US Midterms: Three Palestinian-American Lawmakers Secure US Congress Seats

November 9, 2022

Rashida Tlaib, (R), Ruwa Rumman and Abdel Nasser Rashid secured their seats at the US Congress. (Photo: via Social media)

Three Palestinian Americans have won seats in the US Congress following the country’s midterm elections on Tuesday, The New Arab reported.

Palestinian-Americans Rashida Tlaib, Ruwa Rumman, and Abdel Nasser Rashid secured their positions as congressional representatives for the Democratic Party.

Tlaib – who has previously served as Congresswoman and confronted President Biden over his support for Israel – won her seat as the representative for the state of Michigan’s 12th congressional district.

Ruwa Romman won her place to represent Georgia’s 97th state house district and has been labeled a “trailblazer” by supporters for being the first Muslim woman to serve in the state’s General Assembly.

Rashid won a seat as the state representative for Illinois’s 21st district, also making history as the first Palestinian Muslim to do so, according to Jetpac Resource Centre, which trains American Muslims and allies to run for public office.

Votes are still being counted in several states, as the Democrats enjoy a stronger-than-expected showing in the elections.

(The New Arab, PC, SOCIAL)

Polls begin to close in US midterm elections

Nov 9 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Parts of Indiana and Kentucky were the first to close polling places.

Polls begin to close in US midterm elections.

Polling stations begin to close on Tuesday in several states in the US midterm elections, with the future of US President Joe Biden’s program and control of Congress up for grabs.

Parts of Indiana and Kentucky closed at 23:00 am (6:00 EST). All 435 seats are at stake in the House and one-third of the Senate. Moreover, five states are holding referendums on abortion. 

However, voting will continue as was throughout the evening in states farther toward the West. Initial results are expected to come out later on Tuesday night.

The tabulation of votes could last into Wednesday – maybe even later – if any complications or challenges come up.

The midterms are pivotal because their results will determine which of the two parties, Democrats and Republicans, will run Congress.

Republicans are expected to take over the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Congress, while control over the upper chamber, the Senate, is largely undetermined.

More updates to follow. 

Stay updated: US Midterm Elections 2022

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عندما يستثمر ابن سلمان في «القبَلية» الأميركية

الثلاثاء 18 تشرين الأول 2022

علاقة أميركا مع الدول المرتبطة بها، هي علاقة مصلحة متبادلة (أ ف ب)

موسى السادة  

يتيح قرار منظّمة «أوبك +» الأخير، خفْض إنتاج النفط بما يقارب المليونَي برميل يومياً، فرصة لقراءة الأبعاد المختلفة للعلاقات الدولية اليوم، وأبرزها العلاقة بين المملكة السعودية والولايات المتحدة، إذ إن تداعيات هذا القرار ستطاول أكثر من ملفّ، في ظلّ وضع دولي غير مسبوق تسارعت التحوّلات فيه بعد الحرب الروسية على أوكرانيا. تستدعي قراءةٌ كتلك، التنبّه إلى ثلاثة أوجهٍ مختلفة متشابكة: أوّلها، الاختلال في قوّة الولايات المتحدة وأدوات سيطرتها على السياسة الدولية، وثانيها، حجم هذا الاختلال وكيفية تأثيره في الداخل الأميركي واستقطاباته السياسية والاجتماعية، وثالثها التغيّر في ديناميكية علاقة الدول المرتبطة بأميركا، خصوصاً حين الحديث عن دولة بحجم وأهمية السعودية، التي تمتدّ وتنصهر ارتباطاتها بالولايات المتحدة، بشكل يتداخل مع مجال السياسة الداخلية الأميركية.

من هنا، يمكن النظر إلى قرار «أوبك +» من زاوية كوْنه خطوة سعودية ستؤثّر في الهيمنة الأميركية الدولية. ذلك أن واحداً من تداعياته سيكون دعم الاقتصاد الروسي، المنخرط في مجهود عسكري ضدّ أوكرانيا وحلف «الناتو». أمّا الزاوية الأخرى، فهي تأثير القرار في الداخل الأميركي، في فترة زمنية حسّاسة تسبق الانتخابات النصفية، وهذا بالتحديد هو ما يشغل الأميركيين أكثر من تأثير الخطوة في الطرف الروسي. وفي حين كان الخطاب الرسمي السعودي بالغ الدبلوماسية في التعاطي مع القرار، إلّا أن مُريدي السعودية، وبل حتى سواهم، قاربوه كدليل على استقلالية قرار المملكة وتقديمها مصلحتها الوطنية أولاً، وإنْ كان في وجه أميركا نفسها، وهو ما دفع خصوم السعودية، القائم خطابهم على تبعيّتها لـ«بيت الطاعة» الأميركي والغربي، إلى اتّخاذ موقع دفاع، في تنابُز إعلامي وسياسي مديد في المجال السياسي العربي.

إلّا أن ما يجب اعتباره من القرار، بعيداً عن هذا التنابز، هو عبر قراءة مركّبة لشكل العلاقة التاريخية بين المملكة وأميركا، بالإمكان توسيعها أيضاً لتشمل كلّ دولة تُحكم من نُخب تتشابك وترتبط مصالحها مع الولايات المتحدة. فالتفسير الهشّ القائم على تبسيط شكل العلاقة إلى حدود «سيّد» يأمر وينهى كيفما وأينما شاء دونما أيّ اعتبارات؛ و«عبد» يطيع، إنّما هو تفسير خاطئ يؤسّس لقراءة خاطئة. الواقع أن علاقة أميركا مع الدول المرتبطة بها، هي علاقة مصلحة متبادلة، وأن ما يقتضيه لفظ «الهيمنة الأميركية» هو أن كفّة القوة ضمن علاقة المصلحة تلك، تميل بشكل قاهر لصالح الأميركيين. تختلف، هنا، أدوات القوة وأشكالها من دولة إلى أخرى، ومنها مثلاً الابتزاز بوقْف المِنح المالية والعسكرية، أو التهديد بالتضييق والعقوبات، أو في الحالة المميّزة في الخليج العربي التهديد برفع الحماية العسكرية، مثلما ينادي به اليوم العديد من أعضاء الكونغرس الأميركي، وصرّح به مسؤولون أميركيون مختلفون ومباشرة على شاشات التلفزة، بقولهم: «هل يظنّ السعوديون أن الروس أو الصينيين قادرون على توفير الحماية لهم؟».

المثير والمهمّ، هو كيف أمست السياسة الأميركية أشبه بسياسات دول غير متماسكة


وإذ يأتي هذا التهديد ضمن مسار تاريخي من الشدّ والجذب وفق ما تقتضيه المصلحة، فإن الأمر المختلف اليوم هو أننا أمام واقع دولي وأميركي داخلي مغاير، يظهّر اهتزازاً لفعالية أوراق الابتزاز الأميركية، وهو ما فهمه السعوديون جيداً.
ولعلّ أهمّ وجوه اهتزاز السطوة ذاك، يمكن استشفافه من مراقبة تبدُّل شكل علاقة النُّخب الحاكمة الخليجية بالولايات المتحدة وجرأتها السياسية. فهذه النُّخبة السعودية هي أوّل مَن يستشعر ويهاب تقهقر أميركا التي رهنت ديمومة حُكمها بها. وبالنسبة إلى المملكة، وتحديداً منذ تسلُّم محمد بن سلمان السلطة الفعلية، كانت السنوات السبع الماضية مخاضاً للتكيّف في التعامل مع الأميركيين، والأهمّ الوصول إلى القدرة على استغلال تناقضاتهم الداخلية. ومن هنا، ولكي لا يُفهم قرار «أوبك +» كانحياز كامل إلى الروس، حرص السعوديون على موازنته، بإعلانهم عن هِبة مادّية بقرابة 400 مليون دولار لأوكرانيا، وأيضاً تواصلهم مع المسؤولين الأوكرانيين والطلب منهم التغريد بتصريحات تثمّن مواقف المملكة. هذه الموازنة في حدّ ذاتها تعكس ضعفاً أميركياً وغربياً، حيث تخشى الدول حتى المرتبطة أمنياً واقتصادياً بواشنطن، وعلى الرغم من احتدام الصراع الروسي – الغربي، من التخندق الصارخ إلى جانب أيّ من الطرفَين.
البُعد الآخر الذي تظهّره هذه الموازنة، هو أن قرار «أوبك +» في جوهره ليس اصطفافاً ضدّ الغرب مع روسيا، بل محاولة للتأثير في الداخل الأميركي وفي حكومة الرئيس جو بايدن على وجه التحديد، إذ تُعدّ السياسة الداخلية الأميركية مسرحاً مهمّاً ليس للحُكم السعودي فقط، بل حتى للشخصيات السعودية المعارضة، التي تعمل من داخل التجاذبات الحزبية على التحريض على حُكم آل سلمان، سواء على المستوى القضائي أو الإعلامي. ولذلك، يؤثّر السعوديون في المجال السياسي الأميركي في إطار مصالحهم، وبحجم ونوع غير مسبوقَين، لم يكونا ليتحقّقا لولا حجم الاستقطاب والتناقضات الداخلية الأميركية الحادّة. بتعبير آخر، إن الاهتزاز الذي يصيب الولايات المتحدة على الساحة الدولية، وحجم الاستقطاب السياسي – الاجتماعي في داخلها، يؤثّر أحدُهما في الآخر بشكل سلبي. ومن هنا، يمسي وصْف البيت الأبيض قرار «أوبك +» بـ«بالعمل العدائي» خاوياً، والأمر ذاته ينسحب على مسألة التدخّل في الانتخابات. ذلك أن حجم الشقاق الجمهوري – الديموقراطي، حال دون إقرار موقف موحّد تجاه خطوة المنظّمة، ليضيع ردّ الفعل في زحمة الاختلافات الحزبية. وحتى وإنْ حرص الجمهوريون على تبيان امتعاضهم من القرار، لكي لا يَظهروا بمظهر غير المبالين بأثره في الناخبين الأميركيين، إلّا أنهم ألقوا باللوم المباشر على بايدن. ويضاف إلى ذلك، قيام أعضاء من الحزبَين بتبنّي سرديات مِن قَبيل أن بايدن أراد من السعوديين مجرّد تأجيل القرار شهراً واحداً حتى تَظهر نتائج الانتخابات، أو سردية أن الجمهوريين هم مَن دفعوا بالسعوديين نحو خطوتهم الأخيرة للإضرار ببايدن ومحاولة كسْب الانتخابات. وهنا، ضاع موضوع تمرّد السعوديين وقيامهم بما وُصف بـ«العمل العدائي».

المثير والمهمّ، هو كيف أمست السياسة الأميركية أشبه بسياسات دول غير متماسكة، أو حتى بسياسات النُّخب الحاكمة العربية القائمة على تعصّب الأطراف بعضها ضدّ بعض. فلو وضعْنا القرار السعودي في حقبة زمنية ماضية، ولْنقل في فترة باراك أوباما الأولى، فما كان له أن يتمّ، إذ إن الهوية الأميركية كانت متماسكة على نحو سيدفع الجميع إلى اعتبار الخطوة «عملاً عدائياً»، إلّا أن القبَلية الحزبية والاستقطاب الأميركي اليوم، وهّنا من الهوية الأميركية لصالح المصالح الحزبية – الهويّاتية الضيّقة. ومن هنا، يَبرز قرار «أوبك +»، ليس كمحاولة للانعتاق من الولايات المتحدة، اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً وبل حتى ثقافياً، بل كمؤشّر إلى ولادة مرحلة دولية، وأميركية داخلية، جديدة على الدول المرتبطة نُخبها بالأميركيين، وقواعد لَعِبها مختلفة عن الماضي، وهذا بالتحديد ما يحاول السعوديون التأقلم معه، وصوغ وجودهم ضمن تناقضاته.

من ملف : السعودية – أميركا: أزمة تخادُم

مقالات ذات صلة

Is Russia a Terror State?

July 25, 2022

Note: our “friends” from Commentary Magazine show their true agenda 🙂  It is quite comical to see US Zionists pointing fingers are others for “terrorism” when the USA is by far the biggest supporter and user or terrorists organizations on the planet, from Gladio to al-Qaeda…
Andrei
*******

Is Russia a Terror State?
by Noah Rothman

source: https://www.commentary.org/noah-rothman/is-russia-a-terror-state/

“The security situation throughout Ukraine continues to be violent and unpredictable due to ongoing military attacks by Russia,” the U.S. State Department warned on July 14. “Avoid large gatherings and organized events as they may serve as Russian military targets anywhere in Ukraine, including its western regions.” This was not the first time the American diplomatic mission in Kyiv warned civilians to avoid “gatherings and organized events,” but the atrocity that forced State to reissue this alert was horrific enough to take the admonition seriously.

Earlier that day, Russia fired three submarine-launched cruise missiles at targets in the Western Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, though it is unclear what the intended targets might have been. Those missiles fell on a populated shopping center, a dance studio, and a wedding venue, instantly killing 23 and wounding another 71 while burying scores more beneath the rubble. Some speculated that Russia’s intended target was a Ukrainian officer’s club, but the dubious military value of that target and the likelihood of collateral damage given the density of the city around it don’t do much to absolve Russia. Indeed, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that collateral damage is deliberate and that terrorizing the Ukrainian public is the desired outcome.

If the United States has concluded that Moscow is deliberately targeting civilian “gatherings,” that should make academic any debate over whether to deem Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. And yet, the debate rages on.

According to Politico last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued an ultimatum to Secretary of State Antony Blinken: Either you label Russia a terror state, or we will. Resolutions that would brand Moscow a terrorist actor have been circulating in both federal legislative chambers since the spring, but Congress has not acted in deference to the Biden White House. Pelosi said the designation is “long overdue,” but the administration has been dragging its feet. The State Department insists the existing suite of sanctions against Russia is sufficient to isolate Moscow and reduce its capacity to project force in Ukraine. Additionally, the “secondary” sanctions a terrorism designation would trigger against nations and individuals with business ties to Russia could perversely weaken the existing sanctions regime.

“The sanctions we have in place and have taken are the same steps that would be entailed by the designation of a state sponsor of terrorism,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price insisted. But given that the State Department is in effect alleging that Moscow is prosecuting a campaign of terror, Congress may not accept this rationale much longer. Indeed, evidence of Russia’s wartime atrocities mounts by the day.

A Human Rights Watch report published this weekend alleged that Russian forces have engaged in a systematic campaign of torture. Detainees have been electrocuted, burned, and had their ribs and teeth broken. Reporting from occupied areas of Ukraine is replete with allegations of summary executions and forced abductions. Many thousands of Ukrainians have been “evacuated” to Russia where they are re-educated in “filtration camps.” Although Moscow and Kyiv reached a tentative deal to once again allow the export of grain through the country’s Black Sea ports, which would relieve some of the pressure this war has put on global food prices, a Russian cruise missile strike on the port city of Odessa’s shipping infrastructure this weekend calls into question Moscow’s commitment to humanitarianism.

The U.S. government does not deny that these atrocities are occurring. Indeed, officials warn that the worst is yet to come. Moscow intends to annex into the Russian Federation the territory it presently occupies in Ukraine, at which point it can proceed unmolested toward the goal of this war: breaking and eliminating the very idea of a Ukrainian identity.

Meanwhile, Russia proper has become intensely repressive and militaristic. Any expression of dissent against the war in Ukraine has been criminalized. Academics and journalists have been arrested. The number of “foreign agents” subject to punitive legal measures has exploded. Ominously, Jewish organizations can now count themselves among the many “foreign agents” Russia seems set on persecuting. “Multiple Jewish organizations in Russia have received threatening letters in recent weeks from the Russian Justice Ministry regarding their work,” the Jerusalem Post reported. The writing on the wall is legible from orbit.

The Biden administration has valid reasons for wanting to avoid the complications that would follow designating Russia a terrorist state, but Russia’s terroristic actions are rendering the White House’s resistance untenable. The administration’s hand may soon be forced. If so, it will be Russia, not Congress or the community of democratic nations, that forced it.

Michael Hudson: Podcast with Michael Hudson, Steve Keen, Steve Grumbine

July 17, 2022

Posted with Michael Hudson’s permission

Grambine, Macro and Cheese, July 9 2022. https://realprogressives.org/podcast_episode/episode-180-the-end-of-dollar-diplomacy-with-steve-keen-and-michael-hudson/.

https://realprogressives.org/macro-n-cheese-podcast/
For those who would like to hear the recorded conversation

Michael Hudson [intro/music]

A central tenet of the World Bank from the beginning is to convince countries not to grow their own food, but to create plantation agriculture to prevent family-owned farming of food, to grow plantation export crops and they become dependent on the United States for their grain.

[00:00:22.610] – Steve Keen [intro/music]

If you look at just the shipping involved in international trade, it’s something of the order of 20%, I think, of our carbon production comes out of the entire mechanics of shipping goods around the planet. And we realize we’ve massively overshot the capacity of the biosphere to support our industrial sedentary civilization. So, one way to reduce that is by reducing international trade.

[00:01:35.130] – Geoff Ginter [intro/music]

Now, let’s see if we can avoid the apocalypse altogether. Here’s another episode of Macro N Cheese with your host, Steve Grumbine.

[00:01:43.110] – Steve Grumbine

All right. And this is Steve with Macro N Cheese. Another great episode for everyone today. I have two guests, two very good friends, and very happy to have them join me today. Professor Steve Keen and Michael Hudson. You can’t get two better guys than this. And we’re going to have a very action packed conversation.

We’re going to be talking about central banking, the IMF, World Trade Organization, World Bank. And we’re going to be looking at how the US uses the monetary system to bring about its imperial powers that it exerts on the world. And we’re going to look at some of the things that are happening with Russia and Ukraine right now that ship the US control over the global commerce and the behaviors of non US countries.

They’re starting to think for themselves and make some decisions, and we’re watching the facade crack a little bit. Steve Keen, who is the author of the book Debunking Economics and more recently The New Economics: A Manifesto, is joining me, as well as Michael Hudson, who has just recently written the book The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism. So, without further ado, Michael and Steven, welcome to the show, sirs.

[00:03:04.530] – Michael Hudson

Good to be here.

[00:03:05.800] – Steve Keen

Thank you indeed.

[00:03:06.960] – Grumbine

So the reason why I brought us together, you guys are both phenomenal on your own, but together, I think that we can maybe tackle this. As an MMT advocate, I find myself friends with an awful lot of people, and you gentlemen have been doing this for a long time, and I know that you have some pushback within the MMT community.

In particular, this concept of “imports are a benefit and exports are a cost.” This is a core MMT staple. And some of the concerns that came out as a result of the Covid crisis showed us the resource based failures of a global supply chain and how some of the aspects of our financial system and the shipping of real resources from areas that had high Covid, how it impacted our abilities to take care of life on life’s terms.

It also became quite clear that the US hegemony over the world using dollar diplomacy is starting to show cracks in the foundation as well, as we watch Russia thumb its nose at US sanctions. So, getting into this, Steve Keen, I know that you have taken some issue with Warren Mosler’s prescription that imports are a benefit and exports are a cost.

Taking Warren’s position on this, I believe Warren is saying exports are real goods and services we’re sending out, whereas imports we’re handing pieces of paper to people. And this is a win for the importing nation. And we’ve seen the power of the US dollar and the ability to basically create colonial outposts, colonized communities living and dying off of US dollars. So there’s a power dynamic as well. What is your pushback with Warren’s import/export model?

[00:05:03.270] – Keen

There are quite a few elements to it. First of all, the idea that exports are a cost and imports are a benefit. One term that I’ve seen one Modern Monetary Theory advocate used to explain is to say, the opportunity cost is all theirs. In other words, they have therefore gone by sending a good to us like an automobile to the buyer in return for currency.

They’re doing without the opportunity of the vehicle. And when you take a good look at the manufacturing side of things, the reality for most firms is they have diminishing marginal cost and excess capacity. So the standard thing when you’re competing in a domestic market is you have spare capacity you’re not using, but you can’t get enough demand domestically.

Now, I know MMT can say that should be handled by the government using additional spending power and creating the spending power to absorb the excess capacity. But they don’t at the moment. So what tends to happen instead is that countries will use export-oriented industrialization to use their additional capacity more effectively, which is what’s led to the industrialization of China and in many ways the de-industrialization of America.

Personally, I don’t think the opportunity cost is the right way to think about international trade at all. It’s a neoclassical way of thinking. It assumes neoclassical conditions about production which are empirically false. I don’t think anything in MMT should be based on bad foundations and I think that is a bad foundation.

Then when you see the discussions about monetary sovereignty and saying that countries who don’t have to issue debt in the currency which is not their own currency, they have monetary sovereignty, those who have to issue debt in a currency which is not their own don’t have monetary sovereignty. One way you end up in not having monetary sovereignty is running large balance of trade deficits and not being the reserve currency of the planet.

So I think the advice that exports are a cost and imports are a benefit doesn’t make sense for countries which have been running a trade deficit, are importing more than they’re exporting, so they’re using their own pieces of paper fundamentally, initially, but if they keep on doing it, they’ve got to start using American pieces of paper, and then they’re in deep trouble. So I just think it’s a nice slogan, but I think it’s a bad idea.

[00:07:20.250] – Grumbine

So it makes sense to me given the nature of the pandemic. You and I spoke, I guess it was almost two years ago, about supply chains and pandemics, and we talked at length about how the iPhone is made in some 37 different countries – and countries that were isolated due to the pandemic. It also impacted production in general. Right now I’m in Information Technology, and I work with Cisco, and Cisco being the backbone of the entire Internet globally.

They have lead times even today of up to a year for some of the equipment, partially because of semiconductor shortages. But this is a piggyback to that in that there is the accounting identities of trading paper for goods and services, but then there is the actual functional output of that. And for countries like the United States, we do have Most Favored Nation status in the sense that we are the primary world reserve currency.

And I think part of that has to do with the fact that the price gas and gas purchases are done through US dollars as well. But overall, I think that we have to be aware that we’re not being a very good partner on the planet in general. A lot of the power plays the United States uses to be able to get those goods and services into the US Is done through warfare and sanctions, as we’ve seen all around the world. We use them to great harm in the global South.

However, we saw Russia here recently thumb their nose at us and say, the only thing we’re really lacking is high tech products, and we got China that can hook us up with that. All you’ve done is accelerated our departure from a dollar denominated world, which I guess brings us to you, Michael. Your book talks extensively about this. Can you help piggyback off of what Steve said regarding the supply chains and the impact of that import/export dynamic with what’s going on right now with Russia, China and Ukraine?

[00:09:34.590] – Hudson

Well, MMT has not spent much time talking about the balance of payments. It’s basically a theory of the domestic economy. The problem of the whole discussion that just took place is that trade is not the most important element of the balance of payments. For the United States, the trade balance has been just about in balance for almost 50 years, 70 years, actually.

What’s in balance is America’s military spending abroad. That’s the deficit that is pumping dollars into the world economy. But now to get back to Steve’s point, realizing that we’re dealing with trade, only a small portion of the balance of payments, Steve’s point is, let’s ignore all the other elements of the balance of payments – the debt service and the capital accounts and others.

If you import more than you export, and you have to actually pay cash for the imports and get cash for the export, then you have to borrow money. And once you borrow money, because most trade is denominated in dollars, this means you have to borrow US dollars. You don’t buy imports with your own currency. Now, MMT is all about how sovereign governments can create their own money and create their own currency, but they can’t print their foreign currency.

That’s the problem with having more imports than exports. And once you begin to borrow dollars, you have to pay interest on it. And all of a sudden, they’re running a deficit, it’s going to reduce your foreign exchange rates. Well, let’s look at what’s going to happen this summer as an example. We know that energy prices, oil prices are going way up.

And President Biden just says they’re going to be with us for a very long time because his major contributors are the oil companies, and he’s promised them that he’s going to enable them to make super profits to help raise the Dow Jones average. And the other element is food. Well, America is going to make a killing on oil exports because the United States controls the world oil trade.

The United States is also a major agricultural exporter, and it’ll make a killing because NATO has imposed sanctions on Russia, preventing Russia from exporting oil and food – it’s the largest grain exporter – into the economy. So you’re going to have South America, Africa, and the global South countries all of a sudden running big deficits.

Well, at the same time, there’s an enormous deficit of debt service that they owe to finance all of the trade deficits that they’ve been running ever since they followed neoliberal ideals to open their markets to depend on foreign food and basically US manufacturers. The Federal Reserve has just begun to raise interest rates. And the result of raising interest rates has been the dollar is going way up against the Latin American currencies, the African currencies, the South African rand, the Brazilian currency.

So you’re going to have the global South being in an absolute currency squeeze this summer. What are they going to do? Well, President Putin has said, well, we’re going to offer an alternative in the form of the BRICS bank. Well, it’s true that a bank can’t create foreign currency. The BRICS bank can enable countries to run a deficit in two ways.

Number one, the bank can be fueled by each member giving, say, a trillion dollars or some kind of proportional currency to the bank. So currency swap agreements, just like the United States has been negotiating for the last 50 years. You can all have a currency swap. Also, the BRICS bank can create its version of Special Drawing Rights – IMF SDRs – or what John Maynard Keynes proposed in 1944: “bancors.”

It can create paper gold of its own and distribute to countries. Well, the problem is, Putin said, we’re willing to sell your grain and oil and to take your currency in exchange, but we don’t want to save your balance of payments simply so that now you can afford to pay the debt service that you owe to US dollar bond holders, bank holders, and the IMF and the World Bank that got you into the mess you’re in to begin with.

So the problem is the stability of insulating your trade from the foreign exchange going up and down requires a split of the world into two different economic zones: US/NATO, the white people’s economic zones, and let’s call it the nonwhite economic zones. And remember, the Ukraine say that Russians are not white and racially different. Basically, the Nazi ideology is that any country that’s not neoliberal is not white.

So you’re going to have the world splitting, and we’re really talking about how to create a monetary system for the world splitting. I want to get back to one other thing Steve said about the opportunity cost. If imports are a great advantage to the United States, is it worth having American corporations move to low wage labor abroad, shifting the production abroad so that America is deindustrialized?

Has that been an advantage? Or let’s look at it from Russia’s point of view. Until this last spring, Russia was importing food, cheese, raw materials. And because of the sanctions, Russia has had to all of a sudden develop import substitution. It’s producing its own cheese. It produced its own agriculture that’s thriving.

And President Putin has said that Russia is going to spend more and more of its oil export receipts on funding import-replacing industry. Well, that sounds like a good idea, because we’re really talking about independence. And the balance of payments ultimately determines a constraint on domestic policy. I think that’s what Steve was talking about for opportunity costs.

You can’t just look at the flows on a balance sheet: “Well, we’re getting something for nothing.” If you import more than you export, you’re running up foreign debt, and you’re becoming more and more dependent on foreign countries who are acting in their own interests, not your own interests. So you have to put this whole discussion in the political context.

[00:16:15.210] – Grumbine

So I would see this as a national security issue in that with these essentials – Fadhel Kaboub talks about the spectrum of sovereignty: energy sovereignty, food sovereignty, technological sovereignty, the ability to live without external supports. And each country has varying levels of that. And so each country would have to be looked at differently just based on what they’re even capable of producing.

I guess my question to you, as we think about countries in the global South that have had the kiss of the IMF on them and the debt peonage that they have been laboring under. In Africa, Sankara’s speech talking about “I can either pay you or I can feed my people.” You can see the role that US interests through the IMF have had to import their goods and services into our country.

They don’t have a choice. They are basically colonial states that have the US thumbprint on them. So the United States has exerted this imperial power in this geopolitical nightmare. We are watching them break away from that today.

[00:17:34.050] – Hudson

But you’re leaving one of the real villains in the piece, and that’s the World Bank.

[00:17:38.290] – Grumbine

Oh, yes.

[00:17:39.020] – Hudson

A central element of the World Bank from the beginning is to convince countries not to grow their own food, but to create plantation agriculture, to prevent family-owned farming of food, to grow plantation export crops, and to become dependent on the United States for their grain. Well, if imports are a benefit and imports mean that the United States can put a sanction on you and starve your people like the United States tried to do in China in the 1950s, do you really want to become import dependent on food?

Let’s compare the World Bank to the Chinese Belt and Road and the BRICS bank that’s proposed. The World Bank would only make foreign exchange loans. That meant it would only make loans to countries who would invest in infrastructure that would help its exports. Well, imagine how this works for agriculture.

If you were going to develop your agriculture in the global South countries, you’d do pretty much what the United States did in the 1930s that had the most rapid increase in productivity of any industry in the last few centuries. And that was because the government took the lead in agricultural extension services, seed testing, educating farmers as to seed variety, setting up local farm management organizations.

Before the time that Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland became the great intermediaries in promotion of domestic self-sufficiency for farms, the World Bank wouldn’t make any loans at all for this, even though the World Bank local commissions and reports all said that this is what they need. The World Bank was almost always headed by someone very close to the US Military, starting with John J. McCloy at the beginning and going through McNamara and all of the subsequent Pentagon people who were put in charge of the World Bank.

And above all, they wanted to continue to base America’s export boom in agriculture and to make other countries food dependent. And that is one of the things that has led them into debt. So if you have a country like Chile that has the richest land in the world because it has the richest supply of guano deposits in the world. It also has the most unequal land distribution in Latin America – latifundia and microfundia – not any kind of balanced food production.

So that all of Chile’s exports and copper, by specializing, have been overwhelmed by the costs of importing food that it could have grown all by itself. So the idea of free trade is shaped by what will the international organizations controlled by the US give credit for, ends up to create underdevelopment and dependency instead of development. And that developmental aspect is a different story from MMT money creation. And we’re talking about something else that is part of a much bigger system.

[00:20:43.410] – Grumbine

Steve, based on what Michael just said, I know that you are concerned with the environment and bringing production back home. And around the world, people that are not hip to the US empire are trying to convince countries to look at building bonds between each other to create trade zones that mitigate some of the US power over dominating their countries.

We’ve got a very tiny window to solve climate crisis as well. So all these things are converging at one time trying to deleverage US interests from the world interests and watching as the nonwhite countries are banding together and the white countries are banding together. And it seems like the opportunity to save ourselves from extinction is passing before our very eyes.

In the vein of what he just said, how do we marry some of the ideas that we have, the climate crisis with the geopolitical crisis that we’re battling here?

[00:21:49.110] – Keen

Well, the large part of it is that the focus of neoclassical economics has always been on specialization and doing it with so-called comparative advantage. And what that gives you is an incredibly fragile system, as we’ve seen with Covid, because if you actually distribute production across the planet and you have a long supply chain, then of course that can collapse in an instant with something like Covid coming along.

And equally, if you have a famine, if the major food baskets get wiped out by a famine or a war. We’ve got the war already. The famine may well come by a drought and a crop failure as well. Then suddenly you can’t feed your people and you have no domestic alternative. So I think we have to get away from the focus on efficiency and even in that sense, the gain of swapping paper for goods, which is part of the MMT slogan.

Start thinking: no, we need to be resilient and capable of handling a range of different disturbances which could come our way. And on that basis you need to have your production local.

[00:22:47.310] – Grumbine

So within that space mitigating some of the travel carbon footprint expenses that clearly solves one problem. But where you had smokestacks to create basic amounts of goods and services in one country, now you’re building smokestacks across the globe and I don’t see any meaningful effort to green technology to make those things happen.

I am curious what decentralizing production does in terms of the carbon footprint and how developing local supply chains will in turn impact our ability to stave off climate crisis.

[00:23:30.090] – Keen

Yeah, if you look at just the shipping involved in international trade. It’s something at the order of 20%, I think, of our carbon production comes out of the entire mechanics of shipping goods around the planet, and we realize we’ve massively overshot the capacity to support our industrial sedentary civilization. So one way you can reduce that is by reducing international trade.

I think that’s what’s going to start happening, partly because you have the example of Cisco. You suddenly wait a year to get a piece you used to wait two weeks for because of the breakdown of the supply chain. The same thing will become even, I think, even more extreme when climate change forces us to drastically reduce our production levels.

If you don’t have the domestic production capability, you’re going to lose the possibility of those goods. And in some cases, we have to drastically reduce our consumption of a range of goods. Automobiles is an obvious instance of that. But in others, we want to continue – and food production is one of those. Clearly, you want to produce your food locally.

So, again, I think we’ve been very blase about the physical side of production, and that’s what I would like MMT to start looking at. And in that context, I think it might change the attitude about imports and exports.

[00:24:57.730] – Intermission

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[00:25:49.010] – Grumbine

Michael, in the Russia example, where in one fell swoop they get cut off from the SWIFT system and the US is beating their chest, “We’ve got Putin on the run.” It doesn’t look like Putin is on the run at all right now.

[00:26:02.900] – Hudson

I’m glad you’re bringing up the NATO war against countries resisting neoliberalism, because you use the word “green.” And the European Greens basically are advocating two fuels of the future: coal and cutting down the forests. Germany, by blocking Russia’s gas, they are essentially replacing Russian gas and oil with Polish and Ukrainian coal – and digging down the forest.

I’ve walked very often through German villages, and most houses have whole stacks of cut-down lumber that they essentially burn in their fireplaces for heat. You’re having an enormous deforestation and replacement of gas with coal. And the Green Parties are the advocates for the major polluters in the world, and they’re the advocates for global warming.

And that’s because they’re part of the Cold War attack on Russia. And they say it’s worth having global warming as long as we can fight against countries that resist neoliberalism and resist the American European takeover. So you want to realize the politics – that the Greens of Europe are not friends of the environment.

Now, to get back to your question about the isolating of Russia. Isolating Russia hasn’t isolated it at all. It’s driven Russia together with China, in the first instance, and then China and Russia together have joined with India, Iran, Syria, they’re now joining with Brazil and Argentina all to create an alternative economic order and social order and political order.

And the political order is basically based on the main distinction between the non-neoliberals and the neoliberals, and that is: who will control the money supply. And China is the prime example. Instead of private banking creating the credit to create loans basically for financial reasons, China will create credit to spend into the economy the way that MMTers hope to see credit created.

Namely, spend to hire labor, to make new means of production, hopefully in an environmental way, as opposed to the commercial banks that look at “how do we make money in the short term?” Well, you make money in the short term by cutting down the forest of the Amazon. You don’t look at global warming.

And already you’ve had the heads of American oil companies and investment firms say “what do we care about global warming ten years in the future? We care about the next three months’ earning statement, and the next year. Ten years from now, the sea levels go up. We can deal with it then.” So you’re dealing with two different economic philosophies and as the world divides into these two different economies, this is an important element.

And as Steve just pointed out, neoliberal economics doesn’t take into account the environment because that’s long term. Economists call that exogenous, meaning it’s outside our tunnel vision. And the question is whether you’re going to look at the world economy as the overall system interconnected, which is what Steve and I do, or whether you’re going to say we’re going to just cut the financial sector apart and only look at the corporate and financial sector of how to make money quickly.

That’s really the difference. So obviously Russia was not really troubled very much by being cut off – or even by being isolated. What America is doing is driving Russia together with all of the countries that have refused to condemn it. And America basically is creating an iron curtain, locking these countries – isolating them from Europe and the United States – going their own way, which I don’t think Russia and China are unhappy to see occurring.

[00:29:54.480] – Grumbine

I completely agree with that. The idea that the US thinks they are going to knock these giants down and they’ve just said we’re going to invest in our own country. Instead of being a cooperative society, we see this as a combative society. We decided we have to fight them and create cold wars to isolate them so we can catch up.

But you nailed it with the concept of the private short-term thinking that private collateral, banking, loans, filling short-term needs because we can’t see out as far as those folks because they aren’t living and dying the same capitalist way that we do things here in the United States. They have invested in the public purpose.

China has got the ability to do just about everything. Do you think it’s going to take us getting our proverbial asses handed to us by the rest of the world to wake up? Do you think we’ll ever wake up? Or this is just the way it will always be, at least until tsunamis take us out?

[00:30:56.870] – Hudson

Who is the we? Who’s going to wake up? When you say we, it’s as if you mean American citizens in the population. But we are not the government who makes the policy. We are not the Davos Group and the campaign contributors. Their “we” are the oil industry, the big agricultural monopolies, the other monopolies, and Wall Street. That’s the finance, insurance and real estate sector [FIRE].

And they are going to just continue doing what they want. And you’ve seen from the recent Supreme Court rulings in the United States that the government is not permitted to enforce any climate preservation rules. That has been ruled unconstitutional unless Congress can pass environmental law. And in order for Congress to pass a law, as opposed to just an executive branch joining the environment, you have to have 60 out of 100 votes.

American dual politics doesn’t permit either party to get 60 votes unless there’s a landslide. And the only party that has a prospect of getting 60% would be the Republicans. So basically, even if the people wake up, the government people and their campaign contributors are just going to continue to make money to live in the short term. That’s what differentiates neoliberalism and socialism.

[00:32:17.630] – Grumbine

Very well stated. To me, I think of this as war. Murder. I don’t think of this as some polite gentleman’s disagreement. I see this as wanton death and destruction, all in the name of profit. How do we stop this? Can we stop this? Congress is bought and paid for. Our government, our Supreme Court doesn’t represent the people, and the President has proven to be a feckless neoliberal as well.

I see nothing to feel any sense of hope, and I’m not sure that hope is a requirement. It seems like the only alternative we have is in the street, is to become ungovernable, is to get rid of a government that is no longer representative of the people.

[00:33:04.010] – Hudson

[laughs]  Well, Steve’s gone to Thailand and I’m dealing mainly with China. That’s how we’ve coped. [laughter] Neither of us are going to be President of America.

[00:33:15.690] – Keen

No. The American political system is almost designed to stop anything being done. I was involved in the Australian election recently, as you probably remember. And though my party did extremely badly and money still was obviously vitally necessary to get a political profile, even in countries with good electoral systems, Australia does have a good electoral system, and America has got the best electoral system money can buy, and that’s a disaster.

It’s hard to get away from money enabling parties to have political position to be seen in the media. And that’s actually a great reason for MMT: create money for publicly financed election campaigns rather than having it out of private pockets. But given that, you have an electoral system where you don’t actually vote for anybody, the electoral college piece of nonsense, which itself is crazy.

Every state has got a different system, which is crazy. You don’t have the central bureaucracy handling the voting system, which is crazy. And you have gerrymandering because the boundaries are decided by local political groups, which is crazy. So the extent to which America needs to reform its political structure to approximate a democracy is ridiculous. And that’s partly why money interests can so easily dominate what happens in the American political sphere. And right-wing religious ideology as well.

[00:34:43.950] – Grumbine

Absolutely. The Calvinistic bullshit in this country is over the top. But there’s a tone policing aspect to this. I think there are people out there who don’t understand that this election system that we have in the United States isn’t getting us what we want or need. They think they just need to phone bank harder, vote harder.

Fact is, in my 53 years, I have not seen any meaningful legislation passed. I do not consider the ACA meaningful legislation. I’ve seen a lot of bad legislation pass that hurts us. And this is not really intended to be an America-centric show, except that America seems to be the big bully. It’s creating a lot of the problems. It’s got its own citizens in hell and it’s trying to create hell on earth for the rest of the world.

I spend a lot of time trying to get this information out the door. It’s very important information, but it’s only important in the sense that it’s good to know. I don’t see any of it amounting to a movement, a passing of legislation. We can tell people that if we don’t consider the economy in the world as a superorganism and degrowth, we don’t have anybody thinking this way.

[00:36:00.090] – Keen

There is actually – I don’t know the name of it, but I do know that there’s a political group in America which is campaigning to have Australia’s electoral system adopted by America. Have it include an electoral commission that determines borders between one electorate and another, a single centralized system that counts the votes rather than the crazy range of stuff you have at the state level.

And controls on the size of electorates so they can be no more than 20% larger or smaller than a target – and they should be 10%. And then preferential voting so you don’t just vote for one candidate, like if you vote for the Greens in America, you guarantee the Republicans win the election because the Green votes are taken away from the Democrat.

So have preferential voting, which means you can actually put the party you prefer first and know that the party that’s your fallback will actually get the vote if your first party doesn’t get up. So all these sorts of reforms. I know that there are people who are campaigning about it because the frustration that you’re expressing is very widely felt in America. But of course, try getting that through a Republican-dominated Congress. It ain’t going to be easy.

[00:37:01.170] – Grumbine

No. It does leave you wondering if this is not just political theater. I talked to Warren the other day and Warren asked the question to me. He said, “you ask, are they doing a good job? And I answer back, well, for whom?” Somebody’s doing okay right now. It just isn’t the regular people in society. Somebody’s doing great, though. And I don’t see a path. As much as I want to, I see no path forward.

I don’t want to feel this way, but I don’t see a path forward. Michael, with your international perspective, I guess my question to you, given the fact that you’re focusing on China and you see the US through the lens that we’ve just discussed, do you see an ending to this that is positive for the world, that gets us to a successful conclusion, meaning we survive? Do you see any hope whatsoever in changing that narrative? And if not, what’s next?

[00:38:01.530] – Hudson

There’s no path forward in the way that we’ve been talking about because the suggestions that Steve makes cannot be legislated by Congress. They are limited by the Constitution. And in order to do what Steve recommends – very good ideas – you would need a new Constitutional Convention. The right-wing, the polluters, the monopolists, the bankers, have been preparing for a Constitutional Convention for about 30 years, and it wouldn’t be very nice.

[00:38:32.370] – Grumbine

Yep.

[00:38:32.370] – Hudson

Our Constitution in America was written for the slave owners to permit any states to block any federal power because they worried that the federal power might try to free the slaves. Well, now that element of the Constitution, of state’s rights, is enabling the oil industry, the polluting industry, the banks, the credit card companies to essentially prevent any solution along any lines except those of the ultra right-wing.

But the problem goes beyond America and beyond Europe. Western civilization took a wrong track about 3000 years ago. The Near East and almost all of Asia had a tradition of canceling the debts when they threatened the economy. In Japan, you had revolutions, you had the Near East rulers canceling the debts. That’s what my books are about.

And you had essentially the jubilee years throughout the Near East. And this promotion of economic growth and in effect, prosperity, was always run by a central ruler. There had to be a ruler, the job of divine kingship or undivine kingship, throughout the Near East, Asia, all the way to China. And India. All of these cultures sought to prevent a commercial class and a financial class from emerging and taking over.

And the merchant class was realized as playing an important role, but it was not allowed to dominate society. But around the 8th century BC, when Syrian traders began to move into the Aegean and Mediterranean to Greece and Italy. There weren’t any kings. The west didn’t have kings. They had local chieftains who were a Mafia-type society.

And the result is that ever since Greece and Rome, you had a completely different set of laws and legal philosophy than what you had in the Near East and Asia. You had pro-creditor laws making what is called the security of contracts and the irreversibility of land being forfeited to creditors. And the result is you had creditors oligarchy evolving.

So when President Biden said the current war of NATO against Russia and China is a war of democracy against autocracy, what it means by democracy are Western civilization’s oligarchies. There haven’t been any democracies, really – maybe very briefly in Athens – but the Western cultures are all oligarchies. What he calls an autocracy is a government strong enough to prevent a financial oligarchy from developing and taking over the land and taking over politics and making its own laws for itself.

And it’s a civilizational difference. And both Steve and I have spent a lot of our time talking about how the Western economies cannot evolve further without a debt write-down, without writing down the debts that are of the 99%, they’re owed to the 1%, the oligarchy that’s controlling all of Western politics. Asia has a way to go a different way.

China doesn’t have a financial oligarchy because it treats money and credit as a public utility through the Bank of China. And so the Bank of China, as we said, makes loans to actually develop the economy. And that’s what Russia says it’s going to begin doing, not to create a financial class to make money at the expense of the 99%. So we’re dealing with a civilizational problem.

And the question is, which form of civilization? Can you rescue Western civilization from the wrong track? Well, only by creating an alternative on the right track and leaving Western civilization and say, well, you’re missing out on the development. Do you want to continue in poverty or are you going to have a revolution?

[00:42:31.650] – Grumbine

You’ve seen yellow and blue profile pictures for everybody totally sympathetic to Ukraine. And our government saying “we are not going to abandon them no matter what.” Biden has signaled that we have unlimited money to give to Ukraine, and he can’t possibly write down $2 trillion in student debt. This weird split dichotomy of truth and lies passes right by the average person.

With what you just stated, which side is going to win? Sadly, the bad guys seem to always win. I rarely see the good guys win. Who is “the good guys”? In full disclosure, I’m a socialist. We don’t even have a left party in the United States. There’s no appetite for that kind of thing in the United States. And those of us that want it are the minority. How do you envision this playing out?

[00:43:26.670] – Hudson

I thought I just said it: a different civilization going its own way.

[00:43:31.740] – Grumbine

Well, what you said was the question of good and evil, basically, which one is going to win? I’m asking you, how do you see it playing out? Because the US can’t continue doing what it’s doing and grow. You need the debt jubilee. We’ve chosen not to. Asia has those systems built and they have choices. So the question I’m proposing, given that, do you see any chance of the US coming to grips with itself? Or do you see this being a one-way trip to destitution?

[00:44:03.570] – Hudson

The latter.

[00:44:05.010] – Grumbine

Fair enough.

[00:44:05.830] – Hudson

That’s all I can say. There is no sign at all of a change. The fact that Steve and I can be on your show – we are not published in the major magazines anymore. We’re not on the major network shows. What you call the bad guys always call themselves the good guys. What you call evil calls itself good. So the question is, what kind of good guys you’re going to have?

The good guys that want to blow up the world and impoverish society, which is what neoliberalism says are the good guys or the good guys for the 99%, which America says are autocracies that we have to fight?

[00:44:41.830] – Grumbine

Yeah.

[00:44:42.670] – Keen

I think I might put a bit of a perspective. People often say, “what’s your alternative?” And what they really mean is “what’s your alternative that I’m going to like?” And I think there is an alternative, but as people feel, “I don’t like it” then other people won’t like it as well. And that is that given the scale of the environmental crisis we’re facing and the fact that it’s coming far sooner than we’re being led to believe, because courtesy of believing their classical economists on it.

When it hits, the countries that are most likely to survive will hold together are those that the West calls authoritarian. And the defining feature of those cultures when you’ve actually been inside them, is that, yes, there is a very strong state and yes, it tends to get its own way and people do what they’re told to some extent, but it’s because at the same time they know they’ve benefited from that state.

So back in China, when you talk to people in China, they will be critical of the Communist Party and say at the same time, the industrialization since then has been incredible and their lives have improved radically over that period of time. I know people who were literally in Mao suits in 1969 who are having a very comfortable retirement when they faced far worst terms back under the old strictly communist regime.

But what you have with a country like that is if China decides it has to radically ramp up renewable energy resources, also install nuclear if necessary, it’s going to do it and not face the opposition the German Greens give to new nuclear power stations, for example. So the capacity to have a top down society is more likely to be then you’re going to survive the crisis that comes forward from climate change.

I can’t see countries that call themselves democracies succeeding in that situation because they will not be able to agree on the level of cutback that’s necessary and who it gets imposed upon. We’re a more centralized society. We’re more successful at doing that and more likely to hold together during the downturn the climate will cause.

[00:46:40.110] – Hudson

You need a strong enough government to check the power of an oligarchy and to prevent a creditor landowner oligarchy from developing. And libertarians, while pretending to be for liberty, they’re for a centrally planned economy, but a centrally planned economy by the oligarchy, by the financial sector, and by the real estate owners. So every economy is planned. And the question is, who’s going to do the planning?

[00:47:05.190] – Grumbine

Yes. And with that in mind, I want to read to you some stuff that came out of this NATO 2022 Strategic Concept – just so that people understand exactly how bad it is. Document defines Russia as the most significant and direct threat to the allies’ security while addressing China for the first time and the challenges that Beijing poses towards allies’ security interests and values.

Documents also state that climate change is a defining challenge of our time. Strategic Concept is updated roughly every decade as NATO’s second most important document. It reaffirms the values of the alliance, provides a collective assessment of security challenges, and guides the alliance’s political and military activities. Previous version was adopted at the NATO Lisbon Summit in 2010.

Point I’m making is they’re bringing more countries in and now setting up China and Russia as the bad guys. This has been going on for a long time, I guess Reaganism with the Cold War. And you brought it up, I think it’s worth mentioning, towards the end of the Chinese Revolution and the US efforts back then to do these same things to China then.

All these institutions, World Bank, IMF, the Peace Corps, all these different NGOs, these were brought out as a direct counter to Russia’s communism and a fear that communism would spread to the global South to prevent them from getting in bed with the Russians. But our country, the United States in this case, has been instrumental in setting up these shadow organizations to prevent any kind of socialism or people-led initiatives around the world.

And it seems like this is going to become the next war. If it’s not going to be just another Cold War, it’s definitely going to be some war because they are lining up the Axis and allies already. I guess. Take us out on this note.

[00:49:13.290] – Keen

I think I take it over a different angle and say that the global politics we’ve had over the last 80-100 years, actually, since the dominance of America, which we pretty much say from the end of the Second World War, has been completely oblivious to the impact we’re having on the planet. The biosphere itself. And the biggest political player on the planet is the biosphere.

And that’s going to start determining what the wars are in future. And I don’t think any country in the world is prepared for that battle. China has maybe probably the most effective capacity to respond to the challenges that are coming this way, but there’s no way America or Russia or anywhere in Europe are aware of the threats they face.

This is a warfare against an implacable foe which we’ve created by destroying the sustainability of the biosphere, by expanding human industry to three to four times the scale that the planet could actually support. That’s the real war that is coming our way.

[00:50:08.600] – Hudson

And Steve, you mentioned how global shipping and trade adds to the global warming. Obviously, the military spending is a huge, huge factor. So the Americans and the Green Parties of Europe are on the wrong side of history. They are doing just the opposite of preserving de-development. They are the advocates of more and more global warming. So literally, you have a group, a bloc, wanting to destroy the environment and a bloc trying to protect itself from the Western destruction.

[00:50:40.830] – Grumbine

Yeah, very scary. And then we’ve got a lot of folks that think that they’re going to appeal to their greater sense of reason to get them to suddenly stop all this, vote their way to a Green New Deal, and it’s all just going to go away. Gentlemen, thank you so much for this time. I really appreciate it. It’s rare to have two such phenomenal guests at once, so I really do appreciate this immensely. Michael, tell us where we can find more about your work.

[00:51:07.230] – Hudson

Well, on my website, michael-hudson.com, and on my Patreon account. Steve also has a Patreon account. He got me onto Patreon. And the books that I describe what we’re talking about are available on Amazon. The Destiny of Civilization and Super Imperialism.

[00:51:27.450] – Grumbine

Very good. Steve, I know we got you on Patreon, but tell us a little bit about your books and where we can find more of your work.

[00:51:33.710] – Keen

Okay, well, again, my main recent book is The New Economics: A Manifesto, and that’s published by Polity press. So you can get it through Polity or you can get it through Amazon. There’s more than one way to get a hold of it. And the main thing I’m doing is developing the software package to enable us to think about the economy the way we should think about it, which is dynamically, non equilibrium, monetary and so on.

And that’s Minsky, which people can find at SourceForge, the open source software package site, SourceForge. Search for SourceForge and Minsky together and you’ll find it. But those are my main two things. I’ve also opened up a substack account recently – profstevekeen.substack.com – mainly because Patreon loses a lot of customers by stuffing up their credit cards. So Patreon, Substack and Minsky.

[00:52:18.030] – Grumbine

Very good. All right. And with that, my name is Steve Grumbine. My special guests, Steve Keen and Michael Hudson. This is the podcast Macro N Cheese. We’re out of here.

US Senators introduce resolution to end US involvement in Yemen

July 16, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

One of the Senators details how millions of innocent Yemenis have endured untold suffering and a humanitarian catastrophe since the war on Yemen began.

Senators introduce resolutions to end US involvement in Yemen.

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) filed a bipartisan resolution in the Senate on Thursday to direct the withdrawal of US Armed Forces from unauthorized involvement in the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

The resolution, which has the backing of more than 100 members of Congress from both parties in the House, is considered privileged in the Senate and can be voted on the floor ten calendar days after it is introduced.

“We must put an end to the unauthorized and unconstitutional involvement of US Armed Forces in the catastrophic Saudi-led war in Yemen and Congress must take back its authority over war,” said Sen. Sanders.

“More than 85,000 children in Yemen have already starved and millions more are facing imminent famine and death. More than 70 percent of Yemen’s population currently relies on humanitarian food assistance and the UN has warned the death toll could climb to 1.3 million people by 2030. This war has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis today and it is past time to end U.S. complicity in those horrors. Let us pass this resolution, so we can focus on diplomacy to end this war.”

“The war in Yemen has been an unmitigated disaster for which all parties to the conflict share responsibility,” said Sen. Leahy.

“Why are we supporting a corrupt theocracy that brutalizes its own people, in a war that is best known for causing immense suffering and death among impoverished, defenseless civilians? Congress never agreed to this war. Absent a congressional declaration of war that is required by the Constitution and the War Powers Act, Congress should end US support for the Saudi military’s indiscriminate bombing, naval blockade, and other involvement in Yemen.”

Sen. Warren detailed how “millions of innocent Yemenis have endured untold suffering and a humanitarian catastrophe” since the Saudi-led war on Yemen began.

Read next: US Arms in Saudi’s Pool of Blood: The Yemeni Massacre

“The American people, through their elected representatives in Congress, never authorized US involvement in the war – but Congress abdicated its constitutional powers and failed to prevent our country from involving itself in this crisis. The US must immediately end its support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen unless explicitly authorized by Congress.”

While there is presently a weak cease-fire in place that has halted Saudi-led coalition attacks on civilians, a cruel aerial and naval blockade that limits mobility and prevents food, fuel, and medical supplies from entering Yemen remains in force.

More than 377,000 people have been killed since the war began in 2015, with nonmilitant causes such as hunger, sickness, and a lack of clean water accounting for 60% of the deaths. During that period, the Saudi-led coalition has carried out over 23,000 bombings in Yemen, killing about 19,000 civilians, while the US has provided nearly $55 billion in military assistance to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

President Biden committed at the start of his term to withdraw assistance for Saudi-led operations in Yemen. Unfortunately, the United States continues to provide maintenance, logistics support, and spare parts to the Saudi Air Force. The Yemen War Powers Resolution would carry out Biden’s promise by terminating US backing for Saudi-led attacks on Yemen, including:

1. Ending US intelligence sharing in order to enable offensive Saudi-led coalition strikes.

2. US logistical support for offensive Saudi-led coalition strikes, including maintenance and spare components for coalition members flying jets hitting Yemen, is being phased down.

3. Without special statutory permission, US military personnel may not be assigned to command, coordinate, move, or accompany Saudi-led coalition forces engaging in hostilities.

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Andrei Martyanov: Feeling Sitrepish on May 20

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US Says May Have to Suspend Weapons Shipments to Ukraine

May 14, 2022

The flow of US weapons to Ukraine might be cut off, at least temporarily, unless Congress quickly approves nearly $40 billion in new spending to help Kiev repel Russia’s offensive in the former Soviet republic, the Pentagon warned.

“May 19 is the day we really, without additional authorities, begin to not have the ability to send new stuff in . . .,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Friday. “By the 19th of May, it’ll start impacting our ability to provide aid uninterrupted.”

Weapons shipments to Kiev wouldn’t immediately stop on May 20 without new funding because there would still be some supplies in the pipeline purchased under the approximately $100 million in spending authority that the Pentagon currently has remaining for Ukraine aid, Kirby said. However, he added, but by losing its ability to source new cargoes, the Pentagon would face “a period of time with nothing moving” if there’s an extended delay in the new funding approval.

“We’ve been moving at a fairly fast clip here, both in terms of the individual packages that have been approved and how fast that stuff is getting into Ukrainian hands,” Kirby said. “Literally, every day, there are things going in, and we would like to continue to be able to continue that pace for as long as we can.”

Washington’s latest Ukraine aid package, valued at $39.8 billion, was overwhelmingly approved by the House on Tuesday night, but the Senate failed in an effort to fast-track the bill for approval on Thursday. Senator Rand Paul [R-Kentucky] objected to unanimous consent – a provision that allows for bills with strong bipartisan support to go to a quick vote without debate – after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer [D-New York] refused to add language to the aid legislation requiring that an inspector general be appointed to oversee how the money is spent.

Schumer excoriated Paul for standing in the way of quickly approving the massive aid package and argued that Washington has a “moral obligation” to help Ukraine fight Russian forces. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [R-Kentucky] also pressed for an immediate vote on the bill, but Paul’s objection meant that passage would be delayed to next week at the earliest.

Paul argued that Americans are already “feeling the pain” of an inflation crisis, which he said was driven by excessive deficit spending, “and Congress seems intent on only adding to that pain by shoving more money out the door as fast as they can.” He added, “We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the US economy.”

Kirby reiterated a Pentagon request to provide new Ukraine funding by the third week of May. “Obviously, we continue to urge the Senate to act as quickly as possible so that we don’t get to the end of May and not have any additional authorities to draw upon.”

Source: Agencies and Al-Manar English Website

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Pentagon general deplores removing IRGC Quds Force off terror list

Friday 8 April 2022

Source: Agencies

Milley’s personal opinion is to keep, particularly, Iran’s Quds Force on the terror list.

By Al Mayadeen Net 

Pentagon general deplores removing IRGC Quds Force off terror list

The Pentagon’s top general, Mark Milley, vocalized that he was against the delisting of the IRGC as a “terrorist organization”.

“In my personal opinion, I believe the IRGC Quds Force to be a terrorist organization, and I do not support them being delisted from the foreign terrorist organization list,” said Milley in a congressional hearing. 

What was noticeable is Milley’s particular singling out of the IRGC Quds Force – whose former commander was assassinated martyr, Qassem Soleimani – at a time when Washington contemplates removing the IRGC off the terror list altogether. 

Removing the IRGC off the US terror list, to Tehran, is a main condition for the restoration of the 2015 nuclear deal, which was obstructed by former US President Donald Trump in 2018. Trump designated the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization after withdrawing from the deal. 

Israelis panic

While Washington discusses removing the IRGC from the terror list, “Israel” tries everything to obstruct the decision. 

Israel Hayom expects that “Israel” will continue to make strong statements against the Biden administration’s intent to remove the IRGC from its terror list, saying that even if this leads to foiling the deal in Congress, “Israel” will continue to publicly oppose the nuclear deal.

It noted that it is expected that the Israeli opposition will make it harder for the deal to be approved in Congress, and that “Israel’s” political leadership believes removing the IRGC from the list is “unethical”, and that it jeopardizes the lives of Israelis and others.

Read more: “Israel” pleads with US to keep IRGC on ‘terror list’

The US administration is currently considering the removal of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps from its terror blacklist in exchange for a commitment from Iran to “de-escalate” in the region, according to Axios.

One of the remaining points in the Vienna Talks is the removal of IRGC’s designation as a terror group. The terror designation means that criminal penalties would be imposed on anyone doing business with any individual or entity connected to the IRGC.

Furthermore, Israeli media reported a source close to the US administration as saying that “Former President Donald Trump’s decision in 2019 to put Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on the list was a dangerous and short-sighted move.”

The same source added that the move prioritized rhetoric over the security of the US and its partnership, stressing that including the IRGC on the list had increased Iran’s hostility.

In the same context, the Israeli Channel KAN reported that “the Gulf countries have called on the White House not to remove the IRGC from the list.

On his account, Channel 12‘s political analyst Amit Segal affirmed that “Israel” is not alone in calling on Biden to refrain from removing IRGC from the terrorist list.”

Last Sunday, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett expressed hope that the decision will not go through. 

“We are still hoping and working toward preventing this from happening,” he said.

And now, a word from our wannabe Masters about the Bucha false flag

April 04, 2022

US President Announces Ban on Russian Oil Imports

 March 8, 2022

US President Joe Biden has announced a total ban on Russian energy imports, including oil and gas.

“Today I’m announcing the United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy. We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine,” Biden said in a televised address Tuesday morning.

“This is a move that has strong bipartisan support in Congress and I believe in the country. Americans have rallied to support the Ukrainian people and made it clear we will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war,” Biden added.

Biden said he had consulted allies around the world before making the decision, particularly in Europe. “We’re moving forward with this ban understanding that many of our European partners and allies may not be in a position to join us,” he said, pointing to America’s domestic oil production capabilities compared to those of its NATO allies.

“But we’re working closely with Europe and our partners to develop a long-term strategy to reduce their dependance on Russian energy as well,” Biden said.

“This is a step that we’re taking to inflict further pain on Putin, but there will be costs as well here in the United States,” Biden said, adding that “defending freedom has a cost.”

Biden blamed Putin for the rising gas prices Americans have already had to pay. “Since Putin began his military buildup on Ukrainian borders, just since then, the price of the gas at the pump in America went up 75 cents. And with this action it’s gonna go up further,” he said. The president also asked America’s oil producers to refrain from “profiteering or price gouging” at this time.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi commended Biden’s decision and promised to pass strong legislation on the matter later in the day.

The US Department of Energy increased its prognosis for oil production in 2023 by 390,000 barrels per day, for a total of 12.99 million barrels per day (bpd). Production is expected to increase by 60,000 barrels per day in 2022 to 12.03 million bpd.

US imports of Russian oil nearly tripled in 2021 compared to 2020, averaging roughly 209,000 bpd, according to Energy Information Administration figures.

Biden also commented on the sanctions slapped on Moscow by the US and its allies, saying they’ve already inflicted “significant damage” to the Russian economy.

“[Sanctions have] caused the Russian economy to quite frankly crater. The Russian ruble is now down by 50%…One ruble is now worth less than one American penny. And preventing Russia’s central bank from propping up the ruble, and to keep its value up, they’re not going to be able to do that now. We cut Russia’s largest banks from the international financial system and it’s crippled their ability to do business with the rest of the world. In addition, we’re choking off Russia’s access to technology, like semiconductors, that [will] sap its economic strength and weaken its military for years to come,” Biden said.

The president pointed to the voluntary pullout of US and foreign companies from Russia, and the halt in the trade of “many Russian securities” on the US stock exchange. He also pointed to the formation of a Department of Justice task force to “go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs…to make sure that they share in the pain.”

Russia began a military operation to demilitarize Ukraine on 24 February after weeks of escalating shelling, sabotage and sniper attacks by Ukrainian forces against the Donbass republics.

SourceSputnik

Everyone Loses in the Conflict Over Ukraine

March 02, 2022

By Ralph Nader

Global Research,

OpEdNews.com 1 March 2022

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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Today, the dangers of military escalation are beyond description.

What is now happening in Ukraine has serious geopolitical implications. It could lead us into a World War III scenario.

It is important that a peace process be initiated with a view to preventing escalation. 

Global Research condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A Bilateral Peace Agreement is required.


When two scorpions are in a bottle, they both lose. This is the preventable danger that is growing daily with no end game in sight between the two nuclear superpowers led by dictator Vladimir Putin and de facto sole decider Joe Biden.

Putin’s first argument is Washington invented the model of aggressive, illegal invasions, and destruction of distant countries, that never threatened U.S. security.

Millions have died, been injured, and sickened in defenseless countries attacked by U.S. armed forces. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney killed over a million innocent Iraqis and devastated the country in so many ways that scholars called it a “sociocide.”

Putin’s second argument is that Russia is being threatened on its sensitive western border which had been invaded twice by Germany and caused the loss of 50 million Russian lives.

Soon after the Soviet Union collapsed the West’s military alliance against Russia began moving east. Under Bill Clinton, NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) signed up Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in 1999, leading to major arms sales by the U.S. giant munitions corporations.

More recently, Putin sees U.S. soldiers in these countries, ever closer U.S. missile launchers, U.S.-led joint naval exercises in the Baltic Sea, and intimations that Ukraine and Georgia could soon join NATO. Imagine if the Russians were to have such a military presence around the U.S. borders.

Even often hawkish New York Times columnists – Thomas Friedman and Bret Stephens – made this point this week about the brazen U.S. history of military hypocrisy while tearing into Putin. Stephens brought up the Monroe Doctrine over the entire Western Hemisphere in raising repeatedly the question, “Who are We?”

The chess game between Russia and the West has become more deadly with Putin’s military moves followed by immediate Western sanctions against some Russian banks and oligarchs close to Putin.

Travel bans and freezing the completion of the second major natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany are in place with promises of much more severe economic retaliation by Biden.

These sanctions can become a two-way street. Western Europe needs Russian oil and gas, Russian wheat, and essential Russian minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel.

Sanctions against Russia will soon boomerang in terms of higher oil and gas prices for Europeans and Americans, more inflation, worsening supply chains, and the dreaded “economic uncertainty” afflicting stock markets and consumer spending.

The corporate global economy gave us interdependence on other nations instead of domestic self-reliance under the framework of corporate-managed free trade agreements.

Repeating 1970s Strategy of Grand Chess-Master Brzezinski: Biden Appears to Have Induced Russian Invasion of Ukraine to Bankrupt Russia’s Economy and Advance Regime Change

So how many billions of dollars in costs and a weakened economy will Joe Biden tolerate as the price of anti-Putin sanctions that will blowback on the American people?

How much suffering will he tolerate being inflicted on the long-suffering Russian people? What will be the impact on the civilian population of more severe sanctions? And who is he to talk as if he doesn’t have to be authorized by Congress to go further into this state of belligerence, short of sending soldiers, which he said he would not do?

Is Congress to be left as a cheerleader, washing its hands of its constitutional oversight and foreign policy duties?

Also, watch Republicans and Democrats in Congress unify to whoop through more money for the bloated military budget as pointed out by military analyst, Michael Klare.

What energy will be left for Biden’s pending “Build Back Better” infrastructure, social safety net, and climate crisis legislation?

In recent weeks, the State Department said it recognizes Russia’s legitimate security concerns but not its expansionism. Well, what is wrong with a ceasefire followed by support for a treaty “guaranteeing neutrality for Ukraine similar to the enforced neutrality for Austria since the Cold War’s early years,” as Nation publisher and Russia specialist Katrina Vanden Heuvel urged. (See: Katrina vanden Heuvel’s Washington Post article and her recent Nation piece).

Putin, unable to get over the breakup of the Soviet Union probably has imperial ambitions to dominate in Russia’s backyard. Biden has inherited and accepted the U.S. Empire’s ambitions in many other nation’s backyards.

Events have polarized this conflict over Ukraine which is not a security interest for the U.S., into two dominant egos – Putin and Biden – neither of whom want to appear weak or to back down.

This is a dangerous recipe for an out-of-control escalation, much as it was in the lead-up to World War I. Neither the people nor the parliaments mattered then as seems to be the case today.

Putin isn’t likely to make a cost-benefit assessment of each day’s militarism. But Biden better do so. Otherwise, he will be managed by Putin’s daily moves, instead of insisting on serious negotiations.

The Minsk II Peace Accords of February 2015 brokered by Germany, France, and the United Nations, that Russia and Ukraine agreed to before falling apart due to disagreements over who should take the first steps still makes for a useful framework.

It is too late to revisit the accords to stop the invasion but it should be proposed to introduce a climate for waging peace.

Already, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has spoken about an increase in cyberattacks and ransomware demands in her state in recent weeks.

Has Biden put that rising certainty in his self-described decades-long foreign policy expertise?

Watch out for what you can’t stop, Joe.

*

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The Combating Islamophobia Act: On Hate Crimes and ‘Irrational Fears’

December 27, 2021

US Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Photo: via Facebook)

By Ramzy Baroud

The result of a vote, on December 14, in the US House of Representatives regarding the combating of Islamophobia, may, possibly, appear to be a positive sign of change, that Washington is finally confronting this socio-political evil. However, conclusions must not be too hasty.

Disquietingly, Congress was nearly split on the vote. While 219 voted in favor of the resolution, 212 voted against it. What is so objectionable about the resolution, which was introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar, that prompted a ‘nay’ vote by such a large number of American representatives?

The resolution – ‘Combating International Islamophobia Act’ – merely called for establishing the position of a “Special Envoy for monitoring and combating Islamophobia”. Arguably, HR 5665 would have not passed, were it not for the embarrassing episode last September, when Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado mouthed off such obscene and racist language, in which she suggested that Rep. Omar was a terrorist.

“So the other night on the House floor was not my first jihad squad moment,” Boebert told a crowd during a campaign event in Staten Island. The other moment, according to Boebert, was when she met Ilhan Omar on an elevator. “What’s happening? I look to my left and there she is, Ilhan Omar, and I said, ‘Well she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine,’” suggesting that Omar was a potential bomber.

The fact that Boebert would make such racist references publicly, while being aware of the particular cultural sensitivity that exists in her country at the moment, speaks volumes about the complete disregard that many Americans, whether in power, in the media or on the street, have towards their fellow US Muslim citizens.

However, the disparaging and racist comments, thanks to the tireless efforts of numerous activists throughout the country, made enough impact that helped register a semi-official indictment of such despicable behavior. Of course, much more work would have to be done to convince the 212 objecting representatives that degrading and discriminating against their own people because of religion, culture or attire must not be tolerated.

Whether HR 5665 would prove decisive in condemning Islamophobia or holding Islamophobes accountable, is a different story. Hence, we must not hesitate to confront the term itself, the misleading reference that what Muslims in the US and throughout the world are experiencing is some kind of a pathological phenomenon, that of fear, itself instigated, as some suggest, by Muslims themselves.

Anti-Muslims are outright racists. Though Islam is a religion, in the mind of these racists, Islam is affiliated with brown and black-skinned people and, therefore, the hate of Islam and Muslims is part of the anti-black racism that continues to define many parts of the world, especially the US and Europe.

Anti-Muslims are also capable of being criminals, as numbers have shown that the so-called Islamophobia has resulted in mass killing, as was the case in Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

Less reported than these horrific massacres are thousands of incidents where Muslims are targeted because of their religion, cultural symbols and values.

According to a report released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) last July, hundreds of Anti-Muslim incidents have been reported throughout the country in the first half of 2021. These incidents range from hate crimes, hate speech, targeting mosques and Muslim children being bullied at school.

The US is not the only Western country where Anti-Muslim bias and hate crimes are on the rise. Canada, too, which has witnessed the horrific January 2017 attack on the Islamic Cultural Center in Quebec – in which six Muslims were killed and 19 others wounded – is equally culpable.

According to a report by the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) in September, Anti-Muslim incidents in Canada are growing exponentially. Fatema Abdalla, NCCM’s communication coordinator, described Anti-Muslim hate in Canada as “systemic”. “Not only is it growing, but it’s also evolving,” she told Global News, following the release of the report.

Like in the US, Anti-Muslim hate is also fueled by politicians, but not just any politician. In 2015, for example, Canada’s then Prime Minister Stephen Harper pushed to establish a “barbaric cultural practices hotline” where Canadians would be able to call the police to report the ‘disturbing rituals’ of their neighbors. The reference was widely understood to be targeting Muslims, especially as equally disturbing Anti-Muslim measures were proposed, or enacted, in Canada during that period.

Similarly, in the UK and the rest of Europe, Anti-Muslim bias and hate crimes were reported, based on extensive studies and research as well as experiences of ordinary Muslims on a daily basis.

While the vote in Congress to ‘monitor and combat Islamophobia’ is a positive step, the urgency of the situation demands not just symbolic gestures, but the outright criminalization and prosecution of Anti-Muslim hate crimes.

It is time that we stop perceiving ‘Islamophobes’ as people with irrational or, in the mind of some, rational, fear of Muslims – similar to ‘claustrophobia’, ‘arachnophobia’, or ‘agoraphobia’. Indeed, rarely do people in the latter categories gun down innocent people in the street to overcome their fears. Anti-Muslim hate is real and the racists behind it must be punished for their words and actions, as all racists surely deserve.

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Andrei Martyanov reacts to Senator Wicker idea to bomb Russia. With nukes.

DECEMBER 09, 2021

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BDS Movement: “If we abandon Palestine, we abandon ourselves”

December 7, 2021

Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Net

By Ahmad Karakira

Amid the shameful wave of normalization with the Israeli occupation and the Arab failure to support the Palestinian cause in favor of the US and “Israel,” the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions movement has proven to be effective.

Boycotting is one form of resistance against the Israeli occupation, but is not and should not be an alternative to armed resistance

On November 25th, after a struggle with cancer, passionate writer and activist Samah Idris passed away. Idris dedicated his life to Palestine and the struggle against normalization with the occupation. He was editor-in-chief of the prominent Al Adab literary magazine from 1992 onward.

Idris was one of the founders of the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of “Israel” in Lebanon after the Jenin massacre in 2002, and played a leading role in furthering the movement’s influence.

He had a strong commitment to Palestine and its cause, which he used as a compass in his battle.

In an interview for Al Mayadeen English, he said, “Lebanon condemns the Israeli occupation which violates universal principles and the right of people to self-governance.”

Even in his final days before his untimely death, Idris continued to denounce those who normalize ties with the occupation as he fought to expose the occupations’ atrocities.

The revolutionary’s death comes amid a shameful recent normalization wave by several Arab countries with “Israel,” the newest of which is the visit of the occupations’ Security Minister Benny Gantz to Morocco.

The visit witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on security cooperation between the two sides, deeming the Moroccan regime as a partner in oppressing Palestinians and betraying the Palestinian cause, and ignoring the history of Moroccan revolutionaries and resistance leaders such as Abdelkarim al-Khattabi who fought against Spanish and French colonialism. 

Morocco is the fourth Arab country, following the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan, to have normalized ties with the Israeli occupation under Washington’s sponsorship.

Originally, in 1945, the Arab League issued a decree to officially boycott Israeli companies and goods in support of Palestine, forcing Arab citizens and companies of an Arab League member to boycott any ties with “Israel.”

Unsurprisingly, the US Congress passed laws in 1977 criminalizing US companies that comply with the Arab boycotting bodies.

However, as a result of Western pressure, several Arab countries have abandoned the boycotting movement and normalized ties with the Israeli occupation.

Therefore, the more the normalization ties increase, the more the work of the BDS movement becomes crucial.

Sally Rooney under attack

A few days ago, some 70 prominent authors, poets, and playwrights have signed a letter of endorsement in support of Irish author Sally Rooney’s decision to prevent Israeli publishing house “Modan” from translating her latest work, “Beautiful World, Where Are You,” into Hebrew.

Rooney indicated that her decision is part of a cultural boycott over Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

She said she “did not feel it would be right” to accept a contract with an Israeli company “that does not publicly distance itself from the apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people.”

Citing human rights reports, Rooney pointed out that “Israel’s system of racial domination and segregation against Palestinians meets the definition of apartheid under international law.”

The author confirmed she supports the “Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS)” movement targeting “complicit” firms and institutions “in response to the apartheid system and other grave human rights violations.”

Rooney explained that the BDS movement is “modeled on the economic and cultural boycott that helped to end apartheid in South Africa.”

Boycotting origins in Palestine

Since the 1920s, Palestinians have mastered boycotting as a way of resisting the British mandate and the Zionist colonization, and in 1936, they organized a huge six-month strike in protest of the British support for Zionism.

In addition, the Resistance factions launched a popular boycott of Israeli products during the first Intifada (1987-1992), which led to a dynamic plunge in Israeli exports.

When all UN resolutions failed to stop “Israel” from violating international laws and continuing its crimes against Palestinian people and land, 170 different Palestinian bodies first launched the BDS movement in 2005. 

The BDS movement website wrote, “Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure ‘Israel’ to comply with international law.”

In an aim to withdraw apartheid in South Africa, several activists, organizations, unions, and politicians pressured the apartheid South African regime through heavy lobbying, isolation, and product boycotting worldwide as a form of achieving liberation. The boycott movement cost the racist regime a great loss and isolation from international events and markets by the demand of many Europeans.

As a result, post-apartheid South Africa has supported the Palestinian cause since the two sides established formal diplomatic relations in 1995, a year after the end of the apartheid regime. South Africa also reduced its diplomatic representation in the so-called “Tel Aviv” in 2019 and withdrew its ambassador.

It is noteworthy that the boycotting movement has been historically used to end oppression, such as Ghandi’s Indian Salt March in 1930 and African Americans’ famous Montgomery Bus Boycott in late 1955. Unlike BDS, these movements are celebrated without being described as “anti-Semitic.”

Its success and effect

“BDS aims to end international support for Israeli violations of international law by forcing companies, institutions, and governments to change their policies. As Israeli companies and institutions become isolated, ‘Israel’ will find it more difficult to oppress Palestinians,” explains the BDS movement.

So far, BDS has achieved several victories against the Israeli occupation on many levels, which led “Israel” to dedicate resources, including money, government staff, and security services to undermine BDS and threaten its activists.

Culturally, thousands of artists, famous of which is Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters from legendary rock band Pink Floyd, have declined to perform in “Israel” as a result of BDS calls and is even an ardent supporter of the movement.

In addition, various academic institutions and unions in the US, Canada, South Africa, and the UK have announced their support for Palestine and the movement.

After respecting the choice of boycotting, renowned British scientist Stephen Hawking withdrew from the Israeli Presidential Conference. Also, after a visit to Palestine, the famous Black activist and academic, Angela Davis, expressed that she “unequivocally endorses the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign.”

Most recently, the South African government announced that it has “withdrawn its support” from the current Miss South Africa (SA) pageant due to fruitless attempts to persuade the pageant to reconsider its plan to participate in the Miss Universe event, which is set to take place in “Israel.”

Economically, a UN report showed that BDS was a major cause of a 46% drop in foreign direct investment in “Israel” in 2014, while the world bank mentioned that the movement resulted in a 24% drop in Palestinian imports from the occupied lands, according to the movement. Moreover, the Israeli occupation government and the Rand Corporation published reports that predict that BDS will cost “Israel” billions of dollars, which it did.

How “Israel” is fighting BDS

Proving to be effective, “Israel’s” policies against BDS and pressure on EU and US have proven the efficiency of the movement and the extent of loss it has caused to the occupation. 

The Zionist lobby worldwide and pro-“Israel” groups have urged governments such as France, Canada, the US, UK to criminalize BDS.

Last but not least, it is important to mention that the BDS movement is one form of resistance out of many against the Israeli occupation, amid the shameful wave of normalization with the Israeli occupation and the Arab failure to support the Palestinian cause in favor of the US and “Israel.”

However, boycotting is not and should not be an alternative to armed resistance as the late Samah Idriss affirmed, “We believe there is no other way to communicate with the Israeli occupation except through boycotting and armed resistance, and nothing else.”

Idris is no longer with us, but his memory will live in the hearts and minds of all the supporters of the Palestinian cause.

Israel to Attack Iran? Washington Gives the Green Light to the ‘Military Option’

October 28, 2021

See the source image

By Philip Giraldi

Source

The U.S. will be seen as endorsing the crime, resulting in yet another foreign policy disaster in the Middle East, Philip Giraldi writes.

Some might recall candidate Joe Biden’s pledge to work to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which was a multilateral agreement intended to limit Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon. The JCPOA was signed by President Barack Obama in 2015, when Biden was Vice President, and was considered one of the only foreign policy successes of his eight years in office. Other signatories to it were Britain, China, Germany, France, and Russia and it was endorsed by the United Nations. The agreement included unannounced inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities by the IAEA and, by all accounts, it was working and was a non-proliferation success story. In return for its cooperation Iran was to receive its considerable assets frozen in banks in the United States and was also to be relieved of the sanctions that had been placed on it by Washington and other governments.

The JCPOA crashed and burned in 2018 when President Donald Trump ordered U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, claiming that Iran was cheating and would surely move to develop a nuclear weapon as soon as the first phase of the agreement was completed. Trump, whose ignorance on Iran and other international issues was profound, had surrounded himself with a totally Zionist foreign policy team, including members of his own family, and had bought fully into the arguments being made by Israel as well as by Israel Lobby predominantly Jewish groups to include the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Trump’s time in office was spent pandering to Israel in every conceivable way, to include recognizing Jerusalem as the country’s capital, granting Israel the green light for creating and expanding illegal settlements on the West Bank and recognizing the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel.

Given Trump’s record, most particularly the senseless and against-American-interests abandonment of JCPOA, it almost seemed a breath of fresh air to hear Biden’s fractured English as he committed his administration to doing what he could to rejoin the other countries who were still trying to make the agreement work. After Biden was actually elected, more or less, he and his Secretary of State Tony Blinken clarified what the U.S. would seek to do to “fix” the agreement by making it stronger in some key areas that had not been part of the original document.

Iran for its part insisted that the agreement did not need any additional caveats and should be a return to the status quo ante, particularly when Blinken and his team made clear that they were thinking of a ban on Iranian ballistic missile development as well as negotiations to end Tehran’s alleged “interference” in the politics of the region. The interference presumably referred to Iranian support of the Palestinians as well as its role in Syria and Yemen, all of which had earned the hostility of American “friends” Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Israel inevitably stirred the pot by sending a stream of senior officials, to include Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to discuss “the Iranian threat” with Biden and his top officials. Lapid made clear that Israel “reserves the right to act at any given moment, in any way… We know there are moments when nations must use force to protect the world from evil.” And to be sure, Biden, like Trump, has also made his true sentiments clear by surrounding himself with Zionists. Blinken, Wendy Sherman and Victoria Nuland have filled the three top slots at State Department, all are Jewish and all strong on Israel. Nuland is a leading neocon. And pending is the appointment of Barbara Leaf, who has been nominated Assistant Secretary to head the State Department’s Near East region. She is currently the Ruth and Sid Lapidus Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which is an AIPAC spin off and a major component in the Israel Lobby. That means that a member in good standing of the Israel Lobby would serve as the State Department official overseeing American policy in the Middle East.

At the Pentagon one finds a malleable General Mark Milley, always happy to meet his Israeli counterparts, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, an affirmative action promotion who likewise has become adept at parroting the line “Israel has a right to defend itself.” And need one mention ardent self-declared Zionists at the top level of the Democratic Party, to include Biden himself, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and, of course, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer?

So rejoining the JCPOA over Israel objections was a non-starter from the beginning and was probably only mooted to make Trump look bad. Indirect talks including both Iran and the U.S. technically have continued in Vienna, though they have been stalled since the end of June. Trita Parsi has recently learned that Iran sought to make a breakthrough for an agreement by seeking a White House commitment to stick with the plan as long as Biden remains in office. Biden and Blinken refused and Blinken has recently confirmed that a new deal is unlikely, saying “time is running out.”

And there have been some other new developments. Israeli officials have been warning for over twenty years that Iran is only one year away from having its own nukes and needs to be stopped, a claim that has begun to sound like a religious mantra repeated over and over, but now they are actually funding the armaments that will be needed to do the job. Israel Defense Force Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi has repeatedly said the IDF is “accelerating” plans to strike Iran, and Israeli politicians to include former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have regularly been threatening to do whatever must be done to deal with the threat from the Islamic Republic. Israeli media is reporting that $1.5 billion has been allocated in the current and upcoming budget to buy the American bunker buster bombs that will be needed to destroy the Iranian reactor at Bushehr and its underground research facilities at Natanz.

In the wake of the news about the war funding, there have also been reports that the Israeli Air Force is engaging in what is being described as “intense” drills to simulate attacking Iranian nuclear facilities. After Israel obtains the 5000 pound bunker buster bombs, it will also need to procure bombers to drop the ordnance, and one suspects that the U.S. Congress will somehow come up with the necessary “military aid” to make that happen. Tony Blinken has also made clear that the Administration knows what Israel is planning and approves. He met with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on October 13th and said if diplomacy with Iran fails, the U.S. will turn to “other options.” And yes, he followed that up with the venerable line that “Israel has the right to defend itself and we strongly support that proposition.”

Lapid confirmed that one of Blinken’s “options” was military action. “I would like to start by repeating what the Secretary of State just said.  Yes, other options are going to be on the table if diplomacy fails.  And by saying other options, I think everybody understands here … what is it that we mean.” It must be observed that in their discussion of Iran’s nuclear program, Lapid and Blinnken were endorsing an illegal and unprovoked attack to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon that it is apparently not seeking, but which it will surely turn to as a consequence if only to defend itself in the future.

In short, U.S. foreign policy is yet again being held hostage by Israel. The White House position is clearly and absurdly that an Israeli attack on Iran, considered a war crime by most, is an act of self-defense. However it turns out, the U.S. will be seen as endorsing the crime and will inevitably be implicated in it, undoubtedly resulting in yet another foreign policy disaster in the Middle East with nothing but grief for the American people.  The simple truth is that Iran has neither threatened nor attacked Israel. Given that, there is nothing defensive about the actions Israel has already taken in sabotaging Iranian facilities and assassinating scientists, and there would be nothing defensive about direct military attacks either with or without U.S. assistance on Iranian soil. If Israel chooses to play the fool it is on them and their leaders. The United States does not have a horse in this race and should butt out, but one doubts if a White House and Congress, firmly controlled by Zionist forces, have either the wisdom or the courage to cut the tie that binds with the Jewish state.

Racial Justice Vs. The Israel Lobby: When Being Pro-Palestine Becomes the New Normal

October 6, 2021

From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley. (Photo: video grab)

By Ramzy Baroud

There is an unmistakable shift in American politics regarding Palestine and Israel, a change that is inspired by the way in which many Americans, especially the youth, view the Palestinian struggle and the Israeli occupation. While this shift is yet to translate into tangibly diminishing Israel’s stronghold over the US Congress, it promises to be of great consequence in the coming years.

Recent events at the US House of Representatives clearly demonstrate this unprecedented reality. On September 21, Democratic lawmakers successfully rejected a caveat that proposes to give Israel $1 billion in military funding as part of a broader spending bill, after objections from several progressive Congress members. The money was specifically destined to fund the purchase of new batteries and interceptors for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

Two days later, the funding of the Iron Dome was reintroduced and, this time, it has successfully, and overwhelmingly, passed with a vote of 420 to 9, despite passionate pleas by Palestinian-American Representative, Rashida Tlaib.

In the second vote, only eight Democrats opposed the measure. The ninth opposing vote was cast by a member of the Republican party, Thomas Massie of Kentucky.

Though she was one of the voices that blocked the funding measure on September 21, Democratic Representative, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, switched her vote at the very last minute to “present”, creating confusion and generating anger among her supporters.

As for Massie, his defiance of the Republican consensus generated him the title of “Antisemite of the Week” by a notorious pro-Israel organization called ‘Stop Antisemitism’.

Despite the outcome of the tussle, the fact that such an episode has even taken place in Congress was a historic event requiring much reflection. It means that speaking out against the Israeli occupation of Palestine is no longer taboo among elected US politicians.

Once upon a time, speaking out against Israel in Congress generated a massive and well-organized backlash from the pro-Israeli lobby, especially the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), that, in the past, ended promising political careers, even those of veteran politicians. A combination of media smear tactics, support of rivals and outright threats often sealed the fate of the few dissenting Congress members.

While AIPAC and its sister organizations continue to follow the same old tactic, the overall strategy is hardly as effective as it once was. Members of the Squad, young Representatives who often speak out against Israel and in support of Palestine, were introduced to the 2019 Congress. With a few exceptions, they remained largely consistent in their position in support of Palestinian rights and, despite intense efforts by the Israeli lobby, they were all reelected in 2020. The historic lesson here is that being critical of Israel in the US Congress is no longer a guarantor of a decisive electoral defeat; on the contrary, in some instances, it is quite the opposite.

The fact that 420 members of the House voted to provide Israel with additional funds – to be added to the annual funds of $3.8 billion – reflects the same unfortunate reality of old, that, thanks to the relentless biased corporate media coverage, most American constituencies continue to support Israel.

However, the loosening grip of the lobby over the US Congress offers unique opportunities for the pro-Palestinian constituencies to finally place pressure on their Representatives, demanding accountability and balance. These opportunities are not only created by new, youthful voices in America’s democratic institutions, but by the rapidly shifting public opinion, as well.

For decades, the vast majority of Americans supported Israel. The reasons behind this support varied, depending on the political framing as communicated by US officials and media. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, for example, Tel Aviv was viewed as a stalwart ally of Washington against Communism. In later years, new narratives were fabricated to maintain Israel’s positive image in the eyes of ordinary Americans. The US so-called ‘war on terror’, declared in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, for example, positioned Israel as an American ally against ‘Islamic extremism’, painting resisting Palestinians as ‘terrorists’, thus giving the Israeli occupation of Palestine a moral facade.

However, new factors have destabilized this paradigm. One is the fact that support for Israel has become a divisive issue in the US’ increasingly tumultuous and combative politics, where most Republicans support Israel and most Democrats don’t.

Moreover, as racial justice has grown to become one of the most defining and emotive subjects in American politics, many Americans began seeing the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation from the prism of millions of Americans’ own fight for racial equality. The fact that the social media hashtag #PalestinianLivesMatter continues to trend daily alongside the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter speaks of a success story where communal solidarity and intersectionality have prevailed over selfish politics, where only money matters.

Millions of young Americans now see the struggle in Palestine as integral to the anti-racist fight in America; no amount of pro-Israeli lobbying in Congress can possibly shift this unmistakable trend. There are plenty of numbers that attest to these claims. One of many examples is the University of Maryland’s public opinion poll in July, which showed that more than half of polled Americans disapproved of President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israeli war on Gaza in May 2021, believing that he could have done more to stop the Israeli aggression.

Of course, courageous US politicians dared to speak out against Israel in the past. However, there is a marked difference between previous generations and the current one. In American politics today, there are politicians who are elected because of their strong stance for Palestine and, by deviating from their election promises, they risk the ire of the growing pro-Palestine constituency throughout the country. This changing reality is finally making it possible to nurture and sustain pro-Palestinian presence in US Congress.

In other words, speaking out for Palestine in America is no longer a charitable and rare occurrence. As the future will surely reveal, it is the “politically correct” thing to do.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

More tectonic developments taking place

September 30, 2021

The Vineyard of the Saker

First, there is the crazy behavior of Germany.

Rather than repeat it all here, I will simply point you to Andrei Martyanov’s article about this here: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2021/09/drifting-apart.html

===>>>BTW I recommend to all my readers to check Martyano’v blog every day!<<<===

Then here is this: the DPRK is testing a hypersonic missile

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/N-Korea-at-crossroads/North-Korea-claims-test-of-defense-busting-hypersonic-missile

and

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/09/29/asia-pacific/north-korea-hypersonic-missile/

Some western “experts” have declared that the test “might” have been a failure.  Make of that what you wish.

Personally, I do not have access to top secret DPRK documents (which I could not read anyway!) or some special insights into hypersonic missile technology (I am not a missile engineer).  I did ask Andrei Martyanov, whose expertise I do trust, and he expressed his doubts about the veracity/reliability of these reports.

So let’s make a very middle of the way assumption here: the DPRK is working on a hypersonic missile, and what was launched was was part of a test missile.  Fair enough?

That would put the DPRK pretty close (if not on par with) the USA’s own (long suffering) hypersonic missile program.

So far, only Russia and China have fielded real, fully functional, hypersonic missiles (not quite true, there were some intermediate range missiles which flew at high speeds in the past, but they were not what we would call a modern, maneuvering, hypersonic missile).

The DPRK has made some very real strides on all sorts of technologies which this “officially” backward and primitive “Commie Monarchy” should never have been able to develop, not even with Ukrainian, Russian and Chinese help (official, covert or even individual).  But they did, didn’t they?  They even have some nukes (though probably not a good delivery systems (yet?).

Of course, the DPRK is still very far from developing the kinds of weapons systems the US undeniably has (for example submarines, both SSNs and SSBNs in which the USA is still at the top level and decades ahead of any DPRK subs).  But considering the level of corruption of the US MIC combined with a new “inclusive” ideology (which basically denies the need for STEM education) things are clearly changing and only God knows what things will look like in, say, 5 years or so?

Next,

The US Congress is going even more insane than usual and put our entire planet at risk!

By now the “notorious” telephone calls of the CJCS to his Chinese and, apparently, Russian counterparts are now considered high treason.  Now let’s remember the context, the US was going through a mass hysteria following the “elections” and it was totally reasonable to assume that both China and Russia would be very concerned about what might happen next.  To call them and say that “our nukes are under control and no matter what political troubles we currently have will not affect that” is not high treason, but only very WISE common sense.  The fact that, apparently, they did that without consulting or even getting an order from the President is absolutely very problematic and those questioning this have a very good point.  But there is a saying in Russian which I like very much “rules are for the end goal (дело) and not the other way around”.  As military officers the men responsible for this action had to chose between the proper chain of command and the risk of the Russians and Chinese increasing their level of readiness which, in turn, could have been interpreted by the (incompetent and mainly idiotic) US “experts” as a sign that the evil Russkies or Chink Commies were about to use the opportunity created by the internal chaos in the USA to try a first strike (does that stupid theory not sound like exactly the kind of crap civilian US ‘experts’ love to scare people with?) and would then, in turn, force the USA to got a step up in readiness, thereby confirming any possible Russian and/or Chinese suspicions.

Frankly, I wish that the top officers of all three countries spoke to each other on a daily basis, regardless of what political tensions might be occurring in the USA, Russia or China.

So what the CJCS did, at the risk of his career, is to prevent that kind of mutual escalation of distrust and fear from happening in a very dangerous times.  So, imnsho, he deserves both a official blame for AND a secret medal for what he did.

But, of course, the two equally insane parties in Congress don’t understand that, because they simply don’t understand nuclear war and nuclear deterrence, a topic which civilians ought to not discuss unless they first study it in some depth (which I did at length in graduate school).

But the terminally moronic US members of Congress are now making it sound like even talking to Russia or China about, say, counter-terrorism cooperation is some unspeakable act of treason and a pact with the devil.

To put it bluntly, these imbeciles are putting our entire planet at risk with such nonsense!

The Anglo media sinks even further into lunacy

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/16275278/vladimir-putin-attractive-translator-g20-trump-book/

I wish I had the time to translate and post the Russian reactions to this latest paranoid hysteria: the Russian are laughing their heads off and typically say “she just looked like every other 2nd Russian young woman”, which might sound incredible to gender fluid freaks and other “spokespersons” of the US administrations, but which is self-evident nonsense for anybody who has ever visited Russia.

And to imagine that Putin would select an interpreter or deliberately cough to scare Trump also triggers only another burst of laughter.

Just for the record, that interpreter finished a real interpretation school and is fluent in German and English.

Also, in Russia woman are allowed to be smart AND good looking.  In fact, most are 🙂

What will they do next?

Only God knows 🙂

Andrei

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