PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “The Leader of the Free World Meets Donald Trump” / Politico Magazine / James P. Rubin ☮

Angela Merkel, whether she wants the job or not, is the West’s last, best hope.

This time the media hype surrounding a White House meeting is no wild exaggeration. When President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally get together on Friday, the leaders of the West’s two most powerful countries are sure to come off more like an odd couple than two close allies chewing over plans for some joint enterprise. And for good reason. Merkel and Trump are not only polar opposites as people, but they share little in terms of international outlook.

Their styles reflect their vastly different backgrounds. Merkel, Germany’s first and only female chancellor, was raised by a pastor in communist East Germany, where she earned a doctorate in physical chemistry. Although she is the longest-serving and most powerful leader in Europe, she is unfailingly modest, competent and consensus-oriented. Trump’s all-about-me mentality, Queens upbringing and brash, tabloid-and-reality-TV personality couldn’t be more different.

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PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “Truthdigger of the Week: Angela Davis, an Activist for the Ages” / truthdig / Natasha Hakimi ☮

Every week the Truthdig editorial staff selects a Truthdigger of the Week, a group or person worthy of recognition for speaking truth to power, breaking the story or blowing the whistle. It is not a lifetime achievement award. Rather, we’re looking for newsmakers whose actions in a given week are worth celebrating.

When legendary civil rights activist and feminist intellectual Angela Davis took the stage in a packed auditorium at London’s Women of the World festival last week, she was greeted with a raucous standing ovation reminiscent of a rock concert.

PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “Stephen Kinzer: The Birth of American Empire” / RT America / On Contact with Chris Hedges ☮

On this week’s On Contact, Chris Hedges discusses the rise of American imperialism with Stephen Kinzer, author of “The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire”. RT Correspondent looks back to the beginning of America’s overseas expansion.

PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “‘Hard Power’ Budget and Hard-headed Cuts” / RT America / Ed Schultz ☮

Critics exploded in outrage when news spread about President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, dubbed the “hard power budget.” Many criticized slashing small agencies and programs like Meals on Wheels, the National Endowment for the Arts, NPR, PBS, and more as well as increased military spending. RT America’s Manila Chan breaks down the numbers.