Tulsi Gabbard’s ditches the Dem party in an open video address

October 12, 2022

A few comments first.  For starters, I lost any trust I might have had for Tulsi Gabbard when she endorsed that ultra-fake liberal Bernie Sanders.  Second, I have taken the decision not to comment on US internal politics on this blog, but in this case I think that rather than seeing Gabbard’s video as an internal US politics phenomenon, I see it as a sign of the amazing state of decay of the USA as a nation: when a (supposed) left liberal takes on the talking points of (supposed) conservatives, something major is happening, especially when you have a (supposed) liberal President in the White House.  Finally, Gabbard is way, waaaaaaaay too smart not to see that the Dem Party is a political Titanic and no matter how loud the “propaganda orchestra” plays, that ship is sinking very, very fast.  Time to leave it!

One more thing: I am willing to bet that Gabbard is planning to run for President in 2024 and considering the freak show on the Dem party side, her real opponent will be either Trump or Desantis.  But look at her talking points – they are conservative through and through, which means that her running can takes votes away from the GOP candidates.  Thus it is possible that while ostentatiously breaking away from the Dem party and the freaks running it, she will end up taking just enough votes on the right to give the victory to the Neocons running the Dem party (the GOP is also run by Neocons known as RINOs – Republican In Name Only).

These are just possibilities, and only time will show if Gabbard has had a real change of heart.  She did not apologize for being a loyal Sanders/Biden supporter, but at least she did accurately describe the Dem party for what it is: an profoundly evil gang of freaks run by warmongering, racist, Neocon puppeteers.

Again, I am not interested in internal US politics which I describe as a useless fistfight between pilots for the control of a flight deck in an aircraft with no engines or even wings!  However, the fact that the pilots are fighting shows that they realize that their situation is desperate.  Can you recall another instance of a well-known politicians slamming the door on his/her party while that party controls both Congress and the White House?

Please think about this while listening to Tulsi Gabbard.  And yes, it would be wonderful if she was for real.  I have my (big) doubts but there is plenty of time before 2024 to get a better feel for what this is all about.

Andrei

US Senator Sanders Calls for Troop Withdrawal from Saudi Arabia, End of Selling Weapons

October 8, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Independent US Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has called for the withdrawal of American troops from Saudi Arabia and an end to military aid to the conservative kingdom for lowering oil production.

“If Saudi Arabia, one of the worst violators of human rights in the world, wants to partner with Russia to jack up US gas prices, it can get Putin to defend its monarchy,” the Vermont senator tweeted Friday after the OPEC+ bloc announced a cut in daily oil production.

“We must pull all US troops out of Saudi Arabia, stop selling them weapons & end its price-fixing oil cartel,” he added.

In August, the United States approved massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates worth more than $5 billion, amid criticism of their ongoing military aggression in Yemen which has inflicted heavy civilian casualties.

The State Department said Saudi Arabia would buy 300 Patriot MIM-104E missile systems and related equipment for an estimated $3.05 billion. The missile systems can be used to shoot down long-range incoming ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as fighter jets.

Separately, the United States will sell Terminal High Altitude Area Defense [THAAD] System Missiles and related equipment to the UAE for $2.25 billion.

Saudi Arabia and other members of OPEC-PLUS, which groups up the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia, announced this week it would cut oil production to prop up falling prices.

“Saudi Arabia’s crown prince ordered the murder of a Washington Post columnist with a bone saw. Its disastrous war in Yemen has led to the deaths of 377,000 people and a humanitarian crisis. It’s now siding with Russia to damage our economy. Our support for Saudi Arabia must end,” Sanders tweeted on Friday.

Sanders also expressed similar feelings on Wednesday when he said the US “must end OPEC’s illegal price-fixing cartel, eliminate military assistance to Saudi Arabia, and move aggressively to renewable energy.”

The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act of 2021, or the NOPEC bill prohibits a foreign state from engaging in collective action impacting the market.

The NOPEC bill allows the US Attorney General to sue companies such as Saudi Aramco in federal court. 

In a related move, a group of lawmakers has introduced a new bill that aims to end the US’ military support to Saudi Arabia.

House Representatives Tom Malinowski, Sean Casten and Susan Wild launched the motion on Wednesday.

“We see no reason why American troops and contractors should continue to provide this service to countries that are actively working against us,” they said.

Several congressional Democrats have had similar remarks on the announcement, which is poised to counter sanctions on Russian oil and potentially drive up gas prices ahead of the midterm US elections.

US Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer rebuked Saudi Arabia. The senior Democratic senator from New York threatened Saudi Arabia, saying Riyadh will pay the price for what he called its “deeply cynical action” of supporting a 2 million-barrel cut in oil supplies, which will put more pressure on the American economy.

 “What Saudi Arabia did to help Putin continue to wage his despicable, vicious war against Ukraine will long be remembered by Americans. We are looking at all the legislative tools to best deal with this appalling and deeply cynical action, including the NOPEC bill,” Schumer tweeted on Friday.

Legislation introduced in the House by Representatives Sean Casten [D-Ill.], Tom Malinowski [D-N.J.] and Susan Wild [D-Pa.] would remove American troops and military hardware from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The number two Democrat in the Senate, Senator Dick Durbin, also demanded the passage of the legislation this week, and voiced support for a broader reevaluation of the Washington-Riyadh relationship, specifically seeking “unanswered questions” about the role of the Saudi state in the 9/11 attacks.

“The Saudi royal family has never been a trustworthy ally of our nation,” Durbin said Thursday. “It’s time for our foreign policy to imagine a world without this alliance with these royal backstabbers.”

Families of victims of the attacks have for years pushed the US government to declassify and make public more information about 9/11, which was a series of strikes that killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage in the United States.

US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts and independent researchers have raised questions about the official account.

They believe that rogue elements within the US government, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, orchestrated or at least encouraged the 9/11 attacks in order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda.

Certain documents related to the FBI’s investigation of 9/11 reportedly contain evidence of Saudi involvement in the strikes.

Successive US administrations have refused to release the classified documents because they reportedly could expose a potential link between Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 attacks. Fifteen out of 19 alleged 9/11 attackers were Saudi nationals.

Several US senators and House lawmakers have been calling for the disclosure of 28 pages that purportedly contain evidence of Saudi involvement in financing and backing the alleged 9/11 hijackers. The pages were extracted from a 2002 Congressional inquiry into the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Yellow Vest Win: Proving that Western Liberal Democracy is the same old autocracy

June 27, 2022

Ramin Mazaheri 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.

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri

If we say that the Yellow Vests are not socialist revolutionaries even latently, then what are they protesting about?

To put it the most simply: they are protesting the end of European Social Democracy, with the limited protections it provided.

(This is the seventeenth chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best ValuesPlease click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

The Yellow Vests intuited that the pan-European project has ended the era of European Social Democracy (1945-75) and replaced it with elite-driven, free market, winner-take-all Liberalism.

Seeing that their list of 43 demands doesn’t include the word “Europe” once, however, the Yellow Vests don’t really grasp that the European Union represents the organisational assassin of European Social Democracy. The European Union and Eurozone’s response to the Great Recession made it entirely clear: these are institutions which are perfectly hostile to Social Democracy’s minor redistributions and protections which fundamentally embolden the average worker and citizen.

Social Democracy was not born after World War II, just as “neoliberalism” was first on display back in 1871, with what was imposed after the destruction of the Paris Commune. Marx chronicled the birth of European Social Democracy, in 1848, when the Mountain Party (which initially claimed the mantle of neo-Jacobinism) sided with the small-traders in the June Days massacre instead of with the urban proletariat and rural peasantry, as the Jacobins had done in 1789. They went from supporting Socialist Democracy to calling themselves Democratic Socialists (Démocrate-socialistes) and this – and not the downward slope from Napoleon Bonaparte to Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte – should be considered the truest essence of Marx’s famous line of history repeating itself as farce.

“The revolutionary point was thereby broken off from the social demands of the proletariat and a (social) democrat turn given to them….”

That was the birth of Social Democracy: an ideology where the social demands of the recently-feudal masses (decent pay, health care, education, pensions, etc.) get only partially addressed while the political demands of an aristocracy opposing an absolute monarch (free speech, property rights, trial by jury, etc.) are fully met. Liberalism has always sought to limit progressive changes to the political question of how to move on from feudalism, and to stop progressive changes to the social question of how to move on from feudalism. The reformist ideology of Social Democracy has operated within Western Liberal Democracy for nearly 175 years and only partially prevailed for 30 of them.

The sooner the Yellow Vests realise that Social Democracy will never be a harmonious solution to the elitism dominant in Liberalism, the better, as Marx did:

“The peculiar character of Social Democracy is epitomised in the fact that democratic-republican institutions are demanded as the means, not to remove the two extremes – capital and wage-slavery – but in order to weaken the antagonism and transform them into a harmonious whole.”

Putting capital primarily in the hands of the recently-feudal masses so they can provide the broad economic stability and success which would end wage- and debt-slavery has never been a goal of Social Democracy, from the Mountain Party to Leon Blum to Francois Mitterrand to Francois Hollande to the “Democratic Socialists of America” led by Bernie Sanders in the 21st century United States.

Yellow Vest: “We are not beggars! What is 100 euros only given one time? State taxes compose 60% of the price of gasoline, so calling it 100 euros is totally false – the people truly only receive 40 euros. This is election nonsense, but Macron won’t win votes with these crumbs.”

Marx continued in his examination of France and gave us the key to the capitalist culture of both Liberal and Social Democracies: “This substance is the transformation of society along (Social) democratic lines, but a transformation within the boundaries of the small-trader’s class.” One extraneous sentence later: “It believes rather that the special conditions for its own emancipation are the general conditions under which alone modern society can be saved and the class struggle be avoided.”

Trotsky and the Yellow Vests saw that, due to the rise of financial capitalism, a leftist alliance must include the small businessman, but they reject the goal of Social Democracy to elevate their virtues and needs over those of the average worker and citizen.

Thus even when Social Democracy prevails in Liberalist capitalist cultures the virtues of the usually bourgeois-aspiring, individualistic, managerial small-trader class become the highest virtues to be promoted. Everyone must be a self-interested, competitive entrepreneur who aspires to be a boss and a “job creator”. This veneration of the small trader is the most obvious in American culture, and it is American culture which has been imposed on France via the pan-European project: at the alleged “end of history”, with the fall of the USSR, the United States shepherded the pan-European project, which is rightly said to be even more Liberalist (i.e. Bankocratic) than anything which could be created in the United States.

What we see in the modern era, and as this book proves, is that Liberalism, Social Democracy and Fascism have all joined together and “become bourgeois”. This amalgam of 18th century Liberalism, 19th century Social Democracy and 20th century fascism is ultimately not different from the aristocracy of the 17th century and earlier, which which ruled the 99% in an entirely autocratic manner. The extremely modest expansion of wealth and political power from a blood/marriage line to a line of the super-wealthy 1% still results in the exclusion of the recently-feudal masses from policy making, and this is what the Yellow Vests emphatically reminded. Their primary demand was not Socialist revolution but merely to get more public opinion into public policymaking.

The bourgeois bloc continually dangles Social Democracy as a reformist possibility, and thus they secure the loyalty of both the big and the small bosses and owners. However, when the moment of implementation comes, amid the next guaranteed bust in Liberalist capitalism, the response is the anti-Socialist virulence of Liberalism via the ruthless elite domination of a Fascism which has made peace with big capital.

Yellow Vest: “Macron’s repeatedly evaded the main problems. His solutions are not concrete, and it is certain that in a few months we will just be in the same situation. This is why we will keep protesting, for certain.”

Baudelaire wrote, “The most beautiful trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist,” and this is what modern Western Liberal Democracy has done with the elitism, arrogance and autocracy which is the basis of absolute monarchy. Macron’s “Jupiterian” remove has pulled the sheet off of Western Liberal Democracy, again, and reminded that the idea of an autocratic ruler remains the preference of a Western elite which has always been totally opposed to Socialist-inspired measures.

The republican lie of Liberalism

When Western leaders communicate among themselves and with their foreign counterparts they use the language of Liberalism; when they implement policy they use the ruthlessness of Fascism; but when they communicate with the masses they know that republican language is paramount.When Western leaders communicate among themselves and with their foreign counterparts they use the language of Liberalism; when they implement policy they use the ruthlessness of Fascism; but when they communicate with the masses they know that republican language is paramount.

This is especially true in France and the United States, where royalism has been fully discredited from holding public power. Thus, there is a constant emphasis by contemporary French leaders and their mainstream media on maintaining “republican” values.

However, the republicanism of both is an antiquated one as it is based on Liberal and not Socialist Democracy. A perfect example of the inadequacy of their elite-led republicanism is found in the Orwellian name of the group which wages the actual physical repression of the Yellow Vests: the detested CRS riot police (Compagnies républicaines de sécurité – Republican Security Companies.) A woman wearing a full-body bathing suit – a “burkini” (combination of “burqa” and “bikini”) is breathlessly presented as a bigger threat to French republicanism than the repression of the Yellow Vests. Most obviously, there is the mainstream conservative party’s name change shepherded by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2015 – from L’Union pour un mouvement populaire (UMP) to les Républicains: the party had so many corruption scandals that a rebranding was deemed unavoidable.

Such is the false republicanism in Liberal Democracies.

The lip service towards republicanism allows the perpetuation of the outdated notion in France that the world still views them as the brightest beacon of progressive politics. They are different than almost all of Northern Europe, where royals still – bewilderingly – remain on thrones which hide mountains of the public’s rightful riches and influence. Indeed, an Iranian can find in France a refuge from the common Western toleration and whitewashing of monarchism.

The elite in the United States uses “freedom”, while monarchies like the UK use “human rights” in the same way – to insist that freedom and human rights for their modern aristocracies still represents the pinnacle of progressivism.

The legacy of 1789 exists in France today only in this constant demand to uphold “republicanism”, even if it is not at all the spirit of 1789 and only mouths its forms. The Yellow Vest repression will remind all of history that the freedoms offered by the republicanism of Western Liberal Democracy with French characteristics are a fantasy – there is only the autocracy of the bourgeois bloc.

France’s 21st century belief that “the republic” must jingoistically unite the French is ultimately a means used to falsely claim the legacy of 1789 while also ensuring that talk for progressive politics ends with this very initial answer to the “political question”, and with no answer to the “social question”, as well.

This also explains why there is so much forced discussion in France about what a huge threat Islam poses to this immoral republicanism: Islam correctly insists on God and morality being the highest allegiance, and certainly not laws forced through by a Fascist-allying, imperialist bourgeois bloc.

Nothing is more Liberalist than the European Union, and thus the ‘Social Fascist’ repression of anti-austerity movements and the Yellow Vests

We have already linked the European Union with the birth of neoliberalism and neo-imperialism, we have established how Fascism was subsumed and its tactics adopted, and we have shown how the goal of the third restoration of Western Liberalism is to roll back the modest gains of Social Democracy.

All that’s needed is to show how Western Liberal Democracy wields the power of the state as autocratically as royal families and their coteries used to – for this we simply have to look to the Yellow Vests.

Western Liberal Democracy and pre-1789 autocracy – there is no real difference.

Whether the form is a parliamentary republic based on Liberalism, or an executive-led republic based on Liberalism, or a constitutional monarchy based on Liberalism – the autocracy has been the same. Only the truly elite have the money to buy Liberalist rights and influence in public policy.

Yellow Vest: “As usual, no prison for the rich – everything goes fine for them, always. They never know hunger or poverty, but put everything on the average person’s back. Benalla should have been treated like anyone else – justice should be equal for everyone.”

Just as the trends of 250 years of Iranian or Chinese history can be summarised so too can the trend of the past 250 years of French and Western history, and this book has aimed to do that. Above all the trend of moving away from an autocratic monarch and towards an empowered people’s republic is discerned. The problem has been Western Liberal Democracy’s conception of a republic: what they have always had is an oligarchic republic, inspired by the English, which aims for perpetual repression of the recently-feudal (to Asian conceptions of time!) Western masses.

The early years of all revolutionary republics are always fraught with missteps and mistakes, but made with the sincere goal of broad societal progress. In 1789 the move away from absolute monarchy was met with great difficulty and international opposition. In 1848 the move away from a limited monarchy was met with great difficulty, also caused by great inexperience. In 1871 the move towards a social republic was met with great difficulty and international opposition, also caused by great inexperience. But inexperience is not the primary difficulty of the people today – they know how to rule, but they still face great international opposition. As Marx wrote:

“The cry of ‘social republic’ with which the February Revolution (of 1848) was ushered in by the Paris proletariat, did but express a vague aspiration after a republic that was not only to supersede the monarchical form of class rule but class rule itself. The Commune (i.e. the first appearance of Socialist Democracy) was the positive form of that republic.”

However, the social republic was annihilated by neoliberalism and would not appear until 1917 in the eastern frontier of Europe – Russia.

The Yellow Vests reminded those in the 21st century who believe that the “end of history” had occurred in 1991 that the people’s desires for a social republic are no longer vague. However the Yellow Vests have had the misfortune of living in the world’s only region – the West – where socialist-inspired revolutionary cultures have never won implantation.

To their great credit, the Yellow Vests created a revolutionary condition for all of France. When it was thwarted by Liberal Democratic politicians, media and unions the Yellow Vests continued to march to keep promoting what may truly turn into a revolutionary culture at the next major uprising over Liberalism’s endemic failures. The Yellow Vests have created a vast and reliable network – there’s no doubt they will spring into action at the next opportunity.

The next political progression for the Yellow Vests is the realisation that the pan-European project only dangled the illusion of mere Social Democracy, but that its “neoliberal” basis is actually Fascist and autocratic to its very core.

The analysis of that splendidly successful revolutionary Bolshevik, Trotsky, must be remembered today if the Yellow Vests are to break with the perpetual illusion of mere Social Democracy:

The program of the Communist International has the following to say on this subject: Side by side with the Social Democracy, which assists the bourgeoisie to stifle the proletariat and to lull its vigilance, Fascism appears.’ The Communist International failed to understand that it is not the mission of Fascism to function side by side with the Social Democracy, but to destroy all the existing workers’ organizations, including the reformist. The task of Fascism, in the words of the program, is to ‘annihilate the Communist strata of the proletariat, and their leading cadres.’ Fascism, then, does not at all threaten the Social Democracy and the reformist trade unions; on the contrary, the Social Democracy itself plays a “Fascist” role to an ever increasing degree. Fascism achieves nothing more than the consummation of the labours of reformism, by functioning ‘side by side with the Social Democracy’.” (Emphasis his)

The Communist Bolsheviks rejected mere Social Democracy and instead used Socialist Democracy as their guiding structure ideology, as do Socialist-inspired countries today, who then adapt its primary economic and political imperatives to local cultures and mores. They saw that Social Democracy and Fascism work together to destroy not just Socialist Democracy-inspired groups, unions, parties, countries, etc, but also groups, unions, parties and countries which attempt Social Democratic reforms of Liberalism. As time goes on the Yellow Vests will realise, thanks to their own repression, that Liberal Democracy and Social Democracy offer them no solution except the destruction of the Yellow Vests.

One sentence later – in which Trotsky expressed his usual disapproval with the Moscow-based Comintern – Trotsky continued:

We have here before us all the basic elements of the theory of social fascism. The leaders of the Communist International failed to understand that capitalism in decay is no longer able to come to terms with the most moderate and most servile Social Democracy, either as a party in power, or as a party in opposition. It is the mission of Fascism to take its place not ‘side by side with the Social Democracy’, but on its bones. Precisely from this there flows the possibility, the need and the urgency for the united front.” (Emphasis his)

(Recall that a united front (joining together in society’s leftist struggles), is not the same as a popular front (an electoral alliance).)

Call it what you want: Social Fascism, Liberalism, autocracy, Fascism, constitutional monarchy, rule by the 1% – it is all the same oligarchic autocracy for the recently-feudal masses. I call it Western Liberal Democracy to properly place it in a geographic and historical context.

As soon as the Yellow Vests stop trying to win back the Social Democratic measures which Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Hollande and Macron rolled back, the sooner they will realise that Socialist-inspired countries have shown a better way, method and goal. Without a major reformulation of the pan-European project – which seems impossible to get off the ground in a Liberalist-dominated media – the pan-European project’s initial lure of even greater Social Democratic gains should be seen only as a chimera.

The Yellow Vests know enough to reject existing establishment institutions, as well as pathetic PFAXIst (Popular Fronts Against Xenophobia but for Imperialism) electoral strategies – they must realise the monarchist-elitist-reformist-fascist alliance which is Western Liberal Democracy must be rejected in favor of Socialist Democracy.

That, of course, will lead to even more repression.

But their bravery will earn them more and more comrades; their correctness will only increase as the repression accumulates; the guaranteed cycles of failure in capitalism and the clockwork greed of high finance all make the move away from autocratic Liberalism certain.

The combination of royalism, Liberalism and Fascism is doomed, but people must be liberated from the long-outdated and pernicious influence of Liberalism before the next political advancement can take place. Thus the Yellow Vests, and thus this book, which is another humble tally of Liberalism’s failures.

Yellow Vest: “The people I speak with express absolutely no desire to stop the movement and remain very positive. The Yellow Vests are, above all, the French people, and the French people recognize this and this is why the movement will have a second wind.”

So admirably, The Yellow Vests have cleared the path for France: the despairing working poor, middle and lower classes have a fighting force which can never, ever be called Fascistic. France is back to being the West’s leaders of progressive politics.

Marx’s most important passage on France – guiding France from 1789 to 2022 and beyond

Here we have the most important passage in Marx’s writings on France – from his writings on the Paris Commune – because it historically summarises a century of turbulent political and socio-economic changes and pinpoints the establishment of modern Western Liberal Democracy.

The passage covers the vital and obscured history of France for a century after 1789. The short parentheticals are mine and designed to add clarity to Marx’s meaning:

“If the parliamentary republic, as M. Theirs said, ‘divided them least’ (the different factions of the French ruling class in 1850), it opened an abyss between that class and the whole body of society outside their spare ranks. The restraints by which their own divisions had under former regimes still checked the state power were removed by their unionand in view of the threatening upheaval of the proletariat they now used that state power mercilessly and ostentatiously as the national (and imperialist) war engine of capital against labor.

In their uninterrupted crusade against the producing masses they were, however, bound not only to invest the executive with continually increased powers of repressionbut at the same time divest their own parliamentary stronghold – the National Assembly – one by one, of all its own means of defence against the Executive. The Executive, in the person of (President) Louis(-Napoleon) Bonaparte, turned them out. The national offspring of the ‘Party of Order’ (the dominant political party of the 2nd) Republic was the Second Empire (of Emperor Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte).

The (Second) empire, with the coup d’etat for its birth certificate, universal suffrage for its salvation and the sword for its sceptre, professed to rest upon the peasantry – the large mass of producers not directly involved in the struggle of capital and labor. It professed to save the working class by breaking down parliamentarianism and, with it, the undisguised subserviency of government to the propertied classes. It professed to save the propertied classes by upholding their economic supremacy over the working class; and, finally, it professed to unite all classes by reviving for all the chimera of national glory.

In reality it was the only form of government possible, at a time when the bourgeoisie had already lost, and the working class had not yet acquired, the faculty of ruling the nation. (As they would acquire, starting with the Paris Commune and then later the USSR, China, Iran, etc.) It (the 2nd French Empire) was acclaimed throughout the world as the saviour of society. Under its sway bourgeois society, freed from political cares, attained a development unexpected even by itself. Its industry and commerce expanded to colossal dimensions; financial swindling celebrated cosmopolitan orgies (Marx uses this last word literally, per scandals of the time); the misery of the masses was set off by a shameless display of gorgeous, meretricious and debased luxury. The state power, apparently soaring high above society, was at the same time itself the very scandal of that society and the very hotbed of all its corruptions. Its own rottenness, and the rottenness of the society it had saved (i.e. the bourgeois elite of the 2nd Republic), were laid bare by the bayonet of Prussia, herself eagerly bent upon transferring the supreme seat of that regime from Paris to Berlin.”

The globalist descendants of the victors of 1871 would eventually comprise on Brussels instead of Berlin. Belgium – the country fabricated so that France and Germany would have a place to fight their wars, it is often joked – became “the seat of that regime”.

Yellow Vest: “We are not proud, at least not yet, because we have many more victories to accomplish. We insist on having referendums initiated by citizens, in order to democratically give a voice to all of France and to the Yellow Vests. We will keep marching to ensure that our common future is serene and peaceful.”

If we make only minor substitutions in Marx’s passage to include contemporary developments, does this not make an up-to-date history of France and Europe covering over two centuries?

If the pan-European project “divided them least” (the different factions of national ruling classes in Europe) least, it opened an abyss between that class and the whole body of society outside their spare ranks. The restraints by which their own divisions had under former regimes still checked the state power were removed by their union; and in view of the threatening upheaval of the Yellow Vests they now used that state power mercilessly and ostentatiously as the international war engine of capital against labor.

In their uninterrupted crusade against the producing masses they (the pan-European project) were, however, bound not only to invest the national executive branches with continually increased powers of repression, but at the same time divest their own national parliamentary branches, one by one, of all its own means of defence against the Executive. The Executive, in the person of a modern Louis Bonaparte (or something new and revolutionary, perhaps similar to the Supreme Leader branch of government in Iran)could not be allowed to have turned them – Brussels – out. The national offspring of the pan-European project was the neoliberal Empire of the European Union.

The empire, with the fall of the USSR for its birth certificate, denying the national referendums which rejected the European Union and which were based on universal suffrage for its salvation and the sword for its sceptre, professed to rest upon the neo-peasantry – the large mass of producers not directly involved in the struggle of capital and labor and who desired to avoid more intra-European wars, free movement around Europe and the strengthening of a Social Democratic safety net. It also professed to save the working class by breaking down national parliamentarianism and, with it, the undisguised subserviency of government to the propertied classes. It professed to save the propertied classes by upholding their economic supremacy over the working class; and, finally, it professed to unite all classes by reviving for all the chimera of supranational glory via colluding with the United States to enforce Liberalist values worldwide.

In reality it was the only form of government possible, at a time when the bourgeoisie had fully acquired the faculty of ruling the nation, something they had no experience with in 1848. It (the pan-European project) was acclaimed throughout the West as the saviour of European society. Under its sway bourgeois society, freed from political cares, such as the profit drags and democratic nuisances created by the era of Social Democracy, attained a development unexpected even by itself. Its industry and commerce expanded to colossal dimensions; financial swindling celebrated cosmopolitan orgies; the misery of the masses was set off by a shameless display of gorgeous, meretricious and debased luxury. The state power, apparently soaring high above society, was at the same time itself the very scandal of that society and the very hotbed of all its corruptions. Its own rottenness, and the rottenness of the society it had saved – the royals threatened by 1789, the bourgeois threatened by 1848, the colluding Social Democrats threatened by 1917 and the Fascists threatened by 1945 – were laid bare by the bayonet of the Yellow Vests, herself eagerly bent upon transferring the supreme national seat of that regime from Brussels back to Paris.”

France is not Cuba, Iran, China or even Southern Lebanon – it will likely take a civil war for the Yellow Vests to ever use bayonets to finally win political and economic redistribution. However, the Yellow Vests emphatically prove the willingness of Western Liberal Democracy to use violence just as brutally as the autocracies of 1788.

The Yellow Vests also remind that Western Liberal Democracy does not even allow the rights which Liberalism claims to protect – how long can that persist in a country which regularly demands the right to publicly exercise such rights, and whose pens have been freed by the digital era?

If the French elite is not going to permit even the basic rights of Liberalism, then France needs a defensive force which can protect the Liberalist rights of protesters. That is the subject of the next chapter.

<—>

Upcoming chapter list of France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values.

Publication date: July 1, 2022.

Pre-orders of the Kindle version may be made here.

Pre-orders of the French Kindle version may be made here.

Chapter List of the new content

Biden’s Real Challenge is Not Russia or China, but Poverty in America

February 19, 2022

By Ramzy Baroud

Mainstream US media continues to celebrate the supposed strength of the US economy. Almost daily, headlines speak of hopeful numbers, sustainable growth, positive trends and constant gains. The reality on the ground, however, tells of something entirely different, which raises the questions: Are Americans being lied to? And for what purpose?

“US Economy Grew 1.7% in Fourth Quarter, Capping a Strong Year,” The New York Times reported. “US Economy Grew 5.7% in 2021, Fastest Full-Year Clip,” The Washington Post added. Reuters, Voice of America, The Financial Times, CNN, Market Watch and many others all concurred. But if that is the case, why then is US President Joe Biden’s approval rating at an all-time low? And why are many Americans literally going hungry?

In a national opinion poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos and published on February 3, only 41% of US adults approved of Biden’s performance in office. A whopping 56% disapproved. The numbers were not a complete shock as the downward trajectory of the Biden presidency has been in effect soon after he moved to the White House over a year ago.

The truth is, Biden was not the Democrats’ top choice nominee for president. Judging by various opinion polls and the early results of the Democratic primaries in 2020, it was Bernie Sanders who represented the Democratic hope for real, substantive change. Party politics, liberal media insistence that Sanders was not ‘electable’ and fear-mongering regarding a second Trump term in office pushed Biden through the ranks of nominees to be presented as America’s only hope for salvation.

While Republicans remain committed to the Donald Trump legacy and are still largely politically and ideologically united, Democrats are growingly unconfident in their leadership and uncertain regarding the future of their democracy, governance and economy. Of course, they are blameless in holding such views.

While the Democratic leadership continues to obsess with its fear of Trump, and while liberal media insists that the US economy is as healthy as it can be, the average American continues to struggle against encroaching poverty, inflation and lack of future prospects.

Here are some sobering numbers: 56% of all Americans cannot produce a meager $1,000 as an emergency expense from their existing savings, CNBC reported; 1 in 10 US adults have gone hungry last December as a result of poverty, Forbes.com reported; Columbia University Center on Poverty and Social Policy revealed that child poverty rate in the US stands at 17%, “one of the highest among developed countries”.

If American workers are studied separately from the larger population, the numbers are even more grim: three quarters of American workers said that “it was very or somewhat difficult to make end’s meet,” according to a study conducted by Shift Project, and reported in NBC News online. 40% of the polled workers said that they are not able to come up with $400 in emergency money. But the most shocking of all, according to the same study, is that “around 20% said that they went hungry because they couldn’t afford enough to eat”.

Aside from occasional government handouts, which were provided by both the Trump and Biden administrations, little has been done by way of structural changes to the US economy that would ensure greater equality among all sectors of society. Instead, the administration’s priorities seem to be allocated to something else entirely.

Writing in Politico, David Siders describes the current political discourse within Democratic Party circles, where “Democrats are losing their minds over 2024”. Since the Democratic President’s public approval ratings are “dismal”, Democrats fear the return of Trump. “All anyone can talk about is Trump —donors, policy folks, party insiders, the media,” Siders quoted a Democratic advisor as saying. The same advisor described “a weird cycle” where the “conversation keeps coming back to Trump”.

Whether conscious of this obsession or not, the Biden administration seems to operate entirely according to a political strategy that is predicated on tarnishing Trump and his supporters, retelling, over and over again, the story of the January 6 insurrection, hoping for a Republican split or any other miracle that would bolster their chances of maintaining their Congressional majority in the next November mid-term elections.

While doing so, the Democratic leadership seems oblivious to the harsh reality on the ground, where food prices are skyrocketing and where inflation has reached unbearable levels. According to new data, released on February 10 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US consumer price index (CPI) rose by 7.5% in January compared to the same month a year ago, making it the “fastest annual pace since 1982,” the Financial Times reported.

The rise in inflation is not a one-time-off event, as CPI has been rising at a sustainable level of 0.6 % on a monthly basis. Ordinary people can feel this increase almost every time they go shopping. Small business owners, especially restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores, are left with one out of two options: either increasing their prices or shutting down completely. Consequently, large segments of the already vulnerable US population are growing more desperate than ever.

To avoid providing real answers to difficult questions about the welfare of millions of Americans, about the real function of their democratic institutions and about existing corruption within the US political system – regardless of who controls the Congress or resides in the White House – Democrats and their media are either blaming their Republican rivals or creating foreign policy distractions. They continue to speak of a ‘China threat’ and an ‘imminent’ Russian invasion of Ukraine and such, while the real threat is that of detached politicians who are amassing wealth, fighting for power and prestige while their countrymen and women continue to go hungry.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

UN High Commissioner: Human rights situation in Palestine “disastrous”

December 8 2021

By Staff, Agencies

The US Senate rejected a resolution Tuesday that would have prohibited the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia – including advanced medium range air-to-air missiles, missile launchers and other weapons and support.

The resolution, introduced by Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee and Democrat Bernie Sanders, was voted against 67 to 30.

This comes as members of the Congress criticized the Saudi Kingdom for its aggression on Yemen, which is considered one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.

“Exporting more missiles to Saudi Arabia does nothing but further this conflict and pour more gasoline on already raging fire,” Sanders said in a speech urging support for the resolution of disapproval, according to Reuters.

The Senate refused to approve military sales in the past without assurances the equipment would not be used to kill civilians. Backers of the sale noted that US President Joe Biden’s administration already barred sales of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia.

“I completely agree with the need to hold Saudi leadership accountable for a variety of actions… but I also believe that it is important that our security partners know that we will uphold our commitments,” said Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The weapons package would include 280 AIM-120C-7/C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles [AMRAAM], 596 LAU-128 Missile Rail Launchers [MRL] along with other equipment and support.

The Biden administration stated Tuesday that it strongly opposed the resolution.

JOE BIDEN’S HEARTFELT ILLOGIC ABOUT ISRAEL

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Stale Foreign Policy

Almost everyone in the West who is not a fan of Donald Trump—and if they are a fan, their sanity is to be doubted— assumes that U.S. President Joe Biden is now helping to save both the United States and the world. In some categories such as climate change, environmental regulation, economic reform favoring the poor and middle class, equal rights and, of course, combating the Covid-19 virus, they might have a point.

Nonetheless, it really saddens me to say that, at least in this author’s opinion, President Biden is not “the sharpest tack in the box.” That is, he is not the smartest guy in Washington, D.C. On the other hand, Joe has a strong point. He has the good fortune to have drawn together some very strong and progressive advisers on the domestic side of the political equation. It would also seem that, unlike his predecessor, Biden has the capability to actually listen to these people. He also has accommodated himself to the pressure put forth by true progressives such as Bernie Sanders.

The one exception to this wealth of good advice is on the other half of the job, in the area of foreign policy, in particular foreign policy toward the Middle East, and specifically policy toward the country of Israel. Here is where Joe has difficulty thinking straight and is out of luck with his chosen advisers.

To wit Andrew Bacevich of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft:

“Beneath a veneer of gender and racial diversity, the Biden national security team consists of seasoned operatives who earned their spurs in Washington long before Donald Trump showed up to spoil the party. So, if you’re looking for fresh faces at the departments of state or defense, the National Security Council or the various intelligence agencies, you’ll have to search pretty hard. Ditto, if you’re looking for fresh insights. In Washington, members of the foreign policy establishment recite stale bromides, even as they divert attention from a dead past to which they remain devoted.”

Part II—Analytical Shortcomings Nos. 1 and 1A: Policy Formulation toward Israel and the Palestinians

In the field of U.S.-Israeli relations, there are two areas where President Biden’s analytical shortcomings show themselves.

(1) The inability to formulate foreign policy that takes into account the behavior of the object of that policy.

President Biden says “my commitment to Israel is completely unshakable. As president, I’m going to continue our security assistance … and maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge. I’m not going to place conditions for the security assistance.” Essentially, this position abdicates U.S. national interests in favor of Israeli interests.

Here is a metaphor for such blind commitment. Think of how one adjusts attitudes toward friendships held over time. If you had a friend (we will refer to this friend as male) who, for whatever reason, evolved into a robber, would you give him a gun every year on his birthday? Would you do that because you remember he was a battered child and you think the arsenal you provide will make him feel secure and, hopefully, lead him to give up his criminal behavior? Or maybe you think he needs the gun because he lives in a bad neighborhood?

Biden believes that “Israelis wake up every morning facing an existential threat. That’s why we always have to be adamant that Israel must be able to defend itself.” But this is just a long-obsolete rationalization for spoiling your friend, who turns out to be head of the strongest gang on the block.

In the meantime, Biden points fingers at his predecessor for adopting exactly the same stance toward the Saudi Kingdom. Biden complained that “Donald Trump has given the government of Saudi Arabia a blank check to pursue a disastrous set of policies.”

(1A) The reverse side of this coin entails Joe Biden’s uninformed attitude toward the Palestinians. These are people who allegedly pose an “existential” threat to Israeli lives.

“The Palestinians need to end incitement in the West Bank and rocket attacks in Gaza. … No matter what legitimate disagreement they may have with Israel, it’s never a justification for terrorism.”

The truth is that it is the Palestinians who are under the “existential threat” and it is the Israelis who exercise massive violence against them, more often than not of a terroristic nature. When Palestinians resist Israeli oppression they are labeled terrorists, they are killed and their infrastructure is destroyed. When they do not resist, more and more of their land is taken. Volunteers must come from Europe to the West Bank so that farmers can harvest their olives without getting shot by Israeli settlers.  Gaza is under blockade, not able to obtain basic supplies or vaccines. It should come as no surprise that “the death tolls in the Israel-Palestine conflict are lopsided, with Palestinians far more likely to be killed than Israelis. According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, which has compiled month-to-month fatality records, looking at the figures since 2005, 23 out of every 24 conflict deaths have been Palestinian.”

Biden also insists that the Palestinian Authority should “acknowledge, flat-out, Israel’s right to exist—period–-as an independent Jewish state and guarantee the borders.” Actually, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) did so in 1993. The Palestinian Authority suspended recognition in 2018 due to incessant theft of Palestinian land by Israel.

It appears that Joe Biden takes none of these facts into consideration. Is it because he does not know them? Such ignorance is certainly possible, though for a U.S. president it would be inexcusable. More likely, he has heard the Palestinian side, but cannot interpret it objectively because he is ideologically committed to the Israeli worldview.

President Biden has declared that “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” Commitment to Zionism is commitment to an ideology. Seeing the world on the basis of an ideology—any ideology—must distort your understanding. Thus, Biden’s view of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict becomes as lopsided as the conflict’s death toll.

Part III—Analytical Shortcoming No. 2: The BDS Movement

President Biden’s personal refusal to adjust U.S. policy to confront even those aspects of Israeli behavior he says he opposes—settlement activity and threats of annexation—carries over into his personal opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel, active both in the U.S. and Europe. Just as his reasoning is often faulty when refusing to match policy to Israeli behavior, it is also faulty as to his opposition to BDS.

On the one hand, “Joe Biden will protect the constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.” On the other, the president “has been unequivocal in condemning calls in the United States to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel.” In other words, Americans can say it, but in this case, Joe ain’t listening.

According to the president, “the BDS movement singles out Israel—home to millions of Jews—in a way that is inconsistent with the treatment of other nations, and it too often veers into anti-Semitism.”

It is obvious that in the case of the BDS campaign, Israel is “singled out.” However, this is not unusual or “inconsistent with the treatment of other nations.” It is quite consistent. Cuban Americans single out Cuba. Other groups single out China, or Russia, or Myanmar and the like. Does the president dismiss these defenders of human rights because of their single-country focus? Of course not. Thus, he is being a hypocrite when singling out BDS.

In the case of Israel, those involved in BDS are mostly victims of Israeli oppression (Palestinians) or Jews who are utterly disgusted with what the Zionists are doing in their name. Israeli actions, particularly in the Occupied Territories, are in clear violation of international law and human rights declarations, and this gives the BDS a solid legal grounding. So what is Biden complaining about? Nothing that he has seriously thought through. And, when pushed on this, he falls back on the charge of anti-Semitism. Yet, the suggestion that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic is just a red herring.

Here is another quite legitimate justification for Americans, and others in the West, to “single out” Israel for attention by supporting BDS. Israel is indeed unique in that through its agents—Zionist lobbies—it is powerful enough to divert the debate over the aims of foreign policy in relation to much of the Middle East. That is, these agents of a foreign power divert the debate away from what is in the best interests of the U.S. or this or that Western nation, toward the question what is in the best interest of Zionist Israel. As a result, billions of dollars, pounds, euros and other resources have been diverted into making Israel a supremely powerful apartheid state.

Can President Biden understand these arguments? No more than any other self-proclaimed Zionist. As a Zionist he must, if he is to stay ideologically consistent, let Israel off the hook for its crimes. Sometimes this blinkered way of thinking creates embarrassingly contorted positions.

Consider this emotional proclamation made by then Senator Joe Biden at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference, on March 20, 2016.

“Singling out Israel, [either at the UN or by BDS] is wrong! It’s wrong! I know it’s not popular to say, but it’s wrong, because as the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one ethnic and religious group imperils us all. It’s incumbent upon us, all of us, that we stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes, who seek to scare and divide us for political gain, because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders.”

Let’s unpack this declaration. We start with the sentence “the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one ethnic and religious group imperils us all.” It is correct that, given their history, many Jews should recognize Biden’s statement as true. But all those who are Zionists will make an exception for Israel. They must do so in order to avoid outright contradiction. Why so? Because Israel has posited both its identity and its security on the “marginalization of one ethnic and religious group,” namely, Palestinians. Maybe President Biden senses that there is some inconsistency here, but being a Zionist he dismisses it as justified. Addressing an AIPAC audience, of course, meant no one challenged him.

We move on to the next sentence. “It is incumbent that all of us to stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes.” When Israeli leaders and Zionists such as Joe Biden constantly refer to Palestinians who resist Israeli oppression as “terrorists,” they too are “trafficking in pernicious stereotypes.” It is a safe guess that Biden does not realize this.

Next sentence, “It is incumbent that all of us that stand up against those who … seek to scare and divide us for political gain.” I cannot think of a more apt description of what the Zionist/Israeli aim is here in the United States and the West in general—to scare us away from the defense of Palestinian rights and divide us when it comes to legitimate criticism of Israeli behavior, all done for political gain in the form of maintaining an extraordinary level of financial and military support of an apartheid state.

Finally, the last statement, “because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders.” It is amazing that, given his immediate audience, Biden made this statement with a straight face. For he was addressing those infamous for building a wall that divides and isolates.

Essentially, this entire declaration by Joe Biden attributes to BDS all the negative characteristics that Israel in fact displays. As a self-declared, true-believer Zionist, he does this without any recognition of the deep irony his declaration contains.

Part III—Conclusion

How much history does Joe Biden, or his foreign policy advisers, know? For instance, do they know the history of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency? Lyndon Johnson could have gone down in U.S. history as a remarkably successful and progressive leader. He could have done this on the basis of his championing civil rights. But he was destroyed by the Vietnam War—a war fought by the U.S. because of ideological imperatives.

President Biden may well be faced with the same choices. He probably could go down in U.S. history as the 21st century’s first truly great president for all those reasons listed at the beginning of this essay. But these achievements may be diminished by adherence to obsolete and dangerous foreign policies in the Middle East. If he follows his current trajectory he will bury the 2015 Iran agreement—one of the most promising diplomatic achievements of the 21st century. He may linger on in that “forever war” in Afghanistan. He will let both the Israelis and the Saudis off the hook for their past and future abominations. And, he will sustain Israeli dominance in the region even as that country confirms itself as a rightist, racist threat to human rights and international law. Through all of this Joe Biden may lose his moment in history.

.

A fake carrot to Iran

Source

January 30, 2021 – 20:58

TEHRAN – Joe Biden’s selection of Rob Malley as Iran envoy has sparked bitter dispute between hawks and progressives. They have launched media campaigns defending or opposing his selection. Hawks accuse him of going soft on Iran while progressives underline that the appointment of Malley will rekindle diplomacy with Iran.

But both groups fail to recognize that Malley is no friend of Iran and will work to secure the interests of the United States at the end of the day.

The first wave of criticism against the appointment of Malley came from a vague group called the National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI) which sent an open letter to then-Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken, urging him not to appoint Malley to the position of special envoy on Iran.

The group claimed that Malley was not interested in pursuing dialogue or consultation with what it called “Iranian human rights activists.”

“Mr. Malley’s record outside of government concerns us further. As head of the International Crisis Group, he has singularly focused on cultivating close relationships with Iranian government officials,” the group claimed.

Opposition to the appointment of Malley, the chief Middle East adviser in President Barack Obama’s second term and current president of the International Crisis Group, originates in his past positions on engaging Iran even though he will almost certainly act differently as a government official. In fact, being a government official is a whole lot different than being head of a non-governmental think tank, something that opponents of Malley failed to grasp.

On the other hand, progressives joined forces to defend the appointment of Malley as if he had a magical charm to put an end to U.S. malign behavior toward Iran. On Thursday, a group of these progressives put out a statement firmly defending the selection of Malley.

“Those who accuse Malley of sympathy for the Islamic Republic have no grasp of –or no interest in –true diplomacy, which requires a level-headed understanding of the other side’s motivations and knowledge that can only be acquired through dialogue,” the statement said.

The statement portrayed Malley as a man who will rekindle diplomacy with foes, identify possible areas of agreement and resolution, and, abracadabra, de-escalate tensions between Tehran and Washington as if nothing happened under Trump.

“Rob Malley is an extremely knowledgeable expert with great experience in promoting U.S. security through diplomacy rather than war. He would be an excellent choice for the role of Iran envoy,” Senator Bernie Sanders said in a tweet after Jewish Insider reported that Malley was under consideration to be the Biden administration’s envoy on Iran.

Opponents and proponents of Malley have one thing in common: both of them believe that he will facilitate talks between the governments of the U.S. and Iran. Progressives even sought to suggest that the appointment of Malley was an early carrot to Iran, implying that Iran should be grateful for that.

But this is exactly where opponents and proponents of Malley get it wrong. Judging by the Biden administration’s remarks on Iran, Malley will make it even more difficult for Iran to reach understanding with the U.S. in any future talks.

Biden officials have now made it clear that they want to expand the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -, not just simply rejoin it. And this will make any kind of negotiations between Iran and the U.S. harder than in 2015, when the two reached the JCPOA while Malley was a member of the U.S. negotiating team.

Imagine if Iran says no to a Malley demand on its missile program or regional activities in any future talks. The Biden administration would tell the whole world that it’s Iran, not the U.S., that doesn’t want to return to diplomacy.

Malley will not make decisions on Iran. Instead, he will largely be responsible for coordinating and implementing the White House Iran policy just like any other diplomat in the State Department. He will likely be a smokescreen for the Biden administration’s soft bullying against Iran. In this sense, Malley would be far from being a driving force for renewed diplomacy with Iran. He is by no means a carrot to Iran, not even a fake one.

PA/PA

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Being ‘Chosen’ vs. Being ‘Ordinary’ in 2020s America

 BY GILAD ATZMON

choseness vs ordinary .jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

America is divided and the rupture is so deep that Americans can’t even see across that which splits them in the middle. If there was a hope at one point that someone could unite the nation, this hope has faded away. In fact, the American mainstream media works relentlessly to sustain that cultural and even metaphysical separation. It is reasonable to determine that rather than delivering something that resembles news, the American media operates as propaganda outlets. Like in the Soviet Union, American mainstream media manufactures stories that sustain premeditated narratives.  The commitment to impartiality, truthfulness, honesty or any journalistic standard has been replaced with blind adherence to a ‘party line,’ an ‘ideology,’ a ‘worldview.’

 On one side of that dividing line we find the so-called ‘progressives’: ‘liberals’ and Identitarians who are largely associated with cities and the urban lifestyle. On the other side we find people who are conservative, nationalist and patriotic. More than often, they are slightly removed and even repulsed by urban culture.

 It doesn’t take a genius to gather that the progressive worldview is, in fact a celebration of choseness (exceptionalism). To be ‘progressive’ is to believe that someone else must be ‘reactionary.’ To be progressive is practically a severe form of self-love. As such, progressives and liberals do believe themselves to be on the right side of history and this belief legitimises their conduct, which often verges on hardcore authoritarianism. After all, ‘reason,’ progressives believe, is embedded in the core of their liberal perception.

 ‘Ordinary’ people, on the other hand, do not deny or refute reason. They just accept that reason is merely one aspect of the human existence. To be ‘ordinary’ is to acknowledge that ‘Being’ is prior to reason. Unlike the liberal and the progressive who adheres to the Cartesian Cogito, Ergo Sum; ‘I think therefore I am,’ the ‘ordinary’ accepts that you actually ‘think because you are’ (Heidegger). But it goes further: to be ‘ordinary’ is to accept that you actually ‘are where you do not think’ (Lacan).  To be ‘ordinary’ is to let the unconscious guide you to safety. To be ‘ordinary’, as such, is to accept that ‘Being’ proceeds rationality, to acknowledge that ‘Being in the World,’ transcends beyond reason and rationality. Thus, true existential understanding is when rationality comes to terms with its boundaries.  And ecstasies, as the ultimate form of existential celebration is the instant in which the reason lets off its guards and the soul is finally free to explore its true nature.   

 While the ‘chosen’ sees oneself as the shiniest product of enlightenment, the ‘ordinary’ is often unimpressed by the enlightenment and its ‘achievements.’  For the ‘ordinary’, family values, the church, the commitment to the soil and even ‘love’ as a thing in itself do not beg for rational ‘explanations’ or analytical explorations. The ‘ordinary’ does not see oneself as the ruler of the universe. The ‘ordinary’ is instead a humble visitor: he or she embraces the climate and accepts its changes. The ordinary people also seem slightly less fearful of ‘global pandemics.’ They are often made of combatant fabric and like soldiers they accept that temporality is inherent to existence.

People may oppose and mock Donald Trump for understandable reasons, but no one can deny the fact that Trump contributed more than anyone else to emphasise this sharp and unbridgeable divide between the ‘chosen’ and the ‘ordinary.’

 Trump appeared on the world’s political stage when it seemed as if the liberal agenda had prevailed. Trump’s presidential victory in 2016 revealed that half of the American people weren’t sure about the plan to ‘revise’ the ‘World Order’. Four years later, the battle zone is fully transparent. On November 3, 2020 Trump and the Republican Party were destined to disappear electorally. Many pollsters promised us a Biden/Democratic ‘landslide victory.’ This didn’t happen. The Democratic party lost seats in the house. The Republicans gained them. And if this is not bad enough, Trump increased his raw vote tally considerably, growing stronger within diverse community segments that are traditionally associated with the Democratic party. Judging by the election results, many people actually prefer to be ‘ordinary.’   

 A legal battle is taking place at the moment over issues to do with the integrity of the November election. The American Progressive media pretends that this battle isn’t taking place. While Trump’s legal team fights in the swing states not one American liberal mainstream outlet is brave enough to admit that half of America has drifted away to alternative outlets. In just a matter of days those outlets increased their ratings significantly. The ‘ordinary’ doesn’t buy into the ‘chosen’ narrative. He and she actually prefer an ordinary tale.

 And yet, it is important to grasp the role of Trump in all of this. How did this real estate tycoon emerge to become the voice of America’s Working Class? How is it possible that the Democratic Party, once upon a time the voice of working America, has become the mercenary force of Wall Street and Silicon Valley while the Republicans are now the voice of the Ordinary people and working Americans? Trump provides an answer. 

 Peculiarly enough, Trump is that which Bernie and Corbyn pretended to be but never were. Trump, himself, an exemplary ‘chosen’ character has become the favorite of the ‘ordinary.’ Trump’s communication is existentially driven. The man has managed to excite tens of millions of voters shaking his behindto the music of YMCA. As opposed to the rationalist enlightened ‘chosen’ who searches for the reasoning that connects words to meanings, the ‘ordinary’, reacts to the deafening silence between the words. Trump is a master of that deafening silence. He knows how to articulate his massage in between words. I assume Trump has never read Lacan, but he understands very well the role of the unconscious: you ARE where you do not think. You are your guts.

  That which progressives and liberals hate about Trump is exactly what more than 74 million American voters love about the man. Liberals and progressives see Trump as a reckless, failed businessman with a trail of bankruptcies and (pandemic) deaths behind him. Yet, for his admirers, these facts make Trump into an Übermensch, a resilient human hero who prevails against all odds. Like some military figures such as MacArthur, Patton, Sharon and historical state leaders such as Hitler, Stalin and Churchill, Trump, throughout his entire adult life, has been willing to risk everything to win a battle or fulfil a dream. Like the above historical figures, Trump manages to drive his troops into ecstasy yet, unlike many of them, Trump didn’t start a single war. ‘Ordinary’ people appreciate this fact as it is often them who send their sons and daughters to fight and die in the so-called ‘American wars.’

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Why Joe Biden Can’t Unify America

As the Democratic party tumbles into the morass of racial and identity politics, Joe Biden will find it almost impossible to unify his own party, let alone America.

by Scott McConnell

Donald Trump faced an unfairly hostile press and was burdened with innumerable deficits of his own making, but in comparison with Joe Biden he held one clear advantage at the outset of his term: he had beaten fair and square his ideological rivals in his own party. The GOP establishment retained considerable power in the House and Senate—and Trump couldn’t govern without them. But Trump had beaten—no, whipped—Bush and Rubio and Cruz, and they knew it. He could draw large crowds and they couldn’t. His authority over the GOP may have been resented; the “resistance” to him from the Deep State and affluent suburbanites was formidable and eventually brought him down, but no one could deny that his ascension was based on one hard currency of politics, namely, mass voter enthusiasm.

Biden, a likeable enough centrist senator, can boast of no such thing. He prevailed, as Christopher Caldwell cogently reminds us, after an embarrassingly poor start to his campaign, (fourth and fifth-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire), salvaged by a critical endorsement from a South Carolina congressman who probably influences more votes than any politician in America, immediately followed by a panicked rush of the party establishment to close ranks against the socialist Bernie Sanders. Though American presidential campaigns last far too long, this critical period seemed to pass in a nanosecond. Congressman James Clyburn’s church ladies (and Biden’s unobjectionable tenure as Barack Obama’s vice president) put him over the top in South Carolina. Next, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar immediately dropped out (the latter two having beaten Biden, sometimes decisively, in states where voters actually see a great deal of the candidates). Elizabeth Warren stayed in to battle Bernie for the party’s Left vote. Biden swept Super Tuesday just as the coronavirus was shutting down the country. It was almost certainly the most underwhelming route to a nomination in recent American political history. 

The party which nominated Biden is more divided than the one Trump dominated in 2016; the difference is the battle between the factions hasn’t been joined yet. Socialists would make common cause with deep state and corporate world neoliberals in believing, (or pretending to believe—it can be hard to distinguish) that Donald Trump constituted some sort of unique threat to American democracy. But with Trump gone, they share nothing. One can imagine a gifted politician (a Bill Clinton in his prime) able to soothe the divisions and partially placate the losers; it’s unlikely Biden could manage that at any point in his career.

The splits are as stark as those which separated Mayor Richard Daley and other party “regulars” from the McGovernites who beat them in 1972, but also more complicated. There is a liberal—or socialist-curious—Left that is genuinely concerned about the economic inequality which has been growing in the United States for forty years—Elizabeth Warren, and, in a more dogmatic and further left way, Sanders spoke for them. There is the identity politics faction, which shares their radicalism, ignores economic inequities unless they concern blacks or Hispanics, and is interested in a full-scale cultural war against whiteness, which means against much of American culture and history. Both groups endorsed Sanders but it is not clear how much they share with one another. They share virtually nothing with Michael Bloomberg or other Wall Street titans who contributed heavily to the Biden campaign.

One consequence is that in the early rounds of the Biden transition, every choice has been racially fraught. For the past five days, hundreds of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors have laid siege to the home of Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, protesting against the possibility he would be given a cabinet post in the Biden administration. They opposed Garcetti, a Biden campaign co-chair and probably California’s most well-known Latino elected official, for rejecting BLM demands to defund the Los Angeles police department. California governor Gavin Newsom’s choice of a candidate to fill out the Senate term of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is debated entirely on the basis of identity politics, with blacks and Latinos and LGBTQ groups each proclaiming that one of their “community” deserves the seat; one hears no arguments made on the basis of the character, intellect, or political talents of their favored candidates. Democratic intra-party politics increasingly resembles a zero-sum game of identity competitions, carried out under the feel-good banners of inclusion and diversity.

And yet if the identity politics movement since the first protests following the death of George Floyd seems more radical, pervasive, and frightening, it was not obvious that its beliefs had penetrated into the consciousness of those who were neither college students, young people not yet tied to work and family, or professional liberal activists. In the most bellwether ideological election held since the great awakening, Californians returned to the ballot box once more to pass judgement on race-based affirmative action, which had been made illegal by 53 to 47 percent referendum vote in 1996. In this summer of racial reckoning, liberals in the legislature had pushed for a revote, believing that the state’s changed racial composition, (fewer whites, more Latinos, more Asians) would allow a reversal of that result and give formal sanction for preferential treatment on the basis of race to be used to increase diversity and overcome legacies of past discrimination.

Race-based affirmative action, along with the conundrums of law enforcement, have been the only consequences of the Civil Rights revolution of the 1960s to remain under any serious political or cultural contestation. But since a Vietnam veteran named Allan Bakke famously sued for admission to a California medical school while clearly establishing that his grades and test scores were higher than minority applicants admitted in his stead, it has been a fraught issue, decided ambiguously by the Supreme Court. In California, voters had opted for state neutrality regarding race; now, in the summer of racial justice, progressives assumed they would reverse course.

The voters’ answer disappointed the state’s entire Democratic establishment (which unanimously supported the rollback) and the corporate donors who gave the rollback side a 20-1 spending advantage. Nonetheless, California’s diverse and strongly Democratic electorate still wanted race neutrality, voting for it by a larger margin (56-44) than they had in 1997. Latinos voters split down the middle, Asians and whites voted against the reinstitution of racial preferences.

Meanwhile, in Democratic strongholds of northern Virginia and New York City, Asian parents were leading campaigns to keep exam-based elite public schools alive: against them were arrayed progressive politicians and bureaucrats and Black Lives Matter activists who sought to eliminate tests which measure math and verbal competence and replace them with measures that would reduce the number of gifted students in elite schools—in the name, naturally, of inclusion and diversity.

These local battles take place largely under the national radar as Biden struggles to name a cabinet that will be “the most inclusive in history”—while at the same time assuring that key foreign policy posts are given to the kind of neoliberal Iraq war supporters he is most familiar and comfortable with. Indeed, the battle of leaks and emails over whether the next secretary of defense will be a woman or a black is debated almost entirely without reference to the Pentagon’s mission and how to best carry it out. Then there is the probable nomination of Neera Tanden, who has spent the past several years denouncing Republicans on Twitter, to run the Office of Management and Budget, a nomination that hardly constitutes an olive branch to Republicans.

There is no way to see how Biden or his party squares these circles, which would confound a more vigorous politician with a more robust electoral mandate. As the Soviet Union was fading, Georgi Arbatov, an intellectual close to the Politburo, famously remarked that Moscow was going to cause great problems for the United States by “depriving it of an enemy.” He may have been right. Trump has fulfilled the same function for the Democratic coalition; now that Dr. Evil is gone, the knives will come out. This is why the safest political prediction is that those who voted for a “return to normalcy” under Biden are in for a rude disappointment indeed.

Scott McConnell is founding editor of the American Conservative and author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches from the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars.

The Task of ‘Sleepy Joe’ is to Put Liberal America Right Back to Sleep

November 6, 2020

Presidential nominee Joe Biden. (Photo: File)

By Jonathan Cook

At birth, all of us begin a journey that offers opportunities either to grow – not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually – or to stagnate. The journey we undertake lasts a lifetime, but there are dozens of moments each day when we have a choice to make tiny incremental gains in experience, wisdom and compassion or to calcify through inertia, complacency and selfishness.

No one can be engaged and receptive all the time. But it is important to recognize these small opportunities for growth when they present themselves, even if at any particular moment we may decide to avoid grasping them.

When we shut ourselves into the car on the commute to work, do we use it as a moment to be alone with our thoughts or to silence them with the radio or music? When we sit with friends, do we choose to be fully present with them or scroll through the news feed on our phones? When we return from a difficult day at work, do we talk the issues through with family or reach for a glass of wine, or maybe bingewatch something on TV?

Everyone needs downtime, but if every opportunity for reflection becomes downtime then we are stagnating, not growing. We are moving away from life, from being human.

Dried-out Husk

This week liberal Americans reached for that glass of wine and voted Joe Biden. Others did so much more reluctantly, spurred on by the fear of giving his opponent another four years.

Biden isn’t over the finishing line quite yet, and there are likely to be recounts, court challenges and possibly violence over the result, but he seems all but certain to be crowned the next US president. Not that that should provoke any kind of celebration. The rest of the world’s population, future generations, the planet itself – none of us had a vote – were always going to be the losers whichever candidate won.

The incumbent, Donald Trump, miscalculated, it seems, if he thought dismissing his opponent as “Sleepy Joe” would be enough to damage Biden’s electoral fortunes. True, Trump was referring to the fact that Biden is a dried-out husk of the machine politician he once was. But after four years of Trump and in the midst of a pandemic, the idea of sleeping through the next presidential term probably sounded pretty appealing to liberals. Most of them have spent their whole political lives asleep.

Four years ago, however, they were forcibly roused from their languor to protest against Donald Trump. They grew enraged by the symptom of their corrupt political system rather than by the corrupt system itself. For them, “Sleepy Joe” was just what the doctor ordered.

But it won’t be Biden doing the sleeping. It will be the liberals who cheerlead him. Biden – or perhaps Kamala Harris – will be busy making sure his corporate donors get exactly what they paid for, whatever the cost to the rest of us.

Anger and Blame

In this analogy, Trump is not the opposite of Biden, of course. He represents stagnation too, if of a different kind.

Trump channels Americans’ frustration and anger at a political and economic system they rightly see as failing them. He articulates who should be falsely blamed for their woes: be it immigrants, minorities, socialists, or the New World Order. He offers justified, if misdirected, rage in contrast to Biden’s dangerous complacency.

But however awful Trump may be, at least some of those voting for him are grappling, if mostly unconsciously, with the tension between stagnation and growth – and not of the economic kind. Unlike most liberals, who dismiss this simplistically as “populism”, some of Trump’s supporters do at least seem to recognize that the tension exists. They simply haven’t been offered a constructive alternative to anger and blame.

Ritually Disappointed

Unlike the liberals and the Trumpists, many in the US have come to understand that their political system offers nothing but stultifying stagnation for ordinary Americans by design, even if it comes in two, smartly attired flavors.

They see that the Trump camp rages ineffectually against the corporate elite, deluded into believing that a member of that very same elite will serve as their savior. And they see that the Biden camp represents an ineffectual rainbow coalition of competing social identities, deluded into believing that those divisions will make them stronger, not weaker, in the fight for economic justice. Both of these camps appear resigned to being serially – maybe ritually – disappointed.

Failure does not inspire these camps to seek change, it makes them cling all the more desperately to their failed strategies, to attach themselves even more frantically and fervently to their perceived tribe.

That is why this US election – at a moment when the need for real, systemic change is more urgent, more evident than ever before – produced not just one but two of the worst presidential candidates of all time. We are looking at exactly what happens when a whole society not only stops growing but begins to putrefy.

Enervating Divisions

Not everyone in the US is so addicted to these patterns of self-delusion and self-harm.

Large swaths of the population don’t bother to vote out of hard-borne experience. The system is so rigged against them that they don’t think it matters much which corporate party is in power. The outcome will be the same for them either way.

Others vote third party, or consciously abstain in protest at big money’s vice-like grip on the two-party system. Others, appalled at the prospect of Trump – and before him the two Bushes, and before that Ronald Reagan – were forced once again to vote for the Democratic ticket with a heavy heart. They know all too well who Biden is (a creature of his corporate donors) and what he stands for (whatever his corporate donors want). But he is slightly less monstrous than his rival, and in the US system, those are the meaningful electoral options.

And among Trump’s supporters too, there are many desperate for wholesale change. They voted for Trump because at least he paid lip service to change.

These groups – most likely a clear electoral majority – could redirect the US towards political, social, even spiritual growth, if they could find a way to come together. They suffer from their own enervating divisions.

How should they best use their numerical strength? Should they struggle to win the presidency, and if so should it be a third-party candidate or should they work within the existing party structures? What lesson should they draw from the Democratic leadership’s sabotaging – twice over – of Bernie Sanders, a candidate offering meaningful change? Is it time to adopt an entirely different strategy, rejecting traditional politics? And if so, can it be made to work when all the major institutions – from the politicians and courts to the police, intelligence services, and media – are firmly in the hands of the corporate enemy?

Terrible Reckoning

There is no real way to sleep through life or politics, and not wake up one day – usually when it is too late – realizing catastrophic mistakes were made.

As individuals, we may face that terrible reckoning on our death-beds. Empires rarely go so quietly. They fall when it is time for their citizens to learn a painful lesson about hubris. Their technological innovations come back to haunt them, as ancient Rome’s lead water-pipes supposedly once did. Or they over-extend with ambitious wars that drain the coffers of gold, as warrior-kings have discovered to their cost through the ages. Or, when the guardians of empire least expect it, “barbarians” – the victims of their crimes – storm the city gates.

The globe-spanning US empire faces the rapid emergence of all these threats on a planetary scale. Its endless wars against phantom enemies have left the US burdened with astounding debt. Its technologies, from nuclear weapons to AI, mean there can be no possible escape from a major miscalculation. And the US empire’s insatiable greed and determination to colonize every last inch of the planet, if only with our waste products, is gradually killing the life-systems we depend on.

If Biden becomes president, his victory will be a temporary win for torpor, for complacency. But a new Trump will emerge soon enough to potentize – and misdirect – the fury steadily building beneath the surface. If we let it, the pendulum will swing back and forth, between ineffectual lethargy and ineffectual rage, until it is too late. Unless we actively fight back, the stagnation will suffocate us all.

– Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). Visit his website www.jonathan-cook.net. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Like 2017 France, will voters choose Trump just to end a fake-leftist party?

Like 2017 France, will voters choose Trump just to end a fake-leftist party?

October 04, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Since 1996 Americans have proven that they know their own country: polls show they have correctly picked the winner of the popular vote every time. Even though Trump’s approval rating is under 50% and poll aggregates show he trails by 8%, Gallup just asked who they think will win and 56% of Americans picked Trump, including 24% of Democrats, while just 40% picked Biden.

That’s a big spread, but it confirms what everybody tells me from small towns to Chicago, and I ask everyone. It’s pretty pathetic to see the fear in the eyes of some Biden supporters – you aren’t Afghans planning a wedding party during the Obama era, ok?

Given the extraordinary economic disaster and mass unemployment (in a country with no social safety net) it seems totally impossible for any incumbent to survive, but we should not forget that Democrats are the half of the duopoly which is paid to lose: they are here to provide a safety valve against real leftism (they are Bernie Sanders writ large), and to divert people away from leftist solutions to America’s lack of a social safety net with fake-leftist divisiveness.

Trump has caught coronavirus, and – I’m sure he’s saying – it’s the biggest, most stupendous, most world-famous case of corona ever! It is – Trump is finally not over-selling. But so will be the recovery, no? A recovered Trump (and a 74-year old man has just a 3% chance of dying after contracting corona) who doesn’t make Biden’s willingness for even more devastating, unbearable, technocratic lockdowns a top-two issue would prove that corona does indeed cause lasting brain damage.

The Deep State and their proxies have obviously done everything – fair or foul – they could to stop Trump, and yet I haven’t seen anyone discuss the idea that the White House corona outbreak was injected there on purpose? If anybody could and would do it – and then see Trump survive and overturn their best-laid plans – it would be US Democrats, no?

Trump has the good fortune of running against a Democratic Party which – the ousting of Bernie Sanders and the elevation of Kamala Harris shows – is dominated by a tiny cabal of well-connected Clintonistas, the corporate board members residing in one of the world’s biggest tax havens (the state of Delaware, home of Biden) and Hollywood media liberals who will get incredibly upset at my upcoming use of the term “Frenchmen” instead of “Frenchx”.

Indeed, the biggest achievement of US liberals since 2016 may merely be forcing people to use “Latinx” instead of “Latino/a”. At the “China: Isn’t It Time to Turn To Us?” first presidential debate I don’t recall Biden uttering the word “impeachment”, and he definitely didn’t talk about Russiagate – Democrats can’t possibly run on their own pathetic record?

Yes, the US is such a politically-ignorant country that Trump can accuse “Corporate Joe” Biden of being a “radical socialist” and actually find believers, but Western fake-leftist parties are increasingly being punished by voters for their “right-wing economics and right-wing foreign policy but with political correctness” platform.

It’s amazing that the Clintonista faction wasn’t forced from power after stunningly losing to a reality show star in 2016, but if they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again will there finally be a fair reckoning?

Could defeat in November break up the ossified, out-of-touch and certainly ineffective Democratic Party?

There is a recent Western precedent for such an abrupt exit: the Socialist Party of France.

In 2017 they were rejected so emphatically that their perpetual post-WWII duopoly-dominance became quickly irrelevant; the fact that in 2012 they won both the presidency and 36% more seats than any other party in Parliament became quickly irrelevant. What cost the Socialist Party was the patsy Francois Hollande’s appalling backtracking on his campaign promise to end austerity – it finally became totally clear to Frenchmen that the Socialist Party should be called the “Neoliberal Party of Brussels”.

The French left remains in total disarray, as they should be, given how they refused to listen to their constituents and how they proved themselves to be elitist, duplicitous and amoral technocrats. The trend in France is for the Green Party to be given a chance next, as they are the only other not-yet-discredited option other than the tiny true left and the “paper tiger” far-right.

Yes, unlike the US the French political spectrum contains more than just two parties, but the bigger difference is that the French voter was smart enough to be out for blood in 2017: the #1 reason people voted for Emmanuel Macron was to block Marine Le Pen, but the #2 most-stated reason was to sweep both mainstream parties out from entrenched power – it worked spectacularly well against the Socialist Party.

The United States is far more more prone to hysterical fear-mongering than the cool and politically-experienced French, and “never Trump derangement syndrome” does help explain why there isn’t a similar “cast your vote to kill the mainstream party” movement like France had in 2017. Of course, votes for Trump in the 2016 Republican primaries were made for precisely this reason – this is totally forgotten/covered-up/ignored/misunderstood in 2020 USA.

Such a movement is certainly good sense (which American leftists rarely have), though, as well as political justice.

Yet it seems impossible to imagine someone like Nancy Pelosi – eating her $13 ice cream while getting an illegal high-class haircut – wouldn’t be made the fall-guy (“fall-guyx”?) for yet another Democratic debacle, but was there any change whatsoever after Hillary’s loss?

Is there any doubt that a Biden win wouldn’t see Hillary taking a top cabinet post, replete with royal re-coronation media coverage? Hillary’s certain return is never, ever discussed here because it would obviously turn many voters away from the Democrats in disgust, even though she’s already said she’s ready to join Biden’s administration. A vote for Biden is indeed a vote for Hillary.

But when did Democratic Party leadership ever care about being popular among the masses?

They don’t have to care because the reality is that the American system is incredibly undemocratic at the upper level. Maybe at the local levels we can talk about a face-off between a small town’s two richest lawyers as being a marginally democratic election, but at the top the American system is a most-rigid Politburo dominated by politicians, lobbyist-connected generals and billionaires who never even paid lip service to ideals which weren’t grasping Western individualism, self-righteous arrogance and realpolitik greed.

Forty years ago Democrats in Detroit and in the farming Delta may have said things which condemned those obvious flaws in the neo-aristocratic (bourgeois) US model, but now Democrats only say such things at election time. Take, for example, the discussions about African-American reparations during the Democratic primaries – LOL, no top Democrat has talked about that since Biden’s victory, and they won’t again… until 2024.

Cynically insist all you want that the Democratic Party, the oldest voter-based party in the world, is too entrenched, too privileged and has had too long to game the system in order to ever pay the price for such phony politics, but history says otherwise – just ask France’s fake-leftists.

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.

قراءة في المشهد السياسيّ الأميركيّ عشيّة الانتخابات… السيناريوات المرتقبة (2)

زياد حافظ

في الجزء السابق شرحنا عوامل الاضطراب السياسي التي تشهده الولايات المتحدة عشية الانتخابات المقبلة في تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 2020. وحالة الاضطراب تتفاقم حيث التشنّج الذي يسود الفريقين المتنافسين ينذر بعواقب وخيمة قد تدمّر بنية النظام وحتى أسس الكيان الأميركي. قد يعتبر البعض أن هذا الكلام مبالَغ به، ولكن هذا ما نقرأه في العديد من المواقع الإلكترونية ومن آراء يبديها مسؤولون سابقون وباحثون مرموقون. والخطورة تكمن في السيناريوهات المرتقبة لليوم التالي بعد الانتخابات.

أعرب الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب في أكثر من مناسبة كما أعرب مسؤولون في الحزب الديمقراطي عن عدم تقبّله (تقبّلهم!) لنتائج الانتخابات إذا أدت إلى هزيمته أو هزيمتهم! قد يكون هذا الكلام نوعاً من التهويل لشدّ عصب المناصرين، لكن هناك سيناريوات حقيقية فد تفرض نفسها ليلة الانتخاب وتتراوح في الحد الأدنى بين عدم اعلان من هو الفائز بسبب التأخير في فرز أصوات الناخبين الذين اختاروا الاقتراع عبر البريد وبين حد أقصى يرفض النتائج ويطعن بها في المحاكم الاتحادية ما يكرّس الفراغ في رأس الهرم. هذا من باب الواقع الذي يحظى بشبه إجماع عند مختلف المراقبين والمحلّلين عند الطرفين المتنافسين. فما هي السيناريوات الممكنة في هذه الحال؟

السيناريو الأول هو وجود فراغ في رأس الهرم السياسي. لم يلحظ الدستور الأميركي لآلية لفض نوع كهذا من النزاع لأن الآباء المؤسسين لم يعتقدوا في يوم من الأيام أن الجمهورية الفتية قد تصل إلى هذا المأزق. الدستور الأميركي حدّد آلية لانتقال الحكم في حال حدوث فراغ مفاجئ في رأس السلطة. فنائب الرئيس يتولّى زمام الأمور حتى نهاية الولايات وتقام عندئذ انتخابات. في حال حدوث فراغ في الرئاسة ونيابة الرئاسة يلحظ الدستور أن رئيس مجلس الممثلين يتولّى زمام الأمور. في حال شغور أو غياب ذلك يتولى رئيس مجلس الشيوخ الموقت (رئيس الأكثرية) لأن دستورياً نائب رئيس الجمهورية هو رئيس مجلس الشيوخ الذي يفصل في التصويت في حال تعادل الأصوات في أي ملف أو قضية مطروحة. وفي حال غياب وأو شغور ذلك المنصب يتولى وزير الخارجية المسؤولية وفي حال غياب وزير الخارجية وهناك سلّم من التراتبية بين الوزراء في تولّي المسؤولية في حال الشغور. لكن جميع تلك الإجراءات تفترض أن الكونغرس بغرفتيه أي مجلس الشيوخ ومجلس الممثلين قائم. لكن في الحالة التي ستحصل فإن إمكانية تولّي رئيس مجلس الممثلين، في هذه الحال نانسي بيلوسي، قد لا تحصل لأن الطعن أو الطعون في نتائج الانتخابات قد لا تنحصر في الرئاسة بل أيضاً في مجلس الممثلين ومجلس الشيوخ. حال التشنج التي وصلت إليه الولايات المتحدة تجعل من هذا الاحتمال إمكانية حقيقية. أي بمعنى آخر هناك احتمال حقيقي ومرتقب بأن يحصل الفراغ بسبب عدم حسم أو قبول نتائج الانتخابات.

في السيناريو الثاني، ينحصر التنازع فقط حول منصب الرئاسة ويتولّى عندئذ رئيس مجلس الممثلين الرئاسة الموقتة حتى تحسم المحكمة الدستورية العليا نتائج الانتخاب. المحكمة العليا هي مكوّنة اليوم من خمسة محافظين وأربعة ليبراليين في ميولهم الفكرية. ليسوا منتسبين إلى أي حزب لكن من الواضح أن الميل المحافظ يسيطر عموماً على قرارات وأحكام المحكمة. لكن حكمت المحكمة مؤخراً في قضية مثيرة للجدل حول المتحوّلين جنسياً لصالح الموقف الليبرالي ما أدهش الجميع. الصوت المرجّح كان صوت رئيس المحكمة الذي يُعرف عنه أنه محافظ. وهناك تساؤلات حول ذلك “التصويت” الذي يؤكّد على “استقلالية” القرار بينما البعض يعتبر أن ذلك التصويت هو لمنع الاتهام بالانحياز السياسي في فصل قضية الطعن في الانتخابات الرئاسية. إذاً، في مطلق الأحوال يعود إلى المحكمة الدستورية مسؤولية الفصل. لكن ليس هناك من ضمانة أن المتنافسين سيقبلون بالحكم ونعود عند ذلك الحين إلى السيناريو الأول.

السيناريو الثالث، وهو الأكثر خطورة، هو عدم تقبّل أي من الفريقين النتائج مهما كانت المرجعيات. ماذا في تلك الحال؟ هذا يعني أزمة دستورية، فأزمة نظام، وفي آخر المطاف أزمة كيان. في هذا السياق نشير إلى تحذير بول كريغ روبرتس، مساعد وزير الخزانة السابق في عهد رونالد ريغان، وهو اقتصادي معروف له مؤلفات عدّة وصاحب مدوّنة واسعة الانتشار. تحذير روبرتس واضح: الولايات المتحدة لديها شهران قبل أن تنهار بسبب الفراغ الذي سيحصل بسبب عدم قبول نتائج الانتخابات. كاتب آخر مات اهرهت يذهب أبعد من ذلك ويشير إلى سيناريوات حرب في عدد من مراكز الأبحاث حول احتمالات انقلاب عسكري ضد الرئيس الأميركي في حال رفض خروجه من البيت الأبيض.

مركز “مشروع التماسك الانتقاليّ” مركز أبحاث مستحدث (2019) وتموّله وفقاً للباحثة ويتني واب مجموعة مكوّنة من كلنتون، جورج سوروس، وعدد من رؤساء الشركات الكبرى كفايس بوك وميكروسوفت وغوغل ولينكدين واي باي على سبيل المثال. واجهة ذلك المركز روزا بروكس محاضرة في جامعة جورج تاون والعقيد لورانس ويلكرسون المدير السابق لكولن بأول عندما كان وزيراً للخارجية. أما المساهمون في البحوث لذلك المركز فيه ثلّة من كبار المحافظين الجدد كوليام كريستول ودافيد فروم. أنشئ المركز لمواجهة التحدّيات التي فرضتها الثورة التكنولوجية في التواصل وتأثيرها على المجتمعات. لكن بالفعل أنشئ لغرض واحد وهو لخلق مناخات ثورية ملوّنة ولتهيئة الأجواء لانقلاب عسكري ضد ترامب. وقد تمّت “تجربة” ذلك المشروع عبر نشاط أحد العاملين بها في حملة لإقصاء برني سندرز من الفوز في التسمية الترشيح عن الحزب الديمقراطي. المسؤول عن تلك الحملة الناجحة وفقاً لويتني واب هو ريد هوفمان. كما أن المموّلين الآخرين كاريك شميدت رئيس شركة غوغل وبيار اوميدفار رئيس شركة أي باي من المقرّبين جدّا لبيل وهيلاري كلنتون وكانوا أيضاً وراء الإطاحة ببرني سندرز لمصلحة جوزيف بايدن. والآن يستعدّون للإطاحة بدونالد ترامب.

ما يعزّز فرص ذلك المشروع هو العلاقة الوطيدة بين القيادات العسكرية العليا في البنتاغون ومجمع المؤسسات التابعة للمجمع العسكري الصناعي الأمني والمالي والمعلوماتي. تفيد دراسة أجريت مؤخراً ونشرته محطّة “روسيا اليوم” أن في فترة 2008-2018 تمّ توظيف 380 ضابطاً رفيع المستوى في شركات مقاولة في الدفاع، من بينهم 68 لواء و32 أميرالاً ونائب أميرال. ويضيف الباحث مات اهرهت أن عدداً من القيادات العاملة في الجيش الأميركي معروف بتشدّدهم تجاه الحروب ويعارضون بشكل واضح الرئيس الأميركي لقراراته بالانسحاب من أفغانستان والعراق وسورية. هذا ما دفع الرئيس الأميركي للتصريح الأخير له بحق المؤسسة العسكرية أن القيادة العسكرية تكرهه بينما القاعدة أي الجنود يحبّونه. ويعتبر أن مصلحة القيادات العسكرية هي فوق مصلحة البلاد ويصرّون على التورّط في حروب لا منفعة منها للولايات المتحدة سوى إثراء الشركات المقاولة التي تجني أرباحاً طائلة.

بالتوازي مع تهيئة الأجواء لإجراء انقلاب عسكري في حال استمر الرئيس الأميركي في البيت الأبيض هناك أيضاً خطر آخر يهدّد التماسك الداخلي الأميركي. لقد حذر مدير المكتب الاتحادي للتحقيقات (اف بي أي) في جلسة استماع في الكونغرس من تنامي الميليشيات المسلّحة من البيض والسود وأن الاحتكاكات قد تحصل في أي لحظة. في السياق نفسه عرضت محطة أي تي في البريطانية تقريراً مصوّراً للميليشيات السود التي تنتشر في العديد من المدن الأميركية.

ويعتبر العديد من المراقبين الأميركيين أن تصاعد أعمال الشغب والعنف أعمال مبرمجة هدفها تهيئة مناخ لفرض الأحكام العرفية وتبرير تدخل القوّات المسلّحة لفرض أمر واقع سياسي جديد. هذا ما يحذّر منها أيضاً بول كريغ روبرتس وآخرون خاصة أن التقارير تتكاثر حول محاضرات يلقيها ضبّاط كبار حول ضرورة إمساك الوضع.

سردنا هذه المعلومات وليست كلّها في ذلك الموضوع وفحوى تقارير حول المناخ السائد في الولايات المتحدة للتأكيد أن الخريف سيكون ساخناً للغاية وقديمتد إلى الربيع. ليس بمقدور أحد أن يتكهّن عما ستسفر عليه الأمور وإن كان بعض المحلّلين لا يخفون تشاؤمهم حول تماسك الولايات المتحدة. ليس في الأفق من يستطيع أن يعيد توحيد الولايات المتحدة في ظل أزمة اقتصادية بنيوية وحالة اجتماعية متفسّخة يسودها التعصّب والعنصرية. كما أن الطبقة السياسية في معظمها مرتبطة بالاوليغارشية المالية والمجمع العسكري الصناعي والأمني والمالي وبالتالي التغيير من الداخل قد يصبح مستعصياً. وانهيار الدولة يعني انهيار المجتمع. فالدولة أقوى من المجتمع في الولايات المتحدة وبالتالي المصير سيكون مجهولاً. الولايات المتحدة تدخل اليوم في حقبة لا استقرار بنيوياً قد ينسف مكانتها في العالم إن لم ينسف وجودها في الداخل.

*كاتب وباحث اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي.

قراءة في المشهدالسياسي الأميركي عشية الانتخابات (1)

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

September 16, 2020

By Godfree Roberts selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

This week’s selection includes a separate explanation on just how the Chinese Communist Party and Government operates.  For those that visit these weekly Sitreps to learn, this may put an end to the regular discussion items of just how bad the CCP is.  You did know that China has six political parties, did you?  The people that I’ve consulted say the following:  China’s system works for China.  We do not suggest you adopt our system, so, there is no reason for you to insist we adopt yours.

From a regular Twitter Feed by ShangaiPanda, here is how it actually works, by meritocracy.  What this means is that Xi Jinping for example already had 40 years experience in governing, before he was both selected, and elected to his position.

From Godfree’s newsletter which is just brimming with interesting items this week, we’ve selected items about:

  • space,
  • Islam, communism and the BRI,
  • trade war and trade deficit,
  • and a highly educational piece by ‘Chairman Rabbit’, who analyses America from a Chinese perspective.

On studying China it is good to remember that unlike many other countries, China as a country holds together from two perspectives, a long lasting civilizational unity, as well as a sovereign state.


 Space – high technology that is green technology

China has safely landed a reusable spacecraft which it claims will provide a “convenient and inexpensive” method of getting to and from space. The craft launched on September 4th and landed on September 6th after spending two days in orbit, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency. Very little is known about the spacecraft, including even its basic design. There are no picture or renders of the craft, but there have been rumors it is a spaceplane similar to the Air Force’s X-37B. A Chinese military source told the South China Morning Post they could not provide details on the mission but that “maybe you can take a look at the US X-37B.”[MORE]

Islam, Communism and the BRI

The significance of having 52 Muslim countries (37.6%) that comprise 87.5 per cent of World Muslims in the BRI alliance, is not lost on the United States and its allies who are not particularly pro-Islam, which may explain their sudden interest to ‘care’ about the plight of Muslims in Xinjiang! Soon after the Bolshevik uprisings, Communism and Islam seemed destined to liberate the Muslim world from European Imperialism, but that was not to be due to their ideological differences. This presented an opportunity to the United States and its allies, where they coopted anti-Communist Jihadism to disrupt Communism.  This had the unintended consequence of being the impetus for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which presented the U.S. and its allies with new challenges.

Soon after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, Communism and Islam were the impetus for revolutions against European imperialism in Egypt, Iraq, India, Caucasus and Central Asia, and the Indonesian Archipelago. However, divergent views about Communism proved divisive among Muslims (who are also quite divergent in their theological interpretations of Islam) and this quasi- ideological alliance was all over by the onset of the Cold War.  Those irrevocable divisions may have been due to the essence of Islam’s socio-economic and political system.  It is more consultative (‘Shoura’ or democratic theocracy) and entrepreneurial in nature, which is more compatible with social democracy and capitalism, than with communism’s autocratic state planned economy.

The other reason for such failure is the proactive role of the United States (and some Western Europeans, like Britain and France) in using Christian missionaries and NGOs in intelligence gathering while spreading Christianity in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. In the 1970s, it was revealed that the CIA sponsored missionaries in Kerala and Nagaland to not only block the advance of Communism in India, but also to establish sufficient tensions between India and China and prevent any regional stability that continues to our present day.

In the 1980s, the CIA’s material support to the Afghan Mujahideen (and by default the Afghan Arabs, like Osama Bin Laden and his followers, who were rounded up from the different Arab and Muslim countries by their intelligence services and sent to Afghanistan, via Pakistan for their paramilitary training by the ISI, in the hope that they would never come back) only exacerbated extremist violence ever since. In the 1990s, the predominantly Muslim former Soviet Republics of Central Asia; Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and other Islamic countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan opened their doors to Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi Islam (probably with the ‘blessings’ of the CIA).

This resulted in an upsurge of Islamist fundamentalism and separatist movements in central Asia, like al-Qaeda affiliated Turkestan Islamic Party(TIP), Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), which have presented a challenge to China and others in the region. Since the rise of anti-Communist Jihadism in the 1980s and its coopetition by the Anglo-Americans to disrupting Communism ever since may have been the impetus for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The $8 trillion investment by China in its bold, innovative and strategic Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) alliances with 138 countries comprising 51.7% of world GDP offers an infrastructure backbone of maritime, land and digital trade alliances. The BRI alliances represent 4.8 billion people (61.7%) of the world population.  Of which an estimated 1.4 billion (29.2%) identify as Muslim and are part of the 52 member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), including all 22 Arab countries.

China’s BRI strategic alliances with Arabic and Muslim countries can only help neutralise the existential threat of global Islamist fundamentalism in the long-term by spreading economic prosperity and alleviating poverty. Also, it will not only bring prosperity and stability to China’s underdeveloped north-western part (Xinjiang holds 1.33% of China’s population and contributes 1.35% to China’s GDP), but also to (its ideological partner in the new world order) Russia, and other BRI partners on its western border.

Coupled with technological innovations in global cross-border trade and finance, the BRI projects would no doubt accelerate global economic growth and revive China’s historical legacy in boosting entrepreneurships without compromising necessary protections of the weak. Those infrastructure-driven alliances are building a global community with a shared future for mankind.  This is so important at a time when our world is divided by poverty, crippling national debts and the rise of ultra-nationalism.

The clash of civilizations, anti-(Muslim)-refugees’ sentiment and Islamophobia are just symptoms of the rise in white supremacism and alt-right extremism sweeping the Anglo-American and European nations. Those groups subscribe to a conspiracy theory of cultural and population replacement or nativism, where white European populations are being replaced with non-Europeans (predominantly Muslim Arabs from Syria and elsewhere) due to the complicity of ‘replacist’ elites.

For example, the ‘Génération Identitaire’ (GI) movement in France, which considers itself a ‘defender’ of the European civilization has affiliated youth groups in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.  This heightened sense of ultra-nationalism is driving Western democratic politics away from economic concerns, in favour of issues related to culture and identity. No doubt, Anglo-American and European anxieties about China’s technological, economic and geopolitical dominance may be rooted in their innate fears about being displaced by an Asian culture and the potential spread of Socialism with Chinese characteristics to the 138 countries that joined the BRI alliances, after having spent a good part of over 70 years fighting Communism.

America’s continued rise as a world power—from the 1890s through the Cold War—and its bid to extend its hegemony deep into the twenty-first century through a fusion of cyberwar, space warfare, trade pacts, and military alliances – is now limited by the reality that it has to dismantle China’s BRI alliances as it did to the USSR. This is why the ‘five eyes’ alliance is going on the offensive with (a) sanctions and visa restrictions for Chinese officials, (b) bans on China’s technological 5G innovations (Huawei, Tik Tok and WeChat under the guise of ‘National Security’ concerns), (c) tariffs trade wars, and (d) a particular focus on ‘human rights’ in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

The significance of having 52 Muslim countries (37.6%) that comprise 87.5 per cent of World Muslims in the BRI alliance, is not lost on the United States and its allies who are not particularly pro-Islam, which may explain their sudden interest to ‘care’ about the plight of Muslims in Xinjiang! Thus, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the sole purpose of those disruptive policies by the “five-eyes” alliance is to intensify the global anti-China sentiment that is already aggravated due to COVID-19, and to inflame Muslim sentiment in particular, so as to torpedo China’s largest economic and geopolitical Belt and Road alliances.[MORE] [George Mickhail is an LSE trained academic and a geopolitical risk analyst with 30 years’ experience in major global accounting firms and business schools.]

Trade War and Trade Deficit

The US trade deficit with China widened in July – an embarrassing situation for President Trump, who Taiwan’s Liberty Times said had been left  with a ‘green face’ (a crude expression that makes plain this is a bad outcome for him). When the US President campaigned four years ago, he strongly accused China of seizing American wealth in what he hailed as “the biggest theft in history.” After his election, he maintained this position against China. However, the latest data will hardly please him. The United States had a $31.6 billion trade deficit with China in July, which was an 11.5% increase from June. The paper noted that before the outbreak of the coronavirus, the US trade deficit with China was narrowing, but it has gradually expanded since the epidemic spread. Data released by the US Census Bureau on Thursday showed that the trade deficit with China in Q2 increased by 36.8% compared to Q1. The deficit in July was 4.36% larger than that in July 2016.[MORE]

‘Chairman Rabbit’ Analyzes America

Editor’s Note: Tu Zhuxi (Chairman Rabbit) is the nom de plume of Ren Yi, a Harvard-educated Chinese blogger who has amassed more than 1.6 million followers on Weibo who seek out his political commentary, much of which falls under a genre we might facetiously call “America-watching.” 

Today, I scrolled through the interview Professor Ezra Feivel Vogel gave with the Global Times: “90 year-old Professor Vogel: Unfortunately, there is a possibility of armed confrontation between the United States and China.” The veteran professor—who has researched China and East Asia all his life and promoted the development of ties between the United States and China—conveyed intense unease after witnessing two years of sharp downturn in Sino-U.S. relations under the Trump Administration. He could not bear not to air his concerns. 

This interview comes at an opportune time. As you can see, I have excerpted a short comment from the interview. This excerpt perfectly echoes the content I have wanted to expand on these last two days:

Vogel: There is a new article in the Atlantic magazine by James Fallows that gives the most comprehensive explanation of what has happened. And it clearly is the Trump administration.

Before the coronavirus, there had been plans in earlier administrations for dealing with an epidemic. We had a good overall plan. Trump did not use those plans at all. He even acted when he first heard about the coronavirus pandemic as if there was not a big problem. So things were delayed. It clearly is Trump’s responsibility.

At the time of writing, the United States has around 3.8 million confirmed cumulative cases, 140,000 deaths, and a daily increase of about 64 thousand cases. The diagnosis of experts and intellectuals around the United States: this is all due to the Trump Administration.

First of all, the United States’ so-called “good overall plan” for epidemic response was targeted towards a type of infectious disease that resembles the flu in infectiousness, hazard, and lethality. The United States after all has quite a few documentaries and special television programming about pandemics, and every year in every corner of the country drills are held about pandemics, but all of these were with the assumptions of a flu-like disease. COVID-19 was not within the expectations of an American plan for epidemic response, and indeed was beyond the response plan of every country in regard to an infectious disease with respiratory transmission. COVID-19 is an especially potent epidemic, a disease with an extraordinarily high death rate. The epidemic response plan that the United States currently had in place was entirely insufficient for COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci brought up this topic several times in the last few months, especially in the early stages of the epidemic: the American system and design is either insufficient or entirely ineffectual against COVID-19. Dr. Fauci was speaking only from the standpoint of public hygiene and healthcare system and his analysis did not broaden past these considerations.

I have been following the news, media, and commentaries of the U.S. right and left. Criticisms of the epidemic response have generally been from Democratic Party, anti-Trump, and/or liberal-aligned intellectuals. Even after several months, I have rarely encountered essays or discussions that analyze in-depth the full extent of the difficulties facing the U.S. COVID-19 response by synthesizing broader observations on the nation’s political system, society, governance, culture, and economy.

Basically, all the analyses have taken the question and subsumed it under the issue of “political leadership”—usually pointing towards the President, the White House, and state governors. The majority of these analyses lay blame onto the very person of Trump.

Basically, all the analyses have taken the question and subsumed it under the issue of “political leadership”—usually pointing towards the President, the White House, and state governors. The majority of these analyses lay blame onto the very person of Trump.

According to this logic, the reason for the U.S.’s weak response to the epidemic is Trump and Trump alone. If only there was only another person in charge, the U.S. could have defeated COVID-19.

Readers who follow me should know my methods well: I have always begun my analyses from a sociological point of view. How could the U.S. use influenza as the primary lens to understand COVID-19, and how did this understanding influence the U.S.’s subsequent responsive actions? I have since wrote many essays on this topic, for example my April 1st, 2020 essay: “Can the United States Shut Down Entire Cities and Thoroughly Practice Social Distancing Like China? A Discussion of American Exceptionalism” (link in Chinese).

In that piece, I argue that due to the U.S. political and legal system, enacting a comprehensive and stringent social distancing program, including measures such as quarantining cities, is simply not possible.

In the next few months, I will continue my analysis and extend towards the political level. Not too long ago, I collected a few writings into this listicle: “13 Reasons for the Ineffectual Response towards COVID-19 of the United States and ‘Society Construction’ During an Epidemic” (link in Chinese).

I summarized thirteen reasons for the U.S.’s weak response to the epidemic:

  1. Government system: the separation of powers between the federal, state, and local governments
  2. Government system: the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judiciary bodies
  3. Wide racial and class disparities
  4. A culture that understands individualism as a cardinal virtue, even to the point of opposing social or collective interests
  5. An overwhelmingly one-sided emphasis on political and civil rights
  6. “Gun culture”: the spirit of Manifest Destiny, rugged individualism, and militarism
  7. “Bible culture” and anti-intellectualism
  8. A pluralistic society without common understanding or consensuses
  9. A government and media that intensifies rather than ameliorates social tensions
  10. A values system that does not respect the elderly and does not assign elders special protections
  11. Family structures which are not suited to fighting against COVID-19
  12. The precarious economic situation of the United States’ middle and lower classes (like walking on a tightrope, i.e. living from paycheck to paycheck or credit problems)
  13. Other cultural factors, such as resistance against wearing masks

There are certainly many more reasons than the ones I have listed. But what I wish to express is that the U.S.’s weak response to the epidemic is the combined result of political, legal, social, cultural, economic, and other factors. The White House, as one of the holders of broad public authority (the executive section of the federal government), has in fact significantly limited power over this broader structural context.

The U.S. cannot manage stringent social distancing, large-scale quarantines of cities, nor restrictions on interstate travel. Health QR codes on mobile devices are entirely impossible with citizens’ insistence on privacy protections. A vast society led primarily by individualism and anti-intellectualism can hardly speak of epidemic management. These factors are not problems that can be resolved with the changing of a president. I believe that even if it were Obama, Hillary, or Biden as president, they would not be able to reverse the tide of the battle against COVID-19, even if they would be slightly more effective—for instance if they had taken the initiative and emphasized the importance of masks. This is because fighting an epidemic does not depend on the lobbying or practices of a president, but rather on the public health and prevention system of an entire country, one which from top to bottom must act in unity and move together. Public authority must comprehensively, effectively, and consistently implement policies (such that each locality will not have its own variant policies), and also cannot allow any level of the judiciary to interfere in the problems of any level of government. On the balance between citizen and society, preparations must absolutely be made to cede rights to the collective. “Political and civil rights” must in these times yield way.

The very design of U.S. political and legal institutions is meant to inhibit collective rights. Balance of powers is at the core of American governance. Political and civil rights are the bedrock of American political values. To deny these values equates to the very denial of the U.S.’s fundamental being.

The very design of U.S. political and legal institutions is meant to inhibit collective rights.

Therefore, to take the U.S.’s weak response to the epidemic and shove it at “political leadership” and at the feet of Trump is not merely skin-deep, but avoids the real problem and focuses on easy answers. It is simply not looking at the substance of the situation.

For several months I have followed U.S. political commentaries on the left and right, and I can confirm I have not seen any analysis of depth. The overwhelming majority of analyses are overly narrow and concrete, pointing at an individual perhaps. Rare is the person who can leap outside the U.S. political structure and carry out a detailed assessment from a third point-of-view. Why? I summarize two reasons:

(1) Americans are sort of like the baffled participant in a game; sometimes the onlookers see more of the game than the players. Americans honestly believe that the American system is exceptional, the best in the world. This is an earnest and steadfast faith, an authentic “self-confidence in path, self-confidence in principles, self-confidence in system, self-confidence in culture” [the “Four Self-Confidences” of Xi Jinping Thought]. They simply cannot bring themselves to doubt or oppose the American system. Since the American system is perfect, once the epidemic creates problems, by the process of elimination, Americans reason that the problem must stem only from electing the right or wrong politician. From this line of thought, pick out the one who has the most power: this is Trump’s fault. After him, perhaps we blame the governor of Florida, DeSantis. This is about as deep as the majority of Americans introspect.

(2) Criticizing the American system is a serious political error. It’s taboo. This is because it is anti-American, “unpatriotic,” “un-American.” It is a stance that doubts the very foundations of the United States. So when there is an elephant in the room in regards to the American system, everybody can see it but dare not speak up. I believe that the majority of people do not even see this elephant in the room because they have been so thoroughly brainwashed by the perfection of the American system. It is only a minority of people who can see this. These people very well could be Democrats or liberal intellectuals. This small number of people aware of reality cannot point out the elephant, however, even if they can see it. This is because pointing it out cannot change the situation on the ground, yet will still result in censure and criticism. One would rather polish a cannonball and lob it at Trump.

In summary, if we compare China with the United States, we would discover an interesting phenomenon.

When Chinese people criticize, they are accustomed to focusing criticisms on the system. “Systemic problem.” “Systemic-ism .” Even though there are indeed problems at the individual level, these problems are thoroughly rooted in the larger system. “Because the system produced this type of person,” “because the system could not restrain or check this particular person.” At any rate, any analysis fundamentally leads back to systemic problems.

When American people criticize, it is focusing the problem onto the physical body of an individual politician. It is not the system at fault, because the system is already perfect or close to perfect, so it can only be a problem birthed from the politician: this pundit’s personality is bad, their abilities did not cut it. All criticisms are of this sort. With that, if an impotent pundit is continuously elected or re-elected—for instance if Trump is re-elected, then this is a problem of the voters. But at this time, the analysis simply cannot proceed further. In the calculus of American political values, the political values of every person are equal: one cannot belittle the voters. In 2016 during the presidential race, Hillary Clinton belittled Trump’s supporters and faced an overwhelmingly negative backlash, costing her the ultimate price (this could perhaps be why she lost the presidential race). What is left then is to criticize the political influence of the media, campaign funding, and interest groups. But even here the analysis must end. Within the proscribed limits of the dialogue, it is easy to enter into another level of analysis—for example, could it be that the U.S. electoral system has fundamental faults? If one gets to this level, it touches upon the very body of U.S. democracy and its electoral system. One would be entering a live mine zone, teetering on the edge of political error.

In this sort of environment, Americans naturally will avoid hard problems and search for easy answers. They will not explore systemic problems, but rather focus their entire attention on electoral solutions.

Under this existing electoral process, one can only, perhaps, push their preferred candidate onto the political stage and wish only for their own candidate to ascend to the office, so that in the next few years that candidate can advance their own political programs and thereby protect the interests of the candidate’s supporters. In this sort of environment, Americans naturally will avoid hard problems and search for easy answers. They will not explore systemic problems, but rather focus their entire attention on electoral solutions.

Therefore, American politics are entirely driven by the short-term. They will look at long-term problems as a certainty before avoiding them, exerting only in order to resolve short-term problems. Even though there are scholars and intellectuals who can produce long-term analyses of wide historical and societal scale, this sort of analysis remains locked in the library and Ivory Towers, away from the stain of political practice.

The American “Revolution”

In the week after the conclusion of the 2016 election in the United States, Democratic primary candidate Bernie Sanders published his book Our Revolution. As everybody knows, 2016 was the contest between Trump and Clinton. Yet Bernie Sanders was the more extreme, more left (called a “socialist”) candidate of the Democratic Party, who was ultimately knocked out by the mainstream Clinton in the primaries. But he retains many fans among the Democratic Party’s “progressive wing”, including many youth. In his book, he introduced his thoughts as well as his explanations and analyses on all sorts of issues of the day, including the wealth gap, race relations, environmental problems, healthcare problems, the problem of media and interest groups binding politics, gender pay disparity, and the problem of Wall Street and big corporations.

Sanders’ diagnosis of American problems intersects with Trump: it is only that while Sander’s target audience was quite broad (for example, minorities, vulnerable groups, and women), Trump’s was much more parochial. On similar problems, Trump would provide right-wing resolutions to his limited audience of voters, but Sanders provided left-wing resolutions to his broad audiences—because of this, he was smeared as a “socialist”. Of course, during Sander’s entire campaign, there remained an unspeakable doubt: that is, can a big-city Jewish American ‘elite’ from Brooklyn, New York actually win the votes to be elected as President of the United States? This same problem may apply to Michael Bloomberg. To date, it seems this question answers in the negative.

But I do not wish to talk about Sanders’ propositions or ethnicity, but rather his slogan: “Our Revolution”.

“Our Revolution” has now become a left-wing action organization with roots in the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign, and it continues to organize movements within the Democratic Party and in other broader social contexts.

“Our Revolution” has three key actions: “Win on our issues,” “Transform the Democratic Party,” and “Elect progressives up and down the ballot.”

It is of note that Sanders is the most mainstream American politician to date to support the idea of a revolution. However, what I wish to point out to Chinese readers is that this concept of “revolution” is nothing more than propagating his own thoughts and policy proposals to a wider audience, in order to get his own people elected and achieve electoral success himself.

People more familiar with Chinese political discourse should know the difference between “revolution” and “reform.”

Revolution is overturning and starting over again: toppling the old system and the old order, and constructing a new system. Revolution is often violent, of great force, compelled, and refuses to abide by the present system. From the standpoint of Marxism, revolution is class struggle, a fiery worker’s movement. From the standpoint of Leninism, it is a violent movement. From the standpoint of Mao Zedong:

“A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.”

In the Chinese context, and indeed in the majority of cultural and social contexts, “revolution” is an intense action: revolution demands the overthrowing of the present system. Abiding by the present system, or moving within the current system and order, can only be reform.

But it is different in the United States. In the United States, challenging and overthrowing the system is taboo. It is simply impossible. This is because the American system is considered sacred, perfect. It is only particular individuals who have problems, only particular problems that cannot be handled well. The system itself has no problems. Therefore, all actions can only be carried out within the purview of what the system allows. The only path is by election—use a successful election to construct the starting point and foundations of societal change.

The American system is considered sacred, perfect. It is only particular individuals who have problems, only particular problems that cannot be handled well. The system itself has no problems.

Because of this, in the political rhetoric of Bernie Sanders, we see not a radical revolution or transformation, but a complete obedience to the American system. Due to the American people’s 100% approval and obedience to the system, any possibilities that people may have substantive critique or doubts vis-à-vis the system are cut off, and no action can be taken. The American system has completely limited their space for movement. Even “radicals” similarly can only raise high the banner of the American system, and can only work and influence society within designated limits: by pushing their own candidates in elections.

A few weeks ago, the police brutality case of George Floyd caused massive numbers of Americans to take to the streets and protest without ceasing.

Yet have we seen any protestor put out protest against the very structure of America’s political system, institutions, and government? Will there be any person who comes and burn the Constitution? Burn the American flag? Will there be any person who will put forth concrete plans of actions towards subversion?

There wasn’t any. The protestors could only protest a few “conditions.” Each path towards resolution is diverted back into elections.

The United States uses the separation of powers mechanism to spread the vast majority of social contradictions among the politicians of the various local jurisdictions. Through the possibility of election, in order to resolve these contradictions, the people complain while pointing at the politicians, not the institutions themselves. In the end, the people believe they hold the power and can influence politics through the vote, carrying on their lives under this sort of hope.

The most awe-inspiring politics indeed is this: one in which people believe they have the power and thus maintain steadfast hope in the future, while at the same time changing nothing about the current situation.

A few weeks ago, when riots erupted all around the United States, Secretary of State Pompeo could still proudly boast and simultaneously demean China: Wehave freedom of assembly, expression, and freedom to protest.

The American system has already developed to this point: simply give the people freedom of expression and freedom to protest so that they can feel themselves righteous and superior, after which they may do as they wish.

I have before written an essay “From ‘Moral Licensing’ and ‘black-clad warriors’ to the ‘Sick People of Hong Kong’” in which I explained the concept of moral licensing:

“People believe that if they had prior done something good, they can then possibly condone themselves (or even indulge themselves) when in the future they do something not as good (even actions that do not conform to one’s own or the public’s moral standards).”

The circumstances surrounding the system of the U.S. are such: if we allow people expression, allow them to freely scold the government, this grants the people “political and civil rights.” This itself grants the American system moral superiority; it is the ends not the means. Afterwards, the government need not do anything further: “half-heartedly listen yet decide to do nothing.” That there have been so many racial conflicts and riots in the past few decades demonstrates that this kind of “expression” does not bring any substantive political transformation. American society has not experienced any fundamental changes. The people who can bear it no more cannot help but take to the streets after many a hard years.

The U.S.’s electoral system is a systemic, national form of “moral licensing”:

First, it grants people the right to vote, grants people a few nominal political and civil rights, allowing the people to feel that they have power and agency and thereby perceive moral self-satisfaction.

Afterwards, the politicians and elites can recount the greatness and glory of the system, right and proper as it is. “We allow African Americans to go out on the streets! So our system is progressive.” “We had Obama as president, how can our society be discriminatory against African Americans?”

The first stage of American politics is taking “the right to express concerns” and equating it with “measures to resolve the problem.” I allowed you to express your opinion, so all is well.

The second stage of American politics is taking “the right to express concerns” and using it as legitimization for “tacit allowance of the bad.” I allowed you to express your opinion, and I even allowed a black president, so what are you babbling about?

As one can see, the separation of powers and electoral system in the United States has created a perfect “cognitive trap” — people believe that this system can endlessly empower individuals and provide limitless potential and possibilities, that it can change anything. This system is in fact like a black hole, taking all the potential and sucking it in and dispelling it — even if it means there will be no changes in reality.

This system is in fact like a black hole, taking all the potential and sucking it in and dispelling it — even if it means there will be no changes in reality.

I believe that there will not be an insurrection in the U.S. because there is no power in the U.S. that can overturn or transform the American system. The American system is too powerful, it can already change the meaning of words: turning “revolution” into reforms hemmed in by the limits of the electoral system. This is indeed an extraordinarily powerful system.

Only an enormous outside pressure can cause the United States to change.

China is just such a pressure currently placed on the United States. In the beginning, the pressure was indistinct, unclear, but now it grows more apparent as China continues its rise.

Why Can’t America Criticize Its Own System?

Apart from “empowering” people, giving them the fantastic illusion of grasping political power and being able to influence it, the American electoral system is also importantly related to the system’s construction of an American person’s identity.

As I have written two days prior in the essay “Why the United States Does Not Understand China — From the Original Intention of the Communist Party of China, to European Civilization, to American Politics”, the United States is an multi-national country, assimilating many people from different ethnicities, nationalities, cultures, and societies. To bind these people together, a country cannot rely on blood ties, shared ethnicity, or shared culture, but instead on shared political values—the approval of the Constitution of the United States, and the approval of the foundational political values of the United States.

Political values and the American system: these two formulate the “national identity” of the United States.

Disavowing the American system is tantamount to disavowing the American national identity, necessarily meaning being anti-American.

Every civilization must construct its own foundations for national identity.

The national identities of European countries lay upon race, blood, and land, and, after, language and culture. Denying one’s race, blood, land, and language is to go against one’s own national character, and is hardly acceptable.

China is also multi-national, its national identity based more on culture and language; one able to integrate into the Chinese nation is one who can be accepted. Land is secondary, and ethnicity and blood ties may also be factors. But in summary, the inclusiveness of the Chinese people is quite potent, with ethnicity, blood ties, and other such factors relatively weak considerations. From the point-of-view of Chinese people, disavowing Chinese culture, history, tradition, or the perception of China’s territory and borders, is what it takes to disavow or be disloyal to China.

From the standpoint of the United States, ethnicity, blood, land, language, culture, and history are not key factors; only political values are. To disavow the American system is to disavow the American “nation.”

From the standpoint of any nationality, for one to deny their own national character is very much unacceptable, no matter if it is Europe, China, or the United States. The distinction from Europe and China is that the American nationality is built on the foundation of a political system and values.

In what circumstances then does a society or a nationality go against and disavow their own nationality?

I am currently of the belief that it is only in a cross-ethnic or transnational international setting where one could find serious frustrations which could produce such a self-disavowal.

Only in facing an enormous failure can there possibly be a self-disavowal, even a “self-hatred”.

China’s concept of nationality is built on culture and civilization. In the past two hundred years or so, China has suffered foreign invasion and bullying, thoroughly fell behind and received thrashings, and as a result came to doubt much of its own system and culture. This type of self-doubt and self-disavowal has persisted onto the present day. Chinese people tend to search for their own “inherent weaknesses” among their traditional culture.

Once the Chinese economy grew, and subsequently once its global standing rose, people began to change, becoming self-confident, and more were able to see the good aspects of Chinese traditional culture and contemporary societal practices.

The U.S. is similar. The American concept of national character is its own system and political value. Nothing short of a severe frustration of the American system, perhaps by China comprehensively catching up to or surpassing the United States, perhaps even failing in a competition or struggle with China, would possibly wake up the Americans to their senses. The basis for the United States’ own “four self-confidences” is its absolute leading role in the world for the past close to a century. The U.S.’s strength made people believe that the American system must be superior, and based on this they came to believe that America’s national character must be superior. The U.S. vigilantly guards against and attacks any other country that could challenge its national might, because any challenge would undermine the supposed superiority of the U.S.’s national character.

The U.S. vigilantly guards against and attacks any other country that could challenge its national might, because any challenge would undermine the supposed superiority of the U.S.’s national character.

If China one day rises and is to enter conflict with the United States and comes to outdo the American system, then for certain it would deal a huge blow to the self-confidence of the American people.

Only in such a time may the American people perhaps engage in deeper introspections on their system and models, and thereby possibly search for and implement necessary reforms.

I believe that American politics and society have extraordinarily powerful inertia and cannot initiate any self-led, self-directed adjustments in the short-term, unless there is outside pressure.

China’s rise is by now inevitable and will come to pressure the U.S. more as time goes on. At a certain point, the U.S. will be forced to confront and rethink their own system, to seek more changes and reforms. This is precisely like the period at the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s, in which the U.S. confronted the rise of Japan in industrial and commercial matters. Thus, the U.S. increasingly scrutinizing China is only a matter of time.

As China continues to grow stronger, its influence on international affairs will naturally grow larger as well. At the same time, the United States will experience a relative decline, its soft power and political influence around the world will face relative decline as well. China can indeed throw out or act as a challenge, check, or supplement (the terminology is not important) to the American model in the future, and proceed on a path distinct from that of the West.

The path China takes will also influence the course of human development in the future, and indeed may be a course we will get to see in our lifetimes.

Finally, if there is a lesson that China must draw from the U.S. concerning principles of political systems, it must be that we must constantly remember to remain humble. Under no circumstances can we allow ourselves to become complacent and lose our vigilance. We must constantly look at our shortcomings, search for reforms and improvements, and consistently upgrade ourselves. “Four self-confidences” of course is vitally important, but we must at the same time retain our characteristically Chinese low-key, pragmatic, cautious, modest, and moderate dispositions.

We must never emulate the Americans in their blindness, arrogance and self-importance, lack of introspection, or their coarse self-confidence.[MORE]

Translated by Sean Haoqin Kang. The original Wechat blogpost, “American ‘Revolution’: The ‘Systemic Trap’ and the Lessons China Must Draw” can be found here (link in Chinese).


Selections by Amarynth

The Empire takes a knee. Let it. But we don’t have to!

The Empire takes a knee.  Let it. But we don’t have to!

THE SAKER • JUNE 10, 2020

It is quite interesting to observe how many commentators are completely misreading the current race riots or compare them with previous race riots in the history of the US. I suppose that by telling themselves that these latest riots are “just like” or “not nearly as bad” as past US race riots they try to reassure themselves by maintaining the illusion that what is taking place now is of limited and/or temporary magnitude. It is not.

No, it is not “just like” the past

Oh sure, there is plenty of racial violence (by all sides) in US history, from the very inception of the US as a slave-owning society, to the immense number of lynchings (which took place in the North as much as in the South, those interested ought to read “At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America” by Philip Dray) to the murderous “Tulsa Massacre” which even saw Black neighborhoods bombed from the air! And while those who point out that there have been many race riots in the past are correct, they are fundamentally missing the key fact that the current “race riots” are not “just” race riots, but the result of many more complex and multi-layered phenomena. The best proof of this qualitatively new nature of the riots is that they have not only spread across the US like wildfire, but that they also spread to Europe and in Asia and Oceania (see here and here). Even some Japanese joined this decidedly gaijin phenomenon!

So what is going on here?

Unless we assume that Danes, Belgians or New Zealanders have been personally victimized by racist US cops, we have to admit that what triggered this worldwide rash of protests is not a first-hand personal trauma, but only second-hand exposure to a very specific narrative spread with quasi total uniformity by the legacy corporate ziomedia. I call this narrative “Black is Beautiful“.

The pernicious “Black if Beautiful” ideological dogma

Black is beautiful began in the US in the 1960 and it has since become an integral part of the western doxa, an ideological dogma which cannot be challenged without immediately resulting in an accusation of “racism”. Simultaneously, another ideological dogma was developed, the one which claims that “all races are equal”, but without ever really defining the terms “race” or the term “equal”. Interestingly, the notions that Black is beautiful or races are all equal are never demonstrated, only proclaimed, and any insistence that these notions be factually substantiated also results in an immediate accusation of “racism”.

It is not my purpose today to assess the merits (or lack thereof) of this narrative. But what I want to point out is this: any narrative which cannot be challenged or questioned without immediately being branded “racist” is an extremely intolerant one. It is also obviously a narrative which fears any scrutiny for empirical evidence. Yet, those who otherwise denounce the “lying media” or say things like “I don’t believe it unless the government denies it” or “how do you know when a politician is lying? when his lips are moving” seem to be more than willing to uncritically accept these ideological dogmas.

Furthermore, one key tenet of any honest quest for true moral values is that it be equally applied to all (if it ain’t – then it is, by definition, hypocrisy). Yet just try to mention something like “White is Beautiful” or, say, support the idea of a “National Association for the Advancement of White People” or wear a Tshirt with “White Lives Matter” on it and you will will be instantly branded a racist. Why? Because far from promoting real “equality” the modern liberal ideology really preaches Black superiority – a special status for Blacks which cannot be symmetrically granted to White (or any other) people. Furthermore, since most people agree “that beauty is in the eye of the beholder“, we can immediately conclude that the thesis “Black is Beautiful” is really an opinion, not an established fact. Presumably, it would imply the right to the opinion that “Black is not beautiful”, right? LOL, good luck with that! Again, this is a clear case of bias/hypocrisy and, most crucially, the categorical rejection of any dissenting opinion. Finally, what does the term “Black” even mean here? Does it only apply to US and Sub-Saharan Blacks (apparently so), or does it also include, say, Ethiopians, Somalis, Tamils or even Australian Aborigines? Does it also apply to dark skinned Greeks or Sicilians? Yet again, we see that the category “Black” is entirely meaningless (as it the category “White” or “Yellow” – by the way!).

Those who have read me in the past know that I don’t even accept the notion of “race” which, in my opinion, is wholly non-scientific. I also loathe the so-called “White nationalism” of the Alt-Rights & Co. which I consider as a rather primitive form of racism (which I defined under #4 here) and even a whitewashing of the Nazi ideology which is “pushed” by the deep-state (for details, please see my article here on this topic). Yet, following my previous article on this topic, I still had a few knuckleheads accusing me of, what else, “racism”. I think of these people as “pachinko brains”(“payazzo brains” would also work): they take each idea they come across as an “ideological ball” and they immediately assume that it absolutely *must* fall within one of a very limited set of categories. For them the simply fact of saying, for example, “the thesis about racial equality has never been properly defined, never mind proven” can only mean one thing: the person saying so is a racist. Period. No other options possible. What they obviously miss is that a person which does not even accept the notion of “race” cannot be a “racist”, but who cares about these logical niceties, right? Virtue-signaling is much, much more important than facts or logic, at least for pachinko-brains.

I strongly believe that the western media, especially the US media (Hollywood/Amazon/Neflix/etc) have literally brainwashed much of the poorly educated youth (and that is an understatement!) into a weird form of Black-anything worship, a cult-like certitude that everything Black deserves a grateful standing ovation. Hence the sudden appearance of Black cowboysBlack Celts and Vikings and even of the Black Knights of the Round Table who, apparently, were also Black. There is even a new term created for this kind of “creative re-writing of history”: color-blind casting. I am awaiting the first appearance of Black “Snow-Black” (as opposed to Snow-White) with impatience…

The Empire is universally hated, and not just for its (very real) racism

This would all be rather harmless and even comical if it weren’t for the “other side of the ideological coin”: the AngloZionist Empire has totally and comprehensively lost any kind of moral or political authority, both in the US and in the EU (as well as in the 5 Eyes nations and other US colonies like Germany or Japan). In the past, the AngloZionist Empire was just as evil as it is today, but at least it had the means to provide a high degree of material welfare to its citizens, but now that the Empire is falling apart and in a major economic crisis, more and more people are turning their rage against their own government or, maybe even more accurately, against the obscenely wealthy ruling classes which have a total control of the US and/or EU political scene.

Remember how George Orwell wrote in his masterpiece 1984 “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever“? I believe that a lot of people, Black and White, felt something similar when they saw the appalling footage of the slow murder of George Floyd by a gang of clearly stupid White cops. Yes, the image itself did not show Orwell’s boot, but the way that cop was crushing his knee into the neck of Floyd sent the same message “resistance is futile, we will crush you“. And many alienated and disenfranchised people (Black and White) felt a profound sense of outrage and even rage, hence the explosion of riots worldwide.

So where do we go from here?

Simply put, things are not going to get better. Neither the US (as the host of the Empire) nor the Empire itself (which is a parasite living off the US) are in any condition to reform themselves. This train has left a very long time ago (and it appears that 80% of US Americans agree with that). As long as the Empire (thought of as “The West”) still had some credibility left, it could at least pretend to be willing to right many undeniable wrongs without subverting itself in the process. After all, the best way to control a potentially dangerous opposition is to infiltrate it and then redirect it in a safe direction (that is basically the main role given to the Left wing of the Democratic Party and its pretend-revolutionaries leaders like Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard: a glorified safety valve). Furthermore, the entire BLM movement – being both racist and violent – has exactly zero potential, even partially, to reform the Western society (abolishing police departments does not qualify). This does not mean, however, that it cannot greatly contribute to the final collapse of the Empire. After all, what we see today is that all the symbols of power of this society (politicians, cops, corporations, religious leaders, etc.) are “taking a knee” when faced with what any mentally sane society would immediately recognize as a textbook case of criminal rioting. And when one politician dares to appeal for a full restoration of law and order, he gets vilified along with the editor who dared to post it. In other words,

The Empire is taking a knee

This is not unlike what happened to the Soviet Union in the late 1980s when basically the entire ruling elite felt that it had lost any will to stand up against the opposition and when it became trendy to bash everything Soviet (much of which very much deserved such bashing, but not everything!). That state of affairs led to, first, the collapse of the soviet society Soviet Union in 1991 and, second, the collapse of the Russian society in 1993. The Soviet Union, just like the United States, was born from a bloodbath and for decades the Soviet leaders could use their police/security forces, and even the military, to crush any dissent, as in what happened in Novocherkassk massacre in 1962. Yet by 1991 and 1993 even the KGB special forces refused to take any action against the demonstrators. Why? Because by 1990 the Soviet Empire had also completely “taken a knee” before (a completely imagined and non-existing) the West just as the West today is “taking a knee” before (a completely imagined and non-existing Wakanda-like) Africa. Considering the evils which the West has wrought upon the African continent in general, and Sub-Saharan Africa especially, there is some karmic justice at work here, but this will be of very little consolation for all the people (irrespective of race) who are now suffering from the criminal mayhem of the BLM-inspired mobs (or from the violence of the police forces for that matter!).

So what can decent people do next?

Well, for one thing we don’t have to chose between White and Black racism. In fact, the only logical (and moral) stance today is to reject any and all forms of racism, very much including the Hollywood-promoted anti-White (and, I would add, anti-family, anti-male and anti-Christian) and pro-Black racism. And, crucially, we need to reject anti-White racism not because there is such a thing as a “White race” out there, but because the current anti-racist ideology is every bit as oppressive and intolerant as the racist anti-Black (and not only!) ideology of the heydays of the western Empire. The enemy of my enemy is NOT always my friend and between White-supremacists and Black-supremacists, the only morally correct choice is to categorically reject any and all forms of supremacism, even and especially the one which happens to be promoted by those who oppress us all: the (multi-ethnic) oppressive ruling classes of the Empire.

So let the Empire’s leaders take a knee if they want to: let them show their cowardice and hypocrisy.

We don’t have to. Yes, it takes much more courage to speak against the prevailing ideological dogmas than to meekly parrot the official narrative. That is the price to be paid for true, inner, freedom.

AMERICA FAILS PANDEMIC STRESS TEST

05.06.2020 

South Front

America Fails Pandemic Stress Test

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

It is well established in scholarly literature on international conflict that whenever a country behaves in an erratic, aggressive manner, it is nearly always a reflection of deep-seated internal social, political, and economic problems which the country’s leadership is unable or unwilling to address. United States is an example of what happens when that country is a superpower facing not only international decline, but also internal decay. Zbigniew Brzezinski infamously described the Soviet Union as “Upper Volta with rockets”. That was never a fair comparison, since USSR lacked the massive pockets of poverty, social exclusion, and downright police repression that the United States boasts. Likewise the Soviet health care system could have coped with a pandemic better than the US one or even the current Russian Federation one. Today’s America, however, is that country Brzezinski spoke about. Expanding its global influence through direct, proxy, and hybrid wars became the most attractive policy tool intended to restore the health of the US economy which, since the end of the Cold War, was kept alive mainly by extremely permissive monetary policies of the US Federal Reserve which in the end inflated several stock market bubbles. Even today the Federal Reserve’s main concern is keeping the Dow Jones rally going, because a collapse on the markets would permanently cripple the US economy.

This is Philly around 5:30 today. There is just no defense for this behavior. At all.


11.1K people are talking about this

However, at risk of mixing metaphors, an economy built on equity bubbles is a house of card that will collapse at the slightest shock. COVID-19 proved to be that shock, a “Black Swan” event that has been predicted for many years  that would precipitate a radical transformation of domestic political systems and of the balance of power in the international system. The pandemic became a test of not just public health systems, but of the strength of each country’s economy, the cohesion of its society, and the ability of its government to govern. Even though we are still in the early stages of the crisis, we can already see that some states are passing the test (so far) with flying colors, while others are being wracked by internal turmoil. To quote Warren Buffett, when the tide recedes you see who has been swimming naked. The United States has been revealed to be quite wardrobe-challenged in this instance.

America Fails Pandemic Stress Test

The callous slow-motion torture and murder of George Floyd in the Democratic Party stronghold of Minneapolis by four police officers with long histories of brutality against ethnic minorities was the spark that ignited the powder keg of US race relations. It certainly did not help that the United States created forty million new unemployed and failed to provide them with adequate financial support, due to the infamously miserly US social safety net. And just as COVID-19 is disproportionately lethal to US ethnic minorities who suffer from a higher level of underlying medical conditions due to poverty, malnutrition, and stress, so did the job losses disproportionately affect African Americans. The average black worker does not “work from home” on his laptop computer. Rather, the average black worker is employed in food service, hospitality, and retail, all of which have been crushed by the pandemic and, especially, the lockdown measures. It is no wonder that the conservatives wanted to “re-open” the economy as quickly as possible. Chasing millions of African Americans back to their menial jobs, even when it involved them facing greater risk of infection and death, would at least deprive them of the free time they have available to protest.


Just about an hour ago, police officers shove man in Niagara Square to the ground (WARNING: Graphic). Video from: @MikeDesmondWBFO


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The Fuel

The speed with which the protests spread across the country, affecting every state and most large cities, is a reflection of the universality of the problem that the events in Minneapolis revealed. In the face of slow-motion economic collapse and the destruction of the American middle class, the US political system at both state and federal levels has subtly but effectively sought to shift the economic pain to the minorities, in order to preserve the standard of living of the white middle class on whose support the legitimacy of the US political and economic system still rests. The armed white militias that protested at several state legislatures only a month earlier are an expression of that fear. The “don’t tread on me” Gadsden Flags quite clearly express who is to be tread upon, and who is not. They are a warning that should US elites attempt to economically marginalize the white middle class, they may expect a forceful response. The weak police response to law-breaking perpetrated by armed white militias was not lost on most commentators, either. But these politics of “economic triage” where the pain is shifted to the communities of color also implies the need for heavy-handed police repression which US police forces are all too happy to deliver. US law enforcement should not be seen as a collection of politically-neutral guardians of law and order. Rather, it skews heavily toward the right, even the far-right, and it is no surprise that Donald Trump enjoys the overwhelming support of American police unions and organizations. While these trends were evident for the last decade at least, since the 2008 crisis to which the US government never found an adequate response, the pandemic accelerated it to the point of the tensions and grievances finally boiling over.

The Firehose

Whenever a fire breaks out, it is ultimately either put out or burns itself out due to lack of fuel. It is doubtful this is going to burn itself out on its own, given that the US law enforcement is now providing more provocation with its heavy-handed tactics on daily basis, and moreover neither the pandemic nor the economic crisis are going anywhere any time soon. Since the United States is now in the throes of domestic unrest not seen since the days of Vietnam War, it raises the question of what is to be done about it? Which leaders, which policies, might definitively address the grievances of the masses?

We can safely say Donald Trump will not be the one, because to the extent he is wielding a fire hose, it seems to be mostly spraying gasoline on the fire. Literally every action, every statement, every tweet, has served to polarize and exacerbate the problems. It may be Trump is doing this deliberately, hoping to replicate Richard Nixon’s “silent majority” strategy, an idea that is supported by Trump himself tweeting these words. Yes, the riots polarize, but the hope is that, when the smoke clears, Trump’s half is the bigger of the two and, like Nixon, he secures his re-election. Richard Nixon won his re-election by a landslide, even though after the fact almost nobody admitted ever voting for him. However, few things motivate voting for conservatives in the US more than the sight of black rioters and looters.

Of course, the problem Trump faces here is that Joe Biden has impeccable “law and order” credentials, complete with the ability to “dog whistle” to white conservatives. Biden, after all, is the politician who said in the 1970s he did not want his children to “grow up in a racial jungle”, and his support of anti-crime legislation which led to the mass incarceration of African-Americans in the last few decades suggests he is willing to put his money where his mouth is. Thanks to his role as Obama’s vice president, he also has certain sway among the African American community that has served him well in the primaries and obscured his previous racist record. But in the end Biden is no Obama, whose combination of personality and politics was just enough to keep America from blowing up. Biden does not have the same combination, and moreover he is presiding over an economic catastrophe that will not be as easy to rectify by throwing money at banks the way the 2008 crisis was.

The one politician who correctly identifies both problems and solutions and who also commands considerable popular support, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has been effectively sidelined by the Democratic Party which is utterly uninterested in adopting policies of economic and social justice. It means that, in the longer term, America will move toward greater police repression which will be far more easily accepted by the white public when it is done during a Biden presidency. Given that neither Biden’s nor Obama’s public appearances were effective at demobilizing the protests, it means the United States is facing the prospect of its own Yellow Vest-style uprising, namely a continuous low-level anti-government uprising that will ebb and flow but never entirely disappear.

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ماذا تقول الأحداث الأميركيّة؟ وماذا عن المقارنات اللبنانيّة؟

ناصر قنديل

تدخل الأحداث التي تتفجّر عنفاً في الشوارع الأميركيّة وتشمل عدداً كبيراً من المدن والولايات طريق التعاظم، لأسبوع إضافي، وبمعزل عن حماسة الترحيب بهذه الأحداث أو الدعوات لعدم الاحتفال بها، فهي لا تبدو مجرد احتجاج عابر على مقتل الرجل الأسود على أيدي رجال الشرطة، بمقدار ما شكل الحادث الصادم بطريقته وظروفه، عنصر التفجير لمخزون غضب كان ينتظر فرصة التحوّل إلى شريك في المشهد الأميركي. ومخزون الغضب يتجمّع مع الخطاب العنصريّ للرئيس دونالد ترامب، وزادته تعاظماً بأضعاف مضاعفة الأزمات الاجتماعية الناجمة عن تداعيات وباء كورونا، وتشرد ملايين العاطلين عن العمل من وظائفهم، وانضمامهم إلى طالبي الإعانات، في ظل تراكم مجموعة أحداث سياسية دولية أصابت الهيبة الأميركية، خصوصاً في الجوار المباشر، الذي تمثله فنزويلا، بعدما قدّمها ترامب كثمرة ناضجة للقطاف العنصري لنظامه، وتحوّلت بعد وصول ناقلات النفط الإيرانيّة، إلى عنوان الفشل الأميركي، فيما لا تبدو الانتخابات الفرصة التي كان ينتظرها الشارع الغاضب على ترامب وإدارته لتغيير ديمقراطي، في ظل الصورة الباهتة التي يقدّمها الحزب الديمقراطي، والمشاكل التي تحيط بأهليّة مرشحه جو بايدن لمواصلة السابق الانتخابي، مع ظهور بوادر للتلاعب بالعملية الانتخابية برمّتها، وصولاً لفرضيات التأجيل حتى إشعار آخر.

الغضب وانعدام الأمل هما طريق النزول إلى الشارع، وهما عنصران متوافران بقوة في شارع أميركي ليس محصوراً بأصحاب البشرة السوداء. فضحايا العنصرية التي يضخها خطاب ترامب تتخطاهم لتطال ذوي الأصول اللاتينيّة، والمسلمين، والنساء، والأزمة الاقتصادية الاجتماعيّة تمسّ شرائح كانت تحسب حتى الأمس على الطبقة الوسطى من البيض المتنورين، وتحرك مجموعات الوسط الليبرالي واليساري الذين أظهرت حملة المرشح بيرني ساندرز أنهم شريحة وازنة في معظم الولايات الأميركية، وهذا الشارع المتنوع يبدو أنه ينضم تدريجاً للحركة الاحتجاجية التي تتسع بصورة لافتة على مستوى تنوّع مكوّناتها، وتعدد ولاياتها، لتصير أقرب نحو تشكيل شارع وطني أميركي يواجه سلطة حكم، متوحشة، اقتصادياً واجتماعياً وسياسياً وإعلامياً، يقودها وحش مالي عنصري هو دونالد ترامب، من دون وجود أفق راهن لتسوية في منتصف الطريق، في ظل أزمة اقتصادية مرشحة للمزيد من التفاقم، وشح متزايد في الموارد، مع تراجع عام تعانيه الشخصية الأميركية في العالم، في ظل فقدان السيطرة على الملفات السياسية الخارجية كحاكم منفرد للعالم، من جهة، وتراجع كبير في الصورة العلمية والأخلاقية التي حرص الأميركيون دائماً على إظهار تفوّق نموذجهم في تمثيلها. وكان ما شهدته الولايات الأميركية وخصوصاً نيويورك، في مواجهة وباء كورونا، التعبير الأقوى عن هذا السقوط العلمي والأخلاقي.

المخاض الأميركي يبدو مفتوحاً، بلا أفق واضح لخاتمة قريبة، والحديث هنا ليس عن ثورة ولا عن تغيير نظام بالتأكيد، هو الغضب الشعبي اليائس من قدرة النظام على احتواء الأزمات ضمن مؤسسات الديمقراطية. وهذا يجب أن يدركه الذين يرغبون بإجراء المقارنات مع ما شهده لبنان، ويحبّون بتسميته ثورة، فما يجري في أميركا يشبه ما جرى في لبنان، وليس تغيير النظام في كليهما أفقاً ممكناً، ولا صفة الثورة تصحّ فيه، لأنها بالضبط بلا قيادة وبلا برنامج، وما يجري في أميركا يقول للبنانيين الذين يتساءلون عن معنى احتفال الخصوم السياسيين للإدارة الأميركية بما يجري، بينما لم يفعلوا ذلك تجاه ما جرى في لبنان، الجواب بسيط، هو أنهم لا يرغبون لبلدهم ما يرغبونه لعدوهم، من فوضى ومخاطر أمنية، وضياع للأفق السياسي؛ أما الذين يقولون لماذا لا يطعن أحد بأهلية ما يجري في أميركا من الذين طعنوا بأهلية ما جرى في لبنان؟ فالجواب ببساطة هو أن “لا وجود لسفارة أميركية في أميركا”.

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How Biden Continues to Protect His Billionaire Donors

How Biden Continues to Protect His Billionaire Donors

May 19, 2020

by Eric Zuesse  for The Saker Blog

On 2 March 2020, Forbes headlined “BILLIONAIRE BACKERS” and listed the number of them who had financed each of the Democratic Presidential campaigns:

  • Biden 66
  • Buttigieg 61
  • Klobucar 33
  • Steyer 13
  • Warren 6
  • Gabbard 3
  • Bloomberg 1
  • Sanders 0

Joe Biden’s entire career in public life has been devoted to his top donors. He once even justified it by saying, “You go out and bundle $250,000 for me, all legal, and then you call me after I am elected, and say ‘I would like to come and talk about something.’ You didn’t buy me, but it’s human nature, you helped me. I’m going to say, ‘Sure, come on in’,” which means that if you have “helped” him, then he represents you in a way that he doesn’t represent the voters who merely voted for him on the basis of the ads for him that those billionaires had financed. (And if you had voted against him, then would such a person represent you at all?) As a major donor, you can visit with him in private, whenever you want, instead of never be able to visit with him, at all. This is what’s called “crony capitalism,” and he built his career on it, and he thinks that this is okay.

On May 3rd, the Miami Herald bannered “Biden, Warren: There’s no oversight of coronavirus relief — because that’s what Trump wants”, and Biden signed onto an Elizabeth Warren Op-Ed there that evaded the chief corruption in the bailout legislation which was unanimously passed in Congress and was signed by Trump. Almost all of the corruption in that enormously lobbied bill is in the bailouts for corporations; virtually none of it is in the bailouts for workers or for state and local governments; and, yet, neither Biden nor Warren were presenting, in this Op-Ed, the case against bailing out ANY corporations. And the reason is obvious: Joe Biden had needed to cheat in order to win the Democratic nomination, and he couldn’t have succeeded to get the money from 66 billionaires and to win the nomination if he hadn’t done this — he needed that money, in order to be able to pull it off and fool enough voters. And, those billionaires’ wealth is mainly in investments, corporate stocks and bonds, which are receiving the biggest portion of those bailouts. In other words: most of the leveraged-up $6 trillion total that’s in just the first piece of legislation comes from the “$454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts”. That’s actually the biggest portion of the bailouts for billionaires.

What Biden and Warren are proposing, instead, is that there should have been better monitoring of how that money will be spent or ‘invested’. The actual issue is that all bailouts that go to investors instead of to the public — workers and consumers — are wrong: a top-down, trickle-down, give-away to the richest, so as to guarantee their wealth until the crisis has passed. Workers and consumers will absorb almost all of the losses. Whereas 70% of the wealth of the richest 0.1% is investments, and 55% of the top 1% also is, only around 7% of the bottom 99% is. The wealth of the bottom 99% is overwhelmingly labor-based — and labor gets punished by the controlling investors. And, so, whereas the wealth of the richest 1% is receiving significant protection by this Government in that bailout, the wealth of the rest of the population isn’t. Workers and consumers are largely on their own. The risks are transferred away from the super-rich, onto the public. The super-rich had hired enormous armies of lobbyists in order, basically, to write this legislation.

Biden isn’t necessarily worse than Trump, but the deception of the public is massive by both of the political Parties.

Until the South Carolina primary, on February 29th, in which the vast majority of the voters were Blacks, Bernie Sanders was believed (on the basis of the prior primaries and the national polls) to be the almost inevitable nominee of the Party, but on 16 April 2019, the New York Times bannered “‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats Are Agonizing Over His Momentum” and reported that the Party’s billionaires were terrified by the possibility that Sanders might actually win the nomination; and on February 23rd, Politico’s headline right after the Nevada primary was “Sanders sends Democratic establishment into panic mode”. Sanders didn’t need the billionaires, but Biden certainly did, just as he always has. And they own him, just as they always have. The Democratic Party is controlled by and for its billionaires, just as much as the Republican Party is.

If the leadership give you two cups of poison and say that in order to participate in politics as a voter, you must drink one of them, and that this drinking by you constitutes “democracy,” then which cup will you take, and what will you do with it? What will you do with that poisoned chalice? What will you do with it?

—————

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.

The Financial Hysteria of America and the Bankruptcy of Western Liberalism

The Financial Hysteria of America and the Bankruptcy of Western ...

Martin Sieff May 13, 2020

Western Liberalism is not only bankrupt: It bankrupts. Nowhere is this clearer than in the hysterical panic with which Republicans and Democrats alike in the United States are printing limitless sums of theoretical money to pump demand into a structurally wildly distorted and dying economic system in utterly futile efforts to fend off a looming super-Depression and world economic crisis.

Yet as becomes more clear every day, far from maintaining the current global structure, created by U.S. bankers and diplomats and dictated to the rest of the world back in 1944, all these efforts are just accelerating the disintegration of the Old Order.

There is a supreme irony to this, for the most important creator of the Old World Economic and Financial Order – the one that is now disintegrating as we watch – was none other than the patron saint of liberalism – a man who has become a non-person in the United States in the past 40 year “Age of Reagan” (as I explain in my 2015 book “Cycles of Change“) – legendary 32nd President of the United States President Franklin Roosevelt.

It is fascinating to watch Democratic Party leaders today as they desperately try to conjure up the great appeal and success of the only man ever to win four U.S. presidential held up Roosevelt’s leadership through World War II as a model of leadership for today.

That should be entirely true, But neither current (and sinking fast) putative party nominee Joe Biden nor his always-collapses-at-the-crucial-moment Senator Bernie Sanders haven’t a clue what they are talking about.

Two factors were central to Franklin Roosevelt’s extraordinary success as a war leader – and Sanders and Biden are both pathetically blind to both of them:

The first was Roosevelt’s unhesitating and consistent support for his allies, especially the unprecedented flow of Lend Lease aid in food, trucks and other equipment to the Soviet Union which was carrying the main burden of the combat war against Nazi Germany almost single-handedly.

The second was the remarkable fiscal prudence and caution Roosevelt showed throughout his presidency, especially in his creation of the landmark Social Security program.

Roosevelt was vastly more cautious and even cynical in developing this program to give financial support for the first time in history to aging Americans.

Although the landmark congressional legislation was passed in 1935 and became law on August 14 of that year as part of the so-called “Second New Deal,” financial contributions out of the pay checks of all legally working Americans only started to be withdrawn in 1937. Even then, it was still another three years before the first U.S. citizen ever to receive a check from Social Security picked it up: That was 76-year-old Ida Fuller of Vermont on January 17, 1940. Her first check came to the generous sum of $41.30.

From 1935, when the legislation was passed to vast popular acclaim, it was another six years at the height of the Great Depression, when more Americans were starving and dying of poverty and related hardships than ever before or since in the nation’s history before a single individual actually got any benefit from it.

The actuarial calculations on which Roosevelt designed Social Security were even more cynical and ruthless.

Social Security was to be paid to retirees after the age of 65. But at the time, the median age of Americans was 61. Only a tiny privileged minority survived to the age of 65 or beyond.

Roosevelt practiced exceptional caution to keep the U.S. economy and currency stable during the New Deal and the Great Depression. Contrary to popular (Republican) myth, he was adamantly opposed to bankrupting the country either in his own time or in that of his grandchildren. “It is almost dishonest to build up an accumulated deficit for the Congress of the United States to meet in 1980,” he famously said. “We can’t do that. We can’t sell the United States short in 1980 any more than in 1935.”

Roosevelt’s exceptional caution contrasts with the wild spending both Republicans and Democrats from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump have been practicing, driving their country into final bankruptcy during the current coronavirus crisis.

Comments financial analyst and former London merchant banker Martin Hutchinson in his May 4 “Bear’s Lair” column, “the CBO (Congressional Budget Office)’s estimate of budget deficits of 18% of GDP in 2020 and 10% of GDP in 2021 are truly frightening. …they bring the likely bankruptcy of the U.S. government much closer than seemed likely previously, probably to around 2030.”

Indeed, given the terrifying vulnerability of the U.S. financial system to the collapse of the $2 trillion junk bond market used to financial the collapsing fracking energy sector, projecting a meltdown U.S. financial crisis a balmy ten years ahead seems wildly optimistic.

In fact, the road from Franklin Roosevelt’s cautious callousness in designing Social Security so that it would not pay a penny to those who needed it for another five years (until, indeed, the Great Depression was already over!) to the “spend endlessly, spend now” crazed panic of both Republicans and Democrats is a very clear one:

It is the road of palliative Western liberalism, open borders and global Free Trade: It is a road that inevitably leads to ever huger debt burdens, ever-declining standards of living and inevitable ruin.

By contrast, the extremely fiscally cautious, highly conservative financial policies that Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to follow get no respect from the spendthrift, zero interest rate maniacs on Wall Street. Yet it is Russia that is currently in a far stronger position to ride out the global financial as well as pandemic crises than the United States.

In statecraft and economics as in architecture, the most important issue is not how high you build but how well you build and how deep you build – How good your foundations are.

The storm of pandemic is already heralding the storm of financial crisis. That crisis can indeed be solved, but only by abandoning the old shibboleths, the old false gods that, as Dostoyevsky predicted at the very beginning of our modern industrialized, interconnected Age, would inevitably bring us to our ruin, unless reined in and reversed in time.

مفتاح البيت الأبيض بيد كورونا

زهر يوسف

من المبكر الحديث عن الرئيس السادس والأربعين للولايات المتحدة الأميركية، ومَن سيكون، أجمهورياً أم ديمقراطياً، دونالد ترامب أم جو بايدن؟ غير أنّ جملة معطيات حدثت وما زالت في أميركا ومنها فيروس كورونا، جعلت ترامب في وضع غير مرتاح، عكس منافسه الديمقراطي بايدن المبتسِم حتى اللحظة.

خرج السيناتور المستقلّ بيرني ساندرز من السباق الرئاسيّ الأميركي، وسلّم الراية لبايدن نائب الرئيس الأميركي السابق، انسحاب حدا بالبعض إلى القول إن مفاتيح البيت الأبيض باقية في قبضة ترامب “ملك التسويق” لولاية جديدة من أربع سنوات، إلا أن مؤشرات عديدة وقعت بدّدت ما ذهب إليه ذلك البعض، فيروس كوفيد – 19 “كورونا” يتصدّر قائمة التحديات المستجدة في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية. فآلية التعاطي الترامبي ومعه إدارته في ملف كورونا تحديداً وما يتفرّع عنه من قضايا وإشكاليات تعصف بالمجتمع الأميركي.

كلها أمور وضعت ترامب في مكان لا يرغب به بتاتاً، لا سيما بالنظر إلى استطلاعات الرأي التي أجريت حتى تاريخه وتكشف عن تقدّم لافت لمنافسه الديمقراطي جو بايدن.

وسائل الإعلام الأميركية التي وصفها ترامب بـ”المزيفة” في أكثر من محفل، تراقب عن كثب ماراتون السباق إلى البيت الأبيض، فمثلا صحيفة نيويورك تايمز – من دون أن تتبنى – استعانت بمصادر قالت إن استمزاج رأي داخل حملة ترامب يقّر أن الأخير خسر التأييد الذي كسبه في وقت مبكر من أزمة كورونا، هذا الاعتراف من داخل البيت الترامبي تزامن مع استطلاعات رأي أجريت في أكثر من ولاية أميركية، موالية كانت لمجلس الشيوخ “الجمهوري” أم مناصرة لمجلس النواب “الديمقراطي” وكشفت بوضوح تفوق بايدن على ترامب، المُطَالَب من قبل مشرّعين جمهوريين أولاً.. للحدّ من ظهوره الإعلامي وتصريحاته المشبعة بالأخطاء حيث يبدو ترامب كـ”مهرج سيرك” مبتدئ ينشد النجومية، ما يفقده أصوات ناخبين قد يجدون في بايدن طوق نجاة؛ وثانياً التحرك بقوة وحزم لمواجهة حالة الركود الاقتصادي التي بدأت في الظهور. الأرق الاقتصادي الذي ينتاب ترامب هذه الأيام ربما هو ما يجعل ترامب لا ينظر أبعد من ذلك، وإلا كيف يمكن تفسير دعوته الأخيرة لسكان الولايات الخمسين إلى “تحرير” الولايات في إشارة واضحة لكسر حالة الطوارئ المعلنة!! بخاصة أن المتابع لتصريحات ترامب منذ ظهور فيروس كورونا بالأمس القريب واللامبالاة التي قابله بها حتى اليوم، حيث تتصدّر أميركا دول العالم في أعداد المصابين والوفيات، المتابع يدرك جيداً أن ترامب ما انبرى يسأل عن فائدة إغلاق البلاد وما خلّفه ذلك من ارتفاع معدلات البطالة. وهذا يكشف أهمية الاقتصاد لترامب، وهو ما دفعه لاستئناف القطاعات الاقتصادية نشاطها، الأمر الذي أثار مخاوف كبيرة وهواجس مقلقة داخل أوساط القطاع الطبي الأميركي إذ في عهد ترامب صاحب شعار “إعادة أميركا عظيمة مجدداً” يتهاوى الأميركيون موتى بأعداد مرعبة كل يوم، كمدينة نيويورك مثلاً التي تدفن ضحايا كورونا في مقابر جماعية.

لذا السؤال كيف نبني موقفاً حاسماً لجهة مَن سيربح الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، الإجابة ستكون أعقد من مسألة أن نصدر توقعات في هذا السياق، بايدن تحدّى ترامب وتوعده بإلحاق أقسى هزيمة، فهل يفعلها بايدن؟ خاصة أن مؤشرات تقول: قد ينجح ترامب!! أم أن كورونا قد يضع الجميع أمام واقع إرجاء الانتخابات من أساسها والمقررة في نوفمبر تشرين الثاني المقبل.

من يحي يرَ

*صحافية سورية

Joe Biden Is the 2020 Candidate of Fear

Joe Biden Is the 2020 Candidate of Fear - Russia News Now

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April 21, 2020

At a time when change is most needed, he’s asking voters to turn back, give up, and accept our country’s senility.

Daniel MCCARTHY

The Democratic Party is decadent, its future stillborn as its past seizes ownership of its backward-looking present. In 2020, the party is set to nominate for president a man who wasn’t good enough for the nomination in 1988 or 2008. Has he acquired a new vision or new vigor? No, but his party has run out of options.

Joe Biden is the candidate of old age and fear. Nostalgia for the Obama administration has been his prime selling point in the Democratic primaries, and it certainly helped him to win the support of African-American voters. But Biden is Barack Obama’s antithesis. In 2008 Obama truly was the candidate of “hope and change,” in the sense that he did represent a new page in American politics—he was a one-term senator, not mired in the ways of Washington like his rivals Hillary Clinton and John McCain (or Joe Biden, for that matter, who also ran for president that year); he was to be the first African-American president, providing hope that racial division could be overcome and inspiring young people of color to the highest aspirations; and his policy agenda seemed to be a break with the low expectations of what could be achieved at home and the excessively high expectations of what force could achieve abroad. However poorly the hopes panned out, and what little change succeeded, there was no doubting what Obama symbolized when he was first elected.

And Joe Biden? He’s a symbol that people as old as the Baby Boomers—or, in fact, a few years older—can still dominate national politics, especially in the Democratic Party. Though the 77-year-old Biden is a year younger than Bernie Sanders, he was the old man of the Democratic race in two senses that count for more than his birthday. First, Biden, not Sanders, was the candidate of experience, the one who made his pitch based most of all on his biography, not his plans and policy dreams; Sanders was the candidate of the dream, despite his own decades-long tenure in public life. Second, Sanders was the candidate that young voters preferred; Biden needed not only African-Americans but older Americans in order to become the party’s presumptive nominee. The problem for Democrats here is not necessarily what happens in November 2020, but rather how cohesive the party will be even if Biden can win. Does a Democratic Party led by a 78-year-old President Biden and an 80-year-old Speaker Pelosi have any future in a post-Boomer America?

Democrats have long taken for granted the advantage they expect to gain from America’s generational ethnic transformation: as whites become a smaller majority, and in more and more places are reduced to an electoral plurality, the minority voting blocs that have proved loyal to the Democrats should provide them with permanent power. Yet this is no longer a safe bet if the Democratic Party splinters ideologically, and the ability of leaders like Biden and Pelosi to appeal to the young leftists of all races who supported Bernie Sanders is very much open to doubt. To win elections with one set of voters, while a completely different set of voters holds the future of your party, is apt to be a Pyrrhic, and most temporary, victory.

The dead hand of the past lies heavy on the whole country, not just the Democratic Party. Since 1992, Americans have consistently elected Washington outsiders to the White House. Bill Clinton had no national experience when he won that year. George W. Bush had none when he was elected in 2000. Barack Obama had been in the Senate only four years when he won in 2008. And Donald Trump had no prior experience of holding office of any kind when he became president. Although considerable continuities emerged throughout the administrations of George H.W. Bush (a true Washington insider), Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama—all supported the project of a “liberal world order,” in which the United States was embroiled in foreign conflicts, while globalization was their imperative in economics—voters at each election demanded something new and different from the previous status quo. Clinton was certainly not elected because voters wanted more of what Bush I gave them; Bush II was not elected over Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore, because voters wanted to extend the Clinton era; and Obama was elected in explicit repudiation of Bush II. Donald Trump, of course, was the leader the country turned to in order to repudiate all of the above: Trump was as bold in his criticism of George W. Bush for the Iraq war, and of earlier Republicans for NAFTA, as he was in his attacks on Barack Obama’s record.

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None of the other successful presidential contenders of the last 30 years has presented himself as a champion of an earlier status quo or a force for restoring Washington to its old ways. Even George W. Bush campaigned on a newfangled “compassionate conservatism,” not a return to Reaganism (or to the 1994 spirit of Newt Gingrich). While it’s possible that in 2020 Americans really will want to reverse the tides of time—after the misery of the COVID-19 experience and in reaction against the changes in government that Trump has instituted—the Obama legacy was not so potent in 2016 as to elect Hillary Clinton, and in four years under Joe Biden it is not going to get any fresher. Whatever opportunities this may present to Republicans and Sanders-style Democrats after 2020, for the country it will mean being stuck with an agenda and governing vision that had proved its limitations by 2016. The same conditions that led to the rise of Donald Trump’s populism and Bernie Sanders’s socialist movement that year will be established again under Biden, and after Biden those forces might take on much stronger forms than they did after Obama.

The Trump and Sanders phenomena have happened for a reason, after all. They happened because “hope and change” failed to deliver on its promises, and with Hillary Clinton there was no hope of anything other than stagnation. Trump and Sanders, in very different ways, represented new hopes and a defiance of stagnation. Biden, by contrast, offers no future at all. That includes a future in which he’s re-elected, age 81, in 2024. Who can imagine such a thing?

The near certainty that Joe Biden could only serve a single term if elected as president makes his choice of vice president a fateful one. That person will be the presumptive frontrunner for the 2024 Democratic nomination, and voters will take that into account when they cast their ballots this November. Should Biden win, he will be a lame duck from Day 1. Quite apart from whatever drawbacks his running mate will have in her own right (if Biden follows through on his pledge to pick a woman), the idea of electing a placeholder president for four years is not likely to sit very well with the American people. It would be an extraordinary abdication of leadership. And it’s not as if anyone would look to leadership in Congress to fill the gap. Nor, given the limitations of the office, would a vice president looking ahead to 2024 have the power to supply needed leadership before then. Quite the contrary: the vice president would be a target for everyone’s criticisms, Republicans and rival Democrats alike.

This is hardly a scenario for a return to stability and “competence” in government, as Donald Trump’s critics say they want. It’s equivalent instead to not having a president at all for four years—which may sound like a libertarian’s fantasy, except that the administrative state would continue to pursue an aggressively progressive agenda during the interim. That too can only contribute to populist resurgence.

For all the debilities that come with being the candidate of old age, there are advantages, too. Biden is not running as the paladin of the emerging Democratic Party, a party whose socialism and identity politics have been consistent losers at the ballot box—including, for the most part, in the 2018 midterms, and including in the Democratic presidential race this year. Biden is a survivor from an older, more broadly popular Democratic Party, one that still had powerful support in white working-class communities, such as those in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin that will be as decisive in 2020 as they were in 2016. For many voters of the Baby Boom generation, Biden is the third coming of the president they grew up idolizing, John F. Kennedy. JFK was the president they wished they could be, a glamorous symbol of America before Vietnam and Watergate. (Never mind that JFK actually deepend the country’s involvement in Vietnam.) Bill Clinton, who like JFK claimed an Irish ancestry—though one which in Bill’s case has never been proved—was the first Boomer elected president, and at 43 was just a year older than JFK had been when he was elected. Like JFK, Clinton had celebrity charm; and if he was a womanizer, too, that just went with the type.

Now Biden represents the same Boomer vision in maturity, even if he’s a few years too old to be a Boomer himself. Like Clinton, he also makes an unverifiable claim to Irish ancestry. Like Kennedy, he identifies as Roman Catholic. (And yes, like Kennedy and Clinton, he has been accused of mistreating women, and worse.) Biden is a callback to the Boomer memory of America—the look and feel of the country in the late 20th century, when white ethnics (Irish, Italians, Poles, and others) who had been at the margins earlier in the century now helped to define the mainstream, even occupying the highest office in the land. To elect Biden at 77 is, perhaps to some of these voters, a way of showing that they still matter in a country whose future will look very different. Much is made by Trump’s critics of the racial dimension to his support; but ethnic and generational identification with Biden should not be overlooked. Indeed, as a candidate who hopes to unite white ethnics and blacks, Biden is a throwback to the Democratic Party of an earlier age, too.

As the candidate of fear, Biden aims at a quite different segment of the electorate. Fear is what motivates upper middle class, highly educated voters. This professional class, filling as it does the ranks of journalism and the academy, presents itself as anything but fearful—according to its propaganda, fear is really hate, and hate is something that only deplorables experience, at least as a political emotion. Liberals will admit to being personally afraid, or worried for their communities, as a result of the horrors they believe Donald Trump has unleashed on the land. But only a populist demagogue, or maybe sometimes a socialist one, tries to capitalize on fear. Good liberal politicians are always about hope and change. Obama only made the slogan explicit. (In fact, “hope” was a byword of Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign as well, which drew attention to the name his birthplace: Hope, Arkansas.)

Yet liberalism is the politics of fear in the most profound sense: it is an ideology that attempts to neutralize fear through the all-provident power of the state, guided by enlightened leadership. The fear that men and women traditionally feel on account of religion—fear of God’s wrath or fear of a universe without any order—is allayed by liberalism’s programmatic commitment to science and to rationalism more generally. Everything will have a rational explanation, yet that rational explanation will somehow be moral, too. What is important is that fear can be forgotten, without the need for any unearthly power to supply salvation. Instead, a supreme earthly power will remove all earthly worries: fear of want, fear of violent death, even fear of disease. The state is not the only institution that will meet these needs: for many liberals, the free market or science outside of government plays the greater role in provision. But the state at a minimum supplies the rules that make possible the efficient operation of the rest of liberal society.

And the state rests on a psychological foundation best explained by Thomas Hobbes. No doubt Joe Biden has given little thought to the 17th-century philosopher from Malmesbury, England. Most liberals do not think of themselves as Hobbesians, and a great many denounce Hobbes as an authoritarian or worse. But he understood that a politics suitable for a modern society has to prioritize fear, and its negation, over other emotions and their gratification. Other passions disturb the peace; but fear, particularly the fear of a violent death, can compel men to be reasonable. Fear of this kind is nigh universally felt, and its effects are quite predictable: people will support a power—an institution—that can protect them from violence.

By itself, that’s not a formula for liberalism. And what liberal society does with Hobbes’s political psychology is different from what he himself advised should be done in works like Leviathan. Liberals accept a great deal of competition and pluralism of many kinds, but what makes the competition and diversity possible is its harmlessness. The passions are allowed free rein, but only as long as they are weaker than the fear of violent death that holds society together.

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To say that populism has a passion that is stronger than the fear of violent death would be going too far. But populism does involve a very strong passion for dignity, a desire for greater recognition of one’s status or plight—one’s humanity, in a felt and not just formally acknowledged sense. This passion is what most deeply offends the upper-middle-class opponents of populism in general and Trump in particular. They sense that this passion is the beginning of a different kind of politics, and has the potential to supplant the foundations of the old liberal system if it’s not checked. Populism has an understanding of human psychology and human nature different from those of liberalism, and such different foundations lead to different forms of politics and theories of the state.

Joe Biden’s voters have passions of their own, and they are no doubt usually sincere in saying that they are moved by a desire for justice or decency or fairness or any number of other objects of feeling. But all of those passions have been trimmed to fit the context of fear—the context of a political system in which fear has been negated but remains central, for should some other emotion displace it at the center of political psychology, the logic of the rest of the system would fail. The logic of competition for status or dignity looks very different from the logic of escaping from fear. The Trump phenomenon and populism threaten to upset this balance. This is why revolutionary or fascistic implications are attached to Trump’s politics by his detractors. Trump and his supporters are very far from being fascists, but their opponents believe that their emotional core, and their scale of passions, is inevitably incipiently fascistic.

Biden is the candidate for an America less concerned with dignity and more prepared to enjoy the fruits of a political psychology based on neutralizing fear. Under President Biden, the welfare state, science, and even the free market will continue to keep the fear of death at bay, and that will make room for mild pleasures: pornography and video games and varied cuisine and recreational activities of all sorts. Joe Biden’s louche son Hunter—known for his hearty indulgence in drugs and his sexual adventures with strippers—is a perfect specimen of humanity under this system. If he gets more stimulation than others, everyone else should get enough. And if they don’t, they mustn’t complain, they should ask for a program.

For all that liberals complain about Donald Trump’s affairs, or his great wealth, what exercises their ire the most is his spirit, which isn’t satisfied with creature comfort. His supporters are also motivated by something other than what liberalism can easily satisfy. (And this holds true whether we are talking about the nationalists or the Christian conservatives among his base.) Fear should have no competitor as the sovereign passion in a good, rational liberal order, but in Trump the glimmer of competition can be seen. In Joe Biden, however, there is no such danger: he sprinkles oil over turbulent waters, promising as he does only “competence” and more moderate politics. Yet here too, Biden’s supporters are too quick to address an immediate concern without looking to more serious long-term difficulties—for what Trump, and in a different way Bernie Sanders, indicates is that the liberal order has become too dessicated of humanity and feeling, too mechanical, too perfect. And so it courts a backlash, of which populism is not so much a manifestation, but an antibody.

American voters have tried to add new humanity to the nation’s politics in every presidential election since the end of the Cold War. They believed Bill Clinton when he said, “I feel your pain.” They gave a “compassionate” conservative a chance, and afterwards they demanded more “hope and change.” When that effort, too, succumbed to the inertia and decadence of Washington, voters turned to Donald Trump, the most decisive break from politics past. Now Joe Biden asks them to turn back, give up, and accept our country’s senility.

theamericanconservative.comThe views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

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