Dems’ win in key midterm races boosted by Latino voters: Study

JANUARY 04, 2023

Source: Axios

By Al Mayadeen English 

Republicans have long demonized Hispanics, regardless of immigration status.

Midterms stats reveal Hispanics boosted Dems’ chances in several races

A study conducted by research firm Equis revealed to Axios that Latino votes were just enough to help Democrats win several key races in multiple states, including Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. 

Prior to the release of these findings, several analysts forecasted that the Dems would be losing support from the Hispanic community, instead joining the Republican side. 

For instance, in some Hispanic-majority communities in Arizona, Democrat Senator Mark Kelly beat outspoken Trump-supported and Republican Blake Masters, while the analysis found Kelly marginally exceeded the number of votes President Biden got in 2020.

In Nevada, the Hispanic community provided a strong boost for Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, who also happens to be the nation’s only Latina Senator. The results show that “just enough” Latinos voted for her to win the race by a “tight margin”.

As for South Texas, Republican Mayra Flores failed to get re-elected after she had won an election for a traditionally Democratic seat. 

But in Florida, where Republican Ron DeSantis won the race, the analysis strangely reveals that Republican gains were the highest among non-Cuban American and non-Puerto Rican Latino voters. 

GOP candidates managed to capture governor’s seats in Arizona and Nevada although Dems had in both states earned less support than Biden in 2020. 

“Whereas in Florida the shifts among Latino voters could be measured in yards, elsewhere it was a matter of inches,” said Carlos Odio, co-founder of Equis Labs, adding that Dems had done “just enough” among Latino voters to win key races to stave off GOP wins across the nation. 

“I think the top line is that Latinos live in a perpetual persuasion window,” Tory Gavito, president and CEO of leftist home base Way to Win, told Axios, stressing that Latino voters backed Democrats in the midterms because Republicans were about “chaos, mobs, and MAGA.”

Dems need to invest more time and energy into explaining how their agenda will support the Latino community. 

These results come against the backdrop of recent moves initiated by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to pressure the Biden administration to take action on immigration enforcement and border security.

Governor Abbott began transporting migrants from border cities to the capital in April, which landed him heavy criticism.

The Texas governor explained his decision to move the migrants in a letter to President Biden that he was doing so because migrant housing facilities had to release residents outside onto the streets due to frigid conditions in places like El Paso.

“Your policies will leave many people in the bitter, dangerous cold as a polar vortex moves into Texas,” Abbott wrote. “Texas has borne a lopsided burden caused by your open border policies.”

The Republican also described the current border crisis as a “catastrophe” for which Biden was solely responsible. “This terrible crisis for border communities in Texas is a catastrophe of your own making,” he wrote.

“The need to address this crisis is not the job of border states like Texas. Instead, the US Constitution dictates that it is your job, Mr. President, to defend the borders of our country, regulate our nation’s immigration, and manage those who seek refuge here,” he added.

Abbott also cautioned that if the federal government abandons its Title 42 policy, which limits the number of immigrants who are permitted to enter the United States, the problem will only grow worse.

The Department of Homeland Security projects between 9,000 and 15,000 migrant encounters a day once the policy ends, a surge that would add to the already highest annual total of encounters in US history.

In September last year, 101 migrants on board two buses sent by Texan governor Greg Abbott were dropped off next to Vice President Kamala Harris’ home in Washington, D.C., according to American sources. 

The 101 migrants were picked up in Eagle Pass, Texas, and were sent to Washington under the care and supervision of the non-profit organization Sanctuary DMV. According to the organization, it had arranged for a church to offer them a “safe location”.

Most of the migrants were from South American countries, such as Venezuela, Uruguay, Colombia, and Mexico.

On December 25, 2022, another three buses bringing migrants from Texas arrived in Washington, D.C. One of the buses dropped off its passengers close to Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence.

Abbott has previously sent dozens of buses of migrants across northern parts of the US, including New York, DC, and Chicago. Texas’ migrant buses are meant to send a message about immigration and antagonize Democrats as Southern states have been protesting the White House’s inability to manage the border and migrant crises by relocating migrants to so-called sanctuary states.

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1st Time in Nearly Century: US House Fails to Elect New Speaker in 1st Rounds

January 4, 2023

By Staff, Agencies

For the first time in nearly a century, the United States House of Representatives has failed to elect a speaker in the first rounds of voting, as Republican Kevin McCarthy fell short of securing a majority in the chamber to succeed Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

McCarthy was not able to overcome opposition within his caucus in the three rounds of voting on Tuesday before the legislators voted to adjourn the House’s first meeting.

Republicans narrowly won control of the chamber in November’s midterm elections, but several right-wing legislators in McCarthy’s own party have refused to back him for the speakership.

The speaker must acquire a majority of the votes, excluding absent legislators and those who vote “present”. On Tuesday, McCarthy needed 218 votes, but he only received 203 as 19 Republicans voted against him in the first two ballots. In the third round, he lost one more vote, bringing his tally down to 202.

In the first vote, most Republican dissenters backed Arizona Representative Andy Biggs or Ohio Representative Jim Jordan. In the second round, all 19 opposing Republican votes went to Jordan, a right-wing firebrand. Jordan increased his total to 20 votes in the third round.

Before the voting began on Tuesday, far-right Congressman Paul Gosar had nominated Biggs as a candidate. But Jordan did not seek the speakership and voted for McCarthy three times himself.

In the second round, Jordan re-nominated McCarthy, and in turn, ultraconservative Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz nominated Jordan, acknowledging that the Ohio representative does not want the job.

The Democratic leader in the House, Hakeem Jeffries, received 212 votes in all three rounds — more than McCarthy — but he was never realistically in the running as his party is in the minority.

McCarthy, a California Republican, had served as House minority leader after Democrats took the majority in 2019.

Legislators will reconvene on Wednesday and hold subsequent votes until a candidate for the speakership wins a majority. The House will remain effectively non-functional without a new speaker.

The speaker is second in the line of succession for the US presidency and the country’s most powerful legislator, with decisive influence over what bills and amendments get to be considered.

Great unsaid in US election: Love for ‘forever war’ is what cost Democrats

Sunday, 20 November 2022 8:22 AM  [ Last Update: Sunday, 20 November 2022 8:22 AM ]

A line of voters stretches outside the building as early voting begins for the midterm elections at the Citizens Service Center in Columbus, Georgia, US, October 17, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

by Ramin Mazaheri

It is an American rite of passage to realize that the Democratic Party never achieves what they claim to want to achieve.

Some Americans achieve this realization at 13, whereas the truly insufferable – because they lie about the past and are forced to deflect from those lies with aggressive self-righteousness – can persist in this self-harming delusion even past 63. 

Losing control of the House of Representatives means the election was a major loss. Democrats are spinning the idea that “We could have lost worse” actually represents a positive outcome, but only committed Democrats are able to delude themselves into thinking that such pathetic logic is actually believed by the average person.

Democrats might also lose the Senate, but it’s already a done deal: the United States will be stuck in two years of gridlock, with each party voting down each other’s legislation. An America badly in repair will have only have bipartisan agreement on the usual: increasing military spending. Republicans now have the ability to introduce and discuss legislation that Democrats greatly fear, such as the handling of the coronavirus, the anti-Trump efforts of the FBI, the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, etc. 

It’s true that the sitting party’s president almost always loses Congressional seats in the midterm election, but what really cost the Democrats was their commitment to the American Dream of “forever war”.

The Pentagon just announced that they will be in Ukraine for “as long as it takes” and unveiled a new command center in Germany to help train and equip Ukraine’s military. Goodbye Afghanistan, but hello Ukraine.

What cost the Democrats on election day is the failure of the economy, and while Americans might have passively stood for another two years of inequality, poor wages, and precariousness (what’s 2 more on top of 40?), Washington’s choice to reject diplomacy and fuel war in Ukraine is what sent the economy into a tailspin at warp speed. The economic crisis was the number one issue for voters, and this pain was self-inflicted by the warmongering Democrats.

Just as the economic sanctions on Russia have rebounded so awfully against the West, so did the Democrats’ war drive rebound in their own sanctioning at the ballot box this week.

They did do better than expected, so just imagine how Democrats might have done if the economy was merely stable, instead of the current awful? They could have kept the House and won true control of the Senate – not the often-useless 50-50 split they eked out in 2020.

It’s completely accurate to say that the Democrat-led war drive in Ukraine is the reason why Democrats lost control of Congress, but it’s forbidden to say such things in the Western media.

What drove Democrats to be so reckless with the well-being of the everyday American?

Some will say it’s Russophobia, just as Islamophobia after 9/11 smoothed public opinion for a 20-year murder spree across the Muslim World.

You can’t demonize a nation every night on MSNBC and every day in The New York Times for 5+ years and then be surprised when their readers and leaders exacerbate a war with the object of demonization. Those are Democratic Party mouthpieces and not Republican ones, which can have very different ideas on Ukraine. Democratic Party leaders are obviously driven by an unjust need for vengeance against Russia – whom many Democrats falsely blame for influencing the 2016 election – and to hell with the costs on the working-poor class.

For Democrats, this vengeance is the highest display of political morality, just as vengeance towards Muslims was the highest display of political morality after 9/11. The war campaign against Russia took longer to work, but there was no bloody flag to wave to rally Americans around the president’s latest war – Russians killed no Americans. 

However, going back six years is a very short measuring stick. America has been at war since always. The world used to consider Democrats brave for saying that out loud, but it is no longer the 1950s – this is now common knowledge among the new generation.
Now being a true progressive certainly must include a desire to end civil and foreign violence. That latter seems to be the domain of the Republican Party in 2022, as they have actually threatened to cut funding for Biden’s Ukrainian quagmire.

That the Republicans are the “peace party” makes no sense, of course. The “CIA Democrats caucus” (Democrats in the House of Representatives who worked in intelligence, the State Department, or the military) has expanded to at least 15 people and that makes no sense, either. 

But since when has American politics made moral sense? America has always been a deeply reactionary country – its founding revolution was merely against foreign control and not in favor of a progressive reordering of society –  and thus its politics has always been defined by hypocrisy, zero memory, and even less understanding of this thing we share called human history.

The Democrats’ Russophobia made Russia the target, but the Democratic Party’s truly autocratic and anti-democratic commitment to “forever war” is the root cause of their undeniable electoral defeat this week.

Democrats are more committed to war this time, but it’s absurd to believe that even if Republicans don’t totally back this war that they won’t back future American wars. Simply refer to how France didn’t join the Western coalition against Iraq only to join all the following Western imperialist coalitions, and also spearheaded their usual imperialist domination across the Sahel and West Africa.

What’s the root effect, and the one which is most historically important? 2022 has shown that the US cannot handle its forever wars like it used to – not militarily, not politically, and obviously not economically.

That’s the biggest change Americans have to grapple with, and their solution is peace: A top foreign policy poll recently showed that 79% of Americans want peace with Iran, for example. Of course, despite all the insistence in the US and also Iran that a Democratic victory in 2020 will end America’s “forever war on Iran” Joe Biden has obviously disproved that, as well.

However, all the American people could do was punish the Democratic Party – it’s not as if any composition of Republicans and Democrats will actually implement the will of the average American.

The Democratic Party cannot and will not ever grapple with its inability to handle forever wars, which has been laid bare in 2022, because that’s not how Western Liberal Democracy works: it requires forever wars, both foreign and domestic.

Many incorrectly believe that the Democratic Party can somehow save Western Liberal Democracy, but not that many Americans engage in such wishful thinking – simply look at the vote results after two years of Democratic control of Washington.

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

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


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

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

Biden hopes Congress upholds the US’ support for Ukraine

10 Nov 2022

Source: Agencies

    During the press conference US President Joe Biden says that there had been no tampering with voting process of the US midterm elections.

    President Joe Biden answers questions from reporters as he speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    By Al Mayadeen English 

    US President Joe Biden stated during a news conference on Wednesday that the ‘red wave’ that many had projected would occur in the US midterm elections did not occur.

    “While the press and the pundits are predicting a giant red wave, it didn’t happen,” Biden said on Wednesday.

    According to NBC News’ projections as of Wednesday afternoon, the Democrats are predicted to win 213 seats in the US House of Representatives, while the Republicans are predicted to win 222 seats. However, because certain final findings have not yet been verified, these figures might change.

    If Democrats maintain control of the US Senate or whether Republicans get a majority will depend on the results of the Senate election results in the states of Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. In order to take control of the upper chamber of Congress, Republicans must triumph in two of the three states.

    Furthermore, Biden asserted, during a news conference, that there was no meddling with the US midterm election voting process.

    According to Biden, “The states across the country saw record voter turnout and the heart and soul of our democracy, the voters, the poll workers, election officials, they did their job, and they fulfill their duty, apparently without much interference at all without any interference it looks like and that’s a testament I think to the American people.”

    During the press conference, Biden reaffirmed his optimism and hope that the new Congress “will continue this bipartisan approach of controlling Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.”

    Biden: Democracy does not happen by accident

    US President Joe Biden praised voters, poll workers, and various officials on Wednesday for participating in the midterm elections. He also said he will make further comments concerning the vote and take questions later in the afternoon.

    “I’ll have more to say this afternoon, but thanks to the poll workers and officials that worked into the night to safeguard our sacred right to vote. And the millions who made their voices heard,” Biden said via Twitter.

    According to the White House, Biden will be holding a press conference at 4:00 pm to deliver his remarks.

    Read more: Trump midterm elections remarks: Who has ever done better than that?

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    نصف هزيمة للديموقراطيين: القبَلية الحزبية تنتصر

     الخميس 10 تشرين الثاني 2022

    الأخبار  

    أميركا: انتصار القبَلية الحزبية

    اتّسمت المنافسة بحدِّة غير مسبوقة، هي نتاجٌ للشرخ المتعاظم بين الحزبَين (أ ف ب)

    على رغم أن الموجة الحمراء العملاقة لم تبلغ مداها المنظور، فهي تمكّنت من إنزال بعض العقاب بالرئيس الأميركي، جو بايدن، وحاشيته، بعد سنتَين من رئاسة أقلّ ما يُقال فيها إنها أسوأ من سابقتها، وربّما بأضعاف. لم يُحسن بايدن شيئاً، كما لم يَحسب، ربّما، أن مَن أزاحوا خصمه، دونالد ترامب، في انتخابات 2021، قد يعيدونه، ولكن بوجوه كثيرة على شكل مشرّعين وسناتورات، سيشرف جميعهم، باسمه، على عرقلة خطط الرئيس الحاكم ومشاريعه التي لم ترَ منها أميركا شيئاً، إلّا مزيداً من التضخّم، ومزيداً من الغلاء الذي لم يَعُد، بالنسبة إلى كثيرين، محمولاً. مع هذا، طغت الولاءات الحزبية على سباق «النصفيات» الذي يُمكن عَدُّه «الأهمّ في التاريخ الأميركي» لِمَا سيترتّب عليه من انعكاسات حتى على الحزب الديموقراطي نفسه. وحتى إنْ لم يتلقَّ الأخير هزيمة نكراء في انتخابات عزّزت آمال المعسكر المقابل لسنين لاحقة، فهو يظلّ، في ميزان الربح والخسارة، مهزوماً


    بيّنت النتائج الأوّلية لانتخابات التجديد النصفي، أن لا فوز كاسحاً للجمهوريين يشبه ما تأمّل به الرئيس الأميركي السابق، دونالد ترامب، وإنْ كان هؤلاء انتزعوا، وفق ما أَظهرته الأرقام الصادرة حتى مساء أمس، السيطرة على مجلس النواب من الديموقراطيين، وسط ترقُّب لمعرفة وجهة مجلس الشيوخ، الذي تشير المعطيات إلى احتمال مراوحته مربّع المناصفة، مع صوت تفضيلي لنائبة الرئيس، كامالا هاريس. وفق الأرقام أيضاً، حصل الحزب الجمهوري على 202 مقعد في «النواب»، في مقابل 184 للحزب الديموقراطي من مجموع 435 مقعداً (يحتاج أيّ حزب لتحقيق الغالبية الساحقة إلى 218 نائباً). وفيما يحتدم الصراع على مجلس الشيوخ، بلغت حصيلة مقاعد الجمهوريين 49، في مقابل 48 لحزب الرئيس، في انتظار الانتهاء من فرز الأصوات في ولايات: نيفادا، أريزونا وجورجيا (يتنافس الحزبان على 35 مقعداً من مقاعد المجلس الـ100).

    وفي منافسةٍ اتّسمت بحدِّة غير مسبوقة، هي نتاجٌ للشرخ المتعاظم بين الحزبَين، بيّنت النتائج غير المكتملة أن هناك ولاءً أكبر للحزبية على حساب القضايا الرئيسة (الاقتصاد، التضخم). وظهر جليّاً، في المقابل، أن آمال الجمهوريين في «موجة حمراء عملاقة» كانت تتضاءل مع ورود النتائج تباعاً، فيما سعى الديموقراطيون الذين تركّزت أجندة سباقهم على قضيَتي الإجهاض والديموقراطية، مبتعدين عن القضايا الاقتصادية، إلى الحدّ من بعض الأضرار، في انتخابات ستكون حاسمة بالنسبة إلى مستقبل كلّ من جو بايدن ودونالد ترامب. ومع تمكُّن الديموقراطي جون فيترمان من انتزاع أهمّ مقعد متنازَع عليه في هذا الاقتراع، هو مقعد مجلس الشيوخ عن ولاية بنسلفانيا في مواجهة مرشّح يدعمه الرئيس السابق، حصل الديموقراطيون على جرعة أمل في الاحتفاظ بالسيطرة على «الشيوخ». وغذّى هذا الفوز أيضاً تكهّنات بأن المدّ المحافظ في مجلس النواب الذي وعد به ترامب، لن يبلغ توقّعاته الطموحة بالحصول على غالبية ساحقة، وهو ما أقرّ به، مثلاً، السناتور ليندسي غراهام، حين قال إن «الأمر ليس بالتأكيد مدّاً جمهوريّاً. هذا أمر مؤكد»، فيما سارع ترامب، من جهته، إلى نفْض يده من أيّ هزيمة غير متوقّعة، قائلاً: «حسناً، أعتقد أنه إذا فازوا، يجب أن أحصل على كلّ الفضل، وإذا خسروا، فلا ينبغي إلقاء اللوم عليّ على الإطلاق».

    من شأن هذه الانتخابات أن ترسم ملامح العامَين المتبقّيين من ولاية الرئيس جو بايدن


    وفق الأرقام غير الرسمية، أُعيد انتخاب السناتور الجمهوري راند بول عن ولاية كنتاكي، والجمهوري تيم سكوت عن كارولينا الجنوبية، وتود يانغ عن إنديانا. وفي المعسكر الجمهوري أيضاً، أُعيد انتخاب السناتور البارز ماركو روبيو عن فلوريدا، وزميله جون بوزمان عن أركنساس، والسناتور جيمس لانكفورد عن أوكلاهوما، والسناتور جون هوفن عن ولاية داكوتا الجنوبية، وفاز رون جونسون بمقعد مجلس الشيوخ عن ولاية ويسكونسن الحاسمة. من الجهة الديموقراطية، فاز المرشّح بيتر ولش بمقعد مجلس الشيوخ عن ولاية فيرمونت، والسناتور تشاك شومر عن ولاية نيويورك، كما فاز السناتور ريتشارد بلومنثال بفترة ثالثة في المجلس عن ولاية كونتيكيت. وحسم الديموقراطيون مقعد مجلس الشيوخ عن ولاية بنسلفانيا، بفوز جون فيترمان على محمد أوز، المرشّح المدعوم من ترامب، في واحدة من أكثر المنافسات حدّة في انتخابات منتصف الولاية. وللحفاظ على السيطرة على مجلس الشيوخ، يحتاج الديموقراطيون إلى الاحتفاظ بولايتَي أريزونا (مارك كيلي)، ونيفادا (كاثرين كورتيز ماستو).

    بالنسبة إلى حكّام الولايات، أشارت النتائج الأولية إلى انتخاب الجمهورية سارة ساندرز، الناطقة السابقة باسم البيت الأبيض في عهد ترامب، حاكمة لولاية أركنساس. وفي الجانب الجمهوري أيضاً، أُعيد انتخاب كريس سنونو حاكماً لولاية نيوهامبشر، ومارك غوردون حاكماً لولاية وايومنغ، وكيم رينولدز حاكماً لولاية أيوا، وكذلك فيل سكوت لولاية فيرمونت، وهنري ماكماستر لولاية كارولينا الجنوبية، وانتخب الجمهوري جاي دي فانس – يدعمه ترامب – عن ولاية أوهايو، متفوّقاً على الديموقراطي تيم راين، وأُعيد انتخاب الجمهوري رون ديسانتيس حاكماً لولاية فلوريدا. وفي خطاب هجومي، عبّر النجم الصاعد في المعسكر المحافظ والمرشّح المحتمل للرئاسة الأميركية في انتخابات 2024، عن ارتياحه لجعله هذه الولاية الجنوبية التي تميل أحياناً إلى اليسار وأحياناً إلى اليمين، «أرض ميعاد» للجمهوريين، مؤكداً أن «المعركة بدأت للتو». وسطع نجم ديسانتيس (44 سنة) في أوساط اليمين الأميركي، حتى بات يُنظر إليه باعتباره منافساً محتملاً لترامب لنَيْل ترشيح الحزب الجمهوري. لكن هذا لا يعني أن المعسكر الديموقراطي لم يحقّق أيّ شيء؛ فقد انتزع من الجمهوريين المحافظين منصبَي حاكمَين: في ميريلاند وماساتشوستس، فيما أُعيد انتخاب دانييل ماككي حاكماً لرود أيلاند. وتمكّن الديموقراطيون أيضاً من الاحتفاظ بمقعد حاكم ولاية نيويورك التي تُعدّ من معاقلهم، حيث شهدت الانتخابات منافسة حادّة. وفيها، فازت الحاكمة الديموقراطية المنتهية ولايتها، كاثي هوشول، التي حلّت صيف 2021 محلّ أندرو كومو، على خصمها الجمهوري لي زيلدن، المدعوم من ترامب.

    ومن شأن هذه الانتخابات التي شهدت منافسة محتدمة أشعلتْها قضايا الوضع الاقتصادي والإجهاض، أن ترسم ملامح العامَين المتبقّيين من ولاية الرئيس جو بايدن، وربّما تكون، كما وصفها الأخير، «الأهمّ في التاريخ الأميركي الحديث»، نظراً إلى انعكاساتها المحتملة على مختلف الأصعدة الداخلية والخارجية. فهي لا بدّ أن تؤدّي إلى تقليص سلطة الرئيس الحالي، على رغم كونه تجنّب هزيمة نكراء كان يخشاها حزبه. مع هذا، فإن حصول الجمهوريين على غالبية، وإنْ كانت بسيطة، في مجلس النواب، سيسمح لهم بعرقلة أولويات بايدن، ريثما يشرَعون في تحقيقات ستطاول إدارته وحتى عائلته، وقد تكون لها تأثيرات سياسية مدمّرة. فوجود مجلس نواب جمهوري، «سيوجّه ضربة كبيرة لبايدن، وسيقضي على طموحاته التشريعية، فضلاً عن أنه يُنذر بعامَين من الصراع الحزبي الطاحن»، وفق «نيويورك تايمز». ويمكن بايدن، في بلدٍ منقسم إلى حدّ التشظّي، أن يشهد شللاً برلمانياً طويلاً، ستتخلّله صراعات لا نهاية لها حول مشاريع قوانين تولد ميتة. فتحقيق الغالبية حتى بفارق ضيّق في مجلس النواب، يُعطي سلطة كبيرة في مجال الإشراف، وعد اليمين الجمهوري باستخدامها للبدء بعدد من التحقيقات ضدّ بايدن وأدائه وأوساطه. وخلال إحدى الجلسات، وعدت الجمهورية مارجوري تايلور غرين التي أعيد انتخابها في مجلس النواب، على سبيل المثال، بفتح ملفات هانتر بايدن، النجل الأصغر للرئيس. كما ستكون لدى الجمهوريين وسائل ضغط في الموازنة، ويمكن أن يلوّحوا بتهديد «الإغلاق» – شلّ الإدارات الفيدرالية – أو حتى بالتخلّف عن الدفع من قِبَل أكبر قوة عالمية.

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    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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    The Divided States of America: Voter concerns will choose the US’ fate

    6 Nov 2022

    Source: Al Mayadeen English

    By Rachel Hamdoun 

    There’s more behind the scenes of what the US is dealing with and what newscasts show, as the social and structural issues challenging Americans today will alter the face of America tomorrow.

    Inflation in the US hit a 40-year record high in June, reaching a whopping 8.6% and driving interest rates sky-high

    Kanye West is the last thing that’s wrong with America right now. 

    As the US juggles massive unemployment, poor infrastructure, oil and gas price increases, food shortages, a near-recession, and mass shootings, funding the war in Ukraine continues to be the top priority on the Biden administration agenda – but that is the least of the American people’s worries. 

    With the midterm votes reaching the finish line on November 8’s Election Day, it will be decided whether the Republicans or the Democrats will have the upper hand in Congress and the Senate. It’s not just who the people want; it’s what they want and who answers them. 

    Midterm elections are not presidential elections, as in they don’t decide which potential candidate will win the presidency, but instead, representatives of the House and Senators are elected, and they will, in turn, influence which candidate in 2024 takes office. The House of Representatives has the ability to make and pass laws and assess the current administration it is serving. The Senate’s duties include amending and approving laws, assessing presidential nominees, and conducting impeachments of presidents. 

    2022 has been a rollercoaster for the US, between taming Kanye West and his rants, mass shootings becoming a daily staple of American life, Donald Trump’s FBI bust, and almost starting World War III with China. But as the US defines itself as a representative democracy, in the sense that the people elect who represents their wants and needs, it is the matters taking the country by storm that will eventually alter the direction of the 2024 presidential elections.  

    Read more: Four critical Senate battlegrounds govern US midterms

    Economy trumps the list

    According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted between October 10 and 16, 2022, the leading concern on voters’ minds is the economy and its fate. 79% of the registered voters recorded the economic situation as their main worry, with 92% of voters who identified as Republican seeing it as a “hot topic”.

    The Divided States of America: Voter concerns will choose the US' fate

    Inflation in the US hit a 40-year record high in June, reaching a whopping 8.6% and driving interest rates sky-high. The Biden administration is struggling to hold on to the rope to safety as it continues to fail to hold on to its promises of reviving the economy and bringing the country back on its feet after the Covid pandemic – ever since he took office in 2020. 

    A report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released in September exhibited the rise of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures the change in prices that consumers in a country pay by 8.2% since September of last year. These may all be numbers that may not seem marginal or significantly differential, but the more these percentages keep racking up, the more imminent is a recession and the fall of American global economic hegemony.

    What’s even more “shocking” is the answer to the question as to where all this increase in money is going if policies keep adding on and no improvements are shown.

    Priorities, priorities

    US national outstanding debt has exceeded $31 trillion as of October. The US is grappling with a dangerous combination of inflation, high-interest rates, sky-high consumer prices, unstable social structure, climate crisis, and environmental racism, but budget priorities surely go to the military. 

    In light of the war in Ukraine, more than $15 billion has gone to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces – not including payments made under sugar-coated nomenclatures, such as “security packages”. Republicans are becoming increasingly opposed to the excessive and incontrollable transfer of money and arms to fund Ukraine’s forces.

    Funny enough, America doesn’t “run on Dunkin,” it runs on guns and claiming false democracy. 2022 repeated typical American history, witnessing a series of gun violence episodes from schools to grocery stores and parades.

    Mass shootings are so “excessive” that they have become expected to be part of the daily news broadcast in the US, and in turn across the world. On May 14 of this year, ten were killed in a grocery store shooting in Buffalo, New York. Ten days later, on May 24, 19 children and two adults were murdered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. A week later in June, four were killed at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a month later on July fourth, seven people were shot and killed at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois. The Pew Research report showed 57% of voters were stressed because of gun violence, with 62% being Democrats. 

    The matter boils down, however, to the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, which stipulates the right to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense, but with the abuse of that amendment as a shield, gun violence continues to go rampant across the nation, instilling fear into Americans and becoming a growing factor in fearful nationalism.

    Read more: Fear from election violence in the US on the rise

    ‘It’s complicated’

    The Pew Research report demonstrated the top issues in the US as of current, but by party: Democrat-identifying voters showed concern in areas of education reform, gun control, climate change, healthcare, abortion, and systemic racism. On the other hand, Republican-voting counterparts were concerned about the economic crisis, crime, immigration, and foreign policies, which Biden expressed that Republicans have ‘no sense’ of, worried that if Republicans win in the midterm elections, total US military assistance for Ukraine may diminish after US House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s pledge that Ukraine will not receive a “blank check” for aid if the Republicans win the majority of seats in the lower house of Congress. 

    Read next: More Republicans stand against continued support to Ukraine: WSJ poll

    In regard to abortion, whether candidates advocate reinstating the Roe v Wade decision to allow abortion to be legal again or whether they are against it majorly sways the midterm results, and thus the 2024 presidential race, especially by voters who are women. The 50-year-old decision now bans abortions across the US with only a few states left allowing procedures to continue, such as New York, California, and Utah. 

    Student debt also appeared on the polls for voter concerns, following Biden’s announcement in September of plans to cancel up to $20,000 in student loans and debts, which has students racing to fill out applications for the forms as unemployment rates rise and wages remain relatively insufficient to meet the cost of living in the US.

    Biden’s popularity keeps sinking as the economy deteriorates even further, and the midterm elections serve as his last remaining lifeline – with not much hope in sight either. Americans remain in a complicated relationship, asking the government “what are we?” while the government scurries to meet the people’s demands, but effectivities remain in lingo.

    Read next: Republicans expected to flood the House

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    US faces ‘environment of fascism’ ahead of 2022 midterms: Congresswoman

    Saturday, 29 October 2022 7:28 PM  [ Last Update: Saturday, 29 October 2022 7:36 PM ]

    Progressive Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (front) and Ilhan Abdullahi Omar (center) pose for a photograph at Capitol Hill. (AP file photo)

    Progressive Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says that the United States is “facing an environment of fascism” similar to the days of Jim Crow in the leadup to the 2022 midterms which Democrats are likely to lose to Republicans.

    Federal officials at the Department of Homeland Security and FBI have warned of a “heightened threat” ahead of the midterm elections charged by violent extremism, CBS News reported

    What they’re saying: “We are really truly facing an environment of fascism in the United States of America. This type of intimidation at the polls brings us to Jim Crow,” Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told MSNBC on Friday about reports of intimidation at Arizona ballot boxes.

    “It brings us back and harkens back to a very unique form of American apartheid that is not that long past ago,” she added. “And we have never fully healed from it and those wounds threaten to rip right back open if we do not strongly defend democracy in the United States of America.”

    US authorities released a bulletin on Friday that said domestic violent extremists pose a threat of violence for the 2022 midterms and the days after.

    “Following the 2022 midterm election, perceptions of election-related fraud and dissatisfaction with electoral outcomes likely will result in heightened threats of violence against a broad range of targets ― such as ideological opponents and election workers,” the bulletin reads, according to CNN.

    CBS reported that these extremists may target state and local government buildings following the election.

    The bulletin was issued on the same day as the attack on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband at their residence in San Francisco.

    Speaking at a political event in Pennsylvania hours after Paul Pelosi was attacked and gravely injured by an intruder, US President Joe Biden blamed the Republican Party, increasingly influenced by the political vitriol of former President Donald Trump, for “too much political violence.”

    “There’s too much violence, political violence, too much hatred, too much vitriol,” Biden said.

    “And what makes us think that one party can talk about ‘stolen elections,’ ‘COVID being a hoax,’ ‘this is all a bunch of lies,’ and it not affect people who may not be so well balanced?  What makes us think that it’s not going to corrode the political climate?” Biden added.

    Paul Pelosi was attacked and severely beaten by an assailant with a hammer, according to people familiar with the matter.

    Pelosi, 82, suffered blunt force trauma to his head and body, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation into the attack who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing probe.

    US midterm elections outlook darkens for Democrats The White House has lowered its earlier optimism about the midterm elections and is now worried that Democrats could lose control of both chambers of Congress, administration officials say.

    The assailant is in custody, and the motivation for the attack is under investigation, the spokesman said.

    Meanwhile, Democrats are worried they could lose control of both chambers of Congress on November 8 which would give Republicans the power to bring Biden’s legislative agenda to a halt. Biden’s unpopularity is helping drive this view.

    Biden’s term has been marked by the economic scars of the global health crisis, including soaring inflation. Biden’s popularity hit a record low of 36 percent in May and June.

    US consumer inflation hit a 40-year high of 8.6 percent in the 12 months through May, with gasoline marking a record high and the cost of food soaring, Labor Department data showed.

    The surging costs have become a political headache for the Biden administration, which has tried several measures to lower prices but said much of the responsibility to control inflation falls to the Federal Reserve.


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    «أوبك +» هل تقصم ظهر العلاقات الأميركية ـ السعودية

    الثلاثاء 18 أكتوبر 2022 

    بتول قصير

    يبدو أنّ خيبات الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تتوالى. فقد أثار قرار الدول المصدرة للبترول “أوبك” والدول المنتجة للنفط المتحالفة معها “أوبك بلس” خفض إنتاج النفط بمقدار مليوني برميل يومياً، حالة من الهستيريا والغضب في واشنطن، لما له من تداعيات سلبية على الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها. فعلى خلفية القرار عبّر الرئيس جو بايدن أنه “أصيب بخيبة أمل” ووصف القرار بـ “قصير النظر”، واتهم دول المنظمة النفطية بالانحياز إلى روسيا.

    شكل قرار خفض الإنتاج حالة إرباك بالنسبة لإدارة الرئيس بايدن، فالتوقيت الحرج لهذا القرار يأتي قبل شهر تقريباً من موعد إجراء انتخابات التجديد النصفي للكونغرس. وثمة خطر في أنّ هذا الخفض الذي سيدخل سريان المفعول في الأول من تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر من شأنه أن يتسبّب في ارتفاع أسعار البنزين والغاز، ما يعني انّ واشنطن أمام كارثة سياسية كاملة الأركان على إدارة الرئيس الديمقراطي بايدن، خاصة أنّ خصومه الجمهوريين سيستغلون الفرصة الثمينة هذه للإطاحة بمصداقيته أمام الناخبين الأميركيين خلال عملية الاقتراع، كإثبات على السياسة الفاشلة التي تمتع بها عهده.

    وعلى خلفية هذا القرار تعالت الأصوات في الكونغرس الأميركي التي تدعو لإعادة النظر في العلاقة مع الرياض، وتأطير العلاقة مع الأخيرة التي اعتبرت الإدارة الأميركية خطوتها بأنها بمثابة انحياز للمملكة في صراعات دولية وأنه قرار بُني على دوافع سياسية ضدّ الولايات المتحدة الأميركية. واللافت انّ ارتفاع وتيرة التوتر بين البلدين ترافق مع طرح النائب الأميركي الديمقراطي توم مالينوفسكي مشروع قانون في مجلس النواب يطالب إدارة الرئيس بايدن بسحب أنظمة الدفاع ضدّ الصواريخ و3000 جندي، وهم قوام القوات الأميركية من السعودية والإمارات. وقال مالينوفسكي في بيان صادر عنه: “لقد حان الوقت لكي تستأنف الولايات المتحدة دورها كدولة عظمى في علاقتها بزبائنها في الخليج”.

    وعليه فإنّ حفلة الجنون الأميركية عقب قرار “أوبك بلس”، يفسّرها انشغال واشنطن وحلفائها في السعي الدؤوب لضمان أمنهم الطاقي نظراً لأهمية مصادر الطاقة العالمية. خاصة بعد أزمة أوكرانيا وإغلاق روسيا لصنابير الطاقة والغاز عن أوروبا.

    وكخطوات عاجلة أمر الرئيس الأميركي وزارة الطاقة بالإفراج عن 10 ملايين برميل من الاحتياطي البترولي الاستراتيجي الأميركي في الأسواق مع دخول خفض الإنتاج حيّز التنفيذ في الأول من تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر، والاستمرار في اللجوء إلى احتياطي البترول الاستراتيجي كلما اقتضت الحاجة. كما باشر بايدن بمشاورات مع الكونغرس للبحث في آليات إضافية لتقليص تحكم أوبك في أسعار الطاقة وتقليص اعتماد الولايات المتحدة على المصادر الأجنبية للوقود الأحفوري وتسريع ضخ الاستثمارات في الطاقة النظيفة.

    من منظورٍ آخر، يبدو أنّ واشنطن تسبّبت بطريقة أو بأخرى بدفع “أوبك بلس” لخفض الإنتاج، عندما قرّرت مؤخراً رفع أسعار الفائدة والدولار، في وقت يستورد العالم النفط بالعملة الأميركية، ورفع قيمته يؤثر على الدول المستوردة للنفط، ما تسبّب بقلة الطلب عليه، ما أدّى لخلق فائض نفطي لدول “أوبك بلس”. واشنطن المذهولة من القرار حمّلت الرياض مسؤولية تداعياته، معتبرة أنّ دوافعه سياسية وانحياز لروسيا وسيشكل دعماً لها لا يُستهان به.

    بدورها السعودية رفضت الاتهامات الأميركية التي لا تستند إلى الحقائق، وعلقت بأنّ القرار اتخذ بالإجماع من كافة دول المجموعة، وهو قرار اقتصادي بحت. وما زاد الطين بلة، أنّ قراراً مدعوماً من السعودية بأن تتوقف مجموعة “أوبك بلس” عن استخدام بيانات وكالة الطاقة الدولية، وهي الهيئة الغربية لمراقبة قطاع الطاقة، ما يعكس المخاوف من التأثير الأميركي على البيانات.

    وأخيراً، يبدو انّ زيارة بايدن للسعودية في تموز/ يوليو لم تفعل شيئاً يُذكر لتغيير تصميم محمد بن سلمان على رسم سياسة خارجية مستقلة عن النفوذ الأميركي، خاصة أنّ الزيارة أغضبت ولي العهد، الذي كان منزعجاً من أنّ بايدن تحدث علناً عن تعليقاته الخاصة مع العائلة المالكة بشأن وفاة الصحافي جمال خاشقجي. وهذا لا يعني انّ البيت الأبيض سيتجه لاتخاذ قرارات عقابية واضحة تجاه الرياض، فهو وعلى الرغم من العلاقات بين كلّ من المملكة والولايات المتحدة شهدت مداً وجزراً على مدى عقود خلت وحتى الفترة الحالية، إلا انّ الدولتين تتمتعان بشراكة استراتيجية، مدعومة بمصالح مشتركة. فالبلدان يشتركان في رؤية متوافقة تجاه العديد من القضايا الدولية والإقليمية، من مسألة الملف النووي الإيراني، والتحالف الرباعي ضدّ اليمن، وغيرها من الملفات الإقليمية والدولية.

    وعليه فإنّ ما يجمع واشنطن والرياض أكبر بكثير مما يمكن أن يزعزع علاقة البلدين الشاملة في كافة المستويات. بيد أنَّ هذه العلاقات تعرّضت وتتعرّض في أوقات كثيرة لمثل هذه الهزات، إلا أنَّه من المستبعد أن تذهب ردود الأفعال إلى مستويات بعيدة، خصوصاً أنّ قرار «أوبك بلس» لم يكن سعودياً بحتاً.

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

    October 12, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

    Andrei

    شبح الحرب الأهلية يحوم في الولايات المتحدة

    اب 31  2022

    علي دربج 

    المصدر: الميادين نت

    نتائج استطلاع أميركية جديدة مقلقة، تشير إلى أنّ أربعة من بين كل 10 أميركيين، يعتقدون أن حرباً أهلية قد تكون محتملة في العقد المقبل.

    شبح الحرب الأهلية يحوم في الولايات المتحدة

      ليس الوقت كأي لحظة في الماضي، إذ يتطلع الأميركيون اليوم بخوف إلى المستقبل، وقلق من شبح حرب أهلية، وهم يرون هذا الخطر يحوم فوق بلادهم بسبب الأزمة السياسية التي تشهدها الولايات المتحدة حالياً.

      وتعود جذورها إلى مرحلة فوز الرئيس الحالي جو بايدن في الانتخابات الرئاسية الأخيرة، بعد رفض غريمه المهزوم الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب الاعتراف بالنتائج، وتعبئة أنصاره وتحريضهم على اقتحام مبنى الكونغرس في 6 من كانون الثاني/يناير عام 2021، لتبلغ ذروتها أخيراً مع الغارة التي شنها مكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي FBI على مقر إقامة ترامب في مارالاغو بولاية فلوريدا بحثاً عن ووثائق ومستندات سرية كان ترامب قد عمد إلى إخفائها.

      خصوصاً أن من في الداخل الأميركي، من الحزب الجمهوري ومعه الجماعات اليمينية المتطرفة، يهيئون لها الظروف والأسباب، ويعدّون لها الأرضية الخصبة، وينفخون في النار طمعاً في إضرامها، لا سيما أنهم يعتبرونها خشبة الخلاص الوحيدة من إدارة بايدن وحكومته ودولتهم العميقة. 

      ولكن ما مؤشرات الحرب الأهلية في أميركا؟ 

      هناك مجموعة واسعة من الأصوات، بما فيها أصوات بعض الساسة الجمهوريين والديمقراطيين، والأكاديميين الذين يدرسون الصراع الأهلي، فضلاً عن المتطرفين على الضفة الأخرى يروّجون جميعاً الآن فكرة أن الحرب الأهلية باتت قريبة أو ضرورية.

      والأهم أن هؤلاء جميعاً، يشيرون إلى عدد من الأدلة والوقائع والمعطيات التي تدعم رؤيتهم تجاه عدم استبعادهم وقوع حرب أهلية في أميركا، ويمكن تلخيصها بـ3 معطيات: 

      أولا: إطلاق عاصفة من التهديدات شملت عملاء مكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي، والقضاة، والمسؤولين المنتخبين، وأعضاء مجالس إدارة المدارس (لكونهم يخالفون نظرة الجمهوريين إلى تنشئة الطلاب)، فضلاً عن المشرفين على الانتخابات. 

      ثُانيا: إقامة معسكرات شبه عسكرية مغلقة يتدرّب فيها المتطرفون المدججون بالسلاح لمواجهة حكومتهم 

      ثالثا: نتائج استطلاعات الرأي التي تظهر أن وجود أميركيين يتوقعون صراعاً عنيفاً، وأن حرباً أهلية حقيقة قد تدق أبوابهم في أي لحظة، لاسيما مع اقتراب موعد الانتخابات التشريعية النصفية. 

      عند النظر في نوعية الأصوات الأكاديمية التي تعمقت في قضية الحرب الأهلية الأميركية وأصحابها نجد في مقدّمهم ستيفن ماركي، مؤلف كتاب “الحرب الأهلية التالية: رسائل من المستقبل الأميركي” الذي قدم مقاربة، قال فيها إن تهديدات المتطرفين أصبحت أكثر وضوحاً وتحديداً، وأن خطابهم قد تسرّب إلى شريحة كبيرة جداً من الأميركيين وأثّر فيهم.

      ويستدل على ذلك بما أقدمت عليه حكومة ولاية تكساس والحزب الجمهوري فيها، اللذان تحديا السلطة الفيدرالية، بعدما وافق آلاف الناشطين الجمهوريين إثر اجتماعهم في هيوستن (كبرى مدن ولاية تكساس) في حزيران/يونيو الماضي، خلال مؤتمر الحزب في الولاية، على قرار يرفض نتيجة الانتخابات الرئاسية لعام 2020، ويعلن بايدن “رئيساً بالنيابة”، فضلاً عن سعيهم لاستفتاء الناخبين بشأن الانفصال عن الولايات المتحدة.

      ما يلفت أن ماركي، الروائي الكندي الأصل، الذي كان يقرع جرس الإنذار مما هو آتٍ على أميركا، تسارعت وتيرة تحذيراته أخيراً، وأصبحت أكثر إلحاحاً، بعدما رأى مجموعات صغيرة من المسلحين يتدرّبون على قتال عملاء الحكومة، وعلّق على هذا الأمر قائلاً “هذا النوع من الفوضى الذي أصفه يشبه الغضب على الإنترنت: يمكنك أن تعده تمثيلاً مسرحياً أو قد يكون خطراً جداً، ويمكن أن يكون متعة عطلة نهاية الأسبوع، أو الإعداد العسكري الفعلي.

      يشارك ماركي في الرأي محللون آخرون، قالوا إن الضجيج الحالي مؤشر قوي إلى أن حرباً أهلية ساخنة – يرجح أن تشهد تفجيرات واغتيالات واعتداءات على المؤسسات الفيدرالية والمسؤولين- قد تكون قريبة.

      وفي تقاطع مع أفكار ماركي، توقّع الكاتب المحافظ كورت شليشتر حرباً أهلية، وخلص في كتابه الجديد وعنوانه “سنعود: سقوط وصعود أميركا” أن “الولايات الزرقاء تواجه تحدياً، وأردف قائلاً من الجيد الاحتفاظ بالمدن، ولكن إذا كنت لا تحتفظ أيضاً بجميع الأراضي الريفية بين المدن، وكذلك الطرق المؤدية إلى الأماكن التي تحصل فيها على طعامك ووقودك، فلديك مشكلة حقيقية”.

      ومن الشخصيات الأميركية المعروفة أيضاً، التي لا تستبعد الحرب الأهلية الأميركية، روبرت رايش، وزير العمل في عهد الرئيس بيل كلينتون، الذي كان قد لفت إلى أن “الحرب الأهلية الأميركية الثانية تحدث فعلاً” واستطرد قائلاً خلال حديثه إلى صحيفة الغارديان، “لكنها ليست حرباً، بقدر ما هي نوع من الانفصال الحميد المشابه للمتزوجين غير السعداء الذين لا يريدون أن يمروا بصدمة الطلاق الرسمي”.

      المثير في الأمر، أن رايش لا يرجّح حصول تقسيم عنيف للبلاد، بل شيء “مشابه لخروج بريطانيا من الاتحاد الأوروبي – قرار متبادل ومتقطع للذهاب في طرق منفصلة في معظم الأشياء، مع الحفاظ على اتصال بشأن بعض الأشياء الكبيرة (مثل الدفاع الوطني والسياسة النقدية والحقوق المدنية والسياسية)”.

      وماذا عن الآراء التي تستبعد الحرب الأهلية؟ 

      في مقابل هذه الفئة المتوجسة والقائلة بإمكان حدوث حرب أهلية، نجد جماعات أخرى تنفي هذا الخيار مثل رابطة مكافحة التشهير وغيرها من جماعات المراقبة الأميركية التي لا ترى هذا النوع من التخطيط المحدّد من قبل الميليشيات الخاصة والتجمعات عبر الإنترنت للمتطرفين بالوضوح نفسه الذي كان قائماً قبل تمرّد 6 كانون الثاني/يناير العام الماضي، وقبل مسيرة تفوق البيض في شارلوتسفيل عام 2017.

      هذا الرأي يتبناه كذلك أورين سيغال، نائب رئيس مركز مكافحة التطرف، الذي أوضح في حديث إلى الإذاعة الوطنية الأميركية بالقول “لقد مررنا بهذا الأمر منذ فترة طويلة، ولا أرى الناس قد يجتمعون معاً في تنظيم متماسك مثل الذي رأيناه في السادس من كانون الثاني/ يناير”. 

      المحللون من كلتا الفئتين، سواء الذين يقولون إننا نتجه نحو حرب أهلية، وأولئك الذين يرون أن منظومة التهديد تقتصر إلى حد كبير على أشخاص منفردين، ومجموعات صغيرة غير منظمة، لا تشكّل أعمالها الخطرة والمشتتة حرباً أهلية هم يتفقون ولا يستبعدون معاً، إمكان حصول هجوم منظم وعنيف على الحكومة أو السلطات المحلية أو تلك التابعة للولايات (ولو محدودًا)، وحمل السلاح ضد نظرائهم الفيدراليين.

      إضافة إلى هذا الانقسام الحاد حول ما إذا كانت سلسلة الهجمات الفردية والجماعات الصغيرة، يمكن أن تؤدي إلى صراع شبيه بالحرب يزعزع استقرار البلاد، إلا أن الخطر الأكبر الذي يلوح في الأفق، ويقضّ مضاجع الجانبين في نقاش الحرب الأهلية، هو أن الاتجاه الأكثر إثارة للقلق هو فقدان الثقة والأمل والشعور بالانتماء على نطاق واسع في مجتمع تضرر بشدة. 

      ما مصدر إلهام المتحمسين للحرب الأهلية؟ 

      في الحقيقة، يُرى ويليام بيرس، أستاذ الفيزياء الذي تحوّل إلى منظّر للنازيين الجدد، مصدر إلهام ومنبع أفكار القتل والتصفية والقضاء على الحكومة الأميركية، للمتطرّفين اليمينيين الأميركيين. 

       فقبل ربع قرن، وبعد تفجير المبنى الفيدرالي في أوكلاهوما سيتي، عُثر في سيارة المهاجم تيموثي ماكفي الذي اتخذ رواية بيرس “يوميات تيرنر” وثيقة تخطيط له لشن حرب أهلية، على مقتطفات من الكتاب في سيارته عندما قتل 168 شخصاً وأصاب مئات آخرين ومعظم من الأطفال.

      الكارثة لدى القادة الأميركيين الحاليين، أن بيرس، كان فخوراً جداً بشعبية كتابه بين المتعصبين البيض وغيرهم من المتطرفين، إذ إن هدفه وهدف أولئك الذين كان يأمل أن يقرأوا كتابه هو إطاحة الحكومة.

       ولهذا قال بيرس “الناس لا يستخدمون الكتاب كمخطّط، ولكن كمصدر إلهام”. وأكّد أن “ليس لدي الوقت للكتابة للترفيه وحسب. إنما لشرح الأشياء للناس. أود أن أرى أميركا الشمالية قارة بيضاء فقط”.

       وما يزيد الطين بلة لدى الأميركيين، أن لدى بيرس رؤية مدمّرة للنظام الأميركي، إذ أوضح أنه “إذا لم ندمّر النظام قبل أن يدمرنا -إذا لم نقطع هذا السرطان من لحمنا الحي- فسيموت جنسنا كله”.

      بيرس، الذي توفي عام 2002، كان قد تنبأ في كتابه بتآمر المتعصبين البيض لتفجير مقر مكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي وإشعال حرب أوسع على الحكومة. وتوقع كذلك أن تتكرّر أعمال العنف الفردية، معتبراً أن “الإرهاب لا معنى له إلا إذا كان مستداماً.. وفي يوم من الأيام سيكون هناك إرهاب حقيقي ومنظم يجري وفقاً لخطة تهدف إلى إسقاط الحكومة.

      ماذا عن حماسة ترامب والحزب الجمهوري للحرب الأهلية؟

      طوال عقود، بقيت “يوميات تيرنر” لبيرس، نصاً يستخدمه المتطرفون العنيفون، ويظهر على نحو متكرر عبر الإنترنت في أحاديث المشاركين في هجوم 6 من كانون الثاني/يناير وأنصار الرئيس ترامب. 

      ليس هذا فحسب، فقد أصبح الخطاب العدائي أيضاً جزءاً من حملات بعض الجمهوريين اليومية. وفي هذا الإطار كتبت لورا لومر، المرشحة الجمهورية في منطقة مجلس النواب الـ11 بولاية فلوريدا، التي كانت قد خسرت بفرق ضئيل في الانتخابات التمهيدية الأسبوع الماضي، على Telegram في 8 آب/أغسطس الماضي أن “الوقت قد حان لخلع القفازات.. إذا كنت أميركياً محباً للحرية، فعليك إزالة الكلمات اللائقة والكياسة من مفرداتك”.

      وبالمثل، غرد اليوتيوبر المحافظ والبودكاست ستيفن كراودر، يوم حدوث غارة FBI في مارالاغو، قائلاً إن “الغد هو الحرب”. وأضاف “لقد حان الوقت للقتال من أجل كل بوصة مربعة” ثم كرّر كلامه في اليوم التالي، مؤكداً أنه الوقت لمكافحة النار بالنار، حان”. كما كتب موقع النقاد المؤيد لترامب عبارات تصب في خانة التحريض مثل “هذا. يعني. الحرب”.

      فضلاً عن ذلك، تحدث الناس على منصات التواصل الاجتماعي المؤيدة لترامب، عن شراء الذخيرة والبحث عن مواجهة العملاء الفيدراليين. “حرب أهلية! التقطوا السلاح أيها الناس”، غرد أحد الغاضبين. 

      كان مثل هذا الحديث أشبه بالدعامة الأساسية لسنوات ترامب. في الصيف الماضي، زعم النائب ماديسون كاوثورن وهو جمهوري من كارولاينا الشمالية، ومن الذين أنكروا نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية، أن أنظمة الانتخابات الأميركية “مزورة”، مشدداً على أنها “ستؤدي إلى مكان واحد، وهو إراقة دماء”

      حتى إن ترامب نفسه، الذي كان قد تحدث ضد تدريس نظرية العرق الناقدة في تجمع حاشد في كارولينا الجنوبية هذا الربيع، أشار إلى أن مصير أميركا “يعتمد في نهاية المطاف على استعداد مواطنيها للتخلي عن حياتهم للدفاع عن بلدهم، وعليهم القيام بذلك”.

       وعلى المنوال نفسه، أكد أحد أبرز منتقدي ترامب في حزبه، النائب آدم كينزينغر (إلينوي)، في وقت سابق من هذا العام في برنامج “The View” على شبكة “إيه بي سي” أن الحرب الأهلية يمكن أن تندلع” وقال “علينا أن نحذر ونتحدّث عن ذلك حتى نتمكن من إدراك ذلك والقتال بقوة ضده”.

      مع أن كتاب بيرس لا يزال يلهم الجهات الفاعلة الفردية والمجموعات الصغيرة، إلا أن حربه الأوسع نطاقاً لم تقترب قط من أن تؤتي ثمارها بعد.

      اليوم، “الحرب الأهلية” هي صرخة قوية، عكسها بعض الأميركيين في سلوكهم، بارتدائها على القمصان، وبعضهم الآخر يتدرّب عليها علناً بأسلحة هجومية، مثلما يفعل ابن القس، هيونغ جين مون، الذي يتولى رعاية الدورات التدريبية في مجمّعه في تكساس وبنسلفانيا من أجل حرب “وطنية” أخرى على “الدولة العميقة والكلام له. 

      وماذا تقول استطلاعات الرأي عن احتمالات الحرب الأهلية؟

      يعتقد عدد من الأميركيين أن حرباً أهلية حقيقية وعنيفة مقبلة. ففي استطلاع للرأي أجرته هذا الربيع جامعة كاليفورنيا في برنامج أبحاث الوقاية من العنف في ديفيس، قال الذين شملهم الاستطلاع بمعظمهم، إنهم يتوقّعون حرباً أهلية في السنوات القليلة المقبلة.

      إضافة إلى ذلك، أظهر استطلاع آخر أجراه مركز المسح حول الحياة الأميركية، وهو مشروع غير حزبي تابع لمعهد أميركان إنتربرايز المحافظ، أن ما يزيد على ثلث الأميركيين يوافقون على أن “طريقة الحياة الأميركية التقليدية تختفي بسرعة كبيرة، حتى إننا قد نضطر إلى استخدام القوة لإنقاذها”.

      وكشفت نتائج استطلاع جديدة مقلقة نشرتها YouGov، وهي شركة رائدة في مجال أبحاث السوق، أن أربعة من بين كل 10 أميركيين، يعتقدون أن حرباً أهلية قد تكون محتملة في العقد المقبل. وتوضح يوغوف أن من بين أولئك الذين يقولون إنهم صوتوا لترامب عام 2020، أكثر من 50% يتوقعون أيضاً أن يزداد العنف السياسي في السنوات المقبلة.

      أكثر من ذلك، يشير استطلاع آخر لـ”يوغوف”، كان قد أجري لمصلحة مجلة الإيكونوميست، إلى أن نحو 14 في المئة من المستطلَعين، قالوا إن الحرب الأهلية “محتملة جداً في غضون 10 سنين. فيما صرح 29 في المئة أنها “مرجّحة إلى حد ما”. ولكن، بين ناخبي ترامب، كانت هذه الأرقام 19 في المئة، و34 في المئة، على التوالي، أو 53 في المئة في المجموع. ومن بين ناخبي بايدن، كان المجموع يزيد قليلاً على الثلث.

      في الحصيلة، يشعر الأميركيون بأن الانقسامات بين الأمة تبرر أو تسبق صراعاً عنيفاً. 

      The Highland Park Shooting and American Fascism Now

      JULY 8, 2022

      Fireplug and Coneflowers in the Author’s Garden, Highland Park, Illinois, 2013. Photo: The Author.

      BY STEPHEN F. EISENMAN

      I heard about it from my daughter, Sarah, in Chicago.

      “Dad, did you hear about Highland Park?” That was an ominous beginning. She continued: “There was a shooting during the 4th of July Parade. A bunch of people were killed.”

      My heart sank. I lived in Highland Park for almost 15 years, from 2001-2015. Sarah too. I had been there just a few weeks ago to visit my dear neighbors Hannah and Joe, and to meet up with Sarah.

      “You ok, sweetie?”

      “Yeah, but it’s really bad.”

      “Let me hang up and find out more.”

      I looked at the NYTimes and Guardian and texted Hannah – she and her husband were out of town and ok. I told my wife Harriet, who was out pulling weeds in the garden. I was tearful; she consoled me. Though I hadn’t lived there in a while, Highland Park was a big part of my life. It was where I bought a house with my former wife in late 2001; where I ran hundreds of miles in the beautiful forest reserves; where I taught my dog Echo how to catch a frisbee; where I wrote three books; where I recovered from injuries after a bad car crash; where Sarah went through a very challenging (for all of us) adolescence; where I started a new life after my divorce; and where Harriet and I were married by a rabbi, with Echo as our witness, in 2014.

      I never made many friends there, but I didn’t care about that. I had friends enough in Chicago and L.A. And then there was the gift of Hannah – a brilliant and funny art historian (U. of Illinois, Chicago), and her kind businessman husband, Joe Reinstein. Joe and I didn’t have that much in common except for being Jewish, enjoying gardening and liking to make jokes. He sounds a little bit like Jack Benny. Many of you, dear readers, won’t have a clue as to who that is, so please look him up on YouTube.

      Highland Park, a city of 30,000, is about one-third Jewish. When my former wife (Catholic) and I moved up to there in 2001, some of our Northwestern University colleagues were surprised that we relocated to such a bourgeois suburb. To quiet the teasing, I told them that we moved there so I could “be among my people.” That shut everybody up. Then as now, identity politics ends discussion. In truth, though I am a cultural Jew, I haven’t stepped inside a synagogue since my bar mitzvah in 1969, not including other people’s bar mitzvahs and weddings.

      Now, after the shooting, Highland Park was going to become one more of those names on a list that includes Parkland, Sandy Hook, Buffalo, and Uvalde. The grim consolation is that the list is now so long – and growing longer every day — that Highland Park will soon be displaced in memory by another mass casualty event. In a few years, it will be a footnote. But not for the people whose family members were killed or wounded; not for the town’s other residents who will remember that infamous day, and not for a north Florida transplant who remembers the place with fondness.

      Outline of a critique of fascist violence

      In time, we’ll find out much more about the confessed killer, Bobby Crimo. But my friend Sue Coe nailed the profile in an email she sent me before he was identified: “He will be a 20-something white male, who hunts, goes online in his bedroom, and over excites himself.  His mother/grandmother/caretaker, who he hates, does his laundry, and cooks his food.  He won’t have many friends; past fellow students will say he was a loner. Maybe there’s a manifesto, posted online, ripped off from some other moron.” She forgot to mention that he will be a Trump supporter, rare for someone his age, and rarer still in Democratic Highland Park or nearby Highwood where the killer lived with his father and uncle. Sue is clever but not clairvoyant – she described what has recently become the typical profile of the mass shooter.

      Crimo may have a diagnosable psychotic illness such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or delusional disorder. Alternatively, he might suffer from a less totalizing, but still debilitating mental illness such as borderline personality disorder or depression. He apparently attempted suicide in 2019. In online raps (or rants), he claimed to be compelled to kill. But whether there is a plausible diagnosis or not, the question will be the same: Why did this 21 y.o. kid decide to buy an assault weapon and kill or injure dozens of people he didn’t even know? Answers won’t be found in the DSM but in the convergence of fascism and Republican Party politics.

      Fascism is a well-understood political formation, but easier to recognize in hindsight than foresight. It cannot be defined, as some have tried to do, by a delimited set of attributes, for example: 1) militarism and a culture of violence, 2) the leadership (Fuhrer) principle, 3) antagonism to democracy, 4) deferral to the authority of elites, 5) racism, 6) strict control of both gender expression and sexual reproduction, 7) denigration of science, 8) the ubiquity of lies and conspiracy theories, and 9) the bringing of government and civil society to heel in order to enforce one-party rule. The problem with this list or any other, is that it establishes an ideal type that exists nowhere except the mind of the investigator.

      Then what use are the words fascist and fascism today? They serve as a warning, enabling us to recognize especially toxic political speech and behavior, and prepare ourselves for the behemoth lying in wait. Does the rampant racism, violence, corruption, and electoral fraud of the last president and current Republican Party mark a fascist turning point in the United States? Does Republican debasement of the Supreme Court – marked by its denial of women’s autonomy, endorsement of gun culture, refusal to accept EPA authority to prevent a climate catastrophe, and endorsement of a theocratic state — indicate the rise of fascism?

      To be sure, U.S. capitalist democracy was deranged from the start by slavery and genocide. When those practices were ended or curbed, it was still marked by racial oppression, gross inequality, and environmental degradation. Despite that, U.S. politics has been self-correcting to a surprising degree, staving off fascism when it seemed imminent. The first Ku Klux Klan (1865-1900) was stymied by Progressive Era legislation and policing, and the second (1915-1940) by the Great Northern Migration (which depleted the Black population of the South) and by the democratic solidarity that arose after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and Germany’s declaration of war against the U.S. Fascism in other words, has frequently been incipient, but countervailing tendencies were always stronger. However, that pattern – a glide to the right matched by a lurch back to the center — may be changing.

      During the last three decades or so, neo-liberal capitalism has sustained a highly productive collaboration with Christian nationalism and other versions of far-right, populist extremism. They are strange bedfellows. The goal of the first is to ensure the highest possible profits for the longest possible time, regardless of the human or environmental consequences. The climate crisis has made this stance existential. Continued economic growth and increasing profits – the lifeblood of large business enterprises — is simply incompatible with environmental responsibility. For that reason, fossil capital, along with its confederates in the weapons, aerospace, steel, and home building industries, is waging a war against the coming era of environmental regulation and economic planning that must inevitably curb growth. That’s what the recent Supreme Court decision, West Virginia vs EPA, was all about. It was a big win for capital against the environmental movement and American labor. Working people, especially the non-white sector, are the first victims of climate change. In addition, the Court’s ruling will be used to attack workplace health and safety laws.

      The goal of the second group, the far-right Christian nationalists, anti-abortionists, militias, and self-proclaimed fascists, is to establish a new nation of white Christian, Aryan, or “legacy” Americans who will reclaim the power they believe was taken from them by the Jews, Blacks, feminists, and queers who sought to “replace” them. Their cultism (QAnon, Stop the Steal, anti-Vax, etc), gun-rights militancy and religious enthusiasm has little in common with the secularism and public reserve of the corporate heads, lawyers, bankers, lobbyists, and advertising executives who comprise the neoliberal faction of U.S. conservatism, but they share one fundamental principle: that the only salient economic and political unit is the individual and the family. The neoliberal faction adds a proviso — codified by the Supreme Court in Citizens United — that corporations have many of the same rights as people.

      For neoliberal capital, this means that state or federal programs to regulate production, improve social welfare, and protect the environment are both non-sensical and counterproductive; they are based on the mistaken premise that societies exist and have collective interests that need to be safeguarded. For the far right — Christian nationalist, militia, anti-abortion, and the rest — exclusive focus on individuals and families means that any concatenation of social groupings that opposes their apocalyptic vision must be cast aside if not eliminated. Social movements of feminists, queers, Blacks, or any others, are anathema.

      This mixture of neo-liberal and far right-populist extremism is highly volatile. It is also the basis of MAGA and Republican Party identity. When that world view is offered up by the former president and his congressional and mass-media followers and apologists, the consequences can be catastrophic: Witness the January 6 coup attempt, and the earlier, far right killings in El Paso, Pittsburgh, Poway, Buffalo, Uvalde…and now Highland Park.

      MAGA triggers and the alien within

      When I lived in Highland Park, I never locked my door. I know that’s a cliché about small-town life, but it was true. That doesn’t mean the practice is wise. Our house was broken into once, but instead of walking through the unlocked front door, the would-be thieves broke through a locked, glass side door. They didn’t manage to steal anything and hastily exited the front door, likely chased by Echo – notably nippy with strangers — who would not have passed up the chance to licitly bite a burglar. The police came five minutes after we called them and had great sport playing detective – dusting for fingerprints, checking for signs of forced entry, looking for shoe prints in the wet soil outside. They never caught the guys.

      The idea that the Highland Park Police would ever have to deal with a murder, much less a mass murder was unimaginable to me. From 2000 to 2020, there hadn’t been a single killing in town. But everyone was aware of the threat guns posed, especially after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December 2012. In June 2013, Highland Park’s City Council and Mayor Nancy Rotering introduced a measure banning assault weapons and large capacity magazines. I spoke in favor of the it at the June meeting dedicated to the subject, as did many others. However, there were a few who spoke up in opposition, repeating the standard NRA line that people, not guns kill people. One older woman waved a coffee mug and said it could be used as a lethal weapon – a wag near her dared her to try. Another speaker invoked the second amendment with the reverential awe usually reserved for the second commandment – people sniggered. The ban passed easily. It was unsuccessfully challenged in multiple courts, and ultimately survived a Supreme Court review – I doubt it would today.

      I now wonder if the confessed killer’s father, Robert Crimo II attended that City Council meeting. He’s a gun lover and Trump supporter who helped his son obtain the rifle used in the shooting. He also ran for mayor of Highland Park in 2019 against the incumbent Mayor Rotering, losing by a margin of 2-1. In April that year, police visited the Crimo home after a report that Robert III (Bobby) had attempted suicide. No action was taken after his parents gave assurances that mental health professionals would be contacted. In September, the police again came to the Crimo household after receiving a call that Bobby had threatened to kill his family. They searched his room and found in his closet 16 knives, a dagger, and a sword. His father later that day claimed they were his, and the weapons were returned. The Highland Park Police promptly reported to the Illinois State Police that Bobby was a “clear and present danger” to himself and others. Despite that, in December 2019, the 19-year-old – who eight months earlier attempted suicide — applied for and was issued a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID). Because he was underage, the application was co-signed by his father.

      The FOID application should have been denied because under state law, no gun permit can be issued to someone “whose mental condition is of such a nature that it poses a clear and present danger to the applicant, or any other person or the community.” In addition, a FOID must be denied to anyone who “has been a patient at a mental health facility in the last five years.” If Bobby’s parents had in fact contacted mental health professionals after the boy’s attempted suicide, they would have had to take him to “a mental health facility,” most likely Northshore Hospital’s Behavioral Health Center in Highland Park, just half a mile from where they lived. Apparently, both the Illinois State Police and the physician or psychologist who treated Bobby, failed to send notification to the Illinois Department of Health Services FOID reporting system.

      A few days after being granted his FOID, and then again between June 2020 and September 2021, Crimo bought at least five guns, including two rifles, one of which was the semi-automatic Smith & Wesson M&P15 used in the killings. That’s similar to the guns used by the young, far-right killers in Buffalo and Uvalde. In late September 2020, Bobby attended a Trump rally in Northbook, Illinois. On January 2, 2021, four days before the capital insurrection, Crimo joined other Trump supporters to greet the soon-to-be- ex-president at an unidentified airport. On June 27, 2021, he posted a video of himself draped and dancing in a Trump flag. Sometime later, he had the number “47” tattooed on his face and painted on the side of his car. If Trump is re-elected in 2014, he will be the 47th president, though if the numbers are transposed — 7/4 – they represent the date of the Highland Park shootings.

      We know less about Crimo’s actions in the weeks before the shooting, though more information may soon emerge. We know that in some of his most recent YouTube and other postings, he revealed his identification with soldiers, spies, assassins (Lee Harvey Oswald) and warriors — especially with the German SS. After the massacre in Highland Park, he drove up to another, famously Democratic Party stronghold, Madison, Wisconsin, with the intention of shooting up their July 5 parade too. Fortunately, he abandoned that plan when he got there and returned, more or less to the scene of the crime, where he was captured. Was the ongoing Trump saga – the former president’s unrelenting “stop the steal” rhetoric, claims of persecution, exhortations to “take our country back,” endorsement of the NRA, and invitations to violence – a trigger for Crimo? But if they were, why did Crimo attack innocent people at a patriotic parade? There is no obvious answer.

      In Male Fantasies (1987), Klaus Theweleit described the transformation of de-commissioned German soldiers after World War I into mercenary militias called Freikorps. Those bands were responsible for political assassinations and the brutal repression of protesting German workers, communists, feminists, and social democrats. By the late ‘20s, they became the stormtroopers (Sturmabteilung) that enabled Hitler’s rise to power. Some became prominent Nazis, like Rudolf Höss, commandant of the Auschwitz concentration and death camps.

      Many of the men studied by Theweleit were subjected to stern discipline as children – part of a normally pathological Prussian upbringing — and then further brutalized as soldiers in wartime trenches. Consequently, they developed a sense that they had been hollowed out, or that they had been overcome by an “alien within.” This foreign being was hungry and dangerous, and could find relief only in violence, especially against a crowd. While the solider was stern, bounded, firm and resolute, the crowd was vivid, thriving, shapeless, feminine, social, communal, and sexual – everything he was not, and it had to be destroyed.

      Theweleit’s two volume book is widely cited – too widely – in studies of male sexual violence and the psychology of Nazism. There is no easy way to map a wide-ranging study of the literature the psychopathology of World War I veterans onto the mind and behavior of young, mass shooters today. But the preoccupations of the Highland Park killer – assassinations, school shootings, the SS, spies, guns, knives, and militias – suggests comparison with the young fascists in Male Fantasies who emerged in inter-war Europe, scarred and deadly dangerous, who hated crowds, and were ready to follow the orders of a charismatic leader.

      Fascism, unlike Covid, can’t be diagnosed with a nose swab; but its symptoms are unmistakable and sometimes fatal. It’s fair to say it killed seven people in Highland Park and injured 30 others. It was also deadly in El Paso, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Uvalde. Urgent action is needed to stop the proliferation of assault weapons and guns with large magazines. But this essay is not about the need for gun control, or “gun safety”, essential as that is. It’s about the violence that again struck a U.S. community last week, and the need to resist the Republican far-right – both its corporate and Christian nationalist wings. Until their assault upon our health, safety, bodily autonomy, religious (or irreligious) freedom, and environmental future is stopped, the killing will continue.

      Stephen F. Eisenman is Professor Emeritus of Art History at Northwestern University and the author of Gauguin’s Skirt (Thames and Hudson, 1997), The Abu Ghraib Effect (Reaktion, 2007), The Cry of Nature: Art and the Making of Animal Rights (Reaktion, 2015) and many other books. He is also co-founder of the environmental justice non-profit,  Anthropocene Alliance. He and the artist Sue Coe and now preparing for publication part two of their series for Rotland Press, American Fascism Now.

      Russian military is no joke either: Shock waves across US?

      21 Mar 2022

      Source: Al Mayadeen Net

      Ruqiya Anwar 

      When it comes to the Ukraine crisis, US citizens are stressing: “We don’t have a dog in the fight.”

      The crisis in Ukraine is raising considerable anxiety and rising global uncertainty. It appears that neither war nor heavy economic penalties would bring a sustainable solution to the current situation, which extends beyond Russia and Ukraine. The only way out is through diplomacy. That possibility was squandered when the US and NATO, in response to Russia’s concerns, limited NATO’s eastward expansion.

      However, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The special military operation will strive to “denazify” Russia’s sovereign neighbor, its mission is to protect citizens who have been bullied and subjected to genocide for the past eight years. And to do this, Russia will work to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine.

      Even as President Joe Biden imposes more sanctions and promises a greater response that could draw retaliation from Moscow, there is little interest among Americans for a US involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. President Joe Biden has been criticized by a faction of the Republican Party for opposing Putin’s plans for Ukraine, with some even suggesting that Russia has the right to invade. 

      As history has shown, economic sanctions would only harm innocent civilians, particularly women and children. The rising oil costs owing to the Ukraine-Russia conflict and the economic sanctions the West has imposed on Russia are affecting the entire world, particularly the poor nation-states.

      With the general public’s memories of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and subsequent Taliban takeover still fresh, much of the worry on both the right and left is centered on the US avoiding military involvement in Europe. Members of the House Freedom Caucus have indeed been particularly loud in their opposition to US intervention in Ukraine, and stressed that “In the Ukraine conflict, we don’t have a dog in the fight”. There should not be a single American soldier killed there. There should not be a single American bullet fired there.

      Significantly, Ukraine has no legitimate reason to be a member of NATO, and NATO, as a Cold War relic, may have no present purpose or goal. Getting involved in a military crisis is not in the best interests of the United States.

      Similarly, many Americans prefer that the US stay out of the crisis, the escalating violence, and political ramifications are already hitting their budgets. As traders reacted to geopolitical tensions, the price of oil, which has been climbing for the past year, hit an eight-year high this week. According to experts, if US lawmakers pass another round of sanctions, gas prices will certainly rise considerably more.

      Moreover, the restriction on wheat or metals, on the other hand, might push the worst spell of inflation in decades even higher. Consumers in the United States will pay more for gasoline and other necessities as commodity prices rise, leaving less money for discretionary expenditure. As costly as another European conflict would be inhuman and economic terms, the financial strain would fall disproportionately on the lower and middle classes in the United States.

      Furthermore, the US economic growth could be cut by 1% as a result of tougher sanctions on Russia. Stock market turbulence can also have a psychological impact, undermining consumer confidence and reducing expenditure, thus, slowing down US economic growth. Sanctions implemented by the United States and other countries may worsen inflation in the United States, and stock prices in the United States have collapsed already.

      Consumer pricing and consumer confidence in the United States are likely to be affected by the sanctions. Gas prices in the United States have reached new highs, and Biden warned that they will go up even more.

      Notably, the issue of “who are they?” lies at the heart of much of the doubt about America’s intervention in Ukraine. Who are they to lecture about national sovereignty and international law when they have a significant history of invasions and interventions? Who are they to set themselves up as paragons of freedom and human rights, given the record of slavery and discrimination, their foreign record of supporting sympathetic tyrants, and the continued injustices of American life? People on the left frequently pose such concerns. Only about one out of every three Americans can locate Ukraine on a map of Europe.

      Biden’s presidency is already on the verge of collapsing. His approval rating has dropped to 41%. His grip on the White House is already tightening. Therefore, Presidents in such dire trouble have a history of suffering crushing defeats in midterm elections during their first term.

      The US and Europe have already become major victims of the crisis, both economically and geopolitically, and the worsening of the conflict could spell disaster for the continent and the world. Europe, as the continent that saw two previous World Wars erupt, must demonstrate greater foresight and courage in stepping up its efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

      The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

      Biden says Latin America is US ‘front yard’, Trump says ‘backyard’ – Pick your flavor of neocolonialism

      22 Jan 2022

      Ben Norton 

      Source: Al Mayadeen Net

      When we look past all of the superficial Culture War battles they wage to distract the US public, we can clearly see that the two ruling-class parties share 95% of the same policies.

      Pick your flavor of neocolonialism

      What is the difference between Republicans and Democrats? Trump says backyard and Biden says front yard. Otherwise, they share 95% of the same warmongering, capitalist, imperialist policies.

      People in Latin America often ask me, “What is the difference between Republicans and Democrats?” For those outside of the United States, the two hegemonic parties seem so similar that they’re difficult to tell apart.

      The reality, of course, is that the Republican and Democratic Parties are indeed nearly identical. When we look past all of the superficial Culture War battles they wage to distract the US public, we can clearly see that the two ruling-class parties share 95% of the same policies — and are funded by the same billionaire capitalist oligarchs and exploitative mega-corporations to obediently serve their economic interests.

      The Joe Biden administration has made this undeniable. The Democratic President campaigned on promises to reverse the Republican Trump’s disastrous policies, only to continue the vast majority of them.

      At a press conference on January 19, the current President accidentally revealed what the real difference between him and the former head-of-state is: Trump thinks that Latin America is the US empire’s “backyard”, while Biden insists it is Washington’s “front yard”.

      You can see Biden’s comments in the official transcript published at the White House: “We used to talk about, when I was a kid in college, about ‘America’s backyard,’” he said in the presser. “It’s not America’s backyard. Everything south of the Mexican border is America’s front yard.”

      I repeat:  “Everything south of the Mexican border is America’s front yard.”

      So now, when people in Latin America ask me to describe the differences between Republicans and Democrats, I have the perfect answer: Republicans think you are their ‘backyard’, whereas Democrats think you are their ‘front yard’.

      Pick your favorite flavor of neocolonialism.

      Biden has been in power for exactly one year as of this January 20, and he has failed to accomplish anything significant. (His long-overdue withdrawal from Afghanistan does deserve an honorable mention, but it is greatly overshadowed by Biden’s hawkish policies against the rest of the world — not to mention the devastating sanctions his administration has imposed on Afghanistan, which are starving millions of civilians.)

      Far from breaking with Trump, Biden has doubled down on the far-right former President’s worst policies:

      • Biden still recognizes coup puppet Juan Guaidó as fake “President” of Venezuela, and has maintained Trump’s murderous sanctions.
      • Not only has Biden not removed any of the hundreds of crippling sanctions that Trump imposed on Cuba; he has in fact further expanded the US economic warfare against the Caribbean nation, to such a degree that the New York Times wrote that “Biden is taking an even harder line on Cuba” than Trump.
      • Biden has continued the borderline genocidal, scorched-earth war on Yemen, which was expanded by Trump and started by Joe’s running mate Obama.
      • After Trump unilaterally tore up the Iran nuclear deal, the Biden administration has refused to return to it, demanding Tehran’s agreement to a series of unreasonable new demands.
      • Biden has kept US troops illegally occupying Iraq (where the democratically elected Parliament voted overwhelmingly to expel them) and Syria (where they are preventing the central government from accessing its own oil and wheat reserves as it suffers under a suffocating Western sanctions regime).
      • Biden has maintained the witch hunt that Trump’s Justice Department launched against WikiLeaks journalist and political prisoner Julian Assange, who is being tortured in a maximum-security British prison as he awaits extradition to the Land of the Free for a show trial.
      • Biden fulfilled the Trump administration’s plans to extradite — that is, kidnap — Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, who was detained and held in horrific conditions for the supposed “crime” of circumventing illegal US sanctions to buy food for the Venezuelan people.
      • As more than 850,000 North Americans have died, Biden’s Covid-19 policies (or lack thereof) have for the most part been identical to those of Trump. The bipartisan strategy is to put profits over people’s lives and let corporations quite literally dictate “public health” policies.
      • Biden has accelerated the new cold war on both China and Russia while imposing more and more sanctions around the globe.
      • Heck, Biden has even managed to deport more migrant children than the inveterate racist Trump.

      Meanwhile, inside the United States, Biden’s own party has blocked all attempts at passing significant legislation.

      The US government is so thoroughly undemocratic, so entirely beholden to capital, it has become a dysfunctional basket case. Its “democratic” window dressing has melted away, and all that is left is a stone-cold authoritarian regime controlled by billionaire oligarchs, a textbook dictatorship of the capitalist class.

      The only thing the US empire can do is do what it has always done: escalate its imperial aggression abroad, endlessly pour money into the gaping maw of the Military-Industrial Complex, try to tame the voracious appetite of the death cult of capitalism — use war abroad to distract from the mass death, skyrocketing inequality, growing poverty, dire homelessness, police brutality, and mass incarceration inside the United States.The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

      ELECTION SEASON NEARS IN THE UNITED STATES AS POLITICAL CRISIS GAINS TRACTION

       03.09.2021 

      Election Season Nears In The United States As Political Crisis Gains Traction

      The United States 2021 elections are drawing near, with the majority of them taking part on November 2nd, 2021.

      Many are taking place on the surrounding days.

      It is a volatile season, as the Democratic Party won the Presidential Elections in the face of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and holds a majority thanks to the vice president in the Congress.

      In the House of Representatives, the Democrats hold the majority.

      Interestingly, in the Senate the Republicans have 50 senators, but still Democrats hold majority with 48 senators, due to Kamala Harris swinging the vote.

      Political instability was introduced in the United States following the fiasco that the withdrawal from Afghanistan turned into.

      Americans were abandoned, Afghan allies were left behind, and an ISIS terror attack left 13 Americans and hundreds of Afghans dead.

      This political instability didn’t simply appear out of nowhere with the fiasco in Afghanistan.

      It was brewing when former President Donald Trump faced Joe Biden in the polls, and even before that.

      This could also be a way to set the stage for Biden’s resignation, for health reasons or otherwise. A power grab is in order by Vice President Kamala Harris and the neoliberals she represents and whose interests she fights for.

      Conservatives and traditionalists would surely come in the spotlight and receive quite a bit of negative attention focused at them. After all, they are the ones who elected Trump, and almost even re-elected him.

      Various neoliberal movements, such as BLM and others will become the norm at Washington level, and that is when the true suppression attempts can begin.

      This leading ideology will marginalize the states that are more conservative. There will likely be an ideology split within the United States, and even within singular states themselves.

      Local authorities, as well as the local business elites and opinion leaders, will be strained, they will need to guide the population in one direction or another.

      As a result, every state that’s strongly conservative or liberal will play a significant, leading role in the upcoming events ahead of the election, and after it.

      If Texas remains strongly conservative, pro-Republican, as there is not even a Democrat candidate, it is likely that changes might be coming. Some states may wish for more independence in spending, development, legislation and more and be freed from some compulsory factors coming from Washington.

      This doesn’t relate to a splitting of the federation into smaller countries, but rather a US in “two speeds”, similar to what is being observed in the European Union.

      Texas is second in the US – second richest, and with its 29.1 million residents in 2020, is the second-largest U.S. state by both area and population. It is also a staple of conservatism and the Republican party, it promises to remain as such.

      Naturally, the winner of the elections will become an important figure.

      Currently, the governor of Texas is Greg Abbott, from the Republican Party.

      Election Season Nears In The United States As Political Crisis Gains Traction

      He seems like a rather conservative, but adequate leader of his state, with the population having a generally positive opinion of him.

      It is an up-and-down, however.

      Recently, the most radical abortion law in the US has gone into effect, despite legal efforts to block it.

      A near-total abortion ban in Texas empowers any private citizen to sue an abortion provider who violates the law, opening the floodgates to harassing and frivolous lawsuits from anti-abortion vigilantes that could eventually shutter most clinics in the state.

      Senate Bill 8 ushered through the Republican-dominated Texas legislature and signed into law by the Republican governor, Greg Abbott, in May, bars abortion once embryonic cardiac activity is detected, which is around six weeks, and offers no exceptions for rape or incest.

      He is also widely considered to have failed the COVID-19 pandemic. Texas was also woefully unprepared for the freezing cold, and citizens were left without power and heat for days.

      Still, despite controversy, he is the favorite.

      When CPAC, the nation’s leading conservative political conference, met in Dallas earlier this month, speakers included former Dallas state Sen. Don Huffines. And while Huffines bashed President Biden, he spent most of his time on stage blasting a fellow Republican: Gov. Greg Abbott.

      Huffines invoked the story of the Alamo and praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, then said:

      “Well, we don’t have a Donald Trump as governor. We don’t have Ron DeSantis as governor. We don’t have William B. Travis as governor. Unfortunately, we’ve got a career politician that’s a political windsock, a RINO (Republican in name only.)”

      Abbott, citing the kickoff of the legislative special session, wasn’t there to defend himself. Huffines used his absence against him, attacking Abbott’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

      “He doesn’t want to face you,” Huffines said, “because he shredded our constitution. He put 3 million Texans on unemployment and dependent on the government in one day.”

      But Huffines wasn’t just speaking out of passion. He’s also one of two candidates challenging Abbott as the governor seeks a third term in 2022. The other: former Texas Republican Party chairman Allen West, who’s made many of the same charges against Abbott’s pandemic response.

      Essentially, the situation in Texas is such – the Republican party, more or less, has the victory certain. The favorite appears to be Greg Abbott, but his two main competitors are also from the Republican party.

      The two main candidates: Don Huffines and Allen West are simply pushing the same platform, and want to win over the state away from Abbott, who has gone rogue, according to them.

      There’s little to mention about West, he simply wants to “overthrow” Abbott, and he even gave up on the chairmanship of the Republican Party in Texas for the purpose. Both him and Huffines are on the same “team”.

      In the case of Huffines, experts say that he didn’t win his own seat when he ran for Senate (in 2018), and it’s a seat that was more Republican than the state as a whole when he lost it. It is unlikely that this time he would have success.

      Still, when he announced his campaign, he made no mention of Abbott.

      It took aim at “politicians who offer nothing but excuses and lies” and promised to take on the “entrenched elites of the Austin swamp.” In promising more decisive action, Huffines said Texas needs to “finally finish the [border] wall” and that he would put the state “on a path to eliminating property taxes.”

      Huffines was a strident conservative in the Senate. His announcement highlighted his record on issues important to the right, as well as his successful push to shut down the Dallas Public Schools bus agency amid reports of financial mismanagement there.

      He got to the Senate in 2015 after unseating Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, in the primary, attacking him as too moderate. But the Dallas-based Senate District 16 swung toward Democrats under former President Donald Trump, and Johnson beat Huffines by 8 percentage points in 2018.

      Huffines stayed politically active after leaving the Senate and especially so in the past year, as conservative angst simmered over Abbott’s pandemic management. Even then, Huffines has an interesting family connection to the governor’s circle: His brother is James Huffines, whom Abbott tapped last spring to chair the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas.

      Southern Methodist University political science professor Cal Jillson said the odds are that Republicans will ultimately get everything they’re pushing in the current special session, even if it takes several more special sessions to get those priorities passed.

      “Right now, the Republicans have the Democrats strung up by their thumbs with their feet barely touching the ground,” Jillson said. “I think the Republicans are going to win on the substance, and how the Democrats frame their eventual loss very much will determine whether or not the two bases are equally energized by this fight or one is energized more than the other.”

      In his most recent gubernatorial race in 2018, Abbott won with 55.8% of the vote.

      Abbott has money too.

      He’s sitting on a war chest of $55 million.

      But despite rampant rumors that former Congressman Beto O’Rourke or even actor Matthew McConaughey will get into the race, Democrats still don’t have a declared candidate for governor.

      Still, the Democrats appear to have given up on Texas, as there is no candidate, two months prior to election.

      MORE ON THE TOPIC:

      Abortion and the Culture War

      About me

      August 8, 2021 

      An Analysis by Lawrence Davidson

      Part I—Competing Rights

      For those American readers not old enough to remember a time before the nationwide legalization of abortion through the court case known as Roe v. Wade (1973), let me remind you of some of the attributes of that era. The prevailing law made it very difficult to get an abortion in the United States, but not impossible. The real question was how much danger a pregnant woman was willing to face in the illegal “back alley” operations that were available. You see, as with most things illegal, a “black market” existed which would not only eliminate the unborn fetus, but often kill the distraught mother as well. If you were well off and determined, you could go abroad and have the operation performed with relative safety—often making the whole issue one of class privilege. Behind the scenes, one found two dramas played out: (a) the frantic, sometimes near-suicidal despair of the pregnant woman, often only a teenager, and (b) the sanctimonious prattle of those anti-abortionists —mostly men—who said they represented the will of an imagined deity.

      Having said this, I do not want the reader to believe that there is no moral question when it comes to abortion. From an evolutionary standpoint, the fetus is a potential human being upon conception and may well have a “moral right” to that life trajectory. Yet that right exists within a broader context which requires that it should be balanced against a woman’s “moral right” to control her own body and the child’s “moral right” not to be born into an environment where he or she is basically unwanted. If we were to deal with this issue logically, the real answer to the dilemma of competing rights is surely free and universally available contraception—along with sensible sex education.

      Part II—Anti-Abortion and Gun Mania—An Eerie Connection

      There is yet another relevant fact to consider. Remember that the whole anti-abortion movement assumes that human life is uniquely valuable. However, our societies often do not act as if human life is something special—morally or otherwise. Take a look at the essay I wrote in June 2019 entitled “The Alleged Preciousness of Human Life.” I think it lays this failing out clearly and convincingly. Here in the United States, this fact is most obviously brought home by the society’s glorification of guns and the resultant deadly mayhem.

      Actually, there is an eerie connection between the abortion issue and gun mania. It runs, of course, through the Republican Party. At the end of July 2021, “228 Republican members of Congress told the Supreme Court that it should overturn Roe v. Wade and release the court’s ‘vise grip on abortion politics.’” These are the same politicians who have sworn loyalty to the official Republican party platform that states “We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right . . . secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense.” In other words, the Republicans who demand that the courts subscribe to their view of the “right to life” of unborn children are the same ones who insist that each citizen has a right to possess society’s chief instrument of death. In this effort they invoke, once again, the approval of that imagined deity. They also misinterpret the Second Amendment, and play fast and loose with such words as “natural” and “inalienable.” Well, as it is often said of American politics, hypocrisy is the name of the game.

      Part III—Culture War

      Both abortion “rights” and gun “rights” are parts of a continuing American culture war—which also includes other hot topics such as real equality for Blacks, Native Americans, women in general, homosexuals, and transgender people, as well as other questions such as multiculturalism.

      None of these issues existed as publicly divisive ones before the 1960s. Before that time, the misleading though strongly promoted image of American society was white, male, heterosexual, and benevolent. For those old enough to recognize it, the benign version of this model was given in a classic TV show called The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which aired from 1952 to 1966. The resulting false picture of the near-perfect American family dwelling in a community where there were no serious social problems became so iconic that, subsequently, many Americans came to idealize the 1950s. One strongly suspects that the anti-abortion and pro-gun lobbies still do.

      The Ozzie and Harriet model had broken down by the second half of the 1960s. What shattered the iconic image were (a) the demand for equal rights, both in social and political terms, for, initially, the country’s Black minority and female majority—that is, the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Liberation Movement and (b) opposition to the Vietnam War, which shredded any claims of “God-given” moral exceptionalism for the nation.

      The “excrement hit the fan” the moment these campaigns for equal rights and peace began to gain political backing. People knew this was happening because new laws came into existence: anti-discrimination laws and others like the “war-powers act” which sought to limit presidential power to wage undeclared war. These were seen as progressive moves attuned to a different, if yet unfulfilled, humane canon of American ideals.

      From that general moment until today, the progressive equality camp has been engaged in a culture war—really a struggle for political power—with the camp that favors the traditional white-male-heterosexual-anti-abortionist setup.

      Part IV—Fascist Potential

      For the past five years Donald Trump has been the leader of the latter camp, and this alignment helped him win the presidency in 2016. During this time Trump has been accused of racism, misogyny and sexual harassment, being a deadbeat, tax evasion, nepotism, blackmail, compulsive lying, encouraging police violence, subversion and insurrection, and being an advocate for the destruction of the world’s climate, among other things. If even half of these allegations are true, it means that the white-male-heterosexual-anti-abortionist crowd is quite willing to have a criminal personality with fascist leanings as their leader.

      One way to interpret this is that, for this camp, democracy is not an important issue. It was democracy that led to the progressive change they hate and fear, and democracy that seems unable to reverse this course as quick as they would like. If voter rolls expand and gerrymandering is corrected, their influence will shrink. Under these circumstances this side in the culture war is willing to throw democracy out in favor of an authoritarian government run by thugs. We already see intimations of this in Arizona, Florida, and Texas, to say nothing at the U.S. capital on January 6, 2021.

      One might ask, can the sane citizens of the U.S. take hope in Trump’s defeat in 2020? The answer is, perhaps not. If Donald Trump keeled over from a fatal coronary tomorrow, we would still be in trouble as a nation. One indicator of this, relevant to the abortion question, is that, in his brief stay in the White House, he was able to appoint to the Supreme Court three reactionary judges—making the balance 6 to 3 in favor of decisions turning the clock back to a pre-progressive time. The constitutional argument these six judges will most likely use toward this end is “states rights”—turning important social decisions over to state legislatures even if these bodies are filled with anti-democratic, conspiracy-theorist, paranoid, irrational politicians.

      Part V—Democratic Party Weakness

      This brings us full circle back to Roe v. Wade. “At issue before the court is a Mississippi law that bars most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy [Roe v. Wade set the cut off at 24 weeks when most experts believe fetus viability occurs.] There is no exception for rape or incest. The court will render its decision by next June, in the lead up to the mid-term elections.” Upholding the Mississippi law would invalidate Roe v. Wade and the legal status of nationwide abortion.

      If legal precedent was a factor in this contest, there would be no doubt that Roe v. Wade would be upheld. For over forty years both lower court and past Supreme Court decisions have upheld the present law affirming the “woman’s right to choose an abortion before viability.” But, because the Trump administration managed to shift the balance of power on the high court, most observers now expect that Roe v. Wade will fall. Like wolves circling a wounded prey, various states with Republican legislatures have “introduced more than 500 restrictions on abortion over the past four months, a huge increase from previous years.”

      In the meantime, the Democratic administration of Joe Biden has not spoken out strongly about the possible demise of Roe v. Wade. In fact, President Biden, who is Catholic and perhaps fears increased criticism by the Catholic Church, has refused to use the word “abortion” in public. His administration has also chosen not to challenge other conservative icons, such as the issue of gun control (or lack thereof). Put it all together and one suspects that President Joe Biden is a man bypassed by time. He is a politician of an age when bipartisan cooperation, and thus meaningful compromise, was possible. Yet this ended with the Obama presidency (2009-2017), when the Republican leadership, which is still in place, systematically attempted to defeat or stall everything President Obama attempted to accomplish. Biden was a witness to all of this in his role as vice president, but he seems to have learned nothing from that experience.

      Part VI—Conclusion

      So here is the situation: (1) An ex-president with a sociopathic personality leads a Republican minority of mostly white, heterosexual, male conspiracy theorists who have also taken up the cause of outlawing most abortions and, given half the chance, are perfectly willing to selectively overthrow the U.S. Constitution; (2) the defense of the realm is in the hands of Democratic Party leaders who, for the most part, have misjudged the current situation and rely on traditional bipartisanship—to wit: they are trying to compromise with those who do not respect the present democratic system; (3) as a consequence, leaders like Joe Biden have probably lost that part of the nation’s progressive achievements encoded in Roe v. Wade, and perhaps a lot more; (4) finally, in 2022 there will be mid-term elections for the Congress—to reelect the Republicans as they now exist is to put into power the bigoted, the prevaricators, and often the deranged.

      It is anyone’s guess if, devoid of able and forceful Democratic leadership clearly articulating what is at stake, enough voting American citizens will understand the risk or have the motivation to stop a reactionary takeover.

      The Democracy vs. Freedom Dispute

      About me

      July 1, 2021 

      by Lawrence Davidson

      Part I—Democracy and Freedom

      In the United States, there is a dispute over whether democracy and freedom are compatible. Some, such as Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, have questioned their compatibility, and even asserted that freedom, rather than democracy, is what the U.S. really stands for. These terms are often used out of context and the dispute often suffers from a lack of historical knowledge, but there is nothing surprising about that. 

      Most of the men who put together the U.S. Constitution saw the world in class, racial and gender terms. While they wanted a more democratic government than that in England which, for propaganda purposes, they had portrayed as a tyranny, the new American democracy had to be carefully structured. Here is how this translated from theory into practice: the common man’s passions should be held in check by a system that kept the power to make policy in the hands of those white males who had “a material stake in society”—that is, the propertied class. For large segments of the population democracy was to be denied due to both gender and color. 

      Only a relative few of these men were thinking about freedom per se. And those who did, certainly did not define it in open-ended libertarian terms. Indeed, in late 18th century America, freedom came in two flavors: (1) first and foremost, the freedom from “unreasonable” taxation. What is unreasonable in this sense, would be argued about incessantly right up into the present. (2) Protection against the abuse of government power. The notion of abuse was directly connected to a) examples of alleged British excesses leading up to the American Revolution and b) Federalist party practices (when in power) like the suppression of critical newspapers and pamphlets. It is to cover a host of these sorts of issues, collectively posited as the protection of individual rights or freedoms, that Jefferson and Madison insisted a bill of rights be added to the Constitution as its first set of amendments. Once this was accomplished (December 1791) America’s democracy and a constitutional list of protected rights/freedoms, became compatible. 

      Part II—Getting Things Wrong 

      Now we fast forward to the present and Republican Senator Rand Paul, who was recently quoted in the New York Times as follows: “The idea of democracy and majority rule really is what goes against our history and what the country stands for [which is freedom]. The Jim Crow laws came out of democracy. That’s what you get when a majority ignores the rights of others.” He goes on to connect Republican Party opposition to a bipartisan congressional investigation of the January 6 “protest” (it was really an attempted insurrection) with the right of the political minority to protect itself against the majority. All of this is ahistorical and illogical. 

      When taking up Paul’s position there are several points to consider:

      First: Historical accuracy. Paul seems confused about the status of majority and minority when it comes to freed slaves in the American South at the time Congress abandoned Reconstruction (March 1877). At this time, the Black population in large parts of the rural South constituted the numerical majority. So, the Jim Crow laws that quickly followed were the products of a local political/racial minority (southern Whites) seeking to suppress the newly won rights of their local majorities (southern Blacks). Thus, Paul has his facts backwards. He might have made this mistake because he thinks that the American Black population has been a minority at all times and in all places throughout the country’s history. Yet here we have an important exception—an exception that challenges the senator’s argument that discriminatory behavior principally has its source with oppressive majorities.

      Today, if Senator Paul is looking for a minority in need of protection, he should focus on contemporary southern Blacks (who are now indeed a minority both in size and power.) They are now faced with a white Republican Party in control of state legislatures seeking to suppress the voting access of minorities.

      Second. Paul seems not to take into consideration that the American majority has grown and diversified. In other words, when it comes to what the government (local, state and federal) cannot do to you (like suppress your voting rights)—the you have steadily grown larger. Theoretically this should bode ill for the rightwing state legislatures mentioned above. It is unclear how Senator Paul personally feels about this (such narrowing of the election laws has not taken place in his home state of Kentucky), but he is an active member of the Republican Party, and that is party playing fast and loose with the voting laws in a host of southern and mid-western states. Why is the Republican Party doing this? Because a growing and diversifying majority creates a growing number of voters and most come from Black and other non-white segments of the population. Exercising their participatory political rights, they tend to vote Democrat. 

      Third. The constitutionally protected rights or freedoms are not open-ended. Yet Paul seems to suggest that they are when he asserts that to protect the Republican minority in the Senate, the party can block a bipartisan investigation of the January 6 insurrection. On the one hand, it is quite true that the bill of rights was designed as, and remains, a necessary defense of individual rights from majority demands for political or cultural uniformity. On the other, one can ask, what is Paul and the Republicans trying to protect their party from? The bill of rights does not, and never was supposed to stifle investigation of criminal acts. The only thing the bill of rights does in this regard is to guard the individual against illegal evidence gathering procedures and other abusive practices on the part of law enforcement.

      Part III—Misusing the Bill of Rights

      Against this background, how are we to understand Paul’s specific application of minority rights? At the very least, we can understand it as a misinterpretation of the purpose and intent of the bill of rights and the protections it offers individual citizens. In other words, he is defending his party’s refusal to allow a bipartisan investigation of an apparent crime—a crime with potentially embarrassing trail of evidence.

      The Republican Party and its conspiracy-spinning allies in the press and social media (whose speech is nonetheless protected) essentially created an alternate reality for millions of Americans that led some of them to insurrection. Despite many evidence-based demonstrations to the contrary, millions have bought into the myth that former President Donald Trump was cheated—and thus they, his supporters, were also cheated—out of victory in the 2020 presidential election. While both the Republicans and their supporters may believe the unbelievable—aver the demonstrably false—they have no right under the Constitution and its bill of rights to express such a delusion by going on a rampage, destroying public property, and attacking public officials. They have no protected right—no “freedom” to do this even if they claim, probably truthfully, that they believed the president told them to do it. 

      Taking the next step, what is the real-world consequence of Paul’s defense? Well, given the likelihood that the investigation would connect elements of the Republican Party to the actions of the insurrectionists, this must be seen as self-serving obstruction of justice—itself a crime. For Paul, this is the “freedom” that—conveniently—supersedes democracy. 

      Finally, the whole affair is a scary example of a paradox: The protection of speech, that is the right to free speech, can  degenerate into a campaign of lies and this can easily lead people to unprotected, that is criminal, actions. This is, admittedly, a downside of the bill of rights. An individual (and keep in mind that under U.S. law corporations are seen as individuals) has a protected right to lie to the public—to wit: broadcasted fantasies ranging from those of the National Inquirer to Fox TV and, lest we forget, Donald Trump.

      Part IV—Conclusion

      It is worth repeating that one of the positive things about the political evolution of the United States is that it has expanded the ranks of the participatory majority. In political terms, citizens of all genders and races now have both participatory rights and protected individual rights. Correspondingly, the minority—referring here specifically to those who object to this historical expansion—is slowly shrinking. While the latter’s rights to, say free speech, will remain protected, their ability to retain political and cultural power may well diminish over time. There is no doubt that the Republican leadership has a sense of this possibility, and this accounts for their increasingly fierce and frenzied attempts to turn back the clock. 

      The shift of emphasis from an expanding democracy with protected individual rights/freedoms, to a dangerously ad hoc and sometimes illogical version of freedom, is part of that frenzied activity. Senator Paul and his friends, very short on historical facts and judgment, want all of us to believe in the absurd. That is, obstruction of justice in the name of minority rights is “what the country stands for.”

      Iran rules out step-by-step lifting of sanctions

      Biden knows that any deal with Iran will be attacked by the Republicans as selling out to Iran

      US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
      This file photo shows Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh fielding questions from reporters.

      by PressTV, Tehran

      [ Editor’s Note: Iran seems to have found some middle ground. It will meet in Vienna with the remaining JCPOA countries with the US ‘down the hall’, or one could say ‘in the dog house’, until it comes back into full compliance with the agreement.

      Nothing could show more weakness than negotiating with someone who has walked out of a deal unilaterally, and only wants to dicusss coming back into it on the terms that it can renegotiate the deal, which is obviously a continuing reneging on the deal. That would be a humilation for Iran.

      An Iranian government doing so would have zero chance of being reelected, and hence the Biden administration’s opening strategy was not a confidence builder. So far, as a token concession, it has put on the table releasing a few billion of frozen (stolen) Iranian funds, a mistake made to pretend the US was being flexible.

      On the American side Biden knows that any deal with Iran will be attacked by the Republicans as selling out to Iran, but he should not be concerned about that at all. We recently had the large numbers of the Republican party after the January 6th insurrection vote not to certify the election, fearing the punishment of our ex-Mafia-in Chief president.

      The saying about this situation that we learned about as kids was ‘people who live in glass houses should not throw stones’. If Biden flubs this he runs the risk of the Iranian hardliners coming to power, where he will then be blamed for that by the Repubs.

      While the Republicans have openly launched the most massive nationwide voter supression campaign in modern history, we are way past having to worry about making them happy.

      The world is watching while America devours itself on the one hand and then is posing that it should be the world leader of a new ‘coalition’. Some would suggest that is not a bet that makes good sense to even entertain… Jim W. Dean ]


      Iran cannot prevent its being tormented by the US, but it will not be pushed around

      First published … April 03, 2021

      In an exclusive interview with Press TV, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh rules out any step-by-step lifting of sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic under former US president Donald Trump.

      “As has been clearly stated many times, no step-by-step plan is being considered,” Khatibzadeh said on Saturday.

      “The definitive policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all US sanctions, whether those which Trump reimposed after withdrawing from the JCPOA or those which he initiated, as well as sanctions imposed under any other heading,” he said.

      “Obviously, this lifting of sanctions must be effective and must be verified by Iran,” Khatibzadeh added.

      His remarks came in response to claims made by US State Department deputy spokeswoman Jalina Porter about a planned meeting by representatives of Iran and other countries in Vienna Tuesday to discuss the troubled 2015 nuclear deal.

      Restoring the nuclear agreement would be a major step, nearly three years after Trump scrapped it and imposed new sanctions or reimposed others lifted under the deal, forcing Iran to take a series of “remedial” measures in response to the decision.

      Porter said Friday that the discussion would focus on “the nuclear steps that Iran would need to take in order to return to compliance with the terms of the JCPOA”, using initials for what is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

      In the talks, American officials would be down the hall while British, German, French, Chinese and Russian officials meet with Iran.

      And that would be joined with discussion of “the sanctions relief steps that the United States would need to take in order to return to compliance, as well,” Porter said, an acknowledgment that the United States is currently in violation of the accord.

      Khatibzadeh stressed that “the suspension of Iran’s remedial measures and their reversal will take place only after the lifting of all sanctions and its verification” by the Islamic Republic.

      In a tweet on Friday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the aim of the Vienna session would be to “rapidly finalise sanction-lifting & nuclear measures for choreographed removal of all sanctions, followed by Iran ceasing remedial measures”.

      “No Iran-US meeting. Unnecessary,” he added Friday.

      American officials have said they were willing to meet directly with the Iranians, but the Iranian government has insisted on working through the Europeans, a stance which Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi reiterated Friday.

      “We only negotiate with the members of the JCPOA. The parties that are now known as the P4+1 will be our negotiating partners. They can talk to the other sides as they wish. We have no direct or indirect dialogue with the Americans,” he said.


      BIOGRAPHYJim W. Dean, Managing Editor

      Managing Editor

      Jim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. 

      Read Full Complete Bio >>>

      Jim W. Dean Archives 2009-2014https://www.veteranstoday.com/jim-w-dean-biography/jimwdean@aol.com

      American Prospect

      Via The Saker

      January 27, 2021

      by Sushi for the Saker Blog

      If you wish to understand the concerns of those who attended the 1/6 Save America rally, you can learn much by watching the first three minutes of this video . If you wish to understand the issues that lie at the heart of the Nancy Pelosi – Never-Trump response, you can do no better than watching the same three minutes. Three minutes is not a long time. Maybe it saves the Republic. Perhaps not.

      I recognize many of the locations shown; it was in Seattle that I met my first wife and my memory of the city is tainted by the youthful hormones associated with love and romantic attachment. Dispense with those gemütlich thoughts, strip all the romance away, and the video remains a searing reintroduction to an America in decline.

      The Articles of Impeachment cite Trump for the remark,” ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.’ He said those words because he believed them to be true. His supporters believed them to be true. The founders of this country believed them to be true. The ghosts of Concord, Omaha, Antietam, Betio, and a thousand other forgotten battles, laid down their lives to consecrate those words. America is drenched in blood. Is it worth asking who spilt it and why?

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      At the end of President Regan’s term in office, America was the greatest exporter of manufactured goods, the world’s largest creditor nation, the world’s largest importer of raw materials. Each year, America created the greatest value added in the history of the world. Today all these numbers are reversed. America is the world’s greatest debtor nation, America imports almost all its manufactured goods, and the main source of value added is found in the FIRE sector.

      In an earlier era, America hired people to add value to raw materials and sell the finished products. People had good jobs. They lived the American dream. Today, they live the American nightmare. Today the route to wealth is found in the creation of SPACs and CDOs and other pieces of paper backed by little more than a promise. Or it is found in creating a new virtual universe composed entirely of electrons. The plungers have bid up the market to incredible heights of fantasy, interest rates border on the negative, and Biden is in the process of adding a few trillion more dollars to the top of an already teetering matchstick pyre. As the great sage of America once said: “What, me worry?”

      In the years since President Regan, middle America has been in constant decline. Republicans came into office, made a lot of promises, and when they left office the majority of America was worse off than before. The Democrats came into office, promised hope and change, and when the Democrats left office the majority of America was worse off than before. The Red Hatters suspect the emergence of a pattern.

      There have been 16 years of Republican presidents: Bush 41, Bush 43, Trump 45, and 16 years of Democrat presidents Clinton and Obama. Trump’s supporters have learned, much to their chagrin, and at great personal expense, that it does not matter who you vote into office, the outcome is always the same. The average American is yearly worse off, their savings erode, their debt explodes as increased debt is the only way to keep their head above water, send their children to school, pay their bills. On the coasts, and in Washington, live the elites who get richer and richer every year. The banks collapse and wipe out the savings of ordinary Americans? No problem. We bail out the culprits with trillions of dollars and the bank executives, the ones who created the funny money in the first place, they give themselves multi-million-dollar bonuses. For what? For crashing the world economy and coming out on top? Nice work if you can get it. And the ordinary folk? They lose their job, their savings, possibly their home. Some get the bonus of a cardboard mansion.

      When Enron collapsed, people went to jail. When the savings and loans collapsed people went to jail. In the financial crisis fat paychecks and get out of jail cards went to a small segment of the population. None of them wore Red Hats. The systemic causes were never addressed, except as a band-aid solution, which implies they remain as a hidden set of weaknesses ready to rip open at the next great signs of stress.

      The Democrats want you to believe that 1/6 was a coup, a rebellion, a putsch, an overthrow of a legitimate government. It is unclear how you claim to be a legitimate government, of the people, by the people, for the people, when each year the elites get more and more wealthy and ordinary folk are driven into poverty and then laughed at. Called Deplorables. Despicables. Traitors. Insurrectionists. Domestic Terrorists. Refused airline travel because of their political views. Refused legal counsel because of their political views. Have their employment threatened because of their political views. Have their insurance contracts revoked because of their political views. Have their communications media cancelled because of their political views. Put on watch lists because of their political views. Labelled as American ISIS for their political views. Al Qaeda in America. Bin Laden’s corpse is adrift in the Arabian Sea but he is winning.

      Two observations. The first is that the Red Hatters have legitimate grounds for grievance. The elites that populate the coasts and inhabit the Capitol appear greatly unwilling to acknowledge that fact. In fact, the response of the Washington and coastal elites appears dedicated to the destruction of any form of political unorthodoxy. The Red Hatters strike me as empiricists. They experience the fact of reduced opportunity, reduced paychecks, a decline in their standard of living. These are the people who staff small business, the fire stations, the police stations, who are shipped overseas to combat the war on error. Those who send them overseas, who seek assistance from the fire stations, the police stations, are ideologues. And the ideologues are disconnected from reality and therefore indifferent to the plight of their fellow citizens. They hold the belief that the physical and financial distress the Red Hatters claim to experience is all in their head. If they removed the hat all would be fine. And what they really require is ostracization. A period of re-education and indoctrination. A few years in the Gulag. Ship them out to the Xinjiang re-education camps. Store them in Gitmo. It’s the American way.

      The Ideologues have it all. And they want even more. Their appetites are immense and unyielding. Any form of challenge, appeal, or protest, is to be crushed. Legitimate grievance will be labelled Al Qaeda in America and destroyed. The orange man who appears to have provoked the uprising; he too will be destroyed. None can be allowed to remain standing because the sheer fact of their presence threatens the Ideologues beatific view of a world in which they have absolute mastery. Political mastery, commercial, and military.

      The second observation is that history has gone out of fashion. It is an outdated subject well past its best before date. America’s history of rebellion and revolution is outmoded and inapplicable. Not pints, but gallons, hundred of gallons, VLCCs brimming with blood, all of it spilt, and none of it matters. Because this time its different. Those history guys in their funny hats, weird britches, and leggings, they did not have computers. They knew nothing of social media. If any remain alive today, they are dodos, too stupid to know they went extinct years ago. The problem is exacerbated by a Fourth Estate which is of the belief that “goebbels” is a noise made by turkeys, or the description of a rushed and greedy eater. People who do not know history are forever condemned to repeat it. That includes 1929 as well as 1776.

      I remain confident of one thing. Joe Biden will unify the country.

      The truth of this is found in his first initiatives. His imposition of a $15 minimum wage, his approval of increased immigration, his grant of amnesty to those present in the country illegally, his increase in corporate taxes, and his termination of the XL pipeline, coupled with the termination of drilling on Federal lands, will increase the cost of energy which will act as a regressive tax on those who can least afford it. These initiatives will have negative impact on Blacks, Latinos, hard hats, and Red Hats. All will have a negative impact on jobs and employment.

      Biden’s single greatest achievement is the executive order stipulating that those males who self-identify as a woman are to be free to participate in women’s sports. For any impoverished youth seeking a higher education the best means to a scholarship is now to self-attest to female identity and win a post-secondary sports scholarship.

      By this initiative alone, Biden will add fifty percent of the population to the group of persons already united against him. He only needs another 15% to 20% and he will have achieved 100% of his inaugural goals. I think he can do it.

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      There has been some feedback from persons who attended the Save America rally on 1/6. They dispute my estimate of crowd size which was based on the only aerial photograph I was able to locate. I have since found other imagery which confirms a new estimate of close to 500,000. It was standing room only in the ellipse and there was a multitude on the West end of the mall and to the East of the George Washington Monument.

      When the British burned the Capitol, they came with a small brigade of 4,500 men. That small force burned the Capitol, the White House, the US Treasury, and the War Department. Then they blew up Fort McNair. That was achieved by 4,500 men.

      Does anyone honestly believe there would be much of Washington left standing if a force of 500,000 had been incited to attack?

      The current public estimate is of 800 people having entered the Capitol (I believe this to be high. The available imagery does not support such a high number. The F.B.I. presently has case files on 200 persons). If the full size of the crowd was 500,000 then the entrants are 0.0016 of the total participants. The Democrats and the press are gleefully slandering large numbers of people possibly creating grounds for a class action suit. The litigants would have grounds for damages based on loss of employment and loss of reputation.

      Second, Incitement requires that people attacking the Capitol, heard what Trump had to say, listened to it as instruction, command, or direction, and acted as they did because of what he said. Press reports show the first attacks commenced at 12:50 and Trump did not complete his remarks until 13:13. The alleged incitement did not occur until the end of his speech. In addition, the significant size of the crowd completely swamped the available cell towers. Many Save America attendees reported no cell phone reception.

      Third, incitement requires that those persons allegedly incited are in fact guilty of some crime. Marching to the Capitol is not a crime. Thousands of tourists do it every day. The words: ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore’ is language not found in the criminal statutes. It is used as a legitimate form of grievance and has been used throughout history for exactly that purpose. Trump never incited burglary. He never told anyone “steal Pelosi’s lectern” In fact, it is unclear what exactly it is presumed he incited.

      Fourth, there may still exist in this country a legal tradition known as the presumption of innocence. All of those charged by the state for alleged criminal activity are innocent of that criminal charge until such time as the legal process pronounces them guilty. Madame Pelosi and her compatriots in the House have put the cart before the horse. What if every alleged criminal is found innocent? What then is Trump to be found guilty of inciting? An Antifa conspiracy? Was Trump a secret BLM plotter?

      Fifth, the evidence suggests that there were multiple independent groups at the Capitol on 1/6. This citizen report by a person with some knowledge of special forces activity claims there were at least four different groups present: 1) Plainclothes militants; 2) Agents-provocateurs; 3) Fake Trump protesters; 4) Disciplined, uniformed column of attackers. This citizen account confirms details found in The Defense of Mr. Trump: there was a relatively minor observed police presence, there was limited, or no, cell phone reception, the majority of the crowd was jovial and friendly, and included people of all ages, and races, including parents with children. There was minimal sense of threat.

      Sixth, this new account supports the fact that among the Save America participants there were persons who were not Trump supporters but who sought to appear to be Trump supporters. Some were dressed in militant gear. The exact numbers of these militants, and their pollical affiliation, will not be known until the police complete their investigation (if the police complete an investigation) and have obtained statements. Trump cannot be accused of inciting people who were part of a pre-existing disciplined and militant cadre, persons who conspired to disrupt the Save America rally, and attack the Capitol, weeks before Trump made his remarks. The fact that some of those charged are alleged conspirators suggests the police are aware the violence was pre-meditated well in advance of Trumps remarks at the Save America rally.

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      Seventh, it is well known that in the summer of 2020 there were riots across the United States and these riots were led by groups known as Antifa and BLM. These riots and violence were described as “peaceful” by both the press and political leaders. In the summer of 2020, a group of violent militants had been permitted to raise havoc. There was no condemnation of this rioting and violence. It was applauded. The Vice-President worked to provide bail for those arrested. These rioters were not Trump supporters. Trump condemned this violent action. If Antifa and BLM agitators were present on 1/6, as it appears that they were, if they conspired to stir up a peaceful protest (as it appears that they did), if they ordered Save America participants forward into the attack (as it is reported that they did), if they sought to prevent peaceful participants from departing the scene (as it is reported that they did), then those individuals are guilty of incitement. If they are found guilty of conspiracy and incitement, then why the impeachment of Trump?

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      Eighth, by not condemning the violence occurring in the summer of 2020, the political leaders communicated to the citizens that violent protest was acceptable. That to burn buildings was acceptable. To proclaim an independent state was acceptable, That police defunding and disbanding was acceptable. The press, and the political leadership who failed to condemn activity that put lives at risk, condoned unlawful deaths, and caused over 1 billion in property damage. Certain groups known to have led the 2020 violence are reported to be complicit in the events of 1/6. The political leaders and the press, by virtue of their lack of condemnation, gave notice to Antifa and BLM that their actions would be tolerated, that there would be no legal sanctions, that the police would not arrest them, and the state would not prosecute them. They sent entirely the wrong message to the hoodlums. Did sending this inaccurate message lay the foundation for the riots at the Capitol? Was it misleading to claim Antifa to be just an idea? The press reporting during this period, and in prior periods, also gave endorsement to Antifa. Support for Antifa was seen as a means to undermine a sitting President. Does such conduct rise to the level of sedition? Is it possible the wrong president is being impeached? If you can impeach an out of office president, should others also be held to account for their conduct?

      I do not have the answer to these questions. But I think the following sums up the situation:

      The president-elect’s demeanor and furor certainly were not compatible with his media image as the supposedly angelic uniter of the country. Within 24 hours he had gone from blasting the police authorities as racists to the old reductio ad Hitlerum trope of comparing a few Republican senators to Nazi propogandist Joseph Goebbels, in a hysterical rant that descended into incoherent numerology about the bombing of Dresden. I’m sure Xi Jinping and Ayatollah Khamenei were impressed by his historical recollections. (see American Greatness)

      Lastly, if disputing an election result is an impeachable offense what does this say about the Democrats who have disputed election results multiple times in the past? What does it say about the Speaker of the House, the person who bears ultimate responsibility for the security of the Capitol and appears to have been negligent in the discharge of her duties? On 1/6 did she fail to properly execute her responsibilities toward Congress? Is this the reason for her attack on legitimate assembly and grievance? To reassign blame for her own failure? Should Pelosi be subject to impeachment?

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      Part One of this series: On Democracy

      Part Two of this series: What is to be Done?

      Part Three of this series: The Defense of Mr. Trump

      Democrats’ ‘divide and conquer’ Senate show trial may jeopardize duopoly

      US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
      Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss., right, and Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., confer during the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing for Gina Raimondo, nominee for Secretary of Commerce, in Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC on January 26, 2021. / AFP / POOL / Tom Williams
      Democrats’ ‘divide and conquer’ Senate show trial may jeopardize duopoly
      (Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2) is currently covering the US election. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea, and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China,’ which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.)

      Tuesday, 26 January 2021 10:40 PM  [ Last Update: Tuesday, 26 January 2021 10:44 PM ]

      Press TV and The Saker

      By Ramin Mazaheri

      Much ink could be spilled about the upcoming, and second, Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump, but that would be a waste of ink – the trial has nothing to do with social justice or patriotism and everything to do with aggravating political divisions for elites’ gain.

      We could say it’s just “politics as usual”, but only if: the “True Rate of Unemployment” wasn’t pushing 30%, even per Politico; 2020 didn’t witness the biggest annual rise in the US poverty rate since the 1960s; America didn’t just have its most disputed election in anyone’s memory; there weren’t armed soldiers protecting politicians nationwide, or, according to nearly 40% of the country, there weren’t armed soldiers making sure politicians are illegitimately installed in the White House. In the US right now politics are not usual, whatsoever.

      It is incredibly bad journalism the way the US Mainstream Media endlessly overplays the number of Republican defectors against Trump – they get way, way too much press, and of course it’s because they don’t want to admit Trump has any grassroots support (which is not from neo-Nazis). One might have easily imagined that scores of House Republicans were about to vote in favor of Trump’s impeachment, yet only 10 out of 211 did (5%). To give one mainstream example, it was totally misleading of the Los Angeles Times to write that a “bipartisan House majority voted to charge him” after the House’s January 13 vote, and in their lede paragraph, no less, and to even mention the 10 Republicans in their headline. Trump remains the most popular Republican by leaps and bounds – there is no way 17 of 50 Republican senators will end their re-election chances just to appease a Never Trumper movement which only won the general election by a 51-47 margin. Trump’s first Senate trial was a landslide – by supermajority standards – for “not guilty”: 52-48 in favor of Trump.

      Given the assurance of acquittal (again) we should ask who benefits from this second trial, and who does not benefit?

      Obviously, the enormous mass of everyday Americans will see no benefit from the trial, and I listed just a few of the once-in-a-century reasons why they have more pressing concerns. It is never declared in the US media that the US public has no real appetite for the Senate trial – they need and want the governors of the nation to govern, and right now.

      The only way Americans could possibly be convinced that the nation needs to shut down Congress for weeks with a trial whose conclusion is not in doubt is via constant Mainstream Media talking heads shrieking about its necessity, and with the very same fervor that they were shrieking that Russia stole the 2016 election. This is fake-news, too, and it certainly takes airtime away from discussing things like the “True Rate of Unemployment”.

      The only people among average Americans who insist that seeing ex-president Trump in the dock is more pressing than resolving the multiple areas of socioeconomic disaster are the most bloodthirsty and rabid of the Never Trumpers. How can one easily switch off four years of demonization? Answer: many simply are psychologically unable to move on, and even though they got what they want – Trump is out of the White House. But while these people – generally upper- and upper-middle class persons who are not very touched by the economic crisis – are loudly obnoxious they are not in actual control of the levers of power.

      It’s primarily the nation’s elite-level politicians who really want to make America’s Marianas Trench-depth cultural-political divide even deeper, but not for the reasons one may think.

      Many Congressional Democrats are no doubt embarrassed and vengeful over having been turned into cowering, world’s fanciest gas mask-wearing deserters on January 6 – these people control the legislative docket and they want Trump to look afraid now. That would be a self-centered and over-emotional reaction, but why should we ascribe self-sacrifice for the well-being of the nation among the virtues of Congressional Democrats?

      The Capitol Hill protest did make many Democrats even more dead-set on getting Trump out: Despite being elected president once and narrowly winning re-election – or rather, precisely because of this electoral success – Democrats want to try and ensure that Trump cannot run in 2024, and a Senate conviction would bar Trump from ever holding public office again. Again, they are deluded by endless MSM spin if they think they have a realistic chance of turning so many Republicans.

      Those are two plausible motivations for the Senate trial, but they are not sufficiently convincing.

      How elite Democrats gain from a trial, but America loses (unless a 3rd party truly sprouts)

      There seem to be so many tiny groups which gain in the many instances where one reads “but America loses”? Thirty million Americans file for unemployment in 2020 – the S&P 500 gains $14 trillion in value over the same timeframe (up 16% annually). Four hundred thousand Americans die from coronavirus – the first vaccine announced only two days after Joe Biden prematurely declares victory, allowing Biden to change the media focus from his divisive and promise-backtracking early declaration.

      By forcing a trial in the Senate Democrats seem to think they can win big by playing “divide and conquer” or even just “divide and divide”.

      In the latter scenario Democrats certainly gain by forcing Congressional Republicans to openly divide themselves into pro- and anti-Trump factions, which will necessarily be revealed during the Senate vote on the 2nd impeachment. That vote will be like the 2003 Iraq War vote for Democrats (but only if we falsely imagine today’s Democrats to actually be an anti-war party anymore). If nothing else is gained for elite Democrats – who happily watched households crumble and workers go hungry until after Biden’s election to finally become willing to negotiate a second, paltry household stimulus – a Republican Party distracted by squabbles, and thus open to being bought into defection on certain key votes, is enough reason to waste everyone’s time with a Senate show trial.

      The “divide and conquer” scenario is more worrying for national health, because the pro-War Democratic Party does like to conquer human beings: There are incredibly shocking efforts to blacklist, censor and seemingly criminalize Trump supporters. By forcing Trump’s Congressional supporters into the open Democrats will know exactly where to set their stigmatizing sights. I cannot believe that Democrats are going to lead a multi-month, much less multi-year, “Trumperphobia” campaign, but I also couldn’t believe the 2016 Russophobia campaign lasted until even after the 2019 Mueller Report’s exoneration of Russia. Is it possible that Democrats are going to persist in their anti-Trumper cultural pogrom for years rather than honestly discuss America’s decline?

      But the main question is: How deep is the American duopoly? Answer: the deepest and oldest in the world.

      What if Democrats are actually trying to create a Republican Party division into two parties, with the Trumper faction defecting to a new “Patriot” or “America First” party? That would end the need for Democratic legislative majorities – all they’d need is a plurality (as in every other modern democracy).

      Is it possible that Trump will actually undo America’s awful legislative duopoly and bring in a multi-party system? Like most good things Trump has done, this boon would be an unintended consequence of Trump’s actual political agenda.

      Are Democrats looking to end the two-party system by giving Trumpers a clear indication that they can either organize, drop out or get persecuted by the US system? Are anti-Trump Republicans daft enough to think that the Republican Party will stay Reaganite forever, even after Reaganites allowed the Great Financial Crisis to mushroom into the Great Recession for so many of their voters?

      I would say that – in the end – Democrats are not looking to end the duopoly, in which they are the party which is paid no matter what: they are paid to make sure actual leftist ideas lose, by combining them with fake-leftists idea such as identity politics, and they are paid to make sure leftist gains are truly, truly minimal when they do occasionally have power.

      But Democrats are US politicians, after all – they cannot think long-term, and they openly admit they spend 2/3rds of their working hours focused on getting campaign money for their re-election – and so they really don’t know what they are doing, or even care about the medium- and long-term consequences of their actions. The Senate trial of Trump is useless theater, but who knows what these professional actors really feel or if they even feel anything at all? If they feel anything it is for their supporters and “work family”, which can be found on Wall Street and not Main Street.

      Just as the January 6th protest was improvised and not the start of a long-term “Occupy Capitol Hill” movement – it had none of the determination and planning of Egypt’s Tahrir Square” (in a nod to this week’s 10th anniversary of that wonderful progressive movement, which was repeatedly sabotaged by Washington and Tel Aviv and their Egyptian compradors). Democrats are now improvising a way to keep inflicting opprobrium, censorship and maybe even criminal convictions on the odious – yet quite popular and taboo-breaking – Trump. Just like in 2016: anything to keep from discussing the real roots of any sort of “drain the Swamp” political feeling and America’s undeniable decline. 

      Elite Democrats don’t have Russia to kick around anymore, let’s remember – all they have is Trump and his 74 million supporters. Kick them too much and Democrats might break their own precious duopoly.

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


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