Laura Flanders on George H. W. Bush's Legacy as One of "Merciless" Bloodshed

From the desk of Laura Flanders:
I couldn't face thinking too much about George Herbert Walker Bush last week, but today I'm ready, so here goes.
My first real job in journalism was working with Dennis J Bernstein and Robert Knight on Contragate (later called Undercurrents), a radio show on WBAI 99.5 FM New York which began as a daily update on the twists and turns of the Iran-Contra affair (1985-87). With Bernstein, one of the first feature stories I researched was on G.H.W. Bush for Rolling Stone. (The story was killed, as I recall, and I think we never got paid.) While the obits have done their best to sanitize the record, it's beyond bloody. As Jeremy Scahill put it well this week, George H.W. Bush is one of the imperial saints of the national religion of US exceptionalism. As such, his hands are dripping.
The senior Bush's history with with the CIA began before he became director in 1976 and continued long after. He was their man, bucking them up after the pesky Church Committee tried to rein the agency in after Watergate. Bush kept the covert operators of the Vietnam-era in work, in the Condor assassination program that fed and fertilized the Central American wars. Dictators served American capital's interests, and so Bush's CIA worked hand-in-dirty-glove, facilitating the assassination of their opponents all over the Americas, including on US soil, in the terrorist car bombing of Orlando Letelier and the Institute for Policy Studies' Ronni Mofffitt which happened on his watch, at the behest of Chile's Pinochet.
Bush never saw a death squad he couldn't make peace with, not in Guatemala, not in El Salvador nor Nicaragua. He endorsed the US bombing of Libya, the trumped-up invasion of left-leaning Grenada and the invasion of Panama to arrest Manuel Noriega, a drug dealer he had had an asset-to-master relationship with for years (even as Bush unleashed the racist "War on Drugs" at home.) Throughout the 1980s, Bush propped up dictators and covered up the slaughter of freedom fighters in Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, and of course Iraq, until men like Duvalier, Noriega and Saddam Hussein no longer served their US purpose.


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A Note From Laura

Dear all,

As many of you know, it takes a village to build one episode of one independent tv show. And certainly more than one Tuesday.  In fact, it might take 10 years. 

The Laura Flanders Show has been on air for a decade, from GRIT TV in 2008 to its current form. Over those years, a lot of thing have changed: our set, our format, our focus, and even our host's hair. Laura has interviewed forward-thinking people who say there are many alternatives to imperialist, capitalist, and white supremacist eco-apartheid. 

See for yourselves:


10 Years of Building Power Through Media.

In our 10th year, will you become a part of our project? Will you give $10, $100, or $1000 to support media that shines a light on possibility and that is building power, in solidarity with our movements? 

We need you with us.

With love,

Laura Flanders
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F-Word: HUD Officially Moves Into Public Housing?

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The federal housing official responsible for the New York City region says she plans to move into public housing to spotlight inhumane conditions, but if she really wanted to spotlight inhumanity in housing, she’d move big money out of precious city housing stock.   

Longtime Trump aid Lynne Patton told the press recently that she intends to move out of Trump Plaza where she lives and into public housing to cast a spotlight on the inhumane conditions in which some city residents live. Her target is NYCHA. The New York City Housing Authority is one of the nation’s biggest and in many ways the program’s flagship so it’s no surprise it comes in for lots of grief.


Image result for lynne patton

Some of it is well deserved. Federal investigators have found mold and rodents and lead in New York public housing. Over 25,000 residents spent a very frigid thanksgiving weekend without heat and hot water, some going for water from a hydrant in the street.  But Patton moving in for a month, on her $161,000 salary won’t shed a spotlight on inhumanity as much as on herself, and on the Trump agenda, which, like most Republicans' is about promoting the private at the expense of the public. Which is ironic given that Tump’s money, which is to say his father's money came to him from a public housing grant. Vilifying public agencies are part of the pro privatization agenda.  So is underfunding them.


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F-WORD: Amazon Wants to End Homelessness? That's Rich.

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They call it Giving Tuesday and we’ve just marked the seventh annual this week. It’s supposed to kick off a season of charitable giving, but the way some corporate robber barons use it for public relations is enough to turn your stomach. 
So let’s rename it Stomach-Turning Tuesday. This year’s prime stomach turner was Amazon, of course. The corporate megastore that would sell everything to everybody and put all competition out of business, publicizes its December-long #DeliveringSmiles program that supposedly gives away toys to kids. This year they announced they’ll give half a million dollars away in toys and throw in an additional $1 for every mile their #DeliveringSmiles trucks drove on #GivingTuesday. 
Amazon Seattle
This is the same trillion dollar corporation that just extracted billions of taxpayer dollars in what amount to bribes from two cash-strapped states, Virginia and New York.  Those public billions could have gone to public housing, or transit or other public services. Instead they’ll go to Amazon, one of the world's richest companies - to defray their costs for doing business. 
What’s in store for local residents? Well, Amazon’s first home, the city of Seattle is now the third most expensive housing market in the country. When Amazon arrived it wasn’t even close. According to the real estate site, Zillow, home prices in Seattle rose 73% in the last five years and rents another 31% .  
Call me cynical but I’d bet those Giving Tuesday dollars that Amazon’s giving to fight homelessness will come as cold comfort to those in Long Island City and Crystal City who are about to be made homeless.  
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for giving. But this isn’t charity, it’s feudalism. Aristocratic Amazon is tossing crumbs to peasants. And don’t forget  — for all those so-called charitable gifts, the company gets to claim a tax break. That picks yet more money out of public pockets and puts it back in the corporation’s. If only it happened just one day a year, instead of every Robber Baron week.  
Watch the Laura Flanders Show - which is donor supported - and learn about ways that people are shifting power from the few to the many right here right now, and all around the planet. Every week, on LinkTV, FreeSpeechTV, CUNYTv and online at And contribute to keep us Amazon-free. Thanks. 
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WTF White Women?

2016 was bad. 2018 was worse. While fifty-two percent of white women voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence in 2016. In 2018, 76 percent of white women voted for Brian Kemp.

This Tuesday, 76 percent of white female voters in Georgia cast their ballots against Stacey Abrams becoming this nation’s first black female governor. 59 percent in Texas voted for Republican Ted Cruz against latino Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Fifty-one percent opposed Andrew Gillum becoming the first African American Governor of the Sunshine state.

White women rained all over that new day dawning. Did they vote on the issues? Statistically, there aren’t enough anti-choice, anti-healthcare, anti-minimum wage, gun-mad voters out there to blame just conservative women. 

So white women are either stupid or spoiled. I say spoiled. 

We reap plenty of spoils from white supremacy. To name a few: we get to be race-less, sexy, vulnerable and at least relatively safe. 

Structurally, the system’s set up such that white women earn more, own more, and live significantly longer than anyone else (except for our brothers and fathers and husbands and sons.) 

We’re more likely to be cared-for than killed when we’re having a mental health crisis and cops come to our door.

We’re more likely to be counseled than kicked-out when we act up in school. 

We’re way more likely to be hired, and way, way less likely to be incarcerated. That’s in no small part because we’re more likely to be seen as beautiful and loved (in advertising, magazines, and Hollywood), and far less likely to be seen as scary or a threat.



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F-Word: Hate Speech at Homeland Security

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Hate Speech Scrawled on Plaque at African Burial Ground National Monument 


Someone scrawled “KILL N------” on the African Burial Ground National Monument in New York this week, thirty five feet from the headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE and the FBI.

The racist graffiti showed up shortly before noon, Thursday, on the burial ground of 15,000 free and enslaved Africans.

The burial ground sits directly across from 26 Federal Plaza, a block away from the federal court house and a stone’s throw from City Hall. The street is closed to traffic by checkpoints and crash barriers and patrolled around the clock by federal police, as well as the NYPD, the Parks Department and private guards.

A bare expanse of grass with just a few explanatory signs, the Burial Ground attracts passers-by and Thursday was a glorious day.

Which is to say, someone, most likely in broad daylight, beneath half a dozen surveillance cameras, felt confident enough to write KIlLL N------- perfectly clearly on what has got to be one of the most highly policed blocks in the world.


Will we ever know? A picture of the defaced plaque was sent to the Public Advocate’s office and to a City Councillor. A call was made to the Hate Crimes Task Force, which transferred the caller to the NYPD. The federal police are aware of the situation, I was told.

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Excerpt: "The Labour Party now is a social movement." - John McDonnell

Laura Flanders: What difference does a party make? This week on The Lara Flanders Show, we talk about what's happening in the UK, where one of the two parties, in what is basically a two party system, is picking up many of the radical demands coming out of movement groups seeking to transform the economy. Will they take that agenda with them into office? Nobody knows, but they're having meetings with activists, like this one, all across the country. From Imperial College London, this is the Lara Flanders show, the place where the people who say it can't be done take a backseat to the people who are doing it. Welcome.

Laura Flanders: In June 2017, mainstream media predicted that the Labour Party would be crushed in the UK's general election. Instead, it won its best result in 20 years, getting more than 40% of the vote, under the leadership of a lifelong socialist anti-war campaigner, Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn didn't become Prime Minister, but he did come close to unseating conservative Theresa May, after just two years as Labour Party leader. You could almost hear the reporter's surprise.

Supporters: Labour in! [inaudible 00:01:05] out! Labour in ...

Reporter: Well, he has not won the election, but this has been a nice vindication for Jeremy Corbyn, defying his critics with Labour's best result for almost 20 years.

John McDonnell: It gives me great pleasure, it gives me great pleasure to invite the lead of the Labour Party, the person who's gonna take us into number 10, Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn: Last time we were here, I talked about the dire state of our economy under the Tory's, and that was two years ago. Sadly, in the two years since then, things have got even worse. Wages are lower than they were in 2016 at the time of the last conference, and lower than they were in real terms a decade ago. The Tory's have shown they have no response to these deep structural problems, and they are very, very deep. They continue instead to subscribe to the highly discredited theory that economic growth will mean trickle down and help those at the bottom. It didn't work under Thatcher, it isn't working under May.




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Excerpt: "I wish they had presidential debates in barbershops." - Tef Poe


Laura Flanders: Community wealth building from Detroit to Ferguson, this week we hit the road to see Tef Poe's new barbershop and more. It's all coming up on The Laura Flanders Show, the place where the people who say it can't be done take a backseat to the people who are doing it. Welcome.

Laura Flanders: I couldn't be more honored or happier to be in St. Louis with Tef Poe. Tef, you last saw in our reporting from Ferguson. We're here today to do a little update on what's happening around here, and especially to celebrate the opening of this place.

Tef Poe: We're here at Frontline Styles Barbershop. It's a barbershop that me and my friends founded. We came up with the idea during the protests about retaining some of the property, retaining some of the land, and we wanted to just bring something new and unique to the community and have a different type of theme with a new cutting-edge beautiful barbershop for North St. Louis.

Laura Flanders: Now we have to say we're here the day before the opening. What will we see? What will people see here tomorrow?

Tef Poe: Okay, so tomorrow it will be a full-fledged barbershop. We'll have the stations stocked with barbers. By then, the artwork should be on the walls. Hopefully, we'll hang that tonight.

Laura Flanders: What kind of artwork is that going to be?

Tef Poe: We're going to do artwork that's rooted in pro-blackness. We want people to be able to come here and feel good about their identity, for this to be a safe haven for the community, a place where you can learn, come get your hair cut, a refuge, a place of solitude, education, entertainment, all in between.

Laura Flanders: Who are we going to see on the walls?

Tef Poe: You know you got to have Malcolm X on the wall. You throw maybe a little Muhammad Ali. I'm hoping we got one of Assata.

Tef Poe: This is my guy, Sol. I met Sol in Ferguson when everything was going on. He used to cut a lot of our hair for free. His barbershop also became a safe place for the community, a place where we knew we could go, trade ideas, talk about things we wanted to do, even talk politics if we wanted to, everything from politics to music.

Tef Poe: Stress, growing up in the ghetto.





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F-Word: Ominous Silence on the Anniversary of the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act turned 28 this July. The ADA was signed into law on July 26th, 1990 by the first President Bush. It prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life.

Traditionally, Capitol Hill marks the day, and, one way or another, the White House issues a statement, and someone in the House or the Senate sponsors a declaration. Full-throated, mealy mouthed—some administrations are keener than others—but what doesn’t happen on the anniversary is nothing. And, yet, that’s what happened this year for the second time in a row. You guessed it, the first two years of the Trump administration marked the first time that this landmark civil rights anniversary passed without official anything.

Was the people’s House too busy? Well, not too busy to do other things. Under Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the House found time to consider the Private Property Rights Protection Act, the Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument Act, even HR 6077, the National Comedy Center Recognition Act, but not the ADA.

But that doesn’t mean there was silence on Capitol Hill.

Again this year, disabled rights activists flooded into Washington at the end of July for the annual conference of the National Council on Independent Living. A couple of days ahead of the anniversary, they walked, wheeled, and scooted their way up to the Capitol for their annual rally and lobby day. You can see my coverage on Facebook; we have a report coming up.

What difference does inclusion make? Without it, you can make a lot of bad decisions. From DC, I returned to New York, a city that’s just spent hundreds of millions of public dollars on subway renovations that totally ignored one in six New Yorkers.

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Decolonizing Wealth Through Indigenous Leadership: Edgar Villanueva


This week Laura speaks to Edgar Villanueva, about being one of the very few indigenous people working in grant-making, and ask what he thinks Native American traditions have to teach philanthropy. Then, we report from the United Nations where indigenous women gathered from around the world this spring to flip the script on so-called indigenous issues.

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