to the foundations board. Oh my god, replied Cusack, a friend of Jardin whod joined the board at her invitation. The only thing one can say is the pressure on him is incredible and everyone has a breaking point. (Cusack declined to comment for this story; Assange did not immediately respond to a request to do so.)

The next month, nine days after Trumps election victory, Freedom of the Press Foundation held its board meeting. Jardin brought up the issue of Assange, his messages to her, and the foundations continued support of WikiLeaks.

Much had changed since the foundation was formed. Today it has a $1.5 million annual budget and a staff of 15. Taking donations for WikiLeaks and other groups has become only a tiny part of the foundations work. In 2013, for example, the foundation took over development of SecureDrop, an open-source tool designed to make it safer for whistleblowers to submit information to reporters. Under the foundations stewardship, SecureDrop today is running in dozens of newsrooms, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, and Bloomberg.

The question for the board at that post-election meeting was straightforward, if not simple: Should the foundation continue to process payments for WikiLeaks and Assange? Was there still a need, and was WikiLeaks still a multi-national media organization and associated library, as described on the foundations website, or had it become something else, something less journalistic, during the election?

When the election reached its conclusion and WikiLeaks kept doing what it was doing publicly, I felt a sense of revulsion, recalled Jardin, telling her story for the first time. When our board meeting came up, I assumed that everybody else felt the same way.

To Jardins dismay, they did not.

There was support and empathy on the board for Jardin, according to multiple sources, and a spectrum of perspectives on WikiLeaks. But Micah Lee was the only board member at the meeting to agree the time had come to cut ties. Protecting free press rights for publishers we disagree with is important, Lee told The Daily Beast, but that doesnt mean WikiLeaks should be able to harass our board members without consequences.

While several on the board acknowledged that Assange had flown off the handle at Jardin, years of experience with the WikiLeaks founder had built up a certain emotional callus toward his histrionics. At one point or another, we have all felt personally aggrieved by Julian, Greenwald told The Daily Beast. Sympathy for Jardin over Assanges DMs couldnt become a reason for a free-press organization to take action.

The contributions that WikiLeaks receives come from individual donors, board member Rainey Reitman said in an interview. We would be silencing readers of WikiLeaks who were trying to show their support.

Similarly, WikiLeaks support for Trump could not become a reason for the foundation to cut off Assange. It would, several felt, set a dangerous precedent if the board tacitly affirmed that only some forms of published political content deserved press-freedom support. Such a move could risk undermining the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

***

But there was substantial support for taking up a more pragmatic question, one that hearkened back to the very reason the Freedom of the Press Foundation came into existence in the first place: whether WikiLeaks still needed the foundation to route donations to it.

In 2012, WikiLeaks had been facing financial strangulation after PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard bent to congressional pressure and stopped accepting donations for the secret-spilling site, and for the German Wau Holland Foundation, which handled most of WikiLeaks finances. That financial censorship, effectively imposed by the U.S. government, but without the checks and balances of a judicial process, appeared no less ominous four years later.

By all evidence, though, that financial blockade dissolved years earlier, in 2013, after an Icelandic technology firm that processed payments for WikiLeaks won a lawsuit against the credit card companies. An archived copy of WikiLeaks donation page from just before the 2016 board meeting shows the organization once again accepting credit card and PayPal donations through Wau Holland, in addition to taking contributions through Freedom of the Press. WikiLeaks was no longer even claiming the blockade was still an issue.

BitCoin, too, has emerged as a popular conduit for WikiLeaks cash, and records indicate the group has received a total of 4,025 BTC through its public wallet addressroughly $29 million by current exchange rates.

Lee argued to his fellow board members that the rationale for supporting WikiLeaks had become obsolete. By the end of the meeting, the board had agreed to study the issue. We resolved as a board to investigate this question to determine whether such a blockade still existed, Timm said.

Jardin says she felt unsupported in the meeting, and four days later she told the foundation she was taking a leave of absence. Jardin is a cancer survivor, and she was then battling life threatening side-effects from treatment. There is nothing like the threat of death to help you clarify what you spend your time on, she says. On Dec. 2, she quietly resigned from the board, citing her health.

After Jardin stepped down, the board continued to chew over the issues shed raised, albeit slowly. By the boards last meeting late this summer, it determined that it couldnt verify that the blockade against WikiLeaks still existed. The foundation drew up plans to tell WikiLeaks that if it couldnt present evidence of a blockade, the Freedom of the Press Foundation would end its WikiLeaks donation channela decision that will mark a milestone for both organizations.

The foundation hastens to point out that Assanges personal actions and politics are irrelevant to its decision.Like every board, our members have a variety of opinions, said Timm, but our primary motivation as an organization has never been whether we agree with everything that WikiLeaks does or says. But theres no denying that some on the board have soured on WikiLeaks. Snowden, sources close to him tell The Daily Beast, has felt for a long time that Assange has taken WikiLeaks far from a positive, constructive vision of what Snowden believes WikiLeaks could or should be.

The foundations angst mirrors that of the larger community of former WikiLeaks supporters. The leaked messages between Assange and Trump Jr. recently prompted Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire backer of The Intercept, to tweet that they disqualify WikiLeaks from being considered a media organization. After Assange defended his election-chaos pitch as intended to generate a transformative discussion about corrupt media, corrupt PACs and primary corruption, Omidyar shot back: Isnt this an invitation to conspire to knowingly and falsely accuse election officials and a variety of people of fraud?

James Ball worked for WikiLeaks before becoming a journalist with The Guardian andBuzzFeed U.K.It has become astonishing, he said, to watch someone who has thundered against journalists for unethical behavior turn around and pitch a potential source on securing an ambassadorship for himself.

What Ball called the tragedy of WikiLeaks is that transparency and accountability are good principles, and lots of people have defended WikiLeaks because they believe in those principles and hoped [Assange] did, too. This is the final mark of someone whos in it for himself, Ball said. Hes a sad man in a broom cupboard.

For her part, Jardin takes no satisfaction in WikiLeaks potential expulsion, which she thinks comes at least a year too late.

I dont think that Julian Assange should be in solitary confinement, says Jardin. I feel awful for him, I bear him no ill will. But my loyalty is to my country. My loyalty is to my community You cant fight the kind of repression Trump represents and indirectly assist it.

DISCLOSURE: One of this articles co-authors helped develop the open-source project that became SecureDrop, and later handed it off to the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Additionally, he formerly sat on the foundations technical advisory panel, and has made small donations to the organization. The other co-author reported on Edward Snowdens leaks with Greenwald, Poitras, and Ball at The Guardian, where Timm is a columnist.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/free-press-group-set-to-cut-off-wikileaks

US government demands details on all visitors to anti-Trump protest website

Privacy advocates call warrant for IP addresses of just one.3 million individuals who visited inauguration protest website an unconstitutional fishing expedition

The federal government needs to unmask everyone who visited an anti-Trump website with what privacy advocates have to say is an unconstitutional fishing expedition for political dissidents.

The warrant seems to become an escalation from the Department of Justices (DoJ) campaign against anti-Trump activities, such as the harsh prosecution of inauguration day protesters.

On 17 This summer, the DoJ offered an internet site-webhost, DreamHost, having a search warrant for each bit of information it possessed which was associated with an internet site which was accustomed to coordinate protests during Donald Trumps inauguration. The warrant covers those who buy and operate the website, but additionally seeks to obtain the IP addresses of just one.3 million individuals who visited it, along with the time and date of the visit and knowledge by what browser or operating-system they used.

The web site, www.disruptj20.org, was utilized to coordinate protests and civil disobedience on 20 The month of january, when Trump was inaugurated.

This unique situation which specific warrant are pure prosecutorial overreach with a highly politicized department of justice under [Attorney General Shaun] Sessions, stated Chris Ghazarian, general counsel for DreamHost. You ought to be concerned that anybody ought to be targeted only for going to a website.

The warrant is made public Monday, when DreamHost announced its intends to challenge the federal government in the court. The DoJ declined to comment. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

The federal government has strongly prosecuted activists arrested throughout the 20 The month of january protests in Washington Electricity. In April, the united states attorneys office in Washington Electricity filed a single indictment charging greater than 217 individuals with identical crimes, including legal rioting.

Ghazarian stated that DreamHost provided the federal government with limited customer details about who owns the web site if this first received a great jury subpoena per week following the protests happened. However the government returned in This summer using the much broader search warrant.

Were a gatekeeper between your government and thousands of individuals who visited the web site, stated Ghazarian. You want to have them protected.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, that has been counseling DreamHost, characterised the warrant as unconstitutional along with a fishing expedition.

I cant conceive of the legitimate justification apart from casting your internet as broadly as you possibly can to warrant countless user logs, senior staff attorney Mark Rumold told the Protector.

Logs of IP addresses dont distinctively identify users, however they backlink to a particular physical addresses if no digital tools are utilized to mask it.

The things they could be getting is a summary of everybody that has have you been thinking about attending these protests or seeing what happening in the protests and thats the troubling aspect. Its a brief step once you have their email list for connecting the Ip to someones identity, he stated.

Wide-reaching warrants for user data are occasionally issued once the content of the website is illegal for example pirated movies or child sexual abuse imagery, but speech isn’t prohibited.

This [the web site] is pure first amendment advocacy the kind of advocacy the very first amendment is built to safeguard and promote, Rumold added. Frankly Im glad DreamHost is pushing back onto it.

It is not the very first time that the federal government has searched for to unmask people protesting against Trump or his policies.

In March this season, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a division from the homeland security department, purchased Twitter to give the telephone number, mailing addresses and IP addresses associated with @ALT_USCIS, a free account that presupposed to convey the views of dissenters inside the government.

The account, whose username is really a mention of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, is among a large number of alternative Twitter accounts established after Trump was inaugurated. The unverified accounts claimed to supply an uncensored look at civil servants who could not agree with Trumps policies.

To safeguard the identity of the individual running the account, Twitter launched a suit from the Trump administration, quarrelling it might have a grave chilling impact on it of this account particularly and the rest of the alternative agency accounts which have been produced to voice dissent to government policies.

After public outcry within the administrations overreach, CBP dropped the request.

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/14/donald-trump-inauguration-protest-website-search-warrant-dreamhost

Trump cannot for the life of him spell the word heal correctly

President Donald Trump may would like to stop while using word &ldquoheal.&rdquo

Inside a tweet published on Friday morning, obama sent an uplifting message of hope and recovery to folks of Texas who’re reeling from what’s thought to be probably the most damaging hurricane in U . s . States history.

&ldquoTexas is heeling fast because of all the great men &amp women who’ve been working hard,&rdquo Trump authored. &ldquoBut still, a lot to complete. Is going to be back tomorrow!&rdquo

(Side note: Trump also misused &ldquofast,&rdquo that is an adjective. He must have written &ldquohealing rapidly,&rdquo as &ldquoquickly&rdquo is definitely an adverb. But that could be asking a little much.)

IMG 2 TT

This isn't the very first time Trump has incorrectly spelled &ldquoheal.&rdquo Actually, it’s a minimum of the fourth time he’s misspelled “heal” this month. Soon after Hurricane Harvey started devastating southeast Texas, Trump two times incorrectly spelled the term.

&ldquoOur great country continues to be divided for decade , but it'll get together again. Sometimes protest is required to be able to heel , and heel we'll!&rdquo Trump authored. He remedied among the incorrectly spelled words inside a subsequent tweet simply to misspell &ldquoheal&rdquo again. Through the third try, he nailed it.

Some, for example New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo, have defended Trump’s incorrectly spelled tweets because… spelling isn’t something we ought to worry about any longer? However when we’re handling a president who issues policy directives from on Twitter, possibly focus on detail ought to be greater around the priority list.

Find out more: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/trump-misspells-heeling/

Rosie O’Donnell apologizes to Kim Jong-un for Donald Trump

Nothing states &#8220gravitas&#8221 while addressing all of those other world greater than a pet filter that provides a squeaky voice. And just what&#8217s worse is the fact that she&#8217s really apologizing to Kim Jong-united nations:

Find out more: http://twitchy.com/gregp-3534/2017/08/11/rosie-odonnell-apologizes-to-kim-jong-un-for-donald-trump/

Can Jack Ma, Asias richest man, create 1m jobs in the US?

The founding father of Alibaba, among the worlds greatest online stores, made the promise in a pre-inauguration ending up in Jesse Trump

Jack Ma was determined to live a regular existence. He unsuccessful china college entrance exam several occasions prior to being recognized through the worst school in Hangzhou, and that he was rejected from the dozen jobs even selling chicken at KFC. Ma was prepared to settle right into a quiet lifeas an British teacher in eastern China, a situation with couple of advancement prospects, when, during a vacation to San antonio in 1995 being employed as a translator for any trade delegation, everything altered.

A buddy demonstrated Ma the web. He placed a foot to the information superhighway having a one-word search beer and, 2 decades later, Ma may be the wealthiest man in Asia, mind of the e-commerce and finance empire which includes Alibaba, among the largest retailers on the planet.

Now Ma has once more set his sights around the US. Inside a high-profile ending up in Jesse Trump prior to the inauguration, Ma guaranteed to produce 1m jobs in america, and it has wasted virtually no time ingratiating themself into Trumps group of friends. He’s dined alone with Ivanka Trump, and a week ago commerce secretary Wilbur Ross sat next to Ma in a meeting people and Chinese businessmen. Individuals political connections will benefit him because he seeks to get American companies in a nation that is more and more cautious about big Chinese investment.

For Trump, the headlines of Mas job-creating plan might be more essential that any actual jobs produced.

Like a merchant, its about knowing your customer, and Trump doesnt worry about anything it is not huge, states Duncan Clark, a longtime friend and author of Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built. He figured millions of is a great number to obtain Trumps attention. Realistically, with no major acquisition, I miss out on how thats possible, he adds. In america context, its a really big number.

For a long time, Ma continues to be pushing his vision of US small businesses selling to Chinese shoppers through his online marketplaces. He’s frequently known as the Shaun Bezos of China, and you will find obvious similarities. Both built e-commerce empires and, like Bezos and also the Washington Publish, Ma even owns a a classic established newspaper, in the situation Hong Kongs South China Morning Publish.

But there is a key difference: while Bezoss Amazon . com sells products to consumers, maintaining massive warehouses and operating a classy logistics network, Alibabas sites are merely a medium, connecting consumers with retailers who ship through independent couriers. It has brought experts to state Alibabas business design is nearer to Googles than Amazons.

Alibabas strength happens to be solving inefficiencies, developing a site that permitted a number of companies to market straight to consumers throughout the infancy from the internet in China and beginning a web-based payment system if this was cumbersome to wire funds. The companys flagship platforms, Taobao (much like eBay) and Tmall (much like Amazon . com), have produced a 1-stop look for consumers, and Alibaba is conveying the model to emerging markets for example Russia andBrazil.

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Jack Ma with Donald Trump, January 2017. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

But the US presents a new challenge, and e-commerce is already a crowded space. Alibaba may not have what it takes to spur massive job creation in the US. Its an incredibly unlikely target for job creation in any plausible time frame, said Christopher Balding, a professor of business and economics at Peking Universitys HSBC business school. If were talking 25 or 40 years, maybe Alibaba could create that lots of jobs.

In comparison, WalMart, the biggest private employer in america, employs 1.5 million people. If Ma has the capacity to deliver on his commitment of 1m jobs, it might decrease the amount of unemployed workers with a staggering 14%.

Ma was created within the scenic town of Hangzhou in 1964, 2 yrs before the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, ten years of political upheaval that saw his parents and grandfather persecuted by aspects of the ruling Communist party. His father beat him, based on a 2013 biography, but Ma found his escape in teaching themself British. From age 12, Ma would cycle for 40 minutes towards the citys hotels to provide foreign vacationers his services like a guide round the West Lake to ensure that he could practise hisEnglish.

Free airline was his lifeline inside a land where he wasnt around the elite track, states Duncan Clark. He battled in class, he is not an engineer, he is not a technical guy, so he grew to become an British teacher. Mas capability to read a crowd, though, is on the componen having a standup comedian, Clark adds, and a few have described his charisma as Jack Magic.

That charm is more and more being fond of Trump administration officials. But past the million-jobs propaganda story, Ma is trying to convince the federal government that his intentions are innocuous because he makes a $1.2bn bid for MoneyGram, the second largest remittance firm in the US inside a deal which has elevated national-securityconcerns.

His repeat performances with Trump and the administration show he’s making significant inroads, states Michael Wessel, mind from the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a oversight body that reports to Congress. Ma isnt thinking about America succeeding, hes thinking about Ma, Alibaba and China succeeding. Like a skilled, global businessman, Ma is working in the own interest which, at occasions, could also be the interests from the Chinese Communist party. That you will find considered whenever he functions.

The MoneyGram deal has attracted significant opposition from lawmakers in Washington, hinging on the truth that a lot of military families use the organization to transfer money. The acquisition is not yet been approved by US regulators inside a procedure that often see the problem made the decision by Trump.

This past year, Alibaba accepted the US Registration was investigating the accounting practices of their logistics network and it is huge Singles Day shopping online event its like Black Friday but much, larger an issue which has not yet been resolved.

In the World Economic Forum in Davos in The month of january, Ma chastised the US, stating that while America taken advantage of globalisation, it had been squandering trillions of dollars on foreign wars and neglecting the countrys infrastructure and it is own citizens.

In China, Mas ties towards the government happen to be invaluable. At any given time when Chinese president Xi Jinping is signalling that companies should control overseas purchases, Mas ongoing push in america is really a obvious manifestation of his political clout. As well as in 2014, when Chinas condition administration for industry and commerce printed findings showing which more than 70% of products inside a random sample on Taobao were fake, Ma met using the mind from the agency, who subsequently claimed the report was just the minutes of the meeting coupled with no legal effect.

While Ma wishes to encourage American small companies to market around the companys high-finish marketplace, Tmall, in December 2016 the federal government put its much bigger sister site, Taobao, on the blacklist of notorious marketplaces noted for the purchase of counterfeit goods and violations of intellectual propertyrights .

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The blacklisting was not the first setback for Alibaba. The company was burned on its first attempts to expand into the US when, shortly after founding the company, Ma was forced to shut down an office it opened just outside San Francisco after less than a year. Another venture an online shopping site like Amazon . com known as 11 primary was shuttered in 2015.

Despite these hurdles, Ma is pushing up with his dream for all of us companies to market to China through his websites. In June, Alibaba located a celebration, Gateway, in Detroit, that was targeted at getting more small firms into its ecosystem. Among the loudspeakers, something of the poster child for Alibaba, was Mike Wolf, who switched his familys vitamin store in suburban Philadelphia into a web-based giant selling 40,000 products all over the world. His company, LuckyVitamin, began selling on Tmall in November and Wolf estimates he’s hired about 20 employees since that time, though merely a fraction cope with China directly, with many employed in inventory oraccounting.

However when LuckyVitamin started selling in China, it already already been through it of expanding into greater than 30 regions, and Wolf cautioned that opening a store on Tmall was probably the most challenging.

Selling on Tmall is much like beginning a brand new business, instead of simply adding a brand new funnel for sales, Wolf states. It is not an easy switch, it is not a get-wealthy-quick chance where one can just double your company overnight by opening the doorway to China. Its a marathon, not really a sprint. Anyone who involves Tmall with get-wealthy-quick aspirations will probably be disappointed.

Together with LuckyVitamin, Ma has convinced a number of other companies to market through his websites. To fulfil his commitment of 1m jobs, he needs greater than 50,000 companies to duplicate Wolfs success within the next couple of years.

At that time, or course, Trump will probably have managed to move on to his next pet project, and Ma, the British teacher switched tech millionaire, may have greased the wheels within the worlds two largest economies.

Additional reporting by Wang Zhen

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/30/can-jack-ma-create-on-million-jobs-us-donald-trump-alibaba

Globalisation: the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world

The long read: Its not just a populist backlash many economists who once swore by free trade have changed their minds, too. How had they got it so wrong?

The annual January gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos is usually a placid affair: a place for well-heeled participants to exchange notes on global business opportunities, or powder conditions on the local ski slopes, while cradling champagne and canapes. This January, the ultra-rich and the sparkling wine returned, but by all reports the mood was one of anxiety, defensiveness and self-reproach.

The future of economic globalisation, for which the Davos men and women see themselves as caretakers, had been shaken by a series of political earthquakes. Globalisation can mean many things, but what lay in particular doubt was the long-advanced project of increasing free trade in goods across borders. The previous summer, Britain had voted to leave the largest trading bloc in the world. In November, the unexpected victory of Donald Trump, who vowed to withdraw from major trade deals, appeared to jeopardise the trading relationships of the worlds richest country. Forthcoming elections in France and Germany suddenly seemed to bear the possibility of anti-globalisation parties garnering better results than ever before. The barbarians werent at the gates to the ski-lifts yet but they werent very far.

In a panel titled Governing Globalisation, the economist Dambisa Moyo, otherwise a well-known supporter of free trade, forthrightly asked the audience to accept that there have been significant losses from globalisation. It is not clear to me that we are going to be able to remedy them under the current infrastructure, she added. Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, called for a policy hitherto foreign to the World Economic Forum: more redistribution. After years of hedging or discounting the malign effects of free trade, it was time to face facts: globalisation caused job losses and depressed wages, and the usual Davos proposals such as instructing affected populations to accept the new reality werent going to work. Unless something changed, the political consequences were likely to get worse.

The backlash to globalisation has helped fuel the extraordinary political shifts of the past 18 months. During the close race to become the Democratic party candidate, senator Bernie Sanders relentlessly attacked Hillary Clinton on her support for free trade. On the campaign trail, Donald Trump openly proposed tilting the terms of trade in favour of American industry. Americanism, not globalism, shall be our creed, he bellowed at the Republican national convention last July. The vote for Brexit was strongest in the regions of the UK devastated by the flight of manufacturing. At Davos in January, British prime minister Theresa May, the leader of the party of capital and inherited wealth, improbably picked up the theme, warning that, for many, talk of greater globalisation means their jobs being outsourced and wages undercut. Meanwhile, the European far right has been warning against free movement of people as well as goods. Following her qualifying victory in the first round of Frances presidential election, Marine Le Pen warned darkly that the main thing at stake in this election is the rampant globalisation that is endangering our civilisation.

It was only a few decades ago that globalisation was held by many, even by some critics, to be an inevitable, unstoppable force. Rejecting globalisation, the American journalist George Packer has written, was like rejecting the sunrise. Globalisation could take place in services, capital and ideas, making it a notoriously imprecise term; but what it meant most often was making it cheaper to trade across borders something that seemed to many at the time to be an unquestionable good. In practice, this often meant that industry would move from rich countries, where labour was expensive, to poor countries, where labour was cheaper. People in the rich countries would either have to accept lower wages to compete, or lose their jobs. But no matter what, the goods they formerly produced would now be imported, and be even cheaper. And the unemployed could get new, higher-skilled jobs (if they got the requisite training). Mainstream economists and politicians upheld the consensus about the merits of globalisation, with little concern that there might be political consequences.

Back then, economists could calmly chalk up anti-globalisation sentiment to a marginal group of delusional protesters, or disgruntled stragglers still toiling uselessly in sunset industries. These days, as sizable constituencies have voted in country after country for anti-free-trade policies, or candidates that promise to limit them, the old self-assurance is gone. Millions have rejected, with uncertain results, the punishing logic that globalisation could not be stopped. The backlash has swelled a wave of soul-searching among economists, one that had already begun to roll ashore with the financial crisis. How did they fail to foresee the repercussions?


In the heyday of the globalisation consensus, few economists questioned its merits in public. But in 1997, the Harvard economist Dani Rodrik published a slim book that created a stir. Appearing just as the US was about to enter a historic economic boom, Rodriks book, Has Globalization Gone Too Far?, sounded an unusual note of alarm.

Rodrik pointed to a series of dramatic recent events that challenged the idea that growing free trade would be peacefully accepted. In 1995, France had adopted a programme of fiscal austerity in order to prepare for entry into the eurozone; trade unions responded with the largest wave of strikes since 1968. In 1996, only five years after the end of the Soviet Union with Russias once-protected markets having been forcibly opened, leading to a sudden decline in living standards a communist won 40% of the vote in Russias presidential elections. That same year, two years after the passing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), one of the most ambitious multinational deals ever accomplished, a white nationalist running on an America first programme of economic protectionism did surprisingly well in the presidential primaries of the Republican party.

What was the pathology of which all of these disturbing events were symptoms? For Rodrik, it was the process that has come to be called globalisation. Since the 1980s, and especially following the collapse of the Soviet Union, lowering barriers to international trade had become the axiom of countries everywhere. Tariffs had to be slashed and regulations spiked. Trade unions, which kept wages high and made it harder to fire people, had to be crushed. Governments vied with each other to make their country more hospitable more competitive for businesses. That meant making labour cheaper and regulations looser, often in countries that had once tried their hand at socialism, or had spent years protecting homegrown industries with tariffs.

Anti-globalisation
Anti-globalisation protesters in Seattle, 1999. Photograph: Eric Draper/AP

These moves were generally applauded by economists. After all, their profession had long embraced the principle of comparative advantage simply put, the idea countries will trade with each other in order to gain what each lacks, thereby benefiting both. In theory, then, the globalisation of trade in goods and services would benefit consumers in rich countries by giving them access to inexpensive goods produced by cheaper labour in poorer countries, and this demand, in turn, would help grow the economies of those poorer countries.

But the social cost, in Rodriks dissenting view, was high and consistently underestimated by economists. He noted that since the 1970s, lower-skilled European and American workers had endured a major fall in the real value of their wages, which dropped by more than 20%. Workers were suffering more spells of unemployment, more volatility in the hours they were expected to work.

While many economists attributed much of the insecurity to technological change sophisticated new machines displacing low-skilled workers Rodrik suggested that the process of globalisation should shoulder more of the blame. It was, in particular, the competition between workers in developing and developed countries that helped drive down wages and job security for workers in developed countries. Over and over, they would be held hostage to the possibility that their business would up and leave, in order to find cheap labour in other parts of the world; they had to accept restraints on their salaries or else. Opinion polls registered their strong levels of anxiety and insecurity, and the political effects were becoming more visible. Rodrik foresaw that the cost of greater economic integration would be greater social disintegration. The inevitable result would be a huge political backlash.

As Rodrik would later recall, other economists tended to dismiss his arguments or fear them. Paul Krugman, who would win the Nobel prize in 2008 for his earlier work in trade theory and economic geography, privately warned Rodrik that his work would give ammunition to the barbarians.

It was a tacit acknowledgment that pro-globalisation economists, journalists and politicians had come under growing pressure from a new movement on the left, who were raising concerns very similar to Rodriks. Over the course of the 1990s, an unwieldy international coalition had begun to contest the notion that globalisation was good. Called anti-globalisation by the media, and the alter-globalisation or global justice movement by its participants, it tried to draw attention to the devastating effect that free trade policies were having, especially in the developing world, where globalisation was supposed to be having its most beneficial effect. This was a time when figures such as the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman had given the topic a glitzy prominence by documenting his time among what he gratingly called globalutionaries: chatting amiably with the CEO of Monsanto one day, gawking at lingerie manufacturers in Sri Lanka the next. Activists were intent on showing a much darker picture, revealing how the record of globalisation consisted mostly of farmers pushed off their land and the rampant proliferation of sweatshops. They also implicated the highest world bodies in their critique: the G7, World Bank and IMF. In 1999, the movement reached a high point when a unique coalition of trade unions and environmentalists managed to shut down the meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle.

In a state of panic, economists responded with a flood of columns and books that defended the necessity of a more open global market economy, in tones ranging from grandiose to sarcastic. In January 2000, Krugman used his first piece as a New York Times columnist to denounce the trashing of the WTO, calling it a sad irony that the cause that has finally awakened the long-dormant American left is that of yes! denying opportunity to third-world workers.

Where Krugman was derisive, others were solemn, putting the contemporary fight against the anti-globalisation left in a continuum of struggles for liberty. Liberals, social democrats and moderate conservatives are on the same side in the great battles against religious fanatics, obscurantists, extreme environmentalists, fascists, Marxists and, of course, contemporary anti-globalisers, wrote the Financial Times columnist and former World Bank economist Martin Wolf in his book Why Globalization Works. Language like this lent the fight for globalisation the air of an epochal struggle. More common was the rhetoric of figures such as Friedman, who in his book The World is Flat mocked the pampered American college kids who, wearing their branded clothing, began to get interested in sweatshops as a way of expiating their guilt.

Arguments against the global justice movement rested on the idea that the ultimate benefits of a more open and integrated economy would outweigh the downsides. Freer trade is associated with higher growth and higher growth is associated with reduced poverty, wrote the Columbia University economist Jagdish Bhagwati in his book In Defense of Globalization. Hence, growth reduces poverty. No matter how troubling some of the local effects, the implication went, globalisation promised a greater good.

The fact that proponents of globalisation now felt compelled to spend much of their time defending it indicates how much visibility the global justice movement had achieved by the early 2000s. Still, over time, the movement lost ground, as a policy consensus settled in favour of globalisation. The proponents of globalisation were determined never to let another gathering be interrupted. They stopped meeting in major cities, and security everywhere was tightened. By the time of the invasion of Iraq, the worlds attention had turned from free trade to George Bush and the war on terror, leaving the globalisation consensus intact.

Above all, there was a widespread perception that globalisation was working as it was supposed to. The local adverse effects that activists pointed to sweatshop labour, starving farmers were increasingly obscured by the staggering GDP numbers and fantastical images of gleaming skylines coming out of China. With some lonely exceptions such as Rodrik and the former World Bank chief and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz the pursuit of freer trade became a consensus position for economists, commentators and the vast majority of mainstream politicians, to the point where the benefits of free trade seemed to command blind adherence. In a 2006 TV interview, Thomas Friedman was asked whether there was any free trade deal he would not support. He replied that there wasnt, admitting, I wrote a column supporting the Cafta, the Caribbean Free Trade initiative. I didnt even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade.


In the wake of the financial crisis, the cracks began to show in the consensus on globalisation, to the point that, today, there may no longer be a consensus. Economists who were once ardent proponents of globalisation have become some of its most prominent critics. Erstwhile supporters now concede, at least in part, that it has produced inequality, unemployment and downward pressure on wages. Nuances and criticisms that economists only used to raise in private seminars are finally coming out in the open.

A few months before the financial crisis hit, Krugman was already confessing to a guilty conscience. In the 1990s, he had been very influential in arguing that global trade with poor countries had only a small effect on workers wages in rich countries. By 2008, he was having doubts: the data seemed to suggest that the effect was much larger than he had suspected.

In the years that followed, the crash, the crisis of the eurozone and the worldwide drop in the price of oil and other commodities combined to put a huge dent in global trade. Since 2012, the IMF reported in its World Economic Outlook for October 2016, trade was growing at 3% a year less than half the average of the previous three decades. That month, Martin Wolf argued in a column that globalisation had lost dynamism, due to a slackening of the world economy, the exhaustion of new markets to exploit and a rise in protectionist policies around the world. In an interview earlier this year, Wolf suggested to me that, though he remained convinced globalisation had not been the decisive factor in rising inequality, he had nonetheless not fully foreseen when he was writing Why Globalization Works how radical the implications of worsening inequality might be for the US, and therefore the world. Among these implications appears to be a rising distrust of the establishment that is blamed for the inequality. We have a very big political problem in many of our countries, he said. The elites the policymaking business and financial elites are increasingly disliked. You need to make policy which brings people to think again that their societies are run in a decent and civilised way.

Illustration
Illustration by Nathalie Lees

That distrust of the establishment has had highly visible political consequences: Farage, Trump, and Le Pen on the right; but also in new parties on the left, such as Spains Podemos, and curious populist hybrids, such as Italys Five Star Movement. As in 1997, but to an even greater degree, the volatile political scene reflects public anxiety over the process that has come to be called globalisation. If the critics of globalisation could be dismissed before because of their lack of economics training, or ignored because they were in distant countries, or kept out of sight by a wall of police, their sudden political ascendancy in the rich countries of the west cannot be so easily discounted today.

Over the past year, the opinion pages of prestigious newspapers have been filled with belated, rueful comments from the high priests of globalisation the men who appeared to have defeated the anti-globalisers two decades earlier. Perhaps the most surprising such transformation has been that of Larry Summers. Possessed of a panoply of elite titles former chief economist of the World Bank, former Treasury secretary, president emeritus of Harvard, former economic adviser to President Barack Obama Summers was renowned in the 1990s and 2000s for being a blustery proponent of globalisation. For Summers, it seemed, market logic was so inexorable that its dictates prevailed over every social concern. In an infamous World Bank memo from 1991, he held that the cheapest way to dispose of toxic waste in rich countries was to dump it in poor countries, since it was financially cheaper for them to manage it. The laws of economics, its often forgotten, are like the laws of engineering, he said in a speech that year at a World Bank-IMF meeting in Bangkok. Theres only one set of laws and they work everywhere. One of the things Ive learned in my short time at the World Bank is that whenever anybody says, But economics works differently here, theyre about to say something dumb.

Over the last two years, a different, in some ways unrecognizable Larry Summers has been appearing in newspaper editorial pages. More circumspect in tone, this humbler Summers has been arguing that economic opportunities in the developing world are slowing, and that the already rich economies are finding it hard to get out of the crisis. Barring some kind of breakthrough, Summers says, an era of slow growth is here to stay.

In Summerss recent writings, this sombre conclusion has often been paired with a surprising political goal: advocating for a responsible nationalism. Now he argues that politicians must recognise that the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good.


One curious thingabout the pro-globalisation consensus of the 1990s and 2000s, and its collapse in recent years, is how closely the cycle resembles a previous era. Pursuing free trade has always produced displacement and inequality and political chaos, populism and retrenchment to go with it. Every time the social consequences of free trade are overlooked, political backlash follows. But free trade is only one of many forms that economic integration can take. History seems to suggest, however, that it might be the most destabilising one.

Nearly all economists and scholars of globalisation like to point to the fact that the economy was rather globalised by the early 20th century. As European countries colonised Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, they turned their colonies into suppliers of raw materials for European manufacturers, as well as markets for European goods. Meanwhile, the economies of the colonisers were also becoming free-trade zones for each other. The opening years of the 20th century were the closest thing the world had ever seen to a free world market for goods, capital and labour, writes the Harvard professor of government Jeffry Frieden in his standard account, Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the 20th Century. It would be a hundred years before the world returned to that level of globalisation.

In addition to military force, what underpinned this convenient arrangement for imperial nations was the gold standard. Under this system, each national currency had an established gold value: the British pound sterling was backed by 113 grains of pure gold; the US dollar by 23.22 grains, and so on. This entailed that exchange rates were also fixed: a British pound was always equal to 4.87 dollars. The stability of exchange rates meant that the cost of doing business across borders was predictable. Just like the eurozone today, you could count on the value of the currency staying the same, so long as the storehouse of gold remained more or less the same.

When there were gold shortages as there were in the 1870s the system stopped working. To protect the sanctity of the standard under conditions of stress, central bankers across the Europe and the US tightened access to credit and deflated prices. This left financiers in a decent position, but crushed farmers and the rural poor, for whom falling prices meant starvation. Then as now, economists and mainstream politicians largely overlooked the darker side of the economic picture.

In the US, this fuelled one of the worlds first self-described populist revolts, leading to the nomination of William Jennings Bryan as the Democratic party candidate in 1896. At his nominating convention, he gave a famous speech lambasting gold backers: You shall not press down upon the brow of labour this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold. Then as now, financial elites and their supporters in the press were horrified. There has been an upheaval of the political crust, the Times of London reported, and strange creatures have come forth.

Businessmen were so distressed by Bryan that they backed the Republican candidate, William McKinley, who won partly by outspending Bryan five to one. Meanwhile, gold was bolstered by the discovery of new reserves in colonial South Africa. But the gold standard could not survive the first world war and the Great Depression. By the 1930s, unionisation had spread to more industries and there was a growing worldwide socialist movement. Protecting gold would mean mass unemployment and social unrest. Britain went off the gold standard in 1931, while Franklin Roosevelt took the US off it in 1933; France and several other countries would follow in 1936.

The prioritisation of finance and trade over the welfare of people had come momentarily to an end. But this wasnt the end of the global economic system.


The trade system that followed was global, too, with high levels of trade but it took place on terms that often allowed developing countries to protect their industries. Because, from the perspective of free traders, protectionism is always seen as bad, the success of this postwar system has been largely under-recognised.

Over the course of the 1930s and 40s, liberals John Maynard Keynes among them who had previously regarded departures from free trade as an imbecility and an outrage began to lose their religion. The decadent international but individualistic capitalism, in the hands of which we found ourselves after the war, is not a success, Keynes found himself writing in 1933. It is not intelligent, it is not beautiful, it is not just, it is not virtuous and it doesnt deliver the goods. In short, we dislike it, and we are beginning to despise it. He claimed sympathies with those who would minimise, rather than with those who would maximise, economic entanglement among nations, and argued that goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible.

The international systems that chastened figures such as Keynes helped produce in the next few years especially the Bretton Woods agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt) set the terms under which the new wave of globalisation would take place.

The key to the systems viability, in Rodriks view, was its flexibility something absent from contemporary globalisation, with its one-size-fits-all model of capitalism. Bretton Woods stabilised exchange rates by pegging the dollar loosely to gold, and other currencies to the dollar. Gatt consisted of rules governing free trade negotiated by participating countries in a series of multinational rounds that left many areas of the world economy, such as agriculture, untouched or unaddressed. Gatts purpose was never to maximise free trade, Rodrik writes. It was to achieve the maximum amount of trade compatible with different nations doing their own thing. In that respect, the institution proved spectacularly successful.

Construction
Construction workers in Beijing, China. Photograph: Ng Han Guan/AP

Partly because Gatt was not always dogmatic about free trade, it allowed most countries to figure out their own economic objectives, within a somewhat international ambit. When nations contravened the agreements terms on specific areas of national interest, they found that it contained loopholes wide enough for an elephant to pass, in Rodriks words. If a nation wanted to protect its steel industry, for example, it could claim injury under the rules of Gatt and raise tariffs to discourage steel imports: an abomination from the standpoint of free trade. These were useful for countries that were recovering from the war and needed to build up their own industries via tariffs duties imposed on particular imports. Meanwhile, from 1948 to 1990, world trade grew at an annual average of nearly 7% faster than the post-communist years, which we think of as the high point of globalisation. If there was a golden era of globalisation, Rodrik has written, this was it.

Gatt, however, failed to cover many of the countries in the developing world. These countries eventually created their own system, the United Nations conference on trade and development (UNCTAD). Under this rubric, many countries especially in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia adopted a policy of protecting homegrown industries by replacing imports with domestically produced goods. It worked poorly in some places India and Argentina, for example, where the trade barriers were too high, resulting in factories that cost more to set up than the value of the goods they produced but remarkably well in others, such as east Asia, much of Latin America and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where homegrown industries did spring up. Though many later economists and commentators would dismiss the achievements of this model, it theoretically fit Larry Summerss recent rubric on globalisation: the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good.

The critical turning point away from this system of trade balanced against national protections came in the 1980s. Flagging growth and high inflation in the west, along with growing competition from Japan, opened the way for a political transformation. The elections of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were seminal, putting free-market radicals in charge of two of the worlds five biggest economies and ushering in an era of hyperglobalisation. In the new political climate, economies with large public sectors and strong governments within the global capitalist system were no longer seen as aids to the systems functioning, but impediments to it.

Not only did these ideologies take hold in the US and the UK; they seized international institutions as well. Gatt renamed itself as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the new rules the body negotiated began to cut more deeply into national policies. Its international trade rules sometimes undermined national legislation. The WTOs appellate court intervened relentlessly in member nations tax, environmental and regulatory policies, including those of the United States: the USs fuel emissions standards were judged to discriminate against imported gasoline, and its ban on imported shrimp caught without turtle-excluding devices was overturned. If national health and safety regulations were stricter than WTO rules necessitated, they could only remain in place if they were shown to have scientific justification.

The purest version of hyperglobalisation was tried out in Latin America in the 1980s. Known as the Washington consensus, this model usually involved loans from the IMF that were contingent on those countries lowering trade barriers and privatising many of their nationally held industries. Well into the 1990s, economists were proclaiming the indisputable benefits of openness. In an influential 1995 paper, Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner wrote: We find no cases to support the frequent worry that a country might open and yet fail to grow.

But the Washington consensus was bad for business: most countries did worse than before. Growth faltered, and citizens across Latin America revolted against attempted privatisations of water and gas. In Argentina, which followed the Washington consensus to the letter, a grave crisis resulted in 2002, precipitating an economic collapse and massive street protests that forced out the government that had pursued privatising reforms. Argentinas revolt presaged a left-populist upsurge across the continent: from 1999 to 2007, leftwing leaders and parties took power in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, all of them campaigning against the Washington consensus on globalisation. These revolts were a preview of the backlash of today.


Rodrik perhaps the contemporary economistwhose views have been most amply vindicated by recent events was himself a beneficiary of protectionism in Turkey. His fathers ballpoint pen company was sheltered under tariffs, and achieved enough success to allow Rodrik to attend Harvard in the 1970s as an undergraduate. This personal understanding of the mixed nature of economic success may be one of the reasons why his work runs against the broad consensus of mainstream economics writing on globalisation.

I never felt that my ideas were out of the mainstream, Rodrik told me recently. Instead, it was that the mainstream had lost touch with the diversity of opinions and methods that already existed within economics. The economics profession is strange in that the more you move away from the seminar room to the public domain, the more the nuances get lost, especially on issues of trade. He lamented the fact that while, in the classroom, the models of trade discuss losers and winners, and, as a result, the necessity of policies of redistribution, in practice, an arrogance and hubris had led many economists to ignore these implications. Rather than speaking truth to power, so to speak, many economists became cheerleaders for globalisation.

In his 2011 book The Globalization Paradox, Rodrik concluded that we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national determination, and economic globalisation. The results of the 2016 elections and referendums provide ample testimony of the justness of the thesis, with millions voting to push back, for better or for worse, against the campaigns and institutions that promised more globalisation. Im not at all surprised by the backlash, Rodrik told me. Really, nobody should have been surprised.

But what, in any case, would more globalisation look like? For the same economists and writers who have started to rethink their commitments to greater integration, it doesnt mean quite what it did in the early 2000s. Its not only the discourse thats changed: globalisation itself has changed, developing into a more chaotic and unequal system than many economists predicted. The benefits of globalisation have been largely concentrated in a handful of Asian countries. And even in those countries, the good times may be running out.

Illustration
Illustration by Nathalie Lees

Statistics from Global Inequality, a 2016 book by the development economist Branko Milanovi, indicate that in relative terms the greatest benefits of globalisation have accrued to a rising emerging middle class, based preponderantly in China. But the cons are there, too: in absolute terms, the largest gains have gone to what is commonly called the 1% half of whom are based in the US. Economist Richard Baldwin has shown in his recent book, The Great Convergence, that nearly all of the gains from globalisation have been concentrated in six countries.

Barring some political catastrophe, in which rightwing populism continued to gain, and in which globalisation would be the least of our problems Wolf admitted that he was not at all sure that this could be ruled out globalisation was always going to slow; in fact, it already has. One reason, says Wolf, was that a very, very large proportion of the gains from globalisation by no means all have been exploited. We have a more open world economy to trade than weve ever had before. Citing The Great Convergence, Wolf noted that supply chains have already expanded, and that future developments, such as automation and the use of robots, looked to undermine the promise of a growing industrial workforce. Today, the political priorities were less about trade and more about the challenge of retraining workers, as technology renders old jobs obsolete and transforms the world of work.

Rodrik, too, believes that globalisation, whether reduced or increased, is unlikely to produce the kind of economic effects it once did. For him, this slowdown has something to do with what he calls premature deindustrialisation. In the past, the simplest model of globalisation suggested that rich countries would gradually become service economies, while emerging economies picked up the industrial burden. Yet recent statistics show the world as a whole is deindustrialising. Countries that one would have expected to have more industrial potential are going through the stages of automation more quickly than previously developed countries did, and thereby failing to develop the broad industrial workforce seen as a key to shared prosperity.

For both Rodrik and Wolf, the political reaction to globalisation bore possibilities of deep uncertainty. I really have found it very difficult to decide whether what were living through is a blip, or a fundamental and profound transformation of the world at least as significant as that one brought about the first world war and the Russian revolution, Wolf told me. He cited his agreement with economists such as Summers that shifting away from the earlier emphasis on globalisation had now become a political priority; that to pursue still greater liberalisation was like showing a red rag to a bull in terms of what it might do to the already compromised political stability of the western world.

Rodrik pointed to a belated emphasis, both among political figures and economists, on the necessity of compensating those displaced by globalisation with retraining and more robust welfare states. But pro-free-traders had a history of cutting compensation: Bill Clinton passed Nafta, but failed to expand safety nets. The issue is that the people are rightly not trusting the centrists who are now promising compensation, Rodrik said. One reason that Hillary Clinton didnt get any traction with those people is that she didnt have any credibility.

Rodrik felt that economics commentary failed to register the gravity of the situation: that there were increasingly few avenues for global growth, and that much of the damage done by globalisation economic and political is irreversible. There is a sense that were at a turning point, he said. Theres a lot more thinking about what can be done. Theres a renewed emphasis on compensation which, you know, I think has come rather late.

Illustrations by Nathalie Lees

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Naomi Klein: how power profits from disaster

The lengthy read: Following a crisis, private contractors relocate and suck up funding for work done badly, if then individuals billions get cut from government budgets. Like Grenfell Tower, Hurricane Katrina revealed a disdain for that poor

There happen to be occasions within my reporting from disaster zones when I’ve had the unsettling feeling which i was seeing not only a crisis within the present, but obtaining a glimpse for the future a preview of in which the road many of us are on is headed, unless of course we in some way carry the wheel and swerve. After I pay attention to Donald Trump speak, together with his apparent enjoy creating an environment of chaos and destabilisation, I frequently think: Ive seen this before, in individuals strange moments when portals appeared to spread out up into our collective future.

Certainly one of individuals moments showed up in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, when i viewed hordes of non-public military contractors descend around the flooded city to figure out ways to learn in the disaster, even while a large number of the citys residents, abandoned by their government, were treated like harmful crooks only for attempting to survive.

I began to note exactly the same tactics in disaster zones all over the world. I used the term shock doctrine to explain the brutal tactic of utilizing the publics disorientation carrying out a collective shock wars, coups, terrorist attacks, market crashes or disasters to proceed radical pro-corporate measures, frequently known as shock therapy. Though Trump breaks the mould somewhat, his shock tactics do consume a script, and one that’s familiar using their company countries which have had rapid changes enforced underneath the cover of crisis.

This tactic is a silent partner towards the imposition of neoliberalism in excess of 4 decades. Shock tactics consume a obvious pattern: wait for crisis (or perhaps, sometimes, as with Chile or Russia, help foment one), declare a minute of what’s sometimes known as remarkable politics, suspend some or all democratic norms after which ram the organization wishlist through as rapidly as you possibly can. The study demonstrated that almost any tumultuous situation, if presented with plenty of hysteria by political leaders, could serve this softening-up function. It may be a celebration as radical like a military coup, however the economic shock of the market or budget crisis would also have the desired effect. Among hyperinflation or perhaps a banking collapse, for example, the countrys governing elites were frequently in a position to sell a panicked population on the requirement of attacks on social protections, or enormous bailouts to support the financial private sector since the alternative, they claimed, was outright economic apocalypse.

The Republicans under Jesse Trump happen to be appropriating the climate of constant crisis that surrounds this presidency to proceed as numerous unpopular, pro-corporate policies. So we know they’d move much further and faster given a level bigger exterior shock. We all know this because senior people of Trumps team happen to be in the centre of probably the most egregious types of the shock doctrine in recent memory.

Rex Tillerson, the united states secretary of condition, has generated his career mainly around benefiting from the profitability of war and instability. ExxonMobil profited greater than any oil major from the rise in the cost of oil that evolved as the result of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Additionally, it directly exploited the Iraq war to ignore US condition department advice making an exploration deal in Iraqi Kurdistan, moving that, since it sidelined Iraqs central government, may have sparked a complete-blown civil war, and definitely did lead to internal conflict.

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Rex Tillerson, now US secretary of state, is a former CEO of ExxonMobil. Photograph: Mike Stone/Reuters

As CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson profited from disaster in other ways as well. As an executive at the fossil fuel giant, he spent his career working for a company that, despite its own scientists research into the reality of human-caused climate change, decided to fund and spread misinformation and junk climate science. All the while, according to an LA Times investigation, ExxonMobil (both pre and post Exxon and Mobil merged) labored diligently to learn how to further make money from and safeguard itself from the very crisis which it had been casting doubt. It accomplished it by exploring drilling within the Arctic (that was melting, because of global warming), redesigning a gas pipeline within the North Ocean to support rising ocean levels and supercharged storms, and doing exactly the same for any new rig from the coast of Quebec.

In a public event this year, Tillerson acknowledged that global warming was happening but what he said next was revealing: like a species, humans usually have adapted. Therefore we will adjust to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around well adjust to that.

Hes quite right: humans do adapt when their land ceases to create food. The way in which humans adapt is as simple as moving. They leave their houses to check out places to reside where they are able to feed their and themselves families. But, as Tillerson well knows, we don’t live at any given time when countries happily open their borders to hungry and desperate people. Actually, lucrative is employed by a president that has colored refugees from Syria a rustic where drought was an accelerant from the tensions that brought to civil war as Trojan viruses horses for terrorism. A president who introduced a travel ban which has gone a lengthy way towards barring Syrian migrants from entering the U . s . States.

A president that has stated about Syrian children seeking asylum, I’m able to try looking in their faces and say: You cannot come. A president that has not budged from that position despite he purchased missile bombings of Syria, supposedly moved through the horrifying impacts of the chemical weapon attack on Syrian children and delightful babies. (Although not moved enough to welcome them as well as their parents.) A president that has announced intends to turn the tracking, surveillance, incarceration and deportation of immigrants right into a defining feature of his administration.

Browsing the wings, biding time, are lots of other people from the Trump team who’ve deep skills in profiting coming from all that.


Between election day and also the finish of Trumps first month at work, the stocks of these two largest private prison companies in america, CoreCivic (formerly the Corrections Corporation of the usa) and also the Geo Group, bending, soaring by 140% and 98%, correspondingly. Why is this so? Just like Exxon learned to learn from global warming, these businesses are members of the sprawling industry of non-public prisons, private security and surveillance that sees wars and migration both very frequently associated with climate stresses as exciting and expanding market possibilities. In america, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (Ice) incarcerates as much as 34,000 immigrants regarded as in the united states unlawfully on a day, and 73% seem to be locked in private prisons. Little question, then, these companies stocks soared on Trumps election. And shortly they’d much more good reasons to celebrate: one of the first things Trumps new attorney general, Shaun Sessions, did was rescind the Obama administrations decision to escape from for-profit jails for that general prison population.

Trump hired as deputy defence secretary Patrick Shanahan, a high executive at Boeing who, at some point, was accountable for selling pricey hardware towards the US military, including Apache and Chinook helicopters. Also, he oversaw Boeings ballistic missile defence programme an element of the operation that stands to learn enormously if worldwide tensions still escalate under Trump.

Which is a part of a significantly bigger trend. As Lee Fang reported in the Intercept in March 2017, President Jesse Trump has weaponised the revolving door by appointing defence contractors and lobbyists to key government positions because he seeks to quickly expand the military budget and homeland security programmes A minimum of 15 officials with financial ties to defence contractors happen to be either nominated or hired to date.

The revolving door is certainly not new, obviously. Upon the market military brass reliably occupy jobs and contracts with weapons companies. Whats new is the amount of generals with lucrative ties to military contractors whom Trump has hired to cabinet posts using the capacity to allocate funds including individuals stemming from his intend to increase paying for the military, the Government and also the Department of Homeland Security by greater than $80bn in only twelve months.

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Contractors for the US-based Blackwater private security firm in Iraq in 2005. Photograph: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images

The other thing that has changed is the size of the Homeland Security and surveillance industry. This sector grew exponentially after the September 11 attacks, when the Bush administration announced it was embarking on a never-ending war on terror, and that everything that could be outsourced would be. New firms with tinted windows sprouted up like malevolent mushrooms around suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, and existing ones, such as Booz Allen Hamilton, expanded into brand new territories. Writing in Slate in 2005, Daniel Gross taken the atmosphere of the items many known as the safety bubble: Homeland security might have just arrived at happens that internet investing hit in 1997. In those days, whatever you required to do was put an e before your business as well as your IPO would rocket. You can now perform the same goes with fortress.

Which means a lot of Trumps appointees originate from businesses that concentrate on functions that, not such a long time ago, it could have been unthinkable to delegate. His National Security Council chief of staff, for example, is upon the market Lt Gen Keith Kellogg. One of many jobs Kellogg has already established with security contractors since going private was one with Cubic Defense.

Based on the organization, he brought our ground combat training business and concentrate[erectile dysfunction] on expanding the companys worldwide subscriber base. If you feel combat training is one thing military i did so all by themselves, youd be right.

One noticeable factor about Trumps contractor appointees is the number of of these originate from businesses that did not exist before 9/11: L-1 Identity Solutions (specialising in biometrics), the Chertoff Group (founded by George W Bushs homeland security director Michael Chertoff), Palantir Technologies (a surveillance/big data firm cofounded by PayPal millionaire and Trump backer Peter Thiel), and much more. Security firms draw heavily around the military and intelligence wings of presidency for his or her staffing.

Under Trump, lobbyists and staffers from all of these firms are actually moving to government, where they’ll most likely push for more possibilities to monetise the search for individuals Trump loves to call bad hombres.

This results in a disastrous cocktail. Take someone who directly make money from ongoing war after which put individuals same people in the centre of presidency. Whos will make the situation for peace? Indeed, the concept that a war could ever for sure finish appears a quaint relic of the items throughout the Plant years was ignored as preSeptember 11 thinking.


And then theres vice-president Mike Pence, seen by many people because the grownup in Trumps untidy room. Yet it’s Pence, the previous governor of Indiana, who really has got the most annoying history with regards to bloody-minded exploitation of human suffering.

When Mike Pence was announced as Jesse Trumps running mate, I figured to myself: I understand that name, Ive seen it somewhere. After which I appreciated. He was in the centre of probably the most shocking tales Ive ever covered: the disaster capitalism free-for-everything adopted Katrina and also the drowning of New Orleans. Mike Pences doings like a profiteer from human suffering are extremely appalling that they’re worth exploring in a bit more depth, given that they inform us a good deal by what don’t be surprised out of this administration during occasions of increased crisis.

Before we explore Pences role, whats remember this about Hurricane Katrina is the fact that, though it is almost always referred to as an all natural disaster, there is nothing natural about the actual way it affected the town of recent Orleans. When Katrina hit the coast of Mississippi in 2006, it absolutely was downgraded from the category 5 to some still-devastating category 3 hurricane. But when it made its method to New Orleans, it’d lost the majority of its strength and been downgraded again, to some tropical storm.

Thats relevant, just because a tropical storm should not have damaged through New Orleanss ton defence. Katrina did break through, however, since the levees that safeguard the town didn’t hold. Why? Now that we know that despite repeated warnings concerning the risk, the military corps of engineers had permitted the levees to fall under a condition of disrepair. That failure evolved as the result of two primary factors.

One would be a specific disregard for that lives of poor black people, whose homes within the Lower Ninth Ward were left most vulnerable through the failure to repair the levees. It was a part of a broader neglect of public infrastructure, the direct consequence of decades of neoliberal policy. Because whenever you systematically wage fight against the concept of the general public sphere and also the public good, obviously the openly owned bones of society roads, bridges, levees, water systems are likely to put on a condition of these disrepair that it requires little to push them past the breaking point. Whenever you massively cut taxes so you do not have money to invest on much else aside from the police and also the military, this is exactly what happens.

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Vice-president Mike Pence with Donald Trump. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

It wasnt just the physical infrastructure that failed the city, and particularly its poorest residents, who are, as in so many US cities, overwhelmingly African American. The human systems of disaster response also failed the second great fracturing. The arm of the federal government that is tasked with responding to moments of national crisis such as this is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema), with state and municipal governments also playing key roles in evacuation planning and response. All levels of government failed.

It took Fema five days to get water and food to people in New Orleans who had sought emergency shelter in the Superdome. The most harrowing images from that time were of people stranded on rooftops of homes and hospitals supporting signs that stated HELP, watching the helicopters did not get them. People helped one another as well as they might. They saved one another in canoes and rowboats. They given one another. They displayed that lovely human convenience of unity that moments of crisis so frequently intensify. But in the official level, it had been the entire opposite. Ill remember the language of Curtis Muhammad, a longtime New Orleans civil legal rights organiser, who stated this experience convinced us that people didn’t have caretakers.

The way in which this abandonment performed out was deeply unequal, and also the divisions cleaved along lines of race and sophistication. Lots of people could leave the town by themselves they were given to their cars, drove to some dry hotel, known as their insurance brokers. Many people remained simply because they believed the storm defences would hold. But a lot of others remained simply because they didn’t have choice they didnt possess a vehicle, or were too infirm they are driving, or just didnt get sound advice. Individuals are those who needed a functioning system of evacuation and relief plus they were at a complete loss.

Abandoned within the city without food or water, individuals in need of assistance did what anybody would do in individuals conditions: they required provisions from local stores. Fox News along with other media outlets grabbed about this to color New Orleanss black residents as harmful looters who’d soon be visiting attack the dry, white-colored areas of the town and surrounding suburbs and towns. Structures were spray-colored with messages: Looters is going to be shot.

Checkpoints were established to trap individuals the flooded areas of town. On Danziger Bridge, police officers shot black residents on sight (five from the officials involved ultimately pleaded guilty, and also the city found a $13.3m settlement using the families for the reason that situation and 2 other similar publish-Katrina cases). Meanwhile, gangs of armed white-colored vigilantes prowled the roads searching, as you resident later place it within an expos by investigative journalist AC Thompson, for that chance to search black people.


I is at New Orleans throughout the flooding and that i saw personally how amped in the police and military were as well as private security pads from companies for example Blackwater who have been turning up fresh from Iraq. It felt just like a battleground, with poor and black individuals the crosshairs people whose only crime was attempting to survive. When the nation’s Guard showed up to organise a complete evacuation from the city, it had been completed with an amount of aggression and ruthlessness which was difficult to fathom. Soldiers pointed machine guns at residents because they boarded buses, supplying no details about where these were being taken. Children were frequently separated using their parents.

Things I saw throughout the flooding shocked me. What I saw as a direct consequence of Katrina shocked me much more. Using the city reeling, with its residents spread across the nation and not able to safeguard their very own interests, an agenda emerged to ram via a pro-corporate wishlist with maximum velocity. The famous free-market economist Milton Friedman, then 93 years of age, authored articles for that Wall Street Journal stating, Most New Orleans schools have been in ruins, much like the homes from the children who’ve attended them. The kids are actually scattered from coast to coast. This can be a tragedy. It’s also an chance to significantly reform the academic system.

Inside a similar vein, Richard Baker, in those days a Republican congressman from Louisiana, declared, We finally cleared up public housing in New Orleans. We couldnt get it done, but God did. I had been within an evacuation shelter near Baton Rouge when Baker made that statement. The folks I spoken with were just floored because of it. Imagine having to leave your house, getting to settle an outdoor camping bed in certain cavernous convention center, after which discovering that those who are designed to fully handle your case are claiming it was some kind of divine intervention God apparently really loves condo developments.

Baker got his cleanup of public housing. Within the several weeks following the storm, with New Orleanss residents and all sorts of their inconvenient opinions, wealthy culture and deep attachments taken care of, a large number of public housing units, a few of which had sustained minimal storm damage simply because they were on high ground, were destroyed. These were substituted for condos and city houses priced wild of achieve for many who’d resided there.

Which is where Mike Pence enters the storyline. At that time Katrina hit New Orleans, Pence was chairman from the effective and highly ideological Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus of conservative lawmakers. On 13 September 2005 just 15 days following the levees were breached, with areas of New Orleans still under water the RSC convened a fateful meeting in the offices from the Heritage Foundation in Washington Electricity. Under Pences leadership, the audience created a summary of Pro-Free-Market Ideas for Responding to Hurricane Katrina and High Gas Prices 32 pseudo-relief policies in most, each one of these straight from the disaster capitalism playbook.

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New Orleans residents wait on a rooftop to be rescued after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Photograph: Reuters

What stands out is the commitment to wage all-out war on labour standards and the public sphere which is bitterly ironic, because the failure of public infrastructure is what turned Katrina into a human catastrophe in the first place. Also notable is the determination to use any opportunity to strengthen the hand of the oil and gas industry. The list includes recommendations to suspend the obligation for federal contractors to pay a living wage; make the entire affected area a free-enterprise zone; and repeal or waive restrictive environmental regulations that hamper rebuilding. In other words, a war on the kind of red tape designed to keep communities safe from harm.

President Bush adopted many of the recommendations within the week, although, under pressure, he was eventually forced to reinstate the labour standards. Another recommendation called for giving parents vouchers to use at private and charter schools (for-profit schools subsidised with tax dollars), a move perfectly in line with the vision held by Trumps pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos. Inside the year, the brand new Orleans school system grew to become probably the most privatised in america.

There was more. Though climate scientists have directly linked the elevated concentration of hurricanes to warming sea temperatures, that didnt stop Pence and the committee from contacting Congress to repeal ecological rules around the Gulf coast, give permission for brand new oil refineries in america, and eco-friendly-light drilling within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Its a type of madness. In the end, these very measures really are a guaranteed method to increase green house gas emissions, the main human cause of global warming, which results in fiercer storms. Yet these were immediately championed by Pence, and then adopted by Plant, underneath the guise of answering a devastating hurricane.

Its worth pausing to tease the implications famous this. Hurricane Katrina switched right into a catastrophe in New Orleans due to a mixture of very heavy weather possibly associated with global warming and weak and neglected public infrastructure. The so-known as solutions suggested through the group Pence headed at that time were the stuff that would inevitably exacerbate global warming and weaken public infrastructure even more. He and the fellow free-market vacationers were determined, it appears, to complete the stuff that are certain to result in more Katrinas later on.

And today Mike Pence is capable of bring this vision towards the entire U . s . States.


The oil industry wasnt the only person to learn from Hurricane Katrina. Soon after the storm, the entire range of contractors who’d descended on Baghdad when war started Bechtel, Fluor, Halliburton, Blackwater, CH2M Hill and Parsons, infamous for its sloppy Iraq work now showed up in New Orleans. They’d one vision: to demonstrate that the sorts of privatised services they were supplying in Iraq and Afghanistan also had a continuing domestic market and also to collect no-bid contracts totalling $3.4bn.

The controversies were legion. Relevant experience frequently made an appearance to possess nothing related to how contracts were allotted. Take, for instance, the organization that Fema compensated $5.2m to do the important role of creating basics camp for emergency workers in St Bernard Parish, a suburb of recent Orleans. The camp ground construction fell behind schedule and it was never completed. Under analysis, it emerged the contractor, Lighthouse Disaster Relief, was basically a spiritual group. Concerning the nearest factor I’ve completed to case organise a youth camp with my church, confessed Lighthouses director, Pastor Gary Heldreth.

In the end the layers of subcontractors had their cut, there is nothing left for anyone carrying it out. Author Mike Davis tracked the way in which Fema compensated Shaw $175 per sq foot to set up blue tarps on broken roofs, although the tarps themselves were supplied by the federal government. Once all of the subcontractors required their share, the employees who really hammered within the tarps were compensated less than $2 per sq foot.

Every degree of the contracting food chain, quite simply, is grotesquely overfed except the underside rung, Davis authored, in which the actual jobs are transported out. These supposed contractors were enjoy the Trump Organization hollow brands, sucking out profit after which slapping their name on cheap or non-existent services.

To be able to counterbalance the many billions likely to private companies in contracts and regulations and tax breaks, in November 2005 the Republican-controlled Congress announced it required to cut $40bn in the federal budget. One of the programmes which were slashed: student education loans, State medicaid programs and food stamps.

So, the poorest people in america subsidised the contractor bonanza two times: first, when Katrina relief morphed into unregulated corporate handouts, supplying neither decent jobs nor functional public services and 2nd, once the couple of programmes that really help the unemployed and dealing poor nationwide were gutted to pay for individuals bloated bills.

New Orleans may be the disaster capitalism blueprint created by the present vice-president by the Heritage Foundation, hard-right think tank that Trump has outsourced a lot of his administrations budgeting. Ultimately, the reaction to Katrina sparked an agreement ratings freefall for George W Plant, a plunge that eventually lost the Republicans the presidency in 2008. Nine years later, with Republicans now in charge of Congress and also the White-colored House, it is not difficult to picture this test situation for privatised disaster response being adopted on the national scale.

The existence of highly militarised police and armed private soldiers in New Orleans came like a surprise to a lot of. Since that time, the phenomenon has expanded tremendously, with local police forces across the nation outfitted towards the gills with military-grade gear, including tanks and drones, and security companies frequently supplying training and support. Because of the variety of private military and security contractors occupying key positions within the Trump administration, don’t be surprised all this to grow further with every new shock.

The Katrina experience also stands like a stark warning to individuals who’re ready expect Trumps guaranteed $1tn in infrastructure spending. That spending will fix some roads and bridges, and it’ll create jobs. Crucially, Trump has established that he intends to do whenever possible not with the public sector but through public-private partnerships that have a dreadful history for corruption, and may lead to cheaper wages than true public-works projects would. Given Trumps business record, and Pences role within the administration, there’s every need to fear that his big-ticket infrastructure spending turn into a Katrina-like kleptocracy, a government of thieves, using the Marly-a-Lago set helping themselves to vast sums of taxpayer money.

New Orleans supplies a harrowing picture of the items don’t be surprised once the next shock hits. But sadly, it’s not even close to complete: there’s a lot more this administration might attempt to proceed under cover of crisis. To get shock-resistant, we have to get ready for that, too.

Primary photograph: AP Photo/Palm Beach Publish/Gary Coronado.

It is really an edited extract from No Isn’t Enough: Defeating the brand new Shock Politics by Naomi Klein, printed by Allen Lane at 12.99. To buy a duplicate for 11.04, visit bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free United kingdom p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of just one.99.

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