Before the Bidens ‘Did’ Ukraine, There Was Iraq – and Serbia

Before The Bidens “Did” Ukraine, There Was Iraq… And Serbia – Finanz.dk
Analyst, former U.S. diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership

James George Jatras

October 16, 2020

The United States approaches the November 2020 election with growing apprehension, even dread.

Among the possibilities:

For those who have followed events outside the United States during the past few decades, much of this sounds familiar. We’ve seen it before – inflicted on other countries.

Now It’s Coming Home to the U.S.

As explained by Revolver News, what happens in America next to a great extent may be a form of blowback from a specific event: the U.S.-supported 2014 regime change operation in Ukraine:

‘A “Color Revolution” in this context refers to a specific type of coordinated attack that the United States government has been known to deploy against foreign regimes, particularly in Eastern Europe deemed to be “authoritarian” and hostile to American interests. Rather than using a direct military intervention to effect regime change as in Iraq, Color Revolutions attack a foreign regime by contesting its electoral legitimacy, organizing mass protests and acts of civil disobedience, and leveraging media contacts to ensure favorable coverage to their agenda in the Western press.

‘It would be disturbing enough to note a coordinated effort to use these exact same strategies and tactics domestically to undermine or overthrow President Trump. The ominous nature of what we see unfolding before us only truly hits home when one realizes that the people who specialize in these Color Revolution regime change operations overseas are, literally, the very same people attempting to overthrow Trump by using the very same playbook. Given that the most famous Color Revolution was the [2004] “Orange Revolution” in the Ukraine, and that Black Lives Matter is being used as a key component of the domestic Color Revolution against Trump, we can encapsulate our thesis at Revolver with the simple remark that “Black is the New Orange.”

This hardly should come as a surprise. The same government agencies and their corporate, NGO, and think tank cronies that are now weaponizing Black Lives Matter, Antifa, other Wokesters, and military putsch plotters here at home to remove Trump have turned regime change abroad into an art form. Ukraine was one of their signal successes, featuring a cast of characters later key to the failed “Ukrainegate” impeachment.

Another consequence of regime change: corruption. As the old saying goes, any idiot can turn an aquarium into fish soup, but no one has yet figured out how to reverse the process. Once a country gets broken it tends to stay broken, whether the “breaking” is accomplished by military means (Serbia 1999, Iraq 2003, Libya 2011) or by a color revolution from the streets (Serbia 2000, Georgia 2003, Ukraine 2004-2005 and again in 2014, Kyrgyzstan 2005, Lebanon 2005, Armenia 2018, plus many others of varying degrees of success, and failures in Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China (Hong Kong), and Belarus). With the target nation’s institutions in shambles, the dregs take over – in Libya, for example, even to the point of reintroducing trade in sub-Saharan African slaves, whose black lives evidently don’t matter to anyone at all.

Iraq: Crush, Corrupt, Cash In

Finally, once regime change occurs and corruption is rampant, another shoe drops: foreign vultures descend on the carcass, profiteers who in many cases are the very same people that helped to create the chaos on which they are cashing in. Invariably, these carpetbaggers are well-connected individuals in the aggressor states and organizations positioned on the inside track both for the carve-up of the target country’s resources and (the word “hypocrisy” doesn’t begin to describe it) for funds to implement “reform” and “reconstruction” of the devastated target.

The showcase of this scam, pursuant to Colin Powell’s reported “Pottery Barn Rule” (You break it, you own it) was the money ostensibly spent on rebuilding Iraq, despite assurances from the war’s advocates that it would pay for itself. With the formal costs conservatively set at over $60 billion to $138 billion out of a tab for the war of over two trillion dollars, the lion’s share of it went to U.S. and other vendors, including the notorious $1.4 billion no-bid contract to Halliburton subsidiary KBR, of which then-Vice President Dick Cheney, a major proponent of the war, had been a top executive. (“Rand Paul Says Dick Cheney Pushed for the Iraq War So Halliburton Would Profit.”)

In Ukraine, Biden’s Son Also Rises

The predatory cronyism vignette most pertinent to the Black/Orange regime change op now unfolding before us with the intent of installing Joe Biden in the Oval Office is that of his son, Hunter, and a Ukrainian energy company with a sketchy reputation, Burisma Holdings. (Right at the outset, even some of Hunter’s associates though the gig with Burisma was too “toxic” and broke off ties with him.) Though ignored or dismissed as fake news and a conspiracy theory by Democrats and legacy media (or do I repeat myself?), the facts are well enough known and fit the Iraq pattern to a T: then-Vice President Joe Biden pushed for regime change in Ukraine, which succeeded in February 2014 with the ouster of the constitutionally elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. In April 2014, Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was brought onto Burisma’s board (along with a fellow named Devon Archer, later convicted of unrelated fraud) at an exorbitant level of compensation that made little sense in light of Hunter’s nonexistent expertise in the energy business – but which made plenty of sense given that his dad was not only Veep but the Obama administration’s point man on policy toward Ukraine, including foreign assistance money. [NOTE: It now has come out that in 2015 Hunter put his dad, the U.S. Vice President, in direct contact with Burisma, news the giant tech firms sought to suppress on social media.]

When a troublesome Ukrainian prosecutor named Viktor Shokin seemed to be taking too much interest in Burisma, Papa Joe came to the rescue, openly threatening the western-dependent politicians installed after Ukraine’s 2014 color revolution with withholding of a billion dollars in U.S. aid until Shokin, whom Joe unironically alleged to be “corrupt,” got the heave-ho. As Tucker Carlson nails it, Shokin’s ouster followed a direct request from Burisma’s Clinton-connected PR firm, Blue Star Strategies, to Hunter to lobby his dad to get Shokin off their back. Joe did just what was asked. He later bragged: “I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here [i.e., Kiev] in, I think it was about six hours.’ I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.”

But First There Was Serbia

Today many people remember Iraq, some have a clue about Ukraine. But Serbia, which preceded them, is off the radar screen of most Americans. To recap:

As a Senator in the 1990s, Joe Biden was one of the most militant advocates of U.S. military action against Serbs during the breakup of the Yugoslav federation, first in Croatia (1991-95), then in Bosnia (1992-95), and then in Serbia’s province of Kosovo (1998- 1999). (As has been said about others like Hillary Clinton and the late John McCain, Biden evidently has never met a war he didn’t like. Along with Hillary, in 2003 Biden helped to whip Senate Democrat votes for the Bush-Cheney Iraq war.) Channeling his inner John McCain, Biden continually called for the U.S. to bomb, bomb, bomb bomb the Serbs while (in a foreshadowing of the Obama-Biden administration’s support for jihad terrorists in Libya and Syria, which ultimately resulted in the appearance of ISIS) pushed successfully for sending weapons to the Islamist regime in Bosnia and then for the U.S. to arm the Islamo-narco-terrorist group known as the “Kosovo Liberation Army” (KLA).

Joe Biden was the primary sponsor of the March 1999 Kosovo war authorization for military action against Serbia and Montenegro, S. Con. Res. 21. (As a little remembered historical note, Biden’s resolution might be seen as the last nail in the coffin of Congress’s constitutional war power. While S. Con. Res 21 passed the Senate, it failed in the House on a 213-213 tie vote, with Republicans overwhelmingly voting Nay. It didn’t matter. Bill Clinton, reeling from the Lewinsky scandal, went ahead with the bombing campaign anyway.) The ensuing 78-day NATO air operation had little impact on Serbia’s military but devastated the country’s infrastructure and took hundreds of civilian lives. (Even now, more than 20 years later, Serbia suffers from elevated cancer levels attributed to depleted uranium munitions.) But for Jihad Joe even that wasn’t punishment enough for people he collectively demonized as “illiterate degenerates, baby killers, butchers, and rapists.” In May 1999, at the height of the NATO air assault, he called for the introduction of U.S. ground troops (“we should announce there’s going to be American casualties”) followed by “a Japanese-German style occupation.”

Eventually the bombing stopped in June 1999 when then-Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević acceded to temporary international occupation of Kosovo on the condition that the province would remain part of Serbia, as codified in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. It was a promise the U.S. and NATO, not to mention their European Union (EU) concubine, had no intention of keeping. Under the nose of the NATO occupation, ostensibly demobilized KLA thugs were given virtually free rein to terrorize the Serbian population, two-thirds of whom were driven out along with Jews and Roma, the rest sheltering in enclaves where they remain to this day. Orthodox Christian churches and monasteries, many of them centuries old, were particular targets for destruction and desecration. KLA commanders – who were also kingpins in the Kosovo Albanian mafia dealing in sex slaves, drugs, weapons, and even human organs – were handed local administration.

In 2007 Senator Biden praised the new order as a “victory for Muslim democracy” and “a much-needed example of a successful U.S.-Muslim partnership.” A year later, the Bush administration sought to complete the job by ramming through Kosovo’s independence in barefaced violation of UNSCR 1244 and despite strong Russian objections. But instead of resolving anything the result was a frozen conflict that persists today, with about half of the United Nations’ member states recognizing Kosovo and half not. Touting itself as the most pro-American “country” [sic] in the world, the Kosovo pseudo-state became a prime recruiting ground for ISIS.

But hey, business was good! Just as in Iraq, the politically well-connected, including former officials instrumental in the attack on Serbia and occupying Kosovo, flocked to the province fueled by lavish aid subsidies from the U.S. and the EU, which for a while made Kosovo one of the biggest per capita foreign assistance recipient “countries” in the world. One such vulture – sorry, entrepreneur – was former Secretary of State Madeleine we-think-a-half-million-dead-Iraqi-children-is-worth-it Albright, a prominent driver of the Clinton administration’s hostile policy on top of her personal Serb-hatred. Albright sought to cash in to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars on sale of the mobile telephone company PTK, originally a Yugoslav state-owned firm that was “privatized” (i.e., stolen) in 2005 as a joint stock company, but who later dropped her bid when it attracted unwanted publicity. Also in the hunt for Kosovo riches was former NATO Supreme Commander and operational chief of the Kosovo war General Wesley Clark, who reportedly cornered a major share of the occupied province’s coal resources under a sweetheart deal that seems to have vanished from public scrutiny since first reported in 2016.

At the moment there seems to be no smoking gun of a direct Biden family payout, à la Ukraine, but there is a possible trail via Hunter’s Burisma-buddy Devon Archer and Archer’s fellow-defendant John “Yanni” Galanis, who in turn is connected to top Kosovo Albanian politicians. In any case, the Biden clan seems to have paid a lot of attention to Kosovo for not having skin in the game. Joe’s late son and Delaware Attorney General, Beau, worked in Kosovo following the war to train local prosecutors as part of an OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) “rule of law” mission (admittedly a big task in a mafia-run pseudo-state), for which a road was named after him near the massive U.S. base Camp Bondsteel. With Hunter on hand for the naming ceremony, Joe Biden took the opportunity to express his “condolences” to Serbian families who lost loved ones in the NATO air assault – of which he was a primary advocate.

A ‘Shokin’ Demand  

Perhaps the best parallel between Biden’s handiwork in Ukraine and his interest in Kosovo also relates to getting rid of an inconvenient individual. But in this case, the person in question wasn’t a state official like Burisma prosecutor Viktor Shokin but a hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

In May 2009 Vice President Biden insisted on visiting one of Kosovo’s most venerable Serbian Orthodox Christian sites, the Visoki Dečani monastery. Ruling Bishop Artemije of the Eparchy of Raška and Prizren, which includes Kosovo and Metohija, refused to give his blessing for the visit, in effect telling Biden he was not welcome. Bishop Artemije long had been a bane of Biden and others advocating detachment of Kosovo from Serbia, starting with his first mission to Washington in 1997 as war clouds gathered. In 2004 Bishop Artemije sued the NATO powers in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg following their inaction to protect his flock during an anti-Serbian rampage by Muslim Albanian militants in March of that year. Then, in March 2006, as preparations were underway for a “final solution” to the Kosovo issue, Bishop Artemije launched an intensive multinational lobbying and public relations effort (in which Yours Truly was the lead professional) to try to derail the U.S. policy to which Biden had devoted so much attention. While the Bishop’s campaign was unsuccessful in reversing U.S. policy it was instrumental in delaying it for over a year – to howls of outrage from Biden’s associates in Washington. Thus, for Biden, the monastery visit snub by Bishop Artemije was adding insult to injury.

The end for Bishop Artemije came a few months later, at the beginning of 2010 at the time of two visits to Kosovo by U.S. Admiral Mark P. Fitzgerald, then Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, and Commander, Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples, (who retired later that year, becoming, unsurprisingly, a consultant “with numerous defense and commercial maritime and aviation contractors”). At that time, an unconfirmed report indicated that a high NATO officer (whether Admiral Fitzgerald or someone else is not specified) stated in the course of one of his local meetings (this is verbatim or a close paraphrase): “What we need here is a more cooperative bishop.” (More details are available here. Since that posting last year the NATO command in Naples seems to have scrubbed the items about Fitzgerald’s 2010 visits from their site.)

Shortly afterwards, Biden’s troublesome priest was forcibly removed by police and exiled from his see, without ecclesiastical trial, by Church authorities in Belgrade under pressure from compliant Serbian politicians installed after the October 2000 color revolution, in turn pressured by NATO. The pretext? Transparently baseless charges of financial wrongdoing. In other words, bogus accusations of “corruption” – like against Ukraine’s Shokin.

One could almost hear Joe Biden chortle: “Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.”

But Look at the Bright Side…

Back to the incipient coup facing the United States, there should be no illusion that what’s at stake in the unfolding scenario for the removal of Donald Trump is not just his presidency but the survival of the historic American ethnos of which he is seen as an avatar by both his supporters and detractors. Remember, we’re dealing with predators and scavengers who are happy to burn the old, evil America down as long as they can achieve total power and continue to feather their cushy nests. Short of a blowout Trump victory by a margin too big to hijack, we’re headed for a dystopian state of affairs.

If they do manage to remove Trump, “by any means necessary,” and Joe Biden takes the helm, we can anticipate a bevy of globalist warmonger appointees that make Trump’s team look like disciples of Mahatma Gandhi. Among the names floated like Nicholas BurnsAntony BlinkenMichele FlournoyEvelyn Farkas, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, all were on board with Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria … [NOTE: The Atlantic Council, known as NATO’s semi-official think tank in Washington and which will be instrumental in staffing a future Joe Biden administration, also has been the beneficiary of generous donations from Hunter Biden’s paymaster, Burisma.]

It’s a recipe for wars, regime changes, and color revolutions galore.

But to finish on a positive note, the potential future business opportunities will be endless!

3 weeks to election: No 2nd household stimulus? No mass protests? No pulse?

3 weeks to election: No 2nd household stimulus? No mass protests? No pulse?

October 14, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

If you had said back in May that the CARES Act would be the only fiscal stimulus in the world’s richest country surely you would have responded, “But then by October America will certainly be in pandemonium?”

Well… where’s the pandemonium?

I can best explain this American exceptionalism – that they go postal only when they should not, instead of when they should – via this October 3rd report I did for PressTV.

For those of you who don’t want to deal with the “inexplicable” glitches and stops which somehow “magically” afflict every PressTV report I try to watch from inside the US, here’s the recap: in Chicago, which is just a half-million people short of being a megacity, only about 150 people showed up for an anti-unemployment demonstration even though half the country is affected by either joblessness or under-employment.

In urban areas like San Francisco, with a metro area half the size of Chicago’s, you have 11 jobless for every one job opening, and yet… 150 people here?

As a reporter I just give the facts… and then, as I refuse to be a “useful idiot”, I also openly interpret the facts: the fact is, Americans have no idea what they are doing when it comes to politics. If you ask them whether the problem is either ignorance or apathy, they respond, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

The problem, as I am a staunch believer in (non-Obama-related types of) hope, is not with the average Joe but with the Washington elite, who even if they came from an average Joe quite obviously do not care about the average Joe anymore.

Of course, as the currently-under-confirmation-proceedings Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett proves, those tapped for the most truly elite spots are rarely from average Joe areas: Barrett would be, incredibly, the first justice who did not spend most of her life on the East Coast. To give an objective point to those in favor of the “Americans are ignorant” theory: mention “East Coast bias” to an American and they will think you are talking about how ESPN keeps talking about the Patriots and Yankees.

But the bewildering lack of any 2nd stimulus for households so emphatically proves that the Democratic leadership does not care about the average Joe (Republicans only care about an average Joe if said Joe is willing to reject all government assistance in every form) that even CNN had to hold Nancy Pelosi’s feet to the fire for the first time since Trump won the Republican primaries in 2016. Pelosi accused Wolf Blitzer and CNN of – now get ready to laugh – being “apologists for Republicans” simply because he pressed her on the bewildering and poverty-fuelling lack of a 2nd household stimulus.

LOL – maybe the Russians have flipped Wolf, eh Nancy? Putin’s power is limitless!

No, it’s just bewildering to even the CNN journalists as to why Democratic leadership refuses to alleviate massive economic suffering. I explained it here: No 2nd stimulus? Time to admit both parties want to destroy the average American, for those in the inexperienced youth class who can’t believe that Democrats could be as merciless and self-interested as those aren’t-they-just-ghastly conservatives.

Is this another boring article of me complaining about the super-failures of the super-capitalist imperialist US in 2020?

No, it’s to point out how wrong I am. Way back on May 28, in an article titled August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin I correctly opined, “I think there is no chance that the US 1% authorises an extension of the $600 per week extra past August 1 – it was totally out of keeping with US ideology to begin with, and yet another indicator of the hysteria which swept the US regarding coronavirus.” But – as I often can’t keep my mouth shut – I foolishly added, “Buy some popcorn and watch the show – August 1 is going to see public labor-related rage for the first time since the 1930s.”

So it’s less than three weeks until the election – where’s the labor-related rage?

I was in Kenosha, Wisconsin, again yesterday – the place is still totally boarded up, which seems rather much to me: There hasn’t been any widespread social rebellion since the end of August, anywhere. This article asks why that is?

The answer is the super-failures of the super-capitalist imperialist US that the US system produces tremendous political apathy, which has a side effect of increasing political ignorance.

As proof: I cannot express how pleas to “get out and vote” amazingly outnumber the advertisements for McDonalds, Coke and Beyonce combined – that seems like an impossibility, no? But such is the enormous political inertia here.

This apathy results in cases such as the nation’s third-largest city mustering only 150 people, 95% of whom were under 30, as the youth class has not relinquished that unique American optimism which eventually buckles under the reality encountered outside of school of the super-failures of the super-capitalist imperialist US.

If the trend of calm continues, the 2020 record will have to state that it was only Black-related issues which caused public protest despite the massive, massive societal chaos.

We can perhaps explain this by noting that the only truly successful protests in the US since nearly 1917 (the first year of socialist success) have been for Black-related issues. Stick with what works, I guess?

Indeed, the last grassroots, from-the-streets victory by White Americans was in 1920 – the year that anti-alcohol Prohibition was passed, as was women’s suffrage. Ever since socialism became a real thing it should be clear that White Americans are not about to march under anything resembling that successful banner, as it obviously opposes US domination.

Don’t tell me that Baby Boomers stopped Vietnam – the Vietnamese resistance booted out the invaders in 1975, not Western hippies. Americans didn’t flee until 8 full years after the “Summer of Love”.

2020 proves what we have known since those fun, marijuana-fuelled protests of the 1960s: White Americans simply don’t protest.

Republicans don’t protest, period. After all, they are status quo-lovers, and they aren’t about to muck up the system which they believe is the best in the world and always will be.

Democrats aren’t protesting because their elite leadership in 2020 has kept them overflowing with fear (corona), anger (Trump), identity politics (Black Lives Matter (which is not nonsense to Black people, of course, but which is inherently a minority-based movement as opposed to a broad, class-based, majority movement), and – above all – the rabid, competitive, evangelical fervor to win short-term growth via any means necessary in November’s elections.

But the bottom line is: for decades Americans have insisted on the status quo and violently rejected the call for any sort of revolutionary change in the economic and political structures upon which several centuries of Western culture has been based (bourgeois, aristocratic liberalism (for those who can afford it)). They have said to any nation or person – if you are not totally with us in maintaining these structures which preserve the status quo then we are totally against you.

Indeed, this is why I have always thought that “Civil War II is coming” worries are rather nonsense and impossible: Americans, for myriad reasons – ranging from fear of each other to smug complacency to apocalyptic apathy – simply don’t upset the apple cart. They are propagandised to always be selling apples, no matter how rotten they obviously are.

So there are no protests and I am proved wrong. But it is my job to opine, and thus to look foolish because – as a journalist – my learning is done in public.

But hope springs eternal – perhaps in the coming days Americans will indeed harness their widespread inner pandemonium against a leadership class which can’t even suggest that they eat cake amid massive hunger and shortages.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

The Death of the Nation State has been somewhat exaggerated (Part 2)

The Death of the Nation State has been somewhat exaggerated (Part 2)

October 12, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

Globalization – i.e., neo-liberalism writ large – is essentially a negative phenomenon destroying the sovereignty and cohesion of nation states and thereby depriving markets of the social and political guidance without which they cannot function effectively…The result will be a socially divisive, politically destructive, ethically abhorrent and even economically inefficient structure.(1)

JOINED AT THE HIP

Transnational Corporations (TNCs) can be compared to a tree: they have extensive branches everywhere, but their roots are firmly based at National HQ. Of late this has become a disputed view. One of the contemporary clichés in the current discussion of global political economy is the rather dubious concept of the end of the nation state and the subsequent breaking of the shackles which had hitherto tied TNCs to specific geographical and legal locations. It has been argued that these organizations have moved beyond the control of nation states who can no longer exercise effective jurisdiction over their activities.

This ‘state-denial’ thesis has been articulated by the influential hyper-globalist faction ensconced in the financial press, academic economics departments and political parties. In a ‘borderless’ world the state apparently no longer matters; economic power has shifted from sovereign states to global markets. In the words of the German political and social theorist, Wolfgang Streeck, ‘Markets were once fitted into states; now states are fitted into markets.’(2)This change has involved a global transmutation which reputedly has been brought about by the invention of revolutionary technologies in transport and communications. Such is the thesis put forward by the spokespersons of globalization.

True to say that in general terms all states have to choose a global strategy; they have to look at the full range of choices, then they have to decide what is in their best interests. In the current era of global competition, trade liberalization via the market remains the riskiest choice of all. It demands that trade barriers of all kinds be dismantled – the EU model being the archetype. With this policy governments have to let international competitive pressures restructure industries without recourse to state aids or other protectionist methods. This requires states to open their borders regardless of the costs and consequences in industries and vulnerable workers. Russia in the 1990s was a textbook example of what would happen if a state opened its economy too early, namely, a massive economic contraction. In the official textbooks among the neo-classical scribblers in academe and the media, markets are seen to be self-organizing social and economic space responding to universal demand and supply signals.

For countries which accept this view of the world economy, state power to make policy independent of a country’s major trading partner is being progressively eroded as countries find themselves trapped in a seamless web of interdependency. Larger markets do not come without a cost. This much is axiomatic.

Since the 2008 crisis, however, and now the 2020 blowout the state-denialist view has been more difficult if not actually impossible to sustain. It was after all the allegedly redundant state (or states) which pulled capitalism’s chestnuts out of the fire with the bail-out of insolvent American banks in 2008. As the story goes, during the meeting between Obama and the Wall Street elite at the height of the 2008 crisis the President apparently remarked that it was only himself who stood between the assembled financial movers and shakers of Wall Street and ‘the pitchforks’. The US government also ponied up some US$50 billion to bail out distressed auto manufacturers General Motors and Ford who were based in ‘Motor City’ (Detroit). Detroit itself was also bankrupt but the Federal government was unable to find an additional US$13 billion to bail out the city itself. Maybe – just a thought – because the population of Motor City was largely African-American.

However, the received wisdom emanating from the neoliberal elite has been challenged with a more critical assessment coming from heterodox economic theorists.

As follows.

‘’Contrary to the globalist supposition and as a matter of fact, the (sovereign) state always has, and continues to be the mobilizing force in shaping and guiding national economic development, including globalization itself. Given that an increased capability to overcome geographical distance made possible by technological innovations in transport and communication technologies is of little use if there are political barriers to such movements. Thus, policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatisation were necessary to overcome non-technical barriers to the free flow of labour, capital, and commodities. Therefore, the enabling force of globalization was the state. In fact, the bigger and more powerful states have used globalization as a means of increasing their own power and interests.

States actively construct globalization and use it as soft geo-politics and to acquire greater power over, and autonomy from, their national economies and societies respectively … E.g. … The US and G7s other dominant members design and establish the international trade agreements, organizations, and legislation that support and govern trans-border investments, production networks, and market penetration constitutive of contemporary globalization. Advanced capitalist states, particularly, use these political instruments to shape international economic decision making and policy making in their interests.’’ (3)

In addition, nation-states protect, subsidize, manipulate currencies, impose quotas, sanctions, give tax breaks and exemptions to export industries, R&D, and grant patents, use procurement policies and intellectual property rights to their indigenous corporations to both protect their home markets and help them penetrate overseas markets. This is laughingly described as ‘free trade’. States and corporations are not antipodes they are twins, and arguably the state is the senior partner in this arrangement.

For example, in 1934 the Roosevelt administration passed the Glass-Steagall Act. This involved a forced separation of investment banking from commercial banking which stopped banks speculating with depositors’ monies. In 1999, however, Bill Clinton signed the Financial Services Modernization Act, commonly known as Gramm-Leach-Bliley, repealing the key components of Glass-Steagall whose articles became largely toothless. This was what Wall Street had been angling for and which gave an additional push to the eventual debacle in 2008.

The state giveth, and the state taketh away.

Thus, the notion that powerful trends of internationalization and interdependence have ended national sovereignty is vastly overstated. States remain in charge of the essential part of their national sovereignty: monetary policy, (except in the Eurozone of course) law-making, macroeconomic policy, finance and taxation, environment, education, labour markets, industrial relations, pensions, health and welfare, social policy, science and technology and so forth. Arguably no supra-national entity has yet been designed to replace what has been an effective system of national government. Unimpeded global flows of capital in search of lucrative investment opportunities, are hardly conducive for countries wishing to plan and stabilize their future free from the vagaries of uncontrolled markets

TENSIONS

Power to shape/control the global system is concentrated in the hands of states and/or the newly emergent TNCs. Of course, there is not going to be a simple description of this development as the relationship between these two pillars of modern imperialism is both fractious and permanently mutating. The received wisdom, as put forward by the various spokespersons for globalization, ranging from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) OECD, WTO, World Bank and IMF, and through the globalist house journals of the global Transnational Uberklasse – The Financial Times, The Economist and Wall Street Journal – is predictable enough. Namely that the state is always in a subservient position vis-à-vis the dominant TNCs.

This perhaps would qualify as a procrustean effort to make the facts fit the theory. Contrary to the image of the all-powerful TNC demanding fealty and obedience from prostrate states, the relationship is somewhat more symmetrical; corporations and states are always to a certain degree joined at the hip.

They are both competitive and competing, both supportive and conflictual. They operate in a fully dialectical relationship, locked into unified but contradictory roles and positions, neither one nor the other partner completely able to dominate.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Additionally, the widespread notion that a TNC can simply up sticks and move lock, stock, and barrel to a more compatible venue if its home base no longer suits its purposes, is fanciful in the extreme. All TNCs have home bases, national HQs. Here is where global strategy is determined; here is where top-end R&D is carried out; here is where design and marketing strategies take place; here is where the domestic market is situated and where long-term domestic suppliers are located; here is where overseas operations are conceived planned and carried through; here is where AGMs of the Corporations takes place with published accounts circulated to all shareholders; here is where the local workforce, at all levels, is recruited; here is where the political bureaucracy and the above mentioned institutions are situated and amenable to lobbying. Picking an obvious example, the US defence industries, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics, Boeing, are all based domestically and are not, even if they could, going to jump ship anytime soon.

It is unquestionably true that TNCs and states often have divergent goals: TNCs’ primary function is to maximise profits and enhance shareholder value, whereas the economic role of the state should be to maximise the economic welfare of its society. But although this conflictual relationship exists, states and TNCs need and lean on each other in a variety of ways. States might wish that TNCs are bound by allegiance to national borders – and in many ways they are (see above) – but total allegiance is not an option in a liberal capitalist economy. Indeed, it would be true to say that some states regard TNC (activities) as being complementary to their foreign policy. Here economic issues merge with geopolitical imperatives. For example, American political leaders have believed that the national interest has also been served by the foreign expansion of US corporations in manufacturing and services. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has been considered a major instrument through which the US could maintain its relative position in world markets – as is of course the US$ acting as the world’s reserve currency – with the overseas expansion of TNCs being regarded as a means to maintain America’s dominant world position. As it was succinctly stated. ’What’s good for General Motors is Good for America’.

THE EU: SUPRANATIONAL OR NATIONAL STATES.

Which brings me to the EU. The state-declinist thesis seems to have gained a considerable traction in Europe among the orthodox left. No less a personage than Yanis Varoufakis – the initiator of DiEM2025 (Democracy in Europe) – has been reading the last rites of state democracy and sovereignty in Europe. Apparently, the model of politics based on the nation state is ‘finished’. The sovereignty of national parliaments has been dissolved. Today, national electoral mandates are impossible to fulfil. Hence, reform of the European institutions (specifically the Euro Parliament), is the only remaining option.

Essentially this is the latest version of the TINA ‘argument’, (there is no alternative), pioneered by Mrs Thatcher and rolled out with monotonous regularity ever since by every cornered establishment politician, both left and right. As has been noted elsewhere. ‘’Tell the population that the nation-state is ‘finished,’ that it is unable to guarantee full employment (or to work towards it) and you free yourself of the responsibility of even trying.’’ The same goes for austerity or anything else. If the nation state is ‘kaput’ it is futile to oppose it.’’(4)

Globalization, however, is far from being the all-powerful and all- encompassing Leviathan postulated by the declinists. ’There are major cultural and linguistic differences that preclude a full mobilisation of resources across national borders. There is ‘home bias in investment portfolios. There is a high correlation between national investment rates and national saving rates. Capital flows between rich and poor nations fall considerably short of what theoretical models predict. There are still severe restrictions to the international mobility of labour. The truth is that we do not live in a completely globalised world, far from it. Ergo, nation-states can pursue their own fiscal and monetary policies.

Ex-leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn’s (quite moderate) policy proposals, during the 2017 and 2019 UK elections, namely, peoples’ QE, renationalisation of the Railways, taking into public ownership the energy and water industries together with the Royal Mail were not beyond the scope of the UK qua sovereign and democratic state. Additionally, these policies found considerable support among the UK’s population at large. (5) Unfortunately Corbyn’s programme was derailed by pro-EU elements in the Parliamentary Labour Party, the MSM and a vicious and mendacious ‘antisemitic’ smear campaign aimed at Corbyn. But this doesn’t alter the fact that a sovereign country can issue its own currency and formulate its own fiscal and monetary policy that can override the EU neo-liberal package of free movement of labour, capital, and commodities. This in addition to blocking the drive to deregulate labour markets (euphemistically, ‘flexibilization’). The sovereign state is perfectly capable of a policy for growth rather than for continued austerity which has become the hallmark of the EU area. But to carry out such growth policies would require an exit from the EU. There’s the rub. Social-democratic policies are incompatible to the EU’s liberal orientation, which is a structurally, neo-liberal capitalist institution.

The euro has in fact simply been designed to ensure that Germany runs a permanent trade surplus whilst the southern periphery runs continuing trade deficits – a simple accounting identity. Eventually something will have to give. It is also noticeable that Germany seems to be harbouring increasingly regional hegemonic ambitions regarding the rest of Europe. It seems to be positioning itself as the EUs anti-Russian key front-line probably with US backing. Euro state Socialism or even tepid social democracy can never truly thrive within such a hostile and increasingly militarised political environment. But that’s another explosive can of worms.

The position of the globalist left as outlined in the DiEM2025 manifesto, however, seems like a back-to-front attempt to by-pass national institutions and to attempt through a supra-national democracy to make fundamental reforms, through a democratised and strengthened EU. But even Varoufakis regards this as being ‘utopian.’ But he continues, it is ‘a lot more realistic than trying to maintain the system as it is’ or ‘trying to leave.’ (6)

More realistic, really? But this begs the obvious question of why such an entity is going to be any different from the present dispensation; will be any less neo-liberal and undemocratic if it is given greater powers and is integrated further? It seems to make more sense to work from the national to the supra-national level than the other way around – particularly given that most states in the EU are governed by centre right coalitions with social-democrats in tow (but acting like centre right liberals). Moreover, the transfer of local democracy – which we are told is now obsolete – to supranational democracy contributes to a weakening of popular control. This leapfrogging of national democracy to supranational democracy perforce requires a supranational electorate. This is problematic however since for the great majority of ordinary European citizens linguistic barriers and cultural differences impair the opportunity for political participation at a supra-national level. And so the dialogue, such as it is, goes on – ad nauseam.

This should not be considered a mere academic nit-picking issue for Socratic Senior Common Room dialogue. It is the key geopolitical issue of the day, as to whether sovereign nation states can determine their own future and political structures and policies, against the globalist project to turn the world into a borderless playground for international finance, corporate hegemony and the corollary of extinguishing democracy.

IDEOLOGICAL INTEGRATION OF STATES INTO NEOLIBERAL MARKET THEORY

But perhaps a more disturbing feature of the state/economy relationship has been the ongoing and gradual privatisation of the state itself. The role of the state has traditionally been a provider of public goods – education, healthcare, culture, parks, libraries, museums, transport infrastructure, including water, energy, forests and national parks, defence, law and order and judiciary, telecommunications, egalitarian social policies and so forth. The role of the market qua economy is to produce private goods and services for sale on a market. There has always been a tension between ‘the commons’- i.e., that which is public and open for everyone to use – and ‘commodification’ which turns things into commodities for private ownership and money-making. To use Marxist terminology, the commons has use-value, not an exchange-value (a market price) simply because it is not – and by definition cannot be – a commodity that can be bought, sold, or commercialised. The elevation of use-value over exchange-value is integral to the commons.

Throughout history, powerful interests have sought to privatise, close, and commodify the commons whether land, other spaces, amenities, or even intellectual ideas – to contrive scarcity and create income-earning assets. To the extent to which the succeeding enclosure and privatisation drives up rental income and proliferate its sources, increasing private riches while eroding public wealth. Such asset-stripping, rent-seeking behaviour by private companies intent on rent-extraction is not only tolerated by public authorities but actually encouraged.

Other examples of this have been the government/private sector liaison whereby private companies are now employed by the government to perform the role which was once the prerogative of governments. These government/private financial arrangements were called Private Financial Initiatives PFIs or Public Private Partnerships PPPs and were operationalised in both the UK and Australia. These predatory organizations were simply looking for public authority institutions to milk. Their incompetence – and outright looting – was legendary. The privatisation of British Rail, for example, led to increased accidents, higher costs, monopolistic rents (in terms of ticket prices), overcrowded trains, and failure to meet the timetable criteria.

In Australia, a report by the New South Wales Auditor General in 2002 warned of the considerable risks associated with the outsourcing of information technology and of the need to ensure that agencies are clear why they should do so. The previously inconceivable opportunities for the security of private information, collected and held by governments to be compromised, opening the way for identity fraud and held by governments was dramatically exposed in November 2007, when the British Department of Revenue and Customs was unable to account for two compact disks which had been sent through the mail at the National Audit Office. These disks contained highly detailed personal information concerning the 25 million citizens who received child benefits, information which included their addresses and bank account numbers, along with details of their children.

This was not an unusual occurrence it was simply another example – among many – of the ongoing rip-off of the public taxpayer by rent-seeking marauders. The market is always right, always works best, and always delivers the goods, or so it is ordained. Such is the categorical imperative of neoliberalism.

Coming full circle, the point of arrival involves a recognition that the relationship between (usually capitalist) states and markets has been a permanent and alternating process which started with the industrial revolutions in western Europe and North America. On the one side there are the permanent state bureaucracies and organizations which function as the basis for the production of public goods, and the national interest as they define it. This is complemented by the free-wheeling, cosmopolitan, financial and corporate interests whose outlook and policies are global as well as national and whose objectives are both practical and ideological. Practical in the sense that their motives are commercial and predicated on the imperative of growth and development not necessarily restricted to their national base. Ideological in terms of their neo-liberal Weltanschauung.

It was the great American social and political theorist C. Wright Mills who postulated the existence of what he called, The Power Elite as early as 1956. The American elite groups were composed of most importantly The Corporate Rich, The Warlords and The Political Directorate which together with various lower ranking sub-elite groups controlled the United States. State and Economy have to an extent always coexisted, their positions and influence moving back and forth, but in recent years (circa 1980) there has been – to put it mildly – a marked tendency of power and influence to tilt away from the state and toward the corporate/commercial configurations. Whether this trend will continue is an open question; but it would not be amiss to assert that nothing goes on forever.

NOTES

(1)Manfred Bienefeld – Is a Strong National Economy a Utopian Goal at the end of the 20th Century? – States Against Markets – pp. 434,435

(2) Wolfgang Streeck – ‘Buying Time’ – The Democratic Crisis Of Democratic Capitalism. ‘

(3) M. Gritsch – (2005: 2-3) (Nye 2002) Quoted in – The State Really Does Matter, Global Shift 2012 – p.223

(4) Picciotto, S. 1991 The Internationalisation of the State – Capital and Class 43.43-63 – quoted in Global Shift 2012– Peter Dicken)

(5) Although it should be said that the 2019 – the Brexit election – was very much watered down to the policies of the electoral manifesto of 2017.

(6) The IndependentUK Newspaper

(7) In Government We Trust – Market Failure and the Delusions of Privatisation. pp.90

No 2nd stimulus? Time to admit both parties want to destroy the average American

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden arrives at McCarran International Airport October 9, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by AFP)
No 2nd stimulus? Time to admit both parties want to destroy the average American

Saturday, 10 October 2020 3:20 PM  [ Last Update: Saturday, 10 October 2020 3:24 PM ]

By Ramin Mazaheri cross posted with The Saker

With both parties unwilling to agree on a desperately-needed 2nd stimulus package amid Great Depression-levels of economic suffering, it should be crystal clear that both Democrats and Republicans are happy to destroy the average American in their lust for power.

It’s incredibly devilish, but just to achieve their short-term goal of winning the November elections both parties have proven that the ruin of Main Street is a perfectly acceptable price to paid.

Republican intransigence at least has an ideological component, albeit a terrible one: the largest pillar of neoliberal ideology is to slash the size of government at all levels – this explains why they refuse to concede to the Democrats’ intelligent call for hundreds of billions in stimulus funding for state and local governments.

Yet Republicans don’t seem to understand that their beloved “democracy with American characteristics” does have a flaw or two: the US is a federal system – the fundamental structure of this type of government is to empower local government and to reduce the power of the central government. Therefore, in any type of crisis the federal government is handicapped from the very start – US citizens are forced to depend on local governments. Yet a crisis like this – which saps local funding and tax revenue – makes a federal/national response the difference between life or death.

Democratic intransigence is harder to understand: why did they go months without even mouthing condemnation towards anarchic situations in places like Portland and Minneapolis, or against cases of violent looting which topples far more small-business households than corporate insurance companies? Why do they refuse President Trump’s call for a stand-alone stimulus package consisting of another $1,200 check to households? Everyone reading this is aware of the general statistics: as recently as two weeks ago 42% of all US households said they have endured job losses or reductions in wages – more aid is urgently, urgently needed and has been for months.

It is irresponsible to not objectively consider the widespread claim over here: Democrats are sowing as much disorder and suffering as possible in order to oust the incumbent because, of course, how can an incumbent possibly survive this catastrophe? Democrats have history on their side (if perhaps not the popular vote): the only one-term presidents in the past 50 years – Jimmy Carter and George Bush I – were doomed by recessions far, far more minor than this one.

So it seems as if Republicans are fine with – on an ideological level – the social chaos necessarily caused by a people without a government. It seems that Democrats are fine with – on a practical level – months and months of hellish social and individual suffering if it means they can win back the presidency. 

The answer in almost every country would be obvious: surely a third party must be turned to?

But the duopoly in the US system is so firmly entrenched that there simply is no third party. Democrats throw up huge obstacles to keep left-wing parties like Greens or socialists from even being on local ballots, while Republicans do the same for more right-leaning parties like the Libertarians. Beyond this very real collusion, which in any non-Western country would be denounced as rendering elections not at all “free and fair,” a “winner take all” system means that third parties can make no incremental gains, only sweep to power in a landslide. Such a shift hasn’t happened here since the collapse of the Whig Party in the 1850s.

Trump, however, was indeed something of a third-party landslide, history will prove:

Because they were so fed up with the disregard and corruption of Washington half the country elected a totally non-partisan non-politician like Trump (he has changed his party affiliation five times), mainly because of his promise to drain “the Swamp” and, thrillingly, dangling the promise of prosecuting people like “crooked Hillary” in a China-like anti-corruption drive. Unfortunately for these voters not only has Trump proven to have no coherent political ideology at all (nor the ability to acquire one over four years of daily political briefings), but he has depressingly done his very best to win the acceptance of the political establishment. Trump has “become the Republican Party” even though he was voted in to destroy it and to provide an alternative to it. The Republican Party knew that – this is why they rejected Trump’s candidacy all the way until May 2016. Indeed, it’s too bad that Trump handles rejection so well.

Despite his stupidities, vulgarities and baggage, in 2016 Trump was indeed the “vote for change” to half the United States. Yet due to his four-year effort to win “The Swamp’s” approval, which is proof that he is not a truly “populist” politician at all, in 2020 he cannot be considered, like Barack Obama in 2008, the “hope candidate”.

So who is the “hope candidate” for an already deeply cynical and embittered American populace which is now also economically-desperate and patriotically aghast?

Because Trump has actually rendered no genuine change in Washington – he has merely been absorbed by the Swamp’s quicksand – there are only two choices, and both choices are the same as they were prior to the 2016 Trump phenomenon: inconsequential third parties or abstention.

A vote for third parties like Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Green Party or even the Libertarians is the only ballot an American with free will can cast and truly feel like they have not sanctioned the 2020 destruction of their own country by the entrenched elite.

Trump is accused of being a “strongman” or a “caudillo”, but 2020 proves it is the Clintons, McConnells, Bidens, Bushes and Pelosis who are the largely-despised and clearly incompetent leaders who could not care less if the country goes to ruin as long as they don’t lose their slices of privilege.

2020 has removed the emperor’s clothes: the US is a banana republic, and the one interest which predominates is not fruit but elite privilege.

“Privilege” is not a word one hears in the United States: the Iranian Islamic Revolution was openly “anti-privilege”, but this term (when used politically) is so foreign that it is not at all comprehended by the average American, I have found. So, clearly, the problem is cultural and not just limited to the area around Washington DC.

Regardless, in the 21st century votes must be made. Or not made – by not voting an American does indeed give powerful ammunition to non-Americans to assert that this current US system is domestically rejected. But the decisions of Washington’s duopoly in 2020 are absolutely incomprehensible unless one considers the possibility that they are not at all concerned with the citizenry.

The lack of a 2nd stimulus is incomprehensible and completely shameful, but both parties are clearly behind it. All of the “Trump Derangement Syndrome” of the past four years cannot explain the actions of the Democratic Party since March.

And make no mistake: an additional $1,200 – if it does somehow arrive – is totally inadequate, given the prices in the US: From March until October $1,200 works out to less than $7 per day. Trust me that the average American is screaming every day about this paltry sum, even if their Mainstream Media prefers to talk about stock prices every hour.

The reality is that the redistribution of wealth which we are discussing – a “People’s QE” – is something which the US has only seen one of, ever. Why should we expect the right-wing, dog-eat-dog American system to release a second tranche of direct aid to privilege-less American households?

Economically, culturally and politically the United States is lost in the modern wilderness – how very far gone they are? But in just a few weeks they could cast a single vote to change one of these things immediately, but not with a vote for a Republican or a Democrat.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

US Is the Top Human Rights Violator in the World, and It’s Not Even Close

By Danny Haiphong

Source

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Few things are more politicized and distorted in the United States than the subject of human rights. Over the last two generations, the U.S. political class and its conduits in the corporate media have weaponized human rights to serve an imperialist agenda. NGOs such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International tend to focus much of their time crafting human rights narratives on matters of critical importance to the U.S. Department of State. Syria, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and a host of countries have been condemned by these organizations for alleged human rights violations. Since 2018, China has been targeted for the same treatment.

China is accused of detaining millions of Xinjiang-based Uyghurs in “concentration camps.” Thanks to Ajit Singh and The Grayzone, we know that the sources for these allegations are far from reliable. We know that the principle source for all things Xinjiang in the U.S. is Adrian Zenz, a far-right Christian fundamentalist who believes he is led by God to overthrow the Communist Party of China. We know that the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders responsible for the study that conducted a total of eight total interviews to derive conclusions of mass Uyghur internment is heavily funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA-linked organization. We also know that the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) currently leading the charge to demonize China on human rights issues is sponsored by military contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

The primary concern of institutions such as ASPI is not the issue of human rights, but rather the creation of an atmosphere of war that will service its donors in the U.S. weapons industry. This is exactly what the propagation of the “Uyghur oppression” narrative has achieved. While relying completely on speculation, faulty satellite imagery, and testimonies from Uyghur-exile groups funded by the NED, the successful penetration of the baseless claim that China is detaining millions of Muslims in camps has played an important role in building up public support in the U.S. for a New Cold War against China. U.S. public opinion of China has dropped significantly over the past year. The U.S. has used the Uyghur human rights narrative to successfully sanction businesses and Communist Party of China officials in Xinjiang.

When U.S. officials accuse other countries of human rights violations, what comes afterward is always far worse than the allegations. After 9/11, U.S. intelligence agencies accused Saddam Hussein of stockpiling non-existent Weapons of Mass destruction. The U.S. went on to invade Iraq in 2003—a war that caused the death of over one million Iraqi civilians and poisoned thousands more with toxic depleted uranium. In 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was accused of “murdering his own people” only to have Libya transformed into a failed state following a more than six month bombing campaign by NATO to protect a jihadist insurgency. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons “on his own people.” Syria has been mired in an endless war with both the U.S. and its regional allies which has left hundreds of thousands of dead, millions displaced, and nearly one-third of its oil-rich and water-rich territory occupied by the U.S. military.

These examples are just a few of many that demonstrate why the U.S. is the chief human rights violator in the world. However, it is important to note that how the United States conducts itself abroad is a reflection of the myriad of ways that it violates the human rights of people living in the United States. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Sandra Bland, and Michael Brown are just a few of hundreds of examples of Black Americans that have been killed by police officers without redress. An average of 1,000 people in the United States are killed by police officers each year. Unlike the U.S.-led Xinjiang narrative, it is well-documented that over 2 million people reside in U.S. prisons and that nearly three-quarters of that prison population is Black, Latino, or Native American.

The U.S. is home to a quarter of all prisoners in the world. Around 80,000 of these prisoners are held in solitary confinement, a practice of prolonged isolation that the U.N. has firmly declared to be an act of torture. Research suggests that solitary confinement is directly linked to a host of psychological maladies from psychosis to suicide. Solitary confinement also causes lasting structural damage to the brain, especially in the hippocampus region responsible for memory and spatial awareness. Widespread use of solitary confinement in the U.S. is not a benign practice but one that specifically targets racial groups. Over forty percent of all male prisoners in solitary confinement are Black American. The world has long known that the U.S. engages in torture abroad at CIA black sites and Guantanamo Bay Prison but fewer are aware of how torture is commonplace in the U.S.’ numerous prisons.

For decades, the U.S. has accused countries such as China of the very policies that make up the foundations of its domestic and foreign policy. U.S. elites have accused China of suppressing free speech but say little about the NSA’s massive surveillance program or the attempted extradition of a non-citizen in Julian Assange for publishing documents relating to U.S. war crimes. China has been accused of sterilizing ethnic minorities yet U.S. officials have failed to scrutinize documented cases of sterilization within U.S. immigration detention centers or its mistreatment of Muslim citizens since the War on Terror was declared in 2001. The Economist has accused China of using its anti-poverty campaign to build loyalty to the Communist Party of China but has yet to call out Joe Biden or Donald Trump for ignoring the needs of the forty percent of people in the U.S. who have virtually no disposable income. China is routinely accused of possessing an “aggressive” foreign policy by the same policy makers and thought leaders who have kept the U.S. at war for more than two-hundred years of its existence.

The ideology of American exceptionalism has created the illusion that the U.S. deserves to hold a monopoly on the issue of human rights. American exceptionalism presumes that the United States is the model example for countries and peoples all over the world. However, the days when the world was forced to bow to the U.S. are over. Most of the world sees the U.S. as the biggest threat to human rights and a peaceful existence. The U.S.’s human rights track record suggests that the world is correct, and it is the entire planet that suffers when issues such as war, climate change, poverty, and racism are blamed on China rather than addressed with solidarity and cooperation at a global level. 

Don’t Be Fooled: The 2020 Election Has Already Been Decided

Election 2020 Feature photo

By John Whitehead

Source

Voting booths have already been hijacked by a political elite comprised of Republicans and Democrats who are determined to retain power at all costs. The outcome is a foregone conclusion: the Deep State will win and “we the people” will lose.

Republicans and Democrats alike fear that the other party will attempt to hijack this election. President Trump is convinced that mail-in ballots are a scam except in Florida, where it’s safe to vote by mail because of its “great Republican governor.” The FBI is worried about foreign hackers continuing to target and exploit vulnerabilities in the nation’s electoral system, sowing distrust about the parties, the process, and the outcome.

I, on the other hand, am not overly worried: after all, the voting booths have already been hijacked by a political elite comprised of Republicans and Democrats who are determined to retain power at all costs.

The outcome is a foregone conclusion: the Deep State will win and “we the people” will lose.

The damage has already been done.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has been tasked with helping to “secure” the elections and protect the nation against cyberattacks, is not exactly an agency known for its adherence to freedom principles.The 20-Year Journey From 9/11 To COVID-19 and the Freedoms Lost Along the WayHere are some of the freedoms lost under the Constitution, post-9/11, and in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic.

After all, this is the agency largely responsible for turning the American republic into a police state. Since its creation, the DHS has ushered in the domestic use of surveillance drones, expanded the reach of fusion centers, stockpiled an alarming amount of ammunition (including hollow point bullets), urged Americans to become snitches through a “see something, say something” campaign, overseen the fumbling antics of TSA agents everywhere, militarized the nation’s police, spied on activists and veterans, distributed license plate readers and cell phone trackers to law enforcement agencies, contracted to build detention camps, carried out military drills and lockdowns in American cities, conducted virtual strip searches of airline passengers, established Constitution-free border zones, funded city-wide surveillance cameras, and undermined the Fourth Amendment at every turn.

So, no, I’m not losing a night’s sleep over the thought that this election might by any more rigged than it already is.

And I’m not holding my breath in the hopes that the winner of this year’s popularity contest will save us from government surveillance, weaponized drones, militarized police, endless wars, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture schemes, overcriminalization, profit-driven private prisons, graft and corruption, or any of the other evils that masquerade as official government business these days.

You see, after years of trying to wake Americans up to the reality that there is no political savior who will save us from the police state, I’ve come to realize that Americans want to engage in the reassurance ritual of voting.

They want to believe the fantasy that politics matter.

They want to be persuaded that there’s a difference between the Republicans and Democrats (there’s not).

Some will swear that Donald Trump has been an improvement on Barack Obama (he is not).

Others are convinced that Joe Biden’s values are different from Donald Trump’s (with both of them, money talks).

Most of all, voters want to buy into the fantasy that when they elect a president, they’re getting someone who truly represents the citizenry rather than the Deep State (in fact, in the oligarchy that is the American police state, an elite group of wealthy donors is calling the shots in cooperation with a political elite).

The sad truth is that it doesn’t matter who wins the White House, because they all work for the same boss: Corporate America. Understanding this, many corporations hedge their bets on who will win the White House by splitting their donations between Democratic and Republican candidates.

Politics is a game, a joke, a hustle, a con, a distraction, a spectacle, a sport, and for many devout Americans, a religion. It is a political illusion aimed at persuading the citizenry that we are free, that our vote counts, and that we actually have some control over the government when in fact, we are prisoners of a Corporate Elite.

In other words, it’s a sophisticated ruse aimed at keeping us divided and fighting over two parties whose priorities, more often than not, are exactly the same so that we don’t join forces and do what the Declaration of Independence suggests, which is to throw the whole lot out and start over.

It’s no secret that both parties support endless war, engage in out-of-control spending, ignore the citizenry’s basic rights, have no respect for the rule of law, are bought and paid for by Big Business, care most about their own power, and have a long record of expanding government and shrinking liberty. Most of all, both parties enjoy an intimate, incestuous history with each other and with the moneyed elite that rule this country.

Despite the jabs the candidates volley at each other for the benefit of the cameras, they’re a relatively chummy bunch away from the spotlight. Moreover, despite Congress’ so-called political gridlock, our elected officials seem to have no trouble finding common ground when it’s time to collectively kowtow to the megacorporations, lobbyists, defense contractors and other special interest groups to whom they have pledged their true allegiance.

So don’t be fooled by the smear campaigns and name-calling or drawn into their divide-and-conquer politics of hate. They’re just useful tactics that have been proven to engage voters and increase voter turnout while keeping the citizenry at each other’s throats.

It’s all a grand illusion.

It used to be that the cogs, wheels and gear shifts in the government machinery worked to keep the republic running smoothly. However, without our fully realizing it, the mechanism has changed. Its purpose is no longer to keep our republic running smoothly. To the contrary, this particular contraption’s purpose is to keep the Deep State in power. Its various parts are already a corrupt part of the whole.

Just consider how insidious, incestuous and beholden to the corporate elite the various “parts” of the mechanism have become.

Congress. Perhaps the most notorious offenders and most obvious culprits in the creation of the corporate-state, Congress has proven itself to be both inept and avaricious, oblivious champions of an authoritarian system that is systematically dismantling their constituents’ fundamental rights. Long before they’re elected, Congressmen are trained to dance to the tune of their wealthy benefactors, so much so that they spend two-thirds of their time in office raising money. As Reuters reports, “For many lawmakers, the daily routine in Washington involves fundraising as much as legislating. The culture of nonstop political campaigning shapes the rhythms of daily life in Congress, as well as the landscape around the Capitol. It also means that lawmakers often spend more time listening to the concerns of the wealthy than anyone else.”

The President. What Americans want in a president and what they need are two very different things. The making of a popular president is an exercise in branding, marketing and creating alternate realities for the consumer—a.k.a., the citizenry—that allows them to buy into a fantasy about life in America that is utterly divorced from our increasingly grim reality. Take President Trump, for instance, who got elected by promising to drain the swamp in Washington DC. Instead of putting an end to the corruption, however, Trump has paved the way for lobbyists, corporations, the military industrial complex, and the rest of the Deep State (also referred to as “The 7th Floor Group”) to feast on the carcass of the dying American republic. The lesson: to be a successful president, it doesn’t matter whether you keep your campaign promises, sell the American people to the highest bidder, or march in lockstep with the Corporate State as long as you keep telling people what they most want to hear.

The Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court—once the last refuge of justice, the one governmental body really capable of rolling back the slowly emerging tyranny enveloping America—has instead become the champion of the American police state, absolving government and corporate officials of their crimes while relentlessly punishing the average American for exercising his or her rights. Like the rest of the government, the Court has routinely prioritized profit, security, and convenience over the basic rights of the citizenry. Indeed, law professor Erwin Chemerinsky makes a compelling case that the Supreme Court, whose “justices have overwhelmingly come from positions of privilege,” almost unerringly throughout its history sides with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful.

The Media. Of course, this triumvirate of total control would be completely ineffective without a propaganda machine provided by the world’s largest corporations. Besides shoveling drivel down our throats at every possible moment, the so-called news agencies which are supposed to act as bulwarks against government propaganda have instead become the mouthpieces of the state. The pundits which pollute our airwaves are at best court jesters and at worst propagandists for the false reality created by the American government. When you have internet and media giants such as Google, NBC Universal, News Corporation, Turner Broadcasting, Thomson Reuters, Comcast, Time Warner, Viacom, Public Radio International and The Washington Post Company donating to political candidates, you no longer have an independent media—what we used to refer to as the “fourth estate”—that can be trusted to hold the government accountable.

The American People. “We the people” now belong to a permanent underclass in America. It doesn’t matter what you call us—chattel, slaves, worker bees, it’s all the same—what matters is that we are expected to march in lockstep with and submit to the will of the state in all matters, public and private. Unfortunately, through our complicity in matters large and small, we have allowed an out-of-control corporate-state apparatus to take over every element of American society.

We’re playing against a stacked deck.

The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. The people dealing the cards—the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media, etc.—have only one prevailing concern, and that is to maintain their power and control over the citizenry, while milking us of our money and possessions.

It really doesn’t matter what you call them—Republicans, Democrats, the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that while they are dealing the cards, the deck will always be stacked in their favor.

As I make clear in my book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, our failure to remain informed about what is taking place in our government, to know and exercise our rights, to vocally protest, to demand accountability on the part of our government representatives, and at a minimum to care about the plight of our fellow Americans has been our downfall.

Now we find ourselves once again caught up in the spectacle of another presidential election, and once again the majority of Americans are acting as if this election will make a difference and bring about change. As if the new boss will be different from the old boss.Divide We Fall: America Has Been Blacklisted and McCarthyism Refashioned for a New AgeCancel culture: Who needs a government censor when the American people are already doing such a great job at censoring themselves.

When in doubt, just remember what the astute commentator George Carlin had to say about the matter:

The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork…. It’s a big club and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. …The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice…. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on…. It’s called the American Dream, ’cause you have to be asleep to believe it.

US debate debacle shows Democrats will adopt Trumpian self-interest globally

Thursday, 01 October 2020 7:02 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 02 October 2020 3:47 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their first 2020 presidential campaign debate held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, September 29, 2020. (Via Reuters)
US debate debacle shows Democrats will adopt Trumpian self-interest globally

By Ramin Mazaheri

Politics is life or death (for the barest illustration of this reality just look at medicine sanctions on Iran, Cuba, etc.), so it’s hard for many of us to get too worked up over Joe Biden telling Donald Trump that he was a “clown” who should “shut up” at their first presidential debate, which is now known as the worst debate ever.

However, in the United States such things truly cause more domestic shock than any footage of the latest US bombing of a wedding party in Afghanistan.

Yes, the most violent and imperialistic society paradoxically has these informal codes which actually demand a rigorous politeness: one does not talk politics or religion in polite society here, but when they are cornered into honestly discussing their moral outlooks a Queen Elizabeth-level formality is de rigueur.

Trump, with the buffoon-sized ego required of anyone who applies to go on a reality show, upended this expectation four years ago and many middle-class Americans still nearly faint at his unthinkable lack of a “presidential demeanor.” This lack, one regularly hears from the countless talk-show idiots in the US, was enough for an impeachment by itself. The underlying cry is, “Won’t anyone think of the children!” Not dead Afghan children, of course.

That’s what makes the first debate so vital: Trump was not the only clown on the stage, and that is not how it used to be in US politics.

Pelosi attacks Trump over questioning election's integrity, says elections results must be respected
Pelosi attacks Trump over questioning election’s integrity, says elections results must be respected

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has criticized the US President Donald Trump over his comments during the presidential debate over the integrity of the Nov. 3 election, saying the results must be respected.

Trump has obviously altered the expectations for how American politicians can behave – it is now a circus of buffoons who rudely steamroll anyone to get their way, whereas they used to be characterized by an unflappable and deadly focus: ice queen Hillary Clinton, smooth-faced and infamously unemotional Obama, ex-CIA ringleader George Bush I, etc. Even rural/southern/Texan presidents – Bill Clinton and Dubya Bush – quickly knocked off the folksy shenanigans, straightened up and actually started reading something for a change.

Buffoonery is not a competition, we should remember: we might laugh at one clown more than others, but when we go to a circus we laugh at all the clowns, just as the world laughed at the first presidential debate. There could not have been a more urgent illustration of what it will mean to follow the lead of Washington from 2020 to 2024: amid a corona pandemic, a once-in-a-century domestic economic catastrophe, a never-ending pandemic of police bullets finding Black backs, widespread rebellions and less-widespread looting – this is the apex choice of American leadership?

If anything, it’s a case for even more indirect democracy safeguards – politics is life or death, and we need serious, responsible people with established moral, society-first codes making these excruciating decisions.

Independent journalist: US 2020 election 'rigged in favor of Trump'
Independent journalist: US 2020 election ‘rigged in favor of Trump

‘The US 2020 presidential election is rigged as US president Donald Trump acknowledges but it will end up “in his favor,” says a political commentator.

But there’s a better alternative – any democracy except “democracy with US characteristics”. This requires honestly discussing the structural underpinnings of the American system: imperialism, the most rightwing form of capitalism, cultural arrogance, a tolerance for public depravity that is only exceeded by a tolerance for shocking inequality amid enormous wealth, and – above all – total freedom and irresponsibility for those who can afford to pay for such things.

I don’t think we should give up on them so easily, but perhaps we should consider this reality: is that the system the average American wants, and Trump was the first to grasp this? Maybe the average American does truly want what Trump offers – buffoonery and spectacle instead of serious and responsible politics – and this explain why Biden willingly degraded himself down to Trump’s level at the debate: Biden felt that he had to emulate Trump in order to win votes.

What other conclusion could we logically draw? That Biden just took leave of his senses repeatedly?

Everybody knew the debate would be full of Trumpian off-the-cuff observations/outbursts, but Biden willingly played Trump’s game and for that he has totally lost global respect, by all foreign media accounts. Here in the US Democrat supporters – who never saw an Afghan wedding party bombing they were outraged about (mainly because, via the same smothering informal censorship and faux-sensitivity which produces fainting at “shut up”, bloody photos of American war crimes are never published by US media) – are willing to excuse anything Biden does because it’s allegedly “not as bad as Trump”, but this myopic hypocrisy only plays domestically.

Biden looked terrible to the world’s eyes – he could not master himself, nor master the situation. He is not much of a leader – that is the best-case scenario. Contrarily, as I assert, Biden decided to copy Trump’s behavior because he saw that Trumpian buffoonery gets one elected.

What if Trump loses but refuses to leave office?
What if Trump loses but refuses to leave office?

America will face mass public unrest if either Donald Trump or Joe Biden refuses to accept the result.

This reality that Biden is going to happily carry the torch of Trumpism was illustrated in a recent editorial from the extremely popular and openly anti-Trump website Politico: The Trump foreign policies Biden might keep.

It’s a pretty staggering douse of cold water to anyone who expects major changes from Washington and the Pentagon if the Democrats win in November: Expect the same policies regarding Jerusalem al-Quds, Venezuela, China, Russia, and – yes – Iran.

But the author goes even further, explicitly asserting that Trump’s brazenness has given Biden new latitude to boss around NATO, the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council.

“Trump’s overt hostility toward multilateral institutions could present Biden with an opportunity to push through reforms to some international bodies.”

“While Biden is not likely to be so crude, don’t be surprised if he at times takes a more forceful position toward both allies and adversaries than he did when he served as Barack Obama’s vice president.” Translation: Biden won’t openly tell other people to “shut up”, but he will do so privately.

Trump has revealed to US leaders that brashly and unilaterally throwing their weight around in order to get what they want works, so not even the anti-Trump Politico expects Biden to inaugurate a new policy of mutually-beneficial cooperation. Above all, naked Trumpian self-interest works to win a US government post in domestic elections – that is the essence and importance of Trump’s victory, which pulled the sheet off an American fascism (which is not only about racism, but more about aligning corporate power with individual power, as opposed to grassroots democratic power structures) which Biden will continue to apply in foreign policy, even if he takes down a few domestic statues of Confederate generals and Columbus.

Poll: Both Democrats and Republicans believe election will be rigged
Poll: Both Democrats and Republicans believe election will be rigged

A new poll has revealed that both Democrat and Republican voters in the United States believe there is a possibility that the 2020 presidential election will be rigged.

Biden was not pulled down to Trump’s level at the first debate – he willingly jumped down.

Maybe he doesn’t have age-related dementia after all, because Trump’s success indicates it’s a savvy domestic election move which could win him some voters who view him as weak.

That view must be the case over here: Immediately after the election US televisions were full of Trump-sponsored ads (disgustingly) trumpeting the assassination of Iranian anti-terror hero Qassem Soleimani: the point of the ad was to openly accuse Biden of being “weak.” Biden clearly sought to pre-empt these accusations and perceptions by “standing up” to Trump in a “show of strength” in the debate, no?

“Strongman” politics – this is what Americans want, or so their leaders just told the world via their actions at the debate, no?

The recent first debate showed that Democrats agree: Trumpism works. After four years of faux-fainting at Trump’s crude behavior what did Democrats do when they were finally confronted with him face to face? They joined him, even perhaps seeking to outdo Trump.

Non-Americans should take note. Even with a Biden victory we should not expect a rollback of Trump’s foreign policy – we should expect even further encroachments on national and international dignities and human rights.

However, historians have already taken copious notes and are not surprised by Politico’s admission that Biden will do what Trump did – try to dominate the whole world via (an allegedly new) Trumpian self-interest, as this is just a repeat of Dubya Bush’s “US versus the world” approach following 9/11.

That was a repeat of Ronald Reagan’s “leader of the free world (and we’ll attack/blockade if you aren’t free enough to our tastes), which was a repeat of the continent-dominating concept of “Manifest Destiny,” which was a repeat of the South America-dominating “Monroe Doctrine,” and – noticing a pattern, yet?

To answer a previous question: I don’t think the average American wants what Trump offers – I think they elected Trump as a protest against the structural corruption of the establishment “Swamp.” It was both a desperate move as well as a furiously empowered demand for major change. What Politico is telling us is that Joe Biden took all the wrong lessons from the election of Trump, which we also saw on display at the first debate, and apply them globally.

The underlying ideology of buffoons and clowns is that nothing matters or deserves seriousness. All that truly matters is that they get what they want – clowns and buffoons usually just want attention and laughs, but US leaders want power and control. Biden just proved to the world how low he is willing to go get it – down to the level of Trump, after four years of decrying such behaviors.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

NYT Report: Trump Paid No Income Taxes In 10 Out Of 15 Years Beginning In 2000

NYT Report: Trump Paid No Income Taxes In 10 Out Of 15 Years Beginning In 2000

By Staff, Agencies

US President Donald Trump paid no federal income taxes whatsoever in 10 out of 15 years beginning in 2000 because he reported losing significantly more than he made, according to an explosive report released Sunday by the New York Times.

In both the year he won the presidency and his first year in the White House, Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes, the NYT reported.

Detailing payments gleaned from more than two decades of tax information, the NYT report outlined extensive financial losses and years of tax avoidance that deal a blow to the business-tycoon brand Trump has built his political career on.

At a White House briefing Sunday, Trump denied the New York Times story and claimed that he pays “a lot” in federal income taxes.

“I pay a lot, and I pay a lot in state income taxes,” Trump claimed.

He also added that he is willing to release his tax returns once he is no longer under audit by the Internal Revenue Service, which he said “treats me badly.”

Trump, however, is under no obligation to hold his tax returns while under audit, despite his repeated claims otherwise.

The US President also refused to answer how much he has paid in federal taxes in the briefing and walked out to shouted questions from CNN’s Jeremy Diamond on the topic.

The expansive NYT report paints a picture of businessman who was struggling to keep his businesses afloat and was reporting millions in losses even as he was campaigning for President and boasting about his financial success.

According to the newspaper, Trump used the $427.4 million he was paid for “The Apprentice” to fund his other businesses, mostly his golf courses, and was putting more cash into his businesses than he was taking out.

The tax information obtained by the NYT also revealed that Trump has been fighting the IRS for years over whether losses he claimed should have resulted in a nearly $73 million refund.

In response to a letter summarizing the newspaper’s findings, Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten told the Times that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate” and requested the documents.

The New York Times said it will not make Trump’s tax-return data public so as not to jeopardize its sources “who have taken enormous personal risks to help inform the public.”

The tax-return data obtained by the newspaper does not include his personal returns for 2018 or 2019.

Trump’s taxes have been largely a mystery since he first ran for office.

During the 2016 campaign, the then-candidate broke with presidential election norms and refused to produce his tax returns for public review. They have remained private since he took office.

The NYT reported Sunday that Trump’s tax information reveals specific examples of the potential conflicts of interests between the President’s business with his position.

Trump has collected an additional $5 million a year at Mar-a-Lago since 2015 from new members. A roofing material manufacturer GAF spent at least $1.5 million in 2018 at Trump’s Doral golf course near Miami while its industry was lobbying the government to roll back federal regulations, according to the Times.

Trump has denied the accusations, labelling the report as ‘fake news’ but the NYT said all of the information obtained was “provided by sources with legal access to it.”

The censored reason why the US would torpedo the UN over Iran: Iranian strength

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 7:19 PM  [ Last Update: Tuesday, 22 September 2020 7:23 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference to announce the Trump administration’s restoration of sanctions on Iran, on September 21, 2020, at the US State Department in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)
Why would the US blow up the UN over little old Iran?

By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with Press-TV

Washington has illegally snapped back illegal sanctions on Iran. No one in the world cares, but all this illegality has not gone unnoticed: The US is gutting both its international reputation and that of the United Nations all over Iran.

Risking the international order, which Washington partially controls, over China – Ok, they could be viewed as a serious enough threat by the realpolitik fanatics in the Pentagon. Over the former USSR? Ok, that unsubmissive bloc also threatened total US control.

But over Iran?

We must remind ourselves that the question seems strange only because in all the Western coverage of Iran-US relations what is never broached is the merest notion of Iranian strength.

But if Iran is so powerless then why is the US going to such unprecedented lengths? Why did the warmongering New York Times take a pause from their yellow journalism to concede that, yes, the absurd sanctions move means, “the United States has largely isolated itself from the world order”.

But they didn’t genuinely explain, much less even ask: “Why risk so much over Iran?”

Here is the never-stated reality: the US has made this desperate, sure-to-fail gambit because US policy has been defeated by superior Iranian strength.

This is not jingoistic propaganda on my part: The New York Times conceded that, “The act was born of frustration”. Iran is not some behemoth ready to steamroll the entire world, nor is it a media darling welcomed by foreign masses with strewn flowers – so how can it frustrate the superpower so very much, even as so many other countries fear to engage in the smallest acts of independence or defiance?

It can’t merely be the morally-bankrupt answer so popular in the US, “It’s the economy, stupid,” – i.e, that Iran has a lot of oil. 

No, Iranian strength rests upon the fundamental success of Iran’s unique combination of post-1917 socioeconomic political structures adapted under a genuine and modern interpretation of Islam.

This strength has even another strength on top of it – what a tremendous appeal this combination has for the huge portion of the globe known as the Muslim world.

Iran calls US attempt to ‘snapback’ sanctions ‘null and void’, urges UN to block it
Iran calls US attempt to ‘snapback’ sanctions ‘null and void’, urges UN to block it

Iran says the US’ claim about the return of the UN Security Council’s sanctions against Tehran as per the so-called “snapback” mechanism is “null and void”, calling on the UN and its Security Council to block any attempt to reinstate the bans.

The idea that the Iranian Islamic Revolution could be universally exported is an absurdity – forced conversion to Islam is proscribed in the Qur’an, for starters, and Islamic culture does not seem readily compatible with that of Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro or Tokyo any more than the culture of Tokyo, Rio and Amsterdam are readily compatible with that of Iran’s. But the idea that a post-1917, Islamically-based government can not just exist but thrive – even in total and open opposition to Western imperialism – is most definitely exportable to the Muslim World.

But even allowing this option to be democratically presented within Muslim countries is something which imperialists – from any region or culture – cannot risk.

Iran’s frightening strength, and its massive threat, is thus this: it keeps democratically presenting this option. That is the true reason why the US is so very deranged over Iran that they would topple the world order just to keep Iran from succeeding.

In a sense they are right: Iran’s success really does challenge the world order, after all, given the modern importance of oil – a Muslim world not chained by arrogant imperialists would force the West to finally cooperate and not dominate, and also free up trillions of petrodollars for local use.

Washington demands that 80 million Iranians must be viciously sanctioned because they keep selecting this option; keep getting out to vote; keep democratically participating; and – in 2020 – keep on respecting the national democratic will no matter how many sanctions get levied in an effort to, as former US Secretary of State John Kerry once said by accident in Paris, “implode” Iran.

(In 2020 in the US, however, it seems like neither side will honor the national democratic will if their own candidate doesn’t win – more proof that the US is not a very democratic culture, perhaps.)

UN chief says will take no action on US 'snapback' push against Iran
UN chief says will take no action on US ‘snapback’ push against Iran

The UN chief says “uncertainty” prevents him from considering Washington

Savvy commentators know that Trump’s sanctions may have increased economic difficulties but they also know that they have only increased domestic patriotism: a country which fought for eight years to preserve 5 centimetres of Iranian land from Iraqi & Western aggressors cannot be easily cowed, nor have they come this far to stop now.

Increasing this sense of patriotism is the reality that Iranians truly feel that they deserve international respect precisely because the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 has created a novel system so very strong and egalitarian that it can face endless sanctions and still win.

These post-1917 and Islamic-inspired creations, solutions and levers are what are so treasured domestically; are what explain the success for Iran’s resistance; cannot even be objectively described, much less openly admired, in the West, which is why the West doesn’t even want to inquire about possible Iranian strengths.

It also these systems – their very success, support and how they increase sovereign Iranian strength – which explain why it is China which courted Iran for the Belt and Road Initiative and not the other way around. For over five years Iran rather rejected Beijing’s overtures, in order to give the JCPOA a chance.

The most lenient analysis in 2020 would be that the JCPOA is at least a partial failure, and it seems very historically logical to predict that even a victory by Joe Biden would not lead to the US actually honoring the treaty.

But as the JCPOA’s promises continued to go unfulfilled Iranian diplomats were also laying the groundwork for the $400 billion, 25-year strategic partnership with China that now seems certain to be finalized.

None of it adds up over Iran, to the US elite:

Why would the US blow up the UN over little old Iran? Why is China making Iran (and not, say, Russia) their make-or-break node in their Belt and Road Initiative? Why is the world standing with Iran against almighty Washington?

But it’s not possible to intelligently answer such questions if the idea of Iranian strength cannot even be openly discussed.

Fortunately for the average Iranian: strength means having the ability to disregard the ignorance, collusion and duplicity of those weaker than yourself.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Democrats Go All-Out for Israel

Joe is a Zionist and Kamala panders to Jewish donors

Source

PHILIP GIRALDI • SEPTEMBER 15, 2020

Sen. Kamala Harris D-Calif. speaks at the 2017 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference, Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at the Washington Convention Center in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Those of us who have longed for an end to America’s military engagement in the Middle East have hoped for a candidate who was not tied hand and foot to Israel, which is the root cause of the badly-broken and essentially pointless U.S. foreign policy in the region. But the real tragedy is that in spite of Israel’s near-constant interference in government process at all levels in the United States, no candidate will mention it except in the most laudatory fashion. It will be praised as America’s best friend and closest ally, but the price the U.S. has paid for all that balderdash while it has simultaneously been turning itself into the slave of the Jewish state will never surface.

The Democratic Party leadership is owned by Israel through its big Jewish donors whose billions come with only one string attached, i.e. that the Jewish state must be protected, empowered and enriched no matter what damage it does to actual U.S. interests. Number one Israeli-American billionaire donor Haim Saban has said that he has only one interest, and that is Israel. How such a man can have major influence over American foreign policy and the internal workings of one of its two major parties might be considered the death of real democracy. At the Israel America Council’s National Conference Nancy Pelosi explicitly put Israel’s interests before America’s: “I have said to people when they ask me if this Capitol crumbled to the ground, the one thing that would remain is our commitment to our aid…and I don’t even call it aid…our cooperation with Israel. That’s fundamental to who we are.”

Jews are not surprisingly considerably over-represented in the Democratic Party Establishment. The influence of powerful Jewish Democrats recently insured that there would be no criticism of Israel, nor mention of Palestine, in the party platform for November’s election. So extreme is the virulence of some Jews against the Palestinians that a liberal Zionist Rabbi Mark Winer speaking at a Joe Biden rally in Florida recently denounced “progressives” as infected with the “anti-Semitism virus” over their support for Palestinian rights and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. No one even sought to challenge him. Another progressive Zionist Rabbi Jill Jacobs tweeted about how liberals have to embrace Israel to avoid offending Jews. She wrote: While Israel is likely the most divisive issue in the progressive world, setting a litmus test that one cannot consider oneself pro-Israel, or support two states, would divide the vast majority of Jews from the left. Not what we need when fighting white nationalism.

So-called white nationalists therefore appear to be the preferred enemies of progressive Jews, requiring one to close ranks even – or perhaps especially – when Palestinians are being brutalized. Joe Biden does not venture into that extreme-think zone, but he has made his loyalties clear. He has said that “You don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist. I am a Zionist.” More recently he has denounced Trump as “bad for Israel.” And to demonstrate his bona fides, he kicked Democratic Party Palestinian-activist Linda Sarsour under the bus when she appeared on a DNC convention panel discussing how to appeal to Muslim voters. Biden’s campaign office issued a statement saying that he “…has been a strong supporter of Israel and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism his entire life, and he obviously condemns her views and opposes BDS, as does the Democratic platform. She has no role in the Biden campaign whatsoever.”

With that lead in, it is difficult to imagine how Biden would suddenly recognize the humanity of the long-suffering Palestinians, to include those who are, like he claims to be, Catholic. Biden is close to AIPAC and has spoken at their annual convention a number of times. He is opposed to putting any pressure on the Jewish state at any time and for any reason, which presumably includes not even protecting U.S. interests or the lives and property of American citizens.

Biden also worked for President Barack Obama and was a colleague in office of Hillary Clinton. Both did the usual pander to Israel and neither was particularly well disposed to the Palestinians, though Obama talked the talk of a man of peace so effectively that he was awarded a Nobel Prize. Bear in mind that Obama personally disliked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but he increased the money from the U.S. Treasury going directly to Israel to $3.8 billion per annum and guaranteed it for ten years, an unprecedented move. The fact is that money was and is illegal under American law due to the 1976 Symington Amendment, which banned any aid to any country with a nuclear program that was not declared and subject to inspection under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Obama, who claims to be a “constitutional lawyer,” surely was aware of that but rewarded Israel anyway.

One can expect nothing from Kamala Harris. Her husband is Jewish and she has made her career in California by sleeping with power brokers and pandering to Israel. She, like Biden, has been a fixture at the AIPAC annual conference. She has already made her mark with the party’s pro-Israel crowd by having a conference call with 1800 Jewish Democratic donors, during which she repeatedly assured them a Biden-Harris Administration will never resort to cutting current levels of aid over any “political decisions that Israel makes,” adding personally “…and I couldn’t agree more.” She promised to demonstrate what she described as “unwavering support” for Israel. She also reminded the donors that Joe Biden had been behind the “largest military aid package” to any country ever when President Obama signed off on the $38 billion package in 2016.

Optimists point to the fact that the Democrats have now elected a number of congressmen who are willing to criticize Israel and they also cite opinion polls that suggest that a majority of registered Democrats want fair treatment for the Palestinians without any major bias in favor of the Jewish state. In spite of a news blackout on stories critical of Israel, there is broad understanding of the fact that the Israelis are serial human rights abusers. But those observations matter little in a situation in which the top of the party, to include those who manage elections and allocate money to promising prospective candidates, identify as strongly and often passionately friends of Israel. That is not an accident and one can assume that major effort has gone into maintaining that level of control.

How exactly this fissure in the Democratic Party will play out after November is anyone’s guess and, of course, if Trump wins there will be an autopsy to find out who to blame. Israel certainly won’t be looked at because no one is allowed to talk about it anyway, but some progressives at least will demand a review of a foreign policy platform that was heavy on intervention and global democracy promotion and light on getting along with adversaries, making it largely indistinguishable from that of the Republicans.

Israel for its part has played its cards carefully. It knows that either Biden or Trump will do whatever it wants, but it has deferred its planned annexation of much of the Palestinian West Bank, which will now take place after the election. It did that knowing that otherwise some liberals in the Democratic Party might try to turn Israel into an issue and split the Jewish community while also alienating Jewish donorsand some Jewish voters if the annexation had taken place. After November 3rd, no matter who wins Israel will benefit and will have a free hand to do anything it wishes to the Palestinians. Or perhaps one should say the “remaining Palestinians” until they are all gone.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

Reconsidering the Presidential Election

Reconsidering the Presidential Election

THE SAKER • SEPTEMBER 14, 2020

In early July I wrote a piece entitled “Does the next Presidential election even matter?” in which I made the case that voting in the next election to choose who will be the next puppet in the White House will be tantamount to voting for a new captain while the Titanic is sinking. I gave three specific reasons why I thought that the next election would be pretty much irrelevant:

  1. The US system is rigged to give all the power to minorities and to completely ignore the will of the people
  2. The choice between the Demolicans and the Republicrats is not a choice at all
  3. The systemic crisis of the US is too deep to be affected by who is in power in the White House

I have now reconsidered my position and I now see that I was wrong because I missed something important:

A lot has happened in the past couple of months and I now have come to conclude that while choosing a captain won’t make any difference to a sinking Titanic, it might make a huge difference to those passengers who are threatened by a group of passengers run amok. In other words, while I still do not think that the next election will change much for the rest of the planet (the decay of the Empire will continue), it is gradually becoming obvious that for the United States the difference between the two sides is becoming very real.

Why?

This is probably the first presidential election in US history where the choice will be not between two political programs or two political personalities, but the stark and binary choice between law and order and total chaos.

It is now clear that the Dems are supporting the rioting mobs and that they see these mobs as the way to beat Trump.

It is also becoming obvious that this is not a white vs. black issue: almost all the footage from the rioting mobs shows a large percentage of whites, sometimes even a majority of whites, especially amongst the most aggressive and violent rioters (the fact that these whites regularly get beat up by rampaging blacks hunting for “whitey” does not seem to deter these folks).

True, both sides blame each other for “dividing the country” and “creating the conditions for a civil war”, but any halfway objective and fact based appraisal of what is taking place shows that the Dems have comprehensively caved into the BLM/Antifa ideology (which is hardly surprising, since that ideology is a pure product of the Dems (pseudo-)liberal worldview in the first place). Yes, the Demolicans and the Republicrats are but two factions of the same “Party of Money”, but the election of Trump in 2016 and the subsequent 4 years of intense seditious efforts to delegitimize Trump have resulted in a political climate in which we roughly have, on one hand, what I would call the “Trump Party” (which is not the same as the GOP) and the “deplorables” objectively standing for law and order. On the other hand, we have the Dems, some Republicans, big corporations and the BLM/Antifa mobs who now all objectively stand for anarchy, chaos and random violence.

I have always criticized the AngloZionist Empire and the US themselves for their messianic and supremacist ideology, and I agree that in their short history the United States have probably spilled more innocent blood than any other regime in history. Yet I also believe that there also have been many truly good things in US history, things which other countries should emulate (as many have!). I am referring to things like the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the spirit of self-reliance, a strong work ethic, the immense creativity of the people of the US and their love for their country.

It is now clear that the Dems find nothing good in the US or its history – hence their total support for the wanton (and, frankly, barbaric) destruction of historical statues or for the ridiculous notion that the United States was primarily built by black slaves and that modern whites are somehow guilty of what their ancestors did (including whites who did not have any slave owners amongst their ancestors).

Putin once said that he has no problems at all with any opposition to the Russian government, but that he categorically rejects the opposition to Russia herself (most of the non-systemic opposition in Russia is profoundly russophobic). I see the exact same thing happening here, in the US: the Dem/BLM/Antifa gang are profoundly anti-US, and not for the right reasons. It is just obvious that these people are motivated by pure hate and where there is hate, violence always follows!

To think that there will be no violence if these people come to power would be extremely naive: those who come to power by violence always end up ruling by violence.

For the past several decades, the US ruling elites have been gutting the Constitution by a million legislative and regulatory cuts (I can personally attest to the fact that the country where I obtained my degrees in 1986-1991 is a totally different country from the one I am living in now. Thirty years ago there was real ideological freedom and pluralism in the US, and differences of opinion, even profound ones, were considered normal). Now the apparatus needed to crack down on the “deplorables” has been established, especially on the Federal level. If we now apply the “motive, means & opportunity” criterion we can only conclude that the Dem/BLM/Antifa have the motive and will sure have the means and opportunity if Biden makes it to the White House.

Furthermore, major media corporations are already cracking down against Trump supporters and even against President Trump himself (whom Twitter now threatens to censor if he declares that he won). YouTube is demonetizing “deplorable” channels and also de-ranking them in searches. Google does the same. For a President which heavily relies on short messages to his support base, this is a major threat.

One of Trump’s biggest mistakes was to rely on Twitter instead of funding his own social media platform. He sure had the money. What he lacked was any foresight or understanding of the enemy.

Paul Craig Roberts has been one of the voices which has been warning us that anti-White racism is real and that the United States & Its Constitution Have Two Months Left. I submit that on the former he is undeniably correct and that we ought to pay heed to his warning about what might soon happen next. I also tend to agree with others who warn us that violence will happen next, no matter who wins. Not only are some clearly plotting a coup against Trump should he declare himself the winner, but things have now gone so far that the Chairmen of the JCS had to make an official statement saying that the US military will play no role in the election. Finally, and while I agree that Florida might not be a typical state, I see a lot of signs saying “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic” with the word “domestic” emphasised in some manner. Is this the proverbial “writing on the wall”?

Conclusion:

The Empire is dying and nothing can save it, things have gone way too far to ever return to the bad old days of US world hegemony. Furthermore, I have the greatest doubts about Trump or his supporters being able to successfully defeat Dem/BLM/Antifa. “Just” winning the election won’t be enough, even if Trump wins by a landslide: we already know that the Dem/BLM/Antifa will never accept a Trump victory, no matter how big. I also suspect that 2020 will be dramatically different from the 2000 Gore-Bush election which saw the outcome decided by a consensus of the ruling elites: this time around the hatred is too deep, and there will be no negotiated compromise between the parties.

In 2016 I recommended a Trump vote for one, single, overwhelming reason: my profound belief that Hillary would have started a war against Syria and, almost immediately, against Russia (the Dems are, again, making noises about such a war should they return into the White House). As for Trump, for all his megalomaniacal threats and in spite of a few (thoroughly ineffective) missile strikes on Syria, he has not started a new war.

By the way, when was it the last time that a US president did NOT order a war during his time in office?

The fact is that the Trump victory in 2016 gave Russia the time to finalize her preparations for any time of aggression, or even a full-scale war, which the US might try to throw at her. The absence of any US reaction to the Iranian retaliatory missile strikes against US bases in Iraq in January has shown that US military commanders have no stomach for a war against Iran, nevermind China or, even less, Russia. By now it is too late, Russia is ready for anything, while the US is not. Trump bought the planet an extra four years to prepare for war, and the key adversarie of the US have used that time with great benefit. As for the former world hegemon, it can’t even take on Venezuela…

But inside the US, what we see taking place before us is a weird kind of war against the people of the US, a war waged by a very dangerous mix of ideologues and thugs (that is the toxic recipe for most revolutions!). And while Trump or Biden won’t really matter much to Russia, China or Iran, it still might matter a great deal to millions of people who deserve better than to live under a Dem/BLM/Antifa dictatorship (whether only ideological or actual).

The US of 2020 in so many ways reminds me of Russia in February 1917: the ruling classes were drunk on their ideological dogmas and never realized that the revolution they so much wanted would end up killing most of them. This is exactly what the US ruling classes are doing: they are acting like a parasite who cannot understand that by killing its host it will also kill itself. The likes of Pelosi very much remind me of Kerensky, the man who first destroyed the 1000 year old Russian monarchy and who then proceeded to replace it with kind of totally dysfunctional “masonic democracy” which only lasted 8 months until the Bolsheviks finally seized power and restored law and order (albeit in a viciously ruthless manner).

The US political system is both non-viable and non-reformable. No matter what happens next, the US as we knew it will collapse this winter, PCR is right. The only questions remaining are:

  • What will replace it? and
  • How long (and painful) will the transition to a new US be?

Trump in the White House might not make things better, but a Harris presidency (which is what a “Biden” victory will usher in) will make things much, much worse. Finally, there are millions of US Americans out there who did nothing wrong and who deserve to be protected from the rioting and looting mobs by their police agencies just as there are millions of US Americans who should retain the ability to defend themselves when no law enforcement is available. There is a good reason why the Second Amendment comes right after the First one – the two are organically linked! With the Dem/BLM/Antifa in power, the people of the US can kiss both Amendments goodbye.

I still don’t see a typical civil war breaking out in the US. But I see many, smaller, “local wars” breaking out all over the country – yes, violence is at this point inevitable. It is, therefore, the moral obligation of every decent person to do whatever he/she can do, no matter how small, to help the “deplorables” in their struggle against the forces of chaos, violence and tyranny, especially during the upcoming “years of transition” which will be very, very hard on the majority of the people living in the US.

This includes doing whatever is possible to prevent the Dem/BLM/Antifa from getting into the White House.← Will Hillary and the Dems Get the Civil…

Bipartisan effort to oust the outsider Trump makes 2nd US stimulus unlikely

September 07, 2020

Bipartisan effort to oust the outsider Trump makes 2nd US stimulus unlikely

By Ramin Mazaheri and by author permission crossposted with Sputniknews.

We are currently experiencing the biggest era of American division in 50 years, but one thing Americans are united in is that they want additional coronavirus stimulus: a poll last week showed 70% of respondents demand a re-routing of taxes back their way.

The reasons for that are too numerous to list here, but it’s not hyperbole to summarise that national economic indicators suggest either “Great Depression II” or “Great Recession-er.”

Yet for months Congress has remained deadlocked on concluding a relief plan which would get scores of millions of Americans to back away from the ledge, the bottle, the prescription pill and the daily conversations they are having with each other about their very serious economic desperation and hopelessness.

The coronavirus seems likely to deal a death blow to the neoliberal form of capitalism, which has always been a faith-based ideology with a terrible track record, anyway: in a major crisis a central government simply must provide services and aid, and simply cannot continue to slash itself into neoliberal-ordered nothingness.

While rational American conservatives are slowly coming around on this, the nation’s top Republican lawmakers are not.

A comparison of the $3.4 trillion Democrat and the $1.1 trillion Republican stimulus plans shows that the biggest disagreement comes on the core neoliberal and libertarian tenet of eliminating government as much as possible: Democrats want $1.1 trillion earmarked for state and local governments, while Republicans propose just $100 billion. More than a few fiscally-reactionary Republicans think the original $2.2 trillion CARES Act overstepped the absurd limits they set on government, but the vast majority of conservatives in Congress are simply not going to allow the coronavirus to roll back their four decades of efforts to reduce government at all levels.

It should be remembered that in the American federal system local government plays – or used to – a much larger role than in most other countries. The coronavirus also seems likely to deal another death blow – to those who insist on a weak central government: the fragmented and chaotic US response to the pandemic is a direct result of their insistence on “states’ rights” over national well-being, which makes a unified response to any type of crisis fundamentally impossible.

So when truly half of the disputed difference between the two plans is over this radical and unusually-American neoliberal issue, we should not expect Republicans to capitulate anytime soon. Yet as the grassroots support for more stimulus reminds us – the Republican elite in Washington are obviously totally out of touch with the economic fears of the average Republican elsewhere.

On the other side of the aisle, one should not assume that Democrats are totally genuine in their desire to extend greater help to American citizens.

After all, if they wanted to re-inflate local and state governments so badly, why didn’t they include greater redistribution in the CARES Act? Every political operator knew that their chances were better at the start of the coronavirus hysteria, and also that the chances for bipartisan agreement (obviously necessary in a Republican-controlled Senate) would decrease closer to election day.

The $1.1 trillion for state and local government looks more like a phony “poison pill” designed to inflame Republican ideological morals when combined with the fact that the Democrat plan contains exactly zero additional aid for small businesses, who have always provided the backbone of the Republican Party. Small-business aid is the second-largest component of the Republican’s second stimulus plan, at $200 billion. Zero for small businesses – which provide over 40% of national economic output – is not only idiotic and guaranteed to perpetuate economic misery, but can easily be perceived by Republicans as an ideological slap in the face.

Many wonder if the plan of the Democratic elite all along was to drag their feet on what they wanted at the start of the coronavirus panic in order to put themselves in a position to accuse Republicans of dragging their feet on a deal closer to November. Allowing an already-festering country to rot for months in order to win an election sounds like bad governance bordering on treason, but the anti-Trump faction among the US 1% is surely willing to do anything to get the rogue politician out of office.

Last month Trump smartly circumvented Congress to extend desperately-needed jobless benefits to tens of millions of Americans – what’s perplexing is why Trump isn’t already talking about doing that again? Aiding suffering constituents shouldn’t be denigrated as corrupt “patronage” or “vote-buying” – it’s good governance. Unfortunately, elite Republicans ideologically insist that “good governance” is an oxymoron.

Trump was elected in 2016 precisely because he defied Republican leadership and ideology – the best way for him to get re-elected would be to revert to that form, and to send another round of direct stimulus to voters.

That may require bypassing Congress again, which seems unlikely to agree on a significant compromise. This allows both sides to blame each other for economic woes all the way up until November 3, but it crucially allows “the swamp” to do something which they emphatically agree on: blaming Trump for every problem in order to get the unprecedented outsider out of office.


Ramin Mazaheri is currently in the US covering their elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

Battleground South China Sea?

By Stephen Lendman

Source

US hostility toward China’s growing political, economic, technological, and military prominence risks possible direct confrontation between both nations.

China seeks peace and cooperative relations with other countries in stark contrast to Washington’s aim for unchallenged dominance by whatever it takes to achieve its aims. 

Last week, Trump regime envoy for arms control Marshall Billingslea said (nuclear-capable) intermediate-range missiles may be deployed in the Indo-Pacific close to China’s territory.

Its Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian denounced what’s likely coming, saying the following:

“China decisively condemns the US’s plans to deploy intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific Region, and expresses its sharp displeasure with constant pressure on China and the neighboring countries, as well as with constant provocations at China’s borders.”

Noting that deployment of these missiles will affect Russia’s security, its Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova expressed concern, saying:

“We must also take into account that such armaments will also create additional risks for our territory as well, including objects of strategic importance, which would naturally require taking necessary response measures – which I would call compensatory.”

On August 2, 2019, Trump formally abandoned the landmark 1987 INF Treaty — based on phony accusations of Russian violations, invented ones because no real ones exist.

Responding to the unacceptable Trump regime action, Sergey Lavrov said the US began violating the INF Treaty “in 1999 when it began trials of combat unmanned flying vehicles with specifications similar to those of ground-launched cruise missiles banned by the treaty,” adding:

“Later it started using target missiles, ballistic target missiles, for testing its missile defense system, whereas starting in 2014 it began deploying in Europe launching pads for its positioning areas of missile defense – Mk 41 launching pads, which may absolutely be used without any changes and to launch Tomahawk medium-range cruise missiles.”

“That is a direct violation of the treaty. Such systems have already been deployed in Romania, are being prepared for deployment in Poland, as well as in Japan.”

The US under Republicans and Dems is a serial violator of treaties, conventions, bilateral and multilateral agreements, as well as the rule of law overall domestically and geopolitically.

Its provocative actions threaten world peace and stability.

In response to the likely deployment of US intermediate-range missiles close to the borders of China and Russia in the Indo-Pacific, Vladimir Putin said this action will result in a symmetrical response and create new threats.

On Friday in response to repeated US anti-China provocations, PLA spokesman Senior Col. Li Huamin said the following:

“Ignoring the rules of international law, the US side has repeatedly provoked troubles in the South China Sea, exercising navigational hegemony under the pretext of ‘freedom of navigation,” adding:  

“We urge the US to stop such provocative behavior and restrict its maritime actions to avoid possible military accidents.”

What the Pentagon calls “routine freedom of navigation” is highly provocative in the South China Sea, the Persian Gulf, and other international waters close to the territory of nations it wants transformed into US vassal states.

On August 26, the PLA launched two missiles into the South China Sea, including an “aircraft carrier killer,” in response to unacceptable Pentagon aerial spying in no-fly-zone airspace during live-fire Chinese military exercises.

China’s Foreign Ministry called the US action a “naked provocation” that risked a possible “accident,” adding:

The PLA “will not dance to the US’ tune,” stressing that it should “pull itself out of the swamp of anxiety and paranoia.”

Time and again, provocative US intrusions occur in parts of the world not its own that heighten tensions and risk direct confrontation with nations it doesn’t control.

On Friday, the PLA said it expelled the USS Mustin guided missile destroyer from Chinese territorial waters near its Xisha Islands.

The PLA accused the Pentagon of breaching international law by its South China Sea provocations on the phony pretext of freedom of navigation — adding that its actions threaten China’s sovereignty and security.

According to China’s official People’s Daily broadsheet on Friday, the Pentagon unacceptably “sent military aircraft to the region more than 2,000 times  in the first half of this year alone,” adding:

“The US tries to drive wedges between China and related Southeast Asian nations, push those countries to the front, and enlist them as pawns in its anti-China agenda.”

“Washington’s malign scheme to make the South China Sea another anti-China battleground will certainly fail.”

The US is a warmaker, not a peacekeeper in the Indo-Pacific or anywhere else.

The South China Sea and Persian Gulf are the world’s top hot spots.

If global war occurs by accident or design, it’ll likely be launched by the US in one or both of these areas.

What’s unthinkable is possible because of US rage for global dominance — pursued by endless wars by hot and other means that risk destruction of planet earth and all its life forms if things are pushed too far.

US War Secretary’s Imperial Vision

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Mark Esper is to the Trump region’s war department what Pompeo is at State.

Both figures are right-wing extremists supporting endless US wars of aggression on nonbelligerent states threatening no one.

On August 24 in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Esper said “(t)he Pentagon is prepared for China,” adding:

Xi Jinping intends “transforming the PLA into a world-class military, one that can further the party’s agenda far beyond China’s shores (sic).” 

“His remarks serve as a stark reminder that we have entered a new era of global competition between the free and open international order (sic) and an authoritarian system fostered by Beijing (sic).”

Unsaid by Esper is that China prioritizes fostering cooperative relations with other countries, hostility toward none — polar opposite US hegemonic aims, waging war on humanity at home and abroad.

Since Nixon began the process of normalizing Sino/US relations in February 1972, followed later by the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations agreed to by Jimmy Carter and Deng Xiaoping that formally established bilateral relations on January 1, 1979, China never attacked another country.

Its geopolitical agenda is in stark contrast to endless US wars on invented enemies.

If all countries fostered relations with others as Beijing does, world peace, stability, and mutual cooperation among the world community of nations would break out all over.

China threatens no other countries. The US threatens the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations it doesn’t control.

Trump, Pompeo, Esper, and vast majority of congressional members support endless US war on humanity.

Its hostile to peace agenda risks global war with nukes if its hardliners push things too far.

Esper falsely accused Beijing of pursuing “an economic and foreign policy agenda that is often inimical to the interests of the US and our allies” — a bald-faced Big Lie.

Xi’s plan for modernizing China’s military is with self-defense in mind — not naked aggression against invented enemies the way the US operates.

The rest of Esper’s op-ed included a further litany of Big Lies while concealing Washington’s hostile agenda.

Part of his aim is wanting trillions more dollars spent on US militarism and belligerence, including for a space force to wage future wars from the heavens.

Separately on a visit to Hawaii, Palau and Guam, Esper stressed the Indo-Pacific’s importance as “the main focus of America’s national strategy” for unchallenged global dominance.

Instead of cooperative outreach to regional countries for the mutual benefit of all, he called for Indo-Pacific leaders to ally with the US against China — falsely calling the country a regional threat, what applies to Washington, not Beijing.

Unacceptably hostile remarks by him, Pompeo, Trump, and likeminded congressional hardliners reflect how greatly Sino/US relations deteriorated with no prospect for improving things no matter which wing of the US war party runs things in Washington.

If Republicans or Dems push things too far, a Sino/US political and economic clash of civilizations could turn hot.

George Santanyana warned “(t)hose who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Two global wars taught America’s ruling class nothing — neither Kellogg-Briand’s renunciation of aggressive wars after WW I ended or the UN Charter’s preamble, saying:

“We the Peoples of the United Nations Determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind…”

Is another global war inevitable, the next one with super-weapons able to destroy planet earth and all its life forms if detonated in enough numbers?

What’s madness is possible by accident of design because of US rage to dominate other countries by whatever it takes to achieve its hegemonic aims.

Iran Intelligence Ministry rejects reports on US-based group ringleader’s overseas arrest

Press TV

Monday, 03 August 2020 5:51 AM  [ Last Update: Monday, 03 August 2020 6:44 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo released by Fars news agency shows Jamshid Sharmahd after his capture by Iranian security forces.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, which recently announced the apprehension of the ringleader of a US-based anti-Iran terrorist group, has rejected reports alleging that the person in question was actually nabbed in Tajikistan.

The reports “are roundly rejected,” the Ministry said in a statement that was cited by Tasnim News Agency on Sunday.

Statements released by the Ministry’s Public Relations Office are the ultimate source of any official information detailing the operations that are carried out by the Ministry’s operatives, the statement asserted.

The Ministry announced arresting Jamshid Sharmahd, the ringleader of the Tondar (Thunder) outfit, otherwise known as the so-called “Kingdom Assembly of Iran,” on Saturday, notifying that he had directed “armed operations and acts of sabotage” inside Iran from the US in the past.

Upon arrest, Sharmahd admitted to providing explosives for a 2008 attack in southern Iran that killed 14 people. US-based group ringleader admits providing explosives for 2008 deadly bomb attack in Iran

Upon arrest, the ringleader of a US-based anti-Iran terrorist group admits providing explosives for a 2008 attack in southern Iran.

“I was called before the bomb was about to be set off,” he was seen confessing in footage provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network later in the day. 

The attack that targeted the Seyyed al-Shohada mosque in the city of Shiraz also wounded 215 others.

According to the Ministry, the group had planned to carry out several high-profile and potentially hugely-deadly attacks across the Islamic Republic, but had been frustrated in the attempts owing to intricate intelligence operations targeting the outfit. These included blowing up of Sivand Damn in Shiraz, detonating cyanide-laden bombs at Tehran International Book Fair, and carrying out explosions during mass gatherings at the Mausoleum of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini.

Details of the arrest

Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, meanwhile, congratulated the Ministry’s operatives on their success in arresting the terrorist ringleader, detailing the circumstances that surrounded the operation.

Sharmahd enjoyed “serious support” from the American and Israeli intelligence services, which “considered it to be far-fetched for the Iranian Intelligence Ministry to be able to penetrate their intelligence cover and put him under its command through an intricate operation,” the minister said.

The Americans still believe that pictures showing Sharmahd in Iran after his arrest have been snapped outside the Islamic Republic, he added, saying, “They will found out about everything [concerning the operation] in near future.”

Alavi differentiated between Sharmahd’s outfit and other so-called royalist groups, which mostly resort to rhetoric and statements to try to establish themselves.

Tondar “was the only movement that was very violent and was after establishing itself through terrorist operation,” the minister noted.

‘Iran neutralized 27 ops by Tondar’

Alavi noted that the Ministry had succeeded in frustrating 27 operations by Sharmahd and his group.

The minister again highly rated the arrest operation, recalling previous remarks by Sharmahd, in which he had considered himself to be comfortably nested within the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“He considered his place to be lying on the sixth floor of the FBI [‘s building],” and now sees himself in the grips of Iranian intelligence operatives, Alavi said.

Following the terrorist attack in Iran, the Islamic Republic notified the Interpol of Sharmahd’s identity and demanded his arrest. However, he would still travel freely between countries with his real identity.

Alavi said the inaction despite Tehran’s complaint “indicates the hollowness of the Americans and their European allies’ claim of fighting terrorism.”

The minister finally hailed that the arrest “has not been and will not be” the first such complicated operation to be aced by Iranian intelligence operatives, asserting that “they have carried out such arrests in the past, the due time for explaining which has not yet arrived.”


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China and Iran: The Century’s Most Important Geo-Strategic Transformation- by Nasser Kandil الصين وإيران أهم تحوّل جيواستراتيجيّ في القرن

The Sino-Iranian “understanding” has become the predominant preoccupation for the strategic planning elites in the United States represented by its deep state, open think tanks, and numerous study centers, and has overturned balances formerly relied on in their thinking and planning. This “understanding” will guarantee the flow of Iranian oil to China at a lower cost and in quantities exceeding oil production in the years preceding the embargo, in exchange for an Iranian resurgence financed by China and executed by Chinese and Iranian companies. Such resurgence will be encompassing and will include development in a large number of areas. It will involve the development in the manufacturing of means of public, clean energy, and commercial transportation: civilian planes, trains, railways, electric cars, commercial vessels and oil tankers; the development of quarries and mines and the manufacture of basic industrial materials: steel, iron, and marble; the building of hospital networks and a modern pharmaceutical industry; the improvement and upgrading of scientific centers for research; the building of electronic factories for the production of computers and smart phones; the building of a new network of giant airports and ports; and large housing projects for new cities. Militarily, it will pave the way for an understanding about the development of Iran’s encryption capabilities and its building up of new encryption systems, building up of bases for building solid fuel and missile manufacturing, and building-up of air-defense systems and satellites.

The Americans estimate that the value of this “understanding” in today’s world price market is 4 trillion U. S. dollars, in spite of its announced value of 500 billion dollars by the China and Iran. They believe that the proclamation of this understanding is, on one hand, the announcement of the death of the American policy of economic sanctions targeting Iran and China, and on the other, the presence of China and its readiness to progress towards the Mediterranean, the Gulf, and the Sea of Oman, through building an advanced political, economic, and services base in Iran. The Americans anticipate a 500% growth in the purchasing power of the Iranian currency, and a 300% growth in individual income in Iran within the first 5 years of this “understanding.”

They believe that Iran will have an economy similar in status to that of Germany and Japan in the 1960’s. They also believe that it will become the first and uncontested military power in the Middle East based on the significant military power it currently possesses, and which (in view of the “understanding”) is expected to dramatically increase.

Some American experts have compared the “understanding” with the agreement between Egypt in the time of President Jamal Abdel Nasser with the former Soviet Union, and believe that the Sino-Iranian “understanding” carries tenfold the danger which the Cairo-Moscow agreement had carried in its golden days. There appears to be a consensus that the “understanding” will lead to the rise of a world giant, namely China, and a regional giant, namely Iran, with only two ways of damage mitigation to the American presence and interests. The first is a quick diffusion of tensions in the Middle East through a speedy resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in which the United States magically appears as the friend of the Arabs and isolates them from Iran. The second is an American-Russian strategic understanding which includes joint solutions for the crises in the area, and comprehensive joint cooperation in economic, political, and strategic spheres. They point to the petrification in the American strategic and political mind, which has the surface appearance of being pragmatic and not dogmatic, as a definitive obstacle preventing from any step towards mitigation of the serious damage anticipated to result from this “understanding”. Evidence of structural defects in U.S. strategic planning and accompanying political paralysis eliminate any expectation that mitigating steps could be taken.

Experts describe the “understanding” as the most prominent geo-strategic transformation of the century and the beginning of a new international era. They believe that dealing effectively with its consequences is beyond the ability of any U.S. Administration as long as its considerations begin with the protection of the interests of cartels and the military-industrial complex, irrespective of the resulting constant tension with Russia, and the protection of the interest of lobbies supporting Israel, with disregard to the resulting hatred for Americans in Arab and Islamic milieus.

الصين وإيران أهم تحوّل جيواستراتيجيّ في القرن

ناصر قنديل

تنشغل الأوساط الأميركية التي تعبر عن النخبة التخطيطية، أو عن الدولة العميقة، أو عن فرق التفكير المفتوحة، ومراكز الدراسات المتعددة، بقضية باتت تطغى على ما عداها، وقلبت موازين التفكير والتخطيط الأميركيين، عنوانها التفاهم الصيني الإيراني، الذي سيضمن تدفق النفط الإيراني نحو الصين بسعر مخفّض وبكميات تزيد عن كميات الإنتاج الإيراني في زمن ما قبل العقوبات الأميركية، مقابل نهضة إيرانية تموّلها الصين وتنفذها شركات صينية وإيرانية، لتطوير صناعة الطائرات المدنية وقاطرات سكك الحديد ومساراتها، وبناء مصانع للنسيج والجلود والصناعات الغذائية، وتطوير صناعة الصلب والحديد، والرخام والمناجم التعدينية والحجرية، وبناء شبكات مستشفيات ومصانع أدوية حديثة، وتطوير مراكز البحث العلمي، وبناء مصانع لتصنيع الإلكترونيّات بما فيها الحواسيب وأجهزة الهاتف الذكية، إضافة لشبكات جديدة من المطارات والمرافئ العملاقة، والمشاريع السكنية الضخمة لمدن جديدة، ومصانع للسيارات الكهربائية الصديقة للبيئة، والسفن التجارية وناقلات النفط، وعلى الصعيد العسكري، سيتيح التفاهم تطوير قدرات التشفير الإيرانية لبناء أنظمة جديدة للشيفرات، وقواعد لبناء الوقود الصلب لصناعة الصواريخ، وشبكات الدفاع الجوي والأقمار الصناعية.

يقدّر الأميركيون قيمة الاتفاق بالأسعار الرائجة عالمياً الاتفاق بأربعة تريليون دولار، رغم أن المعلن من جانبيه الصيني والإيراني هو خمسمئة مليار دولار، ويعتبرونه إعلان وفاة سياسية للعقوبات الأميركية التي تستهدف إيران من جهة، ومن جهة مقابلة حضوراً للصين بجهوزية التقدم نحو البحر المتوسط والخليج وبحر عمان، من خلال بناء قاعدة متطورة صناعياً واقتصادياً وخدمياً في إيران، ويتوقعون أن يرتفع مستوى القدرة الشرائية للعملة الإيرانية 500% خلال خمس سنوات، وأن يرتفع مستوى دخل الفرد 300% خلال السنوات الخمس الأولى من الاتفاق، ويعتقدون أن إيران ستصبح في وضع اقتصاديّ يشبه كلاً من ألمانيا واليابان في الستينيات من القرن الماضي، بالإضافة للمقدرات العسكرية الهائلة التي تملكها وستزداد، لتصير القوة العسكرية الأولى في الشرق الأوسط بلا منازع.

يقارن الخبراء الأميركيّون هذا الاتفاق باتفاق مصر أيام الرئيس جمال عبد الناصر مع الاتحاد السوفياتي فيقولون إنه اتفاق الصين وإيران يعادل عشر مرات درجة الخطر التي مثلها اتفاق القاهرة وموسكو في أيامه الذهبية، وثمة إجماع على اعتبار الاتفاق طريقاً لنهوض عملاق عالمي هو الصين وعملاق إقليمي هو إيران، لا يمكن الحدّ من الخسائر التي سيجلبها على الحضور والمصالح الأميركية إلا بأحد طريقين، إنهاء سريع للتأزم في المنطقة بحل للصراع العربي الإسرائيلي، بطريقة سحرية تظهر أميركا صديقاً للعرب وتعزل إيران عنهم، أو بتفاهم استراتيجي روسي أميركي، يتضمن حلولاً مشتركة لأزمات المنطقة، وتعاوناً شاملاً في القضايا الاقتصادية والسياسية والاستراتيجية، ويجيبون أن تحجُّر العقل الأميركي الاستراتيجي والسياسي، رغم كونه في الظاهر غير عقائدي وبراغماتي، يشكل عقبة حاسمة دون القدرة على السير بخطوات مناسبة للحد من أضرار هذا الاتفاق، الذي يكفي عدم القدرة على التنبؤ بحدوثه للدلالة على ما تعانيه عملية رسم الاستراتيجيات من مشاكل بنيوية، تجعل السياسة في حال عجز كامل.

الوصف الذي يطلقه الخبراء على الاتفاق، أنه أبرز تحول جيواستراتيجي في القرن، وأنه بداية لمرحلة جديدة على المستوى الدولي، وأن التعامل مع تداعياته يفوق طاقة أي إدارة أميركية، طالما أن حسابات الإدارات تبدأ من مراعاة مصالح كارتلات الصناعات العسكرية رغم ما تتسبب به من توتر مستمر في العلاقة عم روسيا، واللوبيات الداعمة لـ«إسرائيل» وما تتسبب به من كراهية للأميركي في الأوساط العربية والإسلامية.

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Russia and the next Presidential election in the USA

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Intro: not a pretty picture

Let’s begin with a disclaimer: in this article, I will assume that there will be a US Presidential election in the Fall. Right now, it appears to be likely that this election will take place (there appear to be no legal way to cancel or delay it), but this is by no means certain (see here for a machine translated and very interesting article by one Russian analyst, who predicts a diarchy after the election). Right now, the state of the US society is both extremely worried (and for good reason) and potentially explosive. It is impossible to predict what a well-executed false flag attack could do to the US. There is also the possibility of either a natural disaster (hurricane, earthquake, etc.) or even an unnatural one (considering the condition of the US infrastructure, this is almost inevitable) which could precipitate some kind of state of emergency or martial law to “protect” the people. Finally, though at this point in time I don’t see this as very likely, there is always the possibility of a coup of some kind, maybe a “government of national unity” with the participation of both parties which, as Noam Chomsky correctly points out, are basically only two factions of what could be called the Business Party. There might come a point when they decide to drop this pretense too (just look at how many other pretenses the US ruling elites have dropped in the last decade or so).

Alexander Solzhenitsyn used to explain that all governments can be placed on a continuum ranging from, on one end, “states whose power is based on their authority” to, on the other end, “states whose authority is based on their power“. In the real world, most states are somewhere between these two extremes. But it is quite obvious that the US polity currently has gone very far down the “states whose authority is based on their power” path and to speak of any kind of “moral authority” of US politicians is really a joke. The (probable) upcoming “choice” between Donald “grab them by the pussy” Trump and Joe “creepy uncle” Biden will make this joke even more laughable.

Right now, the most powerful force in the US political system must be the financial sector. And, of course, there are many other powerful interest groups (MIC, Israel Lobby, the CIA and the ridiculously bloated Intel community, Big Pharma, the US Gulag, the corporate media, Oil, etc.) who all combine their efforts (just like a vector does in mathematics) to produce a “resulting vector” which we call “US policies”. That is in theory. In practice, you have several competing “policies” vying for power and influence, both on the domestic and on international front. Often these policies are mutually exclusive.

Last, but certainly not least, the level of corruption in the US is at least as bad as, say, in the Ukraine or in Liberia, but rather than being on the street and petty cash level, the corruption in the US is counted in billions of dollars.

All in all, not a pretty sight (see here for a good analysis of the decline of US power).

Yet the US remains a nuclear power and still has a lot of political influence worldwide and thus this is not a country anyone can ignore. Including Russia.

A quick look at Russia

Before looking into Russian options in relation to the US, we need to take a quick look at how Russia has been faring this year. The short of it would be: not too well. The Russian economy has shrunk by about 10% and the small businesses have been devastated by the combined effects of 1) the economic policies of the Russian government and Central Bank, and 2) the devastating economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic, and 3) the full-spectrum efforts of the West, mostly by the Anglosphere, to strangle Russia economically. Politically, the “Putin regime” is still popular, but there is a sense that it is getting stale and that most Russians would prefer to see more dynamic and proactive policies aimed, not only to help the Russian mega-corporations, but also to help the regular people. Many Russians definitely have a sense that the “little guy” is being completely ignored by fat cats in power and this resentment will probably grow until and unless Putin decides to finally get rid of all the Atlantic Integrationists aka the “Washington consensus” types which are still well represented in the Russian ruling circles, including the government. So far, Putin has remained faithful to his policy of compromises and small steps, but this might change in the future as the level of frustration in the general population is likely to only grow with time.

That is not to say that the Kremlin is not trying. Several of the recent constitutional amendments adopted in a national vote had a strongly expressed “social” and “patriotic” character and they absolutely horrified the “liberal” 5th columnists who tried their best two 1) call for a boycott, and 2) denounce thousands of (almost entirely) imaginary violations of the proper voting procedures, and to 3) de-legitimize the outcome by declaring the election a “fraud”. None of that worked: the participation was high, very few actual violations were established (and those that were, had no impact on the outcome anyway) and most Russians accepted that this outcome was the result of the will of the people. Furthermore, Putin has made public the Russian strategic goals for 2030,which are heavily focused on improving the living and life conditions of average Russians (for details, see here). It is impossible to predict what will happen next, but the most likely scenario is that Russia has several, shall we say, “bumpy” years ahead, both on the domestic and on the international front.

What can Russia reasonably hope for?

This is really the key question: in the best of situations, what can Russia really hope for in the next elections? I would argue that there is really very little which Russia can hope for, if only because the russophobic hysteria started by the Democrats to defeat Trump has now apparently been completely endorsed by the Trump administration and the all the members of Congress. As for the imperial propaganda machine, it now manages to simultaneously declare that Russia tried to “steal” COVID vaccine secrets from the West AND that Russian elites were given a secret COVID vaccine this Spring. As for the US Dems, they are already announcing that the Russians are spreading “disinformation” about Biden. Talk about PRE-traumatic stress disorder (to use the phrase coined by my friend Gilad Atzmon)…

Although I have no way of knowing what is really taking place in the delusional minds of US politicians, I am strongly suspecting that the latest hysteria about “Russia stealing COV19 vaccine secrets” is probably triggered by the conclusion of the US intel community that Russia will have a vaccine ready before the US does. This is, of course, something absolutely unthinkable for US politicians who, (sort of) logically conclude that “if these Russkies got a vaccine first, they *must* have stolen it from us” or something similar (see here for a good analysis of this). And if the Chinese get there first, same response. After all, who in the US legacy media would ever even mention that Russian or Chinese researchers might be ahead of their US colleagues? Nobody, of course.

I would argue that this mantric Russia-bashing is something which will not change in the foreseeable future. For one thing, since the imperial ruling elites have clearly lost control of the situation, they really have no other option left than to blame it all on some external agent. The “terrorist threat” has lost a lot of traction over the past years, the “Muslim threat” is too politically incorrect to openly blame it all on Islam, as for the other boogeymen which US Americans like to scare themselves at night with (immigrants, drug dealers, sex offenders, “domestic terrorists”, etc.) they simply cannot be blamed for stuff like a crashing economy. But Russia, and China, can.

In fact, ever since the (self-evidently ridiculous) “Skripal case” the collective West has proven that it simply does not have the spine to say “no”, or even “maybe”, to any thesis energetically pushed forward by the AngloZionist propaganda machine. Thus no matter how self-evidently silly the imperial propaganda is, the people in the West have been conditioned (literally) to accept any nonsense as “highly likely” as long as it is proclaimed with enough gravitas by politicians and their legacy ziomedia. As for the leaders of the EU, we already know that they will endorse any idiocy coming out of Washington or London in the name of “solidarity”.

Truth be told, most Russian politicians (with the notable exception of the official Kremlin court jester, Zhirinovskii) and analysts never saw Trump as a potential ally or friend. The Kremlin was especially cautious, which leads me to believe that the Russian intelligence analysts did a very good job evaluating Trump’s psyche and they quickly figured out that he was no better than any other US politician. Right now, I know of no Russian analyst who would predict that relations between the US and Russia will improve in the foreseeable future. If anything, most are clearly saying that “guys, we better get used to this” (accusations, sanctions, accusations, sanctions, etc. etc. etc.). Furthermore, it is pretty obvious to the Russians that while Crimea and MH17 were the pretexts for western sanctions against Russia, they were not the real cause. The real cause of the West’s hatred for Russia is as simple as it is old: Russia cannot be conquered, subdued, subverted or destroyed. They’ve been at it for close to 1,000 years and they still are at it. In fact, each time they fail to crush Russia, their russophobia increases to even higher levels (phobia both in the sense of “fear” and in the sense of “hatred”).

Simply put – there is nothing which Russia can expect from the upcoming election. Nothing at all. Still, that does not mean that things are not better than 4 or 8 years ago. Let’s look at what changed.

The big difference between now and then

What did Trump’s election give to the world?

I would say four years for Russia to fully prepare for what might be coming next.

I would argue that since at least Russia and the AngloZionist Empire have been at war since at least 2013, when Russia foiled the US plan to attack Syria under the pretext that it was “highly likely” that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians (in reality, a textbook case of a false flag organized by the Brits), This means that Russia and the Empire have been at war since at least 2013, for no less than seven years (something which Russian 6th columnists and Neo-Marxists try very hard to ignore).

True, at least until now, this was has been 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic, but this is a real existential war of survival for both sides: only one side will walk away from this struggle. The other one will simply disappear (not as a nation or a people, but as a polity; a regime). The Kremlin fully understood that and it embarked on a huge reform and modernization of the Russian armed forces in three distinct ways:

  1. A “general” reform of the Russian armed forces which had to be modernized by about 80%. This part of the reform is now practically complete.
  2. A specific reform to prepare the western and southern military districts for a major conventional war against the united West (as always in Russian history) which would involve the First Guards Tank Army and the Russian Airborne Forces.
  3. The development of bleeding-edge weapons systems with no equivalent in the West and which cannot be countered or defeated; these weapons have had an especially dramatic impact upon First Strike Stability and upon naval operations.

While some US politicians understood what was going on (I think of Ron Paul, see here), most did not. They were so brainwashed by the US propaganda that they were sure that no matter what, “USA! USA! USA!”. Alas for them, the reality was quite different.

Russian officials, by the way, have confirmed that Russia was preparing for war. Heck, the reforms were so profound and far reaching, that it would have been impossible for the Russians to hide what they were doing (see here for details; also please see Andrei Martyanov’s excellent primer on the new Russian Navy here).

While no country is ever truly prepared for war, I would argue that by 2020 the Russians had reached their goals and that now Russia is fully prepared to handle any conflict the West might throw at her, ranging from a small border incident somewhere in Central Asia to a full-scaled war against the US/NATO in Europe.

Folks in the West are now slowly waking up to this new reality (I mentioned some of that here), but it is too late. In purely military terms, Russia has now created such a qualitative gap with the West that the still existing quantitative gap is not sufficient to guarantee a US/NATO victory. Now some western politicians are starting to seriously freak out (see this lady, for example), but most Europeans are coming to terms with two truly horrible realities:

  1. Russia is much stronger than Europe and, even much worse,
  2. Russia will never attack first (which is a major cause of frustration for western russophobes)

As for the obvious solution to this problem, having friendly relations with Russia is simply unthinkable for those who made their entire careers peddling the Soviet (and now Russian) threat to the world.

But Russia is changing, albeit maybe too slowly (at least for my taste). As I mentioned last week, a number of Polish, Ukrainian and Baltic politicians have declared that the Zapad2020 military maneuvers which are supposed to take place in southern Russia and the Caucasus could be used to prepare an attack on the West (see here for a rather typical example of this nonsense). In the past, the Kremlin would only have made a public statement ridiculing this nonsense, but this time around Putin did something different. Right after he saw the reaction of these politicians, Putin ordered a major and UNSCHEDULED military readiness exercise which involved no less than 150,000 troops, 400 aircraft & 100 ships! The message here was clear:

  1. Yes, we are much more powerful than you are and
  2. No, we are not apologizing for our strength anymore

And, just to make sure that the message is clear, the Russians also tested the readiness of the Russian Airborne Forces units near the city of Riazan, see for yourself:

This response is, I think, the correct one. Frankly, nobody in the West is listening to what the Kremlin has to say, so what is the point of making more statements which in the future will be ignored equally as they have been in the past.

If anything, the slow realization that Russia is more powerful than NATO would be most helpful in gently prodding EU politicians to change their tune and return back to reality. Check out this recent video of Sarah Wagenknecht, a leading politician of the German Left and see for yourself:

The example of Sahra Wagenknecht is interesting, because she is from Germany, one of the countries of northern Europe; traditionally, northern European powers have been much more anti-Russian than southern Europeans, so it is encouraging to see that the anti-Putin and anti-Russia hysteria is not always being endorsed by everybody.

But if things are very slowly getting better in the EU, in the bad old US of A things are only getting worse. Even the Republicans are now fully on board the Russia-hating float (right behind a “gay pride” one I suppose) and they are now contributing their own insanity to the cause, as this article entitled “Congressional Republicans: Russia should be designated state sponsor of terror” shows (designating Russia as a terrorist state is an old idea of the Dems, by the way).

Russian options for the Fall

In truth, Russia does not have any particularly good options towards the US. Both parties are now fully united in their rabid hatred of Russia (and China too, of course). Furthermore, while there are many well-funded and virulently anti-Russian organizations in the US (Neo-cons, Papists, Poles, Masons, Ukrainians, Balts, Ashkenazi Jews, etc.), Russian organizations in the US like this one, have very little influence or even relevance.

Banderites marching in the US

Banderites marching in the US

However, as the chaos continues to worsen inside the US and as US politicians continue to alienate pretty much the entire planet, Russia does have a perfect opportunity to weaken the US grip on Europe. The beauty in the current dynamic is that Russia does not have to do anything at all (nevermind anything covert or illegal) to help the anti-EU and anti-US forces in Europe: All she needs to do is to continuously hammer in the following simple message: “the US is sinking – do you really want to go down with it?”.

There are many opportunities to deliver that message. The current US/Polish efforts to prevent the EU from enjoying cheap Russian gas might well be the best example of what we could call “European suicide politics”, but there are many, many more.

Truth be told, neither the US nor the EU are a top priority for Russia, at least not in economic terms. The moral credibility of the West in general can certainly be described as dead and long gone. As for the West military might, it is only a concern to the degree that western politicians might be tempted to believe their own propaganda about their military forces being the best in the history of the galaxy. This is why Russia regularly engages in large surprise exercises: to prove to the West that the Russian military is fully ready for anything the West might try. As for the constant move of more and more US/NATO forces closer to the borders of Russia, they are offensive in political terms, but in military terms, getting closer to Russia only means that Russia will have more options to destroy you. “Forward deployment” is really a thing of the past, at least against Russia.

With time, however, and as the US federal center loses even more of its control of the country, the Kremlin might be well-advised to try to open some venues for “popular diplomacy”, especially with less hostile US states. The weakening of the Executive Branch has already resulted in US governors playing an increasingly important international role and while this is not, strictly speaking, legal (only the federal government has the right to engage in foreign policy), the fact is that this has been going on for years already.

The example of Sahra Wagenknecht is interesting, because she is from Germany, one of the countries of northern Europe; traditionally, northern European powers have been much more anti-Russian than southern Europeans, so it is encouraging to see that the anti-Putin and anti-Russia hysteria is not always being endorsed by everybody.

But if things are very slowly getting better in the EU, in the bad old US of A things are only getting worse. Even the Republicans are now fully on board the Russia-hating float (right behind a “gay pride” one I suppose) and they are now contributing their own insanity to the cause, as this article entitled “Congressional Republicans: Russia should be designated state sponsor of terror” shows (designating Russia as a terrorist state is an old idea of the Dems, by the way).

Russian options for the Fall

In truth, Russia does not have any particularly good options towards the US. Both parties are now fully united in their rabid hatred of Russia (and China too, of course). Furthermore, while there are many well-funded and virulently anti-Russian organizations in the US (Neo-cons, Papists, Poles, Masons, Ukrainians, Balts, Ashkenazi Jews, etc.), Russian organizations in the US like this one, have very little influence or even relevance.

Banderites marching in the US

Banderites marching in the US

However, as the chaos continues to worsen inside the US and as US politicians continue to alienate pretty much the entire planet, Russia does have a perfect opportunity to weaken the US grip on Europe. The beauty in the current dynamic is that Russia does not have to do anything at all (nevermind anything covert or illegal) to help the anti-EU and anti-US forces in Europe: All she needs to do is to continuously hammer in the following simple message: “the US is sinking – do you really want to go down with it?”.

There are many opportunities to deliver that message. The current US/Polish efforts to prevent the EU from enjoying cheap Russian gas might well be the best example of what we could call “European suicide politics”, but there are many, many more.

Truth be told, neither the US nor the EU are a top priority for Russia, at least not in economic terms. The moral credibility of the West in general can certainly be described as dead and long gone. As for the West military might, it is only a concern to the degree that western politicians might be tempted to believe their own propaganda about their military forces being the best in the history of the galaxy. This is why Russia regularly engages in large surprise exercises: to prove to the West that the Russian military is fully ready for anything the West might try. As for the constant move of more and more US/NATO forces closer to the borders of Russia, they are offensive in political terms, but in military terms, getting closer to Russia only means that Russia will have more options to destroy you. “Forward deployment” is really a thing of the past, at least against Russia.

With time, however, and as the US federal center loses even more of its control of the country, the Kremlin might be well-advised to try to open some venues for “popular diplomacy”, especially with less hostile US states. The weakening of the Executive Branch has already resulted in US governors playing an increasingly important international role and while this is not, strictly speaking, legal (only the federal government has the right to engage in foreign policy), the fact is that this has been going on for years already. Another possible partner inside the US for Russian firms would be US corporations (especially now that they are hurting badly). Finally, I think that the Kremlin ought to try to open channels of communication with the various small political forces in the US which are clearly not buying into the official propaganda: libertarians, (true) liberals and progressives, paleo-conservatives.

What we are witnessing before our eyes is the collapse of the US federal center. This is a dangerous and highly unstable moment in our history. But from this crisis opportunities will arise. The best thing Russia can do now is to simply remain very careful and vigilant and wait for new forces to appear on the US political scene.

Another possible partner inside the US for Russian firms would be US corporations (especially now that they are hurting badly). Finally, I think that the Kremlin ought to try to open channels of communication with the various small political forces in the US which are clearly not buying into the official propaganda: libertarians, (true) liberals and progressives, paleo-conservatives.

What we are witnessing before our eyes is the collapse of the US federal center. This is a dangerous and highly unstable moment in our history. But from this crisis opportunities will arise. The best thing Russia can do now is to simply remain very careful and vigilant and wait for new forces to appear on the US political scene.

How Nazism Came to Dominate Both of America’s Political Parties

July 26, 2020

How Nazism Came to Dominate Both of America’s Political Parties

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

The following 11-minute youtube video is a good introduction to this article:

Ukraine Crisis — What You’re Not Being Told

On July 20th, Moss Robeson headlined at TheGrayZone, “Influential DC-based Ukrainian think tank hosts neo-Nazi activist convicted for racist violence”, and he reported the inescapably visible tip of America’s iceberg of pro-nazi policies regarding Ukraine. Ukraine is a country which during World War II was torn between supporters of Hitler versus supporters of Stalin, and which became non-aligned after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, but which U.S. President Barack Obama conquered in a brutal February 2014 coup (called by some “the most blatant coup in history”), which coup turned Ukraine’s Government into the world’s most-far-rightwing, and even sometimes overtly pro-Hitler, anti-Russian, nationalistic White-Power regime. It’s far more anti-Russian than anti-Jewish, but it is both. Obama did this so as to bring into NATO the country that has the longest European border (1,625 miles) with Russia, and which would thus be the best place from which to launch nuclear missiles against major Russian cities including Moscow. Ukraine as the main launching-pad for an invasion of Russia had been only a wet dream for NATO planners until Obama came into the White House, but even as early as June of 2013 Obama was already quietly advertising for bids on what then was a school in Crimea, in order to modify it to serve as part of his planned new U.S. naval base there replacing Russia’s biggest naval base, which Russian naval base has been there, in Crimea, ever since 1783. Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, enabled Crimea’s residents to block that part of Obama’s plan for Ukraine.

Adolf Hitler hated Slavs, including Russians, almost as much as he hated Jews; and, though Ukraine’s racist fascists — or ideological nazis — hate Russians even more than they hate Jews, America’s adoption of Ukraine’s nazis (racist fascists) and placing them into power, was a crucial turning-point in international affairs toward racist fascism. It is the authentic chief source of the hard-right turn, not only in the United States, but in many European countries. Until recently, nazism was far outside the mainstream, throughout the post-WW-II world. Clearly, now, that is no longer the case, and what Obama did to Ukraine is the main reason why (as will be explained here).

In post-coup Ukraine, children are being taught on the basis of the White-Power ideology, and, in the resisting regions — the regions that reject the coup — are mercilessly slaughtered (and the more graphic videos have been removed by youtube, and similarly for videos of adults being systematically murdered by Ukraine’s nazis). The post-coup Ukraine aims to get rid of its ethnic-Russian population.

Ukraine is the global beach-head for nazism, and even has two nazi Parties, one called “Right Sector,” and the other called “Freedom” (which got renamed that by the CIA from its original “Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine,” so as to be more acceptable to Americans and the EU). Both are even more anti-Russian than anti-Semitic.

The way America’s fake-‘progressive’, Democratic-Party billionaires-controlled, press, deals with the Democratic Party’s own “first Black President” Barack Obama (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his deceptive rhetoric) having done this — actually having stoked now racism throughout the world, targeted particularly against Russians — is to focus on the Democratic Party media’s distractionist theme of inter-ethnic, inter-religious, racist and other divisive American conflicts, as if this nazi problem’s overflowing now in Ukraine is not driven instead by geostrategic and imperialistic concerns in specifically U.S. policymaking, driven actually by America’s billionaires’ craving an all-encompassing global conquest, including conquest ultimately of Russia, which will be the last since it is the only other nuclear superpower. For example, the fake-‘progressive’ The Nation magazine, on 22 February 2019, headlined “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine”, and focused on this far-right outpouring in Ukraine as being due to anti-Semitism, and to “pogroms against the Roma and LGBT,” as if Obama had cared about those groups. The chief obsession of Ukraine’s far-right has instead been anti-Russian, for at least a century, and that’s the actual fuel on which Obama was firing-up his coup in Ukraine: he was targeting against Russians, and not against Jews nor those other groups. By contrast, this article buried the anti-Russia issue, such as by saying, “A 2017 law mandated that secondary education be conducted strictly in Ukrainian, which infuriated Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece. Several regions passed legislation banning the use of Russian in public life. Quotas enforce Ukrainian usage on TV and radio.” The one and only real target in Obama’s Ukraine is only Russia. The deception that’s practiced by America’s Democratic Party billionaires upon America’s left is probably even more insidious than is the deception that’s practiced by America’s Republican Party billionaires upon America’s right (“God, Mother, Country”). Deception of any person is mental coercion against that person, and such dishonesty is an especially highly skilled art for ‘leftist’ billionaires, because right-wing followers are unashamedly against the poor and minorities and anyone who is weak in the particular society. So, for example, in the present case: the people who were being herded into Odessa’s Trade Unions Building and burnt alive for printing and distributing anti-coup literature, on 2 May 2014, weren’t “Jews” or “Roma,” or “LGBT,” but instead just Ukrainians who were favorable toward Russia. Ukraine’s chief bigotry, under the Obama-imposed regime, is anti-Russian, not anti-Jewish, and any honest news-medium acknowledges this fact, instead of trying to deceive to hide it.

In Twentieth-Century U.S. history, the Republican Party was generally more right-wing than the Democratic Party; and, consequently, Obama’s moving the Democratic Party in the pro-nazi direction was an outright gift to Republicans, whose leading politicians were just as enthusiastic about the regime-change in Ukraine as the Democratic Party’s leadership was — and still is.

The irony here is that America’s biggest assaults against Russia have now come not during the Cold War, when there was an authentic ideological difference (communism versus capitalism), but instead after Russia, in 1991, ended the Cold War on its side (while the U.S. secretly has continued it on the U.S. side, in a craving for global conquest).

The classic article about the radicalism of Obama’s turn to nazism regarding Ukraine was written by an American who lived through these events in Ukraine while they were happening, George Eliason, who headlined, on 16 March 2014, just the first part of his four-part article, “The Nazi’s even Hitler was Afraid of”, and he subsequently posted the complete article here, where it can be read without those needless interruptions. He lives in Ukraine’s breakaway Donbass region, which Obama’s forces were bombing, and which Trump’s continue (though less) bombing, even today. Eliason reported honestly (not like The Nation, etc.). What Obama did to Ukraine was very geostrategic, and the changes in Ukraine were driven by U.S. billionaires, even more than by Ukrainian ones. Interpreting Ukraine’s current nazism as being directed mainly against Jews like Hitler’s German version was is profoundly misrepresenting.

Obama — with the help of both of America’s billionaire-controlled political Parties, and all of America’s billionaire-controlled or “mainstream” ‘news’-media — succeeded in transforming U.S. public opinion toward Russia, from neutral prior to his Ukrainian coup, to strongly negative immediately after it:

Gallup Poll. Feb. 3-16, 2020. N=1,028 adults nationwide. Margin of error ± 4.
“Next, I’d like your overall opinion of some foreign countries. … What is your overall opinion of Russia? Is it very favorable, mostly favorable, mostly unfavorable, or very unfavorable?”
FavorableUnfavorableNo opinion
%%%
2/3-16/2028721
2/1-10/1924733
2/1-10/1825722
2/1-5/1728702
2/3-7/1630655
2/8-11/1524706
2/6-9/1434606
2/7-10/1344507
2/2-5/1250446
2/2-5/1151427
2/1-3/1047457

Furthermore, during Obama’s first term, 2009-2012, he employed great cunning in order to portray himself as being supportive of a “reset in Russian-American relations,” and this lie (that he was intending to improve instead of to worsen U.S.-Russian relations) was one of the reasons he won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, but actually, when he entered office in 2009, he was already starting to plan regime-change not only in Ukraine but also in Syria (if not also in Libya) — two countries whose leaders were on cordial terms with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obama was able to string Vladimir Putin along until 2012 to hope that Obama’s ‘reset with Russia’ wasn’t merely a ploy. On 26 March 2012, Obama informed Dmitry Medvedev to tell Putin that “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him [the incoming President Putin] to give me space. This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” However, it was all a lie. His intention was the opposite. The fact is that, already, Obama was actually planning, even as early as 2011, to overthrow the neutralist Government right next door to Russia, in Ukraine, and to replace it with a rabidly anti-Russian regime on Russia’s doorstep, which he was planning to bring into NATO even though only around 30% of Ukrainians wanted Ukraine to join NATO. But Putin had no way of knowing that Obama was planning this. And immediately after Obama’s February 2014 coup in Ukraine, around 60% of Ukrainians suddenly wanted Ukraine to join NATO. (That’s because the newly installed Obama regime propagandized hatred against Russia, which is NATO’s specialty.) People felt that if even such a ‘peacemaker’ as Obama wasn’t ‘able’ to establish constructive relations with Putin, then there had to be something very wrong with Putin.

Obama’s 2012 campaign against Mitt Romney featured prominently this trap for Romney, and he fell right into it. On 16 May 2016, I headlined “Who Is the More Vicious Liar: Trump, or Obama?” and I described there the exquisite deception that Obama had practiced against Romney and also against Putin — and against the American public — regarding U.S.-Russian relations, and Obama’s brilliant use and exploitation of the hopes by each one of those three entities in order to win the Presidency and defeat not only Romney but also Putin, and especially Obama’s own Democratic Party voters.

That deception has largely shaped today’s political world, throughout the world. Barack Obama was like the mythical snake in Genesis 3.

On June 30th, TheGrayZone bannered “US claim of ‘Russian Bounty’ plot in Afghanistan is dubious and dangerous” and their Max Blumenthal put it well: “The constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base is moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War.” It allows the Republican Party to move even farther toward the right. It moves the political center to the right. Obama was the key figure in this ominous development, which is politically poisoning the entire world. He was an international war-criminal in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and more, and should be executed for it (as should both Bush and Trump). (That’s executed, after appropriate legal process, not assassinated, which is horrible and produces martyrs instead of lawfully condemned villains.) But his toxic legacy on global politics is even more dangerous than those smaller catastrophes he participated in causing (and for which he deserves to be executed). He was exceedingly ambitious and achieved a lot, of disaster and far worse.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE MADE BET AND LOST. OVERTURES TO WEST UNDERMINED PATRIARCHY POSITIONS IN EAST

Source

Patriarch Of Constantinople Made Bet And Lost. Overtures To West Undermined Patriarchy Positions In East
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I leads the service during the Epiphany Day ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, 06 January 2020. Greek Orthodox swimmers take part in an annual race to retrieve a wooden crucifix thrown into the Bosphorus waters at the Golden Horn. EPA-EFE/ERDEM SAHIN

On July 24, the Hagia Sophia will be open for prayer following the decree of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan turning this world heritage site and a symbolic christian site into a msoque. For a long time, the Erdogan government has been working to convert Turkey into a leading state in the Islamic world and soldify its influence in the territory of the collapsed Ottoman Empire. Therefore, the turning of Hagia Sophia into a mosque was a logical step from the Turkish leadership. In the event of the success of Turkish foreign policy adventures, the mosque will become a symbol of Erdogan’s Turkey.

Despite the international criticism, the move of the Erdogan government will not face any real resistance or punishing from other influential palyers. Regardless positions of the sides, this decision in fact did not really impact or threaten interests of any other regional or global power. In this case, the main affected side is the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople. Hagia Sophia was the patriarchal cathedral until 1453. Currently, the patriarchal cathedral is St. George’s Cathedral, but until recently the patriarchy was able to pretend that it has a kind of influence on the situatino with Hagia Sophia as an important symbol of the Christian World. These claims were broken by the reality.

Furthermore, more and more voices adress concerns that political gaimes of Bartholomew I of Constantinople undermined the unity of the Orthodox community and led not only to destructive developments in eastern Europe, but also set conditions in which local Orthodox Churches were split and had no voice in the Hagia Sophia question. In previous years, Bartholomew I became a useful servant of the United States and provider of its policy in countries with strong Orthodox communities. Actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople allowed the global elites to undermine the values of conservative societies of eastern Europe and set up pseudo-church organizations supporting the neo-liberal, globalist world order. These actions were especially clear in such countries as Montenegro and Ukraine and created a deep rift between the patriarchy and local churches that opposed such actions, including the Russian Orthodox Church.

In turn, Bartholomew I apparently believed that the United States will contribute efforts to keep him in power and allow the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople to expand its influence creating a kind of ‘Orthodox Papism’. This did not happen. On top of this, the position of the United States in the Middle East was recently weakened by both years of the back-and-forth diplomacy of previous administrations and the unwillingness of the current administration led by President Donald Trump to participate in conflicts and invest in regions where he sees no clear revenue for his country. Thus, the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople found itself without support from its main backer. As to the US Democratic Party and its presidential candidate Joe Biden, their public commitment to neo-liberal values is strong as it has never been. So, if Bartholomew I wants to rely on this very faction in the US elites, he will need to demonstrate his own commitment to this anti-coonservative, pro-minotiries, pro-LGBTQ stance. Thus, he will undermine the position of Constantinople among the more traditionalist part of the Orthodox World and further. This will likely lead to the situation when conservative Orthodox societies will have no other option but strengthen their ties with the Russian Orthodox Church, which is in the open conflict with Constantinople.

Bartholomew I made bet and lost, but his actions made a real damage to the Orthodox World. It may take years before negative consequences of his actionswill be fully removed.

News flash: Capitalism has no answer for 50 million jobless people

Source

July 11, 2020

News flash: Capitalism has no answer for 50 million jobless people

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Oh – did you have one?

Well… we’re waiting.

But we will certainly be waiting in vain because the “best” US economic minds, journalists, professors and pundits got nuthin’. Even God’s gift to American society – CEOs and bankers – are hoping nobody calls on them for an answer.

This is an era of not just total economic disaster in the US but also an era of complete intellectual disaster. The chicken’s head has been cut off, yet the body (the American system/ideology, which is undoubtedly based upon capitalism-imperialism) still runs around.

I’ll skip to the end: whatever solution they come up with WILL DEFINITELY be some form of socialist-inspired policy… but the US will, true to form, remain totally untruthful about obvious truths (and thus mired in societal chaos).

The only solution to 50 million unemployed people is the redistribution of wealth downwards (first pillar of socialism) and the redistribution of political power downwards (second pillar of socialism); the latter is achieved via creating governmental institutions – staffed from all levels and sectors of society but especially at the upper management level – which establish the bureaucracy required to actually implement and sustain said redistributions intelligently, efficiently and in an egalitarian manner.

Those aren’t opinions but facts. Capitalists not having any solutions is another fact and not an opinion. These truths are so self-evident that I don’t even feel like arguing about it, so let’s argue about something else.

Why is the US talking about banning the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians but not the Minnesota Vikings or the Notre Dame Fighting Irish? It’s ok to have ethnic mascots, as long as that ethnicity has white-coloured skin? Seems rather inegalitarian to me, and bound to backfire into resentment and nihilism. And surely some sensitive hillbillies object to the Indiana Hoosiers, while the New York Mets (Metropolitans) clearly venerates urban citizens to an unfair degree. On this subject I constantly read the anti-non-White-mascot view, but nobody seems to analyse the intellectual weakness of their argument from a leftist point of view, and the reason for that is: the US economic and intellectual 1% sure as heck don’t want to talk about their total inability to deal with serious stuff, so they thrilled to talk instead about Cleveland’s smiling Chief Wahoo.

Easy solution: don’t decrease the number of “people” mascots but increase them. As an Iranian I’d love to see the Boston “Baluch” take the field, any field. Even a rink. After all, the Baluch are an ethnic tribe in the southeast who are certainly as tough as any Metropolitan. Truly, this is a socialist-inspired solution: venerate and protect ethnic identities equally one and all, and that’s why Armenians, Jews, Assyrians and Zoroastrians have guaranteed seats in Iranian parliament and affirmative action for the non-Han is all over China. The inequality of this latest identity politics battle is obvious to every American and only increases everyone’s stress level, but the only solution remains either to ban all ethnic mascots or make every ethnic tribe a mascot. Isn’t the latter more interesting and informative – had you ever even head of the Baluch until today? Both me and the kids would much rather see and could possibly learn a lot about Maoris, Zulus & Fighting Bretons than lame cardinals, dolphins and other totally unintimidating mascots (I’m looking at you, Utah Jazz).

What a nice, useless and rather immature diversion that was! Unfortunately for the US 1% I have solved this fake problem, so back to awful July 2020 reality:

France’s new prime minister/Macronian puppet has ruled out a second lockdown even if there is a second wave, saying that the economic and social cost was just too much. If you wouldn’t try something again, doesn’t that mean you rather wish you had never tried it at all? Europe’s economic chaos won’t become clear until they come back from vacation in September and things get back to “normal” – that will be the “economic 2nd wave” for the Western bloc, while the US part of that bloc is taking all their economic lumps in their still-ongoing first wave. Medically, the incredibly overweight, overstressed and governmentally-neglected US is also, predictably, having a longer first wave of Covid-19 than anyone else.

Cases are currently increasing in the entire southern half of the US, but deaths are not. This seems rather important, no? Check the chronometer – it is not April anymore: deaths are about 60% of what they were back then, proving times do change even if hysterical people do not. Check also those spring predictions: the Imperial College of London promised 100,000 deaths in non-Lockdown Sweden by June, but today there are only 5,500; incredibly, we still have London’s Daily Telegraph still quoting that discredited model as late on July 5th as though it was gospel. I would think that these realities – which are not “callous” but actually quite good news – should at least get a bit of discussion, but if you bring it up be prepared to have a single mother throw her shoe at you. Said Karens apparently have total confidence that the US can keep locking down into 2021 and that 75 million unemployed is no problem for the superbly-functioning US system?

Sure….

Again, the problem is that rabidly capitalist places like the US and UK have dismantled/never built the culture & bureaucracy needed to employ a nationwide lockdown – as I have said from the beginning: make the switch to socialism in economics and democracy and you can Lockdown all you want!

What’s that? I’m beating my head against the wall so it’s time for another diversion? Agreed: How about the Confederate flag controversy?

Here’s the thing: No Western nation, no matter how imperialist or fascist, has been asked to give up entirely the symbols of their past. Nobody is tearing down de Gaulle statues even though he was an imperialist who immediately bombed places like the Levant and Algeria after said peoples died en masse to save France from Germany. But the US South is being asked to entirely relinquish their past, and that’s just never going to fly because it’s unparalleled: it’s like asking Mongolia to give up Genghis Khan, whose success mainly rested not so much on fine horsemanship but upon his willingness to murder women and children en masse, and yet they built him the world’s biggest equestrian statue. No matter how big a Non-Mongolian Lives Matter movement gets – that’s not coming down.

While brutality and oppression did exist in 1864 the ideology of fascism simply did not, no matter how loudly a teenager incorrectly insists. The Confederate flag needs a socialist solution which respects the Southern US ethnic minority (which is exactly what they are), because eradicating the historic rebelliousness of the Confederate rebels will never be accepted by them.

It’s quite simple: just add a small Christian cross to differentiate to differentiate this new flag from the previous Confederate flag. Or add a huge cross and color it black to give slavery even more prominence – that gives the rare Black Cross of Texas flag. Christianity unites Southern Whites and Blacks, after all. This also shows that the Confederate flag is not the same as before and has been given a moral updating – that’s progress, not eradication from history, and furthers the goal of modern patriotic unity. Furthermore, from a socialist point of view there simply MUST be a way to separate White Southerners from slavery – poor whites were powerless class victims, of course – because castigating all Southern Whites is patently unfair and obviously fake-leftist identity politics. Of course, denying the primacy of class and claiming instead that skin color/ethnicity is more important is what capitalist-imperialists always do.

Another diversion and faux problem capably solved with a bit of socialist unity and modernity! Well, I admit that adding a Christian cross is a rather Islamic Socialist solution and not an Atheistic Socialist one, but to hell with them.

Ok, capitalism does indeed have a solution to 50 million jobless – massive domestic suffering combined with massive foreign deaths. Let’s examine the latter:

Can we crank up the war machine? Sorry, the US has too many allies now – Germany and Japan are part of a Western bloc that is totally governed by a colluding bankocracy and 1% which is totally united against their socialist-inspired enemies; but those enemies (China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela) have become too strong to fight; they couldn’t beat the Muslims, Vietnamese or Koreans, so they’re no longer candidates for opponents; who in Black Lives Matter will agree to be drafted to go fight some new, fabricated opponent in Africa? Anyway, the Pentagon is already the world’s biggest employer, so you mean crank it up even more? Thus, there is no militaristic solution – no WWIII for their Great Depression II.

Now let’s examine the former:

Can we take any more lands from Indians? Sorry – frontier done run out.

Can we steal any Black people’s wages? Sorry – that’s no longer a thing.

Can we debt enslave the average White Trash? Sorry – they are paying back their credit card debt at record rates, they are so scared about the future.

No, there is no capitalist solution to 50 million unemployed people. The true capitalist solution is massive suffering until things get so very, very bad that said things have no choice but to start to work out again, finally (i.e., following unregulated market forces).

There is, however, the old standby: “socialise the losses of the rich but keep calling it capitalism”. This worked out great for the 1% in 2008 and it’s working out just fine now… but it ain’t capitalism, and you are 1) dumber than a box of rocks, 2) fanatically indoctrinated to hate socialism, or 3) can’t be bothered to learn basic political definitions if you think that bailing out the 1% with taxpayer money/newly-printed money is somehow still capitalism.

But do a Google news search: even though socialism is the only economic and political ideology which can provide a solution to 50 million jobless people there are painfully few news articles discussing socialism, with the majority of them frantically warning against it. You can’t only blame Google’s anti-socialist algorithms for that.

You see now why this article was half stupid diversions? That’s the way America likes it… or, rather, that is what they are forced to like.

I originally planned to have this article’s headline to be, “Hey dummy: Capitalism has no answer for 50 million jobless people”. For those who still have faith that capitalism does have an answer – let’s just end it here.

*********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

– March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? –

March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30,

2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20,

2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,

2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020

Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020

‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021

The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately – May 25, 2021

August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin – May 28, 2021

Corona proving the loser of the Cold War was both the USSR & the USA – May 30, 2021

Rebellions across the US: Why worry? Just ask Dr. Fauci to tell us what to do – June 2, 2021

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos – June 3, 2021

Why do Westerners assume all African-Americans are leftists? – June 5, 2020

The US as Sal’s Pizzeria: When to ‘Do The Right Thing’ is looting – June 6, 2020

The problem with the various ‘Fiat is all the problem!’ (FIATP) crowds – June 9, 2020

Politicisation of Great Lockdown result of ‘TINA’ economic ignorance & censorship – June 14, 2020

Trump’s only hope: buying re-election with populist jobless benefits – June, 16 2020

US national media is useless – so tell me the good local news sources? – July 4, 2020

Hamilton movie: central banker worship & proof the US has no left – July 8, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

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